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He is my strength and my song; He has become my salvation

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Some fascinating details I just learned about Psalm 118.

This is part of a set of Psalms, 113-118, known as the Hallel Psalms, sung on the day of Passover while the Passover lambs were being slain. “Hallel” is the Hebrew word for “Praise.”

In Matthew 26:30, just after Yeshua’s last Passover meal with His disciples, just before His agonizing time of prayer in the garden of Gethsemane, we’re told “Then they sang a hymn and went out to the Mount of Olives.” Think on the following words which they likely sang that night –

Psalm 118:14-24
The LORD is my strength and my song;
he has become my salvation.

Shouts of joy and victory
resound in the tents of the righteous:
“The LORD’s right hand has done mighty things!
The LORD’s right hand is lifted high;
the LORD’s right hand has done mighty things!”

I will not die but live,
and will proclaim what the LORD has done.
The LORD has chastened me severely,
but he has not given me over to death.

Open for me the gates of righteousness;
I will enter and give thanks to the LORD.
This is the gate of the LORD
through which the righteous may enter.
I will give you thanks, for you answered me;
you have become my salvation.

The stone the builders rejected
has become the capstone;
the LORD has done this,
and it is marvelous in our eyes.
This is the day the LORD has made;
let us rejoice and be glad in it.

Now of course, they weren’t singing these words in English. They were singing a Hebrew Psalm in its original language. And when we look at it in Hebrew, it becomes all the more meaningful. I’ll try to capture that meaning here by transliterating the words for LORD and salvation from their Hebrew words:

ooOooOooOooOooOooOooOooOoo ooOooOooOooOooOooOooOooOooOooOoo
14 ‫עָזִּ֣י‬ ‫וְזִמְרָ֣ת‬ ‫יָ֑הּ‬ ‫וַֽיְהִי־‬ ‫לִ֝֗י‬ ‫לִֽישׁוּעָֽה׃‬ 14 Yahweh is my strength and my song;
he has become my yeshua.
15 ‫ק֤וֹל ׀‬ ‫רִנָּ֬ה‬ ‫וִֽישׁוּעָ֗ה‬ ‫בְּאָהֳלֵ֥י‬ ‫צַדִּיקִ֑ים‬ ‫יְמִ֥ין‬ ‫יְ֝הוָה‬ ‫עֹ֣שָׂה‬ ‫חָֽיִל׃‬
16 ‫יְמִ֣ין‬ ‫יְ֭הוָה‬ ‫רוֹמֵמָ֑ה‬ ‫יְמִ֥ין‬ ‫יְ֝הוָה‬ ‫עֹ֣שָׂה‬ ‫חָֽיִל׃
15 Shouts of joy and victory resound in the tents of the righteous: “The right hand of Yahweh has done mighty things!
16 The right hand of Yahweh is lifted high; the right hand of Yahweh has done mighty things!”
17 ‫לֹֽא‬ ‫אָמ֥וּת‬ ‫כִּי־‬ ‫אֶֽחְיֶ֑ה‬ ‫וַ֝אֲסַפֵּ֗ר‬ ‫מַֽעֲשֵׂ֥י‬ ‫יָֽהּ׃‬
18 ‫יַסֹּ֣ר‬ ‫יִסְּרַ֣נִּי‬ ‫יָּ֑הּ‬ ‫וְ֝לַמָּ֗וֶת‬ ‫לֹ֣א‬ ‫נְתָנָֽנִי׃‬
17 I will not die but live, and will proclaim what Yahweh has done.
18 Yahweh has chastened me severely, but he has not given me over to death.
19 ‫פִּתְחוּ־‬ ‫לִ֥י‬ ‫שַׁעֲרֵי־‬ ‫צֶ֑דֶק‬ ‫אָֽבֹא־‬ ‫בָ֝ם‬ ‫אוֹדֶ֥ה‬ ‫יָֽהּ׃‬
20 ‫זֶֽה־‬ ‫הַשַּׁ֥עַר‬ ‫לַיהוָ֑ה‬ ‫צַ֝דִּיקִ֗ים‬ ‫יָבֹ֥אוּ‬ ‫בֽוֹ׃‬
21 ‫א֭וֹדְךָ‬ ‫כִּ֣י‬ ‫עֲנִיתָ֑נִי‬ ‫וַתְּהִי־‬ ‫לִ֝֗י‬ ‫לִֽישׁוּעָֽה׃
19 Open for me the gates of righteousness; I will enter and give thanks to Yahweh.
20 This is the gate of Yahweh through which the righteous may enter.
21 I will give you thanks, for you answered me; you have become my yeshua.
22 ‫אֶ֭בֶן‬ ‫מָאֲס֣וּ‬ ‫הַבּוֹנִ֑ים‬ ‫הָ֝יְתָ֗ה‬ ‫לְרֹ֣אשׁ‬ ‫פִּנָּֽה׃‬
23 ‫מֵאֵ֣ת‬ ‫יְ֭הוָה‬ ‫הָ֣יְתָה‬ ‫זֹּ֑את‬ ‫הִ֖יא‬ ‫נִפְלָ֣את‬ ‫בְּעֵינֵֽינוּ׃‬
24 ‫זֶה־‬ ‫הַ֭יּוֹם‬ ‫עָשָׂ֣ה‬ ‫יְהוָ֑ה‬ ‫נָגִ֖ילָה‬ ‫וְנִשְׂמְחָ֣ה‬ ‫בֽוֹ׃‬
22 The stone the builders rejected has become the capstone;
23 Yahweh has done this, and it is marvelous in our eyes.
24 This is the day that Yahweh has made; let us rejoice and be glad in it.

What a fitting hymn to sing together, as Yeshua prepared to fulfill the Passover once and for all.

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