Psalm 135


In this psalm, the psalmist simply encourages everyone to praise God because of creative power. When the psalmist compares the LORD with those who make and worship idols, there is no comparison, God is far greater.


‘An exhortation to praise God for his mercy’

Although the headings aren’t inspired by God, they are important because they give us some understanding of the Psalm and they help us to see why it was written. The headings usually tell us four things.

1. Who wrote them, probably wrote them or possibly wrote them.

2. Information about the historical background to the Psalm. Why it was written.

3. They tell us of the tune the Psalm was written to.

4. How it was used.

Although the NIV offers no heading, the KJV tells us that this psalm was used to encourage God’s people to praise God for His mercy.

‘Praise the LORD. Praise the name of the LORD; praise him, you servants of the LORD, you who minister in the house of the LORD, in the courts of the house of our God. Praise the LORD, for the LORD is good; sing praise to his name, for that is pleasant. For the LORD has chosen Jacob to be his own, Israel to be his treasured possession. I know that the LORD is great, that our Lord is greater than all gods. The LORD does whatever pleases him, in the heavens and on the earth, in the seas and all their depths. He makes clouds rise from the ends of the earth; he sends lightning with the rain and brings out the wind from his storehouses.’ Psalm 135:1-7

The psalmist begins by encouraging everyone to praise the LORD and to praise His Name. They encourage the priests, God’s servants, those who serve and minister the LORD in His house, that is, the temple, Psalm 134:1, and in the courts of God’s house, 2 Chronicles 4:9 / Matthew 21:12.

Those who served in the temple were to lift their voices in praise to God. They proclaimed God’s goodness, Psalm 73:1 / Psalm 143:10 / Mark 10:18 and sang praises to God’s Name which they found pleasant. God’s Name is gracious, and so, brings peace of mind to those who respond to His existence.

The LORD who Jacob, that is Israel, to be His own treasured possession, in other words, Israel was a chosen people of God, and so, God’s prized possession among the nations, Exodus 19:5 / Deuteronomy 7:7-8 / Deuteronomy 32:9 / 1 Kings 8:53.

They were chosen with the purpose of bringing Jesus, the Messiah into the world, Genesis 12:3 / Genesis 18:18 / Genesis 22:18 / Genesis 26:4.

The psalmist declares that the LORD, that is, Yahweh, the Lord, that is, Adonai, is greater than any manmade idol. These ‘gods’ obviously didn’t exist but came from the imagination of men.

The LORD’s power is seen in that He can do whatever He pleases in the heavens, earth, and the seas, In other words, nothing is too great for Him.

The LORD has the power to make the clouds rise from the end of the earth, Job 26:8 / Job 38:25-28. He has the power to send lightning with the rain, Job 28:26, and the power to control the wind, Job 38:22. In other words, the LORD should be praised because His power is clearly seen in creation, Psalm 8 / Romans 1:20.

‘He struck down the firstborn of Egypt, the firstborn of people and animals. He sent his signs and wonders into your midst, Egypt, against Pharaoh and all his servants. He struck down many nations and killed mighty kings—Sihon king of the Amorites, Og king of Bashan, and all the kings of Canaan—and he gave their land as an inheritance, an inheritance to his people Israel.’ Psalm 135:8-12

The psalmist now tells us that God’s power was also seen when He delivered Israel from Egypt. It was God Himself who struck down the firstborn of the people and the animals, Exodus 11:5.

It was God who sent signs and wonders to Egypt, that is, Pharaoh and his servants witnessed God’s power in the plagues He sent, Psalm 105:27-36.

After being delivered from Egypt, the LORD’s power was seen in the way He struck down many nations and killed mighty kings. It was Sihon, king of the Amorites and Og, king of Canaan, who attacked God’s people, Numbers 21:21ff / Numbers 21:33ff / Deuteronomy 3:11.

Because the Amorites, and those of Bashan, rose up against God’s chosen possession of people, the land of these nations were given to Israel.

‘Your name, LORD, endures forever, your renown, LORD, through all generations. For the LORD will vindicate his people and have compassion on his servants. The idols of the nations are silver and gold, made by human hands. They have mouths, but cannot speak, eyes, but cannot see. They have ears, but cannot hear, nor is there breath in their mouths. Those who make them will be like them, and so will all who trust in them. All you Israelites, praise the LORD; house of Aaron, praise the LORD; house of Levi, praise the LORD; you who fear him, praise the LORD. Praise be to the LORD from Zion, to him who dwells in Jerusalem. Praise the LORD.’ Psalm 135:13-21

Because of the greatness of the LORD, the psalmist declares that His Name will endure forever, and His reputation will go on from one generation to the next.

It’s the LORD who will vindicate, that is, judge His people, which is good news because this means that God is for them not against them, Deuteronomy 32:36 / Romans 8:31.

After speaking about the greatness of the LORD, the psalmist now goes on to speak of the foolishness of idolatry. These manmade idols which are made from silver and gold represented those who rebelled against God, Psalm 115:4-8.

The psalmist mocks the idols, by telling us they have mouths but can’t speak, they have eyes but can’t see, they have ears but can’t hear and there is no breath in their mouths.

Because people worshipped these idols, the people became evil and turned from God, Isaiah 44:9, and as a result, God gave them over to the things they made up in their imagination, Romans 1:18-32. As in most cases of those who worship idols, they begin to behave as their ‘gods’, they do whatever they like.

The psalmist now encourages Israel to praise the LORD, which includes the house of Aaron and the house of Levi, who were the spiritual leaders of God’s people and all who fear Him.

The psalmist reminds Israel that God’s praise isn’t limited to Zion, that is, Jerusalem, despite God dwelling there. When compared to these manmade idols, it’s only God, because of His greatness and power who is worthy to be praised. This is why the psalmist encourages everyone to praise the LORD with their final words, just like they began.


The psalmist declared that all should praise the LORD because of His greatness and power and as Christians, we too have many reasons to praise the LORD.

1. We should praise the LORD because He commands us to praise Him, Psalm 150:6 / Psalm 100:4 / Hebrews 10:19.

2. We should praise the LORD because our praise encourages us to keep serving Him, Psalm 17:5-6.

3. We should praise the LORD because when we praise Him, we focus on Him and not our troubles, Isaiah 61:3.

4. We should praise the LORD because He and He alone is worthy of our praise, 1 Chronicles 16:34 / Revelations 5:12.

5. We should praise the LORD because He saved us, 1 Peter 1:3-5.

Go To Psalm 136


"For God did not give us a spirit of timidity, but a spirit of power, of love and of self-discipline."