Psalm 118:2
Let Israel now say, that his mercy endures for ever.
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EXPOSITORY (ENGLISH BIBLE)
118:1-18 The account the psalmist here gives of his troubles is very applicable to Christ: many hated him without a cause; nay, the Lord himself chastened him sorely, bruised him, and put him to grief, that by his stripes we might be healed. God is sometimes the strength of his people, when he is not their song; they have spiritual supports, though they want spiritual delights. Whether the believer traces back his comfort to the everlasting goodness and mercy of God, or whether he looks forward to the blessing secured to him, he will find abundant cause for joy and praise. Every answer to our prayers is an evidence that the Lord is on our side; and then we need not fear what man can do unto us; we should conscientiously do our duty to all, and trust in him alone to accept and bless us. Let us seek to live to declare the works of God, and to encourage others to serve him and trust in him. Such were the triumphs of the Son of David, in the assurance that the good pleasure of the Lord should prosper in his hand.Let Israel now say ... - The Hebrew people; the people of God. They have now, in my case, a new illustration of the mercy of God which ought to animate them, and to encourage their hearts. Compare Psalm 115:9. PSALM 118

Ps 118:1-29. After invoking others to unite in praise, the writer celebrates God's protecting and delivering care towards him, and then represents himself and the people of God as entering the sanctuary and uniting in solemn praise, with prayer for a continued blessing. Whether composed by David on his accession to power, or by some later writer in memory of the restoration from Babylon, its tone is joyful and trusting, and, in describing the fortune and destiny of the Jewish Church and its visible head, it is typically prophetical of the Christian Church and her greater and invisible Head.

1-4. The trine repetitions are emphatic (compare Ps 118:10-12, 15, 16; 115:12, 13).

Let … say—Oh! that Israel may say.

now—as in Ps 115:2; so in Ps 118:3, 4. After "now say" supply "give thanks."

that his mercy—or, "for His mercy."

Israel, after the flesh, all the tribes and people of Israel, except the Levites. Let Israel now say, that his mercy endureth for ever. Let such who have had an experience of it acknowledge and declare it to others; not only believe in it with their hearts, and privately give thanks for it, but with the mouth make confession of it to the glory of divine grace; not only literal Israel, whom the Lord brought out of Egypt, led and fed in the wilderness, and settled in the land of Canaan; and to whom the law and the services of God, the covenants and promises, word and ordinances, belonged; and who now were so happy under the government of such a king as David; but also the spiritual Israel of God, the whole Israel of God, Jews and Gentiles, under the Gospel dispensation; the Israel whom God has chosen, Christ has redeemed, and the Spirit effectually calls and sanctifies; such who are Israelites indeed, who have been encouraged to hope in the Lord, and in his mercy, and are made partakers of it; these should speak of the grace and mercy of God, and the continuance of it, for the encouragement of others. Let Israel now say, that his mercy endureth for ever.
EXEGETICAL (ORIGINAL LANGUAGES)
Verse 2. - Let Israel now say, that his mercy endureth forever. (For the triple division of the people made in this and the next two verses -

(1) Israel,

(2) house of Aaron,

(3) those who fear the Lord - see Psalm 115:9-11, and 12, 13.)

The nature of the division is considered in the comment on Psalm 115:11. From what he has experienced the poet infers that the saints of Jahve are under His most especial providence. Instead of המּות the poet, who is fond of such embellishments, chooses the pathetic form המּותה, and consequently, instead of the genitival construct state (מות), the construction with the Lamed of "belonging to." It ought properly to be "soul" or "blood," as in the primary passage Psalm 72:14. But the observation of Grotius: quae pretiosa sunt, non facile largimur, applies also to the expression "death." The death of His saints is no trifling matter with God; He does not lightly suffer it to come about; He does not suffer His own to be torn away from Him by death.

(Note: The Apostolic Constitutions (vi. 30) commend the singing of these and other words of the Psalms at the funerals of those who have departed in the faith (cf. Augusti, Denkwrdigkeiten, ix. 563). In the reign of the Emperor Decius, Babylas Bishop of Antioch, full of blessed hope, met death singing these words.)

After this the poet goes on beseechingly: ānnáh Adonaj. The prayer itself is not contained in פּתּחתּ למוסרי - for he is already rescued, and the perfect as a precative is limited to such utterances spoken in the tone of an exclamation as we find in Job 21:16 - but remains unexpressed; it lies wrapped up as it were in this heartfelt ānnáh: Oh remain still so gracious to me as Thou hast already proved Thyself to me. The poet rejoices in and is proud of the fact that he may call himself the servant of God. With אמתך he is mindful of his pious mother (cf. Psalm 86:16). The Hebrew does not form a feminine, עבדּה; Arab. amata signifies a maid, who is not, as such, also Arab. ‛abdat, a slave. The dative of the object, למוסרי (from מוסרים for the more usual מוסרות), is used with פתחת instead of the accusative after the Aramaic manner, but it does also occur in the older Hebrew (e.g., Job 19:3; Isaiah 53:11). The purpose of publicly giving thanks to the Gracious One is now more full-toned here at the close. Since such emphasis is laid on the Temple and the congregation, what is meant is literal thank-offerings in payment of vows. In בּתוככי (as in Psalm 135:9) we have in the suffix the ancient and Aramaic i((cf. Psalm 116:7) for the third time. With אנּה the poet clings to Jahve, with נגדּה־נּא to the congregation, and with בּתוככי to the holy city. The one thought that fills his whole soul, and in which the song which breathes forth his soul dies away, is Hallelujah.

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