corner graphic

Verse-by-Verse Bible Commentary

Psalms 136:1

 

 

Give thanks to the LORD, for He is good, For His lovingkindness is everlasting.

Adam Clarke Commentary

O give thanks unto the Lord: for he is good - This sentiment often occurs: the goodness of the Divine nature, both as a ground of confidence and of thanksgiving.

For his mercy endureth for ever - These words, which are the burden of every verse, חסדו לעולם כי ki leolam chasdo, might be translated: "For his tender mercy is to the coming age:" meaning, probably, if the Psalm be prophetic, that peculiar display of his compassion, the redemption of the world by the Lord Jesus. These very words were prescribed by David as an acknowledgment, to be used continually in the Divine worship, see 1 Chronicles 16:41; : also by Solomon, 2 Chronicles 7:3, 2 Chronicles 7:6, and observed by Jehoshaphat, 2 Chronicles 20:21; all acknowledging that, however rich in mercy God was to them, the most extensive displays of his goodness were reserved for the age to come; see 1 Peter 1:10-12; : "Of which salvation the prophets have inquired, and searched diligently, who prophesied of the grace that should come unto you, - unto whom it was revealed, that not unto themselves, but unto us, they did minister the things which are now reported unto you by them that preached the Gospel unto you by the power of the Holy Ghost sent down from heaven," etc.


Copyright Statement
These files are public domain.

Bibliography
Clarke, Adam. "Commentary on Psalms 136:1". "The Adam Clarke Commentary". http://odl.studylight.org/commentaries/acc/psalms-136.html. 1832.

Albert Barnes' Notes on the Whole Bible

O give thanks unto the Lord, for he is good - This whole verse is the same as Psalm 106:1, except that that is introduced by a Hallelujah. See the notes at that verse.

For his mercy endureth for ever - See also Psalm 106:1, note; Psalm 107:1, note. Literally, “For unto eternity his mercy.” That is, It is ever the same; it never changes; it is never exhausted; it is found in all his dealings - in all his acts toward his creatures, and ever will be.


Copyright Statement
These files are public domain.

Bibliography
Barnes, Albert. "Commentary on Psalms 136:1". "Barnes' Notes on the Whole Bible". http://odl.studylight.org/commentaries/bnb/psalms-136.html. 1870.

Coffman's Commentaries on the Bible

PSALM 136

FOR HIS LOVINGKINDNESS ENDURETH FOREVER

This title we have chosen because that line is repeated in every one of the psalm's 26 verses as a refrain. It is the only psalm in the Psalter where such a thing occurs.

This off-repeated refrain indicates that the composition, as it stands, was used liturgically, that is, as a kind of ritual in the Temple services, with one group, or perhaps even a soloist, singing or reading the first line of each verse, and the congregation responding in the refrain.

"It is called a Hallel Psalm and was sung at the beginning of Passover. It was a favorite Temple song."[1]

Most of the scholars whose works we consult in this commentary devote very little space to the discussion of this psalm. There is very little, if any new material in it. It follows very closely the preceding Psalms 135. "It follows very closely Psalms 135 in content through verses 10-18 and quotes directly from it in :19-22."[2]

Psalms 136:1-26

TEXT OF PSALM 136

"Oh give thanks unto Jehovah; for he is good;

For his lovingkindness endureth forever.

Oh give thanks unto the God of gods;

For his lovingkindness endureth forever.

Oh give thanks unto the Lord of Lords;

For his lovingkindness endureth forever.

To him who alone doeth great wonders;

For his lovingkindness endureth forever.

To him that by understanding made the heavens;

For his lovingkindness endureth forever.

To him that spread forth the earth above the waters;

For his lovingkindness endureth forever.

To him that made great lights;

For his lovingkindness endureth forever.

The sun to rule by day;

For his lovingkindness endureth forever.

The moon and stars to rule by night;

For his lovingkindness endureth forever.

To him that smote Egypt in their first-born;

For his lovingkindness endureth forever.

And brought out Israel from among them;

For his lovingkindness endureth forever.

With a strong hand, and with an outstretched arm;

For his lovingkindness endureth forever.

To him that divided the Red Sea in sunder;

For his lovingkindness endureth forever.

And made Israel to pass through the midst of it;

For his lovingkindness endureth forever.

But overthrew Pharaoh and his host in the Red Sea;

For his loving kindness endureth forever.

To him that led his people through the wilderness;

For his lovingkindness endureth forever.

To him that smote great kings;

For his lovingkindness endureth forever.

And slew famous kings;

For his lovingkindness endureth forever.

Sihon king of the Amorites;

For his lovingkindness endureth forever.

And Og king of Bashan;

For his lovingkindness endureth forever.

And gave their land for a heritage;

For his lovingkindness endureth forever.

Even a heritage unto Israel his servant;

For his lovingkindness endureth forever.

Who remembered us in our low estate;

For his lovingkindness endureth forever.

And hath delivered us from our adversaries;

For his lovingkindness endureth forever.

Who giveth food to all flesh;

For his lovingkindness endureth forever.

Oh give thanks unto the God of heaven;

For his lovingkindness endureth forever."

There is nothing in this psalm upon which we have not already written commentary; and there are very few things which we shall cite here.

"The God of gods" (Psalms 136:2). "The word `gods' here is a secondary use of the term as is found in Psalms 82:6."[3] (See our comment in chapter introduction for Psalms 82, above.) As Dr. George DeHoff stated it, "God is the God over priests, spiritual rulers, those in power, including kings and magistrates. He is the Ruler over all the rulers of the earth. This does not have reference to idols. God is not their God."[4]

"To him that spread forth the earth above the waters" (Psalms 136:6). On this verse, Addis referred to Psalms 24:2 and to Genesis 1:6f, affirming that, "There was a sea below the earth, another on a level with the earth, and a third `ocean' above the firmament."[5] Such a view is based upon a misinterpretation of what the scriptures say. The word is not `ocean' but `waters.' What a difference! And if one does not believe that the earth is stretched out over the waters, let him explain why men have been digging wells for countless generations, or let him explain the glorious artesian waters of Balmorhea. We appreciate the discernment of McCaw who wrote, "Happily, the earth is spread above the waters."[6]

We are conscious that Psalms 24:2 states that the earth is stretched out "above the seas," or "upon seas"; but in that reference it is the altitude of the earth which is above the seas, that is, higher than sea level!

This psalm mentions a number of events found in the Five Books of Moses and the Book of Joshua. For extensive comments on all of these events, we refer to our commentaries on those Bible books.

"Remembered our low estate ... delivered us from our adversaries" (Psalms 136:23-24). To this writer, it appears that these lines are a reference to the Babylonian captivity and God's deliverance from it. This is certainly suggested by the proximity of the psalm to Psalms 137.


Copyright Statement
James Burton Coffman Commentaries reproduced by permission of Abilene Christian University Press, Abilene, Texas, USA. All other rights reserved.

Bibliography
Coffman, James Burton. "Commentary on Psalms 136:1". "Coffman Commentaries on the Old and New Testament". http://odl.studylight.org/commentaries/bcc/psalms-136.html. Abilene Christian University Press, Abilene, Texas, USA. 1983-1999.

John Gill's Exposition of the Whole Bible

O give thanks unto the Lord, for he is good,.... In himself, and to all his creatures; and especially to his chosen people, who therefore should give thanks to him daily in the name of Christ, for all blessings temporal and spiritual, in faith and fervency, and in the sincerity of their souls, with their whole heart;

for his mercy endureth for ever; it is the same with his love, which is from everlasting to everlasting; and continues notwithstanding the sins of his people, the hidings of his face from them, and his chastisements of them; the covenant which is founded on mercy, and all the blessings of it, which are the sure mercies of David, last for ever; and hence the vessels of mercy shall certainly be saved, and not lost; see Psalm 106:1.


Copyright Statement
The New John Gill's Exposition of the Entire Bible Modernised and adapted for the computer by Larry Pierce of Online Bible. All Rightes Reserved, Larry Pierce, Winterbourne, Ontario.
A printed copy of this work can be ordered from: The Baptist Standard Bearer, 1 Iron Oaks Dr, Paris, AR, 72855

Bibliography
Gill, John. "Commentary on Psalms 136:1". "The New John Gill Exposition of the Entire Bible". http://odl.studylight.org/commentaries/geb/psalms-136.html. 1999.

Geneva Study Bible

O give thanks unto the LORD; for [he is] good: for his a mercy [endureth] for ever.

(a) By this repetition he shows that the least of God's benefits bind us to thanksgiving: but chiefly his mercy, which is principally declared towards his Church.

Copyright Statement
These files are public domain.
Text Courtesy of BibleSupport.com. Used by Permission.

Bibliography
Beza, Theodore. "Commentary on Psalms 136:1". "The 1599 Geneva Study Bible". http://odl.studylight.org/commentaries/gsb/psalms-136.html. 1599-1645.

Calvin's Commentary on the Bible

1.For his mercy, (172) etc. The insertion of this clause again and again in so many short and abrupt sentences, may seem a vain repetition, but verses repeated by way of chorus are both allowed and admired in profane poets, and why should we object to the reiteration in this instance, for which the best reasons can be shown, Men may not deny the divine goodness to be the source and Fountain of all their blessings, but the graciousness of his bounty is far from being fully and sincerely recognised, though the greatest stress is laid upon it in Scripture. Paul in speaking of it, (Romans 3:23,) calls it emphatically by the general term of the glory of God, intimating, that while God should be praised for all his works, it is his mercy principally that we should glorify. It is evident from what we read in sacred history, that it was customary for the Levites according to the regulation laid down by David for conducting the praises of God, to sing by response, “for his mercy endureth for ever.” The practice was followed by Solomon in the dedication of the Temple, (2 Chronicles 7:3,) and by Jehoshaphat in that solemn triumphal song mentioned in 2 Chronicles 20:21, of the same book. [Before proceeding to recite God’s works, the Psalmist declares his supreme Deity, and dominion, not that such comparative language implies that there is anything approaching] Deity besides him, but there is a disposition in men, whenever they see any part of his glory displayed, to conceive of a God separate from him, thus impiously dividing the Godhead into parts, and even proceeding so far as to frame gods of wood and stone. There is a depraved tendency in all to take delight in a multiplicity of gods. For this reason, apparently, the. Psalmist uses the plural number, not only in the word אלהים , Elohim, but in the word אדונים , Adonim, so that it reads literally, praise ye the Lords of Lords: he would intimate, that the fullest perfection of all dominion is to be found in the one God.


Copyright Statement
These files are public domain.

Bibliography
Calvin, John. "Commentary on Psalms 136:1". "Calvin's Commentary on the Bible". http://odl.studylight.org/commentaries/cal/psalms-136.html. 1840-57.

James Nisbet's Church Pulpit Commentary

‘HIS MERCY ENDURETH FOR EVER’

‘O give thanks unto the Lord.’

Psalms 136:1

I. There is a remarkable similarity between this psalm and the preceding one; but here a noble refrain is inserted after each clause. And what a wonderful conception this gives of the way in which a holy soul may view all things that are and have been. Here is a standpoint of vision from which to view God’s dealings with mankind—that all things are threaded by mercy and loving-kindness, which are in all, and through all, and over all.

II. You have seen Egypt smitten in its first-born: there is mercy there.—You have heard the last cry of Pharaoh’s drowning host, but there is mercy there. You have beheld the overthrow of Sihon and Og, but there is mercy there. You may not be able to see the mercy, because you behold all things under creatural limitations, and amid so much prejudice and error; but could you understand the alleviations and compensations, the general result of God’s dealings with the great world of men, the entire scope and plan of Divine Providence, you would be able to say—

His every act pure goodness is;

His path unsullied light.

III. My soul! I expect that thou hast had thine Ogs and Sihons, thy Pharaohs and Amalekites.—Thou, too, hast been in Egypt, and traversed the weary desert. But God’s mercy is over it all. There is mercy in thy privations and oppressions. Dare to affirm it. Dare to look into the face of God and say, ‘How much Thou lovest me, that Thou shouldst take so much pains with me! My God, I trust the perfect love, the circle of whose extent I cannot compass, but the centre of which is in Thy loving heart.’ Dare to believe that no package is delivered at thy door by God’s Providence which has not been packed by His love.

Illustration

‘It is startling and terrible to think of the aspect which God’s mercy presents to those that hate Him. That which is a blessing and help to His people is destruction to His foes, to Pharaoh and Og and Sihon. To the froward He shows Himself froward. The cloud which is light to Israel is black as pitch to Egypt. The sun which softens wax hardens clay. Oh, kiss the Son, lest He be angry!

The history of Israel was difficult in its unfolding, but as the Psalmist reviewed it from the standpoint of the years, he saw the golden thread of mercy woven with every incident. Thus, when we review our life from our Pisgah of vision, we shall see mercy where now we find hardship and trial—many incidents, but one unbroken chain of loving-kindness and tender mercy.’


Copyright Statement
These files are public domain.
Text Courtesy of BibleSupport.com. Used by Permission.

Bibliography
Nisbet, James. "Commentary on Psalms 136:1". Church Pulpit Commentary. http://odl.studylight.org/commentaries/cpc/psalms-136.html. 1876.

John Trapp Complete Commentary

Psalms 136:1 O give thanks unto the LORD for [he is] good: for his mercy [endureth] for ever.

Ver. 1. O give thanks unto the Lord] This psalm is by the Jews called Hillel gadol, the great gratulatory. See Psalms 106:1; Psalms 107:1; Psalms 118:1.

For his mercy endureth for ever] His covenant mercy, that precious Church privilege; this is perpetual to his people, and should perpetually shine as a picture in our hearts. For which purpose this psalm was appointed to be daily sung in the old church, by the Levites, 1 Chronicles 16:41.


Copyright Statement
These files are public domain.
Text Courtesy of BibleSupport.com. Used by Permission.

Bibliography
Trapp, John. "Commentary on Psalms 136:1". John Trapp Complete Commentary. http://odl.studylight.org/commentaries/jtc/psalms-136.html. 1865-1868.

Hawker's Poor Man's Commentary

CONTENTS

This Psalm is so much to the same purport with the former, that it should seem to be but a repetition of it, with the chorus of praise added to every verse. The subject is the same, and the words for the greater part are the same: so that it is a beautiful duplicate of what went before, with the addenda of Hallelujah.


Copyright Statement
These files are public domain.
Text Courtesy of BibleSupport.com. Used by Permission.

Bibliography
Hawker, Robert, D.D. "Commentary on Psalms 136:1". "Hawker's Poor Man's Commentary". http://odl.studylight.org/commentaries/pmc/psalms-136.html. 1828.

Thomas Coke Commentary on the Holy Bible

Psalms 136.

An exhortation to give thanks to God for particular mercies.

THIS psalm, like the former, is a commemoration of the wonderful things which God had done for the Jews. Bishop Patrick supposes it to have been intended for the use of their solemn festivals; as it was called by the Jews, הגדול הלל hallel haggadol, the great thanksgiving. He observes upon the frequent repetition of the half verse, that this was done to make them more sensible that they owed all they had to the divine bounty; to excite them to depend entirely upon that bounty, and to rest assured that it would never fail them, if they piously and sincerely acknowledged it. This form of acknowledgment, for his mercy, &c. was prescribed by David to be used continually in the divine service, 1 Chronicles 16:41 followed by Solomon, 2 Chronicles 3:6 and observed by Jehoshaphat, 2 Chronicles 20:21. See Bishop Lowth's 29th Prelection.


Copyright Statement
These files are public domain.
Text Courtesy of BibleSupport.com. Used by Permission.

Bibliography
Coke, Thomas. "Commentary on Psalms 136:1". Thomas Coke Commentary on the Holy Bible. http://odl.studylight.org/commentaries/tcc/psalms-136.html. 1801-1803.

Whedon's Commentary on the Bible

1. A common and favourite form of praise. Psalms 118:1.

For his mercy endureth for ever—A popular refrain, probably given by the congregation. See above in introduction.


Copyright Statement
These files are public domain.
Text Courtesy of BibleSupport.com. Used by Permission.

Bibliography
Whedon, Daniel. "Commentary on Psalms 136:1". "Whedon's Commentary on the Bible". http://odl.studylight.org/commentaries/whe/psalms-136.html. 1874-1909.

Joseph Benson's Commentary of the Old and New Testaments

Psalms 136:1. O give thanks unto the Lord; for he is good — “We are called upon to praise Jehovah, first for his own essential attributes; then for the exertion of those attributes in his works. The attributes here mentioned are those of goodness and power; the one renders him willing, and the other able, to save: and what can we desire more, but that he should continue to be so! Of this likewise we are assured, by contemplating the unchangeableness of his nature. His disposition altereth not, and his kingdom none can take from him; his mercy endureth for ever.” — Horne.


Copyright Statement
These files are public domain.
Text Courtesy of BibleSupport.com. Used by Permission.

Bibliography
Benson, Joseph. "Commentary on Psalms 136:1". Joseph Benson's Commentary. http://odl.studylight.org/commentaries/rbc/psalms-136.html. 1857.

George Haydock's Catholic Bible Commentary

For Jeremias. For the time of Jeremias, and the captivity of Babylon. (Challoner) --- Or "of" (Jeremiæ.; Haydock) Jeremias; on which subject he composed his Lamentations, as the Septuagint thus insinuate. (Worthington) --- The title may be a later insertion, and is not the same in all the Greek or Latin copies. It is wholly omitted in Hebrew, &c. Theodoret blames those who have written the name of Jeremias, as he was never at Babylon. (Calmet) --- He might send the psalm to the captives, (Grotius) though it were written by David, (Gerer.) who was a prophet. See Psalm lxxviii. (Berthier) --- The captives express their sentiments at Babylon, (Bossuet) or at their return; (Calmet) and thus, under the figure of the earthly Jerusalem, (Berthier) aspire to heaven. (St. Augustine) --- Rivers. Euphrates, &c. The Jews retired to such places to pray. (Philo, con. Flac.) (Acts xvi. 13.) (Haydock) --- Sion, and all the ceremonies of religion. (Worthington)


Copyright Statement
These files are public domain.
Text Courtesy of BibleSupport.com. Used by Permission.

Bibliography
Haydock, George Leo. "Commentary on Psalms 136:1". "George Haydock's Catholic Bible Commentary". http://odl.studylight.org/commentaries/hcc/psalms-136.html. 1859.

E.W. Bullinger's Companion Bible Notes

the LORD. Hebrew Jehovah App-4. For, &c. Figures of Speech. Amoebaeon and Epistrophe. App-6.

mercy = loving-kindness, or grace.


Copyright Statement
These files are public domain.
Text Courtesy of BibleSupport.com. Used by Permission.

Bibliography
Bullinger, Ethelbert William. "Commentary on Psalms 136:1". "E.W. Bullinger's Companion bible Notes". http://odl.studylight.org/commentaries/bul/psalms-136.html. 1909-1922.

Commentary Critical and Explanatory on the Whole Bible - Unabridged

O give thanks unto the LORD for he is good: for his mercy endureth for ever.

Psalms 136:1-26.-The repetition "for His mercy endureth forever" is the pervading idea. His mercy is not a mere think of the past, but endures to all times. Here and in Psalms 135:1-21 hope of deliverance for God's now depressed people is grounded on the Lord's infinite power displayed in nature, and in Israel's past history. Psalms 135:19-20 implies that all joined in the chorus closing each verse here, rather than sang in alternate parts.

O give thanks unto the Lord; for he is good: for his mercy endureth forever - "His mercy" specially to his people. He excels all, not merely in power, but also in goodness.


Copyright Statement
These files are public domain.
Text Courtesy of BibleSupport.com. Used by Permission.

Bibliography
Jamieson, Robert, D.D.; Fausset, A. R.; Brown, David. "Commentary on Psalms 136:1". "Commentary Critical and Explanatory on the Whole Bible - Unabridged". http://odl.studylight.org/commentaries/jfu/psalms-136.html. 1871-8.

Treasury of Scripture Knowledge

O give thanks unto the LORD; for he is good: for his mercy endureth for ever.
(Title
&) This Psalm is little else than a repetition of the preceding, with the addition of the burden, "for his mercy endureth for ever," at the end of each verse; and it was doubtless composed on the same occasion. It seems evidently to have been a responsive song; the first part of the verse being probably sung by the Levites, and the burden by the people.
Give thanks
105:1; 106:1; 107:1; 118:1; 119:68; 2 Chronicles 7:3,6; Ezra 3:11; Jeremiah 33:11
for his mercy
103:17; 1 Chronicles 16:34,41; 2 Chronicles 20:21; Luke 1:50; Jude 1:21

Copyright Statement
These files are public domain.
Text Courtesy of BibleSupport.com. Used by Permission.

Bibliography
Torrey, R. A. "Commentary on Psalms 136:1". "The Treasury of Scripture Knowledge". http://odl.studylight.org/commentaries/tsk/psalms-136.html.

To report dead links, typos, or html errors or suggestions about making these resources more useful use our convenient contact form
Powered by Lightspeed Technology