Verse 1. - I will extol thee, my God, O King; rather, O my God, the King; i.e. the one and only King of heaven and earth. And I will bless thy Name forever and ever. An internal conviction of the writer's immortality is implied in these words.
Every day will I bless thee; and I will praise thy name for ever and ever.
Verse 2. - Every day will I bless thee; and I will praise thy Name for ever and ever. An emphatic repetition of the second clause of ver. 1.
Great is the LORD, and greatly to be praised; and his greatness is unsearchable.
Verse 3. - Great is the Lord, and greatly to be praised (comp. Psalm 48:1; Psalm 96:4). And his greatness is unsearchable; literally, and of his greatness there is no search (comp. Romans 11:33).
One generation shall praise thy works to another, and shall declare thy mighty acts.
Verse 4. - One generation shall praise thy works to another, and shall declare thy mighty acts. The handing down of God's mercies and deliverances from age to age is always regarded in Scripture as the principal mode whereby they are kept in remembrance (Exodus 12:26, 27; Exodus 13:8-10, 14; Deuteronomy 32:7; Psalm 44:1; Psalm 78:3-7, etc.).
I will speak of the glorious honour of thy majesty, and of thy wondrous works.
Verse 5. - I will speak of the glorious honor of thy majesty, and of thy wondrous works (comp. Psalm 26:7; Psalm 71:17). It was the duty of every faithful Israelite to set forth God's majesty, and to "declare his works with rejoicing" (Psalm 117:2). David proclaims himself ready to perform this duty. Then, he thinks, others will join in.
And men shall speak of the might of thy terrible acts: and I will declare thy greatness.
Verse 6. - And men shall speak of the might of thy terrible acts. Men will "speak of the might of God's terrible acts," which are those that attract them most - the plagues wrought in Egypt, the overthrow of Pharaoh's host in the Red Sea, the earth swallowing up Dathan, and the like. And I will declare thy greatness (see above, ver. 3).
They shall abundantly utter the memory of thy great goodness, and shall sing of thy righteousness.
Verse 7. - They shall abundantly utter the memory of thy great goodness; literally, they shall pour forth - as a strong spring - the memory of thy great goodness; i.e. the tale of all the mercies that thou hast vouchsafed them. And shall sing of thy righteousness; i.e. shall sing hymns of praise for thy righteous dealings with them.
The LORD is gracious, and full of compassion; slow to anger, and of great mercy.
Verse 8. - The Lord is gracious, and full of compassion; slow to anger, and of great mercy. Professor Cheyne compares the epithets in a Babylonian hymn to the sun-god; but a closer parallel is to be found in Exodus 34:6, 7, "The Lord God is merciful and gracious, long-suffering, and abundant in goodness and truth, keeping mercy for thousands, forgiving iniquity, and transgression, and sin" (see also Psalm 86:15).
The LORD is good to all: and his tender mercies are over all his works.
Verse 9. - The Lord is good to all; and his tender mercies are over all his works. "The Lord is good to all;" he "maketh his sun to rise on the evil and on the good, and send-eth rain on the just and on the unjust" (Matthew 5:45). He "wouldeth not the death of a sinner, but rather that he may turn from his wickedness and live," And his "tender mercies," or "compassions," are not only over his human creatures, but" over all his works" - all that he has made - animals as well as men, "creeping things," zoophytes, all that can feel.
All thy works shall praise thee, O LORD; and thy saints shall bless thee.
Verse 10. - All thy works shall praise thee, O Lord (comp. Psalm 148:2-13, where all creation is called on to praise the Lord). And thy saints shall bless thee; or, "thy loving ones" - those who are devoted to thy service.
They shall speak of the glory of thy kingdom, and talk of thy power;
Verse 11. - They shall speak of the glory of thy kingdom (comp. Psalm 22:28; Psalm 45:6). The "glory" of God's kingdom is such that the faithful are naturally drawn to "speak" of it. "His kingdom is an everlasting kingdom, and his dominion endureth throughout all ages" (ver. 13). "His kingdom ruleth over all" (Psalm 103:19) - heaven and earth, and hell, and all space, and whatever space contains. There is no limit either to its extent or its duration. And its "glory" transcends all. human thought - much more all description. "Eye hath not seen, nor ear heard," etc. And talk of thy power. "Power" is of the essence of kingship, and comes naturally to the front whenever the character of a kingdom is spoken of.
To make known to the sons of men his mighty acts, and the glorious majesty of his kingdom.
Verse 12. - To make known to the sons of men his mighty acts. It is a part of the duty of "saints" (ver. 10) to make known as widely as possible - if possible, to all men - the "mighty acts" and glory of God; primarily, for God's glory; and secondarily, to bring about their conversion to God's service. And the glorious majesty of his kingdom (comp. vers. 5, 11).
Thy kingdom is an everlasting kingdom, and thy dominion endureth throughout all generations.
Verse 13. - Thy kingdom is an everlasting kingdom (comp. Daniel 4:3, 34). It is inconceivable that God's kingdom should come to an end. He cannot will it to cease, and so dethrone himself. Much less can any other, and necessarily inferior, power overthrow it. And thy dominion endureth throughout all generations. This is rather an anti-climax, since the generations of men will one day cease; but it was a customary phrase (Psalm 33:11; Psalm 45:17; Psalm 49:11; Psalm 61:6; Psalm 62:5, etc.), and brought home to men the thought that his special "dominion" was over them.
The LORD upholdeth all that fall, and raiseth up all those that be bowed down.
Verse 14. - The Lord upholdeth all that fall. Lifts them up, i.e., and again "upholds" or supports them (comp. Psalm 37:24). And raiseth up all those that be bowed down (comp. Psalm 146:8).
The eyes of all wait upon thee; and thou givest them their meat in due season.
Verse 15. - The eyes of all wait upon thee; and thou givest them their meat in due season (cf. Psalm 104:21, 27; Psalm 136:25; Psalm 147:9). The constant supply of all living creatures with their necessary food is little less than a standing miracle.
Thou openest thine hand, and satisfiest the desire of every living thing.
Verse 16. - Thou openest thine hand, and satisfiest the desire of every living thing. Not only are they given what is necessary for them, but every desire which they enter-rain is satisfied.
The LORD is righteous in all his ways, and holy in all his works.
Verse 17. - The Lord is righteous in all his ways, and holy (rather, gracious, or merciful) in all his works. Mercy and truth meet in God (Psalm 85:10). He is at once perfectly just, and absolutely tender and compassionate. "All his works" experience both his justice and his tenderness (comp. Psalm 25:8; Psalm 116:5, etc.).
The LORD is nigh unto all them that call upon him, to all that call upon him in truth.
Verse 18. - The Lord is nigh unto all them that call upon him (comp. Deuteronomy 4:7; Psalm 34:18; Psalm 46:1; Psalm 119:151, etc.). God draws near to those who draw near to him; i.e. he makes his presence (which is always everywhere) felt by them. To all that call upon him in truth. A limiting clause. Mere formal prayer is useless, does not lessen the distance between God and man, rather augments it. If we really desire to enjoy the consciousness of his presence, we must call upon him "in truth," i.e. sincerely, with earnest desire and strong confidence.
He will fulfil the desire of them that fear him: he also will hear their cry, and will save them.
Verse 19. - He will fulfill the desire of them that fear him (comp. ver. 16). What he does for "every living thing," he will do more especially for men, if they truly" fear" him, and love him (ver. 20), and draw near to him in sincerity and truth. He also will hear their cry, and will save them; i.e. deliver them out of their troubles.
The LORD preserveth all them that love him: but all the wicked will he destroy.
Verse 20. - The Lord preserveth all them that love him (comp. Psalm 31:23; Psalm 97:10). But all the wicked will he destroy. The "severity" of God is always set against his "goodness" in Holy Scripture, lest men should misunderstand, and think to obtain salvation though they continue in wickedness (see Exodus 34:6, 7; Romans 2:2-11; Romans 11:22, etc.).
My mouth shall speak the praise of the LORD: and let all flesh bless his holy name for ever and ever.
Verse 21. - My mouth shall speak the praise of the Lord. The "psalm of praise" (title) ends as it began (vers. 1, 2) - with the strong determination of the psalmist that he at least will praise Jehovah. Others, he hopes, will join with him, and all flesh bless his holy Name (literally, the Name of his holiness) forever and ever; but for this result he can only wish and hope and pray - he cannot ensure it. But he can, and does, fulfill his own duty in the matter.