PSALM

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The book of Psalms of which half of it is ascribed by the titles to King David, the great singer of Israel, by and large comes from lsrael’s golden age about one thousand years before the coming of Jesus Christ. Some were doubtless written later, even in the captivity, for example Psalm 137.

According to the titles, King David was the author of seventy- three psalms, Asaph has twelve, the sons of Korah, eleven, Solomon has two, Moses has one, so also Ethan, one. No author is mentioned in the case of fifty Psalms but the Greek Septuagint ascribes prophets Haggai and Zechariah as authors of the titles. Poetic compositions embedded in the pre-exile historic books shows a similar use of titles.

However, the reputation of King David as a musician is mentioned repeatedly in II Samuel 23:1 to have been written by him. Chronicles is quite explicit that David gathered temple choirs and composed Psalms for them- see 1 Chronicles 16:4-5, 25:1-5. The enigmatic musical terms of the title are often associated by Chronicles with this work of David.

The book of Psalms expresses great truths in poetic style, calculated to reach the deep springs of the heart. They should teach us that head knowledge is not enough the heart must be touched by God’s redeeming grace. Hebrew poetry does not consist in rhyme, but principally in repetition of the thought in a parallel clause “He hath not dealt with us after our sins, nor rewarded us according to our iniquities” (Psalm 103:10) Attention to this parallelism will occasionally help to interpret obscure words by the clearer parallel.

Another device frequently found in poetry is dramatization. David does not write just for himself, he writes for others, using the same poetic device. Shelley wrote ”The Cloud” recounting the experiences of a cloud in the first person. ┬áThe Psalmist wrote for all of us and we may

When interpreting the messianic Psalm, we must remember that here too David sometime would write in the first person, yet give in vivid detail the experience of the Messiah.

About half of the Psalms may be classified as prayers of truth in time of trouble, such precious Psalms as 23, 91, 121 and many others sustain us in time of deepest need. We do well to memorize and recall these psalms often so as to be fortified with the word when testing comes. About forty more Psalms are devoted to the subject of praise. The note of Praise to God should be a part of a Christian very breath and such Psalms as 100, 103 should have large place in our devotions. Detailed classification of the Psalm is difficult because they are highly poetic and one Psalm may touch on different themes. There are several categories of Psalm e.g. Psalm of Righteous man are presented by 1,15, 101, 112 and 133. About six Psalms may be called Royal Psalms e.g 2, 21, 45, 72, 110 and 132. Psalms 32, 51 are usually called penitential along with part of38, 130 and 143.

The imprecatory Psalms asking for vengeance of God’s enemies are 69, 101,137 and parts of 35, 55 and 58. There are at least four historical psalms such as 78, 81, 105 and 106. There are two revelation Psalms such as 19 and 119, the Messianic Psalms applied to Christ in the New Testament they are 2, 8, 16, 22, 40, 41, 45 68, 69, 89, 102, 109, 110 and 118.

Some of these are typically messianic that is written of our general experiences but applied to Christ, others are directly predictive e.g 2, 45 and 110 predict the Messianic King. In 45 verses 6 the Messiah is God.

In 110 He is the Priest King and David’s Lord in 2 He is God’s suffering e.g 22 His sacrifice in 22 and 40, His resurrection in 16, 10,11, in 89, He is the one who brings to completion the Davidic covenant in fulfillment of lsrae11s hopes.

THE OUTLINE OF THE BOOK OF PSALMS

An outline of the Psalter must be general, since the individual Psalms were apparently not collected with particular regard of subject; possibly musical considerations partly determined the present arrangement.

The Psalter is divided into five Books, each marked at the end by a doxology and classified according to subject matter.

BOOK ONE

THE GENESIS FOR CHIEFLY PRAYERS OF FAITH IN ADVERSITY

From Chapter 1-40 exceptions Praise psalm e.g 8, 24 29 and 33

Royal-2, 21

Righteousness 1,15, Penitential 32 and Revelations 19.

BOOK TWO

THE EXODUS BOOK CHIEFLY PRAYERS OF FAITH IN ADVERSITY

From Chapter 42- 72 exceptions

Praise psalm e.g 47, 48 29, 65-68

Royal Psalms 45, 72

The Imprecation Psalm 58 and 59

BOOK THREE

THE LEVITICUS BOOK PSALMS OF TRUST, ESPECIALLY IN NATIONAL DISTRESS

From Chapter 73-89 exceptions Praise psalm e.g 75 and 76

Historical Psalms 78 and 81

Love for Zion or the house of God Psalms 84 and 87 Rebuke to the wicked is 82

BOOK FOUR

THE NUMBERS BOOK PSALMS OF PRAISE,

From Chapter 90-106 exceptions

Praise of faith in adversity are 90, 9194 and 102 Historical Psalms 105 and 106

Psalm of Righteousness is 101.

BOOK FIVE

THE DEUTERONOMY BOOK MINGLED PSALMS CHIEFLY PRAISE AND TRUST IN TROUBLE

From Chapter 107-150 exceptions are Royal Psalms 110 and 132 National Distress Psalms 129 and 137

Psalms of Righteousness are 112 and 116

Psalm of revelation 119

Love for Zion or the house of God 122.

Special Categories in Book five are songs of degrees Psalm 120-134 Hallelluya Psalm of Praise are 113-118, 136 and 146-150

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