Psalm 145

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This psalm, identified as a “praise,” is linked to David. A Dead Sea scroll calls this composition a prayer, and includes a refrain in Psalm 145 that is missing in the Masoretic Text and the Septuagint. The refrain (“Blessed be YHWH and blessed be his name forever and ever”) appears at the end of each preserved verse.

Psalm 145 is an acrostic composition. Each verse starts with a different letter of the Hebrew alphabet, and this arrangement probably served as a memory aid.

The Masoretic Text does not have a verse beginning with nun (N), but a Dead Sea scroll contains a verse between verses 13 and 14 that does. It reads, “Faithful [is] God in his words and holy in all his works.” The words of this additional verse are also preserved in the extant Septuagint text (“Faithful [is the] Lord in his words and holy in all his works”).

Numerous modern translations have included a rendering of these words. “The LORD is faithful in all his words, and gracious in all his deeds.” (NRSV) “The LORD is trustworthy in every word, and faithful in every work.” (NAB) “In all his promises the LORD keeps faith, and he is unchanging in all his works.” (REB) “The LORD is faithful to all his promises and loving toward all he has made.” (NIV) “Yahweh is trustworthy in all his words, and upright in all his deeds.” (NJB)


The psalmist resolved to extol or exalt his God, according him the honor that rightly belonged to him. Though a monarch, David recognized YHWH as his king and himself as his subject. For him to bless God’s name for all time to come indicated that he would always speak well of the Most High, praising him. (See the Notes section regarding verse 1.)

David would not let a day pass without blessing his God. Throughout his life, he would praise his name, making appreciative expressions about him.

“YHWH is great,” deserving the highest praise for who he is and all that he has done. His greatness surpasses human comprehension. It cannot be searched out or fathomed, for nothing like it exists to enable humans to make any kind of comparison.

God’s works and his mighty deeds would embrace his creative works and his saving acts. They are so impressive that, from one generation to another, people would praise his works and recount his mighty deeds.

As for the psalmist, he would “recount” the glorious splendor or magnificence of God’s majesty or dignity and his wondrous works. YHWH is the possessor of superlative dignity, and his works give rise to amazement.

In verse 5, the Hebrew word for “recount” (sícha) has been variously defined as meaning “concern oneself,” “meditate,” “ponder,” “reflect,” “tell,” “narrate,” or “complain.” The Septuagint rendering is diegéomai, meaning “describe,” “tell,” or “report.”

The various possible meanings of the Hebrew term are reflected in the renderings of modern translations. “The glorious majesty of Your splendor and Your wondrous acts will I recite.” (Tanakh) “On the glorious splendor of your majesty, and on your wondrous works, I will meditate.” (NRSV) “Your renown is the splendour of your glory, I will ponder the story of your wonders.” (NJB) “I will keep thinking about your marvelous glory and your mighty miracles.” (CEV)

A Dead Sea scroll reading for verse 5 has the psalmist speaking in the first person only in the second part. The first half refers to the people (“they will speak”). This wording has been adopted in a number of modern translations. “They will speak of the glorious splendor of your majesty, and I will meditate on your wonderful works.” (NIV) “People will speak of the glorious splendour of your majesty; I shall meditate on your wonderful deeds.” (REB)

The extant Septuagint text does not change to the first person in the second part of verse 5 but uses the third person plural throughout the verse. The New American Bible reflects this reading, which is also found in the Vulgate. “They speak of the splendor of your majestic glory, tell of your wonderful deeds.”

People would tell about the might of God’s fearsome deeds or the power evident in acts that fill observers with fear or awe. The psalmist had in mind speaking out regarding God’s greatness, which would have been primarily revealed in his saving deeds. (See the Notes section for additional comments about verse 6.)

“Remembrance” respecting the many acts of divine goodness would motivate people to pour forth with expressions about the abundance of this goodness or kindness. They would rejoice, shout for joy, or sing aloud about God’s righteousness or justice. Often this would have been because of the execution of his judgments against their enemies.


YHWH is gracious or compassionate and merciful, slow to anger and abounding in abiding love or kindness. He is not an angry God but desires the best for his creatures, responding in a compassionate and loving manner and often mitigating deserved punishment.

“YHWH [is] good to all,” letting people everywhere benefit from his generous provisions for life. His compassion extends to all of his creatures.

The psalmist referred to all of YHWH’s works or all who are the product of his activity as acknowledging or thanking him. His “holy ones” or his devoted servants would bless him, always speaking well of him.

These faithful servants would speak about the “splendor of [God’s] kingship” or the splendor or magnificence he manifests in the exercise of his sovereign will. They would tell about his might, which is often revealed in his saving deeds. Their objective would be that others (“sons of men”) would come to know about God’s “mighty deeds and the glorious splendor of his kingship.”

YHWH’s kingship or his role as Supreme Sovereign is permanent, continuing for all time to come. His dominion abides from generation to generation.

The Most High does not overlook the lowly but upholds those who are at the point of falling, not permitting them to experience the kind of stumbling that would lead to an irrecoverable fall. He raises up all who are bowed down, which would include persons suffering from unjust treatment.

According to the psalmist, all creatures are dependent on YHWH for their continued existence. He represents the “eyes of all” as being focused on God, hoping to receive life’s essentials, and YHWH does give them “their food in its time.” With such ease does God make his generous provision for his creatures that the psalmist spoke of him as opening his hand and satisfying the desire of every living thing.

As the ultimate standard of justice and compassion, YHWH is righteous or just in all his ways and kind in all his works. His ways in dealing and the results therefrom would always reflect his justice, fairness, or impartiality and his compassion, kindness, or love.

YHWH does not distance himself from those in need, but is near to them, responding compassionately to those calling upon him in their time of need. The psalmist added the qualifying expression, “call upon him in truth,” or in sincerity and with the right motive.

Those who “fear” or have reverential regard for YHWH can rest assured that he will fulfill their desire, which would be in harmony with his ways. He would hear their cry for aid and deliver them from their distress.

YHWH will guard or look after those who love him but will not withhold punishing the wicked or defiant lawless ones (“sinners,” LXX), meting out to these godless ones the destruction they deserve.

The psalmist concluded with the determination to use his mouth to praise YHWH, extolling him. Then he invited “all flesh” to bless God’s holy name or to speak well of the holy God who bears the name, doing so for all time to come.


Before “my God” (in verse 1), a Dead Sea scroll reads “YHWH,” but the divine name is missing in the Masoretic Text. For additional information about the divine name, see Psalm 1.

In verse 6, the extant Septuagint text retains the third person plural in the second part of the verse (“and your greatness they will relate”). The New American Bible likewise uses the third person plural throughout the verse. “They speak of your fearsome power and attest to your great deeds.”

A subscript in a Dead Sea scroll indicates that this psalm is for “remembrance” or for a “memorial.”