Handbook of Psalms



Contents

  1. 1 Psalm 1. Delight in God's Word
  2. 2 Psalm 2. A Hymn of the Coming Messiah 
  3. 3 Psalm 3. David`s Trust in God
  4. 4 Psalm 4. An Evening Prayer
  5. 5 Psalm 5. A Morning Prayer
  6. 6 Psalm 6. Cry of o Broken Heart
  7. 7 Psalm 7. Another Prayer for Protection
  8. 8 Psalm 8. Man the Crown of Creation
  9. 9 Psalm 9. Thanks for Victories
  10. 10 Psalm 1O. David's Prayer for Help
  11. 11 Psalms 11, 12, 13. Prevalence of Wickedness
  12. 12 Psalm 14. Universal Sinfulness
  13. 13 Psalm 15.True Citizens of Zion
  14. 14 Psalm 16. Resurreclion of the Messiah
  15. 15 Psalm 17. A Prayer for Protection
  16. 16 Psalm 18. David's Hymn of Thanksgiving
  17. 17 Psalm 19. Nature and the Word
  18. 18 Psalm 20. A Song of  Trust
  19. 19 Psalm 21. Thanks for Victory
  20. 20 Psalm 22. A Psalm of the Cruciftxion
  21. 21 Psalm 23. The Shepherd Psalm
  22. 22 Psalm 24. The King's Arrival in Zion
  23. 23 Psalm 25. Prayer of a Sin-Oppressed Soul
  24. 24 Psalm 26. David Protests his Integrity
  25. 25 Psalm 27. Devotion to God's House
  26. 26 Psalm 28. A Prayer
  27. 27 Psalm 29. The Voice of God
  28. 28 Psalm 30. Dedication of David's Palace
  29. 29 Psalm 31. A Song of Trust
  30. 30 Psalm 32. A Psalm of Penitence
  31. 31 Psalm 33. A Psalm of Joy and Praise
  32. 32 Psalm 34. David's Thanks for Deliverance
  33. 33 Psalm 35. An Imprecatory Psalm
  34. 34 Psalms 36, 37. Trust in God
  35. 35 Psalm 38. A Psalm of Bitter Anguish
  36. 36 Psalm 39. Frailty and Vanity of Life
  37. 37 Psalm 40. Praise for a Great Deliverance
  38. 38 Psalm 41. A Prayer for Deliverance
  39. 39 Psalms 42, 43. Thirst for the House of God
  40. 40 Psalm 44.  A Cry of Despair
  41. 41 Psalm 45. Nuptial Song of o King
  42. 42 Psalm 46. Zion's Battle Song
  43. 43 Psalms 47, 48. God Reigns
  44. 44 Psalms 49, 50. Vanity of  Riches
  45. 45 Psalm 51. Prayer for Mercy
  46. 46 Psalm 52. David's Trust in God
  47. 47 Psalm 53. Universal Sinfulness of Men
  48. 48 Psalm 54. David's Cry to God
  49. 49 Psalm 55. Betrayed by Friends
  50. 50 Psalm 56. Prayer for Deliverance
  51. 51 Psalm 57. David's Prayer
  52. 52 Psalm 58. Destruction of the Wicked
  53. 53 Psalm 59. Another of David's Prayers
  54. 54 Psalm 60. A Psalm of Discouragement
  55. 55 Psalm 61.  A Hymn of Confidence
  56. 56 Psalm 62. A Poem of Fervid Devotion
  57. 57 Psalm 63. A Hymn of the Wilderness
  58. 58 Psalm 64. Prayer for Protection
  59. 59 Psalm 65. A Song of the Sea and the Harvest
  60. 60 Psalm 66. A Song of National Thanksgiving
  61. 61 Psalm 67. A Missionary Psalm
  62. 62 Psalm 68. A Battle March
  63. 63 Psalm 69. A Psalm of Suffering
  64. 64 Psalm 70. An Urgent Cry for Help
  65. 65 Psalm 71 . A Psalm of Old Age
  66. 66 Psalm 72. Glory and Grandeur of Messiah's Reign
  67. 67 Psalm 73. Prosperity of the Wicked
  68. 68 Psalm 74. National Disaster
  69. 69 Psalm 75. God is Judge
  70. 70 Psalm 76. Thanks for a Great Victory
  71. 71 Psalms 77, 78. Historical Psalms
  72. 72 Psalms 79, 8O. National Disaster
  73. 73 Psalms 81, 82. Israel's Waywardness
  74. 74 Psalm 83. A Prayer for Protection
  75. 75 Psalm 84. God's House
  76. 76 Psalms 85, 86. Thanks, and o Cry for Mercy
  77. 77 Psalm 87. Zion
  78. 78 Psalm 88. A life-long Sufferer
  79. 79 Psalm 89. God's Oath
  80. 80 Psalm 90. Eternity of God
  81. 81 Psalm 91. A Hymn of Trust
  82. 82 Psalm 92. A Sabbath Hymn of Praise
  83. 83 Psalms 93, 94. Majesty of God
  84. 84 Psalms 95-98. Reign of God
  85. 85 Psalms 99, 100. God Praise
  86. 86 Psalm 101. A Psalm for Rulers
  87. 87 Psalm 102. A Prayer of Penitence
  88. 88 Psalm 103. A Psalm of God's Mercy
  89. 89 Psalm 104. A Nature Psalm
  90. 90 Psalms 105, 106. Two Historical Psalms
  91. 91 Psalms  107, 108, 109. God's Mercy and Justice
  92. 92 Psalm 110. Eternal Dominion of the Coming King
  93. 93 Psalms  111, 112. Songs of Praise
  94. 94 Psalms 113-118. The Hallel Psalms
  95. 95 Psalm 119. The Glories of God's Word
  96. 96 Psalms 120-134. Songs of Degrees
  97. 97 Psalms 135-139. Psalms of Thanksgiving
  98. 98 Psalms 140-143. Prayers for Protection
  99. 99 Psalms 144, 145. Songs of Praise
  100. 100 Psalms 146-150. Hallelujah Psalms


PSALMS
Songs of Truth
Hymns of Devotion
Israel's Hymn Book and Prayer Book
Called in Hebrew the "Book of Praises"
Best Loved Book in the Old Testament
150 Poems to be Set to Music for Worship
For Use in Private Life and in Public Worship
Most Glorious Accomplishment of Israel's Golden Age
Of 283 N.T Quotations from O.T, 116 are from Psalms


Authorship of the Psalms
    In the Titles, 73 Psalms are ascribed to David; 12 to Asaph; 11 to the sons of Korah; 2 to Solomon (72, 127); 1 to Moses (90); 1 to Ethan (89); 50 are Anonymous.    
        Some of the Anonymous Psalms may, it is thought, be ascribed to the Author of the Preceding Psalm. David, no doubt, was Author of some of the Anonymous Psalms.
    The Titles are not a certain indication of Authorship; for "of," "to," and "for," are the same preposition in Hebrew. A Psalm "of" David may have been one that he himself wrote, or that was written "for" David, or dedicated "to" David.
    However, the Titles are very Ancient, and the most natural presumption is that they indicate Authorship. The age-old, universal and unbroken tradition is that David was the Principal Author of the Psalms.
    Some modern critics have made a desperate effort to read David out of the picture. But there is every reason to accept, and no substantial reason to question, the Book of Psalms as quite largely the work of David. The New Testament so recognizes it.
    So, we speak of the Psalms as the Psalms of David, because he was the principal writer, or compiler. It is generally accepted that a few were in existence before David's time, forming the nucleus of a Hymnal for Worship. This was greatly enlarged by David, added to from generation to generation, and, it is thought, brought to completion in its present form by Ezra.
    David was a 'Warrior of unprecedented Bravery, a Military Genius, and a Brilliant Statesman, who led his Nation to its Pinnacle of Power. He was also a Poet and a Musician, and with all his heart a Lover of God.
    David's creation of the Psalms was in reality a far grander accomplishment than his creation of the Kingdom. The Book of Psalms is one of the Noblest Monuments of the Ages.
    In the Psalms the real character of David is portrayed; and in them God's people generally see a pretty fair picture of themselves, their struggles, their sins, their sorrows, their aspirations, their joys, their failures and their victories.
    For the Psalms, to Endless Ages, David will have the Undying Gratitude of millions upon millions of God's Redeemed People.

Jesus was Very Fond of the Psalms
    So thoroughly they became a part of His Mental Nature, that He uttered His Dying Agonies on the Cross in quotation from them (22:1; 31:5; Matthew 27:46; Luke 23:46). He said that many things in the Psalms referred to Him (Luke 24:44).

W. E. Gladstone said of the Psalms:
    "All the wonders of Greek Civilization heaped together are less Wonderful than is this simple Book of the Psalms."

Classification of the Psalms
    They are arranged in Five Books: Psalms 1-41: Psalms 42-72: Psalms 73-89: Psalms 90-106: Psalms 107-150.
    From very ancient times this subdivision has been indicated in both Hebrew and Septuagint, in imitation, it is thought, of the Five Books of the Pentateuch.
    Within these Five Books there are further Sub-Groups: Psalms of Sons of Korah, 42-49: Psalms of Asaph, 71-83: Michtam Psalms, 56-60: Songs of Degrees, 120-134.
    As to Structure and Subject Matter, some are Messianic: some, Historical: some, Penitential: some, Imprecatory: some, Acrostic: some, Theocratic: some, Hallel: some, Hallelujah.
    119 is the Longest Psalm, also Longest Chapter in the Bible. 117 is Shortest Psalm, also Shortest, and Middle, Chapter of Bible. Psalm 118:8 is the Middle Verse of the Bible.

The Psalms were Written to be Sung
    Moses Sang, and taught the People to Sing (Exodus 15; Deuteronomy 32).
    Israel Sang along the Journey to the Promised Land (Numbers 21:17).
    Deborah and Barak Sang praise to God (Judges 5).
    David Sang with All His Heart (Psalm 104:33)
    Hezekiah's Singers sang"the Words of David (II Chronicles 29:28-30.
    Nehemiah's Singers Sang Loud (Nehemiah 11:42).
    Jesus and the Disciples Sang at the Last Supper (Matthew 26:30).
    Paul and Silas Sang in Prison (Acts 16:25). 
    At the dawn of  Creation "The morning stars Sang Together, and all the Sons of God Shouted for Joy" (Job 38:7).
    In Heaven 10,000 times 10,000 Angels Sing, and the Whole Redeemed Creation joins in the Chorus (Revelation 5:11-13 ). In Heaven Everybody will Sing,  and Never Tire of Singing.

Liturgical and Musial Titles
    The meaning of some of the Titles is not certain. They are very ancient, being prior to the Septuagint. Here is an alphabetic list of these Titles, with their possible meanings:
  • Aije-leth-Shahar (Psalm 22): Time Note? Or, Name of Melody?
  • Alamoth (Psalm 46): Chorus of Young Women?
  • Al-tash-hith (Psalms57, 58, 59, 75): Destroy Not.
  • Gittith (Psalms 8, 81, 84): Musical Instrument, or Melody, of Gath.
  • Hij-gai-on (Psalm 9:16): A Meditation? Or, Interlude?
  • Je-du-thum (Psalms 39, 62, 77): One of David's Music Leaders.
  • Jonath-elem-rechokim (Psalm 56): Name of a Melody?
  • Ma-ha-lath (Psalm 53): A Melancholy Tune?
  • Ma-ha-lath-Leam-noth (Psalm 88): A Song of Sickness. 
  • Mas-chil (Psalm 32),  and other Psalms: Didactic of Reflective.  
  • Mich-Tam (Psalms 16, 56-60): A Jewel, or Golden Poem?
  • Muth-lab-ben (Psalm 9): Probably the Name of a Melody?
  • Negi-noth (Psalms 4, 6, 61): A Stringed Instrument.
  • Ne-hil-oth (Psalm 5): Probably a Flute?
  • Salah (Psalm 3:2): 71 times: Probably an Interlude?
  • Shem-in-ith (Psalms 6, 12): Probably a Male Choir?
  • Shig-gai-on (Psalm 7): Wild and Mournful Melody? 
  • Sho-shan-nim (Psalms 45, 69, 80): Lilies: Bridal-Song?
  • Shu-shan-eduth (Psalms 60, 80): Lily of Testimony: A Melody?
  • For the Chief Musician: Heading of 55 Psalms. 

Musical Instruments
    They had Stringed Instruments, mainly the Harp and Psaltery: and Wind Instruments, Flute, Pipe, Horn, Trumpet: and Instruments to be Beaten, Timbrel and Cymbal. David had a Orchestra of 4,000, for which he made the Instruments (1 Chronicles 23:5)

Leading Ideas in the Psalms
    "Trust" is the foremost idea in all the book, repeated over and over, Whatever the occasion, joyous or terrifying, it-drove David straight to God. Whatever  his weaknesses, David literally LIVED IN GOD.
    "Praise" was always on his lips. David was always Asking God for something, and always Thanking Him with his whole soul for the answers to his Prayers.
    "Rejoice" is. another favorite word. David's unceasing troubles could never dim, his Joy in God. Over and over he cries, "Sing," "Shout for Joy." Psalms is a book of Devotion to God.
    "Mercy" occurs hundreds of times. David often spoke of the Justice, Righteousness and Wrath of God. But God's Mercy was the thing in which he Gloried.

Messianic Psalms
    Many Psalms, written a thousand years before Christ, contain references to Christ, that are wholly inapplicable to Any Other person in history.. Some references to David seem to point forward to the Coming King in David's Family. Besides passages that are clearly Messianic, there arc many expressions which seem to be veiled Foreshadowings
of the Messiah.
Psalms most obviously Messianic are:
  • Psalm 2: Deity and Universal Reign of the Messiah.
  • Psalm 8: Man through Messiah to become Lord of Creation.
  • Psalm 16: His Resurrection from the Dead.
  • Psalm 22: His Suffering: Psalm 69: His Suffering.
  • Psalm 45: His Royal Bride, and Eternal Throne.
  • Psalm 72: Glory and Eternity of His Reign.
  • Psalm 89: God's Oath for Endlessness of Messiah's Throne.
  • Psalm 110: Eternal King and Priest.
  • Psalm 118: To be Rejected by His Nation's Leaders.
  • Psalm 132: Eternal Inheritor of David's Throne.
Messianic Passages
    Here are statements in the Psalms which the New Testament explicitly declares refer to Christ.
  • "They pierced my hands and feet" (22:16; John 20:25).
  • "Zeal f or Thy House hath eaten Me up" (69:9; John 2:17).
  • "Lo, I am come to do Thy wilt, O God" (40:7, 8; Hebrews 10:7).
  • "Thy Throne, O God, is Forever and Ever" (45:6; Hebrews 1:8).
  • "He trusted in God; let God deliver Him" (22:8; Matthew 27:43).
  • "Thou hast put all things under His feet" (8:6; Hebrews 2:6-10).
  • "His office (the Betrayer) let another take" (109:8; Acts 1:20). 
  • "My God, My God, why hast Thou forsaken Me?" (22:1; Matthew 27:46).
  • "Thou, art My Son: this day have I begotten Thee" (2:7; Acts 13:33).
  • "Blessed is He that comes in the Name of the Lord" (118:26; Matthew 21:9). 
  • They gave Me gall, and in My Thirst they gave Me vinegar to drink" (69:21; Matthew 27:34, 48). 
  • "My own familiar friend, who did eat My bread, lifted up his heel against Me" (41:9; John 13: 18).
  • "They part My garments among them; and upon My vesture did they cast lots" (12:18; John 19:24).
  • "God has sworn, Thou art a Priest Forever after the order of Melchizedek" (110:4; Hebrews 7:17). 
  • "The stone which the builders rejected is become the head of the corner" (118:22; Matthew 21:42).
  • "The Lord said unto My Lord, Sit on My right hand till I make Thine enemies Thy footstool" (110:1; Matthew 22:44).
  • "Thou wilt not leave My soul in Hades; neither wilt Thou suffer Thy Holy One to see corruption" (16: 10; Acts 2:27).
  • See further under II Samuel 7 and Matthew 2:22

Psalm 1. Delight in God's Word

    Blessedness of those who derive their Ideas of Life from God's Word, rather than from their worldly neighbors. Happiness and Prosperity are theirs. Not so the Wicked. Over and over the Godly and the Wicked are contrasted.
    Thus the Book of Psalms opens with an Exaltation of God's Word. If David so loved the Brief Writings that then constituted God's Word, how much more should we love that same Word, which has now been brought to completion, headed up around the Beautiful Story of Christ. Other Psalms of the Word are 19 and 119. Note too that Psalms' first word is Blessed: a Beatitude: like the Sermon on the Mount: as below.

Some of David's Beatitudes
Blessed is he that Fears the Lord (112:1).
Blessed is he that Considers the Poor (41:1).
Blessed is the nation whose God is the Lord (33:12).
Blessed is he whose Transgression is Forgiven (32:1).
Blessed are they that Dwell in the Lord's House (84:4).
Blessed is the man whom Thou Chastenest, O Lord (94:12).
Blessed are all they that Put their Trust in Him (2:12).
Blessed is the man that takes Refuge in the Lord (34:8).
Blessed is the man whose Strength is in the Lord (84:5).
Blessed are they that Keep His Testimonies, that Seek Him with the Whole Heart (119:2).
Blessed is the man . . . whose Delight is in the Law of the Lord (1:1, 2)


Psalm 2. A Hymn of the Coming Messiah 

    His Deity (7), and Universal Reign (8). First of the Messianic Psalms. 


Psalm 3. David`s Trust in God

    At the time of Absalom's Rebellion (II Samuel 15). A most remarkable example of Peaceful Trust at a very trying time. He could sleep because "God's Hand was his Pillow." 


Psalm 4. An Evening Prayer

    Another Hymn of Trust, as David retired, to sleep, so to speak, on the bosom of God. Trust in God (5). Gladness of Heart (7).
    Peace of Mind (8). Communion with God in our bed time Meditations (4). Confidence that God is watching (8).


Psalm 5. A Morning Prayer

    Beset by treacherous enemies, David Prays, and shouts for Joy, in Confidence that God will Protect him. David must have had many enemies. He refers to them again and again. Many of the most magnificent Psalms were born of David's troubles.


Psalm 6. Cry of o Broken Heart

    In time of Sickness, Bitter Grief, Tears, Humiliation, Shame, and Reproach by Enemies, possibly on account of David's Sin with Bathsheba. First of the Penitential Psalms (see on Psalm 32).


Psalm 7. Another Prayer for Protection

    In grave danger, David protests his own righteousness (see on Psalm 32). Cush, in title, possibly may have been one of Saul's officers in pursuit of David (see on Psalm 54).


Psalm 8. Man the Crown of Creation

    This to be brought to pass under the Messiah, in the day of His Triumphant Reign (Hebrews 2:6-9). Jesus quoted verse 2 as referring to an incident in His own life (Matthew 21:16).


Psalm 9. Thanks for Victories

    Over Enemies, National and Individual. God sits as King Forever. Let the Nations know themselves to be but men. Praise God. Trust God.
    This Psalm, with Psalm 10, forms an Acrostic. Acrostic Psalms are those in which the Initial Letters of successive verses follow the order of the Hebrew Alphabet; a device, it is thought, to assist the memory. Other Acrostic Psalms are: 25, 34, 37, 111, 112, 119, l45.


Psalm 1O. David's Prayer for Help

    In contending with Wickedness, Oppression, and Robbery, apparently within his own realm. Prevalence of Wickedness troubled David greatly, especially their Defiance of God. To David, as to other Bible writers, there are just two classes: the Righteous and the Wicked; though many try to be both.


Psalms 11, 12, 13. Prevalence of Wickedness

    The Wicked walk on every side. David overwhelmed with Wicked Enemies, almost to death. But Trusts in God, and Sings for Joy. Such Psalms as these seem to belong to the period when David was hiding from Saul.


Psalm 14. Universal Sinfulness

    About the same as Psalm 53. Quoted in Romans 1:10-12. Infidels are here called Fools. Prevalent Wickedness shows what Fools men are. For as sure as there is a God, there will be a Day of Judgment for the Wicked. But among them God has a people, for whom Judgment will be a Day of Joy.


Psalm 15.True Citizens of Zion

    The Righteous, Truthful, Just, Honest. Thomas Jefferson called this Psalm the picture of a True Gentleman.


Psalm 16. Resurreclion of the Messiah

    David appears to be speaking of himself; yet mystic words of the Coming Davidic King find their way, into David's mouth ( 10); quoted in New Testament as a prediction of Jesus' Resurrection (Acts 2:27). Two magnificent verses (8, 11). Michtam, in title, means a Golden Poem, which it is indeed.


Psalm 17. A Prayer for Protection

    Overwhelmed by enemies, David looks to God. Protests his own Innocence, but Trusts in God. Surrounded by Lovers of This World, David set his Heart on the World Beyond (14, 15).


Psalm 18. David's Hymn of Thanksgiving

    On his accession to the Throne, with the Kingdom firmly established in his hands, after years of flight from Saul. Repeated in II Samuel 22. He attributed it all to God, his Strength, Rock, Fortress, Deliverer, Stay, Refuge, Shield, Horn, High Tower, One of the best Psalms.
    Head of the Nations (43-45), true of David only in a partial sense, it looked forward beyond the time of David to the Throne of David's Greater Son.


Psalm 19. Nature and the Word

    Wonder and Glory of Creation, and Perfection and Power of God's Word. Spurgeon called it, World Book and Word Book. The God of Nature made known to man through God's Written Word. Thoughts about God's Word are greatly expanded in Psalm 119. One of the best Psalms. And its closing Prayer (13, 14), is one of the best Prayers in the whole Bible. God's Word is Perfect, Sure, True, Gives Joy, and is Sweeter than Honey.


Psalm 20. A Song of  Trust

    Seems like a Battle Hymn, sung in setting up their banners, with Prayer for Victory, as David entered battle, Trusting, not in chariots and horses (7), but in the Lord.


Psalm 21. Thanks for Victory

    After the Battle, for which they had Prayed in Psalm 20 before the Battle. It seems to refer to David, but it seems also to have a Messianic hint in its reference to the Eternal Feature of the King's Reign (4).


Psalm 22. A Psalm of the Cruciftxion

    It seems like a cry of Anguish from David. But, though written a thousand years before the days of Jesus, it is so vivid a description of the Crucifixion of Jesus that one would think of the writer as being personally present at the Cross: Jesus' Dying Words (1), Sneers of His Enemies (7, 8). His Hands and Feet Pierced (16). His Garments Parted (18). Some of these statements are not applicable to David, nor to any known event in history except the Crucifixion of Jesus.


Psalm 23. The Shepherd Psalm

    Best loved chapter in the Old Testament. Beecher said something like this: "This Psalm has flown like a bird up and down the earth, Singing the Sweetest Song Ever Heard. It has charmed more griefs to rest than all the philosophies of the world. It will go on Singing to your children, and to my children, and to their children, till the end of time. And when its work is done, it will fly back to the bosom of God, fold its wings, and Sing On Forever in the happy chorus of those it had helped to bring there"'
    David may have composed this Psalm while he was yet a Shepherd boy, watching his father's flocks' on the very same Shepherd field were, 1000 years later, the Angel Choir announced the Birth of Jesus.


Psalm 24. The King's Arrival in Zion

    May have been written when the Ark was brought to Jerusalem (II Samuel 6:12-15). Maybe we will Sing it in that Glad Day when the King of Glory Comes Again.


Psalm 25. Prayer of a Sin-Oppressed Soul

    David has his periods of Soul Depression, on account of his Sins and Troubles. There are many Petitions here which we may very profitably make our own. Read this Psalm often.


Psalm 26. David Protests his Integrity

    In rather positive terms; very different from the preceding Psalm. (See on Psalm 32.)


Psalm 27. Devotion to God's House

    And Fearless Trust in God' God the Strength of his life' David loved to Sing, and to Pray, and to Wait on the Lord.


Psalm 28. A Prayer

    And Thanks for its Answer. David was Hopeless, except for God. He Depended on Him, and Rejoiced in Him.


Psalm 29. The Voice of God

    In the Thunderstorm, sometimes frightening, suggestive of Terrifying Cataclysms at the End of the World.


Psalm 30. Dedication of David's Palace

    After he had conquered Jerusalem, and made it his Capital (II Samuel 5:11; 7:2). Had often been near death, but God brought him through. He would Sing Praise to God Forever.


Psalm 31. A Song of Trust

    David, in Constant Danger, Trouble, Grief or Humiliation, always Implicitly Trusted in God. Jesus quoted His dying word from this Psalm (5; Luke 34:46).


Psalm 32. A Psalm of Penitence

    Occasioned, no doubt, by David's Sin with Bathsheba (II Samuel 11-12). He can find no words to express his Shame and Humiliation. Yet this is the same David who repeatedly avowed his Righteousness (Psalms 7:3,8; 17:1-5; 18:20-24; 26:1-14).
    How reconcile these paradoxical features of David's life? 1. The Righteousness statements may have been made before David made this dreadful mistake. 2. In most things David was Righteous. 3. There is a difference between a Sin of Weakness and Wilful Habitual Sin. A Good man may Sin, and yet be a Good man. David's Remorse
showed him to be just that. That is quite different from Wicked Men who Purposely and Wilfully and Habitually flout all the laws of Decency. (See on II Samuel 11.)
    Augustine is said to have had this Psalm written on the wall in front of his bed, where it was always in view, reading it incessantly, weeping as he read.
    Other Penitential Psalms are: 6, 25, 38, 51, 102, 130, 143.


Psalm 33. A Psalm of Joy and Praise

    It mentions a New Song (1), and in 40;3; 96:1; 98:1; 144:9. There are certain Old Songs that will Never Grow Old; but, to God's People, as they travel along life's road, there are ever and anon New Deliverances and New Joys that put New Meaning into Old Songs, to be climaxed at last with New Outbursts of Joy' at the Dawn of Heaven's Glories (Revelation 5:9; 14:3).


Psalm 34. David's Thanks for Deliverance

    In every trouble David went straight to God in Prayer. On every Deliverance he went instantly to God in Thanks and praise. What a glorious thing to thus -LIVE IN GOD. And how that must please God. Someone has said, Thank God for the Starlight, and He will give you the Moonlight. Thank Him for the Moonlight, and He will give you the Sunlight. Thank Him for the Sunlight, and by and by He will take you where He Himself is the Light.


Psalm 35. An Imprecatory Psalm

    Others are 52, 58, 59, 69, 109, 137. They breathe vengeance on Enemies. They are not God's pronouncements of His wrath on the wicked, but are the prayers of a man for vengeance on his enemies, just the opposite of Jesus' teaching that we should Love our Enemies. How explain this?
    In the Old Testament God's purpose was to maintain a Nation to pave the way for the Coming of Christ. He was working with Human Nature as it was, and did not necessarily endorse everything that even His most devoted servants did or said. Some of these Psalms are Battle Hymns, expressions of intense Patriotism, designed, in life
and death  struggles with powerful enemies, to help the Nation survive. With the Coming of Christ, God's Revelation of the meaning of human life, and its standards of conduct, were completed; and God shifted the direct emphasis of His Work from the Maintenance of a Nation to the Transformation of Individuals into the Kind of
Persons He wants us to be; and God will not NOW excuse some things He overlooked THEN. In Old Testament times God, in measure, for expedience' sake, accommodated Himself to Men's Ideas. In New Testament times God began to deal with men according to His Own Ideas. (See on Luke 6:27.)


Psalms 36, 37. Trust in God

    Psalm 16. Wickedness of Men. Mercy and Faithfulness of God. Psalm 37. This is one of the best loved Psalms. David, always puzzled by the Prevalence of Wickedness, here states his philosophy as to how to live in the midst of Wicked People: Do Good; Trust
God; Don't Worry.


Psalm 38. A Psalm of Bitter Anguish

    One of the Penitential Psalms (see on Psalm 32), It seems that David was suffering from a loathesome disease, caused by his sin, on account of which his closest friends and nearest relatives had become estranged, and enemies had multiplied and become very bold. It shows how the "man after God's own heart" sometime went to the depths in Sorrow and Humiliation for his sin. 


Psalm 39. Frailty and Vanity of Life

    Jeduthun, in this, and titles of 62 and 77, was one of David's three Music leaders, the other two being Asaph and Heman (I Chronicles 16:37-42). Also he was the King's Seer (II Chronicles 35:15).


Psalm 40. Praise for a Great Deliverance

    The Law of God was in his heart (8). Yet he was utterly crushed by his Iniquities (12). The last part of this Psalm is same as Psalm 70, Seems to have Messianic reference (7, 8; Hebrews 10:5-7).


Psalm 41. A Prayer for Deliverance

    Thought to belong to the time of Absalom's Usurpation (II Samuel 15), when David's sickness (3-8), gave opportunity for the plot to mature. The Familiar Friend (9), must have been Ahithophel, the Old Testament Judas (II Samuel 15:12, John 13:18).


Psalms 42, 43. Thirst for the House of God

    On the part of an exile, in the Hermon region, east of the Jordan (6), among ungodly and hostile people. These two Psalms form one poem. Sons of Korah, in the title of Psalms 42-49, 84, 85, 87,88, were a family of Poetic Levites, organized by David, into a Musical Guild (I Chronicles 6:31-48; 9:19, 22, 33).


Psalm 44.  A Cry of Despair

    In a time of National Disaster, when their Army, it seems, had been overwhelmingly defeated.


Psalm 45. Nuptial Song of o King

    Bearing the name of God, seated on an Eternal Throne. It may, in part, have reference to David or Solomon. But some of its statements are wholly inapplicable to either, or to any other human sovereign. It surely seems to be a Song of the Messiah, anticipating the Marriage of the Lamb (Revelation 19:7).


Psalm 46. Zion's Battle Song

    Basis of Luther's famous hymn, "A Mighty Fortress is our God," Song of the Reformation.


Psalms 47, 48. God Reigns

    God is King. Zion is the City of God. This God is our God Forever.
God is on the Throne. Let the Earth Rejoice.


Psalms 49, 50. Vanity of  Riches

    God the owner of the Earth and all that is therein. In giving to God we merely return that which is His Own' Vanity of Life. Death comes to all. Similar to Psalm 39.


Psalm 51. Prayer for Mercy

    Aftermath of David's Sin with Bathsheba (II Samuel 11, 12). A Penitential Psalm (see on Psalm 32)' Create in me a Clean Heart (10), a prayer we all would do well to Pray constantly.


Psalm 52. David's Trust in God

Contrasted with the Wicked Boastfulness of his enemy Doeg (I Samuel 21:7; 22:9), confident that he would be Delivered.


Psalm 53. Universal Sinfulness of Men

    Similar to Psalm 14. Quoted in Romans 3:10-12. Mahalath, in title, a Melancholy Tune? Maschil, a Meditative Poem?


Psalm 54. David's Cry to God

    When Ziphites told Saul where David was hiding  (I Samuel 26). Other Psalms composed while David was in flight from Saul are: 7(?), 34, 52, 54, 56, 57, 59, 63(?), 142.


Psalm 55. Betrayed by Friends

    Like Psalm 41, it seems to belong to the time of Absalom's Rebellion, and specifically to refer to Ahithophel (12-14; II Samuel 15:12, 13). Fore gleam of Judas. David Trusts in God.


Psalm 56. Prayer for Deliverance

    From Philistines, like Psalm 34, I Samuel 21:10-15. David used his own resources to the limit, even feigning himself to be Insane. Yet he Prayed and Trusted in God for the result. Psalm 34 is his Song of Thanks for Escape.


Psalm 57. David's Prayer

    In the Cave of Adullam, while hiding from Saul (I Samuel 22:1; 24:1,26:1). His heart was Fixed in Trusting God (7).


Psalm 58. Destruction of the Wicked

    Their day of Retribution is Sure. David complained much about the Prevalence of Wickedness. And repeated over and over that it Does Not Pay. It is still so.


Psalm 59. Another of David's Prayers

    When Saul sent soldiers to entrap David at home (I Samuel 19:10-17). But David Trusted in God. Another Golden Poem.


Psalm 60. A Psalm of Discouragement

        At time of Reverses in war with Syrians and Edomites (II Samuel 8:3-14). Other Psalms in time of National Reverse are 44, 74, 79, 108. David's Prayer was answered (II Samuel 8:14).


Psalm 61.  A Hymn of Confidence

    While David, apparently, was away from home, on some distant expedition (2); or, possibly, at the time of Absalom's Rebellion.


Psalm 62. A Poem of Fervid Devotion

    To God and Unwavering Trust in Him. David had a lot of Trouble. But he never failed to Trust in God.


Psalm 63. A Hymn of the Wilderness

    David's Thirst for God. It seems to belong to the period when David was in the wilderness of Engedi (I Samuel 24), in flight from Absalom, confident of Restoration.


Psalm 64. Prayer for Protection

    From plots of Secret Enemies. David is Confident that through God he will triumph.


Psalm 65. A Song of the Sea and the Harvest

    God crowns the year with Goodness. The earth shouts for Joy, with its Abundant Crops.


Psalm 66. A Song of National Thanksgiving

    Praise God. Fear God. Sing. Sing. Sing. Rejoice. Rejoice. Rejoice. Cad's eyes observe the Nations.


Psalm 67. A Missionary Psalm

    Anticipatory of the Glad News of the Gospel encircling the Earth. Let the Nations Sing for Joy.


Psalm 68. A Battle March

    Of God's Victorious Armies. This Psalm was a favorite of the Crusaders, the Huguenots, Savonarola, Oliver Cromwell.


Psalm 69. A Psalm of Suffering

    Like Psalm 22. Glimpses of the Suffering Messiah. So quoted in the New Testament: 4, 9, 21, 22, 25: John 2:17; 15:25; 19:28-30; Acts 1:20; Romans 11:9; 15:3. 


Psalm 70. An Urgent Cry for Help

    God never failed David. The Believer's Joy in God in a time of Persecution. About the same as the latter part of Psalm 40.


Psalm 71 . A Psalm of Old Age

    Retrospect of a Life of Trust, beset by troubles and enemies all the way, with his Joy in God undimmed.


Psalm 72. Glory and Grandeur of Messiah's Reign

    This is one of Solomon's Psalms, the other being 127. Solomon's kingdom was at the pinnacle of its Glory. We may think that this Psalm was, in part, a description of his own peaceful and glorious reign. But some of its statements, and its general tenor, can allude only to the Kingdom of ONE Greater than Solomon.


Psalm 73. Prosperity of the Wicked

    Solution: Consider their Latter End. This is one of Asaph's Psalms: 50, 73-83. Asaph was David's Song Leader (I Chronicles 15:16-20; 16:5). Hezekiah's choirs sang Asaph's Psalms (ll Chronicles 29:30).


Psalm 74. National Disaster

    Jerusalem was in ruins (3, 6, 7). Possibly at time of Shishak's Invasion (I Kings 14:25); or Captivity by the Babylonians.


Psalm 75. God is Judge

    Certain Destruction of the Wicked: Certain Triumph of the Righteous: in the day when the earth shall be dissolved.


Psalm 76. Thanks for a Great Victory

    Seems to refer to the Destruction of Sennacherib's Army by the Angel of God at Jerusalem (II Kings 19:25).


Psalms 77, 78. Historical Psalms

    Review of God's Marvelous Works, in His dealings with Israel. Contrasting God's Mighty Works, and Israel's Habitual Unfaithfulness and Disobedience.


Psalms 79, 8O. National Disaster

    Like Psalm 74, they belong to a time of Great Calamity, like the Invasion of Shishak, or the Fall of the Northern Kingdom, or the Babylonian Captivity.


Psalms 81, 82. Israel's Waywardness

    The Cause of her Troubles. If they had only hearkened to God, it would have been different. Unjust Judges share in the blame, forgetting their responsibility to Supreme Judge.


Psalm 83. A Prayer for Protection

    From a Conspiracy of Federated Nations: Edomites, Arabians, Moabites, Ammonites, Amalekites, Philistines and others.


Psalm 84. God's House

    Blessedness of Devotion to God's House. God Loves those who Love the Highways to Zion. This applies to the Church.


Psalms 85, 86. Thanks, and o Cry for Mercy

    Thanks for Return from Captivity, and a Prayer for Restoration of the Land, and a Better Future. And a Prayer for Mercy: even though Godly, yet in need of Forgiveness.


Psalm 87. Zion

    God's Love for Zion. What is here said of Zion more truly applies to the Church. Our Birth in Zion, recorded in Heaven (6).


Psalm 88. A life-long Sufferer

    Prayer of a Shut-In, Suffering from a prolonged and terrible disease. One of the Saddest of the Psalms. Pitiful.


Psalm 89. God's Oath

    For the Endlessness of David's Throne. A Magnificent Psalm. Ethan, in title, was one of David's Song Leaders (I Chronicles 15:17).


Psalm 90. Eternity of God

    And Brevity of Human Life. Being a Psalm of Moses, who lived 400 years before David, it may have been the first Psalm to be written. Moses wrote other Songs (Exodus 15, Deuteronomy 32). Rabbinic tradition assigns the ten following Psalms, 91-100, to Moses.


Psalm 91. A Hymn of Trust

    One of the Best Loved Psalms. Magnificent. Amazing Promises of Security to those who Trust God. Read It Often.


Psalm 92. A Sabbath Hymn of Praise

    Seeming to look back to the Sabbath of Creation, and forward to the Age of Eternal Sabbath. Wicked Perish. Godly Flourish.


Psalms 93, 94. Majesty of God

    And Destruction of the Wicked. Power, Holiness and Eternity of God's Throne. From Everlasting God Reigns Forevermore. Prevalence of Wickedness in this world, but their doom is certain: one of the most frequent notes of Scripture.


Psalms 95-98. Reign of God

    Continuing the idea of Psalm 93, these are called Theocratic Psalms, because they relate to the Sovereignty of God, with hints of the Kingly Reign of the Coming Messiah.
Psalm 95. Sing. Rejoice. God is King. Let us kneel before Him.
    We are His people. Let us give heed to His voice. Verses 7-11 are quoted in Hebrews 3:7-11  as words of Holy Spirit.
    Psalm 96. Sing. Sing. Sing. Be Joyful. Be Thankful. Praise God. It will be a day of Triumph for God's People when He come to Judge the World. Let the Heavens be glad, and the Earth Rejoice. The Day of Judgment is on the way.
Psalms 97. The Lord Comes. The Earth is moved. A Coronation Anthem, referring, possibly, to both First and Second Advents.
    Psalm 98. A Song of Crowning Day. Being a New Song (1), it may be one of those Sung in Heaven (Revelation 5:9-14).


Psalms 99, 100. God Praise

    Psalm 99. God Reigns. God is Holy' Let the nations tremble. God loves Justice and Righteousness. He answers Prayer.
    Psalm 100. Praise God. His Mercy endures Forever, and His Faithfulness to all generations.
    

Psalm 101. A Psalm for Rulers

    Thought possibly to have been written when David ascended the Throne, enunciating principles of his Government.


Psalm 102. A Prayer of Penitence

    In a time of terrible Affliction, Humiliation and Reproach (see on Psalm 32). The Eternity of God (25-27), is quoted in Hebrews 1:10-12 as applying to Christ.


Psalm 103. A Psalm of God's Mercy

    Thought to have been written in David's old-age, summarizing God's dealings with him. One of the best loved Psalms.


Psalm 104. A Nature Psalm

God the Creator, and Care-Taker in detail, over all the works of the world. Reminds us of Jesus' word, Not a sparrow falls to the ground without your Heavenly Father.


Psalms 105, 106. Two Historical Psalms

    A Poetic Summary of Israel's History. Dwells especially on their Miraculous Delivery out of Egypt.


Psalms  107, 108, 109. God's Mercy and Justice

    Psalm 107. Wonders of God's Loving kindness, in His dealings with. His People and management of the works of Nature.
    Psalm 108. Seems to be one of David's Battle Songs. It is almost identical with parts of Psalms 57 and 6O.
    Psalm 109. Vengeance on God's Adversaries. One of the Imprecatory Psalms (see on Psalm 35). Judas is in the picture (8).


Psalm 110. Eternal Dominion of the Coming King

    This Psalm cannot refer to any person in history except Christ; yet it was written 1000 years before Christ (1, 4). So quoted in the New Testament (Matthew 22:44; Acts 2:34; Hebrews 1: 13; 5:6).


Psalms  111, 112. Songs of Praise

    Psalm 111. Majesty, Honor, Righteousness, Mercy, Justice, Faithfulness, Truth, Holiness, and Eternity of God. Verse 9 is the only place in the Bible where the word "Reverend" occurs, and it is applied to God, NOT to Ministers.
    Psalm 112. Blessedness of the man who Fears God, and is Righteous, Merciful, Gracious, Kind to the Poor, and Loves the Ways and Word of God, and whose Heart is Fixed in God. Everlasting Blessedness is his.


Psalms 113-118. The Hallel Psalms

    They were sung, in families, on the night of the Passover: 113 and 114 at the beginning of the meal: 115, 116, 117, 118, at the close of the meal. They must have been the hymns that Jesus and his disciples sang at the Last Supper (Matthew 26:30). Hallel means Praise.
    Psalm 113. A Song of Praise. Begins and ends with Hallelujah, which means Praise. Praise God Forever.
    Psalm 114. A Song of the Exodus, recalling the Wonders and Miracles of Israel's Deliverance out of Egypt, the Beginning of the Passover Feast. The Earth, Sea, Rivers, Mountains, Hills trembled at God's presence.
    Psalm 115. The Lord the only God. Blessed are His People. Blessed are they who Trust in Him, and not in the gods of the Nations. God's Glory. Mercy. Truth. Trust. Our Help, Our Shield. Praise. Forevermore. Dumbness of Idols, like those who make them. Our God Is God. Where are the gods of the nations? Our God will Bless
us, And we will Bless His Name Forevermore.
    Psalm 116. A Song of Gratitude to God for Deliverance from Death, and from Temptation, and for Repeated Answers to Prayer. One of the best Psalms. Gracious. Merciful. Praise.
    Psalm 117. A Summons to the nations to accept the Lord. So quoted in Romans 15:11. Middle chapter in the Bible, and shortest, Praise. Truth. Mercy. Forever.
    Psalm 118. This was Jesus' Farewell Hymn with His disciples, as He left the Passover, on His way to Gethsemane and Calvary (Matthew 26:10). It embodied a prediction of His Rejection (22, 26; Matthew 21:9, 42). God, His Strength and His Song.


Psalm 119. The Glories of God's Word

    Longest chapter in the Bible. Has 176 verses. Every verse mentions the Word of God under one or another of these names, Law, Testimony, Judgments, Statutes, Commandments, Precepts, Word, Ordinances, Ways, except 90, 121, 122, 132.
    It is an Acrostic, or Alphabetic Psalm, having 22 stanzas. Each Stanza has 8 lines, each of the 8 lines beginning with the same lefter (see on Psalm 9). It was Ruskin's favorite Psalm.


Psalms 120-134. Songs of Degrees

    Also called Songs of Ascent, or Pilgrim Songs. Believed to have been designed for Vocal Music, to be sung by pilgrims on the road up to the Feasts at Jerusalem: or, as they went up the. 15 steps to the Men's Court; or, Ascents may mean the Elevated Voice in which they were sung.
    Psalm 120. A Prayer for Protection by one who lived among Deceitful and Treacherous people far away from Zion.
    Psalm 121. Pilgrims may have sung this hymn as they first caught sight of the mountain surrounding Jerusalem. 
    Psalm 122. This may have been what the pilgrims sang as they neared the Temple Gate within the city walls.
    Psalm 123. And this, within the Temple, as the pilgrims lifted their eyes to God in Prayer for His Mercy.
    Psalm 124. A Hymn of Thanksgiving and Praise for repeated National Deliverances in times of fearful danger.
    Psalm 125. A Hymn of Trust. As the mountains are round about Jerusalem, so God is round about His People.
    Psalm 126. A Song of Thanksgiving for Return from Captivity. It seemed as if they were dreaming. (See Psalm 137.)
    Psalm 127. Seem! like a combination of two poems: Temple-Building and Family-Building. One of Solomon's Psalms.
    Psalm 128.  A Marriage-Song. Continuation of last half of Psalm 127. Godly Families are the basis of National Welfare.
    Psalm 129. Israel's Prayer for Overthrow of her Enemies, who, generation after generation, had afflicted her. 
    Psalm 130. Keeping our eyes on God. A Cry for Mercy. One of the Penitential Psalms. (See on Psalm 32.)
    Psalm 131. A Psalm of Humble Childlike Trust in God: Stilled and Quieted his soul in God, as a Child with his Mother.
    Psalm 132. A Poetic Re-iteration of God's Unbreakable Promise to David of an Eternal Inheritor of his Throne.
    Psalms 133, 114. A Psalm of Brother Love, and Life Forevermore. And a Psalm of the Temple-Night-Watchers.


Psalms 135-139. Psalms of Thanksgiving

    Psalm 135. A Song of Praise for God's Wonderful Works, in Nature and in History: Vapors, Lightnings, Winds, Miracles in Egypt and in the Wilderness.
    Psalm 116. Seems to be an expansion of Psalm 135, about God's mighty works of Creation, and in His dealings with Israel, arranged for antiphonal Singing. "His Mercy endures Forever" occurs in every verse. It is called a Hallel Psalm, was sung at the opening of Passover, and was a favorite Temple Song (I Chronicles 16:41; II Chronicles
7 :3; 20:21; Ezra 3 : 11) .
    Psalm 137. A Psalm of the Captivity. Exiles in a foreign land longing for home. Sure retribution for those who took them captive. This is not a Psalm of Thanksgiving. But its counterpart, Psalm 126, written after they got back Home from Babylon, is full of Thanks.
    Psalm 138. A Song of Thanks, seemingly on occasion of some Notable Answer to Prayer.
    Psalm 139. God's Universal Presence and Infinite Knowledge. He knows our Every Thought, Word, Act, Nothing Hid from Him. Closing sentence is one of the most needed Prayers in the whole Bible.


Psalms 140-143. Prayers for Protection

    Psalm 140. David had a host of Enemies. They drove him ever closer and closer to God. Ultimate Destruction of Wicked.
    Psalm 141. Another of David's Prayers for Protection against being driven himself to Sin.
    Psalm 142. One of David's Prayers in early life, while hiding in a cave from Saul (I Samuel 22:1; 24:3).
    Psalm 143. David's Penitent Cry for Help and Guidance; possibly when he was being pursued by Absalom (II Samuel 17, 18).


Psalms 144, 145. Songs of Praise

    Psalm 144. One of David's Battle Songs. His army may have chanted such hymns as this as they moved into conflict.
    Psalm 145. David may have had his army sing such a Hymn as this, after a battle. in thanks for Victory.


Psalms 146-150. Hallelujah Psalms

    These are called "Hallelujah" Psalms, each beginning and ending with "Hallelujah," which means "Praise the Lord." The word appears often in other Psalms.
    The grand outburst of Hallelujahs, with which the book of Psalms comes to a climactic close, is carried over to the end of the Bible itself, and is echoed in the heavenly choirs of the Redeemed (Revelation 19: 1, 3, 4, 6).
    Psalm 146. God Reigns. While I live I will Praise God. I will Sing Praise to God while I have any being.
    Psalm 147. Let All Creation Praise God. Sing unto God with Thanksgiving. Let Israel Praise God, Let Zion Praise God.
    Psalm 148. Let the Angels Praise God. Let the Sun, Moon and Stars Praise God. Let the Heavens shout, Hallelujah!
    Psalm 149. Hallelujah! Let the Saints Praise God. Let them Sing for Joy. Let Zion Rejoice. Hallelujah!
    Psalm 150. Hallelujah! Praise God with Trumpet and Harp. Let everything that has breath Praise God. Hallelujah!