Praise ye the LORD. Praise, O ye servants of the LORD, praise the name of the LORD.
Verse 1. - Praise ye the Lord (comp. Psalm 104:35; Psalm 105:45; Psalm 106:1, 48; Psalm 111:1; Psalm 112:1). Praise, O ye servants of the Lord, praise the Name of the Lord. By "ye servants of the Lord," all faithful Israelites are certainly intended; but the phrase need not be absolutely limited to them (comp. ver. 3).
Blessed be the name of the LORD from this time forth and for evermore.
Verse 2. - Blessed be the Name of the Lord from this time forth and for evermore. The prayer here is that God may be praised through all time, as in the next verse it is that he may be praised through all space. In connection with the praise of God, limits of time and place are unsuitable (comp. Psalm 115:18; Psalm 121:8; 125:8; 131:3; Isaiah 59:21; Micah 4:7).
From the rising of the sun unto the going down of the same the LORD'S name is to be praised.
Verse 3. - From the rising of the sun unto the going down of the same (comp. Malachi 1:3; i.e. all over the world, from the furthest east to the furthest west. The Lord's Name is to be praised; or, "praised be the Name of the Lord" (Kay).
The LORD is high above all nations, and his glory above the heavens.
Verse 4. - The Lord is high above all nations. As being "the great King over all the earth" (Psalm 47:2). And his glory above the heavens. "The heaven, and heaven of heavens, cannot contain him" (2 Chronicles 6:18). It is a "humbling of himself" to "behold the things that are in heaven and earth" (see ver. 6).
Who is like unto the LORD our God, who dwelleth on high,
Verse 5. - Who is like unto the Lord our God? (comp. Psalm 89:6; Isaiah 40:18, 25). The highest created being does not approach within anything but an immeasurable distance of God. Who dwelleth on high; or, "who sitteth enthroned on high."
Who humbleth himself to behold the things that are in heaven, and in the earth!
Verse 6. - Who humbleth himself to behold the things that are in heaven, and in the earth. It is a condescension in God to regard even "the things that are in heaven," since the very "heavens are not clean in his sight" (Job 15:15). Much more is it a condescension in him to behold the gross material things of earth. Yet he gives them his constant care and attention, since otherwise they would cease to be.
He raiseth up the poor out of the dust, and lifteth the needy out of the dunghill;
Verse 7. - He raiseth up the poor out of the dust. Heaven is full of his glory, earth of his mercy and loving-kindness. The words of 1 Samuel 2:8 are, consciously or unconsciously, quoted. And lifteth the needy out of the dunghill; rather, from the dunghill (Revised Version).
That he may set him with princes, even with the princes of his people.
Verse 8. - That he may set him with princes. The words of 1 Samuel 2:8 are still followed. (For the sentiment, see also Job 36:7.) Historically, the statement is illustrated by the examples of Joseph, Saul, David, Daniel, Mordecai. Even with the princes of his people. Not merely with heathen princes, but with those who exercise sovereignty over Israel, as Joseph with Pharaoh, Daniel with Nebuchadnezzar and Cyrus, Mordecai with Ahasuerus or Xerxes.
He maketh the barren woman to keep house, and to be a joyful mother of children. Praise ye the LORD.
Verse 9. - He maketh the barren woman to keep house. Hannah's song is still in the psalmist's thoughts, and suggests this illustration (see 1 Samuel 2:5). But it must not be restricted to a literal interpretation. The true "barren woman" was Israel (Isaiah 54:1), whose curse of barrenness was ultimately removed, and who became, as here prophesied, a joyful mother of children (comp. Isaiah 49:12, 18, 20; Isaiah 54:2, 3; Isaiah 60:5; Galatians 4:27). Praise ye the Lord (comp. Psalm 104, 105, 106, 115, 116, 117, 135, 146-150, which terminate similarly).