Psalm 148 Translation and comment

Bright praise to Yah!

Praise Yahweh from the heavens,

Praise him in the high places.

Praise him all his messengers,

Praise him all his armies.

Praise him, you sun and moon,

Praise him all you stars of light.

Praise him you heaven of heavens

And you waters that are above the heavens.

Let them praise the name of Yahweh

For he commanded and they were created,

Appointing them for all time,

He gave them bounds that could not be broken.

Praise Yahweh from the earth

You dinosaurs and deeps.

Fire and hail, snow and frost

Storm-wind doing what he decrees.

Mountains and every hill

Fruiting trees and every cedar.

Animals and all cattle

Reptiles and birds that fly.

Monarchs of earth and all peoples

Princes and all earthly rulers.

Both young men and women

elders and youngsters together

Let them praise the name of Yahweh

For his name alone is exalted

His splendour is over the earth and the sky.

He has increased the power of his people

To the praise of all his faithful ones,

The children of Israel, a people near to him.

Bright praise to Yah!

As John Calvin might have said, this psalm declares that the purpose of creation is that all creatures should praise God and enjoy him forever. As Saint Francis did say in his canticle of the creatures, human beings can call on all their created brothers and sisters to praise the creator.

The biblical creation story is behind this psalm, which like its predecessor modestly notes that Israel is a key part of God’s order, as a “people near to him.” The other creatures may sing their own song, but it is the human beings of Israel who understand creation and celebrate its maker.

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