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Hausvater: /HAUS-fah-ter/
noun (German)
1. Housefather.
2. Spiritually responsible head of household, including the housefather as assisted by the housemother.
>> Example: "As the Hausvater should teach it [Christian doctrine] to the entire family ..."
(Martin Luther, Small Catechism, 1529)

When King David brought the Ark of the LORD into Jerusalem, he delivered a new psalm to Asaph, saying, “O give thanks unto the LORD, for He is good, for His mercy endures forever” (1 Chronicles 16:34). Those words are found again in Psalms 106:16, 107:1, 118:1, and 136:1.

Today it is a common practice to pray David’s words of thanksgiving after the meal blessing, “Come, Lord Jesus, be our guest; let these gifts to us be blessed.” Following is a lesson for praying “O Give Thanks...” in Hebrew. (The capitalized syllables receive greater stress.)

give thanks
to the LORD
for [He is] good
[is] His mercy
    (*“hk” is a heavy “h”
sound pronounced
while clearing the

Listen to Psalm 136:1 as read in Hebrew by Abraham Shmuelof:

The words in Hebrew appear as follows. Note that Hebrew reads from right to left, so the sequence seems reversed to those familiar with English.

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Additional Resources

  • Click to download a FREE study guide for use in your home or congregation.
  • Listen to the entirety of Psalm 136 in Hebrew. This recording, again by Abraham Shmuelof, has been slowed to 80% of the speaker’s original pace to aid listeners. It begins with an introductory comment identifying the psalm and then continues with verse 1, according to the Hebrew pronunciation described above.
    • How many times do you hear “hoh-DOO [O give thanks]”?
    • How many times do you hear “kee leh-oh-LAHM hkus-DOH [for His mercy endures forever]”?


Dr. Ryan C. MacPherson is the founding president of The Hausvater Project. He lives with his wife Marie and their homeschool children in Casper, Wyoming, where he serves as Academic Dean and Professor of History and Philosophy at Luther Classical College. He previously taught American history, history of science, and bioethics at Bethany Lutheran College, 2003–2023. For more information, visit

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