Psalms - Revised Standard Version (1966)
The Hebrew Psalter numbers 150 songs. The corresponding number in the LXX differs because of a different division of certain psalms. Hence the numbering in the Greek Psalter (which was followed by the Latin Vulgate) is usually one digit behind the Hebrew. In the New American Bible the numbering of the verses follows the Hebrew numbering; many of the traditional English translations are often a verse number behind the Hebrew because they do not count the superscriptions as a verse. The superscriptions derive from pre-Christian Jewish tradition, and they contain technical terms, many of them apparently liturgical, which are no longer known to us. Seventy-three psalms are attributed to David, but there is no sure way of dating any psalm. Some are pre-exilic (before 587), and others are post-exilic (after 539), but not as late as the Maccabean period (ca. 165). The psalms are the product of many individual collections (e.g., Songs of Ascents, Psa 120-134), which were eventually combined into the present work in which one can detect five "books," because of the doxologies which occur at 41:14; 72:18-19; 89:53; 106:48. Two important features of the psalms deserve special notice. First, the majority were composed originally precisely for liturgical worship. This is shown by the frequent indication of liturgical leaders interacting with the community (e.g., Psalm 118:1-4). Secondly, they follow certain distinct patterns or literary forms. Thus, the hymn is a song of praise, in which a community is urged joyfully to sing out the praise of God. Various reasons are given for this praise (often introduced by "for" or "because"): the divine work of creation and sustenance (Psalm 135:1-12; 136). Some of the hymns have received a more specific classification, based on content. The "Songs of Zion" are so called because the exalt Zion, the city in which God dwells among the people (Psalm 47:96-99). Characteristic of the songs of praise is the joyful summons to get involved in the activity; Psa 104 is an exception to this, although it remains universal in its thrust. Another type of psalm is similar to the hymn: the thanksgiving psalm. This too is a song of praise acknowledging the Lord as the rescuer of the psalmist from a desperate situation. Very often the psalmist will give a flash-back, recounting the past distress, and the plea that was uttered (Psa 30; 116). The setting for such prayers seems to have been the offering of a todah (a "praise" sacrifice) with friends in the Temple.
There are more psalms of lament than of any other type. They may be individual (e.g., Psa 3-7; 22) or communal (e.g., Psa 44). Although they usually begin with a cry for help, they develop in various ways. The description of the distress is couched in the broad imagery typical of the Bible (one is in Sheol, the Pit, or is afflicted by enemies or wild beasts, etc.)--in such a way that one cannot pinpoint the exact nature of the psalmist's plight. However, Psa 51 (cf also Psa 130) seems to refer clearly to deliverance from sin. Several laments end on a note of certainty that the Lord has heard the prayer (cf. Psa 7, but contrast Psa 88), and the Psalter has been characterized as a movement from lament to praise. If this is somewhat of an exaggeration, it serves at least to emphasize the frequent expressions of trust which characterize the lament. In some cases it would seem as if the theme of trust has been lifted out to form a literary type all its own; cf. Psa 23, 62, 91. Among the communal laments can be counted Psa 74 and 79. They complain to the Lord about some national disaster, and try to motivate God to intervene in favor of the suffering people. Other psalms are clearly classified on account of content, and they may be in themselves laments or psalms of thanksgiving. Among the "royal: psalms, that deal directly with the currently reigning king, are Psa 20, 21, and 72. Many of the royal psalms were given a messianic interpretation by Christians. In Jewish tradition they were preserved, even after kingship had disappeared, because they were read in the light of the Davidic covenant reported in 2 Samuel 7. Certain psalms are called wisdom psalms because they seem to betray the influence of the concerns of the ages (cf. Psa 37,49), but there is no general agreement as to the number of these prayers. Somewhat related to the wisdom psalms are the "torah" psalms, in which the torah (instruction or law) of the Lord is glorified (Psa 1; 19:8-14; 119). Psa 78, 105, 106 can be considered as "historical" psalms. Although the majority of the psalms have a liturgical setting, there are certain prayers that may be termed "liturgies," so clearly does their structure reflect a liturgical incident (e.g., Psa 15, 24). It is obvious that not all of the psalms can be pigeon-holed into neat classifications, but even a brief sketch of these types help us to catch the structure and spirit of the psalms we read. It has been rightly said that the psalms are "a school of prayer." They not only provide us with models to follow, but inspire us to voice our own deepest feelings and aspirations. - (NAB)

Headings



Book of


PSALMS


1 The Two Ways
2 God's Promise to His Anointed
3 Trust in God under Adversity
4 Confident Plea for Deliverance from Enemies
5 Trust in God for Deliverance from Enemies
6 Prayer for Recovery from Grave Illness
7 Plea for Help against Persecutors
8 Divine Majesty and Human Dignity
9 God's Power and Justice
10 Prayer for Deliverance from Enemies
11 Song of Trust in God
12 Plea for Help in Evil Times
13 Prayer for Deliverance from Enemies
14 Denunciation of Godlessness
15 Who Shall Abide in God's Sanctuary?
16 Song of Trust and Security in God
17 Prayer for Deliverance from Persecutors
18 Royal Thanksgiving for Victory
19 God's Glory in Creation and the Law
20 Prayer for Victory
21 Thanksgiving for Victory
22 Plea for Deliverance from Suffering and Hostility
23 The Divine Shepherd
24 Entrance into the Temple
25 Prayer for Guidance and for Deliverance
26 Plea for Justice and Declaration of Righteousness
27 Triumphant Song of Confidence
28 Prayer for Help and Thanksgiving for It
29 The Voice of God in a Great Storm
30 Thanksgiving for Recovery from Grave Illness
31 Prayer and Praise for Deliverance from Enemies
32 The Joy of Forgiveness
33 The Greatness and Goodness of God
34 Praise for Deliverance from Trouble
35 Prayer for Deliverance from Enemies
36 Human Wickedness and Divine Goodness
37 Exhortation to Patience and Trust
38 A Penitent Sufferer's Plea for Healing
39 Prayer for Wisdom and Forgiveness
40 Thanksgiving for Deliverance and Prayer for Help
41 Assurance of God's Help and a Plea for Healing
42 Longing for God and His Help in Distress
43 Prayer to God in Time of Trouble
44 National Lament and Prayer for Help
45 Ode for a Royal Wedding
46 God's Defense of His City and People
47 God's Rule over the Nations
48 The Glory and Strength of Zion
49 The Folly of Trust in Riches
50 The Acceptable Sacrifice
51 Prayer for Cleansing and Pardon
52 Judgment on the Deceitful
53 Denunciation of Godlessness
54 Prayer for Vindication
55 Complaint about a Friend's Treachery
56 Trust in God under Persecution
57 Praise and Assurance under Persecution
58 Prayer for Vengeance
59 Prayer for Deliverance from Enemies
60 Prayer for National Victory after Defeat
61 Assurance of God's Protection
62 Song of Trust in God Alone
63 Comfort and Assurance in God's Presence
64 Prayer for Protection from Enemies
65 Thanksgiving for Earth's Bounty
66 Praise for God's Goodness to Israel
67 The Nations Called to Praise God
68 Praise and Thanksgiving
69 Prayer for Deliverance from Persecution
70 Prayer for Deliverance from Enemies
71 Prayer for Lifelong Protection and Help
72 Prayer for Guidance and Support for the King
73 Plea for Relief from Oppressors
74 Plea for Help in Time of National Humiliation
75 Thanksgiving for God's Wondrous Deeds
76 Israel's God -- Judge of All the Earth
77 God's Mighty Deeds Recalled
78 God's Goodness and Israel's Ingratitude
79 Plea for Mercy for Jerusalem
80 Prayer for Israel's Restoration
81 God's Appeal to Stubborn Israel
82 A Plea for Justice
83 Prayer for Judgment on Israel's Foes
84 The Joy of Worship in the Temple
85 Prayer for the Restoration of God's Favor
86 Supplication for Help against Enemies
87 The Joy of Living in Zion
88 Prayer for Help in Despondency
89 God's Covenant with David
90 God's Eternity and Human Frailty
91 Assurance of God's Protection
92 Thanksgiving for Vindication
93 The Majesty of God's Rule
94 God the Avenger of the Righteous
95 A Call to Worship and Obedience
96 Praise to God Who Comes in Judgment
97 The Glory of God's Reign
98 Praise the Judge of the World
99 Praise to God for His Holiness
100 All Lands Summoned to Praise God
101 A Sovereign's Pledge of Integrity and Justice
102 Prayer to the Eternal King for Help
103 Thanksgiving for God's Goodness
104 God the Creator and Provider
105 God's Faithfulness to Israel
106 A Confession of Israel's Sins
107 Thanksgiving for Deliverance from Many Troubles
108 Praise and Prayer for Victory
109 Prayer for Vindication and Vengeance
110 Assurance of Victory for God's Priest-King
111 Praise for God's Wonderful Works
112 Blessings of the Righteous
113 God the Helper of the Needy
114 God's Wonders at the Exodus
115 The Impotence of Idols and the Greatness of God
116 Thanksgiving for Recovery from Illness
117 Universal Call to Worship
118 A Song of Victory
119 The Glories of God's Law
120 Prayer for Deliverance from Slanderers
121 Assurance of God's Protection
122 Song of Praise and Prayer for Jerusalem
123 Supplication for Mercy
124 Thanksgiving for Israel's Deliverance
125 The Security of God's People
126 A Harvest of Joy
127 God's Blessings in the Home
128 The Happy Home of the Faithful
129 Prayer for the Downfall of Israel's Enemies
130 Waiting for Divine Redemption
131 Song of Quiet Trust
132 The Eternal Dwelling of God in Zion
133 The Blessedness of Unity
134 Praise in the Night
135 Praise for God's Goodness and Might
136 God's Work in Creation and in History
137 Lament over the Destruction of Jerusalem
138 Thanksgiving and Praise
139 The Inescapable God
140 Prayer for Deliverance from Enemies
141 Prayer for Preservation from Evil
142 Prayer for Deliverance from Persecutors
143 Prayer for Deliverance from Enemies
144 Prayer for National Deliverance and Security
145 The Greatness and the Goodness of God
146 Praise for God's Help
147 Praise for God's Care for Jerusalem
148 Praise for God's Universal Glory
149 Praise for God's Goodness to Israel
150 Praise for God's Surpassing Greatness

Version
Nova Vulgata - Latin
Biblia del Pueblo di Dio (BPD) - Spanish
Vulgata - Stuttgart 1969 - Latin
BÝblia Sagrada Ave-Maria (1957) - Portuguese
La Sainte Bible (Crampon 1904) - French
CEI (1974) - Italian
Einheits▄bersetzung der Heiligen Sc - German