for He is awesome, powerful and merciful, swift to forgive and slow to anger. In Psalm 147 v 3 we read that 'He heals the brokenhearted and binds up their wounds.'
The Story of Psalm 147
This 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.
In the Greek Bible, (verses 1-11) make Psalm 146 and verses 12-20 Psalm 147. This Greek Bible makes Psalms 9 and 10 into one psalm. All the numbers from 10 to 146 are one less than in our Bibles. The *Jews translated their Hebrew Bible into Greek about 200 years before Jesus came to the earth.
We do not know who wrote Psalm 147. But many Bible students think that it was after the *exile. The note on verses 2 and 3 explains 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.
What Psalm 147 means
Verses 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. 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.
Verse 6 tells us about poor people and *wicked people. "*Wicked" means "very, very bad". Perhaps the *psalmist 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.
Verse 7 starts the next part of the psalm. The harp usually makes quiet music, but it can be loud.
Verse 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.
Verse 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.
Verse 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).
Verses 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.
Verses 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 made the rules that the weather must obey. When it is cold, water changes to ice. When it gets warm, ice changes to water.
Verses 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.
bandage ~ a piece of cloth that you put on a *wound.
border ~ edge of a country.
broken hearts ~ a way to say that someone is very, very sad.
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.
frost ~ cold white powder like snow.
hail ~ ice in rain.
hallelujah ~ say that the *LORD is great. (Jah is *Hebrew for *LORD.)
harp ~ a *musical instrument.
heart ~ part of the body. *Jews believed that you thought in your heart.
Hebrew ~ the language that the Jews spoke; they wrote the Psalms in Hebrew.
icy ~ very, very cold.
in awe ~ a bit afraid of someone that you love.
injury ~ a place on your body. Someone has hit you, or cut you with a knife.
Jew ~ a person who is born from Abraham, Isaac and Jacob and their children.
Jewish ~ a word that describes a *Jew or anything to do with a *Jew.
laws ~ the rules in a country. In Psalm 147, God’s rules.
LORD ~ the *covenant name for God (in a *covenant you agree with someone).
musical instrument ~ something that makes music when you hit it (cymbals, drum), blow in it (flute, trumpet, horn, shofar) or touch it in a quiet way (harp, lyre). Many of these are in Psalm 150 in Book 5 of The Psalms of David.
pleasant ~ nice; what we like to do.
power ~ See The Story of Psalm 147.
praise ~ to say how great someone is; or, words that say how great someone is.
psalmist ~ the person that wrote a psalm (or psalms).
punish ~ hurt someone because they have not obeyed the rules.
raven ~ a big, black bird.
temple ~ a place where people meet to worship God.
trust ~ believe that someone (usually God in the psalms) will be kind to you.
wicked ~ very, very bad.
wound ~ mark on the body. Someone hit it or cut it.
Have a blessed evening. N.
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