Scripture reading – Psalm 147


Some scholars suggest Psalm 147 was written after Israel returned from the Babylonian captivity; however, neither the occasion nor the author was revealed. Nevertheless, the mention of Jerusalem being built and the “outcasts of Israel” being gathered (Psalm 147:2) gives cause to believe the Psalm was written about the time of Ezra and Nehemiah. If Psalm 147 was written following the Babylonian exile, we can appreciate the psalmist’s joy in the opening verses.


Psalm 147 was a song of worship and praise to the LORD for Who He is, both in His person and divine attributes. You will notice three distinct calls or stanzas for Israel to praise and worship the LORD in Psalm 147. The first stanza consists of six verses (Psalm 147:1-6). The second stanza is five verses long (Psalm 147:7-11). Finally, the third stanza is nine verses long (Psalm 147:12-20). I have space for only a brief highlight of each stanza, but I would like you to read and ponder the reasons the psalmist gave for praising and worshiping the LORD.

Stanza 1 (Psalm 147:1-6)


Psalm 147:11Praise ye the Lord: For it is good [pleasing] to sing praises unto our God; For it is pleasant [beautiful]; and praise is comely [lovely].

The LORD made rebuilding Jerusalem possible after Babylon destroyed the city. He moved the heart of King Cyrus to bless the Jews and release them to return to their homeland (Psalm 147:2; Ezra 1). (By the way, the name “Palestine” for Israel’s land is a misnomer. Palestine, a name associated with the Philistines, was given by the Roman Emperor Hadrian in 135 AD. He intended to erase all traces of the Jewish people. The land is Israel, and Jerusalem has been that nation’s capital since King David’s time in 1000 BC.)


Who Is the LORD? (147:4-10)

He is merciful and compassionate. He heals the sorrows of the oppressed and binds up the wounds of the afflicted (Psalm 147:3). He is the God of heaven, and “He telleth the number of the stars; He calleth them all by their names” (Psalm 147:4). He is omnipotent, omniscient, compassionate, and just in His judgments (Psalm 147:5-6).


Stanza 2 (Psalm 147:7-11)


Psalm 147:77Sing unto the Lord with thanksgiving [i.e., an offering of thanksgiving]; Sing praise [i.e., make music] upon the harp unto our God:

The LORD is the Creator and the Sustainer of all creation. He has given humanity the knowledge of who He is and the ability and talent to praise Him in song and with musical instruments. Because He is the Creator, nature bows to His command and will (Psalm 147:7-11). He sustains the earth and paints the clouds in the sky (Psalm 147:8a). He sends “rain for the earth” and makes the “grass to grow upon the mountains” (Psalm 147:8). He provides nourishment for the beast of the fields and the birds of the air (Psalm 147:9).

Yet, the LORD takes no joy “in the strength of the horse” or the physical strength of man (Psalm 147:10). His delight is when men fear and revere Him and put their hope and trust in His mercy (Psalm 147:11).

Stanza 3 (Psalm 147:12-20)


Psalm 147:1212Praise the Lord, O Jerusalem; Praise thy God, O Zion.

The psalmist began the last stanza of his song with a specific call to Jerusalem (the capital city) and Zion (the mount upon which the Temple was built) to acknowledge and “Praise the LORD” (Psalm 147:12). Why should the inhabitants of Jerusalem and Zion worship and sing praises to the LORD? The balance of the Psalm answers that question.

The psalmist called upon the Jews to praise the LORD, for He is the Sovereign of the earth, and what He has spoken will come to pass (Psalm 147:15-18). The LORD protects His people and blesses them (Psalm 147:13). He gives the nation peace and fills them “with the finest of the wheat” (Psalm 147:14). Nature obeys His voice, and He sends the snow, the frost, and the hail upon the earth (Psalm 147:16-17). When the LORD speaks, the ice melts, the wind blows, and streams of water flow (Psalm 147:18).

In His mercies and infinite plan for mankind, the LORD sovereignly and providentially chose Israel. He revealed His word to Jacob (the father of the Twelve Tribes of Israel, Psalm 147:19a). He established His covenant and gave His “statutes and His judgments unto Israel” [Law and Commandments] (Psalm 147:19b) to keep and share, and be HIS light to the world. Apart from the witness of the Jews, the heathen had no knowledge of the LORD and “His judgments” (Psalm 147:20).

Closing thoughts –Why are the Jewish people so profoundly hated and despised?

It is because the LORD chose Israel to bear the trust of His revelation, Laws, and Commandments. Without the Law, the heathen has no consciousness of good and evil, moral and immoral, and “no fear of God” (Romans 3:18). However, He gave Israel His Word and Law, and therefore the hearts of sinners are pricked, and enlightened by His Truth. Thus, “all the world [is] guilty before God” (Romans 3:19).

Friend, the God whom the psalmist praised and worshiped, is your Creator and the Sustainer of the universe. He knows the number and the names of the stars, and He loves to be revered and feared by men who worship and praise Him!

Yet, He heals the broken-hearted (Psalm 147:3) and shows compassion for those who humble themselves. He is the Judge and will reward the righteous and the wicked (Psalm 147:6).

I encourage you to join me in shouting and singing, “Praise ye the LORD” (Psalm 147:20).

Copyright © 2023 – Travis D. Smith 

* You can subscribe to the Heart of a Shepherd daily devotionals by entering your name and email address at the bottom of today’s devotion.

The Internal Revenue Service recognizes Heart of A Shepherd Inc as a 501c3 public charitable organization. Your donation is welcome and supports the worldwide ministry outreach of