Psalm 148

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Psalm 148
"Praise ye the Lord from the heavens"
Russian - "Praise the Lord from the Heavens" - Walters 71256.jpg
Praise the Lord from the Heavens,
17th-century Russian ivory carving
Other name
  • Psalm 148 (Vulgate)
  • "Laudate Dominum de caelis"
LanguageHebrew (original)

Psalm 148 is the 148th psalm of the Book of Psalms, beginning in English in the King James Version: "Praise ye the Lord from the heavens". In Latin, it is known as "Laudate Dominum de caelis".[1] The psalm is one of the Laudate psalms. Old Testament scholars have also classified it as a creation psalm and a wisdom psalm.[2][3]

The psalm forms a regular part of Jewish, Catholic, Lutheran, Anglican and other Protestant liturgies. It has often been set to music, including a four-part metered setting in German by Heinrich Schütz as part of the Becker Psalter, and Psalm 148, a setting for voice and piano of an English metered adaptation written and composed by Leonard Bernstein in 1935, his earliest surviving work.

Background and themes[edit]

In the Septuagint, Psalms 145 to 148 are given the title "of Haggai and Zechariah".[4] This psalm takes in all of God's creations, from the heights of the heavens, including the angels, the stars, and the sun and moon, down to the earth, the birds and insects, and the inhabitants of the ocean depths. Then it ascends again to man, and this all-encompassing view of God's creations gives him much to praise God for.[5][6] Quoting Edinburgh minister John Pulsford,[7] Charles Spurgeon notes that the last three psalms in the Book of Psalms (Psalms 148, 149, and 150) form "a triad of wondrous praise": "Heaven is full of praise, the earth is full of praise, praises rise from under the earth, 'everything that hath breath' joins in the rapture. God is encompassed by a loving, praising creation".[6]

British evangelist G. Campbell Morgan also notes that this is a psalm of praise, writing: "What a wonderful song this is! Look over it again, and note the fact that there is no reference in it, from first to last, to the mercy, or pity, or compassion of God. But that is because there is no reference to evil in any form".[8]

The Midrash Tehillim identifies the entities to which the opening verses are addressed. "Praise you the Lord from the heavens" (v. 1) is addressing the ministering angels; "praise Him all you hosts" (v. 2) is addressed to those who fulfill God's will. "Praise you Him, sun and moon" (v. 3) refers to the Jewish Patriarchs and Matriarchs who are likened to the sun and moon in Joseph's dream (Genesis 37:9). "Praise Him, all you stars of light" (v. 3) refers to righteous individuals, as Daniel said, "And they that turn the many to righteousness as the stars forever and ever" (Daniel 12:3). The Midrash adds, "From this you learn that every [righteous individual] has his own star in heaven, and that his star shines according to his deeds".[9]


Hebrew Bible version[edit]

Verse Hebrew
1 הַ֥לְלוּיָ֨הּ הַֽלְל֣וּ אֶת־יְהֹוָה מִן־הַשָּׁמַ֑יִם הַֽ֜לְל֗וּהוּ בַּמְּרוֹמִֽים
2 הַֽלְלוּהוּ כָּל־מַלְאָכָ֑יו הַֽ֜לְל֗וּהוּ כָּל־צְבָאָֽו
3 הַֽלְלוּהוּ שֶׁ֥מֶשׁ וְיָרֵ֑חַ הַ֜לְל֗וּהוּ כָּל־כּ֥וֹכְבֵי אֽוֹר
4 הַֽלְלוּהוּ שְׁמֵ֣י הַשָּׁמָ֑יִם וְ֜הַמַּ֗יִם אֲשֶׁ֚ר מֵעַ֬ל הַשָּׁמָֽיִם
5 יְהַֽלְלוּ אֶת־שֵׁ֣ם יְהֹוָ֑ה כִּ֚י ה֖וּא צִוָּ֣ה וְנִבְרָֽאוּ
6 וַיַּֽעֲמִידֵ֣ם לָעַ֣ד לְעוֹלָ֑ם חָק־נָ֜תַ֗ן וְלֹ֣א יַֽעֲבֽוֹר
7 הַֽלְל֣וּ אֶת־יְ֖הֹוָה מִן־הָאָ֑רֶץ תַּ֜נִּינִ֗ים וְכָל־תְּהֹמֽוֹת
8 אֵ֣שׁ וּ֖בָרָד שֶׁ֥לֶג וְקִיט֑וֹר ר֥וּחַ סְ֜עָרָ֗ה עֹ֘שָׂ֥ה דְבָרֽוֹ
9 הֶהָרִים וְכָל־גְּבָע֑וֹת עֵ֥ץ פְּ֜רִ֗י וְכָל־אֲרָזִֽים
10 הַֽחַיָּ֥ה וְכָל־בְּהֵמָ֑ה רֶ֜֗מֶשׂ וְצִפּ֥וֹר כָּנָֽף
11 מַלְכֵי־אֶרֶץ וְכָל־לְּאֻמִּ֑ים שָֹ֜רִ֗ים וְכָל־שֹׁ֥פְטֵי אָֽרֶץ
12 בַּֽחוּרִ֥ים וְגַם־בְּתוּל֑וֹת זְ֜קֵנִ֗ים עִם־נְעָרִֽים
13 יְהַלְל֚וּ אֶת־שֵׁ֬ם יְהֹוָ֗ה כִּֽי־נִשְׂגָּ֣ב שְׁמ֣וֹ לְבַדּ֑וֹ ה֜וֹד֗וֹ עַל־אֶ֥רֶץ וְשָׁמָֽיִם
14 וַיָּ֚רֶם קֶ֨רֶן לְעַמּ֡וֹ תְּהִלָּ֬ה לְכָל־חֲסִידָ֗יו לִבְנֵ֣י יִ֖שְׂרָאֵל עַ֥ם קְ֜רֹב֗וֹ הַֽלְלוּיָֽהּ

King James Version[edit]

  1. Praise ye the LORD. Praise ye the LORD from the heavens: praise him in the heights.
  2. Praise ye him, all his angels: praise ye him, all his hosts.
  3. Praise ye him, sun and moon: praise him, all ye stars of light.
  4. Praise him, ye heavens of heavens, and ye waters that be above the heavens.
  5. Let them praise the name of the LORD: for he commanded, and they were created.
  6. He hath also stablished them for ever and ever: he hath made a decree which shall not pass.
  7. Praise the LORD from the earth, ye dragons, and all deeps:
  8. Fire, and hail; snow, and vapours; stormy wind fulfilling his word:
  9. Mountains, and all hills; fruitful trees, and all cedars:
  10. Beasts, and all cattle; creeping things, and flying fowl:
  11. Kings of the earth, and all people; princes, and all judges of the earth:
  12. Both young men, and maidens; old men, and children:
  13. Let them praise the name of the LORD: for his name alone is excellent; his glory is above the earth and heaven.
  14. He also exalteth the horn of his people, the praise of all his saints; even of the children of Israel, a people near unto him. Praise ye the LORD.

Verse 14[edit]

He has exalted the horn of His people,
The praise of all His saints—
Of the children of Israel,
A people near to Him.
Praise the Lord![10]

Matthew Poole notes that in scripture, the "horn" generally denotes "strength, victory, glory, and felicity".[11]



Alexander Kirkpatrick observes that this psalm was "obviously written for liturgical use".[12] It is recited in its entirety during Pesukei Dezimra, the first section of the daily morning prayer service.[13][14]

Verses 1–6 are recited at the opening to Kiddush Levanah in the Ashkenazi tradition,[13][15] and during the same prayer in some Sephardic traditions.[16] Verses 1–6 are also recited during Birkat Hachama, the blessing on the sun.[17]

Verse 7 is the verse said by the sea monsters in the ancient text of Perek Shirah.[13][18]

The first part of verse 13, beginning with the word "Yehallelu", is said by the Hazzan as he returns the Torah scroll to the ark during morning services; the congregation recites the last part of this verse and continues with the recital of verse 14.[14][19] In the Italian rite, they begin with verse 12.[20]

Catholic Church[edit]

Illustration of Psalm 148 in Lesnovo monastery, 14th century

Psalm 148 is one of the Laudate psalms and was sung as one of a trio of psalms, Psalms 148, 149, and 150, during Lauds in the Roman rite.[21] Around 530 A.D., St. Benedict of Nursia chose these three psalms for the office of morning celebrated daily.[22] In the Liturgy of the Hours, Psalm 148 is recited during Sunday Lauds in the third week.[23]


John Milton paraphrased some of the praises in this psalm in his epic poem Paradise Lost, Book 5.[6]


Church buildings have been decorated with creatures mentioned in Psalm 148, including the Irish Honan Chapel which refers to it in inscription and mosaics,[24] and St John the Evangelist's Church, Crawshawbooth, Scotland, with carvings.[25] The Riverside Church in Manhattan features elements mentioned in Psalm 148 carved in oak on the ends of the choir stalls.[26]

Musical settings[edit]

"Erfreue dich, Himmel, erfreue dich, Erde" is a hymn in German, in which Maria Luise Thurmair paraphrased Psalm 148 in 1969, based on an older Christmas carol.[27]

Heinrich Schütz composed a four-part setting of a metric German version for the Becker Psalter, "Lobet, ihr Himmel, Gott den Herrn (Praise, ye Heavens, God the Lord), SWV 253. Marc-Antoine Charpentier set in 1679-1680 one "Laudate Dominum de coelis", H.177,[28] for three voices, two treble instruments, and continuo.

Darwall's 148th is John Darwell's musical setting for Psalm 148, composed for the inauguration of a new organ in Walsall parish church, then in Staffordshire, England.[29][30]

The first six verses of Psalm 148 have been set to music as a Hebrew song.[31] American composer Leonard Bernstein adapted the text for his Psalm 148, a setting for voice and piano and dated in 1935, his earliest surviving composition.[32] Alan Hovhaness adapted the text in 1958 for his setting for chorus and organ, split as two separate pieces (opus 160 Praise Ye Him, All His Angels and 160a Let Them Praise the Name of the Lord) when published by C.F. Peters.[33]


  1. ^ Parallel Latin/English Psalter / Psalmus 148
  2. ^ Dunn, Stephen (2009). "Wisdom Editing in the Book of Psalms: Vocabulary, Themes, and Structures". Marquette University. p. 46. Retrieved 12 December 2020.
  3. ^ Mays, James Luther (2011). Psalms. Westminster John Knox Press. p. 445. ISBN 978-0-664-23439-3.
  4. ^ Kirkpatrick, A., Cambridge Bible for Schools and Colleges on Psalm 146, accessed 6 July 2022
  5. ^ "Tehillim 148". The Jewish Weekly. 2 July 2020. Retrieved 10 December 2020. This text refers to "creations" as a plural
  6. ^ a b c Spurgeon, Charles (2020). "Charles H. Spurgeon's Treasury of David: Psalm 148". Retrieved 10 December 2020.
  7. ^ Pulsford, J. (1857), Quiet Hours, p. 148, accessed 27 February 2021
  8. ^ "Psalm 148—Let Heaven and Earth Praise the Lord". The Enduring Word Bible Commentary. 2020. Retrieved 12 December 2020.
  9. ^ "Midrash Tehillim / Psalms 148" (PDF). December 2017. Retrieved 10 December 2020. (password:
  10. ^ Psalm 148:18: New King James Version
  11. ^ Poole, M., Matthew Poole's Commentary on Psalm 148, accessed 8 July 2022
  12. ^ Kirkpatrick, A., Cambridge Bible for Schools and Colleges on Psalm 148, accessed 8 July 2022
  13. ^ a b c Brauner, Reuven (2013). "Shimush Pesukim: Comprehensive Index to Liturgical and Ceremonial Uses of Biblical Verses and Passages" (PDF) (2nd ed.). p. 51.
  14. ^ a b Nulman 1996, p. 366.
  15. ^ Scherman 2003, p. 612.
  16. ^ Nulman 1996, p. 101.
  17. ^ Nulman 1996, pp. 100–101.
  18. ^ Slifkin, Nosson (2002). "Perek Shirah" (PDF). Zoo Torah. p. 11. Retrieved 10 December 2020.
  19. ^ Scherman 2003, p. 148.
  20. ^ See this Italian prayer book, page 59.
  21. ^ "Lauds, the Morning Office". Monastery of Christ in the Desert. 2020. Retrieved 12 December 2020.
  22. ^ Règle de saint Benoît, chapitres XII et XIII, traduction de Prosper Guéranger, (Abbaye Saint-Pierre de Solesmes, réimpression 2007) p 40.
  23. ^ Crumpler, Anne (2003). "The Liturgy of the Hours". Devozine. Retrieved 12 December 2020.
  24. ^ Katsumi Tsukamoto, Mari Kuroki (eds.): Eels and Humans Springer Science & Business Media 2013 ISBN 978-4-43-154529-3
  25. ^ Brandwood, Geoff; Austin, Tim; Hughes, John; Price, James (2012), The Architecture of Sharpe, Paley and Austin, Swindon: English Heritage, pp. 149, 238–239, ISBN 978-1-84802-049-8
  26. ^ Paris, Peter J., ed. (2004). The History of the Riverside Church in the City of New York. NYU Press. p. 261. ISBN 978-0-8147-6836-5.
  27. ^ Meesters, Maria (5 October 2014). "Erfreue dich, Himmel". SWR (in German). Retrieved 16 November 2020.
  28. ^ Laudate Dominum de caelis. H 177. Bibliothèque nationale de France. 1679. Retrieved 12 December 2020.
  29. ^ "John Darwall (1731–1789)". Archived from the original on 21 February 2012. Retrieved 14 June 2012.
  30. ^ "John Darwall". Archived from the original on 31 July 2012. Retrieved 14 June 2012.
  31. ^ "Haleluyah (Psalm 148)". Zemirot Database. Retrieved 10 December 2020.
  32. ^ "Psalm 148". Milken Archive of Jewish Music. 2020. Retrieved 21 December 2020.
  33. ^ "Alan Hovhaness List of Works by Opus Number". Retrieved 30 October 2022.


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