Book of Psalms Study No. 260
he Book of Psalms is the heart of the Bible. If there is one book of the Bible that you would want to have when you are imprisoned, persecuted, afflicted, or wanting personal contact with God Almighty, it is the Psalms, truly a treasury of David. When you are in the Book of Psalms, you are home spiritually.
In this study, we give a short summary of each psalm with a few of its major points. Study the psalms and you will gain trust, fear, and love, of the Lord.
Psalm 1. Blessed is the man that walketh not in the counsel of the ungodly, nor standeth in the way of sinners, nor sitteth in the seat of the scornful. He shall be like a tree planted by the rivers of water, and whatsoever he doeth shall prosper. The ungodly are like the chaff which the wind driveth away.
Psalm 2. Why do the heathen rage, and the people imagine a vain thing? The kings of the earth set themselves against the Lord, who shall have them in derision.
Psalm 3. Lord, how are they increased that rise up against me. Many there be that say of my soul, There is no help for him in God. Salvation belongeth unto the Lord.
Psalm 4. I will lay me down in peace, and sleep: for thou, Lord, only makest me dwell in safety.
Psalm 5. Give ear to my words, O Lord, consider my meditation. In the morning will I direct my prayer unto thee, and will look up. Let all those that put their trust in thee rejoice, for thou, Lord, wilt bless the righteous; with favor wilt thou compass him as with a shield.
Psalm 6. Have mercy upon me, O Lord. Depart from me, all ye workers of iniquity. Let all mine enemies be ashamed and sore vexed.
Psalm 7. O Lord my God, in thee do I put my trust. God is angry with the wicked every day.
Psalm 8. How excellent is thy name in all the earth! What is man, that thou art mindful of him: and the son of man, that thou visitest him?
Psalm 9. I will praise thee, O Lord, with my whole heart. He shall judge the world in righteousness. The wicked is snared in the work of his own hands. Put them in fear, O Lord: that the nations may know themselves to be but men.
Psalm 10. The wicked in his pride doth persecute the poor; God is not in all his thoughts. He hath said in his heart, God hath forgotten; He hideth His face; He will never see it. Lord, thou hast heard the desire of the humble; thou wilt judge the fatherless and the oppressed, that the man of the earth may no more oppress.
Psalm 11. If the foundations be destroyed, what can the righteous do? The Lord is in His holy temple, the Lord’s throne is in heaven: His eyes behold, His eyelids try, the children of men.
Psalm 12. Help, Lord, for the godly man ceaseth; for the faithful fail from among the children of men. The Lord shall cut off all flattering lips, and the tongue that speaketh proud things. The words of the Lord are pure words: as silver tried in a furnace of earth, purified seven times.
Psalm 13. How long wilt thou forget me, O Lord? For ever? How long wilt thou hide thy face from me? Lighten mine eyes, lest I sleep the sleep of death.
Psalm 14. The fool hath said in his heart, There is no God. Have the workers of iniquity no knowledge? Who eat up my people as they eat bread, and call not upon the Lord. When the Lord bringeth back the captivity of His people, Jacob shall rejoice, and Israel shall be glad.
Psalm 15. Who shall abide in thy tabernacle? Who shall dwell in thy holy hill? He that walketh uprightly, he that sweareth to his own hurt, and changeth not. He that doeth these things shall never be moved.
Psalm 16. My flesh shall rest in hope, for thou wilt not leave my soul in hell; neither wilt thou suffer thine Holy One to see corruption. Thou wilt shew me the path of life: in thy presence is fullness of joy; at thy right hand there are pleasures for evermore.
Psalm 17. I am purposed that my mouth shall not transgress. As for me, I will behold thy face in righteousness: I shall be satisfied, when I awake, with thy likeness.
Psalm 18. The 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. For who is God save the Lord? Or who is a rock save our God?
Psalm 19. The heavens declare the glory of God; and the firmament sheweth His handiwork. The law of the Lord is perfect, converting the soul: the testimony of the Lord is sure, making wise the simple. The statutes of the Lord are right, rejoicing the heart: the commandment of the Lord is pure, enlightening the eyes.
Psalm 20. We will rejoice in thy salvation, and in the name of our God we will set up our banners: the Lord fulfil all thy petitions. Some trust in chariots, and some in horses: but we will remember the name of the Lord our God.
Psalm 21. The king shall joy in thy strength, O Lord.
Psalm 22. My God, my God, why hast thou forsaken me? I am a worm, and no man; a reproach of men, and despised of the people. He trusted on the Lord that He would deliver him: let Him deliver him, seeing he delighted in Him. I am poured out like water, and all my bones are out of joint. For dogs have compassed me: the assembly of the wicked have inclosed me: they pierced my hands and my feet. I may tell all my bones: they look and stare upon me. They part my garments among them, and cast lots upon my vesture. For the kingdom is the Lord’s, and He is the governor among the nations.
Psalm 23. [Shepherd’s Psalm] The Lord is my shepherd; I shall not want. Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me all the days of my life: and I will dwell in the house of the Lord forever.
Psalm 24. The earth is the Lord’s, and the fullness thereof; the world, and they that dwell therein. Lift up your heads, O ye gates; and be ye lift up, ye everlasting doors; and the King of glory shall come in.
Psalm 25. Unto thee, O Lord, do I lift up my soul. O my God, I trust in thee: let me not be ashamed, let not mine enemies triumph over me. Mine eyes are ever toward the Lord; for He shall pluck my feet out of the net. Redeem Israel, O God, out of all his troubles.
Psalm 26. Judge me, O Lord, examine me, O Lord, and prove me; try my reins and my heart. My foot standeth in an even place: in the congregations will I bless the Lord.
Psalm 27. The Lord is my light and my salvation: whom shall I fear? The Lord is the strength of my life: of whom shall I be afraid? For in the time of trouble He shall hide me in His pavilion: in the secret of His tabernacle shall He hide me; He shall set me up upon a rock.
Psalm 28. Unto thee will I cry, O Lord my rock. Draw me not away with the wicked who regard not the works of the Lord, nor the operation of His hands. He shall destroy them, and not build them up.
Psalm 29. The voice of the Lord is powerful. The Lord giveth strength unto His people; the Lord will bless His people with peace.
Psalm 30. I will extol thee, O Lord; for thou hast lifted me up, and hast not made my foes to rejoice over me. For His anger endureth but a moment; in His favor is life: weeping may endure for a night, but joy cometh in the morning.
Psalm 31. In thee, O Lord, do I put my trust; let me never be ashamed. My times are in thy hand: deliver me from the hand of mine enemies, and from them that persecute me. Thou shalt hide them that fear thee in the secret of thy presence from the pride of man: thou shalt keep them secretly in a pavilion from the strife of tongues.
Psalm 32. Blessed is he whose transgression is forgiven, whose sin is covered. Blessed is the man unto whom the Lord imputeth not iniquity, and in whose spirit there is no guile. Thou art my hiding place. Be ye not as the horse or as the mule, which have no understanding: whose mouth must be held in with bit and bridle, lest they come near unto thee.
Psalm 33. By the word of the Lord were the heavens made; and all the host of them by the breath of His mouth.
Psalm 34. O fear the Lord, ye His saints: for there is no want to them that fear Him. Depart from evil, and do good; seek peace, and pursue it. The Lord is nigh unto them that are of a broken heart; and saveth such as be of a contrite spirit. Many are the afflictions of the righteous: but the Lord delivereth him out of them all.
Psalm 35. They rewarded me evil for good to the spoiling of my soul. But as for me, when they were sick, my clothing was sackcloth: I humbled my soul with fasting; and my prayer returned into mine own bosom.
Psalm 36. The transgression of the wicked . . . there is no fear of God before his eyes.
Psalm 37. Fret not thyself because of evildoers, neither be thou envious against the workers of iniquity. A little that a righteous man hath is better than the riches of many wicked. I have been young, and now am old; yet have I not seen the righteous forsaken, nor his seed begging bread.
Psalm 38. O Lord, rebuke me not in thy wrath: neither chasten me in thy hot displeasure. Make haste to help me, O Lord my salvation.
Psalm 39. I said, I will take heed to my ways, that I sin not with my tongue: I will keep my mouth with a bridle, while the wicked is before me. Every man at his best state is altogether vanity.
Psalm 40. Sacrifice and offering thou didst not desire; mine ears hast thou opened: burnt offering and sin offering hast thou not required. I delight to do thy will, O my God: yea, thy law is within my heart.
Psalm 41. Blessed is he that considereth the poor: the Lord will deliver him in time of trouble. Yea, mine own familiar friend, in whom I trusted, which did eat of my bread, hath lifted up his heel against me.
Psalm 42. As the hart panteth after the water brooks, so panteth my soul after thee, O God. My soul thirsteth for God, for the living God: when shall I come and appear before God? I went with them to the house of God, with the voice of joy and praise, with a multitude that kept holyday.
Psalm 43. Judge me, O God, and plead my cause against an ungodly nation: O deliver me from the deceitful and unjust man. O send out thy light and thy truth: let them lead me; let them bring me unto thy holy hill, and to thy tabernacles. Then will I go unto the altar of God, unto God my exceeding joy: yea, upon the harp will I praise thee, O God my God.
Psalm 44. For I will not trust in my bow, neither shall my sword save me. For thou hast saved us from our enemies, and has put them to shame that hated us. In God we boast all the day long, and praise thy name for ever.
Psalm 45. My heart is inditing a good matter: I speak of the things which I have made touching the king: my tongue is the pen of a ready writer. Thy throne, O God, is for ever and ever: the scepter of thy kingdom is a right scepter.
Psalm 46. God is our refuge and strength, a very present help in trouble.
Psalm 47. O clap your hands, all ye people; shout unto God with the voice of triumph. For God is the King of all the earth. God sitteth upon the throne of His holiness.
Psalm 48. Great is the Lord, and greatly to be praised in the city of our God, in the mountain of His holiness. Beautiful for situation, the joy of the whole earth, is mount Zion, on the sides of the north, the city of the great King.
Psalm 49. Man being in honor abideth not: he is like the beasts that perish. But God will redeem my soul from the power of the grave: for He shall receive me. As for the rich, when he dieth he shall carry nothing away: his glory shall not descend after him.
Psalm 50. The world is Mine, and the fullness thereof. Unto the wicked, God saith, What hast thou to do to declare My statutes, seeing thou hatest instruction, and castest My words behind thee. Whoso offereth praise glorifieth Me: and to him that ordereth his conversation aright will I shew the salvation of God.
Psalm 51. [This Psalm was written by David, after Nathan the Prophet came unto him, after David had committed adultery with Bathsheba and murder of her husband to cover up his crime, II Samuel 12:1-14. Arguably, Nathan’s confrontation of David for his sin, is the most dramatic episode of the entire Bible.] David cried out to God, Wash me thoroughly from mine iniquity, create in me a clean heart, renew a constant spirit, then will I teach transgressors thy ways, and sinners shall be converted unto Thee.
Psalm 52. Mighty men’s tongues devise mischiefs; they love evil more than good. God will destroy them that make not God their strength. I am like a green olive tree in the house of God, trusting in His mercy forever.
Psalm 53. The fool hath said in heart, there is no God. They eat up my people as bread. God will scatter their bones and bring back the captivity of His people in rejoicing.
Psalm 54. Save me, O God, from strangers risen up against me. God my helper will cut off mine enemies.
Psalm 55. Deliver me from the enemy, my friend and guide, my equal who walked with me into the house of God. His words were smoother than butter, but war was in his heart. I will trust in thee.
Psalm 56. My enemies wrest my words, wait for my soul, mark my steps. I will trust in God who delivers my soul from death.
Psalm 57. My enemy has prepared a net for my steps, digged a pit into which they have fallen. Be merciful to me, Lord. Thy mercy is great unto the heavens, and thy truth unto the clouds.
Psalm 58. The wicked are estranged from the womb. Let them melt away like a snail.
Psalm 59. Deliver me from my enemies, O my God. Thou shalt laugh at them; have all the heathen in derision. God is my defense and mercy.
Psalm 60. God has scattered us and shown us hard things. Give us help; through God we shall do valiantly.
Psalm 61. Thou hast been a shelter for us; I will abide in thy tabernacle forever.
Psalm 62. God is my rock, and my salvation, my defense; trust Him at all times, pour out your heart before Him. Set not your heart on riches; thou rewardest to every man according to his work.
Psalm 63. My soul thirstest for thee, my soul followeth hard after thee.
Psalm 64. Hide me from the insurrection of the wicked who shoot in secret, laying snares privily.[terrorists?]
Psalm 65. Thou shalt purge our iniquities. Thou waterest the earth, clothe the pastures with flocks and the valleys with corn, they sing.
Psalm 66. Make a joyful noise unto God; all the earth shall worship thee. God has heard my prayer.
Psalm 67. Let all the people praise thee, for thou shalt judge the people righteously, and govern nations on the earth. All ends of the earth shall fear Him.
Psalm 68. [Pentecost Psalm] Let the righteous rejoice, for God shall scatter His enemies. He shall wound the hairy scalp of those that go on still in trespasses. Ethiopia shall soon stretch out her hands unto God. The God of Israel giveth strength to His people.
Psalm 69. The zeal of thine house hath eaten me up. I chastened my soul with fasting and became a reproach and a proverb. They gave me gall and vinegar to drink. God will save Zion.
Psalm 70. Make haste to deliver me, O Lord.
Psalm 71. In thee, O Lord, do I put my trust. Thou hast taught me from my youth. My tongue shall talk of thy righteousness all the day long.
Psalm 72. God shall have dominion from sea to sea. All kings shall fall down before Him. Let the whole earth be filled with His glory.
Psalm 73. The wicked prosper while the clean of heart are plagued and chastened. But the wicked shall come to a sudden end. I draw close to God.
Psalm 74. Thine enemies roar in the midst of thy congregations; they have burned up the synagogues of God. There is no more any prophet. Forget not the congregation of thy poor forever.
Psalm 75. Promotion cometh not from the east or west. God is the judge: He putteth down one and setteth up another.
Psalm 76. In Judah God is known. God arose to judgment, to save all the meek of the earth.
Psalm 77. In the day of my trouble I sought the Lord. I will remember the years of the right hand of the Most High.
Psalm 78. [This is the second longest Psalm, with 72 verses. The longest is Psalm 119 with 176 verses; the shortest is Psalm 117 with only two verses; Psalms 133 and 134 have three verses each.] Give ear, My people, to My law, and make it known to your children. So that they might not be as their fathers, a stubborn and rebellious generation. In spite of God’s miracles, they sinned yet more and tempted Him. But He, being full of compassion, forgave their iniquity, and destroyed them not. They turned back, and limited the Holy One of Israel. God smote the tabernacle of Ham, made Israel dwell in tents, yet they tempted and provoked the Most High so that He forsook the tabernacle of Shiloh, the tabernacle of Joseph, [Shiloh was in Ephramite territory] and chose Judah. [Jeremiah 31:9, Ephraim is my firstborn, i.e., they had the first opportunity to be the spiritual leaders of Israel.] Israel is like sheep, God chose David to be their shepherd. Ephraim is like a deceitful bow, Hosea 7:16 and Psalm 78:57.
Psalm 79. The heathen have defiled thy holy temple and killed and imprisoned thy saints. Help us and deliver us O God.
Psalm 80. Give ear O Shepherd of Israel, visit this vine which is cut down and burned with fire. [Grape vines have remarkable resilience.]
Psalm 81. Make a joyful noise, blow up the trumpet in the new moon. Submit to God and He will feed thee.
Psalm 82. God judges among the gods [judges]. Defend the poor and fatherless, defend the poor and needy, or ye will die like men and not be gods and children of the Most High.
Psalm 83. God’s enemies have conspired against His people, to wipe them out. Edom, Ishmael, Philistines, Ammon, etc., are confederate to take over the houses of God. O God, destroy them that all men may know that you alone are Yahweh.
Psalm 84. How lovely are thy tabernacles. I long and faint for the Lord’s courts. Blessed are they that dwell in thy house. A day in thy courts is better than a thousand.
Psalm 85. The Lord has brought back the captivity of Jacob. Mercy and truth are met together, righteousness and peace kiss; truth shall spring out of the earth, and righteousness from Heaven.
Psalm 86. Bow down thine ear, in the day of trouble I will call on thee. All nations shall come and worship before thee.
Psalm 87. Glorious things are spoken of thee [Zion]. The Lord loveth Zion.
Psalm 88. O Lord God of my salvation I have cried day and night before thee.
Psalm 89. God has made a covenant with David to establish his throne for all generations. If his children forsake God’s law, then God will punish them.
Psalm 90. [1000-year Psalm] A thousand years to God are but as yesterday. Man’s days are seventy years, so teach us to number our days that we may apply our hearts to wisdom.
Psalm 91. [Psalm of Protection] God is our secret place, refuge and fortress. A thousand shall fall at thy side, and 10,000 at thy right hand, but it shall not come near thee, the arrow that flies by day, and the terror by night, the pestilence. Angels shall protect thee.
Psalm 92. [Sabbath Psalm] Thou, O Lord, hast made me glad through thy work. I will triumph in the works of thy hands. Those planted in the house of the Lord shall still bring forth fruit in old age.
Psalm 93. The Lord reigneth, He is clothed with majesty and strength.
Psalm 94. How long shall the wicked triumph? Blessed is the man whom thou chastenest, O Lord. The Lord will not cast off His people.
Psalm 95. O come, let us sing unto the Lord, let us make a joyful noise to the Rock of our salvation. Let us worship and bow down, let us kneel before the Lord our Maker.
Psalm 96. O sing unto the lord a new song. He comes to judge the earth with righteousness, and the people with His truth.
Psalm 97. The Lord reigneth, let the earth rejoice. Ye that love the Lord, hate evil.
Psalm 98. Sing unto the Lord a new song, for He cometh to judge the earth.
Psalm 99. The Lord reigneth, let the people tremble. Thou forgavest them. Exalt the Lord our God.
Psalm 100. Make a joyful noise unto the Lord, all ye lands, come before His presence with singing, for His mercy is everlasting and His truth endureth to all generations
Psalm 101. I will walk with a perfect heart. I hate the work of them that turn aside. He that worketh deceit and telleth lies shall not dwell in my house.
Psalm 102. Hear my prayer, O Lord. You laid the foundation of the earth, the heavens shall perish, but thou shalt endure. Thou art the same, and thy years shall have no end.
Psalm 103. Bless the Lord, O my soul, who forgiveth all thine iniquities, who healeth all thy diseases.
Psalm 104. He causeth the grass to grow for the cattle, and herbs for the service of man, and wine that maketh glad the heart of man, and oil to make his face to shine, and bread which strengtheneth man’s heart. He appointed the moon for seasons: the sun knoweth his going down. Man goeth forth unto his work and to his labor until the evening [until dark].
Psalm 105. Make known the Lord’s works. Remember the marvelous works He hath done. [History from Abraham to Egypt to promised land.]
Psalm 106. Praise ye the Lord. Our fathers forgot God their savior, soon forgot His mighty works, mingled with the heathen and served their idols.
Psalm 107. Oh that men would praise the Lord for His goodness, and for His wonderful works to the children of men. He destroys the wicked and sets the poor on high.
Psalm 108. My heart is fixed. Give us help from trouble, because vain is the help of man. Ephraim is the strength of Mine head, Judah is My lawgiver.
Psalm 109. God, take care of mine enemies who fought against me without a cause. I give myself unto prayer; let his prayer become sin.
Psalm 110. The LORD said unto my Lord, sit thou at My right hand, until I make thine enemies thy footstool.
Psalm 111. All His commandments are sure. Holy and reverend is His name. the fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom.
Psalm 112. A good man sheweth favor and lendeth; he hath given to the poor.
Psalm 113. Praise ye the Lord, He raiseth up the poor out of the dust, and lifteth the needy out of the dunghill. He maketh the barren woman to keep house, and to be a joyful mother of children. Praise ye the Lord.
Psalm 114. When Israel went out of Egypt, Judah was His sanctuary, and Israel His dominion.
Psalm 115. People who make idols are like them: they have mouths, but speak not. The heavens are the Lord’s, but the earth has He given to the children of men.
Psalm 116. Precious in the sight of the Lord is death of His saints.
Psalm 117. The truth of the Lord endureth forever.
Psalm 118. His mercy endureth forever. It is better to trust in the Lord than to put confidence in man. [This is the middle verse of the Bible.] This is the day that the Lord hath made; we will rejoice and be glad in it. The Lord is my strength and song, and is become my salvation.
Psalm 119. [Law Psalm] Thy word have I hid in my heart, that I might not sin against thee. Teach me thy statutes. It is good for me that I have been afflicted; that I may learn thy statutes. For ever, O Lord, thy word is settled in Heaven. O how love I thy law! It is my meditation all the day. Thou through thy commandments hast made me wiser than mine enemies. Thy word is a lamp unto my feet, and a light unto my path. I hate every false way. Thy law is the truth. Great peace have they which love thy law: and nothing shall offend them. All thy commandments are righteousness.
Psalm 120. In my distress I cried to the Lord, and He heard me. Woe is me that I sojourn in Mesech, that I dwell in the tents of Kedar.
Psalm 121. I will lift up my eyes unto the hills, from whence cometh my help. He that keepeth Israel shall neither slumber nor sleep.
Psalm 122. I was glad when they said unto me, let us go into the house of the Lord. Pray for the peace of Jerusalem.
Psalm 123. Have mercy upon us, O Lord.
Psalm 124. Our help is in the name of the Lord, who made heaven and earth.
Psalm 125. As the mountains are round about Jerusalem, so the Lord is round about His people.
Psalm 126. 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. They that sow in tears shall reap in joy.
Psalm 127. Except the Lord build the house, they labor in vain that build it. Lo, children are an heritage of the Lord.
Psalm 128. Thy wife shall be a fruitful vine . . . thy children like olive plants. Behold, that thus shall the man be blessed that feareth the Lord.
Psalm 129. Many a time have they afflicted me from my youth: yet they have not prevailed against me.
Psalm 130. If thou, Lord, shouldest mark iniquities, O Lord, who shall stand? But there is forgiveness with thee, that thou mayest be feared.
Psalm 131. My heart is not haughty. My soul is even as a weaned child.
Psalm 132. The Lord hath chosen Zion; He hath desired it for His habitation. This is My rest for ever: here will I dwell; for I have desired it.
Psalm 133. [Fellowship, Unity Psalm] Behold how good and how pleasant it is for brethren to dwell together in unity.
Psalm 134. Lift up your hands in the sanctuary and bless the Lord.
Psalm 135. Praise the Lord, for the Lord is good: sing praises unto His name.
Psalm 136. [26 times this psalm uses the phrase, “for His mercy endureth for ever.”] O give thanks unto the Lord; for His mercy endureth for ever.
Psalm 137. By the rivers of Babylon, there we sat down, yea, we wept, when we remembered Zion.
Psalm 138. Thou hast magnified thy word above all thy name.
Psalm 139. Whither shall I go from thy spirit? Or whither shall I flee from thy presence? I will praise thee: for I am fearfully and wonderfully made.
Psalm 140. Deliver me, O Lord, from the evil man: preserve me from the violent man.
Psalm 141. Let my prayer be set forth before thee as incense; and the lifting up of my hands as sacrifice.
Psalm 142. Thou art my refuge . . . deliver me from my persecutors.
Psalm 143. Of thy mercy cut off mine enemies, and destroy all them that afflict my soul: for I am thy servant.
Psalm 144. Send thine hand from above; rid me, and deliver me out of great waters, from the hand of strange children.
Psalm 145. Great is the Lord, and greatly to be praised. All thy works shall praise thee, O Lord; and thy saints shall bless thee.
Psalm 146. Put not your trust in princes, nor in the son of man, in whom there is no help. His breath goeth forth; in that very day his thoughts perish.
Psalm 147. The Lord doth build up Jerusalem: He gathereth together the outcasts of Israel. He healeth the broken in heart, and bindeth up their wounds.
Psalm 148. Praise ye the Lord. Praise ye the Lord from the heavens: praise Him in the heights. He also exalteth the horn of His people, the praise of all His saints.
Psalm 149. Sing unto the Lord a new song. Let Israel praise His name in the dance: let them sing praises unto Him with the timbrel and harp.
Psalm 150. Let every thing that hath breath praise the Lord. Praise ye the Lord!
Major Topics of the Book of Psalms
Betrayal by a friend. 41:9, 55:3, 12-15, 21.
Exodus, Second. 14:7, 53:6, 85:1-2, 126:1-6, 147:2.
Fasting. 69:10-11, 109:24-25.
Fear of God. 2:11, 5:7, 15:4, 19:9, 22:23, 25, 25:14, 31:19, 33:8, 18, 34:7, 9, 11, 52:6, 60:4, 61:5, 66:16, 67:7, 72:5, 85:9, 86:11, 96:9, 102:15, 103:11, 13, 17, 111:10, 115:11, 13, 118:4, 119:74, 79, 128:1-4, 135:20, 145:19, 147:11
Feasts. 35:16, 42:4, 81:3-4, 104:19, 118:24.
Law of God. 1:2, 18:21-22, 19:7-11, 40:8, 78:1, 10, 81:4, 89:30-32, 105:45, 111:7-8, 10, 119:1-176.
Hate Evil. 26:4-5, 9-10, 31:6, 97:10, 119:104, 113, 163, 139:22.
Healing. 6:1-7, 30:2-3, 31:9-10, 32:3, 38:1-10, 39:4, 13, 40:12-13, 41:8, 102:3-6, 103:2-5, 13-16, 147:3.
Messiah, suffering. 22:1, 7-8, 14, 16-18, 69:8-9, 21.
Persecution. 3:1-8, 7:1-6, 9:9, 13, 10:1-2, 13:1-4, 17:9-13, 18:4-6, 16-18, 47-48, 22:6-13, 16-18, 25:16-19, 31:4, 13, 15, 35:1-8, 71:4, 83:2-18, 86:14, 17, 119:85, 134, 157, 161, 143:3.
Poor and Needy. 9:9, 12, 18, 10:2, 9-12, 14, 17-18, 12:5, 14:6, 15:5, 35:10, 40:17, 41:1-2, 68:5, 69:33, 70:5, 72:4, 12-14, 74:19, 21, 76:9, 82:3-4, 86:1, 94:6, 109:16, 22, 31, 112:9, 113:7-9, 138:6, 140:12, 146:7, 9.
Praise to God. 8:1-9, 9:1-2, 11, 14, 18:49, 21:13, 22:22-26, 28:7, 30:1, 11-12, 33:1-3, 34:1, 35:28, 45:17, 50:23, 54:6, 56:10, 67:3, 5, 71:22, 86:12, 89:5, 92:1, 99:3, 100:4, 106:1, 107:8, 15, 21, 31, 108:3, 109:30, 111:1, 113:1-2, 115:17-18, 117:1-2, 119:164, 135:1, 3, 21, 138:1, 4, 139:14, 145:10, 146:1-2, 147:1, 12, 148:1-14, 149:1, 3, 150:1-6.
Prayer. 4:1, 5:1-3, 6:9, 17:1, 6, 18:6, 28:6, 30:8, 31:22, 34:15, 35:13, 39:12, 55:1-2, 17, 61:1, 66:19-20, 69:13, 80:4, 84:8, 86:3, 6, 88:1-2, 13, 95:6, 102:1-2, 109:4, 122:6, 141:2, 143:1.
Protection. 27:5, 31:20, 32:7, 33:16-20, 36:7, 46:1, 57:1, 59:16-17, 61:3-4, 62:7-8, 89:18, 91:1-16, 94:22, 121:1-8, 124:8.
Repentance. Psalm chapters 6, 25, 38, 51, 102, 130, 143, also 79:9.
Resurrection. 16:9-11, 17:15, 23:6, 49:15.
Righteous, the. 1:1-3, 6, 3:8, 4:5-8, 5:7-8, 11-12, 11:5, 7, 14:5, 15:1-5, 24:3-6.
Sing. 13:6, 21:13, 27:6, 30:4, 12, 33:2-3, 47:6-7, 51:14, 57:7-9, 59:16, 61:8, 65:13, 66:1-2, 4, 67:4, 68:32, 69:30, 71:22-23, 75:9, 81:1-2, 89:1, 15, 92:1, 95:1-2, 96:1-3, 98:1, 4-6, 100:1-2, 4, 101:1, 104:33, 105:2, 108:1, 3, 135:3, 138:1, 5, 144:9, 146:2, 147:1, 7, 149:1, 5.
Teach me. 25:4-5, 8-9, 12, 27:11, 32:8-9, 34:11, 51:13, 86:11, 90:12, 119:12, 26, 33, 64, 66, 68, 73, 108, 124, 135, 169, 132:12, 143:8, 10.
Trust in God. 2:12, 4:4, 8, 5:11, 7:1, 9:10, 11:1, 13:5, 16:1, 17:7, 18:1-3, 30, 20:7, 21:7, 25:2, 20, 26:1, 27:1, 3, 14, 28:7, 31:1, 6, 14, 19, 32:10, 34:8, 22, 36:7, 37:3, 5, 7, 40, 38:15, 40:3-4, 55:23, 56:11, 57:1, 73:28, 78: 21-22, 118:8-9, 125:1, 141:8, 144:1-2, 146:3.
Wicked, the. 1:4-6, 2:1-5, 9, 4:2, 5:4-6, 9-10, 7:11, 9:16, 10:2-15, 11:2, 5-6, 12:1-5, 8, 14:1-4, 26:9-10, 27:12, 28:3-5, 31:7-18, 32:10, 34:21, 36:1-4, 37:1-2, 9, 10, 12, 14, 16, 17, 20, 21, 38, 50:16-22, 52:1-7, 53:1-5, 58:2-9, 64:1-7, 81:15, 82:1-2, 92:7, 94:3-7, 101:3-5, 7-8, 104:35, 109:2-3, 6-20, 112:10, 119:21, 119, 126, 155, 120:2-7, 140:1-11, 141:10.
World Tomorrow (Millennium). 22:27-28, 24:1, 7-10, 47:7-8, 50:12, 59:13, 67:4, 68:29, 31, 69:35-36, 72:8, 11, 17, 19, 82:8, 86:9, 145:13.
Interesting Facts About the Psalms
The most famous commentary on the Book of Psalms is The Treasury of David, written by Charles H. Spurgeon. To order, go to www.giveshare.org/library/spurgeon.html, or see “Additional Resources” at the close of this article.
Psalms 113-118 are known as the Hallel, which are festival praise songs.
Psalms 120-134 are known as the “Psalms of Degrees,” as they were sung by pilgrims on their way to the Feasts.
Jews have divided the Psalms into five “books,” to correspond with the five books of the Torah and a particular festival book:
Song of Songs
The Ten Words of Psalm 119
(Appendix 73 from The Companion Bible)
The number of the words which are frequently repeated in Psalm 119 has been variously given and enumerated by expositors and commentators. It will be better to give them here on the authority of the Massorah:
The rubric on verse 122 is as follows: “Throughout the whole of the Great Alphabet [that is to say, the Alphabetic Psalm, 119] there is in every verse one of the following ten expressions: derek (way), ‘eduth (testimony), pikkudim (precepts), mizvah (commandment), ‘imrah (saying), torah (law), mishpat (judgment), zedek, zedakah, and zaddik (righteousness), hok, and hukkah (statutes), dabar (word), which correspond to the Ten Commandments; except one verse, in which there is none of these: verse 122.” (Massorah, Ginsburg’s Edition, Vol. II.)
The following list includes all the “Ten Words” given above, with every occurrence in the Psalm, together with the first occurrence of each word.
1. Way (derek) is from darak, to tread with the feet, and denotes the act of walking. Hence it is used of a going, or way, or journeying. The first occurrence is Genesis 3:24. It occurs in this Psalm thirteen times: verses 1, 3, 5, 14, 26, 27, 29, 30, 32, 33, 37, 59, 168.
2. Testimonies (‘eduth) is from ‘ud, to turn back again, to go over again, to reiterate, hence, to testify. The first occurrence is Genesis 21:30 (edah). It occurs in this Psalm twenty-three times; nine times (‘eduth), verses 14, 31, 36, 88, 99, 111, 129, 144, 157; fourteen times (‘edah, feminine singular), verses 2, 22, 24, 46, 59, 79, 95, 119, 125, 138, 146, 152, 167, 168.
3. Precepts (pikkudim) is from pakad, to take oversight or charge: hence, mandates enjoined on others. It occurs only in the Book of Psalms (see 19:8, 103:18, 111:7). In Psalm 119 twenty-one times: verses 4, 15, 27, 40, 45, 56, 63, 69, 78, 87, 93, 94, 100, 104, 110, 128, 134, 141, 159, 168, 173.
4. Commandments (mizvah) is from zavah, to set up, constitute. Hence, constitutional commands. First occurrence Genesis 26:5. In Psalm 119, it occurs twenty-two times: verses 6, 10, 19, 21, 32, 35, 47, 48, 60, 66, 73, 86, 96 (singular), 98, 115, 127, 131, 143, 151, 166, 172, 176.
5. Word (‘imrah) is from ‘amar, to bring forth to light; hence, to say. The verb is very regularly followed by the words used; hence ‘imrah means an utterance and the purport of it. Not the same as dabar (No. 10 below), which refers to the articulate utterance of it. The first occurrence is in Genesis 4:23, and is rendered “speech.” In plural only once, Psalm 12:6 (the only other place where the plural is found). In Psalm 119 it occurs nineteen times: 11, 38, 41, 50, 58, 67, 76, 82, 103, 116, 123, 133, 140, 148, 154, 158, 162, 170, 172. With dabar the two occur forty-two times.
6. Law (torah) is from yarah, to project, issue: hence, to point out, to show (Proverbs 6:13). Then, to instruct, teach. The Torah contains Jehovah’s instructions to His People, pointing out to them His will. First occurrence is in Genesis 26:5 (plural). In Psalm 119, it occurs twenty-five times, always in the singular: verses 1, 18, 29, 34, 44, 51, 53, 55, 61, 70, 72, 77, 85, 92, 97, 109, 113, 126, 136, 142, 150, 153, 163, 165, 174.
7. Judgment (mishpat) is from shaphat, to set upright, erect (compare English right, and German richten and recht); hence, to judge. Mishpat means judgment. Its first occurrence is in Genesis 18:19 (in Jehovah’s mouth). In Psalm 119, it occurs twenty-three times (plural, except four times), verses 7, 13, 20, 30, 39, 43, 52, 62, 75, 84, 91 (ordinances), 102, 106, 108, 120, 121, 132 (as thou usest to do), 137, 149, 156, 160, 164, 175.
8. Righteousness, Right, etc., zedek, masculine), is from zadak, to be right, upright, just, righteous. Hence the noun means rightness. By comparing the first occurrence (Leviticus 19:15) with the second (Leviticus 19:36) we get the idea that the word has special reference to equal balancing. Zedek (masculine) occurs twelve times, and is rendered “righteousness” in Psalm 119: verses 123, 142 (second), 144, 172; “right,” verse 75 (margin, righteousness); “righteous” verses 7, 62, 106, 138, 160, 164; “justice,” verse 121. Zedakah (feminine), first occurrence, Genesis 15:6. In Psalm 119, “righteousness,” verses 40, 142 (first). Zaddik (adj.), spoken of a king (II Samuel 23:3), once, in Psalm 119 verse 137. The three words fifteen times in all.
9. Statute (hok and hukka) is from hakak, to hew, cut in, engrave, inscribe; hence, to decree, or ordain. The noun = a decree or ordinance. First occurrence, Genesis 26:5 (hukkah feminine). In Psalm 119, it occurs twenty-two times: namely: verses 5, 8, 12, 16 (hukkah, feminine), 23, 26, 33, 48, 54, 64, 68, 71, 80, 83, 112, 117, 118, 124, 135, 145, 155, 171.
10. Word, Words (dabar), is from dabar, to arrange in a row; hence, to set forth in speech. It refers to the articulate form of what is said, whether spoken or written (compare 5 above); to the mode or manner by which the ipsissima verba are imparted. The first occurrence is in Genesis 11:1 (“speech”). In Psalm 119, it occurs twenty-four times, three of them plural, namely: verses 9, 16, 17, 25, 28, 42 (twice, see Interlinear), 43, 49, 57 (plural), 65, 74, 81, 89, 101, 105, 107, 114, 130 (plural), 139 (plural), 147, 160, 161, 169.
Book of Psalms, Miscellaneous Phenomena
Appendix 63 from The Companion Bible
I. The Title of Psalms
The name given to the Book of Psalms as a whole by the Jews is Tehillim; but it is not recognized by this name in the Book itself.
Our English name “Psalms” is a transliteration of the Greek Title of the Septuagint, “Psalmoi,” which means “songs” [The word occurs seven times in the New Testament (Luke 20:42, 24:44; Acts 1:20, 13:33; I Corinthians 14:26; Ephesians 5:19; Colossians 3:16), four referring to the Book of Psalms, and the last three to Psalms in general.]; while the word “Psalter” is from the Greek Psalterion, a harp, or other stringed instrument.
There is no correspondence between the Greek and the Hebrew in these cases. Only once does a Psalm bear this word in its title, and that is Psalm 145 (sing. Tehillah).
Tehillim is invariably rendered “praises.” It is a verbal noun from the root halal, to make a jubilant sound. To make ellell means to rejoice. Compare German hallen and English halloo, yell.
Tehillim has therefore, a wide meaning, and includes all that is worthy of praise or celebration; and, especially the works and ways of Jehovah.
Hence, in this book, we have these works and ways set forth as they relate to the Divine counsels of God, (1) as to Man, (2) as to Israel, (3) as to the Sanctuary, (4) as to the Earth, and (5) as to Word of Jehovah. In those Structures light is thrown upon the “ways” of God. The need for this instruction is seen from the other meaning of halal, which in the Hithpael and Hithpolel means to praise or boast of one’s self, hence to be foolish. Compare I Kings 20:11; Job 12:17; Isaiah 44:25 (mad); Proverbs 20:14. [As it is foolish to glory in any object except in Jehovah (Jeremiah 4:2, 9:23, 24), so to boast of oneself is to be foolish in this case (Psalm 49:6; Proverbs 27:1. See Psalms 5:5, 73:3, 75:4, and compare 44:8).] This instruction is given concerning God’s ways and works exhibited in the Word of God from the beginning to the end.
II. Quotations from the Psalms in the New Testament
(a) Formulas Used in Direct Quotations
“As it is written”; or “It is written” Matthew 4:6 [This (with Psalm 91:12) was Satan’s quotation, mutilated by a significant suppression and omission.] (91:11). John 2:17 (69:9); 6:31 (78:24, 25). Acts 13:33 (2:7). Romans 3:4 (51:4). II Corinthians 4:13 (116:10).
“David,” or “in David” [In David. The Figure of speech, Ellipsis, that is to say, “in (the Psalm) of David”; or, “in (the person) of David.”] Matthew 21:43 (110:1). Acts 2:25 (16:8); 34 (110:1). Romans 4:6 (32:1, 2); 11:9, 10 (69:22, 23). Hebrews 4:7 (95:7-8).
“He (God) saith,” “said,” or “spake”: Acts 13:35 (16:10). Ephesians 4:8 (68:18). Hebrews 1:10-12 (102:25-27); 4:3 (95:11); 5:5 (2:7); 5:6 (110:4).
“He (God) limiteth”: Hebrews 4:7 (95:7).
“He (God) testifieth”: Hebrews 7:17 (110:4).
“In the Scriptures”: Matthew 21:42 (118:22, 23).
“In their law”: John 15:25 (35:19; 69:4). “In your law”: John 10:34 (82:6). [“Law” is used by Figure of speech, Metonymy (of the Part) for the whole of the Old Testament.]
“One in a certain place testifieth”: Hebrews 2:6 (8:4; 144:3).
“Spoken by (or through) the prophet”: Matthew 13:35 (78:2).
“The Book of Psalms”: Acts 1:20 (69:25).
“The mouth of David”: Acts 1:16 (41:9); 4:25, 26 (2:1, 2). [David’s “mouth,” but not David’s words.]
“The scripture”: John 7:42 (132:11); 13:18 (41:9); 19:24 (22:18), 28 (69:21), 36 (34:20), 37 (22:16, 17).
“The second Psalm”: Acts 13:33 (2:7).
(b) The Adaptation of Words of the Psalms, Without a Specific Quotation, or Reference to Fulfillment
2:7 (Hebrews 1:5).
2:9 (Revelation 2:27)
4:4 (Ephesians 4:26).
6:8 (Matthew 7:23).
8:2 (Matthew 21:16).
8:6 (I Corinthians 15:25, 17; Ephesians 1:20, 22).
9:8 (Acts 17:31).
19:4 (Romans 10:18).
22:1 (Matthew 27:43). The chief priests.
22:21 (II Timothy 4:17).
24:1 (I Corinthians 10:26, 28).
27:1 (Hebrews 13:6). See 118:6, below.
34:8 (I Peter 2:3).
40:6-8 (Hebrews 10:5-7).
41:9 (Mark 14:18). [John 13:18, 19:28, 29 uses the formula “that it might be fulfilled” because of the object of his Gospel (20:31).]
48:2 (Matthew 5:35).
50:14 (Hebrews 13:15).
55:22 (I Peter 5:7).
56:4, 11 (Hebrews 13:6).
69:9 (John 2:17).
69:21, 27 (Matthew 27:34, 38; Mark 15:36).
74:2 (Acts 20:28).
78:24, 25 (John 6:31).
79:6 (II Thessalonians 1:8).
89:27, 37 (Revelation 1:5, 3:14).
91:13 (Luke 10:19).
102:25-27 (Hebrews 1:10-12).
106:20 (Romans 1:23).
110:1 (Mark 16:19; I Corinthians 15:25, 27; Colossians 3:1; Ephesians 1:20, 22).
110:4 (Hebrews 5:10).
116:10 (II Corinthians 4:13).
116:11 (Romans 3:4).
118:6 (Hebrews 13:6). See 27:1, above.
118:22 (Acts 4:11; Matthew 21:42; I Peter 2:4, 7).
118:26 (Matthew 21:9).
125:5 (Galatians 6:16).
143:2 (Galatians 2:16).
146:6 (Acts 14:15).
III. Quotations as Being the Direct Fulfilment of Prophecies in the Psalms
22:18 (John 19:23, 24).
34:20 (John 19:36).
35:19 (John 15:25).
41:9 (John 13:18; Acts 1:16).
69:4 (John 15:25).
78:2 (Matthew 13:35).
97:7 (Hebrews 1:6).
109:3 (John 15:25).
119:161 (John 15:25).
IV. Quotations as Being the Direct Utterances of The Father, The Son, And The Holy Spirit, Respectively
2:7 (Hebrews 1:5, 6; Acts 13:33).
45:6, 7 (Hebrews 1:8, 9).
89:26, 27 (Hebrews 1:5).
97:7 (Hebrews 1:6).
102:25-27 (Hebrews 1:10-12).
104:4 (Hebrews 1:7).
110:1 (Hebrews 1:13).
18:2 (Hebrews 2:13).
22:1 (Matthew 27:46; Mark 15:34).
22:22, 25 (Hebrews 2:12).
40:6-8 (Hebrews 10:5-7, 8, 9).
45:6 (Hebrews 1:8).
The Holy Spirit:
41:9 (Acts 1:16).
95:7-11 (Hebrews 3:7-11).
V. Divine Titles Applied Directly to Christ in the New Testament
9:8 96:13 98:9 (Acts 17:31).
34:8 (I Peter 2:3).
45:6 (Hebrews 1:8).
62:12 (Matthew 16:27).
74:2 (I Peter 1:19).
97:7 (Hebrews 1:6).
102:25-27 (Hebrews 1:10-12).
104:4 (Hebrews 1:7).
VI. The Beatitudes in the Psalms
The word rendered “blessed” in the “Beatitudes” is not always “barak,” to bless; but ‘ashrey, happinesses. Its first occurrence is Deuteronomy 33:29. It is the plural of majesty or accumulation, and means “O the happinesses,” or, “O the great happinesses,” or, “O How happy.”
‘Ashrey occurs twenty-six times in the book of Psalms. It is translated “blessed” nineteen times, and “happy” seven times. In the list below, these latter are marked with an asterisk (*).
The following is the complete list:
Psalms 1:1, 2:12, 32:1, 2, 33:12, 34:8, 40:4, 41:1, 65:4, 84:4, 5, 12, 89:15, 94:12, 106:3, 112:1, 119:1, 2, 127:5*, 128:1, 2*, 137:8*, 9*, 144:15 (twice)*, 146:5*.
The word is distributed in five books of the Psalms as follows: Book I, eight times; Book II, once; Book III, four times; Book IV, twice; Book V, eleven times; making twenty-six in all.
VII. The Acrostic Psalms
There are nine examples of acrostics in the Book of Psalms, while eleven other acrostic Scriptures are found in the Old Testament. [There are five Books of Esther, each giving the Divine names in the form of an acrostic. One other Divine name in Psalm 96:11. One perfect Acrostic in Proverbs 31:10-31. In the Book of Lamentations, each of the first four chapters is characterized by an acrostic.]
i. Psalms 9 and 10 are linked together by an acrostic which, like “the times of trouble” (the great tribulation), which the two Psalms treat, is purposely broken, and is irregular and out of joint. This acrostic tells us that the subject of the two Psalms is one, and that they are to be connected together. See notes there [in The Companion Bible] on the many expressions common to both.
ii. Psalm 25. Here, again, the acrostic is designedly incomplete, a proof of its genuineness instead of its “corruption.” No writer would or could omit a letter from carelessness. The Psalm has the same phenomena as Psalm 34, where the same letter (Vau = V) is omitted, and the same letter (Pe = P) is duplicated, in the word Padah, “redeem.” The last verse is thus, in each case, made to stand out prominently by itself.
iii. Psalm 34. See under ii., above.
iv. Psalm 37. In this Psalm the series is perfect and complete. Every letter has two verses of lines each, except three: verses 7 ( , Daleth = D), 20 (, Kaph = K), and 34 (, Koph = K).
v. Psalm 111. In this Psalm the series is complete. The Psalm has twenty-two lines, each line commencing with the successive letters of the alphabet.
vi. Psalm 112 is formed on the model of Psalm 111, the two Psalms forming a pair; [With the further peculiarity that the first three verses in each Psalm consist of two portions: the last two, of three portions.] Psalm 111 being occupied with Jehovah, and Psalm 112 with the man that revereth Jehovah. See the notes there.
vii. Psalm 119. This Psalm consists of twenty-two groups, consisting of eight verses each. The eight verses in each group begin with same letter. For example: the first eight verses begin with (Aleph = A), the eight verses of the second group with (Beth = B), and so through the whole Psalm of 176 verses (8 x 22).
viii. Psalm 145. In this Psalm the acrostic is perfect, with the exception of the letter (Nun = N), which should come between verses 13 and 14. See note there.
Through the infirmity of some transcriber, the verse was probably omitted by him. It must have been in the more ancient manuscripts, because it is preserved in the ancient Versions: namely, the Septuagint, Syriac, Arabic, Ethiopic, and Vulgate. One Hebrew Codex is known which contains it, as follows:
“The Lord is faithful in all His words, And holy in all His works.”
Moreover, the structure of the Psalm shows that it originally had its proper place in the Psalm. See the notes on Psalm 145:13, 14.
ix. For the other acrostics in the Psalms, see the note on Psalm 96:11.
VIII. The Authors Named in the Psalms
1. The Psalms bearing the name of “David” are seventy-three in all: thirty-seven in the Book I (3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 11, 12, 13, 14, 15, 16, 17, 18, 19, 20, 21, 22, 23, 24, 25, 26, 27, 28, 29, 30, 31, 32, 34, 35, 36, 37, 38, 39, 40, 41); eighteen Psalms in Book II (51, 52, 53, 54, 55, 56, 57, 58, 59, 60, 61, 62, 63, 64, 65, 68, 69, 70); one in Book III (Psalm 86); two in Book IV (101 and 103); and fifteen in Book V (108, 109, 110, 122, 124, 131, 133, 138, 139, 140, 141, 142, 143, 144, 145).
2. By “Asaph,” twelve Psalms: one being in Book II (Psalm 50), and eleven in Book III (73, 74, 75, 76, 77, 78, 79, 80, 81, 82, 83).
3. By “the sons of Korah” eleven Psalms: seven being in Book II (42, 44, 45, 46, 47, 48, 49); and four in Book III (84, 85, 87, 88), as set out in The Companion Bible. In Psalms 46 and 88 it is repeated as the sub-scription of Psalms 45 and 87, and is not the super-scription of 46 and 88 as in all the Versions.
4. For, or of “Solomon,” two Psalms: one in Book II (Psalm 72), and one in Book V (Psalm 127).
5. “By Heman the Ezrahite.” one in Book III (Psalm 88).
6. By “Ethan the Ezrahite,” one in Book III (Psalm 89).
7. By “Moses the man of God,” one in Book IV (Psalm 90).
IX. Dispensational Character of the Psalms
[Editor’s note: I have left out this section, in which Bullinger expresses his dispensational views.]
X. The Distribution of the Divine Titles in the Five Books
It may conduce to the completeness of the study of the usage of the Divine Titles, in relation to the Dispensational character of the five Books of the Psalms, if we give a connected list. They are given under the Structure of each Book separately.
A comparison of these numbers will show that they correspond with the subject of each Book. When “God” is used, the thought is of the Creator and His creatures. When “Jehovah” is used, it speaks of a Covenant God, in covenant relation with His own People.
i. The Genesis Book, Psalms 1-41. Jehovah occurs 279 times, Elohim only forty-eight (nine of them connected with Jehovah).
ii. The Exodus Book, Psalms 42-72. Jehovah occurs only thirty-seven times, Elohim 262 times (twice in connection with Jehovah). El occurs fourteen times, and Jah once.
iii. The Leviticus Book, Psalms 73-89. In the First Section Jehovah occurs only fifteen times, while Elohim occurs sixty-five times (twice with Jehovah).
In the Second Section Jehovah occurs fifty times, while Elohim occurs only 28 times (four of which are connected with Jehovah). El occurs five times.
iv. The Numbers Book, Psalms 90-106. Jehovah occurs 126 times, and Elohim only thirty-one times (in ten of which it is combined with Jehovah). El occurs six times.
v. The Deuteronomy Book, Psalms 107-150). Jehovah occurs 293 times, while Elohim occurs only forty-one times (in four of which it is combined with Jehovah). Jah occurs thirteen times. El occurs ten times. Eloah twice.
“To the Chief Musician”
Appendix 64 from The Companion Bible
The key to the interpretation of these words has been lost for over twenty-two centuries.
Commentators and critics have confessed that they can make only conjectures as to the primitive meaning and use of the word (for it is only one word in Hebrew) lamenazzeah.
The Ancient Versions attempt a rendering. The Septuagint has eis to telos = unto, for, or, with a view to the end. The Arabic, Ethiopic, and Vulgate render it “at the end.” The Chaldee renders it (Psalm 45) “to the praise.” The Talmudists hold that it related to Him Who is to come; while Aquila (one of the Septuagint Revisers, A.D. 130) renders it “to Nikopoio” = to the giver of victory.
It is clear that a Person was intended by these various renderings; but they appear to be interpretations rather than translations. Regarded as the former, they may be useful in showing us how the Psalms point to Christ; for He is the end. It is He Who giveth victory; it is He Who is the Coming One: and, while the book is called Sepher Tehillim, the Book of Praises, it is He Who “inhabiteth the praises of Israel” (Psalm 22:3).
All ancient Hebrew manuscripts, with the early and best later printed editions, show no break whatever between the lines of one Psalm and another.
The Septuagint translators had been many years in Babylon, and the oldest among them must have been very young when carried away thither.
There was none who had full knowledge and experience of the ancient usages of the Temple worship.
Consequently, when they came to their task some 197 years after the latest carrying away to Babylon, there was nothing to show them where one Psalm ended and where the next began.
Hence, when they came to the word lamenazzeah, “To the chief Musician,” they took it as being the first line of a Psalm, instead of the last line of the preceding Psalm which they had just translated. All subsequent Versions, in all languages, have followed them in this mistake. For mistake it was, as we may see from the only two examples of independent Psalms given us in the Scriptures: namely, Isaiah 38:9-20, and Habakkuk 3.
In each of these isolated Psalms we have the true models on which all the other Psalms are based.
In each case we have:
1. The Super-scription, or Title proper.
2. The body of the Psalm itself.
3. The Sub-scription.
In each of these two cases the word lamenazzeah, forms the sub-scription, and appears at the end of the Psalm.
This is the key thus discovered by Dr. J.W. Thirtle [These facts have been discovered, and admirably set forth by Dr. J. W. Thirtle, in his two works on this subject, namely, The Titles of the Psalms: their Nature and Meaning explained (1904), and Old Testament Problems (1907). Both published by Henry Frowde, Oxford Bible Warehouse, London.] which had been lost for so many centuries; and The Companion Bible is the first edition of the Bible in which the Psalms are thus correctly presented in harmony with the two Psalm-models, Isaiah 38:9-20, and Habakkuk 3.
The unspeakable importance of Dr. Thritle’s discovery is at once seen. For it shows two things:
1. That, whatever the interpretation or application of the words may be, a Psalm which had this word in the sub-scription had a use beyond its local, temporary, or original purpose; and, being considered appropriate use, or for special occasions, was handed over to the Director of the Temple worship with any instructions which might be necessary for its use.
2. That such word or words of instruction, which today stand in the Septuagint and all subsequent Versions of the Bible as the super-scription, belong, not to that Psalm, but to the sub-scription of the Psalm preceding it.
This, at one stroke, removes the great difficulty, and solves the heretofore insoluble problem and impossible task which all Commentators have experienced, when they struggled in the attempt to find in one Psalm the explanation of words which belong to another.
Few problems so difficult and baffling have been removed by a solution so simple and self-explanatory.
This one feature, which by Dr. Thirtle’s kind permission, has been taken over into The Companion Bible, must greatly enhance its value and usefulness, making it unique among all existing editions of the Bible.
Words in the Text of the Psalms.
Appendix 66 from The Companion Bible
Certain Hebrew words are retained in the body of the text of the Psalms, being transliterated instead of translated. Not forming any part of the title, super-scription or sub-scription, they are considered here in a separate Appendix.
They are two in number, that is to say, higgaion and selah, and we preserve the spelling of the Authorized Version for the sake of convenience.
I. Higgaion = Soliloquy.
The word is found in three Psalms: namely 9:16, 19:14, and 92:3.
In 9:16 it is transliterated “Higgaion.”
In 19:14 it is translated “meditation.”
In 92:3 it is rendered “solemn sound.”
The word occurs also in Lamentations 3:62, where it is rendered in the Authorized Version “device,” and in the Revised Version “imagination.”
It is derived from hagah, and means to soliloquize, to speak to one’s self; hence, to meditate (Joshua 1:8, also Psalms 77:12 and 143:5).
As a noun, it would mean a meditation, or a speaking in premeditated words; and therefore worthy of memory or repetition.
If the three Psalms be read in the light of this word, we shall note the subjects which are so worthy of our meditation, and not think about music.
In Psalm 9:16, it is the judgment of Jehovah.
In Psalm 19:14, it is the words and the work of Jehovah.
In Psalm 92:2, 3, it is the lovingkindness and faithfulness of Jehovah.
This word may be from one of two roots; from salah = to pause; or salal = to lift up.
There is no need to descend to the guesses as to musical terms. A reference to Appendix 65 (Int. Col. 1) will lead us to connect it with subject-matter, not with music; and with truth, not with tunes.
Some say it occurs always at the beginning of a strophe; others, always at the end. But this is a question of fact, and not of argument.
The outstanding fact is that in four cases it comes in the middle of a verse, that is to say, Psalm 55:19, 57:3; and Habakkuk 3:3, 9.
This is fatal to both theories, but yet it helps us to, and agrees with, the right conclusion, that both are the two halves of one truth. Selah does connect the end of one strophe with the beginning of the next; and, indeed, in four cases it connects the end of one Psalm with the beginning of the next, thus uniting the two Psalms (see Psalms 3 with 4; 9 with 10; 24 with 25; and 46 with 47).
Selah, therefore, neither ends nor begins a passage, but it connects the two passages between which it is placed.
An examination of each occurrence will show what this connection is. It is neither the pausing on one subject; nor the passing on from one subject to another: but it is the connecting of the two subjects together.
Sometimes it is the Structures which are connected. Sometimes it is synthetic, and adds a development of thought by connecting a prayer with that which forms the basis of it.
Sometimes it is antithetic, and adds a contrast. Or it connects a cause with an effect, or an effect with a cause.
It is a thought-link, which bids us look back at what has been said, and mark its connection with what is to follow; or to some additional consequent teaching.
Thus, if it be derived from salah, to pause, it is not the instruments of music which are to pause while the voices continue to sing; but it is our hearts which are to pause and to note the connection of precious truths.
If it be derived from salal, to lift up, then, it is not the instruments which are to lift up their sound in a louder degree, but our hearts which are to be lifted up to consider more solemnly the two truths which are about to be connected.
These connections, showing the importance and object of each “Selah,” are given in the notes on each occurrence of the word.
The phenomena connected with “Selah” may be thus stated:
The word occurs seventy-four times in the Bible, and all are in the Old Testament. Of these, seventy-one are in the Book of Psalms, and three are in the model Psalm, “the prayer of Habakkuk,” chapter 3.
The use of the word is confined to thirty-nine Psalms out of the 150. In sixteen of these thirty-nine it occurs once (7, 20, 21, 44, 47, 48, 50, 54, 60, 61, 75, 81, 82, 83, 85, and 143): of these thirty-nine Psalms, thirty-one are in Psalms handed over to “the chief Musician.” (See Appendix 64.)
In fifteen Psalms it occurs twice (4, 9, 24, 39, 49, 52, 55, 57, 59, 62, 67, 76, 84, 87, and 88).
In seven Psalms it occurs thrice (3, 32, 46, 66, 68, 77, and 140).
In one Psalm it occurs four times, namely, Psalm 89.
It is distributed over the five Books of the Psalms as follows :
Book I (1-41), seventeen times in nine Psalms.
Book II (42-72), thirty times in seventeen Psalms.
Book III (73-89), twenty times in eleven Psalms.
Book IV and V (90-150), four times in two Psalms.
— compiled by Richard C. Nickels Ω
Additional Resources on the Book of Psalms
The Treasury of David, written by Charles H. Spurgeon, is the most famous commentary on the Book of Psalms. Originally written in six volumes, this timeless classic has been updated by Roy H. Clarke in a one-volume, 1536-page edition. You may order this book online from our website: www.giveshare.org/library/spurgeon.html. Or, you may order it from Giving & Sharing, PO Box 100, Neck City, MO 64849 for $25 (2005 price).
The Companion Bible, by E.W. Bullinger, with his famous appendices, is a recommended study Bible. We have cited some of its material on Psalms, but it has much more. Order the Bible online from www.giveshare.org/library/bible/companion.html, or from Giving & Sharing (2005 price is $63 plus postage for leather edition). The Companion Bible Appendix, 227 pp., $10, from Giving & Sharing, has only the appendices, which are the heart of the study Bible.
C129, set of three audio tapes on “The Book of Psalms,” a series of sermons by Richard C. Nickels, $3 postpaid.
Psalms Matching Test
Match the Psalm number with the phrase or description of that psalm. Answers are given at the end of the test.
___ 1000-year Psalm
___ A priest forever after the order of Melchizedek
___ Better to trust in Lord than men
___ Blessed is the man
___ Blessed whose transgression is forgiven
___ Blow the trumpet in the New Moon
___ By the waters of Babylon
___ Create in me a clean heart
___ Except the Lord build the house, they labor in vain that build it.
___ Fool said in his heart, there is no God
___ Fret not thyself because of evildoers
___ Give ear, O My people, to My law
___ Give ear, O shepherd of Israel
___ God is our refuge
___ Heathen rage
___ Heavens declare the glory of God
___ His mercy endureth forever
___ His wife shall be a fruitful vine, his children like olive plants
___ How amiable are thy dwellings
___ How excellent is Thy name!
___ I was glad when they said, let us go into the House of the Lord
___ I will lift up mine eyes unto the hills
___ Law Psalm, 22 parts, 176 verses
___ Make a joyful noise unto the Lord
___ My friend and guide has become enemy
___ My soul thirstest for God
___ Pentecost Psalm
___ Praise ye the Lord!
___ Psalm of Protection
___ Sabbath Psalm
___ Shepherd’s Psalm
___ Shew me Thy ways O Lord
___ Sing unto the Lord a new song
___ The Lord is my light and my salvation
___ The Lord is my rock
___ Unity Psalm, Fellowship Psalm
___ When Israel went out of Egypt
___ When the Lord turned again the captivity of Israel, we were like those in a dream
___ Who forgiveth all iniquities, healeth all thy diseases
___ Who shall dwell in Thy holy hill?
Answers: 90, 110, 118, 1, 32, 81, 137, 51, 127, 53, 37, 78, 80, 46, 2, 19, 136, 128, 84, 8, 122, 121, 119, 100, 55, 42, 68, 150, 91, 92, 23, 25, 96, 27, 18, 133, 114, 126, 103, 15.