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the Week of Proper 10 / Ordinary 15
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Bible Commentaries
Psalms 138

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

Verses 1-8

The LXX have prefixed the name of Haggai and Zechariah to this psalm; but all the Versions follow the Hebrew in ascribing it to David, to whom it undoubtedly belongs. It was probably one of the favourite psalms of those holy men in Babylon, and used by them in such religious services as could be performed in the captivity.

Psalms 138:2 . Thou hast magnified thy word above all thy name. The readings vary here in modern Versions. God’s word cannot be magnified above his name. Kimchi reads, “Thou hast magnified thy name in every word of thine.” An anonymous critic reads, “Thou hast magnified thy name above all things by thy word.”

Psalms 138:4 . All the kings of the earth shall praise thee. This is the usual language in which the prophets speak of the conversion of the gentiles from idolatry, to worship the Lord Messiah.


We have another divine effusion of David’s heart. By worshipping towards God’s holy temple, he appears to have been in exile; for every Jew endeavoured in whatever place he wandered to look towards the mercyseat. So the christian should ever lift up his heart to God’s high throne in the heavens.

Though wandering from wilderness to wilderness, he maintained constant communion with God. Every painful intelligence of the machination of his enemies which for awhile excited palpitation of heart, was a fresh subject of prayer. He poured all his griefs into the bosom of God.

In the very day that he cried, God gave him an answer of peace; and finding his breast emptied of earthly troubles, and filled with heavenly joys, he would praise God with his whole heart, and glorify him before the gods, or gentile kings and rulers, that all the kings of the earth might praise him. It is also highly probable, that God on the very day he prayed gave him some temporal comfort or hope of deliverance. Fresh grief should always be followed with fresh devotion. Then we take omnipotence for our shield and might; and then we are enabled to trust with confidence, and walk in the might of the Lord. When the Lord is graciously pleased to give spiritual and temporal answers to prayer, it has a most sanctifying effect on the heart. Though the Lord be high, yet hath he respect to the lowly. He makes the needy and the afflicted his friends. This poor man cried unto the Lord, and he heard him; while, on the contrary, the proud are rejected.

Past mercies encourage us to trust for the future. Though David walked for many years amidst troubles, he believed that God would revive him, and bring him to the throne, and to his holy place. God will perfect concerning us also what he has promised, and what is lacking concerning our sanctification. Providence in a thousand ways, manages our afflictions for our greater piety, and for the manifestation of its most signal favours.

Bibliographical Information
Sutcliffe, Joseph. "Commentary on Psalms 138". Sutcliffe's Commentary on the Old and New Testaments. https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/eng/jsc/psalms-138.html. 1835.
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