English Basic Explanation - Chapter 149
In direct contrast to the previous Psalm, which summoned the entire universe to join in the praise of God, chapter 149 is directed specifically to the Jewish people, with particular emphasis placed on the "Hasidim" – the especially pious, God-fearing members of the nation. In a sense, this chapter elaborates on the theme presented briefly in the final verse of chapter 148, namely, the widespread respect earned by the righteous members of Am Yisrael in the Messianic era. Our Psalm calls upon the righteous men to respond with joyous and festive celebration and praise to God, thanking Him for once and for all granting them worldwide stature and prominence. Before the final redemption, during the many centuries when the wicked prospered, the humble, righteous men of the earth were subject to scorn, ridicule and contempt. But in the time of Mashiah, it is they who will be held in high esteem and recognized as the leaders and authority figures, as all mankind will look to them for guidance as to how to live one's life in the service of God.
The second section of this chapter (verses 6-9) describes the war that the righteous will wage against the vicious, corrupt kings of the world during the Messianic era. Even as "the praises of God are in their throats," they will hold "double-edged swords in their hands" with which to eliminate the forces of evil from the earth (verse 6). The final redemption will herald the long-awaited triumph of the humble, honest people over the cruel, arrogant tyrants of the world, marking the onset of a new era in which piety and integrity will prevail, and corruption and oppression will disappear.
The final verse describes the vengeance taken against the evil kingdoms of the earth in accordance with the "Mishpat Katuv" – "written judgment." Rashi explains that David refers here to the calamity God promised to visit upon the nation of Edom (which destroyed the Second Temple and bears responsibility for the Jews' ongoing exile), as written in the Book of Yehezkel (25:14): "I shall visit My vengeance upon Edom through My nation Israel, and they shall do in Edom in accordance with My anger and wrath." David thus emphasizes the eventual fulfillment of the prophets' promises of redemption and the downfall of Israel's oppressors, such that these prophecies serve as a source of hope and encouragement during the years of exile and hardship.