By these things
In all these is
The life of my spirit.
Restore me to health!
Make me live!
Surely it was for my welfare
That I had great bitterness.
But you held back my life
From the pit of destruction.
You have cast all my sins
Behind your back.
Sheol cannot thank you.
Death cannot praise you.
Those who go down to the pit
Cannot hope for your faithfulness.
They thank you,
As I do this day.
The father makes known to the children
Yahweh will save me.
We will sing to stringed instruments
All the days of our lives,
At the house of Yahweh.”
Second Isaiah has King Hezekiah happy that his ordeal is over. However, he recognized that these difficulties are part of life. Once restored to health and life, he realizes that these things happened for his own good, even if he was a little bitter. Yahweh had his back, so that he never met the pit of destruction. All his sins were forgotten. Sheol and death were not able to grab him because there he would not have been able to praise or give thanks to Yahweh. There they lose all hope and faithfulness. However, it is the living ones who give praise and thanksgiving to Yahweh, as he did this day. Children learn from their fathers about faithfulness, so too Yahweh has saved him. Thus he and his friends will sing with stringed instruments at the house of Yahweh all the days of their lives.
“I give you thanks!
I will praise you!
I give thanks
To your name!”
This work has a couple of appendices about giving thanks to God and the importance of wisdom. This was as if to envelop these sometimes mundane comments of Sirach within a more religious context. This author wants to give thanks to the Lord who is his king. He wants to praise God who is his savior. He wants to give thanks to his name, the unnamed Yahweh.
“O give thanks to Yahweh!
He is good.
His steadfast love endures forever.
O give thanks to the God of gods!
His steadfast love endures forever.
O give thanks to the Lord of lords!
His steadfast love endures forever.”
Psalm 136 is another fairly long psalm without a title, with an emphasis on giving thanks to Yahweh for all that he has done for his people. The haunting refrain, “His steadfast love endures forever” is repeated after every verse as a congregational response throughout this psalm. They were to give thanks to Yahweh because of his steadfast enduring love. He was the God of gods and the Lord of the lords.
“To the choirmaster leader, according to Muth-labben, a psalm of David.
I will give thanks to Yahweh!
With my whole heart!
I will tell of all your wonderful deeds.
I will be glad.
I will exult in you.
I will sing praise to your name.
O Most High!”
There is some confusion here as to whether this is 1 psalm or 2 psalms. Sometimes this is referred to as psalms 9 and 10 or should it be 1 psalm only. The Greek Septuagint had it as only 1 psalm. I will use the Oxford Bible notataion since the Jerusalem Bible puts the numbering in italics. So this is Psalm 9. This is also an acrostic psalm as every 2nd verse starts with a successive letter of the Hebrew alphabet. Thus the content is a little incoherent at times. Nevertheless we do have a longer psalm or psalms compared to the previous short psalms. Once again, there is a remark about the choirmaster leader as a psalm of David, without any particular event. The meaning of Muth-labben is unclear. Literally it might mean upon the death of a fool or upon the death of Labben. However, it might simply mean a harp. This psalm starts out as a thanksgiving to Yahweh. David gave thanks with his whole heart. He wanted to tell everyone about the wondrous deeds of Yahweh. He was glad and exalted in the name of Yahweh, the most high one. This might be some kind of vow of thanksgiving.