Survey of the Bible - Psalms
Text: Psalms 19
I. The book of Psalms is a collection of poems by various prophets written over the years
A. In Hebrew it is called the book of praises. Our name for the book comes from the Greek Septuagint which called the book “songs.”
1. There are 150 Psalms
B. Though we have the collection as one book, it is actually a set of five books.
1. There are numerous speculations as to why certain Psalms are in the particular books, but they remain just guesses.
2. Each book ends with a doxology praising God
a. Psalms 41:14; 72:18-20; 89:53; 106:48; 150
C. Psalms is a part of the wisdom literature, called Psalms in general, that goes from Job to Song of Solomon
1. Job teaches us how to suffer. Psalms teaches us how to pray.
2. It is a book that explores the depth of emotion in mankind
D. Psalms isn’t the only collection of psalms, there are psalms in other books.
A. The oldest psalms were written by Moses
1. Exodus 15:1-15 - A song of triumph by God over Egypt
2. Deuteronomy 32 and 33 are songs exhorting Israel to keep God’s laws
3. Psalms 90 - A meditation and prayer
B. Most of the Psalms were written by David.
1. He has at least 75 in the book of Psalms
a. 73 has his name attached
b. Psalms 2 is attributed to David in Acts 4:25
c. Psalms 95 is attributed to David in Hebrews 4:7
2. Psalms 2-9; 11-32; 34-41; 51-65; 68-70; 86; 95; 101; 103; 108-110; 122; 124; 131; 133; 138-145
C. Asaph wrote 12 of the Psalms
1. He was the music director during the reigns of David and Solomon
2. He founded a line of singers - Ezra 2:41
3. Psalms 50; 73-83
D. The sons of Korah wrote 12 Psalms
1. These were Levites who served in the temple
2. Psalms 42; 44-49; 84-85; 87-88
E. Solomon wrote 2 Psalms
1. Though he wrote more than just these two - I Kings 4:29-32
2. Psalms 72; 127
F. Hemen co-authored one Psalm with the sons of Korah
1. He was called the Singer and lived during the days of David and Asaph - I Chronicles 15:19
2. Psalms 88
G. Ethan wrote 1 Psalm
1. He too was a contemporary of Solomon, Asaph and Hemen - I Kings 4:31
2. Psalms 89
H. There are 48 Psalms which we don’t know the authorship.
1. Some that deal with the captivity are thought to be written by Ezra, but that is speculation.
2. David also may have written some of these unknown psalms
3. Psalms 1; 10; 33; 43; 66-67; 71; 91-94; 96-100; 102; 104-107; 111-121; 123; 125-126; 128-130; 132; 134-137; 146-150
III. Hebrew poetry
A. In English poems we rhyme sounds and use word rhythms to create poems. This is why English poems don’t translate well into other languages.
B. In Hebrew poetry, ideas are compared and contrasted to create “thought rhymes.” These translate well into other languages
C. Types of parallelism
a. The thought of the first line is repeated in the second line, though expressed in different words.
b. Example: Psalms 24:2; 7:16; 2:4
a. The thought of the first line is paralleled to a contrasting idea.
b. Example: Psalms 1:6
c. Or within the phrase. Example: Psalms 115:5-7
a. The thought in the first line leads to the second line, such as in cause and effect or proposition and conclusion
b. Example: Psalms 119:11 (cause and effect)
c. Example: Psalms 23:1 (cause and effect)
(1) A set of lines creating a progressive series
(2) Example Psalms 1:1
(a) Walks - Stands - Sits
(b) Counsel - Path - Seat
(c) Ungodly - Sinners - Scornful
(1) The main idea is repeated and then expanded to finish the thought
(2) Example: Psalms 29:1
(a) First line - Give what?
(b) Second line - glory and strength
a. The parallelism takes place working inward and then outward on multiple lines, such as 1-4, 2-3
b. Example: Psalms 91:14
c. Or can be by phrases as in Psalms 51:3
a. Like English poetry, Hebrew poetry relies heavily on figurative expressions to paint images
b. Example: Psalms 23:1-4 - Takes the image of a shepherd and then expands on the image to make points
(1) Example: Psalms 23:4 - Not talking about just death but deadly or treacherous situations.
c. Example: Psalms 103:13 (Illustration - Point)
d. Example: Psalms 57:1 (Point - Illustration)
1. Each line starts with a letter of the Hebrew alphabet
2. Psalms 9; 10; 25; 34; 37; 111; 112; 119; 145
E. Responsive readings - Psalms 136
IV. Types of Psalms
A. Some of the Psalms are marked
1. Types given
a. Mizmor - a psalm (57 labeled) - Psalms 3
b. Shir - a song (30 labeled) - Psalms 46
c. Maskil - a contemplation (13 labeled) - Psalms 32
d. Maktam - an epigram - a short, witty observation (6 labeled) - Psalms 16
e. Tepillah - a prayer (5 labeled) - Psalms 17
f. Tehillah - praise (1 labeled) - Psalms 145
g. Shiggaion - possibly a sorrow - (1 labeled) - Psalms 7
h. Halleluia - praise to God (11 begin this way, not a header) - Psalms 106
i. Can be combined - Psalms 88 is a song, psalm, and contemplation.
2. Some psalms also indicate the type of music to be used
a. Example: Psalms 45; 22, 57
b. The problem is that we no longer know the tunes
3. Some psalms indicate the kind of instruments to use for accompaniment
a. Example: Psalms 4, 5, 6
4. Some psalms say “To the chief musician” and might indicate a psalm to be used for special occasions.
5. Scattered in many psalms is the word selah. Used 71 times. It may have marked a pause, a musical interlude, or a crescendo.
6. Some terms we just don’t know
B. Groupings by Content
C. Moral Principles - Psalms 15
D. Praises - Psalms 103
E. Historical - Psalms 106
F. Imprecatory - the request for God to bring judgment on the wicked - Psalms 69
G. Messianic - prophecy about Jesus - Psalms 2
H. Penitent- sorrow for sins committed - Psalms 51
I. Songs of Ascent - Songs to be sung while traveling to the feasts - Psalms 120-134
J. Suffering - Psalms 102
K. Thanksgiving - Psalms 100
1. God’s Sovereignty - Psalms 93
L. Groupings by Style
1. Teaching and Instruction - Psalms 1
2. Meditation - Psalm 19
a. Individual - Psalms 51
b. National - Psalms 44
4. Praise and Devotion
a. Individual - Psalms 30
b. Congregational - Psalms 24
(1) Some indicate when to be used - Psalms 92
5. Prayer and Petition - Psalm 17
V. Why study the Psalms?
A. We are to sing psalms - Ephesians 5:19
B. They are heavily quoted in the New Testament
C. It is there for our learning - Romans 15:4
1. In particular, we learn about our emotions
2. We see that people in the Bible, like David, experienced life much like we do.