World Wide Study Bible
a Bible passage
147. Psalm 147
Praise ye the Lord: for it is good to sing praises unto our God; for it is pleasant; and praise is comely.
2The Lord doth build up Jerusalem: he gathereth together the outcasts of Israel.
3He healeth the broken in heart, and bindeth up their wounds.
4He telleth the number of the stars; he calleth them all by their names.
5Great is our Lord, and of great power: his understanding is infinite.
6The Lord lifteth up the meek: he casteth the wicked down to the ground.
7Sing unto the Lord with thanksgiving; sing praise upon the harp unto our God:
8Who covereth the heaven with clouds, who prepareth rain for the earth, who maketh grass to grow upon the mountains.
9He giveth to the beast his food, and to the young ravens which cry.
10He delighteth not in the strength of the horse: he taketh not pleasure in the legs of a man.
11The Lord taketh pleasure in them that fear him, in those that hope in his mercy.
12Praise the Lord, O Jerusalem; praise thy God, O Zion.
13For he hath strengthened the bars of thy gates; he hath blessed thy children within thee.
14He maketh peace in thy borders, and filleth thee with the finest of the wheat.
15He sendeth forth his commandment upon earth: his word runneth very swiftly.
16He giveth snow like wool: he scattereth the hoar frost like ashes.
17He casteth forth his ice like morsels: who can stand before his cold?
18He sendeth out his word, and melteth them: he causeth his wind to blow, and the waters flow.
19He sheweth his word unto Jacob, his statutes and his judgments unto Israel.
20He hath not dealt so with any nation: and as for his judgments, they have not known them. Praise ye the Lord.
4. Numbering the multitude, etc. As the gathering together of the people of whom the Psalmist spoke might appear to be an impossibility, there seems some ground for the opinion of those who think that he confirms it in this verse. The connection they give to the Psalmist’s words is this — that as it is at least not more difficult to gather men together who are outcast and scattered, than to number the stars, there was no reason why the wandering exile Israelites should despair of their return, provided they should resort with one consent to God as their only head. There is some probability, too, in the conjecture that the Psalmist may allude to that promise —
“Look now towards the stars of heaven, if thou canst tell them,
so shall thy seed be.” (Genesis 15:5.)
But as the Psalmist immediately afterwards treats of the order of things in nature generally, the simplest rendering, I think, is to understand this verse with reference to the admirable work of God to be seen in the heavens, where we behold his matchless wisdom, in regulating, without one degree of aberration, the manifold, complex, winding courses of the stars. To each of them he assigns its fixed and distinct office, and in all the multitude there is no confusion. He therefore exclaims immediately — Great is God, and boundless, both in power and understanding. We learn from this that there cannot be greater folly than to make our judgment the measure of God’s works, displaying in these, as he often does, his incomprehensible power and wisdom.