The Concluding Hallel—Pss 146–150[a]
Trust in God, Creator and Redeemer
Praise the Lord, O my soul.[d]
2 I will praise the Lord as long as I live;
I will sing praise to my God throughout my life.[e]
3 Do not place your trust in princes,
in mortal men who have no power to save.
4 When the spirit departs, they return to the earth;
on that very day all their plans come to naught.[f]
5 [g]Blessed is he whose help is the God of Jacob,[h]
whose hope is in the Lord, his God,
6 the Maker of heaven and earth,[i]
the sea, and everything in them—
the one who keeps faith forever.
7 He grants justice to the oppressed[j]
and gives bread to the hungry.
The Lord releases prisoners
8 and opens the eyes of those who cannot see.[k]
The Lord lifts up those who are bowed down;
the Lord loves the righteous.
9 The Lord watches over the stranger
and sustains the fatherless and the widow,[l]
but he blocks the way of the wicked.
10 The Lord will reign forever,[m]
your God, O Zion, for all generations.
- Psalm 146:1 The Concluding Hallel (see notes on Pss 113–118). After all the prayers and praises of the Psalter, we are now at the end; all the instruments of creation and all the voices of human beings enter into a great chorus, a symphony destined never to end. The Psalms are a foretaste of and prelude to the acclamations of eternity.
- Psalm 146:1 The long procession of the unhappy and the persecuted has wound its way through the Psalter, endlessly repeating their supplications. This time, their prayer takes the form of a hymn of happiness and security. How uncertain is the help of the mighty! God alone truly frees us of every anxiety.
Inaugurating the third Hallel and composed of reminiscences, this hymn sings of what the Prophets promised (see Isa 29:18f; 49:9; 61:1), promises whose fulfillment Jesus proclaims (see Lk 4:16-21). “The blind receive their sight, the lame walk, those who have leprosy are cured, the deaf hear, the dead are raised to life, and the poor have the good news proclaimed to them” (Mt 11:5)—such is the kingdom that comes; it inaugurates a new time, that of peace. Accordingly, like the next four psalms, it is framed with “Alleluia” or “Hallelujah” (“Praise [or bless] the Lord”).
We can pray this psalm in honor of the heavenly Father but also in honor of Christ “[whom] God exalted . . . at his right hand as leader and Savior so that he might grant repentance and forgiveness of sins to Israel” (Acts 5:31).
- Psalm 146:1 The psalmist calls upon his people to praise and trust the Lord, for human beings are unable to provide salvation owing to their mortality.
- Psalm 146:1 The Septuagint and Vulgate attribute this psalm to the prophets Haggai and Zechariah. Soul: see note on Ps 6:4.
- Psalm 146:2 Life is for the purpose of praising the Lord (see Pss 103:1; 104:33).
- Psalm 146:4 See Pss 90:3; 104:29; Eccl 9:5; 12:7; Isa 2:22.
- Psalm 146:5 The psalmist identifies this Lord as the God of Jacob, the Covenant God who is Creator and Lord over all, Sustainer and Provider, the Righteous One who dispenses justice to both the godly and the wicked, and the Great King who reigns forever.
- Psalm 146:5 See Ps 2:12; Deut 33:29; Jer 17:7. God of Jacob: the God of Zion (see note on v. 10 below), whose kingship is established (see Pss 47:8; 48:2), and who blesses those who trust in him (see Ps 84:13).
- Psalm 146:6 The Lord is faithful, using his power to control creation, including the unruly sea, and to bless his creatures (see Ps 107:8f) with his kindness (see note on Ps 6:5). Maker of heaven and earth: see Pss 121:2 and note; 124:8; Ex 20:11; Jer 32:17; Acts 14:15.
- Psalm 146:7 He grants justice to the oppressed: see Ps 103:6; Deut 7:9. The Lord releases prisoners: see Ps 68:7; Isa 49:9; 61:1.
- Psalm 146:8 Opens the eyes of those who cannot see: see Isa 35:5; Bar 6:36; Mt 9:30; Jn 9:1ff; Acts 26:18. Lifts up those . . . bowed down: see Ps 145:14; Lk 13:12.
- Psalm 146:9 Watches over the stranger . . . the fatherless and the widow: see Ps 68:6; Ex 22:21. Blocks the way of the wicked: see Pss 11:6; 147:6; Job 5:12.
- Psalm 146:10 The Lord is the Great King who has promised to dwell with his people and to deliver them (see Pss 29:10; 132:13-15; Ex 15:17). The Lord will reign forever: see Ps 145:13; Ex 15:18.