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The Book of the PSALMS
pp. 45 - 50
The O.T. Scriptures were divided into three parts and we find the Lord Jesus
recognizing this in Luke 24: 44:
"And He saith unto them, These are the words which I spake unto you, while I was yet
with you, that all things must be fulfilled, which were written in the law of Moses, and in
the prophets, and in the psalms, concerning Me. Then opened He their understanding,
that they might understand the Scriptures."
The third division, the Psalms, included more than the Psalms themselves and
comprised in addition, Proverbs, Job, the Song of Solomon, Ruth, Lamentations,
Ecclesiastes, Esther, Daniel, Ezra-Nehemiah and Chronicles. In the large, the Psalms
were written (1) for public praise in the Temple, (2) for private experience and prayer
(which covers all ages) and (3) prophecy, looking forward to the coming of Messiah and
the establishment of the earthly phase of God's kingdom over the whole Gentile world
through redeemed Israel. It has been said that the Psalms constitute Israel's hymn book
and while this is true, they also cover a wider ground.
The Psalms are divided into five books each ending with a doxology and a double or
single Amen except the last one Psa. 150: Book 1, Psa. 1:-41:; Book 2, Psa. 42:-72:;
Book 3, Psa. 73:-89:; Book 4, Psa. 90:-106:; Book 5, Psa. 107:-150: These five
books have been compared with the Mosaic Pentateuch and their arrangement is ancient
although there is not unanimous opinion as to when they were given their present form.
The Authorship and Age.
These two matters are obviously related, for if we are sure of the authorship, it
would not be difficult to fix the date. It has been fashionable for certain critics to assume
late dates for the greater number of the Psalms and to find their origin in the later Persian
and Greek periods, and in the Maccabaean age. There is no need for this, for the heavy
weight of evidence is for the major portion of the Psalms to have been written from
David to Hezekiah (B.C.1000 to B.C.700 and the rest probably belong in the main to the
exilic and post-exilic periods). This does not mean that we can pronounce with certainty
the actual year in which they were written. Out of the 150 Psalms, 101 are related to
authors by their title. Of these 73 are attributed to David, 10 to the school of Korah, 12 to
the school of Asaph, 2 to Solomon, 1 to Ethan, 1 to Heman, 1 to Moses and 50 are
We have the N.T. to guide and help us on this question of authorship. This will
certainly carry weight with those who believe in the divine origin of the Word of God.
The unbelieving critic alas, will not be impressed. No less an authority than the Lord
Jesus Christ stated that David wrote Psa. 110::