MENU

Where the world comes to study the Bible

Psalm 145

STROPHE DIVISIONS OF MODERN TRANSLATIONS

NASB NKJV NRSV TEV NJB
The Lord Extolled for His Goodness
MT Intro
A Psalm of praise,
of David.
A Song of God's Majesty and Love Hymn Epitomizing the Character of the God of Israel
(an acrostic)
A Hymn of Praise Praise to Yahweh the King
(acrostic)
145:1-7 145:1-3 145:1-3 145:1-3 145:1-3
  145:4-7 145:4-7 145:4-9 145:4-5
        145:6-7
145:8-13 145:8-9 145:8-9   145:8-9
  145:10-13 145:10-13b 145:10-13b 145:10-11
        145:12-13b
    145:13c-20 145:13c-16 145:13c-14
145:14-16 145:14-16      
        145:15-16
145:17-21 145:17-21   145:17-20 145:17-18
        145:19-20
    145:21 145:21 145:21

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.

 

CONTEXTUAL INSIGHTS

A. This is an acrostic Psalm. There are other examples in the Psalter.

1. Psalm 9 and 10

2. Psalm 25

3. Psalm 34

4. Psalm 37

5. Psalm 111

6. Psalm 112

7. Psalm 119

8. Psalm 145

Acrostics can also be seen in Pro. 31:16-31 and Lamentations 1; 2; 3; and 4. There are 22 letters in the Hebrew alphabet. There are only 21 verses in this Psalm, so obviously one letter is omitted. The Hebrew "N" has somehow been misplaced in the Masoretic text (see SPECIAL TOPIC: TEXTUAL CRITICISM). It is included in all of the ancient versions—the Septuagint, the Vulgate, and the Peshitta. We find it in one Hebrew manuscript in the Dead Sea Scrolls, 11QPsa.

B. This Psalm is about the character of Israel's God and His acts which reveal that character. See Special Topic: Characteristics of Israel's God.

C. This Psalm has a unique universal element which can be seen in Ps. 145:8-21. This is one of the unique glimpses into the heart of God which shows His love for all peoples of the earth and of His desire for all people to know Him by faith (cf. Ezek. 18:23,32; John 3:16; 4:42; 1 Tim. 2:4; 4:10; Titus 2:11; 2 Pet. 3:9; 1 John 2:1; 4:14; see Special Topic: YHWH's Eternal Redemptive Plan).

 

WORD AND PHRASE STUDY

NASB (UPDATED) TEXT: 145:1-7
 11I will extol You, my God, O King,
 And I will bless Your name forever and ever.
 2Every day I will bless You,
 And I will praise Your name forever and ever.
 3Great is the Lord, and highly to be praised,
 And His greatness is unsearchable.
 4One generation shall praise Your works to another,
 And shall declare Your mighty acts.
 5On the glorious splendor of Your majesty
 And on Your wonderful works, I will meditate.
 6Men shall speak of the power of Your awesome acts,
 And I will tell of Your greatness.
 7They shall eagerly utter the memory of Your abundant goodness
 And will shout joyfully of Your righteousness.

145:1 "I will extol You" Notice the personal element expressed so often in Ps. 145:1-7. This is clearly seen by the phrase, "my God." It is obvious that personal faith is the beginning point in understanding the God of creation and in history.

This opening strophe (i.e., Ps. 145:1-7) has several cohortatives.

1. I will extol You, Ps. 145:1 - BDB 926, KB 1202, Polel imperfect used in a cohortative sense

2. I will bless Your name, Ps. 145:1 - BDB 138, KB 159, Piel cohortative

3. I will bless You, Ps. 145:2 - BDB 138, KB 159, Piel imperfect used in a cohortative sense

4. I will praise Your name, Ps. 145:3 - BDB 237, KB 248, Piel cohortative

5. I will meditate on Your wonderful works, Ps. 145:5 - BDB 967, KB 1319, Qal cohortative

6. I will tell of Your greatness, Ps. 145:6 - BDB 707, KB 765, Piel imperfect used in a cohortative sense

True faithful followers must express their faith and praise of YHWH.

▣ "O King" YHWH was the true King of Israel (cf. 1 Sam. 8:7). The earthly king was only a mere representative of the heavenly King (cf. Ps. 10:16; 29:10; 98:6).

▣ "I will bless Your name" The concept of "blessing" (BDB 138-verb, 139-noun) is part of the Hebrew theology related to the power of the spoken word. See SPECIAL TOPIC: BLESSING.

The term "name" (BDB 1027) is a Hebraic way of referring to the person. See Special Topic: "The Name" of YHWH.

Israel's Deity is called Eloah in Ps. 145:1 but YHWH nine times in the rest of the Psalm. See SPECIAL TOPIC: NAMES FOR DEITY.

▣ "forever and ever" The phrase is used in Ps. 145:1b and 2b and seems to be used in the same sense in Ps. 34:1, which is explicitly expressed in Ps. 145:2a. It is not really an affirmation of the afterlife but a Hebrew idiom of daily praise. See Special Topic: Forever ('olam).

145:3 "His greatness is unsearchable" The noun "greatness" (BDB 153) is used of both

1. God Himself - 1 Chr. 29:11; Ps. 48:1; 86:10; 147:5

2. His acts - 2 Sam. 7:21; 1 Chr. 17:19-21

"Unsearchable" (lit. "there is no searching," i.e., noun construct) is used in Job 5:9; 9:10; 11:7. The same concept of God's ways being far above our understanding is expressed in Ps. 40:5,28; 139:6; Isa. 40:28; 55:8,9; Rom. 11:33.

145:4 "One generation shall praise Your works to another" This is an emphasis of passing on their faith to their children (cf. Deut. 4:9,10; 6:7,20-25; 11:19; 32:7,46; Ps. 22:30,31).

The verbs of Ps. 145:4 are imperfects but they may be jussive in meaning, describing the psalmist's wishes/prayers. The same is true of Ps. 145:6 and 7 (NET Bible, p. 1009).

▣ "Your mighty acts" This emphasis is on the God who acts in fidelity to His covenant promises, cf. Ps. 145:4,5,6,7,12. Usually this term refers to God's past redemptive acts, such as the Exodus.

145:5 "On the glorious splendor of Your majesty" Human vocabulary is quite inadequate to express the glory of God (see SPECIAL TOPIC: GLORY (DOXA) [OT]). Here is a series of words which are linked together in order to catch the glorious nature of God.

1. splendor - BDB 214, cf. 1 Chr. 16:27; Ps. 29:4; 90:16; 96:6; 104:1; 111:3; Isa. 2:10,19,21

2. majesty - BDB 217, cf. 1 Chr. 16:27; 29:11; Ps. 96:6; 111:3; 148:13

3. wondrous - BDB 810, see Special Topic: Wonderful Things

 

▣ "I will meditate" Faithful followers will remember YHWH's great acts, cf. Ps. 145:7. It is amazing how many times in the Bible faithful followers are admonished to remember what God has done!

145:6 "Men shall speak of the power of Your awesome acts" This is the first allusion to "all men," which is the common refrain of Ps. 145:8-21. This has contextual potential of including all Gentiles, as well as Jews. However, it may be a literary necessity which is produced by the acrostic form of writing.

Notice the number of ways the psalmist refers to YHWH's works.

1. Your works, Ps. 145:4a, 9b, 10a

2. Your mighty acts, Ps. 145:4b, 12

3. Your wonderful works, Ps. 145:5b

4. Your awesome acts, Ps. 145:6a

This refers to

1. the creation and/or the flood

2. acts of forgiveness and restoration

3. call of Abraham and the Patriarchs

4. the Exodus

5. the Conquest

6. victories in battle

7. etc.

 

145:7 "eagerly utter" The verb (BDB 615, KB 665, Hiphil imperfect) means "to bubble up." It is used often in a metaphorical sense (cf. Psalm 19:2; 78:2; 119:171, 145:7). It denotes a constant, excited proclamation.

▣ "Your righteousness" The term "righteousness" (BDB 842) comes from the Hebrew root, "a measuring reed." It can be used in two ways in the OT:

1. God's transcendent holiness and eternality

2. His acts of redeeming Israel

See SPECIAL TOPIC: RIGHTEOUSNESS.

NASB (UPDATED) TEXT: 145:8-13
 8The Lord is gracious and merciful;
 Slow to anger and great in lovingkindness.
 9The Lord is good to all,
 And His mercies are over all His works.
 10All Your works shall give thanks to You, O Lord,
 And Your godly ones shall bless You.
 11They shall speak of the glory of Your kingdom
 And talk of Your power;
 12To make known to the sons of men Your mighty acts
 And the glory of the majesty of Your kingdom.
 13Your kingdom is an everlasting kingdom,
 And Your dominion endures throughout all generations.

145:8 "The Lord is gracious and merciful;
 Slow to anger and great in lovingkindness"
This is a direct quote from Exod. 34:6,7 and is repeated in Ps. 103:8. It not only gives us the characteristics of God's nature, but again shows one of His mighty acts in history initiated by grace, not by human merit (i.e., the Exodus). See SPECIAL TOPIC: CHARACTERISTICS OF ISRAEL'S GOD.

145:9 "The Lord is good to all,
 And His mercies are over all His works"
God has an everlasting love for humans created in His image (cf. Gen. 1:26,27; 3:8). See Special Topic: YHWH's Eternal Redemptive Plan.

145:10 "All Your works shall give thanks to You, O Lord" Compare this with Ps. 103:19-22.

NASB"godly ones"
NKJV, Peshitta"saints"
NRSV, NJB"faithful"
TEV"people"
JPSOA"faithful ones"
REB"loyal servants"
LXX"devout"

This Hebrew adjective (BDB 339) is based on the root חסד ("hesed," BDB 338, see Special Topic: Lovingkindness [hesed]). It is predominately used for faithful covenant followers (cf. 1 Sam. 2:9; Ps. 4:3; 12:1; 30:4; 31:24; 37:28; 50:5; 79:2; 85:8; 86:2; 89:19; 97:10; 116:15; 145:10; 148:14; 149:9), but could also refer to

1. priests - Deut. 33:8; 2 Chr. 6:4; Ps. 132:16

2. the Messiah - Ps. 16:10

3. angels of the heavenly council - Ps. 29:1; 103:19-22; 148:2; and this strophe

 

145:11-12 These verses can refer to

1. angelic praise - see #3 in Ps. 145:10

2. faithful followers' task of making YHWH known to all humans (i.e., "sons of men")

It is hard to decide which is to be preferred. Number 1 represents all creation glorifying its Creator (cf. Ps. 103:19-22; 148:2) and number 2 is the purpose of the call of Abraham (see Special Topic: YHWH's Eternal Redemptive Plan).

145:13 "Your kingdom is an everlasting kingdom" This concept of an eternal kingdom is found in Ps. 10:16; 29:10; Isa. 9:6-7; Dan. 2:44; 4:3,34; 6:26; 7:14,26; 2 Pet. 1:11. See Special Topic: The Kingdom of God.

▣ "deed" This is where most modern translations insert the missing nun phrase from the LXX, Peshitta and Vulgate, and one Hebrew manuscript of the Dead Sea Scrolls (i.e., 11QPsa), "God is faithful in all His words and gracious in all His deeds." This is very similar to Ps. 145:17.

NASB (UPDATED) TEXT: 145:14-16
 14The Lord sustains all who fall
 And raises up all who are bowed down.
 15The eyes of all look to You,
 And You give them their food in due time.
 16You open Your hand
 And satisfy the desire of every living thing.

145:14 "The Lord sustains all who fall" Psalm 145:14-16 speaks of God providing faithful followers' physical needs, while Ps. 145:17-21 speaks of God providing for their spiritual needs. Notice the repetitive use of the term "all."

145:15 "The eyes of all look to You" These verses state that God provides food for all of His creatures, cf. Ps. 104:27,28; 136:25.

145:16 This is the concept of "Providence." God creates and sustains this planet and all its life forms. This action in the OT is attributed to Elohim (see Special Topic: Names for Deity). 

NASB (UPDATED) TEXT: 145:17-21
 17The Lord is righteous in all His ways
 And kind in all His deeds.
 18The Lord is near to all who call upon Him,
 To all who call upon Him in truth.
 19He will fulfill the desire of those who fear Him;
 He will also hear their cry and will save them.
 20The Lord keeps all who love Him,
 But all the wicked He will destroy.
 21My mouth will speak the praise of the Lord,
 And all flesh will bless His holy name forever and ever.

145:17 "And kind in all His deeds" This is the Hebrew word hesed, which speaks of God's covenant loyalty. It was used earlier in Ps. 145:8 to describe God's character and here to describe God's acts.

145:18 "The Lord is near" This is an emphasis on the eminence of God, while Ps. 145:5 is denoting His transcendence, cf. Ps. 34:18; 119:151; and especially Deut. 4:7.

▣ "To all who call upon Him" There is a series of conditions (i.e., Ps. 145:18-20). It must be remembered that all of God's covenants are unconditional on His part but conditional on human response. These four conditions speak of repentance and faith, both initial and ongoing, on the part of the people of God. See notes at Rom. 10:9-13 online.

145:19 "those who fear Him" See Special Topic: Fear (OT).

145:20 "But all the wicked He will destroy" This does not speak of annihilation in death but of physical judgment, cf. Ezek. 14:9; Amos 9:8; Hab. 2:2 (see Robert Girdlestone, Synonyms of the Old Testament, p. 178).

145:21 "And all flesh will bless His holy name forever and ever" Again, this is like Ps. 145:1 and 3. It is not an affirmation of an afterlife, but that certainly is implied, as in Phil. 2:6-11.

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. List the praise-worthy attributes of God.

2. This Psalm refers to YHWH's acts in several verses and in several ways. What acts is it referring to?

3. How does Ps. 145:8-16 (and 145:21) communicate YHWH's universal love?

4. Who are "the godly ones" of Ps. 145:10?

5. Who are "the sons of men" of Ps. 145:12?

6. Does the OT focus on an eternal kingdom or a millennium?

7. How does the "transcendence" of Ps. 145:5 relate to the "eminence" of Ps. 145:18?

8. List the four conditions of Ps. 145:18-20 which relate to faithful followers.