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Psalm 89[a]

A Lament over God’s Promise to David

A maskil of Ethan the Ezrahite.



I will sing of your mercy forever, Lord(A)
    proclaim your faithfulness through all ages.
[b]For I said, “My mercy is established forever;
    my faithfulness will stand as long as the heavens.
I have made a covenant with my chosen one;
    I have sworn to David my servant:
I will make your dynasty stand forever
    and establish your throne through all ages.”(B)


The heavens praise your marvels, Lord,
    your loyalty in the assembly of the holy ones.(C)
Who in the skies ranks with the Lord?
    Who is like the Lord among the sons of the gods?[c](D)
A God dreaded in the council of the holy ones,
    greater and more awesome than all those around him!
Lord, God of hosts, who is like you?
    Mighty Lord, your faithfulness surrounds you.
10 You rule the raging sea;(E)
    you still its swelling waves.
11 You crush Rahab[d] with a mortal blow;
    with your strong arm you scatter your foes.
12 Yours are the heavens, yours the earth;
    you founded the world and everything in it.(F)
13 [e]Zaphon and Amanus you created;
    Tabor and Hermon rejoice in your name.
14 You have a mighty arm.
    Your hand is strong; your right hand is ever exalted.
15 Justice and judgment are the foundation of your throne;
    mercy and faithfulness march before you.(G)
16 Blessed the people who know the war cry,
    who walk in the radiance of your face, Lord.
17 In your name they sing joyfully all the day;
    they rejoice in your righteousness.(H)
18 You are their majestic strength;
    by your favor our horn[f] is exalted.(I)
19 Truly the Lord is our shield,
    the Holy One of Israel, our king!(J)


20 Then you spoke in vision;(K)
    to your faithful ones you said:
“I have set a leader over the warriors;
    I have raised up a chosen one from the people.
21 I have chosen David, my servant;
    with my holy oil I have anointed him.
22 My hand will be with him;(L)
    my arm will make him strong.
23 No enemy shall outwit him,
    nor shall the wicked defeat him.
24 I will crush his foes before him,
    strike down those who hate him.
25 My faithfulness and mercy will be with him;
    through my name his horn will be exalted.
26 [g]I will set his hand upon the sea,
    his right hand upon the rivers.
27 He shall cry to me, ‘You are my father,(M)
    my God, the Rock of my salvation!’
28 I myself make him the firstborn,
    Most High[h] over the kings of the earth.
29 Forever I will maintain my mercy for him;(N)
    my covenant with him stands firm.
30 I will establish his dynasty forever,
    his throne as the days of the heavens.
31 If his descendants forsake my teaching,(O)
    do not follow my decrees,
32 If they fail to observe my statutes,
    do not keep my commandments,
33 I will punish their crime with a rod
    and their guilt with blows.
34 But I will not take my mercy from him,
    nor will I betray my bond of faithfulness.(P)
35 I will not violate my covenant;
    the promise of my lips I will not alter.(Q)
36 By my holiness I swore once for all:(R)
    I will never be false to David.
37 [i]His dynasty will continue forever,(S)
    his throne, like the sun before me.
38 Like the moon it will stand eternal,
    forever firm like the sky!”



39 But now you have rejected and spurned,(T)
    been enraged at your anointed.
40 You renounced the covenant with your servant,
    defiled his crown in the dust.
41 You broke down all city walls,(U)
    left his strongholds in ruins.
42 All who pass through seize plunder;
    his neighbors deride him.
43 You have exalted the right hand of his foes,
    have gladdened all his enemies.(V)
44 You turned back his sharp sword,
    did not support him in battle.
45 You brought to an end his splendor,
    hurled his throne to the ground.
46 You cut short the days of his youth,
    covered him with shame.
47 How long, Lord? Will you hide forever?
    Must your wrath smolder like fire?(W)
48 Remember how brief life is,
    how frail the sons of man you have created!(X)
49 What is man, that he should live and not see death?
    Who can deliver his soul from the power of Sheol?(Y)
50 Where are your former mercies, Lord,
    that you swore to David in your faithfulness?
51 Remember, Lord, the insults to your servants,
    how I have borne in my bosom the slander of the nations.(Z)
52 Your enemies, Lord, insult;
    they insult each step of your anointed.
53 [j]Blessed be the Lord forever! Amen and amen!(AA)


  1. Psalm 89 The community laments the defeat of the Davidic king, to whom God promised kingship as enduring as the heavens (Ps 89:2–5). The Psalm narrates how God became king of the divine beings (Ps 89:6–9) and how the Davidic king became king of earthly kings (Ps 89:20–38). Since the defeat of the king calls into question God’s promise, the community ardently prays God to be faithful to the original promise to David (Ps 89:39–52).
  2. 89:3–5 David’s dynasty is to be as long-lasting as the heavens, a statement reinforced by using the same verbs (establish, stand) both of the divine love and loyalty and of the Davidic dynasty and throne, cf. Ps 89:29–30.
  3. 89:7 The sons of the gods: “the holy ones” and “courtiers” of Ps 89:6, 8. These heavenly spirits are members of God’s court.
  4. 89:11 Rahab: a mythological sea monster whose name is used in the Bible mainly as a personification of primeval chaos, cf. Jb 9:13; 26:12; Ps 74:13–14; Is 51:9.
  5. 89:13 Zaphon and Amanus: two sacred mountains in northern Syria which came to designate the directions of north and south. Tabor: a high hill in the valley of Jezreel in northern Israel. Hermon: a mountain in Lebanon, forming the southern spur of the Anti-Lebanon range.
  6. 89:18, 25 Horn: a concrete noun for an abstract quality; horn is a symbol of strength.
  7. 89:26 The sea…the rivers: geographically the limits of the Davidic empire (the Mediterranean and the Euphrates); mythologically, the traditional forces of chaos. See note on Ps 89:11.
  8. 89:28 Most High: a divine title, which is here extended to David as God’s own king, cf. Ps 2:7–9; Is 9:5. As God rules over the members of the heavenly council (Ps 89:6–9), so David, God’s surrogate, rules over earthly kings.
  9. 89:37–38 Like the sun before me…like the sky: as enduring as the heavenly lights, cf. Ps 89:2–5 and Ps 72:5, 17.
  10. 89:53 The doxology at the end of the third book of the Psalms; it is not part of Ps 89.