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The Bible and Suicide

Psalm Paintings by Artist Irv Davis

psalm127.gif (28766 bytes)
© 2000 Graphic by Irv Davis

A psalm is a song or poem in praise of God. Tehillim, the Hebrew word for psalms, means praise. Irv Davis, a retired industrial scientist with a background in art, paints psalms from the Bible and shares one of his psalm drawings with us each month.

Psalm of the Month

January Psalm 91 July Psalm 8
February Psalm 127 August Psalm 137
March Psalm 139 September Psalm 81
April Anguish Psalms October Psalm 1
May Jerusalem Psalms November Psalm 23
June Nature Psalms December Psalm 150

About Psalms and Psalm Art, by Irv Davis

Why are the Psalms important as both poetry and as a help for spiritual reflection and guidance for both Jews and Christians?

The Psalms are a unique part of the Bible. While most books of the Bible are narrative or commandments from God to man, the Psalms are narrative from man to God. Man speaking to God with praise and anguish, with intense emotions of joy and sadness. They speak of morality, nature, exile, Jerusalem and a wide variety of subjects that give us a window into the mind of biblical man.

There are 150 Psalms in the Bible. Some were written by King David, or attributed to him. Others were written centuries after King David's death.

The Psalms are found in the liturgy of Jewish and Christian services. The Benedictine monks read the Psalms every day. They finish the whole Psalter (Book of Psalms) in about a month and then start over again. The Psalms have helped console countless individuals. In his book "Fear No Evil", Natan Sharansky writes about how the psalms comforted him while he was isolated in his cell in the Gulag.

As in all poetry, the Psalms are based on metaphors such as the Lord is my shepherd, my rock, my fortress, my shield. I have tried to paint the metaphors into a picture that expresses at least part of the Psalm and conveys the message of the Psalm in a Jewish way. My style is naive, not realistic, and I use bright colors. Some have called my style Chagall like. The text with the picture is based on my research and feelings about the Psalms as well as discussions with Rabbis.

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About Psalm Artist Irv Davis

Irwin J. Davis (irvdav@nerc.com) is a retired industrial scientist with a background in art. Since his times as a cartoonist in college, he has had training from some well known artist in painting, drawing and sculpture. For several years he taught Jewish art in Temple Beth El in Hillsborough, New Jersey, and did covers for the award winning conservative magazine Shir L'Sholom of Temple Sholom in Bridgewater, New Jersey, as well as Jewish New Years cards for the Jewish Federation of Somerset County and has been a member of the American Guild of Judaic Art. He has made block prints that have been used as a cover for a recently released book by a major Jewish publisher. His work has been displayed in local galleries and art shows. You can view his art online at http://www.psalmart.com. He is currently teaching art to senior citizens as well as pursuing his quest to find a graphic expression of the Psalms in his paintings as well as lecturing on Jewish art and his Psalm paintings. He resides in Cranbury, New Jersey with his wife and has two children and two grandchildren.

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~ Lisa Katz

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