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

Psalms Chapter 135

The following commentary covers Psalms 135 and 136.

Psalms 135 and 136 celebrate Jehovah, who has delivered Israel and now dwells in Jerusalem, and give thanks to Him whose mercy has endured for ever the Creator of all things in goodness who first delivered them, and remembered them to redeem them when brought low.

Psalm 135 is a very characteristic Psalm, giving a remarkable key to the interpretation of the book, and linking it with the early statements of Jehovah as to His relationship to Israel, so as to bind together their history in one whole. The subject is Hallelujah praise the name of Jehovah. He is good: it is pleasant to do it; for He has chosen Jacob and Israel for His peculiar treasure. He is then (Psa 135:6) celebrated as the Almighty God, doing what He pleased, daily disposing of creation; then as He who executed judgment on the oppressors of Israel, and freed them, and drove out the heathen and gave them their land. Now comes His name in connection with Israel and in contrast with idols; and the two passages, in one of which He first took up Israel for ever under the name of Jehovah, and, in the other, prophetically announced their deliverance when they should have wholly and utterly failed, are cited from Exo 3:15; Deu 32:36. The first takes the name of the Lord God of their fathers, God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, when He sends Moses to deliver them, and declares this is His name for ever, His memorial to all generations, and then promises deliverance and bringing into the land; then He takes the name of Jehovah. The second is in the prophetic song of Moses, when he has drawn out to them their picture as apostate, their spot not the spot of God's children, when they forsook God who made them, and provoked Him to jealousy with strange gods, and Jehovah hid His face from them, and, but for the fear of man's pride, had made the remembrance of them to cease from among men. Then, when they should be helpless and hopeless in themselves, Jehovah would judge His people, and repent Himself concerning His servants, execute judgments on the heathen, and then make them rejoice with His people. So that these two Verses give the first deliverance and purpose of God, and the judgment and ways of God in the last days, to which the psalms have brought us. Thus they give a clear key to the application of the psalms themselves. Then we have (Psa 135:15-18) the present judgment of the idols spoken of in Deuteronomy 32, and to which they had fallen away. The psalm closes with the summons to those already generally specifiedthe divers parts of Israel and all that fear Jehovah to bless Jehovah; the house of Israel, of Aaron, of Levi, and all that fear Jehovah; and this now out of Zion, even Jehovah, of whom now they could say that He dwelt in Jerusalem.

Psalm 136 may be considered as the answer to this summons. It is characterized by the formulary, as often noticed, the expression of Jehovah's unchanging goodness to Israel in spite of all: "His mercy endureth for ever." It celebrates Him as Creator, God of gods, the Deliverer of Israel, who had led them through the wilderness, as Him who by power slaying mighty kings had given them the inheritance of the land; and who, finally, remembering them in their low estate, had redeemed them from it, and now supplied every living thing with food, the God of heaven. This, in a certain sense, closes the historical psalms. We have then a kind of supplementary series: first, of their characteristic sorrows and Jehovah's ways in the latter days, and then of millennial praises. These sorrows are from Psalm 137 to Psalm 144 the latter, however, being the expectation of deliverance and blessing. Psalm 139 also has a peculiar character, as will be at once seen.

Next: Psalms Chapter 136