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Bible Commentaries

Commentary Critical and Explanatory on the Whole Bible - Unabridged
Psalms 136

 

 

Verse 1

O give thanks unto the LORD for he is good: for his mercy endureth for ever.

Psalms 136:1-26.-The repetition "for His mercy endureth forever" is the pervading idea. His mercy is not a mere think of the past, but endures to all times. Here and in Psalms 135:1-21 hope of deliverance for God's now depressed people is grounded on the Lord's infinite power displayed in nature, and in Israel's past history. Psalms 135:19-20 implies that all joined in the chorus closing each verse here, rather than sang in alternate parts.

O give thanks unto the Lord; for he is good: for his mercy endureth forever - "His mercy" specially to his people. He excels all, not merely in power, but also in goodness.


Verse 2

O give thanks unto the God of gods: for his mercy endureth for ever.

O give thanks unto the God of gods ... O give thanks to the Lord of lords - from Deuteronomy 10:17. The thrice repeated "O give thanks" points to the Trinity, and also to the thrice-repeated Mosaic blessing (Numbers 6:24-26)


Verse 3

O give thanks to the Lord of lords: for his mercy endureth for ever.

No JFB commentary on this verse.


Verse 4

To him who alone doeth great wonders: for his mercy endureth for ever. To him who alone doeth great wonders - (Psalms 72:18.)


Verse 5

To him that by wisdom made the heavens: for his mercy endureth for ever.

To him that by wisdom made the heavens - (Proverbs 3:19; Jeremiah 10:12; Jeremiah 51:15.) Not merely power, but wisdom infinite was needed for the marvelous contrivances and adaptations of means to ends throughout the beautifully ordered system (kosmos) of the universe.


Verse 6

To him that stretched out the earth above the waters: for his mercy endureth for ever.

To him that stretched out the earth above the waters - not immediately over, but raised out of and above them. He sunk the bed of the sea, that the land might be correspondingly elevated and the sea restrained by the shore (cf. Psalms 24:2, note).


Verses 7-9

To him that made great lights: for his mercy endureth for ever:

To him that made great lights ... The sun to rule by day ... The moon and stars to rule by night - i:e., in relation to this earth and the wants of man, the sun is the predominant light by day, the moon and stars by night. When the sun is seen the moon and stars disappear, and vice versa (Genesis 1:14-16).


Verse 10

To him that smote Egypt in their firstborn: for his mercy endureth for ever:

To him that smote Egypt in their first-born - i:e., in respect to, or in the person of, their first-born. To him that smote Egypt in their first-born - i:e., in respect to, or in the person of, their first-born.


Verse 11-12

And brought out Israel from among them: for his mercy endureth for ever:

And brought out Israel ... With a strong hand, and with a stretched-out arm - from Exodus 6:6; Exodus 13:3.


Verse 13

To him which divided the Red sea into parts: for his mercy endureth for ever:

To him which divided the Red sea into parts - literally, 'into divisions' (Exodus 14:22, "The Lord caused the sea to go back by a strong east wind all that night, and made the sea dry land, and the waters were divided"). The 'divisions' were the two parts of the one division-the one on the right hand, the other on the left. The Rabbins fancied from this passage that the Red Sea was divided into as many divisions as there were tribes-namely, twelve, in order that each tribe should have its own way open before it. But Exodus 14:1-31 disproves this. At the same time the language implies that He divided it most widely, so that they passed abreast, not merely by twos or threes, but by thousands (Gejer). A northeast wind striking the sea at Ayun Mousa would sweep the whole breadth of the sea for sixteen or eighteen miles in front. This is just what the Mosaic narrative requires. Almost three millions, with flocks and herds, had to cross the sea in one night. The Wady Mousa (the valley of Moses) or Tawarik (i:e., the valley of nocturnal travelers: cf. Exodus 12:31-42) presents the only level and open space along the Egyptian shore or west side, and is eighteen miles between the extreme points, Baal-zephon and Migdol. Along the whole fine of eighteen miles at once the Israelite army entered the dry channel Not one needless hour was lost in reaching the opposite side. To have crossed in one night was impossible, except by entering by thousands, or even tens of thousands, simultaneously and abreast. Opposite are the Ayun Mousa - i:e., wells of Moses (C. Forster).


Verse 14-15

And made Israel to pass through the midst of it: for his mercy endureth for ever:

No JFB commentary on these verses.


Verse 16

To him which led his people through the wilderness: for his mercy endureth for ever.

To him which led his people through the wilderness (Exodus 13:18; Deuteronomy 8:15) - all enhancing the wonder of His leading Israel safe through.


Verses 17-20

To him which smote great kings: for his mercy endureth for ever:

To him which smote great kings ... Sihon ... And Og - (Psalms 135:11.) The Psalmist signifies these kings because the MERCY of the Lord is here his theme. The gift of the kingdoms of Sihon and Og to Israel was the fruit of pure liberality and mercy, without any promise; whereas the gift of the Canaanite land was the fruit of His truth and faithfulness to His promises (Muis).


Verse 21-22

And gave their land for an heritage: for his mercy endureth for ever:

No JFB commentary on these verses.


Verse 23

Who remembered us in our low estate: for his mercy endureth for ever:

Who remembered us in our low estate - namely, in Babylon, from which He has lately delivered us (Psalms 115:12; Psalms 113:7).


Verse 24

And hath redeemed us from our enemies: for his mercy endureth for ever.

And hath redeemed us from our enemies - literally, 'hath broken us (i:e., by breaking off our yoke, hath redeemed us) from our enemies' (Genesis 27:40; Exodus 32:2) [ paaraq (Hebrew #6561)].


Verse 25

Who giveth food to all flesh: for his mercy endureth for ever.

Who giveth food to all flesh - even to the meanest of animals. How much more will He give all that is needful to His elect people? The same argument is developed in Psalms 104:1-35.


Verse 26

O give thanks unto the God of heaven: for his mercy endureth for ever.

O give thanks unto the God of heaven - the Omnipotent God (Matthew 6:9).

 


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Text Courtesy of BibleSupport.com. Used by Permission.

Bibliography Information
Jamieson, Robert, D.D.; Fausset, A. R.; Brown, David. "Commentary on Psalms 136:4". "Commentary Critical and Explanatory on the Whole Bible - Unabridged". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/jfu/psalms-136.html. 1871-8.

Lectionary Calendar
Thursday, November 21st, 2019
the Week of Proper 28 / Ordinary 33
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