Psalm 131

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Scroll of the Psalms

Psalm 131 is the 131st psalm from the Book of Psalms.[1] It is one of 15 psalms that begins with the words "A song of ascents" (Shir Hama'alot).

It is attributed to King David and is ranked among the psalms of confidence.


The first two verses are opposed: after the first verse in negative, the second shows what trust in God is. The third is a synthesis for the people of Israel.

The first verse invites humility: perhaps the psalmist pursued great designs before perceiving their vanity. The movement of the verse is from the inside to the outside: the heart, the eyes, then the path taken.

The second verse takes the simple and natural idea of a child weaned against his mother to express trust in God. Weaning can express the end of instinctive desires, peace of heart and abandonment to Providence.

The third verse recapitulates the first two verses and expands them to all Israel, which also needs to surrender to God as a child. In addition, Jewish prayer is often communal.




File:Brocky, Karoly - Mother and Child (1846-50).

Since the Middle Ages, according to the Rule of St. Benedict(530), it was traditionally recited or sung at the office of vespers on Tuesday between Psalm 130 and Psalm 132[3][4]

Currently, in the Liturgy of the Hours, we find Psalm 131 in the Office of Readings of Saturday's first week and vespers Tuesday of the third week. In the liturgy of the Mass, he recited the 31st year the Sunday A8, and in the 31st week Monday even years and the 31st Tuesday odd years.[5]


Michel-Richard de Lalande composed his great motet for this psalm (p. 28) at the end of the seventeenth century, before 1689, for the offices at the royal chapel of the castle of Versailles. In 1691, the work was revised and improved.


  1. ^ Commentaires sur les psaumes, d’Hilaire de Poitiers, IVe siècle, Paris, Éditions du Cerf, 2008
  2. ^ The Complete Artscroll Siddur page 530
  3. ^ Prosper Guéranger, Règle de saint Benoît, (Abbaye Saint-Pierre de Solesmes, réimpression 2007) p46.
  4. ^ Psautier latin-français du bréviaire monastique, (1938/2003) p499.
  5. ^ Le cycle principal des prières liturgiques se déroule sur quatre semaines.