118. Give Thanks to God for All His Goodness

Text Information
First Line: Give thanks to God for all his goodness
Title: Give Thanks to God for All His Goodness
Versifier: Stanley Wiersma (1982)
Meter: 98 98 D
Language: English
Publication Date: 1987
Topic: Deliverance; Profession of Faith; Sickness & Health (6 more...)
Copyright: Text © 1987, CRC Publications
Tune Information
Name: GENEVAN 98/118
Harmonizer: Claude Goudimel (1564)
Meter: 98 98 D
Key: G Major

Text Information:

Praising God for delivering the people when they were attacked by many nations and for making “the stone the builders rejected” the foremost cornerstone.

Scripture References:
st. 1 = vv. 1-4
st. 2 = vv. 5-14
st. 3 = vv. 15-21
st. 4 = vv. 22-25
st. 5 = vv. 26-29

The last of eight "hallelujah" psalms (111-118), 118 is a hymn of thanksgiving for deliverance from enemies. It presupposes a triumphal procession into the city and the temple of God. Psalm 118 praises God for unfailing love (st. 1) and for deliverance from many enemies (st. 2). In praise to God for bringing victory, the king leads a triumphal entry into God's presence (st. 3); the people celebrate "the day" in which God has set up his corner¬stone–the stone the builders had rejected (st. 4). The people praise and joyfully salute the anointed one, "who comes triumphant in God's name." A final call to praise and thank the LORD for unfailing love echoes the psalm's opening statement (st. 5).

Psalm 118 closes the "Egyptian Hallel" used in Jewish liturgies for 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. As the last song in that liturgy, 118 may have been the hymn sung by Jesus and his disciples at the end of the Last Supper (Matt. 26:30). Jesus applied verse 22 ("the stone the builders rejected") to himself in Matthew 21:42 and Mark 12:10 (see also Acts 4:11).

Stanley Wiersma (PHH 25) versified this psalm in 1982 for the Psalter Hymnal; he took the refrain from verses 1 through 4 and made it the final line of each stanza. Other settings of Psalm 118 are at 179 and 241.

Liturgical Use:
Times of thanksgiving; Palm Sunday and Easter processionals; many other occasions in Christian worship.

--Psalter Hymnal Handbook

Tune Information:

GENEVAN 98/118 is the one tune in the Psalter Hymnal used for two psalms. It was first published in the 1551 Genevan Psalter as a setting for Psalm 118; in the 1562 edition it was also set to Psalm 98 (hence both numbers in the tune name). The tune is also often named RENDEZ A DIEV, the French incipit for Psalm 118.

This beloved tune is one of the finest and most widely sung of the Genevan psalm tunes (next to GENEVAN 134). Its clear melodic structure and vibrant rhythm call for firm accompaniment with bright organ registration, though some congregations may want to try unaccompanied singing on a stanza or two in the tradition of the sixteenth-century Reformers.

Many modern hymnals set this tune to versifications of Psalm 98 or to hymn texts such as the one at 314. The 1564 harmonization here by Claude Goudimel (PHH 6) originally placed the melody in the tenor. See 98 and 314 for other harmonizations of this tune; 314 is placed in the key of F.

--Psalter Hymnal Handbook

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