The Healing Psalms

Sefer Tehillim, theBook of Psalms, is a collection of religious poems dating back to the most ancient days of our people. Of the 150 psalms preserved in the Bible, many are associated with King David, the "sweet singer of Zion" who ruled in the 10th century B.C.E. The psalms have long been integral to Jewish worship, from the time of the First Temple through to the present. Many are songs praising the majesty, magnificence, and redemptive powers of God. Others are elegies on the themes of suffering, confession, and pleas for pardon. Yet others sing of ethics and the how one ought to live, serving a didactic function for the listener. Unlike the rest of the Tanakh, in which God commands and reaches toward humanity to teach, prod, reward, punish, and generally mold to God's ways, the Tehillim come entirely from the human heart and reach toward God, glorifying, pleading, expressing gratitude, praising. While the rest of the Tanakh speaks of the experience of a nation in its covenant with God, the Psalms speak from the depths of individual souls searching for the Divine in their individual lives. Commenting on Psalm 18, Midrash Tehillim tells us: "Rabbi Yudan said in the name of Rabbi Judah: Whatever David says in his Book [of Psalms] pertains to himself, to all Israel, and to all times." Herein lies the magic of the Psalms: they speak to the individual soul, to an entire people, indeed to all souls in all times and places. While time and situation may change, human nature does not and the Psalms speak from and to the essence of being human and in search of God in our lives.

When we are sick, in pain, or in distress, we need comfort and healing. Psalms can be a source of comfort and healing, helping us feel God's presence in our lives. You might want these psalms for yourself, or perhaps you are seeking them for someone you know. As awesome as the healing power of the psalms can be for many people, your presence in their lives and at their sickbed, is all the more powerful. Print out these psalms and take them to someone in need and read them to him/her and you'll soon learn just how powerful, and how important your presence is.


Prayer Before Reciting the Healing Psalms

Our God and God of our ancestors, who chose King David and his descendants, and who favors songs and praises, please turn to me in mercy and accept the psalms I am going to say as if King David, himself, were saying them, and may his merit protect me. There is merit in every verse of the psalms, and in every word; in their letters, vowels, and notes, and in all the holy names they spell out. May this merit stand in my favor to atone for my sins and transgressions. Send down blessing from Your high and exalted place to my soul and spirit. Do not take me away from this world before my time. Give me a full measure of years and the strength to make full the measure of years allotted to me. Bless me from the treasury of Your generosity, as it is written, "I will be gracious to those to whom I will be gracious, and I will show mercy to those to whom I will show mercy."1 Just as I sing before You in this world, grant me the privilege to sing before You, O God, in the world-to-come. Through my recital of the psalms, may pleasant song break forth with rejoicing and exultation. Let glory, splendor, and beauty be granted to the Household of Israel, speedily in our days. Amen.


Psalm 16

1. A sweet psalm of David. Preserve me, O God; for in You I put my trust.

2. I have said to the Lord, You are my Lord; I have no good apart from You;

3. As for the holy ones who are in the earth, they are the excellent, in whom is all my delight.

4. And for those who choose another god, their sorrows shall be multiplied; their drink offerings of blood I will not offer, nor take up their names upon my lips.

5. The Lord is the portion of my inheritance and of my cup; You maintain my lot.

6. The lines are fallen for me in pleasant places; I have a goodly heritage.

7. I will bless the Lord, who has given me counsel; my insides also instruct me in the night seasons.

8. I have set the Lord always before me; because God is at my right hand, I shall not be moved.

9. Therefore my heart is glad, and my glory rejoices; my flesh also dwells secure.

10. For You will not abandon my soul to Sheol; nor will You suffer Your pious one to see the pit.

11. You will show me the path of life; in Your presence is fullness of joy; at Your right hand there are pleasures for evermore.


Psalm 32

1. A Psalm of David, A Maskil. Happy is he whose transgression is forgiven, whose sin is covered.

2. Happy is the man to whom the Lord does not impute iniquity, and in whose spirit there is no guile.

3. When I kept silence, my bones wasted away through my groaning all day long.

4. For day and night Your hand was heavy on me; my moisture is turned into the drought of summer. Selah.

5. I acknowledged my sin to You, and I did not hide my iniquity. I said, I will confess my transgressions to the Lord; and You forgave the iniquity of my sin. Selah.

6. For this shall every one who is pious pray to You in a time when You may be found; then surely the floods of great waters shall not come near him.

7. You are my hiding place; You shall preserve me from trouble; You shall surround me with songs of deliverance. Selah.

8. I will instruct You and teach You in the way which You shall go; I will counsel You with my eye upon You.

9. Do not be like the horse, or like the mule, which have no understanding; whose mouth must be held in with bit and bridle, lest they do not come near You.

10. Many are the sorrows of the wicked; but loving kindness shall surround him who trusts in the Lord.

11. Be glad in the Lord, and rejoice, You righteous; and shout for joy, all You who are upright in heart.


Psalm 41

1. To the chief Musician, A Psalm of David.

2. Happy is he who considers the poor; the Lord will save in the day of evil.

3. The Lord will preserve him, and keep him alive; he is called happy on earth; and You will not deliver him to the will of his enemies.

4. The Lord will strengthen him on his sick bed; whenever he is prostrate You will heal all his illnesses.

5. I said, Lord, be merciful to me; heal my soul; for I have sinned against You.

6. My enemies speak evil of me, When shall he die, and his name perish?

7. And if one comes to see me, he speaks vanity; his heart gathers iniquity to itself; when he goes out, he tells it.

8. All who hate me whisper together against me; against me they plot my harm.

9. They say, An evil disease cleaves fast to him, and from where he lies he shall rise up no more.

10. Even my own close friend, in whom I trusted, who ate of my bread, has lifted up his heel against me.

11. But You, O Lord, be gracious to me, and raise me up, that I may pay them back.

12. By this I know that You favor me, because my enemy does not triumph over me.

13. And as for me, You uphold me in my integrity, and You set me before Your face for ever.

14. Blessed be the Lord God of Israel from everlasting, and to everlasting. Amen, and Amen.


Psalm 42

1. To the chief Musician, A Maskil, for the sons of Korah.

2. As the hart longs for water streams, so does my soul long for You, O God.

3. My soul thirsts for God, for the living God; when shall I come and appear before God?

4. My tears have been my bread day and night, while they continually say to me, Where is Your God?

5. When I remember these things, I pour out my soul; how I went with the multitude, leading them in procession to the house of God, with the voice of joy and praise, a crowd keeping the festival.

6. Why are You cast down, O my soul? And why are You disquieted within me? Hope in God; for I shall again praise him for the help of his countenance.

7. O my God, my soul is cast down within me, because I remember You from the land of the Jordan, and the Hermon, from Mount Mizar.

8. Deep calls to deep at the noise of Your cataracts; all Your waves and Your billows have gone over me.

9. By day the Lord will command his loving kindness, and in the night his song shall be with me, a prayer to the God of my life.

10. I will say to God my rock, Why have You forgotten me? Why do I go mourning because of the oppression of the enemy?

11. Like a deadly wound in my bones, my enemies taunt me; while they say daily to me, Where is Your God?

12. Why are You cast down, O my soul? And why are You disquieted within me? Hope in God; for I shall again praise him, who is the health of my countenance, and my God.


Psalm 59

1. To the chief Musician, Altaschith, A Miktam of David; when Saul sent,

2. and they watched the house to kill him. Save me from my enemies, O my God; defend me from those who rise up against me.

3. Save me from the evil doers, and save me from bloody men.

4. For, behold, they lie in wait for my soul; fierce men are gathered against me; not for my transgression, nor for my sin, O Lord.

5. They run and prepare themselves for no fault of mine; awake to help me, and behold.

6. You therefore, O Lord God of hosts, the God of Israel, awake to punish all the nations; do not be merciful to any wicked traitors. Selah.

7. They return at evening; they howl like dogs, and go prowling around the city.

8. Behold, they belch out with their mouth; swords are in their lips; for Who hears?, say they.

9. But You, O Lord, shall laugh at them; You shall have all the nations in derision.

10. O my strength, upon You I will wait! For God is my fortress.

11. God who loves me shall come to meet me; God shall let me gaze upon my enemies.

12. Do not slay them, lest my people forget; scatter them by Your power; and bring them down, O Lord our shield.

13. For the sin of their mouth and the words of their lips let them be taken in their arrogance; and for cursing and lying which they speak.

14. Consume them in wrath, consume them, till they are no more; and let them know that God rules in Jacob to the ends of the earth. Selah.

15. And at evening let them return; and let them howl like a dog, and go prowling around the city.

16. Let them wander up and down for food, and growl if they do not get their fill.

17. But I will sing of Your power; indeed, I will sing aloud of Your loving kindness in the morning; for You have been my fortress and my refuge in the day of my trouble.

18. To You, O my strength, I will sing; for God is my fortress, and the God who loves me.


Psalm 77

1. To the chief Musician, to Jeduthun, A Psalm of Asaph.

2. I cry aloud to God, aloud to God, that he may hear me.

3. In the day of my trouble I seek the Lord; my hand is stretched out in the night, and does not rest; my soul refuses to be comforted.

4. I remember God, and I moan; I meditate and my spirit faints. Selah.

5. You hold my eyelids from closing; I am so troubled that I cannot speak.

6. I consider the days of old, the years of ancient times.

7. I remember my melody in the night; I talk with my heart; and my spirit searches.

8. Will the Lord cast off for ever? And will he be favorable no more?

9. Has his loving kindness ceased for ever? Does his promise fail for evermore?

10. Has God forgotten to be gracious? Has he in anger shut up his tender mercies? Selah.

11. And I said, It is my sickness that the right hand of the Most High has changed.

12. I will remember the works of the Lord; surely I will remember Your wonders of old.

13. And I will meditate on all Your work, and muse on Your deeds.

14. Your way, O God, is holy. Who is so great a God as our God?

15. You are the God that does wonders; You have declared Your strength among the people.

16. With Your arm You have redeemed Your people, the sons of Jacob and Joseph. Selah.

17. The waters saw You, O God, the waters saw You; they were afraid; the depths also trembled.

18. The clouds poured out water; the skies sent out a sound; Your arrows flashed on every side.

19. The voice of Your thunder was in the whirlwind; the lightnings lightened the world; the earth trembled and shook.

20. Your way was through the sea, and Your path through the great waters; and Your footsteps were not known.

21. You led Your people like a flock by the hand of Moses and Aaron.


Psalm 90

1. A Prayer of Moses the man of God. Lord, You have been our dwelling place in all generations.

2. Before the mountains were brought forth, before You had formed the earth and the world, from everlasting to everlasting, You are God.

3. You turn man back to dust; and say, Turn back, O children of men!

4. For a thousand years in Your sight are but like yesterday when it is past, and like a watch in the night.

5. You sweep them away; they are like sleepers; they are like short lived grass in the morning.

6. In the morning it flourishes, and fades; by evening it is withered and dry.

7. For we are consumed by Your anger, and by Your wrath are we terrified.

8. You have set our iniquities before You, our secret sins in the light of Your countenance.

9. For all our days pass away in Your wrath; we spend our years like a tale that is told.

10. The days of our years are seventy; or if, because of strength, they are eighty years, yet their pride is but trouble and wretchedness; for it is soon cut off, and we fly away.

11. Who knows the power of Your anger? According to Your fear, so is Your wrath.

12. So teach us to number our days, that we may get a heart of wisdom.

13. Return, O Lord! How long? And relent concerning Your servants.

14. O satisfy us in the morning with Your loving kindness; that we may rejoice and be glad all our days.

15. Make us glad as many days as You have afflicted us, and as many years as we have seen evil.

16. Let Your work be visible to Your servants, and Your glory to their children.

17. And let the beauty of the Lord our God be upon us; and establish the work of our hands upon us; O prosper it, the work of our hands.


Psalm 105

1. O give thanks to the Lord; call upon God's name; make known God's deeds among the people.

2. Sing to Adonai, sing psalms to Adonai; talk You of all God's wondrous works.

3. Glory in God's holy name; let the heart of those who seek the Lord rejoice.

4. Seek the Lord, and God's strength; seek God's face continually.

5. Remember God's marvelous works that God has done; Adonai's wonders, and the judgments of Adonai's mouth;

6. O seed of Abraham, his servant! O children of Jacob, God's chosen!

7. Adonai is the Lord our God; Adonai's judgments are over all the earth.

8. God has remembered the covenant for ever, the word which God commanded to a thousand generations.

9. The covenant which God made with Abraham, and God's oath to Isaac;

10. And confirmed the same to Jacob for a law, and to Israel for an everlasting covenant;

11. Saying, To You I will give the land of Canaan, the lot of Your inheritance;

12. When they were but a few people in number; of little account and sojourners there.

13. When they went from one nation to another, from one kingdom to another people;

14. He did not allow any man to do them wrong; he reproved kings for their sakes;

15. Saying, Do not touch my anointed, and do not do any harm to my prophets.

16. Moreover he called for a famine upon the land; he broke every staff of bread.

17. He sent a man before them, Joseph, who was sold as a slave;

18. Whose foot they hurt with fetters; he was laid in iron;

19. Until the time that his word came to pass; the word of the Lord had tested him.

20. The king sent and released him; the ruler of the people let him go free.

21. He made him lord of his house, and ruler of all his possessions;

22. To bind his princes at his pleasure; and teach his elders wisdom.

23. And Israel came into Egypt; and Jacob sojourned in the land of Ham.

24. And he increased his people greatly; and made them stronger than their enemies.

25. He turned their heart to hate his people, to deal craftily with his servants.

26. He sent Moses his servant; and Aaron whom he had chosen.

27. They performed his signs among them, and wonders in the land of Ham.

28. He sent darkness, and made it dark; and they did not rebel against his word.

29. He turned their waters into blood, and caused their fish to die.

30. Their land swarmed with frogs, in the chambers of their kings.

31. He spoke, and there came swarms of flies and gnats in all their borders.

32. He gave them hail for rain, and flaming fire in their land.

33. He struck their vines also and their fig trees; and broke the trees of their country.

34. He spoke, and the swarming locusts came, and the hopping locusts without number.

35. And they ate up all the plants in their land, and devoured the fruit of their ground.

36. And he struck all the firstborn in their land, the first issue of all their strength.

37. And he brought them out with silver and gold; and among their tribes there was no one who stumbled.

38. Egypt was glad when they departed; for the fear of them had fallen upon them.

39. He spread a cloud for a covering; and fire to give light in the night.

40. They asked, and he brought quails, and satisfied them with bread from heaven.

41. He opened the rock, and the waters gushed out; it ran in the dry places like a river.

42. For he remembered his holy promise, and Abraham his servant.

43. And he brought out his people with joy, and his chosen with gladness;

44. And he gave them the lands of the nations; and they seized the labor of the people,

45. That they might observe his statutes, and keep his Torot. Hallelujah! Lord.


Psalm 137

1. By the rivers of Babylon, there we sat down, we also wept, when we remembered Zion.

2. We hung our lyres on the willows in its midst.

3. For there those who carried us away captive required of us a song; and those who tormented us required of us mirth, saying, Sing us one of the songs of Zion.

4. How shall we sing the Lord's song in a foreign land?

5. If I forget You, O Jerusalem, let my right hand forget her cunning.

6. If I do not remember You, let my tongue cleave to the roof of my mouth; if I do not set Jerusalem above my highest joy.

7. Remember, O Lord, against the Edomites, the day of Jerusalem; who said, Raze it, raze it, to its foundation.

8. O daughter of Babylon, You are to be destroyed! Happy shall he be, who repays You for what You have done to us!

9. Happy shall he be, who takes Your little ones and dashes them against the rock!


Psalm 150

1. Hallelujah! Praise God in his sanctuary! Praise him in the firmament of his power!

2. Praise him for his mighty acts! Praise him according to his exceeding greatness!

3. Praise him with the sound of the shofar! Praise him with the harp and the lyre!

4. Praise him with the tambourine and dance! Praise him with stringed instruments and the pipe!

5. Praise him with sounding cymbals! Praise him with loud clashing cymbals!

6. Let every thing that breathes praise the Lord! Hallelujah!