Ethics and Behavior in the Psalms

Adapted from John Richard Sampey, “Psalms, Book of,” The International Standard Bible Encyclopedia.

  • Ethical Ideals

    • Behavior

      • Psa 1 contrasts the righteous and wicked

      • Psa 15 describes “What Sort of Man, Then, Would the Psalms Acclaim as Good?”

      • Psa 131 proclaims humility

      • Psa 133 magnifies brotherly love

      • Psa 24:4 “a compend of ethics in a single sentence.”

    • Speech—see Psa 12; 52; 120

    • Ministering to the Needy

      • Psa 82, justice

      • Psa 41, kindness

      • “The Ideal Ruler is both just and beneficent (Psalms 72:2,12-14).”

  • Praying against the wicked

    • “To be a good lover one must know how to hate.”

    • Note:

      • “We ought to study the psalms of imprecation in the light of their origin. They are poetry and not prose ... the psalmists pray with God's glory in view” (Ps 139:21).

      • “We ought to use the imprecatory psalms in the light of our Lord's teaching. We cannot pronounce curses on our personal enemies.”

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