Book of Psalms
|Light iron-age reading|
|Gabbin' with God|
Psalms is an Old Testament book of the Bible that contains 150 poems (or songs) called psalms, one of which (Psalm 119) is exceptionally long. Each psalm is intended to be sung (or performed) individually as part of prayer or worship. Psalms can be categorized by topic including: hymns of praise, hymns of thanksgiving, lamentations, hymns of belief and wisdom, hymns of history, rage, and liturgical psalms.
Individual psalms are recited throughout the Jewish year, often marking particular events and ceremonies in the local community or synagogue. In any given Christian church, individual psalms are often incorporated into weekly services as well as used at special occasions and events. Christian hymnals are replete with psalms that have been set to music - including famous pieces by Bach, Beethoven, Mozart and Handel.
American slaves reportedly found comfort in psalms, setting many to music in their spirituals, notably Psalm 137:1: "On the River of Babylon we sat down and wept". It's not recorded whether they sang Psalm 137:9 - "Happy is the one who seizes your infants and dashes them against the rocks" - with particular gusto.