The anthropological function of the outcry “When God searches my heart” in Psalm 139:1 and 23 and its later use in Romans 8:27

  • Lodewyk Sutton University of the Free State
Keywords: Psalm 139, Romans 8:27, heart, anthropology, intertextuality


Psalm 139 is viewed as a possible ritual or individual (though representing a group) meditative confession after some possible trial. This is said due to the “sapiential language and a reflective mood that are the most salient features of most elements” in the psalm, and also the psalm’s perspective of YHWH as creator (Gerstenberger, 2001:406; Maré, 2010:697). Within Psalm 139 and throughout its creation imagery, the psalm makes use of multiple imageries relating to the human body. According to Psalm 139:1 and 23, God is searching the inmost being (the heart) of the one praying the psalm. Many scholars use these verses of Psalms 139 as in intertextual text for Romans 8:27. In this article an anthropological comparison between Psalm 139:1 and 23 on “when God searches our hearts” and its later use in Romans 8:27 is made to determine the relevance of the function of the outcry “when God searches my heart” and its intertextual importance or relevance.
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