Psalm 138 - Giving thanks to Yahweh with one's whole heart

Updated: May 10

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1 I will give thanks to you, O Lord, with my whole heart; *

before the gods I will sing your praise.

2 I will bow down toward your holy temple

and praise your Name, *

because of your love and faithfulness;

3 For you have glorified your Name *

and your word above all things.

4 When I called, you answered me; *

you increased my strength within me.

5 All the kings of the earth will praise you, O Lord, *

when they have heard the words of your mouth.

6 They will sing of the ways of the Lord, *

that great is the glory of the Lord.

7 Though the Lord be high, he cares for the lowly; *

he perceives the haughty from afar.

8 Though I walk in the midst of trouble, you keep me safe; *

you stretch forth your hand against the fury of my enemies;

your right hand shall save me.

9 The Lord will make good his purpose for me; *

O Lord, your love endures forever;

do not abandon the works of your hands.


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This is the track 1 Psalm of David that will be read aloud in unison or sung by a cantor, following the Old Testament reading from 1 Samuel on the second Sunday after Pentecost, Year B, according to the lectionary for the Episcopal Church. The 1 Samuel reading will say, “So Samuel reported all the words of the Lord to the people who were asking him for a king.” An Epistle selection from Paul’s second letter to the Corinthians will then be read, which states: “I believed, and so I spoke.” All will accompany a reading from Mark’s Gospel, which says, “And looking at those who sat around him, [Jesus] said, “Here are my mother and my brothers! Whoever does the will of God is my brother and sister and mother.”


To begin, this translation presented by the Episcopal Church, referencing the New Revised Standard Version [NRSV] states “Lord” seven times. David wrote “Yahweh,” not “Lord,” six times. The first presentation of “O Lord” is a fabrication that, based on intuiting this is a song of praise to Yahweh, is written to Him. Verse 1 presents the word “’ō·wḏ·ḵā,” which says, “I will give thanks,” “I will praise,” or “I will laud,” with the implication being “to you. This word has led translators to explain to readers “O Lord,” when David was led by the Spirit of Yahweh to simply state, “I will praise with my whole heart.” Only the Psalms of the NRSV say “O Lord” when it was not written. It must be known that using a general reference to Yahweh acts as lowering the name of Yahweh to be “Lord,” when that name is written. It makes a statement that lessens one's personal experience with God, saying "I know of Him, but I do not know him personally." It also says the translators were just doing a job and didn't want to offend Christians who hate Jews, because protocol says only Jews call "God" "Yahweh." David was not a Jew.


Where we read, “with my whole heart,” the Hebrew word “lib·bî” is written [“my heart”], with the central word “leb” meaning “inner man, mind, will, heart.” (Strong's) The translation that limits this word as only meaning “heart” forces brains to think in terms of human love and emotion. While that certainly is the motivation for a human to “praise, give thanks, and laud,” a physical “heart” is not the source of such emotions. Thus, one needs to see the “heart” as the core of one’s life in the flesh, which is one’s soul. Therefore, one does not utter praises by singing words alone; one praises from a soul that is married to Yahweh and His love is reverberated throughout one’s being, emanating from one’s flesh. [It is difficult to see this spiritual "heart" as the intent, when one has hard feelings for a general "Lord," not the Spirit of a specific Yahweh in one's core being.]


After the pause point of verse 1 [ * ] is written: “before the gods I will sing praises,” with “to you” again assumed. Here, the word “elohim” is found properly translated as the plural of a lower-g “god” ["el"] as “gods.” It has become fashionable in English translations of Hebrew to see “elohim” written and then presto-chango make that translate as “God” [upper case]. This has been done quite regularly, with the justification of that right to change given to the elusive and non-existent “E writer” [where “E” stands for “elohim”]. It has not been changed here, meaning the word “elohim” should be read as “souls,” which have also [like David] been elevated to eternal “gods” by marriage of their souls [“hearts”] to Yahweh [not “O Lord”].


In verse 2 is translated the word “temple.” Here, it is important to remember that David erected no “Temple” for the Ark of the Covenant, as that was still kept in a portable tabernacle. To read, “I will bow down [or “worship”] in temple” means David submitted his ‘first person pronoun’ – “I” or “ego” – to Yahweh, as His wife in spiritual marriage. David became, as a wife of Yahweh, a "temple" in which Yahweh could reside. This then led David to attribute this submission to “the sacredness and praise to your name.” This confesses that David was married in spirit to Yahweh, such that as His wife David had taken on the name of Yahweh, as His wife.


This then leads to David singing about the “kindness,” which sent David the “truth” from “above,” or from the Godhead. At this point, David continues to write in his second verse; but the Episcopal Church figured it would be better to place this text in a third verse [not the NRSV]. That addition then makes an eight-verse song become nine verses. As still relative to the theme established in the second verse, David added: “the magnification of your truth from above is only possible for those in your name.” This refers to those souls also married to Yahweh. David then said that “truth of greatness” – an expansion of the written text hidden from unmarried souls’ ‘eyes’ – is “your word” or “the Word” of Yahweh.


Verse 3 [Episcopal Church 4] then sings “When I called.” The reality of this is written “bə·yō·wm,” which translates to say, “in the day.” This is a greater statement than simply “when.” By saying “in the day,” David was alluding to the “light” that shines from the “truth” being seen. It was then the “light of truth” that caused David to sing praises and give thanks, as Yahweh “answered” David’s prayers by leading his eyes to see the truth. By seeing the “truth,” David’s “soul was embolden with strength” [from “tar·hi·ḇê·nî ḇə·nap̄·šî ‘ōz”].


Verse 4 [Episcopal Church 5] then begins by singing, “Will praise you Yahweh,” which is a clear statement that those who call upon the name of the God (who is their Husband), not those too ashamed to know Yahweh personally, soul to Spirit. This recognition raises a soul to a higher state of being that even “kings” will see reason to bow down before Yahweh, giving praises to the truth of His Word. Those “kings” only have dominion on the “earth,” but all “souls” being equal will “hear” the call of Yahweh’s Word and know all of the “earth” is temporal life within the realm of death. No “king” has the power to cheat death,


Verse 5 [Episcopal Church 6] then “sings” praise to “the ways of Yahweh.”


The Hebrew word “bə·ḏar·ḵê” means “the road, path, distance, journey, manner,” which is that of righteousness. To say a soul, whose flesh is led to travel the remaining “distance” of life as a wife to Yahweh, is “great is the glory of Yahweh” gives the wrong impression. There is never a question about Yahweh being “glorious” [Hebrew “kabowd”]. The question is which souls will know the greatness of Yahweh’s “glory,” which is measured in how a lowly “soul” is enabled to walk a “path of righteousness” and “sing” about the presence that one experiences in that “journey.”


Verse 6 [Episcopal Church 7[ then sings, “For exalted, Yahweh, the lowly sees.” Instead of making it seem as if Yahweh is like a human “king” and aloof, as haughty, the truth of David’s words say the “soul” is elevated through divine marriage. Those souls become “Yahweh” incarnate on earth. While the flesh is and always will be “the lowly,” the ability to “see” the “truth” leads the wives of Yahweh to show the “truth” to others in the flesh, so they too can be led to “see.” Conversely, those human beings who think possession of material things is what makes them be “exalted” [even if attempting to give credit to a god for their exclusivity on earth], they are “distant” and “far away” from “knowing” Yahweh. [They would be the ones calling Yahweh "Lord."]


Verse 7 [Episcopal Church 8] says [NRSV], “Though I walk in the midst of trouble, you keep me safe.” The Hebrew word “bə·qe·reḇ” refers to the “midst” of one’s being, which is the “inward part” that is the soul. The soul is imprisoned in flesh, making the earthly realm be where all failed soul return, incarnation after reincarnation, eternally finding life breath filling new dry bones. This sentence of reincarnation becomes the fear of death, due to the mortality of the flesh, which innately causes “distress” or “trouble” that all souls know inwardly. The ‘safety’ of the NRSV translation is the promise for a “revived” soul, where “life” has been granted to a soul married to Yahweh.


This then makes the translation that says [NRSV], “you stretch forth your hand against the fury of my enemies” mean the protection Yahweh gives to His wife-souls, where the “paths of Yahweh” keep one always going “above, over, beyond” [from “‘al”] the “fury” that is the world’s influences to sin. This means “the enemies” of Yahweh are oneself, when a soul rejects marriage to Yahweh. Others of that disposition then attempt to lure a wife of Yahweh away from a commitment of fidelity, only to fail and feel self-guilt in their wake.


This means “your right hand shall save me” speaks of the outstretched hand of Yahweh” that is His Spirit. Rather than an invisible “hand of God” streaking down from the sky, one’s soul is transformed into a “hand of Yahweh,” where all His “hands” are His wives that become His presence in the flesh – Saints and Apostles. Rather than being “saved” [from “yasha”], one becomes an instrument offering “to deliver” the marriage proposal to others, those in need of soul salvation. It is in this way that the “right hands” of Yahweh are divine “messengers” who “deliver” the opportunity that knocks. Those who seek salvation will answer when opportunity knocks.


The final verse [8, but 9 for the Episcopal Church] says, “Yahweh will complete me,” which means "an end" will come to a long cycle of failures for lost souls. The Hebrew word “gamar” means, “to end, come to an end, complete” (Strong’s), with the implication that “perfection” will fix all that was broken. Since this applies to souls, as all flesh is death animated by a soul, the soul is then freed from repeated trips of reincarnation.


All of this completion says the missing link has always been marriage to Yahweh, while a soul is imprisoned in a body of flesh. Amid the worldly lures and influences to break laws [divine and civil], one must know the punishment of crimes, in order to feel the soul’s need for redemption. Marriage to Yahweh must become one’s soul’s only “concern,” as nothing else will bring salvation and freedom to know eternal life with Yahweh.


It must be understood that the gift of freedom is Yahweh’s “mercy.” It is only given to His wives. While Yahweh is total “goodness” and all “kindness,” which “endures eternally,” a soul has been given the ultimate test of faith, by being cast into a world that never wants to lose a “life breath” animating the death that permeates the earth. In that way the world lures a soul to remain in its realm, with the test being to fall in love with Yahweh and turn away from the illusion of life that is the reality of mortality. To escape that ‘siren,’ one must experience the “mercy” of Yahweh.


That “mercy enduring eternally” is then the reward for a life of service in the flesh. To return to the heavenly state of existence “forever,” one must first commit to a marriage of Spirit, which makes one the “hand of Yahweh” on earth. That “hand” is expected to do the “works” of Yahweh incarnate, which reflects the truth of being Jesus reborn. It is from those “works” that a soul will not be “forsaken.


As the companion Psalm to the First Samuel reading about the elders rejecting Yahweh for a king, which came with the warning what a commitment to a king would mean, the elders readily chose to serve a king like a god, thinking their souls could escape a responsibility of marriage, as innocent onlookers. This Psalm says such notions are foolishness. The only way to find salvation of a soul is through marriage to Yahweh, becoming His “hand on earth,” and then doing all the “works” that He commands. There is no escaping the soul’s responsibility to Yahweh, and there is eternity to pay for such rejections of marriage.