World Poetry Day: David’s Acrostic Psalms

poetryheaderTo celebrate World Poetry Day, we’re looking at David’s acrostic Psalms. David used various traditional poetry forms and techniques, and his acrostic Psalms are Psalm 9, 10, 25, 34, 37 and 119. (Psalm 119 is Davidic in style, and it is frequently attributed to him.)

“An acrostic poem in which the initial letters spell out the alphabet is called an “abecedarius.” Interestingly, there are several abecedarian poems in the Bible (based on the Hebrew alphabet). Examples can be found in Psalm 119 and Lamentations. The word “acrostic” comes from the Greek words “akros” (outermost) and “stichos” (line of verse).”  They can also be written so the first letter spells out a word which the poem is themed around. [Source]

Acrostic has a generator, so I put in ‘David’ and this is what came out and it’s not bad, though I’d change the last D to something less clichéd.

D is for Daring, succeeding in things others fear to try.
A is for Articulate, the gift of expression.
V is for Visionary, a dreamer.
I is for Impressive, an outstanding talent.
D is for Decent, a jolly good fellow.

The Jubilee Bible labels some of the acrostic Psalms with Hebrew alphabet character to more clearly display how they were written.


Psalm 34

Psa 34:1  A Psalm of David, when he changed his behaviour before Abimelech; who drove him away, and he departed.

א I will bless the LORD at all times: his praise shall continually be in my mouth.
Psa 34:2  ב My soul shall glory in the LORD; the meek shall hear of this, and be glad.
Psa 34:3  ג O magnify the LORD with me, and let us exalt his name together.
Psa 34:4  ד I sought the LORD, and he heard me and delivered me from all my fears.
Psa 34:5  ה They looked unto him and were lightened, and their faces were not ashamed.
Psa 34:6  ו This poor man cried out, and the LORD heard him and saved him out of all his troubles.
Psa 34:7  ז The angel of the LORD encamps round about those that fear him and delivers them.
Psa 34:8  ח O taste and see that the LORD is good; blessed is the man that shall trust in him.
Psa 34:9  ט O fear the LORD, ye his saints; for those that fear him lack nothing.
Psa 34:10  י The young lions do lack and suffer hunger, but those that seek the LORD shall not lack any good thing.
Psa 34:11  כ Come, ye children, hearken unto me; I will teach you the fear of the LORD.
Psa 34:12  ל Who is the man that desires life and loves many days that he may see good?
Psa 34:13  מ Keep thy tongue from evil, and thy lips from speaking guile.
Psa 34:14  נ Depart from evil, and do good; seek peace, and pursue it.
Psa 34:15  ס The eyes of the LORD are upon the righteous, and his ears are open unto their cry.
Psa 34:16  ע The anger of the LORD is against those that do evil to cut off the remembrance of them from the earth.
Psa 34:17  פ The righteous cried out, and the LORD heard and delivered them out of all their troubles.
Psa 34:18  צ The LORD is near unto those that are of a broken heart and saves such as are of a contrite spirit.
Psa 34:19  ק Many are the afflictions of the righteous, but the LORD shall deliver him out of them all,
Psa 34:20  ר keeping all his bones; not one of them shall be broken.
Psa 34:21  ש Evil shall slay the wicked; and those that hate the righteous shall be declared guilty.
Psa 34:22  ת The LORD ransoms the soul of his slaves, and none of those that trust in him shall be declared guilty.

Psalm 25

Psa 25:1  A Psalm of David. א Unto thee, O LORD, do I lift up my soul.
Psa 25:2  ב O my God, I trust in thee: let me not be ashamed, let not my enemies triumph over me.
Psa 25:3  ג Yea, none that wait on thee shall be ashamed; those which rebel without cause shall be ashamed.
Psa 25:4  ד Show me thy ways, O LORD; teach me thy paths.
Psa 25:5  ה Cause me to walk in thy truth and teach me: for thou art the God of my saving health; I have waited for thee all the day.
Psa 25:6  ו Remember, O LORD, thy compassion and thy mercies, for they have been ever of old.
Psa 25:7  ז Remember not the sins of my youth, nor my rebellions; according to thy mercy remember me for thy goodness’ sake, O LORD.
Psa 25:8  ח Good and upright is the LORD: therefore he will teach sinners in the way.
Psa 25:9  ט He will cause the humble to pass through the judgment, and the meek he will teach his way.
Psa 25:10  י All the paths of the LORD are mercy and truth unto such as keep his covenant and his testimonies.
Psa 25:11  כ For thy name’s sake, O LORD, pardon my iniquity; for it is great.
Psa 25:12  ל Who is the man that fears the LORD? Him shall he teach in the way that he shall choose.
Psa 25:13  מ His soul shall rest in that which is good; and his seed shall inherit the earth.
Psa 25:14  נ The secret of the LORD is for those that fear him, and he will show them his covenant.
Psa 25:15  ס Mine eyes are ever toward the LORD, for he shall pluck my feet out of the net.
Psa 25:16  ע Turn thee unto me and have mercy upon me, for I am desolate and afflicted.
Psa 25:17  צ The troubles of my heart are enlarged; O bring thou me out of my distresses.
Psa 25:18   ק Look upon my affliction and my pain and forgive all my sins.
Psa 25:19  ר Consider my enemies, for they are multiplied; and they hate me with cruel hatred.
Psa 25:20  ש O keep my soul and deliver me; let me not be ashamed, for I put my trust in thee.
Psa 25:21  ת Integrity and uprightness shall preserve me, for I have waited for thee.
Psa 25:22  פ Ransom Israel, O God, out of all his troubles.


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