The Holy See
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New American Bible

2002 11 11
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Chapter 99


1 2 The LORD is king, the peoples tremble; God is enthroned on the cherubim, the earth quakes.


The LORD is great on Zion, exalted above all the peoples.


Let them praise your great and awesome name: Holy is God!


O mighty king, lover of justice, you alone have established fairness; you have created just rule in Jacob.


3 Exalt the LORD, our God; bow down before his footstool; holy is God!


Moses and Aaron were among his priests, Samuel among those who called on God's name; they called on the LORD, who answered them.


From the pillar of cloud God spoke to them; they kept the decrees, the law they received.


O LORD, our God, you answered them; you were a forgiving God, though you punished their offenses.


Exalt the LORD, our God; bow down before his holy mountain; holy is the LORD, our God.



1 [Psalm 99] A hymn to God as the king whose grandeur is most clearly seen on Mount Zion ( Psalm 99:2) and in the laws given to Israel ( Psalm 99:4). Israel is special because of God's word of justice, which was mediated by the revered speakers, Moses, Aaron, and Samuel ( Psalm 99:6-8). The poem is structured by the threefold statement that God is holy ( Psalm 99:3, 5, 9) and by the twice-repeated command to praise ( Psalm 99:5, 9).

2 [1] Enthroned on the cherubim: cherubim were composite beings with animal and human features, common in ancient Near Eastern art. Two cherubim were placed on the ark (or box) of the covenant in the holy of holies. Upon them God was believed to dwell invisibly. Cf Exodus 25:20-22; 1 Sam 4:4; 2 Sam 6:2; Psalm 80:2.

3 [5] Footstool: a reference to the ark. Cf 1 Chron 28:2; Psalm 132:7.

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