This appears not to be a personal poem of gratitude, but one of praise, rejoicing, and thanksgiving by the body of Israel.  It may have been sung on one or more of the festivals.  Because of v. 27 below, the case has been made that it was sung particularly in the Temple procession on the Feast of Tabernacles.

הוֹדוּ לַיהוָה כִּי־טוֹב כִּי לְעוֹלָם חַסְדּוֹ׃   118:1

Psal. 118:1   Give thanks to the Lord,

                               for He is good,

                         for His mercy is forever.

יֹאמַר־נָא יִשְׂרָאֵל כִּי לְעוֹלָם חַסְדּוֹ׃   118:2

Psal. 118:2   Let Israel now say,

                               “For His mercy is forever.”

יֹאמְרוּ־נָא בֵית־אַהֲרֹן כִּי לְעוֹלָם חַסְדּוֹ׃   118:3

Psal. 118:3   Let of the house of Aaron now say,

                               “For His mercy is forever.”

יֹאמְרוּ־נָא יִרְאֵי יְהוָה כִּי לְעוֹלָם חַסְדּוֹ׃   118:4

Psal. 118:4   Let those reverent of the Lord now say,

                               “For His mercy is forever.”

מִן־הַמֵּצַר קָרָאתִי יָּהּ עָנָנִי בַמֶּרְחָב יָהּ׃   118:5

Psal. 118:5   Out of distress I called the Lord;

                               the Lord answered me in an expansive way.

I believe the pronouns “I” and “me” in this verse, and others below, refer to Israel.  The psalmist was writing in the person of Israel here.

יְהוָה לִי לֹא אִירָא מַה־יַּעֲשֶׂה לִי אָדָם׃   118:6

Psal. 118:6   The Lord is for me;

                               I shall not fear.

                        What can any man do to me?

יְהוָה לִי בְּעֹזְרָי וַאֲנִי אֶרְאֶה בְשֹׂנְאָי׃   118:7

Psal. 118:7   The Lord is for me; He is my Helper,

                               so I will gaze upon my haters.

טוֹב לַחֲסוֹת בַּיהוָה מִבְּטֹחַ בָּאָדָם׃   118:8

Psal. 118:8   Better to seek refuge in the Lord

                               than to trust in humanity.

טוֹב לַחֲסוֹת בַּיהוָה מִבְּטֹחַ בִּנְדִיבִים׃   118:9

Psal. 118:9   Better to seek refuge in the Lord

                               than to trust in nobles.

כָּל־גּוֹיִם סְבָבוּנִי בְּשֵׁם יְהוָה כִּי אֲמִילַם׃   118:10

Psal. 118:10   All the nations encircled me,

                                though I would cut them off in the name of the Lord.

סַבּוּנִי גַם־סְבָבוּנִי בְּשֵׁם יְהוָה כִּי אֲמִילַם׃c   118:11

Psal. 118:11   They encircled me

                                -- yet they encircled me!

                           -- in the name of the Lord I would indeed cut them off.

סַבּוּנִי כִדְבוֹרִים דֹּעֲכוּ כְּאֵשׁ קוֹצִים בְּשֵׁם יְהוָה כִּי אֲמִילַם׃   118:12

Psal. 118:12   They surrounded me like bees;

                                they were extinguished as a fire of thorns.

                           In the name of the Lord surely I would cut them off.

דַּחֹה דְחִיתַנִי לִנְפֹּל וַיהוָה עֲזָרָנִי׃   118:13

Psal. 118:13   You thrust at me violently to make fall,

                                but the Lord supported me.

עָזִּי וְזִמְרָת יָהּ וַיְהִי־לִי לִישׁוּעָה׃   118:14

Psal. 118:14   The Lord is my strength and song,

                                and He is for salvation to me.

קוֹל רִנָּה וִישׁוּעָה בְּאָהֳלֵי צַדִּיקִים יְמִין יְהוָה עֹשָׂה חָיִל׃   118:15

Psal. 118:15   The sound of joy and salvation is in the tents of the righteous!

                                The right “hand” of the Lord deals mightily.

יְמִין יְהוָה רוֹמֵמָה יְמִין יְהוָה עֹשָׂה חָיִל׃   118:16

Psal. 118:16   The right “hand” of the Lord is exalted;

                                the right “hand” of the Lord deals mightily.

לֹא אָמוּת כִּי־אֶחְיֶה וַאֲסַפֵּר מַעֲשֵׂי יָהּ׃   118:17

Psal. 118:17   I shall not die,

                                but I shall live,

                          and I shall declare the works of the Lord.

יַסֹּר יִסְּרַנִּי יָּהּ וְלַמָּוֶת לֹא נְתָנָנִי׃   118:18

Psal. 118:18   The Lord has severely chastened me,

                                but He has not given me over to death.

פִּתְחוּ־לִי שַׁעֲרֵי־צֶדֶק אָבֹא־בָם אוֹדֶה יָהּ׃   118:19

Psal. 118:19   Open for me the gates of righteousness!

                                I will enter them;

                           I will thank the Lord.

זֶה־הַשַּׁעַר לַיהוָה צַדִּיקִים יָבֹאוּ בוֹ׃   118:20

Psal. 118:20   This is the Lord's gate;

                                the righteous shall enter it.

אוֹדְךָ כִּי עֲנִיתָנִי וַתְּהִי־לִי לִישׁוּעָה׃   118:21

Psal. 118:21   Let me thank You, for You have answered me,

                                and have been to me for salvation.

אֶבֶן מָאֲסוּ הַבּוֹנִים הָיְתָה לְרֹאשׁ פִּנָּה׃   118:22

Psal. 118:22   The stone the builders rejected

                                has become the choice cornerstone.

Scholars believe -- as do I -- that the “stone” and the “builders” in this verse are metaphors for Israel and the other nations, respectively.  The nations have always “rejected” Israel, as the modern nation of Israel is hated and rejected today by almost all nations.  Nevertheless, Israel is, was, and always will be the cornerstone of the world.

מֵאֵת יְהוָה הָיְתָה זֹּאת הִיא נִפְלָאת בְּעֵינֵינוּ׃   118:23

Psal. 118:23   This has come about from the Lord,

                                it is marvelous in our eyes.

זֶה־הַיּוֹם עָשָׂה יְהוָה נָגִילָה וְנִשְׂמְחָה בוֹ׃   118:24

Psal. 118:24   This is the day the Lord has made.

                                Let us rejoice and be glad on it.

אָנָּא יְהוָה הוֹשִׁיעָה נָּא אָנָּא יְהוָה הַצְלִיחָה נָּא׃   118:25

Psal. 118:25   We beseech You, O Lord, save now!

                                We beseech You, O Lord, make prosperous now!

בָּרוּךְ הַבָּא בְּשֵׁם יְהוָה בֵּרַכְנוּכֶם מִבֵּית יְהוָה׃   118:26

Psal. 118:26   Blessed is who is coming in the name of the Lord;

                                we bless you who are from the house of the Lord.

אֵל יְהוָה וַיָּאֶר לָנוּ אִסְרוּ־חַג בַּעֲבֹתִים עַד־קַרְנוֹת הַמִּזְבֵּחַ׃   118:27

Psal. 118:27   God is the Lord, and He is our Light.

                                Contain the feast within foliage up to the horns of the altar.

אֵלִי אַתָּה וְאוֹדֶךָּ אֱלֹהַי אֲרוֹמְמֶךָּ׃   118:28

Psal. 118:28    You are my God, and I will give thanks to You;

                                my God, I will exalt You.

הוֹדוּ לַיהוָה כִּי־טוֹב כִּי לְעוֹלָם חַסְדּוֹ׃   118:29

Psal. 118:29   Give thanks to the Lord,

                                for He is good,

                           for His mercy is forever.


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Psalms 118