PSALM 33#A hymn in which the just are invited (Ps 33:1–3) to praise God, who by a mere word (Ps 33:4–5) created the three-tiered universe of the heavens, the cosmic waters, and the earth (Ps 33:6–9). Human words, in contrast, effect nothing (Ps 33:10–11). The greatness of human beings consists in God’s choosing them as a special people and their faithful response (Ps 33:12–22).
Praise of God’s Power and Providence
1Rejoice, you righteous, in the Lord;
praise from the upright is fitting.#a. [33:1] Ps 32:11; 147:1.
2Give thanks to the Lord on the harp;
on the ten-stringed lyre offer praise.#b. [33:2] Ps 92:4; 144:9.
3Sing to him a new song;
skillfully play with joyful chant.
4For the Lord’s word is upright;
all his works are trustworthy.
5He loves justice and right.
The earth is full of the mercy of the Lord.#c. [33:5] Ps 119:64.
6By the Lord’s word the heavens were made;
by the breath of his mouth all their host.#All their host: the stars of the sky are commonly viewed as a vast army, e.g., Neh 9:6; Is 40:26; 45:12; Jer 33:22.#d. [33:6] Gn 2:1.
7#The waters…as a mound: ancients sometimes attributed the power keeping the seas from overwhelming land to a primordial victory of the storm-god over personified Sea.He gathered the waters of the sea as a mound;
he sets the deep into storage vaults.#e. [33:7] Ps 78:13; Gn 1:9–10; Ex 15:8; Jos 3:16.
8Let all the earth fear the Lord;
let all who dwell in the world show him reverence.
9For he spoke, and it came to be,
commanded, and it stood in place.#f. [33:9] Ps 148:5; Gn 1:3f; Jdt 16:14.
10The Lord foils the plan of nations,
frustrates the designs of peoples.
11But the plan of the Lord stands forever,
the designs of his heart through all generations.#g. [33:11] Prv 19:21; Is 40:8.
12Blessed is the nation whose God is the Lord,
the people chosen as his inheritance.#h. [33:12] Ps 144:15; Ex 19:6; Dt 7:6.
13From heaven the Lord looks down
and observes the children of Adam,#i. [33:13] Jb 34:21; Sir 15:19; Jer 16:17; 32:19.
14From his dwelling place he surveys
all who dwell on earth.
15The One who fashioned together their hearts
is the One who knows all their works.
16A king is not saved by a great army,
nor a warrior delivered by great strength.
17Useless is the horse for safety;
despite its great strength, it cannot be saved.
18Behold, the eye of the Lord is upon those who fear him,
upon those who count on his mercy,
19To deliver their soul from death,
and to keep them alive through famine.
20Our soul waits for the Lord,
he is our help and shield.#j. [33:20] Ps 115:9.
21For in him our hearts rejoice;
in his holy name we trust.
22May your mercy, Lord, be upon us;
as we put our hope in you.