|Matthew Henry's Concise Commentary|
117:1,2 All people called upon to praise God. - Here is a solemn call to all nations to praise the Lord, and proper matter for that praise is suggested. We are soon weary of well-doing, if we keep not up the pious and devout affections with which the spiritual sacrifice of praise ought to be kindled and kept burning. This is a gospel psalm. The apostle, Ro 15:11, quotes it as a proof that the gospel was to be preached to the Gentile nations, and that it would be entertained by them. For many ages, in Judah only was God known, and his name praised; this call was not then given to any Gentiles. But the gospel of Christ is ordered to be preached to all nations, and by him those that were afar off are made nigh. We are among the persons to whom the Holy Spirit here speaks, whom he calls upon to join his ancient people in praising the Lord. Grace has thus abounded to millions of perishing sinners. Let us then listen to the offers of the grace of God, and pray for that time when all nations of the earth shall show forth his praises. And let us bless God for the unsearchable riches of gospel grace.
Verse 1. - O praise the Lord, all ye nations; or, "all ye Gentiles," as in Romans 15:11. The goim are especially the heathen nations of the earth (comp. Psalm 2:1, 8; Psalm 9:5, 15, 19, 20, etc.). Praise him; rather, laud him (Revised Version). The verbs in the two clauses are different. All ye people; rather, all ye peoples.
Gill's Exposition of the Entire Bible
O praise the Lord, all ye nations,.... The Lord having chosen, and Christ having redeemed, some out of every kindred, tongue, people, and nation; and the Gospel being sent and preached to all nations, and some of each being called and converted by the Spirit of God; they are excited to praise the Lord, Jehovah, Father, Son and Spirit, for their several acts of divine grace and kindness towards them, in choosing, redeeming, and sanctifying them; and in favouring them with the Gospel, and the ordinances of it, and with his gracious presence in them; and in supplying them with his grace, and giving them a right unto and meetness for eternal glory; for all which praise should be given to the Lord;
praise him, all ye people; ye people of God in the several nations of the world; not the Jews only, but the Gentiles also: the same thing is repeated in different words, for the greater certainty and confirmation of it; that this should be, the work and exercise of the Gentiles in Gospel times, and expresses eagerness and vehemence to stir them up to it. A different word is here used for "praise" than in the former clause; and which is more frequently used in the Chaldee, Syriac, Arabic, and Ethiopic languages; and signifies the celebration of the praises of God with a high voice.
The Treasury of David
1 O Praise the Lord, all ye nations: praise him, all ye people.
2 For his merciful kindness is great toward us: and the truth of the Lord endureth for ever. Praise ye the Lord.
"O praise the Lord, all ye nations." This is an exhortation to the Gentiles to glorify Jehovah, and a clear proof that the Old Testament spirit differed widely from that narrow and contracted national bigotry with which the Jews of our Lord's day became so inveterately diseased. The nations could not be expected to join in the praise of Jehovah unless they were also to be partakers of the benefits which Israel enjoyed; and hence the Psalm was an intimation to Israel that the grace and mercy of their God were not to be confined to one nation, but would in happier days be extended to all the race of man, even as Moses had prophesied when he said, "Rejoice, O ye nations, his people." (Deuteronomy 32:43), for so the Hebrew has it. The nations were to be his people. He would call them a people that were not a people, and her beloved that was not beloved. We know and believe that no one tribe of men shall be unrepresented in the universal song which shall ascend unto the Lord of all. Individuals have already been gathered out of every kindred and people and tongue by the preaching of the gospel, and these have right heartily joined in magnifying the grace which sought them out, and brought them to know the Saviour. These are but the advance-guard of a number which no man can number who will come ere long to worship the all-glorious One. "Praise him, all ye people." Having done it once, do it again, and do it still more fervently, daily increasing in the reverence and zeal with which you extol the Most High. Not only praise him nationally by your rulers, but popularly in your masses. The multitude of the common folk shall bless the Lord. Inasmuch as the matter is spoken of twice, its certainty is confirmed, and the Gentiles must and shall extol Jehovah - all of them, without exception. Under the gospel dispensation we worship no new god, but the God of Abraham is our God for ever and ever; the God of the whole earth shall he be called.
"For his merciful kindness is great toward us." By which is meant not only his great love toward the Jewish people, but towards the whole family of man. The Lord is kind to us as his creatures, and merciful to us as sinners, hence his merciful kindness to us as sinful creatures. This mercy has been very great, or powerful. The mighty grace of God has prevailed even as the waters of the flood prevailed over the earth: breaking over all bounds, it has flowed towards all portions of the multiplied race of man. In Christ Jesus, God has shown mercy mixed with kindness, and that to the very highest degree. We can all join in this grateful acknowledgment, and in the praise which is therefore due. "And the truth of the Lord endureth for ever." He has kept his covenant promise that in the seed of Abraham should all nations of the earth be blessed, and he will eternally keep every single promise of that covenant to all those who put their trust in him. This should be a cause of constant and grateful praise, wherefore the Psalm concludes as it began, with another Hallelujah, "Praise ye the Lord."
Psalm 117:1 Parallel Commentaries
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