Verse 25. "Giveth food to all flesh " - By whose universal providence every intellectual and animal being is supported and preserved. The appointing every living thing food, and that sort of food which is suited to its nature, (and the nature and habits of animals are endlessly diversified,) is an overwhelming proof of the wondrous providence, wisdom, and goodness of God.
The Vulgate, Arabic, and Anglo-Saxon, add a twenty-seventh verse, by repeating here ver. 3 very unnecessarily.
ANALYSIS OF THE HUNDRED AND THIRTY-SIXTH PSALM
This Psalm has the same argument with the preceding. It is divided into three parts: - I. A general exhortation to praise God for his goodness and majesty, ver. 1-3.
II. A declaration of that goodness and majesty in their effects, ver. 4-10.
III. A conclusion fit for the exordium, ver. 26.
1. Of his creation, ver. 4-10.
2. Of his providence in preserving the Church, and punishing her enemies, ver. 10-25.
3. That his providence extends to all his creatures, ver. 26.
I. In the three first verses the prophet invites us to praise God for his mercy and goodness. And in these three verses expositors find the Trinity: - 1. Jehovah. God the Father, who is the Fountain of being.
2. God the Son. Who is God of gods, and over all.
3. The Holy Ghost. Who is Lord of lords.
The psalmist's reasons for calling upon us thus to praise him are, "for he is good: for his mercy endureth for ever." The prophet now begins to praise God for his wonderful works, and which he alone was able to do.
1. "Who hath done wonderful things." Such as the work of creation.
2. "For his mercy endureth for ever." In sustaining and preserving all things.
"To him give thanks" for the wisdom manifested in the heavens; for, contemplate them as we may, they appear full of beauty, order, and splendour.
Praise him for the formation of the earth, as the mansion of man.
Give thanks "to him that stretched out," &c. Naturally this could not be, because the earth is heavier than water: but God hath made furrows for the waters to flow into, that man and beast might live on the earth.
"For his mercy endureth for ever." In this there was a threefold mercy: - 1. In reference to the earth. To make it something of nothing.
2. As respects the water. To prepare for it a settled place.
3. In regard to man. To whom he gave the earth uncovered from water, and yet plentifully supplied with rivers and fruits.
The third instance is the two great luminaries and the stars, in the three following verses. These do astonishingly adorn the heaven, and profit the earth. The sun and moon illuminate the earth, and comfort us. Perhaps the prophet instances these because they are alike blessings bestowed upon and shared by all the world.
II. From the wonderful works of the creation the prophet descends to those of his providence, in the preservation of the Church; and instances it in the redemption of his people Israel from the land of Egypt, &c., dwelling at large upon it, ver. 10-22.
In these verses the prophet records how God performed to Israel all the offices of a good Captain, Guide, Leader, and even Father; for he fed them with bread from heaven, gave them water out of the rock, caused that their clothes wore not out, cured their sick, defended them from their enemies, &c.
All this God did for them before they entered Canaan. And then the prophet reminds them how they rebelled against God, and he humbled them by bringing the Philistines and the Babylonian kings against them, who conquered and subjected them: but when they cried to him, he turned their captivity; for "he remembered us when we were in our low estate," &c.; "and hath redeemed us from our enemies," &c.
Lastly, that his goodness is not only extended over his people, but his creatures; to all flesh, which word signifies every thing that hath life.
III. He concludes as he began, "O give thanks unto the God of heaven," &c. The prophet calls him the God of heaven, because he alone made the heavens, and has his throne there, having the whole world under him; and by his wisdom and providence he preserves, moderates, and governs all things.