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This summary of the book of Psalms provides information about the title, author(s), date of writing, chronology, theme, theology, outline, a brief overview, and the chapters of the Book of Psalms.
The titles "Psalms" and "Psalter" come from the Septuagint (the pre-Christian Greek translation of the OT), where they originally referred to stringed instruments (such as harp, lyre and lute), then to songs sung with their accompaniment.
Some of the psalms are messianic, in the Jewish sense (clearly referring to a mortal that happens to be divinely assisted, much like Moses), but the majority are concerned less with the world at large, and more with individual behavior, expressing a belief that repentance for unintended sins will return them to God's favor.
There have been attempts to link the text both to the Essenes of Qumran, who separated themselves from what they saw as a wicked world, and alternately to the Pharisees in opposition to the Sadducees who generally supported the Maccabees.
The Psalter is a collection of collections and represents the final stage in a process that spanned centuries.
It was put into its final form by postexilic temple personnel, who completed it probably in the third century b.c.
However, though now a collection, they were originally separate, written by different people in different periods.
At that time Psalms appears also to have been used as a title for the entire section of the Hebrew OT canon more commonly known as the "Writings" (see Lk and note).We have now before us one of the choicest and most excellent parts of all the Old Testament; nay, so much is there in it of Christ and his gospel, as well as of God and his law, that it had been called the abstract, or summary, of both Testaments.The History of Israel, which we were long upon, let us to camps and council-boards, and there entertained and instructed us in the knowledge of God., "sing, sing praise, make music." It reminds us that the Book of Psalms was -- and is -- intended for singing. Though we have lost the original tunes, individual psalms have been put to music many times since.
The ancient songwriters were devout poets who put their heartfelt devotion toward God into verse. The corresponding number in the Septuagint differs because of a different division of certain Psalms.