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Bible Commentaries

Expository Notes of Dr. Thomas Constable

Psalms 33

Verses 1-3

1. A call to praise the Lord skillfully 33:1-3

The psalmist appealed to the righteous to praise God because it is proper to do so in view of who He is and what He has done. Furthermore, we should praise Him in a manner suitable to His greatness, with beautiful musical accompaniment. Moreover, our praise should be fresh and skillful, not hackneyed and sloppy. God is worthy of the best in expressions of praise as well as in all we do for Him.

"The ’new song’ is new in the sense that it celebrates a new act of God’s redemption (Psalms 33:3; cf. Psalms 40:3; Psalms 96:1; Psalms 98:1; Psalms 144:9; Psalms 149:1; Isaiah 42:10; Revelation 5:9; Revelation 14:3)." [Note: VanGemeren, p. 277.]

"Psalms 33 is a new song (Psalms 33:3) that sings about a new world. It is the world about which Israel always sings, the new world that Yahweh is now creating. It is a world ordered by God’s justice over which God presides with faithfulness. To such a world the only appropriate response is confident and sure praise to the one who makes that world available to us." [Note: Brueggemann, p. 33. See also Richard D. Patterson, "Singing the New Song: An Examination of Psalms 33, 96, 98, , 149," Bibliotheca Sacra 164:656 (October-December 2007):416-34.]

Verses 1-22

Psalms 33

This psalm calls the godly to praise Yahweh for His dependable Word and His righteous works, specifically His creative activities in nature and human history. The psalmist also assured the readers that He will be faithful to those who trust in Him.

"If the purest form of a hymn is praise to God for what He is and does, this is a fine example. The body of the psalm is occupied with the Lord as Creator, Sovereign, Judge and Saviour, while the beginning and end express two elements of worship: an offering of praise, doing honour to so great a King, and a declaration of trust, made in humble expectation." [Note: Kidner, p. 136.]

The Hebrew text does not identify the writer of this psalm, though the Septuagint translators believed he was David. Perhaps they concluded this because other psalms that David composed surround this one (cf. Psalms 72:20). The occasion of writing appears to have been a national victory.

Verses 4-5

Two qualities of God that the writer stressed in this second section of the psalm are that Yahweh is dependable and righteous. We can rely on everything He says and does, and He does what is right in loyal love for His people.

Verses 4-19

2. Reasons to praise the Lord 33:4-19

Verses 6-11

These verses expand the idea that God is reliable (v.4). Psalms 33:6-7 describe creation as coming into existence by the word of God. Psalms 33:8-9 draw a conclusion from these facts, that, since by His word God created the world, everyone should reverence Him. Psalms 33:10-11 depict God’s word as determining what has happened in history since the creation. What the Lord says takes place regardless of the plans of people and nations. His works prevail.

Verses 12-19

This section expounds the thought of the Lord’s righteousness and loyal love (Psalms 33:5). The psalmist rejoiced that he and his nation were the elect of God and the recipients of His covenant faithfulness (Psalms 33:12). Some people do not experience more divine blessing than others because God is more aware of some people than He is of others (Psalms 33:13-15). He is equally aware of everyone. He does not grant victory to some armies more than to others because one army is stronger than another (Psalms 33:16-17). God normally chooses to bless those who fear Him and rely on His promised love (Psalms 33:18-19). The "eyes of the Lord" is a figure for His all-seeing, loving care (cf. Psalms 34:15).

Verse 20

The righteous wait for God to deliver them and regard Him as their help and protector.

Verses 20-22

3. A fresh commitment to trust in the Lord 33:20-22

The psalmist saw the faith of God’s elect in three activities in this section.

Verse 21

They rejoice in Him because they have confidence in His holy character.

Verse 22

They also pray to Him, asking that He reward their confidence with faithfulness to His commitment to love them.

God’s people can rejoice that our God is faithful to His commitment to continue to love us. His words have proved powerful and faithful throughout history, and His works are consistently righteous and just. Therefore we can continue to trust Him. [Note: See Russell Yee, "The Divine Imperative to Sing," Exegesis and Exposition 2:1 (Summer 1987):28-44.]

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Bibliographical Information
Constable, Thomas. DD. "Commentary on Psalms 33". "Expository Notes of Dr. Thomas Constable". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/eng/dcc/psalms-33.html. 2012.