The Metonic Cycle, Number Symbolism, and the Placement of Psalms 19 and 119 in the MT Psalter
Journal for the Study of the Old Testament 34
This study explores the possibility that the scribe responsible for the final redaction of the MT Psalter knew about the Metonic Cycle, a 19-year calendrical system that synchronized the lunar and solar years, attributed a symbolic significance to the number 19 related to this number’s role in creating cosmological harmony in that system, and then used 19 as a symbolic number to inform the placement of Psalms 19 and 119 in the final redaction of the MT Psalter. A discussion of the contrastive content of Psalm 19 provides some warrant for looking to a number symbolism derived from the Metonic Cycle. Both the Metonic Cycle and Psalm 19 are thematically similar in that they harmonize two apparently different but cosmologically significant entities (sun and moon / creation and Torah). The proposal outlined in this study provides a theologically significant reason for the precise position of Psalms 19 and 119 in the MT Psalter and offers a suggestion for how this position may have subtly contributed to the Torah’s cosmological exaltation within the Psalter as a whole.
The Metonic Cycle, Number Symbolism, and the Placement of Psalms 19 and 119 in the MT Psalter.
Journal for the Study of the Old Testament 34, 34(4), 447–473.