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Bible Commentaries

Sutcliffe's Commentary on the Old and New Testaments

Psalms 136

Verses 1-26

This psalm has no title in the Hebrew, and the author is unknown. It is reckoned the grand Te Deum of the Hebrew choir. The repetitions at the end of every verse, have correspondent examples in Greek and Latin poetry. This should not be done, except for great emphases.

Psalms 136:1 . For his mercy endureth for ever. Hebrews כי לעולם חסדו Ki le-ôlam chasdo. The Hebrew word ôlam, as in Psalms 90:2, from everlasting to everlasting thou art God, when applied either to God, or to his attributes, cannot he understood of a limited existence. The primate Newcome, in support of Arianism, has strangely attempted to do this in his notes on Micah 5:2.

Psalms 136:13 . Which divided the red sea into parts. The elder rabbins say here, that their fathers passed through the sea in twelve divisions. The English reading cannot be correct, though copied from the Latin.


Chrysostom observes well, that God has given us those most delightful hymns and psalms of praise, to raise the mind above the sorrows and troubles of the present world. This is called by the Jews, the great hallel, or psalm of praise, and it is used in their daily service. Sihon and Og are mentioned towards the close. Here Dr. Lightfoot makes a curious note, and probably after some of the rabbins; that when those two kings fell, it was just twenty six generations after the flood; and the phrase, his mercy endureth for ever, is twenty six times repeated. Hence as God’s mercy endureth from one generation to another, we learn that the church should keep alive the sacrifice of praise throughout all ages; and expect the everlasting mercy of God to smile on all their works.

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Bibliographical Information
Sutcliffe, Joseph. "Commentary on Psalms 136". Sutcliffe's Commentary on the Old and New Testaments. 1835.