Psalms Background

“The book of Psalms is filled with songs and prayers offered to God by the nation of Israel. Their expressions of praise, faith, sorrow, and frustration cover the range of human emotions. Some of the Psalms dwell on the treasure of wisdom and God’s Word. Others reveal the troubled heart of a mourner. Still others explode with praise to God and invite others to join in song. This diversity is unified by one element: they are centered upon the one and only living God. This Creator God is King of all the earth and a refuge to all who trust in Him. Many of the Psalms are attributed to King David. The writing and collection of Psalms into their present form spans the fifteenth to the third centuries B.C.“ (intro to Psalms from my ESV Holy Bible)

The title of the Book of Psalms in the Hebrew is sepher tehillim, meaning "book of praises", and it is a fitting title. Every chapter is devoted to praise and thanksgiving from the author to God. This book clearly provides hope and confidence in the Lord as the maker of all things, the ultimate ruler of everything including the universe. He sees everything, knows everything, He has no limits, His presence is everywhere even in darkness there is no hiding and He is to be praised.


The Psalms are full of religious poetry and this was not uncommon in the ancient Near Eastern nations and peoples, and it was not surprising for the Hebrews to have produced such a powerful work. David was the recognized writer of the Psalms and they are many times referred to as the Psalms of David, although some of the chapters are not attributed to him in the notes.



David went to many experiences in his life that he wrote about, especially when he was hunted down by King Saul from place to place like a "Partridge" in the wilderness. David was a young shepherd, he knew what it was like to tend his flock and to guard them from predators, this gave him a beautiful imagery for the Lord the great Shepherd. David was also a musician, a man of war, a king, a father, a husband, a friend, and many more. He repented over his sin in Psalm 51, acknowledging himself to be a sinner before God and God alone. God called David "a man after my own heart" and these experiences allowed him to share with the reader, a man who knew the heart of God. David was a master at finding different ways to praise God in life experiences and the book of Psalms is a book for those who want to know how to please God. He was filled with the Holy Spirit (1 Samuel 16:13). There is no doubt the David wrote most of the Psalms, and the ones that he did not write are in his style as well.


Interesting facts: The book of Psalms is the longest book in the Bible. The 119th Psalm is a longest chapter in the whole Bible. The 117th Psalm is the shortest chapter in the Bible and located in the middle. When the Old Testament is quoted in the New Testament by someone, over one third of all the quotes are from the Psalms.


Psalms is divided into five books : Psalms 1-41, which witness to David's life and faith; Psalms 42-72, a group of historical writings; Psalms 73-99, ritual psalms; Psalms 90-106, reflecting pre-captivity sentiment and history; and Psalms 107-150, dealing with the captivity and return to Jerusalem. These five books are often regarded as the devotional counterpart to the five books of Moses (Genesis, Exodus, Leviticus, Numbers, Deuteronomy).

I highly recommend watching “The Bible Project—Overview: Psalms” for an in-depth look at how the psalms connect other books of the Bible, both the Old Testament and the New Testament! It can be found here:

https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=j9phNEaPrv8&vl=en

Personally I find such comfort in Psalm 23, 91 and 118. When fear seems to be taking over in my heart and mind, I often turn to these two Psalms. I love reading them as prayers offered up, speaking God’s language back to Him in my moments of trouble. Just like God says: “so is my word that goes out from my mouth: It will not return to me empty, but will accomplish what I desire and achieve the purpose for which I sent it.” (Isaiah‬ ‭55:11‬ ‭NIV) I believe that speaking God’s Words back to Him is so very powerful.

I hope this helps you understand and relate to this scripture a little more!

Happy Digging!


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