|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 13. - For he hath strengthened the bars of thy gates. The strength of gates in the ancient world depended wholly upon their bars, which were generally strong beams of wood passed across from side to side of the gateway, about midway up the gate, having their ends inserted into strong iron hooks or clamps, which were let into the stonework of the walls. The "bars" of the gates of Jerusalem are mentioned in Nehemiah repeatedly (Psalm 3:3, 6, 13, 14, 15; 7:3). He hath blessed thy children within thee. Under Nehemiah's govern-meet, when he had firmly established it, Israel enjoyed a period of repose and of great prosperity, which, at the date of the psalm, was probably just commencing.
Gill's Exposition of the Entire Bible
For he hath strengthened the bars of thy gates,.... Of Jerusalem, of Zion the church of God. Gates are for the letting in of persons into the city of our God; which are Christ, faith in him, and a profession of it; see Isaiah 26:1, "bars" are for the security of those that, are in it, and to keep out the enemy: and these, "strengthened", denote the utmost safety of the true members of Christ and his church; who have nothing to fear from their spiritual enemies, sin, law, Satan, the world, death, and hell: God is on their side; Christ is the munition of rocks unto them the Holy Spirit is in them, who is greater than he that is in the world; and angels are guards about them; all which is matter of praise, and a sufficient reason for it;
he hath blessed thy children within thee; multiplied them and made them fruitful, increased the number of them; even the spiritual children of the church, brought forth to Christ by her; born in her, through the ministry of the Gospel; and brought up by her, with the ordinances of it. These in the first times of the Gospel were very numerous, and will be so again in the latter day, like the drops of the morning dew; and are and will be blessed with all spiritual blessings, with pardoning, justifying, adopting, and sanctifying grace, and with eternal life; for which the Lord's name is to be praised.
Jamieson-Fausset-Brown Bible Commentary
13. strengthened … gates—or, means of defense against invaders,
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