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Chapter 138

Translation and Transliteration of 

1Of David. I praise You with all my heart, sing a hymn to You before the divine beings;

l'-da-VID o-d'-KHA v'-khol li-BEE NE-ged e-lo-HEEM a-za-m'-RE-ka

אלְדָוִ֨ד ׀ אוֹדְךָ֥ בְכׇל־לִבִּ֑י נֶ֖גֶד אֱלֹהִ֣ים אֲזַמְּרֶֽךָּ׃

 138:1   Sing a hymn to You before the divine beings

King David begins this psalm by declaring that he will sing praises to Hashem “before the divine beings.” The commentators wonder to which divine beings, in Hebrew elohim (אלהים), the verse refers? Often, the term Elohim refers to God, but in this context many medieval commentators, such as Rashi and Rabbi Avraham Ibn Ezra, translate elohim as ‘ministers’ or ‘judges’. According to this understanding, David is praising Hashem in the presence of the ministers. Other interpretations say that it refers to prophets. Rabbi Samson Raphael Hirsch, on the other hand, understands the word elohim as a reference to false gods. According to Hirsch, David is juxtaposing God’s true, virtuous acts with the false, inauthentic gods of the surrounding nations.

2I bow toward Your holy temple and praise Your name for Your steadfast love and faithfulness, because You have exalted Your name, Your word, above all.

es-ta-cha-VEH el he-KHAL kod-SHE-kha, v'-o-DEH et sh'-ME-kha al chas-DE-kha v'-al a-mi-TE-kha, kee hig-DAL-ta al kol shi-ME-kha im-ra-TE-kha.

באֶשְׁתַּחֲוֶ֨ה אֶל־הֵיכַ֪ל קׇדְשְׁךָ֡ וְא֘וֹדֶ֤ה אֶת־שְׁמֶ֗ךָ עַל־חַסְדְּךָ֥ וְעַל־אֲמִתֶּ֑ךָ כִּֽי־הִגְדַּ֥לְתָּ עַל־כׇּל־שִׁ֝מְךָ֗ אִמְרָתֶֽךָ׃

3When I called, You answered me, You inspired me with courage.

b'-YOM ka-RA-tee va-ta-a-NE-ni tar-hi-VE-ni b'-naf-SHEE oz

גבְּי֣וֹם קָ֭רָ֥אתִי וַֽתַּעֲנֵ֑נִי תַּרְהִבֵ֖נִי בְנַפְשִׁ֣י עֹֽז׃

4All the kings of the earth shall praise You, Hashem, for they have heard the words You spoke.

YO-du-KHA a-do-NAI kol mal-KHEI a-RETZ, KEE sha-M'-U im-ray-fee-KHA.

דיוֹד֣וּךָ יְ֭הֹוָה כׇּל־מַלְכֵי־אָ֑רֶץ כִּ֥י שָׁ֝מְע֗וּ אִמְרֵי־פִֽיךָ׃

5They shall sing of the ways of Hashem, “Great is the majesty of Hashem!”

v'-ya-SHI-ru b'-dar-KHEI a-do-NAI, kee-ga-DOL k'-vod a-do-NAI

הוְ֭יָשִׁירוּ בְּדַרְכֵ֣י יְהֹוָ֑ה כִּֽי־גָ֝ד֗וֹל כְּב֣וֹד יְהֹוָֽה׃

6High though Hashem is, He sees the lowly; lofty, He perceives from afar.

ki-RAM a-do-NAI v'-sha-FAL yir-EH v'-ga-VO-ha mi-MER-khakh y'-ye-DA

וכִּי־רָ֣ם יְ֭הֹוָה וְשָׁפָ֣ל יִרְאֶ֑ה וְ֝גָבֹ֗הַּ מִמֶּרְחָ֥ק יְיֵדָֽע׃

7Though I walk among enemies, You preserve me in the face of my foes; You extend Your hand; with Your right hand You deliver me.

im-e-LEKH b'-KE-rev tza-RAH te-cha-YE-ni al af oy-VAI tish-LAKH ya-DE-kha v'-to-shi-E-ni ye-mi-NE-kha

זאִם־אֵלֵ֤ךְ ׀ בְּקֶ֥רֶב צָרָ֗ה תְּחַ֫יֵּ֥נִי עַ֤ל אַ֣ף אֹ֭יְבַי תִּשְׁלַ֣ח יָדֶ֑ךָ וְת֖וֹשִׁיעֵ֣נִי יְמִינֶֽךָ׃

8Hashem will settle accounts for me. Hashem, Your steadfast love is eternal; do not forsake the work of Your hands.

a-do-NAI yig-MOR ba-a-DI, a-do-NAI khas-DE-kha l'-o-LAM, ma-a-SEI ya-DE-kha al-TE-ref

חיְהֹוָה֮ יִגְמֹ֢ר בַּ֫עֲדִ֥י יְ֭הֹוָה חַסְדְּךָ֣ לְעוֹלָ֑ם מַעֲשֵׂ֖י יָדֶ֣יךָ אַל־תֶּֽרֶף׃