The Psalms of David

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The Psalms of David

(Book 3)

An EasyEnglish Translation with Notes (about 1200 word vocabulary) on Psalms 73 to 89

Gordon Churchyard

Words in boxes are from the Bible.

A word list at the end explains words with a *star by them.

The translated Bible text has yet to go through Advanced Checking.


Here are some of the things that you should know as you read the psalms in this book.

1.     At the top of each psalm (say it "sarm") is a title in Dark Letters. This title is not in the *Hebrew psalm. It is not part of the Bible. It is there to give us help to remember the psalm and what it is about.

2.     Under the title are some words either that Jesus said, or that somebody said about him. These words are from the *Gospels. They are part of the Bible.

3.     The psalm itself is in a box. Everything that is in the box is part of the psalm. This includes the words at the top that tell us who wrote the psalm and why. In this book, we believe that these words are true and that they give us some help to understand the psalm. Other parts from the Bible are also in boxes, except the verses under the titles.

4.     Words in brackets like this: ( ) are not in the *Hebrew Bible. They give us help to understand what the psalm means.

5.     The *Hebrew writers of the psalms used some words that we cannot translate into EasyEnglish words. These are in a word list at the end of this book. Some words are very important, like *LORD and *righteous. You will find a whole page about these words after some of the psalms. *Righteous is after Psalm 5, the *Covenant is after Psalm 25 and the names of God (*LORD, *Lord and God) are also after Psalm 25. These psalms are in Book 1 of the Psalms of David.

6.     After each psalm is the story of the psalm. Some of the psalms we know a lot about, as Psalm 18. Other psalms we do not know anything about, as Psalm 1. When this happens we say "perhaps" or "maybe".

7.     After the stories comes "what the psalm means". Sometimes Bible students are not sure what the writer meant. When that happens the notes tell you.

8.     At the end of each psalm, there is "something to do". This will give you help to learn more about the psalm.

Book 3 of the Psalms

The word psalms comes from a *Hebrew word meaning "*praises". You *praise someone when you say that they are great and good. The words you say are "*praises". Many of the psalms in Books 1 (1-41) and 2 (42-72) of the Psalms are "Psalms of David". This means that he wrote them, or someone else wrote them for him and put them in David’s book of psalms. But only Psalm 86 in Book 3 of the Psalms is "a psalm (or *prayer) of David". The other 16 are by 4 other people:

   ·   73 - 83 are "psalms or *maskils of Asaph".

   ·   84, 85 and 87 are "psalms of the sons of Korah".

   ·   88 is a "psalm of the sons of Korah" and a "*maskil of Heman".

   ·   89 is a "*maskil of Ethan".

Who were Asaph, Korah, Heman and Ethan? Why are their names on the psalms?

Bible students are not sure what the "of" means in the *Hebrew "psalm of Asaph ... or Korah ... or Heman ... or Ethan". It may mean that he wrote the psalm. It may mean that someone wrote the psalm for him. Asaph’s name is also on Psalm 50. Korah’s name is on Psalms 42(43), and 44-49. Psalms 42-50 are in Book 2 of "The Psalms of David". 88 and 89 are the only psalms with Heman and Ethan on them. Bible students think that "*maskil" is a special psalm. It is a psalm that teaches us something.

Who was Asaph?

We can read about Asaph in two books of the *Old Testament, Chronicles and Nehemiah. From them we learn 4 things about Asaph:

   ·   his father was Berechiah (1 Chronicles 6:39)

   ·   he was a music leader (1 Chronicles 15:17 ... this verse also calls Heman and Ethan music leaders)

   ·   he was a *seer (2 Chronicles 29:30) … a *seer can "see what will happen", it is another word for "*prophet"

   ·   he lived at the same time as King David (Nehemiah 12:46)

In 1 Chronicles 25: 1 - 2 we read this:

v1 David and the leaders of the army made these people separate. They were the sons of Asaph, the sons of Heman and the sons of Jeduthun. Their job was to *prophesy. They had to make music with *harps, *lyres and *cymbals.

v2 Here is a list of the men that did this work. From the sons of Asaph (there are) Jaccur, Joseph, Nethaniah and Asarelah. Asaph told the sons of Asaph what to do. Asaph *prophesied with help from the king.

"To *prophesy" means "to tell people what God thinks and what he is going to do". They did this with music. Maybe this means that they sang what they *prophesied.

Asaph was the leader of "the sons of Asaph". They were his family. When he died the family continued to do this work. For many centuries they were "the sons of Asaph". It became the name of a music group. Ezra 3:10 tells us that they sang when they built the *temple in Jerusalem again. This was 500 years after Asaph died! Maybe the family wrote a book of psalms called "Psalms of the Sons of Asaph". We do not know. But, when the *Israelites made our Book of Psalms, they put into it some of the Psalms of Asaph. Bible students think that Asaph made a book of psalms, and some (or all?) of them are in our Book of Psalms. They are Psalm 50 (in Book 2 of "The Psalms of David") and Psalms 73-83 (here in Book 3).

The psalms from Asaph’s book do this:

   ·   they describe the world round us in a clear way

   ·   they tells us that God cares for people

   ·   they make what has happened teach us things

   ·   they tell us that God is very great

   ·   they are good *poetry (*poetry is using words in a beautiful way)

Who was Korah?

Levi was one of the 12 sons of Jacob. Levi’s sons, and their sons, for many hundreds of years, worked in the *temple. At first, this was a *tent (or house made from animal skins); but later it was a stone building in Jerusalem. Some of them were *priests. They killed animals and burned them, to make God happy. The rules for this are in Leviticus. Other men gave them help. Some of them made music. These included the sons of Asaph and the sons of Korah. Here, "sons" means grandchildren, great grandchildren, and so on. The "sons of Asaph" made music for hundreds of years. Ezra 2:41 and Nehemiah 7:44 tell us that they did it after the *exile. The *exile was when King Nebuchadnezzar took the *Israelites to Babylon in 587 BC. "*Exile" means "away from your own country".

But the "sons of Korah" did not make music after the *exile. Korah was a bad man. He died when the *Israelites came from Egypt to Israel. His children, and their children, and so on, are the "sons of Korah". They were a group of singers in the *temple in Jerusalem. They did not only sing, they were doorkeepers also, 1 Chronicles 26:19. This means that they only let the right people into the *temple. But after the *exile we hear no more about them. Maybe they stayed in Babylon. But they still used their psalms in the *temple in Jerusalem.

The "sons of Korah" maybe had a book of psalms as well as the "sons of Asaph". Some of these are in our Book of Psalms. Maybe they wrote them; maybe other people wrote them and gave them to the "sons of Korah".

The psalms from the sons of Korah do this:

   ·   they tell us that they like to *praise God in special places

   ·   they believe that *Yahweh (the *LORD) is king in Jerusalem

   ·   they are good *poetry

Who were Heman and Ethan?

We do not know much about these two men. They were Levites (which means that they are in Levi’s family. They were not his sons, but great .... grandchildren. Ethan was another doorkeeper in the *temple. Both men gave help with the *temple music.

Now I Understand

Psalm 73

Jesus said, "Make sure that your valuable things are in *heaven". (Matthew 6:20) (*Heaven is the home of God.)

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