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Bible Commentaries

Arno Gaebelein's Annotated Bible
Psalms

Chapter 1 Chapter 2 Chapter 3 Chapter 4
Chapter 5 Chapter 6 Chapter 7 Chapter 8
Chapter 9 Chapter 10 Chapter 11 Chapter 12
Chapter 13 Chapter 14 Chapter 15 Chapter 16
Chapter 17 Chapter 18 Chapter 19 Chapter 20
Chapter 21 Chapter 22 Chapter 23 Chapter 24
Chapter 25 Chapter 26 Chapter 27 Chapter 28
Chapter 29 Chapter 30 Chapter 31 Chapter 32
Chapter 33 Chapter 34 Chapter 35 Chapter 36
Chapter 37 Chapter 38 Chapter 39 Chapter 40
Chapter 41 Chapter 42 Chapter 43 Chapter 44
Chapter 45 Chapter 46 Chapter 47 Chapter 48
Chapter 49 Chapter 50 Chapter 51 Chapter 52
Chapter 53 Chapter 54 Chapter 55 Chapter 56
Chapter 57 Chapter 58 Chapter 59 Chapter 60
Chapter 61 Chapter 62 Chapter 63 Chapter 64
Chapter 65 Chapter 66 Chapter 67 Chapter 68
Chapter 69 Chapter 70 Chapter 71 Chapter 72
Chapter 73 Chapter 74 Chapter 75 Chapter 76
Chapter 77 Chapter 78 Chapter 79 Chapter 80
Chapter 81 Chapter 82 Chapter 83 Chapter 84
Chapter 85 Chapter 86 Chapter 87 Chapter 88
Chapter 89 Chapter 90 Chapter 91 Chapter 92
Chapter 93 Chapter 94 Chapter 95 Chapter 96
Chapter 97 Chapter 98 Chapter 99 Chapter 100
Chapter 101 Chapter 102 Chapter 103 Chapter 104
Chapter 105 Chapter 107 Chapter 108 Chapter 109
Chapter 110 Chapter 111 Chapter 112 Chapter 113
Chapter 114 Chapter 115 Chapter 116 Chapter 117
Chapter 118 Chapter 119 Chapter 120 Chapter 135
Chapter 136 Chapter 137 Chapter 138 Chapter 139
Chapter 140 Chapter 143 Chapter 146

Book Overview - Psalms

by Arno Clemens Gaebelein

THE BOOK OF PSALMS

Introduction

“Although all Scripture breathes the grace of God, yet sweet beyond all others is the book of Psalms.” This is the ancient witness of Ambrose. And Luther said “You might rightly call the Psalter a Bible in miniature.” Hundreds of similar testimonies could be added. The Psalms have always been one of the choicest portions of the Word of God for all saints, Jewish and Christian. The ancient Jews used the Psalms in the temple worship. The so-called “Great Hallel,” consisting of Psalms 113:1-9; Psalms 114:1-8; Psalms 115:1-18; Psalms 116:1-19; Psalms 117:1-2; Psalms 118:1-29 was sung during the celebration of Passover, Pentecost and the feast of tabernacles. Daily in the temple Psalms were sung in a prescribed order, The Jews still use them in all their feast days and in the synagogue.

The Psalms are mentioned in connection with praise in the New Testament (Colossians 3:16; James 5:13). The Church from the very start has used them in public and private devotion. All branches of Christendom use them today; Protestantism, Romish and Greek Catholicism make use of them in responsive reading or chanting. And even more so are they used and have always been used by individuals, because the heart finds in these songs and prayers, the different experiences of human life, and the different emotions. The sufferer steeped in sorrow finds in this book the experiences of suffering and sorrow; he finds more than that, encouragement to trust God and the assurance of deliverance. The penitent soul finds that which suits a broken and contrite heart. The lonely one, helpless and forsaken, reads of others who passed through the same experience. Then there is comfort, joy and peace, as well as hope. They stimulate faith and confidence in the Lord and are breathing a spirit of worship and praise which produce reverence and praise in the heart of the believer.

The Lord Jesus and the Psalms

But there is another reason why believers love the Psalms. The Lord Jesus is not only revealed in this book as nowhere else (as we shall show later) but He used the Psalms throughout His blessed life on earth and even in glory. Here are His own prayers prewritten by the Spirit of God. The expression of sorrow, loneliness, rejection and suffering describe what He passed through in His life of humiliation. The praise and worship, the trust and confidence in God, express likewise prophetically that life of obedience and trust. We believe when He spent nights in prayer to pour out His heart before His Father, on the mountain or in the desert, He must have done so by using the Psalms. He used the Psalms speaking to His disciples; with Psalms 110:1-7 He silenced His enemies. Gethsemane is mentioned in the Psalms; and in the suffering of the cross He fulfilled all that the Psalms predict. In resurrection He used the twenty-second Psalm: “Go and tell My brethren.” He opened to His disciples the Scriptures “that all things must be fulfilled, which were written in the law of Moses, in the prophets, and in the Psalms, concerning Me” (Luke 24:44) as He had before told the two on the way to Emmaus “Ought not Christ to have suffered these things and to enter into His glory?” And beginning at Moses and all the prophets, He expounded unto them in all the Scriptures concerning Himself. When He ascended on high and took the seat at God’s right hand, and God welcomed Him to sit down and to be the priest after the order of Melchisedec it was according to the Psalms. And in His messages from the throne in speaking to the churches He uses the Psalms (Revelation 2:27). And when He comes again the Hallelujah chorus of the ending of this book will be sung by heaven and earth and all the predicted glory, as given in the Psalms, will come to pass. This book then ought to be precious to us, because it was precious to Him and makes Him known to our hearts. The Spirit of God also quotes the Psalms more frequently in the Epistles than any other Old Testament book.

The Title of the Book

Our English word “psalms” is taken from the Greek word employed in the Septuagint translation--”psalmoi”; this means “songs.” It is also frequently called Psalter. This word is also Greek, from “psalterion,” a harp or any other stringed instrument.

The Hebrews call this book “Tehillim,” which means to make a joyful sound, or praises. It is in the Hebrew Bible in the third division, the “Kethubim” section. It is the great poetical book of the Old Testament. We refer the reader to our remarks on Hebrew poetry in the introduction to the book of job. The poetry of the Psalms is of a lyric character. The real great beginning of lyric poetry is with King David. He was remarkably gifted and yet it was not natural gift which produced these wonderful utterances but it was the Spirit of God who tuned his harp. Our space is too valuable to pay much attention to the critical school with their denials of the Davidic authorship of different Psalms, and that which is worse, the denial of the Messianic predictions of the Psalms. If these critics were but seekers after the fine gold, the precious gems of truth and divine knowledge, so richly stored in this mine, they would cease criticising and become worshippers.

The Authorship of the Different Psalms

Nearly one-half of the Psalms, seventy-three in all, were given by the Holy Spirit through the Shepherd King of Israel, David, who is rightly called the sweet singer of Israel.

The following are the Davidic Psalms: 3--9; 11---41 (except Psalms 33:1-22); 51-70; 86; 101; 103; 108; 109; 110; 122; 124; 131; 133; 138--145.

Asaph has twelve Psalms: Psalms 1:1-6 and Psalms 73--83.

The children of Korah composed eleven Psalms: Psalms 43, 44--49, 84, 85, 87 and 88.

One by Heman the Ezrahite Psalms 88:1-18 and one by Ethan the Ezrahite Psalms 89:1-52; one by Moses, Psalms 90:1-17.

That makes 99 Psalms whose authors are known; the remaining 51 have no inscription.

The Collection and Arrangement of the Psalms in the Present Form

From the foregoing paragraphs we learn that the known authors of the Psalms are: David, Asaph, the Children of Korah, Moses, Heman, and Ethan. If we take into consideration that other Psalms were written during the exile we see that the authors are centuries apart. The people Israel possessed these Psalms in an uncollected form; they laid about loose, so to speak. Someone at some time collected them in a book, in the form we have them now.

Who did this valuable collecting and arranging of these Psalms we do not know for it is not revealed. But this we can say of certainty that the Hebrew saint who did it was called to do it by the Spirit of God and the very arrangement of these Psalms in the book as we have it now is the perfect work of the Holy Spirit.

Here we clash with the critics who speak of “different editors arranging and re-arranging at different occasions.” They claim, for instance, that the statement at the close of Psalms 72:1-20 “The prayers of David the son of Jesse are ended,” shows that it is misplaced because other Davidic Psalms come later, and that probably this is the work of some editor, etc. But the phrase at the close of Psalms 72:1-20 rather means something different, as we take it. The Seventy-second Psalm reveals the glories of the coming kingdom of Him who is greater than Solomon, and David, getting a glimpse of it, declares: “The prayers of David, my prayers are ended; I have nothing greater to ask, than what this Psalm reveals.”

The work the unknown collector has done shows that it is the work of one person guided by the Spirit of God.

Let us suppose that we had in our possession a basket containing 150 precious stones, diamonds, rubies, sapphires, emeralds and pearls and we went with this basket to some jeweler with the request to arrange these gems in a necklace. How would he go about it? Would he take out a stone at random and put it on a string, and then take another, and another till he had strung them all? Certainly not. He would examine each stone. He would study the value of every emerald and sapphire, the brilliancy of each diamond and the lustre of every pearl. Then he would continue to study where each belongs on that chain so as to tell out its own value in relation to the other.

And here were 150 gems of greater value than earthly gems, gems of divine inspiration. They are to be arranged in perfect order so that each gem has the right place, to tell out its own story, in this book. Who else could do this but He who knows the value and meaning of these Psalms! The Spirit of God through His chosen instrument put these Psalms together and therefore we have in the arrangement a most wonderful, consecutive revelation. It is this knowledge which so many readers of the Psalms have missed. Generally one Psalm is read without considering that this Psalm stands in some relationship to the preceding one and to those which follow, that it is only a link in a chain. Just as Romans 6:1-23 leads to Romans 7:1-25 and Romans 7:1-25 to Romans 8:1-39, so it is with the Psalms. And here we shall discover the divine wisdom. These Psalms come in clusters and must be treated as belonging together to get the real spiritual and especially prophetic message. We give the most simple illustration of this fact found in the book known to many readers of the Psalms: Psalms 22:1-31 is a prophecy of Christ in His suffering, or the good Shepherd who gives His life for the sheep. Psalms 23:1-6 shows Him as the great Shepherd of the sheep and Psalms 24:1-10 reveals Him as the coming, chief Shepherd in glory. The many other most interesting interrelation of the Psalms the annotations will point out. Before we give the great message of the book of Psalms we call attention to other matters of importance in the study of this remarkable book.

The Hebrew Terms in Connection with the Psalms

In many of the Psalms we find the beginning a Hebrew word. For instance in Psalms 8:1-9 “To the Chief Musician upon the Gittith,” or in Psalms 16:1-11 “Michtam of David.” It is now a question whether these terms belong to the Psalm with which they are connected in our English Bibles, or to the preceding Psalm. When we read the last chapter of Habakkuk we find a psalmodic phrase at the close, “To the chief singer upon Neginoth.” Upon this the interesting theory has been advanced that the different titles in the Psalms should be the subscription of the preceding one. In other words, to give an illustration, the words standing at the beginning of Psalms 8:1-9 “To the chief musician upon the Gittith,” belongs to Psalms 7:1-17. Our work does not permit a minute examination of this. Such a misplacement could of course easily happen when we remember that the Hebrew manuscripts were written without a break. (Dr. J.W. Thirtle of England, to whom we are indebted for this suggestion, has written a volume on it, The Titles of the Psalms. We recommend it to those who desire to follow it more closely.)

We give in alphabetical arrangement the Hebrew titles and their English meaning.

Ayeleth-Shahar. Psalms 22:1-31. “The hind of the dawn.” The early light preceding the dawn of the morning, whose first rays are likened to the shining horns of a hind. (Delitzsch)

Alamoth. It means “concerning maidens.” It is found in the beginning of Psalms 46:1-11.

Al-Tashcheth. “Destroy not,” in Psalms 57:1-11; Psalms 58:1-11; Psalms 59:1-17 and in Psalms 75:1-10.

Gittith. “Winepresses,” in Psalms 7:1-17; Psalms 80:1-19; Psalms 83:1-18.

Jeduthun. “Praise giver,” in Psalms 39:1-13; Psalms 62:1-12; Psalms 77:1-20.

Mahalath. “Sickness.” Delitzsch says on the meaning the following: “Upon Mahalath signifies after a sad tone or manner, whether it be that Mahalath itself is a name for such an elegiac kind of melody, or that it was thereby designed to indicate the initial word of some popular song. So that we may regard ‘Mahalath’ as equivalent to piano or andante.” This would correspond to Psalms 53:1-6 where this word is found.

Mahalath Leannoth. It means “sickness unto humiliation.” It stands connected with Psalms 88:1-18.

Maschil. “Instruction,” found in Psalms 32:1-11; Psalms 42:1-11; Psalms 44:1-26; Psalms 52:1-9; Psalms 53:1-6; Psalms 54:1-7; Psalms 55:1-23; Psalms 74:1-23; Psalms 78:1-72; Psalms 88:1-18; Psalms 89:1-52; Psalms 142:1-7.

Michtam. “Engraven,” in Psalms 16:1-11; Psalms 56:1-13; Psalms 57:1-11; Psalms 58:1-11; Psalms 59:1-17; Psalms 60:1-12.

Muth-Labben. “Death for the son.” It is found as the superscription of Psalms 9:1-20.

Neginoth. “Smitings,” in Psalms 4:1-8; Psalms 6:1-10; Psalms 54:1-7; Psalms 55:1-23; Psalms 61:1-8; Psalms 67:1-7; Psalms 76:1-12.

Nehiloth. “Possessions,” in Psalms 5:1-12.

Sheminith. “The Eighth Division” or “upon the Octave, in Psalms 6:1-10; Psalms 7:1-17.

Shiggaion. “Loud Crying,” Psalms 7:1-17.

Shoshannim. “Lilies,” in Psalms 45:1-17; Psalms 69:1-36.

Shoshannim-Eduth. “Lilies of testimony,” Psalms 53:1-6. Eduth (testimony) is found in Psalms 60:1-12.

The word Selah occurs 71 times in the Psalms. It means “To pause,” with a secondary meaning to “lift up.” We can take it as an indication that in reading we should pause, meditate and then lift up our hearts in praise and prayer.

The Alphabetical Psalms

A number of the Psalms in the Hebrew are in an alphabetical arrangement; that is, certain verses begin with a letter of the Hebrew alphabet. This arrangement is not always perfect. Psalms 9:1-20; Psalms 10:1-18 contain (the two together) the letters of the alphabet with several missing. Psalms 25:1-22; Psalms 26:1-12 are also incomplete in the alphabetical scope. Psalms 37:1-40 has a perfect alphabetical character. Other alphabetical Psalms are Psalms 111:1-10; Psalms 112:1-10. The most perfect Psalm in this respect is the longest in the book, Psalms 119:1-176.

The Psalms and the New Testament Scriptures

As already stated the Psalms are quoted by the Spirit of God more than any other Old Testament book. This is significant and a divine indication of the great importance of these inspired gems. We give now a list of quotations as found in the New Testament and also those passages where the Psalms are alluded to.

Matthew 4:6 (Psalms 91:11). This first quotation is by the Devil. By this he showed his great knowledge of the Word and its meaning. Matthew 13:35 (Psalms 78:2). Matthew 21:42 (Psalms 118:22). Matthew 27:43 (Psalms 110:1-7). John 2:17 (Psalms 69:9). John 6:31 (Psalms 78:24-25). John 7:42 (Psalms 132:11). John 10:34 (Psalms 82:6). John 13:18 (Psalms 41:9). John 15:25 (Psalms 35:19; Psalms 49:4). John 19:24 (Psalms 22:18). John 19:28 (Psalms 69:21). John 19:36 (Psalms 34:20). John 20:17 (Psalms 22:17). Acts 1:20 (Psalms 69:25). Acts 1:16 (Psalms 41:9). Acts 2:25 (Psalms 16:8). Acts 2:34 (Psalms 110:1). Acts 4:25 (Psalms 2:1-2). Acts 13:33 (Psalms 2:7). Acts 13:35 (Psalms 16:10). Romans 3:4 (Psalms 51:4). Romans 3:12 (Psalms 14:2). Romans 3:13 (Psalms 140:3). Romans 4:6 (Psalms 32:1-2). Romans 11:9-10 (Psalms 69:22-23). Romans 15:10 (Psalms 117:1). Ephesians 4:8 (Psalms 68:18). 2 Corinthians 4:13 (Psalms 116:10). Hebrews 1:10-12 (Psalms 102:25-27). Hebrews 1:8-9 (Psalms 45:6-7). Hebrews 1:13 (Psalms 110:1). Hebrews 2:6 (Psalms 8:4). Hebrews 4:3 (Psalms 95:11). Hebrews 4:7 (Psalms 95:7). Hebrews 5:6 (Psalms 110:4). Hebrews 7:17 (Psalms 110:4). Revelation 2:27 (Psalms 2:9).

This is not by any means a complete list of quotations, for there are many more passages. We have quoted only the most prominent. See also Psalms 2:7-9 in Hebrews 1:5 and Revelation 2:27. Psalms 4:4 in Ephesians 4:26. Psalms 6:8 [in Matthew 7:23]. Psalms 8:2 in Matthew 21:16. Psalms 7:6 in 1 Corinthians 15:25-27. Psalms 9:8 in Acts 17:31. Psalms 19:4 in Romans 10:18. Psalms 22:1 in Matthew 27:46. Psalms 22:21 in 2 Timothy 4:17. Psalms 24:1 in 1 Corinthians 10:26. Psalms 27:1 in Hebrew 13:6. Psalms 34:8 in 1 Peter 2:3. Psalms 40:6-8 in Hebrews 10:5-7. Psalms 41:9 in Mark 14:18 and John 13:18. Psalms 48:2 in Matthew 5:35. Psalms 50:14 in Hebrews 13:15. Psalms 55:22 in 1 Peter 5:7. Psalms 56:4 in Hebrews 13:6. Psalms 69:21 in Mark 15:36. Psalms 79:6 in 2 Thessalonians 1:8. Psalms 89:27; Psalms 89:37 in Revelation 1:5; Revelation 3:14. Psalms 97:6 in Hebrews 1:6. Psalms 104:4 in Hebrews 1:7, etc.

In all about 50 Psalms are directly and indirectly quoted and alluded to in the books of the New Testament.

The Message of the Psalms

It would be impossible to give a complete review of the great message contained in the Psalms. A close study of each Psalm only can bring this out Fully and even then we probably touch but the surface of this marvellous mine of wisdom and knowledge. That a part of the message is the experience of the saint in the world, his trials, sorrows, the persecutions he suffers, his dependence on God, his deliverance and much else, is known to all readers of this book. Yet it must be remembered that the experiences are those of Jewish saints; true Christian experience is higher! In the midst of persecutions from the enemies, these Jewish saints call to God to destroy their enemies, to burn them up like stubble. The New Testament demands that saints should love their enemies. What these imprecatory Psalms mean and how perfectly in order they are in the message of this book we shall show in the annotations. Nor do we find in these experiences salvation made known as it is in the gospel dispensation. While the writers of the Psalms call on the Lord and use different names by which they call Him, as rock, fortress, shepherd, shield, etc., nowhere do we find that one ever utters the word “Father,” nor is there a declaration of the sonship of the saint nor do we find anything of the blessed hope of glory to be with Him in the Father’s house. The message of praise, giving thanks, adoration and worship is another prominent feature. But true Christian worship and praise is of a higher note and order. No such doxology like the doxology of Ephesians 1:3 is found anywhere in the Psalms. Yet the Christian believer, with the light of the full gospel revelation, indwelt by the same Spirit who gave the Psalms, can get the sweetest comfort and encouragement from the experiences recorded in these songs.

While this is part of the message of this book, the great message is the message of prophecy. The book of Psalms is preeminently a prophetic book. The New Testament warrants us to say this for the quotations from the Psalms are overwhelmingly on prophetic lines. It is not saying too much when we say that all the great prophetic messages of the prophets of God, and their visions concerning the future are wonderfully given by the Psalms and many of them are enlarged. The prophetic scope of the Psalms is truly marvellous. Yet this feature of it is the most neglected in the study of the book. It is rarely ever studied as a prophetic book; the devotional study has always been in the lead.

What then is the prophetic message of the Psalms? The prophecies of the Psalms comprise the following three themes:

1. The prophetic message concerning the Messiah, His humiliation and His exaltation. There are more prophetic statements on this theme of all themes in the Psalms, than in the book of Isaiah or in any of the other prophetic books. As already stated in the paragraph of this introduction relating to the Lord Jesus and the Psalms, we have in many of them the prewritten prayers of our Lord, as well as the expressions of His sorrow and grief. The story of His life of loneliness down here, the hatred which He met, the rejection from the side of the nation; the betrayal and other features of His humiliation are found over and over again in the Psalms. While the chosen instruments passed through experiences of sorrow and trial, the Spirit of God pictures in them Him who could say “Behold and see if there be any sorrow like unto my sorrow which is done unto me” (Lamentations 1:12). But the application of these Psalms to the person of our Lord needs great caution. Some teachers have erred grievously in this matter. We heard several years ago of a Bible teacher applying Psalms 38:7 to our Lord: “For my lions are filled with a loathsome disease, and there is no soundness in my flesh.” And this teacher declared that the Lord suffered thus because He took upon Himself our sickness and diseases. Such teaching must be severely condemned for it is positively false. Nor must other similar expressions be put into the mouth of our Lord. He had no need to complain of sins for He had no sin. He had no need to use the Fifty-first Psalm.

The sufferings of the cross are prophetically revealed in the twenty-second Psalm and in others as well. Then the glory which is to follow, the kingship of Christ, His kingdom is wonderfully predicted in many Psalms. His first coming in humiliation, to be rejected and to die; His second coming to be accepted and to reign over the earth, these are the two great prophetic messages of the Psalms. It is of much interest to note the order of the four great Messianic Psalms which we find in the first section of the book. The Spirit of God calls our attention to them in the New Testament. The Second Psalm is the first; here the divine sonship of our Lord is made known. The Eighth Psalm is next quoted; there He is the Son of Man. In Psalms 16:1-11 we see Him as the Obedient One and in Psalms 22:1-31 obedient unto death, the death of the cross. Son of God--Son of Man, obedient, obedient unto death, the death of the cross. And with each of these Psalms His glory is connected.

2. The second prophetic theme of the Psalms we mention are the sorrows, trials and suffering of Israel and their coming deliverance, restoration, blessing and glory. We do not mean by this the prediction of their present wanderings and the afflictions which are upon the nation as a result of having rejected the Christ, but the experiences through which a godly Jewish remnant will have to pass when this present age closes in its predicted darkness and apostasy. Of this time Jeremiah speaks as the time of Jacob’s trouble. “Alas! for that day is great, so that none is like it; it is even the time of Jacob’s trouble; but he shall be saved out of it.” That remnant will appear when the purpose of this present dispensation, the out calling of the people for His Name (the Church) is accomplished. A remnant of His earthly people, energized by the Spirit of God, will turn to the Lord and pass through that time of trouble, of which our Lord speaks as the great tribulation. It will be the travail time for them. They suffer from the side of ungodly nations and pray for deliverance. (See Isaiah 63:15-19.) The Psalms give us the completest picture of their harrowing experiences. Here we read their sorrows, their afflictions. We hear their prayers, their cry “How long, O Lord, how long!” We Year them plead that the Lord might intervene and come down to save them. The nations about them persecute them. The land, which is partially restored, is invaded again. Then we read in the Psalms of a wicked man who domineers over them; one who breaks the covenant. This is the man of sin, the final Anti-christ. And as they pray for deliverance, they cry to God for vengeance, to deal with their enemies and with His enemies according to His righteousness. This will explain perfectly the imprecatory prayers we find here and there in this book.

Suddenly the scene changeth. Their prayers are answered. Heaven opens and the long expected King returns. Their tears are wiped away; their moans are changed to songs, their agonizing cries are turned to laughter. They are delivered and receive the blessing as His people, their land is blest and they become the channel of blessing and mercy to the nations of the earth. It is all intensely interesting and fascinating.

3. The third prophetic theme shows the future glories in store for His redeemed people, for the nations of the earth and for creation itself. In other words we have prophecies relating to the coming kingdom. The prophetic teaching of the Psalms annihilates postmillennialism. These prophecies show conclusively that there can be no blessing for Israel, for the nations, for the earth, no peace and prosperity, no world conversion, till the King comes back. The book ends with the mighty hallelujahs, the glorious consummation when heaven and earth will sing His praises. How well Handel caught this message when in his Oratorio, “The Messiah,” he concludes all with a mighty hallelujah chorus. Our annotations will adhere to this threefold prophetic message. The task is difficult to condense these great truths. Far easier it would be to write a book of a thousand pages than one of a hundred. It is all so rich and glorious.

The Division of the Psalms

The unknown collector of these Psalms has divided the book into five sections, which we must maintain and follow. These five sections correspond in a remarkable manner with the five books with which the Bible opens, the Pentateuch. This was known to the ancient Jews, for they call the Psalter “the Pentateuch of David.” The Aramaic comment (Midrash) on Psalms 1:1 declares that “Moses gave to the Israelites the five books of the law and corresponding with these David gave them the five books of the Psalms.”

I. THE GENESIS SECTION -- Psalms 1:1-6; Psalms 2:1-12; Psalms 3:1-8; Psalms 4:1-8; Psalms 5:1-12; Psalms 6:1-10; Psalms 7:1-17; Psalms 8:1-9; Psalms 9:1-20; Psalms 10:1-18; Psalms 11:1-7; Psalms 12:1-8; Psalms 13:1-6; Psalms 14:1-7; Psalms 15:1-5; Psalms 16:1-11; Psalms 17:1-15; Psalms 18:1-50; Psalms 19:1-14; Psalms 20:1-9; Psalms 21:1-13; Psalms 22:1-31; Psalms 23:1-6; Psalms 24:1-10; Psalms 25:1-22; Psalms 26:1-12; Psalms 27:1-14; Psalms 28:1-9; Psalms 29:1-11; Psalms 30:1-12; Psalms 31:1-24; Psalms 32:1-11; Psalms 33:1-22; Psalms 34:1-22; Psalms 35:1-28; Psalms 36:1-12; Psalms 37:1-40; Psalms 38:1-22; Psalms 39:1-13; Psalms 40:1-17; Psalms 41:1-13. This section has the same character as the book of Genesis in that it has much to say about man. We have first a contrast between the righteous and the ungodly. After that a contrast between the first man, Adam, and the second Man who was made a little lower than the angels (Psalms 8:1-9). Here also is a description of the wicked one, in whom in some future day the defiance of the ungodly will culminate. This man of sin, the Anti-christ, is revealed in Psalms 9:1-20; Psalms 10:1-18; the tribulation which is yet to come for man is revealed in the Psalms which follow. The Christ, the last Adam, in His obedience, even the obedience unto the death of the cross, His salvation and His glory are unfolded (Psalms 16:1-11; Psalms 17:1-15; Psalms 18:1-50; Psalms 19:1-14; Psalms 20:1-9; Psalms 21:1-13; Psalms 22:1-31; Psalms 23:1-6; Psalms 24:1-10; Psalms 25:1-22; Psalms 26:1-12; Psalms 27:1-14; Psalms 28:1-9; Psalms 29:1-11; Psalms 30:1-12; Psalms 31:1-24; Psalms 32:1-11; Psalms 33:1-22; Psalms 34:1-22; Psalms 35:1-28; Psalms 36:1-12; Psalms 37:1-40; Psalms 38:1-22; Psalms 39:1-13; Psalms 40:1-17; Psalms 41:1-13). The first book ends with a blessing and a double Amen.

II. THE EXODUS SECTION -- Psalms 42:1-11; Psalms 43:1-5; Psalms 44:1-26; Psalms 45:1-17; Psalms 46:1-11; Psalms 47:1-9; Psalms 48:1-14; Psalms 49:1-20; Psalms 50:1-23; Psalms 51:1-19; Psalms 52:1-9; Psalms 53:1-6; Psalms 54:1-7; Psalms 55:1-23; Psalms 56:1-13; Psalms 57:1-11; Psalms 58:1-11; Psalms 59:1-17; Psalms 60:1-12; Psalms 61:1-8; Psalms 62:1-12; Psalms 63:1-11; Psalms 64:1-10; Psalms 65:1-13; Psalms 66:1-20; Psalms 67:1-7; Psalms 68:1-35; Psalms 69:1-36; Psalms 70:1-5; Psalms 71:1-24; Psalms 72:1-20. Like in the book of Exodus, where the story is written how God redeems by blood and by power, we see a people groaning and moaning. The opening Psalms show a people oppressed and longing for God. This is the godly Jewish remnant. Then we find their prayers answered by the coming of the King (Psalms 45:1-17). Redemption by power then takes place and the blessings of the kingdom, when Christ has returned, are revealed in a number of Psalms. The Seventy-second Psalm, the conclusion of this second book gives the reign and the kingly glory of Christ. This book also ends with a double Amen and the statement, so very appropriate to this book, “And let the whole earth be filled with His glory.” The book of Exodus ends with the glory of the Lord filling the tabernacle, the Exodus portion of the Psalms ends with His glory filling the whole earth.

III. THE LEVITICUS SECTION -- Psalms 73:1-28; Psalms 74:1-23; Psalms 75:1-10; Psalms 76:1-12; Psalms 77:1-20; Psalms 78:1-72; Psalms 79:1-13; Psalms 80:1-19; Psalms 81:1-16; Psalms 82:1-8; Psalms 83:1-18; Psalms 84:1-12; Psalms 85:1-13; Psalms 86:1-17; Psalms 87:1-7; Psalms 88:1-18; Psalms 89:1-52. This is the briefest section. The theme of Leviticus is “holiness unto the Lord.” In this section we are brought into the sanctuary and we behold the holiness of the Lord in dealing with His people. The Asaph Psalms are put into this section and nearly every Psalm has something about the sanctuary, the congregation, Zion and approaching the Lord. It also closes with a benediction and a double amen.

IV. THE NUMBERS SECTION -- Psalms 90:1-17; Psalms 91:1-16; Psalms 92:1-15; Psalms 93:1-5; Psalms 94:1-23; Psalms 95:1-11; Psalms 96:1-13; Psalms 97:1-12; Psalms 98:1-9; Psalms 99:1-9; Psalms 100:1-5; Psalms 101:1-8; Psalms 102:1-28; Psalms 103:1-22; Psalms 104:1-35; Psalms 105:1-45; Psalms 106:1-48. The first Psalm of this section is the Psalm Moses wrote, in all probability when he saw the people dying in the wilderness. The second Man is seen in Psalms 91:1-16. Here we have the prophetic Psalms which show that the times of unrest and wanderings will cease, when the Lord reigneth and when the nations will worship Him. No rest and no peace till then. This section ends with an amen and a hallelujah.

V. THE DEUTERONOMY SECTION -- Psalms 107:1-43; Psalms 108:1-13; Psalms 109:1-31; Psalms 110:1-7; Psalms 111:1-10; Psalms 112:1-10; Psalms 113:1-9; Psalms 114:1-8; Psalms 115:1-18; Psalms 116:1-19; Psalms 117:1-2; Psalms 118:1-29; Psalms 119:1-176; Psalms 120:1-7; Psalms 121:1-8; Psalms 122:1-9; Psalms 123:1-4; Psalms 124:1-8; Psalms 125:1-5; Psalms 126:1-6; Psalms 127:1-5; Psalms 128:1-6; Psalms 129:1-8; Psalms 130:1-8; Psalms 131:1-3; Psalms 132:1-18; Psalms 133:1-3; Psalms 134:1-3; Psalms 135:1-21; Psalms 136:1-26; Psalms 137:1-9; Psalms 138:1-8; Psalms 139:1-24; Psalms 140:1-13; Psalms 141:1-10; Psalms 142:1-7; Psalms 143:1-12; Psalms 144:1-15; Psalms 145:1-21; Psalms 146:1-10; Psalms 147:1-20; Psalms 148:1-14; Psalms 149:1-9; Psalms 150:1-6. In this section, as it is in Deuteronomy, the Word is magnified. The Lord Jesus Christ quoted this book of Deuteronomy exclusively in His conflict with the devil. Christ is seen as the Living Word in the beginning of this section. His rejection, His exaltation, His return and the hallelujah times which follow are once more revealed in a cluster of Psalms (109-113). Then follows the consummation, deliverances, the end-ways of God, His praise and His glory. This section ends with five hallelujah Psalms. It is the hallelujah chorus of completed redemption.

Lectionary Calendar
Tuesday, October 15th, 2019
the Week of Proper 23 / Ordinary 28
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