No formal rule can be given for distinguishing between those Psalms in which the Spirit speaks of Christ and those in which it speaks of others. Perhaps there is a sufficient rule in the one defined by Paul as "having senses exercised by reason of use to discern" (Heb. v: 14). The Psalms are mostly Messianic.

They doubtless originated in the first instance in David's individual experiences and impulses towards God, and were primarily the expression of these; but David was a prophet. The Spirit was upon him from the day he was anointed by Samuel (1 Sam. xvi: 13), and guided the utterances of his tongue (2 Sam. xxiii: 2).

Not only a prophet, David occupied, under the first and typical covenant, the position of the son and Lord of David under the new covenant, viz., warrior and king in the earth for God. Hence his experiences were typical and representative of those to which he stood related as the shadow; and by the Spirit, his utterances of them were rendered prophetic of that most marvellous of all human experiences, the history of God manifest in the flesh.

Close reading and meditation brought to bear on the word as a whole, will bring discernment of the import of the Psalms without the formal definition of rules of interpretation.

The Christadelphian, Dec 1898


The Psalms are all written to set forth the one point with­out which they are unintelligible, namely, an unceasing contest between two: the Righteous One, Christ; and the Wicked One, 'the man of the earth,' styled 'the Diabolos' in the New Testament, and vernacularly, 'the Devil' - and that all man­kind are ranged under one or other of these respective leaders.

Round the name of 'David,' all the Promises cluster. Prophets and Apostles exulted in "the sure mercies of David" (Isa. 55:3; Acts 13:34). He appeared in transfigured glory as the 'Beloved,' or 'David' (Matt. 17:5); and shall return again to build the Tabernacle of David (Amos 9:11; Acts 15:16), and to fill the Throne of David (Lk. 1:32).

These considerations should impress on our minds the necessity of endeavoring to ascertain wherefore the Name of 'David' is thus connected with all that is most important in the past history, or future expectations, of the faithful.

In the Promises made to him are found the germs, not only of the times of the Ecclesia now, but of the future dispensation of Messiah's times. These, implanted in the mind of David, effloresced in the Psalms to that luxuriance and fruitfulness which have made them the delight and nourishment of all succeeding ages of the family of Abraham after the Spirit.

And, they do also, when understood, throw the clearest and steadiest light on the unaccomplished Purpose of God.

Herald of the Kingdom and Age to Come, May 1859

The Psalms are divided into five books, like the books of Moses. This division is of great antiquity. The last psalms of each book are 41, 72, 89, 106 and 150, and each book ends with the words (or something similar):

"Blessed be the Lord God of Israel from everlasting to everlasting! Amen and Amen."

The final psalm is a fuller expression of this same praise.

Of the one hundred fifty psalms, seventy-three-about one half-are attributed in the heading directly to David, and about twenty-five more to men associated with him-Asaph and the sons of Korah. These latter could well be psalms of David for these singers to use, making about one hundred as attributed to David. (That is, the word translated "of" as, "A psalm OF Asaph," does not necessarily mean "by," but can mean "for.")

A very few are attributed to others-one to Moses, two to Solomon, etc., and about fifty are anonymous. These headings of the psalms are very ancient and are considered generally authentic, though not part of the inspired Scriptures.

The total number of direct quotations from the Old Testament in the New is 238. Of these, one half, 116, are from the Psalms. We see, therefore, the great doctrinal importance of the Psalms.