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Psalms 115

Psalm 115 1 

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

But to your name bring honor, 2 

for the sake of your loyal love and faithfulness. 3 

115:2 Why should the nations say,

“Where is their God?”

115:3 Our God is in heaven!

He does whatever he pleases! 4 

115:4 Their 5  idols are made of silver and gold –

they are man-made. 6 

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. 7 

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

as will everyone who trusts in them.

115:9 O Israel, trust in the Lord!

He is their deliverer 9  and protector. 10 

115:10 O family 11  of Aaron, trust in the Lord!

He is their deliverer 12  and protector. 13 

115:11 You loyal followers of the Lord, 14  trust in the Lord!

He is their deliverer 15  and protector. 16 

115:12 The Lord takes notice of us, 17  he will bless 18 

he will bless the family 19  of Israel,

he will bless the family of Aaron.

115:13 He will bless his loyal followers, 20 

both young and old. 21 

115:14 May he increase your numbers,

yours and your children’s! 22 

115:15 May you be blessed by the Lord,

the creator 23  of heaven and earth!

115:16 The heavens belong to the Lord, 24 

but the earth he has given to mankind. 25 

115:17 The dead do not praise the Lord,

nor do any of those who descend into the silence of death. 26 

115:18 But we will praise the Lord

now and forevermore.

Praise the Lord!

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

2 tn Or “give glory.”

3 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.

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

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

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

7 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).

8 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.

9 tn Or “[source of] help.”

10 tn Heb “and their shield.”

11 tn Heb “house.”

12 tn Or “[source of] help.”

13 tn Heb “and their shield.”

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

15 tn Or “[source of] help.”

16 tn Heb “and their shield.”

17 tn Or “remembers us.”

18 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).

19 tn Heb “house.”

20 tn Heb “the fearers of the Lord.”

21 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”).

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

23 tn Or “maker.”

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

25 tn Heb “to the sons of man.”

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

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