Psalm 118:1-4

1. Praise ye Jehovah; because he is good: because his mercy endureth for ever. 2. Let Israel now 1 say, that his mercy endureth for ever. 3. Let the house of Aaron now say, that his mercy endureth for ever. 4. Let those who fear Jehovah now say, that his mercy endureth for ever.


1. Praise ye Jehovah. In this passage we see that David does not merely in a private capacity render thanks to God, but that he loudly summons the people to engage in the common exercises of piety. This he does, not simply from his having been divinely appointed to be the captain and teacher of others; but, God having invested him with royal power, had manifested his sympathy with his distressed Church. Hence he exhorts the Israelites to magnify the grace of God, under whose kind protection he appears to re-establish them in safety. In the beginning of the psalm he alludes generally to the goodness and mercy of God, but he shortly instances himself as an evidence of his goodness, as will be seen in its proper place. It becomes us at present to recall to mind what I mentioned in the preceding psalm, that a reason for praising God is given to us on account of his mercy, in preference to his power or justice; because, though his glory shine forth in them also, yet will we never promptly and heartily sound forth his praises, until he win us by the sweetness of his goodness. Accordingly, in Psalm 51:17, we found that the lips of the faithful were opened to praise God, when they perceived that he was truly their deliverer. In restricting his address to Israel, and to the children of Aaron, he is guided by a regard to his own times, because, up to that period, the adoption did not extend beyond that one nation. He again resumes the order which he observed in Psalm 116:1; for, after exhorting the children of Abraham, who had been separated from the Gentiles by the election of God, and also the sons of Aaron, who, by virtue of the priesthood, ought to take the precedence in conducting the psalmody, he directs his discourse to the other worshippers of God; because there were many hypocrites among the Israelites, who, occupying a place in the Church, were yet strangers to it. This is not inconsistent with David's here speaking by the spirit of prophecy, respecting the future kingdom of Christ. That kingdom, no doubt, extended to the Gentiles, but its commencement and first-fruits were among God's chosen people.

1 Horsley very properly translates the Hebrew word an, na, in this and the two following verses, by O, instead of now: -- "O, Let Israel say -- O, Let the house of Aaron say -- O, Let them that fear Jehovah say." "The word now," he observes, "in our language is a particle of entreaty, and is therefore used by our translators to express the supplicatory particle of the Hebrew language, an. But though now, in our language, is indeed a particle of entreaty, it is only when the verb is in the imperative mood, and in the second person; as, 'Do, now, grant me this favor;' or, at least, in speaking to the person of whom the thing is asked. When an is joined to a verb in the third person, or when the person who is to grant the petition, or perform the thing advised, is not immediately addressed, it should be rendered by some other word or phrase. 'By all means,' or 'of all things,' are equivalent phrases, in respect of the sense, but not sufficiently dignified to suit the style of sacred poetry. O is perhaps the best particle, in these cases, that our language furnishes."


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