Psa 147:1 Praise the LORD. How good it is to sing praises to our God, how pleasant and fitting to praise him!

Psa 147:2 The LORD builds up Jerusalem; he gathers the exiles of Israel.

The Lord builds up Jerusalem – ‘All people are under God’s care; but he has a particular regard to his church. This is the signet on his hand, as a bracelet on his arm; this is his garden which he delights to dress; if he prunes it, it is to purge it; if he digs about his vine, and wounds the branches, it is to make it beautiful with new clusters, and restore it to a fruitful vigour.’ (Charnock, Existence and Attributes of God, I, 406f)

He gathers the exiles of Israel – Charnock points out that all great deliverances are to be ascribed to God, whatever the human instrumentality might be. The great deliverance from Babylon is not to be ascribed to Cyrus, or Darius, but to the Lord. It is he who promised it; it is he who performs it. Not by human might or power, but by God’s Spirit.

‘How those returned exiles must have rejoiced as they witnessed the upraising of their dearly-loved capital from its ruins!’ (Lockyer) Likewise, God gathers his elect from the four corners of the world to build a Jerusalem that none can destroy, Mt 24:31; Jn 11:52.

Psa 147:3 He heals the brokenhearted and binds up their wounds.

He heals the broken-hearted and binds up their wounds – he has done the work of a skilful surgeon. ‘Man’s misery is the fittest opportunity for God to make his mercy illustrious in itself, and most welcome to the patient.’ (Charnock)

Psa 147:4 He determines the number of the stars and calls them each by name.

He determines the number of the stars – It is no wonder that God calls together the exiles, and gathers them from all corners, since he counts the stars and calls them each by name (i.e. he knows their individual characteristics). How far beyond our knowledge is God’s! Gen 15:5; Jer 33:22. God’s people be may be numerous as the stars; they may shine brightly in this world, or be hid by impenetrable clouds, but God knows them all. ‘As he can do what is above the power of man to perform, so he understands what is above the skill of man to discover.’ (Charnock)

Psa 147:5 Great is our Lord and mighty in power; his understanding has no limit.

Psa 147:6 The LORD sustains the humble but casts the wicked to the ground.

Psa 147:7 Sing to the LORD with thanksgiving; make music to our God on the harp.

Psa 147:8 He covers the sky with clouds; he supplies the earth with rain and makes grass grow on the hills.

Psa 147:9 He provides food for the cattle and for the young ravens when they call.

Psa 147:10 His pleasure is not in the strength of the horse, nor his delight in the legs of a man;

Psa 147:11 the LORD delights in those who fear him, who put their hope in his unfailing love.

Psa 147:12 Extol the LORD, O Jerusalem; praise your God, O Zion,

Psa 147:13 for he strengthens the bars of your gates and blesses your people within you.

Psa 147:14 He grants peace to your borders and satisfies you with the finest of wheat.

Psa 147:15 He sends his command to the earth; his word runs swiftly.

Psa 147:16 He spreads the snow like wool and scatters the frost like ashes.

Psa 147:17 He hurls down his hail like pebbles. Who can withstand his icy blast?

Psa 147:18 He sends his word and melts them; he stirs up his breezes, and the waters flow.

Psa 147:19 He has revealed his word to Jacob, his laws and decrees to Israel.

Psa 147:20 He has done this for no other nation; they do not know his laws. Praise the LORD.