Book Three in Psalms 

“Book Three in Psalms” may be a new concept for some people depending on your personal Bible and the translation you read. At some point in the distant past someone gathered psalms and organized them into five separate books (It may have been under King David’s watch and could have been his praise team.) There are theories that the five books shadow the Five Books of Moses. I personally have been exploring this idea by trying to match the content of the books in Psalms by content, ideas, or themes with what is in the books of Moses. I am still working on that.  

Book Three (# 73 to 89) is an easy match on one level. Leviticus contains many of the 613 laws you always hear about, but it is for the Levites (priests) to do their ministry. I will take a different approach in my matching. Most of the psalms in Book Three are attributed to Asaph, followed by the sons of Korah, then individually named Levities. Psalm 86 begins with “A prayer of David” and is the only psalm written by a non-Levite. Please see my Sons of Korah post here on WordPress. Asaph and Korah are descended from Levi, thus the association. 

An idea I am still working with is many of these psalms carry the thought in 74:1, “Why have You rejected us”. Psalm 74 does not place well in the life of David, so I am not sure why this idea is repeated several times in this collection of Psalms. I know that there are scholars who think there may have been two Asaphs. One is with David and the other one is after Jeremiah, but I have not found the second one in the Scriptures. I have no doubt that he may have existed because repeating names within a family was/is a big deal. (PS, I like and use the NIV.) This thought of rejection may come from the sin/judgments mentioned in Deuteronomy 28: 15 – 68; it could be a reminder to follow the Law. 

Because the sons of Korah are musicians (and gatekeepers), it is not surprising that many psalms in Book Three have titles with directions for who and how they are to be played. Terms like maskil and selah are unknown to us today but were important then. Psalm 75 is a “cover” for another tune, probably with words, but it does say “tune”. 

David’s music team in 1 Chronicles 15: 19, Heman, Asaph, and Ethan have several jobs and are highlighted to play certain instruments. There are other names like Jeduthun that appear as leaders; a study to hunt them down in Scripture is always good.   

My study to link the Five Books of Psalms with the Five Books of Moses is on-going but Book Three is a nice start for me. 

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