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Bible Commentaries

Hengstenberg on John, Revelation, Ecclesiastes, Ezekiel & Psalms

Psalms 149

Introduction

Psalms 149

The Psalmist calls the people, in Psalms 149:1-5, to thanksgiving for a great deliverance which they had experienced, and expresses, in Psalms 149:6-9, the hope of a future victory over the slavish heathen world, rising on the ground of their present strength and elevation.

The Psalm consists of an introduction of one verse, and two strophes, each of four verses. The Jehovah and Jah occur four times.

Verse 1

Ver. 1. Halleluiah. Sing to the Lord a new song, his renown in the congregation of the saints. His renown, which he has acquired by raising the renown of his saints, Psalms 148:14. The beginning of the Psalm, therefore, purposely joins itself to the close of the preceding one.

Verses 2-5

Ver. 2. Let Israel rejoice in his Maker, the children of Zion be joyful in their king. Ver. 3. Let them praise his name in the dance, with timbrel and psaltery play to him. Ver. 4. For the Lord has pleasure in his people, he adorns the meek with salvation. Ver. 5. Let the saints be joyful in honour, exult upon their beds.

His Maker, Psalms 149:2, who has proved himself to be such in giving-deliverance:

That ענוים , Psalms 149:4, signifies not afflicted, but, as always meek, is clear from the opposite to it, the wicked, in Psalms 147:6. On רוצה , comp. Psalms 147:10-11. The expression: in honour, in Psalms 149:5, marks, as in Psalms 112:9, the state that had given rise to the joy. The honour in which they now rejoiced, forms the contrast to the shame with which they had hitherto been covered, Nehemiah 1:3, and Neh. 3:36. Upon their beds, where before in the loneliness of night they consumed themselves with grief for their shame comp. Hosea 7:14.

Verses 6-9

Ver. 6. The praises of God in their mouth, and a two-edged sword in their hand. Ver. 7. That they may execute vengeance on the heathen, punishment among the people. Ver. 8. To bind their kings with chains, and their nobles with fetters, of iron. Ver. 9. That they may execute upon them the judgment whereof it is written. Such honour have all his saints. Halleluiah. רומם in Psalms 149:6, praise, song of praise, as in Psalms 66:17. As formerly at the work—comp. Nehemiah 4:11: “With the one hand they did their work, and with the other they held the sword”—so now also after the completion of the work they still carried weapons in their hand while giving thanks and praise. Nehemiah 12:31 ss., gives notice of a great military procession to the temple at the consecration of the walls.

That they may execute vengeance, Psalms 149:7, namely, as God wishes it to be done and at the time appointed. Israel had experienced a great deliverance, but his state was still far from that which became the people of God and was promised them. They were still servants in the land, which the Lord had given to their fathers, that they might eat its fruit and enjoy its food—compare the description in Nehemiah 9:36-37. The new elevation of the people’s consciousness, in which for the first time, after a long period, the warrior spirit was again revived, filled them now with a hope that rose superior to present appearances, the hope of dissipating what still remained of evil in their condition. This hope, legitimate in every respect, and, as to its substance, resting upon an everlasting foundation (for the people of God can never in the nature of things continue long in a servile condition), which is sufficient to put to shame our pusillanimity, as it was certainly meant to have its primary fulfilment in an external manner, so it primarily received an external fulfilment in the time of the Maccabees, the occurrences of which had their root in what had been done by Nehemiah. Unspeakably more glorious, however, and beyond what they themselves understood, was the vengeance which Israel exercised in the days of the Messiah, when they took the sword of the Spirit in their hand, and thereby prevailed over their heathen neighbours. The earlier external revenge, as Calvin suggests, was but a shadowy prelude to this. The judgment whereof it is written, Psalms 149:9, not in Deuteronomy 7:2, for the passage refers to the entirely peculiar relation to the Canaanites, but in Deuteronomy 32:41 ss., where the discourse is of the judgment, which the Lord would execute upon the future oppressors of his people, after the period of chastisement had gone by. There, as here, mention is made of judgment, of vengeance, and of the sword. The conclusion, like the beginning, brings to the remembrance the close of the preceding Psalm. An honour is this still more glorious than the renown which they already enjoyed—the second half, as it were, of that.

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Bibliographical Information
Hengstenberg, Ernst. "Commentary on Psalms 149". Hengstenberg on John, Revelation, Ecclesiastes, Ezekiel & Psalms. https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/eng/heg/psalms-149.html.