The Use of The Vocative “O” to Address Deity in the Psalms

February 14, 2018

The Psalmists address God with the vocative form “O” in at least 100 of the Psalms (>66%):

Ps. 3:3, 7; 4:1; 5:1, 3, 8, 10; 6:1ff; 7:1, 3, 6, 8; 8:1, 9; 9:1f, 13, 19f; [7]

10:1, 12; 12:7; 13:1, 3; 16:1; 17:1, 6f, 13f; 18:1, 15, 49; 19:14; [7]

21:1; 22:3, 19; 25:1, 4, 6f, 11, 22; 26:1f, 6; 27:7, 9, 11; 28:1; [6]

30:1ff, 8, 10, 12; 31:1, 5, 9, 14, 17; 33:22; 35:1, 22, 24; 36:5ff; 38:1, 15, 21f; 39:12; [7]

40:5, 9, 11, 13; 41:10; 42:1; 43:1, 4; 44:1, 4, 23; 45:6; 48:9f; [7]

51:1, 10, 14f, 17; 54:1f, 6; 55:1, 9, 23; 56:1f, 7, 12; 57:1, 5, 7, 9, 11; 58:6; 59:3, 5, 8, 11; [7]

60:1, 10; 61:1, 5; 62:12; 63:1; 64:1; 65:1f, 5; 66:10; 67:3, 5; 68:7, 9f, 24, 28, 35; 69:1, 5f, 13, 16, 29; [10]

70:1, 5; 71:1, 5, 12, 17ff, 22; 72:1; 73:20; 74:1, 10, 18, 22; 75:1; 76:6; 77:13, 16; 79:1, 9, 12; [9]

80:3f, 7, 14, 19; 82:8; 83:1, 16; 84:1, 3, 8f, 12; 85:4, 7; 86:1ff, 6, 8f, 11f, 14f; 88:1, 13; 89:5, 8, 15, 51; [8]

90:13; 92:5, 9; 93:3, 5; 94:1, 5, 12, 18; 97:8; 99:8; [6]

101:1; 102:1, 12; 104:1, 24; 106:4, 47; 108:1, 3, 5, 11; 109:1, 21, 26; [6]

115:1; 116:4, 16; 118:25; 119:12, 31, 33, 41, 52, 55, 57, 64f, 75, 89, 107f, 137, 145, 149, 151, 156, 159, 169, 174; [4]

120:2; 123:1, 3; 125:4; 126:4; [4]

130:1, 3; 132:8; 135:13; 137:7; 138:4, 8; 139:1, 4, 17, 19, 21, 23; [6]

140:1, 4, 6ff; 141:3, 8; 142:5; 143:1, 7, 9, 11; 144:5, 9; 145:10 [6]

These Psalms have 277 verses in which the Psalmist addresses God by saying, “O . . .” These vocatives for deity occur at least 295 times in the Psalms.

This data instructs us that Christian music used to worship God should regularly use the vocative form “O” to address God.

Copyright © 2011-2022 by Rajesh Gandhi. All rights reserved.

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Copyright © 2011-2022 by Rajesh Gandhi. All rights reserved.