There are fourteen psalms that were written by David to commemorate some event in his life. These are:
King Saul, in his jealousy, sent messengers to David’s house to kill him, but he was able to escape before the men could enter. David’s wife Michal (Saul’s daughter) was able to deceive the men while David made his way to safety. [1 Samuel 19].
This psalm was written by David when he went to live in Gath (in Philistine territory). He pretended to be mad so that he might be allowed into the city. David did this because he was afraid and thought that he would be safe amongst the Philistines. His act must have been believable since Achish would not let such a madman live in his city. [1 Samuel 21:10-15]. The psalm expresses both his fear of man and his faith in God.
This was written for the same occasion as mentioned above [1 Samuel 21:10-15]. David praises God for His goodness despite the fact that he has been made to flee his wife and home. His faith told him that God would deliver him from all his enemies.
After being cast out by Achish, David fled to a cave in Adullam [1 Samuel 22:1-3]. He is overwhelmed because of the desperate situation he was in. He was obviously lonely, but he found refuge in the Lord. He felt that this cave was a prison to him.
David fled from Saul into the Judean wilderness [1 Samuel 22:5]. In the psalm he sees himself in a spiritual wilderness thirsting for God’s presence and a place of refuge.
David heard how Saul had sent Doeg the Edomite to Ahimelech’s house and slew eighty-five priests, including their wives, children, and animals. David was heartbroken over such wickedness. [1 Samuel 22:9-19].
The Ziphites went to Saul and told him that David was hiding amongst them. They told him exactly where they could locate David [1 Samuel 23:19-29], but God delivered him out of the king’s hands.
Saul went after David again when he heard that he was hiding in the wilderness of Engedi. Saul entered a cave to relieve himself, the very cave where David and his men were hiding. David managed to get close enough to Saul to cut off a piece of his cloak. David revealed to the king that he would have killed him if he had wanted to. David proved that he was more merciful that Saul. [1 Samuel 24:1-22].
Cush the Benjaminite had been feeding Saul with lies about David. He told Saul that David had been seeking to kill him all along. [1 Samuel 24:9-12]. In this psalm David reveals that he freed him that was his enemy rather than seeking to destroy him. He prays that the mischief of Cush return upon his own head.
This was written to commemorate David’s victory over the Philistines, Moabites, and the Syrians [2 Samuel 8; 1 Kings 11]. David praises God for the great victory.
This is probably one of the best known of David’s songs and there is little difficulty in placing it within the context of his life. In 2 Samuel 12 we read of David’s sin of adultery with Bathsheba the wife of Uriah the Hittite. Not only did he commit adultery, but he also arranged the murder of Uriah. It was only when the prophet Nathan rebuked him that David repented of his wickedness. This psalm expresses his deep sorrow over his sin. Psalm 32 may be part of this repentance also.
Absalom, David’s son, sought to take the kingdom from him. He was very successful in persuading the people that he would make a better king than his father. Because of his son’s success he was forced to flee Jerusalem [2 Samuel 15]. This psalm is David’s lament over this situation.
Written to commemorate the plans for the building of the Temple in Jerusalem and dedication of the site [1 Chronicles 22]. He is both thankful to God for freeing him from all his enemies, the forgiveness of sin of numbering his people, and the privilege of laying plans for a house for the Lord.
List of Psalms written by David
There are seventy-three psalm written by David. These are:-
3 Confidence facing the enemy
4 Thoughts in the night
5 A morning prayer
6 Prayer for mercy during trouble
7 The prayer of a wronged man
8 God’s glory and man’s honour
9 Praise for deliverance
11 God our refuge
12 Good thoughts for bad times
13 The deserted soul
14 The future of the fool
15 The happiness of the holy
16 Joy in God’s presence
17 Deliverance from the wicked
18 Calling upon God in distress
19 The works and word of God
20 A prayer for the king
21 Splendour and success of the king
22 Psalm of the Cross / Hind of the morning
23 The Shepherd Psalm
24 Song to the King of Glory
25 Prayer for guidance and protection
26 The basis of judgement
27 David’s song of confidence
28 A prayer for help
29 Song of the thunderstorm
30 Dedication of the temple site
31 My times are in Thy hands
32 A prayer during distress
34 A psalm of praise and trust
35 A plea for judgement
36 Wickedness confronts God’s love
37 Blessings to the righteous
38 The burden of suffering
39 In time of trouble
40 Delight in the will of God
41 Psalm of the compassionate
51 The Penitent’s Psalm
52 The fate of the wicked
53 The fate of the fool
54 A prayer for deliverance
55 The Lord will sustain
56 A song for the distressed
57 The mercy and truth of God
58 The punishment of the wicked
59 Triumph over enemies
60 Prayer for national deliverance
61 The prayer of a troubled heart
62 Confidence in God
63 The thirsty soul
64 Appeal for help against enemies
65 God’s provisions for the earth
66 God’s power and works
68 The God of Israel
69 The prayer for deliverance
70 Deliverance from persecutors
86 Prayer for deliverance
101 A perfect heart
103 The benefits of the Lord
108 A song of confidence in God
109 A cry to God for help
110 The king as priest and victor
122 The peace of Jerusalem
124 God’s deliverance
131 A song of the humble
138 The Lord is Faithful
139 The prayer of a believing heart
140 For protection against enemies
141 Conduct amidst trials
142 The Prisoner’s prayer
143 The prayer of the soul in distress
144 The warrior’s psalm
145 The goodness of the Lord