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Psalm 116[a]

Thanksgiving to God Who Saves from Death

I

I love the Lord, who listened
    to my voice in supplication,
Who turned an ear to me
    on the day I called.
I was caught by the cords of death;[b](A)
    the snares of Sheol had seized me;
    I felt agony and dread.
Then I called on the name of the Lord,
    “O Lord, save my life!”

II

Gracious is the Lord and righteous;
    yes, our God is merciful.(B)
The Lord protects the simple;
    I was helpless, but he saved me.
Return, my soul, to your rest;
    the Lord has been very good to you.(C)
For my soul has been freed from death,
    my eyes from tears, my feet from stumbling.(D)
I shall walk before the Lord
    in the land of the living.[c](E)

III

10 [d]I kept faith, even when I said,
    “I am greatly afflicted!”(F)
11 I said in my alarm,
    “All men are liars!”(G)
12 How can I repay the Lord
    for all the great good done for me?
13 I will raise the cup of salvation[e]
    and call on the name of the Lord.
14 I will pay my vows to the Lord
    in the presence of all his people.
15 [f]Dear in the eyes of the Lord
    is the death of his devoted.(H)
16 Lord, I am your servant,
    your servant, the child of your maidservant;(I)
    you have loosed my bonds.
17 I will offer a sacrifice of praise
    and call on the name of the Lord.(J)
18 I will pay my vows to the Lord(K)
    in the presence of all his people,
19 In the courts of the house of the Lord,
    in your midst, O Jerusalem.
Hallelujah!

Footnotes

  1. Psalm 116 A thanksgiving in which the psalmist responds to divine rescue from mortal danger (Ps 116:3–4) and from near despair (Ps 116:10–11) with vows and Temple sacrifices (Ps 116:13–14, 17–19). The Greek and Latin versions divide the Psalm into two parts: Ps 116:1–9 and Ps 116:10–19, corresponding to its two major divisions.
  2. 116:3 The cords of death: death is personified here; it attempts to capture the psalmist with snares and nets, cf. Ps 18:6.
  3. 116:9 The land of the living: the phrase elsewhere is an epithet of the Jerusalem Temple (cf. Ps 27:13; 52:5; Is 38:11). Hence the psalmist probably refers to being present to God in the Temple.
  4. 116:10 I kept faith, even when I said: even in the days of despair, the psalmist did not lose all hope.
  5. 116:13 The cup of salvation: probably the libation of wine poured out in gratitude for rescue, cf. Ex 25:29; Nm 15:5, 7, 10.
  6. 116:15 Dear in the eyes of the Lord: the meaning is that the death of God’s faithful is grievous to God, not that God is pleased with the death, cf. Ps 72:14. In Wis 3:5–6, God accepts the death of the righteous as a sacrificial burnt offering.

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