#5 Book of Psalms

  • Psalms means stringed instruments.  The book was called ‘Praises’ in the Hebrew Bible.  Some psalms are prayers rather than praises and songs.
  • The psalms were written mainly by King David (1040–970 BC) as songs of praise to be sung in the First Temple.  Solomon also wrote some psalms.
  • The sons of Korah wrote 11 psalms.  Korah was descended from Levi, he revolted against Moses in the desert and died, but his three sons did not die.  One of his sons was called Abiasaph.  The Korahites were later put in charge of ‘things made in pans’ in the Temple.  Chronicles 20:19 has them down as singers.  Thus, they composed some psalms as they were singers in the Temple.
  • Asaph, a Levite music composer composed psalms that were sung when the foundations to the Second Temple were laid in 515 BC onwards.  He was a descendant of the son of Korah, Abiasaph.
  • Asaph and his descendants are mentioned by Ezra as Levites and singers.  The sons of Asaph sounded cymbals in praise as the foundations of the Second Temple were laid (Ezra 3:10).
  • 1 Chronicles 6:31-46 has all the genealogies of the Temple musicians written by Ezra.  These include the genealogy of Asaph as well as that of Heman.  Asaph and Heman worked together to lead the music at the Second Temple.  Heman was descended from the prophet Samuel and his son Joel.
  • Each psalm is attributed to someone: David wrote 73 psalms, Solomon 2 psalms, the sons of Korah 11 psalms, Asaph wrote 12 psalms, , Ethan the Ezrahite 1 (ancestor of Asaph), Heman the Ezrahite 1 and Moses 1.  The psalms with no title are continuations of preceding psalms.
  • The Temple musicians first ministered in front of the Tabernacle containing the Ark of the Covenant and in front of the Tent of Meeting before the Temple was built.  But most of the psalms were written around 1000 BC for the First Temple, and 500 years or more later for the Second Temple.
  • The numbering of psalms may differ in Catholic and Protestant Bibles depending on whether certain psalms are presented as one or split into two.
  • Genre: Prayer book to music of the First Temple and Second Temple, but also of Jewish synagogues from the 3rd century BC.

Psalm 151 is a psalm belonging to the Apocrypha.

Protestant Bibles end with Psalm 150.

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