The book of Jeremiah was written between 627 and 580 BC. Counting the number of verses, Jeremiah is longer than all other books of the Old Testament except Genesis and Psalms. Jeremiah is often called the weeping prophet, and his other book is Lamentations. It is possible that he is the son of the high priest Hilkiah who brought the book of the Law to the attention of king Josiah. Having just heard in 2 Kings an overview of what happened during the last days of the kingdom of Judah, we now will hear the poems and sermons of a sensitive man living through it all. Mears says, “No other prophet bares his soul to his readers as does Jeremiah. Although Jeremiah announced the coming destruction of Judah, he looked beyond this judgment to a day when everyone would know the Lord personally through the forgiveness of his or her sins (Jer. 31-34). This new kind of relationship with the Lord would be part of the “new covenant” the Lord would establish with his people (Jer. 31:31).”
This is the first of a series of eight psalms where the psalmist speaks in the first person singular. This psalm includes an important declaration in verse two, which ESV translates like this:
Ps. 138:2 I bow down toward your holy temple and give thanks to your name for your steadfast love and your faithfulness, for you have exalted above all things your name and your word.
NLT and CEV have done a good job translating the meaning, and I particularly like the second phrase in NLT.
As John said in chapter 13, “Jesus, having always loved his disciples, he loved them to the end.”
GNT Translation notes:
Ps. 138:2 [NLT I bow before your holy Temple as I worship. I praise [you//your name] for your unfailing love and faithfulness; for your promises are backed by all the honor of your name.//
CEV I worship at your holy temple and praise you for your love and your faithfulness. You were true to your word and made yourself more famous than ever before.//GNTD I face your holy Temple, bow down, and praise your name because of your constant love and faithfulness, because you have shown that your name and your commands are supreme.]
John 18:10 [Peter— whose other name was Simon, had a sword. He//Simon Peter, who had a sword,] drew it and struck the High Priest's slave, cutting off his right ear. The name of the slave was Malchus.
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