How do Psalms 8, 23, and 104 differ in purpose for Hebrew believers?

Quick answer:

In each of the Psalms listed, the Hebrew God is praised and exalted. However, they are each unique. Psalm 8 establishes the order of God and man, providing clarity and security for readers. Psalm 23 describes God as a powerful, but caring, Shepherd for the readers. Psalm 104 declares God's overwhelming power and ability to care for the Hebrews.

Expert Answers

An illustration of the letter 'A' in a speech bubbles

The book of Psalms in the Bible is composed of poems and songs, most of which are sung to the Hebrew God. The book of Psalms is in the Old Testament of the Bible.

In Psalm 8, consider how the author exalts the Lord for all His mighty works on...

This Answer Now

Start your 48-hour free trial to unlock this answer and thousands more. Enjoy eNotes ad-free and cancel anytime.

Get 48 Hours Free Access

the earth and in heaven. For the Hebrew believers , this psalm gives them perspective in regard to their station in life. Psalm 8 establishes order and hierarchy of control on earth. How could this give the Hebrew believers security?

Lord, our Lord, how majestic is your name in all the earth! You have set your glory in the heavens.

Consider how this psalm gives great praise to God, declaring that He has made all things and is much, much higher than man. As well, the psalm says that God has given man dominion over the creatures He has made on earth, both on land and in sea.

Contrastingly, note how Psalm 23 is a much more intimate song about the Lord, establishing a relationship between the writer and his Lord. In Psalm 23, the writer still honors God but also calls God his shepherd. Throughout the psalm, observe how the writer describes how God leads, guides, protects, and provides for him, as a good shepherd does for his sheep.

The Lord is my shepherd, I lack nothing. He makes me lie down in green pastures, he leads me beside quiet waters, He refreshes my soul. He guides me along the right paths.

In this psalm, God is much more personal and near to the writer. This psalm is often quoted as a source of comfort for believers, especially those who are troubled, hurting, or grieving.

Lastly, in Psalm 104, the writer declares that God’s glory will never end; the writer establishes that God is omnipotent and everlasting. In this psalm, consider why and how the writer goes into much greater detail of God’s creation than in Psalm 8. It is the longest psalm of the three you are to compare:

The glory of the Lord shall endure forever: the Lord shall rejoice in his works. He looketh on the earth, and it trembleth: he toucheth the hills, and they smoke. I will sing unto the Lord as long as I live: I will sing praise to my God while I have my being.

At the end of the psalm, the writer also declares that those against God will be vanquished because of God’s great power:

Let the sinners be consumed out of the earth, and let the wicked be no more. Bless thou the Lord, O my soul. Praise ye the Lord.

Although it is not as intimate as Psalm 23, note how Psalm 104 provides hope to Hebrew believers that there will be justice, and God will fight for them:

I will sing unto the Lord as long as I live: I will sing praise to my God while I have my being. My meditation of him shall be sweet: I will be glad in the Lord.

Approved by eNotes Editorial