God’s Word Restores Jerusalem
How good to sing praise to our God;
how pleasant to give fitting praise.a
2The LORD rebuilds Jerusalem,
and gathers the dispersed of Israel,b
3Healing the brokenhearted,
and binding up their wounds.c
4He numbers the stars,
and gives to all of them their names.d
5Great is our Lord, vast in power,
with wisdom beyond measure.e
6The LORD gives aid to the poor,
but casts the wicked to the ground.f
7Sing to the LORD with thanksgiving;
with the lyre make music to our God,g
8*Who covers the heavens with clouds,
provides rain for the earth,
makes grass sprout on the mountains,h
9Who gives animals their food
and young ravens what they cry for.i
10*He takes no delight in the strength of horses,
no pleasure in the runner’s stride.j
11Rather the LORD takes pleasure in those who fear him,
those who put their hope in his mercy.
12Glorify the LORD, Jerusalem;
Zion, offer praise to your God,
13For he has strengthened the bars of your gates,
blessed your children within you.k
14He brings peace to your borders,
and satisfies you with finest wheat.l
15*He sends his command to earth;
his word runs swiftly!m
16Thus he makes the snow like wool,
and spreads the frost like ash;n
17He disperses hail like crumbs.
Who can withstand his cold?
18Yet when again he issues his command, it melts them;
he raises his winds and the waters flow.
19He proclaims his word to Jacob,
his statutes and laws to Israel.o
20He has not done this for any other nation;
of such laws they know nothing.
* [Psalm 147] The hymn is divided into three sections by the calls to praise in Ps 147:1, 7, 12. The first section praises the powerful creator who restores exiled Judah (Ps 147:1–6); the second section, the creator who provides food to animals and human beings; the third and climactic section exhorts the holy city to recognize it has been re-created and made the place of disclosure for God’s word, a word as life-giving as water.
* [147:8–9] God clothes the fields and feeds the birds, cf. Mt 6:26, 30.
* [147:10–11] Acknowledging one’s dependence upon God rather than claiming self-sufficiency pleases God, cf. Ps 20:8; 33:16–19.
* [147:15–19] God speaks through the thunder of nature and the word of revealed law, cf. Is 55:10–11. The weather phenomena are well known in Jerusalem: a blizzard of snow and hail followed by a thunderstorm that melts the ice.
b. [147:2] Is 11:12; 56:8; Jer 31:10.
c. [147:3] Jb 5:18; Is 30:26; 61:1; Jer 33:6.
e. [147:5] Jdt 16:13; Jer 51:15.
f. [147:6] Ps 146:9; 1 Sm 2:7–8.
h. [147:8] Ps 104:13f; Jb 5:10; Jer 14:22; Jl 2:23.
j. [147:10] Ps 20:8; 33:16–18.
n. [147:16] Jb 6:16; 37:10; 38:22.