Updated: Nov 29, 2021
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1 Sing to the Lord a new song, *
for he has done marvelous things.
2 With his right hand and his holy arm *
has he won for himself the victory.
3 The Lord has made known his victory; *
his righteousness has he openly shown in the sight of the nations.
4 He remembers his mercy and faithfulness to the house of Israel, *
and all the ends of the earth have seen the victory of our God.
5 Shout with joy to the Lord, all you lands; *
lift up your voice, rejoice, and sing.
6 Sing to the Lord with the harp, *
with the harp and the voice of song.
7 With trumpets and the sound of the horn *
shout with joy before the King, the Lord.
8 Let the sea make a noise and all that is in it, *
the lands and those who dwell therein.
9 Let the rivers clap their hands, *
and let the hills ring out with joy before the Lord,
when he comes to judge the earth.
10 In righteousness shall he judge the world *
and the peoples with equity.
This is the Psalm that will be read aloud in unison or sung by a cantor on the sixth Sunday of Easter, Year B, according to the lectionary for the Episcopal Church. It will follow the mandatory reading from the Acts of the Apostles (this Sunday from chapter 10), which says, “they heard them speaking in tongues and extolling God.” Following will come a reading from First John, which states, “his commandments are not burdensome, for whatever is born of God conquers the world.” Lastly, the Gospel reading from John will have Jesus saying, “I have said these things to you so that my joy may be in you, and that your joy may be complete.”
The BibleHub Interlinear version of Psalm 98 lists only nine verses [using all the words that appear in the Episcopal Church’s ten verse version]. The NRSV displays Psalm 98 as only having nine verses also; but the Episcopal Church references its translations as from that source. In that listing of the Hebrew text, verse 1 includes the first segment shown by the Episcopal Church as in verse 2. I tend to have more faith in the BibleHub Interlinear presentations; and, seeing how nine verses makes three sets of three-verse stanzas, that makes more sense to me as divine. So, I will adhere to the BibleHub Interlinear version, while making references to where in the Episcopal Church text that takes me.
Some of the translators of the psalms like to give them titles. The BibleHub title of Psalm 98 is “Sing the Lord a new song!” The NRSV title is “Praise the Judge of the World.” The NIV and the NASB list it simply as “A psalm.”
Again, as is the case always, the word translated as “Lord” is actually written as “Yah-weh.” According to Strong’s, “Yahweh” is defined as “the proper name of the God of Israel.” To run around saying “Lord” is like some school children mocking someone who has a proper name for God, like fools singing, “Your Daddy.” If it were "their daddy," they would show more respect. For David to state “Yahweh” then says he had a personal relationship with Yahweh, as would all who knew Him well enough to call Him by name. To translate that relationship in some extended – “We do not know Him” – form is to weaken the meaning in the Psalms. The name of "the Lord" is "Yahweh" and (like David) Yahweh is my only God.
Verse 1 states: “Sing a new song to the Lord, For He has done wonderful things, His right hand and His holy arm have gained the victory for Him.” [NRSV] To sing a song to Yahweh reflects this being a song of praise. Singing is how one praises all that a soul has been delivered by the grace of Yahweh. One is capable of singing a song because the lyrics become the words that tell what Yahweh did through one of His servants, who act as both His “right hand” and His “holy arm.” If one is not the “right hand” of Yahweh, then one is lessened to the disgrace of referring to Yahweh as someone else’s “Lord.”
Verse 2 states: “The Lord has made His salvation known; He has revealed His righteousness in the sight of the nations.” Here “Yahweh” is the only God that is judge of souls. The world is full of “lords” that control who has what, how many, and how often, after making sure they have most; but salvation only applies to souls. For “salvation by Yahweh to be known” [from “hō·w·ḏî·a‘ Yah-weh yə·šū·‘ā·ṯōw”] one has “to know Yahweh” in the Biblical sense. That equates “knowledge” coming from personal experience. That comes through marriage – the union of a soul to Yahweh’s Spirit [“ruach”].
When this is seen by a reader, that makes “nations” [“hag·gō·w·yim,” from “goy”] be relative to “people,” such that each soul controls a “nation” unto itself. That says all who become “peoples” led by “righteousness” are those married to Yahweh; and, all have had their souls promised eternal life. That is what makes one able to write a song of praise to Yahweh.
Verse 3 then sings: “He has remembered His graciousness and His faithfulness to the house of Israel; All the ends of the earth have seen the salvation of our God.” This sings about the longevity that comes from eternal salvation of a soul. One’s “memory” is extended to all times, so one is able to know the depth of meaning written in the past and which projects that constant into the future. Everything written comes from those who wrote to preserve the goodness that comes from sacrifice to Yahweh.
The promise of marriage is one that brings such awareness that belief is transformed into faith that cannot be shaken. Faith is what weakens all challengers, by using truth as its only weapon The aspect of "faithfulness" raises “Israel” to a house that only worships Yahweh and no other lords. This steadfast love of God is recognized as undefeatable all around the world, and other people will submit to Yahweh in turn.
Verse 4 then sings, “Shout joyfully to the Lord, all the earth; Be cheerful and sing for joy and sing praises.” Take note how verse 4 restates that stated in verse 1, meaning three-verse stanzas set the metrics of a nine verse song [not 10]. This says that one's soul cannot be silent about having married with Yahweh. As His wife [regardless of one’s human gender], one is deployed to the world to sing the truth so others will be led to that light. The truth breaking forth shatters all blocks of doubt, leading to great rejoicing, cheer and joy from having finally found the truth one sought for so long.
The words of verse 5 then say, “Sing praises to the Lord with the lyre, With the lyre and the sound of melody.” Here, the metaphor of a lyre [or a harp] is the musical instrument of life, which follows notes, octaves and keys, all the elements that make a stringed instrument mimic the ways of the world – from sour notes to beautiful melody. This makes one’s body of flesh become the strings that are tuned by the hand of Yahweh, so when His holy fingers strum and pluck on one’s strings, one then responds as a song of praise.
Verse 6 then sings: “With trumpets and the sound of the horn Shout joyfully before the King, the Lord.” Here, the metaphor of brass instruments or the horns of rams hollowed into instruments that make loud noises says the attention of others must be obtained. David knew Yahweh was the true “King,” even after Saul died and David was made king. One man can only lead himself and hope others will fall in line behind his lead; but David led the Israelites to reject him as a god, recognizing that he was only a figurehead of state. Yahweh becoming the “King” of many “peoples” is what made Israel great under David. The “trumpet” call of that history is still heard today, while there are no sounds of greatness coming from human nations that make ownership of the same land be their lord.
Verse 7 begins the third stanza in this nine-verse song of praise. It sings, “May the sea roar and all it contains, The world and those who dwell in it.” In this, the first word is separated from the rest, where “yir·‘am” [from “raam”] places emphasis on “let roar.”
This needs to not be seen as the sound of the “sea,” because that soft sound is attractive and draws vacationers to sandy beaches all around the globe. They do little more than laze about, scantily clad, soaking up the sun and falling asleep to the sound of the waves. The point of “roar” is this: It is the loud sound made by a lion, also known as the “king of the jungle.” Following the middle stanza’s focus on musical symbolism, this verse begins with each who has Yahweh as his or her “King” “roaring” or “letting roar” that inner guide that makes them sing praises to Yahweh. That “roar” must then encircle the globe, from sea to shining sea, with all the land in between. More than a noise heard by animals, it is a roar that all peoples must hear and fear: the “roar” of Yahweh, the “King.”
Following that awareness, verse 8 then sings: “May the rivers clap their hands, May the mountains sing together for joy.” Since it is easy to realize that “rivers” do not possess “hands,” the “rivers” must be seen as metaphor for those who are filled with Yahweh’s flow of Spirit. Those are the “right hands” and “right arms” of Yahweh and “clapping” is a methodical beat that sets the rhythm of a song of praise. The element of “mountains” [which can be equally translated as “hills”] speaks of those so filled with Spirit that they stand tall above the rest. Not only do they elevate themselves to a higher state of being, they make a joyful noise unto Yahweh that attracts others to raise themselves as well.
The final verse in this nine-verse song of praise then sings, “Before the Lord, for He is coming to judge the earth; He will judge the world with righteousness And the peoples with fairness.” Here, the first word that has been translated as “before” is “lip̄·nê,” which is an abbreviated form of “paneh,” meaning “face.” This says the first address of this verse deals with those who wear the “face of Yahweh” to the world. They meet the first commandment, which says one cannot wear any other “face” to Yahweh, or one has broken the covenant of marriage to Him.
By wearing that “face of Yahweh,” one can go tell the world that all souls will be judged as to whether or not they too wear that “face of Yahweh.” That “face” is that which brings on righteous living, thus eternal salvation. Judgment will depend on whose “face” a soul wears. This judgment will be “fairly” administered, such that each soul will know whose “face” they decided to wear; so, each soul will know their judgment has not been based on opinions, gossip, or personal dislikes.
As a song of praise to be sung aloud on the sixth Sunday of Easter, this once again supports the concept that a soul must be married to Yahweh. The purpose of the Easter season is to prove one is married to Yahweh, so one’s soul has become joined with that of Jesus, so one is also an Anointed one of Yahweh. With Jesus’ presence becoming one’s persona [after sacrificing one’s own ego-driven lusts], one needs to become comfortable with that guide of righteousness within. One must practice being Jesus, and that immediately means shouting out the meaning of divine Scripture, which was unknown before. This song of praise states that practice metaphorically, while perfectly capturing how one needs to know what Yahweh wants one to do by trying to do just that.