By Barnard C. Taylor
1. AUTHORS. — About fifty of the Psalms are anonymous; eighty are ascribed to David, two to Solomon, twelve to Asaph, thirteen to the sons of Korah, and one to Moses. Some of these superscriptions are probably incorrect.
2. DATES. — Many of them belong to the days of David; others are attributed to times during the subsequent history of Israel. Some belong to the period after the exile, but perhaps none were produced later than the days of Ezra.
3. LITERARY CHARACTER. — The whole collection was divided into five books, ending successively with Ps. 41, 72, 89, 106, and 150. The origin of this division and the principles upon which it was made are not known. All were written in poetry. Many were adapted to public use in the temple worship, and have musical directions that are only partly understood. There are psalms of praise, of prayer, of thanksgiving, of instruction, of imprecation, and of Messianic prophecy.
4. CHIEF PURPOSE. — To record the religious sentiments of individuals who had appropriated to themselves truths that had been revealed, and who, in their positions, represented God's people generally, or typified the Messiah, in order that these writings might be a means of warning, exhortation and encouragement for all time.
5. RELATION TO OTHER O. T. BOOKS. — The Pentateuch gives the Law of God; the Psalms, the appreciation of this by individuals. The Historical books give the deeds of David; the Psalms, his religious feelings. The Prophets reprove for sin; the Psalms confess sin. The Prophets promise help to God's people; the Psalms praise God for help. The Prophets predict a coming King and a suffering Saviour; Psalms gives the experience of those who were types, as kings and sufferers, of Christ.
6. FACTS TO BE NOTED. — The Psalms arose from a great variety of circumstances. The absence of the name of the author, or other information about the origin of a name psalm, does not necessarily prevent a correct interpretation of it. The Jehovah prevails in some psalms, Elohim (God) in others. Some of the psalms are but modifications of others. (Compare Ps. 14 with Ps. 53.)
Book Navigation Title Page References Table of Contents Old Testament Introduction The Pentateuch ► Genesis ► Exodus ► Leviticus ► Numbers ► Deuteronomy History Books ► Joshua ► Judges ► Ruth ► 1 Samuel ► 2 Samuel ► 1 Kings ► 2 Kings ► 1 Chronicles ► 2 Chronicles ► Ezra ► Nehemiah ► Esther Wisdom Books ► Job ► Psalms ► Proverbs ► Ecclesiastes ► Song of Solomon Major Prophets ► Isaiah ► Jeremiah ► Lamentations ► Ezekiel ► Daniel Minor Prophets ► Hosea ► Joel ► Amos ► Obadiah ► Jonah ► Micah ► Nahum ► Habakkuk ► Zephaniah ► Haggai ► Zechariah ► Malachi New Testament Introduction Gospels & Acts ► Matthew ► Mark ► Luke ► John ► Acts Pauline Epistles ► Romans ► 1 Corinthians ► 2 Corinthians ► Galatians ► Ephesians ► Philippians ► Colossians ► 1 Thessalonians ► 2 Thessalonians ► 1 Timothy ► 2 Timothy ► Titus ► Philemon ► Hebrews General Epistles ► James ► 1 Peter ► 2 Peter ► 1 John ► 2 John ► 3 John ► Jude Prophecy ► Revelation