Ps 33:1-22. A call to lively and joyous praise to God for His glorious attributes and works, as displayed in creation, and His general and special providence, in view of which, the Psalmist, for all the pious, professes trust and joy and invokes God's mercy.
1-3. The sentiment falls in with Ps 32:11 (compare 1Co 14:15). The instruments (Ps 92:3; 144:9) do not exclude the voice.
3. a new song -- fresh, adapted to the occasion (Ps 40:3; 96:1).
play skilfully -- (Compare 1Sa 16:17).
4-9. Reasons for praise: first, God's truth, faithfulness, and mercy, generally; then, His creative power which all must honor.
6. In |word| and |breath| -- or, |spirit,| there may be an allusion to the Son (Joh 1:1) and Holy Spirit.
9. he spake -- literally, |said.|
it was -- The addition of |done| weakens the sense (compare Ge 1:3-10).
10, 11. In God's providence He thwarts men's purposes and executes His own.
heathen -- literally, |nations.|
12-19. The inference from the foregoing in Ps 33:12 is illustrated by God's special providence, underlying which is His minute knowledge of all men.
13. looketh -- intently (Isa 14:16).
15. fashioneth -- or, |forms,| and hence knows and controls (Pr 21:1).
alike -- without exception.
considereth -- or, |understands|; God knows men's motives.
16, 17. Men's usual reliances in their greatest exigencies are, in themselves, useless.
17. On the war horse (compare Job 39:19-25).
a vain thing -- a lie, which deceives us.
18, 19. Contrasted is God's guidance and power to save from the greatest earthly evil and its most painful precursor, and hence from all.
20-22. waiteth -- in earnest expectation.
21. his holy name -- (Compare Ps 5:12; 22:22; 30:4). Our faith measures mercy (Mt 9:29); and if of grace, it is no more of debt (Ro 11:6).