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Psalm 135:1-4

1. Praise ye the name of Jehovah, 153153     “Perhaps the original, הללו שם יהוה, halelu et shem Jehovah, should be translated, Praise ye the namee Jehovah: that is, praise God in his infinite essence, of being, holiness, goodness, and truth.”—Dr. Adam Clarke. praise him, O ye servants of Jehovah! 2. Ye who stand in the house of Jehovah, and ye who stand in the courts of the house of our God. 154154     The words ye who stand we have supplied in the second clause, as being necessary to bring out the sense which Calvin attaches to it. The בית יהוה “the house of Jehovah,” mentioned in the first clause, remarks Men-dlessohn in his Beor, is the place where the priests stood; whilst “the courts” surrounding the temple, referred to in the second clause, were occupied by the people when engaged in their public prayers. 3. Praise God, for good is Jehovah: sing unto his name, for it is pleasant. 4. For God hath chosen Jacob 155155     The name “Jacob” is here put by metonymy for the posterity of Jacob, as is evident from the parallelism of the two members. unto himself, and Israel for his peculiar treasure.

 

1. Praise ye the name of Jehovah Though this Psalm begins almost in the same manner with the preceding, the Psalmist would not appear to be addressing the Levites exclusively, but the people generally, since the reasons given for praising God are equally applicable to all God’s children. No mention is made of night watching, or of their standing constantly in the Temple. But indeed, as it was the special duty of the priests to take the lead in this devotional exercise, to give out, if we might use such an expression, and sing the praises of God before the people, there is no reason why we should not suppose that they are primarily addressed, and stirred up to their duty. We need only to examine the words more closely in order to be convinced that the people are included as next in order to the priests. 156156     “Et quand on advisera de bien pres aux mots, on y trouvera que le peuple est adjoint, etc.”—Fr. For the Psalmist addresses the servants of God who stand in the temple, then those who are in the courts, whereas no notice was taken of the courts in the former Psalm. Mention seems to be made of courts in the plural number, because the priests had their court; and then there was another common to all the people, for by the law spoken of, (Leviticus 16:17,) they were prohibited from entering the sanctuary. To prevent any feeling of disgust which might arise from the very frequent repetition of this exhortation to the praises of God, it is only necessary to remember, as was already observed, that there is no sacrifice in which he takes greater delight than the expression of our gratitude. Thus, (Psalm 50:14,)

“Sacrifice unto the Lord thanksgiving,
and pay your vows to the Most High;”

and, (Psalm 116:12, 13,)

“What shall I render unto the Lord for all his benefits? I will take the cup of salvation, and call upon the name of the Lord.”

Particular attention is to be paid to those passages of Scripture which speak in such high terms of that worship of God which is spiritual; otherwise we may be led, in the exercise of a misguided zeal, to spend our labor upon trifles, and in this respect imitate the example of too many who have wearied themselves with ridiculous attempts to invent additions to the service of God, while they have neglected what is of all other things most important. This is the reason why the Holy Spirit so repeatedly inculcates the duty of praise. It is that we may not undervalue, or grow careless in this devotional exercise. It implies, too, an indirect censure of our tardiness in proceeding to the duty, for he would not reiterate the admonition were we ready and active in the discharge of it. The expression in the end of the verse — because it is sweet, admits of two meanings — that the name of God is sweet, as in the previous clause it was said that God is good — or, that it is a sweet and pleasant thing to sing God’s praises. The Hebrew word נעים naim, properly signifies beautiful or comely, and this general signification answers best. 157157     “Signifie proprement chose bien seante ou belle: et ce sens general convient mieux.” — Fr.

4. For God hath chosen Jacob Other reasons are given afterwards why they should praise God, drawn from his government of the world. But as it was only the children of Abraham who were favored with the knowledge of God at that time, and were capable of praising him, the Psalmist directs them to the fact of their having been chosen by God to be his peculiar people, as affording matter for thanksgiving. The mercy was surely one of incomparable value, and which might well stir them up to fervent gratitude and praise, adopted as they were into favor with God, while the whole Gentile world was passed by. The praise of their election is given by the Psalmist to God — a clear proof that they owed the distinction not to any excellency of their own, but to the free mercy of God the Father which had been extended to them. He has laid all without exception under obligation to his service, for

“he maketh his sun to rise on the evil and on the good.”
(Matthew 5:45.)

But he bound the posterity of Abraham to him by a closer tie, such as that by which he now adopts men generally into his Church, and unites them with the body of his only-begotten Son. 158158     “Comme c’est aujourd’huy de tous ceux qu’il adopte en sa bergerie, et ente au corps de son fils unique.” — Fr.


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