The Psalms of David

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The *Sons Of Korah

Several psalms in Book 2 of the Psalms have "the sons of Korah" at the top. Book 2 of the Psalms goes from Psalm 42 to Psalm 72. Some of these psalms probably come from a book that the sons of Korah used.

Korah was the grandson of Kohath. Kohath was the son of Levi. Levi was one of the sons of Jacob. All the Jews that were God’s servants in the *temple came from the family of Levi. They were all Levites.

Korah himself died because he did not obey God. The story is in a book of the Bible called Numbers (Numbers 16:1-35). Some of his family did not die. Moses gave them special jobs to do. At first, this was before Solomon built the *temple, but they also did these jobs after Solomon built the *temple. One of their jobs was to make music in the *temple. The best singers and players on *musical instruments did this. The Jews called them "the sons of Korah". They used the psalms that David wrote and they used others as well. We do not know if they wrote them or if they got them from other people. When we read "the sons of Korah" at the top of a psalm, it means that it came from their book of psalms.

Psalm 42 has "the sons of Korah" at the top. Psalm 43 does not have anything at the top. We think that they are really one psalm. We think that a hostage wrote it. He may have been a Levite, maybe a "son of Korah". If he was not, he gave the psalm to someone who put it into the book of "the sons of Korah".

So, "sons of Korah" is probably the name of a music group. They made music in the *temple at Jerusalem until Nebuchadnezzar took the Jews to Babylon. He destroyed the *temple at the same time. When the Jews came back from Babylon 70 years later, they built the *temple again. But now the "sons of Korah" did not make music in the *temple. We do not know why!

Something to do

1.    Study a map of Israel if you can. Can you find where the hostage saw the *thirsty *hart and the Hermons?

2.    Learn to say Psalm 42:5 without looking at the words. Next time you have trouble, say these words. Tell God that you are *unhappy, but that you will hope in him. Then wait for him to do something good for you. While you wait, remember the good times! (Psalm 42:4), and that God is with you (Psalm 42:8).

3.    Read about the last week in the life of Jesus. Do you think that Jesus knew Psalm 42? Read Matthew 26:38 and John 12:27 for help.

Christian Pictures

The Jews did not paint pictures of God. They thought that this broke one of God’s rules. At first, Christians did not paint Jesus in pictures for the same reason. Instead, when they wanted Jesus in a picture, they painted a *hart (or a male deer). They did this because they believed that Jesus repeated parts of Psalm 42 before he died. The parts are at the top of Psalm 42. As the *psalmist was "*like a *hart", so Jesus was "*like a *hart". So they painted a *hart, not Jesus. Later artists painted Jesus. As we have no pictures of the real Jesus, artists now paint what they thought he looked *like.

God’s rules are in The 10 Commandments. One of these says "You must not make for yourself anything that looks *like me". (Exodus 20:4) "Looks *like me" in Hebrew is "image". It could be a picture or an idol.

God Help Us!

Psalm 44

The friends of Jesus came to him. They woke him and said, "*Lord, save us! We are dying". He said to them, "Why are you afraid? You do not have much faith". (Matthew 8:25-26) ("Faith" here means "*trusting in Jesus".)

Psalm 44

     (This is) a *maskil.
(It is) for the music leader of the *sons of Korah.

v1      God, we have heard it for ourselves. 
     Our fathers told it to us.
     (They told us) what you did for them a long time ago.

v2      Your hand pushed out the people (that lived in the land)
       and put (our fathers) in.
     You broke (our enemies) but gave help to (our fathers).

v3      (Our fathers) did not get the land by their own *swords.
     Their own power did not win the fight. It was you and
       ·    your right hand
       ·    your arm
       ·    the light on your face
       (that did it) because you were their friend.

v4      You are my king. You are my God.
     You are the one (that said that) Jacob must win.

v5      Because of you, we pushed back our enemies.
     Because of your name, we beat those that fought us.

v6      I do not believe that my bow gave me help.
     I do not think that my *sword won (the fight).

v7      This is because you give us help to beat our enemies.
     You make the people that *hate us ashamed.

v8      We *praise God *all day long.
     We will always *praise your name.   *SELAH

v9      But now you have turned away from us.
     You have made us ashamed.
     You do not go out with our armies.

v10    You make us run away from an enemy.
     Those people that *hate us take what they like from us!

v11    You make us *like sheep so that people can eat us!
     You have thrown us into other countries.

v12    You are selling your people (and the price is) cheap.
     You have sold them and not got anything for it!

v13    You have made us into something that our *neighbours laugh at.
     Everyone round us laughs at us and *scorns us.

v14    We are as nothing among the *nations!
     Everybody is sorry for us.

v15    I am ashamed *all day long.
     I do not know where to look.

v16    (This is) because of:
       ·    the bad things that people say about me
       ·    the people that do bad things to me
       ·    (the people that are) my enemies
       ·    (the people that are) happy because they hurt me.

v17    All this happened to us, but we did not forget you.
     We did not forget our *covenant with you.

v18    Our *hearts did not turn away,
       nor did our feet turn from your path.

v19    But you broke us where the wild animals are.
     You covered us with great *darkness.

v20    If we had
       ·    forgotten the name of our God, or
       ·    lifted up our hands to a foreign god

v21    would God not have discovered it?
     He knows the secrets of (people’s) *hearts.

v22    Yet because of you, people kill us *all day long.
     They think that we are *like sheep ready for (people to) kill.

v23    *Lord, awake! Why are you asleep?
     Get up! Do not throw us away *for ever!

v24    Why do you hide your face (from us)?
     Why do you forget our trouble
     and the way that people hurt us?

v25    We have fallen down to the earth.
     Our bodies are on the ground.

v26    Wake up and give us help!
     Save us, because of your kind love.
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