Verse 20. Bless the LORD, O house of Levi. These helped the priests in other things, let them aid them in this also. The house of Israel comprehends all the chosen seed; then we come down to the smaller but more central ring of the house of Aaron, and now we widen out to the whole tribe of Levi. Let reverence and adoration spread from man to man until the whole lump of humanity shall be leavened. The house of Levi had choice reasons for blessing God: read the Levite story and see. Remember that the whole of the Levites were set apart for holy service, and supported by tim tribes allotted to them; therefore they were in honour bound above all others to worship Jehovah with cheerfulness.
EXPLANATORY NOTES AND QUAINT SAYINGS
Verse 20. Bless the LORD, O house Of Levi. In Psalms 115:1-18 the exhortation given is to trust or hope in the Lord; here, to bless him. The Levites are mentioned in addition to the house of Aaron, there being two orders of priesthood. Everything else in the two Psalms is the same, except that, in the last verse, the Psalmist here joins himself, along with the rest of the Lord's people, in blessing God. -- Franz Delitzsch.
Verse 20. Ye that fear the LORD, bless the LORD. These are distinct from the Israelites, priests, and Levites, and design the proselytes among them of other nations that truly feared God, as Jarchi notes; and all such persons, whoever and wherever they are, have reason to bless the Lord for the fear of him they have, which is not from nature but from grace; and for the favours shown them, the blessings bestowed upon them, the good things laid up for them, and the guard that is about them, which the Scriptures abundantly declare, and experience confirms. --John Gill.
Verse 20. Ye that fear the LORD, bless the LORD. In Scripture it is quite common to find this "fear" put for holiness itself, or the sum of true religion. It is not, therefore, such a fear as seized the hearts of our first parents when, hearing the voice of the Lord God, they hid themselves amongst the trees of the garden; nor such as suddenly quenched the noise of royal revelry in the night of Babylon's overthrow; nor such as, on some day yet future, shall drive despairing sinners to the unavailing shelter of the mountains and rocks. It is not the fear of guilty distrust, or of hatred, or of bondage -- that fear which hath torment, and which perfect love casteth out; but a fear compatible with the highest privileges, attainments, and hopes of the Christian life. It is the fear of deep humility and reverence, of filial subjection, and adoring gratitude; the fear which "blesseth the Lord", saying, "His mercy endureth for ever." --John Lillie (1812-1867), in "Lectures on the Epistles of Peter."
HINTS FOR PASTORS AND LAYPERSONS
Verse 20. The Levites, their history, duties, rewards, and obligations to bless God.
Verse 20. (second clause).
- The fear of God includes all religion.
- The fear of the Lord suggests praise.
- The fear of the Lord renders praise acceptable.