Old Testament Commentary ~ Psalms

Commentary by Don R. Hender

The Psalms are the Hymns of the Old Testament. They are set out in a poetic form and set to music. They are the songs of praise compiled and written primarily by King David. But we cannot suppose that David created them out of thin air. They are based upon the scriptural understanding and upon various prophetic writings and prior songs and poetry which David and the other Psalms writers had access to. And what they present is that much has been lost that once was scripture and most likely particularly those scriptures which presented the coming of the Son of God, even Jesus Christ (the Messiah) which the Jews did persecute and murder the prophets for teaching. Certainly such writings of these persecuted prophets would be disgarded or highly edited whereas perhaps the psalms of the king would not and thus allow at least a remnant of some preserved verses of such prophets in song.

For example, Psalm 110 speaks of God the Father placing Jehovah the Son in the position of being at the right hand of God the Father. This was certainly taken from some prior revealed prophetic scriptural reference which clearly set out the calling and election of Jehovah as recorded in the book of Abraham and Moses in the Pearl of Great Price. And it is likely that we only still have the Psalms record of such out of the 'Royal' respect that the Kings of the House of Daivd owed to originating their claim from David. In fact the 'Messianic' psalms even today from the perspective of the Jews does but speak of the position of the 'anointed king' and are therefore called 'Royal Psalms'. That David was a type and shadow of Messiah to come and thus the verses may be seen as not only dualistic by readily transferable from 'king' to 'Christ' is not considered by the Jews, but to any good Christian they are but all too obvious in their fulfilments in Jesus Christ as the New Testament atests.

The benefit of having the Psalms is that many revealed concepts have been preserved in the hymnal verses of the Psalms. The tradgedy is that we no longer have many of the original writings of such prophets upon which they were based. The Jewish Bible was not compiled in a form similar to today's Bible until after the Babylonian captivity took place. And we already have record for much disregard and corruption of any such earlier scriptural writings in the fact that in the day of Josiah it was but a miracle that they found the record of the law in the temple during its renovative reconstruction. From that delapadated state, Josiah was likely greatly responsible for the conservation of what scriptural references had survived up and until that very late date.

The Babylonian captivity likely helped to preserve any of the remaining scriptures at the same time that it potentially threatened the destorying of them. In such a captive state, the Jewish turn to and clung to their God, and prophets such as Ezekiel were commanded by God to prepare, compile and write the record of the Jews (See Ezekiel 37:15 . . .). The greatest hope for one day recovering the lost scriptures is in the stick or record of Joseh of the brass plates of Laban, which seem to be the record Joseph was commanded by to Lord to be kept from the time of Joseph (See JST Genesis 50:31).

Like a tree by water * 39 Keep tongue; hope  77 Remembering God's ways 115 Idols; no praise in death
Anointed; son (Christ)* 40 Lord lifted me; trust  78 Trust God; remember 116 Lord heard; death
Many foes; shield 41 Weak protected, mercy  79 How long oppression? 117 Lord is good; salvation
Glory to shame; peace. 42 As the deer pants  80 Restore us; save us 118 Love, freedom & victory
Listen to cry; bow 43 Vindicate; light, truth  81 Sing to God; peop.nt.listn 119 Importance of law
Weeping; God's rebuke 44 Scattered but we remem  82 Unjust judges like gods 120 Lying; peace refused
Deliverance; end wicked 45 Messiah and Esther  83 God stop your enemies 121 Keeper of Israel *
God & unworthy man* 46 God is our strength  84 How lovely dwl; sparrow 122 House of Lord; judgment*
Just judgment; throne 47 Clap; God is King  85 Forgiveness; mercy, truth 123 Request mercy; hatred
10 Hear cry of oppressed 48 Great is the Lord; north  86 Teach me your ways 124 If Lord not been our side *
11 Lord is in temple * 49 Why fear the foolish rich  87 Foundation on mtn. 125 Trust, like Mt. Zion
12 Words of wicked; of God 50 God shines; delivers  88 Lord saves; hear cry 126 When Lord br. captives
13 Trust salvation 51 Purge with hyssop  89 Mercy&ju; coven.; David 127 Lord builds house; children
14 Fool, no God; salvation 52 Destroy you forever  90 Our dwelling before mtns. 128 Blessings of fearing God
15 Who dwell in holy h. 53 Corrupt; salvation Israel  91 Sheltered in trouble time 129 Victory of Zion
16 Joy; Messiah resurrec. 54 Deliverance  92 Love & faithfulness of Lord 130 Cry fr.depths; forgive
17 Trials from God; resurr. 55 Fear,hope,escape,trust  93 Higher than mighty waters* 131 Like a weaned child
18 Deliv. phys.&spiritual 56 They twist my words  94 Arise O judge of earth 132 Seeking a place for the L
19 Sky declares God* 57 Among lions; soul fixed  95 Joyful noise; Enter rest 133 Good for broth. together
20 God answers in trouble 58 Judgment, corrupt & true  96 Lord comes to judge earth 134 Bless night watchmen
21 David's praise for bless.* 59 Show enem. Lord's powr  97 Messiah judges; delivers 135 God vs.idols; redemption*
22 Suffering Messiah 60 Show favor to us again  98 Sing new song; joyfully 136 His mercy endures forever
23 The Shepherd's Psalm 61 Lead to rock; shelter  99 Lord reigns; worship* 137 Weep in Bab.; can't sing
24 All is His; King of glory 62 Wait for salvation 100 Joyful noise; thanksgiving* 138 I praise; kings praise
25 Show me your ways 63 Seek God early; helped 101 I will destroy wicked 139 God knows & sees us
26 Examine me; integrity 64 Save from fear of enemy 102 God's care for discouraged 140 Deliverance from evil men
27 Fearless trust 65 Blessing for all; seas 103 God's mercy; throne 141 Sanctification; protection
28 Help; save thy people 66 Works of God; prayer* 104 God guides His works 142 In discouragement
29 Seven voices of thunder 67 Praise; judgm.; nations* 105 God's promises and Egypt 143 Teach your will; deliver
30 House dedication; sick 68 Sinai&Sanct, wicked die 106 Joy in forgiveness; history 144 My rock, deliverer, sing
31 Refuge in the Lord 69 Distress and curses 107 Blessings&curses-victory 145 Lord is great, sustains
32 Blessing of forgivns. 70 Help quick; some praise* 108 Victory over enemies 146 Mortal man
33 Creation by word 71 Refuge in old age 109 Call to judge accusers 147 Lord builds J; gathers
34 Protection, instruction 72 David's prayer for Sol. 110 LORD to Lord; Melchiz. 148 Praise,.creation; saints *
35 Fight my enemies 73 wicked prosp. Messiah 111 Praise; covenant; wisdom* 149 Praise for salvation
36 Wickedness & love 74 How long; sanctuary 112 Happy in righteousness* 150 All things praise
37 Promises and Curses 75 Righteous judgments 113 Majesty of God who lifts* - -
38 Feeling God's wrath 76 Majesty in judgment 114 Tremble; God of Exodus* - -
An asterisk * indicates a responsive, choral reading arrangement and/or arrangement in a chiastic or other literary pattern. Many if not all the psalms without asterisks have patterns, too. I've left plenty for you to enjoy discovering. I grant permission to copy, modify, and otherwise use the ideas in these verses. Except that copyrighted text used beyond "fair use" under copyright law requires permission from the source publisher. The KJV Bible text is in the public domain. Mention of this website is appreciated but not required.
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