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Psalm 27

File:Psalms scroll.PNG
Scroll of the Psalms
Psalm 27 is the 27th Psalm from the Book of Psalms.

The Psalm is a cry for and ultimately a declaration of belief in the greatness of God and trust in the protection he provides. It may be a sequel of the preceding psalm.[1]


The Psalm is generally attributed to King David.[2][3][4] Protestant Christians have traditionally thought of it as written early in David's life, during his flight from King Saul,[5] with Spurgeon suggesting the incident with Doeg the Edomite specifically.[6] Jewish scholars, however, put it toward the end of his life.


Catholic doctrine has traditionally seen the Psalm in two sections. The first section declaring the power of God and a boundless hope that God will bring rescue, and protection from all enemies.[7] The second portion has a clear shift in tone [8] with declaration “I believe". Some Jewish scholarship contends it may have originally been two separate Psalms,[9] but this juxtaposing of conflicting outlooks is known in Jewish scholarship of the pre exile period.

In Hebrew the first three verses increase numerically: Two parallel phrases of five words each, then six, then seven, (hinting at completion in Jewish numerology).[10]




Catholic: In the Roman Rite liturgy, this Psalm is recited, divided into its two parts, at Vespers on Wednesday of the first week of the four-week cycle, as well as being used often as a responsorial psalm at Mass.

A New Catholic Commentary on Holy Scripture[15] says the first poem of which Psalm 27 is composed is an expression of confidence that God will bring help and of devotion to the Temple, and the second is a cry for help. Mary Kathleen Glavich's The Catholic Companion to the Psalms recounts how a woman wrote the first verses of Psalm 27 (boundless hope that God will bring rescue) on the wall of the brothel room where she was confined against her will.[16] Pope John Paul II also spoke of the first part of the psalm as "marked by a deep tranquillity, based on trust in God on the dark day of the evildoers' assault". In the second part too, he said, "the decisive element is the trust of the person of prayer in the Lord", whose face the person seeks, an expression of "the mystical need of divine intimacy through prayer", an intimacy made possible even in this life through Christ.[17]

Protestant: Matthew Henry similarly saw the Psalm as a metaphor for the Christian life, that “whatever the Christian is as to this life, he considers the favour and service of God as the one thing needful...”[18] while Spurgeon sees the Psalm as at once the language of David, but also descriptive of the Church, and Jesus. Calvin saw it more as a prayer of thankfulness and composure.[19]


  1. ^ Haydock's Catholic Bible Commentary, 1859 Psalm 27.
  2. ^ Psalm 27 (New International Version) at Bible Study Tools.
  3. ^ psalms 27 at Bible Hub.
  4. ^ Haydock's Catholic Bible Commentary, 1859 Psalm 27.
  5. ^ Matthew Henry, Commentary on the Whole BiblePsalms 27.
  6. ^ Charles H. Spurgeon, The Treasury of David.
  7. ^ Psalm 27:4–6).
  8. ^ Psalms 27:7–12.
  9. ^ Rabbi Benjamin J. Segal Psalm 27 .
  10. ^ Rabbi Benjamin J. Segal Psalm 27 .
  11. ^ The Complete Artscroll Siddur page 170
  12. ^ The Complete Artscroll Machzor for Rosh Hashanah page 349
  13. ^ The Complete Artscroll Machzor for Rosh Hashanah page 465
  14. ^ The Complete Artscroll Siddur page 477
  15. ^ Reginald C. Fuller, Leonard Johnston, Conleth Kearns (editors), A New Catholic Commentary on Holy Scripture (Nelson 1969)
  16. ^ Mary Kathleen Glavich, The Catholic Companion to the Psalms (ACTA Publications 2008 ISBN 978-0-87946364-9), p. 25
  17. ^ Pope John Paul II General Audience, Wednesday, 28 April 2004.
  18. ^ Matthew Henry, Psalm 27.
  19. ^ Calvin's Commentaries, Vol. 8: Psalms, Part I, translated . by John King, [1847-50], at

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