Psalm 148:9
Mountains, and all hills; fruitful trees, and all cedars:
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(9) Mountains, and all hills.—The invocation now alights on the crests of the highest mountains, and passes downward to the lower hills where vegetable life begins.

Fruitful trees.—Rather, fruit trees; the fruit-bearing tree being representative of one division of the vegetable world, planted and reared by man, the cedars of the other, which are (Psalm 104:16) of God’s own plantation.

Psalm 148:9-10. Mountains, and all hills — These are of great use in the earth. From them descend the running streams into the valleys, without which animals could not live. On the mountains grow those vast trees which are necessary for daily use in various ways; and on the hills and mountains is herbage for vast multitudes of cattle, whereby men are supplied with food and clothing. And all cedars — Under the name of cedars, as being the chief, seems to be included all kinds of trees which do not bear fruit. A little reflection will show how much it is a subject for praise to God that he hath furnished us with so many kinds of trees; some of which produce for us the most delicious, the most wholesome, and most useful fruits; others supply us with materials for building our habitations and ships, whereby we trade to all parts of the world; and for making our household goods, and various kinds of tools and instruments. If all these were wanting to us, we could hardly subsist; and if but a great part of them were wanting, we should lead a much more laborious and unpleasant life than we do. Beasts, and all cattle — Let the wild beasts also of the forest, and all the cattle that feed in the fields, furnish matter of praise to him who hath shown his manifold wisdom and diffusive goodness in and by them all. And, certainly, whoever considers to how many useful and beneficial purposes of life they are employed, in one way or another, must see and acknowledge that they furnish a powerful motive for praise to the great Creator, for the vast multitude and various kinds of them, which he hath formed and subjected to the dominion of man. Creeping things —

Including many animals in the waters, as well as in the land; and flying fowl — In the various forms, capacities, and instincts of which, as well as in the beautiful plumage of many of them, and the ample provision made for them all, much of the wisdom, power, and goodness of the Creator is manifested.

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.Mountains, and all hills - As being among the loftiest objects of earth, raising their heads highest toward the heavens.

Fruitful trees, and all cedars - Fruitful trees, not as distinguished from those which are barren, but as distinguished from forest-trees, those whose nature is that they do not bear fruit. Of the latter, the cedar was the most prominent, and, therefore, is made the representative of the whole.

9. fruitful trees—or, "trees of fruit," as opposed to forest trees. Wild and domestic, large and small animals are comprehended. Admirable for your height, and strength, and use, though not for your fruit.

Mountains, and all hills,.... Which are originally formed by the Lord, and set fast by his power and strength; these are the highest parts of the earth, and are very ornamental and useful; they include all in them and upon them, the trees and herbage that grow upon them, gold, silver, brass, and iron in them; all very beneficial to mankind, and afford matter of praise to God for them; see Isaiah 55:12;

fruitful trees, and all cedars; trees bearing fruit are the fig trees, pomegranates, vines, and olives, with which the land of Canaan abounded; and such as bear lemons, oranges, plums, pears, apples, cherries, &c. which produce fruit for the use, pleasure, and delight of man, and so a means of praising God: and "cedars", the trees of the Lord which he hath planted; though they bear no fruit, yet very useful in building, and were of great service in the temple at Jerusalem; and which are put for all others of like usefulness, and minister just occasion of praise; see Psalm 96:12.

Mountains, and all hills; fruitful trees, and all cedars:
9. Cp. Psalm 104:16.

Verse 9. - Mountains, and all hills. The later psalmists are great admirers of" mountains." Perhaps the fiat and monotonous Babylonian plains led them to appreciate the beauties of a landscape like that of Palestine (comp. Psalm 83:14; Psalm 114:4, 6; Psalm 144:5; Psalm 147:8). Fruitful trees; rather, fruit trees; literally, trees of fruit. The Babylonian palms may have swept across the writer's remembrance; but probably the vine, the olive, and the fig, which were among the chief glories of Palestine, were in his mind principally. And all cedars. Babylonia had had no "cedars." When the exiles returned, the beauty of the cedar broke upon them as a sort of new revelation. Psalm 148:9The 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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