David’s hymns of praise were associated with the time when David rejoiced before the ark of the covenant (see “The Book of Psalms” at Ps. 8). The other major category of psalms is laments, in which the singer complains to God and asks for help. Related to the lament is the song of trust, in which the singer expresses faith in God’s ability to deliver.
Several of the psalms associated with specific points in David’s life are laments or songs of trust. For example, Ps. 57 and 142 reflect David’s days of hiding in caves from Saul, while Ps. 3 and 7 reflect his flight from Jerusalem. All of these psalms are laments. Many other laments and songs of trust, however, are attributed to David, but provide no historical context. Nevertheless, these psalms can be read in light of this time in David’s life.
The arrangement of psalms in the Bible shows a movement from lament to praise (see “The Book of Psalms” at Ps. 8). If we read David’s laments according to the five “Books” of the psalms, we see the concentration of laments in Books I and II. In Book I (Ps. 1–41) itself are 22 more laments associated with David.
Marriage & Family
The basic economic unit of ancient society was the family, with the father at its head. Under him were his immediate relatives as well as more distant relatives, servants, and still others, depending on the family’s wealth. A fatherless person was someone who fell outside this circle of defense and provision (Ps. 10:14).
David’s Laments (Book II)
Psalm 41 ends Book I (Ps. 1–41) of the psalms, with Ps. 41:13offering a doxology to this first segment of the Psalter. Again in Book II (Ps. 42–72) we see the emphasis on lament in the early part of the Psalter, with 7 additional laments associated with David and one unidentified lament (Ps. 71).