Commentary on the Bible, by Adam Clarke, , at sacred-texts.com
An exhortation to praise God for his goodness and greatness, Psa 135:1-5; for his wonders in nature, Psa 135:6, Psa 135:7; his wonders done in Egypt, Psa 135:8, Psa 135:9; in the wilderness, Psa 135:10-12; for his goodness to his people, Psa 135:13, Psa 135:14. The vanity of idols, Psa 135:15-18. Israel, with its priests and Levites, exhorted to praise the Lord, Psa 135:19-21.
This Psalm is intimately connected with the preceding. It is an exhortation addressed to the priests and Levites, and to all Israel, to publish the praises of the Lord. The conclusion of this Psalm is nearly the same with Psalm 115; and what is said about idols, and the effects of the power of God, seems to be taken from it and the tenth chapter of Jeremiah; and from these and other circumstances it appears the Psalm was written after the captivity; and might as Calmet conjectures, have been used at the dedication of the second temple.
Praise ye the Lord - This may be considered as the title, for it has none other.
Praise ye the name of the Lord - Perhaps the original הללו את שם יהוה haleu eth shem Yehovah, should be translated, Praise ye the name Jehovah; that is, Praise God in his infinite essence of being, holiness, goodness, and truth.
Ye that stand - Priests and Levites. For which he gives several reasons.
The Lord is good - Here is the first reason why he should be praised; and a second is subjoined:
For it is pleasant - It is becoming to acknowledge this infinite Being, and our dependence on him; and it is truly comfortable to an upright mind to be thus employed.
For the Lord hath chosen Jacob - This is a third reason. He has taken the Israelites for his peculiar people, סגלתו segullatho, his peculiar treasure; and now has brought them home to himself from their captivity and wanderings.
The Lord is great - Unlimited in his power: another reason.
Is above all gods - Every class of being, whether idolized or not; because he is the Fountain of existence. This is a fifth reason.
Whatsoever the Lord pleased - All that he has done is right, and therefore it is pleasing in his sight. He is the author of all existence. Angels, men, spirits, the heavens, the earth, and all their contents, were made by him, and are under his control.
He causeth the vapours to ascend - Dr. Shaw thinks that the account here refers to the autumnal rains in the east. Of them he speaks as follows: "Seldom a night passes without much lightning in the north-west quarter, but not attended with thunder; and when this lightning appears in the west or south-west points, it is a sure sign of the approaching rain, which is often followed by thunder. A squall of wind and clouds of dust are the sure forerunners of the first rain." This account induces Mr. Harmer to believe that the word נשאים nesiim, should be translated clouds, not vapours. It shows that God: -
Maketh lightnings for the rain - The squalls of wind bring on these refreshing showers, and are therefore precious things of the treasuries of God, and when he thunders, it is the noise of waters in the heavens. See Jer 10:13, which contains almost the same words as those in this verse: "When he uttereth his voice, there is a multitude of waters in the heavens; and he causeth the vapours to ascend from the ends of the earth; he maketh lightnings with rain, and bringeth forth the wind out of his treasuries."
Who smote the first-born of Egypt - See the parallel passages.
The Lord will judge his people - He will do them justice against their enemies.
The idols of the heathen - This verse and the following, to the end of the 18th, are almost word for word the same as Psa 115:4-8 (note), where see the notes.
To this verse one of Kennicott's MSS. adds the Psa 115:6 and Psa 115:7 of Psalm 115.
Bless the Lord. O house, etc. - See similar verses, Psa 115:9-13 (note), and the notes there.
Blessed be the Lord out of Zion - Who has once more restored our temple and city, and now condescends to dwell with us in Jerusalem.