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Bible Commentaries

Dr. Constable's Expository Notes

Psalms 147

Verse 1

After the initial call to praise the Lord, the writer explained that such praise is pleasant and appropriate.

Verses 1-6

1. God’s objects of control 147:1-6

Verses 1-20

Psalms 147

God’s greatness and His grace, as in Psalms 146, are also the theme of this psalm. However, in this one, an unnamed psalmist viewed God as Sustainer more than as Creator. He provides what His creatures need.

"When Nehemiah and his people finished rebuilding the walls of Jerusalem, restoring the gates, and resettling the people, they called a great assembly for celebration and dedication, and it is likely that this psalm was written for that occasion (Psalms 147:2; Psalms 147:12-14; Nehemiah 12:27-43). . . . The psalm presents three reasons why the people should praise the Lord, and each section is marked off by the command to praise God (Psalms 147:1; Psalms 147:7; Psalms 147:12)." [Note: Wiersbe, The . . . Wisdom . . ., p. 379.]

Verses 2-3

The fact that God brought His people back to the Promised Land and enabled them to rebuild Jerusalem shows that He can and does heal the brokenhearted. He heals and restores those who repent and return to Him.

Verses 4-6

People count what they possess, and naming something expresses one’s sovereignty over it. Thus Psalms 147:4 expresses God’s sovereignty over the heavens. God’s greatness is also obvious in His abundant strength and boundless understanding. He upholds the afflicted and brings down the wicked. In other words, He controls all the heavenly bodies and all human beings.

Verses 7-9

Psalms 147:7 is a call to praise similar to Psalms 147:1. Psalms 147:8-9 picture God providing for His creatures through the operations of His providence. The psalmist may have mentioned young ravens (Psalms 147:9) because they are especially vulnerable. Ravens do not provide for their young as other birds do. They are very selfish (cf. 1 Kings 17:4-6). Nevertheless God takes care of baby ravens.

Verses 7-11

2. God’s objects of delight 147:7-11

Verses 10-11

God does not take pleasure in the symbols of strength that impress humans. He sees and delights in what demonstrates true spiritual strength, namely, trust in Himself. This makes Him praiseworthy.

"It is an awesome thought that we can bring pleasure to the heart of the heavenly Father (Psalms 35:27; Psalms 37:23; Psalms 149:4)." [Note: Ibid., p. 380.]

Verses 12-14

Psalms 147:12 introduces a third round of praise (cf. Psalms 147:1; Psalms 147:7). The psalmist called on the Israelites to praise God because He had brought security, stability, peace, and prosperity to Jerusalem again.

Verses 12-20

3. God’s instrument of blessing 147:12-20

Verses 15-20

Psalms 147:15-18 describe the powerful effect God’s commands have on creation (cf. Psalms 147:4; Psalms 147:8-9). God also sent His Word to Israel (Psalms 147:19-20; cf. Psalms 147:2-3; Psalms 147:6; Psalms 147:11). This was a unique blessing since it involved a revelation of His gracious will. God’s people should praise Him in view of all these things.

"It has been well pointed out that, purely as the means of getting things done, statutes and ordinances, or even appeals and encouragements, are most uncertain tools. So by addressing us, not programming us, God shows that He seeks a relationship, not simply a sequence of actions carried out." [Note: Kidner, Psalms 73-150, p. 486.]

God’s greatness, as seen in His control over nature, and His graciousness, as seen in His dealings with His people, call for praise. God sustains both the creation and His creatures with His Word.

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Bibliographical Information
Constable, Thomas. DD. "Commentary on Psalms 147". "Dr. Constable's Expository Notes". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/eng/dcc/psalms-147.html. 2012.