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I am looking at a Catholic Bible and I see the following:

  • PSALM 1 [...]
  • PSALM 9-10 [...]
  • PSALM 51 V50 Miserere
  • PSLAM 52 V 51 [...]
  • PSALM 150

Please see image below.

What accounts for this numbering?

It is not a straight 1 thru 150 numbering. For example there is Psalm 9-10 and Psalm 51 has V50 alongside it.

I am looking for a Catholic explanation sought but I assume a Bible scholar ought to be able to explain it.


Image produced from The Jerusalem Bible Popular Edition.

The Psalms

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    Do you mean, why are the psalms in the order they're in? – lonesomeday Jan 20 '15 at 20:07
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    Exactly which 'catholic bible' do you mean? Photos might help, because I have no idea what the psalm 51 thing means. – curiousdannii Jan 20 '15 at 22:22
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    I would agree that this question would be better with more information, such as a photo. I had no idea what you were talking about either, but the answer below cleared up the doubt. – Flimzy Jan 21 '15 at 3:26
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    @curiousdannii You are welcome! Sorry they are a bit unclear. I am sorry for what DavidStratton termed our butting heads. I hope we can move forward for the good of the site. PS Sometimes in hindsight it turns out better as this question has and the other re: marital .... You work hard. PPS My participation over next several days to a week will be sporadic. – user13992 Jan 21 '15 at 8:21
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    An even better picture. So much clearer! 'Miserere' looks like a name that's been given to Ps 51. – curiousdannii Jan 22 '15 at 10:50
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There is a difference in numbering between the Hebrew (Masoretic) text and the Greek and Latin (Septuagint and Vulgate). Psalms 9 and 10 in the Hebrew get combined into one as do Ps 114 & 115. Psalms 116 and 147 both get split in two.

Most Protestant Bibles follow the Hebrew numbering while most Catholic and Orthodox ones follow the Greek.

I suspect the reason for the difference is that the numbers were added to the Hebrew and Greek manuscripts at a later date and there were different opinions as to where one finished and the next began.


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    This is good, but it would be better if you could add references to support it. – David Stratton Jan 20 '15 at 21:13
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    What about Ps 51 and 52? – curiousdannii Jan 21 '15 at 10:59
  • My main source was my memory backed up by Wikipedia. en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Psalms#Numbering – neil Jan 26 '15 at 19:47
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    @curiousdannii - I don't think there is anything special about Ps 51&52 - just that the numbers are out of sync because of the difference with 9&10. – neil Jan 26 '15 at 19:48

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