O praise the LORD, all you nations: praise him, all you people.
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EXPOSITORY (ENGLISH BIBLE)Psalm 117:1-2. O praise the Lord, all ye nations — Let not the praises that are due to the great Lord of all, be confined to our nation; but let all people upon the face of the earth praise him. For his merciful kindness is great toward us — Toward all the children of Adam, whether carnal or spiritual, for he hath done mighty things for all mankind; and the truth of the Lord endureth for ever — The Lord, who changes not, will not fail to perform his faithful promises to the world’s end. Therefore let us all join in praises to our common Benefactor. Matthew 8:11; Matthew 12:21; Matthew 28:19); it was the occasion of no small part of the trouble which the Apostle Paul had with his countrymen (compare Acts 13:46; Acts 18:6; Acts 21:21; Acts 22:21; Acts 26:20, Acts 26:23); it was one of the doctrines which Paul especially endeavored to establish, as a great truth of Christianity, that all the barriers between the nations were to be broken down, and the Gospel proclaimed to all people alike, Romans 3:29; Romans 9:24, Romans 9:30; Romans 11:11; Romans 15:9-11, Romans 15:16, Romans 15:18; Galatians 2:2; Ephesians 2:11-18; Ephesians 3:1-9. It is under the gospel that this language becomes especially appropriate.
Praise him, all ye people - People of all lands. The word here rendered "praise" - שׁבח shâbach - means properly to soothe, to still, to restrain - as, for example, billows Psalm 89:9; and then, to praise, as if to soothe with praises - mulcere laudibus, Pacuv. The idea of soothing or mitigating, however, is not necessarily in the word, but it may be understood in the general sense of praise. We may in fact often soothe or appease people - angry, jealous, suspicious people - by skillful flattery or praise - for there are few, even when under the influence of anger or hatred, who may not thus be approached, or who do not value praise and commendation more than they do the indulgence of passion; but we cannot hope thus to appease the anger of God. We approach him to utter our deep sense of his goodness, and our veneration for his character; we do not expect to turn him from anger to love - to make him forget his justice or our sins - by soothing flattery.
Ps 117:1, 2. This may be regarded as a doxology, suitable to be appended to any Psalm of similar character, and prophetical of the prevalence of God's grace in the world, in which aspect Paul quotes it (Ro 15:11; compare Ps 47:2; 66:8).
2 For his merciful kindness is great toward us: and the truth of the Lord endureth for ever. Praise ye the Lord.
"O praise the Lord, all ye nations." This is an exhortation to the Gentiles to glorify Jehovah, and a clear proof that the Old Testament spirit differed widely from that narrow and contracted national bigotry with which the Jews of our Lord's day became so inveterately diseased. The nations could not be expected to join in the praise of Jehovah unless they were also to be partakers of the benefits which Israel enjoyed; and hence the Psalm was an intimation to Israel that the grace and mercy of their God were not to be confined to one nation, but would in happier days be extended to all the race of man, even as Moses had prophesied when he said, "Rejoice, O ye nations, his people." (Deuteronomy 32:43), for so the Hebrew has it. The nations were to be his people. He would call them a people that were not a people, and her beloved that was not beloved. We know and believe that no one tribe of men shall be unrepresented in the universal song which shall ascend unto the Lord of all. Individuals have already been gathered out of every kindred and people and tongue by the preaching of the gospel, and these have right heartily joined in magnifying the grace which sought them out, and brought them to know the Saviour. These are but the advance-guard of a number which no man can number who will come ere long to worship the all-glorious One. "Praise him, all ye people." Having done it once, do it again, and do it still more fervently, daily increasing in the reverence and zeal with which you extol the Most High. Not only praise him nationally by your rulers, but popularly in your masses. The multitude of the common folk shall bless the Lord. Inasmuch as the matter is spoken of twice, its certainty is confirmed, and the Gentiles must and shall extol Jehovah - all of them, without exception. Under the gospel dispensation we worship no new god, but the God of Abraham is our God for ever and ever; the God of the whole earth shall he be called.
"For his merciful kindness is great toward us." By which is meant not only his great love toward the Jewish people, but towards the whole family of man. The Lord is kind to us as his creatures, and merciful to us as sinners, hence his merciful kindness to us as sinful creatures. This mercy has been very great, or powerful. The mighty grace of God has prevailed even as the waters of the flood prevailed over the earth: breaking over all bounds, it has flowed towards all portions of the multiplied race of man. In Christ Jesus, God has shown mercy mixed with kindness, and that to the very highest degree. We can all join in this grateful acknowledgment, and in the praise which is therefore due. "And the truth of the Lord endureth for ever." He has kept his covenant promise that in the seed of Abraham should all nations of the earth be blessed, and he will eternally keep every single promise of that covenant to all those who put their trust in him. This should be a cause of constant and grateful praise, wherefore the Psalm concludes as it began, with another Hallelujah, "Praise ye the Lord." THE ARGUMENT
praise him, all ye people; ye people of God in the several nations of the world; not the Jews only, but the Gentiles also: the same thing is repeated in different words, for the greater certainty and confirmation of it; that this should be, the work and exercise of the Gentiles in Gospel times, and expresses eagerness and vehemence to stir them up to it. A different word is here used for "praise" than in the former clause; and which is more frequently used in the Chaldee, Syriac, Arabic, and Ethiopic languages; and signifies the celebration of the praises of God with a high voice.O praise the LORD, all ye nations: praise him, all ye people.
EXEGETICAL (ORIGINAL LANGUAGES)1. Praise Jehovah, all ye nations,
Laud him all ye peoples.
Two different words for praise are used.Verse 1. - O praise the Lord, all ye nations; or, "all ye Gentiles," as in Romans 15:11. The goim are especially the heathen nations of the earth (comp. Psalm 2:1, 8; Psalm 9:5, 15, 19, 20, etc.). Praise him; rather, laud him (Revised Version). The verbs in the two clauses are different. All ye people; rather, all ye peoples. Job 24:22; Job 29:24, with לא it signifies "to be without faith, i.e., to despair." But how does it now proceed? The lxx renders ἐπίστευσα, διὸ ἐλάλησα, which the apostle makes use of in 2 Corinthians 4:13, without our being therefore obliged with Luther to render: I believe, therefore I speak; כי does not signify διὸ. Nevertheless כי might according to the sense be used for לכן, if it had to be rendered with Hengstenberg: "I believed, therefore I spake,hy but I was very much plagued." But this assertion does not suit this connection, and has, moreover, no support in the syntax. It might more readily be rendered: "I have believed that I should yet speak, i.e., that I should once more have a deliverance of God to celebrate;" but the connection of the parallel members, which is then only lax, is opposed to this. Hitzig's attempted interpretation, "I trust, when (כּי as in Jeremiah 12:1) I should speak: I am greatly afflicted," i.e., "I have henceforth confidence, so that I shall not suffer myself to be drawn away into the expression of despondency," does not commend itself, since Psalm 116:10 is a complaining, but not therefore as yet a desponding assertion of the reality. Assuming that האמנתּי and אמרתּי in Psalm 116:11 stand on the same line in point of time, it seems that it must be interpreted I had faith, for I spake (was obliged to speak); but אדבר, separated from האמנתי by כי, is opposed to the colouring relating to the contemporaneous past. Thus Psalm 116:10 will consequently contain the issue of that which has been hitherto experienced: I have gathered up faith and believe henceforth, when I speak (have to speak, must speak): I am deeply afflicted (ענה as in Psalm 119:67, cf. Arab. ‛nâ, to be bowed down, more particularly in captivity, whence Arab. 'l-‛nât, those who are bowed down). On the other hand, Psalm 116:11 is manifestly a retrospect. He believes now, for he is thoroughly weaned from putting trust in men: I said in my despair (taken from Psalm 31:23), the result of my deeply bowed down condition: All men are liars (πᾶς ἄνθρωπος ψεύστης, Romans 3:4). Forsaken by all the men from whom he expected succour and help, he experienced the truth and faithfulness of God. Striding away over this thought, he asks in Psalm 116:12 how he is to give thanks to God for all His benefits. מה is an adverbial accusative for בּמּה, as in Genesis 44:16, and the substantive תּגּמוּל, in itself a later formation, has besides the Chaldaic plural suffix ôhi, which is without example elsewhere in Hebrew. The poet says in Psalm 116:13 how alone he can and will give thanks to his Deliverer, by using a figure taken from the Passover (Matthew 26:27), the memorial repast in celebration of the redemption out of Egypt. The cup of salvation is that which is raised aloft and drunk amidst thanksgiving for the manifold and abundant salvation (ישׁוּעות) experienced. קרא בשׁם ה is the usual expression for a solemn and public calling upon and proclamation of the Name of God. In Psalm 116:14 this thanksgiving is more minutely designated as שׁלמי נדר, which the poet now discharges. A common and joyous eating and drinking in the presence of God was associated with the shelamim. נא (vid., Psalm 115:2) in the freest application gives a more animated tone to the word with which it stands. Because he is impelled frankly and freely to give thanks before the whole congregation, נא stands beside נגד, and נגד, moreover, has the intentional ah.
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