English Basic Explanation - Chapter 146
This Psalm extols the unparalleled greatness of the Almighty, emphasizing the fundamental difference between His power and that of human beings. As David describes, one can never rely with confidence on even the wealthiest and most powerful aristocrats and dignitaries, for they, like all human beings, are susceptible to death at any moment. Somebody who places all his trust in another person thus runs the risk of losing his source of support in an instant. David contrasts such a person with one "who is assisted by the God of Yaakov," who relies and depends solely on the Almighty, whose capabilities are unlimited and guaranteed.
The second half of chapter 146 lists various qualities of God that set Him fundamentally apart from powerful human beings, particularly His ability to deliver a person from even the most insolvable crises and predicaments. He can provide sustenance for even the most helpless, destitute pauper, rescue innocent victims from even the cruelest oppressors, restore the vision of the blind, and protect even the most defenseless members of society. These qualities reinforce the theme developed in the first half of this chapter, namely, the benefits of relying on the Almighty rather than on human beings. Given God's capability to rescue and provide solutions in even the most difficult of situations, it behooves us to turn to Him for assistance, support and sustenance, rather than investing our hopes and faith in other people.
The Radak explained this chapter as a song of praise intended for the period when the Jews returned to Israel from the Babylonian exile. This event, perhaps more than any other, demonstrated God's ability to lift the Jewish people from the very depths of hopelessness and despair. When the Babylonians burned the Temple and Jerusalem, and exiled the Jews to a distant, foreign country, the future of the Jewish nation was called into question. Nobody could have envisioned that less than a century later the Babylonian Empire would already fall into the hands of a kinder, more benevolent ruler (the Persian emperor Cyrus), who would allow the Jews to return to their homeland and rebuild the Bet Ha'mikdash. David thus composed this song for this extraordinary event, to convey the critical message that we must always place our trust solely in the Almighty, who is capable of delivering His people from even the direst of straits.