Psalms 135

PSALM CXXXV

An exhortation to praise God for his goodness and greatness,

1-5;

for his wonders in nature, 6, 7;

his wonders done in Egypt, 8, 9;

in the wilderness, 10-12;

for his goodness to his people, 13, 14.

The vanity of idols, 15-18.

Israel, with its priests and Levites, exhorted to praise the

Lord, 19-21.

NOTES ON PSALM CXXXV

This Psalm is intimately connected with the preceding. It is an

exhortation addressed to the priests and Levites, and to all

Israel, to publish the praises of the Lord. The conclusion of

this Psalm is nearly the same with Psalm cxv.; and what is said

about idols, and the effects of the power of God, seems to be

taken from it and the tenth chapter of Jeremiah; and from these

and other circumstances it appears the Psalm was written after the

captivity; and might as Calmet conjectures, have been used at the

dedication of the second temple.

Verse 1. Praise ye the Lord] This may be considered as the

title, for it has none other.

Praise ye the name of the Lord] Perhaps the original

haleu eth shem Yehovah, should be translated,

Praise ye the name Jehovah; that is, Praise God in his infinite

essence of being, holiness, goodness, and truth.

Verse 2. Ye that stand] Priests and Levites. For which he gives

several reasons.

Verse 3. The Lord is good] Here is the first reason why he

should be praised; and a second is subjoined:-

For it is pleasant.] It is becoming to acknowledge this infinite

Being, and our dependence on him; and it is truly comfortable to

an upright mind to be thus employed.

Verse 4. For the Lord hath chosen Jacob] This is a third reason.

He has taken the Israelites for his peculiar people,

segullatho, his peculiar treasure; and now has brought them home

to himself from their captivity and wanderings.

Verse 5. The Lord is great] Unlimited in his power: another

reason.

Is above all gods.] Every class of being, whether idolized or

not; because he is the Fountain of existence. This is a fifth

reason.

Verse 6. Whatsoever the Lord pleased] All that he has done is

right, and therefore it is pleasing in his sight. He is the

author of all existence. Angels, men, spirits, the heavens, the

earth, and all their contents, were made by him, and are under his

control.

Verse 7. He causeth the vapours to ascend] Dr. Shaw thinks that

the account here refers to the autumnal rains in the east. Of them

he speaks as follows: "Seldom a night passes without much

lightning in the north-west quarter, but not attended with

thunder; and when this lightning appears in the west or

south-west points, it is a sure sign of the approaching rain,

which is often followed by thunder. A squall of wind and clouds of

dust are the sure forerunners of the first rain." This account

induces Mr. Harmer to believe that the word nesiim, should

be translated clouds, not vapours. It shows that God-

Maketh lightnings for the rain] The squalls of wind bring on

these refreshing showers, and are therefore precious things of the

treasuries of God; and when he thunders, it is the noise of waters

in the heavens. See Jer 10:13, which contains almost the same

words as those in this verse: "When he uttereth his voice, there

is a multitude of waters in the heavens; and he causeth the

vapours to ascend from the ends of the earth; he maketh lightnings

with rain, and bringeth forth the wind out of his treasuries."

Verse 8. Who smote the first-born of Egypt] See the parallel

passages.

Verse 14. The Lord will judge his people] He will do them

justice against their enemies.

Verse 15. The idols of the heathen] This verse and the

following, to the end of the 18th, Ps 135:15-18 are almost word

for word the same as verses 4-8 of Psalm cxv., where see the

notes. Ps 115:4-8

Verse 17. To this verse one of Kennicott's MSS. adds the 6th and

7th verses of Psalm cxv. Ps 115:6, 7

Verse 19. Bless the Lord. O house, &c.] See similar verses,

Ps 115:9-13, and the notes there.

Verse 21. Blessed be the Lord out of Zion] Who has once more

restored our temple and city, and now condescends to dwell with us

in Jerusalem.

ANALYSIS OF THE HUNDRED AND THIRTY-FIFTH PSALM

In this Psalm the prophet invites the servants of God, and

especially his ministers, to praise God, Ps 135:1, 2, from

arguments drawn,

I. From his goodness, particularly in choosing Israel,

Ps 135:3, 4.

II. From the greatness and power showed in his works,

Ps 135:5-8.

III. From his justice showed to the enemies of Israel,

Ps 135:1-13.

IV. From his loving-kindness extended and promised still to his

servants, Ps 135:13, 14.

V. Having derided the vanity of idols, Ps 135:15-19, he returns

to his exhortation calling upon them to bless God, Ps 135:19-21.

I. He calls upon the ministers of religion especially to attend

the recitation of Divine praises:-

1. "Praise ye the Lord," &c.

2. "Ye that stand."

And now, repeating his words again, he produces his reason of

inducement:-

1. Because the Lord is worthy of praise: "For he is good," &c.

Not comparatively, but absolutely good.

2. "Sing praises unto his name," &c. Because it is no painful

duty, but pleasant.

3. Praise him for his love to Israel; for this you owe him

gratitude: "For the Lord hath chosen Jacob," &c. 2. "And Israel

for his peculiar treasure."

II. The next argument he uses is drawn from his greatness.

1. From his empire and universal dominion in heaven and earth:

"Whatsoever the Lord pleased," &c. Nothing is impossible to him:

but he does all from his free will, not from any necessity.

2. "He doth all things," &c. In all places; heaven, earth, seas,

and hell.

And these last words the prophet amplifies,-

1. In the earth. Causing the vapours to ascend from the ends of

the earth, from all parts, which are endued with several

qualities.

2. In the air. "He maketh lightning for rain."

3. In the water. "For he bringeth the winds out of his

treasuries." Nothing is more obscure than the generation of the

winds.

III. The fourth argument the prophet uses to persuade men to

praise God, is from the vengeance he executes on the enemies of

his people.

1. Upon the Egyptians. "Who smote the firstborn of Egypt," &c.

2. "Who sent tokens and wonders," &c. "And he smote great

nations," &c.

IV. To the commemoration of the justice God exercised upon their

enemies, the prophet exhorts them to extol God.

1. "Thy name, O Lord," &c.

2. "And thy memorial," &c.

And the reason is drawn from his mercy.

1. "For the Lord will judge his people." Judge their cause, and

deliver them.

2. "And he will repent himself," &c. If they repent, and turn to

him.

The prophet, having proved that God is great in himself, now

proves that he is above all gods, which are but vanity.

1. From their composition: "Silver and gold."

2. From their makers: "The work of men's hands."

3. From their impotency: "They have mouths," &c.

4. From the nature of their worshippers : "They that make them,"

&c.

Lastly, he invites all true worshippers of God to praise him,

because they are lively images of the living God, from whom all

their faculties have proceeded. To this he invites-

1. All Israel: "Bless the Lord, O house of Israel."

2. The priests: "Bless the Lord, O house of Aaron."

3. The Levites: "Bless the Lord, O house of Levi."

4. Lastly, all the laity: "Ye that fear the Lord bless the

Lord."

To which he adds his own note, concluding-

1. "Blessed be the Lord out of Zion." Where he shows his

presence by the ark.

2. "Which dwelleth at Jerusalem." Who, though in essence he is

every where, yet more especially manifests his presence in his

Church by his indwelling Spirit.

Therefore, let all the people bless the Lord for his great

mercy: but let the citizens of Zion and Jerusalem never cease to

praise him.

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