111. O Give the LORD Wholehearted Praise

1 O give the LORD wholehearted praise.
To him thanksgiving I will bring;
with all his people I will raise
my voice and of his glory sing.

2 His saints delight to search and trace
his mighty works and wondrous ways.
Majestic glory, boundless grace,
and righteousness his work displays.

3 God's wondrous deeds of faithfulness
his people ever keep in mind.
His works of love and graciousness
reveal that God the LORD is kind.

4 God's promise shall forever stand;
he cares for those who trust his word.
Upon his saints his mighty hand
the wealth of nations has conferred.

5 His works are true and just indeed;
his precepts are forever sure.
In truth and righteousness decreed,
they shall forevermore endure.

6 From God his saints' redemption came;
his covenant sure no change can know.
Let all revere his holy name
in heaven above and earth below.

7 In reverence and in godly fear
we find the key to wisdom's ways;
the wise his holy name revere.
Through endless ages sound his praise!

Text Information
First Line: O give the LORD wholehearted praise
Title: O Give the LORD Wholehearted Praise
Meter: LMD
Language: English
Publication Date: 1987
Topic: Election; Praise & Adoration; Lord's Supper (1 more...)
Source: Psalter, 1912, alt.
Tune Information
Meter: LM
Key: B♭ Major
Source: W. Gardiner's Sacred Melodies, 1815

Text Information:

Praise of the righteousness of the LORD.

Scripture References:
st. 1 = v. 1
st. 2 = vv. 2-3
st. 3 = v. 4
st. 4 = vv. 5-6
st. 5 = vv. 7-8
st. 6 = v. 9
st. 7 = v. 10

The first of eight "hallelujah" psalms (111-118), 111 was probably composed in the post-exilic period by a priest or Levite for temple worship. In structure and theme it is a poetic twin of Psalm 112. But while Psalm 112 is a eulogy to the righteous one who fears the LORD, 111 praises God for his unfailing righteousness.

The opening and closing verses frame the main thematic development with a call to praise (st. 1) and a word of instruction concerning true wisdom: "The fear of the LORD is the beginning of wisdom" (v. 10; st. 7). God's righteousness is the faithfulness and grace by which he remains true to his covenant. The saints delight in God's "mighty works and Wondrous ways" (st. 2), which display the faithfulness of the LORD's love and grace (st. 3). God has been faithful in granting the people "the wealth of nations" (the promised land; st. 4). The LORD's deeds and orders for living are true and just (st. 5), and God's redemption shows his true covenant faithfulness. Let all revere God's holy name (st. 6), gain wisdom and understanding in the LORD, and praise his name forever (st. 7)! The 1912 Psalter is the source for this (altered) versification.

Liturgical Use:
Beginning of worship; wisdom emphasis (especially st. 7); many other occasions in Christian worship.

Psalter Hymnal Handbook

Tune Information:

William Gardiner (b. Leicester, England, 1770; d. Leicester, 1853) first published GERMANY as a setting for the text "As a Shepherd Gently Leads Us" in his Sacred Melodies (vol. 2, 1815), in which he attributed it to Ludwig van Beethoven. The last phrase of this tune resembles a part of the first theme of the Allegretto movement of Beethoven's Piano Trio, Op. 7, No.2. The first phrase is from the opening of the aria “Possenti Numi” in Mozart's The Magic Flute. The tune is also known by the names BEETHOVEN, FULDA, WALTON, or GARDINER. Sing GERMANY briskly to get the sense of two long lines rather than four shorter, choppy ones. Antiphony is helpful for singing the entire psalm.

The son of an English hosiery manufacturer, Gardiner took up his father's trade in addition to writing about music, composing, and editing. Having met Joseph Haydn and Ludwig van Beethoven on his business travels, Gardiner then proceeded to help popularize their compositions, especially Beethoven's, in England. He recorded his memories of various musicians in Music and Friends (3 volumes, 1838-1853). In the first two volumes of Sacred Melodies (1812, 1815), Gardiner turned melodies from composers such as Haydn, Mozart, and Beethoven into hymn tunes in an attempt to rejuvenate the singing of psalms. His work became an important model for American editors like Lowell Mason (PHH 96; see Mason's Boston Handel and Haydn Collection, 1822), and later hymnbook editors often turned to Gardiner as a source of tunes derived from classical music.

--Psalter Hymnal Handbook

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