Verse 6. Let everything that hath breath praise the Lord. "Let all breath praise him": that is to say, all living beings. He gave them breath, let them breathe his praise. His name is in the Hebrew composed rather of breathings than of letters, to show that all breath comes from him: therefore let it be used for him. Join all ye living things in the eternal song. Be ye least or greatest, withhold not your praises. What a day will it be when all things in all places unite to glorify the one only living and true God! This will be the final triumph of the church of God.
Praise ye the LORD. Once more, Hallelujah! Thus is the Psalm rounded with the note of praise; and thus is the Book of Psalms ended by a glowing word of adoration. Reader, wilt not thou at this moment pause a while, and worship the Lord thy God? Hallelujah!
EXPLANATORY NOTES AND QUAINT SAYINGS
Verse 6. Praise ye the Lord. As the life of the faithful, and the history of the church, so also the Psalter, with all its cries from the depths, runs out into a Hallelujah. --E.W. Hengstenberg.
Verse 6. Praise ye the LORD. When we have said all we are able to say for God's praise, we are but to begin anew; for this are we taught by the renewing of the exhortation, in the close of sundry Psalms, and here also at the end of all the Psalms: "Praise ye the LORD." --David Dickson.
Verse 6. Let all breath praise Jah! Hallelujah. The very ambiguity of "all breath" gives extraordinary richness of meaning to this closing sentence. From the simple idea of wind instruments, mentioned in the context, it leads us, by a beautiful transition, to that of vocal, articulate, intelligent praise, uttered by the breath of living men, as distinguished from mere lifeless instruments. Then, lastly, by a natural association, we ascend to the idea expressed in the common version, "everything that hath breath", not merely all that lives, but all that has a voice to praise God. There is nothing in the Psalter more majestic or more beautiful than this brief but most significant finale, in which solemnity of tone predominates, without however in the least disturbing the exhilaration which the close of the Psalter seems intended to produce; as if in emblematical allusion to the triumph which awaits the church and all its members, when through much tribulation they shall enter into rest. -- Joseph Addison Alexander.
HINTS FOR PASTORS AND LAYPERSONS
- The august Giver of "life, and breath, and all things."
- The due and true use of the gifts of life.
- The resultant swathing of earth in consecrated atmosphere, and millennial hallelujahs. --W.B.H.
Verse 6. A fitting close to the psalter, considered as a desire, a prayer, or an exhortation.
- As a desire, it realizes the glory due to God, the worship ennobling to man, the disposition of heart which would make all the world into a holy brotherhood.
- As a prayer, it seeks the downfall of every superstition, the universal spread of the truth, the conversion of every soul.
- As an exhortation, it is plain, pertinent, pure in its piety, perfect in its charity. - -J.F.