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An exhortation to praise God for his excellency, and for his mercy.
THIS and the five following psalms, were by the Jews called הלל hallel, or hymns; they were made use of at the feasts of the new moons, and on other solemn occasions, especially on the paschal night, after they had eaten the lamb. The evangelist alludes to this custom, Matthew 26:30.; Mark 14:26. The intention of this psalm is, to excite men to praise God for his good providence, several instances of which are here mentioned; and particularly his mercy to the Gentile world, in making the barren woman a joyful mother of children.
Psalms 113:3. From the rising of the sun, &c.— i.e. from the one end of the heathen world to the other. See Malachi 1:11. "His mercies and goodness to mankind, especially that great evangelical mercy, the gift of Christ, shall be solemnly proclaimed and promulgated."
Psalms 113:6. Who humbleth himself to behold, &c.— Mudge renders the foregoing verse unitedly with this: Who is as the Lord our God, that sitteth so high, that looketh so low, in the heaven, and in the earth? In the heaven, says he, is referred to the former, and in the earth, to the latter clause; "Who is there that sitteth so high in the heaven, and looketh so low on the earth?" Since God's glory is above the heavens, Psa 113:4 it is a great condescension in him to behold and order the things which are in heaven; but a much greater to extend his kind and careful providence even to us who dwell upon the earth. This is an observation which hath always had truth, even from the beginning of the world; but then most signally when the Messiah, the supreme God of heaven, came to visit us here on earth in great humility. See Jeremiah 10:7.
Psalms 113:8-9. That he may set him with princes— There is a plain reference here to Hannah's case and prayer. See 1Sa 2:8 and 2 Samuel 7:8-9. He maketh the barren, &c. may be rendered, according to the original, He settleth the barren in a family; i.e. "causeth her who was barren to have a large family, by making her a joyful mother, &c."
REFLECTIONS.—This psalm seems to refer to the times of the gospel, and to the great salvation accomplished by Jesus our Redeemer.
1. The Psalmist, with repeated earnestness, exhorts the servants of the Lord to the happy work of praise. In all ages redeeming love must be celebrated; and from the rising to the setting sun, whithersoever the tidings of gospel grace shall spread, the name of Jesus shall resound.
2. He suggests the matter of their songs.
(1.) The glory of the Lord Jesus, the great King of kings; to whose universal sway all nations of the earth must bow; and to whom in heaven angels, principalities, and powers are made subject; transcendently great, without an equal, and above all comparison; yea, exalted above all blessing and praise.
(2.) His condescension. He humbleth himself to behold the things that are in heaven and earth; when he vouchsafes to accept the services of archangels, and with his care to preserve their beings, which he gave, vast is his condescension: yet more amazing is it, that he turns his eye on worms of earth, and sinful worms withal; upholds them in life, and with his bounteous hand supplies their wants: but most astonishing of all, that he should humble himself so far, as not only to behold us, but to take our nature, yea, humble himself for us to death, even the death of the cross. Lost in the stupendous thought, the soul bows down in silent admiration, and can only wonder and adore.
3. The dispensations of his providence and grace. [1.] The poor and needy he liberally supplies, raises them from their low estate, and exalts them to honour and dignity, from the dunghill to the throne: such outward changes God sometimes sovereignly works; but spiritually we see these things mere emphatically fulfilled in those who will be saved by grace; the poor in spirit, the needy, destitute of all righteousness and strength, lying on the dunghill of sin, and in the dust of spiritual death, by the almighty power of his Spirit he raises from their low estate, pardons and delivers them from guilt and sin, adopts them into his royal house as sons of God, clothes them with the princely robes of righteousness and salvation, and at last crowns these simple faithful believers with glory everlasting, and makes them reign with the princes of his people; with Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, and all the glorified saints, who are made kings and priests unto God. [2.] He maketh the barren woman to keep house, and to be a joyful mother of children. Sarah, Rachel, Hannah, proved this grace, and rejoiced in the precious gift: and this was in a beautiful sense more nobly fulfilled, when the Gentile world, which had long been barren, and brought forth little or no manifest fruit unto God, teemed with numerous converts, the joy of the church, and whose births were celebrated with the songs of earth and heaven. Well, therefore, in the view of these things, may the Psalmist repeat his exhortation, and we echo back the sound, Hallelujah.
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Coke, Thomas. "Commentary on Psalms 113". Coke's Commentary on the Holy Bible. https://studylight.org/
the First Week of Advent