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116. I Love the LORD, for He Has Heard My Voice

Text Information
First Line: I love the LORD, for he has heard my voice
Title: I Love the LORD, for He Has Heard My Voice
Versifier: Helen Otte (1980)
Meter: 10 11 11 10
Language: English
Publication Date: 1987
Topic: Commitment & Dedication; Praise & Adoration; Profession of Faith (8 more...)
Copyright: Text © 1987, CRC Publications
Tune Information
Name: GENEVAN 116
Harmonizer: Seymour Swets (1954)
Meter: 10 11 11 10
Key: F Major
Source: Genevan Psalter, 1562

Text Information:

A thank offering of praise for deliverance from death in answer to prayer.

Scripture References:
st. 1 = vv.1-4
st. 2 = vv. 5-7
st. 3 = vv. 8-11
st. 4 = vv.12-14 st. 5 = vv. 15-19

This sixth of eight "hallelujah" psalms (111-118) stands fourth in the "Egyptian Hallel" 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. In this liturgical use, the singular personal pronoun was understood corporately, and the references to "death" alluded to Israel's slavery in Egypt. The "cup of salvation" (v. 13; st. 4) probably referred originally to the festal cup of wine that climaxed a thank offering for a special deliverance or blessing. When this psalm was used in the Passover celebration, the "cup of salvation" was no doubt understood to be the cup of wine accompanying that festal meal.

In singing this psalm, we join the psalmist in confessing our love for the LORD for deliverance from death in answer to prayer (st. 1). And we praise God's gracious ways that encourage us to keep trusting and to rest in the LORD (st. 2). The psalmist notes that faith had not failed in the time of crisis (st. 3); together we vow to praise the LORD among the saints and continue to call upon God's name (st. 4-5). Helen Otte (PHH 17) wrote the unrhymed versification in 1980 for the Psalter Hymnal. Another setting of Psalm 116 is at 178.

Liturgical Use:
Occasions of thanksgiving for healing; Lent; Easter; Lord's Supper (especially st. 4).

--Psalter Hymnal Handbook

Tune Information:

GENEVAN 116 was first published in the 1562 edition of the Genevan Psalter, in which it was also the setting for Psalm 74. Seymour Swets (b. South Holland, IL, 1900; d. Grand Rapids, MI, 1982) harmonized the tune in 1954. This Mixolydian tune is one of the simplest, finest, and most loved of the Genevan repertoire. It is suitable for unison or part singing; sing in a majestic manner.

A 1922 graduate of Calvin College, Grand Rapids, Michigan, with a major in history, Swets received his M.A. from the University of Michigan in 1923. Later that year he was appointed to the Calvin College faculty to teach speech and to establish a music program. He taught at Calvin College until 1967 and was largely responsible for the remarkable growth of its music department. A chronicle of that era appears in his book, Fifty Years of Music at Calvin College (1973). Swets served on the committees that prepared the 1934 and the 1959 editions of the Psalter Hymnal and contributed harmonizations to both books.

--Psalter Hymnal Handbook

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