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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!”(A)
Let that be the prayer of the Lord’s redeemed,
    those redeemed from the hand of the foe,(B)
Those gathered from foreign lands,
    from east and west, from north and south.(C)


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.(D)
In their distress they cried to the Lord,
    who rescued them in their peril,
(E)Guided them by a direct path
    so they reached a city to live in.(F)
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.(G)


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,(H)
12 He humbled their hearts through hardship;
    they stumbled with no one to help.(I)
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.(J)
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.


17 Some fell sick from their wicked ways,
    afflicted because of their sins.
18 They loathed all manner of food;(K)
    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,(L)
    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.


23 Some went off to sea in ships,
    plied their trade on the deep waters.(M)
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.(N)
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.(O)
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.(P)
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.


33 [b]God changed rivers into desert,
    springs of water into thirsty ground,(Q)
34 Fruitful land into a salty waste,
    because of the wickedness of its people.(R)
35 He changed the desert into pools of water,
    arid land into springs of water,(S)
36 And settled the hungry there;
    they built a city to live in.(T)
37 They sowed fields and planted vineyards,
    brought in an abundant harvest.(U)
38 (V)God blessed them, and they increased greatly,
    and their livestock did not decrease.(W)
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.(X)
42 The upright saw this and rejoiced;(Y)
    all wickedness shut its mouth.
43 Whoever is wise will take note of these things,(Z)
    and ponder the merciful deeds of the Lord.


  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).