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Bible Commentaries

Preacher's Complete Homiletical Commentary
Psalms 134

 

 

Verses 1-3

INTRODUCTION

"Three things," says Delitzsch, "are clear with regard to this Psalm. First, that it consists of a greeting, Psa , and a reply, Psa 134:3. Next, that the greeting is addressed to those priests and Levites who had the night-watch in the Temple. Lastly, that this Psalm is purposely placed at the end of the collection of Pilgrim Songs in order to take the place of a final blessing." The words of Psa 134:1-2 were probably addressed by the people to the priests and Levites, and those of Psa 134:3 by the priests to the people. Both the author of the Psalm and the occasion of its composition are unknown.

DOXOLOGY AND BENEDICTION

I. Doxology. In Psa the people exhort the priests and Levites to praise the Lord. Consider—

1. The offering to be presented. "Behold, bless ye the Lord." The ministers of the Temple are called to offer the sacrifice of thanksgiving unto the Lord. Here are two points.

(1.) The nature of this offering. Praise. "Bless ye the Lord." This should be presented (a) because of what He does for us. Gratitude urges—"Bless the Lord, O my soul, and forget not all His benefits." And (b) because of what He is in Himself. He is "glorious in holiness." Admiration and reverence urge us to "Bless His holy Name."

(2.) The importance of this offering. "Behold." This word calls attention to the exhortation which follows as a thing of importance and urgency. Worship is an engagement of the utmost moment to man. The obligations to it are most binding. And the exercise of it is essential to the right development and to the perfection of the human spirit.

2. The persons by whom it is to be offered. "All ye servants of the Lord, which by night stand in the house of the Lord." The priests and Levites are here addressed. But in this Christian dispensation priesthood is a thing of character, not of class. Every believing and reverent soul is a priest unto God by virtue of the highest and holiest consecration. Every Christian is exhorted to "offer the sacrifice of praise to God continually, that is, the fruit of lips giving thanks to His Name."

3. The time at which it is to be offered. "By night." Some of the ministers of the Temple were in attendance there all night. (Compare Exo ; 1Ch 9:33.) They were there to guard the sacred and precious things of the Temple, and to keep the lamps alight and the fire upon the altar burning. Hengstenberg thinks that when the Pilgrim bands arrived at the Temple in the evening they addressed this exhortation to the servants of the Lord. The rest and quiet of the night render it a suitable season for praising God. When the duties of the day are done, and its busy and confused noises are silenced, the soul may be lifted up in adoration to God without interruption.

4. The place towards which it is to be offered. "Lift up your hands in the sanctuary." Margin: "in holiness." Hengstenberg and Perowne regard קֹרֶשׁ as "the accusative of direction," and translate, "to the sanctuary." The most holy place was regarded as the audience-chamber of the Most High, the place where God hears prayer, and whence He communicates answers to His people. The Lord Jesus Christ is the true Shekinah and Holy of Holies. We draw near unto God through Him. He is the meeting-place between God and man. Thus, then, let us offer to God the sacrifice of praise from grateful and adoring hearts.

II. Benediction. "The Lord that made heaven and earth bless thee out of Zion." This benediction is taken in part from the form used by the high priest in blessing the children of Israel. This accounts for the use of the singular, "thee," not the plural, you. Notice—

1. The power of God to bless. "The Lord that made heaven and earth" is omnipotent. He "is able to do exceeding abundantly," &c.

2. The means by which God blesses man. "Bless thee out of Zion." God blesses the world through the Church. He employs the Church in communicating spiritual blessings to mankind.

3. The authority of the servants of God to pronounce His blessing. The poet represents the priests as authoritatively pronouncing the blessing of God upon the people. And the ministers of the Lord Jesus Christ still possess this authority, not because they are priests, but because they are Christians. Every Christian has the right to pronounce the benediction of God upon devout worshippers; and the minister of Christ has this right not only as being himself a Christian, but as the representative of the Church.

CONCLUSION.—Here are two of the highest privileges to which any created spirit can aspire. Through Christ we may draw near to the great God with ascriptions of honour and praise, being confident of audience, acceptance, and blessing. And by our voice the Divine blessing may be conveyed to the ear and heart of our fellow-men. Let us endeavour to live in the grateful and reverent exercise of these privileges.

 


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Bibliography Information
Exell, Joseph S. "Commentary on Psalms 134:4". Preacher's Complete Homiletical Commentary. https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/phc/psalms-134.html. Funk & Wagnalls Company, 1892.

Lectionary Calendar
Tuesday, November 19th, 2019
the Week of Proper 28 / Ordinary 33
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