Psalms 138
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1  [A Psalm] of David. I will give Thee thanks with my whole heart, in the presence of the mighty will I sing praises unto Thee.

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

א  לְדָוִד אוֹדְךָ בְכָל לִבִּי נֶגֶד אֱלֹהִים אֲזַמְּרֶךָּ. א

138:1   In the presence of the mighty will I sing praises unto Thee

King David begins this psalm by stating that he will sing praises to God “in the presence of the mighty.” The commentators wonder to whom “the mighty,” in Hebrew ‘elohim,’ is referring? Many medieval commentators translate ‘elohim’ as ministers or judges, thus David is praising the Lord in the presence of the ministers. Other interpretations say that it refers to the prophets. Rabbi Samson Raphael Hirsch, on the other hand, understands the word ‘elohim’ to be referring to false gods. According to Hirsch, David is juxtaposing God’s true, virtuous acts with the false, inauthentic gods of the surrounding nations.

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2  I will bow down toward Thy holy temple, and give thanks unto Thy name for Thy mercy and for Thy truth; for Thou hast magnified Thy word above all Thy name.

ב  אֶשְׁתַּחֲוֶה אֶל הֵיכַל קָדְשְׁךָ וְאוֹדֶה אֶת שְׁמֶךָ עַל חַסְדְּךָ וְעַל אֲמִתֶּךָ כִּי הִגְדַּלְתָּ עַל כָּל שִׁמְךָ אִמְרָתֶךָ.

3  In the day that I called, Thou didst answer me; Thou didst encourage me in my soul with strength.

ג  בְּיוֹם קָרָאתִי וַתַּעֲנֵנִי תַּרְהִבֵנִי בְנַפְשִׁי עֹז.

4  All the kings of the earth shall give Thee thanks, O Hashem, for they have heard the words of Thy mouth.

ד  יוֹדוּךָ יְהוָה כָּל מַלְכֵי אָרֶץ כִּי שָׁמְעוּ אִמְרֵי פִיךָ.

5  Yea, they shall sing of the ways of Hashem; for great is the glory of Hashem.

ה  וְיָשִׁירוּ בְּדַרְכֵי יְהוָה כִּי גָדוֹל כְּבוֹד יְהוָה.

6  For though Hashem be high, yet regardeth He the lowly, and the haughty He knoweth from afar.

ו  כִּי רָם יְהוָה וְשָׁפָל יִרְאֶה וְגָבֹהַּ מִמֶּרְחָק יְיֵדָע.

7  Though I walk in the midst of trouble, Thou quickenest me; Thou stretchest forth Thy hand against the wrath of mine enemies, and Thy right hand doth save me.

ז  אִם אֵלֵךְ בְּקֶרֶב צָרָה תְּחַיֵּנִי עַל אַף אֹיְבַי תִּשְׁלַח יָדֶךָ וְתוֹשִׁיעֵנִי יְמִינֶךָ.

8  Hashem will accomplish that which concerneth me; Thy mercy, O Hashem, endureth for ever; forsake not the work of Thine own hands.

ח  יְהוָה יִגְמֹר בַּעֲדִי יְהוָה חַסְדְּךָ לְעוֹלָם מַעֲשֵׂי יָדֶיךָ אַל תֶּרֶף.

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Psalms 137
Psalms 139

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Psalms 138