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Bible Commentaries

Thomas Scott: Explanatory Notes, Practical Observations on the book Psalms
Psalms 147

 

 

Verses 1-20

Psalm 147:1-20.

V:1 ,2. This Psalm also Isaiah , by the Septuagint, ascribed to Haggai and Zcchariah; and indeed many expressions in it favour the supposition, that it was composed as a song of praise for the restoration of the Jews to Jerusalem and their own land : but it seems better suited to the times of Nehemiah , when the walls were rebuilt, and the state Revelation -established, than to the unsettled condition of the newly returned captives, when Haggai and Zechariah prophesied to them. For in their days, it could scarcely be said, that the Lord " built up Jerusalem," as he had not then " strengthened the bars of her gates " (13); for they were not set up till long afterwiirds. (Marg. Ref. Notes, Nehemiah 1:3; Nehemiah 3:4 : Nehemiah 6:16; Nehemiah 12:27-43. Daniel 9:25-27.) " Praise is " good," and acceptable to God our Saviour, " whose glory is the great end of man"s creation and redemption : and it is " pleasant and comely " for Prayer of Manasseh , " being the only return he can make for those and all " other mercies; the offspring of gratitude, and the expression of love; the elevation of the soul, and the antepast ot neaven; its own reward in this life, and an introduction to the felicities of the next." Bp. Home. (Notes, Psalm 33:1; Psalm 63:5-6. Psalm 92:1-2. Psalm 135:3.) Outcasts. (2) Note, Isaiah 56:8.

V:3. " He comforts us after our long sorrows, which " had in a manner broken our heart : ... and hath in some " measure repaired our breaches, which, like a festering " wound, endangered the life of our nation." Bp. Patrick. The readiness of our gracious Lord, at all times and in all nations, to heal the broken in heart, and to bind up the wounds of " those who call on him " are also intended. (Notes, Job 5:18-19. Isaiah 61:1-3. Hosea 6:1-3.)

V:4 , 5. " Though it seem to man incredible, that God " should assemble his church, being so dispersed; yet no" thing can be too hard for him, that can number and name " all the stars." This thought naturally arose from the dispersed state of the Jews after the captivity, and was applicable to the Lord"s gathering them into their own land. ( Amos 9:9.) " He who does this " (number and name the stars,) " cannot be ignorant of the situation and circumstances of his elect. He knoweth each individual. ... He " can call his saints from the depths of the earth and " sea, " by their names," as when once " he cried with a " " loud voice, Lazarus, come forth." " Bp. Home. (Notes, Psalm 139:17-18. Psalm 145:3-4. Job 11:7-12. Isaiah 40:25-31. Amos 5:7-9. Romans 11:33-36.)

V:6-8. Marg. Ref. Notes, Psalm 145:14. Psalm 146:8. Clouds, &c. (8) " Clouds look melancholy; yet without " them we could have no rain, and consequently no fruit : " thus afflictions look black, and dark, and unpleasant; yet " from them come those showers that... " yield the peace " " able fruit of righteousness," " Henry.

Notes, Psalm 65:9-13. Psalm 104:13-15. Psalm 135:7 - 1 Kings 18:43-44. Job 5:8-10; Job 36:22-33. Jeremiah 14:19-22 , v: 22.)

V:9. " Will Hebrews , in the day of dearth and calamity, forsake the meek and harmless dove, that mourneth continually in prayer before him ? The desponding servant of God need only therefore put to himself the question ... " " Who provideth for the raven his fcnd ? When his young " " ones cry unto God, they wander for lack of meat." " Bp. Home. (Notes, Job 38:31-41, v: 41. Matthew 6:26-32, v: 26.)

V:10 , 11. " Let us ...not be afraid though we are of " little force, ( Nehemiah 4:3-4; Nehemiah 7:4,) and have no armies of " horses and foot to defend us: for the LORD who fights for " us ( Nehemiah 4:20,) hath no need of these; and will not " take part with our enemies, because they are superior to " us in the strength of their horses, and the nimbleness of " their soldiers : but delights to give those his assistance "and protection,... who, worshipping him devoutly, fear to; offend him; and having no help in themselves, nor any " earthly refuge to fly unto, depend notwithstanding with a " stedfiist faith on his infinite mercy." Bp. Patrick. (Marg. Ref. Psalm 33:17-18. Note, Psalm 149:4.)

V:12- 14. The Jews celebrated the dedication of the wall, (when it had been rebuilt, and the gates of it setup, under the pious care of Nehemiah ,) with loud and earnest thanksgivings to God : (Notes, Nehemiah 12:27-43 :) and they had at that time, and were encouraged in future to hope confidently for, peace and plenty. These blessings Jerusalem, or Zion, was called on to celebrate with joyful praises; and the exhortation is equally applicable to other nations and companies of God"s worshippers, when favoured in like manner. The last clause is literally, " He shall satisfy thee with the fat of wheat." (Marg. and Marg. Ref. Notes, Deuteronomy 32:14.)

V:15- 18. (Marg. Ref. Note, 2 Thessalonians 3:1-5. v: I.) Till the Lord"s time came, all the efforts of the Jews, to recover liberty or prosperity, were as unavailing, as the skill und power of man are, to prevent the effects of frost and snow : but when he gave the command, every heart was speedily disposed to favour them; as the snow and ice melt, and the waters flow, when he sends a thaw, warm sun-beams, and a southern breeze. The snow is here compared to " wool," and the ice, to " morsels : " and it is well known that the snow keeps the ground warm and assists vegetation : so that perhaps the ice, or hailstones, are compared to " moraels," not only from the solid form which they assume; but because of the nourishing and fertilizing effects which the frost produces upon the ground.

V:19 , 20. " That word, the effects of which upon the spiritual system are similar to those experienced by nature in the vernal season, that " word was shewed unto " Jacob," and became the property of Israel, while Israel continued to be the church of God. It hath since been made over, with all its types realized, and its prophecies accomplished in Jesus, to the church Christian : it is that peculiar blessing, which distinguishes her from the rest of the world, and for which her children are bound, at all times to praise the LORD." Bp Home. The sovereignty of God, in making one nation to differ from another, " not for their righteousness," but " according to " the course of his own will," is in this respect undeniable. Britain especially has abundant cause to adore and praise God on this account. The word property in the quotation does not seem appropriate. It was a talent, and a deposit, entrusted to Israel, and is so to us, of which an account must be given, and which we are bound to communicate to others, by every means in our power. (Notes, Psalm 78:38. Deuteronomy 4:6-8; Deuteronomy 4:32-40. Romans 3:1-2; Romans 9:4-5. Ephesians 2:11-13.) The pious Jews, when returned from their dispersions among idolaters, would be more impressed with the value of their sacred oracles, and other special advantages, than they were who had never witnessed such scenes of darkness and ignorance. This Psalm also begins and ends with Hallelujah.

PRACTICAL OBSERVATIONS.

The display of the glory of the divine perfections was intended in all the works of God : (Notes, Proverbs 16:4. Ephesians 1:9-12 :) and to celebrate his praises forms the most suitable return for his benefits, of which we are capable. It is therefore both reasonable and acceptable, pleasant and becoming, for us to abound in this blessed work. The continued care of God over his chosen city, and in gathering his people Israel from their various captivities and dispersions, to dwell and worship at Jerusalem, were emblems of his care of his church, the city of the living God} of his gathering outcast sinners by his grace, to dwell there on earth; and of his bringing them all at length to his holy habitation in heaven. The contrast between the majesty and the mercy of our God, should never be overlooked. While " he telleth the number of the " stars," he condescends to hear the broken-hearted sinner, and to heal by his consolations the wounded spirit. His greatness, power, and wisdom are infinite; and he displays his justice in crushing to the earth the haughtiest and mightiest rebels : yet he " lifteth up the meek" from their dejection and abject miserv, to the comfort of his favour here, and to the throne of glory hereafter. He provides for all creatures, by means worthy of himself : and whilst he " feeds the young ravens who cry unto him," he gives a pledge that he will not leave destitute his praying people. He delights not in those things in which sinners confide and glory : but his delight is in those who conscientiously fear and serve him, hoping in his mercy alone for pardon and acceptance. (Note, Jeremiah 9:23-24.) These are the inhabitants of Zion, who praise his name : he is their Protector, and will bless them and their children, with spiritual peace and abundant supplies of every good thing; while they who trust in chariots and horses, or in their own agility, strength, Wisdom of Solomon , courage, or righteousness, will sink into penury, misery, and contempt. When the Lord speaks, all nature prepares for prompt obedience. At his command the snow and the hoar-frost irresistibly cover the earth; nothing can withstand his piercing and congealing cold; the rivers are arrested in their course, and the works of men are suspended; nor can any human power remove the obstruction. But JEHOVAH again gives the word : the gentler breezes blow, the snow and ice melt, the waters flow,, and all reverts to its former course. Let us then consider how unable we are to stand before the indignation of the Lord : let us be thankful, that he moderates the continuance of the winter, and renders it useful to the earth : let us bless him, if abundance of all things needful renders us free from the miseries, which many suffer during that Inclement season; and let us learn to contribute liberally to their relief. Let us also expect from his power things impracticable to all others. He can comfort and sanctify, when every human effort has proved unsuccessful : he can soften and melt the most obdurate heart; and bring the rich and great into his church, though that is more difficult than " for a camel to " go through the eye of a needle." (Notes, Matthew 19:23-26. James 1:9-11.) While therefore we remember will gratitude, that he has shewed his word unto us, and favoured us with his statutes and judgments, as he did Jacob of old; while we are watchful not to abuse these privileges to our deeper condemnation, and study to shew forth his praises in our holy lives; let us also pity and pray for those, who are not so dealt with, and who have not known his judgments : for the Lord is able to remove every obstruction to their conversion, that all nations may join in his solemn worship, and praise him as the God of Israel,

 


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Bibliography Information
Scott, Thomas. "Commentary on Psalms 147:4". Thomas Scott: Explanatory Notes, Practical Observations on the book Psalms. https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/tsp/psalms-147.html. 1804.

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Sunday, December 8th, 2019
the Second Week of Advent
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