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Psalm 138 - Smacking down the enemy of self with the right hand of God

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

before elohim 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 [2] For you have glorified your Name *

and your word above all things.

4 [3] When I called, you answered me; *

you increased my strength within me.

5 [4] All the kings of the earth will praise you, Yahweh, *

when they have heard the words of your mouth.

6 [5] They will sing of the ways of Yahweh, *

that great is the glory of Yahweh.

7 [6] Though Yahweh be high, he cares for the lowly; *

he perceives the haughty from afar.

8 [7] 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 [8] Yahweh will make good his purpose for me; *

Yahweh, your love endures forever;

do not abandon the works of your hands.


This is the Psalm that will be read aloud in unison or sung by a cantor on the fifth Sunday after the Epiphany, Year C, according to the lectionary for the Episcopal Church. It will follow an Old Testament reading from Isaiah, where the prophet was shown a vision of angels assigned to the world by Yahweh, where he declared, “Woe is me! I am lost, for I am a man of unclean lips, and I live among a people of unclean lips; yet my eyes have seen the King, Yahweh of hosts!” That pair will then be followed by a reading from Paul’s first letter to the true Christians of Corinth, where he wrote: “By the grace of God I am what I am, and his grace toward me has not been in vain.” All will then accompany the Gospel reading from Luke, where we read, “When [Jesus] had finished speaking [to the crowd, as he was on a boat just offshore], he said to Simon, "Put out into the deep water and let down your nets for a catch.”

This is an eight-verse psalm, not nine. For whatever reason, the Episcopal Church has seen a need to turn verse two into two verses. That adds a non-existent verse, which I have removed and noted proper verse numbering in bold type, between brackets.

Also, in the first verse of this psalm, the NRSV has mutated the word “elohim” so it has been improperly translated as “O Lord.” The truth of the word written has it stating the plural number, where an English translation should be as “gods.” The plural number demands the lower-case, because many “gods” would be lower in status than Yahweh. The word “elohim” has special meaning, as an angel of Yahweh, but it does not demand capitalization and must be known as plural, not singular. Therefore, it has been restored to the Hebrew written.

In six other instances, the word “Yahweh” has been improperly translated as “the Lord.” That written has been also restored, as can be seen in the bold type appearing in the above translation. The bold type should serve to force one’s eyes to see the truth of the name of the One God believers profess belief in. To be “in the name of God,” so one can say, “In God’s name we pray,” that means one needs to know what that name is first. Calling Yahweh “the Lord” says, “I am not one with God, because he is just some Lord external to me, who I do not know.” Learn the name!

I have written before about this Psalm 138. That commentary can be accessed by clicking on this link here. I wrote about it as the Psalm in the Ordinary after Pentecost, Year B (Proper 5) readings; when it last came up in the lectionary cycle. In that three-year cycle, this Psalm will be read during four Sunday services: Epiphany 5C; Proper 5B; Proper 12C; and, Proper 16A. That repetition says this Psalm 138 is recognized as important to grasp. It should be as well-known as is a hymnal favorite, regularly sung by congregations.

It can be discerned that this Psalm 138 is sung during periods recognized as when ministry has begun. The period that is after the Epiphany can then be recognized as the internship of ministry that equates to when Jesus sent out the twelve and seventy, in pairs. This means Psalm 138 should be viewed as a song of praise by one whose soul has married Yahweh and given birth to His Son, making one be the vehicle of a new ministry of Jesus. Therefore, praise is sung.

In the first verse is where the mystical word “elohim” is found. It is so mystical it caused the NRSV to stick in an “O Lord” that is nowhere to be found written in the Hebrew text. It is an assumption that David was singing to Yahweh, based on the regular placement of that specific name in these eight verses; but faith should not be based on a religion that worships translation services’ assumptions [they also love capitalizing Hebrew words, when Hebrew has no capital letters].

The totality of the Hebrew written in verse one is this [transliterated]: “lə·ḏā·wiḏ ’ō·wḏ·ḵā ḇə·ḵāl-lib·bî ; ne·ḡeḏ ’ĕ·lō·hîm ’ă·zam·mə·re·kā .” That literally translates to state: “of David I will praise you totally my heart ; in sight of elohim I will sing praises to you .

When one knows that “elohim” is a statement of divine possession, where it refers to all souls that have divinely married with Yahweh’s Spirit, so they are all reborn as His Sons on earth – all angels in the flesh who serve Yahweh totally – then it is easy to see him singing that his “heart” – which also is a statement of his “inner man” or “soul” “praises Yahweh” as one of Hiselohim.” It is the presence of “elohim” and it known to mean one who retains Yahweh as His angels on earth that Yahweh can be intuited or assumed.

Now, in verse two [which the Episcopal Church has divided into two verses] the Church also [not the NRSV] has capitalized the word “shem” twice [written as “šə·me·ḵā” and “mə·ḵā”], so it shows above as “Name” [rather than “name”]. Here, it must be understood that the Church recognizes this use of “name” as being a divinely elevated “Name,” which becomes the Church’s way of saying David [a name] was giving “praise” because his soul had taken on the “Name” that comes from divine marriage. Just as a wife takes on the name of her husband [as a sign of possession, her then being the property of the husband], David took on the “Name” of Yahweh in Holy Matrimony; and, that divinely elevated name is “Israel,” which means: one “Who Retains Yahweh as one of His elohim” [with “el” being equated to one of the “elohim”]. Thus, David sang praises that were relative to his marriage to the Spirit of Yahweh.

In verse three [which the Church denotes as four], it can become confusing to hear, “When I called, you answered me,” as that makes it sound like a wife owning her husband, or a master calling his or her slave [like an owner whistles for a dog to come], when the opposite is the intent of those words. What David means is that his being possessed by Yahweh makes it so that every time he calls out or speaks, it is Yahweh speaking through his mouth and lips. David has absolutely no control over Yahweh, because his soul is in the name of Yahweh. It is not the other way around. This is the way David likes it, because Yahweh possessing David’s soul gives David’s “soul strength” [from “ḇə·nap̄·šî” written, meaning “in my soul”].

When David mentioned Yahweh by name, four times in the three verses four, five and six, he spoke of the power that came from all who were the possessions of Yahweh. No human position of power could begin to compare to that David was enlightened to, as a wife of Yahweh. Not even “kings” [and David was a human king] could ignore the advice of a Yahweh elohim. The power of divinity hone from them to all they came in contact with. Just as the shepherd boys sang praises to Jesus, after being led to find him by an angel, so too are all who are a comparatively “lowly” raised by the presence of the Almighty. Simply feeling that presence within one’s being makes one sign praises to Yahweh.

Verse seven sings of all fears being erased by this divine possession. One’s own flesh becomes one’s own worst enemy, as the flesh always seeks self-pleasure and always attempts to lure the soul away from Yahweh. The presence of Yahweh’s Spirit makes one His “right hand,” so the soul keeps the body in check. This then becomes the state of righteousness that Yahweh brings to be; and it is that pure state that allows a soul to be assured of eternal life.

As a song of praise to be sung loudly on the fifth Sunday after the Epiphany, it sings of one’s amazement of ministry. Going out into the world with the presence of Yahweh within one’s soul, as His Son Jesus reborn, it an exciting new way to see the world. All of the beauty is clearly visible, along with all of the alarming sounds of warning. One knows salvation is voluntary and cannot be forced. Thus, all one can do is make the voice of Yahweh available, so if it asks a question, then Jesus will answer. All one has to do is be there; and, that is the delight of the after the Epiphany time period.

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