In Jewish tradition what is the purpose of the Psalms?

The Psalms (Tehillim), which we might call the soul of the Jewish people, express the yearning of King David and of the entire nation to be close to God. They are one of the foundations of our prayerbook to this day.

Their purpose is:

To express love for God

To pray for everything

To pour out one's heart concerning worries, troubles, vicissitudes etc.

To express trust, hope and happiness

To sing to God in gratitude

To praise God's wisdom, kindness, power etc.

According to tradition, King David authored/compiled the book of Psalms and gave it to us in its present form. Seventy-three of the 150 bear his name, and tradition states that the unattributed ones are also from him (Talmud, Berakhot 9b).

Concerning those Psalms that have the names of other authors, tradition teaches that we may thank David for them too (Talmud, Bava Bathra 14b). This is because it was he who recorded them in their permanent form and in a single book. If not for King David, those Psalms would have gone lost.

The Psalms (Tehillim), which we might call the soul of the Jewish people, express the yearning of King David and of the entire nation to be close to God. They are one of the foundations of our prayerbook to this day.

Their purpose is:

To express love for God

To pray for everything

To pour out one's heart concerning worries, troubles, vicissitudes etc.

To express trust, hope and happiness

To sing to God in gratitude

To praise God's wisdom, kindness, power etc.


According to tradition, King David authored/compiled the book of Psalms and gave it to us in its present form. Seventy-three of the 150 bear his name, and tradition states that the unattributed ones are also from him (Talmud, Berakhot 9b).

Concerning those Psalms that have the names of other authors, tradition teaches that we may thank David for them too (Talmud, Bava Bathra 14b). This is because it was he who recorded them in their permanent form and in a single book. If not for King David, those Psalms would have gone lost.

See also the Related Links.

Link: About King David

Link: Psalm 23