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What are the Psalms of Solomon?

The Psalms of Solomon is a collection of eighteen psalms written in approximately 60 BC, around the time the Romans invaded Israel. King Solomon died hundreds of years before these psalms were published, so it's unclear to scholars why this collection of psalms is named after him. Solomon wrote Psalm 72 in the Bible, and the Psalms of Solomon share a similar theme with that chapter, so perhaps, they were named after Solomon because it was his writing that inspired the writer(s) of the Psalms of Solomon.

The Psalms of Solomon are not inspired Scripture and are classified as being from the intertestamental period. However, they are still an interesting piece of history as they were likely used in worship and religious services, similar to the hymns and modern worship songs we sing in our churches today. One noteworthy thing to mention is that within these psalms, the Messiah is referred to as the Son of David for the first time in recorded history.

Though not actual Scripture, the Psalms of Solomon provide valuable insight into the cultural ideas about the Messiah at the time of writing—beliefs that carried over into the Jewish expectations about the Messiah's earthly ministry and what they thought it would look like. Common themes include typical ideas that the Israelites had about the Messiah, particularly that He would rescue them from oppression with a focus on military victory on earth.

Jesus came to bring freedom to the oppressed, but He did it in a way that was different than the Jews expected. We see this tension of expectation versus reality evidenced throughout Jesus' earthly life and beyond. Jesus didn't come as a military hero. He came as a sacrificial lamb to take away the sins of the world (Isaiah 53:7; John 1:29). He will come again and reign as king of the world.

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