Let Israel now say, that his mercy endures for ever.
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EXPOSITORY (ENGLISH BIBLE)Psalm 115:9.
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.
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 -
(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. 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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