Please help us share God's truths and hope in Christ.
AUTHOR: Various Authors
DATE: Probable 1060-444 B.C.

The Jews referred to this book of songs, laments, and praises as “The Book of Praises,” while the Septuagint titled it “The Book of Psalms” (from a Greek word indicating songs sung to the accompaniment of stringed instruments). The book was the hymnal of the Jewish people.

Seventy-three of the various psalms are attributed to David, two to Solomon, 12 to the sons of Korah, 12 to Asaph, one to Heman (1 Kings 4:31), one to Ethan (1 Chron. 15:19), and one to Moses. Most of the psalms were written during the times of David and Solomon (tenth century B.C.).

Hebrew poetry is not based on rhyme or meter, but on rhythm and parallelism. The rhythm is not achieved by balanced numbers of accented and unaccented syllables, but by tonal stress or accent on important words.

In parallelism, the poet states an idea in the first line, then reinforces it by various means in the succeeding line or lines. There are four styles of parallelism:

  1. Synonymous parallelism (most common) in which the second line essentially repeats the idea of the first (3:1).
  2. Antithetic parallelism, in which the second line contains an idea opposite to that in the first (1:6).
  3. Synthetic parallelism, in which the second or succeeding lines add to or develop the idea of the first (1:1-2).
  4. Emblematic parallelism, in which the second line elevates the thought of the first, often by using a simile (42:1).

Parallelism is not restricted to two lines but can also extend to strophes (smaller units of a few lines) and stanzas (longer units). An alphabetical acrostic is used in Psalm 119.

Classification of the Psalms

  • the lament or petition psalms, either individual (Ps. 3) or communal (Ps. 44);
  • thanksgiving or praise psalms, either individual (Ps. 30) or communal (Ps. 65);
  • psalms of trust in God (Ps. 4); (4) hymns that include psalms on the enthronement of Yahweh (see notes on Gen. 2:4; Ps. 47), psalms concerning Jerusalem (Ps. 48), and royal psalms (some of which are messianic; Pss. 2, 110); and
  • didactic and wisdom psalms (Pss. 1, 37, 119)

Psalms may also be classified according to themes; e.g., creation (Pss. 8, 19), the Exodus (Ps. 78), imprecation (Ps. 7), penitence (Ps. 6), psalms of pilgrims (Ps. 120). Psalms that include important prophecies concerning Messiah include Psalms 2, 8, 16, 22, 40, 45, 72, 110, 118.

Titles were added to the psalms after they were written, but are considered to be historically accurate. All but 34 of the psalms have titles or superscriptions that normally comprise the first verse of the Hebrew text. T

The two most frequently used technical terms are:

  • “Selah” (occurring 71 times in the Psalms and three times in Hab. 3). Selah is probably a musical notation signaling an interlude (pause) or change of musical accompaniment, and
  • “For the choir director” is attached to 55 psalms (and Hab. 3:19).  This phrase suggests that a collection of psalms existed for the choir director, possibly for use on special occasions. 

Psalms, 7, 35, 55, 58, 59, 69, 79, 109, 137, 139, 140 are imprecatory psalms, meaning they invoke judgment or curses on one’s enemies. These are not intended to instruct us to call judgment on others. They record the psalmist calling out to God, asking Him to punish the wicked and it for these reasons:

  • demonstrate God’s just and righteous judgment toward the wicked (58:11),how the authority of God over the wicked (59:13), (3) to lead the wicked to seek the Lord (83:16), and (4) to cause the righteous to praise God (7:17). Therefore, out of zeal for God and abhorrence of sin, the psalmist calls on God to punish the wicked and to vindicate His righteousness.
  • show the authority of God over the wicked (59:13),  lead the wicked to seek the Lord (83:16), and (4) to cause the righteous to praise God (7:17). Therefore, out of zeal for God and abhorrence of sin, the psalmist calls on God to punish the wicked and to vindicate His righteousness.
  • lead the wicked to seek the Lord (83:16), and
  • cause the righteous to praise God (7:17).

The Book of Psalms is divided into five books with each section related to the Pentateuch in theme: 1-41 (Genesis); 42-72 (Exodus); 73-89 (Leviticus); 90-106 (Numbers); 107-150 (Deuteronomy). Each section ends with a doxology.  Psalms can also be understood as falling into these categories: Petition, Deliverance, Praise, Repentance/Confession, Promise/Blessing, and Other.

PETITION — These are prayers to God asking for His help or his favor: 20, 22, 42, 57, 60, 61, 72, 85, 86, 90, 102, 119, 122, 130, 132, 139, 144
DELIVERANCE — These are petitions as well, but they mostly plea for God’s deliverance from evil enemies: 3, 4, 5, 7, 10, 11, 12, 13, 14, 16, 17, 25, 26, 28, 35, 40, 43, 44, 54, 58, 59, 64, 69, 70, 74, 76, 77, 79, 80, 82, 83, 88, 94, 109, 120, 124, 129, 140, 141, 142, 143;  Imprecatory Psalms 69, 109 and 5, 6, 11, 12, 35, 37, 40, 52, 54, 56, 58,69, 79, 83, 137, 139, 143
PRAISE — These psalms express God attributes and thank Him for his great deeds: 8, 9, 18, 24, 27, 29, 30, 33, 34, 47, 48, 66, 67, 93, 95, 96, 97, 98, 99, 100, 101, 103, 104, 105, 106, 107, 108, 111, 112, 113, 115, 116, 117, 118, 134, 135, 136, 138, 145, 146, 147, 148, 149, 150
REPENTANCE/CONFESSION — These are prayers for forgiveness of sin: 6, 32, 36, 38, 39, 41, 51, 55, 73
PROMISE/BLESSING — These tell how God has blessed or will bless his people: Psalms of Promise/Blessing 1, 15, 19, 21, 23, 31, 37, 46, 49, 50, 52, 56, 62, 63, 65, 68, 71, 75, 78, 81, 84, 89, 91, 92, 110, 121, 123, 125, 126, 128
OTHER — Don’t ignore these. There are some classic verses here. They just don’t fit clearly into one category.  2, 45, 53, 87, 114, 127, 131, 133, 137

Click on Image to Enlarge

Videos and Charts Used By Permission of the Bible Project


Jesus is the Reason this Ministry Exists

We continue to reach people worldwide with the truths of God's Word and the gospel of the Lord Jesus Christ. Your generosity is both a blessing and encouragement. Our mission is to glorify God by equipping, encouraging, and empowering YOU to understand the Bible and grow in faith. If our online resources have blessed you, please support Reasons for Hope* Jesus. Our ministry outreach has grown significantly and . . .

Please support Reasons for Hope* Jesus with a donation of $5, $10, $20, or more. A donation of any amount is needed and greatly appreciated.

to Reasons for Hope*Jesus(a 501c3 Ministry)
Use a Credit Card or PayPal for safe, secure giving.


***A Hidden Message in Psalm 23?***  

Hidden in the six verses of Psalm 23 are 11 names for Jesus.  When you subscribe to our newsletter, we’ll send you The Names of God in Psalm 23 PDF that reveals all 11 names and Scripture verses of comfort and hope (link will be sent in your confirmation email).

A Room with a View of Eternity—The Last Will & Testament of Jesus Christ   Take a seat at the Master's table. Learn about the riches He gives to all who are His. This book will bless and encourage you, give you hope, and help you live in the joy of your salvation and the riches of Christ that are yours.

The Top Ten Got Questions? in 2022 

  1. The Meaning of NUMBERS in the Bible?
  2. Was Jesus CRUCIFIED on Wednesday, Thursday, or Friday?
  3. Did The Wise Men Arrive 12 DAYS AFTER JESUS’ BIRTH? Or Was It Much Later?
  4. How long did JOB SUFFER?
  5. What is the Significance of the Wise Men's THREE GIFTS? And were they kings?
  6. How are the Shepherd’s ROD and STAFF Different?
  7. Which Old Testament Book Did JESUS QUOTE most often?
  8. The Meaning of COLORS in the Bible?
  9. ONLY ONE LIFE, Twill Soon Be Past – by C.T. Studd (1860 – 1931)
  10. How was Jesus Like a Worm? What’s the CRIMSON (OR SCARLET) WORM in Psalm 22?

This is not a Got Questions? article. But it's so popular it ranked among the top pages viewed:

More Popular Got Questions


Reasons for Hope* Jesus video banner

TOP TEN Videos from Reasons for Hope* Jesus
  1. Memorial Day BAGPIPES TRIBUTE: Amazing Grace 
  2. RISE AND SHINE and Give God the Glory, Glory!
  3. WERE YOU THERE When They Crucified My Lord?
  6. Hark! the Herald Angels Sing -- CHARLIE BROWN Christmas
  8. Jimmy Stewart - Nativity Scene Prayer: Mr. Krueger's Christmas
  9. THE LEGEND OF THE CANDY CANE - A Christmas Story to Share 
  10. Not by Might, Not by Power, But BY MY SPIRIT says the Lord (Zechariah 4:6)
  11. Erwin Lutzer - We Will Not Be SILENCED


Please help us share God's truths and hope in Christ.


Yes, send me answers to interesting and challenging questions about Jesus and the Bible.  Help me get equipped and be encouraged so I am empowered to know, live, and share my faith.  <*}}}><


Get equipped with knowledge!

Be encouraged in hope!

Live empowered with love! 

You have Successfully Subscribed!