As I have done several times in the past, I have begun this year by reading intensively in the Psalms. This morning, I read Psalms 79-89.
Because my Bible has a marking showing that Book IV of the Psalms begins with Psalm 90, I noticed that I had finished Book III. Noting also that the last verse of Psalm 89 begins with the word blessed, the thought came to me to check whether the other books of Psalms also end similarly.
Here is the exciting discovery that I made about the endings of Books I-IV:
Book I (Pss. 1-41)
“Blessed be the LORD God of Israel from everlasting, and to everlasting. Amen, and Amen (41:13).
Book II (Pss. 42-72)
“Blessed be the LORD God, the God of Israel, who only doeth wondrous things. And blessed be his glorious name for ever: and let the whole earth be filled with his glory; Amen, and Amen. The prayers of David the son of Jesse are ended (72:18-20).
Book III (Pss. 73-89)
“Blessed be the LORD for evermore. Amen, and Amen” (89:52).
Book IV (Pss. 90-106)
“Blessed be the LORD God of Israel from everlasting to everlasting: and let all the people say, Amen. Praise ye the LORD” (106:48).
Each of the first four books of the Psalms, therefore, ends similarly by stating, “Blessed be the LORD”!
I then checked the end of Book V (Pss. 107-150) to see if it also ends the same way. Psalm 150, however, does not have the word blessed in it.
Instead, every verse of Psalm 150 repeatedly commands that the LORD is to be praised (13 times in these final 6 verses of Psalms). Interestingly, the last verse of Psalms does end, however, exactly the way the last verse of Book IV does: “Praise ye the LORD” (150:6; cf. 106:48).
In spite of the difference between the ending of Book V and each of the ending statements of the previous four books (absence of the word blessed), the same concluding statement in Books IV and V suggests a close connection between the two ideas (“Blessed be the LORD” and “Praise ye the LORD”). If this interpretation is correct, it seems that the entire structure of the book of Psalms is teaching us that praising the Lord is the central activity that must occur for the LORD to be blessed as He deserves!
Blessed be the LORD! Praise ye the LORD!
Copyright © 2011-2022 by Rajesh Gandhi. All rights reserved.