Psalm 25

Dear Reader,

This week’s study was on Psalm 25. This is an acrostic psalm. That means that every line starts with the next letter of the alphabet. In Hebrew there are 22 letters plus there is one added line as a sort of postscript at the end. So I did not attempt to identify parallel lines in my psalm translation. each line below represents one line and one Hebrew letter, plus the added line, number 23.

Here is my translation:

1 Unto you, LORD, my soul I lift

2 My God, in you, I trust; do not let me be ashamed; do not let my enemies exult over me.

3 Also all who wait on you will not be ashamed; they will be ashamed who act treacherously

without cause.

4 Your ways, LORD, make me know; your paths teach me.

5 Make me walk in your truth and teach me for you are the God of my salvation.

6 On you I wait all the day.

7 Remember your compassions, LORD, and your loving-kindnesses for they are forever.

8 The sins of my youth and my iniquities do not remember, but your loving-kindness

remember to me for the sake of your goodness, LORD.

9 Good and upright [is] the LORD; therefore he instructs sinners in the way.

10 He makes the lowly walk in justice and teaches the lowly his way.

11 All paths of the LORD [are] loving-kindness and truth toward those who keep his covenant

and his testimonies.

12 For the sake of your name, LORD, forgive my transgressions for they are great.

13 Who is the man who fears the LORD? He will instruct him in the way he should choose.

14 His soul in goodness will pass the night and his seed will inherit the earth.

15 The council of the LORD is for those who fear him and [he will] make known to

them his covenant.

16 My eyes continually [are] upon the LORD for he brings out my feet from the net.

17 Turn unto me and be gracious to me for alone and needy am I.

18 The troubles of my heart are wide; from my distresses bring me out.

19 See my need and my toil and bear all my sins.

20 See my enemies for they are many and they hate me with a violent hatred.

21 Keep my soul and deliver me; Let me not be ashamed for I took refuge in you.

22 In perfection and uprightness keep me for I waited on you.

23 Redeem, God, Israel from all her troubles.

And here are some of our observations:

— Two children counted the number of times “LORD” and “God” are used. “God” only occurs twice, at the beginning and end of the psalm. We have seen this in other psalms (though I think in that case it was “LORD”) and said then that this makes it form a kind of bookends to the psalm. “LORD” occurs nine times in this psalm. As we have said before, “LORD” in God’s covenant name so when it occurs a lot we know the psalmist has that relationship in view.

— One child also noticed that you or your occurs nine times and that he or him referring to God occurs ten times. This led to a couple of observations. One is that the psalm switches from second to third person between lines 8 and 9 and then back to second in line 17. Hebrew tends to be pretty comfortable with these kinds of switches. The second observation was that I, me, and my are used a lot too. Nobody counted these though. Our conclusion was that the psalmist is very focused on himself but also on God.

— One child looked at what the psalmist does and what God does. The psalmist lifts (his soul, not actual lifting), trusts, waits, and waits some more. His actions are really very passive. God makes known, teaches, remembers (or not), makes walk (figuratively, not literally), instructs, brings out, sees, keeps and redeems. It was easy to see that God does a lot more.  He is not, however, as active as in some psalms where he breaks and crushes and fun things like that. God in this psalm is not a warrior. He is a teacher. And the things he teaches are the way in which one should walk, truth, justice, and his covenant.

— Finally, one child pointed out that the reason God does all this in is line 8: “for the sake of your goodness, LORD.”

I think there is a lot more in this psalm that could be discussed. There are a lot of repeated words that we touched on but did not discuss in detail If you have other observations, I’d love to hear them. Look particularly at what God remembers and does not remember in lines 7 and 8.



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