Verse 19. Blessed be the Lord. At the mention of the presence of God among men the singers utter an earnest acclamation suggested by reverential love, and return blessings to him who so plentifully blesses his people.
Who daily loadeth us with benefits. Our version contains a great and precious truth, though probably not the doctrine intended here. God's benefits are not few nor light, they are loads; neither are they intermittent, but they come "daily;" nor are they confined to one or two favourites, for all Israel can say, he loadeth us with benefits. Delitzsch reads it, "He daily bears our burden;" and Alexander, "Whoever lays a load upon us, the Mighty God is our salvation." If he himself burdens us with sorrow, he gives strength sufficient to sustain it; and if others endeavour to oppress us, there is no cause for fear, for the Lord will come to the rescue of his people. Happy nation, to be subdued by a King whose yoke is easy, and who secures his people from all fear of foreign burdens which their foes might try to force upon them.
Even the God of our salvation. A name most full of glory to him, and consolation to us. No matter how strong the enemy, we shall be delivered out of his hands; for God himself, as King, undertakes to save his people from all harm. What a glorious stanza this is! It is dark only because of its excessive light. A world of meaning is condensed into a few words. His yoke is easy, and his burden is light, therefore blessed be the Saviour's name for evermore. All hail! thou thrice blessed Prince of Peace! All thy saved ones adore thee, and call thee blessed.
Selah. Well may the strings need tuning, they have borne an unparalleled strain in this mighty song. Higher and yet higher, ye men of music, lift up the strain. Dance before the ark, ye maidens of Israel; bring forth the timbrel, and sing unto the Lord who hath triumphed gloriously.
EXPLANATORY NOTES AND QUAINT SAYINGS
Verse 19. Blessed be the Lord, etc. I think the sweet singer of Israel seems to raise his note to the emulation of the choir of heaven in the melody of their Allelujahs; yea, let me say, now that he sings above in that blessed consort of glorious spirits, his ditty cannot be better than this that he sang here upon earth, and wherein we are about to bear our parts at this time. Prepare, I beseech you, both your ears for David's song, and your hearts and tongues for your own. And first, in this angelic strain your thoughts cannot but observe the descant and the ground. The descant of gratulation, Blessed be the Lord, wherein is both applause and excitation; an applause given to God's goodness, and an excitation of others to give that applause. The ground is a threefold respect. Of what God is in himself, God and Lord; of what God is and doth to us, which loadeth us daily with benefits; of what he is both in himself and to us, the God of our salvation; which last (like to some rich stone) is set off with a dark foil: To God the Lord belong the issues from death. So, in the first for his own sake, in the second for our sakes, in the third for his own and ours; as God, as Lord, as a benefactor; as a Saviour and deliverer. Blessed be the Lord. It is not hard to observe that David's Allelujahs are more that his Hosannas, his thanks more than his suits. Ofttimes doth he praise God when he begs nothing; seldom ever doth he beg that favour, for which he doth not raise up his soul to an anticipation of thanks; neither is this any other than the universal under song of all his heavenly ditties, Blessed be the Lord. Praises (as our former translation hath it) is too low; honour is more than praise; blessing is more than honour. Neither is it for nothing that from this word $rb, to bless, is derived $rb, the knee, which is bowed in blessing; and the crier before Joseph proclaimed Abrech, calling for the honour of the knee from all beholders. Genesis 41:43 . Every slight, trivial acknowledgment of worth is a praise; blessing is in a higher strain of gratitude, that carries the whole sway of the heart with it in a kind of divine rapture. Praise is a matter of compliment; blessing of devotion. The apostle's rule is, that the less is blessed of the greater, Abraham of the King of Salem, the prophet's charge is, that the greater should be blessed of the less, yea, the greatest of the least, God of man. This agrees well; blessing is an act that will bear reciprocation; God blesseth man imperatively; man blesseth God optatively. God blesseth man in the acts of mercy; man blesseth God in the notions, in the expressions of thanks. God blesses man when he makes him good and happy; man blesseth God when he confesseth how good, how gracious, how glorious he is; so as the blessing is wholly taken up in agnation, (acknowledgment), in celebration: in the one we acknowledge the bounty of God to us; in the other we magnify him vocally, really, for that bounty. O see, then, what high account God makes of the affections and actions that his poor, silly, earth creeping creatures; that he gives us in them power to bless himself, and takes it as an honour to be blessed of us. David wonders that God should so vouchsafe to bless man; how much more must we needs wonder at the mercy of God, that will vouchsafe to be blessed by man, a worm, an atom, a nothing? Yet both, James tells us, that with the tongue we bless God; and the psalmist calls for it here as a service of dear acceptation, Blessed be the Lord. Even we men live not (chameleon like) upon the air of thanks, nor grow the fatter for praises; how much less our Maker? O God, we know well that whatsoever men or angels do, or do not, thou canst not but be infinitely blessed in thyself; before ever any creature was, thou didst equally enjoy thy blessed self from all eternity: what can this worthless, loose film of flesh either add to or detract from thine infiniteness? Yet thou, that humbleth thyself to behold the things that are done in heaven and earth, humblest thyself also to accept the weak breath of our praises, that are sent up to thee from earth to heaven. How should this encourage the vows, the endeavours of our hearty thankfulness, to see them graciously taken? If men would take up with good words, with good desires, and quit our bonds for thanks, who would be a debtor? With the God of Mercy this cheap payment is current. If he, then, will honour us so far as to be blessed of us, Oh let us honour him so far as to bless him. Joseph Hall, in "A Sermon of Public Thanksgiving for the Wonderful Mitigation of the late Mortality." 1625.
Verse 19. Blessed be the Lord. It is not a little remarkable to see the saints so burdened and overcharged with the duty of singing his praise, that,
- They are forced to come off with an excess of praise, and offer to praise him and even leave it, as it were, as they found it, and say no more, lest they should spill his praises; but, as Revelation 5:12 , "Worthy is the Lamb to receive glory and honour," though I be not worthy or able to give it to him.
- That they speak broken language and half sentences in their songs, when they are deeply loaden with the deep sense of his love, as Blessed be the Lord, who daily loadeth us with benefits; there is no more in the original but Blessed be the Lord, that loadeth us. John Spalding, in "Synaxis Sacra."
Verse 19. Who daily loadeth us with benefits. Though some may have more than others, yet every one hath his load, as much as he can carry. Every vessel cannot bear up with the like sail, and therefore God, to keep us from oversetting, puts on so much as will safest bring us to heaven, our desired port. Ezekiel Hopkins.
Verse 19. Who daily loadeth us with benefits. Such is man's self love that no inward worth can so attract his praises as outward beneficence. While thou makest much of thyself, every one shall speak well of thee; how much more while thou makest much of them! Here God hath met with us also. Not to perplex you with scanning the variety of senses wherewith I have observed this Psalm, above all other of David's, to abound; see here, I beseech you, a fourfold gradation of divine bounty. First, here are benefits. The word is not expressed in the original, but necessarily implied in the sense: for there are but three loads whereof man is capable from God, favours, precepts, punishments, the other two are out of the road of gratulation. When we might therefore have expected judgments, behold benefits. And those, secondly, not sparingly hand fulled out to us, but dealt to us by the whole load: loaded with benefits. Whom, thirdly, doth he load but us? Not worthy and well deserving subjects, but us, ~yrrwm, rebels. And, lastly, this he doth, not at one dole and no more (as even churls' rare feasts use to be plentiful), but ~wy ~wy successively, unweariedly, perpetually. One favour were too much, here are benefits; a sprinkling were too much, here is a load; once were too oft, here is daily enlarging, (largeness, bounty). Cast your eyes, therefore, a little upon this threefold exaggeration of beneficence; the measure, a load of benefits; the subject, unworthy us; the time, daily. Who daily loadeth us with benefits. Where shall we begin to survey this vast load of mercies? Were it no more, but that he hath given us a world to live in, a life to enjoy, air to breathe in, earth to tread on, fire to warm us, water to cool and cleanse us, clothes to cover us, food to nourish us, sleep to refresh us, houses to shelter us, variety of creatures to serve and delight us; here were a just load. But now, if we yet add to these, civility of breeding, dearness of friends, competency of estate, degrees of honour, honesty or dignity of vocation, favour of princes, success in employments, domestic comforts, outward peace, good reputation, preservation from dangers, rescue from evils; the load is well mended. If yet, ye shall come closer, and add due proportion of body, integrity of parts, perfection of senses, strength of nature, mediocrity of health, sufficiency of appetite, vigour of digestion, wholesome temper of seasons, freedom from cares; this course must needs heighten it yet more. If still ye shall add to these, the order, and power, and exercise of our inward faculties, enriched with wisdom, art, learning, experience, expressed by a handsome elocution, and shall now lay all these together that concern estate, body, mind; how can the axle tree of the soul but crack under the load of these favours? But, if from what God hath done for us as men, we look to what he hath done for us as Christians; that he enlivened us by his Spirit, fed us by his word and sacraments, clothed us with his merits, bought us with his blood, becoming vile to make us glorious, a curse, to invest us with blessedness; in a word, that he hath given himself to us, his Son for us; Oh the height, and depth, and breadth of the rich mercies of our God! Oh the boundless, topless, bottomless, load of divine benefits, whose immensity reaches from the centre of this earth, to the unlimited extent of the very imperial heavens! "Oh that men would praise the Lord for his goodness, and declare the wonders that he hath done for the children of men." Joseph Hall.
HINTS FOR PASTORS AND LAYPERSONS
- The load of benefits.
- The load of obligation.
- The load of praise due in return.
- Salvation is not to be forgotten in the midst of
- Daily mercies are not to be forgotten in the
enjoyment of salvation. G. R.