Psalm 145:1

PSALM 145 OVERVIEW.

This is one of the alphabetical psalms, composed with much art, and, doubtless, so arranged that the memory might be aided. The Holy Spirit condescends to use even the more artificial methods of the poet, to secure attention, and impress the heart.

Title. David's Psalm Of Praise. It is David's, David's very own, David's favourite. It is David's Praise just as another ( Psalms 86:1-17 ) is David's Prayer. It is altogether praise, and praise pitched in a high key. David had blessed God many a time in other psalms, but this he regarded as his peculiar, his crown jewel of praise. Certainly David's praise is the best of praise, for it is that of a man of experience, of sincerity, of calm deliberation, and of intense warmth of the heart. It is not for any one of us to render David's praise, for David only could do that, but we may take David's psalm as a model, and aim at making our own personal adoration as much, like it as possible: we shall be long before we equal our model. Let each Christian reader present his own praise unto the Lord, and call it by his own name. What a wealth of varied praise will thus be presented through Christ Jesus!

Division. The psalm does not fall into any marked divisions, but is one and indivisible. Our other translators have mapped out this song with considerable discernment. It is or a perfect arrangement, but it will suit our convenience in exposition. David praiseth God for his fame or glory ( Psalms 145:1-7 ), for his goodness ( Psalms 145:8-10 ), for his kingdom (Ps 145:11-13), for his providence ( Psalms 145:14-16 ), for his saving mercy ( Psalms 145:17-21 ).

EXPOSITION

Verse 1. I will extol thee, my God, O king. David as God's king adores God as his king. It is well when the Lord's royalty arouses our loyalty, and our spirit is moved to magnify his majesty. The Psalmist has extolled his Lord many a time before, he is doing so still, and he will do so in the future: praise is for all tenses. When we cannot express all our praise just now, it is wise to register our resolution to continue in the blessed work, and write it down as a bond, "I will extol thee." See how David testifies his devotion and adherence to his God by the pronoun "my", how he owns his allegiance by the title "king", and how he goes on to declare his determination to make much of him in his song.

And I will bless thy name for ever and ever. David determined that his praise should rise to blessing, should intelligently spend itself upon the name or character of God, and should be continued world without end. He uses the word "bless" not merely for variation of sound, but also for the deepening and sweetening of the sense. To bless God is to praise him with a personal affection for him, and a wishing well to him: this is a growingly easy exercise as we advance in experience and grow in grace. David declares that he will offer every form of praise, through every form of existence. His notion of duration is a full one -- "for ever" has no end, but when he adds another" ever" to it he forbids all idea of a close. Our praise of God shall be as eternal as the God we praise.

EXPLANATORY NOTES AND QUAINT SAYINGS

This has been happily characterized as the "new song" promised in Psalms 144:9 . In other words, it is the song of praise, corresponding to the didactic, penitential, and supplicatory psalms of this series. --Joseph Addison Alexander.

The ancient Hebrews declare him happy whoever, in after times, utters this psalm thrice each day with the mouth, heart, and tongue. --Victorinus Bythner, 1670.

The last six or seven psalms are the Beulah of the book, where the sun shineth night and day, and the voice of the turtle is heard in the land. Coming at the close after all the mournful, plaintive, penitential, prayerful, varying notes, they Unconsciously typify the joy and rest of glory. --George Gilfillan.

Title. The praise of David. Psalms are the praises of God accompanied with Song; psalms are songs containing the praise of God. If there be praise, but not of God, it is not a psalm. If there be praise, and praise of God, if it is not sung, it is not a psalm. To make a psalm there go these three -- praise, God's praise, and song. -- Augustine.

Title. It is observable concerning David's entitling the psalm "The Praise of David", that in the original no psalm else beareth such a title. It is appropriated to it, because this wholly consists of praise; he was elevated therein to a frame of spirit made up of the pure praise of God, without any touch of what was particular to himself. It was not thanks, but altogether praise, and wholly praise. --Thomas Goodwin.

Title. This psalm, which is designated a Tehillah, or a psalm of praise, -- a name which has passed from this psalm to the whole Psalter, which is commonly called Sepher Tehillim, or "Book of Praises," -- is the last of the psalms ascribed to David.

It is remarkable, that although that is the name given to the Psalter (which is entitled in Hebrew Sepher Tehillim, or Book of Praises), this is the only psalm in the whole number which is designated in the title as a Tehillah -- a word derived from the same root as Hallelujah. It seems as if this name Tehillah had been studiously reserved for the last of David's psalms, in order to mark more emphatically that all his utterances are consummated in praise. And this view is more clearly manifested by the circumstance that the word Tehillah is introduced into the last verse of this psalm, "My soul shall speak the praise" (tehillah) "of the Lord" (observe this preparation for Hallelujah, Praise ye the Lord); "and let all flesh bless his holy name for ever and ever." As much as to say that though David's voice was now about to be hushed in this life, yet it would never be silent in the world to come, and would ever "praise the Lord"; and as much, also, as to say that his last exhortation should be to all nations to praise him, "Let all flesh bless his holy name for ever and ever." --Christopher Wordsworth.

Title. This psalm is entitled "David's praise." For howsoever the prayers and the praises (all) in this book, are (for the most part) of David's penning: yet two there are he hath singled out from the rest, and set his own mark on them as proper to himself: the 86. Psalm, his Tephilla, David's own Prayer; and there is here his Tehilla, his own Praise or thanksgiving. As if he had made the rest for all in common, but reserved these peculiarly for himself. --Lancelot Andrews.

Whole Psalm. In regard to its alphabetic structure, it has one peculiarity, viz., the nun is omitted; the reason of which may be, that (as we have seen in some other psalms of this structure) by means of that or some other such omission, we might be kept from putting stress on the mere form of the composition. --Andrew A. Bonar.

Whole Psalm. Cassiodorus quaintly remarks that the psalms in which the alphabetical order is complete, are especially fitted for the righteous in the Church Triumphant, but those in which one letter is missing, are for the Church Militant here on earth, as still imperfect, and needing to be purified from defect. --Neale and Littledale.

Verse 1. I will extol thee, my God, O King. To extol is to set preeminently on high; to exalt above all others; it is the expression of the greatest possible admiration; it is letting others know our high opinion of a person, and endeavouring to win them over to it. The man who has such a high opinion of another as to induce him to extol him, will not be likely to rest without bringing forth into prominent observation the object of his praise. -- Philip Bennett Power.

Verse 1. O King; or the King, by way of eminency; the King of kings, the God by whom kings reign, and to whom I and all other kings owe subjection and obedience. -- Matthew Pool.

Verse 1. O king. The Psalmist in rapt ecstasy seems as though he saw God incarnate in Christ present to inspire his praise. Christ is our God and King, to be extolled in the heart, with the mouth, and by the life. --Thomas Le Blanc.

Verse 1. King. God is King in verity; others are called kings in vanity. --Martin Geier.

Verse 1. I will bless thy name for ever and ever. The name of God in Scripture is taken, first, for God himself. The name of a thing is put for the thing named, Psalms 44:5 : "Through thee will we push down our enemies: through thy name will we tread them under that rise up against us." "Through thy name", that is, through thee. Secondly, the name of God is often in Scripture put for the attributes of God. Thirdly, the name of God is put for his ordinances of worship. "Go ye now unto my place which was in Shiloh, where I set my name at the first" ( Jeremiah 12:12 ), that is, where I first set up my public worship; because, as a man is known by his proper name, so is God by his proper worship. Fourthly, the name of God is that reverence, esteem and honour which angels and men give unto God. As we know amongst us, the report and reputation that a man hath among men is a man's name; what men speak of him, that is his name; such an one hath a good name, we say; such an one hath an ill name, that is, men speak or think well or ill of such persons. So Genesis 6:4 . When Moses describes the giants, he saith, "They were men of renown"; the Hebrew is, "They were men of name", because the name of a man is the character he hath amongst men; as a man is esteemed, so his name is carried, and himself is accepted in the world. So the name of God is that high esteem, those honourable apprehensions, which angels and men have of God; such as the thoughts and speeches of men are for the celebration of God's glory and praise, such is his name in the world. --Joseph Caryl.

Verse 1. For ever and ever. d[z ~lw[l, leolam vaed, for ever onward, in this and the coming world. Expressions of this sort are very difficult to be translated, but they are, on the whole, well interpreted by those words of Mr. Addison: --

"Through all eternity to thee,
A joyful song I'll raise;
But oh, eternity's too short
To utter all thy praise!" --Adam Clarke.

Verse 1. For ever and ever. Praise is the only part of duty in which we at present engage, which is lasting. We pray, but there shall be a time when prayer shall offer its last litany; we believe, but there shall be a time when faith shall be lost in sight; we hope, and hope maketh not ashamed, but there shall be a time when hope lies down and dies, lost in the splendour of the fruition that God shall reveal. But praise goes singing into heaven, and is ready without a teacher to strike the harp, that is waiting for it, to transmit along the echoes of eternity the song of the Lamb. In the party coloured world in which we live, there are days of various sorts and experiences, making up the aggregate of the Christian's life. There are waiting days, in which, because Providence fences us round, and it seems as if we cannot march, we cannot move, as though we must just wait to see what the Lord is about to do in us and for us; and there are watching days, when it behooves us never to slumber, but to be always ready for the attacks of our spiritual enemy; and there are warring days, when with nodding plume, and with ample armour, we must go forth to do battle for the truth; and there are weeping days, when it seems as if the fountains of the great deep within us were broken up; and as though, through much tribulation, we had to pass to heaven in tears. But these days shall all pass away by and by -- waiting days all be passed, warring days all be passed, watching days all be passed; but

"Our days of praise shall ne'er be past
While life, and thought, and being last,
And immortality endures." --William Morley Punshon, 1824-1881.

Verse 1. For ever and ever. To praise God now does not satisfy devout aspiration, for in this age the worshipper's devotion is interrupted by sin, fear, sickness, etc.; but in eternity praise will proceed in unbroken procession. --John Lorinus.

Verse 1-2. I will bless thee for ever and ever, and again, Psalms 145:2 . This intimates,

  1. That he resolved to continue in this work to the end of his life, throughout his "for ever" in this world.
  2. That the psalms he penned should be made use of in praising God by the church to the end of time. 2 Chronicles 29:30 .
  3. That he hoped to be praising God to all eternity in the other world: they that make it their constant work on earth, shall have it their everlasting bliss in heaven. --Matthew Henry.

HINTS FOR PASTORS AND LAYPERSONS

Verse 1-2. Praise.

  1. Personal praise.
  2. Daily praise.
  3. Enthusiastic praise.
  4. Perpetual praise.

Or:

  1. The attractive theme of the song.
  2. The increasing fulness of the song.
  3. The unending life of the singer. --C. A. D.

Verse 1-2. The four "I wills" of praise. Praise to the King; praise to the divine character; praise for all time; praise for all eternity.