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Bible Commentaries

Thomas Scott: Explanatory Notes, Practical Observations on the book Psalms
Psalms 136

 

 

Verses 1-26

Psalm 136:1-26 :

V:1-3. This psalm in many things resembles the preceding : but it is rendered remarkable, by the repetition of the sweet sentence, " for his mercy " endureth for ever," at the end of every verse. By mercy we understand the Lord"s disposition to compassionate and relieve those, whom sin has rendered miserable and base; his readiness to forgive and be reconciled to the most provoking of transgressors, and to bestow all blessings upon them; together with all the provision which he has made, for the honour of his name, in the redemption of sinners by Jesus Christ. The counsels of this mercy have been frm everlasting; the effects of it will be eternal to all who are interested in it : and the Lord continues, from age to age, equally ready to shew mercy to all who seek to him for it. (Marg. Ref. Note, Psalm 103:15-18.) The frequent repetition of this sentence shews how greatly the Lord delights in mercy, and deems himself honoured by the exercise of it : and it teaches us that this attribute should be peculiarly dear to us, being the source of all our hopes and comforts. " At every half verse, one half of the choir " answers to the other in these words : " For his mercy endureth for ever : " a form of acknowledgment prescribed by David to be used continually in the divine service." Bp. Patrick. " A form highly proper for creatures, and sinful creatures to use, whose great employment it is now, and will be for ever, to magnify the mercy and loving-kindness of their God." Bp. Home. " This was a common kind of thanksgiving, which the whole people used, when they had received any benefit of God; " (Matg. Ref. a, b;) " meaning that God was not only merciful to their fathers, but also continued the same to their posterity."

V:4. " He it is and he alone, whose works are so great, " that they surprise all those who seriously consider them, " with wonder and astonishment." Bp. Patrick. " How " many of those, for whom the wonders of creation, pro" vidence, and redemption have been wrought, think none " of them worthy their attention ! Angels admire and " adore, where man will not deign to cast an eye, or employ a thought." Bp.Horne. (Note, ixxii17- 19)

V:5- 9. Marg. Ref. Note, Psalm 104:19-23. Genesis 1:1-31 : Look upon the heavens, and behold with admiration and praise, the splendour and order, wherein his wisdom hath contrived and settled them. ... Witness those great lights, " which never go out, but ;always call on us to praise " and give thanks to him, who made them to illuminate the " world, and to be emblems of his kindness." Bp. Patrick.

V:10-22. (Marg. Ref. Notes, Exodus 12:29-39; Exodus 14:1-31 : Exodus 15:1-21. Numbers 21:24-34. Deuteronomy 8:1-3. Joshua 12:1-24 :) The destruction of the Egyptians, Amorites, and Canaanites, with their kings, was a display of the awful justice of God towards them; but of his abundant mercy and goodness to his people. And the memorial of them, while it called for the gratitude of Israel, gave a pledge and assurance of his ever enduring goodness and mercy to his true and faithful servants; and of their final triumph over all their enemies.

(Notes, Psalm 78:41-54. Nehemiah 9:7-22. Isaiah 637- 14.)

V:23- 26. (Marg. Ref. Notes, Psalm 113:7-9. Exodus 15:13. Is Psalm 51:13. Exodus 16:6-14. Luke 1:46-55.) " When " for our sins we were severely afflicted, and in danger " to be thrown out of this good land, ... ( Judges 2:3-4 :) " he was pleased graciously to relieve us. For his kindness pardoned our ingratitude, ...and rescued us many a " time, when we cried unto him, from the power of those " who tyrannized over us. ...Whose bounty is not confined " to us alone, but supplies the wants of all mankind, yea " of all living creatures. For his kindness hath no bound. " ... O raise your hearts to give him thanks with the highest " praises, whose power extends itself beyond his earth even " unto the highest heavens. For his kindness is so un" wearied, that we may hope thence to be ever receiving " more and more of his blessings." Bp. Patrick.

PRACTICAL OBSERVATIONS.

Repetitions, disgustful to the fastidious, are often salutary and necessary, because we are prone to overlook or forget the Lord"s goodness and mercy : yet they convey a severe reproof, and should cause us to unite humiliation with our gratitude to our condescending Instructor. (Note, Is. Psalm 28:9-9. P. O1- 13.) The works of creation proclaim the Wisdom of Solomon , power, and goodness of JEHOVAH, the " God of gods, and Lord of lords : " while the continuance of the settled course of nature, and the blessings thus communicated, by a kind providence, to a rebellious world, are proofs of his patience and mercy that endureth for ever. Nay, his- denunciations of vengeance against impenitent sinners should be considered as tokens of his mercy, and improved as warnings to repent, and " to flee " from the wrath to come : " and his judgment upon persecutors and oppressors is evidently the effect of his mercy to his church. (Notes, Zechariah 1:12-21.) The destruction of opposing kings and nations, " with a strong hand and " an out-stretched arm," was as conducive to the good of Israel, as the manna, the water from the rock, and the conducting cloud. And in like manner, the crucifixion of our lusts, and the sharp corrections by which the Lord promotes our sanctification, are as blessed tokens of his mercy, as the forgiveness of our sins, and the consolations of his Holy Spirit : and our complete salvation will be connected with the final destruction of all the enemies of God and of our souls. Blessed be his name who has remembered us lost sinners, in our low estate, and has provided salvation for us through his Song of Solomon , and revealed it in his holy word. May we experience his redeeming power in our hearts, that being " saved from our enemies, we " may serve him in holiness and righteousness all our " days : " (Note, Luke 1:67-75 :) and may Hebrews , " who " giveth food to all flesh," feed our souls unto eternal life; (Notes, Psalm 22:26. John 6:47-58;) and enliven our affections by his grace, that we may give thanks and praise to his holy name, " because he is good, and because his mercy " endureth for ever." Amen.

 


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Bibliography Information
Scott, Thomas. "Commentary on Psalms 136:4". Thomas Scott: Explanatory Notes, Practical Observations on the book Psalms. https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/tsp/psalms-136.html. 1804.

Lectionary Calendar
Sunday, November 17th, 2019
the Week of Proper 28 / Ordinary 33
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