This week I desire to share some Psalms, and of them my most favorite. Since January we have considered some 30 Psalms, Hymns, and Spiritual Songs that have influenced the Christian Church, and thus influenced me. The Book of Psalms or the PsalmsBook is a subject and category of its own, and as such is unique as Biblical Poetry, or Inspired Poems. Though I thought of reserving commenting on the Psalms till next year, if God permitted me to continue in life, as Bible Reflections on the books of the Bible; yet the use and value of the Psalms are intrinsically interwoven in our church songs and hymns. Psalms express a very wide range of human emotions and experiences. There are Psalms of sufferings, and of defeat, of hate and love, about enemies and persecutions, of deliverance and salvation; Psalms of God and the King, of Messiah and Israel; and Psalms for Feasts and Holydays, and such like. Some Psalms are of peculiar interest as applicable to Christ, as these: Psalms 2, 8, 16, 22, 31, 34, 40, 45, 55, 69, etc. The Book of Psalms are Songs and Hymns and Poems to be sung or chanted, based on the Law of Moses (Genesis-Deuteronomy) and the history of Israel from Joshua to Hezekiah and the close of the Old Testament. Like the Pentateuch or 5 Books of Moses, it is also divided into 5 Books or Sections (Ps. 1-41; 42-72; 73-89; 90-106; 107-150). Psalms=tehillim, psalm=tehillah; from halall=praise, sing, chant, rejoice, celebrate, dance; as in hallelu-Jah, praise the LORD. Greek psalmos was the sound of the playing of a stringed instrument like a harp, lyre, cithara (kithara) or a guitar. It is poetry set to music or singing, it is “scripture set to music”. The Hebrew tehillim focuses on the words and the content of the Psalm; the Greek and Latin word emphasizes the sound and the music of the Poem, Song, or Hymn. Psalm 145 introduces the final conclusion to the PsalmsBook of the Five Halleluiah Psalms.
The Jewish Synagogue has preserved the PsalmsBook with all its treasures for worship, both public and private; and in turn the Christian Church has adopted it among all nations that the Gospel has spread. The Greek, Latin, and English Church has produced their own treasures of the Psalms; and among these treasures are the Metrical Psalms. The Protestants, especially the Anglicans and Presbyterians, have PsalmsBooks of metrical versions of all the Psalms, called the Psalter. “To its devotees the Scottish Psalter is the only one that is acceptable. If one’s goal is the closest possible representation of the original Hebrew, then this may well be the best Psalter, even though its language and poetry sometimes seems awkward and contrived. (The Bay Psalm Book was also a very close translation, but its poetry is even more problematical.) In spite of its age and sometimes quaint wording, the Scottish Psalter still retains great power even today. If one had to use only one metrical Psalter, this one would be a good choice.”
The Psalms are varied as we noted above, with some of them prefaced by historical or musical remarks. Some are Alphabetical of the Hebrew Alphabet from Aleph-Thau, 22 letters, which can be found in Psalms 119 in those translations, versions, and editions printed properly or accurately. Psalm 119 devotes 8 verses to each letter, thus 8×22= 176 verses. Psalm 145 is my most favorite of the Psalms, it is also Alphabetical, but defective in one letter, Nun, the 14th letter in the Hebrew Alphabet, comes after Mem and before Samek. The Missing Nun is very interesting because it appears to be deliberate, but without the suggestion as to the reason. Some have tried from time to time to supply what they think could be a good Nun Verse, but cannot explain its oddity. Nun means Fish or Snake, or both. It has the numerical value of 50. It was Joshua surname, Joshua benNun. It is the letter to symbolize the Serpent (Nachash), the Prophets (Nebhiim), the Giants (Nephilim), Messiah the Netzer (Branch), the Nazarene, and its is now among the Arabs the symbol and mark of the Christians. (See Ps. 119, especially Nun: verses 105-112.) The Hebrew title or name for Psalms is Tehillim or many Tehillahs, yet of all the 150 Psalms only Psalm 145 is titled the Tehillah, one of the Tehillim. Further it is David’s Tehillah; and David in Hebrew means the Beloved; thus it is when translated the Beloved’s Praise, or Praise of or for the Beloved.
Here are the samples of some Psalms as Texts or Metrical Versions: Ps. 145; Ps. 1; Ps. 2; Ps. 23; Ps. 145; and Ps. 145.
Praise for the LORD’s Beloved.
David’s [Psalm of] Praise. Psalm 145:1-21.
I will extol Thee, my God, O King; and I will bless Thy name for ever and ever.
Every day will I bless Thee; and I will praise Thy name for ever and ever.
Great is the LORD, and greatly to be praised; and His greatness is unsearchable.
One generation shall praise Thy works to another, and shall declare Thy mighty acts.
I will speak of the glorious honor of Thy majesty, and of Thy wondrous works.
And men shall speak of the might of Thy terrible acts: and I will declare Thy greatness.
They shall abundantly utter the memory of Thy great goodness, and shall sing of Thy righteousness.
The LORD is gracious, and full of compassion; slow to anger, and of great mercy.
The LORD is good to all: and His tender mercies are over all His works.
All Thy works shall praise Thee, O LORD; and Thy saints shall bless Thee.
11. Kaph (20)
They shall speak of the glory of Thy kingdom, and talk of Thy power;
12. Lamed (30)
To make known to the sons of men His mighty acts, and the glorious majesty of His kingdom.
13. Mem (40)
Thy kingdom is an everlasting kingdom, and Thy dominion endureth throughout all generations.
14. 15. Samek (60)
The LORD upholdeth all that fall, and raiseth up all those that be bowed down.
15. 16. ‘Ayin (70)
The eyes of all wait upon Thee; and Thou givest them their meat in due season.
16. 17. Pe (80)
Thou openest Thine hand, and satisfiest the desire of every living thing.
17. 18. Tzadi (90)
The LORD is righteous in all His ways, and holy in all His works.
18. 19. Qoph (100)
The LORD is nigh unto all them that call upon Him, to all that call upon Him in truth.
19. 20. Resh (200)
He will fulfil the desire of them that fear Him: He also will hear their cry, and will save them.
20. 21. Shin (300)
The LORD preserveth all them that love Him: but all the wicked will He destroy.
21. 22. Thau (400)
My mouth shall speak the praise of the LORD: and let all flesh bless His holy name for ever and ever.
Blessed is the Man who:
Walks not in the wickeds’ counsel,
Stands not in sinners’ way,
Sits not in scoffers’ seat:
Because his delight is in the LORD’s Law;
And on His Law he meditates day and night.
And he’lll be like a tree planted by the streams of water,
That bears fruit in its season,
Whose leaf withers not;
And whatsoever he doeth shall prosper.
The wicked are not so,
But are like the chaff which the wind scatters.
Therefore the wicked shall not stand in judgment,
Nor sinners in the congregation of the righteous.
For the LORD knows the way of the righteous;
But the way of the wicked shall perish.
Why rage the heathen? and vain things Why do the people mind?
Kings of the earth do set themselves, And princes are combin’d,
To plot against the Lord, and His Anointed, saying thus,
Let us asunder break their bands, And cast their cords from us.
He That in heaven sits shall laugh; The Lord shall scorn them all.
Then shall He speak to them in wrath, In rage He vex them shall.
Yet, notwithstanding, I have Him To be my King appointed;
And over Sion, My holy hill, I have Him King anointed.
The sure decree I will declare: The Lord hath said to Me,
Thou art Mine only Son; this day I have begotten Thee.
Ask of Me, and for heritage The heathen I’ll make Thine;
And, for possession, I to Thee will Give earth’s utmost line.
Thou shalt, as with a weighty rod Of iron, break them all;
And, as a potter’s sherd, Thou shalt them Dash in pieces small.
Now therefore, kings, be wise; be taught, Ye judges of the earth:
Serve God in fear, and see that ye join Trembling with your mirth.
Kiss ye the Son, lest in His ire Ye perish from the way,
If once His wrath begin to burn: Bless’d all that on Him stay.
The Lord’s my Shepherd, I’ll not want.
He makes me down to lie
In pastures green: He leadeth me
The quiet waters by.
My soul He doth restore again;
And me to walk doth make
Within the paths of righteousness,
Ev’n for His own name’s sake.
Yea, though I walk in death’s dark vale,
Yet will I fear none ill:
For Thou art with me; and Thy rod
And staff me comfort still.
My table Thou hast furnished
In presence of my foes;
My head Thou dost with oil anoint,
And my cup overflows.
Goodness and mercy all my life
Shall surely follow me:
And in God’s House for evermore
My dwelling-place shall be.
Ps. 145 1-21. First Version.
1 I’ll Thee extol, my God, O King;
I’ll bless Thy name always.
2 Thee will I bless each day, and will
Thy name for ever praise.
3 Great is the Lord, much to be praised;
His greatness search exceeds.
4 Race unto race shall praise Thy works,
and show Thy mighty deeds.
5 I of Thy glorious majesty
the honor will record;
I’ll speak of all Thy mighty works,
which wondrous are, O Lord.
6 Men of Thine acts the might shall show,
Thine acts that dreadful are;
And I, Thy glory to advance,
Thy greatness will declare.
7 The mem’ry of Thy goodness great
they largely shall express;
With songs of praise they shall extol
Thy perfect righteousness.
8 The Lord is very gracious,
in Him compassions flow;
In mercy he is very great,
and is to anger slow.
9 The Lord Jehovah unto all
His goodness doth declare;
And over all His other works
His tender mercies are.
10 Thee all Thy works shall praise, O Lord,
and Thee Thy saints shall bless;
11 They shall Thy kingdom’s glory show,
Thy pow’r by speech express:
12 To make the sons of men to know
His acts done mightily,
And of His kingdom th’ excellent
and glorious majesty.
13 Thy kingdom shall for ever stand,
Thy reign through ages all.
14 God raiseth all that are bowed down,
upholdeth all that fall.
15 The eyes of all things wait on Thee,
the giver of all good;
And Thou, in time convenient,
bestow’st on them their food:
16 Thine hand Thou open’st lib’rally,
and of Thy bounty gives
Enough to satisfy the need
of ev’ry thing that lives.
17 The Lord is just in all His ways,
holy in His works all.
18 God’s near to all that call on Him,
in truth that on Him call.
19 He will accomplish the desire
of those that do Him fear:
He also will deliver them,
and He their cry will hear.
20 The Lord preserves all who Him love,
that naught can them annoy:
But He all those that wicked are
will utterly destroy.
21 My mouth the praises of the Lord
to publish cease shall never:
Let all flesh bless His holy name
for ever and for ever.
Ps. 145:1-21. Second Version.
1 O Lord, Thou art my God and King;
Thee will I magnify and praise:
I will Thee bless, and gladly sing
Unto Thy holy name always.
2 Each day I rise I will Thee bless,
And praise Thy name time without end.
3 Much to be praised, and great God is;
His greatness none can comprehend.
4 Race shall Thy works praise unto race,
The mighty acts show done by Thee.
5 I will speak of the glorious grace,
And honor of Thy majesty;
Thy wondrous works I will record.
6 By men the might shall be extolled
Of all Thy dreadful acts, O Lord:
And I Thy greatness will unfold.
7 They utter shall abundantly
The mem’ry of Thy goodness great;
And shall sing praises cheerfully,
Whilst they Thy righteousness relate.
8 The Lord our God is gracious,
Compassionate is He also;
In mercy He is plenteous,
But unto wrath and anger slow.
9 Good unto all men is the Lord:
O’er all His works His mercy is.
10 Thy works all praise to Thee afford:
Thy saints, O Lord, Thy name shall bless.
11 The glory of Thy kingdom show
Shall they, and of Thy power tell:
12 That so men’s sons His deeds may know,
His kingdom’s grace that doth excel.
13 Thy kingdom hath none end at all,
It doth through ages all remain.
14 The Lord upholdeth all that fall,
The cast-down raiseth up again.
15 The eyes of all things, Lord, attend,
And on Thee wait that here do live,
And Thou, in season due, dost send
Sufficient food them to relieve.
16 Yea, Thou Thine hand dost open wide,
And ev’ry thing dost satisfy
That lives, and doth on earth abide,
Of Thy great liberality.
17 The Lord is just in His ways all,
And holy in His works each one.
18 He’s near to all that on Him call,
Who call in truth on Him alone.
19 God will the just desire fulfill
Of such as do Him fear and dread:
Their cry regard, and hear He will,
And save them in the time of need.
20 The Lord preserves all, more and less,
That bear to Him a loving heart:
But workers all of wickedness
Destroy will He, and clean subvert.
21 Therefore my mouth and lips I’ll frame
To speak the praises of the Lord:
To magnify His holy name
For ever let all flesh accord.