Saturday, January 05, 2008

Scripture: Your favorite psalms?

I am trying to put together a Bible Study for Lent that focuses on the Psalms. My goal is to introduce the attendants to the Psalter in general (especially the categories of psalms, as well as where the psalms "fit" into the Bible) and then to take them through a selection of 12-24 psalms (this is only a six-week 90-minute study, so we'd do 2-4 per week). I would hope they would learn how the psalms are a model for prayer and how to pray the psalms in their own circumstances. I'd also introduce them to the Liturgy of the Hours, the Divine Office.

What I'm looking for is a selection of 12 to 24 psalms that are the richest, in references (to other parts of Scripture), Christological/Messianic character, and usefulness in personal experience. Obviously, psalms 1, 2, 22, 51, and 110 are high on my list, as are the Hallel psalms... there's so many! Perhaps I will end up extending this past Lent...

Here's my outline so far (full of information from http://www.cresourcei.org/):

  • Introduction (RSV-2CE)
    • The Psalter consists of 150 psalms or sacred hymns. In it we find poetical compositions of different kinds – hymns of praise, prayers for specific liturgical occasions, lamentations both of the individual and the nation, among others. There are psalms that express the deepest emotions of the human heart. They were used in, and many of them composed for, the temple worship. Some of them date back to King David, others were written shortly after the Exile. Their composition thus covers a long period. They were gradually brought together in small collections finally edited in one large collection arranged in five books. This became the hymnbook of the Second Temple.
    • The Christian Church took over the Psalter and used it following the example of Jesus himself. The Psalms have always been used extensively in the liturgy and in the daily office of the priest. In the early Church lay people became familiar with them, as St. Jerome tells us.
    • The numbering of the Psalms used here is that of the Hebrew Bible, which is, of course, followed in the Revised Standard Version. It varies somewhat from the Greek, which is followed y the Latin Vulgate and vernacular versions based on it. This alternative numbering is given in brackets. Psalms 9 and 10 in the Hebrew form Psalm 9 in the Vulgate. Psalms 114 and 115 in the Hebrew are counted as Psalm 113 in the Vulgate.
  • Introduction (http://www.crivoice.org/psalmsintro.html)
  • Types of Psalms (http://www.crivoice.org/psalmgenre.html)
    • Lament
      • Invocation (addressing God)
      • Complaint
      • Affirmation of trust
      • Petition
      • Acknowledgement of response
      • Doxology (“words of glory”, short closing hymn of praise; eg. “Through him, with him…” and “Glory be…”)
    • Thanksgiving (Todah)
      • Summary of testimony
      • Narration of experience
      • Acknowledgement of God’s aid
    • (The sequence of lament-todah is not “Please… Thank you” but rather petition-praise)
    • Hymnic
      • Call to praise
      • Reason for praise
      • Renewed call to praise (balances beginning)
  • Psalm Classifications (http://www.cresourcei.org/psalmtypes.html)
    • Lament
      • Community: 12, 44, 58, 60, 74, 79, 80, 83, 85, 89, 90, 94, 123, 126, 129
      • Individual: 3, 4, 5, 7, 9 & 10, 13, 14, 17, 22, 25, 26, 27, 28, 31, 36, 39, 40:12-17, 41, 42 & 43, 52, 53, 54, 55, 56, 57, 59, 61, 64, 70, 71, 77, 86, 89, 120, 139, 141, 142
      • Penitential: 6, 32, 38, 51, 102, 130, 143
      • Imprecatory: 35, 69, 83, 88, 109, 137, 140
    • Thanksgiving
      • Community: 65, 67, 75, 107, 124, 136
      • Individual: 18, 21, 30, 32, 34, 40:1-11, 66:13-20, 92, 108, 116, 118, 138
      • Salvation History: 8, 105 & 106, 135, 136
      • Songs of Trust: 11, 16, 23, 27, 62, 63, 91, 121, 125, 131
    • Hymnic: 8, 19:1-6, 33, 66:1-12, 67, 95, 100, 103, 104, 111, 113, 114, 117, 145, 146, 147, 148, 149, 150
    • Liturgical
      • Covenant: 50, 78, 81, 89, 132
      • Royal: 2, 18, 20, 21, 29, 45, 47, 72, 93, 95, 96, 97, 98, 99, 101, 110, 144
      • Songs of Zion: 46, 48, 76, 84, 87, 122
      • Temple: 15, 24, 68, 82, 115, 134
    • Wisdom: 1, 36, 37, 49, 73, 112, 127, 128, 133
    • Torah: 1, 19:7-14, 119
  • What is todah? (http://www.catholiceducation.org/articles/apologetics/ap0124.html)
    • An old Rabbinic teaching says: "In the coming Messianic age all sacrifices will cease, but the thank offering [todah] will never cease." A todah sacrifice would be offered by someone whose life had been delivered from great peril, such as disease or the sword. The redeemed person would show his gratitude to God by gathering his closest friends and family for a todah sacrificial meal. The lamb would be sacrificed in the Temple and the bread for the meal would be consecrated the moment the lamb was sacrificed. The bread and meat, along with wine, would constitute the elements of the sacred todah meal, which would be accompanied by prayers and songs of thanksgiving, such as Psalm 116. The word is Hebrew for "thanksgiving" although it also connotes a confession of praise in addition to gratitude. For example, Leah gave thanks to God when she bore her fourth son, and so she named him yehudah – or Judah – which is the verbal form of todah – to give thanks (cf. Gen 29:32-35).
  • What is a miktam?
  • What is a shiggaion?
  • Psalms to be covered in the study (26 – 6 undecided)
    • Lament: 22 (individual), 51 (penitential), 139 (individual), 69 (imprecatory), X (community)
    • Thanksgiving: 91 (trust), 116 (individual), 118 (individual), X (community), X (salvation history)
    • Hymnic: 19:1-6, 104, 113, 114, 117,
    • Liturgical: 2 (royal), 72 (royal), 110 (royal), 115 (temple), X (covenant), X (zion)
    • Wisdom: 1, X
    • Torah: 1, 19:7-14, 119
  • Book I
    • 1 – Wisdom / Torah – The Two Ways
      • There are two ways to live: delighting in the law of the Lord (blessed), or doing wickedness. “The Lord knows the way of the righteous, but the way of the wicked will perish.” (Ps 1:6)
      • 1-3 – Jer 17:7-8
      • 4 – Mt 3:12; Lk 3:17
      • St. Augustine, On Psalm I (http://www.ccel.org/ccel/schaff/npnf108.ii.I_1.html)
        • 1:1-3 – About Jesus, as opposed to Adam. He arrived in the way of sinners (being born in the flesh), but did not “stand” there. (n. 1) Jesus is “in the law”, not “under the law”. “Day and night” can mean “without ceasing” or “in joy and tribulation”. (n. 2) The running waters are Wisdom or the Holy Spirit. The “tree” is the Lord: the “leaf” is the Word, the “fruits” are the Church established “in its season”, that is, after the Resurrection and Ascension. (n. 3)
        • 1:6 – To perish (the way of the wicked) is not known of the Lord, whereas to abide (the way of the righteous) is. (n. 6)
      • St. Hilary of Poitiers, Homily on Psalm I (http://www.ccel.org/ccel/schaff/npnf209.ii.vi.ii.i.html)
        • The Holy Spirit ordained this as the “magnificent and noble introduction to the Psalter, in order to stir up weak man to a pure zeal for piety”. (n. 5)
        • 1:1-3 – Not about Jesus, but rather about the one who strives to live as the Lord did. (n. 2-4)
    • 2 – Liturgical: Royal – God’s Promise to His Anointed
    • 3 – Lament: Individual – Trust in God under Adversity
    • 4 – Lament: Individual – Confident Plea for Deliverance from Enemies
      • Of David
      • 4 – Eph 4:26
      • 7 – Is 9:3; Acts 14:17
    • 5 – Lament: Individual – Trust in God for Deliverance from Enemies
      • Of David
      • 9 – Rom 3:13
    • 6 – Lament: Penitential – Prayer for Recovery from Grave Illness
      • Of David
      • 5 – Is 38:18
      • 8 – Mt 7:23; Lk 13:27
    • 7 – Lament: Individual – Plea for Help against Persecution
      • A Shiggaion of David, which he sang to the Lord concerning Cush a Benjaminite
      • 9 – Jer 11:20; Rev 2:23
      • 14 – Is 59:4; Jas 1:15
    • 8 – Thanksgiving: Salvation / Hymnic – Divine Majesty and Human Dignity
    • 9 – Lament: Individual – God’s Power and Justice
    • 10 [9] – Lament: Individual – Prayer for Deliverance from Enemies
      • 7 – Rom 3:14
      • 9 – Micah 7:2
    • 11 [10] – Thanksgiving: Trust – Song of Trust in God
    • 12 [11] – Lament: Community – Plea for Help in Evil Times
      • Of David
      • 1 – Is 57:1; Micah 7:2
    • 13 [12] – Lament: Individual – Prayer for Deliverance from Enemies
      • Of David
    • 14 [13] – Lament: Individual – Denunciation of Godlessness
      • Of David
      • 1-3 – Rom 3:10-12
      • 1-7 – Ps 53:1-6
    • 15 [14] – Liturgical: Temple – Who Shall Abide in God’s Sanctuary?
      • Of David
      • 2 – Eph 4:25
    • 16 [15] – Thanksgiving: Trust – Song of Trust and Security in God
      • A Miktam of David
      • 8-11 – Acts 2:25-28, 31
      • 10 – Acts 13:35
    • 17 [16] – Lament: Individual – Prayer for Deliverance from Persecutors
    • 18 [17] – Liturgical: Royal – Royal Thanksgiving for Victory
    • 19 [18] – Hymnic / Torah – God’s Glory in Creation and the Law
    • 20 [19] – Liturgical: Royal – Prayer for Victory
    • 21 [20] – Thanksgiving: Individual / Liturgical: Royal – Thanksgiving for Victory
    • 22 [21] – Lament: Individual – Plea for Deliverance from Suffering and Hostility
    • 23 [22] – Thanksgiving: Trust – The Divine Shepherd
    • 24 [23] – Liturgical: Temple – Entrance into the Temple
    • 25 [24] – Lament: Individual – Prayer for Guidance and for Deliverance
    • 26 [25] – Lament: Individual – Plea for Justice; and Declaration of Righteousness
    • 27 [26] – Lament: Individual / Thanksgiving: Trust – Triumphant Song of Confidence
    • 28 [27] – Lament: Individual – Prayer for Help; and Thanksgiving for It
    • 29 [28] – Liturgical: Royal – The Voice of God in a Great Storm
    • 30 [29] – Thanksgiving: Individual – Thanksgiving for Recovery from Grave Illness
    • 31 [30] – Lament: Individual – Prayer and Praise for Deliverance from Enemies
    • 32 [31] – Lament: Penitential / Thanksgiving: Individual – The Joy of Forgiveness
    • 33 [32] – Hymnic – The Greatness and Goodness of God
    • 34 [33] – Thanksgiving: Individual – Praise for Deliverance from Trouble
    • 35 [34] – Lament: Imprecatory – Prayer for Deliverance from Enemies
    • 36 [35] – Lament: Individual / Wisdom – Human Wickedness and Divine Goodness
    • 37 [36] – Wisdom – Exhortation to Patience and Trust
    • 38 [37] – Lament: Penitential – A Penitent Sufferer’s Plea for Healing
    • 39 [38] – Lament: Individual – Prayer for Wisdom and Forgiveness
    • 40 [39] – Lament: Individual / Thanksgiving: Individual – Thanksgiving for Deliverance; and Prayer for Help
    • 41 [40] – Lament: Individual – Assurance of God’s Help; and a Plea for Healing
  • Book II
    • 42 [41] – Lament: Individual – Longing for God and His Help in Distress
    • 43 [42] – Lament: Individual – Prayer to God in Time of Trouble
    • 44 [43] – Lament: Community – National Lament and Prayer for Help
    • 45 [44] – Liturgical: Royal – Ode for a Royal Wedding
    • 46 [45] – Liturgical: Zion – God’s Defense of His City and People
    • 47 [46] – Liturgical: Royal – God’s Rule over the Nations
    • 48 [47] – Liturgical: Zion – The Glory and Strength of Zion
    • 49 [48] – Wisdom – The Folly of Trust in Riches
    • 50 [49] – Liturgical: Covenant – The Acceptable Sacrifice
    • 51 [50] – Lament: Penitential – Prayer for Cleansing and Pardon
    • 52 [51] – Lament: Individual – Judgment on the Deceitful
    • 53 [52] – Lament: Individual – Denunciation of Godlessness
    • 54 [53] – Lament: Individual – Prayer for Vindication
    • 55 [54] – Lament: Individual – Complaint about a Friend’s Treachery
    • 56 [55] – Lament: Individual – Trust in God under Persecution
    • 57 [56] – Lament: Individual – Praise and Assurance under Persecution
    • 58 [57] – Lament: Community – Prayer for Vengeance
    • 59 [58] – Lament: Individual – Prayer for Deliverance from Enemies
    • 60 [59] – Lament: Community – Prayer for National Victory after Defeat
    • 61 [60] – Lament: Individual – Assurance of God’s Protection
    • 62 [61] – Thanksgiving: Trust – Song of Trust in God Alone
    • 63 [62] – Thanksgiving: Trust – Comfort and Assurance in God’s Presence
    • 64 [63] – Lament: Individual – Prayer for Protection from Enemies
    • 65 [64] – Thanksgiving: Community – Thanksgiving for Earth’s Bounty
    • 66 [65] – Thanksgiving: Individual / Hymnic – Praise for God’s Goodness to Israel
    • 67 [66] – Thanksgiving: Community / Hymnic – The Nations Called to Praise God
    • 68 [67] – Liturgical: Temple – Praise and Thanksgiving
    • 69 [68] – Lament: Imprecatory – Prayer for Deliverance from Persecution
    • 70 [69] – Lament: Individual – Prayer for Deliverance from Enemies
    • 71 [70] – Lament: Individual – Prayer for Lifelong Protection and Help
    • 72 [71] – Liturgical: Royal – Prayer for Guidance and Support for the King
  • Book III
    • 73 [72] – Wisdom – Plea for Relief from Oppressors
    • 74 [73] – Lament: Community – Plea for Help in Time of National Humiliation
    • 75 [74] – Thanksgiving: Community – Thanksgiving for God’s Wondrous Deeds
    • 76 [75] – Liturgical: Songs of ZionIsrael’s God – Judge of All the Earth
    • 77 [76] – Lament: Individual – God’s Mighty Deeds Recalled
    • 78 [77] – Liturgical: Covenant – God’s Goodness and Israel’s Ingratitude
    • 79 [78] – Lament: Community – Plea for Mercy for Jerusalem
    • 80 [79] – Lament: Community – Prayer for Israel’s Restoration
    • 81 [80] – Liturgical: Covenant – God’s Appeal to Stubborn Israel
    • 82 [81] – Liturgical: Temple – A Plea for Justice
    • 83 [82] – Lament: Community / Lament: Imprecatory – Prayer for Judgment on Israel’s Foes
    • 84 [83] – Liturgical: Zion – The Joy of Worship in the Temple
    • 85 [84] – Lament: Community – Prayer for the Restoration of God’s Favor
    • 86 [85] – Lament: Individual – Supplication for Help against Enemies
    • 87 [86] – Liturgical: Zion – The Joy of Living in Zion
    • 88 [87] – Lament: Imprecatory – Prayer for Help in Despondency
    • 89 [88] – Lament: Community / Lament: Individual / Liturgical: Covenant – God’s Covenant with David
  • Book IV
    • 90 [89] – Lament: Community – God’s Eternity and Human Frailty
    • 91 [90] – Thanksgiving: Trust – Assurance of God’s Protection
    • 92 [91] – Thanksgiving: Individual – Thanksgiving for Vindication
    • 93 [92] – Liturgical: Royal – The Majesty of God’s Rule
    • 94 [93] – Lament: Community – God the Avenger of the Righteous
    • 95 [94] – Hymnic / Liturgical: Royal – A Call to Worship and Obedience
    • 96 [95] – Liturgical: Royal – Praise to God Who Comes in Judgment
    • 97 [96] – Liturgical: Royal – The Glory of God’s Reign
    • 98 [97] – Liturgical: Royal – Praise the Judge of the World
    • 99 [98] – Liturgical: Royal – Praise to God for His Holiness
    • 100 [99] – Hymnic – All Lands Summoned to Praise God
    • 101 [100] – Liturgical: Royal – A Sovereign’s Pledge of Integrity and Justice
    • 102 [101] – Lament: Penitential – Prayer to the Eternal King for Help
    • 103 [102] – Hymnic – Thanksgiving for God’s Goodness
    • 104 [103] – Hymnic – God the Creator and Provider
    • 105 [104] – Thanksgiving: Salvation – God’s Faithfulness to Israel
    • 106 [105] – Thanksgiving: Salvation – A Confession of Israel’s Sins
  • Book V
    • 107 [106] – Thanksgiving: Community – Thanksgiving for Deliverance from Many Troubles
    • 108 [107] – Thanksgiving: Individual – Praise and Prayer for Victory
    • 109 [108] – Lament: Imprecatory – Prayer for Vindication and Vengeance
    • 110 [109] – Liturgical: Royal – Assurance of Victory for God’s Priest-King
    • 111 [110] – Hymnic – Praise for God’s Wonderful Works
    • 112 [111] – Wisdom – Blessings of the Righteous
    • 113 [112] – Hymnic – God the Helper of the Needy
    • 114 [113] – Hymnic – God’s Wonders at the Exodus
    • 115 [114] – Liturgical: Temple – The Impotence of Idols and the Greatness of God
    • 116 [115] – Thanksgiving: Individual – Thanksgiving for Recovery from Illness
    • 117 [116] – Hymnic – Universal Call to Worship
    • 118 [117] – Thanksgiving: Individual – A Song of Victory
    • 119 [118] – Torah – The Glories of God’s Law
      • An acrostic psalm (each stanza is named for a letter of the Hebrew alphabet)
    • 120 [119] – Lament: Individual – Prayer for Deliverance from Slanderers
    • 121 [120] – Thanksgiving: Trust – Assurance of God’s Protection
    • 122 [121] – Liturgical: Zion – Song of Praise; and a Prayer for Jerusalem
    • 123 [122] – Lament: Community – Supplication for Mercy
    • 124 [123] – Thanksgiving: Community – Thanksgiving for Israel’s Deliverance
    • 125 [124] – Thanksgiving: Trust – The Security of God’s People
    • 126 [125] – Lament: Community – A Harvest of Joy
    • 127 [126] – Wisdom – God’s Blessings in the Home
    • 128 [127] – Wisdom – The Happy Home of the Faithful
    • 129 [128] – Lament: Community – Prayer for the Downfall of Israel’s Enemies
    • 130 [129] – Lament: Penitential – Waiting for Divine Redemption
    • 131 [130] – Thanksgiving: Trust – Song of Quiet Trust
    • 132 [131] – Liturgical: Covenant – The Eternal Dwelling of God in Zion
    • 133 [132] – Wisdom – The Blessedness of Unity
    • 134 [133] – Liturgical: Temple – Praise in the Night
    • 135 [134] – Thanksgiving: Salvation – Praise for God’s Goodness and Might
    • 136 [135] – Thanksgiving: Community / Thanksgiving: Salvation – God’s Work in Creation and in History
    • 137 [136] – Lament: Imprecatory – Lament over the Destruction of Jerusalem
    • 138 [137] – Thanksgiving: Individual – Thanksgiving and Praise
    • 139 [138] – Lament: Individual – The Inescapable God
    • 140 [139] – Lament: Imprecatory – Prayer for Deliverance from Enemies
    • 141 [140] – Lament: Individual – Prayer for Preservation from Evil
    • 142 [141] – Lament: Individual – Prayer for Deliverance from Persecutors
    • 143 [142] – Lament: Penitential – Prayer for Deliverance from Enemies
    • 144 [143] – Liturgical: Royal – Prayer for National Deliverance and Security
    • 145 [144] – Hymnic – The Greatness and the Goodness of God
    • 146 [145] – Hymnic – Praise for God’s Help
    • 147 [146 & 147] – Hymnic – Praise for God’s Care for Jerusalem
    • 148 – Hymnic – Praise for God’s Universal Glory
    • 149 – Hymnic – Praise for God’s Goodness to Israel
    • 150 – Hymnic – Praise for God’s Surpassing Greatness
Others have suggested 19, 69, 72, 104, 113-118 (the Hallel psalms), 119, and 139.

4 comments:

charles pinyan said...

I've always liked Psalm 91:4

japhy said...

Siiiigh. Yes, I will make certain to mention that one.

charles pinyan said...

But seriously ... for personal prayer - and a psalm I recommend to others - I'm drawn to Psalm 139

Weekend Fisher said...

For Lent, see if Psalm 69 fits what you're planning. The gospels quote it a good few times esp. re: holy week.