A little Psalm background
In N. T Wright’s book, “The Case for the Psalms” suggests that we think of the Psalms in their present form as being shaped in the beginning of the sixth century BC, around the exile in Babylon. He says that writing and singing these Psalms helped the captives hold onto hope.
I know a BUNCH of people in need of some hope today – how about you? Maybe we do have something in common with those guys. We may not be in Babylon, but many of us experience captivity in other forms.
Wright goes on to say that these formed the basic songbook beginning with the reconstruction of the Temple after the return from exile (sixth to fifth century BC, as well as local Jewish gatherings. I have no reason to doubt him, he is the expert after all!
In his introduction Wright mentions that these folks gathered and worshipped as a community, had a much higher sense of tribe than we can imagine, and points out that Jesus and his first followers would have known much of this, their hymnbook, by heart.
Students of the New Testament understand how often Jesus quoted the Psalms. Paul does as well. Behind that knowledge, Wright encourages us to remember that a large group of people were allowing these poems to shape them, their daily activities and the very framework of their life.
What was their viewpoint? Tune in tomorrow to find out….