|Matthew Henry's Concise Commentary|
147:12-20 The church, like Jerusalem of old, built up and preserved by the wisdom, power, and goodness of God, is exhorted to praise him for all the benefits and blessings vouchsafed to her; and these are represented by his favours in the course of nature. The thawing word may represent the gospel of Christ, and the thawing wind the Spirit of Christ; for the Spirit is compared to the wind, Joh 3:8. Converting grace softens the heart that was hard frozen, and melts it into tears of repentance, and makes good reflections to flow, which before were chilled and stopped up. The change which the thaw makes is very evident, yet how it is done no one can say. Such is the change wrought in the conversion of a soul, when God's word and Spirit are sent to melt it and restore it to itself.
Verse 12. - Praise the Lord, O Jerusalem. The other exhortations to praise in the psalm are general (vers. 1, 7); now a special call is made on Jerusalem to give him praise, since Jerusalem has lately experienced special mercies (vers. 13, 14). Praise thy God, O Zion (comp. Psalm 146:10).
Gill's Exposition of the Entire Bible
Praise the Lord, O Jerusalem,.... The inhabitants of it, as Kimchi; not Jerusalem in a literal sense, for this respects future time, as Aben Ezra; the world to come, the times of the Messiah: and intends the spiritual Jerusalem, as Arama; that which is free, the mother of us all; the Gospel church, and the members of it; which have great reason to praise the Lord, for their special blessings and peculiar privileges; see Galatians 4:26;
praise thy God, O Zion; not the house and family of David, as R. Obadiah; nor the priests and Levites in the temple, as others; but the same as before, the church and people of God; the Mount Zion God has loved and chose for his habitation; the city of our solemnities in Gospel times; the perfection of beauty and joy of the whole earth; whose God and King is Christ; and whom Zion and all her children should praise, being her incarnate God, Immanuel, God manifest in the flesh. With this verse, the Septuagint, Vulgate Latin, Syriac, Arabic, and Ethiopic versions, begin the psalm.
The Treasury of David
12 Praise the Lord, O Jerusalem; praise thy God, O Zion.
13 For he hath strengthened the bars of thy gates; he hath blessed thy children within thee.
14 He maketh peace in thy borders, and filleth thee with the finest of the wheat.
15 He sendeth forth his commandment upon earth: his word runneth very swiftly.
16 He giveth snow like wool: he scattereth the hoarfrost like ashes.
17 He casteth forth his ice like morsels' who can stand before his cold?
18 He sendeth out his word, and melteth them, he causeth his wind to blow, and the waters flow.
19 He sheweth his word unto Jacob, his statutes and his judgments unto Israel.
20 He hath not dealt so with any nation - and as for his judgments, they have not known them. Praise ye the Lord.
"Praise the Lord, O Jerusalem; praise thy God, O Zion." How the poet insists upon praise; he cries praise, praise, as if it were the most important of all duties. A peculiar people should render peculiar praise. The city of peace should be the city of praise; and the temple of the covenant God should resound with his glories. If nowhere else, yet certainly in Zion there should be joyful adoration of Zion's God. Note, that we are to praise the Lord in our own houses in Jerusalem as well as in his own house in Zion. The holy city surrounds the holy hill, and both are dedicated to the holy God, therefore both should ring with hallelujahs.
"For he hath strengthened the bars of thy gates." Her fortifications were finished, even to the fastenings of the gates, and God had made all sound and strong, even to her bolts and bars: thus her security against invading foes was guaranteed. This is no small mercy. Oh, that our churches were thus preserved from all false doctrine and unholy living! This must be the Lord's doing; and where he has wrought it his name is greatly to be praised. Modern libertines would tear down all gates and abolish all bars; but so do not we, because of the fear of the Lord. "He hath blessed thy children within thee." Internal happiness is as truly the Lord's gift as external security. When _he Lord@blesses "thy sos in the midst of thee," thou art, O Zion, filled with a happy, united, zealous, prosperous, holy people, who dwell in communion with God, and enter into the joy of their Lord. When God makes thy walls salvation thy gates must be praise. It would little avail to fortify a wretched, starving city; but when the walls are strengthened, it is a still greater joy to see that the inhabitants are blessed with all good gifts. How much our churches need a present and abiding benediction.
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