Psalm 118 - Triumphal Song of Thanksgiving




[New International Version] Psalm 118 belongs to Book V of the Book of Psalms. It describes the ritual path and renews the invitation to praise God.

The  PS 118  belong to Book V  Book of Ps , which is composed of a collection of texts 150 arranged by 5 poetry books. The Book of Psalms, for its  wisdom  and  basic principles  of human action , is considered the heart of the Old Testament. Book V encompasses  Psalms 107  to  150 . Psalm 118 is divided into 29 Verses.

The Psalms are poems-prayers addressed to God, being the privileged way to address and speak to Him. These prayers represent human experiences and religious conscience . They portray the common man , with his faults, insecurities, fears and hopes and, even today, we can identify with the Psalmist and draw inspiration from these texts to pray and plead with God when we feel lost and anguished or to express our gratitude for some blessing received.

“There are enemies or friends, there is life or death, health or illness, pain or joy and, most of the time, there are no changes or gradations. Words are like stones and poetry like boulders carved by chisel”; “The Psalms are a bit like mountain paths, simple, especially when walking on snow, but they lead to the peaks; they are paths toward the peaks of meeting the Lord.” - Carlo Maria Martini, Cardinal of Milan

Psalm 118 - Triumphal Song of Thanksgiving

1  Praise the Lord, for He is good,
for His mercy is eternal.

2  Let the house of Israel say:
“His mercy is everlasting!”

3  Let the house of Aaron say:
“His mercy is eternal!”

4  Let those who fear the Lord say:
“His mercy is everlasting!”

5  Out of the midst of the affliction I cried to the Lord;
the Lord answered, saving me.

6  The Lord is with me, I fear nothing.
What harm can man do to me?

7  The Lord is with me for my help,
and I will see the end of my enemies.

8  It is better to take refuge in the Lord
than to trust in man.

9  It is better to take refuge in the Lord
than to trust in the great.

10  All the peoples surrounded me,
but in the name of the Lord I faced them.

11  Again they surrounded me,
but in the name of the Lord I faced them.

12 They  surrounded me like swarms of wasps;
their fury crackled like fire among the thorns,
but in the name of the Lord I faced them.

13 They  pushed me violently to fall,
but the Lord helped me.

14  The Lord is my strength and my song of joy;
He was my salvation.

15  There are voices of joy and victory
in the tents of the righteous:
“The right hand of the Lord has done wonders!

16  The right hand of the Lord was exalted,
the right hand of the Lord did wonders!”.

17  I will not die. I will live
and I will tell the works of the Lord.

18  The Lord punished me harshly,
but He did not deliver me to death.

19  Open to me the gates of righteousness;
I want to enter through them and I will give thanks to the Lord.

20  This is the door that leads to the Lord;
the righteous will enter through it.

21  I praise you, because you answered me
and you were my salvation.

22  The stone that the builders rejected
became the cornerstone.

23  This happened from the Lord;
it’s wonderful in our eyes.

24  This is the day the Lord worked,
let us sing and rejoice in it.

25  Please, Lord, let us be saved!
Lord, make us prosper, please!

26  Blessed be he who comes in the name of the Lord!
From the house of the Lord we bless you.

27  The Lord is God; He enlightens us.
Weave branches of feast,
even to the corners of the altar!

28  You are my God and I give you thanks.
You are my God and I will exalt you.

29  Praise the Lord, for He is good,
for His mercy is eternal.

Meaning and interpretation

The Psalm 118 is a collective prayer of thanksgiving and describes the ritual path of fairly detailed manner. In verses 1-18, the setting is outside the temple, with a procession developing . After passing the gates of righteousness (Verses 19-20), thanksgiving is proclaimed (Verses 21-25), with an abbreviated explanation of the reasons.

In Verse 22, the Psalmist enthusiastically declares that a rejected stone was placed by God as the cornerstone . This is followed by the blessing (Verses 26-27) and a final solemn invitation that renews the first invitation to praise with which the Psalm began.

The Psalms of Praise are hymns addressed, above all, to God. In this sense, the Bible continues the liturgical literature of neighboring and previous religions, where hymns are the most common way for people to address the divinity , especially in contexts of greater solemnity.

These Psalms were of great importance in the lives of biblical heroes. The preaching of the word of the prophets or the teaching of wisdom reflection appears closely linked to the cultural action of the people of Israel. They express, in a solemn and simple way , the believer’s recognition of the efficacious presence of God who saves his people, for he is mercy that lasts forever; it is a refuge from the dangers of life; it is joy and joy; it is prosperity that feeds its people; it is light in times of darkness and salvation on Earth and in eternal life.

The texts of the Book of Psalms oscillate between shout and praise, supplication and joy. Perhaps its authors understood that Man can only express his supplications, laments or thirst for revenge before God, if he is immersed in the spirit of praise that sings life stronger than death . Perhaps, beyond the scream, the lament or the anger, they realized that what moves these words is nothing but that life force that explodes in praise when it comes out of violence or when it goes through death.

These hymns narrate, thus, the greatness or improvements and the thanks that flow from it. Examples of this are Psalm 8; 19; 28; 33; 47; 65-66; 93; 96-100; 104-105; 111; 113; 117; 135; 146; 148-150. Hymns can also be addressed to the king , focusing especially on the ceremony of royal enthronement, with every expectation of divine intervention for the well-being of the people and the just ordering of the world . In this case, the Psalms were performed at court parties, in the presence of the king, in celebrations for victory over enemies, among others. Some examples are Psalm 2; 18; 20; 21; 27; 51; 60; 61.

With the end of the monarchy, these Psalms were accentuating the messianic connotations , which already had implicit. This is the case with Psalm 2; 18; 20-21; 45; 72; 89; 101; 110; 132; 144. The Psalms celebrating Jerusalem, which with the temple have a special connection to God, are also considered hymns. These are Ps 46; 48; 76; 84; 87; 122.

The Book of Psalms

The Joy and Happiness of the Righteous in Communion with God

The Psalms are prayer-poems addressed to God, being the privileged way to address and speak to Him. Depicting the common man , with his failures, insecurities, fears and hopes, we can still identify with the Psalmist and be inspired today in Psalms to make prayers and supplications to God in times of trouble or express our gratitude for some blessing received.

The Psalms, despite being written in Antiquity, still move , sensitize , awaken feelings , inspire and enchant . In them, we can identify anguish and joy , deeply human feelings, praises, supplications, teachings of reflection on spiritual wisdom and prophetic words.

Written for different situations , some Psalms are intimate, revealing the author’s personal relationship with God; others provide guidelines and advice for life, others are compositions for specific liturgical events such as rituals and pilgrimages.

The Book of Psalms is composed of a collection of 150 poetic texts and is divided into five parts, called Psalm Books or Booklets. Each Book closes with short hymns of praise to God . The division into five parts was considered to correspond to the five books of Moses and it is assumed that each passage in the Pentateuch (first five books of the Bible, called Torah by the Jews) was read in parallel with the corresponding Psalm. Its main forms are lamentation , supplication , praise and gratitude .

The Power of Prayer in Dialogue with the Divine

The Psalms elevate our thoughts to the Divine and prayer is the power of the word . Prayer is the language of faith. Any thought, word or image addressed to God is called prayer . It is through it that we come into contact with our God within and, therefore, it is so powerful in transforming life . Prayer can produce miracles , turn dreams into reality, give us hope for change , harmony and peace with ourselves and the world.

Each Psalm has an intention that helps us meditate and walk with our God . For many theologians, the Book of Psalms has a prophetic or messianic tone as its verses refer to the coming of Christ into the world of men to guide them through the uncertainty and doubts of Human existence.

The prayer has the power to call the Spiritual Universe full mode, honest, sincere, conscious, for the purpose of spiritual self-protection, family protection and those who are dear to us, to have peace of mind, spiritual and physical, for prosperity and success, to protect health and relationships, to ward off negative energies and, above all, to connect us to something bigger than ourselves. From this peace , well-being, hope and goodness in front of everyone and everything result.

The faith can change our lives. It gives us tranquility and spiritual strength to face challenges. It helps us to meditate on our mission in life and to create a balanced and healthy environment for ourselves and those we love. When you pray, fill your heart with love and determination . The Psalms will guide you on a path of peace and communion with the higher energy .