The Messiah in the Psalms Lesson 8


October 22, 2017

The Sanctuary | Hazelwood, Missouri

By Daniel L. Segraves[1]

Psalm 15

1 This question follows the promise of the return from captivity found in Psalm 14:7. Who would qualify for this return? The words “tabernacle” and “holy hill” focus on the divine presence connected with the ark of the covenant that was returned to Mount Zion by David. (See II Samuel 6:2, 12-18.)

Psalm 16

Both Peter and Paul saw Psalm 16 as a messianic psalm. On the Day of Pentecost, Peter quoted extensively from the Septuagint translation of Psalm 16:8-11. Paul, who was not taught messianic truths by any human being (see Galatians 1:15-24; 2:1-2, 6-10), preached from Psalm 16 at Antioch.

1-7 Peter’s use of Psalm 16 suggests that the entire psalm should be read as a prayer of the Messiah. There is no change in speakers between verses 7 and 8.

3 References to the “earth” (ʻeretz) in the Psalter should be understood in terms of the “land” promised to Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob. In the overall context of the Psalter, the “saints” who were in the earth were those in the Promised Land who were faithful to God’s covenant, including the Davidic Covenant.

8-11 Peter quoted these verses in his Pentecostal message, pointing out that they refer to the Messiah, not to David. (See Acts 2:25-31.) David had seen corruption, so the psalm was not about him. In this context, Hades (translated “hell” by the KJV) was a reference to the abode of the righteous dead—represented by the grave—as they await the resurrection. Since David was “both dead and buried,” he was still in this place awaiting resurrection; therefore, he was not writing about himself. As further evidence that Psalm 16 was not about David, Peter said, “For David is not ascended into the heavens” (Acts 2:34). Whoever Psalm 16 was about was someone who would not stay in the grave long enough for His body to corrupt; He would be resurrected shortly after burial. This was Jesus Christ. This was not Peter’s opinion only. Paul quoted from Psalm 16:10 in Antioch as prophetic evidence of the resurrection of Christ. (See Acts 13:29-30, 34-35.) To point out that Psalm 16 was not about David, Paul said, “For David, after he had served his own generation by the will of God, fell on sleep, and was laid unto his fathers, and saw corruption: But he, whom God raised again, saw no corruption” (Acts 13:36-37).

Psalm 17

Although there may be no specific quote from this psalm in the New Testament, it seems to be placed at this point in the Psalter to advance the concept of the Resurrection.

15 Read in the context of Psalm 16:9-10, as interpreted by Peter in Acts 2:26-27 and Paul in Acts 13:35, this verse seems intended as a reference to the resurrection of the Messiah. 

Psalm 18

An unusual feature about this psalm is that it is also found in II Samuel 22. The superscription is little changed from the wording of II Samuel 22:1. Why are the words of this psalm recorded twice in Scripture? The biblical view of the origin of Scripture means that this psalm is included in both places by inspiration. But to discover how we are to understand the words, we must look beyond the words of the psalm itself to the context in which the words are found. The context in II Samuel 22 is not the same as the context in the Psalter. The context immediately preceding II Samuel 22 points to reading the psalm as a poetic description of David’s deliverance from Saul, as indicated in II Samuel 22:1. II Samuel 23:1-7 hints that David’s words have meaning that extends beyond himself to the Messiah. The context of Psalm 18 indicates, however, that the psalm should be read differently here. In the Psalter, we are to understand the words as referring in some way to the Messiah. In one sense, David was the Lord’s anointed, but the Messiah was the ultimate anointed One of whom David was only a type. In the Psalter, when the anointed One is in view, we are to understand Him as the Son of God, as seen in the introduction to the Psalter. (See Psalm 2:2, 7, 12.) The words of Psalm 18 are appropriate for David in II Samuel 22, but they are even more appropriate and more richly fulfilled in the Messiah and His victory over all who opposed Him.

20-26 These verses are especially appropriate for the Messiah. It would be one thing for David to talk about “my righteousness” and “the cleanness of my hands” and about being “upright,” but it was another thing for these words to reflect the sinlessness of the Messiah.

23 It may seem strange to think of the Messiah saying, “I kept myself from mine iniquity,” but the word translated “iniquity” (ʻavon) can refer to guilt. If this is read as a reference to the Messiah, the point is that He had no guilt. All of the statements in verses 20-26 could refer to David only in a limited way; they find their full significance in Christ.

18:49 Paul saw a messianic theme in Psalm 18, quoting Psalm 18:49 in Romans 15:9. In a context composed of quotes from Psalms (Psalm 18:49; 117:1), from the Law (Deuteronomy 32:43), and from the Prophets (Isaiah 11:10), Paul invested Psalm 18 with messianic content. The One who would give thanks to the Lord and sing praises among the Gentiles was none other than the Messiah. 

[1] These notes were prepared for the Apostolic Study Bible (Hazelwood, MO: Word Aflame Press, 2014) by Daniel L. Segraves

The Messiah in the Psalms Lesson 7

October 15, 2017
The Sanctuary | Hazelwood, Missouri

By Daniel L. Segraves

The similarities between Psalms 14 and 53 are such that Psalm 53 is often thought of as merely a doublet, revision, or corruption of Psalm 14. One proposed reason for the differences is that Psalm 53 appears in the Elohistic book of the Psalter, whereas Psalm 14 appears in the Yahwehistic portion of the Psalter. Another proposed reason is that Psalm 53 is a revision of Psalm 14 done in the northern kingdom and reflecting a more generic view of the identity of God. There are, however, more differences between the two psalms than the name by which God is identified.

The purpose of this thesis is to explore the possibility that Psalms 14 and 53 are intentionally placed in the Psalter in their precise locations. This placement reflects the overall messianic theme of the book. The context in which each psalm is found informs intentional and inspired differences between the two. Each serves an intended purpose in advancing the theme of the Book of Psalms.

In the context leading up to Psalm 14, the focus is on Israel’s covenant relationship with Yahweh. In the immediate context of Psalm 53, the focus is on God’s judgment of Gentiles. It is significant that Paul, in a series of quotes from the Old Testament to demonstrate the sinfulness of the Jewish people, quotes from the LXX version of Psalm 14:3, not from Psalm 53:3.

Psalm 53 is intentionally placed in the Psalter immediately after Psalm 52 to demonstrate the judgment of God upon the Gentile world. In order for it to serve its literary purpose, the psalm was amended by inspiration to identify God exclusively as ~yhil{a/ [Elohim] rather than hw”hy>, [Yahweh] God’s covenant name by which He revealed Himself to Moses in conjunction with the deliverance of the people of Israel from Egypt. Together with this development, other changes were made to effect a change of the psalm’s focus. These changes can be seen as follows:

There they are in great fear, for God is with the generation of the righteous. You shame the counsel of the poor, but the LORD is his refuge (Psalm 14:5-6).

There they are in great fear where no fear was, for God has scattered the bones of him who encamps against you; you have put them to shame, because God has despised them (Psalm 53:5).

In Psalm 14, Gentiles are in great fear because God is with Israel (e.g., the righteous). These Gentiles may seek to “frustrate the plans” (NIV) of the poor (e.g., Israel), but Yahweh is the refuge of the poor. Psalm 53 reveals a subtle but significant difference: A new fear has gripped the hearts of the Gentiles. It is not just because God is on the side of Israel, but because God is aggressive in destroying the Gentiles. He scatters the bones of those who seek to destroy Israel. Whereas in Psalm 14 the Gentiles shamed Israel, in Psalm 53 Israel shames the Gentiles. Indeed, God despises them.

In both psalms Israel and the Gentiles appear. But in Psalm 14 the focus is on God’s covenant with Israel; in Psalm 53 the focus is on God’s universal authority over the entire world of unbelievers.

Both psalms conclude with a nearly identical focus on Zion theology:

Oh, that the salvation of Israel would come out of Zion! When the LORD brings back the captivity of His people, let Jacob rejoice and Israel be glad (Psalm 14:7).

Oh, that the salvation of Israel would come out of Zion! When God brings back the captivity of His people, let Jacob rejoice and Israel be glad (Psalm 53:6).

The only difference between these verses is that Psalm 14 identifies God as Yahweh and Psalm 53 as Elohim. Thus, Psalm 14 focuses on the return of Israel from captivity from the perspective of the covenant God had with Israel. Psalm 53 focuses on the return from the perspective of God’s universal authority over all peoples of the world, including those who held Israel captive.

Regardless of the perspective, salvation comes out of Zion. This ties both psalms together with the messianic theme of the Psalter.

The significance of this is that it seeks to demonstrate divine intent in the placement of Psalms 14 and 53 and in Paul’s use of the LXX form of Psalm 14. It is the view of canonical-compositional hermeneutics that inspiration extends to the shape of the biblical books, not merely to the individual words within them.

Canonical-Compositional Hermeneutics

By the term “canonical-compositional hermeneutics” I mean the hermeneutic that views the final shape of the Tanak [the Hebrew Scriptures, commonly referred to as the Old Testament] as intentional and informative. As it pertains to the Psalter, this is the view that the order of the psalms and other evidence of post-exilic composition – sometimes referred to as redaction – are part of the process of inspiration and vital to meaning.

Messiah in the Psalms 1-72

The Messiah in the Psalms: Discovering Christ in Unexpected Places is available at [best price] and

The Messiah in the Psalms Lesson 6


October 8, 2017

The Sanctuary | Hazelwood, Missouri

By Daniel L. Segraves

Our study guide consists of notes from the Apostolic Study Bible.[1]

Psalms 9-10

The phrase “Muth-lab’ben” in the superscription means “death of the son.” The idea is that Psalm 9 was to be sung to the tune of a song by this name. Other psalms also identify the tunes by which they are to be sung, but we have no information about these melodies. Psalm 8 did not address the death of the Son of Man, but the reference to the death of the son in Psalm 9 links these psalms together, continuing the contextual theme of the Son that begins in Psalm 2. The significance of Psalm 9 being about the death of the Son may be seen in the identification of Psalm 8 as a messianic psalm in Hebrews 2:6-8. In the context in Hebrews, the Son is “crowned with glory and honor” as a consequence of His death, which He experienced “for every man” (Hebrews 2:9). Although Psalm 8 declares that the Son of Man has been “crowned . . . with glory and honour” (Psalm 8:5), it does not discuss His death. The idea of the death of the Son of Man is found in Psalm 9. The linkage of Psalm 9 with Psalm 8 by means of the “Son” motif provides linkage all the way back to Psalm 2 and ahead to Psalm 10, because Psalms 9 and 10 were apparently one psalm in an earlier form. The evidence for this is as follows: (1) When Psalms 9 and 10 are placed together, they form an acrostic. Psalm 9 takes us through exactly half of the Hebrew alphabet; Psalm 10 takes us through the second half; (2) The Septuagint puts the two together as one. Thus, Psalm 11 in the English translation is Psalm 10 in the Septuagint; (3) Only Psalm 9 has a superscription. If the two are not to be read as one, Psalm 10 is the only psalm without a superscription between Psalm 3 and Psalm 32.  There is some irregularity in the acrostic which seems to be because of an emphasis on “the wicked one,” indicating an emphasis on the contrast between “the righteous” and “the wicked” that begins in Psalm 1, where a form of the same word that is translated “wicked” in Psalm 9 is translated “ungodly.”

Psalm 9 is a psalm of thanksgiving, describing the Lord coming to aid those who are in distress. Psalm 10 is a psalm of lament, but at the points where the acrostic is interrupted in Psalm 10, the lament is changed back into the defeat of the enemy. Psalm 10 is about the eschatological judgment of God upon all the nations, as found in Daniel 7 and Ezekiel 38. The pattern of praise followed by lament is followed up to and including Psalm 41. Hope is found in this group of Davidic psalms, but it is hope against the backdrop of trouble.

Psalm 10

1 The opening verse of Psalm 10 invites comparison with Psalm 22:1, words prayed by Jesus on the cross. In view of the superscription of Psalm 9 identifying the psalm with the “death of the son,” this further indicates that Psalms 9-10 should be read as one psalm.

15 The arm was a symbol of strength.

16 Although Psalm 10 is a psalm of lament, it concludes in hope in view of the fact that the “Lord is King forever and ever” and that the gōyim (nations, translated as “heathen” by the KJV) have “perished out of his land.” This is an allusion to the Davidic covenant with its divinely ordained king who is reigning on behalf of the Lord and to the promise of land made to Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob. (See Genesis 15:18-21.)

17 Although it may have seemed that the Lord was distant and hidden (verse 1), He actually “heard the desire of the humble (compare with verse 12). Since He heard their desire, He would “prepare their heart” (i.e., comfort them).

Psalm 11

Psalm 11 continues the theme begun in Psalm 10. The house of David was troubled by “the wicked” (verses 2, 5, 6). (Compare with Psalm 10:2-4, 13, 15.) The wicked are contrasted with the righteous. The psalm acknowledges a challenge to God’s messianic purpose, a challenge that is doomed.

1 The theme of trust in the Lord continues the motif begun in Psalm 2:12: trust in the Son, the Messiah. In this psalm, David was either in conversation with his advisors, or he was consulting with himself. Either he was being counseled to flee from the wicked, like a bird flies away from a snare, or he was considering flight. (Compare with Psalm 55:6; 124:7.) But how can flight be considered when one is trusting in the Lord?

2-3 If his advisors were counseling David, they justified their counsel to flee in these words. It is common in Psalms and elsewhere to describe the words of those who are wicked metaphorically as deadly weapons. (See Psalm 37:14-15; 57:4; 64:3-4; Proverbs 12:18; Isaiah 54:17; Jeremiah 9:8.)

3 The “foundations” refer in a metaphor to the social order established by God. (See Psalm 75:3; 82:5; Ezekiel 30:4.) The idea is that a challenge to David was a challenge to the Davidic covenant and ultimately to the Messiah’s rule. The “foundation” of Israel, and ultimately of the world, was the throne of David, occupied by the Messiah.

Psalm 12

Like Psalm 11, Psalm 12 continues the theme of trouble for the house of David. This psalm was to be sung to the accompaniment of an eight stringed instrument (shem’inith).

1 Like Psalm 10, this psalm begins with a bleak cry. The word translated “ceaseth” (gamar) suggests that the godly are no more, as the second half of the verse indicates. In other words, it is not “help” that ceases, but it is those who are faithful, or godly, who cease to be. This is certainly hyperbole, but it accurately expressed David’s concern for the apparent success of those who were unfaithful, as also seen in Psalms 10-11.

5 Even though Psalm 12 does not specifically mention the reign of the Lord or His throne, it is indirectly referred to here with the idea that the Lord would arise from His throne to respond to the threat of the wicked.

6-7 The promise of the Lord was that he would “keep them” (the poor and needy of verse 5) and “preserve them.” He will not allow the wicked to carry out their threats.

7 This verse has been misunderstood, especially by some advocates of KJV Onlyism (the belief that only the King James Version faithfully transmits the Scriptures in English) to mean that the Lord will keep and preserve His words “from this generation forever.” The grammar of the Hebrew text will not allow this meaning. The words translated “poor” and “needy” in verse 5 are masculine. The word translated “words” in verse 6 is feminine. The words translated “them” in verse 7 are masculine, requiring that the pronoun “them” refer back to the “poor” and “needy” of verse 5, not to the “words” of verse 6. The words of Scripture are inspired, and the Lord will preserve them, but this verse does not support the claims of those who claim that only one English translation is reliable.[2]

Psalm 13

1 The theme of trouble in the house of David continues. The general tenor of this lament is much like the sentiments expressed in Psalms 6:3; 7:1-2; 10:1; 12:1. The apparent success of the wicked ones caused David to feel forgotten by God.

5 The word translated “salvation” is a form of yeshua‘, which finds it fullest significance in the name given to the Messiah.

6 When David turned away from a focus on his enemy and refocused on the mercy and salvation of the Lord, his hope was restored and worship overcame complaints.

[1] These notes were prepared for the Apostolic Study Bible (Hazelwood, MO: WAP Academic, 2014) by Daniel L. Segraves.

[2] The comments on verse 7 do not appear in the Apostolic Study Bible.