PSALM ONE HUNDRED THIRTY SIX
Outline
  1. Call to Praise the God of gods (vv.1-3)
  2. As Lord at Creation (vv.4-9)
  3. As Victor over Israelís Early Adversaries (vv.10-22)
  4. As Deliverer throughout Israelite History (vv.23-25)
  5. Call to Render Thanks (v.26)
In Praise of the God of gods (vv.1-3)

VERSE 1 Give thanks to the LORD, for He is good (WdAh [Hiphil.imper., yadah, throw] hw"hyl [prep.w/pr.n.] bAj-yK [conj. + adj.m.s., good]),

For His lovingkindness is everlasting (yK [conj.] `ADs.x; [n.m.s.w/3.m.s.sf., chesed] ~l'A[l [prep.w/n.m.s.]).

VERSE 2 Give thanks to the God of gods (WdAh [Hiphil.imper., yadhah] yhel{ale [prep.w/n.m.p.cstr., elohim, God] ~yhil{a/h' [def.art.w/n.m.p., elohim, god]),

For His lovingkindness is everlasting (yK [conj.] `ADs.x; [n.m.s.w/3.m.s.sf., chesed] ~l'A[l [prep.w/n.m.s.]).

VERSE 3 Give thanks to the Lord of lords (WdAh [Hiphil.imper., yadhah] ynEdoa]l; [prep.w/n.m.p.cstr., adhonai, lord, master] ~ynIdoa]h [def.art.w/n.m.p., adhonai]),

For His lovingkindness is everlasting (yK [conj.] `ADs.x; [n.m.s.w/3.m.s.sf., chesed] ~l'[ol. [prep.w/n.m.s.]).

ANALYSIS: VERSES 1-3

  1. This psalm is a song of praise
  2. In Jewish tradition this psalm is often referred to as the Great Hallel (Praise).
  3. It bears a close resemblance to Psalm 135.
  4. The psalm was probably a responsive song performed at the great feasts.
  5. The interspersed refrain (21X) gives us a glimpse of the congregationís part in this psalm.
  6. Godís people are enjoined to "Give thanks" three times in the first three verses based on who and what Yahweh is.
  7. Goodness is ascribed to Him. Goodness arises from His perfect essence (cp. 1Chron.16:34; Ps.106:1; 107:1; 118:1; Jer.33:11).
  8. God desires the best for His creatures. He therefore provides good things according to their need.
  9. "His devotion ("lovingkindness") is never ending" is the central theme of v.1b; 2b, 3b, et al.
  10. He is worthy of thanks as He is the "God of gods" and "Lord of lords" (Deut.10:17).
  11. As "God of gods" He reigns supreme over the so-called gods of the nations who are at best fallen angels.
  12. As "Lord of lords" He prevails over the mighty men of the earth in each and every generation (cp. Isa.40:23).
  13. There is none that can thwart His purposes (cp. Jer.23:20; 50:45; 51:29).
  14. "Give thanks" is not the whole meaning of the Hebrew verb.
  15. The root meaning is Ďto throwí or Ďcast.í
  16. It basically means Ďto confessí or Ďto acknowledge.í
  17. It calls believers to grateful worship and acknowledgement of Godís glory and deeds.
  18. The background of "Lovingkindness" is covenant-fidelity.
  19. The cognate noun of this word is Ďstorkí. This species of bird is known for its fierce loyalty to its young.
  20. Hence, God is fiercely loyal to His promises and word.
As Lord of Creation (vv.4-9)

VERSE 4 To Him who alone does great wonders (hfe[ol. [prep.w/Qal.pt.m.s., ashah, do] ADb;l. [prep.w/n.m.s.w/3.m.s.sf., badh, alone] tAldoG> [adj.m.p., gadhol, great] tAal'p.nI [Niphil.pt.f.p., pala, be marvelous]),

For His lovingkindness is everlasting (yKi [conj.] `ADs.x; [n.m.s.w/3m.s.sf.] ~l'A[l. [prep.w/n.m.s.]);

VERSE 5 To Him who made the heavens with skill (hfe[ol. [prep.w/Qal.pt.m.s., ashah] ~yIm;V'h; [def.art.w/n.m.p., shamayim, heaven] hn"Wbt.Bi [prep.w/n.f.s., tabhunah, understanding, skill]),

For His lovingkindness is everlasting (yKi [conj.] `ADs.x; [n.m.s.w/3.m.s.sf., chesed] ~l'A[l. [prep.w/n.m.s.]);

VERSE 6 To Him who spread out the earth above the waters ([q;rol. [prep.w/Qal.pt.m.s., raqa, to beat out; "spread"] #r,a'h' [def.art.w/n.f.s., erets, earth] ~yIM'h;-l[;

[prep. + def.art.w/n.m.p., mayim, water]),

For His lovingkindness is everlasting (yKi [conj.] `ADs.x; [n.m.s.w/3m.s.sf., chesed] ~l'A[l. [prep.w/n.m.s.]);

VERSE 7 To Him who made the great lights (hfe[ol. [prep.w/Qal.pt.m.s., ashah, make] > ~yrIAa [n.m.p., or, light] ~ylidoG [adj.m.p., gadhol, great]),

For His lovingkindness is everlasting (yKi [conj.] `ADs.x; [n.m.s.w/3m.s.sf.] ~l'A[l. [prep.w/n.m.s.]):

VERSE 8 The sun to rule by day (vm,V,h;-ta [dir.obj. + def.art.w/n.m.s., shemesh, sun] tl,v,m.m,l. [prep.w/n.f.s.cstr., memeshalah, rule] ~AYB; [prep.w/n.m.s., yom, day]),

For His lovingkindness is everlasting (yKi [conj.] `ADs.x; [n.m.s.w/3.m.s.sf.] ~l'A[l. [prep.w/n.m.s.]),

VERSE 9 The moon and stars to rule by night (x;reY"h;-ta, [dir.obj. + def.art.w/n.m.s., yareach, moon] ~ybik'Akw> [conj.w/n.m.p., kokabh, star] tAlv.m.m,l. [prep.w/n.f.p.cstr., memeshalah, rule] hl'y>L'B; [prep.w/n.m.s., layil, night]),

For His lovingkindness is everlasting (yKi [conj.] ADs.x; [n.m.s.w/3.m.s.sf., chesed] ~l'A[l [prep.w/n.m.s.]).

ANALYSIS: VERSES 4-9

  1. This section of the psalm praises God for His works in connection with original creation and the six days of restoration. The first chapter of the Bible is the account of this work.
  2. Verse 4 sets the tone for this portion of the song.
  3. God "alone" is capable of "great wonders" based on the attribute of omnipotence.
  4. "Great wonders" refers to supernatural acts.
  5. Everything in Godís universe was made "with skill" (v.5a).
  6. His workmanship is evident throughout physical creation.
  7. Divine genius in concert with divine omnipotence accounts for the complexity and detail of the natural world.
  8. His skill as the Creator is praised in Prov.3:19.
  9. The original heavens and earth were created instantaneously as recorded in Gen.1:1.
  10. The original creation was spoken into existence literally out of nothing.
  11. What follows in Gen.1:2-31 is the restoration of the barren, desolate planet into a place fit for manís occupancy.
  12. The original pristine earth was subjected to divine judgment as a result of the fall of Satan.
  13. The earth became something it wasnít at the point of its origin (Gen.1:2; Isa.45:18).
  14. At some point in earthís geological history, God reversed the condition of Gen.1:2.
  15. He did this in six 24-hour days.
  16. Ps.136 celebrates events that occurred on D+3 and D+4 of the restoration/creation week (Gen.1:9-19).
  17. Prior to D+1 of the restoration week (Gen.1:3-5) the earth was encased in an ice pack.
  18. The darkness on the face of the deep in Gen.1:2 presupposes this condition.
  19. God the HS thawed out the waters of Gen.1:2.
  20. God provided a light source (not the sun) on D+1 of restoration week to separate night from day. This light served the earth until D+4 when the sun took its place.
  21. On D+2 God put earthís atmosphere in place that included a water vapor canopy (Gen.1:6-8).
  22. On D+3 (Gen.1:9-10) God raised portions of the earthís crust to establish dry land with corresponding seas.
  23. Ps.136:6a refers to these events.
  24. Earthís pre-flood geology is further confirmed in 2Pet.3:5.
  25. This is yet another demonstration of Godís devotion (chesed).
  26. On D+4 God made the sun the center of our present solar system.
  27. The sun has an important relationship to the earth.
  28. The sun was established as the light source that rules during daylight hours (Gen.1:15).
  29. The moon and the stars were established to provide light during the nighttime.
  30. Absolute darkness at night would be an impossible situation.
  31. Godís provision and design in the natural world is a part of His devotion to the well being of the earth and all it contains.
As Victor over Israelís Early Enemies (vv.10-22)

VERSE 10 To Him who smote the Egyptians in their firstborn (hKem;l. [prep.w/Hiphil.pt.m.s.cstr., nakhah, smite, strike] ~yIr;c.mi [pr.n.] ~h,yreAkb.Bi [prep.w/n.m.p.w/3.m.p.sf., bekhor, firstborn]),

For His lovingkindness is everlasting (yKi [conj.] `ADs.x; [n.m.s.w/3.m.s.sf.] ~l'A[l. [prep.w/n.m.s.]),

VERSE 11 And brought Israel out from their midst (aceAYw: [conj.w/Hiphil.impf.3.m.s., yatsa, go out; bring out] laer'f.yI [pr.n.] ~k'Atmi [prep.w/n.m.s.w/3m.p.sf., tawekh, midst]),

For His lovingkindness is everlasting (yKi [conj.] `ADs.x; [n.m.s.w/3.m.s.sf., chesed] ~l'A[l. [prep.w/n.m.s.]),

VERSE 12 With a strong hand and an outstretched arm (dy"B. [prep.w/n.f.s., yadh, hand] hq'z"x] [adj.m.s., chazaq, strong] [;Arz>biW [conj.w/prep.w/n.f.s., zeroa, arm] hy"Wjn> [Qal.pass.pt.f.s., natah, stretch out]),

For His lovingkindness is everlasting (yKi [conj.] `ADs.x [n.m.s.w/3.m.s.sf., chesed] ~l'A[l [prep.w/n.m.s]).;.

VERSE 13 To Him who divided the Red Sea asunder (rzEgOl. [prep.w/Qal.pt.m.s., gazar, divide] @Ws-~y: [n.m.s.cstr. + n.m.s.; Gulf of Aqaba] ~yrIz"g>li [prep.w/n.m.p., gezer, part; "asunder"]),

For His lovingkindness is everlasting (yKi [conj.] `ADs.x; [n.m.s.w/3m.s.sf.] ~l'A[l. [prep.w/n.m.s.],

VERSE 14 And made Israel pass through the midst of it (rybi[/h,w> [conj.w/Hiphil.pf.3.m.s., abahar, pass by or over or through] laer'f.yI [pr.n.] AkAtB. [prep.w/n.m.s.w/3.m.s.sf., tawekh, midst]),

For His lovingkindness is everlasting (yKi [conj.] `ADs.x; [n.m.s.w/3.m.s.sf.] ~l'A[l. [prep.w/n.m.s.]);

VERSE 15 But He overthrew Pharaoh and his army in the Red Sea (r[enIw> [conj.w/Piel.pf.3.m.s., na-ar, overthrow] h[or>P; [pr.n.] Alyxew> [conj.w/n.m.s.w/3.m.s.sf., chayil, strength; army] @Ws-~y:b. [prep.w/n.m.s.cstr. + pr.n.]),

For His lovingkindness is everlasting (yKi [conj.] i`ADs.x [n.m.s.w/3.m.s.sf.] ~l'A[l. [prep.w/n.m.s.]).

VERSE 16 To Him who led His people through the wilderness ( %yliAml. [prep.w/Hiphil.pt.m.s., halak; walk; lead] AM[; [n.m.s.w/3.m.s.sf., am, people] rB'd>MiB; [prep.w/def.art.w/n.m.s., midhebar, wilderness]),

For His lovingkindness is everlasting (yKi [conj.] `ADs.x; [n.m.s.w/3.m.s.sf., chesed] ~l'A[l. [prep.w/n.m.s.]);

VERSE 17 To Him who smote great kings (hKem;l. [prep.w/Hiphil.pt.m.s., nakhah, strike] ~ylidoG> [adj.m.s., gadhol, great] ~ykil'm. [n.m.p., melekh, king]),

For His lovingkindness is everlasting (yKi [conj.] `ADs.x; [n.m.s.w/3.m.s.sf., chesed] ~l'A[l [prep.w/n.m.s.]),

VERSE 18 And slew mighty kings (groh]Y:w: [conj.w/Qal.impf.3.m.s., haragh, kill] ~yrIyDIa; [adj.m.p., adir, majestic] ~ykil'm. [n.m.p., melek, king]),

For His lovingkindness is everlasting (yKi [conj.] `ADs.x; [n.m.s.w/3.m.s.sf., chesed] ~l'A[l. [prep.w/n.m.s.]):

VERSE 19 Sihon, king of the Amorites (!Axysil. [prep.w/pr.n., "warrior"] %l,m, [n.m.s., melek] yrImoa/h' [def.art.w/pr.n.]),

For His lovingkindness is everlasting (yKi [conj.] `ADs.x; [n.m.s.w/3.m.s.sf., chesed] ~l'A[l. [prep.w/n.m.s., olam, ever]),

VERSE 20 And Og, king of Bashan (gA[l.W [conj.w/pr.n.] %l,m, [n.m.s., melek] !v'B'h; [def.art.w/pr.n.]),

For His lovingkindness is everlasting (yKi [conj.] `ADs.x; [n.m.s.w/3.m.s.sf.] ~l'A[l. [prep.w/n.m.s.]),

VERSE 21 And gave their land as a heritage (!t;n"w> [conj.w/Qal.pf.3.m.s., nathan, give] ~c'r>a; [n.f.s.w/3.m.p.sf., erets, land] hl'x]n:l. [prep.w/n.f.s., nachalah, possession, property, heritage]),

For His lovingkindness is everlasting (yKi [conj.] `ADs.x; [n.m.s.w/3.m.s.sf., chesed] ~l'A[l. [prep.w/n.m.s.]),

VERSE 22 Even a heritage to Israel His servant (hl'x]n: [n.f.s., nachalah, possession, inheritance] laer'f.yIl. [prep.w/pr.n.] ADb.[; [n.m.s.w/3.m.s.sf., ebhedh, servant]),

For His lovingkindness is everlasting (yKi [conj.] `ADs.x; [n.m.s.w/3.m.s.sf., chesed] ~l'A[l. [prep.w/n.m.s.]).

ANALYSIS: VERSES 10-22

  1. The psalmist celebrates divine chesed (devotion) in national Israelís formative history (the Exodus from Egypt and the conquest of Canaan).
  2. He begins with the 10th plague, the death of Egyptís firstborn (v.10; Ex.12:29).
  3. This plague broke Pharaohís stubborn resistance. It allowed Israel to leave Egypt proper and worship/serve God as Moses first requested (Ex.10:9,26).
  4. God, in His unchanging grace, then provided the things necessary to bring such a populous gathering "out from their (Egyptian) midst" (v.11a).
  5. This in itself was no mean feat. It required the rapid organization of 2-3 million people for the march to the Red Sea crossing site at Nuweiba beach near the midpoint of the western shore of the Gulf of Aqaba.
  6. It is important to note that there were no casualties among the people who left Egypt.
  7. The summary statement in v.11a includes the 10 plagues, the cloud by day and the pillar of fire by night, the leadership of Moses and Aaron, food and water, the stamina of a fit people, etc.
  8. He even brought His people out of Egypt with considerable portable booty as He had promised.
  9. Behind all of this was the omnipotence that Yahweh alone possesses (v.12a).
  10. His power was on display during the entire operation.
  11. It manifested itself in the marquee event, the parting of the 8-mile stretch of deep water at Nuweiba.
  12. What appeared to be a topographic trap for the Israelites was turned into a strategic nightmare for the pursuing Egyptian army.
  13. God even provided an undersea land bridge for Israel to cross.
  14. After the last of His people made it safely to the other side, God closed the sea upon "Pharaoh and his army" thus ending the Egyptian threat.
  15. V.15a makes it clear that the Pharaoh of the Exodus died at the Red Sea.
  16. It was customary for pharaohs to lead their armies into the fight.
  17. This clear statement eliminates any proposed Pharaohs of the Exodus whose mummified remains have been recovered.
  18. V.16a sums up all the things God had to do to preserve His people during the 40 years in the wilderness.
  19. Everything was done in accordance with everlasting chesed.
  20. The next generation faced enemies on the East Side of the Jordan near the very end of the 40-year exile and after the last of the Exodus generation had died.
  21. Verses 17 18 summarize the defeat of powerful nations in both Trans-Jordan and Canaan.
  22. Israel militarily engaged two formidable kingdoms before they entered Canaan proper.
  23. The defeat of Sihon king of the Amorites is recorded in Num.21:21-24. The defeat of Og king of Bashan is recorded in Num.21:33-35.
  24. Verses 21-24 sum up the conquest of Canaan under the leadership of Joshua.
  25. The indigenous peoples of Canaan were dispossessed with the special help Yahweh provided.
  26. Joshua 12 provides a summary of the defeated nations under Moses (East side of the Jordan) and under Joshua (West side of the Jordan).
  27. Thus, God partially fulfilled the mandate to give Israel "their land as a heritage."
As Deliverer throughout Israelite History (vv.23-25)

VERSE 23 Who remembered us in our low estate (rk;z" [Qal.pf.3.m.s., zakhar, remember] Wnl' [prep.w/3.m.p.sf.] Wnlep.viB.v, [prep.w/prep.w/n.m.s.w/1.c.p.sf., shapel, low estate]),

For His lovingkindness is everlasting (yKi [conj.] `ADs.x; [n.m.s.w/3.m.s.sf.] ~l'A[l. [prep.w/3.m.s.sf.]) ,

VERSE 24 And has rescued us from our adversaries (Wnqer>p.YIw: [conj.w/Qal.impf.3.m.s.w/1c.p.sf., paraq, tear apart, snatch, rescue] WnyreC'mi [prep.w/n.m.p.w1c.p.sf., tsar, adversary]),

For His lovingkindness is everlasting (yKi [conj.] `ADs.x; [n.m.s.w/3.m.s.sf.] ~l'A[l. [prep.w/n.m.s.]);

VERSE 25 Who gives food to all flesh (!tenO [Qal.pf.m.s., nathan, give] ~x,l, [n.m.s., bread] rf'B'-lk'l. [prep.w/n.m.s. + n.m.s., bashar, flesh]),

For His lovingkindness is everlasting (yKi [conj.] `ADs.x; [n.m.s.w/3.m.s.sf., chesed] ~l'A[l. [prep.w/n.m.s.]).

ANALYSIS: VERSES 23-25

  1. Verses 23 and 24 celebrate Godís eternal faithfulness toward the chosen people even in their most down and out circumstances.
  2. These verses summarize the stories already told and the present situation.
  3. Egyptian slavery was a point of "low estate" that was reversed when the time was right.
  4. Israel was "rescued" from her "adversaries" based on Godís devotion to His promises.
  5. Since God is immutable, He will act the same way towards His covenant people in the last days.
  6. He has never allowed her enemies to blot Israel out as a distinctive people, even though they have been brought very low for their sins.
  7. The Jews of the world are entering the period of their greatest historic testing, but God will once again demonstrate His devotion to His ancient covenant promises.
  8. Verse 25 proceeds to enlarge the horizon to include all of Godís creatures.
  9. Food is basic to life, and God "gives food to all flesh."
  10. This is a part of His eternal chesed towards both man and lower creatures.
  11. This is a part of the witness of Godís goodness towards man (Acts.14:17).
Final Call to Give Thanks (v.26)

VERSE 26 Give thanks to the God of heaven (WdAh [Hiphil.imper., yadah, throw; give thanks] lael. [prep.w/n.m.s., God, god] ~yIm'V'h; [def.art.w/n.m.p., shamayim, heaven]),

For His lovingkindness is everlasting (yKi [conj.] `ADs.x; [n.m.s.w/3.m.s.sf.] ~l'A[l. [prep.w/n.m.s.]).

 

ANALYSIS: VERSE 26

  1. The final verse returns to the theme of verses 1-3.
  2. We should render "thanks to the God of heaven" as He is the guarantor of all blessings past, present and future.
  3. He is the One who is willing and able to make good on all His promises towards His people.
  4. Thanksgiving is a spiritual sacrifice that we should never neglect.
  5. God is pleased when we thank Him for His grace benefits.
END: PSALM ONE HUNDRED THIRTY SIX
JACK M. BALLINGER
APRIL, 1998
© Copyright 1998, Maranatha Church, Inc.