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Psalm 118

A Song of Victory

1

O give thanks to the Lord, for he is good;

his steadfast love endures forever!

 

2

Let Israel say,

“His steadfast love endures forever.”

3

Let the house of Aaron say,

“His steadfast love endures forever.”

4

Let those who fear the Lord say,

“His steadfast love endures forever.”

 

5

Out of my distress I called on the Lord;

the Lord answered me and set me in a broad place.

6

With the Lord on my side I do not fear.

What can mortals do to me?

7

The Lord is on my side to help me;

I shall look in triumph on those who hate me.

8

It is better to take refuge in the Lord

than to put confidence in mortals.

9

It is better to take refuge in the Lord

than to put confidence in princes.

 

10

All nations surrounded me;

in the name of the Lord I cut them off!

11

They surrounded me, surrounded me on every side;

in the name of the Lord I cut them off!

12

They surrounded me like bees;

they blazed like a fire of thorns;

in the name of the Lord I cut them off!

13

I was pushed hard, so that I was falling,

but the Lord helped me.

14

The Lord is my strength and my might;

he has become my salvation.

 

15

There are glad songs of victory in the tents of the righteous:

“The right hand of the Lord does valiantly;

16

the right hand of the Lord is exalted;

the right hand of the Lord does valiantly.”

17

I shall not die, but I shall live,

and recount the deeds of the Lord.

18

The Lord has punished me severely,

but he did not give me over to death.

 

19

Open to me the gates of righteousness,

that I may enter through them

and give thanks to the Lord.

 

20

This is the gate of the Lord;

the righteous shall enter through it.

 

21

I thank you that you have answered me

and have become my salvation.

22

The stone that the builders rejected

has become the chief cornerstone.

23

This is the Lord’s doing;

it is marvelous in our eyes.

24

This is the day that the Lord has made;

let us rejoice and be glad in it.

25

Save us, we beseech you, O Lord!

O Lord, we beseech you, give us success!

 

26

Blessed is the one who comes in the name of the Lord.

We bless you from the house of the Lord.

27

The Lord is God,

and he has given us light.

Bind the festal procession with branches,

up to the horns of the altar.

 

28

You are my God, and I will give thanks to you;

you are my God, I will extol you.

 

29

O give thanks to the Lord, for he is good,

for his steadfast love endures forever.


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Ps 118:1-29. After invoking others to unite in praise, the writer celebrates God's protecting and delivering care towards him, and then represents himself and the people of God as entering the sanctuary and uniting in solemn praise, with prayer for a continued blessing. Whether composed by David on his accession to power, or by some later writer in memory of the restoration from Babylon, its tone is joyful and trusting, and, in describing the fortune and destiny of the Jewish Church and its visible head, it is typically prophetical of the Christian Church and her greater and invisible Head.

1-4. The trine repetitions are emphatic (compare Ps 118:10-12, 15, 16; 115:12, 13).

Let … say—Oh! that Israel may say.

now—as in Ps 115:2; so in Ps 118:3, 4. After "now say" supply "give thanks."

that his mercy—or, "for His mercy."

5. distress—literally, "straits," to which "large place" corresponds, as in Ps 4:1; 31:8.

6, 7. Men are helpless to hurt him, if God be with him (Ps 56:9), and, if enemies, they will be vanquished (Ps 54:7).

8, 9. Even the most powerful men are less to be trusted than God.

10-12. Though as numerous and irritating as bees [Ps 118:12], by God's help his enemies would be destroyed.

12. as the fire of thorns—suddenly.

in the name, &c.—by the power (Ps 20:5; 124:8).

13-16. The enemy is triumphantly addressed as if present.

15. rejoicing and salvation—the latter as cause of the former.

16. right hand … is exalted—His power greatly exerted.

17, 18. He would live, because confident his life would be for God's glory.

19-21. Whether an actual or figurative entrance into God's house be meant, the purpose of solemn praise is intimated, in which only the righteous would or could engage.

22, 23. These words are applied by Christ (Mt 21:42) to Himself, as the foundation of the Church (compare Ac 4:11; Eph 2:20; 1Pe 2:4, 7). It may here denote God's wondrous exaltation to power and influence of him whom the rulers of the nation despised. Whether (see on Ps 118:1) David or Zerubbabel (compare Hag 2:2; Zec 4:7-10) be primarily meant, there is here typically represented God's more wonderful doings in exalting Christ, crucified as an impostor, to be the Prince and Saviour and Head of His Church.

24. This is the day—or period distinguished by God's favor of all others.

25. Save nowHebrew, "Hosanna" (compare Ps 115:2, &c., as to now) a form of prayer (Ps 20:9), since, in our use, of praise.

26. he that cometh … Lord—As above intimated, this may be applied to the visible head of the Jewish Church entering the sanctuary, as leading the procession; typically it belongs to Him of whom the phrase became an epithet (Mal 3:1; Mt 21:9).

27-29. showed us light—or favor (Ps 27:1; 97:11). With the sacrificial victim brought bound to the altar is united the more spiritual offering of praise (Ps 50:14, 23), expressed in the terms with which the Psalm opened.




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