This article proposes a tripartite structure of Psalm 74. The proposal is based on various lexical and syntactic features of the psalmist’s lament and sheds light on both the interpretation of the psalm as a whole and the interpretation of verses 12–17 in particular. It argues that these verses were interpolated to express a particular cosmogonic temple theology. When the psalm is viewed alongside comparable ancient Near Eastern literature from loci such as Ugarit, potential motives for this interpolation become evident. The interpolator sought to sharpen the petition to God by drawing on older, Canaanite mythology in hopes that such rhetorical maneuvers might occasion an acceptable solution to the psalmist’s lament.
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