The Psalms are the prayer book of people of faith, both Jews and Christians. In the context of spiritual, emotional, and circumstantial zeniths and apexes, the poets sing to God addressing Yahweh as Creator, Deliverer, Shepherd. It has been said that the five books of the Psalms correspond to the five books of the Torah, a human response to divine instruction. Though contemporary readers often seek comfort through a devotional reading of the Psalms, the persistent challenge of evil against the righteous is a primary motif that has informed Anabaptist use of the Psalter. Early Anabaptist documents describe regular praying of the Psalms (Boers). The Martyrs Mirror gives witness to the frequent use of hymns as a source of courage among the persecuted Anabaptists (Braght). Swiss Anabaptists sang the German-language Lobwasser psalms in corporate worship from the sixteenth to the nineteenth centuries. Swiss Mennonite immigrants took this worship guide to Lancaster county, Pennsylvania, in the eighteenth century.
German Anabaptists composed their own translations of the Psalms in at least two different hymnbooks in the mid-sixteenth century. Hutterite sources reference an early rhymed Psalter that is no longer extant. Though they originally preferred hymns of and about martyrs, the Dutch Mennonites began singing a rhymed version of the Psalms as early as 1581. The Psalter was the Dutch hymnbook in the early seventeenth century, and revised versions continued to be used into the twentieth century (Geiser and van der Zijpp). The book of ancient Hebrew poetry uses images to help readers imagine God as refuge in trouble, guide through uncertainty, leader of immigrants, protector of the weak, sovereign ruler over the nations, light in darkness, avenger of the persecuted, merciful forgiver.
Date, Setting, and Author
Though there is little external evidence, it appears that the Psalter is a collection of poetry that may have existed first as independent units composed over the span of a millennium or more, eventually edited into smaller collections, and finally combined as a single work. Critical scholars who once dated most of the psalms after the exile now acknowledge that many of them could have been composed during the monarchy. The final stage of editing, perhaps as late as the early second century BCE, may have given rise to psalms composed specifically to function as reference points for what became the canonical book of Psalms (Wilson).
While evidence to support the suggestion is sparse, it appears that many of the psalms were originally composed as an element of the temple cult to address specific needs of the worshipers. The superscriptions, which appear above all but thirty-four of the psalms, were most likely later additions but are now embedded in the canonical collection. The superscriptions may offer clues to the ancient interpretation of these psalms (Waltner: 772–74). The most common aspect of these notes is the name of an individual. David's name appears on almost half of the psalms. The Hebrew preposition usually translated "of [David]" may refer to authorship but more likely references a style, a dedication, or some canonical connection.
Form and Rhetoric
The Psalter is composed of five books. In Book 1 (Pss 1–41), all but four of the psalms have a superscription with reference to David. The first two psalms are without superscription and appear to introduce the entire Psalter. Psalms 9–10 are linked in a single acrostic pattern. Psalm 33, also without a superscription, is linked thematically with Psalm 32. The majority of the psalms of Book 1 are individual laments.
Book 2 (Pss 42–72) is distinguished in part by its reference to God (Elohim) rather than to the LORD (Yahweh), as is primarily the case in Book 1 (and in Pss 84–150). In Psalms 42–83, Elohim occurs 240 times and Yahweh 43. In Book 1 that ratio is 54 times (Elohim) to 277 (Yahweh). Psalms 42–49 are linked to the sons of Korah (2 Chron 20:19 depicts them as a choir; see also Pss 84–85; 87–88). All but four of the rest of the psalms in Book 2 are ascribed to David. Following the benediction (Ps 72:18-19), which characterizes the conclusion of all five Books, a note declares, "This concludes the prayers of David son of Jesse" (72:20); however, a number of subsequent psalms bear David's name in their superscription. Again in Book 2, the individual lament form predominates.
Book 3 (Pss 73–89) begins with the Asaph psalms (73–83), which conclude the section in which references to Elohim rather than Yahweh predominate. Communal lamentations are the most common form in Book 3.
Book 4 (Pss 90–106) has been called the editorial center of the Psalter (Waltner: 748), a notion that will be elaborated in the next section of this essay. Psalms of praise are the most common form in Book 4.
Book 5 (Pss 107–150) is characterized by having three primary subsets. David psalms (108–110; 138–145), Hallelujah psalms (111–117; 135; 146–150), and the Songs of Ascents (Pss 120–134) account for most of the psalms in Book 5 (Waltner: 749). Praise and thanksgiving songs predominate in Book 5, which also includes a royal psalm, a Torah psalm, imprecatory psalms, the songs of ascent, and several laments.
Genre describes literary types. In the Psalms, the genre are distinguished by form and function. Though other classifications have been suggested, the traditional designations of genre continue to inform the reading of the Psalms. Below, note that there are three primary types of genre: laments (personal and community), songs of thanksgiving, and hymns of praise. Brief descriptions of more specialized and less frequently occurring genre conclude this section.
Personal Lament. The theology of the lament is based on faith that God will honor covenant, the blessings promised in the introduction (Psalms 1–2). Those who keep the Torah and take refuge in the Sovereign One will live an abundant life. When life's circumstances do not meet the expectations of the covenant, the psalmist reminds God to be faithful as promised. In the individual lament, the psalmist typically addresses God directly, crying out, "O LORD" (e.g., Ps 13:1a). The complaint, often in the form of a question ("How long . . . ?"), describes a situation that runs counter to the promised blessing (Ps 13:1-2). Typically, the complaint involves a description of personal suffering, the threat of an enemy, and/or a failure on the part of God to live up to divine promises of presence and blessing. Laments are characterized by a plea, a direct appeal to God for deliverance ("Look . . . answer . . . give . . ." in 13:3-4). Often the psalmist issues a statement of confidence ("I trust" in 13:5). Finally, praise concludes the lament psalm ("I will sing the LORD's praise," in 13:6). Additional individual laments include Psalms 3, 4, 5, 25, 28, 77, 120 and 141, over 40 in all.
Variations on the form are frequent. Often the order outlined following Psalm 13 is disrupted, perhaps by the intensity of the situation. The conclusion of the lament with the statement of confidence and the expression of praise is somewhat surprising, though characteristic of all laments but one (Ps 88 alone does not conclude with either confidence or praise or both). The source of this conclusion may be (1) an expression of the intense faith of the one who prays, (2) a testimony added by the petitioner after the prayer has been answered, or (3) an oracle spoken by a priest or prophet within the temple worship event.
Community Lament. Community laments follow the theology, form, and function of the individual lament. As suggested by their designation, these laments are prayers that use the first person plural "we." Most of them appeal for God's revival or renewal in a time of national crisis. Many of these perilous situations seem to be times of domination by military enemies, destruction of the temple, or exile. Like the individual laments, communal laments often follow a different sequence of the elements than the Psalm 13 "model." Many also seem to combine forms, including thanksgiving or praise, either before or after the lament. Scholars debate which of the psalms should be included in a list of communal laments, but they often include Psalms 44, 60, 74, 79, 80, 83, 85, 90.
The imprecatory psalms are a distinct type of lament characterized by their attitude that invoked divine judgment on enemies of the psalmist and, hence, enemies of God. While the imprecatory psalms with their curses and wishes of evil on their enemies, are troubling to Christian peacemakers, the theology behind them is closely related to that of the other laments. The psalms assume that God is sovereign and that God opposes evil. They also stop short of engaging in the acts of war against the enemy—leaving that in the hands of the sovereign God. The complaint in the imprecatory psalms describes the acts of injustice committed by the evildoers. The plea is for God to repay the evildoers as they deserve. In their passion to see justice restored, these psalmists graphically describe the judgment that would suffice to satisfy their sense of loss. Psalm 88 is unique among the laments in that it does contain a word of hope or trust. Psalm 109 is the longest and among the most graphic of the imprecatory psalms. Psalm 137 famously asks God to dash the empire's babies against the rocks. Other psalms classified as imprecatory include 35, 69, 83, and 140 (Zenger).
Thanksgiving Song. Thanksgiving songs generally follow a simple format introduced by a vow to give thanks, followed by the body, which relates a story of deliverance from a perilous situation, and conclude with a summary thanksgiving statement. Thanksgiving songs mirror laments. The lament is a prayer for God to rescue an individual or a community from disaster, usually concluding with a statement of hope or praise. The thanksgiving song is written from the perspective of a person who has experienced God's salvation after crying out with a lament-like complaint and plea for help. The story usually includes a description of the problem, a report of the prayer of lament, and thanksgiving for the answer to prayer. Again, scholars differ when compiling lists of thanksgiving songs but often include Psalms 75, 107, and 124 among the community thanksgiving songs, and Psalms 18, 21, 30, 34, 92, 116, 118, and 138 among the individual songs of thanksgiving.
Psalm 116 illustrates the genre well. Verses 1-2 confess that the psalmist loves the Lord because he has heard and responded. Verse 3 describes the peril as a near-death experience. Verses 10-11 follow the complaint form. In verse 4, the psalmist records the plea. Verses 5-8 include a description of God's saving activity. Verse 9 is a vow to respond faithfully to God's saving acts. Verses 12-19 describe the psalmist's inner reflection regarding an appropriate response to saving act and a vow to give thanks with sacrificial offerings. The psalm concludes with the exclamation "Hallelujah!"
Hymn of Praise. The hymn of praise follows a simple basic format. Often the hymn begins and ends with a brief call to praise with the body describing the qualities of God that are praiseworthy. The hymn differs from the thanksgiving song in that the hymn focuses more exclusively on praise and rarely narrates a saving event in the way that a thanksgiving song does. The hymn of praise describes things as they ought to be, offering hope for those in distress but more obviously celebrating the goodness and greatness of God. Psalm 117 illustrates the format of the praise hymn. The first verse calls on the nations and the peoples to praise the Lord. The body of verse 2 praises God's mercy and faithfulness. The psalm concludes with the one-word call to praise, "Hallelujah." Among the hymns are Psalms 33, 95, 100, 103, 104, 111, 113, 114, 117, 145–150.
Enthronement psalms follow the hymnic form with a distinct and unique content that praises the Lord as king. Yahweh's kingship is linked to creation (and his victory over the powers of chaos) and to historical salvation of the people of God through the Lord's action as Divine Warrior. In Psalm 93, the Creator King theme is in the fore. In Psalms 47 and 99, the Lord is king over the nations. Psalms 96, 97, and 98 praise King Yahweh for his rule both over creation and over the nations.
The Lord is King on Zion. Zion Songs share some of the characteristics of the hymnic form and the enthronement theme. King Yahweh, creator and defender of order in the world, guarantees the values of justice evident in the historical theology of the exodus. Zion, the court of God's rule, symbolizes security and refuge for the needy, particularly the poor. Zion songs critique the pretensions of Judah's monarchy (Ollenburger). Zion songs include Psalms 46, 48, 76, 84, 87, and 122.
The psalms employ several stylistic characteristics that have been linked to ancient Hebrew poetry. Although the puzzle of whether Hebrew poetry uses meter and rhythm remains unresolved, there is something approaching consensus about several other poetic features. Prominent among these is the use of parallelism. One organizational scheme identifies synonymous, antithetical, formal, and climactic rhetorical forms (Bandstra: 406).
Synonymous parallelism restates the thought in the second line, as in Psalm 35:1.
- "Contend, O LORD, with those who contend with me;
- fight against those who fight against me!"
In antithetical parallelism, the notion of the first line is stated in opposite terms in the second line, as in Psalm 1:6.
- "For the LORD watches over the way of the righteous,
- but the way of the wicked will perish."
Psalm 14:2 has been cited as an example of formal parallelism: the two lines of the couplet contain only one complete thought.
- "The LORD looks down from heaven on humankind
- to see if there are any who are wise, who seek after God."
Psalm 29:1 is an example of climactic parallelism in which the second line echoes part of the first line, then adds something to complete the thought of the first.
- "Ascribe to the LORD, O heavenly beings,
- Ascribe to the LORD glory and strength."
Alphabetic acrostics are used in several psalms: a verse or section begins with letters of the Hebrew alphabet from beginning to end. This may serve as a mnemonic device or simply embellish the psalm. Among the acrostic psalms are Psalms 9–10, 34, 37, and 119.
The changes in language form and pronunciation obscure the question of how sounds serve as poetic devices. While it is not evident that rhyming the end of phrases is characteristic of any Hebrew poetry, the use of unusual sounds to create word plays, alliteration, and assonance is likely.
Summary and Comment
The theology of the book of Psalms is rooted in the understanding that the Lord God is sovereign over creation and history who provides care for the people of God. Among the multitude of terms used to communicate about and with God, King is a preferred image to refer to God's sovereignty. God is celebrated as Creator who continues to provide abundant blessing through God's control of nature. As sovereign of history, God the King acts as Deliverer, Warrior, and Judge, vindicating the righteous and executing judgment on those who choose evil. God's gift of the Torah guides people to distinguish between right and evil. The God who provides and cares for the righteous is Shepherd, Refuge, Strength, Light, Fortress, Redeemer.
Book 1 (Pss 1–41)
Psalms 1–2 introduce the Psalter. Psalm 1 contrasts the way of righteousness with that of the wicked. The righteous are those who delight in and meditate on the Torah. The Lord watches over the righteous and blesses them with abundant life. Psalm 2 addresses the kings of the nations, warning them to turn their rebellion—against the sovereignty of God and the king that God installs on Zion—into service and fear. Psalms 1–2 are framed with blessings for those who keep Torah and those whose refuge is the Sovereign One.
Most of the rest of Book 1 is composed of personal laments. As noted above, the theology of the lament is based on faith that God will honor covenant, the blessings promised in the introduction. Those who keep the Torah and take refuge in the Sovereign One will live an abundant life. When life's circumstances do not meet the expectations of the covenant, the psalmist reminds God to be faithful as promised. Anabaptist martyrs found reassurance in the lament psalms. Barbelken Goethals was burned as a heretic in 1570. She cited the hope of Psalm 3:6 in a letter from prison before her execution (Waltner: 43).
Along with the many laments of David, Book 1 features psalms with particularly arresting theological insights. Psalm 8, a hymn of praise addressed to the Lord, asks a question about the relative place of humankind relative to the cosmos. The psalmist answers surprisingly. Humanity is more closely related to God than to anything else in creation. This relationship is the basis of praise to the Lord. Psalms 9–10 form a single acrostic poem, combining praise with lament. The theme of sovereign Yahweh's justice is central. The marginalized will find that Yahweh is their refuge (9:7-10) as the Lord takes vengeance on greedy, proud, prosperous, deceitful, violent enemies (10:2-9, 16-18). In criticizing the "atheism" of false religious and political leaders of his day in "True Christian Faith," Menno Simons cited Psalm 14 (Waltner: 87).
Psalms 15 and 24 are temple liturgies. Both describe the righteous worshiper who has access to the cult. It appears that Psalm 29 is the result of the reworking of an ancient Canaanite hymn that may have been used in Baal worship. In reclaiming Psalm 29, the psalmist emphasizes that Yahweh (this personal name for God is used eighteen times) is powerful, sovereign over the chaos of storm in the natural world, and the one who blesses the people of God with strength and peace. In addition to the creation-Torah hymn (Ps 19), Book 1 contains several wisdom psalms, including Psalms 27, 34, and 37. In each, the psalmist reflects on the salvation of the Lord promised to those who delight in the Lord. Psalm 34 is quoted sixteen times in Martyrs Mirror "as testimony to the caring presence of God in times of trouble" (Waltner: 183). Book 1 concludes with Psalm 41, a psalm that includes a blessing in verse 1 (framing Book 1 with the blessing that begins the Psalter), continues with the form of a lament (41:4-9), and ends with a benediction that brings Book 1 to a close.
Book 2 (Pss 42–72)
Book 2 begins with psalms identified with the sons of Korah (42–49). These include a range of genre. Together, Psalms 42–43 lament the psalmist's hopeless mourning. A communal lament describes exile among the nations (44:11-12). Hymns celebrate divine kingship in Zion (Pss 45–48, 50). A wisdom psalm warns of the futility of seeking wealth (Ps 49).
All but four of the remaining psalms of Book 2 are ascribed to David, and most of these are personal laments. The superscription links Psalm 51 to David's adultery with Bathsheba. David's appeal for forgiveness models confession, an appeal for cleansing, and commitment to living faithfully as a restored person. Psalm 51 is the most familiar of seven penitential psalms (Pss 6; 32; 38; 51; 102; 130; 143). Psalm 60 is an example of a communal lament. In Psalms 65–68, national praise and petition predominate. Psalm 72 is one of two psalms associated with Solomon (cf. Ps 127). The psalmist prays for a kingdom of shalom, characterized by justice (the king cares for the afflicted in 72:1-4, 12-14) and prosperity (nations serve him and the land yields its bounty in 72:5-11, 15-17).
Book 3 (Pss 73–89)
Book 3 opens with the psalms of Asaph (Pss 73–83) and concludes with psalms of Korah (Pss 84–85; 87–88), David (Ps 86), and Ethan (Ps 89). Communal laments pervade Book 3 (74; 79–80; 82–83; 85; 89:38-51). Communal themes are present in many of the other psalms in Book 3, including hymnic styles (75–77, 81, 84, 87), a historical recital (78), and individual laments that may represent the concerns of the exiled community (86, 88).
The powerful rhetoric of strategically placed Psalm 73 introduces and gives focus to Book 3. Book 2 concludes with the hope of a successful monarchy. The royal aspirations of Psalm 2 seem to be realized with the confident prayers of Psalm 72 with its hope for shalom, justice, and blessing. The prayers of David end with optimism. Psalm 73 opens with an aphorism confessing God's goodness to Israel and the righteous. Immediately the mood shifts as the psalmist describes a situation in which injustice rules and the unjust prosper (73:2-14). The psalmist's faith is shaken, nearly broken. Verse 17 offers a pivotal perspective—the sanctuary of God offers a renewed vision. God alone is the psalmist's strength (73:26), the perverse will slip and fall (73:18-20, 27), and goodness is found in God's presence (73:23-25, 28).
The brokenness experienced in the prosperity of the wicked (Ps 73:2-14) is reflected in the communal laments, which describe the despair of exile (74:4-11; 79:1-11; 80:5-6, 12-13; 82:8; 83:2-8; 85:1-5; 89:38-51). The individual laments personify the terrors of exile (86:14; 88:15-18). The hymnic elements anticipate restoration (75:6-8, 10; 76:6-10; 77:13-14; 81:13-16) and renewed life in Zion (Pss 84; 87). The historical recital seems to conflate national disaster preceding the monarchy with exile (78:56-64); the story of David's triumph seems to anticipate a renewed Zion (78:65-72). Book 3 concludes with recognition that the covenant promised in Psalm 2 has been destroyed (89:39) and with an appeal that God would remember the enemy's taunts (89:50-51). The benediction that concludes the book is uncharacteristically brief.
Book 4 (Pss 90–106)
Book 4 is the editorial center of the Psalter, answering the questions raised in Psalm 89: Has Yahweh abandoned the covenant with Israel? Will the exile as an expression of the Lord's wrath last forever? Where is the love the Lord promised David? The answer to these questions is that Yahweh is King. The Lord who has been Israel's refuge for generations (Ps 90:1) rules forever (Ps 90:2). The prayer for restoration from exile (90:12-17) is ascribed to Moses, not David, indicating perhaps that the editors of the Psalter recognize that the monarchic experience has ended in failure (Waltner: 748).
True, the Lord is refuge, shelter, fortress (Pss 90–92, 94). The impact of the canonical editorial arrangement emphasizes even more emphatically that the Lord rules as King (Pss 93, 95–99). God's rule extends beyond Israel to the nations (96:4-10; 99:1) and over the created order itself (93:3-4; 95:3-5; 96:10-13; 97:1-2; 98:7-9). God's rule brings holiness (93:5; 99); salvation (95:1; 96:1-3; 98:1-3); judgment (96:10, 13; 98:9; 99:4); vengeance (97:3-7); forgiveness (99:8).
Israel responds to God the King with praise (Pss 100–101; 103–105); petition (Pss 102; 106:47); and thanksgiving (Ps 106). The motives for praise include joy and thanksgiving for access to God's presence (Ps 100:2-4); God's love and justice that lead to holiness (Ps 101); the benefits of a relationship with the God who forgives and loves (Ps 103); God's provision for creation (Ps 104); and the story of God's saving acts in Israel's story (Pss 105–106).
Book 4 centers the Psalter on the Kingship of Yahweh. Book 4 ends where it begins—with the leadership of Moses. Human kingship ended in exile. Recentering on King Yahweh as Creator, Lord of history, covenant-maker, and provider of good gifts is the message for people who find themselves in exile. The book ends with the pleas of lament: "Save us" and "Gather us from exile" (Ps 106:47).
Book 5 (Pss 107–150)
Following the petitions for salvation that conclude Book 4, Psalm 107, a thanksgiving song, opens Book 5 with a grateful response for the Lord's steadfast love exercised in redemption. The opening verses set out the theme of restoration from exile (107:2-3). Four stanzas with a stylized format follow, each giving thanks for deliverance from a distinct difficulty (107:4-32). An elaborated final section gives thanks for the reversal of fortunes that has enabled God's people to experience restoration (107:33-43). The saving love of God in restoring the people from exile continues as a theme in Book 5 and is especially celebrated in Psalm 118.
The pattern of praise hymns and thanksgiving songs is interrupted by the dissonant Psalm 109, an imprecatory psalm calling down God's wrath on the wicked. A royal psalm (110) is followed by Hallelujah psalms, hymns of praise and thanksgiving songs (Pss 111–117). Together with the Hallelujah Psalms, Psalm 118 is recited at the Passover as a celebration of God's saving power. Like Psalms 1 and 19, Psalm 119 is a wisdom psalm that confesses the psalmist's commitment to meditating on the Torah.
Psalms 120–134 bear the superscription "a song of ascents." These pilgrim songs anticipate a caravan of singers ascending to Jerusalem to celebrate the great festivals. Psalm 126, like the collection as a whole, recognizes the suffering of those desiring restored fortunes even as it anticipates joyful celebration in light of God's redemption.
Psalm 135, another Hallelujah song, compares the greatness of the Lord to the powerless idols of the nations. Psalm 136 uses the refrain of God's steadfast love (ḥesed), extolling God as Creator and Deliverer. Psalm 137, another imprecatory psalm, laments the loss that resulted in exile and offers a blessing to those who commit atrocities against the conquerors.
Psalms 138–145 make up the final Davidic collection. The first and last of these psalms are hymns of praise. Psalm 139 offers praise as well, focusing particularly on the all-seeing presence of the Lord. The laments of Psalms 140–144 cry out for the Lord's protection and rescue from the enemy.
The Psalter concludes with five Hallelujah songs. The content of these songs creates a crescendo from praising God as the provider of justice (Ps 146), to the protector of Zion (Ps 147), to praise for creation (Ps 148) and victory over the nations (Ps 149), to a final call to praise God with every available musical instrument (Ps 150).
Brueggemann has conceptualized the theology of the Psalms as a move from orientation through disorientation to reorientation (Brueggemann). He points out that Psalms 1–2 describe the world as it ought to be—the righteous flourish, the evil disappear, and the nations bow to the sovereign in Zion. The Psalter is a journey from this orientation of the way things ought to be to the final celebration in the Great Hallel (praise) of Psalms 146–150 where the psalmist again recognizes the world in which God's rule orders all.
Lest we regard the Psalter as a trivial reductionist collection, however, the drama of disequilibrium is played out in the intervening psalms. In the first three books, most of the Psalms are laments. In them the psalmist cries directly to the Lord, pleading for deliverance from a situation in which evil is ascendant and the world is not as it should be for the righteous. The last two books are filled with praise and particularly with songs of thanksgiving. Songs of thanksgiving tell the story of deliverance, of the movement from suffering to petition to salvation. Brueggemann points to Psalm 73 as the pivot. The psalm gives testimony to the psalmist's experience of near despair in the face of the wicked's flourishing until his encounter with Yahweh in the sanctuary frees him to confess God's goodness.
The Psalms invite us to engage God in the midst of our world. They locate us as dependent but not without resources. They communicate hope in the midst of enemies, urging us to entrust ourselves to the One who judges justly. They insist on the Lord's kingship and anticipate the new servant king Messiah whom we can follow in fear and joy.
Recommended Essays in the Commentary
- Bandstra, Barry L. Reading the Old Testament. 3rd ed. Belmont, CA: Wadsworth, 2004.
- Brueggemann, Walter. The Message of the Psalms: A Theological Commentary. Minneapolis, MN: Augsburg, 1984.
- Boers, Arthur. http://www.heraldpress.com/titles/daybyday/interview.html
- Geiser, Samuel, and Nanne van der Zijpp. "Psalms as Hymns." Global Anabaptist Mennonite Encyclopedia Online. 1959. http://gameo.org/index.php?title=Psalms_as_Hymns&oldid=120787.
- Braght, Thieleman J. van. Martyrs Mirror. Translated by Joseph F. Sohm from the 1660 Dutch edition and published in Elkhart, IN, in 1886. Reprinted Scottdale, PA: Herald, 1950.
- Ollenburger, Ben C. Zion, City of the Great King: A Theological Symbol of the Jerusalem Cult. Journal for the Study of the Old Testament Supplement Series 41. Sheffield, England: JSOT, 1987.
- Waltner, James H. Psalms. Believers Church Bible Commentary. Scottdale, PA; Waterloo, ON: Herald, 2006.
- Wilson, Gerald Henry. The Editing of the Hebrew Psalter. Society of Biblical Literature Dissertation Series 76. Chico, CA: Scholars, 1985.
- Zenger, Erich. A God of Vengeance? Understanding the Psalms of Divine Wrath. Translated by Linda M. Maloney. Louisville: Westminster John Knox, 1995.
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|—Published BCBC commentary by James H. Waltner|