The Book of Psalms

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There are 150 psalms in the Book of Psalms that were written over the span of 800 years. Most of the Psalms written were made to be sung. There are two main genres of Psalms, which are laments and hymns. David is know to have written 73 psalms, Asaph wrote 12, the sons of Korah wrote 11, Solomon wrote 2, Moses wrote 1 and 50 are anonymous . Although 50 were anonymous, David was certainly the author of the majority of the Psalms.

The title of the Psalm is not always a direct indicator of who the author was because the preposition “of,” “to,” and “for”. They are all the same in Hebrew. For example, if the title of the psalm was “Psalm of David” it could have been a psalm that he wrote himself. It also could have been one that was written for him, “Psalm for David” or it could have been a song dedicated to him, “Psalm to David.” The most natural thing to assume however is that the titles do indicate authorship because if the psalm was written by David then his name would be on it as the author(Halley, 247). If the psalm was written to David it would include David’s name, but it could also include the name of the author. David is said to be the principle author for psalms. The purpose of the Psalms that David wrote was to sing praises to God and give God the glory for all of his creations. David also wrote songs of lament, as did many of the other psalmists.

Psalm 15 is an entrance liturgy because it follows a simple question and answer form. Many of the Psalms are written in this format . Thomas Jefferson called this psalm the picture of a true gentleman . Psalm 15 is a Davidic psalm and a perfect picture of what a true citizen of Zion, the City of David, should be. When David was writing this poem he focused on who may dwell in the Lord’s Sanctuary in the city of Zion. “This Psalm explains who is worthy to be a ‘guest’ of the Lord. The psalmist delineated the flawless character of one who is fit to worship in the Lord’s Sanctuary.” David asked the spiritual question of who could worship in God’s dwelling place (Pfeiffer,573). He then went on to describe what kind of person is capable of going to the temple on the holy hill.

Psalms 15 starts out with two simple questions. The psalmist asks God who is worthy to abide in God’s tent and who is worthy to dwell on God’s holy hill. In the first question it is important to note that the psalmist is...

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...only way for a person in the Old Testament to commune with God was after they gave a sacrifice. Jesus was the ultimate sacrifice and after he died it was no longer necessary to give these blood offerings to commune with God. Jesus was know to be very fond of the Psalms and often taught out of them for a very good reason.


Coogan, Michael, Marc Brettler, Carol Newman, and Pheme Perkins, ed. The New Oxford Annotated Bible. 3rd ed. New York: Oxford University Press, 2001.

Halley, Henry. Halley’s Bible Handbook. Grand Rapids, Michigan: Zondervan Publishing House, 1927.

Mays, James. Psalms. Interpretation, A Bible Commentary for Teaching and Preaching. Louisville : John Knox Press, 1994.

Pfeiffer, C.F. The Wycliffe Bible commentary: Old Testament (Ps 15:1-5). Chicago: Moody Press, 1962.

Reyburn, William, and Robert Brancher. A Translators Handbook on the Book of Psalms. New York: United Bible Societies, 1991.

The New Interpeter's Bible; A Commentary in Twelve Volumes. Nashville: Abingon Press, 1996.

Walvoord, J.F. The Bible knowledge commentary: An exposition of the Scriptures (Ps 15:1-5). Wheaton, IL: Victor Books, (1983-c1985).
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