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Bible Commentaries

Expository Notes of Dr. Thomas Constable

Psalms 138

Verses 1-3

1. Praise for answered prayer 138:1-3

The psalmist vowed to praise God wholeheartedly in the temple for His loyal love and faithfulness. The "gods" before whom he promised to give thanks may be judges and rulers (cf. Psalms 95:3; Psalms 96:4; Psalms 97:7) or perhaps the pagan idols that surrounded him (cf. Psalms 138:4-5). God had exalted His Word equally with His reputation by being faithful to His promises (Psalms 138:2). God had answered David’s petition and had strengthened him spiritually (Psalms 138:3).

Verses 1-8

Psalms 138

David thanked the Lord for His loyal love and faithfulness in answering his prayer. He hoped that everyone would acknowledge God’s goodness and experience His deliverance.

"As in other songs of thanksgiving, this prayer remembers a time of need that has now been resolved in deliverance. What is special here is that the circle of praise is expanded, both in heaven and in earth." [Note: Ibid., p. 131.]

This psalm of individual or communal thanksgiving begins a group of eight psalms of David, his last in the Psalter. Altogether he wrote nearly half the psalms.

Verses 4-5

2. Praise from all kings 138:4-5

David anticipated that when other monarchs heard about the Lord’s greatness, they would worship Him too. This was the reaction of the Queen of Sheba in Solomon’s day (1 Kings 10:1-13).

Verses 6-8

3. Praise for condescending mercy 138:6-8

The Lord is great because He judges justly. He condescends to lift up the lowly, even though His position is lofty. This gave David assurance that God would assist him when he was in trouble. He believed God would fulfill His purpose for his servant because He is loyal to those He loves. This led David to request God’s continuing help, in conclusion.

God’s people should not only praise God themselves, but should also seek to lead other people to become worshippers of Him. Knowledge of the Lord should make us thankful, confident, and concerned for others. [Note: See R. B. Allen, And I . . ., pp. 166-80.]

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Bibliographical Information
Constable, Thomas. DD. "Commentary on Psalms 138". "Expository Notes of Dr. Thomas Constable". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/eng/dcc/psalms-138.html. 2012.