Psalm 147:1
Praise ye the LORD: for it is good to sing praises unto our God; for it is pleasant; and praise is comely.
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-1Psalm 135:3 is plainly before the poet in this verse; and yet, since Psalms 33 is in other respects his model, it is extremely doubtful whether we ought to change the reading, so as to make a complete correspondence between the verses, or suppose that the alteration was intentional, in accordance with “praise is comely for the uprightin Psalm 33:1. (See Notes on both the passages; comp. also Psalm 92:1.)

Psalm 147:1-3. Praise the Lord, for it is good — It is acceptable to God, and greatly beneficial and productive of comfort to ourselves. It is pleasant, and praise is comely — “Being the only return man can make for his creation and redemption, and all other mercies; the offspring of gratitude, and the expression of love; the elevation of the soul, and the ante-past of heaven; its own reward in this life, and an introduction to the felicities of the next.” — Horne. The Lord doth build up Jerusalem — It is the Lord’s own doing, and not man’s. He gathereth together the outcasts of Israel — Hebrew, נדחי, the banished, or expelled, who had been carried captives out of their own land, and dispersed in divers strange countries. He healeth the broken in heart — Those whose hearts were broken, either with a sense of their sins, or with their afflictions, calamities, and sorrows. He seems to speak peculiarly of the captive Israelites now returned.

147:1-11 Praising God is work that is its own wages. It is comely; it becomes us as reasonable creatures, much more as people in covenant with God. He gathers outcast sinners by his grace, and will bring them into his holy habitation. To those whom God heals with the consolations of his Spirit, he speaks peace, assures them their sins are pardoned. And for this, let others praise him also. Man's knowledge is soon ended; but God's knowledge is a dept that can never be fathomed. And while he telleth the number of the stars, he condescends to hear the broken-hearted sinner. While he feeds the young ravens, he will not leave his praying people destitute. Clouds look dull and melancholy, yet without them we could have no rain, therefore no fruit. Thus afflictions look black and unpleasant; but from clouds of affliction come showers that make the soul to yield the peaceable fruits of righteousness. The psalmist delights not in things wherein sinners trust and glory; but a serious and suitable regard to God is, in his sight, of very great price. We are not to be in doubt between hope and fear, but to act under the gracious influences of hope and fear united.Praise ye the Lord - Hallelu-jah. See Psalm 146:1.

For it is good to sing praises unto our God - See the notes at Psalm 92:1 : "It is a good thing to give thanks unto the Lord."

For it is pleasant - See the notes at Psalm 135:3 : "Sing praises unto his name, for it is pleasant." The Hebrew word is the same.

And praise is comely - Becoming; proper. See the notes at Psalm 33:1 : "praise is comely for the upright." The Hebrew word is the same. If these psalms were composed for the rededication of the temple, it would not be unnatural that much of the language employed should be borrowed from earlier psalms with which the people were familiar.


Ps 147:1-20. This and the remaining Psalms have been represented as specially designed to celebrate the rebuilding of Jerusalem (compare Ne 6:16; 12:27). They all open and close with the stirring call for praise. This one specially declares God's providential care towards all creatures, and particularly His people.

1. (Compare Ps 92:1; 135:3).

1 Praise ye the Lord, for it is good to sing praises unto our God; for it is pleasant; and praise is comely.

2 The Lord doth build up Jerusalem, he gathereth together the outcasts of Israel.

3 He healeth the broken in heart, and bindeth up their wounds.

4 He telleth the number of the stars; he calleth them all by their names.

5 Great is our Lord, and of great power, his understanding is infinite.

6 The Lord lifteth up the meek, he casteth the wicked down to the ground.

Psalm 147:1

"Praise ye the Lord," or Hallelujah. The flow of the broad river of the Book of Psalms ends in a cataract of praise. The present Psalm begins and ends with Hallelujah. Jehovah and happy praise should ever be associated in the mind of a believer. Jove was dreaded, but Jehovah Is beloved. To one and all of the true seed of Israel the Psalmist acts as choir-master, and cries, "Praise ye the Lord." Such an exhortation may fitly be addressed to all those who owe anything to the favour of God; and which of us does not? Pay him we cannot, but praise him we will, not only now, but for ever. "For it is good to sing praises unto our God." It is good because it is right; good because it is acceptable with God, beneficial to ourselves, and stimulating to our fellows. The goodness of an exercise is good argument with good men for its continual practice. Singing the divine praises is the best possible use of speech, it speaks of God, for God, and to God, and it does this in a joyful and reverent manner. Singing in the heart is good, but singing with heart and voice is better, for it allows others to join with us. Jehovah is our God, our covenant God, therefore let him have the homage of our praise; and he is so gracious and happy a God that our praise may best be expressed in joyful song.

"For it is pleasant; and praise is comely." It is pleasant and proper, sweet and suitable to laud the Lord Most High. It is refreshing to the taste of the truly refined mind, and it is agreeable to the eye of the pure in heart, it is delightful both to hear and to see a whole assembly praising the Lord. These are arguments for song-service which men who love true piety, real pleasure, and strict propriety will not despise. Please to praise, for praise is pleasant, praise the Lord in the beauty of holiness, for praise is comely. Where duty and delight, benefit and beauty unite, we ought not to be backward. Let each reader feel that he and his family ought to constitute a choir for the daily celebration of the praises of the Lord.

Psalm 147:2

"The Lord doth build up Jerusalem." God appears both in the material and spiritual world as a Builder and Maker, and therein he is to be praised. His grace, wisdom, and power are all seen in the formation and establishment of the chosen seat of his worship; once a city with material wall, but now a church composed of spiritual stones. The Jews rejoiced in the uprising of their capital from its ruins, and we triumph in the growth of the church from among a godless world. "He gathereth together the outcasts of Israel"; and thus he repairs the waste places, and causes the former desolations to be inhabited. This sentence may relate to Nehemiah and those who returned with him; but there is no reason why it should not with equal fitness be referred to David, who, with his friends, was once an outcast, but ere long became the means of building up Jerusalem. In any case, the Psalmist ascribes to Jehovah all the blessings enjoyed; the restoration of the city and the restoration of the banished he equally traces to the divine hand. How clearly these ancient believers saw the Lord present, working among them and for them! Spiritually we see the hand of God in the edification of the church, and in the ingathering of sinners. What are men under conviction of sin but outcasts from God, from holiness, from heaven, and even from hope? Who could gather them from their dispersions, and make citizens of them in Christ Jesus save the Lord our God? This deed of love and power he is constantly performing. Therefore let the song begin at Jerusalem our home, and let every living stone in the spiritual city echo the strain; for it is the Lord who has brought again his banished ones, and builded them together in Zion.

Psalm 147:3

"He healeth the broken in heart, and bindeth up their wounds." This the Holy Spirit mentions as a part of the glory of God, and a reason for our declaring his praise: the Lord is not only a Builder, but a Healer; he restores broken hearts as well as broken walls. The kings of the earth think to be great through their loftiness; but Jehovah becomes really so by his condescension. Behold, the Most High has to do with the sick and the sorry, with the wretched and the wounded! He walks the hospitals as the good Physician! His deep sympathy with mourners is a special mark of his goodness. Few will associate with the despondent, but Jehovah chooses their company, and abides with them till he has healed them by his comforts. He deigns to handle and heal broken hearts: he himself lays on the ointment of grace, and the soft bandages of love, and thus binds up the bleeding wounds of those convinced of sin. This is compassion like a God. Well may those praise him to whom he has acted so gracious a part. The Lord is always healing and binding: this is no new work to him, he has done it of old; and it is not a thing of the past of which he is now weary, for he is still healing and still binding, as the original hath it. Come, broken hearts, come to the Physician who never fails to heal: uncover your wounds to him who so tenderly binds them up!

Psalm 147:4

continued...THE ARGUMENT

This Psalm may seem, from Psalm 147:2,13, to have been composed by some holy prophet after the return of Israel from the Babylonish captivity. It containeth an ample celebration of God’s praises, both for common mercies and for special favors.

The prophet exhorteth the people to praise God for his care over his church, Psalm 147:1-14; his wisdom and government over all, Psalm 147:15-18; and for his salvation to the faith, Psalm 147:19,20.

It is good; it is acceptable to God, and greatly comfortable and beneficial to ourselves.

Praise ye the Lord,.... When he shall reign, as Kimchi connects this psalm with the preceding; the arguments used to engage men to this work are taken partly from the nature of it, as in the next clauses; and partly from what the Lord is and does, as in the following verses;

for it is good to sing praises unto our God; it being agreeably to his revealed will, what he enjoins, approves of, and accepts, and is profitable to his people, as well as makes his glory; see Psalm 92:1. Some render it, "because he is good", as in Psalm 106:1; but the accents, and what follows, will not admit of this sense;

for it is pleasant; to our God; with which the Septuagint, Vulgate Latin, Ethiopic, and Arabic versions, join this clause; the sacrifice of praise is more pleasing to the Lord than any ceremonial sacrifice, especially when offered from a grateful heart in the name of Christ, and with a view to his glory; and it is pleasant to saints themselves, when grace is in exercise, and they make melody in their hearts to the Lord;

and praise is comely: is due to the Lord, and becomes his people to give it to him; it is but their reasonable service, and a beautiful and lovely sight it is to see the chosen, redeemed, and called of the Lamb, harping with their harps, and singing the song of redeeming love.

Praise ye the LORD: for it is good to sing praises unto our God; for it is {a} pleasant; and praise is comely.

(a) He shows in which we ought to exercise ourselves continually, and to take our pastime: that is, in praising God.

1. The text of this verse seems to be in some confusion. The Hallelujah, which ought, as in the other Psalms of this group, to stand by itself as the summons of the precentor to the congregation (see on Psalm 104:35), here forms part of Psalm 147:1, the construction of which is otherwise awkward and anomalous. The LXX reads both Alleluia and Praise ye the Lord, as in Psalm 148:1; and it is probable that the verse should read thus:


Praise ye Jehovah, for it is good;

Make melody to our God, for it la pleasant;

Praise is comely,

or, for he is good … he is gracious (lit. pleasant, cp. Psalm 27:4). Cp. Psalm 135:3, on which this verse is based: line 3 is from Psalm 33:1.

1–6. Praise Jehovah, the restorer of Israel, the sovereign ruler of the world.

Verse 1. - Praise ye the Lord: for it is good to sing praises unto our God (comp. Psalm 92:1). For it is pleasant (see Psalm 135:3). And praise is comely; rather, becoming, or seemly - suitable, that is, to such a Being as we know God to be. Psalm 147:1The Hallelujah, as in Psalm 135:3, is based upon the fact, that to sing of our God, or to celebrate our God in song (זמּר with an accusative of the object, as in Psalm 30:13, and frequently), is a discharge of duty that reacts healthfully and beneficially upon ourselves: "comely is a hymn of praise" (taken from Psalm 33:1), both in respect of the worthiness of God to be praised, and of the gratitude that is due to Him. Instead of זמּר or לזמּר, Psalm 92:2, the expression is זמּרה, a form of the infin. Piel, which at least can still be proved to be possible by ליסּרה in Leviticus 26:18. The two כּי are co-ordinate, and כּי־נעים no more refers to God here than in Psalm 135:3, as Hitzig supposes when he alters Psalm 147:1 so that it reads: "Praise ye Jah because He is good, play unto our God because He is lovely." Psalm 92:2 shows that כּי־טוב can refer to God; but נעים said of God is contrary to the custom and spirit of the Old Testament, whereas טוב and נעים are also in Psalm 133:1 neuter predicates of a subject that is set forth in the infinitive form. In Psalm 147:2 the praise begins, and at the same time the confirmation of the delightful duty. Jahve is the builder up of Jerusalem, He brings together (כּנּס as in Ezekiel, the later wozd for אסף and קבּץ) the outcasts of Israel (as in Isaiah 11:12; Isaiah 56:8); the building of Jerusalem is therefore intended of the rebuilding up, and to the dispersion of Israel corresponds the holy city laid in ruins. Jahve healeth the heart-broken, as He has shown in the case of the exiles, and bindeth up their pains (Psalm 16:4), i.e., smarting wounds; רפא, which is here followed by חבּשׁ, also takes to itself a dative object in other instances, both in an active and (Isaiah 6:10) an impersonal application; but for שׁבוּרי לב the older language says נשׁבּרי לב, Psalm 34:19, Isaiah 61:1. The connection of the thoughts, which the poet now brings to the stars, becomes clear from the primary passage, Isaiah 40:26, cf. Isaiah 40:27. To be acquainted with human woe and to relieve it is an easy and small matter to Him who allots a number to the stars, that are to man innumerable (Genesis 15:5), i.e., who has called them into being by His creative power in whatever number He has pleased, and yet a number known to Him (מנה, the part. praes., which occurs frequently in descriptions of the Creator), and calls to them all names, i.e., names them all by names which are the expression of their true nature, which is well known to Him, the Creator. What Isaiah says (Isaiah 40:26) with the words, "because of the greatness of might, and as being strong in power," and (Isaiah 40:28) "His understanding is unsearchable," is here asserted in Psalm 147:5 (cf. Psalm 145:3): great is our Lord, and capable of much (as in Job 37:23, שׂגּיא כּח), and to His understanding there is no number, i.e., in its depth and fulness it cannot be defined by any number. What a comfort for the church as it traverses its ways, that are often so labyrinthine and entangled! Its Lord is the Omniscient as well as the Almighty One. Its history, like the universe, is a work of God's infinitely profound and rich understanding. It is a mirror of gracious love and righteous anger. The patient sufferers (ענוים) He strengthens (מעודד as in Psalm 146:9); malevolent sinners (רשׁעים), on the other hand, He casts down to the earth (עדי־ארץ, cf. Isaiah 26:5), casting deep down to the ground those who exalt themselves to the skies.
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