We have now reached the last summit of the mountain chain of Psalms. It rises high into the clear azure, and its brow is bathed in the sunlight of the eternal world of worship, it is a rapture. The poet prophet is full of inspiration and enthusiasm. He slays not to argue, to teach, to explain; but cries with burning words, "Praise him, Praise him, Praise ye the LORD."
Ver. 1. Praise ye the LORD. Hallelujah! The exhortation is to all things in earth or in heaven. Should they not all declare the glory of him for whose glory they are, and were created? Jehovah, the one God, should be the one object of adoration. To give the least particle of his honour to another is shameful treason; to refuse to render it to him is heartless robbery.
Praise God in his sanctuary. Praise El, or the strong one, in his holy place. See how power is mentioned with holiness in this change of names. Praise begins at home. "In God's own house pronounce his praise." The holy place should be filled with praise, even as of old the high priest filled the sanctum sanctorum with the smoke of sweet smelling incense. In his church below and in his courts above hallelujahs should be continually presented. In the person of Jesus God finds a holy dwelling or sanctuary, and there he is greatly to be praised. He may also be said to dwell in holiness, for all his ways are right and good; for this we ought to extol him with heart and with voice. Whenever we assemble for holy purposes our main work should be to present praises unto the Lord our God.
Praise him in the firmament of his power. It is a blessed thing that in our God holiness and power are united. Power without righteousness would be oppression, and righteousness without power would be too weak for usefulness; but put the two together in an infinite degree and we have God. What an expanse we have in the boundless firmament of divine power! Let it all be filled with praise. Let the heavens, so great and strong, echo with the praise of the thrice holy Jehovah, while the sanctuaries of earth magnify the Almighty One.
EXPLANATORY NOTES AND QUAINT SAYINGS.
Whole Psalm. Each of the last five Psalms begins and ends with Hallelujah! Praise ye the Lord. And each Psalm increases in praise, love, and joy, unto the last, which is praise celebrating its ecstasy. The elect soul, the heir of God, becomes "eaten up" with the love of God. He begins every sentence with Hallelujah; and his sentences are very short, for he is in haste to utter his next Hallelujah, and his next, and his next. He is as one out of breath with enthusiasm, or as one on tiptoe, in the act of rising from earth to heaven. The greatest number of words between any two Hallelujahs is four, and that only once: in every other instance, between one Hallelujah and another there are but two words. It is as though the soul gave utterance to its whole life and feeling in the one word, Hallelujah! The words, "Praise ye the Lord!" or "Praise him!" "Praise him!" "Praise him!" are reiterated no fewer than twelve times in a short Psalm of six short verses. —John Pulsford, in "Quiet Hours", 1857.
Whole Psalm. And now, in the last Psalm of all, we see an echo to the first Psalm. The first Psalm began with "Blessed", and it ended with "Blessed", —"Blessed are all they that meditate on God's law and do it." Such was the theme of the first Psalm; and now the fruit of that blessedness is shown in this Psalm, which begins and ends with Hallelujah. —Christopher Wordsworth.
Whole Psalm. In his Cours de Littérature, the celebrated Lamartine, probably regarding the last four Psalms (the Hallelujah Psalms) as one whole (as Hengstenberg also does) thus speaks: —"The last Psalm ends with a chorus to the praise of God, in which the poet calls on all people, all instruments of sacred music, all the elements, and all the stars to join. Sublime finale of that opera of sixty years sung by the shepherd, the hero, the king, and the old man! In this closing Psalm we see the almost inarticulate enthusiasm of the lyric poet; so rapidly do the words press to his lips, floating upwards towards God, their source, like the smoke of a great fire of the soul waited by the tempest! Here we see David, or rather the human heart itself with all its God given notes of grief, joy, tears, and adoration—poetry sanctified to its highest expression; a vase of perfume broken on the step of the temple, and shedding abroad its odours from the heart of David to the heart of all humanity! Hebrew, Christian, or even Mohammedan, every religion, every complaint, every prayer has taken from this vase, shed on the heights of Jerusalem, wherewith to give forth their accents. The little shepherd has become the master of the sacred choir of the Universe. There is not a worship on earth which prays not with his words, or sings not with his voice. A chord of his harp is to be found in all choirs, resounding everywhere and for ever in unison with the echoes of Horeb and Engedi! David is the Psalmist of eternity; what a destiny—what a power hath poetry when inspired by God! As for myself, when my spirit is excited, or devotional, or sad, and seeks for an echo to its enthusiasm, its devotion or its melancholy, I do not open Pindar or Horace, or Hafiz, those purely Academic poets: neither do I find within myself murmurings to express my emotion. I open the Book of Psalms, and there I find words which seem to issue from the soul of the ages, and which penetrate even to the heart of all generations. Happy the bard who has thus become the eternal hymn, the personified prayer and complaint of all humanity! If we look back to that remote age when such songs resounded over the world; if we consider that while the lyric poetry of all the most cultivated nations only sang of wine, love, blood, and the victories of coursers at the games of Elidus, we are seized with profound astonishment at the mystic accents of the shepherd prophet, who speaks to God the Creator as one friend to another, who understands and praises his great works, admires his justice, implores his mercy, and becomes, as it were, an anticipative echo of the evangelic poetry, speaking the soft words of Christ before his coming. Prophet or not, as he may be considered by Christian or sceptic, none can deny in the poet kin an inspiration granted to no other man. Read Greek or Latin poetry after a Psalm, and see how pale it looks." —William Swan Plumer.
Whole Psalm. The first and last of the Psalms have both the same number of verses, are both short and very memorable; but the scope of them is very different; the first Psalm is an elaborate instruction in our duty, to prepare us for the comforts of our devotion; this is all rapture and transport, and perhaps was penned on purpose to be the conclusion of those sacred songs, to show what is the design of them all, and that is, to assist us in praising God. —Matthew Henry.
Whole Psalm. Thirteen hallelujahs, according to the number of the tribes (Levi, Ephraim and Manasseh making three), one for each. —John Henry Michaelis, 1668-1738.
Whole Psalm. Some say this Psalm was sung by the Israelites, when they came with the first fruits into the sanctuary with the baskets on their shoulders. Thirteen times in this short Psalm is the word praise used; not on account of thirteen perfections or properties in God, as Kimchi thinks; but it is so frequently, and in every clause used, to show the vehement desire of the Psalmist that the Lord might be praised; and to express his sense of things, how worthy he is of praise; and that all ways and means to praise him should be made use of, all being little enough to set forth his honour and glory. —John Gill.
Whole Psalm. There is an interesting association connected with this Psalm which deserves to be recorded: that in former times, when the casting of church bells was more of a religious ceremony, this Psalm was chanted by the brethren of the guild as they stood ranged around the furnace, and while the molten metal was prepared to be let off into the mould ready to receive it. One may picture these swarthy sons of the furnace with the ruddy glow of the fire upon their faces as they stand around, while their deep voices rung forth this Hymn of Praise. —Barton Bouchier.
Ver. 1. Praise ye the Lord. Praise God with a strong faith; praise him with holy love and delight; praise him with an entire confidence in Christ; praise him with a believing triumph over the powers of darkness; praise him with an earnest desire towards him, and a full satisfaction in him; praise him by a universal respect to all his commands; praise him by a cheerful submission to all his disposals; praise him by rejoicing in his love, and solacing yourselves in his great goodness; praise him by promoting the interests of the kingdom of his grace; praise him by a lively hope and expectation of the kingdom of his glory. —Matthew Henry.
Ver. 1. In his sanctuary. wvdqb. Many have been the notions of the commentators as to the shade of meaning here; for the word differs from the form in Psalms 20:2 vdwqm (from the sanctuary). The Vulgate adopts the plural rendering, in sanctis ejus, "in his holy places." Campensis renders it, ob insignem sanctitatem ipsius, "because of his excellent holiness." Some see under the word an allusion to the holy tabernacle of Deity, the flesh of Christ. Luther, in his German version, translates thus: in seinem Heiligthum, "in his holiness." The same harmony of comparative thought appears in the two clauses of this verse as in such passages as 1 Kings 8:13; 1 Kings 8:49 Isa 62:15. The place of worship where God specially hears prayer and accepts praise, and the firmament where angels fly at his command, and veil their faces in adoration, are each a sanctuary. The sanctuary is manifestly here looked at as the temple of grace, the firmament as the temple of power. So the verse proclaims both grace and glory. —Martin Geier.
Ver. 1. Praise God in his sanctuary. The Septuagint, Vulgate Latin, and the eastern versions, render it, "in his holy ones"; among his saints, in the assembly of them, where he is to be feared and praised: it may be translated, "in his Holy One", and be understood of Christ, as it is by Cocceius...Some render it, "for" or "because of his holiness." The perfection of holiness in him; in which he is glorious and fearful in the praises of, and which appears in all his works of providence and grace. —John Gill.
Ver. 1. Praise God. In many places we have the compound word, xy-wllx, halelujah, praise ye Jehovah; but this is the first place in which we find la-wllh, halelu-el, praise God, or the strong God. Praise him who is Jehovah, the infinite and self existent Being; and praise him who is God, El, or Elohim, the great God in covenant with mankind, to bless and save them unto eternal life. —Adam Clarke.
Ver. 1. Psalms 150:1-6 gives the full praise to Jehovah in a double character, the sanctuary and the firmament of his power, for his ways which come from the firmament of his power were always according to the sanctuary in which he governed Israel, and made good the revelation of himself there. —John Nelson Darby, 1800-1882.
HINTS TO PREACHERS.
Ver. 1. Praise God in his sanctuary.
1. In his personal holiness.
2. In the person of his Son.
3. In heaven.
4. In the assembly of saints.
5. In the silence of the heart.
Ver. 1-6. God should be praised. Where? (Psalms 150:1). Wherefore? (Psalms 150:2). Wherewith? (Psalms 150:3-5). By whom? (Psalms 150:6). —C.A.D.
Ver. 2. Praise him for his mighty acts. Here is a reason for praise. In these deeds of power we see himself. These doings of his omnipotence are always on behalf of truth and righteousness. His works of creation, providence, and redemption, all call for praise; they are his acts, and his acts of might, therefore let him be praised for them.
Praise him according to his excellent greatness. His being is unlimited, and his praise should correspond therewith. He possesses a multitude or a plenitude of greatness, and therefore he should be greatly praised. There is nothing little about God, and there is nothing great apart from him. If we were always careful to make our worship fit and appropriate for our great Lord how much better should we sing! How much more reverently should we adore! Such excellent deeds should have excellent praise.
EXPLANATORY NOTES AND QUAINT SAYINGS.
Ver. 2. Praise him for his mighty acts, etc. The reasons of that praise which it becomes all intelligent creatures, and especially redeemed men, to render to Jehovah, are here assigned. We are to praise Jehovah "in his sanctuary", in the place where his glory dwells, where his holiness shines forth with ineffable splendour; we are to praise him in the wide expanse over which he has spread the tokens of his power, whether in the heaven above, or in the earth beneath; we are to praise him for those omnipotent acts whereby he hath shown himself to be above all gods; we are to praise him in a manner suited to the excellent majesty of a Being whom all the heavens adore, and who is wonderful in counsel and excellent in working. His holiness, the infinity of his operations, the miraculous power which he has displayed, the unspotted excellence of his administration, call for loudest songs of praise from all whose reason enables them to rise to the contemplation of the great Supreme. —John Morison.
Ver. 2. Praise him acceding to his excellent greatness. There is required special understanding and knowledge of the nature and worth of the mercy for which the duty of praise is undertaken; for God will not be praised confusedly, but distinctly and proportionably to his dispensation: Praise him according to his wondrous works; which is to be the prime and proper matter of their high praises, even his more proper and peculiar high acts, then to be remembered, as is largely expressed in Moses' praise for the particular mercy of coming safe through the Red Sea (Exodus 15:1-27); and Deborah's high praise for deliverance from the host of Sisera (Jude 5:1-31); where the chiefest and highest part of the celebration and exaltation of God in his praise consists in the declaration and commemoration of the particulars of God's special goodness in their present deliverance. Thus, you see the first thing that God looks for is proportionable praise, great praise for a great God, doing great things, and high praises for a high God, doing high things. —Samuel Fairclough.
Ver. 2. Praise him according to his excellent greatness, or, as the words may bear, "according to his muchness of greatness"; for when the Scripture saith, "God is great", this positive is to be taken as a superlative. "God is great", that is, he is greatest, he is greater than all; so great that all persons and all things are little, yea, nothing before him. Isaiah 40:15 : "Behold, the nations are (to him but) as a drop of a bucket, and are counted as the small dust of the balance: behold, he taketh up the isles as a very little thing. And Lebanon is not sufficient to burn, nor the beasts thereof sufficient for a burnt offering. All nations before him are as nothing; and they are counted to him less than nothing, and vanity." How great is God, in comparison of whom the greatest things are little things, yea, the greatest things are nothing! —Joseph Caryl.
HINTS TO PREACHERS.
Ver. 2. His excellent greatness. Wherein the greatness of God is specially excellent, and where it is best seen.
Ver. 2. Praise him for his mighty acts.
1. For us. Election. Redemption. Inspiration.
2. In us. The work of enlightenment in the understanding; purification in the heart; quickening in the conscience; subjugation in the will.
3. By us. Thought through us; felt through us; spoke through us; worked through us. To him be all the glory! —W.J.
Ver. 2. Praise him according to his excellent greatness.
1. Reverently, according to the greatness of his being.
2. Gratefully, according to the greatness of his love.
3. Retrospectively, according to the greatness of his gifts.
4. Prospectively, according to the greatness of his promises. —W.J.
Ver. 2. What the exhortation requires.
1. That men should study God's works, and observe the glory of God in them.
2. That they should meditate on his greatness till they realize its excellence.
3. That they should openly proclaim the honour due to him.
4. That they should not contradict in their life the praise they speak. —J.F.
Ver. 3. Praise him with the sound of the trumpet. With the loudest, clearest note call the people together. Make all men to know that we are not ashamed to worship. Summon them with unmistakable sound to bow before their God. The sound of trumpet is associated with the grandest and most solemn events, such as the giving of the law, the proclamation of jubilee, the coronation of Jewish kings, and the raging of war. It is to be thought of in reference to the coming of our Lord in his second advent and the raising of the dead. If we cannot give voice to this martial instrument, at least let our praise be as decided and bold as if we could give a blast upon the horn. Let us never sound a trumpet before us to our own honour, but reserve all our trumpeting for God's glory. When the people have been gathered by blast of trumpet, then proceed to
praise him with the psaltery and harp. Stringed instruments are to be used as well as those which are rendered vocal by wind. Dulcet notes are to be consecrated as well as more startling sounds. The gospel meaning is that all powers and faculties should praise the Lord —all sorts of persons, under all circumstances, and with differing constitutions, should do honour unto the Lord of all. If there be any virtue, if there be any talent, if there be any influence, let all be consecrated to the service of the universal Benefactor. Harp and lyre —the choicest, the sweetest, must be all our Lord's.
EXPLANATORY NOTES AND QUAINT SAYINGS.
Ver. 3. Trumpets and horns are the only instruments concerning which any directions are given in the law. —James Anderson.
Ver. 3. Trumpet. Of natural horns and of instruments in the shape of horns the antiquity and general use are evinced by every extensive collection of antiquities...The Hebrew word shophar, rendered "trumpet", seems, first to denote horns of the straighter kind, including, probably, those of neat cattle, and all the instruments which were eventually made in imitation of and in improvement upon such horns. The name shophar means bright or clear, and the instrument may be conceived to have been so called from its clear and shrill sound, just as we call an instrument a "clarion", and speak of a musical tone as "brilliant" or" clear." In the service of God this shophar, or trumpet, was only employed in making announcements, and for calling the people together in the time of the holy solemnities, of war, of rebellion, or of any other great occasion. The strong sound of the instrument would have confounded a choir of singers, rather than have elevated their music. (John Kitto.) The shophar is especially interesting to us as being the only Hebrew instrument whose use on certain solemn occasions seems to be retained to this day. Engel, with his usual trustworthy research, has traced out and examined some of those in modern synagogues. Of those shown in our engraving, one is from the synagogue of Spanish and Portuguese Jews, Bevis Marks, and is, he says, one foot in length; the other is one used in the Great Synagogue, St. James's place, Aldgate, twenty-one inches in length. Both are made of horn. —James Stainer.
Ver. 3. The "psaltery" was a ten stringed instrument. It is constantly mentioned with the "harp." The psaltery was struck with a plectrum, the harp more gently with the fingers. Psaltery and harp speak to us in figure of "law and gospel." —Thomas Le Blanc.
Ver. 3. On "psaltery" (nebel) see Note on Psalms 144:9, and on "harp" see Note on Psalms 149:3.
Ver. 3-5. As St. Augustine says here, "No kind of faculty is here omitted. All are enlisted in praising God." The breath is employed in blowing the trumpet; the fingers are used in striking the strings of the psaltery and the harp; the whole hand is exerted in beating the timbrel; the feet move in the dance; there are stringed instruments (literally strings); there is the organ (the ugab, syrinx) composed of many pipes, imposing combination, and the cymbals clang upon one another. —C. Wordsworth.
Ver 3-5. The variety of musical instruments, some of them made use of in the camp, as trumpets; some of them more suitable to a peaceable condition, as psalteries and harps; some of them sounding by blowing wind in them; some of them sounding by lighter touching of them, as stringed instruments; some of them by beating on them more sharply, as tabrets, drums and cymbals; some of them sounding by touching and blowing also, as organs: all of them giving some certain sound, some more quiet, and some making more noise: some of them having a harmony by themselves; some of them making a concept with other instruments, or with the motions of the body in dancing, sonic of them serving for one use, some of them serving for another, and all of them serving to set forth God's glory, and to shadow forth the duty of worshippers, and the privileges of the saints. The plurality and variety (I say) of these instruments were fit to represent divers conditions of the spiritual man, and of the greatness of his joy to be found in God, and to teach what stirring up should be of the affections and powers of our soul, and of one another, unto God's worship; what harmony should be among the worshippers of God, what melody each should make in himself, singing to God with grace in his heart, and to show the excellency of God's praise, which no means nor instrument, nor any expression of the body joined thereunto, could sufficiently set forth in these exhortations to praise God with trumpet, psaltery, & c. —David Dickson.
Ver. 3-5. Patrick has an interesting note on the many instruments of music in Psalms 149:1-9, which we quote here: "The ancient inhabitants of Etruria used the trumpet; the Arcadians, the whistle; the Sicilians, the pectid; the Cretians, the harp; the Thracians, the cornet; the Lacedemonians, the pipe; the Egyptians, the drum; the Arabians, the cymbal". (Clem. Paedag. ii. 4.) May we not say that in this Psalm's enumeration of musical instruments, there is a reference to the variety which exists among men in the mode of expressing joy, and exciting to feeling? —Andrew A. Bonar.
HINTS TO PREACHERS.
Ver. 3. Praise him with the sound of the trumpet.
1. When you fight.
2. When you conquer.
3. When you assemble.
4. When you proclaim his Word.
5. When you welcome Jubilee.
1. The variety of the ancient service of worship necessitating serious expenditure; consecration of high talent; hard and constant toil.
2. The lessons of such service.
a) God should be worshipped royally.
b) The efforts of the best genius are his rightful tribute.
c) All human ability cannot place a worthy offering at his feet.
3. The soul and essential of true worship.
4. God's requirements as to worship in these present times. —W.B.H.
Ver. 4. Praise him with the timbrel and dance. Associated with the deliverance at the Red Sea, this form of worship set forth the most jubilant and exultant of worship. The hands and the feet were both employed, and the entire body moved in sympathy with the members. Are there not periods of life when we feel so glad that we would fain dance for joy? Let not such exhilaration be spent upon common themes, but let the name of God stir us to ecstasy. Let us exult as we cry,
"In the heavenly Lamb thrice happy I am,
And my heart it doth dance at the sound of his name."
There is enough in our holy faith to create and to justify the utmost degree of rapturous delight. If men are dull in the worship of the Lord our God they are not acting consistently with the character of their religion.
Praise him with stringed instruments and organs. We have here the three kinds of musical instruments: timbrels, which are struck, and strings, and pipes; let all be educated to praise the Lord. Nothing is common and unclean: all may be sanctified to highest uses. Many men, many minds, and these as different as strings and pipes; but there is only one God, and that one God all should worship. The word translated "organs" signifies pipe—a simpler form of wind instrument than the more modern and more elaborate organ. Doubtless many a pious shepherd has poured out gracious pastorals from a reed or oaten pipe, and so has magnified his God.
EXPLANATORY NOTES AND QUAINT SAYINGS.
Ver. 4. Stringed instruments. Minnim (which is derived from a root signifying "division", or" distribution", hence strings) occurs in Psalms 45:8, and Psalms 150:4, and is supposed by some to denote a stringed instrument, but it seems merely a poetical allusion to the strings of any instrument. Thus, in Psalms 45:8, we would read, "Out of the ivory palaces the strings (i.e. concerts of music) have made thee glad"; and so in Psalms 150:4, "Praise him with strings (stringed instruments), and ugabs." —John Kitto.
Ver. 4. Organs. bgwe, 'ugab is the word rendered "organ" in our version. The Targum renders the word simply by abwba, a pipe; the Septuagint varies, it has kiyara in Genesis, qalmov in Job, and organon, in the Psalms. The last is the sense which the Arabic, Syriac, Latin, English, and most other versions have adopted. The organon simply denotes a double or manifold pipe; and hence, in particular, the Pandaean or shepherd's pipe, which is at this day called a "mouth organ", among ourselves. (Kitto.) A collection of tubes of different sizes, stopped at one end and blown at the other, forms the musical instrument known as Pan's pipes, in the Greek syrinx, surunx ...Was the'ugab a syrinx or an organ? As the former seems to have been the more ancient of the two, and as'ugab is included in the very first allusion to musical instruments in the Bible, it would seem reasonable to say at once that it was a syrinx, especially as this instrument was, and is to this day, commonly met with in various parts of Asia. Yet it would, indeed, be strange if such an instrument were selected for use in divine worship; and that the ugab was so used is proved beyond a doubt by its mention in Psalms 150:1-6 : "Praise him with the minnim and ugab." Its mention here in antithesis to a collective name for stringed instruments, surely points to the fact of its being a more important instrument than a few river reeds fixed together with wax. Let us not forget that we have but one and the same name for the single row of about fifty pipes, placed, perhaps, in a little room, and the mighty instrument of five thousand pipes, occupying as much space as an ordinary dwelling house. Each is an organ. May it not have been the case that the'ugab, which in Genesis 4:21 is mentioned as the simply constructed wind instrument, in contrast to the simple stringed instrument, the kinnor, was a greatly inferior instrument to that which in Psalms 150:1-6 is thought worthy of mention by the side of a term for the whole string power? —J. Stainer.
Ver. 5. Praise high upon the loud cymbals: praise him upon the high sounding cymbals. Let the clash of the loudest music be the Lord's: let the joyful clang of the loftiest notes be all for him. Praise has beaten the timbrel, swept the harp, and sounded the trumpet, and now for a last effort, awakening the most heavy of slumberers, and startling the most indifferent of onlookers, she dashes together the disks of brass, and with sounds both loud and high proclaims the glories of the Lord.
EXPLANATORY NOTES AND QUAINT SAYINGS.
Ver. 5. Loud cymbals...high sounding cymbals. This important passage clearly points to two instruments under the same name, and leaves us to conclude that the Hebrews had both hand cymbals and finger cymbals (or castanets), although it may not in all cases be easy to say which of the two is intended in particular texts. —John Kitto.
Ver. 5. (Prayer Book Version). Praise him upon the well tuned cymbals: praise him upon the loud cymbals. As I have heard these words read monthly in our churches, it has often come into my thoughts that when we intend to glorify God with our cymbals, it should not be our only care to have them loud enough, but our first care should be to have them well tuned, else the louder the worse. Zeal does very well—there is great, yea, necessary use for it in every part of God's service. The cymbal will be flat, it will have no life or spirit in it, it will not be loud enough without it. But if meekness, peaceableness, and moderation do not first put the cymbal into good tune, the loudness will but make it the more ungrateful in the player, the more ungrateful to the hearer. —Robert Sanderson, 1587-1662
Ver. 6. Let everything that hath breath praise the Lord. "Let all breath praise him": that is to say, all living beings. He gave them breath, let them breathe his praise. His name is in the Hebrew composed rather of breathings than of letters, to show that all breath comes from him: therefore let it be used for him. Join all ye living things in the eternal song. Be ye least or greatest, withhold not your praises. What a day will it be when all things in all places unite to glorify the one only living and true God! This will be the final triumph of the church of God.
Praise ye the LORD. Once more, Hallelujah! Thus is the Psalm rounded with the note of praise; and thus is the Book of Psalms ended by a glowing word of adoration. Reader, wilt not thou at this moment pause a while, and worship the Lord thy God? Hallelujah!
EXPLANATORY NOTES AND QUAINT SAYINGS.
Ver. 6. Praise ye the Lord. As the life of the faithful, and the history of the church, so also the Psalter, with all its cries from the depths, runs out into a Hallelujah. —E.W. Hengstenberg.
Ver. 6. Praise ye the LORD. When we have said all we are able to say for God's praise, we are but to begin anew; for this are we taught by the renewing of the exhortation, in the close of sundry Psalms, and here also at the end of all the Psalms: "Praise ye the LORD." —David Dickson.
Ver. 6. Let all breath praise Jah! Hallelujah. The very ambiguity of "all breath" gives extraordinary richness of meaning to this 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. —Joseph Addison Alexander.
HINTS TO PREACHERS.
1. The august Giver of "life, and breath, and all things."
2. The due and true use of the gifts of life.
3. The resultant swathing of earth in consecrated atmosphere, and millennial hallelujahs. —W.B.H.
Ver. 6. A fitting close to the psalter, considered as a desire, a prayer, or an exhortation.
1. As a desire, it realizes the glory due to God, the worship ennobling to man, the disposition of heart which would make all the world into a holy brotherhood.
2. As a prayer, it seeks the downfall of every superstition, the universal spread of the truth, the conversion of every soul.
3. As an exhortation, it is plain, pertinent, pure in its piety, perfect in its charity. —J.F.