Psalm 145:8
The LORD is gracious, and full of compassion; slow to anger, and of great mercy.
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(8) Comp. Psalm 86:15; Psalm 103:8; Psalm 111:4.

Psalm 145:8-13. The Lord is gracious, &c. — See notes on Exodus 34:6-7; and Numbers 14:18. The Lord is good to all — Not only to Israel, but to all mankind, whose hearts he fills with food and gladness, as is said Acts 14:17; yea, to all his creatures, to beasts as well as men. All thy works praise thee — They give men and angels just occasion to praise thee; for they set forth thy glory, and manifest thy infinite perfections. And thy saints bless thee — Give thanks for thy goodness with grateful hearts. God’s other works praise him, as a beautiful building commends the builder, or a well-drawn picture the painter; but the saints bless him as the children of prudent, tender parents rise up and call them blessed. Of all God’s works, his saints, the first-fruits of his creatures, have most reason to bless him. They shall speak of the glory of thy kingdom — Of which they are loyal subjects, and the blessings and glories of which they make it their business to publish to the world, that mankind may be thereby induced to submit their hearts and lives to so gracious a sceptre as that of the Messiah, and that his dominion may become “as universal in its extent as it is everlasting in its duration.”145:1-9 Those who, under troubles and temptations, abound in fervent prayer, shall in due season abound in grateful praise, which is the true language of holy joy. Especially we should speak of God's wondrous work of redemption, while we declare his greatness. For no deliverance of the Israelites, nor the punishment of sinners, so clearly proclaims the justice of God, as the cross of Christ exhibits it to the enlightened mind. It may be truly said of our Lord Jesus Christ, that his words are words of goodness and grace; his works are works of goodness and grace. He is full of compassion; hence he came into the world to save sinners. When on earth, he showed his compassion both to the bodies and souls of men, by healing the one, and making wise the other. He is of great mercy, a merciful High Priest, through whom God is merciful to sinners.The Lord is gracious - See Psalm 86:5, note; Psalm 86:15, note.

And full of compassion - Kind; compassionate; ready to do good. See the notes at Psalm 103:8.

Slow to anger - See Psalm 103:8, where the same expression occurs.

And of great mercy - Margin, great in mercy. His greatness is shown in his mercy; and the manifestation of that mercy is great: great, as on a large scale; great, as manifested toward great sinners; great, in the sacrifice made that it may be displayed; great, in the completeness with which sin is pardoned - pardoned so as to be remembered no more.

8, 9. (Compare Ps 103:8; 111:4).

over all, &c.—rests on all His works.

8 The Lord is gracious, and full of compassion; slow to anger, and of great mercy.

9 The Lord is good to all, and his tender mercies are over all his works.

10 All thy works shall praise thee, O Lord; and thy saints shall bless thee.

Psalm 145:8

"The Lord is gracious." Was it not in some such terms that the Lord revealed himself to Moses? Is not this Jehovah's glory? To all living men this is his aspect: he is gracious, or full of goodness and generosity. He treats his creatures with kindness, his subjects with consideration, and his saints with favour. His words and ways, his promises and his gifts, his plans and his purposes all manifest his grace, or free favour. There is nothing suspicious, prejudiced, morose, tyrannical, or unapproachable in Jehovah, - he is condescending and kind. "And full of compassion." To the suffering, the weak, the foolish, the despondent, he is very pitiful: he feels for them, he feels with them: he does this heartily, and in a practical manner. Of this pitifulness he is full, so that he compassionates freely, constantly, deeply, divinely, and effectually. In God is fulness in a sense not known among men, and this fulness is all fragrant with sympathy for human misery. If the Lord be full of compassion there is no room in him for forgetfulness or harshness, and none should suspect him thereof. What an ocean of compassion there must be since the Infinite God is full of it. "Slow to anger." Even those who refuse his grace yet share in long-suffering. When men do not repent, but, on the contrary, go from bad to worse, he is still averse to let his wrath flame forth against them. Greatly patient and extremely anxious that the sinner may live, he "lets the lifted thunder drop," and still forbears. "Love suffereth long and is kind," and God is love. "And of great mercy." This is his attitude towards the guilty. When men at last repent, they find pardon awaiting them. Great is their sin, and great is God's mercy. They need great help, and they have it though they deserve it not; for he is greatly good to the greatly guilty.

Psalm 145:9

"The Lord is good to all." No one, not even his fiercest enemy, can deny this; for the falsehood would be too barefaced, since the very existence of the lips which slander him is a proof that it is slander. He allows his enemies to live, he even supplies them with food, and smooths their way with many comforts; for them the sun shines as brightly as if they were saints, and the rain waters their fields as plentifully as if they were perfect men. Is not this goodness to all? In our own land the gospel sounds in the ears of all who care to listen; and the Scriptures are within reach of the poorest child. It would be a wanton wresting of Scripture to limit this expression to the elect, as some have tried to do, we rejoice in electing love, but none the less we welcome the glorious truth, "Jehovah is good to all."

"And his tender mercies are over all his works." Not "his new, covenant works," as one read it the other day who was wise above that which is written, yea, contrary to that which is written. Kindness is a law of God's universe, the world was planned for happiness; even now that sin has so sadly marred God's handiwork, and introduced elements which were not from the beginning, the Lord has so arranged matters that the fall is broken, the curse is met by an antidote, and the inevitable pain is softened with mitigations. Even in this sin-stricken world, under its disordered economy, there are abundant traces of a hand skilful to soothe distress and heal disease. That which makes life bearable is the tenderness of the great Father. - This is seen in the creation of an insect as well as in the ruling of nations. The Creator is never rough, the Provider is never forgetful, the Ruler is never cruel. Nothing is done to create disease, no organs are arranged to promote misery; the incoming of sickness and pain is not according to the original design, but a result of our disordered state. Man's body as it left the Maker's hand was neither framed for disease, decay, nor death, neither was the purpose of it discomfort and anguish; far otherwise, it was framed for a joyful activity, and a peaceful enjoyment of God. Jehovah has in great consideration laid up in the world cures for our ailments, and helps for our feebleness, and if many of these have been long in their discovery, it is because it was more for man's benefit to find them out himself, than to have them labelled and placed in order before his eyes. We may be sure of this, that Jehovah has never taken delight in the ills of his creatures, but has sought their good, and laid himself out to alleviate the distresses into which they have guiltily plunged themselves.

The duty of kindness to animals may logically be argued from this verse. Should not the children of God be like their Father in kindness?

Psalm 145:10

"All thy works shall praise thee, O Lord." There is a something about every creature which redounds to the honour of God. The skill, kindness, and power manifested in the formation of each living thing is in itself to the praise of God, and when observed by an intelligent mind the Lord is honoured thereby. Some works praise him by their being, and others by their well-being; some by their mere existence, and others by their hearty volition. "And thy saints shall bless thee." These holy ones come nearer, and render sweeter adoration. Men have been known to praise those whom they hated, as we may admire the prowess of a warrior who is our foe; but saints lovingly praise, and therefore are said to "bless." They wish well to God; they would make him more blessed, if such a thing were possible; they desire blessings upon his cause and his children, and invoke success upon his work and warfare. None but blessed men will bless the Lord. Only saints or holy ones will bless the thrice holy God. If we praise Jehovah because of his works around us, we must go on to bless him for his works within us. Let the two "shalls" of this verse be fulfilled, especially the latter one.

No text from Poole on this verse. The Lord is gracious,.... These are the epithets of our Lord Jesus Christ, and may be truly and with great propriety said of him; he is "gracious", kind, and good, in the instances before mentioned; he is full of grace, and readily distributes it; his words are words of grace; his Gospel, and the doctrines of it, are doctrines of grace; his works are works of grace, all flowing from his wondrous grace and mercy:

and full of compassion: or "merciful" (d), in the most tender manner; hence he came into the world to save sinners, and in his pity redeemed them; and when on earth showed his compassion both to the bodies and souls of men, by healing the one and instructing the other; and particularly had compassion on the ignorant, and them that were out of the way; pitying those that were as sheep without a shepherd, as the blind Jews under their blind guides were; and is very compassionate to his people under all their temptations, afflictions, trials, and exercises; see Hebrews 2:17;

slow to anger; to the wicked Jews, though often provoked by their calumnies and reproaches, and by their ill behaviour to him in various instances; yet we never read but once of his being angry, and that was through grief at the hardness of their hearts, Mark 3:5; and likewise to his own disciples, who were often froward and perverse, and of bad spirits, very troublesome and afflictive to him, yet he patiently bore with them:

and of great mercy; a merciful High Priest, typified by the mercy seat, where we may find grace and mercy at all times; through whom God is merciful to sinners, and to whose mercy we are to look for eternal life.

(d) "misericors", V. L. Tigurine version, Musculus, Piscator, Cocceius, Michaelis.

The LORD is gracious, and full of {e} compassion; slow to anger, and of great mercy.

(e) He describes after what sort God shows himself to all his creatures though our sins have provoked his vengeance against all: that is, merciful not only in pardoning the sins of his elect, but in doing good even to the reprobate, although they cannot feel the sweet comfort of the same.

8. Taken almost verbatim from Exodus 34:6, Jehovah’s great revelation of Himself as a God of condescending grace and infinite compassion, Whose Will is love, and Whose wrath is only manifested in the last resort against the hardened and impenitent. Cp. Psalm 103:8; Psalm 86:15; Joel 2:13; Jonah 4:2; Nehemiah 9:17; Nehemiah 9:31.

of great mercy] Lit. great in lovingkindness.Verse 8. - The Lord is gracious, and full of compassion; slow to anger, and of great mercy. Professor Cheyne compares the epithets in a Babylonian hymn to the sun-god; but a closer parallel is to be found in Exodus 34:6, 7, "The Lord God is merciful and gracious, long-suffering, and abundant in goodness and truth, keeping mercy for thousands, forgiving iniquity, and transgression, and sin" (see also Psalm 86:15). The strains with which this hymn opens are familiar Psalm-strains. We are reminded of Psalm 30:2, and the likewise alphabetical song of praise and thanksgiving Psalm 34:2. The plena scriptio אלוהי in Psalm 143:10; Psalm 98:6. The language of address "my God the King," which sounds harsh in comparison with the otherwise usual "my King and my God" (Psalm 5:3; Psalm 84:4), purposely calls God with unrelated generality, that is to say in the most absolute manner, the King. If the poet is himself a king, the occasion for this appellation of God is all the more natural and the signification all the more pertinent. But even in the mouth of any other person it is significant. Whosoever calls God by such a name acknowledges His royal prerogative, and at the same time does homage to Him and binds himself to allegiance; and it is just this confessory act of exalting Him who in Himself is the absolutely lofty One that is here called רומם. But who can the poet express the purpose of praising God's Name for ever? Because the praise of God is a need of his inmost nature, he has a perfect right to forget his own mortality when engaged upon this devotion to the ever-living King. Clinging adoringly to the Eternal One, he must seem to himself to be eternal; and if there is a practical proof for a life after death, it is just this ardent desire of the soul, wrought of God Himself, after the praise of the God of its life (lit., its origin) which affords it the highest, noblest delight. The idea of the silent Hades, which forces itself forward elsewhere, as in Psalm 6:6, where the mind of the poet is beclouded by sin, is here entirely removed, inasmuch as here the mind of the poet is the undimmed mirror of the divine glory. Therefore Psalm 145:2 also does not concede the possibility of any interruption of the praise: the poet will daily (Psalm 68:20) bless God, be they days of prosperity or of sorrow, uninterruptedly in all eternity will he glorify His Name (אהללה as in Psalm 69:31). There is no worthier and more exhaustless object of praise (Psalm 145:3): Jahve is great, and greatly to be praised (מהלּל, taken from Psalm 48:2, as in Psalm 96:4, cf. Psalm 18:4), and of His "greatness" (cf. 1 Chronicles 29:11, where this attribute precedes all others) there is no searching out, i.e., it is so abysmally deep that no searching can reach its bottom (as in Isaiah 40:28; Job 11:7.). It has, however, been revealed, and is being revealed continually, and is for this very reason thus celebrated in Psalm 145:4 : one generation propagates to the next the growing praise of the works that He has wrought out (עשׂה מעשׁים), and men are able to relate all manner of proofs of His victorious power which prevails over everything, and makes everything subject to itself (גּבוּרת as in Psalm 20:7, and frequently). This historically manifest and traditional divine doxa and the facts (דּברי as in Psalm 105:27) of the divine wonders the poet will devoutly consider. הדר stands in attributive relation to כּבוד, as this on its part does to הודך. Thy brilliantly gloriously (kingly) majesty (cf. Jeremiah 22:18; Daniel 11:21). The poet does not say גּם אני, nor may we insert it, either here in Psalm 145:5, or in Psalm 145:6, where the same sequence of thoughts recurs, more briefly expressed. The emphasis lies on the objects. The mightiness (עזוּז as in Psalm 78:4, and in Isaiah 42:25, where it signifies violence) of His terrible acts shall pass from mouth to mouth (אמר with a substantival object as in Psalm 40:11), and His mighty acts (גּדלּות, magnalia, as in 1 Chronicles 17:19, 1 Chronicles 17:21) - according to the Ker (which is determined by the suffix of אספּרנּה; cf. however, 2 Samuel 22:23; 2 Kings 3:3; 2 Kings 10:26, and frequently): His greatness (גּדלּה) - will he also on his part make the matter of his narrating. It is, however, not alone the awe-inspiring majesty of God which is revealed in history, but also the greatness (רב used as a substantive as in Psalm 31:20; Isaiah 63:7; Isaiah 21:7, whereas רבּים in Psalm 32:10; Psalm 89:51 is an adjective placed before the noun after the manner of a numeral), i.e., the abundant measure, of His goodness and His righteousness, i.e., His acting in inviolable correspondence with His counsel and order of salvation. The memory of the transcendent goodness of God is the object of universal, overflowing acknowledgement and the righteousness of God is the object of universal exultation (רנּן with the accusative as in Psalm 51:16; Psalm 59:17). After the poet has sung the glorious self-attestation of God according to both its sides, the fiery and the light sides, he lingers by the light side, the front side of the Name of Jahve unfolded in Exodus 34:6.
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