Bible Book List
Matthew Henry's Commentary – Verses 7–36
Verses 7–36

We have here the thanksgiving psalm which David, by the Spirit, composed, and delivered to the chief musician, to be sung upon occasion of the public entry the ark made into the tent prepared for it. Some think he appointed this hymn to be daily used in the temple service, as duly as the day came; whatever other psalms they sung, they must not omit this. David had penned many psalms before this, some in the time of his trouble by Saul. This was composed before, but was now first delivered into the hand of Asaph, for the use of the church. It is gathered out of several psalms (from the 1 Chron. 16:7-23 is taken from Ps. 105:1-15; and then 1 Chron. 16:23-34 is the whole Ps. 96:1-13, with little variation; 1 Chron. 16:34 is taken from Ps. 136:1 and divers others; and then the 1 Chron. 16:35, 36 are taken from the close of Ps. 106:47, 48), which some think warrants us to do likewise, and make up hymns out of David’s psalms, a part of one and a part of another put together so as may be most proper to express and excite the devotion of Christians. These psalms will be best expounded in their proper places (if the Lord will); here we take them as they are put together, with a design to thank the Lord (1 Chron. 16:7), a great duty, to which we need to be excited and in which we need to be assisted. 1. Let God be glorified in our praises; let his honour be the centre in which all the lines meet. Let us glorify him by our thanksgivings (Give thanks to the Lord), by our prayers (Call on his name, 1 Chron. 16:8), by our songs (Sing psalms unto him), by our discourse—Talk of all his wondrous works, 1 Chron. 16:9. Let us glorify him as a great God, and greatly to be praised (1 Chron. 16:25), as supreme God (above all gods), as sole God, for all others are idols, 1 Chron. 16:26. Let us glorify him as most bright and blessed in himself (Glory and honour are in his presence, 1 Chron. 16:27), as creator (The Lord made the heavens), as the ruler of the whole creation (His judgments are in all the earth, 1 Chron. 16:14), and as ours—He is the Lord our God. Thus must we give unto the Lord the glory due to his name (1 Chron. 16:28, 29), and own it, and much more, his due. 2. Let other be edified and instructed: Make known his deeds among the people (1 Chron. 16:8), declare his glory among the heathen (1 Chron. 16:24), that those who are strangers to him may be led into acquaintance with him, allegiance to him, and the adoration of him. Thus must we serve the interests of his kingdom among men, that all the earth may fear before him, 1 Chron. 16:30. 3. Let us be ourselves encouraged to triumph and trust in God. Those that give glory to God’s name are allowed to glory in it (1 Chron. 16:10), to value themselves upon their relation to God and venture themselves upon his promise to them. Let the heart of those rejoice that seek the Lord, much more of those that have found him. Seek him, and his strength, and his face: that is, seek him by the ark of his strength, in which he manifests himself. 4. Let the everlasting covenant be the great matter of our joy and praise (1 Chron. 16:15): Be mindful of his covenant. In the parallel place it is, He will be ever mindful of it, Ps. 105:8. Seeing God never will forget it, we never must. The covenant is said to be commanded, because God has obliged us to obey the conditions of it, and because he has both authority to make the promise and ability to make it good. This covenant was ancient, yet never to be forgotten. It was made with Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, who were long since dead (1 Chron. 16:16-18), yet still sure to the spiritual seed, and the promises of it pleadable. 5. Let God’s former mercies to his people of old, to our ancestors and our predecessors in profession, be commemorated by us now with thankfulness to his praise. Let it be remembered how God protected the patriarchs in their unsettled condition. When they came strangers to Canaan and were sojourners in it, when they were few and might easily have been swallowed up, when they were continually upon the remove and so exposed, when there were many that bore them ill-will and sought to do them mischief, yet no man was suffered to do them wrong—not the Canaanites, Philistines, Egyptians. Kings were reproved and plagued for their sakes. Pharaoh was so, and Abimelech. They were the anointed of the Lord, sanctified by his grace, sanctified by his glory, and had received the unction of the Spirit. They were his prophets, instructed in the things of God themselves and commissioned to instruct others (and prophets are said to be anointed, 1 Kgs. 19:16; Isa. 61:1); therefore, if any touch them, they touch the apple of God’s eye; if any harm them, it is at their peril, 1 Chron. 16:19-22. 6. Let the great salvation of the Lord be especially the subject of our praises (1 Chron. 16:23): Show forth from day to day his salvation, that is (says bishop Patrick), his promised salvation by Christ. We have reason to celebrate that from day to day; for we daily receive the benefits of it, and it is a subject that can never be exhausted. 7. Let God be praised by a due and constant attendance upon him in the ordinances he has appointed: Bring an offering, then the fruit of the ground, now the fruit of the lips, of the heart (Heb. 13:15), and worship him in the beauty of holiness, in the holy places and in a holy manner, 1 Chron. 16:29. Holiness is the beauty of the Lord, the beauty of all sanctified souls and all religious performances. 8. Let God’s universal monarchy be the fear and joy of all people. Let us reverence it: Fear before him, all the earth. And let us rejoice in it: Let the heavens be glad and rejoice, because the Lord reigns, and by his providence establishes the world, so that, though it be moved, it cannot be removed, nor the measures broken which Infinite Wisdom has taken in the government of it, 1 Chron. 16:30, 31. 9. Let the prospect of the judgment to come inspire us with an awful pleasure, Let earth and sea, fields and woods, though in the great day of the Lord they will all be consumed, yet rejoice that he will come, doth come, to judge the earth, 1 Chron. 16:32, 33. 10. In the midst of our praises we must not forget to pray for the succour and relief of those saints and servants of God that are in distress (1 Chron. 16:35): Save us, gather us, deliver us from the heathen, those of us that are scattered and oppressed. When we are rejoicing in God’s favours to us we must remember our afflicted brethren, and pray for their salvation and deliverance as our own. We are members one of another; and therefore when we mean, “Lord, save them,” it is not improper to say, “Lord, save us.” Lastly, Let us make God the Alpha and Omega of our praises. David begins with (1 Chron. 16:8), Give thanks to the Lord; he concludes (1 Chron. 16:36), Blessed be the Lord. And whereas in the place whence this doxology is taken (Ps. 106:48) it is added, Let all the people say, Amen, Hallelujah, here we find they did according to that directory: All the people said, Amen, and praised the Lord. When the Levites had finished this psalm or prayer and praise, then, and not till then, the people that attended signified their consent and concurrence by saying, Amen, And so they praised the Lord, much affected no doubt with this newly instituted way of devotion, which had been hitherto used in the schools of the prophets only, 1 Sam. 10:5. And, if this way of praising God please the Lord better than an ox or a bullock that has horns and hoofs, the humble shall see it and be glad, Ps. 69:31, 32.