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scripture

 

PSALM 115*

The Greatness of the True God

I

1Not to us, LORD, not to us

but to your name give glory

because of your mercy and faithfulness.a

2Why should the nations say,

“Where is their God?”*b

3Our God is in heaven

and does whatever he wills.c

II

4Their idols are silver and gold,d

the work of human hands.e

5They have mouths but do not speak,

eyes but do not see.

6They have ears but do not hear,

noses but do not smell.

7They have hands but do not feel,

feet but do not walk;

they produce no sound from their throats.

8Their makers will be like them,

and anyone who trusts in them.

III

9*The house of Israel trusts in the LORD,f

who is their help and shield.g

10The house of Aaron trusts in the LORD,

who is their help and shield.

11Those who fear the LORD trust in the LORD,

who is their help and shield.

12The LORD remembers us and will bless us,

will bless the house of Israel,

will bless the house of Aaron,

13Will bless those who fear the LORD,

small and great alike.

14May the LORD increase your number,

yours and your descendants.

15May you be blessed by the LORD,

maker of heaven and earth.

16*The heavens belong to the LORD,

but he has given the earth to the children of Adam.h

17*The dead do not praise the LORD,

not all those go down into silence.i

18It is we who bless the LORD,

both now and forever.

Hallelujah!

* [Psalm 115] A response to the enemy taunt, “Where is your God?” This hymn to the glory of Israel’s God (Ps 115:13) ridicules the lifeless idols of the nations (Ps 115:48), expresses in a litany the trust of the various classes of the people in God (Ps 115:911), invokes God’s blessing on them as they invoke the divine name (Ps 115:1215), and concludes as it began with praise of God. Ps 135:1518 similarly mocks the Gentile gods and has a similar litany and hymn (Ps 135:1921).

* [115:2] Where is their God?: implies that God cannot help them.

* [115:911] The house of Israel…the house of Aaron…those who fear the LORD: the laity of Israelite birth, the priests, and the converts to Judaism, cf. Ps 118:24; 135:1921. In the New Testament likewise “those who fear the Lord” means converts to Judaism (cf. Acts 10:2, 22, 35; 13:16, 26).

* [115:16] The heavens: the Septuagint reads here “the heaven of heavens” or “the highest heavens,” i.e., above the firmament. See note on Ps 148:4.

* [115:17] See note on Ps 6:5.

a. [115:1] Ez 36:2223.

b. [115:2] Ps 79:10.

c. [115:3] Ps 135:6.

d. [115:410] Ps 135:1519; Wis 15:1516; Is 44:9f; Jer 10:15.

e. [115:4] Is 40:19.

f. [115:9] Ps 118:24.

g. [115:9] Ps 33:20.

h. [115:16] Gn 1:28.

i. [115:17] Ps 6:6; 88:11ff; Sir 17:22f; Is 38:18.




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