Hierarchical Précis

Psalms - Book 2

[Psalms 42-72]

Psalm 42

For the sons of Korah: Longing for God in a time of distress. The psalmist longs to worship again in God’s house and expresses the distress he is feeling. Faced with jibes from his enemies, he tries to take comfort believing that God will be with him.

Psalm 43

This psalm has no title, but some consider it to have originally been part of the previous psalm. The psalmist pleads with God to take his side against his enemies, to send His light and truth to guide him to the tabernacle, where he promises to praise Him with exceeding joy on the harp. He ends this short psalm with self-examination of his spiritual state (a repeat of Psalm 42:5).

Psalm 44

For the sons of Korah: A prayer for the nation. The psalmist recounts God’s protection of his people in days of old, but He now seems to have deserted them, as can be seen from their present predicament. He claims they have not turned away from God and that God will surely know this, so calls upon Him for deliverance.

Psalm 45

For the sons of Korah: The Messiah and His bride. This psalm speaks of Christ the bridegroom: vs 1-9     His glory and majesty vs 10-11 the royal bride which is the church vs 12-15 presented to the groom vs 16-17 and her numerous descendants

Psalm 46

For the sons of Korah: God our refuge and strength. We can take comfort in God when things around us seem threatening, for He is amongst us and is our protector. God will be exalted among the heathen and throughout the earth.

Psalm 47

For the sons of Korah: Shout praises to the Lord. Gentiles are called to praise God, and the Jews to exalt His favour toward them. All are then called to sing praises together, with a hint in verse 9 of Jews and Gentiles becoming one church.

Psalm 48

For the sons of Korah: Zion, the glorious city of God. Jerusalem is praised for its relationship with God, it is His dwelling place and other nations’ kings are in awe of it. Zion will be established forever and the name of God known throughout the earth. All are called to rejoice, to walk around and see the beauty of this city favoured by God.

Psalm 49

For the sons of Korah. This psalm is more a sermon than a song of praise, intended to comfort godly people. It speaks against those that trust in their wealth, that boast about it and have vain expectations. Death is inevitable, but riches cannot be taken with you and cannot secure happiness after death. Do not be concerned about the prosperity and power of the wicked, for they are brutish and die like beasts.

Psalm 50

A Psalm of Asaph: God the righteous judge. God will come and judge his people. They are reproached for their vain confidence in sacrifices when prayer is the kind of worship God responds to. Those that pretend to worship God but live in disobedience are rebuked and will receive due judgement, whereas salvation will come to those that truly praise and glorify God.

Psalm 51

A Psalm of David: A prayer of repentance. It is considered that the title to this psalm tells us that David wrote this after Nathan the prophet went to him, after he had gone into Bathsheba. Some dispute this based on verses 4 and 18. Nevertheless, it is a wonderful prayer of repentance. David prays for the remission of his sins. He is deeply penitent and pleads for God to purge his sins and renew his heart, fearful that God’s Holy Spirit will be taken from him. David is convinced a broken and contrite heart is the true sacrifice, but promises that ordained sacrifices will continue.

Psalm 52

A Psalm of David: The fate of the wicked. Written when Doeg the Edomite told Saul that David had gone to the house of Abimelech [1 Sam 22:9] . The potential mischievousness of a powerful enemy who prefers evil and lying is noted, as is his inevitable destruction which is expected of a man who trusts in his riches and wickedness rather than God. Contrariwise, David trusts in God and will praise Him for ever.

Psalm 53

A Psalm of David: The folly of the godless. This psalm appears to be an updated version of Psalm 14, but with verses 5b and 6 being omitted. Society is generally godless and none can be found that do any good. Where there was no fear of God there now is, as He judged the godless and put them to shame. David prays for the restoration of Israel.

Psalm 54

A Psalm of David: A prayer for deliverance. When the Ziphites had gone to Saul and said Is not David hiding among us? [1 Sam 23:19-29] . David complains that godless strangers have risen up against him with intent to kill him. He declares his confidence that God will protect him and punish his enemies. He promises to continue in his sacrifices to God and speaks of his deliverance.

Psalm 55

A Psalm of David: A time of distress; The treachery of a friend. David, in great danger and distress from his enemies, cries out to God. He wishes he had the wings of a dove so that he could fly away and be at rest. He prays against his enemies and makes mention of a man he had considered his friend, but is now a cause of much distress to him. Through all this, David still has confidence in God and expects his enemies to be dealt with.

Psalm 56

A Psalm of David: Trust in God in the face of adversity. When the Philistines captured him in Gath [1 Sam 21:10-15] . David, in the hands of his enemies, again puts his trust in God, praying for support against them. He has every expectation of deliverance and promises continued praise and obedience.

Psalm 57

A Psalm of David: A prayer for safety whilst amongst his enemies, when he fled from Saul into the cave [1 Sam 22:1; 24] . David cries out to God for mercy from amongst his enemies, whom he describes as lions, having every confidence his prayer will be heard. He promises to give praise to God in the presence of his people and among the nations.

Psalm 58

A Psalm of David: Judgement of the wicked. David reproves the wicked, both the people and judges whose wickedness is like a poison. Their destruction is foretold. The righteous will rejoice in the knowledge that God will judge the earth and they will be rewarded.

Psalm 59

A Psalm of David: Assured judgement of the wicked. On the occasion that Saul sent men, and they watched the house in order to kill him. David prays to God for deliverance from his enemies and expresses his complete confidence in Him. He requests the manner of their defeat then sings praises for past benefits, which he knows only came through God’s mercy and deliverance.

Psalm 60

A Psalm of David: An urgent prayer for God’s favour to be restored to Israel. On the occasion when he fought against Mesopotamia and Syria of Zobah, and Joab returned and killed twelve thousand Edomites in the Valley of Salt. (Tradition assigns this psalm to events recorded in 2 Sam 8). David speaks of the nation’s demise and attributes it to God’s displeasure. He prays for deliverance and is confident in his expectation of victory over Shechem, Succoth, Gilead, Ephraim, Moab, Idumea, and the Philistines, and pleads with God to help him .

Psalm 61

A Psalm of David: Prayer of a burdened king. Possibly penned on an occasion when he had been banished from the land, David calls upon God because he had protected and provided for him in the past and trusts He will continue to do so.

Psalm 62

A Psalm of David: Waiting on and trusting in God. David professes his confidence in God and encourages his soul to wait on Him. He declares God to be his rock, salvation and defender, and encourages others also to trust in Him and no other. God will give to every man according to his works.

Psalm 63

A Psalm of David: When he was in the wilderness of Judah. A thirsty heart. David’s soul thirsts after God, for he finds great satisfaction in communion with Him. He rejoices in his assured safety in God and is joyful over his dependence on Him in the face of his adversaries.

Psalm 64

A Psalm of David: Oppressed by the wicked; rejoicing in the Lord. David prays to be preserved from the wicked. He foretells their downfall and the resultant fear of God, which will bring gladness to the hearts of those that trust in Him.

Psalm 65

A Psalm of David: Of praise and thanksgiving. God is praised for hearing prayer, forgiving sins, the satisfaction He brings to the hearts of men, and for their salvation. Words of thanksgiving are offered for God’s creation and its abundant provision for mankind.

Psalm 66

A psalm of thanksgiving. The psalmist calls upon all to praise God. He reminds the Jews of God’s mighty acts for their forefathers and what He is doing for them now. He resolves to pay his vows made to God when he was in trouble, to offer the appropriate sacrifices and to bear witness to all concerning what God has done for him.

Psalm 67

A prayer for the increase of God’s kingdom. The psalmist prays for God’s mercy on Israel as an example to all nations and calls upon all to praise Him. He then calls upon all nations to serve God because He judges and governs righteously. Those that fear God will be blessed.

Psalm 68

A Psalm of David: The triumphant rule of Israel’s God. David opens this psalm with a prayer against his enemies and for his people. He urges them to praise God for His greatness and compassion. His words remind them of God’s presence during the exodus when He gave them the law, refreshed them when they were weary and gave them victory over their enemies. David lapses into prophecy and speaks of Christ’s ascension, of salvation, the victory He would have over His enemies and of the enlargement of the church by the inclusion of the Gentiles. The psalm concludes with an invitation to all to sing God’s praises and acknowledge His greatness.

Psalm 69

A Psalm of David: When overwhelmed by afflictions. After Psalm 22, this is the most quoted psalm in the New Testament. In the first 20 verses David speaks of the dire straights he finds himself in; his circumstances seem overwhelming and he is having to wait on God’s mercy. His problems include his enemies, the shame of his own sins that might cause others to stumble, his estrangement from his brethren and his recognition that hatred for him can be a reflection of people’s hatred for God. He cries out to God for mercy and deliverance; his heart is broken. In verses 20 to 28 David’s words become prophetic of: Jesus’ loneliness in those last days, His crucifixion, the resultant suffering of the Jews, the destruction of the temple and the blotting out of the ‘book of the living’ of those that deny Him. David promises to continue to praise God with songs and thanksgiving, then speaks of the future restoration of the Jews and inclusion of the Gentiles.

Psalm 70

A Psalm of David: God, make haste. David pleas for God to make haste to deliver him from his enemies. He prays for those who seek God then again asks God to make haste with his deliverance, for he is poor and needy.

Psalm 71

A Psalm of David: Our Bible does not attribute this psalm to David, but the commentator Gill says “This psalm is without title, but it is thought to be David’s: the Septuagint and Vulgate Latin versions, and all the Oriental ones, ascribe it to him; and both the subject and style show it to be his.” In God I trust. David, declaring his trust in God, prays for deliverance with confidence, for God is his rock and fortress and has been from his youth. In these latter days, now his strength is failing, he doesn’t want his enemies to think God has forsaken him and prays for them to be confounded. David’s hope and determination is that he will continue to be a witness to God in his old age, and trusts that God will still be with him and against his adversaries.

Psalm 72

A Psalm of Solomon   or   A Psalm for Solomon. There is mixed opinion concerning the authorship. Some commentators, past and present, say this is David’s last psalm written for his son Solomon, the first and last verses supporting this, as does the inclusion of prophecy. David prays for Solomon in verses 1 and 2, then from verse 3 his words prophesy the kingdom reign of Jesus Christ. His reign will be righteous and all will revere Him throughout the generations; it will be refreshing for the righteous, they will flourish and there will be an abundance of peace; his dominion will be over the whole earth; the poor and needy will be taken care of; there will be an abundance of provisions; His name will endure forever, all will be blessed in Him and all will call Him blessed. The whole earth will be filled with His glory. This psalm ends with the statement that the prayers of David are now ended, indicating this was the last psalm he wrote, although there are some of his previous writings recorded later in the Book of Psalms.
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