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9 He giveth to the beast his food,
And to the young ravens which cry. 10 He delighteth not in the strength of the horse:
He taketh not pleasure in the bones of a man. 11 The Lord taketh pleasure in them that fear him,
In those that hope in his mercy. 12 Praise the LORD, O Jerusalem;
Praise thy God, o Zion. 13 For he hath strengthened the bars of thy gates :
He hath blessed thy children within thee. 14 He maketh peace in thy borders,
And filleth thee with the finest of the wheat. 15 He sendeth forth his commandment upon earth:
His word runneth very swiftly. 16 He giveth snow like wool:
He scattereth the hoarfrost like ashes. .17 He casteth forth his ice (hail) like morsels:
Who can stand before his cold? 18 He sendeth out his word, and melteth them:
He causeth his wind to blow, and the waters flow. 19 He showeth his word unto Jacob,
His statutes and his judgments unto Israel. 20 He hath not dealt so with any nation:
And as for his judgments, they have not known them.
V. 1–6. The Psalmist animates himself and others to engage in the praise of the Lord, by the consideration that that exercise is no less beneficial to the heart than it is a comely duty. He expresses his gratitude for the manifest mercies of God, as displayed in the return of the scattered nation of broken-hearted Israel to their native borders, in the rebuilding of Jerusalem, and the binding up of the wounds of the nation. He only who telleth the infinite host of the stars and calleth them all by their names could have performed such mighty works. The Lord delights especially in uplifting the low and debasing the high.
V. 7–11. He now praises in lofty strains the condescending goodness of God, who in a wondrous manner prepares the rain in the clouds, so that even the high mountains must yield food to the beasts; who with paternal solicitude is mindful of the young ravens, which, deserted by their own parents,* cry to the Lord of heaven as to their only helper. He chiefly delights in those who, unable to boast of their own strength, fear him and hope in his mercy.
V. 12—20. The Psalmist now addresses Zion, which is privileged to call this God, her God. He bids the inhabitants to look hopefully upon the new but weak beginnings in their land, promising strength to the city, blessings to her inhabitants, peace and prosperity to the land within its borders. He seeks to raise their confidence by again pointing to the irresistible strength of Divine Omnipotence. The words of God become his executing servants on
* This has given rise to the German idiom of "raven father" and "raven mother,” as descriptive of unnatural or cruel parents.
earth. He scatters snow like woolly fleeces, the hoarfrost like ashes, and hail like morsels : he contracts the air into intolerable frost: he commands his wind to blow and all is melted. All these things are great blessings of his goodness and Omnipotence: but the greatest blessing of Israel is that they have a God who in his condescending love has given them a clear revelation of his will, so that they need no longer ask, Who shall go up to heaven, who shall go over the sea and bring unto us the word of God? The word is now nigh unto them, in their mouths and in their hearts, that they may do it."
Psalms cxlviii. and cl. seem to be placed at the conclusion of the Psalter, as if it were intended that their perpetually recurring, “Praise ye,” should form a many-voiced echo of the praise which fills every preceding Psalm. Everything is invited to praise: nothing is too high, nothing too low. The Psalmist begins (v. 1) with the loftiest heights, descends (v. 7) to the lowest depths, addresses the elements and kingdoms of nature, reascends to man, addressing every rank and order of society, and finally turns to that people which is the priesthood among men, as man is the priest among the creatures on earth. The song of the youths in the fiery furnace seems to be an echo of this Psalm.
1 PRAISE ye the Lord.
1 Praise ye the Lord from the heavens:
Praise him in the heights. 2 Praise ye him, all his angels:
Praise ye him, all his hosts. 3 Praise ye him, sun and moon:
Praise him, all ye stars of light. 4 Praise him, ye heavens of heavens,
And ye waters that be above the heavens. 5 Let them praise the name of the Lord:
For he commanded—and they were created. 6 He hath also stablished thein for ever and ever:
He hath made a decree which they shall not pass. 7 Praise the Lord from the earth,
Ye dragons, * and all deeps : 8 Fire, and hail; snow, and vapours;
Stormy wind fulfilling his word: 9 Mountains, and all hills:
Fruitful trees, and all cedars: 10 Beasts, and all cattle;
Creeping things, and winged birds: 11 Kings of the earth, and all people;
Princes, and all judges of the earth: (1) Deut. xxx. 12--14. * Or, “Ye sea-monsters."
12 Both young men, and maidens;
Old men, and children: 13 Let them praise the name of the LORD:
For his name alone is exalted.
His glory is above the earth and heaven. 14 He also exalteth the horn of his people,
The praise of all his saints;
V.1–6. The Psalmist begins with the heavens above: with the twofold hosts of the Lord, the armies of his angels and the shining planets and stars without number. They are placed in different regions of the heavens (for God is enthroned high above the lower heavens, Psalm civ. 3), and he therefore addresses all the heavens, and then the clouds which move along the skies. It has been stated already (Ps. cxlv. 10) how these appeals to inanimate creation are to be understood. Though every creature is full of the praise of God, yet it belongs to man alone to give an audible expression to their praise. The Psalmist indicates that the unchangeable laws and decrees according to which those countless worlds pursue their course, denote the object of their praises.
1.7–14. Wisdom and Omnipotence, worthy to be praised, are also scattered over the earth, and the depths of the sea abound with them. The phenomena of nature are his messengers: the animal and vegetable kingdoms down to their lowest stages bear the impress of the goodness and Omnipotence of God, and are therefore a song of praise on his glorious attributes. But man is chiefly invited to praise the Lord. It devolves upon him, as the priest of nature, above every other creature: every rank, every age, and every generation, have abundant cause for engaging in this praise. As man is peculiarly blessed as the race of priests in the midst of inanimate creation, so is Israel peculiarly blessed as the race of priests among men.
While Psalms cxlviii. and cl. invite all beings to praise, Psalms cxlvii. and cxlix. address the newly established community at Jerusalem. They are invited to praise the Lord for his past goodness towards them (v. 145), and new victories are promised to them (v. 6—9).
1 PRAISE ye the LORD.
1 Sing unto the Lord a new song,
And his praise in the congregation of saints. 2 Let Israel rejoice in him that made him:
Let the children of Zion be joyful in their King. 3 Let them praise his name in the dance:
Let them sing praises unto him with the timbrel and harp. 4 For the Lord taketh pleasure in his people:
He will beautify the meek with salvation.* * Or, “He gloriously helpeth the wretched.”
5 Let the saints be joyful in glory:
Let them sing aloud upon their beds. 6 Let the high praises of God be in their mouth,*
And a twoedged sword in their hand: 7 To execute vengeance upon the heathen,
And punishments upon the people; 8 To bind their kings with chains,
And their nobles with fetters of iron;
This honour have all his saints.
V.1-5. The Psalmist invites the people to recommence the praise of the Lord as it were with new courage and a new tongue. All men belong to God, for he made them: but Israel is doubly his, and in a twofold sense the work of his hands.2 Israel therefore shall sing praises to him, which accompanied by the manifold sound of festive instruments are to sink the more deeply into their hearts. He delivered his people from great misery: let all that belong to that people sing his praises in the festive assemblies, as well as on their lonely beds.
V. 6—9. Their mouth was full of praise on account of their past deliverance: but hostile nations rose up once more against them. They now took comfort from the promises of the prophets, 4 and indulged in the hope that they should ultimately triumph over all their adversaries, and treat them as the idolatrous nations of Canaan were treated by the command of God. These promises have a spiritual meaning, so Zechariah predicts that there shall be no more the Canaanite in the house of the Lord of hosts;7 but the less spiritually inclined people thought more of victories to be achieved with drawn swords in campaigns, such as the crusaders undertook against the oppressors of the holy land: "With Psalms in their mouths, but the whetted sword in their hands."
This Psalm, like Psalm cxlviii. opens with an invitation of praise addressed to the hosts of spirits in the heavens, depicts the jubilant joy of the many instruments in the sanctuary, and ends with the all-embracing invitations into which the entire Psalter resolves itself,—"Let everything that hath breath praise the Lord. Hallelujah."
1 DRAISE ye the LORD,
1 Praise God in his sanctuary: Praise him in the firmament of his power. 2 Praise him in his mighty acts:
Praise him according to his excellent greatness.
(1) Psalms xl. 4; lxxxix. 2. (2) See ad. Psalm xcv. 6. (3) Neh. iv. 7. xlii. 10-13. (5) Cf. Neh. xiii. 1-3. (6) Cf. ad. Psalms ii. and cx. xiv. 21.
* Or, “Let their mouth exalt the Lord."
(4) Isaiah (7) Zech.
3 Praise him with the sound of the trumpet:
Praise him with the psaltery and harp. 4 Praise him with the timbrel and dance:
Praise him with stringed instruments and organs. 5 Praise him with the loud cymbals:
Praise him with the high sounding cymbals. 6 Let every thing that hath breath praise the LORD.
Praise ye the LORD.
J. HEATON AND SON, PRINTERS, 7, BRIGGATE, LEEDS.