What does Psalms, The Book Of mean in the Bible?

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People's Dictionary of the Bible - Psalms the Book of
Psalms, the Book of. The "praise" or hymn-book of Jew and Christian for thousands of years. The following description of the book is given in Rice's Our Sixty-six Sacred Books: The book of Psalms in the Hebrew Bible was the first of the third division called Kʾthubim, or "Writings." The Psalms, Proverbs, and Job were regarded as pre-eminently poetical books, and the Massoretes distinguished them by a peculiar accentuation. The Psalms were called "Sepher Tʾhellim," or "Book of Praises." The Greeks called it "Psalmos," from which the English "Psalms" is derived. The Psalms counted one book in the A. V., in the Hebrew Bible are divided into five collections, rather inaptly termed "books" in the Revised English Version. The end of each of the first four "books" is indicated by a doxology. The books are: 1. 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; Psalms 2:1-12. 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; Psalms 3:1-8. 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; Psalms 4:1-8. 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; Psalms 5:1-12. 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. The topics of the Psalms have been compared to an oratorio in five parts: 1. Decline of Prayer of Manasseh 1:2. Revival; 3. Plaintive complaint; 4. Response to the complaint; 5. Final thanksgiving and triumph. This fivefold division of the Psalms is very ancient, but when or by whom it was made is uncertain. Some ascribe it to Nehemiah or his time; it certainly is two or three centuries older than the Christian era. The division appears in the Septuagint. Why it was made is not clear. Some conjecture that it was in accord with the supposed chronological order of the Psalms, or was an arrangement according to authors, topics, or for liturgical use. The collection could not have been completed before the time of Ezra. About fifty Psalms are quoted in the New Testament. The titles or inscriptions of the Psalms are not by the original authors, but belong to an early age. They are attached to 101 Psalms. The 49 not having titles, the Talmud calls "Orphan Psalms." According to these titles, 73 Psalms are ascribed to David, 12 to Asaph, one of David's singers, 12 to the sons of Korah, a priestly family of singers of David's time, 2 (72d and 127th) to Solomon, 1 (90th) to Moses, and 1 (89th) to Ethan. The other 49 are anonymous. But the Septuagint assigns 85 Psalms to David, the 127th to Jeremiah, the 146th to Haggai, and the 147th to Zechariah. The New Testament also cites Psalms 2:1-12; Psalms 95:1-11 as if David were the author. It is worthy of note that the great Hallel songs, Psalms 115:1-18; Psalms 116:1-19; Psalms 117:1-2; Psalms 118:1-29, and the famous alphabetic hymn, the 119th, are among the anonymous songs. The most ancient classification, aside from the division into five collections, is found in the titles. The meaning of these is obscure. Some are termed Shir, a solo for the voice; Mizmor, song of praise accompanied with an instrument; Maschil, ode or didactic song; Michtam, a catch-word poem (Delitzsch); Shiggaion, an excited ode; Tephillah, a prayer-song; Shir jedidoth, a song of loves; Shir hammaʾaloth, a song of ascent or pilgrim songs; Kinah, dirge or elegy. Modern groups are based upon the contents, as seven (some say eight) penitential (6th, 25th, 32d [1], 51st, 102d, 130th, 143d), seven imprecatory psalms (35th, 52d, 58th, 59th, 69th, 109th, 137th), pilgrim songs, psalms of thanksgiving, of adoration, of faith and hope. Messianic psalms, and historic psalms. Some psalms have parallelisms or longer stanzas, each beginning with an initial letter corresponding to the twenty-two letters of the Hebrew alphabet. There are seven of these alphabetic psalms and five other alphabetic poems in the Old Testament. Some psalms are choral, as 24th, 115th, 135th; some gradational, as 121st, 124th. Of the psalms ascribed to David, several have Aramaic forms, but according to the latest linguistic researches these forms may betray an earlier rather than a later author. The psalms have suggested many of the noblest Christian hymns.
Fausset's Bible Dictionary - Psalms, the Book of
(See PSALMS.)
American Tract Society Bible Dictionary - Psalms, the Book of
The Hebrew name for this book is TEHILLIM, praises, though many of the psalms are rather elegiac. Most of the psalms have the superscription mizmor, a poem song. This word is rendered in the Septuagint by psalmos, that is, a song sung to music, a lyric poem. The Greek psalterion means a stringed instrument; hence by a metaphor the book of Psalms is called Psalter. For the poetical characteristics of the Psalms, see POETRY.
Classification. Some writers have classified the psalms according to their poetic character, into odes, elegies, etc. A preferable method is to divide them according to their contents. In this way they have been divided into six classes.
1. Hymns in praise of Jehovah; tehillim in the proper sense. These are directed to Jehovah as the God of all nature and the Creator of the universe, Psalm 8:1-9 104:1-35 ; as the protector and patron of Israel, Psalm 20:1-9 29:1-11 33:1-22 , or of individuals, with thanksgiving for deliverance from evils, Psalm 18:1-50 30:1-12 46:1-47:9 ; or they refer to the more special attributes of Jehovah, Psalm 90:1-17 139:1-24 . These psalms express thoughts of the highest sublimity in respect to God, providence, redemption, etc.
2. Temple hymns; sung at the consecration of the temple, the entrance of the ark, etc., or intended for the temple service, Psalm 24:1-10 132:1-18 . So also "pilgrim songs," sung by those who came up to worship in the temple, etc.; as for example, the "songs of degrees," Psalm 120:1-7 , etc. See DEGREES, PSALMS OF.
3. Religious and moral songs of a general character; containing the poetical expression of emotions and feelings, and therefore subjective: as for example, confidence in God, Psalm 23:1-6 62:1-12 125:1-5 ; devotedness to God, Psalm 16:1-11 ; longing for the worship of the temple, Psalm 42:1-43:5 ; prayers for the forgiveness of sin, etc. To this class belong the seven penitential psalms, as they are termed, Psalm 6:1-10 25:1-22 32:1-11 35:1-28 38:1-22 51:1-19 130:1-8 . Also didactic song; the poetical expression of some truth, maxim, etc., Psalm 1:1-6 15:1-5 32:1-11 34:1-22 50:1-23 128:1-6 , etc. This is a numerous class.
4. Elegiac psalms, that is, lamentations, psalms of complaint, generally united with prayer for help.
5. Messianic psalms, as Psalm 3:1-8 22:1-31 45:1-17 69:1-36 72:1-20 110:1-7 , etc.
6. Historical psalms, in which the ancient history manner, Psalm 78:1-72 105:1-45 106:1-48 114:1-8 .
But it is impossible to form any perfect arrangement, because some psalms belong in part to two or more different classes. Besides the proper Messianic psalms, predictions of the Messiah are widely scattered through this book, and the attention of the devout reader is continually attracted by passages foretelling His character and His works. Not a few of these are alluded to in the New Testament; and it is unquestionable that the language and structure of many others not quoted were intended to bear witness to the Son of God. David himself was an eminent type of the Savior, and many events of his life shadowed forth his son and Lord. The mention of these in the inspired writings is not undesigned; the recorded trials and victories of David find in their reference to the Messiah their highest claim to a place in the sacred writings. Lord Bacon has remarked that many prophetic passages in the Old Testament are "of the nature of their Author, to whom a thousand years are as one day; and therefore they are not fulfilled punctually at once, but have springing and germinant accomplishment through many ages, though the height or fullness of them may refer to some one age."
InscriptionsWith the exception of twenty-five psalms, hence called orphan psalms, all the rest have inscriptions of various kinds. They refer to the author, the occasion, different kinds of song, the melody or rhythm, the instrumental accompaniment, the choir who shall perform, etc. These are mostly very obscure, because the music and musical instruments of the Hebrews are almost unknown to us. They are of very high antiquity, if not as old as the psalms themselves; and in the Hebrew are not detached from the psalms, as in modern translations. They appear with numerous variations in the ancient Greek and Syriac versions. Many words in these inscriptions remain untranslated, and can only be conjecturally interpreted. See HIGGAION, MASCHIL, etc.
Authors and age of the Psalms. To David are assigned seventythree psalms in the Hebrew, and in the Septuagint eleven more. Psalm 90:1-17 is ascribed to Moses. As to the authorship of the other psalms, much diversity of opinion has prevailed among biblical critics.
The whole collection of the Psalms appears to have first existed in five books, after the example, perhaps, of the Pentateuch. Each book closes with a doxology.
One psalm occurs twice, Psalm 14:1-7 ; compare Psalm 53:1-6 . Some occur as parts of other psalms; as for example, Psalm 70:1-5 forms also a part of Psalm 40:1-17 . So also some psalms are repeated from other books of Scripture; thus Psalm 18:1-31 2 Samuel 22:1-51 . The final arrangement of the whole is generally referred to Ezra, 450 B. C.
These invaluable sacred songs exhibit the sublimest conceptions of God, as the creator, preserver, and governor of the universe; to say nothing of the prophetical character of many of them, and their relation to the Messiah and the great plan of man's redemption. They present us with the most perfect models of child-like resignation and devotedness, of unwavering faith and confidence in God. They are an inspired epitome of the Bible, for purposes of devotion; and are peculiarly dear to the people of God, as expressing every phase of religious experience. Luther, in his prefaces to the Psalter, has the following beautiful language; "Where canst thou find nobler words of joy, than in the psalms of praise and thanksgiving? There thou mayest look into the hearts of all good men, as into beautiful and pleasant gardens, yea, as into heaven itself. How do grateful and fine and charming blossoms spring up there from every kind of pleasing and rejoicing thoughts towards God and his goodness! Again, where canst thou find more deep or mournful words of sorrow, than in the psalms of lamentation and woe? There thou mayest look again into the hearts of all good men, as upon death, yea, as if into hell. How dark and gloomy is it there, from anxious and troubled views of the wrath of God! I hold, however, that no better or finer book of models, or legends of saints and martyrs, has existed, or can exist on earth, than the Psalter. For we find here, not alone what one or two saints have done, but what the Head of all saints has done, and what all holy men still do; in what attitude they stand towards God and towards their friends and enemies; and how they conduct themselves in all dangers and sufferings. And besides this, all sorts of divine doctrines and precepts are contained in it. Hence it is that the Psalter is The Book of all good men; and every one, whatever his circumstances may be, finds in it psalms and words suited to his circumstances, and which are to him just as if they had been put there on his very account, and in such a way that; he himself could not have made or found or wished for better."
In Luke 24:44 , the word "psalms" denotes one of the three divisions of the Hebrew Bible, the Hagiographa or devotional writings. See BIBLE. With regard to alphabetical psalms and psalms of degrees, see DEGREES, PSALMS OF, and LETTERS.

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Psalms the Book of - Psalms, the Book of