Thursday, May 26, 2011

Themes, Continued

Penitential or Confession – Seven lament psalms of David have this characteristic. These songs are confessions of sin and expressions of humility before God. The full list of seven includes Psalms 6, 32, 38, 51, 102, 130, and 143. It is said that in the early church believers used these psalms individually and corporately when expressing sorrow to God for their sins.
Prayer – Only five are actually described as prayers. They are Psalms 17, 86, 90, 102, and 142.
Trust – These psalms contain affirmations of confidence in the middle of ongoing trouble. They include Psalms 11, 16, 23, 27, 30, and 32.

Wednesday, May 25, 2011


In addition to the psalm forms, there are recurring themes in the songs. Here are a few of them.

Creation – These have the theme of God’s creation. They include Psalms 8, 19, and 139.

Exodus – These have the theme of the Exodus from Egypt. They include Psalms 78 and 114.

Imprecatory – An imprecation is the act of calling down a curse that invokes evil. The imprecatory psalms contain an invocation of judgment, calamity, or curse against one’s enemies who are viewed as enemies of God. The Major Imprecatory Psalms include psalms 69 and 109. Minor Imprecatory Psalms are Psalms 7, 35, 55, 58, 59, 69, 79, 109, 137, and 139 (some include in this list Psalms 5, 6, 11, 12, 35, 37, 40, 52, 54, 56, 83, and 143). It is thought that the purposes of these imprecations are, depending on the psalm, to do one or more of the following: (1) to demonstrate God’s just and righteous judgment toward the wicked, (2) to show the authority of God over the wicked, (3) to lead the wicked to seek the Lord, or (4) to cause the righteous to praise God. In the New Testament, Jesus quoted from them in John 15:25 (Psalms 35 and 69), the Apostle John references Psalm 69 in John 2:17, and the Apostle Paul quoted from Psalm 69 in his Letter to the Romans (Romans 11:9-10; Romans 15:3).