The Old Testament

A Historical, Theological, and Critical Introduction


15. Psalms

Bible Reading Guide

Note: The numbers of the questions correspond to the chapters from which they come.

  1. Who is like a tree planted by waters?
  2. How is God’s king installed?
  3. Why can the psalmist sleep and awake?
  4. What should we do on our beds?
  5. What should the Lord do with the psalmist’s enemies?
  6. Why does the psalmist weep all night long?
  7. What weapons does the psalmist refer to?
  8. How are people created?
  9. Why does the psalmist want to be rescued from the gates of death?
  10. How is the wicked like a lion?
  11. What does the Lord do in his holy temple?
  12. What resembles silver and gold?
  13. If the Lord does not give light to the eyes of the psalmist, what will happen?
  14. What is likened to eating bread?
  15. Who may live on the Lord’s sacred mountain?
  16. Why is the psalmist’s heart glad and secure?
  17. Describe the heart and mouth of the wicked.
  18. If God shows himself pure to the pure, what does he show to the devious?
  19. What two subjects does Psalm 19 address?
  20. How is the first half of Psalm 20 formed?
  21. What will the Lord do against the psalmist’s enemies in battle?
  22. What animal images does the psalmist use for his enemies?
  23. What will the psalmist not fear in the darkest valley?
  24. Who can stand in the Lord’s holy place?
  25. If the Lord is not to remember the psalmist’s sins, what should he remember?
  26. What characterizes the blameless life of the psalmist?
  27. What is the one thing that the psalmist seeks?
  28. What do wicked do who speak cordially with their neighbors?
  29. What does the voice of the Lord do?
  30. How did the Lord favor the psalmist?
  31. What do the psalmist’s enemies whisper?
  32. Why should we not be like the horse or mule?
  33. Upon whom are the eyes of the Lord?
  34. How will one see many good days?
  35. How did the psalmist treat his enemies when they were ill?
  36. What does the Lord do for both people and animals?
  37. To what living things does the psalmist compare the wicked?
  38. What is failing the psalmist as he cries for God’s salvation?
  39. In his cry to God, how does the psalmist compare himself to God?
  40. What are more than the hairs of the psalmist’s head?
  41. When the psalmist’s enemies imagine the worst, how do they describe it?
  42. What is the solution to the psalmist’s downcast and disturbed soul?
  43. Where will the light of God lead the psalmist?
  44. What question do those who face death for God’s sake ask him?
  45. In the royal wedding psalm what blessing is given to the princess and prince?
  46. If God is our refuge, we need not fear in what circumstances?
  47. Why should we sing praises to God?
  48. To what mountain is Mount Zion compared?
  49. What does Psalm 49 teach about people?
  50. Why does God stress that he doesn’t need sacrifices?
  51. For the sinner what sacrifices does God want?
  52. To what is the psalmist who trusts in God’s love likened?
  53. What does the fool say in his heart?
  54. What type of offering does the psalmist promise for salvation from slanderers?
  55. Who is the enemy who is perhaps insulting the psalmist?
  56. What are to be listed on God’s scroll?
  57. What are the tongues of the psalmist’s enemies compared to?
  58. What will the people say when the rulers are punished for injustice?
  59. Why should those who slander the psalmist not be killed?
  60. What place is God’s scepter in Psalm 60?
  61. What does the psalmist wish for in Psalm 61?
  62. What two things have been spoke by God?
  63. Although the psalmist has no water, with what will he be satisfied?
  64. In what do the wicked encourage each other?
  65. Why are the streams of God filled with water?
  66. How did the people of God reach a place of abundance?
  67. Why do the psalmists wish for God to bless them?
  68. Who brings God gifts?
  69. What did the psalmist’s give for his thirst?
  70. How does the psalmist describe himself in his plea to God to come quickly?
  71. If he is not cast away in old age, when did the psalmist begin to rely on God?
  72. The psalm that prays blessings for the king ends in what way?
  73. What turns the psalmist from envying the wicked to seeing their fate?
  74. What happened to the carved paneling in the sanctuary?
  75. What is in the cup in God’s hand?
  76. What is the attitude appropriate to God’s military power and wrath?
  77. Through what did the path that the psalmist remembers go?
  78. With what events does Psalm 78 begin and end?
  79. How many times should God pay back the contempt of neighbors?
  80. What image describes Israel from its departure from Egypt and onwards?
  81. How did Israel respond to the exodus and the command to worship God?
  82. What will happen to the gods?
  83. What is the first historical example of what God is to do to the plotting nations?
  84. Where has the swallow found a nest for her young?
  85. What does God promise to his people, and what kisses righteousness?
  86. Why does the psalmist wish for an undivided heart?
  87. In respect to Zion, what will the nations say and the Lord write?
  88. In Psalm 88, how does the psalmist find the response to his cry for help?
  89. In Psalm 89, what is the covenant that is at the center of this psalm?
  90. Why should we learn to number our days?
  91. How does God command his angels with respect to the faithful?
  92. To what trees may the righteous be compared?
  93. What two aspects of God stand firm against the seas?
  94. What does the Lord know about all human plans?
  95. Name the two places/events that obedient Israel is not to be like.
  96. What are we to say among the nations?
  97. What goes before the Lord in his majesty?
  98. What have all the ends of the earth seen?
  99. Which three are named as having called on the Lord and kept his statutes?
  100. As God’s people, what animals do we resemble?
  101. The psalmist wants what kind of life, and what kind of people does he look to?
  102. Whom does the Lord look down upon and release?
  103. How great is God’s love for those who fear him?
  104. What does God’s Spirit do for the creatures of the earth?
  105. Which two books of the Bible does Psalm 105 recount?
  106. With what major events does Psalm 106 begin and end?
  107. What sorts of people were saved when they cried to the Lord?
  108. What place is God’s scepter in Psalm 108?
  109. Of what form of literature does most of Psalm 109 consist?
  110. Of what priestly order is “my lord?”
  111. What is the beginning of wisdom?
  112. What adverb describes how the righteous lend and give to the poor?
  113. What does the Lord do for the childless woman?
  114. What caused the mountains to leap like rams?
  115. How are the dead contrasted with the people of God?
  116. What is precious in the sight of the Lord?
  117. How long does the faithfulness of the Lord endure?
  118. Where does the festal procession go with its boughs?
  119. What is the subject of the book’s longest psalm?
  120. Where has the psalmist lived too long?
  121. Why will God not slumber in watching over the psalm’s reader?
  122. For what purpose are the thrones in Jerusalem?
  123. What do our eyes seek from God?
  124. What does the engulfing flood symbolize?
  125. To what are those who trust in the Lord likened?
  126. What are streams in the Negev likened to?
  127. Why is so much of life’s toil in vain?
  128. Who are likened to olive shoots?
  129. To what is grass on the roof likened?
  130. What is awaited more than watchers for the morning?
  131. Who is like a weaned child with its mother?
  132. What was the purpose of David’s oath?
  133. To what is the oil on Aaron’s beard likened?
  134. Who is to praise the Lord in the last Song of Ascents?
  135. Into the midst of which enemy did God send signs and wonders?
  136. What is the great refrain of Psalm 136?
  137. What did the Edomites cry on the day Jerusalem fell?
  138. In which direction will the psalmist bow to praise the Lord?
  139. When were all the days ordained for the psalmist written in God’s book?
  140. How sharp are the tongues of those who plan evil?
  141. What substance on one’s head does the rebuke of a righteous man resemble?
  142. When will the righteous gather around the psalmist?
  143. When the enemy is overcoming the psalmist, what does he remember?
  144. To what does the psalmist liken mortals?
  145. What does one generation commend to another?
  146. In what or whom should we not trust?
  147. In what or whom does the Lord delight?
  148. What has God raised up for his people?
  149. What are the people to have in their hands, along with God’s praise in their mouths?
  150. What is repeatedly described as active in praising God in the last psalm?

Study Questions

  1. What is the meaning of the root word that the Hebrew title for Psalms comes from?
  2. Which first-century texts of Psalms preserve the order that we know (Masoretic)?
  3. To what does the psalmist compare a deer panting for water?
  4. Which two psalms are near duplicates?
  5. What did the mountains do when Israel left Egypt and settled in their land?
  6. For what purpose does the Rock Yahweh train the psalmist?
  7. What purpose did Augustine see in the psalms of Ascent?
  8. For most of Christian history, how have the psalms been interpreted?
  9. What comparative areas could be found in major Psalms studies of the 1970s?
  10. With a recent variety of methods, what has happened to Gunkel’s categories?
  11. How may Hebrew poetry be characterized?
  12. What was Kugel’s conclusion about the three types of Hebrew poetry?
  13. What is “for his covenant love lasts forever” in Psalm 136?
  14. Musical performance by women is often related to what type of instrument?
  15. What values for the counselor of children can be found in Psalm 131?
  16. How did Sumerian laments influence laments in the Hebrew psalms?
  17. Which poetry is most like Hebrew poetry?
  18. The example of the prayer to Baal concerns what subject?
  19. Where is pharaoh described as setting his name on Jerusalem?
  20. What problem exists with the title of Psalm 51 as spoken after David’s adultery?
  21. How did the Qumran community explain promised royal and priestly messiahs?
  22. How can psalms where enemies are attacking end with God already victorious?
  23. What does mention of northern and southern tribes in Psalm 80 suggest?
  24. Whence comes the phase “dashing babies against rocks” in Psalm 137?
  25. On a deeper level than the Gospels, what do the psalms teach about Jesus?