This Psalm is a reflection on the name of God (Yahweh) which is rendered LORD in most modern translations.
First I notice the variations on the phrase “Praise the Lord” which are all variations on the word Hallelujah (“praise Yahweh”).
- Praise the Lord (hallelu jah)
- Praise (him) the servants of the LORD (hallelu abedey yahweh)
- Praise the name of the LORD (hallelu eth shem yahweh)
- Let the name of the LORD be blessed (yahi shem yahweh mebarak)
- Praise to the name of the LORD (mehulal shem yahweh)
This reminds me of musical compositions that take a theme and vary it through the piece, both in classical music and jazz. It seems a kind of memditation by repetitive variation.
Then I notice contrasts in categories of time, space, people. So I made this outline.
These show the LORDS praiseworthiness in regards to
- time (now and forever)
- location (place of sun rising and setting)
- the nations
- the heavens (which the Lord has to stoop down to even see)
- classes of people (Poor, princes, childless woman, mother)
It’s a bit ironic that in the tradition of the text, we change the actual NAME of the LORD to the word “LORD” so as not to break the commandment against taking the LORD’s name in vain.