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Bible Commentaries

Benson's Commentary of the Old and New Testaments

Psalms 145


A.M. 2988. B.C. 1016.

“Hitherto, in this divine book,” says Dr. Horne, “we have been presented with checkered scenes of danger and deliverance, distress and mercy. The voice of complaint hath sometimes been succeeded by that of thanksgiving; and praise, at other times, hath terminated in prayer. But now, as if the days of mourning in Zion were ended, we hear no more of Messiah, as a man of sorrows; or of the church, as despised and afflicted, after the same example, in the world. Henceforth we seem not to be upon earth, but in heaven, mingling with celestial spirits around the throne, and singing the praises of our God and King.” This is an alphabetical Psalm; and therefore no great connection of one verse with another is to be expected in it. David praises God for his greatness, Psalms 145:1-7 . For his goodness and everlasting kingdom, Psalms 145:8-13 . For his providence, Psalms 145:14-16 . For his mercy to his servants, Psalms 145:17-21 .

Verses 1-4

Psalms 145:1-4. I will extol thee, my God, O King Or, my God, the king; termed so by way of eminence; the King of kings, the God by whom kings reign, and to whom I and all other kings owe subjection and obedience. Every day will I bless thee Praising God should be our daily work. No day should pass, though never so busy on the one hand, or sorrowful on the other, without it. We ought to reckon it the most necessary of our daily business, and the most delightful of our daily comforts. God is every day blessing us, and doing us good, and therefore there is good reason why we should be every day blessing him, and speaking well of him. I will praise thy name for ever and ever Not only to the end of my life in this world, but to all eternity in the world to come. Great is the Lord In his being, majesty, and glory, and in all perfections. His presence is infinite, his power irresistible, his majesty awful, his sovereignty incontestable, his dominion illimitable, his glory insupportable; there is therefore no dispute, but great is the Lord, and if great, then greatly to be praised With all that is within us, to the utmost of our power, and with all the circumstances of solemnity imaginable. His greatness indeed cannot be comprehended; it is unsearchable But then it is so much the more to be praised, as we can neither fathom the depth nor discern the height of it. “The greatness of Jehovah,” says Dr. Horne, “whether we consider it as relating to his essence or his works, is never to be fully comprehended by his saints, whose delight it is to contemplate the breadth, and length, and depth, and height; the extent and duration of his being and his kingdom, the profundity of his counsels, and the sublimity of his power and glory. These are the inexhaustible subjects of divine meditation, transmitted from age to age. And as the greatness of our God and Saviour hath no bounds, so his praises should have no end; nor should the voice of thanksgiving ever cease in the church. As one generation drops it, another should take it up, and prolong the delightful strain till the sun and moon shall withdraw their light, and the stars fall extinguished from their orbs.”

Verses 5-7

Psalms 145:5-7. I will speak of the glorious honour, &c. Here are divers words heaped together, to intimate that no words are sufficient to express the majesty of God. And of thy wondrous works “Those works of God which demand to be celebrated by the tongues of men, are here divided into three kinds. First, such as declare his glory, and excite our admiration whenever we behold them. Of this sort are the shining frame of the heavens, and all the bodies which move therein; the earth, with its furniture without, and its contents within; the magnificent and stupendous ocean which flows around; the different tribes of animals inhabiting both the one and the other; and above all, the construction of man, the lord of this lower world. Under the second class of God’s works are ranged all those which the psalmist styles his terrible acts, or the exertions of his power against his enemies; such as the destruction of the old world by water; of Sodom and Gomorrah by fire; of Pharaoh and his host in the Red sea; of the Canaanitish nations by the sword; and the victory gained over sin and death by the resurrection of Christ. In the third rank stand those works which have proceeded from the goodness of God, and his righteousness, in the performance of his promises. And among these we may reckon all the different species of provision which have been made by providence, for the bodies of men in the world, and by grace for their souls in the church. On any of these subjects meditation cannot be long employed, without breaking forth into wonder, gratitude, and praise.” Horne.

Verses 8-13

Psalms 145:8-13. The Lord is gracious, &c. See notes on Exodus 34:6-7; and Numbers 14:18. The Lord is good to all Not only to Israel, but to all mankind, whose hearts he fills with food and gladness, as is said Acts 14:17; yea, to all his creatures, to beasts as well as men. All thy works praise thee They give men and angels just occasion to praise thee; for they set forth thy glory, and manifest thy infinite perfections. And thy saints bless thee Give thanks for thy goodness with grateful hearts. God’s other works praise him, as a beautiful building commends the builder, or a well-drawn picture the painter; but the saints bless him as the children of prudent, tender parents rise up and call them blessed. Of all God’s works, his saints, the first-fruits of his creatures, have most reason to bless him. They shall speak of the glory of thy kingdom Of which they are loyal subjects, and the blessings and glories of which they make it their business to publish to the world, that mankind may be thereby induced to submit their hearts and lives to so gracious a sceptre as that of the Messiah, and that his dominion may become “as universal in its extent as it is everlasting in its duration.”

Verses 14-16

Psalms 145:14-16. The Lord upholdeth all that fall All that look to him for help; indeed all that are upheld, whose support is not from themselves, or from men, but only from God’s powerful providence and grace. The eyes of all Of all living creatures; wait upon thee Expect their supplies wholly from thy bounty. Expectation is here figuratively ascribed to brute creatures, as Psalms 104:27, on which see note, and Romans 8:22. And givest them their meat in due season When they need it. “What a just and beautiful picture,” says Dr. Horne, “is here presented to view! We see the whole animal world assembled before us, with their eyes fixed on the great King and Father of all things, like those of a flock on their shepherd, when he enters the field in time of dearth with provender for them. From the same divine person, as the Saviour of men, as the King, Father, and Pastor of the church, do believers, with earnest expectation, wait for the food of eternal life. And neither one nor the other look and wait in vain. To both he giveth their meat in due season; he openeth his hand and satisfieth the desire of every living thing.”

Verse 17

Psalms 145:17. The Lord is righteous in all his ways And not unrighteous in any of them; and holy in all his works Always acting like himself, with perfect rectitude and purity. In all his acts of government he is just, injurious to none, but administering justice to all: his ways are equal, though ours are unequal. In giving laws, in deciding controversies, in recompensing services, and punishing offences, he is incontestably righteous and holy, and we are in duty bound to acknowledge it. But the word חסיד , here rendered holy, generally signifies merciful, and, it seems, ought to have been so translated here. There is a mixture of mercy in the most severe and terrible works and dispensations of God toward men in this life, judgment without mercy being reserved for the next life, James 2:13; Revelation 14:10.

Verses 18-19

Psalms 145:18-19 . The Lord is nigh unto all that call upon him To answer their prayers, supposing they call upon him; in truth Or, with an upright heart, asking those things only which are according to his will, sincerely desiring what they ask, trusting in him that he will give it, and waiting upon him in the way he hath appointed for that purpose. Observe, reader, our King “is not like earthly princes, difficult of access, but one of whom the meanest subject may at any time obtain an audience, and be certain of having his request granted, if it be made in truth, without wavering and without hypocrisy, with humble confidence and unwearied constancy,” he being found walking in the way of duty and obedience. He will fulfil the desire of them that fear him So far as their desire is agreeable to his will, and it would be for their good to have it fulfilled.

Verses 20-21

Psalms 145:20-21. The Lord preserveth all that love him They lie exposed to many dangers in this world from men and things, from visible and invisible foes; but he, by preserving them in their integrity, and enabling them to continue in his love, (John 15:9,) effectually secures them, so that no real evil befalls them. But all the wicked will he destroy Frequently in this world, and infallibly in the next. To protect and save his subjects and destroy their enemies is the finishing part of the regal character as here exemplified in the King of saints. “By his grace he now preserves us from innumerable dangers and temptations, and gradually destroys sin in us; and by his power he will hereafter execute, in the fullest and most extensive sense, this part of his office, when the wicked shall be consumed with the spirit of his mouth, and destroyed with the brightness of his coming.” My mouth shall speak the praise of the Lord, &c. “Having now given the reasons why he had resolved to extol his God and King, and to bless his name for ever and ever, the psalmist concludes with repeating his resolution, and exhorts all the world to follow his example in time and in eternity.” Horne.

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Bibliographical Information
Benson, Joseph. "Commentary on Psalms 145". Benson's Commentary. 1857.