« FöregåendeFortsätt »
PREF A CE
THE book of Pfalms is a collection of facred Hymns, compofed by David, Afaph, and others; called the Pfalms of David, because he was the author of by much the greater part of them. The next author to David, to whom the greatest number of Pfalms is ascribed, is Asaph; for there are twelve that bear his name. Eleven are attributed to the fons of Korah : for fince thefe Pfalms are inscribed* to them in the fame form of words, as thofe of David are to him, we have the fame reafon for concluding, that they were afcribed to them as the authors, not merely as the perfons who fung them. Befides these authors, we find that the xc. Pfalm is attributed to Mofes; the lxxxix. to Ethản, the lxxxviii. to Heman, and the cxlvi. cxlvii. cxlviii. and cxlix. to Haggai and Zecharias. That Ethan and Heman were musicians appears from 1 Chron. vi. 33, 44: and xv. 17, 19. They were also learned men, as appears from 1 Kings iv. 31. Two
Pfalms also bear the name of Solomon, the lxxii. and cxxvii: but the former, from the concluding claufe as well as other confiderations, was probably written by David. It is evident, as Bishop Hare obferves, that there were different collections of the Pfalms made at different times; at least two, one of which ended with the lxxii. for the concluding verfe of that Pfalm is," the prayers of "David, the son of Jeffe are ended;" which could not have had place there, if the following Pfalms had been collected at the fame time, fince eighteen of thefe Pfalms are attributed to David. This firft collection was probably made about the beginning of the Babylonish captivity; because the writer of Pfalm li. prays at the conclufion, that God would build the walls of Jerufalem. Nor is Starck's anfwer to this argument of any force, namely, that the word which fignifies to build, only refers to enlarging and amplification of the city, because the Pfalmift immediately adds, "then fhalt thou be pleaf"ed with the facrifices of righteousness," &c. that is, "when thou shalt build the walls, our holy rites will "be renewed," which could have no fort of relation to the embellishing of the city, or the repairs of any breaches that might have been made in the walls of Jerufalem by David's enemies. The liii. Pfalm confirms the fame thing in the last verse, "Oh! "that the falvation of Ifrael were come out of Sion! "when God bringeth back the captivity of his peo
"ple, Jacob shall rejoice, Ifrael shall be right glad.” Another collection was made by Ezra and Nehemiah after the return from captivity, which was the laft; becaufe as Sir Ifaac Newton obferves, we meet with Pfalms as late as the return from the сарtivity, but with none later. Nevertheless in this latter collection are Pfalms which unquestionably refer even to the time of David, and which had been omitted in the first collection. The divifion of the Pfalms into five books, as in our Bibles at prefent, is ascribed to Ezra; but if it had been made at that time, it would have been more uniformly admitted than we find it has been. prologue to the explication of the
Hilary in his
"Some will have the Pfalms divided into five books; "but we, according to the authority of the Apostles, "write and call it the book of Pfalms." The modern Jews divide the Pfalter into seven parts, so that the whole may be read through in a week; and the Arabic verfion has no diftinction of books at all. In fact the present divifion into five books feems tó have been made by the Jews, in order that the Pfalter might thus be, as it were, another Pentateuch, το ψαλτηριον διειλον εις πεντε βιβλια οι Εβραίοι ως ειναι και αυτό άλλην πεντάτευχον. Epiphanius De Menf. et Pond.
We cannot but fuppofe that originally the Pfalms had each the name of the author and the