Psalms 150

PSALM CL

A general exhortation to praise God, 1, 2.

With the trumpet, psaltery, and harp, 3.

With the timbrel and dance, stringed instruments and organs, 4.

With the cymbals, 5.

All living creatures are called upon to join in the exercise. 6.

NOTES ON PSALM CL.

This Psalm is without title and author in the Hebrew, and in all

the ancient versions. It is properly the full chorus of all voices

and instruments in the temple, at the conclusion of the grand

Hallelujah, to which the five concluding Psalms belong.

Verse 1. Praise God in his sanctuary] In many places we have the

compound word halelu-yah, praise ye Jehovah; but this is

the first place in which we find halelu-el, praise God, or

the strong God. Praise him who is Jehovah, the infinite and

self-existent Being; and praise him who is God, El or Elohim, the

great God in covenant with mankind, to bless and save them unto

eternal life.

In his sanctuary-in the temple; in whatever place is dedicated

to his service. Or, in his holiness-through his own holy influence

in your hearts.

The firmament of his power.] Through the whole expanse, to the

utmost limits of his power. As rakia is the firmament of vast

expanse that surrounds the globe, and probably that in which all

the celestial bodies of the solar system are included, it may have

that meaning here. Praise him whose power and goodness extend

through all worlds; and let the inhabitants of all those worlds

share in the grand chorus, that it may be universal.

Verse 2. For his mighty acts] Whether manifested in creation,

government, mercy or justice.

His excellent greatness.] kerob gudlo, according to

the multitude of his magnitude, or of his majesty. [Anglo-Saxon];

After the manyfoldness of his mickleness.-Anglo-Saxon. After the

mykelnes of his greathede.-Old Psalter. Let the praise be such as

is becoming so great, so holy, and so glorious a Being.

Verse 3. The sound of the trumpet] sophar, from its

noble, cheering, and majestic sound; for the original has this

ideal meaning.

With the psaltery] nebel; the nabla, a hollow stringed

instrument; perhaps like the guitar, or the old symphony.

And harp.] kinnor, another stringed instrument,

played on with the hands or fingers.

Verse 4. Praise him with the timbrel] toph, drum, tabret,

or tomtom, or tympanum of the ancients; a skin stretched over a

broad hoop; perhaps something like the tambarine. Anglo-Saxon;

[A.S.] the glad pipe. Taburne; Old Psalter.

And dance] machol, the pipe. The croude or

crowthe: Old Psalter; a species of violin. It never means dance;

See Clarke on Ps 149:3.

Crwth signifies a fiddle in Welsh.

Stringed instruments] minnim. This literally signifies

strings put in order; perhaps a triangular kind of hollow

instrument on which the strings were regularly placed, growing

shorter and shorter till they came to a point. This would give a

variety of sounds, from a deep bass to a high treble. In an

ancient MS. Psalter before me, David is represented in two places,

playing on such an instrument. It may be the sambuck, or psaltery,

or some such instrument.

Organs.] ugab. Very likely the syrinx or mouth

organ; Pan's pipe; both of the ancients and moderns. The fistula,

septem, disparibus nodis conjuncta, made of seven pieces of cane

or thick straw, of unequal lengths, applied to the lips, each

blown into, according to the note intended to be expressed. This

instrument is often met with in the ancient bucolic or pastoral

writers.

Verse 5. Loud cymbals] tseltselim. Two hollow plates of

brass, which, being struck together, produced a sharp clanging

sound. This instrument is still in use. What the high-sounding

cymbals meant I know not; unless those of a larger make, struck

above the head, and consequently emitting a louder sound.

Verse 6. Let every thing that hath breath] Either to make a

vocal noise, or a sound by blowing into pipes, fifes, flutes,

trumpets, &c. Let all join together, and put forth all your

strength and all your skill in sounding the praises of Jehovah;

and then let a universal burst with HALLELUJAH! close the grand

ceremony. It is evident that this Psalm has no other meaning than

merely the summoning up all the voices, and all the instruments,

to complete the service in FULL CHORUS.

Of such peculiar importance did the Book of Psalms appear to our

blessed Lord and his apostles, that they have quoted nearly fifty

of them several times in the New Testament. There is scarcely a

state in human life that is not distinctly marked in them;

together with all the variety of experience which is found, not

merely among pious Jews, but among Christians, the most deeply

acquainted with the things of Christ.

The minister of God's word, who wishes to preach experimentally,

should have frequent recourse to this sacred book; and by

considering the various parts that refer to Jesus Christ and the

Christian Church, he will be able to build up the people of God on

their most holy faith; himself will grow in grace, and in the

knowledge of God; and he will ever have an abundance of the most

profitable matter for the edification of the Church of Christ.

ANALYSIS OF THE HUNDRED AND FIFTIETH PSALM

This Psalm is the same with the former. In the hundred and

forty-eighth, all creatures are invited to praise God; in the

hundred and forty-ninth, men especially, and those who are in

the Church; but in this, that they praise him with all kinds of

instruments.

I. An invitation to praise God, which word he repeats thirteen

times, according to the thirteen attributes of God, as the rabbins

reckon them.

II. That this be done with all sorts of instruments, intimating

that it is to be performed with all the care, zeal, and ardency of

affection.

I. Throughout the Psalm he calls on men to praise God.

1. "Praise God in his sanctuary." Or in your hearts, which are

the temples of the Holy Ghost.

2. "Praise him in the firmament," &c. His magnificence when he

sits on his throne. Some understand the Church by it, in which his

saints shine as stars in the firmament.

3. "Praise him for his mighty acts," &c. The works of his power.

4. "Praise him according," &c. Whereby he excels all things; he

being absolutely great they only comparatively so.

II. The prophet desires that no way be omitted by which we may

show our zeal and ardency in praising him.

1. "Praise him with the sound of the trumpet," &c. An instrument

used in their solemn feasts.

2. "Praise him with the psaltery," &c. And with these they sing,

so that there is also music with the voice.

3. "Praise him with the timbrel," &c. In the choir with many

voices.

4. "Praise him with stringed instruments," &c. Lutes, viols,

organs, &c.

5. "Praise him upon the high-sounding cymbals," &c. An

instrument which yields a loud sound, as bells among us.

His conclusion is of universal reference "Let every thing," &c.

1. "Every thing that hath breath," &c. That hath faculty or

power to do it.

2. "Every thing that hath life," &c. Whether spiritual, as

angels; or animal, as man and beasts. Or, metaphorically, such as,

though inanimate, may be said to praise God, because they obey his

order and intention. Thus, all things praise God, because all

things that have life or being derive it immediately from himself.

MASORETIC NOTES ON THE BOOK OF PSALMS

Number of verses, two thousand five hundred and twenty-seven.

Middle verse. Ps 78:36.

Sections, nineteen.

At the end of the Syriac we have this colophon:-

"The hundred and fifty Psalms are completed. There are five

books, fifteen Psalms of degrees, and sixty of praises. The

number of verses is four thousand eight hundred and thirty-two.

There are some who have added twelve others; but we do not need

them. And may God be praised for ever!"

At the end of the Arabic is the following:-

The end of the five books of Psalms. The first book ends with

the fortieth Psalm; the second, with the seventieth Psalm; the

third, with the eightieth Psalm; the fourth, with the hundred

and fifteenth; and the fifth, with the last Psalm, i.e., the

hundred and fiftieth.

Copyright information for Clarke