Photo by Art Resource, New York, NY

ON THE COVER: King David, the psalmist, his stringed instrument lying to the side, prays to God in this miniature form a 15th-century chorale manuscript.

Described as Israel’s theology set to music, the Psalms and their message are enhanced by poetry. In “The Psalms—beauty heightened through poetic structure,” Robert Alter illuminates the power of this beloved book, while the sidebar entitled “The Psalter at a Glance,” summarizes the categories and history of the Psalms.