A1}Pslams 1 - 41. THE GENESIS BOOK: CONCERNING MAN. The counsels of God concerning him. All blessing bound up in obedience (cp.1:1 with Gen. 1:28). Obedience is man's "tree of life" (cp. 1:3 with Gen. 2:16). Disobedience brought ruin (cp. Ps. 2 with Gen. 3). The ruin repaired only by the Son of Man in His atoning work as the seen of the woman (cp. Ps. 8 with Gen. 3:15). The book concludes with a Benediction and double Amen.
B1} Pslams 42 - 72. THE EXODUS BOOK: CONCERNING ISRAEL AS A NATION. The counsels of God concerning Israel's Ruin, Israel's Redeemer, and Israel's Redemption (Ex. 15:13). Cp. Ps 68:4 with Ex. 15:3 "JAH". It begins with Israel's cry for deliverance, and ends with Israel's king reigning over the redeemed nation. The book concludes with a Benediction and a double Amen.
C1} Pslams 73 - 89. THE LEVITICUS BOOK: CONCERNING THE SANCTUARY. The counsels of God concerning the Sanctuary in its relation to man, and the Sanctuary in relation to Jehovah. The Sanctuary, Congregation, Assembly, or Zion, &c., referred to in nearly every Psalm. The book concludes with a Benediction and a double Amen.
B2} Pslams 90 - 106. THE NUMBERS BOOK: CONCURRING ISRAEL AND THE NATIONS OF THE EARTH. The counsels of God concerning the Earth, showing that there is no hope or rest for the Earth apart from Jehovah. Its figures and similes are from the world as a wilderness (cp. the references to mountains, hills, floods, grass, trees, pestilence, &c.). It begins with the prayer of Moses (the Man of the Wilderness), Ps 90, and closes with a rehearsal of Israel's rebellions in the wilderness (Ps. 106). Note "the New Song" for "all the earth" in Ps. 96:11. where the theme is contained in one sentence which gives an Acrostic, spelling the word "Jehovah": "Let the heavens rejoice, and let the earth be glad". The book concludes with a Benediction and Amen, Hallelujah.
A2}Pslams 107 - 150. THE DEUTERONOMY BOOK: CONCERNING GOD AND HIS WORD. The counsels of God concerning His Word. showing that all blessings for Man (Book 1), all blessings for Israel (Book 2), all blessings for the Earth and the Nation (Book 4), are bound up with living on the words of God (Deut. 8:3). Disobedience to Jehovah's words was the source of Man's sorrows, Israel's dispersion, the Sanctuary's ruin, and Earth's miseries. Blessing is to come from that Word written on the heart (cp. Jer. 31:33,34 Heb. 8:10-12; 10:16,17). Ps. 119 is in this book. The Living Word (John 1:1) began His ministry by quoting Deut. 6:13,16; 8:3; 10:20 in Matt. 4:4,7,10. The book begins with Ps. 107, and in v.20 we read "He sent His Word and healed them", and it concludes with five Psalms (one for each of the five books), each Psalm beginning and ending with "Hallelujah".
Manuscript and Massoretic authorities, the
Talmud as well as the ancient versions, divide the Psalms into five books.
The Midrash on Ps 1:1 says "Moses gave to the Israelites the five
books of the Law; and corresponding with these David gave them the five
books of the Psalms."
The Structure of each Psalm being perfect in itself, we may well expect to find the same perfection in the arrangement of the five books respectively as well as of the one hundred and fifty Psalms as a whole.
Many attempts have been made from ancient times to discover the reason for the classification of the Psalms under these five books; but none of them is so satisfactory as to preclude this further attempt.
It is certain that the present order in which we have the Psalms is the same as it was when they were in the hands of our Lord, and were quoted repeatedly by Him, and by the Holy Spirit through the Evangelists and Apostles. Indeed, in Acts 13:33, the Holy Spirit by Paul expressly mentions "the second Psalm". This puts us upon sure ground.
There must be a reason therefore why "the second Psalm" is not (for example) the seventy-second; and why the ninetieth (which is the most ancient of all the Psalms, being a prayer of Moses) is not the first.
The similar endings to each book are noted above. There are in all seven "Amens", and twenty-four Hallelujahs. All the latter (except the four in Book 4) are in book 5.