Lesson 2 of 5
In Progress

Outline of Psalms

1. Book I (Psalms 1-41)

Psalms 1 and 2 serve to introduce the entire book. All but two of Psalms 3-41 are termed psalms “of David” (Psalms 10 and 33 are the exceptions), and several of the titles refer to events in David’s life (for example, Psalms 3 and 18); other psalms do this as well, later in the Psalter. Most of the psalms in Book I are individual psalms of lament, though other types are interspersed. Book I closes with a doxology, found as Psalm 41:13, though this is not really a part of that psalm.

2. Book II (Psalms 42-72)

Here are psalms ascribed to the Korahites, a group of temple singers (Psalms 42-49), to Asaph, a temple musician (Psalm 50), to David (Psalms 51-65; 68-70), and to Solomon (Psalm 72). Individual laments predominate, with a few more community laments and other types. Book II closes with a doxology (found as Psalm 72:18-19) and with an announcement that the “prayers of David” are ended (Psalm 72:20).

3. Book III (Psalms 73-89)

Book III begins with psalms of Asaph (73-83) and includes songs of other singer guilds (84-85; 87-89) and one “prayer of David” (86). Now, along with a mixture of other types, there is an approximately equal number of individual and community laments. The book closes with a brief doxology (found as Psalm 89:52).

4. Book IV (Psalms 90-106)

This book includes the only “prayer of Moses” (90) and two psalms attributed to David (101; 103), but many psalms are associated with no person or group or have no title whatsoever. Several of the hymns sing of God as “king” (93; 95-99). Psalms 105 and 106 review the history of Israel under God. With Book IV, the tone of the Psalter turns primarily to praise. As usual, a doxology closes the book (at Psalm 106:48).

5. Book V (Psalms 107-150)

Book V includes thirteen more psalms of David (108-110; 124; 131; 138-145) and one psalm of Solomon (127). The major collection in this section is the Songs of Ascents (120-134). Here, too, is the lengthy Torah psalm (119). Though the book contains several laments, including the sharp community lament of Psalm 137, the overall tone remains praise. Unlike the previous four books, there is no brief closing doxology; instead, five hymns (146-150) close the entire five books of the Psalter with glorious songs of praise.