Logos Bible Software
Sign In
Products>The Message of the Psalms: A Theological Commentary

The Message of the Psalms: A Theological Commentary

Logos Editions are fully connected to your library and Bible study tools.
Shop April's Monthly Sale!


Print list price: $19.00
Regular price: $14.99
Save $5.25 (35%)


Known as one of America’s best theologians and one of the world’s foremost scholars on the Old Testament, Walter Brueggemann has inspired young scholars and students and driven the discourse on theology with some of the biggest players in contemporary Bible scholarship.

Walter Brueggemann describes the human cries of anguish and the exultations of praise expressed in the Psalms. Particularly noteworthy is his approach to the Psalms from a counseling and pastoral perspective, providing commentary that walks with the reader in any season of life.

With the Logos Bible Software edition, you can journey through this volume with today’s most advanced tools for reading and studying God’s Word. All Scripture passages are linked to your library’s original language texts and English translations. Enhance your study with Logos’ advanced features—search by topic to find out what Brueggemann teaches on the Exodus, or find every mention of “Psalm 91” throughout his works.

Key Features

  • Provides essential Old Testament scholarship from one of the most prominent living scholars
  • Classifies the Psalms into three distinct groups providing a lens through which to study them
  • Includes material perfect for pastors, professors, counselors, and Old Testament scholars


  • Introduction
  • Psalms of Orientation
    • Songs of Creation
    • Songs of Torah
    • Wisdom Psalms
    • Songs of Retribution
    • Occasions of Well-Being
  • Psalms of Disorientation
    • Personal Lament
    • Communal Laments
    • Two Problem Psalms
    • “A Second Opinion” on the Disorientation
    • “The Seven Psalms”
    • After the Deluge—Thous!
  • Psalms of New Orientation
    • Thanksgiving Songs
    • Thanksgiving Songs of the Community
    • The Once and Future King
    • Thanksgiving Generalized to Confidence
    • Hymns of Praise
  • A Retrospect: Spirituality and Theodicy

Praise for the Print Edition

This important, lucid book informs readers about recent trends in technical scholarship and offers convincing insights into the Psalter’s sociological background and social-justice implications. The author, one of America’s most highly regarded biblical scholars, writes both about the original meaning of the Psalms and about their use or misuse in modern churches.

—David M. Hay, editor, The Christian Century

Product Details

  • Title: The Message of the Psalms: A Theological Commentary
  • Author: Walter Brueggemann
  • Publisher: Augsburg Fortress
  • Publication Date: 1985
  • Pages: 206

About Walter Brueggemann

Walter Brueggemann through his teaching, lecturing, and writing, has effectively demonstrated the significance of the Old Testament for our fractured world today. Recognized as the preeminent interpreter of the ancient texts in relation to questions posed by a variety of academic disciplines, he has shown the way toward a compelling understanding of the major components of the faith and life of ancient Israel, especially its Psalms, the prophets, and the narratives. His award-winning Theology of the Old Testament quickly became a foundational work in the field.

Brueggemann, who holds a ThD from Union Seminary, New York, and a PhD from St. Louis University, is William Marcellus McPheeters Professor of Old Testament at Columbia Theological Seminary, Decatur, Georgia. He was previously professor of Old Testament at Eden Theological Seminary, St. Louis. His many Fortress Press books, including The Threat of Life: Sermons on Pain, Power, and Weakness, exhibit a fecund combination of imaginative power, sound scholarship, and a passion of justice and redemption.

Resource Experts

Top Highlights

“Westermann has urged that the lament is the basic form of psalmic expression, and that most other psalm forms are derived from or responses to the lament.” (Page 18)

“The other move we make is a move from a context of disorientation to a new orientation, surprised by a new gift from God, a new coherence made present to us just when we thought all was lost. This move entails a departure from the ‘pit’ of chaos just when we had suspected we would never escape. It is a departure inexplicable to us, to be credited only to the intervention of God.” (Pages 20–21)

“These psalms in various ways are expressions of creation faith. They affirm that the world is a well-ordered, reliable, and life-giving system, because God has ordained it that way and continues to preside effectively over the process. At the same time, there is a profound trust in the daily working of that system and profound gratitude to God for making it so. Creation here is not a theory about how the world came to be. That is not how the Bible thinks about creation. It is rather an affirmation that God’s faithfulness and goodness are experienced as generosity, continuity, and regularity. Life is experienced as protected space. Chaos is not present to us and is not permitted a hearing in this well-ordered world.” (Page 26)

“But the hope is rooted precisely in the midst of loss and darkness, where God is surprisingly present” (Pages 11–12)

“The Psalms draw our entire life under the rule of God, where everything may be submitted to the God of the gospel.” (Page 15)

  • Title: The Message of the Psalms: A Theological Commentary
  • Author: Walter Brueggemann
  • Publisher: Fortress Press
  • Print Publication Date: 1984
  • Logos Release Date: 2013
  • Era: era:contemporary
  • Language: English
  • Resources: 1
  • Format: Digital › Logos Research Edition
  • Subjects: Bible. O.T. Psalms › Commentaries; Bible. O.T. Psalms › Theology
  • Resource Type: Bible Commentary
  • Metadata Last Updated: 2022-02-12T04:39:59Z

Walter Brueggemann is William Marcellus McPheeters Professor of Old Testament Emeritus at Columbia Theological Seminary in Decatur, Georgia. He is past president of the Society of Biblical Literature and the author of numerous books, including David’s Truth: In Israel’s Imagination and MemoryInterpretation: A Bible Commentary for Teaching and Preaching Genesis, and The Message of the Psalms: A Theological Commentary.


5 ratings

Sign in with your Faithlife account

  1. Logosed



    Brueggemann groups the Psalms together under three general themes: poems of orientation, disorientation and new orientation. He is not thereby wanting to rigidly classify the Psalms, but is seeking to show that such a grouping corresponds to the actual flow of human life. A nice feature of the book is its size. Works on the Psalms tend to be overly long (dealing with each and every Psalm). In a book of a mere 205 pages, Brueggemann deals with the most important of them, the most notable omissions being Psalm 19, 20, 45, 46 (some of my favorites). More important than the grouping of the Psalms is the detailed exegesis of this work, which is a commentary, not just a study. Here one finds an exegete of rare ability. Psalms are analyzed in terms of their structure and context, with key thoughts identified. The insights are profound, and never boring. Many of those that I underlined, I will need to ponder again over time. One small example may suffice.* In dealing with Psalm 30, Brueggemann notes that thanksgiving is never merely gratitude of the heart, but gratitude verbalized: "thanks is more than just being grateful. It is a confessional statement." (127) Such nuggets are found throughout the book. The strongest section is when Brueggemann deals with Psalms of disorientation. Here we find the rigorous critical scholar firmly identifying with a tradition of protest in these Psalms, a number of which are omitted from many daily prayer offices. For example, Psalms 58, 83, and 109 are omitted from the Divine Office because of their imprecatory nature. Brueggemann makes a stunning case for their continued and proper use in the Church today, and has freed this writer to pray them with confidence. I would recommend the book for this section alone. As for criticism, I am in no position to challenge the general classification of Psalms offered by Brueggemann. I would need to be an Old Testament scholar to do that. In the area of exegesis though it appears that Brueggemann sometimes sees more in the Psalms than is in them. His detailed analysis sometimes left me thinking: "Why can I not see all that?" A last small point on the publication itself: I would have preferred that the Psalms that were discussed were printed out in full so that one did not have to keep going back and forth to the Bible. In conclusion, this is a book one can use as a reference. In many ways it is a beautiful book, written with love, passion and a huge intellect. It is probably the most useful book I have read on the Psalms; it is certainly the most provocative.
  2. PaulC



    Another look at the Psalms by Bruggemann
  3. liu yanwei

    liu yanwei


  4. Kevin Vawser

    Kevin Vawser


  5. Jack KiChan Kwon
Shop April's Monthly Sale!


Print list price: $19.00
Regular price: $14.99
Save $5.25 (35%)