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Commentary On Psalms Volume 5 by Jean Calvin

Psalm 136:17-26

17. Who smote great kings, for his mercy endureth for ever.18. And slew famous kings, for his mercy endureth for ever.19. Sihon, king of the Amorites, for his mercy endureth for ever.20. And Og, king of Bashan, for his mercy endureth for ever.21. And gave their land for an heritage, for his mercy endureth for ever.22. An heritage to Israel his servant., for his mercy endureth for ever.23. Who remembered us in our humiliation, for his mercy endureth for ever.24. And hath rescued us from our oppressors, for his mercy endureth for ever.25. Who giveth food to all flesh, for his mercy endureth for ever.26. Make acknowledgments to the God of heavens, for his mercy endureth for ever.

23. Who remembered us in our humiliation The six verses taken from the previous Psalm I pass over without observation; and I shall only touch very briefly upon the others, which do not need lengthened consideration. We may just observe that the Psalmist represents every age as affording' displays of the same goodness as had been shown to their fathers, since God had never failed to help his people by a continued succession of deliverances. It was a more notable proof of his mercy to interpose for the nation at a time when it was nearly overwhelmed by calamities, than to preserve it in its entire state and under a more even course of affairs, there being something in the emergency to awaken attention and arrest the view. Besides, in all the deliverances which God grants his people, there is an accompanying remission of their sins. In the close he speaks of the paternal providence of God as extending not only to all mankind, but to every living creature, suggesting that we have no reason to feel surprise at his sustaining the character of a kind and provident father to his own people, when he condescends to care for the cattle, and the asses of the field, and the crow, and the sparrow. Men are much better than brute beasts, and there is a great difference between some men and others, though not in merit, yet as regards the privilege of the divine adoption, and the Psalmist is to be considered as reasoning from the less to the greater, and enhancing the incomparably superior mercy which God shows to his own children.

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