Jamieson-Fausset-Brown Bible Commentary
Rejoice in the LORD, O ye righteous: for praise is comely for the upright.
Ps 33:1-22. A call to lively and joyous praise to God for His glorious attributes and works, as displayed in creation, and His general and special providence, in view of which, the Psalmist, for all the pious, professes trust and joy and invokes God's mercy.
1-3. The sentiment falls in with Ps 32:11 (compare 1Co 14:15). The instruments (Ps 92:3; 144:9) do not exclude the voice.
Praise the LORD with harp: sing unto him with the psaltery and an instrument of ten strings.
Sing unto him a new song; play skilfully with a loud noise.
3. a new song—fresh, adapted to the occasion (Ps 40:3; 96:1).
play skilfully—(Compare 1Sa 16:17).
For the word of the LORD is right; and all his works are done in truth.
4-9. Reasons for praise: first, God's truth, faithfulness, and mercy, generally; then, His creative power which all must honor.
He loveth righteousness and judgment: the earth is full of the goodness of the LORD.
By the word of the LORD were the heavens made; and all the host of them by the breath of his mouth.
6. In "word" and "breath"—or, "spirit," there may be an allusion to the Son (Joh 1:1) and Holy Spirit.
He gathereth the waters of the sea together as an heap: he layeth up the depth in storehouses.
Let all the earth fear the LORD: let all the inhabitants of the world stand in awe of him.
For he spake, and it was done; he commanded, and it stood fast.
9. he spake—literally, "said."
it was—The addition of "done" weakens the sense (compare Ge 1:3-10).
The LORD bringeth the counsel of the heathen to nought: he maketh the devices of the people of none effect.
10, 11. In God's providence He thwarts men's purposes and executes His own.
The counsel of the LORD standeth for ever, the thoughts of his heart to all generations.
Blessed is the nation whose God is the LORD; and the people whom he hath chosen for his own inheritance.
12-19. The inference from the foregoing in Ps 33:12 is illustrated by God's special providence, underlying which is His minute knowledge of all men.
The LORD looketh from heaven; he beholdeth all the sons of men.
13. looketh—intently (Isa 14:16).
From the place of his habitation he looketh upon all the inhabitants of the earth.
He fashioneth their hearts alike; he considereth all their works.
15. fashioneth—or, "forms," and hence knows and controls (Pr 21:1).
considereth—or, "understands"; God knows men's motives.
There is no king saved by the multitude of an host: a mighty man is not delivered by much strength.
16, 17. Men's usual reliances in their greatest exigencies are, in themselves, useless.
An horse is a vain thing for safety: neither shall he deliver any by his great strength.
17. On the war horse (compare Job 39:19-25).
a vain thing—a lie, which deceives us.
Behold, the eye of the LORD is upon them that fear him, upon them that hope in his mercy;
18, 19. Contrasted is God's guidance and power to save from the greatest earthly evil and its most painful precursor, and hence from all.
To deliver their soul from death, and to keep them alive in famine.
Our soul waiteth for the LORD: he is our help and our shield.
20-22. waiteth—in earnest expectation.
For our heart shall rejoice in him, because we have trusted in his holy name.
21. his holy name—(Compare Ps 5:12; 22:22; 30:4). Our faith measures mercy (Mt 9:29); and if of grace, it is no more of debt (Ro 11:6).
Let thy mercy, O LORD, be upon us, according as we hope in thee.