Psalm 117:2
For his merciful kindness is great toward us: and the truth of the LORD endureth for ever. Praise ye the LORD.
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117:1,2 All people called upon to praise God. - Here is a solemn call to all nations to praise the Lord, and proper matter for that praise is suggested. We are soon weary of well-doing, if we keep not up the pious and devout affections with which the spiritual sacrifice of praise ought to be kindled and kept burning. This is a gospel psalm. The apostle, Ro 15:11, quotes it as a proof that the gospel was to be preached to the Gentile nations, and that it would be entertained by them. For many ages, in Judah only was God known, and his name praised; this call was not then given to any Gentiles. But the gospel of Christ is ordered to be preached to all nations, and by him those that were afar off are made nigh. We are among the persons to whom the Holy Spirit here speaks, whom he calls upon to join his ancient people in praising the Lord. Grace has thus abounded to millions of perishing sinners. Let us then listen to the offers of the grace of God, and pray for that time when all nations of the earth shall show forth his praises. And let us bless God for the unsearchable riches of gospel grace.For his merciful kindness is great toward us - His kindness; his compassion; his love. All nations - all people - may say this, and therefore the psalm is adapted to universal praise. Especially may this be said in view of the love of God to mankind in the gift of a Saviour - a Saviour not for any one people especially or exclusively, but for the world, John 3:16.

And the truth of the Lord endureth for ever - All that God has said: his declarations; his promises; his assurances of mercy. They are the same in all lands where they are made known, and they are the same in all ages of the world. Truth is a representation of things as they are; and truth, therefore, must be ever the same. What was true in the first ages of the world in regard to the relation of the sum of the squares on the two sides of a right-angled triangle to the square of the hypothenuse is true now, and will always be true; and so, what God has affirmed at any one time will always remain the same in all ages and in all lands. What was truth to Abraham is truth to us; what was truth to Paul is truth to us; what was truth to the martyrs is truth to us; what is truth to us will be truth to all generations of the world in all lands, and will be truth forever. This fact, too, is a just foundation for universal praise, and therefore the psalm is so adapted to be used in all lands and among all people. How often in our own language has this psalm been the medium of the utterances of praise in Christian sanctuaries:

"From all that dwell below the skies,

Let the Creator's praise arise;

Let the Redeemer's name be sung,

Through every land, by every tongue.

Eternal are thy mercies, Lord;

Eternal truth attends thy word;

Thy praise shall sound from shore to shore,

Till suns shall rise and set no more.

2. is great toward us—literally, "prevailed over" or "protected us." Toward us; either,

1. Towards us Jews, to whom he hath given those peculiar privileges which he hath denied to all other nations. But this may seem an improper argument to move the Gentiles to praise God for his mercies to others from which they were excluded. Or,

2. Towards all of us, all the children of Abraham, whether carnal or spiritual, who were to be incorporated together, and made one body and one fold by and under the Messias, John 10:16 Ephesians 2:14, which mystery seems to be insinuated by this manner of expression.

For his merciful kindness is great towards us,.... Not us Israelites only, of whom David was, but Gentiles also; or otherwise there would be no force in the reason why all people and nations should praise the Lord: but it respects the time when these should become one people, partaking of the same grace, blessings, promises, and privileges; in which the grace, mercy, and lovingkindness of God, greatly appeared; "it prevailed over us" (p), as it may be rendered: the word is used of the prevailing of the waters of the flood over the earth, Genesis 7:18; and so may denote the exuberance of the grace of God, of the abounding and superabounding of it. There is an abundance of it in the heart of God, in his covenant, and in his Son; and which is displayed in redemption by him; in the forgiveness of sin; and in the conversion of sinners, and their everlasting salvation: particularly there has been an inundation or deluge of it in the Gentile world, where it has flowed and overflowed; where sin abounded, grace has much more abounded; and therefore the Lord is to be praised. And another reason follows,

and the truth of the Lord endureth for ever; the faithfulness of God to his promises, not only made to the Jewish fathers concerning the Messiah, and redemption by him; but to the Gentiles, and concerning the blessing of all nations in the promised seed: and the faithfulness and truth of God, with respect to any of his promises, never fails; nor will his word of truth, the Gospel; nor Jesus Christ, who is the truth, and the truth of God; the truth of types, promises, and prophecies; see Psalm 43:3; for he is the same today, yesterday, and for ever.

Praise ye the Lord; for his superabounding grace, and eternal truth; even all the people of God, of all nations, Jews and Gentiles.

(p) "exsuperavit", Vatablus; "invaluit", Junius & Tremellius, Piscator, Gejerus, Michaelis; "exuberavit", Cocceius.

For his merciful kindness is great toward us: and the {a} truth of the LORD endureth for ever. Praise ye the LORD.

(a) That is, the most certain and continual testimony of his fatherly graces.

2. For mighty hath been his lovingkindness toward us] Mighty as Israel’s transgressions have been (Psalm 65:3), God’s mercy has been mightier (Psalm 103:11-12; cp. Romans 5:20; 1 Timothy 1:14). Lovingkindness and truth are fundamental attributes of Jehovah’s character (Psalm 115:1, and often). St Paul unites them in the proposition in support of which he quotes Psalm 117:1. “I say that Christ hath been made a minister of the circumcision for the truth of God, that he might confirm the promises given unto the fathers, and that the Gentiles might glorify God for his mercy” (Romans 15:8-9).

Verse 2. - For his merciful kindness (or, his mercy) is great towards us; literally, has been great over us. The appeal is to history, and the mercy intended is that shown in God's continual protection of Israel. And the truth of the Lord endureth forever. God's "truth" is here, as so often, his faithfulness to his promises, the promises being especially those made to Abraham and David. His mercy and truth" to Israel were an indication of what the Gentiles might expect of him in his dealings with them (comp. Romans 15:8, 9).

Psalm 117:2The thanksgiving Psalm ending in Hallelujah is followed by this shortest of all the Psalms, a Hallelujah addressed to the heathen world. In its very brevity it is one of the grandest witnesses of the might with which, in the midst of the Old Testament, the world-wide mission of the religion of revelation struck against or undermined the national limitation. It is stamped by the apostle in Romans 15:11 as a locus classicus for the fore-ordained (gnadenrathschlussmssig) participation of the heathen in the promised salvation of Israel.

Even this shortest Psalm has its peculiarities in point of language. אמּים (Aramaic אמיּא, Arabic umam) is otherwise alien to Old Testament Hebrew. The Old Testament Hebrew is acquainted only with אמּות as an appellation of Ismaelitish of Midianitish tribes. כּל־גּוים are, as in Psalm 72:11, Psalm 72:17, all peoples without distinction, and כּל־האמּים all nations without exception. The call is confirmed from the might of the mercy or loving-kindness of Jahve, which proves itself mighty over Israel, i.e., by its intensity and fulness superabundantly covering (גּבר as in Psalm 103:11; cf. ὑπερεπερίσσευσε, Romans 5:20, ὑπερεπλεόνασε, 1 Timothy 1:14) human sin and infirmity; and from His truth, by virtue of which history on into eternity ends in a verifying of His promises. Mercy and truth are the two divine powers which shall one day be perfectly developed and displayed in Israel, and going forth from Israel, shall conquer the world.

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