Bible Query from
Q: What is the key value of the book of Psalms in the Bible?
A: That is a difficult question because there are so many important things in Psalms. You can benefit from studying Psalms on many levels.
Doctrine: Psalms has a lot on what we are to believe.
Practice: Both by direct teaching and example, Psalms shows us what we are and are not to do, whether regarding moral purity, the discipline of praying to God, or how to pray to God.
Prophecies relating to the Messiah.
But as important as these things are, I do not think they are the most important point. These things could have been covered in a more straightforward, simpler style, such as in Deuteronomy or Romans. The Book of Psalms, more than any other Old Testament book, dwells on the precious truth of our relationship with God. We learn doctrine, practice, prophecies, and other things in the context of David and others praising, confessing, crying out, and in general praying to God. We see how David feels as well as thinks, and we see how God answers. The books of Psalms and 1 and 2 Samuel are perfect balances; each contributing to the understanding of the other.
Yes Godís Word is true, wise, and ought to be obeyed, but we miss out on a significant dimension of our spiritual life if we forget that Godís way is so beautiful, as He cares for His people.
Q: What is an outline of this book?
A: Psalms is expressly divided into five "books". Within each book the individual psalms do not necessarily have a topical relationship with preceding or succeeding psalms. Here is an overall outline.
Book 1: Psalms 1-41. The headings say David wrote all these psalms except for 1, 2, 10, 30, and 33, which are anonymous, but probably are by David.
Book 2: Psalms 42-72. Primarily psalms by the sons of Korah, followed by those of Asaph, followed by those of David. Psalm 72 is by Solomon.
Book 3: Psalms 73-89. Psalms 73-83 are by Asaph. Psalms 84-88 are by the sons of Korah, and Psalm 89 is by Ethan the Ezrahite.
Book 4: Psalms 90-106. 102 and 103 are by David, and the rest are anonymous.
Book 5: Psalms 107-150. 108-110, 122, 131, 133, 138, 140-145 are by David. Psalms 120-134 are called "Psalms of Ascents", and were recited when traveling up to Jerusalem or else by priests walking while performing their duties.
Q: In Ps, who wrote the Psalms?
A: We do not know who wrote many of them. Of the 150 psalms in our Bible, 101 of them have captions added giving the author. 73 of them are said to be by David, 2 by Solomon, 12 by the sons of Korah, and 12 by Asaph. However, the captions were added later, and could be incorrect. While Jesus said some of the psalms were by David.
Q: In Ps 1, what is unusual about this psalm?
A: Many psalms are prayers, either for forgiveness, petitions for help, crying to God, or praise to Him. In contrast, Psalm 1 is more instructional, a wisdom psalm explaining to the readers the blessings of delighting in Godís law.
One could try so set up the "doís and doníts" of the Torah against the teaching and relationship-oriented focus of the Psalms, but Psalm 1 shows that setting up the Psalms as a contrast to the law is not what the Psalms are about. First and foremost, this psalm begins with meditating on Godís law.
Q: In Ps 1, what is an outline of this psalm?
A: This simple yet beautiful psalm has an asymmetric structure. It is similar to a chiasm.
The blessed not walk in ungodly counsel
- Canít stand or sit as a sinner
- - Delights in Godís law
- - - And prospers like a well-watered tree
- - - The wicked wither like dry chaff
- Canít stand or sit in the judgment
Godly watch-over, but the wicked perish
The meaning of Psalm 1 has similarities to Jeremiah 17:5-8.
Q: In Ps 1, what are ten ways people are blessed who meditate on the law of the Lord?
A: While Psalm 23 is an analogy of sheep, Psalm 1 is an analogy of plants. This precious Psalm can be entitled "The two plantings". From meditating on Psalm 1, we can see at least ten ways the godly are blessed.
1. Not being in bondage to sin is in part, its own worthwhile reward.
2. The godly do not fall prey to ungodly, foolish advice.
3. They are sustained, like a tree by streams of water. No matter how long a drought is, as long as the stream does not dry up, the tree will do fine.
4. They yield their fruit in season. In other words, the things they are trying to accomplish, spiritual and otherwise, generally will get done.
5. The leaf does not wither. Their life, hope, and dreams do not shrivel up, even when hard times come.
6. They prosper in what they do.
7. They are not driven away by the winds of change and circumstances.
8. They will stand in the judgment at the end.
9. The will sit in Godís kingdom with the other saints. (Saints are all believers.)
10. The Lord knows their way, in the sense that He recognizes, approves, and watches over their way.
Q: In Ps 1:1, how does one walk in the counsel of the ungodly?
A: It can involve doing what ungodly people advice, fearing what they say we should fear, believing what the ungodly say to believe, or speaking or be silent as they say to do. See also the next question.
Q: In Ps 1:1, what is the difference between non-godly advice and ungodly advice?
A: Non-godly advice is non-Biblical advice that can be good or bad. For example, someone can say that driving on a freeway is generally faster than taking the local roads. This may be good advice, but "non-Biblical". Ungodly advice can be advice that expressly denies God, Godís working today, or Godís future judgment. More commonly though, ungodly advice is more subtle in implicitly assuming that God will never do anything. The first way is obviously atheistic, but more common way is what some call "practical atheism". This is the practice of people who have the form of godliness but deny its power, in 2 Timothy 3:5.
Q: In Ps 1:1 (NRSV), should it say, "take the path that sinners tread" or "stand in the way of sinners"?
A: The NRSV is a little different here. Here are the other translations.
"stand/standeth in the way of sinners" NIV, The Expositorís Bible Commentary volume 5 p.53, KJV, The Bible Knowledge Commentary : Old Testament p.790.
"stand in the path of sinners" NASB
"stands in the path of sinners" NKJV
"stood in the way of sinners" Greenís Literal translation of the Hebrew and Lancelot Brentonís English translation of the Septuagint
There are four Hebrew words here ("in the way of" "sinners" "not", and "has stood").
Q: In Ps 1:1, what exactly is wrong with standing in the way of sinners?
A: This does not mean blocking their path, but rather being in the road where sinners go. If you are not going to sin, why would you be in a place where you have no reason to be? Proverbs 5:8 says we are not to even go near the door of a loose woman. We are not to be friends with a hot-tempered man as Proverbs 22:24 says, and we are to stop listening to instruction that causes us to turn from Godís knowledge in Proverbs 19:27. We are to pay no attention to the [religious] commands of those who reject the truth, but rather refute them, as 1 Timothy 1:3, Titus 1:9-11, and Jude 3 show.
Q: In Ps 1:2, how are believers to delight in the law of the Lord?
A: Psalm 119 is a rather thorough answer to this question. In brief, while some do not want to even know Godís law, believers are both to understand and obey Godís law. However, there is a third step, in that Psalm 37:4 says to delight yourself in the Lord. We should realize the joy of bringing joy to God!
On a lighter note, my son delights in obeying me. When we go to the playground, he comes to me for me to give the order for what he is to do. As he wishes, I order him to kill the monsters and fight the space aliens.
Q: In Ps 1:2, how should Christians meditate?
A: We should meditate on the One True God and His word. We should not look inward to ourselves, but upward to God. We should not try merely to empty our soul, but to fill it with the Holy Spirit.
This differs from eastern meditation, which is a subjective drawing inward, while Christians concentrate outside ourselves on God. See When Cultists Ask p.61 and When Critics Ask p.233 for more info.
Q: In Ps 1:6, does the Lord know the way of the wicked, too?
A: On one hand, God knows the way of the wicked, because God knows everything. On the other hand, God does not know the way of the wicked, in the sense of recognizing it as a legitimate way, or approving it.
Q: In Ps 1:6, how does the way of the wicked perish, and not only that the wicked perish?
A: The wicked themselves indeed perish, but that is not the meaning of this particular verse. Rather, the things they worked for, all their hopes, and ambitions are like chaff the wind drives away. All their greed, desires, and pride are like smoke that rises up and out of sight. All that they thought was meaningful and of value in their life is just like dust in the wind.
Q: In Ps 2:1, isnít it an overstatement to say that nations rage and kings of the earth take their stand?
A: The believers who have been tortured or killed for their faith through the ages would not think so. Some political rulers have a [naturally] unexplainable hatred of their peaceful, law-abiding citizens who are called Christians. Someone once estimated that more Christians were killed for their faith in the twentieth century, than in any other previous century. Here is a partial list of persecutions of Christians.
|50-323 A.D.||10 Early Christian Persecutions||50|
|525 A.D.||Christians flee Ethiopian Jewish persecution|
|527-568||Justinian persecutes Monophysites in Egypt|
|700-||Muslims persecute Christians|
|978-1000||Jewish Queen Judith of Axum persecutes Christians|
|1000-||Persecution of Waldenses|
|10th -12th century||Burning and killing heretics in Europe|
|1100-1300||Mongols kill most Nestorian Christians|
|1211||At Strasbourg, Waldenses burned||0.08|
|1252||Innocent IVís bull for torture to detect heresy|
|1261-1331||Dominicans bring in the Inquisition|
|1232||Dominican Inquisition under Albert|
|1233||Inquisition instituted by Gregory IX|
|1309||Venice under heresy for opposing Clement V|
|1415-16||In Czechoslovakia the Hussites revolt|
|1419-34||Crusade against Hussites in Hungary|
|1431||Hussites scare off large Holy Roman Empire army|
|1480||Spanish Inquisition by Ferdinand and Isabella|
|1487-88||Crusade against the Waldenses|
|1527||Mantz and other Anabaptists killed in Zurich|
|1527-1753||Anabaptists killed in Switzerland|
|1545||Waldenses persecuted in Italy|
|1555-60||Waldenses persecuted in Italy|
|1562||At Toulouse, French kill Huguenots||4|
|1576-93||In France, Catholics and Huguenots fight|
|1618-48||Thirty years war kills 1/3 of Germans||7000|
|1629-69||"Trample the crucifix" persecution in Japan|
|1637||Japanese + Dutch artillery crush Christians|
|1655||Many Waldenses killed in Italy and France|
|1753-1810||Mennonites sold as galley slaves by the Swiss to the French and Venetian fleets||0|
|1808||Napoleon ends the Spanish Inquisition|
|1820-41||Christians persecuted in Vietnam|
|1870-90||Guatemala persecutes priests; only 100 left|
|1915-||Persecution of Christians under Communism|
|1940-1946||Nazis kill Jews and Protestants and Catholics who helped them|
|c.1950||Chinese Communists persecute Christians|
|1956||Protestants persecuted in Colombia|
|1976||Catholics murdered in Guatemala||1,000ís|
|1990-||Severe persecution in Sudan by Muslims|
|1998-||Muslims violently persecute Christians in Indonesia|
|1998-||Muslims mildly persecute Christian churches in Uzbekistan||probably 0|
Q: In Ps 2:1, why do peoples plot in vain?
A: Intelligent people do this all the time. When you plan with false assumptions, false confidence in your ability to control events, and with wrong goals, your meticulously thought-out plans will not work well. We all have wrong assumptions at times, but some intelligent people can have a knack for rationalizing the evidence to blind themselves to situations not being what they want.
Q: In Ps 2,4, when should we warn Godís enemies not to oppose Him?
A: We should warn in three contexts.
If we care about people, we should warn them so they will not get hurt in this life. We also want them to place their trust in God and live with us forever in Heaven.
For Godís glory, we want the world to see Godís working.
For the sake of onlookers, believers should "hold out the word of life" in Philippians 2:16 and use world circumstances (good and bad) to share the Gospel with people.
Q: In Ps 2:1-2, why does it mention nations, peoples, kings, and rulers?
A: There are different "pairs of glasses" through which one can look at history. Some of these are "peoples", "political nations", "real and nominal kings", and "de facto rulers".
Q: In Ps 2:3, what are the chains and fetters discussed here?
A: These are either perceived chains of morality and decency, or chains of their accountability before God on judgment day. If you think about it, the first is a subset of the second. A third alternative is that they could be the limits of the evil that God allows them to do.
Q: In Ps 2:4, when does God scoff at kings or scorn other unbelievers?
A: The ultimate way God scoffs at kingdoms and kings is to destroy the kingdom, kill the rulers, and for them to be separated from Him in Hell forever. When God scoffs, that is not something to take lightly.
Also, Christ will return and make war against the nations that oppose Him in Revelation 19:11-16, Joel 3:11-16, and Jude 14. After the Millennium, there will be a great battle outside of Jerusalem in Ezekiel 38-39, Zechariah 12:7-11; 14:2-8,12; and Isaiah 29:6.
Q: In Ps 2:7, does "today you are my son" refer to Jesus, since Jesus Godís son before He came to earth?
A: Jesus was always Godís son, before time began. However, when Jesus was born on earth, He was declared to the world to be Godís son. Also, at the incarnation, God the Father was the Father of Jesus, in a non-sexual way.
Q: Does Ps 2:7 show that Jesus was born as a spirit child of a heavenly father and a heavenly mother, as some Mormons teach?
A: No. It does teach that the Messiah existed before He came to earth, but that Jesus had heavenly parents is absent from this verse. See When Cultists Ask p.62 for a more extensive answer.
Q: In Ps 2:7, did ancient kings customarily consider themselves the adopted sons of the national god, as the skeptical Asimovís Guide to the Bible p.489-490 says?
A: Many did not. But they did among the Egyptian Pharaohs, Babylonian kings, and some other rulers.
Q: In Ps 2:9, how does the Messiah dash the nations to pieces?
A: While on a limited scale God in the past allowed the Assyrians, Babylonians, Seleucids, Nazis, etc. to be destroyed, that is not what this verse means. Rather, in the end times, Christ will return and make war against the kings of the earth gathered against Him. See the discussion on Psalm 2:4 for the verses that mention this.
Q: In Ps 2:12, since Jesus is patient, how can His wrath flare up in a moment?
A: Psalm 50:3 compares the action of Godís wrath to a fire. A forest can be calm for many years, with the brush building up. When a forest fire starts, it is slow at first, and then races across the tops of trees faster than even a horse can run. Jesus is patient and gentle. However, that does not negate the fact that He also treads the winepress of the wrath of God (Isaiah 63:1-6; Revelation 14:19-20; 19:15b).
The difference between Godís wrath and a fire is that Godís wrath is due to sin, and God patiently gives warnings and tells people how to avoid His wrath.
Q: In Ps 2:12, how can people be blessed who take refuge in someone whose wrath flares up in a moment?
A: The actions of a police force to arrest a murderer are a blessing to potential victims. Likewise, Godís wrath is a blessing to those who are oppressed by Satan and others. As standing upwind of a wildfire is better than downwind, God warns us that His fire is coming in Psalm 50:2. Do you want to be upwind or downwind of it?
Q: In Ps 3, was David being a little paranoid here?
A: No. If you think people are out to get you, it is not being paranoid if they really are. Saul was out to get David for years. After that the situation "improved" to be just a civil war. Imagine being on the run for years, and then having no enemies remaining. After Joab defeated Hanun the Ammonite, David probably thought that way when he took a walk on the roof of his palace. Actually, David had at least one more enemy: his own sinful nature.
In our lives we might have times of hardship and times of calm, but we are always to be vigilant, because Satan prowls around like a lion seeking whom he may devour (1 Peter 5:8). We always have an enemy in our sin nature. Praise God who gives us victory in our lives! (Romans 7:24-25)
Q: In Ps 3:4-5, what can you say to someone who is too scared to go to sleep?
A: Psalms often emphasizes that God is our shield and defender. Philippians 4:6-7 says that we should not be anxious about anything, but pray to God and the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard our hearts and minds in Christ Jesus. With God watching over you, there is nobody else that is powerful enough to fear.
Q: In Ps 3:7; Ps 5:10; Ps 7:6; Ps 28:4; Ps 35:1-8; Ps 54:5; Ps 55:15; Ps 58:6-8,10; Ps 59:5,12-13; Ps 68:21-23; Ps 69:15,22-25,27-28; Ps 79:12; Ps 83:9-17; Ps 109:1,7-15; Ps 137:8-9; Ps 141:10, should we pray for God to harm our enemies?
A: These are called "imprecatory psalms". Here are three points to understanding their proper place in the Bible, followed by a different view.
God gives us examples as well as good instruction. The Book of Psalms gives examples of peopleís prayers. They show David and others praying when joyful, depressed, loving, and feeling vengeful.
Some feelings in Psalms 35:5-8; 42:11a; 7:8; 69:22-28; 109; 137:9 do not reflect loving our enemies as God taught in the New Testament. These psalms show that we should pray what is on our hearts. God does not have to say "yes" to every prayer, but when we open our hearts before God, letís do so with an attitude that God can change our hearts.
A higher standard is required of us than of them, according to Chrysostom (c.397 A.D.) in Miscellaneous Works 151,288. Christians are to love their enemies as Jesus taught in Matthew 5:43-8 and Luke 6:27-35.
See Encyclopedia of Bible Difficulties p.245-246 and Hard Sayings of the Bible p.280-282 for more info.
A different view: appeal for justice: 735 Baffling Bible Questions Answered p.150 has a rather different view. It says, "While this has bothered some Christians, it should not. ... These are not curses expressing ill wishes against some harmless fellow who insulted the psalmist. There are appeals for justice, addressed to the supreme court of the universe. [These] are expressions of faith and restraint. Rather than take personal revenge, the psalmists leave vengeance in the hands of God and ask only that he do justice."
This "appeal for justice" applies to Revelation 7 and some psalms such as 7:6, but not others such as Psalm 137:9. When Critics Ask p.242 says similar, also adding that in the Old Testament there often was not much distinction between the unrepentant sinner and his sin.
Q: In Ps 4:1, 5:1, 6:1, 8:1, 9:1, 12:1, etc. before the psalm, what are these things: Neginoth, Gittith, etc.?
A: These are musical instruments. The New Testament church was expressly commanded to sing to each other in psalms in Colossians 3:16. Unfortunately, we do not know what the musical instruments looked like or how they sounded. Perhaps we will know we join in the worship with musical instruments in Heaven in Revelation 5:8; 14:1-2; and 15:2.
As a side note, most Church of Christ members, Mennonites, and Amish do not believe in using musical instruments in church, only singing.
Q: In Ps 4:1, 5:1, 6:1, 8:1, 9:1, 12:1, etc. apart from the Bible, when do we know that musical instruments were first used?
A: It used to be that unbelieving critics of the Bible found these references "instrumental" in proving these passages were anachronistic as skeptics believed that musical instruments were not invented until much later. However, Can Archaeology Prove the Old Testament? p.33 points out that lyres, flutes, harps, and even a double oboe [=double-pipe] were used in ancient times. The Wycliffe Dictionary of Biblical Archaeology p.397-399 gives many examples.
A golden lyre and a silver flute were found at Ur (c.2500 B.C.), and a picture of a lyre is on a painting in the Beni Hasan tomb in Egypt 1900 B.C.. A picture of a harp is in the temple of Hatshepsut at Karnak. Ur, Kish, and other Sumerian cities had sistrums (castanets). The Wycliffe Bible Dictionary p.1161-1163 has photographs of ancient Egyptian harps, flutes, a cave painting of a harp, a double flute [pipe], and a lute-like instrument (c.1450 B.C.), and a sistrum from ancient Egypt. A photograph of a harpist, lute players, and two flute players c.1350 B.C. is in The New International Dictionary of the Bible p.678. On p.679 it has photographs of a wall painting of a harp, lute, double-pipe, and lyre. It also shows the lyre found at Ur, c.2500 B.C. with a gold head of a bearded bull, and a wooden soundbox. On p.681,683 it has photographs of cylindrical rattles (c.1200-1000 B.C.) and a zither player in Tell Asmar (2000-1000 B.C.)
Q: In Ps 4:1, why does it sometimes seem like God is not listening?
A: God always listens to the prayers of godly people, but sometimes God answers no. Other times, God does not respond as quickly as we might desire.
For ungodly people, it is not that God cannot hear, but sometimes peopleís sins are such that God chooses not to pay any attention to their prayer, as Psalm 66:18 shows.
Q: In Ps 4:1 and Ps 5:1, why do we have to ask God to hear our prayer, since He already hears everything? Come to think of it, if God were not hearing our prayer, there would be no point in speaking to someone who did not hear you.
A: The Almighty does not need any power in our prayers, the All-knowing does not need to be informed of the situation. A good, very-loving God does not need to be persuaded to be good and loving either. Rather God, who is free to do as He pleases, has chosen to hear our prayers, to be glorified by our praise, and to use His promise of answering our requests in His will to accomplish His desire.
Now God gave dominion over the earth to Adam and Eve. When they sinned, they forfeited at least part of that dominion to Satan. Satan is now the prince of this world (John 12:31; 14:30; 16:11), the god of this age (2 Corinthians 4:4), the ruler of the air (Ephesians 2:2), and the whole world is under the sway of the evil one (1 John 5:19). However, Godís promise to us to answer our prayers overrides all dominion Satan has snatched away.
Q: In Ps 4:2, how do men turn Davidís glory into shame?
A: Davidís glory here is glorifying God. Nobody can take away from Godís true character or glory. However, believers on earth can glorify God, (or not glorify God) by their lives and actions. Finally, unbelievers could scoff and ridicule Davidís faith and trust in God.
Q: In Ps 4:2, why would anyone actually seek delusions?
A: Many people would not seek what they knew to be a delusion. People have given their lives for some foolish causes, but no one willingly would die for what they knew was a lie. On the other hand, many people do seek what they themselves realize are delusions, whether the delusion is found at the bottom of a bottle, in a drug, or in a superficial relationship.
Q: In Ps 4:2 (KJV), what does it mean, to "seek after leasing"?
A: This King James Version expression made sense to readers 400 years ago. Today, the NKJV translates this as "seek falsehood" and the NRSV says, "seek after lies". The NASB says, "aim at deception" and the NIV translates this as, "seek after false gods".
Q: In Ps 4:7, Hos 2:9, Jo 1:10,17; 2:19; 6:17; 14:7, and Zech 9:17 (KJV), how could there be "corn", since corn was not known in the Old World until Columbus came to America?
A: The King James Version translated this word correctly, for 400 years ago, the English word "corn" meant grain. "corn" did not acquire the modern meaning of maize, or "corn on the cob" until later.
Q: In Ps 5:5-6, since God abhors bloodthirsty and evil men, why did God take mercy on Saul of Tarsus, who changed his name to Paul?
A: Godís wrath is severe toward those who do not repent. But God is also full of mercy and grace. Ezekiel 18:23,32 says that God does not desire the death of the wicked, but rather that they turn from their wickedness and live. See also Ezekiel 33:12-20.
Q: In Ps 5:5, how does God hate all who do wrong?
A: Here are seven things to consider about Godís love and hate.
God has mercy on all He has made (Psalm 145:8,13b), for God is love (1 John 4:8b).
God also has wrath, that He "expresses every day" (Psalm 7:11)
God can both love and hate. Paul and the rest of us were "objects of wrath" (Ephesians 2:3) before we were saved. God can hate the sin a non-believer (or believer) is committing, and yet at the same time know that the person will repent and is going to Heaven.
Godís hate can be temporary for some. God used Jonah to warn of impending doom to the Ninevites. When they repented, then God relented.
Godís hate can be permanent for some. For those who rejected Godís kindness and refuse to follow Christ, God judges them, and either hates them forever, or else perhaps after their judgment God simply chooses to be indifferent to them.
Godís love, wrath, and other emotions are sincere. Hard Sayings of the Bible p.263-264 points out that an error of Thomas Aquinas, Calvin, and other Reformers taught that God is "impassable" in not having any emotions. Many in the Reformed churches today think the same. Tertullian (198-220 A.D.) taught that the Father did not have emotions or wrath, but the Son did. This view of impassability might be a carry-over from Platonic philosophy. However, Scripture is clear that Godís love for us is not just an act, as neither is Godís wrath. God delights in His children and hates sin. If God the Father did not have emotions, then how could God love us.
God expresses His emotions in time when events occur. God can delay His wrath too, but regardless, God expresses His emotions in time. This is an important point to show that God is within time as well as outside of time.
735 Baffling Bible Questions Answered p.150 says, "Those who believe in God and turn to that which is right stand safe within the circle of Godís love. Those who reject God and do evil stand outside that circle in the realm of judgment. God loves (accepts, forgives) the believing sinner; God hates (decisively rejects, is committed to punish) the sinner who will not believe or turn to the Lord." (italics in the original) God being "committed to punish" is a sobering phrase to ponder. See also When Critics Ask p.235 for more info.
Q: In Ps 5:6 (KJV), what does "speak leasing" mean?
A: Modern translations say, "speak lies".
Q: In Ps 5:7 (KJV, NKJV), are we supposed to worship in fear?
A: We are to come before God in fear, rightly understood. We come before the Almighty God, who expresses His wrath, in reverence, and gratitude because of His justice, mercy, and love for us. The NASB and NIV say "reverence".
Q: In Ps 6:1, what does the Hebrew word "sheminith" mean?
A: This Hebrew word means "eighth", and it could refer to an eight-stringed instrument or an octave.
Q: In Ps 6:5 and Ps 115:17, do the dead not remember God?
A: The "dead" do not praise God, as Psalm 115:17 reminds us. That is why we need eternal life, and in Psalm 115:18 David said that believers would praise God forevermore. See 1001 Bible Questions Answered p.159-161 and the discussion on Ecclesiastes 9:5-6 for more extensive answers.
Q: In Ps 7:3-5, since David prayed that enemies kill him if he rewarded evil to him who was at peace with him, why did this not happen after he had Uriah the Hittite murdered?
A: God could have had this happen, but God chose to be merciful to David and not give David the punishment and death David rightfully deserved.
Q: In Ps 7:7-8, when David asked God to judge him according to his own righteousness, does this prove that good works saved in Old Testament times?
A: No. The psalms record the prayers of David and others, and this is what David prayed to God. It does not say that David understood things perfectly here. But as the Bible teaches us in Davidís life later, David did not want God to judge him according to his righteousness after his sin with Bathsheba. You can see this in Psalm 51. Also, God did not like that David was a man of blood.
See Bible Difficulties & Seeming Contradictions p.227 for more info.
Q: In Ps 7:8, did David wanting to be judged according to his own righteousness an example of works righteousness?
A: Davidís prayer was not wise. Psalm 7:8 shows us that we can pray anything to God, but we have to read all of Psalms and about Davidís life to understand what is wise and what is not. See the discussion on Psalm 35:24 for the answer.
Q: In Ps 7:11, is God a happy being, since He expresses His wrath every day?
A: Yes, God is happy, and God also expresses wrath. Consider four things as you ponder Godís emotions.
1. God has emotions somewhat like humans do. God can be happy, angry, sorrowful, etc. Jesus had normal human emotions on earth, and nothing indicates that Jesus lost anything, human or otherwise, when He ascended to Heaven.
2. Contrary to what a few (but probably not most) Calvinists say, when the Bible teaches that God expresses love, or other emotions, that is not just anthropomorphic. In other words, when God says He loves us, that is not just a pretense so that humans could better relate to a stone-cold, emotionless God. Rather, the Bible is sincere, and any argument that said God did not really have love, tenderness, or compassion is a two-edged sword that would show with equal effect that God does not have anger, wrath, or even care. In contrast, Romans 8:26-27 says that the Spirit intercedes with us with groans too deep for words. God not only has emotions, He has emotions even deeper than we have.
3. God is happy and blessed, especially when we express our love to Him in worship and service, God delights in His people (Zephaniah 3:27) and enjoys our praying to Him.
4. However, do not think that with God either the kinds of emotion, depth of emotion, or simultaneous feelings are restricted to human standards. God can relate to every being in the universe at once. To put it simply, God can be happy for billions of different reasons, be angry for billions more different reasons, per second, for all the seconds of time, simultaneously to Him.
Q: In Ps 8:1, how is Godís name excellent "in all the earth", since all the earth do not know and recognize Him, then or now?
A: Godís creation, earth, plants, animals, and so forth praise God by showing His ways. Creation is not perfect; it too was subjected to frustration at the Fall (Romans 8:19-22). Even so, it still shows Godís power and character in Creation, regardless of whether a person recognizes it or not.
Q: In Ps 8:2, how has God ordained praise out of the mouth of babes?
A: God ordained praise out of the mouths of babes in at least two ways.
1. Have you ever seen three to five year old children singing songs of praise? You have to actually see their darling, undivided enthusiasm to understand.
2. Even the cooing and crying of infants is a testimony of just how wonderfully made we are (Psalms 139:14). As that infant learns to smile and chooses to first say words, such as "da-da" and "ma-ma", we can see that adorable child is not just an incredibly complex logic program, but an incredibly wonderful person with a will, emotions, and curiosity. How many computer programs do you know of that can look up at the night sky, point to the moon, and with the enunciation of a two-year old, ask "whatís that?"
Q: In Ps 8:3, since everything [allegedly] started by random chance from the Big Bang", how do the heavens praise God?
A: Nothing could have started by random chance, as things do not happen for no cause whatsoever. However, God created the universe, there had to be a first cause.
If a person says the universe started by chance, ask them to list all the things they know of that occurred to no cause whatsoever. Secular scientists says that with the possible exception of the decay of the nucleus of any particular atom, which we know very little about, they have not observed a single thing that occurred for without any cause whatsoever.
Q: In Ps 8:4, given the advances in the field of artificial intelligence in computers, are we close to making computers that can think like humans?
A: No. The most complex artificial intelligence systems humans have constructed fall far short of even medium complexity vertebrate brains, let alone human brains. Whether you are talking about neural networks or expert systems, the answer is no. See the next two questions for more info.
Q: In Ps 8:4 have advances in regular and hybrid neural network technology produced computer programs that think similarly to humans?
A: No, there is no comparison. Physically the human brain cell has approximately 1011 brain cells (neurons), and 1015 connections (axons). Information is transmitted by two distinct mechanisms: one is an analog preprocessing step using a sigmoid function, and the other is an apparently digitally encoded process. We do not yet understand the details of the second mechanism. Variations of the first mechanism alone are what we commonly use in computer neural networks.
Q: In Ps 8:4, have advances in expert systems software program made computers that reason similarly to humans?
A: No. There are a variety of expert system methods: forward chaining, backward chaining, depth first, breadth first, and so forth. However, we are far greater than an expert system with learning capabilities, as we have the will to choose which expert system method to use. In fact, we can choose when to choose which type of reasoning to use. In fact, we can choose with a nearly infinite regression of choices. The difference between our brains and a hypothetically massive, adaptive, object-based expert system is one of kind as well as degree. Expert systems can function as "intuition", but expert systems cannot create new things, compose music that others agree appreciate for a good beat and a catchy tune, and meaningful interplay with the lyrics.
Q: In Ps 8:4, have advances in software programs such as the "Eliza" software program made computers that reason similarly to humans?
A: Eliza was a clever computer program written a number of years ago that was intended to mimic an active listener. I have heard of one secretary who interacting with it mistakenly believed Eliza thought like a real person. Eliza worked by picking up on the main nouns and verbs in the sentence, and asking questions that echoed back those words.
Q: In Ps 8:4 it talks about man, but from Ps 8:5-9 it switches to God or Jesus. Am I correct?
A: Your question is actually just the "tip of the iceberg" of a much larger one. The last part of the psalm, of everything being under His feet, does in fact refer to Jesus as Hebrews 2:5-9 and 1 Corinthians 15:27 show. However, the larger issue is: how does Psalm 8 relate to humankind?
The entire psalm is but how nature in general glorifies the majesty of God. It starts with immenseness of the heavens and then continually narrows its focus, down to man, and then down to the Son of Man. First it contrasts the heavenly bodies with puny humankind in general in verse 5, asking what is so special about man, - and the Son of man. It answers by saying that while man seems a little lower than the heavenly beings now, he is/will be ruler over them.
So how does this refer to man?
Prior to the fall, man used to have dominion over the whole earth, according to Genesis 1:26,28. However, Psalm 8 is saying more than just how it could have been, or how it used to be.
But not today. Psalm 8 does NOT refer to our present situation, as Hebrews 2:8 teaches. Today this fallen, sin-filled world is under the dominion of the evil one (1 John 5:19). Satan is the prince of this world according to John 12:31; 14:30.
Yet Jesus, the Son of Man, is declared to receive all dominion according to Ephesians 1:22; Hebrews 2:6-8; Colossians 1:16-20; and 1 Corinthians 15:27.
But donít stop with Jesus. Psalm 8:5-9 refers directly to the Son of Man (Jesus), but Ephesians 2:6 says that believers will have the privilege of being co-seated with Christ on Christís throne. Christ is the judge, but those under Christ will judge the world and judge angels according to 1 Corinthians 6:3. So while Psalm 8:4b-9 refers to the Messiah, we inherit the benefits of what the Messiah does for us, and so believers have not just the same state as before the Fall, but even better.
Q: In Ps 9:4 (KJV), what does "satest" mean?
A: This King James Version expression means sat.
Q: In Ps 9:5, since God has rebuked the heathen, how severe is the rebuke, since a lot of the heathen never knew it?
A: "Rebuked the heathen" can also be translated "rebuked the nations". Regardless of the translation, this verse never says God has already rebuked every non-believer, but that God has destroyed many nations.
Q: In Ps 9:12 (KJV), does God making an "inquisition for blood" have any to do justifying the Medieval inquisitions?
A: No, it actually can mean the opposite. This can be translated "For he [God] who avenges blood remembers". It is God who brings His judgment on the wicked, not us. Torture was never used by a Christian government or church until 385 A.D., when the heretic Priscillian and a few followers were burned alive at Treves by the Roman Emperor Maximus. A number of Christians wrote condemning the use of torture, but Augustine of Hippo unfortunately wrote defending torture of heretics by both the government and the church. Most unfortunately, the Roman Catholic Church, which evolved from the early church at that same time, embraced this false doctrine.
Q: In Ps 9:16; Ps 32:4,5,7; 45:11, 47:4; 48:8; 49:13,15; 50:6; 52:3,5; 54:3; 55:7; 55:19; 57:6; 60:4; 61:4; 62:4; 66:4,7,25; 68:7; 75:3; 76:3,9; 77:3,9, 84:4; 85:2; 76:3,6; 88:7,10; 89:4; 89:37,45,48, 143:6; 140:3,8, what does "selah" mean?
A: Outside of these verses, the word is not encountered so we are not certain. However, based on the context, the word appears to mean "amen" or "so be it". The NASB footnote for Psalm 3:2 says, "Selah may mean: Pause, Crescendo or Musical Interlude"
Q: In Ps 9:19, should we pray for Godís justice? If nobody does, then will it still come?
A: Godís justice is ultimately inevitable. David was praying here for some of Godís justice to come now, in order to show the pagans that there was only One True God, the God of Israel.
Q: In Ps 10:1 and other passages, why does God sometimes appear to be far off and not to do anything?
A: Imagine for a second that God provided at least partial punishment for every sin, the moment after it occurred. Furthermore that the punishments were always sufficiently unpleasant, unavoidable, and were always known for certain to come from a just God. Here would be some results
1) Negligible freedom to sin. It would be difficult to be tempted to sin under these circumstances.
2) Little freedom to love and obey God, apart from the immediate consequences. God created people who, though fallen, have freely chosen to obey God.
3) Little need for faith. Angels do not have faith that God is there; they have certain knowledge that God is there.
See When Critics Ask p.235 for more info.
Q: In Ps 10:3, should this word be "bless" or curse"?
A: The word here can be "bless" as in a farewell blessing. In English we say "good-bye", which is a contraction of "God be with you". Both here and in Job 1:11, the word is used in an ironic sense. Thus Psalm 10:3 can be translated "...say goodbye and renounce the Lord." See Encyclopedia of Bible Difficulties p.237 for more info.
Q: In Ps 11:3, what foundation is this verse mentioning?
A: The best-built house will fall into rubble if its foundation is destroyed. Foundations here can be two things.
Whatever is relied upon, good or bad. When the things in which people trust their security, are destroyed, they can become very frightened of the future. When the things people hope in are destroyed, they can be very despairing or cynical about the future. When the things people placed their enjoyment in are destroyed, they can become very depressed about the future.
Godly things: When godly institutions, customs, and people are destroyed or turned to wickedness, believers have a challenge to be steady as a rock. We cannot be this way if those godly things are the basis for our faith. We can only do so if our foundation is God Himself.
Q: In Ps 12, why is this psalm of disappointment in the Bible?
A: It seems that most feelings that people experience are in the Bible. Hatred, jealousy, murderous rage, lust, even insanity, are shown in the Bible and handled. Among other things, the Bible is a book about life, good and bad, and the Bible is profitable reading even if it is just for learning from the success and failures of others.
Q: In Ps 13:1-2, why does God sometimes seem far from us, or does not hear us.
A: Sometimes it we who have drawn farther away from God because of our sin. However, at other times it is not because of that, and it is not that way in this psalm. Sometimes it can be a test to strengthen us, and sometimes God is not telling us "yes" or "no", but "wait". Psalm 13:3-4 remind us that sometimes God does things in our lives, not for us, but for His glory, and as a witness to bring others to Him.
Q: In Ps 14:1, why are fools criticized so much in the Bible?
A: This is not intellectual slowness but moral foolishness. There is pretended ignorance, and ignorance that is not innocent. There are four Hebrew words for fool plus one for sluggard. See 735 Baffling Bible Questions Answered p.150-151 for more info.
Q: In Ps 14:1, since nobody does good, what about Noah, Abraham, and Moses, not to mention David?
A: How low a standard of good do you mean? No person who ever walked this earth was completely good, according to Godís standard, except for Jesus Christ. Apart from Jesus Christ, if Heaven was only for those who were good enough to merit eternal life, heaven would be empty of people!
When all was lost for all of us though, and there was no way, Jesus Christ came down to earth and became the way. We can be good, sinlessly perfect in Heaven, and on the road to being perfectly good on earth. If someone were to look at your life today, versus a few years ago, what road would they think you are traveling?
Q: Does Ps 15 refer to only sinless people, or godly people who are still sinful?
A: It refers to people who are still sinful, but have been pronounced righteous by God, and are in the process of being made sinless. However, we will not reach sinless perfection until we come to Heaven.
Q: In Ps 15:4, today are we supposed to despise vile people?
A: No, today we have a higher standard than they had in Old Testament times. We are still to despise sin though, combining it with a love and urgency to save the person, as Jude 22-23 shows.
Q: In Ps 16:8-10, who is the Holy One here?
A: While the psalm begins with David reflecting on Godís protection for Him, this psalm gradually moves on to speak, not of David, but of the Holy One of God, which is the Messiah. This refers to Jesus according to Peter in Acts 2:25-28 and Paul in Acts 13:35. See Hard Sayings of the Bible p.264-266 for more info.
Q: In Ps 18:9, how is the darkness / dark clouds under Godís feet?
A: This colorfully poetic expression is true in both a visual way and as a moral metaphor.
Visually, appeared brilliant "Like the appearance of a rainbow in the clouds on a rainy day,..." in Ezekiel 1:28 (NIV).
As a moral metaphor, God is pure and has the darkness of evil subjugated under His feet.
Q: In Ps 18:20, when David said God dealt with him according to his righteousness and clean hands, does this prove that good works saved in Old Testament times?
A: No for two reasons. David was not speaking of God saving him eternally, but God helping him in this life. Second, Davidís subsequent life showed that God did not deal with David as David deserved, but after the sin with Bathsheba God dealt mercifully with David.
See Bible Difficulties & Seeming Contradictions p.227 for more info.
Q: In Ps 19, what can nature show us about God?
A: For those who observe and ponder, it shows there is a Creator, and it shows great beauty, power, and wisdom. It makes us see this vast cosmos and wonder how small we really are, and how few are days on this earth. It can influence people to ponder is there something that matters, eternally, can there be a real purpose for our existence? Properly considered, the natural universe can be used to lead us to consider Him. Improperly considered, many people have looked at the wonder of the natural universe and started worshipping it.
See 735 Baffling Bible Questions Answered p.151-152 for a complementary answer.
Q: In Ps 19:1, can the Gospel be seen in the stars?
A: This verse does not specifically say that. It only says that the heavens declare the glory of God. Nature in general shows some characteristics of the Creator, as Romans 1:19-20 says. Some Christians see in the constellations the gospel story in pictures (Libra the scale of Godís justice, Scorpio the serpent, etc.). However, finding the gospel in specific constellations is extra-Biblical. See the Complete Book of Bible Answers p.180-181 for more info.
Q: In Ps 20:4, when will God give you the desires of your heart?
A: When I was growing up, I used to think this verse meant that God would grant the desires of those who followed Him. Later, I came to believe instead that it meant God would give you the feelings, ambitions, and other desires He wanted you to have. Now I see that both are true. God gives His children the proper desires, and He also longs to satisfy those desires. Of course, our desire to see God face to face will only be satisfied when we get to Heaven.
Q: In Ps 21:10, why will God destroy from the earth descendants of evil people?
A: Salvation is offered to everyone, regardless of who their parents are (Acts 17:30; Titus 2:11; 1 Timothy 2:5-6; 4:10; 1 John 2:2). Ultimately everyone, male and female, is either a Son of God (Romans 8:14; Galatians 3:26) i.e., born again as a child of God (John 3:3-8; 1 John 3:1,10 Romans 8:16-17) or else a child of the devil (John 8:44; 1 John 3:10).
Q: Was Ps 22 written in the context of hard times when the Jews were exiled from the land, did not have access to the temple, and David was on the run from his enemies?
A: Definitely not. It is true that it was written by David, around 1100 B.C., likely when he was on the run from his enemies. However, the temple had not been built yet (it was built in the time of his son Solomon). The people were only denied access to the temple, because the temple did not exist! As for the author of the Psalm being mournful because the people were exiled from the land, the first exile occurred under the Assyrians around 722 B.C., about three centuries after David was on the run from his enemies.
Q: In Ps 22, what indicates that it speaks of the Messiahís crucifixion?
A: This does not refer to David, for nobody pierced Davidís hands and feet. (It could also mean "lion-like", but even so, Davidís hands and feet were not bent over like lionís claws either.) David did not have his garments divided among them. David was not despised because it appeared God was not delivering him (22:6-8).
Since this psalm is not about things David personally experienced, to whom could it refer? It refers to someone who followed God from the womb (verse 9), yet who was despised as abandoned by God (verses 6-8), and asks "My God, My God, why have you forsaken me?" (verse 1). It is someone who had their hands and feet pierced (verse 16), who was brought to the dust of death (verse 15). This sounds like the same suffering servant in Isaiah 53, and this refers to the Messiah. See Hard Sayings of the Bible p.266-267 for more info.
Among the Jews, the Pesikta Rabbati 37:2, written about 845 A.D. references Psalm 22 as a Messianic prophecy. Calling the Messiah Ephraim, is says, "Ephraim our True Messiah!... and you were put to ridicule and held in contempt by the nations of the world because of Israel, and you sat in darkness and blackness and your eyes saw no light, and you skin cleft to your bones, and your body dried out was like wood, and your eyes grew dim from fasting, and your strength became like a potsherd. All this because of the sins of our children...." (Answering Jewish Objections to Jesus vol.2 p.229-231, 309)
Q: In Ps 22:16, should the Hebrew be translated as his hands and feet were "pierced" or "lion-like" (Masoretic text)?
A: Scholars used to disagree. The literal Hebrew word in the Masoretic text means "lion-like", and the word was not commonly used this way. Perhaps it could mean that Christís hands were twisted, as they would contract after the nails were driven in and He hung on those nails for hours.
It could simply be a poetic way of saying "pierced". The skeptical Asimovís Guide to the Bible p.895 wonders if "pierced" was inserted by Christians as a reference to Jesus. However, Asimovís conjecture is wrong here because the Septuagint, translated centuries before Christ, also says "pierced".
This issue was settled by an early scroll found as Nahal Hever (5/6HEvPs), written before 50 A.D.. It says in Hebrew, "They have pierced my hands and my feet." So the Septuagint and early Nahal Hever scroll agree, and the Masoretic text is different here. See Abegg, Martin, Jr., Peter Flint and Eugene Ulrich, The Dead Sea Scrolls Bible p.519 for more info.
Q: In Ps 23:4, how would the Lordís rod and staff comfort someone?
A: A shepherdís staff or shepherdís crook can lift a sheep from danger or a tight spot. The staff or rod is also a weapon to club wolves. Likewise, we can be comforted by Godís strength in being able to rescue us and defend us.
Q: In Ps 24:1, how does everything belong to the Lord, since the county courthouse says my house belongs to me?
A: Who owns the earth beneath the county courthouse and the people who go inside it? We say we own things, but God owns everything by the right of creation.
Q: In Ps 24:2 is the earth founded upon the seas, or does the earth "hang on nothing" as Job 26:7 says?
A: Both are true, understanding that the word "earth" eres in Hebrew (as in English) can mean dirt, land, or this planet. The seas came before dry ground, according to both Genesis 19 and modern scientific evidence. The land is above the seas, so that the seas do not flow over it. The sphere of the earth hangs on nothing in space though. See When Critics Ask p.236 for a complementary answer.
Q: In Ps 25, Ps 34, Ps 119, why are alphabet acrostics used?
A: Acrostically, beauty and care display easy-to-remember form, greatly helpful in just learning many new observations pretty quickly. Say the previous sentence five times, say the same number of words (17) randomly from a book five times, and see which one you remember better half an hour later.
Psalm 119 is also an acrostic, as are chapter 1, 2 and 4 in Lamentations.
A different non-alphabetized acrostic, where consecutive words spell "YHWH" is in four crucial parts is in Esther (1:20, 5:4; 5:13; 7:7). Twice are forward, and twice are backward. This acrostic at crucial points of the narrative could not be by coincidence.
Q: In Ps 26:2-3, should we want God to try us and examine our hearts and minds?
A: If a person is choosing not to follow Godís will, that is probably not what they want. If they are sincerely trying to follow God, they want God to examine them for the following reasons:
a) To glorify God
b) To show them ways they unknowingly are not following Godís will so that they can change
c) To show them wrong doctrines, wrong attitudes, or wrong actions they are unwittingly doing so that they can change
d) To be more effective in their Christian service by being more godly.
Q: In Ps 27:8, why was David seeking Godís face, since no one could see Godís face and live?
A: David was seeking a closer relationship with God now, and eagerly looked forward to seeing God face to face in Heaven.
Q: In Ps 27:10, did Davidís parents ever forsake David?
A: Some see that David was not a favored son of his father in 1 Samuel 16:5-11. Davidís father had David tending the sheep, and Jesse initially did not mention David to Samuel. Regardless of that, we have no evidence that Davidís parents forsook him. David is saying that "even if" his parents forsook him, God will always receive him.
Q: In Ps 28:1, what is the significance of God being our rock?
A: God is our rock in many ways.
God has been here for a long time (eternity).
God is stronger than a rock.
Other things do not hurt the rock.
A rock is all-weather.
One can safely build upon the rock.
Like a rock, God does not change. He is the same every time we come to Him.
Like a rock, God endures for a long time (eternity).
Q: In Ps 29:5,9 why did God want to destroy the cedars of Lebanon and strip the forests bare?
A: God has nothing against unthinking trees. Rather, this metaphor from nature shows how thorough the destruction will be.
2. It might have been a well-beloved song that was used in the dedication of Solomonís temple after David died.
Q: In Ps 30:1, how could this be a song for the dedication of the temple, since it was written by David? David died before the dedication of the temple?
A: First two unlikely possibilities, and then the most likely answer
Not by David: The headings to each psalm are in the Masoretic text, and not a part of the original manuscripts as the Encyclopedia of Bible Difficulties p.243 and When Critics Ask p.234-235,236 say. The heading might be incorrect to say it was written by David.
Heading for the previous psalm: This heading, added later, might have been referring to the previous psalm. However, there are few examples of headings like this actually being postscripts.
Incorrect heading: The heading might be incorrect when it says it was for the dedication of the Temple. However, there is no reason to doubt the heading as the answer below is sufficient.
The answer: Psalm 30 most likely was by David (as were Psalms 1-41), and David wrote it for the future dedication of the temple. Just as David collected much of the material of the temple for his son Solomon, David certainly would have stopped to meditate on the beauty the future temple would have.
Q: In Ps 30:2-3, what kind of healing did David receive?
A: Scripture does not say, but it sounds like it was a literal, physical healing from disease.
Q: In Ps 30:4; 97:12, how does one praise God for a remembrance or memorial of his holiness?
A: While the NIV simply says, "praise his holy name", under Psalm 30:4 it has a footnote saying that it literally says, "memorial". The KJV and NKJV translate this as "remembrance of his holiness/holy name" The NRSV simply says, "give thanks to his holy name."
Q: In Ps 30:5, how does Godís anger last only a moment, since it might seem like a long moment to people in Hell?
A: David is not speaking of all the wicked, for David Himself recognized that their punishment would be forever. The word here is not "minute" meaning "60 seconds", but "moment" a brief period of time. David, the writer of Psalm 30, is speaking of Godís relationship to him, and by implication Godís relationship with other believers. The times that God were angry with David were extremely, brief, compared to eternity. The entire verse says, "For His anger is but for a moment, his favor is for a lifetime; Weeping may last for the night, But a shout of joy comes in the morning." (NASB) Those who reject God not only do not see Godís anger lasting only a moment, and they do not see Godís favor lasting a lifetime either. For Godís elect people, Godís anger and disciple are extremely brief compared to eternity.
Q: In Ps 30:6-7, after David was prospering, why did God stop prospering David?
A: Perhaps the answer is found in Psalms 30:7. David said that God made "my" mountain stand firm. When we have uninterrupted prospering with no problems, not only do we often not grow as much, but we tend to stop relying on God.
Q: In Ps 30:8-9, is David trying to bargain with God here, saying donít let me die or you will have one less worshipper?
A: Not necessarily. David may be realizing that God already has more proud kings than He wants, but God primarily values David not as a king but as a worshipper.
Q: In Ps 31:6, should we today hate some people, as David hated those who clung to worthless idols?
A: No, the New Testament has a higher standard (love your enemies) than the Old Testament. We will classify six kinds of hate and compare what both the Old Testament and New Testament teach.
Hating those who want to harm you: In some psalms, David expresses his hatred for those who were out to kill him. Jesus acknowledged that previously people were taught to love their friends and hate their enemies, and Jesus explicitly taught otherwise, that we are to love our enemies too. When Stephen was martyred in Acts 7:60, he prayed for those killing him.
Hating people without cause: Both the Old Testament (Psalm 35:19; 69:4; Isaiah 49:7) and New Testament (John 15:25) point out that some sinners do this. We should never do this though.
Hating those who hate God: David said he hated those who hate God. However, in the New Testament we are to love our neighbor, irrespective of if they hate the True God or not. However, we still are to divide from non-believers.
Hating those who are wicked: In Psalm 31:6 David said he hated those who trusted in idols.
Revenge: Both the Old and New Testaments say that we are not to get revenge. Ephesians 4:26 goes even farther, and says not to let the sun go down on our anger.
Hating sin: Both the Old and New Testaments show we are to hate sin. Jude 23 says to hate even the clothing stained by corrupted flesh.
Q: In Ps 31:20, what is the translation of the last phrase?
A: The NASB, KJV, NKJV, and Greenís literal translation render this as the "strife of tongues". The NIV says, "accusing tongues, and the NRSV translates this as "contentious tongues". The NET Bible says, "slanderous attacks". This refers to men who use their words to bring about the downfall of others. It has nothing to do with speaking in tongues.
Q: In Ps 32:2, what is "guile"?
A: This means deceit. However, guile is not only outright lies, but also deceiving someone about your intentions.
Q: In Ps 32:3, why did David say his bones grew old when he kept silent?
A: David felt that his physical health suffered when he did not confess his sins to God. Interestingly, in modern times people have affirmed that guilt, as well as stress, have harmful physical effects on our bodies.
Q: In Ps 32:8, how does God guide us in the way we should go?
A: God guides people in five main ways.
Through the Bible: The Bible gives us Godís commands, shows us what God delights in, and warns us of trouble. However, an individual might not have read the entire Bible, understood all of it correctly, or need some reminds.
Through other believers: We have the duty to encourage, teach, correct, and rebuke each other. This implies that we have needs to be encouraged, taught, corrected, and rebuked at times.
Through others: Even non-believers can tell us truthful things, and we can also avoid pitfalls by learning from the bad experiences of others.
God directly revealing something: When Abram heard God telling him to leave his country, of course he had no Bible to consult and see how everything would end up. Likewise, there are many stories of Christian missionaries who have encountered natives with no Bibles, whom God told them to listen to the missionaries. One notable example is the entire tribe of the Sígaw Karen people of Burma. One can read more about this in the book Eternity in Their Hearts.
"Divine Appointments": These are times when, in hindsight, God apparently meant for you to be in a certain place at a certain time, but neither you nor anyone else on earth knew that.
Q: In Ps 34, what is unusual about this Psalm?
A: This psalm is an alphabet acrostic, where successive verses start with successive letters of the Hebrew alphabet. The skeptical Asimovís Guide to the Bible p.495 also points this out.
Q: In Ps 34:1, should this say Abimelech as the king of Gath, or Achish?
A: This refers to the time in 1 Samuel 21:12-15 when David pretended to be insane. There are three possibilities here.
Copyist error: The writers who added the headings to the psalms might have made a copyist error of Abimelech when it should have said Achish.
Dual name: Many kings in ancient times had dual names, typically the personal name they were born with and a throne name. Persian kings and Egyptian Pharaohs all had two names, and Solomon had another name: Jedidah. Zedekiah was also called Mattaniah in 2 Kings 24:17. We do not know the names of many Philistine kings, except from Assyrian sources. They mention an A-himilki (same as Ahimelech) who was a king of Ashdod. The first use we know of the Philistines using the name Abimelech was in Genesis 20:2, and the second was Abimelech II in Genesis 26:1.
Title: The skeptical Asimovís Guide to the Bible p.497, in addition to mentioning a possible copyist error, says it might not be a copyist error after all, but Abimelech might have been a title, as Pharaoh was a title for the ruler of Egypt.
See Encyclopedia of Bible Difficulties p.243-244 and When Critics Ask p.237 for more info on the first two views.
Q: In Ps 34:1, how did David change his behavior before the king of Gath?
A: In 1 Samuel 21:12-15, David acted as though he was an insane person to throw Abimelech off and make Abimelech not suspect that David would not be loyal to the Philistines, or that David could be a ruler of anything. David was relying on his strategy of deception here, and not necessarily on God.
Q: In Ps 35:15 (KJV), what are abjects?
A: The NKJV translates this word as "attackers" and the NRSV translates this word as "ruffians". The NASB says, "smiters" and Greenís Literal Translations says, "defamers". The NET Bible footnote says there is uncertainty in this word, which could be "strikers" or "foreigners", so it just uses the pronoun "they".
Q: In Ps 35:24; 7:8, why would David want God to judge him according to Davidís righteousness?
A: At this time in his life, David had a high view of his righteousness. Davidís request could be understood in either a relative or an absolute sense.
Relative: David served and obeyed served God more than Saul and certainly more than the Philistines. David wanted God to judge between David and them, so that David would prevail. If this was what David meant, David did not know that sometimes God uses a more evil people to discipline his disobedient people, as Habakkuk 1 shows. Bible Difficulties & Seeming Contradictions p.227 mentions that in Psalm 7:8 David is not saying he is sinlessly perfect, but that he is innocent of these wicked deeds.
Absolute: David is asking God to judge him and protect him because David is a righteous servant of God. David knew that no one is righteous (Psalm 143:2). Though David is not claiming to be sinless here, David knows that God protect righteous people, and so David has confidence that God would protect him. Later (in Psalm 51:1), David would learn more about his own sinful nature and his need for Godís mercy.
Regardless of whether Davidís meaning was absolute, relative, or both, this prayer request is not a good example of what we should pray today. Yet it does teach us something important about our prayers. It is always OK for Godís obedient children to pray what is on their heart, even if is not the best thing to pray. God is big enough to take all our prayers, understand our mistakes, and like a wise father, say no to foolish request, and even good requests that are not a part of His will and Godís greater plan.
Q: In Ps 36:1, why do the wicked have no fear of God?
A: Some do not fear God because they do not believe He exists. Others believe God exists, since they have not been punished for their sins yet, they think they will never be. Demons both know God exists and that there will be future punishment (James 2:19), yet they too continue to disobey God.
Q: In Ps 36:4, how do people devise evil on their beds?
A: While they are lying there waiting to go to sleep, they are plotting to harm someone, getting dishonest gain, or having sexual fantasies. Rather than doing this, Psalm 63:6 says we can meditate on God.
Q: In Ps 37:3-5, what is the difference between trusting in the Lord, delighting in the Lord, and committing your way to the Lord?
A: We are to do all three, but sometimes believers do only one or two.
Trusting in the Lord means to have faith to believe what He says, the peace to know that you are in Godís hand, and the courage to stand for what is right and against what is wrong. It does not necessarily mean you have any joy in the Lord or that you are trying to please and obey Him. Psalm 62 is a beautiful description of trusting in the Lord.
Delighting in the Lord means that your life is one of rejoicing with praise to God. It does not necessarily mean you know Him deeply or obey Him very well.
Committing your way to the Lord means to follow what God says and not do what God forbids, to have an attitude of obedience. Obedience can be only out of duty, and not necessarily out of much love or springing from faith.
Each one is important for us to do, without neglecting the others.
Q: Does Ps 37:9,11,29 show that the righteous will live on the earth forever, as Jehovahís Witnesses claim?
A: No. The Hebrew word here can mean "land" as well as "earth", and both are applicable here. Three points to consider in the answer.
Does not say forever: The Hebrew word for "forever/a long time", olam, is not used here.
Land: The people will inherit the land. The Jews will return to the land, and Godís people will live in the promised land during the Millennium.
Earth: Godís people will live forever on the new earth according to Revelation 21.
See the Complete Book of Bible Answers p.288-289 and When Cultists Ask p.63 for more info.
Q: In Ps 37:20, does the wicked perishing mean they are annihilated?
A: No, the Hebrew word abad means they are physically killed, as the righteous sometimes perish in Isaiah 57:1 and Micah 7:2. It also means they do not have eternal life in Heaven. So while their life on earth is annihilated, that does not mean their existence is annihilated.
See When Cultists Ask p.64 for more info.
Q: In Ps 37:25, what about believers who are killed in famines or natural disasters?
A: Todayís Handbook for Solving Bible Difficulties p.325-328 observes that David prefaced this verse with "I have never seen" vs. "thus says the Lord". Regardless though, it is still fair to ask if and how God protects believers from natural disasters.
God will not let obedient believers die before God decides it is their time. God especially notices their death, for "Precious in the sight of the Lord is the death of his saints" (Psalm 116:15 NKJV).
Q: In Ps 37:25, how did David never see the righteous forsaken or their children begging for bread?
A: There is nothing wrong with someone begging bread if they need to do so. Rather, David was saying he never observed the children of the righteous begging; it could still occur in other places in the world. In Israel they were supposed to take care of the poor, and Christians have a command to do so today also. See Hard Sayings of the Bible p.267-268 and When Critics Ask p.237-238 for more info.
Q: In Ps 38:5, how did Davidís wounds stink?
A: This refers to wounds smelling because of serious infection or gangrene. David was speaking metaphorically of his serious situation.
Q: In Ps 38:7, how are evil people cut off?
A: This means killed. The Hebrew word karath does not mean annihilated, as the Messiah would be cut off in Daniel 9:26. Rather, cut off means to be killed. See When Cultists Ask p.62-63 for more info.
Q: In Ps 39:1, why is Jeduthun mentioned here?
A: The psalm could be dedicated to Jeduthun, or as the skeptical Asimovís Guide to the Bible p.497 says, it could be written in a style after the clan of Jeduthun.
Q: In Ps 39:12, why did David feel he was a stranger?
A: Before he was a king, David might have felt out of place among the soldiers of Saulís army, both prior to killing Goliath and after. On the run from Saul, David certainly felt lonely and a stranger. However, even as a king, David might have had times when he felt isolated and a stranger.
Q: In Ps 40:2 (KJV), how did God establish Davidís "goings"?
A: This colorful expression means God directed Davidís paths.
Q: Do Ps 40:6 and Ps 50:13-15 show an abandoning of animal sacrifices?
A: No for two reasons.
Authors: If anyone were against sacrifices, it likely would not be David, Solomon, or the people employed by them. David wrote Psalm 40, and Psalm 50 was by Asaph, a musician of David. David was anointed king at a sacrifice Samuel had in Bethlehem. David sacrificed to avert the angel of destruction in 1 Chronicles 21:23-27. After David, Solomon made a huge sacrifice of 22,000 oxen and 120,000 sheep when the Temple was dedicated in 2 Chronicles 7:1,4-5
Logic error: Showing the primacy of obedience over sacrifice does not mean an abandonment of sacrifice. Psalm 50 also shows that sacrifice is not to fulfill any alleged physical need on Godís part.
See 735 Baffling Bible Questions Answered p.152 for a similar answer.
Q: In Ps 40:6, how did God open Davidís ears?
A: This means God metaphorically pierced Davidís ear. In the Pentateuch, a slave would let a beloved master pierce his ear, signifying the slaveís free choice to be a slave of the owner for life.
Q: In Ps 40:7, how was it written in the book about David or the Messiah?
A: David also wrote Psalm 139:16, which says that all the days written for us were in Godís book before one of them came to be. Revelation 20:12 also mentions God having a book with everyoneís deeds written down in it.
While this is true of David and us, the primary meaning is the Messiah, whose coming and death were according to Godís purpose and foreknowledge in Acts 2:23.
Q: In Ps 41, since David followed God, why was David feeling in such a mood that he wrote Psalm 41?
A: This apparently occurred when David was very sick. He was concerned not only for physical healing, but that his enemies would mock him, thinking God had turned away. David emphasizes that he had sinned. Some might suspect that this occurred after Davidís sin with Bathsheba, but there is no way to verify that.
Perhaps God does not want us to focus on when this occurred to David, but rather to illustrate that we can have these feelings too. If someone says, "A believer should always smile, feel positive, and never feel down", this would be a good psalm to show him. David might have sinned before, but David was obedient now.
Q: In Ps 42, why do believers sometimes feel separated from God?
A: Sometimes they separate themselves by being caught up in the world, disobedience, apathy, an unforgiving heart, or other sins. However, sometimes obedient believers can still feel down or oppress for a period of time. We are to be faithful to God regardless of our feelings.
Q: In Ps 42:1-2, what is the difference between a non-believer desiring to come to God and believers wanting to draw closer to God?
A: This is similar to every Christian already having the Holy Spirit inside them, yet God still commands Christians to be filled with the Holy Spirit. The Psalmist already had a living relationship with God, but felt his relationship was rather dry at this time. A good metaphor is someone outside of the building looking through the windows, vs. someone inside visiting the different rooms.
The Holy Spirit draws a non-believer to come to God, to know God and His love. He wants the rewards of heaven and to escape the punishment of Hell. A believer already has those things, but wants to know God better, and please Him more.
Q: In Ps 42:1-2, how is our longing for the Living God like a deer panting for streams of water?
A: A deer can have all the grass, sunshine, and comfortable weather it needs, but if it needs water, nothing else will satisfy it except water. Deer know that, but unfortunately, we are not always as smart as deer. We try to satisfy our craving for God with other things as partial and poor substitutes.
Q: In Ps 42:3-4, what specifically does the psalmist seem to be sad about?
A: Just looking at 42:3-4, the Psalmist does not like his enemies taunting him "where is your God". He remembers fondly when he used to go to the house of God, which he apparently cannot go to now. There are times, when we have not been able to gather with others in the house of God, due to illness, disability, travel, or COVID-19. But we long for when we can get together again.
Q: In Ps 42:5-7, can a Christian, living in Godís will, be downcast or depressed?
A: Yes. It is OK for a Christian to feel sad at the loss of a loved one, or to be down when something happens for a period of time. Some Christians wrestle with mold or other chemical imbalances that can make them chronically depressed. When you are not depressed, you should praise God. When you are depressed, you should praise God the same. Praising God during our trials is just as sweet, if not sweeter, to Him.
Q: In Ps 42:8-9, why does it sound like the Psalmist was close to God in verse 8, yet far from God in verse 9?
A: The Psalmist feels close to God in verse 8. But sometimes, as in verse 9, God is not doing what you want Him to do, and you feel that God should do that, - right now. Sometimes is it not Godís will that He do that. Sometimes God will, but now is not the time. Finally, there are times when we should "Storm the gates of heaven" with prayer that God glorify Hi name and work in this satiation.
Q: In Ps 42:11 how can you be downcast in your soul and praise God at the same time?
A: As Christians we are not blind to the circumstances around us, and sometimes the circumstances do not look good. But we should see that being in Godís hand is more important than whatever circumstances we are in. All of our present tribulations are small and short-lived compared to the everlasting bliss in heaven with God.
Q: In Ps 43:1, specifically why is the Psalmist downcast here, and what does he think he needs?
A: Psalm 42:9-10 and 43:1 show it was because of the oppression of his enemies. Some enemies want to take your life. But other enemies donít, they just want to keep you down so that you can enrich them, by paying tribute or other means. Other enemies want to put you down emotionally, with mocking and insults. Or they want to "gaslight" you and try to get you to doubt yourself.
Oppression can be "illegal" in the sense of hidden at night or secretive, or it can be "legal", using the law to unjustly take things away or execute people. The Psalmist is asking for vindication and deliverance from oppression of any kind.
Q: How does Ps 43:2 exhibit an "already / not yet" kind of paradox?
A: The Psalmist says that God currently is God of his strength. Yet he wonders why it seems God is casting him away and not vindicating him. He is asking God why he feels down because of oppression of the enemy. So he shows a confidence in Godís strength but a doubt in God vindicating him now. But as we will see later, it might not be Godís will to vindicate him right now. It is like Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego in Daniel 3:17-18. They told Nebuchadnezzar they had confidence that God would deliver them from the fiery furnace; - but even if God does not, they still are not going to bow down to the golden image.
Q: In Ps 43:5, should obedient Christian ever be emotionally downcast?
A: Job was, and that was understandable. David was at times, and that was OK. Jesus was down in the Garden of Gethsemane, and Paul despaired of life in 2 Corinthians 1:8-10. Paul was sorrowful when Epaphroditus was sick and almost died in Philippians 2:27.
So it is fine for Christians to feel a wide range of emotion, but as the Don Francisco songs says, "Jesus is the Lord of the way I feel!"
Q: In Ps 43:5 the Psalmist thought he needed rescued away from ungodly people in 43:1, but what did he really need in verse 5?
A: He did not need to be rescued from the situation, he simply needed to put his hope in God, who would carry him through this situation.
Handling this difficult situation might be a part of our growth, and also might be a witness for others. As George Muller said, "God delights to increase the faith of His children. We ought, instead of wanting no trials before victory, no exercise for patience, to be willing to take them from Godís hands as a means. Trials, obstacles, difficulties and sometimes defeats, are the very food of faith." The Believerís Bible Commentary p.616 for more info.
1. In Ps 44:1, to what extent should a daughter or sonís faith come from their parents, and to what extent not?
A: Someone once said, "God has no grandchildren." You are either a child of God or you are not, but you cannot be merely a grandchild; a person has to have their own faith. We can learn from our parentsí teaching, follow their good examples, and even be warned when seeing their mistakes. We can rejoice in the faith and life work of our ancestors, both biological and in the faith, but we should be careful not to rest our hope on what they believed and did, rather than our own faith.
Q: In Ps 44:3 (KJV), what is a countenance?
A: It means "face" or "expression on a face". God was smiling on them.
Q: In Ps 44:4-8, what is interesting about the structure of these verses?
A: These words are arranged in a chiasm.
Remember the past 44:1
- Victory over past enemies 44:2
- - Victory not by human strength 44:3a
- - - Victory by the Lord 44:3b
- - - - Confession of Personal Confidence 44:4
- - - Victory by the Lord 44:5a
- - Victory not by Human Strength 44:6
- Victory over past enemies 44:7
Praising God by believers today 44:8
See The Expositorís Bible Commentary vol.5 p.339 for more info.
Q: In Ps 44:6, what is significant about not trusting in the bow?
A: The bow was one of Davidís preferred weapons. If David would not trust in the bow instead of God, certainly they should not either.
Q: How is Ps 44:17-20 a mirror of Ps 44:20-22?
A: Psalm 44:17-20 says that they have not forgotten God. Psalm 44:20-22 says the defeats would be understandable if they had forgotten God and worshipped a foreign God. But since they have not, then in Psalm 44:23-24, why does God sleep and hide His face?
Q: In Ps 44:19 and Ps 148:7 (KJV), what are dragons here?
A: These are "jackals", as the NASB, NIV, NKJV, NRSV, and Greenís Literal Translation all say. The NET Bible says, "wild dogs" with a footnote saying the Hebrew says "jackals". By the way, the English word "jackal" comes from the Persian word for them shaghal) according to The International Standard Bible Encyclopedia vol.6 p.7.
Q: In Ps 44:20, how do people stretch out their hearts to a strange god today?
A: This refers both to worshipping false gods and seeking aid from false gods. Today Hinduism, Buddhism, and other religions worship either inanimate statues as gods, or else worship other gods represented by inanimate objects. Some Catholics in Central and South America combine Catholicism with idol worship.
However, even some Christians do not take idolatry very seriously. A Catholic priest once asked me "why are Protestants so afraid of the Virgin Mary?" I am not afraid, since I named one of my daughters after her. I should have asked him in return, "why are many Catholics not careful of the sin of idolatry?"
Q: In Ps 44:22, how are Godís people counted as sheep to be slaughtered?
A: There have been times when God has allowed many of his children to be killed. Sometimes, God punished the Jews because they were disobedient, but that is not the primary meaning of this verse. Rather, God sometimes allows even obedient believers to suffer and be martyrs for Him. We can see the following.
God apparently does not have the same view of life on earth that most people do. Since we do not see the afterlife yet, it is easy to feel that maximizing the time of our life on earth is one of the most important things. Godís perspective is different. God sees what somebody can be doing in Heaven, and on earth. Sometimes proving you are willing to die for your faith is a witness to others. During the time of the early church, up to 324 A.D., an estimated 40,000-50,000 Christians were killed for their faith.
Q: In Ps 44:23-26, what is the real point of this Psalm, and what is the basis of the appeal?
A: Psalm 44:26 is asking for Godís help. Since God had greatly helped them int eh past, they are suffering problems now, they have not forgotten God, please arise to help us.
Q: In Ps 44:23 and Ps 73:20 does God sleep, or does he not sleep, as Ps 121:304 shows?
A: God does not ever become tired or unconscious. However, there are times when God appears less active in our immediate situation. Metaphorically, David is asking God to "wake up" and take action now.
The Bible acknowledges that sometimes God acts slower than some people would want (2 Peter 3:9). Some reasons for His timing are a testing for us, sometimes we are not ready for something yet, or sometimes we are ready, but some others are not. We have to wait upon the Lord. When Critics Ask p.238 says "sleep" here is a figure of speech meaning God defers judgment until later.
See Encyclopedia of Bible Difficulties p.244-245, Hard Sayings of the Bible p.268-269, and 735 Baffling Bible Questions Answered p.153 for more info.
Q: In Ps 44:24; 13:1; 22:24; 88:14; Isa 54:8; 57:11; Dt 31:17 what does it mean for God to hide His face?
A: This means when you pray for something and either God is not answering your prayer, or He is not answering it the way you want Him to. The expressions for God to hide His face is also in Psalm 13:1; 88:14; Isaiah 54:8. God hid in Isaiah 57:17 and will hide his face in Deuteronomy 31:17f due to their disobedience. God not hiding His face is in Psalm 22:24. The Psalmist was perplexed they had not turned away from God. See the New International Bible Commentary p.586 for more info.
Q: In Ps 45:1 it literally says, "My heart boiled over with a noble theme". How do we maintain the thrill and excitement of knowing God?
A: We might know the truth, and obey Godís truth, but are we stirred and excited about God? If not, is something else existing us that might in fact be an idol?
Sometimes people suffer spiritually because of a lack, they have none or too little of something. But other times, it could be because they are filled with too much of something else. A dull knife is dull because there is too much metal where the sharp edge should be. Perhaps we need to be honed and sharpened to be used of God. In John 15:2-3 Jesus said that the Father removes unfruitful branches, but He also cuts (that is prunes, not removes) fruitful branches so that they can bear more fruit.
Sometimes believers just "fall out of touch" because they donít make spending time with God a priority in their life. They can become apathetic, preoccupied with trivial things, or burned out from doing the work of God too long only on their own power.
See The Bible Knowledge Commentary : New Testament p.827 for more info.
Q: What is the structure of Ps 45:1-17?
A: Psalm 45 is not exactly a chiasm, but close to a chiasm with parallel parts in the middle.
- Address to the King 45:2-5
- - Glory of the bridegroom 45:6-9
- Address to the Bride 45:10-12
- - Glory of the Bride 45:13-15
See The Expositorís Bible Commentary vol.5 p.343 for more info.
Q: Does Ps 45:2-17 prophecy of the coming Messiah?
A: Yes. Psalm 45:6-7 speaks in second person of God and His throne, and that God, your God has anointed you. So this is speaking of God coming. The writer of Hebrews also noticed that this referred to Christ in Hebrews 1:9. The Metzudat David, by Rabbi David Altschuler of Prague (1678-1769) also says that this refers to the Messiah. Among early Christian writers, Psalm 45 refers to Christ according to Justin Martyr, Irenaeus, Tertullian, Origen, Novatian, Victorinus of Petau, Methodius, Lactantius, Alexander of Alexandria, and Eusebius of Caesarea (prior to Nicea). See www.biblequery.org/History/ChurchHistory.WhatEarlyChristiansTaught.html for more info.
Q: In Ps 45:3-5, does this refer to Mohammed, as some Muslims claim?
A: No, even Muslims cannot really see this way, except for some of the Gulat sects of Islam, which think Mohammed actually is God. Psalm 45:6 says, "Your throne, O God, will last for ever and ever." (NIV) In addition to Mohammed never claiming to be God, Mohammed never had a throne or a scepter either. See When Critics Ask p.238 and When Cultists Ask p.64 for a complementary answer.
Q: In Ps 45:6, was this Godís throne, or a human throne?
A: This is both, as Jesus Christ is both God and man. This is the throne of "God who was anointed by God". This is Jesus Christ according to Hebrews 1:8-9. Also, we will reign with Christ on His throne in Ephesians 2:6-7. See Hard Sayings of the Bible p.271-272 for more info.
Q: In Ps 45:6, I have been debating a man who denies the deity of Christ. He denies my argument about Heb 1:8 and Ps 45:6-7 being correctly translated "thy throne oh God." He asserts it should be "God is your throne."
A: Hebrews 1:8, which quotes Psalm 45:6, is speaking of the deity of Christ. There is some ambiguity in Psalm 45:6. There are really three questions here:
1) Is this verse talking about God and His throne, David and his throne given by God, or both?
2) Does the Old Testament elsewhere unambiguously speak of God sitting on His throne?
3) What does the Book of Hebrews add, at least for Christians?
1) In Psalm 45:6, is it Godís throne or Davidís?
In Hebrew Psalm 45:7 has kis'aka 'elohim which literally is "your throne" and "God". Most translators would see this as
"your/thy throne, O God", (vocative) Jay P. Green, KJV, NASB, NIV, NKJV, RSV mg, Septuagint, etc.
However, there is an ambiguity in the phrase here because Hebrew can use a noun as an adjective. For example, 1 Chronicles 29:23 says that Solomon sat on the "Yahweh" throne. Ezekiel 28:13 it says that Eden was "garden elohim" or the Garden of God. Thus some versions translate Psalm 45:7 as:
"your divine throne" (Jewish JPS, RSV)
"your throne is like God's throne" (NEB)
"your throne, O divine king" (Weiser, p.360)
"your throne is a throne of God" (RSV mg.)
Note that the JPS and RSV give a straightforward reading assuming elohim is an adjective here. The others in this list try add a few more words not in the Hebrew.
The JPS Study Bible p.1332 also gives "Your throne O God is everlasting" as one of the margin readings, so it does at least recognize that it could be either way.
Murray J. Harris, has an article defending why it is really the first way (vocative) in 'The Translation of Elohim in Psalm 45:7-8,' Tyndale Bulletin 35 (1984]: 65-89).
So is it Godís throne or Davidís in Psalm 45? Verse 7 says, "...therefore God, Your God, has anointed You...". Christians see the psalm addressed to the first One called God (the vocative), while others could see this as repetition, such as in this example: "therefore the wonderful God, the great God". However, Psalm 45:11, says to worship this King because He is your Lord. while we know that David is a type of the Messiah, both in this psalm and others, it is very difficult to see how to exclude this psalm from referring to God. Admittedly, the phrase, "God, Your God", does add to the uncertainty for a Jewish reader though. Psalm 110 might help provide the clue, a Lord who is also a priest after the order of Melchizedek.
See The Expositor's Bible Commentary vol.5 p.346-347 note 6 for more info on Psalm 45.
2) Does God Sit on His Throne Elsewhere in the Old Testament?
In the Old Testament, God is said to sit on His throne, unambiguously in Ezekiel 1 especially verse 26, Ezekiel 10:1, Isaiah 6:1-3, and Psalm 97:1-2 and Psalm 93:2. So there is no theological reason a Jewish person would need to reject Psalm 45:7-8 as referring to God, or a dual reference of God, and David as His representative. Sixteen pre-Nicene Christian writers also refer to Godís throne.
3) What Hebrews 1 says
The Book of Hebrews, definitely takes it as referring to the son in the vocative. Though there is the same ambiguity, in this phrase, in the Greek here as it is in the Hebrew, Hebrew 1:8 starts with "But to the Son" and Hebrews 1:9 says (like Psalms 45:7 "therefore God your God". There is no doubt that Hebrews 1:8-9 is calling Jesus God, and interpreting Psalm 45:7-8 as referring to God. So Hebrews 1:8-9 does not add anything except that the second Lord is God the Son.
Heb 1:8 is translated as:
"your/thy throne, O God" (Jay P. Green, KJV, NASB, NIV, NKJV, RSV, Wuest)
"God is thy throne (RSV mg)
On Heb 1:8 The Expositor's Bible Commentary vol.12 p.19 says, "Some translations render the opening words of v.8 as 'God is your throne' or the like (cf. RSV, NEB mg.). But it is better to take the Greek as a vocative as NIV: 'Your throne, O God.' The quotation from Psalm 45:6-7 is referred to the son who is then addressed as 'God.' His royal state is brought out by the references to the 'throne,' 'scepter,' and 'kingdom' and by his moral concern for the 'righteousness' that is supreme where he reigns.' ... We should perhaps take the first occurrence of the word 'God' as another vocative: 'Therefore, O God, your God has set you.'"
In conclusion, Based on Psalm 45:7-8 alone, the grammar of the phrase "your throne O God" may refer to God, but verses 45:7,11,17 strongly suggest this Psalm refers to God as well as David, and other Old Testament verses also refer to God having a throne.
Q: In Ps 45:7-8 and Heb 1:9, what is the oil of gladness/joy?
A: Hebrews 1:9, which quotes this verse, also mentions this. Scripture does not specify exactly what this was, but a Jewish person would recall a type of this anointing oil for holy things in Exodus 30:22-23. In Exodus it was a unique formulation, not to be used for any other purpose. It was never said to have any miraculous properties, but was a symbol of the honor of consecration, and putting it on the altar, lampstand, utensils, and other holy things was an act of worship. People would put oil on themselves, or rich people would have slaves put oil on them. But an official "anointing" was only of a king, a priest, or the holy things. Jesus was anointed for all three reasons. Jesus too was anointed with oil, while alive in Mark 14:3-9, and his body anointed with spices in John 19:40. See the Believerís Bible Commentary p.619 for more info.
Q: In Ps 45:9-17, how is the wedding of the King and his queen juxtaposed with Israelís marriage to God and our marriage to Christ?
A: Marriage is a metaphor for the Lordís relationship with Israel and later with the church. The Hebrew word for love, hesed, means "covenant-love". So is it more of a covenant or more of love? But they would not view those as separate things. Loving someone when you feel like it, when it feels good, all is going well, or is to your advantage, would not be considered love at all. Even today, if love is without commitment, then why should we think it is love at all. Even with friends we should be committed to sticking up for them.
See The Expositorís Bible Commentary vol.5 p.343-344 for more info.
Q: In Ps 45:10-11, how is the advice to the bride relevant for us?
A: Many times, Godís advice to us in the Bible is to remember something. But here the advice is the opposite: to forget something. Believe it or not, sometimes forgetfulness can be good. Choosing to forget past sinful habits, hatreds, jealousies, and any resentment, is a "godly forgetfulness" that we all need to have. So, properly understood, the advice here is "be forgetful"! We should forget our old ways, prior to Christ, and focus on our king, and husband, Christ. In Luke 14:26 Jesus said that if anyone comes to Him and does not hate their father and mother, wife, and children, then they cannot be His disciple. The word "hate" actually means "love less", so we should be very concerned if anything, even a good thing such as love for family, is higher than our love for God. See The Bible Knowledge Commentary : New Testament p.828 and the Believerís Bible Commentary p.619 for more info.
Q: What is the historical context of Ps 46?
A: The Psalm does not explicitly give us the context, but it appears to be a totally unexpected victory by God. The most likely context is the deliverance of Jerusalem from the Assyrians in Hezekiahís time, according to the Evangelical Commentary on the Bible p.381, the Believerís Bible Commentary p.621 Both the New International Commentary on the Bible p.587 and Keil-Delitzsch Commentary on the Old Testament (The Psalms by Franz Delitzsch) p.91-92 say it is either the victory under Jehoshaphat or else the deliverance from Assyria.
Q: What is a summary of Ps 46?
A: It is a psalm of encouragement, pointing to the endtimes, with three pictures.
1-3 The challenge of confidence: Despite cosmic disaster, we will not fear
4-7 The secret of confidence: Ultimate peace with God
8-11 The vindication of confidence: Godís eternal victory, ending all wars
The first part of each title was from G. Campbell Morgan, as said in the Believerís Bible Commentary p.621. To learn more about this future city of God, read Revelation 21:1-22:5.
Q: In Ps 46:1, how is God a refuge for us?
A: The Hebrew word for refuge, mahseh, means shelter from danger. We can trust Godís promise to work all things together for good for those who love Him (Romans 8:28).
In this life, nothing will happen to us except what God allows. God allows bad things to happen to us, but God will be there to take us through them.
Ultimately, we have refuge in God by going to Heaven and living there eternally.
See The Bible Knowledge Commentary : Old Testament p.828 for more info.
Q: In Ps 46:4 which river is this, and what does it represent, since Jerusalem had no rivers?
A: Jerusalem, from the beginning up to now, never had a river beside it. While it had a spring large enough to feed a pool, but that is not relevant here. Rather Psalm 46:4-11 speaks of a future time, when wars will cease (Psalm 46:9), when God breaks the bow and shatters the spear (Psalm 46:9), and when God is exalted among the nations (Psalm 46:10).
The new Jerusalem, with the river of the water of life flowing through the center of it, is mentioned in Revelation 21:2,10-22:5. Ezekiel 47:1-12 also speaks of the river coming out of the altar in the new Jerusalem.
The Hebrew word here means a river that flows all year around, not a seasonal stream, called a wadi, according to the New International Bible Commentary p.587.
Q: In Ps 46:5, what is significant about dawn?
A: Military attacks often began at dawn. That way the troops could get into position while it was still dark. Also, if they were victorious, they would have the most time to capitalize on their victory.
Q: In Ps 46:9, since God has made wars cease to the ends of the earth, why are there still wars?
A: While the wars against Israel had ceased for a while, that was not the point here. David knew that all wars had not stopped, nor all wars against Judah. That is why he still maintained a standing army. Rather, Psalm 46:4-11 speaks of a future time, when the new Jerusalem, with a river in the middle of it comes. You can read about this in Revelation 20:7-22:5.
Q: Does Ps 46:10 show that humans can become God, as the Mahareshi Mahesh Yogi teaches?
A: Not at all. Psalm 46:10 says, "know that I am God", while according to When Cultists Ask p.64-65 the Meditations of Mahareshi Mahesh Yogi, 178 says this verse means "know that you are God". (underline not in the original)
As a side note, in some languages including Latin, Greek, and Hebrew, the pronoun (I, you, he, she, it, etc.) is included in the verb. The Expositorís Bible Commentary volume 5 p.354 in the notes says this verse uses the independent pronoun "I". This gives greater emphasis to the "I". The Greek Septuagint translation uses ego eimi, which also gives emphasis with the independent pronoun.
Q: In Ps 47:2; Ps 65:5; 66:3; 76:12, 99:3 (KJV), how are God and His ways "terrible"?
A: Of course, 400 years ago, when the King James version was translated, "terrible" meant "full of terror". Godís ways should be full of terror for those who reject God. The NKJV translates this as "awesome". The NET Bible translates this as "awe-inspiring".
Q: In Ps 48:2, Isa 14:13, why is the north / Zaphon mentioned?
A: The word for "north", Zaphon, is also the name of a mountain about 25 miles northeast of the Canaanite city of Ugarit. There are three views.
On one hand, this could simply be referring to the city of Jerusalem, on Mount Zion, looking splendid from the north. But then, no explanation is given why the north looks good, and not the south, east, or west.
A second view recognizes that the ancients all knew of the north star. But as the visible stars all revolved around the north star in the heavens, everything will be centered around the New Jerusalem in the new earth. The Believerís Bible Commentary p.624 mentions this view.
The most likely meaning is that this is a deliberate comparison with Mt. Zaphon, saying that the true God who "dwelled" in the Temple on Mt. Zion was better than the idol on Mt. Zaphon. The Canaanites believed that their main god dwelt on Mount Zaphon. It would be sort of like Ante-Nicene Christians saying the true God is better than the Greek idols dwelling on Mt. Olympus. See The Expositorís Bible Commentary vol.5 p.362-363, The Bible Knowledge Commentary : Old Testament p.829, and the New International Commentary on the Bible p.589 for more info.
Q: In Ps 48:7 and Ps 72:10, why is Tarshish mentioned here?
A: Tarshish probably refers to what we call Tartessus, a Phoenician colony in far-off Spain. It was likely mentioned because this was the westernmost known city to them. This Tarshish was probably also the city Jonah was trying to flee to, when God told him to go east to Nineveh.
There are three towns called Tarshish in the ancient world. Paul was from Tarsus/Tarshish in Asia minor. However, it was an inland city, so it is not in the place mentioned here. The second was a small mining town in Sardinia; we are not sure the Israelites were even familiar with this. The third was also a mining port in Spain, and the westernmost city known to them.
Q: In Ps 48:9-10, rejoicing in God is important, so what are ways we can rejoice in God today?
A: We can praise Him in prayer, in song, and be reading aloud praised to Him in scripture.
Q: In Ps 48:12-14, is Jerusalem God? It sure makes it sound like it is. If the notion that Jerusalem is God is heresy, Iíd like to know.
A: No, Jerusalem is not God, and Jerusalem is not heresy either. Rather, Jerusalem was the beloved place where God choose to put the symbol of his holiness the ark of the covenant. But as political events today show, some people can elevate Jerusalem above their following of God. That does not make Jerusalem bad, but for them Jerusalem can become an idol.
A second example of this phenomena is with the bronze snake. In Numbers 2:4-9, the people were being bitten by poisonous snakes. God told Moses to make an image of a snake and put it on a pole. When anyone was bitten, and looked at the snake, they would live. (Perhaps the snake was a symbol of our sin being nailed to the cross, but that is another story.) Anyway, it was good that Moses obeyed God and made the snake, and good that the people looked at it. Jesus also referred to this snake, positively in John 3:14. But there was no confusion that anyone thought the snake should be worshipped, - yet. However, in 2 Kings 18:4, people were burning incense to the snake. So, Hezekiah destroyed the bronze snake, because it had become an idol, more important to the people than the true God was.
Q: In Ps 49:2, why would the psalmist call out rich and poor together?
A: The main point of this psalm is a warning to those who trust in riches. There could be a couple of reasons why the author wanted to highlight this, instead of just saying all people. People can either trust in the wealth they have, or hope to trust in the wealth they hope to have. Donít think that this psalm, or any part of scripture, applies only to the rich, or only to the poor. Scripture is living, and always able to speak to us, if you let it speak.
In western culture today we think that people should have the same rights, regardless of wealth. It was not so in ancient times, and it is not so today in some other cultures. For example, when a person murders another, the murdered family can set a price, called "blood money". If the murderer pays the money to the murdered personís family, then the murderer can go free. So whether you can get away with murder depends on how much money you have. Of course, in western countries, a wealthy person can afford a more expensive legal team, to try to be found innocent or at least have a lesser penalty. There was a case where two people committed the same crime, and were equally culpable; one got five years, and one got 70.
In some ancient laws outside of Israel the penalty for murder varied depending on the status of the murdered person. Murdering a slave was not so serious; in fact, in Sparta after this time, young men growing up were expected to murder a helot (subject people).
Q: In Ps 49:4 and Prov 1:6 (KJV), what is a "dark saying"?
A: This is a riddle or a mysterious saying.
Q: In Ps 49:5, should we fear in the days of evil or not?
A: The question implies that we should not fear. Days of evil can provide uncertainty (which we should not fear), hardship (which we should not fear) and even going to heaven much earlier (which we definitely should not fear), so there is nothing we should fear. This passage implies that others take advantage of the vulnerable for selfish purposes. The reasons given in the following verses sound strange: their riches are not going to help them, no mortal human can redeem another, and all are going to die anyway. The psalmistís point is that nothing temporal, no matter how bad, that is thrown our way can shake our eternal foundation.
See The Expositorís Bible Commentary vol.5 p.368 for more info.
Q: In Ps 49:6-7, what are some characteristics of those who trust in their wealth?
A: They have a false sense of security. They can be arrogant and worried, at least if they have wealth. They believe their self-worth comes from their wealth, and they think they have more self-worth than others. However, if they realized that their wealth can be gone at any moment, they can worry about their wealth and the economic climate.
Q: In Ps 49:7, since a person cannot redeem their brother, how could Jesus redeem us?
A: Before answering this question, these verses are inviting us to pause and consider how costly it would be to redeem another person. The richest of the wealthiest person are insufficient to ransom another. Imagine going before a human court and trying to bribe the judge; -with one penny. Not only would it not do you any good, but it would be insulting to the judges and things would go worse for you. Trying to bribe God with our works is, relatively speaking, even smaller than trying to bribe a human judge with a penny.
The answer is that it is true that one sinful person cannot redeem another sinful person; actually any mere human could not redeem another human either. But Jesus was neither. All of Psalm 49:7-14 is pessimistic; nobody on earth can redeem another. Then Psalm 49:7 is a striking contrast: God can!
A person cannot understand the answer unless he or she first understands why someone cannot redeem his or her brother. For someone to pay (with their life) the penalty for someone elseís sin, they cannot already be paying with their life for their own sin. Thus, in Davidís time, nobody had ever lived who was sinlessly perfect. Nobody could offer themselves as a sinless sacrifice and substitute for the sin for anyone else. In our time, we know of one person who had done so, Jesus Christ, the only begotten son of God.
Q: In Ps 49:12,20, how are people like beasts that perish?
A: On earth, peopleís physical bodies die just like animals. People can be proud, like a lion or other animal can be proud, but that is very fleeting. It does NOT mean that there is no afterlife, because Psalm 49:15 affirms that God will redeem his soul from the power of the grave. Two things are certain: the doom of the wicked and the hope of the saints. See the discussion on Ecclesiastes 9:5-6, The Bible Knowledge Commentary : Old Testament p.830, and Hard Sayings of the Bible p.271-272 for more info.
Q: What is an outline of Ps 50?
A: This psalm gives the picture of the divine court of law. There is one top-level point, with two sub-points. The top-level point is a warning that God is judge. The first sub-point is a warning of Godís judgment to those who do the right things with a wrong attitude. The second sub-point is a warning of Godís judgement to those who give lip service to being of God when they are not really Godís people at all.
At a lower level, there are the four parts, the first and last are symmetrical, and the middle two are parallel.
1-6 Godís Righteous Judgment
- 1 The judge is heard
- 2-3 The judge is Seen
- 4-5 The judge calls the defendants
7-15 Charge of ritualism: Warning to Godly people
16-21 Charge of forgetting Godís judgment: Warning to the Wicked
- 16-17 they hated discipline
- 17 Disdain for Godís Word
- 18 refused to walk separate
- 19-20 wicked speech
22-23 Godís Righteous Judgment
See The Expositorís Bible Commentary vol.5 p.373-377 and the Believerís Bible Commentary p.627 for more info.
Q: In Ps 50:1, who is Asaph, the author of this and some other psalms?
A: This godly man was a Levite appointed by David to minister before the ark. Asaph is mentioned in 1 Chronicles 16:4-5,37.
Q: What does Ps 50:1 emphasize God here?
A: In Hebrew it reads, El, Elohim, Yahweh. It emphasizes who is setting up Court here. El is the general term for God/god. Elohim is a common name for God in the Old Testament. Yahweh is the most holy, personal name for God. The background of Psalm 50 is not just a court a law; rather it is the court of law, the court of divine law. See The Expositorís Bible Commentary vol.5 p.373 for more info.
Q: In Ps 50:3 (KJV), what does "tempestuous" mean?
A: A tempest is a violent storm.
Q: What does Ps 50:5 who are the consecrated ones here?
A: The Hebrew word is hasidim, which comes from the word hesed, or covenant love. The term means consecrated ones, beloved ones, or in other words saints. These are all believers, or in other words, those who have committed their lives to God. When someone thinks you can just grow up as a Christian and become one by osmosis or association, and they object to saying you have to make a decision for Christ; show them this verse. These are people who have made a covenant. See The Expositorís Bible Commentary vol.5 p.374 and the New International Bible Commentary p.590-591 for more info.
Q: In Ps 50:7-15, how can following rituals, even rituals from God, be a sin?
A: When you think that doing the rituals makes up for sinning and allows you to sin. Starting in the Middle Ages, the Roman Catholic Church in western Europe had the concept of indulgences. When you sinned a Catholic would believe they would suffer in Purgatory for that sin, unless they did the indulgence, which would be some action or paying money to the church. In fact, if you were going to sin, you could "prepay" the indulgence and then you would have the "license" to sin.
See the Believerís Bible Commentary p.628 for more info.
Q: In Ps 50:8-14, how do some people think God is in their debt since they gave to God?
A: They think in terms of a transaction, and think that God owes them since they "paid" God. What they donít realized is that God has already given us so much that we canít even begin to outgive God. Second, they donít realize that God does not need anything. Anything God does through us He could also do through someone else. It is not putting God under obligation to serve Him, rather it is a privilege to serve Him. See the Evangelical Commentary on the Bible p.381-382 for more info.
Q: In Ps 51:1-19, what is a synopsis of this psalm?
A: Psalm 51 is one of the penitential psalms after David repented of committing adultery with Bathsheba and had Uriah her husband killed. Psalms 6, 32, 38, 39, 78, 79, 102, 106, 130, 143 are also penitential psalms, and Psalm 65 and 73 also speak of sin. Psalm 51 is somewhat symmetric, arranged as a chiasm, like Psalm 25. This complex psalm has seven parts.
51:1-2 Prayer for mercy and cleansing for individual restoration
- 51:3-6 Confession and sorrow
3-4 David takes responsibility
5 Not just a slip or aberration
6 Godís standard has already been taught
- - 51:7-12 Prayer to God, requesting restoration
- 51:13-17 Thanksgiving (sort of matches confession and sorrow)
13-15 Davidís commitment
16-17 Seeing what God delights in
51:18-19 Prayer for national restoration
The great preacher Alexander Maclaren once said, "The alchemy of divine love can extract sweet perfumes of penitence and praise out of the filth of sin." See the Believerís Bible Commentary p.629, The NIV Study Bible p.838 and The Expositorís Bible Commentary volume 5 p.379 for more info.
Q: In Ps 51, what outward signs are there of unconfessed sins?
A: Some signs are lack of joy, lack of caring, guilt, and a dry prayer life. David also mentions his bones growing old in Psalm 32:3. In Psalm 51:3, the guilt of his sin haunts him day and night. Sometimes people who feal guilt donít sleep well.
Q: In Ps 51:1, what is significant about David asking God for mercy according to Godís lovingkindness?
A: David changed his tone in this psalm versus earlier psalms. David wanted God to reward David according to his righteousness in Psalm 18:20 and indirectly in Psalm 7:3-5. However, David is saying something very different here, after he realized just how sinful he is. David is not longer saying "reward me according to my righteousness, because David knows he might not like what he would get." Rather Davidís only reason he gives to God for blessing him is because of Godís loving mercy.
Q: In Ps 51:4, how did David sin only against God, and not against Uriah?
A: David knows he did Uriah wrong. He did sin against Uriah, by taking his wife from him and killing him. That was obvious to David. Davidís point here is that as much as David sinned against Uriah, that was still a small thing compared to sinning against the judge of the universe.
Q: In Ps 51:4-5, why did David say God was judging correctly here?
A: In this verse, David is confessing and acknowledging that God was right to "lower the boom" and severely condemn David for his sin. David did not tell God, "you have to let me off lightly because of our past closeness." One important aspect of repentance is claiming responsibility for what you did, said, failed to do, and failed to say.
David might have been thinking of how close he was to God, - or at least use to be. There is no such thing as partial repentance. True repentance is sincere and complete.
Q: Does Ps 51:5, are people born in sin, or was mankind made upright as Ecc 7:29 says?
A: Both are true. God originally made man without a sinful nature. However, after the Fall, people are born with a sinful nature, estranged from God, and in need of Godís sanctifying grace. See When Critics Ask p.238 for a complementary answer.
Q: In Ps 51:5, how was David a sinner from birth, made in iniquity?
A: David is saying that he was a sinner from before birth. David did not mean he was born illegitimately, and he is not saying his mother sinned in conceiving David, but rather that his parents were sinners. David obviously did not mean he committed any sinful actions prior to being born. Rather, David is saying that he was a sinner, with a sinful nature, even prior to being born. The Bible Knowledge Commentary : Old Testament p.832 adds that at no time in Davidís life was he sinless. 735 Baffling bible Questions Answered p.152-153 says this shows David sinned because he was a sinner, and not a sinner only because he later sinned.
Although this shows the precedence of the sinful nature prior to sinful deeds in David (and us), it does not prove we are guilty for the sins of our parents or ancestors. It does not place the blame for our sinful actions on God, or deny Psalm 139:14, that at the same time we should praise God that we are fearfully and wonderfully made. See Hard Sayings of the Bible p.272-273 for more info.
Q: In Ps 51:5 (NRSV) was David born guilty?
A: The Hebrew word here, Ďavown, means perversity, fault, or iniquity. However, being "faulty" (i.e., sinful) does not mean David was guilty of any sinful actions.
The KJV says, "shapen in iniquity", and the ESV, NASB, NKJV, and Greenís Literal translation all say, "brought forth in iniquity". The NIV says, "sinful at birth", and the NET Bible "guilty of sin from birth". The Septuagint says, "I was conceived in iniquities".
Q: In Ps 51:5 show that unborn fetuses are only potential humans?
A: No, this is not saying you are not human until you commit a sin, but rather you have a selfish, sinful nature even before birth. The DNA of an unborn baby are not of the species of bull or chicken, but human, and just as human as you or I. An unborn baby has not committed any personal sin, but he or she is still a sinner by having a sinful nature. See When Critics Ask p.239 for a different answer.
Q: In Ps 51:7, what is hyssop?
A: Hyssop is a mossy-looking plant that one can use as a brush. Israelites used it during the Passover to paint the lambís blood on the doorpost. When Christians re-enact Jewish ceremonies, if they cannot get hyssop, sometimes they substitute broccoli.
Q: In Ps 51:8, why did David not have joy?
A: David had all the money, power, and wives he could desire. Yet his relationship with God was such that he had no joy and gladness without restoring his relationship with God. David was an accomplished musical composer and musician. But when David sinned, he lost his song. See the Believerís Bible Commentary p.630 for more info.
Q: Since Ps 51:10 appears to be a direct command, is it OK for us to command God?
A: No, David was not commanding anything; he was requesting God to create in Him a clean heart. He knew he could not get rid of his wicked heart himself, so David threw himself wholly on the mercy of God. We can be confident as we pray that God will keep His promises, and we can ask with confidence, but we have no basis to command God.
Q: In Ps 51:11, could the Holy Spirit leave a believer?
A: David had good reason to think so. The Holy Spirit apparently left his predecessor, King Saul and an evil spirit came upon him. The Lord left Samson in Judges 16:20 or at least left him as far as his strength was concerned. However, since believers are given the Holy Spirit as a deposit guaranteeing our eternal life in Ephesians 1:13-14, things are different in New Testament times.
Q: In Ps 51:16-17, why did David say God did not desire sacrifices, since God commanded sacrifices in Leviticus and many other places?
A: This would only be a difficulty for someone who failed to grasp the importance of obedience. As Cain learned in the Garden of Eden (Genesis 4:3-5), God does not simply accept every sacrifice given to Him. For example, David knew that God would not accept from David a sacrifice that David took from someone else, and which cost him nothing (1 Chronicles 21:24). More to the point, God repeatedly shows that He does not desire any sacrifices by disobedient people (Isaiah 1:10-15; 66:2-4; Jeremiah 6:19-20). God desires obedience, and sacrifices of obedient people do please God (2 Chronicles 7:12-18; 2 Chronicles 30:1-26 especially 26; Ezra 6:17; 9:5).
See Hard Sayings of the Bible p.274-275 for more info.
Q: Was Ps 51:18-19 added after the Temple was destroyed?
A: Probably not. Because Psalm 79 was written after the Temple was destroyed, some have thought Psalm 51:18-19 was also, because it mentions building the walls of Jerusalem.
However, this is not a valid reason to think Psalm 51:18-19 was written later, as David and Solomon extensively built up the walls of Jerusalem. The Temple was built outside of the original walls of the city David captured and expanding the city to cover the Temple Mount more than doubled the size of the original city.
Q: In Ps 52:1-9, what is a synopsis of this psalm?
A: This is a psalm of trust, as is Psalm 1, except that this psalm is in a darker time. It starts with what the evil man Doeg experiences and finishing with what Godís people will experience. Psalm 1 also has contrasts two views, but Psalm 51 has a third perspective in the middle: what the righteous will see of the end of the wicked. Here is a synopsis.
A. Evil plans lead to a heap of ruins
─ 52:1 Though you boast of evil, Godís love protects me
─ 52:3-4 Your tongue destroys as a sharp razor, you love evil lies more than truth, and your tongue destroys and deceives
─ 52:5 You will be ruined and removed
B. The godly will be in awe of the justice for the wicked
─ 52:6-7 Behold the man who would trust in his wealth and plans instead of God
C. Trust in God and flourish like an olive tree
─ 52:8-9 But David will flourish in Godís unfailing love. David trust Godís executing judgment, for God is good
Q: In Ps 52:2, since Davidís friend Abimelech would have lived if Doeg had not been present, why did a Sovereign God allow Doeg to be there?
A: David had a strong suspicion this would happen in 1 Samuel 21-22, but David was passive here. The answer as to why God allowed this is essentially the same as why God allows evil. Treachery is a specific kind of evil. God allows evil as a test, a trial, and that we can learn lessons. One way of looking at things is that Abimelechís life ended early. But another way of looking at this is that Abimelechís real life, in Paradise, started early. As to why God allows evil, see the various discussions on Habakkuk 1:13 for more info.
Q: In Ps 53:1-6, what is the relationship to Ps 14:1-7?
A: They look like two versions of the same thought except that Psalm 14 uses Yahweh, and Psalm 53 uses Elohim. Both are by David, and it is guessed that Psalm 53 is the later version. See The Bible Knowledge Commentary : Old Testament p.834, the New International Bible Commentary p.592, the Believerís Bible Commentary p.632, and The Expositorís Bible Commentary vol.5 p.388 for more info.
Q: In Ps 53:1, what are early references to atheism?
A: Psalm 53:1 and 14:1 are two references, and an extra-Biblical reference is that the philosopher Socrates was falsely accused of atheism before he was executed by drinking hemlock. Aristophanes wrote a play which said that Socrates taught that the gods did not exist, and so Socrates was executed due to a play about him instead of what he actually said. Some Hindu, Buddhist, and Jain schools teach there is no creator. Philo the Jew (15/20 B.C. to 50 A.D.) mentions "the selfish and atheistical mind" in Allegorical Interpretation, I 15 (48) p.30.
Q: Do Ps 53:2-3 and Ps 14:3 refer to a) people in general, b) every specific individual, or c) every specific individual apart from God?
A: Until you look at other scriptures, the answer might not be clear. Romans 3:10 indicates this scripture is applicable to all people. However, David, who wrote Psalm 53 also wrote that he sought God in Psalm 27:3. Psalms 105:4; 119:2; and Proverbs 28:5 also show that some do seek God. The resolution is that we are so sinful that no one on their own will seek God. However, God has enabled us to seek Him. So, the answer is both a and c.
Q: In Ps 53:3 what is interesting about this word for "corrupt"?
A: This is a totally different word that used in Psalm 53:1. This word literally means "soured" like sour milk. This word is also used in Psalm 14:3 and Job 15:16. Once milk becomes sour, there is nothing you can do to "unsour" it. See The Bible Knowledge Commentary : Old Testament p.834 for more info.
Q: In Ps 53:5 why does it say they "feared when there was no fear"?
A: This poetic expression means they feared when there was nothing to fear. If someone tries to claim the writer "accidentally" contradicted himself just three words later, then I think they know they do not know what they are talking about. See When Critics Ask p.239 for a different but complementary answer.
Q: In Ps 53:6, how should our prayers be like this?
A: This is one of many places where Psalms prays about a longing for Godís kingdom. In the Lordís prayer one of the phrases is a request for "thy kingdom come". In Revelation 22:17,20 we are to desire Christ to come soon. See The Bible Knowledge Commentary : Old Testament p.834 for more info.
Q: In Ps 54:1-7, what is a synopsis of this psalm?
A: Here is an outline
54:1-2 Pray for deliverance
- 54:3 The reason for the prayer
- - 54:4 Resolution of trust in God in this
- 54:5 Expected result of the prayer
54:6-7 Thanking God in advance for the deliverance
See The Expositorís Bible Commentary vol.5 p.389 for more info.
Q: In Ps 54:1-3, who are the strangers David is mentioning?
A: It does not specify who these specific people are, but they could be the Ziphites who twice betrayed David and told Saul where he was hiding in 1 Samuel 23:19; 26:1. See the Believerís Bible Commentary p.843, the Evangelical Commentary on the Bible p.382, and The Bible Knowledge Commentary : Old Testament p.834 for more info.
Q: In Ps 54:3, how should we react when people betray us or rise up against us?
A: Being a Christian is no guaranteed that you wonít ever be betrayed by someone. But as Christians God is very clear; we are not to get revenge. We should pray about our situation, and we can pray about the oppression, but it is not our hand that should get revenge; we can have confidence that God will take care of that.
As Christians we should do our job, not our job plus Godís job. Godís job is to judge and do vengeance, and our job is loving others and obeying and following God. We are told not to get revenge so let God do His job and we should do ours.
Q: In Ps 54:4 how is God our helper, since it is we who should be serving and helping God?
A: As Katherine Marshall (I think) once said, Benjamin Franklin was wrong when he said God helps those who help themselves. Rather, God helps those who acknowledge they are helpless. Four points to consider in the answer.
1. God does not require our help to do anything, but He has given us the privilege of helping, and He has prepared good works for us to do (Ephesians 2:10).
2. We should be helping God do His work, to advance His kingdom, not our work to advance our own empire.
3. Believers even need Godís help to serve Him and follow Him, and in this God is our Helper as we rely on His strength.
4. We should realize that when we realize we are weak and dependent on God, then we are strong, as 2 Corinthians 12:10 says.
Q: In Ps 55:1-23, what is a synopsis of this psalm?
A: Like many Psalms, this is organized as a chiasm. There is a twist though; some phrases that would expect to be near synonyms are actually polar opposites.
Complaint and despair 55:1-3
- How David feels under the circumstances 55:4-8
- - Praying for Justice 55:9-15
- - Confidence in Godís justice 55:16-21
- How we should feel under God 55:22-23a
It all about trust in God 55:23f
See The Expositorís Bible Commentary vol.5 p.393 for more info.
Q: In Ps 55:1-3 and 55:22-23, what is the difference between a believer living under the circumstances vs. living under God?
A: Someone living under the circumstances can feel that the present situation will last forever. They can feel they are all on their own and feel inadequate. They can have the attitude of "if itís to be, itís up to me" which can either lead to a fatalistic depression, or else lead them to do rash things. On the other hand, when things are going very well, they can arrogantly think it is just their own knowledge, skill, power, or even good luck, that brought them what they think they deserve. Someone living under the circumstances has a lot to think about for themselves; they have the concerns, worries, and resigned fatalism.
A believer living under God realizes that current troubles, as well as current wealth and fame, are temporary. They know that God is with them, and they can reach out to other believers as we are a family and a community. They know that God is adequate and they are just to love and follow Him. They can have the attitude of "if itís to be, itís up to us to pray and be empowered by God." On the other hand, when things are going well, they are full of thanksgiving for Godís gracious bounty. Someone living under God has lots of mental energy available to think about others. As 1 Peter 5:7 says, God will take care of them; but God wants to equip them to help others.
Q: In Ps 55:4-8 was David fearful in this psalm or was he brave? Is it possible to be both?
A: David was not just afraid, he was terrified. Looking around at his circumstances, and even much of his own army now against him, he likely wondered how we would get out of this alive. But then looking up to God, David saw that He was with him was greater than all his past and current enemies combined.
Q: In Ps 55:12-13, what is David saying about his enemy here?
A: David was shocked by someone he thought was his friend. They walked and talked together, and even went to worship together. So the treacherous person at least appeared to be a believer, and yet betrayed David. Sometimes people betray their friends for profit, and other times from fear.
The psalm does not say specifically who this enemy was, but the phrase "took sweet counsel together" in Psalm 55:14a might furnish us a clue. This is consistent with the advisor Ahithophel in 2 Samuel 16:21-17:14. Ahithophel was once of Davidís trusted advisors, and later advised Davidís rebellious son Absalom how to kill Davidís men and get David. In fact, in 2 Samuel 17:1 Ahithophel asked Absalom to give him 12,000 soldiers and Ahithophel wanted to go after David himself!
See the Believerís Bible Commentary p.633 and The Bible Knowledge Commentary : Old Testament p.835 for more info.
Q: In Ps 55:15; 56:7, why did David pray for God to harm his enemies?
A: See the discussion on Psalm 3:7 for the answer on "imprecatory psalms" in general.
Q: In Ps 55:19, many people have no fear or regard for God, because they donít think God will punish them. How do we tell them in a way that can get through to them?
A: People often think they will escape punishment in this life a lot more than actually happens. However, some people do pretty much escape any bad consequences in this life. But as even an agnostic, a former editor of the Scientific American magazine, Marvin Gardiner, wrote, if a person believes in justice, they have to believe in an afterlife. Some think that what you donít see, and what you donít know, canít hurt you. But if you are standing on some train tracks, and a train is coming, will the train miss you because you donít see it coming, because you have your eyes closed? Judgement is real. 100% of all evil will be punished. Unless Jesusí atonement takes away someoneís sins, they have to bear their own punishment.
Pray to God that He will soften their heart. Try to understand their viewpoint, and as 1 Peter 3:15 says to always be ready to give a defense for the hope that is in you.
Q: In Ps 55:20-21, how can someone metaphorically stab someone who was not opposing them, with a smile on their face?
A: Occasionally Christians make the mistake of thinking that everyone views life the way Christians do. While we are to love people and use things, some love things and use people. Sometimes when someone betrays someone else, it is not personal, they are just discarding that relationship like you throw away an empty bottle, after you have gotten out of it all you wanted. Others might betray you with pleasure, for some perceived slight you did to them that you might be totally unaware of. But we should never be that way. As believers we should be as wise as serpents, but as innocent as doves, as Jesus says in Matthew 10:16.
Q: In Ps 55:22, how can we cast our burdens on the Lord today?
A: 1 Peter 5:7 says to cast your cares upon God because He cares for you. We are often tempted to worry about things we can do nothing about; let God do the worrying for you; you donít need to. Sometimes we worry about things that we can do something about. We should not worry about it, but we should pray and be diligent to do what should be done. Some things look like they are in the first category, but when we explore a bit, we might find come up with a solution that was an in fact do. Casting your burdens on the Lord is not an excuse to be lazy, or to be fatalistic. It still means to work hard, but be concerned that you are doing what God wants you to do, and leave the results to God.
Second, once you turn over your burdens to God, there can be a temptation to take them back again. Once you have given them over, then keep them out of your own hands. Donít give up, and do what God wants you to do; but just worrying will not help anything. We are all familiar with Jesusí teaching on the lilies of the field, but actually the Sermon on the Mount in Matthew 5 is filled with things we could be worried about but are not supposed to be.
Third, know that sometimes God puts certain people, even difficult people, into your life for a reason. It might be to help you build up patience, break down your pride, or, as you deal with them, you learn how to deal with others like them, both for your own benefit and to instruct others.
As Jesus bore the burden of our sins, He also wants to bear the burden of our cares. (adapted from Bishop Horne) See the Believerís Bible Commentary p.634-635 for more info.
Q: In Ps 55:23f, how else do we trust our life in God, in addition to believing that Godís words are true?
A: There is always a path in life that seems the safest path to take, if there were no God. At some points it is the same path we should take in following God, but in everyoneís life there will be times where they diverge, and you have to choose between following God completely or instead taking the safest-looking path. Of course, the safest-looking path is not always the safest path. It would have looked "safer" to Abram to just have stayed in Ur, instead of moving out west to who knows where. What Abram did not know though, is that within 50 years the mighty city of Ur would be destroyed by the Elamites and the populations enslaved. Abram, in following God, actually did the safest thing, though he did not know that and it would not look like the safest thing at the time. When God commanded Jonah to travel to a wicked, violent city of Nineveh, the safest-looking thing was to sail the opposite way. But when this believer was disobedient, we know how that worked out. So the best advice is not to "stay safe", though it is not "be risky" either. The best advice is to fully follow after God.
Q: In Ps 56:1-13, what is the emphasis of this prayer?
A: David mentions "I", "me", and "my" 31 times, refers to God, Lord, or You 16 times, and refers to his enemies or evil men 14 times. Other psalms of David have different emphases, but this psalm shows that praying for yourself is OK too.
Chiasms are common in Hebrew poetry, with patterns such as A, B, C, Cí, Bí, Aí. This psalm is close to this pattern, and it is interesting to see the deviation.
The basic pattern is
1-2 Asking mercy from his attackers
¾ 3-4 Afraid yet trusting in God
¾ 5-6 What the enemies are doing to David
¾ ¾ 7-9 What God will do to them when David prays
¾ 10-11 Trust in God and not be afraid
12-13 Thanks in advance for deliverance
Note that asking for mercy is coupled with thanking for deliverance. Note that David speaks of "when he is afraid" in verse 3, yet only says he will not be afraid in verse 4 and 11.
Q: In Ps 56:2, should the word be "slanderers" (NIV), or "enemies" (KJV, NKJV, NRSV), or "watchers" (Greenís Literal Translation)
A: The Expositorís Bible Commentary volume 5 p.398 says that "enemies" is preferable to "slanderers". The Hebrew word here, sharer, is very similar to the Hebrew word shorer for twisting. In Psalm 56:5 David mentions them twisting his words.
Q: In Ps 56:4,11, how can we choose not to be afraid?
A: David was honest to mention "when he was afraid" in Psalm 56:3. Yet David (and we) conquer our fear. David conquered his fear by looking to God, trusting in Godís faithful word, and asking what can man do to him? The answer is that man can do nothing to David, except what God allows. Furthermore, the worst man can do is kill David so that he will dwell with God in Heaven sooner.
Peter also had to choose not to be afraid when Jesus asked Peter to walk on the water. Like a tightrope walker should not look down and panic, we must keep our eyes on Jesus.
When we are afraid, we can ask ourselves four questions:
1. Why are we afraid?
2. On what are we focusing?
3. On what does it make sense for us to focus, or rather, on Who?
4. We should be concerned and diligent, but does it really make sense for us to be afraid when we trust in God?
Q: In Ps 56:5, why do some people twist other peopleís words?
A: There are at least two reasons.
Deliberately "waging war" on others is what some do, and their main weapon is the false words they use.
Recklessly assuming a meaning, even when closer observation would show the assumption wrong, is a common thing people do when either they do not care what the person really meant, or they actually desired the person to have the assumed meaning. When we share the gospel, and when people read the Bible, some people will actively try to interpret things the way they desire. In fact, some people believe they can interpret a book, such as the Bible, in whatever way "means the most" to them, regardless if that were the original meaning or not.
Q: In Ps 56:5, are there ways to reduce the opportunity to twist your words?
A: Try to make sure no half-sentence conveys the opposite of what you believe. Says what you mean before you explain what you did not mean. Be careful when introducing hypothetical scenarios, as some might think you are saying they really happened or will happen. Be very careful when using sarcasm, as either some might not understand, or others might dismiss you solely because of your tone.
Q: In Ps 56:8, are our tears stored in a bottle (KJV, NKJV, NRSV, Greenís Literal Translation), in a scroll (NIV), or wineskin (NIV footnote)?
A: The Expositorís Bible Commentary volume 5 p.400 discusses both but says "bottle" is the preferred translation. The Hebrew word for bottle (noíd) comes from an unused Hebrew root meaning skin such as a wineskin.
Q: In Ps 56:5, are there ways to reduce the opportunity to twist your words?
A: Try to make sure no half-sentence conveys the opposite of what you believe. Be careful when introducing hypothetical scenarios, as some might think you are saying they really happened or will happen. Be very careful when using sarcasm, as either some might not understand, or others might dismiss you solely because of your tone.
Q: In Ps 56:8, no one can say God gave his faithful servant David an easy, stress-free life. How can we better cope with stress in our life?
A: God considers how we deal with challenges as precious things to remember. God puts our tears in a bottle and records them in His book. This beautiful expression means that the sadness and disappointments believers bear are carefully remembered by God. He will wipe every tear from our eyes according to Revelation 21:4.
Q: In Ps 56:9 we sometimes just assume that God will turn back our enemies, but what has to happen first?
A: You have to cry out to God for help to save you. Sometimes we donít get what we need, because we donít ask God.
Q: In Ps 57, where was this psalm written?
A: The superscript says it was when David was in a cave hiding from Saul. There are two times when David did that; one in the cave of Adullam in 1 Samuel 22:1, and one in a cave at en-Gedi in 1 Samuel 24:1. Feeling he is in a shadow, Godís shadow, would be very appropriate here. Psalms 56 and 57 are likely placed here because they go together.
See the Believerís Bible Commentary p.636, The Expositorís Bible Commentary vol.5 p.401 and The Bible Knowledge Commentary : Old Testament p.836 for more info.
Q: In Ps 57, what is a synopsis of this psalm?
A: David is seeking reassurance of Godís protection here. Psalm 57 has three parts: crying out to God, 2) the danger described, and 3) Davidís godly response. The Bible Knowledge Commentary : Old Testament p.836, the New International Bible Commentary p.594, and The Expositorís Bible Commentary vol.5 p.401-402 say there are two parts: the lament 57:1-4 and thanksgiving 57:6-10. Both parts have the ABCDCíAíBíD pattern with a refrain at the end of each part
1 Prayer for God to deliver him
- 2-3 pray for vindication, love and faithfulness
- - 4 The enemies
- - - 5 Refrain
- - 6 The enemies
- 7-8 Thanksgiving for strength
9-10 Thanking God for His love and faithfulness
This is similar to a chiasm except that Aí and Bí are reversed and the refrains.
Q: In Ps 57, is it easier to praise God when things are going well, or going poorly?
A: Believers would give different answers.
When things go poorly, some are more prone to discouragement (Jeremiah), acting out of fear (Abraham), or even bitterness (Naomi). After being exhausted, Elijah feared Jezebelís threat.
When things go well, some are more prone to pride (Uzziah), take Godís commands lightly (Saul), think they are above Godís laws (Solomon), led astray by money and idols (Gideon), and led astray by women (Samson, David, Solomon). After the were rescued from catastrophes, Noah and Lot sinned. After standing up to the Assyrians, Hezekiah both had pride and did not want to die.
In all situations, some believers are constantly faithful, as Joshua, Deborah, Joseph, and Daniel.
Q: In Ps 57, what is a broken spirit and broken heart?
A: A contrite heart is one that is sorry for what was done, said, or not done. It could also be sorry for what they are or have become. It is also a heart that wants to change and not sin again. A broken spirit is closely related. It is one that realizes that the previous way that was followed was wrong and not to be followed, but also a realization that we cannot make things right with God. It is only God who makes things right with us. Finally a broken heart realizes that we cannot make the changes that are needed. Rather than despair, it can also be a heart full of hope, knowing that God desires to make the changes in us, and a heart of resolve, that knows the changes must be made.
Q: In Ps 57:3, what does the word "reproach" mean here?
A: While God will avenge people, that is not precisely what this means. It means that they will be reproached, i.e., God will have them look bad before others, because of what they did.
Q: In Ps 57:6, why does David often mention nets?
A: Nets do not look very impressive or very strong. Yet, even a boy with enough stones can kill a powerful lion, if the lion is immobilized in a net. People too can be caught, and even eventually die, by little, unimpressive snares and sins that do not look too powerful. Are there any nets in your life that make you spiritually vulnerable?
Q: In Ps 57:8, what is meant by I will awaken the dawn?
A: In those times of limited lighting, usually it is the light of dawn the wakes people up. But David is saying that he will be up even earlier, and instead he will wake up the dawn, so to speak. See the New International Bible Commentary p.595 for more info.
Q: In Ps 58:1-11, what is ironic here?
A: This psalm is about doing something that is not often done today: judging the judges. When people declare certain things politically correct, or right versus wrong, based on their own opinions, who judges these judges? See The Bible Knowledge Commentary : Old Testament p.836-837 and the Believerís Bible Commentary p.637 for more info.
Q: In Ps 58, how should we deal with injustice by those in authority today?
A: There are a number of steps to think about.
First of all, keep our spirits up, realizing that all injustice against us is temporary, until we go to Heaven.
Second, donít just think about yourself, but see if others are suffering from this injustice too. We are to help the oppressed.
Third, if you can get out from under the injustice, and help the others get out from the injustice, without hurting others or risking something worse, then do so. If you live in a democracy, and there is an unjust politician, would it be within the realm of possibility for you to run for office to take his or her position?
Fourth, sometimes you realize that there is nothing you can do without making things worse. Jesus understands injustice, because He suffered injustice too.
Fifth, see if this is a learning opportunity, that God would have you learn something here. People can be very sensitive to even the smallest injustice against themselves, but mostly oblivious, or even worse, uncaring, about injustice done to other people. Once you get out of this situation, or even before, can you be a change agent to help fight the injustice of others who are oppressed?
Most important, ask God what He would have you do in this situation. The answer could be very different in different situations, so you need to ask for wisdom from God to know what to do.
Q: In Ps 58:3, how do the wicked go astray and speak lies even from the womb?
A: This is obviously a poetic hyperbole, as newborn infants do not speak, whether lies or truth. This can refer to four complementary things:
a) Everyone is born with a sinful nature, a natural tendency to sin.
b) From birth they are separated from God and in need of His grace.
c) God, who sees the end from the beginning, can see how reprobate people follow their own chosen direction even from birth.
d) Even little children can learn from the example of their parentís sins.
Q: In Ps 58:4, what is a deaf adder?
A: This was a poisonous snake that lived around the Mediterranean Sea. The word "cobra" used in the NKJV, is not correct; cobras do not live in the Mideast.
: In Ps 59:1-17, what is a synopsis of this psalm?
A: While Psalm 59 and 60 likely were circumstances they flow together nicely. Psalm 59 is about praying to God not to suffer defeat (physical, in public opinion, or otherwise) by Saulís men, and Psalm 60 is praying to God after having suffered a defeat. Psalm 59 splits naturally into two parts: verses 1-10 and 11:17 with a similar refrain to both parts in verses 9-10 and 17.
1-2 Request for deliverance
- 3-4 Description of his enemies
- - 5 Request for Godís vengeance
- - - 6-7 In th evening they roam, growling like a dog
- - - - 8-9 Expectation of Godís coming through
11-12 Request to bring down his enemies but not to slay them
- - 13 May Godís handling of Davidís enemies be glorifying to God
- - - 14-15 In th evening they roam, growling like a dog
- - - - 16-17 So sing, celebrating Godís power
See the New International Bible Commentary p.596 for more info.
Q: In Ps 59:6-7,14-15, why does David compare his enemies to dogs here?
A: It is not very complimentary. Stray dogs had no owners, and just ate the garbage that people left. They would sleep and appear very docile by day. But in the evening, when it was dark, they would prowl for food. They would not attack anyone during the day, with so many people around. But letting a child go out at night alone would not be good.
Dogs donít think about God; and likewise, these enemies think there are no consequences at night, when they wonít be caught. After all, "who hears?" They might seem nice one-on-one, but in a group they follow the pack.
Similarly, sometimes enemies can appear docile and friendly when they are being watched by others. They might only strike when they feel they wonít get caught.
See The Bible Knowledge Commentary : Old Testament p.837 for more info.
Q: In Ps 59:11-12, why does David ask God NOT to kill them here?
A: David is not after their death; rather he wants them to be humiliated in their pride, when others see how they are brought down.
Q: In Ps 59:13, how are wicked people "consumed in wrath"?
A: There are two ways. The primary way is that in the future, unless the repent, they will be destroyed by Godís wrath. Secondarily, right now their hearts can be eaten up with hatred and strife.
Q: In Ps 59:15, what is the correct translation here?
A: It can be one of two ways.
"Let them wander" is what the KJV and Greenís literal translation say. The New International Bible Commentary p.596 similarly says, "make them wander".
"They wander/roam" is how the NASB, NIV, NKJV, and NET, NRSV, translate it. The Expositorís Bible Commentary volume 5 p.413 indicates the evil men presently were doing that.
While the dogs were growling in the evening, David was singing in the morning.
See the Believerís Bible Commentary p.639 for more info.
Q: In Ps 59:16-17, David sings because God is His defense. Can David be certain God will not let him have any setbacks or defeats?
A: No. The next psalm was after a fierce battle, and God had "shown the people hard things". Similarly, under Moses they did not win all of their battles either. After the report of the ten spies persuaded the people to not go in, God told them they would die in the desert, they decided on their own to invade Canaan, and they were defeated. Likewise, Joshua suffered defeat at Ai.
So, following God does not mean we will never make mistakes, or that the people we rely on will not make mistakes. It also does not mean we wonít suffer setbacks or defeats. But it does mean that God will carry us through those setbacks, and even though we will not win every battle, in Christ we will win the war. God does not forget us. In both victory and defeat, we are waiting on God, our champion.
See The Expositorís Bible Commentary vol.5 p.409,414 for more info.
Q: In Ps 60:1-12, what is an outline of this psalm?
A: Psalm 60 was written after having suffered a setback. Here is a synopsis.
1-4 The cause of the defeat is said to be the Lord
5 But Israelís hope is in the Lord
6-8 The Ord promised victory, eventually
9-11 Israelís Needs the Lord
12 Israel can be confident in the Lord
See the Believerís Bible Commentary p.639 for more info.
Q: In Ps 60:1 in the heading, were 12,000 Edomites killed, or 18,000 as 1 Chr 18:12 says?
A: There are three possible answers.
1) This most likely is a copyist error, as Bible Difficulties & Seeming Contradictions p.130-131 points out.
2) The army might have had multiple divisions. 1 Chronicles 18:12-13 that the army division under Davidís nephew Abishai killed 18,000, while in Psalm 60 the soldiers under Joab killed 12,000 Edomites. The Bible Knowledge Commentary : Old Testament p.608 has this view.
3) It is thought that subscriptions above the Psalms were added later, so the subscription about Psalm 60, whether the number is correct or not, is not scripture.
Q: In Ps 60:3 (KJV), what is the "wine of astonishment"?
A: This is an intoxicant that makes you lose your senses. The NET Bible translates this as "intoxicating wine." The NRSV translates this as, "wine to drink that made us reel." The NKJV says, "wine of confusion".
Q: In Ps 60:5, how should we pray, when we have experienced setback or defeat?
A: A setback could be job-wise, family-wise, or ministry-wise. A defeat could be due to trusting in someone that could not be relied upon, or letting God down by our sin. The setback or defeat has already happened, but what has not happened yet is our response to it. We can respond by drawing closer to God, in repentance if needed, and that we would be stronger in the Lord as a result of this unpleasant experience. Or we can let their setback or defeat weaken us, or break us, and cast us into a no manís land of indecision and doubt. The choice is ours, whether we draw closer to God or farther away.
Q: In Ps 60:6 and Ps 108:7, how did God divide Shechem?
A: This refers to parceling out the land to the Israelites who conquered it. The NIV Study Bible p.847 says that mentioning Shechem (west of the Jordan River) and Succoth (east of the Jordan River) might have been symbolic for all of the conquest under Joshua.
Q: In Ps 60:8-12 and Ps 108:9-13, why did God help Davidís army, since He never told them to fight against some of the peoples?
A: David fought against all his enemies, old and new. As for the Ammonites and Syrians, it was they who chose to be Davidís enemies, not the other way around. The nation of Edom was smaller than Israel, but they became a serious threat when combined with another small nation, the Ammonites, new enemy, the more numerous Syrians (also called Aramaeans).
Besides people who might want to see us fall, we also have enemies of the world, the flesh, and the devil. There is no place to make a compromising agreement with these enemies.
Q: In Ps 60:9-12, what key application is there for us today in our battles?
A: This psalm, like many other places, speaks of us having confidence and hope in God. But unlike other places, Psalm 60 speaks of having confidence and hope in God even after our setback or defeat. Depend on God even after a setback. See The Bible Knowledge Commentary : Old Testament p.838 for more info.
Q: In Ps 61:1-8, what is an outline of this Psalm?
A: Psalm 61 is a psalm of when we need God to shelter us. This psalm has four parts.
1-2 A prayer for protection
3-5 Remembering God past work and future promise
6-7 Another prayer for protection
8 Expectant hope in Godís promise
See The Expositorís Commentary on the Bible vol.5 p.418 for more info.
Q: In Ps 61, what can we do when our faith feels faint?
A: Just as David did remember how God carried us through in the past. Realized that God will lead you to a rock higher than you. The Rock is Himself, but your life can be lifted to a higher place than you are right now. But David is not only asking for the Rock, he is asking to be led to the rock.
See The Expositorís Commentary on the Bible vol.5 p.419 and The Bible Knowledge Commentary : Old Testament p.838 for more info.
Q: In Ps 61:1-2, how did David pray from the ends of the earth?
A: David is not geographically in the remotest part of the earth, but he is probably not in Israel here and he feels he is in an extreme predicament. From anywhere and everywhere, even the ends of the earth, he would cry out to God. Of course, Christian business people who travel today can pray from the ends of the earth too. See the Believerís Bible Commentary p.641 for more info.
Q: In Ps 61:2-4, what are the images here?
A: The are five metaphors of taking cover here. Verse 2 has a higher rock; verse 3 has a shelter and a strong tower. Verse 4 has a tabernacle and the shelter of Godís wings. Each of these emphasize God sheltering us in a slightly different way.
From a high rock you can not only see, but you are above enemy soldiers easily getting too you and perhaps out of range of most arrows.
A shelter or tent protects against the storm, cold, and the sun.
A strong tower gives 100% protection against the enemy while the tower stands.
A tabernacle is a place to have intimacy with God. When our spirit feels weary, we can be refreshed spiritually.
Shelter of Godís wings is like a bird keeps the chicks warm and protected from rain.
See the Evangelical Commentary on the Bible p.383 for more info.
Q: In Ps 61:3, what is the interplay between relying on God to lead us, and making our own decisions?
A: God can tell us what to do directly through His word, for example: donít steal. Some things we can learn by precept; for example, since the Bible says donít steal, use pirated software or music; pay for it. Sometimes God can make decisions for us by opening and closing doors. Other times God can lead us to do certain things, like take a particular job or not. But other times God wants us to make the decision, and to develop our own decision-making capabilities, under the Lordship of Christ.
In the Bible David is a good example of relying on God. He could have given up, publicly refused to be a king, and run away to another country. But David relied on God to make him king. David is also a good example of making our own decisions too. David was on the run from Saul, had to hide in caves a few times, and (rightly or wrongly) decided to cut off a piece of Saulís robe to show Saul how loyal he was.
Personally, many years ago I had to choose whether or not to take a new job vs. keep the existing job that I had. I prayed about it, and I believe God spoke to me about that. Here was what God said: "you decide". I submitted the decision to God and made my decision. Many times, we are to make the decision, but we should submit the decision to God, and allow Him to overrule us without getting upset.
What if you make a wrong decision and start going the wrong way? Someone once said that God doesnít guide parked cars. Whether you tell a car to turn left or turn right makes no difference if the car is not going to move anyway. But if we are trying to follow God, and we ever make a wrong decision (which we will), that is OK because God can tell us to make a U-turn.
Q: In Ps 61:4, what wings do you think David had in mind?
A: These could be the wings of the cherubim that were over the mercy seat of the ark. Or they could be a metaphor for how an eagle or other bird takes care of her little chicks. Or it could be both. See the Believerís Bible Commentary p.642 for more info.
Q: In Ps 61:6, how should we pray for protection?
A: Donít make your safety your idol, but it is good to pray for protection, as David did here. Pray without ceasing. David specifically prayed that God would be his shelter, that God would listen to him, and that God will keep His promises. So, David does not have to wait until the circumstances seem safe; David can sing and praise God right now! See The Expositorís Commentary on the Bible vol.5 p.420 for more info.
Q: In Ps 61:6-7, what is curious about the pronouns and nouns here?
A: The pronouns change from "I" to "the king". Verses 1-5 have ten usages of "I", "me", or "my". Verses 6-7 are the "king" and "he" two times. Then verse 8 is "I" two times and "my". David stops thinking only about himself and also considers future kings.
Today when we find ourself in a hard situation, stop and think if there are other people in the same situation too. When you pray, you might want to pray for them also. Also, when you see the situation some others are in, you could see that your problem might not be as big an issue as you thought.
See the Evangelical Commentary on the Bible p.383 for more info.
Q: Is Ps 61:6-7 Messianic?
A: Not, not everything that is a blessing for the king is Messianic. David is thinking of himself and future kings, which includes Christ, but no special future king is signaled out. Clement of Alexandria (193-204 A.D.) quotes from Psalm 61 in Stromata book 4 ch.14 p.429 (twice) and book 10 ch.109 p.459 and in all three places he gives no indication that he thinks it is messianic. No other Pre-Nicene writers quoted from Psalm 61. On the other hand, Psalm 61:6-7 was interpreted as referring to the Messiah in the Jewish targums as the New International Commentary on the Bible p.597 and the Believerís Bible Commentary p.642 say.
Q: In Ps 62:1, besides just listening to and obeying God, how are we to wait upon God today?
A: Remember that God our Rock is Higher than us. We are secure on the rock and safe in the Tent. We can apply this verse in almost every context of our lives in at least five ways.
Worship: Servants of a king does not ask how what they are doing is helping themselves; rather they are asking how it is helping the king. While we might still enjoy a worship service, or get something out of it, those are not the reasons why we should be there. We are these to glorify God, because worship is about Him, not us.
Help: Are we actively asking God to help us in our life and ministry to Him, or are we trying to do things on our own power?
Leadership: Do we wish Godís help to follow us in our work, or do we try to follow the Spirit in His work? Joshua asked the angel if the angel was on Joshuaís side or not. But while Joshua was asking "a" or "b", the angel answered: neither, rather "c". The angel did not answer the question directly, because the angel was not on the side of a sinful man. Rather Joshua should have realized that Joshua needed to be on the angelís side. (Joshua 5:13-15). We should not ask if God is on our side; rather we should be concerned that we are on Godís side.
Guidance: Do we want to serve God "in our own way", or are we perfectly content to serve God in His way for us?
Timing: Do we wait for Godís timing, or do we think is any time good for us? (John 7:6)
See the New International Commentary on the Bible p.597 for more info.
Q: In Ps 62:2,6,7 how is God a rock, metaphorically?
A: God is like a rock in at least three ways.
A mountain is a very big rock; you canít go through it; you have to go around.
A rock is hard; hitting a rock is not going to do much to it.
A rock is rather permanent; changing reasons, rain, hail, and sun do not affect it.
God and His protection are like that for us.
Q: In Ps 62:2,6, what does it mean for us to be unshaken or unmoved?
A: We are not the rock, but if we stand on a high rock, we will be safe from a flood. It does not mean that we think bad things will not happen to us. And it does not mean we should not adapt quickly to changing situations. Rather, it means that our peace, presence of mind, and confidence should not be disturbed because of what mere humans are doing.
Q: In Ps 62:4f, how do you deal with "double-tongued" people?
A: These people speak well in front of you, but they speak against you behind your back. First of all, make sure you are not a person like that yourself. Sometimes people might be that way towards you because they think, rightly or wrongly, that you are that way towards them. Here are some things to do.
1) Pray to God about them, that God would protect you from their lies. Lies can separate friends and make people not like you without you having any clue as to why.
2) Deal with them carefully; often the less you tell them the better.
3) When you do speak, be careful of your words; they might be repeated by them in the most unfavorable light.
4) Try to understand why they feel and act the way they do. Perhaps there is a way you can make peace with them. Romans 12:18 says as far as is possible, be at peace with everyone.
See the Evangelical Commentary on the Bible p.383, the Believerís Bible Commentary p.643-644, and The Expositorís Bible Commentary vol.5 p.421 for more info.
Q: In Ps 62:9, why should we consider some people as just a vapor or a lie?
A: Jesus said we are to love our neighbor as ourselves, and we are to value other people, since all men and women are made in the image of God. But that being said, sometimes we can care too much about what other people say and think of us. You the other person will not let there be a reconciliation, there comes a point where their criticisms or gaslighting of you should just be ignored. At some point you should just move on with your life, and not care about what negative things they might say about you. However, you might will have a need to defend your reputation in the eyes of others,
Q: In Ps 62:12, since God renders to each according to his work, is this the eastern concept of karma?
A: No. While there are similarities, there are significant differences.
1) It is a living being, God, who meets out justice, not an impersonal force of the universe.
2) Some people do not get justice for their evil actions in this life; they die "unjustly" getting much better than they deserve.
3) But God has a day, called Judgment Day, where before the Great White Throne judgment everyone will get what they deserve.
Q: In Ps 63:1, should this be earnestly or eagerly?
A: The Hebrew word means "eagerly", but it is related to the word for "s-h-r" which is related to the dawn, so some have thought this meant "early" and considered this a psalm to say in the morning. Of course, if you are eager to seek God, then you will do it as soon as you can.
See The Bible Knowledge Commentary : Old Testament p.840 and The Expositorís Bible Commentary vol.5 p.425-426 for more info.
Q: In Ps 63:5 how are we to have an appetite for God?
A: The literal Hebrew says that David was satisfied as with marrow (the blood-producing region at the end of long bones), and fatness. These were considered delicacies. This means that the soul would have would feast and abound, not merely have enough to survive. Seeking God should feel as fulfilling as these things (and probably healthier too!) Actually, the Israelites were forbidden to eat fat (Leviticus 3:16; 7:23), so being to God is better than even forbidden things.
So the point is that David enjoyed worshipping in Godís presence, because David had an "craving" for God. We too should cultivate a craving for God by spending time with Him in prayer and in His word.
Christians have seen these throughout the centuries. When we sing the traditional hymn "Be though my vision", many Christians might not be aware that this is a traditional Irish hymn that goes back to around the eight century A.D.
See the New International Bible Commentary p.598, The Bible Knowledge Commentary : Old Testament p.840, The Expositorís Bible Commentary vol.5 p.425, and the Believerís Bible Commentary p.644 for more info.
Q: In Ps 63:8, how are we to "follow close behind" God?
A: To not follow closely implies going to the same destination, but being haphazard about the route and stops. To follow closely means not just wanting to approximately do Godís will, but to prayerfully do it in the right way, in the right timing, with the right companions, and the right motivation.
Q: In Ps 63:9-11, how should adversity affect our closeness to God?
A: Some people are grateful and close to God because God keeps them from adversity. Satan falsely accused Job of being that way in Job 1:9-12. On the other hand, some people draw close to God because of adversity, either hoping that God will help them, or grateful that God did help them. Scripture does not criticize either situation. However, a better way is to stay close to God regardless of adversity. It is perhaps a different skill to stay close to God when things are going well (and it is easy to forget Him), than to stay close to God despite the fact that God has allowed things to go very poorly. We should be close to God in all situations.
See The Expositorís Bible Commentary vol.5 p.427 for more info.
Q: In Ps 63:10, how are violent and slanderous people just "jackal-food"?
A: Jesus said that those who live by the sword die by the sword. For those who try to achieve things by either violence, slander, or lies, other people who have no qualms about doing the same to them. Being unburied, and food for jackals was a dishonorable for a corpse. See the New International Bible Commentary p.598 for more info.
Q: In Ps 64:1, what does it mean to preserve my life from the fear of the enemy?
A: David in many places asks for protection from his enemies, but that is not what he is praying for here. David is praying to preserve his life from fear. Even though the enemy is still out there, David does not have to live in fear of the enemy, even though David might be tempted to do so. Also, sometimes when people are very afraid, they can do foolish things that harm their position.
Likewise, our prayer should be that we live without fear, except for the fear of the Lord. It is not to say that bad things wonít happen to us, or that we wonít suffer defeats, but we do not need to live in fear of those future, vague, uncertain things.
David knows that not only are the enemies out there, but they are skillfully conspiring on how to trap him to do him in. But even then, God can not only thwart them, but even make them stumble over their own words, as Psalm 64:8 says.
Finally, letís not take our eyes off of the goal. It is not for safety and protection, and it is not that the enemies be publicly defeated; rather in Psalm 64:9-10 it is that people would glorify God.
Q: In Ps 64:2, since godly believers should not be doing wrong, why should be concerned by the secret counsel of others?
A: Sometimes a person can be unjustly accused by deceiving witnesses. David also was concerned about Doeg and others possibly turning David over to Saul. Others plotted against Daniel, even though Daniel gave no reason for the others to accuse him.
Q: In Ps 64:3,4,7 what is the significance of arrows here?
A: In a sense this psalm is about two archery battles; the first is the wicked plotting to shoot their many arrows at David; and the second is God shooting at the wicked, and just one arrow is enough. Arrows are weapons, that if they hit, can hurt from afar. They hit suddenly, but they do not hit in secret. See the Believers Bible Commentary p.645 and the Evangelical Commentary on the Bible p.383 for more info.
Q: In Ps 64:4-5, how do arrows differ from snares?
A: Whether the arrow was shot openly or secretly, the victim did nothing to cause the arrow to come to him. But a snare is a trap that the victim is lured to, either to die from the trap itself, like a beartrap, or to be pinned down so that the enemy can kill the victim at any time later. Satan uses both arrows and snares. When Job was attacked, those were arrows; Job did nothing to cause those calamities to happen to him. But when Absalom rebelled form David, it was prophesied that David would have war after David fell into the snare of committing adultery and murder, which lost the peopleís respect. We need to call out to God for help from both. And when we are ensnared on account of our own sin, we need to call out to a merciful God all the more.
Q: In Ps 65:2,5, how is it awesome that God answers our prayers?
A: God who created not only the universe, but time itself, is so great and vast. Yet He even stoops to listen to the prayers of the smallest child. God has promised to do that, but God did not have to, because God did not have to promise. God does not do that out of a duty, because God delights in doing so. He listens to our prayers, even ones that might have some nonsense in them from His perspective, because He loves us.
Q: In Ps 65:3, what provision is mentioned here that is different from the rest of the psalm?
A: Other places mention deliverance from droughts, natural disasters, and enemies; but this is deliverance from another enemy: yourself. The psalmist is praising God while acknowledging that his iniquities prevail, or have had victory, over him. Yet he still praises God anyway, knowing the God will provide atonement. The Hebrew word here, kipper, means to cover over or to wipe off. If can include by intercession or paying a ransom. See the New International Bible Commentary p.599-600 for more info.
Q: In Ps 65:4, do those chosen to bring near to the temple courts just the Levites, or all of Godís people?
A: All of the people were a kingdom of priests in Exodus 19:6. Not only could every Israelite could enter the temple courts, but every Israelite was commanded to assemble together a couple of times a year.
However, not just anyone can approach God. The situation with the sons of Korah in Numbers 16:5 shows that it is by invitation only. But God has invited us all to approach Him, on His terms. Jeremiah 30:21 shows the terms: He who has pledged His heart to God can and will come before Him.
See The Expositorís Bible Commentary vol.5 p.433-434 for more info.
Q: In Ps 65:7, when does God still the noise of the seas?
A: Calming the stormy seas is small demonstration of the power God has. God can calm the literal ocean, but "seas" also are a metaphor for people and chaos. See The Expositorís Bible Commentary vol.5 p.434 says.
Q: In Ps 65:9-13, how does God bless people with prosperity?
A: God does not bless believers with prosperity for no reason at all. He does it for a purpose. God blesses us that we would glorify Him, and use our prosperity to help others and further His kingdom. If you do not praise God for what He has given you, and you do not offer gifts from your money for His use, then there would be no reason for God to bless you with prosperity, would there?
See The Bible Knowledge Commentary : Old Testament p.841 for more info.
Q: In Ps 65:11, how does God crown the year with His goodness?
A: The idea is the annual cycle of planting and harvest. In various ways today we plant products, idea, and invest, where uncertainty can take its toll. But praised God when things do come through. If they are expected to be successful most of the time, we still praise God for those things.
Q: Is Ps 66:1-20 primarily a national psalm of thanksgiving, or an individual psalm of thanksgiving?
A: Believing scholars disagree on this, probably because there are elements of both. Verses 1-12 are corporate, with no hint of this just being an individual praise. In Psalm 66:15 goats and rams were specified for national sacrifices, though an individual could bring those too. But verses 13-15 are strictly individual, and 16-17 are the individual spreading the word to the nations. For us, the things that happen to Godís people should be just as important as the things that happen to us individually. The praise for what God has done for us individually we should spread to everyone. The Believerís Bible Commentary p.647 has likened this psalm to a chorus with a solo part.
Q: In Ps 66:2-3, how can we sing out the "honor" of God or make "His praises glorious"?
A: While we cannot change anything about God, by our lives and words we can change how people view God. We can glorify God bring honor to His name, or even dishonor, by the respect we show Him, how we live, and what we say.
Q: In Ps 66:4, how does the earth bow down to God?
A: It bows down in two different ways, both mentioned in this psalm.
Ps 66:6 Godís works on the non-living earth praise Him, such as turning the sea into dry land during the time of the Exodus.
Ps 66:8 the people of the earth praise God.
Q: In Ps 66:6 when did God turn the sea into dry land, and how does God do that today?
A: God parted the Red Sea for the Israelites. When God parted the Jordan River for Joshua, they went through the river on foot. In both cases, what was an impossible barrier was suddenly removed and they went through. If there is an impossible barrier for you to go through, donít make the false assumption that it is impossible for God to carry you through that barrier. And when He does, make sure to praise Him for it. See the Believerís Bible Commentary p.647 for more info.
Q: In Ps 66:5 and Jn 1:46, how are we to cultivate a "come and see" attitude today?
A: This who psalm could also be title "come and see", because of all the good things God has done in various ways, or come and hear in Psalm 66:16. Part of our evangelism should be a winsome "come and see" that the Lord is good. We should invite the whole world to experience the love of God.
See the Believerís Bible Commentary p.648 and the New International Bible Commentary p.600-601 for more info.
Q: In Ps 66:8-12, it sounds like the psalmist is praising God for hard times too. Why is that?
A: David is praising God that God refined and hardened him too. Even though times might have been hard, they prepared him for the success he would have later, and he would not trade them for the lack of character development. See the Believerís Bible Commentary p.647 for more info.
Q: In Ps 66:13-15, how do "financial optimization" in our life run directly counter to obeying Godís word?
A: Financial optimization is doing everything legally possible to maximize your profit, finances, or return on investment. But here in Psalms and other places we are to give generously to God. We will offer our money to God, but even in the Old Testament their "freewill offerings" were giving up financially above and beyond the minimum the law commanded them to give. We should be totally devoted to God, not our own gain.
It really comes to down to a matter of the perspective of our heart. Is our desire to maximize the riches for us, on our brief time on earth? Or is it to maximize glorifying God, and laying up treasures in heaven?
See the Believerís Bible Commentary p.647 for more info.
Q: In Ps 66:18, how does cherishing iniquity in our heart mean that God will not hear our prayer?
A: Our requests need to be from sincerity, not hypocrisy. We will not receive if we ask just to spend on our pleasures, as James 4:3 says. We also might be asking for a lesser good thing, when God wants our focus to be a great good thing, deliverance from the unrepentant sin in our lives.
But God did hear Davidís prayer, even after David committed murder and adultery and murder with Uriah and his wife. But David repented of his sin. So, life with God was not over for David when he sinned. After he repented, God would hear his prayers again.
See The Bible Knowledge Commentary : Old Testament p.842 and the Keil-Delitzsch Commentary on the Old Testament vol.5 p.238 for more info.
Q: In Ps 67:1 and Num 6:25, what does it mean for Godís face to shine upon us?
A: While it in part means that God has been and is currently blessing us in this world, it also means so much more. It means that God is "smiling at us", as we are pleasing Him and reflecting His glory. As a light shines in the darkness in Philippians 2:15, our lives are to shine on this dark word. As we do so, we are transformed by His glory in 2 Corinthians 3:18. See The Expositorís Bible Commentary vol.5 p.440 for more info.
Q: In Ps 67:2 what were Godís people commanded to do for all the nations?
A: This mentions the evangelistic and missionary activity for us to tell of Godís greatness to all nations. While most of the Jewish people failed to pick up on the fact that Godís goodness is for everyone, and all nations were to be blessed through Abraham. Israel was not to be the endpoint of Godís blessing, but a channel of Godís blessing as the Believerís Bible Commentary p.648 says. Unfortunately, in the time of Calvin and Luther they thought that the Great Commission had already been fulfilled and on longer was relevant. But after that, the church, from the time of the great missionary movements has taken this seriously. See the Believerís Bible Commentary p.648 for more info.
Q: In Ps 67:2, why did David desire the other peoples praise God, and why should we desire the same?
A: This was a "lost teaching" of the Old Testament. It was "lost" in the sense that most Jewish people forgot about this teaching, to tell the Gentile nations to serve and glorify God. David (and we) should desire this simply to glorify God. In addition, it will be a wonder to see so many people, and people of so many different cultures and backgrounds in Heaven.
Q: Ps 67:2 what all is meant by the term "salvation/deliverance" here?
A: The Hebrew word Yeshuwíah (Strongís 3444) can mean deliverance, health, help, aid, victory, salvation, and welfare. This encompasses both being saved from destruction, and victory. In our Christian life, we are saved from Hell and destruction, but we are also saved for new life now, and being at home with the Lord eternally. See The Expositorís Bible Commentary vol.5 p.440-441 for more info.
Q: In Ps 67:6, how should we praise God for the harvest?
A: The only reason given in this psalm for praising God is the bountiful harvest, so this is considered a harvest psalm, as is Psalm 65. They praised God for a good harvest that year. Likewise, when God does something that excites us, we should let the world know about it too. One description of a leader in a church, is one who encourages others to praise God more.
See the New International Commentary on the Bible p.601 and The Bible Knowledge Commentary : Old Testament p.842 for more info.
Q: In Ps 68:1-35, what is an outline of this psalm?
A: Psalm 68 can be entitled, Godís marching on. It has a semi-chiastic outline.
1-3 Rejoice, for Godís presence is coming to scatter the wicked
- 4-6 Sing, for God defends
- - 7-18 God is greater than all the armies of warriors
- 19-20 God gives us salvation and escape from death
- - 21-23 God will bring back the enemies to destroy them
24-35 Be in number of the march of the saints
See The Expositorís Bible Commentary vol.5 p.443 for more info.
Q: In Ps 68:1-35 what is interesting about the names for God here?
A: This is a prayer asking God to display his awesome power. Most psalms have just one of two of Godís names. This psalm has seven. Elohim (1); Yah (4); Jehovah (10, El Shaddai (14), Yah Elohim (18), Adonai (19), Jehovah Adonai (20). See the Believerís Bible Commentary p.650 and The Bible Knowledge Commentary : Old Testament p.843 for more info.
Q: In Ps 68:1, why did David want God to arise and scatter Godís enemies?
A: There are a number of likely reasons.
a) David wants to see God be exalted, and Godís name be glorified in Psalm 68:4.
b) David might want to be personally protected from Godís enemies.
c) David wanted righteous people to rejoice in God (Psalm 68:3), and not be persecuted by Godís enemies.
d) David wanted to see justice brought to the ungodly (Psalm 68:21-23)
Q: In Ps 68:2, how is opposition to God like smoke and wax here?
A: As un-solid as smoke, and as un-firm as melting wax, the opposition to God will drift and melt away.
See the Believerís Bible Commentary p.649 for more info.
Q: In Ps 68:4, what is the significance of God riding on the clouds?
A: Jesus will come in the clouds in glory in Acts 1:11; Matthew 24:30; Luke 21:27; Revelation 1:7. Also, in the Ugaritic and Canaanite religion it was said that Baal was "the rider on the clouds." Psalm 68:4 is saying, not it is not Baal but the true God. See The Expositorís Bible Commentary vol.5 p.445, the New International Bible Commentary p.601, and The Bible Knowledge Commentary : Old Testament p.843 for more info.
Q: In Ps 68:7-8, when did this marching occur?
A: This was in the past when God went before the Israelites as a cloud and a pillar of fire when they were wandering in the desert in Sinai. But in a sense believers are moving to serve God today, and in the future, when the Messiah returns in glory, the believers will be behind Him. See The Bible Knowledge Commentary : Old Testament p.843 and the Believerís Bible Commentary p.650 for more info.
Q: In Ps 69:1-36, what kind of trouble does it look like the writer has here?
A: While the heading at the top is not scripture, the heading says it was written by David, so we will assume it was him. In verses 1-3 David is in great distress, his cause looked hopeless. In verses 4, 19, the reason is because people were attacking him. In verse 5 David mentions his foolishness and sin, and even though he knew he sinned, David was still counting on Godís protection. In verse 13,16 David is relying on Godís mercy; indeed, David has nothing else to rely on.
Q: In Ps 69:1-2,3,10,12,14-15,21, what are the images of liquid, and what could they represent?
A: Images are mire, deep waters, floods, crying till your throat is dry, song of drunkards, deep waters, vinegar for his thirst. Liquid does not have a solid shape, but it is still real and can kill. You can build a wall against some threats, but liquid can go around boundaries.
But in sharp contrast to this in verse 3, even though he is in deep water, with all his crying David is parched on the inside.
See The Expositorís Bible Commentary vol.5 p.455, the Evangelical Commentary on the Bible p.384-385 and The Bible Knowledge Commentary : Old Testament p.844 for more info.
Q: In Ps 69:4f, what was stolen that must be restored?
A: This enigmatic statement refers to Jesus, the suffering Messiah. Sin stole Godís rightful worship, obedience, and glory, and people were robbed of life, peace, and joyful fellowship with God. Jesus stole nothing, but Jesus, for our sake, had to restore what had been stolen by sin. See the Believerís Bible Commentary p.653 for more info.
Q: In Ps 69:5-6, what is David saying here?
A: David does not want his sins to be an excuse for others not to turn to God. Perhaps this psalm was written after David and Bathsheba sinned.
Q: In Ps 69:6-12, what is the disgrace or shame David is talking about here?
A: David does not want Godís people to bear A: David does not want Godís people to bear disgrace because of him, and in verse 7 David bore disgrace for Godís sake. There are two ways of looking at this.
Our Persecution for following God: Sometimes we are mocked and shamed for following God. However, we are to rejoice when we suffer reproach for the name of Jesus.
Mocking for our hypocrisy: David was hoping the godly would not be disgraced, or feel disgrace, because of Davidís sin, while he was a believer. He was not mocked for the evil he did, as much as mocked for being a believer who committed adultery and murder.
See The Expositorís Bible Commentary vol.5 p.456 for more on the first view.
Q: In Ps 69:9,20, 25, where are these quotes in the New Testament and why?
A: Psalm 69:9 is quoted in John 2:17 when Jesus drove out the moneychangers. Psalm 69:20 is quoted in Romans 15:3. Psalm 69:25,28 is quoted in Acts 1:20
Q: In Ps 69:11, what does it mean to become a byword?
A: David knew that he was like a standing joke to them. Just his name was an object of taunting. We do not know the circumstances, but it might refer to lack of respect many had towards their king after hearing of his adultery with Bathsheba and murder of Uriah.
Q: In Ps 69:13, what is an important point about prayer here?
A: When David was in deep trouble, his prayer was only to God; not to some angel or departed believer, but only to God for help.
Q: In Ps 69:14-15, how are some of our troubles like mire, and some like floodwaters?
A: Both can cause you to slip, slide, and sink, but in different ways. Mire does not move; you sink down in it yourself because of the weight on you. Floodwaters externally move to cover you, when you are in a vulnerable situation, on low ground. Likewise, some sink down due to the logical and direct physical consequences of their sin. Others can be overcome by a flood of external persecution, temptation, or temptation to give in to the persecution, because they are not standing on the rock (Psalm 62:2,6,7, the rock that is higher than them (Psalm 61:2).
Q: In Ps 69:33, what does this say about prisoners?
A: God does not despise His prisoners, or in some translations: His captive people. Some are in prison because of their testimony about God. Others, such as war prisoners, are captives though they are not criminals. But others are in prison, rightfully so, because of the bad things they did. But if seek God and commit their life to the Lord, they become "His" prisoners, and God, who is full of mercy, does not despise them.
Q: Ps 70:1-5 is the same as the last third (verses 13-17) of Psalm 40? What could be the reason for this?
A: Both are psalms of David. These are the same, except that Psalm 70 has the word "Hasten. Come quickly" at the beginning, Psalm 40 uses the name Yahweh and Psalm 70 uses Adonai. While David is the author of Psalm 40, Davidís name is likely on Psalm 70 because the text was taken from Psalm 40. While the superscriptions before each psalm are not scripture, they are likely correct.
While we donít know the exact reason this portion was copied to its own Psalm, it could be that it served as an individual petition, a lament or possibly on the occasion of giving an offering. This could be thought of as a "bookend" prayer. Psalm 40 as almost at the end of Book 1 of Psalms and Psalm 70 is almost at the end of Book 2 of Psalms. This also shows us that it is fine to quote a portion of section of scripture without all of it, at least as long as you preserve any context.
See the New International Bible Commentary p.603-604, The Expositorís Bible Commentary vol.5 p.463, The Bible Knowledge Commentary : Old Testament p.845, the Believerís Bible Commentary p.656-657, and the Keil-Delitzsch Commentary on the Old Testament vol.5 p.87-288 for more info.
Q: In Ps 70:1-5, what is the structure of this Psalm?
A: This has four parts:
1 Help quickly
- 2-3 Punish thoroughly
- 4 Be praised continually
5 Help quickly, without delay
See the Believerís Bible Commentary p.656-657 for more info.
Q: In Ps 70:4, why did David want all who seek God to rejoice in God, and why did David feel the need to pray this request?
A: God prayed that all who seek God would not only find God and gain eternal life, but find also find their joy in God right now. It is good for us to pray this today too.
Q: In Ps 71:1-24, what is the structure of this psalm?
A: The heading does not say if this was by David, so it was probably written by someone else, whom we can call "the gray-headed servant". The Keil-Delitzsch Commentary on the Old Testament vol.5 p.290-291 makes the case that the author is likely be Jeremiah. This psalm can be considered as a lament for an individual, or for the nation as a whole. The writer is probably an older man. This psalm is a chiasm, which is common in Hebrew poetry. God be my rock and fortress
- 5-8 God, you are my hope from birth
- - 9-13 My prayer in old age
- - 14-18 God, you are my hope in old age
- 19-21 God, who has done great works, will revive me again
22-24 I shall praise and sing of your faithfulness
See The Expositorís Bible Commentary vol.5 p.463, the Believerís Bible Commentary p.657, and the Keil-Delitzsch Commentary on the Old Testament vol.5 p.288-289 for more info.
Q: In Ps 71, how is this similar to other psalms?
A: Psalm 71 can be considered "a panorama of lifelong trust" by an "well-aged" writer. Psalm 71 has sort of "shortened summaries" of Psalms 22, 31, 35, and 40.
See The Bible Knowledge Commentary : Old Testament p.845 and the Keil-Delitzsch Commentary on the Old Testament vol.5 p.289-290 for more info.
Q: In Ps 71:3, should it be "rock of dwelling" or "rock of refuge / strong refuge"?
A: Many Hebrew manuscripts have "rock of dwelling". However, this is probably a copyist error as this phrase is not used elsewhere. Furthermore, other Hebrew manuscripts, the Septuagint, and the Targum all have "rock of refuge". See The Expositorís Bible Commentary vol.5 p.464 for more info.
Q: In Ps 71:5-18, what are various issues that can be at the forefront for Christians at different ages?
A: Speaking primarily for western culture, here are some issues with various seasons of life.
Young kids: Following good examples and hanging with good friends. Obeying parents. Too much internet, TV, and video games, sports-crazy. They need to develop life-skills, kindness, respect, and their prayer life.
Teens: Following good examples and hanging with good friends. Obeying parents, kindness, premarital sex, school, music, sports, fashion. For some getting drunk, high on drugs, porn, bullies, and gangs, prejudice, too much internet, TV, and video games, In the future sexual identity.
College-age: Growing deeper in Godís word. Joining a good, Bible-believing church. education and career, prejudice, too much internet, TV, and video games. Living for fun and entertainment. Priorities
Young adults: Joining a good, Bible-believing church. finances, spouse, raising little kids. Time squeezes
Middle-age: Joining a good, Bible-believing church. Raising teens, investments. Some middle-age people have a "7-year itch or midlife crisis". The standing joke is that some men deal with "middle-age crazies" by buying a red sports car. Other issues are helping elderly parents. exercise, time, cork-life balance. Being a good example. For some, prodigal kids and getting drunk, and substance abuse.
Older adults: Grown-up children and grandkids, exercise and energy, career and retirement. Health: especially diabetes and cancer (especially prostate and skin). Health and death of loved ones. For some apathy and cynicism. Leaving a legacy.
Q: In Ps 71:7 what is a "portent" (NIV, NRSV, ESV), or "wonder" (NKJV)?
A: There are two views, and the second is most likely the correct one.
Negatively, a portent is a warning or omen, especially a bad omen. The psalmist is afraid that this life will be viewed as a bad omen from God. The NET Bible says, "many are appalled".
Positively, the Hebrew word comes from the root to bend and distort. A "wonder" is a miracle, a changing of the natural order caused by God. The KJV, NKJV, Greenís Literal translation, and the Believerís Bible Commentary p.657 say "wonder", implying that David is viewed as a wonder from God. See the Keil-Delitzsch Commentary on the Old Testament vol.5 p.293 for more info.
On the other hand, the Hebrew can be interpreted either way, and perhaps the best understanding could be both ways.
Q: In Ps 71:7-18, what advice would you give to a Christian child, on how to "age well in the Lord"?
A: Always stay close to God, and make the important things the important things. You will have so many distractions, and a great many things, some evil, and some not really evil, to draw your time and attention away from God.
Q: In Ps 71:22, 78:41; 89:18, what is interesting about the title for God "Holy One of Israel"?
This term is frequently used in Isaiah, but only three times in the Book of Psalms, and never by David. Besides the superscription, this is an additional argument that this psalm was not written by David. See The Bible Knowledge Commentary : Old Testament p.846 for more info.
Q: In Ps 71:22-23, what is interesting about the musical references here?
A: When older people lose their mental abilities, music is usually the last thing to go. When my mother was in her eighties not too long before she died, she would often confuse our names, but she could still play Chopinís Fantasie Impromptu on the piano. When older people have church service in nursing homes, they love to sing hymns. They usually donít need to read the words, since they still remember them. So as the Christian praise song says, "Let me be singing when the evening comes."
Q: In Ps 72:1-20, who wrote this psalm?
A: While the subscript in 72:20 says the prayers of David are ended here, the superscription before the start of the psalm and also Psalm 127 say that these were a psalm "by Solomon" in Hebrew. Psalm 72 says, "for Solomon" in the Greek Septuagint. While the superscriptions are not scripture, they are probably correct. So, book 2 (as well as book 1) are primarily psalms by David, but this particular psalm is very likely by Solomon.
If Solomon wrote this psalm, he in verse 1 he is asking for the wisdom of Godís judgment for himself, as we should ask in James 1:5. In a sense he is asking God that he, and his descendants, would be good kings.
Some, such as John Calvin thought that the psalm might have been written by David for Solomon. While it is possible the "gold of Sheba" in 72:15 was not in view in Davidís time, only in Solomonís. Keil-Delitzschís Commentary on the Old Testament vol.5 p.298-299 says it is definitely Solomon.
See the New International Bible Commentary p.604 for more info.
Q: In Ps 72:1-20, what is the structure of this psalm?
A: Some psalms are structured in a pattern we are familiar with, with alternately lines. But many more psalms are structured as a chiasm, symmetrically, with each line, starting from the beginning, is a mirror image of the equivalent line, starting from the end. This particular psalm blends both patterns.
1 Judgments and righteousness for the King and His son
- 2-4 Righteousness and justice for the poor and needy
- - 5-11 All nations will fear/respect God forever
- 12-14 Deliverance for the poor and needy
- - 15-17 All nations will praise Him forever
18-19 Bless the LORD God, God of Israel
See The Expositorís Bible Commentary vol.5 p.469 for more info.
Q: In Ps 72:2-4, how are good leaders a means for God blessing His people?
A: Sometimes it seems that bad leaders can mess things up more than a good leader can help. Good leaders realize they are to help the people, not just take all the profit they can from them. They donít sell out the country just for personal profit. On one level, good leaders can bring better economic conditions for all. Good leaders can negotiate favorable trade agreements. Good leaders can especially help the poor and vulnerable, such as widows and orphans. They can lead in wars that should be fought, and keep out of wars that they should not be fighting. Good leader can make a big difference in natural disasters and invasions. And finally, good leaders can have good, just laws.
On another level, good leaders can be a good example of honesty, justice, and following God. They can train up a successor well. And finally, good leaders can appoint, good, honest officials under them.
See The Expositorís Bible Commentary vol.5 p.470 for more info.
Q: In Ps 72:1-4, 99:4, why was judgment considered something to eagerly anticipate?
A: Oppressed people would want judgment to come to take away their oppression.
Q: In Ps 72:2-4, 12-14, what does this say about government, that is sometimes forgotten?
A: The king and government are there for the benefit of the people, especially the poor and needy, who need help the most. In the Middle Ages in Europe, it was often viewed that the commo people were there for the benefit of those over them. See Keil-Delitzschís Commentary on the Old Testament vol.5 p.302 for more info.
Q: In Ps 72:3-4, what does the analogy of peace and righteousness from the mountains and hills mean?
A: There is a lot to unpack with these metaphors. The Mosaic Law came from Mt. Sinai. The people repeated the blessings and curses of the covenant on Mt. Gerizim and Mt. Ebal in Deuteronomy 27:11-26. The mountains and hills were the highpoints of the whole land and the people living in it. The streams from the hills and mountains water the land, enabling crops and grazing. The mountains and hills would be thought to be beautiful, until you remember that that was where the idolatrous Canaanite high places were. In these places religious prostitution and child sacrifice were practiced. But these same places, beautiful physically, but ugly morally, would be beautiful in all ways eventually. See Keil-Delitzschís Commentary on the Old Testament vol.5 p.301 for more info.
Q: In Ps 72:4, how does breaking in pieces the oppressor apply to us?
A: Oppressors are not just human oppressors. God delights in breaking the oppression of Satan and sin. If you have something in your life that God can break you out from under its oppression, God delights to do so, so turn it over to Him and expect results.
Q: In Ps 72:2f,4,9f,12-14, does this psalm a praise for the present or a hope for the future?
A: Both. While it mentions the current coronation of the king, these verses show that it is a hope and prayer for the future, during the Millennial Kingdom
See the Evangelical Commentary on the Bible p.385, Keil-Delitzschís Commentary on the Old Testament vol.5 p.299, and the Believerís Bible Commentary p.658-659 for more info.
Q: In Ps 72:15, what do we know about the land of Sheba?
A: Sheba was a far-off land in the western part of modern-day Yemen today. It was an ancient people, being mentioned as a son of the Semite Joktan in Genesis 10:28 in the Table of Nations and 1 Chronicles 1:22. The land just north of it, Havilah, was also mentioned in Genesis 10:29. Sheba was a fruitful land, with frankincense, myrrh, and various spices. It was fairly wealthy through trade with Africa, Egypt, Persia, and likely even India. Through trade it was an exotic land, where monkeys, elephants, and tropical birds were known.
The Queen of Sheba brought 120 talents gold, spices, and precious gems to Solomon in 1 Kings 10:10. It was somewhat unusual for the main ruler of a kingdom to be a queen. But Assyrian and south Arabic inscriptions, written in the 8th century B.C., mention queens in Arabia. Also, just as the main ruler in Egypt was a male titled Pharaoh, the main ruler later in Ethiopia was always female and titled Kandake/Candice.
Another Sheba is the son of Ramma, son of Cush in Genesis 10:7 and 1 Chronicles 1:9, and another was the son of Jokshan, son of Abraham and Keturah in Genesis 25:3 and 1 Chronicles 1:32. These last two Sabaeans probably combined and lived on the eastern side of Arabia, or else combined with Sheba in southwest Arabia.
See the New Ungerís Bible Dictionary p.1171-1172, the Wycliffe Bible Dictionary p.1566 for more info.
Q: In Ps 72:15, what is like the "gold of Sheba" today?
A: Trading with Sheba was a significant, unexpected bounty that increased the prosperity of Israel in Solomonís time. Likewise, sometimes we can receive an unexpected significant blessing from God. Praise God for His blessings, but also remember that it can be a test, to see if you use and spend it wisely and generously.
Q: In Ps 73:1-14, why did Asaph envy the wicked?
A: The wicked appeared to be getting away with their wickedness, and even prospering. God often allows this to happen to a time in this unjust world. However, God has appointed Judgment Day as the time when He will set everything right. Of course, sometimes the wicked get some of what they deserve before then. See 1001 Bible Questions Answered p.414 for a complementary answer.
Q: In Ps 73:15-28, what should our attitude be toward the wicked?
A: We should desire to see the wicked rescued from the just and eternal consequences of their wickedness. We should love to see them share in all of Godís blessings, by repenting, throwing themselves on Godís mercy and trusting in Christ. In the New Testament Jesus taught us to love even our enemies (Luke 6:27-36 and Matthew 5:43-44). Even when Stephen was being stoned to death, he prayed that God would forgive them in Acts 7:62.
Q: In Ps 74:6, what is a "carved work"?
A: Just looking at the phrase there could be three possibilities:
Idol: Based on the words alone, this could simply an idol that is carved out of wood.
Paneling in the Temple: The NIV translates this as "carved paneling", as in wood paneling in Godís temple.
Paneling in houses: This could be paneling in the houses of wealthy people.
However, the context conclusively proves it is the second choice. The entire psalm is about the destruction of the Temple. In particular, verses 3-7 mention the destruction of the sanctuary. Thus, since words can have a range of meaning, it is important to read the surrounding verses and entire chapter, not just the phrase.
Q: In Ps 74:8, when did enemies burn the synagogues in the land?
A: This could be prophetic of the exile, or what the Philistines did, what Jeroboam did, or this psalm might have been written when Assyrians were invading.
Q: In Ps 74:14 and Ps 104:26, what is leviathan?
A: While some see leviathan as a mythical sea monster, it probably was a Nile Crocodile, as the NASB footnote says on Job 41. Hard Sayings of the Bible p.277-278 also says that if leviathan is not just a literary metaphor but a known creature, then the crocodile would be probably be the correct animal.
Q: In Ps 76:4, what are "mountains of prey"?
A: Greenís Literal Translation , the KJV, NASB, NET Bible, and NKJV and all render the Hebrew words literally as "mountains/hills of prey". There are four possibilities for what the verse means.
Heaps of dead animals: This is the most literal meaning.
Mountains with an abundance of game animals: The NIV follow this, saying "mountains rich with game". The Bible Knowledge Commentary : Old Testament p.850 also mentions this view.
Everlasting mountains: This is what the Greek Septuagint translation says. The NRSV follows this, with a footnote saying "mountains of prey" in the Hebrew.
Mountains where you killed your prey: The NET Bible
Heaps of dead enemy warriors: The Bible Knowledge Commentary : Old Testament p.850 mentions this view.
Regardless, the entire psalm speaks not of hunting animals, but of heaps of dead enemy warriors, so the last meaning is the one that fits best with the rest of the psalm.
Q: In Ps 76:5 (KJV), what does "the stouthearted are spoiled" mean?
A: This poetic expression means the courageous are defeated.
Q: In Ps 76:6 (KJV, NASB, NKJV), what is a dead sleep?
A: Greenís literal translation shows the Hebrew word is literally "sunk into sleep". The NIV translates this as "lie still", because the meaning is they are dead. The NRSV says, "stunned". The .NEB Bile says, "fell asleep" in quotes.
Q: In Ps 76:10, is this the "wrath of man", or Godís "wrath against men"?
A: Christians disagree.
Wrath of man is the meaning of the KJV, NKJV, and Greenís Literal Translation.
Godís wrath against men is the meaning of the NIV and NET Bible.
Regardless, the very next phrase after this verse, addressing God says, "your wrath" so the psalm refers to Godís wrath in killing those with wrath against Him in Psalm 76:3-9.
Q: In Ps 76:10, how does wrath praise God?
A: There are two complementary ways to view wrath.
Manís wrath, even though it does not produce the righteousness of God (James 1:20), is still used by God, because God works all things together as a part of His plan (Ephesians 1:11) for the good of those who love Him (Romans 8:28).
Godís wrath judges the earth and the demons, and maintains Godís justice in the universe, as Psalm 50:1-6, the book of Revelation, Matthew 25:31-46, and 2 Thessalonians 1:6-9 show.
Q: In Ps 77:5-6, how can remembering old things be a help, and how can it be a hindrance?
A: It all depends on what you are remembering and why you are remembering it. Here is how it can be a benefit, followed by a liability.
Help: Remembering the promises God has made, the mighty wondrous works of God, dwelling on noble and pure things (Philippians 4:8-9)
Hindrance: It is bad to dwell on idols, religious rules not from God, or wicked or horrible things.
When remembering old things reinforcing hatred, or grudges, it is better to forget.
Q: In Ps 78:18, how did the Israelites provoke God by asking for meat?
A: The Israelites during the Exodus were dissatisfied with having manna every day. God gave them meat, but they were struck by a plague after they ate.
Sometimes today people can be dissatisfied with what God provides and complain for more. God might provide more in response to the complaint, but trouble might come with it.
Q: In Ps 78:25, do angels eat manna?
A: Manna miraculously came from God, and was called the bread of Heaven. While it is possible that angels might eat manna, it is much more likely this is a metaphor.
Q: In Ps 79:1-5 and Ps 80, when did Asaph see Jerusalem defiled?
A: First what is not the answer, and then five possible answers.
Defiled (not the answer): Since Asaph lived in the time of David and Solomon, Asaph did not see Jerusalem destroyed, but he might have seen it defiled by idols when Solomon and later kings build idolatrous altars in Jerusalem. However, In these two psalms not only is Jerusalem defiled, it is destroyed by foreigners.
Prophecy: There are many prophecies in Psalms, and this might be a prophecy of the time the Babylonians would destroy Jerusalem.
Deuteronomy 31:15-29 says that the Israelites would be conquered and exiled. In Davidís time Asaph would not need a prophetic gift to compose a song about the destruction of Jerusalem; he only needed to read the scriptures in Deuteronomy.
Concerning Asaph: The Hebrew word for "of" has a very broad meaning, and it can mean "concerning" or "for" as well as "of". Perhaps Asaph himself was not the writer.
Incorrect heading: The headings on the Psalms likely were added later, and are not necessarily scripture. The headings in the Hebrew Masoretic text we have today often differ from the headings in the Septuagint. I do not know what the headings were in the copies of Psalms found among the Dead Sea Scrolls.
Wrong Asaph: Perhaps someone named Asaph actually was the author, but this is a man who lived much later than the Asaph who served under David and Solomon. It would certainly be reasonable that many people would be named after this godly man.
Q: In Ps 80:8-16, what does the vine symbolize here?
A: The vine here symbolizes Israel. A planting was brought out of Egypt, grew mightily in Canaan, and eventually was diminished by adversaries and carried into exile.
Speaking of vines, the Assyrian Empire also grew rapidly and then rapidly died. Perhaps the vine over Jonah foreshadowed this in Jonah 4:6-7.
Q: In Ps 81:9, what is a "strange god" here?
A: This is an idol god they have not known. The NET Bible and the NIV translate this as a "foreign god".
Q: In Ps 81:13-14, why does God subdue their enemies and sometimes not?
A: Three points to consider in the answer.
1. Psalm 81:13-14 answers this by saying God chose to make His subduing based on their submitting. If we would only listen to God, how much easier many problems would be. As a Christian hymn says,
"Oh what peace we often forfeit,
Oh what needless pain we bear,
all because we do not carry
everything to God in prayer."
2. All suffering is not needless or to be avoided though. Paul suffered at the hands of sinful men. He could see that his suffering for the gospel would lead many to faith (Colossians 1:24; Philippians 1:12-14,21).
3. Finally, the book of Job shows that obedient believers sometimes suffer for reasons they cannot see. We can know that the enduring of an obedient believer always glorifies God (2 Peter 4:7).
Q: In Ps 82, what is the main point?
A: While this psalm has warning too, it is primarily one of disappointment and regret on Godís part. These men judged people as Godís representatives. Not only on earth did they represent God, but they were part of Godís visible people with the promise of eternal life. Through their own disobedience and wickedness, they were perverting justice as Godís judges and unless they repented, they would perish eternally.
Today some can be a part of Godís visible church and hear the same message Godís elect here. Yet it will be of no value to them, because they did not combine it with faith (Hebrews 4:2). God can feel regret as He did in Genesis 6:5-8 and Matthew 23:37-39.
Q: In Ps 82:1,5-7; 86:8; who are the gods here?
A: Three points to consider in the answer followed by what is not the answer.
The characteristics of these "gods" here are that:
(82:1) They are judged by the true God
(82:2) They defend the unjust and show partiality to the wicked
(82:5) Ones who knew nothing and walked around in darkness
(82:9) They are called gods by being sons of the Most High, yet will die like ordinary men.
Nobody would want to be a god like one of these people.
The Hebrew word here is Elohim, which is the plural form of el. Just like the English word "God/god" can mean true or false god, the Chinese word sheng can mean true or false god, the Hebrew (and Aramaic) word "el" can mean true or false god.
A third sense of the word el or elohim is a person who represents God to the people. This word is used of human judges in Exodus 21:6; 22:8,9. See The Bible Knowledge Commentary : Old Testament p.854, the Believerís Bible Commentary p.674-675, the New Geneva Study Bible p.845, The NIV Study Bible p.873-874, 1001 Bible Questions Answered p.21,314-315, When Cultists Ask p.65-66, and especially Hard Sayings of the Bible p.279-280 for more on this.
Not the answer: The New Geneva Study Bible p.845 also mentions that some interpret this to refer to angelic powers, or deities subordinate to Yahweh. The Bible Knowledge Commentary : Old Testament p.854 says this is how the Syriac translated this. However, this cannot refer to good angelic powers, for these gods are disobedient and will die like ordinary men. It cannot refer to demons, as demons do not have a role of defending the unjust or showing partiality to the wicked, and they too will not physically die like ordinary men.
The New International Bible Commentary p.614 states these are the gods of the nations. However, this is probably not the answer, because it would be unclear how these idols die like ordinary men.
Q: In Ps 82:1-6, does this show there are many gods?
A: No, only that there are many who are called gods. Notice the wicked characteristics of these men, and their death like ordinary men. Some Mormons use this passage to try to prove there are many gods, yet no Mormon in his right mind would want to be a god like these.
Tertullian first addressed this objection In Against Marcion 1:7 (207 A.D.), and his answer is still valid today. Here is an excerpt. "If an identity of names affords a presumption in support of equality of condition, how often do worthless menials strut insolently in the names of kings - your Alexanders, Caesars, and Pompeys! This fact, however, does not detract from the real attributes of the royal person. Nay more, the very idols of the Gentles are called gods. Yet not one of them is divine because he is called a god."
See the Complete Book of Bible Answers p.80-81 and 1001 Bible Questions Answered p.21,314-315, for more info.
Q: In Ps 83:1, why is God sometimes silent?
A: We cannot know every specific case, but in general there are a variety of reasons dealing with us, circumstances, and God.
1. Not for spending on our passions. James 4:3
2. Requests must be for good things. Matthew 7:11
3. It is not Godís will to have them. Mark 14:36
4. We have to wait. Daniel 10:12-14
5. Our prayers are simply vain repetition. Matthew 6:7
6. Yet we have to [meaningfully] persist. Luke 11:5-10, 18:1-7
7. We cherish sin in our hearts (Psalms 66:18-19), turn a deaf ear to the poor (Proverbs 21:13), or are wicked (Proverbs 15:29; Isaiah 59:1-3). God does not hear us when we choose not to hear God.
8. We need self-control. 1 Peter 4:7
9. We have sinned, such as divorce. Malachi 2:13-14
10. We ignore God and His law. Zechariah 7:13; Proverbs 28:9
11. We ignore the cry of the poor. Proverbs 21:13
12. We are inconsiderate of our wives. 1 Peter 3:7
13. God will not hear if they are still worshipping idols Ezekiel 8:8-18
14. Their hands are filled with blood. Isaiah 1:15
1. In his time, God might grant the prayer, but now might not be the right time.
2. It might be that we need to change in some way, or that someone else needs to change.
1. God might be answering our prayer as "no"
2. God might be testing us.
Sometimes, as the book of Job and Daniel 1-:2-3,12-14 show, we have absolutely no idea of everything that is going on behind the scenes. But we do know that our patience and persistence glorifies God (2 Peter 4:7).
Q: In Ps 83:6, who are the Hagarenes/Hagrites?
A: We do not know much about the Hagrites. The Hagrites were defeated by the 2 1/2 Israelite tribes living in the Transjordan region. See the discussion on 1 Chronicles 5:10,19,20,22 for information on Assyrian inscriptions and the Hagrites.
Q: In Ps 84:4-6, does the pilgrims passing through Baíaca [allegedly] another name for Mecca, refer to Muslims?
A: No, no evidence is given that Baíca, is Mecca. While The NIV Study Bible p.875 and the New Geneva Study Bible p.847 say that we do not know the location today, Psalm 84:4-6 says it would be a place of springs and autumn rains covering it with pools. The Hebrew word Baca can mean "weeping" or "balsam trees". Psalm 84:10b says, "I would rather be a doorkeeper in the house of my God than dwell in the tents of the wicked. Muslims made many surprise attacks and raids though. Let see some of the valleys and oases that wicked people raided.
They raided the Banu Mustaliq while they made the "mistake" of heedlessly grazing their cattle. They were said to have had "excellent Arab women" that the Muslim soldiers had sex with afterwards. Sahih Muslim vol.2 (The Book of Marriage) ch.560 no.3371 p.733-734; vol.3 (Book Pertaining to Judicial Decisions) ch.704 no.4292 p.942; Abu Dawud vol.2 no.227 p.727-728; al-Tabari vol.39 p.57
Muslims made a surprise attack on an unsuspecting Christian king [chieftain] of Dumah and killed him. al-Tabari vol.9 p.58-59.
Expedition against the Banu Lihyan tribe in 627 A.D (6 A.H.) al-Tabari vol.8 p.42-43
Expedition against Dhu Qarad in 627/628 A.D. (6 A.H.) al-Tabari vol.8 p.43-44
Zayd b. Harithahís army raided al-Fadafid, rounded up the men and cattle, and killed al-Hunayd and his son and three others in 10 A.H. al-Tabari vol.9 p.100-101.
War against the Juhaina tribe Sahih Muslim vol.2 (Book of Prayer) ch.296 no.1827 p.400.
Zayd/Zaid bin harith led a raiding party to al-Jamum. al-Tabari vol.8 p.93
ĎUmar and 30 men raided the "rear" of Hawazan at Turabah. The non-Muslims fled without any fighting. al-Tabari vol.8 p.131
Bashir b. Saíd and 30 men raided the Banu Murah at Fadak. al-Tabari vol.8 p.132. Note that on p.123,129 the booty became exclusively Mohammedís because camels and horses had not been spurred against it.
The raid of Abi al-ĎAwja al-Sulami. al-Tabari vol.8 p.138
Shujaí bin Wahb and 24 men raided the Banu ĎAmir and took camels and sheep. "The shares [of booty] came to fifteen camels for each man." al-Tabari vol.8 p.143
Expedition of Dhat al-Salasil in 629/630 A.D. (8 A.H.) al-Tabari vol.8 p.146-147
A.H. 8 ĎAmr bin al-ĎAs and 300 men raided al-Salasil of the tribe of Qudaíh. al-Tabari vol.8 p.146
There was a house called al-Kaíba al-Yamaniya. Mohammed asked Jarir to "relieve him" of it. Jarir and 150 horse-riders "dismantled it and killed whoever was present there. Bukhari vol.5 book 59 no.641-642 p.450-451
Expedition of al-Khabat in 629/630 A.D. (8 A.H.) al-Tabari vol.8 p.147-148
Abu ĎUbaydah b. al-Jarrah and 300 riders raided the tribe of Juhaynah at al-Khabat in A.H. 8. al-Tabari vol.8 p.146.
Dispersing of booty and raiding the tribe of Abil. al-Tabari vol.10 p.17
Q: In Ps 84:6, what is the Valley of Baca?
A: The NIV Study Bible p.875 and the New Geneva Study Bible p.847 say that we do not know the location today. Baca can mean "weeping" or "balsam trees".
Q: In Ps 84:10, why is being a doorkeeper in Godís house than to live in the tents of the wicked?
A: The psalmist would rather be in Paradise, with a lowly position, than living with the wicked, whose end is eternal separation from God.
As an aside, modern reads might think that living is a tent is much worse than living in a house. However, that is not the writerís meaning, as Bedouin tents were well-adapted to life in the desert, and houses were not necessarily superior, particularly with mud walls, few windows, and no air-conditioning.
One evening I was handing out tracts in Utah and speaking with a Mormon who asked me what I looked forward to after I die. I told him how I so looked forward to being with God forever, worshipping and serving Him. The Mormon did not seem impressed. He looked forward to being his own god, creating his own, world, and having others worship him. However, an ex-Mormon that I knew said that deep down, he knew he could never be a god. On a lighter note, a explained to a non-Mormon in Salt Lake City that Mormons believed they could become exactly as God is now. The non-Mormon said that figures, as his boss was a Mormon, and he acted like he was a god.
On a very serious note, Ezekiel 29:2 speaks of the judgment of the prince of Tyre because he said, "I am a god", Isaiah 14:12-14 shows that Luciferís sin was that he wanted to be as God. The Christian English poet John Milton, in his epic work, Paradise Lost, has Satan saying, "better to rule in Hell than serve in Heaven." However, I am sure Satan will not be saying that in the Lake of Fire.
Q: In Ps 86:1 and Ps 109:22, how was David poor and needy?
A: David certainly remembered that he was originally a poor shepherd boy, and would not be much else, until Samuel visited and God raised David up to be a king. In a general sense, we all should remember that we were poor, needy, and desperately in need of Godís grace until God raised us up to a much higher position than just an earthly king, but rather a child of God.
Q: In Ps 87:4,89:10, who is Rahab?
A: Rahab was originally the name of a large "monster" such as a Nile crocodile. Metaphorically, Rahab symbolized Egypt, and Psalm 87:4 speaks of Egypt [Rahab] and Babylon. The skeptical Asimovís Guide to the Bible p.501, after conjecturing that Rahab was the name for a primitive monster, also agrees that Rahab was a symbolic representation of Egypt. Others think that Rahab could represent a dinosaur, since people at that time could still come across dinosaur fossils.
Q: In Ps 88:10,11, do the dead praise God, or not?
A: The psalmist is asking this question rhetorically. He is asking whether those who are in the grave rise up and praise God. Of course, the answer is that the eternally dead do not praise God, but Godís people are raised up to praise Him.
Q: In Ps 88:12 (KJV, NASB), what is the land of forgetfulness?
A: Greenís Literal Translation, the KIV, NASB, NKJV translate the Hebrew literally as "the land of forgetfulness", while the NIV paraphrases this as the "land of oblivion". Regardless, this poetic Hebrew expression reminds us that the dead are forgotten by others and oblivious to them. See also the previous question for more on the meaning.
Q: In Ps 89:6-7, why do some believers not have a sense of Godís awe?
A: It is hard to view Godís majesty if you are only focused on yourself, or your eyes of fixated on some sin. If believers would only pause daily to take some time to pray and meditate on God, they would see more of Godís majesty. A day of rest was not intended to be a day of closing your eyes and being lazy, but a day to refresh, and be grounded anew in Godís love.
Q: In Ps 89:18, how is God our defense?
A: God is our defense in a myriad of ways. God gives us faith, His word, other believers, and some choices to change our circumstances. These are means God gave us that we can consciously choose to use. God also protects us in ways we do not realize from threats we do not see. Finally, we have the tremendous privilege of praying to God, and He has promised to answer all of our prayers. Of course, like a wise father, all his answers are not necessarily "yes".
Q: In Ps 90:7, why does God have a wrath that consumes?
A: God in wrath can split mountains and can destroy the whole earth, but that is not what this verse is saying. Psalm 90:7 says that Godís anger consumes people, both in the sense of their physical death, and eternal death for those who refuse to follow God.
Q: In Ps 90:12, how are we to number our days?
A: All our lives, we should realize that our lives on earth are fleeting (Psalm 39:4-6; 90:3-6; 144:4; James 1:10-11). Life on earth is more precious when we realize just how short it is, at least compared to eternity.
Q: In Ps 91:3 (KJV), what is noisome?
A: This King James Version word means loud or troublesome, but this is not what the Hebrew is saying. The Hebrew refers to a deadly plague.
Q: In Ps 91:3, what is pestilence?
A: This is a plague, usually of deadly sickness.
Q: In Ps 91:4, how is Godís truth as a shield and buckler?
A: Godís truth protects us in two ways. A shield is something a warrior actively uses to block arrows and sword thrusts. The other word is something that passively blocks the same.
The KJV and NRSV say "buckler", which is part of a soldierís armor. (Most infantry soldiers did not have armor, but armor was greatly valued.) The Bible Knowledge Commentary : Old Testament p.860 says "rampart". A rampart was part of the wall of a city.
Q: In Ps 91:4 and many passages talk of Godís right arm and hands, so does that mean God has a body like a man?
A: Psalm 91:4 KJV says God covers us with his pinions -mother henís breast feathers. That expression of Godís love does not make God look like a bird! Isaiah 44:13 say men worship images in the form of man. If Godís body was like man, it should say these images were in Godís form. While God can appear in any form, this does not mean God the Father has an intrinsic form of a man, any more than He has an intrinsic form of a bush.
On the other hand, after Jesusí incarnation on earth as both God and man, Jesus is even still now man, as Jesus is the same yesterday, today, and forever (Hebrews 13:8).
See the discussion on Exodus 8:19 for more info.
Q: In Ps 91:11-12, does this refer to Jesus, or to all believers?
A: Psalm 91:1 says this refers to "He that dwells in the shelter of the Most High." This certainly would refer to the Messiah, but it also applies to us, since Jesus lives in us. Satan quoting Psalm 91 to Jesus in Matthew 4:6 and Luke 4:10-11 explicitly proves this refers to Jesus since Jesus did not deny that the verses referred to Him.
Q: In Ps 92:10, how was Davidís horn exalted?
A: Horn is a symbol of strength. God strengthened David from being a shepherd boy to being a king, and then made Davidís kingdom very powerful.
Q: In Ps 93:1, how is the Lord clothed with majesty and strength?
A: When we see a person, typically we only see their face and arms, and their clothes. Likewise, when we "see" God in nature, we see His "clothing" of majesty and strength. While we do see the One True God in nature, we do not see Him directly, face-to-face, until we get to Heaven (1 Corinthians 13:12; Psalm 27:8; Job 19:26-27).
Continuing with the clothing metaphor, we are all not rightfully clothed until we get to Heaven, according to 2 Corinthians 5:4-6.
Q: In Ps 94:10, what does it mean that vengeance belongs with God?
A: Vengeance does not belong with us, for we are commanded not to get revenge. The judge of the universe will, sooner or later, mete out justice that many people deserve. Strictly speaking, God will not give to all what they deserve, because believers will not get what we deserve, but they will receive Godís grace and mercy instead, because Jesus took upon Himself the punishment that we deserved.
Q: In Ps 94:11 why are the thoughts of man useless?
A: Man is on earth for such a very short time (Isaiah 40:24) and God can frustrate anyoneís plans (Proverbs 16:3-6). Ultimately all of manís ambitions, designs, and knowledge, apart from God are in the end all for nothing.
Q: In Ps 95:3, 135:5; 138:1, since God is a great king over all gods, are there other gods?
A: Sure, 1 Corinthians 9:4-6 and Psalm 96:4 shows there are many false gods, but as Psalm 96:5, Isaiah 44:8 and 1 Timothy 1:17 and many other verses show, there is only one True God.
Q: In Ps 95:8, how can we choose to harden or not?
A: External positive and negative influences can affect us, but we can choose how much to be affected, if at all. God gives us grace for our heart both to be soft for Him, and to stay soft for Him. However, we are responsible for valuing what God has given us.
Q: In Ps 96:1, why is the emphasis not on singing a song, but on singing a new song?
A: Singing and playing old songs is just fine. However, within the limits of orderly worship (1 Corinthians 14:32), God likes some innovation, as long as the gospel message is not changed (Galatians 1:6-9).
Q: In Ps 97:1, why are islands emphasized here?
A: In Davidís time there were few believers on any islands. In the future, there would be many believers where there were none before this time. Geographically, Cyprus, all the Greek islands, tiny Malta, and Sicily were all islands where there would later be many Christians.
Q: In Ps 97:2 and 2 Chr 6:1, how are clouds and darkness around God, and in Ps 104:2 how is God covered with light?
A: Perhaps the images of God given in Isaiah 6 and Ezekiel 1, 8 will help here. They show God as radiant, and surrounded by unapproachable light (1 Timothy 6:16). However, Ezekiel shows darkness and clouds around and under the throne. Isaiah 6 shows smoke coming out of the temple.
Q: In Ps 97:7 and 1 Chr 16:25-26, how are there many gods?
A: The Bible teaches there are many idols worshipped as false gods, but only one true God. Mormons look in vain for this verse to support their saying there are many [legitimate] gods. See When Critics Ask p.241 and When Cultists Ask p.66 for more info.
Q: In Ps 97:10, are Christians supposed to hate?
A: Both yes and no. We are supposed to hate sin, but the New Testament never shows Christians are to hate any person. In fact, 1 Corinthians 13:13 says the greatest Christian virtue is love, and 1 John 4:8,20 show that no one can live in hatred of their fellow man and be a genuine Christian. Jesus said the greatest commandment is to love the Lord your God with all your heart, mind, soul, and strength. The second greatest commandment is to love your neighbor as yourself (Mark 12:30-31).
Q: In Ps 98:1, what type of music is suitable for worship?
A: Any combination of notes and rhythm is, of itself either suitable or not suitable for worship. Rather, particular music, in a particular culture, can tend to draw people into worship of God or distract people from worship. Sometimes for someone music can be so good and engrossing, that one concentrates on the music instead of God. Beware when you go to church to hear the music, or hear a good speaker instead of worshipping God and growing in Him.
Q: In Ps 99, why we should exalt God?
A: The first half of the psalm gives a number of reasons based on Godís character. God reigns, He is great and high above all the people, his name is great and awesome, he establishes justice and judges rightly. The last half of the psalm gives reasons based on what God has done.
Q: Why is Ps 100:1 like Ps 66:1?
A: The phrase "shout joyfully to God/the Lord all the earth" (NASB) is found in both places. One would not expect believers, back then or now, to shout joyfully to the Lord once and never do so again.
Q: What is Ps 101 about?
A: Psalm 101 is a short psalm that can be called "the psalm of the heart and eyes". David refused to look at wicked things, and God cuts off those who have a disdainful look. Godís eyes will look on the faithful of the land. The wicked will not endure in Godís sight.
David promised to walk with a perfect heart, and stay away from those with wicked hearts.
Q: In Ps 102:6 what is the first bird here?
A: Translators disagree on the first bird. The KJV, NASB, and NKJV says "pelican". The NIV translates this as "desert owl". The NRSV says, "owl of the wilderness". All translations say the second bird is "owl" except the NRSV, which says, "little owl".
Q: Since Ps 103:3 says that God heals our diseases, does that mean doctors and medicines are useless as Christian Science teaches?
A: Of course in Heaven all of our diseases will be gone. Even on earth though, God can miraculously heal without medicine, and sometimes people naturally get over colds and other illnesses without medicine. However, medicine can be something God uses, as Paul told Timothy to drink a little wine with his meals because of his frequent stomach illnesses in 1 Timothy 5:23. See When Cultists Ask p.67 for more info.
Q: In Ps 103:5 and Isa 40:31, how is a personís youth renewed like an eagle?
A: Our youth will be renewed like that of an eagle when we are in Heaven. Secondarily, people who live a cleaner life on earth are in general healthier if they do not bear the consequences of smoking, alcoholism, drug addition, or sexual diseases.
Q: In Ps 103:9 (KJV), what does "chide" mean?
A: This word, still commonly used today, means to scold to more colloquially "chew out".
Q: In Ps 103:12, why does it says as far as the east is from the west?
A: This is a beautiful poetic expression meaning they are as far as can be.
Q: Is Ps 103:20-21 a prayer to the dead as some Roman Catholic theologians say?
A: No, because the different classes of angels and the hosts of heaven are not dead. See When Cultists Ask p.66-67 for more info.
Q: In Ps 104, are there parallels to Akhenatenís Hymn to the Aten?
A: Yes, there are parallels according to the New Geneva Study Bible p.867, The Expositorís Bible Commentary volume 5 p.104, and the secular Pharaohs and Kings : A Biblical Quest p.328.
Akhenaten was an Egyptian Pharaoh who reigned from about 1358-1340 B.C., which is about 400 years prior to Solomon. Akhenaten was a very religious person who rejected Egyptian idolatry, commanded the Egyptians not to worship Osiris and the other gods, because he believed in only one god, Aten. He who wrote hymn a praise to Aten, "The good ruler who loves all mankind".
However, after Akhenatenís death the priests changed Aten worship. Aten was equated with the idols Ptah, Min, Re, Khepri, and Atum.
A key difference is that the Hymn to Aten praised the sun as the image of the creator, while Psalm 104 uses nature to praise the unseen God who created nature. Psalm 104 is also chiastic, which the Hymn to Aten is not. One can read the Hymn to Aten in Akhenaten : King of Egypt p.241-243.
The parallels of thought are probably coincidental, but it is possible the writer of Psalm 104 had heard of the Hymn to Aten. In that case the situation would be similar to Martin Lutherís adapting German drinking songs as hymns, using new words. It is possible the writer could have taken some of the themes of the Hymn to Aten and applied the praise to its rightful source.
Q: In Ps 104:5, how will the earth not be shaken forever?
A: Letís look at the Hebrew words here. The Hebrew says, "not be shaken", it does not say "never destroyed". Also, When Critics Ask p.241 points out that the Hebrew word olam can mean either "forever" or else "a very long time".
Q: In Ps 105:4, how does someone seek Godís face?
A: This is an important question about a key issue.
While we must recognize that we will not see God face to face until we get to heaven (1 Corinthians 13), we are to seek Godís heart now. We are to spend time with Him daily and not neglect meeting together in fellowship (Hebrews 10:25).
Seeking to dwell with God forever in Heaven (Psalm 23:6 and Psalm 16:9-11) is only part of the story. Another part is to seek Godís face daily, to dedicate each day to God and live obediently, enjoying Godís favor.
We should not harden our hearts (Hebrews 3:8-9,15, 4:7) but draw near to God as James 4:8 and Hebrews 13:13 say. Read James Whiteís book Daring to Draw Near for more on this.
Q: Does Ps 105:15 teach that certain men should never be criticized or held accountable, as some Word-Faith teachers say?
A: No. This verse says not to harm Godís prophets and anointed ones. Criticizing someone is not harming someone. Even if criticizing a Christian leader who is in error was what this verse really meant, (and it does not mean this) then this practice was superseded by Paul not only criticizing Peter, but also "opposing" him for refusing to eat with Gentiles in Galatians 2:11-16. See When Cultists Ask p.67-68 for a different answer.
Q: In Ps 105:15, what are the proper limits in our criticism of religious leaders?
A: Three points to consider in the answer.
Correction vs. Rebuke: Someone can do something wrong without being aware of it. We must not quarrel but should gently instruct people who oppose us (2 Timothy 3:24-25). In Matthew 18:15-17 Jesus taught a specific pattern with people who have sin. First go to him privately. If he does not listen, then take one or two others with you. If that does not work, then tell it to the church. If even that does not work, then basically kick him out of fellowship. Of course if someone is justifiably excommunicated and "handed over to Satan", and they repent, they can be welcomed back again as Paul taught in 2 Corinthians 2:5-11.
Rebuke of godly but erring leaders: Sometimes even believers who love the Lord still persist in error or disobedience. When Paul rebuked Peter, but he focused on Peterís actions, and not on Peter himself. He made it clear what was to be done to correct the situation. Peter did make the correction. There was no mention, by Paul or anyone else, that Peter should be removed as an apostle.
Rebuke of Ungodly leaders: Regardless of whether they are unbelievers, genuine believers who are in willful disobedience, or if you do not know, they should be rebuked not only for their own benefit, but so that other believers will hear and avoid following them. John rebuked people directly in 2 John 7 and 3 John 9. Paul rebuked unbelieving people by name in 2 Timothy 4:14 and anonymously in 2 Thessalonians 3:11. For some, such as the immoral "Jezebel" in Revelation 2:20-23, there was no rebuke of Jezebel per se, she was already too far-gone. Rather, her followers were threatened with divine retribution for practicing what she taught.
Q: In Ps 105:8, does this mean there were 1,000 generations before David?
A: A generation is generally considered 40 years, but 1,000 often means a long period of time. This verse means that Godís promises from now to the indefinite future will be true, as Godís promises from the indefinite past to now are true.
If you want to be hyper-literal, since God promised salvation from eternity past, before the earth or heaven were even created, Godís promises are true more than a billion generations prior to David.
Q: In Ps 105:22 (KJV), what is a "senator"?
A: As tempting as it might be to say this verse refers to the U.S. Congress, it really refers to elders, which is what the Latin word Senator originally meant. See the Wycliffe Bible Dictionary p.1547 for more info.
Q: In Ps 105:33, did Egypt have many vines and fig trees?
A: Egypt was the breadbasket of the Roman and Byzantine Empires because of its great production of wheat. If it was not for the Nile River, Egypt would not few plants. However, because of the Nile and irrigation, the soil of Egypt could grow almost anything, though tall trees for lumber were somewhat scarce.
Q: In Ps 106:28, what are sacrifices of the dead?
A: This could either be sacrifices to lifeless idols as The Expositorís Bible Commentary volume 5 p.678 says, or it could refer to funeral rituals as the New Geneva Study Bible p.873 say. Either way, we should not be sacrificing to or loving that which is dead.
Q: Why is Ps 108:1-5 the same as Ps 57:7-11, and Ps 108:6-11 the same as Ps 60:5-12?
A: Looking at each of these three psalms individually, one would not see any discontinuity. Perhaps God gave us a "riddle" to show us not only to look at the individual verses, but also to examine how they fit together.
In Psalm 108:1-5 and Psalm 57:7-11 David speaks of his steadfast heart musically praising God for His mercy and truth, that God be glorified above all the earth.
In Psalm 108:6-11 and Psalm 60:5-12 God speaks that He will claim His kingdom and defeat His enemies. The help of man is useless, but with God they will triumph.
Psalm 57:1-6 is a desperate cry for help and deliverance from a righteous person when the surrounding situation looks grim. Psalm 57:7-11 contrasts this as looking up to God instead of the circumstances.
Psalm 60:1-4 is a cry for help and restoration from a formerly disobedient but now repentant people and Psalm 60:5 asks for victory. Psalm 60:6-12 is Godís promise of victory for them.
In summary, Psalm 108 can be called "the victory psalm". Psalm 57 promises victory for the obedient, and Psalm 60 promises victory for the repentant.
Q: In Ps 109, what is unusual about the structure of this psalm?
A: This psalm is close to a chiasm, with the following structure.
Praise to God
¾ The hateful words of the wicked
¾ ¾ The cursings
¾ The cursings of the ungodly
¾ ¾ Praying for Godís judgment
See The Expositorís Bible Commentary volume 5 p.689 for more info.
Q: In Ps 109:3; 119:78,161, why do people sometimes fight others without cause?
A: Almost no one fights without having a perceived cause, even if they made up the cause themselves. People can fight to defend against non-existent threats, to expand their power, or thinking that subjugating or enslaving others will makes things go better for them. It will not - on judgment day.
Q: In Ps 109:8, how does this relate to Acts 1:20?
A: The general curse of Psalm 109:8 was specifically applicable to Judas. There will be no place for Judas in Heaven. There will be no place in Heaven for churchgoers who do not want to follow Jesus.
Q: In Ps 109:2-5,18-19, why is David, in this psalm of cursing, criticizing his enemy for cursing?
A: Psalm 109 condemns those who surrounded David with cursing, or words of hatred as in verse 3. David is praying that all the curses he heard (Psalm 109:6-16) would come back to the person who cursed. In the New Testament Jesus gave us a higher standard, to love our enemies (Luke 6:27-36 and Matthew 5:43-44). However, when a person curses Christians, and he or she does not repent, God has a way of bringing the curse back to the person.
Q: In Ps 109:10,13, why was David against his enemyís descendants?
A: While scripture does not say, we can see two reasons, plus a third point to remember.
Repeating their curses is what David apparently was doing, with the prayer that their curses would come back to them.
Having descendants was very important in that culture, according to the New Geneva Study Bible p.878.
A higher standard is given to us in the New Testament (Luke 6:27-36 and Matthew 5:43-44)
Q: In Ps 109:31, how does God, who is everywhere, stand at the right hand of the needy one? What about multiple needy people standing in a circle?
A: This does not refer to physical position. Standing at the right hand mean God is prominently there to aid them. God is everywhere according to Jeremiah 23:23-24 and Psalm 139:7-12.
Q: Does Ps 110:1 somehow show that everyone will be saved?
A: No. When Cultists Ask p.68-69 says that some liberals try to use this verse to support the heresy of universalism.
This is instructive to see just how far some people will go to twist scripture. Psalm 110:1 (NIV) says, "The Lord says to my Lord: Sit at my right hand until I make your enemies a footstool for your feet." Note that the enemies will become as a footstool (a low position) for the Lordís feet. In the end every knee will bow to Christ (Philippians 2:10-11). But, becoming a footstool is different than being saved and reigning with Christ, being co-seated with Him on His throne (Ephesians 2:6).
Q: In Ps 110:1, how does this relate to Jesus?
A: This psalm is the most quoted Old Testament verse in the New Testament, and this fairly clearly refers to a Lord in addition to God the Father.
Q: In Ps 110:4, what does Melchizedek have to do with anything here?
A: Melchizedek was the mysterious priest of God Most High, who met Abraham after the raid to rescue Lot and the people of Sodom. Here the psalmist is reminding us that God another and earlier priesthood than the order of Aaron among the Israelites. Melchizedek was certainly a non-Israelite, as Israelites did not exist in Abrahamís time.
Q: In Ps 112:10, how does the desire of the wicked perish?
A: This is the flip-side of Psalm 37:4. God gives the righteous the desires of their heart. God both gives them good desires and satisfies those desires. God frustrates the desires of the wicked. After death, it is not revealed whether the desires of the wicked diminish, are made to vanish, grow, or grow without limit.
Q: In Ps 113, what can we learn?
A: Psalm 113 is dripping with emotion toward God, and it is also laid out very logically. Since this entire psalm is one of praise, this indicates how importance praise should be in our life with God. Verses 1-3 emphasize, who, when, and where we should praise God. Verses 4-6 emphasize praising God, not for what He has done, but simply for who He is. Verses 7-9 are exclusively praising Him for what He has done for us. When you praise God daily, do you praise Him, just for what He has done, or just for who He is, or do praise Him like a two-cylinder engine using both cylinders?
Q: In Ps 114, what are some of the main points?
A: Psalm 114 can be considered both a continuation and contrast with the last third of Psalm 113. Here are yet more reasons to praise God. In verses 1-2 when Israel was delivered from an evil bondage, and likewise when we experience deliverance, we should praise God out of gratitude. In verse 3-6, when we see Godís hand working, whether using nature or other people, even unbelievers, as His tools, we should praise God. In verses 7-8, we should realize that God can make impossible-looking situations happen.
Q: What is Ps 115 about?
A: Among other thing, this psalm can be thought of as a psalm of perspective. Our faith is not about us, it is about God, while in contrast idols are made for the idol makers. First you have to understand that 1) we are made for The Lord and 2) God does as He pleases. Then we can rejoice to see that unlike the inanimate idols, 1) God is trustworthy and cares for us, and 2) He will bless us, 3) not only for now, but forevermore.
Q: In Ps 115:3, how does God do whatever He pleases?
A: Everything happens that God decrees, and nothing happens except what God allows. Everything works together as a part of Godís plan (Ephesians 1:11), and all things work together for good for those who love God (Romans 8:28). Nothing external forces God to do something. Nothing internal forces God to do something, for God can control Himself and His power. God, like us, seems to have a hierarchy of desire. God will not do anything evil or sin, God is just to all. Within those parameters, consider both the kindness and sternness of God (Romans 11:22), love to those who will love Him, and wrath to those who reject Him.
Q: Does Ps 115:16 teach that many of Godís people will live forever on earth as Jehovahís Witnesses say?
A: Yes and no. There will be a new heaven and a new earth, and all Godís people will live in the new heavens and earth. However, it does not teach that only 144,000 are "saved", have the Holy Spirit inside them, and will go to heaven, and all other believers are denied heaven but will live on the new earth. Romans 8:9 says that if one does not have the Spirit of Christ inside them, then they do not belong to Christ. See When Cultists Ask p.69 for more info.
Q: In Ps 117, why is such a short psalm in the Bible?
A: The Psalms have great variety, and psalms are examples of David and others praying to God. Psalm 117 shows that we do not need to feel like we have to be either eloquent or lengthy in our prayers.
Q: In Ps 118:9, how do people sometimes wrongly put confidence in princes today?
A: People sometimes give government officials credit for more power than they really have. Sometimes we think that if only all our elected officials were godly, then the country would be in great shape. However, government officials cannot change peopleís hearts, and many times a democratic people elect not the best government, but the government they deserve.
People sometimes give government officials more credit for moral things than they deserve. If a politician has shown himself or herself to be underhanded in the past, and is not repentant of that, people strangely assume that he or she will never be underhanded again.
Q: In Ps 119, what is a summary of what our attitude toward Scripture should be?
A: Here are some of the major points, in concise form.
Scripture is not just "suggestions for life", but we must take its authority in our lives as seriously as our Lord and Biblical writers meant. John 10:35; Matthew 4:1-11; John 14:23-24; 2 Peter 1:19-21; 3:16; Romans 3:1-4; 2 Timothy 3:15-16; Proverbs 30:5-6; Amos 8:11-2; Isaiah 66:5
The New Testament says some Old Testament commands have been fulfilled and are not to be done (eating pork and camel meat, sacrifices, etc.) Acts 10:9-16; 15:1,5-29; Mark 7:19; Galatians 5:2-4; Hebrews 9:9-10; 10:18.
The entire Bible is authoritative, trustworthy, primary, and complete. Proverbs 30:5-6; 2 Timothy 3:16
Every word in the 66 books is true in all it affirms, and all scripture is uniquely God-breathed. 2 Samuel 22:31; Psalms 33:4; 119:151; Proverbs 30:5-6
The Apocrypha has errors (Nebuchadnezzar in Judith not an Assyrian king, etc.)
We should interpret the Bible the way God meant the words to be understood. Donít twist, trivialize, or ignore any of it. 2 Peter 3:16; Mark 7:13; John 8:37; 12:48-50; 14:23; Psalms 56:10; 119:16. Itís most precious to us. Psalms 119:72,97,105,120
Donít add to or go beyond Godís Word. Proverbs 30:5-6; 1 Corinthians 4:6-7; Deuteronomy 4:2; Revelation 22:18; Ecclesiastes 12:12
Godís Word is true in its original manuscripts; truth is not contradictory, but it may be imprecise (for example,. Matthew 28:1; Mark 16:1; Luke 24:1 and John 20:1, Ezra 2; Nehemiah 7). The New Testament has the exact substance of Jesusí teaching, not exact words. Matthew 22:37;13:22; Mark 12:30;4:19
God allowed some transmittal errors, but His Word stands forever. Isaiah 59:21; 40:8; Psalm 119:89. His Word is preserved infallibly (without significant error) up through today. Isaiah 55:11; 1 Peter 1:23-5; Psalm 119:89,91,144,160. Our hope is in it. Psalm 119:74,81
We are saved by Jesus, not by studying scripture. John 5:39-40; James 1:22-5; 1 Corinthians 13:2; Luke 11 : 52
Some feelings in Psalms 35:5-8; 42:11a; 7:8; 69:22-28; 109; 137:9 show we should pray what is on our hearts; Christians are to love their enemies. Matthew 5:43-8; Luke 6:27-35
Q: In Ps 119, what is a topical summary?
A: Here are the three main topics of Psalm 119, and their subcategories.
...Love Godís Law
Delight and rejoice in Godís law (14 verses) Ps 119:14,16,24,47,48,70,72,77,92,103,111,142,162,164
Meditate, recount, and sing (10 verses) Ps 119:13,15,23,26,48,54,78,95,97,99
Hope in Godís word (7 verses) Ps 119:43,49,74,81,114,116,147
Find comfort in Godís word and unfailing love (5 verses) Ps 119:50,52,71,76,82
In awe and wonder of His Law (3 verses) Ps 119:18,120,129
Trust in Godís word (1 verse) Ps 119:42
...Benefit from Godís Law
Direct our way (12 verses) Ps 119:1,3,5,15,30,32,35,59,101,104,105,133
God preserves (16 verses) Ps 119:8,17,25,37,40,88,93,101,114,117,146,149,156,159,173,175
Godís promises (13 verses) Ps 119:38,41,49,50,57,58,65,76,116,140,154,170
Learn/teach him (21 verses) Ps 119:12,19,26,27,33,34,35,36,64,66,68,71,73,102,108,124,125,130,135,169,172
Godís law is right (9 verses) Ps 119:75,86,128,137,138,144,151,160,164
Not put to shame (9 verses) Ps 119:6,22,31,39,42,46,51,69,80
Law strengthens us (1 verse) Ps 119:28
Gives us peace (1 verse) Ps 119:165
Like Godís faithfulness, His word is eternal (7 verses) Ps 119:89,90,91,121,142,152,160
Help to live pure (7 verses) Ps 119:1,3,7,8,11,29,33
...Obey Godís Law
Obey (23 verses) Ps 119:4,9,44,51,56,60,63,67,69,88,100,112,115,126,129,136,145,146,157,158,160,166,167
Choose/seek God and His decrees (8 verses) Ps 119:2,10,30,45,58,94,155,173
Love and long for Godís law (8 verses) Ps 119:20,40,81,97,113,119,123,127,131,159,163,174
Donít forget or neglect (8 verses) Ps 119:16,61,83,93,109,141,153,176
Pray at night (4 verses) Ps 119:55,62,147,148
Do not stray (6 verses) Ps 119:10,21,87,110,118,176
Hate the lawless (4 verses) Ps 119:113,139,153,158
The wicked hate without cause (3 verses) Ps 119:78,86,161
Oppression (3 verses) Ps 119:55,62,147,148
Q: In Ps 119:10, why ask God not to let us wander from his commandments, since it is our own responsibility not to wander?
A: God is interactive. We having the responsibility does not prove we alone have the power or ability. Indeed, without Godís love and His working, we will fall away into disobedience. It is our own responsibility not to wander, and we meet that responsibility by asking God for His help, walking close to God, and obeying Him out of a loving heart.
Q: In Ps 119:10, did David never stray from Godís precepts, or did he go astray as Ps 119:176 says?
A: Psalm 119:176 says he did go astray. Psalm 119:10 is a request that God would not let the psalmist wander, as the KJV, NASB, NIV, NKJV, NRSV, and Greenís Literal Translation all say.
Also, while we all have gone astray in that we have committed sins, we can still with Godís help live a life that in general is faithful to God, as When Critics Ask p.243 points out.
Q: In Ps 119:30, should it say the way of "truth" or "faithfulness"?
A: Either translation is accurate. The KJV, NKJV and NIV say "truth". The NRSV says, "faithfulness" and the NASB says, "faithful way". The Expositorís Bible Commentary volume 5 p.743 says the Hebrew word here, emunah, can also mean "fidelity" or "faithfulness" as well as truth. Either way, you could say that we have a "high-fidelity" God!
Q: In Ps 119:30, to what extent can people choose the way of truth?
A: First we will look at the two sides scripture gives, and then see the balance between them.
On their own: No one seeks God. Romans 3:11, paraphrasing Psalm 14:2-3 shows this in a negative way. In a positive way, John 16:8-11 shows that the Holy Spirit has an essential role in drawing people to God.
With Godís aid: People, even David the writer of Psalm 14 can genuinely choose God. Psalm 119:30 (NIV) says, "I have chosen the way of the Lord". In Joshua 24:22 the people are told they have chosen to serve the Lord. In John 12:32 Jesus said that if He be lifted up, He would draw all men to Himself. All are commanded to obey the gospel (2 Thessalonians 1:8; Acts 17:30), but some reject Godís purpose for themselves (Luke 7:30), and forfeit the grace that could be theirs (Jonah 2:8).
Q: In Ps 119:97, how are we to love Godís law?
A: First is how we are to love Godís law, followed by ways we are not to love it.
How Believers are to love Godís law
Value Godís law as precious
Have room in your heart for Godís word (John 8:37) and have Godís word dwell in you richly (John 5:38; Colossians 3:16).
Diligently study the scriptures (Acts 17:11; Psalm 119:61; 1 Timothy 4:13; 2 Timothy 3:15-17; Revelation 1:3).
Donít forget or neglect it (8 verses). Psalm 119:16,61,83,93,109,141,153,176
Treat it as higher than manís law (Acts 4:18-20).
We show ourselves as Jesusí disciples by obeying His teaching. (John 8:32-33; 14:21,23-24).
Trust in Godís word (Psalm 119:42).
Believe that Godís way is the best way. (Proverbs 3:5-6).
Do not trust in your own opinions more than Godís word (Proverbs 30:5-6; 1 Corinthians 4:6; Proverbs 18:2; Colossians 2:8; 1 Timothy 1:3-4; Matthew 15:6-8; Isaiah 29:13).
Delight and rejoice in Godís law (Psalm 119:14,16,24,47,48,70,72,77,92,103,111,142,162,164).
Meditate, recount, and sing (Psalm 119:13,15,23,26,48,54,78,95,97,99).
Hope in Godís word (Psalm 119:43,49,74,81,114,116,147).
Be in awe and wonder of His Law (Psalm 119:18,120,129).
Find comfort in Godís word and unfailing love (Psalm 119:50,52,71,76,82).
How we are not to love it
Do not love Godís law more than God
Scripture is able to make us wise for salvation through Christ Jesus (2 Timothy 3:15), but it is Jesus who saves, not scripture (John 5:39-40).
Recognize that some parts of the Old Testament law have been superseded by Jesus, such as animal sacrifices, diet, and that we are not living under a theocratic government.
Q: Why are Ps 120-134 called psalms of ascent?
A: We are not sure. According to 735 Baffling Bible Questions Answered p.154, some think these were sung when worshippers walked up toward the temple on Mount Zion, and others think Levites sang these during festival times standing on the temple steps. The skeptical Asimovís Guide to the Bible p.505 says the same.
It is probably not when walking upward towards Mount Zion, because people did that all the time for non-religious reasons.
Q: In Ps 120:5, what is the significance of Meshech and Kedar?
A: Meshech is first mentioned in Genesis 10:2. They lived far north of Israel. Kedar was a land in northern Arabia, south of Israel. David says there were warlike threats against his kingdom from both the north and the south. Sometimes today, believers can feel there is not just one enemy out to get them, but attacks are possible from all sides. Nothing restricts Satan from just having one temptation at a time, or using fear followed by pride, as he did with Hezekiah and others.
Q: In Ps 121:6 how would the moon by night terrify people?
A: While the moon will not hurt people, some could still be afraid of the nighttime. On one hand someone could be superstitious about the moon, or about nighttime, and Psalm 121:6 indicates there is nothing to fear from that. On the other hand, bandits, and armies often attack at night, and a full moon gives them more light for maneuvering.
Q: In Ps 122, what important lessons can we learn from?
A: In verse 1, what is your attitude when you hear, or when you think, "I need to go to church". Is it gladness, or do you take opportunities to worship with other believers for granted?
In verse 2, when you are in church, do you show that you just feel fortunate to be there, or has it become humdrum? In verses 3-4, have you marveled at the church; not the building, but the living community of God? In verse 6, do you often remember that the believers you see at church will one day judge angels and the world? (1 Corinthians 6:2-3) In verses 7-9, do you regularly pray for the church in general, and people in the church in particular?
Q: In Ps 123, what things can we see?
A: Where are your eyes? Are you setting your affections on things above (Colossians 3:1-3). What kinds of things thrill you, and get you excited? Are they mainly video games, movies, sports teams, or other things that are not bad in and of themselves. Or, are you most excited about God, His work, and fellowshipping with other believers? Psalm 123 is not about where you have been, or even where you are now, but where are you looking, what do you long for, and where do you want to be.
Q: In Ps 124, what can we learn?
A: While Psalm 123 is about where are we looking, Psalm 124 has us consider where is our trust? We think Godí help is beneficial, but do we realize that His continued help is essential? In our own lives, it is not only essential for the Holy Spirit to work in us to get saved (Colossians 1:13), it is essential that the Holy Spirit is working in us to sustain us to stay saved (Colossians 1:17). In our ministry, if we can accomplish everything without the supernatural working of God, then we are not aiming high enough.
Q: What does Ps 125:3 about the working of God?
A: God may let the wicked rule over a land, but He will not let the wicked remain ruling over the righteous. One reason is so that righteous people are not continually tempted to decline to be like the unrighteous. If you are in a situation like this, such as Lot was in Sodom, it is time to move.
Q: In Ps 126, what can we learn about prayer?
A: Previous psalms showed about praising God, but this is expressing deep thanks to God for what He did for His people. When God answers your prayers, do you go back and thank Him for what He did for you. In your thanksgiving, do you only thank Him for what He did for you, or also for Godís people and others?
Q: In Ps 127 and Ps 72, did Solomon write these psalms?
A: We are not sure. The theme that without God builders work in vain, is very similar to Ecclesiastes 1. The heading on Psalm 127 says, "of Solomon", but there are three points to consider in the answer.
In the Hebrew, "of Solomon" can mean written by Solomon, or else written about Solomon. However, the "House of Solomon" not meaning by Solomon is unlikely.
Added headers: The headings were not in the original scriptures. They are likely true, but not necessarily so.
Solomon probably did write these psalms is the simplest solution, and does not present any difficulties.
Q: In Ps 127:1, why do builders labor in vain unless God builds the house?
A: Originally this might refer to "Godís House" the temple at Jerusalem. David really wanted to build this temple himself, but God told him not to, his son would also. David realized that disobediently building a temple to God would be a work in vain.
Do Christians today ever do a work in vain? - Sure. If a Christian works on something, even a good thing, supposedly for God, but God either did not want it, or want it but did not want him or her to do it, then it is a work in vain. However, if we are obedient in our service to God, seek Godís will, and obey Godís will as best we understand it, then Godís pleasure in our work makes it a success, regardless of what other worldly yardsticks of supposed success might say.
Q: In Ps 127:2, is always sleeping well a sign that you are a believer?
A: No, because in Psalm 119:148, the writer was not sleeping through the night. Psalm 127:2 says that, in general, believers will be able to sleep peacefully. This is not necessarily due to miraculous causes, but it someone does not feel any guilt, bitterness, or fear of the future, in general they will sleep more securely than those who do.
Q: In Ps 127:3-5, 128:3, what is the Bibleís attitude toward children?
A: Children are to be treasured (Psalm 127:3-5; 128:3), as well as grandchildren (Proverbs 17:6). We have a serious responsibility to teach our children to bring them up in the Lord (Deuteronomy 6:7; Proverbs 22:6; Psalm 78:4). We are to provide for them financially (Proverbs 13:22; 17:2; 19:14; Psalm 17:14) as well as our family in general (1 Timothy 5:8). We are to discipline our children, including corporal punishment (Proverbs 22:15; 15:5; Hebrews 12:7-11) but we are not to exasperate our children (Ephesians 6:4).
Proverbs promises that if we train up our children in the way they should go they will not depart from it. Psalm 112:1-2 says that the children of those who fear the Lord will be mighty.
Q: In Ps 127:3-5, why does it refer to only sons and not daughters as a blessing from the Lord?
A: According to an article in Christianity Today 10/27/1997 p.35, there is no Hebrew word for "children", only a word for "sons" and a word for "daughters". When a Hebrew speaker meant both sons and daughters, the word "sons" was used. Thus when the King James Version translates this "children", they are translating more the real meaning than word for word. Proof that the psalmist meant children in general and not just males is that in Psalm 127:3 he equates "children/sons" with "the fruit of the womb."
Q: In Ps 128, what is Godís attitude toward us?
A: God is not a cosmic killjoy, but He desires to give those who reverence God the desires of their heart. God wants what is best, even more than we want what is best.
The goal of our faith is to love and serve God, not our own happiness. But this psalm shows that desiring happy circumstances, praying for them, and praising God for them is a good thing.
Q: In Ps 131:1, what kinds of things are too high for us?
A: There are two applications of this verse.
For some but not others, some points are too high. For example, some people have a very difficult time dealing with infinity. However, for some more mathematically inclined, these concepts do not pose a problem.
a) Infinity / 2 = infinity,
b) The number of whole numbers is equal to the number of rational numbers, and
c) The circumference of a circle of infinite radius is a straight line
d) The limit of x as x approaches infinity of 3.0 * x^2 / (x + 1000 )^2 is 3.0.
If these concepts make you uncomfortable, do not worry. You can be every bit as spiritual as someone who is comfortable with these concepts.
For all people, some things are too high for us. For example, some things we cannot understand simply because we have not been given sufficient information. Some things are too high for us because even if we had the information, we would not have the "mental processing power" to comprehend it. We often are good at using approximations, but approximations can fail for chaotic events (such as weather prediction), discontinuous, catastrophic events, and events where our experience, natural observation, and knowledge of natural laws no longer apply. (What was the universe like in the first 10^-34 seconds after it was created?)
We do not have to be worried about not knowing all these things either. God Almighty was both able and willing to communicate with us, and He has told us what we need to know about the most important thing: living with Him forever.
Q: Does Ps 132:8 provide a "type" to suggest, though not prove, the bodily assumption of the Virgin Mary as some Catholic theologians (Ott, Madrid, etc.) claim?
A: No. Psalm 132:8 (NIV) says, "arise O LORD, and come to your resting place, you and the ark of your might." Two points to consider in the answer.
The Ark is not Mary: Nothing links the ark as a symbol of Mary, any more than as a symbol of Elijah, Enoch, the Law, religious ceremony, Christ, or anything else.
This is the strongest support in the Bible for the Catholic doctrine that Maryís body was taken directly to heaven and she did not experience death, - and this support is extremely weak.
See When Cultists Ask p.69-71 for more info.
Q: In Ps 133:1-3, why is unity so important and desirable?
A: Unity is important to glorify God (Romans 15:5-6) and be a witness so the world will know in john 17:23. However, unity itself is not important; unity in Christ is. We are commanded not to create unity, but to preserve the unity of the Spirit in Ephesians 4:3.
Q: In Ps 134, why is it important to praise God together?
A: There are two different aspects.
God apparently considers it beautiful for people to gather to praise Him together, as Hebrews 10:25 and Psalm 134 show.
God also desires that we not have anything against our brother and fellow-worshipper as Matthew 5:23-24 and Romans 15:7 show.
Q: In Ps 135:7 (KJV), how does God bring wind out of treasuries?
A: A treasury here is a "storehouse" so this says God brings wind "out of storage". Storage might simply be what meteorologists today would call a high-pressure zone.
Q: In Ps 136:15, did Pharaoh also drown in the Red Sea?
A: Probably not, since this is not what Psalm 136:15 says. Rather, Pharaoh and his army were overthrown in the Red Sea. Pharaohís power was "all washed up" so to speak.
Q: In Ps 137:1, what were the rivers of Babylon?
A: The Babylon was on the mighty Euphrates River. While it could possibly refer to the two rivers of Babylonia, the Euphrates and the Tigris, 40 miles east of Babylon, it probably does not. Rather it most likely refers to the Euphrates and numerous canals serving Babylon and its gardens. The skeptical Asimovís Guide to the Bible p.506 says the same.
Q: In Ps 137:2, did Babylon have a lot of willow trees?
A: The land of Mesopotamia was treeless, as there was too little water for any trees to grow, except right by the rivers or with irrigation. Willow trees in particular need large amounts of water. However, one of the seven wonders of the ancient world was the Hanging Gardens of Babylon, which were well-watered by the Euphrates River. Undoubtedly groves of trees contrasted with a vast treeless plain would look especially inviting.
Q: In Ps 137:7 (KJV), what does "rase" mean?
A: It means to "raze" or destroy the city.
Q: In Ps 137:8,9 why did the psalmist ask that Babylonian infants be dashed against the rocks?
A: On the surface, this sounds almost as cruel as late term abortion (except that the child dies slower during an abortion). The writer had seen the Babylonian army brutally kill the Jews, and this psalm is a cry to God for justice. However, since the time of Jesus, we are taught to love our enemies, and pray for those who persecute us. See 735 Baffling Bible Questions Answered p.154, When Critics Ask p.243, and the discussion on Psalm 3:7 for more info.
Q: In Ps 138, what are key doctrines mentioned.
A: There are at least four key truths here.
God has exalted above everything His name and His word.
God made David, and can make us, bold and stouthearted.
God especially looks with favor on the humble.
God had a purpose for David, promised to fulfill His purpose for David, and God can do the same for us.
Q: In Ps 139, since God is allegedly "omnipresent," heís close by when incest, rape, child molestation, etc., are happening. If he doesnít stop it, heís an accomplice, just as you and I would be if we were able to stop these things, and didnít do so.
A: God is not a human; and though God could take away our freedom and capacity to do evil, even to others, He does not yet do so. Four points to consider in the answer.
1) In addition to being omnipresent, nothing happens except what God allows, as Job 1:12; 2:6; James 4:15; and Ephesians 1:11 show.
2) God could have prevented all evil from happening, but chose not to.
3) If God did prevent all evil, then we, as well as Satan and the demons would be mere robots. No, allowing us to have a measure of free will means that God, within limits, has chosen to "delegate" a portion of His Sovereignty. We have really been given responsibility, and when God asks us to "choose life" God is really being sincere.
4) One of the consequences of this is that God permits evil, and He even permits unfair consequences in this life. Think of the child people like Hitler and Idi Amin had killed. God will set everything right in the end, on Judgment Day though.
This concept, that God is Sovereign, and yet God allows evil to give us a degree of freedom, is one of the most complex concepts in Christianity. I can go into this into a lot more detail if you have more specific questions on this.
Q: In Ps 139:8, how is God in "Hell"?
A: The Hebrew word here, sheol, means grave. God is even in the grave, and even by dying a person cannot escape from God. See 1001 Bible Questions Answered p.453 for more info.
Q: Does Ps 139:13-16 imply that abortion is murder?
A: Yes according to When Critics Ask p.244. Jeremiah 1:5, Psalm 51:5; Luke 1:44, and Exodus 21:22-23 also imply that abortion is murder. Psalm 139:13-16 says God wove us together inside our mother. In contrast, it is ludicrous to say that the second after a babyís head come out of his mother he cannot be killed, but a second before his head comes out, it is OK to stick scissors in his brain to kill him. This is being done in America and some western countries today. This is called "partial birth abortion."
Q: In Ps 139:14, how is sinful, fallen man fearfully and wonderfully made?
A: We are born with a sinful nature (Psalm 51:5), dead in sin (Ephesians 2:1; Colossians 2:13), a prisoner of sin (Galatians 3:22), and under Godís wrath (Ephesians 2:3). Yet Psalm 139:14 boldly declares that we are fearfully and wonderfully made. Though fallen, we still bear Godís image (Genesis 9:6). God can dwell in us (1 John 4:12-15). We can be justified and glorified (Romans 8:30), and we can be called sons of the God (Romans 8:19; 1 John 3:1).
Q: In Ps 139:20-22, are we supposed to hate those who hate God?
A: No, for those on this earth can still repent and believe. No matter what wicked things they did, even adultery like David, or murder like David and Paul, God will accept those who come to Him in faith and repentance.
This psalm shows us that David prayed what he felt to God. However, the very next two verses David asks God to point out any offensive ways in him, so perhaps David himself wondered about hating his enemies.
In the New Testament we are to love our enemies and pray for those who persecute us (Matthew 5:43-44 and Luke 6:27-35) even as Stephen did while dying in Acts 7:60.
See Hard Sayings of the Bible p.282-283 for more info.
Q: In Ps 142, what is the focus?
A: David was in a cave hiding from Saul. David was not just praying for help against evil people in general, but specifically against those who were out to get him behind his back (verse 3), and those who were stronger than he was (verse 6) when it appeared that he had no earthly allies to help him (verse 4).
Yet in the unhappy, depressing state of affairs, David found joy. He realized that God was His refuge (verse 5) and He would bring righteous to surround Him (verse 7). It does not specify whether the righteous here are people helping David or angels, but both are applicable.
Q: In Ps 144:1 and Ps 149:6-8, is it OK to train for war, including killing others?
A: Yes. David knew what he was saying, for he trained for war and trained others for war. This proves that fighting is OK, if it is for a good cause. A total pacifist can still be a genuine Christian, but they are mistaken in thinking that fighting for right is always displeasing to God. Since Colossians 3:16 says we should admonish each other with psalms, I would recommend they meditate on Psalm 149:6-8. See 1001 Bible Questions Answered p.213-214 for more info.
Q: In Ps 144:1, is it OK to play video games and other games with killing?
A: It depends on the game, and it can depend on the person. Since the Bible shows that hunting animals and being a soldier are OK, it would be ridiculous to say that doing these things for real is OK, but doing these in a video game is not. On the other hand, a game that glorifies senseless violence, and encourages killing others for no legitimate reason not only is immoral because of teaching someone to be a violent man (Proverbs 3:31,32), but it also violates Philippians 4:8. Philippians 4:8 (NIV) says, "...whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable - if anything is excellent or praiseworthy - think about such things."
Q: In Ps 144:12 (KJV), what is a "similitude of a palace"?
A: This King James Version expression means likes a palace.
Q: In Ps 145:9, how is God good and merciful to all He has made?
A: God gives everything that lives the air to breath and the environment to live. This is one aspect of "common grace", or Godís gift to all, whether they love God or not. As long as people breathe, they have the opportunity to call out to the Most High God to save them.
Q: In Ps 145:16, how does God satisfy the desires of every living being?
A: God satisfies some of the desires of every living thing. All have a desire for life and have a degree of pleasure.
However, this verse only specifies the living. After death, those who rejected God have no promise of their desires ever being satisfied, or of their desires being taken away. One possible description of Hell is a place where a personís desires can grow out of control, the desires will never be satisfied, and the person knows that the desires will never be satisfied.
Q: Should Ps 146:3 be translated as "mortal men/man" (NIV, Jewish Tanakh, New Jerusalem Bible, NASB), "mortals" (NRSV), or "son of men/man" (KJV, NKJV, Greenís Translation, RSV)?
A: The Hebrew can be translated either way, but the most literal translation is "son of Adam". The Updated NASB has "mortal man" with a footnote saying "Lit[erally] a son of a man".
Q: Does Ps 146:3-4 show there is no life after death as some Jehovahís Witnesses say in Reasoning From the Scriptures p.383 (1989)?
A: No. Psalm 146:3-4 shows that we are not to trust in people, because after their death their plans come to nothing, and their thoughts are even lost from this earth. Some Old Testament verses that show life after death are Hosea 13:14; Proverbs 14:32, Job 3:13-17, and Job 19:26-27. See When Cultists Ask p.71 for a more info.
Q: In Ps 146:6 (NIV), should this say, "The LORD"?
A: No, "the LORD" is not in the Masoretic text, according to The Expositorís Bible Commentary vol.5 p.866. The Lord" is also not in the Septuagint. The NIV probably added this to increase understandability because the Lord is the subject of this psalm and is mentioned in other verses in this psalm.
Q: In Ps 146:8, does the Aramaic-sounding word for "his plans" show this Psalm to be written very late?
A: No. The Hebrew word Ďestonotayw for "his plans" is an Aramaicism, according to The Expositorís Bible Commentary vol.5 p.865 this same word is also in the 8th century Sefire Inscriptions.
Q: In Ps 148, how do all these creatures and things praise God?
A: Each creature or thing has its own way of praising God. The sinless angels have their way, perfect for them. Fallen people, who have experienced the salvation and new life from God, have a different way of praising God. Inanimate objects, be it the blazing hot sun, the moon bright with reflected light, or the cool water vapor, all praise God by their very existence, as mute testimony to the power and skill of their Creator. Come to think of it, our very existence, as well as our day-to-day lives walking with Him are a praise of Godís mercy and joy.
Q: In Ps 148:4, what are waters above the heavens? It says, "waters above", not "in" the heavens, as does Genesis. What are we to make of all this? Did the ancients really think that there was a bunch of water above the sky?
A: The word "heavens" has a range of meaning, because the ancients thought in terms of multiple levels of heavens. For example, Psalm 148:3 says, "Praise him O heaven of heavens". Typically clouds, etc. would be at the lower levels, stars and planets at a higher level, and God in and beyond the ultimate level. The ancient writers did not know the water cycle or how the rain formed, but they know the water came from the cloud level where they could see.
Likewise, when we pray today, if we are nebulous in our understanding of the world, that is OK too.
Q: In Ps 149:4, how does God take delight in His people?
A: God delights in us in many ways. He delights in a wicked man turning from his wickedness and turning to God. God delights in bringing us salvation, as well as other good things. God delights in comforting us, and in us sharing Godís joy. God calls us friends. We are co-seated with Christ (Ephesians 2:6), and we are called the bride of Christ in Ephesians 5:25-33. We are made in the image of God, and God can live through us (1 John 4:12,16)
Q: In Ps 150, exactly how should we praise God?
A: While it is good to thank God for everything He has done for us, thanking God is slightly different than praising Him. Psalm 150 first gives to places for praising God, and then two reasons for praising God. Then it gives nine ways of praising God musically and in dance. Finally it concludes by saying to let everything that has breath, praise the Lord.
Praising God with a trumpet sounds very different from praising God with the strings, which sounds very different than the tambourine. Just as there are a variety of musical ways to praise God, there are a variety of things for which to praise God. Psalm 150:2 categorizes them as praising God for His mighty acts, and then praising God Himself for the greatness of His character. We could go on forever listing all the spectacular, sublime, powerful, intricate, creative, and consistent things God has done. When we praise God for His acts of creation, do not forget to also praise Him for His acts of redemption too. Likewise, we can elaborate at length on Godís goodness, kindness, justice, truth, steadfastness, love, and even His wrath. In fact, I think we could come up with at least one reason for praising God for every type of musical instrument people have invented.
Q: What is Ps 151, and should it be in the Bible?
A: What is often designated as Psalm 151 was found in the Greek Septuagint of the Alexandrian manuscripts Sinaiticus, Vaticanus, and Alexandrinus. The liberal Anchor Bible Dictionary volume 5 p.523-524 says that all three manuscripts had an inscription just prior to Psalm 151 saying this was an addition to the 150 canonical psalms. It read, "this psalm is ascribed to David and is outside the number...". After the Psalm Sinaiticus closes with "the 151 Psalms of David", and Alexandrinus closes with "the 150 psalms of David and one ascribed." Psalm 151 was also found in Dead Sea scroll 11Q5.
Psalm 151 speaks of Davidís victory over Goliath and reads: "I was small among my brethren, and youngest in my fatherís house: I tended my fatherís sheep. My hands formed a musical instrument, and my fingers tuned a psaltery. And who shall tell my Lord? The Lord himself, he himself hears. He sent forth his angel, and took me from my fatherís sheep, and he anointed me with the oil of his anointing. My brothers were handsome and tall; but the Lord did not take pleasure in them. I went forth to meet the Philistine; and he cursed me by his idols. But I drew his own sword, and beheaded him, and removed reproach from the children of Israel" Taken from The Septuagint Version: Greek and English by C.L. Brenton. One can also read various versions of Psalm 151 in The Old Testament Pseudepigrapha volume 2 p.612-615.
Psalm 151 is an apocryphal chapter, but was not accepted in Catholic churches. It was accepted in Orthodox, Nestorian, and Coptic churches. It is also unclear whether it was even meant as authoritative scripture.
Q: Should Ps 152-155 be in the Bible?
A: No, we should not try to add these to the Bible for the following reasons.
1. There is no evidence that any Jews, prior to the Hellenistic period, ever heard of these psalms. What people call Psalm 154 and 155 exist in Hebrew in the Dead Sea scroll 11QPs. Other than that, all these psalms exist only in Syriac.
2. Likewise, there is no evidence that Jesus used or heard of these psalms.
3. There is no evidence the early church heard of these psalms.
4. Since the early church did much to recognize Godís scripture, we can trust that God guided the early Christians correctly.
The Anchor Bible Dictionary vol.5 p.536-537 says that a 12th century Nestorian Syriac copy of the Psalter had (in order) Ps 151, 154, 155, 152, 153.
As a side note, there are no new doctrines in these short psalms, and there is nothing in them that is unbiblical, either. One can read various versions of Psalms 152-155 in The Old Testament Pseudepigrapha volume 2 p.615-624.
Q: What does Ps 155 say?
A: Here is a translation from The Dead Sea Scrolls Study Edition edited by Florintino Garcia Martinez & Eibert J.C. Tigchelaar volume 2 1998 p.1177.
"JHWH, I call to you, listen to me; I extend my hands to your holy dwelling; bend your ear and grant my plea, and what I ask, do not deny me; build up my soul and do not demolish it; and do not forsake it in the presence of wicked people. May the judge of truth turn away from me the recompenses of evil. O YHWH, do not judge me by my sin because no-one living is just in your presence. Instruct me, YHWH, in your law, and teach me your precepts so that many may hear your deeds and nations may honour your glory. Remember me and do not forget me or lead me into difficulties too great for me. Remove the sin of my childhood from me and may my offences not be remembered against me. Purify me, O YHWH, from evil plague, and may it stop coming back to /me/; dry up its roots from me, may its lea[ve]s not become green in me. Glory are you, YHWH, therefore my pleas is achieved in your presence. To whom may I shout that he would grant it to me? The sons of men: what can [their] stren[gth] do? My trust stems from be[fo]re you, YHWH. I called <<YHWH>> and he answered me, [and he healed] my broken heart. I slumbered and [sle]pt; I dreamt, also ...YHW]h.
Q: In Ps, how do we know the book of Psalms should be in the Bible?
A: Primarily, Jesus and the New Testament writers relied upon Psalms as Scripture. For example, when Hebrews 3:7 and Hebrews 10:15 quote out of Psalm 95:7-11, these verses preface the quote with "The Holy Spirit says". Jesus died with a psalm on his lips.
Secondarily, almost all Jews (except the Sadducees) accepted the book of Psalms as scripture. Early Church writers extensively referred to Psalms.
Q: In Ps, what are some of the earliest manuscripts that still exist today?
A: Dead Sea scrolls: (2nd century B.C.) have 36 separate copies according to The Dead Sea Scrolls Today p.30. The Wycliffe Bible Dictionary p.436-438 says there are 27 copies. The Encyclopedia of the Dead Sea Scrolls vol.2 p.702 says there are 39 scrolls containing parts of Psalms. The New International Dictionary of the Bible p.261 says there are at least 10 manuscripts of Psalms in cave 4 alone. The oldest copy is the 2nd century B.C. The Dead Sea scroll manuscripts are 1Q10, 1Q11, 1Q12, 2Q14 (Psalms 103-104), 3Q2 (Psalm 2:6-7), 4Q83-4Q97, 4Q98a, 4Q98b, 4Q98c, 4Q98d. 4Q90 is two manuscripts of Psalm 119. 4Q89 is also two manuscripts of Psalm 119. 4Q89 is sometimes split into 4Q89 and 4Q236. 5Q5 is also of Psalm 119.
1Q10 (=1QPs(a)) (30 B.C. to 68 A.D.) Ps 86:5-6,8; 92:11-14; 94:16; 95:11; 96:1-2; 119:31-34,42-48,77-80
1Q11 (=1QPs(b) (30 B.C. to 68 A.D.) Ps 126:6; 127; 128:2-3
1Q12 (=1QPss(c)) (30 B.C. to 68 A.D.) Ps 44:1-8,22-24)
1Q16 has Psalm 68:12, 25-26, 29-30
2Q14 (30 B.C. to 68 A.D.) 103:2,4,6,8-11; 104:6,8-9,11
3Q2 (30 B.C. to 68 A.D.) Psalm 2:6-7
4Q83 (=4QPss(a)) (200-100 B.C.) Ps 5:8-12; 6:1,3,5; 25:8,10,12,15; 31:23-24; 33:2,4,5,6,8,10,12,20,21; 34:20-21; 35:2,13-18,20,26-27; 36:2,4-6,8; 38:1,3,5,7-9,11,13,15-22; 71:1-14; 47:2; 53:1,3-4,6; 54:1,3-4; 56:3; 62:12; 63:2,4; 66:16,18-20; 67:1,3-7; 69:1-18
4Q84 (=4QPss(b) (2nd century B.C.) (or 30-68 A.D.) Ps 91:5-6,7-8,12-15; 92:3-7,12-14; 93:5; 94:1-4,7-14,16-18,21-22; 96:2; 98:4-5; 99:5-6; 100:1-2; 102:4,9-28; 103:1-6,9-14,20-21; 112:4-5; 113:1; 115:2-3; 116:17-19; 118:1-3,5-12,18029,23-26,29)
4Q85 (=4QPss(c)) Ps 16:6-10; 17:1; 18:1-13,15-17,31-35,38-40
4Q86 (=4Qpss(d)) Ps 106:48; 147:1-20; 104:1-5,8-11,14-15,22-26,33-35
4Q87 (=4QPs(e)) (2nd century B.C.) Ps 6:9-11; 77:1; 78:6-7,31-33; 81:1-2; 86:10-11; 88:1-4; 89:43-47,49-52; 103:22; 109:1,8,13-14; 114:5; 115:15-18; 116:1-4; 118:29; 104:1-3,20-22; 105:1-3,23-25,36-45; 106:1; 120:5-7; 125:1-5; 126:1-6; 129:8; 130:1-7
4Q88 (=4QPss(f)) Psalm 22:13-16; 107:2-5,8-16,18-19,22-30,35-42; 109:4-7,24-28, Apostrophe to Zion, Eschatological Hymn, Apostrophe to Judah
4Q89 (=4QPss(g)) Psalm 119:37-46,49-50,73-74,81-83,89-92
4Q90 (=4QPss(h)) Psalm 119:10-21
4Q91 (=4QPss(j)) Ps 48:1-2,4,6,8; 49:5,8-11,14,16; 51:1-4; then 48:1-3,5,7,9; 49:6,9-12,15,17; 51:2-5
4Q92 (=4QPss(k)) Ps 135:6-7,10-13,15-16; 99:1-2,5
4Q93 (=4QPss(l) (50-1 B.C.) Ps 104:3-5,11-12
4Q94 (=4QPss(m)) (30- B.C. Ė 68 A.D.) Ps 93:3-5; 95:3-7; 97:6-9; 98:4-8
4Q95 (=4QPss(n)) 30 B.C. Ė 68 A.D.) 135:6-9,11-12; 136:23-24
4Q96 (=4QPss(o)) (50 Ė 1 B.C.) Ps 114:7; 115:1-2,4; 116:3,5,7-10
4Q97 (=4QPss(p) (30 B.C. Ė 68 A.D.) Ps 143:2-4,6-8
4Q98 (=4QPss(q) (50-68 A.D.) Ps 31:23-24; 33:1-18; 35:4,6,8,10,12,14-15,17,19-20
4Q98a (=4QPss(r)) (30 B.C. to 68 A.D.) Ps 26:7-12; 27:1; 30:8-12
4Q98b (=4QPss(s)) (50-68 A.D.) Ps 5:7-6:1
4Q98c (=4QPss(t)) (50-68 A.D.) Ps 88:14-16)
4Q98d (=4QPss(u)) (about 50 A.D.) Ps 42:4
4Q98e (=4QPss(v)) (100-30 B.C.) Ps 99:1
4Q98f (=4QPss(w)) (125-75 B.C.) Ps 112:1,3,5,7,9
4Q98g (=4QPss(x)) Ps 89:19-30 verse order I 19-20-21-25-22-26-27-30
4Q171 has Psalm 37:5-15; 37:16-26,28-40; 45:1-2; 60:8-9
4Q173 has Psalm 127:2-3,5;129:7-8
4Q521 has Psalm 146:7-8
4Q522 (70-30 B.C.) Psalm 122:1-9. Prophecy of 4Q174 has Psalms 1:1qa; 2:1-2; 5:2-3a
4Q177 has Psalm 6:2-4; 11:1-2; 12:1; 12:7; 13:2-3; 13:5; 16:3; 17:1; 17:2
4Q381 has Psalm 86:16,17; 89:7; 89:10-12,14
4Q436 has Psalm 51:17 (cf.)
4Q437 has Psalm 37:15; 63:7
4Q381 has Psalm 19:2; 18:6; 18:6-7
4Q434 has Psalm 34:7
4Q504 has Psalm 79:8
5Q5 (1-68 A.D.) Ps 119:99-101,104,113-120,138-142
6Q5 (about 50 A.D.) Ps 78:35-37
8Q2 is Psalms 17:5-9,14; 18:6-9, 10-13.
(the site http://dssenglishbible.com./scroll8Q2 says different. It says Ps 17:5-9,14; 18:5-12)
11Q5 (=The Psalms scroll) appears to be a prayer book of Psalms written between 1 and 50 A.D. with the Psalms in a different order. According to Responses to 101 Questions on the Dead Sea Scrolls, the order is Ps 101:1-8; 102:1-2, 18-29; 103:1; 109:21-31; 105:25-45; 146:9-10; 148:1-12; 121:1-8; 122:1-9; 123:1-2; 124:7-8; 125:1-5; 126:1-6; 127:1; 128:4-6; 129:1-8; 130:1-8; 131:1; 132:8-18; 119:1-6,15-28,37-49,59-73,82-96,105-120128-142, 150-164,171-176; 135:1-9,17-21; 136:1-16,26b; 118:1,15,16,8,9,29; 145:1-7,13-21+7; Syriac Psalm 2; a Plea for Deliverance, Ps 139:8-14; 137:1,0; 138:1-8; Sirach 51:13-20b,30; Apostrophe to Zion; Ps 93:1-3; 141:5-10; 133:1-3; 144:1-7,15; Syriac Psalm 3, Psalm 142:4-8; 143:1-8; 149:7-9; 150:1-6; Hymn to the Creator; 2 Samuel 23:7; list of Davidís psalms; 140:1-5; 134:1-3; 151A,B (= Syriac Psalm 1).
This is the scroll that contains a "Psalm 151" as well as other non-canonical writings, "Plea for Deliverance", Apostrophe to Zion, Hymn to the Creator, and others. See Responses to 101 Questions on the Dead Sea Scrolls p.38-39 for more info.
The site http://dssenglishbible.com/scrolol11Q5.htm says somewhat different. Is says Ps 101; 102:1-3,18-19; 103:1; 109:21-31; 118:25-29; 104:1-6,21-35; 147:1-2,18-20; 105:1-11,25-35,38-39,41-42,44-45; 146:9-10; 148:1-13; 121; 122; 123:1-2; 124:7-8; 125; 126; 127:1; 128:3-6; 129; 130; 131:1, 132:8-18; 119:1-6,15-28,37-49,59-72.82-96,105-120,128-142,150-164,171-176; 135:1-9,17-21; 136:1-26; 118:1,15-16,8-9,29; 145:1-7,12-21; Apocryphal Psalm 154:3-19; Non-canonical Psalm "Plea for Deliverance;" 139:8-24; 137:1, 9; 138; Ben Sirach 51:13-23, 30; Non-canonical Psalm "Apostrophe to Zion;" 93:1-3; 141:5-10; 133:1-3; 144:1-7, 15; Apocryphal Psalm 155; 142:3-7; 143:1-8; 149:7-9; 150; Non-canonical Psalm "Hymn to the Creator;" 2 Samuel 23:7; Non-canonical prose section "Davidís Compositions;" 140:1-4; 134:1-3; Apocryphal Psalm 151a; Apocryphal Psalm 151b:1)
11Q6 has Psalms 77:17-20; 78:1; 119:163-165; 118:1,15-16 (118:2-14 were never there), unknown psalm, Apostrophe to Zion psalm, 141:10; 133:1-3; 144:1-2; 109:2-4
11Q7 (=4QPss(c)) (30 B.C. Ė 68 A.D.) Ps 2:1-8; 12:4-8; 13:1-2,4-5; 14:1-6; 17_9-15; 18:1-11,14-16; 19:3-4,6-7; 25:2-3,5-7
11Q8 (=4QPss(d)) (30 B.C) - 68 A.D.) Ps 6:1-3; 9:2,4-5; 18:25-28,38-39,41; 36:12; 37:1-5; 39:12-13; 40:1; 43:1-3; 45:5-7; 59:3-5,7; 60:7; 68:2-4,13,15-17; 78:5-12,36-37; 81:3-8; 86:10-13,11-14; 115:16-18; 116:1,3
11Q9 (=11QPss(e)) has fragments of Psalms 36-37 and 86. (http://dssenglishbible.com/scroll11Q9.htm says different. It says Ps 50;3,5,7)
11Q11, while a non-Biblical manuscript, has a section that quotes Psalm 91:1-16 in col.5 lines 3-14.
(See http:// http://dssenglishbible.com for more info.) (The Dead Sea Scrolls Translated p.377-378)
11Q13 has Psalms 7:7-8; 82:1-2
Dead Sea Scroll commentary on Psalm 37 (The Dead Sea Scrolls Today p.50-51.)
Masada Psalms(a) (1-50 A.D.) has Psalm 81-85:5
Masada Psalms(b) (50-1 B.C.) has Psalm 150:1b-6
Nahal Hever in the Cave of Letters (50 B.C. to 100 A.D.) has Psalms (5/6Hev 1b). A fragment of another Nahal Hever scroll has Psalm 7:12-17; 8:1,3-9; 9:12-21; 10:1-6,8-10,18; 11:1-5; 12:5-8; 13:1-2; 14:2-4; 15:1-5; 16:1; 18:5-12,16-35,37-42; 22:3-8,14-20; 23:2-6; 24:1-2; 25:4-7; 29:2; 30:2; 31:1-21 (http://dssenglishbible.com/scrollnhpsalms.htm (It is dated between 106-135 A.D. according to the Biblical Archaeology Review Jan/Feb 2001 p.30-31)
Overall, preserved in the Dead Sea scrolls and Nahal Hever are the following verses from Psalms: 2:1-8; 5:8-13; 6:1-4; 7:13-18; 8:1,4-10; 9:2-7,12-21; 10:1-6,8-9,18; 11:1-4; 12:4-8; 13:1-3,5-6; 14:1-6; 15:1-5; 16:1,7-9; 17:1; 17:5-15; 18:1-36,38-43; 19:3-8; 22:4-9,13-21; 23:2-6; 24:1-2; 25:2-7,15; 26:7-12; 27:1,12-14; 28:1-4; 29:1-2; 30:9-13; 31:3-25; 33:1-14,16-18; 34:21-22; 35:2,4-5,8,10,12,13-20,26-27; 36:1,3,5-7,9,13; 37:1-4,5?,18-19; 38:2,4-6,8-10,12,16-23; 39:13-14; 40:1-2; 42:5; 43:1-3; 44:3-5,7,8-9?,9,23-25; 45:6-11,15; 47:2; 48:1-3,5,7,9; 49:1-17; 50:3-7,14-23; 51:1-6; 52:6-11; 53:1,4-5,7; 54:2-3,5-6; 56:4; 59:5-6,8; 60:9? or 19:3?; 62:13; 63:2,4; 66:16,18-20; 67:1-2,4-8; 68:1-5,16-18; 69:1-19; 71:1-14; 76:10-12; 77:1,18-21; 78:1,4-12,31-33,36-37; 81:2-9,5-17; 82:1-8; 83:1-19; 84:1-13; 85:1-6,8; 86:10-14; 88:1-2,4-5,15-17; 89:20-23,26-38,31,44-48,50-53; 91:1-16; 92:4-8,12-15; 93:1-5; 94:1-4,8-14,17-18,21-22; 95:3-7,11; 96:1-2; 97:6-9; 98:4-8; 99:1-2,5-6; 100:1-2; 101:1-8; 102:1-2,18-29; 103:1-6,8-14,20-21; 104:1-6,8-12,14-15,20-35; 105:1-11,23-26,28-29?,30-31,33-35-45; 106:1?,48?; 107:2-5,8-16,18-19,22-30,35-42; 109:1?,4-7,8?,13,21-22,24-31; 112:1,3-5,7,9; 113:1; 114:5?,7; 115:1-4,15-18; 116:1-3,5,7-10,17-19; 118:1-3,6-10,12,15-16,18-20,23-29; 119:1-6,10-28,31-34,37-50,59-74,77-96,99-101, 104-120,128-142,150-165,171-176; 120:6-7; 121:1-8; 122:1-9; 123:1-2; 124:7-8; 125:1-5; 126:1-6; 127:1-5; 128:3-6; 129:1-8; 130:1-8; 131:1; 132:8-18; 133:1-3; 134:1-3; 135:1-13,15-21; 136:1-16,22-24,26: 127:1,9; 138:1-8; 139:8-24; 140:1-5; 141:5-10; 142:4-8; 143:1-8; 144:1-7,15; 145:1-7,14-21; 146:1?; 146:9,10; 147:1-4,13-20; 148:1-12; 149:7-9; 150:1-6; 151:1-7; 154:3-20; 155:1-19. See The Meaning of the Dead Sea Scrolls for more details.
The Psalms Bodleian fragment of the Greek Septuagint is from the second or third century A.D. according to Manuscripts of the Greek Bible p.39.
Christian Bible manuscripts, from about 300 A.D., contain the Old Testament, including Psalms.
p72 (=Bodmer VII and VIII) contains among other works Psalms 33 and 34 in Greek. It is dated ca.300 A.D. in The Text of the Earliest New Testament Manuscripts p.479.
Vaticanus (325-350 A.D.) has preserved all of Psalms, except Psalms 105:27-137:6. (Psalm 105:27-137:6 was added to Vaticanus in the 15th century, so that addition does not count.)
Sinaiticus (340-350 A.D.) has preserved all of Psalms. It has 151 Psalms. It starts the page after Malachi ends. It ends the page before Proverbs starts.
Alexandrinus (c.450 A.D.) has preserved all of Psalms except Psalms 49:20-79:11.
p.Vindob G39777 (=Papyrus Vindobonensis (Vienna) G 39777) verses of Psalm 68 and 80 in Symmachus' Greek translation.
Q: Which early writers referred to Psalms?
A: Pre-Nicene writers who referenced or alluded to verses in Psalms are:
The Jewish writer Philo of Alexandria (15/20 B.C.-50 A.D.) was a Jewish commentator who wrote about the time of Jesus. Most of his writing deals with the Torah, but he still quoted from Psalms. Philo wrote in Greek, but his references agree more with the Masoretic text than the Septuagint. Here is what he quoted in Psalms. 23:1; 26:1; 30:19; 36:4; 47:4; 42:3; 45:5; 61:12; 65:10; 75:9; 77:49; 79:7; 80:5; 84:11; 94:9; 100:1; 113:25. See The Works of Philo : Complete and Unabridged. New Updated Version for more info.
Clement of Rome in 1 Clement chapter 18 quotes Psalm 51:1-7 saying David said this to God. He also extensively quotes Psalm 139:7-10 in chapter 28.
Clement of Rome (96-98 A.D.) quotes all or part of 50 verses in Psalms. They are: Psalm 2:7,8 in ch.36 p.15; 110:1 (also Hebrews 1:13) in ch.6 p.15; 3:6 (paraphrase) in ch.26 p.12; 18:25,26 p.12; 19:1-3 ch.26 p.12; 22:6-8 p.9; 31:18 p.9; 32:10; p.11; 34:11-17 p.11; 37:35-37 p.8; 51:1-17 p.10; 62:4 p.9; 78:36,37 p.9; 89:21 p.10; 104:4 p.15; 119:83 p.10; 134:7-10 ch.28 p.12; 139:15 p.15
The Epistle of Barnabas (c.70-130 A.D.) quotes 16 verses in Psalms. They are: Psalm 1:1 in ch.10 p.143, Psalm 1:3-6 in ch.11 p.144; 18:44 in ch.8 p.142; 22:17,18b in ch.6 p.140; 22:21 in ch.6 p.140; 22:23 in ch.6 p.141; 34:11-13 in ch.8 p.142; 110:1 in ch.12 p.145; 118:22,24 in ch.6 p.140. On the other hand, The Epistle of Barnabas has confused quotes, possibly combining different verses on Psalm 42:2 p.141; 51:19 p.138; 119:120 p.140
Q: In Ps, what are the heading differences between the Hebrew Masoretic text and the Greek Septuagint?
A: The Expositorís Bible Commentary volume 5 p.18-19 says that adding information at the beginning or end of a manuscript was very common. The Septuagint says Psalms 33,43,71,91,93-99, 104, 137 were by David, but the Masoretic text does not say this. The Masoretic text says that Psalms 122 and 124 were by David, but the Septuagint does not say this. Also, the Septuagint translators apparently did not understand the musical terms in the headings.
Q: In Ps, what are some of the translation differences between the Hebrew, Greek Septuagint, Justin Martyr, and other writers?
A: There are two general differences and then the specific differences.
The numbering of Psalms is slightly different. Using the numbers in the Masoretic text as the basis, the Septuagint combines psalms 9-10 and psalms 114-115. It splits Psalm 116:1-9 and verses 10-19 into two psalms, and splits Psalm 147:1-11 and verses 12-20 into two psalms.
Bear in mind that Hebrew tenses are more fluid than Greek; even some English translations translate the tense of some Hebrew words differently.
For specific translation differences, here are a few examples, from Psalms 1 and 2, and Psalm 119:1-70. The first phrase is from the Hebrew and the second from the Greek Septuagint Translation.
Ps 1:1 "scorners/scornful" (Masoretic text, Justin Martyr 147-151 A.D.) vs. "pestilent" (Septuagint, Clement of Alexandria (193/217/220 A.D.) The Instructor book 2 ch.14)
Ps 1:2 "is only in the law" (Masoretic text) vs. "is in the law" (Septuagint, Justin Martyr 147-151 A.D.)
Ps 1:2 "meditates" (Masoretic text) vs. "will meditate" (Septuagint, Justin Martyr 147-151 A.D.)
Ps 1:3 "seasons" (Masoretic text) vs. "season" (Septuagint, Epistle of Barnabas 100 A.D. , Justin Martyr 147-151 A.D.)
Ps 1:3 "wither" (Masoretic text, Justin Martyr 147-151 A.D.) vs. "fall off" (Septuagint) vs. face (=wither?) (Epistle of Barnabas 100 A.D.)
Ps 1:4 "only/even the chaff" (Masoretic text, Epistle of Barnabas 100 A.D.) vs. "the chaff" (Septuagint, Justin Martyr 147-151 A.D.)
Ps 1:4 "drives about" (Masoretic text) vs. "scatters/sweeps away from the surface of the earth" (Septuagint, Epistle of Barnabas 100 A.D., Justin Martyr 147-151 A.D.)
Ps 2:1 "conspire" (Masoretic text according to NIV footnote) vs. "assemble" (Jewish Tanach) vs. rage (Masoretic text, greenís literal translation) (ragash) vs. "rage" (Septuagint, Acts 4:25) (ephruassan, form of phruasso)
Ps 2:1 "meditate" (Masoretic text) vs. "imagine" (Septuagint, Justin Martyr 147-151 A.D.)
Ps 2:2 "set themselves ... plotted/take counsel" (Masoretic text, Justin Martyr 147-151 A.D.) vs. "stood up ... gathered" (Septuagint)
Ps 2:2 "anointed one" vs. "Christ" (Christ means anointed one, but the significant point is that the Jewish Septuagint translators used this for the Messiah centuries before Christ came.) vs. "anointed" (Justin Martyr 147-151 A.D.)
Ps 2:3 "we will break" (Masoretic text) vs. "let us break" (Septuagint, Justin Martyr 147-151 A.D.)
Ps 2:4 "laugh" (Masoretic text) vs. "laugh them to scorn" (Septuagint) vs. "laugh at them" (Justin Martyr)
Ps 2:5 "terrify" (Masoretic text) vs. "trouble/vex" (Septuagint, Justin Martyr 147-151 A.D.)
Ps 2:6 "Yea I have set my king" (Masoretic text) vs. "But I have been made king by him" (Septuagint, Justin Martyr 147-151 A.D.)
Ps 2:8 "the nations" (Masoretic text) vs. "heathen" (Septuagint, 1 Clement ch.36 p.15 96-98 A.D., Justin Martyr 147-151 A.D.)
Ps 2:9 "break them" (Masoretic text and Justin Martyr 147-151 A.D.) vs. "rule them" (Septuagint)
Ps 2:11 "rejoice" (Masoretic text, Justin Martyr 147-151 A.D.) vs. "rejoice in him" (Septuagint)
Ps 2:12 "Kiss the son" vs. "Accept correction" (Septuagint) vs. "Embrace instruction" (Justin Martyr 147-151 A.D.)
The NRSV footnote says the meaning of Psalm 11:b-12a is uncertain.
Ps 2:12 "perish from the way" (Masoretic text) vs. "perish from the righteous/right way" (Septuagint, Justin Martyr 147-151 A.D.)
Ps 2:12 "kindled but a little" (Masoretic text) vs. "suddenly kindled" (Septuagint, Justin Martyr 147-151 A.D.) (The NASB footnote says it could mean quickly, suddenly, easily)
Ps 2:12 "fleeing to Him for refuge" (Masoretic text) vs. "trust in him". (Septuagint, Justin Martyr 147-151 A.D.)
Ps 3:2 "him" (Masoretic text, Septuagint) vs. "you" (Syriac) (In this context there is no difference in meaning)
Ps 3:2 "selah" [uncertain meaning] (Masoretic text) vs. "pause" (Septuagint)
Ps 16:10 "For ... soul in the grave (sheol) ... see corruption" vs. "Because ... soul in hell (Hades) ... see corruption" (The Expositorís Bible Commentary volume 4 p.935)
Ps 22:16 "pierced" (Masoretic text, Justin Martyr 147-151 A.D.) vs. "like a lion" (See the discussion on Psalm 22:16 for more info.)
Ps 34:8 "Lord is good" (almost all manuscripts) vs. "Christ is God" (one letter difference in Greek. Clement of Alexandria misread this in Exhortation to the Heaven ch.9 p.196.) This obvious misread is not counted in the totals.
Ps 38:19 "living" (Masoretic text) vs. "without cause" (4QPSa)
Ps 40:6 "ears" (Masoretic text) vs. "body" (Septuagint, Symmachus, Theodotion). The Dead Sea scrolls do not have Ps 40:6.
Ps 45:7b "God, Your God, has anointed you" vs. "O God, Your God, has anointed You" (Aquilaís translation) New International Commentary p.1307.
Ps 51:5 "iniquity ... sin" vs. "iniquities ... sins"
Ps 51:13 "your ways" (most Masoretic) vs. "your way" (some Hebrew manuscripts and Syriac)
Ps 57:7 "because of wickedness" vs. "on no account"
Ps 57:6 "I was bowed down" vs. "the bowed down my soul"
Ps 76:4 "mountains for prey" vs. "everlasting mountains" (NRSV, The Expositorís Bible Commentary volume 5 p.496)
Ps 96:1 "rejoice among the nations" (Masoretic text, Septuagint) vs. "rejoice among the nations. The Lord has reigned from the tree." (First Apology of Justin Martyr (147-151 A.D.) ch.41 p.176)
Ps 110:1 "footstool for your feet" vs. "footstool" (Epistle of Barnabas 100-150 A.D. ch.8 p.142)
Ps 110:3 "from the womb of the dawn" (Masoretic) vs. "womb before the morning" (Septuagint) vs. "womb, before the morning star" (Hippolytus in Against the Heresy of One Noetus 14 p.229)
Ps 119:2 "keep" vs. "search out"
Ps 119:2 "seek him" vs. "diligently seek him"
Ps 119:3 "They also do not work evil; they walk in his way" vs. "For they that work iniquity have not walked in his ways."
Ps 119:6 "look to" vs. "respect"
Ps 119:9 "purify his way" vs. "direct his way"
Ps 119:9 "to keep it according to your word" vs. "by keeping your words"
Ps 119:10 "let me wander" vs. "cast me away"
Ps 119:14 "delighted" vs. "rejoiced"
Ps 119:16 "word" vs. "words"
Ps 119:17 "Deal bountifully" vs. "Render recompense"
Ps 119:17 "word" vs. "words"
Ps 119:21 "the curse ones who" vs. "cursed are they that"
Ps 119:22 "kept" vs. "sought out"
Ps 119:23 "meditates" vs. "was meditating"
Ps 119:24 "delight" vs. "meditation"
Ps 119:25 "clings" vs. "has cleaved"
Ps 119:26 "answer me" vs. "hear me"
Ps 119:27 "Make me understand" vs. "Instruct me"
Ps 119:28 "Lift me up ... word" vs. "Strengthen me ... words"
Ps 119:29 "lying" vs. "iniquity"
Ps 119:30 "held your judgments level" vs. "not forgotten your judgments" (the meaning is the same, but the Hebrew is colloquial)
Ps 119:32 "will run" vs. "ran"
Ps 119:33 "keep it to the end" vs. "seek it out continually"
Ps 119:34 "Make me understand ... keep" vs. "Instruct me ... search out"
Ps 119:35 "Make me walk" vs. "Guide me"
Ps 119:36 "unjust gain" vs. "covetousness"
Ps 119:37 "in your way" (Hebrew Masoretic text, Septuagint, Vulgate) vs. "according to your word" (two Masoretic manuscripts, the Dead Sea Scrolls, and Aramaic Targums)
Ps 119:38 "who is devoted to Your fear" vs. "he may fear you"
Ps 119:39 "fear" vs. "have feared"
Ps 119:41 "mercies" vs. "mercy"
Ps 119:42 "trust" vs. "have trusted"
Ps 119:43 "hoped" vs. "longed"
Ps 119:46 "will speak ... will not be ashamed" vs. "spoke ... was not ashamed"
Ps 119:47 "will delight ... loved" vs. "meditated ... loved exceedingly"
Ps 119:48 "will lift ... that I love ... will meditate" vs. "lifted ... which I loved ... meditated"
Ps 119:49 "word" vs. "words"
Ps 119:50 "my comfort" vs. "has comforted me"
Ps 119:51 "scorned me" vs. "transgressed"
Ps 119:53 "Hot zeal" vs. "Despair"
Ps 119:56 "kept" vs. "diligently sought"
Ps 119:57 "Jehovah is my portion" vs. "You are my portion, O Lord"
Ps 119:58 "face" vs. "favour / presence / countenance"
Ps 119:60 "hurried and delayed not" vs. "prepared myself and was not terrified"
Ps 119:65 "done good" vs. "wrought kindly"
Ps 119:66 "good judgment and knowledge" vs. "kindness, and instruction"
Ps 119:67 "but now" vs. "therefore"
Ps 119:68 "do good" vs. "in your goodness"
Ps 119:69 "The proud have forged a lie" vs. "The injustice of the proud has been multiplied"
Ps 119:69 "keep" vs. "search out"
Ps 119:70 "like fat, without feeling" vs. "curdled like milk"
Ps 119:70 "delight" vs. "have meditated"
Ps 143:2 "In you I take shelter (Masoretic text) vs. "To you I flee" (Septuagint, Vulgate)
Ps 144:2 "my people" (some Masoretic texts, Septuagint, Vulgate) vs. "my peoples" (some Masoretic texts, Syriac, Targums, and Dead Sea Scroll 11QPSa)
Ps 145 absent vs. "Blessed be the LORD and blessed be his name forever and ever" at the end of every single verse in Psalm 145 (1QPSa).
Ps 145:5 "I will meditate" (Masoretic text, Targums) vs. "They will meditate" (Septuagint, Syriac, Dead Sea Scrolls)
Ps 145:6 absent (Masoretic text) vs. "They will speak" (1QPSa)
Ps 145:13 absent in Masoretic text vs. "The Lord is faithful in all his words, and gracious in all his deeds." (starts with the Hebrew letter nun) present in a late Medieval Latin manuscript, Old Greek Septuagint, Syriac, and the Dead Sea Scroll 11QPsa.) In Psalm 145 every verse starts with a successive letter of the Greek alphabet, and "n" is missing in the Masoretic text. The Medieval manuscript (Kennicot 145) has "LORD" and the Dead Sea scroll has "God". See The Dead Sea Scrolls & Modern Translations of the Old Testament p.123,126 for more info.
As a side note, there are 2,439 total verses in Psalms. Psalms is subdivided into five books: Book 1 is Psalms 1-41 and has 608 verses. Book 2 is Psalms 42-72 and has 452 verses. Book 3 is Psalm 73-89 and has 357 verses. Book 4 is the smallest book, from Psalm 90-106 with 321 verses. Book 5 is the largest book, of Psalm 107-150 with 7-1 verses.
Bibliography for this question: the Hebrew translation is from Jay P. Greenís Literal Translation and the Septuagint rendering is from Sir Lancelot C.L. Brentonís translation of The Septuagint : Greek and English. The Expositorís Bible Commentary and the footnotes in the NASB, NIV, NKJV, and NRSV Bibles also were used.
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