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Who wrote the book of Psalms? Who was the author of Psalms?

author of Psalms

Few books in the Old Testament are as popular among modern readers as the book of Psalms. The ancient yet timeless collection of poems, hymns, and prayers tackles various issues in life. The psalms invite readers to connect to God through praises, thanksgiving, and even cries of lament. In addition to emotional lines designed for communion with God, the book of Psalms also has some didactic lines, teaching us to align our lives with God and His Word. Many psalms can easily be committed to memory, like Psalm 91, Psalm 121 and the famous Psalm 23. This highly impactful book was written by several human authors, with the Holy Spirit superintending them all.

King David is commonly linked to the book of Psalms due to his reputation as a skilled harpist and songwriter (see 1 Samuel 6:14–21; 2 Samuel 1:17–27). David is specifically noted as the author of 73 psalms in the Hebrew titles of the psalms. In addition, David is mentioned as the author of two psalms (Psalms 2 and 95) by writers in the New Testament. Other psalms are attributed to Moses, Asaph, and the sons of Korah, including Heman and Ethan (who is also identified as Jeduthun). About fifty psalms have no title, so no author is named. Some of those fifty were likely written by David, as well. According to Jewish tradition, other psalms are attributed to Adam, Melchizedek, and Abraham.

Modern scholarship doesn’t fully embrace the Jewish traditional attribution, but it still acknowledges the multiple authorship of Psalms. Scholars point out that attribution doesn’t necessarily entail authorship. For instance, Psalm 3, titled “A Psalm of David,” could have been written for the king or commissioned by him. However, it remains possible that he wrote it. Determining the authorship of ancient texts is challenging, especially when dealing with a collection of multiple works.

It is thought that the psalms were collected and organized during the period after Israel’s exile to Babylon, as the nation was being rebuilt. Ezra the scribe is likely the person responsible for compiling the work, organizing it into its five books, and adding the titles to those psalms for which authorship was known.

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Who wrote the book of Psalms? Who was the author of Psalms?
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This page last updated: March 4, 2024