|"I will bless the LORD at all times"|
Psalm 34 is the 34th psalm of the Book of Psalms, beginning in English in the King James Version: "I will bless the LORD at all times: his praise shall continually be in my mouth." The Book of Psalms is part of the third section of the Hebrew Bible, and a book of the Christian Old Testament. In the slightly different numbering system used in the Greek Septuagint and Latin Vulgate translations of the Bible, this psalm is Psalm 33. In Latin, it is known as "Benedicam Dominum in omni tempore".
Psalm 34 is attributed to David. The Psalm's subtitle, A Psalm of David when he pretended madness before Abimelech, who drove him away, and he departed, derives from when David was living with the Philistines, but the account of this event in 1 Samuel 21 refers to the king as Achish, not Abimelech. However, this seeming contradiction is easily explainable when you understand that Abimelech would have been his title and Achish, his actual name. The psalm is an acrostic poem in the Hebrew Alphabet, one of a series of songs of thanksgiving. It is the first Psalm which describes angels as guardians of the righteous.
Hebrew Bible version
Following is the Hebrew text of Psalm 34:
|1||.לְדָוִד-- בְּשַׁנּוֹתוֹ אֶת-טַעְמוֹ, לִפְנֵי אֲבִימֶלֶךְ; וַיְגָרְשֵׁהוּ, וַיֵּלַךְ|
|2||.אֲבָרְכָה אֶת-יְהוָה בְּכָל-עֵת; תָּמִיד, תְּהִלָּתוֹ בְּפִי|
|3||.בַּיהוָה, תִּתְהַלֵּל נַפְשִׁי; יִשְׁמְעוּ עֲנָוִים וְיִשְׂמָחוּ|
|4||.גַּדְּלוּ לַיהוָה אִתִּי; וּנְרוֹמְמָה שְׁמוֹ יַחְדָּו|
|5||.דָּרַשְׁתִּי אֶת-יְהוָה וְעָנָנִי; וּמִכָּל-מְגוּרוֹתַי הִצִּילָנִי|
|6||.הִבִּיטוּ אֵלָיו וְנָהָרוּ; וּפְנֵיהֶם, אַל-יֶחְפָּרוּ|
|7||.זֶה עָנִי קָרָא, וַיהוָה שָׁמֵעַ; וּמִכָּל-צָרוֹתָיו, הוֹשִׁיעוֹ|
|8||.חֹנֶה מַלְאַךְ-יְהוָה סָבִיב לִירֵאָיו; וַיְחַלְּצֵם|
|9||.טַעֲמוּ וּרְאוּ, כִּי-טוֹב יְהוָה; אַשְׁרֵי הַגֶּבֶר, יֶחֱסֶה-בּוֹ|
|10||.יְראוּ אֶת-יְהוָה קְדֹשָׁיו: כִּי-אֵין מַחְסוֹר, לִירֵאָיו|
|11||.כְּפִירִים, רָשׁוּ וְרָעֵבוּ; וְדֹרְשֵׁי יְהוָה, לֹא-יַחְסְרוּ כָל-טוֹב|
|12||.לְכוּ-בָנִים, שִׁמְעוּ-לִי; יִרְאַת יְהוָה, אֲלַמֶּדְכֶם|
|13||.מִי-הָאִישׁ, הֶחָפֵץ חַיִּים; אֹהֵב יָמִים, לִרְאוֹת טוֹב|
|14||.נְצֹר לְשׁוֹנְךָ מֵרָע; וּשְׂפָתֶיךָ, מִדַּבֵּר מִרְמָה|
|15||.סוּר מֵרָע, וַעֲשֵׂה-טוֹב; בַּקֵּשׁ שָׁלוֹם וְרָדְפֵהוּ|
|16||.עֵינֵי יְהוָה, אֶל-צַדִּיקִים; וְאָזְנָיו, אֶל-שַׁוְעָתָם|
|17||.פְּנֵי יְהוָה, בְּעֹשֵׂי רָע; לְהַכְרִית מֵאֶרֶץ זִכְרָם|
|18||.צָעֲקוּ, וַיהוָה שָׁמֵעַ; וּמִכָּל-צָרוֹתָם, הִצִּילָם|
|19||.קָרוֹב יְהוָה, לְנִשְׁבְּרֵי-לֵב; וְאֶת-דַּכְּאֵי-רוּחַ יוֹשִׁיעַ|
|20||.רַבּוֹת, רָעוֹת צַדִּיק; וּמִכֻּלָּם, יַצִּילֶנּוּ יְהוָה|
|21||.שֹׁמֵר כָּל-עַצְמוֹתָיו; אַחַת מֵהֵנָּה, לֹא נִשְׁבָּרָה|
|22||.תְּמוֹתֵת רָשָׁע רָעָה; וְשֹׂנְאֵי צַדִּיק יֶאְשָׁמוּ|
|23||.פֹּדֶה יְהוָה, נֶפֶשׁ עֲבָדָיו; וְלֹא יֶאְשְׁמוּ, כָּל-הַחֹסִים בּוֹ|
King James Version
- I will bless the LORD at all times: his praise shall continually be in my mouth.
- My soul shall make her boast in the LORD: the humble shall hear thereof, and be glad.
- O magnify the LORD with me, and let us exalt his name together.
- I sought the LORD, and he heard me, and delivered me from all my fears.
- They looked unto him, and were lightened: and their faces were not ashamed.
- This poor man cried, and the LORD heard him, and saved him out of all his troubles.
- The angel of the LORD encampeth round about them that fear him, and delivereth them.
- O taste and see that the LORD is good: blessed is the man that trusteth in him.
- O fear the LORD, ye his saints: for there is no want to them that fear him.
- The young lions do lack, and suffer hunger: but they that seek the LORD shall not want any good thing.
- Come, ye children, hearken unto me: I will teach you the fear of the LORD.
- What man is he that desireth life, and loveth many days, that he may see good?
- Keep thy tongue from evil, and thy lips from speaking guile.
- Depart from evil, and do good; seek peace, and pursue it.
- The eyes of the LORD are upon the righteous, and his ears are open unto their cry.
- The face of the LORD is against them that do evil, to cut off the remembrance of them from the earth.
- The righteous cry, and the LORD heareth, and delivereth them out of all their troubles.
- The LORD is nigh unto them that are of a broken heart; and saveth such as be of a contrite spirit.
- Many are the afflictions of the righteous: but the LORD delivereth him out of them all.
- He keepeth all his bones: not one of them is broken.
- Evil shall slay the wicked: and they that hate the righteous shall be desolate.
- The LORD redeemeth the soul of his servants: and none of them that trust in him shall be desolate.
The psalm could be structured in the following manner:
- Vers 2-4: Hymn introduction
- Vers 5: Basic praising, preaching the fate of the Psalmist
- Vers 6-11: teaching, which is evident from his fate
- Vers 12-22: didactic poem 1
- Vers 13-15: Question - answer:
- Vers 16-22: Collection of wise sayings.
It is an acrostic poem in the Hebrew Alphabet, with each letter of the Hebrew alphabet beginning a verse in sequential order; the lone exception is waw ( ו ), which begins the second clause of verse six. Verse 22, the concluding statement, begins with pe, outside the acrostic scheme. The Old Testament scholar Hermann Gunkel felt that the acrostic nature of the Psalm made any historical, or theological analysis impossible. This psalm is an acrostic of confidence, as is Psalm 25, with which it has many similarities.
- Come, you children, listen to me;
- I will teach you the fear of the Lord.
- Psalm 34 is recited in its entirety during Pesukei Dezimra on Shabbat, Yom Tov, and - in many communities - on Hoshana Rabbah.
- Verse 4 is recited when the Torah scroll is taken out of the ark.
- Verses 10-11 are recited by Ashkenazim as part of the final paragraph of Birkat Hamazon.
- Verses 14-15 form the basis for part of the closing paragraph of the Amidah.
Some verses of Psalm 34 are referenced in the New Testament:
- Verse 8 is quoted by St. Peter in 1 Peter 2:3.
- Verses 12-16 are cited in 1 Peter 3:10–12.
- Verse 18 is paraphrased in Matthew 5:3.
- Verse 20 is alluded to in John 19:36.
Currently, in the Liturgy of the Hours, Psalm 34 is recited on Saturdays in the first and third weeks of the four weekly cycle of readings and for the holy celebrations. It is often used as a responsorial psalm.
Book of Common Prayer
Several musical settings focus on the verse 8, "Taste and see", which is suitable as music for the Eucharist. Vaughan Williams set it, titled "O taste and see", for soprano and mixed choir with organ introduction, for the Coronation of Elizabeth II in Westminster Abbey on 2 June 1953. It was included as No. 3 of the 2015 album Psalms II by Shane & Shane, and as No. of the 2017 album Fractures by Sons of Korah.
- Parallel Latin/English Psalter / Psalmus 33 (34) Archived 7 May 2017 at the Wayback Machine medievalist.net
- Sub-title, NKJV Version
- 1 Samuel 21:10–15
- "Psalms Chapter 126 תְּהִלִּים". mechon-mamre.org. Retrieved 22 August 2021.
- Corinne Lanoir in Römer, Macchi et Nihan 2009, p. 346.
- Herman Gunkel, Die Psalmen, (61986), 142f.
- Psalm 34:11: New King James Version
- Confraternity of Christian Doctrine, Inc. (1970), Footnote c at Psalm 34:12 in the New American Bible Revised Edition
- The Complete Artscroll Siddur, page 376
- The Complete Artscroll Siddur, page 141
- The Complete Artscroll Siddur, page 195
- The Complete Artscroll Siddur, page 119
- Kirkpatrick, A. F. (1901). The Book of Psalms: with Introduction and Notes. The Cambridge Bible for Schools and Colleges. Vol. Book IV and V: Psalms XC-CL. Cambridge: At the University Press. p. 838. Retrieved 28 February 2019.
- Nolland, John, The Gospel of Matthew: a commentary on the Greek text, Wm. B. Eerdmans Publishing, 2005 p. 199
- Règle de saint Benoît, traduction de Prosper Guéranger, (Abbaye Saint-Pierre de Solesmes, réimpression 2007) p. 46.
- Psautier latin-français du bréviaire monastique (1938/2003) p. 137.
- Mont des Cats Abbey, La distribution des Psaumes dans la Règle de Saint Benoît, accessed 29 October 2021
- Church of England, Book of Common Prayer: The Psalter as printed by John Baskerville in 1762, pp. 196ff
- "O Taste and See (Vaughan Williams, Ralph)". IMSLP. Retrieved 29 May 2020.
- Pieces with text from Psalm 34: Scores at the International Music Score Library Project
- Psalm 34: Free scores at the Choral Public Domain Library (ChoralWiki)
- Psalms Chapter 39 text in Hebrew and English, mechon-mamre.org
- Psalm 34 – Praise from the Cave text and detailed commentary, enduringword.com
- Of David, when he feigned madness before Abimelech, who drove him out and he went away. / I will bless the LORD at all times; / his praise shall be always in my mouth text and footnotes, usccb.org United States Conference of Catholic Bishops
- Psalm 34:1 introduction and text, biblestudytools.com
- Psalm 34 / Refrain: O taste and see that the Lord is gracious. Church of England
- Psalm 34 at biblegateway.com
- Hymns for Psalm 34 hymnary.org
- Recording of a slow tune to verses 12-14.