Psalms 138

Listen to Psalms 138
1 1I give you thanks, O LORD, with my whole heart; before 2the gods I sing your praise;
2 I bow down 3toward your 4holy temple and give thanks to your name for your steadfast love and your faithfulness, for you have exalted above all things your name and your word.[a]
3 On the day I called, you answered me; my strength of soul you increased.[b]
4 5All the kings of the earth shall give you thanks, O LORD, for they have heard the words of your mouth,
5 and they shall sing of 6the ways of the LORD, for great is the glory of the LORD.
6 7For though the LORD is high, he regards the lowly, but the haughty he knows from afar.
7 8Though I walk in the midst of trouble, you 9preserve my life; you 10stretch out your hand against the wrath of my enemies, and your 11right hand delivers me.
8 The LORD will 12fulfill his purpose for me; 13your steadfast love, O LORD, endures forever. Do not forsake 14the work of your hands.

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Psalms 138 Commentary

Chapter 138

The psalmist praises God for answering prayer. (1-5) The Lord's dealing with the humble and the proud. (6-8)

Verses 1-5 When we can praise God with our whole heart, we need not be unwilling for the whole world to witness our gratitude and joy in him. Those who rely on his loving-kindness and truth through Jesus Christ, will ever find him faithful to his word. If he spared not his own Son, how shall he not with him freely give us all things? If God gives us strength in our souls, to bear the burdens, resist the temptations, and to do the duties of an afflicted state, if he strengthens us to keep hold of himself by faith, and to wait with patience for the event, we are bound to be thankful.

Verses 6-8 Though the Lord is high, yet he has respect to every lowly, humbled sinner; but the proud and unbelieving will be banished far from his blissful presence. Divine consolations have enough in them to revive us, even when we walk in the midst of troubles. And God will save his own people that they may be revived by the Holy Spirit, the Giver of life and holiness. If we give to God the glory of his mercy, we may take to ourselves the comfort. This confidence will not do away, but quicken prayer. Whatever good there is in us, it is God works in us both to will and to do. The Lord will perfect the salvation of every true believer, and he will never forsake those whom he has created anew in Christ Jesus unto good works.

Cross References 14

  • 1. Psalms 111:1
  • 2. Psalms 95:3; Psalms 96:5
  • 3. Psalms 28:2; 1 Kings 8:29
  • 4. Psalms 5:7
  • 5. See Psalms 102:15
  • 6. Psalms 103:7
  • 7. [Psalms 131:1; Proverbs 3:34; Luke 1:48; James 4:6]; See Psalms 113:5, 6
  • 8. [Psalms 23:4]
  • 9. See Psalms 71:20
  • 10. [1 Samuel 24:6; Job 1:12]
  • 11. Psalms 60:5
  • 12. Psalms 57:2; [Philippians 1:6]
  • 13. Psalms 136:1; See 1 Chronicles 16:41
  • 14. See Psalms 100:3

Footnotes 2

  • [a]. Or you have exalted your word above all your name
  • [b]. Hebrew you made me bold in my soul with strength

Chapter Summary


\\<>\\. This psalm is generally thought to have been written by David upon his being advanced to the throne; on account of which he praises the Lord, who had supported him under many exercises, and had made good his promise to him, at least in part; and he firmly believed the accomplishment of the rest, that he would perfect what concerned him, Ps 138:8. It seems as if this psalm was composed between his being king over Judah and over all Israel. Though Theodoret understands the psalm as a thanksgiving of the Jews upon their return from Babylon, which David prophesied of. The Syriac version calls it a thanksgiving with a prophecy; as indeed it is a prophecy of the Messiah's kingdom, and of the calling of the Gentiles in the latter day, as appears from Ps 138:4.

Psalms 138 Commentaries

The English Standard Version is published with the permission of Good News Publishers.