Book V of The Psalms

Discovery for Students

Book V of The Psalms

OVERVIEW
DAYBREAK

SOURCE FOR QUESTIONS
Psalms 107:1 through 150:6

KEY VERSE FOR MEMORIZATION
“Let them praise the name of the Lord: for his name alone is excellent; his glory is above the earth and heaven.” (Psalm 148:13)

BACKGROUND

Psalms 107 through 150 make up the fifth and final section of the Book of Psalms. Many of the forty-four psalms in Book V are thought to have been written after the Babylonian exile; Bible scholars concur that the final psalms may have been written more than a thousand years later than the earliest one.

Most of the psalms in this part of the Book of Psalms are considered liturgical in nature, meaning they were designed for use in public worship. Fifteen of them are ascribed to David, one to Solomon, and the rest remain anonymous.

The longest chapter in the Bible, Psalm 119, is in this grouping, as is the shortest chapter, Psalm 117. Psalm 117 is also the middle chapter of the entire Bible, the very center of 1,189 chapters spanning Genesis 1 through Revelation 22. Of the 31,173 verses contained in the Bible, Psalm 118:8 is the middle verse.

According to Jewish tradition, Book V relates to the Book of Deuteronomy since it speaks of a new beginning in the Promised Land. These psalms express the thoughts, prayers, and experiences of the captives at their return to Jerusalem. Jehovah is used as the divine name in this last section of the Book of Psalms.

QUESTIONS

  1. Book V begins with Psalm 107, which centers on divine intervention in the affairs of men. Verses 4 through 32 give four examples of troubles in which man could find himself: homelessness and wandering (verse 4), imprisonment (verse 10), life-threatening affliction (verses 17-18), and physical peril (verses 25-27). How did the individuals react in each situation, and what did God do in response?
  2. Psalm 110 is one of the most outstanding Messianic and prophetic passages in the Old Testament, and is quoted more often in the New Testament than any other psalm. What roles of the Messiah are alluded to in verses 2, 4, 5, and 6?
  3. Psalms 113-118 are liturgical or Hallel (praise) psalms that were a part of the great annual festivals of Israel. These particular psalms were also sung in the home during the Passover meal. Psalm 113 opens with the Hebrew word hallelu-Yah, which means “Praise the Lord!” God is to be praised because of His glory, greatness, and mercy. What groups of people are especially noted in Psalm 113:7-9 as being the recipients of God’s mercy? What principle(s) does this teach us?
  4. Bible scholars indicate that Psalm 118 was sung by the restored exiles when they laid the foundation of the second Temple in Jerusalem (see Ezra 3:10-11). It is also thought to have been among the concluding hymns sung at Christ’s last supper with His disciples, before He went into the Garden of Gethsemane to pray. In verses 5-13, the psalmist focused on his trust in God. What examples did he give of ways the Lord had sustained him? In verses 8-9, what conclusion did he draw regarding the security God offers?
  5. Some Bible scholars suggest that Psalms 126, 127, and 128 relate successively to the return of the exiles from Babylonian captivity, the process of rebuilding, and the repopulating of Jerusalem. After enduring seventy years in captivity, the themes of return and restoration would have been very close to the heart of the Jewish people. Psalm 126, which probably was written at the beginning of the return which started in 538 B.C., captures many of the emotions likely felt by the exiles. While release from physical captivity is cause for great joy, what other type of deliverance could be celebrated by verses 1-3 of this psalm?
  6. What theme is developed in Psalm 133? Why is the condition described in these few verses so important among Christian believers?
  7. In our day, the practice of abortion is an evil that has claimed the lives of millions of innocent babies. What does Psalm 139:13-16 teach about God’s role in the creation and formation of an unborn child?  
  8. As we conclude our study of the Book of Psalms, what particular verse or passage from this book has been significant in your life, and why?

CONCLUSION

Like men and women through the ages, we can turn to the Book of Psalms for encouragement, comfort, guidance, and hope. And perhaps there are no more fitting words to conclude our study than the closing words of the final psalm, “Praise ye the Lord” (Psalm 150:6).