The Hallelujah of the Congregation and Its Servants.
A hymn setting forth the wonderful relation of God to His Church, His almighty power over all the world, and His mercy in delivering His people, as contrasted with the vanity of idol worship. V. 1. Praise ye the Lord, a mighty hallelujah, as the keynote of the entire psalm. Praise ye the name of the Lord, as He has manifested it in all His attributes; praise Him, O ye servants of the Lord, all the members of His Church being eager to minister unto Him. V. 2. Ye that stand in the house of the Lord, in the courts of the house of our God, that is, the priests and Levites, as the ministers of the Lord in a special sense, v. 3. praise the Lord; for the Lord is good, manifesting His kindness to all men, but especially to His Church; sing praises unto His name, for it is pleasant, it is the delight of the believers to make the praise of the Lord their constant business. V. 4. For the Lord hath chosen Jacob, the patriarch and the people descended from him, unto Himself, to be His nation in a special sense, and Israel for His peculiar treasure, Ex. 19, 5, just as He now gathers those whom He has chosen in Christ Jesus to be His royal priesthood, 1 Pet. 2, 9. 10. The name and the attributes of the Lord are now proclaimed in detail. V. 5. For I know that the Lord is great, the Possessor of immeasurable greatness, and that our Lord, the All-powerful whom we worship as God, is above all gods, all those foolishly designated as gods by blind and idolatrous men. His incomparable creative majesty is now pictured. V. 6. Whatsoever the Lord pleased, whatever suited the convenience of His almighty will, that did He in heaven and in earth, in the seas and all deep places, in the abysses of the ocean; for over all these places His almighty power rules. V. 7. He causeth the vapors to ascend from the ends of the earth, fashioning them into clouds; He maketh lightnings for the rain, for the two usually occur together in a thunderstorm; He bringeth the wind out of His treasuries, out of His storehouses, since He has absolute power over the winds of the earth, But not only His creative and providential power makes Him worthy of praise, but also the deliverance which He effected in Egypt. V. 8. Who smote the first-born of Egypt, both of man and beast, from the heir apparent down to the calf of the lowliest herder, Ex. 12, 12. V. 9. Who sent tokens and wonders into the midst of thee, O Egypt, in the great plagues which preceded the exodus of the children of Israel, upon Pharaoh and upon all his servants, Ex. 7-10. Moreover, the Lord is praiseworthy on account of His conquest of the Land of Promise. V. 10. Who smote great nations and slew mighty kings, all those of Canaan and the country east of Jordan, Num. 21, 24-35; v. 11. Sihon, king of the Amorites, and Og, king of Bashan, and all the kingdoms of Canaan, Dent. 3 and 4; v. 12. and gave their land for an heritage, an heritage unto Israel, His people, so that they could possess the land as though it had been bequeathed to them. On the basis of these great works of the Lord the congregation now lifts up its voice in praise. V. 13. Thy name, O Lord, endureth forever, lasting throughout eternity, long after the names of all idols are forgotten; and Thy memorial, O Lord, throughout all generations, from one generation to the next, not only while the world stands, but beyond the confines of time, world without end. V. 14. For the Lord will judge His people, obtaining justice for them over against the oppression of the enemies, and He will repent Himself concerning His servants, change His manner of dealing with them to continual kindness, proving Himself the living and gracious God over against the vanity of idols invented by men. V. 15. The idols of the heathen are silver and gold, fashioned from precious metals by the hand of the silversmith, the work of men's hands, made by puny men. V. 16. They have mouths, but they speak not; eyes have they, but they see not; v. 17. they have ears, but they hear not, neither is there any breath in their mouths, not even a trace of life and breath, the expression emphasizing the lifelessness and helplessness of the idols. Cp. Ps. 115, 4-8. V. 18. They that make them are like unto them, just as stupid spiritually, for the practise of idolatry brutalizes men; so is every one that trusteth in them, altogether without understanding in spiritual matters and destined for perdition. The summons, therefore, goes out once more: v. 19. Bless the Lord, O house of Israel, the entire congregation of believers; bless the Lord, O house of Aaron, all the priests of the Church; v. 20. bless the Lord, O house of Levi, all the Levites, that is, all the ministers of the Church, no matter of what degree; ye that fear the Lord, all the believers of all times, bless the Lord. V. 21. Blessed be the Lord out of Zion, from the center of true worship, which dwelleth at Jerusalem, His praise being extolled through this proclamation of His name far and wide over the earth. Praise ye the Lord, the psalm closing, as it began, with a joyful hallelujah in honor of the one true Lord and God, whose blessings are sent forth everywhere in the Gospel-message.