Psalm 66

Psalm 66[a]

Thanksgiving for God’s Deliverance

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

Shout joyfully to God, all the earth;[c]
2 sing to the glory of his name;[d]
offer to him glorious praise.
3 Say to God: “How awesome are your deeds!
Because of your great power,
your enemies grovel before you.
4 The whole earth bows down in worship before you,
singing praises to you,
singing praises to your name.” Selah
5 Come and behold[e] the works of God,
the awesome deeds he has done for people.
6 He changed the sea into dry land;
they crossed the river[f] on foot.
There we rejoiced in him,
7 for he rules forever by his power.
His eyes keep watch over the nations
so that the rebellious not exalt themselves. Selah
8 [g]Bless our God, all you peoples;
let the sound of his praise be heard.
9 For he has preserved our lives[h]
and has kept our feet from stumbling.
10 For you, O God, have put us to the test;
you have purified us as silver is refined.
11 [i]You allowed us to be snared in the net
and placed heavy burdens on our backs.
12 You let our captors ride over our heads,[j]
and we went through fire and water,
but now you have afforded us relief.
13 [k]I will enter your house with burnt offerings
and carry out my vows to you,
14 the vows that my lips pronounced
and my mouth promised when I was in distress.
15 I will offer burnt offerings of fat animals
with the smoke of burning rams;
I will sacrifice to you bulls and goats. Selah
16 Come and listen, all you who fear God,
while I relate what he has done for me.
17 [l]I lifted up my voice in prayer to him;
his praise[m] was on my tongue.
18 [n]If I had harbored evil in my heart,
the Lord would not have listened.
19 But God truly did listen,
and he was attentive to the words of my prayer.
20 Blessed[o] be God,
because he did not reject my prayer
or withhold his kindness from me.

Footnotes

  1. Psalm 66:1 This psalm is made up of two wholly autonomous parts: in the first, Israel praises God for his saving acts on its behalf, and in the second, an individual fulfills his vow to God for some favor. In its liturgy, Israel always contemplates anew the great days of the past: the Exodus from Egypt and the passage of the Jordan (v. 5). This does not constitute nostalgia for a past favor; yesterday’s event is the sign of God’s presence today. God always manifests himself as the savior of his people: now he delivers them from the distress of an invasion or possibly from the great trial of the Exile (vv. 8-11). A spirit of universalism pervades the first part of this poem: the whole earth is invited to proclaim the deliverances of God.
    In the individual’s prayer of thanksgiving, a man saved from a great trial comes to give praise by his offerings and his proclamation amidst his friends. The person who announces a deliverance at God’s hands makes himself the spokesman of the community of believers.
    This psalm is an apt reminder to offer God a fitting sacrifice of thanksgiving in the Eucharist. Such is the living sacrifice we offer God, placing ourselves in it as other living victims (see Rom 12:1) in order to thank him for the wonders accomplished in our souls, especially for our spiritual resurrection achieved in union with Christ’s Resurrection (see Rom 6:5-8).
  2. Psalm 66:1 For the director: these words are thought to be a musical or liturgical notation.
  3. Psalm 66:1 All the earth: see note on Ps 65:3.
  4. Psalm 66:2 Name: see note on Ps 5:12.
  5. Psalm 66:5 Come and behold: in the eyes of the psalmist, God’s saving acts are present and can be seen in the liturgical celebration in the temple.
  6. Psalm 66:6 Sea . . . river: the passages through the Red Sea (see Ex 14:1—15:21) and through the Jordan (see Jos 3:11—4:24) became typical of God’s power and wondrous deeds in the history of Israel (see Ps 114:3; Isa 44:27; 50:2).
  7. Psalm 66:8 Praise for a new deliverance that God has worked on his people’s behalf.
  8. Psalm 66:9 Preserved our lives: sometimes translated as “brought us to life,” which accounts for the name “Resurrection Psalm” given this psalm in Greek and Latin manuscripts and its use in the Easter Liturgy.
  9. Psalm 66:11 The Israelites experienced imprisonment, slavery, and total defeat before being delivered by God and brought into a place of abundance (see Pss 18:20; 23:4-6; 119:45). The Lord does not permit his people to succumb to their trials (see Ps 37:24; 1 Cor 10:13) and rewards a persevering faith (see 1 Pet 1:7).
  10. Psalm 66:12 You let our captors ride over our heads: literally, “you let men mount our head,” which suggests the ancient practice of victors in war placing their feet on the necks of their enemies as a sign of total subjugation (see Isa 51:23). Fire and water: conventional metaphors for the gravest of trials (see Pss 32:6; 81:8; Isa 43:2; 51:22f).
  11. Psalm 66:13 An individual fulfills the vows he promised to God when he was in trouble (see note on Ps 7:18; see also Pss 50:14; 116:17-19).
  12. Psalm 66:17 The psalmist’s celebration of his deliverance includes a lament (I lifted up my voice, v. 17), a profession of commitment (his praise was on my tongue, v. 17), a protestation of innocence (if I had harbored evil in my heart, v. 18; see Pss 17:1f; 18:21f; 59:4f; Jn 9:31), and praise (God truly did listen, v. 19; see Pss 28:6; 31:22; 68:20, 36).
  13. Psalm 66:17 I lifted up my voice . . . his praise: prayer always entails praise in both the Old Testament and the New (see Phil 4:6; 1 Tim 2:1). Even while the psalmist was praying for help, he was also praising God for his goodness and mercy.
  14. Psalm 66:18 Because the psalmist acknowledged his sin, he was forgiven by God, and his prayer was heard. Heart: see note on Ps 4:8.
  15. Psalm 66:20 Blessed: see note on Ps 22:27. Kindness: see note on Ps 6:5.

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