Psalm 105:1
O give thanks to the LORD; call on his name: make known his deeds among the people.
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(1) Call upon his name.—Literally, on (or, with) his name (comp. Psalm 105:3, “glory in”), with idea of proclamation as well as invocation. Symmachus has “proclaim his name.” This verse, which is found word for word in Isaiah 12:4, is apparently one of the recognised doxologies of the Hebrew Church.

Psalm 105:1-4. Call upon his name — Or, proclaim his name, as קראו בשׁמו, kiru bishmo, may be properly rendered: that is, proclaim the fame and glory of his works, as it follows. Make known his deeds, &c. — Let each of you among his people, and even among the heathen, declare God’s mighty acts as he has opportunity; glory ye in his holy name — Glory in the God whom you serve as the only true God, and a Being possessed of infinite power and goodness. For nothing can be so great an honour to you as that you are the servants of such a mighty Lord, who infinitely transcends all other beings. Let them rejoice that seek the Lord — That seek an acquaintance and friendship with him; that seek to know, love, and serve him here, and to enjoy him hereafter above all the things of the world; seek the Lord and his strength — That is, either, 1st, Seek him in his strength, namely, in his sanctuary, as some interpret the expression, or before the ark, which is called God’s strength: or, 2d, Seek his strength, that is, his grace or Spirit, to strengthen you against your enemies, to enable you to do and suffer his will, and to work in you that which is well pleasing in his sight. Many ancient versions read the clause, Seek the Lord, and be strengthened; and, certain it is, they who would be strengthened in the inward man, must derive strength from God by faith and prayer. Seek his face evermore — That is, his favour, or the light of his countenance; seek to enjoy this to eternity, and therefore continue seeking it to the end of the time of your probation. Seek it while you live in this world, and you shall have it while you live in the other world: and even then you shall be for ever seeking it in an infinite progression, and yet be for ever satisfied with it.105:1-7 Our devotion is here stirred up, that we may stir up ourselves to praise God. Seek his strength; that is, his grace; the strength of his Spirit to work in us that which is good, which we cannot do but by strength derived from him, for which he will be sought. Seek to have his favour to eternity, therefore continue seeking it while living in this world; for he will not only be found, but he will reward those that diligently seek him.O give thanks unto the Lord - The design here is to show that thanks should be given to the Lord in view of his dealings with his people, as stated in the subsequent portions of the psalm.

Call upon his name - More literally, "Call him by his name;" that is, Address him by his proper title; ascribe to him the attributes which properly belong to him; or, address him in a proper manner.

Make known his deeds among the people - What he has done in former times. The allusion is to his acts in behalf of his people in delivering them from Egyptian bondage, and bringing them to the promised land. The word "people" here refers to the Hebrew people; and the exhortation is, that the knowledge of these deeds should be diffused and kept up among them. One of the ways of doing this was that proposed by the psalmist, to wit, by a psalm of praise - by recording and celebrating these acts in their devotions. One of the most effective modes of keeping up the knowledge of what God has done in our world is by songs of praise in worshipping assemblies.


Ps 105:1-45. After an exhortation to praise God, addressed especially to the chosen people, the writer presents the special reason for praise, in a summary of their history from the calling of Abraham to their settlement in Canaan, and reminds them that their obedience was the end of all God's gracious dealings.

1. call … name—(Ps 79:6; Ro 10:13). Call on Him, according to His historically manifested glory. After the example of Abraham, who, as often as God acquired for Himself a name in guiding him, called in solemn worship upon the name of the Lord (Ge 12:8; 13:4).

among the people—or, "peoples" (Ps 18:49).

deeds—or, "wonders" (Ps 103:7).

1 O give thanks unto the Lord; call upon his name; make known his deeds among the people.

2 Sing unto him, sing Psalms unto him: talk ye of all his wondrous works.

3 Glory ye in his holy name: let the heart of them rejoice that seek the Lord.

4 Seek the Lord, and his strength: seek his face evermore.

5 Remember his marvellous works that he hath done; his wonders, and the judgments of his mouth:

6 O ye seed of Abraham his servant, ye children of Jacob his chosen.

7 He is the Lord our God: his judgments are in all the earth.

Psalm 105:1

"O give thanks unto the Lord." Jehovah is the author of all our benefits, therefore let him have all our gratitude. "Call upon his name," or call him by his name; proclaim his titles and fill the world with his renown. "Make known his deeds among the people," or among the nations. Let the heathen hear of our God, that they may forsake their idols and learn to worship him. The removal of the ark was a fit occasion for proclaiming aloud the glories of the Great King, and for publishing to all mankind the greatness of his doings, for it had a history in connection with the nations, which it was well for them to remember with reverence. The rest of the Psalm is a sermon, of which these first verses constitute the text.

Psalm 105:2

"Sing unto him." Bring your best thoughts and express them in the best language to the sweetest sounds. Take care that your singing is "unto him," and not merely for the sake of the music or to delight the ears of others. Singing is so delightful an exercise that it is a pity so much of it should be wasted upon trifles or worse than trifles. O ye who can emulate the nightingale, and almost rival the angels, we do most earnestly pray that your hearts may be renewed that so your floods of melody may be poured out at your Maker's and Redeemer's feet. "Talk ye of all his wondrous works." Men love to speak of marvels, and others are generally glad to hear of surprising things; surely the believer in the living God has before him the most amazing series of wonders ever heard of or imagined, his themes are inexhaustible and they are such as should hold men spellbound. We ought to have more of this "talk": no one would be blamed as a Mr. Talkative if this were his constant theme. Talk ye, all of you: you all know something by experience of the marvellous loving-kindness of the Lord - "talk ye." In this way, by all dwelling on this blessed subject, "all" his wondrous works will be published. One cannot do it, nor ten thousand times ten thousand, but if all speak to the Lord's honour, they will at least come nearer to accomplishing the deed. We ought to have a wide range when conversing upon the Lord's doings, and should not shut our eyes to any part of them. Talk ye of his wondrous works in creation and in grace, in judgment and in mercy, in providential interpositions and in spiritual comfortings; leave out none, or it will be to your damage. Obedience to this verse will give every sanctified tongue some work to do: the trained musicians can sing, and the commoner voices can talk, and in both ways the Lord will receive a measure of the thanks due to him, and his deeds will be made known among the people.

Psalm 105:3

"Glory ye in his holy name." Make it a matter of joy that you have such a God. His character and attributes are such as will never make you blush to call him your God. Idolaters may well be ashamed of the actions attributed to their fancied deities, their names are foul with lust and red with blood, but Jehovah is wholly glorious; every deed of his will bear the strictest scrutiny; his name is holy, his character is holy, his law is holy, his government is holy, his influence is holy. In all this we may make our boast, nor can any deny our right to do so. "Let the heart of them rejoice that seek the Lord." If they have not yet found him so fully as they desire, yet even to be allowed and enabled to seek after such a God is cause for gladness. To worship the Lord and seek his kingdom and righteousness is the sure way to happiness, and indeed there is no other. True seekers throw their hearts into the engagement, hence their hearts receive joy; according to the text they have a permit to rejoice and they have the promise that they shall do so. How gladsome all these sentences are! Where can men's ears be when they talk of the gloom of Psalm-singing? What worldly songs are fuller of real mirth? One hears the sound of the timbrel and the harp in every verse. Even seekers find bliss in the name of the Lord Jesus, but as for the finders, we may say with the poet,

And those who find thee find a bliss,

continued...THE ARGUMENT

The penman of this Psalm was David, as is manifest from 1 Chronicles 16:8, &c. It is a thanksgiving to God for his mercies to his people of Israel.

An exhortation to praise God, and to remember his works and wonders, Psalm 105:1-6. The story of God’s promises to and providences over Abraham, Psalm 105:7-15, Joseph, Psalm 105:16-22, and Jacob in Egypt, Psalm 105:23-25; over Moses delivering the Israelites, Psalm 105:26-36; and over them whom he fed in the wilderness, and planted in Canaan, Psalm 105:37-45.

Call upon his name or, proclaim his name, i.e. the fame and glory of his works, as it follows.

Among his people; each of you amongst his and your people, or even among the heathens, as you have opportunity.

O give thanks unto the Lord,.... These are the words of David, either to the singers, or rather to the whole congregation of Israel, the seed of Abraham, and children of Jacob, Psalm 105:6 stirring them up to praise and thankfulness for their mercies, temporal and spiritual; for the Messiah they had hope and expectation of, typified by the ark now brought home; for the word and ordinances, and opportunities of waiting upon God in them; for heaven and happiness, figured by Canaan's land given them to enjoy. Or, "confess or celebrate the Lord" (x); his greatness and goodness: his being and perfections; his sovereignty over all creatures: confess him as your Creator, Benefactor, covenant God and Father; or, "confess to the Lord" (y) your sins and transgressions committed against him, his great grace and kindness to you, and your unworthiness to receive any favour from him.

Call upon his name; as such may to advantage, who are thankful for what they have received from him; these may and ought to call upon him, or pray to him, in faith and fervency, with frequency and importunity, in the truth and sincerity of their souls; and at all times, especially in times of trouble. Some, as Aben Ezra, interpret it, proclaim his name, make it known to others; call upon them to serve and worship him. This sense is mentioned by Kimchi, and agrees with what follows:

make known his deeds among the people: which are the effects of his counsel, wisdom, power, and goodness; such as the works of creation and providence, and especially of grace, and salvation; and which were to be published among the Heathen, for the glory of his name: and indeed the Gospel, which is ordered to be preached to all nations, is nothing else than a declaration of what Jehovah, Father, Son, and Spirit, have done and do.

(x) celebrate Jehovam, Junius & Tremellius. (y) "Confitemini Domino", V. L. Pagninus, Montanus, &c.

O give thanks unto the LORD; call upon his name: {a} make known his deeds among the people.

(a) For as much as the Israelites were exempted from the common condemnation of the world, and were elected to be God's people, the prophet wills them to show themselves mindful by thanksgiving.

1. The LXX is probably right in placing Hallelujah at the beginning of this Psalm instead of at the end of Psalms 104. The two companion Psalms 103, 104 will then begin and end with Bless ye Jehovah; and the two companion Psalms 105, 106 will begin and end with Hallelujah.

The first verse is taken verbatim from Isaiah 12:4.

O give thanks unto the Lord] The LXX renders ἐξομολογεῖσθε, hence Vulg. and Jer. confitemini, ‘make confession,’ which may possibly be the primary meaning, from which the word derives its general sense to praise or give thanks. Psalms 106, 107, 118, 136 begin with the same invitation.

It is natural to connect these Psalms in which “Give thanks unto Jehovah” and “Praise ye Jah” (Hallelujah) recur so frequently with the function of the Levites “to praise and to give thanks” (1 Chronicles 16:4; Ezra 3:11; Nehemiah 12:24; &c.), and to regard them as composed expressly for the service of the Second Temple.

call upon his name] Rather, proclaim his name, as in Exodus 33:19; Exodus 34:5-6; cp. Deuteronomy 32:3.

make known his doings among the peoples] It was Israel’s mission to proclaim to the world Jehovah’s revelation of His character made known to them in the facts of their history. Cp. Psalm 9:11.

1–6. The Israelites are summoned to proclaim to all the nations Jehovah’s mighty doings for His people, and to stir up their own hearts to praise and thanksgiving by the recollection of His marvellous works.Verses 1-6. - The psalmist exhorts the seed of Abraham (ver. 6) to give thanks to God and call upon his Name (vers. 1-3); to make him known among the Gentiles (ver. 1b); to seek him and his strength (ver. 4); and to bear in mind his marvellous works (ver. 5). The "works" intended are those of his providential government of mankind, and especially those of his rule and government over his people Israel. Verse 1. - O give thanks unto the Lord (comp. Psalm 106:1; Psalm 107:1; Psalm 111:1; Psalm 136:1; Psalm 138:1). Call upon his Name; i.e. call upon him with prayer and praise, "according to his historically manifested glory" (Hengstenberg). Make known his deeds (or, "his doings") among the people; rather, among the peoples; i.e. the heathen nations (comp. Psalm 18:49; Psalm 57:9; Isaiah 12:4). Fixing his eye upon the sea with its small and great creatures, and the care of God for all self-living beings, the poet passes over to the fifth and sixth days of creation. The rich contents of this sixth group flow over and exceed the decastich. With מה־רבּוּ (not מה־גּדלוּ, Psalm 92:6) the poet expresses his wonder at the great number of God's works, each one at the same time having its adjustment in accordance with its design, and all, mutually serving one another, co-operating one with another. קנין, which signifies both bringing forth and acquiring, has the former meaning here according to the predicate: full of creatures, which bear in themselves the traces of the Name of their Creator (קנה). Beside קיניך, however, we also find the reading קנינך, which is adopted by Norzi, Heidenheim, and Baer, represented by the versions (lxx, Vulgate, and Jerome), by expositors (Rashi: קנין שׁלּך), by the majority of the MSS (according to Norzi) and old printed copies, which would signify τῆς κτίσεώς σου, or according to the Latin versions κτήσεώς σου (possessione tua, Luther "they possessions"), but is inferior to the plural ktisma'toon σου, as an accusative of the object to מלאה. The sea more particularly is a world of moving creatures innumerable (Psalm 69:35). זה היּם does not properly signify this sea, but that sea, yonder sea (cf. Psalm 68:9, Isaiah 23:13; Joshua 9:13). The attributes follow in an appositional relation, the looseness of which admits of the non-determination (cf. Psalm 68:28; Jeremiah 2:21; Genesis 43:14, and the reverse case above in Psalm 104:18). אניּה .) in relation to אני is a nomen unitatis (the single ship). It is an old word, which is also Egyptian in the form hani and ana.

(Note: Vide Chabas, Le papyrus magique Harris, p. 246, No. 826: HANI (אני), vaisseau, navire, and the Book of the Dead 1. 10, where hani occurs with the determinative picture of a ship. As to the form ana, vid., Chabas loc. cit. p. 33.)

Leviathan, in the Book of Job, the crocodile, is in this passage the name of the whale (vid., Lewysohn, Zoologie des Talmuds, 178-180, 505). Ewald and Hitzig, with the Jewish tradition, understand בּו in Psalm 104:26 according to Job 41:5 : in order to play with him, which, however, gives no idea that is worthy of God. It may be taken as an alternative word for שׁם (cf. בּו in Psalm 104:20, Job 40:20): to play therein, viz., in the sea (Saadia). In כּלּם, Psalm 104:27, the range of vision is widened from the creatures of the sea to all the living things of the earth; cf. the borrowed passages Psalm 145:15., Psalm 147:9. כּלּם, by an obliteration of the suffix, signifies directly "altogether," and בּעתּו (cf. Job 38:32): when it is time for it. With reference to the change of the subject in the principal and in the infinitival clause, vid., Ew. 338, a. The existence, passing away, and origin of all beings is conditioned by God. His hand provides everything; the turning of His countenance towards them upholds everything; and His breath, the creative breath, animates and renews all things. The spirit of life of every creature is the disposing of the divine Spirit, which hovered over the primordial waters and transformed the chaos into the cosmos. תּסף in Psalm 104:29 is equivalent to תּאסף, as in 1 Samuel 15:6, and frequently. The full future forms accented on the ultima, from Psalm 104:27 onwards, give emphasis to the statements. Job 34:14. may be compared with Psalm 104:29.

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