146:0Bible students call the last 5 psalms The Hallelujah Psalms. This is because they all start and end with the Hebrew word ‘Halelujah.’ The Jews spoke the Hebrew language and wrote their psalms in Hebrew. ‘Halel’ means ‘praise’, or ‘tell someone that they are very great.’ The ‘u’ means ‘you’ – all of you! ‘Jah’ is one of God's names. Most Bibles translate it LORD with 4 capital letters. It has a meaning and a use. The meaning may be that he will always be alive. The use is as a covenant name. A covenant is when two people (or groups of people) agree. Here, God agrees to love and give help to his people. And his people agree to love and obey him. Bible translators do not often translate the word ‘halelujah’ into another language. Usually we spell it ‘hallelujah’, but the Hebrew word is ‘halelujah.’
We do not know who wrote Psalms 146-150. And we do not know when they wrote them. Most Bible students think that the psalmist wrote them for the new temple in Jerusalem. The psalmist was the person that wrote the psalms. For half of the psalms David was the psalmist. But there were many other psalmists, most of them after David died. Some Bible students think that maybe Ezra or Nehemiah was the psalmist for Psalms 146-150. The temple was God's house in Jerusalem. Enemies destroyed it 600 years before Jesus came to the earth. But 70 years after the army of Babylon destroyed it, the Jews built it again. They made the Book of Psalms at this time to use in the new temple.
Trust Only in God (The 1st Hallelujah Psalm)
I say to myself, ‘Praise the LORD!’
2 I will praise the LORD all my life.
I will always sing praises to my God while I am alive.
146:2Verses 1-2: Many Bibles translate ‘myself’ as ‘soul.’ The soul is the part of us that lives when our bodies die. We say ‘praises’ when we praise someone, (or tell them that they are very great).
3 Do not trust in human leaders.
Nobody that is only human can save you.
4 When they die, they return to the ground.
On that day, their plans come to an end.
146:4Verses 3-4 tell us not to trust in human leaders. ‘Trust (in) someone’ means ‘believe that someone will do as they have promised.’ In the psalmist's time, ‘leaders’ meant kings and rulers. For us it means everyone with authority. Many leaders do what they have promised. But some do not. But none of them can give us help after we die. Only God can do that. That is why we must trust only in God. In verse 3, the psalmist maybe thought ‘save’ meant ‘give help while we are alive.’ Now, for Christians, it means ‘give help after we die.’ It means that God will save us so that our souls will not die.
5 The person that receives help from the God of Jacob is very happy.
That person hopes for help from the LORD their God.
6 The LORD made the skies and the earth,
the sea and everything that is in them.
He always does what he has promised to do.
146:6Verses 5-6: The God of Jacob may mean the God of the people of Israel; but it may mean just the God of the man Jacob. But that God is the LORD. He gives help to people that ask him for it.
7 He gives help to people that are oppressed.
He gives food to the hungry.
He makes people free that are in a prison.
8 The LORD makes blind people see again.
The LORD lifts up people that have fallen down
because they carried heavy things.
The LORD loves people that are righteous.
9 The LORD protects strangers living in our land,
the children with no fathers and the widows.
But he does not protect wicked people.
146:9Verses 7-9: Oppressed people are people that stronger people are not kind to. The stronger people make the weaker people work for them. They do not pay them much money for the work. Also, the oppressed people are not free to do what they want to do. So, they are often hungry. And they feel that life is like being in a prison. A blind person cannot see. But God will help people like this, if they ask him. In verse 8, the word ‘righteous’ here means God's people. The word ‘righteous’ itself means ‘very, very good.’ Only God is really righteous. But he says his own people are righteous too. He makes them righteous because he is with them. In verse 9, ‘protects strangers’ means ‘does not let anyone hurt strangers.’ These strangers were people from foreign countries. They lived in the country round Jerusalem. Today we would call them aliens or perhaps refugees. God also protects children that have no fathers. And he protects widows (women whose husbands have died). God does not protect, or send help, to wicked people. Wicked people are very, very bad people.
10 The LORD will always be your king.
Zion, he will be your God for all time.
146:10Verse 10: The LORD will always be king! Again, for Christians this means something else than it does for the psalmist. Jesus is the Lord who will always be king. Zion could be a name for his new people, the Church. Jesus will come back to the earth as king, one day. Then everybody will see that this psalm is true.