Psalm 113:7
He raiseth up the poor out of the dust, and lifteth the needy out of the dunghill;
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(7-8) See 1Samuel 2:8, from which the verses are taken; and comp. Luke 1:52.

So the heathen poet sang of Jove (Hor.: Odes i., 34, 35).

(7) Dunghill.—Literally, a heap of rubbish. “Before each village in Hauran there is a place where the household heap up the sweepings of their stalls, and it gradually reaches a great circumference and a height which rises far above the highest buildings of the village.” “The mezbela serves the inhabitants of the district as a watch-tower, and on close oppressive evenings as a place of assembly, because there is a current of air on the height. There the children play about the whole day long; there the forsaken one lies who, having been seized with some horrible malady, is not allowed to enter the dwellings of men, by day asking alms of the passers by, and at night hiding himself among the ashes which the sun has warmed.”—Delitzsch’s Commentary on the Book of Job, ii. 152, with Note by Wetzstein. It was on the mezbela that, according to tradition, Job sat.

Psalm 113:7-8. He raiseth up the poor — Yet, great and glorious as he is, he stoops so low as to regard and advance those whom all men, even their own brethren, slight and despise; out of the dust, &c. — From a most contemptible and miserable condition; that he may set him with princes — In equal honour and power with them, as he did Joseph, David, and others; even with the princes of his people, who, in God’s account, and in truth, are far more honourable and happy than the princes of heathen nations, and their subjects more noble; for they have God’s special presence among them, and his special providence watching over them. One of the Jewish rabbins applies this passage to the resurrection of the dead, and some Christian commentators have applied it to the work of redemption by Jesus Christ, and not improperly, for through him poor, fallen men are raised out of the dust, nay, out of the dunghill of sin, and set among patriarchs and prophets, yea, among angels and archangels, those princes of God’s people, those leaders of the armies of Jehovah. And, as Dr. Horne observes, “What is the exaltation of the meanest beggar from a dunghill to an earthly diadem, when compared with that of human nature from the grave to the throne of God! Here is honour worthy of our ambition; honour after which all are alike invited to aspire; which all may obtain who strive worthily and lawfully; and of which, when once obtained, nothing can ever deprive the possessors.”

113:1-9 An exhortation to praise God. - God has praise from his own people. They have most reason to praise him; for those who attend him as his servants, know him best, and receive most of his favours, and it is easy, pleasant work to speak well of their Master. God's name ought to be praised in every place, from east to west. Within this wide space the Lord's name is to be praised; it ought to be so, though it is not. Ere long it will be, when all nations shall come and worship before him. God is exalted above all blessing and praise. We must therefore say, with holy admiration, Who is like unto the Lord our God? How condescending in him to behold the things in the earth! And what amazing condescension was it for the Son of God to come from heaven to earth, and take our nature upon him, that he might seek and save those that were lost! How vast his love in taking upon him the nature of man, to ransom guilty souls! God sometimes makes glorious his own wisdom and power, when, having some great work to do, he employs those least likely, and least thought of for it by themselves or others. The apostles were sent from fishing to be fishers of men. And this is God's constant method in his kingdom of grace. He takes men, by nature beggars, and even traitors, to be his favourites, his children, kings and priests unto him; and numbers them with the princes of his chosen people. He gives us all our comforts, which are generally the more welcome when long delayed, and no longer expected. Let us pray that those lands which are yet barren, may speedily become fruitful, and produce many converts to join in praising the Lord.He raiseth up the poor out of the dust - From the most humble condition in life. He exalts them to conditions of wealth, rank, honor. He has power to do this; he actually does it. This is not intended to be affirmed as a universal truth, or to assert that it is always done, but that it is among the things which show his majesty, his power, and his goodness, and which lay the foundation for praise.

And lifteth the needy out of the dunghill - From the condition of lowest poverty. Instances are sufficiently abundant in which this is done, to justify such an assertion, and to show that it is a proper foundation of praise to God.

7, 8. which condescension is illustrated as often in raising the worthy poor and needy to honor (compare 1Sa 2:8; Ps 44:25). He raiseth up the poor; yea, he stoops so low as to regard and advance those whom all men, and even their own brethren, slight and despise.

Out of the dust; from a most contemptible and miserable condition. Beggars and mourners used to lie in the dust, or, as it follows, upon the dunghill, 1 Samuel 2:8 Lamentations 4:5.

He raiseth up the poor out of the dust,.... Persons of mean extraction and in low life are sometimes raised by him to great honour and dignity, as Saul, David, and others; and is true of many who are spiritually poor and needy, as all men are, but all are not sensible of it; some are, and these are called poor "in spirit", and are pronounced "blessed", for "theirs is the kingdom of heaven": they are raised out of a low and mean estate, out of the dust of sin, and self-abhorrence for it, in which they lie when convicted of it.

And lifteth the needy out of the dunghill; which denotes a mean condition; so one born in a mean place, and brought up in a mean manner, is sometimes represented as taken out of a dunghill (t): and also it is expressive of a filthy one; men by sin are not only brought into a low estate, but into a loathsome one, and are justly abominable in the sight of God, and yet he lifts them out of it: the phrases of "raising up" and "lifting out" suppose them to be fallen, as men are in Adam, fallen from a state of honour and glory, in which he was created, into a state of sin and misery, and out of which they cannot deliver themselves; it is Christ's work, and his only, to raise up the tribes of Jacob, and to help or lift up his servant Israel, Isaiah 49:6.

(t) "Ex sterquilinio effosse", Plauti Casina, Acts 1. Sc. 1. v. 26.

He raiseth up the poor out of the dust, and lifteth the {c} needy out of the dunghill;

(c) By preferring the poor to high honour and giving the barren children, he shows that God works not only in his Church by ordinary means, but also by miracles.

7, 8. The first three lines are taken from the Song of Hannah, 1 Samuel 2:8, with only a slight variation of form in two words. “To sit in the dust” (Isaiah 47:1), or “on the dunghill” (Lamentations 4:5) is an oriental metaphor for a condition of extreme degradation and misery. Cp. Job 2:8. The dung and other rubbish of an Eastern town or village is collected outside it in a heap called the Mezbele. On this “the outcast who has been stricken with some loathsome malady and is not allowed to enter the dwellings of men, lays himself down, begging an alms of the passers-by by day, and by night sheltering himself among the ashes which the heat of the sun has warmed.” Wetzstein in Delitzsch’s Comm. on Job, p. 62, quoted in Prof. Davidson’s Comm. on Job, in this Series, p. 14.

7–9. Examples of Jehovah’s gracious condescension.

Verse 7. - He raiseth up the poor out of the dust. Heaven is full of his glory, earth of his mercy and loving-kindness. The words of 1 Samuel 2:8 are, consciously or unconsciously, quoted. And lifteth the needy out of the dunghill; rather, from the dunghill (Revised Version). Psalm 113:7The thoughts of Psalm 113:7 and Psalm 113:8 are transplanted from the song of Hannah. עפר, according to 1 Kings 16:2, cf. Psalm 14:7, is an emblem of lowly estate (Hitzig), and אשׁפּת (from שׁפת) an emblem of the deepest poverty and desertion; for in Syria and Palestine the man who is shut out from society lies upon the mezbele (the dunghill or heap of ashes), by day calling upon the passers-by for alms, and by night hiding himself in the ashes that have been warmed by the sun (Job, ii. 152). The movement of the thoughts in Psalm 113:8, as in Psalm 113:1, follows the model of the epizeuxis. Together with the song of Hannah the poet has before his eye Hannah's exaltation out of sorrow and reproach. He does not, however, repeat the words of her song which have reference to this (1 Samuel 2:5), but clothes his generalization of her experience in his own language. If he intended that עקרת should be understood out of the genitival relation after the form עטרת, why did he not write מושׁיבי הבּית עקרה? הבּית would then be equivalent to בּיתה, Psalm 68:7. עקרת הבּית is the expression for a woman who is a wife, and therefore housewife, הבּית (בּעלת) נות, but yet not a mother. Such an one has no settled position in the house of the husband, the firm bond is wanting in her relationship to her husband. If God gives her children, He thereby makes her then thoroughly at home and rooted-in in her position. In the predicate notion אם הבּנים שׂמחה the definiteness attaches to the second member of the string of words, as in Genesis 48:19; 2 Samuel 12:30 (cf. the reverse instance in Jeremiah 23:26, נבּאי השּׁקר, those prophesying that which is false), therefore: a mother of the children. The poet brings the matter so vividly before him, that he points as it were with his finger to the children with which God blesses her.
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