Praise ye the LORD. I will praise the LORD with my whole heart, in the assembly of the upright, and in the congregation.
Verse 1. - Praise ye the Lord. Scarcely a part of the psalm - rather a heading or introduction. I will praise the Lord with my whole heart (comp. Psalm 9:1; Psalm 119:34, 58, 69). "With my whole heart" replaces the "greatly" of Psalm 109:30. In the assembly of the upright, and in the congregation. Professor Cheyne translates, "in the council and assembly of the upright;" and it seems to be generally allowed that two distinct assemblies are not spoken of, but that the one congregation of the faithful is designated by two names. Thus the Prayer-book translation is wrong.
The works of the LORD are great, sought out of all them that have pleasure therein.
Verse 2. - The works of the Lord are great. Not his material works, but the doings of his providence (see vers. 3-9). Sought out of all them that have pleasure therein. Searched into and carefully studied by all who take an interest in such things. Deru-shim, "objects of study," is etymologically connected with madrasa, a college, a "place of study and research."
His work is honourable and glorious: and his righteousness endureth for ever.
Verse 3. - His work is honorable and glorious; literally, honor and glory; but our translators have rightly paraphrased. And his righteousness endureth forever; i.e. his just and righteous dealing with all his creatures.
He hath made his wonderful works to be remembered: the LORD is gracious and full of compassion.
Verse 4. - He hath made his wonderful works to be remembered; literally, a memorial hath he made for his wonders; i.e. he has so done them that they cannot cease to be had in remembrance. Memorial institutions, like the Passover, are scarcely glanced at. The Lord is gracious and full of compassion; or, "compassionate" (comp. Psalm 103:13).
He hath given meat unto them that fear him: he will ever be mindful of his covenant.
Verse 5. - He hath given meat unto them that fear him. The manna may be primarily in the writer's mind, but he is also thinking of the "food given to all flesh" (Psalm 136:25) continually. He will ever be mindful of his covenant. The covenant with Abraham, made "to a thousand generations" (Psalm 105:8).
He hath shewed his people the power of his works, that he may give them the heritage of the heathen.
Verse 6. - He hath showed his people the power of his works, that he may give them the heritage of the heathen; rather, in giving them. God manifested his power to Israel very specially by causing them to overcome the many strong Canaanitish nations, and to take their lands and labors in possession (Psalm 105:44). This was one of the greatest of his "works," or "doings."
The works of his hands are verity and judgment; all his commandments are sure.
Verse 7. - The works of his hands are verity and judgment. All that God does is right and just - "done in truth and uprightness" (ver. 8). All his commandments are sure; i.e. firm, unchangeable - being based on truth and right.
They stand fast for ever and ever, and are done in truth and uprightness.
Verse 8. - They stand fast forever and ever. This is exegetical of the "sure" in ver. 7. In the sense in which they were given - the spiritual sense underlying them - not one jot or tittle of God's commandments ever passes away (Matthew 5:18). And are done in truth and uprightness; rather, being done. It is the intrinsic truth and equity of the commandments that render them ever lasting and unchangeable (see Cudworth on 'Immutable Morality').
He sent redemption unto his people: he hath commanded his covenant for ever: holy and reverend is his name.
Verse 9. - He sent redemption unto his people. The "redemption" from Egypt (Exodus 6:6) is perhaps especially in the writer's mind, but he may be thinking also of other deliverances. He hath commanded his covenant forever (comp. Genesis 9:12; Genesis 17:13; Exodus 31:16, etc.). Holy and reverend is his Name. Intrinsically "holy," and therefore "reverend," or to be reverenced.
The fear of the LORD is the beginning of wisdom: a good understanding have all they that do his commandments: his praise endureth for ever.
Verse 10. - The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom (comp. Proverbs 1:7; Proverbs 9:10; Ecclus. 1:16; and also Job 28:28). The meaning seems to be that "the beginning of wisdom is not found in keen insight, nor wide experience, nor the learn-hag of the schools, but in the temper of reverence and awe. The fear of the finite in the presence of the Infinite, of the sinful in the presence of the Holy, self-abhorring, adoring, as in Job's confession - this for the Israelite was the starting-point of all true wisdom" (Dean Plumptre). A good under standing have all they that do his commandments; literally, that do them; but the "commandments" of ver. 7 are, no doubt, intended. His praise endureth forever. The praise "of him," not "of it," as in the Prayer-book Version. As he had begun (ver. 1), so the psalmist ends, with Jehovah's praise.