Psalm 149:6
Let the high praises of God be in their mouth, and a two-edged sword in their hand;
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EXPOSITORY (ENGLISH BIBLE)
(6) High praises.—Literally, exaltations of celebration, i.e., hymns of praise.

Mouth.—Rather, throat.

149:6-9 Some of God's servants of old were appointed to execute vengeance according to his word. They did not do it from personal revenge or earthly politics, but in obedience to God's command. And the honour intended for all the saints of God, consists in their triumphs over the enemies of their salvation. Christ never intended his gospel should be spread by fire and sword, or his righteousness by the wrath of man. But let the high praises of God be in our mouths, while we wield the sword of the word of God, with the shield of faith, in warfare with the world, the flesh, and the devil. The saints shall be more than conquerors over the enemies of their souls, through the blood of the Lamb and the word of his testimony. The completing of this will be in the judgement of the great day. Then shall the judgement be executed. Behold Jesus, and his gospel church, chiefly in her millennial state. He and his people rejoice in each other; by their prayers and efforts they work with him, while he goes forth in the chariots of salvation, conquering sinners by grace, or in chariots of vengeance, to destroy his enemies.Let the high praises of God be in their mouth - Margin, as in Hebrew, in their throat. Literally, "Praises of God in their throat; and a sword of two edges in their hand." That is, In the very work of executing the purposes of God on his enemies, there should be the feeling and the language of praise. Their hearts should be full of confidence in God; they should feel that they are engaged in his service; and while they defend themselves, or inflict punishment on the enemies of God, they should chant His praise. The idea is, that even in the work of war they might feel that they were engaged in the service of God, and that the passions usual in war should be subdued and kept under by the consciousness that they are mere instruments in the hand of God to accomplish His purposes. Perhaps the Hebrew word rendered "high praises" - רוממה rômemâh - may imply more than mere praise. It may embrace anything that is lofty and exalted, and may mean here that they would have the consciousness that they were engaged in high and lofty aims; that they were carrying out the great designs of God; that they were executing purposes more momentous than their own could be - even the eternal purposes of the Most High. This would give an importance, a dignity, an elevation to their conduct which could spring from no other source.

And a two-edged sword in their hand - literally, a sword of edges; that is, a sword with an edge on both sides of the blade. Roman swords were often made in this manner. They were made for piercing as well as for striking. See the notes at Hebrews 4:12.

6. high praises—or, "deeds." They shall go forth as religious warriors, as once religious laborers (Ne 4:17). In their mouth, Heb. in their throat; which signifies vocal praise, and that with a loud voice.

A two-edged sword in their hand; not only to defend themselves from their enemies, but, as it follows, to revenge themselves upon them. Let the high praises of God be in their mouth,.... Or "throats" (m); loudly declared by them. The word "praises" is not in the text, and so may be read, "the high things of God" (n); or, "the heights of God", as the Septuagint: and these are the perfections of God; as his omniscience, which is knowledge too high for a creature to attain unto, and even to conceive of; his omnipotence, for high is his right hand; his omnipresence, this is higher than heaven, deeper than hell, its measure is longer than the earth, and broader than the sea; his love, grace, and mercy, which are in the heavens; and his truth and faithfulness, which reach to the clouds; his eternity, immutability, and other attributes; all which should be often talked of and celebrated: also the high acts and works of God, those more inward and secret; as the thoughts of his heart, which are higher than ours, as the heavens than the earth; the everlasting love of God, which has an height not to be reached; the eternal choice of persons to grace and glory, before all time; the covenant of grace, which exceeds the mountains for height, as well as duration; and the glorious scheme of our peace, reconciliation, and redemption, contrived in the divine mind, and formed in Christ from everlasting: and others more outward, open, and manifest; as the works of creation and providence; of redemption by Christ; the operations of the Spirit, and the powerful success of the Gospel among Jews and Gentiles. The Vulgate Latin version and others render it, "the exaltations of God" (o); Father, Son, and Spirit: Jehovah the Father should be exalted in the mouths of his saints, for his love to them, choice of them, covenant with them, the mission of his Son on their account, and the regeneration of them according to his abundant mercy; and Jehovah the Son should be exalted by them with their mouths and lips, as well as in their hearts, in his person, by honouring him as they do the Father, in his offices, kingly, priestly, and prophetic; and the Holy Spirit should be exalted, by ascribing the work of grace to him, the beginning, carrying on, and finishing of it;

and a twoedged sword in their hand; which is no other than the word of God, Ephesians 6:17; one of its edges is the law, which sharply reproves and menaces for sin, threatening with curses, condemnation, and death; and which, in the Spirit's hand, cuts deep into the hearts of men, lays open the corruption of their nature, and the swarms of sin which are in them; it causes pain and grief, working wrath in the conscience; it wounds and kills, and is therefore called the letter that kills, 2 Corinthians 3:6. The other edge is the Gospel, which cuts in pieces the best of men; all their works of righteousness, which it removes from their justification and salvation; and all their wisdom, holiness, freewill power, and creature abilities; and it cuts down the worst in man, his sinful as well as his righteous self; it teaches him to deny ungodliness and worldly lusts; it is useful to refute errors, and defend truth: and it is an instrument, and only a passive instrument, used by the Lord, as his power unto salvation; it is a sword, but only effectual as it is the sword of the Spirit; it is a part of the weapons of our warfare, and it is mighty, but only through God; it can do nothing of itself, but as it is in the hand of another; and it should be in the hands of all the saints in common, as well as in the hands of Gospel ministers, to withstand error, maintain truth, and repel the temptations of Satan. The Targum is,

"the praises of God in their throats, and as twoedged swords in their hands;''

making the praises of God and the twoedged swords to be the same: and so Jarchi and R. Jeshuah in Aben Ezra interpret them.

(m) "in gutture eorum", V. L. Pagninus, Montanus, Piscator, &c. (n) , Sept. "celsitudines", Schmidt. (o) "Exaltationes Dei", V. L. Pagninus, Montanus, Musculus, Gejerus, Michaelis; so Ainsworth.

Let the high praises of God be in their mouth, and a two-edged sword in their hand;
EXEGETICAL (ORIGINAL LANGUAGES)
6. high praises] Cp. Psalm 66:17, note.

in their mouth] Lit. throat (Psalm 115:7).

a twoedged sword] So the LXX and Jer.; cp. Jdg 3:16 : but a sword of mouths means rather a devouring sword. So Nehemiah’s builders prayed (Nehemiah 4:9) and built with sword in hand (Nehemiah 4:16 ff.); and Judas Maccabaeus and his followers joined battle with Nicanor, “contending with their hands, and praying unto God with their hearts” (2Ma 15:26-27).Verse 6. - Let the high praises of God be in their mouth; literally, in their throat (comp. Isaiah 58:1). And a two-edged sword in their hand. Some understand this metaphorically. But the weapons of Jewish warfare in Nehemiah's time were thoroughly carnal (Nehemiah 4:13, 16, 17, 18); and against adversaries such as Sanbailat, Geshem, and Tobiah, a nation threatened with extermination is certainly entitled to use the sword. 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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