INTRODUCTION TO THE BOOK OF PSALMS
June, 1994
  1. Title.
    1. The Jews referred to Psalms as "The Book of Praises".
    2. The LXX entitled it "The Book of Psalms" (from a Greek word indicating hymns/songs sung to accompaniment of stringed instruments).
    3. The collection was the hymnal of the Jews.
  2. Authorship and Date.
    1. The titles to the individual psalms attribute 73 to David, 2 to Solomon, 12 to the sons of Korah, 12 to Asaph, 1 to Heman, 1 to Ethan, and 1 to Moses.
    2. The majority of the psalms were written during the time of David (10th century BC).
  3. Contents.
    1. The psalms are divided into five books/collections.
      1. Chapters 1-41.
      2. Chapters 42-72.
      3. Chapters 73-89.
      4. Chapters 90-106.
      5. Chapters 107-150.
    2. Each division ends with a doxology (41:13; 72:18,19; 89:52: 106:48; 150).
  4. Classification of Psalms.
    1. Lament or petition psalms (Ps.3 and 41).
    2. Thanksgiving or praise psalms (Ps.30 and 65).
    3. Trust in God psalm (Ps.4).
    4. Psalm about Jerusalem (Ps.48).
    5. Didactic and wisdom psalms (Ps.1, 37, and 119).
    6. Imprecatory psalms (Ps.7, 35, 55, 59, 69, 79, 109, 137, and 139).
    7. Rebound/reversion recovery psalm (Ps.6).
    8. Psalm of pilgrims (Ps.120).
    9. Creation psalms (Ps.8 and 9).
    10. Psalm of the Exodus (Ps.78).
    11. Messianic psalms (Ps.2, 8, 16, 22, 40, 45, 72, 110, 118).
    12. Enthronement psalm (Ps.47).
  5. Nature of Hebrew Poetry.
    1. Hebrew poetry is not based on rhyme or meter, but on rhythm and parallelism.
    2. The rhythm is not achieved by balanced numbers of accented and unaccented lines, but by tonal stress on key words.
    3. In parallelism the writer states the concept in the first line, then reinforces it by various means in the succeeding line or lines.
    4. Synonymous parallelism has the second line repeating essentially the idea in the first line (Ps.3:1).
    5. Antithetic parallelism has the second line stating an idea opposite to that of the first (Ps.1:6).
    6. Synthetic parallelism has the second or succeeding lines add to or develop the idea of the first (Ps.1:1,2).
    7. Emblematic parallelism has the second line elevate the thought of the first, often by the use of a simile (Ps.42:1).
    8. Parallelism is not restricted to two lines, but may extend to strophes (smaller units of a few lines) and stanzas (longer units).
    9. Psalm 119 is an alphabetical acrostic of the 22 letters of the Hebrew alphabet.
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