Verses 1-3 are wishful thinking about how wonderful god is. V 4-5 just sound like brown-nosing to me. And then we just get into another rehash of the history of the Israelites. If you haven’t read the first few books of the bible, this may be worth skimming to get the idea, but it’s VERY superficial… zzzzzz
This one begins Part 5 (the last section) of the Book of Psalms. The first line, “O give thanks unto the LORD, for he is good: for his mercy endureth for ever”, is familiar, but the rest of it isn’t. Except – wait! Yes, it is. After a few lines of zzzzzz and ‘god is good’ and some reminiscing about history, all of a sudden I recognize the phrases. Verses 23-32 have been plucked out because they make nice lyrics for a choral work, especially in a seafaring community. So Purcell created this work, in 1685, for alto and bass soloists, choir, 2 violins, and organ. More recent composers have used these verses as lyrics, too. And why did Purcell stop at v 32? Well, read v 33-34. Not so nice, huh? That’s how it works with psalms – as soon as the words turn nasty, the composers quit or look for something else.