1-150. THE 5 BOOKS.
A1  1-41. THE GENESIS BOOK: CONCERNING MAN. The counsels of God concerning him. All blessings bound up in
           obedience (cp. 1:1 with Gen. 1:28). Obedience is man's "tree of life" (cp. 1:3 with Gen. 2:16).
           Disobedience brought ruin (cp. Ps. 2 with Gen. 3). The ruin repaired only by the SON OF MAN in 
           His atoning work as the seed of the woman (cp. Ps. 8 with Gen. 3:15). The book concludes with a
           Benediction and double Amen.
B1 42-72. THE EXODUS BOOK: CONCERNING ISRAEL AS A NATION. The counsels of God concerning ISRAEL'S RUIN, ISRAEL'S REDEEMER, and ISRAEL'S REDEMPTION (Ex. 15:13). Cp. Ps. 68:4 with Ex. 15:3, "YAH". It begins with Israel's cry for deliverance, and ends with Israel's king reigning over the redeemed nation. The book concludes with a Benediction and double Amen.
C1 73-89. THE LEVITICUS BOOK: CONCERNING THE SANCTUARY. The counsels of God concerning the Sanctuary in its relation to man, and the Sanctuary in relation to Yahaveh. The Sanctuary, Congregation, Assembly, or Zion, &c., referred to in nearly every Psalm. The book concludes with a Benediction and double Amen.
B2 90-106. THE NUMBERS BOOK: CONCERNING ISRAEL AND THE NATIONS OF THE EARTH. The counsels of God concerning the Earth, showing that there is no hope or rest for the Earth apart from Yahaveh. Its figures and similes are from this world as a wilderness (cp. the reference to mountains, hills, floods, grass, trees, pestilence, &c.). It begins with the prayer of Moses (the Man of the Wilderness), Ps. 90, and closes with a rehearsal of ISRAEL'S rebellions in the wilderness (Ps. 106). Note "the New Song" for "all the earth" in Ps. 96:11, where the theme is contained in one sentence which gives an Acrostic, spelling the word "Yahaveh": "Let the heavens rejoice, and let the earth be glad" (see notes on 96:11). The book concludes with a Benediction and Amen, Hallelujah.
A2 107-150. THE DEUTERONOMY BOOK: CONCERNING GOD AND HIS WORD. The counsels of God concerning His Word, showing that all blessings for Man (Book I), all blessings for Israel (Book II), the Earth and the Nations (Book IV), are bound up with living on the words of God (Deut. 8:3). Disobedience to Yahaveh's words was the source of MAN'S sorrows, ISRAEL'S dispersion, the SANCTUARY'S ruin, and the EARTH'S miseries. Blessing is to come from that Word written on the heart (cp. Jer, 31:33,34. Heb. 8:10-12; 10:16,17). Ps. 119 is in this book. The Living Word (John 1:1) began His ministry by quoting Deut. 6:13,16; 8:3; 10:20 in Matt. 4:4,7,10. The book begins with Ps. 107, and in v.20 we read "He sent HIS WORD and healed them", and it concludes with 5 Psalms (one for each of the 5 books), each Psalm beginning and ending with "Hallelujah".

  Manuscript and Massoretic authorities, the Talmud as well as the ancient versions, divide the Psalms into 5 books. The Midrash on Psalm 1 says "Moses gave to the Israelites the 5 books of the Law; and corresponding with these David gave them the 5 books of the Psalms."

  The Structure of each Psalm being perfect in itself, we may well expect to find the same perfection in the arrangement of the 5 books respectively as well as of the 150 Psalms as a whole.

  Many attempts have been made from ancient times to discover the reason for the classification of the Psalms under these 5 books.; but none of them is so satisfactory as to preclude this further attempt.

  It is certain the present order in which we have the Psalms is the same as it was when they were in the hands of our Lord, and were quoted repeatedly by Him, and by the Holy Spirit through the Evangelists and Apostles. Indeed, in Acts 13:33, the Holy Spirit by Paul expressly mentions "the second Psalm". This puts us upon sure ground.

  There must be a reason therefore why "the second Psalm" is not (for example) the 72nd; and why the 19th (which is the most ancient of all Psalms, being a prayer of Moses) is not the 1st.

Click here for relation of the 5 books to the Pentateuch


A1  A1  1-8. "MAN", and "THE SON OF MAN" (8:4).
    A2  9-15. "THE MAN OF THE EARTH" (Antichrist [Satan], 10:18).
    A2  16-41. "THE MAN CHRIST JESUS."

1-8. "Man", and "the Son of man."
A1  B  D  1. Man blessed. The Law of Yahaveh His delight. [Refers to Paradise].
        E  2. Rebellious man. Vainly meditating against the Son of God, through Whom alone Universal
               Dominion can be restored [v.12 and Heb. 1:5].
         C  F  3. Prayer in view of this rebellion [Morning]. "Yehovah my Shield" [v.3].
             G  4. Prayer in view of this rebellion [Night].
         C  F  5. Prayer in view of this rebellion [Morning].
             G  6. Prayer in view of this rebellion [Night].
    B  D  7. Man blessed. Trust in Yahaveh his defense.
        E  8. Rebellious subdues. The Son of man exhaled with Dominion in the Earth.

A2  H  9 (H1), 10 (H2). "The man of the earth." The Antichrist. His days, character, and end. 
          "The times of trouble" [9:9; 10:1]. The Great Tribulation. The 2 Psalms linked together by an 
           Acrostic Alphabet, broken, like those "times".
     J  K  11. Prayer in view of [9 and 10] those "Times of trouble".
         L  12. The vanity of man.
     J  K  13. Prayer in view of [9 and 10] those "Times of trouble".
         L  14. The depravity of man.
    H  15. The Perfect Man. His character and Eternal abiding. Leading up to A3.

A3  M  P  16. Taking His place of Suffering. Yahaveh appointing His lot.
        Q  17. Prayer and Appeal in view of Ps. 16.
         R  18. Answer to the Prayer of Ps. 17 and Promise of Deliverance and Triumph.
          N  S  19. His People acknowledging God's Glory in Creation and Revelation.
              T  20. Their Prayer as they see in Messiah their own Salvation.
               U  21. Their exultation in Messiah's Exaltation.
                O  V  22. The Good Shepherd in Death [John 10:11]. Atonement the basis of all Blessings.
                    W  23. The Great Shepherd in Resurrection [Heb. 13:20]. Resurrection the basis of 
                            present Blessing.
                     X  24. The Chief Shepherd in Glory [1 Pet. 5:4]. Advent the basis of all future Blessing.
    M  P  25. Prayer with reference to Ps. 16. The "Path" and the "Way" [cp. vv, 4,8-10,12 with 16:11].
        Q  26. Prayer with reference to Ps. 17. Appeal to integrity [cp. 17:1,3,4].
         R  27 (R1), 28 (R2). Prayer with reference to Ps. 18. Answer from Yahaveh, as His "Rock" and
          N  S  29. His People's Praise for God's Glory in Creation.
              T  30 (T1), 31 (T2), 32 (T3), 34 (T4). Their praise as they see the Answer to Ps. 20 
                                                      [Ps. 33 being the 1st "New Song" in the Psalter].
               U  34. Their Exultation in Messiah's Exaltation. As in "U", Ps. 21.
                O  V  35 (V1), 36 (V2). Prayer and Praise with reference to Atonement as being the basis of
                                         all Blessing. Cp. Ps. 22.
                    W  37. Instruction as to present Blessing, in view of Ps. 23.
                     X  38. (X1), 39 (X2), 40 (X3), 41 (X4). Prayer and Praise with reference to
                                                              future Blessing. Cp. 41:12, the Divine answer
                                                              to 24:3.

  In the 1st Book of Psalms the leading thought corresponds with that of the 1st Book of the Pentateuch. The counsels of God are shown from the beginning to the end in relation to man.

  As Genesis begins with the Divine blessing of man [1:28], so Psalm 1 opens with "Blessed is the man". All blessedness for man is shown to consist in subjection to, and occupation with, God's Law. It is the Tree of Life to him; and, meditating on this, he becomes like a well-watered tree in the Paradise of God.

  But, in Ge. 3, man rebelled against the Law: and Psalm 2 describes the consequences of that rebellion; while Ps. 3 takes its title from one who rebelled against God's King. The ruin can be repaired only by "the Man Christ Jesus" [the Seed of the woman, Gen. 3:15]: and in the Psalms of this 1st Book [the 3rd section] we see Him in His atoning work, which alone sets man again in the blessedness which he had lost.

  The 1st Book consists of 41 Psalms. The central Psalm is 21, which sets forth the eternal life and blessedness of God's King. All that have titles [37] are David's - the man of God's choice.   Of the Divine Titles, Yahaveh occurs 279 times, Elohim only 48 times, 9 of which are joined with Yehovah. Not also the references to the events, &c., of Genesis in the 1st Book.

  Pss. 1 and 2 are linked together by having no Titles; and by Ps. 1 opening, and Ps. 2 closing with "Blessed".

  The 1st or Genesis book is divided into 3 sections, which are stated thus:-
   1. The 1st [Pss. 1-8] concerning "MAN".
   2. The 2nd [Pss. 9-15] concerning "THE MAN OF THE EARTH" [the Antichrist].
   3. The 3rd [Pss. 16-41] concerning "THE MAN CHRIST JESUS" [the Messiah].

  Pss. 9 and 10 are linked together by having an irregular alphabet running acrostically through the two. The Alphabet is broken and irregular, like the "times of trouble", "the great tribulation", of which they speak.

  Ps. 16 is the 1st Michtam Psalm. The others are Pss. 56-60.

  Ps. 32 is the 1st Mischil Psalm, denoting instruction.

  Of the 150 Psalms, 73 are David's; 12 of Asaph; 11 Korah; 2 Solomon; 1 Heman; 1 Jedephan - Ethan; 1 Moses.


   Though the words "Psalm-Titles" are used in their ordinary traditional sense, our understanding of them must be seriously modified; all the words used in them, and explained below, occur in the sub-scription of the preceding Psalm, and belong to that Psalm. And it is in those Psalms that we have to look for their elucidation and find the key to the meaning of the words.

   Commentators who revered the Word of God have struggled to find some logical, spiritual, or mystical meaning in these "titles"; while modern critics do not seem able to rise beyond musical instruments and terminology, or "catch-words" of popular songs or tunes.

   The Teaching, which is deep and grand beyond all conception, they fritter down to some commonplace reference; while the Text, which is clear, they mystify with their puerile guesses and vain imaginations.

   We look for something more worthy of this work of the Holy Spirit of God; something more worthy indeed of the Bible, regarding it merely as a literary production. We look for something more dignified than a "tom-tom" or a "catch-word", and we shall find it.

   The words used in these sub-scriptions (which no commentator of any repute regards as other than integral parts of Holy Writ, being numbered, and forming as they do the first verse of each Psalm in the Hebrew text, and actually quoted as Scripture in the N.T.) refer to momentous truths, and not to musical terms; to teaching, and not to tunes; to instruction, and not to instruments; to sense, and not to sound. They are for those who have a heart for music, and not merely an ear for music; they are for the Enochs who walk with God, and not for the Tubal-Cains who handle the harp and the organ. They pertain to the things of the Spirit, and not to "things made with hands".

   We may first note here that thirty-four Psalms have no title at all, and are without super-scription or sub-scription : viz. Psalms 1, 2, 10, 33, 43, 71, 91, 93, 94, 95, 96, 97, 99, 104, 105, 106, 107, 111, 112, 113, 114, 115, 116, 117, 118, 119, 135, 136, 137, 146, 147, 148, 149, 150.

(From Appendix 65 of the Companion Bible)



D  A  1-3. The godly.
    B  4,5. The ungodly.
   A  6-. The godly.
    B  -6. The ungodly.

A  C  1. Godly. Not standing with the ungodly. Now.  The Godly
    D  a  2. Their character.   Their way.               "
        b  3. Comparison.          "                     "
B   D  a  4-. Their character.     "                 The ungodly.
        b  -4. Comparison.         "                      "
   C  5. Ungodly. Not standing with godly. Then.          "

Psalm 1)

1 Blessed (= How happy. The 1st Psalm begins thus, and Psalm 2 ends thus. So does the last Psalm of Book I [Ps. 41:1,13]. Cp. Jer. 17:7,8. See Gen. 1:28) is the man (Heb. 'ish, put for all of both sexes) that walks not (i.e. who never did walk...stand...sit.) in the counsel of the lawless (= continues in),
Nor dwells in the way of sinners (= carry out),
Nor sits in the seat of the scoffers. (= settle down)

2 But his delight is in the instructions (i.e. in the whole Pentateuch which contains it) of the LORD (Yehovah);
And in His law does he meditate day and night. (I.e. continually and habitually.)

3 And he shall become like a tree (the 1st of 2 comparisons. See v.4) planted (i.e. in a garden. Not a "tree of the field") by the rivers of water (divisions irrigating a garden. I. e. river of life. See Prov. 21:1),
That brings forth his fruit in his season;
His leaf also shall not wither;
And whatsoever he does shall prosper. (Cp. Gen. 39:5,23.)

4 Not so the ungodly:

But are like the chaff (worthless. The other comparison. Cp. 35:6) which the wind (Heb. rŭach) drives away.

5 Therefore the ungodly shall not rise in the judgment (no part in the 1st resurrection. Rev. 20:5,6. Cp. Ps. 49:14),
Nor sinners in the assembly of the justified (the Zadock).

6 For (effect latent in the 1st clause; cause latent in the 2nd clause) the LORD approves (or acknowledges. Cp. Nah. 1:7. 2 Tim. 2:19) the way of the justified (the Zadock):

But the way of the ungodly shall come to naught. (Cp. Adam and eve.)

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