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April 2011

Bite the dust

It’s a euphemism for death, but these days we rarely talk of people “biting the dust” – not in a final sense anyway. We might say that a plan or project has bitten the dust.  But describing a person’s death as biting the dust seems the preserve of tough-talking cowboys. The exact wording – bite […]

To the ends of the earth

The Hebrew language abounds in double entendres.  We have already considered the multiple shades of meaning to the word “adam“.  It refers to the historical person of Adam, to a man and to man (meaning humanity).  The way the Bible thinks of things, what happens to the man Adam happens to all man. Or consider […]

My cup runneth over

For many it’s their favourite “King James” phrase.  Yet, as far as I can tell, it was the Geneva Bible of 1587 that first gave us this wonderful wording: “My cup runneth over.”  (Psalm 23:5) Here is the expectation of the Messiah as He faces “the valley of the shadow of death.”  He will come […]

The valley of the shadow of death

When his son Absalom briefly usurped his throne, David withdrew from Jerusalem.  He crossed the Kidron valley, ascended the Mount of Olives and escaped to safety. “And all the country wept with a loud voice, and all the people passed over: the king also himself passed over the brook Kidron, and all the people passed […]

The LORD is my Shepherd

In between the Psalm of the cross (Psalm 22) and the Psalm of Christ’s ascension back to heaven (Psalm 24) we have the 23rd Psalm – a Psalm of resurrection. “1The LORD is my shepherd; I shall not want. 2He maketh me to lie down in green pastures: he leadeth me beside the still waters. […]

Laughed to scorn

When Jesus cried out “My God, My God, why hast thou forsaken me?” it implied more than this single cry of dereliction.  Before chapter divisions were inserted into the biblical text (in the 12th century AD), a person would reference a Psalm by quoting its first line.  And when we study the whole of Psalm […]

My God, My God, why hast thou forsaken me?

We’ve seen how the Psalms proclaim Christ.  These songs show the interplay of four main players: 1) God 2) The Ideal King (Christ) 3) Those who trust in Him 4) The wicked Some of these songs are the words of God to His King (His Christ).  Some of them are the people’s words to God […]

The heavens declare the glory of God

It’s a beautifully symmetrical phrase.  The first five syllables perfectly mirror the last five.  In each, the stresses are on the second and fifth syllable.  This is the work of the translators.  And we should remember that the King James version was written to be read aloud. Yet the poetry in the underlying Hebrew comes […]


The Book of Psalms has been called the Hymn Book of the Church.  Here we have 150 songs that take in the whole gamut of human experience.  There are songs of love and hate, of joy and sorrow, of deep intimacy and of profound disillusionment with God.  We love the Psalms because we can find […]

Old and full of days

Everyone remembers the sufferings of Job.  Few people remember how it ends: “10 And the LORD turned the captivity of Job… the LORD gave Job twice as much as he had before… 12 So the LORD blessed the latter end of Job more than his beginning… 16 After this lived Job an hundred and forty […]