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This Psalm is entitled in the Hebrew מזמור לתודה mizmor lethodah, not "A Psalm of Praise," as we have it, but "A Psalm for the confession, or for the confession-offering," very properly translated by the Chaldee: שבחא על קורבן תודתא shibcha al kurban todetha, "Praise for the sacrifice (or offering) of confession." The Vulgate, Septuagint, and AEthiopic have followed this sense. The Arabic attributes it to David. The Syriac has the following prefixed: "Without a name. Concerning Joshua the son of Nun, when he had ended the war with the Ammonites: but in the new covenant it relates to the conversion of the Gentiles to the faith." It is likely that it was composed after the captivity, as a form of thanksgiving to God for that great deliverance, as well as an inducement to the people to consecrate themselves to him, and to be exact in the performance of the acts of public worship.
Verse Psalms 100:1. Make a joyful noise — הריעו hariu, exult, triumph, leap for joy.
All ye lands. — Not only Jews, but Gentiles, for the Lord bestows his benefits on all with a liberal hand.
Verse Psalms 100:2. Serve the Lord with gladness — It is your privilege and duty to be happy in your religious worship. The religion of the true God is intended to remove human misery, and to make mankind happy. He whom the religion of Christ has not made happy does not understand that religion, or does not make a proper use of it.
Verse Psalms 100:3. Know ye that the Lord he is God — Acknowledge in every possible way, both in public and private, that Jehovah, the uncreated self-existent, and eternal Being, is Elohim, the God who is in covenant with man, to instruct, redeem, love, and make him finally happy.
It is he that hath made us — He is our Creator and has consequently the only right in and over us.
And not we ourselves — ולא אנחנו velo anachnu. I can never think that this is the true reading, though found in the present Hebrew text, in the Vulgate, Septuagint, AEthiopic, and Syriac. Was there ever a people on earth, however grossly heathenish, that did believe, or could believe, that they had made themselves? In twenty-six of Kennicott's and De Rossi's MSS. we have ולו אנחנו velo anachnu, "and HIS we are;" לו lo, the pronoun, being put for לא lo, the negative particle. This is the reading of the Targum, or Chaldee paraphrase ודיליה אנחנא vedileyh anachna, "and his we are," and is the reading of the text in the Complutensian Polyglot, of both the Psalters which were printed in 1477, and is the keri, or marginal reading in most Masoretic Bibles. Every person must see, from the nature of the subject that it is the genuine reading. The position is founded on the maxim that what a man invents, constructs out of his own materials, without assistance in genius, materials or execution from any other person, is HIS OWN; and to it, its use, and produce, he has the only right. God made us, therefore we are HIS: we are his people, and should acknowledge him for our God; we are the sheep of his pasture, and should devote the lives to him constantly which he continually supports.
Verse Psalms 100:4. Enter into his gates with thanksgiving — Publicly worship God; and when ye come to the house of prayer, be thankful that you have such a privilege; and when you enter his courts, praise him for the permission.
The word בתודה bethodah, which we render with thanksgiving, is properly with the confession-offering or sacrifice. See on the title. Psalms 100:1.
Bless his name. — Bless Jehovah, that he is your Elohim; see Psalms 100:3. In our liturgic service we say, "Speak good of his name;" we cannot do otherwise; we have nothing but good to speak of our God.
Verse Psalms 100:5. For the Lord is good — GOODNESS, the perfect, eternal opposition to all badness and evil, is essential to God. Mercy and compassion are modifications of his goodness; and as his nature is eternal, so his mercy, springing from his goodness, must be everlasting. And as TRUTH is an essential characteristic of an infinitely intelligent and perfect nature; therefore God's truth must endure from generation to generation. Whatsoever he has promised must be fulfilled, through all the successive generations of men, as long as sun and moon shall last.
As this is a very important Psalm, and has long made a part of our public worship, I shall lay it before the reader in the oldest vernacular Versions I have hitherto met with, - the Anglo-Saxon and the Anglo-Scottish, with a literal interlineary translation of the former.
I might have noticed some various readings in Anglo-Saxon MSS.; e.g., Psalms 100:1. for [A.S.] idrymeth, "rhyme ye;" [A.S.] winsumiath, "be winsom, be joyful." And Psalms 100:5, for [A.S.] winsom, "cheerful;" [A.S.], swete, "sweet."
There are two parts in this Psalm: -
I. An exhortation to praise God, and the manner in which it is to be done, Psalms 100:1-4.
II. The reasons on which this is founded, Psalms 100:3-5.
I. In his exhortation to praise God it is required, -
1. That the praise be universal: "All ye lands."
2. That it be hearty: "Make a joyful noise." Let the soul be cheerful in the work.
3. That it be not partial nor restrained: "Make a joyful noise - serve - be glad - sing - be thankful - give praise - bless his name." The various expressions show the completeness of this blessed word.
4. That it be sincere - done in his presence.
5. That it be an intelligent service: "Know ye."
6. That it be frequent and public: "Enter his gates - go into his courts."
7. That gratitude shall be a part of it: "With thanksgiving."
II. The reasons on which this is grounded; they are, -
1. Drawn from the nature of God: "Know ye that Jehovah is Elohim," the true God; therefore, alone worthy to be worshipped.
2. Drawn from the benefits bestowed on us: 1. "He has made us" - capable of knowing him, and being eternally happy with him. 2. He has called upon us by his grace to be "his people, and the sheep of his pasture." He both governs and feeds us.
And that we may be the more cheerful in this work he puts us in mind of the Divine attributes engaged in our redemption, goodness, mercy, and truth.
1. "He is good." This is his very nature.
2. "He is merciful." This flows from his goodness.
3. "He is true;" keeping covenant for ever with them that fear him; and fulfilling all his promises to the believing and obedient.
And that we may have the more confidence,
1. "His mercy is everlasting." It continues through all the changes and chances of this life to them who trust in him; and extends through all the generations of men.
2. His truth is like his mercy, it is pledged to fulfil his promises. "God is not man that he should lie;" he has promised, and will save to the uttermost all who come to him through Christ Jesus: "Be therefore thankful to him, and speak good of his name."
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Clarke, Adam. "Commentary on Psalms 100". "The Adam Clarke Commentary". https://www.studylight.org/
the First Week of Advent