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Bible Commentaries
Psalms 118

Trapp's Complete CommentaryTrapp's Commentary

Verse 1

O give thanks unto the LORD; for [he is] good: because his mercy [endureth] for ever.

O give thanks, … — See Psalms 106:1 .

Verse 2

Let Israel now say, that his mercy [endureth] for ever.

Let Israel now say — All the Israel of God, for only such are fit to praise God: excellent words become not a fool; the leper’s lips are to be covered.

Verse 3

Let the house of Aaron now say, that his mercy [endureth] for ever.

Let the house of Aaron now say — Ministers are chieftains, Hebrews 13:7 ; Hebrews 13:17 , and should be as the chief chanters in God’s praises.

Verse 4

Let them now that fear the LORD say, that his mercy [endureth] for ever.

Let them now that fear the Lord say — See Psalms 115:11 , and observe that the psalmist beateth upon the το νυν (as doth also the apostle, 2 Corinthians 6:2 ), Now, now, now, saith he; because, for aught we know, it is now or never, today or not at all; the dead praise thee not, Psalms 6:5 .

That his mercy, … — This is the fourth time in four verses, as Psalms 136:1-26 , in every one of those twenty-six verses; like as a bird that having gotten a note, recordeth it over and over.

Verse 5

I called upon the LORD in distress: the LORD answered me, [and set me] in a large place.

I called upon the Lord in distress — Heb. out of distress, q.d. I celebrate not God’s mercy of course, but out of experience.

The Lord answered me — Heb. Yah answered me with a large roomth. See Psalms 4:2 .

Verse 6

The LORD [is] on my side; I will not fear: what can man do unto me?

I will not fear, … — See Psalms 56:4 ; Psalms 56:11 .

Verse 7

The LORD taketh my part with them that help me: therefore shall I see [my desire] upon them that hate me.

The Lord taketh my part with them that help me — Not only as one of my helpers, but instead of all, and more than all. How many reckon ye me at? said that general to his soldiers, who were afraid of their enemy’s numbers; Cui adhaereo praeest, He whom I take part with must needs prevail.

Verse 8

[It is] better to trust in the LORD than to put confidence in man.

It is better to trust in the Lord, … — Luther on this text calleth it, Artem artium, et mirificam, ac suam artem, non fidere hominibus, that is, the art of arts, and that which he had well studied, not to put confidence in man; as for trust in God, he calleth it, Sacrificium omnium gratissimum et suavissimum, et cultum omnium pulcherrimum, the most pleasant and sweetest of all sacrifices, the best of all services we perform to God.

Than to put confidence in manQuia mutatur aut fortuna, aut voluntas, aut vita, saith Genebrard, because either men may die, or their affections may die, or their wealth decay.

Verse 9

[It is] better to trust in the LORD than to put confidence in princes.

Than to put confidence in princesIn ingenuis. Great men’s words, saith one, are like dead men’s shoes; he may go barefoot that waiteth for them. "Surely men of high degree are a lie," Psalms 52:9 .

Verse 10

All nations compassed me about: but in the name of the LORD will I destroy them.

All nations compassed me about — This is still the condition of Christ’s Church in this evil world, to be hated of all, and set against with utmost might and malice. Haud perinde crimine incendiiquam odio humani generis convicti sunt, saith Tacitus, of those Christians at Rome put to cruel deaths by Nero, who, having for his pleasure fired the city, fathered it upon them, as people hated of all men.

But in the name of the Lordi.e. By faith in God’s power and promises. We might also do great exploits against our spiritual enemies, did we but set upon them with God’s arms, and with his armour; did we but observe the apostle’s rule, "Whatsoever ye do in word or deed, do all in the name of the Lord Jesus," …, Colossians 3:17 .

Verse 11

They compassed me about; yea, they compassed me about: but in the name of the LORD I will destroy them.

They compassed me about; yea, … — They thought to make sure work of me indeed; as Saul and his men, when they hemmed him in at Maon, 1 Samuel 23:26 ; as the Church’s enemies, when they had gotten her as a bird into the snare of the fowler, Psalms 124:7 ; as when the adversaries said, "They shall not know, neither see, till we come in the midst among them, and slay them," Nehemiah 4:11 .

But in the name of the Lord I will destroy themEnervabo, excidam. The word signifieth, Non otioso nec dormienti contingere victorias, sed certanti et praelianti, that he foiled not his foes without pains and peril (Plat. in Syde). Towns were said to come into Timotheus’s toils while he slept; but that was but a fiction of those that envied him.

Verse 12

They compassed me about like bees; they are quenched as the fire of thorns: for in the name of the LORD I will destroy them.

They compassed me about like bees — Like so many swarms of bees, which, being angered,

- Venenum

Morsibus inspirant, et spicula caeca relinquunt

Affixae venis, animasque in vulnere ponunt


Bees, to be revenged, lose their stings, and therewith their lives, or, at least, they become drones ever after (Aristot.). Wicked men are no less spiteful; they care not to undo themselves, so they may wrong the saints; yea, they are not unlike the scorpion, of which Pliny saith, that there is not one minute wherein it doth not put forth the sting.

They are quenched (or kindled) as the fire of thorns — Which is quickly kindled, and as quickly quenched, leaving no coals behind it. See Ecclesiastes 7:6 . Ex spinis non fiunt carbones (Kimchi). The enemies of the Church may make a blaze, but they are but a blast.

Verse 13

Thou hast thrust sore at me that I might fall: but the LORD helped me.

Thou hast thrust sore at me — Thou, O Saul, or thou, Ishbibenob, 2 Samuel 21:16 , or thou, O Satan, setting such a work.

But the Lord helped me — He sent from heaven and saved me; he came in the nick of time, as it were, out of an engine.

Verse 14

The LORD [is] my strength and song, and is become my salvation.

The Lord is my strength and songi.e. The matter of my song, and mean of my joy. Trust in God shall once triumph.

Verse 15

The voice of rejoicing and salvation [is] in the tabernacles of the righteous: the right hand of the LORD doeth valiantly.

The voice of rejoicing, …q.d. Though themselves are but travellers, and their habitatious tabernacles or tents; yet are they not without the joy of their salvation, which is unspeakable and full of glory; so that they go merrily on their way, feeding on this honeycomb (as once Samson), and God’s statutes are their songs in the house of their pilgrimage, Psalms 119:54 .

The right hand of the Lord, … — This and that which followeth is the righteous man’s ditty, which he singeth incessantly. See on Psalms 118:4 .

Verse 16

The right hand of the LORD is exalted: the right hand of the LORD doeth valiantly.

The right hand of the Lord is exalted — By right hand here some understand the humanity of Christ, God’s hand and our handle, whereby we come to take hold of God.

The right hand of the Lord doeth valiantly — Thrice he celebrateth God’s right hand; to set forth his earnest desire to say the utmost; or in reference to the sacred Trinity, as some will have it, Haec est vox Epinicii.

Verse 17

I shall not die, but live, and declare the works of the LORD.

I shall not die, but live — This he was well assured of by faith; as was also the Church in Habakkuk, Habakkuk 1:12 , "Art not thou from everlasting, O Lord my God, mine Holy One? we shall not die." Learned Keckerman, lying on his death bed, and desirous, if it had so pleased God, to have lived a while longer for the finishing of those excellent pieces he had in hand, made use of these words of the psalmist, "I shall not die, but live, and declare the works of the Lord" (he was then upon his System of Natural Philosophy), but God had otherwise appointed it, and he submitted.

Verse 18

The LORD hath chastened me sore: but he hath not given me over unto death.

The Lord hath chastened me soreCorripuit me seria et severa castigatione; and yet David was his darling.

But he hath not given me over unto death — It might have been worse, may the afflicted saint say; and it will yet be better: It is in mercy and in measure that God chastiseth his children. It is his care that the spirit fail not before him, nor the souls which he hath made, Isaiah 57:16 . If his child swoons in the whipping God lets fall the rod, and falls a kissing it, to fetch life into it again.

Verse 19

Open to me the gates of righteousness: I will go into them, [and] I will praise the LORD:

Open to me the gates of righteousness — So the gates of the sanctuary are called, because holiness becometh God’s house for ever; to keep out the profane, porters were appointed, see 2 Chronicles 23:19 ; and such were the Ostiarii in foras, the primitive Church; their word was, Canes, Dogs out of doors (Prosper.). See Revelation 22:15 .

Verse 20

This gate of the LORD, into which the righteous shall enter.

This gate of the Lord — Some make the former verse the request of the people, and this to be God’s answer thereunto. Others make that to be David’s speech to the Levites, and this their answer: q.d. This beautiful gate is fit to be opened to the Lord alone; if others enter, they must be righteous ones only, and that to praise him.

Into which the righteous shall entersc. With God’s good leave and liking. Others may haply thrust into the Church, but then God will say, Friend, how camest thou in hither? who required these things at your hands? who sent for you? O generation of vipers, who hath forewarned you to flee from the wrath to come? "The sacrifice of the wicked is abomination: how much more, when he bringeth it with a wicked mind?" Proverbs 21:27 .

Verse 21

I will praise thee: for thou hast heard me, and art become my salvation.

I will praise thee, for thou hast heard me — Luther rendereth it, because thou hast humbled and afflicted me; but with thou art become my salvation.

Verse 22

The stone [which] the builders refused is become the head [stone] of the corner.

The stone which the builders refused — David, and the Son of David were by those, who seemed to be somewhat laid aside, and slighted as abjects and refuse ones; but wisdom was ever justified of her children.

Is become the head stone of the cornerLapis diatonus sive frontatus, whereby the Church is supported, as the sides and weight of a building are by a principal binding cornerstone, against all blasts.

Verse 23

This is the LORD’S doing; it [is] marvellous in our eyes.

This is the Lord’s doing — That David should ever come to the kingdom, that Christ should so be raised from the lowest ebb of humiliation to the highest tide of exaltation, this is a wonder of wonders, a matchless miracle.

And it is marvellous in our eyes — As all God’s works are to those that have spiritual senses habitually exercised; but especially the great work of man’s redemption by Christ.

Verse 24

This [is] the day [which] the LORD hath made; we will rejoice and be glad in it.

This is the day which the Lord hath made — The queen of days, as the Jews call the sabbath. Arnobius interpreteth this text of the Christian sabbath; others, of the day of salvation by Christ exalted to be the head cornerstone; in opposition to that dismal day of man’s fall.

We will rejoice — Or, let us rejoice. Dull we are, and heavy to spiritual joy; and are therefore excited thereto.

Verse 25

Save now, I beseech thee, O LORD: O LORD, I beseech thee, send now prosperity.

Save now, I beseech thee — Hosanna, as Matthew 21:9 , a usual acclamation of the people to their new kings.

Send now prosperity — God will send it, but his people must pray for it; I came for thy prayers, Daniel 10:11-12

Verse 26

Blessed [be] he that cometh in the name of the LORD: we have blessed you out of the house of the LORD.

Blessed be he that cometh — Blessed be Christ. Vivat Christus eiusque insignia, said John Clark of Melda, when, for declaring against the Pope’s indulgencies, he was burnt in the forehead with a hot iron (Scultet. Annul.).

We have blessed you out of the house of the Lord — Thus say the priests to the people. Ministers must bless those that bless Christ, saying, "Grace be with all them that love our Lord Jesus Christ in sincerity," Ephesians 6:24 ; as if any do not, let him be Anathema Maranatha, 1 Corinthians 16:22 .

Verse 27

God [is] the LORD, which hath shewed us light: bind the sacrifice with cords, [even] unto the horns of the altar.

God is the Lord who hath showed us light — By giving us "the light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Jesus Christ," 2 Corinthians 4:6 , he "hath brought us out of darkness into his marvellous light," 1 Peter 2:9 .

Bind the sacrifice with cords — Make them fast there, till the priests shall have time to offer them. Spare for no cost in showing your thankfulness for Christ and his benefits. Some render it, Obligate solennitates in frondosis; Austin hath it, in confrequentationibus.

Verse 28

Thou [art] my God, and I will praise thee: [thou art] my God, I will exalt thee.

Thou art my God, and I will praise thee — The people are taught to say thus; and the Greek, Arabic, and Latin translations repeat here, Psalms 118:21 , "I will praise thee, for thou hast heard me; and art become my salvation." People can never be sufficiently thankful for their salvation by Christ. It is their duty, and should be their desire.

Verse 29

O give thanks unto the LORD; for [he is] good: for his mercy [endureth] for ever.

O give thanks unto the Lord, …Repetit proaemium pro epilogo. See Psalms 118:1 .

Bibliographical Information
Trapp, John. "Commentary on Psalms 118". Trapp's Complete Commentary. https://studylight.org/commentaries/eng/jtc/psalms-118.html. 1865-1868.
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