There is none who does good. In Rom. 3:10–12, the apostle Paul cites Ps. 53:1–3 to explain the universal human condition of sin. No person on his own seeks for God or does any good that merits salvation. Everyone needs the perfect Savior, Jesus Christ.
Hyssop is a member of the mint family. Its fuzzy leaves and branches produce bunches of small white or yellow flowers. During Passover, the people of Israel used hyssop branches to place blood above their doors and on their doorposts (Ex. 12:22). In Psalm 51, hyssop symbolizes being cleansed from sin (see Lev. 14:4–6; Num. […]
Fragrant robes. The anointing of a person did not always involve the use of oil. Plant extracts such as aloe, cassia (similar to cinnamon), and myrrh were used during celebrations such as weddings and coronations. The extracts would either be oiled or brushed onto the clothes to give off a pleasing aroma.
Forgetting the name of God (44:20). Many of the pagan religions of OT times taught that a god’s power was tied directly to its name. The false prophets of Jeremiah’s time believed that, if they could erase God’s name from the people’s memory, they would follow Baal instead (Jer. 23:26–27). However, God does not forget […]
There were at least three known species of deer in ancient Palestine. The red deer was the largest. The male could weigh up to 500 pounds (225 kg) while the female weighed up to 350 pounds (160 kg).
How long is a handbreadth? A handbreadth (39:5) was considered to be the width of the four fingers on one hand, or roughly 4 inches (10 cm).
Snares (38:12) were traps used to catch birds and animals. Some snares used ropes or nets that would be triggered as soon as the bait was touched. Pits disguised with sticks and leaves were also used as snares. In the Psalms, snares serve as symbols of danger or death at the hands of the wicked.
The laurel tree (37:35) may be the sweet-bay tree, which is found all over the Mediterranean and can grow up to 60 feet (18 m) in height. Parts of the tree can be used for medicinal purposes while its leaves (bay leaves) can be used for seasoning food.
The phrase shadow of your wings (36:7) is also found in two other psalms (17:8; 57:1). It symbolizes the protection and safety of the Lord.
Strong offense and defense. The shield and buckler (35:2) and the spear and javelin (35:3) represented extremes in weaponry. While the shield was lighter and could be carried without the use of a helper, the larger buckler gave the warrior more protection. The javelin could be hurled at enemies from a distance while the spear […]