The Spacious Heavens Tell

The spacious heavens tell

Versifier: Helen Otte (1987)
Tune: GENEVAN 19
Published in 1 hymnal

Printable scores: PDF, MusicXML
Audio files: MIDI
Representative text cannot be shown for this hymn due to copyright.

Versifier: Helen Otte

Helen Ann (Brink) Otte Walter (b. Grand Rapids, MI, 1931) versified this psalm in 1982 for the Psalter Hymnal. She received her education at Calvin College, Grand Rapids, Michigan, and has worked as a teacher, proofreader, and librarian. She was a member of the Poets' Workshop that worked with the revision committee to prepare psalm versifications for the 1987 Psalter Hymnal. After her first husband died and she remarried, she remained active as a freelance writer, especially of children's stories and dramas, some of which have been published in Reformed Worship under the name Helen Walter. Bert Polman Go to person page >

Text Information

First Line: The spacious heavens tell
Title: The Spacious Heavens Tell
Versifier: Helen Otte (1987)
Meter: 6.6.6 D 6.6.7 D
Language: English
Copyright: Text and harmonization © 1987, CRC Publications


Praise of God's glory as voiced by the heavens and discerned in God's life-enriching and sweet-tasting law.

Scripture References:
st. 1 = vv. 1-6
st. 2= vv. 7-11
st. 3 = vv. 12-14

Psalm 19 appears to have been fashioned as a praise offering. The author has reflected long on the "voice" of God heard in the heavenly display of God's glory and in the covenant statutes given to Israel. These statutes are the good, righteous, and pure commandments that nourish life, gladden the heart, enlighten the eyes, and are sweet to the taste. Such reflection moves the psalmist and us to voice our appreciation of God's glory proclaimed in the heavens (st. 1) and of God's law, full of choice benefits (st. 2). We then pray that neither hidden nor willful sins may alienate us from God and that God will accept our sacrifice of praise (st. 3).

Helen Otte (PHH 17) versified this psalm in 1985 for the Psalter Hymnal. Another setting of Psalm 19 is found at 429.

Liturgical Use:
Beginning of worship; during service of confession and consecration; frequently sung for Epiphany and Easter.

--Psalter Hymnal Handbook



GENEVAN 19 was first published in the 1542 Genevan Psalter and altered to its present shape in the 1549 edition. Dale Grotenhuis (PHH 4) wrote the harmonization in 1985. Composed in the Mixolydian mode, this tune consists of four long lines, each containing three short phrases. The repetition of the…

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Psalter Hymnal (Gray) #19
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Psalter Hymnal (Gray) #19

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