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Bible Commentaries

Dr. Constable's Expository Notes

Psalms 113

Verses 1-3

1. Call to praise the Lord’s name 113:1-3

The person of God represented by His name deserves praise from all His servants forever. The rising and setting of the sun describe the east and west, not just daylight hours. In other words, God is worthy of universal praise.

Verses 1-9

Psalms 113

Psalms 113-118 constitute the "Egyptian Hallel." The designation "Egyptian Hallel" originated because of the emphasis on Egypt in Psalms 114. Hallel is the imperative singular form of the Hebrew word (lit. praise, cf. Hallelujah) and is a command to praise. The Jews sang the "Egyptian Hallel" (113-118) and the "Great Hallel" (120-136), two collections of psalms, at the three yearly feasts that all the males had to attend: Passover, Pentecost, and Tabernacles. Most of the "Great Hallel" psalms are pilgrimage songs. The Jews also used these psalms on other holy days, including their new moon festivals. At Passover it was customary to sing Psalms 113, 114 before the meal and 115-118 and 136 after it (cf. Matthew 26:30; Mark 14:26). A third collection of Hallel psalms (146-150) was incorporated into the daily prayers of synagogue worship after the destruction of Jerusalem in A.D. 70.

"There was more relevance in these psalms to the Exodus-the greater Exodus-than could be guessed in Old Testament times." [Note: Kidner, Psalms 73-150, p. 401.]

This psalm of descriptive praise calls on God’s servants to praise Him because, even though He occupies an exalted position, He has humbled Himself to lift up the lowly (cf. Philippians 2:7). It expresses thoughts similar to Hannah’s prayer (1 Samuel 2:1-10) and Mary’s Magnificat (Luke 1:46-55). [Note: J. J. Stewart Perown, The Book of Psalms , 2:322.]

Verses 4-5

The first reason God’s servants should praise Him is that He is the glorious sovereign ruler of all the earth.

Verses 4-9

2. Causes to praise the Lord 113:4-9

Verses 6-9

The second reason is that He condescends to pay attention to His creatures. One example of this is the way He occasionally exalts very poor or underprivileged people to positions of wealth and influence. He did this literally for Job, and He does it spiritually for every believer. Another example is how He sometimes makes barren women conceive and bear children. Sarah, Rebekah, Rachel, and Hannah received this blessing, to name a few individuals. In view of God’s promises to make the Israelites numerous, the ability to bear children was one they valued greatly.

The psalm closes as it opened, with a call to praise the Lord. Psalms 115-117 end with the same exhortation.

The Lord is worthy of praise because He graciously gives great blessings to those who have no hope of obtaining them from any other source. [Note: See Allen, And I . . ., pp. 111-28.]

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Bibliographical Information
Constable, Thomas. DD. "Commentary on Psalms 113". "Dr. Constable's Expository Notes". https://studylight.org/commentaries/eng/dcc/psalms-113.html. 2012.