Praise ye the LORD. Praise ye the name of the LORD; praise him, O ye servants 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; Psalm 113:1, etc.). Praise ye the Name of the Lord (comp. Psalm 113:1). Praise him, O ye servants of the Lord; rather, praise it; i.e. the Name.
Ye that stand in the house of the LORD, in the courts of the house of our God,
Verse 2. - Ye that stand in the house of the Lord, in the courts of the house of our God. The "servants" are not here the priests and Levites only, as in Psalm 134:1; but the priests, the Levites, and the people - all those who throng the "courts" of the temple (comp. vers. 19, 20).
Praise the LORD; for the LORD is good: sing praises unto his name; for it is pleasant.
Verse 3. - Praise the Lord; for the Lord is good (comp. Psalm 86:5; Psalm 119:68). Sing praises unto his Name; for it is pleasant; or, "lovely" (comp. Psalm 52:9; Psalm 54:6).
For the LORD hath chosen Jacob unto himself, and Israel for his peculiar treasure.
Verse 4. - For the Lord hath chosen Jacob unto himself. This is the first reason why Israel should praise God. Israel is his people, his chosen people, selected by him out of all the nations of the earth to be his own, his inheritance (Deuteronomy 4:20; Deuteronomy 7:6; Deuteronomy 14:2, 21, etc.). And Israel for his peculiar treasure (see Exodus 19:5).
For I know that the LORD is great, and that our Lord is above all gods.
Verse 5. - For I know that the Lord is great, and that our Lord is above all gods. Here is the second reason why God should be praised - he is great, greater far than any other being - "above all gods" - "more to be feared than all gods" (Psalm 96:4). This greatness is shown, firstly, in his power over nature, which is the subject of vers. 7, 8; and secondly, in his dealings with mankind, which form the subject of vers. 8-12.
Whatsoever the LORD pleased, that did he in heaven, and in earth, in the seas, and all deep places.
Verse 6. - Whatsoever the Lord pleased, that did he (comp. Psalm 115:3). God's power is only limited by his own attributes of truth and goodness. He cannot contradict his own reason, or his own moral qualities. Otherwise he can do anything and everything. In heaven, and in earth, in the seas, and all deep places. This is intended as a complete division of space:
(1) the heavens above the earth;
(2) the earth and seas, in the middle sphere; and
(3) the abysses, or depths below the earth, as far as they can be conceived of as extending.
He causeth the vapours to ascend from the ends of the earth; he maketh lightnings for the rain; he bringeth the wind out of his treasuries.
Verse 7. - He causeth the vapors to ascend from the ends of the earth (comp. Jeremiah 10:13; Jeremiah 51:16) By God's contrivance vapor is continually rising from the remotest regions of the earth, to hang in clouds, descend in rain, and spread abroad fertility. He maketh lightnings for the rain. To accompany it, perhaps to give it its fertilizing qualities (see Dr. Kay's comment 'The Psalms,' p. 428). He bringeth the wind out of his treasuries (see Job 38:22, where God's "treasuries" for the snow and the hail are spoken of; and comp. Virgil, 'Aen.,' 2:25).
Who smote the firstborn of Egypt, both of man and beast.
Verse 8. - Who smote the firstborn of Egypt, both of man and beast (comp. Exodus 12:29). The most stupendous of the plagues of Egypt is given the first place in the account of God's wonderful dealings with men, and especially with his people. It gave them the deliverance out of Egypt, which made them a people (Exodus 12:31-33).
Who sent tokens and wonders into the midst of thee, O Egypt, upon Pharaoh, and upon all his servants.
Verse 9. - Who sent tokens and wonders into the midst of thee, O Egypt; or, "signs and wonders" (comp. Exodus 4:9, 21; Nehemiah 9:10; Psalm 78:43). Upon Pharaoh, and upon all his servants; i.e. "upon all his subjects." The plagues fell upon the whole people of Egypt (Exodus 7:21; Exodus 8:4, 11, 17, 24; Exodus 9:6, 11, 25; Exodus 10:6, 15; Exodus 12:30).
Who smote great nations, and slew mighty kings;
Verse 10. - Who smote great nations (see Exodus 14:27, 28; Exodus 17:8-13; Numbers 21:24-30, 33-35; Joshua 8:21-26; Joshua 10:10, 11; Judges 4:10-16; Judges 7:19-23; Judges 11:32, 33; 1 Samuel 7:10-13; 2 Samuel 8:1-14; 2 Samuel 10:8-19; 1 Kings 20:1-30; 2 Kings 3:4-27; 2 Kings 14:25-28; 2 Kings 18:7, 8; 2 Kings 19:35; 2 Chronicles 14:9-15; 2 Chronicles 20:1-25, etc.). And slew mighty kings (see Joshua 12:9-24; Judges 7:25; Judges 8:21; 1 Samuel 15:33, etc.).
Sihon king of the Amorites, and Og king of Bashan, and all the kingdoms of Canaan:
Verse 11. - Sihon King of the Amorites (comp. Numbers 21:24; Deuteronomy 2:33). And Og King of Bashan (see Numbers 21:35; Deuteronomy 3:3). And all the kingdoms of Canaan. Joshua destroyed thirty-one Canaanite kingdoms (Joshua 12:24).
And gave their land for an heritage, an heritage unto Israel his people.
Verse 12. - And gave their land for an heritage, an heritage unto Israel his people (see Exodus 6:8; Psalm 78:55; Psalm 136:21).
Thy name, O LORD, endureth for ever; and thy memorial, O LORD, throughout all generations.
Verse 13. - Thy Name, O Lord, endureth forever. The result of God's marvelous doings (vers. 6-12) is that "his Name endureth forever" - can never be forgotten - attracts to itself eternal praise and honor. And thy memorial (or, "thy remembrance") throughout all generations (comp. Psalm 102:12).
For the LORD will judge his people, and he will repent himself concerning his servants.
Verse 14. - For the Lord will judge his people; i.e. will right them whenever they are wronged (see Exodus 2:23-25; Exodus 3:7-9; Exodus 6:6; Psalm 54:1-3). And he will repent himself concerning his servants. God "will not keep his anger for ever" (Psalm 103:9). When he has sufficiently chastised his sinful servants, he will "repent," or "relent" (Kay, Cheyne), with respect to them, and receive them back into favor. The history contained in the Book of Judges strongly illustrates this statement (Judges 3:6-11, 12-30; Judges 4:1-3, 13-16; Judges 6:1-16; Judges 10:6-18; Judges 11:4-33; Judges 13:1-5, etc.).
The idols of the heathen are silver and gold, the work of men's hands.
Verses 15-18. - The idols of the heathen are silver and gold, the work of men's hands. They have mouths, but they speak not; eyes have they, but they see not. They have ears, but they hear not; neither is there any breath in their mouths. They that make them are like unto them: so is every one that trusteth in them. A condensed recitation of Psalm 115:4-8 (comp. Jeremiah 10:3-5). In its present place it is a sort of exposition of ver. 5b.
They have mouths, but they speak not; eyes have they, but they see not;
They have ears, but they hear not; neither is there any breath in their mouths.
They that make them are like unto them: so is every one that trusteth in them.
Bless the LORD, O house of Israel: bless the LORD, O house of Aaron:
Verse 19. - Bless the Lord, O house of Israel. The concluding strain corresponds to the opening one, and is a simple hymn of praise. Israel generally, the priestly order, the Levites, and the devout worshippers of God, of whatever class, are called upon in succession to praise and bless Jehovah (comp. Psalm 115:9-11). Bless the Lord, O house of Aaron (see Psalm 115:10, 12; Psalm 118:3).
Bless the LORD, O house of Levi: ye that fear the LORD, bless the LORD.
Verse 20. - Bless the Lord, O house of Levi: ye that fear the Lord, bless the Lord (comp. Psalm 115:11, 13).
Blessed be the LORD out of Zion, which dwelleth at Jerusalem. Praise ye the LORD.