Verse 3. Sing unto him a new song. All songs of praise should be unto him. Singing for singing's sake is nothing worth; we must carry our tribute to the King, and not cast it to the winds. Do most worshippers mind this? Our faculties should be exercised when we are magnifying the Lord, so as not to run in an old groove without thought; we ought to make every hymn of praise a new song. To keep up the freshness of worship is a great thing, and in private it is indispensable. Let us not present old worn out praise, but put life, and soul, and heart, into every song, since we have new mercies every day, and see new beauties in the work and word of our Lord. Play skilfully. It is wretched to hear God praised in a slovenly manner. He deserves the best that we have. Every Christian should endeavour to sing according to the rules of the art, so that he may keep time and tune with the congregation. The sweetest tunes and the sweetest voices, with the sweetest words, are all too little for the Lord our God; let us not offer him limping rhymes, set to harsh tunes, and growled out by discordant voices. With a loud noise. Heartiness should be conspicuous in divine worship. Well bred whispers are disreputable here. It is not that the Lord cannot hear us, but that it is natural for great exultation to express itself in the loudest manner. Men shout at the sight of their kings: shall we offer no loud hosannahs to the Son of David?
EXPLANATORY NOTES AND QUAINT SAYINGS
Verse 3. Sing unto him.
- Singing is the music of nature. The Scriptures tell us the mountains sing Isaiah 55:12 ; the valleys sing Psalms 65:13 ; the trees of the wood sing 1Ch 16:33; nay, the air is the birds' music room, they chant their musical notes.
- Singing is the music of ordinances. Augustine reports of himself, that when he came to Milan and heard the people sing, he wept for joy in the church to hear that pleasing melody. And Beza confesses that at his first entrance into the congregation, and hearing them sing the ninety-first Psalm, he felt himself exceedingly comforted, and did retain the sound of it afterwards upon his heart. The Rabbins tell us that the Jews, after the feast of the Passover was celebrated, sang the hundred and eleventh and five following Psalms; and our Saviour and his apostles sang a hymn immediately after the blessed Supper. Mt 26:30.
- Singing is the music of saints.
- They have performed this duty in their greatest numbers. Psalms 149:1-2 .
- In their greatest straits. Isa 26:19.
- In their greatest flight. Isaiah 42:10-11 .
- In their greatest deliverances.
- In their greatest plenties. Isaiah 65:14 . In all these changes singing hath been their stated duty and delight. And indeed it is meet that the saints and servants of God should sing forth their joys and praises to the Lord Almighty: every attribute of him can set both their song and their tune.
- Singing is the music of angels. Job tells us "the morning stars sang together," Job 38:7 . Now these "morning stars," as Pineda tells us, are the angels; to which the Chaldee paraphrase accords, naming these morning stars, aciem angelorum, an host of angels. Nay, when this heavenly host was sent to proclaim the birth of our dearest Jesus, they deliver their message in this raised way of duty. Luke 2:13 . They were (ainountej), delivering their messages in a laudatory singing, the whole company of angels making a musical quire. Nay, in heaven there is the angels' joyous music; they there sing hallelujahs to the Most High, and to the Lamb who sits upon the throne, Revelation 5:11 .
- Singing is the music of heaven; the glorious saints and angels accent their praises this way, and make one harmony in their state of blessedness; and this is the music of the Bride chamber. The saints who were tuning here their Psalms, are now singing their hallelujahs in a louder strain, and articulating their joys, which here they could not express to their perfect satisfaction; here they laboured with drowsy hearts, and faltering tongues; but in glory these impediments are removed, and nothing is left to jar their joyful celebration. John Wells, in "Morning Exercises."
Verse 3. A new song. That is to say, a new and recent composition on account of recent benefits; or constantly new songs, song succeeding song as daily new material for divine praise offers itself to the attentive student of the works of God. Or new, that is, always fresh and full of life, and renewed as new occasions offer themselves: as Job says, "My glory was fresh in me, and my bow was renewed in my hand." Or new, i.e., not common but rare and exquisite; as the new name in Revelation 2:17 ; the new commandment; John 13:34 . Or this respects the gospel state, wherein is a new covenant Hebrews 8:8 , a new Jerusalem Revelation 21:2 , a new man Ephesians 2:15 , and all things new, 2 Corinthians 5:17 . New, on account of its matter being unknown of men: as in Revelation 14:3 , "They sung a new song," and no man could learn that song but the hundred and forty and four thousand, which were redeemed from the earth. New may be used in opposition to old. The song of Moses is old, and of the Lamb is new. Martin Geir (1614-1681), in "Poli Synopsis Criticorum."
Verse 3. Sing unto him a new song. Put off oldness: ye know the new song. A new man, a New Testament, a new song. A new song belongeth not to men that are old; none learn that but new men, renewed through grace from oldness, and belonging now to the New Testament, which is the kingdom of heaven. Augustine.
Verse 3. A new song; namely, sung with such fervency of affections as novelties usually bring with them; or, always new, seeing God's graces never wax old; or, sung by the motion of this new spirit of grace, which doth not so much look after the old benefits of the creation as after the new benefit of the redemption in Christ, which renews all things. Psalms 40:3 96:1 Revelation 5:9 14:3. John Diodati.
Verse 3. Sing unto him a new song. It is a melancholy proof of the decline of the church, when the exhortation to sing a new song is no longer attended to: in such a case, there is need of the greatest care to prevent the old ones falling into oblivion. E. W. Hengstenberg.
Verse 3. Play skilfully. It is not an easy matter to praise God aright; it must be done corde, ore, spere, with the very best of the best. John Trapp.
HINTS FOR PASTORS AND LAYPERSONS
Verse 3. (first clause). The duty of maintaining the freshness of our devotions.
Freshness, skill, and heartiness, to be combined in our congregational psalmody.