Jewish Study Bible: “This psalm appears in the liturgy for the introductory morning service for Sabbath and festivals.”
Guzik: “Psalm 135 is of note for its use of other passages from the Hebrew Scriptures. Almost every verse quotes the words or the idea of another Old Testament passage. Rather easily can be seen reference to four different Psalms, two passages from Deuteronomy, two from Jeremiah, and two from Exodus.”
Psalms 135:1 ¶ Praise ye the LORD. Praise ye the name of the LORD; praise him, O ye servants of the LORD.
Psalms 135:2 Ye that stand in the house of the LORD, in the courts of the house of our God,
Psalms 135:3 Praise the LORD; for the LORD is good: sing praises unto his name; for it is pleasant.
The psalmist opens by calling for the servants of the LORD to praise Him. You would think that to be unnecessary, but the fact is that it is easy to take for granted the many blessings God bestows upon us. This can be especially true for those in ministry at God’s house. One can get so wrapped up in the responsibilities of serving that one forgets to take the time to count one’s blessings and praise the LORD with love and gratitude.
The LORD deserves our praise because He is good; in fact, He is the only truly good being.
Mark 10:18 “And Jesus said unto him, Why callest thou me good? there is none good but one, that is, God.”
One of the most beautiful ways to praise God is through music. His name is representative of His honor, authority and character (from the Hebrew).
Though the psalmist is addressing the people of Israel, the truth of these verses speaks to all God’s servants today.
Psalms 135:4 For the LORD hath chosen Jacob unto himself, and Israel for his peculiar treasure.
The psalmist states the special blessing for which the children of Israel should be especially thankful. The LORD has chosen Jacob and his descendants as His own special possession among the nations on planet earth; they have a special place in His heart.
I am reminded of the words of Peter regarding those who are the people of God through faith in Jesus.
1 Peter 2:9 “But ye are a chosen generation, a royal priesthood, an holy nation, a peculiar people; that ye should shew forth the praises of him who hath called you out of darkness into his marvellous light:”
We, too, are a chosen people with a special calling before the LORD to praise His name before those that walk in darkness.
Psalms 135:5 ¶ For I know that the LORD is great, and that our Lord is above all gods.
Psalms 135:6 Whatsoever the LORD pleased, that did he in heaven, and in earth, in the seas, and all deep places.
Psalms 135:7 He causeth the vapours to ascend from the ends of the earth; he maketh lightnings for the rain; he bringeth the wind out of his treasuries.
In these verses the psalmist begins to praise the LORD for His greatness; there is no greater god. The LORD is the ultimate authority throughout all we know as reality and all we have yet to learn about. He acts in accordance with His will throughout His creation. His authority extends over the heavens, the earth, the seas, and all the deep places (in earth and sea). He controls the weather cycle on earth and makes the lightnings that come with the rainstorms. He controls the winds, from mild breezes to mighty hurricanes; it’s like He has them stored in warehouses to send out in accordance with His purposes.
EBC Abridged: “The confession of God’s greatness is expressed in the personal language of faith—'I know.’”
Psalms 135:8 Who smote the firstborn of Egypt, both of man and beast.
Psalms 135:9 Who sent tokens and wonders into the midst of thee, O Egypt, upon Pharaoh, and upon all his servants.
The Jewish composer goes on to praise the LORD for the mighty miracles He did to deliver His people from bondage in Egypt.
Psalms 135:10 Who smote great nations, and slew mighty kings;
Psalms 135:11 Sihon king of the Amorites, and Og king of Bashan, and all the kingdoms of Canaan:
Psalms 135:12 And gave their land for an heritage, an heritage unto Israel his people.
The psalmist continues his praise by recounting how the LORD had destroyed great nations and their kings in order to give their lands to the descendants of Jacob as their own inheritance. Though He worked through His people to accomplish this, they could never have succeeded without His empowerment and supernatural intervention.
The LORD is our Creator and has the right to do according to His will with His creation. However, He did not destroy these people without cause; He waited until their sin had gotten past the point of repentance. He told Abraham that his people would have to wait until the sins of those possessing the land had reached the fulness of sin before He would give them the land.
Genesis 15:16 “But in the fourth generation they shall come hither again: for the iniquity of the Amorites is not yet full.”
Psalms 135:13 Thy name, O LORD, endureth for ever; and thy memorial, O LORD, throughout all generations.
Psalms 135:14 For the LORD will judge his people, and he will repent himself concerning his servants.
The psalmist declares an amazing truth. The name of the LORD endures forever. He is remembered in every generation. No matter how hard the enemy tries, he has never been and will never be able to destroy the servants of God who testify to the name of God and the truth of His word, His being, because of His great compassion for those servants.
Psalms 135:15 ¶ The idols of the heathen are silver and gold, the work of men’s hands.
Psalms 135:16 They have mouths, but they speak not; eyes have they, but they see not;
Psalms 135:17 They have ears, but they hear not; neither is there any breath in their mouths.
Psalms 135:18 They that make them are like unto them: so is every one that trusteth in them.
The psalmist now paints a vivid word picture of the idols that represent the false gods of the heathen in contrast to God Almighty.
The men that make these idols are just like the idols they make. They are created beings with no ability to speak, see, hear, or possess life on the spiritual plane. They are limited to the abilities of the flesh only. Their future is one of physical and spiritual death.
Spurgeon: “If we did not know the sorrowful fact to be indisputable, it would seem to be impossible that intelligent beings could bow down before substances which they must themselves refine from the ore, and fashion into form. One would think it less absurd to worship one's own hands than to adore that which those hands have made. What great works can these mock deities perform for man when they are themselves the works of man? Idols are fitter to be played with, like dolls by babes, than to be adored by grown up men.”
Psalms 135:19 Bless the LORD, O house of Israel: bless the LORD, O house of Aaron:
Psalms 135:20 Bless the LORD, O house of Levi: ye that fear the LORD, bless the LORD.
Psalms 135:21 Blessed be the LORD out of Zion, which dwelleth at Jerusalem. Praise ye the LORD.
In light of all he has said, the psalmist calls for the whole house of Israel to praise the LORD—from the house of Aaron (the priests) to the Levites (those that ministered with the priests and took care of God’s house) to those that fear and reverence the LORD.
So the psalm ends as it begins, “Praise ye the LORD”—or “Hallelujah!”