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LESSON 1 – INTRODUCTION TO THE PSALMS
I. WHAT ARE THE PSALMS?
A. They are a collection of songs of praise and petitions unto God.
1. Hebrew Title: “Praises,” or “Book of Praises,” and “Prayers” – Psm. 72:20
2. Greek (LXX): Psalmos – Poem set to music (Psalms)
II. DIVISIONS: POSSIBLE COMPILERS
A. Book I (1-
B. Book II (42-
C. Book III (73-
D. Book IV (90-
E. Book V (107-
III. COMPILING THE PSALMS
A. Possible time for compiling: 400-
IV. INTERESTING CHARACTERISTICS
A. Each division ends with a doxology or special praise unto God (41:13; 72:18-
B. Principle titles of God highlighted in each division or collection:
1. JEHOVAH – 275 times in Book I; 103 times in Book IV; 236 times in Book V; -
2. ELOHIM – 234 times in Book II; 80 times in Book III; -
C. Psalms duplicated: Psm. 14 & 53; Psm. 40:13-
V. PRINCIPLE AUTHORS OF THE PSALMS:
A. David – 73 Psalms ascribed to him
B. Asaph – 12 Psalms (cf. I Chron. 6:31, 39; 15:17; 16:4-
C. Korahites – 11 Psalms (2 Chron. 20:19)
D. Solomon – 2 Psalms (cf. I Kings 4:32)
E. Moses – I Psalm (Psm. 90)
F. Heman – 1 Psalm (Psm. 88); (cf. I Chron. 6:31,33)
G. Ethan – 1 Psalm (Psm. 89)
VI. TIME PERIOD:
A. From Moses (Psm. 90)
B. to return from Babylon (Psm. 126)
VII. TITLES IN THE PSALMS
A. The titles were in the text that the Alexandrian scholars translated into Greek (LXX – Septuagint).
B. Some of the titles were left untranslated.
C. 101 of the Psalms contain titles; the other 49 are called “Orphan Psalms”.
VIII. HEBREW POETRY
A. Two types:
1. DIDACTIC (teaching) – Job, Proverbs and Ecclesiastes
2. LYRICAL (strong emotion – set to music) – Psalms, Song of Solomon; Lamentations
B. Parallelism in thought, not in meter or rhyme
1. Synonymous – Psalm 36:5,
2. Antithetic – Psm. 20:8
3. Synthetic (adding something new but related) Psm. 19:8
4. Palelogical (echo) – Psm. 72:17
5. Climatic – Psm. 29:1
IX. GROUPS OF PSALMS
A. SONGS OF ASCENTS OR DEGREES (Psalms 120-
1. Possibly sung in yearly journeys to festivals at Jerusalem.
2. Possibly compiled by Hezekiah to celebrate his 15 years of life (Isa. 38:20).
B. HALLELUJAH PSLAMS (Psm. 106; 111-
C. IMPRECATORY (VINDICTIVE) PSALMS
1. Many are national in application, not personal (Psm. 83; 137; 129:5-
2. Plea for God’s vengeance (Psm. 109:10-
3. Vindicating God’s righteous servant was the same as vindicating God’s own name (Psm. 35:23, 27)
D. ALPHABETIC PSALMS (Psm. 9; part of 10; 25; 34; 37 111; 112; 119; 145) Each line begins with a letter from the twenty-
X. HELPS FOR TITLES
B. Aladmot (the singing maidens, maidens choir)
D. Gittith (Winepresses)
E. Jeduthun (Praise – giver; name of the directors (I Chron. 16:41; 42; 2 Chronicles 5:12)
G. Mahalath (the great dancing)
I. Maschi (instructions, understanding)
J. Michtam (engraven; indicating emphasis and permanence)
L. Neginoth (stringed instruments)
M. Nehiloth (inheritance)
N. Sheminith (eighth group or division)
O. Shiggaion (crying aloud in grief or joy)
P. Shoshannim (lilies)
XI. PURPOSE AND OBJECTIVES OF THIS STUDY
A. To allow the Psalms to enrich our prayers and praise unto God
1. Read the 150 Psalms giving time for meditation on the Psalms each day during the week.
2. Participate in detailed study of some of the Psalms
3. Learn more from the Psalms about the characteristics of God, the Word, man, the heart and sin.