Psalms 103

1Praise the Lord, O my soul!
With all that is within me, praise
The verb “praise” is understood by ellipsis in the second line (see the preceding line).
his holy name!
2 Praise the Lord, O my soul!
Do not forget all his kind deeds!
Or “his benefits” (see 2 Chr 32:25, where the noun is also used of kind deeds performed by the Lord).

3 He is the one who forgives all your sins,
who heals all your diseases,
This relatively rare noun refers to deadly diseases (see Deut 29:22; Jer 14:18; 16:4; 2 Chr 21:19).

4 who delivers
Or “redeems.”
your life from the Pit,
The Hebrew term שַׁחַת (shakhat, “pit”) is often used as a title for Sheol (see Pss 16:10; 30:9; 49:9; 55:24.

who crowns you with his loyal love and compassion,
5 who satisfies your life with good things,
Heb “who satisfies with the good of your ornaments.” The text as it stands makes little, if any, sense. The translation assumes an emendation of עֶדְיֵךְ (’edekh, “your ornaments”) to עֹדֵכִי (’odekhiy, “your duration; your continuance”) that is, “your life” (see L. C. Allen, Psalms 101–150 [WBC], 18).

so your youth is renewed like an eagle’s.
The expression your youth is renewed like an eagle’s may allude to the phenomenon of molting, whereby the eagle grows new feathers.

6 The Lord does what is fair,
and executes justice for all the oppressed.
Heb “the Lord does fairness, and [acts of] justice for all the oppressed.”

7 The Lord revealed his faithful acts
Heb “made known his ways.” God’s “ways” in this context are his protective and salvific acts in fulfillment of his promise (see also Deut 32:4; Pss 18:30; 67:2; 77:13 [note vv. 11–12, 14]; 138:5; 145:17).
to Moses,
his deeds to the Israelites.
8 The Lord is compassionate and merciful;
he is patient
Heb “slow to anger” (see Ps 86:15).
and demonstrates great loyal love.
Heb “and great of loyal love” (see Ps 86:15).

9 He does not always accuse,
and does not stay angry.
The Hebrew verb נָטַר (natar) is usually taken to mean “to keep; to guard,” with “anger” being understood by ellipsis. The idiom “to guard anger” is then understood to mean “to remain angry” (see Lev 19:18; Jer 3:5, 12; Nah 1:2). However, it is possible that this is a homonymic root meaning “to be angry” (see HALOT 695 s.v. נטר).

10 He does not deal with us as our sins deserve;
Heb “not according to our sins does he do to us.”

he does not repay us as our misdeeds deserve.
Heb “and not according to our misdeeds does he repay us.”

11 For as the skies are high above the earth,
so his loyal love towers
For this sense of the verb גָבַר (gavar), see L. C. Allen, Psalms 101–150 (WBC), 17, 19.
over his faithful followers.
Heb “those who fear him.”

12 As far as the eastern horizon
Heb “sunrise.”
is from the west,
Or “sunset.”

so he removes the guilt of our rebellious actions
The Hebrew term פֶּשַׁע (pesha’, rebellious act”) is here used metonymically for the guilt such actions produce.
from us.
13 As a father has compassion on his children,
Or “sons,” but the Hebrew term sometimes refers to children in general.

so the Lord has compassion on his faithful followers.
Heb “those who fear him.”

14 For he knows what we are made of;
Heb “our form.”

he realizes
Heb “remembers.”
we are made of clay.
Heb “we [are] clay.”

15 A person’s life is like grass.
Heb “[as for] mankind, like grass [are] his days.” The Hebrew noun אֱנוֹשׁ (’enosh) is used here generically of human beings. What is said is true of all mankind.

Like a flower in the field it flourishes,
16 but when the hot wind
Heb “[the] wind.” The word “hot” is supplied in the translation for clarification.
blows by, it disappears,
and one can no longer even spot the place where it once grew.
17 But the Lord continually shows loyal love to his faithful followers,
Heb “but the loyal love of the Lord [is] from everlasting to everlasting over those who fear him.”

and is faithful to their descendants,
Heb “and his righteousness to sons of sons.”

18 to those who keep his covenant,
who are careful to obey his commands.
Heb “to those who remember his precepts to do them.”

19 The Lord has established his throne in heaven;
his kingdom extends over everything.
Heb “his kingdom rules over all.”

20 Praise the Lord, you angels of his,
you powerful warriors who carry out his decrees
and obey his orders!
Heb “[you] mighty ones of strength, doers of his word, by listening to the voice of his word.”

21 Praise the Lord, all you warriors of his,
Heb “all his hosts.”

you servants of his who carry out his desires!
Heb “his attendants, doers of his desire.”

22 Praise the Lord, all that he has made,
Heb “all his works,” which includes mankind.

in all the regions
Heb “places.”
of his kingdom!
Praise the Lord, O my soul!

Psalm 104

Psalm 104. The psalmist praises God as the ruler of the world who sustains all life.
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