Queen Elizabeth I Psalm 118.23
On This Day: Elizabeth I Becomes Queen of England
On Nov. 17, 1558, Queen Elizabeth I ascended the throne of England, succeeding her half-sister Mary.
Elizabeth was the first-born child of Anne Boleyn, King Henry VIII’s second wife. In 1536, while Elizabeth was 2 years old, her mother was executed due in large part to her inability to bear Henry a son.
Elizabeth was taken away from the court, and raised in the Hatfield House north of London. “Katherine Parr, Henry’s sixth wife, took a keen interest in the young Elizabeth and made sure that she was educated to the highest standards,” writes the BBC.
Henry died in 1547 and was succeeded by his son Edward, born to Henry’s third wife, Jane Seymour. The young king died six years later, and Mary, the daughter of Henry’s first wife, Catherine of Aragon, soon ascended to the throne. The Catholic Mary sought to restore Catholicism in England, and married the Catholic Prince Philip of Spain, which sparked uprisings in the country.
“The persecuted Protestants saw Elizabeth as their savior, since she was seen as an icon of ‘the new faith,’” according to Tudor History. “After all, it was to marry her mother Anne Boleyn that Henry instituted the break with Rome.”
Judging that Elizabeth was a threat to her rule, Mary imprisoned her half-sister in the Tower of London in 1554. She considered executing Elizabeth, but, believing that she was pregnant with an heir, allowed Elizabeth to return to Hatfield under house arrest. Mary, however, was not pregnant and it became clear that she would not bear an heir. Elizabeth, therefore, was nearly assured of succeeding Mary.
Mary died on Nov. 17, 1558. Elizabeth is said to have been sitting under an oak tree at Hatfield when a horseman arrived with the news of her Mary’s death. “Upon hearing that she was Queen,” writes Tudor History, “legend has it that Elizabeth quoted the 118th Psalm's twenty-third line, in Latin: ‘A Dominum factum est illud, et est mirabile in oculis notris’—‘It is the Lord's doing, and it is marvelous in our eyes.’”
Elizabeth ruled for 44 years, a period known as England’s “Golden Age.” During the Elizabethan Age, the Church of England again broke from Rome, English explorers made discoveries in the Americas and other parts of the world, and the arts flourished. Elizabeth also oversaw the defeat of the Spanish Armada in 1588, one of England’s military victories.
King James Version
O give thanks unto the LORD; for he is good: because his mercy endureth for ever.
Let Israel now say, that his mercy endureth for ever.
Let the house of Aaron now say, that his mercy endureth for ever.
Let them now that fear the LORD say, that his mercy endureth for ever.
I called upon the LORD in distress: the LORD answered me, and set me in a large place.
The LORD is on my side; I will not fear: what can man do unto me?
The LORD taketh my part with them that help me: therefore shall I see my desire upon them that hate me.
It is better to trust in the LORD than to put confidence in man.
It is better to trust in the LORD than to put confidence in princes.
All nations compassed me about: but in the name of the LORD will I destroy them.
They compassed me about; yea, they compassed me about: but in the name of the LORD I will destroy them.
They compassed me about like bees: they are quenched as the fire of thorns: for in the name of the LORD I will destroy them.
Thou hast thrust sore at me that I might fall: but the LORD helped me.
The LORD is my strength and song, and is become my salvation.
The voice of rejoicing and salvation is in the tabernacles of the righteous: the right hand of the LORD doeth valiantly.
The right hand of the LORD is exalted: the right hand of the LORD doeth valiantly.
I shall not die, but live, and declare the works of the LORD.
The LORD hath chastened me sore: but he hath not given me over unto death.
Open to me the gates of righteousness: I will go into them, and I will praise the LORD:
This gate of the LORD, into which the righteous shall enter.
I will praise thee: for thou hast heard me, and art become my salvation.
The stone which the builders refused is become the head stone of the corner.
This is the LORD's doing; it is marvellous in our eyes.
This is the day which the LORD hath made; we will rejoice and be glad in it.
Save now, I beseech thee, O LORD: O LORD, I beseech thee, send now prosperity.
Blessed be he that cometh in the name of the LORD: we have blessed you out of the house of the LORD.
God is the LORD, which hath shewed us light: bind the sacrifice with cords, even unto the horns of the altar.
Thou art my God, and I will praise thee: thou art my God, I will exalt thee.
O give thanks unto the LORD; for he is good: for his mercy endureth for ever.
Theme and structure
This psalm is centered on God, in a movement that expresses gratitude, admiration, joy and praise. In the King James Version, the Lord is mentioned in every verse. The psalm is one of the so-called Egyptian Hallel.