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This Psalm may seem, from Psalms 147:2,Psalms 147:13, to have been composed by some holy prophet after the return of Israel from the Babylonish captivity. It containeth an ample celebration of God’s praises, both for common mercies and for special favors.
The prophet exhorteth the people to praise God for his care over his church, Psalms 147:1-14; his wisdom and government over all, Psalms 147:15-18; and for his salvation to the faith, Psalms 147:19,Psalms 147:20.
It is good; it is acceptable to God, and greatly comfortable and beneficial to ourselves.
Build up Jerusalem; it is the Lord’s own doing, and not man’s.
The outcasts; or, the banished, who were carried captives out of their own land, and dispersed in divers strange countries.
The broken in heart, either with the sense of their sins, or with their sorrows and grievous calamities. He seems to speak peculiarly of the captive Israelites now returned.
He telleth the number of the stars, which no man can do, Genesis 22:17. For those thousand and twenty-five which astrononers number, are only such as are most distinctly visible to the eye, and most considerable for their influences.
He calleth them all by their names: this signifies,
1. That He exactly knows them as we do those whom we can call by name; he is able to give distinct names to each of them, because he accurately understands their several natures and operations.
2. That he hath a sovereign power over them, as men have over their children, or servants, or soldiers, whom they can call by name; that he appointeth and governeth all their motions and influences to the fulfilling of his own pleasure and purposes.
Which he mentions, partly, because they were most contemptible, especially to the Jews, to whom they were unclean and forbidden for food; partly, because they are greedy and voracious; and partly, because they are not only neglected by men, but also forsaken by their dams as soon as ever they can fly, and so are wholly left to the care and keeping of Divine Providence.
As if he needed either the one or the other for the accomplishment of his designs.
That believingly and patiently expect and seek relief and happiness from God alone, and from his mere grace and mercy, and not from any creature, nor from their own merits.
Thy strength consists not in thy walls, and gates, and bars, but in his protection.
In thy borders; in all thy land, even to its utmost borders, which are most liable to the incursion of enemies.
His commandment; which is sufficient without any instruments to execute whatsoever pleaseth him, either in works of nature or of providence. His word runneth very swiftly; the thing is done without delay or difficulty.
Snow like wool; not only in colour, and shape, and softness, but also in use, keeping the fruits of the earth warm.
Hoar-frost like ashes; in colour and smallness of parts, as also in its burning quality.
His ice; either,
1. Pieces of ice, which God may be said to
cast forth, or to cast down, because he sendeth it, and ofttimes suddenly; or,
2. Great hailstones, which are of an icy nature and substance, and which are very properly
cast forth or cast down out of the clouds, and that like morsels or fragments, the particles being congealed in them.
His cold; the cold which he sometimes sends into the air is so sharp, that it would be intolerable, if men did not defend themselves from it by houses, clothes, fire, &c.
His wind; the southern or some other warm wind sent with commission to dissolve the ice.
The waters flow; the rivers return to their course which before were bound up by, or tuned into, ice.
He showeth his word; he fully declared his mind and will by revelation and in his word.
Unto Jacob; to the children of Jacob or Israel, and to them alone, as it follows.
He left all others to their own native darkness and blindness, and to those dim discoveries of God and of themselves which they had from the light of nature.
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Poole, Matthew, "Commentary on Psalms 147". Matthew Poole's English Annotations on the Holy Bible. https://www.studylight.org/
the Week of Proper 12 / Ordinary 17