128. How Blest Are All the People

Text Information
First Line: How blest are all the people who fear and trust the LORD
Title: How Blest Are All the People
Versifier: Calvin Seerveld (1981)
Meter: 13 13 13 13
Language: English
Publication Date: 1987
Topic: Biblical Names & Places: Jerusalem; Family; Marriage (1 more...)
Copyright: © Calvin Seerveld
Tune Information
Name: GENEVAN 128
Harmonizer: Claude Goudimel (1564, alt.)
Meter: 13 13 13 13
Key: a minor
Source: Genevan Psalter, 1543

Text Information:

A declaration of the domestic blessedness of those who fear the LORD.

Scripture References:
st. 1 = vv. 1-3
st. 2 = vv. 4-6

A "Song of Ascents" (among the cluster 120-134) that the Israelites sang as they went up to worship at the temple in Jerusalem, Psalm 128 is a partner with 127 in extolling the LORD for the blessings of family life. The psalmist teaches that domestic blessings are especially reserved for those who fear the LORD. Their labors will prosper, and their wives will bear children, thus magnifying the daily banquet of joy around the family table (st. 1). A closing benediction pronounces blessing on those who fear the LORD and adds a blessing on all God's people (st. 2). Calvin Seerveld (PHH 22) versified this psalm for the Psalter Hymnal in 1981.

Liturgical Use:
Weddings; family life services; choral benediction. Seerveld suggests singing this psalm for baptism, especially if the grandparents of the infant are present: "One of the richest blessings for an Old Testament believer was to live long enough to see the grandchildren flowering in the faith of the fathers and mothers."

--Psalter Hymnal Handbook

Tune Information:

GENEVAN 128 was first published in the 1543 edition of the Genevan Psalter. Claude Goudimel (PHH 6) harmonized the tune in 1564; originally the melody was in the tenor. In the Dorian mode, this tune consists of four long lines in two pairs, consisting of slightly different rhythmic patterns. A striking melody with larger intervals at the beginnings of lines 1 and 2, GENEVAN 128 is worth the effort it may require to learn.

--Psalter Hymnal Handbook

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