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Bible Encyclopedias

The Nuttall Encyclopedia

Psalms, the Book of

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The name given in the Septuagint to a collection of sacred songs in the Hebrew Bible, which are all of a lyrical character, and appear to have been at first collected for liturgical purposes. Their range is co-extensive with nearly all divine truth, and there are tones in them in accord with the experience and feelings of devout men in all ages. Nay, "the Psalter alone," says Ruskin, "which practically was the service-book of the Church for many ages, contains, merely in the first half of it, the sum of personal and social wisdom,... while the 48th, 72nd, and 75th have in them the law and the prophecy of all righteous government, and every real triumph of natural science is anticipated in the 104th." The collection bears the name of David, but it is clear the great body of them are of later date as well as of divers authorship, although it is often difficult to determine by whom some of them were written, and when. The determination of this, however, is of the less consequence, as the question is more a speculative one than a spiritual one, and what ever may be the result of inquiry in this matter now going on, the spiritual value of the Psalms, which is their real value, is nowise affected thereby. It matters nothing who wrote them or when they were written; they are there , are conceived from situations such as are obvious enough and common to the lot of all good men, and they bear on spiritual interests, which are our primary ones, and these, still, as in every other time, the alone really pressing ones. They express the real experiences of living men, who lay under an inner necessity to utter such a song, relieving themselves by the effort and ministering a means of relief to others in a like situation of soul.

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Bibliography Information
Wood, James, ed. Entry for 'Psalms, the Book of'. The Nuttall Encyclopedia. https://www.studylight.org/encyclopedias/eng/nut/p/psalms-the-book-of.html. Frederick Warne & Co Ltd. London. 1900.

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