Psalm 146

Submitted by admin on Sun, 2007-07-22 08:31.

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Unlike the Masoretic Text, the Septuagint has the following superscription: “Hallelujah. Of Haggai and Zechariah.”

The imperative “praise Yah,” transliterated “hallelujah,” is a call to praise YHWH (Yah being the abbreviated form of the divine name). This imperative is followed by the psalmist’s personal directive to his “soul” or himself, “Praise YHWH, O my soul.”

While he has life, the psalmist is determined to praise YHWH. As long as he existed, he would sing praises to his God.

The psalmist advises not to put trust in “princes” or rulers, in an earthling (“son of man”), as there is no “salvation” or unfailing help in a mere mortal. His spirit or life breath departs, he returns to the elements of the ground (“his ground,” as the first man was of the earth) and on the day of his death “his plans perish,” coming to nothing. He ceases to be of assistance to anyone.

Fortunate, happy, or in an enviable state of well-being is the person having the God of Jacob for his help. One who places his hope in YHWH his God will never come to disappointment.

As the Maker of heaven (the sky or the celestial dome), earth (land), the sea, and everything in them, he can be relied upon. For eternity, he “keeps truth” or maintains the ultimate standard of faithfulness, trustworthiness, or dependability.

The psalmist next called attention to YHWH’s dealings. He executes justice for those who are wronged, gives food to the hungry, and releases those who have been unjustly confined or taken captive. The opening of the eyes of the blind likely does not apply to the restoring of literal sight. It probably refers to the removal of anything that could prevent one from seeing the right course to take. (Compare Psalm 119:18, where the psalmist requests to have his eyes opened in order to see the wonderful things in God’s law.) According to the Septuagint, God sets the crushed ones upright, gives “wisdom to the blind,” and “loves the righteous.” In the Masoretic Text, the thought about the “crushed ones” or those “bowed down” being raised from their low estate follows the words about YHWH’s opening the eyes of the blind. Their being raised or lifted up would signify their being liberated from their oppressive burdens. YHWH loves the righteous, as they are devoted to him and choose to live uprightly.

He has deep concern for the disadvantaged and needy, compassionately watching over the resident alien (“proselyte,” LXX) and upholding the rights of the orphan and the widow, making them the objects of his loving care. As for the wicked (“sinners,” LXX), YHWH will subvert their way. Their schemes will eventually fail, turning out contrary to their expectations.

For all time to come or throughout all generations, YHWH will continue to reign. The psalmist referred to him as Zion’s God, for Zion or Jerusalem was his representative place of dwelling, and concluded with the imperative, “Praise Yah.”


Regarding the divine name (YHWH), see Psalm 1.

In verse 9, the fragmentary text of a Dead Sea Psalms scroll includes the admonition for all earth’s inhabitants to have reverential regard for God and calls attention to his being known through his creative works.

The Septuagint does not conclude with the expression “Hallelujah” (“Praise Yah”).