Bible Commentaries

Whedon's Commentary on the Bible

Psalms 135


The hallelujah at the opening is the title, and classes this with the Hallelujah Psalms. The recurrence of the call to praise Jehovah, (Psalms 135:19-21,) and the triumphal air throughout, indicate the occasion of some recent great deliverance, which probably points to the return of the exiles of Babylon and the reconstruction of the temple. The psalm, which stands in close connexion with Psalms 134, is mostly composed of quotations from other scriptures, as will appear in the notes. Delitzsch calls it a mosaic. In general it is a call to praise Jehovah, with reasons assigned. More particularly, it is divided into seven strophes: Psalms 135:1-4 are an exhortation to praise Jehovah; Psalms 135:5-7, for his majesty and government in nature; Psalms 135:8-9, for his miracles in Egypt and the deliverance of Israel; Psalms 135:10-12, for the conquest of the nations of Canaan, and the settlement of the people in the land; Psalms 135:13-14, for his faithfulness throughout the generations toward his people; Psalms 135:15-18 because of the vanity of idols and the alone sovereignty of God; Psalms 135:19-21 a return to the call upon Israel, the people and the priests, to bless Jehovah.

1, 2, are repeated from Psalms 134:1-2, using halleloo, (“praise ye,”) here, for barekoo, (“bless ye,”) there.

House’ courts—The former the place where the priests stood to officiate; the latter, where the people worshipped.

Verse 3

3.Pleasant—That is, the employment is pleasant. Jehovah is not the subject of the adjective, which would not be reverent.


Verse 4

4.Chosen Jacob—Copied from Deuteronomy 7:6.

Peculiar treasure—See Malachi 3:17, where the same word is rendered “jewels.” In these four verses Jehovah occurs four times; Jah, three times; and Elohim, once.


Verse 5

5.For I know that the Lord is great—The word “great,” means absolutely supreme, as Psalms 135:6 and the whole following argument show. This is advanced as the ground and reason of all praise and adoration. The confident knowledge of this greatness is the language of experience, and is sustained by what follows.


Verse 7

7.Here is a quotation from Jeremiah 10:13. See Genesis 2:6; Psalms 115:3. Lightnings for the rain, may signify “lightnings” as an accompaniment of “rain,” or as having a causal influence upon the formation of rain drops, both of which are true.


Verse 8-9

8, 9.These verses present an illustration of the greatness and majesty of God (see Psalms 135:5) in the redemption of his people from Egypt. See notes on Psalms 78:43-53; Psalms 105:26-38.

Smote the firstborn—Only the last of the ten plagues, as being the most terrible, is specified.

Both of man and beast—Hebrew, from man to beastall grades of living creatures.


Verses 10-12

10-12.Smote’ nations—From the judgments of Egypt, the writer passes over the desert life of the Israelites, and proceeds to narrate the conquest of the land east of Jordan.

Sihon king of the Amorites—The Amorites had conquered the territory from Arnon to Jabbok from the Moabites and Ammonites long before Moses. See Numbers 12:21-31. The latter nations reasserted their title afterward, but failed to maintain it. Judges 10:11.

Og king of Bashan—Numbers 21:32-35; Deuteronomy 3. His kingdom embraced all the land north of the Jabbok.

The kingdoms of Canaan—All the land west of the Jordan. See notes on Psalms 136:17-21


Verse 14

14.Repent himself concerning his servants—That is, will change his method of treating them, and turn away his judgments, and remember mercy, when they turn to him. The author here undoubtedly glances at the recent deliverance from Babylon.


Verses 15-18

15-18.A repetition, with some verbal alterations, of Psalms 115:4-8, which see.


Verse 19-20

19, 20.These verses are taken from Psalms 115:9-11, where see notes. To the enumeration of “Israel,” “house of Aaron,” and “those who fear the Lord,” in the latter passage, and in Psalms 118:2-4, we have added in the text the house of Levi, by which language the common priesthood, as distinguished from the highpriesthood, is meant.


Verse 21

21.Same as Psalms 134:3, which see.


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Bibliographical Information
Whedon, Daniel. "Commentary on Psalms 135". "Whedon's Commentary on the Bible". 1874-1909.