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Praise the Lord!

31. May 2017

Columns, Psalm of the Month,

  —Kit Swartz


Psalms 135 and 136 have numerous connections that make them one of many pairs of psalms in the psalter (e.g., 43–44; 126–127). Given their common theme of praise to God and the verbal connections between 134 and 135 (134:1-2 with 135:1-2; 134:3 with 135:21), it seems that these two psalms may serve as a grand finale to the Psalms of Ascent (120–134).

Significant Themes

Our psalm begins and ends with praise to God, revealing the purpose of the psalm as a whole (vv. 1-3, 21; see thanksgiving, 136:1-3, 26). Blessing God (vv. 19-21) parallels this and connects this psalm to the previous one (134:1-2). This praise and blessing is in the public worship of God (2-3, 19-21; 134:1-3). The name and character of God are everlasting (v. 13; Ps. 136). His supremacy over all things (v. 5; 136:2-3) is evident in His works of creation and providence (vv. 6-7; 136:4-9) and in His work of redemption (vv. 8-12; 136:10-22). All of this is in contrast to the impotence of idols and those who worship them (vv. 15-18; 115:4ff). The point of all this is that the Lord who has chosen His people (v. 4) will save them completely by delivering them from all their enemies on every side (v. 14, compassion, judge; 136:23-25).

Significant Arrangement

Structure is critically important for rightly understanding all language, but it is especially important in Hebrew poetry. Psalm 135 is ...

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