Psalm 92: Fruit in old age

‘The righteous shall flourish like a palm tree.’ (12)

This song of praise, titled a song for the sabbath day, asks us to be thankful, telling of divine loving-kindness in the morning and of faithfulness in the night season. The psalmist imagines us all tearing it up on the psaltery, the lyre and the harp.

Palms in the Kimberley

There’s a sense of awe in realising that the wonders of creation and revealed wisdom are stunningly deep and hard to comprehend in full.(5, 6) The psalmist appeals with success to our affinity for trees by painting a picture of the righteous who ‘shall flourish like a palm tree, and shall spread abroad like a cedar of Lebanon’, (12) — especially when ‘planted in the house of God’, (13) or in our hallowed spiritual places.

Psalm 92 also values the senior citizen, pointing out that older people are fruitful. They can contribute ideas, experience and wisdom to all generations. They are therefore validly described as ‘green and succulent’.(14)


Isaac Everett picks up the important expectation of mellow fruitfulness in the Autumn years in his antiphon in The emergent psalter:

Those who are righteous shall flourish like a palm tree … they shall bear fruit in old age (verses 12-14)

The encouragement to sing praises in the morning and the evening with psaltery, lyre and harp. This theme resonates in the swinging refrains in PFAS 92C and 92D, as well as a nice TaizĂ© setting by Jacques Berthier (Together in song 50) — ‘It’s good to give thanks.’

This modern video is easy to liten to and has clear text: