“Jahweh twice intervened in Israel’s history in a special way, to lay a basis of salvation for his people. The first was in the complex of acts which are gathered together in the avowal made by the canonical saving history (that is, from Abraham to Joshua), the other was in the confirmation of David and his throne for all time…No doubt, according to Israel’s faith, Jahweh had also accompanied his people beyond these complexes at every hour and in every place, and had everywhere shown himself lord of her history. But this was something different—it was going on with the building on a foundation already laid, not laying a foundation itself. On these two saving data rested the whole of Israel’s existence before Jahweh. Even the prophets in their proclamation of the new covenant of Israel cannot hark back to any other than them, the covenant at Sinai and the covenant with David.
When these saving acts had happened to her, Israel did not keep silent: not only did she repeatedly take up her pen to recall these acts of Jahweh to her mind in historical documents, but she also addressed Jahweh in a wholly personal way. She offered praise to him, and asked him questions, and complained to him in all her sufferings, for Jahweh had not chosen his people as a mere dumb object of his will in history, but for converse with him. This answer of Israel’s, which we gather for the most part from the Psalter, is theologically a subject in itself. It shows us how these acts affected Israel, and how Israel on her side accepted and understood this existence in immediacy with Jahweh and in proximity to him, that is, the steps which, in this proximity to Jahweh, she took to justify or to be ashamed of herself, in her own eyes and before Jahweh. But it also shows how in this intercourse with Jahweh Israel was revealed to herself and how she pictured herself when she came before Jahweh to speak to him. Here then if anywhere can we hope that the basic features of a theological doctrine of man will become clear…The way in which [Israel] saw herself before God, and pictured herself before him, is worth the highest attention theologically.” (Gerhard Von Rad, Old Testament Theology, Vol. 1, pp. 355-56)