Understanding the Old Testament - Lesson 22


In this lesson on the Book of Psalms, you'll learn the structure, themes, and types of psalms found in this important book of the Old Testament. With 150 psalms divided into five books, you'll explore various forms of worship, including lament, thanksgiving, praise, and more. The lesson reviews the historical context and authorship of the psalms, providing an understanding of their significance in expressing human emotions, faith, and relationship with God. You'll learn how to apply the psalms in your personal prayers and worship, discovering the richness and depth of this timeless collection of songs.

Miles Van Pelt
Understanding the Old Testament
Lesson 22
Watching Now

I. Overview of the Book of Psalms

A. Structure and Content

B. Importance and Popularity

C. Authorship and Themes

II. Types of Psalms

A. Lament Psalms

B. Thanksgiving Psalms

C. Hymns of Praise

D. Enthronement Psalms

E. Royal Psalms

F. Psalms of Zion

G. Psalms of Trust

H. Wisdom Psalms

I. Historical Psalms

J. Torah Psalms

K. Liturgies

III. Approaches to Understanding Psalms

A. Form-Critical Approach

B. Cult Functional Approach

C. Canonical Approach

  • Engage with the Old Testament to grasp its Gospel-centered nature. From Genesis to Ecclesiastes and Psalms, discover foundational truths, wisdom, and insights on suffering. Strengthen your faith and find enduring hope in God's Word.
  • Gain insight into the Old Testament's theological core, centering on Jesus Christ. Explore its diverse genres, languages, and authors, unified by Jesus as its focal point. Understand how biblical evidence supports Jesus as the fulfillment of Old Testament prophecy, shaping interpretation.
  • In this lesson, Dr. Miles Van Pelt provides the thematic framework for the Old Testament. The Old Testament's thematic core is the Kingdom of God. Through this lesson, you'll understand its covenantal nature, from pre-temporal arrangements to various administrations like redemption, works, and grace, unveiling God's salvation plan in Christ.
  • Discover the intricate covenantal structure of the Bible, revealing its theological depth and unity, from the division of the Hebrew Bible to its mirroring in the New Testament, all centered around Jesus Christ.
  • Gain insight into the Pentateuch's covenantal structure, Moses' authorship debate, and evidence supporting it. Understand its significance as the foundation of Israel's relationship with God and its relevance for biblical theology.
  • Through this lesson, you will understand the theological, structural, and thematic intricacies of the book of Genesis. You'll grasp its role as a foundational text in both the Old and New Testaments, exploring themes of covenant, creation, fall, redemption, and the fulfillment of promises. You'll gain insights into the genealogical structure of Genesis, its portrayal of key biblical figures like Adam, Noah, and Abraham, and its connection to the overarching narrative of the gospel.
  • Exodus reveals Yahweh's promise—"I will be with you"—unfolding divine presence and covenant. It anticipates Jesus as fulfillment—a better Moses and Tabernacle—ushering in God's eternal presence among humanity.
  • Studying Leviticus unveils the intricate system of laws and rituals at Mount Sinai. It explains sacrificial atonement, priestly consecration, purity laws, and the theme of holiness, prefiguring Jesus as the ultimate priest, sacrifice, and source of holiness.
  • Discover the Book of Numbers' insights on Israel's journey, God's faithfulness, consequences of disobedience, and parallels to Christ, cautioning against questioning God's holiness and emphasizing His desire to dwell among His people through the Holy Spirit.
  • Gain insight into Deuteronomy's covenant renewal for Israel entering Canaan, emphasizing obedience, typology, and its relevance for Christian living.
  • Gain deep insight into the former prophets, exploring themes of Yahweh's faithfulness, Israel's unfaithfulness, and the typological significance of the Mosaic covenant. Understand its relation to the Abrahamic covenant and its fulfillment in the New Covenant under Jesus, revealing God's plan for restoration.
  • Joshua unveils Joshua's leadership, divine promise fulfillment in Canaan, obedience's significance, and Jesus as the ultimate fulfiller of God's promises.
  • Discover the Book of Judges, detailing Israel's history and faith journey. Learn about judges as deliverers from oppression and idolatry, portraying parallels with Christ's ministry. Uncover a pattern of uncreation due to idolatry, emphasizing the need for an eternal judge—Jesus Christ—to save from corruption.
  • In this lesson, Dr. Miles Van Pelt provides insights into the book of Samuel, exploring its characters, themes, and the transition from judgeship to kingship in Israel. Learn of the significance of the Davidic covenant, culminating in Jesus as the ultimate King of Kings.
  • Gain insights into the Book of Kings, revealing its historical and theological significance. Discover the fulfillment of Davidic covenant, reasons for Israel's exile, and anticipation of the new covenant. Recognize Jesus as the ultimate fulfillment of its promises.
  • This lesson reviews latter prophets' insights into Israel's exile for breaking the Mosaic Covenant, the prophetic office's nature, diverse prophecy genres, and the execution of covenant lawsuits, all pointing to God's judgment and hope for restoration.
  • Explore Isaiah's profound prophetic themes, from redemption to impending judgment. Unravel his life and ministry's context, review the debate around authorship, and learn essential tools for study.
  • Enjoy this lesson on Jeremiah, a second Moses figure, and his prophetic message of repentance, redemption, and a new covenant. Explore the book's chiastic structure, historical context, and theological significance, offering hope amidst Judah's fall.
  • Studying Ezekiel reveals its focus on the glory of the Lord and the temple. You learn of Ezekiel's exile, his visions, and themes like covenant theology, creation, and apocalyptic elements, offering profound insights into hope amidst crisis.
  • Discover insights into the minor prophets' diverse genres and themes, from covenant infidelity to divine restoration. Witness Jonah's repentance narrative and prophetic visions culminating in Christ's fulfillment. Embrace Yahweh's justice and compassion, urging Israel's return, leading to Jesus as the ultimate authority.
  • Understand the structure and themes of the Hebrew Bible's writings section. Explore diverse literary forms, intentional divisions mirroring prophets, and the overarching theme of exile and return, illuminating Israel's covenant journey.
  • Discover the depth of the Book of Psalms: 150 songs divided into 5 books, expressing diverse emotions and worship forms. Explore themes, structure, and practical applications for personal devotion and prayer.
  • Gain insights into human suffering and theodicy through Job's trials. Explore themes of faith, resilience, and God's sovereignty amidst adversity. Discover hope in God's incomprehensible sovereignty amid life's trials.
  • Proverbs is a book of timeless wisdom from Solomon, who was gifted by God. By studying this book, you can learn to navigate life with righteousness and discernment, rooted in the fear of the Lord.
  • Journey through Ruth, where redemption, loyalty, and divine providence intertwine. Ruth, a symbol of strength, aligns with Boaz, embodying ancient customs. Their union shapes history, reflecting the enduring legacy of faith amidst life's complexities.
  • Explore the Song of Songs for insights into marriage and intimacy. It navigates the tension between true love and temptation, advocating for unwavering commitment and passionate intimacy, reflecting God's desired relationship. Discover timeless wisdom for modern-day love and marriage.
  • Ecclesiastes reveals life's futility without God, emphasizing the necessity of fearing Him. Through Solomon's wisdom, it prompts reflection on divine purpose amid existential questions.
  • In Lamentations, mourn the fall of Jerusalem and exile, finding hope in God's sovereignty.
  • The book of Esthers contains themes of providence, hiddenness of God, and faithfulness in exile. You will uncover the intricacies of Esther and Mordecai's roles in the deliverance of the Jewish people, as well as the establishment of the festival of Purim. This study will equip you with insights into how God's providence operates amidst human events, even when His presence may seem concealed, and how faithfulness in exile can lead to unexpected outcomes of deliverance and restoration.
  • Through this lesson on the book of Daniel, you'll gain insights into its structure, themes of faithfulness in exile, comparisons with Joseph, and its significance for understanding apocalyptic literature, providing a comprehensive understanding of God's sovereignty and care for His people.
  • Explore Ezra and Nehemiah for insights into post-exilic restoration, intertwining faith, governance, and cultural renewal. These books point towards a deeper longing for true and lasting restoration and echo themes found in apocalyptic literature such as the book of Revelation.
  • The Book of Chronicles traces Israel's history, emphasizing kingship, priesthood, and divine selection. It anticipates restoration, pointing to Jesus as the ultimate priest-king who fulfills God's promises.

Understanding the Old Testament 
Dr. Miles Van Pelt
Lesson Transcript

We now move into our first book in the writings, the Book of Psalms. This first book in the writings reminds us that covenant life is a life of worship, of worshiping the creator of heaven and earth, Yahweh the Great King. This book is a collection of 150 different psalms subdivided into five books and contains as many as 10 different types of psalms. So just like we have stuff like folk music and country music and rock and roll, the Book of Psalms contains a variety of different types of music and we'll talk about that as the lecture progresses. 

The Book of Psalms is perhaps one of the most popular books of the Old Testament. So I think about Gideon's Bible that you find in hotel rooms that has the New Testament and Psalms and Proverbs. Probably the most widely read books in the Old Testament would be something like the beginning of Genesis, parts of Isaiah, and then Psalms, something like that with Proverbs at a close fourth. So this is a popular book. R.K. Harrison in his introduction to the Old Testament said, "The Psalms comprise the divine word spoken in rather than to God's people." That is most of the rest of the Bible is God's word to us, but here we have God's word from us to him. It's a different direction. It's a great way to think about the power and the beauty of the Psalms.

It gives us words to speak to God, to express both our sufferings and our great joys in the Christian life. One person called the Psalms a little Bible, wherein everything contained in the entire Bible is beautifully and briefly contained. Many of the psalms are connected with David and kingship is the controlling theme of the book, both Davidic kingship and the kingship of Yahweh, which we know will be rolled into one single person with Jesus in the New Testament. In 1 Samuel 16, for example, David is hired by Saul to play music to comfort him when he is tormented by the evil spirit of the Lord. We know that David was one of the singers of Israel. We can see the authorship of the psalms by way of superscription on the slide here. 73 of the psalms in the book of Psalms have this superscription by David. For example, 2 Samuel 23 says, these are the last words of David, the oracle of David, the son of Jesse, the oracle of the man exalted by the Most High, the man anointed by the God of Jacob, Israel's singer of songs. This is by far the vast majority in terms of authorship. Then you can see on the slide that 12 psalms are written by Asaph, and 11 psalms by the sons of Korah, a group of musicians. Two psalms are attributed to Solomon, psalm 72 and 127. One psalm is attributed to Moses, psalm 90. And then we have Heman the Ezrahite with one psalm in psalm 88 and Ethan the Ezrahite with one psalm in 89.

Another way to get to the Book of Psalms and to think about its collection and function is there are groups of psalms that function together. The psalms of ascent are the psalms 120 through 134. These are psalms that Walter Kaiser would say are sung on the pilgrim's journey to Zion during the three festivals of the year. So as you go up to Jerusalem, the psalms of ascent, you sing these songs. These are Israel's road trip songs. Then we also have the hallelujah psalms which begin and end with the imperative summons to praise, hallelujah, praise the Lord. These are psalms 113, 115 to 117, 135, and 146 to 150. Notice that they're not collected in a single group like the psalms of ascent, but they are sprinkled throughout psalm 113 to psalm 150. We also have a collection of Korahite psalms, psalm 42 and then 44 to 49, and then the psalms of Asaph, psalm 73 to 83. That's another way to do it. 

So we have five books in the Book of Psalms. We have some groupings, we have some authorship issues, and we also have several different approaches to studying the Book of Psalms, several different approaches. I'm going to give you three approaches to the Book of Psalms. One is called the form-critical approach. Here the psalms are analyzed according to the structure of the psalm, noting also the forms of expression that appeared conventional to different structures. From this analysis, all psalms can kind of be grouped by their structure. One of the great things that came out of this is we discovered that three of the psalms that we have, three types of psalms, have a very specific structure to them and we can identify those psalms by that structure. Then seven of the other psalms are governed by their content. So three types of psalms by structure, and seven types of psalms by content, and we'll go over each of those psalms in a minute. 

There's also this kind of, let's say, cult functional approach is what it's called, but you could think of it in terms of cult meaning psalms in the context of Israel's worship, psalms in the context of Israel's worship. This system of study seeks to relate each psalm to the events of Israel's life in terms of its relationship to the temple and the cultic community. These were psalms composed for worship and as a result, you can determine the function of the psalm within where it was found. If it was a Passover psalm, it might have this content. Where it was a Sabbath psalm, it might have this content. Where it was a New Year's festival, it might have this content. So the goal was, in some sense, to try to secretly find out what was really behind the psalm in terms of its original setting in life and figure out what it was trying to do. Okay, so the form approach and the kind of the temple or cultic approach.

The third approach has been strong since the 1980s and it's called the canonical approach. The canonical approach is much like the approach you saw me take in the introductory lectures where you can see that the canon or the Bible as a whole has a structure. It's got a prologue, an epilogue, covenant history, covenant life, the covenant itself, and there's a specific structure. That structure informs how you interpret that material. That's the same approach being employed in the book of Psalms. That is, there are five books and in these books, there's a particular message or stream of thought being used. And the stream of thought or the theology behind it is that of kingship. So the canon approach explores various editorial techniques employed in collecting and arranging the psalms. One author, Gerald Wilson, concluded that such was the result of a purposeful editorial activity that sought to impart a meaningful arrangement that encompassed the whole. That is, the psalms are not just 150 randomly arranged psalms, there's a divine design behind the whole and that helps us to understand the message of each psalm. Wilson noted that the shaping of the Psalms appears most evident at the seams of the various books where royal psalms appear to have been strategically positioned. 

Now there are five books in the Psalter, which was the word we use for the Psalms, the Book of Psalms, the Psalter, and the five books have seams to them like hinges we talked about even in the canon covenant lectures. So here we have an introduction or prologue in psalms 1 through 2. Book 1 runs from psalm 3 to 41. Book 2 runs from psalm 42 to 72. Book 3 runs from psalm 73 to 89.

 Book 4 runs from psalm 90 to 106. Book 5 runs from psalm 107 to 145. And then we have the conclusion, we have a five-psalm doxology from 146 to 150. So think of this, you can see in our covenantal structure of the bible lecture that you have a prologue and an epilogue and you have all the middle stuff. The same is true here for this psalter. You have a prologue or an introduction in psalms 1 through 2. You have all the middle stuff and you have a conclusion in psalms 146 to 150. It's the same pattern. It's the pattern you see in Job. It's the pattern you see in the canon at large and it's the pattern you see here in the Psalter.

As recently as 2019, a scholar named Patrick Ho wrote a book called The Design of the Psalter, A Macrostructural Analysis. It's the most complete description of the literary design of the Psalter. Peter Ho, The Design of the Psalter, 2019. Pickwick Publishers if you're interested. Let me read to you a paragraph from his book describing the nature of the order and arrangement of the psalms and we can talk about the significance of that. Then we can talk about the types of the psalms and the use of the psalms in the Christian life. Here we go. Here's what Peter Ho says. "The logic of the arrangement of the 150 psalms or the arrangement behind the 150 psalms is the reception of the Davidic covenant wrapped in the cloth of Hebrew poetry.The primary theme of the Psalter is found in the prologue, an interwoven landscape of kingship, Zion, and Torah piousness. Book one traces the establishment of the Davidic kingship and the Zion temple. This is followed by a sustained focus on the historical fall of Davidic kingship and Zion in books two and three." So, book one, the rise of Davidic kingship. The first part of the book of Kings one through eight. Books two and three talk about the demise of Davidic kingship. So, you can think about Solomon's demise, the divided kingdom, the evil kings, and finally exile in 2 Kings 17 and 2 Kings 25. Then, after the third book, there's a turning point in the narrative and it occurs in book four where the foregrounding of Yahweh as king appears in psalms 93 to 100 and the appearance of the blameless suffering Davidic ruler. Does that sound familiar? Like Isaiah, book five of the Psalter begins with a call for Yahweh to lead his people to an inhabited city. It highlights the establishment of an ideal Zion that Yahweh builds and the triumph of the Davidic king in psalms 138 to 145 and their arrival to the place in 146 to 150 where they're destined to be. The Davidic promises prevail because of Yahweh's covenant faithfulness.

Okay, what I want to do is back up and show you that really what's happening here is that the Book of Psalms following the latter prophets is using the same basic motif that there was this great Davidic king and his line failed and we need Yahweh again to be our king and to take us to a new Zion. The Book of Psalms is telling that story again in poetic form. All right, and so you have to watch for that. Again, if you want more of that, there are two books I'll give you. One is Peter Ho, The Design of the Psalter, and the other one is a recent book by O. Palmer Robertson on the design of the Psalms, the macrostructure of the Psalms. Both of those books, probably the one by Robertson is more accessible, but the one by Ho is more detailed. You get kind of the more of the nitty-gritty fun details. 

So the Book of Psalms contains 150 psalms in five books with an introduction and conclusion and there are 10 types of psalms in the Book of Psalms. I want to go over those next. 10 types of psalms in the book of psalms. This material comes from Bernard Anderson and Stephen Bishop in the book, Out of the Depths. The psalms speak for us today. It's the third edition, 2000 from Westminster John Knox Press, if you're interested in more on this particular topic. Okay, let me just begin by listing the type of psalms that we're going to encounter. I've numbered them one through 10 and I'll show you the two slides here and then we'll go back and talk about them. 

The first is the lament psalm. Second, Thanksgiving psalms. Third, hymns of praise. Fourth, enthronement psalms. Fifth, royal psalms. Six, the psalms of Zion. Seven, psalms of trust. Eight, wisdom psalms. Nine, historical psalms. Ten, Torah psalms. And 11, liturgies. Liturgies. Number 11 is kind of a trick. It's not a type of psalm It's just that's the catch-all category for those we can't place in the other 10. So there are 10 known types of psalms, but you've always got to have room, some wiggle room. Okay, so let's begin here back at number one under lament.

Lament. The most numerous group of psalms in the book of psalms with some 60 psalms in this category is the lament. It is life between promise and fulfillment, both individual and corporate. These psalms deal with personal suffering, unfulfilled promises, and the crisis of God's presence. Okay, and these psalms have a structure to them, and you can see that structure in the parenthetical statement after the lament psalms. So to lament, you've got to ACTSAD. And how that works is this, address, complaint, trust, salvation, assurance, and declarative praise. So if you're going to lament, you need to ACTSAD. You call out to God, you confess your condition, you confess your trust in God, you look back on his past deeds of salvation, therefore you're assured of deliverance, and you can have trust. ACTSAD. Now at the end of this lecture, we'll take some time and I'll show you a lament psalm, a thanksgiving psalm, and a hymn and how that works.

The next type of psalm is also one identified by its structure. It's a thanksgiving psalm, typically recounting one or more of the saving acts of God. There are about 16 psalms in this category, but it also includes Jonah 2 after you've come through a difficult time. So the difference between a thanksgiving psalm and a lament psalm is where you are suffering. A lament psalm, you sing while you're suffering. A thanksgiving psalm is what you sing once you've been delivered from that suffering. This psalm has the structure, IMART. IMART. Introduction, misery, appeal, rescue, and testimony. Introduction, misery. So the psalm opens up with a cry to God, that's the introduction. Then you recount your misery, you appeal for deliverance, the account of your rescue, and then the testimony of God's greatness because of his rescue out of your misery. That's how it works. Again, I'll show you one at the end of this. 

Hymns of praise to God, typically focusing on the attributes of God and his relationship to his people. This has, you can think of it as four parts, but we have the symbols here, SRR, summons to praise, reasons to praise, repeat. Summons to praise, reasons to praise, repeat. So you could say summons to praise, reasons, summons to praise, reasons. But SRR is how I typically go after it. What I like about having three different psalms, at least three different psalms, that have particular structures is that they can help us while we're suffering or joy to know how to adequately pray to God, especially like when you're suffering and your suffering is so deep, you can just think, how do I even begin? Well, you can think, I'm going to act sad. I'm going to call out to God.I'm going to complain. I'm going to trust him. I'm going to be assured by him and I'm going to praise him. I call these constructs for your affection. When it hits the fan, how do you express yourself to God? When you've been delivered, how do you express yourself to God? You recount your misery. You recount your appeal. You recount your rescue and you give testimony. Or when, for example, you just feel like you love God and you want to praise him, how do you do it? You call the world to praise. You give the reasons for your praise and you do it again. You do it again. So I love these things because growing up, I was taught, you know, if you need somehow to pray, you do acts, address or adoration, confession, thanksgiving, supplication, right? That's fine and it works, but there's no biblical paradigm for that. These are biblical paradigms. So this is highly useful for you. You can read these psalms, right? And then you can use them as models for your prayers. And I think that's a great way to train your heart to feel pain, suffering, joy, and longing and express that to God.

Okay, now we move into the psalms kind of ranked by topic. And you'll see a lot of these have royal features to them, royal features to them. So the enthronement psalms are characterized by content and not structure. The subject is typically a description of Yahweh appearing before his people. Key words here are throne, reign, and enthronement. Okay, throne, reign, and enthronement.

And I'll show you some of those in a minute. Like enthronement psalms, we also have royal psalms characterized by thanking God for the King or things about the King. All royal psalms are considered messianic in some sense, but you know, let me pause and say the entire Old Testament is messianic in the sense that it's pointing us to Christ, right? But these psalms are talking about in terms of its messianic nature, that is the anointed King that would come to save.

Psalms of Zion are characterized by a longing for Jerusalem and God's presence, right? The covenant formula, I will be your God, you be my people, and I will dwell in your midst. One of the major themes in the book of Psalms is the desire to dwell in the house of the Lord. Think of Psalm 23.

Psalms of trust. Psalms of trust are a subcategory of lament, right? Address, complaint, trust. Trust is characterized by the expansion of the trust section of a lament psalm. So I've addressed God, I've given him a complaint, and now I express my trust in him. And sometimes while suffering, you need to express your trust in him. 

You have wisdom psalms. Wisdom psalms, the ability to make the right choices. Will you choose this or that? This or that? 

Historical psalms. The historical psalms focus on the review of the history of God's saving works by his people, especially his deliverance of them from the bondage of Egypt and his creation of them as a people. So you'll have like Psalm 78, Psalm 105, Psalm 106 be these lengthy rehearsals of the history of Israel to provoke repentance, to provoke perseverance, and to provoke hope. 

Torah psalms are characterized by content and not form. The subject matter is the expression of praise for God's law. So think of Psalm 19 and 119, right? Psalm 119 is the largest in the Book of Psalms, and all it's doing is praising God for the wonders of the Torah. 

Finally, we have liturgies. This is a miscellaneous category for those psalms that were used for worship, but we don't know how to classify them. So that's what we're looking at here. In my next slide, you'll see that I've provided for you, I provided for you a list of the psalms that appear in each category. And this comes from Bernard Anderson's book, Out of the Depths.

And so you can take a look here and you can see that the psalms of Lament are the largest category, followed by the Thanksgiving psalms and the hymns of praise to God and stuff like that. I want to get down here. In the enthronement psalms, you can see how you're getting to fewer and fewer psalms. Consider, for example, the Torah psalm, Psalm 1, 19, and 119, for example, which are easy to get at. So this is not something for me to go over. It's just for you to have as a resource. So if you're looking for these psalms, you want to study like in a Bible study and you want to study one type of psalm, you know, for eight weeks, you can do that. You can take your wisdom psalms and do one a week or something together like that. This is just practical.

Let me show you how these first three psalms work so that you can immediately go to these psalms and begin to use them in your daily life. Here we have Psalm 3, a classic lament. And you can see that I've labeled each section. So it begins with the address, O Lord, and it's followed by the complaint, how many are my foes? How many rise up against me? Then it goes to the trust section, but you are a shield around me, O Lord.You bestow glory on me and lift up my head. Then we move down to deliverance in verse seven, arise, O Lord, deliver me. You can see the keyword there, deliver. You don't have to guess. Oh my God, strike all my enemies on the jaw, break the teeth of the wicked. This is followed by assurance for from the Lord comes deliverance and then declarative praise.May your blessing be on your people. So you see how that works? ACTSAD, address complaint, trust, salvation, deliverance, and declarative praise. The next psalm that is given to identification by its structure is the Thanksgiving psalm.

And rather than give you one out of the Book of Psalms, I'm going to give you one out of the Book of Jonah because it's such a good example. It begins in verse one with the introduction. From inside the fish, Jonah prayed to the Lord, his God, and he said, here's the appeal, "In my distress, I called to the Lord and he answered me. From the depths of the grave, I called to him and he listened to my cry. (Here's his misery.) You hurled me into the deep, into the very heart of the sea and the current swirled about me. All your waves and breakers swept over me." This goes all the way down to verse six where we get to the rescue, "but you brought my life up from the pit. Oh Lord, my God, when my life was ebbing away, I remembered you, oh Lord, and my prayer rose to you and your holy temple." This is followed by the final section, the testimony. "Those who cling to worthless idols, forfeit the grace that could be theirs. But I, with a song of Thanksgiving, will sacrifice to you. What I have vowed, I will make good. Salvation comes from the Lord." 

Now what you'll notice here is that all of the I-M-A-R-T sections, I-M-A-R-T, don't have to come in the same order every time. The people who sing the songs can mix and match. And that's one of the things you have. Poetry has a set of rules that are flexible and I like to bend. So sometimes you'll have maybe a lament psalm that's missing a salvation section because the psalmist's grief is so bad he can't even think in any terms of saving hope. Or sometimes the rescue will be so astonishing that that will be the lion's share of the psalm. And so you've got to come to some flexibility with these. And the nice thing is, I've given you all the numbers and so you can just kind of plug and play the different spots and kind of figure it out. That's one of the fun things to do in small groups is to try to go around and figure out what the parts are together and see how they're functioning.

The last one, quickly, I want to give you kind of one of the classic hymns of praise to God. And those are the summons to praise, the reasons to praise, and then the summons and reasons again. Summons, reasons, repeat. And this is classic Psalm 100 where we have a psalm for thanks or thanksgiving. And you can see we have two summons to praise beginning in verses one and four and two sets of reasons beginning in three and five. And the nice thing is, in Hebrew, you can always see these sections, these reasons being started because there's the keyword there. The key word in Hebrew is key, meaning that, since, or because. And I've kind of highlighted that in these sections for you. So here's the summons to praise. It's a series of imperative verbs to praise the Lord in verses one and two. "Shout for joy to the Lord, all the earth. Worship the Lord with gladness Come before him with joyful songs. (Reasons.) Know that the Lord is God. It is he who made us. We are his. We are his people, the sheep of his pasture." So why shout for joy? Because Yahweh is God and we belong to him as the sheep of his pasture.

Okay, let's do it again. Enter his gates with thanksgiving and his courts with praise. Give thanks to him and praise his name. Why? For the Lord is good and his love endures forever. His faithfulness continues through all generations. Modern-day Christian songs, or songs that you sing in church frequently, will follow this pattern, right? They've got kind of different verses and they repeat parts of it where you've got kind of the chorus of it over and over again. That's exactly what this is doing. So people can't be sad about modern Christian music and what it's like because it's ancient Christian tradition or ancient Israelite tradition. 

So in the book of Psalms, we have Israel's real song book, right? There are five books with an introduction and conclusion and ten different types of psalms, three of them based on structure, and seven of them on content. The main theme in the book of Psalms is that Yahweh is king and reigns over his people and will bring them home to Zion.

I assume that in terms of actually studying a particular psalm, one of the first tasks you need to do is to figure out which of those ten categories it belongs in. Correct, correct. Because the type of psalm will determine what you're looking for, right? It's one of those contextual factors where context is king and so once you know, for example, modern-day rap music has an agenda and normal topics associated with them that are different than, let's say, country music, right? Or different than maybe indie folk or something like that. And so knowing what to expect helps you to wisely read the psalm, yeah.

Is there any significance in there being five books in the Psalms? Is it paralleling the Pentateuch at all? Yeah, I think that's exactly right. I think, you know, the Bible is full of structural clues everywhere, and if you think of things having seven sections to them frequently, like we had the outline of Samuel and Kings with David at the middle and we had that chiasm with seven in the middle. So yes, most scholars will say that the books that occur in the five-book grouping are a reflection of the Pentateuch, right? Because worship comes in the context of a covenant relationship and that covenant relationship is given to Israel in Exodus Deuteronomy.

Yeah, yeah, that's exactly right.