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Bible Commentaries

Ellicott's Commentary for English Readers

Psalms 145

Introduction

CXLV.

This alphabetical psalm recalls in many expressions and phrases the thoughts and feelings of older songs. It has been identified with the “New Song” promised in Psalms 144:9. Possibly some thought of the kind may have led to its following it. The song, though abounding in familiar psalm expressions, deserves the claim of originality from the insistance of its conviction of the Divine love and pity and care for all the world and all creatures.

The acrostic arrangement is incomplete (see Note, Psalms 145:13), thus supplying only twenty-one instead of twenty-two stanzas. The parallelism is well sustained.

Title.—This is the only psalm inscribed tehillah, though the whole collection is, in Hebrew, called Tehillîm, or Tillîm. (See General Introduction.) It is possibly from Psalms 145:21; or perhaps this distinction is due to the early rise of the custom of repeating it daily at the noonday repast. So it would be called “Praise,” just as we speak of “the grace” before and after meat.

Verse 1

(1) The psalm opens with familiar psalm strains. (Comp. openings of Psalms 30, 34)

For ever and ever.—In contemplation of the greatness and majesty of God time ceases to be. The poet vows a homage indefinitely prolonged.

Verse 3

(3) Greatly to be praised.—See Psalms 18:3 and comp. Psalms 48:1.

And his greatness.—Literally, more expressive, and for his greatness no search. (Comp. Isaiah 40:28; Job 11:7.)

Verse 4

(4) Shall praise.—Or, praises, with idea of indefinite continuance; and so in the following verses.

Verse 5

(5) I will speak.—Or, perhaps, sing. The verb is often rendered meditate (Psalms 77:12; Psalms 119:15, &c.):

Thy wondrous works.—Rather, as in Psalms 105:27 (see Note; comp. Psalms 65:3), the details of thy wonders. In psalms like 105, 106, &c, is the detailed fulfilment of this purpose.

Verse 6

(6) Thy greatness.—Or, according to the written text, greatnesses. So Aquila and Jerome. The parallelism is decidedly in favour of the plural.

Verse 7

(7) Abundantly utter.—Literally, pour forth in a stream, as in Psalms 19:2; Psalms 78:2.

Verse 8

(8) Comp. Psalms 86:15; Psalms 103:8; Psalms 111:4.

Verses 9-10

(9, 10) All.—This wide outlook over the world as the object, with all that it contains, of the Divine pity and love, is a noble anticipation of our Lord’s teaching in the Sermon on the Mount and is introduced in a similar manner. Just as the subjects of the kingdom of heaven should exceed the heathen in kindness and goodness, because they know the universal and impartial grace of the Father, so here the saints, the members of the covenant, are to bless Jehovah, who shows them peculiar favour, but also lets His tender mercies flow in an unchecked stream over all His works. All Jehovah’s works confess Him, but His saints bless Him.

Verses 11-12

(11, 12) It is the privilege of the saints to impress the less favoured natures with the glory of the Divine kingdom, which the theocratic relation has displayed in and to them.

Verse 12

(12) To make.—Or, by making known.

Verse 13

(13) See margin, and comp. Daniel 4:3; Daniel 4:34. But it is not necessary to see any dependence between the passages because of the recurrence of phrases which must have been of daily use in the theocracy.

The nun stanza, which should come after Psalms 145:13, has most probably dropped away. The LXX. and Vulg., Syriac, and Ethiopic have here a variation of Psalms 145:17, which would, in Hebrew, give a verse beginning with the required letter; but it is unknown to the other ancient versions, is rejected by the Jewish writers, and, though found in one Hebrew MS., is apparently suspicious there. But these arguments can hardly weigh against the improbability that, in an artificial composition, one letter (and that an easy one for the purpose) should have been either purposely or accidentally omitted in the original draft, especially when we reflect how extremely unlikely it was that the LXX. should trouble themselves to supply a verse in order to keep up an arrangement of which they took no other notice, perhaps even hardly observed it.

Verse 14

(14) The Lord.—Comp. Psalms 37:24. It marks a grand step in theology when the first instance of majesty of the Divine Being is sought in His condescension to human weakness and pity for frailty and want. The heathen had seen that this was king-like

“Regia (crede mihi) res est succurrere lapsis.”

OVID: Ep. de Ponto 11., 9, 11.

But they had hardly seen that it was also god-like.

For “raiseth” and “bowed down,” see Psalms 146:8.

Verses 15-16

(15, 16) These verses are adapted from Psalms 104:27-19.104.28

Verse 18

(18) The Lord is nigh . . .

Closer is He than breathing, and nearer than hands and feet.”

TENNYSON: Higher Pantheism.

Verse 20

(20) Preserveth . . . destroy.—Notice this recurrent thought, that the guardianship of the good implies the destruction of the wicked.

Verse 21

(21) Holy name.—As in Psalms 33:21; Psalms 103:1; Psalms 105:3.

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Bibliographical Information
Ellicott, Charles John. "Commentary on Psalms 145". "Ellicott's Commentary for English Readers". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/eng/ebc/psalms-145.html. 1905.