Praise ye the LORD. O give thanks unto the LORD; for he is good: for his mercy endureth for ever.
Verse 1. - Praise ye the Lord (comp. Psalm 104:35; Psalm 105:45). O give thanks unto the Lord (so in Psalm 105:1). Even in their greatest afflictions, the Israelites were bound to give God thanks. His mercies always exceeded his punishments. For he is good (see the comment on Psalm 100:5). For his mercy eudureth forever. According to Chronicles, this phrase was used at the dedication of David's tabernacle (1 Chronicles 16:34, 41), and again at the dedication of the temple (2 Chronicles 5:13). It here first occurs in the Psalms.
Who can utter the mighty acts of the LORD? who can shew forth all his praise?
Verse 2. - Who can utter the mighty acts of the Lord? (comp. Psalm 50:2; and for the impossibility of expressing God's greatness, see Job 11:7-9; Psalm 92:5; Isaiah 40:12-17; Romans 11:33-36). Who can show forth all his praise? i.e. "all the praise really due to him."
Blessed are they that keep judgment, and he that doeth righteousness at all times.
Verse 3. - Blessed are they that keep judgment, and he that doeth righteousness at all times. No distinction of meaning is intended between "keeping judgment" and "doing righteousness." The second clause merely repeats the first.
Remember me, O LORD, with the favour that thou bearest unto thy people: O visit me with thy salvation;
Verse 4. - Remember me, O Lord, with the favour that thou bearest unto thy people. A prayer for individual blessing, not very usual in a psalm concerned with national sins and national deliverances. Professor Cheyne compares the parenthetic utterances of Nehemiah (Nehemiah 5:19; Nehemiah 13:14, 22, 31), but doubts whether the entire passage (vers. 4, 5) is not an interpolation. O visit me with thy salvation (comp. Psalm 18:35; Psalm 85:7).
That I may see the good of thy chosen, that I may rejoice in the gladness of thy nation, that I may glory with thine inheritance.
Verse 5. - That I may see the good of thy chosen; or, the good fortune, the prosperity, of thy chosen; i.e. their happiness when they are released from the captivity, and return to their own land (comp. ver. 47). That I may rejoice in the gladness of thy nation; i.e. "the gladness" that would be theirs when re-established in their own country (see Ezra 3:12; Ezra 6:22). That I may glory with thins inheritance; or, triumph.
We have sinned with our fathers, we have committed iniquity, we have done wickedly.
Verses 6-46. - The psalmist now enters on his main subject - the transgressions of Israel in the past, and God's manifold mercies vouchsafed to them. These he traces from the time of the Exodus (ver. 7) to that of the Babylonish captivity (ver. 46). Verse 6. - We have sinned with our fathers (comp. Leviticus 26:40; 1 Kings 8:47; Ezra 9:6, 7; Nehemiah 1:6, 7; Nehemiah 9:16-18, 26; Daniel 9:5-8). We have committed iniquity; or, "dealt perversely" (Kay). We have done wickedly. The confession is as broad and general as possible, including all under sin - the "fathers" from Moses downwards, the whole nation from the time of its settlement in Canaan, and even the afflicted exiles in Babylon. Their guilt is emphaized by the use of three verbs, each more forcible than the last.
Our fathers understood not thy wonders in Egypt; they remembered not the multitude of thy mercies; but provoked him at the sea, even at the Red sea.
Verse 7. - Our fathers understood not thy wonders in Egypt; rather, considered not - did not give serious thought to them; took them as matters of course, and so were not impressed by them. They remembered not the multitude of thy mercies (comp. Psalm 69:16; Isaiah 63:7; Lamentations 3:32; and infra, ver. 45). But provoked him; rather, were rebellious (see the Revised Version). At the sea, even at the Red Sea (comp. Exodus 14:11, 12).
Nevertheless he saved them for his name's sake, that he might make his mighty power to be known.
Verse 8. - Nevertheless he saved them for his Name's sake, that he might make his mighty power to be known. (On this motive for the mighty works done in Egypt, see Exodus 7:5; Exodus 14:4, 18; Exodus 15:11-16.)
He rebuked the Red sea also, and it was dried up: so he led them through the depths, as through the wilderness.
Verse 9. - He rebuked the Red Sea also (comp. Psalm 104:7, "At thy rebuke they [i.e. the waters] fled;" see also Isaiah 50:2; Nahum 1:4). The Hebrew poets constantly represent God's dealings with inanimate nature in terms proper to his dealings with his rational creatures, thus personifying material things. And it was dried up (see Exodus 14:21, 22). So he led them through the depths, as through the wilderness (comp. Isaiah 63:13). Midbar, the word translated "wilderness," is properly a smooth stretch of down, very level, and suited for sheep walks.
And he saved them from the hand of him that hated them, and redeemed them from the hand of the enemy.
Verse 10. - And he saved them from the hand of him that hated them. The Pharaoh of the Exodus, whose "hatred" had been shown by his oppression (Exodus 2:23; Exodus 3:9; Exodus 5:6-19), his prolonged refusal to let Israel go, and final pursuit of them, and attempt to destroy them on the western shore of the Red Sea (Exodus 14:5-10). And redeemed them from the hand of the enemy. The deliverance from Egypt, typifying man's deliverance from sin, is constantly spoken of as a "redemption" (Psalm 74:2; Psalm 107:2; Exodus 6:6, 7; Exodus 15:16, etc.).
And the waters covered their enemies: there was not one of them left.
Verse 11. - And the waters covered their enemies (see Exodus 14:28-30; Exodus 15:10). There was not one of them left. The words of Exodus 14:28 (last clause) are almost exactly followed. (On the true meaning of the expression, see the 'Pulpit Commentary' on Exodus 14, p. 314.)
Then believed they his words; they sang his praise.
Verse 12. - Then believed they his words. So in Exodus 14:31, "The people feared the Lord and believed the Lord" - believed, that is, when they could no longer disbelieve. They sang his praise. The allusion is to the "Song of Moses" (Exodus 15:1-18), in which the Israelites generally joined (Exodus 15:1, 20).
They soon forgat his works; they waited not for his counsel:
Verse 13. - They soon forgat his works; literally, they hasted and forgat his works. Their gratitude and devotion were short-lived. They almost immediately forgot the omnipotence and extreme goodness of God towards them. They "murmured" at Marah (Exodus 15:24), complained in the wilderness of Sin (Exodus 16:3), "lusted" (Numbers 11:4), "tempted God," etc. They waited not for his counsel; i.e. "they did not wait for the development of God's plans respecting them, preferring (ver. 43) their own counsel" (Kay).
But lusted exceedingly in the wilderness, and tempted God in the desert.
Verse 14. - But lusted exceedingly in the wilderness; literally, "lusted a lust." The expression is taken from Numbers 11:4, where it is translated in the Authorized Version by "fell a-lusting." The lust was for "flesh," and for "the fish, the cucumbers, the melons, and the leeks, and the onions, and the garlic, which they did eat in Egypt freely" (Numbers 11:5). And tempted God in the desert (comp. Psalm 78:18).
And he gave them their request; but sent leanness into their soul.
Verse 15. - And he gave them their request. By sending the quails (Numbers 11:31, 32). But sent leanness into their soul. By "leanness" is meant dissatisfaction or disgust. After eating freely of the quails for a full month, the food became "loathsome" to them (Numbers 11:20). Whether it actually produced the pestilence which followed (Numbers 11:33). or whether that was a separate and distinct affliction, it is impossible to determine (compare, on the whole subject, Psalm 78:18-31, and the comment ad loc.).
They envied Moses also in the camp, and Aaron the saint of the LORD.
Verse 16. - They envied Moses also in the camp. The writer passes now to the sin of Korah, Dathan, and Abiram, with their followers, which was "envy" or jealousy of the high position assigned by God himself (Exodus 3:10; Exodus 4:1-17) to Moses and Aaron (comp. Numbers 16:1-3). These "gainsayers" (Jude 1:11) maintained that they had as much right to be priests as Moses and Aaron, since "all the congregation was holy" (Numbers 16:3). And Aaron the saint of the Lord; or, the holy one. It is rather Aaron's official sanctity (Leviticus 8:2-12) than his personal holiness that is intended. (Compare the use of the phrase "man of God" in 1 Kings 13:1, 4, 6, etc.)
The earth opened and swallowed up Dathan, and covered the company of Abiram.
Verse 17. - The earth opened and swallowed up Dathan (see Numbers 16:31-33). And covered the company of Abiram. It is asked why there is no mention of Korah here, and suggested that he owed his escape from mention to the favouritism of the Levitical "temple poets" (Cheyne). But the real reason seems to be that Korah was not "swallowed up;" he and his company were destroyed by fire, and are alluded to in ver. 18 (so Hengstenberg).
And a fire was kindled in their company; the flame burned up the wicked.
Verse 18. - And a fire was kindled in their company (see Numbers 16:35, 40; Numbers 26:10). The flame burned up the wicked. Korah and his "company" were more "wicked" than Dathan, Abiram, and their followers, since they had received a favour from God which ought to have satisfied them (Numbers 16:9, 10), and since they ought to have been better instructed in the Law than ordinary Israelites. Hence Korah alone is mentioned in Jude 1:11.
They made a calf in Horeb, and worshipped the molten image.
Verse 19. - They made a calf in Horeb (comp. Exodus 32:4; Deuteronomy 9:8-16). And worshipped the molten image; rather, a molten image (comp. Exodus 32:4, 24; Deuteronomy 9:12, 16). The sin was not only against the light of nature, but was expressly forbidden by the second commandment (Exodus 20:4, 5).
Thus they changed their glory into the similitude of an ox that eateth grass.
Verse 20. - Thus they changed their glory into the similitude of an ox that eateth grass; i.e. they exchanged the spiritual revelation of Jehovah, in all his glorious attributes, for a material emblem, which would naturally suggest low and unworthy thoughts of the supreme Being. So Schultz and Cheyne. The expression, "an ox that eateth grass," emphasizes the contempt of the writer for a people who could so act. He has, probably, in his thoughts not only the golden calf, but the Apis bulls of Egypt.
They forgat God their saviour, which had done great things in Egypt;
Verse 21. - They forgat God their Saviour (comp. ver. 13). "God their Saviour" is "God who had so recently saved them out of the hands of Pharaoh." Which had done great things in Egypt. The allusion is principally to the long series of "plagues."
Wondrous works in the land of Ham, and terrible things by the Red sea.
Verse 22. - Wondrous works in the land of Ham (comp. Psalm 78:51; Psalm 105:23, 27, for the expression "land of Ham;" and for the "works" themselves, see Exodus 7-12). And terrible things by the Red Sea (see Exodus 14:24, 27-30).
Therefore he said that he would destroy them, had not Moses his chosen stood before him in the breach, to turn away his wrath, lest he should destroy them.
Verse 23. - Therefore he said that he would destroy them; literally, and he said. On the apostasy at Sinai, God expressed to Moses an intention to destroy the entire people of Israel, save only himself, and to "make of him a great nation" (Exodus 32:10; comp. Deuteronomy 9:14, 25). Had not Moses his chosen steed before him in the breach. Moses was "chosen" by God to lead the Israelites out of Egypt (Exodus 3:10), and forced to accept the office (Exodus 4:1-17). When Israel angered God at Sinai, he "stood in the gap," like a brave soldier guarding his city when the enemy has breached the wall (Exodus 32:11-13, 31-34). To turn away his wrath, lest he should destroy them. God was ready to have destroyed all Israel, and to have raised up a new Israel out of the descendants of Moses, had not Moses pleaded with extreme earnestness on the people's behalf (Exodus 32:32).
Yea, they despised the pleasant land, they believed not his word:
Verse 24. - Yea, they despised the pleasant land. The psalmist passes to the consideration of another sin. After the ill report of the spies (Numbers 13:27-33), the Israelites "despised" the land promised to them (Numbers 14:31), and relinquished all desire for it. They were ready to have turned back into Egypt (Numbers 14:3). They believed not his word; i.e. his promise to give them the land (Genesis 15:18-21; Exodus 23:31, etc.).
But murmured in their tents, and hearkened not unto the voice of the LORD.
Verse 25. - But murmured in their tents. The "murmuring" intended is undoubtedly that mentioned in Numbers 14:1-4. The phraseology employed is from Deuteronomy 1:27. And hearkened not unto the voice of the Lord; i.e. hearkened not to the many promises which God had made to drive out the Canaanitish nations before them (Exodus 3:17; Exodus 6:8; Exodus 15:15-17, etc.).
Therefore he lifted up his hand against them, to overthrow them in the wilderness:
Verse 26. - Therefore he lifted up his hand against them (comp. Numbers 14:30, marginal rendering). The phrase is used with reference to the uplifting of the hand width accompanied an oath. To overthrow them in the wilderness (see Numbers 14:29, 32, 37). The death in the wilderness of the entire generation which had set out from Egypt, save only Joshua and Caleb, is the "overthrow" intended.
To overthrow their seed also among the nations, and to scatter them in the lands.
Verse 27. - To overthrow their seed also among the nations. Like Ezekiel (Ezekiel 20:23), the writer regards the Babylonish captivity as in part a punishment for the sins committed in the wilderness. And to scatter them in the lands (comp. Leviticus 26:33; Deuteronomy 28:64). The Israelites were punished, not merely by being carried into captivity, but by being completely broken up as a nation, and "scattered" widely over Western Asia - some in Gozan and on the Khabonr (2 Kings 17:6), some in Haran (1 Chronicles 5:26), some in "the cities of the Modes" (2 Kings 18:11; Tobit 1:14 Tobit 3:7), others in Babylonia (2 Kings 24:14-16; 2 Chronicles 36:20; Ezekiel 1:1-3, etc.). The "scattering" has in later times increased ever more and more.
They joined themselves also unto Baalpeor, and ate the sacrifices of the dead.
Verse 28. - They joined themselves also unto Baal-peor (see Numbers 25:3). The exact expression used in the Pentateuch is repeated. It signifies a mystic union, such as was supposed to exist between a heathen god and his worshippers, and to be kept up by sacrificial meals and the like. "Baal-peor" - i.e. "the Lord of Pehor" - is probably identified with Chemosh. And ate the sacrifices of the dead. The corresponding phrase in Numbers (Numbers 25:2) is, "the sacrifices of their gods," who were "dead," as opposed to the true living God.
Thus they provoked him to anger with their inventions: and the plague brake in upon them.
Verse 29. - Thus they provoked him to anger with their inventions; or, with their doings. And the plague; rather, a plague. Brake in upon them. The judicial slaughter inflicted by command of Moses (Numbers 25:4-8) is called here, as it is also in Numbers 25:8, 9, 18, "a plague."
Then stood up Phinehas, and executed judgment: and so the plague was stayed.
Verse 30. - Then stood up Phinehas, and executed judgment (see Numbers 25:7, 8). Some critics, however, translate יפלל, by "mediated" (Kay, Cheyne). And so the plague was stayed (comp. Numbers 25:8).
And that was counted unto him for righteousness unto all generations for evermore.
Verse 31. - And that was counted unto him for righteousness (comp. Numbers 25:11-13, and see also Ecclesiastes 45:23, 24; 1 Macc. 2:26, 54). Unto all generations forevermore. The praise awarded to Phinehas, here and in Numbers 25, is an everlasting testimony to him, though the "everlasting priesthood" of Numbers 25:13 has passed away.
They angered him also at the waters of strife, so that it went ill with Moses for their sakes:
Verse 32. - They angered him also at the waters of strife; or, "at the waters of Meribah" (Revised Version, Kay, Cheyne); comp. Numbers 20:2, 10, 13. So that it went ill with Moses for their sakes. Moses was not punished for the people's sin, but for his own sin (Numbers 20:10-12), to which theirs led. The expression, "for their sakes," is used loosely (comp. Deuteronomy 1:37; Deuteronomy 3:26).
Because they provoked his spirit, so that he spake unadvisedly with his lips.
Verse 33. - Because they provoked his spirit, so that he spake unadvisedly with his lips. One man's sin often leads to another's, but does not necessitate it. The people "provoked Muses' spirit" by their murmurs and reproaches (Numbers 20:3-5). Moses, being provoked, made his rash utterance (Numbers 20:10). He was vexed, impatient, carried away by a gust of passion, and made the unfitting speech, "Hear now, ye rebels; must we fetch you water out of the rock?" speaking as if the power were his own.
They did not destroy the nations, concerning whom the LORD commanded them:
Verse 34. - They did not destroy the nations, concerning whom the Lord commanded them. This is reckoned as another sin. Israel, once comfortably settled in Palestine, with sufficient room for its numbers, did not carry out the Divine command to "destroy," or "cast out," the Canaanitish nations, but was content to share the land with them. "The children of Benjamin did not drive out the Jebusites who inhabited Jerusalem" (Judges 1:21); "neither did Manasseh drive out the inhabitants of Bethshean and her towns, nor Taanach and her towns; nor the inhabitants of Dor and her towns" (Judges 1:27); "neither did Ephraim drive out the Canaanites that dwelt in Gezer" (Judges 1:29); nor "Zebulon the inhabitants of Kitten, nor the inhabitants of Nahalol" (Judges 1:30); "neither did Asher drive out the inhabitants of Accho" (Judges 1:31); nor "Naphtali the inhabitants of Beth-shemesh and Beth-anath" (Judges 1:33); nor Dan the Amorites, who "would dwell in Mount Heros in Aijalon, and in Shaalbim" (Judges 1:35). It was not compassion that restrained them, but love of ease, idleness, one of the seven deadly sins; and the results were those described in the next verse.
But were mingled among the heathen, and learned their works.
Verse 35. - But were mingled among the heathen, and learned their works. This was the effect of the continuous contact. "Evil communications corrupted good manners." The command to exterminate, which to moderns seems so terribly severe, and almost cruel, was undoubtedly based upon God's foreknowledge of the fact, that otherwise there would be contact, and if contact, then contamination. (For the actual fact, see Judges 2:11-13, 19; Judges 3:6, 7; Judges 6:25; Judges 10:6, etc.)
And they served their idols: which were a snare unto them.
Verse 36. - And they served their idols: which were a snare unto them; or, which became a snare unto them. The idols worshipped were especially Baal and Ashtoreth - the nature-god and nature-goddess, sometimes identified with the sun and moon. These alone are mentioned in the time of the Judges. Afterwards, however, Chemosh, Molech, Remphan, the gods of Syria, and perhaps Ammon of Egypt, were added to the catalogue (1 Kings 11:7; 2 Kings 21:19; 2 Chronicles 28:23; Acts 7:43).
Yea, they sacrificed their sons and their daughters unto devils,
Verse 37. - Yea, they sacrificed their sons and their daughters unto devils. The Moloch sacrifices of children by their parents are evidently intended (comp. Leviticus 18:21; Deuteronomy 18:10; 2 Kings 3:27; Jeremiah 7:31; Ezekiel 23:37, etc.). (For the identification of the false gods of the heathen with "devils," comp. Leviticus 17:71; Deuteronomy 32:17; 2 Chronicles 11:15; 1 Corinthians 10:20, 21.) It is argued by some that the use of the word "devils," or "demons," here does not imply that the objects of the worship were evil spirits. But it is difficult to see what else can be meant.
And shed innocent blood, even the blood of their sons and of their daughters, whom they sacrificed unto the idols of Canaan: and the land was polluted with blood.
Verse 38. - And shed innocent blood, even the blood of their sons and of their daughters. Infants, who could have committed no actual sin, were the ordinary victims in the Moloch sacrifices (see Jarchi on Jeremiah 7:31; Diod. Sic., 20:14; Dollinger, 'Judenthum und Heidenthum,' 1:427, Engl. trans.). Whom they sacrificed unto the idols of Canaan. Bloody offerings of this horrible kind were made, not only to Moloch, but also to Baal (Jeremiah 19:5), to Chemosh (2 Kings 3:27), and perhaps to other deities. And the land was polluted with blood. Contrary to the commandment given in Deuteronomy 35:33, "Ye shall not pollute the laud wherein ye are." The "innocent blood" shed in the land is often declared to have been the especial cause of God's anger against Israel, and of his final casting away of his inheritance (2 Kings 24:4; Isaiah 59:7; Jeremiah 7:6; Jeremiah 22:3, 17, etc.).
Thus were they defiled with their own works, and went a whoring with their own inventions.
Verse 39. - Thus were they defiled with their own works. The heathen "works," which they adopted from them (ver. 35), had become "their own works," and made them a "defiled" and "polluted" people. And went a-whoring with their own inventions; i.e. "became spiritually adulterous," deserted God, and were unfaithful to him (comp. Ezekiel 23:2-21; Hosea 2:2-5).
Therefore was the wrath of the LORD kindled against his people, insomuch that he abhorred his own inheritance.
Verse 40. - Therefore was the wrath of the Lord kindled against his people (comp. Psalm 78:58, 59). Insomuch that he abhorred his own inheritance (see Psalm 78:62). It justly increased God's anger that the sinners were his own people, his own inheritance.
And he gave them into the hand of the heathen; and they that hated them ruled over them.
Verse 41. - And he gave them into the hand of the heathen. This is the great lesson taught by Jewish history, and especially impressed upon us by Judges and Chronicles. When a nation sins, it is delivered over to its enemies, partly for punishment, partly to lead it to repentance. Israel was delivered into the hand, first, of Mesopotamia (Judges 3:10), then of Moab (Judges 3:12), next of the Philistines (Judges 3:31), then of the Canaanites (Judges 4:2), later on of Midian (Judges 6:1), still later of Ammon (Judges 10:7-18), and then of the Philistines once more (Judges 13:1) - on each occasion because of some flagrant sins, and suffered chastisement until it repented. So we are told in Chronicles with respect to the invasions of Shishak (2 Chronicles 12:2-5), of Pul (1 Chronicles 5:25, 26), of Tiglath-pileser (2 Chronicles 28:19, 20), and of Nebuchadnezzar (2 Chronicles 36:13-17), that they were on account of the people's transgressions. God "slew" them that they might "seek him," and the ordinary result was, that they "turned themselves, and inquired after God." And they that hated them ruled over them. Chushan-rishathaim for eight years (Judges 3:8), Eglon for eighteen (Judges 3:14), Jabin for twenty (Judges 4:3), the Midianites for seven (Judges 6:1), the Ammonites for eighteen (Judges 10:8), the Philistines for forty (Judges 13:1).
Their enemies also oppressed them, and they were brought into subjection under their hand.
Verse 42. - Their enemies also oppressed them (see Judges 4:3; Judges 10:8; 1 Samuel 9:16; etc.). And they were brought into subjection under their hand. (For pictures of the "subjection," see Judges 4:6-11; 1 Samuel 13:19, 20.)
Many times did he deliver them; but they provoked him with their counsel, and were brought low for their iniquity.
Verse 43. - Many times did he deliver them. By Othniel (Judges 3:9), by Ehud (Judges 3:15-29), by Shamgar (Judges 3:31), by Deborah and Barak (Judges 4:4-24), by Gideon (Judges 7:19-25), by Jephthah Judges 11:12-33), by Samson (Judges 15. (8-20), and finally by David (2 Samuel 5:22 - 25). But they provoked him with their counsel; rather, they were rebellious in their counsel (see the Revised Version). And were brought low for their iniquity; rather, in their iniquity (comp. Leviticus 26:39).
Nevertheless he regarded their affliction, when he heard their cry:
Verse 44. - Nevertheless he regarded their affliction; or, "he saw them in their trouble," i.e. he looked on them, and had regard to them (see 2 Kings 17:13; 2 Chronicles 36:15). When he heard their cry. As God "heard the cry" of his people, when they suffered oppression in Egypt (Exodus 2:23; Exodus 3:7, 9), so also in their other oppressions (Judges 3:9, 15; Judges 4:3; Judges 6:6; Judges 10:10; 1 Samuel 12:10, 11, etc), if they did but humble themselves and "cry" to him, he always hearkened and gave them deliverance (1 Chronicles 5:20; 2 Chronicles 12:7; 2 Chronicles 14:11, 12; 2 Chronicles 20:4-24; 2 Chronicles 32:20, 21; 2 Chronicles 33:11-13).
And he remembered for them his covenant, and repented according to the multitude of his mercies.
Verse 45. - And he remembered for them his covenant. According to the promise in Leviticus 26:42. And repented according to the multitude of his mercies (comp. Exodus 32:14; 2 Samuel 24:16; 1 Chronicles 21:15; Jeremiah 26:19, etc.). The expression is anthropomorphic, and must be understood so as not to clash with the declaration, "God is not a man, that he should repent" (1 Samuel 15:29).
He made them also to be pitied of all those that carried them captives.
Verse 46. - He made them also to be pitied of all those that carried them captives. Solomon had prayed that so it might be (1 Kings 8:50). The fact that compassion was shown to many of the captives appears from 2 Kings 25:27-30; Daniel 1:3-5, 19; Daniel 2:49; Daniel 3:30; Daniel 6:28; Ezra 1:4-6; Nehemiah 1:11; Nehemiah 2:1-8.
Save us, O LORD our God, and gather us from among the heathen, to give thanks unto thy holy name, and to triumph in thy praise.
Verse 47. - The historical portion of the psalm here ends, and the writer, in a brief epilogue, returns to the topic of prayer (see vers. 4, 5), only substituting now for the personal supplications of the prologue, a general prayer for the entire nation, and especially for its deliverance from captivity. "It can scarcely be doubted," as Dean Johnson well observes, "that the words of ver. 47 refer to deliverance from the Babylonish captivity," which was the only one that involved the dispersion of the whole people, and the suspension of the liturgical offering of thanks and praise. Verse 47. - Save us, O Lord our God. Contrast with this the "remember me" of ver. 4. The review of the national history has quickened the psalmist's sympathies and widened them. Previously he prayed only for himself. Now it will not content him unless the people generally are "saved." And gather us from among the heathen. (On the wide dispersion of the Israelites at the time of the Babylonian captivity, see the comment on ver. 27.) To give thanks unto thy holy Name, and to triumph in thy praise. This is spoken of as the consequence of the gathering together. Dispersion could not, of course, prevent the rendering of praise and thanks by individual Israelites (Daniel 6:10); but it had stopped the united liturgical expression of them. On the restoration of the Israelites to their own land, this was resumed (Ezra 3:2-11).
Blessed be the LORD God of Israel from everlasting to everlasting: and let all the people say, Amen. Praise ye the LORD.
Verse 48. - Blessed be the Lord God of Israel from everlasting to everlasting. This verse is not so much a part of the particular psalm, as a mark that here another Book of the Psalms has reached its conclusion (comp. Psalm 41:13; Psalm 72:19; Psalm 89:52). The form has, however, been modified so as to make it run on smoothly with the verse immediately preceding. And let all the people say. In their praises and thanks to God (see ver. 47). Amen. Praise ye the Lord. The other terminal psalms end with "Amen and Amen;" here alone do we have "Amen. Praise ye the Lord." the intention being evidently that the last words of the psalm should be an echo of the first (see ver. 1).