7 February 2022

The Psalms: Part 2

Why is it said that the Messiah is the son of David?
David himself declares in the Book of Psalms:
‘The Lord said to my Lord:
“Sit at my right hand
until I make your enemies
a footstool for your feet.”’
David calls him ‘Lord.’ How then can he be his son?

— A puzzle given by Jesus,
told by Luke the Evangelist (Luke 20:41-44)

Psalm 110 is the mostly cited psalm in the New Testament, we can find 6 different quotations written by 4 different authors. It is quite often that the quoted texts appear in a challenging context – in my opinion, this is fully intentional. You are puzzled – this is something very usual in a human's life, beginning at school during exams, and then day after day in many areas of life. Finally, the most challenging puzzle is probably to learn: What is the meaning of life?

In today's blog entry we have a closer look on the structure of the quotations of the Psalms. We start with Psalm 110 and then go back to the beginning to start a systematic description.







All of these quotations are (quasi-)literal. In fact, the last quotation is connected to another part of Psalm 110 (verse 4 instead of verse 1) and it has little to do with the puzzle given by Jesus. On the other hand, verse 4 is explained quite detailed in the Hebrews, and several other verses repeat some words of the quoted part of Psalm 110:4 (Hebrews 5:10, 7:17 and 7:21 – they are all detected by the getrefs algorithm).

Here is a complete list of verified quotations based on the Psalms:

No. LXX Psalms passage New Testament SBLGNT passage getrefs chunks
1 2:1 2:2-8 Acts 4:25+58 4:26 1
2 2:7+44 2:7 Acts 13:33+88 13:33 1
3 2:7+44 2:7 Hebrews 1:5+26 1:5-53 1
4 8:2 8:2-47 Matthew 21:16+76 21:16 1
5 8:4 8:6 Hebrews 2:6+25 2:8-86 2
6 14:2+59 14:3 Romans 3:11+3 3:18 1
7 16:8 16:11-31 Acts 2:25+21 2:28 1
8 16:10+37 16:10 Acts 13:35+20 13:35 1
9 18:49 Romans 15:9+46 15:9 2
10 19:4 19:4-27 Romans 10:18+28 10:18 1
11 22:18 John 19:24+89 19:24-31 1
12 22:22+10 22:22 Hebrews 2:12+13 2:12 1
13 24:1+28 24:1-39 I Corinthians 10:26 1
14 32:1+15 32:2-30 Romans 4:7 4:8 1
15 34:12+17 34:16-37 I Peter 3:10+4 3:12 7
16 40:6 40:8-45 Hebrews 10:5+32 10:7 4
17 41:9+45 41:9-5 John 13:18+68 13:18-7 0
18 44:22 Romans 8:36+14 8:36 1
19 45:6 45:7 Hebrews 1:8+13 1:9 4
20 51:4+43 51:4 Romans 3:4+63 3:4 2
21 68:18 68:18-52 Ephesians 4:8+8 4:8 1
22 69:9+3 69:9-45 John 2:17+43 2:17 1
23 69:9+34 69:9 Romans 15:3+46 15:3 1
24 69:22 69:23 Romans 11:9+13 11:10 5
25 69:25 Acts 1:20+25 1:20-38 2
26 78:2 78:2-26 Matthew 13:35+40 13:35-31 1
27 78:24+21 78:24 John 6:31+56 6:31 1
28 82:6 82:6-20 John 10:34+55 10:34 1
29 89:20 89:20-34 Acts 13:22+68 13:22-58 1
30 91:11 91:12 Matthew 4:6+54 4:6 2
31 91:11 91:12 Luke 4:10+12 4:11 2
32 94:11 I Corinthians 3:20+8 3:20 2
33 95:7+65 95:11 Hebrews 3:7+28 3:11 5
34 102:25 102:27 Hebrews 1:10+3 1:12 2
35 104:4 Hebrews 1:7+27 1:7 1
36 109:3+29 109:3 John 15:25+47 15:25 1
37 109:8+30 109:8 Acts 1:20+76 1:20 1
38 110:1+13 110:1 Luke 20:42+31 20:43 1
39 110:1+13 110:1 Acts 2:34+42 2:35 1
40 110:1+13 110:1 Matthew 22:44 1
41 110:1+13 110:1 Mark 12:36+33 12:36 1
42 110:1+35 110:1 Hebrews 1:13+31 1:13 1
43 110:4+32 110:4 Hebrews 5:6+20 5:6 1
44 112:9 112:9-37 II Corinthians 9:9+14 9:9 1
45 116:10+9 116:10-22 II Corinthians 4:13+48 4:13-32 1
46 117:1+9 117:1 Romans 15:11+8 15:11 2
47 118:6 Hebrews 13:6+24 13:6 1
48 118:22 118:23 Matthew 21:42+47 21:42 1
49 118:22 118:23 Mark 12:10+27 12:11 1
50 118:22 Luke 20:17+50 20:17 1
51 118:22 I Peter 2:7+39 2:7 1
52 132:11 132:11-3 Acts 2:30 2:30-5 1

As mentioned earlier, the quotation in John 13:18 cannot be found by the getrefs algorithm. A quick look on the quotation structure explains why the automated detection of this match is difficult:


When having a closer look, we learn that the English text of John 13:18 reads as “…He that eateth bread with me hath lifted up his heel against me”, and the end of this seems to be identical to the end of Psalm 41:9: “…Yea, mine own familiar friend, in whom I trusted, which did eat of my bread, hath lifted up his heel against me” (according to the KJV translation). Unfortunately, the Greek texts differ a bit. The end of John 13:18 renders as “…μου τον αρτον επηρεν επ εμε την πτερναν αυτου” and the end of Psalm 41:9 is as follows: “…αρτους μου εμεγαλυνεν επ εμε πτερνισμον”. In fact, the search query “επ εμε πτερν*” in BibleTime gives a unique result, so a fuzzy variant of the getrefs would be promising for a future development.

On the other hand, the above list of the 52 quotations (of 42 different passages from 32 different psalms) is the highest number among the Old Testament books. It is remarkable that the Psalms are quoted by several authors of the New Testament: Matthew, Mark, Luke, John, Paul, Peter, and (if that person differs from Paul) the author of Hebrews. The number of New Testament books that quote at least one of the psalms is 11 (including all Gospels). All of these appearances confirm the importance of the Psalms in the ancient world.

Finally we give a full list of the rest of structural diagrams.












































Next, we will continue our study on comparing these structural diagrams – also with the ones obtained from the Romans.


Continue reading…

See also a filtered list of the entries on topics GeoGebra, technical developments or internal references in the Bible.


Zoltán Kovács
Linzer Zentrum für Mathematik Didaktik
Johannes Kepler Universität
Altenberger Strasse 54
A-4040 Linz