Psalm 151

My hands made a harp, my fingers fashioned a lyre.

And who will declare it to my Lord? The Lord himself; it is he who hears.

It was he who sent his messenger and took me from my father's sheep, and anointed me with his anointing oil.

My brothers were handsome and tall, but the Lord was not pleased with them.

I went out to meet the Philistine, and he cursed me by his idols.

But I drew his own sword; I beheaded him, and removed reproach from the people of Israel.

Notes by Adam Clark


Besides these hundred and fifty Psalms, there is one additional in the Syriac, Septuagint, AEthiopic, and Arabic, of which it will be necessary to say something, and to give a translation. 1. The Psalms is not found in the Hebrew, nor in the Chaldee, nor in the Vulgate. 2. It is found, as stated, above, in the Syriac, Septuagint, AEthiopic, and Arabic; but not in the Anglo-Saxon, though Dom. Calmet has stated the contrary. But I have not heard of it in any MS. of that version; nor is it in Spelman's printed copy. 3. It is mentioned by Apollinaris, Athanasius, Euthymius, Vigilius, Tapsensis, and St. Chrysostom. 4. It has never been received either by the Greek or Latin Church; nor has it ever been considered as canonical. 5. It is certainly very ancient, stands in the Codex Alexandrinus, and has been printed in the Paris and London Polyglots. 6. Though the Greek is considered the most authentic copy of this Psalm, yet there are some things in the Syriac and Arabic necessary to make a full sense. The Arabic alone states the manner of Goliath's death. The title is, "A Psalm in the handwriting of David, beyond the number of the Psalms, composed by David, when he fought in single combat with Goliath." I shall make it as complete as I can from the different versions.

I WAS the least among my brethren; and the youngest in my father's house; and I kept also my father's sheep. My hands made the organ; and my fingers joined the psaltery.3 And who told it to my LORD? [Arab.: And who is he who taught me?] The LORD himself, he is my Master, and the Hearer of all that call upon him. He sent his angel, and took me away from my father's sheep; and anointed me with the oil of his anointing. [Others, the oil of his mercy.] 5 My brethren were taller and more beautiful than I; nevertheless the LORD delighted not in them.I went out to meet the Philistine, and he cursed me by his idols. [Arab.: IN the strength of the LORD I cast three stones at him. I smote him in the forehead, and felled him to the earth.] 8 And I drew out his own sword from its sheath, and cut off his head, and took away the reproach from the children of Israel.


If we were sure this was David's composition, we should not be willing to see it out of the number of the Psalms, or standing among the apocryphal writings. As a matter of curiosity I insert it; as, if a forgery, it is very ancient; and I leave it to the intelligent reader to add his own notes, and form his own analysis.

The subscription to the Syriac says some add twelve more. The Codex Alexandrinus has fourteen more. They are the following: -

1. The Song of Moses and the children of Israel, Exod. xv. 1, &c.

2. Ditto, from Deut. xxii. 1, &c.

3. The Song of Hannah, 1 Sam. ii. 1, &c.

4. The prayer of Isaiah, Isa. xxvi. 2, &c.

5. The prayer of Jonah, Jonah, ii. 3, &c.

6. The prayer of Habakkuk, Hab. iii. 2, &c.

7. The prayer of Hezekiah, Isa. xxxviii. 10, &c.

8. The prayer of Manasseh, see the Apocrypha.

9. The prayer of Azarias, or of the Three Children. - Apocrypha.

10. The Hymn of our Fathers, see the Benedicite omnia opera in the Liturgy.

11. The Magnificat, or Song of the Blessed Virgin, Luke i. 46, &c.

12. The Nunc dimittis, or Song of Simeon, Luke ii. 29, &c.

13. The prayer of Zacharias, Luke i. 68, &c.

14. The Æumnov ewqinov, or, Morning Hymn as used in the service of the Greek Church.

My old Psalter seems to have copied such authority as the Codex Alexandrinus, for it has added several similar pieces, after the hundred and fiftieth Psalm, where we read, Explicit Psalmos, incipit canticum Ysaie.

1. The Hymn of Isaiah, Isa. xii. 1, &c.

2. The Prayer of Hezekiah, Isa. xxxviii. 10-20; inclusive.

3. The Prayer of Hannah, 1 Sam. ii. 1, &c.

4. The Song of Moses at the Red Sea, Exod. xv. 1-19.

5. The Prayer of Habakkuk.

6. The Song of Moses, Deut. xxii. 1-43.

7. The Magnificat, or Song of the Blessed Virgin, Luke i. 46- 55.

8. The ten commandments.

9. There are several curious maxims, &c., which follow the commandments, such as Seven werkes of Mercy; Seven gastely werkes of Mercy; Seven Virtues; The keeping of the five senses; Fourteen points of trouthe. Another head, which is torn off. Lastly, some godly advises in poetry, which terminate the book.

I suppose these hymns were added on the same principle that the general assembly of the Kirk of Seotland added, by an act of 1479 and 1750, a number of verses and portions of the sacred writings, among which are several of the above, to their authorized version of the Psalms of David in metre, to be sung in all kirks and families.

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