136 [a]Give thanks to the Lord, for He is good; For His lovingkindness (graciousness, mercy, compassion) endures forever. 2 Give thanks to the God of gods, For His lovingkindness endures forever. 3 Give thanks to the Lord of lords, For His lovingkindness endures forever. 4 To Him who alone does great wonders, For His lovingkindness endures forever; 5 To Him who made the heavens with skill, For His lovingkindness endures forever; 6 To Him who stretched out the earth upon the waters, For His lovingkindness endures forever; 7 To Him who made the great lights, For His lovingkindness endures forever; 8 The sun to rule over the day, For His lovingkindness endures forever; 9 The moon and stars to rule by night, For His lovingkindness endures forever;
10 To Him who struck the firstborn of Egypt, For His lovingkindness endures forever; 11 And brought Israel out from among them, For His lovingkindness endures forever; 12 With a strong hand and with an outstretched arm, For His lovingkindness endures forever; 13 To Him who divided the [b]Red Sea into parts, For His lovingkindness endures forever; 14 And made Israel pass through the midst of it, For His lovingkindness endures forever; 15 But tossed Pharaoh and his army into the Red Sea, For His lovingkindness endures forever; 16 To Him who led His people through the wilderness, For His lovingkindness endures forever; 17 To Him who struck down great kings, For His lovingkindness endures forever; 18 And killed mighty kings, For His lovingkindness endures forever; 19 Sihon, king of the Amorites, For His lovingkindness endures forever; 20 And Og, king of Bashan, For His lovingkindness endures forever; 21 And gave their land as a heritage, For His lovingkindness endures forever; 22 Even a heritage to Israel His servant, For His lovingkindness endures forever;
23 Who [faithfully] remembered us in our lowly condition, For His lovingkindness endures forever; 24 And has rescued us from our enemies, For His lovingkindness endures forever; 25 Who gives food to all flesh, For His lovingkindness endures forever; 26 Give thanks to the God of heaven, For His lovingkindness (graciousness, mercy, compassion) endures forever.
An Experience of the Captivity.
137 By the rivers of Babylon, There we [captives] sat down and wept, When we remembered Zion [the city God imprinted on our hearts]. 2 On the willow trees in the midst of Babylon We hung our harps. 3 For there they who took us captive demanded of us a song with words, And our tormentors [who made a mockery of us demanded] amusement, saying, “Sing us one of the songs of Zion.”
4 How can we sing the Lord’s song In a strange and foreign land? 5 If I forget you, O Jerusalem, Let my right hand forget [her skill with the harp]. 6 Let my tongue cling to the roof of my mouth If I do not remember you, If I do not prefer Jerusalem Above my chief joy.
7 Remember, O Lord, against the sons of Edom, The day of [the fall of] Jerusalem, Who said “Down, down [with her] To her very foundation.” 8 O daughter of Babylon, you devastator, How blessed will be the one Who repays you [with destruction] as you have repaid us. 9 How blessed will be the one who seizes and dashes your little ones Against the rock.
Thanksgiving for the Lord’s Favor.
A Psalm of David.
138 I will give You thanks with all my heart; I sing praises to You before the [pagan] gods. 2 I will bow down [in worship] toward Your holy temple And give thanks to Your name for Your lovingkindness and Your truth; For You have magnified Your word together with Your name. 3 On the day I called, You answered me; And You made me bold and confident with [renewed] strength in my life.
4 All the kings of the land will give thanks and praise You, O Lord, When they have heard of the promises of Your mouth [which were fulfilled]. 5 Yes, they will sing of the ways of the Lord [joyfully celebrating His wonderful acts], For great is the glory and majesty of the Lord. 6 Though the Lord is exalted, He regards the lowly [and invites them into His fellowship]; But the proud and haughty He knows from a distance.
7 Though I walk in the midst of trouble, You will revive me; You will stretch out Your hand against the wrath of my enemies, And Your right hand will save me. 8 The Lord will accomplish that which concerns me; Your [unwavering] lovingkindness, O Lord, endures forever— Do not abandon the works of Your own hands.
God’s Omnipresence and Omniscience.
To the Chief Musician. A Psalm of David.
139 O Lord, you have searched me [thoroughly] and have known me. 2 You know when I sit down and when I rise up [my entire life, everything I do]; You understand my thought from afar. 3 You scrutinize my path and my lying down, And You are intimately acquainted with all my ways. 4 Even before there is a word on my tongue [still unspoken], Behold, O Lord, You know it all. 5 You have enclosed me behind and before, And [You have] placed Your hand upon me. 6 Such [infinite] knowledge is too wonderful for me; It is too high [above me], I cannot reach it.
7 Where can I go from Your Spirit? Or where can I flee from Your presence? 8 If I ascend to heaven, You are there; If I make my bed in Sheol (the nether world, the place of the dead), behold, You are there. 9 If I take the wings of the dawn, If I dwell in the remotest part of the sea, 10 Even there Your hand will lead me, And Your right hand will take hold of me. 11 If I say, “Surely the darkness will cover me, And the night will be the only light around me,” 12 Even the darkness is not dark to You and conceals nothing from You, But the night shines as bright as the day; Darkness and light are alike to You.
13 For You formed my innermost parts; You knit me [together] in my mother’s womb. 14 I will give thanks and praise to You, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made; Wonderful are Your works, And my soul knows it very well. 15 My frame was not hidden from You, When I was being formed in secret, And intricately and skillfully formed [as if embroidered with many colors] in the depths of the earth. 16 Your eyes have seen my unformed substance; And in Your book were all written The days that were appointed for me, When as yet there was not one of them [even taking shape].
17 How precious also are Your thoughts to me, O God! How vast is the sum of them! 18 If I could count them, they would outnumber the sand. When I awake, I am still with You.
19 [c]O that You would kill the wicked, O God; Go away from me, therefore, men of bloodshed. 20 For they speak against You wickedly, Your enemies take Your name in vain. 21 Do I not hate those who hate You, O Lord? And do I not loathe those who rise up against You? 22 I hate them with perfect and utmost hatred; They have become my enemies.
23 Search me [thoroughly], O God, and know my heart; Test me and know my anxious thoughts; 24 And see if there is any wicked or hurtful way in me, And lead me in the everlasting way.
Prayer for Protection against the Wicked.
To the Chief Musician. A Psalm of David.
140 Rescue me, O Lord, from evil men; Protect me from violent men. 2 They devise evil things in their hearts; They continually [gather together and] stir up wars. 3 They sharpen their tongues like a serpent’s; Poison of a viper is under their lips.Selah.
4 Keep me, O Lord, from the hands of the wicked; Protect me from violent men Who intend to trip up my steps. 5 The proud have hidden a trap for me, and cords; They have spread a net by the wayside; They have set traps for me. Selah.
6 I said to the Lord, “You are my God; Listen to the voice of my supplications, O Lord. 7 “O God the Lord, the strength of my salvation, You have covered my head in the day of battle. 8 “Do not grant, O Lord, the desires of the wicked; Do not further their evil device, that they not be exalted. Selah.
9 “Those who surround me raise their heads; May the mischief of their own lips come upon them. 10 “Let burning coals fall upon them; Let them be thrown into the fire, Into deep [water] pits from which they cannot rise. 11 “Do not let a slanderer be established in the earth; Let evil quickly hunt the violent man [to overthrow him and stop his evil acts].”
12 I know [with confidence] that the Lord will maintain the cause of the afflicted, And [will secure] justice for the poor. 13 Surely the righteous will give thanks to Your name; The upright will dwell in Your presence.
An Evening Prayer for Sanctification and Protection.
A Psalm of David.
141 Lord, I call upon You; hurry to me. Listen to my voice when I call to You. 2 Let my prayer be counted as incense before You; The lifting up of my hands as the evening offering. 3 Set a guard, O Lord, over my mouth; Keep watch over the door of my lips [to keep me from speaking thoughtlessly]. 4 Do not incline my heart to [consent to or tolerate] any evil thing, Or to practice deeds of wickedness With men who plan and do evil; And let me not eat of their delicacies (be tempted by their gain).
5 Let the righteous [thoughtfully] strike (correct) me—it is a kindness [done to encourage my spiritual maturity]. It is [the choicest anointing] oil on the head; Let my head not refuse [to accept and acknowledge and learn from] it; For still my prayer is against their wicked deeds. 6 Their [wicked, godless] judges are thrown down the sides of the rocky cliff, And they [who followed them] will hear my words, for they are pleasant (just). 7 As when the one plows and breaks open the ground [and the soil scatters behind him], Our bones have been scattered at the mouth of Sheol [by the injustices of the wicked].
8 For my eyes are toward You, O God, the Lord; In You I take refuge; do not pour out my life nor leave me defenseless. 9 Keep me from the jaws of the trap which they have set for me, And from the snares of those who do evil. 10 Let the wicked fall into their own nets, While I pass by and safely escape [from danger].
Prayer for Help in Trouble.
A skillful song, or a didactic or reflective poem, of David; when he was in the cave. A Prayer.
142 I cry aloud with my voice to the Lord; I make supplication with my voice to the Lord. 2 I pour out my complaint before Him; I declare my trouble before Him. 3 When my spirit was overwhelmed and weak within me [wrapped in darkness], You knew my path. In the way where I walk They have hidden a trap for me. 4 Look to the right [the point of attack] and see; For there is no one who has regard for me [to act in my favor]. Escape has failed me and I have nowhere to run; No one cares about my life.
5 I cried out to You, O Lord; I said, “You are my refuge, My portion in the land of the living. 6 “Give attention to my cry, For I am brought very low; Rescue me from my persecutors, For they are stronger than I. 7 “Bring my soul out of prison (adversity), So that I may give thanks and praise Your name; The righteous will surround me [in triumph], For You will look after me.”
Psalm 136:1The ancient rabbis said that the twenty-six verses of this Psalm correspond to the twenty-six generations from Adam to Moses. They maintained that since these generations were not given the Torah (Law), they could not earn merit and were sustained only by God’s “lovingkindness.”
Psalm 139:19In the first eighteen verses of this psalm, the psalmist acknowledges that God knows everything that the psalmist ever does, no matter when or where he does it. Although God’s vast knowledge of an individual’s deeds can be reassuring for the righteous, it should be frightening for the wicked. In verses 19-24, the psalmist distances himself from the wicked and asks God to help him live in such a way that pleases God.
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