Ethan the Ezrahite is the songwriter-author of Psalm 89. The title of that psalm says it is “a maskil of Ethan the Ezrahite.” In addition to Psalm 89, Ethan the Ezrahite is mentioned in 1 Kings 4:31 as a wise man, yet not as wise as King Solomon, who “was wiser than anyone else, including Ethan the Ezrahite.” 1 Chronicles 2:6 gives the added information that Ethan had four brothers and was the son of Zerah (called Mahol in 1 Kings 4:31). He was of the tribe of Levi.
1 Chronicles 15:17 mentions an Ethan who was involved with bringing of the Ark of the Covenant to Jerusalem. Since he is called “Ethan the son of Kushaiah,” he is probably a different person from the author of Psalm 89. However, 1 Chronicles 15:19 adds that the son of Kushaiah was a musician, one of the men to sound the bronze cymbals, and this had led some scholars to assume a link between the two Ethans. If they are the same person, then Ethan the Ezrahite is probably also known as Jeduthun (1 Chronicles 16:38–42 and the titles of Psalms 62 and 77).
Another way to learn about Ethan the Ezrahite is through his psalm. Psalm 89:1 opens, “I will sing of the Lord’s great love forever; / with my mouth I will make your faithfulness known through all generations.” Ethan emphasizes praise to God for His covenant with David (Psalm 89:1–4) and honors God’s character and power (Psalm 89:5–18). In verses 19–37, recording God’s own words in a vision, Ethan details God’s faithfulness to David and his descendants. Then Ethan expresses lament at the king’s defeat (Psalm 89:38–45) and asks God to remember the covenant (Psalm 89:46–52).
Ethan concludes, “Praise be to the Lord forever! / Amen and Amen” (Psalm 89:52). Even in times of suffering and struggle, this psalmist calls God’s people to bless the Lord and call upon His strength in time of need.