Accusing God of breaking his contract
God promised to support David1 I will never stop singing of the kindness of the LORD.
I’ll tell people young and old that they can trust you.
2 I put it this way: “Your kindness lasts forever.
Your faithful love is more reliable than the sky.”
3 You said, “I signed a contract with my chosen people.
I swore an oath to my devoted servant, David.
4 Your descendants will always exist.
Your kingdom will live on, generation after generation.”
God is the greatest5 LORD, the sky displays your miracles.
And when your people get together
They talk about your faithfulness.
6 Who in the sky above compares to the LORD?
Are there any celestial beings like him?
7 Celestial beings have great respect for God.
He’s outstanding among them, and above them all.
8 LORD God of heaven’s armies,
Who’s as strong as you?
Who could be as trustworthy?
9 You command the wild seas.
When waves rise and roll,
You calm the angry storm.
10 You defeated Rahab, the sea monster,
With the power in your fist.
You sent your enemies on the run.
11 The heavens are yours,
The earth as well,
The world and all it holds.
They all exist because of you.
12 North and South belong to you.
You created them both of them.
Mount Tabor and Mount Hermon shout for joy
At the mention of your name.
13 You’ve got power in those arms,
A wallop in your fist,
And a right cross that’s a knockout.
14 Goodness and justice
Guide everything you do.
You’ve got a solid reputation
For your mercy and your truth.
God is our source of strength15 LORD, happy people know how to celebrate
Because they live in the glow of your presence.
16 They celebrate all day
Because of who you are.
And because you are goodness,
They are honored among the nations.
17 Your people honor you as their source of strength.
You are the reason nations honor them.
18 The LORD is our defensive shield.
He’s our king and Israel’s Holy One.
God picks David as king19 You spoke once in a vision to your people.
You said, “I’ve empowered a warrior.
I’ve picked him from among my chosen people.
20 I found my chosen servant, David
And with holy oil I anointed him as king.
21 My steady hand will guide him.
My muscled arms will strengthen him.
22 David’s enemies won’t outsmart him.
Wicked folks won’t hurt him.
23 I will crush the life out of his enemies,
out of anyone who attacks or hates him.
And I’ll do it while he watches.
24 He’ll have my reliable support.
And people will honor him.
25 I’ll give him power on the sea.
I’ll give him power on the rivers.
26 David will say, ‘You are my Father,
My God, and my rock-solid Savior.’
27 I’ll bring him to the front of the line,
As the world’s most-honored king.
28 He’ll have my support forever.
I’m confirming this in our contract.
29 He’ll have descendants forever,
And a throne as long as heaven lasts.
30 If any of his descendants break my law,
If they stop observing what I’ve taught,
31 If they violate my laws,
And ignore what I’ve told them to do,
32 I’ll take a club to their sin,
And I’ll take a whip to their guilt.
33 But I won’t stop supporting them.
And I won’t break my promise of loyalty.
34 I won’t break my contract
And I won’t take back my words.
35 I said what I said and I Am who I Am.
I will not break my word to David.
36 He’ll have descendants forever,
And a throne as long as the sun shines.
37 His kingdom will live on forever,
And the moon will serve as witness.”
God broke his promise38 But what happened?
You have rejected, trashed,
And terrorized your chosen king.
39 You renounced the contract you made with David.
You took his crown and threw it in the dirt.
40 You tore down his city’s walls.
Every place of defensive strength lies in ruins.
41 Anyone passing through can take what they want.
Our neighbors ridicule your king as a disgrace.
42 You have made his enemies stronger.
All of his enemies are celebrating now.
43 You’ve made his sword as useless as a butter knife.
You don’t give him any chance at all in combat.
44 His days of splendor are over.
His crown lies in the dirt.
And it all because of you.
45 You cut his life short
Then you buried him with shame.
How long, God?46 So LORD, how much longer?
Are you going to keep hiding forever?
Will your anger burn like wildfire?
47 Remember, I have a short lifespan.
Why bother creating us in the first place
If you’re going to do this to us?
48 What person can live forever?
Who can break free from the power of death?
Instruments49 You used to support us, Lord.
You swore a vow of loyalty to David.
50 Listen, Lord, to how your people are ridiculed.
Look into my heart and see the insults I carry there.
They’re the insults of people everywhere.
51 LORD, it’s your enemies who insult us.
They follow your chosen people,
Insulting us every step of our every day.
52 Forever, the LORD is wonderful.
That’s the absolute truth. Absolutely.
The subtitle wasn’t part of the original psalm. “An enlightening psalm” is a guess. The original Hebrew word is maskil (mass-KEEL). Scholars say they aren’t sure what it means. They say they don’t even know if the word refers to the lyrics or the music. Maskil sounds a bit like another Hebrew word, askilkha, which means “let me enlighten you.” Some scholars associate maskil with a root word, sakal, which generates a lot of words with various meanings such as: thoughtful, instructive, wise, and proper. One theory is that the word relates to both lyrics and music. It could, for example, describe the lyrics as “thoughtful” and the music as a harmony fit for that theme.
A man named Ethan was a musician who played the cymbals during King David’s time (1 Chronicles 15:19). “Ezrahite” is apparently another name for the Zerahites, an extended family in the tribe of Judah.
It’s unknown what mahalath leannoth means. It could be the tune to which the song is sung or recited. It might be a style of music. It might be the name of the songwriter. Guesses are based mainly on context clues, which are few and not especially helpful.
The word in the original language of Hebrew is selah. Bible scholars haven’t figured out what it means yet, so all we can do is guess. It could mean “pause for effect,” “instrumental interlude,” or “choir singing ‘Amen.’” We’re offering a guess instead of selah. Though selah might be the better way to go because it’s always correct, it’s also always incomprehensible. “Instruments” has a good chance of being wrong, but at least we convey the idea that the Hebrew word behind it probably has something to do with enhancing the song.
In Hebrew, ben el, more literally translated “sons of god” or “sons of the mighty one.”
Rahab was a dragon-like sea monster that threatened human existence in ancient creation myths. Some Jews taught that God destroyed the monster.
Mount Tabor and Mount Hermon are two of the most distinctive mountains in Israel. Mount Tabor rises up by itself in the mostly otherwise flat and sprawling Jezreel Valley. Mount Hermon is the largest mountain in Israel, along the borders of Lebanon and Syria. Snow and rain from this mountain is the source of much of the Jordan River below it.
More literally, “I swore by my holiness.” The holiness of God is as unique and distinct as his name, which he revealed to Moses: I Am (Exodus 3:14). The holiness refers to his pure goodness and to his “otherness,” which describes his uniqueness among all life. He is unique and supreme, the only I Am. He’s at the tiptop top of the ladder, as Goodness on guard and Goodness at the end of our climb.
The first line isn’t in the text, but is implied. The writer seems to move suddenly into asking God why he allowed Babylonian invaders in 586 BC to destroy Jerusalem, end the reign of kings and wipe the Jewish nation off the world map by exiling the survivors.
Literally, Sheol, a word Old Testament writers used to describe the place of the dead. It is a kind of underworld where the dead are cut off from the living—and from God—and there is no coming back.
- Sorry, there are currently no questions for this chapter.