|Matthew Henry's Concise Commentary|
134:1-3 An exhortation to bless the Lord. - We must stir up ourselves to give glory to God, and encourage ourselves to hope for mercy and grace from him. It is an excellent plan to fill up all our spare minutes with pious meditations, and prayers and praises. No time would then be a burden, nor should we murder our hours by trifling conversation and vain amusements, or by carnal indulgences. We need desire no more to make us happy, than to be blessed of the Lord. We ought to beg spiritual blessings, not only for ourselves, but for others; not only, The Lord bless me, but, The Lord bless thee; thus testifying our belief that there is enough for others as well as for us, and showing our good will to others.
Verse 1. - Behold. The word calls attention to an immediate need - something that is to be done, and to be done at once. Bless ye the Lord. This must mean "for us" - "on our behalf." Thank God for having brought our journey to a prosperous end. All ye servants of the Lord, which by night stand in the house of the Lord; i.e. ye special servants of the Lord, priests and Levites, now standing within his courts, and engaged in his worship. The temple was never left without a body of priests and Levites, to keep it and sing praises in it.
Gill's Exposition of the Entire Bible
Behold, bless ye the Lord, all ye servants of the Lord,.... All men are of right the servants of God being his creatures; and are under obligation, through his providential goodness, to bless and praise him; though they are not all in fact so: but all good men are, being made so by the power of divine grace; which frees them from the servitude of sin, Satan, and the world, and makes them willing to serve the Lord; as they do in righteousness and holiness, with reverence and godly fear, heartily and willingly, and with great pleasure; and yet have no dependence on any service they perform: and as these are under the highest obligations to bless the Lord; the is, to ascribe greatness to him, to give him the glory of his works, and thanks for his mercies, temporal and spiritual; so they do in this way, and for those things, bless and praise him, to which they are here excited;
which by night stand in the house of the Lord: according to Kimchi, these were the wise and holy men, that rose from their beds in the night, and went to pray in the temple, and to praise the Lord; and such a holy person was Anna, Luke 2:37; according to R. Obadiah and Arama, they were such who continued in the chambers of the temple in the night season to study in the law and in the expositions of it: but it is generally interpreted of the priests and Levites, who watched in the temple by night, that it might not be profaned nor plundered; and they were obliged to stand, for none might sit in the temple but a king of the house of David (d). The priests watched in three places, and the Levites in twenty one, according to the Jewish Misnah (e). The Targum is,
"who stand in the watch house of the sanctuary of the Lord, and praise in the nights;''
which was one part of their service, 1 Chronicles 9:33. Under the Gospel dispensation all the saints are priests, and they have a place in the house of the Lord; where they wait upon him in his ordinances, and serve him, and which they do continually. Some understand, by "nights", times of affliction, darkness, and desertion.
(d) Maimon. Beth Habbechirah, c. 7. s. 6. (e) Middot, c. 1. s. 1.
The Treasury of David
1 Behold, bless ye the Lord, all ye servants of the Lord, which by night stand in the house of the Lord.
2 Lift up your hands in the sanctuary, and bless the Lord.
3 The Lord that made heaven and earth bless thee out of Zion.
"Behold." By this call the pilgrims bespeak the attention of the nightwatch. They shout to them - Behold! The retiring pilgrims stir up the holy brotherhood of those who are appointed to keep the watch of the house of the Lord. Let them look around them upon the holy place, and everywhere "behold" reasons for sacred praise. Let them look above them at night and magnify him that made heaven and earth, and lighted the one with stars and the other with his love. Let them see to it that their hallelujahs never come to an end. Their departing brethren arouse them with the shrill cry of "Behold!" Behold! - see, take care, be on the watch, diligently mind your work, and incessantly adore and bless Jehovah's name.
"Bless ye the Low." Think well of Jehovah, and speak well of him. Adore him with reverence, draw near to him with love, delight in him with exultation. Be not content with praise, such as all his works render to him; but, as his saints, see that ye "bless" him. He blesses you; therefore, be zealous to bless him. The word "bless" is the characteristic word of the Psalm. Psa 134:1-2 stir us up to bless Jehovah, and in Psalm 134:3 Jehovah's blessing is invoked upon the people. Oh to abound in blessing! May blessed and blessing be the two words which describe our lives. Let others flatter their fellows, or bless their stars, or praise themselves; as for us, we will bless Jehovah, from whom all blessings flow. "All ye servants of the Lord." It is your office to bless him; take care that you lead the way therein. Servants should speak well of their masters. Not one of you should serve him as of compulsion, but all should bless him while you serve him; yea, bless him for permitting you to serve him, fitting you to serve him, and accepting your service. To be a servant of Jehovah is an incalculable honour, a blessing beyond all estimate. To be a servant in his temple, a domestic in his house, is even more a delight and a glory - if those who are ever with the Lord, and dwell in his own temple, do not bless the Lord, who will? "Which by night stand in the house of the Lord." We can well understand how the holy pilgrims half envied those consecrated ones who guarded the temple, and attended to the necessary offices thereof through the hours of night. To the silence and solemnity of night there was added the awful glory of the place where Jehovah had ordained that his worship should be celebrated; blessed were the priests and Levites who were ordained to a service so sublime. That these should bless the Lord throughout their nightly vigils was most fitting: the people would have them mark this, and never fail in the duty. They were not to move about like so many machines, but to put their hearts into all their duties, and worship spiritually in the whole course of their duty. It would be well to watch, but better still to be "watching unto prayer" and praise.
When night settles down on a church the Lord has his watchers and holy ones still guarding his truth, and these must not be discouraged, but must bless the Lord even when the darkest hours draw on. Be it ours to cheer them, and lay upon them this charge - to bless the Lord at all times, and let his praise be continually in their mouths.
"Lift up your hands in the sanctuary." In the holy place they must be busy, full of strength, wide-awake, energetic, and moved with holy ardour. Hands, heart, and every other part of their manhood must be upraised, elevated, and consecrated to the adoring service of the Lord. As the angels praise God day without night, so must the angels of the churches be instant in season and out of season. "And bless the Lord." This is their main business. They are to bless men by their teaching, but they must yet more bless Jehovah with their worship. Too often men look at public worship only from the side of its usefulness to the people; but the other matter is of even higher importance, we must see to it that the Lord God is adored, extolled, and had in reverence. For a second time the word "bless" is used, and applied to Jehovah. Bless the Lord, O my soul, and let every other soul bless him. There will be no drowsiness about even midnight devotion if the heart is set upon blessing God in Christ Jesus, which is the gospel translation of God in the sanctuary.
This last verse is the answer from the temple of the pilgrims preparing to depart as the day breaks. It is the ancient blessing of the high-priest condensed, and poured forth upon each individual pilgrim. "The Lord that made heaven and earth bless thee out of Zion." Ye are scattering and going to your homes one by one; may the benediction come upon you one by one. You have been up to Jehovah's city and temple at his bidding; return each one with such a benediction as only he can give - divine, infinite, effectual, eternal. You are not going away from Jehovah's works or glories, for he made the heaven above you and the earth on which you dwell. He is your Creator, and he can bless you with untold mercies; he can create joy and peace in your hearts, and make for you a new heaven and a new earth. May the Maker of all things make you to abound in blessings.
The benediction comes from the City of the Great King, from his appointed ministers, by virtue of his covenant, and so it is said to be "out of Zion." To this day the Lord blesses each one of his people through his church, his gospel, and the ordinances of his house. It is in communion with the saints that we receive untold benisons. May each one of us obtain yet more of the blessing which cometh from the Lord alone. Zion cannot bless us; the holiest ministers can only wish us a blessing; but Jehovah can and will bless each one of his waiting people. So may it be at this good hour. Do we desire it? Let us then bless the Lord ourselves. Let us do it a second time. Then we may confidently hope that the third time we think of blessing we shall find ourselves conscious receivers of it from the Ever-blessed One. Amen.
Jamieson-Fausset-Brown Bible Commentary
Ps 134:1-3. 1, 2. The pilgrim bands arriving at the sanctuary call on the priests, who
stand in the house of the Lord—at the time of the evening sacrifice, to unite in praising God in their name and that of the people, using appropriate gestures, to which the priests reply, pronouncing the Mosaic blessing which they alone could pronounce. A fit epilogue to the whole pilgrim-book, Psalms 120-134.
by night—the evening service (Ps 141:2), as opposed to morning (Ps 92:2).
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