118
PSALM 118#A thanksgiving liturgy accompanying a procession of the king and the people into the Temple precincts. After an invocation in the form of a litany (Ps 118:1–4), the psalmist (very likely speaking in the name of the community) describes how the people confidently implored God’s help (Ps 118:5–9) when hostile peoples threatened its life (Ps 118:10–14); vividly God’s rescue is recounted (Ps 118:15–18). Then follows a possible dialogue at the Temple gates between the priests and the psalmist as the latter enters to offer the thanksgiving sacrifice (Ps 118:19–25). Finally, the priests impart their blessing (Ps 118:26–27), and the psalmist sings in gratitude (Ps 118:28–29).
Hymn of Thanksgiving
I
1Give thanks to the Lord, for he is good,#a. [118:1] Ps 100:5; 136:1f.
his mercy endures forever.
2Let Israel say:
his mercy endures forever.
3Let the house of Aaron say,
his mercy endures forever.
4Let those who fear the Lord say,#b. [118:4] Ps 115:9–11.
his mercy endures forever.
II
5In danger I called on the Lord;
the Lord answered me and set me free.
6The Lord is with me; I am not afraid;
what can mortals do against me?#c. [118:6] Ps 27:1; Heb 13:6.
7The Lord is with me as my helper;
I shall look in triumph on my foes.
8Better to take refuge in the Lord#d. [118:8f] Ps 146:3.
than to put one’s trust in mortals.
9Better to take refuge in the Lord
than to put one’s trust in princes.
III
10All the nations surrounded me;
in the Lord’s name I cut them off.
11They surrounded me on every side;
in the Lord’s name I cut them off.
12They surrounded me like bees;#e. [118:12] Dt 1:44.
they burned up like fire among thorns;
in the Lord’s name I cut them off.
13I was hard pressed and falling,
but the Lord came to my help.#f. [118:13] Ps 129:1–2.
14The Lord, my strength and might,
has become my savior.#g. [118:14] Ex 15:2; Is 12:2.
IV
15The joyful shout of deliverance
is heard in the tents of the righteous:
“The Lord’s right hand works valiantly;
16the Lord’s right hand is raised;
the Lord’s right hand works valiantly.”
17I shall not die but live
and declare the deeds of the Lord.
18The Lord chastised me harshly,
but did not hand me over to death.
V
19Open the gates of righteousness;
I will enter and thank the Lord.#h. [118:19] Is 26:2.
20This is the Lord’s own gate,
through it the righteous enter.
21I thank you for you answered me;
you have been my savior.
22#The stone the builders rejected: a proverb: what is insignificant to human beings has become great through divine election. The “stone” may originally have meant the foundation stone or capstone of the Temple. The New Testament interpreted the verse as referring to the death and resurrection of Christ (Mt 21:42; Acts 4:11; cf. Is 28:16 and Rom 9:33; 1 Pt 2:7).The stone the builders rejected
has become the cornerstone.#i. [118:22] Mt 21:42; Lk 20:17; Acts 4:11; Rom 9:33; 1 Pt 2:7.
23By the Lord has this been done;
it is wonderful in our eyes.
24This is the day the Lord has made;
let us rejoice in it and be glad.
25Lord, grant salvation!#Grant salvation: the Hebrew for this cry has come into English as “Hosanna.” This cry and the words in Ps 118:26 were used in the gospels to welcome Jesus entering the Temple on Palm Sunday (Mk 11:9–10).
Lord, grant good fortune!
VI
26Blessed is he
who comes in the name of the Lord.#j. [118:26] Mt 21:9; 23:39.
We bless you from the house of the Lord.
27The Lord is God and has enlightened us.
Join in procession with leafy branches
up to the horns of the altar.
VII
28You are my God, I give you thanks;
my God, I offer you praise.
29Give thanks to the Lord, for he is good,
his mercy endures forever.
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