What does Psalm 33:19 mean?
ESV: that he may deliver their soul from death and keep them alive in famine.
NIV: to deliver them from death and keep them alive in famine.
NASB: To rescue their soul from death And to keep them alive in famine.
CSB: to rescue them from death and to keep them alive in famine.
NLT: He rescues them from death and keeps them alive in times of famine.
KJV: To deliver their soul from death, and to keep them alive in famine.
NKJV: To deliver their soul from death, And to keep them alive in famine.
Verse Commentary:
This is one of many promises that God will protect His people. These are often misunderstood as absolute guarantees of worldly health, success, and prosperity. This is not the case; earthly suffering and hardship can happen to anyone, even the most faithful believers (John 16:33; Psalm 119:157). Yet God promises to keep His people through those experiences (Romans 8:37–39) and to use them for their eternal benefit (Romans 8:18, 28–30). Those who properly fear God (Psalm 33:18; Proverbs 1:7) enter a saving relationship with Christ (John 3:16–18) and are given eternal life for their soul (John 3:36).

Of course, every person will die physically, but often the Lord intervenes to keep a believer alive. He did so in the case of Noah and his family. When everyone else drowned in the flood, Noah and his family survived aboard the ark (Genesis 8:13–19). When Daniel's three friends were tossed into a white-hot furnace, they did not die. The fire simply burned off their ropes (Daniel 3:20, 27). When Daniel was consigned to a den of hungry lions, he survived because the Lord shut the lions' mouths (Daniel 6:22). The Bible also reports that the Lord kept His people alive during disasters. He raised Joseph to prominence in Egypt to supply God's chosen people with food in a devastating worldwide famine (Genesis 45:6–11).
Verse Context:
Psalm 33:4–19 records David's reasons to praise the Lord. They include praise for God's Word, His creative power, His sovereignty over the nations, His all-seeing vision, His faithful works, and His deliverance of His people.
Chapter Summary:
David summons the worshipers of Israel to be joyful as they praise God. The psalm celebrates God's creative power, sovereignty, and faithfulness. Rather than relying on earthly strength, the Lord's people can trust in His omnipotent power. This results in a collective praise for God and His unfailing love for those who trust and hope in Him.
Chapter Context:
The Septuagint, the Greek translation of the Old Testament, attributes this psalm to David. It is a psalm that encourages worshipers to praise the Lord. It may have been written after Israel experienced a victory over an enemy. Because the verbs in this psalm are plural, it features the worship leader's call to worship and the worshipers' response.
Book Summary:
The book of Psalms is composed of individual songs, hymns, or poems, each of which is a ''Psalm'' in and of itself. These works contain a wide variety of themes. Some Psalms focus on praising and worshipping God. Others cry out in anguish over the pain of life. Still other Psalms look forward to the coming of the Messiah. While some Psalms are related, each has its own historical and biblical context.
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