on Psalms 19 :1
The heavens declare the glory of God - Literally, The heavens number out the glory of the strong God. A first view of the starry heavens strikes every beholder with astonishment at the power by which they were made, and by which they are supported. To find out the wisdom and skill displayed in their contrivance requires a measure of science: but when the vast magnitude of the celestial bodies is considered, we feel increasing astonishment at these works of the strong God.
The firmament - The whole visible expanse; not only containing the celestial bodies above referred to, but also the atr, light, rains, dews, etc., etc. And when the composition of these principles is examined, and their great utility to the earth and its inhabitants properly understood, they afford matter of astonishment to the wisest mind, and of adoration and gratitude even to the most unfeeling heart.
on Psalms 19 :1
The heavens declare the glory of God - They announce, proclaim, make known his glory. The word heavens here refers to the material heavens as they appear to the eye - the region of the sun, moon, and stars. The Hebrew word is used in the Scriptures uniformly in the plural number, though in our common translation the singular number is often used. Genesis 1:1, Genesis 1:8-9, Genesis 1:14, Genesis 1:17, Genesis 1:20; Genesis 6:17; Genesis 7:11, Genesis 7:19, Genesis 7:23; et soepe. The plural, however, is often retained, but without any special reason why it should be retained in one place rather than in another. Genesis 2:1, Genesis 2:4; Deuteronomy 10:14; Ezra 9:6; Psalm 2:4; Psalm 8:1, Psalm 8:3; Psalm 18:13. The original idea may have been that there was one heaven above another - one in which the sun was placed, another in which the moon was placed, then the planets, the fixed stars, etc. Above all was supposed to be the place where God dwells. The word glory here means that which constitutes the glory or honor of God - his wisdom, power, skill, faithfulness, benevolence, as seen in the starry worlds above us, the silent, but solemn movements by day and by night. The idea is, that these convey to the mind a true impression of the greatness and majesty of God. The reference here is to these heavens as they appear to the naked eye, and as they are observed by all men. It may be added that the impression is far more solemn and grand when we take into the estimate the disclosures of the modern astronomy, and when we look at the heavens, not merely by the naked eye, but through the revelations of the telescope.
And the firmament - See the note at Daniel 12:3. The word rendered firmament - רקיע râqı̂ya‛, means properly "an expanse" - that which is spread out - and is applied to the heavens as they appear to be spread out or expanded above us. The word occurs elsewhere in the following places, and is always rendered "firmament" in our common version, Genesis 1:6, Genesis 1:7 (twice), Genesis 1:8, Genesis 1:14, Genesis 1:15, Genesis 1:17, Genesis 1:20; Psalm 150:1; Ezekiel 1:22-23, Ezekiel 1:25-26; Ezekiel 10:1; Daniel 12:3. The word "firmament" - that which is firm or fixed - is taken from the word used by the translators of the Septuagint, στερέωμα stereōma, from the idea that the heavens above us are a solid concave. In the Scriptures the stars are represented as placed in that expanse, so that if it should be rolled together as a tent is rolled up, they would fall down to the earth. See the note at Isaiah 34:4. The reference in the passage before us is to the heavens as they appear to be spread out over our heads, and in which the stars are fixed.
Showeth his handywork - The heavens make known the work of his hands. The idea is that God had made those heavens by his own hands, and that the firmament, thus adorned with sun, and moon, and stars, showed the wisdom and skill with which it was done. Compare Psalm 8:3.
on Psalms 19 :1
19:1 The heavens - They are as a legible book, wherein he that runs may read it. The glory - His eternal power and Godhead, his infinite wisdom and goodness. Firmament - Or, the expansion, all the vast space extended from the earth to the highest heavens, with all its goodly furniture.