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Who wrote the Psalms?

Categories Biblical Studies Commentaries (NT)

As you read through the Psalms, the first thing you'll notice is a number of the headings of the Psalms will say, "of David", or "by David", or something along those lines. 

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Actually, 73 or the 150 Psalms mention David in the heading. Usually we tend to think of David as the author of the Psalms, but only 73 have his name at the heading. We have some other names in the heading like Solomon, Psalm 90 has Moses of the author of that Psalm. We have Ezra mentioned. We have the Korahites. Asaphites are mentioned in several, many of the Psalms.

Really what we discover as we read through the Psalms is, we don't have one person who wrote all of the Psalms, and even we don't know specifically when we talk about the Sons of Korah, or the Asaphites, we really don't know who those are individual, except a group who would have been attendants in the temple. 

I think what we come away with in the end however, is not being able to identify specifically who the author of each and every Psalm is, but what we do recognize is they were an important part of the temple community.

What we might say is, the Psalms were the people's book, and they were part of the worshiping community. We can talk about David as the author of a particular Psalm but I think it's always helpful for us to remember that individuals and communities of faith, long after David or Solomon, or Ezra, or any of the other, long after them, they used and reappropriated those Psalms as their own voice. 

I think that's one of the points of the Psalms that have power, is these Psalms really, they're timeless. They speak well beyond a particular age, and in some ways we inhabit the voice of the Psalm in each and every age.

This post has been edited from the original transcript for clarity

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