Psalms and worship
Psalms are poems intended to be set to music and sung in worship to God. Music and poetry are important features of Jewish worship. After the Egyptians had been overthrown in the waters of the Red Sea as they pursued the Israelites during the Exodus, when they escaped from slavery, we read that Moses and the Israelites sang a song of praise and thanksgiving to the Lord. Miriam, Moses' sister, took a tambourine in her hand and led the women in a dance (Exodus 15:1-20). Singers had an important role in the religious ceremonies of the tabernacle, and later the temple. King David, to whom many of the psalms are attributed, was known as ‘Israel's singer of songs' (2 Samuel 23:1). See Big ideas: Moses; Temple, tabernacle.
The Book of Psalms is found in the Old Testament, and is a compilation of different psalms written over many years by a variety of writers. Some of the psalms are attributed to King David. Psalms were used at the time of Jesus. There are 150 psalms (plus some additional ones in the ‘Apocrypha'), divided into five books. Psalm 150 indicates various types of music-making which accompanied their use:
‘Praise him with the sounding of the trumpet, praise him with the harp and lyre, praise him with tambourine and dancing, praise him with the strings and flute, praise him with the clash of cymbals' (Psalms 150:3-5).
The form of the Psalms
The Psalms are rich in imagery. In the original Hebrew language, they are full of assonance and alliteration. Some metaphors recur to express aspects of God's character, ‘The Lord is my rock, my fortress and … my shield' (Psalms 18:2). Hebrew poetry does not use rhyme or regular metre; its distinctive stylistic feature is parallelism. The quotation from Psalm 150 above shows this clearly; each line is made up of two balanced segments, the second rephrasing and amplifying the first. Some psalms take the form of alphabetic acrostics, such as Psalm 119, the longest psalm, which is divided into 8-line stanzas, each named for a letter of the Hebrew alphabet. It praises ‘The word of the Lord' in each of the 176 verses, using a range of synonyms.
Many psalms express collective worship and thanksgiving to God. Others express grief or shared sorrow. Some later ones, dating from the period of exile, are particularly poignant (see Big ideas: Exile)
‘By the rivers of Babylon, there we sat down, yea, we wept,
when we remembered Zion
.' (Psalms 137:1
‘When the LORD turned again the captivity of Zion, we were like them that dream. Then was our mouth filled with laughter, and our tongue with singing: then said they among the heathen, The Lord hath done great things for them.' (Psalms 12:1-2
Other psalms are intensely personal appeals to God:
- ‘Answer me'
- ‘Save me'
- ‘I am in distress'
- ‘Why have you forsaken me?'
- ‘How long will you hide your face from me?'
Psalms nearly always end with an expression of trust in God's goodness and protection, ‘But as for me, I trust in you' (Psalms 55:23). There is sometimes freely-expressed anger against the enemies of God and his people, and a desire for their punishment, which modern readers can find distasteful.
Some psalms express deep sorrow and repentance, and ask for forgiveness; the most famous of these ‘Penitential Psalms' is Psalm 51, attributed to King David after he had been confronted with his sins of adultery and murder, as a consequence of his affair with Bathsheba:
‘Have mercy upon me, O God, according to thy loving kindness: according unto the multitude of thy tender mercies blot out my transgressions. Wash me thoroughly from mine iniquity, and cleanse me from my sin. For I acknowledge my transgressions: and my sin is ever before me.' (Psalms 51:1-3)
Like other psalms used in Christian worship through the centuries, this psalm is also known by the first word of its Latin translation, ‘Miserere' (have mercy). See Big ideas: Forgiveness, mercy and grace; Penitence, repentance, penance.
Sixteenth and seventeenth century poets of the Puritan movement versified the psalms in English to use as hymns. These ‘metrical psalms' are still used in Scotland and Ireland. Psalms, or hymns derived from Psalms, have been sung in many types of Christian church through the ages, right to the present day.
The most famous psalm is probably Psalm 23, ‘The Lord is my shepherd' (Psalms 23:1-6). Its imagery evokes the life of David, who was a shepherd before he became a king. The words, ‘Though I walk through the Valley of the Shadow of Death, I will fear no evil', have comforted many facing death or bereavement. See Big ideas: Sheep, shepherd, lamb.
The horrors of journeying through this ‘valley' of death are powerfully evoked by John Bunyan, in his allegorical story, Pilgrim's Progress.
Big ideas: Exile; Forgiveness, mercy and grace; Moses; Penitence, repentance, penance; Sheep, shepherd, lamb; Temple, tabernacle
Other cultural references
John Bunyan's Pilgrim's Progress
- English Standard Version
- King James Version
1Then Moses and the people of Israel sang this song to the Lord, saying, I will sing to the Lord, for he has triumphed gloriously; the horse and his rider he has thrown into the sea. 2The Lord is my strength and my song, and he has become my salvation; this is my God, and I will praise him, my father's God, and I will exalt him. 3The Lord is a man of war; the Lord is his name. 4Pharaoh's chariots and his host he cast into the sea, and his chosen officers were sunk in the Red Sea. 5The floods covered them; they went down into the depths like a stone. 6Your right hand, O Lord, glorious in power, your right hand, O Lord, shatters the enemy. 7In the greatness of your majesty you overthrow your adversaries; you send out your fury; it consumes them like stubble. 8At the blast of your nostrils the waters piled up; the floods stood up in a heap; the deeps congealed in the heart of the sea. 9The enemy said, I will pursue, I will overtake, I will divide the spoil, my desire shall have its fill of them. I will draw my sword; my hand shall destroy them. 10You blew with your wind; the sea covered them; they sank like lead in the mighty waters. 11Who is like you, O Lord, among the gods? Who is like you, majestic in holiness, awesome in glorious deeds, doing wonders? 12You stretched out your right hand; the earth swallowed them. 13You have led in your steadfast love the people whom you have redeemed; you have guided them by your strength to your holy abode. 14The peoples have heard; they tremble; pangs have seized the inhabitants of Philistia. 15Now are the chiefs of Edom dismayed; trembling seizes the leaders of Moab; all the inhabitants of Canaan have melted away. 16Terror and dread fall upon them; because of the greatness of your arm, they are still as a stone, till your people, O Lord, pass by, till the people pass by whom you have purchased. 17You will bring them in and plant them on your own mountain, the place, O Lord, which you have made for your abode, the sanctuary, O Lord, which your hands have established. 18The Lord will reign forever and ever. 19For when the horses of Pharaoh with his chariots and his horsemen went into the sea, the Lord brought back the waters of the sea upon them, but the people of Israel walked on dry ground in the midst of the sea. 20Then Miriam the prophetess, the sister of Aaron, took a tambourine in her hand, and all the women went out after her with tambourines and dancing. 21And Miriam sang to them: Sing to the Lord, for he has triumphed gloriously; the horse and his rider he has thrown into the sea. 22Then Moses made Israel set out from the Red Sea, and they went into the wilderness of Shur. They went three days in the wilderness and found no water. 23When they came to Marah, they could not drink the water of Marah because it was bitter; therefore it was named Marah. 24And the people grumbled against Moses, saying, What shall we drink? 25And he cried to the Lord, and the Lord showed him a log, and he threw it into the water, and the water became sweet. There the Lord made for them a statute and a rule, and there he tested them, 26saying, If you will diligently listen to the voice of the Lord your God, and do that which is right in his eyes, and give ear to his commandments and keep all his statutes, I will put none of the diseases on you that I put on the Egyptians, for I am the Lord, your healer. 27Then they came to Elim, where there were twelve springs of water and seventy palm trees, and they encamped there by the water.
1Then sang Moses and the children of Israel this song unto the LORD, and spake, saying, I will sing unto the LORD, for he hath triumphed gloriously: the horse and his rider hath he thrown into the sea. 2The LORD is my strength and song, and he is become my salvation: he is my God, and I will prepare him an habitation; my father's God, and I will exalt him. 3The LORD is a man of war: the LORD is his name. 4Pharaoh's chariots and his host hath he cast into the sea: his chosen captains also are drowned in the Red sea. 5The depths have covered them: they sank into the bottom as a stone. 6Thy right hand, O LORD, is become glorious in power: thy right hand, O LORD, hath dashed in pieces the enemy. 7And in the greatness of thine excellency thou hast overthrown them that rose up against thee: thou sentest forth thy wrath, which consumed them as stubble. 8And with the blast of thy nostrils the waters were gathered together, the floods stood upright as an heap, and the depths were congealed in the heart of the sea. 9The enemy said, I will pursue, I will overtake, I will divide the spoil; my lust shall be satisfied upon them; I will draw my sword, my hand shall destroy them. 10Thou didst blow with thy wind, the sea covered them: they sank as lead in the mighty waters. 11Who is like unto thee, O LORD, among the gods? who is like thee, glorious in holiness, fearful in praises, doing wonders? 12Thou stretchedst out thy right hand, the earth swallowed them. 13Thou in thy mercy hast led forth the people which thou hast redeemed: thou hast guided them in thy strength unto thy holy habitation. 14The people shall hear, and be afraid: sorrow shall take hold on the inhabitants of Palestina. 15Then the dukes of Edom shall be amazed; the mighty men of Moab, trembling shall take hold upon them; all the inhabitants of Canaan shall melt away. 16Fear and dread shall fall upon them; by the greatness of thine arm they shall be as still as a stone; till thy people pass over, O LORD, till the people pass over, which thou hast purchased. 17Thou shalt bring them in, and plant them in the mountain of thine inheritance, in the place, O LORD, which thou hast made for thee to dwell in, in the Sanctuary, O LORD, which thy hands have established. 18The LORD shall reign for ever and ever. 19For the horse of Pharaoh went in with his chariots and with his horsemen into the sea, and the LORD brought again the waters of the sea upon them; but the children of Israel went on dry land in the midst of the sea. 20And Miriam the prophetess, the sister of Aaron, took a timbrel in her hand; and all the women went out after her with timbrels and with dances. 21And Miriam answered them, Sing ye to the LORD, for he hath triumphed gloriously; the horse and his rider hath he thrown into the sea. 22So Moses brought Israel from the Red sea, and they went out into the wilderness of Shur; and they went three days in the wilderness, and found no water. 23And when they came to Marah, they could not drink of the waters of Marah, for they were bitter: therefore the name of it was called Marah. 24And the people murmured against Moses, saying, What shall we drink? 25And he cried unto the LORD; and the LORD showed him a tree, which when he had cast into the waters, the waters were made sweet: there he made for them a statute and an ordinance, and there he proved them, 26And said, If thou wilt diligently hearken to the voice of the LORD thy God, and wilt do that which is right in his sight, and wilt give ear to his commandments, and keep all his statutes, I will put none of these diseases upon thee, which I have brought upon the Egyptians: for I am the LORD that healeth thee. 27And they came to Elim, where were twelve wells of water, and threescore and ten palm trees: and they encamped there by the waters.
- English Standard Version
- King James Version
1Now these are the last words of David: The oracle of David, the son of Jesse, the oracle of the man who was raised on high, the anointed of the God of Jacob, the sweet psalmist of Israel: 2The Spirit of the Lord speaks by me; his word is on my tongue. 3The God of Israel has spoken; the Rock of Israel has said to me: When one rules justly over men, ruling in the fear of God, 4he dawns on them like the morning light, like the sun shining forth on a cloudless morning, like rain that makes grass to sprout from the earth. 5For does not my house stand so with God? For he has made with me an everlasting covenant, ordered in all things and secure. For will he not cause to prosper all my help and my desire? 6But worthless men are all like thorns that are thrown away, for they cannot be taken with the hand; 7but the man who touches them arms himself with iron and the shaft of a spear, and they are utterly consumed with fire. 8These are the names of the mighty men whom David had: Josheb-basshebeth a Tahchemonite; he was chief of the three. He wielded his spear against eight hundred whom he killed at one time. 9And next to him among the three mighty men was Eleazar the son of Dodo, son of Ahohi. He was with David when they defied the Philistines who were gathered there for battle, and the men of Israel withdrew. 10He rose and struck down the Philistines until his hand was weary, and his hand clung to the sword. And the Lord brought about a great victory that day, and the men returned after him only to strip the slain. 11And next to him was Shammah, the son of Agee the Hararite. The Philistines gathered together at Lehi, where there was a plot of ground full of lentils, and the men fled from the Philistines. 12But he took his stand in the midst of the plot and defended it and struck down the Philistines, and the Lord worked a great victory. 13And three of the thirty chief men went down and came about harvest time to David at the cave of Adullam, when a band of Philistines was encamped in the Valley of Rephaim. 14David was then in the stronghold, and the garrison of the Philistines was then at Bethlehem. 15And David said longingly, Oh, that someone would give me water to drink from the well of Bethlehem that is by the gate! 16Then the three mighty men broke through the camp of the Philistines and drew water out of the well of Bethlehem that was by the gate and carried and brought it to David. But he would not drink of it. He poured it out to the Lord 17and said, Far be it from me, O Lord, that I should do this. Shall I drink the blood of the men who went at the risk of their lives? Therefore he would not drink it. These things the three mighty men did. 18Now Abishai, the brother of Joab, the son of Zeruiah, was chief of the thirty. And he wielded his spear against three hundred men and killed them and won a name beside the three. 19He was the most renowned of the thirty and became their commander, but he did not attain to the three. 20And Benaiah the son of Jehoiada was a valiant man of Kabzeel, a doer of great deeds. He struck down two ariels of Moab. He also went down and struck down a lion in a pit on a day when snow had fallen. 21And he struck down an Egyptian, a handsome man. The Egyptian had a spear in his hand, but Benaiah went down to him with a staff and snatched the spear out of the Egyptian's hand and killed him with his own spear. 22These things did Benaiah the son of Jehoiada, and won a name beside the three mighty men. 23He was renowned among the thirty, but he did not attain to the three. And David set him over his bodyguard. 24Asahel the brother of Joab was one of the thirty; Elhanan the son of Dodo of Bethlehem, 25Shammah of Harod, Elika of Harod, 26Helez the Paltite, Ira the son of Ikkesh of Tekoa, 27Abiezer of Anathoth, Mebunnai the Hushathite, 28Zalmon the Ahohite, Maharai of Netophah, 29Heleb the son of Baanah of Netophah, Ittai the son of Ribai of Gibeah of the people of Benjamin, 30Benaiah of Pirathon, Hiddai of the brooks of Gaash, 31Abi-albon the Arbathite, Azmaveth of Bahurim, 32Eliahba the Shaalbonite, the sons of Jashen, Jonathan, 33Shammah the Hararite, Ahiam the son of Sharar the Hararite, 34Eliphelet the son of Ahasbai of Maacah, Eliam the son of Ahithophel of Gilo, 35Hezro of Carmel, Paarai the Arbite, 36Igal the son of Nathan of Zobah, Bani the Gadite, 37Zelek the Ammonite, Naharai of Beeroth, the armor-bearer of Joab the son of Zeruiah, 38Ira the Ithrite, Gareb the Ithrite, 39Uriah the Hittite: thirty-seven in all.
1Now these be the last words of David. David the son of Jesse said, and the man who was raised up on high, the anointed of the God of Jacob, and the sweet psalmist of Israel, said, 2The Spirit of the LORD spake by me, and his word was in my tongue. 3The God of Israel said, the Rock of Israel spake to me, He that ruleth over men must be just, ruling in the fear of God. 4And he shall be as the light of the morning, when the sun riseth, even a morning without clouds; as the tender grass springing out of the earth by clear shining after rain. 5Although my house be not so with God; yet he hath made with me an everlasting covenant, ordered in all things, and sure: for this is all my salvation, and all my desire, although he make it not to grow. 6But the sons of Belial shall be all of them as thorns thrust away, because they cannot be taken with hands: 7But the man that shall touch them must be fenced with iron and the staff of a spear; and they shall be utterly burned with fire in the same place. 8These be the names of the mighty men whom David had: The Tachmonite that sat in the seat, chief among the captains; the same was Adino the Eznite: he lift up his spear against eight hundred, whom he slew at one time. 9And after him was Eleazar the son of Dodo the Ahohite, one of the three mighty men with David, when they defied the Philistines that were there gathered together to battle, and the men of Israel were gone away: 10He arose, and smote the Philistines until his hand was weary, and his hand clave unto the sword: and the LORD wrought a great victory that day; and the people returned after him only to spoil. 11And after him was Shammah the son of Agee the Hararite. And the Philistines were gathered together into a troop, where was a piece of ground full of lentils: and the people fled from the Philistines. 12But he stood in the midst of the ground, and defended it, and slew the Philistines: and the LORD wrought a great victory. 13And three of the thirty chief went down, and came to David in the harvest time unto the cave of Adullam: and the troop of the Philistines pitched in the valley of Rephaim. 14And David was then in an hold, and the garrison of the Philistines was then in Bethlehem. 15And David longed, and said, Oh that one would give me drink of the water of the well of Bethlehem, which is by the gate! 16And the three mighty men brake through the host of the Philistines, and drew water out of the well of Bethlehem, that was by the gate, and took it, and brought it to David: nevertheless he would not drink thereof, but poured it out unto the LORD. 17And he said, Be it far from me, O LORD, that I should do this: is not this the blood of the men that went in jeopardy of their lives? therefore he would not drink it. These things did these three mighty men. 18And Abishai, the brother of Joab, the son of Zeruiah, was chief among three. And he lifted up his spear against three hundred, and slew them, and had the name among three. 19Was he not most honorable of three? therefore he was their captain: howbeit he attained not unto the first three. 20And Benaiah the son of Jehoiada, the son of a valiant man, of Kabzeel, who had done many acts, he slew two lionlike men of Moab: he went down also and slew a lion in the midst of a pit in time of snow: 21And he slew an Egyptian, a goodly man: and the Egyptian had a spear in his hand; but he went down to him with a staff, and plucked the spear out of the Egyptian's hand, and slew him with his own spear. 22These things did Benaiah the son of Jehoiada, and had the name among three mighty men. 23He was more honorable than the thirty, but he attained not to the first three. And David set him over his guard. 24Asahel the brother of Joab was one of the thirty; Elhanan the son of Dodo of Bethlehem, 25Shammah the Harodite, Elika the Harodite, 26Helez the Paltite, Ira the son of Ikkesh the Tekoite, 27Abiezer the Anethothite, Mebunnai the Hushathite, 28Zalmon the Ahohite, Maharai the Netophathite, 29Heleb the son of Baanah, a Netophathite, Ittai the son of Ribai out of Gibeah of the children of Benjamin, 30Benaiah the Pirathonite, Hiddai of the brooks of Gaash, 31Abialbon the Arbathite, Azmaveth the Barhumite, 32Eliahba the Shaalbonite, of the sons of Jashen, Jonathan, 33Shammah the Hararite, Ahiam the son of Sharar the Hararite, 34Eliphelet the son of Ahasbai, the son of the Maachathite, Eliam the son of Ahithophel the Gilonite, 35Hezrai the Carmelite, Paarai the Arbite, 36Igal the son of Nathan of Zobah, Bani the Gadite, 37Zelek the Ammonite, Nahari the Beerothite, armourbearer to Joab the son of Zeruiah, 38Ira an Ithrite, Gareb an Ithrite, 39Uriah the Hittite: thirty and seven in all.
- English Standard Version
- King James Version
1Praise the Lord! Praise God in his sanctuary; praise him in his mighty heavens! 2Praise him for his mighty deeds; praise him according to his excellent greatness! 3Praise him with trumpet sound; praise him with lute and harp! 4Praise him with tambourine and dance; praise him with strings and pipe! 5Praise him with sounding cymbals; praise him with loud clashing cymbals! 6Let everything that has breath praise the Lord! Praise the Lord!
1Praise ye the LORD. Praise God in his sanctuary: praise him in the firmament of his power. 2Praise him for his mighty acts: praise him according to his excellent greatness. 3Praise him with the sound of the trumpet: praise him with the psaltery and harp. 4Praise him with the timbrel and dance: praise him with stringed instruments and organs. 5Praise him upon the loud cymbals: praise him upon the high sounding cymbals. 6Let every thing that hath breath praise the LORD. Praise ye the LORD.
- English Standard Version
- King James Version
1I love you, O Lord, my strength. 2The Lord is my rock and my fortress and my deliverer, my God, my rock, in whom I take refuge, my shield, and the horn of my salvation, my stronghold. 3I call upon the Lord, who is worthy to be praised, and I am saved from my enemies. 4The cords of death encompassed me; the torrents of destruction assailed me; 5the cords of Sheol entangled me; the snares of death confronted me. 6In my distress I called upon the Lord; to my God I cried for help. From his temple he heard my voice, and my cry to him reached his ears. 7Then the earth reeled and rocked; the foundations also of the mountains trembled and quaked, because he was angry. 8Smoke went up from his nostrils, and devouring fire from his mouth; glowing coals flamed forth from him. 9He bowed the heavens and came down; thick darkness was under his feet. 10He rode on a cherub and flew; he came swiftly on the wings of the wind. 11He made darkness his covering, his canopy around him, thick clouds dark with water. 12Out of the brightness before him hailstones and coals of fire broke through his clouds. 13The Lord also thundered in the heavens, and the Most High uttered his voice, hailstones and coals of fire. 14And he sent out his arrows and scattered them; he flashed forth lightnings and routed them. 15Then the channels of the sea were seen, and the foundations of the world were laid bare at your rebuke, O Lord, at the blast of the breath of your nostrils. 16He sent from on high, he took me; he drew me out of many waters. 17He rescued me from my strong enemy and from those who hated me, for they were too mighty for me. 18They confronted me in the day of my calamity, but the Lord was my support. 19He brought me out into a broad place; he rescued me, because he delighted in me. 20The Lord dealt with me according to my righteousness; according to the cleanness of my hands he rewarded me. 21For I have kept the ways of the Lord, and have not wickedly departed from my God. 22For all his rules were before me, and his statutes I did not put away from me. 23I was blameless before him, and I kept myself from my guilt. 24So the Lord has rewarded me according to my righteousness, according to the cleanness of my hands in his sight. 25With the merciful you show yourself merciful; with the blameless man you show yourself blameless; 26with the purified you show yourself pure; and with the crooked you make yourself seem tortuous. 27For you save a humble people, but the haughty eyes you bring down. 28For it is you who light my lamp; the Lord my God lightens my darkness. 29For by you I can run against a troop, and by my God I can leap over a wall. 30This God - his way is perfect; the word of the Lord proves true; he is a shield for all those who take refuge in him. 31For who is God, but the Lord? And who is a rock, except our God? - 32the God who equipped me with strength and made my way blameless. 33He made my feet like the feet of a deer and set me secure on the heights. 34He trains my hands for war, so that my arms can bend a bow of bronze. 35You have given me the shield of your salvation, and your right hand supported me, and your gentleness made me great. 36You gave a wide place for my steps under me, and my feet did not slip. 37I pursued my enemies and overtook them, and did not turn back till they were consumed. 38I thrust them through, so that they were not able to rise; they fell under my feet. 39For you equipped me with strength for the battle; you made those who rise against me sink under me. 40You made my enemies turn their backs to me, and those who hated me I destroyed. 41They cried for help, but there was none to save; they cried to the Lord, but he did not answer them. 42I beat them fine as dust before the wind; I cast them out like the mire of the streets. 43You delivered me from strife with the people; you made me the head of the nations; people whom I had not known served me. 44As soon as they heard of me they obeyed me; foreigners came cringing to me. 45Foreigners lost heart and came trembling out of their fortresses. 46The Lord lives, and blessed be my rock, and exalted be the God of my salvation - 47the God who gave me vengeance and subdued peoples under me, 48who delivered me from my enemies; yes, you exalted me above those who rose against me; you rescued me from the man of violence. 49For this I will praise you, O Lord, among the nations, and sing to your name. 50Great salvation he brings to his king, and shows steadfast love to his anointed, to David and his offspring forever.
1I will love thee, O LORD, my strength. 2The LORD is my rock, and my fortress, and my deliverer; my God, my strength, in whom I will trust; my buckler, and the horn of my salvation, and my high tower. 3I will call upon the LORD, who is worthy to be praised: so shall I be saved from mine enemies. 4The sorrows of death compassed me, and the floods of ungodly men made me afraid. 5The sorrows of hell compassed me about: the snares of death prevented me. 6In my distress I called upon the LORD, and cried unto my God: he heard my voice out of his temple, and my cry came before him, even into his ears. 7Then the earth shook and trembled; the foundations also of the hills moved and were shaken, because he was wroth. 8There went up a smoke out of his nostrils, and fire out of his mouth devoured: coals were kindled by it. 9He bowed the heavens also, and came down: and darkness was under his feet. 10And he rode upon a cherub, and did fly: yea, he did fly upon the wings of the wind. 11He made darkness his secret place; his pavilion round about him were dark waters and thick clouds of the skies. 12At the brightness that was before him his thick clouds passed, hail stones and coals of fire. 13The LORD also thundered in the heavens, and the Highest gave his voice; hail stones and coals of fire. 14Yea, he sent out his arrows, and scattered them; and he shot out lightnings, and discomfited them. 15Then the channels of waters were seen, and the foundations of the world were discovered at thy rebuke, O LORD, at the blast of the breath of thy nostrils. 16He sent from above, he took me, he drew me out of many waters. 17He delivered me from my strong enemy, and from them which hated me: for they were too strong for me. 18They prevented me in the day of my calamity: but the LORD was my stay. 19He brought me forth also into a large place; he delivered me, because he delighted in me. 20The LORD rewarded me according to my righteousness; according to the cleanness of my hands hath he recompensed me. 21For I have kept the ways of the LORD, and have not wickedly departed from my God. 22For all his judgments were before me, and I did not put away his statutes from me. 23I was also upright before him, and I kept myself from mine iniquity. 24Therefore hath the LORD recompensed me according to my righteousness, according to the cleanness of my hands in his eyesight. 25With the merciful thou wilt shew thyself merciful; with an upright man thou wilt shew thyself upright; 26With the pure thou wilt shew thyself pure; and with the froward thou wilt shew thyself froward. 27For thou wilt save the afflicted people; but wilt bring down high looks. 28For thou wilt light my candle: the LORD my God will enlighten my darkness. 29For by thee I have run through a troop; and by my God have I leaped over a wall. 30As for God, his way is perfect: the word of the LORD is tried: he is a buckler to all those that trust in him. 31For who is God save the LORD? or who is a rock save our God? 32It is God that girdeth me with strength, and maketh my way perfect. 33He maketh my feet like hinds' feet, and setteth me upon my high places. 34He teacheth my hands to war, so that a bow of steel is broken by mine arms. 35Thou hast also given me the shield of thy salvation: and thy right hand hath holden me up, and thy gentleness hath made me great. 36Thou hast enlarged my steps under me, that my feet did not slip. 37I have pursued mine enemies, and overtaken them: neither did I turn again till they were consumed. 38I have wounded them that they were not able to rise: they are fallen under my feet. 39For thou hast girded me with strength unto the battle: thou hast subdued under me those that rose up against me. 40Thou hast also given me the necks of mine enemies; that I might destroy them that hate me. 41They cried, but there was none to save them: even unto the LORD, but he answered them not. 42Then did I beat them small as the dust before the wind: I did cast them out as the dirt in the streets. 43Thou hast delivered me from the strivings of the people; and thou hast made me the head of the heathen: a people whom I have not known shall serve me. 44As soon as they hear of me, they shall obey me: the strangers shall submit themselves unto me. 45The strangers shall fade away, and be afraid out of their close places. 46The LORD liveth; and blessed be my rock; and let the God of my salvation be exalted. 47It is God that avengeth me, and subdueth the people under me. 48He delivereth me from mine enemies: yea, thou liftest me up above those that rise up against me: thou hast delivered me from the violent man. 49Therefore will I give thanks unto thee, O LORD, among the heathen, and sing praises unto thy name. 50Great deliverance giveth he to his king; and sheweth mercy to his anointed, to David, and to his seed for evermore.
- English Standard Version
- King James Version
1By the waters of Babylon, there we sat down and wept, when we remembered Zion. 2On the willows there we hung up our lyres. 3For there our captors required of us songs, and our tormentors, mirth, saying, Sing us one of the songs of Zion! 4How shall we sing the Lord's song in a foreign land? 5If I forget you, O Jerusalem, let my right hand forget its skill! 6Let my tongue stick to the roof of my mouth, if I do not remember you, if I do not set Jerusalem above my highest joy! 7Remember, O Lord, against the Edomites the day of Jerusalem, how they said, Lay it bare, lay it bare, down to its foundations! 8O daughter of Babylon, doomed to be destroyed, blessed shall he be who repays you with what you have done to us! 9Blessed shall he be who takes your little ones and dashes them against the rock!
1By the rivers of Babylon, there we sat down, yea, we wept, when we remembered Zion. 2We hanged our harps upon the willows in the midst thereof. 3For there they that carried us away captive required of us a song; and they that wasted us required of us mirth, saying, Sing us one of the songs of Zion. 4How shall we sing the LORD's song in a strange land? 5If I forget thee, O Jerusalem, let my right hand forget her cunning. 6If I do not remember thee, let my tongue cleave to the roof of my mouth; if I prefer not Jerusalem above my chief joy. 7Remember, O LORD, the children of Edom in the day of Jerusalem; who said, Rase it, rase it, even to the foundation thereof. 8O daughter of Babylon, who art to be destroyed; happy shall he be, that rewardeth thee as thou hast served us. 9Happy shall he be, that taketh and dasheth thy little ones against the stones.
- English Standard Version
- King James Version
1Save, O Lord, for the godly one is gone; for the faithful have vanished from among the children of man. 2Everyone utters lies to his neighbor; with flattering lips and a double heart they speak. 3May the Lord cut off all flattering lips, the tongue that makes great boasts, 4those who say, With our tongue we will prevail, our lips are with us; who is master over us? 5Because the poor are plundered, because the needy groan, I will now arise, says the Lord; I will place him in the safety for which he longs. 6The words of the Lord are pure words, like silver refined in a furnace on the ground, purified seven times. 7You, O Lord, will keep them; you will guard us from this generation forever. 8On every side the wicked prowl, as vileness is exalted among the children of man.
1Help, LORD; for the godly man ceaseth; for the faithful fail from among the children of men. 2They speak vanity every one with his neighbour: with flattering lips and with a double heart do they speak. 3The LORD shall cut off all flattering lips, and the tongue that speaketh proud things: 4Who have said, With our tongue will we prevail; our lips are our own: who is lord over us? 5For the oppression of the poor, for the sighing of the needy, now will I arise, saith the LORD; I will set him in safety from him that puffeth at him. 6The words of the LORD are pure words: as silver tried in a furnace of earth, purified seven times. 7Thou shalt keep them, O LORD, thou shalt preserve them from this generation for ever. 8The wicked walk on every side, when the vilest men are exalted.
- English Standard Version
- King James Version
1Give ear to my prayer, O God, and hide not yourself from my plea for mercy! 2Attend to me, and answer me; I am restless in my complaint and I moan, 3because of the noise of the enemy, because of the oppression of the wicked. For they drop trouble upon me, and in anger they bear a grudge against me. 4My heart is in anguish within me; the terrors of death have fallen upon me. 5Fear and trembling come upon me, and horror overwhelms me. 6And I say, Oh, that I had wings like a dove! I would fly away and be at rest; 7yes, I would wander far away; I would lodge in the wilderness; Selah 8I would hurry to find a shelter from the raging wind and tempest. 9Destroy, O Lord, divide their tongues; for I see violence and strife in the city. 10Day and night they go around it on its walls, and iniquity and trouble are within it; 11ruin is in its midst; oppression and fraud do not depart from its marketplace. 12For it is not an enemy who taunts me - then I could bear it; it is not an adversary who deals insolently with me - then I could hide from him. 13But it is you, a man, my equal, my companion, my familiar friend. 14We used to take sweet counsel together; within God's house we walked in the throng. 15Let death steal over them; let them go down to Sheol alive; for evil is in their dwelling place and in their heart. 16But I call to God, and the Lord will save me. 17Evening and morning and at noon I utter my complaint and moan, and he hears my voice. 18He redeems my soul in safety from the battle that I wage, for many are arrayed against me. 19God will give ear and humble them, he who is enthroned from of old, Selah because they do not change and do not fear God. 20My companion stretched out his hand against his friends; he violated his covenant. 21His speech was smooth as butter, yet war was in his heart; his words were softer than oil, yet they were drawn swords. 22Cast your burden on the Lord, and he will sustain you; he will never permit the righteous to be moved. 23But you, O God, will cast them down into the pit of destruction; men of blood and treachery shall not live out half their days. But I will trust in you.
1Give ear to my prayer, O God; and hide not thyself from my supplication. 2Attend unto me, and hear me: I mourn in my complaint, and make a noise; 3Because of the voice of the enemy, because of the oppression of the wicked: for they cast iniquity upon me, and in wrath they hate me. 4My heart is sore pained within me: and the terrors of death are fallen upon me. 5Fearfulness and trembling are come upon me, and horror hath overwhelmed me. 6And I said, Oh that I had wings like a dove! for then would I fly away, and be at rest. 7Lo, then would I wander far off, and remain in the wilderness. Selah. 8I would hasten my escape from the windy storm and tempest. 9Destroy, O Lord, and divide their tongues: for I have seen violence and strife in the city. 10Day and night they go about it upon the walls thereof: mischief also and sorrow are in the midst of it. 11Wickedness is in the midst thereof: deceit and guile depart not from her streets. 12For it was not an enemy that reproached me; then I could have borne it: neither was it he that hated me that did magnify himself against me; then I would have hid myself from him: 13But it was thou, a man mine equal, my guide, and mine acquaintance. 14We took sweet counsel together, and walked unto the house of God in company. 15Let death seize upon them, and let them go down quick into hell: for wickedness is in their dwellings, and among them. 16As for me, I will call upon God; and the LORD shall save me. 17Evening, and morning, and at noon, will I pray, and cry aloud: and he shall hear my voice. 18He hath delivered my soul in peace from the battle that was against me: for there were many with me. 19God shall hear, and afflict them, even he that abideth of old. Selah. Because they have no changes, therefore they fear not God. 20He hath put forth his hands against such as be at peace with him: he hath broken his covenant. 21The words of his mouth were smoother than butter, but war was in his heart: his words were softer than oil, yet were they drawn swords. 22Cast thy burden upon the LORD, and he shall sustain thee: he shall never suffer the righteous to be moved. 23But thou, O God, shalt bring them down into the pit of destruction: bloody and deceitful men shall not live out half their days; but I will trust in thee.
- English Standard Version
- King James Version
1Have mercy on me, O God, according to your steadfast love; according to your abundant mercy blot out my transgressions. 2Wash me thoroughly from my iniquity, and cleanse me from my sin! 3For I know my transgressions, and my sin is ever before me. 4Against you, you only, have I sinned and done what is evil in your sight, so that you may be justified in your words and blameless in your judgment. 5Behold, I was brought forth in iniquity, and in sin did my mother conceive me. 6Behold, you delight in truth in the inward being, and you teach me wisdom in the secret heart. 7Purge me with hyssop, and I shall be clean; wash me, and I shall be whiter than snow. 8Let me hear joy and gladness; let the bones that you have broken rejoice. 9Hide your face from my sins, and blot out all my iniquities. 10Create in me a clean heart, O God, and renew a right spirit within me. 11Cast me not away from your presence, and take not your Holy Spirit from me. 12Restore to me the joy of your salvation, and uphold me with a willing spirit. 13Then I will teach transgressors your ways, and sinners will return to you. 14Deliver me from bloodguiltiness, O God, O God of my salvation, and my tongue will sing aloud of your righteousness. 15O Lord, open my lips, and my mouth will declare your praise. 16For you will not delight in sacrifice, or I would give it; you will not be pleased with a burnt offering. 17The sacrifices of God are a broken spirit; a broken and contrite heart, O God, you will not despise. 18Do good to Zion in your good pleasure; build up the walls of Jerusalem; 19then will you delight in right sacrifices, in burnt offerings and whole burnt offerings; then bulls will be offered on your altar.
1Have mercy upon me, O God, according to thy lovingkindness: according unto the multitude of thy tender mercies blot out my transgressions. 2Wash me throughly from mine iniquity, and cleanse me from my sin. 3For I acknowledge my transgressions: and my sin is ever before me. 4Against thee, thee only, have I sinned, and done this evil in thy sight: that thou mightest be justified when thou speakest, and be clear when thou judgest. 5Behold, I was shapen in iniquity; and in sin did my mother conceive me. 6Behold, thou desirest truth in the inward parts: and in the hidden part thou shalt make me to know wisdom. 7Purge me with hyssop, and I shall be clean: wash me, and I shall be whiter than snow. 8Make me to hear joy and gladness; that the bones which thou hast broken may rejoice. 9Hide thy face from my sins, and blot out all mine iniquities. 10Create in me a clean heart, O God; and renew a right spirit within me. 11Cast me not away from thy presence; and take not thy holy spirit from me. 12Restore unto me the joy of thy salvation; and uphold me with thy free spirit. 13Then will I teach transgressors thy ways; and sinners shall be converted unto thee. 14Deliver me from bloodguiltiness, O God, thou God of my salvation: and my tongue shall sing aloud of thy righteousness. 15O Lord, open thou my lips; and my mouth shall shew forth thy praise. 16For thou desirest not sacrifice; else would I give it: thou delightest not in burnt offering. 17The sacrifices of God are a broken spirit: a broken and a contrite heart, O God, thou wilt not despise. 18Do good in thy good pleasure unto Zion: build thou the walls of Jerusalem. 19Then shalt thou be pleased with the sacrifices of righteousness, with burnt offering and whole burnt offering: then shall they offer bullocks upon thine altar.
- English Standard Version
- King James Version
1The Lord is my shepherd; I shall not want. 2He makes me lie down in green pastures. He leads me beside still waters. 3He restores my soul. He leads me in paths of righteousness for his name's sake. 4Even though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil, for you are with me; your rod and your staff, they comfort me. 5You prepare a table before me in the presence of my enemies; you anoint my head with oil; my cup overflows. 6Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me all the days of my life, and I shall dwell in the house of the Lord forever.
1The LORD is my shepherd; I shall not want. 2He maketh me to lie down in green pastures: he leadeth me beside the still waters. 3He restoreth my soul: he leadeth me in the paths of righteousness for his name's sake. 4Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil: for thou art with me; thy rod and thy staff they comfort me. 5Thou preparest a table before me in the presence of mine enemies: thou anointest my head with oil; my cup runneth over. 6Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me all the days of my life: and I will dwell in the house of the LORD for ever.
1. Doing homage and giving honour and respect, especially to God. Acts of devotion. Human response to the perceived presence of the divine.
2. The part of the Christian liturgy usually consisting of sung material and prayers of thanksgiving.
The Bible describes God as the unique supreme being, creator and ruler of the universe.
1) In the Bible a member of the Hebrew race
2) Someone who belongs to the Jewish faith which believes in one God and the importance of Jewish Law.
In the Old Testament the land where Joseph and Jacob found sustenance in times of famine, though later Israelites were held captive and made to work as slaves for the Pharaoh.
Descendants of Israel (Jacob) and occupants of Israel.
1. In the Old Testament the Israelite nation's escape from slavery in Egypt and their journey to the land God had promised them.
2. The second book of the Old Testament which describes part of the journey.
Absolute ownership of one person by another. Common in biblical times and widespread until the nineteenth century.
Very important Jewish leader described in the Book of Exodus in the Old Testament. Moses led the Jewish people out of slavery in Egypt to the Promised Land. Received the Ten Commandments form God.
A title of respect. Used in the Old Testament as a title for God. Also used of Jesus Christ.
A sacred tent, a portable and provisional sanctuary, where God met His people Israel.
A sacred building used for worship. In the Bible, the Temple was the centre of Jewish worship in Jerusalem. In the New Testament, the term is also used as an image of the believer's physical body.
In the Old Testament the second king of Israel, after Saul, anointed by Samuel to be king.
A 'testament' is a covenant or binding agreement and is a term used in the Bible of God's relationship with his people). The sacred writings of Judaism (the Hebrew Bible). These also form the first part of the Christian Bible.
The name given to the man believed by Christians to be the Son of God. Also given the title Christ, meaning 'anointed one' or Messiah. His life is recorded most fully in the Four Gospels.
1. Language in which the Old Testament was written.
2. Jew, Jewish; belonging to Israel
A device similar to alliteration but where the vowel sound in a word is repeated and thus emphasised ' e.g. 'burnt and purged'.
Alliteration is a device frequently used in poetry or rhetoric (speech-making) whereby words starting with the same consonant are used in close proximity- e.g. 'fast in fires', 'stars, start'.
An image or form of comparison where one thing is said actually to be another - e.g. 'fleecy clouds'.
A linguistic device whereby an idea, image, sentence is paralleled by another in a repeating pattern.
In the Old Testament refers to periods when the Jews were compelled to leave their land.
1. Hill which formed part of Jerusalem, therefore name use for the whole city.
2. The place where the Temple stood and therefore God's dwelling place.
3. The new heavenly city of Jerusalem.
The act of turning away, or turning around from, one's sins, which includes feeling genuinely sorry for them, asking for the forgiveness of God and being willing to live in a different way in the future.
1. The action of forgiving; pardon of a fault, remission of a debt.
2. Being freed from the burden of guilt, after committing a sin or crime, through being pardoned by the one hurt or offended.
Poetic outpourings in the Bible expressing deep sorrow for sin.
Disobedience to the known will of God. According to Christian theology human beings have displayed a pre-disposition to sin since the Fall of Humankind.
The beautiful wife of Uriah the Hittite, with whom David the king committed adultery after seeing her bathing on a roof.
Name originally given to disciples of Jesus by outsiders and gradually adopted by the Early Church.
A religious song written for worship.
1. Term for a worshipping community of Christians.
2. The building in which Christians traditionally meet for worship.
3. The worldwide community of Christian believers.
Sheep were a key part of the the economy in biblical times and the familiar figure of the shepherd occurs frequently in the Bible to signify leadership, and care. Jesus described himself as the Good Shepherd.
1. Genesis indicates that death was not part of the orginal plan for human beings but is one of the consequences of the Fall.
2. The death of Jesus is presented as opening up the possibility of reconciliation with God.
The opposite of goodness; thoughts and actions which are in opposition to God's will and result in wrongdoing and harm. That which opposes God.
Essentially the hymn book of the Jerusalem temple, expressing the whole range of human emotion, from dark depression to exuberant joy; many attributed to David.
Big ideas: Psalms