Psalm 146

Note: The psalm begins and ends with praise to Yah. The centre contrasts help in man who perishes and help form God the Creator. B’ appears to be a list of specific things to praise the LORD for.

A.1 Praise ye the LORD.

B. Praise the LORD, O my soul. 2 While I live will I praise the LORD: I will sing praises unto my God while I have any being.

C. 3 Put not your trust in princes, nor in the son of man, in whom there is no help. 4 His breath goeth forth, he returneth to his earth; in that very day his thoughts perish.

C’. 5 Happy is he that hath the God of Jacob for his help, whose hope is in the LORD his God: 6 Which made heaven, and earth, the sea, and all that therein is:

B’. which keepeth truth for ever:

7 Which executeth judgment for the oppressed:

which giveth food to the hungry.

The LORD looseth the prisoners:

8 The LORD openeth the eyes of the blind:

the LORD raiseth them that are bowed down:

the LORD loveth the righteous:

9 The LORD preserveth the strangers;

he relieveth the fatherless and widow:

but the way of the wicked he turneth upside down.

10 The LORD shall reign for ever, even thy God, O Zion, unto all generations.

A’. Praise ye the LORD.

3 thoughts on “Psalm 146”

  1. Thanks for this.

    I wonder if there is a little more to it as well…

    I would pair:

    ‘which keepeth truth forever’ (v6) with ‘the LORD shall reign forever’ (v10)

    ‘which executeth judgement for the oppressed’ (v7) with ‘the way of the wicked he shall turn upside down’ (v9)

    ‘which giveth food to the hungry’ (v7) with ‘he relieves the fatherless and the widow’ (v9)

    Then the centre is the 5 phrases beginning the LORD…:

    The LORD looseth the prisoners:
    The LORD openeth the eyes of the blind:
    the LORD raiseth them that are bowed down:
    the LORD loveth the righteous:
    The LORD preserveth the strangers;

    Food for thought.

  2. One could also see this as a very simplistic contrast of the brevity of humans to the eternal nature of the LORD.
    So verses 2-4 echo “while I live / while I have my being / no salvation / returns to the earth / his thoughts perish”
    is compared with verses 6-10 which echo “who made heaven and earth/ keeps faith forever / reign forever / to all generations”
    This is also highlighted within the structure by there being fewer verses about the brevity of man and more verses about the eternal nature of God.

    Another way of looking at this Psalm is as a 3 step chiasm.
    A. Praise (vs 1-2)
    B. Mortal leadership (3-4) “Do not trust in princes … returns to the earth”
    C. Characteristics of God (5-9)
    B’ Eternal leadership (10) The Lord will reign forever… all generations”
    A’ Praise (10)

    I’ve used the NASB 95 version.

  3. I meant to add to my comment on the ABC chiasm where C is the characteristics of God. C is also the characteristics of a good leader so the chiasm is
    A Praise;
    B: mortal leadership
    C: Characteristics of a good leader/God
    B: eternal leadership
    A Praise

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