Psalm 65

Psalm 65[a]

Thanksgiving for Divine Blessings

1 For the director.[b] A psalm of David. A song.

2 It is fitting to offer praise to you,[c]
O God, in Zion.
To you our vows must be fulfilled,
3 for you answer our prayers.
To you all flesh must come,[d]
4 burdened by its sinful deeds.
Too heavy for us are our sins,
and only you can blot them out.[e]
5 Blessed[f] is the one whom you choose
and invite to dwell in your courts.
We will be filled with the good things of your house,
of your holy temple.
6 Through your awesome deeds[g] of righteousness,
you respond to us, O God, our Savior;
you are the hope of all the ends of the earth
and of the far-off islands.
7 Clothed in your great power,
you hold the mountains in place.[h]
8 You quiet the roaring of the seas,
the turbulence of their waves,
and the turmoil of the nations.[i]
9 Those who dwell at the ends of the earth
are awestruck by your wonders.[j]
You call forth songs of joy
from sunrise and sunset.
10 You care for the earth and water it,
making it most fertile.
The streams of God[k] are filled with water
to provide grain for its people.
Thus, you prepare the earth for growth:
11 you water its furrows
and level its ridges;
you soften it with showers
and bless its yield.[l]
12 You crown the year with your bounty,[m]
and your tracks dispense fertility.
13 The pastures of the wilderness overflow,
and the hills are covered with rejoicing.
14 The meadows are clothed with flocks,
and the valleys are decked out with grain;
in their joy they shout and sing together.[n]

Footnotes

  1. Psalm 65:1 In Israel, the Harvest Feast (see Lev 23:29) directly follows the Day of Atonement (to which reference is made in Ps 65:4; see Lev 16). At this time the people celebrate a season of abundance. Joy and gratitude pervade this poem. At the beginning, there is a first acclamation to the Lord who dwells in Zion; in this privileged place God receives worship and dispenses pardon while the Levites are overwhelmed with joy and filled with grace. Then the horizon is expanded to include the very ends of the earth: the people praise the Master of the world whose exploits are proclaimed by all creation and history. Lastly, gratitude is offered for the huge harvest: the poet evokes the miracle that comes in the form of rain (for these regions ever threatened by drought); the springtime of Judea shines forth, and the country experiences a sumptuous rebirth.
    The modern—scientific—way in which we look at the succession of the seasons and harvests need not deprive us of the wisdom of the ancients, which saw God at work and extolled his splendor and goodness. It is God who acts through the regular course of nature (see Mt 6:26, 30).
    This psalm reminds us to offer God unceasing praise and thanksgiving (see Col 3:16f; Eph 5:19f).
  2. Psalm 65:1 For the director: these words are thought to be a musical or liturgical notation.
  3. Psalm 65:2 It is fitting . . . praise to you: another translation is: “Praise awaits you.” The debt of giving praise to God is fulfilled when people carry out the vows they made in time of need (see note on Ps 7:18).
  4. Psalm 65:3 To you all flesh must come: i.e., all humankind will come to God. It recalls the universalism of the psalmists (see Pss 64:10; 66:1, 4, 8; 67:4-6) and of Isaiah (see Isa 17:12; 26:15; 66:19, 23).
  5. Psalm 65:4 Blot them out: or “make atonement for them.” God forgives sins when his people repent and observe his rules for pardon (as he did for the Israelites who observed the Day of Atonement—see Lev 16:20-30).
  6. Psalm 65:5 Blessed: see note on Ps 1:1. Good things of your house: see note on Ps 36:9.
  7. Psalm 65:6 Awesome deeds: God’s creative acts as reflected in the beauty and bounty of Nature and his saving acts as seen in the deliverance of Israel from Egypt and its establishment in the Promised Land (see Pss 106:22; 145:6; Deut 10:21; 2 Sam 7:23; Isa 64:3).
  8. Psalm 65:7 Clothed in your great power, you hold the mountains in place: the God of the psalmist is the Creator, the one who formed the mountains and continues to hold them in place (see Ps 93:1; Am 4:13).
  9. Psalm 65:8 Just as God tamed the turbulence of the primeval waters of chaos (see notes on Pss 32:6; 33:7), so he brings to an end the turmoil of the nations (see Isa 2:4f; 11:6-9; Mic 4:3f).
  10. Psalm 65:9 Wonders: the great saving acts of God indicated in note to verse 6.
  11. Psalm 65:10 Streams of God: the poet evokes the means by which God brings forth the rain out of his “storehouses” (Ps 33:7), which flow into the water sources on earth and give life to creatures (see Ps 46:5; Isa 33:21).
  12. Psalm 65:11 God sends both the “early” rain in the fall and the “latter” rain in the spring to water the ground and lead to abundant harvests—which he then blesses (see Deut 11:14; 28:12; Hos 6:3; Joel 2:23; Acts 14:17).
  13. Psalm 65:12 Bounty: literally, “goodness”; the reference is to both material and spiritual gifts, God’s covenant promises. Tracks: God’s royal chariot tours the heavens dispensing fertility throughout the earth (see Pss 18:11; 68:5; Deut 33:26; Isa 66:15; Am 9:13).
  14. Psalm 65:14 In their joy they shout and sing together: all creation joins in the praise of God for his goodness (see Pss 89:13; 96:11-13; 98:8f; 103:22; 145:10; 148:3f, 7-10; Job 38:7; Isa 44:23; 49:13; 55:12).

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