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Bible Commentaries
Psalms 115

Sutcliffe's Commentary on the Old and New TestamentsSutcliffe's Commentary

Verses 1-18

Whether this psalm was written after some victory, or after the removal of any calamity which had caused the heathen to boast, is not certain. But blessings of this kind, though they justly demand praise, were but small links in the grand chain of Israel’s covenant. The civil code and the religious ritual of this nation surpassed in beauty and excellence every thing that paganism could boast.

Psalms 115:7 . Neither, speak they through their throat. In speaking, the breast is the wind-chest; the larynx is the pipe; the tongue, the palate, and the teeth act as nimble keys. So utterance is performed, of which idols are altogether incapable. In the Hebrew sanctuary was the living oracle.

Psalms 115:9 . Trust thou in the Lord. When Jeroboam’s hand was smitten with the leprosy, he did not trust in his newmade calves, but prayed the prophet to entreat the Lord his God, that his hand might be restored. Trust not in riches; trust not in any arm of flesh.


The eventful series of Jewish history marked on the fullest scale the peculiar care of providence. Hence with a full heart that nation might say, Not unto us, oh Lord, not unto us, but unto thy name give glory.

The psalmist, confident in the divine faithfulness, retorts on the heathen the insults offered to the God of Israel. Their idols are silver and gold, the work of men’s hands. Satire, it would seem, is the most powerful engine ever played off against idolatry. Justin Martyr, Minutius, Tertullian, and Athenagoras, who distinguished themselves by Apologies to the Emperors in favour of christianity, have successfully employed their wit against idolatry. After stating the sufferings and martyrdom of the saints, Minutius observes that in one view they had no just reason to complain, because they treated their own gods with far greater indignities. You condemn us to the mines, and there the substance of your god is dug; you cast us into the fire, and there your gods are melted; you sever our heads from our bodies with the sword, but your own gods have no heads till they are fastened on with soder or with cement; you banish us to distant islands, and there some of your gods were born, and some of them were buried! Israel’s glory surpassing that of the heathen, the psalmist exhorts the whole nation to a gratitude correspondent to their blessings. The priests in particular he exhorts to be grateful, for they had reasons so to be; and he exhorts them to do it now, for the dead cannot praise him. The faithful fathers were guided by his counsel, and afterwards received to glory. Psalms 73:24. Therefore the living must fill the temple, and do the work of the Lord.

Bibliographical Information
Sutcliffe, Joseph. "Commentary on Psalms 115". Sutcliffe's Commentary on the Old and New Testaments. https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/eng/jsc/psalms-115.html. 1835.
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