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The Flow of the Psalms: Discovering Their Structure and Theology

, 2015
ISBN: 9781629951331
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For centuries the book of Psalms has been read as a random collection of poems with no intentional arrangement. But is this a correct understanding? O. Palmer Robertson equips us to see a clear redemptive-historical progression that develops across the five books of Psalms. With the aid of charts in full color, he demonstrates how an intentional structure is indicated by elements such as the placement of acrostic psalms, strategic couplings of Messianic psalms with Torah psalms, and the grouping of psalms by topics.

If you love the psalms, Robertson will give you a better grasp of the whole Psalter and a deeper appreciation of each individual poem.

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“Taken together, these two psalms define the substance of essentially all that will follow throughout the remainder of the Psalms. The first psalm declares the critical character of the law; the second psalm presents the Son appointed by the Lord who will ultimately extend the messianic kingdom to the ends of the earth. Torah and Messiah, law and gospel—both are equally essential for the fulfillment of Yahweh’s covenants and the advancement of Yahweh’s kingdom.” (Page 54)

“Torah psalms that serve as pivotal points in the Psalter. In three prominent cases, the Torah psalm is coupled with a messianic psalm (Pss. 1–2; Pss. 18–19; Pss. 118–119). Each of these couplings provides a major structural element in the Psalter.” (Page 16)

“Having affirmed the Lord’s dominion across the ages, he then places together a grouping of psalms that chant a favored refrain: ‘Yahweh Malak’ (‘The Lord is King’) (Pss. 93; 96; 97; 99). In his final book, he calls for expressions of thanks and praise that serve as his climactic theme (Book V, Pss. 107–150). In recognition of the ongoing significance of David’s role as the original creator of the Psalter, he has reserved a select number of David’s psalms suitable to the time of Israel’s exile (Pss. 138–145), which is the moment of the nation’s history in which this editor has done the majority of his work. Our imagined ultimate Psalter editor concludes this last book with a ‘Hallelu-YAH finale’ that brings the whole collection to its climactic end (Pss. 146–150).” (Pages 6–7)

“Taking into account the structure of the Psalter makes two significant contributions to the interpretive process: (1) it has the potential of uncovering internal connections among the various psalms; and (2) it provides additional light to each individual psalm on the basis of this internal structuring.” (Page 3)

O. Palmer Robertson gained his Bachelor of Divinity degree from Westminster Seminary and his Master's and Doctorate from Union Theological Seminary, Virginia. Dr. Robertson was active in the establishment of the Presbyterian Church in America and has worked in various church ministries as well as seminary teaching. He has numerous books in print, including Psalms in Congregational Celebration. He is a frequent lecturer and conference speaker in Africa, Europe, Latin America, and North America.


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  1. Lechedzani Mbaiwa
  2. Jack Curtin

    Jack Curtin


    Great insight into the organization of the psalms
  3. Avril Russell
  4. Vishal Reddy

    Vishal Reddy


Save on Publisher Spotlight through April 30!


Digital list price: $19.79
Regular price: $15.99
Save $4.80 (30%)