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Versifier: Calvin Seerveld
Calvin Seerveld (b. 1930) was professor of aesthetics at the Institute for Christian Studies in Toronto from 1972 until he retired in 1995. Educated at Calvin College, Grand Rapids, Michigan; the University of Michigan; and the Free University of Amsterdam (Ph.D.), he also studied at Basel University in Switzerland, the University of Rome, and the University of Heidelberg. Seerveld began his career by teaching at Bellhaven College in Jackson, Mississippi (1958-1959), and at Trinity Christian College in Palos Heights, Illinois (1959-1972). A fine Christian scholar, fluent in various biblical and modern languages, he is published widely in aesthetics, biblical studies, and philosophy. His books include Take Hold of God and Pull (1966), The Gr… Go to person page >
An exhortation to Israel to worship, trust, and obey the LORD for all he has done in covenant faithfulness to them; a call to tell all the nations about their God.
st. 1 = vv. 1-3
st. 2 = vv. 4-6
st. 3 = vv. 7-11
st. 4 = vv. 12-15
st. 5 = vv. 16-20
st. 6 = vv. 21-24
st. 7 = vv. 25-38
st. 8 = vv. 39-42
st. 9 = vv. 43-45
Psalm 105 was composed for the liturgy of one of Israel's annual religious festivals celebrating God's great acts of salvation, perhaps the Feast of Tabernacles but more likely the Feast of Weeks–see Deuteronomy 16:9-12.
The psalmist exhorts Israel: Remember the LORD'S saving acts and proclaim them to the world (st. 1); remember the wonders the LORD has done; and trust the LORD always in every need (st. 2). God has always remembered his covenant with Israel (w. 8-11, 42-45; st. 3, 9-notice this frame around the main body of the psalm). Examples of this covenant faithfulness are God's ways with Abraham (st. 4), God's ways with Jacob and Joseph (st. 5), God's blessing upon the Israelites under Joseph's rule in Egypt (st. 6), God's deliverance of Israel from slavery in Egypt (st. 7), and God's provision for Israel in the desert (st. 8). The LORD not only delivered Israel out of Egypt but also gave them the promised land so that they would serve him (st. 9).
Consistent with a basic Old Testament theme, this psalm reminds us that God's claim on our lives is grounded primarily on what God has done for us. Other psalms recounting Israel's history are 78,106,135, and 136. (See 1 Chron. 16:8-36 for an example of a psalm composed of other psalms–16:8-22 = Ps. 105:1-15; 16:23-33 = Ps. 96:1-13; 16:34-36 = Ps. 106:1, 47-48.)
Calvin Seerveld (PHH 22) versified Psalm 105 in 1983 for the Psalter Hymnal.
Christian worship focusing on God's establishment of Israel in the promised land; baptism, stanzas 1-3, with their focus on God's covenant faithfulness.
GENEVAN 105 was first published in the 1562 edition of the Genevan Psalter as a setting for Theodore de Beze’s versification of Psalm 105. Howard Slenk (PHH 3) composed the harmonization in 1985. Another sturdy tune from Calvin's psalter, GENEVAN 105 is in Ionian mode (major) and consists of six l…