This week we will commence issuing the Commentary on the Psalms. The introduction is issued following Bullinger’s notes and systems. His notes are important to an understanding of the translations and as such are important to the commentary in their own right as are most of his notes. Bullinger’s translations from the Hebrew Interlinear are worthy of serious examination.
Hopefully the Commentary on the Psalms will be ready by Pentecost and then allow for the issue of the Indonesian translation of the Commentary on the Koran and then the Indonesian Commentary on the Psalms.
Commentary on The Psalms: Introduction
Introductory Note to The Book of Psalms
A Direct Translation from the Hebrew Interlinear Bible
The Psalm layout structure as per the Ferrar Fenton Bible
The Psalm verse structure as per the King James Bible
THE STRUCTURE OF THE BOOK AS A WHOLE.
1—150. THE FIVE BOOKS †.
THE GENESIS BOOK ‡ : CONCERNING MAN. The counsels of God || concerning him. All blessing 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.
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, "JAH". 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 a double Amen.
THE LEVITICUS BOOK ‡ : CONCERNING THE SANCTUARY. The counsels of God || concerning the Sanctuary in its relation to man, and the Sanctuary in relation to Jehovah. The Sanctuary, Congregation, Assembly, or Zion, &c, referred to in nearly every Psalm. The book concludes with a Benediction and a double Amen.
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 Jehovah. Its figures and similes are from this world as a wilderness (cp. the references 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 "Jehovah" : "Let the heavens rejoice, and let the earth be glad" (see note on 96. 11). The book concludes with a Benediction and Amen, Hallelujah.
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), all blessings for the EARTH and the NATIONS (Book IV), are bound up with living on the words of God (Deut. 8. 3). Disobedience to Jehovah's words was the source of MAN'S sorrows, ISRAEL'S dispersion, the SANCTUARY'S ruin, and 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 five Psalms (one for each of the five books), each Psalm beginning and ending with "Hallelujah".
* Manuscript and Massoretic authorities, the Talmud (Kiddushin 33a) as well as the ancient versions, divide the Psalms into five books.
The Midrash on Ps. 1. 1 says. "Moses gave to the Israelites the five books of the Law; and corresponding with these David gave them the five 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 five books respectively as well as of the one hundred and fifty Psalms as a whole.
Many attempts have been made from ancient times to discover the reason for the classification of the Psalms under these five books; but none of them is so satisfactory as to preclude this further attempt.
It is certain that 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 seventy-second ; and why the ninetieth (which is the most ancient of all the Psalms, being a prayer of Moses) is not the first.
The similar endings to each book are noted above. There are in all seven "Amens", and twenty-four Hallelujahs. All the latter (except the four in Book IV) are in Book V.
† For the relation of the five books of the Pentateuch to each other see Ap. 1.
‡ For the relation of the five books of the Psalms to the Pentateuch, see above, and the Structures prefixed to each book.
|| For the Divine Names and Titles occurring in the Psalms see Ap. 63. V.
(Cf. Bullinger’s Companion Bible Page 720.)
Name. The Hebrew word means praises or hymns, while the Greek word means psalms. It may well be called the "Hebrew Prayer and Praise Book." The prevailing note is one of praise, though some are sad and plaintive while others are philosophical.
Authors. Of the 150 Psalms, there is no means of determining the authorship of 50. The authors named for others are David, Asaph, the sons of Korah, Herman, Ethan, Moses and Solomon. Of the 100 whose authorship is indicated, David is credited with 73, and in the New Testament he alone is referred to as the author of them. Lu. 20:42.
Relation to the Other Old Testament Books. It has been called the heart of the entire Bible, but its relation to the Old Testament is especially intimate. All divine manifestations are viewed in regard to their bearing on the inner experience. History is interpreted in the light of a passion for truth and righteousness and as showing forth the nearness of our relation to God.
The Subjects of the Psalms. It is very difficult to make any sort of classification of the Psalms and any classification is open to criticism. For this reason many groupings have been suggested. The following, taken from different sources, may be of help. (1) Hymns of praise, 8, 18, 19, 104, 145, 147, etc. (2) National hymns, 105, 106, 114, etc. (3) Temple hymns or hymns for public worship, 15, 24, 87, etc. (4) Hymns relating to trial and calamity, 9, 22, 55, 56, 109, etc. (5) Messianic Psalms, 2,16, 40, 72, 110, etc. (6) Hymns of general religious character, 89, 90, 91, 121, 127, etc.
The following classification has been given in the hope of suggesting the most prominent religious characteristics of the Psalms. (1) Those that recognize the one infinite, all-wise and omnipotent God. (2) Those that recognize the universality of his love and providence and goodness. (3) Those showing abhorrence of all idols and the rejection of all subordinate deities. (4) Those giving prophetic glimpses of the Divine Son and of his redeeming work on earth. (5) Those showing the terrible nature of sin, the divine hatred of it and judgment of God upon sinners. (6) Those teaching the doctrines of forgiveness, divine mercy, and the duty of repentance. (7) Those emphasizing the beauty of holiness, the importance of faith and the soul's privilege of communion with God.