Praise ye the LORD. Praise God in his sanctuary: praise him in the firmament of his power.
Verse 1. - Praise ye the Lord. Praise God in his sanctuary. This is the right rendering, and not that of the Prayer-book Version, "Praise God in his holiness." Israel is called upon to give God praise in his holy temple. Praise him in the firmament of his power; i.e. in the broad expanse of heaven, the sign and seat of his power.
Praise him for his mighty acts: praise him according to his excellent greatness.
Verse 2. - Praise him for his mighty acts; i.e. for the great acts of his providence, especially for his deliverances of Israel. Praise him according to his excellent greatness; rather, his abounding greatness (Kay); or, his manifold greatness (Cheyne).
Praise him with the sound of the trumpet: praise him with the psaltery and harp.
Verse 3. - Praise him with the sound of the trumpet, (On the use of the trumpet in Divine service, see Leviticus 23:24; Leviticus 25:9; Numbers 10:10; 2 Samuel 6:15; 1 Chronicles 13:8; 1 Chronicles 15:24; 1 Chronicles 16:6; 2 Chronicles 5:12, 13; 2 Chronicles 7:6; 2 Chronicles 29:27; Psalm 81:3; Psalm 98:6.) Praise him with the psaltery and harp (comp. Psalm 57:8; Psalm 81:2; Psalm 108:2; 1 Chronicles 15:16; 2 Chronicles 5:12, etc.).
Praise him with the timbrel and dance: praise him with stringed instruments and organs.
Verse 4. - Praise him with the timbrel and dance (comp. Psalm 149:3). Praise him with stringed instruments and organs; literally, with strings and pipe. "Organs" are, of course, out of the question. The "pipe" intended is probably the double pipe so often represented on the monuments of Egypt, Assyria, and Phoenicia.
Praise him upon the loud cymbals: praise him upon the high sounding cymbals.
Verse 5. - Praise him upon the loud cymbals; praise him upon the high-sounding cymbals. "We can hardly," says Professor Cheyne, "venture to distinguish two kinds of cymbals on the ground of these two epithet" The mention of "cymbals" is reserved to the last, as being the instrument of music most expressive of joy and jubilation. It completes the musical climax, as ver. 6 completes the ideal one.
Let every thing that hath breath praise the LORD. Praise ye the LORD.
Verse 6. - Let every thing that hath breath praise the Lord; literally, the whole of breath (comp. Revelation 5:13, "And every creature which is in heaven, and on the earth, and under the earth, and such as are in the sea, and all that are in them, heard I saying, Blessing, and honor, and glory, and power, be unto him that sitteth upon the throne, and unto the Lamb for ever and ever;" see also Psalm 148:7, 10-12). Praise ye the Lord. "As the life of the faithful, and the history of the Church, so also the Psalter, with all its cries from the depths, runs out in a hallelujah" (Hengstenberg).