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Psalm 103 is the 103rd psalm from the Book of Psalms (Greek numbering: Psalm 102). The first verse attributes it to King David, the author of many Psalms. J. A. Motyer of Trinity College, Bristol describes it thus: "The blend of changeless fatherly care and endless sovereign rule is the distinctive stress of this Psalm."
An interesting note appears to the modern reader when considering verse 12. The significance of the compass directions being east and west in verse 12 instead of north and south, is that when traveling north you will eventually cross the North pole and begin traveling south, and the same vice versa. This does not happen when traveling east or west, and thus the difference between our transgression and ourselves is considered infinite. Although this line of reasoning is powerful for modern readers, the culture that produced this Psalm had a cosmology that viewed the world as flat and having four corners. In the original context, east and west function as a merism that implies infinite distance.
Koine Greek Text
1 Τῷ Δαυΐδ. ΕΥΛΟΓΕΙ, ἡ ψυχή μου, τὸν Κύριον καί, πάντα τὰ ἐντός μου, τὸ ὄνομα τὸ ἅγιον αὐτοῦ·
2 εὐλόγει, ἡ ψυχή μου, τὸν Κύριον καὶ μὴ ἐπιλανθάνου πάσας τὰς ἀνταποδόσεις αὐτοῦ·
3 τὸν εὐιλατεύοντα πάσας τὰς ἀνομίας σου, τὸν ἰώμενον πάσας τὰς νόσους σου·
4 τὸν λυτρούμενον ἐκ φθορᾶς τὴν ζωήν σου, τὸν στεφανοῦντά σε ἐν ἐλέει καὶ οἰκτιρμοῖς·
5 τὸν ἐμπιπλῶντα ἐν ἀγαθοῖς τὴν ἐπιθυμίαν σου, ἀνακαινισθήσεται ὡς ἀετοῦ ἡ νεότης σου.
6 ποιῶν ἐλεημοσύνας ὁ Κύριος καὶ κρῖμα πᾶσι τοῖς ἀδικουμένοις.
7 ἐγνώρισε τὰς ὁδοὺς αὐτοῦ τῷ Μωυσῇ, τοῖς υἱοῖς Ἰσραὴλ τὰ θελήματα αὐτοῦ.
8 οἰκτίρμων καὶ ἐλεήμων ὁ Κύριος, μακρόθυμος καὶ πολυέλεος·
9 οὐκ εἰς τέλος ὀργισθήσεται, οὐδὲ εἰς τὸν αἰῶνα μηνιεῖ·
10 οὐ κατὰ τὰς ἀνομίας ἡμῶν ἐποίησεν ἡμῖν, οὐδὲ κατὰ τὰς ἁμαρτίας ἡμῶν ἀνταπέδωκεν ἡμῖν,
11 ὅτι κατὰ τὸ ὕψος τοῦ οὐρανοῦ ἀπὸ τῆς γῆς ἐκραταίωσε Κύριος τὸ ἔλεος αὐτοῦ ἐπὶ τοὺς φοβουμένους αὐτόν·
12 καθόσον ἀπέχουσιν ἀνατολαὶ ἀπὸ δυσμῶν, ἐμάκρυνεν ἀφ᾿ ἡμῶν τὰς ἀνομίας ἡμῶν.
13 καθὼς οἰκτείρει πατὴρ υἱούς, ᾠκτείρησε Κύριος τοὺς φοβουμένους αὐτόν,
14 ὅτι αὐτὸς ἔγνω τὸ πλάσμα ἡμῶν, ἐμνήσθη ὅτι χοῦς ἐσμεν.
15 ἄνθρωπος, ὡσεὶ χόρτος αἱ ἡμέραι αὐτοῦ· ὡσεὶ ἄνθος τοῦ ἀγροῦ, οὕτως ἐξανθήσει·
16 ὅτι πνεῦμα διῆλθεν ἐν αὐτῷ, καὶ οὐχ ὑπάρξει καὶ οὐκ ἐπιγνώσεται ἔτι τὸν τόπον αὐτοῦ.
17 τὸ δὲ ἔλεος τοῦ Κυρίου ἀπὸ τοῦ αἰῶνος καὶ ἕως τοῦ αἰῶνος ἐπὶ τοὺς φοβουμένους αὐτόν, καὶ ἡ δικαιοσύνη αὐτοῦ ἐπὶ υἱοῖς υἱῶν
18 τοῖς φυλάσσουσι τὴν διαθήκην αὐτοῦ καὶ μεμνημένοις τῶν ἐντολῶν αὐτοῦ τοῦ ποιῆσαι αὐτάς.
19 Κύριος ἐν τῷ οὐρανῷ ἡτοίμασε τὸν θρόνον αὐτοῦ, καὶ ἡ βασιλεία αὐτοῦ πάντων δεσπόζει.
20 εὐλογεῖτε τὸν Κύριον, πάντες οἱ ἄγγελοι αὐτοῦ, δυνατοὶ ἰσχύϊ ποιοῦντες τὸν λόγον αὐτοῦ τοῦ ἀκοῦσαι τῆς φωνῆς τῶν λόγων αὐτοῦ.
21 εὐλογεῖτε τὸν Κύριον, πᾶσαι αἱ δυνάμεις αὐτοῦ, λειτουργοὶ αὐτοῦ ποιοῦντες τὸ θέλημα αὐτοῦ·
22 εὐλογεῖτε τὸν Κύριον, πάντα τὰ ἔργα αὐτοῦ, ἐν παντὶ τόπῳ τῆς δεσποτείας αὐτοῦ· εὐλόγει, ἡ ψυχή μου, τὸν Κύριον.
Text from: Psalm 102: Greek Wikisource
1 Ipsi David. Benedic, anima mea, Domino, et omnia quæ intra me sunt nomini sancto ejus.
2 Benedic, anima mea, Domino, et noli oblivisci omnes retributiones ejus.22 Benedicite Domino, omnia opera ejus : in omni loco dominationis ejus, benedic, anima mea, Domino.
3 Qui propitiatur omnibus iniquitatibus tuis ; qui sanat omnes infirmitates tuas :
4 qui redimit de interitu vitam tuam ; qui coronat te in misericordia et miserationibus :
5 qui replet in bonis desiderium tuum ; renovabitur ut aquilæ juventus tua :
6 faciens misericordias Dominus, et judicium omnibus injuriam patientibus.
7 Notas fecit vias suas Moysi ; filiis Israël voluntates suas.
8 Miserator et misericors Dominus : longanimis, et multum misericors.
9 Non in perpetuum irascetur, neque in æternum comminabitur.
10 Non secundum peccata nostra fecit nobis, neque secundum iniquitates nostras retribuit nobis.
11 Quoniam secundum altitudinem cæli a terra, corroboravit misericordiam suam super timentes se ;
12 quantum distat ortus ab occidente, longe fecit a nobis iniquitates nostras.
13 Quomodo miseretur pater filiorum, misertus est Dominus timentibus se.
14 Quoniam ipse cognovit figmentum nostrum ; recordatus est quoniam pulvis sumus.
15 Homo, sicut fœnum dies ejus ; tamquam flos agri, sic efflorebit :
16 quoniam spiritus pertransibit in illo, et non subsistet, et non cognoscet amplius locum suum.
17 Misericordia autem Domini ab æterno, et usque in æternum super timentes eum. Et justitia illius in filios filiorum,
18 his qui servant testamentum ejus, et memores sunt mandatorum ipsius ad faciendum ea.
19 Dominus in cælo paravit sedem suam, et regnum ipsius omnibus dominabitur.
20 Benedicite Domino, omnes angeli ejus : potentes virtute, facientes verbum illius, ad audiendam vocem sermonum ejus.
21 Benedicite Domino, omnes virtutes ejus ; ministri ejus, qui facitis voluntatem ejus.
English (King James) Text
1 Bless the LORD, O my soul: and all that is within me, bless his holy name.
2 Bless the LORD, O my soul, and forget not all his benefits:22 Bless the LORD, all his works in all places of his dominion: bless the LORD, O my soul.
3 Who forgiveth all thine iniquities; who healeth all thy diseases;
4 Who redeemeth thy life from destruction; who crowneth thee with lovingkindness and tender mercies;
5 Who satisfieth thy mouth with good things; so that thy youth is renewed like the eagle's.
6 The LORD executeth righteousness and judgment for all that are oppressed.
7 He made known his ways unto Moses, his acts unto the children of Israel.
8 The LORD is merciful and gracious, slow to anger, and plenteous in mercy.
9 He will not always chide: neither will he keep his anger for ever.
10 He hath not dealt with us after our sins; nor rewarded us according to our iniquities.
11 For as the heaven is high above the earth, so great is his mercy toward them that fear him.
12 As far as the east is from the west, so far hath he removed our transgressions from us.
13 Like as a father pitieth his children, so the LORD pitieth them that fear him.
14 For he knoweth our frame; he remembereth that we are dust.
15 As for man, his days are as grass: as a flower of the field, so he flourisheth.
16 For the wind passeth over it, and it is gone; and the place thereof shall know it no more.
17 But the mercy of the LORD is from everlasting to everlasting upon them that fear him, and his righteousness unto children's children;
18 To such as keep his covenant, and to those that remember his commandments to do them.
19 The LORD hath prepared his throne in the heavens; and his kingdom ruleth over all.
20 Bless the LORD, ye his angels, that excel in strength, that do his commandments, hearkening unto the voice of his word.
21 Bless ye the LORD, all ye his hosts; ye ministers of his, that do his pleasure.
Text from: Psalm 103: English Wikisource
- Verse 1 is the final verse of Nishmat.
- Verse 10 is part of the opening paragraph of the long Tachanun recited on Mondays and Thursdays.
- Verse 13 is part of the long Tachanun recited on Mondays and Thursdays.
- Verse 14 is the second-to-last verse of the regular Tachanun.
- Verse 17 is recited during the blessings before the Shema on the second day of Rosh Hashanah.
- Verse 19 is the seventh verse of Yehi Kivod in Pesukei Dezimra.
- In Christian worship in the western church the psalm also forms the basis of the hymn Praise, my soul, the King of Heaven.
- In the Eastern Orthodox Church, this Psalm is known as the "First Antiphon" and is sung at the beginning of the Divine Liturgy after the first litany. In some Byzantine traditions, this Psalm, and the other two Antiphons (Psalm 145/146 and the Beatitudes) were dropped in favor of different Antiphons with petitions to Christ and the Theotokos. The monastic communities of Mount Athos and most Slavic Churches have retained the ancient practice of singing these prayers during the Divine Liturgy.
- The song Bless The Lord in the musical Godspell is based on this Psalm.
- LePeau, Phyllis J. (2001-08-02). Kindness: Reaching Out to Others. Zondervan. p. 55. ISBN 978-0-310-23866-9., attributed to The New Bible Commentary, 552.
- The Complete Artscroll Siddur page 403
- The Complete Artscroll Siddur page 125
- The Complete Artscroll Siddur page 127
- The Complete Artscroll Siddur page 139
- The Complete Artscroll Machzor for Rosh Hashanah page 273
- The Complete Artscroll Siddur page 66
- Krivoshein, Basil. "Some differences between Greek and Russian divine services and their significance". Retrieved 4 July 2013.