THE PSALMS

Authors of the Psalms (cont.)

Moses
  • Moses’ name is found in the title of Psalm 90.
  • It is called “A Prayer of Moses, the Man of God.”
  • But not all the Church Fathers agreed on Mosaic authorship of Psalm 90.
  • While Jerome attributed the psalm to Moses, Augustine denied Mosaic authorship.
  • Since the author of the psalm imitates the songs of Moses found in Deuteronomy 32 and 33, the title could simply reflect that imitation and not authorship. The jury is still out.
Solomon
  • Solomon is said to be the author of Psalms 72 and 127.
  • Since these psalms somewhat mimic Solomon’s sententious sayings in Proverbs and Ecclesiastes, some have concluded that Psalm 72 and Psalm 127 were composed simply to imitate the style of Solomon. Again, no jury decision.
Ethan
  • Some scholars have argued that the name “Ethan” in the title of Psalm 89 should probably be understood as the name Idithun or Jeduthun.
  • Three psalms in the Psalter have as a title “To the Choirmaster: According to Jeduthun. A Psalm of David” (Psalm 39 and 62) and “To the Choirmaster: According to Jeduthun. A Psalm of Asaph” (Psalm 77).
  • Some believe Psalm 89 should be the fourth.
  • However, the title over Psalm 89 is significantly different from the other three.
  • “To the Choirmaster” is missing.
  • “A Psalm of David” or “A Psalm of Asaph” is missing.
  • Psalm 89 is not dedicated to anyone; it is a maschil, a contemplation of an individual.
  • However the greatest reason for believing this genuinely referred to a man named Ethan is that a man named Ethan existed during David’s time, and he was a musician.
  • Ethan was a descendant of Levi through Levi’s son Merari, and the son of Kishi (1 Chronicles 6:44) or Kushaiah (1 Chronicles 15:17).
  • He was one of three outstanding musicians, along with Heman and Asaph, appointed by David to be the lead singers when Israel brought the Ark of the Covenant to Jerusalem (1 Chronicles 15:16-19).
  • In fact, contrary to the view expressed above, it was probably this Ethan whose name is ascribed in the title to Psalm 39, 62 and 77:1 as “Jeduthun.”
  • In 1 Chronicles 16:41 and 25:1 Ethan was called “Choirmaster.”
  • He probably was the composer of the music for these hymns of praise.
  • Ethan is designated as “the Ezrahite” (see above).

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