Psalm 9: I Will Recount Your Wonderful Deeds

I don’t get this note with this psalm at all. It starts off with that it’s to the choirmaster, like several of the others so far but it says “according to Muth-labben.b I looked up what that word meant (and the link is to the wiktionary definition) and it says that it means “on the death of Labben” who I don’t recall mentioned elsewhere, but I could be wrong. The other guess is that it’s “on the death of the son” which makes it sound like David was glad his son died when it’s paired with that it also has that note “A Psalm of David”. But David was devastated when his son died and, as you will see when you read this, this is not the psalm of a devastated person.

Of course, there is also the hypothesis that the Muth-labben thing denotes something about the way it’s sung, like the key or instrument, which makes way more sense to me.


Psalm 9

1I will give thanks to the LORD with my whole heart;
I will recount all of your wonderful deeds.
2I will be glad and exult in you;
I will sing praise to your name, O Most High.

3When my enemies turn back,
they stumble and perish beforec your presence.
4For you have maintained my just cause;
you have sat on the throne, giving righteous judgment.

5You have rebuked the nations; you have made the wicked perish;
you have blotted out their name forever and ever.
6The enemy came to an end in everlasting ruins;
their cities you rooted out;
the very memory of them has perished.

7But the LORD sits enthroned forever;
he has established his throne for justice,
8and he judges the world with righteousness;
he judges the peoples with uprightness.

9The LORD is a stronghold for the oppressed,
a stronghold in times of trouble.
10And those who know your name put their trust in you,
for you, O LORD, have not forsaken those who seek you.

11Sing praises to the LORD, who sits enthroned in Zion!
Tell among the peoples his deeds!
12For he who avenges blood is mindful of them;
he does not forget the cry of the afflicted.

13Be gracious to me, O LORD!
See my affliction from those who hate me,
O you who lift me up from the gates of death,
14that I may recount all your praises,
that in the gates of the daughter of Zion
I may rejoice in your salvation.

15The nations have sunk in the pit that they made;
in the net that they hid, their own foot has been caught.
16The LORD has made himself known; he has executed judgment;
the wicked are snared in the work of their own hands. Higgaion.d Selah

17The wicked shall return to Sheol,
all the nations that forget God.

18For the needy shall not always be forgotten,
and the hope of the poor shall not perish forever.

19Arise, O LORD! Let not man prevail;
let the nations be judged before you!
20Put them in fear, O LORD!
Let the nations know that they are but men! Selah

The feel of the psalm itself makes the first theory about what Muth-Labben means not make any sense to me. There’s also the word Higgaion, which I also looked up and also appears to have some musical purpose that we’ve lost somewhere along the way, and the reappearance of Selah” which we’ve discussed previously.

This one reads like a pretty straightforward psalm of praise. It’s happy and it’s grateful and it’s not even a little upset about anything. It’s victorious with not even a hint of the author being upset about anything.  It reminds me of the more uplifting praise band songs I’ve heard at church, but definitely more violent than that.

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