The Book of Psalms
Psalm 2:7-9 - I will declare the decree: the LORD hath said unto me, Thou [art] my Son; this day have I begotten thee. Ask of me, and I shall give [thee] the heathen [for] thine inheritance, and the uttermost parts of the earth [for] thy possession. Thou shalt break them with a rod of iron; thou shalt dash them in pieces like a potter's vessel.
Psalm 8:3-4 - When I consider thy heavens, the work of thy fingers, the moon and the stars, which thou hast ordained; What is man, that thou art mindful of him? and the son of man, that thou visitest him?
Psalm 53:1-3 -
The Old Testament - A Brief OverviewSummary of The Book of Psalms
The Hebrew title of the book of Psalms is sepher tehillim, meaning "book of praises"; al-though a number of other themes are prominent, this is surely a fitting title for this collection of religious poetry. Each psalm reflects a personal relationship between its author and Jehovah. Throughout the collection a dominant mood of hope displays confidence in His Lordship of the universe.
Since other peoples in the area in and around Palestine possessed considerable religious poetry, it is not at all surprising that the Hebrews should have produced a collection of such sublimity. The backbone of the Psalter is a number of psalms which purport to come from David. These include psalms 2-41 (except 33 ), 51-72, 108-110, and 138-145. Some critics deny that David actually wrote any of the psalms himself, but the information which we possess concerning David would imply that he was the sort of man who might be expected to produce such literature. That he was a skillful musician is indicated by his playing the lyre for King Saul (1 Sam. 16:23) and by Amos' statement that he invented instruments of music (Amos 6:5). His lament over Saul and Jonathan (2 Sam. 1:19-27), usually admitted to be genuine, displays his native poetic ability. The sensitivity and feeling thought to be a requisite of lasting poetry is demonstrated in David's repeated and extreme sorrow for his sin. His varied experiences as shepherd, musician, warrior, king, parent, lover and sinner would certainly furnish him with a background favorable to literary production. Above all, David is presented to us as a true worshipper of God, a man possessing the Holy Spirit (1 Sam. 16:13). Perhaps not all the psalms which bear his name are actually Davidic, but they are in the same style and a majority probably belong to him.
In addition to the psalms of David, there are two collections of Levitical psalms. Psalms 42-49 are ascribed to the "sons of Korah." Psalms 73-83, as well as Psalm 50, purport to come from Asaph. These give prominence to the tribes of Joseph. Moses, Haman, Ethan and Solomon are also mentioned, while a few of the psalms are purely anonymous (Cf. 33, 84-89 ). Others have a strong liturgical character, indicating the possibility that they were developed as they were used in the worship service and on special occasions and cannot easily be attributed to any one author (Cf. 91-100).
It is not possible to say how the psalms were collected. Few can be definitely dated. If the titles are genuine ( see discussion below ), they were probably written in the period from about 1500 BC to 500 BC. Most seem to have come from the period of the United Kingdom. The work of Samuel had effected a great national and spiritual unity. This, coupled with the expansion of the life of Israel by David's victories, would naturally inspire men of poetic ability to seek to record their reactions.
Some of the psalms are historical, recalling God's treatment of Israel in the past, while others are prophetic, looking to the future, even to the coming of Messiah. There are psalms of affliction, lamentation and penitence, as well as hymns of thanksgiving and trust. These are divided into five books : 1-41, which witness to David's life and faith; 42-72, a group of historical writings; 73-99, ritual psalms; 90-106, reflecting pre-captivity sentiment and history; and 107-150, dealing with the captivity and return to Jerusalem. These five books are often regarded as the devotional counterpart to the five books of Moses.
Some of the psalms were deemed as particularly fitting for recitation on
certain days and consequently developed a liturgical use. Some were used
primarily on the Sabbath while others were reserved for the Passover, the feast
of tabernacles or other Jewish holy days.
The Story of the Bible
The Old Testament
Summary of the Old Testament Books