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Psalm cxxxvi. (A)
0 Give thanks unto the Lord, for he is gracious: and his mercy endureth for ever. (*')
2. O give thanks unto the God of all gods: for his mercy endureth for ever.
3. O thank the Lord of all lords: for his mercy endureth for ever.
4. Who only doeth great wonders: for his mercy endureth for ever.
5. Who by his excellent wisdom made the heavens: for his mercy endureth for ever.
6. Who laid out the earth above the waters: for his mercy endureth for ever.
(h) An invocation to the praise of God, on account of the works of the creation, and his peculiar interpositions in favour of the Israelites in opposition to the heathen. It was called " The great "Thanksgiving." When the children of Amnion, of Moab, and of Mount Seir, went up against Jehoshaphat, and God gave Jehoshaphat an assurance of deliverance, Jehoshaphat "appointed singers "unto the Lord, that should praise the "beauty of holiness, as they went out "before the army, and to say, 'Praise "the Lord, for his mercy endureth for "ever:'" and God stirred up the children of Amnion and of Moab against the inhabitants of Mount Seir, utterly to destroy them, which they did; they then destroyed each other, so that when Jehoshaphat came up against them, behold they were dead bodies fallen to the earth, and none escaped. See
7. Who hath made great lights : for his mercy endureth for ever;
8. The sun to rule the day: for his mercy endureth for ever;
9. The moon and the stars to govern the night: for his mercy endureth for ever.
10. Who smote Egypt (k) with their first-born: for his mercy endureth for ever;
11. And brought out Israel from among them: for his mercy endureth for ever;
12. With a mighty hand and stretched-out arm: for his mercy endureth for ever;
13. Who divided the Red Sea (/) in two parts: for his mercy endureth for ever;
2 Chron. xx. 21. to 23. This Psalm (though perhaps written before) was probably what the singers sang before the army.
(i) v. 1. "His mercy endureth for "ever." When David appointed the Levites to minister before the ark of the Lord, some of them were fixed upon " to "give thanks unto the Lord, because his "mercy endureth for ever. (1 Chron. xvi. "4. 41.") And when Solomon dedicated the temple, and the glory of the Lord filled the house, the people " worshipped "and praised the Lord, saying, « for "he is good, for his mercy endureth "for ever.' (2 Chron. vii. 3.") It is not improbable that the whole choir, in full chorus, joined in the latter division of each verse.
(£) v. 10. "Egypt." See Ps. cxxxv. 8, 9. and the references there.
(/) v. 13. " Red Sea, &c." See Ps. cxir-J"
14. And made Israel to go through the midst of it: for his mercy endureth for ever.
15. But as for Pharaoh (m) and his host, he overthrew them in the Red Sea: for his mercy endureth for ever.
16. Who led his people through the wilderness: for his mercy endureth for ever.
17. Who smote great kings: for his mercy endureth for ever;
18. Yea, and slew mighty kings: for his mercy endureth for ever;
19. Sehon (n) king of the Amorites: for his mercy endureth for ever;
20. And Og (n) the king of Basan: for his mercy endureth for ever;
21. And gave away their land for an heritage (o): for his mercy endureth for ever;
22. Even for an heritage unto Israel his servant: for his mercy endureth for ever.
23. Who remembered us when we were in trouble: for his mercy endureth for ever;
24. And hath delivered us from our enemies: for his mercy endureth for ever.
25. Who giveth food to all flesh: for his mercy endureth for ever.
26. O give thanks unto the
God of heaven: for his mercy endureth for ever.
27. O give thanks unto the Lord of lords: for his mercy endureth for ever.
Psalm cxxxvii. (p)
By the waters of Babylon we sat down and wept: when we remembered thee, O Sion.
2. As for our harps, we hanged them up: upon the trees that are therein.
3. For they that led us away captive required of us then a song, and melody in our heaviness: "Sing us one of the songs "of Sion."
4. How shall we sing the Lord's song: in a strange land?
5. If I forget thee, O Jerusalem: let my right hand forget her cunning, (y)
6. If I do not remember thee, let my tongue cleave to the root' of my mouth: yea, if I prefer not Jerusalem in my mirth, (r)
7. Remember the children of Edom, O Lord, in the day of Jerusalem: how they said, "Down "with it, down with it, even to "the ground."
8. O daughter of Babylon, wasted with misery: yea, happy shall he be that rewardeth (s) thee, as thou hast served us.
(m) v. 15. "Pharoah." See Psalm lxxiv. 14.
(») v. 19, 2tt "Sehon," « Og." See Psalm cxxxv. 11.
(o) v. 21. "An heritage." See Joshua xii. 1 to 2*.
(p) A mournful hymn, calling to mind some of the occurrences during the Babylonish captivity, expressing their attachment to Jerusalem, and calling for \ engeance upon their enemies. The Jews, that is, the tribes of Judah and Benjamin, were carried captive to Babylon about
606 years before our Saviour's birth, and remained there seventy years. The other tribes, the subjects of the kings of Israel, had been carried into captivity about 138 years before, and from that captivity they never returned.
(q) v.5. "Her cunning," i.e. "her skill "in playing upon the harp, all her powers.
(r) v. 6. "In my mirth," "even in my "happiest hours at Babylon."
(*) v. 8. " That rewardeth thee, Ac." and verse 9. " tliroweth them, &c." In God's denunciation against Babylon,
9. Blessed shall he be that taketh thy children: and throweth (s) them against the stones.
Psalm cxxxviii. (I)
I Will give thanks unto thee, 0 Lord, with my whole heart: even before the gods (m) will I sing praise unto thee.
2. I will worship toward thy holy temple, and praise thy Name, because of thy loving-kindness and truth (.r): for thou hast magnified thy Name and thy word above all things.
3. When I called upon thee, thou heardest me: and enduedst my soul with much strength.
4. All the kings of the earth shall praise thee, O Lord: for they have heard the words of thy mouth.
5. Yea, they shall sing in the
ways of the Lord: that great is the glory of the Lord.
6. For though the Lord be high (y), yet hath he respect unto the lowly: as for the proud, he beholdetn them afar off.
7. Though I walk (z) in the midst of trouble, yet shalt thou refresh me: thou shalt stretch forth thy hand upon the furiousness of mine enemies, and thy right hand shall save me.
8. The Lord shall make good his loving-kindness toward me: yea, thy mercy, O Lord, endureth for ever; despise not then the works of thine own hands.
O Lord, thou hast searched me out, and known me: thou know
Isaiah li. he says (amongst other things) verse 24. " I will render unto Babylon "and to all the inhabitants of Chaldea, "all their evil that they have done in "Zion in your sight, saith the Lord;" and it had been foretold by Isaiah long before the captivity commenced, (Isaiah xiii. 16.) " their children also shall be "dashed to pieces before their eyes." See alio Ezek. xxv. 12 to 14. The 9th verse of this Psalm, therefore, may be contidered, not as an imprecation that this cruelty of throwing the children against the stones should be practised against them, but as a blessing upon the men who should be the instruments to execute such vengeance as God required. See Psalm cxlix. 9.
(») A grateful thanksgiving to God for some signal instance of protection and mercy, and a profession of the utmost confidence in his support.
(k) V. 1. "Gods, i. e. " the great men "of the earth." See Psalm lxxxii. 1.
(*) v. 2. « Truth," (probably) "in ac"complishing thy promises."
(j/) v. 6. " High." The same idea is expressed with great spirit, Psalm cxiii. 5"Who is like unto the Lord our God,
"that hath his dwelling so high, and yet "humbleth himself to behold the things "that are in heaven and earth."
(z) v. 7. "Though I walk, &c." So Psalm xxiii. 4. "Yea, though I walk "through the valley of the shadow of "death, I will fear no evil; for thou art "with me, thy rod and thy staff com"fort me."
(a) Upon God's presence in every place, his perfect knowledge of all our actions and concerns, with an expostulation against the wicked, and an appeal to God as to the writer's uprightness and sincerity. The Psalm is supposed to have been written by David after it had been imputed to him that he had evil designs against Saul, for which reason he illustrates the folly of attempting to dissemble with God, and shews the impossibility of succeeding in any such attempt. Mr. Addison says of it, (Spectator, No. S99.)» "The two kinds of hypocrisy, of de"ceiving ourselves and imposing upon "the world, are touched with wonderful "beauty in this Psalm: the folly of the "first is set forth by reflections on "God's omniscience and omnipresence, "which are celebrated in as noble strain'
est my down-sitting (b), and mine up-rising: thou understandest my thoughts long before.
2. Thou art about my path, and about my bed: and spiest out all my ways.
3. For lo, there is not a word in my tongue: but thou, O Lord, knowest it altogether.
4. Thou hast fashioned (c) me behind and before: and laid thine hand upon me.
5. Such knowledge is too wonderful and excellent for me: I cannot attain unto (d) it.
6. (e) Whither shall I go then from thy Spirit? or whither shall I go then from thy presence?
7. If I climb up into heaven, thou art there: if I go down to hell, thou art there also.
8. If I take the wings of the morning: and remain in the uttermost parts of the sea;
"of poetry as I ever met with: the "other kind is intimated in the last two "verses, where the Psalmist addresses "himself to the great Searcher of hearts «« in that emphatical petition, v. 23. "Try "me, O God, &c. &c." So Bp. Newton, (2. Newt. Dissert. 374.) "Nothing was "ever celebrated in a finer strain of "poetry than the divine omnipresence in "this Psalm. Take the antient Lyrics, "read any of their hymns, and see whe"ther there is any ode in Horace or "Pindar to be compared with it from the "beginning to the end."
(A) c. 1. "My down-sitting, &c." i. e. "all my motions."
(c) v. 4. " Fashioned," or " encom« passed." B. T. reads "beset."
(d) v. 5. "Attain unto," or " under"stand."
(e) v. 6. 7. So God declares the impossibility of escaping from his vengeance in a similar manner, (Amos. ix. 2, 3.) "Though they dig into hell, thence shall "my hand take them: though they "climb up to heaven, thence will I bring
9. Even there also shall thy hand lead me: and thy right hand shall hold me.
10. If I say, "Peradventure "the darkness shall cover me:" then shall my night be turned to day.
11. Yea, the darkness is no darkness with thee, but the night is as clear as the day: the darkness and light to thee are both alike.
12. For my reins (g) are thine (A): thou hast covered me in my mother's womb.
13. I will give thanks unto thee, for I am fearfully and wonderfully (i) made: marvellous are thy works, and that my soul knoweth right well.
14. My bones are not liid from thee: though I be made secretly, and fashioned beneath in the earth.
15. Thine eyes (&) did see my
"them down: and though they hide "themselves in the top of Carmel, I »ill "search and take them out thence: and "though they be hid from my sight in "the bottom of the sea, thence will I "command the serpent, and he shall bite "them, &c." Amos prophesied about 787 years before our Saviour's birth, rather more than 200 years after Daridf time. See also Ecclus. xvi. 17.
(g) v. 12. "My reins, &c." From the observation that darkness and light ire both alike to God, he passes naturally to the reflection, that even our immott parts, where no light can penetrate or touch approach, are open to the eye sad hand of God.
(A) " Thine," i. e. " thy creation."
(») v. 13. "Wonderfully." From the perfect mechanism of the human frame, Dr. Paley has admirably illustrated th* existence of God. See Paley s Natund Theology.
(*) v. 15. " Thine eyes, oVc" i- * "thou sawest the progress of my fttm"ation."
substance, yet being imperfect: and in thy book were all my members written;
16. Which day by day were fashioned: when as yet there was none of them.
17. How dear are thy counsels unto me, O God: O how great is the sum of them!
18. If I tell them, they are more in number than the sand: when I wake up, I am present with thee.
19. Wilt thou not slay the wicked, O God? depart from me, ye blood-thirsty men.
20. For they speak unrighteously against thee: and thine enemies take thy Name in vain.
21. Do not I hate them, O Lord, that hate thee? and am not I grieved with those, that rise up against thee?
22. Yea, I hate them right sore: even as though they were (/) mine enemies.
23. Try me, O God, and seek the ground of my heart: prove me, and examine my thoughts.
24. Look well if there be any way of wickedness in me: and lead me in the way everlasting.
Psalm cxl. (m)
Deliver me, O Lord, from the evil man t and preserve me from the wicked man;
2. Who imagine mischief in their hearts: and stir up strife all the day long.
3. They have sharpened their
tongues like a serpent: adders'
poison is under their lips.
4. Keep me, O Lord, from the hands of the ungodly: preserve me from the wicked men, who are purposed to overthrow my goings.
5. The proud have laid a snare for me, and spread a net abroad with cords: yea, and set traps in my way.
6. I said unto the Lord, "Thou "art my God: hear the voice of "my prayers, O Lord."
7. O Lord God, thou strength of my health : thou hast covered my head in the day of battle.
8. Let not the ungodly have his desire, O Lord: let not his mischievous imagination prosper, lest they be too proud.
8. Let the mischief of their own lips fall upon the head of them; that compass me about.
10. Let hot burning coals fall upon them: let them be cast into the fire, and into the pit, that they never rise up again.
11. A man full of words shall not prosper upon the earth: evil shall hunt the wicked person to overthrow him.
12. Sure I am, that the Lord will avenge the poor: and maintain the cause of the helpless.
13. The righteous also shall give thanks unto thy Name: and the just shall continue in thy sight
Psalm cxli. (n)
Lord, I call upon thee, haste thee
praying for their discomfiture, calling to mind some former instance of protection, and assuring himself that God would still support him.
(«) This Psalm is supposed to have been written by David either after his