Calvin on Psalm 136


Since we celebrate the 500th birthday of John Calvin this week:

Before proceeding to recite God’s works, the Psalmist declares his supreme Deity, and dominion: not that such comparative language implies that there is anything approaching Deity besides him, but there is a disposition in men, whenever they see any part of his glory displayed, to conceive of a God separate from him, thus impiously dividing the Godhead into parts, and even proceeding so far as to frame gods of wood and stone. There is a depraved tendency in all to take delight in a multiplicity of gods. For this reason, apparently, the Psalmist uses the plural number not only in the word Elohim but in the word Adonim, so that it reads literally, Praise ye the Lords of lords: he would intimate, that the fullest perfection of all dominion is to be found in the one God.

John Calvin, as quoted in “The Treasury of David”