Lange Commentary on the Holy Scriptures
1 Praise ye the LORD.
Praise the LORD, O my soul.
2 While I live will I praise the LORD:
I will sing praises unto my God while I have any being.
3 Put not your trust in princes,
Nor in the son of man, in whom there is no help.
4 His breath goeth forth, he returneth to his earth;
In that very day his thoughts perish.
5 Happy is he that hath the God of Jacob for his help,
Whose hope is in the LORD his God:
6 Which made heaven, and earth,
The sea, and all that therein is:
Which keepeth truth for ever:
7 Which executeth judgment for the oppressed:
Which giveth food to the hungry.
The LORD looseth the prisoners:
8 The LORD openeth the eyes of the blind:
The LORD raiseth them that are bowed down:
The LORD loveth the righteous:
9 The LORD preserveth the strangers;
He relieveth the fatherless and widow:
But the way of the wicked he turneth upside down.
10 The LORD shall reign for ever,
Even thy God, O Zion, unto all generations.
Praise ye the LORD.
EXEGETICAL AND CRITICAL
CONTENTS AND COMPOSITION.—This Psalm begins and ends with the familiar liturgical formula (Ps. 111 ff.). It has many points of coincidence with the preceding; but this does not necessarily lead to the conclusion that both were composed by the same author (Delitzsch), or that the one before us is the last of a dodecade, supposed to begin with Ps. 135. (Hengstenberg). It is merely its place in the Psalter that is due to this relationship, being the first of the five Hallelujah-Psalms which conclude the collection. At a later time this last group was used in the daily morning prayers, portions of other Psalms and Books of the Old Testament being united with it. Among the Rabbins the name Hallel was applied sometimes to this whole group, and sometimes to its several parts, but especially to Pss. 148 and 150; but it was called the Greek Hallel, in distinction from the so-called Egyptian Hallel, recited at the feasts.
The allusion in 1 Macc. 2:63 to Psalm 146:4 does not decide for a composition in the Maccabæan period (Venema). It is taken specially by Hitzig as an allusion to the name of Demetrius. The superscription in the Septuagint, Vulgate, and Syriac: Of Haggai and Zechariah, is of just as little historical value. We can only infer from the language a post-exilic period, and from the contents a condition of the people in which they were oppressed, and in need of consolation and direction to look to God for aid. The purpose of the Psalm is to give this direction by exhibiting some of God’s attributes. After a preliminary warning not to trust in princes, for they are perishable men (Psalm 146:3, 4), these attributes are presented, supporting the declaration that the man is blessed who relies with all assurance upon the God of Israel as his God (Psalm 146:5–9). These strophes form the kernel of the Psalm, and are inclosed by an introduction, in which the Psalmist calls upon himself and promises to praise God (Psalm 146:1, 2), and a conclusion (Psalm 146:10) full of assurance of the uninterrupted and eternal continuance of Jehovah’s kingly government.
[HENGSTENBERG: “That this Psalm is not contemporaneous with the preceding Davidic Psalm. … is clear from the fact that it does not rest upon the Davidic Psalms, and from the traces it contains of a late post-exile period—the hallelujah, which is never found in Psalms which bear the name of David, comp. Ps. 104, where it first occurs, and Ps. 105; the borrowing of Psalm 146:1, 2 from Ps. 104, which was composed after the exile, and of Psalm 146:3 from Ps. 118, which was sung when the foundation of the Second Temple was laid. That the Psalm was composed at a period of great depression for the people of God, is indicated by the predicates of God, which are all of a kind fitted to elevate the distressed, console the afflicted, and give them confidence in their God.”—J. F. M.]
Psalm 146:1–8. The introduction follows Ps. 104:1, 33, 34, comp. 103:22. Psalm 146:3 recalls Ps. 118:8 f., Jer. 17:5; and Psalm 146:4, Ps. 104:29. Psalm 146:5 is similarly related to Ps. 144:15 and 33:12, 35:2 after Ex. 18:4; the beginning of Psalm 146:6, to Pss. 115:15, 121:2, 124:8, 134:3; Psalm 146:7a., to Ps. 103:6; Psalm 146:7b., to Pss. 104:27 f., 107:9, 136:25, if not to Pss. 33:19; 37:19; Psalm 146:7c. to Ps. 105:20. [On Psalm 146:6, PEROWNE: “Who keepeth. In the series of participles marking the several acts or attributes of God in this and the next two verses, this only has the article prefixed, perhaps because the Psalmist designed to give a certain prominence or emphasis to this attribute of God, that He is One ‘who keepeth truth for ever.’ It is in fact the central thought of the Psalm. For upon this ground beyond all others is God the object of trust. He is true and His word is truth, and that word He keeps not for a time but for ever.” In Psalm 146:8 the context shows that it is a figure applied to physical weakness, as in Deut. 28:29.—J. F. M.]
Psalm 146:9, 10. The strangers are usually combined in the singular with widows and orphans (Deut. and often). The plural here is scarcely to be referred to the Jews who dwelt together for defence in foreign lands (Hitzig). The crooked way of the wicked, in which death lies (Prov. 12:28), is turned by Jehovah down towards, hell (Prov. 15:24, comp. 2:18, Ps. 1:6). [DELITZSCH: “There is only a single line devoted to this manifestation of Jehovah’s punitive justice. For He rules in love and wrath, but delights most to rule in love. And Jehovah is the God of Zion. The eternal duration of His kingdom is also the pledge of its glorious perfection, the triumph of love. Hallelujah!”—J. F. M.]
HOMILETICAL AND PRACTICAL
God’s love the ground of our life and the matter of our eternal praise.—Alas, how often do we trust when we should be afraid, and become afraid when we should trust!—God has not only the power, He has also the will to help; and in both He remains unchangeably the same; but it is only those who trust in Him, that can make His faithfulness their consolation.
STARKE: He who makes a man his god, must be expecting his god to die every hour.—On meditating upon the frailty of life, let us strive to make all our plans pleasing to God, and then we will be able to enjoy their results in eternity.—If you find anything in the world to give you confidence, do not make it your strength. What is not the God of Jacob, is not to be your strength.—Fidelity and truth are declining very much among men in these last times; let true Christians then rely all the more upon the faithfulness of the God who abides by His promises.—God is to His children all that they need. Nothing can befall them in the world, against which He cannot afford comfort, counsel and aid—What a sweet word: the Lord loves thee! I would not take a kingdom for that word. Love unites God’s heart to mine.—The everlasting kingdom of Christ affords reason to the citizens of the spiritual Zion, both now and for ever, to praise God.
FRISCH: He who does not pass his life in the praise of God, is dead while he liveth.—The favor of all men is worthless when God does not favor.—When the favor of men ceases, that of God begins, and when the children of man withdraw the hand, then God truly begins to care for us.—RIEGER: The exhortation to praise God out of true trust in Him, is fitly accompanied by the warning, not to trust in man.—GUENTHER: It is as though the psalms of praise Which arise from the suppliant’s lips, returned to him from God, as means of sanctification.—TAUBE: How the precious name of the Lord becomes explained to us in different kinds of distress! the Saviour and Helper, the Redeemer and Liberator, the Comforter, the Physician of Israel, the Defender of His people, the Father and Guardian!—A blissful vision of the time of fulfilment in the kingdom of rest, and the subject of our hallelujahs.
[MATT. HENRY: Then is praise most pleasant when in praising God we have an eye to Him as ours, whom we have an interest in, and stand in relation to.—That which is the great end of our being ought to be our enjoyment and employment while we have any being.—It is a great support to faith, that the Redeemer of the world is the same who was the Creator of it, and therefore has a good will to it, a perfect knowledge of its case, and power to help it.—BP. HORNE: There are no changes in the politics of heaven.—SCOTT: With these glorious prospects before our eyes, how mean do the pursuits of ambition or connections with the great seem to us! and how needful does it appear to dissuade men from this common but destructive idolatry!—J. F. M.]
Praise ye the LORD. Praise the LORD, O my soul.