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Psalm 146 - Praise Jehovah

INTRODUCTION: This psalm came to my attention as I was gathering related verses for the study on the prayer in Acts chapter 4. The psalm speaks so richly of our Creator God that I decided to make it the subject of a separate study. One of the ways I enjoy searching into the depths of Scripture is to carefully prepare my own amplified paraphrase, which requires continual review of the text and the context. I compared the translations of ten versions from my Online bible, and also reviewed some Hebrew lexicon entries. Other related scripture found by word or phrase searches was useful in developing commentary on the target text.

NOTE: KJV = 1769 King James Version, JPS = 1917 Jewish Publication Society, LXXE = 1851 English translation of the Greek Septuagint (circa 150BC).

Psalm 146 (amplified paraphrase)

1 Hallelujah. Praise the LORD, O my soul.

COMMENTS: This psalm opens with a joyous outburst of praise to Jehovah from one who wants to acknowledge thanksgiving to the God who loves him. It is a heart-felt commitment to praise the living God who is certainly worthy of all praise. the psalmist will go on to express the vastness of the glory of his God. The word hallelujah does not appear anywhere in the KJV Old Testament, and in the KJV New Testament the Greek word "allelouia" appears only four times and it is translated to English as alleluia, not hallelujah (see Revelation 19:1-6). In the KJV Psalm 146:1 opens with "Praise ye the Lord, praise the LORD ..." and the all caps LORD in the first phrase is actually the contracted form jah. This contracted name is translated only once as Jah in forty-nine occurrences, and the others are translated as LORD. So, I chose Hallelujah for my paraphrase, as used in some other translations such as the JPS and the LXXE, rather than using a repetitive phrase, even though the word hallelujah is a compound word that basically means praise Jah. In the Hebrew text, the word for praise is expressed as an intensive imperative, and could carry the further sense of a continuing action, which is certainly appropriate when praising the Lord.

Psalm 146 (amplified paraphrase)

2 I will praise the LORD while I live, even throughout my life; I will sing praises and make melody unto my God as long as my being still exists.

COMMENTS: Verse two definitely carries the idea of a continuing or ongoing praise, and this is a determined goal of the psalmist to persist up to the end of his life. Such determination is an expected outcome for us also, if we have laid up our treasure in heaven, or if we have, as Paul said in Colossians 3:2 "Set your affection on things above, not on things on the earth." We have the opportunity to start a pattern of praise in our life, which the final book of scripture tells us will continue through all eternity. Revelation 5:13 "And every creature which is in heaven, and on the earth, and under the earth, and such as are in the sea, and all that are in them, heard I saying, Blessing, and honour, and glory, and power, be unto him that sitteth upon the throne, and unto the Lamb for ever and ever."

Psalm 146 (amplified paraphrase)

3 Do not put your trust, faith, or confidence in high placed leaders or those with great influence, or in any of the children of men, in whom there is no safety or deliverance. 4 When they breathe their last breath, they return to the dust of the earth. On that very day their plans, thoughts, and purposes come to an end with finality as they utterly perish.

COMMENTS: We are to respect those in leadership over us, and it is good for neighbors to help each other; but the psalmist emphasizes inherent limits to dependence on man, and this is certainly supported by Isaiah. Isaiah 31:1 "Woe to them that go down to Egypt for help; and stay on horses, and trust in chariots, because they are many; and in horsemen, because they are very strong; but they look not unto the Holy One of Israel, neither seek the LORD!" Isaiah 40:17 "All nations before him are as nothing; and they are counted to him less than nothing, and vanity." Trust in the Lord is better than trust in man. Psalms 118:8 "It is better to trust in the LORD than to put confidence in man. 9 It is better to trust in the LORD than to put confidence in princes." Psalms 125:1 "A Song of degrees. They that trust in the LORD shall be as mount Zion, which cannot be removed, but abideth for ever." God is infinite and eternal, and thus trusting Him will never fail us, while all men are finite and temporal regardless of their present position or influence. Genesis 3:19 "In the sweat of thy face shalt thou eat bread, till thou return unto the ground; for out of it wast thou taken: for dust thou art, and unto dust shalt thou return." Psalms 144:4 "Man is like to vanity: his days are as a shadow that passeth away."

Psalm 146 (amplified paraphrase)

5 O the happiness, delight, and blessedness of him who has the God of Jacob for his help, his hope rests securely on Jehovah his God, 6 who made heaven and earth, the sea, and all things in them; who keeps truth faithfully for ever:

COMMENTS: There is no comparison when we grasp the vast difference between trusting the LORD who made all things, including creating us in His own image; and trusting our well being to the care and outcome of mere man. Just contemplating the thought of an immeasurable love for us from an immeasurable Creator can cause joy for the love of our God to well up within our whole being. He is not only the creator of heaven and earth and all other things, but he faithfully keeps truth for all time so that we may have utter, complete, and absolute security in His character. Numbers 23:19 "God is not a man, that he should lie; neither the son of man, that he should repent: hath he said, and shall he not do it? or hath he spoken, and shall he not make it good?"

Psalm 146 (amplified paraphrase)

7 He brings about justice and judgment for those who are oppressed, wronged, and weighted down. He gives food to those who are hungry. The LORD looses and sets prisoners free.

COMMENTS: No matter how difficult our circumstances in this world may be, the Lord is capable of righting every wrong, and setting us free from the true bonds brought about by unforgiven sin. Centuries before Jesus was born, a prophecy was recorded that further supports the same vein of thought as the verse in this psalm. Isaiah 61:1 "The Spirit of the Lord GOD is upon me; because the LORD hath anointed me to preach good tidings unto the meek; he hath sent me to bind up the brokenhearted, to proclaim liberty to the captives, and the opening of the prison to them that are bound; 2 To proclaim the acceptable year of the LORD, and the day of vengeance of our God; to comfort all that mourn;" Then Jesus personally declared that he fulfilled this prophecy. Luke 4:18 "The Spirit of the Lord is upon me, because he hath anointed me to preach the gospel to the poor; he hath sent me to heal the brokenhearted, to preach deliverance to the captives, and recovering of sight to the blind, to set at liberty them that are bruised, 19 To preach the acceptable year of the Lord. 20 And he closed the book, and he gave it again to the minister, and sat down. And the eyes of all them that were in the synagogue were fastened on him. 21 And he began to say unto them, This day is this scripture fulfilled in your ears." Our hope is truly in the Lord. John 8:36 "If the Son therefore shall make you free, ye shall be free indeed." Isaiah 25:8 "He will swallow up death in victory; and the Lord GOD will wipe away tears from off all faces; and the rebuke of his people shall he take away from off all the earth: for the LORD hath spoken it." Revelation 7:17 "For the Lamb which is in the midst of the throne shall feed them, and shall lead them unto living fountains of waters: and God shall wipe away all tears from their eyes."

Psalm 146 (amplified paraphrase)

8 The LORD continually gives sight, or wisdom, to the blind. The LORD straightens the backs of, raises up, those who are bent over or bowed down, because he sets up the broken down. The LORD loves righteous upright people.

COMMENTS: The LXXE provided the reading of "Lord gives wisdom to the blind", and Young's literal translation provided the sense of "Jehovah is loosing the prisoners ... is opening (the eyes of) the blind ... is raising the bowed down ..." indicating an ongoing action. the Lord God has been setting prisoners of sin free over the centuries by opening sin-blinded eyes to the soul saving truth, and will continue to do so until His kingdom is established on earth as it is in heaven. Revelation 21 "1 And I saw a new heaven and a new earth: for the first heaven and the first earth were passed away; and there was no more sea. 2 And I John saw the holy city, new Jerusalem, coming down from God out of heaven, prepared as a bride adorned for her husband. 3 And I heard a great voice out of heaven saying, Behold, the tabernacle of God is with men, and he will dwell with them, and they shall be his people, and God himself shall be with them, and be their God. 4 And God shall wipe away all tears from their eyes; and there shall be no more death, neither sorrow, nor crying, neither shall there be any more pain: for the former things are passed away."

Psalm 146 (amplified paraphrase)

9 The LORD preserves the strangers, foreigners, or sojourners; he relieves and causes the fatherless and widows to stand: but the way of the wicked he subverts, turns upside down, or makes crooked.

COMMENTS: If our citizenship is in heaven, then no matter where we reside around the earth, we are foreigners, just sojourning here until we reach our final home in heaven. Hebrews 11:9 "By faith he sojourned in the land of promise, as in a strange country, dwelling in tabernacles with Isaac and Jacob, the heirs with him of the same promise: 10 For he looked for a city which hath foundations, whose builder and maker is God." And we who have faith in Jesus Christ are heirs to that city with Abraham. Galatians 3:7 "Know ye therefore that they which are of faith, the same are the children of Abraham. 8 And the scripture, foreseeing that God would justify the heathen through faith, preached before the gospel unto Abraham, saying, In thee shall all nations be blessed. 9 So then they which be of faith are blessed with faithful Abraham." Whosoever believes has the promise of the Lord Jesus that He will preserve them in complete security. John 10:28 And I give unto them eternal life; and they shall never perish, neither shall any man pluck them out of my hand." But those who reject Christ Jesus will themselves be rejected, and the contrast is repeated in many scriptures. Job 8:13 "So are the paths of all that forget God; and the hypocrite's hope shall perish:" Psalms 1:6 "For the LORD knoweth the way of the righteous: but the way of the ungodly shall perish." Psalms 37:20 "But the wicked shall perish, and the enemies of the LORD shall be as the fat of lambs: they shall consume; into smoke shall they consume away." Proverbs 10:28 "The hope of the righteous shall be gladness: but the expectation of the wicked shall perish." Proverbs 11:7 "When a wicked man dieth, his expectation shall perish: and the hope of unjust men perisheth."

Psalm 146 (amplified paraphrase)

10 The LORD shall reign for ever, your God, O Zion, unto all generations. Hallelujah! Praise the Lord!

COMMENTS: As the psalmist concludes his thoughts he returns to where he began: another outburst of praise, and a proclamation that our Sovereign in the Kingdom of Heaven will reign over us throughout eternity. This is a promise to all generations who hear and respond to the gospel message of salvation in Jehovah, now revealed in Christ Jesus. Exodus 15:18 "The LORD shall reign for ever and ever." Micah 4:7 "And I will make her that halted a remnant, and her that was cast far off a strong nation: and the LORD shall reign over them in mount Zion from henceforth, even for ever." New Testament scripture gives further indication that the Zion spoken of in prophecy is of a heavenly nature. Hebrews 12 "22 But ye are come unto mount Sion, and unto the city of the living God, the heavenly Jerusalem, and to an innumerable company of angels, 23 To the general assembly and church of the firstborn, which are written in heaven, and to God the Judge of all, and to the spirits of just men made perfect," 2 Peter 1:11 "For so an entrance shall be ministered unto you abundantly into the everlasting kingdom of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ." Revelation 11:15 "And the seventh angel sounded; and there were great voices in heaven, saying, The kingdoms of this world are become the kingdoms of our Lord, and of his Christ; and he shall reign for ever and ever."

--- Reflections in prayer ---

Hallelujah. Praise the LORD, O my soul. By your strength Lord, I want to use the remainder of my life to the last breath, to praise you continually in my own quietness, with melody in my heart, and also in open ways before others. Guide me in my interaction with people, and guard me against undue trust in the supply of man as I remember my true salvation in Christ. Every person, including myself, will return to the earth out of which you form man, and there are no further plans that man can conduct after the grave. O the happiness, delight, and blessedness I realize knowing that I have placed my trust in the God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob. I believe the scripture that declares "death where is your sting, grave where is your victory!" Lord, as the one who made heaven and earth, the sea, and all things in them; who keeps truth faithfully forever, we can be confident that when you set all things right they cannot be overturned.

It is by your grace that my eyes were opened to the truth of your salvation from sin and death, and you will sustain me even though appearances may sometimes seem to favor ones who remain rebellious against you while believers have many trials. Thank you for bringing me over from death to life, and remind me to pray for others who may be similarly transformed from rebellion by your forgiveness and mercy. Enable me Lord to understand how much you care about those who are oppressed, wronged, and weighted down. You feed those who hunger and thirst after righteousness, and you set your children free from the bondage of sin, making them upright in your righteousness . You Lord, preserve those who are yet in this world only as strangers and foreigners, and have a special concern for the widows and fatherless. But the way of the wicked who will not allow you to reign in their hearts will be utterly confounded. Your kingdom shall last forever and ever. Come quickly Lord Jesus! Hallelujah!

Published 18 August 2006