Psalm 147

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Psalm 147
"Praise ye the LORD: for it is good to sing praises"
David playing his harp,
Paris Psalter, c. 960, Constantinople
Other name
  • Psalm 146 and Psalm 147 (Vulgate)
  • "Laudate Dominum quoniam bonum psalmus"
  • "Lauda Jerusalem Dominum"
LanguageHebrew (original)

Psalm 147 is the 147th psalm of the Book of Psalms, beginning in English in the King James Version, "Praise ye the LORD: for it is good to sing praises". In the slightly different numbering system used in the Greek Septuagint version of the Bible, and in the Latin Vulgate/Vulgata Clementina, this psalm is divided into Psalm 146 and Psalm 147. In Latin, Psalm 146 is known as "Laudate Dominum quoniam bonum psalmus",[1] and Psalm 147 as "Lauda Jerusalem Dominum".[2]

Both are considered psalms of praise and feature among the five final praise psalms in the psalter.[3] They are used as regular parts of Jewish, Catholic, Anglican, Lutheran, and other Protestant liturgies and have often been set to music.

Alternate numbering system[edit]

The Greek Septuagint and Latin Vulgate versions of the Bible follow the numbering system for the psalms used by the Hebrew Bible and King James Version through Psalm 8 but combine and divide several psalms after that. Psalm 147 is the last to be divided into two parts, renumbered as Psalm 146 and Psalm 147. Psalm 146 in the Septuagint and Vulgate is composed of verses 1–11 of the present Psalm 147, while Psalm 147 in the Septuagint and Vulgate is composed of verses 12–20 of the present Psalm 147.[4][5]

Background and themes[edit]

Psalm 147 is one of the last five psalms in the Book of Psalms and, like the others in this group, begins and ends in Hebrew with the word "Hallelujah" ("Praise God").[6] Thus it is classified as a psalm of praise.[3] Charles Spurgeon notes that verse 1 draws a connection between praise and song, since "[s]inging the divine praises is the best possible use of speech".[7] Beginning in verse 2, the psalmist presents a series of reasons for praising God, including his continual attention to the city of Jerusalem, to brokenhearted and injured individuals, to the cosmos, and to nature.[6] C S Rodd divides the psalm into three sections, "each of which is in the form of a complete hymn of praise", namely verses 1-6, 7-11 and 12-20.[8]

In the Septuagint, Psalms 145 to 148 are given the title "of Haggai and Zechariah".[9]


Hebrew Bible version[edit]

The following is the Hebrew text of Psalm 147:

Verse Hebrew
1 הַ֥לְלוּיָ֨הּ | כִּי־ט֖וֹב זַמְּרָ֣ה אֱלֹהֵ֑ינוּ כִּֽי־נָ֜עִ֗ים נָאוָ֥ה תְהִלָּֽה
2 בֹּנֵ֣ה יְרֽוּשָׁלִַ֣ם יְהֹוָ֑ה נִדְחֵ֖י יִשְׂרָאֵ֣ל יְכַנֵּֽס
3 הָ֣רוֹפֵא לִשְׁב֣וּרֵי לֵ֑ב וּ֜מְחַבֵּ֗שׁ לְעַצְּבוֹתָֽם
4 מוֹנֶ֣ה מִ֖סְפָּר לַכּֽוֹכָבִ֑ים לְ֜כֻלָּ֗ם שֵׁמ֥וֹת יִקְרָֽא
5 גָּד֣וֹל אֲדוֹנֵ֣ינוּ וְרַב־כֹּ֑חַ לִ֜תְבֽוּנָת֗וֹ אֵ֣ין מִסְפָּֽר
6 מְעוֹדֵ֣ד עֲנָוִ֣ים יְהֹוָ֑ה מַשְׁפִּ֖יל רְשָׁעִ֣ים עֲדֵי־אָֽרֶץ
7 עֱנ֣וּ לַֽיהֹוָ֣ה בְּתוֹדָ֑ה זַמְּר֖וּ לֵֽאלֹהֵ֣ינוּ בְכִנּֽוֹר
8 הַֽמְכַסֶּ֬ה שָׁמַ֨יִם | בְּעָבִ֗ים הַמֵּכִ֣ין לָאָ֣רֶץ מָטָ֑ר הַמַּצְמִ֖יחַ הָרִ֣ים חָצִֽיר
9 נוֹתֵ֣ן לִבְהֵמָ֣ה לַחְמָ֑הּ לִבְנֵ֥י עֹ֜רֵ֗ב אֲשֶׁ֣ר יִקְרָֽאוּ
10 לֹ֚א בִגְבוּרַ֣ת הַסּ֣וּס יֶחְפָּ֑ץ לֹֽא־בְשׁוֹקֵ֖י הָאִ֣ישׁ יִרְצֶֽה
11 רוֹצֶ֣ה יְ֖הֹוָה אֶת־יְרֵאָ֑יו אֶת־הַֽמְיַֽחֲלִ֥ים לְחַסְדּֽוֹ
12 שַׁבְּחִ֣י יְ֖רֽוּשָׁלִַם אֶת־יְהֹוָ֑ה הַֽלְלִ֖י אֱלֹהַ֣יִךְ צִיּֽוֹן
13 כִּי־חִ֖זַּק בְּרִיחֵ֣י שְׁעָרָ֑יִךְ בֵּרַ֖ךְ בָּנַ֣יִךְ בְּקִרְבֵּֽךְ
14 הַשָּׂ֣ם גְּבוּלֵ֥ךְ שָׁל֑וֹם חֵ֥לֶב חִ֜טִּ֗ים יַשְׂבִּיעֵֽךְ
15 הַשֹּׁלֵ֥חַ אִמְרָת֣וֹ אָ֑רֶץ עַד־מְ֜הֵרָ֗ה יָר֥וּץ דְּבָרֽוֹ
16 הַנֹּתֵ֣ן שֶׁ֣לֶג כַּצָּ֑מֶר כְּפ֖וֹר כָּאֵ֣פֶר יְפַזֵּֽר
17 מַשְׁלִ֣יךְ קַרְח֣וֹ כְפִתִּ֑ים לִפְנֵ֥י קָֽ֜רָת֗וֹ מִ֣י יַֽעֲמֹֽד
18 יִשְׁלַח־דְּבָר֥וֹ וְיַמְסֵ֑ם יַשֵּׁ֥ב ר֜וּח֗וֹ יִזְּלוּ־מָֽיִם
19 מַגִּ֣יד דְּבָרָ֣יו (כתיב דְּבָרָ֣ו) לְיַֽעֲקֹ֑ב חֻקָּ֖יו וּמִשְׁפָּטָ֣יו לְיִשְׂרָאֵֽל
20 לֹ֘א עָ֚שָׂה כֵ֨ן | לְכָל־גּ֗וֹי וּמִשְׁפָּטִ֥ים בַּל־יְ֜דָע֗וּם הַֽלְלוּיָֽהּ

King James Version[edit]

  1. Praise ye the LORD: for it is good to sing praises unto our God; for it is pleasant; and praise is comely.
  2. The LORD doth build up Jerusalem: he gathereth together the outcasts of Israel.
  3. He healeth the broken in heart, and bindeth up their wounds.
  4. He telleth the number of the stars; he calleth them all by their names.
  5. Great is our Lord, and of great power: his understanding is infinite.
  6. The LORD lifteth up the meek: he casteth the wicked down to the ground.
  7. Sing unto the LORD with thanksgiving; sing praise upon the harp unto our God:
  8. Who covereth the heaven with clouds, who prepareth rain for the earth, who maketh grass to grow upon the mountains.
  9. He giveth to the beast his food, and to the young ravens which cry.
  10. He delighteth not in the strength of the horse: he taketh not pleasure in the legs of a man.
  11. The LORD taketh pleasure in them that fear him, in those that hope in his mercy.
  12. Praise the LORD, O Jerusalem; praise thy God, O Zion.
  13. For he hath strengthened the bars of thy gates; he hath blessed thy children within thee.
  14. He maketh peace in thy borders, and filleth thee with the finest of the wheat.
  15. He sendeth forth his commandment upon earth: his word runneth very swiftly.
  16. He giveth snow like wool: he scattereth the hoarfrost like ashes.
  17. He casteth forth his ice like morsels: who can stand before his cold?
  18. He sendeth out his word, and melteth them: he causeth his wind to blow, and the waters flow.
  19. He sheweth his word unto Jacob, his statutes and his judgments unto Israel.
  20. He hath not dealt so with any nation: and as for his judgments, they have not known them. Praise ye the LORD.

Verse 2[edit]

The Lord builds up Jerusalem;
He gathers together the outcasts of Israel.[10]

Rabbi Yehudah Aryeh Leib Alter of Ger (Sefat Emet) notes that in the Hebrew original, verse 2 is written in the present tense: "The Lord builds Jerusalem". He teaches that since the destruction of the Holy Temple, each generation actively contributes toward its rebuilding in a cumulative way through its merits.[11]

Rambam draws from verse 2 a timeline for the events following the coming of the Mashiach (Jewish Messiah). First the Mashiach will arrive, then the Holy Temple will be built ("The Lord builds Jerusalem"), and then the ingathering of the exiles will take place ("He gathers together the outcasts of Israel"). The Zohar adds that the Resurrection of the Dead will take place forty years after the return of the exiles.[12]



Psalm 147 is an important psalm in Jewish liturgy and is recited in its entirety in Pesukei Dezimra, which is part of the daily morning prayer service in Judaism.[13] It holds a significant place in Jewish worship, emphasizing praise and gratitude to God.


Rabbi Yehudah Aryeh Leib Alter of Ger (Sefat Emet) offers a unique interpretation of verse 2, which is written in the present tense: "The Lord builds Jerusalem." He teaches that since the destruction of the Holy Temple, each generation actively contributes toward its rebuilding in a cumulative way through its merits.[14]

Rambam draws from verse 2 a timeline for the events following the coming of the Mashiach (Jewish Messiah). According to his interpretation, the Mashiach will first arrive, then the Holy Temple will be built (as mentioned in "The Lord builds Jerusalem"), and finally, the ingathering of the exiles will take place, signifying the reuniting of the Jewish people.


Since the Middle Ages, this psalm was recited or sung at the office of Vespers on Saturday, according to the Rule of St. Benedict of 530 AD.

In the Liturgy of the Hours today, the first part (verses 1–11), numbered as Psalm 146 in the Septuagint and Vulgate, is recited or sung at Lauds on Thursday of the fourth week, and the second part (verses 12–20), numbered as Psalm 147 in the Septuagint and Vulgate, is recited or sung on Friday of the second and fourth week of the four-week cycle of the psalter. In the liturgy of the Mass, the first part (Psalm 146) is sung or read on the fifth Sunday in Ordinary Time of Year B of the three-year Sundays cycle and on the first Saturday in Advent in the two-year weekday cycle, and the second part (Psalm 147) is used on the feast of the Most Holy Body and Blood of Christ in year A of the Sundays cycle, and on several weekdays.

Book of Common Prayer[edit]

In the Church of England's Book of Common Prayer, this psalm is appointed to be read on the evening of the thirtieth day of the month.[15]

Musical settings[edit]

In Catholicism, Lauda Jerusalem, Psalm 147 in the Vulgate numbering, was one of the psalms included in vespers services, and thus set to music often. Settings of German translations of Psalm 147 (Hebrew Bible numbering) were published from the second half of the 16th century.

Lauda Jerusalem Dominum[edit]

In 1610, Monteverdi published his Vespro della Beata Vergine, setting five Latin psalms to music. The last of these, Lauda Jerusalem, is arranged for two choirs of three voices each, soprano, alto and bass, while the tenors sing the cantus firmus. Marc-Antoine Charpentier set 3 "Lauda Jerusalem Dominum", H.158 (1670), H.191 (1684) and H.210 (1690). Michel Richard Delalande set Lauda Jerusalem Dominum for the celebration of daily Mass for King Louis XIV at Versailles. Henry Desmarest, a contemporary of Delalande, wrote a grand motet on this psalm. Jan Dismas Zelenka composed three settings with orchestra, ZWV 102–104, though ZWV 103 is lost. Antonio Vivaldi composed a setting of Lauda Jerusalem as his RV 609, scored for two choirs, each with a solo soprano, four vocal parts and strings.[16]

German translations[edit]

In 1568 Antonio Scandello published the first volume of his Geistliche Deutsche Lieder [choralwiki], which contained, as fifth item, a four-part setting of "Lobet den Herren, denn er ist sehr freundlich", a German version of Psalm 147.[17] A rhymed translation of the Psalm, "Zu Lob und Ehr mit Freuden singt" (To praise and honour sing with joy), was published in the Becker Psalter (1602), to be sung to the tune of Es woll uns Gott genädig sein (Zahn No. 7247), a text version for which Heinrich Schütz, quarter of a century later, composed an entirely new four-part setting (SWV 252, Zahn No. 7260).[18][19][20]

Scandello's setting was reprinted in hymnals such as Johann Hermann Schein's 1627 Cantional [scores], and Gottfried Vopelius's 1682 Neu Leipziger Gesangbuch, where the German text is attributed to Nikolaus Selnecker.[21][22] Johann Sebastian Bach based one of his four-part chorales, "Lobet den Herren, denn er ist sehr freundlich", BWV 374, on a hymn tune derived from Scandello's setting.[23][24] The lyrics of the opening chorus of Bach's 1723 cantata Preise, Jerusalem, den Herrn, BWV 119 ("Praise the Lord, Jerusalem"), for the inauguration of a new town council in Leipzig, are a dictum taken from a prose translation of verses 12–14 of Psalm 147.[25][26]

After Scandello's setting, and the hymn tune derived from it in the early 18th century (Zahn No. 975), five more melodies for the "Lobet den Herren, denn er ist sehr freundlich" translation of Psalm 147 were composed and published from the 1730s to the 1830s (Zahn Nos. 976–980).[27] Around 1856, Anton Bruckner set verses 1 to 11 of the Psalm (i.e. the entire Psalm 146 in the Vulgate numbering) as Alleluja! Lobet den Herrn; denn lobsingen ist gut, WAB 37, for soloists, double mixed choir, and orchestra.[28]


  1. ^ "Parallel Latin/English Psalter / Psalmus 146 (147)". 2 May 2019.
  2. ^ "Parallel Latin/English Psalter / Psalmus 147)". 2 May 2019.
  3. ^ a b Henry, Matthew. "Psalms 147". Bible Study Tools. Retrieved 3 May 2019.
  4. ^ Hastings 2004, p. 885.
  5. ^ Hudson 2010, p. 335.
  6. ^ a b Guzik, David (2018). "Psalm 147 – Praising God of Care and Creation". Enduring Word. Retrieved 3 May 2019.
  7. ^ Spurgeon, Charles (1855). "Psalm 147 Bible Commentary". Retrieved 3 May 2019.
  8. ^ Rodd, C. S., 18. Psalms in Barton, J. and Muddiman, J. (2001), The Oxford Bible Commentary Archived 22 November 2017 at the Wayback Machine, p. 404
  9. ^ Kirkpatrick, A., Cambridge Bible for Schools and Colleges on Psalm 146, accessed 6 July 2022
  10. ^ Psalm 147:2: New King James Version
  11. ^ "Parashat Matot-Masei: Between the Times". Rabbis for Human Rights. 19 July 2017. Retrieved 3 May 2019.
  12. ^ Dubov, Nissan Dovid (2019). "Chapter 6: When Will the Resurrection Take Place?". Sichos in English. Retrieved 3 May 2019.
  13. ^ Brauner, Reuven (2013). "Shimush Pesukim: Comprehensive Index to Liturgical and Ceremonial Uses of Biblical Verses and Passages" (PDF) (2nd ed.). p. 51.
  14. ^ "Parashat Matot-Masei: Between the Times". Rabbis for Human Rights. 19 July 2017. Retrieved 3 May 2019.
  15. ^ Church of England, Book of Common Prayer: The Psalter as printed by John Baskerville in 1762, pp. 307-308
  16. ^ "Lauda, Jerusalem, RV609". Hyperion Records.
  17. ^ Scandello, Antonio (1568) Newe Teutsche Liedlein [choralwiki], V
  18. ^ Becker Psalter (1602), Der CXLVII Psalm
  19. ^ Zahn, Johannes (1891). Die Melodien der deutschen evangelischen Kirchenlieder (in German). Vol. IV. Gütersloh: Bertelsmann. pp. 345, 262–263.
  20. ^ Becker Psalter, Op.5 (Schütz, Heinrich): Scores at the International Music Score Library Project
  21. ^ Schein, Johann Hermann (1627) Cantional [scores], pp. 202r–204r.
  22. ^ Vopelius, Gottfried (1682) Neu Leipziger Gesangbuch, pp. 596–599.
  23. ^ BWV 374 at Luke Dahn's www.bach– website.
  24. ^ "Lobet den Herren, denn er ist sehr freundlich BWV 374". Bach Digital. Leipzig: Bach Archive; et al. 11 March 2019.
  25. ^ Dellal, Pamela. "BWV 119 – Preise, Jerusalem, den Herrn". Emmanuel Music. Archived from the original on 25 July 2008. Retrieved 13 August 2015.
  26. ^ "Preise, Jerusalem, den Herrn BWV 119". Bach Digital. Leipzig: Bach Archive; et al. 21 May 2019.
  27. ^ Zahn, Johannes (1889). Die Melodien der deutschen evangelischen Kirchenlieder (in German). Vol. I. Gütersloh: Bertelsmann. pp. 261263.
  28. ^ "Psalms and Magnificat". Musikwissenschaftlicher Verlag. Retrieved 6 May 2019.


Further reading[edit]

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