Psalm 4, 15 April 18

This song ‘of David’ only just makes it into the lectionary, once in Year B alone. However, the themes of supplication, forgiveness, trust and peace are familiar from many other similar songs. The last verse seems to set it aside, not as an expression of divine protection for this is another common theme, but as an evening prayer:

I will both lie down and sleep in peace; for you alone, O God, make me lie down in safety. (9)

Other comments were made in a 2015 post here>


It was this last verse that attracted many composers, Sir Arthur Sullivan amongst them, as a safe bet for a nice song. Lassus lined up for two different settings, one for the whole psalm entitled Cum invocarem (‘When I call’, v.1) for six voices, and the other In pace a simpler and shorter setting of those last lines for three equal voices. This last one might interest small groups.

In our modern sources:

  • TiS 2 has an easy refrain, but the Gelineau verse setting fails to grab me.
  • NCH has interesting words based on verse 6 and attractive harmonies
  • Close competition from PFAS 4A and a nice Malawian call-and-response in 4A alt.
  • Everett’s offering in TEP is an interesting edgy piece that sits on the 9th of an EbΔ, before smooth transitions up and back to that chord through Gb and Fm7. (Sung at SWUC April 2015.)
  • Amongst these jewels we shall sing this simple refrain drawing on verse 6, with verses to the same tune:

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