The Psalms of David

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What verses 30 - 36 mean

The ox and the bull in verse 31 were *sacrifices. This means that they burnt them to bring pleasure to God. He told them to do this in the Book of Leviticus. But God wants us to thank and *praise him more than giving him *sacrifices. The only *sacrifice Christians have is Jesus. That happened when people crucified (killed) him. When Christians thank and *praise God, God gives them help. They become brave again when life is difficult, verse 32. Even people in prison because they love God and Jesus may become brave again, verse 33. Some Bible students think that verses 35-36 came later than the first 34 verses. Someone wrote them after they came back to their land from Babylon, where they had been *prisoners.

Psalm 69 in the New Testament

Many of the psalms have prophecies in them. This means that they say what is going to happen before it really happens. Many of these prophecies are about Jesus. A good example is Psalm 22.

Psalm 69 is not a psalm full of prophecies. It tells us about what happens to many of God’s people, *like Jeremiah. Because people *hate God, but cannot touch him, they hurt God’s people. Sometimes they kill them. We call hurting and killing people "persecution". People often *persecute those who:

   ·    are from a different country

   ·    believe something different.

They *persecuted Jesus. For this reason, some of the things in Psalm 69 did happen to Jesus. When Jesus’ friends wrote the New Testament, they remembered the things in Psalm 69 that happened to Jesus. But they did not only happen to Jesus, they happened to other servants of God also.

Jesus used one of the verses in Psalm 69 to explain to his friends that someone would *persecute them also. He called this someone ‘the world’. By that, he meant the people that did not love, *trust and obey him. Here is part of what Jesus said in John chapter 15:

v18   If the world *hates you, remember this. It hated me before it hated you.

v20   Remember the words that I said to you. The servant is not more important than his master. If they *persecuted me, they will also *persecute you.

v23   He that *hates me hates my Father also.

v25   But this happened that the word would come true, the word in the scripture: "they *hated me without a reason".

Not all the chapter is here, there is not enough room for it here. Try to get a Bible, and read all the chapter. The scripture Jesus talked about was Psalm 69:4. Jesus put two parts of the verse together, people *hate me … they have no reason.

Psalms of *Imprecation

Many of the psalms are *prayers. *Prayers are the words that we say to God. Most of the psalms ask God for good things, but a few do not. They ask for bad things to happen to people. We call these "Psalms of *Imprecation". We could call them "Psalms with Bad *Prayers".

Christians do not like these bad *prayers. Christians tell us that Jesus was not *like this. He did not pray for bad things to happen to his enemies. When they crucified him he prayed, "Father, *forgive them. They do not know what they are doing" (Luke 23:34). We must be *like Jesus and pray for good things to happen, even to our enemies.

But Bible students still think that they must explain the bad *prayers. They are in the Bible, and Paul tells us that all the Bible is of use to us, 2 Timothy 3:16. One use is to tell us how not to pray for our enemies! Many of our enemies (because they are really God’s enemies) have become Christians through *prayers. But some famous Bible students explain them another way. *Saint Augustine (1600 years ago) and Bonhoeffer (60 years ago) said that these were not the words of the *psalmist. They were the words of Jesus speaking in the *psalmist. They said what would happen to God’s enemies if they did not ask him to *forgive them before they died. After that, they could not:

   ·    ask God to *forgive them

   ·    ask God to make them *righteous

   ·    ask God to put their names into his book of life.

If we explain it *like this, then some of the words that Jesus did say are important. He will say to some people after they die, "I did not know you. Go away, you are bad people" (Matthew 7:23).

It is not our job to say what will happen to people when they die. That is for God to say. Augustine and Bonhoeffer tell us that God has already said it in the Psalms of *Imprecation. Our job is to pray that God will not say it to people that we meet.

Something to do

Some of the things in Psalm 69 happened to Jesus and his friends. See "Psalm 69 in the New Testament". Here are some more verses from the New Testament. See if you can find which verses in Psalm 69 they come from. Sometimes the words are not quite the same. This is because the New Testament uses the Greek Old Testament most times, not the Hebrew Old Testament. Our translation comes from the Hebrew Old Testament.

1.    John 1:11. He (Jesus) came to his own country, but his own people did not receive him.

2.    John 2:17. His friends remembered what was in the scripture. "I am angry for your house and it burns me up inside". (This happened after Jesus had been to the *temple in Jerusalem. He sent out the people there who were selling things. He was angry because they should not have done it there. "Scripture" is a word for "something written in their Bible".)

3.    Acts 1:20. In the Book of Psalms it says, "Let the place where he lived be empty and do not let anyone live there". (The friends of Jesus said this after Judas killed himself. Judas was a special friend (or *disciple) of Jesus. He took the Roman soldiers to Jesus when they were looking for him. We say that Judas "*betrayed" Jesus. After this, Judas was so sad that he killed himself.)

4.    Matthew 27:29. They laughed at him (Jesus) and said, "You are the Great King of the Jews!" (The Roman soldiers did this before they crucified (killed) Jesus. This was after Judas *betrayed Jesus. The soldiers did not mean what they said. They said it in *scorn, or "bad fun". You may find more than one verse in the psalms that makes you think of Matthew 27:29.)

5.    Romans 11:9-10. And David said, "Let their table become a *trap. Let their eyes be in the dark so that they cannot see". (Paul wrote this about the Jews who would not receive Jesus.)

6.    Romans 15:3. Even Jesus did not look for pleasure for himself. As the scripture says, "The *insults of the people that *insulted you fell on me". (Paul wrote this to tell people not to look for an easy time.)

7.    Matthew 27:34. They gave him (Jesus) *vinegar to drink mixed with gall. When he had tasted it, he would not drink it. (This was just before they crucified (killed) Jesus.)

Here are the answers if you want to check if you were right.

John 1:11 verse 8

John 2:17 verse 9

Acts 1:20 verse 25

Matthew 27:29 verses 12, 20

Romans 11:9 verses 22, 23

Romans 15:3 verse 9

Matthew 27:34 verse 21

Help to Remember

Psalm 70

Jesus said, "Do this to remember me". (Luke 22:19) (These are words that Jesus said when he ate supper the last time with his friends.)

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