Where the world comes to study the Bible

Psalm 146

STROPHE DIVISIONS OF MODERN TRANSLATIONS

NASB NKJV NRSV TEV NJB
The Lord An Abundant Helper
No MT Intro
The Happiness of Those Whose Help Is In the Lord Hymn Praising God for His Help In Praise of God the Savior Hymn to the God of Help
146:1-7 146:1a 146:1-2 146:1-2 146:1-2
  146:1b-2      
  146:3-4 146:3-4 146:3-4 146:3-4
  146:5-7 146:5-7b 146:5-7b 146:5-6b
        146:6c-7
    146:7c-9 146:7c-9  
146:8-10 146:8-9     146:8-9
        146:8c
        146:9c
  146:10 146:10 146:10 146:10

READING CYCLE THREE (see "Guide to Good Bible Reading")

FOLLOWING THE ORIGINAL AUTHOR'S INTENT AT PARAGRAPH LEVEL

This is a study guide commentary which means that you are responsible for your own interpretation of the Bible. Each of us must walk in the light we have. You, the Bible, and the Holy Spirit are priority in interpretation. You must not relinquish this to a commentator.

Read the chapter in one sitting. Identify the subjects (reading cycle #3). Compare your subject divisions with the five translations above. Paragraphing is not inspired, but it is the key to following the original author's intent, which is the heart of interpretation. Every paragraph has one and only one subject.

1. First paragraph

2. Second paragraph

3. Etc.

 

WORD AND PHRASE STUDY

NASB (UPDATED) TEXT: 146:1-7
 1Praise the Lord!
 Praise the Lord, O my soul!
 2I will praise the Lord while I live;
 I will sing praises to my God while I have my being.
 3Do not trust in princes,
 In mortal man, in whom there is no salvation.
 4His spirit departs, he returns to the earth;
 In that very day his thoughts perish.
 5How blessed is he whose help is the God of Jacob,
 Whose hope is in the Lord his God,
 6Who made heaven and earth,
 The sea and all that is in them;
 Who keeps faith forever;
 7Who executes justice for the oppressed;
 Who gives food to the hungry.
 The Lord sets the prisoners free.

146:1-2 This strophe (Ps. 146:1-7) starts with a double "hallelujah" (BDB 237, KB 248, Piel imperatives). This is followed by two personal commitments of the psalmist.

1. I will praise - BDB 237, KB 248, Piel cohortative

2. I will sing praises - BDB 274, KB 273, Piel cohortative)

Praise of YHWH characterizes Psalms 146-150. The Psalter closes on this affirmation.

146:1 "soul" This is the term nephesh (BDB 659), which denoted the entire person (cf. Ps. 103:1). See notes online at Gen. 35:18.

146:2 Notice the parallel between

1. while I live - BDB 313

2. while I have my being - BDB 728

These reflect the Hebrew concept that there is no praise of God after death (cf. Job 10:21-22; 38:17; Ps. 63:4; 104:33; Isa. 38:18). The OT has a rudimentary theology of life after death. New Testament progressive revelation supplements this theology. See Special Topic: Sheol.

146:3 YHWH is praised because with Him, and Him alone, is salvation/deliverance (BDB 448), certainly not in frail, fallen mankind (MT, "a son of man"; LXX, "sons of men"; cf. Psalm 60:11; 108:12). The singular stands for all humans, as in Ps. 118:8.

146:4 This verse picks up the thought of Ps. 146:2. At death the body returns to dust (cf. Gen. 3:19; Job 34:15; Ps. 104:29; Eccl. 12:7). The spirit (ruah, BDB 924) or life force goes to Sheol.

▣ "his thoughts" This word (BDB 799) occurs only here in the OT and is translated by most modern translations as "plans/designs."

146:5 The Psalm praises YHWH but also notes how "blessed" (BDB 80) are the faithful followers. Psalm 146:6-7 and 8-9 list the power and mercy of the God of Jacob.

▣ "help" This noun (BDB 740 I) is often associated with deliverance and protection (cf. Exod. 18:4; Deut. 33:7,26; Ps. 33:20; 70:5; 115:9,10,11).

▣ "hope" The noun (BDB 960 II) can be translated

1. wait - Ps. 104:27; 145:15

2. hope - Ps. 119:166, Isa. 38:18

 

146:6-7 There is a series of Qal participles that describe YHWH

1. as Creator (i.e., Elohim)

a. made heaven, earth, sea, cf. Ps. 115:15; 121:2; 124:8; 134:3; Isa. 37:16; Jer. 32:17

b. created all that is in them

c. this is a summary statement related to this planet

2. as covenant God (i.e., YHWH)

a. keeps faith/trust (see Special Topic: Believe, Trust, Faith and Faithfulness in the OT)

b. executes justice for the oppressed (the NEB and REB see "forever," לעולם, of Ps. 146:6c as "the oppressed," לעולים, UBS Text Project, p. 440)

c. gives food to the hungry, cf. Ps. 145:15

d. sets the prisoners free, cf. Ps. 68:6; 102:20; 107:10,14; Isa. 61:1

(1) metaphor of problems

(2) slavery for debts

(3) exiles

 

NASB (UPDATED) TEXT: 146:8-10
 8The Lord opens the eyes of the blind;
 The Lord raises up those who are bowed down;
 The Lord loves the righteous;
 9The Lord protects the strangers;
 He supports the fatherless and the widow,
 But He thwarts the way of the wicked.
 10The Lord will reign forever,
 Your God, O Zion, to all generations.
 Praise the Lord!

146:8-9 Like Ps. 146:6-7, these verses describe the God who acts, so different from the lifeless idols (see Special Topic: Characteristics of Israel's God).

1. opens blind eyes - BDB 824, KB 959, Qal participle

2. raises the bowed down - BDB 279, KB 279, Qal participle, cf. Ps. 145:14 (these are the only usages of the verb in the OT)

3. loves the righteous - BDB 12, KB 17, Qal participle, cf. Ps. 11:7; 33:5

4. protects the stranger - BDB 1036, KB 1581, Qal participle (for a good brief article see Roland de Vaux, Ancient Israel, pp. 74-76)

5. supports the orphan and the widow - BDB 728, KB 795, Piel imperfect

6. thwarts the way of the wicked - BDB 736, KB 804, Piel imperfect

This list is a composite of God's acts from Leviticus, Deuteronomy, and the Prophets.

Number 6 is literally "to be bent" (BDB 736) or "to be crooked." This may be a play on the word "righteous" of Ps. 146:8c, which means "to be straight" (see SPECIAL TOPIC: RIGHTEOUSNESS). All words for sin are a play on this metaphor for God's character, in light of which all humans are crooked.

146:10 This speaks of the sovereignty of the God of Israel and His plans (cf. Exod. 15:18; Ps. 10:16; 29:10).

Just a theological note, how will YHWH reign and where and over who? Please look at Special Topic: Why Do OT Covenant Promises Seem So Different from NT Covenant Promises.

DISCUSSION QUESTIONS

This is a study guide commentary which means that you are responsible for your own interpretation of the Bible. Each of us must walk n the light we have. You, the Bible, and the Holy Spirit are priority in interpretation. You must not relinquish this to a commentator.

These discussion questions are provided to help you think through the major issues of this section of the book. They are meant to be thought provoking, not definitive.

1. What did the Israelites expect after death (Ps. 146:2,4)?

2. Does Ps. 146:6 speak of the universe or this planet?

3. How is the depiction of the character and acts of God related to ANE thought about how a king should act?

4. Will YHWH reign in/from Zion or is His reign universal? How has the NT changed this OT concept?

Psalm 147

STROPHE DIVISIONS OF MODERN TRANSLATIONS

NASB NKJV NRSV TEV NJB
Praise for Jerusalem's Restoration and Prosperity
No MT Intro
Praise to God for His Word and Providence Hymn Praising God for His Universal Power and Providential Care In Praise of God the Almighty Hymn to the All-Powerful
147:1-6 147:1 147:1-6 147:1-3 147:1-4
  147:2-6      
      147:4-6  
        147:5-6
147:7-11 147:7-9 147:7-11 147:7-9 147:7-9
  147:10-11   147:10-11 147:10-11
147:12-20 147:12-14 147:12-20 147:12-14 147:12
        147:13-14
  147:15-18   147:15-18 147:15-16
        147:17-18
  147:19-20c   147:19-20b 147:19-20b
  147:20d   147:20c  

READING CYCLE THREE (see "Guide to Good Bible Reading")

FOLLOWING THE ORIGINAL AUTHOR'S INTENT AT PARAGRAPH LEVEL

This is a study guide commentary which means that you are responsible for your own interpretation of the Bible. Each of us must walk in the light we have. You, the Bible, and the Holy Spirit are priority in interpretation. You must not relinquish this to a commentator.

Read the chapter in one sitting. Identify the subjects (reading cycle #3). Compare your subject divisions with the five translations above. Paragraphing is not inspired, but it is the key to following the original author's intent, which is the heart of interpretation. Every paragraph has one and only one subject.

1. First paragraph

2. Second paragraph

3. Etc.

 

WORD AND PHRASE STUDY

NASB (UPDATED) TEXT: 147:1-6
 1Praise the Lord!
 For it is good to sing praises to our God;
 For it is pleasant and praise is becoming.
 2The Lord builds up Jerusalem;
 He gathers the outcasts of Israel.
 3He heals the brokenhearted
 And binds up their wounds.
 4He counts the number of the stars;
 He gives names to all of them.
 5Great is our Lord and abundant in strength;
 His understanding is infinite.
 6The Lord supports the afflicted;
 He brings down the wicked to the ground.

147:1-6 This first strophe (Ps. 147:1-6), like Psalm 146, lists several characteristics of God which can be ascertained by His acts (this Psalm is post-exilic).

1. for Israel

a. builds up Jerusalem

b. gathers her outcasts (i.e., exiles, cf. Isa. 11:12; Ezek. 39:28)

2. for the needy

a. heals the broken hearted (possibly refers to repentant Israel in exile, cf. Ps. 51:17,18)

b. supports the afflicted (i.e., often used of faithful followers)

c. brings down the wicked

(1) foreign nations

(2) unfaithful covenant partners

3. against paganism (i.e., astral idolatry)

a. counts the number of stars (Gen. 1:16; Isa. 40:26, i.e., not gods, cf. Ps. 8:3)

b. calls them by name (i.e., controls them)

c. YHWH is abundant in strength (cf. Isa. 40 26e)

d. YHWH has infinite understanding (BDB 108, cf. Isa. 40:28)

147:1

NASB"becoming"
NKJV"beautiful"
TEV, REB"fitting"
JPSOA"glorious"

This adjective (BDB 610) can mean

1. beautiful - Sol. 1:5; 2:14; 4:3; 6:4

2. fitting, appropriate when used of praise to God - Ps. 33:1; 93:5; Pro. 17:7

 

147:4b "He gives names to all of them" The naming of something demonstrates authority over it (cf. Gen. 2:18-20).

147:6 "to the ground" This can be understood in several ways.

1. the defeated enemy bowing to the ground

2. a circumlocution for death/Sheol

 

NASB (UPDATED) TEXT: 147:7-11
 7Sing to the Lord with thanksgiving;
 Sing praises to our God on the lyre,
 8Who covers the heavens with clouds,
 Who provides rain for the earth,
 Who makes grass to grow on the mountains.
 9He gives to the beast its food,
 And to the young ravens which cry.
 10He does not delight in the strength of the horse;
 He does not take pleasure in the legs of a man.
 11The Lord favors those who fear Him,
 Those who wait for His lovingkindness.

147:7-11 As the first strophe began with "praise" (Piel imperative), this one (Ps. 147:7-11) begins with "singing."

1. sing - BDB 777, KB 854, Qal imperative

2. sing praises - BDB 274, KB 273, Piel imperative

The object of this singing is YHWH and His great acts.

1. as sustainer of creation and the normal cycles of nature (cf. Ps. 104:10-17)

a. clouds

b. rain

c. plant growth

d. food for animals (cf. Ps. 104:27b; 136:25)

2. who He does not trust and who He does

a. negative (cf. Ps. 33:16-17)

(1) military power (i.e., the horse)

(2) strength of men (lit. legs)

b. positive

(1) those who fear (see Special Topic: Fear [OT]) Him

(2) those who wait on His lovingkindness (see Special Topic: Lovingkindness [hesed])

 

147:9b The UBS Text Project (p. 1176) mentions a cultural proverb which asserted that ravens do not feed their young well (cf. Job 38:41), but here it is asserted that the compassionate provider God does!

It may also be significant that the raven (BDB 788) was considered an unclean bird (cf. Lev. 11:15) but God still cares for them!

NASB (UPDATED) TEXT: 147:12-20
 12Praise the Lord, O Jerusalem!
 Praise your God, O Zion!
 13For He has strengthened the bars of your gates;
 He has blessed your sons within you.
 14He makes peace in your borders;
 He satisfies you with the finest of the wheat.
 15He sends forth His command to the earth;
 His word runs very swiftly.
 16He gives snow like wool;
 He scatters the frost like ashes.
 17He casts forth His ice as fragments;
 Who can stand before His cold?
 18He sends forth His word and melts them;
 He causes His wind to blow and the waters to flow.
 19He declares His words to Jacob,
 His statutes and His ordinances to Israel.
 20He has not dealt thus with any nation;
 And as for His ordinances, they have not known them.
 Praise the Lord!

147:12-20 This third strophe (Ps. 147:12-20) also starts off with imperatives of praise.

1. praise - BDB 986, KB 1387, Piel imperative

2. praise - BDB 237, KB 248, Piel imperative

He is worthy of praise because of His covenant fidelity (esp. Leviticus 26; Deuteronomy 27-30) towards Israel (i.e., Jerusalem. . .Zion).

1. strengthens the fortifications of Jerusalem (i.e., gate bars)

2. blesses

a. the children of the city (i.e., health, their number)

b. the people inside the city (TEV)

3. brings peace to the land

4. provides a good crop

5. controls the weather (Ps. 147:16-18) so as to sustain agricultural abundance (i.e., covenant promises, cf. Ps. 147:19)

6. His special relationship (i.e., revelation) to the descendants of Abraham, Isaac, Jacob

 

147:14b "the finest of wheat" This is a metaphor of agricultural abundance (cf. Ps. 81:16) because grain was such a staple of the ANE diet.

147:15 God's word is personified as running rapidly (i.e., going into all creation). In Hebrew thought God's word was a creative power (cf. Genesis 1). Once given, it would accomplish its purpose (cf. Isa. 45:23; 55:11).

147:19 "words. . .statutes. . .ordinances" See SPECIAL TOPIC: TERMS FOR GOD'S REVELATION.

147:20b "they have not known them" God's revelation was a special gift. It was meant to be lived out as a witness to the nations. Israel failed in this! See Special Topic: YHWH Eternal Redemptive Plan.

The UBS Text Project rates this phrase as "C" (considerable doubt). It recommends it as over against the NEB, "he does not let them know." This difference is

1. MT, NASB - ידעום - בל

2. NEB, REB - ידיעם - בל

 

147:20c The Psalm closes as it began—"Hallelujah"!

DISCUSSION QUESTIONS

This is a study guide commentary which means that you are responsible for your own interpretation of the Bible. Each of us must walk n the light we have. You, the Bible, and the Holy Spirit are priority in interpretation. You must not relinquish this to a commentator.

These discussion questions are provided to help you think through the major issues of this section of the book. They are meant to be thought provoking, not definitive.

1. How do you explain Ps. 145:6,8-13 focusing on "all men" and Psalm 147 focusing on Israel (esp. Ps. 147:19-20)?

2. Why is Ps. 147:4 so theologically significant in an ANE setting?

3. How is Ps. 147:7-9 related to Leviticus 26 and Deuteronomy 27-30?

4. God's sustaining providence described in Ps. 147:16-18 provides nature with consistent patterns. How did this affect the development of the "scientific method" in western culture?

5. Does Ps. 147:20 imply that God does not share Himself or His revelation with Gentiles?

Psalm 148

STROPHE DIVISIONS OF MODERN TRANSLATIONS

NASB NKJV NRSV TEV NJB
The Whole Creation Invoked to Praise the Lord
No MT Intro
Praise to the Lord from Creation Hymn Calling Upon All Created Things to praise the Lord A Call for the Universe to Praise God Cosmic Hymn of Praise
148:1-6 148:1a 148:1-2 148:1a 148:1-2
  148:1b-4   148:1b-2  
    148:3-4 148:3-4 148:3-4
  148:5-6 148:5-6 148:5-6 148:5-6
148:7-12 148:7-12 148:7-8 148:7-8 148:7-8
    148:9-10 148:9-10 148:9-10
    148:11-12 148:11-12 148:11-12
148:13-14 148:13-14d 148:13-14 148:13-14c 148:13-14
  148:14e   148:14d  

READING CYCLE THREE (see "Guide to Good Bible Reading")

FOLLOWING THE ORIGINAL AUTHOR'S INTENT AT PARAGRAPH LEVEL

This is a study guide commentary which means that you are responsible for your own interpretation of the Bible. Each of us must walk in the light we have. You, the Bible, and the Holy Spirit are priority in interpretation. You must not relinquish this to a commentator.

Read the chapter in one sitting. Identify the subjects (reading cycle #3). Compare your subject divisions with the five translations above. Paragraphing is not inspired, but it is the key to following the original author's intent, which is the heart of interpretation. Every paragraph has one and only one subject.

1. First paragraph

2. Second paragraph

3. Third paragraph

4. Etc.

 

CONTEXTUAL INSIGHTS

A. Remember the Bible is an earth-oriented book. This planet was the focus of God preparing a special place to fellowship with His highest creation (i.e., made in His image and likeness, cf. Gen. 1:26-27).

B. All of the different levels of creation

1. celestial (i.e., "from the heavens," Ps. 148:1b)

2. earthly (i.e., "from the earth," Ps. 148:7a)

3. covenant people

are called on to praise YHWH, the Creator and Sustainer of all life on this planet and related to this planet (i.e., angels).

C. This is the choir of heaven and earth, animate and inanimate!

 

WORD AND PHRASE STUDY

NASB (UPDATED) TEXT: 148:1-6
 1Praise the Lord!
 Praise the Lord from the heavens;
 Praise Him in the heights!
 2Praise Him, all His angels;
 Praise Him, all His hosts!
 3Praise Him, sun and moon;
 Praise Him, all stars of light!
 4Praise Him, highest heavens,
 And the waters that are above the heavens!
 5Let them praise the name of the Lord,
 For He commanded and they were created.
 6He has also established them forever and ever;
 He has made a decree which will not pass away.

148:1-6 The verb "praise" (BDB 237, KB 248) dominates this Psalm. Each of the three strophes begins with it. Psalm 148:1-4 contains all Piel imperatives, as does Ps. 148:7,14.

This first strophe focuses on "above the earth" things (cf. Ps. 103:19-22).

1. "from the heavens" (BDB 1029) - this refers to the atmosphere above the earth; see SPECIAL TOPIC: HEAVEN, also note Ps. 69:34; 96:11; Isa. 44:23; 49:13

2. "in the heights" (BDB 928) - this is parallel to "heavens"

3. "all His angels" (BDB 521) - this refers to the conscious servants of God (cf. Ps. 103:20); they are not said to be created in any specific OT text, but their inclusion here strongly suggests that, Col. 1:16 also strongly assumes this truth

There are three Special Topics related to angels:

a. SPECIAL TOPIC: THE ANGEL OF THE LORD

b. Special Topic: Angels and Demons

c. Special Topic: Angelic Levels in Paul's Writings

4. "all His hosts (BDB 838) - this term is used in two senses

a. in military contexts it refers to a heavenly army of angels

b. in an astral worship context it refers to the lights in the sky (i.e., sun, moon, stars, comets) which were thought to be gods who affected human life; notice "a" could relate to Ps. 148:2a or "b" could relate to Ps. 148:3 (cf. Ps. 103:21)

5. "sun and moon" - these are the greater lights of Gen. 1:14-16; both were worshiped in the ANE; see SPECIAL TOPIC: MOON WORSHIP

6. "all stars of light" - see note at Ps. 147:4

7. "highest heaven" - see Special Topic: The Heavens and the Third Heaven

8. "the waters that are above the heavens" - this alludes to Gen. 1:6-8; God controls the ancient waters; see Special Topic: Waters

 

148:5a "Let them praise" This is a Piel imperfect used in a jussive sense. It would denote a call to prayer/praise to the Creator (cf. Ps. 148:5b-6).

The "name" stands for YHWH Himself. See Special Topic: "The Name" of YHWH.

148:5b This alludes to creation by the spoken word of Genesis 1 (cf. Ps. 33:6,9; Heb. 11:3).

148:6 This is a hyperbolic statement of the permanency of this planet and its seasons (cf. Jer. 31:35-36; 33:20,25). We know from 2 Pet. 3:7,10-12 that the polluted, fallen creation shall be cleansed. From science, moderns know that we live in a violent, unstable universe. This solar system is not eternal. These are faith statements of God's eternality (cf. Ps. 93:1; 96:10d) and His promises that those who know Him will be with Him!

▣ "forever and ever" See Special Topic: Forever ('olam).

NASB, NKJV"a decree which will not pass away"
NRSV"he fixed their bounds, which cannot be passed"
NJB"by an unchanging decree"

This phrase can refer to

1. God's decree/plans (cf. Ps. 33:11)

2. God's fixed boundaries of the land/sea/rivers (cf. Job 38:8-11; Ps. 104:9; Jer. 5:22)

The verb "pass over," "pass through," "pass on," "pass away" (BDB 716, KB 778, Qal imperfect) obviously has a wide semantic field which can support #1 or #2.

NASB (UPDATED) TEXT: 148:7-12
 7Praise the Lord from the earth,
 Sea monsters and all deeps;
 8Fire and hail, snow and clouds;
 Stormy wind, fulfilling His word;
 9Mountains and all hills;
 Fruit trees and all cedars;
 10Beasts and all cattle;
 Creeping things and winged fowl;
 11Kings of the earth and all peoples;
 Princes and all judges of the earth;
 12Both young men and virgins;
 Old men and children.

148:7-12 This strophe focuses on the praise (one verb covers Ps. 148:7-12, each line assumes "praise") of living things on this planet.

1. "sea monsters" (BDB 1072) - this is used in several senses

a. snake - Exod. 7:9,10,12; Deut. 32:33; Ps. 91:13

b. dragon - Jer. 51:34 (also note name of the gate in Neh. 2:13)

c. sea monsters - see online notes at Gen. 1:21; Isa. 27:1

2. "all deeps" (BDB 1062) - this is used in several senses

a. subterranean waters (salt), cf. Gen. 7:11; 8:2; Job 28:4; 38:16; Ps. 33:7; 107:23-26; 135:6; Isa. 51:10; Amos 7:4

b. fresh water - usually in reference to crossing of the Red Sea, cf. Exod. 15:5,8; Ps. 77:17; 78:15; 106:9; Isa. 63:13

c. primeval waters - Gen. 1:2; Ps. 104:6-7; Pr. 8:27, see Special Topic: Waters (water is never said to be spoken into existence in Genesis 1)

d. Sheol - Ps. 71:20 (see Special Topic: Sheol)

3. Psalm 148:7-8 lists weather and topological features of the earth

4. Psalm 148:10 covers all created animal life

5. Psalm 148:11-12 lists human beings of all social levels and ages

 

NASB (UPDATED) TEXT: 148:13-14
 13Let them praise the name of the Lord,
 For His name alone is exalted;
 His glory is above earth and heaven.
 14And He has lifted up a horn for His people,
 Praise for all His godly ones;
 Even for the sons of Israel, a people near to Him.
 Praise the Lord!

148:13-14 The strophe starts like Ps. 148:5, with a Piel imperfect of "praise" used in a jussive sense. It focuses on the praise due YHWH from His covenant people.

148:13 "His name alone is exalted" This is

1. a literary expression of monotheism (see SPECIAL TOPIC: MONOTHEISM)

2. a way to contrast YHWH with mankind (cf. Isa. 2:11,17)

 

▣ "glory" See SPECIAL TOPIC: GLORY (kabod, OT).

148:14 "horn" The Hebrews viewed animal horns (esp. "ox," cf. Deut. 33:17; Ps. 92:10) as an expression of power (cf. Ps. 18:2).

1. the altars in the temple had horns

2. a person's life was characterized as a "horn" to be

a. lifted up (cf. 1 Sam. 2:1; Ps. 89:17,24; 92:10; 112:9)

b. put in dust (cf. Job 16:15)

c. cut off (cf. Ps. 75:10)

 

148:14 "all His godly ones" See notes at Ps. 16:10 and 145:10 online.

Here the phrase is parallel to "His people." They are further characterized as

1. sons of Israel

2. a people near to Him - this at first referred to priests/Levites who served in the temple but later came to be used of all covenant people who worship YHWH

 

DISCUSSION QUESTIONS

This is a study guide commentary which means that you are responsible for your own interpretation of the Bible. Each of us must walk n the light we have. You, the Bible, and the Holy Spirit are priority in interpretation. You must not relinquish this to a commentator.

These discussion questions are provided to help you think through the major issues of this section of the book. They are meant to be thought provoking, not definitive.

1. How is Ps. 148:1-6 related to Ps. 148:7-12?

2. Define "hosts" of Ps. 148:2b. Does it relate to Ps. 148:2a or 149:3?

3. How does one reconcile Ps. 148:6 with 2 Pet. 3:7,10-12?

4. Define "sea monsters" of Ps. 148:7b.

5. Does Ps. 148:14 refer to "praise" to Israel or to YHWH?

Psalm 149

STROPHE DIVISIONS OF MODERN TRANSLATIONS

NASB NKJV NRSV TEV NJB
Israel Invoked to Praise the Lord
No MT Intro
Praise to the God for His Salvation and Judgment Hymn to Accompany a Festival Dance A Hymn of Praise Songs of Triumph
149:1-4 149:1a 149:1-9 149:1a 149:1a
  149:1b-c   149:1b-9b 149:1b-3
  149:2-4      
        149:4-6
149:5-9 149:5-9b      
        149:7-9b
  149:9c   149:9c  

READING CYCLE THREE (see "Guide to Good Bible Reading")

FOLLOWING THE ORIGINAL AUTHOR'S INTENT AT PARAGRAPH LEVEL

This is a study guide commentary which means that you are responsible for your own interpretation of the Bible. Each of us must walk in the light we have. You, the Bible, and the Holy Spirit are priority in interpretation. You must not relinquish this to a commentator.

Read the chapter in one sitting. Identify the subjects (reading cycle #3). Compare your subject divisions with the five translations above. Paragraphing is not inspired, but it is the key to following the original author's intent, which is the heart of interpretation. Every paragraph has one and only one subject.

1. First paragraph

2. Second paragraph

3. Third paragraph

4. Etc.

 

CONTEXTUAL INSIGHTS

A. This is a Psalm written to commemorate and rejoice over a military victory by Israel over a Gentile foe (cf. Ps. 149:6b-9a).

B. Israel is honored as YHWH's special people (Psalm 112).

1. the congregation of the godly ones (lit. "the assembly of the faithful") - BDB 874 construct BDB 339, Ps. 149:1

2. YHWH is their

a. Maker (BDB 793 I, KB 889, Qal participle), Ps. 149:2

b. King (BDB 572 I), Ps. 149:2

3. His people. . .the afflicted ones, Ps. 149:4

4. the godly ones (lit. "the faithful"), Ps. 149:5

5. "His godly ones" (lit. "faithful ones"), Ps. 149:9

 

WORD AND PHRASE STUDY

NASB (UPDATED) TEXT: 149:1-4
 1Praise the Lord!
 Sing to the Lord a new song,
 And His praise in the congregation of the godly ones.
 2Let Israel be glad in his Maker;
 Let the sons of Zion rejoice in their King.
 3Let them praise His name with dancing;
 Let them sing praises to Him with timbrel and lyre.
 4For the Lord takes pleasure in His people;
 He will beautify the afflicted ones with salvation.

149:1-4 The strophe starts off with two parallel Piel imperatives.

1. praise

2. sing

These are followed by a series of four imperfects used as jussives.

1. let Israel be glad

2. let Zion rejoice

3. let them praise His name

4. let them sing praises to Him

The psalmist prays that Israel will respond appropriately to their military victory by recognizing it is from YHWH and not themselves.

149:1 "a new song" This would represent a cultural way to commemorate an event (compare Exod. 15:1-18,21; Jdgs. 5:1-13; 1 Sam. 18:6; Ps. 33:3; 40:3; 96:1; 98:1; Isa. 42:10).

▣ "congregation" This is Qahal (BDB 874), which in the LXX, was translated ekklesia. See Special Topic: Church (ekklesia).

▣ "the godly ones" This is the same word used in Ps. 148:14, which comes from hesed (BDB 339). See note at Ps. 16:10 online.

149:2 "Maker" This (BDB 793 I) does not refer to creation but to the call of Abraham and the promise to his descendants, which was fully ratified on Mt. Sinai (cf. Exodus 19-20). It is also alluded to in Ps. 95:6; 100:3; Isa. 17:7). YHWH was uniquely their Maker, Savior, and Covenant Deity!

▣ "their King" This theological understanding goes back to 1 Sam. 8:7, cf. Ps. 47:6; 89:18. The King of God's people was meant to be His earthly representative, His Undershepherd.

▣ "Zion" See Special Topic: Zion.

149:3 "dancing" This implies a special worship event celebrating

1. a military victory (cf. Exod. 15:20; Jdgs. 11:34; 1 Sam. 18:6)

2. a worship event (cf. 2 Sam. 6:5; Ps. 150:4)

3. a restoration (cf. Ps. 30:11; in connection with this, "bed" [BDB 1012] may refer to a place sick people lie, cf. Exod. 21:18; Job 33:19)

 

149:4 "the afflicted ones" Although this root (BDB 776) can refer to the poor and needy, it often was used of God's persecuted people.

▣ "salvation" See Special Topic: Salvation (OT).

NASB (UPDATED) TEXT: 149:5-9
 5Let the godly ones exult in glory;
 Let them sing for joy on their beds.
 6Let the high praises of God be in their mouth,
 And a two-edged sword in their hand,
 7To execute vengeance on the nations
 And punishment on the peoples,
 8To bind their kings with chains
 And their nobles with fetters of iron,
 9To execute on them the judgment written;
 This is an honor for all His godly ones.
 Praise the Lord!

149:5-9 This strophe has three prayer requests using imperfects used in a jussive sense.

1. exult

2. sing for joy

3. an assumed "to be" verb in Ps. 149:6a

This strophe combines a prayer for

1. God's people to rejoice

2. God's enemies to be judged

 

149:5 "the godly ones" This is from the root hesed (BDB 339, see Special Topic: Lovingkindness [hesed]). It is used often and denotes someone faithful to the covenant.

The other term used for faithful followers is from the root kadosh (BDB 872, see SPECIAL TOPIC: HOLY), which denotes one separated for YHWH's service.

These "godly ones" are not sinless but have a faith, obedient, and repentant relationship with YHWH.

▣ "glory" This Hebrew root (BDB 458, see SPECIAL TOPIC: GLORY (DOXA) [kabod]) is difficult to define. It has a wide semantic field. AB (p. 357) thinks it is a title for YHWH, "their Glorious One."

▣ "sing for joy on their beds" This is a surprising place to "exult. . .sing." This must be figurative language of a person with a joyful, peaceful heart that sleeps well! This is the opposite of Ps. 6:7.

It is surely possible (Tyndale, OT Commentary Series, vol. 16, Psalm, p. 527) that "couch" refers to reclining at a meal and, therefore, singing and rejoicing at a victory banquet!

149:6 The peaceful attitude of Ps. 149:5 is matched with military preparedness. There is peace because YHWH has given His covenant people victory over the surrounding nations (cf. Ps. 149:7-8).

▣ "high praises" This construct (BDB 928, KB 1206 and BDB 42) occurs only here and possibly Ps. 66:17.

▣ "sword in their hand" This phrase could refer to

1. literary imagery of a past victory

2. a symbolic dance by priests

3. preparation for a coming battle

 

149:7 Some see this verse in an eschatological setting but it could fit any victory in Israel's history over the surrounding nations of the ANE.

▣ "vengeance" For a good brief discussion of this theological concept in the OT, see NIDOTTE, vol. 4, pp. 1140-1149. If YHWH does not bring justice in this life, there must be an afterlife.

149:9a "the judgment written" This must refer to

1. "Holy War" promises, as in the Exodus and Conquest

2. results of the "cursing and blessing" promises of Leviticus 26 and Deuteronomy 27-30

3. an allusion to the Prophetic sections on the judgment of the nations (i.e., Jeremiah 46-51)

4. a good example of this kind of "peace promise" is Ezek. 28:26; 34:25-28; 38:8

 

149:9b The victory brought by YHWH will bring honor to the covenant people (cf. Psalm 1121).

149:9c Psalms 146-150 all begin and end with "Hallelujah," a Piel imperative of "praise," or an abbreviation of YHWH.

DISCUSSION QUESTIONS

This is a study guide commentary which means that you are responsible for your own interpretation of the Bible. Each of us must walk n the light we have. You, the Bible, and the Holy Spirit are priority in interpretation. You must not relinquish this to a commentator.

These discussion questions are provided to help you think through the major issues of this section of the book. They are meant to be thought provoking, not definitive.

1. On what occasions were "a new song" sung?

2. Does Ps. 149:2a refer to Genesis 1 or Genesis 12?

3. Is the Psalm about a past military victory or a future one?

4. Does the Bible as a whole emphasize the judgment of the nations or the inclusion of the nations?

5. Who are the godly ones in Ps. 149:1,5,9?

Issue 016. 2014 January Bible.org Translator's Newsletter

Thank You!

This last month has resulted in 8 new translated articles being added to the site.
We are thankful for a new translator and a new language that is being added to the site. Among other articles, we are delighted to have our main gospel article now in the Sinhala language. Thank you Tilak and Mariza for your hard work this month.

What a blessing to be able to provide these new resources to our readers around the world. Thank you all for your ongoing translation work. See all our current Languages and Articles Here

Hints and Tips

Tip: Have you ever wondered for comparison what process other translators use in their translation?

The Korean Consulting & Translation Service, Inc. has a page that lays out the process that one of their translators has found to be very helpful in trying to produce a quality translation in a reasonable amount of time. This translator uses a four step process (with the percentages being the amount of time spent on each step): Step #1: Rough Draft (30%), Step #2: Correct Draft (50%), Step #3: Polished Draft (17%), and Step #4: Deliverable Draft (3%).

Learn More Tips from our FAQ Section.

Know someone else who is bilingual?

If you know of anyone else who would have the time and skills to translate articles for Bible.org please consider recommending this ministry to them. Sometimes the most obvious gifts (like preaching or being a leader) are not the ones with the most impact or need. This is a real opportunity to meet a need and impact thousands and thousands of people with the truth of God’s Word. Click here to contact us and begin impacting thousands around the world

Need help, have questions, or prefer to meet in real time?

I am available and would love to answer any questions you might have. We do have a Frequently Asked Questions section on our Group page, but you can always send me an email! I can also be available through Skype for a voice or chat conversation. Simply let me know through email that you would like to talk and we will get it worked out.

I look forward to hearing from you!

Click here to email us

Related Topics: Administrative and Organization

Psalm 150

STROPHE DIVISIONS OF MODERN TRANSLATIONS

NASB NKJV NRSV TEV NJB
A Psalm of Praise
No MT Intro
Let All Things Praise the Lord Doxology Marking the End of the Psalter Praise the Lord Final Chorus of Praise
150:1-2 150:1a 150:1-2 150:1a 150:1a
  150:1b-c   150:1b-2 150:1b-2
  150:2      
150:3-6 150:3-5 150:3-6 150:3-6b 150:3-6a
  150:6a      
  150:6b   150:6c 150:6b

READING CYCLE THREE (see "Guide to Good Bible Reading")

FOLLOWING THE ORIGINAL AUTHOR'S INTENT AT PARAGRAPH LEVEL

This is a study guide commentary which means that you are responsible for your own interpretation of the Bible. Each of us must walk in the light we have. You, the Bible, and the Holy Spirit are priority in interpretation. You must not relinquish this to a commentator.

Read the chapter in one sitting. Identify the subjects (reading cycle #3). Compare your subject divisions with the five translations above. Paragraphing is not inspired, but it is the key to following the original author's intent, which is the heart of interpretation. Every paragraph has one and only one subject.

1. First paragraph

2. Second paragraph

3. Etc.

 

WORD AND PHRASE STUDY

NASB (UPDATED) TEXT: 150:1-2
 1Praise the Lord!
 Praise God in His sanctuary;
 Praise Him in His mighty expanse.
 2Praise Him for His mighty deeds;
 Praise Him according to His excellent greatness.

150:1-6 The only verb is "praise" (BDB 237, B 248) used thirteen times.

1. twelve Piel imperatives (in Psalm 146-150, thirty-three times)

2. one Piel imperfect used in a jussive sense (cf. Ps. 150:6a)

Notice the prepositions.

1. in a place

a. in His sanctuary

b. in His mighty expanse

2. because

a. His mighty deeds

b. His excellent greatness

3. with musical instruments (what type is not always clear)

a. trumpet (BDB 1051)

b. harp (BDB 490, cf. 2 Sam. 6:5)

c. lyre (BDB 614, cf. 2 Sam. 6:5)

d. timbrel (BDB 1074)

e. stringed instruments (BDB 577 I)

f. pipe (BDB 721, NIDOTTE, vol. 3, p. 334)

g. cymbals (BDB 852, cf. 2 Sam. 6:5)

4. with dancing, Ps. 150:4

5. with breath, Ps. 150:6

 

150:1 This verse may be a literary way of paralleling Ps. 150:6a.

The "sanctuary" (i.e., temple or on earth, cf. Ps. 148:7-12; the LXX has "among His saints") would denote earth and the "expanse" (the celestial realm, cf. Ps. 148:1-4).

It is possible that both Ps. 150:1b and 1c refer to YHWH's (El in Ps. 150:1b) abode (cf. Ps. 11:4).

150:2 "His mighty deeds" See notes on Ps. 145:4,5,6,7,9,12.

NASB (UPDATED) TEXT: 150:3-6
 3Praise Him with trumpet sound;
 Praise Him with harp and lyre.
 4Praise Him with timbrel and dancing;
 Praise Him with stringed instruments and pipe.
 5Praise Him with loud cymbals;
 Praise Him with resounding cymbals.
 6Let everything that has breath praise the Lord.
 Praise the Lord!

150:3 "trumpet" These are blown by priests. See SPECIAL TOPIC: HORNS USED BY ISRAEL.

▣ "harp and lyre" These were instruments used by the Levites in temple worship (cf. 1 Chr. 15:16; 2 Chr. 29:25; Neh. 12:27).

150:6a What a beautiful way to speak of animate creation (human and animal) praising the Creator (cf. Ps. 103:19-22; 145:21; 148:7-12.

Bible.org Article Translation Effort

Welcome to our Article Translation Effort Page!

This is an all volunteer--unpaid-- effort to bring Bible.org resources into as many languages as we possibly can. Here volunteers will be able to find resources and information on this translation ministry.

While this is a volunteer project, we do have a translator appreciation program by which we desire to express a token of our thanks through further Bible Study resources that we are able to offer.

If you are interested in becoming a volunteer translator please visit our volunteer page (for more details) and contact us today!

For monthly updates on the translation program, along with helpful tips, check out our Bible.org Translators Newsletter.

Related Topics: Administrative and Organization

Which Articles Should I Translate?

Related Media

Since YOU are the one doing the translating, here is our guidance and advice:

1. Choose any article on Bible.org that you would like to translate. Perhaps you would like to translate something that would personally be of help to you in your life or ministry. Since you will be spending a bit of time working on this article you have the freedom to choose whatever article you would like to translate. 

2. If you would like suggestions or guidance we have prepared a listing of articles that we would really like to see made available in each language (see below for a web version of this list). This listing is also available in an Excel spreadsheet (in the Related Media for this article) if you would like a downloadale version (Readable in Microsoft Excel, or the freely downloadable program Open Office). It has links to each of the articles just like the version below. 

    A. In this list our first priority is "God's Plan of Salvation" by Hampton Keathley, III

    B. After that salvation message article, we would encourage you to pick one article from each of the categories listed in our spreadsheet to translate so that a variety of subjects are made available. This way we will not have, for instance, ten articles available on Bible study but none on Prayer. After each subject has a translated article in the new language we can go back and translate the "missing" articles. 

3. After picking an article to translate be sure to let us know which one you are working on so that we do not accidentally receive duplicate translations from different translators.

*PTSM # = Path to Spiritual Maturity + step number 

Related Topics: Administrative and Organization

Dictionary Resources To Improve Translating

Translating can be a tough job. Correctly understanding what is being originally said is crucial to being able to translate it accurately into the second language. When dealing with the Bible and theological studies words are often used that are not words used in everyday activity. To help you with this here are a few links to online dictionaries and resources that may be of help should you need some clarification. (See Below)

 


Bible.org’s Dictionary database, 6 dictionaries accessible through one search function.

Dictionary of Theology, a database being put together by the Christian Apologetics & Research Ministry.

Webster’s 1828 Dictionary, an old but good dictionary that took into account English theological definitions quite well.

Oxford Dictionaries, a good general English dictionary.

Dictionary.com, another helpful online dictionary. 


Related Topics: Administrative and Organization

Awarding Faithfulness: Translator Appreciation Program

Here at Bible.org we are so thankful for the many volunteer translators that God has sent our way over the years. We recognize that translation can be quite hard work, and that you, our translators, do it unpaid as a ministry service to us and the world. We have been very blessed by your sacrificial service to the Lord. We would like in turn to be a blessing to you with what we are able to share back. Most of the resources that we provide here on Bible.org are free and available to all. However we do have a few other resources made for sale that we are sometimes able share. A number of these we would like to make available as a token thank you for your volunteer ministry with us. It is hoped and prayed that these will be a further blessing to you in your ministry in your local setting. In the end we recognize that it is God who will give out the real awards in eternity for believers’ faithfulness and pure motivation. However we do hope these will be a nice encouragement, a useful side benefit, and in some way a help in your service to our Lord.

*An ePub Book is a convenient electronic version of a book that can be read on a computer through a free program such as Calibre, or on a dedicated E-reader device. (iPad, Nook, Android tablets, etc./Kindle compatible files available upon request.)

+ Certificate = An official certificate of appreciation from Bible.org e-mailed to you in thanks and recognition of your current translation milestone achievement.

Note: Extremely short articles and illustrations may not count towards the translation total. Determination of awards—as well as the awarding of them will remain solely at the discretion of Bible.org.

If you have any questions send us an email.

Related Topics: Administrative and Organization

Pages