Commentaries on the Psalms

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For more great commentaries on Psalms, be sure to check:
Commentaries on the Whole Old Testament
& Whole Bible Commentaries

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Subsections

Commentaries on Individual Psalms  170+

The Imprecatory Psalms  12+

Psalters Online  110+

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Order of Contents  90+

Best  17
More
.      Reformation  5
.      1600’s  8
.      Devotional  6
.      Intermediate  33
.      Advanced  7
Early Church  8
Medieval Church  2
Jewish Commentary  1
Psalms 1-26  2
On the Psalms Generally  8
Each Psalm in History  3
Authenticity of  4

 

 

 

The Best Commentaries on the Psalms

Reformer

Calvin, John – Commentary on the Psalms

*** “Calvin is a tree whose ‘leaf also shall not whither’; whatever he has written lives on, and is never out of date, because he expounded the Word without bias or partiality.” – Spurgeon

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1600’s

Ainsworth, Henry – Annotations upon the Five Books of Moses, the Book of the Psalms, and Song of Songs, or, Canticles, vol. 2, p. 408 ff.  d. 1622 

“Ainsworth was a celebrated scholar and an excellent divine.  His uncommon skill in Hebrew learning, and his excellent commentaries on the Scriptures are held in high reputation to this day.” – Brook’s Live of the Puritans

***“Thoroughly learned.  Though old, not out of date.” – Spurgeon

Bythner, Victor – The Lyre of David, or, an Analysis of the Psalms, Critical and Practical  Latin  d. 1670

Bythner (1605-1670) was reformed.  

*** – “We agree with the statement found in the Preface of this work: ‘Nearly two centuries have passed away, since Bythner, uncertain of its reception, first committed his Lyra to public light; during which time, instead of sinking, it has advanced in estimation; being admitted by all the learned to be the very best work on the Psalms in Hebrew.  The number of Hebrew radical words is 1867; of these, 1184 occur in the Psalms; it follows then, that a thorough knowledge of the language, and that Bythner’s Lyra, in being the best work on the Psalms, must be the best work on Hebrew in general.’  Our readers will scarcely need us to add that Bythner’s work is only useful to those who study the Hebrew.” – Spurgeon

Dickson, David 

A Brief Explication of the Psalms 1-50, 51-100, 101-150  Buy  1653-4

Dickson was a prominent Scottish covenanter.

*** – ‘A rich volume, dropping fatness.  Invaluable to the preacher.  Having read and re-read it, we can speak of its holy savor and suggestiveness.  We commend it with much fervor.’ – Spurgeon

The Psalms of David in metre, with the annotations of the Rev. David Dickson  d. 1662

These are brief summary notes and applications prefixed to each psalm in the psalter.  Mainly for devotional use.  Note that the available print-on-demand versions of this work by Nabu Press are a spectacularly unreadable farce.  Do not waste your money on them.

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1700’s

Horne, George – A Commentary of the Book of Psalms, in which their literal and historical sense as they relate to King David and the people or Israel, is illustrated; and their application to Messiah, to the church, and to individuals as members thereof is pointed out  d. 1792

Horne was a reformed Anglican.

***“It has been said that this author had no qualifications for a commentator except piety.  This is not true, for he had natural poetry in his soul; and even if it were true, his work would go far to show how abundantly piety compensates for other deficiencies.  He is among the best of our English writers on this part of Scripture, and certainly one of the most popular.” – Spurgeon

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Intermediate, 1800’s

Alexander, J.A. – The Psalms, Translated and Explained, vols. 1 (1-50), 2 (51-100), 3 (101-150)

Alexander was a justly renowned old Princeton scholar who was a first-rate exegete.

*** – “Occupies a first place among expositions.  It is a clear and judicious explanation of the text, and cannot be dispensed with.” – Spurgeon

‘Contains genuine scholarship and evangelical warmth which are singularly missing form many commentaries today…  Presbyterian.’ – Cyril J. Barber

Barnes, Albert – Psalms

Barnes was a new-school American Presbyterian.  R.L. Dabney spoke highly of ‘Notes’ on the whole Bible, which were originally intended to help Sunday School teachers.

*** “Thoroughly good.  Using these notes constantly, we are more and more struck with their value.  For the general run of preachers this is probably the best commentary extant.” – Spurgeon

Good, J.M.

The Book of Psalms; a New Translation with Notes  1854

*** “Dr. Good was a medical gentleman with a large practice, and yet he managed to produce this learned volume.  ‘I save every quarter of an hour for it,’ said he, ‘for my heart is in it.’  He was a man of great attainments and genuine piety.  The progress made in Hebrew philology and exegesis since his day has been great; but his work has not been altogether superseded.  It is of a high class, from a literary point of view, but must not be blindly followed.” – Spurgeon

Historical Outline of the Book of Psalms  1842

*** This is not a commentary, but may be regarded as an introduction to the work next mentioned, by the same author.  Historical light is frequently the very best which can be cast upon a passage, and Dr. Good has known how to apply it.  He may sometimes be thought fanciful, but he is never really speculative, and he almost always says something worth noting.” – Spurgeon

Murphy, James – A Critical and Exegetical Commentary on the Psalms  Buy  1875

Murphy was an evangelical, professor of Hebrew in Belfast, Ireland.

***“This may be called a volume of compressed thought.  The author has aimed at neither being too long nor too short.  He has succeeded in producing a very useful and usable work, with many points of unusual value.  Dr. Murphy is well known as an accomplished Hebraist and a lucid expositor.  We have already noticed his works on Genesis and Exodus.” – Spurgeon

‘A classic.’ – Cyril J. Barber

Perowne, J.J. Stewart – The Book of Psalms; a New Translation with Introductions and Notes Explanatory and Critical, vol. 1 (1-72), 2 (73-150)  1864-68

*** “A masterpiece of extraordinary learning and critical skill, although not altogether what we would desire.  The ‘Saturday Review’ said: ‘Mr. Perowne is probably as capable as anyone in England of doing all that Hebrew scholarship can do towards a better knowledge of the Psalms.  the learning which he has brought together gives a value of its own to his book, and makes it an important contribution to a department of Biblical scholarship in which we are at present rather poorly furnished.'” – Spurgeon

‘Valuable exegetical studies by an Anglican theologian.  The introductory essays on the poetry of the Hebrew, the theology of the Psalms, the probably origin and formation of the Psalter, and the inscriptions of the Psalms make rewarding reading.’ – Cyril J. Barber

Plumer, William – Studies in the Book of Psalms, being a Critical and Expository Commentary, with Doctrinal and Practical Remarks on the Entire Psalter  1867

This volume has been reprinted by the Banner of Truth and is a bit better than what Spurgeon describes below.

**“A huge volume, compiled from such works as were accessible to the author in the United States.  Full of instructive comment, but not very original, or remarkably learned.” – Spurgeon

Spurgeon, Charles, H. – The Treasury of David: containing an Original Exposition of the Book of Psalms; a Collection of Illustrative Extracts from the whole range of literature; a Series of Homiletical Hints upon almost every verse; and Lists of writers upon each Psalm

Spurgeon’s characteristically unique commentary on the psalms and his extensive quotes from the best authors thereon are much better than what his modest comments below admit.  This should be one of the first commentaries on the psalms that you buy.  The online version may have a more convenient organization than the actual volumes (which are usually not too costly).

** “To be completed in six volumes, if God permit.  Reviewers have handled this book with remarkable kindness, and the public have endorsed their judgment by largely purchasing the volumes already issued.  It would not become us to say more.” – Spurgeon

‘A classic in its field.  Richly rewarding, deeply devotional and pleasingly relevant.  Provides not only the thoughts of the great ‘Prince of Preachers’ of the last century, but also an abundance of quotations taken from the writings of those who have preceded him in the ministry of the Word.’ – Cyril J. Barber

Wilson, W. – The Psalms; with an Exposition, Typical and Prophetical of the Christian Dispensation, 2 vols.  1860

***“We have consulted Wilson with advantage and often quoted from him in the ‘Treasury of David’.  He is a clear, gospel expositor, and has written much that is weighty and precious.”

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Advanced, 1800’s

Delitzsch, Franz – Commentary on the Psalms

**“Thoroughly learned, but wants unction.  Not adapted for common readers, but scholars will prize it greatly.” – Spurgeon

Hengstenburg, E.W. – Commentary on the Psalms, vols. 1 (1-34), 2 (35-), 3 (79-150)

**“A masterly work; but about as dry as Gideon’s unwetted fleece.” – Spurgeon

‘An evangelical, scholarly work still worth consulting.’ – Cyril J. Barber

Kay, William – The Psalms translated from the Hebrew, with Notes, chiefly Exegetical  Buy  1871

*** – “A refreshing book; the notes being out of the ordinary run, and casting much light on many passages.  To thoroughly appreciate this author one should be a Hebrew scholar.” – Spurgeon

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Christ in the Psalms

Bonar, Andrew – Christ and his Church in the Book of Psalms  1859

Bonar, a minister in the Free Church of Scotland, exposits the psalms in addition to finding Christ in each one.  

*** “Of the highest order of merit.  The author does not strain the text, but gives its real meaning.  His remarks are always weighty, spiritual, and suggestive; we only wish there were more of them.  He has cultivated brevity.” – Spurgeon

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More Commentaries on the Psalms

The Reformation, 1500’s

Compilation

Selderhuis, Herman – Reformation Commentary on Scripture: Psalms 1-72  Buy

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Reformers

Luther, Martin 

Works  Buy

Vol. 10: First Lectures on the Psalms – 1-75
Vol. 11: First Lectures on the Psalms – 76-126
Vol. 12: Selected Psalms I
Vol. 13: Selected Psalms II
Vol. 14: Selected Psalms III

ed. Lenker – Commentary on the First Twenty-Two Psalms  1903

A Commentary on the Psalms called the ‘Psalms of Degrees’  1819  London

A Manual of the Book of Psalms; or the Subject-contents of all the Psalms  tr. Henry Cole

**“Luther needs no trumpeter.”  “Fragmentary, a mere table of contents, but truly Lutheran.” – Spurgeon

Capito, Wolfgang – An Epitome of the Psalms, or Brief Meditations upon the same, with diverse other most Christian Prayers  1539

Strigel, Victor – Part of the Harmony of King David’s Harp, vol. 1 (1-21), 2 (22-35), 3 (45-61), 4 (62-67), 5 (68-72)  1582  tr. Richard Robinson.  Strigel only comments on the first half of the Psalms.

Strigel (1524-1569) was a Lutheran who later moved to Heidelberg and accepted the Reformed view of the Eucharist.

** “This volume the expositor is not at all likely to see, and there is, therefore, the less need for us to speak of it.  Strigellius was the friend of Luther and Melancthon, and a man of sound sense and vast learning.” – Spurgeon

Beza, Theodore – The Psalms of David Truly Opened and Explained by Paraphrasis according to the right sense of every psalm, with large and ample arguments before every psalm declaring the true sense thereof  1590  This also contains, at the end, an exposition, in the same manner, of 14 Bible songs from the Old and New Testaments

Wilcox, Thomas – A Very Godly and Learned Exposition upon the Whole Book of Psalms  1591  

Wilcox (c.1549-1608) was a reformed puritan.

**  ‘Very old.  the notes are brief, but furnish many hints for sermons.’  ‘Short spiritual remarks, followed by many doctrinal inferences, calculated to suggest topics to preachers.’ – Spurgeon

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1600’s

Abbott, George – Brief Notes upon the Whole Book of Psalms  1651

Abbott (1604-1649) was a reformed Anglican.

**“An experimental exposition by a Member of Parliament under the Commonwealth.  Though not of the first order, many of his remarks are good.  Abbot was nephew to the Archbishop of the same name.” – Spurgeon

Bellarmine, Robert – Commentary on the Book of Psalms  Buy  1611

Bellarmine (1542-1621) was a prominent Roman Catholic divine and apologist.  For background to this work in English, see this dissertation.

**  “Popish, but marvelously good for a Cardinal.  He is frequently as evangelical as a Reformer.  He follows the [Latin] Vulgate text in this comment.” – Spurgeon

Ewart, J. – Lectures on the Psalms, vol. 1, 2, 3  mid-1600’s, published 1826

*  “The author was a Presbyterian Minister in the time of the Pretender [Charles II, in England, mid-1600’s], and we suspect that he was a high and dry Moderate.  His comments were given at the public reading of the Scriptures, and although destitute of spirituality and Gospel clearness, they are not without a measure of originality.” – Spurgeon

Hammond, Henry – A Paraphrase and Annotations upon the Psalms, as also upon the Ten First Chapters of the) Proverbs  1684  d. 1660

Hammond was an Arminian, Latitudinarian Anglican.  Nonetheless Matthew Henry was able to quote from him often.

** “Much esteemed, and deservedly so.  Hammond’s weighty tome is somewhat dry, and many of his remarks are rather those of a linguist than of a divine, but he touches on many matters which others omit, and is, upon the whole, an expositor of singular merit.”  – Spurgeon

Jackson, Arthur – Annotations upon Job, the Psalms, the Proverbs, Ecclesiastes, and the Song of Solomon  1658

“In 1653, Arthur Jackson, Preacher of God’s Word in Wood Street, London, issued four volumes upon the Old Testament, which appear to have been the result of his pulpit expositions to his people.  Valuable his works would be if there were no better, but they are not comparable to others already and afterwards mentioned.  You can do without him, but he is a reputable author.” – Spurgeon

Nicholson, William – David’s Harp Strung and Tuned; or, an Easy Analysis of the Whole Book of Psalms  ToC  1662

Nicholson (1591-1672) was a reformed Anglican.

“Wholly practical and explanatory.  In his explication the author steers between the two extremes of literal and spiritual interpretation.  Dr. Adam Clark has inserted Bishop Nicholson’s Analysis in his commentary on the Psalms, omitting his prayers.” – Horne

** – “This book fetches a high price when complete, and we cannot advise a poor man to lay out so much money upon it, good as it is.” – Spurgeon

Leigh, Edward – Annotations on Five Poetical Books of the Old Testament: Job, Psalms, Proverbs, Ecclesiastes, and Canticles  1657

**  ‘Good, brief notes.  Antique, but still prized.’ – Spurgeon

Wright, Abraham – A Practical Commentary, wherein the Text of every Psalm is practically expounded according to the Doctrine of the Catholic Church, in a way not usually trod by commentators  1661

**“Wright selects the more remarkable verses, and comments on them in a deeply spiritual, quaint and suggestive manner.  His work is extremely rare.” – Spurgeon

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Simple, Brief & Devotional

1800’s

Bouchier, Barton – Manna in the Heart; or Daily Comments on the Psalms, for the Use of Families, vol. 1, 2  1856

**  “Among the best books ever written for family reading.  Evangelical, devotional, and expository.  Preachers will find good thought here.” – Spurgeon

Cummings, John – The Psalms, 3 vols.

‘A devotional exposition which pastors will find helpful.  Captions for each of the Psalms are accurate, and readily lend themselves for use as catchy sermon titles.’ – Cyril J. Barber

Law, Henry – Daily Prayer and Praise: The Book of Psalms Arranged for Private and Family Use, 2 vols.  Buy  1878  368 & 294 pp.

Law (†1884) was the Dean of Gloucester in England and an influential figure in the evangelical party in the Church of England.  This has been reprinted by the Banner of Truth.

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1900’s
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Morgan, G. Campbell – Notes on the Psalms  Buy  1947

‘Valuable for Morgan’s handling of Psalms 22-24 with Christ as Savior, Shepherd, and Sovereign.’ – Cyril J. Barber

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Harris, Arthur Emerson – The Psalms Outlined  Buy  1949

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Harris, R. Laird – ‘The Psalms’ in The Biblical Expositor: The Living Theme of the Great Book with General and Introductory Essays and Exposition, vol. 2   Buy   ed. Carl Henry  1960
 
This little known commentary set by leading evangelicals (many of which were reformed) is brief (think airplane view) but helpful.

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Intermediate

1700’s

Fenton, Thomas – Annotations on Job and the Psalms, collected from several Commentators, and Methodized and Improved  1732

**  “The Annotations are choice, but will be found in easily accessible works.” – Spurgeon

Fenwick, George

The Psalter in its original form… with Arguments and Notes  1789

Thoughts on the Hebrew Titles of the Psalms 1749

**  “These two works are praiseworthy in design, but they are too fanciful.” – Spurgeon

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1800’s

Allen, John – A Spiritual Exposition of the Old Testament: from Joshua to the end of the Psalms  1816

‘Spiritual reflections after the high Calvinistic school.  Some preachers cannot see Christ where He is, but Allen finds Him where He is not.  There is in these reflections much godly savor, but very little exposition.’ – Spurgeon  

This Allen was not the one that translated Calvin’s Institutes.  James Darling said that Allen was an Antinomian (one who believes that Christians are not bound by moral injunctions).  Antinomians, not believing that moral injunctions should be derived from God’s Word, often replaced this large aspect of Scripture’s teaching with finding Christ everywhere in the Bible, especially the Old Testament. 

Bush, George – A Commentary on the Book of Psalms, on a Plan embracing the Hebrew Text: With a New Literal Version  1838

Bush was an American, initially presbyterian, Bible scholar, known principally for his commentaries on the Pentateuch.

**  “Does not appear to have been reprinted in England.” – Spurgeon

Carter, Charles – The Psalms, newly Translated from the Hebrew  1869

**  “The emendations are carefully made by the translator, who has been for many years engaged upon the Singalese version.  A helpful book.” – Spurgeon

Clay, William – Explanatory Notes on the Prayer Book Version of the Psalms  1839  The Psalms with their commentary are in their normal numeric order.

**  “Commendable in its way, but not important.  Most of its matter is to be found elsewhere.” – Spurgeon

Coleman, John – Psalterium Messianicum Davidis Regis et Prophetae, a Revision of the Authorized Version, with Notes, Original and Selected; vindicating the Prophetic Manifestations of Messiah in the Psalms, etc.  1863

**  “Useful for its quotations from the Fathers and ancient writers.  The large type swells out a small quantity of material to a needless size, and so puts purchasers to an unnecessary expense.” – Spurgeon

Conant, Thomas – The Psalms, the Common Version Revised for the American Bible Union, with an Introduction and Occasional Notes  1871

**  “A trustworthy translation with a few notes.” – Spurgeon

Cowles, Henry – The Psalms, with Notes Critical, Explanatory and Practical  1872

***“Always repays for consulting, though it does not contain much that is new, original or profound.  It might be reprinted in England, with the probability of a large sale.” – Spurgeon

Cresswell, Daniel – The Psalms of David, according to the Book of Common Prayer, with Critical and Explanatory Notes  1843

**  “The explanatory notes are neither prolix nor commonplace, but show much clear insight.  They are deservedly held in esteem.” – Spurgeon

De Burgh, William – A Commentary on the Book of Psalms; Critical, Devotional, and Prophetical, with the Text of the Authorized Version Metrically Arranged according to the Original Hebrew  1860

**  “A second-advent interpreter; and one of the best of his class.  Highly esteemed by those who are enthusiastic upon prophetical subjects.” – Spurgeon

French, William & George Skinner – A Translation of the Book of Psalms from the Original Hebrew, with Explanatory Notes  1842

**  “A version held in high esteem.  Notes very short.” – Spurgeon

Fry, John – A Translation and Exposition of the Psalms; on the Principles adopted in the posthumous work of Bishop Horsley; viz., that those sacred oracles have for the most part an immediate reference to Christ and to his first and second advents  1842

**  “Fry follows Bishop Horsley and looks much to the second advent.  The work is not fair either as a translation, or as an exposition.  It is useful in its own direction, as showing how a peculiar theory has been supported by an able man; but it must not be implicitly relied upon.” – Spurgeon

Fysh, Frederic – A Lyrical, Literal Version, with notes, vols. 1 (1-72), 2 (73-150)  1851

The arrangement is not metrical.

** – “A valuable literal version.  Notes scant, but scholarly.” – Spurgeon

Hapstone, Dalman – The Ancient Psalms in Appropriate Meters; a Strictly literal Translation from the Hebrew, with Explanatory Notes  1867

*“We prefer our own version, and do not think many of Mr. Hapstone’s stanzas successful as attempts at poetry.” – Spurgeon

Horsley, Samuel – The Book of Psalms translated from the Hebrew, with Notes Explanatory and Critical, vol. 1, 2  1833

**  “Vigorous writing, with a propensity to indulge in new readings, and a persistent twist in one direction.  The notes show the hand of a master, and have exerted much influence in directing thoughtful minds to the subject of the Second Advent, as foreshadowed in the Old Testament, but they must be used with extreme caution.” – Spurgeon

Jebb, John – A Literal Translation of the Book of Psalms, intended to illustrate their Poetical and Moral Structure, to which are added Dissertations on the word ‘Selah’, and on the Authorship, Order, Titles, and Poetical Features of the Psalms, vol. 1, 2  1846

**  “Jebb takes for his motto in translating, that saying of Hooker: ‘I hold it for an infallible rule in expositions of sacred Scripture, that were a literal construction will stand, the farthest from the letter is commonly the worst.’  His notes are scant, but his dissertations in the second volume are most admirable.” – Spurgeon

Keble, John – The Psalter, or Psalms of David, in English Verse  1869

**  “A poet’s version of a grand series of poems.” – Spurgeon

Lange’s Commentary – The Psalms
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**  “Comparatively feeble.  Not up to the usual standard of this admirable series.  Still, it is among the best of modern commentaries.” – Spurgeon

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1900’s

Leupold, H.C. – Exposition of the Psalms  Buy

Leupold (b. 1891) was an orthodox Lutheran and a professor of the Old Testament.

‘A rewarding expository treatment.’ – Cyril J. Barber

MacLaren, Alexander – The Psalms in The Expositor’s Bible Commentary  d. 1910

MacLaren was a popular Scottish preacher.  This work is different than his treatment of the Psalms in his Expositions of Holy Scripture on the whole Bible.

‘A masterful treatment.  Defends the Messianic content of the Psalms, builds upon a detailed grammatical analysis of the text, provides valuable and informative historical material which supports the composition of many of these Psalms, and abounds in devotional comments.’ – Cyril J. Barber

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Advanced

1700’s

Chandler, Samuel – Commentary on the Psalms  †1766

**  “This is a masterpiece as a critical history, and the best of Chandler’s productions.  Many of the Psalms are explained with commendable learning, but the spiritual element is absent.” – Spurgeon

Dimock, Henry – Notes Critical and Explanatory on the Books of Psalms and Proverbs, intended to correct the grammatical errors of the text from the collations of the mss. by D. Kennicott on the Psalms and by him and De Rossi on the Proverbs  1791

*  “The notes mainly concern the various readings, and exhibit considerable learning; but we do not think much of a homiletical kind can be got out of them.” – Spurgeon

Durell, David – Critical remarks on the books of Job, Proverbs, Psalms, Ecclesiastes, and Canticles  1772

Durell (1728–1775) was an Anglican O.T. scholar.

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1800’s

Jennings, A.C. & Lowe, W.H. – The Psalms, with Introductions and Critical Notes, vol. 1 (Intro, 1-72), 2 (73-150)  1874

Both the authors were Cambridge scholars.

**  “Learned, but more occupied with mere verbal criticisms than with any useful suggestions which could be turned to account by a preacher.” – Spurgeon

Rogers, J. – Sefer Tehilim, The Book of Psalms in Hebrew, metrically arranged with Selections from the various Readings of Kennicott and De Rossi, and from the Ancient Versions, vol. 1, 2  Buy  1833

*  “For the Hebrew scholar only.” – Spurgeon

Rosenmuller, Ernest – Annotations on some of the Messianic Psalms from the Commentary of Rosenmuller, with the Latin Version and Notes of Dathe  1841

**  “It may be altogether our own fault, but we cannot make any use of this volume.  No doubt these scholastic notes have a value; but commentaries upon inspired Scripture written in the same style as one might write upon Ovid or Horace are not to our taste.  Gesenius [a Hebrew scholar] praises this work for its criticisms.  We wish there had been a little religion in it, but perhaps if there had been it would have been the religion of neology [the new theology].” – Spurgeon

Mant, Richard – The Book of Psalms in and English Metrical Version, with Notes Critical and Illustrative  1824

***“A bold version, with important notes.  In this instance we confess that there may be real poetry in a metrical version, and though the flame does not in each composition burn with equal brilliance, yet in some verses it is the true poetic fire.  Mant is no mean writer.” – Spurgeon

Morison, John – Exposition of the Book of Psalms, explanatory, critical, devotional, 2 vols.  1832

*** “The first volume is the best.  There is nothing very original, but it is an instructive exposition, and ought to be better known.” – Spurgeon

Noyes, G.R. – A New Translation of the Book of Psalms, with an Introduction and Notes, chiefly explanatory  1831

**  “Dr. Noyse was the Hebrew Professor in Harvard University.  His Introduction is full of information; the new translation is useful, and the notes are pertinent.” – Spurgeon

Phillips, George

The Psalms in Hebrew; with a Critical, Exegetical and Philological Commentary, vol. 1, 2  1846

**  “This commentary will be valued by Hebrew scholars; but it is beyond the general attainments of those for whom this index is compiled.” – Spurgeon

A Commentary on the Psalms, designed chiefly for the use of Hebrew Students and of Clergymen, vol. 1, 2  1872

This work “is to a great extent a recast of” the author’s previous work on the Psalms, though without the Hebrew text, with “many corrections and amendments in every part”, and by an updating of the commentary with reference to the scholarship newly made available to the author since the author’s previous publication.

Pierce, Samuel

An Exposition of the Book of Psalms, 2 vols.  Buy  1817

**  “This author is held in high esteem for the ‘sound and savory’ character of his works.  On the Psalms he writes to comfort and edification.  The work is regarded as superexcellent by our extra-Calvinistic friends, but we do not think it quite worth the fancy price which is now asked.” – Spurgeon

A General Account of the Book of Psalms, with their Use and Place in the Worship of God under the Old Testament Dispensation, etc.  1805

Plain Commentary on the Book of Psalms (the Prayer Book Version) Chiefly Founded on the Fathers, vol. 1 (1-72), 2 (73-150)  1859

***“Of the High Church school, and rather strained in places, but abounding in sweet spiritual thoughts.  We have read it with pleasure and profit, though with some caution.” – Spurgeon

Pridham, Arthur – Notes and Reflections on the Psalms  Buy  1869

**  “Spiritual reflections of an excellent kind, but not very striking.” – Spurgeon

Ryland, R.H. – The Psalms Restored to Messiah  1853

**  “Written with an admirable design.  Good, but not very able.  The subject still demands the pen of a master.” – Spurgeon

Tholuck, Augustus – A Translation and Commentary of the Book of Psalms for the use of the Ministry and Laity of the Christian Church  1856

**  “Tholuck is one of the most spiritual of German interpreters.  Though we cannot say that this is equal to some others of his works, yet he is a great writer, and always deserves attention.” – Spurgeon

Thrupp, Joseph – An Introduction to the Study and Use of the Psalms, vol. 1, 2  1860

**  “Though not the best, it is still a learned and helpful work of its class.” – Spurgeon

Tucker, William – The Psalms, from the Version Used in the Services of the Church of England, with Notes, Shewing Their Prophetic and Christian Character  1840

**  “The writer refers all the Psalms to Christ, and writes many weighty things, but we cannot place him in the front rank among expositors.” – Spurgeon

Walford, William – The Book of Psalms, a New Translation, with Notes, Explanatory and Critical  1837

**  “Contains some useful notes, good, but not specially remarkable.” – Spurgeon

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1900’s

Kirkpatrick, A.F. – The Book of Psalms, with Introduction and Notes, vols. 1 (1-41), 2 (42-89), 3 (90-150)  1901

Kirkpatrick was a somewhat conservative liberal.

‘A moderately liberal approach.  Not as valuable as Maclaren’s treatment in the Expositor’s Bible.’ – Cyril J. Barber

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The Early Church on the Psalms

Compilations

Blaising, Craig & Carmen Hardin – Ancient Christian Commentary on Scripture: Psalms 1-50  Buy

Wesselschmidt, Quentin – Ancient Christian Commentary on Scripture: Psalms 51-150  Buy 

Neale, John & Littledale, R.F. – A Commentary on the Psalms from Primitive and Medieval Writers, and from the various Office-books and Hymns of the Roman, Mozarabic, Ambrosian, Gallican, Greek, Coptic, Armenian and Syriac Rites, vol. 1 (1-38), 2 (1-38), 3 (81-118), 4 (119-150)  1860-74

**  “Unique, and to very high churchmen most precious.  We admire the learning and research; but the conceits, the twistings, and allegorical interpretations surpass conception.  As a collection of medieval mysticisms it is unrivalled.” – Spurgeon

Dunwell, F.H. – Parochial Lectures on the Psalms from the Fathers of the Primitive Church  1855

**  “This author spiritualizes far too much.  His metaphors are overdone.” – Spurgeon

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Individual Early Church Fathers

Augustine – Expositions on the Book of Psalms  715 pp.  in Nicene and Post-Nicene Fathers, First Series, vol 8  

**“As a Father he is beyond ordinary criticism, or we would venture to say that he is too frequently mystical, and confounds plain texts.  No theological library is complete without this work, for there are grand thoughts in it like huge nuggets of Australian gold.” – Spurgeon

Hilary of Poitiers – Homilies on Psalm 1, 53 & 130  in Nicene and Post-Nicene Fathers, Second Series, vol. 9, pp. 235-248

Jerome – Homilies on the Psalms, vol. 1 (1-59)  Buy 

Theodoret of Cyrus – Commentary on the Psalms, vol. 1 (1-72), 2 (73-150)  Buy

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The Medieval Church on the Psalms

Neale, John & Littledale, R.F. – A Commentary on the Psalms from Primitive and Medieval Writers, and from the various Office-books and Hymns of the Roman, Mozarabic, Ambrosian, Gallican, Greek, Coptic, Armenian and Syriac Rites, vol. 1 (1-38), 2 (1-38), 3 (81-118), 4 (119-150)  1860-74

**  “Unique, and to very high churchmen most precious.  We admire the learning and research; but the conceits, the twistings, and allegorical interpretations surpass conception.  As a collection of medieval mysticisms it is unrivalled.” – Spurgeon

Aquinas, Thomas – Commentary on the Psalms  Aquinas comments up to Ps. 54

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A Jewish Commentary

Kimchi, David – The Longer Commentary of Rabbi David Kimchi on the First Book of Psalms (1-10, 15-17, 19, 22, 24)  (A.D. 1160-1235)

Kimchi (1160-1235) was a medieval Jewish commentator.

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Psalms 1-26

Kimchi, David – The Longer Commentary of Rabbi David Kimhi on the First Book of Psalms (1-10, 15-17, 19, 22, 24)

Kimchi (1160-1235) was a medieval Jewish commentator.

Williams, Isaac – The Psalms Interpreted of Christ, vol. 1 (Ps. 1-26)  1864

***“This writer is of the High Church school, but he is very spiritual and deep, and we seldom turn to him without profit.” – Spurgeon

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On the Psalms Generally

The Best

Binnie, William – The Psalms: Their History, Teachings, and Use  Buy  1886, 444 pages  Binnie was a professor in the Free Church of Scotland.  See the Scripture Index to find where a particular psalm is commented on in the book.

You will love the psalms more than ever after reading this book!  Here is an easy to read fresh view into the background, history, development and teachings of the Psalms, from the best, uncompromisingly conservative scholarship.  Includes chapters on the Messiah in the Psalms, Personal Religion, and the Imprecatory Psalms (the best on the subject).  It also includes appendices on the development of psalm singing in the OT, its practice in the NT, and also throughout church history.

***“A highly valuable work.  It is not an exposition, but can readily be used as such, for it possesses a good index to the passages treated of.  Dr. Binnie reviews with great skill and intense devotion the various sacred poems contained in the Book of Psalms, and gives the general run and character of each one.  His work is unlike any other, and supplies a great desideratum.” – Spurgeon

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1800’s

Davis, Noah Knowles – Juda’s Jewels: a Study in the Hebrew Lyrics  1895

Fausset, Andrew – Studies in the 150 Psalms: Their Undesigned Coincidences with the Independent Scripture Histories Confirming and Illustrating Both  1885  360 pp.  33 Lectures  For a table of contents, see the Synopsis.

Fausset (1821–1910) was an Irish, evangelical, Anglican and Bible scholar.  He is remembered for his part on the 2nd half of the Old Testament in the Jamieson, Fausset, Brown commentary on the Whole Bible.  This work here is very different than his commentary on the Psalms in the JFB Commentary.

‘A series of lectures on the events in the life of David which are subsequently reflected in the Psalms.’ – Cyril J. Barber

Pierce, Samuel – A General Account of the Book of Psalms, with their use and place in the Worship of God under the OT Dispensation, also a brief description of the Temple, in its Furniture, etc. and a spiritual and typical exhibition of Christ in those Sacred Memorials of his Person and Salvation  1805  71 pp.

Pierce (1746-1829) was an English Reformed Baptist.

Power, P.B. – ‘I Will’ being the Determinations of the Man of God, as found in some of the ‘I Wills’ of the Psalms  1st ed. 1858  415 pp.

Throughout the Psalms, the psalmist says ‘I will’ do these certain things.  He is committed, by the Spirit of God, to being a doer of the Word: of trusting God, praying, teaching others, praising God, of doing what God says and more.  Power traces these teachings throughout the Psalter in order to stir us up, as we all need, to be men and ladies of God like the Psalmist.

Philip Bennett Power (1822-99) served as a pastor in the Church of England from 1846 to 1865.  The last 34 years of his life he was an invalid, being made strong in his weakness.

Alexander, William – The Witness of the Psalms to Christ and Christianity: Eight Lectures  1877

‘An apologetic for the Christian religion from the testimony of the Psalms.’ – Cyril J. Barber

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1900’s

Jowett, John Henry – Springs in the Desert: Studies in the Psalms  Buy  1924

Clarke, Arthur G. – Analytical Studies in the Psalms  Buy  1949

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Commentaries on the Use of Each Psalm in History

Ker, John – The Psalms in History and Biography  Buy  1886  246 pp.

This book is arranged in the order of the 150 psalms, giving anecdotes on how each psalm has been used in history.  As some psalms are briefly mentioned under the notes of other psalms, see the Index at the beginning of the book for an exhaustive reference to your psalm of interest.

Marson, Charles – The Psalms at Work, being the English Church Psalter, with a few short notes on the use of the psalms, gathered together  1895  254

Under each psalm (in the order of the psalter) are the notes of how it has been used in history. 

Prothero, Rowland – ‘Index to the Use of Particular Psalms’ being Appendix B ofThe Psalms in Human Life  Buy  1904.  The index lists the page numbers to the book where the specific psalm is discussed.

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On the Authenticity and Integrity of the Psalms

See also the works of Binnie and Fausset in ‘On the Psalms Generally’

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Allis, O.T. – The Bearing of Archaeology Upon the Higher Criticism of the Psalms  1917  48 pp.

Chambers, Talbot Wilson – The Psalter: a Witness to the Divine Origin of the Bible  1876

Chambers was a minister in the Reformed Dutch Church in America.

Stuart, Alexander Moody – The Fifty-First Psalm and the Encyclopedia Britannica  1876  20 pp.

Stuart was of the Free Church of Scotland.

Wilson, Robert – The Radical Criticism of the Psalter  1927

Wilson (1856–1930) was an eminent linguist and scholar of Princeton and early Westminster, devoting his life to defending the reliability of the Old Testament.

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Related Pages

Whole Bible Commentaries

Old Testament Commentaries

New Testament Commentaries