David playing his harp,
Paris Psalter, c. 960, Constantinople
Psalm 147 is the 147th psalm of the Book of Psalms, generally known in English by its first verse, in the King James Version, "Praise ye the LORD: for it is good to sing praises". The Book of Psalms is the third section of the Hebrew Bible, and a book of the Christian Old Testament. In the Greek Septuagint version of the Bible, and in its Latin translation in the Vulgate/Vulgata Clementina, this psalm is divided into Psalm 146 and Psalm 147 in a slightly different numbering system. In Latin, Psalm 146 is known as "Laudate Dominum quoniam bonum psalmus", and Psalm 147 as "Lauda Jerusalem Dominum.
Alternate numbering system
The Greek Septuagint and Latin Vulgate versions of the Bible follow the numbering system for the psalms used by the Hebrew Bible and KJV 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.
Background and themes
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"). Thus it is classified as a psalm of praise. 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". 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.
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.
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.
Hebrew Bible version
Following is the Hebrew text and an English translation of Psalm 147:
|1||הַ֥לְלוּיָ֨הּ | כִּי־ט֖וֹב זַמְּרָ֣ה אֱלֹהֵ֑ינוּ כִּֽי־נָ֜עִ֗ים נָאוָ֥ה תְהִלָּֽה||Hallelujah! For it is good to sing to our God; because He is pleasant, praise is fitting for Him.|
|2||בֹּנֵ֣ה יְרֽוּשָׁלִַ֣ם יְהֹוָ֑ה נִדְחֵ֖י יִשְׂרָאֵ֣ל יְכַנֵּֽס||The Lord is the builder of Jerusalem; He will gather the outcasts of Israel.|
|3||הָ֣רוֹפֵא לִשְׁב֣וּרֵי לֵ֑ב וּ֜מְחַבֵּ֗שׁ לְעַצְּבוֹתָֽם||Who heals the brokenhearted and binds up their wounds.|
|4||מוֹנֶ֣ה מִ֖סְפָּר לַכּֽוֹכָבִ֑ים לְ֜כֻלָּ֗ם שֵׁמ֥וֹת יִקְרָֽא||He counts the number of the stars; He calls them all by name.|
|5||גָּד֣וֹל אֲדוֹנֵ֣ינוּ וְרַב־כֹּ֑חַ לִ֜תְבֽוּנָת֗וֹ אֵ֣ין מִסְפָּֽר||Our Lord is great and has much strength; His understanding cannot be calculated.|
|6||מְעוֹדֵ֣ד עֲנָוִ֣ים יְהֹוָ֑ה מַשְׁפִּ֖יל רְשָׁעִ֣ים עֲדֵי־אָֽרֶץ||The Lord strengthens the humble; He humbles the wicked to the ground.|
|7||עֱנ֣וּ לַֽיהֹוָ֣ה בְּתוֹדָ֑ה זַמְּר֖וּ לֵֽאלֹהֵ֣ינוּ בְכִנּֽוֹר||Shout to the Lord with thanks; sing praises to our God with a lyre.|
|8||הַֽמְכַסֶּ֬ה שָׁמַ֨יִם | בְּעָבִ֗ים הַמֵּכִ֣ין לָאָ֣רֶץ מָטָ֑ר הַמַּצְמִ֖יחַ הָרִ֣ים חָצִֽיר||Who covers the heavens with clouds, Who prepares rain for the earth, Who causes the mountains to sprout grass.|
|9||נוֹתֵ֣ן לִבְהֵמָ֣ה לַחְמָ֑הּ לִבְנֵ֥י עֹ֜רֵ֗ב אֲשֶׁ֣ר יִקְרָֽאוּ||He gives the animal its food, to the young ravens which call out.|
|10||לֹ֚א בִגְבוּרַ֣ת הַסּ֣וּס יֶחְפָּ֑ץ לֹֽא־בְשׁוֹקֵ֖י הָאִ֣ישׁ יִרְצֶֽה||He does not desire the might of the horse, nor does He take pleasure in the legs of man.|
|11||רוֹצֶ֣ה יְ֖הֹוָה אֶת־יְרֵאָ֑יו אֶת־הַֽמְיַֽחֲלִ֥ים לְחַסְדּֽוֹ||The Lord desires those who fear Him, those who hope for His kindness.|
|12||שַׁבְּחִ֣י יְ֖רֽוּשָׁלִַם אֶת־יְהֹוָ֑ה הַֽלְלִ֖י אֱלֹהַ֣יִךְ צִיּֽוֹן||O Jerusalem, praise the Lord; extol Your God, O Zion.|
|13||כִּי־חִ֖זַּק בְּרִיחֵ֣י שְׁעָרָ֑יִךְ בֵּרַ֖ךְ בָּנַ֣יִךְ בְּקִרְבֵּֽךְ||For He strengthened the bars of your gates; He blessed your children within you.|
|14||הַשָּׂ֣ם גְּבוּלֵ֥ךְ שָׁל֑וֹם חֵ֥לֶב חִ֜טִּ֗ים יַשְׂבִּיעֵֽךְ||Within your borders He makes peace; with the best of the wheat He will sate you.|
|15||הַשֹּׁלֵ֥חַ אִמְרָת֣וֹ אָ֑רֶץ עַד־מְ֜הֵרָ֗ה יָר֥וּץ דְּבָרֽוֹ||He sends His commandment to the earth; His word runs swiftly.|
|16||הַנֹּתֵ֣ן שֶׁ֣לֶג כַּצָּ֑מֶר כְּפ֖וֹר כָּאֵ֣פֶר יְפַזֵּֽר||He gives snow like wool; He scatters hoarfrost like ashes.|
|17||מַשְׁלִ֣יךְ קַרְח֣וֹ כְפִתִּ֑ים לִפְנֵ֥י קָֽ֜רָת֗וֹ מִ֣י יַֽעֲמֹֽד||He hurls His ice like crumbs; before His cold, who can stand?|
|18||יִשְׁלַח־דְּבָר֥וֹ וְיַמְסֵ֑ם יַשֵּׁ֥ב ר֜וּח֗וֹ יִזְּלוּ־מָֽיִם||He sends His word and melts them; He blows His wind; water runs.|
|19||מַגִּ֣יד דְּבָרָ֣יו (כתיב דְּבָרָ֣ו) לְיַֽעֲקֹ֑ב חֻקָּ֖יו וּמִשְׁפָּטָ֣יו לְיִשְׂרָאֵֽל||He tells His words to Jacob, His statutes and His judgments to Israel.|
|20||לֹ֘א עָ֚שָׂה כֵ֨ן | לְכָל־גּ֗וֹי וּמִשְׁפָּטִ֥ים בַּל־יְ֜דָע֗וּם הַֽלְלוּיָֽהּ||He did not do so to any nation, and they did not know the judgments. Hallelujah!|
King James Version
- Praise ye the LORD: for it is good to sing praises unto our God; for it is pleasant; and praise is comely.
- The LORD doth build up Jerusalem: he gathereth together the outcasts of Israel.
- He healeth the broken in heart, and bindeth up their wounds.
- He telleth the number of the stars; he calleth them all by their names.
- Great is our Lord, and of great power: his understanding is infinite.
- The LORD lifteth up the meek: he casteth the wicked down to the ground.
- Sing unto the LORD with thanksgiving; sing praise upon the harp unto our God:
- Who covereth the heaven with clouds, who prepareth rain for the earth, who maketh grass to grow upon the mountains.
- He giveth to the beast his food, and to the young ravens which cry.
- He delighteth not in the strength of the horse: he taketh not pleasure in the legs of a man.
- The LORD taketh pleasure in them that fear him, in those that hope in his mercy.
- Praise the LORD, O Jerusalem; praise thy God, O Zion.
- For he hath strengthened the bars of thy gates; he hath blessed thy children within thee.
- He maketh peace in thy borders, and filleth thee with the finest of the wheat.
- He sendeth forth his commandment upon earth: his word runneth very swiftly.
- He giveth snow like wool: he scattereth the hoarfrost like ashes.
- He casteth forth his ice like morsels: who can stand before his cold?
- He sendeth out his word, and melteth them: he causeth his wind to blow, and the waters flow.
- He sheweth his word unto Jacob, his statutes and his judgments unto Israel.
- He hath not dealt so with any nation: and as for his judgments, they have not known them. Praise ye the LORD.
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.
Lauda Jerusalem was one of the psalms including in vespers services, and thus set to music often. 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. 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. 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.
In German, Heinrich Schütz set a rhymed version of Psalm 147, "Zu Lob und Ehr mit Freuden singt" (To praise and honour sing with joy), SWV 252, as part of the Becker Psalter. Johann Sebastian Bach based the opening movement of his cantata for the inauguration of a new town council in Leipzig, titled Preise, Jerusalem, den Herrn, BWV 119 ("Praise the Lord, Jerusalem"), on verses 12–14a of Psalm 147. The piece addresses Jerusalem, but the Leipzig congregation understood it to refer to their city.
- Mazor 2011, p. 589.
- "Parallel Latin/English Psalter / Psalmus 146 (147)". medievalist.net. 2 May 2019.
- "Parallel Latin/English Psalter / Psalmus 147)". medievalist.net. 2 May 2019.
- Henry, Matthew. "Psalms 147". Bible Study Tools. Retrieved 3 May 2019.
- Hastings 2004, p. 885.
- Hudson 2010, p. 335.
- Guzik, David (2018). "Psalm 147 – Praising God of Care and Creation". Enduring Word. Retrieved 3 May 2019.
- Spurgeon, Charles (2019). "Psalm 147 Bible Commentary". Christianity.com. Retrieved 3 May 2019.
- "Parashat Matot-Masei: Between the Times". Rabbis for Human Rights. 19 July 2017. Retrieved 3 May 2019.
- Dubov, Nissan Dovid (2019). "Chapter 6: When Will the Resurrection Take Place?". Sichos in English. Retrieved 3 May 2019.
- "Tehillim - Psalms - Chapter 147". Chabad.org. 2019. Retrieved 2 May 2019.
- Brauner, Reuven (2013). "Shimush Pesukim: Comprehensive Index to Liturgical and Ceremonial Uses of Biblical Verses and Passages" (PDF) (2nd ed.). p. 51.
- Scherman 2003, p. 70.
- Riter, Orit Esther (2018). "Healer of the Brokenhearted". A Daily Dose of Emuna. Retrieved 3 May 2019.
- Gillingham 2012, p. 184.
- "Lauda, Jerusalem, RV609". Hyperion Records.
- Becker Psalter, Op.5 (Schütz, Heinrich): Scores at the International Music Score Library Project (IMSLP)
- Dellal, Pamela. "BWV 119 – Preise, Jerusalem, den Herrn". Emmanuel Music. Retrieved 13 August 2015.
- "Preise, Jerusalem, den Herrn BWV 119; BC B 3 / Sacred cantata (Council election)". Bach Digital. Retrieved 12 August 2015.
- "Psalms and Magnificat". Musikwissenschaftlicher Verlag. Retrieved 6 May 2019.
- Gillingham, Susan (2012). Psalms Through the Centuries. John Wiley & Sons. ISBN 9781118241523.
- Hastings, James, ed. (2004). A Dictionary of the Bible: Part II: Shimrath – Zuzim. IV. The Minerva Group. ISBN 9781410217295.
- Hudson, Robert, ed. (2010). The Christian Writer's Manual of Style. Zondervan. ISBN 9780310861362.
- Mazor, Lea (2011). Berlin, Adele; Grossman, Maxine (eds.). Book of Psalms. The Oxford Dictionary of the Jewish Religion. Oxford University Press. ISBN 978-0-19-973004-9.
- Scherman, Rabbi Nosson (2003). The Complete Artscroll Siddur (3rd ed.). Mesorah Publications, Ltd. ISBN 9780899066509.
- Goldberger, Moshe (1994). A Daily Dose of Motivation from Tehillim 147: Singing Before Hashem.
|Wikimedia Commons has media related to Psalm 147.|
|Wikisource has original text related to this article:|
- Pieces with text from Psalm 147: Scores at the International Music Score Library Project (IMSLP)
- Psalm 147: Free scores at the Choral Public Domain Library (ChoralWiki)
- Text of Psalm 147 according to the 1928 Psalter
- Psalms Chapter 147 text in Hebrew and English, mechon-mamre.org
- Psalm 147 – Praising God of Care and Creation text and detailed commentary, enduringword.com
- Hallelujah! / How good to sing praise to our God; how pleasant to give fitting praise. Text and footnotes, usccb.org United States Conference of Catholic Bishops
- Psalm 147:1 introduction and text, biblestudytools.com
- Psalm 147 / Great is our Lord and mighty in power. Church of England
- Psalm 147 at biblegateway.com
- Hymns for Psalm 147 hymnary.org
- Recording of a modern Israeli tune to verses 12-13 (set to music by Avihu Medina)