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ch 118

Psalms 118 Commentary

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Psalm 118:1 meaning

Psalm 118 begins with a common exhortation to "Give thanks to the LORD." The reason he provides for us to give thanks is: "for He is good." The psalmist's proof that the LORD is good is: "For His lovingkindness is everlasting." The psalmist's gratitude for God's lovingkindness is established up front and it permeates the entirety of Psalm 118. Psalm 118 is the climactic finale of group of five consecutive praise psalms called "the Hallel."

Psalm 118:2-4 meaning

The psalmist concludes his introductory chorus by emphatically reinforcing the truth that the LORD's lovingkindness is everlasting. He does this by repeating three times what he said in verse 1. He calls upon Israel, the Levites, and those who fear the LORD to speak this bedrock truth with their own mouths

Psalm 118:5-7 meaning

The psalmist begins his poetic narrative (Psalm 118:5-27) by recalling a time when he called out to the LORD in his distress. The LORD answered and exalted him. The psalmist does not fear because the LORD is with Him and wonders aloud—what can man do to me? He concludes that he can trust the LORD, and rest content to not pay back the evil they have done him because the LORD is among those who help him and the LORD will save and vindicate him.

Psalm 118:8-9 meaning

The psalmist punctuates his poetic narrative to make the claims that it is better to refuge in the LORD than to trust in man or in princes.

Psalm 118:10-14 meaning

Three times the psalmist recounts how the nations surrounded him. Three times the psalmist boasts "In the name of the LORD I will cut them off." He describes how the LORD will extinguish his enemies with fire. The psalmist addresses his enemy who pushed him violently to remind him that he did not fall because the LORD helped him. This section within this Hosanna Psalm ends with the psalmist's boast of praise that the LORD is his strength and song and has become his salvation.

Psalm 118:15-18 meaning

The Psalmist continues his poetic narrative testifying to the LORD's everlasting kindness by depicting a rejoicing camp following the stunning victory in battle. The tents of the righteous are full of joyful shouting as they praise the right hand of the LORD. The psalmist marvels that he is not dead but still alive. In verse 18, the psalmist reflects upon how the LORD has used these severe circumstances to mature him in His faith.

Psalm 118:19-21 meaning

With this portion of scripture, the psalmist continues his poetic narrative with a triumphal parade of the righteous entering the LORD's gate. The lines of this song are prophetic of Jesus the Messiah's triumphal entrance into Jerusalem.

Psalm 118:22-23 meaning

The Psalmist punctuates his poetic narrative with a memorable architectural metaphor. He says that the stone which the builders rejected has become the chief cornerstone. The psalmist originally applied this to himself. But it also applies to the Messiah. Jesus and New Testament writers use this prophecy to explain how Jesus's rejection by the religious leaders of Israel did not disqualify Him from being the LORD's Messiah.

Psalm 118:24-26 meaning

The psalmist continues his poetic narrative testifying of the LORD's salvation with a praise that this day is the day of salvation which the LORD has made. He then beseeches the LORD to send the Messiah, before saying "Blessed is the one who comes in the name of the LORD." This portion of Psalm 118 gives voice to what the crowds proclaimed of Jesus the Messiah as He triumphantly entered Jerusalem.

Psalm 118:27 meaning

The psalmist completes his poetic narrative with a declaration that the LORD is God and has given us light. He presents a final scene depicting a festival sacrifice offered in love to God for rescuing him. The language used is prophetic of Jesus the Messiah, who is both the Light of the world and our Passover sacrifice.

Psalm 118:28-29 meaning

Psalm 118 concludes with a familiar refrain: "Give thanks to the LORD for He is good; His lovingkindness is everlasting."