- About the author and the date they were written
- The purpose of the book
- Summary of content
- Some Fun facts about Psalms
These books were deliberately compiled with a special purpose in mind. It has often been said that the book of Psalms is the book full of human emotions. In fact, this book reflects all of the experiences of the human heart. Whatever your state of mind, there will be a psalm that reflects it because this extraordinary book accounts for each of the human emotions and experiences. Those who have discovered the secret of everlasting exhilaration should certainly familiarise themselves with the Book of Psalms. For example, if you feel frightened, read Psalm 56 (Boundless Trust in God), 91 (Security under God’s Protection) or the one that most people will know 23 (The Lord is my Shepherd) and if you feel discouraged, read Psalm 42 (Prayer of Longing for God), just one example among many. If you happen to feel lonely, I would suggest that you read Psalm 71 (Prayer of the Righteous in Old Age) or 62 (Trust in God Alone). If you feel oppressed, by a sense of sin, you will find two wonderful psalms: Psalm 51 (The “Miserere”: Repentance for Sin), written after David committed his dual sin of both adultery and murder, and Psalm 32 (The Joy of Being Forgiven), a great expression of confession and forgiveness. And, if you should feel worried or anxious, I would recommend that you read Psalm 37 (Fate of the Wicked and Reward of the Righteous) and 73 (False Happiness of the Wicked). If you are angry, try reading Psalm 58 (The Judge of Unjust Rulers) or 13 (Prayer of One in Sorrow). If you are resentful, read Psalm 94 (God, Judge, and Avenger) or 77 (Lament and Consolation in Distress). If you feel happy and want some words to express your happiness, try reading Psalm 92 (Praise of God’s Just Rule) or Psalm 66 (Thanksgiving for God’s Deliverance). If you feel abandoned read Psalm 88 (Prayer in Affliction). If you feel grateful and would like to express it, read Psalm 40 (Thanksgiving and Prayer for Help). If you have doubts and your faith begins to fail, read Psalm 119 (Blessed are those who are blameless who walk in the law). And so we could go on endlessly because the 150 psalms reflect all of human experiences.
Most of us believe that the psalms are the work of David only. In fact, more than half of them were, indeed, written by him, the sweet singer of Israel, to whom God gave the gift of capturing the emotions and living the full range of experiences he went through, expressing them in precious terms lyrical, becoming the book of psalms or the hymn book of Israel. Many of these psalms were written for the purpose of singing them in the temple, and that is why at the beginning of them we read that the psalm has been written “to the chief musician” and in some Bibles we find the word “Maskil” a word which means “psalm.” You may be interested to learn that Psalm 90, was written by the prophet and Law Giver, מֹשֶׁה רַבֵּנוּ — Moses, our Teacher; and two (Psalm 72 and 127) were written by שְׁלֹמֹה — Solomon King of Israel. There was also a series of them that were written by a group that does not have name, called בני קרח the sons of Korah or קרחי Korahites, who directed the songs of Israel. There was also a man named אָסָף Asaph ‘Gather,’ who authored Psalm 50, and Psalms 73 to 83, and as we will see in some cases the titles tend to refer to their author.
The five books of psalms are a parallel to the ‘Pentateuch,’ or the ‘Five Books of Moses’ which are the first five books of the Hebrew Bible: Genesis, Exodus, Leviticus, Numbers and Deuteronomy. This is known in the Jewish tradition as the תּוֹרָה Written Torah; Torah means ‘Instruction,’ ‘Teaching’ or ‘Law.’) These first five books were designed by God to show us the design of His work in all of creation, or the entire history of the world and God always follows the same pattern, whether in the case of a person or of a nation, making them follow the same steps. And those five steps were revealed by divine inspiration in the first five books of the Bible.
2. About the authors and the date they were written
The Book of Psalms is one of the better known books in the Old Testament. It is a collection of 150 poems or songs by various authors some known and others unknown, and which is divided into five distinct books (just like the Pentateuch).
דָּוִד King David son of יִשַׁי Jesse wrote 73 Psalms which we find mainly in the first, second and fifth books. Twelve Psalms are named after אָסָף Asaph (a Gershonite) son of Berachiah of the tribe of Levi, was a seer and of the director of one of David’s guilds of temple musicians (1 Chronicles 16:7; 2 Chronicles 29:30). Ten Psalms were written by the sons of קֹרַח Korah (Kohathites) (Psalms 42; 44; 49; 84; 87), two by שְׁלֹמֹה Solomon son of David (Psalms 72 (The Kingdom of the Messiah) and 127 (Need of Divine Assistance)), one by מֹשֶׁה רַבֵּנוּ Moses our Teacher (Psalm 90 (Prayer To Use Time Wisely)), one by איתן the cymbal-player Ethan the Ezrahite son of Kishi (Psalm 89 (Prayer for the Fulfillment of God’s Promise)) and חימן Heman the Ezrahite a seer and one of King David’s ministers of music (Psalm 88 (Prayer in Affliction)). The remaining 50 Psalms do not hint the names of their author’s.
In the New Testament David is credited with the authorship of the following Psalms: Psalm 2 (Acts 4:25) and Psalm 95 (Hebrews 4:7). If we add these two Psalms to the 73 named after David, we get a total of 75 Psalms, which means that David wrote half of the total of the 150 Psalms.
David had the ability to accomplish this. He was a formidable poet, he played musical instruments and sang (1 Samuel 16:18; 2 Samuel 23:1). He was filled with the Spirit of God (1 Samuel 16:13; 2 Samuel 23:2) and throughout his life of faith he had had many experiences with God. Many portions of Scripture teach us that David was indeed extremely vigorous both in poetry and music (see 1 Samuel 18:10; 2 Samuel 1:17-18; 6:5; 1 Chronicles 6:16; 16:7; 25:1; 2 Chronicles 7:6; 29:30; Ezra 3:10; Nehemiah 12:24, 36, 45; Amos 6:5).
Sometimes within the heading of a Psalm David mentions why he composed it: Psalms 3 (Trust in God in Time of Danger), 7 (Appeal to the Divine Judge), 18 (Thanksgiving for God’s Help), 34 (Presence of God, Protector of the Righteous), 51 (The “Miserere”: Repentance for Sin), 54 (Prayer in Time of Danger), 57 (Trust in God amid Suffering), 59 (Against Wicked Enemies), 60 (Prayer To End Wars), 63 (Thirst for God), 142 (Prayer in Time of Abandonment). We also find one of these headings in 2 Samuel 22 (Song of Thanksgiving). In this chapter we read, word for word, an almost exact parallel to Psalm 18 (Thanksgiving for God’s Help).
In all likelihood Psalm 90 (Prayer To Use Time Wisely) is the oldest: “A prayer of Moses, the man of God.” Moses, Prince of Egypt, Hebrew prophet, teacher, and leader flourished ca. 1400—1201 century before Christ [some academics and my current leaning is toward Akhenaten Amenhotep IV (Naphurureya); others believe it may have been Seti I (Sety Merenptah) whilst others still say it was Ramesses II (Usermaatre Setepenre) or Merneptah (Ba-en-re Mery-netjeru) but no one can say for sure.] However, most of the Psalms were composed around the time David to give thanks and praise to the Lord in the temple (1 Chronicles 25) where they sang under inspiration (prophecy), as prophets gathered in the guilds, who sang to the sound of musical instruments, or in the sense that they were the authors of inspired songs. In the time of חִזְקִיָּהוּ Hezekiah King of Judah this fact had already been mentioned (“according to the commandment of David,” 2 Chronicles 29:25-30) and the Psalms of David and Asaph are also quoted. Therefore, the Psalms had already been collated into a sort of anthology. The last Psalms were written in the time of עֶזְרָא Ezra (fl. 480–440 BC). Psalm 137 (The Exiles’ Remembrance of Zion) clearly refers to the Babylonian captivity. According to some researchers, it was Ezra, כֹּהֵן Kohen (priest) and סופר סת״ם sofer (scribe), who completed the final collection of Psalms (Ezra 3:10).
3. The purpose of the Book of Psalms
a) General purpose.
The book of Psalms (תְּהִלִּים, Tehillim, lit. “praises”) is the first book of the כְּתוּבִים Ketuvim (“Writings”), the third section of the תַּנַ״ךְ Tanakh, and a book of the Christian Old Testament. The expression “psalms” that we read in Luke 24:44 probably refers to this entire third part of the Old Testament. The Hebrew word is Tehillim, meaning praise (from the Hebrew הַלֵּל hallel, meaning praise; compare the word הַלְלוּ יָהּ hallūyāh). The word psalm, which designates a particular praise, has its origin in the Greek ψαλμοί (psalmoi) meaning “instrumental music” and, by extension, “the words accompanying the music.”
The Psalms speak to the reader of the Bible in a very distinct way, because the emotional state of those men who where in awe and fearful of God are very well conveyed, whether in prayers, confessions, praises or expressions of pain, more abundantly than in other books of Scripture. The reader of the Bible will be able to see himself manifest in most of the circumstances, which is reason enough to be attracted to and learn from the Psalms.
b) Prophetic character of the Psalms
However, what we have read above in previous details does by no means exhaust the substantial message of the Psalms, since the psalmists go beyond describe their own feelings. The Spirit of Christ has worked in them, sharing both the sorrow’s and joy’s with them, (read Isaiah 63:9; 1 Peter 1:11). This is the reason why we find Christ within all of the Psalms, and not just in the Messianic Psalms, which we consider as comprising of the following: 16 (God the Supreme Good), 22 (Suffering and Triumph of the Messiah), 24 (The Lord’s Solemn Entry into Jerusalem), 40 (Thanksgiving and Prayer for Help), 68 (Song of Victory) and 118 (Thanksgiving for Salvation). The Messianic Psalms refer to Christ very specifically. However, the New Testament mentions the Psalms which also refer to our Lord, and which are not messianic. We must therefore point out the following:
- Psalm 2:7: “You are my son; this day I have begotten you.” (Acts 13:33).
- Psalm 8:7: “and placed everything under his feet” (Hebrews 2:8-10).
- Psalm 41:10: “the one who dined at my table, has risen up against me” (John 13:18).
- Psalm 45:7: “Your throne, O God, will last forever and ever;” (Hebrews 1:8).
- Psalm 110:1: “The Lord says to my Lord: “Sit at my right hand…” (Matthew 22:44).
We could of course add numerous other references but we do not the space in this article. Almost half of all Messianic quotes have their origins in the Psalms. If we try to contemplate the spiritual bond that existed between Christ and the Psalmist Israelite believers, then we can begin to discern the visibly prophetic character of the last-mentioned. The Spirit of Christ was imbued with the experiences and sentiments of those Israelite believers. The feelings and sufferings of our Lord, as a true and perfect man, are described in an extremely eloquent and very rousing way, because they give us proof of the interest that God maintains in his earthly people.
The prophetic character of the Psalms can be seen in the description of the history of the Jewish remnant of the latter days. However, we have to bear in mind, it is not the external events described but the innermost and experienced collective feelings of this Israelite remnant. This would, of course, explain the pleas for punishment or vengeance upon their enemies (eg, Psalm 137:8-9: “happy will he be who repays you for the suffering you inflicted upon us”), which can, for many readers, be quite difficult to comprehend. The sentiments expressed in these Psalms come from staunch believers, people who had no doubt as to God’s power; and not by Christians who belong to the age of grace (read Romans 12:16-21) sometimes called the church age, being the age in which we are currently living. They are the attitudes, opinions, beliefs and ideas of Jewish believers who would live in the latter days. The Jewish people, due to their covenant with God, expect God’s salvation , and also expect just punishments against all of their oppressors, especially the Antichrist; the Antichrist, or anti-Christ, refers to people prophesied within the Bible who oppose Christ and substitute themselves in Christ’s place before the Second Coming. The Antichrist is announced as the one “who denies both the Father and the Son.” (1 John 2:22)
c) Structure of the Psalms
To have a clear and convenient division of the book, we must take into account the prophetic point of view; all other divisions that can be made are to a greater or lesser extent inappropriate. It is remarkable that between the similar structures that the Psalms and the Pentateuch possess, we are able to establish certain parallels. The first Psalm of each book presents, so to speak, a “title,” and the last of each book concludes with praise.
Book I (Psalms 1–41)
The first book of Psalms develops the principle of separation that governs between the just and the unjust in the midst of God’s people. In relation to this, the Messiah is presented as the Son of God (Psalm 2 (Universal Reign of the Messiah)), the Son of man (Psalm 8 (The Majesty of God and the Dignity of Human Beings)), the Suffering Servant (Psalm 22 (Suffering and Triumph of the Messiah)), and the true offering (Psalm 40 (Thanksgiving and Prayer for Help)). The prevailing name of God in this book is the name used in the Noahic בְּרִיתוֹת covenant, is יְהֹוָה YHWH or Jehovah (Yəhōwā) who is mentioned approximately 275 times. Book I consists largely of psalms spoken by David individually, rather than by Israel as a nation. They address matters that concern David, personally, and this makes them applicable to the situations we face at work on our own. Later books bring in the social and communal aspects of life and work.
Book II (Psalms 42–72)
In the second book we find the sufferings of the righteous, who, deprived of all blessings, lives in great tribulation and for which he cries out to God in his agony (אֱלֹהִים Elohim is mentioned more than 200 times). All of us suffer from feelings of insecurity, and financial ruin is high on our list of worries. In the second book of the Psalter we see a number of texts that relate to the fears that beset people and the paths to which they turn for help. We thus learn about the true and the false grounds for hope in a world of uncertainty.
Book III (Psalms 73–89)
The third book describes the return of the people of Israel and God’s mercy towards them. It contains a great deal of lamentation and complaint. Divine judgment — both positive and negative— comes to the fore in many of the psalms here.
Book IV (Psalms 90–106)
The fourth book places the brokenness of the world — including human mortality — in the context of God’s sovereignty. It refers to the beginning of the reign of the glorified Son of man during the Millennium, after having saved all of Israel. None of us is able to make our own life — let alone the whole world — as it should be. We suffer, and we cannot shield those we love from suffering. Yet God remains in charge, and our hope for all things to be put right rests in him.
Book V (Psalms 107–150)
The fifth book presents a summary of God’s ways towards his people Israel, as well as the praise that he deserves because of his mercy (Psalms 111 (Praise of God for His Wondrous Works), 112 (The Blessings of the Righteous), 113 (Praise of the Lord for His Care of the Lowly); 146 (Trust in God, Creator and Redeemer), 147 (Hymn to the City of God), 148 (Song of the Universe), 149 (Glorification of God, Lord and Creator) and 150 (Harmonious Praise of God)), all have less of a common theme or setting than those in the other books. However, amidst the diversity of forms and settings, work appears more directly among these psalms than in other parts of the Psalter. Issues of economic creativity, business ethics, enterprise, productivity, the duties of parenting and of supervising a household, the correct use of power, and the glory of God in and through the material world all manifest themselves within these psalms.
a) Hebrew poetry
In classical European poetry, rhyme, rhythm, meter and division into verses occupy an important place. But Hebrew poetry is totally different. In it we find neither rhyme nor meter; and the division into verses, as we know it today, is also something unknown in such poetry. However, we observe a kind of division in Psalm 119, consisting of twenty-two paragraphs of eight verses each beginning with the same Hebrew letter, that is, verses 1 to 8 begin with the letter א aleph, 9 to 16 with the letter letter ב beth, etc. (forming a poem or other composition in which the first letter of each line spells out a word, message or the alphabet). In saying this we are already mentioning one of the stylistic devices of Hebrew poetry: alliteration, which is the conspicuous repetition of identical initial consonant sounds in successive or closely associated syllables within a group of words, even those spelled differently. following the successive order of the Hebrew alphabet, as for example in Psalms 9 (Thanksgiving for the Triumph of Justice), 10 (Prayer for Help against Oppressors), 25 (Prayer for Guidance and Help), 34 (Presence of God, Protector of the Righteous), 47 (The Lord, King of All Nations), 111 (Praise of God for His Wondrous Works), 112 (The Blessings of the Righteous), 145 (Praise of the Divine Majesty); also in Proverbs 31:10-31 (In Praise of the Valiant Woman or the Perfect Homemaker) and Lamentations 1-4 (compared to Psalm 119). Other very “depictive” elements that Hebrew poetry often presents are, comparisons (see Psalms 1:3; 22: 12-16).
However, the most important attributes of this poetry is its parallelism (corresponding in some way). This resource enables it to highlight or expand upon a statement made through the process of repetitiousness. Three kinds of parallels can be discerned:
Synonymy parallelism: for example, in Psalm 49:2: “Hear this, all you peoples; listen carefully, all you inhabitants of the world.” The same thought is expressed twice in different words.
Antithesis parallelism: For example, in Psalm 1:6: “For the Lord watches over the way of the righteous, but the way of the wicked will perish”. Here the first expression is highlighted because of the contrast presented by the second.
Synthetic (or nexus) parallelism: for example, in Psalm 22:5: “Our ancestors placed their trust in you; they trusted, and you gave them deliverance”. The final sentence completes and expands upon the thought of the first.
b) Heading of the Psalms
Except for a few Psalms, all the others have a heading. There are 34 untitled Psalms, as follows: 1, 2, 10, 43, 71, 93-97, 99, 104-107, 111-119, 135-137, 146-150. (the words “Praise to my God or Praise the Lord are not titles, but are part of the text)
The most important headings are:
maskiyl: Maschil (מַשְׂכִּיל): There are 13 Psalms that bear this title: 32, 42, 44, 45, 52-55, 74, 78, 88, 89, 142). Maskil from sakal (meaning: consider or give attention to): is an instructive poem, a teaching or instructional psalm which is sung.
Poem: Psalms 16 and 56 to 60 are headed by the word poem (in Hebrew, מִכְתָּם mictam or mikhtam Miktam: its meaning is unknown. Some translate it as “song” or “poem”; others suggest that it means “in a low voice” sotto voce.)
Gradual songs: Psalms 120 to 134 are gradual songs or The Songs of Ascents and Great Hallel, composed to be sung on the trips to the great festivals in Jerusalem or during the ascent to the mount where the Temple was located..
For the director of musician: There are 55 Psalms written by David which have this heading. For the director: these words are thought to be a musical or liturgical notation. The director of musician wold most certainly have been the conductor of the choir in the Temple. Therefore we can see in this character an allusion to the Lord Jesus Christ himself, leading the praises among the assembly (compare Psalm 22:22 (Save mefrom the lion’s mouth and from the horns of wild oxen) Save me: an alternative translation is: “You have heard me.” The psalmist knows he has been heard and will be delivered from death; to Hebrews 2:12 (“I will proclaim your name to my od is ; in the midst of the assembly I will praise you” describes the sufferings of the Servant of God. The key phrase is “my brethren” (i.e., the Septuagint text; the Hebrew has הקהילה “the community”), which is spoken by the triumphant Messiah).
There are other expressions that do not require special study or that are already explained in the different editions of the Bible.
5. Summary of content
First book (Psalms 1-41): The separation between the just and the unjust.
Psalm 1 The Righteous and the Ungodly
Psalm 2 The Reign of the LORD’s Anointed
Psalm 3 A Morning Prayer of Trust in God
Psalm 4 An Evening Prayer of Trust in God
Psalm 5 A Prayer for Protection
Psalm 6 A Prayer for Mercy in Time of Trouble
Psalm 7 A Prayer for Vindication
Psalm 8 God’s Glory and Man’s Honour
Psalm 9 Thanksgiving for God’s Justice
Psalm 10 A Prayer for the Overthrow of the Wicked
Psalm 11 The Refuge of the Upright
Psalm 12 A Prayer for Help against the Wicked
Psalm 13 A Prayer for Help in Trouble
Psalm 14 The Folly and Wickedness of Men
Psalm 15 The Inhabitants of God’s Holy Hill
Psalm 16 A Goodly Heritage
Psalm 17 A Prayer for Protection against Oppressors
Psalm 18 Thanksgiving for Deliverance
Psalm 19 The Works and Word of God
Psalm 20 A Prayer for Victory
Psalm 21 Praise for Deliverance from the Enemy
Psalm 22 A Cry of Anguish and Song of Praise
Psalm 23 The LORD Is My Shepherd
Psalm 24 The King of Glory
Psalm 25 A Prayer for Guidance, Pardon and Protection
Psalm 26 A Protestation of Integrity
Psalm 27 The LORD Is My Light and My Salvation
Psalm 28 A Prayer for Help and Praise for Its Answer
Psalm 29 The Voice of the LORD in the Storm
Psalm 30 Thanksgiving for Deliverance from Death
Psalm 31 A Profession of Trust
Psalm 32 The Blessedness of Forgiveness
Psalm 33 Praise to the Creator and Preserver
Psalm 34 Praise for Deliverance from Troubles
Psalm 35 A Prayer for Rescue from Enemies
Psalm 36 The Steadfast Love of God
Psalm 37 The Insecurity of the Wicked
Psalm 38 The Prayer of a Suffering Penitent
Psalm 39 Hope in the LORD
Psalm 40 Praise for Deliverance
Psalm 41 A Prayer for Healing
Second book (Psalms 42 to 72): The sufferings of the just
Psalm 42 Thirsting for God
Psalm 43 A Prayer for Vindication and Deliverance
Psalm 44 Former Deliverances and Present Troubles
Psalm 45 A Song for the King’s Marriage
Psalm 46 God Is Our Refuge and Strength
Psalm 47 God Is the King of All the Earth
Psalm 48 The Beauty and Glory of Zion
Psalm 49 The Folly of Trusting in Riches
Psalm 50 God Is the Judge
Psalm 51 A Prayer for Cleansing
Psalm 52 The Futility of Boastful Wickedness
Psalm 53 The Folly and Wickedness of Men
Psalm 54 A Prayer for Protection from Enemies
Psalm 55 A Prayer for the Destruction of the Deceitful
Psalm 56 A Prayer of Trust
Psalm 57 A Prayer for Rescue from Persecutors
Psalm 58 A Prayer for the Punishment of the Wicked
Psalm 59 A Prayer for Deliverance from Enemies
Psalm 60 A Prayer for Help against the Foe
Psalm 61 Confidence in God’s Protection
Psalm 62 God the Only Refuge
Psalm 63 God Satisfies the Thirsting Soul
Psalm 64 A Prayer for Protection from Hidden Enemies
Psalm 65 Praise for God’s Bounty in Nature
Psalm 66 Praise for God’s Mighty Deeds
Psalm 67 The Nations Exhorted to Praise God
Psalm 68 The God of Sinai and of the Sanctuary
Psalm 69 A Cry of Distress
Psalm 70 A Prayer for Deliverance
Psalm 71 The Prayer of an Old Man
Psalm 72 The Reign of the Righteous King
Third book (Psalms 73 to 89): The return of the people and the goodness of God
Psalm 73 The Fate of the Wicked
Psalm 74 An Appeal to God against the Enemy
Psalm 75 God Abases the Wicked and Exalts the Righteous
Psalm 76 The God of Victory and Judgment
Psalm 77 Comfort from Recalling God’s Mighty Deeds
Psalm 78 God’s Faithfulness to His Unfaithful People
Psalm 79 A Lament over the Destruction of Jerusalem
Psalm 80 A Prayer for Restoration
Psalm 81 God’s Goodness and Israel’s Waywardness
Psalm 82 A Rebuke of Unjust Judgments
Psalm 83 A Prayer for the Destruction of Israel’s Enemies
Psalm 84 Longing for God’s House
Psalm 85 A Prayer for God’s Mercy on Israel
Psalm 86 A Prayer for God’s Continued Mercy (the only Psalm of David in Book III)
Psalm 87 The Privileges of Dwelling in Zion
Psalm 88 A Prayer for Deliverance from Death
Psalm 89 God’s Covenant with David
Fourth Book (Psalms 90-106): The Lord’s Government in the Millennium
Psalm 90 God’s Eternity and Man’s Transitoriness (by Moses, prob. oldest Psalm)
Psalm 91 Abiding in the Shadow of the Almighty
Psalm 92 Praise for the LORD’s Goodness
Psalm 93 The Majesty of the LORD
Psalm 94 A Prayer for Vengeance
Psalm 95 A Song of Praise and Worship
Psalm 96 A Song of Praise
Psalm 97 The LORD’s Dominion and Power
Psalm 98 Praise for God’s Righteousness
Psalm 99 The LORD’s Faithfulness to Israel
Psalm 100 An Exhortation to Thanksgiving
Psalm 101 A Pledge to Live Righteously
Psalm 102 A Cry in Distress
Psalm 103 Praise for the LORD’s Benefits
Psalm 104 The LORD’s Care for His Creation
Psalm 105 The LORD’s Wonders in Behalf of Israel
Psalm 106 The Rebelliousness of Israel
Fifth Book (Psalms 107-150): Summary of God’s Ways to His People
Psalm 107 The LORD Delivers from Trouble
Psalm 108 A Prayer for Help against the Foe
Psalm 109 A Cry for Vengeance
Psalm 110 The LORD Gives Dominion to the King
Psalm 111 The LORD’s Care for His People
Psalm 112 The Prosperity of Him Who Fears the LORD
Psalm 113 Praise for Exalting the Humble
Psalm 114 The Wonders of the Exodus
Psalm 115 God and the Idols
Psalm 116 Thanksgiving for Deliverance from Death
Psalm 117 Praise for the LORD’s Merciful Kindness (this is the shortest Psalm)
Psalm 118 Thanksgiving for the LORD’s Salvation (most quoted Psalm in the N.T)
Psalm 119 The Excellencies of God’s Law (it is the longest Psalm)
Psalm 120 A Prayer for Deliverance from Deceitfulness
Psalm 121 The LORD Is Thy Keeper
Psalm 122 A Prayer for the Peace of Jerusalem
Psalm 123 A Prayer for Mercy
Psalm 124 Praise for Deliverance from Enemies
Psalm 125 The LORD Is Round about His People
Psalm 126 Thanksgiving for Restoration
Psalm 127 Prosperity Comes from the LORD
Psalm 128 The Blessedness of Him Who Fears the LORD
Psalm 129 A Prayer for the Overthrow of Zion’s Enemies
Psalm 130 Hope in the LORD’s Redemption
Psalm 131 Childlike Repose in the LORD
Psalm 132 A Prayer for Blessing on the Sanctuary
Psalm 133 The Blessings of Brotherly Unity
Psalm 134 Exhortation to the Night-watchers
Psalm 135 The Greatness of the LORD and the Vanity of Idols
Psalm 136 Praise for the LORD’s Everlasting Mercy
Psalm 137 The Mourning of the Exiles in Babylon
Psalm 138 Thanksgiving for the LORD’s Favor
Psalm 139 God’s Omnipresence and Omniscience
Psalm 140 A Prayer for Protection against Persecutors
Psalm 141 A Prayer for Preservation from Evil
Psalm 142 A Prayer for Help in Trouble
Psalm 143 A Prayer for Deliverance and Guidance
Psalm 144 A Prayer for Rescue and Prosperity
Psalm 145 Praise for the LORD’s Goodness and Power
Psalm 146 Praise for the LORD’s Righteous Acts
Psalm 147 Praise for the LORD’s Favor to Jerusalem
Psalm 148 All Creation Exhorted to Praise the LORD
Psalm 149 Israel Exhorted to Praise the LORD
Psalm 150 A Call to Praise God with Musical Instruments
6. Some Fun facts about Psalms
Let me finish by providing you a few fun facts about the Book of Psalms.
- Psalm 119 (Instruction in Godly wisdom) is the longest chapter in the Bible, containing 176 verses. The psalm is referred to in Hebrew by its opening words: מאושרים הם אלה שדרכם מושלמת “Ashrei temimei derech” — “happy are those whose way is perfect.”
- Psalm 117 (Universal Praise of God) is the shortest chapter, containing only two verses. So the Psalms contain both the longest and shortest chapters in the Bible. This psalm is a short invitatory earnestly exhorting all peoples to praise the Lord, the God of Israel, for the signal kindness and faithfulness that he manifests toward his people. His goodness toward Israel should inspire admiration and enthusiastic praise among foreigners, who are simply witnesses of his wonders (see Wisdom of Ben Sira 36:1-4 (Show Mercy, Lord, to the People Called by Your Name); Ezekiel 36 (Restoration of the Land)).
- Psalm 117 is also the middle chapter of the whole Bible out of a total of 1,189 chapters.
- Psalm 118:8 (Thanksgiving for Salvation) is the middle chapter of the bible (and before I’m corrected, this depends on which version of the Bible one uses). It states, “It is better to take refuge in the Lord than to place your trust in mortals.” What a great verse for our day and age. It tells us that must all remain mindful of the maxim learned through experience that ‘it is better to have confidence in the Lord than to rely on flesh and blood’ (see Psalm 33:16-19 (Praise of God’s Providence); see also Psalms 62 (Trust in God Alone); 146 (Trust in God, Creator and Redeemer)).
- Did you know that there are duplicate Psalms? A lot of people don’t realise that. Psalms 14 (Corruption and Punishment of the Godless) and 53 (Foolishness of the Wicked) are to all intents and purposes identical descriptions of fallen mankind, and although subtle, distinctions are observable. And there is a reason why those duplications are needed in each of books one and two. They are structurally important to the understanding of these books. Likewise all of Psalm 108 (Prayer for Divine Assistance against Enemies) is included as part of Psalm 60 (Prayer To End Wars), and all of Psalm 70 is included as part of Psalm 40.