The Psalmist reminds the Lord's people, that unless they were assiduous in his praises, they were chargeable with defrauding him of what was justly due to him for his benefits. And, in mentioning each benefit, he takes particular notice of the mercy of God, to teach us how necessary it is to the proper celebration of his praises that we own everything which we receive from him to be bestowed gratuitously.1
1. Praise Jehovah, for he is good, for his mercy endureth for ever. 2. Praise the Cod of gods, for his mercy endureth for ever. 3.. Praise the Lord of Lords,2 for his mercy endureth for ever. 4. Who alone hath done great wonders, for his mercy endureth for ever, 5. Who made the heavens by his wisdom, [or, intelligently,] for his mercy endureth for ever. 6. Who stretcheth out the earth above the waters, for his mercy endureth for ever. 7. Who made the great lights, for his mercy endureth for ever. 8. The sun for rule by day, for his mercy endureth for ever. 9. The moon and stars for rule by night for his mercy endureth for ever.
1 This Psalm is called by the Jews, the Great Thanksgiving.
2 "The three first verses of this Psalm contain the three several names of the Deity, which are commonly rendered Jehovah, God, and Lord, respectively; the first having reference to his essence as self-existent, and being his proper name; the second designating him under the character of a Judge or of an all-powerful being, if Aleim be derived from Al; and the third, Adoni, representing him as exercising rule." -- Cresswell.
3 Jebb observes, that "the 136th Psalm is altogether peculiar in its construction, as it has the recurrence of the same words, ' For everlasting is his mercy,' at the end of every distich." He adds, that "this elaborate artifice of construction seems characteristic of that later period which comprised the captivity and restoration;" although he at the same time admits, that it is to be found in Psalms of an earlier date than the Baby-lonish captivity, quoting a passage in the account of the dedication of Solomon's Temple, which informs us, that the whole choir of Israel united in praising God "for he is good; for his mercy endureth for ever:" and observing that this expression forms the.commencement of three other Psalms, the Psalm 106, Psalm 107, and Psalm 118. In his remarks on the Psalm 119, after adverting to the alphabetical character of that Psalm, he adds, "There are other artifices of construction observable in the Psalms and Hymns composed in these later ages of the Church. For example, that repetition of the same words and clauses, and the frequent recurrence of a characteristic word, so frequent in the Greater Hallel, [from the Psalm 111 to Psalm 118th, inclusive,] and in the Songs of Degrees: and in a continually recurring burden, in each distich, as in the Song of the three Children, and Psalm 136, which latter is unique in the Psalter. It has been the tendency of the poetry of most countries, in the progress of time, to make its characteristic features depend less upon the exactness of sentimental arrangement, and more upon some external artifice, whether this be prosodial metre, alliteration, rhyme, assonance, or the recurrence of a burthen. Now, though the poetry of the Scriptures, because it was inspired, never declined from the perfection of its sentimental construction, still those artificial contrivances, practiced, indeed, in earlier times, seem to have been more prevalent at the time of the captivity, and the time immediately following, than heretofore. It was probably so ordained, for the purpose of assisting the memories of the Jews, who at Babylon were excluded from the open exercise of their religion, and from public teaching, and, therefore, required more private helps, which could be more easily communicated orally from parents to children, or from masters to disciples." -- Jebb's Translation of the Psalms, etc., volume 2.
4 "Les cieux sont composez d'un si excellent et bel artifice, qu'ils crient que c'est d'une facon admirable qu'ils ont este ornez d'une si plaisante distinction." -- Fr.
5 "De mettre ceci entre lents principes et maximes." -- Fr.
Back to BibleStudyGuide.org.
These files are public domain. This electronic edition was downloaded from the Christian Classics Ethereal Library.