Studies on the Book of Psalms

During the time of David, Jerusalem became the political and the religious center of the nation. After the temple was built by Solomon, Jerusalem became the worship center of the nation and this contributed further to the centrality of Zion as the abode of Yahweh. The Book of Psalms is a collection of hymns and prayers used in the worship of Yahweh.

The title of the book in the Septuagint, the Greek translation of the Old Testament, is Psalmoi, the word which was translated “Psalms” in our English Bibles. The Greek name of the book, Psalmoi is a translation of the Hebrew word mizmor, a word which means “songs.” In Hebrew a psalm is a mizmor, that is, a song sung to the accompaniment of a musical instrument.

The title of the book in Hebrew is Tehelim, a word that means “praises.” The word appears in Psalm 145:1 and it is translated as “a song of praise.” The Hebrew title represents the main theme of the book.

In our English Bibles, the book of Psalms is also known as “the Psalter.” This old English title for the book is derived from the Greek word Psalterion, a word that means “a stringed instrument.” The Greek word Psalterion translates the Hebrew words kinnor (“lyre”) and the word nevel (“lyre”).

The Christian church adopted the book of Psalms from the Jews. The Book of Psalms was incorporated into the Christian Bible as sacred scriptures which became a liturgical hymn book used in the worship of the church.

There are 150 psalms in the book of Psalms. These psalms present the faith of the people of Israel as they interacted with God. The psalms present several characteristics of the psalmist’s faith and of the God in whom they believed and worshiped.

1. The faith expressed in the book of Psalms is based upon the personal trust of the worshiper in the God of Israel.

2. The origin of this trust in the God of Israel lies in the mighty acts of God on behalf of his people.

3. These acts of God in the history of Israel provide the foundation for the psalmist’s faith because they were works of salvation.

4. The psalmist celebrates this historical act of God because they have given meaning to Israel’s existence

5. The psalmist also celebrates God as the creator because creation is seen as a way by which God brings into being the reality that is called Israel.

This post is not an introduction to the book of Psalms. Such an introduction would require several posts dealing with the different issues present in the Psalms.

Over the years I have written several posts on the book of Psalms. These posts deal with different topics. These posts reflect my study of the book of Psalms and my desire to explore some of the issues that affected the life of the psalmist.

Enjoy these posts.

STUDIES ON THE BOOK OF PSALMS

Psalm 2

God’s Covenant with David

Psalm 7

Thanksgiving and Gratitude

Thanksgiving Day

Psalm 8

Rereading Psalm 8:5: In Search of a Better Translation

Psalm 9

Thanksgiving and Gratitude

Thanksgiving Day

Psalm 14

Does God Exist?

Is There a God?

Psalm 17

Understanding Psalm 17:14

Psalm 19

The Heavens Declare the Glory of God

Psalm 23

Defending the Bible: The King James Version

Psalm 23 – A Video Presentation

Psalm 28

Crying Unto the Lord

Psalm 45

Jezebel’s Wedding Song – Part 1

Jezebel’s Wedding Song – Part 2

Psalm 50

The Cattle on a Thousand Hills

Psalm 52

Psalm 52: The Fate of the Arrogant Man

Psalm 68

Women Who Proclaim the Good News

Psalm 69

A Stranger and an Alien

Psalm 70

Help Me!

Psalm 73

Is God Good?

The Embittered Soul

The Goodness of God

Psalm 73 and the Problem of Theodicy

Psalm 85

“The Lord Will Speak”

Psalm 90

Psalm 90: 12 – Counting Our Days

Psalm 92

Green Oil

Psalm 100

Rereading Psalm 100:3: In Search of a Better Translation

Psalm 100:3: Which Version Is Better?

Psalm 103

Studies on Psalm 103

Bless the Lord, O My Soul

The God Who Forgives

The God Who Heals

The God Who Redeems

The God Who Rewards

The God Who Satisfies

The God Who Renews

Psalm 104

Psalms 104 Sung in Ancient Hebrew

Psalm 107

Let the Redeemed of the Lord Say So

Psalm 109

Praying for the Death of the President

Psalm 110

“The Lord said to my lord”

Psalm 111

Thanksgiving and Gratitude

Thanksgiving Day

Psalm 113

Searching for a Woman’s Voice in Psalms

Psalm 116

The Death of a Saint (1)

Trust in God

Psalm 116:15: Is Death Precious or Grievous?

Psalm 116:15: The Death of a Saint (2)

Psalm 118

Erkamka na Adonai

Psalm 121

Theodore Beza on Psalm 121

Psalm 122

Worshiping at the Temple

Psalm 127

Psalm 127:3: Sons or Children?

Sons of the Quiver

A Woman Who Was Better Than Seven Sons

Psalm 137

Dashing Babies Against the Rocks

Psalm 148

Gargoyles in the Old Testament

Psalm 151

Psalm 151

Other Studies on the Book of Psalms

Ancient Book of Psalms Discovered in a Bog

The Medieval Irish Book of Psalms: A Clarification

The Irish Book of Psalms

Praying the Psalms: A Response to John C. Endres

Giving Thanks to God

Thanksgiving and Gratitude

Thanksgiving and Praise

The Ant Bully” and the God of the Old Testament

The Wisdom of Old Age

Claude F. Mariottini
Emeritus Professor of Old Testament
Northern Baptist Seminary

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