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Question

What are the Psalms of Solomon?

Psalms of Solomon
Answer


The Psalms of Solomon is a collection of 18 psalms, likely written near the time of the Roman invasion of Israel, around 60 BC. Scholars are unsure as to why this collection is titled using the name of Solomon, who died many centuries prior to its composition. The subject matter is similar to that of Psalm 72, an actual part of inspired Scripture attributed to Solomon, so the title might be intended as a reference, not a claim of authorship. The Psalms of Solomon is unrelated to the Odes of Solomon, an explicitly Christian collection of worship songs written late in the first century AD.

The Psalms of Solomon was written during the intertestamental period and was not considered to be inspired Scripture by either Jews or early Christians. However, the collection was mostly likely used in worship and for religious observances. Themes found in the Psalms of Solomon echo common assumptions about the Messiah, including an emphasis on earthly military victory and rescue from oppression. This work is the earliest known instance of the phrase Son of David being used as an explicit title for the Messiah.

As a collection of non-inspired works, the Psalms of Solomon is not to be confused with actual Scripture. However, like other ancient writings, it sheds light on the culture surrounding Jesus’ earthly ministry. The Psalms of Solomon is the likely product of a defeated, oppressed people. Israel’s desire for freedom and liberation factors heavily into the Messianic expectations of the Jewish people during Jesus’ earthly ministry.

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This page last updated: April 26, 2021