Psalm 101

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Psalm 101 is the 101st psalm from the Book of Psalms.[1] The Latin name is Misericordiam et judicium.[2] It is attributed to David, and provides warnings for the wicked, while explaining the benefits the righteous will reap. [3] The Old Testament reads this of Psalms 101.


1 A Psalm of David.

I will sing of mercy and justice;

To You, O Lord, I will sing praises.

2 I will behave wisely in a [a]perfect way.

Oh, when will You come to me?

I will walk within my house with a perfect heart.

3 I will set nothing [b]wicked before my eyes;

I hate the work of those who fall away;

It shall not cling to me.

4 A perverse heart shall depart from me;

I will not know wickedness.

5 Whoever secretly slanders his neighbor,

Him I will destroy;

The one who has a haughty look and a proud heart,

Him I will not endure.

6 My eyes shall be on the faithful of the land,

That they may dwell with me;

He who walks in a [c]perfect way,

He shall serve me.

7 He who works deceit shall not dwell within my house;

He who tells lies shall not [d]continue in my presence.

8 Early I will destroy all the wicked of the land,

That I may cut off all the evildoers from the city of the Lord.


David here cuts out to himself and others a pattern both of a good magistrate and a good master of a family; and, if these were careful to discharge the duty of their place, it would contribute very much to a universal reformation.[4]

  • "I will sing of mercy and justice" (verse 1): God's "mercy" and "justice" go together, because when justice pronounces its righteous penalty, mercy may grant relief. As king, David knows that before he could exercise mercy and justice in His kingdom, he had to understand and extol the mercy and justice of God.[5]
  • "I will behave wisely in a perfect way" (verse 2): David determined that his reign would be marked by integrity and godliness, that is, to live a wise and holy life (perfect way), because as he came into a position of greater power, he experienced that power often exposes the flaws of character, if it does not actually help create them.[5]
  • "I will walk within my house with a perfect heart": David’s righteous life had to be real in his conduct within his own house, before it could be applied in the courts of his kingdom.[5]
  • "I will set nothing wicked before my eyes" (verses 3-4): One measure of a righteous life was what one chose to set before the eyes, as the lust of the eyes is a significant aspect of the lure of this world (1 John 2:6).[5]
  • "Whoever secretly slanders his neighbor" (verse 5): To lie or speak in an evil way against another is a significant and grievous sin and the worst of it is done secretly, so David was determined to oppose all who did so ("Him I will destroy").[5]
  • "My eyes shall be on the faithful of the land" (verses 6-8): Instead of looking at those who thought themselves better than others, David preferred to look at the faithful, deciding that they would dwell with him.[5]
  • "Early I will destroy all the wicked of the land": David's determination to rule in favor of the godly, made him decide to remove the wicked early on from the city of God.[5]



The prayer-book is an echo of the T’hillim. Seventy-four of the 150 Psalms are incorporated bodily in the Siddur. Some services consist largely or entirely of Psalms. Jewish prayer-language reflects the Psalms in mood and style.On personal, domestic and private occasions the Psalms are no less important – indeed they assume unique prominence, because the agony and ecstasy in the life of an individual or a family find such an echo and articulation in the words of T’hillim. Because the Psalms are essentially a way to show feelings, they have inspired countless musical renderings revealing the heights and depths of emotion. Synagogal composers have enshrined the Hebrew text in musical modes that are sometimes solemn and stately, sometimes joyous and rapturous. [6]


The Psalter has been considered the church’s prayerbook, the prayerbook of Jesus, and Israel’s songbook. Since the earliest days of the church, Christians have been singing and speaking the Psalms as part of corporate worship. Contemporary churches incorporate the Psalms into liturgical celebrations through prayer, singing, and proclamation. The Psalms provide language for praise and teach people to pray, as well as language that reflects every human experience and emotion from joy and confidence to doubt, despair, gratitude, fear, rage, and awe. The psalmic language also allows worshippers to pray for the coming of God’s own justice, to express gratitude for God’s saving, healing actions, and to anticipate the reign of God. This article discusses the ways Christians speak and sing psalms, the role of psalms in the Revised Common Lectionary, and their use throughout the liturgy.[7]

Catholic Church[edit]

Since the Middle Ages, this psalm was traditionally performed at the office of matins the Friday,[8] according to the Rule of St. Benedict established in 530.[9]

In the Liturgy of the Hours, Psalm 101 is sung or recited at Lauds on Tuesday of the fourth week.[10]

Originally, the psalm was performed by cantor and assembly in alternation, in the following fashion: a cantor sang verses of the psalm, and the assembly responded to them with a fixed refrain. As the music became more elaborate, the refrain consisted only of the final part of the responsory and was called the repetenda. Its liturgical function was that of a meditative assent to the preceding scriptural reading. Thus, the gradual and alleluia were originally responsorial chants. By the middle ages, the ancient responsorial psalm evolved into a highly stylized musical piece that was sung by the choir or cantor without any congregational response.[11]


  1. ^ Commentaires sur les psaumes, d’Hilaire de Poitiers, IVe siècle, Paris, Éditions du Cerf, 2008, collection sources chrétiennes n°515,
  2. ^
  3. ^ The Artscroll Tehillim page 214
  4. ^ Psalm 101 in Blue Letter Bible.
  5. ^ a b c d e f g "Psalm 101: A King's Determination to Righteous Rule". Enduring Word. 2016-06-18. Retrieved 2019-06-02.
  6. ^ "OzTorah » Blog Archive » The Psalms in Jewish liturgy". Retrieved 2019-06-02.
  7. ^ Long, Kimberly Bracken (2014-03-28). "The Psalms in Christian Worship". The Oxford Handbook of the Psalms. doi:10.1093/oxfordhb/9780199783335.013.037.
  8. ^ Psautier latin-français du bréviaire monastique, 1938/2003 p. 358.
  9. ^ Règle de saint Benoît, chapitre XVIII, traduction par Prosper Guéranger, (Abbaye Saint-Pierre de Solesmes, réimpression 2007)p. 46.
  10. ^ The main cycle of liturgical prayers takes place over four weeks.
  11. ^ "Responsorial Psalm |". Retrieved 2019-06-02.

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