Amazing Facts About The Book of Psalms
The Book of Psalms is one of, if not the, richest compilation of examples of human emotion. Ranging from anger, frustration, fear, loneliness and sadness to bliss, joy, elation, wonder, gratitude — and everything in between. This is, perhaps, why the Psalms – more than any other Book of the Bible – is believed to be the most widely read and most profoundly cherished of all other Books. We can relate! The Psalms remind us that we are not alone in our struggles, concerns and uncertainty in life. Our forefathers left for us 150 beautiful songs of praise that lift, inspire and encourage us today and always. And through these divinely inspired writings, our Lord, as divine Author of Sacred Scripture, speaks directly to us.
There’s no other way to say it: We should be reading the Psalms every day. But sometimes it’s fun to just reflect on some of the interesting facts about this famous Book. So we’ve compiled a list of the most Interesting Facts About The Book of Psalms. An article we hope deepens your appreciation and expands your interest in spending more time with them. They have changed millions of lives throughout history, and they can change yours as well. So sit back with a cup of coffee (or beverage of your choice) and enjoy these fun facts about the Book of Psalms. And while you do, reflect on the great mystery and wonder of our Lord Almighty and His Word.
Amazing Facts About The Book of Psalms
- The Book of Psalms is the third longest Book of the Bible with 150 different Psalms in the collection (30,147 words). *The first is Jeremiah (33,002) and the second is Genesis (32,046);
- The Psalms are one of the few Books used in both Christian and Jewish worship;
- The Psalms were composed over a period of approximately 1,000 years;
- The Book of Psalms is sometimes called “Tehillim” which means “Book of Praises” or “Bible within the Bible” because it covers all the major themes of the Bible story;
- Jesus Christ used quotes from the Book of Psalms more than from any other part of the Old Testament. *Nearly half of all the direct quotes taken from the OT and quoted in the NT come from the Psalms. In fact, the Book of Psalms is either quoted from or alluded to 103 times in the Book of Revelation alone (and 149 times in the four Gospel accounts);
- The Lord began and concluded His earthly ministry by quoting from the Psalms (compare Psalm 69 with John 2:17; Psalm 31:5 with Luke 23:46);
- With the discovery of the Dead Sea Scrolls in the twentieth century, copies of the Psalms with the author’s names were included, but 48 of the remaining Psalms are still unknown in authorship;
- The human authorship of the Book of Psalms is attributed to King David who wrote at least 75 of the Psalms. 73 bear his name. (Acts 4:25 confirms he wrote Psalm 2 and Hebrews 4:7 confirms he wrote Psalm 95);
- In addition to David, there are at least 6 other authors who’ve contributed to the Book of Psalms including Moses (Psalm 90), King Solomon (Psalm 72 and 127), Asaph (12 Psalms), the “sons of Korah” (11 Psalms), and Ethan the Ezrahite (Psalm 89);
- According the Jewish tradition, King David wrote 88 of the Psalms. Moses wrote (Psalm 90-100), Jeremiah wrote Psalm 137 (during Babylonian captivity), Haggai wrote Psalm 146 and Zechariah wrote Psalm 147;
- Fifteen of the Psalms (120-134) are designated “A Song of Ascents,” and were sung by Jewish pilgrims as they made their way up to Jerusalem for the annual feasts;
- The Greek translation of the Old Testament (The Septuagint) includes an extra Psalm (151) said to be written by David after he slew Goliath. *David may have also written Psalm 18 and 144 after this historic event;
- The key word in the Psalms is “praise” which appears 211 times;
- Psalm 88 is the only Psalm that ends without some kind of praise or hope in God;
- The word “Selah” appears 71 times throughout the Psalms. The most recognized meaning of the Hebrew word Selah is “forever.” It is often interpreted as an instruction calling for a break in the singing of the Psalm, or to pause and calmly think about what you have read;
- During the Passover celebration, it became customary to recite Psalm 136 and Psalms 113-118. It is believed Jesus may well have recited these at the Last Supper;
- There are seven so-called “penitential psalms” (6, 32, 38, 51, 102, 130 and 143) that have been widely used by Christians worldwide as a vehicle to articulate confession of sin;
- The Book of Psalms may aptly be summarized by 5 key Words:
a) Praise: The Psalmist worships, extols, and with heart-felt gratitude, thanks the sovereign God of Israel for His Person, His Word, and His mighty works in regard to both creation and redemption;
b) Prophecy: The Psalmist often writes of the coming Messiah, foretelling His zeal, suffering, death, resurrection, ascension, high priestly work, and coming millennial reign;
c) Pain: The Psalmist describes in graphic fashion his personal doubts, fears, pain, and problems;
d) Petition: The Psalmist offers up many requests, crying out for relief, forgiveness, reassurance, direction, protection and strength;
e) Poetry: The Psalmist pens his words in poetic fashion meant to be sung.
Additional fun facts:
- Psalm 90 may be the oldest Psalm, written by Moses (around 1450 B.C.) before God’s call to liberate the Hebrew people from Egypt. *About 1,000 years later, the last of the Psalms (including 137) were written and added to the biblical canon;
- Psalm 117 is the shortest psalm with only 2 verses, and Psalm 119 is the longest with 176!
- Depending on which Bible you are reading, either Psalm 117 or 118 (Protestant Bible), or 120 and 121 (Catholic Bible; NAB) mark the very center of the Holy Bible. *Because Chapter numbers are a man-made convention imposted on Scripture, and the numbering can vary among different versions (and given the various methods reckoning the center of the Bible), attributing importance to passages based on the “center” is not recommended. It’s merely a “fun fact”.
- The Psalm most famous for the Lord’s protection is Psalm 91. One of the most recited and known passages from Scripture comes from this chapter: “Whoever dwells in the shelter of the Most High, will rest in the shadow of the Almighty” (v 1).
- The Psalm most people know of (often by heart) is Psalm 23: The Lord is My Shepherd;
- The Book of Psalms is split into 5 books, each of which corresponds with the first five books of the Bible (also known as the Pentateuch):
Book One: Psalms 1-41 (corresponds to Genesis);
Book Two: Psalm 42-72 (corresponds to Exodus);
Book Three: Psalm 73-89 (corresponds to Leviticus);
Book Four: Psalm 90-106 (corresponds to Numbers);
Book Five: Psalm 107-150 (corresponds to Deuteronomy)
- Attributes of God in the Psalms:
Eternality — (90, 102)
Glory — (96, 113)
Goodness — (27, 107)
Holiness — (99)
Justice — (75, 82, 94)
Majesty — (18, 93, 97)
Mercy — (86, 136)
Omnipotence — (18, 33, 76, 146)
Omnipresence — (139)
Omniscience — (139, 147)
Providential care — (65, 104)
Unfailing Love — (36)
Uniqueness — (115, 135)
In no other writings, whether sacred or secular, is the heart and soul of man more clearly revealed than in the Book of Psalms. No other Book throughout history has reviewed the past, views the present, or previewed the future more clearly and accurately than this one. As you continue on in your exhilarating faith journey with the Lord, keep the psalms near and dear to your heart. It will serve as a must needed must-have prayer book. One in which allows for us to see the glorious and shining face of our Messiah, Jesus Christ, in and through its Words.
“The Psalms are like an ocean fed by many rivers [and] many writers. They are for wading in, bathing in, swimming in, surfing in, boating on, and even drowning in (for even the mystics [themselves] have loved and used them too). The Psalms will last forever” -Peter Kreeft, Ph. D; author and professor.