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In the Modern Hebrew Bible, the Psalter or Book of Psalms stands first of the hagiographa or sacred writings. It is not really a single book, but a collection of sacred songs, composed at widely different times and for different purposes. The Hebrew Psalter is divided into five groups or separate collections of songs, each group closing with a doxology. These groups terminate with Psalms 41, 72, 89, 106 and 150.

Usually the entire book is spoken of as the Psalms of David; because, of the 150 songs which make up the present book, 73 are ascribed by their own introductory notes to David. The Psalter was indeed the hymn book of the post-exilic Jewish Church. The many songs which David originally composed must, however, have been long treasured among his people, and the substance of many of them may have been preserved in the present collection. We seem to feel throughout the well-known chants the constant echo of the "sweet singing" of the poet king.

Of the 28 psalms ascribed by their introductions to other authors than David, twelve are referred to Asaph, the chief musician of the templeunder him, eleven are referred to "the sons of Korah", two to Solomon, and one, the ninetieth, to Moses.

As a whole, the psalms reach a very high level of poetic beauty and religious faith and aspiration. They have often been spoken of as forming a connecting link between the teaching of the Old Testament and that of the New. Some of the sadder ones have been called the "penitential psalms" but an undercurrent of joy and thanksgiving runs through most, which are rightly called hymns of praise. This indeed is the Hebrew name for the collection. They are known as Tehillim or "the Praises."

Psalm 147 Celestial Wonder print
Psalm 147
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Praise and Worship by Laura Sotka, free psalm art
Praise and Worship by Laura Sotka, 2008
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"Praise the LORD.
Praise God in his sanctuary,
praise him in his mighty heavens.
Praise him for his acts of power;
praise him for his surpassing greatness. Praise him with the sounding of the trumpet,
praise him with the harp and lyre,
praise him with tambourine and dancing, praise him with the strings and flute, praise him with the clash of cymbals, praise him with resounding cymbals.
Let everything that has breath praise the LORD. Praise the LORD."

Psalm 150

Book One: Psalms 1-41
Psalm 1
The righteous way, wisdom
Psalm 2
God establishes his anointed
Psalm 3
Trust when surrounded by enemies, individual lament
Psalm 4
Confidence in need, individual lament
Psalm 5
God will deal with enemies, individual lament
Psalm 6
Prayer for healing, individual lament
Psalm 7
Plea for deliverance from persecutors, individual lament
Psalm 8
Praise of God’s majesty and human worth, hymn
Psalm 9
Prayer for the oppressed
Psalm 10
Individual lament
Psalm 11
Refuge in God, song of trust
Psalm 12
People’s plea for protection, community lament
Psalm 13
How long? Individual lament
Psalm 14
No one seeks God. Individual lament
Psalm 15
Who can live before God? Liturgy
Psalm 16
Eternal life for one who trusts
Psalm 17
May God deal with enemies, individual lament
Psalm 18
God, our Rock Individual song of thanksgiving
Psalm 19
Creation witnesses to God, God’s perfect law, wisdom
Psalm 20
Prayer for the king
Psalm 21
A king’s praise to God
Psalm 22
Why has God forsaken? Individual lament

Psalm 23
The Lord as shepherd, song of trust
Psalm 24
Who can stand before God? Liturgy
Psalm 25
Teach and forgive, individual lament
Psalm 26
Vindicate me, individual lament

Psalm 24, St Albans Psalter Illuminated Initial A
Psalm 24
St Alban’s Psalter

Psalm 27
No need to fear, song of trust
Do not turn aside, God. Lament

Psalm 28
God is my strength, individual lament
Psalm 29
God’s voice, hymn
Psalm 30
Praise for deliverance from enemies, song of thanksgiving
Psalm 31
Prayer for help in great distress
Psalm 32
Joy of confession and forgiveness. Individual song of thanksgiving
Psalm 33
Faithful God, hymn
Psalm 34
Praise for rescue from trouble, individual song of thanksgiving
Psalm 35
Prayer for deliverance from enemies
Psalm 36
Human evil, wisdom Divine good, Request for deliverance. Individual lament
Psalm 37
Be patient and trust God, wisdom
Psalm 38
Prayer for healing from terrible illness, individual lament
Psalm 39
Prayer for wisdom and forgiveness, individual lament
Psalm 40
Praise for rescue, individual song of thanksgiving (40:1-10) Prayer for rescue (40:11-17)
Psalm 41
Prayer for healing, individual lament

Book Two: Psalms 42-72
Psalm 42
Thirsting for God, individual lament
Psalm 43
Prayer for national deliverance
Psalm 44
Prayer for national deliverance, community lament
Psalm 45
For the king’s wedding
Psalm 46
God, our refuge and strength, song of Zion
Psalm 47
God rules the nations, hymn
Psalm 48
Praise for Zion, song of Zion
Psalm 49
Do not trust in wealth, wisdom
Psalm 50
Correct sacrifice, liturgy
Psalm 51
Create a clean heart, individual lament
Psalm 52
Deceit cannot win, individual lament
Psalm 53
No one seeks God, individual lament
Psalm 54
Seeking vindication, individual lament
Psalm 55
Betrayed by a friend, individual lament
Psalm 56
Trust in God, individual lament
Psalm 57
Be merciful, individual lament
Psalm 58
Let the nation be avenged, community lament
Psalm 59
Deliver from enemies, individual lament
Psalm 60
Prayer after military defeat, community lament
Psalm 61
Request for God’s protection
Psalm 62
God, my rock and salvation, song of trust
Psalm 63
Praise for God’s presence, song of trust
Psalm 64
Prayer for protection from enemies, individual lament
Psalm 65
Praise for the productive earth, community song of thanksgiving
Psalm 66
God’s goodness, Praise for God’s intercession, individual song of thanksgiving
Psalm 67
Praise for harvest, community song of thanksgiving
Psalm 68
Triumphant God, hymn
Psalm 69
Prayer for rescue from enemies, individual lament
Psalm 70
Prayer for rescue from enemies, individual lament
Psalm 71
Prayer for protection, individual lament
Psalm 72
Prayer for king



 

Book Three: Psalms 73-89
Psalm 73
Trust despite appearances, wisdom
Psalm 74
Prayer for a humiliated nation, community lament
Psalm 75
Praise for God’s vindication, community song of thanksgiving
Psalm 76
God’s glory, song of Zion
Psalm 77
God’s past acts, individual lament
Psalm 78
God’s care and Israel’s sin, historical
Psalm 79
Prayer for conquered Jerusalem, community lament
Psalm 80
Prayer for forsaken Israel, community lament
Psalm 81
Appeal for faithfulness, liturgy
Psalm 82
Judge the earth, individual lament
Psalm 83
Punish our enemies, community lament
Psalm 84
God’s lovely dwelling place, song of Zion
Psalm 85
Prayer for restoration, community lament
Psalm 86
Prayer for rescue from enemies, individual lament
Psalm 87
City of God, song of Zion
Psalm 88
Complaint, individual lament
Psalm 89
Blessing of God and king, Prayer for rescue of king and nation

Book Four: Psalms 90-106
Psalm 90
Plea for God to remove His anger, community lament
Psalm 91
God’s protection, song of trust
Psalm 92
Praise for God’s actions, individual song of thanksgiving
Psalm 93
God is king, hymn
Psalm 94
Prayer for God’s vengeance on wicked, community lament
Psalm 95
Enthronement songs
Let us worship, hymn

Psalm 96
Sing to the Lord, hymn
Psalm 97
The Lord is king, hymn
Psalm 98
Victorious Lord, hymn
Psalm 99
God is enthroned, hymn
Psalm 100
Make a joyful noise, hymn
Psalm 101
King’s pledge, royal
Psalm 102
Prayer for help in affliction, individual lament
Psalm 103
Bless the Lord, hymn
Psalm 104
God, Creator and Provider, hymn
Psalm 105
God’s love toward Israel, hymn
Psalm 106
Confession of sins, hymn

Book Five: Psalms 107-150
Psalm 107
Deliverance from many difficulties, community song of thanksgiving
Psalm 108
Steadfast heart, Prayer for victory over enemy, community lament
Psalm 109
Prayer for help, individual lament
Psalm 110
Sit at my right hand, royal
Psalm 111
God’s great works, hymn
Psalm 112
Blessed are those who fear God, wisdom
Psalm 113
God helps the needy, hymn
Psalm 114
God’s deeds in the exodus, hymn
Psalm 115
God vs. worthless idols, liturgy
Psalm 116
Praise for deliverance, individual song of thanksgiving
Psalm 117
Praise the Lord, hymn
Psalm 118
Trust in God was not disappointed, individual song of thanksgiving
Psalm 119
God’s good law, wisdom
Psalm 120
Songs of Ascent
Psalm 121
I lift my eyes to the hills, song of trust
Psalm 122
Pray for the peace of Jerusalem, song of Zion
Psalm 123
Have mercy on us, community lament
Psalm 124
Our help is God, community song of thanksgiving
Psalm 125
God’s protection, song of trust
Psalm 126
Restore our fortunes, community lament
Psalm 127
God’s blessings in a family, wisdom
Psalm 128
The blessed home, wisdom
Psalm 129
God destroyed enemies, community song of thanksgiving
Psalm 130
Out of the depths, individual lament
Psalm 131
Humble trust, song of trust
Psalm 132
God’s promises, royal
Psalm 133
Harmony, wisdom
Psalm 134
Bless the Lord, liturgy
Psalm 135
God above all gods, hymn
Psalm 136
For his steadfast love endures forever, liturgical hymn
Psalm 137
By the rivers of Babylon, community lament
Psalm 138
Praise for deliverance, individual song of thanksgiving
Psalm 139
God, you have searched me, individual lament
Psalm 140
Prayer for deliverance from slandering enemies, individual lament
Psalm 141
Keep me from evil, individual lament
Psalm 142
Prayer for deliverance from persecutors, individual lament
Psalm 143
Prayer for rescue from enemies, individual lament
Psalm 144
Blessed be the Rock, royal lament
Prayer for God’s blessing, hymn

Psalm 145
Great is the Lord, hymn
Psalm 146
Happy are those who serve God, hymn
Psalm 147
Good acts of God, hymn
Psalm 148
Let creation praise God, hymn
Psalm 149
Praise God for His salvation, hymn
Psalm 150
All creation and instruments should praise God, hymn


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