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Bible Commentaries
Psalms 150

Lange's Commentary on the Holy Scriptures: Critical, Doctrinal and HomileticalLange's Commentary

Verses 1-6

Psalms 150:0

1          Praise ye the Lord.

Praise God in his sanctuary:
Praise him in the firmament of his power.

2     Praise him for his mighty acts:

Praise him according to his excellent greatness.

3     Praise him with the sound of the trumpet:

Praise him with the psaltery and harp.

4     Praise him with the timbrel and dance:

Praise him with stringed instruments and organs.

5     Praise him upon the loud cymbals:

Praise him upon the high sounding cymbals.

6     Let everything that hath breath praise the Lord.

Praise ye the Lord.


Contents and Composition.—The Psalm calls upon all the living to praise God in all places of His worship, with all the accompaniments of solemn pomp and joy, for the glory of His deeds and His nature. This closing Psalm is of liturgical character throughout. Nothing is known of the time when it was composed. We can hardly believe that it was added by the latest Collector of the Psalter to form the conclusion (Hitzig). For it sounds too fresh and unalloyed to justify the opinion, that the short doxology closing the First Book (Ps. 41:14), which appears enlarged at the end of the second (Ps. (Psalms 72:18-20), and is also found at the close of the Third (Ps. 89:53) and Fourth Books (Psalms 106:48), here assumes the form of an entire Psalm, taking the place of a final doxology. It is supposed by Delitzsch that the tenfold exhortation enclosed by two Hallelujahs, and in the same form of words, while in Psalms 150:6 another form is adopted, is connected with the number ten, as the number of conclusion, exclusion, completion, and exhausted possibility. This might be more easily established than the attempt to gain a connection with the number ten by making “praise” in Psalms 150:6 one of the instruments, and thus obtaining ten instruments (Amyrald, Hengst.). The thirteen-fold occurrence of the word הלל has been artificially connected with the thirteen divine attributes (Kimchi), reckoned by the Synagogue after Exodus 34:6 f. It is uncertain, at all events, whether the form הַלְלזּ, which appears on the twelfth occasion, and the three-fold Jah, betray design, and have a symbolical meaning. In either case a division into three strophes cannot be grounded upon this (Hengstenberg).

Psalms 150:1. Sanctuary.—Hitzig renders: in His holiness, i.e., unapproachableness. But, on account of the parallelism it is best to assume the local designation. This, however, is not to be understood attributively of God as the heavenly object of praise (Delitzsch), but of the earthly sanctuary, corresponding to the rakia stretched out by God’s power and giving testimony concerning Him (Psalms 68:35). Earthly and heavenly places of dwelling and worship are mentioned together, as in 1 Kings 8:39 f.; 43 f.; 49 f.; Psalms 11:4, to indicate universality. On the instruments, see Introd. § 11.

[Psalms 150:4-6. Translate the last word of Psalms 150:4 : pipe. Hengstenberg: “In Psalms 150:4 the pipe, as a wind instrument, forms a contrast to the stringed instruments. There is no trace elsewhere of the pipe being used in the public worship of God; the only instruments in use for blowing upon were trumpets. Beyond doubt the pipe, which did not belong otherwise to the temple service, was brought into requisition here, only because the feast had, at the same time, the character of a popular rejoicing. In like manner, also, timbrels and dances.” The last verse is generally supposed to refer to the living voice of man in contrast to the dead instruments. Alexander, who translates: Let all breath, etc., sees a further gradation: “The very ambiguity of all breath gives an extraordinary richness of meaning to the closing sentence. From the simple idea of wind-instruments mentioned in the context, it leads us by a beautiful transition to that of vocal, articulate, intelligent praise, uttered by the breath of living men, as distinguished from mere lifeless instruments. Then, lastly, by a natural association, we ascend to the idea expressed in the common version, everything that hath breath, not merely all that lives, but all that has a voice to praise God. There is nothing in the Psalter more majestic or more beautiful than this brief, but most significant finale, in which solemnity of tone predominates, without, however, in the least disturbing the exhilaration which the close of the Psalter seems intended to produce, as if in emblematical allusion to the triumph which awaits the Church and all its members, when, through much tribulation, they shall enter into rest.”—J. F. M.]


Not only the Psalter, but the life of believers and the history of the Church, should conclude with Hallelujah, and celebrate their completeness in God with the praise of His glory.—All creatures should join their voices to the praise of God; but the members of His Church should lead the choir.

Starke: With regard to God’s praise, true Christians make, as it were, a circle whose beginning, middle, and end are hallelujah.—Our churches should be houses of praise and thanksgiving, in which we assemble to praise God for His blessings.—Every believing soul is God’s sanctuary, wherein He should be praised.—Since, O soul, thou hast so many and great reasons to praise God, do not become weary of it! How many things are still forgotten! If thou dost consider well, thou hast scarcely begun to praise.—He who will review only his own life will discover so many of God’s deeds that he will not be able to thank Him sufficiently through eternity.—God displays His glory both in the deliverance of the pious and the punishment of the wicked; for both praise and honor are due.—Avoid the abuse of music, and check it as far as possible in others. Many have played and piped themselves to hell. Do not be ensnared by it.—The finest music before God is the harmonious praise and glorifying of God by the soul united in all its powers, with all the senses and all the members. As many instruments in a musical performance make a single harmony, so there is produced a spiritual harmony, when the various gifts of the Holy Spirit are directed by the members of Christ to one end.—If it grieves you that your praise is so weak, remember: let everything that hath breath praise the Lord, and there must be many weak ones in such a host. But they praise their God, and you are joining with them.—If you cannot succeed with strong cries and loud notes, only keep breathing forth to God the desires of your heart, and this will be acceptable to Him: He is still praised by you.—In heaven alone will God’s praise rightly sound forth; everything will there have a better sound. What we shall know better, we shall be able to praise better. In God’s praise, the end must be as the beginning, that is, it must continue without end. Thy praise, O God, shall also be forever in my mouth. Amen. Hallelujah!

[Matt. Henry: It is a comfort to us, when we find we praise God so poorly, that it is done so well in heaven.—Be not afraid of saying too much in the praises of God, as we often do in praising great and good men. Deus non patitur hyperbolen.—The best music in God’s ears is devout and pious affections. Non musica chordula sed cor. The New Testament concert, instead of this, is with one mind and one mouth to glorify God.—Let every one that breathes forth to God in prayer, finding the benefit of that, breathe forth His praises too. Having breath, let the praises of God perfume our breath; let us be in this work as in our element; let it be to us as the air we breathe, and which we could not do without. Having our breath in our nostrils, let us consider that it is still going forth, and will shortly go and not return. Since, therefore, we must shortly breathe our last, while we have breath let us praise the Lord, and then we shall breathe our last with comfort; and when death runs us out of breath, we shall remove to a better state to breathe God’s praises in a freer, better air.—The nearer good Christians come to their end, the fuller they should be of the praises of God.—Hallelujah is the word there, Revelation 19:1; Revelation 19:3. Let us therefore echo to it now, as those that hope to join in it shortly.—Bp. Horne: If the worshippers of Baal join in a chorus to celebrate the praises of their idol, the servants of Jehovah should drown it by one that is stronger and more powerful, in praise of Him who made heaven and earth.—J. F. M.]

Bibliographical Information
Lange, Johann Peter. "Commentary on Psalms 150". "Commentary on the Holy Scriptures: Critical, Doctrinal, and Homiletical". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/eng/lcc/psalms-150.html. 1857-84.
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