The brief descriptions that introduce the psalms have David listed as author in  73 instances. David’s personality and identity are clearly stamped on many of  these psalms. While it is clear that David wrote many of the individual psalms,  he is definitely not the author of the entire collection. Two of the psalms (72)  and (127) are attributed to Solomon, David’s son and successor. Psalm 90 is a  prayer assigned to Moses. Another group of 12 psalms (50) and (73—83) is  ascribed to the family of Asaph. The sons of Korah wrote 11 psalms (42, 44-49,  84-85,87-88). Psalm 88 is attributed to Heman, while (89) is assigned to Ethan  the Ezrahite. With the exception of Solomon and Moses, all these additional  authors were priests or Levites who were responsible for providing music for  sanctuary worship during David’s reign. Fifty of the psalms designate no  specific person as author.

Date of Writing: A careful  examination of the authorship question, as well as the subject matter covered by  the psalms themselves, reveals that they span a period of many centuries. The  oldest psalm in the collection is probably the prayer of Moses (90), a  reflection on the frailty of man as compared to the eternity of God. The latest  psalm is probably (137), a song of lament clearly written during the days when  the Hebrews were being held captive by the Babylonians, from about 586 to 538  B.C.

It is clear that the 150 individual psalms were written by many  different people across a period of a thousand years in Israel’s history. They  must have been compiled and put together in their present form by some unknown  editor shortly after the captivity ended about 537 B.C.

Purpose  of Writing: The Book of Psalms is the longest book in the Bible, with  150 individual psalms. It is also one of the most diverse, since the psalms deal  with such subjects as God and His creation, war, worship, wisdom, sin and evil,  judgment, justice, and the coming of the Messiah.

Key Verses:  Psalm 19:1 “The heavens declare the glory of God; the skies proclaim the work of his  hands.”

Psalm  22:16-19, “Dogs have surrounded me; a band of evil men has encircled me,  they have pierced my hands and my feet. I can count all my bones; people stare  and gloat over me. They divide my garments among them and cast lots for my  clothing.”

Psalm 23:1,  “The LORD is my shepherd, I shall not be in want.”

Psalm 29:1-2, “Ascribe to  the LORD, O mighty ones, ascribe to the LORD glory and strength. Ascribe to the  LORD the glory due his name; worship the LORD in the splendor of his  holiness.”

Psalm 51:10,  “Create in me a pure heart, O God, and renew a steadfast spirit within  me.”

Psalm  119:1-2, “Blessed are they whose ways are blameless, who walk according to  the law of the LORD. Blessed are they who keep his statutes and seek him with  all their heart.”

Brief Summary: The Book of Psalms is  a collection of prayers, poems, and hymns that focus the worshiper’s thoughts on  God in praise and adoration. Parts of this book were used as a hymnal in the  worship services of ancient Israel. The musical heritage of the psalms is  demonstrated by its title. It comes from a Greek word which means “a song sung  to the accompaniment of a musical instrument.”

Foreshadowings:  God’s provision of a Savior for His people is a recurring theme in the  Psalms. Prophetic pictures of the Messiah are seen in numerous psalms. Psalm 2:1-12 portrays the  Messiah’s triumph and kingdom. Psalm  16:8-11 foreshadows His death and resurrection. Psalm 22 shows us the  suffering Savior on the cross and presents detailed prophecies of the  crucifixion, all of which were fulfilled perfectly. The glories of the Messiah  and His bride are on exhibit in Psalm  45:6-7, while Psalms  72:6-17, 89:3-37110:1-7 and 132:12-18 present the glory and universality of His  reign.

Practical Application: One of the results of  being filled with the Spirit or the word of Christ is singing. The psalms are  the “songbook” of the early church that reflected the new truth in  Christ.

God is the same Lord in all the psalms. But we respond to Him in  different ways, according to the specific circumstances of our lives. What a  marvelous God we worship, the psalmist declares, One who is high and lifted up  beyond our human experiences but also one who is close enough to touch and who  walks beside us along life’s way.

We can bring all our feelings to  God—no matter how negative or complaining they may be—and we can rest assured  that He will hear and understand. The psalmist teaches us that the most profound  prayer of all is a cry for help as we find ourselves overwhelmed by the problems  of life.