Thanksgiving for God’s steadfast love (Ps 108:1-108:4)

A song, a psalm of David

“My heart is steadfast!

O God!

My heart is steadfast!

I will sing!

I will make melody!

Awake!

My soul!

Awake!

O harp and lyre!

I will awake the dawn!

I will give thanks to you

Among the peoples!

Yahweh!

I will sing praises to you among the nations.

Your steadfast love is higher than the heavens.

Your faithfulness reaches to the clouds.”

Psalm 108 seems to be compilation of 2 other psalms, Psalm 57 and Psalm 60. The title is simply a song or psalm of David. This first section is almost word for word from Psalm 57. David was steadfast in his love, just as God had shown his steadfast love to him. He was ready to sing and make melody on the harp and lyre. He wanted his soul to wake up. He was going to wake the morning dawn. He was going to give thanks to Yahweh among all the people. He would sing his praises among the nations because God’s love was as high as the heavens. His faithfulness extended beyond the clouds. David loved Yahweh as Yahweh loved David.

Yahweh rules (Ps 93:1-93:2)

“Yahweh is the ruler king.

He is robed in majesty.

Yahweh is robed.

He is girded with strength.

He has established the world.

It shall never be moved.

Your throne is established from of old.

You are from everlasting.”

Psalm 93 is a very short psalm with no title as it praises God the King. This psalm is closely related to Psalm 47, as this is part of a few psalms where Yahweh is the ruler. This might have been a song sung on the vigil of the Sabbath. Yahweh is the ruler king robed in majesty. He has the strength that established the whole unmovable world. His throne was and is established forever.

Praise of Zion (Ps 76:1-76:3)

“In Judah

God is known.

His name is great

In Israel.

His abode has been established

In Salem,

His dwelling place is

In Zion.

There he broke

The flashing arrows,

The shield,

The sword,

And the weapons of war.”

Selah

Psalm 76 is another in the string of Asaph choral psalms. This one is a song with stringed instruments about the ultimate victory of God in Judah and Jerusalem. God was known in Judah, the southern stronghold. His name was great in northern Israel. His home was in Jerusalem or Salem, the ancient name of Jerusalem. He dwelt in Zion, the Temple on Mount Zion. There he broke all the instruments of war of the people who were attacking Jerusalem. He broke the arrows, shields, and swords. This section ends with the musical interlude meditative pause of Selah.

Public worship (Ps 66:1-66:4)

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.’”

Selah

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.

Praise God in Zion (Ps 65:1-65:4)

To the choirmaster leader, a psalm of David, a song

“Praise is due to you!

O God in Zion!

To you

Shall vows be performed!

O you who answer prayers!

To you

All flesh shall come!

When deeds of iniquity overwhelm us,

You forgive our transgressions!

Happy are those

Whom you choose!

Happy are those

Whom you bring near!

Happy are those

Who live in your courts!

We shall be satisfied

With the goodness of your house,

Your holy temple!”

Psalm 65 is a choral psalm of David that is a song of thanksgiving and praise for the abundant harvest. This psalm refers to the holy Temple at Zion, but that was not completed until after the death of King David. Praise and vows should be given to the God at Zion because he answers prayers. All people should come when evil deeds overwhelm them. God will forgive sins. Even happier are those who are chosen to live in the courts of the Temple, which would be the Levites. They will be satisfied with the goodness of the Holy Temple, the house of God.

The atheist is a fool (Ps 53:1-53:1)

To the choirmaster leader, according to Mahalath, a Maskil of David

“Fools say in their hearts.

‘There is no God.’

They are corrupt.

They commit abominable acts.

There is no one who does good.”

Psalm 53 is another short psalm, much like Psalm 14.  At times, they are almost word for word the same.  This title has the choirmaster leader, a maskil or song of David, but there is an additional comment about “according to Mahalath,” which is also mentioned at the beginning of Psalm 88.  Although of uncertain meaning, Mahalath was the name of a wife of Esau and Rehoboam, here it probably refers to some kind of stringed instrument like a guitar.  This first verse is exactly the same as the first verse of Psalm 14.  Once again the question is posed what if there is no God.  The answer was simple.  Only a fool would say such a thing.  There was an ancient common belief in some kind of higher power.  Actually they only say this in their hearts that there is no God, since they are practical atheists.  They act as if there is no God.  They are the corrupt people who do terrible deeds.  None of them do good deeds.

The power of God (Ps 50:1-50:6)

A psalm of Asaph

“The Mighty One,

God,

Yahweh,

Speaks.

He summons the earth

From the rising of the sun

To its setting.

Out of Zion,

The perfection of beauty,

God shines forth.

Our God comes.

He does not keep silence.

Before him is a devouring fire.

A mighty tempest is all around him.

He calls to the heavens above.

He calls to the earth.

Thus he may judge his people.

‘Gather to me!

My faithful ones!

You made a covenant with me

By sacrifice!’

The heavens declare his righteousness.

God himself is judge!”

Selah

This Psalm 50 is the first of 12 psalms ascribed to Asaph. Asaph was a transcriber or author of psalms at the time of David and Solomon. This may also refer to the group named after him that were musicians at the Temple. This Asaph is described in 1 Chronicles, chapter 6, as one who could trace his ancestors directly back to Levi. In 2 Chronicles, chapter 5, he is listed as a Temple singer at the time of Solomon during the transport of the Ark of the Covenant. This is a song of praise to the power of God, who is in charge of the earth. He has control of the rising and the setting of the sun. His beauty shines from Mount Zion. He has appeared as a devouring fire and a tempest. He has come to judge the people of earth from on high in heaven. He wanted the faithful ones who had made sacrifices to him to come closer to him. He was coming to judge them. With that it was time for another musical interlude pause, the Selah.

A call to worship Yahweh (Ps 33:1-33:3)

“Rejoice in Yahweh!                                                  

O you righteous!

Praise befits the upright.

Praise Yahweh with the lyre!

Make melody to him

With the harp of ten strings!

Sing to him a new song!

Play skillfully on the strings

With loud shouts.”

There is nothing here about this Psalm 33 that indicates that it came from David since there is no introduction to this psalm at all. This clearly is a Temple hymn, a call to worship Yahweh. The righteous were to rejoice in Yahweh. They should offer praise that befits an upright people. They were to praise Yahweh with the lyre, an ancient horseshoe shaped frame with strings. They were to make a melody to Yahweh. They were to use a ten stringed harp. They were to sing a new song. They were to play on the strings skillfully, not in a sloppy manner. Finally they had the loud shouts, like the shouts for war, as Yahweh would lead them on to victory.

The face of Yahweh (Ps 27:7-27:10)

“Hear!

Yahweh!

When I cry aloud,

Be gracious to me!

Answer me!

Come!

My heart says.

‘Seek his face!

I seek your face!

Yahweh!’

Do not hide your face from me!

Do not turn your servant away in anger!

You have been my help!

Do not cast me off!

Do not forsake me!

O God of my salvation!

If my father and my mother have forsaken me,

Yahweh will take me up.”

This seems to be the song or chant that David sang in the Temple. He wanted Yahweh to listen to his cry or plea. He wanted Yahweh to be gracious to him. He wanted to seek the face of Yahweh. He did not want Yahweh to turn his face away in anger. Yahweh had been helpful. He did not want him to cast him off or forsake him. Yahweh was his God of salvation. Even if his parents abandoned him, Yahweh would always be there for him.