133 Behold, how good and how pleasant it is For brothers to dwell together in unity! 2 It is like the precious oil [of consecration] poured on the head, Coming down on the beard, Even the beard of Aaron, Coming down upon the edge of his [priestly] robes [consecrating the whole body]. 3 It is like the dew of [Mount] Hermon Coming down on the hills of Zion; For there the Lord has commanded the blessing: life forevermore.
134 Behold, bless and praise the Lord, all servants of the Lord (priests, Levites), Who stand and serve by night in the house of the Lord. 2 Lift up your hands to the sanctuary And bless the Lord. 3 May the Lord bless you from Zion, He who made heaven and earth.
Praise the Lord’s Wonderful Works. Vanity of Idols.
135 Praise the Lord! (Hallelujah!) Praise the name of the Lord; Praise Him, O servants of the Lord (priests, Levites), 2 You who stand in the house of the Lord, In the courts of the house of our God, 3 Praise the Lord, for the Lord is good; Sing praises to His name, for it is gracious and lovely. 4 For the Lord has chosen [the descendants of] Jacob for Himself, Israel for His own special treasure and possession.
5 For I know that the Lord is great And that our Lord is above all gods. 6 Whatever the Lord pleases, He does, In the heavens and on the earth, in the seas and all deeps— 7 Who causes the clouds to rise from the ends of the earth; Who makes lightning for the rain, Who brings the wind from His storehouses;
8 Who struck the firstborn of Egypt, Both of man and animal; 9 Who sent signs and wonders into your midst, O Egypt, Upon Pharaoh and all his servants. 10 Who struck many nations And killed mighty kings, 11 Sihon, king of the Amorites, Og, king of Bashan, And all the kingdoms of Canaan; 12 And He gave their land as a heritage, A heritage to Israel His people. 13 Your name, O Lord, endures forever, Your fame and remembrance, O Lord, [endures] throughout all generations. 14 For the Lord will judge His people And He will have compassion on His servants [revealing His mercy]. 15 The idols of the nations are silver and gold, The work of men’s hands. 16 They have mouths, but they do not speak; They have eyes, but they do not see; 17 They have ears, but they do not hear, Nor is there any breath in their mouths. 18 Those who make idols are like them [absolutely worthless—spiritually blind, deaf, and powerless]; So is everyone who trusts in and relies on them.
19 O house of Israel, bless and praise the Lord [with gratitude]; O house of Aaron, bless the Lord; 20 O house of Levi, bless the Lord; You who fear the Lord [and worship Him with obedience], bless the Lord [with grateful praise]! 21 Blessed be the Lord from Zion, Who dwells [with us] at Jerusalem. Praise the Lord! (Hallelujah!)
Thanks for the Lord’s Goodness to Israel.
136 [c]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 [d]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 [e]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.
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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