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Synopsis of the Books of the Bible, by John Nelson Darby, [1857-62], at

Psalms Chapter 118

Psalm 118 is also, though not formally so, rendering praise and thanksgiving as promised, connected with, or rather founded on, the known formula His mercy endureth for ever. The same that in Psalm 115 were called to trust in Jehovah are now called to praise Him. From Verse 5 (Psa 118:5-29) the Holy Spirit speaks in the person of delivered Israel, and speaks of this faithfulness of Jehovah, and now, He being on their side, man need not be feared; Jehovah is better than man, Jehovah better than princes. Verses 10-18 (Psa 118:10-18) unfold the circumstances and dealings through which Israel has passed. All nations had compassed them; in Jehovah's name he would destroy them. They are quenched as fire. Verse 13, (Psa 118:13), the enemy had thrust sore at them that they might fall; Jehovah helped them. The result in rejoicing and joy is chanted in Verses 14-17 (Psa 118:14-17). Another aspect of their trial is given in Verse 18 (Psa 118:18). It was withal Jehovah's chastening, and He had chastened them sore, but not given them over to death, which was the power of the enemy for them. Thus we have the full character of trial, as we have seen it even in Job: instruments, men, even all nations; next, the enemy by them, and acting on the spirit, thrusting sore at the soul; but behind it, and before it too, is God chastening, but not giving over. This is full of instruction for us in many circumstances we pass through, where all these elements are found in what we are passing through.

Now the gates of righteousness are open before Israel. The turning to this at once, as the result of trial, is beautiful: he will go in and praise Jehovah. It is withal the gate of Jehovah, and the righteous enter into it. Israel there will praise, for Jehovah has heard him and become his salvation; but further and deeper truth comes out here. There is no restoration of Israel without Messiah, and Israel now owns Him once despised. "The stone which the builders rejected is become the head of the corner. This is Jehovah's doing, and it is marvelous in our eyes." We see, in the expression "our eyes," who is the real speaker, and, though the voice had been one, who they are that now take part in the psalm of praise. This is the day Jehovah has made; it is His day, the blessing of His people in connection with Messiah, and His people rejoice in it. And now they cry, Hosanna to the Son of David, the Jehovah of Israel; and say, Blessed be he that comes in His name. This gives us the witness from the Lord's own teaching, who it is that speaks in the psalms, and to what time it applies; for the house was left desolate, and they were not to see Him again till they said, Blessed be he that cometh. So that it is Israel, that is, the remnant, who speak, and in the day of their repentance, under grace, when they are to see Messiah again. They bless Him that comes out of the house of Jehovah. Jehovah is the God of strength, He has given Israel light; and now worship and sacrifice are offered to Him that has delivered and blessed. Now they say, Thou art my God, and praise and exalt Him.

The psalm closes with the well-known Verse (Psa 118:29) of Israel's thankful praise: "Give thanks to Jehovah, for he is good, for his mercy endureth for ever," with which it had commenced. Thus the spiritual apprehension of God's dealings, the coming to worship Jehovah in righteousness, and the owning the despised and rejected Messiah, are all unfolded in connection with the deliverance and blessing of Israel, and the full manifestation of Jehovah's nature and character. Various Verses of this psalm are quoted at the close of the Savior's trials; no psalm indeed so often, as connecting Him with the sorrows of, and promises to, Israel.

Next: Psalms Chapter 119