Psalm 147:4
(4) Stars.--This proof of God's power to help, by reference to the stars of heaven, which are beyond man's power to count, much more to name, but which the Almighty both numbers and names, seems rather abruptly introduced, but the train of thought is clear. To assemble the dispersed of Israel, however numerous and scattered, was easy to the ruler of the hosts of heaven. The original promise to Abraham was, of course, in the poet's mind, but still more Isaiah 40:26-28, from which the expression may have been taken. The dramatic "Lift your eyes on high and behold" supplies the link needed in the abrupt entrance of the thought of the psalm.

Verse 4. - He telleth the number of the stars. Nothing escapes God's knowledge. He knew the number of the exiles, and the place and name of each, just as he knows the number of the stars and their names (comp. Isaiah 40:26). He calleth them all by their names (see Job 9:9; Isaiah l.s.c.).

147:1-11 Praising God is work that is its own wages. It is comely; it becomes us as reasonable creatures, much more as people in covenant with God. He gathers outcast sinners by his grace, and will bring them into his holy habitation. To those whom God heals with the consolations of his Spirit, he speaks peace, assures them their sins are pardoned. And for this, let others praise him also. Man's knowledge is soon ended; but God's knowledge is a dept that can never be fathomed. And while he telleth the number of the stars, he condescends to hear the broken-hearted sinner. While he feeds the young ravens, he will not leave his praying people destitute. Clouds look dull and melancholy, yet without them we could have no rain, therefore no fruit. Thus afflictions look black and unpleasant; but from clouds of affliction come showers that make the soul to yield the peaceable fruits of righteousness. The psalmist delights not in things wherein sinners trust and glory; but a serious and suitable regard to God is, in his sight, of very great price. We are not to be in doubt between hope and fear, but to act under the gracious influences of hope and fear united.He telleth the number of the stars,.... Which no man can do exactly; see Genesis 15:5; the ancient astronomers pretended to tell them, as Aratus and Eudoxus (o), and fixed their number at a thousand and some odd; but then these were only such as were of some magnitude and influence, and such as commonly appeared; but since the use of telescopes many are seen which were not before; and especially those clusters of them in the Milky Way cannot be distinctly discerned and told; but the Lord that made them can tell their exact number. Aben Ezra thinks this is said with respect to the outcasts of Israel scattered throughout the whole earth, as the stars are in the upper orb; and that as the Lord knows the one, he knows the other; which is not amiss, especially spiritually understood;

he calleth them all by their names; not that he calls one Jupiter and another Verus, &c. as the Heathens have done; but the sense is, that he has as perfect, distinct, and exact knowledge of them, as we have of any persons or things that we can call by name, and more so; see Isaiah 40:26. This may be applied to the saints, who are like to stars for the light they receive from Christ the sun of righteousness, and are a number which no man can number; but Christ knows them all distinctly and exactly, and can call them by name, and holds them in his right hand, and will preserve them; and they shall shine for ever like stars, yea, like the sun in the kingdom of his Father; so Arama interprets this of the righteous, who are compared to stars; see Daniel 12:4.

(o) Vid. Augustin de Civ. Dei, l. 16. c. 23.

Psalm 147:3
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