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Bible Commentaries
Psalms 113

Old & New Testament Restoration CommentaryRestoration Commentary

Verses 1-9

Psa 113:1-9

Psalms 113


This is another of the "Hallelujah Psalms," this time with the words "Praise Ye Jehovah" (Hallelujah) occurring both at the beginning and the end of the Psalm.

Psalms 113:1-9

"Praise ye Jehovah.

Praise, Oh ye servants of Jehovah.

Blessed be the name of Jehovah

From this time forth and forevermore.

From the rising of the sun unto the going down of the same

Jehovah’s name is to be praised.

Jehovah is high above all nations,

And his glory above the heavens.

Who is like unto Jehovah our God,

That hath his seat on high,

That humbleth himself to behold

The things that are in heaven and in the earth?

He raiseth up the poor out of the dust,

And lifteth up the needy from the dunghill;

That he may set him with princes,

Even with the princes of the people.

He maketh the barren woman to keep house,

And to be a joyful mother of children.

Praise ye Jehovah."

"In Judaism, Psalms 113-118 are known as the Egyptian Hallel (`Hallel’ means `Praise’). Psalms 113 and Psalms 114 were sung before the Passover meal; and Psalms 115-118 were sung after it. They were also sung at the feasts of Pentecost, Tabernacles, and Dedication (Hanukkah, or the Feast of Lights).” Delitzsch adds that, "The Hallel was also sung on New Year’s Day and on the Day of Atonement.”

One of these customary closing songs (Psalms 115-118), "Must have been the one that Jesus and his apostles sang following the Last Supper (Matthew 26:30).”

"From this time forth and forevermore" (Psalms 113:2). This expression also occurs in Psalms 115:8; Psalms 121:8; Psalms 125:2; Psalms 131:3. It means for one to praise God regularly and consistently throughout one’s whole life.

"That humbleth himself to behold the things that are in heaven and in the earth." The marginal reading gives this: "That humbleth himself to regard the heavens and the earth." The RSV reads it, "Who looks far down upon the heavens and the earth."

"He raiseth up the poor out of the dust, and lifteth up the needy from the dunghill" (Psalms 113:7). The RSV reads, "He raises the poor from the dust, and lifts the needy from the ash heap." This verse breathes the spirit of "The Magnificat," the marvelous song of the virgin Mary. "He hath put down princes from their thrones and exalted them of low degree." (Luke 1:52).

"The dunghill, or ash heap" (Psalms 113:7). This appears to have been the city dump, or its equivalent. Delitzsch tells us that, "In Syria and Palestine the man who has been shut out from society lies upon the mezbele (the dunghill, or ash heap), by day calling upon passers-by for alms, and by night hiding himself in the ashes that have been warmed by the sun.”

"He maketh the barren woman to keep house, and to be a joyful mother of children" (Psalms 113:9). The psalmist here has adopted some of the phrases from 1 Samuel 2:8, where they are found in the Song of Hannah, indicating that the psalmist was referring to her as an example of the "barren woman" who became the joyful mother of children.

This verse is also equally true of Sarah; and the plural "children" does not deny this. In the scriptures, "child" is sometimes understood as "children." In Genesis 21:7, Sarah is quoted as saying, "Who would have said unto Abraham, that Sarah should have given children suck? for I have borne him a son."

This usage of the word "children" is still current in the world. As E. M. Zerr stated it, "When the captain of a sinking ship orders that women and children should enter the lifeboats first; that cannot mean that a woman with only one child would be denied.”

Leupold declares that, "all commentators agree that the psalm is post-exilic.”

Also, he noted that "the barren woman" here is Israel, the nation itself. After Israel’s return from Babylon, she could have been compared to a poor man sitting and begging on the city dump, or to a childless woman mourning her barrenness. "Thus the psalm is to be thought of as a word of comfort in evil and depressing times, that it was written for the `worm’ Jacob (Isaiah 41:14), and for the `afflicted and storm-tossed one’ (Isaiah 54:11).”

E.M. Zerr:

Psalms 113:1. For comments on the first clause see those at Psalms 112:1. The servants of the Lord are those who have such respect for Him that they will wish to obey his law. It is further appropriate that such people will praise the Lord.

Psalms 113:2. To be blessed means literally to be happy. It would not make good sense to say that the name of the Lord is happy. It is good usage, however, to say that the name of the Lord brings happiness to men. Such happiness will endure always. Verse 3. In other words, all of man’s waking hours should be filled with praise for the goodness of the Lord.

Psalms 113:4. High above all nations means His power or authority is supreme. His glory is logically above the heavens because he was the creator of them all.

Psalms 113:5. Dwelleth on high denotes the exalted position of His dwelling. For the distinctive meaning of Lord and God see the comments at Psalms 86:12.

Psalms 113:6. The pronoun who refers to the person who will observe the things of creation, and give God the credit for such works. True humility will prompt a man to make such an observation, while pride will cause him to ignore all such evidences of divine power; even denying the existence of a Supreme Being.

Psalms 113:7. When dust and dunghill are used figuratively, they refer to the humiliating situation of many poor people. It has special application when that situation has been imposed upon them by the more fortunate ones.

Psalms 113:8. True merit is often hidden from view by the opposition of jealous enemies. God recognizes it, however, and will reward the humble and worthy persons with proper exaltation. Jesus taught this lesson in Matthew 23:12 and many other places.

Psalms 113:9. This does not mean that a barren woman would not have a house in which to live. The leading thought will be recognized by considering the verse as a whole. When God acts with compassion on behalf of a childless wife, it turns her into a happy housekeeper with children. The case of Hannah is a noted instance of it, recorded in 1 Samuel 1.

Bibliographical Information
"Commentary on Psalms 113". "Old & New Testament Restoration Commentary". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/eng/onr/psalms-113.html.
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