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Psalms 135

Psalm 135 1 

135:1 Praise the Lord!

Praise the name of the Lord!

Offer praise, you servants of the Lord,

135:2 who serve 2  in the Lord’s temple,

in the courts of the temple of our God.

135:3 Praise the Lord, for the Lord is good!

Sing praises to his name, for it is pleasant! 3 

135:4 Indeed, 4  the Lord has chosen Jacob for himself,

Israel to be his special possession. 5 

135:5 Yes, 6  I know the Lord is great,

and our Lord is superior to all gods.

135:6 He does whatever he pleases

in heaven and on earth,

in the seas and all the ocean depths.

135:7 He causes the clouds to arise from the end of the earth,

makes lightning bolts accompany the rain,

and brings the wind out of his storehouses.

135:8 He struck down the firstborn of Egypt,

including both men and animals.

135:9 He performed awesome deeds 7  and acts of judgment 8 

in your midst, O Egypt,

against Pharaoh and all his servants.

135:10 He defeated many nations,

and killed mighty kings –

135:11 Sihon, king of the Amorites,

and Og, king of Bashan,

and all the kingdoms of Canaan.

135:12 He gave their land as an inheritance,

as an inheritance to Israel his people.

135:13 O Lord, your name endures, 9 

your reputation, O Lord, lasts. 10 

135:14 For the Lord vindicates 11  his people,

and has compassion on his servants. 12 

135:15 The nations’ idols are made of silver and gold,

they are man-made. 13 

135:16 They have mouths, but cannot speak,

eyes, but cannot see,

135:17 and ears, but cannot hear.

Indeed, they cannot breathe. 14 

135:18 Those who make them will end up 15  like them,

as will everyone who trusts in them.

135:19 O family 16  of Israel, praise the Lord!

O family of Aaron, praise the Lord!

135:20 O family of Levi, praise the Lord!

You loyal followers 17  of the Lord, praise the Lord!

135:21 The Lord deserves praise in Zion 18 

he who dwells in Jerusalem. 19 

Praise the Lord!

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1 sn Psalm 135. The psalmist urges God’s people to praise him because he is the incomparable God and ruler of the world who has accomplished great things for Israel.

2 tn Heb “stand.”

3 tn Heb “for [it is] pleasant.” The translation assumes that it is the Lord’s “name” that is pleasant. Another option is to understand the referent of “it” as the act of praising (see Ps 147:1).

4 tn Or “for.”

5 sn His special possession. The language echoes Exod 19:5; Deut 7:6; 14:2; 26:18. See also Mal 3:17.

6 tn Or “for.”

7 tn Or “signs” (see Ps 65:8).

8 tn Or “portents”; “omens” (see Ps 71:7). The Egyptian plagues are alluded to here.

9 tn Or “is forever.”

10 tn Heb “O Lord, your remembrance [is] for a generation and a generation.” See Ps 102:12.

11 tn Heb “judges,” but here the idea is that the Lord “judges on behalf of” his people. The imperfect verbal forms here and in the next line draw attention to the Lord’s characteristic actions.

12 sn Verse 14 echoes Deut 32:36, where Moses affirms that God mercifully relents from fully judging his wayward people.

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

14 tn Heb “indeed, there is not breath in their mouth.” For the collocation אַף אֵין (’afen, “indeed, there is not”) see Isa 41:26. Another option is to take אַף as “nose” (see Ps 115:6), in which case one might translate, “a nose, [but] they have no breath in their mouths.”

15 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.

16 tn Heb “house” (here and in the next two lines).

17 tn Heb “fearers.”

18 tn Heb “praised be the Lord from Zion.”

19 map For location see Map5 B1; Map6 F3; Map7 E2; Map8 F2; Map10 B3; JP1 F4; JP2 F4; JP3 F4; JP4 F4.

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