Psalms 138:1
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1  Of 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

א  לְדָוִד אוֹדְךָ בְכָל־לִבִּי נֶגֶד אֱלֹהִים אֲזַמְּרֶךָּ׃

 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.

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Psalms 138
Psalms 139

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  • Gabriel

    Elohim refers to actual spiritual beings that are considered gods.
    When Daniel was fasting and praying for 21 days in Daniel 10, the angel appears to Daniel (possibly the Archangel Gabriel) and tells him that he set out to reach Daniel on the first day of his praying, yet the angel says he was held back my the PRINCE of the kingdom of Persia. Then the angel says that Archangel Michael, one of the chief PRINCES came to help him.
    So, Michael is considered a prince, yet there is an evil spirit with the same title as Michael ruling over the physical land of Persia.
    These are heavenly beings. And yes, they are real, and not fabricated gods. When people in Persia worshiped their god and built idols, they were worshipping an actual spiritual god! But they weren’t worshipping the one, true God. Elohim refers to all of the spiritual beings, including the good and bad gods, or princes.
    God says in the 10 commandments:
    1) Do not have any gods before me
    2) do not make any idols

    Why would He give both of those different commandments if they both have the same practical implications? God wouldn’t say to not have any gods above Him unless there were other gods, like the prince over Persia. Or, the ‘god of this world’ Satan/Lucifer/the Devil.

    Elohim does mean gods.



  • Carl Coglianese

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

    King David starts this psalm by singing the praises to God, in the presence of the mighty. The thing is the commentators wonder to who the mighty in this case refers to. I do not understand were the meaning of the word Elohim,’is mighty in Hebrew. This confuses me greatly. I always understood that Elohim meant something very different. Elohim, refers to the very name of God. I double checked on line and it is the definition of the name of God. So know I am very confused here. God is Mighty, God is the Mighty Judge. David is declaring the Greatness of God above all those false gods upon the Earth made of stone and or wood. False idols made of lies and mans deceit.There is only one true living God, the God of our Fathers who created all that is and will ever be. And that will one day come in the form of the Messiah to save His Children of Israel and then the world who truly love him and His ways. Amen. Carl

Psalms 138:1

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