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     The Psalms are called by the Hebrews sepher tehillim, that is, the book of hymns or of praises;

it is a translation of the Greek version of Psalmoi meaning songs to the accompaniment of a ten

stringed instrument.  The Greek word translates the Hebrew word mizmor.

     Historically the Psalms cover a period of about 1000 years, ending with the Babylonian

Exile (ca. 450 B.C.).


     The Psalms deal with selected events of that millennium and provide us with the thoughts

and feelings (especially those directed by God) of those who went through the experiences recorded.


     The Psalms are all prayers written in Hebrew poetry.  They deal primarily with God, man

(especially Israel as a covenant community and the individuals in that community), and the

resolution of the tension between a holy transcendent God and sinful, alienated, finite human beings.

     Wherever Amen is found at the end of a Psalm, the Hebrews consider that a book is ended.

Please click on each Psalm Number below to view story

The happiness of the just and the evil state of the wicked

The vain efforts of persecutors against Christ and His Church

The prophet's danger and delivery from his son Absalom: mystically,

the passion and resurrection of Christ.

The prophet teacheth us to flee to God in tribulation, with confidence in Him.

A prayer to God against the iniquities of men.

A prayer of a penitent sinner, under the scourge of God.  

The first penitential psalm.

David, trusting in the justice of his cause, prayeth for God's help

against his enemies.

God is wonderful in His works;  especially in mankind,

singularly exalted by the incarnation of Christ.

The Church praiseth God for His protection against Her enemies.

The just man's confidence in God in the midst of persecutions.

The prophet calls for God's help against the wicked.

A prayer in tribulation.

The general corruption of man before our redemption by Christ.

What kind of men shall dwell in the heavenly Sion.

Christ's future victory and triumph over the world and death.

A just man's prayer in tribulation against the malice of his enemy.

David's thanks to God for his delivery from all his enemies.

The works of God shew forth His glory:

His law is greatly to be esteemed and loved.

A prayer for the King.

Praise to God for Christ's exultation after His passion.

Christ's passion: and the conversion of the Gentiles.

God's spiritual benefits to faithful souls.

Who are they that shall ascend to heaven:

Christ's triumphant ascension thither.

A prayer for grace, mercy, and protection against our enemies.

David's prayer to God in his distress, to be delivered that he may come

to worship Him in His tabernacle.

David's faith and hope in God.

David's prayer that his enemies may not prevail over him.

An invitation to glorify God, with a commemoration of his mighty works.

David praiseth God for his deliverance, and His merciful dealings with him.

A prayer of a just man under affliction.

The second penitential psalm.

An exhortation to praise God, and to trust in Him.

An exhortation to the praise, and service of God.

David, in the person of Christ, prayeth against the persecution:

prophetically foreshewing the punishments that shall fall upon them.

The malice of sinners, and the goodness of God.

An exhortation to despise this world; and that short prosperity

of the wicked; and to trust in Providence.

A prayer of a penitent for the remission of his sins.  

The third penitential psalm.

A just man's peace and patience in his sufferings;

considering the vanity of the world, and the providence of God.

Christ's coming, and redeeming mankind.

The happiness of him that shall believe in Christ;

notwithstanding the humility and poverty in which

He shall come: the malice of His enemies, especially of the traitor Judas.

The fervent desire of the just after God: hope in afflictions.

The prophet aspireth after the temple and altar of God.

The Church commemorates former favours, and present afflictions;

under which She prays for succour.

The excellence of Christ's kingdom, and the endowments of His Church.

The Church and persecution trusteth in the protection of God.

The Gentiles are invited to praise God for the establishment

of the kingdom of Christ.

God is greatly to be praised for the establishment of His Church.

The folly of worldlings, who live on in sin, without thinking of death or hell.

The coming of Christ: who prefers virtue and inward purity

before the blood of victims.

The repentance and confessions of David after his sin.  

The fourth penitential psalm.

David condemeth the wickedness of Doeg, and foretelleth his destruction.

The general corruption of man, before the coming of Jesus.

A prayer for help in distress.

A prayer of a just man under persecution from the wicked.  

It agrees to Christ persecuted by the Jews, and betrayal by Judas.

A prayer of David in danger and distress.

The prophet prays in his affliction, and praises God for his delivery.

David reproveth the wicked, and foretelleth their punishment.

A prayer to be delivered from the wicked, with confidence

in God's help and protection.  It agrees to Christ and His

enemies the Jews.

After many afflictions, the Church of Christ shall prevail.

A prayer for the coming of the kingdom of Christ, which shall have no end.

The prophet encourageth himself and all others to trust in God, and serve Him.

The prophet aspireth after God.

A prayer in affliction, with confidence in God that He will bring

to nought the machinations of persecutors.

God is to be praised in His church, to which all nations shall be called.

An invitation to praise God.

A prayer for the propagation of the Church.

The glorious establishment of the Church of the New Testament,

prefigured by the benefits on the people of Israel.

Christ in His passion declareth the greatness of His sufferings,

and the malice of His persecutors the Jews;

and foretelleth their reprobation.

A prayer in persecution.

A prayer for perseverance.

A prophecy of the coming of Christ, and of His kingdom:

prefigured by Solomon and his happy reign.

The temptation of the weak, upon seeing the prosperity of the wicked,

is overcome by the consideration of the justice of God, who will quickly

render to everyone according to his works.

A prayer of the Church under grievous persecutions.

There is a just judgment to come: therefore let the wicked take care.

God is known in His Church: and exerts His power in protecting it.  

It alludes to the slaughter of the Assyrians, in the days of King Ezechias.

The faithful have recourse to God in trouble of mind,

with confidence in His mercy and power.

God's great benefits to the people of Israel,

notwithstanding their ingratitude.

The church in time of persecution prayeth for relief.  

It seems to belong to the time of the Maccabees.

A prayer for the Church and tribulation,

commemorating God's former favours.

An invitation to a solemn praising of God.

An exhortation to judges and men in power.

A prayer against the enemies of God's Church.

The soul aspireth after heaven; rejoicing in the meantime,

in being in the communion of God's Church upon earth.

The coming of Christ, to bring peace and salvation to man.

A prayer for God's grace to assist us to the end.

The glory of the Church of Christ.

A prayer of one under grievous affliction:

it agrees to Christ in His passion, and alludes

to His death and burial.

The perpetuity of the Church of Christ, in consequence of the

promise of God: which, notwithstanding, God permits Her to

suffer sometimes most grievous afflictions.

A prayer for the mercy of God: recounting the shortness and miseries of the days of man.

The just is secure under the protection of God.

God is to be praised for His wondrous works.

The glory and stability of the kingdom; that is, of the Church of Christ.

God shall judge and punish the oppressors of His people.

An invitation to adore and serve God, and to hear His voice.

An exhortation to praise God for the coming of Christ and His kingdom.

All are invited to rejoice at the glorious coming and reign of Christ.

All are again invited to praise the Lord, for the victories of Christ.

The reign of the Lord in Sion: that is, of Christ in His Church.

All are invited to rejoice in God the Creator of all.

The prophet exhorteth all by his example, to follow mercy and justice.

A prayer for one in affliction: the fifth penitential psalm.

Thanksgiving to God for His mercies.

God is to be praised for His mighty works,

and wonderful Providence.

A thanksgiving to God for His benefits to His people Israel.

A confession of the manifold sins and ingratitudes of the Israelites.

All are invited to give thanks to God for His perpetual

providence over men.

The prophet praiseth God for benefits received.

David in the person of Christ, prayeth against his persecutors;

more especially the traitor Judas: foretelling and approving his

just punishment for his obstinacy in sin and final impenitence.

Christ's exaltation and everlasting priesthood.

God is to be praised for His graces, and benefits to His Church.

The good man is happy.

God is to be praised for His regard to the poor and humble.

God hath shewn His power in delivering His people:

idols are vain.  psalms Hebrews divide this into two psalms.

The prayer of a just man in affliction, with a lively confidence in God.

This in the Hebrew is joined with the foregoing psalm,

and continues to express the faith and gratitude of the psalmist.

All nations are called upon to praise God for His mercy and truth.

The psalmist praiseth God for his delivery from evils:

putteth his whole trust in Him; and foretelleth the coming of Christ.

Of the excellence of virtue consisting in the love and

observance of the Commandments of God.

A prayer in tribulation.

God is the keeper of His servants.

The desire and hope of the just for the coming of

the kingdom of God, and the peace of His Church.

A prayer in affliction, with confidence in God.

The Church giveth glory to God for Her deliverance

from the hands of Her enemies.

The just are always under God's protection.

The people of God rejoice at their delivery from captivity.

Nothing can be done without God's grace and blessing.

The fear of God is the way to happiness.

The Church of God is invincible:

Her persecutors come to nothing.

A prayer of a sinner, trusting in the mercies of God.  

The sixth penitential psalm.

The prophets's humility.

A prayer for the fulfilling of the promise made to David.

The happiness of brotherly love and concorde.

An exhortation to praise God continually.

An exhortation to praise God: the vanity of idols.

God is to be praised for His wonderful works.

The lamentation of the people of God in their

captivity in Babylon.

Thanksgiving to God for His benefits.

God's special providence over His servants.

A prayer to be delivered from the wicked.

A prayer against sinful words, and deceitful flatterers.

A prayer of David in extremity of danger.

The psalmist in tribulation calleth upon God

for His delivery.  The seventh penitential psalm.

The prophet praiseth God, and prayeth to be

delivered from his enemies.  No worldly happiness

is to be compared with that of serving God.

A psalm of praise, to the infinite majesty of God.

We are not to trust in men, but in God alone.

An exhortation to praise God for His benefits.

The Church is called upon to praise God for His peculiar

graces and favours to His people.  In the Hebrew,

this psalm is joined to the foregoing.

All creatures are invited to praise their Creator.

The Church is particularly bound to praise God.

An exhortation to praise God with all sorts of instruments.

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