Book of Psalms in Smiths Bible Dictionary

The present Hebrew name of the book is Tehill'im, "Praises;" but in the actual superscriptions of the psalms the word Tehillah is applied only to one, Ps 145:1 ... which is indeed emphatically a praise-hymn. The LXX. entitled them psalmoi or "psalms," i.e., lyrical pieces to be sung to a musical instrument. The Christian Church obviously received the Psalter from the Jews not only as a constituent portion of the sacred volume of Holy Scripture, but also as the liturgical hymn-book which the Jewish Church had regularly used in the temple. Division of the Psalms. --The book contains 150 psalms, and may be divided into five great divisions or books, which must have been originally formed at different periods. Book I. is, by the superscriptions, entirely Davidic nor do we find in it a trace of any but David's authorship. We may well believe that the compilation of the book was also David's work. Book II. appears by the date of its latest psalm, Ps 46:1 ... to have been compiled in the reign of King Hezekiah. It would naturally comprise, 1st, several or most of the Levitical psalms anterior to that date; and 2d, the remainder of the psalms of David previously uncompiled. To these latter the collector after properly appending the single psalm of Solomon has affixed the notice that "the prayers of David the son of Jesse are ended." Ps 72:20 Book III., the interest of which centers in the times of Hezekiah stretches out, by its last two psalms, to the reign of Manasseh: it was probably compiled in the reign of Josiah. It contains seventeen psalms, from Psal 73- 89 eleven by Asaph, four by the sons of Horah, one (86) by David, and one by Ethan. Book IV. contains the remainder of the psalms up to the date of the captivity, There are seventeen, from Psal 90-106 --one by Moses, two by David, and the rest anonymous. Book V., the psalms of the return, contains forty-four, from Psal 107-180 --fifteen by David, one by Solomon and the rest anonymous. There is nothing to distinguish these two books from each other in respect of outward decoration or arrangement and they may have been compiled together in the days of Nehemiah. Connection of the Psalms with Israelitish history. --The psalm of Moses Psal 90, which is in point of actual date the earliest, faithfully reflects the long, weary wanderings, the multiplied provocations and the consequent punishments of the wilderness. It is, however, with David that Israelitish psalmody may be said virtually to commence. Previous mastery over his harp had probably already prepared the way for his future strains, when the anointing oil of Samuel descended upon him, and he began to drink in special measure, from that day forward, of the Spirit of the Lord. It was then that, victorious at home over the mysterious melancholy of Saul and in the held over the vaunting champion of the Philistine hosts, he sang how from even babes and sucklings God had ordained strength because of his enemies. Psal 8. His next psalms are of a different character; his persecutions at the hands of Saul had commenced. When David's reign has begun, it is still with the most exciting incidents of his history, private or public, that his psalms are mainly associated...

Link: https://bible-history.com/smiths/P/Psalms,+Book+of/