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Matthew Henry's Commentary on the Whole Bible - Old Testament

Psalm 117 (Chapter CXVII Study)

 

Psalms Exposition: Index | Introduction to the book of Psalms | Psalms 1 | Psalms 2 | Psalms 3 | Psalms 4 | Psalms 5 | Psalms 6 | Psalms 7 | Psalms 8 | Psalms 9 | Psalms 10 | Psalms 11 | Psalms 12 | Psalms 13 | Psalms 14 | Psalms 15 | Psalms 16 | Psalms 17 | Psalms 18 | Psalms 19 | Psalms 20 | Psalms 21 | Psalms 22 | Psalms 23 | Psalms 24 | Psalms 25 | Psalms 26 | Psalms 27 | Psalms 28 | Psalms 29 | Psalms 30 | Psalms 31 | Psalms 32 | Psalms 33 | Psalms 34 | Psalms 35 | Psalms 36 | Psalms 37 | Psalms 38 | Psalms 39 | Psalms 40 | Psalms 41 | Psalms 42 | Psalms 43 | Psalms 44 | Psalms 45 | Psalms 46 | Psalms 47 | Psalms 48 | Psalms 49 | Psalms 50 | Psalms 51 | Psalms 52 | Psalms 53 | Psalms 54 | Psalms 55 | Psalms 56 | Psalms 57 | Psalms 58 | Psalms 59 | Psalms 60 | Psalms 61 | Psalms 62 | Psalms 63 | Psalms 64 | Psalms 65 | Psalms 66 | Psalms 67 | Psalms 68 | Psalms 69 | Psalms 70 | Psalms 71 | Psalms 72 | Psalms 73 | Psalms 74 | Psalms 75 | Psalms 76 | Psalms 77 | Psalms 78 | Psalms 79 | Psalms 80 | Psalms 81 | Psalms 82 | Psalms 83 | Psalms 84 | Psalms 85 | Psalms 86 | Psalms 87 | Psalms 88 | Psalms 89 | Psalms 90 | Psalms 91 | Psalms 92 | Psalms 93 | Psalms 94 | Psalms 95 | Psalms 96 | Psalms 97 | Psalms 98 | Psalms 99 | Psalms 100 | Psalms 101 | Psalms 102 | Psalms 103 | Psalms 104 | Psalms 105 | Psalms 106 | Psalms 107 | Psalms 108 | Psalms 109 | Psalms 110 | Psalms 111 | Psalms 112 | Psalms 113 | Psalms 114 | Psalms 115 | Psalms 116 | Psalms 117 | Psalms 118 | Psalms 119 | Psalms 120 | Psalms 121 | Psalms 122 | Psalms 123 | Psalms 124 | Psalms 125 | Psalms 126 | Psalms 127 | Psalms 128 | Psalms 129 | Psalms 130 | Psalms 131 | Psalms 132 | Psalms 133 | Psalms 134 | Psalms 135 | Psalms 136 | Psalms 137 | Psalms 138 | Psalms 139 | Psalms 140 | Psalms 141 | Psalms 142 | Psalms 143 | Psalms 144 | Psalms 145 | Psalms 146 | Psalms 147 | Psalms 148 | Psalms 149 | Psalms 150

Psalms full text: Psalms 1 | Psalms 2 | Psalms 3 | Psalms 4 | Psalms 5 | Psalms 6 | Psalms 7 | Psalms 8 | Psalms 9 | Psalms 10 | Psalms 11 | Psalms 12 | Psalms 13 | Psalms 14 | Psalms 15 | Psalms 16 | Psalms 17 | Psalms 18 | Psalms 19 | Psalms 20 | Psalms 21 | Psalms 22 | Psalms 23 | Psalms 24 | Psalms 25 | Psalms 26 | Psalms 27 | Psalms 28 | Psalms 29 | Psalms 30 | Psalms 31 | Psalms 32 | Psalms 33 | Psalms 34 | Psalms 35 | Psalms 36 | Psalms 37 | Psalms 38 | Psalms 39 | Psalms 40 | Psalms 41 | Psalms 42 | Psalms 43 | Psalms 44 | Psalms 45 | Psalms 46 | Psalms 47 | Psalms 48 | Psalms 49 | Psalms 50 | Psalms 51 | Psalms 52 | Psalms 53 | Psalms 54 | Psalms 55 | Psalms 56 | Psalms 57 | Psalms 58 | Psalms 59 | Psalms 60 | Psalms 61 | Psalms 62 | Psalms 63 | Psalms 64 | Psalms 65 | Psalms 66 | Psalms 67 | Psalms 68 | Psalms 69 | Psalms 70 | Psalms 71 | Psalms 72 | Psalms 73 | Psalms 74 | Psalms 75 | Psalms 76 | Psalms 77 | Psalms 78 | Psalms 79 | Psalms 80 | Psalms 81 | Psalms 82 | Psalms 83 | Psalms 84 | Psalms 85 | Psalms 86 | Psalms 87 | Psalms 88 | Psalms 89 | Psalms 90 | Psalms 91 | Psalms 92 | Psalms 93 | Psalms 94 | Psalms 95 | Psalms 96 | Psalms 97 | Psalms 98 | Psalms 99 | Psalms 100 | Psalms 101 | Psalms 102 | Psalms 103 | Psalms 104 | Psalms 105 | Psalms 106 | Psalms 107 | Psalms 108 | Psalms 109 | Psalms 110 | Psalms 111 | Psalms 112 | Psalms 113 | Psalms 114 | Psalms 115 | Psalms 116 | Psalms 117 | Psalms 118 | Psalms 119 | Psalms 120 | Psalms 121 | Psalms 122 | Psalms 123 | Psalms 124 | Psalms 125 | Psalms 126 | Psalms 127 | Psalms 128 | Psalms 129 | Psalms 130 | Psalms 131 | Psalms 132 | Psalms 133 | Psalms 134 | Psalms 135 | Psalms 136 | Psalms 137 | Psalms 138 | Psalms 139 | Psalms 140 | Psalms 141 | Psalms 142 | Psalms 143 | Psalms 144 | Psalms 145 | Psalms 146 | Psalms 147 | Psalms 148 | Psalms 149 | Psalms 150 | Psalms 151

This psalm is short and sweet; I doubt the reason why we sing it so often as we do is for the shortness of it; but, if we rightly understood and considered it, we should sing it oftener for the sweetness of it, especially to us sinners of the Gentiles, on whom it casts a very favourable eye. Here is, I. A solemn call to all nations to praise God, ver. 1. II. Proper matter for that praise suggested, ver. 2. We are soon weary indeed of well-doing if, in singing this psalm, we keep not up those pious and devout affections with which the spiritual sacrifice of praise ought to be kindled and kept burning.

All Nations Admonished to Praise God.

1 O praise the Lord, all ye nations: praise him, all ye people.   2 For his merciful kindness is great toward us: and the truth of the Lord endureth for ever. Praise ye the Lord.

There is a great deal of gospel in this psalm. The apostle has furnished us with a key to it (Rom. xv. 11), where he quotes it as a proof that the gospel was to be preached to, and would be entertained by, the Gentile nations, which yet was so great a stumbling-block to the Jews. Why should that offend them when it is said, and they themselves had often sung it, Praise the Lord, all you Gentiles, and laud him, all you people. Some of the Jewish writers confess that this psalm refers to the kingdom of the Messiah; nay, one of them has a fancy that it consists of two verses to signify that in the days of the Messiah God should be glorified by two sorts of people, by the Jews, according to the law of Moses, and by the Gentiles, according to the seven precepts of the sons of Noah, which yet should make one church, as these two verses make one psalm. We have here,

I. The vast extent of the gospel church, v. 1. For many ages in Judah only was God known and his name praised. The sons of Levi and the seed of Israel praised him, but the rest of the nations praised gods of wood and stone (Dan. v. 4), while there was no devotion at all paid, at least none openly, that we know of, to the living and true God. But here all nations are called to praise the Lord, which could not be applied to the Old-Testament times, both because this call was not then given to any of the Gentile nations, much less to all, in a language they understood, and because, unless the people of the land became Jews and were circumcised, they were not admitted to praise God with them. But the gospel of Christ is ordered to be preached to all nations, and by him the partition-wall is taken down, and those that were afar off are made nigh. This was the mystery which was hidden in prophecy for many ages, but was at length revealed in the accomplishment, That the Gentiles should be fellow-heirs, Eph. iii. 3, 6. Observe here, 1. Who should be admitted into the church—all nations and all people. The original words are the same that are used for the heathen that rage and the people that imagine against Christ (Ps. ii. 1); those that had been enemies to his kingdom should become his willing subjects. The gospel of the kingdom was to be preached to all the world, for a witness to all nations, Matt. xxiv. 14; Mark xvi. 15. All nations shall be called, and to some of all nations the call shall be effectual, and they shall be discipled. 2. How their admission into the church is foretold—by a repeated call to praise him. The tidings of the gospel, being sent to all nations, should give them cause to praise God; the institution of gospel-ordinances would give them leave and opportunity to praise God; and the power of gospel-grace would give them hearts to praise him. Those are highly favoured whom God invites by his word and inclines by his Spirit to praise him, and so makes to be to him for a name and a praise, Jer. xiii. 11. See Rev. vii. 9, 10.

II. The unsearchable riches of gospel-grace, which are to be the matter or our praise, v. 2. In the gospel, those celebrated attributes of God, his mercy and his truth, shine most brightly in themselves and most comfortably to us; and the apostle, where he quotes this psalm, takes notice of these as the two great things for which the Gentiles should glorify God (Rom. xv. 8, 9), for the truth of God and for his mercy, and you can find more about that here on st-takla.org on other commentaries and dictionary entries. We that enjoy the gospel have reason to praise the Lord, 1. For the power of his mercy: His merciful kindness is great towards us; it is strong (so the word signifies); it is mighty for the pardon of mighty sins (Amos v. 12) and for the working out of a mighty salvation. 2. For the perpetuity of his truth: The truth of the Lord endures for ever. It was mercy, mere mercy, to the Gentiles, that the gospel was sent among them. It was merciful kindness prevailing towards them above their deserts; and in it the truth of the Lord, of his promise made unto the fathers, endures for ever; for, though the Jews were hardened and expelled, yet the promise took its effect in the believing Gentiles, the spiritual seed of Abraham. God's mercy is the fountain of all our comforts and his truth the foundation of all our hopes, and therefore for both we must praise the Lord.

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Other commentaries and interpretations on the Book of Psalms:
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