Based on the superscriptions and the contents of various psalms, the composition of the Psalter spanned a period of centuries (from Moses through the time of the Babylonian exile and beyond). (Psalm 90, superscription; 126:1, 2; 137:1-3) Just when the arrangement of the book of Psalms came to have the form it has in the Masoretic Text cannot be determined. This includes its being divided into five books ([1] Psalms 1-41; [2] Psalms 42-72; [3] Psalms 73-89; [4] Psalms 90-106 [5] Psalm 107-150). With few exceptions, the order of Psalms 1 through 89 is the same in the Dead Sea Scrolls as in the Masoretic Text. Thereafter the order varies considerably in the Dead Sea Scrolls. For example, Psalm 119 appears between what are Psalms 132 and 135 in the Masoretic Text.

A scroll from Masada ends with Psalm 150, which would agree with the Psalter of the Masoretic Text. The Septuagint, however, concludes with an additional psalm, which deals with David. In one of the scrolls from the Dead Sea area, two additional psalms include material similar to Psalm 151 of the Septuagint.

In the shorter Septuagint version, David primarily relates particulars about himself. The shortest and youngest of his brothers, he cared for his father’s sheep. With his own hands, he made a musical instrument. God sent his messenger to call him from tending his father’s sheep and anointed him with oil, passing over his handsome and taller brothers. Though the Philistine (literally, allophyle) had cursed him by his idols, David took the warrior’s own sword and beheaded him, removing reproach from Israel.

The superscriptions are ancient, for they are part of the main text of the scrolls that have been discovered in the Dead Sea area. The earliest manuscripts are from the middle of the second century BCE. When the psalms were translated from Hebrew into Greek, the translator or translators no longer understood a number of the expressions appearing in the superscriptions, providing additional evidence respecting their ancient origin.

Consequently, any background information the superscriptions supply is treated like the rest of the text. Whenever the name David, for instance, is found in a superscription, this is reflected in the commentary. Events from his life that may shed light on the words of the various psalms are included.

The underlying basis for the commentary material is the Masoretic Text. Many significantly different readings in the Dead Sea Scrolls and the Septuagint are included in the commentary or the Notes sections.

Throughout Werner Bible Commentary, the divine name is represented as YHWH. A number of very early Greek manuscripts contain this name in four Hebrew letters, which meant that the reader had to supply the pronunciation. In keeping with this ancient method, no vowels have been supplied, allowing the reader to choose the pronunciation or to substitute Lord or God. (Regarding the divine name, see Psalm 1.)

The poetry of the Psalter consists of rhythm that is achieved through the use of parallel thoughts and expressions. Often the Hebrew text is much shorter and more rhythmic than a translation into another language might suggest. Verbs (particularly “to be” forms), though missing in the Hebrew, are commonly supplied. Comments about the nature of the poetry are not included, as the primary focus of the commentary is to convey the meaning of the thoughts expressed.

Psalm 1

Psalm 2

Psalm 3

Psalm 4

Psalm 5

Psalm 6

Psalm 7

Psalm 8

Psalm 9

Psalm 10

Psalm 11

Psalm 12

Psalm 13

Psalm 14

Psalm 15

Psalm 16

Psalm 17

Psalm 18

Psalm 19

Psalm 20

Psalm 21

Psalm 22

Psalm 23

Psalm 24

Psalm 25

Psalm 26

Psalm 27

Psalm 28

Psalm 29

Psalm 30

Psalm 31

Psalm 32

Psalm 33

Psalm 34

Psalm 35

Psalm 36

Psalm 37

Psalm 38

Psalm 39

Psalm 40

Psalm 41

Psalm 42

Psalm 43

Psalm 44

Psalm 45

Psalm 46

Psalm 47

Psalm 48

Psalm 49

Psalm 50

Psalm 51

Psalm 52

Psalm 53

Psalm 54

Psalm 55

Psalm 56

Psalm 57

Psalm 58

Psalm 59

Psalm 60

Psalm 61

Psalm 62

Psalm 63

Psalm 64

Psalm 65

Psalm 66

Psalm 67

Psalm 68

Psalm 69

Psalm 70

Psalm 71

Psalm 72

Psalm 73

Psalm 74

Psalm 75

Psalm 76

Psalm 77

Psalm 78

Psalm 79

Psalm 80

Psalm 81

Psalm 82

Psalm 83

Psalm 84

Psalm 85

Psalm 86

Psalm 87

Psalm 88

Psalm 89

Psalm 90

Psalm 91

Psalm 92

Psalm 93

Psalm 94

Psalm 95

Psalm 96

Psalm 97

Psalm 98

Psalm 99

Psalm 100

Psalm 101

Psalm 102

Psalm 103

Psalm 104

Psalm 105

Psalm 106

Psalm 107

Psalm 108

Psalm 109

Psalm 110

Psalm 111

Psalm 112

Psalm 113

Psalm 114

Psalm 115

Psalm 116

Psalm 117

Psalm 118

Psalm 119

Psalm 119:1-8

Psalm 119:9-16

Psalm 119:17-24

Psalm 119:25-32

Psalm 119:33-40

Psalm 119:41-48

Psalm 119:49-56

Psalm 119:57-64

Psalm 119:65-72

Psalm 119:73-80

Psalm 119:81-88

Psalm 119:89-96

Psalm 119:97-104

Psalm 119:105-112

Psalm 119:113-120

Psalm 119:121-128

Psalm 119:129-136

Psalm 119:137-144

Psalm 119:145-152

Psalm 119:153-160

Psalm 119:161-168