The authors identified here include King David (the author of nearly all of these psalms), the Sons of Korah (who wrote or sang Psalms 42 – 49) and Asaph (the author of Psalm 50). The Sons of Korah are descendants of Korah who helped direct the rebellion against Moses and Aaron in Numbers 16. He and his associates in the rebellion were swallowed alive by the earth or consumed by fire, but his sons did not die (Numbers 26:10-11). Many generations later one of his descendants, the singer Heman, was singled out with his sons by David and the Levites to direct the music for worship in the LORD’s house (1 Chronicles 6:31-33, 37). His relative Asaph joined him in singing and in the direction of the instruments (1 Chronicles 15:16-17, 19); he also led by sounding the cymbals (1 Chronicles 16:4-5).
In this section of the psalms the Anointed One’s petitions to Yahweh and His testimonies of salvation stand out. For example, notice in Psalm 3 how he presents his petition to Yahweh:” O LORD, how many are my foes! Many are rising against me; many are saying of my soul, there is no salvation for him in God” (Psalm 3:1-2).
David responds to this tribulation by crying out to Yahweh with a security or certainty based on the relationship between Yahweh and His Anointed One described in Psalm 2. Here he prays, “But you, O LORD, are a shield about me, my glory, and the lifter of my head” (Psalm 3:3).
Thereafter he finds salvation: “I cried aloud to the LORD, and he answered me from his holy hill. I lay down and slept; I woke again, for the LORD sustained me” (Psalm 3:4-5). And because of this rescue, he can look to Yahweh again to preserve him in future challenges: “I will not be afraid of many thousands of people who have set themselves against me all around. Arise, O LORD! Save me, O my God! For you strike all my enemies on the cheek; you break the teeth of the wicked” (Psalm 3:6-7).
Therefore, because of Yahweh’s faithfulness in saving him, David announces salvation to all His people: “Salvation belongs to the LORD; your blessing be on your people!” (Psalm 3:8) These themes of petition to Yahweh, His rescue / salvation and the announcement of His salvation to the entire community are going to repeat themselves throughout this section of the psalms.
Other psalms in this section concentrate on the glory of Yahweh like Psalm 8 that opens and closes appropriately with the declaration, “O LORD, our Lord, how majestic is your name in all the earth! (Psalm 8:1, 9) Others like Psalm 32 stand amazed at the forgiveness that Yahweh grants repentant sinners. Others like Psalm 16 and Psalm 23 rejoice in His faithful love. Psalms 36 and 37 like many others rejoice in Yahweh’s righteousness and justice. This section ends with Psalm 72 and the hope that Yahweh’s salvation, glory, forgiveness, righteousness and faithful love are all displayed in the next generation when David’s son, Solomon, reigns. Therefore, as we read Psalms 1 – 72, let’s praise and glorify Yahweh for His glorious attributes and pray in hope for the generations that follow.