What Are The 5 Books Of Psalms? (Why Are The Psalms Divided Into 5 Books?)

In our last Bible study sessions, we were discussing the Books of Psalms when some of the members inquired why the books were divided into 5 parts.

The discussion raised many questions, but given my extensive knowledge of the Psalms and understanding of the Bible, I led the discussion and helped answer all their questions.

So, in case you are wondering, “What are the 5 books of Psalms?”

The five Books of Psalms are broken down as follows: Book 1 with chapters 1-41; Book 2 with chapters 42-72; Book 3 with chapters 73-89; Book 4, covering chapters 90-106, and Book 5 which covers the rest of the chapters – 107-150. It’s also worth noting that the Septuagint versions of the Bible feature an additional chapter, Psalm 151, which some refer to as the 6th Book of Psalm.

In this post, we’ll talk more about the five books of Psalms, the reason for the division, and the themes of these books.

Keep reading to learn more.

Why is Psalms divided into 5 books?

Psalms is divided into 5 books based on the themes of the books. It’s also believed that the Psalm was traditionally divided into five books in a way that would reflect the five books of Torah (Genesis, Leviticus, Exodus, Deuteronomy, and Numbers).

It’s believed that this division was necessary for liturgical and worship reasons. The categorization was also necessary because it would allow for ease of both memorization and recitation of the Books of Psalms.

Also, the classification or division of the Book of Psalms was meant to enhance its thematic suitability on different occasions, following the five-fold Pentateuch division that’s a reflection of the processes employed during the collection of the songs and prayers that were necessary in Israel’s hymnbooks.

What are the themes for the 5 books of Psalms?

Why Are The Psalms Divided Into 5 Books?
What are the themes for the 5 books of Psalms? Image source: Pixabay

The main themes for the 5 Books of Psalms are based on the messages they carry. Each of these books focuses on the following aspects:

  • Book 1 – God Beside Us
  • Book 2 – God Going Before Us
  • Book 3 – God Around Us
  • Book 4 – God Above Us
  • Book 5 – God Among Us

Additionally, these five books are further classified based on the following specific themes:

  • Hymns – in Psalm 29, for example, the Psalmist focuses on worshipping God
  • Lamentation – There are also books in the Psalm in which the Psalmist writes to complain or lament about the things that have happened to them. In these verses, the complaints range from anger directed towards God’s silence to the enemies of the Israelites triumphing. Psalm 83 and Psalm 142.
  • Praise of God’s Royalty – the Psalm is also divided into different books, and some of the chapters or books focus on praising God. Psalm 45
  • Thanksgiving – It’s also believed that some of the Psalms are a celebration of God’s Goodness and Love. Psalm 138.
  • Wisdom – Some chapters in the Book of Psalms speak of God’s wisdom, His wise instruction, and Word. Psalm 37.

Who are the authors of the 5 books of Psalms

The Book of Psalms is believed to have been written by David, and though he is often credited for being the sole author of the Book of Psalms, he isn’t the sole author of this book.

David is said to have written only 73 of the psalms. The other psalms were written by other authors like Asaph and the sons of Korah, Moses, Solomon, Haman the Ezrahite, and Ethan the Ezrahite.

What is the longest book of Psalms?

The longest chapter (and book) in the Bible is Psalm 119, which contains 176 verses talking about the afflictions that the author had suffered, acknowledging God for his Wisdom and Laws, and also praising God.

In addition to being long, this chapter/ book also carries a lot of depth about the content it features.

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