Psalm 136

Note: this unique psalm begins and ends with giving thanks but the main section is  linear, recounting the mighty hand of God in delivering Israel from Egypt and bringing them to the land beyond Jordan. The forty year wilderness experience is covered in just one verse! The final section appears to reflect on recent deliverance. So why is the creation of the heavens (as distinct from creation of all things) and then the smiting of Egypt and Sihon/Og so prominent in the psalm? Is it because the plagues of Egypt and the defeat of the giants (e.g. Og) was directed against the mythology of Gentile gods believed to sit in the heavens?

A. O give thanks
1 O give thanks unto the LORD; for he is good:
for his mercy endureth for ever.
2 O give thanks unto the God of gods:
for his mercy endureth for ever.
3 O give thanks to the Lord of lords:
for his mercy endureth for ever.

B. Creator of the heavens
4 To him who alone doeth great wonders:
for his mercy endureth for ever.
5 To him that by wisdom made the heavens:
for his mercy endureth for ever.
6 To him that stretched out the earth above the waters:
for his mercy endureth for ever.
7 To him that made great lights:
for his mercy endureth for ever:
8 The sun to rule by day:
for his mercy endureth for ever:
9 The moon and stars to rule by night:
for his mercy endureth for ever.

C. Delivered Israel from Egypt
10 To him that smote Egypt in their firstborn:
for his mercy endureth for ever:
11 And brought out Israel from among them:
for his mercy endureth for ever:
12 With a strong hand, and with a stretched out arm:
for his mercy endureth for ever.

D. Divided the Red Sea
13 To him which divided the Red sea into parts:
for his mercy endureth for ever:
14 And made Israel to pass through the midst of it:
for his mercy endureth for ever:
15 But overthrew Pharaoh and his host in the Red sea:
for his mercy endureth for ever.

E. The wilderness journey
16 To him which led his people through the wilderness:
for his mercy endureth for ever.

F. Defeat of Sihon and Og
17 To him which smote great kings:
for his mercy endureth for ever:
18 And slew famous kings:
for his mercy endureth for ever:
19 Sihon king of the Amorites:
for his mercy endureth for ever:
20 And Og the king of Bashan:
for his mercy endureth for ever:
21 And gave their land for an heritage:
for his mercy endureth for ever:
22 Even an heritage unto Israel his servant:
for his mercy endureth for ever.

A’. O give thanks
23 Who remembered us in our low estate:
for his mercy endureth for ever:
24 And hath redeemed us from our enemies:
for his mercy endureth for ever.
25 Who giveth food to all flesh:
for his mercy endureth for ever.
26 O give thanks unto the God of heaven:
for his mercy endureth for ever.

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