Psalm 33:1-22

1 Rejoice in the Lord, O you righteous!
For praise from the upright is beautiful.

Praise the Lord with the harp;
Make melody to Him with an instrument of ten strings.

Sing to Him a new song;
Play skillfully with a shout of joy.

For the word of the Lord is right,
And all His work is done in truth.

He loves righteousness and justice;
The earth is full of the goodness of the Lord.

By the word of the Lord the heavens were made,
And all the host of them by the breath of His mouth.

He gathers the waters of the sea together as a heap;
He lays up the deep in storehouses.

Let all the earth fear the Lord;
Let all the inhabitants of the world stand in awe of Him.

For He spoke, and it was done;
He commanded, and it stood fast.

10 The Lord brings the counsel of the nations to nothing;
He makes the plans of the peoples of no effect.

11 The counsel of the Lord stands forever,
The plans of His heart to all generations.

12 Blessed is the nation whose God is the Lord,
The people He has chosen as His own inheritance.

13 The Lord looks from heaven;
He sees all the sons of men.

14 From the place of His dwelling He looks
On all the inhabitants of the earth;

15 He fashions their hearts individually;
He considers all their works.

16 No king is saved by the multitude of an army;
A mighty man is not delivered by great strength.

17 A horse is a vain hope for safety;
Neither shall it deliver any by its great strength.

18 Behold, the eye of the Lord is on those who fear Him,
On those who hope in His mercy,

19 To deliver their soul from death,
And to keep them alive in famine.

20 Our soul waits for the Lord;
He is our help and our shield.

21 For our heart shall rejoice in Him,
Because we have trusted in His holy name.

22 Let Your mercy, O Lord, be upon us,
Just as we hope in You.

The introduction (vs.1-3) and the conclusion (vs.20-22) are clearly distinguished from the main body of the poem. The introduction describes the enthusiastic singing of a choir accompanied by music. The conclusion describes the fervent faith of the worshipers who are surrounded by the protection and mercy of the Lord. The anthem of praise becomes the prayer of faith. The change is also from the externals of worship to the inward experiences of trust and hope. In the body of the psalm are two sections, vs. 4-12 and vs. 13-19, the first of which deals with God the Ruler, and the second with God the Judge. — Guthrie, page 471.

Verse 1 picks up where the last verse of Psalm 32 leaves off. This, in addition to its lack of heading, may indicate that the two were to be read together.

new song (v.3) — the first appearance of this phrase in Scripture. The last is in Revelation 14:3 when the 144,000 sing a new song to the Lamb on Mount Zion. It appears nine times in Scripture.

This section (vs.4-19) consists of seven (signifying perfection/completeness) distinct reasons for collectively praising God: (1) His attributes (vs.4-5) — specifically His imitable attributes of uprightness, faithfulness, righteousness and lovingkindness; (2) His creation of the world by His word (i.e. by thought alone) (vs. 6-9); (3) the sovereign permanence of His counsel (i.e., will) (vs. 10-11); (4) His election of Israel for His own inheritance (v.12); (5) His intimate understanding of the hearts of all men (vs. 13-15); (6) His superiority to any other basis of hope or deliverance (vs.16-17); and (7) His special solicitude for those who fear (i.e., worship) Him (vs. 18-19). — Wechsler, pages 100-101.

 right (v.4) = without deception, full of integrity, faithful — the same Hebrew word translated “upright” in v.1

counsel of the nations (v.10) — contrasted with the counsel of the Lord in v.11. The first comes to nothing, the latter stand forever.

the nation whose God is the Lord (v.12) — Exodus 19:5; Deuteronomy 4:20

Among the results of collective praise is the fostering of collective reliance on God — i.e., reliance upon God generally (per v.20a: “Our soul [note the singular, underscoring the communal unity of God’s people] waits for the Lord”), as well as socially-familially (per v.20b: “[He is] our help”: which same term is applied to woman in Genesis 2:18) and militarily (per 20b: “[He is] our shield). Also among the results of collective praise is the strengthening of collective trust in God’s name (i.e., His reputation, as epitomized by the seven reasons for collective praise enumerated above) and the contingent fostering of collective joy (v.21: “our heart rejoices”) among God’s people — whatever the circumstances might be. — Wechsler, page 101.

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