Psalm 147a

How good to hymn our God! * How pleasant to praise our Glorious One!
Rebuilder of Jerusalem is Yahweh; * he gathers the outcasts of Israel,
    the healer of the brokenhearted, * and binder of their wounds.
        He assigns a number to each star; * to them all gives names.
           Great is our Lord, surpassing in power; * none can describe his skill.
               Yahweh reassures the humble, * and reduces the wicked to the underworld.
           Sing to Yahweh with thanksgiving; * make music to our God with the lyre,
        who covers the heaven with clouds, * who prepares rain for the earth, * who makes
                the mountains sprout grass.
    who gives to the cattle their grain, * to the crows what they gather.
Not in the power of horses does he delight; * not in a man's thighs is he pleased,
but Yahweh is pleased with those who fear him, * with those who rely on his strength.


147a:0 This is Psalm 147a (Vul 146). After rousing his own soul to praise God and teaching it how to praise him, here he extends the invitation to all in general. And, since the invitation is to praise, the title "Hallelu-Yah" is appropriate.

According to the Gloss, the Psalmist (1) simply calls people to joyful and beautiful praise of God, (2) then tells how to praise, rousing the soul from laziness: "Sing to the Lord with praise". In the first, he (1) simply calls for praise, (2) then to the joy and beauty of praise: "to our God". In the first there is (1) the invitation, (2) the reason why it should be accepted: "because psalm is good".

Praise ye the Lord, because psalm is good:
to our God be joyful and comely praise.
praise that is joyful and beautiful, otherwise it is not joyful, to our God. First prayer must be beautiful by removal of sin, which is done in confession, and then it is pleasing to God and joyful -Cant 2:14 Let me see your face first in confession, let me hear your voice afterwards in prayer -Sir 15:9 Praise is unseemly on the lips of a sinner. For prayer does not willingly mix with uncleanliness, for it is ultra-clean.

2. The Lord buildeth up Jerusalem:
the Lord, who is our God, is building up Jerusalem, that is, the Church, both militant and triumphant -Prov 9:1 Wisdom has built her house. - Proverbs 14:1 The wise woman builds her house. -Amos 9:11 On that day I will raise up the booth of David that is fallen, and repair its breaches. He builds it from living stones, laying them on the foundation of the Apostles and Prophets, with Christ Jesus as the key corner stone. But while he is building on one side, many destroy on the other -Sir 34:28 When one builds and another tears down, what do they gain but hard work?

he will gather together the dispersed of Israel. 3. Who healeth the broken of heart, and bindeth up their bruises.
will gather the dispersed of Israel to the unity of faith of the chosen people -Lam 4:1 The sacred stones, with which the sanctuary should be built, lie scattered at the head of every street. But he will gather them -Ez 11:17 I will gather you from the peoples, and assemble you out of the countries where you have been scattered. -Hosea 1:11 The people of Judah and the people of Israel shall be gathered together, and they shall appoint for themselves one head. -Is 11:12 He will raise a signal for the nations, and will assemble the outcasts of Israel.

He heals, after gathering them to the unity of the Faith, otherwise they would not be contrite, the contrite of heart -Hosea 14:4 I will heal their disloyalty. Exactly to these came the supreme doctor -Mat 9:12 Those who are well have no need of a physician, but those who are sick. Therefore it is said -Dan 3:39-40 May the contrite soul, the humbled spirit, be as acceptable to you as burnt offerings of rams and bullocks, as thousands of fat lambs: such let our sacrifice be to you today.

If he heals the faithful, who through their faith repent of their sins, then he bandages, by administering the sacraments, their wounds -Sir 6:3 Her bonds will be your purple cord. Therefore he is shocked at our wounds and brokenness -Jer 8:22 Is there no balm in Gilead, that is, in the Church? Gilead means a mound of testimony, which signifies the Church. Balm, which draws puss, is the sacrament of confession and penance. The doctor is Christ or the prelate who administers the sacrament. To the question "Is it not there?" the answer is "Certainly it is there". Then why is the wound of my people not healed? -Ez 34:16 I will bind up the injured. -Is 57:15 I dwell in the high and holy place, and also with those who are contrite and humble in spirit, to revive the spirit of the humble, and to revive the heart of the contrite.

4. Who telleth the number of the stars: and calleth them all by their names.
numbers, distinguishing and differentiating, the stars, that is, the saints, from whom the Church is built -Is 40:26 He who brings out their host and numbers them, calling them all by name. -1 Cor 15:41 Star differs from star in glory. He distinguishes and discerns these stars so well that he knows and sees all their merits -Heb 4:12 He is able to judge the thoughts and intentions of the heart. For he knows which way and how far hearts are turning -Prov 16:2 Yahweh weighs spirits. This counting was prefigured in Num 26:63 These were those enrolled by Moses and Eleazar the priest, who enrolled the Israelites. And this is what John heard -Rev 7:4 And I heard the number of those who were sealed, one hundred forty-four thousand, sealed out of every tribe of the people of Israel.

He distinguishes merits and calls them all, the stars and the saints, by their names. Calling their names is inscribing them in eternity -Luke 10:20 Rejoice that your names are written in heaven. -Phil 4:3 whose names are in the book of life. -Is 65:15 To his servants he will give a different name, different from that given by their parents, one indicating their order of merit.

5. Great is our Lord, and great is his power: and of his wisdom there is no number.
great is our Lord in himself and great is his power in his action -Sir 43:30 Awful is Yahweh's majesty, and wonderful is his power. -Sir 3:19 Great is the power of God; by the humble he is glorified. -2 Mac 7:17 See his mighty power.

He is capable, because he has such great power, and of his wisdom there is no number -Sir 1:3 (Vul addition) Who can investigate the wisdom of God that precedes everything? - Romans 11:33 O the depth of the riches and wisdom and knowledge of God! It surpasses all numbering.

6. The Lord lifteth up the meek,
and bringeth the wicked down even to the ground.
7. Sing ye to the Lord with praise: sing to our God upon the harp.
Sing to the Lord God in confession of sin. This should be the first step -Jud 1:1 Who shall go up first for us against the Canaanites, to fight against them?" Yahweh said, "Judah shall go up. -Genesis 46:28 Israel sent Judah ahead to Joseph. -1 Mac 2:66 Judas shall command the army for you. -Prov 18:17 The just man is the first accusor of himself (Vul).

After you praise God by confessing your sins, then sing by good works, for this is authentic praise, on the harp, that is, by keeping the ten commandments. For the law of the ten commandments is like a harp of ten strings -Ps 33:2 Play for him the ten-stringed lyre. -Is 23:16 Take a harp, the law of the ten commandments. Whoever plays this harp sings sweetly to God -Rev 14:2 The voice I heard was like the sound of harpists playing on their harps.

8. Who covereth the heaven with clouds, and prepareth rain for the earth.
who covers the heaven with clouds, who prepares rain for the earth,

147a: Here is the cause and reason for praising God, that is the conferral of his benefits on those who should receive them, and the non-conferral on thos who should not receive them. He therefore says (1) to whom which benefits should be given and to whom not, and (2) the reason why: "The Lord takes pleasure". In the first he shows (1) which benefits are given, and (2) to whom: "He shall not delight". In the first there is: (1) preparation for the spiritual benefits of Scripture, (2) the giving of bodily benefits: "who makes grass", (3) the giving of spiritual benefits: "who gives beasts". In the first there is: (1) the deposit of truth in Scripture, (2) the reason for that deposit: "and prepares". The idea is: Sing to him, because he covers the heaven, that is, the truth of Sacred Scripture, where God hides as in heaven with clouds, that is, sacramental symbols. That heaven should stand for the truth of Scripture is found in Revelation 8:13 I heard an eagle crying with a loud voice as it flew in midheaven. But God covered this heaven with a cloud -Is 50:3 I clothe the heavens with blackness -Job 36:32 In his hands he hid the light, and then commanded it to return (Vul). -Dan 12:4 But you, Daniel, keep the words secret and the book sealed until the time of the end. See Revelation 5 on the sealed book.

He deposits truth in Sacred Scripture, and thus prepares rain, that is, the teaching of the Holy Church, for the earth -Ps 68:10 Your generous rain, God, pour down. -Job 38:28 Has the rain a father, or who has begotten the drops of dew? -Ez 34:26 They shall be showers of blessing.

Who maketh grass to grow on the mountains, and herbs for the service of men.
who makes the mountains sprout grass.

147a: Here is the conferral of corporal benefits: (1) their production, (2) for whom: "for the service". The idea is: God prepared Scripture, and he makes grass, something mature for the sustenance of the greater, grow on the mountains, the big and rich people of this world, and herbs, which are more tender, for the sustenance of the lesser people. Briefly, this is an abundance of temporal goods -Prov 27:25 New growth appears, and the herbage of the mountains is gathered. For the mountains are the high and powerful of this world -Is 54:10 The mountains may depart and the hills be removed. But they bear grass and herbs of temporal things -Job 40:20 The mountains bring him grass (Vul)-- for the service of men, that is, preachers and teachers, to fulfil Genesis 25:23 The greater shall serve the smaller in temporal things, and the smaller, humble and poor [= the preachers] will serve the greater in spiritual things -1 Corinthians 9:11 If we have sown spiritual good among you, is it too much if we reap your material benefits? -Isaiah 49:23 Kings shall be your guardians, and their queens your nursing mothers.

9. Who giveth to beasts their food: and to the young ravens that call upon him.
who gives to the cattle their grain, to the crows what they gather.

147a: Here is the conferral of spiritual benefits, that is, spiritual food (1) to the simple, (2) to the successors of sinners: "and to the young ravens". The idea is: He gives teachers corporal benefits from the mountains, and he is the same who gives beasts, that is, the simple in the Church -Ps 36:7 You make men and animals thrive. -Joel 2:22 Do not fear, you animals of the field, for the pastures of the wilderness are green. -Jonah 4:11 And should I not be concerned about Nineveh, that great city, in which there are more than a hundred and twenty thousand persons who do not know their right hand from their left, and also many animals?

And he also gives food to the young ravens, that is, the children of the Gentiles who are black an horrible with sin. The ravens were our fathers who, disoriented by the sin of idolatry, would not return to the ark (cf Gen 8:7). Their children are slow to be converted, or procrastinate -Zeph 2:14 The raven will croak on the doorstep. This is contrary to Sirach 5:8 Delay not your conversion to Yahweh. But it is the children of the ravens who are converted and call to the Lord for spiritual food -Isaiah 60:14 The descendants of those who oppressed you shall come bending low to you.

There are also good ravens who are black with sin in their own estimation. These are the holy Doctors and Apostles, and the Lord prepares food for them and their children -Job 38:41 Who provides for the raven its prey, when its young ones cry to God, and wander about for lack of food? -Luke 12:24 Consider the ravens: they neither sow nor reap, they have neither storehouse nor barn, and yet God feeds them.

10. He shall not delight in the strength of the horse: nor take pleasure in the legs of a man.
Not in the power of horses does he delight; not in a man's thighs is he pleased,

147a: After showing to whom he confers these benefits, he shows to whom he does not: (1) to the contumacious and proud, (2) to bold and unbalanced men: "nor in the legs". The idea is: He gives food to the simple children of sinners who ask for it, but he does not delight in giving that to someone who has the strength of the horse, such as the contumacious and proud -Sir 10:7 Arrogance is hateful to the Lord and to mortals. Rather he resists such people -James 4:6 God resists the proud, because they resist him -Job 15:26 They ran against him with a thick neck.

As he is not pleased with pride and the contumacious, so he is not pleased by the legs of a man, that is, bold and unbalanced men who display their legs to show how strong and healthy they are. The very way many walk manifests their hearts -Sir 19:26 A man's ttire, his hearty laughter and his gait proclaim him for what he is. -Is 3:16 The daughters of Zion are haughty and walk with outstretched necks.

11. The Lord taketh pleasure in them that fear him: and in them that hope in his mercy.
but Yahweh is pleased with those who fear him, with those who rely on his strength.

147a:2.2.2 After showing that blessings are given to some and not to others, here he give the reason for the difference, which is God's will and pleasure in (1) those who fear him, and (2) at the same time hope in him. The idea is: He gives to some and not to others. Why? Because the Lord is pleased with those who fear him, such as those mentioned -Sir 1:13 Those who fear the Lord will have a happy end; on the day of their death they will be blessed. For the word "death" there are variants: "consolation" or "judgment" -Sir 25:11 Fear of Yahweh surpasses all else, its possessor is beyond compare. This is what Paul talks about -Eph 5:10 Trying to find out what is pleasing to the Lord.

And with those who hope in his mercy, since fear would not please him if it were not accompanied by hope -Sir 2:9 You who fear Yahweh, hope for good things. -Deut 24:6 No one must take a mill or an upper millstone in pledge; that would be to take life itself in pledge. The upper stone is hope, the lower fear. -Gregory: Hope lifts to things above; fear presses down. In this way a man is ground to become the food of God, and is brought to the eternal table of glory. May He bring us to that who is blessed for all ages. Amen.