PSALM AND STORY: INSET HYMNS IN HEBREW NARRATIVE, by James W. Watts. JSOT Sup. Series 139. JSOT/Sheffield Academic Press, Sheffield, 1992. 246 pp. $46.50. ISBN 1-85075-343-1.
Psalms that appear in the context of narratives of the Old Testament have not received as a group anything like the attention devoted to those collected in the Book of Psalms. Watts classifies as "psalms" the poetic sections of narrative literature that contain features of formulaic praise. His list includes nine poems, some of them the most interesting and crucial texts in their books: I Samuel 2:1-10; Exodus 15:1-21; Deuteronomy 32:1-43; Joshua 5; II Samuel 22; Isaiah 38:9-20; Jonah 2:3-10; Daniel 2:20-23; and I Chronicles 16:3-36.
In studies of each of these texts the author asks three questions: How does the psalm function in relation to its narrative context? What inferences can be drawn from the study of the psalm's function about when and how it became part of the narrative? What can be concluded from the contextual and historical study about the history of psalmody in Israel? The first question is the crucial one. …