The Book of Psalms
The book of Psalms is believed to be the most widely read and the most profoundly cherish of all the books in the bible. It is a collection of short writings found to have been composed by several authors over an extended period ranging from the lifetime of Moses in the wilderness (1440—1400 BC) to Ezra (fourth century BC). Most psalms were written during the lives of David and Solomon. It is unknown who selected the psalms for inclusion in the Book of Psalms, or who first wrote the book as a single collection on a Hebrew scroll.
With the discovery of the Dead Sea Scrolls in the twentieth century, copies of the Psalms identified with the author’s names included, but 48 remaining psalms are unknown in authorship. Half of the Psalms (Seventy-three) bear David’s name (David was the second king of the United Kingdom of Israel and Judah). David was also known as an incredibly prolific poet and a master musician throughout the Old Testament period and these psalms bear testimony to this. Many of the psalms are a reflection of events in his life. Asaph was a choirmaster of David’s time and is considered the author or the transcriber of twelve psalms (50; 73—83). King Solomon, son of David, wrote Psalms 72 and 127. Psalm 90 credited to prophet Moses who was chosen to lead the Israelites out of Egyptian slavery. Ethan the Ezrahite (wrote Psalm 89) he was a temple singer and the son of Zerah. Heman was a principal singer and a very scholarly man; he wrote Psalm 88. To conclude Eleven psalms were attributed to the sons of Korah (Assir, Elkanah and Abiasaph) they were an essential branch of the singers of the Kohathite division (2 Chronicles 20:19). The Psalms cover a variety of themes from praise, to faith and forgiveness.
Facts About the Psalms
There are many interesting facts about the psalms:
- The Book of Psalms is the third longest book of the Bible (Jeremiah, which consists of 33,002 words. The second is Genesis, which includes of 32,046 words and third is the Psalms, which consists of 30,147 words.
- There are 150 psalms in this collection.
- The word Selah, found seventy-one times, It also appears three times in the third chapter of the minor prophet Habakkuk. Hebrew selāh“ meaning to pause and calmly think about what you have read.
- The psalms used in both Christian and Jewish worship.
- The psalms composed over a period of approximately 1000 years.
- Psalm 117, with two verses, is the shortest psalm. Psalm 119, with 176 verses, is the longest Psalm.
- The Book of Psalms is sometimes called Tehillim which means “Book of praises” or Bible within the Bible because it covers all of the major themes of the Bible story. Psalter, psalmody, the book within a book, parallelism, liturgy, the holy book of Dawud (David), the book of wisdom, amongst many more names.
- Jesus used quotes from the Book of Psalms more than from any other part of the Old Testament.
Divisions of the Book of Psalms
The Book of Psalms orchestrated into five books, each of which corresponds with the first five books of the Bible also known as the Pentateuch.
- Book One: Psalms 1-41 corresponds to Genesis.
- Book Two: Psalms 42-72 corresponds to Exodus.
- Book Three: Psalms 73-89 corresponds to Leviticus.
- Book Four: Psalms 90-106 corresponds to Numbers.
- Book Five: Psalms 107-150 corresponds to Deuteronomy.
Location, Location, Location
- The middle chapter of the Bible is Psalm 118.
- The longest Chapter of the Bible is Psalm 119.
- The shortest chapter of the Bible is Psalm 117.
Adding It All Up
- How many chapters exist before Psalm 118? 594
- How many chapters of the Bible exist after Psalm 118? 594
- Add the two together, and you get 1188.
- What is the verse at the very centre of the Bible? Psalm 118:8*
Psalm 118:8 – “It is better to take refuge in the Lord than to trust in man.” (NIV)