The Order of the Psalms

Explanation: what I don’t want to do is to teach all of the Psalms in the order that they are found in the Bible, beginning at Psalm 1 and working through Psalm 150. Therefore I need a plan. When a Psalm has a definite tie to a particular person at a particular time, e.g. some of the Psalms which David wrote, then I will teach them when it is apropos in 1 and 2Samuel. However, there are several Psalms whose author is not given, whose time period is unknown. If I can tie the Psalm topically to some time period or some subject matter, then I will teach it then. However, maybe it would be better to teach them later, disassociated from the incident, as a reminder of that incident. Perhaps, if I taught the book of psalms, I should group those relating to the book of Genesis and teach them together? In any case, most of the Bible will be taught chronologically, with the exception of the psalms, which will be thrown in whenever related.

Psalm Placement

Chronological Approach 1Samuel

Chronological Approach 2Samuel

Chronological Approach 1Kings

Chronological Approach 2Kings

Psalms Classified by Title

Other Classifications of Psalms

Psalm Placement Chart

Subject Matter of the Psalms

Psalm Placement:

Genesis 1; Psalm 8, 104, 148; Gen. 2–5; I Chron. 1; Gen. 6–8; 9–14; Psalm 33; (or half of it); Gen. 15–50

Job 1–21; Psalm 73; 10; Job 22–end

Exodus; Psalm 19, Psalm 78 (I may want to repeat the exegesis after the book of 2Samuel), Psalm 114; (maybe place Psalm 19 with Gen. 1?)

Leviticus 1–26, 27,

Numbers (1–19), Psalm 90, Numbers 20–21, Psalm 136, Numbers 22–36,

Deuteronomy; the Psalms addendum to the Pentateuch (Psalms 81, 95, 135); (I had Psalm 105 in this group, but later found it in 1Chron. 16).

Joshua 1–end (Psalm 68);

Judges 1–8, Psalm 83; Judges 9–21;


1Chron. Introduction (for chapters 1–9); 2–9

While examining what I have done so far, I feel that it appears to be disorganized, so I am reorganizing this into a chart for each book. When a psalm definitely belongs in this place, I will mark it with 2 asterisks; when a psalm probably belongs here, I will mark it with one asterisk. If I have decided to place a psalm simply because it is a reasonable or a good fit, it will not be marked. Footnote

Because David wrote so extensively, and because there is a parallel history to be found in the book of Chronicles, I feel that it would be best to present the books of Samuel and Kings in a table, where it will be easy to see our divergences.

A Chronological Approach to Teaching Scripture




Other Scriptures



Psalm 2





Psalm 99





Psalm 133





Psalms 15, 23, 29, 103



Psalm 29 possibly written during a thunderstorm, which is why David wrote it when outdoors


Psalm 131





Psalm 144



God trains David’s hands for battle and he prays for prosperity. Note: compare the word to sing as it is found in Scripture and see TSK in Judges 5:1. I have not done this psalm yet.


Psalm 59; 58, 70



Psalm 58 is similar thematically to Psalm 59; David prays for the punishment of the wicked. It is not clear that Psalm 70 belongs here.


Psalm 70



David prays for deliverance.


Psalm 56 34





Psalm 142 57





Psalm 52





Psalm 63 41





Psalm 7 103 55 54

1Chron. 12:8–18


Because of the last line I could place Psalm 54 at the end of 1Sam. 25; David is thinking about the Ziphites who have betrayed him; but God has allowed him to see his enemy, Nabal, die


Psalm  25 26



which I added because David asks for vindication in Psalm 26; and the other psalms appear to be with Psalm 26. Keil and Delitzsch place Psalm 24 with the moving of the Ark; so does Zodhiates. Therefore, I am going to move it there. Have I done these yet?


Psalm 110



which I have added in here because of 1Samuel 23:29 24:4—I don’t know if anyone else places it here or not. Zion is mentioned, so perhaps after 2Sam. 5?


Psalm 2



Psalm 2 and 110 should be together; but I don’t know where yet


Psalm 35



An imprecatory psalm against his enemies.


Psalm 27



I don’t know if anyone places this here or not. It reads before he was anointed, so maybe I need to move this.


Psalm 140



Maybe delay Psalm 140 until 2Sam. 4?



1Chron. 12:1–8





1Chron. 12:19–21


This passage may be covered either at the end of 1Sam. 29 (when these men join David) or in 1Sam. 30, when they actually help David.


Psalm 8 13



Possibly save Psalm 13 for when David is king. This could very well be written when Saul was after him.

Psalm 8 sounds like David, after his victory against the Amalekites, while sitting under the stars, in the territory of Gath.


Psalm 17



This is for David when under pressure even though he is in fellowship.


Psalm 118



This psalm might better be placed around 2Sam. 4 because of vv. 10–12 or after 2Sam. 19 because of v. 18; the NIV places this with moving the Ark, perhaps because of the gates of righteousness (p. 801).


Psalm 143



David’s soul longs for God and prays for the destruction of his enemies


Psalm 20–21

1Chron. 10


David testifies to the reality of God’s deliverance. 21 might be good to teach when David has been made king.


Psalm 139



Prior to Samuel; about how God knows David

Psalm Placement

Chronological Approach 1Samuel

Chronological Approach 2Samuel

Chronological Approach 1Kings

Chronological Approach 2Kings

Psalms Classified by Title

Other Classifications of Psalms

Psalm Placement Chart

Subject Matter of the Psalms

A Chronological Approach to Teaching Scripture




Other Scriptures








Psalm 140



David asks to be delivered from evil men; maybe back in 1Sam. 26?



1Chron. 11:1–3 12:22–40




Psalm 40; Psalm 37

1Chron. 29:26–27


David speaks of deliverance from his enemies


Psalm 30

1Chron. 11:4–47


Hiram builds a house for David; David recognizes all that God has done for him. Psalm 30 is for the dedication of David’s house.

The men named here are actually David’s supporters after those named in 1Chron. 12.


Psalm 101

1Chron. 14:8–17


David’s promises to God.


Psalm 141



David asks for God to keep him from mental and verbal sins

6 (first half)

Psalm 24; 47; 8; 15; 68 (I’m not sure about Psalm 8; check to see how this compares with the exegesis of 1Chron. 15). Edersheim lists Psalms 15 68 78 101 (especially) on p. 528.

1Chron. 15:1–29


Keil and Delitzsch and Zodhiates all say Psalm 24 belongs here, for the procession of the Ark, so I will plaice it after the study of 1Chron. 15.

Psalm 8 is just a wonderful celebration of God and His creation and how God actually gives some thought to us. Psalm 68 celebrates God and Israel’s history as led by God.

David speaks about dwelling in God’s holy tent in Psalm 15, but of the Temple in Psalm 68. I originally placed this as an early psalm of David’s, but it is possible that this was sung when the Ark was moved.

78 written by Asaph, but there was an Asaph leading the songs. It does deal with Israel’s history.

101 does not seem appropriate to me.

Additional notes: 1Chron. 15:20 and Psalm 46 inscription both have the term Alemoth; therefore I originally placed Psalm 46 here. However, it fits better with Sennacherib’s invasion in 2Kings 19.

1Chron. 15:21 has the term Sheminith, which is also found in Psalms 6 and 12. Psalm 6 is clearly a psalm written when David was under great discipline, and after he became king. This is not where I would place Psalm 12 either.

The NIV Study Bible includes Psalms 24•, 47•, 68•, 118 and 132 (incomplete) in a processional liturgy celebrating the Lord’s entrance into Zion. Footnote 118 is a psalm by David, perhaps after discipline, and perhaps rightly placed before he takes Jerusalem. Psalm 132 mentions David several times and his desire to find a place for God. This may have been written after David moved the Ark to Jerusalem; sort of a memorial to that act.

Possible psalms to include with the moving of the Ark: Psalm 47• 132• 146:10• 149:2• (from Robinson). I have begun to do Psalms 146–150, but they do not belong with David bringing the Ark to Jerusalem.

I think I will also do Psalm 78?

6 (2nd half)

Psalm 105, 96, 106

1Chron. 16


Portions of these three psalms are found in 1Chron. 16:8–36. I need to make some relevant comments in Psalm 106, expand 105 and do 96.


Psalm 5 27 29 65 138



There are 5 psalms of David which speak of the Temple: Psalms 5 27 29 65 138. These might be reasonably placed before David speaks to Nathan about building the Temple (2Sam. 7) but after he has consolidated his power (2Sam. 5–6). I may have placed these psalms elsewhere already; however, so far I have only exegeted Psalm 29. Temple may be used in two ways: for the Throne Room of God in heaven and for the physical Temple here on earth.


Psalm 122



David wants all to come to Jerusalem fo worship God


Psalm 138



You have elevated Your Word above Your name—David praises God for deliverance


Psalm 145



David praises God for all He has done


Psalm 89

1Chron. 17:1–27


The Davidic Covenant is found in 2Sam. 7:8–16


Psalm 132

1Chron. 17:1–27


Someone else (it appears) looks back at David and his thinking concerning bringing the Ark to Jerusalem.


Psalm 60 108



Psalm 108 is a mixture of Psalms 57 & 60. Psalm 60 appears to be David’s war with the Edomites briefly covered in 2Sam. 8:13–14


Psalm 20 18 124



Delay Psalm 18 until around 2Sam. 4 or 5 or 8? Psalm 18 seems to be associated with God’s covenant with David (see v. 50).







Psalm 44

1Chron. 11:10–47? 19


David’s great wars with Ammon and Aram.

11:1–12:25 (12:12)

Psalm 51 Psalm 32 Edersheim puts them in this order: 38, 6, 51, 32



Ending with David’s sin with Bathsheba. Several put Psalm 6 38 here because they are apparently David under discipline; I will place it with the census. Psalm 38 may belong with the revolution against David.


Psalm 21



A crown of gold is mentioned in both passages


Psalm 3



Psalm 31 seems to fit will with the revolution and with this location can be adjusted later.


Psalm 22 Psalm 31



David is cursed, which lets us know how some of the people feel about David; Psalm 22 and 31 are apropos to this.


Psalm 38 86



death of Absalom; or after the pursuance by Saul. I will move Psalm 38 to 2Sam. 24


Psalm 16



placed here because David speaks of his heritage


Psalm 78

1Chron. 11:10–47?


which would be the second time this psalm is exegeted


Psalm 6 Psalm 38



Clearly a poem about sin and punishment and physical illness; apropos here. These psalms appear to be very similar.





David purchases a place where God may be worshiped.

Psalm 12 46 have not been placed yet, but I did complete the exegesis.

Psalm Placement

Chronological Approach 1Samuel

Chronological Approach 2Samuel

Chronological Approach 1Kings

Chronological Approach 2Kings

Psalms Classified by Title

Other Classifications of Psalms

Psalm Placement Chart

Subject Matter of the Psalms

A Chronological Approach to Teaching Scripture




Other Scriptures






















Psalm Placement

Chronological Approach 1Samuel

Chronological Approach 2Samuel

Chronological Approach 1Kings

Chronological Approach 2Kings

Psalms Classified by Title

Other Classifications of Psalms

Psalm Placement Chart

Subject Matter of the Psalms

A Chronological Approach to Teaching Scripture




Other Scriptures




















Isa. 36–37

Psalm 46 celebrates God’s awesome power and deliverance during times of great catastrophe.

Psalm Placement

Chronological Approach 1Samuel

Chronological Approach 2Samuel

Chronological Approach 1Kings

Chronological Approach 2Kings

Psalms Classified by Title

Other Classifications of Psalms

Psalm Placement Chart

Subject Matter of the Psalms


Edersheim puts the Psalms in this order: 59, 7, 56, 34, 57, 52, 142, 54—these are the psalms during which David was persecuted.


Unplaced Davidic Psalms: Psalm 4 5 6 (David is under severe discipline in this psalm; he mentions his bed and his couch, so this is after he has become king); 9 (judgment of the nations by a just God; the psalm focuses upon the Second Advent); 11 (taking refuge in God); 12 (deception and other sins of the tongue; God opposes such men); 14 (no one seeks after God; almost identical to Psalm 53); 27 (David has complete trust in God; either after 1Sam. 23 or 26); 28 (David prays for God’s deliverance and praises God for answering his prayer); 33 (God’s direct involvement with His creation); 53 (almost identical to Psalm 14); 61 (David takes refuge in God); 62 (David is totally dependent upon God); 64 (David’s enemies will be thwarted); 65 (God gives His grace to man and the earth; the temple is mentioned, so place this where God tells David that he will not build the Temple); 69 (David is persecuted; this psalm can also be applied to the sufferings of Jesus Christ)


2Kings 1–23:30 (Psalm 44);

2Kings 23:31–

1Chron. –21; Psalm 39 (David appears to be under discipline); I and II Chronicles (Psalm 94, 119)


Ezra (perhaps Psalm 118 and/or 136 should come in around Ezra 3:10–11? One or both of these psalms is clearly sung at the time of the rebuilding of the Temple) Nehemiah


Matthew 1–27 (Psalm 22); 27–28.

Psalm Placement

Chronological Approach 1Samuel

Chronological Approach 2Samuel

Chronological Approach 1Kings

Chronological Approach 2Kings

Psalms Classified by Title

Other Classifications of Psalms

Psalm Placement Chart

Subject Matter of the Psalms

Maybe I should do Psalm 135 and 136 after Numbers 21? I thought about Psalm 68 after Judges, but the mention of the temple (v. 29) in a psalm of David should be dealt with during the time of David. I have exegeted Psalm 104, but I may place it after Genesis or in Genesis, rather than after Deuteronomy. How about the Messianic psalms being taught in between the testaments?

Comment It is possible that the key to placing the psalms is their title. Bolded psalm indicates beginning of a new book.

Psalms Classified by Title

No title

1, 2, 10, 33, 43, 71, 91, 93–97, 99, 104, 105, 106, 107, 111–118, 119, 135, 136, 137, 146–150.

A psalm of David which names a specific incident in his life.

3, 7, 18, 30, 34, 38 (for a memorial), 51, 52, 54 (a Maskil of David on stringed instruments), 56 (a Mikhtam of David), 57 (Mikhtam), 59 (Mikhtam, Al-tashheth), 60 (Mikhtam, according to Shushan Eduth), 63, 70 (for a memorial), 142 (a prayer).

A psalm by David for an unnamed choir director. Specific musical accompaniment is suggested.

4, 5, 6, 12, 61.

A psalm of David for the choir director and additional but confusing information.

8 (on the Gittith—could this be a musical instrument not mentioned elsewhere in Scripture?), 9 (on the Muthlabben—could this be a musical instrument not mentioned elsewhere in Scripture?), 22 (upon aijeleth hashshahar—dawn breaking on a mountain?), 69 (According to Shoshannim),

A psalm by David for an unnamed choir director.

11, 13, 14, 19, 20, 21, 31, 36 (the word psalm is not in the title), 40, 41, 64, 65 (a psalm, a song), 68 (a psalm, a song), 108 (a song, a psalm), 109, 139, 140.

A Maskil of David (for the choir director)

32, 42, 44, 45, 52, 53 (according to mahalath), 54, 55 (on stringed instruments), 74, 78, 88, 89, 142. David is not specifically named in Psalm 42 44 45. Asaph is named as the writer of Psalm 74 78, Heman for Psalm 88 and Ethan for Psalm 89.

A Mikhtam of David

16, 56, 57, 58, 59, 60 (Al-tashheth is found prior to Mikhtam in Psalms 57–59).

Praise by David


A psalm by David and no other identifying factors.

15, 23, 24, 29, 101, 110, 141, 143.

By David and no other identifying factors.

25, 26, 27, 28, 32, 35, 37, 103, 138, 144.

A Song of David (a song of ascents)

122, 124, 131, 133.

A prayer of David

17, 86.

A psalm by David for the choir director, for Jeduthun.

39, 62 (according to Jeduthun).

For the choir director. A Maskil of the sons of Korah.

42, 44, 45 (more stuff in title).

A Psalm of the Sons of Korah for the choir director

46 (a song), 47, 49, 84 (on the Gittith), 85, 88 (a song; according to Mahalath Leannoth. Maskil of Heman, the Ezrahite).

A Psalm of the Sons of Korah

48 (a song), 87 (a song).

A Psalm of Asaph

50, 73, 75 (for choir director, Al-tashheth, a song), 76 (for choir director on stringed instruments, a song), 77 (for choir director, according to Jeduthun), 79, 80 (for choir director, El Shoshannim; Eduth), 81 (for choir director on the Gittith), 82, 83 (a song).

A Maskil of Asaph

74, 78.

A Psalm of Solomon


A Song of Solomon

127 (a song of ascents).

A Maskil of Ethan the Ezrahite (see 88)


A Prayer of Moses


No author; a Song, a Psalm for the choir director

66, 67 (with stringed instruments).

No author

92 (a Psalm, a song for the Sabbath day), 98 (a psalm), 100 (a psalm of thanksgiving), 102 (a prayer of the afflicted, when he is faint and pours out his complaint before Jehovah).

No author; a song of ascents

120, 121, 123, 125, 126, 128–130, 132, 134.

Other Classifications of Psalms

Comment Messianic Psalms

2, 8, 16, 22, 40 (portions of it), 41, 45, 54 (to some extent), 68, 69, 89, 109, 110, 118.





Psalm Placement

Chronological Approach 1Samuel

Chronological Approach 2Samuel

Chronological Approach 1Kings

Chronological Approach 2Kings

Psalms Classified by Title

Other Classifications of Psalms

Psalm Placement Chart

Subject Matter of the Psalms

Red indicates finished (ostensibly); Blue indicates that I still have to place it and do it; Magenta means that I have placed the Psalm but I have not exegeted it yet.

Psalm Placement Chart





























































































































































Psalm Placement

Chronological Approach 1Samuel

Chronological Approach 2Samuel

Chronological Approach 1Kings

Chronological Approach 2Kings

Psalms Classified by Title

Other Classifications of Psalms

Psalm Placement Chart

Subject Matter of the Psalms

The five books of the psalms, so far as I can tell, have no easily discernable themes. That is, imprecatory psalms are found throughout, as are Messianic psalms, as are Davidic psalms. There appears to be no rhyme or reason for the grouping of these books.

For below, also refer to The Open Bible, Psalm introduction and the Good News Bible

Also see The Open Bible for the classification of the psalms

General Topics and Contents of the Psalms

Book one: Psalms 1–4 Primarily Prayers of Faith in Adversity

(Exceptions: Praise: Psalms 8, 24, 28, 33; Royal: Psalm 2, 21;

Psalms of Righteousness: Psalm 1, 15 Penitential: Psalm 32; Revelation: Psalm 19


Psalm  1     The righteous man vs. the wicked

Psalm  2     Messianic. I think that I will insert this after 1Samuel 2:10.

Psalm  3     A psalm of David when he fled his son Absalom

Psalm  4     by David; it sounds as though this is also while on the run

Psalm  5     by David; imprecatory psalm, based upon God’s character

Psalm  6     A psalm by David where David asks not to be disciplined by God in anger. It is not clear when David wrote (or prayed) this psalm. David is clearly feeling the pain of discipline here, and his enemies are aware that David is under great pressure. David is under physical and emotional stress; also imprecatory at the end

Psalm  7     A Shiggalon of David concerning Cush, a Benjamite; whom Edersheim identifies with Doeg the Edomite (p. 486). I believe this to be Saul instead. This psalm obviously takes place during David’s time as a fugitive and could be covered almost anywhere between 1Samuel 19–30.

Psalm  8     Glorious God, Creator of the Universe, places the earth and the things in the earth under man’s control. Thought by some to be Messianic, but, originally, it was not. After Gen. 1 (or 1Samuel 16) or 1Chron. 15 (David praises God’s creation and plan).

Psalm  9     David speaks of God judging the nations during the Second Advent.

Psalm 10     A prayer for the overthrow of the wicked. This would fit well with the book of Job.

Psalm 11     David speaks of taking refuge in God.

Psalm 12     David speaks of deception and other sins of the tongue and contrasts them with God speaking pure words. I’ve exegeted this psalm, but I have not placed it yet.

Psalm 13     David calls for the destruction of an enemy who is exalted over him (who is likely King Saul)

Psalm 14     A psalm of David; no one seeks after God; almost identical to Psalm 53.

Psalm 15     A psalm of personal honor and integrity. After 1Samuel 16, although I am not married to this placement. David asks, who may abide in Your Tent and who may live on Your holy hill? This suggests Mount Zion, which David had just conquered at this time; and it suggests either the Tent of God or the place that David had designed for the Ark (but, more likely, the place where God would give us to live?). I completed this and placed it with the psalms which David sang to Saul; psalms which he composed while a shepherd-boy. However, I believe that this are more reasonably placed with the moving of the Ark.

Psalm 16     David speaks of his heritage, and speaks of our Lord’s soul not being left in Sheol. This would be reasonably placed near the end of David’s life (maybe after 2Sam. 21).

Psalm 17     David tells God that He has tested him and he has passed these tests; he asks for God to remove his enemy (ostensibly, Saul again). I’ll place this right before Saul’s death.

Psalm 18     David writes this when escaping from the hand of Saul. David speaks of putting his trust in God and of God’s immense power.

Psalm 19     David write of God’s creation and the Law. He urges dependence upon God, given that God is the great Creator.

Psalm 20     David prays that God will answer us when we call upon Him.

Psalm 21     David tells us that those who trust in God will not be disappointed.

Psalm 22     A Messianic Psalm which deals with the cross. It is very detailed. Insert into Matthew, Mark or Luke.

Psalm 23     The Lord is my shepherd, I shall not want. An analogy is set up by David between God and a shepherd. After 1Samuel 16.

Psalm 24     God is the Creator and Founder of all the earth. Who can know Him? A psalm of David. Since Psalms 24–26 seem to be together, and since Psalm 26 is best placed around 1Sam. 23–24, I will add Psalms 24–25 to that time period as well. Keil and Delitzsch: David composed the 24th Psalm for the religious ceremonies connected with the removal of the ark to Mount Zion. Nothing else in context to support their view. Zodhiates makes the same statement; so I changed my mind and moved Psalm 24 with the moving of the Ark.

Psalm 25     David writes of growth and guidance from the Lord. For v. 11, check references in NIV 1Samuel 12:22. See previous psalm for placement info.

Psalm 26     David asks God to vindicate him and this is based upon his actions. The fact that David asks for this indicates that this psalm was probably written early on, when Saul was pursuing him. I will place it after 1Sam. 23 and after psalm 54.

Psalm 27     David seems to be confident of defeating all of his enemies and he says he is willing to wait on the Lord. My thinking is, this would be written to celebrate the incidents of 1Samuel 25, when David realizes that God will fight all of his enemies for him. I may want to include the previous three psalms prior to this.

Psalm 28     David prays for God’s help and praises God for answer him.

Psalm 29     The majesty of God is compared to various wonders of nature. A psalm of David, possibly written during a thunderstorm. After 1Samuel 16.

Psalm 30     A psalm written by David to dedicate the House. Would this be the House of God or his own house? Since David did not build a house for the Ark of God, it would make sense that this would be his first house in Jerusalem, built by Hiram king of Tyre (2Sam. 5:11–12). Some verses deal with the resurrection.

Psalm 31     David levels a complaint as well as praise. He seems to be on the run, as per vv. 11–13, but since he mentions his iniquity (v. 10), this is probably to be placed after the Bathsheba incident.

Psalm 32     Psalm 32 is generally presented as being parallel to Psalm 51, although it is not as clearly identified as such. David speaks of a man being happy because his transgression is covered; and it appears as if this plasm may have been written after Psalm 51. That David has acknowledged his sin to God is clear in this psalm. However, his physical pain due to discipline is not easily tied to God disciplining David because of his tryst with Bathsheba. This psalm also gives a wonderful overview of the spiritual life in a short 11 verses.

Psalm 33     God’s direct involvement with His creation.

Psalm 34     David wrote this psalm after feigning madness before Abimelech. It is a true acrostic, which is probably David’s way or saying, I’m not a frothing psycho.

Psalm 35     David asks God to fight against those who would fight against him. Imprecatory psalm. This sounds as though he is on the run.

Psalm 36     The ungodly and the godly; a psalm by David.

Psalm 37     Although this is a psalm that David may have written late in life, because he is praising God for faithfulness and for exalting him above the evil men which he came in contact with, we will place this in I1Samuel 5, once David has been made king over all Israel.

Psalm 38     David under discipline. It sounds as though he has repented here, so place after Absalom’s death. The title calls this psalm a memorial. This is very similar to Psalm 6; David asks not to be disciplined in God’s anger; and he speaks of great pain that he is under because of this discipline. Even his friends and companions stand off from David, in this psalm, which portion sounds very much like the Book of Job. At the end, David confesses his sin and speaks of his enemies, who hate him wrongfully. Although it is not clear when this was written, it might fit in well with the revolution that David faced after the Bathsheba incident. Place after 2Sam. 18.

Psalm 39     David speaks of guarding his tongue; but he is apparently under some discipline in this psalm. This sounds later in his life and may occur after the census. Place at the end of 1Chron. 21.

Psalm 40     This is written by David looking back at being pursued by Saul. However, it is written from the perspective of having been delivered from that. It is also a Messianic psalm. I will cover this after 2Sam. 5.

Psalm 41     David speaks of God delivering one in a day of trouble. Since this sounds like more of a one-time thing, I will place it after Doeg’s betrayal of David (compare Psalm 41:9, which is a reference to Judas and possible to Doeg). 1Sam. 23:14 may be a good place for this.

Psalm Placement Chart

Psalm Placement


Psalm 42     A psalm of the sons of Korah who thirst for God, believing that He has forgotten them. It appears as though they are outside of the nation of Israel. Should this be placed with the exiles?

Psalm 43     A similar theme to Psalm 42, 44. The author asks to be vindicated in an ungodly nation. I was going to place this with David, but then I changed my mind, as the author is not known.

Psalm 44     A psalm of sons of Asaph. This is a time of national disaster for Israel. There is not a lot of overt idolatry (perhaps none), but Israel still suffers military defeats. The psalmist cries out to God to deliver Israel. This works well with the end of Lev. 26, but better with II Kings 23. The psalmist claims to be blameless, along with Israel, which we must accept at face value, under the inspiration of the Holy Spirit.

Psalm 45 

Psalm 46     Millennial passage (see Psalm 46:9). The word Alemoth is found in the inscription in this psalm, and in 1Chron. 15:20. The celebration of the destruction of Sennacherib’s army when all of Israel was threatened is a marvelous location for this psalm.

Psalm 47     God’s rule over all the nations is celebrated; the NIV Study Bible sees this as one of the processional psalms.

Psalm 48 

Psalm 49 

Psalm 50 

Psalm 51     David wrote this after Nathan the prophet spoke to him about his sin with Bathsheba (I1Samuel 12). Psalm 51 is clearly David’s confession of sin with regards to his sin of adultery and murder. Several times in this psalm, David demands that God forgive him of his sin and make him white as snow. David also promises to guide others into forgiveness as well. In this psalm, he also speaks of animal sacrifices and of the nation Israel.

Psalm 52     David wrote this in conjunction with the half truths told by Doeg the Edomite to Saul, which resulted in the deaths of the priests at Nob (1Samuel 22). It is listed among the imprecatory psalms; however, David, rather than asking for the destruction of evil men, speaks assured that it will occur.

Psalm 53     Almost identical to Psalm 14.

Psalm 54     A psalm written by David asking for vindication. It was written at the time that the Ziphites revealed to Saul where David was (1Samuel 23:19). (Because of the last line of this psalm, I could place this at the end of 1Sam. 25; David is thinking about the Ziphites who have betrayed him; but God has allowed him to see his enemy, Nabal, die)

Psalm 55     David is blind sided by the betrayal of a friend. Perhaps this should go with the Doeg psalms, in the middle of 1Sam. 23 (or after 1Sam. 22). Since this is not the only time that David was betrayed by a friend, this could also be exegeted later, even while David is king. David could have been thinking about Joab when writing vv. 21–22. This was not the only time that David was betrayed, so it is possible that David considers several of these incidents together, and deals with them all in one psalm.

Psalm 56     David says that this psalm was written when the Philistines seized him in Gath, which probably puts us in 1Samuel 21. This is a psalm dealing with putting David’s trust in God, despite what men have done against him. This psalm deals directly with David’s fears, which suddenly came upon him when he was standing before Achish, king of Gath.

Psalm 57     David writes this as he flees from Saul to a cave (probably the Cave of Adullam). He asks for God to protect him; the ending of the psalm is rather celebratory. 1Samuel 22:2

Psalm 58     Imprecatory psalm of David. He calls for punishment of the wicked.

Psalm 59     Imprecatory psalm of David. He calls for God to deliver him from his enemies. As his enemies are destroyed, David will sing of God’s grace. Inscription places this in 1Samuel 19:11.

Psalm 60     A psalm of David when either he or Joab returned and struck down 12,000 men of Edom in the Valley of Salt (see I1Samuel 8:3, 13 Psalm 60:inscription). David calls upon God the vanquish their enemies.

Psalm 61     David takes refuge in God.

Psalm 62     David is totally dependent upon God.

Psalm 63     David wrote this psalm as a fugitive in the desert wilderness of Judah (1Samuel 23:14). David draws an analogy between his thirst and privation in the desert to his thirst for God. David recognizes that those who pursue him will be overcome.

Psalm 64     David’s enemies will be thwarted

Psalm 65     God gives His grace to man and the earth (a Davidic psalm).

Psalm 66     God is the awesome creator of all the earth; and He listens to us (a psalm of David).

Psalm 67     All nations praise God and are blessed by Him. Not a Davidic psalm, but probably belongs with the Millennial psalms. This is in between several Davidic psalms, so it may be one as well.

Psalm 68     God is a great God of power. David sees Him as the God of Sinai and the God of the Sanctuary.

Psalm 69     David is persecuted; this psalm can also be applied to the sufferings of Jesus Christ.

Psalm 70     David prays for deliverance from those who persecute him. He prays for them to retreat in shame.

Psalm 71 

Psalm Placement Chart

Psalm Placement


Psalm 72 

Psalm 73     Asaph’s stumbling because of God’s treatment of the ungodly.

Psalm 74 

Psalm 75 

Psalm 76 

Psalm 77 

Psalm 78     This psalm begins with God delivering Israel in the desert, and is therefore well-suited after the book of Exodus. Many of the things which occurred in Exodus are found in this psalm—the manna, the gushing of water from the rock. At about 3/4ths of the way through the psalm, God has taken them to the holy land. That, obviously, will be future from Exodus. This psalm continues all the way to David. Overall theme: God guides His people, despite their unfaithfulness. This might be reasonably covered in Ex. 40 and at the end of the book of 2Samuel.

Psalm 79     A psalm of Asaph against the Gentiles who have invaded Israel and defiled God’s holy Temple. Asaph asks for God to pour out His wrath upon these enemies of Israel. Overall theme: God cries out to Israel indicating all that He would do for her if she would only turn to Him. This psalm is written in the first person.

Psalm 80     Asaph calls upon God for restoration and deliverance (not placed yet)

Psalm 81 

Psalm 82 

Psalm 83 

Psalm 84 

Psalm 85 

Psalm 86     David prays for grace and forgiveness. I placed this around the time of Absalom; however, it may fit when David is on the run from Saul as well.

Psalm 87 

Psalm 88 

Psalm 89     This is an amazing psalm, which does more than simply restate the Davidic Covenant. This psalm cites God’s ability and His faithfulness to fulfill His covenant to David. However, the psalmist sees that there are serious problems in Israel, and pleads with God to fulfill His covenant to David. In fact, the psalmist questions God about fulfilling His promises to David, and, with the very same words, gives Jesus Christ as the fulfillment of the Davidic Covenant.

Psalm Placement Chart

Psalm Placement


Psalm 90     A psalm of Moses written during the 38½ silent years.

Psalm 91 

Psalm 92 

Psalm 93 

Psalm 94     God is called upon to avenge Himself of those who are unrighteous. This appears to go with the invasion of other countries into Israel.

Psalm 95 

Psalm 96      We find this psalm in 1Chron. 16:23–33 when David brings the Ark to Jerusalem.

Psalm 97 

Psalm 98 

Psalm 99     God is faithful to Israel. Moses, Aaron and Samuel are all mentioned. Place this after 1Samuel 7.

Psalm 100

Psalm 101   David promises faithfulness to God; it sounds as though he has just been made king over Israel.

Psalm 102   This penitential psalm is not attributed to any human author. It begins with the psalmist speaking of being in great pain and suffering. The writer speaks of Zion, which is where David’s palace is built; so that this could be written by one of the good kings of Judah (e.g., Hezekiah). The latter half of the psalm speaks of Israel as a nation, and its relationship to other nations. Although this psalm could have certainly been written by a king under discipline, he works this into Israel’s relationship to God and Israel’s place in the world. God immutability can be depended upon, which suggests that, perhaps this was written when Israel or Judah went under the 5th Stage of National Discipline.

Psalm 103   An incredible psalm of grace and salvation written by David. David reveals a complete understanding of the gospel in this psalm.

Psalm 104   I originally placed this psalm after Deuteronomy, but most of it deals with creation, so I will place it after Gen. 1.

Psalm 105   God’s faithfulness to Israel and His great power. We find much of this psalm in 1Chron. 16:8–22 when David brings the Ark to Jerusalem.

Psalm 106   Early history and failures of Israel written from the perspective of an exile. The psalmist looks to God to deliver Israel as He has in the past. He acknowledges that Israel has failed, just as Israel failed in the past. We find a portion of this psalm in 1Chron. 16:34–36 when David brings the Ark to Jerusalem.

Psalm Placement Chart

Psalm Placement


Psalm 107   God delivers all men who believe in Him and petition Him. Men’s troubles are a result of their own wickedness. Although many of the illustrations found within refer back to Israel, Israel is not named specifically as to the people of God; this is more universal.

Psalm 108   Psalm 108:1–5 = 57:7–11; 108:6–13 = 60:5–12 David celebrates God and speaks of the countries which belong to Him. He calls upon God to deliver him from his national adversaries.

Psalm 109   Imprecatory psalm of David against those who have deceived him and spoke lies about him. This sounds as though he is speaking about Saul and his many accusers. Conversely, he asks God to grant him grace.

Psalm 110   This is the marvelous Psalm of David where he predicts the coming Messiah, His ascension and session. The first half may be, more or less, applicable to David; however, this psalm took a very different turn later on. His men, in 1Samuel 24:4, try to get David to kill Saul, and quote “This is the day the Lord has put your enemies into your hand.” Perhaps, they referred to this psalm.

Psalm 111 

Psalm 112 

Psalm 113 

Psalm 114 

Psalm 115 

Psalm 116 

Psalm 117 

Psalm 118   A landmark psalm with many well-known verses: The Lord is for me; who will be against me? (v. 6). The stone which the builders rejected has become the chief corner stone (v. 22). This is a psalm of appreciation after going through a time of distress.

Psalm 119   This appears to be the Death March, when Sennacherib led the Jews out of Israel. I recall that from Bob’s teaching, but I don’t recall any other specifics.

Psalm 120 

Psalm 121 

Psalm 122   David calls upon all to come to Jerusalem to worship God. After 2Sam. 6 would be a good place to put this.

Psalm 123 

Psalm 124   David praises God for delivering Israel time and time again. Place after 2Sam. 8.

Psalm 125 

Psalm 126 

Psalm 127 

Psalm 128 

Psalm 129 

Psalm 130   Psalm 130 speaks of a man under discipline; but it could be Israel under God’s discipline as well. It is a very short psalm where the writer calls upon God’s grace and forgiveness. At the end, he calls upon the final redemption of nation Israel.

Psalm 131   David sings a psalm about his faithfulness to God. Place this early on after 1Sam. 17

Psalm 132   This psalm deals with David’s burden to bring the Ark to Jerusalem, but it appears to be written by someone else.

Psalm 133   David’s psalm about brotherly unity; perhaps while he is out with the sheep. He does mention Zion in this psalm, which may mean this psalm should be placed later. After 1Sam. 16:11

Psalm 134 

Psalm 135 

Psalm 136 

Psalm 137 

Psalm 138   David’s psalm where he writes, You have magnified Your Word above Your name. David thanks God for being with him and delivering him, and speaks of kings and others who appreciate God and His Word.

Psalm 139   God’s omniscience and omnipresence. He knows David and David’s every thought. I’ll place this between the Samuel’s.

Psalm 140   David asks to be rescued from wicked and evil men. I will place this after 2Sam. 4. Perhaps after 1Sam. 26?

Psalm 141   David asks God to keep him from committed mental and verbal sins. I will place this psalm before the bringing of the Ark to Jerusalem.

Psalm 142   David writing probably from the Cave of Adullam. His soul is in pain and he calls out to God for deliverance.

Psalm 143   This final penitential psalm is written by David, and he asks not to be judged by God, as all men are sinful in God’s sight. David writes as if he is experiencing separation from God and that he is asking to be reacquainted with God. He asks God for deliverance, for teaching of God’s will and for the destruction of his adversaries. David asks God not to judge him on the basis of his sins; and says that he longs for God.

Psalm 144   David thanks God for training his hands for battle; he asks God, “Why do you think of me?” And he prays for prosperity. I will place this after his successful military endeavors under Saul.

Psalm 145   David praises God for all He has done. I will place this after the move of the Ark.

Psalm 146 

Psalm 147 

Psalm 148   All that God has created is called upon to praise Him. Right after Gen. 1. Israel is mentioned.

Psalm 149 

Psalm 150 

Psalm Placement

Chronological Approach 1Samuel

Chronological Approach 2Samuel

Chronological Approach 1Kings

Chronological Approach 2Kings

Psalms Classified by Title

Other Classifications of Psalms

Psalm Placement Chart

Subject Matter of the Psalms

Exegetical Studies in the Psalms