The Kind Love of the *LORD
The Great *Hallel
An EasyEnglish Translation with Notes (about 1200 word vocabulary) on Psalm 136
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, "This is how God loved the world" (John 3:16).
In this psalm, one group says something and another group answers. Perhaps it was the psalm they used in Ezra 3:11. There it says, "They answered each other, *praising and thanking the *LORD. They said, 'He is good. His kind love will always continue to Israel'."
The *Jews called this psalm "the great hallel". Other hallels are Psalms 113-118 and 135. They are psalms that *praise the *LORD, (or tell the *LORD that he is really great). But this psalm is different from the other psalms. One group of people tell part of the story of what God has done. Then the other people repeat a chorus (some words that are the same each time). The chorus says, "Because his kind love will always continue". "Kind love" is a very special Bible word. The *Jews wrote the psalms in their own language, Hebrew. The Hebrew word we translated "kind love" is "hesed". Really, there is no English word that can translate "hesed". "Kind love" is the best we can do. It comes from the old English Bible that translated it "lovingkindness". People have written a lot about "hesed". But we must remember that it means at least two things:
· God does not have to love us but he still loves us;
· God will always love us.
Look again at the psalm. Really, verses 1-3 should come before every verse! That is why we put "Thank the *LORD because" before each part of the psalm. It is there to help us to remember this.
There are 5 parts in this psalm:
· verses 1-3 and 26 tell us to thank the *LORD;
· verses 4-9 tell us that God made earth, sky, sun, moon and stars;
· verses 10-16 tell us how God saved the *Jews from Egypt;
· verses 17-22 tell us how God took his people from Egypt to Canaan;
· verses 23-25 tell us that God gives us all that we need.
In verses 1 and 3 we have the words *LORD and *Lord. They are not the same word in Hebrew. *LORD is the *covenant name for God. A *covenant is when people agree. Here, God agrees to love his people and to give them help. His people agree to love and obey God. *Lord is a word for someone with authority. In Hebrew, "the *Lord who is the greatest *lord" is "*Lord of *lords".
In verse 4, miracles are things that only God can do. Only he could make the earth, the moon, the stars and the sun.
The firstborn in verse 10 means the first child (or animal) to be born to its parents.
The *desert in verse 16 is the wild country between Egypt and Palestine. The old name for Palestine was Canaan. God gave this land as a gift to his people, verses 21 and 22. But they still had to fight to get into it.
The enemies in verse 24 made them sad in verse 23.
Read the psalm as they did in Ezra 3:11. Get two groups of people. Everybody reads verses 1, 2 and 3 (and also verse 26 at the end). Then, the first group reads the first part of verses 4-25. The second group answers them.
covenant ~ two people have agreed what each should do (here, God and his people). Look in Psalm 120 about the covenant.
desert ~ a dry place with much sand.
firstborn ~ the first child that a man and woman have.
hallel ~ say that someone is great.
heaven ~ the home of God.
Jew ~ a person who is born from Abraham, Isaac and Jacob and their children.
LORD ~ the *covenant name for God (in a *covenant you agree with someone).
miracles ~ great things that only God can do.
praise ~ to say how great someone is; or, words that say how great someone is.
© 1999-2002, Wycliffe Associates (UK)
This publication is written in EasyEnglish Level A (1200 words).
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