[Preface] [Introduction] [Index]

Lesson 3


Psalms 56 & 34

Review of Previous Lessons

1. As far as we can discern, which psalm is the earliest, and who wrote it?

2. Which psalm is associated with the events of 1 Samuel 19?

READ: 1 Samuel 20-21, Psalms 56 & 34

1. Summarize the events of 1 Samuel 20-21.

2. Are these two psalms in the same book of the 5 books of psalms?

3. Which of these two psalms suggests that immediate danger is still present?

4. Which of these two psalms has the most joyful tone?

5. Which of these psalms was probably written first? Explain why you think so.

Ps. 56:TITLE Which verses in 1 Samuel 21 describe these events?
56:3 What reason would David have had to fear the Philistines? (Cf. 1 Sam. 21:11-12, 18:6-7, 27)
56:5-7 To whom do you think David referred when he said "They wrest my words," "Their thoughts are against me for evil," "They mark my steps," "shall they escape by iniquity," and "Cast down the Peoples"?
56:9 How would you describe the attitude of a man who can honestly write these words in times of danger?
Ps. 34:TITLE How did David escape the Philistines? (See 1 Sam. 21:13-15.)
  Is the title incorrect in saying that David "changed his behaviour before Abimelech" when 1 Sam. 21:10 gives the king's name as Achish? (Cf. Gen. 20:2, 21:22, 21:32, 26:1 26:6 and think!)
34:4,6 These verses vindicate David's confidence as expressed in which verse of Psalm 56?
34:12-16 Where are these verses quoted in the New Testament? (Use your cross reference.)
  Summarize the thought contained in the verse preceding the N.T. quotation of these verses.
  In what ways did David's life illustrate this principle?
34:20 Do some thinking about this verse, in this context, in light of John 19:36, Exodus 12:46, Numbers 9:12, and 1 Peter 1:10-12. Consider that sort of prophecy which is not explicit prediction, but rather consists of events or phrases that foreshadow something to come, and are thus typical of an antitype. In the historical context of Psalm 34, is it appropriate to consider David himself as the righteous one who will be delivered, notwithstanding his many afflictions? Can you see that, when taken literally, the words are especially appropriate when applied to Jesus? Why was it particularly appropriate that David serve as a type of the Christ who would come later?

Psalm 34 is an alphabetic, or acrostic psalm. The first verse begins with the first letter of the Hebrew alphabet, the second verse begins with the second letter of the Hebrew alphabet, and so on. As with several of the acrostic Psalms, the alphabet is not followed perfectly in this one. While there are 22 verses just as there are 22 letters in the Hebrew alphabet, there is no verse beginning with vau, the 6th letter. The total number of 22 is achieved because pe, the 17th letter is used for a second time, at the beginning of the last verse. What purpose might such an arrangement have served?