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Bible Commentaries

John Trapp Complete Commentary
Psalms 115

 

 

Verse 1

Psalms 115:1 Not unto us, O LORD, not unto us, but unto thy name give glory, for thy mercy, [and] for thy truth’s sake.

Ver. 1. Not unto us, O Lord, not unto us] This is the godly man’s motto, and his daily practice. See Genesis 41:16, Acts 3:12; Acts 3:16, 1 Corinthians 15:10, Luke 19:16. Not we, but thy talents, have gained other five, and other two (Georg. Fabric. Chenmieenses virus de seipso).

Fabricius studuit bene de pietate mereri;

Sed quicquid potuit, gloria, Christe, tua est.

There is no merit at all in us, saith the Chaldee here; the bowls of the candlestick had no oil but that which dropped from the olive branches. It is therefore very good counsel that Austin gives his friend Boniface, In omnibus bonis actibus tuis illi da claritatem, tibi humilitatem, In all thy good deeds give God the glory, and take up lowly thoughts of thyself.


Verse 2

Psalms 115:2 Wherefore should the heathen say, Where [is] now their God?

Ver. 2. Wherefore should the heathen say] Why should they thus be suffered or occasioned to blaspheme thee, and twit us with our religion? Hence some conceive that this psalm was made in the time of the Babylonish captivity by Daniel (saith one Jewish doctor), when he expounded Nebuchadnezzar’s dream; by the three worthies (saith another), when they were in the fiery furnace. See Psalms 42:10; Psalms 79:10.


Verse 3

Psalms 115:3 But our God [is] in the heavens: he hath done whatsoever he hath pleased.

Ver. 3. But our God is in the heavens] Where your terricula country, your fearful idols never were; like as one, being asked by a Papist, Where was your religion before Luther? answered, In the Bible, where your religion never was. This "but" seemeth uttered with indignation. Aξιωματικωτατος μεν εστιν ο Bασιλευς ημων, saith Basil, on a like occasion; our God is no dunghill deity.

He hath done whatsoever he hath pleased] Without either help or hindrance of any.


Verse 4

Psalms 115:4 Their idols [are] silver and gold, the work of men’s hands.

Ver. 4. Their idols are silver and gold] Take them at the best, they are no better; and what is silver and gold but the guts and garbage of the earth? But some of them might say, as Priapus in Horace,

Olim truncus eram ficulnus, inutile lignum.

Herodotus telleth us, that Amasis had a large laver of gold, wherein both he and his guests used to wash their feet. This vessel he brake and made a god of it; which the Egyptians devoutly worshipped. And the like idolomany is at this day found among Papists; what distinction soever the world would fain make between an idol and an image, which indeed (as they use them) are all one.

The work of men’s hands] And therefore they must needs be goodly gods, when made by bunglers especially, as was the cross of Cockram; which, if it were not good enough to make a god, would make an excellent devil, as the mayor of Doncaster merrily told the complainants (Acts and Mon. fol. 1340).


Verse 5

Psalms 115:5 They have mouths, but they speak not: eyes have they, but they see not:

Ver. 5. They have mouths, but speak not] Unless the devil haply speak in them, and by them, as at Delphos; or the false priests, as here, in times of Popery.

Eyes have they, but they see not] And yet with wires and other devices they were made here once to goggle their eyes, to move their chaps apace, as well apaid when something of worth was presented them; as if otherwise, to look at eyes’ end, and to hang a lip.


Verse 6

Psalms 115:6 They have ears, but they hear not: noses have they, but they smell not:

Ver. 6. They have ears, but they hear not] But are as deaf as door nails to the prayers of their suppliants. The Cretans pictured their Jupiter without ears; so little hearing or help they hoped for from him. Socrates, in contempt of heathen gods, swore by an oak, a goat, a dog; as holding these better gods than those. Varro saith, they that first brought in pictures to be worshipped, Ii civitatibus suis et metum dempserunt, et errorem addiderunt, took away fear, and brought in error (Aug. de Civit. Dei, lib. iv. cap. 31.)

Noses have they, but they smell not] As the painter may paint a flower with fresh colours, but not with sweet savour, with this motto, No further than colours; so the carver may draw out an image, but not make it draw its breath, with this motto, No further than fashion.


Verse 7

Psalms 115:7 They have hands, but they handle not: feet have they, but they walk not: neither speak they through their throat.

Ver. 7. They have hands, but they handle not] Curious and artificial (for art is Nature’s ape), but useless, and for show only. If Esculapius, or the lady of Loretto, restore the lame or the blind, it is the devil with his lying wonders, 2 Thessalonians 2:9

Feet have they, but they walk not] As those pictures in Plato made by Daedalus, which, if they were not bound, would fly away; or Vulcan’s three-footed stools in Homer, which are feigned to have run on wheels of their own accord, to the meeting of the gods, and after that to return in like sort back again. The Tyrians besieged by Alexander chained up their god Hercules, that he might not go from them in that calamnity, and yet they were not delivered.

Neither speak they through their throat] They do not so much as chatter like a crane, or mourn as a dove, Isaiah 38:14, but are dumb idols, as the apostle calleth them. These are things commonly known, but profitably thus inculcated, for the shaming of senseless idolaters; who yet are so bewitched that they will needs dote upon these gods of their own making. O vanas hominum mentes, &c., Oh the spirit of fornication, &c.


Verse 8

Psalms 115:8 They that make them are like unto them; [so is] every one that trusteth in them.

Ver. 8. They that make them are like unto them] Blind and blockish, Vervecum in patria crassoque sub aere nati; given up by a just God to a judiciary stupidity. See Isaiah 44:9-11, &c.; Revelation 9:20, Their foolish hearts were darkened, and they were delivered up to a reprobate sense, to an injudicious mind, Romans 1:24-31, to strong delusions, vile affections, just damnation.

So is every one that trusteth in them] Idols were never true to such as trusted in them; but such deserve to be deceived, as being miserable by their own choice, Jonah 2:8.


Verse 9

Psalms 115:9 O Israel, trust thou in the LORD: he [is] their help and their shield.

Ver. 9. O Israel, trust thou in the Lord] Whatever others do, Joshua 24:15, and the rather because others do not, Psalms 119:42; the worse they are, the better be ye.

He is their help and their shield] God is engaged in point of honour to help and protect those that trust in him.


Verse 10

Psalms 115:10 O house of Aaron, trust in the LORD: he [is] their help and their shield.

Ver. 10 O house of Aaron, trust in the Lord] Ministers must be patterns to others of depending upon God, and living by faith; as did Mr Bradshaw, Mr Lancaster, and many other famous preachers of latter times, whom God inured to a dependence from day to day upon his providence for provisions; and (as a grave man of God sometimes said, whereas many others have, and eat their bread stale) these received their bread and ate it daily new from his holy hand.


Verse 11

Psalms 115:11 Ye that fear the LORD, trust in the LORD: he [is] their help and their shield.

Ver. 11. Ye that fear the Lord] Peregrini ex omni populo, saith Aben Ezra, devout persons out of every nation dwelling among the Jews, though not absolute proselytes, Acts 2:5; Acts 10:2; Acts 13:16. Such also, fearing the Lord, are heirs of the promises; and therefore may boldly say, "The Lord is my helper, and I will not fear what man shall do unto me," Hebrews 13:6.


Verse 12

Psalms 115:12 The LORD hath been mindful of us: he will bless [us]; he will bless the house of Israel; he will bless the house of Aaron.

Ver. 12. The Lord hath been mindful of us: he will bless us] God hath, God will, is an ordinary Scripture medium, as hath been above noted.

He will bless the house of lsrael] Not help and keep them only, but bless them with the blessings of both lives; for he is no penny father, &c. See Ephesians 1:3.

He will bless the house of Aaron] Ministers were ever a distinct order from the rest. Note this against the Libertines, who would gladly make a jumble, affirming the ministry to be as arrant a fruad as the Papacy itself.


Verse 13

Psalms 115:13 He will bless them that fear the LORD, [both] small and great.

Ver. 13. He will bless] Such shall abound with blessings, Proverbs 28:20.

Both small and great] Whether in age or degree, Acts 10:34-35.


Verse 14

Psalms 115:14 The LORD shall increase you more and more, you and your children.

Ver. 14. The Lord shall increase you] Or, the Lord increase you (detach tephilla, prayer wise), as the Rabbis read it.

You and your children] The care of whose welfare prevaileth far with religious parents, and sitteth close upon their spirits.


Verse 15

Psalms 115:15 Ye [are] blessed of the LORD which made heaven and earth.

Ver. 15. Ye are blessed of the Lord, &c.] And therefore shall be blessed, as Isaac said of his son Jacob, Genesis 27:33.

Which made heaven and earth] And will rather unmake both again than you shall want help and comfort.


Verse 16

Psalms 115:16 The heaven, [even] the heavens, [are] the LORD’S: but the earth hath he given to the children of men.

Ver. 16. The heaven, even the heavens, are the Lord’s] As the special place of his delight and dwelling; yet not so as if he were there cooped up and concluded; for God is immense and omnipresent, yea, totally present, wheresoever present. The heavens have a large place, but they have one part here, and another there; not so the Lord; he is not commensurable by the place, but everywhere all present.

But the earth hath he given] Or, let out, as to his tenants at will, for he hath not made them absolute owners, to do therein what they will, and to live as they list. "Ye have lived in pleasure on the earth, and been wanton," James 5:5. A heavy charge. Calvin tells of a loose fellow that used in his cups to allege this text.


Verse 17

Psalms 115:17 The dead praise not the LORD, neither any that go down into silence.

Ver. 17. The dead praise not] Therefore be active for God while we are upon earth; where for this he giveth us life and livelihood. See Psalms 6:6.


Verse 18

Psalms 115:18 But we will bless the LORD from this time forth and for evermore. Praise the LORD.

Ver. 18. But we will bless the Lord] For if he lose his praise in us, he will lose it altogether; and so all things will come to nothing; quod absit.

 


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Bibliography Information
Trapp, John. "Commentary on Psalms 115:4". John Trapp Complete Commentary. https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/jtc/psalms-115.html. 1865-1868.

Lectionary Calendar
Tuesday, December 10th, 2019
the Second Week of Advent
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