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Psalms of Lament

Psalms > Info on Psalms > Classifying Psalms > Categories of Psalms

Lament Psalms:
In the lament psalms, we hear the strong, emotional words of sufferers. These are words written by real people in very difficult situations. Sometimes the forcefulness of the psalmist' complaints against God is shocking. But these godly sufferers know that God will not be angry with their honesty, for even when they scream at God, it is a scream of faith.

The following is the basic structure of the psalms of lament:

1.  An introductory cry
2.  The lament proper
     *  I am hurting
     *  You do not care
     *  The enemy is winning
3.   A confession of trust
4.   Reasons for God to act
5.   Petitions
     *  Hear me
     *  Save me
     *  Punish them
6.   A vow to praise God

All of the above is quoted directly from:
Earl Radmacher, Ronald B. Allen, H. Wayne House, eds. Nelson's New Illustrated Bible Commentary (Nashville: Thomas Nelson, 1999), 657.

When the punishment element is strong (in a lament psalm) we call these psalms imprecatory psalms.

General Lament Psalms
:  3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 9, 10, 12, 13, 16, 17, 22, 25, 26, 28, 31, 35, 38, 40, 41, 42, 43, 44, 51, 52, 54, 56, 59, 60, 61, 64, 69, 70, 71, 74, 77, 79, 80, 83, 86, 88, 89, 90, 104, 120, 123, 140, 141, 142, 143, 144

Lament of innocence: 7, 17, 26, 35, 69

Lament of the community: 60, 74, 79, 80, 90

Lament of the individual: 3, 4, 39, 42, 43, 52, 56, 123, 140, 141, 142, 143

Lament with penitence: 6, 25, 38, 51, 102, 130, 143

Imprecatory psalms: 58, 64, 83, 109, 129, 137, 140, 141


[ categories identified by Radmacher, 646-744]


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