World Wide Study Bible
a Bible passage
For he strengthens the bars of your gates;
he blesses your children within you.
12. Celebrate Jehovah, O Jerusalem! Having spoken in general of the mercies of God, he again addresses his discourse to the Lord’s people, who alone, as we have remarked already, can appreciate them, calling upon them to recognize with thanksgiving the blessings which others riot upon without acknowledgment. Under the name of Jerusalem, he comprises the whole Church, for in that place the faithful then held their religious assemblies, and flowed together as it were to the standard of the Lord. Although he will take occasion afterwards again to speak of the government of the world at large, he here commemorates the goodness of God as manifested to his own people, in protecting his own Church, bountifully cherishing it, enriching it abundantly with all blessings, and preserving it in peace and safety from all harm. When he says that the bars of the gates are strengthened by God, he means that the holy city was perfectly guarded by him from all fear of hostile attack. To the same effect is the other expression which comes after — that all its bounds were made peace Enemies were under divine restraint so as to cause no disturbance or confusions. Not that the Church is always in a state of peace throughout its whole extent, and exempt from attack, but that God in a visible manner stretches forth his hand to repel these assaults, and it can securely survey the whole array of its enemies. A more extensive meaning indeed may be given to the term peace, which is often taken to signify a happy and prosperous condition. But as mention is made of bounds, the former sense seems most appropriate. The blessing of God enjoyed within is next spoken of, consisting in this, that the citizens dwell prosperously and happily in it, and are fed bountifully, even to satiety; which does not mean that the children of God always wallow in abundance. This might be the means of corrupting them, prone as our nature is to wantonness; but it suggests that they recognize the liberality of God in their daily food more clearly than others who want faith, and whom either abundance renders blind, or poverty vexes with deplorable anxiety, or covetousness inflames with a desire that never can be satisfied. God’s paternal favor was shown more particularly to our fathers under the law in the abundance of temporal provision, it being necessary to lead them forward to something higher by what was elementary.