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Bible Commentaries

Ellicott's Commentary for English Readers
Psalms 135





This psalm is a mosaic from older writings, and was plainly put together for liturgic use. It pretends to no originality, and shows very little art or care in the composition. The date must be very late.

Verse 1

(1) The psalm opens with an adaptation and expansion (comp. Psalms 116:19) of Psalms 134:1. As there, the priestly class is addressed. Some, however, think that the addition, “courts of the house of our God,” as well as Psalms 135:19, make the application to all these standing in covenant relation to Jehovah. This is possible, but not proved by the evidence adduced.

Verse 3

(3) Sing praises.—Rather, play.

For it is pleasant—i.e., thus to sing hallelujah. (See Psalms 147:1; Proverbs 22:18. Others take name as the subject, and the Prayer-Book version suggested to Crashaw the beautiful hymn beginning “Come lovely name,” &c.

Verse 4

(4) Peculiar treasure.—A special covenant-name for Israel (Exodus 19:5; Deuteronomy 7:6, &c.), and of private property (1 Chronicles 29:3; Ecclesiastes 2:8).

Verse 5-6

(5, 6) Adapted from Psalms 115:3.

Verse 7

(7) Adapted from Jeremiah 10:13; Jeremiah 51:16.

Causeth the vapours to ascend.—Mr. Burgess is undoubtedly right in referring this to the mist which went up from the earth, and watered the whole face of the ground “before the useful trouble of the rain” (Genesis 2:6), since the original passage in Genesis has a plain reference to the story of the Creation, and the rain is immediately mentioned as coming into existence after the vapours. That a different term is used in Genesis does not make against this since the Hebrew term here is a general one derived from the verb “to ascend.”

Lightnings for the rain—i.e., “to bring rain.” Such was the Oriental notion, see Zechariah 10:1 and compare 1 Samuel 12:17. Both of these places refer to showers out of the ordinary rainy season, such as thunder-storms in the harvest season. The sudden downfall of sheets of rain after a flash and peal is even in this climate sufficiently striking to make such a notion as the dependence of rain on lightning quite conceivable, how much more in tropical countries, and where, except in the due rainy season, it would never probably fall without thunder and lightning.

Wind out of his treasuries.—Comp. the Greek and Latin ideas of the “caves” of the winds.

Verse 8

(8) Egypt.—This abrupt change from the miracles of nature to the marvels of history is apparently copied from the next psalm, where see Note, Psalms 135:10.

Verse 12

(12) Psalms 105:44; Psalms 111:6.

Verse 13

(13) This verse is from Exodus 3:15.

Verse 14

(14) From Deuteronomy 32:36.

Judge—i.e., see them righted.

Verse 15-16

(15, 16) With slight variations from Psalms 115:4-8.

Verses 19-21

(19, 21) From Psalms 115:9-11, with the addition, “O house of Levi.”

Verse 21

(21) Out of Zion.—As in Psalms 128:5, Jehovah blesses the covenant people out of Zion, so here they bless him out of Zion—that is the place where the reciprocal relation is best and chiefly realised. This localisation is made more emphatic by the addition of the name Jerusalem to Zion. (Comp. Psalms 76:2; Psalms 125:1-2.)


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These files are public domain.
Text Courtesy of Used by Permission.

Bibliography Information
Ellicott, Charles John. "Commentary on Psalms 135:4". "Ellicott's Commentary for English Readers". 1905.

Lectionary Calendar
Tuesday, October 20th, 2020
the Week of Proper 24 / Ordinary 29
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