Book 1 of Psalms (1-41) and Genesis

As we now come to a formal close of the study of the first book of the Psalms, which Bible scholar E.W. Bullinger (following the tradition of rabbinic midrash, the Midrash Tehillim) observed as corresponding to the book of Genesis – the five books of the Psalms corresponding with the five books of Pentateuch.  Adam Clarke similarly observes:

Thus ends what the Hebrews call the first book of Psalms; for
the reader will recollect that this book is divided by the Jews
into five books, the first of which ends with this Psalm.

This doxology, Dr. Kennicott supposes, may have been added by
the collector of this book; and he thinks that the division into
books is not arbitrary; and that the Psalms were collected at
different times by different persons. See the Introduction. There
is certainly a considerable variety in the style of the several
books; in the examination of which the Hebrew critic will not lose
his labour.

Of 41 Psalms, most of these are composed by David (despite the apparent anonymity of a few, like Psalms 1, 2, 10 and 33).  How these relate to the book of Genesis, can be identified by the way these 41 Psalms are categories: firstly, that Psalms 1 to 8 deal with humanity and the Son of Man; Psalms 9 to 15 deal with the rebellion of man; and finally Psalms 16 to 41 deal with the God-Man Christ Jesus.  Thus, the book of Genesis is a book of humanity; a book regarding the rise and fall of man, a book regarding prophecies made to our forefathers regarding a new land beyond the Garden of Eden, a place where we do not remain as handful of dust but will be reborn as sons of God.  Yet, for every Melchizedek, Abraham, Israel, Joseph – there will be a line of pagan kings seeking to establish their own kingdom even before the first king after God’s own heart, David.  It is therefore interesting to read of David’s songs and praises in the context of Genesis, given there is no king in Genesis aside from Jesus Christ our Melchizedek, the King of Peace.  Thus:

Psalms 1 to 8 – humanity and the Son of Man:  the book of praises begins not with a praise of a mere blessed man, but the praise of the Blessed Man (Psalm 1) as we learn to kiss the Son of God, the Anointed One, and side not with the wicked schemes of man (Psalm 2).  Is this not the war between the Light of the world and the Father of liars which commenced by the pride of the enemy in Genesis 1-3, described in Isaiah 14 and Ezekiel 28?  So the picture of the persecuted Christ is foreshadowed in the struggle between brothers – the killing of Abel by Cain, Abel’s innocent blood crying out (c.f. Luke 11:50-51; Hebrews 12:24) (Psalm 3).  In the failure of man to be the responsible head of creation, creation is now fallen and groaning for the revelation of the sons of God (Psalms 4-5; c.f. Romans 8:22).

Nevertheless, He is the LORD who hears our prayers – He is our intercessor, just as Abraham was the intercessor for Sodom and Gomorrah (Psalm 6).  Thus, we boast in His righteousness (Psalm 7), with anticipation that it is His Son who would be given dominion over the works of His Father (Psalm 8).

Psalms 9 to 15 deal with the rebellion of man:  yet, the rebellion of man continues to grow.  David describes the need to find refuge in Jesus and in the LORD who blots out the enemies and causes the nations to fear (Psalm 9), given that apart from Christ, one can do nothing (Psalm 10; c.f. John 15:5) – harkening us back to Psalm 1, the need to find comfort in the Blessed Man before one can also become the blessed man.  Just as when Abraham went to save Lot (Genesis 14), so also the LORD is our judge and avenger (Psalm 11).  Yet this victory is not achieved by man, but by the Word of the LORD (Psalm 12).  How long, however, till this salvation comes (Psalm 13), for the enemy continues to mock the Christian, that there is no God (Psalm 14)!  Yet, they are fools – for we look to the holy hill – there is where the LORD is (c.f. Ezekiel 28, describing the Garden of Eden).

Psalms 16 to 41 deal with the God-Man Christ Jesus: in answering the question of whether there is a God, David then deals in the remaining chapters of the first book of Psalms, the matter of the God-man, David’s Second LORD (Psalm 110).  The First LORD, the Father, will not abandon Christ the Anointed One to Sheol (Psalm 16; Acts 2:25-31) – and it is in this Christ that we receive manifold treasures (Psalm 17), this Christ who loves us (Psalm 18; c.f. Song of Songs), who fulfills the sweet law of the LORD just as creation cries out the glory of the Bridegroom (Psalm 19).  However, such sweetness and glory is achieved by the death of our Messiah as he prays for us (Psalm 20), and though the wicked plan against Christ, the bonds between the Father and the Son by the Spirit are not broken (Psalm 21).  Even though Christ shouts “eli eli lema sabachtani“, it is finished on the cross (Psalm 22).  Without the work of the cross, we cannot cry out the LORD as our shepherd, just as the Son could not accomplish such work without looking to the Father for the hope of resurrection (Psalm 23).  Thus, Christ ascends the holy hill, that ancient gates be lifted up, to a place even more beautiful and greater than the holy mount of Eden (Psalm 24), and thus redeeming His Bride the ancient church (Psalm 25) whilst the Son seeks the Father’s face.

Let all therefore plea to hear His voice!  Let us plea in desperation (Psalm 28)!  It is His Voice, His Word, who transforms us when He comes to us (Psalm 29)!  Do we wish to be restored from Sheol like He did (Psalm 30)?  Do we wish to look upon and walk with the LORD who committed his spirit into the hands of the Father, words spoken in hope, in accomplishment of glory, and not in rejection (Psalm 31)?  Then let us find refuge in Him who blesses us as our transgressions are forgiven through Him alone (Psalm 32)!  It is by His steadfast love (John 17) that the heavens were made; therefore let the earth fear Him and its inhabitants stand in awe of Him, because God is love (Psalm 33)!  He is near the broken-hearted (Psalm 34), He will vindicate and delight in the Son (Psalm 35), He will provide us with refuge in the Rock, the Anointed One (Psalms 36) – and ultimately take us to the New Canaan, for it is only the righteous, the meek, who shall inherit the land (Psalm 37; c.f. Genesis 13:12-13, 23:19, 41).

However, the first book of the Psalms penultimately ends with David’s repentance (Psalm 38), just as the book of Genesis ends with the repentance of the brothers of Joseph (Genesis 42).  Yet, the ending is not sad – there is a restoration to joy in the funeral psalm – the Hope is in Christ, the Angel who blessed (Psalm 39; c.f. Genesis 48:16), as the nation of Israel waits for salvation just as Christ did the Father as He prayed in the second garden where history was changed, the garden of Gethsemane (Psalm 40).  Let us therefore remember and end the first book with the Blessed Man, who although was rebelled against and betrayed, still sits at the right hand of the throne of God (Hebrews 12:2) and He shall confound the enemy forever.  This Blessed One is none other, than the LORD Himself (Psalm 41).

Thus ends the first book of Psalms, dealing with the humanity of Adam and his offspring, against the One Offspring (Genesis 3:15) who crushed the enemy’s head whilst all those who aligned with the father of lies merely bruised His heel.

Book 1 of Psalms (1-41) and Genesis

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