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Bible Commentaries

Chuck Smith Bible Commentary
Psalms 136

 

 

Verses 1-26

Shall we turn now our Bibles to Psalm 136:1-26 . Throughout the one-hundred-and-thirty-sixth psalm, we have the repeated phrase, "For His mercy endureth forever." And this is repeated in each of the verses throughout the entire psalm. And so he begins the psalm by an exhortation of giving thanks.

O give thanks unto the LORD for he is good: for his mercy endureth for ever ( Psalm 136:1 ).

Over and over in the psalms, this is a repeated kind of a refrain. Remember this is their songbook, and so one of the things of which they were constantly singing was the goodness of God and the mercies of God.

O give thanks unto the God of gods: for his mercy endureth for ever. O give thanks unto the Lord of lords: for his mercy endureth for ever. To him who alone doeth great wonders: for his mercy endureth for ever ( Psalm 136:2-4 ).

And now he goes on to exhort praise and thanksgiving for God"s creative acts. And he starts out in the general act of creation. And then he lists many of the creative acts of God.

To him that by wisdom made the heavens: for his mercy endureth for ever. To him that stretched out the earth above the waters: for his mercy endureth for ever. To him that made great lights: for his mercy endureth for ever: The sun to rule by day: for his mercy endureth for ever: The moon and stars to rule by night ( Psalm 136:5-9 ):

And now he commands the praise and thanksgiving to God for His special blessings upon the nation Israel and for the creation of that nation.

To him that smote Egypt in their firstborn: And brought Israel from among them: With a strong hand, and with a stretched out arm. To him which divided the Red sea into parts: And made Israel to pass through the midst of it: But overthrew Pharaoh and his host in the Red sea. To him that led his people through the wilderness. To him which smote great kings: And slew famous kings: Sihon the king of the Amorites: Og the king of Bashan: And gave their land for a heritage: Even a heritage unto Israel. Who remembered us in our low estate: And hath redeemed us from our enemies. Who giveth food to all flesh. O give thanks unto the God of heaven: for his mercy endureth for ever ( Psalm 136:10-26 ).

And now in order that you might get sort of an idea of how many of these songs were sung, in a song such as this, quite often the men would take the first part and the women would answer in the refrain, "For His mercy endureth forever." And so, much as we think some of the psalms where the women have sort of an after part, these particular psalms were written, designed for this after-part effect. So, in order that we might get sort of the idea of it, how about the fellows reading together the first part and the women answering each time, "For His mercy endureth forever." And you"ll get the idea of how these songs were actually sung, as this is actually a songbook of the Hebrew people. Okay, fellows?

"O give thanks unto the LORD for he is good: for his mercy endureth for ever. O give thanks unto the God of gods: for his mercy endureth for ever. O give thanks to the Lord of lords: for his mercy endureth for ever. To him who alone doeth great wonders: for his mercy endureth for ever. To him that by wisdom made the heavens: for his mercy endureth for ever. To him that stretched out the earth above the waters: for his mercy endureth for ever. To him that made great lights: for his mercy endureth for ever: The sun to rule by day: for his mercy endureth for ever: The moon and stars to rule by night: for his mercy endureth for ever. To him that smote Egypt in their firstborn: for his mercy endureth for ever: And brought out Israel from among them: for his mercy endureth for ever: With a strong hand, and with a stretched out arm: for his mercy endureth for ever. To him which divided the Red sea into parts: for his mercy endureth for ever: And made Israel to pass through the midst of it: for his mercy endureth for ever: But overthrew Pharaoh and his host in the Red sea: for his mercy endureth for ever. To him which led his people through the wilderness: for his mercy endureth for ever. To him which smote great kings: for his mercy endureth for ever: And slew famous kings: for his mercy endureth for ever: Sihon king of the Amorites: for his mercy endureth for ever: And Og the king of Bashan: for his mercy endureth for ever: And gave their land for an heritage: for his mercy endureth for ever: Even an heritage unto Israel his servant: for his mercy endureth for ever. Who remembered us in our low estate: for his mercy endureth for ever: And hath redeemed us from our enemies: for his mercy endureth for ever. Who giveth food to all flesh: for his mercy endureth for ever. O give thanks unto the God of heaven: for his mercy endureth for ever ( Psalm 136:1-26 ).

Now the purpose of the psalm was to impress upon you a certain thought or idea. And I think you get the idea. By the time you"ve sung this through, you get the impression that God"s mercy endureth forever. And in all situations, under all circumstances, God"s mercy endureth forever. And it"s something that comes across as you go through the psalm; it"s something that"s impressed then upon your heart. And that was the purpose, to impress truth upon the hearts of the people. "

 


Copyright Statement
Copyright © 2014, Calvary Chapel of Costa Mesa, Ca.

Bibliography Information
Smith, Charles Ward. "Commentary on Psalms 136:4". "Chuck Smith Bible Commentary". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/csc/psalms-136.html. 2014.

Lectionary Calendar
Sunday, December 15th, 2019
the Third Week of Advent
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