The Psalms of David



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Did Ethan write all Psalm 89?


Many Bible students think that Psalm 89 is three psalms in one! Ethan was one of David’s singers. He could not have known about Nebuchadnezzar, who lived 500 years later. Bible students explain this by saying:

   ·    Ethan wrote the first part, verses 1-18. At this time, both Tabor and Hermon (verse 12) were in the land David's *descendants ruled. Later, they were not.

   ·    Someone else wrote the next part, verses 19-37. This was maybe 400 years after David ruled Israel. Maybe Josiah was king.

   ·    A third person wrote the last part, verses 38-51. This was after Nebuchadnezzar had beaten the *Jews. He took their king (Jehoiakin) to Babylon. Jehoiakin was not king any more.


Something to do


1.         If you have a Bible, read what God promised to David. You will find it in 2 Samuel 7.

2.         When God does not answer when you pray, read this psalm, then read in the *New Testament about Jesus! Then wait for your answer.

3.         Count how many times the special word "kind love" comes in this psalm. (The word is "Hesed" in *Hebrew.)

Word List


Abaddon ~ a place in *Sheol where they destroy people.

Adonai ~ *Lord or master; (or better, my *Lord or my master) in *Hebrew.

altar ~part of the *temple.

amen ~ we agree!

ancestor ~ people years ago that your parents came from.

angels ~ *spirits that live in *heaven with God.

anger ~ what you feel when you are angry.

anoint ~ pour *olive oil on.

anointed ~ with (*olive) oil poured on.

ark ~ a box with things important to the *Jews in it.

arrows ~ pointed sticks shot by a bow.

Asaph ~ look in the Introduction.

barley ~ a plant; people make bread from the seeds (called "grain").

BC ~ years Before Christ came to the earth.

blunt ~ not sharp.

boast ~ say that you are great and important (when maybe you are not).

boil ~ a red place on your skin that hurts.

break ~ (in Psalm 89:33, 34) not do (what you said you would do).

broken ~ (in Psalm 89:39) not done (the past of ‘*break’).

chaff ~ dead part of a plant round the seed.

Cherubim ~ special *angels that live with God in *heaven.

Church ~ all those people that believe all about Jesus.

coffin ~ box made of wood that they bury dead bodies in.

conquer ~ beat in a war.

consider ~ think about.

courts ~ places outside the *temple.

covenant ~ two people have agreed what each should do (here, God and his people). Look after Psalm 25 in Book 1 of the Psalms of David for more about the covenant.

created ~ made (as only God can make).

crown ~ a special hat that a king wears.

cry ~ words that you say aloud when you are frightened or sad.

cymbals ~ you hit two of them together to make a loud noise.

darkness ~ when there is no light.

deaf ~ cannot hear.

den ~ the home of a wild animal.

descendants ~ children, grandchildren, and so on; people in your family that live after you are dead.

desert ~ a dry place with much sand.

disciples ~ people that Jesus taught.

disobey ~ not obey.

distress ~ a very *unhappy feeling.

divide ~ make into more than one part.

dog ~ an animal.

dove ~ a bird (that may mean Israel).

Elohim ~ one of God’s names in *Hebrew. It means very powerful.

Elyon ~ one of God’s names in *Hebrew. It means very important.

exile ~ away from your own country.

fear ~ what you feel when you are afraid.

feast ~ another word for festival [see festival].

festival ~ a happy party with much eating, drinking, singing and dancing.

fig ~ a fruit that many people eat.

flag ~ material with signs on it. Each country has its own flag.

flock ~ a group of animals such as sheep.

flood ~ deep water.

foes ~ enemies.

for ever ~always.

forgive ~ take away the results of *sin. (But look in the notes on Psalm 85:2).

forgiveness ~ what you give people when you *forgive them.

foundations ~ what people build houses on.

fox ~ an animal.

frogs ~ small animals that live in water and on land.

frost ~ cold white powder *like snow.

furious ~ very, very angry.

fury ~ what you feel when you are very, very angry.

Gittith ~ maybe music from a town they called Gath.

glory ~ something that shines very much, maybe *heaven: God has glory because his *righteousness shines from inside him.

godless ~ people that do not obey God, and that fight against him.

goodness ~ what makes people do good things.

Gospel ~ one of the four books at the beginning of the New Testament [see New Testament].

grace ~ when someone (here God) is kind and *forgives when he does not have to forgive.

gracious ~ being kind when you do not have to be kind.

grapes ~ the fruit of a plant called the *vine. People use them to make drink that has alcohol in it. The drink is *wine.

grasshopper ~a small *locust (here it may also mean *locust).

grave ~ a hole in the ground where they bury dead bodies.

Greek ~ a language.

hail ~ ice in rain.

harp ~ you can make music with it.

harvest ~ picking fruits.

healthy ~ having good health.

heaven ~ the home of God.

heavens ~the skies or the home of God.

Hebrew ~ the language that the *Jews spoke when they wrote the Psalms of David.

history ~ when someone records past events, we say that they have written history.

holiness ~ something that is very good; in Psalm 87, a place where God is.

holy *angels ~ they live with God in *heaven.

holy ~ very, very good; only God is really *holy, the land where he lives with his people is also *holy because he is there.

holy land ~ the land of Israel.

holy ones ~ they live with God in *heaven.

honey ~ a special sugar made by insects called bees.

horn ~ hard bone on head of animal, showing it is strong; look at the note on Psalm 75:4.

huge ~ very, very large.

idol ~ a false god made of wood or stone or metal.

Israelite ~ a *Jewish person (see Jew).

Jacob ~ another name for Israel, both the people and the land. (Jacob was Abraham’s grandson).

jargon ~ special words.

jealous ~ what you feel when someone else loves the person that you love.

jealousy ~what you feel when you are jealous.

Jehovah ~ how some languages say *Yahweh, one of the names of God in *Hebrew.

Jew ~ someone who was born from Abraham, Isaac and Jacob and their children.

Jewish ~ a word that describes a *Jew or anything to do with a *Jew.

Joseph ~ another name for the people Israel. (Joseph was Jacob’s son.)

judge ~ say who is right and who is wrong; or, the person that says who is right and who is wrong.

kingdom ~ the country that has a king.

Korah ~ look in the Introduction in Book 3 of the Psalms of David.

laws ~ the rules in a country. In Psalm 78, the rules in the first 5 books of the Bible.

Leviathan ~ a sea-*monster.

lice ~ small insects that can carry illnesses to people.

lie ~ say words that are not true.

lightning ~ narrow lines of light in the sky during a storm.

lights ~ (in Psalm 83:14) makes a fire (on the mountains).

like ~ another word for "as".

lilies ~ flowers.

lion ~ a dangerous animal.

locust ~ an insect that eats all the green parts of plants.

Lord ~ a name for God; it means he has authority, or "master"; *Adonai in *Hebrew. Look also at *LORD below.

LORD ~ a special name for God that his people use. It is the *covenant name of God. In *Hebrew it is *Yahweh or *Jehovah. Look after Psalm 25 in Book 1 of the Psalms of David for more about the names of God.

loyalty ~ being a friend, or a servant and not stopping, whatever happens.

lyre ~ you can make music with it.

mahalath leannoth ~ maybe it means "when you are ill" in *Hebrew. Bible students are not sure.

manna ~ food from *heaven. It is *like bread. The word "manna" is *Hebrew for "What is it?" This is because the *Jews did not know what God had sent them!

maskil ~ a psalm that teaches you something.

merciful ~ kind.

mercy ~ being kind when you do not have to be kind.

Messiah ~ in the *Old Testament, the *anointed king. In the *New Testament, Jesus. The word messiah is *Hebrew for *anointed.

miracles ~ great things that only God can do.

monster ~ a very large animal.

Most High ~ a name for God.

mount ~ small mountain.

musical instrument ~ something that makes music when you hit it (cymbals, drum), blow in it (flute, trumpet, horn, shofar) or touch it in a quiet way (harp, lyre). Many of these are in Psalm 150 in Book 5 of The Psalms of David.

musicians ~ people that make music. They sing, or play *musical instruments.

nations ~ countries.

necklace ~ something pretty to wear round your neck.

neighbours ~ people that live near (either house or country).

nest ~ place where a bird keeps its babies.

New Testament ~ the last part of the Bible, which the writers wrote after the life of Jesus. It is about the things that Jesus did and taught and about the church [see church].

oil ~ not motor oil, but from a fruit called the olive.

Old Testament ~ the first part of the Bible; the *holy things that the writers wrote before Christ’s birth.

olive ~ a fruit.

oppress ~ when you are not kind to people, we say that you are oppressing them.

oppressed ~ people that the enemy have hurt.

order ~ words that tell someone what they must do.

pardoned ~ *forgave, or excused (but look in the notes for Psalm 85:2).

peace ~ when we are friends with God and with other people; or, when we have no trouble in our minds; or, when there is no war and everybody is happy.

pilgrims ~ people that make a special journey.

Pit ~ the worst bit of *Sheol.

plague ~ something very bad, often an illness.

plans ~ thoughts about what to do.

poetry ~ using words in a special (often very beautiful) way.

praise ~ say how great somebody is; or, words that say how great someone is.

praise you ~ say how great you are.

prayer ~ words that you say when you pray.

prey ~ what an animal catches to eat.

pride ~ what you feel when you think that you are important.

priest ~ a servant of God in his *temple.

prince ~ son of a king.

prisoners ~ people caught and kept by the enemy.

Promised Land ~ Israel.

prophesy ~ tell people what God thinks and will do.

prophet ~ someone that says what God thinks and will do.

protect ~ stop people hurting and destroying (someone or something).

proud people ~ people that think that they are very important.

psalmist ~ the person that wrote a psalm (or psalms).

punish ~ hurt someone because they have not obeyed the rules.

quails ~ small birds that people can eat.

real ~ proper.

Redeemer ~ a name for God. It means that he pays the price of our *sin. This happened when Jesus died on the cross.

refuge ~ a place where you can hide and be safe.

righteous ~ very good (only God is really righteous). God says that the people that love and obey him are righteous. Sometimes we say that they are "the righteous", meaning "righteous people". Look after Psalm 5 in Book 1 of The Psalms of David for more about the word "righteous".

righteousness ~ what you have when you are *righteous.

rubbish ~ what people throw away.

Sabaoth ~ a *huge group of people, usually armies of *angels in the Bible.

saints ~ people that have received God’s love, his people.

Satan ~ the leader of the bad *spirits, known also as the Devil and Lucifer.

scorn ~ laugh in a bad way at someone.

seer ~ another word for *prophet.

SELAH ~ a place to pray or think or make music.

shake ~ move from one side to another and back again very fast many times.

shame ~ a bad feeling when we have done wrong.

Sheol ~where *Jews said that you went when you died.

shepherd ~a sheep farmer.

shield ~what a soldier holds over himself to stop things hitting him.

shofar ~ a *musical instrument. They were animal *horns. They blew into them.

shook ~ past of *shake.

sin ~ not obeying God, or what you do when you do not obey God.

slip ~nearly fall over (as on oil or on ice).

sons of God ~ they live with God in *heaven.

sparrow ~ small bird that makes *nests in houses.

spice ~ look in the notes in Psalm 75.

spirit ~the part of us that lives when our body dies.

spirits ~ they are alive, but we cannot see them. There are good spirits usually known as *angels. Bad spirits (known also as evil spirits, or demons) do not live in *heaven now, but in the air round us. *Satan is their leader.

springs ~another word for "wells" (of water) in Psalm 87.

still ~ not moving.

stringed instruments ~ See *musical instruments. Stringed instruments include the *harp and the *lyre.

stupid ~ opposite of clever.

swallow ~ small bird that makes *nests in houses.

sword ~ a long, sharp knife that soldiers use to fight people with.

tambourine ~ a *musical instrument that you hit or *shake.

tears ~ water coming from our eyes when we cry.

temple ~ a place where people meet to *worship God.

tempted ~ someone asked you to do something wrong.

tent ~ a home or building made from animal skins.

test God ~ make God show what he can do.

tested ~ (in Psalm 81) saw if they were good or bad.

tested ~ gave a (spoken) exam to.

throne ~ a special seat that a king sits on.

thunder ~ loud noise in the sky in a storm.

tongue ~ the part of our mouth that we talk with.

tribe ~ a large group of people from the same family.

trust ~ believe that someone (usually God in the psalms) will be good to you.

trusting in you ~ looking to you for help.

truth ~ usually words that are true; in Psalm 86:11, things that God teaches.

turn your ear ~ a way to say "Listen!" in *Hebrew.

turned the fortunes ~ change things (look in the notes on Psalm 85:1).

unhappy ~ the opposite of happy.

vines ~ plants that grow *grapes (to make *wine).

vision ~ *like a dream.

warn ~ say that something (usually bad) will happen.

weapon ~ something to fight people with, like a *sword or a gun.

wheat ~ plant like *barley. People make bread from its seeds. (The seeds are called "grain".)

whip ~ something to hit people and animals with.

wicked ~ very, very bad.

widow ~ woman whose husband is dead.

wilderness ~ a wild place where people did not grow food.

wine ~ a drink with alcohol in it. People make it from *grapes.

wonder ~ another word for *miracle.

wonderful ~ great and surprising.

worship ~ tell someone that they are very great and that you love them.

Yahweh ~ the *covenant name for God. Most Bibles translate it *LORD with 4 capital letters. It means something *like "I am" or "always alive".

© 2001-2002, Wycliffe Associates (UK)

This publication is written in EasyEnglish Level A (1200 words).

January 2002



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