1 I love the LORD, because he hath heard my voice and my supplications.
2 Because he hath inclined his ear unto me, therefore will I call upon him as long as I live.
3 The sorrows of death compassed me, and the pains of hell gat hold upon me: I found trouble and sorrow.
4 Then called I upon the name of the LORD; O LORD, I beseech thee, deliver my soul.
5 Gracious is the LORD, and righteous; yea, our God is merciful.
6 The LORD preserveth the simple: I was brought low, and he helped me.
7 Return unto thy rest, O my soul; for the LORD hath dealt bountifully with thee.
8 For thou hast delivered my soul from death, mine eyes from tears, and my feet from falling.
9 I will walk before the LORD in the land of the living.
10 I believed, therefore have I spoken: I was greatly afflicted:
11 I said in my haste, All men are liars.
12 What shall I render unto the LORD for all his benefits toward me?
13 I will take the cup of salvation, and call upon the name of the LORD.
14 I will pay my vows unto the LORD now in the presence of all his people.
15 Precious in the sight of the LORD is the death of his saints.
16 O LORD, truly I am thy servant; I am thy servant, and the son of thine handmaid: thou hast loosed my bonds.
17 I will offer to thee the sacrifice of thanksgiving, and will call upon the name of the LORD.
18 I will pay my vows unto the LORD now in the presence of all his people,
19 In the courts of the LORD’S house, in the midst of thee, O Jerusalem. Praise ye the LORD.
All nations are called upon to praise God for His mercy and truth. Learning to experience the Lord as our rest by calling upon His name in the midst of death environments in order that the church might be supplied with life.
A Pagan’s Prayer of Thanks
Many Biblical passages are in form similar to pagan texts, but the formal similarity only makes the differences in content more apparent. An Akkadian psalm from Ugarit (referred to by scholars as Ugartica 5.162) is outwardly similar to Biblical psalms of thanksgiving, such as Ps 86 or 116.
Like the writer of Ps 116:3, the Akkadian psalmist described himself as being at death’s door (probably due to illness) and vividly portrayed how he was wasting away, unable to eat anything but his own tears (see 42:3).
Like Ps 116:8 or Jonah 2, the Akkadian poet ultimately celebrated the fact that his god had snatched him from the grave.
What is distinctive, however, is the manner in which the Akkadian psalmist sought help from his god via magic and ritual. He had surrounded himself by omen takers, who looked for favorable signs from incense clouds and the entrails of lambs.
He depicted his brothers as having been drenched in blood and described them as being like possessed men (they practiced self-mutilation in an attempt to compel their god to act (see 1 Kgs 18:28-29).
In contrast, although the Biblical psalmist spoke of making a sacrifice of thanksgiving (Ps 116:17), there is no implication of manipulation of divine power through magic, nor is there the sense of frantic desperation that pervades the Akkadian text.
The Biblical psalmist could even make the astonishing and profound statement, “Precious in the sight of the LORD is the death of his saints” (v 15).