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Bible Commentaries

Dr. Constable's Expository Notes

Psalms 149

Verses 1-3

1. A call to rejoice in the Lord 149:1-3

The psalmist exhorted the Israelites to praise God enthusiastically and wholeheartedly. Their praise should be spontaneous and fresh, the connotations of a "new song" (cf. Psalms 33:3; Psalms 40:3; Psalms 96:1; Psalms 98:1; Psalms 144:9). They should also praise Him publicly, in company with the other godly (Heb. hasidim) in the nation, because He had done something new for them. He had restored them and given them hope of final eschatological victory (cf. Psalms 149:6-9; Revelation 14:3). In common with Psalms 148 (especially Psalms 149:14), this one also uses several synonyms to describe the Israelites. The nation should remember its Maker, who formed the family of Abraham into a nation at the Exodus. Dancing and musical instruments were fitting accompaniments for such joyful celebration.

Verses 1-9

Psalms 149

The unknown writer called on Israel to praise God, who saves the submissive and punishes the nations that oppose Him. Since this psalm shares the language and hope of the imprecatory psalms, many scholars consider it an eschatological hymn. [Note: E.g., Kidner, Psalms 73-150, p. 489; VanGemeren, p. 875; and L. Allen, pp. 319-20.] Like the previous psalm, this one also opens and closes with a call to worship: "Praise the LORD."

Verses 4-5

2. A reason to rejoice in the Lord 149:4-5

The reason for rejoicing and praising is God’s care for His people, seen in His providing salvation for them. No specific deliverance is in view here. It is salvation in any and every form and occasion that the psalmist wanted to emphasize. Salvation is a theme for exaltation under any circumstance, even when one reclines on his or her bed.

Verses 6-9

3. A way to rejoice in the Lord 149:6-9

The Lord’s will for Israel was that she overcome and defeat God’s enemies on the earth. This would establish righteousness in the world and exalt the God of Israel as the sovereign Lord (cf. Deuteronomy 32:1-6; Deuteronomy 32:23; Joshua 1:1-8). Israel praised and glorified God, not just in word but also in deed, by carrying out His will for her (cf. Nehemiah 4:9; Nehemiah 4:16-23). These verses may grate on the sensibilities of Christians who have a different way of obeying God today. Nevertheless, when the psalmist composed this hymn, Israel’s destruction of wicked neighbors was her way of expressing obedience to God.

This psalm is a helpful reminder, to us who are believers, that praising God does not just involve praising Him with our lips. It must also include obeying Him with our lives.

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Bibliographical Information
Constable, Thomas. DD. "Commentary on Psalms 149". "Dr. Constable's Expository Notes". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/eng/dcc/psalms-149.html. 2012.