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This book is termed in Hebrew Sepher Tehillim, "The Book of Praises," as the major part of the psalms have for their subject the praises of the Lord.

That the psalms were sung in the Jewish service, and frequently accompanied by musical instruments, there is no doubt, for the fact is repeatedly mentioned; and hence the most ancient translation we have of the Psalms, viz., the Septuagint, as it stands in what is called the Codex Alexandrinus, is called "The Psaltery," which is a species of musical instrument resembling the harp, according to the accounts given of it by some of the ancients. From this term came the Psalterium of the Vulgate, and our word "Psalter."

A psalm is called in Hebrew mizmor, from zamar, "to cut off," because in singing each word was separated into its component syllables, each syllable answering to a note in the music.

The Hebrews divide the Psalms into five books, and this division is noticed by several of the primitive fathers. The origin of this division is not easily ascertained; but as it was considered a book of great excellence, and compared for its importance to the Pentateuch itself, it was probably divided into five books, as the law was contained in so many volumes.

Book I. From Psalm 1 to Psalm 41 inclusive.

Book II. From Psalm 42 to Psalm 72 inclusive.

Book III. From Psalm 53 to Psalm 89 inclusive.

Book IV. From Psalm 90 to Psalm 106 inclusive.

Book V. From Psalm 107 to Psalm 150 inclusive.

That the collection, as it now stands, was made long after David's death is a general opinion among learned men; and Ezra was the collector and compiler is commonly believed. As to the inscriptions, they are of slender authority; several of them do not agree with the subject of the psalm to which they are prefixed, and not a few of them appear to be out of their places. Supposing that the persons mentioned are the authors of those psalms to which their names are prefixed, there are still fifty-three which, as bearing no proper name, must be attributed to uncertain authors, though it is very probable that several of them were made by David.

That there were several authors, and that the psalms were composed at different times, is sufficiently evident from the compositions themselves. The occasions also on which they were written are frequently pointed out by their contents.

The Psalms

Anciently the Jews divided the Old Testament into three main sections: the Law (the first five books of Moses), the Prophets, and the Writings. The Psalms constituted the major portion of the third division.

The Hebrew name for Psalms was Tehillim, or songs of praise. Our title comes from the Greek psalterion, which is formed from the root psallo, meaning "to sing" (Clarke, Bible Commentary, 3:199).

Anciently the Hebrews divided the one hundred and fifty psalms into five separate books that included, in today's Bible, Psalms 1 through 41, 42 through 72, 73 through 89, 90 through 106, and 107 through 150. At the end of each division, the break is marked with a doxology, or formal declaration of God's power and glory (see Psalms 41:13; 72:19; 89:52; 106:48). Psalms 150 is itself a doxology, using the Hebrew Hallelujah, "praise ye the Lord," at its beginning and end, as well as the word praise eleven other times. It is a fitting conclusion to the Tehillim, "songs of praise."

Who Wrote the Psalms?

There is a great debate among biblical scholars about the authorship of the Psalms. Superscriptions on many of the Psalms themselves attribute them to various ancient authors:

Psalms with no superscription ... 18

Psalms attributed to David ... 73

Psalms attributed to Solomon ... 2

Psalms attributed to Asaph (a musician in David's court) ... 12

Psalms attributed to the sons of Korah (Levites) ... 11

Psalms attributed to Heman (a leader of the temple music) ... 1

Psalms attributed to Ethan (a leader of the temple music) ... 1

Psalms attributed to Moses ... 1

Psalms with song titles ... 4

Hallelujah ("Praise Ye Jehovah") Psalms ... 18

Psalms of Degree (see Reading 28-4 for a definition) ... 15

"Although modern critics ... customarily deny the Davidic authorship of the Psalms, there is ample internal evidence that David, the great poet and musician of Israel, was the principal author of the Psalter. This position, despite the contention of negative criticism, is indicated by the following reasons: (1) David's name is famous in the O. T. period for music and song and is closely associated with holy liturgy (2 Sam. 6:5-15; 1 Chron. 16:4; 2 Chron. 7:6; 29:30). (2) David was especially endowed by the Holy Spirit (1 Sam. 23:1, 2; Mark 12:36; Acts 2:25-31; 4:25, 26). (3) David's music and poetical gifts appear indelibly interwoven on the pages of O. T. history. He is called ‘the sweet psalmist of Israel' (2 Sam. 23:1). He was a skilled performer on the lyre (1 Sam. 16:16-18). He was the author of the masterful elegy written upon the death of Saul and Jonathan (2 Sam. 1:19-27). He is referred to as a model poetmusician by the prophet Amos (Amos 6:5). (4) Much internal evidence in the psalms themselves point to David's authorship. Most of the songs attributed to him reflect some period of his life, such as Psa. 23, 51 and 57. In line with this evidence of Scripture, a number of the psalms indicate Davidic authorship. (5) Certain psalms are cited as Davidic in Scripture in general. Acts 4:25, 26 so cites Psalm 2. Acts 2:25-28 so cites Psalm 16. Romans 4:6-8 cites Psalm 32. Acts 1:16-20 thus refers to Psalm 69. Also, Rom. 11:9, 10. [See also] Acts 1:20 with Psalm 109; Matt. 22:44; Mark 12:36, 37; Luke 20:42-44; Acts 2:34 with Psalm 110." (Unger, Bible Dictionary, s.v., "Psalms," pp. 898-99.)

What Is the Significance of the Unusual Words Found As Subtitles throughout the Psalms?

In addition to the superscription indicating the author of the psalm, there are often instructions which contain words transliterated from the Hebrew and left untranslated. Generally, they seem to have been specific instructions to the singer or the musicians, or to have served as a note about the nature of the particular song.

"Of the terms left untranslated or obscure in our Bible, it may be well to offer some explanation in this place, taking them in alphabetical order for the sake of convenience ...

"(1) Aijeleth Shahar, Hind of the Morning, i.e. the sun, or the dawn of day. This occurs only in [Psalm 22], where we may best take it to designate a song, perhaps commencing with these words, or bearing this name, to the melody of which the psalm was to be sung ...

"(2) Alamoth [Psalm 46], probably signifies virgins, and hence denotes music for female voices, or the treble ...

"(3) Al-taschith, Destroy Thou Not, is found over [Psalms 57-59, 75], and signifies, by general consent, some well-known ode beginning with the expression [compare Isaiah 65:8], to the tune of which these compositions were to be sung.

"(4) Degrees appears over fifteen Psalms [120-34], called Songs of Degrees, and has been explained in various ways, of which the following are the chief. (a) The ancients understood by it stairs or steps, ... and in accordance with this, Jewish writers relate ... that these Psalms were sung on fifteen steps, leading from the court of Israel to the court of the women. This explanation is now exploded ... (b) Luther, whom Tholuck is inclined to follow, renders the title a song in the higher choir, supposing the Psalms to have been sung from an elevated place or ascent, or with elevated voice. (c) Gesenius, Delitzsch and De Wette think the name refers to a peculiar rhythm in these songs, by which the sense advances by degrees, and so ascends from clause to clause. (d) According to the most prevalent and probable opinion, the title signifies song of the ascents, or pilgrim song, meaning a song composed for, or sung during the journeying of the people up to Jerusalem, whether as they returned from Babylon, or as they statedly repaired to the national solemnities ... Journeys to Jerusalem are generally spoken of as ascents, on account of the elevated situation of the city and temple [see Ezra 7:9; Psalm 122:4]. This explanation of the name is favored by the brevity and the contents of these songs.

"(5) Gittith appears over [Psalms 8, 81, 84], and is of very uncertain meaning, though not improbably it signifies an instrument or tune brought from the city of Gath ...

"(6) Higgaion is found over [Psalm 9:16], and probably means either musical sound, according to the opinion of most, ... or meditation according to Tholuck and Hengstenberg.

"(7) Jeduthun is found over [Psalms 39, 62, 67], and is generally taken for the name of choristers descended from Jeduthun, of whom we read in [1 Chronicles 25:1, 3], as one of David's three chief musicians or leaders of the Temple music. This use of the name Jeduthun for Jeduthunites is perhaps like the well-known use of Israel for the Israelites. It is most probable that in [Psalm 39] Jeduthun himself is meant, and not his family. The Psalm may have been set to music by Jeduthun or set to a theme named for him ...

"(8) Jonath-elem-rechokim, the silent dove of them that are afar, or perhaps the dove of the distant terebinth, found only over [Psalm 56], may well denote the name or commencement of an ode to the air of which this psalm was sung.

"(9) Leannoth in the title of [Psalm 88] is quite obscure. It is probably the name of a tune.

"(10) Mahalath occurs in [Psalms 53 and 88], and denotes, according to some, a sort of flute ... Upon Mahalath Leannoth [Psalm 88] is perhaps a direction to chant it to the instrument or tune called mahalath.

"(11) Maschil is found in the title of thirteen psalms. Delitzsch supposes it to mean a meditation. According to Gesenius, De Wette, Ewald, and others, it means a poem, so called either for its skillful composition or for its wise and pious strain. The common interpretation makes it a didactic poem, ... to teach or make wise.

"(12) Michtam is prefixed to [Psalms 16, 56-60], and is subject to many conjectures. Many, after Aben Ezra, derive it from the Hebrew word meaning gold, and understand a golden psalm, so called probably on account of its excellence ...

"(13) Muth-labben [Psalm 9] presents a perfect riddle, owing to the various readings of MSS., and the contradictory conjectures of the learned. Besides the common reading upon death to the son, we have the same word that is used in [Psalm 46] (see above Alamoth). Some explain it as the subject or occasion of the song, but most refer it to the music ("set to Muthlabben" R.V.). Gesenius, in his last edition, renders it -- with virgins' voice for the boys, i.e., to be sung by a choir of boys in the treble.

"(14) Neginoth [Psalm 4; 61] ... This name, from the Hebrew word meaning to strike a chord, ... clearly denotes that the Psalm was to be sung to the accompaniment of stringed instruments.

"(15) Nehiloth [Psalm 5], comes most likely from the Hebrew word meaning to perforate, and denotes pipes or flutes.

"(16) Selah is found seventy-three times in the psalms, generally at the end of a sentence or paragraph; but in [Psalms 50:19 and 57:3] it stands in the middle of the verse ... most authors have agreed in considering this word as somehow relating to the music ... Probably selah was used to direct the singer to be silent, or to pause a little, while the instruments played an interlude or symphony. In [Psalm 9:16] it occurs in the expression higgaion selah, which Gesenius, with much probability, renders instrumental music, pause, i.e., let the instruments strike up a symphony, and let the singer pause.

"(17) Sheminith [Psalms 6 and 7] means properly eighth, and denotes either, as some think, an instrument with eight chords, or, more likely, music in the lower notes, or bass. This is strongly favored by [1 Chronicles 15:20-21], where the terms alamoth and sheminith clearly denote different parts of music: the former answering to our treble, and the latter to the bass, an octave below.

"(18) Shiggaion [Psalm 7], denotes, according to Gesenius and Furst, a song or hymn; but Ewald and Hengstenberg derive it from a Hebrew word meaning to err or wander; and hence the former understands a song uttered in the greatest excitement, the latter after the manner of dithyrambs, or to dithyrambic measures.

"(19) Shushan [Psalm 60] and in plural shoshannim [Psalms 45, 69, 80]. This word commonly signifies lily, and probably denotes either an instrument bearing some resemblance to a lily (perhaps cymbal), or more probably a melody so named. Eduth is joined to it in [Psalms 60 and 80], giving the sense lily of testimony, the name of a tune." (Fallows, Bible Encyclopedia, s.v. "Psalms," 3:1406-7.)

In addition to these headings, Psalm 119 is divided into twenty-two sections corresponding to the twenty-two letters of the Hebrew alphabet. Each section is titled with the corresponding name of the Hebrew letter and its English transliteration. This designation shows that in the Hebrew the psalm forms an acrostic. (An acrostic is a poem or work of prose in which the initial letter of each line forms its own word or a particular pattern.) In Psalm 119 each of the twenty-two sections has eight lines. Every line in each section begins with the same letter of the Hebrew alphabet. In other words, verses 1-8 all start in the original with aleph, verses 9-16 with beth, and so on. In an age when literature was often memorized and transmitted orally, such devices were a valuable aid to memory. Psalms 25 and 34 also form acrostics with each new line beginning with a successive letter, but this design is not evident in the English translation.

How Does One Explain the Self-Justification and the Calls for Judgments Found in Certain Psalms?

"Christians reading the psalms are bound to come across two special problem areas. One is the self-justification of the psalmists. The other is their tendency to call down and spell out the most terrible vengeance. We cannot simply discard the offending passages. They are part of God's word, alongside passages no one would question. Nor will it do to excuse the psalmists on the grounds that they did possess the law. They knew as well as we do that no man is perfect by God's standards; and they were taught to behave in a loving way to others (Leviticus 19:17-18), even their enemies (Exodus 23:4-5). The law did not license retaliation, it set limits to it (an eye for an eye, and no more).

"Self-justification. Two comments may help. First, the psalmist is claiming comparative, not absolute righteousness (i.e. in comparison with other people, not measured by God's standards). 'A good man may sin and yet be a good man.' There is all the difference in the world between those who endeavour to do right and those who deliberately set aside the common laws of God and society. David, in particular, was well aware of his shortcomings before God (see Psalms 51 and 19:11-13). Deep repentance features alongside self-justification in the psalms.

"Second, the psalmist is very often picturing himself as 'the indignant plaintiff' putting his case before God the Judge. And, however much we dislike his self-righteous tone, from this point of view he is unquestionably 'in the right'.

"Cursing and vengeance. Before we rush to condemn these passages as utterly ‘unchristian', there are a few points worth bearing in mind.

"The first concerns God's holiness. In emphasizing God's love we tend today to be over-sentimental about rank evil. But the psalmists knew God as One ‘whose eyes are too pure to look upon evil', who cannot countenance wrongdoing. And this is what motivates their call for vengeance on the wicked. God's own character -- his good name -- demands it.

"Second, the psalmists are realistic in recognizing that right cannot triumph without the actual overthrow of evil and punishment of wrong. We pray ‘Thy kingdom come'. But we are often horrified when the psalmists spell out what this means -- perhaps because we are less in love with good, less opposed to evil than they were; or because many of us have never known real persecution for our faith; or because we value life more than right.

"However, if the psalmists are guilty of actually gloating over the fate of the wicked, if personal vindictiveness creeps in under the cloak of concern for God's good name, we are right to condemn it -- and beware. We can ourselves so easily be guilty of the same thing. But in the psalmist's case the wrong thinking (if wrong thinking there is) never carries over into wrong action. There is no question of him taking the law into his own hands ... Vengeance is always seen as God's province, and his alone.” (Alexander and Alexander, Eerdmans' Handbook to the Bible, p. 339.)

The Poetry of the Psalms Compared with Other Classical Poetry

"The Hebrew Psalter is the most ancient collection of poems in the world; and was composed long before those in which ancient Greece and Rome have gloried. Among all the heathen nations Greece had the honour of producing not only the first, but also the most sublime, of poets: but the subjects on which they employed their talents had, in general, but little tendency to meliorate the moral condition of men. Their subjects were either a fabulous theology, a false and ridiculous religion, chimerical wars, absurd heroism, impure love, agriculture, national sports, or hymns in honour of gods more corrupt than the most profligate of men. Their writings served only to render vice amiable, to honour superstition, to favour the most dangerous and most degrading passions of men, such as impure love, ambition, pride, and impiety. What is said of the Greek poets may be spoken with equal truth of their successors and imitators, the Latin poets; out of the whole of whose writings it would be difficult to extract even the common maxims of a decent morality ... The Hebrew poets, on the contrary, justly boast the highest antiquity: they were men inspired of God, holy in their lives, pure in their hearts, labouring for the good of mankind; proclaiming by their incomparable compositions the infinite perfections, attributes, and unity of the Divine nature; laying down and illustrating the purest rules of the most refined morality, and the most exalted piety. God, his attributes, his works, and the religion which he has given to man, were the grand subjects of their Divinely inspired muse. By their wonderful art, they not only embellished the history of their own people, because connected intimately with the history of God's providence, but they also, by the light of the Spirit of God that was within them, foretold future events of the most unlikely occurrence, at the distance of many hundreds of years, with such exact circumstantiality as has been the wonder and astonishment of considerate minds in all succeeding generations; a fact which, taken in its connection with the holiness and sublimity of their doctrine; the grandeur, boldness, and truth of their imagery; demonstrates minds under the immediate inspiration of that God whose nature is ineffable, who exists in all points of time, and whose wisdom is infinite.” (Clarke, Bible Commentary, 3:208.)

The Messianic Nature of the Psalms

"Although the Psalter is largely composed of devotional hymns, heartfelt praise and personal testimonies of praise and thanksgiving to the Lord, yet many of these poetic gems give far-reaching predictions and are prophetic as well as devotionally didactic. Psalm 2 is a magnificent prophetic panorama of Messiah's redemptive career and His return as King of Kings. Psalm 22 is an amazingly detailed prophecy of the suffering and death of Christ in His first advent. Psalm 110 is a far-reaching prophecy of Christ as a perpetual Priest. Psalm 16 heralds His future resurrection; Psalm 72 envisions the coming millennial kingdom. Psalm 45 brings into view a vast prophetic perspective. In all the O. T. there is no more practical, instructive, beautiful or popular book than the Psalms.” (Unger, Bible Dictionary, s.v. "Psalms,” p. 899.)

Another scholar stated it this way:

"The primary meaning of the psalms is always to be sought first of all in their immediate, historical context. But this does not exhaust their significance. No one can read the psalms without becoming aware that certain psalms and individual verses have a deeper, future significance beyond the simple meaning of the words. The Messiah is not mentioned by name, but his figure is foreshadowed, as later generations of Jews came to realize. And the New Testament writers are quick to apply these verses to Jesus as the prophesied Messiah.

"Some psalms, particularly the 'royal psalms' (of which 2, 72, 110 are the most striking) picture an ideal divine king priest judge never fully realized in any actual king of Israel. Only the Messiah combines these roles in the endless, universal reign of peace and justice envisaged by the psalmists. "Other psalms depict human suffering in terms which seem far-fetched in relation to ordinary experience, but which proved an extraordinarily accurate description of the actual sufferings of Christ. Under God's inspiration, the psalmists chose words and pictures which were to take on a significance they can hardly have dreamed of. Psalm 22, the psalm Jesus quoted as he hung on the cross (verse 1, Matthew 27:46), is the most amazing example.” (Alexander and Alexander, Eerdmans' Handbook to the Bible, p. 329.)

Elder Bruce R. McConkie explained in detail some remarkably prophetic utterances:

"'All things must be fulfilled, which were written in the law of Moses, and in the prophets, and in the psalms, concerning me,' the risen Lord said to the assembled saints in the upper room. (Luke 24:44.) To Cleopas and another disciple, on the Emmaus road, the resurrected Jesus said: 'O fools, and slow of heart to believe all that the prophets have spoken: Ought not Christ to have suffered these things, and to enter into his glory? And beginning at Moses and all the prophets, he expounded unto them in all the scriptures the things concerning himself.' (Luke 24:25-27.) Surely those things we shall now quote from the Psalms -- pointed, express, detailed utterances about his sufferings, death, and atoning sacrifice -- were included in those things which he expounded unto them.

"The Holy Ghost, through David, said: 'My God, my God, why hast thou forsaken me?' (Ps. 22:1) -- thus revealing aforetime the very words Jesus would speak on the cross in that moment when, left alone that he might drink the dregs of the bitter cup to the full, the Father would entirely withdraw his sustaining power. And so Matthew records: 'And about the ninth hour Jesus cried with a loud voice, saying, Eli, Eli, la ma sabach tha ni? that is to say, My God, my God, why hast thou forsaken me?' (Matt. 27:46.)

"The same Psalm says: 'All they that see me laugh me to scorn: they shoot out the lip, they shake the head, saying, He trusted on the Lord that he would deliver him: let him deliver him, seeing he delighted in him.' (Ps. 27:7-8.) The fulfillment, as Jesus hung on the cross, is found in these words: 'The chief priests mocking him, with the scribes and elders, said, he saved others; himself he cannot save. If he be the King of Israel, let him now come down from the cross, and we will believe him. He trusted in God; let him deliver him now, if he will have him: for he said, I am the Son of God. The thieves also, which were crucified with him, cast the same in his teeth.' (Matt. 27:41-44.)

"Next the Psalmist speaks of our Lord's birth, of his reliance on God, of his troubles, and then coming back to the mob at the foot of the cross, he says: 'They gaped upon me with their mouths, as a ravening and a roaring lion.' Then the record says: 'I am poured out like water' (Ps. 22:9-14), an expression akin to Isaiah's that 'he hath poured out his soul unto death' (Isa. 53:12).

"'Thou hast brought me into the dust of death,' the Psalmist continues, 'For dogs have compassed me, the assembly of the wicked have inclosed me: they pierced my hands and my feet,' which is exactly what transpired on the gloomy day of crucifixion. Then this: 'They part my garments among them, and cast lots upon my vesture' (Ps. 22:15-18), of which prediction Matthew says, 'And they crucified him, and parted his garments, casting lots: that it might be fulfilled which was spoken by the prophet, They parted my garments among them, and upon my vesture did they cast lots' (Matt. 27:35). John gives this more extended account of the fulfillment of this promise: 'Then the soldiers, when they had crucified Jesus, took his garments, and made four parts, to every soldier a part; and also his coat: now the coat was without seam, woven from the top throughout. They said therefore among themselves, Let us not rend it, but cast lots for it, whose it shall be: that the scripture might be fulfilled, which saith, They pa ted my raiment among them, and for my vesture they did cast lots. These things therefore the soldiers did.' (John 19:23-24.)

"After this the Psalmist has the Messiah say, in words applicable to his Father, 'I will declare thy name unto my brethren: in the midst of the congregation will I praise thee,' a course that our Lord pursued with diligence during his whole ministry. And then thiscounsel: 'Ye that fear the Lord, praise him; all ye the seed of Jacob, glorify him; and fear him, all ye the seed of Israel.' Following this is the promise that the Lord shall be praised 'in the great congregation,' and that 'all the ends of the world shall remember and turn unto the Lord: and all the kindreds of the nations shall worship before thee. For the kingdom is the Lord's: and he is the governor of the nations.' Clearly this has reference to the final millennial triumph of truth, a triumph that is to be when the gospel brought by the Messiah is restored again and carried according to his will to all men. Finally, in this Psalm, it is of the Messiah that the account speaks in these words: 'A seed shall serve him; it shall be accounted to the Lord for a generation'; that is, the Seed of David, generated by the Father, shall serve in righteousness, with this result: 'They shall come, and shall declare his righteousness unto a people that shall be born, that he hath done this.' (Ps. 22:22-31.) And in harmony with this prophetic assurance, we now declare unto all people born after Messiah's day, the righteousness of the Father in sending his Son and the righteousness of the Son in doing all things for men that needed to be done to bring to them both immortality and eternal life.

"Other Psalms also revealed, before the events, additional specifics that would attend or be associated with the cross of Christ and the agonizing death he would suffer thereon. With reference to the conniving and conspiring plots incident to our Lord's arrest and judicial trials the prophecy was: 'They took counsel together against me, they devised to take away my life.' (Ps. 31:13.) As to the role of Judas in those conspiracies, the Psalmist says: 'Mine own familiar friend, in whom I trusted, which did eat of my bread, hath lifted up his heel against me.' (Ps. 41:9.) On that occasion when he washed their feet, Jesus spoke in laudatory terms of the twelve, but, said he, 'I speak not of you all,' for a moment later he was to say, 'one of you shall betray me.' 'I know whom I have chosen,' he continued, 'but that the scripture may be fulfilled, He that eateth bread with me hath lifted up his heel against me. Now I tell you before it come, that, when it is come to pass, ye may believe that I am he.' After a few more words, he dipped the sop and gave it to Judas, thus identifying the traitor in their midst. (John 13:18-30.)

"'The zeal of thine house hath eaten me up,' is the Messianic word which foretold the driving of the money changers from the temple and caused Jesus to say, 'Make not my Father's house an house of merchandise,' and which caused his disciples to remember the words of the Psalm. (John 2:13-17.) But the full Messianic statement, which forecasts more than the cleansing of the then-polluted temple, says: 'The zeal of thine house hath eaten me up; and the reproaches of them that reproached thee are fallen upon me ... Reproach hath broken my heart; and I am full of heaviness: and I looked for some to take pity, and there was none; and for comforters, but I found none.' (Ps. 69:9, 20.) Who can fail to see in these words our Lord's piteous state as, hailed before the rulers of this world, he found none to comfort him, but instead was reproached for testifying of that Father whom his Jewish persecutors had rejected?

"After these words comes the Psalmic declaration: 'They gave me also gall for my meat; and in my thirst they gave me vinegar to drink.' (Ps. 69:21.) Their fulfillment is noted by Matthew in these words: 'They gave him vinegar to drink mingled with gall: and when he had tasted thereof, he would not drink. And they crucified him.' Also: After Jesus had, as they supposed, called for Elias, the account says: 'And straightway one of them ran, and took a spunge, and filled it with vinegar, and put it on a reed, and gave him to drink.' (Matt. 27:34-35, 47-48.) John's account of this same occurrence ties the act at the crucifixion in with David's prediction by recounting: 'Jesus knowing that all things were now accomplished, that the scripture might be fulfilled, saith, I thirst.' It is as though advisedly and with deliberation, though he was in agony beyond compare, yet he consciously continued to the last moment of mortal life, with the avowed purpose of fulfilling all of the Messianic utterances concerning his mortal Messiahship. 'Now there was set a vessel full of vinegar,' John's account continues, 'and they filled a spunge with vinegar, and put it upon hyssop, and put it to his mouth. When Jesus therefore had received the vinegar, he said, It is finished: and he bowed his head, and gave up the ghost.' (John 19:28-30.)

"Viewing in advance, as it were, this last awesome moment of the Messiah's mortal life, David wrote: 'Into thine hand I commit my spirit.' (Ps. 31:5.) Recording after the fact what took place as the last breath of mortal air filled the lungs of the Man on the cross, Luke said: 'And when Jesus had cried with a loud voice, he said, Father, into thy hands I commend my spirit: and having said thus, he gave up the ghost.' (Luke 23:46.)

"With our Lord's last breath, all things were fulfilled which pertained to that period when the breath of life sustained his life and being." (The Promised Messiah, pp. 530-34.)

Psalms 1:1-2. Who is blessed?

Psalms 1:3. How will he be blessed?

Psalms 1:4-6. What will the ungodly be like?

Psalms 2:10-12. What counsel is given to kings and judges?

Psalms 3:3-5. Why does David trust the Lord?

Psalms 4:1. What does David plead for in Psalm 4?

Psalms 5:11. Who should rejoice and shout for joy?

Psalms 6:2-7. Why does David ask the Lord for mercy?

Psalms 7:1. What does David ask the Lord?

Psalms 8:4. What does David ask the Lord?

Psalms 8:5, 5a. What has God made man to be? (See Psalm 8:5a)

Psalms 8:6-8. What does man have dominion over?

Psalms 9:1-20. Why does David praise the Lord?

Psalms 10:2-11. What does David say about the wicked?

Psalms 11:5-7. What does the Lord do for the righteous? for the wicked?

Psalms 12:1-5. What do the children of men do?

Psalms 13:5. Why does David rejoice?

Psalms 14:1. What does the fool say in his heart?

Psalms 15:1. What does David ask the Lord? (See also Psalm 15:1b)

Psalms 15:2-5. How does David answer?

Psalms 16:11. Where is fullness of joy to be found?

Psalms 17:1-13. Why does David plead with the Lord?

Psalms 18:1-50. Why does David praise the Lord?

Psalms 19:1, 7, 9. What three things does David testify of?

Psalms 20:6. What will the Lord do for his anointed?

Psalms 21:1-31. What does David tell of in Psalm 21?

Psalms 22:1, 16. Whom is David quoting in verses 1 and 16?

Psalms 22:18-31. What does David foretell in this psalm?

Psalms 22:27-28. Why will all the kindreds of the nations worship before the Lord?

Psalms 23:1. Who is David's shepherd?

Psalms 23:2-5. List five things the Lord will do for David?

Psalms 23:6. What does David expect of the Lord?

Psalms 24:1-2. To whom does the earth and its fullness belong? Why?

Psalms 24:3-5. Who will receive the blessing from the Lord?

Psalms 25:10. For whom are mercy and truth?

Psalms 26:1, 8. What does David say of himself in Psalm 26?

Psalms 27:1. What is the Lord to David?

Psalms 27:4. What is the one thing David has sought from the Lord?

Psalms 27:14. Why should we wait on the Lord?

Psalms 28:9. What does David pray for in Psalm 28?

Psalms 29:2. How should we worship the Lord?

Psalms 30:1-12. What does David include in his song?

Psalms 31:23-24. What are we counseled to do?

Psalms 32:1-2. Who does David say is blessed? (See also Psalm 32:1a)

Psalms 33:12. Which nation is blessed?

Psalms 34:8-22. What does David counsel the saints to do?

Psalms 35:11-21. What had David's enemies done to him?

Psalms 36:5. For what does David praise the Lord?

Psalms 37:1-2. Who will “soon be cut down like the grass"? (Psalm 37:2)

Psalms 37:3-11. What counsel does David give?

Psalms 37:39-40. Why will the Lord deliver the righteous in the time of trouble?

Psalms 38:12, 19-20. What does David say of his enemies?

Psalms 39:1-3. What does David seek to control?

Psalms 40:1-17. What would the Messiah do when he came?

Psalms 41:1-3. Whom will the Lord deliver in time of trouble?

Psalms 42:1-11. What do the souls of the righteous thirst for?

Psalms 43:3. What does the psalmist ask to be sent? Why?

Psalms 44:1-8. What do the saints do in Psalm 44?

Psalms 45:17. Whose name will be remembered in all generations?

Psalms 46:1-11. What does Psalm 46 reveal about God?

Psalms 47:7-9 Why is God to be praised?

Psalms 48:1-3, 14. What will be established forever?

Psalms 49:16-17. When will the glory of the rich man cease?

Psalms 50:5. Which saints are to gather unto the Lord?

Psalms 51:1-14. What is David pleading for? (See also 2 Samuel 11:26-27)

Psalms 51:17. What sacrifice does God require?

Psalms 52:1-3. What do wicked tongues do?

Psalms 53:1. What does the fool say in his heart?

Psalms 54:1. For what does David plead unto the Lord?

Psalms 55:16-23. When does David pray? Why?

Psalms 56:1-3. What does David do in Psalm 56?

Psalms 57:5, 9-11. What does David acclaim in Psalm 57?

Psalms 58:1-5. What do wicked judges do?

Psalms 59:1-2. What does David pray for?

Psalms 60:7. Where does the Lord place Ephraim?

Psalms 61:1-4. Where does David find shelter?

Psalms 62:12. How is every person rewarded?

Psalms 63:1. For whom does David thirst?

Psalms 64:10. What will the righteous do?

Psalms 65:4. What does David speak of in Psalm 65?

Psalms 66:10. How are men compared to silver?

Psalms 67:4. How will the Lord judge the people?

Psalms 68:35. What does the God of Israel give to his people?

Psalms 69:35. What will God do for Zion and the cities of Judah? (See also Psalm 69:35b)

Psalms 70:4. How does David proclaim?

Psalms 71:1-24. How does David praise God?

Psalms 72:1-5, 12-14. What will Solomon do for the poor?

Psalms 73:24. Who will be received up into glory?

Psalms 74:3-9. What do the wicked do?

Psalms 75:1. What do the righteous do?

Psalms 76:8-9. Whom will God save?

Psalms 77:1-3. Who cry unto the Lord?

Psalms 78:4-8. What must Israel teach to their children?

Psalms 79:8-10. What does Israel plead for?

Psalms 80:1-7. What does Israel plead with the Lord for in Psalm 80?

Psalms 81:13-16. What would Israel have done if they had walked in the Lord's ways?

Psalms 82:6.What does the Lord say in verse 6?

Psalms 83:18. Who is the most high over all the earth? (See also Psalm 83:18a)

Psalms 84:11. What will be given to those who walk uprightly?

Psalms 85:11. What will spring out of the earth?

Psalms 86:9. Who will worship before God?

Psalms 87:5. Who will establish Zion?

Psalms 88:1-18. Whose prayer is this?

Psalms 89:1-52. What does this song set forth?

Psalms 90:12-17. What does Moses implore the Lord to do?

Psalms 91:15. Who will be delivered and honored?

Psalms 92:1-2. What is a good thing to do?

Psalms 93:5. What will become of the Lord's house forever?

Psalms 94:12-15. Who will be blessed?

Psalms 95:8-11. What happened because Israel provoked the Lord?

Psalms 96:13. What will the Lord do when he comes?

Psalms 97:10. Who hates evil?

Psalms 98:1-9. Why should the righteous sing praises to the Lord?

Psalms 99:2. Who is great in Zion?

Psalms 100:2. How are we to serve the Lord?

Psalms 100:3-5. Why should we be thankful to him?

Psalm 101:1. What does David sing of in this psalm?

Psalm 102:16. What will happen when Zion is built up by the Lord?

Psalm 103:17-18. To whom is the Lord merciful?

Psalm 104:1. With what is the Lord clothed?

Psalm 105:13-15. How does the Lord instruct kings on behalf of his servants?

Psalm 106:34-43. Why was Israel scattered and slain?

Psalm 107:8. What do we need to do?

Psalm 108:8. How is Judah the Lord's lawgiver?

Psalm 109:1-20. What does David speak of in psalm 109?

Psalm 110:4. What will Christ be forever?

Psalm 111:2-10. How is the Lord described?

Psalm 112:1-9. Who is to be blessed? How?

Psalm 113:1-9. Why are we to praise the Lord and bless his name?

Psalm 114:1-8. Who governs the land and sea? Why?

Psalm 115:4-8. What are idols?

Psalm 116:15. What is precious in the sight of the Lord?

Psalm 117:1-2. Why is the lord to be praised?

Psalm 118:1-4. Why is all Israel to give thanks to the Lord?

Psalm 119:1-3. Who are blessed?

Psalm 119:10-16. How has the psalmist sought the Lord?

Psalm 119:24. What are the psalmist's "delight and [his] counsellors"? (Psalm 119:24; see also 2 Nephi 4:15)

Psalm 119:30-32. What way has the psalmist chosen?

Psalm 119:33-40. In verses 33 through 40, what does the psalmist ask of the Lord? Why?

Psalm 119:46. Where would the psalmist speak of the Lord's testimonies?

Psalm 119:49-52. How has the psalmist been comforted?

Psalm 119:63. Who were the psalmist's companions?

Psalm 119:66-68. What does the psalmist ask the Lord to teach him?

Psalm 119:73. What does the psalmist ask to be given him? Why?

Psalm 119:84-87. Why does the psalmist ask the Lord's help?

Psalm 119:92. What prevents the psalmist from perishing in his affliction?

Psalm 119:104. Why does the psalmist "hate very false way"? (v. 104)

Psalm 119:105. What is the world of the Lord to the psalmist? (See also Alma 37:44)

Psalm 119:116-17. Why does the psalmist want the Lord to hold him up?

Psalm 119:127. How much does the psalmist love the commandments of the Lord?

Psalm 119:133. In verse 133, what does the psalmist request of the Lord?

Psalm 119:144. In verse 144, what does the psalmist request of the Lord?

Psalm 119:150. Who were "draw[ing] nigh" to the psalmist? (v. 150)

Psalm 119:153-56. In verses 153 through 156, what does the psalmist ask of the Lord?

Psalm 119:165. What will they have who "love thy law"? (v. 165)

Psalm 119:169-76. In verses 169 through 176, what does the psalmist plead for the Lord to do?

Psalm 120:1. What does the Lord do when the psalmist cries unto the Lord in distress?

Psalm 121:1-2, 7-8. Where does our help come from?

Psalm 122:1-9. What does David say in Psalm 122?

Psalm 123:3. What does the psalmist ask of the Lord?

Psalm 124:8. Who is the "help" of Israel? (Psalm 124:8)

Psalm 125:1-5. Who are to be blessed?

Psalm 126:2-3. What has the Lord done for his people?

Psalm 127:1. Who labors in vain?

Psalm 127:3-5. What are the "heritage of the Lord"? (Psalm 127:3)

Psalm 127:3-5. Which man is happy?

Psalm 128:1. Who are blessed?

Psalm 129:5-8. What is to happen to those who hate Zion?

Psalm 130:1-8. What three things does the psalmist pray for?

Psalm 131:3. What does David say about Isarel?

Psalm 132:11. What does teh Lord swear unto David?

Psalm 133:1. What is it good for the brethren to do?

Psalm 134:1-2. What are the servants of the Lord instructed to do in Psalm 134?

Psalm 135:5-12. What are some of the great things the Lord has done?

Psalm 135:15-18. Why are the idols not to be trusted?

Psalm 136:1, 26. Why should we give thanks to God?

Psalm 137:1. Why did the Jews weep beside the waters of Babylon?

Psalm 138:1-3, 7-8. Why does David praise the Lord?

Psalm 139:7, 21. What does David ask the Lord?

Psalm 140:1-11. What does David pray for?

Psalm 140:12. Who will maintain the cause of the afflicted and poor?

Psalm 141:1-10. What does David pray for in Psalm 141?

Psalm 142:5-7. What does David pray for in Psalm 142?

Psalm 143:5. What does David meditate on?

Psalm 144:15. Who are happy?

Psalm 145:18. Who is the Lord "nigh unto"? (Psalm 145:18)

Psalm 145:19-20. Whom will the Lord preserve?

Psalm 146:7-9. The Lord does what for the needy?

Psalm 147:1-6. Why should we praise the Lord?

Psalm 147:10-11. With whom is the Lord pleased?

Psalm 148:1-13. Who are to praise the Lord?

Psalm 149:4. What will the Lord do for the meek?

Psalm 150:1-5. Why and how is the Lord to be praised?

Psalm 150:6. Who is to praise the Lord?

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