the praise of all his saints; that is, the Lord is the object of the praise of all his saints, to whom he has showed favour and kindness, and on whom he has bestowed the blessings of his grace; it is matter of praise that they are saints, set apart by God the Father, sanctified by the blood of Christ, and by the Spirit of God; and that their horn is exalted, or they raised to dignity and honour; and that Christ is raised and lifted up as an horn for them, 1 Corinthians 1:30, Luke 1:68;
even of the children of Israel; not literal but spiritual Israel, such who are Israelites indeed, whether Jews or Gentiles;
a people near unto him; in respect of union, being one with him, in the bond of everlasting love; in respect of relation, being near akin, he their father, they his children, not by creation only, but by adopting grace; and Christ their near kinsman, nay, their father, brother, head, and husband; in respect of access unto him, which they have through Christ, with boldness and confidence, being made nigh and brought near by the blood of Christ; in respect of communion and the enjoyment of his gracious presence; and in respect of inhabitation, God, Father, Son, and Spirit, dwelling in them, and making their abode with them: or, as it may be rendered, "the people of his near one" (h); that is, of Christ, who is near to God his Father, is one with him, was with him from everlasting, was as one brought up with him, yea, lay in his bosom, drew nigh to him as the surety of his people, and offered himself a sacrifice to him as their Priest, and now is set down at his right hand as their King; and where he also appears for them, is their advocate, and ever lives to intercede for them;
praise ye the Lord: even all creatures, especially his saints, his people, the children of Israel, the last spoken of.
(g) "cornu populo suo", Pagninus, Montanus, Tigurine version, Cocceius, Michaelis. (h) "populo propinqui sui", Cocceius, Schmidt.
INTRODUCTION TO Psalm 149
This psalm is thought by Calvin and others to have been written for the sake of the Jews that returned from the Babylonish captivity; and is a prediction of great and famous things done in the times of the Maccabees to Heathens and their princes, so Theodoret; the Syriac version entitles it,
"concerning the new temple;''
that is, the second temple, built by Zerubbabel, and the things done under that; but it rather seems to have been written by David in the beginning of his reign, when he obtained victories over the Philistines, Edomites, Moabites, Ammonites, and Syrians; and refers to the times of the Messiah, as Kimchi, R. Obadiah Gaon, and others think; not of the Jews' vainly expected Messiah, but of the true Messiah, who is come, and will come again, spiritually and personally; and there are many things in it applicable both to the first and latter part of his days.
sing unto the Lord a new song; for a new mercy received, a new victory obtained, or a new salvation wrought; more particularly the new song of redeeming grace through Jesus Christ, the song of the Lamb, in distinction from the old song of Moses and the children of Israel at the Red sea, on account of their deliverance, which was typical of salvation by Christ, the oldest, being the first song we read of; but this is a new one, which none but the redeemed of the Lamb can sing; a song suited to Gospel times, in which all things are new, a new church state, new ordinances, a new covenant, and a new and living way to the holiest of all; a song proper for renewed persons to sing, who have new favours continually to bless and praise the Lord for;
and his praise in the congregation of saints: such who are partakers of the blessings of divine goodness; are separated and distinguished from others by the grace of God; are sanctified and brought into a Gospel church state; and who gather and assemble together to worship God, and attend upon him in his word and ordinances, and in such assemblies the praises of God are to be sung; which being done socially, the saints are assisting to one another in this service; and it is done with greater solemnity, and is more to the public honour and glory of God; thus Gospel churches are called upon to sing the praises of God among themselves, Ephesians 5:19; and have Christ for an example going before them, Psalm 22:22.
let the children of Zion be joyful in their King: not in David, unless as a type, but in his Son, the King Messiah, who is King of Zion; and therefore the children of Zion, the church, who are born of her, the mother of us all, and born in her through the ministry of the word, and brought up there by means of the Gospel, and the ordinances of it; such as are regenerate persons, sons of God, and members of Gospel churches, should rejoice in Christ, the King of saints; that they have such a King over them, who is the greatest of Kings, the King of kings, and Lord of lords; so righteous in the administration of his government, so wise in making laws for them, so powerful to protect and defend them; and who must reign tilt all enemies are put under his feet, even for ever and ever. Every appearance of Christ's kingdom is matter of joy to saints; his first coming was as a King, though in a mean and lowly manner; yet joyful to Zion and her children, Zechariah 9:9; his ascension to heaven, when he was declared Lord and Christ; the pouring forth of his Spirit, and the success of his Gospel in the Gentile world, to the overthrow of Paganism in it, Revelation 12:10; and especially it will be an occasion of great joy to his subjects, when he takes to himself his great power, and reigns, Revelation 11:15.
(i) "in factoribus suis", Gejerus, Michaelis; so Ainsworth.
let them sing praises unto him with the timbrel and harp; the former of these was a vessel of brass, a drum or tabret, on which they beat, perhaps like one of our kettle drums; the other was a stringed instrument of music much used, and in playing on which David was very skilful: the music of these was typical of the spiritual melody made in the heart to the Lord in singing his praises, to which there are allusions in Gospel times; though the instruments themselves are now laid aside, being only suited to the church in her infant state, when under tutors and governors; see Psalm 68:25.
(k) "cum tibia", Tigurine version, Junius & Tremellius, Piscator, Amama.
he will beautify the meek with salvation; humble and lowly souls, who have been truly humbled under a sense of sin; brought to submit to the righteousness of Christ, and to depend upon the grace of God for salvation; are subject to the yoke of Christ, and patiently submit to the will of God under every dispensation of Providence; are not easily provoked to wrath; are free from envy and malice; have mean thoughts of themselves, and high ones of other saints; these the Lord beautifies now with more grace, with which salvation is connected; with the robe of Christ's righteousness, and the garments of his salvation, which are beautiful ones; and he will beautify them with eternal salvation, with the white robes of immortality and bliss, when they will shine as the sun in the kingdom of heaven.
let them sing aloud upon their beds; while others are taking their rest and ease, let them meditate on the word of God; commune with their own hearts about their state and condition; remember the Lord, and his goodness to them; all which give an occasion to give thanks unto him, and sing aloud his praise, Psalm 63:5; and when they awake on their beds in a morning, after sound sleep and a good repose, it becomes them to praise the Lord, who gives his beloved sleep; and who only makes them sleep, and dwell in safety, Psalm 4:8. And the phrase denotes the safe and secure state of the saints upon their beds, lying down and sleeping comfortably, having nothing to fear, the Lord sustaining them; and so may and should sing upon their beds, Psalm 3:5; Yea, saints may sing upon their sick beds; since the Lord is with them there, and strengthens them on a bed of languishing, and makes all their bed in their sickness, Psalm 41:3; and even upon their death beds may sing aloud the triumphant song, "O death, where is thy sting?" &c. 1 Corinthians 15:55. Saints in a future state are on beds; the grave is a bed, where their flesh rests in hope; and the bosom and arms of Jesus are the bed in which their souls rest; and where they are, not in a state of insensibility and inactivity, but are walking and talking, and singing aloud the praises of electing, redeeming, and calling grace, Isaiah 57:1. So Arama interprets the saints on their beds, those that lie in the grave, when they shall rise from thence,
(l) "gloriose", Castalio.
and a twoedged sword in their hand; which is no other than the word of God, Ephesians 6:17; one of its edges is the law, which sharply reproves and menaces for sin, threatening with curses, condemnation, and death; and which, in the Spirit's hand, cuts deep into the hearts of men, lays open the corruption of their nature, and the swarms of sin which are in them; it causes pain and grief, working wrath in the conscience; it wounds and kills, and is therefore called the letter that kills, 2 Corinthians 3:6. The other edge is the Gospel, which cuts in pieces the best of men; all their works of righteousness, which it removes from their justification and salvation; and all their wisdom, holiness, freewill power, and creature abilities; and it cuts down the worst in man, his sinful as well as his righteous self; it teaches him to deny ungodliness and worldly lusts; it is useful to refute errors, and defend truth: and it is an instrument, and only a passive instrument, used by the Lord, as his power unto salvation; it is a sword, but only effectual as it is the sword of the Spirit; it is a part of the weapons of our warfare, and it is mighty, but only through God; it can do nothing of itself, but as it is in the hand of another; and it should be in the hands of all the saints in common, as well as in the hands of Gospel ministers, to withstand error, maintain truth, and repel the temptations of Satan. The Targum is,
"the praises of God in their throats, and as twoedged swords in their hands;''
making the praises of God and the twoedged swords to be the same: and so Jarchi and R. Jeshuah in Aben Ezra interpret them.
(m) "in gutture eorum", V. L. Pagninus, Montanus, Piscator, &c. (n) , Sept. "celsitudines", Schmidt. (o) "Exaltationes Dei", V. L. Pagninus, Montanus, Musculus, Gejerus, Michaelis; so Ainsworth.
and punishments upon the people; or "reproofs" (p); sharp and piercing ones; such as the convictions the word of God will strike in the minds of men, and will be very distressing and afflicting to them; as the fire out of the mouths of the witnesses, which is their doctrine, will be to their enemies the Papists; and will torment and kill them, and be the savour of death unto death unto them, Revelation 11:5.
(p) "increpationes", V. L. Pagninus, Montanus, Junius & Tremellius, Piscator; "redargutiones", Cocceius, Michaelis; so Ainsworth.