The Book of Psalms: An Overview
by Felix Just, S.J., Ph.D.

The Book of Psalms in the Hebrew Bible is actually a collection of five different "books" containing a total of 150 Psalms of several different literary genres. The following tables give an overview of several features of each of the Psalms, along with some summary statistics:

Book I (Pss 1-41) . Book II (Pss 42-72) . Bk III (Pss 73-89) . Bk V (Pss 107-150)
Ps# #Vv. Type Attrib. Category Ps# #Vv. Type Attrib. Category Ps# #Vv. Type Attrib. Category Ps# #Vv. Type Attrib. Category
1 6 . . Wisdom 42/43 12+5 Maskil Kor Lam-Indiv 73 28 Ps Asa WisPoem 107 43 . . Thnx-Cmty
2 12 . . Royal 44 27 Maskil Kor Lam-Cmty 74 23 Maskil Asa Lam-Cmty 108 14 Ps+Sg Dav Misc
3 9 Ps Dav& Lam-Indiv 45 18 Mas+Sg Kor& Royal 75 11 Ps+Sg Asa& Thnx-Cmty 109 31 Ps Dav Lam-Indiv
4 9 Ps Dav& Lam-Indiv 46 12 Song Kor& Zion 76 13 Ps+Sg Asa& Zion 110 7 Ps Dav Royal
5 13 Ps Dav& Lam-Indiv 47 10 Ps Kor YHWH 77 21 Ps Asa& Lam-Indiv *111 10 Hal . Hymn
6 11 Ps Dav& Lam-Indiv 48 15 Ps+Sg Kor Zion 78 72 Maskil Asa Misc *112 10 Hal . WisPoem
7 18 Shig Dav& Lam-Indiv 49 21 Ps Kor WisPoem 79 13 Ps Asa Lam-Cmty 113 9 Hal . Hymn
8 10 Ps Dav& Hymn 50 23 Ps Asa Misc 80 20 Ps Asa& Lam-Cmty 114 8 . . Hymn
*9/10 21+18 Ps Dav& Thnx-Indiv 51 21 Ps Dav& Lam-Indiv 81 17 . Asa& Misc 115 18 . . Trust-Cmty
11 7 . Dav Trust-Indiv 52 11 Maskil Dav& Lam-Indiv 82 8 Ps Asa Misc 116 19 . . Thnx-Indiv
12 9 Ps Dav& Lam-Cmty 53 7 Maskil Dav& Lam-Cmty 83 19 Ps+Sg Asa Lam-Cmty 117 2 Hal . Hymn
13 6 Ps Dav Lam-Indiv 54 9 Maskil Dav& Lam-Indiv 84 13 Ps Kor& Zion 118 29 . . Thnx-Cmty
14 7 . Dav Lam-Cmty 55 24 Maskil Dav& Lam-Indiv 85 14 Ps Kor Lam-Cmty *119 176 . . WisPoem
15 5 Ps Dav Misc 56 14 Miktam Dav& Lam-Indiv 86 17 Prayer Dav Lam-Indiv 120 7 Asc . Lam-Indiv
16 11 Miktam Dav Trust-Indiv 57 12 Miktam Dav& Lam-Indiv 87 7 Ps+Sg Kor Zion 121 8 Asc . Trust-Indiv
17 15 Prayer Dav Lam-Indiv 58 12 Miktam Dav& Lam-Cmty 88 19 Ps+Sg+Mas Kor& Lam-Indiv 122 9 Asc Dav Zion
18 51 . Dav& Royal 59 18 Miktam Dav& Lam-Indiv 89 53 Maskil Ethan Lam-Cmty 123 4 Asc . Lam-Cmty
19 15 Ps Dav Hymn 60 14 Miktam Dav& Lam-Cmty . 124 8 Asc Dav Thnx-Cmty
20 10 Ps Dav Royal 61 9 . Dav& Lam-Indiv Bk IV (Pss 90-106) 125 5 Asc . Trust-Cmty
21 14 Ps Dav Royal 62 13 Ps Dav& Trust-Indiv Ps# #Vv. Type Attrib. Category 126 6 Asc . Lam-Cmty
22 32 Ps Dav& Lam-Indiv 63 12 Ps Dav& Lam-Indiv 90
17
Prayer Moses Lam-Cmty 127 5 Asc Sol WisPoem
23 6 Ps Dav Trust-Indiv 64 11 Ps Dav Lam-Indiv 91
16
. . Trust-Indiv 128 6 Asc . WisPoem
24 10 Ps Dav Misc 65 14 Ps+Sg Dav Thnx-Cmty 92
16
Ps+Sg-Sab . Thnx-Indiv 129 8 Asc . Trust-Cmty
*25 22 . Dav Lam-Indiv 66 20 Ps+Sg . Thnx-Cmty 93
5
. . YHWH 130 8 Asc . Lam-Indiv
26 11 . Dav Lam-Indiv 67 8 Ps+Sg & Thnx-Cmty 94
23
. . Lam-Cmty 131 3 Asc Dav Trust-Indiv
27 14 . Dav Lam-Indiv 68 36 Ps+Sg Dav Thnx-Cmty 95
11
. . Misc 132 18 Asc . Royal
28 9 . Dav Lam-Indiv 69 37 . Dav& Lam-Indiv 96
13
. . YHWH 133 3 Asc Dav Misc
29 11 Ps Dav Hymn 70 6 . Dav& Lam-Indiv 97
12
. . YHWH 134 3 Asc . Misc
30 13 Ps+Sg Dav Thnx-Indiv 71 24 . . Lam-Indiv 98
9
Ps . YHWH 135 21 Hal . Hymn
31 25 Ps Dav Lam-Indiv 72 20 . Sol Royal 99
9
. . YHWH 136 26 . . Hymn
32 11 Maskil Dav Thnx-Indiv . 100
5
Ps-Thnx . Hymn 137 9 . . Lam-Cmty
33 22 . . Hymn 101
8
Ps Dav Royal 138 8 . Dav Thnx-Indiv
*34 23 . Dav& Thnx-Indiv 102
29
Prayer & Lam-Indiv 139 24 Ps Dav Misc
35 28 . Dav Lam-Indiv 103
22
. Dav Hymn 140 14 Ps Dav Lam-Indiv
36 13 . Dav& Lam-Indiv 104
35
[Hal-at end] . Hymn 141 10 Ps Dav Lam-Indiv
*37 40 . Dav WisPoem 105
45
[Hal-at end] . Misc 142 8 Maskil Dav& Lam-Indiv
38 23 Ps Dav& Lam-Indiv 106
48
Hal . Lam-Cmty 143 12 Ps Dav Lam-Indiv
39 14 Ps Dav& Lam-Indiv . 144 15 . Dav Royal
40 18 Ps Dav Lam-Indiv *145 21 Praise Dav Hymn
41 14 Ps Dav Thnx-Indiv 146 10 Hal . Hymn
. 147 20 Hal . Hymn
148 14 Hal . Hymn
149 9 Hal . Hymn
150 6 Hal . Hymn

Abbreviations and Summary:

Here is a complete listing of the types and attributions mentioned in the superscripts of the Hebrew Bible, as well as the categories used by some modern scholars, along with the total number of each that occurs among the 150 Psalms. Please note the following:

Type (Headings in Hebrew Bible) Total . Attribution (in HB) Total . Category (suggested by Modern Scholars) Total
Ps Psalm / Mizmor 57 Dav David 73 Hymn Hymn / Song of Praise 19
Ps-Thnx Psalm of Thanksgiving 1 Asa Asaph 12 YHWH Hymn of the Lord's Kingship 6
Sg Song / Shir 30 Kor Korahites 11 Lam-Indiv Individual Lament 43
Sg-Asc Song of Ascent 15 Sol Solomon 2 Lam-Cmty Community Lament 18
Sg-Lv Love Song 2 Ethan Ethan 1 Royal Royal or Messianic Psalm 10
Sg-Sab Sabbath Song 1 Moses Moses 1 Thnx-Indiv Individual Psalm of Gratitude 8
Mas Maskil / (meaning?) 13 . . . Thnx-Cmty Communal Psalm of Gratitude 8
Mik Miktam / (meaning?) 6 . . . Trust-Indiv Individual Psalm of Confidence 7
Hal Praise God / Halleluia 11 . . . Trust-Cmty Communal Psalm of Confidence 3
Prayer Prayer / Tephillah 5 . . . Wisdom Wisdom Poem 8
Praise Praise / Tehillah 1 . . . Zion Song of Zion (God's Mountain) 6
Shig Shiggaion / complaint? 1 & [extra info] 41 Misc. Miscellaneous, hard to classify 12

Conclusions of the Five "Books" within the Book of Psalms:

Collections within the Book of Psalms:

Miscellaneous Tidbits:

BIBLIOGRAPHY:


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