Psalm 148:4
Praise him, ye heavens of heavens, and ye waters that be above the heavens.
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EXPOSITORY (ENGLISH BIBLE)
(4) Heavens of heavens.—See Psalm 68:33, and references. Before passing downwards to the earth the invocation pauses to combine all the heights, which have been before addressed in the expression which denotes their position relatively to the earth; the highest heaven of all, and then the world of water which, in the Hebrew conception of the Cosmos, was supposed to be the foundation, while itself rests on the firmament or heavenly vault. (See Psalm 104:3.)

148:1-6 We, in this dark and sinful world, know little of the heavenly world of light. But we know that there is above us a world of blessed angels. They are always praising God, therefore the psalmist shows his desire that God may be praised in the best manner; also we show that we have communion with spirits above, who are still praising him. The heavens, with all contained in them, declare the glory of God. They call on us, that both by word and deed, we glorify with them the Creator and Redeemer of the universe.Praise him, ye heavens of heavens - Referring to the idea that there is one heaven rising above another. See the notes at Psalm 68:33. See 1 Kings 8:27 : "Behold, the heaven and heaven of heavens cannot contain thee." Compare 2 Chronicles 2:6.

And ye waters that be above the heavens - Genesis 1:7 : "And God made the firmament, and divided the waters which were under the firmament from the waters which were above the firmament." The allusion here is to the waters which seem to be above the lower heaven, that is, the air, and which seem to come from some higher region - some higher heaven. See the notes at Psalm 104:3 : "Who layeth the beams of his chambers in the waters."

4. heavens of heavens—the very highest.

waters—clouds, resting above the visible heavens (compare Ge 1:7).

Ye heavens of heavens; ye highest and most glorious heavens, the place of God’s throne and glorious presence, as this phrase is used, Deu 10:14 1 Kings 8:27 Nehemiah 9:6 Psalm 115:16. Or, ye starry heavens, which also may well be so called, because they are above the air, which is oft. called heaven in Scripture.

Ye waters that be above the heavens; ye clouds, which are above a part of the heavens; of which See Poole "Genesis 1:7".

Praise him, ye heaven of heavens,.... All the heavens, the airy and starry heavens; and the third heaven, the residence of God, angels and saints: these are made by the Lord, and declare the glory of his power, wisdom, and goodness, and show forth his handiwork, Psalm 19:1. A voice was heard from heaven, praising Jehovah the Son, when on earth in our nature; a cloud of the lower heavens received him when he went from hence, and in the clouds thereof he will come again: the highest heavens opened to receive him, and will retain him until the restitution of all things; and from hence he will descend to judge the world in righteousness, Matthew 3:16;

and ye waters that be above the heavens; divided by the firmament from the waters below; and are no other than the thick clouds, in which the waters are bound up, and not rent, but at the pleasure of God, Genesis 1:7; so Seneca (d) calls the clouds the celestial waters. And these give men occasion to praise the Lord, that those vast bodies of water that are over their heads are not let down in such large quantities upon them as would destroy them; and that are carried about from place to place, and let down and gentle showers, to water and refresh the earth, and make it fruitful, so that it brings forth food for man and beast. The Targum is,

"ye waters, that by the Word (of the Lord) hang above the heavens;''

in which is displayed the glory of amazing power, wisdom, and goodness. The most ancient Syrians and Arabians were thoroughly persuaded, that beyond the bounds of the visible heavens there was a great sea, without any limits; which some (e) suppose to be the waters here meant.

(d) Nat. Quaest. l. 3. c. 23. (e) Vid. Steeb. Coelum Sephirot. Heb. c. 7. s. 3. p. 126, 127. and Gregory's Works, p. 110.

Praise him, ye {c} heavens of heavens, and ye {d} waters that be above the heavens.

(c) Not that there are various heavens, but because of the spheres and of the situation of the fixed stars and planets, he comprehends by this word the whole heavens.

(d) That is, the rain which is in the middle region of the air, which he here comprehends under the name of the heavens.

EXEGETICAL (ORIGINAL LANGUAGES)
4. heavens of heavens] i.e. the highest heavens. Cp. Psalm 68:33; Deuteronomy 10:14; 1 Kings 8:27 (= 2 Chronicles 6:18); 1 Chronicles 2:6; Nehemiah 9:6; Sir 16:18. It is doubtful whether the idea of a plurality of heavens, three (2 Corinthians 12:2) or seven, which is prominent in later Jewish literature, was already current. See however Salmond in Hastings’ Dict. of the Bible, 11. 321, who thinks that it is implied by this phrase.

ye waters that be above the heavens] The great reservoir of waters supposed to exist above the ‘firmament,’ the source of rain. See Genesis 1:6-7; Psalm 104:3.

Verse 4. - Praise him, ye heavens of heavens; i.e. "ye highest heavens" (comp. Deuteronomy 10:14; 1 Kings 8:27; Psalm 68:33). And ye waters that be above the heavens (comp. Genesis 1:7). The clouds are probably intended. Psalm 148:4The call does not rise step by step from below upwards, but begins forthwith from above in the highest and outermost spheres of creation. The place whence, before all others, the praise is to resound is the heavens; it is to resound in the heights, viz., the heights of heaven (Job 16:19; Job 25:2; Job 31:2). The מן might, it is true, also denote the birth or origin: ye of the heavens, i.e., ye celestial beings (cf. Psalm 68:27), but the parallel בּמּרומים renders the immediate construction with הללוּ more natural. Psalm 148:2-4 tell who are to praise Jahve there: first of all, all His angels, the messengers of the Ruler of the world - all His host, i.e., angels and stars, for צבאו (Chethמb) or צבאיו (Kerמ as in Psalm 103:21) is the name of the heavenly host armed with light which God Tsebaoth commands (vid., on Genesis 2:1), - a name including both stars (e.g., in Deuteronomy 4:19) and angels (e.g., in Joshua 5:14., 1 Kings 22:19); angels and stars are also united in the Scriptures in other instances (e.g., Job 38:7). When the psalmist calls upon these beings of light to praise Jahve, he does not merely express his delight in that which they do under any circumstances (Hengstenberg), but comprehends the heavenly world with the earthly, the church above with the church here below (vid., on Psalm 29:1-11; Psalm 103), and gives a special turn to the praise of the former, making it into an echo of the praise of the latter, and blending both harmoniously together. The heavens of heavens are, as in Deuteronomy 10:14; 1 Kings 8:27, Sir. 16:18, and frequently, those which lie beyond the heavens of the earth which were created on the fourth day, therefore they are the outermost and highest spheres. The waters which are above the heavens are, according to Hupfeld, "a product of the fancy, like the upper heavens and the whole of the inhabitants of heaven." But if in general the other world is not a notion to which there is no corresponding entity, this notion may also have things for its substance which lie beyond our knowledge of nature. The Scriptures, from the first page to the last, acknowledge the existence of celestial waters, to which the rain-waters stand in the relation as it were of a finger-post pointing upwards (see Genesis 1:7). All these beings belonging to the superterrestrial world are to praise the Name of Jahve, for He, the God of Israel, it is by whose fiat (צוּה, like אמר in Psalm 33:9)

(Note: The interpolated parallel member, αὐτὸς εἶπε καὶ ἐγενήθησαν, here in the lxx is taken over from that passage.))

the heavens and all their host are created (Psalm 33:6). He has set them, which did not previously exist, up (העמיד as e.g., in Nehemiah 6:7, the causative to עמד in Psalm 33:9, cf. Psalm 119:91), and that for ever and ever (Psalm 111:8), i.e., in order for ever to maintain the position in the whole of creation which He has assigned to them. He hath given a law (חק) by which its distinctive characteristic is stamped upon each of these heavenly beings, and a fixed bound is set to the nature and activity of each in its mutual relation to all, and not one transgresses (the individualizing singular) this law given to it. Thus ולא יעבר is to be understood, according to Job 14:5, cf. Jeremiah 5:22; Job 38:10; Psalm 104:9. Hitzig makes the Creator Himself the subject; but then the poet would have at least been obliged to say חק־נתן למו, and moreover it may be clearly seen from Jeremiah 31:36; Jeremiah 33:20, how the thought that God inviolably keeps the orders of nature in check is expressed θεοπρεπῶς. Jeremiah 5:22, by way of example, shows that the law itself is not, with Ewald, Maurer, and others, following the lxx, Syriac, Italic, Jerome, and Kimchi, to be made the subject: a law hath He given, and it passes not away (an imperishable one). In combination with חק, עבר always signifies "to pass over, transgress."

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