113. Praise God, You Servants of the LORD

1 Praise God, you servants of the LORD,
and bless his name with one accord.
O praise the LORD, his name adore
from this time forth forevermore.

2 From rising unto setting sun
praised be the LORD, the Mighty One.
He reigns o'er all, supreme in might,
above the heavens in glory bright.

3 On whom but God can we rely,
the One who sits enthroned on high,
who condescends to see and know
the things of heaven and earth below?

4 God lifts the poor and makes them great;
with joy he fills the desolate.
The barren come to motherhood.
Sing hallelujah! God is good.

Text Information
First Line: Praise God, you servants of the LORD
Title: Praise God, You Servants of the LORD
Meter: LM
Language: English
Publication Date: 1982
Topic: Christmas; Humility; Mercy (2 more...)
Source: Psalter, 1912, alt.
Tune Information
Meter: LM
Key: C Major
Source: Geistreiches Gesangbuch, Halle, 1704, adapt.

Text Information:

Praise to the LORD far his exalted glory and mercies to the lowly.

Scripture References:
st. 1 = vv. 1-2
st. 2 = vv. 3-4
st. 3 = vv. 5-6
st.4 = vv. 7¬-9

The third of the eight "hallelujah" psalms (111-118), 113 was probably composed by a priest or Levite for use in the temple. This psalm also begins the "Egyptian Hallelujah" used in Jewish liturgy at the annual religious festivals prescribed in the Torah. At Passover, Psalms 113 and 114 were sung before the meal; 115 through 118 were sung after the meal. After opening with a call to praise the LORD (vv. 1-3; st. 1-2), the psalm celebrates the exalted glory of heaven's great King, who bends down to get involved in earth's affairs (vv. 4-6; st. 2-3). The LORD is merciful to the needy-seating the poor among princes and blessing the barren with children (st. 4). The (altered) versification is from the 1912 Psalter. Another setting of Psalm 113 is at 177.

Liturgical Use:
Used in many Jewish festivals, including Passover, Psalm 113 is equally appropriate for special days of the Christian church year, especially Ascension (st. 3), and is generally fitting at the beginning of worship.

--Psalter Hymnal Handbook

Tune Information:

FESTUS is an abridgement of a tune published in Johann A. Freylinghausen's (PHH 34) Geistreiches Gesangbuch (1704) as a setting for "O du Hüter Israel." The shortened tune was first published in the Bristol Tune Book (1863). The tune title presumably honors Festus, the Roman procurator of Judea (Acts 25-26). Sing FESTUS with a bright organ registration, which is helpful in negotiating the larger intervals in the second half of the tune.

--Psalter Hymnal Handbook

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