Yahweh saved me (Ps 118:13-118:18)

“I was pushed hard,

So that I was falling.

But Yahweh helped me.

Yahweh is my strength!

Yahweh is my might!

He has become my salvation.

There are glad songs of victory

In the tents of the righteous.

‘The right hand of Yahweh does valiantly!

The right hand of Yahweh is exalted!

The right hand of Yahweh does valiantly!’

I shall not die.

But I shall live.

I shall recount the deeds of Yahweh.

Yahweh has punished me severely.

But he did not give me over to death.”

Apparently the psalmist was pushed very hard on all sides. However, Yahweh had helped him since Yahweh was his strength, his might, and his salvation. Once the victory was obtained there were songs of victory. Within the tents of the righteous you could hear the chant about the right hand of Yahweh that had been valiant and exalted. The psalmist did not die, but lived. Therefore he was going to recount the great deeds of Yahweh his whole entire life. Yahweh had punished him severely, but he did not die. He was grateful for that.

I am surrounded (Ps 118:10-118:12)

“All nations surrounded me.

In the name of Yahweh

I cut them off!

They surrounded me.

They surrounded me on every side.

In the name of Yahweh

I cut them off!

They surrounded me like bees.

They blazed like a fire of thorns.

In the name of Yahweh

I cut them off!”

The psalmist felt that he was surrounded on all sides by some kind of enemies. Somehow with the help of Yahweh he cut them off. He repeated this phrase 3 times, clearly indicating a choral psalm. After they surrounded him on every side Yahweh helped to cut them off. They were like a swarm of bees, and of course, Yahweh helped him. They were like a blazing wood fire until Yahweh helped him.

Yahweh is on my side (Ps 118:5-118:9)

“Out of my distress

I called on Yahweh.

Yahweh answered me.

He set me in a broad place.

With Yahweh on my side

I do not fear.

What can mortals do to me?

Yahweh is on my side to help me.

I shall look in triumph

On those who hate me.

It is better to take refuge in Yahweh

Than to put confidence in mortals.

It is better to take refuge in Yahweh

Than to put confidence in princes.”

When in distress, this psalmist called on Yahweh. Yahweh had answered him already, unlike the many psalms that asked Yahweh to answer them. He was set free into the broad place at large. With Yahweh at his side, he had no one to fear. No mortal could hurt him. He was going to be triumphant. His haters would have been better off with Yahweh. They should have put their confidence in Yahweh rather than trust in mortals and princes to protect them. Yahweh was much superior to mortals and human princes.

His steadfast love endures forever (Ps 118:2-118:4)

“Let Israel say.

‘His steadfast love endures forever.’

Let the house of Aaron say.

‘His steadfast love endures forever.’

Let those who fear Yahweh say.

‘His steadfast love endures forever.’”

Here is the strong theme of the enduring steadfast love of Yahweh. Once again we have the distinction between Israel, the house of Aaron, and the more generic those who fear Yahweh. The house of Aaron, or the Levities, have a dominant role to play, but there is no mention of Judah here. This almost seems like a choral response about the love of God.

Thanksgiving to Yahweh (Ps 118:1-118:1)

“O give thanks to Yahweh!

He is good!

His steadfast love endures forever!”

Psalm 118 opens without a title but with a shout out of thanks to Yahweh. As was often repeated the English “good” is only one “o” different that the English “God”. Thus the English God is good is almost redundant. Another major theme was the steadfast enduring love of God that once again dominates this call to worship.