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136. Psalm 136

O give thanks unto the Lord; for he is good: for his mercy endureth for ever.

2O give thanks unto the God of gods: for his mercy endureth for ever.

3O give thanks to the Lord of lords: for his mercy endureth for ever.

4To him who alone doeth great wonders: for his mercy endureth for ever.

5To him that by wisdom made the heavens: for his mercy endureth for ever.

6To him that stretched out the earth above the waters: for his mercy endureth for ever.

7To him that made great lights: for his mercy endureth for ever:

8The sun to rule by day: for his mercy endureth for ever:

9The moon and stars to rule by night: for his mercy endureth for ever.

10To him that smote Egypt in their firstborn: for his mercy endureth for ever:

11And brought out Israel from among them: for his mercy endureth for ever:

12With a strong hand, and with a stretched out arm: for his mercy endureth for ever.

13To him which divided the Red sea into parts: for his mercy endureth for ever:

14And made Israel to pass through the midst of it: for his mercy endureth for ever:

15But overthrew Pharaoh and his host in the Red sea: for his mercy endureth for ever.

16To him which led his people through the wilderness: for his mercy endureth for ever.

17To him which smote great kings: for his mercy endureth for ever:

18And slew famous kings: for his mercy endureth for ever:

19Sihon king of the Amorites: for his mercy endureth for ever:

20And Og the king of Bashan: for his mercy endureth for ever:

21And gave their land for an heritage: for his mercy endureth for ever:

22 Even an heritage unto Israel his servant: for his mercy endureth for ever.

23Who remembered us in our low estate: for his mercy endureth for ever:

24And hath redeemed us from our enemies: for his mercy endureth for ever.

25Who giveth food to all flesh: for his mercy endureth for ever.

26O give thanks unto the God of heaven: for his mercy endureth for ever.

7. Who made the great lights, etc. — Moses calls the sun and moon the two great lights, and there is little doubt that the Psalmist here borrows the same phraseology. What is immediately added about the stars, is, as it were, accessory to the others. It is true, that the other planets are larger than the moon, but it is stated as second in order on account of its visible effects. The Holy Spirit had no intention to teach astronomy; and, in proposing instruction meant to be common to the simplest and most uneducated persons, he made use by Moses and the other Prophets of popular language, that none might shelter himself under the pretext of obscurity, as we will see men sometimes very readily pretended an incapacity to understand, when anything deep or recondite is submitted to their notice. Accordingly, as Saturn though bigger than the moon is not so to the eye owing to his greater distance, the Holy Spirit would rather speak childishly than unintelligibly to the humble and unlearned. The same remark may be made upon what the Psalmist adds regarding God’s having assigned the sun and moon their respective parts, making the one to rule the day, and the other to rule the night, by which we are not to understand that they exercise any government, but that the administrative power of God is very manifest in this distribution. The sun in illuminating the earth through the day, and the, moon and stars by night, may be said to yield a reverential homage to God.


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