Psalm 145 - The Memory of Thy Great Goodness

 This is a very sweet psalm containing many of my favorite verses: 1-2, 3, 13b-14, 15-16, 17-18, 19-20.

I titled this psalm from v7 because it seems to be what the whole psalm is about, and DSS (Dead Sea Scrolls) ends the psalm with this thought in v21.

This is the last acrostic, or alphabetic psalm. I think the purpose of an acrostic psalm is to make it easier to memorize. As with the other acrostic psalms that I have done (25, 34, 37), for each verse, I have put in the Hebrew letter that starts the verse, and have bolded the word that starts with that letter. For this psalm, I also put in the Hebrew word that begins with the letter starting the verse. This makes it easier for me to memorize.

The DSS has a repeating chorus after every verse, "Blessed be the LORD, and blessed be His name forever and ever."

A striking thing about this psalm is so much use of the Hebrew word kol, meaning "all" or "every". There are 18 kol's in this psalm of 22 verses:
1. In every day bless the Lord v2
2. The Lord is good to all v9
3. Mercy is over all the Lord's works v9
4. All the Lord's works praise Him v10
5. The Lord's kingdom is for all ages v13
6. The Lord's dominion is for all generations v13
7a&b. The Lord is kind in all His works v13b & 17
8. The Lord upholds all the falling v14
9. The Lord raises up all those fallen down v14
10. All eyes wait upon the Lord v15
11. The Lord fills the desire of all living v16
12. The Lord is righteous in all His ways v17
13a. The Lord is near to all who call on Him v18
13b. to all who call on him in truth v18
14. The Lord preserves all that love Him v20
15. The Lord will destroy all the wicked v20
16. All flesh will bless His holy name v21

The psalm begins and ends with eternity, and mentions eternity 6 times:
forever and ever - v1, v2, v21
generation to generation - v4, v13
all ages v13
The usual word translated "forever", lolam by itself, actually means "to the age" and does not necessarily mean eternity. However all the terms used in this psalm unambiguously mean eternity.

The psalm begins and ends with blessing, and mentions blessing 4 times:  v1, v2, v10, v21 (DSS adds an additional blessing in v2 to make 5).

Psalm Heading : MT and LXX say "tehilah (praise) through David".  The same word tehilah is used in v21. There are no other psalms with tehila in the heading.
DSS has the heading as "tefilah (prayer) through David". There is a one letter difference between tehilah and tefilah. There are 5 other tefilah psalms: Ps 17, 86, 90, 102 & 142. In these 5 psalms the main characteristic is prayer request, but in this psalm, there is no prayer request, just praise.
Since MT and LXX agree on tehilah, and since this psalm is not at all like any of the tefilah psalms, I think that the DSS is in error here.

v1  - DSS adds LORD before "my God".

v2  - DSS has "Blessed is the day" instead of "in every day", which is in both MT and LXX. In every day we need to bless the Lord. A day that we bless the Lord is a blessed day.

v4  - lit. Generation to generation

v5  - lit. I will speak of the glorious splendor of Thy majesty and of Thy wondrous works.

v6  - lit. And the might of Thy fearsome acts
"They" here and in v7 refers back to generations in v4.

v12  lit. His mighty acts and the glorious splendor of His kingdom.

v13b  - This verse comes from LXX and DSS. This adds the missing letter of the acrostic.
DSS says "God" here instead of "The Lord".

The Dead Sea Scrolls Bible by Abegg, Flint & Ulrich says, "11QPs(a) preserves a verse of this Psalm that is missing in virtually all manuscripts of the Masoretic Text, although it is found in the Septuagint. This verse is so necessary and certain that almost all modern English-language Bibles now include it."

I memorized the psalm and sang it with and without v13b. I enjoy it more with 13b. Without 13b, it seems like a disjoint jump from v13 to vv14-16. v13b connects v13 to vv 14-16. vv14-16 give the details of how God is faithful in His words and kind in all his works.

v14  - This is my favorite verse in the psalm

v15-16  - These 2 verses  are good to memorize to thank the Lord for our daily food. Acts 2:46

v18  - DSS has "they call on Him in faith". MT and LXX have "that call on Him in truth".

v19  - "saves and hears ..." is  lit. "hears their cry and saves them."

v21  - lit. forever and ever
"This for a memorial" is from DSS, not in MT nor LXX

- copyright Steve Miller 10/19/2014