Origins of Psalms

Study Sheet

Biblical passages:

I Chronicles 23:1-5, 24-32
I Chronicles 25:1-8
II Chronicles 30:21-22
Nehemiah 7:1-2, 73
Nehemiah 9:1-5 (and scan through verse 37)

Questions to consider:  What is the role of the Levites in these passages?  What is the role of song and prayer in these passages?  What do you know about when these passages date from?

Psalm 41:14
Psalm 72:19-20
(Psalm 73-83 superscriptions)
Psalm 89:53
Psalm 106:48

Questions to consider:  Were all the Psalms written by David?  Is the book of Psalms one book or five?  Does the last “book” of Psalms have special characteristics?  What are they?

Rabbinic sources:
Midrash Tehillim 78:1-4
Talmud Bavli Baba Batra 14b-15a
Talmud Bavli Pesachim 117a

Questions to consider:  These passages present some traditional views of the origin of the Psalms.  What is the status of holiness of the Psalms according to the passage from Midrash Tehillim?  Who wrote the Psalms according to the passage from Baba Batra?  How does Rashi’s commentary on this passage expand or contract our view of the Psalms’ authorship?  Why were the Psalms written according to the passage from Pesachim?

Melodies For Psalms

Psalm 114 melody by Randall


Psalm 115 melody by Nance


Psalm 117 melody by Randall.


Psalm 118 melody by Randall


Rabbi Shefa Gold – Chants of Psalms

Setting of Libi BaMizrach by Jalda (Video Below)

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