Tuesday, December 11, 2007

Divisions In The Psalms

The book of Psalms is divided into five books, with the following divisions:

Book 1 - Psalms 1-41
Book 2 - Psalms 42-72
Book 3 - Psalms 73-89
Book 4 - Psalms 90-106
Book 5 - Psalms 107-150

With these divisions in mind, I share the following study with you. This is taken from The Bible Student's Compendium And Dictionary - part of the cover is ripped off so I am unable to tell the name of the author or publisher as that is not on the copyright page. This is not an endorsement of the whole book, but I thought it worthwhile to share this interesting portion (definitely some interesting parallels brought forth!):

Note the concluding words of each of these books. (There are altogether in the Psalms, seven Amens and twenty-four Hallelujahs**.) The Rabbis used to say that these five books correspond to the five books of the Pentateuch. And this makes a most interesting study:-

THUS BOOK 1 IS THE GENESIS BOOK. It shows us God's plan for MAN. God is Jehovah (the Lord) in this book. He has covenant-plans toward mankind. True, sin has broken things up and man is in rebellion against God. But the plans were made in CHRIST, and God still has His one Man in mind: Ps. 2; THE LAST ADAM: Ps. 8 (cf. Gen. 1). The middle Psalm of the book (21) describes Him as crowned for rule and set to be a blessing for ever (v. 6; cf. Gen. 12 and 22:18); though, indeed, He shall only reach His Crown through a Cross (22-24). Yet the MAN Christ Jesus is set before us, waiting in faith for the glory the Lord will give Him (16, 17, 18); "bowed down heavily" in the days of His flesh (35:14), yet "the Lord hath pleasure in the prosperity of His Servant" (v. 27), and when He has "waited patiently" as "a poor and needy" Man, cast upon the Lord, He receives the promised reward (40, 41). It is a "blessed" thing to consider this poor MAN (41).

BOOK 2 IS THE EXODUS BOOK. It begins with the true Israel in tears and suffering (42) yet appealing to God against "an ungodly nation" (43) and though "counted as sheep for the slaughter" (44), calling upon God to redeem them (44:26). Then comes THE DIVINE REDEEMER. Finally a redeemed Israel sings sings praises for deliverance (61-68). And the book that began with suffering conducts us, Psalm by Psalm, through a varied experience on pilgrimage towards God, towards the glorious kingdom of Christ, which will leave nothing for the loyal soul to desire (72: see esp. v. 19 and 20).

THEN BOOK 3 IS THE LEVITICUS BOOK. This is the book of the Sanctuary. Search and see how that in nearly every Psalm some reference is made to the sanctuary. Israel's house is indeed now left unto her "desolate" and given over to her enemies. But HE WHO DWELLS BETWEEN THE CHERUBIM (80:1) will yet "shine forth" again and the deserted altars shall again be laden with worship (84). For Jehovah is faithful and has sworn (89).

BOOK 4 IS THE NUMBERS BOOK: the book of the wilderness. Angels watch over God's true Israel there (91), and when Israel has profited by the past wilderness lesson (95), the wilderness shall blossom as the rose (96, etc. cf. Is. 35). For Christ will return as LORD OF THE WHOLE EARTH (98:5-7; cf. Heb. 1:6) and the earth will no longer be a wilderness but will enjoy the promised blessings (101-106). This is a very striking book indeed and may well end, as it does, with "Hallelujah."

BOOK 5 IS, LIKE DEUTERONOMY, THE BOOK OF THE COVENANT WORD. Its chief Psalm is 119, which is all in praise of that Word. (Remember Deuteronomy begins "These be the words" and tells, as we saw, how God bare witness of a New Covenant through Moses). This Word tells of "good things to come." Christ is the High Priest of these good things (Ps. 110; cf. Heb.). It will be a wonderful day when "the greater Hallel" (Pss. 117-118) is sung in Mount Zion - "the day which the Lord hath made," when the Rejected Stone is made "THE HEADSTONE OF THE CORNER." No wonder the words are treasured by believing hearts (119) and their eyes "lifted up" (121) for their redemption which draws nigh. From distress (120) they will ascend - as the songs of "degrees", songs of "the steps" (the steps of ascent to the Divine Temple) describe - to the sanctuary of blessing, where the Lord of heaven and earth will bless men out of Zion (135).

The Book closes with a grand universal anthem in five "Hallelujah" Psalms.

**Hallelujah is translated into English as "Praise the Lord."

1 comment:

  1. Brother Jerry,

    I was led to your article through a google search about the divisions of the books of the Psalms. This article is EXCELLENT. LORD willing I will endeavor to journey through the Psalms and now I know I can search for these motifs throughout. I pray the Lord blesses you, and your Church!
    Hallelujah --> Praise the Lord!

    1 Cor 2:2
    www.grace-bible.com *excellent* sermons and studies hosted online

    In Love, in Him