The Agora
Bible Commentary

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Psalm 146

Psa 146:1

See Lesson, Psalms, "Hallelujah".

CONTEXT: // Isa 42: the healing of the sick, blind; the release of the prisoners. ("Prisoners" of sickness, siege: Hezekiah's day.)

Psa 146:2

ALL MY LIFE... AS LONG AS I LIVE: This expression and v 4 make nonsense of any kind of belief in the immortality of the soul. Also, how very appropriate this is to Hezekiah, who knew that he had fifteen years more of life granted to him (Isa 38:5).

(NT) These are the words of a Jesus who knew that his days were numbered; hence the repeated warnings to the disciples of suffering and crucifixion at Jerusalem (Mark 8:31; 9:31; 10:33,34; 12:7,8). All these days, even with a horrible death hanging over his head, were days of praise!

I WILL SING PRAISE TO MY GOD: Yet the only instance of music in the life of Jesus was Mat 26:30/Mark 14:26. Then should we not suppose that he frequently joined with the apostles in the singing of "psalms and hymns and spiritual songs" as they moved about from one place to another?

Psa 146:3

V 3: (NT) Jesus' attitude toward Herod and Pilate (Luk 13:32; 23:9; Joh 19:9-11; cp also Joh 2:23-25).

Vv 3,4: Death as an unconscious state: Psa 104:33; 146:3,4; Isa 38:18; Ecc 9:5,6,10. Yet there is deliverance from Sheol for some: Psa 16:10; 17:15; 49:15; 73:24; Isa 26:19; Dan 12:1-3. The OT does not have the word "resurrection", but the principle is plainly taught throughout.

DO NOT PUT YOUR TRUST IN PRINCES...: "We must earnestly desire God's personal companionship. We must not be content or happy without it. It must be a constant yearning and feeling of need. Sad and bitter experience in this life greatly strengthens this desire. That is one of the reasons it is needed and beneficial. Only God is dependable. Only God understands. In God's mercy and wisdom, there can be much comfort and support in human beings, but we cannot make our happiness dependent on them, or build upon them, or build on them as our foundation. All flesh is grass. In God alone is safety and security" (GVG).

"Happy indeed are those who can rise serenely above the disappointments of life which assail all at some time. Among these fortunates should be found the brethren and sisters of the Lord Jesus. They hold certain convictions which are all bound up with their complete trust in God and His word. If they suffer disappointment through the conduct of their fellows they remember that the Word says: 'Put not your trust in princes, nor in any child of man, for there is no help in them.' This is not an injunction to distrust one's neighbour, but a warning against the fallibility and fickleness of human nature. We so tend to put those whom we love or respect on pedestals that their descent to ordinary levels is the more disconcerting. The true child of God shows a generosity of heart that forgives and forgets. It goes further. It continues to love the offender: 'Father, forgive them, for they know not what they do' [Luk 23:34]" (CM 11,12).

Psa 146:4

Gen 2:7; 3:19; Psa 104:29; Ecc 12:7.

Death as an unconscious state: Psa 6:5; 88:10-12; 89:48; 104:33; 115:17; Isa 38:18; Ecc 9:5,6,10.

What is true of every man was true also of Jesus; here is a further witness concerning the true human nature of Christ. Could divine nature experience the complete unconsciousness of the grave?

Psa 146:5

Allusion to Gen 28:13-15. The key word here -- "hope" -- alludes to the hope of a multitudinous seed (cp Psa 16:9; Rth 1:12,13; Rom 4:18; 1Pe 1:3). In spite of massive devastation of the Land by the Assyrians, in spite of the loss of a multitude of captives and the flight of numerous refugees, the happy outcome is: (a) triumph over the enemy, (b) the return of those who were lost, (c) the unifying of the tribes, and (d) an era of tremendous prosperity. In the circumstances, the word "happy" is an understatement. The nation and its king had every reason to be delirious with surprise and joy.

WHOSE HELP IS THE GOD OF JACOB: "The essence of happiness is to rejoice in what is -- not in the deceptive will-o-the-wisp pursuit of what we imagine might be. And there is plenty to rejoice in, if we will take time off from our self-pity and unhappiness and vain desire to look around us with the eye of faith and love and thanksgiving. We have been assured on the Highest Authority that 'all things work together for good to those who love God.' And it is all the assurance we ever need for permanent happiness. And if we in perfect faith wholeheartedly embrace this assurance, we shall find, in the marvelous contrivance of God's love, that we shall more and more be permitted to perceive and comprehend just how all things in our life are working together for good, dark though may be the side of them that presents itself to us at the moment" (GVG).

Psa 146:6

THE MAKER OF HEAVEN AND EARTH...: These words are fitting in this context to the titanic destruction of the Assyrian army by divine operation of the elements (eg, Isa 30:30-33). Or, there may be symbolic reference to Israel as God's special people (Jer 31:35-37; Isa 1:2; Gen 37:9,10).

(NT) The Almighty Creator made heaven and earth, the sea, and all that therein is, but authority in all these spheres came to be shared by His Son (Phi 2:9-11): heaven and earth (Acts 1:9; Mat 28:18); the sea (Mat 8:26/Mark 4:39/Luke 8:24; Mat 14:25,32/Mark 6:48,51/John 6:19); and all that therein is (Luke 5:4-6; John 21:6)!

THE LORD, WHO REMAINS FAITHFUL FOREVER: AV has "who keepeth truth": "Truth" very often refers to the Promises of God; in this instance, the great Promise made to David (2Sa 7), with its repeated "for ever". This Promise was the backbone of Hezekiah's faith. Hence the repeated references to "the God of David thy father".

Psa 146:7

HE... GIVES FOOD TO THE HUNGRY: Jesus feeding the multitudes (Mat 14:13-21/Mar 6:32-44/Luk 9:10-17/Joh 6:1-13; Mat 15:32-38/Mar 8:1-9).

THE LORD SETS PRISONERS FREE: The deliverance of the multitude of captives taken away by Sennacherib (cp Isa 49:8-26), followed by the blessings of Jubilee (Isa 37:30,31).

(NT) "And ought not this woman, being a daughter of Abraham, whom Satan hath bound, lo, these eighteen years, be loosed from this bond on the sabbath day?" (Luke 13:16). Jesus even "loosed" Barabbas, but the blessing was wasted on such a scoundrel! He "released" John the Baptist from his doubts (Mat 11:4-6), but loosed him from his dungeon only by beheading. Remarkable!

Psa 146:8

THE LORD GIVES SIGHT TO THE BLIND: Literally -- how many examples in the gospels? Spiritually -- what a paradox the Pharisees presented (John 9:40,41)! And there was also a spiritual blindness in the twelve that was not to be cured, except by the resurrection, and even then there were problems: "Thomas, reach hither thy finger, and behold my hands" (John 20:27). It is only a blind man who sees with his fingers!

THOSE WHO ARE BOWED DOWN: The prisoners in Babylon.

(NT) Again, the bent woman (Luke 13:8; Psa 145:14). But perhaps "raiseth" (as in KJV) implies resurrection; it is so used, many times.

Psa 146:9

THE LORD WATCHES OVER THE ALIEN: The foreigners dwelling among God's people were to be cared for along with the fatherless and the widows (Exo 22:21; 23:9; Lev 19:33; 25:35; Deu 10:18,19; Jer 7:6).

(NT) Jesus heals Gentiles, at a distance: Mat 8:13; 15:28; Luk 17:12-16.

FRUSTRATES: Lit, "turns upside down" (cp AV): overturning the tables of the moneychangers (Joh 2:15; Mat 21:12,13/Mar 11:15-17/Luk 19:45,46).

Psa 146:10

YOUR GOD, O ZION: If the foregoing verses are read in a general way, this mention of Zion (ie, the Temple area) seems almost out of place; but when associated with the great deliverance, the emphasis upon mount Zion in this and many other psalms (and frequently in Isaiah) is wonderfully apt.

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