God to be praised as the Creator of the world. (1-9) As Israel's God and Saviour. (10-22) For his blessings to all. (23-26)
Verses 1-9 Forgetful as we are, things must be often repeated to us. By "mercy" we understand the Lord's disposition to save those whom sin has rendered miserable and vile, and all the provision he has made for the redemption of sinners by Jesus Christ. The counsels of this mercy have been from everlasting, and the effects of it will endure for ever, to all who are interested in it. The Lord continues equally ready to show mercy to all who seek for it, and this is the source of all our hope and comfort.
Verses 10-22 The great things God did for Israel, when he brought them out of Egypt, were mercies which endured long to them; and our redemption by Christ, which was typified thereby, endures for ever. It is good to enter into the history of God's favours, and in each to observe, and own, that his mercy endureth for ever. He put them in possession of a good land; it was a figure of the mercy of our Lord Jesus Christ.
Verses 23-26 God's everlasting mercy is here praised for the redemption of his church; in all his glories, and all his gifts. Blessed be God, who has provided and made known to us salvation through his Son. May we know and feel his redeeming power, that we may serve him in righteousness all our days. May He who giveth food to all flesh, feed our souls unto eternal life, and enliven our affections by his grace, that we may give thanks and praise to his holy name, for his mercy endureth for ever. Let us trace up all the favours we receive to this true source, and offer praise continually.
Psalms 136:1-26 . The theme is the same as that of Psalm 135. God should be praised for His works of creation and providence, His deliverance and care of His people, and judgments on their enemies, and His goodness to all. The chorus to every verse is in terms of that of Psalms 106:1 , 118:1-4 , and was perhaps used as the Amen by the people, in worship (compare 1 Chronicles 16:36 , Psalms 105:45 ).
1-3. The divine titles denote supremacy.
4. alone--excluding all help.
5, 6. by wisdom--or, "in wisdom" ( Psalms 104:24 ).
made--literally, "maker of."
above the waters--or, "higher than the waters" ( Psalms 24:2 ).
12. Compare similar expressions ( Exodus 3:20 , Deuteronomy 4:34 , &c.).
15. overthrew--literally, "shook off," as in Exodus 14:27 , as a contemptuous rejection of a reptile.
23. remembered us--or, "for us" ( Psalms 132:1 ).
our low estate--that is, captivity.
24. And hath redeemed us--or, literally, "snatched us"--alluding to the sudden deliverance effected by the overthrow of Babylon.
25. To the special favors to His people is added the record of God's goodness to all His creatures (compare Matthew 6:30 ).
26. God of heaven--occurs but once ( Jonah 1:9 ) before the captivity. It is used by the later writers as specially distinguishing God from idols.