Psalms Intro

The book of Psalms is a collection of song lyrics. Like many songs, they were first written in response to events in the lives of their authors. Later, the whole community used them in worship. When Israel returned from exile in Babylon many of the songs from over the centuries were collected in the book of Psalms.

The book is structured into five parts marked off by the phrase,

Praise be to theLord… Amen and Amen!

These five “books” remind the reader of the five books of Moses. Like the law, these song lyrics can be read and studied for instruction. Psalm 1 emphasizes such meditation and seems to have been placed first to make this point.

The five books also tell a three-part story of Israel’s redemption: monarchy, exile and return. The psalms of King David dominate books one and two. The beginning and ending of book three highlight Israel’s exile. The fourth book ends with a plea that God bring the exiled people home. The fifth book declares that God has done just that. Now the reason for the group of praise psalms at the end of the book is apparent: God has been faithful, judging Israel in exile but then bringing the nation home again.

The book of Psalms thus operates at two levels: individually the songs explore a wide variety of honest spiritual responses to God, while the overall collection tells, and celebrates, the work of God in history to save his people.


Psalms 1

1 Blessed is the one

who does not walk in step with the wicked

or stand in the way that sinners take

or sit in the company of mockers,

2 but whose delight is in the law of theLord,

and who meditates on his law day and night.

3 That person is like a tree planted by streams of water,

which yields its fruit in season

and whose leaf does not wither—

whatever they do prospers.

4 Not so the wicked!

They are like chaff

that the wind blows away.

5 Therefore the wicked will not stand in the judgment,

nor sinners in the assembly of the righteous.

6 For theLordwatches over the way of the righteous,

but the way of the wicked leads to destruction.



Psalms 2

1 Why do the nations conspire

and the peoples plot in vain?

2 The kings of the earth rise up

and the rulers band together

against theLordand against his anointed, saying,

3 “Let us break their chains

and throw off their shackles.”

4 The One enthroned in heaven laughs;

the Lord scoffs at them.

5 He rebukes them in his anger

and terrifies them in his wrath, saying,

6 “I have installed my king

on Zion, my holy mountain.”

7 I will proclaim theLord’s decree:

He said to me, “You are my son;

today I have become your father.

8 Ask me,

and I will make the nations your inheritance,

the ends of the earth your possession.

9 You will break them with a rod of iron;

you will dash them to pieces like pottery.”

10 Therefore, you kings, be wise;

be warned, you rulers of the earth.

11 Serve theLordwith fear

and celebrate his rule with trembling.

12 Kiss his son, or he will be angry

and your way will lead to your destruction,

for his wrath can flare up in a moment.

Blessed are all who take refuge in him.



Psalms 3

A psalm of David. When he fled from his son Absalom.

1 Lord, how many are my foes!

How many rise up against me!

2 Many are saying of me,

“God will not deliver him.”

3 But you,Lord, are a shield around me,

my glory, the One who lifts my head high.

4 I call out to theLord,

and he answers me from his holy mountain.

5 I lie down and sleep;

I wake again, because theLordsustains me.

6 I will not fear though tens of thousands

assail me on every side.

7 Arise,Lord!

Deliver me, my God!

Strike all my enemies on the jaw;

break the teeth of the wicked.

8 From theLordcomes deliverance.

May your blessing be on your people.



Psalms 4

For the director of music. With stringed instruments. A psalm of David.

1 Answer me when I call to you,

my righteous God.

Give me relief from my distress;

have mercy on me and hear my prayer.

2 How long will you people turn my glory into shame?

How long will you love delusions and seek false gods?

3 Know that theLordhas set apart his faithful servant for himself;

theLordhears when I call to him.

4 Tremble anddo not sin;

when you are on your beds,

search your hearts and be silent.

5 Offer the sacrifices of the righteous

and trust in theLord.

6 Many,Lord, are asking, “Who will bring us prosperity?”

Let the light of your face shine on us.

7 Fill my heart with joy

when their grain and new wine abound.

8 In peace I will lie down and sleep,

for you alone,Lord,

make me dwell in safety.



Psalms 5

For the director of music. For pipes. A psalm of David.

1 Listen to my words,Lord,

consider my lament.

2 Hear my cry for help,

my King and my God,

for to you I pray.

3 In the morning,Lord, you hear my voice;

in the morning I lay my requests before you

and wait expectantly.

4 For you are not a God who is pleased with wickedness;

with you, evil people are not welcome.

5 The arrogant cannot stand

in your presence.

You hate all who do wrong;

6 you destroy those who tell lies.

The bloodthirsty and deceitful

you,Lord, detest.

7 But I, by your great love,

can come into your house;

in reverence I bow down

toward your holy temple.

8 Lead me,Lord, in your righteousness

because of my enemies—

make your way straight before me.

9 Not a word from their mouth can be trusted;

their heart is filled with malice.

Their throat is an open grave;

with their tongues they tell lies.

10 Declare them guilty, O God!

Let their intrigues be their downfall.

Banish them for their many sins,

for they have rebelled against you.

11 But let all who take refuge in you be glad;

let them ever sing for joy.

Spread your protection over them,

that those who love your name may rejoice in you.

12 Surely,Lord, you bless the righteous;

you surround them with your favor as with a shield.



Psalms 6

For the director of music. With stringed instruments. According to


A psalm of David.

1 Lord, do not rebuke me in your anger

or discipline me in your wrath.

2 Have mercy on me,Lord, for I am faint;

heal me,Lord, for my bones are in agony.

3 My soul is in deep anguish.

How long,Lord, how long?

4 Turn,Lord, and deliver me;

save me because of your unfailing love.

5 Among the dead no one proclaims your name.

Who praises you from the grave?

6 I am worn out from my groaning.

All night long I flood my bed with weeping

and drench my couch with tears.

7 My eyes grow weak with sorrow;

they fail because of all my foes.

8 Away from me, all you who do evil,

for theLordhas heard my weeping.

9 TheLordhas heard my cry for mercy;

theLordaccepts my prayer.

10 All my enemies will be overwhelmed with shame and anguish;

they will turn back and suddenly be put to shame.



Psalms 7



of David, which he sang to the


concerning Cush, a Benjamite.

1 Lordmy God, I take refuge in you;

save and deliver me from all who pursue me,

2 or they will tear me apart like a lion

and rip me to pieces with no one to rescue me.

3 Lordmy God, if I have done this

and there is guilt on my hands—

4 if I have repaid my ally with evil

or without cause have robbed my foe—

5 then let my enemy pursue and overtake me;

let him trample my life to the ground

and make me sleep in the dust.

6 Arise,Lord, in your anger;

rise up against the rage of my enemies.

Awake, my God; decree justice.

7 Let the assembled peoples gather around you,

while you sit enthroned over them on high.

8 Let theLordjudge the peoples.

Vindicate me,Lord, according to my righteousness,

according to my integrity, O Most High.

9 Bring to an end the violence of the wicked

and make the righteous secure—

you, the righteous God

who probes minds and hearts.

10 My shieldis God Most High,

who saves the upright in heart.

11 God is a righteous judge,

a God who displays his wrath every day.

12 If he does not relent,

hewill sharpen his sword;

he will bend and string his bow.

13 He has prepared his deadly weapons;

he makes ready his flaming arrows.

14 Whoever is pregnant with evil

conceives trouble and gives birth to disillusionment.

15 Whoever digs a hole and scoops it out

falls into the pit they have made.

16 The trouble they cause recoils on them;

their violence comes down on their own heads.

17 I will give thanks to theLordbecause of his righteousness;

I will sing the praises of the name of theLordMost High.



Psalms 8

For the director of music. According to


A psalm of David.

1 Lord, our Lord,

how majestic is your name in all the earth!

You have set your glory

in the heavens.

2 Through the praise of children and infants

you have established a stronghold against your enemies,

to silence the foe and the avenger.

3 When I consider your heavens,

the work of your fingers,

the moon and the stars,

which you have set in place,

4 what is mankind that you are mindful of them,

human beings that you care for them?

5 You have made thema little lower than the angels

and crowned themwith glory and honor.

6 You made them rulers over the works of your hands;

you put everything under theirfeet:

7 all flocks and herds,

and the animals of the wild,

8 the birds in the sky,

and the fish in the sea,

all that swim the paths of the seas.

9 Lord, our Lord,

how majestic is your name in all the earth!



Psalms 9

For the director of music. To the tune of “The Death of the Son.” A psalm of David.

1 I will give thanks to you,Lord, with all my heart;

I will tell of all your wonderful deeds.

2 I will be glad and rejoice in you;

I will sing the praises of your name, O Most High.

3 My enemies turn back;

they stumble and perish before you.

4 For you have upheld my right and my cause,

sitting enthroned as the righteous judge.

5 You have rebuked the nations and destroyed the wicked;

you have blotted out their name for ever and ever.

6 Endless ruin has overtaken my enemies,

you have uprooted their cities;

even the memory of them has perished.

7 TheLordreigns forever;

he has established his throne for judgment.

8 He rules the world in righteousness

and judges the peoples with equity.

9 TheLordis a refuge for the oppressed,

a stronghold in times of trouble.

10 Those who know your name trust in you,

for you,Lord, have never forsaken those who seek you.

11 Sing the praises of theLord, enthroned in Zion;

proclaim among the nations what he has done.

12 For he who avenges blood remembers;

he does not ignore the cries of the afflicted.

13 Lord, see how my enemies persecute me!

Have mercy and lift me up from the gates of death,

14 that I may declare your praises

in the gates of Daughter Zion,

and there rejoice in your salvation.

15 The nations have fallen into the pit they have dug;

their feet are caught in the net they have hidden.

16 TheLordis known by his acts of justice;

the wicked are ensnared by the work of their hands.

17 The wicked go down to the realm of the dead,

all the nations that forget God.

18 But God will never forget the needy;

the hope of the afflicted will never perish.

19 Arise,Lord, do not let mortals triumph;

let the nations be judged in your presence.

20 Strike them with terror,Lord;

let the nations know they are only mortal.