Psalm 145:7-13

7. They shall steak forth [or, utter copiously] the memory of the greatness of thy goodness, and shall sing of thy righteousness. 8. Jehovah is gracious and compassionate, slow to anger, and great in mercy. 9. Jehovah is good to all, and his mercies above all his works. 10. All thy works shall praise thee, O Jehovah! and thy merciful ones shall bless thee. 11. They shall speak the glory of thy kingdom, and shall talk of thy power. 12. That they may make known his powers to the sons of men, and the glory of the beauty of his kingdom. 13. Thy kingdom is a kingdom of all ages, and thy dominion unto all successive generations.1


7. They shall speak forth, etc. As the verb ebn, nabang, means properly to gush out, some suppose, that, as applied to speech, it means not simply speaking, but an overflowing utterance, like water rushing from a fountain, and the verb wnnry, yerannenu, in the close of the verse, answers to this, meaning to shout, or sing aloud. To celebrate the memory of the Lord's goodness, is the same with recalling to memory what we have personally experienced of his goodness. We cannot deny God's claim to praise in all his excellencies, but we are most sensibly affected by such proofs of his fatherly mercy as we have ourselves experienced. David makes use, therefore, of this alluring consideration to induce us the more readily and cheerfully to engage in the praises of God, or rather, (according to the figurative word already used,) to burst forth in celebration of them.

8. Jehovah is gracious, etc. He opens up the goodness of which he spoke by using several expressions, as that God is inclined to mercy, (for such is the proper meaning of the word Nwnx, channun,) and that he helps us willingly, as one sympathizing with our miseries. It is to be noticed that David has borrowed the terms which he here applies to God from that celebrated passage in Exodus 34:6; and as the inspired writers drew their doctrine from the fountain of the law, we need not wonder that they set a high value upon the vision which is there recorded, and in which as clear and satisfactory a description of the nature of God is given us as can anywhere be found. David, therefore, in giving us a brief statement of what it was most important we should know in reference to God, makes use of the same terms employed there. Indeed no small part of the grace of God is to be seen in his alluring us to himself by such attractive titles. Were he to bring his power prominently into view before us, we would be cast down by the terror of it rather than encouraged, as the Papists represent him a dreadful God, from whose presence all must fly, whereas the proper view of him is that which invites us to seek after him. Accordingly, the more nearly that a person feels himself drawn to God, the more has he advanced in the knowledge of him. If it be true that God is not only willing to befriend us, but is spoken of as touched with sympathy for our miseries, so as to be all the kinder to us the more that we are miserable, what folly were it not to fly to him without delay? But as we drive God's goodness away from us by our sins, and block up the way of access, unless his goodness overcome this obstacle, it would be in vain that the Prophets spoke of his grace and mercy.2 It was necessary, therefore, to add what follows, that great is his mercy, that he pardons sins, and bears with the wickedness of men, so as to show favor to the unworthy. As regards the ungodly, although God shows them his long-suffering patience, they are incapable of perceiving pardon, so that the doctrine on which we insist has a special application to believers only, who apprehend God's goodness by a living faith. To the wicked it is said --

"To what end is the day of the Lord for you? the day of the Lord is darkness and not light, affliction and not joy."
(Amos 5:18.)

We see in what severe terms Nahum threatens them at the very beginning of his prophecy. Having referred to the language used in the passage from Moses, he adds immediately, on the other hand, to prevent them being emboldened by it, that God is a rigid and severe, a terrible and an inexorable judge. (Nahum 1:3.) They therefore who have provoked God to anger by their sins, must see to secure his favor by believing.

9. Jehovah is good to all, etc. The truth here stated is of wider application than the former, for the declaration of David is to the effect, that not only does God, with fatherly indulgence and clemency, forgive sin, but is good to all without discrimination, as he makes his sun to rise upon the good and upon the wicked. (Matthew 5:45.) Forgiveness of sin is a treasure from which the wicked are excluded, but their sin and depravity does not prevent God from showering down his goodness upon them, which they appropriate without being at all sensible of it. Meanwhile believers, and they only, know what it is to enjoy a reconciled God, as elsewhere it is said --

"Come ye to him, and be ye enlightened, and your faces shall not be ashamed; taste and see that the Lord is good."
(Psalm 34:5, 8.)

When it is added that the mercy of God extends to all his works, this ought not to be considered as contrary to reason, or obscure. Our sins having involved the whole world in the curse of God, there is everywhere an opportunity for the exercise of God's mercy, even in helping the brute creation.

10. All thy works, etc. Though many would suppress God's praises, observing a wicked silence regarding them, David declares that they shine forth everywhere, appear of themselves, and are sounded, as it were, by the very dumb creatures. He then assigns the special work of declaring them to believers, who have eyes to perceive God's works, and know that they cannot be employed better than in celebrating his mercies. What is added -- they shall speak the glory of thy kingdom -- I consider to have reference only to believers. If any incline to think that these words rather apply to God's creatures universally, I would not object to that view. But the particular kind of speaking or teaching which David here refers to, applies only to saints. Accordingly I have retained the future tense of the verbs, rather than the optative mood, as others have done. In using the term kingdom, David intimates that this is the tendency of the manifestation of God's works, to reduce the whole world to a state of order, and subject it to his government. He insists upon the excellency of this kingdom, that men may know that things are to be considered as in disorder and confusion, unless God alone be acknowledged supreme. He denies it to be transitory, like all earthly kingdoms, asserting that it will stand fast for ever. And to call our attention more particularly to its everlasting nature, he breaks out into an admiring exclamation, and addresses his discourse to God.

1 After this verse two lines appear to have been lost in the Hebrew text. The Psalm, as we have said before, is alphabetical; and each stanza begins with a letter of the Hebrew alphabet in regular order, till we come to Psalm 145:14, when a break -- the only one in the Psalm -- takes place. Psalm 145:13 begins with the letter m, mem, and Psalm 145:14 with the letter o, samech. Thus the stanza beginning with the letter, n, nun, is wanting. it is thus supplied in the Septuagint: Pisto<v Ku>riov ejn pa~si toi~v lo>goiv aujtou~ kai< o[siov ejn pa~si toi~v e]rgoiv aujtou~. "Faithful is Jehovah in all his words, and holy in all his works." Dr. Adam Clarke, after observing that there is not a verse answering to n, nun, in any of the printed copies of the Hebrew Bible, states, that there is one MS., now in Trinity College, Dublin, which has it thus (he supposes by correction) at the bottom of the page:

wyç[m lkb dysjw wyrbd lkb hwhy ˆman

Neeman Yehovah be-cal debaraiv; ve-chasid be-cal maasaiv.

2 "Si la bonte de Dieu ne surmonte cest empeschement, c'est en vain que les Prophetes traitteroyent de sa grace et misericorde." -- Fr.


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