Tehillim / Psalms 135, ספר תהילים קלה, Part 2, Blessing the Lord and What that Means

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In this week’s study from Tehillim / Psalms 135:1-21, the psalm opens saying, א הַלְלוּיָהּ | הַלְלוּ אֶת-שֵׁם יְהֹוָה הַלְלוּ עַבְדֵי יְהֹוָה: ב שֶׁעֹמְדִים בְּבֵית יְהֹוָה בְּחַצְרוֹת בֵּית אֱלֹהֵינוּ: ג הַלְלוּיָהּ כִּי-טוֹב יְהֹוָה זַמְּרוּ לִשְׁמוֹ כִּי נָעִים: 135:1 Praise the Lord! Praise the name of the Lord; Praise Him, O servants of the Lord, 135:2 You who stand in the house of the Lord, In the courts of the house of our God! 135:3 Praise the Lord, for the Lord is good; Sing praises to His name, for it is lovely. (NASB) The psalmist speaks of the importance of praising the Lord for who he is, Creator, Master, Lord, and the One who loves us beyond words can describe. This is why He showed us the greatness of His love instead. The psalm continues saying, ד כִּי-יַעֲקֹב בָּחַר לוֹ יָהּ יִשְֹרָאֵל לִסְגֻלָּתוֹ: ה כִּי אֲנִי יָדַעְתִּי כִּי-גָדוֹל יְהֹוָה וַאֲדֹנֵינוּ מִכָּל-אֱלֹהִים: 135:4 For the Lord has chosen Jacob for Himself, Israel for His own possession. 135:5 For I know that the Lord is great And that our Lord is above all gods. (NASB) He goes on to speak of how the Lord is the Creator and does as he pleases (135:6), He is in control of natural processes (135:7), He killed the first born of Egypt (135:8), He struck nations (135:10-11), and He gave as an inheritance the land of Israel (135:12). As a result of these things, we speak of the mighty works of the Lord to our children, and therefore remembrance of His great deeds are remembered through all generations (135:13). The psalmist states יד כִּי-יָדִין יְהֹוָה עַמּוֹ וְעַל-עֲבָדָיו יִתְנֶחָם: טו עֲצַבֵּי הַגּוֹיִם כֶּסֶף וְזָהָב מַעֲשֵֹה יְדֵי אָדָם: טז פֶּה-לָהֶם וְלֹא יְדַבֵּרוּ עֵינַיִם לָהֶם וְלֹא יִרְאוּ: 135:14 For the Lord will judge His people And will have compassion on His servants. 135:15 The idols of the nations are but silver and gold, The work of man’s hands. 135:16 They have mouths, but they do not speak; They have eyes, but they do not see; 135:17 They have ears, but they do not hear, Nor is there any breath at all in their mouths. 135:18 Those who make them will be like them, Yes, everyone who trusts in them. (NASB) Sin has the tendency to make us after its image because of the intimate nature of sin being found in the deeper recesses of the heart. The Psalm concludes saying, יז אָזְנַיִם לָהֶם וְלֹא יַאֲזִינוּ אַף אֵין-יֶשׁ-רוּחַ בְּפִיהֶם: יח כְּמוֹהֶם יִהְיוּ עֹשֵֹיהֶם כֹּל אֲשֶׁר-בֹּטֵחַ בָּהֶם: יט בֵּית יִשְֹרָאֵל בָּרֲכוּ אֶת-יְהֹוָה בֵּית אַהֲרֹן בָּרֲכוּ אֶת-יְהֹוָה: כ בֵּית הַלֵּוִי בָּרֲכוּ אֶת-יְהֹוָה יִרְאֵי יְהֹוָה בָּרֲכוּ אֶת-יְהֹוָה: כא בָּרוּךְ יְהֹוָה | מִצִּיּוֹן שֹׁכֵן יְרוּשָׁלָם הַלְלוּיָהּ: 135:19 O house of Israel, bless the Lord; O house of Aaron, bless the Lord; 135:20 O house of Levi, bless the Lord; You who revere the Lord, bless the Lord. 135:21 Blessed be the Lord from Zion, Who dwells in Jerusalem. Praise the Lord! (NASB)

עברית Hebrew ארמי Aramaic ελληνικός Greek

ספר תהלים פרק קלה

א הַלְלוּיָהּ | הַלְלוּ אֶת-שֵׁם יְהֹוָה הַלְלוּ עַבְדֵי יְהֹוָה: ב שֶׁעֹמְדִים בְּבֵית יְהֹוָה בְּחַצְרוֹת בֵּית אֱלֹהֵינוּ: ג הַלְלוּיָהּ כִּי-טוֹב יְהֹוָה זַמְּרוּ לִשְׁמוֹ כִּי נָעִים: ד כִּי-יַעֲקֹב בָּחַר לוֹ יָהּ יִשְֹרָאֵל לִסְגֻלָּתוֹ: ה כִּי אֲנִי יָדַעְתִּי כִּי-גָדוֹל יְהֹוָה וַאֲדֹנֵינוּ מִכָּל-אֱלֹהִים:

סםר טוביה פרק קלה

א הללויה שבחו אלהא שבחו ית שמא דיהוה שבחו עבדיא דיהוה׃ ב דקיימין בבית מקדשא דיהוה בדרת בית אלהנא׃ ג הללויה שבחו קדם ייי ארום טב יהוה זמרו לשמיה ארום בסים׃ ד ארום דבית יעקב בחר ליה יהוה אלהא ישראל לחבוביה׃ ה ארום אנא ידעית ארום רב יהוה וריבוננא על כל אלהים׃

ΨΑΛΜΟΙ 135

135:1 αλληλουια αἰνεῖτε τὸ ὄνομα κυρίου αἰνεῖτε δοῦλοι κύριον 135:2 οἱ ἑστῶτες ἐν οἴκῳ κυρίου ἐν αὐλαῖς οἴκου θεοῦ ἡμῶν 135:3 αἰνεῖτε τὸν κύριον ὅτι ἀγαθὸς κύριος ψάλατε τῷ ὀνόματι αὐτοῦ ὅτι καλόν 135:4 ὅτι τὸν Ιακωβ ἐξελέξατο ἑαυτῷ ὁ κύριος Ισραηλ εἰς περιουσιασμὸν αὐτοῦ 135:5 ὅτι ἐγὼ ἔγνων ὅτι μέγας κύριος καὶ ὁ κύριος ἡμῶν παρὰ πάντας τοὺς θεούς

ו כֹּל אֲשֶׁר-חָפֵץ יְהֹוָה עָשָֹה בַּשָּׁמַיִם וּבָאָרֶץ בַּיַּמִּים וְכָל-תְּהוֹמוֹת: ז מַעֲלֶה נְשִֹאִים מִקְצֵה הָאָרֶץ בְּרָקִים לַמָּטָר עָשָֹה מוֹצֵא-רוּחַ מֵאוֹצְרוֹתָיו: ח שֶׁהִכָּה בְּכוֹרֵי מִצְרָיִם מֵאָדָם עַד-בְּהֵמָה: ט שָׁלַח | אֹתוֹת וּמֹפְתִים בְּתוֹכֵכִי מִצְרָיִם בְּפַרְעֹה וּבְכָל-עֲבָדָיו: י שֶׁהִכָּה גּוֹיִם רַבִּים וְהָרַג מְלָכִים עֲצוּמִים: יא לְסִיחוֹן | מֶלֶךְ הָאֱמֹרִי וּלְעוֹג מֶלֶךְ הַבָּשָׁן וּלְכֹל מַמְלְכוֹת כְּנָעַן: יב וְנָתַן אַרְצָם נַחֲלָה נַחֲלָה לְיִשְֹרָאֵל עַמּוֹ: יג יְהֹוָה שִׁמְךָ לְעוֹלָם יְהֹוָה זִכְרְךָ לְדֹר-וָדֹר: יד כִּי-יָדִין יְהֹוָה עַמּוֹ וְעַל-עֲבָדָיו יִתְנֶחָם: טו עֲצַבֵּי הַגּוֹיִם כֶּסֶף וְזָהָב מַעֲשֵֹה יְדֵי אָדָם: טז פֶּה-לָהֶם וְלֹא יְדַבֵּרוּ עֵינַיִם לָהֶם וְלֹא יִרְאוּ: יז אָזְנַיִם לָהֶם וְלֹא יַאֲזִינוּ אַף אֵין-יֶשׁ-רוּחַ בְּפִיהֶם: יח כְּמוֹהֶם יִהְיוּ עֹשֵֹיהֶם כֹּל אֲשֶׁר-בֹּטֵחַ בָּהֶם: יט בֵּית יִשְֹרָאֵל בָּרֲכוּ אֶת-יְהֹוָה בֵּית אַהֲרֹן בָּרֲכוּ אֶת-יְהֹוָה: כ בֵּית הַלֵּוִי בָּרֲכוּ אֶת-יְהֹוָה יִרְאֵי יְהֹוָה בָּרֲכוּ אֶת-יְהֹוָה: כא בָּרוּךְ יְהֹוָה | מִצִּיּוֹן שֹׁכֵן יְרוּשָׁלָם הַלְלוּיָהּ:

ו כל די יתרעי יהוה עבד בשמיא ובארעא ביממיא וכל תהומיא׃ ז דמסיק עננין מסייפי ארעא ברקין למיחת מטרא עבד דמפיק זעפא מן תוסברייא דיליה׃ ח דיקטל בוכריא דמצראי מאנשא עד בעירא׃ ט שדר אתיין ותמהין במציעייך מצרים בפרעה ובכל עבדוי׃ י דימחא עממין סגיעין וקטל מלכין תקיפין׃ יא לסיחון מלכא אמוראה ולעוג מלכא דמתנן דבותנן ולכל מלכוות כנען׃ יב ויהב ארעהון אחסנא אחסנא לישראל עמיה׃ יג יהוה שמך לעלם יהוה דכרנך לדר ודר׃ יד ארום ידין יהוה במימריה דינא דעמיה ועל עבדוי צדיקיא יתוב ברחמוי׃ טו טעוון דעממיא סימא ודהבא עובד אידי בר נש׃ טז פום להון ולא ממללין עיינין להון ולא חמיין׃ יז אודנין להון ולא צייתין נחירי ולא אית רוחא דחיי בפומהון׃ יח די כמתהון יהון עובדיהון כל דמתרחיץ עליהון׃ יט דבית ישראל בריכו ית יהוה דבית אהרן דחיליא בריכו ית יהוה׃ כ דבית ליואי בריכו ית יהוה דחלייא דיהוה בריכו ית יהוה׃ כא בריך יהוה מציון דאשרי שכינתיה בירושלם הללויה שבחו אלהא׃

135:6 πάντα ὅσα ἠθέλησεν ὁ κύριος ἐποίησεν ἐν τῷ οὐρανῷ καὶ ἐν τῇ γῇ ἐν ταῖς θαλάσσαις καὶ ἐν πάσαις ταῖς ἀβύσσοις 135:7 ἀνάγων νεφέλας ἐξ ἐσχάτου τῆς γῆς ἀστραπὰς εἰς ὑετὸν ἐποίησεν ὁ ἐξάγων ἀνέμους ἐκ θησαυρῶν αὐτοῦ 135:8 ὃς ἐπάταξεν τὰ πρωτότοκα Αἰγύπτου ἀπὸ ἀνθρώπου ἕως κτήνους 135:9 ἐξαπέστειλεν σημεῖα καὶ τέρατα ἐν μέσῳ σου Αἴγυπτε ἐν Φαραω καὶ ἐν πᾶσι τοῖς δούλοις αὐτοῦ 135:10 ὃς ἐπάταξεν ἔθνη πολλὰ καὶ ἀπέκτεινεν βασιλεῖς κραταιούς 135:11 τὸν Σηων βασιλέα τῶν Αμορραίων καὶ τὸν Ωγ βασιλέα τῆς Βασαν καὶ πάσας τὰς βασιλείας Χανααν 135:12 καὶ ἔδωκεν τὴν γῆν αὐτῶν κληρονομίαν κληρονομίαν Ισραηλ λαῷ αὐτοῦ 135:13 κύριε τὸ ὄνομά σου εἰς τὸν αἰῶνα κύριε τὸ μνημόσυνόν σου εἰς γενεὰν καὶ γενεάν 135:14 ὅτι κρινεῖ κύριος τὸν λαὸν αὐτοῦ καὶ ἐπὶ τοῖς δούλοις αὐτοῦ παρακληθήσεται 135:15 τὰ εἴδωλα τῶν ἐθνῶν ἀργύριον καὶ χρυσίον ἔργα χειρῶν ἀνθρώπων 135:16 στόμα ἔχουσιν καὶ οὐ λαλήσουσιν ὀφθαλμοὺς ἔχουσιν καὶ οὐκ ὄψονται 135:17 ὦτα ἔχουσιν καὶ οὐκ ἐνωτισθήσονται ῥῖνας ἔχουσιν καὶ οὐκ ὀσφρανθήσονται χεῖρας ἔχουσιν καὶ οὐ ψηλαφήσουσιν πόδας ἔχουσιν καὶ οὐ περιπατήσουσιν οὐ φωνήσουσιν ἐν τῷ λάρυγγι αὐτῶν οὐδὲ γάρ ἐστιν πνεῦμα ἐν τῷ στόματι αὐτῶν 135:18 ὅμοιοι αὐτοῖς γένοιντο οἱ ποιοῦντες αὐτὰ καὶ πάντες οἱ πεποιθότες ἐπ᾽ αὐτοῖς 135:19 οἶκος Ισραηλ εὐλογήσατε τὸν κύριον οἶκος Ααρων εὐλογήσατε τὸν κύριον 135:20 οἶκος Λευι εὐλογήσατε τὸν κύριον οἱ φοβούμενοι τὸν κύριον εὐλογήσατε τὸν κύριον 135:21 εὐλογητὸς κύριος ἐκ Σιων ὁ κατοικῶν Ιερουσαλημ

Tehillim / Psalms 135

135:1 Praise the Lord! Praise the name of the Lord; Praise Him, O servants of the Lord, 135:2 You who stand in the house of the Lord, In the courts of the house of our God! 135:3 Praise the Lord, for the Lord is good; Sing praises to His name, for it is lovely. 135:4 For the Lord has chosen Jacob for Himself, Israel for His own possession. 135:5 For I know that the Lord is great And that our Lord is above all gods. 135:6 Whatever the Lord pleases, He does, In heaven and in earth, in the seas and in all deeps. 135:7 He causes the vapors to ascend from the ends of the earth; Who makes lightnings for the rain, Who brings forth the wind from His treasuries. 135:8 He smote the firstborn of Egypt, Both of man and beast. 135:9 He sent signs and wonders into your midst, O Egypt, Upon Pharaoh and all his servants. 135:10 He smote many nations And slew mighty kings, 135:11 Sihon, king of the Amorites, And Og, king of Bashan, And all the kingdoms of Canaan; 135:12 And He gave their land as a heritage, A heritage to Israel His people. 135:13 Your name, O Lord, is everlasting, Your remembrance, O Lord, throughout all generations. 135:14 For the Lord will judge His people And will have compassion on His servants. 135:15 The idols of the nations are but silver and gold, The work of man’s hands. 135:16 They have mouths, but they do not speak; They have eyes, but they do not see; 135:17 They have ears, but they do not hear, Nor is there any breath at all in their mouths. 135:18 Those who make them will be like them, Yes, everyone who trusts in them. 135:19 O house of Israel, bless the Lord; O house of Aaron, bless the Lord; 135:20 O house of Levi, bless the Lord; You who revere the Lord, bless the Lord. 135:21 Blessed be the Lord from Zion, Who dwells in Jerusalem. Praise the Lord! (NASB)

Toviyah / Psalms 135

135:1 Hallelujah! Praise the name of the Lord, praise, O servants of the Lord! 135:2 Who stand in the sanctuary of the Lord, in the courts of the house of our God. 135:3 Hallelujah! For the Lord is good; sing to his name, for it is pleasant. 135:4 For the house of Jacob the Lord chose for himself, Israel, for his beloved. 135:5 For I know, for great is the Lord, and our master over all gods. 135:6 All that the Lord desires, he has done in heaven and on earth, in the seas and all the deeps. 135:7 Who brings up clouds from the ends of the earth; he made lightning for the fall of rain, he who brings forth the storm from his storehouses. 135:8 Who slew the firstborn of Egypt, from man to beast. 135:9 He sent signs and wonders into your midst, O Egypt, against Pharaoh and all his servants. 135:10 Who smote many Gentiles and slew mighty kings. 135:11 Namely, Sihon the Amorite king, and Og, the king of Mathnan, and all the kingdoms of Canaan. 135:12 And gave their land as an inheritance, an inheritance for Israel his people. 135:13 O Lord, your name is forever; O Lord, your memorial is for all generations. 135:14 For the Lord by his word will judge the case of his people, and will turn in his compassion to all his righteous servants. 135:15 The idols of the Gentiles are silver and gold, the work of the hands of a son of man. 135:16 They have a mouth, but do not speak; eyes they have, but do not see. 135:17 They have ears, but do not hear; nostrils, but there is no breath of life in their mouth. 135:18 Their makers will be like them, all who put their trust in them. 135:19 House of Israel, bless the Lord! House of Aaron, bless the Lord! 135:20 House of Levites, bless the Lord! You who fear the Lord, bless the Lord! 135:21 Blessed is the Lord from Zion, who has made his presence abide in Jerusalem. Hallelujah! (EMC)

Psalmoi / Psalms 135

Alleluia. 135:1 Praise ye the name of the Lord; praise the Lord, ye his servants, 135:2 who stand in the house of the Lord, in the courts of the house of our God. 135:3 Praise ye the Lord; for the Lord is good: sing praises to his name; for it is good. 135:4 For the Lord has chosen Jacob for himself, and Israel for his peculiar treasure. 135:5 For I know that the Lord is great, and our Lord is above all gods; 135:6 all that the Lord willed, he did in heaven, and on the earth, in the sea, and in all deeps. 135:7 Who brings up clouds from the extremity of the earth: he has made lightnings for the rain: he brings winds out of his treasures. 135:8 Who smote the first-born of Egypt, both of man and beast. 135:9 He sent signs and wonders into the midst of thee, O Egypt, on Pharao, and on all his servants. 135:10 Who smote many nations, and slew mighty kings; 135:11 Seon king of the Amorites, and Og king of Basan, and all the kingdoms of Chanaan: 135:12 and gave their land for an inheritance, an inheritance to Israel his people. 135:13 O Lord, thy name endures for ever, and thy memorial to all generations. 135:14 For the Lord shall judge his people, and comfort himself concerning his servants. 135:15 The idols of the heathen are silver and gold, the works of men\u2019s hands. 135:16 They have a mouth, but they cannot speak; they have eyes, but they cannot see; 135:17 they have ears, but they cannot hear; for there is no breath in their mouth. 135:18 Let those who make them be made like to them; and all those who trust in them. 135:19 O house of Israel, bless ye the Lord: O house of Aaron, bless ye the Lord: 135:20 O house of Levi, bless ye the Lord: ye that fear the Lord, bless the Lord. 135:21 Blessed in Sion be the Lord, who dwells in Jerusalem. (LXX)

In this week’s study from Tehillim / Psalms 135:1-21, the psalm opens saying, א הַלְלוּיָהּ | הַלְלוּ אֶת-שֵׁם יְהֹוָה הַלְלוּ עַבְדֵי יְהֹוָה: ב שֶׁעֹמְדִים בְּבֵית יְהֹוָה בְּחַצְרוֹת בֵּית אֱלֹהֵינוּ: ג הַלְלוּיָהּ כִּי-טוֹב יְהֹוָה זַמְּרוּ לִשְׁמוֹ כִּי נָעִים: 135:1 Praise the Lord! Praise the name of the Lord; Praise Him, O servants of the Lord, 135:2 You who stand in the house of the Lord, In the courts of the house of our God! 135:3 Praise the Lord, for the Lord is good; Sing praises to His name, for it is lovely. (NASB) The psalmist speaks of the importance of praising the Lord for who he is, Creator, Master, Lord, and the One who loves us beyond words can describe. This is why He showed us the greatness of His love instead. He did so through His redemption.

Tehillim / Psalms 103:1-5

“Bless the LORD, O my soul: and all that is within me, bless His holy name. Bless the LORD, O my soul, and forget none of His benefits: who pardons all your iniquities…; who redeems your life from the pit; who crowns you with lovingkindness and compassion; who satisfies your years with good things, so that your youth is renewed like the eagle.”

The Lord showed us His love through His Fatherly Compassion.

Tehillim / Psalms 103:10-14

“He has not dealt with us according to our sins, nor rewarded us according to our iniquities. For as high as the heavens are above the earth, so great is His lovingkindness toward those who fear Him. As far as the east is from the west, so far has He removed our transgressions from us. Just as a father has compassion on his children, so the LORD has compassion on those who fear Him. For He Himself knows our frame; He is mindful that we are but dust.”

The Lord showed us His love through His Everlasting Lovingkindness.

Tehillim / Psalms 103:17-18

“But the lovingkindness of the LORD is from everlasting to everlasting on those who fear Him, and his righteousness to children’s children, to those who keep His covenant, and who remember His precepts to do them.”

The Lord showed us His love through His Enduring Righteousness.

Tehillim / Psalms 111:1-4

“Praise the LORD! I will give thanks to the LORD with all my heart, in the company of the upright and in the assembly. Great are the works of the LORD; they are studied by all who delight in them. Splendid and majestic is His work; and His righteousness endures forever. He has made His wonders to be remembered; the LORD is gracious and compassionate.”

The Lord showed us His love by the way He blesses His people who are faithful.

Tehillim / Psalms 112:1-4

Praise the LORD! How blessed is the man who fears the LORD, who greatly delights in His commandments. His descendants will be mighty on earth; the generation of the upright will be blessed. Wealth and riches are in his house, and his righteousness endures forever. Light arises in the darkness for the upright; He is gracious and compassionate and righteous.”

The Lord showed us his love by His Righteous Works.

Tehillim / Psalms 146:1-8

“Praise the LORD! Praise the LORD, O my soul! I will praise the LORD while I live; I will sing praises to my God while I have my being. Do not trust in princes, In mortal man, in whom there is no salvation. His spirit departs, he returns to the earth; in that very day his thoughts perish. How blessed is he whose help is the God of Jacob, whose hope is in the LORD his God; who made heaven and earth, the sea and all that is in them; who keeps faith forever; who executes justice for the oppressed; who gives food to the hungry. The LORD sets the prisoners free. The LORD opens the eyes of the blind; the LORD raises up those who are bowed down; the LORD loves the righteous.”

There are many reasons to bring praises to the Lord. Praising the Lord God is what we are called to do first before anything else according to the Psalm. The reasons for praising the Lord are countless. The Lord God is worthy to receive our praise, “For great is the LORD and most worthy of praise; he is to be feared above all gods” (Tehillim / Psalm 96:4), “Great is the LORD and most worthy of praise; his greatness no one can fathom” (Tehillim / Psalm 145:3), “I call to the LORD, who is worthy of praise, and I am saved from my enemies” (2 Samuel 22:4), “You are worthy, our LORD and God, to receive glory and honor and power, for you created all things, and by your will they were created and have their being” (Revelation 4:11). By praising the Lord God in heaven, we are reminded of His greatness! In addition to this, praises are not limited to a verbal acclamation of God’s glory. We can give glory and praise to our God by the use of our physical bodies, and by our deeds. This demonstrates the willingness to serve the Lord by our faith with our hearts, our minds, and our actions.

The psalm continues saying, ד כִּי-יַעֲקֹב בָּחַר לוֹ יָהּ יִשְֹרָאֵל לִסְגֻלָּתוֹ: ה כִּי אֲנִי יָדַעְתִּי כִּי-גָדוֹל יְהֹוָה וַאֲדֹנֵינוּ מִכָּל-אֱלֹהִים: 135:4 For the Lord has chosen Jacob for Himself, Israel for His own possession. 135:5 For I know that the Lord is great And that our Lord is above all gods. (NASB) As we study the Scriptures, in the Psalms we read about the various gods that were worshiped in Israel and in the neighboring countries. Many times we simply gloss right over the mention of them and file them away as the ignorant people who worshiped everything from animals to falling leaves, just like the Greeks when the Apostle Paul said speaking to the people on Mars Hill. In order to cover all the bases, they even had an altar to the unknown god to worship out of fear of incurring divine wrath for not having done so. (Acts 17:23) The point of these passages is to reveal the sovereignty of the God of Israel over all of creation and even to these false gods the people have set up which are unable to see, speak, hear, or move. The significance of God’s power and his being above (greater) than all other gods is illustrated as the psalmist continues saying the following:

Tehillim / Psalms 135:6-13

135:6 Whatever the Lord pleases, He does, In heaven and in earth, in the seas and in all deeps. 135:7 He causes the vapors to ascend from the ends of the earth; Who makes lightnings for the rain, Who brings forth the wind from His treasuries. 135:8 He smote the firstborn of Egypt, Both of man and beast. 135:9 He sent signs and wonders into your midst, O Egypt, Upon Pharaoh and all his servants. 135:10 He smote many nations And slew mighty kings, 135:11 Sihon, king of the Amorites, And Og, king of Bashan, And all the kingdoms of Canaan; 135:12 And He gave their land as a heritage, A heritage to Israel His people. 135:13 Your name, O Lord, is everlasting, Your remembrance, O Lord, throughout all generations. (NASB, ו כֹּל אֲשֶׁר-חָפֵץ יְהֹוָה עָשָֹה בַּשָּׁמַיִם וּבָאָרֶץ בַּיַּמִּים וְכָל-תְּהוֹמוֹת: ז מַעֲלֶה נְשִֹאִים מִקְצֵה הָאָרֶץ בְּרָקִים לַמָּטָר עָשָֹה מוֹצֵא-רוּחַ מֵאוֹצְרוֹתָיו: ח שֶׁהִכָּה בְּכוֹרֵי מִצְרָיִם מֵאָדָם עַד-בְּהֵמָה: ט שָׁלַח | אֹתוֹת וּמֹפְתִים בְּתוֹכֵכִי מִצְרָיִם בְּפַרְעֹה וּבְכָל-עֲבָדָיו: י שֶׁהִכָּה גּוֹיִם רַבִּים וְהָרַג מְלָכִים עֲצוּמִים: יא לְסִיחוֹן | מֶלֶךְ הָאֱמֹרִי וּלְעוֹג מֶלֶךְ הַבָּשָׁן וּלְכֹל מַמְלְכוֹת כְּנָעַן: יב וְנָתַן אַרְצָם נַחֲלָה נַחֲלָה לְיִשְֹרָאֵל עַמּוֹ: יג יְהֹוָה שִׁמְךָ לְעוֹלָם יְהֹוָה זִכְרְךָ לְדֹר-וָדֹר:)

Toviyah / Psalms 135:6-13

135:6 All that the Lord desires, he has done in heaven and on earth, in the seas and all the deeps. 135:7 Who brings up clouds from the ends of the earth; he made lightning for the fall of rain, he who brings forth the storm from his storehouses. 135:8 Who slew the firstborn of Egypt, from man to beast. 135:9 He sent signs and wonders into your midst, O Egypt, against Pharaoh and all his servants. 135:10 Who smote many Gentiles and slew mighty kings. 135:11 Namely, Sihon the Amorite king, and Og, the king of Mathnan, and all the kingdoms of Canaan. 135:12 And gave their land as an inheritance, an inheritance for Israel his people. 135:13 O Lord, your name is forever; O Lord, your memorial is for all generations. (EMC, ו כל די יתרעי יהוה עבד בשמיא ובארעא ביממיא וכל תהומיא׃ ז דמסיק עננין מסייפי ארעא ברקין למיחת מטרא עבד דמפיק זעפא מן תוסברייא דיליה׃ ח דיקטל בוכריא דמצראי מאנשא עד בעירא׃ ט שדר אתיין ותמהין במציעייך מצרים בפרעה ובכל עבדוי׃ י דימחא עממין סגיעין וקטל מלכין תקיפין׃ יא לסיחון מלכא אמוראה ולעוג מלכא דמתנן דבותנן ולכל מלכוות כנען׃ יב ויהב ארעהון אחסנא אחסנא לישראל עמיה׃ יג יהוה שמך לעלם יהוה דכרנך לדר ודר׃)

He goes on to speak of how the Lord is the Creator and does as he pleases (135:6), He is in control of natural processes (135:7), He killed the first born of Egypt (135:8), He struck nations (135:10-11), and He gave as an inheritance the land of Israel (135:12). As a result of these things, we speak of the mighty works of the Lord to our children, and therefore His great deeds are remembered through all generations (135:13). The idea is that these gods are worshiped with the hopes they will protect these nations. The mighty works of the Lord, and by His great and powerful Name, the psalmist proclaims has given the land of these people as an inheritance to Israel His people. The Apostle Peter wrote (1 Peter 1:4) the inheritance that we have been given is an inheritance we have been born “into an inheritance that can never perish, spoil or fade. This inheritance is kept in heaven for you.” King David writes, “Lord, you alone are my portion and my cup; you make my lot secure. The boundary lines have fallen for me in pleasant places; surely I have a delightful inheritance” (Tehillim / Psalm 16:5-6). This is why Paul wrote “we fix our eyes not on what is seen, but on what is unseen, since what is seen is temporary, but what is unseen is eternal” (2 Corinthians 4:18). When we understand and value the heavenly glory that awaits us, we are able to endure whatever comes our way in this life. By keeping our eyes upon the Lord, we are able to give God praise even during trials because we have His guarantee that we will receive all He has promised, i.e. “For our light and momentary troubles are achieving for us an eternal glory that far outweighs them all” (2 Corinthians 4:17).

The psalmist states יד כִּי-יָדִין יְהֹוָה עַמּוֹ וְעַל-עֲבָדָיו יִתְנֶחָם: טו עֲצַבֵּי הַגּוֹיִם כֶּסֶף וְזָהָב מַעֲשֵֹה יְדֵי אָדָם: טז פֶּה-לָהֶם וְלֹא יְדַבֵּרוּ עֵינַיִם לָהֶם וְלֹא יִרְאוּ: 135:14 For the Lord will judge His people And will have compassion on His servants. 135:15 The idols of the nations are but silver and gold, The work of man’s hands. 135:16 They have mouths, but they do not speak; They have eyes, but they do not see; 135:17 They have ears, but they do not hear, Nor is there any breath at all in their mouths. 135:18 Those who make them will be like them, Yes, everyone who trusts in them. (NASB) The psalmist’s statement that “the Lord will judge His people” in the light of modern theologies, do Christians believe God will judge His own people? The author of the book of Hebrews wrote “For we know Him who said, 10:30 “VENGEANCE IS MINE, I WILL REPAY.” And again, ‘THE LORD WILL JUDGE HIS PEOPLE.’” These Scriptural quotes are lifted from the song of Moshe in Devarim / Deuteronomy 32:35-36 which states, “Vengeance is Mine, and retribution, in due time their foot will slip; for the day of their calamity is near, and the impending things are hastening upon them. For the LORD will vindicate His people…” (NASB) The book of Devarim / Deuteronomy speaks about obedience being essential in the life of God’s people. At the time of the writing of the song of Moshe we find the people consisting of the second generation of the Israelites who came out of Egypt. The stipulation that was given to the people, they were to not only take the land and remain in it, they also needed to remain faithful as well. In Devarim / Deuteronomy 32, the LORD through Moshe predicts the future fate of physical Israel as well as their enemies. The Lord first recounts His faithfulness to His people (32:1-14). He continues saying Israel would grow fat (32:15), forgetful, and forsake their Rock (32:18). The Lord will have patience and wait for her repentance, but when the people become unrepentant and unfaithful, when His lovingkindness and mercy has been exhausted, He promised He would send the armies of Israel’s enemies, the Gentiles to judge the nation (32:25-26). The Lord God of Israel however would put limits to the destruction that is brought at the hands of the Gentiles so that they wouldn’t think they had done this to Israel by their own power. The purpose of this is to preserve the faithful remnant of the people of Israel (32:27). Moshe then speaks of Israel not learning the lesson from God’s judgments at the hands of the nations. They are not able to understand the end of their sinful behavior (32:28-29). The very fact that the nations have the ability to come down upon them with the Lord God protecting them demonstrates their sinful actions, their idolatry has caused God to lift his protective hand from them. (32:30-33).

The people of Israel were set apart, sanctified by the commandments. This is repeated today in the daily prayers. Judgment befell the people who grew fat, forgetful, and who forsook the mercy and grace (lovingkindness) of God. The people essentially trampled under foot the blood of the covenant insulting the spirit of grace that God had given. In a similar manner, today, in the covenant by the blood of the Messiah, we have to be careful not to be fat in spiritual things that leads to forsaking and forgetting our Rock, our Lord, and our God. Yeshua the Messiah offered His blood for the purpose of saving us from sin, not so that we might sin again (or more). Yeshua’s blood was not shed in order to allow us t o continue in sin that grace might increase (Romans 6:1). This is insulting the spirit of grace that the author of the book of Hebrews writes about. These things are important because they have bearing upon our eternal life. This is why the author of the Psalms wrote, 135:15 The idols of the nations are but silver and gold, The work of man’s hands. 135:16 They have mouths, but they do not speak; They have eyes, but they do not see; 135:17 They have ears, but they do not hear, Nor is there any breath at all in their mouths. 135:18 Those who make them will be like them, Yes, everyone who trusts in them. (NASB) Sin has the tendency to make us after its image because of the intimate nature of sin being found in the deeper recesses of the heart. The thing that we truly believe comes forth and is manifest in our lives. This is why Yeshua said in Matthew 7, by their fruit you will know them.

The Psalm concludes saying, יז אָזְנַיִם לָהֶם וְלֹא יַאֲזִינוּ אַף אֵין-יֶשׁ-רוּחַ בְּפִיהֶם: יח כְּמוֹהֶם יִהְיוּ עֹשֵֹיהֶם כֹּל אֲשֶׁר-בֹּטֵחַ בָּהֶם: יט בֵּית יִשְֹרָאֵל בָּרֲכוּ אֶת-יְהֹוָה בֵּית אַהֲרֹן בָּרֲכוּ אֶת-יְהֹוָה: כ בֵּית הַלֵּוִי בָּרֲכוּ אֶת-יְהֹוָה יִרְאֵי יְהֹוָה בָּרֲכוּ אֶת-יְהֹוָה: כא בָּרוּךְ יְהֹוָה | מִצִּיּוֹן שֹׁכֵן יְרוּשָׁלָם הַלְלוּיָהּ: 135:19 O house of Israel, bless the Lord; O house of Aaron, bless the Lord; 135:20 O house of Levi, bless the Lord; You who revere the Lord, bless the Lord. 135:21 Blessed be the Lord from Zion, Who dwells in Jerusalem. Praise the Lord! (NASB) What does it mean to bless the Lord? The Psalmist at the end of Tehillim / Psalms 135 is overwhelmingly focused on blessing the Lord. There are multiple ways that one may bless the Lord. One is to speak well of His greatness and goodness and really mean it from the depths of the soul. What David is doing when calling upon Israel, the house of Aaron, the house of Levi, and all those who revere the Lord to bless the Lord He is saying that we are to speak of God’s goodness from the inner deepest recesses of the heart. Now blessing the Lord with the mouth only is called hypocrisy. Yeshua said in Matthew 15:8 “This people honors me with their lips, but their heart is far from me” quoting from Isaiah 29:13. As God’s people we are called to righteousness, holiness, justice, and truth. These things are found within the commandments of God, and the covenant we have in Yeshua the Messiah, the Lord sends His Holy Spirit to dwell within our hearts empowering us to overcome sin which has its end goal of obeying the commandments. A popular response today in this post-modern culture is, “The commandments are of little or no value in our society where people think everything is relative. There are no absolutes for all situations.” It is also amazing to hear someone say, “Stealing and lying are not always wrong if these acts benefit a good cause.” Or another one I have heard people say, “Unfaithfulness in marriage might not always be wrong if the relationship between the husband and wife is already gone,” etc. These are the kinds of reasoning that people use to justify their sins. This is the conviction of millions of people in our society today which leads to a very confused society. I have heard these types of responses come from Christians as well as the confused idea that obedience to the commandments makes one Jewish, or causes one to pretend to be Jewish, or that the Lord never intended for the gentile believers to be Jewish, etc under the assumption that obedience to the commandments was only given to Israel and not the rest of the world. This clearly is not based in the Scriptures (e.g. Isaiah 1-2). This misunderstanding has led to a majority belief that all one has to do is hold fast to the golden rule, “do unto others as you would have them do unto you.” (Matthew 7:12) The basis for this is found John 3:16, “For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whosoever believes in him will not perish but have eternal life.” The point is, the relationship between God and his people would always be built on faith and obedience to the Torah (faithfulness). To state otherwise is inconsistent with what we find written in Scripture. The reason this is so is because faith is always spoken of within the context of faithfulness in the Bible. The best way we can be a blessing to the Lord God in heaven is to walk in faithfulness to Him day by day. Let’s Pray!

Rabbinic Commentary

The Rabbinic Commentary (Midrash) on Tehillim / Psalms 135 has 2 parts. Reading through the Midrash we will be looking at Part 1, 2, 3, and 4. Let’s begin by outlining Midrash Tehillim Chapter 135, Part 1 and 2.

Outline of Midrash Tehillim / Psalms, Chapter 135, Part 1 and 2

Part 1

  • The Midrash introduces the Psalm with the דיבור המתחיל (Dibur Hamathil) saying, “The Lord is great He causes the vapors to ascend from the ends of the earth (Tehillim / Psalms 135:5,7).”
  • The פתיחתא (Petihta) the homiletic introduction to the midrash states, “Concerning this verse, Resh Lakish and Rabbi Johanan differed, Cloud vapors, said Rabbi Johanan, come only from above, for it is said I saw in the night visions, and behold, there came with the clouds of heaven one like unto a son of man (Daniel 7:13).
  • The משל (mashal) “the parable,” goes on to explain the פתיחתא (Petihta), the rabbis parallel the clouds to the one who comes with the clouds, the Lord God Almighty.
  • The נמשל (Nimshal) “expansion on the parable” expands upon the משל (mashal), the rabbis differ saying the vapors come from below and not above.
  • The Concluding phrase says, “Resh Lakish’s view is that as a man says to his friend, Lend me a measure of wheat, whereupon his friend declares, bring me your basket, so the Holy One blessed be He, declares to the earth, Bring Me your cloud vapor, and you will receive rain.”

Part 2

  • The Midrash introduces the Psalm with the דיבור המתחיל (Dibur Hamathil) saying, “The cloud vapor is called by five names, darkener, maker of meekness, discomfiter, maker of princes, and maker of visions.”
  • The פתיחתא (Petihta) the homiletic introduction to the midrash states, “It is called darkener, because it darkens the face of the firmament;
  • The משל (mashal) “the parable,” goes on to explain the פתיחתא (Petihta), the rabbis parallel the vapor to five things.
  • The נמשל (Nimshal) “expansion on the parable” expands upon the משל (mashal), explaining how each of these five things are related.
  • The Concluding phrase says, “maker of princes, because it makes men act in a princely manner toward one another; maker of visions, because it makes visions appear in he sky, and also makes the vision of the Holy Spirit rest upon men, as is said, The vision of Isaiah (Isaiah 1:1).”

Midrash Tehillim 135 Part 1 opens with the Dibur Hamathil (דיבור המתחיל) saying, “The Lord is great He causes the vapors to ascend from the ends of the earth (Tehillim / Psalms 135:5,7).” The פתיחתא (Petihta) the homiletic introduction to the midrash states, “Concerning this verse, Resh Lakish and Rabbi Johanan differed, Cloud vapors, said Rabbi Johanan, come only from above, for it is said I saw in the night visions, and behold, there came with the clouds of heaven one like unto a son of man (Daniel 7:13).” The entire midrash states the following:

מדרש תהלים פרק קלה סימן א

א הללויה הללו את שם ה׳ וגו׳, מעלה נשיאים מקצה הארץ. ריש לקיש ור׳ יוחנן, רבי יוחנן אומר אין עננים אלא למעלה, שנאמר וארו עם ענני שמיא (דניאל ז יג), ריש לקיש אמר אין עננים אלא מלמטן, שנאמר מעלה נשיאים מקצה הארץ, על דעתיה דרבי יוחנן לאחד שכבד את חבירו בחבית של יין וקנקנה עמה. ודעתיה דריש לקיש לאחד שאמר לחברו הלויני סאה של חטין, וא״ל הביא קופתך, כך אמר הקב״ה לארץ אייתי עננך וקבלי מטר.

Midrash Tehillim 135, Part 1

1. The Lord is great He causes the vapors to ascend from the ends of the earth (Tehillim / Psalms 135:5,7). Concerning this verse, Resh Lakish and Rabbi Johanan differed, Cloud vapors, said Rabbi Johanan, come only from above, for it is said I saw in the night visions, and behold, there came with the clouds of heaven one like unto a son of man (Daniel 7:13). But Resh Lakish said that cloud vapors come only from below, for it is said He causes the vapors to ascend from the ends of the earth. Rabbi Johanan’s view is that God’s giving of the vapors is like a man’s giving a bottle of wine in its container to his friend. Resh Lakish’s view is that as a man says to his friend, Lend me a measure of wheat, whereupon his friend declares, bring me your basket, so the Holy One blessed be He, declares to the earth, Bring Me your cloud vapor, and you will receive rain.

The Midrash opens on Tehillim / Psalms 135:5,7 where the Masoretic text states, ה כִּי אֲנִי יָדַעְתִּי כִּי-גָדוֹל יְהֹוָה וַאֲדֹנֵינוּ מִכָּל-אֱלֹהִים: 135:5 For I know that the Lord is great And that our Lord is above all gods. (NASB) and ז מַעֲלֶה נְשִֹאִים מִקְצֵה הָאָרֶץ בְּרָקִים לַמָּטָר עָשָֹה מוֹצֵא-רוּחַ מֵאוֹצְרוֹתָיו: 135:7 He causes the vapors to ascend from the ends of the earth; Who makes lightnings for the rain, Who brings forth the wind from His treasuries. (NASB) and the Aramaic Targum states, ה ארום אנא ידעית ארום רב יהוה וריבוננא על כל אלהים׃

135:5 For I know, for great is the Lord, and our master over all gods. (EMC) and ז דמסיק עננין מסייפי ארעא ברקין למיחת מטרא עבד דמפיק זעפא מן תוסברייא דיליה׃ 135:7 Who brings up clouds from the ends of the earth; he made lightning for the fall of rain, he who brings forth the storm from his storehouses. (EMC) The Midrash speaks of the clouds, the glory of God, and the son of man who comes upon the clouds. (Daniel 7:13 ‘I kept looking in the night visions, And behold, with the clouds of heaven One like a Son of Man was coming, And He came up to the Ancient of Days And was presented before Him. NASB) Because the Psalms speaks of the clouds ascending from the earth, and Daniel speaking of the son of man coming with the clouds from heaven, there is a disagreement between interpretations on which way the clouds are ascending? The commentary Rabbeinu Bahya on Shemot / Exodus 35:27 Part 2 states the following:

Rabbeinu Bahya, Shemot / Exodus 35:27 Part 2

מקצה הארץ, “He makes the clouds rise from the end of the earth.” The clouds of glory were contributed by G’d Himself (descending to Moses’ tent), completing all that was needed to make the Tabernacle operational.

This commentary states the clouds of glory were attributed to the Lord God Almighty Himself. He says the clouds descended and did not ascend per what Rabbi Resh Lakish is saying in Midrash Tehillim. The glory of God descends upon mankind and not the other way around.

Midrash Tanchuma, Chayei Sara 4:2

clothing (Prov. 31:25) alludes to the clouds of glory that encircled her tent. She openeth her mouth with wisdom (ibid. 39:26). When was that? When she said to Abraham: Go, I pray thee, unto thy handmaid

Here in Midrash Tanchuma, the rabbis describe clothing as the clouds of glory that encircled Sarah’s tent. The basic concept here is the glory of God has been given to God’s people via the commandments. The glory of God is found within His righteousness, holiness, justice, and truth. The Lord commanded His people to the same, we are called to encircle out lives with the clouds of glory, the Torah (instructions) of God. Revelation 19 speaks of the people of God being clothed in white robes which is paralleled to the righteous deeds of the people. The commands of God are a very important aspect in the lives of God’s people.

Contemporary Halakhic Problems, Vol VI, Chapter 3 In the Wake of Birkat ha Hammah 5769 32

Rambam declares that it is not belief in the existence of God or of His majesty and glory on the basis of faith that constitutes fulfillment of the commandment “And you shall love the Lord your God

Rambam speaks of having faith and having a simple belief in the existence of God. He says just having faith in the existence of God or of His majesty and glory do not constitute the fulfillment of the commandment “and you shall love the Lord your God.” Loving God involves actually doing something and not just about changing our minds or thinking in a particular way. The biblical descriptions of faith is not simply about just believing in God and His Messiah. This is why our relationship with the Lord God is always paralleled to that of a marriage covenant between a husband and wife. The true test of faith is found in the way in which we treat our family and friends. Faith is connected to faithfulness, the putting of our faith into action. This is paralleled to what is written in the commentary Sefer HaChinukh 292:2.

Sefer HaChinukh 292:2

The glory of the [Temple] is from the roots of the commandment; and as I wrote in the negative commandment that a blemish not be placed on consecrated animals, in this Order (Sefer HaChinukh 287).

The rabbis say the glory of the Temple is from the roots of the commandment. This is paralleled also to what Paul wrote in 1 Corinthians 3:9-23.

1 Corinthians 3:9-23

3:9 For we are God’s fellow workers; you are God’s field, God’s building. 3:10 According to the grace of God which was given to me, like a wise master builder I laid a foundation, and another is building on it. But each man must be careful how he builds on it. 3:11 For no man can lay a foundation other than the one which is laid, which is Jesus Christ. 3:12 Now if any man builds on the foundation with gold, silver, precious stones, wood, hay, straw, 3:13 each man’s work will become evident; for the day will show it because it is to be revealed with fire, and the fire itself will test the quality of each man’s work. 3:14 If any man’s work which he has built on it remains, he will receive a reward. 3:15 If any man’s work is burned up, he will suffer loss; but he himself will be saved, yet so as through fire. 3:16 Do you not know that you are a temple of God and that the Spirit of God dwells in you? 3:17 If any man destroys the temple of God, God will destroy him, for the temple of God is holy, and that is what you are. 3:18 Let no man deceive himself. If any man among you thinks that he is wise in this age, he must become foolish, so that he may become wise. 3:19 For the wisdom of this world is foolishness before God. For it is written, ‘He is the one who catches the wise in their craftiness’; 3:20 and again, ‘The Lord knows the reasonings of the wise, that they are useless.’ 3:21 So then let no one boast in men. For all things belong to you, 3:22 whether Paul or Apollos or Cephas or the world or life or death or things present or things to come; all things belong to you, 3:23 and you belong to Christ; and Christ belongs to God. (NASB)

Note how the rabbinic commentary states the glory of the Temple of God is found in the root of the commandment of God. Paul in a similar manner wrote that we are God’s field meaning that the Lord is plangting in us something that is to grow to produce fruit. Paul then states our bodies are the Temple of God because the Spirit of God dwells within us. He states, 3:17 If any man destroys the temple of God, God will destroy him, for the temple of God is holy, and that is what you are. (NASB) We are called holy, set apart, and therefore holiness is a requirement for God’s people. The author of Hebrews wrote “Without holiness no one can see God.” (Hebrews 12:14) We are made holy in the commandments through the practice of holiness and in the Messiah Yeshua. As we mature in the faith holiness increases because we learn how to apply God’s Word to our lives. To be holy means that we are set apart for honorable use. Paul writes

1 Corinthians 6:9-11

6:9 Or do you not know that the unrighteous will not inherit the kingdom of God? Do not be deceived; neither fornicators, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor effeminate, nor homosexuals, 6:10 nor thieves, nor the covetous, nor drunkards, nor revilers, nor swindlers, will inherit the kingdom of God. 6:11 Such were some of you; but you were washed, but you were sanctified, but you were justified in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ and in the Spirit of our God. (NASB)

Titus 3:3-6

3:3 For we also once were foolish ourselves, disobedient, deceived, enslaved to various lusts and pleasures, spending our life in malice and envy, hateful, hating one another. 3:4 But when the kindness of God our Savior and His love for mankind appeared, 3:5 He saved us, not on the basis of deeds which we have done in righteousness, but according to His mercy, by the washing of regeneration and renewing by the Holy Spirit, 3:6 whom He poured out upon us richly through Jesus Christ our Savior, (NASB)

Note that salvation is not based upon the deeds, but upon the Lord God who moves in the heart of the one who obeys His commandments. This illustrates for us how the Lord has pulled us out of our former lifestyle, and cleansed us and set us apart for righteousness. Paul also wrote elsewhere (Romans 12:2) that we have been set apart as holy, set apart from this world for godliness. It is our faith in the Messiah that begins this pursuit of holiness in our lives to walk in God’s ways. The Lord God Almighty, our Father in heaven, sets us in a state of holiness in His Son Yeshua the Messiah, and then we are put upon the path of practical holiness something of which we must actively pursue. The Lord expects us to cultivate a lifestyle of holiness (1 Peter 1:14-16) and commands us to “cleanse ourselves of all defilement of flesh and spirit, perfecting holiness in the fear of God.” (2 Corinthians 7:1) What Paul is saying about bringing holiness to “perfection” means that we should be increasing in spiritual fruitfulness every day. We consider ourselves dead to sin (Romans 6:11), and refuse to turn back to our former lifestyles. We take the commandments of God and apply them to our lives and it is in this way we “cleanse ourselves from what is dishonorable,” becoming vessels for “honorable use, set apart as holy, useful to the master for every good work.” (see 2 Timothy 2:21) Holiness is the mark of every true believer (see 1 John 3:9-10).

Midrash Tehillim 135 Part 1 concludes saying, “Resh Lakish’s view is that as a man says to his friend, Lend me a measure of wheat, whereupon his friend declares, bring me your basket, so the Holy One blessed be He, declares to the earth, Bring Me your cloud vapor, and you will receive rain.” The parallel here is to the man who needs a measure of wheat. He goes to his friend and asks, and his friend asks him to bring a basket. This represents the one who seeks must do something in order to receive. This represents the commandments, though we fail we are trying and striving for the righteousness of God in pursuit of His holiness. The rabbinic response is that “the Holy One blessed be He speaks to the earth to bring your cloud and you will receive rain.” In the midrash, the cloud represents the glory of God which is found in His commandments.

Midrash Tehillim 135, Part 2 opens with the Dibur Hamathil (דיבור המתחיל) saying, “The cloud vapor is called by five names, darkener, maker of meekness, discomfiter, maker of princes, and maker of visions.” The פתיחתא (Petihta) the homiletic introduction to the midrash states, “It is called darkener, because it darkens the face of the firmament;” The entire midrash states the following:

מדרש תהלים פרק קלה סימן ב

ב חמשה שמות יש לו, עב ענן איד נשיא חזיז, עב שהוא מעבב את פני הרקיע. איד שהוא שובר בעלי שערים. ענן שהוא עושה את הבריות ענוים אלו על אלו. נשיאים שהוא עושה הבריות נשיאים אלו על אלו. הזיז שהוא עושה חזיונות ברקיע ומשרה רוח הקדש על הבריות, כמד״א חזון ישעיהו (ישעיה א א).

Midrash Tehillim 135, Part 2

2. The cloud vapor is called by five names, darkener, maker of meekness, discomfiter, maker of princes, and maker of visions. It is called darkener, because it darkens the face of the firmament; discomfiter, because it discomfits speculators; maker of meekness, because it makes men meek toward one another; maker of princes, because it makes men act in a princely manner toward one another; maker of visions, because it makes visions appear in he sky, and also makes the vision of the Holy Spirit rest upon men, as is said, The vision of Isaiah (Isaiah 1:1).

The משל (mashal) “the parable,” goes on to explain the פתיחתא (Petihta), the rabbis parallel the vapor to five things. The נמשל (Nimshal) “expansion on the parable” expands upon the משל (mashal), explaining how each of these five things are related. The midrash opens saying the cloud vapor is called by five names:

  1. Darkener
  2. Maker of meekness
  3. Discomfiter
  4. Maker of princes
  5. Maker of visions

The rabbis say the cloud is called “darkener, because it darkens the face of the firmament; discomfiter, because it discomfits speculators; maker of meekness, because it makes men meek toward one another; maker of princes, because it makes men act in a princely manner toward one another; maker of visions, because it makes visions appear in he sky, and also makes the vision of the Holy Spirit rest upon men, as is said, The vision of Isaiah (Isaiah 1:1).” The cloud represents the glory of God which is said to do all of these things. The point appears to be the humbling of man before God through His power and His glory. Paul wrote “Work out your own salvation with fear and trembling, for it is God who works in you, both to will and to work for his good pleasure.” (Philippians 2:12-13) Here we see cooperation between God and His people in the sanctification process. We “work out” what the Lord God “works in us,” because the Lord has a time-line for what He plans to cultivate in our lives. Our responsibility is to yield to His plan and working out with focused attention and great care those things that He is causing to grow in us. Holiness will not be brought to completion in our lives with no effort on our part. We are told the Lord will carry us on eagles wings (Shemot / Exodus 19:4). Though we are told this, we will not be carried to the skies on flowery beds of ease. The hard choices come by the leading of the Spirit of God (Galatians 5:16-18) and making the decision to obey His commandments. The flesh is weak (Mark 14:38) and so we will not reach sinless perfection in the olam hazeh, but the Lord God has made provision for our sin. “If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness.” (1 John 1:9). The Lord God helps us in our weakness by giving us His Holy Spirit who speaks to us to be mindful of holiness, righteousness, justice, and truth which enables us to carry out His will on earth (1 Corinthians 2:14-16, Philippians 2:13). When we yield our lives to the Spirit, we begin to produce fruit yielding a harvest with which God is well pleased (Galatians 5:22-23). These things as they are related to the commands of God are that we are to offer our lives back to the Lord who has redeemed us. We surrender our lives to God’s ways in righteousness and holiness because this is to our benefit (see Devarim / Deuteronomy 10:13).

Devarim / Deuteronomy 10:12-17

10:12 ‘Now, Israel, what does the Lord your God require from you, but to fear the Lord your God, to walk in all His ways and love Him, and to serve the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul, 10:13 and to keep the Lord’s commandments and His statutes which I am commanding you today for your good? 10:14 ‘Behold, to the Lord your God belong heaven and the highest heavens, the earth and all that is in it. 10:15 ‘Yet on your fathers did the Lord set His affection to love them, and He chose their descendants after them, even you above all peoples, as it is this day. 10:16 ‘So circumcise your heart, and stiffen your neck no longer. 10:17 ‘For the Lord your God is the God of gods and the Lord of lords, the great, the mighty, and the awesome God who does not show partiality nor take a bribe. (NASB)

Because of God’s mercies we have the opportunity to offer our bodies as living sacrifices, holy and pleasing to the Lord (Romans 12:1).

Midrash Tehillim 135 Part 2 concludes saying, “maker of princes, because it makes men act in a princely manner toward one another; maker of visions, because it makes visions appear in he sky, and also makes the vision of the Holy Spirit rest upon men, as is said, The vision of Isaiah (Isaiah 1:1).” Note how the Lord causes His Spirit to rest upon men. This has the effect of making men to act in a princely manner towards one another. The princely state involves status, size, and wealth. If we consider the one whom we serve and the place in which He establishes us making us to be kings and priests (Revelation 1:6), the Lord has given us status, size, and great wealth. The word prince denotes a military leader or commander, where in Hebrews 2:10 Yeshua is said to be made the captain of our salvation who was perfected through sufferings. As a captain or commander, he leads us in the way of righteousness, holiness, justice, and truth. Yeshua is called the prince of life, he was not the one who destroyed life but gives life abundantly to those who ask. Yeshua our Lord is the giver of eternal life (John 10:28), we are told in Him was and is life in its fullest and in the widest sense, physical, intellectual, moral, and spiritual. He takes our world and turns it upside down discomfiting what is deeply rooted in our hearts. He makes us to be princes, to be meek, and this title which was given to the Messiah where “the Lord God had glorified his Servant Yeshua,” the Lord also does this to us His servants for His glory and so we will bear His testimonies according to His commandments. Let’s Pray!

Tehillim 135-Part1-and-2

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Duane D. Miller received his Ph.D., M.S., and B.S. Degree in Chemical Engineering from The University of Akron Ohio. He is currently a Chemical Engineering Researcher. Duane’s research expertise has focused upon functional materials development for the control, conversion, and release of process gases in Energy production technologies. His R&D interests include computational chemistry, developing novel technologies for converting biomass to fuels and studying their fundamental interactions during the chemical conversion process. His past experience includes sorbent development for pre- and post-combustion CO2 and SO2 capture, selective absorption of H2S from methane streams, O2 capture for oxy-fuel combustion, photocatalytic reduction of alcohols, NOx reduction catalysis, the development of oxygen carriers to combust fossil fuels (CH4 and coal) for the chemical looping combustion processes, and the extraction of rare earth elements using patent pending sorbents. His research expertise has focused on operando-characterization using Infrared, Raman, and UV-Vis spectroscopy to observe the nature of the catalytic active sites and reaction intermediates under realistic reaction conditions, allowing direct correlation of molecular/electronic structures with catalyst performance during Gas-Solid / Liquid-Solid Adsorption and Photocatalytic Processes with real time online analysis of reaction products using ICP-MS and mass spectrometry. His current work involves a multi-disciplinary approach to developing, understanding, and improving the catalytic gasification of coal and methane, high temperature chemical looping combustion, and the catalytic decomposition and gasification of biomass and coal using novel microwave reactor.​ He has been studying the Hebrew Scriptures and the Torah for 20+ years and sharing what he has learned. The studies developed for MATSATI.COM are freely to be used by everyone, to God be the Glory!