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Bible Commentaries

Thomas Coke Commentary on the Holy Bible
Psalms 135



Verse 1

Psalms 135.

An exhortation to praise God for his mercy, for his power, and for his judgments. The vanity of idols. An exhortation to bless God.

IT has been conjectured, that this was the morning hymn, which the precentor called upon the Levites to sing at opening the gates of the temple, as the former was sung at the shutting up of the gates in the evening. Some imagine from Psalms 135:13 compared with Exodus 12:14 that it was a paschal hymn, and the contents of the psalm seem to countenance that opinion.

Verse 3

Psalms 135:3. Praise ye the Lord, &c.— Praise the Lord, for it is good; strike up to the name of the Lord, for it is cheerful. Mudge.

Verse 5

Psalms 135:5. Above all gods That is, "Infinitely superior to all those imagined deities which other nations worship as their gods." Mudge renders the first clause, yes, I myself have experienced that the Lord, &c. and he observes, that אני ani, seems to have an emphasis, to shew that the author had experienced the divine power, perhaps in arming or controuling the elements in his favour.

Verse 7

Psalms 135:7. He causeth the vapours to ascend, &c.— Dr. Russel, in his description of the weather at Aleppo in September, tells us, that seldom a night passes without much lightning in the north-west quarter, but not attended with thunder; and that when this lightning appears in the west or south-west points, it is a sure sign of the approaching rain, which is often followed with thunder. This last clause he afterwards explains by telling us, that though in the year 1746 it begun to be cloudy on the fourth of September, and continued so for a few days, and even thundered, yet, as rain fell till the 11th, &c.—which shews that his meaning was, that the lightning in the west or southwest points, which is often followed with thunder, is a sure sign of the approach of rain. A squall of wind, and clouds of dust, are the usual forerunners of these first rains. Most of these things are taken notice of in the present passage, and in Jeremiah 10:13; Jeremiah 51:16 and serve to illustrate them. The Doctor's account determines, I think, that the נשׂאים nesiim, which our translators render vapours, must mean, as they elsewhere translate the word, clouds. It shews that God maketh lightnings for the rain: those in the west and south-west points are at Aleppo the sure prognostics of rain. The squalls of the wind bring on these refreshing showers, and are therefore precious things of the treasuries of God; and when he thunders, it is the noise of waters in the heavens. How graphically do the prophets describe the autumnal rains, which God brings on the earth after the drought of summer, and how much greater energy appears in these words after we have gained an acquaintance with the weather in the East, than before. See Observations, &c. p. 41.

Verse 9

Psalms 135:9. Tokens That is, demonstrations of his power. Mudge and Green render it signs.

Verse 13

Psalms 135:13. Thy memorial See Exodus 12:14. Mudge says, memorial is but another word for name; and both of them mean the same as being, existence.

Verse 14

Psalms 135:14. The Lord will judge The Lord will do justice to his people, and have compassion on his servants. Houb. and Mudge.

Verse 21

Psalms 135:21. Blessed be the Lord out of Zion, &c.— Blessed be the Lord in Zion. Green. The Lord of Zion. Mudge.

REFLECTIONS.—1st, This psalm is full of praise: and, that the servants of God may never want matter for their songs, the Psalmist suggests,

1. His great goodness. He is good to all his creatures, especially to all true believers, who are peculiarly bound to praise him for the riches of his grace manifested to their souls.

2. The delightfulness of the service. It is pleasant: no pleasure indeed can equal a sense of the Divine love, warm upon the soul, and bursting forth in grateful acknowledgments to him who hath shed it abroad in our hearts.

3. The distinguishing privileges of God's Israel, and the obligations thence arising. For the Lord hath chosen Jacob unto himself, and Israel for his peculiar treasure. God's believing people are those in whom he delights, as men do in their treasuries; most bounden therefore are they in love and duty to adore him for his mercy.

2nd, The greatness, as well as the goodness of God, opens a large field for his people's praises: this is here insisted upon,

1. In general. I know that he is great in his adorable perfections, and all the wonders of his power, manifested in the works of creation and providence; yea, there is neither measure nor end of his greatness, it surpasses all created understanding; our Lord is above all gods; whether the idols of the heathen, the kings of the earth, or the mighty angels, none can compare with him; they are less than nothing and vanity before him; his power is universal, what he wills he doth in heaven or earth, without controul.

2. In particular instances, [1.] The rain, lightning, and winds, own his government. By his established order in the course of nature, the heat of the sun causes the exhalations to ascend and float in clouds; according to their different natures, these kindle in the air and flash in lightning; and those, becoming too ponderous, fall in drops of rain: out of his treasuries the winds issue, commanded by him when and where to blow, from what point, how long, how violently; all are his creatures, and wait and obey his orders. [2.] His people saw his greatness marvellously manifested to them in the plagues of Egypt, the death of the first-born, the ruin of Pharaoh, the defeat of the Amorites, their conquest of Canaan, and their peaceable possession of that good land. Note; Greater conquests, and a nobler possession, are ensured to God's spiritual and faithful Israel, and therefore they are bound to praise their mighty Lord and Saviour.

3. God's faithful people will feel the everlasting effects of his goodness and greatness: he is for ever the same: to latest ages the faithful shall prove his power and his love, the memorial of which will be transmitted from one generation to another, and confirmed still by the experience of the preceding. For the Lord will judge his people, rule over them, preserve, protect them, plead their cause against their enemies, and at the last day crown his faithful ones with glory; and will repent himself concerning his servants; if he chastises them for a while, he will on their sincere return change his method of procedure with them, and turn their mourning into joy; or, he will be intreated for his servants, being gracious to hear and grant their prayer; or, he will comfort himself concerning his servants, delighting in their prosperity, and watching over them for good: and happy the people who are in such a case!

3rdly, The Psalmist,

1. Pours contempt on the vanities of the heathen, and on their worshippers: their idols, though made of the most precious metals, were the creatures of their own hands, senseless, and unable to hear or answer the prayers of their stupid votaries, who trusted in them, and thereby proved themselves as void of understanding as the stock they adored.

2. He encourages the house of Israel to praise and trust in their God, the only living and true God, who deserved their highest thanksgivings, and was able to save them to the uttermost: the people in general, the ministers of the sanctuary in particular, and all that fear the Lord, Jews and proselytes, assembled in Zion, must join to bless his name, so good, so great; and render him that tribute which they so deeply owed. Note; The greatness and goodness of our God will be the everlasting song of the faithful, and eternity shall never be able to exhaust the subject.


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These files are public domain.
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Bibliography Information
Coke, Thomas. "Commentary on Psalms 135:4". Thomas Coke Commentary on the Holy Bible. 1801-1803.

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