First Book of Psalms - Psalms 1 to 41




The First Book of Psalms covers SL 1 to 41. These are the most rewarding prayers of invocation and hymns of thanksgiving to God. Get to know them in detail here.

The language of the Psalms is simple and accessible. Through metaphors, parallelisms, repetitions, and other writing techniques, the authors of the Book of Psalms portray the most basic essence of ‘people’ and ‘peoples’ collectively. In human life, a series of experiences of suffering, persecution, despair, violence, and injustice occur. These, as described in the Psalms hundreds of years ago, still mark individuals and societies today, shaping them. That is why the themes related to the First Book of Psalms are timeless and various cultures pray the Psalms with equal faith and devotion.

The Book of Psalms

The Book of Psalms is composed of a collection of 150 poetic texts and is divided into five parts, called Psalm books. Each book closes with short hymns of praise to God. The division into five parts was considered to correspond to the five books of Moses and it is assumed that each passage in the Pentateuch (the first five books of the Bible, called Torah by the Jews) was read in parallel with the corresponding Psalm. Its main forms are lamentation, supplication, praise, and gratitude. The five Books are:

  • Book I  - Psalms 1 to 41
  • Book II  - Psalms 42 to 72
  • Book III  - Psalms 73 to 89
  • Book IV  - Psalms 90 to 106
  • Book V  - Psalms 107 to 150

The name of  Psalms, given to the one hundred and fifty church songs, is derived from the Greek  Psalmoi and was coined for the Greek translation in the century. III A.C. Before that, it may have had other names in Hebrew such as  Mizmor, a  term meaning “Poetic songs”. De Tefillot’s title, “Prayers” could equally have been in use. Tehillim, which means “Praises”, was the name that eventually prevailed in the Hebrew Bible.

The Personal Religious Experience and the Community Dimension

The victims’ reaction can trigger the violence of revenge and aggression, perpetuating the chain of evil. The suffering brought about by the brutal experience of evil (the enemy’s persecution, the deadly threat of disease, the frailty of life approaching death, the interior and relational disorder of sin) is the context for the believer/Psalmist to summon for God, asking for help, compassion, help, forgiveness.

From the personal and peoples’ vulnerability, which experience the danger of existence, interior transformation and the belief that it is possible to be reborn in the trust and hope of God’s mercy is born. The pleas that relationship to violence and anguish are already a cry for liberation, a call for help, and a promise of a better future in the goodness of God.

The First Book of Psalms

The themes of the titles of the First Book of Psalms reflect well what concerns and martyrs the Psalmist. Most of them are prayers of supplication that appeal to God’s kind protection, affirm the confidence of his presence, and glorify his morals and action on men. They are also the recognition of the fragility of the human condition and the guilt that plagues the sinner who awaits redemption with God.

  • Psalm 1 - The Paths of Righteousness and Virtue
  • Psalm 2 - God and His Anointed
  • Psalm 3 - Certainty of Divine Help against Enemies
  • Psalm 4 - Trust in God in Tightening Times
  • Psalm 5 - Morning Prayer against Enemies
  • Psalm 6 - Supplication of a Righteous One in Distress
  • Psalm 7 - Prayer of a persecuted righteous man
  • Psalm 8 - Hymn to the Creator of Man
  • Psalm 9 - God, Protector of the Lowly
  • Psalm 10 - Prayer for the Oppressed, Orphans, and the Disadvantaged
  • Psalm 11 - Trust of the Righteous in the Equity of the Lord
  • Psalm 12 - Prayer against the Wicked Who Despise the Faith
  • Psalm 13 - Confident Pleading for God’s Protection
  • Psalm 14 - The Wicked and the People of God
  • Psalm 15 - In the House of the Lord and the Moral Precepts
  • Psalm 16 - God, Refuge, Life and Safety
  • Psalm 17 - An Innocent’s Prayer and Request for Justice
  • Psalm 18 - Divine Appearance and Triumph of the Righteous
  • Psalm 19 - Praise to God the Creator and Lawgiver
  • Psalm 20 - Prayer for the King for Divine Protection
  • Psalm 21 - Thanksgiving for the King after Victory
  • Psalm 22 - The Passion of the Righteous and Supplication to God
  • Psalm 23 - The Good Shepherd - God’s Care and Protection
  • Psalm 24 - Processional Song - The Glory of God
  • Psalm 25 - Request for Pardon and Release
  • Psalm 26 - Prayer of an Innocent
  • Psalm 27 - Trust of the Righteous in God’s Justice
  • Psalm 28 - Supplication and Thanksgiving
  • Psalm 29 - Hymn to the Lord of Nature
  • Psalm 30 - Thanksgiving after Danger
  • Psalm 31 - Appeal in Affliction to the Mercy of the Lord
  • Psalm 32 - Forgiveness and Thanksgiving
  • Psalm 33 - Hymn to the Creator and Provident God
  • Psalm 34 - God Protects the Righteous
  • Psalm 35 - Appeal to God’s Justice and Mercy
  • Psalm 36 - Human Malice and Divine Kindness
  • Psalm 37 - The Fate of the Righteous and the Wicked
  • Psalm 38 - Sickness and Penance
  • Psalm 39 - Enigma and Brevity of Life
  • Psalm 40 - Thanksgiving and Supplication
  • Psalm 41 - A Sick’s Prayer and Faith in Immortality

Who Wrote the Psalms?

The earliest collection of Psalms, the oldest, is attributed to King David (Psalms 3–41), the ancestor of Jesus Christ and the most charismatic ruler of the nation of Israel. Another collection attributed to this author is constituted by Psalms 51 to 72, the date on which the exile began.

Psalms 42 to 49 are attributed to the sons of Korah, Levites who served in the temple and report the pilgrimage, and the defeats. Most of them predate the destruction of Jerusalem. King Solomon is the author of at least two Psalms.

Psalms 73 to 83 are attributed to the sons of Asaph, the father of Joah, and a character mentioned in the Old Testament Bible, being prior to exile. Psalm 50, attributed to Asaf, joins the Davidic collection 3 to 41. Even so, the authorship of many Psalms remains unknown.

The Joy of Living in Communion with God’s Law

The Psalms are poetic prayers addressed to God, known to be the privileged way to address and speak with Him. Depicting the common man, with his failures, insecurities, fears, and hopes, we can still identify with the Psalmist and be inspired today in Psalms to make prayers and supplications to God in times of trouble or express our gratitude for some blessing received.

The Psalms, despite being written in Antiquity, still move, sensitize, awaken feelings, inspire and enchant. In them, we can identify anguish and joy, deeply human feelings, praises, supplications, teachings of reflection on spiritual wisdom, and prophetic words.

Written for different situations, some Psalms are intimate, revealing the author’s personal relationship with God; others provide guidelines and advice for life, the rest are compositions for specific holy events such as rituals and pilgrimages.

The Power of Prayer

The Psalms elevate our thoughts to the Divine and prayer is the power of the word. Prayer is the language of faith. Any thought, word or image addressed to God is called prayer. It is through it that we come into contact with our God within and, therefore, it is so powerful in transforming life. Prayer can produce miracles, turn dreams into reality, and give us hope for change, harmony, and peace with ourselves and the world.

Each Psalm and the First Book of Psalms well reflects these principles and has an intention that helps us to meditate and walk beside our God. For many theologians, the Book of Psalms has a prophetic or rosy tone as its verses refer to the coming of Christ into the world of men to guide them through the uncertainty and doubts of Human existence.

The prayer has the power to call the Spiritual Universe full mode, honest, sincere, conscious, for the purpose of spiritual self-protection, family protection, and those who are dear to us, to have peace of mind, spiritual and physical, for prosperity and success, to protect health and relationships, to ward off negative energies and, above all, to connect us to something bigger than ourselves. From this peace, well-being, hope, and goodness in front of everyone and everything results.

Faith can change our lives. It gives us tranquility and spiritual strength to face challenges. It helps us to meditate on our mission in life and to create a balanced and healthy environment for ourselves and those we love. When you pray, fill your heart with love and determination. The Psalms will guide you on a path of peace and communion with higher energy.