Praise you the LORD. Praise you the LORD from the heavens: praise him in the heights.
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EXPOSITORY (ENGLISH BIBLE)From the heavens . . . in the heights.—Some would render ye of the heavens, but the parallelism is in favour of the Authorised Version. “Heavens” and “heights” in this verse, and “angels” and “hosts” in the next, are analogously parallel. The heights contain the heavens (comp. Job 16:19; Job 25:2), as the hosts embrace the angels or messengers of God (Joshua 5:14); the larger term being in such case placed synthetically last. The prepositions thus keep their full meaning. From the heavens, or from a choir in the heights, comes the burst of angelic praise.Psalm 148:1-2. Praise ye the Lord — Bishop Lowth, speaking of the origin of this divine ode, observes, “that it had its birth from the most pleasing affections of the human soul, joy, love, admiration.” “If we contemplate man,” says he, “newly created, such as the sacred Scriptures exhibit him to us, endued with the perfect power of reason and speech; neither ignorant of himself nor of God; conscious of the divine goodness, majesty, and power; no unworthy spectator of the beautiful fabric of the universe, the earth, and the heavens; can we suppose that, at the sight of all these things, his heart would not so burn within him, that his mind, carried away by the warmth of his affections, would, of its own accord, pour itself forth in the praise of his Creator, and glow into that impetuosity of speech, and that exultation of voice, which almost necessarily follows such emotions of mind. This seems to have been exactly the case with the contemplative author of this beautiful Psalm, wherein all created things are called upon to celebrate together the glory of God. Praise ye the Lord, &c., a hymn which our Milton, by far the most divine of poets, after the sacred ones, hath most elegantly imitated, and very aptly given to Adam in paradise: see Paradise Lost, book 5. ver. 153, &c. Indeed, we can scarcely conceive rightly of that primeval and perfect state of man, unless we allow him some use of poetry, whereby he might worthily express, in hymns and songs, his piety and affection toward God.” See the 25th Prelection. Praise the Lord from the heavens — Let his praises be begun by the host of heaven, which he particularly expresses in the following verses. Praise him in the heights — In those high and heavenly places. Praise ye him, all his angels — He invites the angels here, and inanimate creatures afterward, to praise God, not as if the former needed, or the latter were capable of receiving his exhortation, but only by a poetical figure, the design whereof was, that men, by this means, might be more excited to this duty. Praise him, all his hosts — The angels, as in the former clause, called hosts, here and 1 Kings 22:19, on account of their vast number, excellent order, and perfect subjection to their general the Lord of hosts.Psalm 146:1.
Praise ye the Lord from the heavens - On the part of the heavens. Let those who dwell in heaven begin the song.
Ps 148:1-14. The scope of this Psalm is the same as that of the preceding.
2 Praise ye him, all his angels' praise ye him, all his hosts.
3 Praise ye him, sun and moon - praise him, all ye stars of light.
4 Praise him, ye heavens of heavens, and ye waters that be above the heavens.
5 Let them praise the name of the Lord, for he commanded, and they were created.
6 He hath also stablished them for ever and ever: he hath made a decree which shall not pass.
7 Praise the Lord from the earth, ye dragons, and all deeps
8 Fire, and haft; snow, and vapours; stormy wind fulfilling his word;
9 Mountains, and all hills; fruitful trees, and all cedars;
10 Beasts, and all cattle; creeping things, and flying fowl:
11 Kings of the earth, and all people; princes, and all judges of the earth,
12 Both young men, and maidens; old men, and children;
13 Let them praise the name of the Lord, for his name alone is excellent; his glory is above the earth and heaven.
14 He also exalteth the horn of his people, the praise of all his saints; even of the children of Israel, a people near unto him. Praise ye the Lord.
praise ye the Lord from the heavens; that is, those that are of the heavens; let their praises of the Lord, of his perfections, works, and benefits, resound from thence; the angels of heaven particularly, who have their habitation and residence there, and sometimes descend from thence on special business, by the order and appointment of their great Creator and Master: so the Targum,
"praise the Lord, ye holy creatures from heaven.''
Though some take the phrase, "from heaven", to be descriptive of the Lord, the object of praise, who is the Lord from heaven; the character of Christ, the second Adam, 1 Corinthians 15:47; who is from above; came down from heaven to do the will of God; and was in heaven, as to his divine Person, while here on earth in human nature, working out the salvation of men; for which he justly deserves the praise of all in heaven and in earth. But as all creatures are distinguished in this psalm into celestial and terrestrial, called upon to praise the Lord; this seems to be the general character of the celestial ones, persons, bodies, and things; as the phrase "from the earth", Psalm 148:7, includes all in the terraqueous globe;
praise him in the heights; either in the highest heavens where he dwells, or with the highest notes of praise that can be raised; see Psalm 149:6. The Targum is,
"praise him, all the hosts of angels on high:''
or the high hosts of angels: but these are particularly mentioned in Psalm 148:2.Praise ye the LORD. Praise ye the LORD from the heavens: praise him in the heights.
EXEGETICAL (ORIGINAL LANGUAGES)1. from the heavens] The anthem of praise is to ring out from heaven above, and to be answered from the earth below (Psalm 148:7).
in the heights] Of heaven (Job 16:19; Job 25:2).
1–6. Let the heavens and all that is in them praise Jehovah their Creator.Verse 1. - Praise ye the Lord. Praise ye the Lord from the heavens; i.e. beginning at the heavens, making them the primary source from which the praises are to be drawn (comp. ver. 7). Praise him in the heights; in excelsis (Vulgate). In the upper tenons, or the most exalted regions of his creation. Nehemiah 7:1-4). The blessing of God again rests upon the children of the sacred metropolis. Its territory, which has experienced all the sufferings of war, and formerly resounded with the tumult of arms and cries of woe and destruction, God has now, from being an arena of conflict, made into peace (the accusative of the effect, and therefore different from Isaiah 60:17); and since the land can now again be cultivated in peace, the ancient promise (Psalm 81:17) is fulfilled, that God would feed His people, if they would only obey Him, with the fat of wheat. The God of Israel is the almighty Governor of nature. It is He who sends His fiat (אמרתו after the manner of the ויּאמר of the history of creation, cf. Psalm 33:9) earthwards (ארץ, the accusative of the direction). The word is His messenger (vid., on Psalm 107:20), עד־מהרה, i.e., it runs as swiftly as possible, viz., in order to execute the errand on which it is sent. He it is who sends down snow-flakes like flocks of wool, so that the fields are covered with snow as with a white-woollen warming covering.
(Note: Bochart in his Hierozoicon on this passage compares an observation of Eustathius on Dionysius Periegetes: τὴν χιόνα ἐριῶδες ὕδωρ ἀστείως οἱ παλαιοὶ ἐκάλουν.)
He scatters hoar-frost (כּפור from כּפר, to cover over with the fine frozen dew or mist as though they were powdered with ashes that the wind had blown about. Another time He casts His ice
(Note: lxx (Italic, Vulgate) κρύσταλλον, i.e., ice, from the root κρυ, to freeze, to congeal (Jerome glaciem). Quid est crystallum? asks Augustine, and replies: Nix est glacie durata per multos annos ita ut a sole vel igne acile dissolvi non possit.)
(קרחו from קרח; or according to another reading, קרחו from קרח) down like morsels, fragments, כפתּים, viz., as hail-stones, or as sleet. The question: before His cold - who can stand? is formed as in Nahum 1:6, cf. Psalm 130:3. It further comes to pass that God sends forth His word and causes them (snow, hoar-frost, and ice) to melt away: He makes His thawing wind blow, waters flow; i.e., as soon as the one comes about, the other also takes place forthwith. This God now, who rules all things by His word and moulds all things according to His will, is the God of the revelation pertaining to the history of salvation, which is come to Israel, and as the bearer of which Israel takes the place of honour among the nations, Deuteronomy 4:7., 32-34. Since the poet says מגּיד and not הגּיד, he is thinking not only of the Tra, but also of prophecy as the continuous self-attestation of God, the Lawgiver. The Ker דּבריו, occasioned by the plurals of the parallel member of the verse, gives an unlimited indistinct idea. We must keep to דברו, with the lxx, Aquila, Theodotion, the Quinta, Sexta, and Jerome. The word, which is the medium of God's cosmical rule, is gone forth as a word of salvation to Israel, and, unfolding itself in statutes and judgments, has raised Israel to a legal state founded upon a positive divine law or judgment such as no Gentile nation possesses. The Hallelujah does not exult over the fact that these other nations are not acquainted with any such positive divine law, but (cf. Deuteronomy 4:7., Baruch 4:4) over the fact that Israel is put into possession of such a law. It is frequently attested elsewhere that this possession of Israel is only meant to be a means of making salvation a common property of the world at large.
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