Commentary Critical and Explanatory
on the Whole Bible
The Psalmist celebrates God's glory in His works of creation and
providence, teaching the dependence of all living creatures; and
contrasting the happiness of those who praise Him with the awful end of
1. God's essential glory, and also that displayed by His mighty
works, afford ground for praise.
2. light--is a figurative representation of the glory of the invisible
Its use in this connection may refer to the first work of creation
stretchest out the heavens--the visible heavens or sky which cover the
earth as a curtain
3. in the waters--or, it may be "with"; using this fluid for the beams,
or frames, of His residence accords with the figure of clouds for
chariots, and wind as a means of conveyance.
walketh--or, "moveth" (compare
Ps 18:10, 11;
4. This is quoted by Paul
to denote the subordinate position of angels; that is, they are only
messengers as other and material agencies.
being here so called.
5. The earth is firmly fixed by His power.
6-9. These verses rather describe the wonders of the flood than the
(Ge 7:19, 20;
2Pe 3:5, 6).
God's method of arresting the flood and making its waters subside is
poetically called a "rebuke"
and the process of the flood's subsiding by undulations among the hills
and valleys is vividly described.
10-13. Once destructive, these waters are subjected to the service
of God's creatures. In rain and dew from His chambers (compare
and fountains and streams, they give drink to thirsting animals and
fertilize the soil. Trees thus nourished supply homes to singing birds,
and the earth teems with the productions of God's wise agencies,
14, 15. so that men and beasts are abundantly provided with food.
for the service--literally, "for the culture," &c., by which he
secures the results.
oil . . . shine--literally, "makes his face to shine more than oil,"
that is, so cheers and invigorates him, that outwardly he appears better
than if anointed.
strengtheneth . . . heart--gives vigor to man (compare
16-19. God's care of even wild animals and uncultivated parts of the
20-23. He provides and adapts to man's wants the appointed times and
24-26. From a view of the earth thus full of God's blessings, the
writer passes to the sea, which, in its immensity, and as a scene and
means of man's activity in commerce, and the home of countless
multitudes of creatures, also displays divine power and beneficence.
The mention of
heightens the estimate of the sea's greatness, and of His power who
gives such a place for sport to one of His creatures.
27-30. The entire dependence of this immense family on God is set
forth. With Him, to kill or make alive is equally easy. To hide His face
is to withdraw favor
By His spirit, or breath, or mere word, He gives life. It is His
constant providence which repairs the wastes of time and disease.
31-34. While God could equally glorify His power in destruction, that
He does it in preservation is of His rich goodness and mercy, so that we
may well spend our lives in grateful praise, honoring to Him, and
delightful to pious hearts
35. Those who refuse such a protector and withhold such a service
mar the beauty of His works, and must perish from His presence.
Praise ye the Lord--The Psalm closes with an invocation of praise, the
translation of a Hebrew phrase, which is used as an English word,
"Hallelujah," and may have served the purpose of a chorus, as often in
our psalmody, or to give fuller expression to the writer's emotions. It
is peculiar to Psalms composed after the captivity, as "Selah" is to
those of an earlier date.