God is *Righteous

Psalm 111

An EasyEnglish Translation with Notes (about 1200 word vocabulary) on Psalm 111


Gordon Churchyard

Words in boxes are from the Bible. Words in brackets, ( ), are not in the *Hebrew Bible.

The notes explain some of the words with a *star by them. A word list at the end explains the other words that have a *star by them.

The translated Bible text has yet to go through Advanced Checking.


Jesus said, "Why do you say that I am good? Nobody is good except God" (Luke 18:19).

(*Righteous means "very, very good". Only God is really *righteous.)

Psalm 111

v1   *Hallelujah! (or, Say that the *LORD is really great!)
  I will say "thanks" to the *LORD with *all my *heart.
  (I will do it) where his people meet together.

v2   The things that the *LORD does are really great!
  People that find pleasure in them study them.

v3   (Everything that) he does makes people understand that he is a king!
  He will always be *righteous.

v4   The *LORD causes (people) to remember his *miracles.
  He is kind and he loves (people).

v5   He gave food to the people that are his servants.
  He will always remember his *covenant.

v6   He has shown his people that he is powerful.
  He gave them the lands that belonged to other countries.

v7   The things that he does are honest and fair.
  People can *trust him when he tells them his rules.

v8   He made (his rules) to continue for all time.
  (The *LORD) was true and *righteous when he made (these rules.)

v9   He made his people free.
  He made a *covenant with them for them (to obey) always.
  His name is *holy.
  And it makes people (see him) as powerful and important.

v10   People who are afraid of the *LORD are starting to be *wise.
  Everyone that (is *wise) will have really understood (the *LORD).
  People should always say that the *LORD is great!

The Story of Psalm 111

We do not know who wrote Psalm 111. We call him the *psalmist. It is one of the acrostic psalms. That means that the first sentence begins with the first letter of the Hebrew alphabet. The second sentence begins with the second letter, and so on. Hebrew was the language that the *psalmist spoke. The acrostic does not start with "*Hallelujah", but with "I will say 'thanks' to the *LORD with all my *heart". This Easy English translation of Psalm 111 does not make an acrostic.

Maybe the *psalmist wrote Psalm 111 after the *exile. The *exile was when the *Jews were in Babylon. This was from 606 B.C. to 536 B.C. B.C. means "years Before Christ came to the earth". When they came back to their own country, they made the Book of Psalms. They used it in the *temple in Jerusalem. They built the *temple again after the Babylonians destroyed it.

What Psalm 111 means

In verse 1, "*Hallelujah" is a Hebrew word. It means "say that the *LORD is very great". Many people do not translate it, but use the Hebrew word. The *LORD is the *covenant name of God. When two people (or groups of people) agree we call it a *covenant (or an agreement). In this *covenant:

    God agrees to love his people and give them help; if

    Godís people are his servants and love and obey him.

The *psalmist writes about the *covenant in verses 5 and 9.

There are 6 other interesting words in this psalm:

    "with all my *heart" in verse 1. This is a special way that the *Jews (and many English people) say "as well as I can". Note that the *psalmist says he will do it "where his people meet together".

For him, that was the *temple (or Godís house) in Jerusalem. For Christians it is in Church, or where they meet other Christians.

    "understand that he is a king" in verse 3. When we understand that God is the greatest king in *heaven or earth, we honour him. This means that we are very polite to him. We are even a bit afraid of him. This is a special "being afraid" that Christians call "awe". It means that we know that God is much more powerful than we are.

    "miracles" in verse 4. These are things that only God can do. As part of the *covenant, the *psalmist writes about three miracles. One is in verse 5. God gave the people food when they travelled from Egypt to their new home in Canaan. Today we call Canaan "Israel" and "Palestine". You can read about this miracle in Exodus 16. God sent his people bread from *heaven. *Heaven is either the sky or the home of God. The Bible calls this bread "manna". The other miracle is in verse 6, "he gave them lands". These lands were where the people of Canaan lived. God sent these people away and put the *Jews there instead. You can read about this miracle in the Book of Joshua. The third miracle is in verse 9. God made his people free. They were slaves in Egypt, but God made them free. The story of this is in Exodus chapters 1-15.

    "*trust" in verse 7. Here it means "We believe that God's rules are the best things that we can do". He will not tell us to do anything that is bad for us. Sometimes it may seem silly. But we must still *trust that God is right! We often hear God speaking to us when we read the Bible.

    "*holy" in verse 9. This is a word like "*righteous". God is *holy and *righteous. "*Holy" means that he never does anything wrong. "*Righteous" means that he always does what is right.

    "*wise" in verse 10. A *wise choice is when we decide to do the right thing. We think about a problem. Then we choose (make a choice) what to do. If we are afraid of God (better, "in awe of God") then we will usually make the best choice. "Awe" is a special "being afraid" ... not because we think that God will hurt us. Rather, because we love God, we do not want to hurt him! We can hurt God by making the wrong choice! *Wise people have "wisdom". An old translation of this verse says "The fear of the *LORD is the beginning of wisdom". This kind of fear (or being afraid) is the same as "awe". You will also find this verse in Proverbs 1:7 and 9:10.

Something to do

1.  Read verses 4-9. Look for:

    what God does to keep the *covenant;

    what his people do to keep the *covenant.

2.  One of Godís gifts is "wisdom". Ask God for this gift.

Word List

all my heart ~ "with all my heart" is a special way to say "as well as I can".

covenant ~ two people have agreed what each should do (here, God and his people). Look in Psalm 120 about the covenant.

exile ~ away from your own country.

hallelujah ~ say that the *LORD is great. (Jah is *Hebrew for *LORD.)

heart ~ part of the body. *Jews believed that you thought in your heart.

heaven ~ the home of God.

Hebrew ~ the language that the Jews spoke; they wrote the Psalms in Hebrew.

holy ~ all good with no bad in it; separate from *sin; very, very good; only God is really holy. The land where he lives with his people is also holy. This is because he is there.

Jew ~ a person who is born from Abraham, Isaac and Jacob and their children.

LORD ~ the *covenant name for God (in a *covenant you agree with someone).

miracles ~ great things that only God can do.

psalmist ~ the person that wrote a psalm (or psalms).

righteous ~ very good (only God is really righteous). God says that the people who love and obey him are righteous. Sometimes we say they are "the righteous", meaning "righteous people". Look after Psalm 5 in Book 1 of the Psalms of David for more about the word "righteous".

sin ~ not obeying God; or what you do when you do not obey God.

temple ~ a place where people meet to worship God.

trust ~ believe that someone (usually God in the psalms) will be kind to you.

wise ~ when we understand God's word. When we know what is good and right. And we do it. You know what to do.


© 1999-2002, Wycliffe Associates (UK)

This publication is written in EasyEnglish Level A (1200 words).

December 2002

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