Psalm 112 (A)

Psalm 111:10 The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom; all those who practice it have a good understanding. His praise endures forever.

Psalm 112: 1Praise the Lord! Happy are those who fear the Lord, who greatly delight in his commandments.

Psalm 112


Psalm 111:10 NRSV The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom; all those who practice it have a good understanding. His praise endures forever. I chose the NRSV version of this verse because of the word “practice”. That word has more action in it than the CEB version that says “keep”. The last verse of Psalm 111 move the reader or hearer from celebration to action. In Psalm 112, the righteous will act as a light in the darkness and can be described as acting: graciously, generously, mercifully, and as people who conduct their affairs with justice. These attributes and actions are the fruit of wisdom. 

The God of Psalm 111 partners with the people of Psalm 112 and they work together, co-creating the reign of God on earth. This is difficult work. And it is easy to look around the world and be discouraged. I think this is the primary reason the faithful gather in community. We need each other for encouragement and as co-workers. We are in this together. Light your candle and I’ll light mine.

Beloved, do not be discouraged.

I began writing Psalm reflections during Lent of 2020 shortly after we decided to close the church building, work from home, and worship via zoom.  It is a practice I have continued since.  Many churches use the Revised Common Lectionary (RLC) that rotates scripture on a three-year cycle (A, B, and C).  Starting in Advent 2019, Third Church decided to worship with the texts from Year D, which is still not circulated as are years A, B, and C.  Year D was created with the goal of including scriptures that were left out or not used as frequently as others.  While we were using Psalms in year D, most other lectionary followers were using Year A.  In Advent of 2020 we rejoined those who use the lectionary in year B.  Advent of 2021 year C.  Advent of 2022 year A.

I use the Vanderbilt Divinity Library’s resource for lectionary readings to make text selections.

Year A Psalms

1st Sunday in Advent Psalm 122, 2nd Sunday in Advent Psalm 72, 3rd Sunday in Advent Psalm 146, 4th Sunday in Advent Psalm 80, Christmas Psalm 96, Psalm 97, Psalm 98, 1st Sunday after Christmas Psalm 148, New Year Psalm 8, Epiphany Psalm 72, 1st Sunday after Epiphany Psalm 29, 2nd Sunday after Epiphany Psalm 40, 3rd Sunday after Epiphany Psalm 27, 4th Sunday after Epiphany Psalm 15, 5th Sunday after Epiphany Psalm 112, 6th Sunday after Epiphany Psalm 119, Transfiguration Sunday Psalm 2 or Psalm 99.

Ash Wednesday Psalm 51, 1st Sunday in Lent Psalm 32, 2nd Sunday in Lent Psalm 121, 3rdSunday in Lent Psalm 95, 4th Sunday in Lent Psalm 23, 5th Sunday in Lent Psalm 130, 6th Sunday in Lent Psalm 118 or Psalm 31.

Holy Week: Monday Psalm 36, Tuesday Psalm 71, Wednesday Psalm 70, Thursday Psalm 116, Friday Psalm 22, Saturday Psalm 31.

Easter Psalm 118 or Psalm 114, 2nd Sunday of Easter Psalm 16, 3rd Sunday of Easter Psalm 116, 4th Sunday of Easter Psalm 23, 5th Sunday of Easter Psalm 31, 6th Sunday of Easter Psalm 66, Ascension of the Lord Psalm 47 or Psalm 93, 7th Sunday of Easter Psalm 68, Pentecost Psalm 104.

1st Sunday after Pentecost Psalm 8, 2nd Sunday after Pentecost Psalm 33 or Psalm 50, 3rd Sunday after Pentecost Psalm 116 or Psalm 100, 4th Sunday after Pentecost Psalm 86 or Psalm 69, 5thSunday after Pentecost Psalm 13 or Psalm 89, 6th Sunday after Pentecost Psalm 45 or Psalm 145, 7th Sunday after Pentecost Psalm 119 or Psalm 65, 8th Sunday after Pentecost Psalm 139 or Psalm 86, 9th Sunday after Pentecost Psalm 105 or Psalm 119, 10th Sunday after Pentecost Psalm 17 or Psalm 145, 11th Sunday after Pentecost Psalm 105 or Psalm 85, 12th Sunday after Pentecost Psalm 133 or Psalm 67, 13th Sunday after Pentecost Psalm 124 or Psalm 138, 14thSunday after Pentecost Psalm 105 or Psalm 26, 15th Sunday after Pentecost Psalm 149 or Psalm 119, 16th Sunday after Pentecost Psalm 114 or Psalm 103, 17th Sunday after Pentecost Psalm 105 or Psalm 145, 18th Sunday after Pentecost Psalm 78 or Psalm 25, 19th Sunday after Pentecost Psalm 19 or Psalm 80, 20th Sunday after Pentecost Psalm 106 or Psalm 23, 21stSunday after Pentecost Psalm 99 or Psalm 96, 22nd Sunday after Pentecost Psalm 90 or Psalm 1, 23rd Sunday after Pentecost Psalm 107 or Psalm 43, 24th Sunday after Pentecost Psalm 78 or Psalm 70, 25th Sunday after Pentecost Psalm 123 or Psalm 90, 26th Sunday after Pentecost Psalm 100 or Psalm 95.

Sources and notes:

Psalms 111 and 112 belong together. They are a pair, a kind of diptych. They correspond in form and language and deal with complementary topics. Psalm 111 is praise of the works of the LORD by those who fear him. Indeed, it teaches that the read of the LORD is a work of the LORD. Psalm 112 is a commendation of the way and life of those who fear the LORD. The theme of Psalm 112 is set by the last verse of Psalm 111.” Mays p. 355

“Psalm 112 opens with “Hallelujah” and a beatitude, thus combining at its beginning genres of praise and instruction.” Mays p. 358

“The relationship between Psalm 112 and Psalm 111 is obvious and close. Their external forms are similar. Psalm 112, like Psalm 111, is an acrostic poem of twenty-two measures, each measure beginning with the next letter of the Hebrew alphabet. The measures tend to be composed of three Hebrew words or bound expressions. Words, phrases, and even an entire clause from Psalm 111 are repeated in Psalm 112.” Mays p. 359

“Psalm 111 is praise by the upright who fear the LORD, and Psalm 112 describes how the fear of the LORD works out in the life of the upright.” Mays p. 359

“Even where the psalm seems to speak of conduct that deserves the blessing rather than of the blessing itself, the conduct is meant by the psalm to be a blessing that comes from delight in the commandments.” Mays p. 359

“Through them [the commandments] the LORD reveals and bestows the gift of the wisdom that makes for life. The commandments are grace, not burden.” Mays p. 360

“This correlation between the praise of the LORD and the commendation of the upright is the psalm’s way of teaching that the works of the LORD can and should shape the life of the righteous. The correlation is not a presumptuous claim that the upright independently and autonomously realize goodness. Rather, by their fear of the LORD, they enter into the works of the LORD, who works on and in and through their lives. Their goodness is godliness.” Mays p. 360

“Psalms 111 and 112 are summary statement of what faith is all about: who God is and what humans must do in response to God. In a rich intertwining of language and metaphor, the “happy” person of Psalm 112 partners with the God of Psalm 111 and together they work to achieve righteousness–right living, correct order, and truth– in the world.” W p. 119

“Leadership is the ability to pursue the greater good whether anyone else is going in that direction or not. It is, as the psalmist says, the ability to be a light in the darkness for the upright. And it is often a lonely, lonely role.” Chittister p. 12

From my post on Psalm 111:

“Thus it is a celebration of the foundational work of YHWH on behalf of the people of Israel. Its words of celebration preface the human response to YHWH called for in Psalm 112, and the wisdom words at the end of Psalm 111 provide the link to move the reader or hearer from celebration to action.” W p. 113

The last verse of Psalm 111 move the reader or hearer from celebration to action. In Psalm 112, the righteous will act as a light in the darkness and can be described as acting: graciously, generously, mercifully, and as people who conduct their affairs with justice. These attributes and actions are the fruit of wisdom. 

Wisdom is more than being an intellectual; it is about being compassionate. Wisdom is knowledge that is applied lovingly. God is the source of wisdom, truth, and love. And when we approach God with awe, reverence, and worship, we come away changed, and maybe a little wiser. And we use this wisdom to treat ourselves and our neighbors graciously, generously, and lovingly.

WBC Allen, Leslie C. 1983. Word Biblical Commentary: Psalms 101-150. Vol. 21. Waco, TX: Word Books, Publisher.

Bonhoeffer, Dietrich. 1974. Psalms: The Prayer Book of the Bible. 8th ed. Minneapolis, MN: Augsburg Press.

Brueggemann, Walter. 2007. Praying the Psalms: Engaging Scripture and the Life of the Spirit. 2nd ed. Eugene, OR: Cascade.

Brueggemann Brueggemann, Walter. 2014. From Whom No Secrets Are Hid: Introducing the Psalms. Edited by Brent A. Strawn. 1st ed. Louisville, KY: Westminster John Knox Press.

Chittister Chittister, Joan. (2011). Songs of the heart: reflections on the psalms. John Garratt Publishing. 

WBC Craigie, Peter C. 1983. Psalms 1-50–Word Biblical Commentary. Vol. 19. Waco, TX: Word Books.

Creach Creach, Jerome Frederick Davis. 1998. Psalms: Interpretation Bible Studies. Louisville, KY: Westminster John Knox Press.

DAFLER, J. (2021). PSOBRIETY: A journey of recovery through the psalms. Louisville, KY: WESTMINSTER JOHN KNOX.

W de Claisse-Walford, Nancy L. WISDOM COMMENTARY: Psalms Bks. 4-5. Edited by Barbara E. Reid. Vol. 22. Collegeville, MN: Liturgical, 2020. 

W Hopkins, Denise Dombkowski. WISDOM COMMENTARY: Psalms Bks. 2-3. Edited by Barbara E. Reid. Vol. 21. Collegeville, MN: Liturgical, 2016. 

NIB Keck, Leander E. 2015. The New Interpreters Bible Commentary. Vol. 3. Nashville, TN: Abingdon Press.

Lewis, C. S. (2017). Reflections on the Psalms. Harper One, an imprint of Harper Collins Publishers. 

Mays Mays, James Luther. 1994. Psalms. Louisville, KY: John Knox Press.

McCann McCann, J. C. (1993). A theological introduction to the book of Psalms: The Psalms as Torah. Nashville, TN: Abingdon Press.

McCann, J. C., & Howell, J. C. 2001. Preaching the Psalms. Nashville, TN: Abingdon Press.

Merrill, N. C. (2020). Psalms for praying an invitation to wholeness (10th Anniversary Edition ed.). London, England: Bloomsbury Publishing.

Miller Miller, Patrick D. 1986. Interpreting the Psalms. Philadelphia, PA: Fortress Press.

Schlimm Schlimm, Matthew Richard. 2018. 70 Hebrew Words Every Christian Should Know.Nashville, TN: Abington Press.

Spong Spong, M. (Ed.). (2020). The words of her mouth: Psalms for the struggle. Cleveland, OH: The Pilgrim Press.

WBC Tate, Marvin E. 1990. Word Biblical Commentary: Psalms 51-100. Edited by David Allan. Hubbard and Glenn W. Barker. Vol. 20. Waco, TX: Word.

OTL Weiser, Artur. 1998. Old Testament Library: Psalms. Translated by Herbert Hartwell. 3rd ed. New York, NY: Manchester University Press.

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