Psalm 50

For the "Miserere" psalm, Septuagint numbering 50, see Psalm 51.

Psalm 50 is the 50th psalm from the Book of Psalms in the Bible, beginning in English in the King James Version: "The mighty God, even the LORD, hath spoken, and called the earth from the rising of the sun unto the going down thereof." In the Greek Septuagint version of the bible, and in the Latin Vulgate, this psalm is Psalm 49 in a slightly different numbering system. The beginning in Latin is "Deus deorum, Dominus, locutus est / et vocavit terram a solis ortu usque ad occasum."[1] The psalm is a prophetic imagining of God's judgment on the Israelites.

Psalm 50
"The mighty God, even the LORD, hath spoken"
Full Ornamented Royal Coat of Arms of Spain (1700-1761).svg
A Latin phrase from Psalm 50 in the coat of arms of Spain
Other name
  • Psalm 49
  • "Deus deorum"
LanguageHebrew (original)

The psalm is a regular part of Jewish, Catholic, Lutheran, Anglican and other Protestant liturgies. It has been set to music completely and in single verses. The phrase "A solis ortu usque ad occasum" is part of a Spanish coat of arms.


The psalm has been variously dated to either the 8th century BC, the time of the prophets Hosea and Micah, or to a time after the Babylonian captivity. The latter date is supported by the reference to "gathering" in vs. 5, but is problematic because vs. 2 describes Zion (another name for Jerusalem) as "the perfection of beauty," even though Jerusalem was destroyed in 587 BC.[2]


The psalm can be divided into an introduction (vss. 1-6), two separate orations in which God testifies against the Jews (vvs. 7-15 and 16-21), and a conclusion.[3] The imagery of the introduction evokes the revelation of the Ten Commandments at Mount Sinai, where God's appearance was accompanied by thunder and lightning.[4] God summons the heavens and the earth to act as witnesses, and the rest of the psalm takes the form of a legal proceeding, with God acting as both plaintiff and judge.[5] The same metaphor of a divine tribunal occurs in chapter 1 of the Book of Isaiah and chapter 6 of the Book of Micah.[4]

In God's first oration, he tells the people that he is not satisfied with material sacrifices alone, since he does not require food or drink.[4] Rather, he desires his people to worship him with thanksgiving and sincere prayer.[6] Verse 13, "Do I eat the flesh of bulls, or drink the blood of goats?" may be an allusion to the goddess Anat, since in one fragmentary text Anat eats the flesh and drinks the blood of her brother Baal, who sometimes appears as a bull.[7]

God's second oration is warning against hypocrisy.[4] Though the hypocrites often recite God's commandments, they inwardly hate them and make no effort to live by them, and God will surely bring them to judgment.[6]

The psalm closes with a final warning against iniquity and a promise that God will bless the righteous and make them "drink deeply of the salvation of God."[8] This last is an appearance of the common Biblical theme of the "Messianic banquet," which also occurs in Psalm 23, Psalm 16, and Luke 14, among other places.[9]



Psalm 50 is recited on the fourth day of Sukkot.[10]

Musical settingsEdit

In a Scottish Psalter of 1650, Psalm 50 was paraphrased rhymed in English as "The mighty God, the Lord, Hath spoken unto all".[11] The 1863 hymn "For the Beauty of the Earth" by Folliott Sandford Pierpoint issues verse 14.[12]

Heinrich Schütz set Psalm 50 in a rhymed version in the Becker Psalter, as "Gott unser Herr, mächtig durchs Wort", SWV 147. The last verse is used in German in the opening chorus of Bach's cantata Wer Dank opfert, der preiset mich, BWV 17, composed in 1726.


  1. ^ Parallel Latin/English Psalter / Psalmus 49 (50) Archived 7 May 2017 at the Wayback Machine
  2. ^ Kirkpatrick 277
  3. ^ Rhodes 84
  4. ^ a b c d Kirkpatrick 276
  5. ^ Dahood 306; Rhodes 84
  6. ^ a b Rhodes 85
  7. ^ Dahood 308
  8. ^ Dahood 305
  9. ^ Dahood 311
  10. ^ The Artscroll Tehillim page 329
  11. ^ The mighty God, the Lord, Hath spoken unto all
  12. ^ For the Beauty of the Earth


  • Dahood, Mitchell (1966). Psalms I: 1-50. Anchor Bible Series. Garden City, New York: Doubleday & Company.
  • Kirkpatrick, A. F. (1901). The Book of Psalms. The Cambridge Bible for Schools and Colleges. Cambridge University Press.
  • Rhodes, Arnold B. (1960). The Book of Psalms. The Layman's Bible Commentary. Richmond, Virginia: John Knox Press. ISBN 9780804230094.

External linksEdit