Psalms 147

1 Alleluia. Praise ye the Lord, for the psalm is good; (let our) praising be merry, and fair to our God. (Alleluia. Praise ye the Lord, for it is good to sing to him; let our praises be joyful, and pleasing to our God.)
2 The Lord shall build [up] Jerusalem; and he shall gather together the scatterings of Israel. (The Lord shall rebuild Jerusalem; and he shall gather together the scattered people of Israel.)
3 The which Lord maketh whole men contrite in heart; and bindeth together the sorrows of them. (The Lord who maketh whole those who be contrite in heart, or who be broken-hearted; and who bindeth up their wounds.)
4 Which numbereth the multitude of stars; and calleth names to all those. (Who numbereth the multitude of the stars; and calleth all of them by their names.)
5 Our Lord is great, and his virtue is great; and of his wisdom there is no number. (Our Lord is great, and his power is great; and there is no measure of his wisdom.)
6 The Lord taketh up mild men; forsooth he maketh low sinners till to the earth. (The Lord raiseth up the meek, or the humble; but he bringeth the sinners down to the ground.)
7 Before sing ye to the Lord in acknowledging; say ye psalm to our God in an harp. (Sing ye to the Lord with thanksgiving; sing ye songs to our God on a harp.)
8 Which covereth heaven with clouds; and maketh ready rain to the earth. Which bringeth forth hay in hills; and herb to the service of men. (Who covereth the heavens with clouds; and prepareth rain for the earth. Who bringeth forth hay, or grass, on the hills; and plants for the service of all.)
9 Which giveth meat to their work beasts; and to the birds of crows calling him. (Who giveth food to their work beasts; and to the younglings of crows calling to him.)
10 He shall not have will in the strength of an horse; neither it shall be well pleasant to him in the legs of a man. (He shall not take delight in the strength of a horse; nor shall a man's fast legs be well pleasing to him.)
11 It is well pleasant to the Lord on men that dread him; and in them that hope in his mercy. (But the Lord is well pleased with those who fear him/with those who revere him; and with those who trust in his love.)
12 Jerusalem, praise thou the Lord; Zion, praise thou thy God.
13 For he hath comforted the locks of thy gates; he hath blessed thy sons in thee. (For he hath strengthened the locks of thy gates; he hath blessed thy children within them.)
14 Which hath set thy coasts peace (He who hath put thy land at peace); and filleth thee with the fatness of wheat.
15 Which sendeth out his speech to the earth; his word runneth swiftly. (Who sendeth out his word, or his command, to the earth; yea, his word runneth swiftly about.)
16 Which giveth snow as wool; he spreadeth abroad a cloud as ashes. (Who giveth the snow like wool; and he spreadeth abroad the hoarfrost like ashes.)
17 He sendeth his crystal as morsels; who shall be able to suffer before the face of his coldness? (He sendeth out his ice like morsels; yea, who can survive the cold that he sendeth?)
18 He shall send out his word, and shall melt those; his spirit shall blow, and waters shall flow. (And then he sendeth out his word, and the ice melteth; and his wind bloweth, and the waters flow.)
19 Which telleth his word to Jacob; and his rightfulnesses and dooms to Israel. (Who telleth his word to Jacob; yea, his statutes and his laws, or his decrees, to Israel.)
20 He did not so to each nation; and he showed not his dooms to them. (He hath not done this for any other nation; he hath not shown his laws, or his decrees, to them.)

Images for Psalms 147

Psalms 147 Commentary

Chapter 147

The people of God are exhorted to praise him for his mercies and care. (1-11) For the salvation and prosperity of the church. (12-20)

Verses 1-11 Praising God is work that is its own wages. It is comely; it becomes us as reasonable creatures, much more as people in covenant with God. He gathers outcast sinners by his grace, and will bring them into his holy habitation. To those whom God heals with the consolations of his Spirit, he speaks peace, assures them their sins are pardoned. And for this, let others praise him also. Man's knowledge is soon ended; but God's knowledge is a dept that can never be fathomed. And while he telleth the number of the stars, he condescends to hear the broken-hearted sinner. While he feeds the young ravens, he will not leave his praying people destitute. Clouds look dull and melancholy, yet without them we could have no rain, therefore no fruit. Thus afflictions look black and unpleasant; but from clouds of affliction come showers that make the soul to yield the peaceable fruits of righteousness. The psalmist delights not in things wherein sinners trust and glory; but a serious and suitable regard to God is, in his sight, of very great price. We are not to be in doubt between hope and fear, but to act under the gracious influences of hope and fear united.

Verses 12-20 The church, like Jerusalem of old, built up and preserved by the wisdom, power, and goodness of God, is exhorted to praise him for all the benefits and blessings vouchsafed to her; and these are represented by his favours in the course of nature. The thawing word may represent the gospel of Christ, and the thawing wind the Spirit of Christ; for the Spirit is compared to the wind, ( John 3:8 ) . Converting grace softens the heart that was hard frozen, and melts it into tears of repentance, and makes good reflections to flow, which before were chilled and stopped up. The change which the thaw makes is very evident, yet how it is done no one can say. Such is the change wrought in the conversion of a soul, when God's word and Spirit are sent to melt it and restore it to itself.

Chapter Summary


This psalm is thought to be written by David, and according to Theodoret predicts the return of the Jews from Babylon, and the rebuilding of Jerusalem by Zerubbabel, which seems to be grounded on Ps 147:2; though the words there agree well enough with the times of David; hence the title in the Septuagint, Ethiopic, Arabic, and Syriac versions, and Apollinarius, is as the preceding; the Syriac adds,

``concerning Zerubbabel and Joshua the priest, and Ezra, who were solicitous and diligent in building Jerusalem.''

Aben Ezra and other Jewish writers think it foretells the future rebuilding of Jerusalem, and the restoration of the Jews from their present captivity, and refer it to the times of the Messiah; and so far it may be right, that it respects Christ and the praise of him, on account of his nature and works; and may take in the conversion of the Jews. It seems to be written by the same person, and on the same account, as the preceding psalm.

Psalms 147 Commentaries

Copyright © 2001 by Terence P. Noble. For personal use only.