Psalms 113PSALM CXIII An exhortation to bless God for his own excellencies, 1-6; and for his great mercy to the poor and necessitous, 7-9. NOTES ON PSALM CXIII Psalms cxiii., cxiv., cxv., cxvi., cxvii., and cxviii., form the great Hallel, and were sung by the Jews on their most solemn festivals, and particularly at the passover. To these reference is made by the evangelists, Mt 26:30, and Mr 14:26, there called the hymn which Jesus and his disciples sung at the passover, for the whole of the Psalms were considered as one grand hymn or thanksgiving. It was probably composed after the return from the captivity. It has no title but Hallelujah in the Hebrew and ancient Versions. Verse 1. Praise, O ye servants] Probably an address to the Levites. The Anglo-Saxon has [A.S.], praise the Lord, ye knaves. Knapa or knave signified among our ancestors a servant; sometimes a male, a young man. Verse 3. From the rising of the sun] From morning to evening be always employed in the work. Or it may be a call on all mankind to praise God for his innumerable mercies to the human race. Praise him from one end of the world unto the other. And therefore the psalmist adds, Verse 4. The Lord is high above all nations] He governs all, he provides for all; therefore let all give him praise. Verse 5. Who is like unto the Lord] Those who are highly exalted are generally unapproachable; they are proud and overbearing; or so surrounded with magnificence and flatterers, that to them the poor have no access; but God, though infinitely exalted, humbleth himself to behold even heaven itself, and much more does he humble himself when he condescends to behold earth and her inhabitants; (Ps 113:6.) But so does he love his creatures that he rejoices over even the meanest of them to do them good. Verse 7. He raiseth up the poor] The poorest man, in the meanest and most abject circumstances, is an object of his merciful regards. He may here allude to the wretched state of the captives in Babylon, whom God raised up out of that dust and dunghill. Others apply it to the resurrection of the dead. Verse 8. With the princes] nedebim, very properly translated by the Anglo-Saxon [A.S.], the aldermen, the most respectable of his people. Verse 9. He maketh the barren woman to keep house] This is a figure to point out the desolate, decreasing state of the captives in Babylon, and the happy change which took place on their return to their own land. These are nearly the words of Hannah, 1Sa 2:5. ANALYSIS OF THE HUNDRED AND THIRTEENTH PSALM The scope of this Psalm is the same with those that went before, that is, to excite men to praise God. This Psalm contains three parts:- I. An exhortation to God's servants to praise him. II. A form set down how and where to praise him, Ps 113:2, 3. III. The reasons to persuade us to it. 1. By his infinite power, Ps 113:4, 5. 2. His providence, as displayed in heaven and earth, Ps 113:6. I. The prophet exhorts men "to praise the Lord;" and, 1. He doubles and trebles his exhortation, that it be not coldly but zealously done, or else to show that he alone is worthy of praise. 2. "Praise the Lord, O ye servants," &c.: They are to praise him, for he is their Lord; praise him likewise with a pure heart. II. The manner of praising him. Say, 1. "Blessed be the name of the Lord." Job 1:21. 2. "From this time forth," &c.: In prosperity or adversity, in this life or the future. 3. "From the rising of the sun," &c.: In all places, even over all the world. III: And now follow the reasons to persuade men to praise God. 1. Because of his majesty, infinite power, and glory, which extend not to earth alone, but heaven also: "The Lord is high above," &c. 2. Because of his providence, benignity, and bounty, which being united with so much majesty, appear the more admirable. "Who is like the Lord," &c. None in heaven or on earth are to be compared to him. "Yet he humbleth himself," &c. He is present with the highest angels, and with the poorest of his creatures, to help them. In "humbling himself to behold the things on earth" he gives two instances: 1. In states and kingdoms. 2. In private families. 1. In states: "He raiseth up the poor," &c.: Let then no man say, that God does not regard them that are of low estate; he raiseth up the poor, to the end "that he may set him with the princes," &c. 2. In private families: "He maketh the barren woman," &c. "Children are a heritage of the Lord." Some expositors refer the meaning of this last verse to the Church of the Gentiles: "Rejoice, O barren," &c. Isa 54:1.
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