Psalms in Easton's Bible Dictionary
The psalms are the production of various authors. "Only a
portion of the Book of Psalms claims David as its
inspired poets in successive generations added now
another contribution to the sacred collection, and
thus in the
wisdom of Providence it more completely reflects
every phase of
human emotion and circumstances than it otherwise
could." But it
is specially to David and his contemporaries that we
precious book. In the "titles" of the psalms, the
which there is no sufficient reason to doubt, 73 are
David. Peter and John (Acts 4:25) ascribe to him
also the second
psalm, which is one of the 48 that are anonymous.
two-thirds of the whole collection have been
ascribed to David.
Psalms 39, 62, and 77 are addressed to Jeduthun, to
after his manner or in his choir. Psalms 50 and 73-
addressed to Asaph, as the master of his choir, to
be sung in
the worship of God. The "sons of Korah," who formed
part of the Kohathite singers (2 Chr. 20:19), were
with the arranging and singing of Ps. 42, 44-49, 84,
85, 87, and
In Luke 24:44 the word "psalms" means the
the holy writings, one of the sections into which
divided the Old Testament. (See BIBLE -T0000580.)
None of the psalms can be proved to have been of a
than the time of Ezra and Nehemiah, hence the whole
extends over a period of about 1,000 years. There
are in the New
Testament 116 direct quotations from the Psalter.
The Psalter is divided, after the analogy of the
into five books, each closing with a doxology or
(1.) The first book comprises the first 41 psalms,
which are ascribed to David except 1, 2, 10, and 33,
though anonymous, may also be ascribed to him.
(2.) Book second consists of the next 31 psalms (42-
72), 18 of
which are ascribed to David and 1 to Solomon (the
rest are anonymous.
(3.) The third book contains 17 psalms (73-89), of
86th is ascribed to David, the 88th to Heman the
the 89th to Ethan the Ezrahite.
(4.) The fourth book also contains 17 psalms (90-
which the 90th is ascribed to Moses, and the 101st
and 103rd to
(5.) The fifth book contains the remaining psalms,
number. Of these, 15 are ascribed to David, and the
Ps. 136 is generally called "the great hallel." But
includes also Ps. 120-135. Ps. 113-118, inclusive,
the "hallel" recited at the three great feasts, at
the new moon,
and on the eight days of the feast of dedication.
"It is presumed that these several collections were
times of high religious life: the first, probably,
close of David's life; the second in the days of
third by the singers of Jehoshaphat (2 Chr. 20:19);
by the men of Hezekiah (29, 30, 31); and the fifth
in the days
The Mosaic ritual makes no provision for the service
in the worship of God. David first taught the Church
to sing the
praises of the Lord. He first introduced into the
ritual of the
tabernacle music and song.
Divers names are given to the psalms. (1.) Some bear
Hebrew designation _shir_ (Gr. ode, a song).
Thirteen have this
title. It means the flow of speech, as it were, in a
line or in a regular strain. This title includes
secular as well
as sacred song.
(2.) Fifty-eight psalms bear the designation (Heb.)
(Gr. psalmos, a psalm), a lyric ode, or a song set
to music; a
sacred song accompanied with a musical instrument.
(3.) Ps. 145, and many others, have the designation
_tehillah_ (Gr. hymnos, a hymn), meaning a song of
song the prominent thought of which is the praise of
(4.) Six psalms (16, 56-60) have the title (Heb.)
(5.) Ps. 7 and Hab. 3 bear the title (Heb.)