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Bible Commentaries

Benson's Commentary of the Old and New Testaments

Psalms 113

A.M. 2962. B.C. 1042.

This and the five following Psalms the Jews termed, הלל , hallel, or, the great hallel, from הללו יה , hallelujah, the first word of this Psalm. They were used at the feasts of the new moons, and on other festival solemnities, and especially on the paschal night, when they were sung, or rather recited, or chanted, at their tables, after they had eaten the paschal lamb. To this custom, as the evangelists have informed us, (Matthew 26:30 ; Mark 14:26 ,) our Lord and his apostles conformed, singing a hymn, probably these same six Psalms, sung on these occasions by the Jews, as one laudativum carmen, or song of praise. The Jews are said to have made choice of these Psalms, in preference to others, on account of the five great benefits referred to in them: the deliverance from Egypt, Psalms 114:1 ; the dividing of the Red sea, 3; the giving of the law from Sinai, 4; the passion of the Messiah, Psalms 116:3 ; and the resurrection of the dead, 9. In this Psalm we are exhorted to praise God, Psalms 113:1-3 . Particularly for his greatness and glory, Psalms 113:4 , Psalms 113:5 . And for his grace and goodness, Psalms 113:6-9 .

Verses 1-3

Psalms 113:1-3. Praise, O ye servants of the Lord Ye Levites, who are peculiarly devoted to this solemn work, and sometimes termed God’s servants, in a special sense, and all you faithful souls. Blessed be the name of the Lord from this time, &c. Let not the work of praising God die with us, but let those that come after us praise him; yea, let him be praised through all the generations of time, and let us and all his saints praise him in eternity. From the rising of the sun, &c. Throughout the habitable world, from one end of it to the other; the Lord’s name is to be praised That is, it ought to be praised in all nations, because all nations enjoy the benefit of his glorious works of creation and providence: and in all nations there are most manifest proofs of his infinite wisdom, power, and goodness. All nations, also, were to be redeemed by the Messiah, and it is his gracious purpose and promise to bring all nations to the knowledge of his truth.

Verses 4-6

Psalms 113:4-6. The Lord is high above all nations Superior to all princes and bodies of people in the world; and his glory above the heavens Whereas the glory of earthly monarchs is confined to this lower world, and to small pittances of it, the glory of God doth not only fill the earth, but heaven too, where it is celebrated by thousands and myriads of blessed angels; yea, it is far higher than heaven, being infinite and incomprehensible, Who is like unto the Lord? Hebrew, Jehovah, who dwelleth on high Namely, far above all heavens, and is exalted, as in place, so in power and dignity, above all persons and things, visible and invisible. Who humbleth himself, &c. Who is so high, that it is a wonderful condescension in him to take any notice of his holy and heavenly hosts, and much more of sinful and miserable men upon earth.

Verses 7-8

Psalms 113:7-8. He raiseth up the poor Yet, great and glorious as he is, he stoops so low as to regard and advance those whom all men, even their own brethren, slight and despise; out of the dust, &c. From a most contemptible and miserable condition; that he may set him with princes In equal honour and power with them, as he did Joseph, David, and others; even with the princes of his people, who, in God’s account, and in truth, are far more honourable and happy than the princes of heathen nations, and their subjects more noble; for they have God’s special presence among them, and his special providence watching over them. One of the Jewish rabbins applies this passage to the resurrection of the dead, and some Christian commentators have applied it to the work of redemption by Jesus Christ, and not improperly, for through him poor, fallen men are raised out of the dust, nay, out of the dunghill of sin, and set among patriarchs and prophets, yea, among angels and archangels, those princes of God’s people, those leaders of the armies of Jehovah. And, as Dr. Horne observes, “What is the exaltation of the meanest beggar from a dunghill to an earthly diadem, when compared with that of human nature from the grave to the throne of God! Here is honour worthy of our ambition; honour after which all are alike invited to aspire; which all may obtain who strive worthily and lawfully; and of which, when once obtained, nothing can ever deprive the possessors.”

Verse 9

Psalms 113:9. He maketh the barren woman to keep house Hebrew, מושׁיבי הבית , moshibi habaith, to dwell in a house, or family, or among children, namely, born of her. In the sacred history of the Old Testament, we find many instances of barren women, who were miraculously made to bear children. Isaac, Joseph, Samson, Samuel, and John the Baptist were thus born of mothers who had been barren. “These examples,” says Dr. Horne, “may be considered as preludes to that marvellous exertion of divine power, whereby the Gentile Church, after so many years of barrenness, became, in her old age, a fruitful parent of children, and the mother of us all. Wherefore it is written, Sing, O barren, thou that didst not bear, &c., Isaiah 54:1.”

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Bibliographical Information
Benson, Joseph. "Commentary on Psalms 113". Benson's Commentary. 1857.