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Discovery Magazine 7/1/2017

The Book of Psalms

Psalms is the songbook of the Jewish nation. It is a collection of 150 songs, laments (mournings), and praises by several different inspired men, including David, Solomon, Asaph, and the sons of Korah. Most of these psalms were written around the 10th century B.C., during the lifetimes of David and Solomon.

The Psalms are one of five books in the Old Testament known as wisdom literature and written in the form of Hebrew poetry. Hebrew poetry has a certain rhythm (of words and tones) and parallelism—not with accented syllables or rhyme, as in Western poetry. Parallelism is its major feature. Lines may parallel each other with words that mean the same thing, with words that are opposite, or with words that have a similar pattern.

By design, a Psalm may be sung or read. Some are written from the perspective of the individual, while others are written to speak for the community as a whole.

Central Theme:

Despite the variety of subject matter and the difficulty in pinpointing a central theme for the book of Psalms, we must be impressed with the fact that God is worthy to be praised and adored. It is only natural for the child of God to frequently express heartfelt worship to Him in all circumstances throughout life.


Outline of Pslams

Since this book is a collection of diverse psalms written by various writers, the book as a whole contains no unifying thought structure or theme (beyond the idea of praise or wisdom). However, the book shows various organizational features. The book can be divided into five books:

Book I (1-41)
Book II (42-72)
Book III (73-89)
Book IV (90-106)
Book V (107-150)

The Psalms can also be evaluated according to content categories, such as thanksgiving and praise (Psalm 30), expressions of trust in God (Psalm 4), wisdom (Psalm 37), lamenting (Psalm 3), and others.

The Psalms may also be classified according to general themes, such as Messianic (Psalm 2), Creation (Psalm 8), Exodus (Psalm 78), Repentance/forgiveness (Psalm 6), Victory (Psalm 18), as well as others.

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