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Bible Commentaries
Psalms 147

Everett's Study Notes on the Holy ScripturesEverett's Study Notes

Verses 1-20

Psalms 147:0

Psalms 147:4 He telleth the number of the stars; he calleth them all by their names.

Psalms 147:4 “He telleth the number of the stars” - Word Study on “telleth” Gesenius says the Hebrew word ( מָנָה ) (H4487) means, “to be divided, to be divided out, to divide, to allot, assign, prepare, make ready, number.” Strong says it means, “to weigh out, to allot or constitute officially, to enumerate or enroll.”

Comments A number of modern English versions translate this to mean that God counts, or numbers all of the stars in heaven. Russell Humphreys explains how this statement implies that the number of stars in the universe is “finite,” meaning there are a limited number of stars. This means that the universe itself is finite. In contrast, Humphreys notes that the next verse tells us that God’s “understanding is infinite.” (Psalms 147:5) [130]

[130] Russell Humphreys, Starlight and Time, in Creation Library: Answers in Genesis, prod. Forever Productions of NW, Mark DeSpain [CD-ROM], (answersingenesis.org, Hebron, Kentucky, c2001, 2005).

RSV, “He determines the number of the stars, he gives to all of them their names.”

YLT, “He counteth the number of the stars; He calleth them all by their names.”

Psalms 147:4 Comments - We are told in Psalms 147:4 that God has given a name to every star in the universe. This is stated again in Isaiah 40:26.

Isaiah 40:26, “Lift up your eyes on high, and behold who hath created these things, that bringeth out their host by number: he calleth them all by names by the greatness of his might , for that he is strong in power; not one faileth.”

In the creation of the earth, God named Adam, but He gave him the job of naming all of the animals inhabiting the earth (Genesis 2:19-20). This was because everything on the earth had been put under his dominion. In contrast, the heavens remained under God’s domain. Therefore, it was his job to name the heavenly bodies.

One thing that is important to note by this statement is that we have the names of some of these stars as well as constellations recorded in Scriptures. In the books of Job, Amos, and Acts we find the names of the constellations Pleiades, Orion, Arcturus and Castor and Pollux (Job 9:9; Job 38:31-32, Amos 5:8). Although these are Latinized names, the Hebrew text hands down to us a more ancient name for these constellations than the modern English names used today. The book of Job also makes a reference to the twelve constellations of the Zodiac called by the Hebrew name Mazzaroth (Job 38:32).

Job 9:9, “Which maketh Arcturus , Orion , and Pleiades , and the chambers of the south.”

Job 38:31-32, “Canst thou bind the sweet influences of Pleiades , or loose the bands of Orion ? Canst thou bring forth Mazzaroth in his season? or canst thou guide Arcturus with his sons?”

Amos 5:8, “Seek him that maketh the seven stars and Orion , and turneth the shadow of death into the morning, and maketh the day dark with night: that calleth for the waters of the sea, and poureth them out upon the face of the earth: The LORD is his name:”

Acts 28:11, “And after three months we departed in a ship of Alexandria, which had wintered in the isle, whose sign was Castor and Pollux .”

The phrase “the crooked serpent” found in Job 26:13 is a possible reference to a number of constellations with which the shape of the serpent is identified.

Job 26:13, “By his spirit he hath garnished the heavens; his hand hath formed the crooked serpent .”

Psalms 147:11 The LORD taketh pleasure in them that fear him, in those that hope in his mercy.

Psalms 147:11 “The LORD taketh pleasure in them that fear him Scripture References - Note similar verses:

Numbers 14:8, “ If the LORD delight in us , then he will bring us into this land, and give it us; a land which floweth with milk and honey.”

Deuteronomy 28:63, “And it shall come to pass, that as the LORD rejoiced over you to do you good , and to multiply you; so the LORD will rejoice over you to destroy you, and to bring you to nought; and ye shall be plucked from off the land whither thou goest to possess it.”

Deuteronomy 30:9, “And the LORD thy God will make thee plenteous in every work of thine hand, in the fruit of thy body, and in the fruit of thy cattle, and in the fruit of thy land, for good: for the LORD will again rejoice over thee for good, as he rejoiced over thy fathers:”

2 Samuel 22:20, “He brought me forth also into a large place: he delivered me, because he delighted in me .”

1 Chronicles 29:17 ” “I know also, my God, that thou triest the heart, and hast pleasure in uprightness . As for me, in the uprightness of mine heart I have willingly offered all these things: and now have I seen with joy thy people, which are present here, to offer willingly unto thee.”

Psalms 149:4, “For the LORD taketh pleasure in his people : he will beautify the meek with salvation.”

Proverbs 11:20, “They that are of a froward heart are abomination to the LORD: but such as are upright in their way are his delight .”

Proverbs 15:8, “The sacrifice of the wicked is an abomination to the LORD: but the prayer of the upright is his delight .”

1 Kings 10:9, “Blessed be the LORD thy God, which delighted in thee , to set thee on the throne of Israel: because the LORD loved Israel for ever, therefore made he thee king, to do judgment and justice.”

Isaiah 62:5, “For as a young man marrieth a virgin, so shall thy sons marry thee: and as the bridegroom rejoiceth over the bride, so shall thy God rejoice over thee .”

Isaiah 65:19, “And I will rejoice in Jerusalem, and joy in my people : and the voice of weeping shall be no more heard in her, nor the voice of crying.”

Jeremiah 32:41, “Yea, I will rejoice over them to do them good , and I will plant them in this land assuredly with my whole heart and with my whole soul.”

Luke 15:23-24, “And bring hither the fatted calf, and kill it; and let us eat, and be merry : For this my son was dead, and is alive again; he was lost, and is found. And they began to be merry .”

Bibliographical Information
Everett, Gary H. "Commentary on Psalms 147". Everett's Study Notes on the Holy Scriptures. https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/eng/ghe/psalms-147.html. 2013.
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