Psalm 136:22

 

EXPOSITION

Verse 22. Even an heritage unto Israel his servant. Repetitions are effective in poetry, and the more so if there be some little variation in them, bringing out into fuller light some point which else had not been noticed. The lands of the heathen kings were given to "Israel", the name by which the chosen seed is here mentioned for the third time in the Psalm, with the addition of the words, "his servant." The leasehold of Canaan to Israel after the flesh was made dependent upon suit and service rendered to the Lord of the manor by whom the lease was granted. It was a country worth singing about, richly justifying the two stanzas devoted to it. The division of the country by lot, and the laws by which the portions of ground were reserved to the owners and their descendants for a perpetual inheritance were fit subjects for song. Had other nations enjoyed land laws which ensured to every family a plot of ground for cultivation, much of the present discontent would never have arisen, beggary would soon have become uncommon, and poverty itself would have been rare.

For his mercy endureth for ever. Yes, mercy fights for the land, mercy divides the spoil among its favoured ones, and mercy secures each man in his inheritance. Glory be to God the faithful One.

"For his mercy full and free.
Wins us full felicity."

 

EXPLANATORY NOTES AND QUAINT SAYINGS

Verse 22. Israel his servant. He speaks of all that people as of one man, because they were united together in one body, in the worship of one and the same God. Thus God calleth them all his "firstborn": Exodus 4:22 . --Matthew Pool.