A recent troll to the comments section of one of my posts stated that "Psalms are prophecy." No. They are not. I discuss prophecy in the post Prophecy (is) Always based on plain meaning.
The תַּנַ"ךְ / T'nach (Jewish bible) is comprised of three main sections. The first section is the תּוֹרָה / Torah (translation: instructions not law) -- the Five Books of Moses.
Much of the Torah / תּוֹרָה is prophecy, not only prophecy -- but the highest form of prophecy. Prophecy is not "fortune telling" -- it is direct communication between G-d and human(s) to relay a message which is to be told to the then living people. The message may or may not have meaning for future generations -- but it MUST have meaning for (and be communicated to) the living people or it is not prophecy. The תּוֹרָה / Torah is a book of instructions (613 for Jews) from G-d on how to live as a Jew.
In תּוֹרָה / Torah G-d spoke to the entire Jewish nation directly and He also spoke directly to Moses. Future prophets communicated to G-d through dreams and visions (a step away as it were).
The second part of the T'nach is נְבִיאִים / Nevi'im -- which translates to "Prophets." Now, keep in mind that the Christian bible moves the books around willy nilly (see the image) -- so the books in a T'nach are ordered differently than a Christian bible which may be why so many missionaries are misled. At any rate, Nevi'im are the histories of the Jewish people along with prophecies which were important to the then living people and often have message of importance to those of us alive today. Not everything in Nevi'im (Prophets) IS prophecy for us -- some of it has already been fulfilled and passed --but the message is still important.
Prophecy is also very straightforward and based on the plain meaning -- the Hebrew term is P'shat (פְּשָׁט).
Jews understand the T'nach using PaRDeS. For those unfamiliar with the term has to do with the levels of understanding Torah:
P'shat (פְּשָׁט) - the "plain" ("simple") meaning of a passage
Remez (רֶמֶז) - "hints" implied in the text but not explicit
Drash (דְּרַשׁ) - which is a deeper or even midrashic meaning -- often inferred from other scripture
Sod (סוֹד) - "secret" ("mystery") meanings
PaRDeS should not even be considered by most, who should focus on the p'shat. They can mistake allegory for literal meaning (this happens a lot, particularly in Christianity). Aspects of PaRDeS have been applied to the T'nach (think Midrash Aggadah -- stories meant to make a moral point), but the primary focus isn on Torah. When thinking of visions of the future (positive or negative) the plain meaning (p'shat) is always the one to be used: “Scripture never departs from its plain meaning” (Shabbat 63a, Y'vamot11b, 24a).It is inappropriate for non-Jews to even consider studying PaRDeS as they don't have the level of understanding at a ps'hat level to undertake such a journey. R' Moshe Isserles in hagahah to Shulhan Arukh, Yore De'ah 246:4 wrote "One may not dally in PARDES until he has first filled himself with the meat and wine , by which I mean knwoledge of what is permitted and what is forbidden and diney hamitzvot (the mitzvot)."
The final part of the T'nach is כְּתוּבִים / Ketuvim -- Writings. Ketuvim consists of histories, poetry, stoires -- but NOT PROPHECY. The Book of Daniel is in כְּתוּבִים / Ketuvim So the comment that Psalms are prophecy is flat out false and incorrect. The word in Ketuvim, translated as "Psalms" is תהלים / T'hillim -- and this means "praises." תהלים / T'hillim (Psalms) were poems primarily written by King David which were song in the Temple by the Levites as praises to G-d. Some of them are highly personal to the king and speak of his past life (his childhood, his mistakes, etc.). The whole range of human emotions is expressed in Psalms -- it is a beautiful book -- and it is NOT prophecy.
The T'nach (Jewish bible) was codified by the אַנְשֵׁי כְּנֶסֶת הַגְּדוֹלָה / Anshei Knesset HaGedolah / Men of the Great Assembly. This was a special Sanhedrin (combination of Government / Judicial court) founded by Ezra the prophet upon his return from Babylonian Exile in approximately 520 B.C.E. It was called the Great Assembly because most Sanhedrins consisted of 70 elders (going back to the time of Moses), but this Sanhedrin was 120 men. It led the Jewish People at the beginning of the Second Temple Era (ca. 520 B.C.E. – 70 C.E.). It included Mordechai (from the Book of Esther) and the last of the prophets Haggai, Zechariah, Malachi and others including Daniel, Y'hoshua (a high priest), Hananiah, Mishael, Azariah, Nehemiah b. Hachaliah (chief architect of rebuilding Jerusalem), Shimon HaTzaddik (also a High Priest), and Zerubabel ben Shaaltiel.
Among the accomplishments of the Men of the Great Assembly were finalizing the contents of the “Tanach,” the 24-Book Hebrew Bible, instituting the Silent Prayer (recited at least three times daily, and ultimately to serve as a substitute for the Temple Sacrifices), and the enacting of many Laws to protect and bolster the observance of the Torah Commands.
According to פרקי אבות / Prikei / Avot -- "Ethics of the Fathers" [a collection of proverbs and idioms from Temple time Sages] (1:1), the Men of the Great Assembly are the fifth link in the Chain of Jewish Tradition: 1) Moses receives it from G-d on Sinai and teaches it to 2) Joshua and to the 3) Elders who taught it to the 4) Prophets and them to the 5) Men of the Great Assembly, at the end of the Biblical Period (ca. 520 B.C.E.). Ethics of the Fathers, (1:2) also identifies Shimon HaTzaddik, as “among the last of the Men of the Great Assembly,” at the beginning of the Talmudic Period (ca. 200 B.C.E.). One of his frequently used statements is quoted in the Mishnah cited in Avot, “The world depends on three things: on study of the Torah, on Service of HaShem and on the performance of kind deeds.” It is known that he was the “Kohen Gadol,” the High Priest of the Jewish People, during the reign of Alexander the Great, the world-conquering Greek Emperor.
The Men of the Great Assembly existed for 320 years. During that time we went from a time of open, revealed miracles, observed by the entire Jewish People [the miracles of the Exodus from Egypt including G-d speaking to the entire nation at Sinai, the giving of mana in the wilderness, the splitting of the Sea, the Miracle performed by Elijah the Prophrt in his contest with the false prophets of Baal] to the Period of more modest and hidden, concealed miracles. [the Miracle of the Oil and the “hidden” miracles of Purim]. From the period of Prophecy, to the Period of Wisdom (the age we are still living in).
This is the history and the background of the T'nach -- the Jewish bible. The book of Daniel is not prophecy, it is in Writings. Psalms are not prophecy either (although King David himself was a prophet).
Sophiee Saguy has been countering false missionary claims about Judaism and the T'nach (Jewish bible) for nearly twenty years. You may find her on FaceBook and at the Messiah Truth forum.