History supplies a terrible comment on this psalm. “Under the illusion that it might be used as a prayer without any spiritual transmutation, Psalms 149. has become the watchword of the most horrible errors. It was by means of this psalm that Caspar Scloppius, in his Classicum Bibliœ Sacrœ, which, as Bakius says, is written, not with ink but with blood, inflamed the Roman Catholic princes to the thirty years’ religious war and in the Protestant Church Thomas Monzen stirred up the war of the peasants by means of this psalm” (Delitzsch).
So the fanaticism and cruelty of times that should have been more enlightened have been fed by the record the Jews have left of their blended religious and patriotic zeal. The age when such a psalm was most likely to be produced was undoubtedly that of the Maccabees, and the coincidence between Psalm 149:6 of the psalm and 2 Maccabees 15:27 may indicate the very series of events amid which, with hymns of praise in their throats, and a two-edged sword in their hand, the chasîdîm in battle after battle claimed and won the honour of executing vengeance on Jehovah’s foes. The synthetic parallelism is finely marked.
The congregation.—Apparently the psalm puts us in the Maccabæan age, when the chasîdîm was become a regular title for the patriotic party.
Timbrel.—See Exodus 15:20; Bible Educator, i. 314.
Harp.—See Psalm 33:2.
“Let the chasîdîm raise a cry in glory:
Let them sing aloud upon their couches.”
Either the rejoicing is carried far into the night, and when retired to rest the happy people burst ‘out anew into singing; or (see Hosea 7:14), the couches may rather be the divans where feasts were held.
This honour.—Israel is here regarded as the instrument of God’s righteous judgments on the heathen.