The Psalms is one of three Old Testament books known as poetical books, along with Job and Proverbs. The Hebrews called the Psalms the "book of praises". The Psalms were written between 400-1000 BC. It is known that David wrote about 73 of the psalms. Others are attributed to Asaph and Korah. Still others have unknown authors. Solomon is believed to collect the writings of David, the Levites many of them, some by Hezekiah, and the last few by Ezra and Nehemiah. There is a multiplicity of suggestions presented as to authorship, and since none is of a surety, the acceptance of one is just as good as another.
The book contains many themes, including history, praise, asking God to overthrow the wicked, repentance, and messianic psalms. No part of the Old Testament is more frequently quoted or referred to in the New Testament than is the Psalms. Whether mourning for sin, thirsting after God, burdened with affliction, rejoicing in Him, struggling with temptation, triumphing in the hope of enjoyment of deliverance, thanking God for His mercies, meditating on His truths, or delighting in His service. They form a divinely appointed standard of experience by which we may judge ourselves. Their value is very great, and the use of them will increase with the growth of true religion in the heart. The Spirit helps us to pray. If we make the Psalms familiar to us, whatever we have to ask at the throne of grace, by way of confession, petition, or thanksgiving, we may be helped thereby.
The Psalms apparently are five books in one. (1) Chapters 1-41 were put together before David's death. These seem to be personal psalms reflecting David's own experiences. (2) Chapters 42-72 seem to be written during the time of Solomon. (3) Chapters 73-89 and (4) Chapters 90-106 appear to be from the days of captivity. (5) Chapters 107-150, containing the most liturgical of the psalms, seem to have been collected possibly by Ezra after the return from exile.
At this point, let us do a little association with the Psalms and with other books. The first book (Chapters 1-41) reflects the book of Genesis, the key thought being man and God's counsels concerning him. The second book (Chapters 42-72) reflects the book of Exodus, the key thought of which is Israel. This book begins with Israel's cry for deliverance and ends with Israel's king reigning over the redeemed nation. The third book (Chapters 73-89) shows the sanctuary as the primary emphasis and thus parallels Leviticus. The fourth book (Chapters 90-106) seems to correspond with the book of Numbers. This group of psalms begins with one written by Moses and ends with one that recounts Israel's rebellions in the wilderness. The fifth book (Chapters 107-150) is linked to Deuteronomy; the prevailing thought being God's Word. Psalms 119 is devoted to the exalting of God's Word.
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