Psalm 100:5
For the LORD is good; his mercy is everlasting; and his truth endures to all generations.
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100:1-5 An exhortation to praise God, and rejoice in him. - This song of praise should be considered as a prophecy, and even used as a prayer, for the coming of that time when all people shall know that the Lord he is God, and shall become his worshippers, and the sheep of his pasture. Great encouragement is given us, in worshipping God, to do it cheerfully. If, when we strayed like wandering sheep, he has brought us again to his fold, we have indeed abundant cause to bless his name. The matter of praise, and the motives to it, are very important. Know ye what God is in himself, and what he is to you. Know it; consider and apply it, then you will be more close and constant, more inward and serious, in his worship. The covenant of grace set down in the Scriptures of the Old and New Testament, with so many rich promises, to strengthen the faith of every weak believer, makes the matter of God's praise and of his people's joys so sure, that how sad soever our spirits may be when we look to ourselves, yet we shall have reason to praise the Lord when we look to his goodness and mercy, and to what he has said in his word for our comfort.For the Lord is good - For good is Yahweh. That is, He is not a being of mere "power;" he is not merely the Creator; but he is benevolent, and is, therefore, worthy of universal praise. In the former verses, his claim to adoration is founded on the fact that he is the "Creator," and has, as such, a right to our service; in this verse, the claim is asserted on account of his moral character:

(1) his benevolence;

(2) his mercy;

(3) his truth;

(a) the fact that he is a God of truth; and

(b) the fact that his truth endures, or that in all generations he shows himself to be faithful to his promises.

The first of these is his "benevolence:" "The Lord is good." As such, assuredly, God is worthy of praise and honor. A being of "mere" power we could not love or praise; a being whose power was united with malignity or malevolence, could only be the object of hatred and terror; but a being whose power is united with goodness or benevolence ought to he loved.

His mercy is everlasting - This is the "second" reason, drawn from his moral character, why he should be praised and adored. A being of mere "justice" may be feared and respected; but a character of "mere" justice would be to man an object of dread - and may be so anywhere. There are other attributes than the one of "justice," high and valuable as that may be, which are necessary to constitute a perfect character; and man, in order to find happiness and security, must find some other attribute in God than mere "justice," for man is a sinner, and needs pardon; he is a sufferer, and needs compassion; he is to die, and needs support and consolation. Besides, mere "justice" may drive its decisions over some of the kindest and tenderest feelings of human nature, for there are cases, under all administrations, where pardon is desirable and mercy is proper. It is, therefore, a ground of unspeakable joy for man that God is not a Being of "mere justice," but that there is mingled in his character the attribute of mercy and kindness. But for this, man could have no hope; for, as a sinner, he has no claim on God, and all his hope must be derived from God's infinite compassion. To all this as a ground of praise is to be added the fact that this mercy of God is "everlasting." Its fruits - its results - will extend to the vast eternity before us; and in all that eternity we shall never cease to enjoy the benefits of that mercy; never be suffered to fall back on the mere "justice" of God.

And his truth endureth to all generations - Margin, as in Hebrew, "to generation and generation." That is, forever. It is the same in every generation of the world. This is the third reason derived from the moral character of God for praising him; and this is a just ground of praise. We could not love and honor a God who was not true to his promises, and who did not himself love the truth; we could not honor one who was changeable and flexible - who loved one thing in one generation and a different thing in the next; who in one age was the friend of truth, and in the next the patron of falsehood. It is the just foundation for praise to God - our God - that he is essentially and always - in all worlds, and in all the generations of people - toward all in the universe - a Being of unchangeable benevolence, mercy, and truth. Such a God is worthy to be had in universal reverence; such a God is worthy of universal praise.

5. The reason: God's eternal mercy and truth (Ps 25:8; 89:7). No text from Poole on this verse. For the Lord is good,.... Both in a providential way, and in a way of grace, and does good; he is the good Shepherd, that has laid down his life for the sheep; and the good Samaritan, that pours in the wine and oil of his love and grace, and his precious blood, to the healing of the wounds made by sin: while he was on earth, he went about doing good to the bodies and souls of men; and he continues to do good unto them, and therefore should be praised, served, and worshipped:

his mercy is everlasting; or "his grace" (e); there is always a sufficiency of it for his people; and his lovingkindness, which may be also here meant, is always the same; having loved his own which were in the world, he loves them to the end, John 13:1.

and his truth endureth to all generations; or his faithfulness in fulfilling his promises, and performing his engagements; he was faithful to his Father that appointed him, and to the covenant he made with him; and he is faithful to his people, to keep what they commit to his care and charge now, and to give them the crown of righteousness at the last day, which is laid up for them; and upon all these considerations, and for these reasons, ought to be praised and adored.

(e) "gratia ejus", Cocceius, Gejerus; "gratia et misericordia ejus", Michaelis.

For the LORD is good; his mercy is {d} everlasting; and his truth endureth to all generations.

(d) He declares that we should never be weary in praising him, seeing his mercies toward us last forever.

5. For Jehovah is good;

His lovingkindness (endureth) for ever;

And his faithfulness unto generation after generation.

Israel’s fresh experience of the untiring goodness and love and faithfulness of Jehovah is an argument which should win all the nations to His service.

Psalm 100:4-5. are based on Jeremiah 33:11, cp. Psalm 89:1. “Give thanks unto Jehovah, for he is good; for his lovingkindness endureth for ever,” became a standing liturgical formula after the exile. See note on Psalm 106:1.Verse 5. - For the Lord is good (comp. 1 Chronicles 16:34; 2 Chronicles 5:13; 2 Chronicles 7:3; Ezra 3:11; Psalm 106:1; Psalm 107:1; Psalm 118:1, 29; Psalm 125:3; Psalm 136:1; Psalm 145:9, etc.). His mercy is everlasting; literally, his mercy is forever. Compare the frequent refrain, "His mercy endureth forever" (Psalm 118:1-4, 29; Psalm 136:1-26, etc.). And his truth (or, his faithfulness) endureth to all generations; literally, to generation and generation. All men's hope is in God's "faithfulness," that he will keep his promises to them - pardon them, deliver them, cleanse them, and give them rest in his kingdom forever.

The vision of the third Sanctus looks into the history of the olden time prior to the kings. In support of the statement that Jahve is a living God, and a God who proves Himself in mercy and in judgment, the poet appeals to three heroes of the olden time, and the events recorded of them. The expression certainly sounds as though it had reference to something belonging to the present time; and Hitzig therefore believes that it must be explained of the three as heavenly intercessors, after the manner of Onias and Jeremiah in the vision 2 Macc. 15:12-14. But apart from this presupposing an active manifestation of life on the part of those who have fallen happily asleep, which is at variance with the ideas of the latest as well as of the earliest Psalms concerning the other world, this interpretation founders upon Psalm 99:7, according to which a celestial discourse of God with the three "in the pillar of cloud" ought also to be supposed. The substantival clauses Psalm 99:6 bear sufficient evident in themselves of being a retrospect, by which the futures that follow are stamped as being the expression of the contemporaneous past. The distribution of the predicates to the three is well conceived. Moses was also a mighty man in prayer, for with his hands uplifted for prayer he obtained the victory for his people over Amalek (Exodus 17:11.), and on another occasion placed himself in the breach, and rescued them from the wrath of God and from destruction (Psalm 106:23; Exodus 32:30-32; cf. also Numbers 12:13); and Samuel, it is true, is only a Levite by descent, but by office in a time of urgent need a priest (cohen), for he sacrifices independently in places where, by reason of the absence of the holy tabernacle with the ark of the covenant, it was not lawful, according to the letter of the law, to offer sacrifices, he builds an altar in Ramah, his residence as judge, and has, in connection with the divine services on the high place (Bama) there, a more than high-priestly position, inasmuch as the people do not begin the sacrificial repasts before he has blessed the sacrifice (1 Samuel 9:13). But the character of a mighty man in prayer is outweighed in the case of Moses by the character of the priest; for he is, so to speak, the proto-priest of Israel, inasmuch as he twice performed priestly acts which laid as it were a foundation for all times to come, viz., the sprinkling of the blood at the ratification of the covenant under Sinai (Exodus 24), and the whole ritual which was a model for the consecrated priesthood, at the consecration of the priests (Leviticus 8). It was he, too, who performed the service in the sanctuary prior to the consecration of the priests: he set the shew-bread in order, prepared the candlestick, and burnt incense upon the golden altar (Exodus 40:22-27). In the case of Samuel, on the other hand, the character of the mediator in the religious services is outweighed by that of the man mighty in prayer: by prayer he obtained Israel the victory of Ebenezer over the Philistines (1 Samuel 7:8.), and confirmed his words of warning with the miraculous sign, that at his calling upon God it would thunder and rain in the midst of a cloudless season (1 Samuel 12:16, cf. Sir. 46:16f.).

The poet designedly says: Moses and Aaron were among His priests, and Samuel among His praying ones. This third twelve-line strophe holds good, not only of the three in particular, but of the twelve-tribe nation of priests and praying ones to which they belong. For Psalm 99:7 cannot be meant of the three, since, with the exception of a single instance (Numbers 12:5), it is always Moses only, not Aaron, much less Samuel, with whom God negotiates in such a manner. אליהם refers to the whole people, which is proved by their interest in the divine revelation given by the hand of Moses out of the cloudy pillar (Exodus 33:7.). Nor can Psalm 99:6 therefore be understood of the three exclusively, since there is nothing to indicate the transition from them to the people: crying (קראים, syncopated like חטאים, 1 Samuel 24:11) to Jahve, i.e., as often as they (these priests and praying ones, to whom a Moses, Aaron, and Samuel belong) cried unto Jahve, He answered them-He revealed Himself to this people who had such leaders (choragi), in the cloudy pillar, to those who kept His testimonies and the law which He gave them. A glance at Psalm 99:8 shows that in Israel itself the good and the bad, good and evil, are distinguished. God answered those who could pray to Him with a claim to be answered. Psalm 99:7, is, virtually at least, a relative clause, declaring the prerequisite of a prayer that may be granted. In Psalm 99:8 is added the thought that the history of Israel, in the time of its redemption out of Egypt, is not less a mirror of the righteousness of God than of the pardoning grace of God. If Psalm 99:7-8 are referred entirely to the three, then עלילות and נקם, referred to their sins of infirmity, appear to be too strong expressions. But to take the suffix of עלילותם objectively (ea quae in eos sunt moliti Core et socii ejus), with Symmachus (καὶ ἔκδικος ἐπὶ ταῖς ἐπηρείναις αὐτῶν) and Kimchi, as the ulciscens in omnes adinventiones eorum of the Vulgate is interpreted,

(Note: Vid., Raemdonck in his David propheta cet. 1800: in omnes injurias ipsis illatas, uti patuit in Core cet.)

is to do violence to it. The reference to the people explains it all without any constraint, and even the flight of prayer that comes in here (cf. Micah 7:18). The calling to mind of the generation of the desert, which fell short of the promise, is an earnest admonition for the generation of the present time. The God of Israel is holy in love and in wrath, as He Himself unfolds His Name in Exodus 34:6-7. Hence the poet calls upon his fellow-countrymen to exalt this God, whom they may with pride call their own, i.e., to acknowledge and confess His majesty, and to fall down and worship at (ל cf. אל, Psalm 5:8) the mountain of His holiness, the place of His choice and of His presence.

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