Psalm 109: They may curse, you will bless

Yin Yang

This is an extended song of prayer for justice and freedom from a serious bout of false accusation. David’s ‘heart is wounded’ and he is at a very low ebb. Its omission from the Lectionary will trouble few readers.

However, even when worn down as his accusers curse, David trusts in divine faithfulness and blessing.

Psalm 109 sits as one of David’s dark moments between the joyful praise of 108 and 110. This juxtaposition of light and shade happens frequently within and between psalms.

In another set of three songs by David, the peace and warmth of the Shepherd psalm leavens the preceding lament of Psalm 22, used on Good Friday, and the splendour of Psalm 24 and ‘Lift up your heads O ye gates’.


Settings can be found, of course, in psalters with one song per psalm, whether Genevan, Ravenscroft or Everett. Collections like Psalms for all seasons, however, hurry past 108 to 110.

Lassus wrote a nice two-pager that might suit your sight-reading group. He follows the common path of selecting just one juicy piece of a long poem, in this case the gem of verse 20:

But deal thou with me, O Lord God, according unto thy Name: for sweet is thy mercy (BCP)