Psalm 150 Translation and comment

Bright praise to Yah!

Praise God in his holy place

Praise him in the sky his stronghold.

Praise him for his deeds of power

Praise him to the height of his greatness.

Praise him with the blare of the ram’s horn;

Praise him with the lute and harp;

Praise him with the tambourine and dancing;

Praise him with the strings and flute;

Praise him with the sounding cymbals;

Praise him with the clanging cymbals.

Let everything that breathes praise Yah!

Bright praise to Yah!

This the final psalm of the fifth book of psalms, and of the collection of five books, is a vigorous doxology encouraging praise of God in all places and by all creatures. Unusually Israel is not mentioned since the psalm looks forward to the end of Israel’s mission of making its God available to all.

It is however a musical doxology. We know that music had a huge part in Israel’s temple worship. All types of instrument, strings, percussion, woodwind brass and horn-wind, were commonly used, both on their own and as accompaniment to voices. Even if the psalm imagines a visionary state of the world, the orchestra will still be needed.

Israel had on the one hand a very restrictive view of worship: it should only be offered to the invisible God, and only in the accredited places. Anything else risked the possibility of idolatry.

On the other hand worship was seen as the most important human act. It could of course be insincere and accompanied by neglect of God’s teaching. But the sincere praise of the God of Israel, the Creator, brought human beings consciously into the sphere of God’s goodness, regulating their relationships with each other and the world, and allying them with God’s purpose for the universe. When there is true worship all is well: bright praise to Yah!

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: