An Evening Song

Psalm 4

An EasyEnglish Translation with Notes (about 1200 word vocabulary) on Psalm 4

Gordon Churchyard

Words in boxes are from the Bible. Words in brackets, ( ), are not in the Hebrew Bible.


Jesus said, "Come to me, all you that work hard. Also, all of you that have a lot of trouble. I will give you rest". (Matthew 11: 28)

Psalm 4

  (Tell the music leader) to use stringed instruments.
  (This is) a song of David.

v1   Answer me when I shout for help, O God.
  You are the God that makes me righteous.
  Give me help in my troubles.
  Show me that you are kind.
  Listen to me when I pray.

v2   Sons of man:
   how long will you say that I am bad?
   how long will you love stupid ideas?
   how long will you want to hear lies?  SELAH

v3   Sons of man:
   the LORD has chosen me
   the LORD has made me separate for himself
   the LORD will listen when I pray to him

v4   Get angry - but do nothing wrong. Go to bed.
  Argue with yourself - but say nothing (aloud).   SELAH

v5   Offer the right gifts and believe in the LORD.

v6   Many people say, "Who will do anything good for us?"
  LORD, shine the light of your face on us.

v7   You have made me feel happy deep down inside me.
  I feel better than I do at a harvest party.

v8   I will lie down in *peace. Soon I will sleep.
  This is because only you, LORD, keep me safe.

Word list

harvest ~ the time when they bring the fruits in

peace ~ when we are friends with God and with other people; or when we have no trouble in our minds.

Sons of man ~ here it is the leaders of God's enemies

stringed instruments ~ for making music: an example is the guitar

The Story of Psalm 4

Absalom was one of King David's sons. He tried to kill David because he wanted to become king. David ran away. One evening, David prayed to God, "Show my enemies that you are fighting for me". God answered David and made him very happy. David slept in peace. The peace that God gives means that we do not feel afraid deep down inside us.

What Psalm 4 means

Verses 1 2: DAVID PRAYS TO GOD. David was a good man. This did not make him righteous. Only God can make someone righteous. David asked God for help. "Listen to me" in Hebrew means "answer me". David told God what he (David) wanted to say to his enemies. He really wanted God to tell them. David wanted to say to them, "You cannot win". This is because the enemies of David were fighting God. Their stupid ideas were that they wanted David dead and that they wanted Absalom to become king.

Verses 3 4: IN HIS MIND DAVID TALKS TO HIS ENEMIES. David gives more reasons why his enemies cannot win:

    the LORD chose David as king

    the LORD did not choose Absalom

    the LORD made David different from his enemies

    the LORD will listen to David and answer him

This will make the enemies of David angry. They must do nothing wrong, though. They can argue in their thoughts. They must not speak their ideas aloud.

Verses 5 8: GOD GIVES DAVID JOY. "Offer the right gifts" means "kill animals on the temple altar". A part of the Bible called Leviticus tells us what they are. It also means offer bread and wine. Christians do not do that now. They offer themselves to become the servants of God. Many people still say, "Who will do anything good for us?" Our answer is the same as the answer of David: the LORD. He will shine the light of his face on them. This can mean many things. One is that the LORD will give help to poor people.

Something to do

1.  Learn Psalm 4: 8 by heart. Say it every evening at bed time.

2.  Pray that God will do something for poor people that you know.

The Temple

A temple is a building. It is usually very big. In it the servants of a god meet together. They think that the god lives there.

The first temple that the Jews had was a tent. A tent is a building made from animal skins, like goats. They moved it from place to place. David moved it to Jerusalem. This is the temple in Psalm 4:5. David wanted to build a temple of wood and stone. God said, "No! Your son Solomon will build it". Solomon became king when David died. He built the temple in Jerusalem. When Solomon died the Jews divided into (or became) 2 countries:

   Judah and Benjamin in the south

   The other 9 tribes in the north, with Simeon south of Judah

A tribe is a very big family. The people of Israel had a temple at Gilgal. Gilgal was 30 kilometres north-east of Jerusalem.

King Nebuchadnezzar of Babylon destroyed the temple in Jerusalem. This was 587 years before Jesus came to earth. The Jews built it again 517 years before Jesus. When Jesus came to earth, Herod was king of Judah. Herod made people do more work on the temple. The Romans destroyed the temple in the year 70.

In the temple was a special table. The Jews called it an altar. Priests killed animals on the altar. They burned parts of the dead animals. They thought that this made God happy. Priests are servants of God. The part of the Bible called Leviticus told them what animals to kill. It also told them the parts they had to burn. They ate the other parts. Christians do not need a temple now. There are 3 reasons:

    each Christian is a temple where God lives

    each Christian is part of a bigger temple (we call it the body of Christ or the Church)

    God himself will be the temple in heaven (heaven is the home of God)

Make sure that you are part of this temple in heaven. Ask God to forgive you and come into your life. If you are not sure what to do, read the note at the end of Psalm 1 again, or ask your Christian friends for help.


2001, Wycliffe Associates (UK)

This publication is written in EasyEnglish Level A (1200 words)

January 2001

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