135:0Bible students think that the psalmist wrote this psalm for the second temple. The psalmist was the person that wrote the psalm. The temple was God's house in Jerusalem. King Solomon built the first temple about 950 BC. The letters BC mean ‘years Before Christ came to the earth.’ The King of Babylon destroyed this temple. The Jews built it again in 516 BC. This was the second temple.
They made the psalm from other parts of the Bible. Here is a list:
Psalm 135:1 from Psalm 134:1 and 113:1
Psalm 135:2 from Psalm 134:1
Psalm 135:3 from Psalm 147:1
Psalm 135:4 from Exodus 19:5 and Deuteronomy 7:6
Psalm 135:5 from Exodus 19:5 and 18:11
Psalm 135:6 from Psalm 115:3
Psalm 135:7 from Jeremiah 10:13 and Job 38:22
Psalm 135:8-12 from Psalm 136:10-22
Psalm 135:13-18 from Exodus 3:15; Deuteronomy 32:36; Isaiah 44:12-20; Jeremiah 10:6-10
Psalm 135:19-20 from Psalm 115:9-11
Psalm 135:21 from Psalm 128:5 and Psalm 134:3
A Song of Praise to God
1 Hallelujah! Praise the name of the LORD!
Praise him, you servants of the LORD!
135:1Hallelujah, in verses 1 and 21, means ‘praise the LORD.’ This means ‘tell the LORD that he is very great.’ The LORD is a special name for God. We call it the covenant name. A covenant is when two people, or groups of people, agree. Here God agrees to love and send help to his people; his people agree to love and obey him.
2 You are standing in the house of the LORD.
You are standing in the courts of the house of our God.
135:2In verses 1 and 2, the servants of the LORD are his people. Those that stand in the house of the LORD are the priests. They are special servants of God. They all came from the tribe (or large family) of Levi. Those in the courts of the LORD are people from other tribes. The courts were the places round the house of the LORD.
3 Praise the LORD, because the LORD is good.
Praise his name with songs, because it is pleasant to do this.
4 Praise his name because the LORD chose Jacob for himself.
Israel is his own treasure.
135:4In verse 4, Jacob is another name for the people of Israel. They were God's treasure. This means that they were very valuable to him. There is another word Lord in verse 5. This is not the same as LORD in the Hebrew Bible. The Jews spoke the Hebrew language. Lord means someone in authority. Here it means God. God has many names in the Bible. Each one means something different from the other names.
5 Praise his name because I know that the LORD is great.
Our Lord is greater than all other gods.
6 The LORD does whatever he wants to do.
He does this in the sky and on the earth.
And he does it in the deepest parts of the sea.
7 The LORD makes clouds rise up all over the earth.
He sends rain with lightning.
He brings winds from where he stores them.
135:7Lightning, in verse 7, is the light we see in the sky during a great storm. It appears for just a second, and then it is gone.
8 God destroyed the firstborn in Egypt, both men and animals.
9 He sent signs to warn Egypt. He did miracles in Egypt.
He did them to warn Pharaoh and his servants.
10 He destroyed many countries and killed many kings.
11 He killed Sihon the king of the Amorites.
He also killed Og the king of Bashan and all the kings of Canaan.
12 Then he gave their lands to his people Israel.
He gave their lands to them as a gift.
13 LORD, people will always remember your name.
You will always be famous.
14 And the LORD will defend his people.
Also, he will show his love to his servants.
135:14Verses 8-14 are about the people of Israel coming from Egypt into Palestine. Pharaoh was the king of Egypt. He would not let the Jews go free. God warned (or told Pharaoh what would happen) with signs and miracles. A miracle is something special that only God can do. The last sign was when God killed all the firstborn in Egypt. The firstborn were the first children that people had. Or they were the first babies that animals had. When this happened, Pharaoh at last let the Jews go free.
On the way to the promised Land of Palestine, God destroyed many kings and their people. This included Sihon and his people the Amorites. It also included Og and his people that lived in the land of Bashan. When they reached Palestine, God gave it to his people as a gift. But they had to fight for it. In those days, they called the land of Palestine ‘Canaan.’ In all this, God defended his people. This means that he gave them help when people attacked them.
15 Other countries make their idols with silver and gold.
Human hands made those idols!
16 They have mouths – but they cannot speak!
They have eyes – but they cannot see!
17 They have ears – but they cannot hear!
They have mouths – but they cannot breathe!
18 The people that made them will become as they are.
Also, everyone that trusts in them will become as they are.
135:18Verses 15-18 are about idols. An idol is a false god. Perhaps it is a picture, or maybe someone made it from wood or stone. In verse 15, someone made it from valuable metals such as silver and gold. But these idols cannot do anything! They cannot speak, see, hear or even breathe. Breathe means to take air in through our mouths and noses. If we do not breathe, we are dead! So these idols were dead. They were not alive as the LORD is alive. And people that trust in idols will soon be as they are – dead! Trust means believe in something. And hope to get help from it.
19 House of Israel, bless the LORD.
House of Aaron, bless the LORD.
20 House of Levi, bless the LORD.
Everyone that is afraid of him, bless the LORD.
21 Zion, bless the LORD that lives in Jerusalem.
135:21The psalm ends by telling people to bless the LORD. This means nearly the same as ‘praise the LORD’, or hallelujah. The difference is this. We can praise the LORD and not love him. But when we bless the LORD we love him as well.