|Matthew Henry's Concise Commentary|
115:9-18 It is folly to trust in dead images, but it is wisdom to trust in the living God, for he is a help and a shield to those that trust in him. Wherever there is right fear of God, there may be cheerful faith in him; those who reverence his word, may rely upon it. He is ever found faithful. The greatest need his blessing, and it shall not be denied to the meanest that fear him. God's blessing gives an increase, especially in spiritual blessings. And the Lord is to be praised: his goodness is large, for he has given the earth to the children of men for their use. The souls of the faithful, after they are delivered from the burdens of the flesh, are still praising him; but the dead body cannot praise God: death puts an end to our glorifying him in this world of trial and conflict. Others are dead, and an end is thereby put to their service, therefore we will seek to do the more for God. We will not only do it ourselves, but will engage others to do it; to praise him when we are gone. Lord, thou art the only object for faith and love. Help us to praise thee while living and when dying, that thy name may be the first and last upon our lips: and let the sweet savour of thy name refresh our souls for ever.
Verse 16. - The heaven, even the heavens, are the Lord's; literally, the heavens are heavens of Jehovah. They belong to him - he dwells there; but it is otherwise with the earth. But the earth hath he given to the children of men. For man God framed this fair world; to man's use he adapted it with minutest care; and certainly not least for his own people, who are "the salt of the earth" - the human race by representation.
Gill's Exposition of the Entire Bible
The heaven, even the heavens, are the Lord's,.... Not only the visible heavens, the airy and starry regions, which are within our sight; but the heaven of heavens, the third heaven, into which the Apostle Paul was caught, and heard and saw things not to be uttered; and which is, as the Targum expresses it,
"for the majesty of the glory of the Lord:''
he is the maker, owner, proprietor, and possessor of them all: but the third heaven is more especially the seat of his majesty; where he has prepared the throne of his glory, where he keeps court; where his ministers, his angels, wait upon him, observe his orders, and execute his will; and which he has prepared for his saints to dwell with him in to all eternity.
But the earth hath he given to the children of men; to Adam and his posterity, to dwell in it, to till it, and enjoy the fruits of it; yet so as not to leave it entirely to the care of men, and have no concern in it, and the affairs of it, as some licentious persons would from hence conclude; as if God had took the heavens to himself, and only minded the persons and things in that, and never concerned himself about the earth, and persons and things there; having disposed of it to the children of men, and left it to their conduct: for though he has given it to them for their use, yet he has still a claim upon it, and can and does dispose of it, and order all things in it, according to his pleasure; and men, from the highest to the lowest, are accountable to him, being but stewards, and at most but deputies and viceroys, under him: besides the words may be rendered, "and the earth which he hath given to the children of men" (a); that is his also, as well as the heavens. This the Lord gives to the children of men as their portion; and sad is the case of such, when this is their all; but to his own children he gives heaven, the kingdom of heaven, eternal glory and happiness. Maimonides (b) gives the sense of the whole passage thus;
"God only perfectly knows the truth, nature, substance, form, motion, and causes of the heavens: and to man he has given, that he may understand what are under the heavens; because they are the world, and as it were his house, in which he dwells, and of which he is a part.''
(a) So Junius & Tremellius. (b) Moreh Nevochim, par. 2. c. 24. p. 256.
The Treasury of David
16 The heaven, even the heavens, are the Lord's: but the earth hath he given to the children of men.
"The heaven, even the heavens, are the Lord's." There he specially reigns, and manifests his greatness and his glory: "but the earth hath he given to the children of men." He hath left the world during the present dispensation in a great measure under the power and will of men, so that things are not here below in the same perfect order as the things which are above. It is true the Lord rules over all things by his providence, but yet he allows and permits men to break his laws and persecute his people for the time being, and to set up their dumb idols in opposition to him. The free agency which he gave to his creatures necessitated that in some degree he should restrain his power and suffer the children of men to follow their own devices; yet nevertheless, since he has not vacated heaven, he is still master of earth, and can at any time gather up all the reins into his own hands. Perhaps however, the passage is meant to have another meaning, viz., that God will increase his people, because he has given the earth to them, and intends that they shall fill it. Man was constituted originally God's vicegerent over the world, and though so yet we see not all things put under him, we see Jesus exalted on high, and in him the children of men shall receive a loftier dominion even. on earth than as yet they have known. "The meek shall inherit the earth; and shall delight themselves in the abundance of peace": and our Lord Jesus shall reign amongst his ancients gloriously. All this will reflect the exceeding glory of him who reveals himself personally in heaven, and in the mystical body of Christ below. The earth belongs, to the sons of God, and we are bound to subdue it for our Lord Jesus, for he must reign. The Lord hath given him the heathen for his inheritance, and the uttermost parts of the earth for his possession.
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