psalmsFrom today’s title it may appear that we are moving backwards in the Bible – leaving the Psalms and returning to the book of Leviticus.  But in reality, we are entering the 3rd of 5 divisions of the Psalms (appropriately named after the 5 books of the Torah).  Psalm 73 marks the division of the 3rd book – subtitled Leviticus.  (We spoke about these divisions earlier – but let’s focus on this third section of Psalms).  While the first two books (Genesis and Exodus) deal mainly with God’s relationship to man and specifically the nation of Israel, the third book deals with the Temple (hence it’s relation to Leviticus).

Many scholars believe that the Psalms were collections of songs that parents used to teach their children the history of the Israelites and God’s dealings with them.  Remember, the typical family could not afford their own copy of the Torah – instead relying upon the single copy held in the “Torah closet” in the local synagogue.  In order for the children to learn what God’s Word says, the parents would use the Psalms (songs) as ways to assist them.  As they were collected it became convenient to arrange them in line with the arrangement of the Torah books themselves… according to subject matter.

Psalms 73-89 make up this third book and focus on the sanctuary and its purpose concerning God and man.   17 psalms which speak about the sanctuary’s center of fellowship between God and man – painting it in the central light that it held at that held at that time for God’s people.  It concludes with a double Amen (Ps 89:52) – reinforcing what has been spoken.

Interestingly as well, most of the psalms in this section are not written by David – but by Asaph.  If you noticed at the end of Psalm 72, we are told that the prayers of David are concluded.  That does not mean that David will not write any of the other psalms which we read – but that the 72nd psalm in particular happens to be the final one he wrote… but was placed in an earlier order due to it’s content.

Asaph was one of the chief musicians in David’s court (1 Chr. 15:16-19) – a highly respected psalmist who wrote many classic poems/songs for the Israelite people (2 Chr 29:30).  12 of the psalms of Asaph are included in our book of Psalms – several of which we will read over the next few days.

Be fruitful and multiply,

PK

 

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