Verse 2. Bless the LORD, O my soul. He is in real earnest, and again calls upon himself to arise. Had he been very sleepy before? Or was he now doubly sensible of the importance, the imperative necessity of adoration? Certainly, he uses no vain repetitions, for the Holy Spirit guides his pen; and thus he shews us that we have need, again and again, to bestir ourselves when we are about to worship God, for it would be shameful to offer him anything less than the utmost our souls can render. These first verses are a tuning of the harp, a screwing up of the loosened strings that not a note may fail in the sacred harmony.
And forget not all his benefits. Not so much as one of the divine dealings should be forgotten, they are all really beneficial to us, all worthy of himself, and all subjects for praise. Memory is very treacherous about the best things; by a strange perversity, engendered by the fall, it treasures up the refuse of the past and permits priceless treasures to lie neglected, it is tenacious of grievances and holds benefits all too loosely. It needs spurring to its duty, though that duty ought to be its delight. Observe that he calls all that is within him to remember all the Lord's benefits. For our task our energies should be suitably called out. God's all cannot be praised with less than our all.
Reader, have we not cause enough at this time to bless him who blesses us? Come, let us read our diaries and see if there be not choice favours recorded there for which we have rendered no grateful return. Remember how the Persian king, when he conld not sleep, read the chronicles of the empire, and discovered that one who had saved his life had never been rewarded. How quickly did he do him honour! The Lord has saved us with a great salvation, shall we render no recompense? The name of ingrate is one of the most shameful that a man can wear; surely we cannot be content to run the risk of such a brand. Let us awake then, and with intense enthusiasm bless Jehovah.
EXPLANATORY NOTES AND QUAINT SAYINGS
Verse 2. Bless the Lord, O my soul. David found some dulness and drowsiness; hence he so often puts the thorn to his breast; hence he so impetuously instigateth his soul, as one here phraseth it. John Trapp.
Verse 2. Forget not. This touches the secret spring of so much ingratitude -- forgetfulness, the want of re-collection, or gathering together again of all the varied threads of mercy. Compare Deuteronomy 6:12 ; Deuteronomy 8:11 Deuteronomy 8:14 . "Si oblivisceris, tacebis" (If thou forgettest, thou wilt be silent). J. J. S. Perowne.
Verse 2. Forget not all his benefits. That is, forget not any of his benefits, as the form of speech in the original doth import. David Dickson.
Verse 2. Benefits. The word rendered "benefits" -- lwmg gemul, means properly an act, work, doing, whether good or evil, Psalms 137:8 ; and then, desert, or what a man deserves for his act; recompense. It is rendered deserving in Judges 9:16 ; benefit, as here, in 2 Chronicles 32:25 ; desert, Psalms 28:4 ; reward, Psalms 94:2 Isaiah 3:11 Obadiah 1:15 ; recompense, Proverbs 12:14 Isaiah 35:4 59:18 66:6 Jeremiah 51:6 Lamentations 3:64 Joel 3:4 Joel 3:7 . The proper reference here is to the Divine dealings, to what God had done, as a reason for blessing his name. His dealings with the Psalmist had been such as to call for praise and gratitude. What those dealings particularly were he specifies in the following verses. Albert Barnes.
HINTS FOR PASTORS AND LAYPERSONS
Verse 2. Inquire into the causes of our frequent forgetfulness of the Lord's mercies, show the evil of it, and advise remedies.