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Psalm 138 - The same song sung four times in celebration of personal ministry

Updated: Aug 1, 2022

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.


I have written about this Psalm 138 twice before, both times within the past year (2021). The first time was in response to this reading selection being assigned as part of the Proper 5, Year B Ordinary after Pentecost season; and, the second time when it is the reading selection for the second Sunday after the Epiphany, in this Year C. This Psalm 138 is obviously selected for public singing later this Ordinary after Pentecost season (Year C), as a Proper 12 Sunday offering. Finally, it is a choice to be sung on the Proper 16 Sunday, during the Ordinary after Pentecost season in Year A. Being found a reading selection in each of the Ordinary after Pentecost seasons and during Year C Ordinary after the Epiphany season, that multiplicity shows this Psalm 138 as important to grasp, relative to one’s personal ministry.

I have published the following two commentaries about this Psalm 138. I recommend anyone who seeks to see what David meant to read both of them, then compare the two. The links to these commentaries are as follows:

I will not add anything new to my prior comments at this time. However, please take not of the presence of “elohim” in verse one. It has been translated as “the gods” (in the lower-case), with a non-existent “O Lord” [the assumption of “Yahweh”] being written. That “O Lord” has been stricken from the text. There are then six direct namings of “Yahweh,” which appear in bold type. All of these have been incorrectly mutated into “O Lord” or “the Lord,” both variations diminishing the value of the name told to Moses, when he asked the presence of Yahweh, “Which ‘god’s name’ shall I say sent me?” By asking that question silently says, “There are so many “lords” (“gods”) to name, which one are you?” Finally, the Episcopal Church has altered this Psalm 138 from its eight true verses into nine. The correct verse numbers are listed in bold type, between brackets.

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