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Kingdom Living

The Shortest Psalm

August 16th, 2007 · No Comments · Bible, Biblical Interpretation, Old Testament, Psalms, Religion, Worship

Do any of you know what the shortest psalm is? It is psalm 117. Ironically, it has 17 words in Hebrew. The TNIV translates it,

“Praise the Lord, all you nations;
extol him, all you peoples.
For great is his love toward us,
and the faithfulness of the Lord
endures forever.
Praise the Lord.”

This psalm may literally say, Praise the Lord, all you nations; extol him, all you gods.” In order to get “peoples” out of it the text has to be altered which throws the psalm off metrically. However, it is also very common for the psalms to use synonyms in succeeding lines. The jury is still out on this one. Structurally, this psalm does have some marks of chiasm with Yahweh in the first and final lines and the middle two lines having “extol him” and “his kindness” which sound somewhat similar.

To any of us who are not of Jewish ancestry, this psalm reminds us that even before Christ and Acts 10, God had a heart for all people and summons us to worship.

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  • Gallagher

    Great thoughts. One of our men will read that psalm before worship.

  • Bob Bliss

    Matt, you are so right about God having a heart for all people. There are so many other texts that make that same point. Thanks for pointing out God’s heart in Psalm 117. It is a small psalm that says big things about God.

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