The Psalms of David: Alternative, Easy Categories

yhwhTheologically, the Psalms are divided into the categories of praise, lament, wisdom and royal Psalms. Those categories are too broad and far too impersonal for me, so I have divided them up further. Please note that even trying to put them into categories is impossible. As the Psalms are honest worship, they don’t fit into neat slots.

The only Psalms included here, are ones which have been written by King David, or in his distinctive style. He always spoke about his own experiences and from an “I” viewpoint, which makes his work easy to identify. More Psalms which are considered his by scholars such as the Reverend Charles Spurgeon, are on this page. It is also useful to note that Asaph “proclaimed God’s messages by the king’s orders.” 1 Chronicles 25:2 So Psalms with his name on it, may be Davids.

Additional links which will help you find specific topics in the Psalms, are at the base of this page.

I have termed the “magistrate” Psalms as such, as one of the functions of the King was to hear and rule on disputes. These Psalms fit perfectly with that role.

This is a link to the Blue Letter Bible’s list of what event each Psalm refers to.

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Joy
Psalm 8: O LORD, your majestic name fills the earth!
Psalm 18: The heavens proclaim the glory of God.
Psalm 24: Who is the King of glory? The LORD, strong and mighty.
Psalm 29: The voice of the LORD echoes above the sea.
Psalm 33: Sing a new song of praise to him… Praise Him with instruments…
Psalm 65: You are the hope of everyone on earth.
Psalm 66: Shout joyful praises to God, all the earth!
Psalm 67: David’s work? May the nations praise you, O God.
Psalm 75: But as for me, I will always proclaim what God has done. (Attributed to Asaph, but David’s style.)
Psalm 103: He fills my life with good things. My youth is renewed like the eagle’s!
Psalm 108: For your unfailing love is higher than the heavens.
Psalm 138: For your faithful love, O LORD, endures forever.
Psalm 145: I will exalt you, my God and King, and praise your name forever and ever.
2 Samuel 23: King David’s last words.
1 Chronicles 16: Sung when the Ark of the Covenant was bought into Jerusalem.

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Victory
Psalm 9: I will tell of all the marvelous things you have done.
Psalm 18: When rescued from Saul and the enemies in that period of time.
Psalm 20: May the LORD answer all your prayers.
Psalm 21: How the king rejoices in your strength, O LORD!
Psalm 30: Weeping may last through the night, but joy comes with the morning.
Psalm 34: Taste and see that the LORD is good. (Regarding the time he pretended to be insane in front of Abimelech, who sent him away.)
Psalm 68: Rise up, O God, and scatter your enemies.
Psalm 118: Give thanks to the LORD, for he is good! His faithful love endures forever. (Davidic in style.)
Psalm 144: Praise the LORD, who is my rock.He trains my hands for war and gives my fingers skill for battle.
2 Samuel 22: When delivered from Saul.

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When Troubled By Sin
Psalm 6: O LORD, don’t rebuke me in your anger or discipline me in your rage.
Psalm 27: The LORD is my light and my salvation, so why should I be afraid?
Psalm 28: The LORD is my strength and shield.
Psalm 31: You are my rock and my fortress.
Psalm 32: Oh, what joy for those whose disobedience is forgiven.
Psalm 38: O LORD, don’t rebuke me in your anger.
Psalm 39: Rescue me from my rebellion. Do not let fools mock me.
Psalm 40: He lifted me out of the pit of despair… He set my feet on solid ground.
Psalm 41: Heal me, for I have sinned against you.
Psalm 51: After David had committed adultery with BathSheba.

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Prophetic / Messianic Psalms
Psalm 110: “You are a priest forever in the order of Melchizedek.”
Is it also possible that Psalm 2 was written by David?

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Persecution and Danger
Psalm 4: Answer me when I call to you, O God who declares me innocent.
Psalm 5: O LORD, hear me as I pray; pay attention to my groaning.
Psalm 7: Concerning Cush of the tribe of Benjamin.
Psalm 10: Why do you hide when I am in trouble?
Psalm 17: Hide me in the shadow of your wings.
Psalm 26: Put me on trial, LORD… Test my motives and my heart.
Psalm 35: O LORD, oppose those who oppose me.
Psalm 43: Why am I discouraged?… I will put my hope in God.
Psalm 52: Written when David was betrayed and his location was given to Saul.
Psalm 54: Regarding the time the Ziphites betrayed David to Saul.
Psalm 55: Oh, that I had wings like a dove; then I would fly away and rest!
Psalm 59: Regarding the time Saul sent soldiers to watch David’s house.
Psalm 64: Protect my life from my enemies’ threats.
Psalm 70: May those who try to kill me be humiliated and put to shame.
Psalm 86: O God, insolent people rise up against me.
Psalm 109: They repay evil for good, and hatred for my love.
Psalm 140: O LORD, keep me out of the hands of the wicked.
Psalm 141: O LORD, I am calling to you. Please hurry!
Psalm 142: Written when hiding in a cave from Saul.
Psalm 143: Let me hear of your unfailing love each morning, for I am trusting you.

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Personal Faith
Psalm 3: I lay down and slept, yet I woke up in safety… (Post Absalom)
Psalm 11: I trust in the LORD for protection.
Psalm 16: I know the LORD is always with me. I will not be shaken…
Psalm 23: The LORD is my shepherd.
Psalm 36: Your faithfulness reaches beyond the clouds.
Psalm 58: Justice – do you rulers know the meaning of the word?
Psalm 63: When David was hiding in the wilderness of Judah.
Psalm 121: I look up to the mountains – does my help come from there? (Davidic in style.)
Psalm 139: O LORD, you have examined my heart and know everything about me.

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Magistrate Psalms (Injustice Observed)
Psalm 12: Therefore, LORD, we know you will protect the oppressed.
Psalm 14: Will those who do evil never learn?
Psalm 15: Who may worship in your sanctuary, LORD?
Psalm 37: Commit everything you do to the LORD.

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Deep Distress
Psalm 13: O LORD, how long will you forget me? Forever?
Psalm 22: Yet you are holy, enthroned on the praises of Israel.
Psalm 25: The LORD is a friend to those who fear him.
Psalm 31: You are my rock and my fortress.
Psalm 55: Oh, that I had wings like a dove; then I would fly away and rest!
Psalm 56: Regarding the time the Philistines seized him in Gath. You have collected all my tears in a bottle.
Psalm 60: After battles with the enemies of Isra’el.
Psalm 61: When my heart is overwhelmed. Lead me to the towering rock of safety.
Psalm 62: He alone is my rock and my salvation.
Psalm 69: Save me, O God, for the floodwaters are up to my neck.
2 Samuel 1:19-27: Lament over King Saul and Jonathan’s deaths.

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Teaching (Instructional) Psalms
Psalm 36: Your faithfulness reaches beyond the clouds.
Psalm 37: Commit everything you do to the LORD.
Psalm 53: Only fools say in their hearts, “There is no God.”
Psalm 119: How can a young person stay pure? By obeying your word. (Davidic in style.)

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Songs of Ascent
Songs for pilgrims who will be visiting the new temple in Jerusalem, which is yet to be built by King Solomon.
Psalms 121 to 134 cover these songs. As David did a great deal of work on temple planning before his death, it is only fitting that some are his work.

David is not listed as the author of all these Psalms, he is only listed as authoring 122, 124, 131 and 133. However 121, 123 and 130 have a Davidic ring to them.

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Acrostics (Hebrew Alphabet)
Psalm 9: I will tell of all the marvelous things you have done.
Psalm 10: Why do you hide when I am in trouble?
Psalm 25: The LORD is a friend to those who fear him.
Psalm 34: Taste and see that the LORD is good. (Regarding the time he pretended to be insane in front of Abimelech, who sent him away.)
Psalm 37: Commit everything you do to the LORD.
Psalm 119: How can a young person stay pure? By obeying your word. (Davidic in style. Frequently attributed to him.)

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Written in Old Age
Psalm 25: The LORD is a friend to those who fear him.
Psalm 37: Commit everything you do to the LORD.
Psalm 103: He fills my life with good things. My youth is renewed like the eagle’s!
Psalm 108: For your unfailing love is higher than the heavens.
2 Samuel 23: King David’s last words.

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Additional Links to External Resources

Psalms by theme: http://bookofhours.org/psalms/tool_themes.htm
Psalm Bible Study Topics: http://www.christianet.com/psalms/
A handy reference list on the Psalms: http://www.examiner.com/article/a-handy-reference-list-psalms


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