This book is an outgrowth of work on ritual in the Bible and ancient Near Eastern texts that I have been pursuing for a number of years. After laying a foundation in the study of prescriptive ritual texts,1 I began to ex- plore ritual in various narrative texts2 and the Psalms.3 While these later studies were mainly interested in examining ritual in the Bible and the an-cient Near East at large, they indicated that the study of ritual within a tale’s (or poem’s) context is an invaluable aid in deciphering the meaningof the text.