Psalm 150

1 Praise the Lord
Praise God in His sanctuary;

Praise Him in His mighty firmament!

Praise Him for His mighty acts;
Praise Him according to His excellent greatness!

Praise Him with the sound of the trumpet;
Praise Him with the lute and harp!

4 Praise Him with the timbrel and dance;
Praise Him with stringed instruments and flutes!

5 Praise Him with loud cymbals;
Praise Him with clashing cymbals!

Let everything that has breath praise the Lord
Praise the Lord!

The Psalter draws to a close with a final, emphatic exhortation to praise, the venue for which, continuing from (and confirming) the focus on God’s coming kingdom in the previous psalm, is here elevated to his heavenly sanctuary (lit., “holiness,” which may also refer to the holy of holies) — or perhaps, His “holy height” (Psalm 102:19; i.e., the “third heaven”)—as indicated by the parallelism with “his mighty expanse” (i.e., the sky). The enumeration of instruments in vs.3-5 with which to accompany this praise alludes to the span of praise offered to God throughout the Hebrew Bible, from the lyre and the pipe first mentioned in Genesis 4:21 (a few verses after which we are told that “men began to call upon the LORD”), and the timbrel and dancing employed by Miriam and the Israelite women in Exodus 15:20, to the harp and the cymbals that accompanies the praise of the restored exiles (Ezra 3:10; Nehemiah 12:27). Consistent with his focus on the citizens of God’s future kingdom, the psalmist concludes with a final exhortation, not to the “godly ones” of Israel alone, but to all that has a soul (referring to that “image” of Himself that God imparted exclusively to man)—i.e., humanity at large, comprised of redeemed Jews and redeemed Gentiles, who as “one new man” will one day lift up their voice in unison before the throne of God and cry out “Praise the Lord!” — Wechsler, pages 354-355.

Williams’ take:

This is the fifth Hallelujah Psalm; and as the last Psalm of the fifth Book may be entitled the Deuteronomy Psalm. …The Divine titles used are El and Jah. El is essentially the Almighty, Jah signifies the Ever-existing One, i.e., Jesus Christ the same yesterday and today and forever. …

In the day when He appears everything that hath breath will praise Him. … Thus Messiah the Blessed Man of Psalm 1 will be worshiped as the Blessed God of the last Psalm; whilst the intervening Psalms sing of the countless perfections of His nature and of His actions as both Son of Man and Son of God. — Williams, page 415.

Although Wechsler digs deeper, on this Psalm, he and Williams essentially agree on this one.

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Psalm 149

1 Praise the Lord!
Sing to the Lord a new song,

And His praise in the assembly of saints.

Let Israel rejoice in their Maker;
Let the children of Zion be joyful in their King.

3 Let them praise His name with the dance;
Let them sing praises to Him with the timbrel and harp.

4 For the Lord takes pleasure in His people;
He will beautify the humble with salvation.

Let the saints be joyful in glory;
Let them sing aloud on their beds.

6 Let the high praises of God be in their mouth,
And a two-edged sword in their hand,

7 To execute vengeance on the nations,
And punishments on the peoples;

8 To bind their kings with chains,
And their nobles with fetters of iron;

9 To execute on them the written judgment—
This honor have all His saints.
Praise the Lord!

Taking up the note struck at the end of Psalm 148, this psalm narrows it focus once again to God’s people—specifically, His people as delineated by the expression “godly ones” (signifying the remnant of Israel whose future hope is “everlasting life,” and excluding those of Israel who have only “everlasting condemnation” in store), which occurs three times (vs.1, 5, 9). The focus of this psalm (and the following one) is ultimately on the hereafter, when the kingdom of God is established on earth and all of Israel represented therein are “godly ones.” [This] is suggested by (1) the expression “congregation of godly ones,” implying a unified and outwardly distinct group; (2) the parallelism with the ethnically comprehensive expression “Israel” and “sons of Zion” in v.2; (3) the explicit reference in the same verse to their King, who, in the view of the ensuing parallelism in v.3 can only be God; (4) the reference to God “beautifying” the afflicted ones with salvation (v.4), which, insofar as these “afflicted ones” are identical with the “godly ones” (as indicated by the surrounding parallelism), takes as its most likely reference to Christ’s future work of “perfecting” His godly ones by raising them up “imperishable” to inherit the kingdom of God; and (5) the reference in vs.7-9 to executing vengeance (i.e., just retribution, per the principle in Genesis 12:3) on the Gentiles and the judgment written—i.e., their final judgment as recorded in Scripture (e.g., Isaiah 45:14-17; Zechariah 12:6-9; Psalm 110:3-7). — Wechsler, pages 353-354.

Williams’ take:

This is the fourth Halley Psalm and corresponds to the Book of Numbers. At the close of that book Israel stands at the entrance of Canaan, her brows wreathed with victory over the Moabite and the Amorite. In this Psalm she stands at the entrance of the Millennial Kingdom crowned with victory over Anti-Christ and the False Prophet. …

“Beds,” or couches of glory (v.5) here mean thrones. Eastern princes are enthroned upon cushions or divans (Esther 7:8; Amos 6:4).

The future tense should be used in verses 5-9. This section foretells the efficiency, the piety, and the equity of the government which Israel will exercise over the Nations of the earth. It will be efficient, for a two-edged sword will be in their hand; it will be pious, for the high praises of God will be in their mouths; it will be just, for it will exact vengeance; it will be impartial, for it will bind kings; and it will be legal, for it will execute the judgment written int he statute books of heaven. …

In that day, as predicted by Messiah Himself, His apostles will sit on twelve thrones judging the twelve tribes of Israel; and, as foretold in the Scriptures, Israel will sit on thrones judging the nations of the earth. — Williams, page 414.

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Psalm 148

1 Praise the Lord
Praise the Lord from the heavens;

Praise Him in the heights!

2 Praise Him, all His angels;
Praise Him, all His hosts!

3 Praise Him, sun and moon;
Praise Him, all you stars of light!

4 Praise Him, you heavens of heavens,
And you waters above the heavens!

Let them praise the name of the Lord,
For He commanded and they were created.

6 He also established them forever and ever;
He made a decree which shall not pass away.

Praise the Lord from the earth,
You great sea creatures and all the depths;

8 Fire and hail, snow and clouds;
Stormy wind, fulfilling His word;

9 Mountains and all hills;
Fruitful trees and all cedars;

10 Beasts and all cattle;
Creeping things and flying fowl;

11 Kings of the earth and all peoples;
Princes and all judges of the earth;

12 Both young men and maidens;
Old men and children.

13 Let them praise the name of the Lord,
For His name alone is exalted;
His glory is above the earth and heaven.

14 And He has exalted the horn of His people,
The praise of all His saints—
Of the children of Israel,
A people near to Him.
Praise the Lord!

The psalmist underscores the praise due to God for—and hence from—the object of His work and solicitude throughout creation, organized here into three distinct venues: in the heavens (vs.1-6), on earth (vs.7-13), and among His people, Israel (v.14). Concerning God’s work in the heavens the psalmist moves from “highest” to “lowest,” starting with the heights (v.1)—i.e., the unseen, spiritual, or “holy” realm in which God “dwells” (cf. Job 16:19; 25:2; Psalm 102:19; this is the “third heaven” of which Paul speaks in 2 Corinthians 12:2) and which is also inhabited by His angels (= “His hosts” v.2), then the heavens comprising the region beyond the earth’s atmosphere (i.e., “the highest heavens” of v.4), containing the sun and moon and all the stars (v.3); then the heavens comprising the atmosphere, with its “waters … above” (i.e., clouds); all that fills these three “heavens” are obligated to praise God because He created and established them.

Concerning God’s work on earth (v.7) the psalmist starts with the waters around the edges of the land (inhabited by the sea creatures and all the deeps (including the depths not just of the ocean, but also of lakes and rivers (cf. Exodus 15:5); then the inanimate things that both affect the land (v.8) and cover it (v.9); then animal life (v.10); then human life and the authorities (i.e., kings, princes, judges) by which it is governed, all of whom are established by God irrespective of faith (cf. Romans 13:1; Proverbs 21:1) and, in the end, will praise His name alone (v.13; cf. Zechariah 14:9, 16).

And, finally, concerning God’s work among His people, Israel, the psalmist epitomizes God’s solicitude (since it is reviewed in detail in the previous two and following two psalms), and Israel’s consequent obligation of praise by (1) affirming that God has lifted up a horn for them (i.e., granted them strength [in every area]), (2) referring to them as His godly ones (lit., “recipients of [lovingkindness]), and (3) describing them as a people near to him (an allusion to Deuteronomy 4:7, signifying special access to God on the basis of relationship). — Wechsler, pages 352-353.

exalted the horn (v.14) — A metaphor, derived from animals tossing their heads, to denote overweening, defiant self-consciousness of strength.

Williams’ take:

This is the third of the last five Hallelujah Psalms. it corresponds to the third Book of the Pentateuch. Worship is the subject of that Book. This Psalm pictures a place of worship and describes the worshipers. …

This song pictures the happy estate of man and all living creatures under Messiah’s coming reign. — Williams, page 414-415.

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Psalm 147

1 Praise the Lord!
For it is good to sing praises to our God;
For it is pleasant, and praise is beautiful.

The Lord builds up Jerusalem;
He gathers together the outcasts of Israel.

3 He heals the brokenhearted
And binds up their wounds.

4 He counts the number of the stars;
He calls them all by name.

5 Great is our Lord, and mighty in power;
His understanding is infinite.

6 The Lord lifts up the humble;
He casts the wicked down to the ground.

Sing to the Lord with thanksgiving;
Sing praises on the harp to our God,

8 Who covers the heavens with clouds,
Who prepares rain for the earth,
Who makes grass to grow on the mountains.

9 He gives to the beast its food,
And to the young ravens that cry.

10 He does not delight in the strength of the horse;
He takes no pleasure in the legs of a man.

11 The Lord takes pleasure in those who fear Him,
In those who hope in His mercy.

12 Praise the Lord, O Jerusalem!
Praise your God, O Zion!

13 For He has strengthened the bars of your gates;
He has blessed your children within you.

14 He makes peace in your borders,
And fills you with the finest wheat.

15 He sends out His command to the earth;
His word runs very swiftly.

16 He gives snow like wool;
He scatters the frost like ashes;

17 He casts out His hail like morsels;
Who can stand before His cold?

18 He sends out His word and melts them;
He causes His wind to blow, and the waters flow.

19 He declares His word to Jacob,
His statutes and His judgments to Israel.

20 He has not dealt thus with any nation;
And as for His judgments, they have not known them.

This psalm continues the focus of Psalm 146:6-10, reviewing the various expressions of God’s solicitude for Israel—and for which Israel’s responsive praise is not only obligated, but also good and pleasant. First and foremost in his ensuing review, the psalmist affirms that the Lord builds up Jerusalem (v.2)—referring here not to His “building” of the actual city, but rather, as borne out by the following parallel line, to His regathering of the outcasts of Israel. God also heals the brokenhearted (v.3), referring to His acts of delivering His people from oppression and distress at the hands of more powerful forces—hence the following emphasis on God’s sovereign authority (this being the point of His giving names to all of the stars) and strength (vs.4-5). The psalmist also points to the fact that, just as the Lord gives to every beast its food without showing favor (i.e., giving more food) to animals that are endowed with greater strength, such as the horse (vs.9-10a), so too He shows no favor towards the stronger when expressing His solicitude towards man (v.10b, in which “legs” symbolizes the muscular power that impels a warrior forward)—as particularly manifest in the history of Israel, who were not only not the strongest of peoples, but, from their inception (see Deuteronomy 7:7) onwards, among the fewest and weakest. It is in human weakness—provided that the weak are among those who fear (i.e., worship) the Lord and wait upon His lovingkindness—that God’s power is most manifest (2 Corinthians 12:9). — Wechsler, page 351.

Williams’ take:

Israel’s redemption from Egypt, the healing of the wounds there inflicted, and her formation into a nation, illustrate the greater deliverance now awaiting her, and which she will celebrate when the kingdoms of the earth become the Kingdoms of her Messiah. …

[God’s] power over nature, and His ability to make it serve His creatures, is recognized by His people and excites their praise (vs.7-18). In verses 10-11 He distinguishes between physical and spiritual strength. …

[God’s] election of Israel as the depository of His Word, and as the channel of its communication to the world (vs.19-20), moved both Moses and Paul to wonder and worship (Deuteronomy 4:8; Romans 3:2 and 11:33). — Williams, page 413.

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Psalm 146

1 Praise the Lord!
Praise the Lord, O my soul!

2 While I live I will praise the Lord;
I will sing praises to my God while I have my being.

Do not put your trust in princes,
Nor in a son of man, in whom there is no help.

4 His spirit departs, he returns to his earth;
In that very day his plans perish.

Happy is he who has the God of Jacob for his help,
Whose hope is in the Lord his God,

6 Who made heaven and earth,
The sea, and all that is in them;
Who keeps truth forever,

7 Who executes justice for the oppressed,
Who gives food to the hungry.
The Lord gives freedom to the prisoners.

The Lord opens the eyes of the blind;
The Lord raises those who are bowed down;
The Lord loves the righteous.

9 The Lord watches over the strangers;
He relieves the fatherless and widow;
But the way of the wicked He turns upside down.

10 The Lord shall reign forever—
Your God, O Zion, to all generations.
Praise the Lord!

That the final five psalms are intended as a distinct unit is indicated by the fact that each one (and hence the unit as a whole) is framed by the identical exhortation “Praise the LORD!”—reflecting as well as the shared focus of each psalm on the central theme of god’s praise, both its basis and its extent. Given this thematic focus, it became an established practice in early Jewish tradition (continued to this day) to recite these five psalms, together with Psalm 145, as part of the daily morning liturgy. Though none of these five psalms has a heading, early Jewish tradition (in the Septuagint) attributes the first three to the post-exilic prophets Haggai and Zechariah. — Wechsler, page 349


The psalmist follows a call to praise by exhorting Israel (explicitly referenced as his addressees in v.10) not to trust in princes who are mere mortal men, an din whom there is therefore no salvation. Then, after affirming the blessedness of the one who adheres to this principle (i.e. of trusting/hoping in God rather than in human leaders), the psalmist considers the various ways in which God’s solicitude is expressed towards His people (in vs.6-9), culminating (in v.10) with an allusion to that solicitude as finally and ideally manifest when He establishes His reign over Zion forever (cf. Ezekiel 43:7ff; Zechariah 14:9ff; Revelation 21:2ff). — Wechsler, page 350.


The God of Jacob (v.5); Your God, O Zion (v.10). The distinctive and trustworthy character described in vs.7-9 belongs to this God exclusively and to no other; the God who is known to Israel and in Zion. This is the exclusivism of the Old Testament. The abstract concept of “deity” is not enough for a man to trust; nor is any other claimant to the title “god.” Only one God is worthy of trust and He is to be found only in Jacob and Zion. — Guthrie, page 544.

strangers (v.9) — foreigners living in Israel, often refugees without personal possessions

Williams’ take:

As the Five Books of the Psalms correspond to the Five Books of the Pentateuch, so the five closing Hallelujah Psalms also correspond. This Psalm is therefore the Genesis Psalm. It recalls the formation of man (v.4) and the creation of the worlds (v.6).

Each Psalm begins and ends with Hallelujah. All five are millennium Psalms. They will be sung by the happy subjects of Christ’s future kingdom. — Williams, page 413.

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Psalm 145

A Praise of David.

1 I will extol You, my God, O King;
And I will bless Your name forever and ever.

2 Every day I will bless You,
And I will praise Your name forever and ever.

3 Great is the Lord, and greatly to be praised;
And His greatness is unsearchable.

One generation shall praise Your works to another,
And shall declare Your mighty acts.

5 I will meditate on the glorious splendor of Your majesty,
And on Your wondrous works.

6 Men shall speak of the might of Your awesome acts,
And I will declare Your greatness.

7 They shall utter the memory of Your great goodness,
And shall sing of Your righteousness.

The Lord is gracious and full of compassion,
Slow to anger and great in mercy.

9 The Lord is good to all,
And His tender mercies are over all His works.

10 All Your works shall praise You, O Lord,
And Your saints shall bless You.

11 They shall speak of the glory of Your kingdom,
And talk of Your power,

12 To make known to the sons of men His mighty acts,
And the glorious majesty of His kingdom.

13 Your kingdom is an everlasting kingdom,
And Your dominion endures throughout all generations.

14 The Lord upholds all who fall,
And raises up all who are bowed down.

15 The eyes of all look expectantly to You,
And You give them their food in due season.

16 You open Your hand
And satisfy the desire of every living thing.

17 The Lord is righteous in all His ways,
Gracious in all His works.

18 The Lord is near to all who call upon Him,
To all who call upon Him in truth.

19 He will fulfill the desire of those who fear Him;
He also will hear their cry and save them.

20 The Lord preserves all who love Him,
But all the wicked He will destroy.

21 My mouth shall speak the praise of the Lord,
And all flesh shall bless His holy name
Forever and ever.

It is an acrostic Psalm, the verses beginning in the Hebrew with the successive letters of the alphabet. Somehow the couplet for the fourteenth letter, Nun, has dropped out of the text as it has come down to us. The Septuagint, however, supply the omission thus: “The Lord is faithful in His words, and holy in all His works.” The place of this verse is between verses 13 and 14 in our English Bibles. — Meyer, page 176.


This psalm is structured as an alphabetic acrostic … although excluding the 14th letter, which further enables the organization of this psalm into three stanzas of seven verses each. These numerical elements of the psalm’s structure in turn reinforce and sharpen our understanding of its content—to wit: that each of the three stanzas describe the complete/perfect (=”7″) expression of a distinct aspect of “God’s name,” all three of which serve as the collective basis for blessing him to the utmost/superlative (=”3″) degree. — Wechsler, page 347.


The repetition at the end of the psalm of David’s opening declaration, “And I will bless They name forever and ever,” underscores the them of the psalm itself. So too, the specific reference to “God’s name” (rather than just “God”) indicates a specific thematic focus on God’s “reputation” as based on His manifest deeds of deliverance and victory (both spiritual and physical). … Especially prominent in this section is the notion of God’s “greatness,” as borne out by the three-fold use of the Hebrew root g-d-l (“to be great”): in v.3 (“Great is the LORD … His greatness is unsearchable”) and v.6 (“I will tell of They greatness). — Wechsler, pages 347-348.


[Verses 8-14] emphasize the glory of God’s name (i.e., reputation) as manifest in His dominion—specifically, His dominion as characterized by (1) the glory (vs.11a, 12b) and everlasting extent (v.13) of that over which He rules (i.e., His kingdom in vs. 11-13); (2) the rule itself, which, like the Ruler, is gracious and merciful, slow to anger and great in lovingkindness; and (3) the “citizens” of His kingdom, who are described as “recipients of hesed). Wechsler, page 348.


Saints (v.10) — This title (Heb. hasid) is related to “steadfast love (Heb. hesed), and therefore denotes primarily those who have been the object of the covenant love of the Lord; it then advances to include also the thought of their responsive love toward Him. — Guthrie, page 544.


David concludes (vs.15-21) on the specific ways in which God’s hesed, referenced in the previous section, is expressed towards the citizens of His kingdom—both now as well as in the hereafter—to wit: He supplies their need for physical sustenance in due time (v.15); even more, He satisfies their desire (vs. 16 and 19); He is near to them (an allusion to Deuteronomy 4:7, signifying special access to God on the basis of relationship); He saves them; and He keeps (or “preserves,” “guards”) them, meaning that, from the moment that their status as “citizens” in God’s kingdom is granted, as expressed through their faith here and now, He maintains that status forever. — Wechsler, pages 348-349.

Williams’ take:

In Psalm 22:25, Messiah said, “My praise shall be of Thee in the great congregation.” This vow He here fulfills on ascending the throne of Jehovah at Jerusalem (1 Chronicles 29:23). As Viceroy He acts for God the Great King, addressing Him as “My God the King.” Before Him stands “the great congregation” composed of the princes and people of Israel, and the representatives of all nations. This mighty anthem is then sung. Messiah leads the song, and the great congregation responds. The subjoined arrangement has been suggested:

Messiah sings: “I will extol Thee,” etc., (vs.1-2).
The great congregation responds: “Great is Jehovah,” etc., (vs.3-4).
Messiah sings: “I will speak,” etc., (v.5).
The congregation responds, “and men shall speak” etc., (v.6).
Messiah sings: “Yea, I will declare,” etc., (v.6).
The congregation responds: “They shall abundantly” etc., (vs.7-20).
Messiah sings: “My mouth shall speak” etc., (v.21).
The response: “And all flesh shall bless,” etc., (v.21). — Williams, page 412.

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Psalm 144

A Psalm of David.

144 Blessed be the Lord my Rock,
Who trains my hands for war,
And my fingers for battle—

2 My lovingkindness and my fortress,
My high tower and my deliverer,
My shield and the One in whom I take refuge,
Who subdues my people under me.

Lord, what is man, that You take knowledge of him?
Or the son of man, that You are mindful of him?

4 Man is like a breath;
His days are like a passing shadow.

Bow down Your heavens, O Lord, and come down;
Touch the mountains, and they shall smoke.

6 Flash forth lightning and scatter them;
Shoot out Your arrows and destroy them.

7 Stretch out Your hand from above;
Rescue me and deliver me out of great waters,
From the hand of foreigners,

8 Whose mouth speaks lying words,
And whose right hand is a right hand of falsehood.

I will sing a new song to You, O God;
On a harp of ten strings I will sing praises to You,

10 The One who gives salvation to kings,
Who delivers David His servant
From the deadly sword.

11 Rescue me and deliver me from the hand of foreigners,
Whose mouth speaks lying words,
And whose right hand is a right hand of falsehood—

12 That our sons may be as plants grown up in their youth;
That our daughters may be as pillars,
Sculptured in palace style;

13 That our barns may be full,
Supplying all kinds of produce;
That our sheep may bring forth thousands
And ten thousands in our fields;

14 That our oxen may be well laden;
That there be no breaking in or going out;
That there be no outcry in our streets.

15 Happy are the people who are in such a state;
Happy are the people whose God is the Lord!

[This psalm] is partly compiled of passages taken from other Psalms, as 8:4, and 18:13-15. But the last verses (9-15) are a valuable addition. — Meyer, page 174.


In most Jewish congregations in Israel, this psalm—which focuses on God’s dominion over both His own people (v.2) and the hostile Gentile nations that surround them—is recited at the beginning of prayers for the end of the Sabbath (i.e., on Saturday night, ushering in the new [lunar] week) as well as on Israeli Memorial Day, honoring soldiers killed in the line of duty as well as the thousands of civilians killed in acts of terror and aggression. — Wechsler, page 344.


David underscores both the depth and all-encompassing nature of his personal connection to God by describing Him with expressions in which the possessive pronoun “my” predominates. David expands and enhances his devotional focus by pondering … why God would condescend to enter into intimate relationship (this being the sense of “take knowledge of”) with any human. The implicit answer is, of course, that God is not only holy, righteous, and just, but also merciful, gracious, and loving. — Wechsler, page 345.


In vs.5-11, David affirms God’s role as the one who both protects Israel and determines her military success. … As in Isaiah 8:7, the enemies of Israel are described with the imagery of “great waters” (v.7), emphasizing their greater number and military prowess, and hence David’s ultimate reliance on God to rescue him and his people. Also, the reference to the evil sword (v.10) may allude to the sword of Goliath (1 Samuel 17:45 and 51) who is himself a biblical symbol of Gentile opposition to God and His people. — Wechsler, pages 345-346.


In vs.12-15 David implored God’s continued solicitude in providing for his people’s physical-material needs. … This last section should be taken to refer to the messianic kingdom. The two-fold “How blessed are the people” in v.15 hearkens back to David’s conclusion of Psalm 2. — Wechsler, page 346.

Williams’ take:

The First Advent is here predicted in verses 1-8; the Second, in verses 9-15. … The two previous Psalms, which preserve the prayer of Messiah when in the darkness of the eternal grave, are followed in this Psalm by the triumph and sunshine of the resurrection and millennial mornings. These mornings are here brought together; as they are in so many passages in the Bible. …

There is no meaningless repetition in verses 8 and 11. The fundamental doctrine of man’s incurable corruption is declared to be the same at the time of Christ’s future coming as it was at the time of his first coming. …

Man’s miserable estate at the First Advent and since (v.4) is contrasted with his happy future estate under the Second Advent (vs.12-15). — Williams, page 412.

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Psalm 143

A Psalm of David.

1 Hear my prayer, O Lord,
Give ear to my supplications!
In Your faithfulness answer me,
And in Your righteousness.

2 Do not enter into judgment with Your servant,
For in Your sight no one living is righteous.

For the enemy has persecuted my soul;
He has crushed my life to the ground;
He has made me dwell in darkness,
Like those who have long been dead.

4 Therefore my spirit is overwhelmed within me;
My heart within me is distressed.

I remember the days of old;
I meditate on all Your works;
I muse on the work of Your hands.

6 I spread out my hands to You;
My soul longs for You like a thirsty land. Selah

Answer me speedily, O Lord;
My spirit fails!
Do not hide Your face from me,
Lest I be like those who go down into the pit.

8 Cause me to hear Your lovingkindness in the morning,
For in You do I trust;
Cause me to know the way in which I should walk,
For I lift up my soul to You.

Deliver me, O Lord, from my enemies;
In You I take shelter.

10 Teach me to do Your will,
For You are my God;
Your Spirit is good.
Lead me in the land of uprightness.

11 Revive me, O Lord, for Your name’s sake!
For Your righteousness’ sake bring my soul out of trouble.

12 In Your mercy cut off my enemies,
And destroy all those who afflict my soul;
For I am Your servant.

Early Jewish attribution identifies the occasion for this psalm as the time when David was forced to flee Jerusalem by his son Absalom (2 Samuel 15-18). Whether or not this tradition is true, it is worth noting that (1) in verses 2 and 7 David clearly affirms the possibility that his persecution by the enemy may be an expression of God’s just chastisement, which is consistent with his view of Absalom’s coup (2 Samuel 16:8-11), and (2) David is unusually restrained with respect to imprecation in this psalm, focusing primarily on God’s deliverance and spiritual guidance (vs.8 and 10) and making only one very general imprecatory statement in v.12 concerning his collective “enemies,” all of which is consistent with his loving attitude towards Absalom. — Wechsler, page 342.


David begins his prayer by imploring God to hear him, not because David himself merits a hearing, but on the basis of God’s own faithfulness and righteousness. This spiritually honest (and accurate) attitude of self-introspection—which is one of the main qualifiers of David as “a man after (God’s) own heart” (1 Samuel 13:14)—is further borne out by this affirmation in v.2 that his current persecution by “the enemy” (v.3) may well be intended as an expression of … chastisement. — Wechsler, page 343.


The extremely close parallels between elements of the phraseology in v.5 and that in Psalm 44:1-2 indicates that the specific “work” of God to which David here refers is the exodus. … By his statement “I remember … I meditate …” David is thus affirming his confidence in God’s faithfulness: just as He upheld His promise to the Israelites through the patriarchs, so too would He uphold His promise to David (2 Samuel 7:8-16). — Wechsler, page 343.


Most important to David was … that God’s glory be manifested in his life (v.11) … as the result of David’s obedience and devotion. For this reason he affirms the potential necessity of God’s chastisement, though in affirming its necessity—which implies, of course, a recognition of his sin—he nonetheless asks God to bring that chastisement to an end, while at the same time imploring God to teach him to do His will (v.10). — Wechsler, page 244.

Williams’ take:

As in the two prior Psalms so here Messiah prays from out of the depths and darkness of Sheol. … In the second verse He pleads for the justification of His people, and in the last verses for the destruction of their enemies. … The enemy of verses 3 and 4 is death—the last enemy that is to be destroyed. In these two verses are fore-told Messiah’s death on the cross. … The depth of anguish was deepened by the remembrance of the glory which He had with the Father before and at creation (v.5). The language of intense suffering, of full subjection of will, and of confident expectation of the promised resurrection, are all expressed in verses 6-11.

God’s true servants in all dispensations may, with David, use the words of this Psalm as a vehicle of prayer and faith in times of deep trial; but only One could suffer fully the sorrows here revealed. — Williams, pages411-412.

I think I agree with Williams here that the psalm is Messianic, but at the same time reflects a prayer of David and one that we can use when facing hardship.

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Psalm 142

A Contemplation of David. A Prayer when he was in the cave.

1 I cry out to the Lord with my voice;
With my voice to the Lord I make my supplication.

2 I pour out my complaint before Him;
I declare before Him my trouble.

When my spirit was overwhelmed within me,
Then You knew my path.
In the way in which I walk
They have secretly set a snare for me.

4 Look on my right hand and see,
For there is no one who acknowledges me;
Refuge has failed me;
No one cares for my soul.

I cried out to You, O Lord:
I said, “You are my refuge,
My portion in the land of the living.

6 Attend to my cry,
For I am brought very low;
Deliver me from my persecutors,
For they are stronger than I.

7 Bring my soul out of prison,
That I may praise Your name;
The righteous shall surround me,
For You shall deal bountifully with me.”

the cave (intro) — either the cave of Adullam (1 Samuel 22:1ff.) or the cave at Ein Gedi, among the Rocks of the Wild Goats (1 Samuel 24:1ff). In both cases, David was fleeing Saul who wanted to kill him.

A proper biblical definition [of worship] entails any outward expression by believers that affirms God for who He is and what He does. It is therefore unquestionably an act of worship for David to pour out his complaint before God (v.2; as also in Psalm 77:3), for in doing so he is affirming who God is, not simply as his Creator, but as his Father—a Father who earnestly desires to hear and respond to all that fills the heart of His deeply beloved child. … As David emphasizes four times in the opening two verses, [his complaint] is “poured out” to God alone.  Hence, when Paul exhorts the Philippian Christians to “do all things without complaining or arguing” (Philippians 2:14) he is not contradicting the clear example of David (or Job, among many others), but rather emphasizing the importance of refraining from such as part of our witness to unbelievers, “among whom you appear as lights in the world” (Philippians 2:15). — Wechsler, pages 339-340.


The second parameter of “worshipful” complaint (v.7a) is that it is motivated ultimately by the desire to further God’s glory. Hence … David draws his complaint to a conclusion by imploring God to bring his soul out of prison (here, intended as a figurative reference to circumstantial-psychological “darkness,” despair and depression), not simply for the sake of his personal comfort and ease, but so that he may give thanks to God’s name—i.e., that by resolving the situation about which he is complaining, God would enable David to (1) express his worship in the way that God legislated by offering Him sacrifice at the Tabernacle (which he was prevented from doing as a fugitive from Saul), and (2) enhance the basis of God’s praise by adding yet another distinct act of His redemption thereto. — Wechsler, page 341.


The final parameter of worshipful complaint (v.7b) is the tempering thereof by affirming God’s promises—specifically, by affirming His promise of future and final victory. It is this time that David envisions by his closing, confident assertion, “The righteous will surround me”—a situation that was certainly never true during David’s lifetime. — Wechsler, page 341.

Williams’ take:

David when in the cavern reviews his experiences prior to his descent into it (vs.3-6); prays that he may be delivered out of it; and believes that his prayer will be heard (v.7). In all this he was a type of his Son and Lord.

The reader is invited to contemplate Messiah when shut up in the prison-house of Sheol (vs.1-2, 7); he is permitted to hear Him reviewing before God His life as Man (v.3); His anguish and prayer when hanging on the tree (vs.4-6); His petition to be delivered out of the death-world; His assurance that that prayer will be heard (v.7); and the subsequent joy that His resurrection would cause to His people (v.7) …

His absolute abandonment and loneliness when in the hands of the High Priests and of Pilate, and when nailed to the tree, are declared in verse 4; and in verses 5-6 His unfailing faith in, and dependence upon, God up to the last moment that in “the land of the living” He suffered the rage and cruelty of His persecutors is touchingly expressed. — Williams, pages 410-411.

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Psalm 141

A Psalm of David.

1 Lord, I cry out to You;
Make haste to me!
Give ear to my voice when I cry out to You.

2 Let my prayer be set before You as incense,
The lifting up of my hands as the evening sacrifice.

Set a guard, O Lord, over my mouth;
Keep watch over the door of my lips.

4 Do not incline my heart to any evil thing,
To practice wicked works
With men who work iniquity;
And do not let me eat of their delicacies.

Let the righteous strike me;
It shall be a kindness.
And let him rebuke me;
It shall be as excellent oil;
Let my head not refuse it.
For still my prayer is against the deeds of the wicked.

6 Their judges are overthrown by the sides of the cliff,
And they hear my words, for they are sweet.

7 Our bones are scattered at the mouth of the grave,
As when one plows and breaks up the earth.

But my eyes are upon You, O God the Lord;
In You I take refuge;
Do not leave my soul destitute.

9 Keep me from the snares they have laid for me,
And from the traps of the workers of iniquity.

10 Let the wicked fall into their own nets,
While I escape safely.

David begins (vs.1-4) by appealing to God on the basis of their relationship—i.e., that though he is a sinner, he is nonetheless God’s child, and can therefore call upon God with the expectation that He will indeed give ear to his voice (i.e., meet his need in the best way possible [per God’s knowledge of what is best]). — Wechsler, page 338.


The relationship nuance of God’s guidance is here extended by David to include the chastising activity of his fellow children of God—i.e., the righteous—who smite (the verb indicates and ongoing action) him in love and so reprove him (v.5), the phraseology of which hearkens to the same action on the part of God towards those “whom He loves (Proverbs 3:11-12)—which action is in turn emulated by God’s children towards each other (cf. Matthew 5:48; 1 John 3:16; 4:7-21). — Wechsler, page 338.


David’s absolute and unqualified submission to God—and in particular to God’s chastisement is here emphasized by his declaring not only that his eyes are toward God (parallel in sense to the “lifting up of [his] hands” toward God in v.2), but also by his specific reference to God as “Yahweh, my Lord,” paralleling his affirmation in Psalm 16:1-2. — Wechsler, page 339.

Williams’ take:

The hatred of man’s heart to Messiah and His followers (vs. 7 and 9); the just judgment of these haters (v.10); and the faith and dependence of Messiah Himself in and upon God, and His preciousness to God (vs.1, 3-4, 6 and 8), form the the teaching of the song. …

His subjection and dependence as a man, and His shrinking from evil, are foretold in the petitions of verses 3-4. …

The doom of the wicked is predicted in verse 10. The future tense should be here used, as in the Hebrew text; and the sens of the second member of the verse is that the Pharisees, the Sadducees and the Herodians were caught in their own snares, but that Messiah passed safely through and over them. — Williams, page 410.

I don’t find Wechsler’s interpretation particularly meaty, and Williams’ interpretation is a little hard to find in the passage. I think Morgan may have caught the meaning best:

In this song the influence of the external troubles upon the inner life of the singer is revealed. Throughout it breathes the spirit of fear lest the soul should be seduced from the attitude of whole-hearted loyalty to God. The peril most evidently threatening arises from the enticements of the ungodly; and the psalmist earnestly prays that he may be protected by Jehovah in speech and thought and action.

Without in so many words declaring so, the song clearly reveals the fact that the singer has been sorely tempted to turn aside to ways of ungodly men, to share their hospitality, and so escape their hostility. This peril is more subtle than that of the active opposition of these men, and in this distress he turns to God. … If the former psalm reveals the perils of foes without, this no less clearly deals with the danger of fears within.

I would probably replace the word “fear” in that last sentence with “temptations” — temptations that come from the wicked in the world around the believer. — Morgan, page 275.

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