|Matthew Henry's Concise Commentary|
113:1-9 An exhortation to praise God. - God has praise from his own people. They have most reason to praise him; for those who attend him as his servants, know him best, and receive most of his favours, and it is easy, pleasant work to speak well of their Master. God's name ought to be praised in every place, from east to west. Within this wide space the Lord's name is to be praised; it ought to be so, though it is not. Ere long it will be, when all nations shall come and worship before him. God is exalted above all blessing and praise. We must therefore say, with holy admiration, Who is like unto the Lord our God? How condescending in him to behold the things in the earth! And what amazing condescension was it for the Son of God to come from heaven to earth, and take our nature upon him, that he might seek and save those that were lost! How vast his love in taking upon him the nature of man, to ransom guilty souls! God sometimes makes glorious his own wisdom and power, when, having some great work to do, he employs those least likely, and least thought of for it by themselves or others. The apostles were sent from fishing to be fishers of men. And this is God's constant method in his kingdom of grace. He takes men, by nature beggars, and even traitors, to be his favourites, his children, kings and priests unto him; and numbers them with the princes of his chosen people. He gives us all our comforts, which are generally the more welcome when long delayed, and no longer expected. Let us pray that those lands which are yet barren, may speedily become fruitful, and produce many converts to join in praising the Lord.
Verse 1. - Praise ye the Lord (comp. Psalm 104:35; Psalm 105:45; Psalm 106:1, 48; Psalm 111:1; Psalm 112:1). Praise, O ye servants of the Lord, praise the Name of the Lord. By "ye servants of the Lord," all faithful Israelites are certainly intended; but the phrase need not be absolutely limited to them (comp. ver. 3).
Gill's Exposition of the Entire Bible
Praise ye the Lord,.... Or, "hallelujah". This is the title of the psalm, as in the two preceding, and directs to the principal matter of it.
Praise, O ye servants of the Lord; meaning not the angels, nor all men, nor the priests and Levites only; but all the saints, who are a holy priesthood, to offer up spiritual sacrifices to God; who are servants, not of sin, nor of Satan, nor of men, but of God and Christ; and who serve the Lord willingly and cheerfully, with much pleasure and delight, in righteousness and holiness, with reverence and godly fear, and without trusting to and depending on their service for salvation: and one principal branch of their service is praise, especially under the Gospel dispensation; in which all legal sacrifices are abolished, and the sacrifice of praise is continued; and which is pleasant and delightful work, and yet there is a backwardness to it; and therefore there is need of such an exhortation to excite unto it, and to repeat it, as follows:
praise the name of the Lord; not any particular name, as Jehovah; but him himself, and the perfections of his nature; his holiness, justice, truth, faithfulness, power, goodness, grace and mercy. The repetition of the exhortation denotes either the abundance of praise to be given to the Lord, or the constancy and continuance of it; which ought to be done at all times, every day, since his mercies are new every morning. Some have thought the threefold repetition respects the trinity of Persons, who are each to be praised, as in Numbers 6:24, but this is doubtful, and perhaps not sufficient to build such a doctrine on; and especially since the first of these exhortations is the title of the psalm: however, this is a certain truth, that Jehovah, Father, Son, and Spirit, are to be praised.
The Treasury of David
1 Praise ye the Lord. Praise, O ye servants of the Lord, praise the name of the Lord.
2 Blessed be the name of the Lord from this time forth and for evermore.
3 From the rising of the sun unto the going down of the same the Lord's name is to be praised.
4 The Lord is high above all nations, and his glory above the heavens.
5 Who is like unto the Lord our God, who dwelleth on high,
6 Who humbleth himself to behold the things that are in heaven, and in the earth!
7 He raiseth up the poor out of the dust, and lifteth the needy out of the dunghill;
8 That he may set him with princes, even with the princes of his people.
9 He maketh the barren woman to keep house, and to be a joyful mother of children. Praise ye the Lord.
"Praise ye the Lord," or Hallelujah, praise to Jah Jehovah. Praise is an essential offering at all the solemn feasts of the people of God. Prayer is the myrrh, and praise is the frankincense, and both of these must be presented unto the Lord. How can we pray for mercy for the future if we do not bless God for his love in the past? The Lord hath wrought all good things for us, let us therefore adore him. All other praise is to be excluded, the entire devotion of the soul must be poured out unto Jehovah only. "Praise, O ye servants of the Lord." Ye above all men, for ye are bound to do so by your calling and profession. If God's own servants do not praise him, who will? Ye are a people near unto him, and should be heartiest in your loving gratitude. While they were slaves of Pharaoh, the Israelites uttered groans and sighs by reason of their hard bondage; but now that they had become servants of the Lord, they were to express themselves in songs of joy. His service is perfect freedom, and those who fully enter into it discover in that service a thousand reasons for adoration. They are sure to praise God best who serve him best; indeed, service is praise. "Praise the name of the Lord" : extol his revealed character, magnify every sacred attribute, exult in all his doings, and reverence the very name by which he is called. The name of Jehovah is thrice used in this verse, and may by us who understand the doctrine of the Trinity in Unity be regarded as a thinly veiled allusion to that holy mystery. Let Father, Son and Holy Spirit, all be praised as the one, only, living, and true God. Tile close following of the words, "Hallelujah, Hallelu, Hallelu," must have had a fine effect in the public services. Dr. Edersheim describes the temple service as responsive, and says "Every first line of a Psalm was repeated by the people, while to each of the others they responded by a 'Hallelu Jah' or 'Praise ye the Lord: thus -
The Levites began: 'Hallelujah' (Praise ye the Lord).
The people repeated: 'Hallelu Jah.'
The Levites: 'Praise (Hallelu), O ye servants of Jehovah.'
Jamieson-Fausset-Brown Bible Commentary
Ps 113:1-9. God's majesty contrasted with His condescension and gracious dealings towards the humble furnish matter and a call for praise. The Jews, it is said, used this and Psalms 114-118 on their great festivals, and called them the Greater Hallel, or Hymn.
1-3. Earnestness and zeal are denoted by the emphatic repetitions.
servants of the Lord—or, all the people of God.
name of the Lord—perfections (Ps 5:11; 111:9).
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