PSALM 103#The speaker in this hymn begins by praising God for personal benefits (Ps 103:1–5), then moves on to God’s mercy toward all the people (Ps 103:6–18). Even sin cannot destroy that mercy (Ps 103:11–13), for the eternal God is well aware of the people’s human fragility (Ps 103:14–18). The psalmist invites the heavenly beings to join in praise (Ps 103:19–22).
Praise of Divine Goodness
Bless the Lord, my soul;
all my being, bless his holy name!
2Bless the Lord, my soul;
and do not forget all his gifts,
3Who pardons all your sins,
and heals all your ills,
4Who redeems your life from the pit,#a. [103:4] Ps 28:1; 30:4; 40:3; 69:16; 88:5; 143:7; Prv 1:12; Jon 2:7.
and crowns you with mercy and compassion,
5Who fills your days with good things,
so your youth is renewed like the eagle’s.#Your youth is renewed like the eagle’s: because of the eagle’s long life it was a symbol of perennial youth and vigor, cf. Is 40:31.
6The Lord does righteous deeds,
brings justice to all the oppressed.#b. [103:6] Ps 146:6–7.
7He made known his ways to Moses,
to the Israelites his deeds.
8Merciful and gracious is the Lord,
slow to anger, abounding in mercy.#c. [103:8] Ps 86:15; 145:8; Ex 34:6–7; Nm 14:18; Jer 3:12; Jl 2:13; Jon 4:2.
9He will not always accuse,
and nurses no lasting anger;
10He has not dealt with us as our sins merit,
nor requited us as our wrongs deserve.
11For as the heavens tower over the earth,
so his mercy towers over those who fear him.#d. [103:11] Is 55:9.
12As far as the east is from the west,
so far has he removed our sins from us.
13As a father has compassion on his children,
so the Lord has compassion on those who fear him.
14For he knows how we are formed,
remembers that we are dust.#e. [103:14] Ps 90:3.
15As for man, his days are like the grass;
he blossoms like a flower in the field.#f. [103:15] Ps 37:2; 90:5–6; Is 40:7.
16A wind sweeps over it and it is gone;
its place knows it no more.
17But the Lord’s mercy is from age to age,
toward those who fear him.
His salvation is for the children’s children
18of those who keep his covenant,
and remember to carry out his precepts.
19The Lord has set his throne in heaven;
his dominion extends over all.
20Bless the Lord, all you his angels,#g. [103:20] Ps 148:2; Dn 3:58.
mighty in strength, acting at his behest,
obedient to his command.
21Bless the Lord, all you his hosts,
his ministers who carry out his will.
22Bless the Lord, all his creatures,
everywhere in his domain.
Bless the Lord, my soul!