The Divine Lamp

The unfolding of thy words gives light; it imparts understanding to the simple…Make thy face shine upon thy servant, and teach me thy statutes

Father Boylan’s Introduction to Psalm 33

Posted by Dim Bulb on August 31, 2012

Verse numbering for this psalm differs among various translation.


THIS is the fourth of the alphabetical psalms. As in Psalm 25,the last verse is supernumerary, and a liturgical addition; as in Psalm 24, also, the sixth or vau-verse is wanting. The poem consists of two parts. The first (Ps 33:1-10) thanks the Lord for gracious help and rescue given to a loyal and lowly worshipper; the second (Ps 33:11-20) is didactic, reminding one of the Book of Proverbs. The poem teaches generally that happiness in life is to be attained only through God-fearingness of conduct. The good may, indeed, fall into misfortune, and be overtaken by grief, but in the end, the Lord brings them help, and makes their faces radiant with gladness.

The general structure and tone of the psalm are regarded by most modern critics as indicating a late date. The title in verse 1 ascribes the origin of the poem to the period of David’s life when he fled to the court of the Philistine king, Achish of Gath. Thisfirst verse is, undoubtedly, a very ancient testimony to the Davidic origin of the psalm, and the gnomic style of the second part of the poem is no genuine indication of a postexilic date. It is true, however, that the references in the poem are strangely general if they are really due to David’s experiences in the Court of Achish. The psalm is intended to serve as an encouragement and as a consolation to the pious (Sancti), the God-fearing Israelites. The ‘rich’ and ‘evildoers’ and ‘sinners’ may be either foreigners (and, therefore, foes of the Israelite people), or godless Israelites.

2 Responses to “Father Boylan’s Introduction to Psalm 33”

  1. […] Father Boylan’s Introduction to Today’s Psalm (33). […]

  2. […] Father Boylan’s Introduction to Psalm 33. Whole psalm. […]

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

%d bloggers like this: