The traditional view holds that David wrote nearly half the psalter. In recent years there have been numerous advances in theological research which show this may not be the case. Samuel Terrien relegates much of Davidic authorship to legend or myth. In reference to the superscriptions (psalm headings) he states, “They [superscriptions] show that the figure of David haunted popular imagination.” In the newest commentary on the Psalms, John Goldingay notes that the superscription ‘of David’ could have multiple meanings: 1) addressed to David; 2) belongs to David; 3) for David, or a Davidic king; 4) for David to learn from; 5) on behalf of David; 6) about David (i.e. historical event); or 7) authored by David.

While I must defer to the above authors that the psalm headings were added at a later date, I must ask why contemporary commentators elect to remove much of Davidic authorship from the Psalms. Does the possibility exist that these editors could have properly attributed Davidic authorship?

These titles were attributed to the Psalms at least 400 years prior to the time of Christ. I would strongly hold that weight must be placed on the fact that these titles have been preserved over the years. However, the question to honestly ask oneself is, what impact does removing Davidic authorship from particular psalms accomplish? Does it enhance faith or diminish it…

In the following days, specfic psalms traditionally held to be authored by David will be examined. Close attention will be taken in regards to authorship and the historical situation.


[1] Samuel Terrien, The Psalms: Strophic Structure and Theological Commentary, Eerdmans Critical Commentary (Grand Rapids: Eerdmans, 2003), p. 12.

[2] John Goldingay, Psalms Volume 1: Psalms 1-41, Baker Commentary on the Old Testament Wisdom and Psalms (Grand Rapids: Baker Academic, 2006), pp. 25-30.

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