A A A A A
Bible Book List

Psalm 107-136 New American Bible (Revised Edition) (NABRE)

Fifth Book—Psalms 107–150

Psalm 107[a]

God the Savior of Those in Distress

“Give thanks to the Lord for he is good,
    his mercy endures forever!”
Let that be the prayer of the Lord’s redeemed,
    those redeemed from the hand of the foe,
Those gathered from foreign lands,
    from east and west, from north and south.

I

Some had lost their way in a barren desert;
    found no path toward a city to live in.
They were hungry and thirsty;
    their life was ebbing away.
In their distress they cried to the Lord,
    who rescued them in their peril,
Guided them by a direct path
    so they reached a city to live in.
Let them thank the Lord for his mercy,
    such wondrous deeds for the children of Adam.
For he satisfied the thirsty,
    filled the hungry with good things.

II

10 Some lived in darkness and gloom,
    imprisoned in misery and chains.
11 Because they rebelled against God’s word,
    and scorned the counsel of the Most High,
12 He humbled their hearts through hardship;
    they stumbled with no one to help.
13 In their distress they cried to the Lord,
    who saved them in their peril;
14 He brought them forth from darkness and the shadow of death
    and broke their chains asunder.
15 Let them thank the Lord for his mercy,
    such wondrous deeds for the children of Adam.
16 For he broke down the gates of bronze
    and snapped the bars of iron.

III

17 Some fell sick from their wicked ways,
    afflicted because of their sins.
18 They loathed all manner of food;
    they were at the gates of death.
19 In their distress they cried to the Lord,
    who saved them in their peril,
20 Sent forth his word to heal them,
    and snatched them from the grave.
21 Let them thank the Lord for his mercy,
    such wondrous deeds for the children of Adam.
22 Let them offer a sacrifice in thanks,
    recount his works with shouts of joy.

IV

23 Some went off to sea in ships,
    plied their trade on the deep waters.
24 They saw the works of the Lord,
    the wonders of God in the deep.
25 He commanded and roused a storm wind;
    it tossed the waves on high.
26 They rose up to the heavens, sank to the depths;
    their hearts trembled at the danger.
27 They reeled, staggered like drunkards;
    their skill was of no avail.
28 In their distress they cried to the Lord,
    who brought them out of their peril;
29 He hushed the storm to silence,
    the waves of the sea were stilled.
30 They rejoiced that the sea grew calm,
    that God brought them to the harbor they longed for.
31 Let them thank the Lord for his mercy,
    such wondrous deeds for the children of Adam.
32 Let them extol him in the assembly of the people,
    and praise him in the council of the elders.

V

33 [b]God changed rivers into desert,
    springs of water into thirsty ground,
34 Fruitful land into a salty waste,
    because of the wickedness of its people.
35 He changed the desert into pools of water,
    arid land into springs of water,
36 And settled the hungry there;
    they built a city to live in.
37 They sowed fields and planted vineyards,
    brought in an abundant harvest.
38 God blessed them, and they increased greatly,
    and their livestock did not decrease.
39 But he poured out contempt on princes,
    made them wander trackless wastes,
40 Where they were diminished and brought low
    through misery and cruel oppression.
41 While he released the poor man from affliction,
    and increased their families like flocks.
42 The upright saw this and rejoiced;
    all wickedness shut its mouth.
43 Whoever is wise will take note of these things,
    and ponder the merciful deeds of the Lord.

Psalm 108[c]

Prayer for Victory

A song; a psalm of David.

I

My heart is steadfast, God;
    my heart is steadfast.
    Let me sing and chant praise.
Awake, lyre and harp!
    I will wake the dawn.
I will praise you among the peoples, Lord;
    I will chant your praise among the nations.
For your mercy is greater than the heavens;
    your faithfulness, to the skies.

II

Appear on high over the heavens, God;
    your glory above all the earth.
Help with your right hand and answer us
    that your loved ones may escape.

God speaks in his holiness:[d]
    “I will exult, I will apportion Shechem;
    the valley of Succoth I will measure out.
Gilead is mine, mine is Manasseh;
    Ephraim is the helmet for my head,
    Judah, my scepter.
10 Moab is my washbowl;
    upon Edom I cast my sandal;
    I will shout in triumph over Philistia.”

11 Who will bring me to the fortified city?
    Who will lead me into Edom?
12 Was it not you who rejected us, God?
    Do you no longer march with our armies?
13 Give us aid against the foe;
    worthless is human help.
14 We will triumph with the help of God,
    who will trample down our foes.

Psalm 109[e]

Prayer of a Person Falsely Accused

For the leader. A psalm of David.

I

O God, whom I praise, do not be silent,
    for wicked and treacherous mouths attack me.
They speak against me with lying tongues;
    with hateful words they surround me,
    attacking me without cause.
In return for my love they slander me,
    even though I prayed for them.
They repay me evil for good,
    hatred for my love.

II

Appoint an evil one over him,
    an accuser[f] to stand at his right hand,
That he may be judged and found guilty,
    that his plea may be in vain.
May his days be few;
    may another take his office.
May his children be fatherless,
    his wife, a widow.
10 May his children wander and beg,
    driven from their hovels.
11 May the usurer snare all he owns,
    strangers plunder all he earns.
12 May no one treat him with mercy
    or pity his fatherless children.
13 May his posterity be destroyed,
    their name rooted out in the next generation.
14 May his fathers’ guilt be mentioned to the Lord;
    his mother’s sin not rooted out.
15 May their guilt be always before the Lord,
    till their memory is banished from the earth,
16 For he did not remember to show mercy,
    but hounded the wretched poor
    and brought death to the brokenhearted.
17 He loved cursing; may it come upon him;
    he hated blessing; may none come to him.
18 May cursing clothe him like a robe;
    may it enter his belly like water,
    his bones like oil.
19 May it be near as the clothes he wears,
    as the belt always around him.

20 [g]May this be the reward for my accusers from the Lord,
    for those speaking evil against me.

III

21 But you, Lord, are my Lord,
    deal kindly with me for your name’s sake;
    in your great mercy rescue me.
22 For I am poor and needy;
    my heart is pierced within me.
23 Like a lengthening shadow I am gone,
    I am shaken off like the locust.
24 My knees totter from fasting;
    my flesh has wasted away.
25 I have become a mockery to them;
    when they see me, they shake their heads.
26 Help me, Lord, my God;
    save me in your mercy.
27 Make them know this is your hand,
    that you, Lord, have done this.
28 Though they curse, may you bless;
    arise, shame them, that your servant may rejoice.
29 Clothe my accusers with disgrace;
    make them wear their shame like a mantle.
30 I will give fervent thanks to the Lord;
    before a crowd I will praise him.
31 For he stands at the right hand of the poor
    to save him from those who pass judgment on him.

Psalm 110[h]

God Appoints the King both King and Priest

A psalm of David.

The Lord says to my lord:[i]
    “Sit at my right hand,
    while I make your enemies your footstool.”
The scepter of your might:
    the Lord extends your strong scepter from Zion.
    Have dominion over your enemies!
Yours is princely power from the day of your birth.
    In holy splendor before the daystar,
    like dew I begot you.
The Lord has sworn and will not waver:
    “You are a priest forever in the manner of Melchizedek.”[j]
At your right hand is the Lord,
    who crushes kings on the day of his wrath,
Who judges nations, heaps up corpses,
    crushes heads across the wide earth,
[k]Who drinks from the brook by the wayside
    and thus holds high his head.

Psalm 111[l]

Praise of God for Goodness to Israel

Hallelujah!

I will praise the Lord with all my heart
    in the assembled congregation of the upright.[m]
Great are the works of the Lord,
    studied by all who delight in them.
Majestic and glorious is his work,
    his righteousness endures forever.
He won renown for his wondrous deeds;
    gracious and merciful is the Lord.
He gives food to those who fear him,[n]
    he remembers his covenant forever.
He showed his powerful deeds to his people,
    giving them the inheritance of the nations.
The works of his hands are true and just,
    reliable all his decrees,
Established forever and ever,
    to be observed with truth and equity.
He sent release to his people,
    decreed his covenant forever;
    holy and fearsome is his name.
10 [o]The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom;
    prudent are all who practice it.
    His praise endures forever.

Psalm 112[p]

The Blessings of the Just

Hallelujah!

Blessed the man who fears the Lord,
    who greatly delights in his commands.
His descendants shall be mighty in the land,
    a generation of the upright will be blessed.
Wealth and riches shall be in his house;
    his righteousness[q] shall endure forever.
Light shines through the darkness for the upright;
    gracious, compassionate, and righteous.
It is good for the man gracious in lending,
    who conducts his affairs with justice.
For he shall never be shaken;
    the righteous shall be remembered forever.
He shall not fear an ill report;
    his heart is steadfast, trusting the Lord.
His heart is tranquil, without fear,
    till at last he looks down on his foes.
Lavishly he gives to the poor;
    his righteousness shall endure forever;
    his horn[r] shall be exalted in honor.
10 The wicked sees and is angry;
    gnashes his teeth and wastes away;
    the desire of the wicked come to nothing.

Psalm 113[s]

Praise of God’s Care for the Poor

Hallelujah!

I

Praise, you servants of the Lord,
    praise the name of the Lord.
Blessed be the name of the Lord
    both now and forever.
From the rising of the sun to its setting
    let the name of the Lord be praised.

II

High above all nations is the Lord;
    above the heavens his glory.
Who is like the Lord our God,
    enthroned on high,
    looking down on heaven and earth?
He raises the needy from the dust,
    lifts the poor from the ash heap,
Seats them with princes,
    the princes of the people,
Gives the childless wife a home,
    the joyful mother of children.
Hallelujah!

Psalm 114[t]

The Lord’s Wonders at the Exodus

When Israel came forth from Egypt,
    the house of Jacob from an alien people,
Judah became God’s sanctuary,
    Israel, God’s domain.
[u]The sea saw and fled;
    the Jordan turned back.
The mountains skipped like rams;
    the hills, like lambs.
Why was it, sea, that you fled?
    Jordan, that you turned back?
Mountains, that you skipped like rams?
    You hills, like lambs?
Tremble, earth, before the Lord,
    before the God of Jacob,
[v]Who turned the rock into pools of water,
    flint into a flowing spring.

Psalm 115[w]

The Greatness of the True God

I

Not to us, Lord, not to us
    but to your name give glory
    because of your mercy and faithfulness.
Why should the nations say,
    “Where is their God?”[x]
Our God is in heaven
    and does whatever he wills.

II

Their idols are silver and gold,
    the work of human hands.
They have mouths but do not speak,
    eyes but do not see.
They have ears but do not hear,
    noses but do not smell.
They have hands but do not feel,
    feet but do not walk;
    they produce no sound from their throats.
Their makers will be like them,
    and anyone who trusts in them.

III

[y]The house of Israel trusts in the Lord,
    who is their help and shield.
10 The house of Aaron trusts in the Lord,
    who is their help and shield.
11 Those who fear the Lord trust in the Lord,
    who is their help and shield.
12 The Lord remembers us and will bless us,
    will bless the house of Israel,
    will bless the house of Aaron,
13 Will bless those who fear the Lord,
    small and great alike.
14 May the Lord increase your number,
    yours and your descendants.
15 May you be blessed by the Lord,
    maker of heaven and earth.
16 [z]The heavens belong to the Lord,
    but he has given the earth to the children of Adam.
17 [aa]The dead do not praise the Lord,
    not all those go down into silence.
18 It is we who bless the Lord,
    both now and forever.
Hallelujah!

Psalm 116[ab]

Thanksgiving to God Who Saves from Death

I

I love the Lord, who listened
    to my voice in supplication,
Who turned an ear to me
    on the day I called.
I was caught by the cords of death;[ac]
    the snares of Sheol had seized me;
    I felt agony and dread.
Then I called on the name of the Lord,
    “O Lord, save my life!”

II

Gracious is the Lord and righteous;
    yes, our God is merciful.
The Lord protects the simple;
    I was helpless, but he saved me.
Return, my soul, to your rest;
    the Lord has been very good to you.
For my soul has been freed from death,
    my eyes from tears, my feet from stumbling.
I shall walk before the Lord
    in the land of the living.[ad]

III

10 [ae]I kept faith, even when I said,
    “I am greatly afflicted!”
11 I said in my alarm,
    “All men are liars!”
12 How can I repay the Lord
    for all the great good done for me?
13 I will raise the cup of salvation[af]
    and call on the name of the Lord.
14 I will pay my vows to the Lord
    in the presence of all his people.
15 [ag]Dear in the eyes of the Lord
    is the death of his devoted.
16 Lord, I am your servant,
    your servant, the child of your maidservant;
    you have loosed my bonds.
17 I will offer a sacrifice of praise
    and call on the name of the Lord.
18 I will pay my vows to the Lord
    in the presence of all his people,
19 In the courts of the house of the Lord,
    in your midst, O Jerusalem.
Hallelujah!

Psalm 117[ah]

The Nations Called to Praise

Praise the Lord, all you nations!
    Extol him, all you peoples!
His mercy for us is strong;
    the faithfulness of the Lord is forever.
Hallelujah!

Psalm 118[ai]

Hymn of Thanksgiving

I

Give thanks to the Lord, for he is good,
    his mercy endures forever.
Let Israel say:
    his mercy endures forever.
Let the house of Aaron say,
    his mercy endures forever.
Let those who fear the Lord say,
    his mercy endures forever.

II

In danger I called on the Lord;
    the Lord answered me and set me free.
The Lord is with me; I am not afraid;
    what can mortals do against me?
The Lord is with me as my helper;
    I shall look in triumph on my foes.
Better to take refuge in the Lord
    than to put one’s trust in mortals.
Better to take refuge in the Lord
    than to put one’s trust in princes.

III

10 All the nations surrounded me;
    in the Lord’s name I cut them off.
11 They surrounded me on every side;
    in the Lord’s name I cut them off.
12 They surrounded me like bees;
    they burned up like fire among thorns;
    in the Lord’s name I cut them off.
13 I was hard pressed and falling,
    but the Lord came to my help.
14 The Lord, my strength and might,
    has become my savior.

IV

15 The joyful shout of deliverance
    is heard in the tents of the righteous:
“The Lord’s right hand works valiantly;
16     the Lord’s right hand is raised;
    the Lord’s right hand works valiantly.”
17 I shall not die but live
    and declare the deeds of the Lord.
18 The Lord chastised me harshly,
    but did not hand me over to death.

V

19 Open the gates of righteousness;
    I will enter and thank the Lord.
20 This is the Lord’s own gate,
    through it the righteous enter.
21 I thank you for you answered me;
    you have been my savior.
22 [aj]The stone the builders rejected
    has become the cornerstone.
23 By the Lord has this been done;
    it is wonderful in our eyes.
24 This is the day the Lord has made;
    let us rejoice in it and be glad.
25 Lord, grant salvation![ak]
    Lord, grant good fortune!

VI

26 Blessed is he
    who comes in the name of the Lord.
We bless you from the house of the Lord.
27     The Lord is God and has enlightened us.
Join in procession with leafy branches
    up to the horns of the altar.

VII

28 You are my God, I give you thanks;
    my God, I offer you praise.
29 Give thanks to the Lord, for he is good,
    his mercy endures forever.

Psalm 119[al]

A Prayer to God, the Lawgiver

Aleph

Blessed those whose way is blameless,
    who walk by the law of the Lord.
Blessed those who keep his testimonies,
    who seek him with all their heart.
They do no wrong;
    they walk in his ways.
You have given them the command
    to observe your precepts with care.
May my ways be firm
    in the observance of your statutes!
Then I will not be ashamed
    to ponder all your commandments.
I will praise you with sincere heart
    as I study your righteous judgments.
I will observe your statutes;
    do not leave me all alone.

Beth

How can the young keep his way without fault?
    Only by observing your words.
10 With all my heart I seek you;
    do not let me stray from your commandments.
11 In my heart I treasure your promise,
    that I may not sin against you.
12 Blessed are you, O Lord;
    teach me your statutes.
13 With my lips I recite
    all the judgments you have spoken.
14 I find joy in the way of your testimonies
    more than in all riches.
15 I will ponder your precepts
    and consider your paths.
16 In your statutes I take delight;
    I will never forget your word.

Gimel

17 Be kind to your servant that I may live,
    that I may keep your word.
18 Open my eyes to see clearly
    the wonders of your law.
19 I am a sojourner in the land;[am]
    do not hide your commandments from me.
20 At all times my soul is stirred
    with longing for your judgments.
21 With a curse you rebuke the proud
    who stray from your commandments.
22 Free me from disgrace and contempt,
    for I keep your testimonies.
23 Though princes meet and talk against me,
    your servant meditates on your statutes.
24 Your testimonies are my delight;
    they are my counselors.

Daleth

25 My soul clings to the dust;
    give me life in accord with your word.
26 I disclosed my ways and you answered me;
    teach me your statutes.
27 Make me understand the way of your precepts;
    I will ponder your wondrous deeds.
28 My soul is depressed;
    lift me up acccording to your word.
29 Lead me from the way of deceit;
    favor me with your law.
30 The way of loyalty I have chosen;
    I have kept your judgments.
31 I cling to your testimonies, Lord;
    do not let me come to shame.
32 I will run the way of your commandments,
    for you will broaden my heart.

He

33 Lord, teach me the way of your statutes;
    I shall keep them with care.
34 Give me understanding to keep your law,
    to observe it with all my heart.
35 Lead me in the path of your commandments,
    for that is my delight.
36 Direct my heart toward your testimonies
    and away from gain.
37 Avert my eyes from what is worthless;
    by your way give me life.
38 For your servant, fulfill your promise
    made to those who fear you.
39 Turn away from me the taunts I dread,
    for your judgments are good.
40 See how I long for your precepts;
    in your righteousness give me life.

Waw

41 Let your mercy come to me, Lord,
    salvation in accord with your promise.
42 Let me answer my taunters with a word,
    for I trust in your word.
43 Do not take the word of truth from my mouth,
    for in your judgments is my hope.
44 I will keep your law always,
    for all time and forever.
45 I will walk freely in an open space
    because I cherish your precepts.
46 I will speak openly of your testimonies
    without fear even before kings.
47 I delight in your commandments,
    which I dearly love.
48 [an]I lift up my hands to your commandments;
    I study your statutes, which I love.

Zayin

49 Remember your word to your servant
    by which you give me hope.
50 This is my comfort in affliction,
    your promise that gives me life.
51 Though the arrogant utterly scorn me,
    I do not turn from your law.
52 When I recite your judgments of old
    I am comforted, Lord.
53 Rage seizes me because of the wicked;
    they forsake your law.
54 Your statutes become my songs
    wherever I make my home.
55 Even at night I remember your name
    in observance of your law, Lord.
56 This is my good fortune,
    for I have kept your precepts.

Heth

57 My portion is the Lord;
    I promise to observe your words.
58 I entreat you with all my heart:
    have mercy on me in accord with your promise.
59 I have examined my ways
    and turned my steps to your testimonies.
60 I am prompt, I do not hesitate
    in observing your commandments.
61 Though the snares of the wicked surround me,
    your law I do not forget.
62 At midnight I rise to praise you
    because of your righteous judgments.
63 I am the friend of all who fear you,
    of all who observe your precepts.
64 The earth, Lord, is filled with your mercy;
    teach me your statutes.

Teth

65 You have treated your servant well,
    according to your word, O Lord.
66 Teach me wisdom and knowledge,
    for in your commandments I trust.
67 Before I was afflicted I went astray,
    but now I hold to your promise.
68 You are good and do what is good;
    teach me your statutes.
69 The arrogant smear me with lies,
    but I keep your precepts with all my heart.
70 Their hearts are gross and fat;
    as for me, your law is my delight.
71 It was good for me to be afflicted,
    in order to learn your statutes.
72 The law of your mouth is more precious to me
    than heaps of silver and gold.

Yodh

73 Your hands made me and fashioned me;
    give me understanding to learn your commandments.
74 Those who fear you rejoice to see me,
    because I hope in your word.
75 I know, Lord, that your judgments are righteous;
    though you afflict me, you are faithful.
76 May your mercy comfort me
    in accord with your promise to your servant.
77 Show me compassion that I may live,
    for your law is my delight.
78 Shame the proud for leading me astray with falsehood,
    that I may study your testimonies.
79 Let those who fear you turn to me,
    those who acknowledge your testimonies.
80 May I be wholehearted toward your statutes,
    that I may not be put to shame.

Kaph

81 My soul longs for your salvation;
    I put my hope in your word.
82 My eyes long to see your promise.
    When will you comfort me?
83 I am like a wineskin shriveled by smoke,
    but I have not forgotten your statutes.
84 How long can your servant survive?
    When will your judgment doom my foes?
85 The arrogant have dug pits for me;
    defying your law.
86 All your commandments are steadfast.
    Help me! I am pursued without cause.
87 They have almost put an end to me on earth,
    but I do not forsake your precepts.
88 In your mercy give me life,
    to observe the testimonies of your mouth.

Lamedh

89 [ao]Your word, Lord, stands forever;
    it is firm as the heavens.
90 Through all generations your truth endures;
    fixed to stand firm like the earth.
91 By your judgments they stand firm to this day,
    for all things are your servants.
92 Had your law not been my delight,
    I would have perished in my affliction.
93 I will never forget your precepts;
    through them you give me life.
94 I am yours; save me,
    for I cherish your precepts.
95 The wicked hope to destroy me,
    but I seek to understand your testimonies.
96 I have seen the limits of all perfection,
    but your commandment is without bounds.

Mem

97 How I love your law, Lord![ap]
    I study it all day long.
98 Your commandment makes me wiser than my foes,
    as it is forever with me.
99 I have more insight than all my teachers,
    because I ponder your testimonies.
100 I have more understanding than my elders,
    because I keep your precepts.
101 I keep my steps from every evil path,
    that I may observe your word.
102 From your judgments I do not turn,
    for you have instructed me.
103 How sweet to my tongue is your promise,
    sweeter than honey to my mouth!
104 Through your precepts I gain understanding;
    therefore I hate all false ways.

Nun

105 Your word is a lamp for my feet,
    a light for my path.
106 I make a solemn vow
    to observe your righteous judgments.
107 I am very much afflicted, Lord;
    give me life in accord with your word.
108 Accept my freely offered praise;
    Lord, teach me your judgments.
109 My life is always at risk,
    but I do not forget your law.
110 The wicked have set snares for me,
    but from your precepts I do not stray.
111 Your testimonies are my heritage forever;
    they are the joy of my heart.
112 My heart is set on fulfilling your statutes;
    they are my reward forever.

Samekh

113 I hate every hypocrite;
    your law I love.
114 You are my refuge and shield;
    in your word I hope.
115 Depart from me, you wicked,
    that I may keep the commandments of my God.
116 Sustain me by your promise that I may live;
    do not disappoint me in my hope.
117 Strengthen me that I may be safe,
    ever to contemplate your statutes.
118 You reject all who stray from your statutes,
    for vain is their deceit.
119 Like dross you regard all the wicked on earth;
    therefore I love your testimonies.
120 My flesh shudders with dread of you;
    I fear your judgments.

Ayin

121 I have fulfilled your righteous judgment;
    do not abandon me to my oppressors.
122 Guarantee your servant’s welfare;
    do not let the arrogant oppress me.
123 My eyes long to see your salvation
    and the promise of your righteousness.
124 Act with mercy toward your servant;
    teach me your statutes.
125 I am your servant; give me discernment
    that I may know your testimonies.
126 It is time for the Lord to act;
    they have disobeyed your law.
127 Truly I love your commandments
    more than gold, more than the finest gold.
128 Thus, I follow all your precepts;
    every wrong way I hate.

Pe

129 Wonderful are your testimonies;
    therefore I keep them.
130 The revelation of your words sheds light,
    gives understanding to the simple.
131 I sigh with open mouth,
    yearning for your commandments.
132 Turn to me and be gracious,
    according to your judgment for those who love your name.
133 Steady my feet in accord with your promise;
    do not let iniquity lead me.
134 Free me from human oppression,
    that I may observe your precepts.
135 Let your face shine upon your servant;
    teach me your statutes.
136 My eyes shed streams of tears
    because your law is not observed.

Sadhe

137 You are righteous, Lord,
    and just are your judgments.
138 You have given your testimonies in righteousness
    and in surpassing faithfulness.
139 I am consumed with rage,
    because my foes forget your words.
140 Your servant loves your promise;
    it has been proved by fire.
141 Though belittled and despised,
    I do not forget your precepts.
142 Your justice is forever right,
    your law true.
143 Though distress and anguish come upon me,
    your commandments are my delight.
144 Your testimonies are forever righteous;
    give me understanding that I may live.
145 I call with all my heart, O Lord;
    answer me that I may keep your statutes.
146 I call to you to save me
    that I may observe your testimonies.
147 I rise before dawn and cry out;
    I put my hope in your words.
148 My eyes greet the night watches
    as I meditate on your promise.
149 Hear my voice in your mercy, O Lord;
    by your judgment give me life.
150 Malicious persecutors draw near me;
    they are far from your law.
151 You are near, O Lord;
    reliable are all your commandments.
152 Long have I known from your testimonies
    that you have established them forever.

Resh

153 Look at my affliction and rescue me,
    for I have not forgotten your law.
154 Take up my cause and redeem me;
    for the sake of your promise give me life.
155 Salvation is far from sinners
    because they do not cherish your statutes.
156 Your compassion is great, O Lord;
    in accord with your judgments, give me life.
157 Though my persecutors and foes are many,
    I do not turn from your testimonies.
158 I view the faithless with loathing
    because they do not heed your promise.
159 See how I love your precepts, Lord;
    in your mercy give me life.
160 Your every word is enduring;
    all your righteous judgments are forever.

Shin

161 Princes persecute me without reason,
    but my heart reveres only your word.
162 I rejoice at your promise,
    as one who has found rich spoil.
163 Falsehood I hate and abhor;
    your law I love.
164 Seven times a day I praise you
    because your judgments are righteous.
165 Lovers of your law have much peace;
    for them there is no stumbling block.
166 I look for your salvation, Lord,
    and I fulfill your commandments.
167 I observe your testimonies;
    I love them very much.
168 I observe your precepts and testimonies;
    all my ways are before you.

Taw

169 Let my cry come before you, Lord;
    in keeping with your word, give me understanding.
170 Let my prayer come before you;
    rescue me according to your promise.
171 May my lips pour forth your praise,
    because you teach me your statutes.
172 May my tongue sing of your promise,
    for all your commandments are righteous.
173 Keep your hand ready to help me,
    for I have chosen your precepts.
174 I long for your salvation, Lord;
    your law is my delight.
175 Let my soul live to praise you;
    may your judgments give me help.
176 I have wandered like a lost sheep;
    seek out your servant,
    for I do not forget your commandments.

Psalm 120[aq]

Prayer of a Returned Exile

A song of ascents.[ar]

The Lord answered me
    when I called in my distress:
Lord, deliver my soul from lying lips,
    from a treacherous tongue.

What will he inflict on you,
    O treacherous tongue,
    and what more besides?[as]
A warrior’s arrows
    sharpened with coals of brush wood![at]

[au]Alas, I am a foreigner in Meshech,
    I live among the tents of Kedar!
Too long do I live
    among those who hate peace.
When I speak of peace,
    they are for war.

Psalm 121[av]

The Lord My Guardian

A song of ascents.

I raise my eyes toward the mountains.[aw]
    From whence shall come my help?
My help comes from the Lord,
    the maker of heaven and earth.

He will not allow your foot to slip;
    or your guardian to sleep.
Behold, the guardian of Israel
    never slumbers nor sleeps.
[ax]The Lord is your guardian;
    the Lord is your shade
    at your right hand.
By day the sun will not strike you,
    nor the moon by night.
The Lord will guard you from all evil;
    he will guard your soul.
The Lord will guard your coming and going
    both now and forever.

Psalm 122[ay]

A Pilgrim’s Prayer for Jerusalem

A song of ascents. Of David.

I

I rejoiced when they said to me,
    “Let us go to the house of the Lord.”
And now our feet are standing
    within your gates, Jerusalem.
Jerusalem, built as a city,
    walled round about.[az]
There the tribes go up,
    the tribes of the Lord,
As it was decreed for Israel,
    to give thanks to the name of the Lord.
There are the thrones of justice,
    the thrones of the house of David.

II

For the peace of Jerusalem pray:
    “May those who love you prosper!
May peace be within your ramparts,
    prosperity within your towers.”
For the sake of my brothers and friends I say,
    “Peace be with you.”
For the sake of the house of the Lord, our God,
    I pray for your good.

Psalm 123[ba]

Reliance on the Lord

A song of ascents.

To you I raise my eyes,
    to you enthroned in heaven.
Yes, like the eyes of servants
    on the hand of their masters,
Like the eyes of a maid
    on the hand of her mistress,
So our eyes are on the Lord our God,
    till we are shown favor.
Show us favor, Lord, show us favor,
    for we have our fill of contempt.
Our souls are more than sated
    with mockery from the insolent,
    with contempt from the arrogant.

Psalm 124[bb]

God, the Rescuer of the People

A song of ascents. Of David.

Had not the Lord been with us,
    let Israel say,
Had not the Lord been with us,
    when people rose against us,
Then they would have swallowed us alive,
    for their fury blazed against us.
Then the waters would have engulfed us,
    the torrent overwhelmed us;
    then seething water would have drowned us.
Blessed is the Lord, who did not leave us
    to be torn by their teeth.
We escaped with our lives like a bird
    from the fowler’s snare;
    the snare was broken,
    and we escaped.
[bc]Our help is in the name of the Lord,
    the maker of heaven and earth.

Psalm 125[bd]

Israel’s Protector

A song of ascents.

Those trusting in the Lord are like Mount Zion,
    unshakable, forever enduring.
As mountains surround Jerusalem,
    the Lord surrounds his people
    both now and forever.

The scepter of the wicked will not prevail
    in the land allotted to the just,[be]
Lest the just themselves
    turn their hands to evil.

Do good, Lord, to the good,
    to those who are upright of heart.
But those who turn aside to crooked ways
    may the Lord send down with the evildoers.
Peace upon Israel!

Psalm 126[bf]

The Reversal of Zion’s Fortunes

A song of ascents.

I

When the Lord restored the captives of Zion,
    we thought we were dreaming.
Then our mouths were filled with laughter;
    our tongues sang for joy.
Then it was said among the nations,
    “The Lord had done great things for them.”
The Lord has done great things for us;
    Oh, how happy we were!
Restore our captives, Lord,
    like the dry stream beds of the Negeb.[bg]

II

Those who sow in tears
    will reap with cries of joy.
Those who go forth weeping,
    carrying sacks of seed,
Will return with cries of joy,
    carrying their bundled sheaves.

Psalm 127[bh]

The Need of God’s Blessing

A song of ascents. Of Solomon.

I

Unless the Lord build the house,
    they labor in vain who build.
Unless the Lord guard the city,
    in vain does the guard keep watch.
It is vain for you to rise early
    and put off your rest at night,
To eat bread earned by hard toil—
    all this God gives to his beloved in sleep.

II

Certainly sons are a gift from the Lord,
    the fruit of the womb, a reward.
Like arrows in the hand of a warrior
    are the sons born in one’s youth.
Blessed is the man who has filled his quiver with them.
He will never be shamed
    for he will destroy his foes at the gate.[bi]

Psalm 128[bj]

The Blessed Home of the Just

A song of ascents.

I

Blessed are all who fear the Lord,
    and who walk in his ways.
What your hands provide you will enjoy;
    you will be blessed and prosper:
Your wife will be like a fruitful vine
    within your home,
Your children like young olive plants
    around your table.
Just so will the man be blessed
    who fears the Lord.

II

May the Lord bless you from Zion;
    may you see Jerusalem’s prosperity
    all the days of your life,
    and live to see your children’s children.
Peace upon Israel!

Psalm 129[bk]

Against Israel’s Enemies

A song of ascents.

I

Viciously have they attacked me from my youth,
    let Israel say now.
Viciously have they attacked me from my youth,
    yet they have not prevailed against me.
Upon my back the plowers plowed,
    as they traced their long furrows.
But the just Lord cut me free
    from the ropes of the wicked.[bl]

II

May they recoil in disgrace,
    all who hate Zion.
May they be like grass on the rooftops[bm]
    withered in early growth,
Never to fill the reaper’s hands,
    nor the arms of the binders of sheaves,
And with none passing by to call out:
    “The blessing of the Lord be upon you![bn]
    We bless you in the name of the Lord!”

Psalm 130[bo]

Prayer for Pardon and Mercy

A song of ascents.

I

Out of the depths[bp] I call to you, Lord;
    Lord, hear my cry!
May your ears be attentive
    to my cry for mercy.
If you, Lord, keep account of sins,
    Lord, who can stand?
But with you is forgiveness
    and so you are revered.[bq]

II

I wait for the Lord,
    my soul waits
    and I hope for his word.
My soul looks for the Lord
    more than sentinels for daybreak.
More than sentinels for daybreak,
    let Israel hope in the Lord,
For with the Lord is mercy,
    with him is plenteous redemption,
And he will redeem Israel
    from all its sins.

Psalm 131[br]

Humble Trust in God

A song of ascents. Of David.

Lord, my heart is not proud;
    nor are my eyes haughty.
I do not busy myself with great matters,
    with things too sublime for me.
Rather, I have stilled my soul,
Like a weaned child to its mother,
    weaned is my soul.
Israel, hope in the Lord,
    now and forever.

Psalm 132[bs]

The Covenant Between David and God

A song of ascents.

I

Remember, O Lord, for David
    all his hardships;
How he swore an oath to the Lord,
    vowed to the Mighty One of Jacob:[bt]
“I will not enter the house where I live,
    nor lie on the couch where I sleep;
I will give my eyes no sleep,
    my eyelids no rest,
Till I find a place for the Lord,
    a dwelling for the Mighty One of Jacob.”
“We have heard of it in Ephrathah;[bu]
    we have found it in the fields of Jaar.
Let us enter his dwelling;
    let us worship at his footstool.”
“Arise, Lord, come to your resting place,
    you and your mighty ark.
Your priests will be clothed with justice;
    your devout will shout for joy.”
10 For the sake of David your servant,
    do not reject your anointed.

II

11 The Lord swore an oath to David in truth,
    he will never turn back from it:
“Your own offspring I will set upon your throne.
12 If your sons observe my covenant,
    and my decrees I shall teach them,
Their sons, in turn,
    shall sit forever on your throne.”
13 Yes, the Lord has chosen Zion,
    desired it for a dwelling:
14 “This is my resting place forever;
    here I will dwell, for I desire it.
15 I will bless Zion with provisions;
    its poor I will fill with bread.
16 I will clothe its priests with salvation;
    its devout shall shout for joy.
17 There I will make a horn sprout for David;[bv]
    I will set a lamp for my anointed.
18 His foes I will clothe with shame,
    but on him his crown shall shine.”

Psalm 133[bw]

A Vision of a Blessed Community

A song of ascents. Of David.

How good and how pleasant it is,
    when brothers[bx] dwell together as one!
Like fine oil on the head,[by]
    running down upon the beard,
Upon the beard of Aaron,
    upon the collar of his robe.
Like dew[bz] of Hermon coming down
    upon the mountains of Zion.
There the Lord has decreed a blessing,
    life for evermore!

Psalm 134[ca]

Exhortation to the Night Watch to Bless God

A song of ascents.

O come, bless the Lord,
    all you servants of the Lord[cb]
You who stand in the house of the Lord
    throughout the nights.
Lift up your hands toward the sanctuary,
    and bless the Lord.
May the Lord bless you from Zion,
    the Maker of heaven and earth.

Psalm 135[cc]

Praise of God, the Ruler and Benefactor of Israel

Hallelujah!

I

Praise the name of the Lord!
    Praise, you servants of the Lord,
Who stand in the house of the Lord,
    in the courts of the house of our God!
Praise the Lord, for the Lord is good!
    Sing to his name, for it brings joy!
[cd]For the Lord has chosen Jacob for himself,
    Israel as his treasured possession.

II

For I know that the Lord is great,
    that our Lord is greater than all gods.
Whatever the Lord desires
    he does in heaven and on earth,
    in the seas and all the depths.
It is he who raises storm clouds from the end of the earth,
    makes lightning for the rain,
    and brings forth wind from his storehouse.

III

He struck down Egypt’s firstborn,
    of human being and beast alike,
And sent signs and wonders against you, Egypt,
    against Pharaoh and all his servants.
10 It is he who struck down many nations,
    and slew mighty kings—
11 Sihon, king of the Amorites,
    and Og, king of Bashan,
    all the kings of Canaan—
12 And made their land a heritage,
    a heritage for Israel his people.
13 O Lord, your name is forever,
    your renown, from generation to generation!
14 For the Lord defends his people,
    shows mercy to his servants.

IV

15 The idols of the nations are silver and gold,
    the work of human hands.
16 They have mouths but do not speak;
    they have eyes but do not see;
17 They have ears but do not hear;
    nor is there breath in their mouths.
18 Their makers will become like them,
    and anyone who trusts in them.

V

19 House of Israel, bless the Lord!
    House of Aaron, bless the Lord!
20 House of Levi, bless the Lord!
    You who fear the Lord, bless the Lord!
21 Blessed be the Lord from Zion,
    who dwells in Jerusalem!
Hallelujah!

Psalm 136[ce]

Hymn of Thanksgiving for God’s Everlasting Mercy

I

Praise the Lord, for he is good;
    for his mercy endures forever;
Praise the God of gods;
    for his mercy endures forever;

Footnotes:

  1. Psalm 107 A hymn inviting those who have been rescued by God to give praise (Ps 107:1–3). Four archetypal divine rescues are described, each ending in thanksgiving: from the sterile desert (Ps 107:4–9), from imprisonment in gloom (Ps 107:10–16), from mortal illness (Ps 107:17–22), and from the angry sea (Ps 107:23–32). The number four connotes totality, all the possible varieties of rescue. The same saving activity of God is shown in Israel’s history (Ps 107:33–41); whenever the people were endangered God rescued them. The last verses invite people to ponder the persistent saving acts of God (Ps 107:42–43).
  2. 107:33–41 God destroyed Sodom and Gomorrah in Gn 18–19, which the Psalm sees as the destruction of the wicked inhabitants of Canaan to prepare the way for Israel (Ps 107:33–34). God then led Israel through the desert to give them a fertile land (Ps 107:35–38) and protected them from every danger (Ps 107:39–41).
  3. Psalm 108 A prayer compiled from two other Psalms: Ps 108:2–6 are virtually the same as Ps 57:8–12; Ps 108:7–14 are the same as Ps 60:7–14. An old promise of salvation (Ps 108:8–10) is combined with a confident assurance (Ps 108:2–6, 13) and petition (Ps 108:7, 12–13).
  4. 108:8 Holiness: may also be translated as “sanctuary” or as referring to God’s heavenly abode.
  5. Psalm 109 A lament notable for the length and vehemence of its prayer against evildoers (Ps 109:6–20); the cry to God (Ps 109:1) and the complaint (Ps 109:22–25) are brief in comparison. The psalmist is apparently the victim of a slander campaign, potentially devastating in a society where reputation and honor are paramount. In the emotional perspective of the Psalm, there are only two types of people: the wicked and their poor victims. The psalmist is a poor victim (Ps 109:22, 31) and by that fact a friend of God and enemy of the wicked. The psalmist seeks vindication not on the basis of personal virtue but because of God’s promise to protect the poor.
  6. 109:6 An accuser: Hebrew satan, a word occurring in Job 1–2 and Zec 3:1–2. In the latter passage Satan stands at the right hand of the high priest to bring false accusations against him before God. Here the accuser is human.
  7. 109:20 May this be the reward…from the Lord: the psalmist prays that God ratify the curses of Ps 109:6–19 and bring them upon the wicked.
  8. Psalm 110 A royal Psalm in which a court singer recites three oracles in which God assures the king that his enemies are conquered (Ps 110:1–2), makes the king “son” in traditional adoption language (Ps 110:3), gives priestly status to the king and promises to be with him in future military ventures (Ps 110:4–7).
  9. 110:1 The Lord says to my lord: a polite form of address of an inferior to a superior, cf. 1 Sm 25:25; 2 Sm 1:10. The court singer refers to the king. Jesus in the synoptic gospels (Mt 22:41–46 and parallels) takes the psalmist to be David and hence “my lord” refers to the messiah, who must be someone greater than David. Your footstool: in ancient times victorious kings put their feet on the prostrate bodies of their enemies.
  10. 110:4 Melchizedek: Melchizedek was the ancient king of Salem (Jerusalem) who blessed Abraham (Gn 14:18–20); like other kings of the time he performed priestly functions. Hb 7 sees in Melchizedek a type of Christ.
  11. 110:7 Who drinks from the brook by the wayside: the meaning is uncertain. Some see an allusion to a rite of royal consecration at the Gihon spring (cf. 1 Kgs 1:33, 38). Others find here an image of the divine warrior (or king) pursuing enemies so relentlessly that he does not stop long enough to eat and drink.
  12. Psalm 111 A Temple singer (Ps 111:1) tells how God is revealed in Israel’s history (Ps 111:2–10). The deeds reveal God’s very self, powerful, merciful, faithful. The poem is an acrostic, each verse beginning with a successive letter of the Hebrew alphabet.
  13. 111:1 In the assembled congregation of the upright: in the Temple, cf. Ps 149:1.
  14. 111:5 Food to those who fear him: probably a reference to the manna in the desert, which elsewhere is seen as a type of the Eucharist, cf. Jn 6:31–33, 49–51.
  15. 111:10 The fear of the Lord: reverence for God.
  16. Psalm 112 An acrostic poem detailing the blessings received by those who remain close to God by obedience to the commandments. Among their blessings are children (Ps 112:2), wealth that enables them to be magnanimous (Ps 112:3, 5, 9), and virtue by which they encourage others (Ps 112:4). The just person is an affront to the wicked, whose hopes remain unfulfilled (Ps 112:10). The logic resembles Ps 1; 111.
  17. 112:3 Righteousness: in the Second Temple period the word acquired the nuance of liberality and almsgiving, cf. Sir 3:30; 7:10; Mt 6:1–4.
  18. 112:9 His horn: the symbol for vitality and honor.
  19. Psalm 113 A hymn exhorting the congregation to praise God’s name, i.e., the way in which God is present in the world; the name is mentioned three times in Ps 113:1–3. The divine name is especially honored in the Temple (Ps 113:1) but its recognition is not limited by time (Ps 113:2) and space (Ps 113:3), for God is everywhere active (Ps 113:4–5) especially in rescuing the lowly faithful (Ps 113:7–9).
  20. Psalm 114 A hymn celebrating Israel’s escape from Egypt, journey through the wilderness, and entry into the promised land, and the miracles of nature that bore witness to God’s presence in their midst. In the perspective of the Psalm, the people proceed directly from Egypt into the promised land (Ps 114:1–2). Sea and Jordan, which stood like soldiers barring the people from their land, flee before the mighty God as the earth recoils from the battle (Ps 114:3–4). The poet taunts the natural elements as one taunts defeated enemies (Ps 114:5–6).
  21. 114:3–4 Pairs of cosmic elements such as sea and rivers, mountains and hills, are sometimes mentioned in creation accounts. Personified here as warriors, the pairs tremble in fear before the Divine Warrior. The quaking also recalls the divine appearance in the storm at Sinai (Ex 19:16–19) and elsewhere (Jgs 5:4–5; Ps 18:7–15).
  22. 114:8 The miracles of giving drink to the people in the arid desert, cf. Ex 17:1–7; Is 41:17–18.
  23. Psalm 115 A response to the enemy taunt, “Where is your God?” This hymn to the glory of Israel’s God (Ps 115:1–3) ridicules the lifeless idols of the nations (Ps 115:4–8), expresses in a litany the trust of the various classes of the people in God (Ps 115:9–11), invokes God’s blessing on them as they invoke the divine name (Ps 115:12–15), and concludes as it began with praise of God. Ps 135:15–18 similarly mocks the Gentile gods and has a similar litany and hymn (Ps 135:19–21).
  24. 115:2 Where is their God?: implies that God cannot help them.
  25. 115:9–11 The house of Israel…the house of Aaron…those who fear the Lord: the laity of Israelite birth, the priests, and the converts to Judaism, cf. Ps 118:2–4; 135:19–21. In the New Testament likewise “those who fear the Lord” means converts to Judaism (cf. Acts 10:2, 22, 35; 13:16, 26).
  26. 115:16 The heavens: the Septuagint reads here “the heaven of heavens” or “the highest heavens,” i.e., above the firmament. See note on Ps 148:4.
  27. 115:17 See note on Ps 6:5.
  28. Psalm 116 A thanksgiving in which the psalmist responds to divine rescue from mortal danger (Ps 116:3–4) and from near despair (Ps 116:10–11) with vows and Temple sacrifices (Ps 116:13–14, 17–19). The Greek and Latin versions divide the Psalm into two parts: Ps 116:1–9 and Ps 116:10–19, corresponding to its two major divisions.
  29. 116:3 The cords of death: death is personified here; it attempts to capture the psalmist with snares and nets, cf. Ps 18:6.
  30. 116:9 The land of the living: the phrase elsewhere is an epithet of the Jerusalem Temple (cf. Ps 27:13; 52:5; Is 38:11). Hence the psalmist probably refers to being present to God in the Temple.
  31. 116:10 I kept faith, even when I said: even in the days of despair, the psalmist did not lose all hope.
  32. 116:13 The cup of salvation: probably the libation of wine poured out in gratitude for rescue, cf. Ex 25:29; Nm 15:5, 7, 10.
  33. 116:15 Dear in the eyes of the Lord: the meaning is that the death of God’s faithful is grievous to God, not that God is pleased with the death, cf. Ps 72:14. In Wis 3:5–6, God accepts the death of the righteous as a sacrificial burnt offering.
  34. Psalm 117 This shortest of hymns calls on the nations to acknowledge God’s supremacy. The supremacy of Israel’s God has been demonstrated to them by the people’s secure existence, which is owed entirely to God’s gracious fidelity.
  35. Psalm 118 A thanksgiving liturgy accompanying a procession of the king and the people into the Temple precincts. After an invocation in the form of a litany (Ps 118:1–4), the psalmist (very likely speaking in the name of the community) describes how the people confidently implored God’s help (Ps 118:5–9) when hostile peoples threatened its life (Ps 118:10–14); vividly God’s rescue is recounted (Ps 118:15–18). Then follows a possible dialogue at the Temple gates between the priests and the psalmist as the latter enters to offer the thanksgiving sacrifice (Ps 118:19–25). Finally, the priests impart their blessing (Ps 118:26–27), and the psalmist sings in gratitude (Ps 118:28–29).
  36. 118:22 The stone the builders rejected: a proverb: what is insignificant to human beings has become great through divine election. The “stone” may originally have meant the foundation stone or capstone of the Temple. The New Testament interpreted the verse as referring to the death and resurrection of Christ (Mt 21:42; Acts 4:11; cf. Is 28:16 and Rom 9:33; 1 Pt 2:7).
  37. 118:25 Grant salvation: the Hebrew for this cry has come into English as “Hosanna.” This cry and the words in Ps 118:26 were used in the gospels to welcome Jesus entering the Temple on Palm Sunday (Mk 11:9–10).
  38. Psalm 119 This Psalm, the longest by far in the Psalter, praises God for giving such splendid laws and instruction for people to live by. The author glorifies and thanks God for the Torah, prays for protection from sinners enraged by others’ fidelity to the law, laments the cost of obedience, delights in the law’s consolations, begs for wisdom to understand the precepts, and asks for the rewards of keeping them. Several expected elements do not appear in the Psalm: Mount Sinai with its story of God’s revelation and gift to Israel of instruction and commandments, the Temple and other institutions related to revelation and laws (frequent in other Psalms). The Psalm is fascinated with God’s word directing and guiding human life. The poem is an acrostic; its twenty-two stanzas (of eight verses each) are in the order of the Hebrew alphabet. Each of the eight verses within a stanza begins with the same letter. Each verse contains one word for “instruction.” The translation here given attempts to translate each Hebrew word for “instruction” with the same English word. There are, however, nine words for “instruction,” not eight, so the principle of a different word for “instruction” in each verse cannot be maintained with perfect consistency. The nine words for “instruction” in the translation are: law, statute, commandment, precept, testimony, word, judgment, way, and promise.
  39. 119:19 A sojourner in the land: like someone without the legal protection of a native inhabitant, the psalmist has a special need for the guidance of God’s teaching.
  40. 119:48 I lift up my hands to your commandments: to lift up the hands was an ancient gesture of reverence to God. Here the picture is applied to God’s law.
  41. 119:89–91 God’s word creates the world, which manifests that word by its permanence and reliability.
  42. 119:97 Lord: the inclusion of “Lord” follows the tradition of the Septuagint and the Vulgate.
  43. Psalm 120 A thanksgiving, reporting divine rescue (Ps 120:1) yet with fervent prayer for further protection against lying attackers (Ps 120:2–4). The psalmist is acutely conscious of living away from God’s own land where divine peace prevails (Ps 120:5–7).
  44. 120:1 A song of ascents: Ps 120–134 all begin with this superscription. Most probably these fifteen Psalms once formed a collection of Psalms sung when pilgrims went to Jerusalem, since one “ascended” to Jerusalem (1 Kgs 12:28; Ps 24:3; 122:4; Lk 2:42) or to the house of God or to an altar (1 Kgs 12:33; 2 Kgs 23:2; Ps 24:3). Less probable is the explanation that these Psalms were sung by the exiles when they “ascended” to Jerusalem from Babylonia (cf. Ezr 7:9). The idea, found in the Mishnah, that the fifteen steps on which the Levites sang corresponded to these fifteen Psalms (Middot 2:5) must underlie the Vulgate translation canticum graduum, “song of the steps” or “gradual song.”
  45. 120:3 More besides: a common curse formula in Hebrew was “May the Lord do such and such evils to you [the evils being specified], and add still more to them,” cf. 1 Sm 3:17; 14:44; 25:22. Here the psalmist is at a loss for a suitable malediction.
  46. 120:4 Coals of brush wood: coals made from the stalk of the broom plant burn with intense heat. The psalmist thinks of lighted coals cast at his enemies.
  47. 120:5 Meshech was in the far north (Gn 10:2) and Kedar was a tribe of the north Arabian desert (Gn 25:13). The psalmist may be thinking generally of all aliens living among inhospitable peoples.
  48. Psalm 121 A blessing given to someone embarking on a dangerous journey whether a soldier going on a campaign or a pilgrim returning home from the Temple. People look anxiously at the wooded hills. Will God protect them on their journey (Ps 121:1)? The speaker declares that God is not confined to a place or a time (Ps 121:2), that every step is guarded (Ps 121:3–4); night and day (Ps 121:5–6) God watches over their every movement (Ps 121:7–8).
  49. 121:1 The mountains: possibly Mount Zion, the site of the Temple and hence of safety, but more probably mountains as a place of dangers, causing anxiety to the psalmist.
  50. 121:5–6 The image of shade, a symbol of protection, is apt: God as shade protects from the harmful effects that ancients believed were caused by the sun and moon.
  51. Psalm 122 A song of Zion, sung by pilgrims obeying the law to visit Jerusalem three times on a journey. The singer anticipates joining the procession into the city (Ps 122:1–3). Jerusalem is a place of encounter, where the people praise God (Ps 122:4) and hear the divine justice mediated by the king (Ps 122:5). The very buildings bespeak God’s power (cf. Ps 48:13–15). May the grace of this place transform the people’s lives (Ps 122:6–9)!
  52. 122:3 Walled round about: lit., “which is joined to it,” probably referring both to the density of the buildings and to the dense population.
  53. Psalm 123 A lament that begins as a prayer of an individual (Ps 123:1), who expresses by a touching comparison exemplary confidence in God (Ps 123:2). The Psalm ends in prayer that God relieve the people’s humiliation at the hands of the arrogant (Ps 123:3–4).
  54. Psalm 124 A thanksgiving which teaches that Israel’s very existence is owed to God who rescues them. In the first part Israel’s enemies are compared to the mythic sea dragon (Ps 124:2b–3a; cf. Jer 51:34) and Flood (Ps 124:3b–5; cf. Is 51:9–10). The Psalm heightens the malice of human enemies by linking them to the primordial enemies of God’s creation. Israel is a bird freed from the trapper’s snare (Ps 124:6–8)—freed originally from Pharaoh and now from the current danger.
  55. 124:8 Our help is in the name: for the idiom, see Ex 18:4.
  56. Psalm 125 In response to exilic anxieties about the ancient promises of restoration, the Psalm expresses confidence that God will surround the people as the mountains surround Zion (Ps 125:1–2). The just will not be contaminated by the wicked (Ps 125:3). May God judge between the two groups (Ps 125:4–5).
  57. 125:3 The land allotted to the just: lit., “the lot of the righteous.” The promised land was divided among the tribes of Israel by lot (Nm 26:55; Jos 18). The righteous are the members of the people who are obedient to God. If the domination of the wicked were to continue in the land, even the just would be infected by their evil attitudes.
  58. Psalm 126 A lament probably sung shortly after Israel’s return from exile. The people rejoice that they are in Zion (Ps 126:1–3) but mere presence in the holy city is not enough; they must pray for the prosperity and the fertility of the land (Ps 126:4). The last verses are probably an oracle of promise: the painful work of sowing will be crowned with life (Ps 126:5–6).
  59. 126:4 Like the dry stream beds of the Negeb: the psalmist prays for rain in such abundance that the dry riverbeds will run.
  60. Psalm 127 The Psalm puts together two proverbs (Ps 127:1–2, 3–5) on God establishing “houses” or families. The prosperity of human groups is not the work of human beings but the gift of God.
  61. 127:5 At the gate: the reference is not to enemies besieging the walls of a city but to adversaries in litigation. Law courts functioned in the open area near the main city gate. The more adult sons a man had, the more forceful he would appear in disputes, cf. Prv 31:23.
  62. Psalm 128 A statement that the ever-reliable God will bless the reverent (Ps 128:1). God’s blessing is concrete: satisfaction and prosperity, a fertile spouse and abundant children (Ps 128:2–4). The perspective is that of the adult male, ordinarily the ruler and representative of the household to the community. The last verses extend the blessing to all the people for generations to come (Ps 128:5–6).
  63. Psalm 129 A Psalm giving thanks for God’s many rescues of Israel over the long course of their history (Ps 129:1–4); the people pray that their oppressors never know the joy of harvest (Ps 129:5–8).
  64. 129:4 The ropes of the wicked: usually understood as the rope for yoking animals to the plow. If it is severed, the plowing (cf. Ps 129:3) comes to a halt.
  65. 129:6 Like grass on the rooftops: after the spring rains, grass would sprout from the coat of mud with which the flat roofs of simple houses were covered, but when the dry summer began there was no moisture in the thin roof-covering to sustain the grass.
  66. 129:8 The blessing of the Lord be upon you: harvesters greeted one another with such blessings, cf. Ru 2:4.
  67. Psalm 130 This lament, a Penitential Psalm, is the De profundis used in liturgical prayers for the faithful departed. In deep sorrow the psalmist cries to God (Ps 130:1–2), asking for mercy (Ps 130:3–4). The psalmist’s trust (Ps 130:5–6) becomes a model for the people (Ps 130:7–8).
  68. 130:1 The depths: Sheol here is a metaphor of total misery. Deep anguish makes the psalmist feel “like those descending to the pit” (Ps 143:7).
  69. 130:4 And so you are revered: the experience of God’s mercy leads one to a greater sense of God.
  70. Psalm 131 A song of trust, in which the psalmist gives up self-sufficiency (Ps 131:1), like a babe enjoying the comfort of its mother’s lap (Ps 131:2), thus providing a model for Israel’s faith (Ps 131:3).
  71. Psalm 132 A song for a liturgical ceremony in which the ark, the throne of Israel’s God, was carried in procession to the Temple. The singer asks that David’s care for the proper housing of the ark be regarded with favor (Ps 132:1–5), and tells how it was brought to Jerusalem (Ps 132:6–10). There follows God’s promise of favor to the Davidic dynasty (Ps 132:11–12) and to Zion (Ps 132:13–17). The transfer of the ark to the tent in Jerusalem is described in 2 Sm 6.
  72. 132:2, 132:5 Mighty One of Jacob: one of the titles of Israel’s God, cf. Gn 49:24; Is 49:26; 60:16.
  73. 132:6 Ephrathah: the homeland of David, cf. Ru 4:11. The fields of Jaar: poetic for Kiriath-jearim, a town west of Jerusalem, where the ark remained for several generations, cf. 1 Sm 7:1–2; 2 Sm 6:2; 1 Chr 13:5–6.
  74. 132:17 A horn sprout for David: the image of the horn, a symbol of strength, is combined with that of a “sprout,” a term used for the Davidic descendant (cf. Jer 23:5; 33:15; Zec 3:8; 6:12). Early Christians referred the latter designation to Christ as son of David (Lk 1:69).
  75. Psalm 133 A benediction over a peaceful community, most probably the people Israel, but appropriate too for Israelite families (Ps 133:1). The history of Israel, whether of its ancestors in the Book of Genesis or of later periods, was a history of distinct groups struggling to live in unity. Here that unity is declared blessed, like the holy oils upon the priest Aaron or the dew of the rainless summer that waters the crops (Ps 133:2–3).
  76. 133:1 Brothers: in biblical Hebrew this word includes both the male and female members of a group united by blood relationships or by shared experiences and values. In this Psalm, the term could be applied most appropriately to the people of Israel, those privileged by God to be his chosen children.
  77. 133:2 Oil on the head: oil was used at the consecration of the high priest (Ex 30:22–33).
  78. 133:3 Dew: dew was an important source of moisture in the dry climate (Gn 27:28; Hos 14:6). Hermon: the majestic snow-capped mountain visible in the north of Palestine.
  79. Psalm 134 A brief liturgy exhorting all those who serve in the Jerusalem Temple during the night (cf. Is 30:29) to praise God with words and gestures. Although he is the Creator of the whole universe, God’s blessings emanate in a unique way from Zion, the city of Jerusalem.
  80. 134:1 Servants of the Lord: priests and Levites, cf. Dt 10:8; Ps 113:1; 135:1; Dn 3:85.
  81. Psalm 135 The hymn begins and ends with an invitation to praise God (Ps 135:1–3, 19–20) for the great act of choosing Israel (Ps 135:4). The story of Israel’s emergence as a people is told in Ps 135:5–14; God created and redeemed the people, easily conquering all opposition. God’s defeat of hostile powers means that the powers themselves and their images are useless (Ps 135:15–18). The last three verses appear also in Ps 115:4–8.
  82. 135:4 Though all nations are God’s, Israel has a special status as God’s “treasured” people: Ex 19:5; Dt 7:6; 14:2; 26:18; Mal 3:17.
  83. Psalm 136 The hymn praises Israel’s God (“the God of gods,” Ps 136:2), who has created the world in which Israel lives. The refrain occurring after every line suggests that a speaker and chorus sang the Psalm in antiphonal fashion. A single act of God is described in Ps 136:4–25. God arranges the heavens and the earth as the environment for human community, and then creates the community by freeing them and giving them land. In the final section (Ps 136:23–25) God, who created the people and gave them land, continues to protect and nurture them.
New American Bible (Revised Edition) (NABRE)

Scripture texts, prefaces, introductions, footnotes and cross references used in this work are taken from the New American Bible, revised edition © 2010, 1991, 1986, 1970 Confraternity of Christian Doctrine, Inc., Washington, DC All Rights Reserved. No part of this work may be reproduced or transmitted in any form or by any means, electronic or mechanical, including photocopying, recording, or by any information storage and retrieval system, without permission in writing from the copyright owner.

  Back

1 of 1

You'll get this book and many others when you join Bible Gateway Plus. Learn more

Viewing of
Cross references
Footnotes