“Blessed be God!
Because he has not rejected my prayer!
He has not removed
His steadfast love from me!”
This psalm ends with a blessing to God because God had not rejected his prayer. He remained in the steadfast love of God. God’s steadfast love is a dominant theme of these psalms.
“Come and hear!
All you who fear God!
I will tell you
What he has done for me.
I cried aloud to him.
He was extolled with my tongue.
If I had cherished iniquity in my heart,
Yahweh would not have listened.
But truly God has listened.
He has given heed
To the words of my prayer.”
The psalmist asked everyone who feared God to come and listen to his words. He was going to tell them what Yahweh had done for him. He cried out to God. God listened and responded because he did not have iniquity in his heart. God had given a response to his prayer.
“I will come into your house
With burnt offerings.
I will pay you my vows
That my lips uttered.
My mouth promised
When I was in trouble.
I will offer to you
Burnt offerings of fatlings,
With the smoke of the sacrifice of rams.
I will make an offering of bulls and goats.”
Now this psalm turns personal as the psalmist tells what he was going to do. He was going to make Temple offerings at the house of God. He was going to make burnt offerings, which was common in the Middle East, but became more important with the altar just outside the Temple. It is mentioned in Genesis, chapters 8 and 22, (well before the Temple) Exodus, chapter 29, Leviticus, chapters 1, 12, 14, 15, 16, and 17, Numbers, chapters 6, 8, 15, and 28, and 2 Chronicles, chapter 2. The psalmist has made a vow to offer this sacrifice. His lips and mouth had uttered this vow when he was in trouble. Now he was able to offer the burnt offering of rams, bulls, and goats. Once again, this section ends with the musical interlude meditative pause, the Selah.
“Bless our God!
Let the sound of his praise be heard!
He has kept us among the living.
He has not let our feet slip.
You have tested us!
You have tried us as silver is tried.
You brought us into the net.
You laid burdens on our backs.
You let people ride over our heads.
We went through fire.
We went through water.
You have brought us out to a spacious place.”
God has been good to the Israelites. They should bless God. The sounds of praise should be heard because he kept them among the living. He did not let their feet slip. They were tested like silver is tested in minting it. They fell into nets. They had burdens on their backs. People ran over them. They went through fire and water. However, in the end, they settled into a spacious place, the Promised Land.
“Come and see
What God has done.
He is awesome in his deeds among mortals.
He turned the sea into dry land.
They passed through the river on foot.
There we rejoiced in him.
He rules by his might forever.
His eyes keep watch on the nations.
Let the rebellious not exalt themselves.”
Come and see the power of God and what he has done. He is awesome! Among the mortals he turned the sea to dry land, as the crossing of the Red Sea dominates among the powers of God. They were able to pass through the sea as if on dry land. Of course, the sons of Israel rejoiced because his rule is forever. He keeps an eye on all the nations, so that any rebellious group ought to be careful. Once again, this section ends with the musical interlude meditative pause, the Selah.
To the choirmaster leader, a song, a psalm
”Make a joyful noise to God!
All the earth!
Sing the glory of his name!
Give glorious praise to him!
Say to God.
‘How awesome are your deeds!
Because of your great power
Your enemies cringe before you.
All the earth worships you.
They sing praises to you.
They sing praises to your name.’”
Psalm 66 is a public worship thanksgiving song and psalm with a choral leader. It has a strong communitarian rather than individualistic tone. In fact, it is almost cosmic with all the earth asked to chime in with a joyful noise to God. They were to sing glory to his name. God’s deeds were awesome. He had such great power that his enemies would cringe. The whole earth worshipped God. They sang praises to him and his name. This section concludes with a musical interlude meditative pause, the Selah.