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Bible Commentaries

Joseph Benson's Commentary of the Old and New Testaments
Psalms 135

 

 

Verses 1-3

Psalms 135:1-3. O ye servants of the Lord — Ye priests and Levites, as in the former Psalm, or the people; that stand in the courts, &c. — Either in the sanctuary or the inner court, both which were appropriated to the priests and Levites; or in the outward court, which was for the people. Praise, &c., for the Lord is good — Bountiful and gracious, especially to you, and therefore he justly expects and deserves your praises. Sing praises, &c., for it is pleasant — Thus two reasons are assigned why they should praise the Lord, first, his goodness, and, secondly, the pleasantness of the employment. “The latter of these reasons hath a natural and necessary dependance on the former. A sense of the divine mercy will tune our hearts and voices to praise.”


Verse 4-5

Psalms 135:4-5. For the Lord hath chosen Jacob, &c. — Here we have a third reason why the Israelites should praise the Lord, namely, “the circumstance of their having been selected from among the nations to be his church, to receive the law and the promises, to have his presence residing in the midst of them, and to be the guardians of the true faith and worship.” For I know that the Lord is great, &c. — Here he assigns a fourth reason for their praising God, “his superiority over the gods of the heathen, and, consequently, over those who worshipped them; from whence followed this comfortable inference, that he was able to protect and to defend his people against every enemy.” — Horne.


Verse 6

Psalms 135:6. Whatsoever the Lord pleased — Either in the creation or government of the world; that did he in heaven and in earth — His power and jurisdiction are universal, and not like those of the heathen gods, confined, as their worshippers allowed, to their several countries; in the seas, and all deep places — In the visible seas, and in the invisible depths, both of the earth and of the waters. Here, then, the psalmist evinces the pre-eminence of Jehovah above the gods of the nations, by this consideration, that he at the beginning “created and formed those powers of nature whose operations in the heavens, the earth, and the waters, led the heathen world, after it had lost the knowledge of the Creator, to adore the creature as independent.”


Verse 7

Psalms 135:7. He causeth the vapours to ascend, &c. — “They who in old time paid their devotions to the elements, imagined those elements to be capable of giving or withholding rain at pleasure. Therefore we find the Prophet Jeremiah reclaiming that power to Jehovah, as the God who made and governed the world, Jeremiah 14:22. Among the Greeks and Romans we meet with a Jupiter, possessed of the thunder and the lightning, and an Æolus ruling over the winds. The psalmist teacheth us to restore the celestial artillery to its rightful owner. Jehovah, the God of Israel, and Creator of the universe, contrived the wonderful machinery of light and air, by which vapours are raised from the earth, compacted into clouds, and distilled into rain. At his command the winds are suddenly in motion, and as suddenly at rest again; we hear the sound, but cannot tell whence they come, or whither they go; as if they were taken from the secret store- houses of the Almighty, and then laid up till their service was required again.” He maketh lightnings for the rain — He makes thick clouds, which, being broken, produce lightnings, and so are dissolved into showers of rain. Or, he maketh lightnings with rain. “It is a great instance of the divine wisdom and goodness that lightning should be accompanied by rain, to soften its rage and prevent its mischievous effects.” — Horne. He bringeth the wind out of his treasures — Out of those secret places where he preserves them, and whence he brings them as he sees fit. Thus we read of treasures of snow and hail, Job 38:22, not that they are formally laid up in any certain places, but to signify that God hath them as much at his disposal as any man hath that which he hath laid up in his stores.


Verse 8

Psalms 135:8. Who smote the firstborn of Egypt — From the general works of nature he comes to God’s special works of providence toward his people. “Egypt was the theatre of the grand contest between the God of Israel and the gods of the heathen. The superiority of the former over the latter was shown in every possible way, by the miracles of Moses, which demonstrated all the powers of nature, to be under the dominion of Jehovah, and to act at his command, so that, instead of being able to protect, they were made to torment and destroy their deluded votaries.”


Verses 10-12

Psalms 135:10-12. Who smote great nations, &c. — “The victories gained by Israel over Sihon and Og, in their passage to Canaan, and afterward over the idolatrous kings of that country, are further proofs of the same point. For Israel therefore conquered because Jehovah fought for them, and put them in possession of that good land when the iniquity of its old inhabitants was full, and cried to heaven for vengeance.”


Verse 13-14

Psalms 135:13-14. Thy name, O Lord, endureth for ever — These wonderful works of thine shall never be forgotten. They, together with the land which thou gavest us through them, and which we yet enjoy, are an everlasting monument of thy power and goodness, and an obligation upon, and an encouragement to us, to trust in thee, in all our present or future difficulties. For the Lord will judge his people — Will, in due time, plead the cause of his people, or give judgment for them. And he will repent himself, &c. — He will recall that severe sentence which for their sins he had passed upon them.


Verses 15-18

Psalms 135:15-18. The idols of the heathen are silver and gold — Here he sets forth the difference between the God of Israel and the idols of the nations, as also between the worshippers of each, all tending to confirm the truth of what was asserted, Psalms 135:5, I know that the Lord is great, and that our Lord is above all gods. Of these verses, see the notes on Psalms 115:4-5.


Verses 19-21

Psalms 135:19-21. Bless the Lord, O house of Israel — He who proved himself to be infinitely superior to the objects of heathen idolatry, is no less superior to every object on which deluded men can place their affections. Let the house of Israel, therefore, the house of Levi, and the house of Aaron, the church, the ministers thereof; and let all who fear the Lord, though not of the house of Israel, bless and praise his holy name, in his temple here below, until they shall be admitted to do it for evermore in that which is above: see Horne.

 


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Bibliography Information
Benson, Joseph. "Commentary on Psalms 135:4". Joseph Benson's Commentary. https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/rbc/psalms-135.html. 1857.

Lectionary Calendar
Sunday, August 25th, 2019
the Week of Proper 16 / Ordinary 21
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