147:0This psalm tells us something about God's love and his power. Here, power does not only mean that he rules everything. It also means that he is very, very strong. It is the second of the 5 Hallelujah Psalms, 146-150. ‘Hallelujah’ means ‘praise the LORD.’ This means ‘tell the LORD that he is very great.’ In verse 1, ‘praises’ are words that say how great somebody is. ‘LORD’ is the covenant name for God. A covenant is when two people (or groups of people) agree. Here, God agrees to love and give help to his people. His people agree to love and obey God. In verse 5 is another word, ‘Lord.’ This is not the same Hebrew word as ‘LORD.’ Hebrew is the language that the Jews spoke. They wrote the psalms in Hebrew. ‘Lord’ translates a Hebrew word that means ‘master’ or ‘someone with authority.’
There are three parts in this psalm:
– Verses 1-6: God's power in Israel and Babylon and in the skies above;
– Verses 7-11: God's power on the earth with plants and animals;
– Verses 12-20: God's power in giving his people what they need.
We do not know who wrote Psalm 147. But many Bible students think that it was after the exile. The Jews used Psalm 147 in the new temple (house of God) in Jerusalem. Maybe Nehemiah or one of his friends wrote Psalm 147.
God's Love and Power (The 2nd Hallelujah Psalm)
It is good to sing praises to our God.
And it is pleasant and right to praise him.
2 The LORD is building Jerusalem again.
He is bringing home the exiles to Israel.
3 He makes people well again that have broken hearts.
And he puts bandages on their injuries.
147:3Verses 2 and 3 tell us that God is powerful among the countries of the world. God let the Babylonians beat his people that lived near Jerusalem. This happened about 600 years before Jesus came to the earth. The Babylonians destroyed the city and took the people away to Babylon. Babylon was a country east of Jerusalem. They made them live there for 70 years. They were exiles, (they lived away from their own country). This happened because God's people did not love him nor obey him. So God punished (or hurt) them. But after 70 years, God destroyed Babylon and brought his people home. He built Jerusalem again and made his people feel happy again. Some of them had broken hearts. This is a way to say that they felt very, very sad (or depressed). Other people had injuries. Perhaps someone had hit them, or cut them with a knife. A bandage is a piece of cloth. We put bandages on injuries to keep them clean. Really, God did not do these things himself. The psalm means that he made them happen through other people.
4 He decided how many stars to make
and he even gave them all a name.
5 Our Lord is great and very powerful.
He understands everything!
6 The LORD gives help to poor people
but he throws wicked people to the ground.
147:6Verse 6 tells us about poor people and wicked people. ‘Wicked’ means ‘very, very bad.’ Perhaps the psalmist (the person that wrote the psalm) meant the people of Babylon. God threw them to the ground. This means that he destroyed them. He did this when he sent the Persian army to fight the Babylonian army. But God lifted up the poor people. Perhaps they were the Jewish people. He gave them help to go home from Babylon.
7 Sing to the LORD and thank him for what he has done.
Make music to our God with a harp.
147:7Verse 7 starts the next part of the psalm. The harp usually makes quiet music, but it can be loud.
8 He puts clouds into the sky.
He sends rain to the earth.
He makes the grass grow on the hills.
147:8Verse 8: In the Greek Bible, there is a bit more in this verse. At the end, it says ‘He gives plants for men to use.’ Many English translations put this extra bit in.
9 He gives food for the animals.
He feeds the young ravens when they cry.
147:9Verse 9: A raven is a big, black bird. In this verse, God makes sure that other people, animals or birds feed themselves or their young. God does not do it himself. The psalmist says that God really did it! This is because it is part of God's great plan. The psalmist is the person that wrote the psalm.
10 He has no pleasure because a horse is so strong,
nor in the legs of a man who is riding the horse.
11 Instead the LORD becomes pleased by people who are in awe of him.
They trust in his kind love.
147:11Verse 11: ‘In awe’ means that you love somebody that you are a bit afraid of! People that are ‘in awe’ of God obey him. Also, they trust him, (or believe that he will do what he has promised to do).
12 Jerusalem – praise the LORD!
Zion – praise your God!
13 Praise him because he makes your gates strong.
And he is kind to the people inside your city.
14 He makes your borders safe from an enemy attacking you.
He fills you with the best food.
147:14Verses 12-14 start the last part of the psalm. God gives his people a city to live in, Jerusalem. Jerusalem is also called Zion. He gives them a safe country to live in. That is what safe borders means. He gives his people good food. All this happened after the exile. Psalm 149 in this set of psalms explains what the exile was. Bible students think that the psalmist wrote Psalm 147 after the exile. It was a psalm for the new temple. The temple in Jerusalem was the house of God. Again, God does not do all these things himself. He makes sure that somebody else does them. They are part of his plan.
15 He tells the earth what to do.
What he says soon reaches it.
16 He covers the earth with snow like a white blanket.
He puts frost everywhere like ashes that the wind blows.
17 He sends hail like small stones.
Nobody can stand up in his icy wind.
18 Then he sends his word and the ice changes into water.
He makes the wind blow and the water moves.
147:18Verses 15-18 tell us that God rules the earth as well as the people in it. ‘Frost’ is very little bits of ice. It falls on plants and buildings in very cold weather. Hail is larger bits of ice. It falls like rain or snow. ‘Icy’ means ‘very, very cold.’ In verse 18, the weather becomes warm again. Ice becomes water, and the water runs away. Again, God does not do all these things himself. He made the rules that the weather must obey. When it is cold, water changes to ice. When it gets warm, ice changes to water. God made this rule. So, when it happens, we say ‘God did it!’
19 He showed his word to Jacob.
He showed his rules and laws to Israel.
20 He has done this for no other country.
They do not know his laws.
147:20Verses 19-20 end the psalm. They tell us that only the Jewish people knew his rules and laws. ‘Laws’ is another word for ‘rules.’ This is not true now, because everybody with a Bible knows God's rules and laws. These rules and laws are not only about what is right and wrong. They are also about what happens in the world.