Book of Psalms, King James Version
How amiable are thy tabernacles, O Lord of hosts!My soul longeth, yea, even fainteth for the courts of the Lord: my heart and my flesh crieth out for the living God.
Yea, the sparrow hath found a house, and the swallow a nest for herself, where she may lay her young, even thine altars, O Lord of hosts, my King, and my God.
Blessed are they that dwell in thy house: they will be still praising thee. Selah.
Blessed is the man whose strength is in thee; in whose heart are the ways of them.
Who passing through the valley of Baca make it a well; the rain also filleth the pools.
They go from strength to strength, every one of them in Zion appeareth before God.
O Lord God of hosts, hear my prayer: give ear, O God of Jacob. Selah.
Behold, O God our shield, and look upon the face of thine anointed.
For a day in thy courts is better than a thousand. I had rather be a doorkeeper in the house of my God, than to dwell in the tents of wickedness.
For the Lord God is a sun and shield: the Lord will give grace and glory: no good thing will he withhold from them that walk uprightly.
O Lord of hosts, blessed is the man that trusteth in thee.
Summary of Psalm 84
- Popularity of “Psalm 84”: It is one of the most popular psalms of the Christian Old Testament. Though the exact date of its composition is unknown, it seems likely to have been written during the time of King David. Later it found its place in the Hebrew Bible as well as in the Christian Old Testament, King James Version published in 1611. The psalm comprises thematic strands of God’s presence and the blessings that come from trusting in Him. These themes resonate in the hearts of the readers long after they have read it. It has been set to religious music and used in countless religious ritual services.
- “Psalm 84” As a Representative of Religious Devotion: Psalm 84 is considered a representative of the devotional and contemplative nature of the Christian Old Testament. It is a hymn sung for thanksgiving, demonstrating devotion and the deep yearning of the devotees to experience the presence of God. The use of theological images, such as the tabernacles, courts, and altars of the Lord, evokes a sense of awe and reverence for the divine authority. The use of poetic language and metaphorical references to nature and its creatures heightens the religious fervors among the devotees. The emphasis on the blessedness of living in the house of God, and the contrast with the tents of wickedness, reflects the moral and ethical values of the Judeo-Christian tradition. To put it concisely, “Psalm 84” is a powerful expression of faith, devotion, and spiritual longing.
- Major Themes in “Psalm 84”: The major themes in “Psalm 84” include the desire of the devotees to be present in front of God, the blessedness of the worshippers, and the strength that comes with the belief in God. The psalmist here expresses a deep desire for the courts of the Lord and the living God, stating that their soul faints for the presence of God (verses 1-2). The psalmist also speaks about the blessedness of those who dwell in the house of God, declaring that they will continually praise Him (verse 4). The psalmist also speaks of the strength that comes after having a firm belief in God to pass through difficult times. It also shows that those who trust in God, find their hardships transformed for them into sources of rejuvenation.
Analysis of Literary Devices Used in Psalm 84
Psalm 84 shows the use of various literary devices highlighting the theological impacts. Some of the major literary devices are as follows.
- Allusion: It is a reference to the cultural, historical, theological, and geographical event, persona, thing, or object. For example, “Psalm 84” shows allusions related to religion, such as Lord, geography, such as Baca, and figures, such as Zion and Saleh.
- Alliteration: This is the repetition of initial consonant sounds. For example, “How amiable are thy tabernacles” (Line 1) shows the repetition of the /th/ sound in “Blessed are they that dwell in thy house: they will be still praising thee” creating a musical quality and emphasizing the pleasantness and desirability of the tabernacles.
- Assonance: It is the repetition of vowel sounds. For example, “O Lord of hosts” (Line 1) shows the repetition of the long /o/ sounds creating a melodic effect and emphasizing the intense longing expressed by the speaker.
- Hyperbole: It is the use of exaggerated statements or claims not meant to be taken literally. For example, “For a day in thy courts is better than a thousand” (Line 10) shows the worshipper exaggerating the value and significance of a single day in the courts of the Lord and emphasizing the immense joy and fulfillment experienced in God’s presence.
- Imagery: It is the use of descriptive language that appeals to the senses. For example, “the sparrow hath found a house, and the swallow a nest for herself” (Line 3), which shows the image of sparrows finding a home and swallows building nests, evoking a sense of safety, security, and belonging in the presence of God.
- Metaphor: It is a figure of speech that compares two different things without using “like” or “as.” For example, “the Lord God is a sun and shield” (Line 11) shows God is metaphorically compared to a sun and shield, symbolizing both the illuminating and protecting aspects of His presence.
- Parallelism: It is the repetition of a grammatical structure or arrangement of words or phrases for emphasis. For example, “Blessed are they that dwell in thy house” (Line 4) shows a parallel structure, emphasizing the blessings and praises bestowed upon those who reside in the house of the Lord.
- Personification: It means giving human qualities to non-human entities. For example, “the rain also filleth the pools” (Line 6) shows that rain is personified as actively filling the pools, attributing human agency to a natural phenomenon.
- Repetition: It is the recurrence of words or phrases for emphasis. For example, “O Lord of hosts” (Lines 1, 3, 8, 12) shows the repetition of this phrase, reinforcing the address to God and highlighting His divine authority and power.
- Simile: It is a figure of speech that compares two different things using “like” or “as.” For example, “Blessed is the man whose strength is in thee” (Line 5) shows the strength of a person who relies on God likening to a source of blessing.
- Symbolism: It is the use of symbols to represent ideas or qualities. For example, “the face of thine anointed” (Line 9) shows the face, symbolizing God’s favor and divine presence, suggesting the importance of seeking God’s gaze and favor.
Analysis of Poetic Devices Used in Psalm 84
Poetic and literary devices are the same, but a few are used only in poetry. Here is an analysis of some of the poetic devices used in this poem.
- Diction: It is the choice and use of words in a literary work. The diction in this psalm is grand, beautiful, and evocative.
- Rhyme: The use of rhyming words at some places in the poetry. Although the poem does not follow any rhyme scheme, there is inner rhyme such as dwell, will, and still in the fourth verse.
- Meter: It is the rhythmic structure of a poem. Psalm 84 does not strictly adhere to a specific metrical pattern.
- Poetry: “Psalm 84” is a religious hymn or song that occurs in the Book of Psalms, attributed to King David.
- Tone: It is the attitude or mood conveyed by the speaker. The overall tone of “Psalm 84” is one of longing, reverence, and devotion.
Quotes to be Used
This quote is appropriate to use when one is expressing their deep desire to be in the presence of God and acknowledging the value and significance of spending time with Him.
“For a day in thy courts is better than a thousand.” (Psalm 84:10)