PSALM ONE HUNDRED FORTY-SIX
Outline
  1. Lifelong Praise (vv.1,2)
  2. Man, the False Hope (vv.3,4)
  3. Beatitude of Praise (v.5)
  4. Reasons to Trust God (vv.6-10)
Lifelong Praise (vv.1,2)

VERSE 1 Praise the LORD (Hy"-Wll.h; [Piel.imper., halal, to shine; praise, + the abbreviated form of Yahweh; "Praise Yah"])!

Praise the LORD, O my soul (ylil.h; [Piel.imper., halal] `hw"hy>-ta, [dir.obj. + pr.n.] yvip.n: [n.f.s.w/2.m.s.sf., nephesh, soul])!

VERSE 2 I will praise the LORD while I live (hl'l.h;a] [Piel.impf.1.c.s., halal, praise] hw"hy> [pr.n.] yY"x;B. [prep.w/n.m.p.w/1.c.s.sf., chayah, to live]);

I will sing praises to my God while I have my being (hr'M.z:a] [Piel.impf.1.c.s., zamar, sing, sing praise] yh;l{ale [prep.w/n.m.p.w/1.c.s.sf., elohim] `ydIA[B. [prep.w/adv.w/1.c.s.sf., udh, still, yet]).

ANALYSIS: VERSES 1,2

  1. Five joyful songs of praise, each of them beginning and ending with "Praise the LORD", or Hallelujah ("Praise Yah/Yahweh"), bring the Book of Psalms to a close.
  2. Isaac Watts wrote the hymn "I Will Praise My Maker", which was inspired by this psalm.
  3. The opening call, "Praise Yah" (Hallelujah), is plural, a summons to all, but within the chorus each one can make an offering of the lips which is all his own (vv.1b,2).
  4. Praise that glorifies God is praise that comes from the heart/soul (v.1b).
  5. He personalizes the sacrifice of praise in vv.1b,2.
  6. His self-exhortation is an implicit call to the worshipers to lift up their collective voices and sing to God from the soul/heart.
  7. Praise is not just a mechanical function of talent but a heartfelt response to the greatness of God.
  8. The ability to render an acceptable sacrifice is based on devotion to God, which in turn is based on GAP.
  9. He continues by affirming his determination to offer lifelong praise in v.2 (cp. Ps.145:2a).
  10. It is a measure of his soulish capacity for Yahweh.
  11. His praise is based on awareness of who and what Yahweh is.
  12. His was a personal relationship to Yahweh as His God.
  13. God was not an abstraction to him; rather, He was someone who was real based on personal trust and experience.
  14. As long as he was alive he would render to Yahweh His due.
Man, the False Hope (vv.3,4)

VERSE 3 Do not trust in princes (Wxj.b.Ti-la; [neg. + Qal.impf.2.m.p., batach, trust] ~ybiydIn>bi [prep.w/adj.m.p., nadhibh, willing, noble, princely; noble, prince]),

In mortal man, in whom there is no salvation (~d'a'-!b,B. [prep.w/n.m.s., ben, son, + n.m.s., adham, man] Al [prep.w/3.m.s.sf., "in whom] !yaev, [prep.w/adv., ayin, nothing; "no"] h['Wvt. [n.f.s., teshu-ah, salvation, deliverance]).

VERSE 4 His spirit departs, he returns to the earth (AxWr [n.f.s.w/3.m.s.sf., ruah, spirit] aceTe [Qal.impf.3.f.s., yatsa, go out, exit] bvuy" [Qal.impf.3.m.s., shubh, return] Atm'd>a;l. [prep.w/n.f.s.w/3.m.s.sf., adamah, ground]);

In that very day his thoughts perish (~AYB; [prep.w/n.m.s., yom, day] aWhh; [def.art. w/indef.pro.; that {with the article}] wyt'nOTov.[, [n.f.p.w/3.m.s.sf., eshetonah, thought; 1X; better "his"] Wdb.a' [Qal.pf.3.c.p., abhadh, perish, vanish]).

ANALYSIS: VERSES 3,4

  1. This song of praise has a warning against misplaced trust/hope.
  2. The word "princes" has the modern equivalent of "the influential", whose backing may well seem more solid and practical than Godís.
  3. Men of power, wealth, and influence are presented for what they really are in vv.3b,4.
  4. In spite of their apparent power, from a long-term and rock-solid standpoint they are, to coin a phrase, "a broken reed", which when a man uses it for support, will break and injure him (Isa.36:6).
  5. Those who trust in men are regularly disappointed, and believers who do so are jammed.
  6. Such trust denies the reality of the One who never fails.
  7. Trust in them is depreciated as unjustified in vv.3a,4.
  8. After all, a prince is just another "mortal man" (literally, "son of man") who, because of his finiteness and mortality, cannot accomplish "salvation/deliverance" with absolute certainty.
  9. Only in God is deliverance guaranteed for the righteous (cf. Ps.34:19 "Many are the afflictions of the righteous; But the LORD delivers him out of them all").
  10. Yahweh, by implication, is Israelís true king (cp. v.10), the God of Jacob who is willing and able to provide the help that His rivals cannot guarantee for a variety of reasons.
  11. Mortal man, no matter how great his resources, cannot deliver his soul from death, but God keeps alive and raises the dead.
  12. With God nothing is impossible (Mt.19:26).
  13. Man is so easily frustrated in accomplishing even the little things when circumstances are against him.
  14. Godís power guarantees deliverance; whereas by contrast rulers plan and resolve, God performs and achieves.
  15. Against his will the "spirit/soul" of mortal man "departs" and his puny form "returns to the earth".
  16. There is a somber play on the words "man" (adham) and "earth" (adhamah), derived from Gen.3:19.
  17. No man is able to forestall the appointed time of his death.
  18. In death he cannot even help himself.
  19. Only God can guarantee deliverance from the CHPs of life.
  20. He has unlimited resources and delights in delivering those who are qualified.
  21. In v.4b the psalmist makes a final observation on the transience of man.
  22. When a man dies, his planning comes to a sudden halt (cf. Eccl.9:10).
  23. The rich and famous die like everyone else, engaged in the midst of their vain pursuits (Jam.1:11).
  24. Why, therefore, trust in a mortal man who for any number of reasons may not be there to deliver, when God has promised never to forsake or leave us (Heb.13:5).
  25. God transcends space and time and matter.
  26. The moment a man dies his goals and ambitions die with him.
  27. The verb "perish" is in the perfect tense, indicating finality.
  28. It is supreme folly to put your trust in man when you can put your trust in the One who rules forever (cp.v.10).
  29. Whenever Israel trusted in the nations around them to deliver them from a foreign threat, God jammed them.
  30. Trust in God is the foundation for praise, and trust in Him will never meet with disappointment.
Beatitude of Praise (v.5)

VERSE 5 How blessed is he whose help is the God of Jacob (yrev.a; [interj.] Arz>[,B. [prep.w/n.m.s.w/3.m.s.sf., ezer, help, aid] laev, [prep.w/n.m.s., el, god] bqo[]y: [pr.n.]),

Whose hope is in the LORD his God (Arb.fi [n.m.s.w/3.m.s.sf., seber, hope; 10X: Ruth.1:13; Neh.2:13,15; Est.9:1; Pss.104:27; 119:27,116,166; 145:15; 146:5; Isa.38:18; from the vb. sabhar, to inspect] hw"hy>-l[; [prep. + pr.n.] wyh'l{a/ [n.m.p.w/3.m.s.sf., elohim]);

 

Reasons to Trust God (vv.6-10)

VERSE 6 Who made heaven and earth (hf,[ [Qal.pt.m.s., asah, do, make] ~yIm;v', [n.m.p., shamayim, heaven] #r,a'w" [conj.w/n.f.s., erets, earth]),

The sea and all that is in them (~Y"h;-ta, [dir.obj. + def.art.w/n.m.s., yam, sea, ocean] ~B'-rv,a]-lK'-ta,w> [conj.w/dir.obj. + n.m.s.cstr., kal, all, + rel.pro., asher, + prep.w/3.m.p.sf.]);

Who keeps faith forever (rmeVoh; [Qal.pt.m.s., shamar, keep, guard] tm,a/ [n.m.s., emeth, truth; "faith"] ~l'A[l. [prep.w/n.m.s., olam, ever]);

VERSE 7 Who executes justice for the oppressed (hf,[o [Qal.pt.m.s., asah, do; "execute"] jP'v.mi [n.m.s., mishepat, judgment, justice] ~yqiWv[]l' [def.art.w/prep. w/Qal.pass.m.p., ashaq, to oppress, extort, defraud]);

Who gives food to the hungry (!tenO [Qal.pt.m.s., nathan, give] ~x,l, [n.m.s., lechem, bread, food] ~ybi[er>l' [def.art.w/prep.w/adj.m.p., ra-abh, hungry]).

The LORD sets the prisoners free (hw"hy> [pr.n.] ryTim; [Hiphil.pt.m.s., nathar, untie, set free] `~yrIWsa] [Qal.pass.pt.m.p., asar, to tie, bind; "prisoners"]).

VERSE 8 The LORD opens the eyes of the blind (hw"hy> [pr.n.] x;qePo [Qal.pt.m.s., paqach, open] ~yrIw>[I [adj.m.p., iur, blind]);

The LORD raises up those who are bowed down (hw"hy> [pr.n.] @qezO [Qal.pt.m.s., zaqaph, to raise up; 2X: Ps.145:14] ~ypiWpK. [Qal.pass.pt.m.p., kaphaph, to bend; be bent]);

The LORD loves the righteous (hw"hy> [pr.n.] bheao [Qal.pt.m.s., ahabh, love] `~yqiyDIc; [adj.m.p., tsadiq, righteous]);

VERSE 9 The LORD protects the strangers (hw"hy> [pr.n.] rmevo [Qal.pt.m.s., shamar, guard, protect] ~yrIGE-ta, [dir.obj. + n.m.p., ger, sojourner, a newcomer]);

He supports the fatherless and the widow (ddeA[y> [Piel.impf.3.m.s., udh, return; surround; "supports"] ~Aty" [n.m.s., yathom, orphan] hn"m'l.a;w> [conj.w/n.f.s., alemanah, widow]);

But He thwarts the way of the wicked (`tWE[;y> [Piel.impf.3.m.s., awath, be bent, crooked, pervert, subvert; "thwarts"] %r,d,w> [conj.w/n.m.s., derek, way] ~y[iv'r> [adj.m.p., rasha, wicked, criminal, guilty]).

VERSE 10 The LORD will reign forever (hw"hy> [pr.n.] %l{m.yI [Qal.impf.3.m.s., malakh, to reign] ~l'A[l. [prep.w/n.m.s., olam, ever]),

Your God, O Zion, to all generations (%yIh;l{a/ [n.m.p.w/2.m.s.sf., elohim] !Ayci [pr.n.; means a signpost] rdol. [prep.w/n.m.s., dor, generation] rdow" [conj.w/n.m.s., dor]).

Praise the LORD (`Hy"-Wll.h; [Piel.imper., halal, praise, + pr.n., Yah])!

ANALYSIS: VERSES 5-10

  1. The bulk of the psalm is a medley of motifs of help, trust, and power.
  2. These motifs (themes) are explored first negatively (vv.3,4), then positively (vv.5-9).
  3. Having deprecated (expressed disapproval against) false trust, the psalmist gives reasons which are intended to encourage trust in God, which in turn should illicit praise.
  4. The section of positive motifs is introduced with the concluding beatitude (statement of blessedness) of Psalms.
  5. The complete list includes: Pss.1:1; 2:12; 32:1,2; 33:12; 34:8; 40:4; 41:1; 65:4; 84:4,5,12; 89:15; 94:12; 106:3; 112:1; 119:1,2; 127:5; 128:1,2; 137:8,9; 144:15; 146:5.
  6. Verse 5 suggests that those who qualify for deliverance are those who put their trust in God rather than in man.
  7. More specifically, "the God of Jacob", or the God of Israel (we would say "the God of the Bible"), is the One who provides help for His people who trust in Him.
  8. "The God of Jacob" is the true God, who makes Himself available to both Jew and Gentile.
  9. Those who truly put their "hope" in God are assured "help" in time of need.
  10. Those who do not trust in Him do not come under this state of grace.
  11. Only the individual who makes God his help and hope is so blessed.
  12. "Jacob" is probably meant collectively as the chosen people of God.
  13. It may carry a reminder of the man whom God befriended and transformed.
  14. Until he grew up he tended to trust in his own devices.
  15. As Creator (v.6), God stands in sharp contrast to the ephemeral (short-lived) helpers of vv.3,4.
  16. The author has broached a customary element in the psalms: the work of Yahweh as Creator.
  17. Its implications with respect to help in time of need are clear.
  18. The creation of the heavens and the earth, which includes the earthís oceans (which comprise 72% of the earthís surface), speaks forcefully of Godís power to help His beleaguered people.
  19. Men are often not able to give help, although they might be willing to do so.
  20. He, however, is the Almighty, the Creator of the heavens and the earth and the seas and of all living things that fill these three (cf. Neh.9:6).
  21. Men easily change their mind and do not keep their word.
  22. He, however, is He who "keeps faith forever" inasmuch as His +R and I preclude failure to help qualified objects of His care and love.
  23. The words "keeps faith" can be rendered "guards truth".
  24. God has made specific promises that He cannot go back on, which promises specify the conditions under which He must act on behalf of victims of various afflictions common to man.
  25. He has promised to provide aid for those who call upon Him from a pure/positive heart.
  26. He has promised a deliverance from every test that believers come under (1Cor.10:13).
  27. The WOG is filled with promises and examples informing us that God cares and is there for us in time of need.
  28. For instance, He will not allow us to suffer beyond what we can handle and He has promised to supply us with the comfort commensurate with the testing (2Cor.1:5).
  29. Under no circumstance will He abandon us in suffering, but will be there so that we can endure and be a witness to His power and grace.
  30. Finally, He has promised us Ph3 glory that will far outstrip anything we suffer in time (Rom.8:18).
  31. There is nothing that we as adjusted, positive believers suffer that does not work to our ultimate good (Rom.8:28).
  32. He works the bad for good in the lives of those who love Him.
  33. Our works demonstrate our love for Him.
  34. His faithfulness is made evident in the kinds of things He does for those who look to Him.
  35. The Lord lives up to the highest ideals of kingship and fatherhood as the source of justice and vindication and loving care, as illustrated in the examples given in vv.7-9.
  36. He comes to the aid of "the oppressed" who face the onslaught of the wicked (v.7a).
  37. As the righteous Judge He will adjudicate the cases of wrongful assault that befall the innocent.
  38. He provides such things as food for the hungry who suffer in His name.
  39. He is not limited due to economic distress or any other factor leading to lack of basic living grace needs.
  40. He has promised to supply the things we need, as well as much more if we seek first His Righteousness.
  41. He has the unlimited ability to "set free" those who are "prisoners" regardless of the nature of their confinement.
  42. Food and freedom are His gifts.
  43. Verse 8 can be taken two ways: metaphorical and literal.
  44. God provides spiritual sight to those who are positive but blind.
  45. These lines of the song remind us of the oracle of Isa.61, by which Jesus announced His mission in His hometown before the synagogue (Lk.4:17-30).
  46. His miracles of mercy were clues to His identity, which He relayed to John the Baptist in prison (Lk.7:18-35).
  47. The restoration of sight will be a feature of the age of Christ (Isa.29:18; 35:5; 42:7,16).
  48. Verse 8a addresses all who are "bowed down" by all manner of social and STA ills.
  49. "Yahweh raises up those who are" brought low by the ills that plague humanity.
  50. His attention is towards those who seek Him in the midst of social ills.
  51. Those who are positive He lifts out of their plight and sets them on new ground.
  52. Verse 8c makes it clear as to the particular objects of His grace.
  53. Lines 1 and 2 of v.9 direct our attention to three classes who were (and are) vulnerable in Biblical times.
  54. The Torah specifically addresses how society was to treat the stranger, the orphan, and the widow.
  55. The defenseless can find in God their champion.
  56. The underlying factor in their well-being is their positive volition.
  57. The Gentile widow of Sidon in the days of Elijah was provided for because she was positive (1Kgs.17:8ff).
  58. Jewish widows who were negative suffered during the famine.
  59. "The fatherless" refers to orphans who are especially vulnerable, but God "supports" them in the absence of parental protection.
  60. "The strangers" refers to non-Jews who attached themselves to Israel.
  61. God especially cared for those who had a genuine interest in the faith of Israel.
  62. Yahweh lives up to the highest ideals of kingship as the source of justice and vindication for those subjects who look to Him and who cannot fend for themselves.
  63. The defenseless and needy find in Him their royal champion.
  64. He also upholds the moral values of His kingdom and repays with frustration all who flout them (v.9c).
  65. "The wicked" are the morally and spiritually depraved who remain negative to the call to grace, truth, and righteousness.
  66. All the wicked will face frustration when they come under temporal and eternal loss.
  67. Based on the affirmation of v.10, we are assured that Yahweh will continue to act favorably toward those who turn to Him, and those who flaunt His counsel He will turn aside (the vb. awath means "to bend").
  68. Because He is the eternal and immutable Lord of all He surveys, the future, as it has in the past, will repeat itself throughout the course of human history.
  69. Yahweh rules in both love and wrath, but delights most in the rule of love.
  70. The affirmation of v.10 is addressed to the people of God under the designation "O Zion".
  71. He is there for each and every generation of those who are called by His name to uphold their vital interests.
  72.  

  73. The principles by which He administers His rule remain inviolable through time and on into the eternal future.
  74. Hence, His Son is the same yesterday, today, and forever.
  75. The hymn of praise ends as it began: "Praise Yah!".
 
END: PSALM ONE HUNDRED FORTY-SIX
JACK M. BALLINGER
JULY, 1998

© Copyright 1998, Maranatha Church, Inc.