Bible Commentaries

Psalms 136

Verses 1-26

This is a song of the age-abiding mercy of Jehovah. It opens and closes with a call to praise, and in its main movements sets forth the reason for such praise. In the opening call the three great names or titles of God are made use of, viz., Jehovah, Elohim, Adonahy. The first is mentioned in its lonely splendour, as it always is. There is no attempt at qualification of comparison. The second is used in comparison. He is the God of gods. All other mighty beings, false or true, are less than He; and subservient to Him. In the same way He is Lord of lords.

The reasons for praise are found in the manifestations of His power and interest in His people. His power as seen in creation is first sung (vv. Psalms 136:1-9). Then His delivering power manifest behalf of His people (vv. Psalms 136:10-15). This naturally merges into the song of His guidance and government of them, as He brought them into possession (vv. Psalms 136:16-22). And finally His goodness in restoring His people after declension and wandering (vv. Psalms 136:23-25). The dominant note is mercy as manifest in all the activities of God. To see the love and compassion of God in creation, in deliverance, in government, in restoration, is ever to be constrained to praise.