Psalm 103

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Scroll of the Psalms

Psalm 103 is the 103rd psalm from the Book of Psalms (Greek numbering: Psalm 102). The first verse attributes it to King David, the author of many Psalms. J. A. Motyer of Trinity College, Bristol describes it thus: "The blend of changeless fatherly care and endless sovereign rule is the distinctive stress of this Psalm."[1]


The Psalm uses a variety of imagery, memorably in verse 12: "...As far as the east is from the west, so far he removes our transgressions from us..." 103:12.

It is similar in theme to Psalm 102.[2]



  • Verse 1 is the final verse of Nishmat.[3]
  • Verse 10 is part of the opening paragraph of the long Tachanun recited on Mondays and Thursdays.[4]
  • Verse 13 is part of the long Tachanun recited on Mondays and Thursdays.[5]
  • Verse 14 is the second-to-last verse of the regular Tachanun.[6]
  • Verse 17 is recited during the blessings before the Shema on the second day of Rosh Hashanah.[7]
  • Verse 19 is the seventh verse of Yehi Kivod in Pesukei Dezimra.[8]

Psalm 103 is not used in full in the Jewish liturgy but its verses found in many prayers Verse 1 concludes the prayer Nishmat. Verse 10 and verse 13 are part of the long tachanun recited Monday and Tuesday. Verse 14 is also the penultimate verse of the regular tachanun. Finally, verse 17 is recited for the blessings before the Shema, the second day of Rosh Hashanah, and verse 19 is in the Yehi Kivod of zemirot.[9]


Psalm 103:3 on a cross in the village of Kétvölgy, Hungary.


This psalm was traditionally performed during the celebration of Matins of Saturday by the order of St. Benedict, probably since its founding to 530.[10]

In the Liturgy of Hours today, Psalm 103 is sung or recited to the Office of Sunday readings deuxième week. It is also very present among the Mass readings. It is the psalm read the Sacred Heart party. for ordinary times, we find the 7th and the 24th Sunday of the year A7 and the eighth Sunday of the year B. Lent, it is played the 3rd and 7th Sunday. Finally, it is the 7th Psalm Easter Sunday.


In the Eastern Orthodox Church this psalm is one of the six psalms of Orthros (Matins) read every morning outside of Bright Week. It is also the first of the "Typical Psalms" of the Typica, which is read in place of the Divine Liturgy when the latter is not celebrated on days it is permitted to be. It is frequently sung as the first antiphon of the Divine Liturgy, but there it is often replaced by another antiphon on great feasts and on many weekdays, and is always thus replaced in Greek practice (except on Mount Athos).[11]


Thesman found the psalm a declaration that God never betrays us, never abandons us, and never forgets ..... His mercy covers our mistakes and our human tendencies[12] while Coke, calls it an exquisite performance, very applicable to every deliverance: it may properly be said to describe the wonders of grace,[13] This Psalm is one continued hymn of praise, and includes a comprehensive view of the goodness of Jehovah, in all the great works of creation and redemption[14] while Barnes called it exceedingly regular in its structure and composition; beautiful in its language and conceptions; adapted to all times and ages; suited to express the feelings of gratitude to God for deliverance from trouble, and for the manifestation of his mercy; suited to elevate the soul, and to fill it with cheerful views.[15]

Ps103 in Luttrell Psalter c. 1325–1335.

The Old Testament scholar Bernhard Duhm considers the Psalm a "compilation of all sorts of beautiful sentences from a fairly extensive reading."[16]

Use in music[edit]

Psalm 103 is the source of the English hymn Praise, My Soul, the King of Heaven (Praise, my soul, the King of Heaven), written in the nineteenth century by Henry Francis Lyte. In the 16th century, Claudin de Sermisy used the text.

  • The song Bless The Lord in the musical Godspell is based on this Psalm.

The song "Nun lob, my soul, the men" by Johann Gramann represents a paraphrase of Psalm 103.. The songs "Sing to the Lord and praise him", "Bless the Lord, O my soul" not to thank and "Forget the eternal Lord, "are based on Psalm 103.


  1. ^ LePeau, Phyllis J. (2001-08-02). Kindness: Reaching Out to Others. Zondervan. p. 55. ISBN 978-0-310-23866-9. , attributed to The New Bible Commentary, 552.
  2. ^ Jewish Publication Society (2014) "Psalms" (note on Psalm 103) in Adele Berlin and Marc Zvi Brettler (eds.) The Jewish Study Bible (second edition). New York: Oxford University Press.
  3. ^ The Complete Artscroll Siddur p. 403
  4. ^ The Complete Artscroll Siddur p. 125
  5. ^ The Complete Artscroll Siddur p. 127
  6. ^ The Complete Artscroll Siddur p. 139
  7. ^ The Complete Artscroll Machzor for Rosh Hashanah p. 273
  8. ^ The Complete Artscroll Siddur p. 66
  9. ^ D’après le Complete Artscroll Siddur, compilation des prières juives.
  10. ^
  11. ^ Krivoshein, Basil. "Some differences between Greek and Russian divine services and their significance". Retrieved 4 July 2013. 
  12. ^ R. J. Thesman, A Meditation on Psalm 103.
  13. ^ Coke, Thomas. Commentary on Psalms 103:1.
  14. ^ Hawker, Robert, D.D. "Commentary on Psalms 103:1". "Hawker's Poor Man's Commentary".
  15. ^ Albert Barnes, Notes on the Bible, (1834)
  16. ^ Bernhard Duhm, Psalmen (1922), p. 371

External links[edit]