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Bible Commentaries
Psalms 145

Utley's You Can Understand the BibleUtley Commentary


Psalms 145:0


The Lord Extolled for His GoodnessMT IntroA Psalm of praise,of David.A Song of God's Majesty and LoveHymn Epitomizing the Character of the God of Israel(an acrostic)A Hymn of PraisePraise to Yahweh the King(acrostic)
Psalms 145:1-7Psalms 145:1-3Psalms 145:1-3Psalms 145:1-3Psalms 145:1-3
Psalms 145:4-7Psalms 145:4-7Psalms 145:4-9Psalms 145:4-5
Psalms 145:6-7
Psalms 145:8-13Psalms 145:8-9Psalms 145:8-9 Psalms 145:8-9
Psalms 145:10-13Psalms 145:10-13bPsalms 145:10-13bPsalms 145:10-11
Psalms 145:12-13b
Psalms 145:13-20Psalms 145:13-16Psalms 145:13-14
Psalms 145:14-16Psalms 145:14-16
Psalms 145:15-16
Psalms 145:17-21Psalms 145:17-21 Psalms 145:17-20Psalms 145:17-18
Psalms 145:19-20
Psalms 145:21Psalms 145:21Psalms 145:21

READING CYCLE THREE (see “Guide to Good Bible Reading”)


This is a study guide commentary which means that you are responsible for your own interpretation of the Bible. Each of us must walk in the light we have. You, the Bible, and the Holy Spirit are priority in interpretation. You must not relinquish this to a commentator.

Read the chapter in one sitting. Identify the subjects (reading cycle #3). Compare your subject divisions with the five translations above. Paragraphing is not inspired, but it is the key to following the original author's intent, which is the heart of interpretation. Every paragraph has one and only one subject.

1. First paragraph

2. Second paragraph

3. Etc.


A. This is an acrostic Psalm. There are other examples in the Psalter.

1. Psalms 9:0 and 10

2. Psalms 25:0

3. Psalms 34:0

4. Psalms 37:0

5. Psalms 111:0

6. Psalms 112:0

7. Psalms 119:0

8. Psalms 145:0

Acrostics can also be seen in Proverbs 31:16-31 and Lamentations 1:0; Lamentations 2:0; Lamentations 3:0; and 4. There are 22 letters in the Hebrew alphabet. There are only 21 verses in this Psalm, so obviously one letter is omitted. The Hebrew “N” has somehow been misplaced in the Masoretic text (see SPECIAL TOPIC: TEXTUAL CRITICISM). It is included in all of the ancient versionsthe Septuagint, the Vulgate, and the Peshitta. We find it in one Hebrew manuscript in the Dead Sea Scrolls, 11QPsa.

B. This Psalm is about the character of Israel's God and His acts which reveal that character. See Special Topic: Characteristics of Israel's God.

C. This Psalm has a unique universal element which can be seen in Psalms 145:8-21. This is one of the unique glimpses into the heart of God which shows His love for all peoples of the earth and of His desire for all people to know Him by faith (cf. Ezekiel 18:23, Ezekiel 18:32; John 3:16; John 4:42; 1 Timothy 2:4; 1 Timothy 4:10; Titus 2:11; 2 Peter 3:9; 1 John 2:1; 1 John 4:14; see Special Topic: YHWH's Eternal Redemptive Plan).

Verses 1-7

NASB (UPDATED) TEXT: Psalms 145:1-7 11I will extol You, my God, O King, And I will bless Your name forever and ever. 2Every day I will bless You, And I will praise Your name forever and ever. 3Great is the Lord, and highly to be praised, And His greatness is unsearchable. 4One generation shall praise Your works to another, And shall declare Your mighty acts. 5On the glorious splendor of Your majesty And on Your wonderful works, I will meditate. 6Men shall speak of the power of Your awesome acts, And I will tell of Your greatness. 7They shall eagerly utter the memory of Your abundant goodness And will shout joyfully of Your righteousness.

Psalms 145:1 “I will extol You” Notice the personal element expressed so often in Psalms 145:1-7. This is clearly seen by the phrase, “my God.” It is obvious that personal faith is the beginning point in understanding the God of creation and in history.

This opening strophe (i.e., Psalms 145:1-7) has several cohortatives.

1. I will extol You, Psalms 145:1 - BDB 926, KB 1202, Polel imperfect used in a cohortative sense

2. I will bless Your name, Psalms 145:1 - BDB 138, KB 159, Piel cohortative

3. I will bless You, Psalms 145:2 - BDB 138, KB 159, Piel imperfect used in a cohortative sense

4. I will praise Your name, Psalms 145:3 - BDB 237, KB 248, Piel cohortative

5. I will meditate on Your wonderful works, Psalms 145:5 - BDB 967, KB 1319, Qal cohortative

6. I will tell of Your greatness, Psalms 145:6 - BDB 707, KB 765, Piel imperfect used in a cohortative sense

True faithful followers must express their faith and praise of YHWH.

“O King” YHWH was the true King of Israel (cf. 1 Samuel 8:7). The earthly king was only a mere representative of the heavenly King (cf. Psalms 10:16; Psalms 29:10; Psalms 98:6).

“I will bless Your name” The concept of “blessing” (BDB 138-verb, 139-noun) is part of the Hebrew theology related to the power of the spoken word. See SPECIAL TOPIC: BLESSING.

The term “name” (BDB 1027) is a Hebraic way of referring to the person. See Special Topic: “The Name” of YHWH.

Israel's Deity is called Eloah in Psalms 145:1 but YHWH nine times in the rest of the Psalm. See SPECIAL TOPIC: NAMES FOR DEITY.

“forever and ever” The phrase is used in Psalms 145:1b and 2b and seems to be used in the same sense in Psalms 34:1, which is explicitly expressed in Psalms 145:2a. It is not really an affirmation of the afterlife but a Hebrew idiom of daily praise. See Special Topic: Forever ('olam).

Psalms 145:3 “His greatness is unsearchable” The noun “greatness” (BDB 153) is used of both

1. God Himself - 1 Chronicles 29:11; Psalms 48:1; Psalms 86:10; Psalms 147:5

2. His acts - 2 Samuel 7:21; 1 Chronicles 17:19-21

“Unsearchable” (lit. “there is no searching,” i.e., noun construct) is used in Job 5:9; Job 9:10; Job 11:7. The same concept of God's ways being far above our understanding is expressed in Psalms 40:5,28; Psalms 139:6; Isaiah 40:28; Isaiah 55:8, Isaiah 55:9; Romans 11:33.

Psalms 145:4 “One generation shall praise Your works to another” This is an emphasis of passing on their faith to their children (cf. Deuteronomy 4:9, Deuteronomy 4:10; Deuteronomy 6:7, Deuteronomy 6:20-25; Deuteronomy 11:19; Deuteronomy 32:7, Deuteronomy 32:46; Psalms 22:30, Psalms 22:31).

The verbs of Psalms 145:4 are imperfects but they may be jussive in meaning, describing the psalmist's wishes/prayers. The same is true of Psalms 145:6 and 7 (NET Bible, p. 1009).

“Your mighty acts” This emphasis is on the God who acts in fidelity to His covenant promises, cf. Psalms 145:4, Psalms 145:5, Psalms 145:6, Psalms 145:7, Psalms 145:12. Usually this term refers to God's past redemptive acts, such as the Exodus.

Psalms 145:5 “On the glorious splendor of Your majesty” Human vocabulary is quite inadequate to express the glory of God (see SPECIAL TOPIC: GLORY (DOXA) [OT]). Here is a series of words which are linked together in order to catch the glorious nature of God.

1. splendor - BDB 214, cf. 1 Chronicles 16:27; Psalms 29:4; Psalms 90:16; Psalms 96:6; Psalms 104:1; Psalms 111:3; Isaiah 2:10, Isaiah 2:19, Isaiah 2:21

2. majesty - BDB 217, cf. 1 Chronicles 16:27; 1 Chronicles 29:11; Psalms 96:6; Psalms 111:3; Psalms 148:13

3. wondrous - BDB 810, see Special Topic: Wonderful Things

“I will meditate” Faithful followers will remember YHWH's great acts, cf. Psalms 145:7. It is amazing how many times in the Bible faithful followers are admonished to remember what God has done!

Psalms 145:6 “Men shall speak of the power of Your awesome acts” This is the first allusion to “all men,” which is the common refrain of Psalms 145:8-21. This has contextual potential of including all Gentiles, as well as Jews. However, it may be a literary necessity which is produced by the acrostic form of writing.

Notice the number of ways the psalmist refers to YHWH's works.

1. Your works, Psalms 145:4a, Psalms 145:9b, Psalms 145:10a

2. Your mighty acts, Psalms 145:4b, Psalms 145:12

3. Your wonderful works, Psalms 145:5b

4. Your awesome acts, Psalms 145:6a

This refers to

1. the creation and/or the flood

2. acts of forgiveness and restoration

3. call of Abraham and the Patriarchs

4. the Exodus

5. the Conquest

6. victories in battle

7. etc.

Psalms 145:7 “eagerly utter” The verb (BDB 615, KB 665, Hiphil imperfect) means “to bubble up.” It is used often in a metaphorical sense (cf. Psalms 19:2; Psalms 78:2; Psalms 119:171, Psalms 119:145:7). It denotes a constant, excited proclamation.

“Your righteousness” The term “righteousness” (BDB 842) comes from the Hebrew root, “a measuring reed.” It can be used in two ways in the OT:

1. God's transcendent holiness and eternality

2. His acts of redeeming Israel


Verses 8-13

NASB (UPDATED) TEXT: Psalms 145:8-13 8The Lord is gracious and merciful; Slow to anger and great in lovingkindness. 9The Lord is good to all, And His mercies are over all His works. 10All Your works shall give thanks to You, O Lord, And Your godly ones shall bless You. 11They shall speak of the glory of Your kingdom And talk of Your power; 12To make known to the sons of men Your mighty acts And the glory of the majesty of Your kingdom. 13Your kingdom is an everlasting kingdom, And Your dominion endures throughout all generations.

Psalms 145:8 “The Lord is gracious and merciful; Slow to anger and great in lovingkindness” This is a direct quote from Exodus 34:6, Exodus 34:7 and is repeated in Psalms 103:8. It not only gives us the characteristics of God's nature, but again shows one of His mighty acts in history initiated by grace, not by human merit (i.e., the Exodus). See SPECIAL TOPIC: CHARACTERISTICS OF ISRAEL'S GOD.

Psalms 145:9 “The Lord is good to all, And His mercies are over all His works” God has an everlasting love for humans created in His image (cf. Genesis 1:26, Genesis 1:27; Genesis 3:8). See Special Topic: YHWH's Eternal Redemptive Plan.

Psalms 145:10 “All Your works shall give thanks to You, O Lord” Compare this with Psalms 103:19-22.

NASB“godly ones” NKJV, PESHITTA“saints” NRSV, NJB“faithful” TEV“people” JPSOA“faithful ones” REB“loyal servants” LXX“devout”

This Hebrew adjective (BDB 339) is based on the root חסד (“hesed,” BDB 338, see Special Topic: Lovingkindness [hesed]). It is predominately used for faithful covenant followers (cf. 1 Samuel 2:9; Psalms 4:3; Psalms 12:1; Psalms 30:4; Psalms 31:24; Psalms 37:28; Psalms 50:5; Psalms 79:2; Psalms 85:8; Psalms 86:2; Psalms 89:19; Psalms 97:10; Psalms 116:15; Psalms 145:10; Psalms 148:14; Psalms 149:9), but could also refer to

1. priests - Deuteronomy 33:8; 2 Chronicles 6:4; Psalms 132:16

2. the Messiah - Psalms 16:10

3. angels of the heavenly council - Psalms 29:1; Psalms 103:19-22; Psalms 148:2; and this strophe

Psalms 145:11-12 These verses can refer to

1. angelic praise - see #3 in Psalms 145:10

2. faithful followers' task of making YHWH known to all humans (i.e., “sons of men”)

It is hard to decide which is to be preferred. Number 1 represents all creation glorifying its Creator (cf. Psalms 103:19-22; Psalms 148:2) and number 2 is the purpose of the call of Abraham (see Special Topic: YHWH's Eternal Redemptive Plan).

Psalms 145:13 “Your kingdom is an everlasting kingdom” This concept of an eternal kingdom is found in Psalms 10:16; Psalms 29:10; Isaiah 9:6-7; Daniel 2:44; Daniel 4:3, Daniel 4:34; Daniel 6:26; Daniel 7:14, Daniel 7:26; 2 Peter 1:11. See Special Topic: The Kingdom of God.

“deed” This is where most modern translations insert the missing nun phrase from the LXX, Peshitta and Vulgate, and one Hebrew manuscript of the Dead Sea Scrolls (i.e., 11QPsa), “God is faithful in all His words and gracious in all His deeds.” This is very similar to Psalms 145:17.

Verses 14-16

NASB (UPDATED) TEXT: Psalms 145:14-16 14The Lord sustains all who fall And raises up all who are bowed down. 15The eyes of all look to You, And You give them their food in due time. 16You open Your hand And satisfy the desire of every living thing.

Psalms 145:14 “The Lord sustains all who fall” Psalms 145:14-16 speaks of God providing faithful followers' physical needs, while Psalms 145:17-21 speaks of God providing for their spiritual needs. Notice the repetitive use of the term “all.”

Psalms 145:15 “The eyes of all look to You” These verses state that God provides food for all of His creatures, cf. Psalms 104:27, Psalms 104:28; Psalms 136:25.

Psalms 145:16 This is the concept of “Providence.” God creates and sustains this planet and all its life forms. This action in the OT is attributed to Elohim (see Special Topic: Names for Deity).

Verses 17-21

NASB (UPDATED) TEXT: Psalms 145:17-21 17The Lord is righteous in all His ways And kind in all His deeds. 18The Lord is near to all who call upon Him, To all who call upon Him in truth. 19He will fulfill the desire of those who fear Him; He will also hear their cry and will save them. 20The Lord keeps all who love Him, But all the wicked He will destroy. 21My mouth will speak the praise of the Lord, And all flesh will bless His holy name forever and ever.

Psalms 145:17 “And kind in all His deeds” This is the Hebrew word hesed, which speaks of God's covenant loyalty. It was used earlier in Psalms 145:8 to describe God's character and here to describe God's acts.

Psalms 145:18 “The Lord is near” This is an emphasis on the eminence of God, while Psalms 145:5 is denoting His transcendence, cf. Psalms 34:18; Psalms 119:151; and especially Deuteronomy 4:7.

“To all who call upon Him” There is a series of conditions (i.e., Psalms 145:18-20). It must be remembered that all of God's covenants are unconditional on His part but conditional on human response. These four conditions speak of repentance and faith, both initial and ongoing, on the part of the people of God. See notes at Romans 10:9-13 online.

Psalms 145:19 “those who fear Him” See Special Topic: Fear (OT).

Psalms 145:20 “But all the wicked He will destroy” This does not speak of annihilation in death but of physical judgment, cf. Ezekiel 14:9; Amos 9:8; Habakkuk 2:2 (see Robert Girdlestone, Synonyms of the Old Testament, p. 178).

Psalms 145:21 “And all flesh will bless His holy name forever and ever” Again, this is like Psalms 145:1 and 3. It is not an affirmation of an afterlife, but that certainly is implied, as in Philippians 2:6-11.


This is a study guide commentary which means that you are responsible for your own interpretation of the Bible. Each of us must walk n the light we have. You, the Bible, and the Holy Spirit are priority in interpretation. You must not relinquish this to a commentator.

These discussion questions are provided to help you think through the major issues of this section of the book. They are meant to be thought provoking, not definitive.

1. List the praise-worthy attributes of God.

2. This Psalm refers to YHWH's acts in several verses and in several ways. What acts is it referring to?

3. How does Psalms 145:8-16 (and Psalms 145:21) communicate YHWH's universal love?

4. Who are “the godly ones” of Psalms 145:10?

5. Who are “the sons of men” of Psalms 145:12?

6. Does the OT focus on an eternal kingdom or a millennium?

7. How does the “transcendence” of Psalms 145:5 relate to the “eminence” of Psalms 145:18?

8. List the four conditions of Psalms 145:18-20 which relate to faithful followers.

Bibliographical Information
Utley. Dr. Robert. "Commentary on Psalms 145". "Utley's You Can Understand the Bible". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/eng/ubc/psalms-145.html. 2021.
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