Psalm 136:2

 

EXPOSITION

Verse 2. O give thanks unto the God of gods. If there be powers in heaven or on earth worthy of the name of gods he is the God of them; from him their dominion comes, their authority is derived from him, and their very existence is dependent upon his will. Moreover, for the moment assuming that the deities of the heathen were gods, yet none of them could be compared with our Elohim, who is infinitely beyond what they are fabled to be. Jehovah is our God, to be worshipped and adored, and he is worthy of our reverence to the highest degree. If the heathen cultivate the worship of their gods with zeal, how much more intently should we seek the glory of the God of gods -- the only true and real God. Foolish persons have gathered from this verse that the Israelites believed in the existence of many gods, at the same time believing that their Jehovah was the chief among them; but this is an absurd inference, since gods who have a God over them cannot possibly be gods themselves. The words are to be understood after the usual manner of human speech, in which things are often spoken of not as they really are, but as they profess to be. God as God is worthy of our warmest thanks, for his mercy endureth for ever. Imagine supreme Godhead without everlasting mercy! It would then have been as fruitful a source of terror as it is now a fountain of thanksgiving. Let the Highest be praised in the highest style, for right well do his nature and his acts deserve the gratitude of all his creatures.

Praise your God with right good will,
For his love endureth still.

 

EXPLANATORY NOTES AND QUAINT SAYINGS

Verse 2. The God of gods. "God of gods" is an Hebrew superlative, because he is far above all gods, whether they be so reputed or deputed. --Robert Harris.

Verse 2. The God of gods. One, as being Creator, infinitely higher than all others, his creatures, who have at any time been regarded as gods. --Freneh and Skinner, 1842.

Verse 2-3. Before proceeding to recite God's works, the Psalmist declares his supreme Deity, and dominion: not that such comparative language implies that there is anything approaching Deity besides him, but there is a disposition in men, whenever they see any part of his glory displayed, to conceive of a God separate from him, thus impiously dividing the Godhead into parts, and even proceeding so far as to frame gods of wood and stone. There is a depraved tendency in all to take delight in a multiplicity of gods. For this reason, apparently, the Psalmist uses the plural number not only in the word Elohim but in the word Adonim, so that it reads literally, Praise ye the Lords of lords: he would intimate, that the fullest perfection of all dominion is to be found in the one God. --John Calvin.