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scripture

 

PSALM 136*

Hymn of Thanksgiving for God’s Everlasting Mercy

I

1Praise the LORD, for he is good;a

for his mercy endures forever;

2Praise the God of gods;

for his mercy endures forever;

3Praise the Lord of lords;

for his mercy endures forever;

II

4Who alone has done great wonders,b

for his mercy endures forever;

5Who skillfully made the heavens,c

for his mercy endures forever;

6Who spread the earth upon the waters,d

for his mercy endures forever;

7Who made the great lights,

for his mercy endures forever;

8The sun to rule the day,

for his mercy endures forever;

9The moon and stars to rule the night,e

for his mercy endures forever;

III

10Who struck down the firstborn of Egypt,f

for his mercy endures forever;

11And led Israel from their midst,

for his mercy endures forever;

12With mighty hand and outstretched arm,g

for his mercy endures forever;

13Who split in two the Red Sea,

for his mercy endures forever;

14And led Israel through its midst,

for his mercy endures forever;

15But swept Pharaoh and his army into the Red Sea,h

for his mercy endures forever;

16Who led the people through the desert,i

for his mercy endures forever;

IV

17Who struck down great kings,j

for his mercy endures forever;

18Slew powerful kings,

for his mercy endures forever;

19Sihon, king of the Amorites,

for his mercy endures forever;

20Og, king of Bashan,

for his mercy endures forever;

21And made their lands a heritage,

for his mercy endures forever;

22*A heritage for Israel, his servant,

for his mercy endures forever.

V

23The Lord remembered us in our low estate,

for his mercy endures forever;

24Freed us from our foes,

for his mercy endures forever;

25And gives bread to all flesh,

for his mercy endures forever.

VI

26Praise the God of heaven,

for his mercy endures forever.

* [Psalm 136] The hymn praises Israel’s God (“the God of gods,” Ps 136:2), who has created the world in which Israel lives. The refrain occurring after every line suggests that a speaker and chorus sang the Psalm in antiphonal fashion. A single act of God is described in Ps 136:425. God arranges the heavens and the earth as the environment for human community, and then creates the community by freeing them and giving them land. In the final section (Ps 136:2325) God, who created the people and gave them land, continues to protect and nurture them.

* [136:22] A heritage for Israel: the land was given to Israel by God to be handed on to future generations.

a. [136:1] Ps 100:5; 118:1.

b. [136:4] Ps 72:18.

c. [136:5] Gn 1:919.

d. [136:6] Ps 24:2.

e. [136:9] Jer 31:35.

f. [136:10] Ex 12:29, 51; 14:22, 27; 15:22; Ps 78:5152; 135:8.

g. [136:12] Dt 4:34.

h. [136:15] Ex 14:21f.

i. [136:16] Dt 8:2, 15.

j. [136:1722] Ps 135:1012.






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