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Bible Commentaries

Commentary Critical and Explanatory on the Whole Bible - Unabridged

Psalms 113

Verse 1

Praise ye the LORD. Praise, O ye servants of the LORD, praise the name of the LORD.

This psalm praises Yahweh as the Raiser of the poor out of the dust: Israel after the captivity primarily, and ultimately after their present dispersion (Psalms 113:1-9); praise Yahweh from this time forth from the rising to the setting of the sun (Psalms 113:1-3); His high majesty: yet His stooping to things in heaven and earth (Psalms 113:4-6); He sets the poor with princes, and giveth the barren children (Psalms 113:7-9).

Praise ye the Lord - Hallelujah.

O ye servants of the Lord - "the upright ... that fear Him ... His people" (Psalms 111:1; Psalms 111:5-6; Psalms 34:22; Psalms 69:36); "Israel His servant" (Psalms 136:22; Ezra 5:11; Nehemiah 1:10). Praise is one leading service which the Lord's "servants" owe Him.

Verse 2

Blessed be the name of the LORD from this time forth and for evermore.

Blessed be the name of the Lord - i:e., the Lord as He hath manifested Himself in His glorious deeds for His people. 'The world which forms a God according to its own fancies has a nameless God' (Hengstenberg).

From this time forth and forevermore. The Psalmist takes for granted as already accomplished the deliverance and exaltation of the Lord's people, and praises the Lord for it, and for the causes of praise which faith assures him the Lord will give "forevermore." Israel shall especially say so "from the time" that the Lord shall restore her, To that time prophetically the allusion is.

Verse 3

From the rising of the sun unto the going down of the same the LORD's name is to be praised.

From the rising of the sun unto the going down of the same the Lord's name is to be praised - i:e., is worthy of praise (Psalms 18:3), and shall be praised. At Messiah's second coming (Psalms 50:1) Israel and the Gentiles "shall fear the name of the Lord from the west, and His glory from the rising of the sun" (Isaiah 59:19; Malachi 1:11).

Verse 4

The LORD is high above all nations, and his glory above the heavens.

The Lord is high above all nations. The Gentile nations are now high, and haughtily oppress Israel. But Yahweh is high above them, for He is the "Great King over all the earth" (Psalms 47:2).

(And) his glory above the heavens - (Psalms 113:6; Psalms 8:1; Psalms 148:13.) The heavens declare His glory (Psalms 19:1); the heavenly beings ascribe all glory (Psalms 29:1; Psalms 103:20-21) and holiness to Him, (Isaiah 6:1, etc.)

Verses 5-6

Who is like unto the LORD our God, who dwelleth on high,

Who (is) like unto the Lord our God, who dwelleth on high? Who humbleth (himself) to behold (the things that are) in heaven, and in the earth? - literally, 'who exalteth Himself sitting, who humbleth Himself beholding,' etc. Who maketh Himself so sublimely exalted in His sitting or dwelling, and yet humbleth Himself to behold the things not only in heaven (which would be great condescension in Him who is so lofty), but also in the earth. So Isaiah 57:15. Hengstenberg connects 'Who is like unto the Lord our God in heaven and in the earth?' (cf. Deuteronomy 3:24; Psalms 73:25.) But Psalms 113:4, "His glory above the heavens" confirms the English version. All things are low beneath God, even the things in heaven.

Verse 7

He raiseth up the poor out of the dust, and lifteth the needy out of the dunghill;

He raiseth up the poor out of the dust, and lifteth the needy out of the dunghill. This prostration in the dust has been for long Israel's state (Psalms 44:25). But the Lord will raise her up (Psalms 107:41): cf. Hannah's song (1 Samuel 2:8).

Verse 8

That he may set him with princes, even with the princes of his people.

That he may set him with princes - (Job 36:7.)

Verse 9

He maketh the barren woman to keep house, and to be a joyful mother of children. Praise ye the LORD.

He maketh the barren woman to keep house, (and to be) a joyful mother of children - `Who maketh the barren woman to dwell (in) the house;' the Septuagint, Syriac, Ethiopic, Arabic, and Vulgate. "A house" is often put for children (Psalms 115:10; Psalms 115:12: cf. Psalms 68:6, margin; Exodus 1:21, He made them (the midwives) houses" ). Fruitful women, as Leah and Rachel, are said to "build the house of Israel" (Ruth 4:11). Hengstenberg translates, 'He maketh the barren woman of the house (i:e., the mistress) to dwell like a joyful mother of children.' The Hebrew seems in the construct form [ `ªqeret (H6135)], 'barren woman of the house,' and the accents favour Hengstenberg. But the old versions all take it in the absolute state, as the English version, which I prefer if the absolute form be legitimate (cf. 1 Samuel 2:5). Hannah in the spirit regarded herself (once barren, afterward fruitful) as the type of Israel (literal and spiritual), and from her own exaltation from depression anticipates the same for her people. Peninnah is a type of the world. Israel (as also the Church), once desolate and having but a little flock, shall have more children in the last days than the once haughty and numerous power that oppressed her (Isaiah 54:1-3). So the Chaldaic paraphrases this verse, 'who places the Church of Israel, which is like a barren woman sitting sad for the members of her house, so as to be frequented with crowds like a joyful mother.' So the Virgin Mary sang, when the Holy Spirit came upon her, and the power of the highest overshadowed her so that she conceived the Saviour. God puts down the mighty and exalts the lowly (Luke 1:46-55). This trilogy, Psalms 111:1-10; Psalms 112:1-10; Psalms 113:1-9, is followed by the tetralogy, Psalms 114:1-8; Psalms 115:1-18; Psalms 116:1-19; Psalms 117:1-2. Combining them, we have an heptade, and prefixing the Davidic trilogy, a decade. The Hallelujah, we have seen, occurs four times in the trilogy. It occurs thrice in the tetralogy (at the end of Psalms 115:1-18; Psalms 116:1-19; and Psalms 117:1-2); in all seven times.

The 113th Psalm, with the five following Psalms 114:1-8; Psalms 115:1-18; Psalms 116:1-19; Psalms 117:1-2; Psalms 118:1-29, forms the greater Hallel (as the Jews called it), or grand hymn of praise, especially sung at the Passover feasts. Buxtorf, in his 'Chaldaic Lexicon', pp. 613, 614, observes-`The whole is divided into two parts. The former contains Psalms 113:1-9 and Psalms 114:1-8; the latter, Psalms 115:1-18; Psalms 116:1-19; Psalms 117:1-2; Psalms 118:1-29. The Jews usually recite the former at the Passover, before they sit to table, and take food; the latter, after they have taken food, and have drunk the fourth and last cup, having added another blessing which they call the blessing of the song, also that solemn formula, Blessed be He who createth the fruit of the vine. So they close the Passover supper. The antiquity of this usage appears from its mention in the Talmud in Pesachim, fol. 117, Colossians 1:1-29, etc. Compare Lightfoot, 'Temple Service,' ch. 13, who shows that the former part of the Hallel was recited or sung after the second of the four cups drunk at the feast.

Thus the latter part of the Hallel was probably the "hymn" sung by Christ and His disciples at the last Passover supper (Matthew 26:30).

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Bibliographical Information
Jamieson, Robert, D.D.; Fausset, A. R.; Brown, David. "Commentary on Psalms 113". "Commentary Critical and Explanatory on the Whole Bible - Unabridged". https://studylight.org/commentaries/eng/jfu/psalms-113.html. 1871-8.