Psalm 147

The Word Made Fresh

It is good to sing praises to our God,
who is gracious and deserves a song of praise.
2The LORD reestablishes Jerusalem
and gathers the outcast exiles of Israel.
3The LORD heals their broken hearts
and bandages their wounds.
4The LORD can count the stars in the sky
and give them all their names.
5Our LORD is magnificent and strong,
whose knowledge cannot be measured.
6The LORD helps those who are downtrodden to their feet
and throws down the wicked instead.
7So, sing to the LORD and give thanks.
Play a song to our God with the lyre.
8God streams clouds across the sky
to rain on the earth and make the grass grow on the hillsides.
9God gives the animals their food
and feeds the young ravens when they cry.
10The LORD does not take delight in the stallion’s strength
or in the runner’s speed,
11but rather in those who respect the LORD
and place their hope in God’s unfailing love.
12Praise the LORD, Jerusalem!
Praise your God, Zion!
13For the LORD strengthens the bars of your gates
and blesses your children within.
14The LORD brings peace to you within your borders
and feeds you with the finest wheat.
15When the LORD gives instructions to the earth
they are swiftly spread abroad.
16The LORD sends snow like a wool coating
and scatters frost over the land like ashes.
17The LORD hurls the hail down like falling stones.
No one can stand long before God’s winter.
18The LORD sends out instructions, and all is melted,
the winds blow and the water flows once more.
19The LORD gives the sacred Word to Jacob,
the statutes and ordinances that govern Israel.
20No other people have been blessed so,
For they do not know God’s laws.


1-11: The longest of the Hallel psalms, this one is filled with action verbs describing God’s acts on behalf of Jerusalem. God builds, gathers, heals, binds up, numbers, names, lifts up, casts down, covers, prepares, makes, gives, takes pleasure. In the first half of the psalm these actions are broken up by laudations for God, who is gracious, abundant in power, and understanding.

12-20. In this second half which begins again with a Hallelujah (Praise the Lord), this time exacted of Jerusalem and Zion, there is no break but simply a long list of God’s actions: God strengthens, blesses, grants peace, fills, sends out, gives snow, scatters frost, hurls hail, sends instructions, melts, makes, and declares all this activity exclusively for Jerusalem and the people of Israel. A final Hallelujah punctuates the whole.


Remember that everything we see in the world and beyond, every aspect of nature in all the seasons, every green thing that grows and every creature that stirs is a gift from the hand of God.