Psalm 138:5
Yes, they shall sing in the ways of the LORD: for great is the glory of the LORD.
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EXPOSITORY (ENGLISH BIBLE)
(5) In the ways.—Rather, of the ways, this preposition being so used frequently after verbs of speaking praising (comp. Psalm 20:7; Psalm 44:8; Psalm 87:3; Psalm 105:2), though there is no parallel instance of such a use with this particular verb sing.

For ways used of God’s mighty works in creation see Job 26:14; Job 40:19; of His action in history, Psalm 18:30; Deuteronomy 32:4. It seems against the parallelism to understand literally that the heathen kings would come to walk in God’s ways—i.e., in righteousness, and so praise Him, as in Micah 4:2. The meaning is that heathen monarchs will be compelled to acknowledge the glory of Jehovah.

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.Yea, they shall sing in the ways of the Lord - In the ways which God has appointed. They shall join with all that love him - with the humblest of the people - in acknowledging God. Kings and people shall thus bow before God in common acts of praise, and as being on the same level before him. As people, as sinners, as redeemed, as traveling to the grave, they are all alike before God.

For great is the glory of the Lord - Great is his character; great his dignity; great his honor; and all this will be seen to be so when those of most exalted rank thus worship and adore him. The most lofty on earth shall acknowledge that there is one who is more exalted than they are, and their own dignity and splendor shall thus contribute to deepen the impression of the honor and glory of God.

5. for great is the glory—or, "when the glory shall be great," in God's fulfilling His purposes of redemption. In the ways of the Lord; or, of, or for, or because of the ways of the Lord, i.e. his wonderful counsel and gracious providences towards themselves and others.

Great is the glory; or, great shall be the glory. At that time the worship and glory of God shall not be confined to one small land, as now it is, but shall be extended to all the parts of the world. Yea, they shall sing in the ways of the Lord,.... Which are all mercy and truth; ways of pleasantness, and paths of peace: so the eunuch went on his way, and in the ways of the Lord rejoicing, Acts 8:39; Or, "they shall sing of the ways of the Lord" (t); of the excellency, pleasure, and usefulness of them;

for great is the glory of the Lord; shown in the works of creation; more especially in the person of Christ, and in the glorious work of redemption and salvation by him; and of which there will be a great display throughout the earth in the latter day, by means of the Gospel, the great spread of it, and the multitude of persons converted by it; which will make the ways of the Lord still more pleasant; see Isaiah 6:3.

(t) "de viis Jehovae", Piscator, Schmidt; so some in Vatablus.

Yea, they shall sing in the ways of the LORD: for great is the glory of the LORD.
EXEGETICAL (ORIGINAL LANGUAGES)
5. they shall sing of the ways of Jehovah] They will celebrate His providential methods of dealing with His people. For ways cp. Psalm 103:7.

the glory of Jehovah] The revelation of His power and majesty in the deliverance of Israel. Cp. Isaiah 40:5; Isaiah 60:1.Verse 5. - Yea, they shall sing in the ways of the Lord. They, i.e. the kings, shall sing, no longer in their own misguided heathen ways, but in the ways of the Lord, in the mode prescribed by his Law and practiced in his temple (comp. Isaiah 49:22, 23; Isaiah 60:8-5, etc.). For great is the glory of the Lord. (cf. Isaiah 60:1-3; Isaiah 66:18.) It is this "glory" which attracts "all nations and tongues." The second part of the Psalm supplicates vengeance upon Edom and Babylon. We see from Obadiah's prophecy, which is taken up again by Jeremiah, how shamefully the Edomites, that brother-people related by descent to Israel and yet pre-eminently hostile to it, behaved in connection with the destruction of Jerusalem by the Chaldaeans as their malignant, rapacious, and inhuman helpers. The repeated imper. Piel ערוּ, from ערה (not imper. Kal from ערר, which would be ערוּ), ought to have been accented on the ult.; it is, however, in both cases accented on the first syllable, the pausal ערוּ (cf. כּלוּ in Psalm 37:20, and also הסּוּ, Nehemiah 8:11) giving rise to the same accentuation of the other (in order that two tone-syllables might not come together). The Pasek also stands between the two repeated words in order that they may be duly separated, and secures, moreover, to the guttural initial of the second ערוּ its distinct pronunciation (cf. Genesis 26:28; Numbers 35:16). It is to be construed: lay bare, lay bare (as in Habakkuk 3:13, cf. גּלּה in Micah 1:6) in it (Beth of the place), of in respect of it (Beth of the object), even to the foundation, i.e., raze it even to the ground, leave not one stone upon another. From the false brethren the imprecation turns to Babylon, the city of the imperial power of the world. The daughter, i.e., the population, of Babylon is addressed as השּׁדוּדה. It certainly seems the most natural to take this epithet as a designation of its doings which cry for vengeance. But it cannot in any case be translated: thou plunderer (Syriac like the Targum: bozuzto; Symmachus ἡ λῃστρίς), for שׁדד does not mean to rob and plunder, but to offer violence and to devastate. Therefore: thou devastator; but the word so pointed as we have it before us cannot have this signification: it ought to be השּׁדודה, like בּגודה in Jeremiah 3:7, Jeremiah 3:10, or השּׁדוּדה (with an unchangeable ā), corresponding to the Syriac active intensive form ālûṣo, oppressor, gōdûfo, slanderer, and the Arabic likewise active intensive form Arab. fâ‛ûl, e.g., fâshûs, a boaster, and also as an adjective: ǵôz fâshûs, empty nuts, cf. יקוּשׁ equals יקושׁ, a fowler, like nâṭûr (נאטור), a field-watcher. The form as it stands is part. pass., and signifies προνενομευμένη (Aquila), vastata (Jerome). It is possible that this may be said in the sense of vastanda, although in this sense of a part. fut. pass. the participles of the Niphal (e.g., Psalm 22:32; Psalm 102:19) and of the Pual (Psalm 18:4) are more commonly used. It cannot at any rate signify vastata in an historical sense, with reference to the destruction of Babylon by Darius Hystaspes (Hengstenberg); for Psalm 137:7 only prays that the retribution may come: it cannot therefore as yet have been executed; but if השׁדודה signified the already devastated one, it must (at least in the main) have been executed already. It might be more readily understood as a prophetical representation of the executed judgment of devastation; but this prophetic rendering coincides with the imprecative: the imagination of the Semite when he utters a curse sees the future as a realized fact. "Didst thou see the smitten one (maḍrûb)," i.e., he whom God must smite? Thus the Arab inquires for a person who is detested. "Pursue him who is seized (ilḥaḳ el̇ma'chûdh)," i.e., him whom God must allow thee to seize! Thy speak thus inasmuch as the imagination at once anticipates the seizure at the same time with the pursuit. Just as here both maḍrûb and ma'chûdh are participles of Kasl, so therefore השּׁדוּודה may also have the sense of vastanda (which must be laid waste!). That which is then further desired for Babylon is the requital of that which it has done to Israel, Isaiah 47:6. It is the same penal destiny, comprehending the children also, which is predicted against it in Isaiah 13:16-18, as that which was to be executed by the Medes. The young children (with reference to עולל, עולל, vid., on Psalm 8:3) are to be dashed to pieces in order that a new generation may not raise up again the world-wide dominion that has been overthrown, Isaiah 14:21. It is zeal for God that puts such harsh words into the mouth of the poet. "That which is Israel's excellency and special good fortune the believing Israelite desires to have bestowed upon the whole world, but for this very reason he desires to see the hostility of the present world of nations against the church of God broken" (Hofmann). On the other hand, it cannot be denied that the "blessed" of this Psalm is not suited to the mouth of the New Testament church. In the Old Testament the church as yet had the form of a nation, and the longing for the revelation of divine righteousness clothed itself accordingly in a warlike garb.
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