Psalm 148:14
He also exalts the horn of his people, the praise of all his saints; even of the children of Israel, a people near to him. Praise you the LORD.
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(14) He hath . . .—Render, and he hath raised a horn for his people. Praise is for all His saints, for the sons of Israel, a people near Him.

The raising of the horn evidently implies some victory, or assurance of victory, which, no doubt, gave the first impulse for this song of praise. (See Introduction). For the figure see Note, Psalm 75:4-5.

The verse is a repetition of a frequent statement of the Psalms. While poetically all the universe, inanimate as well as animate, all men, heathen as well as Hebrews, can be called to sing “hallelujah,” it remains as it has ever been, the covenant privilege of Israel. This explanation disposes at once of the charge which has been brought against this verse of narrowing a grand universal anthem, and ending the psalm with an anti-climax.

148:7-14 Even in this world, dark and bad as it is, God is praised. The powers of nature, be they ever so strong, so stormy, do what God appoints them, and no more. Those that rebel against God's word, show themselves to be more violent than even the stormy winds, yet they fulfil it. View the surface of the earth, mountains and all hills; from the barren tops of some, and the fruitful tops of others, we may fetch matter for praise. And assuredly creatures which have the powers of reason, ought to employ themselves in praising God. Let all manner of persons praise God. Those of every rank, high and low. Let us show that we are his saints by praising his name continually. He is not only our Creator, but our Redeemer; who made us a people near unto him. We may by the Horn of his people understand Christ, whom God has exalted to be a Prince and a Saviour, who is indeed the defence and the praise of all his saints, and will be so for ever. In redemption, that unspeakable glory is displayed, which forms the source of all our hopes and joys. May the Lord pardon us, and teach our hearts to love him more and praise him better.He also exalteth the horn of his people - He gives them power and prosperity. See the notes at Psalm 89:17 : "And in thy favor our horn shall be exalted." Compare Psalm 92:10; Psalm 112:9.

The praise of all his saints - That is, "he has raised up praise for all his saints;" or, has given them occasion for praise. He has so blessed them with special mercies as to make praise especially appropriate for them.

Even of the children of Israel, a people near unto him - whom he admits to his presence as his friends; whom he regards as his own. See the notes at Ephesians 2:13; compare the notes at Acts 2:39.

Praise ye the Lord - Hallelu-jah. Let all unite in his praise.

14. exalteth the horn—established power (Ps 75:5, 6).

praise of—or literally, "for"

his saints—that is, occasions for them to praise Him. They are further described as "His people," and "near unto Him," sustaining by covenanted care a peculiarly intimate relation.

Exalteth the horn of his people, to wit, above the horns of all the people in the world, in respect of their spiritual and eternal privileges, as it here follows.

The horn in Scripture doth commonly note strength, victory, glory, and felicity, as Deu 33:17, and everywhere.

The praise; either,

1. He is the praise, as God is called, Deu 10:21, to wit, the God of their praise, as Psalm 119:1, the chiefest object and matter of it: or,

2. Which is the praise; which work of God in exalting their horn is their glory, and maketh them praiseworthy, or obligeth and provoketh them in a singular manner to perform this great duty of praising God, which is so generally neglected by others. Near unto him, by special relation, and friendship, and covenant, and by familiar intercourses; God manifesting his face and favour to them, and they frequently and solemnly approaching into his presence, and worshipping him at his footstool. He also exalteth the horn of his people,.... Which is done when he increases their strength, their spiritual strength especially; makes them strong in the Lord, in his grace, and in the power of his might; when their dominion and authority is enlarged, and victory given over all their enemies; particularly when the kingdom under the whole heaven shall be given to them, and when they shall reign with Christ on earth; for this phrase denotes the honourable as well as the safe state of the people of God; the horn being an emblem of power, authority, and dominion, on; the Targum renders it, the glory of his people; see Psalm 75:10. Some interpret this of Christ the Horn of David, the Horn of salvation, and the author of it, Psalm 132:17; who is King over his people, as a horn signifies; and is the strength, safety, and security of them; has gotten them the victory over all their enemies, and is now exalted in heaven at the right hand of God, and that "for his people" (g), as it may be rendered; he is both raised up and exalted for them;

the praise of all his saints; that is, the Lord is the object of the praise of all his saints, to whom he has showed favour and kindness, and on whom he has bestowed the blessings of his grace; it is matter of praise that they are saints, set apart by God the Father, sanctified by the blood of Christ, and by the Spirit of God; and that their horn is exalted, or they raised to dignity and honour; and that Christ is raised and lifted up as an horn for them, 1 Corinthians 1:30, Luke 1:68;

even of the children of Israel; not literal but spiritual Israel, such who are Israelites indeed, whether Jews or Gentiles;

a people near unto him; in respect of union, being one with him, in the bond of everlasting love; in respect of relation, being near akin, he their father, they his children, not by creation only, but by adopting grace; and Christ their near kinsman, nay, their father, brother, head, and husband; in respect of access unto him, which they have through Christ, with boldness and confidence, being made nigh and brought near by the blood of Christ; in respect of communion and the enjoyment of his gracious presence; and in respect of inhabitation, God, Father, Son, and Spirit, dwelling in them, and making their abode with them: or, as it may be rendered, "the people of his near one" (h); that is, of Christ, who is near to God his Father, is one with him, was with him from everlasting, was as one brought up with him, yea, lay in his bosom, drew nigh to him as the surety of his people, and offered himself a sacrifice to him as their Priest, and now is set down at his right hand as their King; and where he also appears for them, is their advocate, and ever lives to intercede for them;

praise ye the Lord: even all creatures, especially his saints, his people, the children of Israel, the last spoken of.

(g) "cornu populo suo", Pagninus, Montanus, Tigurine version, Cocceius, Michaelis. (h) "populo propinqui sui", Cocceius, Schmidt.

He also exalteth the {h} horn of his people, the praise of all his saints; even of the {i} children of Israel, a people near unto him. Praise ye the LORD.

(h) That is, the dignity, power and glory of his Church.

(i) By reason of his covenant made with Abraham.

14. Israel’s special ground for praise.

And he nath lifted up a horn for his people] He has once more given to Israel dignity and power. For the metaphor cp. Psalm 75:4; Psalm 89:17; Psalm 89:24; Psalm 92:10, note.

The rendering of P.B.V., he shall exalt, is that of the LXX, ὑψώσει, and is adopted by some critics. But the tense expresses accomplished fact more naturally than confident anticipation.

the praise of all his saints] Lit. a praise for all his beloved; best taken in apposition to the preceding clause to mean that this national restoration is a theme of praise for all the members of the covenant people. The words may however be in apposition to the subject of the verb, and refer to Jehovah: He … who is the praise &c.: cp. Deuteronomy 10:21, “He is thy praise.” So the LXX, paraphrased in P.B.V., “all his saints shall praise him.”

a people near unto him] Jehovah was ‘near’ to Israel (Deuteronomy 4:7; Psalm 145:18); and Israel, as “a kingdom of priests” (Exodus 19:6), stood in a unique relation of nearness to Jehovah. Cp. Psalm 65:4, note; Numbers 16:5; Jeremiah 30:21. That relation, which seemed to have been interrupted by the Exile, has now been restored: Jehovah once more dwells in the midst of His people in the city of His choice.

This verse is quoted verbatim in the Hebrew text of Sir 51:12 (15). See p. 777.Verse 14. - He also exalteth the horn of his people. Great as God is, his greatness does not separate him from his human creatures. On the contrary, it makes the union between himself and them closer. His might enables him to confer benefits on his people - to "exalt their horn;" i.e. to increase their glory and their strength, and set them up above their enemies. The praise of all his saints. The construction is doubtful. Some regard "praise" as in apposition with "horn," and understand that God, by exalting the "horn" (power) of his saints, exalts also their "praise" or "renown." Others imagine an ellipse, and translate, "Praise belongs to all his saints" (Kay); or, "Seemly is praise for all his saints" (Cheyne). Even of the children of Israel, a people near unto him. The "children of Israel" are nearer to God than others, since he has taken them to himself as his own peculiar people, and both "draws nigh" to them (Psalm 69:11), and draws them near to him (Jeremiah 30:21). Praise ye the Lord (comp. ver. 1).

The call to the praise of Jahve is now turned, in the second group of verses, to the earth and everything belonging to it in the widest extent. Here too מן־הארץ, like מן־השּׁמים, Psalm 148:1, is intended of the place whence the praise is to resound, and not according to Psalm 10:18 of earthly beings. The call is addressed in the first instance to the sea-monsters or dragons (Psalm 74:13), i.e., as Pindar (Nem. iii. 23f.) expresses it, θῆρας ἐν πελάγεΐ ὑπερο'χους, and to the surging mass of waters (תּהמות) above and within the earth. Then to four phenomena of nature, coming down from heaven and ascending heavenwards, which are so arranged in Psalm 148:8, after the model of the chiasmus (crosswise position), that fire and smoke (קטור), more especially of the mountains (Exodus 19:18), hail and snow stand in reciprocal relation; and to the storm-wind (רוּח סערה, an appositional construction, as in Psalm 107:25), which, beside a seeming freeness and untractableness, performs God's word. What is said of this last applies also to the fire, etc.; all these phenomena of nature are messengers and servants of God, Psalm 104:4, cf. Psalm 103:20. When the poet wishes that they all may join in concert with the rest of the creatures to the praise of God, he excepts the fact that they frequently become destructive powers executing judicial punishment, and only has before his mind their (more especially to the inhabitant of Palestine, to whom the opportunity of seeing hail, snow, and ice was more rare than with us, imposing) grandeur and their relatedness to the whole of creation, which is destined to glorify God and to be itself glorified. He next passes over to the mountains towering towards the skies and to all the heights of earth; to the fruit-trees, and to the cedars, the kings among the trees of the forest; to the wild beasts, which are called חחיּה because they represent the most active and powerful life in the animal world, and to all quadrupeds, which, more particularly the four-footed domestic animals, are called בּהמה; to the creeping things (רמשׂ) which cleave to the ground as they move along; and to the birds, which are named with the descriptive epithet winged (צפּור כּנף as in Deuteronomy 4:17, cf. Genesis 7:14; Ezekiel 39:17, instead of עוף כּנף, Genesis 1:21). And just as the call in Psalm 103 finds its centre of gravity, so to speak, at last in the soul of man, so here it is addressed finally to humanity, and that, because mankind lives in nations and is comprehended under the law of a state commonwealth, in the first instance to its heads: the kings of the earth, i.e., those who rule over the earth by countries, to the princes and all who have the administration of justice and are possessed of supreme power on the earth, then to men of both sexes and of every age.

All the beings mentioned from Psalm 148:1 onwards are to praise the Name of Jahve; for His Name, He (the God of this Name) alone (Isaiah 2:11; Psalm 72:18) is נשׂגּב, so high that no name reaches up to Him, not even from afar; His glory (His glorious self-attestation) extends over earth and heaven (vid., Psalm 8:2). כּי, without our being able and obliged to decide which, introduces the matter and the ground of the praise; and the fact that the desire of the poet comprehends in יהללוּ all the beings mentioned is seen from his saying "earth and heaven," as he glances back from the nearer things mentioned to those mentioned farther off (cf. Genesis 2:4). In Psalm 148:14 the statement of the object and of the ground of the praise is continued. The motive from which the call to all creatures to Hallelujah proceeds, viz., the new mercy which God has shown towards His people, is also the final ground of the Hallelujah which is to sound forth; for the church of God on earth is the central-point of the universe, the aim of the history of the world, and the glorifying of this church is the turning-point for the transformation of the world. It is not to be rendered: He hath exalted the horn of His people, any more than in Psalm 132:17 : I will make the horn of David to shoot forth. The horn in both instances is one such as the person named does not already possess, but which is given him (different from Psalm 89:18, Psalm 89:25; Psalm 92:11, and frequently). The Israel of the Exile had lost its horn, i.e., its comeliness and its defensive and offensive power. God has now given it a horn again, and that a high one, i.e., has helped Israel to attain again an independence among the nations that commands respect. In Psalm 132, where the horn is an object of the promise, we might directly understand by it the Branch (Zemach). Here, where the poet speaks out of his own present age, this is at least not the meaning which he associates with the words. What now follows is an apposition to ויּרם קרן לעמּו: He has raised up a horn for His people - praise (we say: to the praise of; cf. the New Testament εἰς ἔπαινον) to all His saints, the children of Israel, the people who stand near Him. Others, as Hengstenberg, take תּהלּה as a second object, but we cannot say הרים תּהלּה. Israel is called עם קרבו, the people of His near equals of His nearness or vicinity (Kster), as Jerusalem is called in Ecclesiastes 8:10 מקום קדושׁ instead of קדשׁ מקום (Ew. 287, a, b). It might also be said, according to Leviticus 10:3, עם קרביו, the nation of those who are near to Him (as the Targum renders it). In both instances עם is the governing noun, as, too, surely גּבר is in גּבר עמיתי ni, Zechariah 13:7, which need not signify, by going back to the abstract primary signification of עמית, a man of my near fellowship, but can also signify a man of my neighbour, i.e., my nearest man, according to Ew. loc. cit. (cf. above on Psalm 145:10). As a rule, the principal form of עם is pointed עם; and it is all the more unnecessary, with Olshausen and Hupfeld, to take the construction as adjectival for עם קרוב לו. It might, with Hitzig after Aben-Ezra, be more readily regarded as appositional (to a people, His near, i.e., standing near to Him). We have here an example of the genitival subordination, which is very extensive in Hebrew, instead of an appositional co-ordination: populo propinqui sui, in connection with which propinqui may be referred back to propinquum equals propinquitas, but also to propinquus (literally: a people of the kind of one that is near to Him). Thus is Israel styled in Deuteronomy 4:7. In the consciousness of the dignity which lies in this name, the nation of the God of the history of salvation comes forward in this Psalm as the leader (choragus) of all creatures, and strikes up a Hallelujah that is to be followed by heaven and earth.

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