Bible Commentaries

Utley's You Can Understand the BibleUtley Commentary

Psalms 111


Psalms 111:0


The Lord Praised for His GoodnessNo MT IntroPraise to God for His Faithfulness and JusticeHymn of Praise to the Lord for His Great DeedsIn Praise of the LordIn Praise of Yahweh's Deeds
Psalms 111:1-6Psalms 111:1Psalms 111:1-10Psalms 111:1aPsalms 111:1a
Psalms 111:1-3Psalms 111:1-2
Psalms 111:2-6
Psalms 111:3-4
Psalms 111:4-6
Psalms 111:5-6
Psalms 111:7-10Psalms 111:7-9 Psalms 111:7-10Psalms 111:7-8
Psalms 111:9-10
Psalms 111:10

READING CYCLE THREE (see “Guide to Good Bible Reading”)


This is a study guide commentary which means that you are responsible for your own interpretation of the Bible. Each of us must walk in the light we have. You, the Bible, and the Holy Spirit are priority in interpretation. You must not relinquish this to a commentator.

Read the chapter in one sitting. Identify the subjects (reading cycle #3). Compare your subject divisions with the five translations above. Paragraphing is not inspired, but it is the key to following the original author's intent, which is the heart of interpretation. Every paragraph has one and only one subject.

1. First paragraph

2. Second paragraph

3. Etc.


A. Psalms 111:0 and 112 are acrostic, wisdom psalms. Each line of poetry begins with the next letter of the Hebrew alphabet. The acrostic starts at Psalms 111:1b.

B. These two Psalms are also linked by the phrase, “His righteousness endures forever,” which occurs in the Psalter only in Psalms 111:3 and Psalms 112:3, Psalms 112:9.

C. Psalms 111:0 praises YHWH, while Psalms 112:0 praises the faithful followers of YHWH.

Verses 1-6

NASB (UPDATED) TEXT: Psalms 111:1-6 1Praise the Lord! I will give thanks to the Lord with all my heart,

In the company of the upright and in the assembly.

2Great are the works of the Lord; They are studied by all who delight in them. 3Splendid and majestic is His work, And His righteousness endures forever. 4He has made His wonders to be remembered; The Lord is gracious and compassionate. 5He has given food to those who fear Him; He will remember His covenant forever. 6He has made known to His people the power of His works, In giving them the heritage of the nations.

Psalms 111:1 “Praise the Lord” This is the translation of the Hebrew, “hallelujah.” It is made up of the verb “praise” (BDB 237 II, KB 248, Piel imperative) and “Yah” (BDB 219). It denotes a worship setting and is used liturgically at the beginning or ending of many Psalms (i.e., Psalms 102:18; Psalms 104:35; Psalms 105:45; Psalms 106:1, Psalms 106:48; Psalms 111:1; Psalms 112:1; Psalms 113:1, Psalms 113:9; Psalms 115:17, Psalms 115:18; Psalms 116:19 and twenty-one more times).

The liturgical aspect is confirmed by Psalms 111:1c.

This first line is not part of the acrostic but serves as a title to this Psalm.

“Lord” This is the covenant name for Israel's God. See SPECIAL TOPIC: NAMES FOR DEITY.

“I will give thanks to the Lord” Notice the parallel with line 1, different form but same concept.

1. hallelujah - BDB 237, KB 248, Piel imperative

2. give thanks - BDB 392, KB 389, Hiphil imperfect used in a cohortative sense

“with all my heart” This is a Hebrew idiom of complete dedication (cf. Psalms 9:1; Psalms 86:12; Psalms 138:1). For “heart” see SPECIAL TOPIC: THE HEART.

“In the company of the upright and in the assembly” This phrase could refer to

1. one group of worshipers at the temple

2. two groups (cf. Psalms 107:32)

a. a group of leaders (cf. Exodus 3:16)

b. the large worshiping group

Psalms 111:2-6 Notice the parallel between

1. great are the works of the Lord, Psalms 111:2a

2. splendid and majestic is His work, Psalms 111:3a (cf. Psalms 96:6; Psalms 104:1)

3. his wonders to be remembered, Psalms 111:4a

4. He has made known to His people the power of His works, Psalms 111:6a

See Special Topic: Wonderful Things to see the different ways that YHWH has revealed Himself through His acts and words.

Psalms 111:2b As a teacher/preacher, the phrase speaks so strongly to me “God's revelations are available to all but must be studied/pondered and applied” (cf. Psalms 111:10b; Ezra 7:10)! Do you delight in them, live them, teach them?

Psalms 111:3b “His righteousness endures forever” This phrase is repeated in Psalms 112:3, Psalms 112:9, and no where else in these exact words. This implies that Psalms 111:0 and 112 were written by the same person.

For the recurrent concept of YHWH's righteousness see the SPECIAL TOPIC: RIGHTEOUSNESS.

The participle “endures” (BDB 763, KB 840) is also used of God's revelation in Psalms 19:9. Jesus addresses the OT's inspiration and eternality in Matthew 5:17-19!

Psalms 111:4b One of the crucial questions after belief in God is, what is He like? What is His nature? This phrase reflects the OT characterization of the God of Israel (cf. Exodus 34:6-7; Numbers 14:18; Deuteronomy 4:31; Nehemiah 9:17; Psalms 86:15; Psalms 103:8; Psalms 145:8). See Special Topic: Characteristics of Israel's God.

Psalms 111:5-6 These verses describe some of the things God has done.

1. gives food to those who fear/awe Him (i.e., Exodus and Numbers; Matthew 6:11, Matthew 6:31-33)

2. remembers His covenant forever (i.e., this refers to His promises to the Patriarchs, cf. Genesis 12:0; Genesis 15:0; Genesis 18:0; Genesis 22:0; Psalms 105:8; see SPECIAL TOPIC: COVENANT)

3. made Himself known to His people (cf. Psalms 19:7-12)

4. gives His people the nations for an inheritance

a. in a Messianic sense in Psalms 2:8; Psalms 67:7

b. in a conquest of Canaan sense in Genesis 15:12-21

Verses 7-10

NASB (UPDATED) TEXT: Psalms 111:7-10 7The works of His hands are truth and justice; All His precepts are sure. 8They are upheld forever and ever; They are performed in truth and uprightness. 9He has sent redemption to His people; He has ordained His covenant forever; Holy and awesome is His name. 10The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom; A good understanding have all those who do His commandments; His praise endures forever.

Psalms 111:7-10 This strophe affirms the trustworthiness of God and His revelation/promises. It foreshadows Psalms 119:0 and reflects Psalms 19:0.

Notice the ways God's revelations are described.

1. truth and justice (cf. Psalms 19:9)

2. sure (cf. Psalms 19:7; Psalms 93:5)

3. upheld forever and ever (cf. Psalms 19:9)

4. performed in truth and uprightness

Notice the ways God Himself is described.

1. He sent redemption to His people

2. He ordained His covenant forever

3. He is holy and awesome

Notice the different words used to describe His revelations.

1. precepts - BDB 824 (cf. Psalms 19:8)

2. commanded - BDB 845 (cf. Psalms 19:8; using the noun, BDB 846)

3. fear - BDB 432 (cf. Psalms 19:9)

See Special Topic: Terms Used For God's Revelation.

Psalms 111:7 “His hands” See Special Topic: God Described As Human (anthropomorphism).

“truth” This feminine noun (BDB 54) occurs in Psalms 111:7 and 8. It is literally “faithfulness.” The same Hebrew root (BDB 54) forms the word “sure” (BDB 52, Niphal participle) in Psalms 111:7 (cf. Psalms 19:7). See Special Topic: Believe, Trust, Faith and Faithfulness in the OT.

Psalms 111:8 “forever and ever” This Hebrew idiom of permanence is formed by

1. forever - BDB 723 I (cf. Psalms 111:3, Psalms 111:8; Psalms 112:3, Psalms 112:9)

2. and ever - BDB 761 (cf. Psalms 111:9; Psalms 19:9; see Special Topic: Forever ['olam])

Psalms 111:9 “redemption” See Special Topic: Ransom/Redeem

“holy” “Holy” (BDB 872) and “awesome” (BDB 431) appear together in Psalms 99:3. See SPECIAL TOPIC: HOLY.

“awesome” This is the common Hebrew verb “to fear” (BDB 431, KB 432, Niphal participle). It is used

1. of YHWH Himself - Deuteronomy 7:21; Deuteronomy 10:17, Deuteronomy 10:21; Nehemiah 1:5; Nehemiah 4:14; Nehemiah 9:32; Psalms 47:2; Psalms 68:35; Psalms 76:7; Daniel 9:4

2. of His acts - Psalms 65:5; Psalms 66:3, Psalms 66:5; Psalms 106:22; Psalms 145:6

3. of the appropriate response of His people - Deuteronomy 4:10; Deuteronomy 5:5; Deuteronomy 6:2, Deuteronomy 6:13, Deuteronomy 6:24; Deuteronomy 10:12, Deuteronomy 10:20; Deuteronomy 13:11; Deuteronomy 14:23; Deuteronomy 17:13, Deuteronomy 17:19; Deuteronomy 19:20; Deuteronomy 21:21; Deuteronomy 25:18; Deuteronomy 28:58; Deuteronomy 31:12; Joshua 4:24

4. of the Gentiles - Deuteronomy 28:10; Joshua 4:24; Joshua 9:24; Psalms 67:7

Psalms 111:10a This is the first principle and the central theme of Proverbs (cf. Proverbs 1:7; Proverbs 9:10), also note online at Ecclesiastes 12:13.

Psalms 111:10b Notice that knowing God's revelation demands obeying it/them! Biblical faith is not only a theological creed to be affirmed but a lifestyle (cf. Matthew 7:13-27; Ephesians 2:8-9, Ephesians 2:10).


This is a study guide commentary which means that you are responsible for your own interpretation of the Bible. Each of us must walk in the light we have. You, the Bible, and the Holy Spirit are priority in interpretation. You must not relinquish this to a commentator.

These discussion questions are provided to help you think through the major issues of this section of the book. They are meant to be thought provoking, not definitive.

1. What “company” is being addressed in Psalms 111:1c?

2. Does the Psalm tell us exactly which “works of the Lord” are being extolled?

3. How is Psalms 111:4b related to Exodus 34:6-7?

Bibliographical Information
Utley. Dr. Robert. "Commentary on Psalms 111". "Utley's You Can Understand the Bible". 2021.