Psalm 111

Psalm 111[a]

Praise of God for His Wondrous Works

1 Alleluia.

I will give thanks to the Lord with all my heart[b]
in the council of the upright and in the assembly.
2 Great are the works of the Lord;[c]
they are pondered by all who delight in them.
3 His deeds[d] show forth majesty and splendor,
and his righteousness endures forever.
4 He has won renown for his wonders;[e]
gracious and compassionate is the Lord.
5 He provides food for those who fear him,[f]
and is forever mindful of his covenant.
6 He has manifested the power of his works to his people
by giving them the lands[g] of the nations.
7 The works of his hands[h] are faithful and right,
and all his commandments are trustworthy.
8 They are established forever and ever
to be observed in fidelity and truthfulness.
9 He has granted deliverance to his people
and established his covenant forever;
holy and awe-inspiring is his name.[i]
10 The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom;[j]
those who are guided by it will grow in understanding.
His praise will last forever.

Footnotes

  1. Psalm 111:1 A sage sets forth the essence of the religion of Israel: the Lord has delivered his people in order to conclude a covenant with them and to reveal his will to them. The author contemplates the divine “righteousness” (v. 3), i.e., everything the Lord has done in favor of his chosen ones, the wonders that in some way are renewed when they are recalled in the liturgy (v. 4): the miracle of the manna and the quail (v. 5), the gift of the Promised Land (v. 6), and the stability of the laws of the world and the moral order (v. 7). The sages who pursue this meditation and observe the law will be enabled to understand who God is: holy and redoubtable, compassionate and tender, so that they may render thanks to him.
    In praying this psalm, we should keep in mind that the wonders to which it alludes are only a pale figure of the wonders that the Father has accomplished through, and in, his Incarnate Son on behalf of his new people, the Church (see Jn 5:20). After various physical cures and raisings from the dead, God works the glorious Resurrection of his Son and our own spiritual resurrection in him (see Eph 2:5f).
  2. Psalm 111:1 Heart: see note on Ps 4:8. Council of the upright: probably a circle of friends and advisors, as in Ps 107:32. In the assembly: in the temple (see Ps 149:1).
  3. Psalm 111:2 Works of the Lord: sometimes his deeds, as in verse 6, but more often the things he has made (the heavens, Pss 8:4; 19:2; 102:26; and the earth, Ps 104:24). Made “by . . . wisdom” (Ps 104:24), these lend themselves to meditation and lead to delight.
  4. Psalm 111:3 Deeds: probably his providential acts as in Deut 32:4. We should keep in mind that, as Isa 45:9-13 indicates, God’s creation and providence are of one piece. Righteousness: as embodied in his deeds.
  5. Psalm 111:4 Won renown for his wonders: by the celebration of annual feasts (see Ex 23:14), notably the Passover (for Christians, see 1 Cor 11:23-26). See also note on Ps 9:2. Gracious and compassionate: classic description of the meaning of God’s name (see Ps 103:8; Ex 34:6f).
  6. Psalm 111:5 Food for those who fear him: probably a reference to the manna in the desert (see Ex 16:1ff), which in the New Testament is seen as a type of the Eucharist (see Jn 6:31-33, 49-51). The entire verse may also refer to God’s giving of our daily bread (see Mt 6:11) and his daily forbearance. His covenant: see Ps 105:8-11.
  7. Psalm 111:6 Lands: literally, “inheritance, heritage.”
  8. Psalm 111:7 There is complete harmony between what God does and what he says, between the works of his hands and his commandments.
  9. Psalm 111:9 This verse recalls the miracles of the Exodus and the theophany at Sinai. Name: see note on Ps 5:12.
  10. Psalm 111:10 The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom: the motto of the Wisdom writings (see Job 28:28; Prov 1:7; 9:10; Eccl 12:13; Sir 1:18, 24; 19:17). Here it refers to God especially as Creator, Redeemer, and Provider.

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