God Gave Us Help
An EasyEnglish Translation with Notes (about 1200 word vocabulary) on Psalm 107
Words in boxes are from the Bible. Words in brackets, ( ), are not in the *Hebrew Bible.
The notes explain some of the words with a *star by them. A word list at the end explains the other words that have a *star by them.
The translated Bible text has yet to go through Advanced Checking.
Jesus said, "Many people will come from the east and from the west. They will sit down with Abraham, and Isaac, and Jacob, in the *kingdom of *heaven" (Matthew 8:11). (*Heaven is where God lives; a *kingdom is where someone is king.)
The soldiers of Babylon took the *Jews away from their own country. 70 years later, they came home again. Then they wrote this psalm. They were *prisoners in Babylon, (verses 10-16). *Prisoners are people who are in a prison or not free. They had done what was wrong, (verses 17-22). That is why they were not free. But the *LORD (another name for God) brought them home again, (verses 4-9). He redeemed them, or saved them from their enemies. The journey was difficult, (verses 23-32). So they must tell the *LORD how good he was, (verses 33-43). Babylon was a country east of where the *Jews lived.
There are 6 groups of verses in this psalm. Here is a picture of them:
Thank the LORD for what he has done.
The LORD gave help to people who were coming home.
The LORD gave help to people that were in prison.
The LORD gave help to people that were ill because they had done wrong things.
The LORD gave help to people that were on the sea
The LORD does wonderful things
Some Bible students think that "the sea" should be "the south". The two words are not very different in Hebrew. Hebrew is the language that the psalm-writers spoke. Because verses 23–32 are about the sea, we think that verse 3 may also be about the sea. There was a sea to the south of Judah, so perhaps both are right!
Verse 10: They were *prisoners in two ways:
· there were iron *bars to keep them in until they died;
· this made them very, very sad (or, in *despair).
In other words, they were *prisoners of their enemies. And they were like prisoners because of their own thoughts. "In darkness" means "in a dark place".
Verse 11: "Most High" is a name for God. He is so great and powerful that he has many names. They all tell us about God. ‘Most High’ means that there is nobody with more authority than God.
Verse 12: The hard work was what their enemies made them do. It made them feel very angry. But in the end, they said that God was right.
Verses 13 and 15: So they prayed to God and he saved them. These verses come 4 times. They are in bold type each time.
Verse 14: Chains are bits of metal. They hold people so that they cannot get away.
Verse 16: The metal gates were the gates of the prison. The bars were also pieces of metal. They were over the windows and they stopped people getting away.
Verse 17: The "right road" here means the "right way to live". If you can, study Psalm 1 or Psalm 119 in this set. They were not fools because they were silly. They were fools because they did not obey God. "In pain" means that something was hurting them. "*Sin" is "not to obey God’s rules".
Verse 18: Perhaps they were too ill to eat.
Verse 20: "He sent his word" can mean two things:
· God spoke to them and healed them (or made them well again);
· God sent one of his servants to heal them (make them well again).
The *Jews believed that God sent a special servant from *Heaven. We call these servants *angels.
Heaven is the home of God. In Hebrew, "death" is "the pit". This was a name for a place in *Sheol. The *Jews believed that they went to *Sheol when they died. The pit was a very bad part of *Sheol. People never came out from it.
Verse 22: "An offering" is something that you give to someone. In the psalm, the writer meant an animal. They would kill the animal and then burn it. They believed that this made God happy. The burning animal was called "a sacrifice". "*Praise" is to tell someone that they are very great.
Verses 23 - 24: We do not know who these people were. There was no sea near Babylon. They were probably *Jews that went to places to buy and sell things. We call them "traders".
Verses 25 - 27: There was a bad storm. God sent it. The traders and the other sailors fell over. This was because the boat moved up and down a lot. They did not know what to do. They had sailed a lot. But this was something that they had not seen before. All that was possible was TO PRAY!
Verses 29 - 30: God answered them. The storm stopped. The sea was quiet. This made them happy.
Verses 31 - 32: When God answers us when we pray, we must remember to thank him! This is very important when Christians meet together.
Verses 34 - 35: God can change good places into bad places. A *desert is a dry place with no water but much sand. A marsh is a very wet place.
Verses 35 - 38: God can also change bad places into good places. "Sow seeds" means "put them into the ground so they can grow". A vineyard is a place where people grow grapes. People make grapes into wine, a drink with alcohol in it.
Verses 39 - 40: He does not do good things to people that do not obey him.
"Oppression" means the trouble that you have when people are not kind to you.
Verse 41: But the *LORD is kind to those that need his help. Some wild animals have many babies, as the mouse does.
Psalm 107 is a *wonderful psalm. It tells us that God will give help to people that ask him for help. Some people think that they do not need help from God. Those people will not get help!
Verses 4 - 9 are about *refugees. *Refugees are people with nowhere to go. They have no home or country. If you are one, ask God for help. He will give it to you if you believe in him.
Verses 10 - 16 are about people that are in prison. God will even give you help in prison. He may even set you free! But you must ask him. And remember, there are prisons without walls and *bars: They are bad things that we cannot stop ourselves from doing. God will give us help here also.
Verses 17 - 22 are about people that are ill. They are ill because they did something wrong. Now, not all illness is because we do something wrong. But some of it is. God will even give help here, but we must ask for help!
Verses 23 - 32 are about dangers when we travel. The *refugees in verses 4-9 were in danger on the road. And here they are in danger at sea. (There was no air-travel in those days!) God gave help to these people. And he will give help to you when you travel. It does not matter how you go, land, sea or air! Just ask God for help.
But look again at verse 2. It says, "People must say that the *LORD has redeemed them". "Redeemed" means "saved" or "bought back". This is true. But it also means any other way that God gives us help. If God gives you help, then tell people about it.
Verses 33 - 43 finish the psalm. They tell us that God will give help to those people that ask for help. But he will not give it if they do not ask. The last verse of the psalm tells us to think about this. If we ask God for help we are *wise. If we do not ask for help, then we are *stupid! And nobody wants to be *stupid, so let us all ask God for help in our lives!
1. Learn to say the words in verses 6 and 8 without looking at them.
2. If you are a *refugee, or in prison, or ill, or in danger as you travel, then ask God for help. HE WILL GIVE IT!
angel ~ *spirit that lives in *heaven with God.
bars ~ bits of iron over windows and doors to stop people getting out.
chain ~ something strong to tie people up with.
covenant ~ two people have agreed what each should do (here, God and his people). Look in Psalm 120 about the covenant.
darkness ~ when there is no light.
desert ~ a dry place with much sand.
despair ~ being very, very sad.
heal ~ to give health instead of illness.
heaven ~ the home of God.
Hebrew ~ the language that the Jews spoke; they wrote the Psalms in Hebrew.
Jew ~ a person who is born from Abraham, Isaac and Jacob and their children; a person who has the *faith of the *Jews, called Judaism.
kingdom ~ the country that has a king.
LORD ~ a special name for God that his people use. It is the *covenant name of God. In *Hebrew it is *Yahweh or *Jehovah. Look after psalm 25 in book 1 of the psalms of David for more about the names of God.
New Testament ~ the last part of the Bible, which the writers wrote after the life of Jesus. It is about the things that Jesus did and taught. It is also about what Christians believe and do.
offering ~ a gift to please God.
praise ~ to say how great someone is; or, words that say how great someone is.
prisoner ~ person that the enemy has caught and kept.
redeem ~ buy back from the enemy.
refugee ~ refugees are people who have nowhere to go.
righteous ~ very good (only God is really righteous). God says that the people who love and obey him are righteous. Sometimes we say they are "the righteous", meaning "righteous people". Look after Psalm 5 in Book 1 of the Psalms of David for more about the word "righteous".
Sheol ~ *Jews believed that you went to Sheol when you died.
sin ~ not obeying God; or what you do when you do not obey God.
stupid ~ opposite of clever.
wise ~ when we understand God’s word. When we know what is good and right. And we do it. You know what to do.
wonderful ~ great and surprising.
© 1999-2002, Wycliffe Associates (UK)
This publication is written in EasyEnglish Level A (1200 words).
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