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Psalms 113:1--118:29

Context
Psalm 113 1 

113:1 Praise the Lord!

Praise, you servants of the Lord,

praise the name of the Lord!

113:2 May the Lord’s name be praised

now and forevermore!

113:3 From east to west 2 

the Lord’s name is deserving of praise.

113:4 The Lord is exalted over all the nations;

his splendor reaches beyond the sky. 3 

113:5 Who can compare to the Lord our God,

who sits on a high throne? 4 

113:6 He bends down to look 5 

at the sky and the earth.

113:7 He raises the poor from the dirt,

and lifts up the needy from the garbage pile, 6 

113:8 that he might seat him with princes,

with the princes of his people.

113:9 He makes the barren woman of the family 7 

a happy mother of children. 8 

Praise the Lord!

Psalm 114 9 

114:1 When Israel left Egypt,

when the family of Jacob left a foreign nation behind, 10 

114:2 Judah became his sanctuary,

Israel his kingdom.

114:3 The sea looked and fled; 11 

the Jordan River 12  turned back. 13 

114:4 The mountains skipped like rams,

the hills like lambs. 14 

114:5 Why do you flee, O sea?

Why do you turn back, O Jordan River?

114:6 Why do you skip like rams, O mountains,

like lambs, O hills?

114:7 Tremble, O earth, before the Lord –

before the God of Jacob,

114:8 who turned a rock into a pool of water,

a hard rock into springs of water! 15 

Psalm 115 16 

115:1 Not to us, O Lord, not to us!

But to your name bring honor, 17 

for the sake of your loyal love and faithfulness. 18 

115:2 Why should the nations say,

“Where is their God?”

115:3 Our God is in heaven!

He does whatever he pleases! 19 

115:4 Their 20  idols are made of silver and gold –

they are man-made. 21 

115:5 They have mouths, but cannot speak,

eyes, but cannot see,

115:6 ears, but cannot hear,

noses, but cannot smell,

115:7 hands, but cannot touch,

feet, but cannot walk.

They cannot even clear their throats. 22 

115:8 Those who make them will end up 23  like them,

as will everyone who trusts in them.

115:9 O Israel, trust in the Lord!

He is their deliverer 24  and protector. 25 

115:10 O family 26  of Aaron, trust in the Lord!

He is their deliverer 27  and protector. 28 

115:11 You loyal followers of the Lord, 29  trust in the Lord!

He is their deliverer 30  and protector. 31 

115:12 The Lord takes notice of us, 32  he will bless 33 

he will bless the family 34  of Israel,

he will bless the family of Aaron.

115:13 He will bless his loyal followers, 35 

both young and old. 36 

115:14 May he increase your numbers,

yours and your children’s! 37 

115:15 May you be blessed by the Lord,

the creator 38  of heaven and earth!

115:16 The heavens belong to the Lord, 39 

but the earth he has given to mankind. 40 

115:17 The dead do not praise the Lord,

nor do any of those who descend into the silence of death. 41 

115:18 But we will praise the Lord

now and forevermore.

Praise the Lord!

Psalm 116 42 

116:1 I love the Lord

because he heard my plea for mercy, 43 

116:2 and listened to me. 44 

As long as I live, I will call to him when I need help. 45 

116:3 The ropes of death tightened around me, 46 

the snares 47  of Sheol confronted me.

I was confronted 48  with trouble and sorrow.

116:4 I called on the name of the Lord,

“Please Lord, rescue my life!”

116:5 The Lord is merciful and fair;

our God is compassionate.

116:6 The Lord protects 49  the untrained; 50 

I was in serious trouble 51  and he delivered me.

116:7 Rest once more, my soul, 52 

for the Lord has vindicated you. 53 

116:8 Yes, 54  Lord, 55  you rescued my life from death,

and kept my feet from stumbling.

116:9 I will serve 56  the Lord

in the land 57  of the living.

116:10 I had faith when I said,

“I am severely oppressed.”

116:11 I rashly declared, 58 

“All men are liars.”

116:12 How can I repay the Lord

for all his acts of kindness to me?

116:13 I will celebrate my deliverance, 59 

and call on the name of the Lord.

116:14 I will fulfill my vows to the Lord

before all his people.

116:15 The Lord values

the lives of his faithful followers. 60 

116:16 Yes, Lord! I am indeed your servant;

I am your lowest slave. 61 

You saved me from death. 62 

116:17 I will present a thank offering to you,

and call on the name of the Lord.

116:18 I will fulfill my vows to the Lord

before all his people,

116:19 in the courts of the Lord’s temple,

in your midst, O Jerusalem.

Praise the Lord!

Psalm 117 63 

117:1 Praise the Lord, all you nations!

Applaud him, all you foreigners! 64 

117:2 For his loyal love towers 65  over us,

and the Lord’s faithfulness endures.

Praise the Lord!

Psalm 118 66 

118:1 Give thanks to the Lord, for he is good

and his loyal love endures! 67 

118:2 Let Israel say,

“Yes, his loyal love endures!”

118:3 Let the family 68  of Aaron say,

“Yes, his loyal love endures!”

118:4 Let the loyal followers of the Lord 69  say,

“Yes, his loyal love endures!”

118:5 In my distress 70  I cried out to the Lord.

The Lord answered me and put me in a wide open place. 71 

118:6 The Lord is on my side, 72  I am not afraid!

What can people do to me? 73 

118:7 The Lord is on my side 74  as my helper. 75 

I look in triumph on those who hate me.

118:8 It is better to take shelter 76  in the Lord

than to trust in people.

118:9 It is better to take shelter in the Lord

than to trust in princes.

118:10 All the nations surrounded me. 77 

Indeed, in the name of the Lord 78  I pushed them away. 79 

118:11 They surrounded me, yes, they surrounded me.

Indeed, in the name of the Lord I pushed them away.

118:12 They surrounded me like bees.

But they disappeared as quickly 80  as a fire among thorns. 81 

Indeed, in the name of the Lord I pushed them away.

118:13 “You aggressively attacked me 82  and tried to knock me down, 83 

but the Lord helped me.

118:14 The Lord gives me strength and protects me; 84 

he has become my deliverer.” 85 

118:15 They celebrate deliverance in the tents of the godly. 86 

The Lord’s right hand conquers, 87 

118:16 the Lord’s right hand gives victory, 88 

the Lord’s right hand conquers.

118:17 I will not die, but live,

and I will proclaim what the Lord has done. 89 

118:18 The Lord severely 90  punished me,

but he did not hand me over to death.

118:19 Open for me the gates of the just king’s temple! 91 

I will enter through them and give thanks to the Lord.

118:20 This is the Lord’s gate –

the godly enter through it.

118:21 I will give you thanks, for you answered me,

and have become my deliverer.

118:22 The stone which the builders discarded 92 

has become the cornerstone. 93 

118:23 This is the Lord’s work.

We consider it amazing! 94 

118:24 This is the day the Lord has brought about. 95 

We will be happy and rejoice in it.

118:25 Please Lord, deliver!

Please Lord, grant us success! 96 

118:26 May the one who comes in the name of the Lord 97  be blessed!

We will pronounce blessings on you 98  in the Lord’s temple. 99 

118:27 The Lord is God and he has delivered us. 100 

Tie the offering 101  with ropes

to the horns of the altar! 102 

118:28 You are my 103  God and I will give you thanks!

You are my God and I will praise you!

118:29 Give thanks to the Lord, for he is good

and his loyal love endures! 104 

1 sn Psalm 113. The psalmist praises God as the sovereign king of the world who reaches down to help the needy.

2 tn Heb “from the rising of the sun to its setting.” The extent is not temporal (“from sunrise to sunset”) but spatial (“from the place where the sun rises [the east] to the place where it sets [the west].” In the phenomenological language of OT cosmology, the sun was described as rising in the east and setting in the west.

3 tn Heb “above the sky [is] his splendor.”

4 tn Heb “the one who makes high to sit.”

5 tn Heb “the one who makes low to see.”

6 sn The language of v. 7 is almost identical to that of 1 Sam 2:8.

7 tn Heb “of the house.”

8 tn Heb “sons.”

9 sn Psalm 114. The psalmist recalls the events of the exodus and conquest and celebrates God’s kingship over his covenant people.

10 tn Heb “the house of Jacob from a nation speaking a foreign language.” The Hebrew verb לָעַז (laat, “to speak a foreign language”) occurs only here in the OT.

11 sn The psalmist recalls the crossing of the Red Sea (Exod 14:21).

12 tn Heb “the Jordan” (also in v. 5). The word “River” is not in the Hebrew text, but has been supplied in the translation for clarity.

13 sn The psalmist recalls the crossing of the Jordan River (Josh 3:13, 16).

14 sn The mountains skipped like rams, the hills like lambs. This may recall the theophany at Sinai when the mountain shook before God’s presence (Exod 19:18).

15 sn In v. 8 the psalmist recalls the event(s) recorded in Exod 17:6 and/or Num 20:11 (see also Deut 8:15 and Ps 78:15-16, 20).

16 sn Psalm 115. The psalmist affirms that Israel’s God is superior to pagan idols and urges Israel to place their confidence in him.

17 tn Or “give glory.”

18 sn The psalmist asks the Lord to demonstrate his loyal love and faithfulness, not simply so Israel may benefit, but primarily so that the Lord will receive honor among the nations, who will recognize, contrary to their present view (see v. 2), that Israel’s God is committed to his people.

19 sn He does whatever he pleases. Such sovereignty is characteristic of kings (see Eccl 8:3).

20 tn The referent of the pronominal suffix is “the nations” (v. 2).

21 tn Heb “the work of the hands of man.”

22 tn Heb “they cannot mutter in their throats.” Verse 5a refers to speaking, v. 7c to inarticulate sounds made in the throat (see M. Dahood, Psalms [AB], 3:140-41).

23 tn Heb “will be.” Another option is to take the prefixed verbal form as a prayer, “may those who make them end up like them.”

sn Because the idols are lifeless, they cannot help their worshipers in times of crisis. Consequently the worshipers end up as dead as the gods in which they trust.

24 tn Or “[source of] help.”

25 tn Heb “and their shield.”

26 tn Heb “house.”

27 tn Or “[source of] help.”

28 tn Heb “and their shield.”

29 tn Heb “[you] fearers of the Lord.” See Ps 15:4.

30 tn Or “[source of] help.”

31 tn Heb “and their shield.”

32 tn Or “remembers us.”

33 tn Another option is to translate the prefixed form of the verb “bless” in vv. 12-13 as a jussive, “may he bless” (see v. 14).

34 tn Heb “house.”

35 tn Heb “the fearers of the Lord.”

36 tn Heb “the small along with the great.” The translation assumes that “small” and “great” here refer to age (see 2 Chr 15:13). Another option is to translate “both the insignificant and the prominent” (see Job 3:19; cf. NEB “high and low alike”).

37 tn Heb “may he add to you, to you and your sons.” The prefixed verbal form is jussive, indicating this is a prayer.

38 tn Or “maker.”

39 tn Heb “the heavens [are] heavens to the Lord.”

40 tn Heb “to the sons of man.”

41 tn Heb “silence,” a metonymy here for death (see Ps 94:17).

42 sn Psalm 116. The psalmist thanks the Lord for delivering him from a life threatening crisis and promises to tell the entire covenant community what God has done for him.

43 tn Heb “I love because the Lord heard my voice, my pleas.” It is possible that “the Lord” originally appeared directly after “I love” and was later accidentally misplaced. The translation assumes the prefixed verbal form is a preterite. The psalmist recalls that God heard his cry for help (note the perfect in v. 2a and the narrative in vv. 3-4).

44 tn Heb “because he turned his ear to me.”

45 tn Heb “and in my days I will cry out.”

46 tn Heb “surrounded me.”

47 tn The Hebrew noun מצר (“straits; distress”) occurs only here, Ps 118:5 and Lam 1:3. If retained, it refers to Sheol as a place where one is confined or severely restricted (cf. BDB 865 s.v. מֵצַר, “the straits of Sheol”; NIV “the anguish of the grave”; NRSV “the pangs of Sheol”). However, HALOT 624 s.v. מֵצַר suggests an emendation to מְצָדֵי (mÿtsadey, “snares of”), a rare noun attested in Job 19:6 and Eccl 7:26. This proposal, which is reflected in the translation, produces better parallelism with “ropes” in the preceding line.

48 tn The translation assumes the prefixed verbal form is a preterite. The psalmist recalls the crisis from which the Lord delivered him.

49 tn Heb “guards.” The active participle indicates this is a characteristic of the Lord.

50 tn Or “the [morally] naive,” that is, the one who is young and still in the process of learning right from wrong and distinguishing wisdom from folly. See Ps 19:7.

51 tn Heb “I was low.”

52 tn Heb “return, my soul, to your place of rest.”

53 tn The Hebrew idiom גָּמַל עַל (gamalal) means “to repay,” here in a positive sense (cf. Ps 13:5).

54 tn Or “for.”

55 tnLord” is supplied here in the translation for clarification.

56 tn Heb “walk before” (see Ps 56:13). On the meaning of the Hebrew idiom, see the notes at 2 Kgs 20:3/Isa 38:3.

57 tn Heb “lands, regions.”

58 tn Heb “I said in my haste.”

59 tn Heb “a cup of deliverance I will lift up.” Perhaps this alludes to a drink offering the psalmist will present as he thanks the Lord for his deliverance. See v. 17.

60 tn Heb “precious in the eyes of the Lord [is] the death of his godly ones.” The point is not that God delights in or finds satisfaction in the death of his followers! The psalmist, who has been delivered from death, affirms that the life-threatening experiences of God’s followers get God’s attention, just as a precious or rare object would attract someone’s eye. See Ps 72:14 for a similar expression of this belief.

61 tn Heb “I am your servant, the son of your female servant.” The phrase “son of a female servant” (see also Ps 86:16) is used of a son born to a secondary wife or concubine (Exod 23:12). In some cases the child’s father is the master of the house (see Gen 21:10, 13; Judg 9:18). The use of the expression here certainly does not imply that the Lord has such a secondary wife or concubine! It is used metaphorically and idiomatically to emphasize the psalmist’s humility before the Lord and his status as the Lord’s servant.

62 tn Heb “you have loosed my bonds.” In this context the imagery refers to deliverance from death (see v. 3).

63 sn Psalm 117. The psalmist tells the nations to praise the Lord for his loyal love and faithfulness.

64 tn Or “peoples” (see Ps 108:3).

65 tn For this sense of the Hebrew verb גָּבַר (gavar), see Ps 103:11 and L. C. Allen, Psalms 101-150 (WBC), 17, 19.

66 sn Psalm 118. The psalmist thanks God for his deliverance and urges others to join him in praise.

67 tn Or “is forever.”

68 tn Heb “house.”

69 tn Heb “fearers of the Lord.” See Ps 15:4.

70 tn Heb “from the distress.” The noun מֵצַר (metsar, “straits; distress”) occurs only here and in Lam 1:3. In Ps 116:3 מצר should probably be emended to מְצָדֵי (mÿtsadey, “snares of”).

71 tn Heb “the Lord answered me in a wide open place.”

72 tn Heb “for me.”

73 tn The rhetorical question assumes the answer, “Nothing!” The imperfect is used in a modal sense here, indicating capability or potential. See Ps 56:11.

74 tn Heb “for me.”

75 tn Heb “among my helpers.” The preposition may indicate identity here, while the plural may be one of majesty or respect.

76 tn “Taking shelter” in the Lord is an idiom for seeking his protection. Seeking his protection presupposes and even demonstrates the subject’s loyalty to the Lord. In the psalms those who “take shelter” in the Lord are contrasted with the wicked and equated with those who love, fear, and serve the Lord (Pss 5:11-12; 31:17-20; 34:21-22).

77 sn The reference to an attack by the nations suggests the psalmist may have been a military leader.

78 tn In this context the phrase “in the name of the Lord” means “by the Lord’s power.”

79 tn Traditionally the verb has been derived from מוּל (mul, “to circumcise”) and translated “[I] cut [them] off” (see BDB 557-58 s.v. II מוּל). However, it is likely that this is a homonym meaning “to fend off” (see HALOT 556 s.v. II מול) or “to push away.” In this context, where the psalmist is reporting his past experience, the prefixed verbal form is best understood as a preterite. The phrase also occurs in vv. 11, 12.

80 tn Heb “were extinguished.”

81 tn The point seems to be that the hostility of the nations (v. 10) is short-lived, like a fire that quickly devours thorns and then burns out. Some, attempting to create a better parallel with the preceding line, emend דֹּעֲכוּ (doakhu, “they were extinguished”) to בָּעֲרוּ (baaru, “they burned”). In this case the statement emphasizes their hostility.

82 tn Heb “pushing, you pushed me.” The infinitive absolute emphasizes the following verbal idea. The psalmist appears to address the nations as if they were an individual enemy. Some find this problematic and emend the verb form (which is a Qal perfect second masculine singular with a first person singular suffix) to נִדְחֵיתִי (nidkheti), a Niphal perfect first common singular, “I was pushed.”

83 tn Heb “to fall,” i.e., “that [I] might fall.”

84 tn Heb “my strength and protection [is] the Lord.” The Hebrew term זִמְרָת (zimrat) is traditionally understood as meaning “song” (“my strength and song [is] the Lord”) in which case one might translate, “for the Lord gives me strength and joy” (i.e., a reason to sing). However, many recent commentators have argued that the noun זִמְרָת is here a homonym, meaning “protection” or “strength.” See HALOT 274 s.v.; cf. NEB “The Lord is my refuge and defence”; NRSV “my strength and my might.”

85 tn Or “salvation.”

86 tn Heb “the sound of a ringing shout and deliverance [is] in the tents of the godly.”

87 tn Heb “does valiantly.” The statement refers here to military success (see Num 24:18; 1 Sam 14:48; Pss 60:12; 108:13).

88 tn Heb “exalts.”

89 tn Heb “the works of the Lord.”

90 tn The infinitive absolute emphasizes the following verbal idea.

91 tn Heb “the gates of justice.” The gates of the Lord’s temple are referred to here, as v. 20 makes clear. They are called “gates of justice” because they are the entrance to the just king’s palace. This has been specified in the translation for clarity.

92 tn Or “rejected.”

93 tn Heb “the head of the corner.”

sn The metaphor of the stone…the builders discarded describes the way in which God’s deliverance reversed the psalmist’s circumstances. When he was in distress, he was like a stone which was discarded by builders as useless, but now that he has been vindicated by God, all can see that he is of special importance to God, like the cornerstone of the building.

94 tn Heb “it is amazing in our eyes.” The use of the plural pronoun here and in vv. 24-27 suggests that the psalmist may be speaking for the entire nation. However, it is more likely that vv. 22-27 are the people’s response to the psalmist’s thanksgiving song (see especially v. 26). They rejoice with him because his deliverance on the battlefield (see vv. 10-12) had national repercussions.

95 tn Heb “this is the day the Lord has made.” Though sometimes applied in a general way, this statement in its context refers to the day of deliverance which the psalmist and people celebrate.

96 sn A petition for deliverance and success seems odd in a psalm thanking God for deliverance, but it is not unique (see Ps 9:19-20). The people ask God to continue to intervene for them as he has for the psalmist.

97 sn The people refer here to the psalmist, who enters the Lord’s temple to thank him publicly (see vv. 19-21), as the one who comes in the name of the Lord.

98 tn The pronominal suffix is second masculine plural, but the final mem (ם) is probably dittographic (note the mem [מ] at the beginning of the following form) or enclitic, in which case the suffix may be taken as second masculine singular, referring to the psalmist.

99 tn Heb “from the house of the Lord.”

100 tn Heb “and he has given us light.” This may be an elliptical expression, with “his face” being implied as the object (see Num 6:25; Pss 31:16; 67:1; 80:3, 7, 19). In this case, “his face has given us light” = “he has smiled on us,” or “he has shown us his favor.” Another option (the one reflected in the translation) is that “light” here symbolizes divine blessing in the form of deliverance. “Light” is often used as a metaphor for deliverance and the life/blessings it brings. See Pss 37:6; 97:11; 112:4; Isa 49:6; 51:4; Mic 7:8. Some prefer to repoint the form וְיָאֵר (vÿyaer; vav [ו] conjunctive + jussive) and translate the statement as a prayer, “may he give us light.”

101 tn The Hebrew noun חַג (khag) normally means “festival,” but here it apparently refers metonymically to an offering made at the festival. BDB 291 s.v. חַג 2 interprets the word in this way here, citing as comparable the use of later Hebrew חֲגִיגָה, which can refer to both a festival and a festival offering (see Jastrow 424 s.v. חֲגִיגָה).

102 tn The second half of v. 27 has been translated and interpreted in a variety of ways. For a survey of major views, see L. C. Allen, Psalms 101-150 (WBC), 122.

103 sn You are my God. The psalmist speaks again (see v. 21), responding to the words of the worshipers (vv. 22-27).

104 tn Or “is forever.”



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