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Psalms: Chapter 135

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1Hallelujah. Praise the name of the LORD; give praise, you servants of the LORD 2who stand in the house of the LORD, in the courts of the house of our God. 3Praise the LORD, for the LORD is good; sing hymns to His name, for it is pleasant. 4For the LORD has chosen Jacob for Himself, Israel, as His treasured possession. 5For I know that the LORD is great, that our Lord is greater than all gods. 6Whatever the LORD desires He does in heaven and earth, in the seas and all the depths. 7He makes clouds rise from the end of the earth; He makes lightning for the rain; He releases the wind from His vaults. 8He struck down the first‐born of Egypt, man and beast alike; 9He sent signs and portents against a Others “against you.” Egypt, against Pharaoh and all his servants; 10He struck down many nations and slew numerous kings— 11Sihon, king of the Amorites, Og, king of Bashan, and all the royalty of Canaan— 12and gave their lands as a heritage, as a heritage to His people Israel. 13O LORD, Your name endures forever, Your fame, O LORD, through all generations; 14for the LORD will champion His people, and obtain satisfaction for His servants. 15 b With vv. 15–20, cf. Ps. 115.4–11 . The idols of the nations are silver and gold, the work of men's hands. 16They have mouths, but cannot speak; they have eyes, but cannot see; 17they have ears, but cannot hear, nor is there breath in their mouths. 18Those who fashion them, all who trust in them, shall become like them. 19O house of Israel, bless the LORD; O house of Aaron, bless the LORD; 20O house of Levi, bless the LORD; you who fear the LORD, bless the LORD. 21Blessed is the LORD from Zion, He who dwells in Jerusalem. Hallelujah.

Notes:

a Others “against you.”

b With vv. 15–20, cf. Ps. 115.4–11 .

Text Commentary view alone

Ps. 135 :

The greatness of God—as demonstrated by His creation of the world, freeing His people from Egypt, and leading them safely to the promised land—is contrasted with the impotent gods of other nations. This psalm resembles others that review the traditions found in the Torah in order to show God's power (Pss. 78; 105; 106; 136 ). Here the traditions are more abbreviated. The psalm is an anthology of several other psalms and reworks some Torah traditions. This psalm appears in the liturgy for the introductory morning service for Sabbath and festivals.

1–2 :

Servants of the Lord are all those who show allegiance to Him. The psalm is directed to those who have come to the Temple (cf. 113.1 and 134.1 ).

3 :

Cf. 136.3 .

4 :

All gods have their peoples and Israel is the LORD's special people (cf. Deut. 32.8–9 ).

5 :

Israel's God is superior to all other gods (cf. Exod. 18.11; Ps. 96.4–5 ).

6 :

As elsewhere in the Bible (cf. 115.16–17 ), the cosmos is perceived as having three strata: the sky, the earth, and the water below the earth.

7 :

Either a poetic rendering of the first stages of creation or a portrait of God's power over the natural world.

8–12 :

A shortened version of 136.10–22.

8 :

The poet skips to the last plague against Egypt, the one that finally convinced Pharaoh to let the Israelites leave.

11 :

Sihon and Og were the first Canaanite kings defeated by Israel (Num. 21.21–35 ).

13 :

A reuse of Exod. 3.15 .

15–18 :

Similar to 115.4–8 (with the omission of 115.7).

19–20 :

Cf. 115.11 (omitting “house of Levi”).

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