Psalm 138:2
I will worship toward thy holy temple, and praise thy name for thy lovingkindness and for thy truth: for thou hast magnified thy word above all thy name.
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(2) Notice that “loving-kindness” and “truth” are joined as inseparable attributes of Jehovah in His relation to the chosen race.

For thou hast magnified—i.e., the promise made for help and deliverance has been fulfilled, and more than fulfilled. The psalmist often speaks of Jehovah’s name, or reputation, or honour being at stake. Here the poet can say that the praise won is even beyond what might have been expected. It is true this would have been expressed more in accordance with our expectation by “Thou hast magnified Thy Name above Thy promise;” but comp. Psalm 48:10 for a similar thought, and for the language comp. Tennyson’s:

“I am “become a name.”

The LXX. and Vulg. felt the difficulty too great, and render “Thy holy one,” instead of “Thy word.”

138:1-5 When we can praise God with our whole heart, we need not be unwilling for the whole world to witness our gratitude and joy in him. Those who rely on his loving-kindness and truth through Jesus Christ, will ever find him faithful to his word. If he spared not his own Son, how shall he not with him freely give us all things? If God gives us strength in our souls, to bear the burdens, resist the temptations, and to do the duties of an afflicted state, if he strengthens us to keep hold of himself by faith, and to wait with patience for the event, we are bound to be thankful.I will worship - I will bow down and adore.

Toward thy holy temple - See the notes at Psalm 5:7. The word temple here undoubtedly refers to the tabernacle.

And praise thy name for thy loving-kindness - Praise thee for thy benignity; thy mercy; thy benevolence.

And for thy truth - Thy truthfulness; thy faithfulness to thy promises.

For thou hast magnified thy word - Thou hast made it great. Compare Isaiah 42:21. The reference here is to the promises of God, and especially to the promise which God had made to David that the Messiah would descend from him. Compare 2 Samuel 7.

Above all thy name - Above all else that thou hast done; above all the other manifestations of thyself to me or to the world. The word name here would refer properly to all that God had done to make himself known - since it is by the name that we designate or distinguish anyone; and, thus understood, the meaning would be, that the word of God - the revelation which he has made of himself and of his gracious purposes to mankind - is superior in clearness, and in importance, to all the other manifestations which he has made of himself; all that can be known of him in his works. Beyond all question there are higher and clearer manifestations of himself, of his being, of his perfection, of his purposes, in the volume of revelation, than any which his works have disclosed or can disclose. Compare Psalm 19:1-14. There are very many points in relation to God, of the highest interest to mankind, on which the disclosures of science shed no light; there are many things which it is desirable for man to know, which calmer be learned in the schools of philosophy; there are consolations which man needs in a world of trouble which cannot be found in nature; there is especially a knowledge of the method by which sin may be pardoned, and the soul saved, which can never be disclosed by the blow-pipe, the telescope, or the microscope. These things, if learned at all must be learned from revelation, and these are of more importance to man as a traveler to another world than all the learning which can be acquired in the schools of philosophy - valuable as that learning is.

2. (Compare Ps 5:7).

thy word above all thy name—that is, God's promise (2Sa 7:12-16), sustained by His mercy and truth, exceeded all other manifestations of Himself as subject of praise.

Toward thy holy temple, where the ark was. He saith

toward it, because he was not permitted to enter into it.

For thou hast magnified thy word above all thy name; for thou hast glorified thy word or promise, or thy faithfulness in fulfilling thy promises unto me, more than any other of thy glorious perfections by which thou art known. Not that one of God’s attributes is really and in itself more great or glorious than another, or can be made so, but because one may be more celebrated and admired by men than another, as here God’s gracious promise made to David, and the wonderful accomplishment thereof in spite of all those difficulties which stood in the way, and which seemed to men to be insuperable, was at this time more observed and admired than any other of his attributes or actions. But here we must remember, that amongst the rest of the promises made to David, one was that the Messias should come out of his loins, and that those parts of the promised mercies which David had actually received were pledges to assure him that he should receive the rest in due time, and especially that great and eminent word of promise concerning the Messias, which might well be said to be magnified above all God’s name.

I will worship towards thy holy temple,.... Not the temple at Jerusalem, which was not yet built, though, when it was, the Jews in their devotions at a distance looked towards it, 1 Kings 8:38; but rather the tabernacle of Moses, in which was the ark, as Aben Ezra and Kimchi observe; and over that the mercy seat and cherubim, between which Jehovah dwelt; and this being a type of Christ's human nature, which was perfectly holy, and is called by himself a temple, and is the true tabernacle God pitched, and not man, John 2:19; he may be designed, and to him, as Mediator, should we look, and with him deal in all our devotions for acceptance with God; see Jonah 2:4; unless heaven itself is meant, which is the palace of Jehovah, the habitation of his holiness, his temple where he dwells, Psalm 11:4;

and praise thy name, for thy lovingkindness and for thy truth; which may primarily regard the goodness and grace of God in promising David the kingdom, and his faithfulness in making good the promise, and for both which he was under obligation to praise the name of the Lord; and holds good with respect to all other promises: and it may also signify the free favour and love of God to his people, which is from everlasting, is the source of all blessings, and is better than life; and the faithfulness of God to himself, his perfections, purposes and promises, council and covenant: it may be rendered, "for thy grace, and for thy truth" (m), which both come by Christ, John 1:17; grace may intend both the doctrine of grace, the Gospel of the grace of God preached by Christ, and the blessings of grace which come through him; as justification, pardon, adoption, sanctification, and eternal life, which are all of grace, and by Christ: and truth also may signify the word of truth, or solid substantial blessings, in distinction from typical ones; or the good things that come by Christ our High Priest, of which the law was only a shadow; and these are all of them things the name of the Lord is to be praised for;

for thou hast magnified thy word above all thy name; or "above every name of thine" (n); which Aben Ezra interprets of the glorious name Jehovah; the word God spake to Moses, the name in which he made himself known to him, and to the Israelites, he had not to their fathers, Exodus 3:14; but rather it is to be understood of God's word of promise, and his faithfulness in fulfilling it; which, though not a greater attribute than any other, yet is made more known and more illustrious than the rest; and particularly may regard the promise of the coming of the Messiah, and of the blessings of grace by him; Jarchi interprets it particularly of the pardon of sin. It may with propriety be applied to Christ, the essential Word, that was made flesh, and dwelt among men; whom God has highly exalted, and not only given him a name above every name of men on earth, but also above any particular name or attribute of his: or however he has magnified him "according" (o) to every name of his, it being his will that men should honour the Son as they honour the Father; or "with" (p) every name along with each of them; or "besides" (q) every name; for all these senses the word will bear. Some render them, as Ben Melech, "thou hast magnified above all things thy name" and "thy word"; or, as others, "thy name by thy word" (r); see Psalm 8:1; The Targum is,

"the words of thy praise above all thy name;''

or "over all thy name": everything by which he has made himself known in creation and providence; "thou hast magnified thy word", all being done according to the word said in himself, his decrees and purposes; or declared in his word and promises, whereby he has glorified it.

(m) So Cocceius, Gejerus, Michaelis. (n) "super omne nomen tuum", Cocceius, Michaelis. (o) "Secundum omne nomen tuum", Gejerus. (p) "Cum toto nomine tuo", Junius & Tremellius. (q) "Vel praeter omne nomen tuum", Piscator. (r) "Nomen tuum sermone tuo"; so some in Piscator.

I will worship toward thy holy {b} temple, and praise thy name for thy lovingkindness and for thy truth: for thou hast magnified thy word above all thy name.

(b) Both the temple and ceremonial service at Christ's coming were abolished: so that now God will be worshipped only in spirit and truth, Joh 4:23.

Verse 2. - I will worship toward thy holy temple. The term "temple" here must designate the tabernacle (comp. Psalm 5:8). And praise thy Name for thy loving-kindness and for thy truth. "Mercy" and "truth" are God's two highest attributes (Exodus 34:6). They were especially shown to Israel in God's promises and his fidelity to them. For thou hast magnified thy Word above all thy Name. Some would amend the text, and read אמתך, "thy truth," for, אמרתך "thy Word." But if we keep the text, and understand אמרתך as "thy promises," the sense will not be very different. God has magnified his promise, and his faithfulness to it, above all his other revealed attributes. Psalm 138:2The poet will give thanks to Him, whom he means without mentioning Him by name, for His mercy, i.e., His anticipating, condescending love, and for His truth, i.e., truthfulness and faithfulness, and more definitely for having magnified His promise (אמרה) above all His Name, i.e., that He has given a promise which infinitely surpasses everything by which He has hitherto established a name and memorial for Himself (על־כּל־שׁמך, with ō instead of ŏ, an anomaly that is noted by the Masora, vid., Baer's Psalterium, p. 133). If the promise by the mouth of Nathan (2 Samuel 7) is meant, then we may compare 2 Samuel 7:21. גּדל, גּדול, גּדלּה are repeated in that promise and its echo coming from the heart of David so frequently, that this הגדּלתּ seems like a hint pointing to that history, which is one of the most important crises in the history of salvation. The expression נגד אלהים also becomes intelligible from this history. Ewald renders it: "in the presence of God!" which is surely meant to say: in the holy place (De Wette, Olshausen). But "before God will I sing praise to Thee (O God!)" - what a jumble! The lxx renders ἐναντίον ἀγγέλων, which is in itself admissible and full of meaning,

(Note: Bellarmine: Scio me psallentem tibi ab angelis, qui tibi assistunt, videri et attendi et ideo ita considerate me geram in psallendo, ut qui intelligam, in quo theatro consistam.)

but without coherence in the context of the Psalm, and also is to be rejected because it is on the whole very questionable whether the Old Testament language uses אלהים thus, without anything further to define it, in the sense of "angels." It might be more readily rendered "in the presence of the gods," viz., of the gods of the peoples (Hengstenberg, Hupfeld, and Hitzig); but in order to be understood of gods which are only seemingly such, it would require some addition. Whereas אלהים can without any addition denote the magisterial possessors of the dignity that is the type of the divine, as follows from Psalm 82:1 (cf. Psalm 45:7) in spite of Knobel, Graf, and Hupfeld; and thus, too (cf. נגד מלכים in Psalm 119:46), we understand it here, with Rashi, Aben-Ezra, Kimchi, Falminius, Bucer, Clericus, and others. What is meant are "the great who are in the earth," 2 Samuel 7:9, with whom David, inasmuch as he became king from being a shepherd, is ranked, and above whom he has been lifted up by the promise of an eternal kingship. Before these earthly "gods" will David praise the God of the promise; they shall hear for their salutary confusion, for their willing rendering of homage, that God hath made him "the highest with respect to the kings of the earth" (Psalm 89:28).

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