87 His foundation is on the holy mountain. 2 The Lord loves the gates of Zion More than all the dwellings of Jacob (Israel). 3 Glorious things are spoken of you, O city of God [Jerusalem]. Selah. 4 “I will mention Rahab (Egypt) and Babylon among those who know Me— Behold, Philistia and Tyre with Ethiopia (Cush)— ‘This one was born there.’” 5 But of Zion it will be said, “This one and that one were born in her,” And the Most High Himself will establish her. 6 The Lord will count, when He registers the peoples, “This one was born there.” Selah. 7 The singers as well as the players of flutes will say, “All my springs and sources of joy are in you [Jerusalem, city of God].”
A Petition to Be Saved from Death.
A Song. A Psalm of the sons of Korah. To the Chief Musician; set to chant mournfully. A didactic or reflective poem of Heman the Ezrahite.
88 O Lord, the God of my salvation, I have cried out [for help] by day and in the night before You. 2 Let my prayer come before You and enter into Your presence; Incline Your ear to my cry! 3 For my soul is full of troubles, And my life draws near the grave (Sheol, the place of the dead). 4 I am counted among those who go down to the pit (grave); I am like a man who has no strength [a mere shadow], 5 [a]Cast away [from the living] and abandoned among the dead, Like the slain who lie in a [nameless] grave, Whom You no longer remember, And they are cut off from Your hand. 6 You have laid me in the lowest pit, In dark places, in the depths. 7 Your wrath has rested heavily upon me, And You have afflicted me with all Your waves.Selah. 8 You have put my friends far from me; You have made me an [b]object of loathing to them. I am shut up and I cannot go out. 9 My eye grows dim with sorrow. O Lord, I have called on You every day; I have spread out my hands to You [in prayer].
10 Will You perform wonders for the dead? Shall the departed spirits arise and praise You? Selah. 11 Will Your lovingkindness be declared in the grave Or Your faithfulness in Abaddon (the underworld)? 12 Will Your wonders be known in the darkness? And Your righteousness in the land of forgetfulness [where the dead forget and are forgotten]?
13 But I have cried out to You, O Lord, for help; And in the morning my prayer will come to You. 14 O Lord, why do You reject me? Why do You hide Your face from me? 15 I was afflicted and close to death from my youth on; I suffer Your terrors; I am overcome. 16 Your fierce wrath has swept over me; Your terrors have destroyed me. 17 They have surrounded me like flood waters all day long; They have completely encompassed me. 18 Lover and friend You have placed far from me; My familiar friends are in darkness.
The Lord’s Covenant with David, and Israel’s Afflictions.
A skillful song, or a didactic or reflective poem, of Ethan the Ezrahite.
89 I will sing of the goodness and lovingkindness of the Lord forever; With my mouth I will make known Your faithfulness from generation to generation. 2 For I have said, “Goodness and lovingkindness will be built up forever; In the heavens [unchangeable and majestic] You will establish Your faithfulness.” 3 [God has said] “I have made a covenant with My chosen one; I have sworn to David My servant, 4 I will establish your seed forever And I will build up your throne for all generations.”Selah.
5 The heavens (angels) praise Your wonders, O Lord, Your faithfulness also in the assembly of the holy ones. 6 For who in the heavens can be compared to the Lord? Who among the divine beings is like the Lord, 7 A God greatly feared and reverently worshiped in the council of the holy [angelic] ones, And awesome above all those who are around Him? 8 O Lord God of hosts, who is like You, O mighty Lord? Your faithfulness surrounds You [as an intrinsic, unchangeable part of Your very being]. 9 You rule the swelling of the sea; When its waves rise, You still them. 10 You have crushed Rahab (Egypt) like one who is slain; You have scattered Your enemies with Your mighty arm.
11 The heavens are Yours, the earth also is Yours; The world and all that is in it, You have founded and established them. 12 The north and the south, You have created them; Mount Tabor and Mount Hermon shout for joy at Your name. 13 You have a strong arm; Mighty is Your hand, Your right hand is exalted. 14 Righteousness and justice are the foundation of Your throne; Lovingkindness and truth go before You. 15 Blessed and happy are the people who know the joyful sound [of the trumpet’s blast]! They walk, O Lord, in the light and favor of Your countenance! 16 In Your name they rejoice all the day, And in Your righteousness they are exalted. 17 For You are the glory of their strength [their proud adornment], And by Your favor our horn is exalted. 18 For our shield belongs to the Lord, And our king to the Holy One of Israel.
19 Once You spoke in a vision to Your godly ones, And said, “I have given help to one who is mighty [giving him the power to be a champion for Israel]; I have exalted one chosen from the people. 20 “I have found David My servant; With My holy oil I have anointed him, 21 With whom My hand shall be established and steadfast; My arm also shall strengthen him. 22 “The enemy will not outwit him, Nor will the wicked man afflict or humiliate him. 23 “I will crush his adversaries before him, And strike those who hate him. 24 “My faithfulness and My steadfast lovingkindness shall be with him, And in My name shall his horn be exalted [great power and prosperity shall be conferred upon him]. 25 “I will also [c]set his hand on the [Mediterranean] sea, And his right hand on the rivers [the tributaries of the Euphrates]. 26 “He will cry to Me, ‘You are my Father, My God, and the rock of my salvation.’ 27 “I will also make him My firstborn (preeminent), The highest of the kings of the earth. 28 “My lovingkindness I will keep for him forevermore, And My covenant will be confirmed to him. 29 “His descendants I will establish forever, And his throne [will endure] as the days of heaven.
30 “If his children [d]turn away from My law And do not walk in My ordinances, 31 If they break My statutes And do not keep My commandments, 32 Then I will punish their transgression with the rod [of discipline], And [correct] their wickedness with stripes. 33 “Nevertheless, I will not break off My lovingkindness from him, Nor allow My faithfulness to fail. 34 “My covenant I will not violate, Nor will I alter the utterance of My lips. 35 “Once [for all] I have sworn by My holiness, [My vow which cannot be violated]; I will not lie to David. 36 “His [e]descendants shall endure forever And his throne [will continue] as the sun before Me. 37 “It shall be established forever like the moon, And the witness in the heavens is ever faithful.”Selah.
38 But [in apparent contradiction of all this] You [the faithful Lord] have cast off and rejected; You have been full of wrath against Your anointed. 39 You have spurned and repudiated the covenant with Your servant; You have profaned his crown [by casting it] in the dust. 40 You have broken down all his [city] walls; You have brought his strongholds to ruin. 41 All who pass along the road rob him; He has become the scorn of his neighbors. 42 You have exalted the right hand of his foes; You have made all his enemies rejoice. 43 Also, You have turned back the edge of his sword And have not made him [strong enough] to stand in battle. 44 You have put an end to his splendor And have hurled his throne to the ground. 45 You have shortened the days of his youth; You have covered him with shame. Selah.
46 How long, O Lord? Will You hide Yourself forever? Will Your wrath burn like fire? 47 Remember how fleeting my lifetime is; For what vanity, [for what emptiness, for what futility, for what wisp of smoke] You have created all the sons of men! 48 What man can live and not see death? Can he rescue his soul from the [powerful] hand of Sheol (the nether world, the place of the dead)? Selah.
49 O Lord, where are Your former lovingkindnesses [so abundant in the days of David and Solomon], Which You swore to David in Your faithfulness? 50 Remember, O Lord, the reproach of Your servants [scorned, insulted, and disgraced]; How I bear in [f]my heart the reproach of all the many peoples, 51 With which Your enemies have taunted, O Lord, With which they have mocked the footsteps of Your anointed.
52 Blessed be the Lord forevermore! Amen and Amen.
God’s Eternity and Man’s Transitoriness.
A Prayer of Moses the man of God.
90 Lord, You have been our dwelling place [our refuge, our sanctuary, our stability] in all generations. 2 Before the mountains were born Or before You had given birth to the earth and the world, Even from everlasting to everlasting, You are [the eternal] God.
3 You turn man back to dust, And say, “Return [to the earth], O children of [mortal] men!” 4 For a [g]thousand years in Your sight Are like yesterday when it is past, Or as a watch in the night. 5 You have swept them away like a flood, they fall asleep [forgotten as soon as they are gone]; In the morning they are like grass which grows anew— 6 In the morning it flourishes and springs up; In the evening it wilts and withers away.
7 For we have been consumed by Your anger And by Your wrath we have been terrified. 8 You have placed our wickedness before you, Our secret sins [which we tried to conceal, You have placed] in the [revealing] light of Your presence. 9 For all our days pass away in Your wrath; We have finished our years like a whispered sigh. 10 The days of our life are [h]seventy years— Or even, if because of strength, eighty years; Yet their pride [in additional years] is only labor and sorrow, For it is soon gone and we fly away. 11 Who understands the power of Your anger? [Who connects this brevity of life among us with Your judgment of sin?] And Your wrath, [who connects it] with the [reverent] fear that is due You? 12 So teach us to number our days, That we may cultivate and bring to You a heart of wisdom.
13 Turn, O Lord [from Your fierce anger]; how long will it be? Be compassionate toward Your servants—revoke Your sentence. 14 O satisfy us with Your lovingkindness in the morning [now, before we grow older], That we may rejoice and be glad all our days. 15 Make us glad in proportion to the days You have afflicted us, And the years we have suffered evil. 16 Let Your work [the signs of Your power] be revealed to Your servants And Your [glorious] majesty to their children. 17 And let the [gracious] favor of the Lord our God be on us; Confirm for us the work of our hands— Yes, confirm the work of our hands.
Security of the One Who Trusts in the Lord.
91 He who [i]dwells in the shelter of the Most High Will remain secure and rest in the shadow of the Almighty [whose power no enemy can withstand]. 2 I will say of the Lord, “He is my refuge and my fortress, My God, in whom I trust [with great confidence, and on whom I rely]!” 3 For He will save you from the trap of the fowler, And from the deadly pestilence. 4 He will cover you and completely protect you with His pinions, And under His wings you will find refuge; His faithfulness is a shield and a wall.
5 You will not be afraid of the terror of night, Nor of the arrow that flies by day, 6 Nor of the pestilence that stalks in darkness, Nor of the destruction (sudden death) that lays waste at noon. 7 A thousand may fall at your side And ten thousand at your right hand, But danger will not come near you. 8 You will only [be a spectator as you] look on with your eyes And witness the [divine] repayment of the wicked [as you watch safely from the shelter of the Most High]. 9 Because you have made the Lord, [who is] my refuge, Even the Most High, your dwelling place, 10 No evil will befall you, Nor will any plague come near your tent.
11 For He will command His angels in regard to you, To protect and defend and guard you in all your ways [of obedience and service]. 12 They will lift you up in their hands, So that you do not [even] strike your foot against a stone. 13 You will tread upon the lion and cobra; The young lion and the serpent you will trample underfoot.
14 “Because he set his love on Me, therefore I will save him; I will set him [securely] on high, because he knows My name [he confidently trusts and relies on Me, knowing I will never abandon him, no, never]. 15 “He will call upon Me, and I will answer him; I will be with him in trouble; I will rescue him and honor him. 16 “With a long life I will satisfy him And I will let him see My salvation.”
Praise for the Lord’s Goodness.
A Psalm. A Song for the Sabbath day.
92 It is a good and delightful thing to give thanks to the Lord, To sing praises to Your name, O Most High, 2 To declare Your lovingkindness in the morning And Your faithfulness by night, 3 With an instrument of ten strings and with the harp, With a solemn sound on the lyre. 4 For You, O Lord, have made me glad by Your works; At the works of Your hands I joyfully sing.
5 How great are Your works, O Lord! Your thoughts are very deep [beyond man’s understanding]. 6 A senseless man [in his crude and uncultivated state] knows nothing, Nor does a [self-righteous] fool understand this: 7 That though the wicked sprout up like grass And all evildoers flourish, They will be destroyed forever. 8 But You, Lord, are on high forever. 9 For behold, Your enemies, O Lord, For behold, Your enemies will perish; All who do evil will be scattered.
10 But my horn [my emblem of strength and power] You have exalted like that of a wild ox; I am anointed with fresh oil [for Your service]. 11 My eye has looked on my foes; My ears hear of the evildoers who rise up against me. 12 The righteous will flourish like the date palm [long-lived, upright and useful]; They will grow like a cedar in Lebanon [majestic and stable]. 13 Planted in the house of the Lord, They will flourish in the courts of our God. 14 [Growing in grace] they will still thrive and bear fruit and prosper in old age; They will flourish and be [j]vital and fresh [rich in trust and love and contentment]; 15 [They are living memorials] to declare that the Lord is upright and faithful [to His promises]; He is my rock, and there is no unrighteousness in Him.
Psalm 88:5Lit Set free. The ancient rabbis understood this to mean that once a man is dead, he is free from all religious duties.
Psalm 90:4This was understood by the ancient rabbis to mean that a “thousand years” are literally only one day in God’s reckoning, and Peter seems to confirm the idea in 2 Pet 3:8.
Psalm 90:10This psalm is credited to Moses, who is interceding with God to remove the curse which made it necessary for every Israelite over twenty years of age (when they rebelled against God at Kadesh-barnea) to die before reaching the promised land of Canaan (Num 14:26-35). Moses himself lived to be 120 years old, Aaron 123, Miriam several years older, and Joshua 110 years of age; but it is conceivable that Moses considered such longevity the exception. The ancient rabbis taught that by the time of David, 70 was the age of death for an old man and 80 for a vigorous old man.
Psalm 91:1The wonderful promises of this chapter are dependent upon one’s meeting the conditions stated in these first two verses (see Ex 15:26).
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