Book of Hours

Penitential Psalms

Texts and Images

The seven Penitential Psalms (6, 31, 37, 50, 101, 129 and 142) were recited as prayers of contrition, expressing faith in God’s justice and hope for deliverance. The first of them opens with a large miniature of the penitent David and a full historiated border showing Bathsheba’s husband, Uriah, marching into battle on David’s orders.

The Painter of Additional 15677 provided the large miniature of David in penitence, but one of his associates completed the historiated border which shows Bathsheba’s husband Uriah marching into battle on David’s orders. The seven Penitential Psalms were recited to avoid the seven deadly sins: pride, avarice, lust, envy, gluttony, anger and sloth. Lust is the sin implied here – the sin for which David repents.