2. Background to the Psalms
A. Authorship: The King & The Priests
- Half of them written by David & Solomon
- All the other named ones are priests
- All based on the covenant relationship with God
- Without the covenant, they would be meaningless
- Particularly in the laments, the pleas are on the basis of the covenant
- The most important word to understand in this context is: chesed
- hard to translate: (KJV lovingkindness or mercy are poor translations)
- love that will never let you down and never give up on you but will hang on to the end
- It is possibly the most beautiful word in any human language
- It is a fundamental theme of the Psalms and the main thing God is praised for
- Two basic types of sacrificial worship
- We must distinguish the burnt offerings from the sacrifices
- Burnt Offering: Totally burnedall goes up in smoke. Demonstrates total commitment to God
- Lev 1: burned offering, an animal, or Lev 2 grain if you are a grain farmer
- Partially sacrificed to God. Really a communal meal.
- The priest ate his part, the offerer his/her part & Gods part was burned.
- These were offered for three reasons (Lev 7:11-12, 16)
- Thanksgiving. (No concept of private thanksgiving in the O.T.)
- You offered a sacrifice and a song.
- Vow answered by God
- Voluntary, freewill offeringjust to express your love for God
- 1 Chron 16:37-43 describes the organization of music and song to go along with the sacrifices.
- Many of the Psalms were in this category
- These songs were designed to be sung with smoke (Waltke)
- e.g. Ps 66:13f
- Selah what does it mean. Literally to lift up
- untranslatable: Selach like hip-hip-hooray. Just a cry of praise!
- another example: Ps 116:12-19