Parkview CHURCH of CHRIST

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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 (1-41) Solomon

B. Book II (42-72) Korahite Levites

C. Book III (73-89) Hezekiah

D. Book IV (90-106) Ezra and Nehemiah

E. Book V (107-150) Ezra and Nehemiah


III. COMPILING THE PSALMS

A. Possible time for compiling: 400-500 years.


IV. INTERESTING CHARACTERISTICS

A. Each division ends with a doxology or special praise unto God (41:13; 72:18-19; 89:52; 106:48; 150:1-6)

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; - “One Who Becomes” or “The                   Becoming One.”

2. ELOHIM – 234 times in Book II; 80 times in Book III; - “Strength” or “Might;” (plural form)

C. Psalms duplicated: Psm. 14 & 53; Psm. 40:13-17 & 70. Each duplication part of different compiling.


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; 16:4-5; Neh. 11:22).

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 120-134)

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; 111-113; 135; 146-150) – all begin with the phrase, “Praise ye the Lord.”

C. IMPRECATORY (VINDICTIVE) PSALMS

1. Many are national in application, not personal (Psm. 83; 137; 129:5-8; 149:6-9).

2. Plea for God’s vengeance (Psm. 109:10-12; cf. Exodus 20:5; Psm. 69:21)

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-two letter Hebrew alphabet.


X. HELPS FOR TITLES

A. Aiieleth-shahar (the hind of the morning – the day dawning)

B. Aladmot (the singing maidens, maidens choir)

C. Al-Tashchith (destroy not)

D. Gittith (Winepresses)

E. Jeduthun (Praise – giver; name of the directors (I Chron. 16:41; 42; 2 Chronicles 5:12)

F. Jonath-Elem-Rechokim (the dove of distant woods)

G. Mahalath (the great dancing)

H. Mahalath-Leannoth (Dancings with shouting)

I. Maschi (instructions, understanding)

J. Michtam (engraven; indicating emphasis and permanence)

K. Muth-labben (death of the Champion)

L. Neginoth (stringed instruments)

M. Nehiloth (inheritance)

N. Sheminith (eighth group or division)

O. Shiggaion (crying aloud in grief or joy)

P. Shoshannim (lilies)

Q. Shoshannim-Eduth (lilies of testimony)


XI. PURPOSE AND OBJECTIVES OF THIS STUDY

A. To allow the Psalms to enrich our prayers and praise unto God

B. Objectives:

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.