Our practice this year has been to read the Psalms, which contain 5 books, book by book. Now we return to Book IV. Unlike some of the other books which make up the Psalter, the psalms in this book are mostly unassigned to a particular author.
You will find an introduction to the Psalms, here.
Here is a prayer from Gregory of Nazianus (329-389) who was an early Church father.
Lord, as I read the psalms let me hear you singing. As I read your words, let me hear you speaking. As I reflect on each page, let me see your image. And as I seek to put your precepts into practice, let my heart be filled with joy. Amen.
Psalm 94 A community lament: A better translation of “vengeance” would be “vindication” or “rectify the wrongs”. This psalm has a chiastic structure
Introduction/Petition v 1-2
complaint v 3-7
God’s care for the persecuted v11-15
Psalm 95 A hymn celebrating God as enthroned king. Sing v 1-5, bow down v 6-7c, obey 7d-11. What metaphors are used in this psalm? Notice the change of speaker beginning in verse 7d. On Meribah and Massah see Ex 17:1-7 and Num 21:1-9.
Psalm 96 A hymn celebrating God’s kingship. Verses 1-3 summons to worship. Verses 4-6 God is the powerful creator. Verses 7-13 all nations and the universe is to praise God.
Psalm 97 A hymn celebrating God’s rule. Notice the use of storm and fire to describe God’s presence. Notice the repetition of justice.righteousness and their association with God.
Here are several good sources to aid your reading of the Psalms
Anderson, Bernhard W., Katheryn Pfister Darr, Understanding the Old Testament Abridged fourth Edition. (Upper Saddle River,New Jersey: Prentice Hall) 1998.
Clifford, Richard, “Psalms” in The New Oxford Annotated Bible with Apocrypha: New Revised Standard Version.Coogan, Michael D.; Brettler, Marc Z.; Perkins, Pheme; Newsom, Carol A. (2010-01-20) Oxford University Press. Kindle Edition.
Stuhlmueller, Carroll, “Psalms” in HarperCollins Bible Commentary Mays, James L. ed.(San Francisco: HarperSanFrancisco) 2000.
McCann,Jr, J. Clifton “Psalms”,in The New Interpreter’s Bible Vol 3, Keck, Leander E. ed. (Nashville: Abingdon Press) 1996.