which dwelleth at Jerusalem; in the temple there; and which distinguishes him from the idols of the Heathens before mentioned; and who dwells in the heavenly Jerusalem, in Gospel churches; and will dwell in the New Jerusalem, where his tabernacle will be with men, Revelation 21:3;
praise ye the Lord; or "hallelujah"; and so the psalm ends as it begun, being from first to last an exhortation to praise.
INTRODUCTION TO Psalm 136
This psalm was very probably composed by David, and given to the Levites to sing every day, 1 Chronicles 16:41. Solomon his son followed his example, and made use of them in singing at the dedication of the temple, 2 Chronicles 7:3; as Jehoshaphat seems to have done when he went out to war against his enemies, 2 Chronicles 20:21. The subject of it is much the same with the preceding psalm; its composition is very singular; the half of every verse: in it is, "for his mercy endureth for ever"; this is the burden of the song; and the design of it is to show, that all blessings of every kind flow from the grace, goodness, and mercy of God, which is constant and perpetual; and to impress a sense of it upon the minds of men: the inscription of the Syriac version is,
"it is said of Moses and Israel praising the Lord for those who were delivered; and concerning the deliverance of souls out of hell from Pharaoh, the devil, by Christ our Saviour, the Redeemer of them.''
R. Obadiah says it is an exhortation to the children of God in the days of the Messiah to praise the Lord.
for his mercy endureth for ever; it is the same with his love, which is from everlasting to everlasting; and continues notwithstanding the sins of his people, the hidings of his face from them, and his chastisements of them; the covenant which is founded on mercy, and all the blessings of it, which are the sure mercies of David, last for ever; and hence the vessels of mercy shall certainly be saved, and not lost; see Psalm 106:1.
for his mercy endureth for ever; in the preservation of those excellent creatures from apostasy, when many of their species fell; and in the continuance and confirmation of them in the state in which they were created; and in making use of them as ministering spirits to the heirs of salvation; and as a guard about them while they live, and at death to convey their souls to heaven.
(r) Hierocles in Carm. Pythagor. p. 10. (s) Macrob. Saturnal. l. 1. c. 9.
for his mercy endureth for ever; in putting it into the hearts of kings and princes, which he has in his hands, to show favour to his people, even to be their nursing fathers; and in curbing the power, restraining the wrath, of oppressors; and protecting his people from their rage and violence.
for his mercy endureth for ever: towards his people, for whose sake all these wonders are wrought.
for his mercy endureth for ever; which appears in the continued influences of the heaven; the dew, rain, and snow, that descend from it on the earth to water and make it fruitful, and to produce those rich and valuable blessings called the "precious things of heaven", Deuteronomy 33:13; and which are of the utmost importance for the service of man and beast: and, besides, God has of his infinite mercy, which continues, provided an inheritance in the heavens, a house eternal in the heavens, mansions of bliss and glory there, which Christ is now preparing for his saints, that they may dwell with him in them for evermore.
for his mercy endureth for ever; it was in mercy he caused the waters to go off the earth which first covered it; that trees, plants, and herbs, might spring up out of it, and that it might be a fit habitation for man; and though for the sins of the old world these waters were let in upon it, which drowned it, and destroyed man and beast upon it, except a few that were in mercy preserved; yet the Lord has promised and swore to it, that these waters shall no more go over the earth to destroy it; he has set a bound for the sea that it cannot pass, by a decree of his; even the sand on the shore, which, as weak as it may seem to be, is a bound unpassable; though they may toss and rage and roar, they shall not prevail, nor pass over it, which is a perpetual miracle of mercy, Jeremiah 5:22.
(t) "juxta aquas", Tirinus, Gejerus, Michaelis.
for his mercy endureth for ever; these lights continuing for the benefit of mankind.
for his mercy endureth for ever: this great light, so beneficial to the earth and the inhabitants of it, which was made near six thousand years ago, still continues, and will to the end of time; enlightening the world, warming the air and earth, imparting its light and heat to all creatures on it, and influencing the earth to bring forth a variety of things for the use and delight of mankind, called "the precious things brought forth by the sun", Deuteronomy 33:14; an emblem of a more beneficial light, in which the rich grace and mercy of God appear, and for which we have reason to give thanks; even the sun of righteousness, the Messiah, the light of the world, the author of the light of nature, grace, and glory; and who will continue as long as the sun, and when that shall be no more, Malachi 4:2.
for his mercy endureth for ever; in continuing these lights, so useful to men, as well as in making of them: the moon and stars have their benign influences upon the earth, to produce things out of it useful to men; see Deuteronomy 33:14; and are of singular service to benighted travellers, and to those that go down to the sea in ships; see Acts 27:20. The moon is an emblem of the church, that receives her light from Christ, the sun, and which will continue for ever; and, stars are emblems of Gospel ministers, who are the means of enlightening dark souls, and of refreshing disconsolate saints; and are a continued mercy to an ignorant world, as well as to the church, and will be continued as long as it stands; see Sol 6:10, Matthew 5:14.
for his mercy endureth for ever; the Israelites, in a very merciful manner, were distinguished by the blood sprinkled on their door posts, when the destroying angel passed through the land of Egypt to destroy their firstborn; and when they were destroyed, it was owing to the kind providence of God that the Egyptians did not rise as one man to cut off the Israelites in vengeance; and yet not a dog was suffered to move his tongue against them when the dismal cry was made; yea, this was the means of their deliverance, which could not be obtained by all the other plagues; but now they not only bid them go, but were urgent upon them to be gone, Exodus 11:5.
for his mercy endureth for ever; and this is a proof of it, bringing the children of Israel out of Egypt, the house of bondage; when they cried unto him by reason of it, and he sent them a Saviour to deliver them out of their distress, Exodus 2:23; an emblem of the grace and mercy of God, in delivering his people from a worse than Egyptian bondage; from the bondage of sin, Satan, the law, and through fear of death, into the glorious liberty of the children of God.
for his mercy endureth for ever; it was mercy put the Lord on stretching out his arm, and showing the strength of his right hand, in delivering Israel out of Egypt; and in his love and in his pity he redeemed them, Isaiah 63:9. It is owing to the tender mercies of our God, and is a performing the mercy promised to the fathers, that Christ, the dayspring from on high, was sent to visit and redeem us, Luke 1:68; and the regeneration, quickening, and conversion of sinners, are acts of mercy as well as of power, Ephesians 2:4.
for his mercy endureth for ever; the children of Israel were encompassed about, and in the utmost distress: the rocks were on each side, Pharaoh and his host behind them, the Red sea before them; and so no visible way of escape; but the Lord cut a way for them through the sea, and saved them. The sea is an emblem of this world, which is like a tempestuous troubled sea; where everything is restless, fluctuating, and passing away; where the people of God are tossed with tempests; and where afflictions, like the waves and billows of the sea, come over them one after another; and through which they must pass and enter the kingdom: and God, that wills, orders, and appoints them, sets these proud waves of the sea their bounds, or makes them a calm; and, sooner or later, makes a way through them and out of them, which is owing to his enduring mercy, 1 Corinthians 10:13.
for his mercy endureth for ever; to which, and to his never failing compassion, it is owing that they are not consumed, Lamentations 3:22.
for his mercy endureth for ever; it was in mercy to Israel that Pharaoh and his host were destroyed, who threatened them with ruin; and therefore they sung of judgment and of mercy, and gave thanks to God for this instance of his vengeance on their enemies, and of goodness to them, Exodus 15:1.
(u) "excussit", V. L. Pagninus, Montanus, Junius & Tremellius, Piscator, &c.
for his mercy endureth for ever; among the manifold mercies of God, shown to Israel in the wilderness, this is one taken notice of by Nehemiah, Nehemiah 9:19; that the pillar of cloud and fire, to direct them, never departed from them while in it: and this act of "leading" them not only includes the guidance of them in the way, but the provision made for them; of water out of the rock, and of manna that fell about their tents every day; and of flesh and feathered fowl, like dust, so that they wanted nothing; and also the protection of them from their enemies: all which were proofs of his constant care over them, and continual mercy to them; see Psalm 78:15.
for his mercy endureth for ever; the smiting of those kings were in mercy to Israel; both to preserve them from falling into their hands, and that they might possess their countries, as is later declared.
for his mercy endureth for ever; towards his own people, for whose sake these kings were slain.
for his mercy endureth for ever; since this king would not suffer Israel to go through his borders, but came out and fought against them; and had not the Lord smote him, they must have fallen a prey into his hands, Numbers 21:23.
for his mercy endureth for ever; for this mighty king came out against Israel, and threatened their destruction, and it was of the Lord's mercies they were not consumed by him. And it may be observed, whenever tyrannical princes and oppressors are cut off, it is in mercy to the inhabitants of the earth, and especially to the people of God.
for his mercy endureth for ever; while his justice is exercised on some, in a strict manner, with severity and rigour, his mercy is shown to others.
for his mercy endureth for ever; Aben Ezra and Kimchi make the mercy to lie in this peculiarly, that the lands of these kings were not in the covenant with Abraham; only the seven nations or kingdoms of Canaan, which are not here mentioned, as in Psalm 135:11; but the Amorites were given in the covenant, Genesis 15:21; and the one as the other were given as an inheritance to Israel, and equally owing to the mercy of God; see Psalm 135:11. And thus the heavenly glory, of which Canaan was a type, is an inheritance owing to the mercy of our Lord Jesus Christ, Jde 1:21.
"he hath remembered his covenant with us;''
for his mercy endureth for ever; which appears in the mission of his Son to save; in giving his Spirit to regenerate and quicken when dead in sin, and to revive and restore when backslidden.
for his mercy endureth for ever; as is clearly seen in redemption by Jesus Christ, where mercy and truth have met together; and which is a distinguishing mercy to the sons of men, not granted to angels.
for his mercy endureth for ever; he continues to have compassion on his creatures, and opens his hand of providence, and supplies their wants; he is ever mindful of his covenant of grace and mercy, and therefore gives meat to them that fear him, Psalm 111:5.