This is the final “Hallel Psalm” and we are altogether certain this is the one Jesus sang with His disciples on His way to the Garden of Gethsemane. It was originally composed as a processional and is plainly designed for antiphonal worship, with the congregation echoing in response to the leading lines of a solo cantor. It is loaded with phrases and declarations meant to easily memorize, and we see them echoed throughout the Bible.
The imagery here is highly expressive; the word for “thanks” depicts throwing the hands in the air and shaking them in ecstatic gratitude for uncountable blessings. There is a standard progression repeated: the people of Israel, the Levites leading the procession, and anyone else who feels drawn to honor the Lord. Each is encouraged to declare that God’s mercy outlasts Creation itself.
Then we come to a long section that may well have been composed originally as a separate work, but gains currency in corporate worship by virtue of including everyone individually. Each person is called up to celebrate and assert that they personally have experienced Jehovah’s divine favor.
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