Psalms 146

PSALM CXLVI

The psalmist, full of gratitude, purposes to praise God for

ever, 1, 2;

and exhorts not to trust in man, not even the most powerful;

for which he gives his reasons, 3, 4.

The great advantage of trusting in God, 5.

The mercies which they who trust in God may expect, 6-9.

The Divine government is everlasting, 10.

NOTES ON PSALM CXLVI

This is the first of the Psalms called Hallelujah Psalms, of

which there are five, and which conclude the book. No author's

name is prefixed to this, either in the Hebrew or Chaldee. But the

Syriac, Vulgate, Septuagint, AEthiopic, and Arabic, attribute it

to Haggai and Zechariah. It was probably written after the

captivity, and may refer to the time when Cyrus, prejudiced by the

enemies of the Jews, withdrew his order for the rebuilding of the

walls of Jerusalem, to which revocation of the royal edict the

third verse may refer: Put not your trust in princes, &c.

Verse 2. While I live will I praise] The true feeling of a heart

overpowered with a sense of God's goodness.

While I have any being.] beodi, in my continuance, in my

progression, my eternal existence. This is very expressive.

Verse 3. Put not your trust in princes] This may refer, as has

been stated above, to Cyrus, who had revoked his edict for the

rebuilding of Jerusalem. Perhaps they had begun to suppose that

they were about to owe their deliverance to the Persian king. God

permitted this change in the disposition of the king, to teach

them the vanity of confidence in men, and the necessity of

trusting in himself.

Verse 4. His breath goeth forth] His existence depends merely,

under God, on the air he breathes. When he ceases to respire he

ceases to live; his body from that moment begins to claim its

affinity to the earth; and all his thoughts, purposes, and

projects, whether good or evil, come to nought and perish. He,

then, who has no other dependence, must necessarily be miserable.

Verse 5. Happy is he that hath the God of Jacob for his help]

While he that trusts in man is miserable, he that trusts in God is

happy. In the son of man, ben Adam, there is no help,

teshuah, no saving principle. Every son of Adam

naturally comes into the world without this, and must continue so

till the Lord open the eyes of the blind, Ps 146:8; but a measure

of light is given from that true Light which lighteth every man

that cometh into the world. This son of Adam returns to his earth,

leadmatho, to the ground, from which he was taken; this

refers directly to Ge 2:7; 3:19. But he that has the God for his

help who helped Jacob in his distress, and was with him, and

sustained him in and through all adversities, can never be

destitute; for this God changes not; he lives for ever, and his

projects cannot perish. He has purposed that Israel shall be

delivered from this captivity. Cyrus may change, but God will not;

trust therefore in HIM. He has all power; he made heaven and

earth; he has them under his government and at his disposal; and

should earth itself fail, heaven endures. And he keeps his truth

for ever; and therefore his promises must be fulfilled to them

that trust in him. Fear not.

Verse 7. Which executeth judgment for the oppressed] For those

who suffer by violence or calumny. This may refer to the

Israelites, who suffered much by oppression from the Babylonians,

and by calumny from the Samaritans, &c., who had prejudiced the

king of Persia against them.

Giving food to the hungry.] No doubt he fed the poor captives by

many displays of his peculiar providence.

The Lord looseth the prisoners] And as he has sustained you so

long under your captivity, so will he bring you out of it.

Verse 8. Openeth the eyes of the blind] He brings us out of our

prison-house, from the shadow of death, and opens our eyes that we

may behold the free light of the day. And it is the Lord only that

can open the eyes of any son of Adam, and give him to see his

wretchedness, and where help and salvation may be found.

Raiseth them that are bowed down] Through a sense of their guilt

and sinfulness.

The Lord loveth the righteous] These he makes partakers of a

Divine nature; and he loves those who bear his own image.

Verse 9. Preserveth the strangers] He has preserved you

strangers in a strange land, where you have been in captivity for

seventy years; and though in an enemy's country, he has provided

for the widows and orphans as amply as if he had been in the

promised land.

The way of the wicked he turneth upside down.] He subverts,

turns aside. They shall not do all the wickedness they wish; they

shall not do all that is in their power. In their career he will

either stop them, turn them aside, or overturn them.

Verse 10. The Lord shall reign for ever] Therefore he can never

fail; and he is thy God, O Zion. Hitherto he has helped you and

your fathers; and has extended that help from generation to

generation. Therefore trust in him and bless the Lord.

ANALYSIS OF THE HUNDRED AND FORTY-SIXTH PSALM

The subject of this Psalm is the same with the former.

It is divided into four parts:-

I. An exhortation to praise God, Ps 146:1. Which the psalmist

resolves to do, Ps 146:2.

II. A dehortation from confidence in man, Ps 146:3, 4.

III. He pronounces them happy who trust in God, Ps 146:5.

IV. And to persuade to this he uses every reason, Ps 146:6-10.

I. He begins with a dialogism.

1. "He speaks to all: "Praise ye the Lord."

2. Then by an apostrophe he turns to himself: "Praise the Lord,

O my soul."

3. And his soul answers: "While I live," &c. While I am, while

I shall be.

II. But the prophet, for fear men should trust too much in the

great, and not rely wholly upon God, exhorts them: "Put not your

trust in princes," &c.

He gives his reasons for the warning:-

1. Because of their impotency: "There is no help in them," &c.

2. Because of their mortality: "Their breath goeth forth," &c.

III. If a man will be happy, the prophet shows him that he must

rely upon God alone; for,

1. "Happy is he that hath," &c. Him in whom Jacob trusted.

2. "And whose hope," &c. Not in short-lived man.

And this he confirms by many reasons:-

I. From his omnipotence: "He is God the Creator," &c.

II. From his veracity: "Who keeps truth for ever," &c. His word

is passed for our protection, and he can and will keep it.

III. From his justice: "He executeth judgment," &c.

IV. From his mercy.

1. "He giveth food," &c. Relieves men in their necessities.

2. "The Lord looseth the prisoner." Another act of grace, again.

3. "The Lord openeth the eyes," &c. Whether spiritually or

corporeally.

4. "The Lord raiseth them that are bowed down," &c. By sin or

misery.

V. From his love: "The Lord loveth," &c. Of which the effects

are:-

1. "The Lord preserveth," &c.

2. "He delivereth the fatherless," &c.

3. But the ungodly find a far different effect: "But the way of

the wicked," &c. He makes their glory to perish utterly.

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