Lectionary Calendar
Tuesday, July 23rd, 2024
the Week of Proper 11 / Ordinary 16
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Bible Commentaries
Psalms 115

Kretzmann's Popular Commentary of the BibleKretzmann's Commentary

Verses 1-18

Vindication of God's Glory over against the Idols.

This psalm may have been a cry of Israel for the assistance of the Lord in the face of invading enemies, who placed their confidence in their heathen idols.

v. 1. Not unto us, O Lord, not unto us, the repetition of the cry serving for emphasis, but unto Thy name give glory, so that His essence and His attributes might properly be proclaimed before all men, for Thy mercy, His free, unmerited favor, and for Thy truth's sake, on account of the faithfulness set forth in the promises of His Word. It is God's glory, and that alone, about which the faithful are ever concerned, not about their own honor.

v. 2. Wherefore should the heathen say, in mockery on account of the sorry plight of God's people forsaken by their God, Where is now their God? This taunt was actually used by the messengers of Sennacherib, the Assyrian king, in his campaign against Hezekiah, Isaiah 36:15-20. But while the psalmist records the mockery of the enemies, he also sets over against it the trust of the believers.

v. 3. But our God is in the heavens, invisible indeed, but nevertheless ruling the world; He hath done whatsoever He hath pleased, for He alone is the almighty God, in contrast with the utter impotence of the idols of the heathen.

v. 4. Their idols are silver and gold, carved images, manufactured out of precious metals, indeed, but without real existence, the work of men's hands, constructed, poured, carved, by weak and puny human beings, not even created, but made.

v. 5. They have mouths, as fashioned by the artist making them, but they speak not; eyes have they, but they see not;

v. 6. they have ears, but they hear not; noses have they, but they smell not;

v. 7. they have hands, but they handle not, or, "their hands are there, yet they feel not"; feet have they, but they walk not; neither speak they through their throat, they cannot even mutter, utter an articulate sound. Note the pairing of the members and the effective way of grouping each pair, in order to bring out strongly the inanimate, dead character of the idols. Cf Psalms 135:15-17; Isaiah 44:9-17; Jeremiah 10:3-6.

v. 8. They that make them are like unto them, devoid of proper understanding; so is everyone, whether maker or worshiper, that trusteth in them. Idolatry lowers not only the religious and moral, but also the intellectual standard of a people.

v. 9. O Israel, trust thou in the Lord, the admonition coming in all the more strongly after the contrast just presented ; He is their Help and their Shield, safe to depend upon for purposes both of defense and of offense.

v. 10. O house of Aaron, a name used for Israel as a people of priests and therefore applicable to all believers, trust in the Lord; He is their Help and their Shield. The general application is now made:

v. 11. Ye that fear the Lord, no matter where and when, in either the Old or the New Testament, trust in the Lord; He is their Help and their Shield, on their side both for protection and for battle.

v. 12. The Lord hath been mindful of us, turned His thoughts in mercy upon His children; He will bless us; He will bless the house of Israel, His people as a whole; He will bless the house of Aaron, His people as a congregation of priests.

v. 13. He will bless them that fear the Lord, the Church of all times, both small and great, the prominent and the leaders in the Church together with the lowly.

v. 14. The Lord shall increase you more and more; for the Church, by the blessing of Jehovah in the Word, is bound to grow, you and your children.

v. 15. Ye are blessed of the Lord; richly supplied with the gifts of His goodness and mercy, which made heaven and earth, the worth and the greatness of His blessings being measured only by His immeasurable essence.

v. 16. The heaven, even the heavens, are the Lord's, the throne of His power; but the earth hath He given to the children of men, to enjoy the fullness of His favor and to praise Him for His grace.

v. 17. The dead praise not the Lord, neither any that go down into silence, into the realm of the dead; for then, for a season, their mouth is stilled, they are no longer physically able to join in the praise of Jehovah. All the more reason, then, for us, who are living, to be engaged in this necessary work.

v. 18. But we will bless the Lord from this time forth, while still living here on earth, and forevermore, beyond the grave, after the Last Day, when soul and body will be reunited throughout eternity. Praise the Lord, our hallelujah sounding before the throne of the God of our salvation, world without end, in heaven's glorious halls.

Bibliographical Information
Kretzmann, Paul E. Ph. D., D. D. "Commentary on Psalms 115". "Kretzmann's Popular Commentary". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/eng/kpc/psalms-115.html. 1921-23.
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