It is often difficult to track down the origins of certain works of literature, especially if they were written thousands of years ago. But despite this, many biblical texts were clearly written by an individual or a few individuals – the famous Hebrew Bible or Old Testament is no exception. The book of Psalms is a collection of divine poetry written by numerous famous figures over the span of 1,000 years. Comprising of over 150 individual pieces of poetry, all inspired by God, it is one of the most powerful pieces of religious literature in the history of mankind. But the question still remains: Who wrote the Book of Psalms? Let’s discuss, with input from Albasterco.com.
The Common Myth
David, the most famous king of Israel and Judah, wrote the book of Psalms is the most common myth about the origins of the book of Psalms. There are over 150 psalms contained within the book of Psalms, and while it is true that it was written throughout the duration of Israel’s existence (c. 1020 BC to 70 AD), this does not mean that a single person wrote all 150 psalms. It’s just not possible.
The origins of Psalms date back to at least 1000 BC but are likely older. While most people assume that the entire collection was penned by King David (who ruled Israel in the early 10th century BC), King David only wrote 73 psalms. The rest were written by later kings, viziers, sages, and even God-gifted people. Some psalms are clearly written by a king or a king’s descendant.
How Many People Wrote Book of Psalms?
The book of Psalms is attributed to several men, including King David, King Asaph, King Solomon, and others. While the book is attributed to these men, it likely contains the collective works of more than 50 authors spanning from 1000 BC to 70 AD. Psalms is an incredible book that continues to speak the truth – the journey of each individual, the nature of God, and His mercy towards us is something that will never grow old. And within its numerous verses, we find a spiritual experience that cannot be captured in words – words that were written by 7+ named authors:
The king of Israel and Judah wrote 73 psalms, most of the book of Psalms. As previously mentioned, David wrote the vast majority of psalms contained within the book of Psalms. In fact, one of his most famous psalms (Psalm 72) demonstrates his hope for the future and his undying love for the Jewish people.
Asaph, the chief musician, too contributed a great deal to the book of Psalms. He is believed to have written 1 Ch 25:1; Neh 7:44; 12:46–47. Asaph was a Levite and served in King David’s court.
3. The Sons of Korah:
Korah was a Levite who was head of the priestly division called the Korahites. Many believe that this group of musicians were responsible for writing Psalm Ps 88.
Heman was a Levite and was one of the two assistant choirs directors in the Temple, and his mention can be found in one of the Old Testament books of Chronicles.
During his reign, King Solomon compiled a great deal of Jewish wisdom and included many of them in the book of Psalms.
Most writing in the Bible can be attributed to Moses, who also contributed to Deuteronomy, Exodus, etc.
7. Ethan the Ezrahite:
A wise, old man who remained loyal to God and took great care to instill his wisdom and insight in the youth of Israel. This is one of many instances where he was involved in the book of Psalms.
There are around 50 other psalms that are not credited to one of the above-mentioned authors and may have been composed by a variety of different authors throughout the Old Testament.
As we learn more about the book of Psalms, the more we appreciate the rich depth and unity found within it. The book of Psalms is a testimony to God’s faithfulness and a testimony to man’s search for God. And the words within this ancient book continue to be meaningful to the 21st century Christian.