Biblical commentary the Old Testament/Volume IV. Poetical Books/Psalms LXII to CL

Biblical commentary the Old Testament  (1892)  by Franz Delitzsch
Psalms LXII to CL

Chap. 62 edit

Resignation to God When Foes Crowd in upon One edit

Verse 1 edit

Concerning this Psalm, which is placed next to the preceding Psalm by reason of several points of mutual relationship (cf. Psa 62:8 with Psa 61:4, Psa 61:8; Psa 62:9 with Psa 61:4; Ps 62:13b with Psalms 61:9), as being a product of the time of the persecution by Absalom, and also concerning על־יוּתוּן, we have spoken already in the introduction to Psa 39:1-13, which forms with it a twin pair. The particle אך occurs there four times, and in this Psalm even as many as six times. The strophic structure somewhat resembles that of Psa 39:1-13, in that here we also have longer strophes which are interspersed by tristichs.

Verses 2-5 edit

The poet, although apparently irrecoverably lost, does not nevertheless despair, but opposes one thing to the tumultuous crowding in upon him of his many foes, viz., quiet calm submission - not, however, a fatalistic resignation, but that which gives up everything to God, whose hand (vid., 2Sa 12:7-13) can be distinctly recognised and felt in what is now happening to him. אך (yea, only, nevertheless) is the language of faith, with which, in the face of all assault, established truths are confessed and confirmed; and with which, in the midst of all conflict, resolutions, that are made and are to be firmly kept, are deliberately and solemnly declared and affirmed. There is no necessity for regarding דּוּמיּה (not דּומיּה), which is always a substantive (not only in Psa 22:3; Psa 39:3, but also in this instance and in Psa 65:2), and which is related to דּוּמה, silence, Psa 94:17; Psa 115:17, just as עליליּה, Jer 32:19, is related to עלילה, as an accus. absol.: in silent submission (Hupfeld). Like תּפּלּה in Psa 109:4, it is a predicate: his soul is silent submission, i.e., altogether resigned to God without any purpose and action of its own. His salvation comes from God, yea, God Himself is his salvation, so that, while God is his God, he is even already in possession of salvation, and by virtue of it stands imperturbably firm. We see clearly from Psa 37:24, what the poet means by רבּה. He will not greatly, very much, particularly totter, i.e., not so that it should come to his falling and remaining down. רבּה is an adverb like רבּת, Psa 123:4, and הרבּה, Ecc 5:19.
There is some difficulty about the ἅπαξ λεγομ. תּהותתוּ .לןדו (Psa 62:4). Abulwalîd, whom Parchon, Kimchi, and most others follow, compares the Arabic hatta 'l - rajul, the man brags; but this Arab. ht (intensive form htht) signifies only in a general way to speak fluently, smoothly and rapidly one word after another, which would give too poor an idea here. There is another Arab. htt (cogn. htk , proscindere) which has a meaning that is even better suited to this passage, and one which is still retained in the spoken language of Syria at the present day: hattani is equivalent to “he compromised me” (= hataka es - sitra ‛annı̂, he has pulled my veil down), dishonoured me before the world by speaking evil concerning me; whence in Damascus el - hettât is the appellation for a man who without any consideration insults a person before others, whether he be present or absent at the time. But this Arab. htt only occurs in Kal and with an accusative of the object. The words עד־אנה תהותתו על־אישׁ find their most satisfactory explanation in the Arab. hwwt in common use in Damascus at the present day, which is not used in Kal, but only in the intensive form. The Piel Arab. hwwt ‛lâ flân signifies to rush upon any one, viz., with a shout and raised fist in order to intimidate him.[1]
From this הוּת, of which even the construction with Arab. ‛lâ, together with the intensive form is characteristic, we here read the Pil. הותת, which is not badly rendered by the lxx ἐπιτίθεσθε, Vulgate irruitis.
In Psa 62:4 it is a question whether the reading תּרצּחוּ of the school of Tiberias or the Babylonian תּרצּחוּ is to be preferred. Certainly the latter; for the former (to be rendered, “may you” or “ye shall be broken in pieces, slain”) produces a thought that is here introduced too early, and one that is inappropriate to the figures that follow. Standing as it still does under the regimen of עד־אנה, תרצחו is to be read as a Piel; and, as the following figures show, is to be taken, after Psa 42:11, in its primary signification contundere (root רץ).[2]
The sadness of the poet is reflected in the compressed, obscure, and peculiar character of the expression. אישׁ and כּלּכם (a single one-ye all) stand in contrast. כּקיר וגו, sicut parietem = similem parieti (cf. Psa 63:6), forms the object to תּרצּחוּ. The transmitted reading גּדר הדּחוּיה, although not incorrect in itself so far as the gender (Pro 24:31) and the article are concerned (Ges. §111, 2, a), must apparently be altered to גּדרה דחוּיה (Olshausen and others) in accordance with the parallel member of the verse, since both גּדרה and גּדר are words that can be used of every kind of surrounding or enclosure. To them David seems like a bent, overhanging wall, like a wall of masonry that has received the thrust that must ultimately cause its fall; and yet they rush in upon him, and all together they pursue against the one man their work of destruction and ruin. Hence he asks, with an indignation that has a somewhat sarcastic tinge about it, how long this never-satiated self-satisfying of their lust of destruction is meant to last. Their determination (יעץ as in Isa 14:24) is clear. It aims only or entirely (אך, here tantummodo, prorsus) at thrusting down from his high position, that is to say from the throne, viz., him, the man at whom they are always rushing (להדּיח = להדּיחו). No means are too base for them in the accomplishment of their object, not even the mask of the hypocrite. The clauses which assume a future form of expression are, logically at least, subordinate clauses (EW. §341, b). The Old Testament language allows itself a change of number like בּפיו instead of בּפיהם, even to the very extreme, in the hurry of emotional utterance. The singular is distributive in this instance: suo quisque ore, like לו in Isa 2:20, ממּנּו, Isa 5:23, cf. Isa 30:22, Zec 14:12. The pointing יקללוּ follows the rule of יהללו, Psa 22:27, ירננו, Psa 149:5, and the like (to which the only exceptions are הנני, חקקי, רננת).

Verses 5-8 edit

The beginning of the second group goes back and seizes upon the beginning of the first. אך is affirmative both in Psa 62:6 and in Psa 62:7. The poet again takes up the emotional affirmations of Psa 62:2, Psa 62:3, and, firm and defiant in faith, opposes them to his masked enemies. Here what he says to his soul is very similar to what he said of his soul in Psa 62:2, inasmuch as he makes his own soul objective and exalts himself above her; and it is just in this that the secret of personality consists. He here admonishes her to that silence which in Psa 62:2 he has already acknowledged as her own; because all spiritual existence as being living remains itself unchanged only by means of a perpetual “becoming” (mittelst steten Werdens), of continuous, self-conscious renovation. The “hope” in Psa 62:6 is intended to be understood according to that which forms its substance, which here is nothing more nor less than salvation, Psa 62:2. That for which he who resigns himself to God hopes, comes from God; it cannot therfore fail him, for God the Almighty One and plenteous in mercy is surety for it. David renounces all help in himself, all personal avenging of his own honour - his salvation and his honour are על־אלהים (vid., on Psa 7:11). The rock of his strength, i.e., his strong defence, his refuge, is בּאלהים; it is where Elohim is, Elohim is it in person (בּ as in Isa 26:4). By עם, Psa 62:9, the king addresses those who have reamined faithful to him, whose feeble faith he has had to chide and sustain in other instances also in the Psalms belonging to this period. The address does not suit the whole people, who had become for the most part drawn into the apostasy. Moreover it would then have been עמּי (my people). עם frequently signifies the people belonging to the retinue of a prince (Jdg 3:18), or in the service of any person of rank (1Ki 19:21), or belonging to any union of society whatever (2Ki 4:42.). David thus names those who cleave to him; and the fact that he cannot say “my people” just shows that the people as a body had become alienated from him. But those who have remained to him of the people are not therefore to despair; but they are to pour out before God, who will know how to protect both them and their king, whatever may lie heavily upon their heart.

Verses 9-12 edit

Just as all men with everything earthly upon which they rely are perishable, so also the purely earthly form which the new kingship has assumed carries within itself the germ of ruin; and God will decide as Judge, between the dethroned and the usurpers, in accordance with the relationship in which they stand to Him. This is the internal connection of the third group with the two preceding ones. By means of the strophe vv. 10-13, our Psalm is brought into the closest reciprocal relationship with Psa 39:1-13. Concerning בּני־אדם and בּני־אישׁ vid., on Psa 49:3; Psa 4:3. The accentuation divides Psa 62:10 quite correctly. The Athnach does not mark בּמאזנים לעלות as an independent clause: they are upon the balance לעלות, for a going up; they must rise, so light are they (Hengstenberg). Certainly this expression of the periphrastic future is possible (vid., on Psa 25:14; Psa 1:1-6 :17), still we feel the want here of the subject, which cannot be dispensed within the clause as an independent one. Since, however, the combining of the words with what follows is forbidden by the fact that the infinitive with ל in the sense of the ablat. gerund. always comes after the principal clause, not before it (Ew. §280, d), we interpret: upon the balances ad ascendendum = certo ascensuri, and in fact so that this is an attributive that is co-ordinate with כּזב. Is the clause following now meant to affirm that men, one and all, belong to nothingness or vanity (מן partitivum), or that they are less than nothing (מן comparat.)? Umbreit, Stier, and others explain Isa 40:17 also in the latter way; but parallels like Isa 41:24 do not favour this rendering, and such as Isa 44:11 are opposed to it. So also here the meaning is not that men stand under the category of that which is worthless or vain, but that they belong to the domain of the worthless or vain.
The warning in Psa 62:11 does not refer to the Absalomites, but, pointing to these as furnishing a salutary example, to those who, at the sight of the prosperous condition and joyous life on that side, might perhaps be seized with envy and covetousness. Beside בּטח בּ the meaning of הבל בּ is nevertheless not: to set in vain hope upon anything (for the idea of hoping does not exist in this verb in itself, Job 27:12; Jer 2:5, nor in this construction of the verb), but: to be befooled, blinded by something vain (Hitzig). Just as they are not to suffer their heart to be befooled by their own unjust acquisition, so also are they not, when the property of others increases (נוּב, root נב, to raise one's self, to mount up; cf. Arabic nabata, to sprout up, grow; nabara, to raise; intransitive, to increase, and many other verbal stems), to turn their heart towards it, as though it were something great and fortunate, that merited special attention and commanded respect. Two great truths are divinely attested to the poet. It is not to be rendered: once hath God spoken, now twice (Job 40:5; 2Ki 6:10) have I heard this; but after Psa 89:36 : One thing hath God spoken, two things (it is) that I have heard; or in accordance with the interpunction, which here, as in Psa 12:8 (cf. on Psa 9:16), is not to be called in question: these two things have I heard. Two divine utterances actually do follow. The two great truths are: (1) that God has the power over everything earthly, that consequently nothing takes place without Him, and that whatever is opposed to Him must sooner or later succumb; (2) that of this very God, the sovereign Lord (אדני), is mercy also, the energy of which is measured by His omnipotence, and which does not suffer him to succumb upon whom it is bestowed. With כּי the poet establishes these two revealed maxims which God has impressed upon his mind, from His righteous government as displayed in the history of men. He recompenses each one in accordance with his doing, κατὰ τὰ ἔργα αὐτοῦ, as Paul confesses (Rom 2:6) no less than David, and even (vid., lxx) in the words of David. It shall be recompensed unto every man according to his conduct, which is the issue of his relationship to God. He who rises in opposition to the will and order of God, shall feel God's power (עז) as a power for punishment that dashes in pieces; and he who, anxious for salvation, resigns his own will to the will of God, receives from God's mercy or loving-kindness (חסד), as from an overflowing fulness, the promised reward of faithfulness: his resignation becomes experience, and his hoping attainment. ==Morning Hymn of One Who Is Persecuted, in a Waterless Desert==
Now follows Psa 63:1-11, the morning Psalm of the ancient church with which the singing of the Psalms was always introduced at the Sunday service.[3]
This Psalm is still more closely related to Psa 61:1-8 than Psa 62:1-12. Here, as in Psa 61:1-8, David gives utterance to his longing for the sanctuary; and in both Psalms he speaks of himself as king (vid., Symbolae, p. 56). All the three Psalms, Psa 61:1, were composed during the time of Absalom; for we must not allow ourselves to be misled by the inscription, A Psalm, by David, when he was in the wilderness of Judah (also lxx, according to the correct reading and the one preferred by Euthymius, τῆς Ἰουδαίας, not τῆς Ἰδουμαίας), into transferring it, as the old expositors do, to the time of Saul. During that period David could not well call himself “the king” and even during the time of his persecution by Absalom, in his flight, before crossing the Jordan, he tarried one or two days בערבות המדבר, in the steppes of the desert (2Sa 15:23, 2Sa 15:28; 2Sa 17:16), i.e., of the wilderness of Judah lying nearest to Jerusalem, that dreary waste that extends along the western shore of the Dead Sea. We see clearly from 2Sa 16:2 (היּעף בּמּדבּר) and 2Sa 16:14 (עיפים, that he there found himself in the condition of a עיף. The inscription, when understood thus, throws light upon the whole Psalm, and verifies itself in the fact that the poet is a king; that he longs for the God on Zion, where he has been so delighted to behold Him, who is there manifest; and that he is persecuted by enemies who have plotted his ruin. The assertion that he is in the wilderness (Psa 63:1) is therefore no mere rhetorical figure; and when, in 2Sa 16:10, he utters the imprecation over his enemies, “let them become a portion for the jackals,” the influence of the desert upon the moulding of his thoughts is clearly seen in it.
We have here before us the Davidic original, or at any rate the counterpart, to the Korahitic pair of Psalms, Psa 42:1-11, Psa 43:1-5. It is a song of the most delicate form and deepest spiritual contents; but in part very difficult of exposition. When we have, approximately at least, solved the riddle of one Psalm, the second meets us with new riddles. It is not merely the poetical classic character of the language, and the spiritual depth, but also this half-transparent and half-opaque covering which lends to the Psalms such a powerful and unvarying attractiveness. They are inexhaustible, there always remains an undeciphered residue; and therefore, though the work of exposition may progress, it does not come to an end. But how much more difficult is it to adopt this choice spiritual love-song as one's own prayer! For this we need a soul that loves after the same manner, and in the main it requires such a soul even to understand it rightly; for, as the saintly Bernard says, lingua amoris non amanti barbara est.

Psalm 63 edit

Verses 1-3 edit

If the words in Psa 63:2 were אלהים אתּה אשׁחרך, then we would render it, with Böttcher, after Gen 49:8 : Elohim, Thee do I seek, even Thee! But אלי forbids this construction; and the assertion that otherwise it ought to be, “Jahve, my God art Thou” (Psa 140:7), rests upon a non-recognition of the Elohimic style. Elohim alone by itself is a vocative, and accordingly has Mehupach legarme. The verb שׁחר signifies earnest, importunate seeking and inquiring (e.g., Psa 78:34), and in itself has nothing to do with שׁחר, the dawn; but since Psa 63:7 looks back upon the night, it appears to be chosen with reference to the dawning morning, just as in Isa 26:9 also, שׁחר stands by the side of אוּה בלּילה. The lxx is therefore not incorrect when it renders it: πρὸς δὲ ὀρθρίζω (cf. ὁ λαὸς ὤρθριζεν πρὸς αὐτὸν, Luk 21:38); and Apollinaris strikes the right note when he begins his paraphrase, Νύκτα μετ ̓ ἀμφιλύκην σὲ μάκαρ μάκαρ ἀμφιχορεύσω -
At night when the morning dawns will I exult around Thee, most blessed One.
The supposition that בּארץ is equivalent to כּאשׁר בּארץ, or even that the Beth is Beth essentiae (“as a,” etc.), are views that have no ground whatever, except as setting the inscription at defiance. What is meant is the parched thirsty desert of sand in which David finds himself. We do not render it: in a dry and languishing land, for ציּה is not an adjective, but a substantive - the transition of the feminine adjective to the masculine primary form, which sometimes (as in 1Ki 19:11) occurs, therefore has no application here; nor: in the land of drought and of weariness, for who would express himself thus? ואיף, referring to the nearest subject בּשׂרי, continues the description of the condition (cf. Gen 25:8). In a region where he is surrounded by sun-burnt aridity and a nature that bears only one uniform ash-coloured tint, which casts its unrefreshing image into his inward part, which is itself in much the same parched condition, his soul thirsts, his flesh languishes, wearied and in want of water (languidus deficiente aqua), for God, the living One and the Fountain of life. כּמהּ (here with the tone drawn back, כּמהּ, like בּחר, 1Ch 28:10, עמד, Hab 3:11) of ardent longing which consumes the last energies of a man (root כם, whence כּמן and כּמס to conceal, and therefore like עטף, עלף, proceeding from the idea of enveloping; Arabic Arab. kamiha, to be blind, dark, pale, and disconcerted). The lxx and Theodotion erroneously read כּמּה (how frequently is this the case!); whereas Aquila renders it ἐπετάθη, and Symmachus still better, ἱμείρεται (the word used of the longing of love). It is not a small matter that David is able to predicate such languishing desire after God even of his felsh; it shows us that the spirit has the mastery within him, and not only forcibly keeps the flesh in subjection, but also, so far as possible, draws it into the realm of its own life - an experience confessedly more easily attained in trouble, which mortifies our carnal nature, than in the midst of the abundance of outward prosperity. The God for whom he is sick [lit. love-sick] in soul and body is the God manifest upon Zion.
Now as to the כּן in Psa 63:3 - a particle which is just such a characteristic feature in the physiognomy of this Psalm as אך is in that of the preceding Psalm - there are two notional definitions to choose from: thus = so, as my God (Ewald), and: with such longing desire (as e.g., Oettinger). In the former case it refers back to the confession, “Elohim, my God art Thou,” which stands at the head of the Psalm; in the latter, to the desire that has just been announced, and that not in its present exceptional character, but in its more general and constant character. This reference to what has immediately gone before, and to the modality, not of the object, but of the disposition of mind, deserves the preference. “Thus” is accordingly equivalent to “longing thus after Thee.” The two כן in Psa 63:3 and Psa 63:5 are parallel and of like import. The alternation of the perfect (Psa 63:3) and of the future (Psa 63:5) implies that what has been the Psalmist's favourite occupation heretofore, shall also be so in the future. Moreover, בארץ ציה and בּקּדשׁ form a direct antithesis. Just as he does not in a dry land, so formerly in the sanctuary he looked forth longingly towards God (חזה with the conjoined idea of solemnity and devotion). We have now no need to take לראות as a gerundive (videndo), which is in itself improbable; for one looks, peers, gazes at anything just for the purpose of seeing what the nature of the object is (Psa 14:2; Isa 42:18). The purpose of his gazing upon God as to gain an insight into the nature of God, so far as it is disclosed to the creature; or, as it is expressed here, to see His power and glory, i.e., His majesty on its terrible and on its light and loving side, to see this, viz., in its sacrificial appointments and sacramental self-attestations. Such longing after God, which is now all the more intense in the desert far removed from the sanctuary, filled and impelled him; for God's loving-kindness is better than life, better than this natural life (vid., on Psa 17:14), which is also a blessing, and as the prerequisite of all earthly blessings a very great blessing. The loving-kindness of God, however, is a higher good, is in fact the highest good and the true life: his lips shall praise this God of mercy, his morning song shall be of Him; for that which makes him truly happy, and after which he even now, as formerly, only and solely longs, is the mercy or loving-kindness (חסד) of this God, the infinite wroth of which is measured by the greatness of His power (עז) and glory (כבוד). It might also be rendered, “Because Thy loving-kindness is better than life, my lips shall praise Thee;” but if כּי is taken as demonstrative (for), it yields a train of thought that that is brought about not merely by what follows (as in the case of the relative because), but also by what precedes: “for Thy lips shall then praise Thee” (ישׁבּחוּנך with the suffix appended to the energetic plural form ûn, as in Isa 60:7, Isa 60:10; Jer 2:24).

Verses 4-8 edit

This strophe again takes up the כּן (Psa 63:3): thus ardently longing, for all time to come also, is he set towards God, with such fervent longing after God will he bless Him in his life, i.e., entirely filling up his life therewith (בּחיּי as in Psa 104:33; Psa 146:2; cf. Baruch 4:20, ἐν ταῖς ἡμέραις μου), and in His name, i.e., invoking it and appealing to it, will he lift up his hands in prayer. The being occupied with God makes him, even though as now in the desert he is obliged to suffer bodily hunger, satisfied and cheerful like the fattest and most marrowy food: velut adipe et pinguedine satiatur anima mea. From Lev 3:17; Lev 7:25, Grussetius and Frisch infer that spiritualies epulae are meant. And certainly the poet cannot have had the sacrificial feasts (Hupfeld) in his mind; for the חלב of the shelamim is put upon the altar, and is removed from the part to be eaten. Moreover, however, even the Tôra does not bind itself in its expression to the letter of that prohibition of the fat of animals, vid., Deu 32:14, cf. Jer 31:14. So here also the expression “with marrow and fat” is the designation of a feast prepared from well-fed, noble beasts. He feels himself satisfied in his inmost nature just as after a feast of the most nourishing and dainty meats, and with lips of jubilant songs (accus. instrum. according to Ges. §138, rem. 3), i.e., with lips jubilant and attuned to song, shall his mouth sing praise. What now follows in Psa 63:7 we no longer, as formerly, take as a protasis subsequently introduced (like Isa 5:4.): “when I remembered...meditated upon Thee,” but so that Psa 63:7 is the protasis and Psa 63:7 the apodosis, cf. Psa 21:12; Job 9:16 (Hitzig): When I remember Thee (meminerim, Ew. §355, b) upon my bed (stratis meis, as in Psa 132:3; Gen 49:4, cf. 1Ch 5:1) - says he now as the twilight watch is passing gradually into the morning - I meditate upon Thee in the night-watches (Symmachus, καθ ̓ ἑκάστην φυλακήν), or during, throughout the night-watches (like בּחיּי in Psa 63:5); i.e., it is no passing remembrance, but it so holds me that I pass a great part of the night absorbed in meditation on Thee. He has no lack of matter for his meditation; for God has become a help (auxilio, vid., on Psa 3:3) to him: He has rescued him in this wilderness, and, well concealed under the shadow of His wings (vid., on Psa 17:8; Psa 36:8; Psa 57:2), which affords him a cool retreat in the heat of conflict and protection against his persecutors, he is able to exult (ארנּן, the potential). Between himself and God there subsists a reciprocal relationship of active love. According to the schema of the crosswise position of words (Chiasmus), אחריך and בּי intentionally jostle close against one another: he depends upon God, following close behind Him, i.e., following Him everywhere and not leaving Him when He wishes to avoid him; and on the other side God's right hand holds him fast, not letting him go, not abandoning him to his foes.

Verses 9-11 edit

The closing strophe turns towards these foes. By והמּה he contrasts with his own person, as in Psa 59:16., Psa 56:7., the party of the enemy, before which he has retreated into the desert. It is open to question whether לשׁואה is intended to be referred, according to Psa 35:17, to the persecuted one (to destroy my life), or, with Hupfeld, to the persecutors (to their own destruction, they themselves for destruction). If the former reference to the persecuted be adopted, we ought, in order to give prominence to the evidently designed antithesis to Psa 63:9, to translate: those, however, who..., shall go down into the depths of the earth (Böttcher, and others); a rendering which is hazardous as regards the syntax, after המּה and in connection with this position of the words. Therefore translate: On the other hand, those, to (their own) ruin do they seek my soul. It is true this ought properly to be expressed by לשׁואתם, but the absence of the suffix is less hazardous than the above relative rendering of יבּקּשׁוּ. What follows in Psa 63:10-11 is the expansion of לשׁואה. The futures from יבאוּ onwards are to be taken as predictive, not as imprecatory; the former accords better with the quiet, gentle character of the whole song. It shall be with them as with the company of Korah. תּחתּיּות הארץ is the interior of the earth down into its deepest bottom; this signification also holds good in Psa 139:15; Isa 44:23.[4]
The phrase הגּיר על־ידי חרב here and in Jer 18:21; Eze 35:5 (Hiph., not of גּרר, to drag, tear away, but נגר, to draw towards, flow), signifies properly to pour upon = into the hands (Job 16:11), i.e., to give over (הסגּיר) into the power of the sword; effundent eum is (much the same as in Job 4:19; Job 18:18, and frequently) equivalent to effundetur. The enallage is like Psa 5:10; Psa 7:2., and frequently: the singular refers to each individual of the homogeneous multitude, or to this multitude itself as a concrete persona moralis. The king, however, who is now banished from Jerusalem to the habitation of jackals, will, whilst they become a portion (מנת = מנות), i.e., prey, of the jackals (vid., the fulfilment in 2Sa 18:7.), rejoice in Elohim. Every one who sweareth by Him shall boast himself. Theodoret understands this of swearing κατὰ τὴν τοῦ βασιλέως σωτηρίαν. Hengstenberg compares the oath חי פרעה, Gen 42:15. Ewald also (§217, f) assumes this explanation to be unquestionable. But the Israelite is to swear by the name of Jahve and by no other, Deu 6:13; Isa 65:16, cf. Amo 8:14. If the king were meant, why was it not rather expressed by הנשׁבּע לו, he who swears allegiance to him? The syntax does not help us to decide to what the בּו refers. Neinrich Moeller (1573) says of the בו as referred to the king: peregrinum est et coactum; and A. H. Franke in his Introductio in Psalterium says of it as referred to Elohim: coactum est. So far as the language is concerned, both references are admissible; but as regards the subject-matter, only the latter. The meaning, as everywhere else, is a searing by God. He who, without allowing himself to turn from it, swore by Elohim, the God of Israel, the God of David His anointed, and therefore acknowledged Him as the Being exalted above all things, shall boast himself or “glory,” inasmuch as it shall be practically seen how well-founded and wise was this recognition. He shall glory, for the mouth of those who speak lies shall be stopped, forcibly closed, viz., those who, together with confidence in the Christ of God, have by falsehood also undermined the reverence which is due to God Himself. Psa 64:1-10 closes very similarly, and hence is placed next in order. Invocation of Divine Protection against the Falseness of Men
Even Hilary begins the exposition of this Psalm with the words Psalmi superscriptio historiam non continet, in order at the outset to give up all attempt at setting forth its historical connection. The Midrash observes that it is very applicable to Daniel, who was cast into the lions' den by the satraps by means of a delicately woven plot. This is indeed true; but only because it is wanting in any specially defined features and cannot with any certainty be identified with one or other of the two great periods of suffering in the life of David.

Psalm 64 edit

Verses 1-4 edit

The Psalm opens with an octostich, and closes in the same way. The infinitive noun שׂיח signifies a complaint, expressed not by the tones of pain, but in words. The rendering of the lxx (here and in Psa 55:3) is too general, ἐν τῷ θέεσθαί με. The “terror” of the enemy is that proceeding from him (gen. obj. as in Deu 2:15, and frequently). The generic singular אויב is at once particularized in a more detailed description with the use of the plural. סוד is a club or clique; רגשׁה (Targumic = המון, e.g., Eze 30:10) a noisy crowd. The perfects after אשׁר affirm that which they now do as they have before done; cf. Psa 140:4 and Psa 58:8, where, as in this passage, the treading or bending of the bow is transferred to the arrow. דּבר מר is the interpretation added to the figure, as in Psa 144:7. That which is bitter is called מר, root מר, stringere, from the harsh astringent taste; here it is used tropically of speech that wounds and inflicts pain (after the manner of an arrow or a stiletto), πικροὶ λόγοι. With the Kal לירות (Psa 11:2) alternates the Hiph. ירהוּ. With פּתאם the description takes a new start. ולא ייראוּ, forming an assonance with the preceding word, means that they do it without any fear whatever, and therefore also without fear of God (Psa 55:20; Psa 25:18).

Verses 5-6 edit

The evil speech is one with the bitter speech in Psa 64:4, the arrow which they are anxious to let fly. This evil speech, here agreement or convention, they make firm to themselves (sibi), by securing, in every possible way, its effective execution. ספּר (frequently used of the cutting language of the ungodly, Psa 59:13; Psa 69:27; cf. Talmudic ספּר לשׁון שׁלישׁי, to speak as with three tongues, i.e., slanderously) is here construed with ל of that at which their haughty and insolent utterances aim. In connection therewith they take no heed of God, the all-seeing One: they say (ask), quis conspiciat ipsis. There is no need to take למו as being for לו (Hitzig); nor is it the dative of the object instead of the accusative, but it is an ethical dative: who will see or look to them, i.e., exerting any sort of influence upon them? The form of the question is not the direct (Psa 59:8), but the indirect, in which מי, seq. fut., is used in a simply future (Jer 44:28) or potential sense (Job 22:17; 1Ki 1:20). Concerning עולת, vid., Psa 58:3. It is doubtful whether תּמּנוּ[5] is the first person (= תּמּונוּ) as in Num 17:13, Jer 44:18, or the third person as in Lam 3:22 (= תּמּוּ, which first of all resolved is תּנמוּ, and then transposed תּמּנוּ, like מעזניה = מענזיה = מעזּיה, Isa 23:11). The reading טמנוּ, from which Rashi proceeds, and which Luther follows in his translation, is opposed by the lxx and Targum; it does not suit the governing subject, and is nothing but an involuntary lightening of the difficulty. If we take into consideration, that תּמם signifies not to make ready, but to be ready, and that consequently חפשׂ מחפּשׂ is to be taken by itself, then it must be rendered either: they excogitate knavish tricks or villainies, “we are ready, a clever stroke is concocted, and the inward part of man and the heart is deep!” or, which we prefer, since there is nothing to indicate the introduction of any soliloquy: they excogitate knavish tricks, they are ready - a delicately devised, clever stroke (nominative of the result), and (as the poet ironically adds) the inward part of man and the heart is (verily) deep. There is nothing very surprising in the form תּמּנוּ for תּמּוּ, since the Psalms, whenever they depict the sinful designs and doings of the ungodly, delight in singularities of language. On ולב (not ולב) = (אישׁ) ולב = ולבּו, cf. Psa 118:14.

Verses 7-10 edit

Deep is man's heart and inward part, but not too deep for God, who knoweth the heart (Jer 17:9.). And He will just as suddenly surprise the enemies of His anointed with their death-blow, as they had plotted it for him. The futt. consec. that follow represent that which is future, with all the certainty of an historical fact as a retribution springing from the malicious craftiness of the enemies. According to the accentuation, Psa 64:8 is to be rendered: “then will Elohim shoot them, a sudden arrow become their wounds.” Thus at length Hupfeld renders it; but how extremely puzzling is the meaning hidden behind this sentence! The Targum and the Jewish expositors have construed it differently: “Then will Elohim shoot them with arrows suddenly;” in this case, however, because Psa 64:8 then becomes too blunt and bald, פּתאם has to be repeated in thought with this member of the verse, and this is in itself an objection to it. We interpunctuate with Ewald and Hitzig thus: then does Elohim shoot them with an arrow, suddenly arise (become a reality) their wounds (cf. Mic 7:4), namely, of those who had on their part aimed the murderous weapon against the upright for a sudden and sure shot. Psa 64:9 is still more difficult. Kimchi's interpretation, which accords with the accents: et corruere facient eam super se, linguam suam, is intolerable; the proleptic suffix, having reference to לשׁונם (Exo 3:6; Job 33:20), ought to have been feminine (vid., on Psa 22:16), and “to make their own tongue fall upon themselves” is an odd fancy. The objective suffix will therefore refer per enallagen to the enemy. But not thus (as Hitzig, who now seeks to get out of the difficulty by an alteration of the text, formerly rendered it): “and they cause those to fall whom they have slandered [lit. upon whom their tongue came].” This form of retribution does not accord with the context; and moreover the gravely earnest עלימו, like the הוּ-, refers more probably to the enemies than to the objects of their hostility. The interpretation of Ewald and Hengstenberg is better: “and one overthrows him, inasmuch as their tongue, i.e., the sin of their tongue with which they sought to destroy others, comes upon themselves.” The subject to ויּכשׁילהוּ, as in Psa 63:11; Job 4:19; Job 7:3; Luk 12:20, is the powers which are at the service of God, and which are not mentioned at all; and the thought עלימו לשׁונם (a circumstantial clause) is like Psa 140:10, where in a similar connection the very same singularly rugged lapidary, or terse, style is found. In Psa 64:9 we must proceed on the assumption that ראה ב in such a connection signifies the gratification of looking upon those who are justly punished and rendered harmless. But he who tarries to look upon such a scene is certainly not the person to flee from it; התנודד does not here mean “to betake one's self to flight” (Ewald, Hitzig), but to shake one's self, as in Jer 48:27, viz., to shake the head (Psa 44:15; Jer 18:16) - the recognised (vid., Psa 22:8) gesture of malignant, mocking astonishment. The approbation is awarded, according to Psa 64:10, to God, the just One. And with the joy at His righteous interposition, - viz. of Him who has been called upon to interpose, - is combined a fear of the like punishment. The divine act of judicial retribution now set forth becomes a blessing to mankind. From mouth to mouth it is passed on, and becomes an admonitory nota bene. To the righteous in particular it becomes a consolatory and joyous strengthening of his faith. The judgment of Jahve is the redemption of the righteous. Thus, then, does he rejoice in his God, who by thus judging and redeeming makes history into the history of redemption, and hide himself the more confidingly in Him; and all the upright boast themselves, viz., in God, who looks into the heart and practically acknowledges them whose heart is directed unswervingly towards Him, and conformed entirely to Him. In place of the futt. consec., which have a prophetic reference, simple futt. come in here, and between these a perf. consec. as expressive of that which will then happen when that which is prophetically certain has taken place. Thanksgiving Song for Victory and Blessings Bestowed
In this Psalm, the placing of which immediatley after the preceding is at once explicable by reason of the ויּיראוּ so prominent in both (Psa 64:10; Psa 65:9), we come upon the same intermingling of the natural and the historical as in Psa 8:1-9; Psa 19:1-14; Psa 29:1-11. The congregation gathered around the sanctuary on Zion praises its God, by whose mercy its imperilled position in relation to other nations has been rescued, and by whose goodness it again finds itself at peace, surrounded by fields rich in promise. In addition to the blessing which it has received in the bounties of nature, it does not lose sight of the answer to prayer which it has experienced in its relation to the world of nations. His rule in human history and His rule in nature are, to the church, reflected the one in the other. In the latter, as in the former, it sees the almighty and bountiful hand of Him who answers prayer and expiates sins, and through judgment opens up a way for His love. The deliverance which it has experienced redounds to the acknowledgment of the God of its salvation among the most distant peoples; the beneficial results of Jahve's interposition in the events transpiring in the world extend temporally as well as spiritually far beyond the bounds of Israel; it is therefore apparently the relief of Israel and of the peoples in general from the oppression of some worldly power that is referred to. The spring of the third year spoken of in Isa 37:30, when to Judah the overthrow of Assyria was a thing of the past, and they again had the fields ripening for the harvest before their eyes, offers the most appropriate historical basis for the twofold purport of the Psalm. The inscription, To the Precentor, a Psalm, by David, a song (cf. Psa 75:1; Psa 76:1), does not mislead us in this matter. For even we regard it as uncritical to assign to David all the Psalms bearing the inscription לדוד. The Psalm in many MSS (Complutensian, Vulgate), beside the words Εἰς τὸ τέλος ψαλμός τῷ Δαυίδ ᾠδὴ, has the addition ᾠδὴ Ἱιερεμίου καὶ Ἰεζεκιὴλ, (ἐκ) τοῦ λαοῦ τῆς παροικίας ὄτε ἔμελλον ἐκπορεύεσθαι. At the head of the following Psalm it might have some meaning - here, however, it has none.

Psalm 65 edit

Verses 1-4 edit

The praise of God on account of the mercy with which He rules out of Zion. The lxx renders σοὶ πρέπει ὕμνος, but דּומיּה, tibi par est, h. e. convenit laus (Ewald), is not a usage of the language (cf. Psa 33:1; Jer 10:7). דּמיּה signifies, according to Psa 22:3, silence, and as an ethical notion, resignation, Psa 62:2. According to the position of the words it looks like the subject, and תּהלּה like the predicate. The accents at least (Illuj, Shalsheleth) assume the relationship of the one word to the other to be that of predicate and subject; consequently it is not: To Thee belongeth resignation, praise (Hengstenberg), but: To Thee is resignation praise, i.e., resignation is (given or presented) to Thee as praise. Hitzig obtains the same meaning by an alteration of the text: לך דמיה תהלּל; but opposed to this is the fact that הלּל ל is not found anywhere in the Psalter, but only in the writings of the chronicler. And since it is clear that the words לך תהלה belong together (Psa 40:4), the poet had no need to fear any ambiguity when he inserted dmyh between them as that which is given to God as praise in Zion. What is intended is that submission or resignation to God which gives up its cause to God and allows Him to act on its behalf, renouncing all impatient meddling and interference (Exo 14:14). The second member of the sentence affirms that this praise of pious resignation does not remain unanswered. Just as God in Zion is praised by prayer which resigns our own will silently to His, so also to Him are vows paid when He fulfils such prayer. That the answers to prayer are evidently thought of in connection with this, we see from Psa 65:3, where God is addressed as the “Hearer or Answerer of prayer.” To Him as being the Hearer and Answerer of prayer all flesh comes, and in fact, as עדיך implies (cf. Isa 45:24), without finding help anywhere else, it clear a way for itself until it gets to Him; i.e., men, absolutely dependent, impotent in themselves and helpless, both collectively and individually (those only excepted who are determined to perish or despair), flee to Him as their final refuge and help. Before all else it is the prayer for the forgiveness of sin which He graciously answers. The perfect in Psa 65:4 is followed by the future in Psa 65:4. The former, in accordance with the sense, forms a hypothetical protasis: granted that the instances of faults have been too powerful for me, i.e., (cf. Gen 4:13) an intolerable burden to me, our transgressions are expiated by Thee (who alone canst and also art willing to do it). דּברי is not less significant than in Psa 35:20; Psa 105:27; Psa 145:5, cf. 1Sa 10:2; 2Sa 11:18.: it separates the general fact into its separate instances and circumstances. How blessed therefore is the lot of that man whom (supply אשׁר) God chooses and brings near, i.e., removes into His vicinity, that he may inhabit His courts (future with the force of a clause expressing a purpose, as e.g., in Job 30:28, which see), i.e., that there, where He sits enthroned and reveals Himself, he may have his true home and be as if at home (vid., Psa 15:1)! The congregation gathered around Zion is esteemed worthy of this distinction among the nations of the earth; it therefore encourages itself in the blessed consciousness of this its privilege flowing from free grace (בחר), to enjoy in full draughts (שּבע with בּ as in Psa 103:5) the abundant goodness or blessing (טוּב) of God's house, of the holy (ἅγιον) of His temple, i.e., of His holy temple (קדשׁ as in Psa 46:5, cf. Isa 57:15). For for all that God's grace offers us we can give Him no better thanks than to hunger and thirst after it, and satisfy our poor soul therewith.

Verses 5-8 edit

The praise of God on account of the lovingkindness which Israel as a people among the peoples has experienced. The future תּעננוּ confesses, as a present, a fact of experience that still holds good in all times to come. נוראות might, according to Psa 20:7, as in Psa 139:14, be an accusative of the more exact definition; but why not, according to 1Sa 20:10; Job 9:3, a second accusative under the government of the verb? God answers the prayer of His people superabundantly. He replies to it גוראות, terrible deeds, viz., בּצדק, by a rule which stringently executes the will of His righteousness (vid., on Jer 42:6); in this instance against the oppressors of His people, so that henceforth everywhere upon earth He is a ground of confidence to all those who are oppressed. “The sea (ים construct state, as is frequently the case, with the retention of the å) of the distant ones” is that of the regions lying afar off (cf. Psa 56:1). Venema observes, Significatur, Deum esse certissimum praesidium, sive agnoscatur ab hominibus et ei fidatur, sive non (therefore similar to γνόντες, Rom 1:21; Psychol. S. 347; tr. p. 408). But according to the connection and the subjective colouring the idea seems to have, מבטח וגו is to be understood of the believing acknowledgment which the God of Israel attains among all mankind by reason of His judicial and redemptive self-attestation (cf. Isa 33:13; 2Ch 32:22.). In the natural world and among men He proves Himself to be the Being girded with power to whom everything must yield. He it is who setteth fast the mountains (cf. Jer 10:12) and stilleth the raging of the ocean. In connection with the giant mountains the poet may have had even the worldly powers (vid., Isa 41:15) in his mind; in connection with the seas he gives expression to this allegorical conjunction of thoughts. The roaring of the billows and the wild tumult of the nations as a mass in the empire of the world, both are stilled by the threatening of the God of Israel (Isa 17:12-14). When He shall overthrow the proud empire of the world, whose tyranny the earth has been made to feel far and wide, then will reverential fear of Him and exultant joy at the end of the thraldom (vid., Isa 13:4-8) become universal. אותת (from the originally feminine אות = ăwăjat, from אוה, to mark, Num 34:10), σημεῖα, is the name given here to His marvellous interpositions in the history of our earth. קצוי, Psa 65:6 (also in Isa 26:15), out of construction is קצות. “The exit places of the morning and of the evening” are the East and West with reference to those who dwell there. Luther erroneously understands מוצאי as directly referring to the creatures which at morning and evening “sport about (webern), i.e., go safely and joyfully out and in.” The meaning is, the regions whence the morning breaks forth and where the evening sets. The construction is zeugmatic so far as בּוא, not יצא, is said of the evening sun, but only to a certain extent, for neither does one say נבוא ערב (Ewald). Perret-Gentil renders it correctly: les lieux d'où surgissent l'aube et le crepuscule. God makes both these to shout for joy, inasmuch as He commands a calm to the din of war.

Verses 9-13 edit

The praise of God on account of the present year's rich blessing, which He has bestowed upon the land of His people. In Psa 65:10, Psa 65:11 God is thanked for having sent down the rain required for the ploughing (vid., Commentary on Isaiah, ii. 522) and for the increase of the seed sown, so that, as vv. 12-14 affirm, there is the prospect of a rich harvest. The harvest itself, as follows from v. 14b, is not yet housed. The whole of Psa 65:10, Psa 65:11 is a retrospect; in vv. 12-14 the whole is a description of the blessing standing before their eyes, which God has put upon the year now drawing to a close. Certainly, if the forms רוּה and נחת were supplicatory imperatives, then the prayer for the early or seed-time rain would attach itself to the retrospect in Psa 65:11, and the standpoint would be not about the time of the Passover and Pentecost, both festivals belonging to the beginning of the harvest, but about the time of the feast of Tabernacles, the festival of thanksgiving for the harvest, and vv. 12-14 would be a glance into the future (Hitzig). But there is nothing to indicate that in Psa 65:11 the retrospect changes into a looking forward. The poet goes on with the same theme, and also arranges the words accordingly, for which reason רוּה and נחת are not to be understood in any other way. שׁקק beside העשׁיר (to enrich) signifies to cause to run over, overflow, i.e., to put anything in a state of plenty or abundance, from שׁוּק (Hiph. Joe 2:24, to yield in abundance), Arab, sâq, to push, impel, to cause to go on in succession and to follow in succession. רבּת (for which we find רבּה in Psa 62:3) is an adverb, copiously, richly (Psa 120:6; Psa 123:4; Psa 129:1), like מאת, a hundred times (Ecc 8:12). תּעשׁרנּה is Hiph. with the middle syllable shortened, Ges. §53, 3, rem. 4. The fountain (פּלג) of God is the name given here to His inexhaustible stores of blessing, and more particularly the fulness of the waters of the heavens from which He showers down fertilizing rain. כּן, “thus thoroughly,” forms an alliteration with הכין, to prepare, and thereby receives a peculiar twofold colouring. The meaning is: God, by raising and tending, prepared the produce of the field which the inhabitants of the land needed; for He thus thoroughly prepared the land in conformity with the fulness of His fountain, viz., by copiously watering (רוּה infin. absol. instead of רוּה, as in 1Sa 3:12; 2Ch 24:10; Exo 22:22; Jer 14:19; Hos 6:9) the furrows of the land and pressing down, i.e., softening by means of rain, its ridges (גּדוּדה, defective plural, as e.g., in Rth 2:13), which the ploughshare has made. תּלם (related by root with Arab. tll , tell, a hill, prop. that which is thrown out to a place, that which is thrown up, a mound) signifies a furrow as being formed by casting up or (if from Arab. ṯlm , ébrécher, to make a fracture, rent, or notch in anything) by tearing into, breaking up the ground; גּדוּד (related by root with uchdûd and chaṭṭ, the usual Arabic words for a furrow[6] as being formed by cutting into the ground.
In Psa 65:12 the year in itself appears as a year of divine goodness (טובה, bonitas), and the prospective blessing of harvest as the crown which is set upon it. For Thou hast crowned “the year of Thy goodness” and “with Thy goodness” are different assertions, with which also different (although kindred as to substance) ideas are associated. The futures after עטרתּ depict its results as they now lie out to view. The chariot-tracks (vid., Deu 33:26) drop with exuberant fruitfulness, even the meadows of the uncultivated and, without rain, unproductive pasture land (Job 38:26.). The hills are personified in Psa 65:13 in the manner of which Isaiah in particular is so fond (e.g., Psa 44:23; Psa 49:13), and which we find in the Psalms of his type (Psa 96:11., Psa 98:7., cf. Psa 89:13). Their fresh, verdant appearance is compared to a festive garment, with which those which previously looked bare and dreary gird themselves; and the corn to a mantle in which the valleys completely envelope themselves (עטף with the accusative, like Arab. t‛ṭṭf with b of the garment: to throw it around one, to put it on one's self). The closing words, locking themselves as it were with the beginning of the Psalm together, speak of joyous shouting and singing that continues into the present time. The meadows and valleys (Böttcher) are not the subject, of which it cannot be said that they sing; nor can the same be said of the rustling of the waving corn-fields (Kimchi). The expression requires men to be the subject, and refers to men in the widest and most general sense. Everywhere there is shouting coming up from the very depths of the breast (Hithpal.), everywhere songs of joy; for this is denoted by שׁיר in distinction from קנן. Thanksgiving for a National and Personal Deliverance
From Psa 65:1-13 onwards we find ourselves in the midst of a series of Psalms which, with a varying arrangement of the words, are inscribed both מזמור and שׁיר (Ps 65-68). The two words שׁיר מזמור stand according to the accents in the stat. constr. (Psa 88:1), and therefore signify a Psalm-song.[7]
This series, as is universally the case, is arranged according to the community of prominent watchwords. In Psa 65:2 we read: “To Thee is the vow paid,” and in Psa 66:13: “I will pay Thee my vows;” in Psa 66:20 : “Blessed be Elohim,” and in Psalms 67:8: “Elohim shall bless us.” Besides, Ps 66 and Psa 67:1-7 have this feature in common, that למנצח, which occurs fifty-five times in the Psalter, is accompanied by the name of the poet in every instance, with the exception of these two anonymous Psalms. The frequently occurring Sela of both Psalms also indicates that they were intended to have a musical accompaniment. These annotations referring to the temple-music favour the pre-exilic rather than the post-exilic origin of the two Psalms. Both are purely Elohimic; only in one instance (Psa 6:1-10 :18) does אדני, equally belonging to this style of Psalm, alternate with Elohim.
On the ground of some deliverance out of oppressive bondage that has been experienced by Israel arises in Psalms 66 the summons to the whole earth to raise a shout of praise unto God. The congregation is the subject speaking as far as Psa 66:12. From Psa 66:13 the person of the poet appears in the foreground; but that which brings him under obligation to present a thank-offering is nothing more nor less than that which the whole congregation, and he together with it, has experienced. It is hardly possible to define this event more minutely. The lofty consciousness of possessing a God to whom all the world must bow, whether cheerfully or against its will, became strong among the Jewish people more especially after the overthrow of Assyria in the reign of Hezekiah. But there is no ground for conjecturing either Isaiah or Hezekiah to be the composer of this Psalm. If עולם in Psa 66:7 signified the world (Hitzig), then he would be (vid., Psa 24:9) one of the latest among the Old Testament writers; but it has the same meaning here that it has everywhere else in Old Testament Hebrew.
In the Greek Church this Psalm is called Ψαλμὸς ἀναστάσεως; the lxx gives it this inscription, perhaps with reference to Psa 66:12, ἐξήγαγες ἡμᾶς εἰς ἀναψυχήν.

Psalm 66 edit

Verses 1-4 edit

The phrase שׂים כבוד ל signifies “to give glory to God” in other passages (Jos 7:19; Isa 42:12), here with a second accusative, either (1) if we take תּהלּתו as an accusative of the object: facite laudationem ejus gloriam = gloriosam (Maurer and others), or (2) if we take כבוד as an accusative of the object and the former word as an accusative of the predicate: reddite honorem laudem ejus (Hengstenberg), or (3) also by taking תהלתו as an apposition: reddite honorem, scil. laudem ejus (Hupfeld). We prefer the middle rendering: give glory as His praise, i.e., to Him as or for praise. It is unnecessary, with Hengstenberg, to render: How terrible art Thou in Thy works! in that case אתּה ought not to be wanting. מעשׂיך might more readily be singular (Hupfeld, Hitzig); but these forms with the softened Jod of the root dwindle down to only a few instances upon closer consideration. The singular of the predicate (what a terrible affair) here, as frequently, e.g., Psa 119:137, precedes the plural designating things. The song into which the Psalmist here bids the nations break forth, is essentially one with the song of the heavenly harpers in Rev 15:3., which begins, Μεγάλα καὶ θαυμαστὰ τὰ ἔργα σου.

Verses 5-7 edit

Although the summons: Come and see... (borrowed apparently from Psa 46:9), is called forth by contemporary manifestations of God's power, the consequences of which now lie open to view, the rendering of Psa 66:6, “then will we rejoice in Him,” is nevertheless unnatural, and, rightly looked at, neither grammar nor the matter requires it. For since שׁם in this passage is equivalent to אז, and the future after אז takes the signification of an aorist; and since the cohortative form of the future can also (e.g., after עד, Psa 73:7, and in clauses having a hypothetical sense) be referred to the past, and does sometimes at least occur where the writer throws himself back into the past (2Sa 22:38), the rendering: Then did we rejoice in Him, cannot be assailed on syntactical grounds. On the “we,” cf. Jos 5:1, Chethîb, Hos 12:1-14 :54. The church of all ages is a unity, the separate parts being jointly involved in the whole. The church here directs the attention of all the world to the mighty deeds of God at the time of the deliverance from Egypt, viz., the laying of the Red Sea and of Jordan dry, inasmuch as it can say in Psa 66:7, by reason of that which it has experienced ibn the present, that the sovereign power of God is ever the same: its God rules in His victorious might עולם, i.e., not “over the world,” because that ought to be בּעולם, but “in eternity” (accusative of duration, as in Psa 89:2., Psa 45:7), and therefore, as in the former days, so also in all time to come. His eyes keep searching watch among the peoples; the rebellious, who struggle agaisnt His yoke and persecute His people, had better not rise, it may go ill with them. The Chethîb runs ירימוּ, for which the Kerî is ירוּמוּ. The meaning remains the same; הרים can (even without יד, ראשׁ, קרן, Psa 65:5) mean “to practise exaltation,” superbire. By means of למו this proud bearing is designated as being egotistical, and as unrestrainedly boastful. Only let them not imagine themselves secure in their arrogance! There is One more exalted, whose eye nothing escapes, and to whose irresistible might whatever is not conformed to His gracious will succumbs.

Verses 8-12 edit

The character of the event by which the truth has been verified that the God who redeemed Israel out of Egypt still ever possesses and exercises to the full His ancient sovereign power, is seen from this reiterated call to the peoples to share in Israel's Gloria. God has averted the peril of death and overthrow from His people: He has put their soul in life (בּחיּים, like בּישׁע in Psa 12:6), i.e., in the realm of life; He has not abandoned their foot to tottering unto overthrow (mowT the substantive, as in Psa 121:3; cf. the reversed construction in Psa 55:23). For God has cast His people as it were into a smelting-furnace or fining-pot in order to purify and to prove them by suffering; - this is a favourite figure with Isaiah and Jeremiah, but is also found in Zec 13:9; Mal 3:3. Eze 19:9 is decisive concerning the meaning of מצוּדה, where הביא במצודות signifies “to bring into the holds or prisons;” besides, the figure of the fowling-net (although this is also called מצוּדה as well as מצודה) has no footing here in the context. מצוּדה (vid., Psa 18:3) signifies specula, and that both a natural and an artificial watch-post on a mountain; here it is the mountain-hold or prison of the enemy, as a figure of the total loss of freedom. The laying on of a heavy burden mentioned by the side of it in Psa 66:11 also accords well with this. מוּעקה, a being oppressed, the pressure of a burden, is a Hophal formation, like מטּה, a being spread out, Isa 8:8; cf. the similar masculine forms in Psa 69:3; Isa 8:13; Isa 14:6; Isa 29:3. The loins are mentioned because when carrying heavy loads, which one has to stoop down in order to take up, the lower spinal region is called into exercise. אנושׁ is frequently (Psa 9:20., Psa 10:18; Psa 56:2, Isa 51:12; 2Ch 14:10) the word used for tyrants as being wretched mortals, perishable creatures, in contrast with their all the more revolting, imperious, and self-deified demeanour. God so ordered it, that “wretched men” rode upon Israel's head. Or is it to be interpreted: He caused them to pass over Israel (cf. Psa 129:3; Isa 51:23)? It can scarcely mean this, since it would then be in dorso nostro, which the Latin versions capriciously substitute. The preposition ל instead of על is used with reference to the phrase ישׁב ל: sitting upon Israel's head, God caused them to ride along, so that Israel was not able to raise its head freely, but was most ignominiously wounded in its self-esteem. Fire and water are, as in Isa 43:2, a figure of vicissitudes and perils of the most extreme character. Israel was nigh to being burnt up and drowned, but God led it forth לרויה, to an abundant fulness, to abundance and superabundance of prosperity. The lxx, which renders εἰς ἀναψυχήν (Jerome absolutely: in refrigerium), has read לרוחה; Symmachus, εἰς εὐρυχωρίαν, probably reading לרחבה (Psa 119:45; Psa 18:20). Both give a stronger antithesis. But the state of straitness or oppression was indeed also a state of privation.

Verses 13-15 edit

From this point onwards the poet himself speaks, but, as the diversity and the kind of the sacrifices show, as being a member of the community at large. The עולות stand first, the girts of adoring homage; בּ is the Beth of the accompaniment, as in Lev 16:3; 1Sa 1:24, cf. Heb 9:25. “My vows” refer more especially to פּצה פּה ׃שׁלמי נדר also occurs elsewhere of the involuntary vowing to do extraordinary things urged from one by great distress (Jdg 11:35). אשׁר is an accusative of the object relating to the vows, quae aperuerunt = aperiendo nuncupaverunt labia mea (Geier). In Psa 66:15 עשׂה, used directly (like the Aramaic and Phoenician עבד) in the signification “to sacrifice” (Exo 29:36-41, and frequently), alternates with העלה, the synonym of הקטיר. The sacrifices to be presented are enumerated. מיחים (incorrect for מחים) are marrowy, fat lambs; lambs and bullocks (בּקר) have the most universal appropriation among the animals that were fit for sacrifices. The ram (איל), on the contrary, is the animal for the whole burnt-offering of the high priest, of the princes of the tribes, and of the people; and appears also as the animal for the shelamim only in connection with the shelamim of Aaron, of the people, of the princes of the tribes, and, in Num 6:14, of the Nazarite. The younger he-goat (עתּוּד) is never mentioned as an animal for the whole burnt-offering; but, indeed, as an animal for the shelamim of the princes of the tribes in Num. 7. It is, therefore, probable that the shelamim which were to be offered in close connection with the whole burnt-offerings are introduced by עם, so that קטרת signifies the fat portions of the shelamim upon the altar smoking in the fire. The mention of “rams” renders it necessary that we should regard the poet as here comprehending himself among the people when he speaks thus.

Verses 16-20 edit

The words in Psa 66:16 are addressed in the widest extent, as in Psa 66:5 and Psa 66:2, to all who fear God, wheresoever such are to be found on the face of the earth. To all these, for the glory of God and for their own profit, he would gladly relate what God has made him to experience. The individual-looking expression לנפשׁי is not opposed to the fact of the occurrence of a marvellous answering of prayer, to which he refers, being one which has been experienced by him in common with the whole congregation. He cried unto God with his mouth (that is to say, not merely silently in spirit, but audibly and importunately), and a hymn (רומם,[8] something that rises, collateral form to רומם, as עולל and שׁובב to עולל and שׁובב) was under my tongue; i.e., I became also at once so sure of my being heard, that I even had the song of praise in readiness (vid., Psa 10:7), with which I had determined to break forth when the help for which I had prayed, and which was assured to me, should arrive. For the purpose of his heart was not at any time, in contradiction to his words, און, God-abhorred vileness or worthlessness; ראה with the accusative, as in Gen 20:10; Psa 37:37 : to aim at, or design anything, to have it in one's eye. We render: If I had aimed at evil in my heart, the Lord would not hear; not: He would not have heard, but: He would not on any occasion hear. For a hypocritical prayer, coming from a heart which has not its aim sincerely directed towards Him, He does not hear. The idea that such a heart was not hidden behind his prayer is refuted in Psa 66:19 from the result, which is of a totally opposite character. In the closing doxology the accentuation rightly takes תּפלּתי וחסדּו as belonging together. Prayer and mercy stand in the relation to one another of call and echo. When God turns away from a man his prayer and His mercy, He commands him to be silent and refuses him a favourable answer. The poet, however, praises God that He has deprived him neither of the joyfulness of prayer nor the proof of His favour. In this sense Augustine makes the following practical observation on this passage: Cum videris non a te amotam deprecationem tuam, securus esto, quia non est a te amota misericordia ejus.

Psalm 67 edit

==Harvest Thanksgiving Song== Like Psa 65:1-13, this Psalm, inscribed To the Precentor, with accompaniment of stringed instruments, a song-Psalm (מזמור שׁיר), also celebrates the blessing upon the cultivation of the ground. As Psa 65:1-13 contemplated the corn and fruits as still standing in the fields, so this Psalm contemplates, as it seems, the harvest as already gathered in, in the light of the redemptive history. Each plentiful harvest is to Israel a fulfilment of the promise given in Lev 26:4, and a pledge that God is with His people, and that its mission to the whole world (of peoples) shall not remain unaccomplished. This mission-tone referring to the end of God's work here below is unfortunately lost in the church's closing strain, “God be gracious and merciful unto us,” but it sounds all the more distinctly and sweetly in Luther's hymn, “Es woll uns Gott genädig sein,” throughout.
There are seven stanzas: twice three two-line stanzas, having one of three lines in the middle, which forms the clasp or spangle of the septiad, a circumstance which is strikingly appropriate to the fact that this Psalm is called “the Old Testament Paternoster” in some of the old expositors.[9]
The second half after the three-line stanza beings in Psa 67:6 exactly as the first closed in Psa 67:4. יברכנוּ is repeated three times, in order that the whole may bear the impress of the blessing of the priest, which is threefold.

Verses 1-2 edit

The Psalm begins (Psa 67:1) with words of the priest's benediction in Num 6:24-26. By אתּנוּ the church desires for itself the unveiled presence of the light-diffusing loving countenance of its God. Here, after the echo of the holiest and most glorious benediction, the music strikes in. With Psa 67:2 the Beracha passes over into a Tephilla. לדעת is conceived with the most general subject: that one may know, that may be known Thy way, etc. The more graciously God attests Himself to the church, the more widely and successfully does the knowledge of this God spread itself forth from the church over the whole earth. They then know His דּרך, i.e., the progressive realization of His counsel, and His ישׁוּעה, the salvation at which this counsel aims, the salvation not of Israel merely, but of all mankind.

Verses 3-4 edit

Now follows the prospect of the entrance of all peoples into the kingdom of God, who will then praise Him in common with Israel as their God also. His judging (שׁפט) in this instance is not meant as a judicial punishment, but as a righteous and mild government, just as in the christological parallels Psa 72:12., Isa 11:3. מישׁר in an ethical sense for מישׁרים, as in Psa 45:7; Isa 11:4; Mal 2:6. הנחה as in Psa 31:4 of gracious guidance (otherwise than in Job 12:23).

Verses 5-7 edit

The joyous prospect of the conversion of heathen, expressed in the same words as in Psa 67:5, here receives as its foundation a joyous event of the present time: the earth has just yielded its fruit (cf. Psa 85:13), the fruit that had been sown and hoped for. This increase of corn and fruits is a blessing and an earnest of further blessing, by virtue of which (Jer 33:9; Isa 60:3; cf. on the contrary Joe 2:17) it shall come to pass that all peoples unto the uttermost bounds of the earth shall reverence the God of Israel. For it is the way of God, that all the good that He manifests towards Israel shall be for the well-being of mankind.

Psalm 68 edit

==Hymn of War and Victory in the Style of Deborah==

Is it not an admirably delicate tact with which the collector makes the מזמור שׁיר Psa 68:1 follow upon the מזמור שׁיר Psa 67:1? The latter began with the echo of the benediction which Moses puts into the mouth of Aaron and his sons, the former with a repetition of those memorable words in which, at the breaking up of the camp, he called upon Jahve to advance before Israel (Num 10:35). “It is in reality,” says Hitzig of Psalms 68, “no easy task to become master of this Titan.” And who would not agree with him in this remark? It is a Psalm in the style of Deborah, stalking along upon the highest pinnacle of hymnic feeling and recital; all that is most glorious in the literature of the earlier period is concentrated in it: Moses' memorable words, Moses' blessing, the prophecies of Balaam, the Deuteronomy, the Song of Hannah re-echo here. But over and above all this, the language is so bold and so peculiarly its own, that we meet with no less than thirteen words that do no occur anywhere else. It is so distinctly Elohimic in its impress, that the simple Elohim occurs twenty-three times; but in addition to this, it is as though the whole cornucopia of divine names were poured out upon it: יהוה in Psa 68:17; אדני six times; האל twice; שׁדּי in Psa 68:15; יהּ in Psa 68:5; אדני יהוה in Psa 68:21; אלהים yh in Psa 68:19; so that this Psalm among all the Elohimic Psalms is the most resplendent. In connection with the great difficulty that is involved in it, it is no wonder that expositors, more especially the earlier expositors, should differ widely in their apprehension of it as a whole or in separate parts. This circumstance has been turned to wrong account by Ed. Reuss in his essay, “Der acht-und-sechzigste Psalm, Ein Denkmal exegetischer Noth und Kunst zu Ehren unsrer ganzen Zunft, Jena, 1851,” for the purpose of holding up to ridicule the uncertainty of Old Testament exegesis, as illustrated in this Psalm.
The Psalm is said, as Reuss ultimately decides, to have been written between the times of Alexander the Great and the Maccabees, and to give expression to the wish that the Israelites, many of whom were far removed from Palestine and scattered abroad in the wide earth, might soon be again united in their fatherland. But this apprehension rests entirely upon violence done to the exegesis, more particularly in the supposition that in v. 23 the exiles are the persons intended by those whom God will bring back. Reuss makes out those who are brought back out of Bashan to be the exiles in Syria, and those who are brought back out of the depths of the sea he makes out to be the exiles in Egypt. He knows nothing of the remarkable concurrence of the mention of the Northern tribes (including Benjamin) in Psa 68:28 with the Asaphic Psalms: Judah and Benjamin, to his mind, is Judaea; and Zebulun and Naphtali, Galilee in the sense of the time after the return from exile. The “wild beast of the reed” he correctly takes to be an emblem of Egypt; but he makes use of violence in order to bring in a reference to Syria by the side of it. Nevertheless Olshausen praises the services Reuss has rendered with respect to this Psalm; but after incorporating two whole pages of the “Denkmal” in his commentary he cannot satisfy himself with the period between Alexander and the Maccabees, and by means of three considerations arrives, in this instance also, at the common refuge of the Maccabaean period, which possesses such an irresistible attraction for him.
In opposition to this transplanting of the Psalm into the time of the Maccabees we appeal to Hitzig, who is also quick-sighted enough, when there is any valid ground for it, in finding out Maccabaean Psalms. He refers the Psalm to the victorious campaign of Joram against faithless Moab, undertaking in company with Jehoshaphat. Böttcher, on the other hand, sees in it a festal hymn of triumph belonging to the time of Hezekiah, which was sung antiphonically at the great fraternizing Passover after the return home of the young king from one of his expeditions against the Assyrians, who had even at that time fortified themselves in the country east of the Jordan (Bashan). Thenius (following the example of Rödiger) holds a different view. He knows the situation so very definitely, that he thinks it high time that the discussion concerning this Psalm was brought to a close. It is a song composed to inspirit the army in the presence of the battle which Josiah undertook against Necho, and the prominent, hateful character in Psa 68:22 is Pharaoh with his lofty artificial adornment of hair upon his shaven head. It is, however, well known what a memorably tragical issue for Israel that battle had; the Psalm would therefore be a memorial of the most lamentable disappointment.
All these and other recent expositors glory in hot advancing any proof whatever in support of the inscribed לדוד. And yet there are two incidents in David's life, with regard to which the Psalm ought first of all to be accurately looked at, before we abandon this לדוד to the winds of conjecture. The first is the bringing home of the Ark of the covenant to Zion, to which, e.g., Franz Volkmar Reinhard (in vol. ii. of the Velthusen Commentationes Theol. 1795), Stier, and Hofmann refer the Psalm. But the manner in which the Psalm opens with a paraphrase of Moses' memorable words is at once opposed to this; and also the impossibility of giving unity to the explanation of its contents by such a reference is against it. Jahve has long since taken up His abode upon the holy mountain; the poet in this Psalm, which is one of the Psalms of war and victory describes how the exalted One, who now, however, as in the days of old, rides along through the highest heavens at the head of His people, casts down all powers hostile to Him and to His people, and compels all the world to confess that the God of Israel rules from His sanctuary with invincible might. A far more appropriate occasion is, therefore, to be found in the Syro-Ammonitish war of David, in which the Ark was taken with them by the people (2Sa 11:11); and the hymn was not at that time first of all composed when, at the close of the war, the Ark was brought back to the holy mountain (Hengstenberg, Reinke), but when it was set in motion from thence at the head of Israel as they advanced against the confederate kings and their army (2Sa 10:6). The war lasted into the second year, when a second campaign was obliged to be undertaken in order to bring it to an end; and this fact offers at least a second possible period for the origin of the Psalm. It is clear that in Psa 68:12-15, and still more clear that in Psa 68:20-24 (and from a wider point of view, Psa 68:29-35), the victory over the hostile kings is only hoped for, and in Psa 68:25-28, therefore, the pageantry of victory is seen as it were beforehand. It is the spirit of faith, which here celebrates beforehand the victory of Jahve, and sees in the single victory a pledge of His victory over all the nations of the earth. The theme of the Psalm, generalized beyond its immediate occasion, is the victory of the God of Israel over the world. Regarded as to the nature of its contents, the whole divides itself into two halves, vv. 2-19, 20-35, which are on the whole so distinct that the first dwells more upon the mighty deed God has wrought, the second upon the impressions it produces upon the church and upon the peoples of the earth; in both parts it is viewed now as future, now as past, inasmuch as the longing of prayer and the confidence of hope soar aloft to the height of prophecy, before which futurity lies as a fulfilled fact. The musical Sela occurs three times (Psa 68:8, Psa 68:20, Psa 68:33). These three forte passages furnish important points of view for the apprehension of the collective meaning of the Psalm.
But is David after all the author of this Psalm? The general character of the Psalm is more Asaphic than Davidic (vid., Habakkuk, S. 122). Its references to Zalmon, to Benjamin and the Northern tribes, to the song of Deborah, and in general to the Book of Judges (although not in its present form), give it an appearance of being Ephraimitish. Among the Davidic Psalms it stands entirely alone, so that criticism is quite unable to justify the לדוד. And if the words in Psa 68:29 are addressed to the king, it points to some other poet than David. But is it to a contemporary poet? The mention of the sanctuary on Zion in Psa 68:30, 36, does not exclude such an one. Only the threatening of the “wild beast of the sedge” (Psa 68:31) seems to bring us down beyond the time of David; for the inflammable material of the hostility of Egypt, which broke out into a flame in the reign of Rehoboam, was first gathering towards the end of Solomon's reign. Still Egypt was never entirely lost sight of from the horizon of Israel; and the circumstance that it is mentioned in the first rank, where the submission of the kingdoms of this world to the God of Israel is lyrically set forth in the prophetic prospect of the future, need not astonish one even in a poet of the time of David. And does not Psa 68:28 compel us to keep on this side of the division of the kingdom? It ought then to refer to the common expedition of Jehoram and Jehoshaphat against Moab (Hitzig), the indiscriminate celebration of which, however, was no suitable theme for the psalmist.

Verses 1-6 edit

The Psalm begins with the expression of a wish that the victory of God over all His foes and the triumphant exultation of the righteous were near at hand. Ewald and Hitzig take יקום אלהים hypothetically: If God arise, He enemies will be scattered. This rendering is possible in itself so far as the syntax is concerned, but here everything conspires against it; for the futures in Psa 68:2-4 form an unbroken chain; then a glance at the course of the Psalm from Psa 68:20 onwards shows that the circumstances of Israel, under which the poet writes, urged forth the wish: let God arise and humble His foes; and finally the primary passage, Num 10:35, makes it clear that the futures are the language of prayer transformed into the form of the wish. In Psa 68:3 the wish is addressed directly to God Himself, and therefore becomes petition. הנדּן is inflected (as vice versâ ירדף, Psa 7:6, from ירדּף) from הנּדף (like הנּתן, Jer 32:4); it is a violation of all rule in favour of the conformity of sound (cf. הקצות for הקצות, Lev 14:43, and supra on Psa 51:6) with תּנדּף, the object of which is easily supplied (dispellas, sc. hostes tuos), and is purposely omitted in order to direct attention more stedfastly to the omnipotence which to every creature is so irresistible. Like smoke, wax (דּונג, root דג, τηκ, Sanscrit tak, to shoot past, to run, Zend taḱ, whence vitaḱina, dissolving, Neo-Persic gudâchten; causative: to cause to run in different directions = to melt or smelt) is an emblem of human feebleness. As Bakiuds observes, Si creatura creaturam non fert, quomodo creatura creatoris indignantis faciem ferre possit? The wish expressed in Psa 68:4 forms the obverse of the preceding. The expressions for joy are heaped up in order to describe the transcendency of the joy that will follow the release from the yoke of the enemy. לפני is expressively used in alternation with מפני in Psa 68:2, Psa 68:3 : by the wrathful action, so to speak, that proceeds from His countenance just as the heat radiating from the fire melts the wax the foes are dispersed, whereas the righteous rejoice before His gracious countenance.
As the result of the challenge that has been now expressed in Psa 68:2-4, Elohim, going before His people, begins His march; and in Psa 68:5 an appeal is made to praise Him with song, His name with the music of stringed instrument, and to make a way along which He may ride בּערבות. In view of Psa 68:34 we cannot take צרבות, as do the Targum and Talmud (B. Chagiga 12b), as a name of one of the seven heavens, a meaning to which, apart from other considerations, the verb ערב, to be effaced, confused, dark, is not an appropriate stem-word; but it must be explained according to Isa 40:3. There Jahve calls in the aid of His people, here He goes forth at the head of His people; He rides through the steppes in order to right against the enemies of His people. Not merely the historical reference assigned to the Psalm by Hitzig, but also the one adopted by ourselves, admits of allusion being made to the “steppes of Moab;” for the way to Mêdebâ, where the Syrian mercenaries of the Ammonites had encamped (1Ch 19:7), lay through these steppes, and also the way to Rabbath Ammon (2Sa 10:7.). סלּוּ calls upon them to make a way for Him, the glorious, invincible King (cf. Isa 57:14; Isa 62:10); סלל signifies to cast up, heap up or pave, viz., a raised and suitable street or highway, Symmachus katastroo'sate. He who thus rides along makes the salvation of His people His aim: “ä is His name, therefore shout with joy before Him.” The Beth in בּיהּ (Symmachus, Quinta: ἴα) is the Beth essentiae, which here, as in Isa 26:4, stands beside the subject: His name is (exists) in יה, i.e., His essential name is yh, His self-attestation, by which He makes Himself capable of being known and named, consists in His being the God of salvation, who, in the might of free grace, pervades all history. This Name is a fountain of exultant rejoicing to His people.
This Name is exemplificatively unfolded in Psa 68:6. The highly exalted One, who sits enthroned in the heaven of glory, rules in all history here below and takes an interest in the lowliest more especially, in all circumstances of their lives following after His own to succour them. He takes the place of a father to the orphan. He takes up the cause of the widow and contests it to a successful issue. Elohim is one who makes the solitary or isolated to dwell in the house; בּיתה with He locale, which just as well answers the question where? as whither? בּית, a house = family bond, is the opposite of יהיד, solitarius, recluse, Psa 25:16. Dachselt correctly renders it, in domum, h.e. familiam numerosam durabilemque eos ut patres-familias plantabit. He is further One who brings forth (out of the dungeon and out of captivity) those who are chained into abundance of prosperity. כּושׁרות, occurring only here, is a pluralet. from כּשׁר morf .tela, synonym אשׁר, to be straight, fortunate. Psa 68:7 briefly and sharply expresses the reverse side of this His humanely condescending rule among mankind. אך is here (cf. Gen 9:4; Lev 11:4) restrictive or adversative (as is more frequently the case with אכן); and the preterite is the preterite of that which is an actual matter of experience. The סוררים, i.e., (not from סוּר, the apostate ones, Aquila afista'menoi, but as in Psa 66:7, from סרר) the rebellious, Symmachus ἀπειθεῖς, who were not willing to submit to the rule of so gracious a God, had ever been excluded from these proofs of favour. These must inhabit צחיחה (accusative of the object), a sun-scorched land; from צחח, to be dazzlingly bright, sunny, dried or parched up. They remain in the desert without coming into the land, which, fertilized by the waters of grace, is resplendent with a fresh verdure and with rich fruits. If the poet has before his mind in connection with this the bulk of the people delivered out of Egypt, ὧν τὰ κῶλα ἔπεσαν ἐν τῇ ἐρήμω (Heb 3:17), then the transition to what follows is much more easily effected. There is, however, no necessity for any such intermediation. The poet had the march through the desert to Canaan under the guidance of Jahve, the irresistible Conqueror, in his mind even from the beginning, and now he expressly calls to mind that marvellous divine leading in order that the present age may take heart thereat.

Verses 7-10 edit

In Psa 68:7. the poet repeats the words of Deborah (Jdg 5:4.), and her words again go back to Deu 33:2, cf. Exo 19:15.; on the other hand, our Psalm is the original to Hab. 3. The martial verb יצא represents Elohim as, coming forth from His heavenly dwelling-place (Isa 26:21), He places Himself at the head of Israel. The stately verb צעד represents Him as He accompanies the hosts of His people with the step of a hero confident of victory; and the terrible name for the wilderness, ישׁימון, is designedly chosen in order to express the contrast between the scene of action and that which they beheld at that time. The verb to זה סיני is easily supplied; Dachselt's rendering according to the accents is correct: hic mons Sinai (sc. in specie ita tremuit). The description fixes our attention upon Sinai as the central point of all revelations of God during the period of deliverance by the hand of Moses, as being the scene of the most gloriously of them all (vid., on Hab. p. 136f.). The majestic phenomena which proclaimed the nearness of God are distributed over the whole journeying, but most gloriously concentrated themselves at the giving of the Law of Sinai. The earth trembled throughout the extended circuit of this vast granite range, and the heavens dropped, inasmuch as the darkness of thunder clouds rested upon Sinai, pierced by incessant lightnings (Ex. 19). There, as the original passages describe it, Jahve met His people; He came from the east, His people from the west; there they found themselves together, and shaking the earth, breaking through the heavens, He gave them a pledge of the omnipotence which should henceforth defend and guide them. The poet has a purpose in view in calling Elohim in this passage “the God of Israel;” the covenant relationship of God to Israel dates from Sinai, and from this period onwards, by reason of the Tôra, He became Israel's King (Deu 33:5). Since the statement of a fact of earlier history has preceded, and since the preterites alternate with them, the futures that follow in Psa 68:10, Psa 68:11 are to be understood as referring to the synchronous past; but hardly so that Psa 68:10 should refer to the miraculous supply of food, and more especially the rain of manna, during the journeyings through the wilderness. The giving of the Law from Sinai has a view to Israel being a settled, stationary people, and the deliverance out of the land of bondage only finds its completion in the taking and maintaining possession of the Land of Promise. Accordingly Psa 68:10, Psa 68:11 refer to the blessing and protection of the people who had taken up their abode there.
The נחלהּ of God (genit. auctoris, as in 2 Macc. 2:4) is the land assigned by Him to Israel as an inheritance; and גּשׁם נדבות an emblem of the abundance of gifts which God has showered down upon the land since Israel took up its abode in it. נדבה is the name given to a deed and gift springing from an inward impulse, and in this instance the intensive idea of richness and superabundance is associated therewith by means of the plural; גּשׁם נדבות is a shower-like abundance of good gifts descending from above. The Hiphil הניף here governs a double accusative, like the Kal in Pro 7:17, in so far, that is, as נחלתך is drawn to Psa 68:10; for the accentuation, in opposition to the Targum, takes נחלתך ונלאה together: Thine inheritance and that the parched one (Waw epexeget. as in 1Sa 28:3; Amo 3:11; Amo 4:10). But this “and that” is devoid of aim; why should it not at once be read הנּלאה? The rendering of Böttcher, “Thy sickened and wearied,” is inadmissible, too, according to the present pointing; for it ought to be נחלתך or נחלתך. And with a suffix this Niphal becomes ambiguous, and more especially so in this connection, where the thought of נחלה, an inherited possession, a heritage, lies so naturally at hand. נחלתך is therefore to be drawn to Psa 68:10, and Psa 68:10 must begin with ונלאה, as in the lxx, καὶ ἠσθένησε σὺ δὲ κατεερτίσω αὐτήν. It is true נלאה is not a hypothetical preteriet equivalent to ונלאתה; but, as is frequently the case with the anarthrous participle (Ew. §341, b), it has the value of a hypothetical clause: “and if it (Israel's inheritance) were in a parched, exhausted condition (cf. the cognate root להה, Gen 47:13), then hast Thou always made it again firm” (Psa 8:4; Psa 15:1-5 :17), i.e., strengthened, enlivened it. Even here the idea of the inhabitants is closely associated with the land itself; in Psa 68:11 they are more especially thought of: “They creatures dwelt therein.” Nearly all modern expositors take חיּה either according to 2Sa 23:11, 2Sa 23:13 (cf. 1Ch 11:15), in the signification tent-circle, ring-camp (root חו, Arab. ḥw, to move in a circle, to encircle, to compass), or in the signification of Arab. ḥayy (from Arab. ḥayiya = חיי, חיה), a race or tribe, i.e., a collection of living beings (cf. חיּי, 1Sa 18:18). But the Asaphic character of this Psalm, which is also manifest in other points, is opposed to this rendering. This style of Psalm is fond of the comparison of Israel to a flock, so that also in Psa 74:19 חית עניין signifies nothing else than “the creatures [Getheir, collective] of Thy poor, Thy poor creatures.” This use of חיה is certainly peculiar; but not so remarkable as if by the “creatures of God” we had to understand, with Hupfeld, the quails (Ex. 16). The avoiding of בּהמה on account of the idea of brutum (Psa 73:22) which is inseparable from this word, is sufficient to account for it; in חיה, ζῷον, there is merely the notion of moving life. We therefore are to explain it according to Mic 7:14, where Israel is called a flock dwelling in a wood in the midst of Carmel: God brought it to pass, that the flock of Israel, although sorely persecuted, nevertheless continued to inhabit the land. בּהּ, as in Mic 7:15, refers to Canaan. עני in Psa 68:11 is the ecclesia pressa surrounded by foes on every side: Thou didst prepare for Thy poor with Thy goodness, Elohim, i.e., Thou didst regale or entertain Thy poor people with Thy possessions and Thy blessings. הכין ל, as in Gen 43:16; 1Ch 12:39, to make ready to eat, and therefore to entertain; טובה as in Psa 65:12, טוּב ה, Jer 31:12. It would be quite inadmissible, because tautological, to refer תּכין to the land according to Psa 65:10 (Ewald), or even to the desert (Olshausen), which the description has now left far behind.

Verses 11-14 edit

The futures that now follow are no longer to be understood as referring to previous history; they no longer alternate with preterites. Moreover the transition to the language of address in Psa 68:14 shows that the poet here looks forth from his present time and circumstances into the future; and the introduction of the divine name אדני, after Elohim has been used eleven times, is an indication of a new commencement. The prosperous condition in which God places His church by giving it the hostile powers of the world as a spoil is depicted. The noun אמר, never occurring in the genitival relationship, and never with a suffix, because the specific character of the form would be thereby obliterated, always denotes an important utterance, more particularly God's word of promise (Psa 77:9), or His word of power (Hab 3:9), which is represented elsewhere as a mighty voice of thunder (Psa 68:34, Isa 30:30), or a trumpet-blast (Zec 9:14); in the present instance it is the word of power by which the Lord suddenly changes the condition of His oppressed church. The entirely new state of things which this omnipotent behest as it were conjures into existence is presented to the mind in v. 12b: the women who proclaim the tidings of victory - a great host. Victory and triumph follow upon God's אמר, as upon His creative יהי. The deliverance of Israel from the army of Pharaoh, the deliverance out of the hand of Jabin by the defeat of Sisera, the victory of Jephthah over the Ammonites, and the victorious single combat of David with Goliath were celebrated by singing women. God's decisive word shall also go forth this time, and of the evangelists, like Miriam (Mirjam) and Deborah, there shall be a great host.
Psa 68:12 describes the subject of this triumphant exultation. Hupfeld regards Psa 68:13-15 as the song of victory itself, the fragment of an ancient triumphal ode (epinikion) reproduced here; but there is nothing standing in the way that should forbid our here regarding these verses as a direct continuation of Psa 68:12. The “hosts” are the numerous well-equipped armies which the kings of the heathen lead forth to the battle against the people of God. The unusual expression “kings of hosts” sounds very much like an ironically disparaging antithesis to the customary “Jahve of Hosts” (Böttcher). He, the Lord, interposes, and they are obliged to flee, staggering as they go, to retreat, and that, as the anadiplosis (cf. Jdg 5:7; Jdg 19:20) depicts, far away, in every direction. The fut. energicum with its ultima-accentuation gives intensity to the pictorial expression. The victors then turn homewards laden with rich spoils. נות בּית, here in a collective sense, is the wife who stays at home (Jdg 5:24) while the husband goes forth to battle. It is not: the ornament (נוה as in Jer 6:2) of the house, which Luther, with the lxx, Vulgate, and Syriac, adopts in his version,[10] but: the dweller or homely one (cf. נות, a dwelling-lace, Job 8:6) of the house, ἡ οἰκουρός. The dividing of the spoil elsewhere belongs to the victors; what is meant here is the distribution of the portions of the spoil that have fallen to the individual victors, the further distribution of which is left for the housewife (Jdg 5:30., 2Sa 1:24). Ewald now recognises in Psa 68:14. the words of an ancient song of victory; but v. 13b is unsuitable to introduce them. The language of address in Psa 68:14 is the poet's own, and he here describes the condition of the people who are victorious by the help of their God, and who again dwell peaceably in the land after the war. אם passes out of the hypothetical signification into the temporal, as e.g., in Job 14:14 (vid., on Psa 59:16). The lying down among the sheep-folds (שׁפתּים = משׁפּתים, cf. שׁפט, משׁפּט, the staked-in folds or pens consisting of hurdles standing two by two over against one another) is an emblem of thriving peace, which (like Psa 68:8, Psa 68:28) points back to Deborah's song, Jdg 5:16, cf. Gen 49:14. Just such a time is now also before Israel, a time of peaceful prosperity enhanced by rich spoils. Everything shall glitter and gleam with silver and gold. Israel is God's turtle-dove, Psa 74:19, cf. Psa 56:1, Hos 7:11; Hos 11:11. Hence the new circumstances of ease and comfort are likened to the varied hues of a dove disporting itself in the sun. Its wings are as though overlaid with silver (נחפּה, not 3. praet, but part. fem. Niph. as predicate to כּנפי, cf. 1Sa 4:15; Mic 4:11; Mic 1:9; Ew. §317 a), therefore like silver wings (cf. Ovid, Metam. ii. 537: Niveis argentea pennis Ales); and its pinions with gold-green, [11] and that, as the reduplicated form implies, with the iridescent or glistening hue of the finest gold (חרוּץ, not dull, but shining gold).
Side by side with this bold simile there appears in v. 15 an equally bold but contrastive figure, which, turning a step or two backward, likewise vividly illustrates the results of their God-given victory. The suffix of בּהּ refers to the land of Israel, as in Isa 8:21; Isa 65:9. צלמום, according to the usage of the language so far as it is now preserved to us, is not a common noun: deep darkness (Targum = צלמות), it is the name of a mountain in Ephraim, the trees of which Abimelech transported in order to set fire to the tower of Shechem (Jdg 9:48.). The Talmudic literature was acquainted with a river taking its rise there, and also somewhat frequently mentions a locality bearing a similar name to that of the mountain. The mention of this mountain may in a general way be rendered intelligible by the consideration that, like Shiloh (Gen 49:10), it is situated about in the centre of the Holy Land.[12] השׁליג signifies to bring forth snow, or even, like Arab. aṯlj, to become snow-white; this Hiph. is not a word descriptive of colour, like הלבּין. Since the protasis is בּפרשׂ, and not בּפרשׂך, תּשׁלג is intended to be impersonal (cf. Psa 50:3; Amo 4:7, Mich. Psa 3:6); and the voluntative form is explained from its use in apodoses of hypothetical protases (Ges. §128, 2). It indicates the issue to which, on the supposition of the other, it must and shall come. The words are therefore to be rendered: then it snows on Zalmon; and the snowing is either an emblem of the glistening spoil that falls into their hands in such abundance, or it is a figure of the becoming white, whether from bleached bones (cf. Virgil, Aen. v. 865: albi ossibus scopuli; xii. 36: campi ossibus albent; Ovid, Fasti i. 558: humanis ossibus albet humus) or even from the naked corpses (2Sa 1:19, על־בּמותיך חלל). Whether we consider the point of comparison to lie in the spoil being abundant as the flakes of snow, and like to the dazzling snow in brilliancy, or in the white pallid corpses, at any rate בּצלמון is not equivalent to כּבצלמון, but what follows “when the Almighty scatters kings therein” is illustrated by Zalmon itself. In the one case Zalmon is represented as the battle-ground (cf. Psa 110:6), in the other (which better corresponds to the nature of a wooded mountain) as a place of concealment. The protasis בפרשׂ וגו favours the latter; for פּרשׂ signifies to spread wide apart, to cause a compact whole - and the host of “the kings” is conceived of as such - to fly far asunder into many parts (Zec 2:10, cf. the Niph. in Eze 17:21). The hostile host disperses in all directions, and Zalmon glitters, as it were with snow, from the spoil that is dropped by those who flee. Homer also (Iliad, xix. 357-361) likens the mass of assembled helmets, shields, armour, and lances to the spectacle of a dense fall of snow. In this passage of the Psalm before us still more than in Homer it is the spectacle of the fallen and far seen glistening snow that also is brought into the comparison, and not merely that which is falling and that which covers everything (vid., Iliad, xii. 277ff.). The figure is the pendant of the figure of the dove.[13]

Verses 15-18 edit

This victory of Israel over the kings of the Gentiles gives the poet the joyful assurance that Zion is the inaccessible dwelling-place of Elohim, the God of the heavenly hosts. The mention of Zalmon leads him to mention other mountains. He uses the mountains of Bashan as an emblem of the hostile powers east of Jordan. These stand over against the people of God, as the mighty mountains of Bashan rising in steep, only slightly flattened peaks, to little hill-like Zion. In the land on this side Jordan the limestone and chalk formation with intermingled strata of sandstone predominates; the mountains of Bashan, however, are throughout volcanic, consisting of slag, lava, and more particularly basalt (basanites), which has apparently taken its name from Bashan (Basan).[14]
As a basalt range the mountains of Bashan are conspicuous among other creations of God, and are therefore called “the mountain of Elohim:” the basalt rises in the form of a cone with the top lopped off, or even towers aloft like so many columns precipitous and rugged to sharp points; hence the mountains of Bashan are called הר גּבננּים, i.e., a mountain range (for הר, as is well known, signifies both the single eminence and the range of summits) of many peaks = a many-peaked mountain; גּבנן is an adjective like רענן, אמלל. With this boldly formed mass of rock so gloomily majestic, giving the impression of antiquity and of invincibleness, when compared with the ranges on the other side of unstable porous limestone and softer formations, more particularly with Zion, it is an emblem of the world and its powers standing over against the people of God as a threatening and seemingly invincible colossus. The poet asks these mountains of Bashan “why,” etc.? רצד is explained from the Arabic rṣd, which, in accordance with its root Arab. rṣ, signifies to cleave firmly to a place (firmiter inhaesit loco), properly used of a beast of prey couching down and lying in wait for prey, of a hunter on the catch, and of an enemy in ambush; hence then: to lie in wait for, lurk, ἐνεδρεύειν, craftily, insidiose (whence râṣid, a lier-in-wait, tarraṣṣud, an ambush), here: to regard enviously, invidiose. In Arabic, just as in this instance, it is construed as a direct transitive with an accusative of the object, whereas the original signification would lead one to look for a dative of the object (רצד ל), which does also really occur in the common Arabic. Olewejored is placed by גבננים, but what follows is not, after all, the answer: “the mountain - Elohim has chosen it as the seat of His throne,” but ההר is the object of the interrogative clause: Quare indiviose observatis, montes cacuminosi, hunc montem (δεικτικῶς: that Zion yonder), quem, etc. (an attributive clause after the determinate substantive, as in Psa 52:9; Psa 89:50, and many other instances, contrary to the Arabic rule of style). Now for the first time, in Psa 68:17, follows that which is boastfully and defiantly contrasted with the proud mountains: “Jahve will also dwell for ever;” not only that Elohim has chosen Zion as the seat of His throne, it will also continue to be the seat of His throne, Jahve will continue to dwell [there] for ever. Grace is superior to nature, and the church superior to the world, powerful and majestic as this may seem to be. Zion maintains its honour over against the mountains of Bashan.

Verse 18 edit

Psa 68:18 now describes the kind of God, so to speak, who sits enthroned on Zion. The war-chariots of the heavenly hosts are here collectively called רכב, as in 2Ki 6:17. רבּתים (with Dechî, not Olewejored) is a dual from רבּות; and this is either an abstract noun equivalent to רבּוּת (from which comes the apocopated רבּו = רבּוּ), a myriad, consequently רבּתים, two myriads, or a contracted plural out of רבּאחת, Ezr 2:69, therefore the dual of a plural (like הומותים, לוּהותים): an indefinite plurality of myriads, and this again doubled (Hofmann). With this sense, in comparison with which the other is poor and meagre, also harmonies the expression אלפי שׂנאן, thousands of repetition (ἅπαξ λεγομ = שׂנין), i.e., thousands and again thousands, numberless, incalculable thousands; cf. the other and synonymous expression in Dan 7:10.[15]
It is intended to give a conception of the “hosts” which Elohim is to set in array against the “kings of hosts,” i.e., the martial power of the kingdom of the world, for the protection and for the triumph of His own people. Chariots of fire and horses of fire appear in 2Ki 2:11; 2Ki 6:17 as God's retinue; in Dan 7:10 it is angelic forces that thus make themselves visible. They surround Him on both sides in many myriads, in countless thousands. אדני בם (with Beth raphatum ),[16] the Lord is among them (cf. Isa 45:14), i.e., they are round about Him, He has them with Him (Jer 41:15), and is present with them. It now becomes clear why Sinai is mentioned, viz., because at the giving of the Law Jahve revealed Himself on Sinai surrounded by “ten thousands of saints” (Deu 33:2.). But in what sense is it mentioned? Zion, the poet means, presents to the spiritual eye now a spectacle such as Sinai presented in the earlier times, although even Sinai does not belong to the giants among the mountains:[17]
God halts there with His angel host as a protection and pledge of victory to His people. The conjectures בא מסיני and בם מסיני (Hitzig) are of no use to us. We must either render it: Sinai is in the sanctuary, i.e., as it were transferred into the sanctuary of Zion; or: a Sinai is it in holiness, i.e., it presents a spectacle such as Sinai presented when God by His appearing surrounded it with holiness. The use of the expression בּקּדשׂ in Psa 68:25, Psa 77:14; Exo 15:11, decides in favour of the latter rendering.
With Psa 68:19 the Psalm changes to prayer. According to Psa 7:8; Psa 47:6, למּרום appears to be the height of heaven; but since in Psa 68:16-18 Zion is spoken of as Jahve's inaccessible dwelling-place, the connection points to מרום ציּון, Jer 31:12, cf. Eze 17:23; Eze 20:40. Moreover the preterites, which under other circumstances we should be obliged to take as prophetic, thus find their most natural explanation as a retrospective glance at David's storming of “the stronghold of Zion” (2Sa 5:6-10) as the deed of Jahve Himself. But we should exceed the bounds of legitimate historical interpretation by referring לקחתּ מתּנות בּאדם to the Nethı̂nim, Ezr 8:20 (cf. Num 17:6), those bondmen of the sanctuary after the manner of the Gibeonites, Jos 9:23. The Beth of באדם is not Beth substantiae: gifts consisting of men, so that these themselves are the thing given (J. D. Michaelis, Ewald), but the expression signifies inter homines, as in Psa 78:60; 2Sa 23:3; Jer 32:20. עלית למּרום mentions the ascending of the triumphant One; שׁבית שּׁבי (cf. Jdg 5:12), the subjugation of the enemy; לקחתּ וגו, the receiving of the gifts betokening homage and allegiance (Deu 28:38, and frequently), which have been presented to Him since He has taken possession of Zion - there He sits enthroned henceforth over men, and receives gifts like to the tribute which the vanquished bring to the victor. These He has received among men, and even (ואף, atque etiam, as in Lev 26:29-32) among the rebellious ones. Or does a new independent clause perhaps begin with ואף סוררים? This point will be decided by the interpretation of the words that follow. Side by side with an infinitive with ל expressing a purpose, the one following noun (here a twofold name) has the assumption against it of being the subject. Is יה אלהים then consequently the object, or is it an apostrophe? If it be taken as the language of address, then the definition of the purpose, לשׁכן, ought, as not being suited to what immediately precedes, to refer back to עלית; but this word is too far off. Thus, therefore, the construction of יה אלהים with לשכן, as its object, is apparently intended (Ewald, Hupfeld): and even the rebellious are to dwell (Ges. §132, rem. 1) with Jāh Elohim descend and dwell; the Syriac version: and even the rebellious will (“not” is probably to be crossed out) dwell before God (יעמדון קדם אלהא); and Jerome: insuper et non credentes inhabitare Dominum Deum. Thus Theodoret also understands the versions of the lxx and of Aquila: “Thou hast not regarded their former disobedience, but notwithstanding their rebellion hast Thou continually been gracious to them ἕως αὐτοὺς oikeetee'rion oikei'on ape'feenas.” The expression, however, sounds too grand to have “the rebellious ones” as its subject, and more particularly in view of Psa 68:7. Hence we take ואף סוררים with בּאדם: and even among rebellious ones (hast Thou received gifts), or: and even rebellious ones (give Thee); and לשׁכן as a clause denoting the purpose, followed by the subject (as e.g., in 2Sa 19:20): in order that Jāh Elohim may dwell, i.e., continue to dwell (as in Psa 68:17, cf. Isa 57:15).
The first half of the Psalm ends here. With the words Jāh Elohim the Psalm has reached a summit upon which it takes its rest. God has broken forth on behalf of His people against their enemies, and He now triumphs over and on behalf of men. The circumstance of Elohim arising is the raise of the final glory, and His becoming manifest as Jāh Elohim is its zenith. Paul (Eph 4:8) gathers up the meaning of Psa 68:19, without following the lxx, in the following manner: ἀναβὰς εἰς ὕψος ᾐχμαλώτευσεν αιχμαλωσίαν καὶ ἔδωκε δόματα τοῖς ἀνθρώποις. Might he perhaps have had the Targum, with which the Syriac version agrees, in his mind at the time: יחבתּא להון מתנן לבני נשׂא? He interprets in the light and in the sense of the history that realizes it. For the ascension of Elohim in its historical fulfilment is none other than the ascension of Christ. This latter was, however, as the Psalm describes it, a triumphal procession (Col 2:15); and what the Victor has gained over the powers of darkness and of death, He has gained not for His own aggrandisement, but for the interests of men. It is מתּנות בּאדם, gifts which He now distributes among men, and which benefit even the erring ones. So the apostle takes the words, inasmuch as he changes ἔλαβες into ἔδωκε. The gifts are the charismata which come down from the Exalted One upon His church.[18]
It is a distribution of gifts, a dispensing of blessing, which stands related to His victory as its primary cause; for as Victor He is also the possessor of blessing, His gifts are as it were the spoils of the victory He has gained over sin, death, and Satan.[19]
The apostle is the more warranted in this interpretation, since Elohim in what follows is celebrated as the Lord who also brings out of death. This praise in the historical fulfilment applies to Him, who, as Theodoret observes on Psa 68:21, has opened up the prison-house of death, which for us had no exit, and burst the brazen doors, and broken asunder the iron bolts,[20] viz., to Jesus Christ, who now has the keys of Death and of Hades.

Verses 19-27 edit

Now begins the second circuit of the hymn. Comforted by the majestic picture of the future that he has beheld, the poet returns to the present, in which Israel is still oppressed, but yet not forsaken by God. The translation follows the accentuation, regular and in accordance with the sense, which has been restored by Baer after Heidenheim, viz., אדני has Zarka, and יעמס לנוּ Olewejored preceded by the sub-distinctive Rebia parvum; it is therefore: Benedictus Dominator: quotidie bajulat nobis, - with which the Targum, Rashi, and Kimchi agree.[21] עמס, like נשׂא and סבל, unites the significations to lay a burden upon one (Zec 12:3; Isa 46:1, Isa 46:3), and to carry a burden; with על it signifies to lay a burden upon any one, here with ל to take up a burden for any one and to bear it for him. It is the burden or pressure of the hostile world that is meant, which the Lord day by day helps His church to bear, inasmuch as He is mighty by His strength in her who of herself is so feeble. The divine name אל, as being the subject of the sentence, is האל: God is our salvation. The music here again strikes in forte, and the same thought that is emphasized by the music in its turn, is also repeated in Psa 68:21 with heightened expression: God is to us a God למושׁעות, who grants us help in rich abundance. The pluralet. denotes not so much the many single proofs of help, as the riches of rescuing power and grace. In Psa 68:21 למּות corresponds to the לנוּ; for it is not to be construed תּוצאות למּות: Jahve's, the Lord, are the outgoings to death (Böttcher), i.e., He can command that one shall not fall a prey to death. תוצאות, the parallel word to מושׁעות, signifies, and it is the most natural meaning, the escapings; יצא, evadere, as in 1Sa 14:41; 2Ki 13:5; Ecc 7:18. In Jahve's power are means of deliverance for death, i.e., even for those who are already abandoned to death. With אך a joyously assuring inference is drawn from that which God is to Israel. The parallelism of the correctly divided verse shows that ראשׁ here, as in Psa 110:6, signifies caput in the literal sense, and not in the sense of princeps. The hair-covered scalp is mentioned as a token of arrogant strength, and unhumbled and impenitent pride, as in Deu 32:42, and as the Attic koma'n directly signifies to strut along, give one's self airs. The genitival construction is the same as in Isa 28:1, Isa 32:13. The form of expression refers back to Num 24:17, and so to speak inflects this primary passage very similarly to Jer 48:45. If קדקד שׂער be an object, then ראשׁ ought also to be a second object (that of the member of the body); the order of the words does not in itself forbid this (cf. Psa 3:8 with Deu 33:11), but would require a different arrangement in order to avoid ambiguities.
In Psa 68:23 the poet hears a divine utterance, or records one that he has heard: “From Bashan will I bring back, I will bring back from the eddies of the sea (from צוּל = צלל, to whiz, rattle; to whirl, eddy), i.e., the depths or abysses of the sea.” Whom? When after the destruction of Jerusalem a ship set sail for Rome with a freight of distinguished and well-formed captives before whom was the disgrace of prostitution, they all threw themselves into the sea, comforting themselves with this passage of Scripture (Gittin 57b, cf. Echa Rabbathi 66a). They therefore took Psa 68:23 to be a promise which has Israel as its object;[22] but the clause expressing a purpose, Psa 68:24, and the paraphrase in Amo 9:2., show that the foes of Israel are conceived of as its object. Even if these have hidden themselves in the most out-of-the-way places, God will fetch them back and make His own people the executioners of His justice upon them. The expectation is that the flight of the defeated foes will take a southernly direction, and that they will hide themselves in the primeval forests of Bashan, and still farther southward in the depths of the sea, i.e., of the Dead Sea (ים as in Isa 16:8; 2Ch 20:2). Opposite to the hiding in the forests of the mountainous Bashan stands the hiding in the abyss of the sea, as the extreme of remoteness, that which is in itself impossible being assumed as possible. The first member of the clause expressing the purpose, Psa 68:24, becomes more easy and pleasing if we read תּרחץ (lxx, Syriac, and Vulgate, ut intingatur), according to Psa 58:11. So far as the letters are concerned, the conjecture תּחמץ (from which תמחץ, according to Chajug', is transposed), after Isa 63:1, is still more natural (Hitzig): that thy foot may redden itself in blood. This is certainly somewhat tame, and moreover מדּם would be better suited to this rendering than בּדם. As the text now stands, תּמחץ[23] is equivalent to תּמחצם (them, viz., the enemies), and רגלך בּדם is an adverbial clause (setting or plunging thy foot in blood). It is, however, also possible that מחץ is used like Arab. machaḍa (vehementer commovere): ut concutias s. agites pedem tuam in sanguine. Can it now be that in Psa 68:24 from among the number of the enemies of the one who goes about glorying in his sins, the רשׁע κατ ̓ ἐξοχήν (cf. Isa 11:4; Hab 3:13, and other passages), is brought prominently forward by מנּהוּ? Hardly so; the absence of תּלק (lambat) cannot be tolerated, cf. 1Ki 21:19; 1Ki 22:38. It is more natural, with Simonis, to refer מנּהוּ back to לשׁון (a word which is usually fem., but sometimes perhaps is masc., Psa 22:16; Pro 26:28); and, since side by side with ממּנוּ only מנהוּ occurs anywhere else (Ew. §263, b), to take it in the signification pars ejus (מן from מנן = מגה, after the form גּז, חן, קץ, of the same meaning as מגה, מנת, Psa 63:11), in favour of which Hupfeld also decides.
What is now described in Psa 68:25-28, is not the rejoicing over a victory gained in the immediate past, nor the rejoicing over the earlier deliverance at the Red Sea, but Israel's joyful celebration when it shall have experienced the avenging and redemptive work of its God and King. According to Psa 77:14; Hab 3:6, הליכות appears to be God's march against the enemy; but what follows shows that the pompa magnifica of God is intended, after He has overcome the enemy. Israel's festival of victory is looked upon as a triumphal procession of God Himself, the King, who governs in holiness, and has now subjugated and humbled the unholy world; בּקּדשׁ as in Psa 68:18. The rendering “in the sanctuary' is very natural in this passage, but Exo 15:11; Psa 77:14, are against it. The subject of ראוּ is all the world, more especially those of the heathen who have escaped the slaughter. The perfect signifies: they have seen, just as קדּמוּ, they have occupied the front position. Singers head the procession, after them (אחר,[24] an adverb as in Gen 22:13; Exo 5:1) players upon citherns and harps (נגנים, participle to נגּן), and on either side virgins with timbrels (Spanish adufe); תּופפות, apocopated part. Poel with the retension of ē (cf. שׁוקקה, Psa 107:9), from תּפף, to strike the תּף (Arab. duff). It is a retrospective reference to the song at the Sea, now again come into life, which Miriam and the women of Israel sang amidst the music of timbrels. The deliverance which is now being celebrated is the counterpart of the deliverance out of Egypt. Songs resound as in Psa 68:27, “in gatherings of the congregation (and, so to speak, in full choirs) praise ye Elohim.” מקהלות (מקהלים, Psa 26:12) is the plural to קהל (Psa 22:23), which forms none of its own (cf. post-biblical קהלּות from קהלּה). Psa 68:27 is abridged from ברכו אדני אשׁר אתם ממקור ישראל, praise ye the Lord, ye who have Israel for your fountainhead. אדני, in accordance with the sense, has Mugrash. Israel is here the name of the patriarch, from whom as from its fountainhead the nation has spread itself abroad; cf. Isa 48:1; Isa 51:1, and as to the syntax ממּך, those who descend from thee, Isa 58:12. In the festive assembly all the tribes of Israel are represented by their princes. Two each from the southern and northern tribes are mentioned. Out of Benjamin was Israel's first king, the first royal victor over the Gentiles; and in Benjamin, according to the promise (Deu 33:12) and according to the accounts of the boundaries (Jos 18:16., Jos 15:7.), lay the sanctuary of Israel. Thus, therefore, the tribe which, according both to order of birth (Gen 43:29.) and also extent of jurisdiction and numbers (1Sa 9:21), was “little,” was honoured beyond the others.[25]
Judah, however, came to the throne in the person of David, and became for ever the royal tribe. Zebulun and Naphtali are the tribes highly praised in Deborah's song of victory (Jdg 5:18, cf. Psa 4:6) on account of their patriotic bravery. רדם, giving no sense when taken from the well-known verb רדם, falls back upon רדה, and is consequently equivalent to רדם (cf. Lam 1:13), subduing or ruling them; according to the sense, equivalent to רדה בם (1 Kings 5:30; 1Ki 9:23; 2Ch 8:10), like המּצלם, not “their leader up,” but ὁ ἀναγαγὼν αὐτοὺς, Isa 63:11, not = רדיהם (like עשׂיהם, ראיהם), which would signify their subduer or their subduers. The verb רדה, elsewhere to subjugate, oppress, hold down by force, Eze 34:4; Lev 25:53, is here used of the peaceful occupation of the leader who maintains the order of a stately and gorgeous procession. For the reference to the enemies, “their subduer,” is without any coherence. But to render the parallel word רגמתם “their (the enemies') stoning” (Hengstenberg, Vaihinger, and others, according to Böttcher's “Proben”), is, to say nothing more, devoid of taste; moreover רגם does not mean to throw stones with a sling, but to stone as a judicial procedure. If we assign to the verb רגם the primary signification congerere, accumulare, after Arab. rajama VIII, and rakama, then רגמתם signifies their closely compacted band, as Jewish expositors have explained it (קהלם או קבוצם). Even if we connect רגם with רקם, variegare, or compare the proper name regem = Arab. rajm , socius (Böttcher), we arrive at much the same meaning. Hupfeld's conjecture רגשׁתם is consequently unnecessary.

Verses 28-35 edit

The poet now looks forth beyond the domain of Israel, and describes the effects of Jahve's deed of judgment and deliverance in the Gentile world. The language of Psa 68:29 is addressed to Israel, or rather to its king (Psa 86:16; Psa 110:2): God, to whom everything is subject, has given Israel עז, victory and power over the world. Out of the consciousness that He alone can preserve Israel upon this height of power upon which it is placed, who has placed it thereon, grows the prayer: establish (עוּזּה with וּ for ŭ, as is frequently the case, and with the accent on the ultima on account of the following Aleph, vid., on Psa 6:5), Elohim, that which Thou hast wrought for us; עזז, roborare, as in Pro 8:28; Ecc 7:19, lxx δυνάμωσον, Symmachus ἐνίσχυσον. It might also be interpreted: show Thyself powerful (cf. רוּמה, 21:14), Thou who (Isa 42:24) hast wrought for us (פּעל as in Isa 43:13, with ל, like עשׂה ל, Isa 64:3); but in the other way of taking it the prayer attaches itself more sequentially to what precedes, and Psa 62:12 shows that זוּ can also represent the neuter. Hitzig has a still different rendering: the powerful divine help, which Thou hast given us; but although - instead of -ת in the stat. construct. is Ephraimitish style (vid., on Psa 45:5), yet עוּזּה for עז is an unknown word, and the expression “from Thy temple,” which is manifestly addressed to Elohim, shows that פּעלתּ is not the language of address to the king (according to Hitzig, to Jehoshaphat). The language of prayerful address is retained in Psa 68:30. From the words מהיכלך על ירושׁלם there is nothing to be transported to Psa 68:29 (Hupfeld); for Psa 68:30 would thereby become stunted. The words together are the statement of the starting-point of the oblations belonging to יובילוּ: starting from Thy temple, which soars aloft over Jerusalem, may kings bring Thee, who sittest enthroned there in the Holy of holies, tributary gifts (שׁי as in Psa 76:12; Psa 18:7). In this connection (of prayer) it is the expression of the desire that the Temple may become the zenith or cynosure, and Jerusalem the metropolis, of the world. In this passage, where it introduces the seat of religious worship, the taking of מן as expressing the primary cause, “because or on account of Thy Temple” (Ewald), is not to be entertained.
In Psa 68:31 follows a summons, which in this instance is only the form in which the prediction clothes itself. The “beast of the reed” is not the lion, of which sojourn among the reeds is not a characteristic (although it makes its home inter arundineta Mesopotamiae, Ammianus, Psa 18:7, and in the thickets of the Jordan, Jer 49:19; Jer 50:44; Zec 11:3). The reed is in itself an emblem of Egypt (Isa 36:6, cf. Psa 19:6), and it is therefore either the crocodile, the usual emblem of Pharaoh and of the power of Egypt (Eze 29:3, cf. Psa 74:13.) that is meant, or even the hippopotamus (Egyptian p - ehe - môut), which also symbolizes Egypt in Isa 30:6 (which see), and according to Job 40:21 is more appropriately than the crocodile (התנין אשׁר בּיּם, Isa 27:1) called היּת קנה. Egypt appears here as the greatest and most dreaded worldly power. Elohim is to check the haughty ones who exalt themselves over Israel and Israel's God. אבּירים, strong ones, are bulls (Psa 22:13) as an emblem of the kings; and עגלי explains itself by the genit. epexeg. עמּים .gexep: together with (Beth of the accompaniment as in Psa 68:31, Psa 66:13, and beside the plur. humanus, Jer 41:15) the calves, viz., the peoples, over whom those bulls rule. With the one emblem of Egypt is combined the idea of defiant self-confidence, and with the other the idea of comfortable security (vid., Jer 46:20.). That which is brought prominently forward as the consequence of the menace is moulded in keeping with these emblems. מתרפּס, which has been explained by Flaminius substantially correctly: ut supplex veniat, is intended to be taken as a part. fut. (according to the Arabic grammar, ḥâl muqaddar, lit., a predisposed condition). It thus comprehensively in the singular (like עבר in Psa 8:9) with one stroke depicts thoroughly humbled pride; for רפס (cf. רמס) signifies to stamp, pound, or trample, to knock down, and the Hithpa. either to behave as a trampling one, Pro 6:3, or to trample upon one's self, i.e., to cast one's self violently upon the ground. Others explain it as conculcandum se praebere; but such a meaning cannot be shown to exist in the sphere of the Hebrew Hithpael; moreover this “suffering one's self to be trampled upon” does not so well suit the words, which require a more active sense, viz., בּרצּי־כסףcep, in which is expressed the idea that the riches which the Gentiles have hitherto employed in the service of God-opposed worldliness, are no offered to the God of Israel by those who both in outward circumstances and in heart are vanquished (cf. Isa 60; 9). רץ־כּסף (from רצץ, confringere) is a piece of uncoined silver, a bar, wedge, or ingot of silver. In בּזּר there is a wide leap from the call גּער to the language of description. This rapid change is also to be found in other instances, and more especially in this dithyrambic Psalm we may readily give up any idea of a change in the pointing, as בּזּר or בּזּר (lxx διασκόρπισον); בּזּר, as it stands, cannot be imperative (Hitzig), for the final vowel essential to the imperat. Piel is wanting. God hath scattered the peoples delighting in war; war is therefore at an end, and the peace of the world is realized.
In Psa 68:32, the contemplation of the future again takes a different turn: futures follow as the most natural expression of that which is future. The form יאתיוּ, more usually found in pause, here stands pathetically at the beginning, as in Job 12:6. השׁמנּים, compared with the Arabic chšm (whence Arab. chaššm, a nose, a word erroneously denied by Gesenius), would signify the supercilious, contemptuous (cf. Arab. âšammun , nasutus, as an appellation of a proud person who will put up with nothing). On the other hand, compared with Arab. ḥšm, it would mean the fat ones, inasmuch as this verbal stem (root Arab. ḥšš , cf. השׁרת, 2Sa 22:12), starting from the primary signification “to be pressed together,” also signifies “to be compressed, become compact,” i.e., to regain one's plumpness, to make flesh and fat, applied, according to the usage of the language, to wasted men and animals. The commonly compared Arab. ḥšı̂m , vir magni famulitii, is not at all natural, - a usage which is brought about by the intransitive signification proper to the verb starting from its radical signification, “to become or be angry, to be zealous about any one or anything,” inasmuch as the nomen verbale Arab. hạšamun signifies in the concrete sense a person, or collectively persons, for whose maintenance, safety, and honour one is keenly solicitous, such as the members of the family, household attendants, servants, neighbours, clients or protègés, guest-friends; also a thing which one ardently seeks, and over the preservation of which one keeps zealous watch (Fleischer). Here there does not appear to be any connecting link whatever in the Arabic which might furnish some hold for the Hebrew; hence it will be more advisable, by comparison of השׁמל and חשׁן, to understand by חשׁמנים, the resplendent, most distinguished ones, perillustres. The dignitaries of Egypt come to give glory to the God of Israel, and Aethiopia, disheartened by fear before Jahve (cf. Hab 3:7), causes his hands to run to Elohim, i.e., hastens to stretch them out. Thus it is interpreted by most expositors. But if it is ידיו, why is it not also יריץ? We reply, the Hebrew style, even in connection with words that stand close beside one another, does not seek to avoid either the enallage generis (e.g., Job 39:3, Job 39:16), or the enall. numeri (e.g., Psa 62:5). But “to cause the hands to run” is a far-fetched and easily misunderstood figure. We may avoid it, if, with Böttcher and Olshausen, we disregard the accentuation and interpret thus, “Cush - his hands cause to hasten, i.e., bring on in haste (1Sa 17:17; 2Ch 35:13), to Elohim,” viz., propitiating gifts; תּריץ being the predicate to ידיו, according to Ges. §146, 3.

Verses 32-34 edit

The poet stands so completely in the midst of this glory of the end, that soaring onwards in faith over all the kingdoms of the world, he calls upon them to render praise to the God of Israel. לרכב attaches itself to the dominating notion of שׁירוּ in Psa 68:33. The heavens of heavens (Deu 10:14) are by קדם described as primeval (perhaps, following the order of their coming into existence, as extending back beyond the heavens that belong to our globe, of the second and fourth day of Creation). God is said to ride along in the primeval heavens of the heavens (Deu 33:26), when by means of the cherub (Psa 18:11) He extends His operations to all parts of these infinite distances and heights. The epithet “who rideth along in the heavens of heavens of the first beginning” denotes the exalted majesty of the superterrestrial One, who on account of His immanency in history is called “He who rideth along through the steppes” (רכב בּערבות, Psa 68:5). In יתּן בּקולו we have a repetition of the thought expressed above in Psa 68:12 by יתּן אמר; what is intended is God's voice of power, which thunders down everything that contends against Him. Since in the expression נתן בּקול (Psa 46:7; Jer 12:8) the voice, according to Ges. §138, rem. 3, note, is conceived of as the medium of the giving, i.e., of the giving forth from one's self, of the making one's self heard, we must take קול עז not as the object (as in the Latin phrase sonitum dare), but as an apposition:[26] behold, He maketh Himself heard with His voice, a powerful voice. Thus let them then give God עז, i.e., render back to Him in praise that acknowledges His omnipotence, the omnipotence which He hath, and of which He gives abundant proof. His glory (גּאוה) rules over Israel, more particularly as its guard and defence; His power (עז), however, embraces all created things, not the earth merely, but also the loftiest regions of the sky. The kingdom of grace reveals the majesty and glory of His redemptive work (cf. Eph 1:6), the kingdom of nature the universal dominion of His omnipotence. To this call to the kingdoms of the earth they respond in v. 36: “Awful is Elohim out of thy sanctuaries.” The words are addressed to Israel, consequently מקדּשׁים is not the heavenly and earthly sanctuary (Hitzig), but the one sanctuary in Jerusalem (Ezek. 21:72) in the manifold character of its holy places (Jer 51:51, cf. Amo 7:9). Commanding reverence - such is the confession of the Gentile world - doth Elohim rule from thy most holy places, O Israel, the God who hath chosen thee as His mediatorial people. The second part of the confession runs: the God of Israel giveth power and abundant strength to the people, viz., whose God He is, equivalent to לעמּו, Psa 29:11. Israel's might in the omnipotence of God it is which the Gentile world has experienced, and from which it has deduced the universal fact of experience, v. 36b. All peoples with their gods succumb at last to Israel and its God. This confession of the Gentile world closes with בּרוּך אלהים (which is preceded by Mugrash transformed out of Athnach). That which the psalmist said in the name of Israel in Psa 68:20, “Blessed be the Lord,” now re-echoes from all the world, “Blessed be Elohim.” The world is overcome by the church of Jahve, and that not merely in outward form, but spiritually. The taking up of all the kingdoms of the world into the kingdom of God, this the great theme of the Apocalypse, is also after all the theme of this Psalm. The first half closed with Jahve's triumphant ascension, the second closes with the results of His victory and triumph, which embrace the world of peoples. ==Prayer out of the Depth of Affliction Borne for the Sake of the Truth==

This Psalm follows Ps 68 because in vv. 36f. the very same thought is expressed in unfigurative language, that we found in Psa 68:11 represented under a figure, viz., Thy creatures dwelt therein. In other respects the two Psalms are as different as day and night. Psalms 69 is not a martial and triumphal Psalm, but a Psalm of affliction which does not brighten until near the close; and it is not the church that is the speaker here, as in the preceding Psalm, but an individual. This individual, according to the inscription, is David; and if David, it is not the ideal righteous man (Hengstenberg), but David the righteous, and that when he was unjustly persecuted by Saul. The description of suffering harmonizes in many points with the Psalms belonging to the time of Saul, even the estrangement of his nearest adherents, Psa 69:9; Psa 31:12 (cf. Psa 27:10); the fasting till he is thoroughly enfeebled, Psa 69:11; Psa 109:24; the curse upon his foes, in which respect Ps 35; Ps 69, and Ps 109 form a fearful gradation; and the inspiriting call to the saints who are his companions in suffering, Psa 69:33; Psa 22:27; Ps 31:25. Were there no doubt about Ps 40 being Davidic, then the Davidic origin of Ps 69 would at the same time be firmly established; but instead of their inscriptions לדוד being mutually confirmatory, they tend, on the contrary, to shake our confidence. These two Psalms are closely related as twin-Psalms: in both the poet describes his suffering as a sinking into a miry pit; in both we meet with the same depreciation of ceremonial sacrifice; the same method of denoting a great multitude, “more than the hairs of my head,” Psa 69:5; Psa 40:13; and the same prospect of the faith of the saints being strengthened, Psa 69:33, Psa 69:7; Psa 40:17, Psa 40:4.
But whilst in Ps 40 it is more the style and in general the outward form than the contents that militate against its Davidic authorship, in Ps 69 it is not so much in form as in subject-matter that we find much that does not accord with David's authorship. For this reason Clericus and Vogel (in his dissertation Inscriptiones Psalmorum serius demum additas videri, 1767) have long ago doubted the correctness of the לדוד; and Hitzig has more fully supported the conjecture previously advanced by Seiler, von Bengel, and others, that Psalms 69, as also Ps 40, is by Jeremiah. The following points favour this view: (1) The martyrdom which the author endured in his zeal for the house of God, in his self-mortification, and in this consuming of himself with the scorn and deadly hostility of his foes; we may compare more particularly Jer 15:15-18, a confession on the part of the prophet very closely allied in spirit to both these Psalms. (2) The murderous animosity which the prophet had to endure from the men of Anathoth, Jer 11:18., with which the complaint of the psalmist in Psa 69:9 fully accords. (3) The close of the Psalm, vv. 35-37, which is like a summary of that which Jeremiah foretells in the Book of the Restoration, Psa 30:1. (4) The peculiar character of Jeremiah's sufferings, who was cast by the princes, as being an enemy to his country, into the waterless but muddy cistern of prince Malchiah (Malkîja) in the court of the guard, and there as it were buried alive. It is true, in Jer 38:6 it is said of this cistern that there was “no water, but only mire,” which seems to contradict the language of the Psalm; but since he sank into the mud, the meaning is that just then there was no water standing in it as at other times, otherwise he must at once have been drowned. Nevertheless, that he was in peril of his life is clear to us from the third kı̂nah (Lam. 3), which in other respects also has many points of close contact with Psalms 69; ; for there in Lam 3:53 he says: “They cut off my life in the pit and cast stones at me. Waters flowed over my head; I thought: I am undone. I called upon Thy name, Jahve, out of the lowest pit. Thou didst hear my cry: Hide not Thine ear from the outpouring of my heart, from my cry for help! Thou didst draw near in the day that I cried, Thou saidst: Fear not." The view of Hitzig, that in Psalms 69 we have this prayer out of the pit, has many things in its favour, and among them, (5) the style, which on the whole is like that of Jeremiah, and the many coincidences with the prophet's language and range of thought visible in single instance. But how could this Psalm have obtained the inscription לדוד? Could it be on account of the similarity between the close of Psalms 69 and the close of Ps 22? And why should not Ps 71, which is to all appearance by Jeremiah, also have the inscription לדוד? Psalms 69 is wanting in that imitative character by which Ps 71 so distinctly points to Jeremiah. Therefore we duly recognise the instances and considerations brought forward against the Jeremianic authorship by Keil (Luth. Zeitschrift, 1860, S. 485f.) and Kurtz (Dorpater Zeitschrift, 1865, S. 58ff.), whilst, on the contrary, we still maintain, as formerly, that the Psalm admits of being much more satisfactorily explained from the life of Jeremiah than that of David.
The passion Psalms are the part of the Old Testament Scriptures most frequently cited in the New Testament; and after Ps 22 there is no Psalm referred to in so many ways as Ps 69. (1) The enemies of Jesus hated Him without a cause: this fact, according to Joh 15:25, is foretold in Psa 69:5. It is more probable that the quotation by John refers to Psa 69:5 than to Psa 35:19. (2) When Jesus drove the buyers and sellers out of the Temple, Psa 35:10 received its fulfilment, according to Joh 2:17 : the fierce flame of zeal against the profanation of the house of God consumes Him, and because of this zeal He is hated and despised. (3) He willingly bore this reproach, being an example to us; Joh 2:10 of our Psalm being, according to Rom 15:3, fulfilled in Him. (4) According to Act 1:20, the imprecation in Psa 69:26 has received its fulfilment in Judas Iscariot. The suffixes in this passage are plural; the meaning can therefore only be that indicated by J. H. Michaelis, quod ille primus et prae reliquis hujus maledictionis se fecerit participem. (5) According to Rom 11:9., Psa 69:23. of the Psalm have been fulfilled in the present rejection of Israel. The apostle does not put these imprecations directly into the mouth of Jesus, just as in fact they are not appropriate to the lips of the suffering Saviour; he only says that what the psalmist there, in the zealous ardour of the prophetic Spirit - a zeal partaking of the severity of Sinai and of the spirit of Elias - invokes upon this enemies, has been completely fulfilled in those who wickedly have laid violent hands upon the Holy One of God. The typically prophetic hints of the Psalm are far from being exhausted by these New Testament quotations. One is reminded, in connection with Psa 69:12, of the mockery of Jesus by the soldiers in the praetorium, Mat 27:27-30; by Psa 69:21, of the offer of vinegar mingled with gall (according to Mar 15:23, wine mingled with myrrh) which Jesus refused, before the crucifixion, Mat 27:34, and of the sponge dipped in vinegar which they put to the mouth of the crucified One by means of a stalk of hyssop, Joh 19:29. When John there says that Jesus, freely and consciously preparing Himself to die, only desired a drink in order that, according to God's appointment, the Scripture might receive its utmost fulfilment, he thereby points back to Psa 22:16 and Psa 69:22. And what an amount of New Testament light, so to speak, falls upon Psa 69:27 when we compare with it Isa 53:1-12 and Zec 13:7! The whole Psalm is typically prophetic, in as far as it is a declaration of a history of life and suffering moulded by God into a factual prediction concerning Jesus the Christ, whether it be the story of a king or a prophet; and in as far as the Spirit of prophecy has even moulded the declaration itself into the language of prophecy concerning the future One.
The Psalm falls into three parts, consisting of the following strophes: (1) 3. 5. 6. 6. 7; (2) 5. 6. 7; (3) 6. 6. 6. 6. 6. Does שׁושׁנּים perhaps point to the preponderating six-line strophes under the emblem of the six-leaved lily? This can hardly be the case. The old expositors said that the Psalm was so inscribed because it treats of the white rose of the holy innocence of Christ, and of the red rose of His precious blood. שׁושׁן properly does not signify a rose; this flower was altogether unknown in the Holy Land at the time this Psalm was written. The rose was not transplanted thither out of Central Asia until much later, and was called ורד (ῥόδον); שׁושׁן, on the other hand, is the white, and in the Holy Land mostly red, lily - certainly, as a plant, a beautiful emblem of Christ. Propter me, says Origen, qui in convalle eram, Sponsus descendit et fit lilium.

Psalm 69 edit

Verses 1-13 edit

Out of deep distress, the work of his foes, the complaining one cries for help; he thinks upon his sins, which is sufferings bring to his remembrance, but he is also distinctly conscious that he is an object of scorn and hostility for God's sake, and from His mercy he looks for help in accordance with His promises. The waters are said to rush in unto the soul (עד־נפשׁ), when they so press upon the imperilled one that the soul, i.e., the life of the body, more especially the breath, is threatened; cf. Jon 2:6; Jer 4:10. Waters are also a figure of calamities that come on like a flood and drag one into their vortex, Psa 18:17; Psa 32:6; Psa 124:5, cf. Psa 66:12; Psa 88:8, Psa 88:18; here, however, the figure is cut off in such a way that it conveys the impression of reality expressed in a poetical form, as in Ps 40, and much the same as in Jonah's psalm. The soft, yielding morass is called יון, and the eddying deep מצוּלה. The Nomen Hophal. מעמד signifies properly a being placed, then a standing-place, or firm standing (lxx ὑπόστασις), like מטּה, that which is stretched out, extension, Isa 8:8. שׁבּלת (Ephraimitish סבּלת) is a streaming, a flood, from שׁבל, Arab. sbl, to stream, flow (cf. note on Psa 58:9). בּוא בּ, to fall into, as in Psa 66:12, and שׁטף with an accusative, to overflow, as in Psa 124:4. The complaining one is nearly drowned in consequence of his sinking down, for he has long cried in vain for help: he is wearied by continual crying (יגע בּ, as in Psa 6:7, Jer 45:3), his throat is parched (נחר from חרר; lxx and Jerome: it is become hoarse), his eyes have failed (Jer 14:6) him, who waits upon his God. The participle מיחל, equal to a relative clause, is, as in 18:51, 1Ki 14:6, attached to the suffix of the preceding noun (Hitzig). Distinct from this use of the participle without the article is the adverbially qualifying participle in Gen 3:8; Sol 5:2, cf. חי, 2Sa 12:21; 2Sa 18:14. There is no necessity for the correction of the text מיּחל (lxx apo' τοῦ elpi'zein me). Concerning the accentuation of רבּוּ vid., on Psa 38:20. Apart from the words “more than the hairs of my head” (Psa 40:13), the complaint of the multitude of groundless enemies is just the same as in Psa 38:20; Psa 35:19, cf. Psa 109:3, both in substance and expression. Instead of מצמיתי, my destroyers, the Syriac version has the reading מעצמותי (more numerous than my bones), which is approved by Hupfeld; but to reckon the multitude of the enemy by the number of one's own bones is both devoid of taste and unheard of. Moreover the reading of our text finds support, if it need any, in Lam 3:52. The words, “what I have not taken away, I must then restore,” are intended by way of example, and perhaps, as also in Jer 15:10, as a proverbial expression: that which I have not done wrong, I must suffer for (cf. Jer 15:10, and the similar complaint in Psa 35:11). One is tempted to take אז in the sense of “nevertheless” (Ewald), a meaning, however, which it is by no means intended to convey. In this passage it takes the place of זאת (cf. οὕτως for ταῦτα, Mat 7:12), inasmuch as it gives prominence to the restitution desired, as an inference from a false assumption: then, although I took it not away, stole it not.
The transition from the bewailing of suffering to a confession of sin is like Psa 40:13. In the undeserved persecution which he endures at the hand of man, he is obliged nevertheless to recognise well-merited chastisement from the side of God. And whilst by אתּה ידעתּ (cf. Psa 40:10, Jer 15:15; Jer 17:16; Jer 18:23, and on ל as an exponent of the object, Jer 16:16; Jer 40:2) he does not acknowledge himself to be a sinner after the standard of his own shortsightedness, but of the divine omniscience, he at the same time commends his sinful need, which with self-accusing modesty he calls אוּלת (Psa 38:6) and אשׁמות (2Ch 28:10), to the mercy of the omniscient One. Should he, the sinner, be abandoned by God to destruction, then all those who are faithful in their intentions towards the Lord would be brought to shame and confusion in him, inasmuch as they would be taunted with this example. קויך designates the godly from the side of the πίστις, and מבקשׁיךa from the side of the ἀγάπη. The multiplied names of God are so many appeals to God's honour, to the truthfulness of His covenant relationship. The person praying here is, it is true, a sinner, but that is no justification of the conduct of men towards him; he is suffering for the Lord's sake, and it is the Lord Himself who is reviled in him. It is upon this he bases his prayer in Psa 69:8. עליך, for thy sake, as in Psa 44:23; Jer 15:15. The reproach that he has to bear, and ignominy that has covered his face and made it quite unrecognisable (Psa 44:16, cf. Psa 83:17), have totally estranged (Psa 38:12, cf. Psa 88:9, Job 19:13-15; Jer 12:6) from him even his own brethren (אחי, parallel word בּני אמּי, as in Psa 50:20; cf. on the other hand, Gen 49:8, where the interchange designedly takes another form of expression); for the glow of his zeal (קנאהּ from קנא, according to the Arabic, to be a deep or bright red) for the house of Jahve, viz., for the sanctity of the sanctuary and of the congregation gathered about it (which is never directly called “the house of Jahve” in the Old Testament, vid., Köhler on Zec 9:8, but here, as in Num 12:7; Hos 8:1, is so called in conjunction with the sanctuary), as also for the honour of His who sits enthroned therein, consumes him, like a fire burning in his bones which incessantly breaks forth and rages all through him (Jer 20:9; Jer 23:9), and therefore all the malice of those who are estranged from God is concentrated upon and against him.
He now goes on to describe how sorrow for the sad condition of the house of God has brought noting but reproach to him (cf. Psa 109:24.). It is doubtful whether נפשׁי is an alternating subject to ואבכּה (fut. consec. without being apocopated), cf. Jer 13:17, or a more minutely defining accusative as in Isa 26:9 (vid., on Psa 3:5), or whether, together with בּצּום, it forms a circumstantial clause (et flevi dum in jejunio esset anima mea), or even whether it is intended to be taken as an accusative of the object in a pregnant construction (= בּכה ושׁפך נפשׁו, Psa 42:5; 1Sa 1:15): I wept away my soul in fasting. Among all these possible renderings, the last is the least probable, and the first, according to Psa 44:3; 83:19, by far the most probable, and also that which is assumed by the accentuation.[27]
The reading of the lxx ואענּה, καὶ συνέκαψα (Olshausen, Hupfeld, and Böttcher), is a very natural (Psa 35:13) exchange of the poetically bold expression for one less choice and less expressive (since ענּה נפשׁ is a phrase of the Pentateuch equivalent to צוּם). The garb of mourning, like the fasting, is an expression of sorrow for public distresses, not, as in Psa 35:13, of personal condolence; concerning ואתּנה, vid., on Psa 3:6. On account of this mourning, reproach after reproach comes upon him, and they fling gibes and raillery at him; everywhere, both in the gate, the place where the judges sit and where business is transacted, and also at carousals, he is jeered at and traduced (Lam 3:14, cf. Lam 5:14; Job 30:9). שׂיח בּ signifies in itself fabulari de... without any bad secondary meaning (cf. Pro 6:22, confabulabitur tecum); here it is construed first with a personal and then a neuter subject (cf. Amo 8:3), for in Psa 69:13 neither הייתי (Job 30:9; Lam 3:14) nor אני (Lam 3:63) is to be supplied. Psa 69:14 tells us how he acts in the face of such hatred and scorn; ואני, as in Psa 109:4, sarcasmis hostium suam opponit in precibus constantiam (Geier). As for himself, his prayer is directed towards Jahve at the present time, when his affliction as a witness for God gives him the assurance that He will be well-pleased to accept it (עת רצון = בעת רצון, Isa 49:8). It is addressed to Him who is at the same time Jahve and Elohim, - the revealed One in connection with the history of redemption, and the absolute One in His exaltation above the world, - on the ground of the greatness and fulness of His mercy: may He then answer him with or in the truth of His salvation, i.e., the infallibility with which His purpose of mercy verifies itself in accordance with the promises given. Thus is Psa 69:14 to be explained in accordance with the accentuation. According to Isa 49:8, it looks as though עת רצון must be drawn to ענני (Hitzig), but Psa 32:6 sets us right on this point; and the fact that ברב־חסדך is joined to Psa 69:14 also finds support from Psa 5:8. But the repetition of the divine name perplexes one, and it may be asked whether or not the accent that divides the verse into its two parts might not more properly stand beside רצון, as in Psa 32:6 beside מצא; so that Psa 69:14 runs: Elohim, by virtue of the greatness of Thy mercy hear me, by virtue of the truth of Thy salvation.

Verses 14-21 edit

In this second part the petition by which the first is as it were encircled, is continued; the peril grows greater the longer it lasts, and with it the importunity of the cry for help. The figure of sinking in the mire or mud and in the depths of the pit (בּאר, Ps 55:24, cf. בור, Psa 40:3) is again taken up, and so studiously wrought out, that the impression forces itself upon one that the poet is here describing something that has really taken place. The combination “from those who hate me and from the depths of the waters” shows that “the depths of the waters” is not a merely rhetorical figure; and the form of the prayer: let not the pit (the well-pit or covered tank) close (תּאטּר with Dagesh in the Teth, in order to guard against its being read תּאטר; cf. on the signification of אטּר, clausus = claudus, scil. manu) its mouth (i.e., its upper opening) upon me, exceeds the limits of anything that can be allowed to mere rhetoric. “Let not the water-flood overflow me” is intended to say, since it has, according to Psa 69:3, already happened, let it not go further to my entire destruction. The “answer me” in Psa 69:17 is based upon the plea that God's loving-kindness is טּוב, i.e., good, absolutely good (as in the kindred passion-Psalm, Psa 109:21), better than all besides (Psa 63:4), the means of healing or salvation from all evil. On Psa 69:17 cf. Psa 51:3, Lam 3:32. In Psa 69:18 the prayer is based upon the painful situation of the poet, which urgently calls for speedy help (מהר beside the imperative, Psa 102:3; Psa 143:7; Gen 19:22; Est 6:10, is certainly itself not an imperative like הרב, Psa 51:4, but an adverbial infinitive as in Psa 79:8). קרבה, or, in order to ensure the pronunciation ḳorbah in distinction from ḳārbah, Deu 15:9, קרבה (in Baer,[28] is imperat. Kal; cf. the fulfilment in Lam 3:57. The reason assigned, “because of mine enemies,” as in Psa 5:9; Psa 27:11, and frequently, is to be understood according to Psa 13:5 : the honour of the all-holy One cannot suffer the enemies of the righteous to triumph over him.[29]
The accumulation of synonyms in Psa 69:20 is Jeremiah's custom, Jer 13:14; Jer 21:5, Jer 21:7; Jer 32:37, and is found also in Ps 31 (Psa 31:10) and Ps 44 (Psa 44:4, Psa 44:17, Psa 44:25). On הרפּה שׁברה לבּי, cf. Psa 51:19, Jer 23:9. The ἅπαξ γεγραμ, ואנוּשׁה (historical tense), from נוּשׁ, is explained by ענוּשׁ from אנשׁ, sickly, dangerously ill, evil-disposed, which is a favourite word in Jeremiah. Moreover נוּד in the signification of manifesting pity, not found elsewhere in the Psalter, is common in Jeremiah, e.g., Psa 15:5; it signifies originally to nod to any one as a sign of a pity that sympathizes with him and recognises the magnitude of the evil. “To give wormwood for meat and מי־ראשׁ to drink” is a Jeremianic (Jer 8:14; Jer 9:14; Jer 23:15) designation for inflicting the extreme of pain and anguish upon one. ראשׁ (רושׁ) signifies first of all a poisonous plant with an umbellated head of flower or a capitate fruit; but then, since bitter and poisonous are interchangeable notions in the Semitic languages, it signifies gall as the bitterest of the bitter. The lxx renders: καὶ ἔδωκαν εἰς τὸ βρῶμά μου χολήν, καὶ εἰς τὴν δίψαν μου ἐπότισάν με ὄξος. Certainly נתן בּ can mean to put something into something, to mix something with it, but the parallel word לצמאי (for my thirst, i.e., for the quenching of it, Neh 9:15, Neh 9:20) favours the supposition that the בּ of בּברוּתי is Beth essentiae, after which Luther renders: “they give me gall to eat.” The ἅπαξ γεγραμ. בּרוּת (Lam 4:10 בּרות) signifies βρῶσις, from בּרה, βιβρώσκειν (root βορ, Sanscrit gar, Latin vor-are).

Verses 22-36 edit

The description of the suffering has reached its climax in Psa 69:22, at which the wrath of the persecuted one flames up and bursts forth in imprecations. The first imprecation joins itself upon Psa 69:22. They have given the sufferer gall and vinegar; therefore their table, which was abundantly supplied, is to be turned into a snare to them, from which they shall not be able to escape, and that לפניהם, in the very midst of their banqueting, whilst the table stands spread out before them (Eze 23:41). שׁלומים (collateral form of שׁלמים) is the name given to them as being carnally secure; the word signifies the peaceable or secure in a good (Psa 55:21) and in a bad sense. Destruction is to overtake them suddenly, “when they say: Peace and safety” (1Th 5:3). The lxx erroneously renders: καὶ εἰς ἀνταπόδοσιν = וּלשׁלּוּמים. The association of ideas in Psa 69:24 is transparent. With their eyes they have feasted themselves upon the sufferer, and in the strength of their loins they have ill-treated him. These eyes with their bloodthirsty malignant looks are to grow blind. These loins full of defiant self-confidence are to shake (המעד, imperat. Hiph. like הרחק, Job 13:21, from המעיד, for which in Eze 29:7, and perhaps also in Dan 11:14, we find העמיד). Further: God is to pour out His wrath upon them (Psa 79:6; Hos 5:10; Jer 10:25), i.e., let loose against them the cosmical forces of destruction existing originally in His nature. זעמּך has the Dagesh in order to distinguish it in pronunciation from זעמך. In Psa 69:26 טירה (from טוּר, to encircle) is a designation of an encamping or dwelling-place (lxx ἔπαυλις) taken from the circular encampments (Arabic ṣı̂rât , ṣirât, and dwâr , duâr) of the nomads (Gen 25:16). The laying waste and desolation of his own house is the most fearful of all misfortunes to the Semite (Job, note to Psa 18:15). The poet derives the justification of such fearful imprecations from the fact that they persecute him, who is besides smitten of God. God has smitten him on account of his sins, and that by having placed him in the midst of a time in which he must be consumed with zeal and solicitude for the house of God. The suffering decreed for him by God is therefore at one and the same time suffering as a chastisement and as a witnessing for God; and they heighten this suffering by every means in their power, not manifesting any pity for him or any indulgence, but imputing to him sins that he has not committed, and requiting him with deadly hatred for benefits for which they owed him thanks.
There are also some others, although but few, who share this martyrdom with him. The psalmist calls them, as he looks up to Jahve, חלליך, Thy fatally smitten ones; they are those to whom God has appointed that they should bear within themselves a pierced or wounded heart (vid., Psa 109:22, cf. Jer 8:18) in the face of such a godless age. Of the deep grief (אל, as in Psa 2:7) of these do they tell, viz., with self-righteous, self-blinded mockery (cf. the Talmudic phrase ספר בלשׁון הרע or ספר לשׁון הרע, of evil report or slander). The lxx and Syriac render יוסיפוּ (προσέθηκαν): they add to the anguish; the Targum, Aquila, Symmachus, and Jerome follow the traditional text. Let God therefore, by the complete withdrawal of His grace, suffer them to fall from one sin into another - this is the meaning of the da culpam super culpam eorum - in order that accumulated judgment may correspond to the accumulated guilt (Jer 16:18). Let the entrance into God's righteousness, i.e., His justifying and sanctifying grace, be denied to them for ever. Let them be blotted out of ספר חיּים (Exo 32:32, cf. Isa 4:3; Dan 12:1), that is to say, struck out of the list of the living, and that of the living in this present world; for it is only in the New Testament that we meet with the Book of Life as a list of the names of the heirs of the ζωὴ αἰώνιος. According to the conception both of the Old and of the New Testament the צדיקים are the heirs of life. Therefore Psa 69:29 wishes that they may not be written by the side of the righteous, who, according to Hab 2:4, “live,” i.e., are preserved, by their faith. With ואני the poet contrasts himself, as in Ps 40:18, with those deserving of execration. They are now on high, but in order to be brought low; he is miserable and full of poignant pain, but in order to be exalted; God's salvation will remove him from his enemies on to a height that is too steep for them (Psa 59:2; Psa 91:14). Then will he praise (הלּל) and magnify (גּדּל) the Name of God with song and thankful confession. And such spiritual תּודה, such thank-offering of the heart, is more pleasing to God than an ox, a bullock, i.e., a young ox (= פּר השּׁור, an ox-bullock, Jdg 6:25, according to Ges. §113), one having horns and a cloven hoof (Ges. §53, 2). The attributives do not denote the rough material animal nature (Hengstenberg), but their legal qualifications for being sacrificed. מקרין is the name for the young ox as not being under three years old (cf. 1Sa 1:24, lxx ἐν μόσχῳ τριετίζοντι); מפריס as belonging to the clean four-footed animals, viz., those that are cloven-footed and chew the cud, Lev. 11. Even the most stately, full-grown, clean animal that may be offered as a sacrifice stands in the sight of Jahve very far below the sacrifice of grateful praise coming from the heart.
When now the patient sufferers (ענוים) united with the poet by community of affliction shall see how he offers the sacrifice of thankful confession, they will rejoice. ראוּ is a hypothetical preterite; it is neither וראוּ (perf. consec.), nor יראוּ (Psa 40:4; Psa 52:8; Psa 107:42; Job 22:19). The declaration conveying information to be expected in Psa 69:33 after the Waw apodoseos changes into an apostrophe of the “seekers of Elohim:” their heart shall revive, for, as they have suffered in company with him who is now delivered, they shall now also refresh themselves with him. We are at once reminded of Psa 22:27, where this is as it were the exhortation of the entertainer at the thank-offering meal. It would be rash to read שׁמע in Psa 69:23, after Psa 22:25, instead of שׁמע (Olshausen); the one object in that passage is here generalized: Jahve is attentive to the needy, and doth not despise His bound ones (Psa 107:10), but, on the contrary, He takes an interest in them and helps them. Starting from this proposition, which is the clear gain of that which has been experienced, the view of the poet widens into the prophetic prospect of the bringing back of Israel out of the Exile into the Land of Promise. In the face of this fact of redemption of the future he calls upon (cf. Isa 44:23) all created things to give praise to God, who will bring about the salvation of Zion, will build again the cities of Judah, and restore the land, freed from its desolation, to the young God-fearing generation, the children of the servants of God among the exiles. The feminine suffixes refer to ערי (cf. Jer 2:15; Jer 22:6 Chethîb). The tenor of Isa 65:9 is similar. If the Psalm were written by David, the closing turn from Psa 69:23 onwards might be more difficult of comprehension than Psa 14:7; 51:20f. If, however, it is by Jeremiah, then we do not need to persuade ourselves that it is to be understood not of restoration and re-peopling, but of continuance and completion (Hofmann and Kurtz). Jeremiah lived to experience the catastrophe he foretold; but the nearer it came to the time, the more comforting were the words with which he predicted the termination of the Exile and the restoration of Israel. Jer 34:7 shows us how natural to him, and to him in particular, was the distinction between Jerusalem and the cities of Judah. The predictions in Jer 32:1, which sound so in accord with Psa 69:36., belong to the time of the second siege. Jerusalem was not yet fallen; the strong places of the land, however, already lay in ruins.

Psalm 70 edit

Cry of a Persecuted One for Help edit

This short Psalm, placed after Ps 69 on account of the kindred nature of its contents (cf. more especially v. 6 with Psa 69:30), is, with but few deviations, a repetition of Psa 40:14. This portion of the second half of Ps 40 is detached from it and converted into the Elohimic style. Concerning להזכּיר, at the presentation of the memorial portion of the mincha, vid., Psa 38:1. It is obvious that David himself is not the author of the Psalm in this stunted form. The לדוד is moreover justified, if he composed the original Psalm which is here modified and appropriated to a special liturgical use.

Verses 1-3 edit

We see at once at the very beginning, in the omission of the רצה (Psa 40:14), that what we have here before us is a fragment of Ps 40, and perhaps a fragment that only accidentally came to have an independent existence. The להצּילני, which was under the government of רצה, now belongs to הוּשׁה, and the construction is without example elsewhere. In Psa 70:3 (= Psa 40:15) יחד and לספּותהּ are given up entirely; the original is more full-toned and soaring. Instead of ישׁמּוּ, torpescant, Psa 70:4 has ישׁוּבוּ, recedant (as in Ps 6:11, cf. Psa 9:18), which is all the more flat for coming after יסגו אחור. In Psa 70:4, after ויאמרים the לי, which cannot here (cf. on the contrary, Psa 35:21) be dispensed with, is wanting.

Verses 4-5 edit

Psa 70:4-5 ויאמרו instead of יאמרו is unimportant. But since the divine name Jahve is now for once chosen side by side with Elohim, it certainly had a strong claim to be retained in Psa 70:5. Instead of תּשׁועתך we have ישׁועתך here; instead of עזרתי, here עזרי. And instead of אדני יחשׁב לי we have here אלהים חוּשׁה־לּי - the hope is turned into petition: make haste unto me, is an innovation in expression that is caused by the taking over of the לי.

Prayer of a Grey-Headed Servant of God for Further Divine Aid edit

The Davidic Psa 70:1-5 is followed by an anonymous Psalm which begins like Ps 31 and closes like Ps 35, in which Psa 71:12, just like Psa 70:2, is an echo of Psa 40:14. The whole Psalm is an echo of the language of older Psalms, which is become the mental property, so to speak, of the author, and is revived in him by experiences of a similar character. Notwithstanding the entire absence of any thorough originality, it has an individual, and in fact a Jeremianic, impress.
The following reasons decide us in considering the Psalm as coming from the pen of Jeremiah: - (1) Its relationship to Psalms of the time of David and of the earlier times of the kings, but after David, leads us down to somewhere about the age of Jeremiah. (2) This anthological weaving together of men's own utterances taken from older original passages, and this skilful variation of them by merely slight touches of his own, is exactly Jeremiah's manner. (3) In solitary instances the style of Ps 69, slow, loose, only sparingly adorned with figures, and here and there prosaic, closely resembles Jeremiah; also to him corresponds the situation of the poet as one who is persecuted; to him, the retrospect of a life rich in experience and full of miraculous guidings; to him, whose term of active service extended over a period of more than thirty years under Zedekiah, the transition to hoary age in which the poet finds himself; to him, the reference implied in Psa 71:21 to some high office; and to him, the soft, plaintive strain that pervades the Psalm, from which it is at the same time clearly seen that the poet has attained a degree of age and experience, in which he is accustomed to self-control and is not discomposed by personal misfortune. To all these correspondences there is still to be added an historical testimony. The lxx inscribes the Psalm τῷ Δαυίδ υἱῷν Ἰωναδάβ καὶ τῶν πρώτων αἰχμαλωτισθέντων. According to this inscription, the τῷ Δαυίδ of which is erroneous, but the second part of which is so explicit that it must be based upon tradition, the Psalm was a favourite song of the Rechabites and of the first exiles. The Rechabites are that tribe clinging to a homely nomad life in accordance with the will of their father, which Jeremiah (Jer 35) holdsup before the men of his time as an example of self-denying faithful adherence to the law of their father which puts them to shame. If the Psalm is by Jeremiah, it is just as intelligible that the Rechabites, to whom Jeremiah paid such a high tribute of respect, should appropriate it to their own use, as that the first exiles should do so. Hitzig infers from Psa 71:20, that at the time of its composition Jerusalem had already fallen; whereas in Ps 69 it is only the cities of Judah that as yet lie in ashes. But after the overthrow of Jerusalem we find no circumstances in the life of the prophet, who is no more heard of in Egypt, that will correspond to the complaints of the psalmist of violence and mockery. Moreover the foe in Psa 71:4 is not the Chaldaean, whose conduct towards Jeremiah did not merit these names. Nor can Psa 71:20 have been written at the time of the second siege and in the face of the catastrophe.

Psalm 71 edit

Verses 1-6 edit

Stayed upon Jahve, his ground of trust, from early childhood up, the poet hopes and prays for deliverance out of the hand of the foe. The first of these two strophes (Psa 71:1-3) is taken from Psa 31:2-4, the second (Psa 71:4-6, with the exception of Psa 71:4 and Psa 71:6) from Psa 22:10-11; both, however, in comparison with Psa 70:1-5 exhibit the far more encroaching variations of a poet who reproduces the language of others with a freer hand. Olshausen wishes to read מעוז in Psa 71:3, Psa 90:1; Psa 91:9, instead of מעון, which he holds to be an error in writing. But this old Mosaic, Deuteronomial word (vid., on Psa 90:1) - cf. the post-biblical oath המעון (by the Temple!) - is unassailable. Jahve, who is called a rock of refuge in Psa 31:3, is here called a rock of habitation, i.e., a high rock that cannot be stormed or scaled, which affords a safe abode; and this figure is pursued still further with a bold remodelling of the text of Psa 31:3 : לבוא תּמיד, constantly to go into, i.e., which I can constantly, and therefore always, as often as it is needful, betake myself for refuge. The additional צוּית is certainly not equivalent to צוּה; it would more likely be equivalent to אשׁר צוית; but probably it is an independent clause: Thou hast (in fact) commanded, i.e., unalterably determined (Psa 44:5; Psa 68:29; Psa 133:3), to show me salvation, for my rock, etc. To the words לבוא תמיד צוית corresponds the expression לבית מצודות in Psa 31:3, which the lxx renders καὶ εἰς οἶκον καταφυγῆς, whereas instead of the former three words it has καὶ εἰς τόπον ὀχυρόν, and seems to have read לבית מבצרות, cf. Dan 11:15 (Hitzig). In Psa 71:5, Thou art my hope reminds one of the divine name מקוה ישׂראל in Jer 17:13; Jer 50:7 (cf. ἡ ἐλπίς ἡμῶν used of Christ in 1Ti 1:1; Col 1:27). נסמכתּי is not less beautiful than השׁלכתּי in Psa 22:11. In its incipient slumbering state (cf. Psa 3:6), and in its self-conscious continuance. He was and is the upholding prop and the supporting foundation, so to speak, of my life. And גוזי instead of גּחי in Psa 22:10, is just such another felicitous modification. It is impracticable to define the meaning of this גוזי according to גּזה = גּזה, Arab. jz ', retribuere (prop. to cut up, distribute), because גּמל is the representative of this Aramaeo-Arabic verb in the Hebrew. Still less, however, can it be derived from גּוּז, transire, the participle of which, if it would admit of a transitive meaning = מוציאי (Targum), ought to be גּזי. The verb גּזה, in accordance with its radical signification of abscindere (root גז, synon. קץ, קד, קט, and the like), denotes in this instance the separating of the child from the womb of the mother, the retrospect going back from youth to childhood, and even to his birth. The lxx σκεπαστής (μου) is an erroneous reading for ἐκσπαστής, as is clear from Psa 22:10, ὁ ἐκσπάσας με. הלּל בּ, Psa 44:9 (cf. שׂיח בּ, Psa 69:13), is at the bottom of the expression in Psa 71:6. The God to whom he owes his being, and its preservation thus far, is the constant, inexhaustible theme of his praise.

Verses 7-12 edit

Brought safely through dangers of every kind, he is become כּמופת, as a wonder, a miracle (Arabic aft from afata, cognate afaka, הפך, to bend, distort: a turning round, that which is turned round or wrenched, i.e., that which is contrary to what is usual and looked for) to many, who gaze upon him as such with astonishment (Psa 40:4). It is his God, however, to whom, as hitherto so also in time to come, he will look to be thus wonderfully preserved: מחסי־עז, as in 2Sa 22:33. עז is a genitive, and the suffix is thrown back (vid., supra, p 171) in order that what God is to, and does for, the poet may be brought forward more clearly and independently [lit. unalloyed]. Psa 71:8 tells us what it is that he firmly expects on the ground of what he possesses in God. And on this very ground arises the prayer of Psa 71:9 also: Cast me not away (viz., from Thy presence, Psa 51:13; Jer 7:15, and frequently) in the time (לעת, as in Gen 8:11) of old age - he is therefore already an old man (זקן), though only just at the beginning of the זקנה. He supplicates favour for the present and for the time still to come: now that my vital powers are failing, forsake me not! Thus he prays because he, who has been often wondrously delivered, is even now threatened by foes. Psa 71:11, introduced by means of Psa 71:10, tells us what their thoughts of him are, and what they purpose doing. לי, Psa 71:10, does not belong to אויבי, as it dies not in Psa 27:2 also, and elsewhere. The ל is that of relation or of reference, as in Psa 41:6. The unnecessary לאמר betrays a poet of the later period; cf. Psa 105:11; Psa 119:82 (where it was less superfluous), and on the contrary, Psa 83:5. The later poet also reveals himself in Psa 71:12, which is an echo of very similar prayers of David in Psa 22:12, Psa 22:20 (Psa 40:14, cf. Psa 70:2), Psa 35:22; Psa 38:22. The Davidic style is to be discerned here throughout in other points also. In place of הישׁה the Kerî substitutes חוּשׁה, which is the form exclusively found elsewhere.

Verses 13-18 edit

In view of Psa 40:15 (Psa 70:3), Psa 35:4, Psa 35:26; Psa 109:29, and other passages, the reading of יכּלמוּ, with the Syriac, instead of יכלוּ in Psa 71:13 commends itself; but there are also other instances in this Psalm of a modification of the original passages, and the course of the thoughts is now climactic: confusion, ruin (cf. Ps 6:11), and in fact ruin accompanied by reproach and shame. This is the fate that the poet desires for his deadly foes. In prospect of this he patiently composes himself, Psa 71:14 (cf. 31:25); and when righteous retribution appears, he will find new matter and ground and motive for the praise of God in addition to all such occasion as he has hitherto had. The late origin of the Psalm betrays itself again here; for instead of the praet. Hiph. הוסיף (which is found only in the Books of Kings and in Ecclesiastes), the older language made use of the praet. Ka. Without ceasing shall his mouth tell (ספּר, as in Jer 51:10) of God's righteousness, of God's salvation for he knows not numbers, i.e., the counting over or through of them (Psa 139:17.);[30] the divine proofs of righteousness or salvation עצמוּ מסּפּר (Psa 40:6), they are in themselves endless, and therefore the matter also which they furnish for praise is inexhaustible. He will tell those things which cannot be so reckoned up; he will come with the mighty deeds of the Lord Jahve, and with praise acknowledge His righteousness, Him alone. Since גּברות, like the New Testament δυνάμεις, usually signifies the proofs of the divine גּבוּרה (e.g., Psa 20:7), the Beth is the Beth of accompaniment, as e.g., in Psa 40:8; Psa 66:13. בּוא בּ, vernire cum, is like Arab. j'â 'b (atâ), equivalent to afferre, he will bring the proofs of the divine power, this rich material, with him. It is evident from Psa 71:18. that בגברות does not refer to the poet (in the fulness of divine strength), but, together with צדקתך, forms a pair of words that have reference to God. לבדּך, according to the sense, joins closely upon the suffix of צדקתך (cf. Ps 83:19): Thy righteousness (which has been in mercy turned towards me), Thine alone (te solum = tui solius). From youth up God has instructed him, viz., in His ways (Psa 25:4), which are worthy of all praise, and hitherto (עד־הנּה, found only in this passage in the Psalter, and elsewhere almost entirely confined to prose) has he, “the taught of Jahve” (למּוּד ה), had to praise the wonders of His rule and of His leadings. May God, then, not forsake him even further on עד־זקנה ושׂיבה. The poet is already old (זקן), and is drawing ever nearer to שׂיבה, silvery, hoary old age (cf. 1Sa 12:2). May God, then, in this stage of life also to which he has attained, preserve him in life and in His favour, until (עד = עד־אשׁר, as in Psa 132:5; Gen 38:11, and frequently) he shall have declared His arm, i.e., His mighty interposition in human history, to posterity (דּור), and to all who shall come (supply אשׁר), i.e., the whole of the future generation, His strength, i.e., the impossibility of thwarting His purposes. The primary passage for this is Psa 22:31.

Verses 19-24 edit

The thought of this proclamation so thoroughly absorbs the poet that he even now enters upon the tone of it; and since to his faith the deliverance is already a thing of the past, the tender song with its uncomplaining prayer dies away into a loud song of praise, in which he pictures it all to himself. Without Psa 71:19-21 being subordinate to עד־אגיד in Psa 71:18, וצדקתך is coupled by close connection with בגורתך. Psa 71:19 is an independent clause; and עד־מרום takes the place of the predicate: the righteousness of God exceeds all bounds, is infinite (Psa 36:6., Psa 57:11). The cry כמוך מי, as in Psa 35:10; Psa 69:9, Jer 10:6, refers back to Exo 15:11. According to the Chethîb, the range of the poet's vision widens in Psa 71:20 from the proofs of the strength and righteousness of God which he has experienced in his own case to those which he has experienced in common with others in the history of his own nation. The Kerî (cf. on the other hand Psa 60:5; Psa 85:7; Deu 31:17) rests upon a failing to discern how the experiences of the writer are interwoven with those of the nation. תּשׁוּב in both instances supplies the corresponding adverbial notion to the principal verb, as in Psa 85:7 (cf. Psa 51:4). תּהום, prop. a rumbling, commonly used of a deep heaving of waters, here signifies an abyss. “The abysses of the earth” (lxx ἐκ τῶν ἀβύσσων τῆς γῆς, just as the old Syriac version renders the New Testament ἄβυσσος, e.g., in Luk 8:31, by Syr. tehūmā') are, like the gates of death (Psa 9:14), a figure of extreme perils and dangers, in the midst of which one is as it were half hidden in the abyss of Hades. The past and future are clearly distinguished in the sequence of the tenses. When God shall again raise His people out of the depth of the present catastrophe, then will He also magnify the גּדלּה of the poet, i.e., in the dignity of his office, by most brilliantly vindicating him in the face of his foes, and will once more (תּסּוב, fut. Niph. like תּשׁוּב ekil .h above) comfort him. He on his part will also (cf. Job 40:14) be grateful for this national restoration and this personal vindication: he will praise God, will praise His truth, i.e., His fidelity to His promises. בּכלי נבל instead of בּנבל sounds more circumstantial than in the old poetry. The divine name “The Holy One of Israel” occurs here for the third time in the Psalter; the other passages are Psa 78:41; Psa 89:19, which are older in time, and older also than Isaiah, who uses it thirty times, and Habakkuk, who uses it once. Jeremiah has it twice (Jer 50:29; Jer 51:5), and that after the example of Isaiah. In Psa 71:23, Psa 71:24 the poet means to say that lips and tongue, song and speech, shall act in concert in the praise of God. תּרנּנּה with Dagesh also in the second Nun, after the form תּקוננּה, תּשׁכּנּה, side by side with which we also find the reading תּרנּנּה, and the reading תּרנּנה, which is in itself admissible, after the form תּאמנה, תּעגנה, but is here unattested.[31]
The cohortative after כּי (lxx ὅταν) is intended to convey this meaning: when I feel myself impelled to harp unto Thee. In the perfects in the closing line that which is hoped for stands before his soul as though it had already taken place. כי is repeated with triumphant emphasis. =Psalm 72= == Prayer for the Dominion of Peace of the Anointed One of God==
This last Psalm of the primary collection, united to Ps 71 by community of the prominent word tsdqtk, appears, as we look to the superscription, Psa 72:20, to be said to be a Psalm of David; so that consequently לשׁלמה designates Solomon as the subject, not the author. But the Lamed of לשׁלמה here and in Psa 127:1 cannot have any other meaning than that which the Lamed always has at the head of the Psalms when it is joined to proper names; it is then always the expression denoting that the Psalm belongs to the person named, as its author. Then in style and general character the Psalm has not the least kinship with the Psalms of David. Characteristic of Solomon, on the other hand, are the movement proverb-like, and for the most part distichic, which has less of original freshness and directness than of an artificial, reflective, and almost sluggish manner, the geographic range of view, the richness in figures drawn from nature, and the points of contact with the Book of Job, which belongs incontrovertibly to the circle of the Salomonic literature: these are coincident signs which are decisive in favour of Solomon. But if Solomon is the author, the question arises, who is the subject of the Psalm? According to Hitzig, Ptolemy Philadelphus; but no true Israelite could celebrate him in this manner, and there is no reliable example of carmina of this character having found their way into the song-book of Israel. The subject of the Psalm is either Solomon (lxx εἰς Σαλωμών) or the Messiah (Targum, “O God, give Thy regulations of right to the King Messiah, למלכּא משׁיחא"). Both are correct. It is Solomon himself to whom the intercession and desires of blessing of this Psalm refer. Solomon, just as David with Psa 20:1-9 and Psa 20:1, put it into the heart and mouth of the people, probably very soon after his accession, it being as it were a church-prayer on behalf of the new, reigning king. But the Psalm is also none the less Messianic, and with perfect right the church has made it the chief Psalm of the festival of Epiphany, which has received its name of festum trium regum out of it.
Solomon was in truth a righteous, benign, God-fearing ruler; he established and also extended the kingdom; he ruled over innumerable people, exalted in wisdom and riches above all the kings of the earth; his time was the most happy, the richest in peace and joy that Israel has ever known. The words of the Psalm were all fulfilled in him, even to the one point of the universal dominion that is wished for him. But the end of his reign was not like the beginning and the middle of it. That fair, that glorious, that pure image of the Messiah which he had represented waxed pale; and with this fading away its development in relation to the history of redemption took a new turn. In the time of David and of Solomon the hope of believers, which was attached to the kingship of David, had not yet fully broken with the present. At that time, with few exceptions, nothing was known of any other Messiah than the Anointed One of God, who was David or Solomon himself. When, however, the kingship in these its two most glorious impersonations had proved itself unable to bring to full realization the idea of the Messiah or of the Anointed One of God, and when the line of kings that followed thoroughly disappointed the hope which clung to the kingship of the present, - a hope which here and there, as in the reign of Hezekiah, blazed up for a moment and then totally died out, and men were driven from the present to look onward into the future, - then, and not until then, did any decided rupture take place between the Messianic hope and the present. The image of the Messiah is now painted on the pure ethereal sky of the future (though of the immediate future) in colours which were furnished by older unfulfilled prophecies, and by the contradiction between the existing kingship and its idea; it becomes more and more, so to speak, an image, super-earthly, super-human, belonging to the future, the invisible refuge and invisible goal of a faith despairing of the present, and thereby rendered relatively more spiritual and heavenly (cf. the Messianic image painted in colours borrowed from our Psalm in Isa. 11, Mic 5:3, Mic 5:6; Zec 9:9.). In order rightly to estimate this, we must free ourselves from the prejudice that the centre of the Old Testament proclamation of salvation [or gospel] lies in the prophecy of the Messiah. Is the Messiah, then, anywhere set forth as the Redeemer of the world? The Redeemer of the world if Jahve. The appearing (parusia) of Jahve is the centre of the Old Testament proclamation of salvation. An allegory may serve to illustrate the way in which the Old Testament proclamation of salvation unfolds itself. The Old Testament in relation to the Day of the New Testament is Night. In this Night there rise in opposite directions two stars of Promise. The one describes its path from above downwards: it is the promise of Jahve who is about to come. The other describes its path from below upwards: it is the hope which rests on the seed of David, the prophecy of the Son of David, which at the outset assumes a thoroughly human, and merely earthly character. These two stars meet at last, they blend together into one star; the Night vanishes and it is Day. This one Star is Jesus Christ, Jahve and the Son of David in one person, the King of Israel and at the same time the Redeemer of the world, - in one word, the God-man.

Verses 1-4 edit

The name of God, occurring only once, is Elohim; and this is sufficient to stamp the Psalm as an Elohimic Psalm. מלך (cf. Psa 21:2) and בּן־מלך are only used without the article according to a poetical usage of the language. The petition itself, and even the position of the words, show that the king's son is present, and that he is king; God is implored to bestow upon him His משׁפּטים, i.e., the rights or legal powers belonging to Him, the God of Israel, and צדקה, i.e., the official gift in order that he may exercise those rights in accordance with divine righteousness. After the supplicatory teen the futures which now follow, without the Waw apodoseos, are manifestly optatives. Mountains and hills describe synecdochically the whole land of which they are the high points visible afar off. נשׂא is used in the sense of נשׂא פּרי Eze 17:8 : may שׁלום be the fruit which ripens upon every mountain and hill; universal prosperity satisfied and contented within itself. The predicate for Psa 72:3 is to be taken from Psa 72:3, just as, on the other hand, בּצדקה, “in or by righteousness,” the fruit of which is indeed peace (Isa 32:17), belongs also to Psa 72:3; so that consequently both members supplement one another. The wish of the poet is this: By righteousness, may there in due season be such peaceful fruit adorning all the heights of the land. Psa 72:3, however, always makes one feel as though a verb were wanting, like תּפרחנה suggested by Böttcher. In Psa 72:4 the wishes are continued in plain unfigurative language. הושׁיע in the signification to save, to obtain salvation for, has, as is frequently the case, a dative of the object. בּני־אביון are those who are born to poverty, just like בּן־מלך, one who is born a king. Those who are born to poverty are more or less regarded, by an unrighteous government, as having no rights.

Verses 5-8 edit

The invocation of Psa 72:1 is continued in the form of a wish: may they fear Thee, Elohim, עם־שׁמשׁ, with the sun, i.e., during its whole duration (עם in the sense of contemporary existence, as in Dan. 3:33). לפני־ירח, in the moonlight (cf. Job 8:16, לפני־שׁמשׁ, in the sunshine), i.e., so long as the moon shines. דּור דּורים (accusative of the duration of time, cf. Psa 102:25), into the uttermost generation which outlasts the other generations (like שׁמי השּׁמים of the furthest heavens which surround the other heavens). The first two periphrastic expressions for unlimited time recur in Psa 89:37., a Psalm composed after the time of Solomon; cf. the unfigurative expression in Solomon's prayer at the dedication of the Temple in 1Ki 8:40. The continuance of the kingship, from the operation of which such continuance of the fear of God is expected, is not asserted until Psa 72:17. It is capricious to refer the language of address in Psa 72:5 to the king (as Hupfeld and Hitzig do), who is not directly addressed either in Psa 72:4, or in Psa 72:6, or anywhere in the Psalm. With respect to God the desire is expressed that the righteous and benign rule of the king may result in the extension of the fear of God from generation to generation into endless ages. The poet in Psa 72:6 delights in a heaping up of synonyms in order to give intensity to the expression of the thoughts, just as in Psa 72:5; the last two expressions stand side by side one another without any bond of connection as in Psa 72:5. רביבים (from רבב, Arab. rbb , densum , spissum esse, and then, starting from this signification, sometimes multum and sometimes magnum esse) is the shower of rain pouring down in drops that are close together; nor is זרזיף a synonym of גּז, but (formed from זרף, Arab. ḏrf, to flow, by means of a rare reduplication of the first two letters of the root, Ew. §157, d) properly the water running from a roof (cf. B. Joma 87a: “when the maid above poured out water, זרזיפי דמיא came upon his head”). גּז, however, is not the meadow-shearing, equivalent to a shorn, mown meadow, any more than גּז, גּזּה, Arabic ǵizza, signifies a shorn hide, but, on the contrary, a hide with the wool or feathers (e.g., ostrich feathers) still upon it, rather a meadow, i.e., grassy plain, that is intended to be mown. The closing word ארץ (accus. loci as in Psa 147:15) unites itself with the opening word ירד: descendat in terram. In his last words (2 Sam. 23) David had compared the effects of the dominion of his successor, whom he beheld as by vision, to the fertilizing effects of the sun and of the rain upon the earth. The idea of Psa 72:6 is that Solomon's rule may prove itself thus beneficial for the country. The figure of the rain in Psa 72:7 gives birth to another: under his rule may the righteous blossom (expanding himself unhindered and under the most favourable circumsntaces), and (may there arise) salvation in all fulness עד־בּלי ירח, until there is no more moon (cf. the similar expression in Job 14:12). To this desire for the uninterrupted prosperity and happiness of the righteous under the reign of this king succeeds the desire for an unlimited extension of his dominion, Psa 72:8. The sea (the Mediterranean) and the river (the Euphrates) are geographically defined points of issue, whence the definition of boundary is extended into the unbounded. Solomon even at his accession ruled over all kingdoms from the Euphrates as far as the borders of Egypt; the wishes expressed here are of wider compass, and Zechariah repeats them predictively (Psa 9:10) with reference to the King Messiah.

Verses 9-11 edit

This third strophe contains prospects, the ground of which is laid down in the fourth. The position of the futures here becomes a different one. The contemplation passes from the home relations of the new government to its foreign relations, and at the same time the wishes are changed into hopes. The awe-commanding dominion of the king shall stretch even into the most distant corners of the desert. ציּים is used both for the animals and the men who inhabit the desert, to be determined in each instance by the context; here they are men beyond all dispute, but in Psa 74:14; Isa 23:13, it is matter of controversy whether men or beasts are meant. Since the lxx, Aquila, Symmachus, and Jerome here, and the lxx and Jerome in Psa 74:14, render Αἰθίοπες, the nomadic tribes right and left of the Arabian Gulf seem traditionally to have been associated in the mind with this word, more particularly the so-called Ichthyophagi. These shall bend the knee reverentially before him, and those who contend against him shall be compelled at last to veil their face before him in the dust. The remotest west and south become subject and tributary to him, viz., the kings of Tartessus in the south of Spain, rich in silver, and of the islands of the Mediterranean and the countries on its coasts, that is to say, the kings of the Polynesian portion of Europe, and the kings of the Cushitish or of the Joktanitish שׁבא and of the Cushitish סבא, as, according to Josephus, the chief city of Meroë was called (vid., Genesis, S. 206). It was a queen of that Joktanitish, and therefore South Arabian Sheba, - perhaps, however, more correctly (vid., Wetzstein in my Isaiah, ii. 529) of the Cushitish (Nubian) Sheba, - whom the fame of Solomon's wisdom drew towards him, 1 Kings 10. The idea of their wealth in gold and in other precious things is associated with both peoples. In the expression השׁיב מנחה (to pay tribute, 2Ki 17:3, cf. Psa 3:4) the tribute is not conceived of as rendered in return for protection afforded (Maurer, Hengstenberg, and Olshausen), nor as an act repeated periodically (Rödiger, who refers to 2Ch 27:5), but as a bringing back, i.e., repayment of a debt, referre s . reddere debitum (Hupfeld), after the same idea according to which obligatory incomings are called reditus (revenues). In the synonymous expression הקריב אשׁכּר the presentation appears as an act of sacrifice. אשׁכּר signifies in Eze 27:15 a payment made in merchandise, here a rent or tribute due, from שׂכר, which in blending with the Aleph prostheticum has passed over into שׂכר by means of a shifting of the sound after the Arabic manner, just as in אשׁכּל the verb שׂכל, to interweave, passes over into שׂכל (Rödiger in Gesenius' Thesaurus). In Psa 72:11 hope breaks through every bound: everything shall submit to his world-subduing sceptre.

Verses 12-15 edit

The confirmation of these prospects is now given. Voluntative forms are intermingled because the prospect extending into the future is nevertheless more lyrical than prophetic in its character. The elevation of the king to the dominion of the world is the reward of his condescension; he shows himself to be the helper and protecting lord of the poor and the oppressed, who are the especial object upon which God's eye is set. He looks upon it as his task to deal most sympathizingly and most considerately (יחס) just with those of reduced circumstances and with the poor, and their blood is precious in his eyes. Psa 72:12 is re-echoed in Job 29:12. The meaning of Psa 72:14 is the same as Psa 116:15. Instead of יקר, by a retention of the Jod of the stem it is written ייקר. Just as in Psa 49:10, ייקר here also is followed by ויחי. The assertion is individualized: and he (who was threatened with death) shall live (voluntative, having reference to the will of the king). But who is now the subject to ויתּן-? Not the rescued one (Hitzig), for after the foregoing designations (Psa 72:11.) we cannot expect to find “the gold of Sheba” (gold from Jeman or Aethiopia) in his possession. Therefore it is the king, and in fact Solomon, of whom the disposal of the gold of Sheba (Saba) is characteristic. The king's thought and endeavour are directed to this, that the poor man who has almost fallen a victim shall live or revive, and not only will he maintain his cause, he will also bestow gifts upon him with a liberal hand, and he (the poor one who has been rescued and endowed from the riches of the king) shall pray unceasingly for him (the king) and bless him at all times. The poor one is he who is restored to life and endowed with gifts, and who intercedes and blesses; the king, however, is the beneficent giver. It is left for the reader to supply the right subjects in thought to the separate verbs. That clearly marked precision which we require in rhetorical recital is alien to the Oriental style (vid., my Geschichte der jüdischen Poesie, S. 189). Maurer and Hofmann also give the same interpretation as we have done.

Verses 16-17 edit

Here, where the futures again stand at the head of the clauses, they are also again to be understood as optatives. As the blessing of such a dominion after God's heart, not merely fertility but extraordinary fruitfulness may be confidently desired for the land פּסּה (ἁπ. λεγ..), rendered by the Syriac version sugo, abundance, is correctly derived by the Jewish lexicographers from פּסס = פּשׂה (in the law relating to leprosy), Mishnic פּסה, Aramaic פּסא, Arabic fšâ, but also fšš (vid., Job, at Psa 35:14-16), to extend, expandere; so that it signifies an abundance that occupies a broad space. בּראשׁ, unto the summit, as in Psa 36:6; Psa 19:5. The idea thus obtained is the same as when Hofmann (Weissagung und Erfüllung, i. 180f.) takes פסּה (from פּסס = אפס) in the signification of a boundary line: “close upon the summit of the mountain shall the last corn stand,” with reference to the terrace-like structure of the heights. פּריו does not refer back to בארץ (Hitzig, who misleads one by referring to Joe 2:3), but to בּר: may the corn stand so high and thick that the fields, being moved by the wind, shall shake, i.e., wave up and down, like the lofty thick forest of Lebanon. The lxx, which renders huperarthee'setai, takes ירעשׁ for יראשׁ, as Ewald does: may its fruit rise to a summit, i.e., rise high, like Lebanon. But a verb ראשׁ is unknown; and how bombastic is this figure in comparison with that grand, but beautiful figure, which we would not willingly exchange even for the conjecture יעשׁר (may it be rich)! The other wish refers to a rapid, joyful increase of the population: may men blossom out of this city and out of that city as the herb of the earth (cf. Job 5:25, where צאצאיך also accords in sound with יציצוּ), i.e., fresh, beautiful, and abundant as it. Israel actually became under Solomon's sceptre as numerous “as the sand by the sea” (1Ki 4:20), but increase of population is also a settled feature in the picture of the Messianic time (Psa 110:3, Isa 9:2; Isa 49:20, Zec 2:8 [4]; cf. Sir. 44:21). If, however, under the just and benign rule of the king, both land and people are thus blessed, eternal duration may be desired for his name. May this name, is the wish of the poet, ever send forth new shoots (ינין Chethib), or receive new shoots (ינּון Kerî, from Niph. ננון), as long as the sun turns its face towards us, inasmuch as the happy and blessed results of the dominion of the king ever afford new occasion for glorifying his name. May they bless themselves in him, may all nations call him blessed, and that, as ויתבּרכוּ בו[32] implies, so blessed that his abundance of blessing appears to them to be the highest that they can desire for themselves. To et benedicant sibi in eo we have to supply in thought the most universal, as yet undefined subject, which is then more exactly defined as omnes gentes with the second synonymous predicate. The accentuation (Athnach, Mugrash, Silluk) is blameless.

Verses 18-19 edit

Closing Beracha of the Second Book of the Psalter. It is more full-toned than that of the First Book, and God is intentionally here called Jahve Elohim the God of Israel because the Second Book contains none but Elohim-Psalms, and not, as there, Jahve the God of Israel. “Who alone doeth wonders” is a customary praise of God, Psa 86:10; Psa 136:4, cf. Job 9:8. שׁם כּבודו is a favourite word in the language of divine worship in the period after the Exile (Neh 9:5); it is equivalent to the שׁם כּבוד מלכוּתו in the liturgical Beracha, God's glorious name, the name that bears the impress of His glory. The closing words: and let the whole earth be full, etc., are taken from Num 14:21. Here, as there, the construction of the active with a double accusative of that which fills and that which is to be filled is retained in connection with the passive; for כבודו is also accusative: let be filled with His glory the whole earth (let one make it full of it). The אמן coupled by means of Waw is, in the Old Testament, exclusively peculiar to these doxologies of the Psalter.

Verse 20 edit

Superscription of the primary collection. The origin of this superscription cannot be the same as that of the doxology, which is only inserted between it and the Psalm, because it was intended to be read with the Psalm at the reading in the course of the service (Symbolae, p. 19). כּלוּ = כּלּוּ, like דּחוּ in Ps 36:13, כּסּוּ, Psa 80:11, all being Pual forms, as is manifest in the accented ultima. A parallel with this verse is the superscription “are ended the words of Job” in Job 31:40, which separates the controversial speeches and Job's monologue from the speeches of God. No one taking a survey of the whole Psalter, with the many Psalms of David that follow beyond Ps 72, could possibly have placed this key-stone here. If, however, it is more ancient than the doxological division into five books, it is a significant indication in relation to the history of the rise of the collection. It proves that the collection of the whole as it now lies before us was at least preceded by one smaller collection, of which we may say that it extended to Ps 72, without thereby meaning to maintain that it contained all the Psalms up to that one, since several of them may have been inserted into it when the redaction of the whole took place. But it is possible for it to have contained Ps 72, wince at the earliest it was only compiled in the time of Solomon. The fact that the superscription following directly upon a Psalm of Solomon is thus worded, is based on the same ground as the fact that the whole Psalter is quoted in the New Testament as Davidic. David is the father of the שׁיר ה, 2Ch 29:27, and hence all Psalms may be called Davidic, just as all משׁלים may be called Salomonic, without meaning thereby that they are all composed by David himself. ==Temptation to Apostasy Overcome== =Psalm 73=

After the one Asaph Psalm of the Second Book, Ps 50, follow eleven more of them from Psalms 73-83. They are all Elohimic, whereas the Korah Psalms divide into an Elohimic and a Jehovic group. Psa 84:1-12 forms the transition from the one to the other. The Elohim-Psalms extend from Psalms 42-84, and are fenced in on both sides by Jahve-Psalms.
In contents Psalms 73 is the counterpart of pendant of Ps 50. As in that Psalm the semblance of a sanctity based upon works is traced back to its nothingness, so here the seeming good fortune of the ungodly, by which the poet felt himself tempted to fall away, not into heathenism (Hitzig), but into that free-thinking which in the heathen world does not less cast off the deisidaimoni'a than it does the belief in Jahve within the pale of Israel. Nowhere does there come to light in the national history any back ground that should contradict the לאסף, and the doubts respecting the moral order of the world are set at rest in exactly the same way as in Ps 37; Ps 49, and in the Book of Job. Theodicy, or the vindication of God's ways, does not as yet rise from the indication of the retribution in this present time which the ungodly do not escape, to a future solution of all the contradictions of this present world; and the transcendent glory which infinitely outweighs the suffering of this present time, still remains outside the range of vision. The stedfast faith which, gladly renouncing everything, holds fast to God, and the pure love to which this possession is more than heaven and earth, is all the more worthy of admiration in connection with such defective knowledge.
The strophe schema of the Psalm is predominantly octastichic: 4. 8. 8. 8; 8. 8. 5. Its two halves are Psa 73:1, Psa 73:15.

Verses 1-2 edit

Psa 73:1-2 אך, belonging to the favourite words of the faith that bids defiance to assault, signifies originally “thus = not otherwise,” and therefore combines an affirmative and restrictive, or, according to circumstances, even an adversative signification (vid., on Psa 39:6). It may therefore be rendered: yea good, assuredly good, or: only good, nothing but good; both renderings are an assertion of a sure, infallible relation of things. God appears to be angry with the godly, but in reality He is kindly disposed towards them, though He send affliction after affliction upon them (Lam 3:25). The words ישראל אלהים are not to be taken together, after Gal 6:16 (τὸν Ἰσραήλ τοῦ Θεοῦ); not, “only good is it with the Israel of Elohim,” but “only good to Israel is Elohim,” is the right apprehension of the truth or reality that is opposed to what seems to be the case. The Israel which in every relationship has a good and loving God is limited in Psa 73:1 to the pure in heart (Psa 24:4; Mat 5:8). Israel in truth are not all those who are descended from Jacob, but those who have put away all impurity of disposition and all uncleanness of sin out of their heart, i.e., out of their innermost life, and by a constant striving after sanctification (Psa 73:13) maintain themselves in such purity. In relation to this, which is the real church of God, God is pure love, nothing but love. This it is that has been confirmed to the poet as he passed through the conflict of temptation, but it was through conflict, for he almost fell by reason of the semblance of the opposite. The Chethîb נטוּי רגלי (cf. Num 24:4) or נטוּי (cf. 2Sa 15:32) is erroneous. The narration of that which is past cannot begin with a participial clause like this, and כּמעט, in such a sense (non multum abfuit quin, like כּאין, nihil abfuit quin), always has the perfect after it, e.g., Psa 94:17; Psa 119:87. It is therefore to be read נטיוּ (according to the fuller form for נטוּ, which is used not merely with great distinctives, as in Psa 36:8; Psa 122:6; Num 24:6, but also with conjunctives out of pause, e.g., Psa 57:2, cf. Psa 36:9, Deu 32:37; Job 12:6): my feet had almost inclined towards, had almost slipped backwards and towards the side. On the other hand the Chethîb שׁפּכה is unassailable; the feminine singular is frequently found as predicate both of a plural subject that has preceded (Psa 18:35, cf. Deu 21:7; Job 16:16) and also more especially of one that is placed after it, e.g., Psa 37:31; Job 14:19. The footsteps are said to be poured out when one “flies out or slips” and falls to the ground.

Verses 3-6 edit

Now follows the occasion of the conflict of temptation: the good fortune of those who are estranged from God. In accordance with the gloominess of the theme, the style is also gloomy, and piles up the full-toned suffixes amo and emo (vid., Psa 78:66; Psa 80:7; Psa 83:12, Psa 83:14); both are after the example set by David. קנּא with Beth of the object ion which the zeal or warmth of feeling is kindled (Psa 37:1; Pro 3:31) here refers to the warmth of envious ill-feeling. Concerning הולל vid., Psa 5:6. Psa 73:3 tells under what circumsntaces the envy was excited; cf. so far as the syntax is concerned, Psa 49:6; Psa 76:11. In Psa 73:4 חרצצבּות (from חרצב = חצּב from חצב, cognate עצב, whence עצב, pain, Arabic ‛aṣâbe, a snare, cf. חבל, ὠδίς, and חבל σχοινίον), in the same sense as the Latin tormenta (from torquere), is intended of pains that produce convulsive contractions. But in order to give the meaning “they have no pangs (to suffer) till their death,” להם (למו) could not be omitted (that is, assuming also that ל, which is sometimes used for עד, vid., Psa 59:14, could in such an exclusive sense signify the terminus ad quem). Also “there are no pangs for their death, i.e., that bring death to them,” ought to be expressed by להם למּות. The clause as it stands affirms that their dying has no pangs, i.e., it is a painless death; but not merely does this assertion not harmonize with Psa 73:18., but it is also introduced too early here, since the poet cannot surely begin the description of the good fortune of the ungodly with the painlessness of their death, and then for the first time come to speak of their healthy condition. We may therefore read, with Ewald, Hitzig, Böttcher, and Olshausen: כי אין חרצבות למו תּם ובריא אולם i.e., they have (suffer) no pangs, vigorous (תּם like תּם, Job 21:23, תמים, Pro 1:12) and well-nourished is their belly; by which means the difficult למותם is got rid of, and the gloomy picture is enriched by another form ending with mo. אוּל, here in a derisive sense, signifies the body, like the Arabic allun , âlun (from âl , coaluit , cohaesit, to condense inwardly, to gain consistency).[33]
The observation of Psa 73:4 is pursued further in Psa 73:5 : whilst one would have thought that the godly formed an exception to the common wretchedness of mankind, it is just the wicked who are exempt from all trouble and calamity. It is also here to be written אינמו, as in Psa 59:14, not אינימו. Therefore is haughtiness their neck-chain, and brutishness their mantle. ענק is a denominative from ענק = αὐχήν: to hang round the neck; the neck is the seat of pride (αὐχεῖν): haughtiness hangs around their neck (like ענק, a neck-ornament). Accordingly in Psa 73:6 המס is the subject, although the interpunction construes it differently, viz., “they wrap round as a garment the injustice belonging to them,” in order, that is, to avoid the construction of יעטף (vid., Ps 65:14) with למו; but active verbs can take a dative of the object (e.g., אהב ל ,, רפא ל) in the sense: to be or to grant to any one that which the primary notion of the verb asserts. It may therefore be rendered: they put on the garment of violence (שׁית חמס like בּגדי נקם, Isa 59:17), or even by avoiding every enallage numeri: violence covers them as a garment; so that שׁית is an apposition which is put forth in advance.

Verses 7-10 edit

The reading עונמו, ἡ ἀδικία αὐτῶν (lxx (cf. in Zec 5:6 the עינם, which is rendered by the lxx in exactly the same way), in favour of which Hitzig, Böttcher, and Olshausen decide, “their iniquity presses forth out of a fat heart, out of a fat inward part,” is favoured by Psa 17:10, where חלב obtains just this signification by combination with סגר, which it would obtain here as being the place whence sin issues; cf. ἐξέρχεσθαι ἐκ τῆς καρδίας, Mat 15:18.; and the parallelism decides its superiority. Nevertheless the traditional reading also gives a suitable sense; not (since the fat tends to make the eyes appear to be deeper in) “their eyes come forward prae adipe,” but, “they stare forth ex adipe, out of the fat of their bloated visage,” מחלב being equivalent to מחלב פּניהם, Job 15:27. This is a feature of the character faithfully drawn after nature. Further, just as in general τὸ περίσσευμα τῆς καρδίας wells over in the gestures and language (Mat 12:34), so is it also with their “views or images of the heart” (from שׂכה, like שׂכוי, the cock with its gift of divination as speculator): the illusions of their unbounded self-confidence come forth outwardly, they overflow after the manner of a river,[34] viz., as Psa 73:8 says, in words that are proud beyond measure (Jer 5:28). Luther: “they destroy everything” (synon. they make it as or into rottenness, from מקק). But חמיק is here equivalent to the Aramaic מיּק (μωκᾶσθαι): they mock and openly speak ברע (with ā in connection with Munach transformed from Dechî), with evil disposition (cf. Exo 32:12), oppression; i.e., they openly express their resolve which aims at oppression. Their fellow-man is the sport of their caprice; they speak or dictate ממּרום, down from an eminence, upon which they imagine themselves to be raised high above others. Even in the heavens above do they set (שׁתּוּ as in Psa 49:15 instead of שׁתוּ, - there, in accordance with tradition, Milel; here at the commencement of the verse Milra) their mouth; even these do not remain untouched by their scandalous language (cf. Jud 1:16); the Most High and Holy One, too, is blasphemed by them, and their tongue runs officiously and imperiously through the earth below, everywhere disparaging that which exists and giving new laws. תּהלך, as in Exo 9:23, a Kal sounding much like Hithpa., in the signification grassari. In Psa 73:10 the Chethîb ישׁיב (therefore he, this class of man, turns a people subject to him hither, i.e., to himself) is to be rejected, because הלם is not appropriate to it. עמּו is the subject, and the suffix refers not to God (Stier), whose name has not been previously mentioned, but to the kind of men hitherto described: what is meant is the people which, in order that it may turn itself hither (שׁוּב, not: to turn back, but to turn one's self towards, as e.g., in Jer 15:19)[35] becomes his, i.e., this class's people (cf. for this sense of the suffix as describing the issue or event, Psa 18:24; Psa 49:6; Psa 65:12). They gain adherents (Psa 49:14) from those who leave the fear of God and turn to them; and מי מלא, water of fulness, i.e., of full measure (cf. Psa 74:15, streams of duration = that do not dry up), which is here an emblem of their corrupt principles (cf. Job 15:16), is quaffed or sucked in (מצה, root מץ, whence first of all מצץ, Arab. mṣṣ, to suck) by these befooled ones (למו, αὐτοῖς = ὑπ ̓ αὐτῶν). This is what is meant to be further said, and not that this band of servile followers is in fulness absorbed by them (Sachs). Around the proud free-thinkers there gathers a rabble submissive to them, which eagerly drinks in everything that proceeds from them as though it were the true water of life. Even in David's time (Psa 10:4; Psa 14:1; Psa 36:2) there were already such stout spirits (Isa 46:12) with a servûm imitatorum pecus. A still far more favourable soil for these לצים was the worldly age of Solomon.

Verses 11-14 edit

The persons speaking are now those apostates who, deluded by the good fortune and free-thinking of the ungodly, give themselves up to them as slaves. concerning the modal sense of ידע, quomodo sciverit, vid., Psa 11:3, cf. Job 22:13. With וישׁ the doubting question is continued. Böttcher renders thus: nevertheless knowledge is in the Most High (a circumstantial clause like Pro 3:28; Mal 1:14; Jdg 6:13); but first of all they deny God's actual knowledge, and then His attributive omniscience. It is not to be interpreted: behold, such are (according to their moral nature) the ungodly (אלּה, tales, like זה, Ps 48:15, Deu 5:26, cf. המּה, Isa 56:11); nor, as is more in accordance with the parallel member Psa 73:12 and the drift of the Psalm: behold, thus it befalleth the ungodly (such as they according to their lot, as in Job 18:21, cf. Isa 20:6); but, what forms a better connection as a statement of the ground of the scepticism in Psa 73:11, either, in harmony with the accentuation: behold, the ungodly, etc., or, since it is not הרשׁעים: behold, these are ungodly, and, ever reckless (Jer 12:1), they have acquired great power. With the bitter הנּה, as Stier correctly observes, they bring forward the obvious proof to the contrary. How can God be said to be the omniscient Ruler of the world? - the ungodly in their carnal security become very powerful and mighty, but piety, very far from being rewarded, is joined with nothing but misfortune. My striving after sanctity (cf. Pro 20:9), my abstinence from all moral pollution (cf. Pro 26:6), says he who has been led astray, has been absolutely (אך as in 1Sa 25:21) in vain; I was notwithstanding (Ew. §345, a) incessantly tormented (cf. Psa 73:5), and with every morning's dawn (לבּקרים, as in Psa 101:8, cf. לבקרים in Job 7:18) my chastitive suffering was renewed. We may now supply the conclusion in thought in accordance with Psa 73:10 : Therefore have I joined myself to those who never concern themselves about God and at the same time get on better.

Verses 15-18 edit

To such, doubt is become the transition to apostasy. The poet has resolved the riddle of such an unequal distribution of the fortunes of men in a totally different way. Instead of כּמו in Psa 73:15, to read כּמוהם (Böttcher), or better, by taking up the following הנה, which even Saadia allows himself to do, contrary to the accents (Arab. mṯl hḏâ), כּמו הנּה (Ewald), is unnecessary, since prepositions are sometimes used elliptically (כּעל, Isa 59:18), or even without anything further (Hos 7:16; Hos 11:7) as adverbs, which must therefore be regarded as possible also in the case of כּמו (Aramaic, Arabic כּמא, Aethiopic kem). The poet means to say, If I had made up my mind to the same course of reasoning, I should have faithlessly forsaken the fellowship of the children of God, and should consequently also have forfeited their blessings. The subjunctive signification of the perfects in the hypothetical protasis and apodosis, Psa 73:15 (cf. Jer 23:22), follows solely from the context; futures instead of perfects would signify si dicerem...perfide agerem. דּור בּניך is the totality of those, in whom the filial relationship in which God has placed Isreal in relation to Himself is become an inward or spiritual reality, the true Israel, Psa 73:1, the “righteous generation,” Psa 14:5. It is an appellative, as in Deu 14:1; Hos 2:1. For on the point of the uhiothesi'a the New Testament differs from the Old Testament in this way, viz., that in the Old Testament it is always only as a people that Israel is called בן, or as a whole בנים, but that the individual, and that in his direct relationship to God, dared not as yet call himself “child of God.” The individual character is not as yet freed from its absorption in the species, it is not as yet independent; it is the time of the minor's νηπιότης, and the adoption is as yet only effected nationally, salvation is as yet within the limits of the nationality, its common human form has not as yet appeared. The verb בּגד with בּ signifies to deal faithlessly with any one, and more especially (whether God, a friend, or a spouse) faithlessly to forsake him; here, in this sense of malicious desertion, it contents itself with the simple accusative.
On the one side, by joining in the speech of the free-thinkers he would have placed himself outside the circle of the children of God, of the truly pious; on the other side, however, when by meditation he sought to penetrate it (לדעת), the doubt-provoking phenomenon (זאת) still continued to be to him עמל, trouble, i.e., something that troubled him without any result, an unsolvable riddle (cf. Ecc 8:17). Whether we read הוּא or היא, the sense remains the same; the Kerî הוּא prefers, as in Job 31:11, the attractional gender. Neither here nor in Job 30:26 and elsewhere is it to be supposed that ואחשׁבה is equivalent to ואחשׁבה (Ewald, Hupfeld). The cohortative from of the future here, as frequently (Ges. §128, 1), with or without a conditional particle (Psa 139:8; 2Sa 22:38; Job 16:6; Job 11:17; Job 19:18; Job 30:26), forms a hypothetical protasis: and (yet) when I meditated; Symmachus (according to Montfaucon), ει ̓ ἐλογιζόμην. As Vaihinger aptly observes, “thinking alone will give neither the right light nor true happiness.” Both are found only in faith. The poet at last struck upon the way of faith, and there he found light and peace. The future after עד frequently has the signification of the imperfect subjunctive, Job 32:11; Ecc 2:3, cf. Pro 12:19 (donec nutem = only a moment); also in an historical connection like Jos 10:13; 2Ch 29:34, it is conceived of as subjunctive (donec ulciseretur, se sanctificarent), sometimes, however, as indicative, as in Exo 15:16 (donec transibat) and in our passage, where אד introduces the objective goal at which the riddle found its solution: until I went into the sanctuary of God, (purposely) attended to (ל as in the primary passage Deu 32:29, cf. Job 14:21) their life's end. The cohortative is used here exactly as in ואבינה, but with the collateral notion of that which is intentional, which here fully accords with the connection. He went into God's dread sanctuary (plural as in Ps 68:36, cf. מקדּשׁ in the Psalms of Asaph, Psa 67:7; Psa 78:69); here he prayed for light in the darkness of his conflict, here were his eyes opened to the holy plans and ways of God (Psa 77:14), here the sight of the sad end of the evil-doers was presented to him. By “God's sanctuaries” Ewald and Hitzig understand His secrets; but this meaning is without support in the usage of the language. And is it not a thought perfectly in harmony with the context and with experience, that a light arose upon him when he withdrew from the bustle of the world into the quiet of God's dwelling - place, and there devoutly gave his mind to the matter?
The strophe closes with a summary confession of the explanation received there. שׁית is construed with Lamed inasmuch as collocare is equivalent to locum assignare (vid., Psa 73:6). God makes the evil-doers to stand on smooth, slippery places, where one may easily lose one's footing (cf. Psa 35:6; Jer 23:12). There, then, they also inevitably fall; God casts them down למשּׁוּאות, into ruins, fragores = ruinae, from שׁוא = שׁאה, to be confused, desolate, to rumble. The word only has the appearance of being from נשׁא: ensnarings, sudden attacks (Hitzig), which is still more ill suited to Psa 74:3 than to this passage; desolation and ruin can be said even of persons, as הרס, Psa 28:5, ונשׁבּרוּ, Isa 8:15, נפּץ, Jer 51:21-23. The poet knows no other theodicy but this, nor was any other known generally in the pre-exilic literature of Israel (vid., Ps 37; Psa 39:1-13, Jer. 12, and the Job 1:1). The later prophecy and the Chokma were much in advance of this, inasmuch as they point to a last universal judgment (vid., more particularly Mal 3:13.), but not one that breaks off this present state; the present state and the future state, time and eternity, are even there not as yet thoroughly separated.

Verses 19-22 edit

The poet calms himself with the solution of the riddle that has come to him; and it would be beneath his dignity as a man to allow himself any further to be tempted by doubting thoughts. Placing himself upon the standpoint of the end, he sees how the ungodly come to terrible destruction in a moment: they come to an end (ספוּ from סוּף, not ספה), it is all over with them (תּמּוּ) in consequence of (מן as in Psa 76:7, and unconnected as in Psa 18:4; Psa 30:4; Psa 22:14) frightful occurrences (בּלּהות, a favourite word, especially in the Book of Job), which clear them out of the way. It is with them as with a dream, after (מן as in 1Ch 8:8) one is awoke. One forgets the vision on account of its nothingness (Job 20:8). So the evil-doers who boast themselves μετὰ πολλῆς φαντασίας (Act 25:23) are before God a צלם, a phantom or unsubstantial shadow. When He, the sovereign Lord, shall awake, i.e., arouse Himself to judgment after He has looked on with forbearance, then He will despise their shadowy image, will cast it contemptuously from Him. Luther renders, So machstu Herr jr Bilde in der Stad verschmecht (So dost Thou, Lord, make their image despised in the city). But neither has the Kal בּזה this double transitive signification, “to give over to contempt,” nor is the mention of the city in place here. In Hos 11:9 also בּעיר in the signification in urbem gives no right sense; it signifies heat of anger or fury, as in Jer 15:8, heat of anguish, and Schröder maintains the former signification (vid., on Psa 139:20), in fervore (irae), here also; but the pointing בּעיר is against it. Therefore בּעיר is to be regarded, with the Targum, as syncopated from בּהעיר (cf. לביא, Jer 39:7; 2Ch 31:10; בּכּשׁלו, Pro 24:17, and the like); not, however, to be explained, “when they awake,” viz., from the sleep of death (Targum),[36] or after Psa 78:38, “when Thou awakest them,” viz., out of their sleep of security (De Wette, Kurtz), but after Psa 35:23, “when Thou awakest,” viz., to sit in judgment.
Thus far we have the divine answer, which is reproduced by the poet after the manner of prayer. Hengstenberg now goes on by rendering it, “for my heart was incensed;” but we cannot take יתחמּץ according to the sequence of tenses as an imperfect, nor understand כּי as a particle expression the reason. On the contrary, the poet, from the standpoint of the explanation he has received, speaks of a possible return (כּי seq. fut. = ἐάν) of his temptation, and condemns it beforehand: si exacerbaretur animus meus atque in renibus meis pungerer. התחמּץ, to become sour, bitter, passionate; השׁתּונן, with the more exactly defining accusative כּליותי, to be pricked, piqued, irritated. With ואני begins the apodosis: then should I be... I should have become (perfect as in Psa 73:15, according to Ges. §126, 5). Concerning לא ידע, non sapere, vid., Psa 14:4. בּהמות can be taken as compar. decurtata for כּבהמות; nevertheless, as apparently follows from Job 40:15, the poet surely has the p - ehe - mou, the water ox, i.e., the hippopotamus, in his mind, which being Hebraized is בּהמות,[37] and, as a plump colossus of flesh, is at once an emblem of colossal stupidity (Maurer, Hitzig). The meaning of the poet is, that he would not be a man in relation to God, over against God (עם, as in Psa 78:37; Job 9:2, cf. Arab. ma‛a, in comparison with), if he should again give way to the same doubts, but would be like the most stupid animal, which stands before God incapable of such knowledge as He willingly imparts to earnestly inquiring man.

Verses 23-26 edit

But he does not thus deeply degrade himself: after God has once taken him by the right hand and rescued him from the danger of falling (Psa 73:2), he clings all the more firmly to Him, and will not suffer his perpetual fellowship with Him to be again broken through by such seizures which estrange him from God. confidently does he yield up himself to the divine guidance, though he may not see through the mystery of the plan (עצה) of this guidance. He knows that afterwards (אחר with Mugrash: adverb as in Psa 68:26), i.e., after this dark way of faith, God will כבוד receive him, i.e., take him to Himself, and take him from all suffering (לקח as in Psa 49:16, and of Enoch, Gen 5:24). The comparison of Zec 2:12 [8] is misleading; there אחר is rightly accented as a preposition: after glory hath He sent me forth (vid., Köhler), and here as an adverb; for although the adverbial sense of אחר would more readily lead one to look for the arrangement of the words ואחר תקחני כבוד, still “to receive after glory” (cf. the reverse Isa 58:8) is an awkward thought. כבוד, which as an adjective “glorious” (Hofmann) is alien to the language, is either accusative of the goal (Hupfeld), or, which yields a form of expression that is more like the style of the Old Testament, accusative of the manner (Luther, “with honour”). In אחר the poet comprehends in one summary view what he looks for at the goal of the present divine guidance. The future is dark to him, but lighted up by the one hope that the end of his earthly existence will be a glorious solution of the riddle. Here, as elsewhere, it is faith which breaks through not only the darkness of this present life, but also the night of Hades. At that time there was as yet no divine utterance concerning any heavenly triumph of the church, militant in the present world, but to faith the Jahve-Name had already a transparent depth which penetrated beyond Hades into an eternal life. The heaven of blessedness and glory also is nothing without God; but he who can in love call God his, possesses heaven upon earth, and he who cannot in love call God his, would possess not heaven, but hell, in the midst of heaven. In this sense the poet says in Psa 73:25 : whom have I in heaven? i.e., who there without Thee would be the object of my desire, the stilling of my longing? without Thee heaven with all its glory is a vast waste and void, which makes me indifferent to everything, and with Thee, i.e., possessing Thee, I have no delight in the earth, because to call Thee mine infinitely surpasses every possession and every desire of earth. If we take בּארץ still more exactly as parallel to בּשּׁמים, without making it dependent upon חפצתּי: and possessing Thee I have no desire upon the earth, then the sense remains essentially the same; but if we allow בארץ to be governed by חפצתי in accordance with the general usage of the language, we arrive at this meaning by the most natural way. Heaven and earth, together with angels and men, afford him no satisfaction - his only friend, his sole desire and love, is God. The love for God which David expresses in Psa 16:2 in the brief utterance, “Thou art my Lord, Thou art my highest good,” is here expanded with incomparable mystical profoundness and beauty. Luther's version shows his master-hand. The church follows it in its “Herzlich lieb hab' ich dich” when it sings - “The whole wide world delights me not,
For heaven and earth, Lord, care I not,
If I may but have Thee;” and following it, goes on in perfect harmony with the text of our Psalm - “Yea, though my heart be like to break,
Thou art my trust that nought can shake;”[38] or with Paul Gerhard, [in his Passion-hymn “Ein Lämmlein geht und trägt die Schuld der Welt und ihrer Kinder,” “Light of my heart, that shalt Thou be;
And when my heart in pieces breaks,
Thou shalt my heart remain.”
For the hypothetical perfect כּלה expresses something in spite of which he upon whom it may come calls God his God: licet defecerit. Though his outward and inward man perish, nevertheless God remains ever the rock of his heart as the firm ground upon which he, with his ego, remains standing when everything else totters; He remains his portion, i.e., the possession that cannot be taken from him, if he loses all, even his spirit-life pertaining to the body, - and God remains to him this portion לעולם, he survives with the life which he has in God the death of the old life. The poet supposes an extreme case, - one, that is, it is true, impossible, but yet conceivable, - that his outward and inward being should sink away; even then with the merus actus of his ego he will continue to cling to God. In the midst of the natural life of perishableness and of sin, a new, individual life which is resigned to God has begun within him, and in this he has the pledge that he cannot perish, so truly as God, with whom it is closely united, cannot perish. It is just this that is also the nerve of the proof of the resurrection of the dead which Jesus advances in opposition to the Sadducees (Mat 22:32).

Verses 27-28 edit

The poet here once more gives expression to the great opposites into which good fortune and misfortune are seemingly, but only seemingly, divided in a manner so contradictory to the divine justice. The central point of the confirmation that is introduced with כּי lies in Psa 73:28. “Thy far removing ones” was to be expressed with רחק, which is distinct from רחוק. זנה has מן instead of מתּחת or מאחרי after it. Those who remove themselves far from the primary fountain of life fall a prey to ruin; those who faithlessly abandon God, and choose the world with its idols rather than His love, fall a prey to destruction. Not so the poet; the nearness of God, i.e., a state of union with God, is good to him, i.e., (cf. Psa 119:71.) he regards as his good fortune. קרבה is nom. act. after the form יקהה, Arab. waqhat, obedience, and נצּרה, a watch, Psa 141:3, and of essentially the same signification with ḳurba (קרבה), the Arabic designation of the unio mystica; cf. Jam 4:8, ἐγγίσατε τῷ Θεῷ καὶ ἐγγιεῖ ὑμῖν. Just as קרבת אלהים stands in antithesis to רחקיך, so לי טּוב stands in antithesis to יאבדו and הצמתה. To the former their alienation from God brings destruction; he finds in fellowship with God that which is good to him for the present time and for the future. Putting his confidence (מחסּי, not מחסי) in Him, he will declare, and will one day be able to declare, all His מלאכות, i.e., the manifestations or achievements of His righteous, gracious, and wise government. The language of assertion is quickly changed into that of address. The Psalm closes with an upward look of grateful adoration to God beforehand, who leads His own people, ofttimes wondrously indeed, but always happily, viz., through suffering to glory. ==Appeal to God against Religious Persecution, in Which the Temple Is Violated==
The מזמור 73 is here followed by a Maskı̂l (vid., Psa 32:1) which, in common with the former, has the prominent, rare word משּׁוּאות (Psa 74:3; Psa 73:18), but also the old Asaphic impress. We here meet with the favourite Asaphic contemplation of Israel as a flock, and the predilection of the Asaphic Psalms for retrospective references to Israel's early history (Psa 74:13-15). We also find the former of these two characteristic features in Psa 79:1-13, which reflects the same circumstances of the times. Moreover Jeremiah stands in the same relationship to both Psalms. In Jer 10:25; Psa 79:6. is repeated almost word for word. And one is reminded of Psalms 74 by Lam 2:2 (cf. Psa 74:7), Psa 2:7 (cf. Psa 74:4), and other passages. The lament “there is no prophet any more” (Psa 74:9) sounds very much like Lam 2:9. In connection with Jeremiah's reproductive manner, and his habit of allowing himself to be prompted to new thoughts by the original passages by means of the association of ideas (cf. כּיום מועד, Lam 2:7, with בּקרב מועדך of the Psalm), it is natural to assign the priority in age to the two Asaphic national lamentation Psalms.
But the substance of both Psalms, which apparently brings us down not merely into the Chaldaean, but even into the Maccabaean age, rises up in opposition to it. After his return from the second Egyptian expedition (170 b.c.) Antiochus Epiphanes chastised Jerusalem, which had been led into revolt by Jason, in the most cruel manner, entered the Temple accompanied by the court high priest Menalaus, and carried away the most costly vessels, and even the gold of the walls and doors, with him. Myriads of the Jews were at that time massacred or sold as slaves. Then during the fourth Egyptian expedition (168) of Antiochus, when a party favourably disposed towards the Ptolemies again arose in Jerusalem, he sent Apollonius to punish the offenders (167), and his troops laid the city waste with fire and sword, destroyed houses and walls, burnt down several of the Temple-gates and razed many of its apartments. Also on this occasion thousands were slain and led away captive. Then began the attempt of Antiochus to Hellenize the Jewish nation. An aged Athenian was entrusted with the carrying out of this measure. Force was used to compel the Jews to accept the heathen religion, and in fact to serve Olympian Zeus (Jupiter): on the 15th of Chislev a smaller altar was erected upon the altar of burnt-offering in the Temple, and on the 25th of Chislev the first sacrifice was offered to Olympian Zeus in the Temple of Jahve, now dedicated to him. Such was the position of affairs when a band of faithful confessors rallied around the Asmonaean (Hasmonaean) priest Mattathias.
How strikingly does much in both Psalms, more particularly in Ps 74, harmonize with this position of affairs! At that time it was felt more painfully than ever that prophecy had become dumb, 1 Macc. 4:46; 9:27; 14:41. The confessors and martyrs who bravely declared themselves were called, as in Psa 79:2, חסידים, Ἀσιδαῖοι. At that time “they saw,” as 1 Macc. 4:38 says, “the sanctuary desolate, and the altar profaned, and the gates burnt up, and shrubs growing in the courts as in a forest, or as in one of the mountains, yea, and the priests' chambers pulled down.” the doors of the Temple-gates were burned to ashes (cf. 2 Macc. 8:33; 1:8). The religious אותות (Psa 74:4) of the heathen filled the place where Jahve was wont to reveal Himself. Upon the altar of the court stood the βδέλυγμα ἐρημώσεως; in the courts they had planted trees, and likewise the “signs” of heathendom; and the לשׁכות (παστοφόρια) lay in ruins. When later on, under Demetrius Stoer (161), Alcimus (an apostate whom Antiochus had appointed high priest) and Bacchides advanced with promises of peace, but with an army at the same time, a band of scribes, the foremost of the Asidai'oi of Israel, went forth to meet them to intercede for their nation. Alcimus, however, seized sixty of them, slaughtered them in one day, and that, as it is added in 1 Macc. 7:16f., “according to the word which he wrote: The flesh of Thy saints and their blood have they shed round about Jerusalem, and there was none to bury them.” The formula of citation κατὰ τὸν λόγον ὃν (τοὺς λόγου οὓς) ἔγραψε, and more particularly the ἔγραψε - which as being the aorist cannot have the Scripture (ἡ γραφή), and, since the citation is a prayer to god, not God, but only the anonymous psalmist, as its subject (vid., however, the various readings in Grimm on this passage) - sounds as though the historian were himself conscious that he was quoting a portion of Scripture that had taken its rise among the calamities of that time. In fact, no age could be regarded as better warranted in incorporating some of its songs in the Psalter than the Maccabaean, the sixty-third week predicted by Daniel, the week of suffering bearing in itself the character of the time of the end, this strictly martyr age of the Old Covenant, to which the Book of Daniel awards a high typical significance in relation to the history of redemption.
But unbiassed as we are in the presence of the question whether there are Maccabaean Psalms, still there is, on the other hand, much, too, that is against the referring of the two Psalms to the Maccabaean age. In Psa 79:1-13 there is nothing that militates against referring it to the Chaldaean age, and Psa 79:11 (cf. Psa 102:21; Psa 69:34) is even favourable to this. And in Psalms 74, in which Psa 74:4, Psa 74:8, Psa 74:9 are the most satisfactorily explained from the Maccabaean age, there are, again, other parts which are better explained from the Chaldaean. For what is said in Psa 74:7, “they have set Thy Temple on fire,” applies just as unconditionally as it runs to the Chaldaeans, but not to the Syrians. And the cry of prayer, Psa 74:3, “lift up Thy footsteps to the eternal ruins,” appears to assume a laying waste that has taken place within the last few years at least, such as the Maccabaean age cannot exhibit, although at the exaltation of the Maccabees Jerusalem was ἀοίκητος ὡς ἔρημος (1 Macc. 3:45). Hitzig, it is true, renders: raise Thy footsteps for sudden attacks without end; but both the passages in which משּׁוּאות occurs mutually secure to this word the signification “desolations” (Targum, Symmachus, Jerome, and Saadia). If, however, the Chaldaean catastrophe were meant, then the author of both Psalms, on the ground of Ezr 2:41; Neh 7:44 (cf. Neh 11:22), might be regarded as an Asaphite of the time of the Exile, although they might also be composed by any one in the Asaphic style. And as regards their relation to Jeremiah, we ought to be contented with the fact that Jeremiah, whose peculiarity as a writer is otherwise so thoroughly reproductive, is, notwithstanding, also reproduced by later writers, and in this instance by the psalmist.
Nothing is more certain than that the physiognomy of these Psalms does not correspond to any national misfortune prior to the Chaldaean catastrophe. Vaihinger's attempt to comprehend them from the time of Athaliah's reign of terror, is at issue with itself. In the history of Israel instances of the sacking of Jerusalem and of the Temple are not unknown even prior to the time of Zedekiah, as in the reign of Jehoram, but there is no instance of the city being reduced to ashes. Since even the profanation of the Temple by the Persian general Bagoses (Josephus, Ant. xi. 7), to which Ewald formerly referred this Psalm, was not accompanied by any injury of the building itself, much less its reduction to ashes, there remains only the choice between the laying waste of Jerusalem and of the Temple in the year 588 and in the year 167. We have reserved to ourselves the liberty of acknowledging some insertions from the time of the Maccabees in the Psalter; supra, pp. 6-8. Now since in both Psalms, apart from the משׁאות נצח, everything accords with the Maccabaean age, whilst when we refer them to the Chaldaean period the scientific conscience is oppressed by many difficulties (more especially in connection with Psa 74:4, Psa 74:8-9; Psa 79:2-3), we yield to the force of the impression and base both Psalms upon the situation of the Jewish nation under Antiochus and Demetrius. Their contents coincide with the prayer of Judas Maccabaeus in 2 Macc. 8:1-4.

Psalm 74 edit

Verses 1-3 edit

The poet begins with the earnest prayer that God would again have compassion upon His church, upon which His judgment of anger has fallen, and would again set up the ruins of Zion. Why for ever (Psa 74:10, Psa 79:5; Psa 89:47, cf. Psa 13:2)? is equivalent to, why so continually and, as it seems, without end? The preterite denotes the act of casting off, the future, Psa 74:1, that lasting condition of this casting off. למה, when the initial of the following word is a guttural, and particularly if it has a merely half-vowel (although in other instances also, Gen 12:19; Gen 27:45; Sol 1:7), is deprived of its Dagesh and accented on the ultima, in order (as Mose ha-Nakdan expressly observes) to guard against the swallowing up of the ah; cf. on Psa 10:1. Concerning the smoking of anger, vid., Psa 18:9. The characteristically Asaphic expression צאן מרעיתו is not less Jeremianic, Jer 23:1. In Psa 74:2 God is reminded of what He has once done for the congregation of His people. קדם, as in Psa 44:2, points back into the Mosaic time of old, to the redemption out of Egypt, which is represented in קנה (Exo 15:17) as a purchasing, and in גאל (Psa 77:15; Psa 78:35, Exo 15:13) as a ransoming (redemptio). שׁבט נחלתך is a factitive object; שׁבט is the name given to the whole nation in its distinctness of race from other peoples, as in Jer 10:16; Jer 51:19, cf. Isa 63:17. זה (Psa 74:2) is rightly separated from הר־ציון (Mugrash); it stands directly for אשׁר, as in Psa 104:8, Psa 104:26; Pro 23:22; Job 15:17 (Ges. §122, 2). The congregation of the people and its central abode are, as though forgotten of God, in a condition which sadly contrasts with their election. משּׁאות נצח are ruins (vid., Psa 73:18) in a state of such total destruction, that all hope of their restoration vanishes before it; נצח here looks forward, just as עולם (חרבות), Isa 63:12; Psa 61:4, looks backwards. May God then lift His feet up high (פּעמים poetical for רגלים, cf. Psa 58:11 with Psa 68:24), i.e., with long hurried steps, without stopping, move towards His dwelling - lace that now lies in ruins, that by virtue of His interposition it may rise again. Hath the enemy made merciless havoc - he hath ill-treated (הרע, as in Psa 44:3) everything (כּל, as in Psa 8:7, Zep 1:2, for חכּל or את־כּל) in the sanctuary - how is it possible that this sacrilegious vandalism should remain unpunished!

Verses 4-8 edit

The poet now more minutely describes how the enemy has gone on. Since קדשׁ in Psa 74:3 is the Temple, מועדיך in Psa 74:4 ought likewise to mean the Temple with reference to the several courts; but the plural would here (cf. Psa 74:8) be misleading, and is, too, only a various reading. Baer has rightly decided in favour of מועדך;[39] מועד, as in Lam 2:6., is the instituted (Num 17:19 [4]) place of God's intercourse with His congregation (cf. Arab. mı̂‛âd, a rendezvous). What Jeremiah says in Lam 2:7 (cf. שׁאג, Jer 2:15) is here more briefly expressed. By אותתם (Psa 74:4) we must not understand military insignia; the scene of the Temple and the supplanting of the Israelitish national insignia to be found there, by the substitution of other insignia, requires that the word should have the religious reference in which it is used of circumcision and of the Sabbath (Exo 31:13); such heathen אתות, which were thrust upon the Temple and the congregation of Jahve as henceforth the lawful ones, were those which are set forth in 1 Macc. 1:45-49, and more particularly the so-called abomination of desolation mentioned in v. 54 of the same chapter. With יוּדע (Psa 74:5) the terrible scene which was at that time taking place before their eyes (Psa 79:10) is introduced. כּמביא is the subject; it became visible, tangible, noticeable, i.e., it looked, and one experienced it, as if a man caused the axe to enter into the thicket of the wood, i.e., struck into or at it right and left. The plural קדּמּות forces itself into the simile because it is the many heathen warriors who are, as in Jer 46:22., likened to these hewers of wood. Norzi calls the Kametz of בסבך־עץ Kametz chatuph; the combining form would then be a contraction of סבך (Ewald, Olshausen), for the long ā of סבך does not admit of any contraction. According to another view it is to be read bi - sbāch - etz, as in Est 4:8 kethāb - hadāth with counter-tone Metheg beside the long vowel, as e.g., עץ־הגּן, Gen 2:16). The poet follows the work of destruction up to the destroying stroke, which is introduced by the ועת (perhaps ועת, Kerî ועתּה), which arrests one's attention. In Psa 74:5 the usual, unbroken quiet is depicted, as is the heavy Cyclopean labour in the Virgilian illi inter sese, etc.; in jahalomûn, Psa 74:6 (now and then pointed jahlomûn), we hear the stroke of the uplifted axes, which break in pieces the costly carved work of the Temple. The suffix of פּתּוּחיה (the carved works thereof) refers, according to the sense, to מועדך. The lxx, favouring the Maccabaean interpretation, renders: ἐξέκοψαν τάς θύρας αὐτῆς (פּתחיה). This shattering of the panelling is followed in Psa 74:7 by the burning, first of all, as we may suppose, of this panelling itself so far as it consists of wood. The guaranteed reading here is מקדשׁך, not מקדשׁיך. שׁלּח בּאשׁ signifies to set on fire, immittere igni, differing from שׁלּח אשׁ בּ, to set fire to, immittere ignem. On לארץ חלּלוּ, cf. Lam 2:2; Jer 19:13. Hitzig, following the lxx, Targum, and Jerome, derives the exclamation of the enemies נינם from נין: their whole generation (viz., we will root out)! But נין is posterity, descendants; why therefore only the young and not the aged? And why is it an expression of the object and not rather of the action, the object of which would be self-evident? נינם is fut. Kal of ינה, here = Hiph. הונה, to force, oppress, tyrannize over, and like אנס, to compel by violence, in later Hebrew. נינם (from יינה, like ייפה) is changed in pause into נינם; cf. the future forms in Num 21:30; Exo 34:19, and also in Psa 118:10-12. Now, after mention has been made of the burning of the Temple framework, מועדי־אל cannot denote the place of the divine manifestation after its divisions (Hengstenberg), still less the festive assemblies (Böttcher), which the enemy could only have burnt up by setting fire to the Temple over their heads, and כל does not at all suit this. The expression apparently has reference to synagogues (and this ought not to be disputed), as Aquila and Symmachus render the word. For there is no room for thinking of the separate services conducted by the prophets in the northern kingdom (2Ki 4:23), because this kingdom no longer existed at the time this Psalm was written; nor of the בּמות, the burning down of which no pious Israelite would have bewailed; nor of the sacred places memorable from the early history of Israel, which are nowhere called מועדים, and after the founding of the central sanctuary appear only as the seats of false religious rites. The expression points (like בּית ועד, Sota ix. 15) to places of assembly for religious purposes, to houses for prayer and teaching, that is to say, to synagogues - a weighty instance in favour of the Maccabaean origin of the Psalm.

Verses 9-11 edit

The worst thing the poet has to complain of is that God has not acknowledged His people during this time of suffering as at other times. “Our signs” is the direct antithesis to “their sings” (Psa 74:4), hence they are not to be understood, after Psa 86:17, as signs which God works. The suffix demands, besides, something of a perpetual character; they are the instituted ordinances of divine worship by means of which God is pleased to stand in fellowship with His people, and which are now no longer to be seen because the enemies have set them aside. The complaint “there is not prophet any more” would seem strange in the period immediately after the destruction of Jerusalem, for Jeremiah's term of active service lasted beyond this. Moreover, a year before (in the tenth year of Zedekiah's reign) he had predicted that the Babylonian domination, and relatively the Exile, would last seventy years; besides, six years before the destruction Ezekiel appeared, who was in communication with those who remained behind in the land. The reference to Lam 2:9 (cf. Eze 7:26) does not satisfy one; for there it is assumed that there were prophets, a fact which is here denied. Only perhaps as a voice coming out of the Exile, the middle of which (cf. Hos 3:4; 2Ch 15:3, and besides Canticum trium puerorum, Psa 74:14 : καὶ οὐκ ἔστιν ἐν τῷ καιρῷ τούτῳ ἄρχων καὶ προφήτης καὶ ἡγούμενος) was truly thus devoid of signs or miracles, and devoid of the prophetic word of consolation, can Psa 74:9 be comprehended. The seventy years of Jeremiah were then still a riddle without any generally known solution (Dan. 9). If, however, synagogues are meant in Psa 74:8, Psa 74:9 now too accords with the like-sounding lament in the calamitous times of Antiochus (1 Macc. 4:46; 9:27; 14:41). In Psa 74:10 the poet turns to God Himself with the question “How long?” how long is this (apparently) endless blaspheming of the enemy to last? Why dost Thou draw back (viz., ממּנוּ, from us, not עלינוּ, Psa 81:15) Thy hand and Thy right hand? The conjunction of synonyms “Thy hand and Thy right hand” is, as in Psa 44:4, Sirach 33:7, a fuller expression for God's omnipotent energy. This is now at rest; Psa 74:11 calls upon it to give help by an act of judgment. “Out of the midst of Thy bosom, destroy,” is a pregnant expression for, “drawing forth out of Thy bosom the hand that rests inactive there, do Thou destroy.” The Chethîb חוקך has perhaps the same meaning; for חוק, Arab. ḥawq, signifies, like חיק, Arab. ḥayq, the act of encompassing, then that which encompasses. Instead of מחיקך (Exo 4:7) the expression is מקּרב חיקך, because there, within the realm of the bosom, the punitive justice of God for a time as it were slumbers. On the כלּה, which outwardly is without any object, cf. Psa 59:14.

Verses 12-17 edit

With this prayer for the destruction of the enemies by God's interposition closes the first half of the Psalm, which has for its subject-matter the crying contradiction between the present state of things and God's relationship to Israel. The poet now draws comfort by looking back into the time when God as Israel's King unfolded the rich fulness of His salvation everywhere upon the earth, where Israel's existence was imperilled. בּקרב הארץ, not only within the circumference of the Holy Land, but, e.g., also within that of Egypt (Exo 8:18-22). The poet has Egypt directly in his mind, for there now follows first of all a glance at the historical (Psa 74:13-15), and then at the natural displays of God's power (Psa 74:16, Psa 74:17). Hengstenberg is of opinion that Psa 74:13-15 also are to be understood in the latter sense, and appeals to Job 26:11-13. But just as Isaiah (Isa 51:9, cf. Psa 27:1) transfers these emblems of the omnipotence of God in the natural world to His proofs of power in connection with the history of redemption which were exhibited in the case of a worldly power, so does the poet here also in Psa 74:13-15. The תּנּיּן (the extended saurian) is in Isaiah, as in Ezekiel (התּנּים, Psa 29:3; Psa 32:2), an emblem of Pharaoh and of his kingdom; in like manner here the leviathan is the proper natural wonder of Egypt. As a water-snake or a crocodile, when it comes up with its head above the water, is killed by a powerful stroke, did God break the heads of the Egyptians, so that the sea cast up their dead bodies (Exo 14:30). The ציּים, the dwellers in the steppe, to whom these became food, are not the Aethiopians (lxx, Jerome), or rather the Ichthyophagi (Bocahrt, Hengstenberg), who according to Agatharcides fed ἐκ τῶν ἐκριπτομένων εἰς τὴν χέρσον κητῶν, but were no cannibals, but the wild beasts of the desert, which are called עם, as in Pro 30:25. the ants and the rock-badgers. לציים is a permutative of the notion לעם, which was not completed: to a (singular) people, viz., to the wild animals of the steppe. Psa 74:15 also still refers not to miracles of creation, but to miracles wrought in the course of the history of redemption; Psa 74:15 refers to the giving of water out of the rock (Psa 78:15), and Psa 74:15 to the passage through the Jordan, which was miraculously dried up (הובשׁתּ, as in Jos 2:10; Jos 4:23; Jos 5:1). The object מעין ונחל is intended as referring to the result: so that the water flowed out of the cleft after the manner of a fountain and a brook. נהרות are the several streams of the one Jordan; the attributive genitive איתן describe them as streams having an abundance that does not dry up, streams of perennial fulness. The God of Israel who has thus marvellously made Himself known in history is, however, the Creator and Lord of all created things. Day and night and the stars alike are His creatures. In close connection with the night, which is mentioned second, the moon, the מאור of the night, precedes the sun; cf. Psa 8:4, where כּונן is the same as הכין in this passage. It is an error to render thus: bodies of light, and more particularly the sun; which would have made one expect מאורות before the specializing Waw. גּבוּלות are not merely the bounds of the land towards the sea, Jer 5:22, but, according to Deu 32:8; Act 17:26, even the boundaries of the land in themselves, that is to say, the natural boundaries of the inland country. קיץ וחרף are the two halves of the year: summer including spring (אביב), which begins in Nisan, the spring-month, about the time of the vernal equinox, and autumn including winter (צתו), after the termination of which the strictly spring vegetation begins (Sol 2:11). The seasons are personified, and are called God's formations or works, as it were the angels of summer and of winter.

Verses 18-23 edit

The poet, after he has thus consoled himself by the contemplation of the power of God which He has displayed for His people's good as their Redeemer, and for the good of the whole of mankind as the Creator, rises anew to prayer, but all the more cheerfully and boldly. Since ever present facts of creation have been referred to just now, and the historical mighty deeds of God only further back, זאת refers rather forwards to the blaspheming of the enemies which He suffers now to go on unpunished, as though He took no cognizance of it. חרף has Pasek after it in order to separate the word, which signifies reviling, from the most holy Name. The epithet עם־נבל reminds one of Deu 32:21. In Psa 74:19 according to the accents חיּת is the absolute state (the primary form of חיּה, vid., on Psa 61:1): give not over, abandon not to the wild beast (beasts), the soul of Thy turtle-dove. This is probably correct, since לחיּת נפשׁ, “to the eager wild beast,” this inversion of the well-known expression נפשׁ חיּה, which on the contrary yields the sense of vita animae, is an improbable and exampleless expression. If נפשׁ were intended to be thus understood, the poet might have written אל־תתן לנפשׁ חיּה תורך, “give not Thy turtle-dove over to the desire of the wild beast.” Hupfeld thinks that the “old, stupid reading” may be set right at one stroke, inasmuch as he reads אל תתן לנפש חית תורך, and renders it “give not to rage the life Thy turtle-dove;” but where is any support to be found for this לנפשׁ, “to rage,” or rather (Psychology, S. 202; tr. p. 239) “to eager desire?” The word cannot signify this in such an isolated position. Israel, which is also compared to a dove in Psa 68:14, is called a turtle-dove (תּור). In Psa 74:19 חיּת has the same signification as in Psa 74:19, and the same sense as Psa 68:11 (cf. Ps 69:37): the creatures of Thy miserable ones, i.e., Thy poor, miserable creatures - a figurative designation of the ecclesia pressa. The church, which it is the custom of the Asaphic Psalms to designate with emblematical names taken from the animal world, finds itself now like sheep among wolves, and seems to itself as if it were forgotten by God. The cry of prayer הבּט לבּרית comes forth out of circumstances such as were those of the Maccabaean age. בּרית is the covenant of circumcision (Gen. 17); ); the persecution of the age of the Seleucidae put faith to the severe test, that circumcision, this sign which was the pledge to Israel of God's gracious protection, became just the sign by which the Syrians knew their victims. In the Book of Daniel, Dan 11:28, Dan 11:30, cf. Ps. 22:32, ברית is used directly of the religion of Israel and its band of confessors. The confirmatory clause Psa 74:20 also corresponds to the Maccabaean age, when the persecuted confessors hid themselves far away in the mountains (1 Macc. 2:26ff., 2 Macc. 6:11), but were tracked by the enemy and slain, - at that time the hiding-places (κρύφοι, 1 Macc. 1:53) of the land were in reality full of the habitations of violence. The combination נאות חמס is like נאות השׁלום, Jer 25:37, cf. Gen 6:11. From this point the Psalm draws to a close in more familiar Psalm - strains. אל־ישׁב, Psa 74:21, viz., from drawing near to Thee with their supplications. “The reproach of the foolish all the day” is that which incessantly goes forth from them. עלה תּמיד, “going up (1Sa 5:12, not: increasing, 1Ki 22:35) perpetually,” although without the article, is not a predicate, but attributive (vid., on Psa 57:3). The tone of the prayer is throughout temperate; this the ground upon which it bases itself is therefore all the more forcible.

Psalm 75 edit

The Nearness of the Judge with the Cup of Wrath edit

Verses 1-5 edit

That for which Ps 74 prays: Arise, Jahve, plead Thine own cause (Psa 74:22.), Psa 75:1-10 beholds; the judgment of God upon the proud sinners becomes a source of praise and of a triumphant spirit to the psalmist. The prophetic picture stands upon a lyrical groundwork of gold; it emerges out of the depth of feeling, and it is drawn back again into it. The inscription: To the Precentor, (after the measure:) Destroy not (vid., on Psa 57:1), a Psalm by Asaph, a Song, is fully borne out. The Sela shows that the Psalm, as מזמור שׁיר says, is appointed to be sung with musical accompaniment; and to the לאסף corresponds its thoroughly Asaphic character, which calls Ps 50 to mind with especial force. But from this Psalm Psa 75:1-10 differs, however, in this particular, viz., that a more clearly defined situation of affairs manifests itself through the hope of the judicial interposition of God which is expressed in it with prophetic certainty. According to appearances it is the time of the judgment of the nations in the person of Assyria; not, however, the time immediately following the great catastrophe, but prior to this, when Isaiah's prophecy concerning the shattering of the Assyrian power against Jerusalem had gone forth, just as Hengstenberg also regards this Psalm as the lyrical companion of the prophecies which Isaiah uttered in the presence of the ruin which threatened from Assyria, and as a testimony to the living faith with which the church at that time received the word of God. Hitzig, however, assigns both Psa 75:1-10 and Psa 76:1-12 to Judas Maccabaeus, who celebrates the victory over Apollonius in the one, and the victory over Seron in the other: “we may imagine that he utters the words of Ps 75:11 whilst he brandishes the captured sword of the fallen Apollonius.” But the probability that it refers to the Assyrian period is at least equally balanced with the probability that it refers to the Maccabaean (vid., Psa 75:7; Psa 76:5-7); and if the time of Hezekiah were to be given up, then we might sooner go back to the time of Jehoshaphat, for both songs are too original to appear as echoes and not much rather as models of the later prophecy. The only influence that is noticeable in Psa 75:1-10 is that of the Song of Hannah.

Verse 2-6 edit

The church in anticipation gives thanks for the judicial revelation of its God, the near approach of which He Himself asserts to it. The connection with ו in וקרוב שׁמך presents a difficulty. Neither here nor anywhere else is it to be supposed that ו is synonymous with כּי; but at any rate even כי might stand instead of it. For Hupfeld's attempt to explain it: and “near is Thy name” Thy wonders have declared; and Hitzig's: and Thou whose Name is near, they declare Thy wondrous works - are past remedy. Such a personification of wonders does not belong to the spirit of Hebrew poetry, and such a relative clause lies altogether beyond the bounds of syntax. If we would, however, take וקרוב שׁמך, after Psa 50:23, as a result of the thanksgiving (Campensis), then that for which thanks are rendered would remain undefined; neither will it do to take קרוב as referring to the being inwardly present (Hengstenberg), since this, according to Jer 12:2 (cf. Deu 30:14), would require some addition, which should give to the nearness this reference to the mouth or to the heart. Thus, therefore, nothing remains for us but to connect the nearness of the Name of God as an outward fact with the earnest giving of thanks. The church has received the promise of an approaching judicial, redemptive revelation of God, and now says, “We give Thee thanks, we give thanks and near is Thy Name;” it welcomes the future act of God with heartfelt thanksgiving, all those who belong to it declare beforehand the wonders of God. Such was really the position of matters when in Hezekiah's time the oppression of the Assyrians had reached its highest point - Isaiah's promises of a miraculous divine deliverance were at that time before them, and the believing ones saluted beforehand, with thanksgiving, the “coming Name of Jahve” (Isa 30:27). The כּי which was to be expected after הודינו (cf. e.g., Psa 100:4.) does not follow until Psa 75:3. God Himself undertakes the confirmation of the forthcoming thanksgiving and praise by a direct announcement of the help that is hailed and near at hand (Psa 85:10). It is not to be rendered, “when I shall seize,” etc., for Psa 75:3 has not the structure of an apodosis. כּי is confirmatory, and whatever interpretation we may give to it, the words of the church suddenly change into the words of God. מועד in the language of prophecy, more especially of the apocalyptic character, is a standing expression fore the appointed time of the final judgment (vid., on Hab 2:3). When this moment or juncture in the lapse of time shall have arrived, then God will seize or take possession of it (לקח in the unweakened original sense of taking hold of with energy, cf. Psa 18:17; Gen 2:15): He Himself will then interpose and hold judgment according to the strictly observed rule of right (מישׁרים, adverbial accusative, cf. במישׁרים, Psa 9:9, and frequently). If it even should come to pass that the earth and all its inhabitants are melting away (cf. Isa 14:31; Exo 15:15; Jos 2:9), i.e., under the pressure of injustice (as is to be inferred from Psa 75:3), are disheartened, scattered asunder, and are as it were in the act of dissolution, then He (the absolute I, אנכי) will restrain this melting away: He setteth in their places the pillars, i.e., the internal shafts (Job 9:6), of the earth, or without any figure: He again asserts the laws which lie at the foundation of its stability. תכּנתּי is a mood of certainty, and Psa 75:4 is a circumstantial clause placed first, after the manner of the Latin ablative absolute. Hitzig appropriately compares Pro 29:9; Isa 23:15 may also be understood according to this bearing of the case.
The utterance of God is also continued after the Sela. It is not the people of God who turn to the enemies with the language of warning on the ground of the divine promise (Hengstenberg); the poet would then have said אמרנוּ, or must at least have said על־כּן אמרתּי. God Himself speaks, and His words are not yet peremptorily condemning, as in Psa 50:16., cf. Psa 46:11, but admonitory and threatening, because it is not He who has already appeared for the final judgment who speaks, but He who announces His appearing. With אמרתּי He tells the braggarts who are captivated with the madness of supposed greatness, and the evil-doers who lift up the horn or the head,[40] hat He will have once for all said to them, and what they are to suffer to be said to them for the short space of time till the judgment. The poet, if we have assigned the right date to the Psalm, has Rabshakeh and his colleagues before his mind, cf. Isa 37:23. The ל, as in that passage, and like אל in Zec 2:4 (vid., Köhler), has the idea of a hostile tendency. אל rules also over Psa 75:6: “speak not insolence with a raised neck.” It is not to be construed עתק בצוּאר, with a stiff neck. Parallel passages like Psa 31:19; Psa 94:4, and more especially the primary passage 1Sa 5:3, show that עתק is an object-notion, and that בצוּאר by itself (with which, too, the accentuation harmonizes, since Munach here is the vicarius of a distinctive), according to Job 15:26, has the sense of τραχηλιῶτες or ὑπεραυχοῦντες.

Verses 6-8 edit

The church here takes up the words of God, again beginning with the כּי of Psa 75:3 (cf. the כּי in 1Sa 2:3). A passage of the Midrash says הרים חוץ מזה כל הרים שׁבמקרא (everywhere where harim is found in Scripture it signifies harim, mountains, with the exception of this passage), and accordingly it is explained by Rashi, Kimchi, Alshêch, and others, that man, whithersoever he may turn, cannot by strength and skill attain great exaltation and prosperity.[41]
Thus it is according to the reading ממּדבּר, although Kimchi maintains that it can also be so explained with the reading ממּדבּר, by pointing to מרמס (Isa 10:6) and the like. It is, however, difficult to see why, in order to express the idea “from anywhere,” three quarters of the heavens should be used and the north left out. These three quarters of the heavens which are said to represent the earthly sources of power (Hupfeld), are a frame without the picture, and the thought, “from no side (viz., of the earth) cometh promotion” - in itself whimsical in expression - offers a wrong confirmation for the dissuasive that has gone before. That, however, which the church longs for is first of all not promotion, but redemption. On the other hand, the lxx, Targum, Syriac, and Vulgate render: a deserto montium (desertis montibus); and even Aben-Ezra rightly takes it as a Palestinian designation of the south, when he supplements the aposiopesis by means of מי שׁיושׁיעם (more biblically יבע עזרנוּ, cf. Psa 121:1.). The fact that the north is not mentioned at all shows that it is a northern power which arrogantly, even to blasphemy, threatens the small Israelitish nation with destruction, and against which it looks for help neither from the east and west, nor from the reed-staff of Egypt (Isa 36:6) beyond the desert of the mountains of Arabia Petraea, but from Jahve alone, according to the watchword of Isaiah: שׁפטנוּ ה (Isa 33:22). The negative thought is left unfinished, the discourse hurrying on to the opposite affirmative thought. The close connection of the two thoughts is strikingly expressed by the rhymes הרים and ידים. The כּי of Psa 75:8 gives the confirmation of the negation from the opposite, that which is denied; the כּי of Psa 75:9 confirms this confirmation. If it were to be rendered, “and the wine foams,” it would then have been היּין; מסך, which is undoubtedly accusative, also shows that yayin is also not considered as anything else: and it (the cup) foams (חמר like Arab. ‘chtmr, to ferment, effervesce) with wine, is full of mixture. According to the ancient usage of the language, which is also followed by the Arabic, this is wine mixed with water in distinction from merum, Arabic chamr memzûg'e. Wine was mixed with water not merely to dilute it, but also to make it more pleasant; hence מסך signifies directly as much as to pour out (vid., Hitzig on Isa 5:22). It is therefore unnecessary to understand spiced wine (Talmudic קונדיטון, conditum), since the collateral idea of weakening is also not necessarily associated with the admixture of water. מזּה refers to כּוס, which is used as masculine, as in Jer 25:15; the word is feminine elsewhere, and changes its gender even here in שׁמריה (cf. Eze 23:34). In the fut. consec. ויּגּר the historical signification of the consecutive is softened down, as is frequently the case. אך affirms the whole assertion that follows. The dregs of the cup - a dira necessitas - all the wicked of the earth shall be compelled to sip (Isa 51:17), to drink out: they shall not be allowed to drink and make a pause, but, compelled by Jahve, who has appeared as Judge, they shall be obliged to drink it out with involuntary eagerness even to the very last (Eze 23:34). We have here the primary passage of a figure, which has been already hinted at in Psa 60:5, and is filled in on a more and more magnificent and terrible scale in the prophets. Whilst Obadiah (Oba 1:16, cf. Job 21:20) contents himself with a mere outline sketch, it is found again, in manifold applications, in Isaiah, Habakkuk, and Ezekiel, and most frequently in Jeremiah (Jer 25:27., Jer 48:26; Jer 49:12), where in Psa 25:15. it is embodied into a symbolical act. Jahve's cup of intoxication (inasmuch as חמה and חמר, the burning of anger and intoxicating, fiery wine, are put on an equality) is the judgment of wrath which is meted out to sinners and given them to endure to the end.

Verses 9-10 edit

The poet now turns back thankfully and cheerfully from the prophetically presented future to his own actual present. With ואני he contrasts himself as a member of the now still oppressed church with its proud oppressors: he will be a perpetual herald of the ever memorable deed of redemption. לעולם, says he, for, when he gives himself up so entirely to God the Redeemer, for him there is no dying. If he is a member of the ecclesia pressa, then he will also be a member of the ecclesia triumphans; for ει ̓ ὑπομένομεν, καὶ συμβασιλεύσομεν (2Ti 2:12). In the certainty of this συμβασιλεύειν, and in the strength of God, which is even now mighty in the weak one, he measures himself in v. 11 by the standard of what he expresses in Psa 75:8 as God's own work. On the figure compare Deu 33:17; Lam 2:3, and more especially the four horns in the second vision of Zechariah, Zec 2:1. Zec 1:18.. The plural is both קרנות and קרני, because horns that do not consist of horn are meant. Horns are powers for offence and defence. The spiritual horns maintain the sovereignty over the natural. The Psalm closes as subjectively as it began. The prophetic picture is set in a lyric frame.

Psalm 76 edit

Praise of God after His Judgment Has Gone Forth edit

No Psalm has a greater right to follow Psa 75:1-10 than this, which is inscribed To the Precentor, with accompaniment of stringed instruments (vid., Psa 4:1), a Psalm by Asaph, a song. Similar expressions (God of Jacob, Psa 75:10; Psa 76:7; saints, wicked of the earth, Psa 75:9; Psa 76:10) and the same impress throughout speak in favour of unity of authorship. In other respects, too, they form a pair: Psa 75:1-10 prepares the way for the divine deed of judgment as imminent, which Psa 76:1-12 celebrates as having taken place. For it is hardly possible for there to be a Psalm the contents of which so exactly coincide with an historical situation of which more is known from other sources, as the contents of this Psalm confessedly (lxx πρὸς τὸν Ἀσσύριον) does with the overthrow of the army of Assyria before Jerusalem and its results. The Psalter contains very similar Psalms which refer to a similar event in the reign of Jehoshaphat, viz., to the defeat at that time of the allied neighbouring peoples by a mutual massacre, which was predicted by the Asaphite Jahaziel (vid., on Psa 46:1-11 and Ps 83). Moreover in Psa 76:1-12 the “mountains of prey,” understood of the mountains of Seir with their mounted robbers, would point to this incident. But just as in Psa 75:1-10 the reference to the catastrophe of Assyria in the reign of Hezekiah was indicated by the absence of any mention of the north, so in Psa 76:1-12 both the שׁמּה in Psa 76:4 and the description of the catastrophe itself make this reference and no other natural. The points of contact with Isaiah, and in part with Hosea (cf. Psa 76:4 with Hos 2:20) and Nahum, are explicable from the fact that the lyric went hand in hand with the prophecy of that period, as Isaiah predicts for the time when Jahve shall discharge His fury over Assyria, Isa 30:29, “Your song shall re-echo as in the night, in which the feast is celebrated.”
The Psalm is hexastichic, and a model of symmetrical strophe-structure.

Verses 1-3 edit

In all Israel, and more especially in Judah, is Elohim known (here, according to Psa 76:2, participle, whereas in Psa 9:17 it is the finite verb), inasmuch as He has made Himself known (cf. דּעוּ, Isa 33:13). His Name is great in Israel, inasmuch as He has proved Himself to be a great One and is praised as a great One. In Judah more especially, for in Jerusalem, and that upon Zion, the citadel with the primeval gates (Psa 24:7), He has His dwelling-place upon earth within the borders of Israel. שׁלם is the ancient name of Jerusalem; for the Salem of Melchizedek is one and the same city with the Jerusalem of Adonizedek, Jos 10:1. In this primeval Salem God has סוּכּו, His tabernacle (= שׂכּו, Lam 2:6, = סכּתו, as in Psa 27:5), there מעונתו, His dwelling-place, - a word elsewhere used of the lair of the lion (Psa 104:22, Amo 3:4); cf. on the choice of words, Isa 31:9. The future of the result ויהי is an expression of the fact which is evident from God's being known in Judah and His Name great in Israel. Psa 76:4 tells what it is by which He has made Himself known and glorified His Name. שׁמּה, thitherwards, in that same place (as in fact the accusative, in general, is used both in answer to the question where? and whither?), is only a fuller form for שׁם, as in Isa 22:18; Isa 65:9; 2Ki 23:8, and frequently; Arab. ta̱mma ( tu̱mma ) and תּמּן (from תּמּה) confirm the accusative value of the ah. רשׁפי־קשׁת (with Phe raphatum, cf. on the other hand, Sol 8:6)[42] are the arrows swift as lightning that go forth (Job 41:20-28) from the bow; side by side with these, two other weapons are also mentioned, and finally everything that pertains to war is gathered up in the word מלחמה (cf. Hos 2:18). God has broken in pieces the weapons of the worldly power directed against Judah, and therewith this power itself (Isa 14:25), and consequently (in accordance with the prediction Hos 1:7, and Isa 10, 14, Isa 17:1-14, 29, Isa 31:1-9, 33, 37, and more particularly Psa 31:8) has rescued His people by direct interposition, without their doing anything in the matter.

Verses 4-6 edit

The “mountains of prey,” for which the lxx has ὀρέων αἰωνίων (טרם?), is an emblematical appellation for the haughty possessors of power who also plunder every one that comes near them,[43] or the proud and despoiling worldly powers. Far aloft beyond these towers the glory of God. He is נאור, illustris, prop. illumined; said of God: light-encircled, fortified in light, in the sense of Dan 2:22; 1Ti 6:16. He is the אדּיר, to whom the Lebanon of the hostile army of the nations must succumb (Isa 10:34) According to Solinus (ed. Mommsen, p. 124) the Moors call Atlas Addirim. This succumbing is described in Psa 76:6. The strong of heart or stout-hearted, the lion-hearted, have been despoiled, disarmed, exuti; אשׁתּוללוּ[44] is an Aramaizing praet. Hithpo. (like אתחבּר, 2Ch 20:35, cf. Dan 4:16; Isa 63:3) with a passive signification. From Psa 76:6 we see that the beginning of the catastrophe is described, and therefore נמוּ (perhaps on that account accented on the ult.) is meant inchoatively: they have fallen into their sleep, viz., the eternal sleep (Jer 51:39, Jer 51:57), as Nahum says (Nah 3:18): thy shepherds sleep, O king of Assyria, thy valiant ones rest. In Psa 76:6 we see them lying in the last throes of death, and making a last effort to spring up again. But they cannot find their hands, which they have lifted up threateningly against Jerusalem: these are lamed, motionless, rigid and dead; cf. the phrases in Jos 8:20; 2Sa 7:27, and the Talmudic phrase, “he did not find his hands and feet in the school-house,” i.e., he was entirely disconcerted and stupefied.[45]
This field of corpses is the effect of the omnipotent energy of the word of the God of Jacob; cf. וגער בּו, Isa 17:13. Before His threatening both war-chariot and horse (ו - ו) are sunk into motionlessness and unconsciousness an allusion to Ex. 15, as in Isa 43:17 : who bringeth out chariot and horse, army and heroes - together they faint away, they shall never rise; they have flickered out, like a wick they are extinguished.

Verses 7-9 edit

Nahum also (Psa 1:6) draws the same inference from the defeat of Sennacherib as the psalmist does in Psa 76:8. מאז אפּך (cf. Rth 2:7; Jer 44:18), from the decisive turning-point onwards, from the אז in Psa 2:5, when Thine anger breaks forth. God sent forth His judiciary word from heaven into the midst of the din of war of the hostile world: immediately (cf. on the sequence of the tenses Psa 48:6, and on Hab 3:10) it was silenced, the earth was seized with fear, and its tumult was obliged to cease, when, namely, God arose on behalf of His disquieted, suffering people, when He spoke as we read in Isa 33:10, and fulfilled the prayer offered in extreme need in Isa 33:2.

Verses 10-12 edit

The fact that has just been experienced is substantiated in Psa 76:10 from a universal truth, which has therein become outwardly manifest. The rage of men shall praise Thee, i.e., must ultimately redound to Thy glory, inasmuch as to Thee, namely (Psa 76:1 as to syntax like Psa 73:3), there always remains a שׁארית, i.e., a still unexhausted remainder, and that not merely of חמה, but of חמת, with which Thou canst gird, i.e., arm, Thyself against such human rage, in order to quench it. שׁארית חמת is the infinite store of wrath still available to God after human rage has done its utmost. Or perhaps still better, and more fully answering to the notion of שׁארית: it is the store of the infinite fulness of wrath which still remains on the side of God after human rage (חמה) has spent itself, when God calmly, and laughing (Psa 2:4), allows the Titans to do as they please, and which is now being poured out. In connection with the interpretation: with the remainder of the fury (of hostile men) wilt Thou gird Thyself, i.e., it serves Thee only as an ornament (Hupfeld), the alternation of חמה and חמת is left unexplained, and תּחגּר is alienated from its martial sense (Isa 59:17; Isa 51:9, Wisd. 5:21 [20]), which is required by the context. Ewald, like the lxx, reads תּחגּך, ἑορτάσει σοι, in connection with which, apart from the high-sounding expression, שׁארית חמת (ἐγκατάλειμμα ἐνθυμίου) must denote the remainder of malignity that is suddenly converted into its opposite; and one does not see why what Psa 76:11 says concerning rage is here limited to its remainder. Such an inexhaustiveness in the divine wrath-power has been shown in what has just recently been experienced. Thus, then, are those who belong to the people of God to vow and pay, i.e., (inasmuch as the preponderance falls upon the second imperative) to pay their vows; and all who are round about Him, i.e., all the peoples dwelling round about Him and His people (כּל־סביביו, the subject to what follows, in accordance with which it is also accented), are to bring offerings (Psa 68:30) to God, who is מורא, i.e., the sum of all that is awe-inspiring. Thus is He called in Isa 8:13; the summons accords with Isaiah's prediction, according to which, in consequence of Jahve's deed of judgment upon Assyria, Aethiopia presents himself to Him as an offering (Isa 18:1-7), and with the fulfilment in 2Ch 32:23. Just so does v. 13a resemble the language of Isaiah; cf. Isa 25:1-12; Isa 33:1; Isa 18:5 : God treats the snorting of the princes, i.e., despots, as the vine-dresser does the wild shoots or branches of the vine-stock: He lops it, He cuts it off, so that it is altogether ineffectual. It is the figure that is sketched by Joe 3:13, then filled in by Isaiah, and embodied as a vision in Rev 14:17-20, which is here indicated. God puts an end to the defiant, arrogant bearing of the tyrants of the earth, and becomes at last the feared of all the kings of the earth - all kingdoms finally becomes God's and His Christ's.

Psalm 77 edit

==Comfort Derived from the History of the Past during Years of Affliction== “The earth feared and became still,” says Psa 76:9; the earth trembled and shook, says Psa 77:19 : this common thought is the string on which these two Psalms are strung. In a general way it may be said of Psalms 77, that the poet flees from the sorrowful present away into the memory of the

years of olden times, and consoles himself more especially with the deliverance out of Egypt, so rich in wonders. As to the rest, however, it remains obscure what kind of national affliction it is which drives him to find his refuge from the God who is now hidden in the God who was formerly manifest. At any rate it is not a purely personal affliction, but, as is shown by the consolation sought in the earlier revelations of power and mercy in connection with the national history, an affliction shared in company with the whole of his people. In the midst of this hymnic retrospect the Psalm suddenly breaks off, so that Olshausen is of opinion that it is mutilated, and Tholuck that the author never completed it. But as Psalms 77 and Ps 81 show, it is the Asaphic manner thus to close with an historical picture without the line of thought recurring to its commencement. Where our Psalm leaves off, Hab. 3 goes on, taking it up from that point like a continuation. For the prophet begins with the prayer to revive that deed of redemption of the Mosaic days of old, and in the midst of wrath to remember mercy; and in expression and figures which are borrowed from our Psalm, he then beholds a fresh deed of redemption by which that of old is eclipsed. Thus much, at least, is therefore very clear, that Psalms 77 is older than Habakkuk. Hitzig certainly calls the psalmist the reader and imitator of Hab. 3; ; and Philippson considers even the mutual relationship to be accidental and confined to a general similarity of certain expressions. We, however, believe that we have proved in our Commentary on Habakkuk (1843), S. 118-125, that the mutual relationship is one that is deeply grounded in the prophetic type of Habakkuk, and that the Psalm is heard to re-echo in Habakkuk, not Habakkuk in the language of the psalmist; just as in general the Asaphic Psalms are full of boldly sketched outlines to be filled in by later prophetic writers. We also now further put this question: how was it possible for the gloomy complaint of Psalms 77, which is turned back to the history of the past, to mould itself after Hab. 3, that joyous looking forward into a bright and blessed future? Is not the prospect in Hab. 3 rather the result of that retrospect in Psalms 77, the confidence in being heard which is kindled by this Psalm, the realizing as present, in the certainty of being heard, of a new deed of God in which the deliverances in the days of Moses are antitypically revived?
More than this, viz., that the Psalm is older than Habakkuk, who entered upon public life in the reign of Josiah, or even as early as in the reign of Manasseh, cannot be maintained. For it cannot be inferred from Psa 77:16 and Psa 77:3, compared with Gen 37:35, that one chief matter of pain to the psalmist was the fall of the kingdom of the ten tribes which took place in his time. Nothing more, perhaps, than the division of the kingdom which had already taken place seems to be indicated in these passages. The bringing of the tribes of Joseph prominently forward is, however, peculiar to the Asaphic circle of songs.
The task of the precentor is assigned by the inscription to Jeduthun (Chethîb: Jeduthun), for ל (Psa 39:1) alternates with על (Psa 62:1); and the idea that ידותון denotes the whole of the Jeduthunites (“overseer over...”) might be possible, but is without example.
The strophe schema of the Psalm is 7. 12. 12. 12. 2. The first three strophes or groups of stichs close with Sela.

Verses 1-3 edit

The poet is resolved to pray without intermission, and he prays; fore his soul is comfortless and sorely tempted by the vast distance between the former days and the present times. According to the pointing, והאזין appears to be meant to be imperative after the form הקטיל, which occurs instead of הקטל and הקתילה, cf. Psa 94:1; Isa 43:8; Jer 17:18, and the mode of writing הקטיל, Psa 142:5, 2Ki 8:6, and frequently; therefore et audi = ut audias (cf. 2Sa 21:3). But such an isolated form of address is not to be tolerated; והאזין has been regarded as perf. consec. in the sense of ut audiat, although this modification of האזין into האזין in connection with the appearing of the Waw consec. cannot be supported in any other instance (Ew. §234, e), and Kimchi on this account tries to persuade himself to that which is impossible, viz., that והאזין in respect of sound stands for ויאזין. The preterites in Psa 77:3 express that which has commenced and which will go on. The poet labours in his present time of affliction to press forward to the Lord, who has withdrawn from him; his hand is diffused, i.e., stretched out (not: poured out, for the radical meaning of נגר, as the Syriac shows, is protrahere), in the night-time without wearying and leaving off; it is fixedly and stedfastly (אמוּנה, as it is expressed in Exo 17:12) stretched out towards heaven. His soul is comfortless, and all comfort up to the present rebounds as it were from it (cf. Gen 37:35; Jer 31:15). If he remembers God, who was once near to him, then he is compelled to groan (cf. Psa 55:18, Psa 55:3; and on the cohortative form of a Lamed He verb, cf. Ges. §75, 6), because He has hidden Himself from him; if he muses, in order to find Him again, then his spirit veils itself, i.e., it sinks into night and feebleness (התעטּף as in Psa 107:5; Psa 142:4; Psa 143:4). Each of the two members of Psa 77:4 are protasis and apodosis; concerning this emotional kind of structure of a sentence, vid., Ewald, §357, b.

Verses 4-9 edit

He calls his eyelids the “guards of my eyes.” He who holds these so that they remain open when they want to shut together for sleep, is God; for his looking up to Him keeps the poet awake in spite of all overstraining of his powers. Hupfeld and others render thus: “Thou hast held, i.e., caused to last, the night-watches of mine eyes,” - which is affected in thought and expression. The preterites state what has been hitherto and has not yet come to a close. He still endures, as formerly, such thumps and blows within him, as though he lay upon an anvil (פּעם), and his voice fails him. Then silent soliloquy takes the place of audible prayer; he throws himself back in thought to the days of old (Psa 143:5), the years of past periods (Isa 51:9), which were so rich in the proofs of the power and loving-kindness of the God who was then manifest, but is now hidden. He remembers the happier past of his people and his own, inasmuch as he now in the night purposely calls back to himself in his mind the time when joyful thankfulness impelled him to the song of praise accompanied by the music of the harp (בּלּילה belongs according to the accents to the verb, not to נגינתי, although that construction certainly is strongly commended by parallel passages like Psa 16:7; Psa 42:9; Psa 92:3, cf. Job 35:10), in place of which, crying and sighing and gloomy silence have now entered. He gives himself up to musing “with his heart,” i.e., in the retirement of his inmost nature, inasmuch as he allows his thoughts incessantly to hover to and fro between the present and the former days, and in consequence of this (fut. consec. as in Psa 42:6) his spirit betakes itself to scrupulizing (what the lxx reproduces with σκάλλειν, Aquila with σκαλεύειν) - his conflict of temptation grows fiercer. Now follow the two doubting questions of the tempted one: he asks in different applications, Psa 77:8-10 (cf. Psa 85:6), whether it is then all at an end with God's loving-kindness and promise, at the same time saying to himself, that this nevertheless is at variance with the unchangeableness of His nature (Mal 3:6) and the inviolability of His covenant. אפס (only occurring as a 3. praet.) alternates with גּמר (Psa 12:2). חנּות is an infinitive construct formed after the manner of the Lamed He verbs, which, however, does also occur as infinitive absolute (שׁמּות, Eze 36:3, cf. on Psa 17:3); Gesenius and Olshausen (who doubts this infinitive form, §245, f) explain it, as do Aben-Ezra and Kimchi, as the plural of a substantive חנּה, but in the passage cited from Ezekiel (vid., Hitzig) such a substantival plural is syntactically impossible. קפץ רחמים is to draw together or contract and draw back one's compassion, so that it does not manifest itself outwardly, just as he who will not give shuts (יקפּץ) his hand (Deu 15:7; cf. supra, Psa 17:10).

Verses 10-15 edit

With ואמר the poet introduces the self-encouragement with which he has hitherto calmed himself when such questions of temptation were wont to intrude themselves upon him, and with which he still soothes himself. In the rendering of הלּותי (with the tone regularly drawn back before the following monosyllable) even the Targum wavers between מרעוּתי (my affliction) and בּעוּתי (my supplication); and just in the same way, in the rendering of Psa 77:11, between אשׁתּניו (have changed) and שׁנין (years). שׁנות cannot possibly signify “change” in an active sense, as Luther renders: “The right hand of the Most High can change everything,” but only a having become different (lxx and the Quinta ἀλλοίωσις, Symmachus ἐπιδευτέρωσις), after which Maurer, Hupfeld, and Hitzig render thus: my affliction is this, that the right hand of the Most High has changed. But after we have read שׁנות in Psa 77:6 as a poetical plural of שׁנה, a year, we have first of all to see whether it may not have the same signification here. And many possible interpretations present themselves. It can be interpreted: “my supplication is this: years of the right hand of the Most High” (viz., that years like to the former ones may be renewed); but this thought is not suited to the introduction with ואמר. We must either interpret it: my sickness, viz., from the side of God, i.e., the temptation which befalls me from Him, the affliction ordained by Him for me (Aquila ἀῤῥωστία μου), is this (cf. Jer 10:19); or, since in this case the unambiguous חלותי would have been used instead of the Piel: my being pierced, my wounding, my sorrow is this (Symmachus τρῶσίς μου, inf. Kal from חלל, Psa 109:22, after the form חנּות from חנן) - they are years of the right hand of the Most High, i.e., those which God's mighty hand, under which I have to humble myself (1Pe 5:6), has formed and measured out to me. In connection with this way of taking Psa 77:11, Psa 77:12 is now suitably and easily attached to what has gone before. The poet says to himself that the affliction allotted to him has its time, and will not last for ever. Therein lies a hope which makes the retrospective glance into the happier past a source of consolation to him. In Psa 77:12 the Chethîb אזכיר is to be retained, for the כי in Psa 77:12 is thus best explained: “I bring to remembrance, i.e., make known with praise or celebrate (Isa 63:7), the deeds of Jāh, for I will remember Thy wondrous doing from days of old.” His sorrow over the distance between the present and the past is now mitigated by the hope that God's right hand, which now casts down, will also again in His own time raise up. Therefore he will now, as the advance from the indicative to the cohortative (cf. Psa 17:15) imports, thoroughly console and refresh himself with God's work of salvation in all its miraculous manifestations from the earliest times. יהּ is the most concise and comprehensive appellation for the God of the history of redemption, who, as Habakkuk prays, will revive His work of redemption in the midst of the years to come, and bring it to a glorious issue. To Him who then was and who will yet come the poet now brings praise and celebration. The way of God is His historical rule, and more especially, as in Hab 3:6, הליכות, His redemptive rule. The primary passage Exo 15:11 (cf. Psa 68:25) shows that בּקּדשׁ is not to be rendered “in the sanctuary” (lxx ἐν τῷ ἁγίῳ), but “in holiness” (Symmachus ἐν ἁγιασμῷ). Holy and glorious in love and in anger. God goes through history, and shows Himself there as the incomparable One, with whose greatness no being, and least of all any one of the beingless gods, can be measured. He is האל, the God, God absolutely and exclusively, a miracle-working (עשׂה פלא, not עשׂה פלא cf. Gen 1:11)[46]
God, and a God who by these very means reveals Himself as the living and supra-mundane God. He has made His omnipotence known among the peoples, viz., as Exo 15:16 says, by the redemption of His people, the tribes of Jacob and the double tribe of Joseph, out of Egypt, - a deed of His arm, i.e., the work of His own might, by which He has proved Himself to all peoples and to the whole earth to be the Lord of the world and the God of salvation (Exo 9:16; Exo 15:14). בּזרוע, brachio scil. extenso (Exo 6:6; Deu 4:34, and frequently), just as in Psa 75:6, בּצוּאר, collo scil. erecto. The music here strikes in; the whole strophe is an overture to the following hymn in celebration of God, the Redeemer out of Egypt.

Verses 16-19 edit

When He directed His lance towards the Red Sea, which stood in the way of His redeemed, the waters immediately fell as it were into pangs of travail (יחילוּ, as in Hab 3:10, not ויּחילו), also the billows of the deep trembled; for before the omnipotence of God the Redeemer, which creates a new thing in the midst of the old creation, the rules of the ordinary course of nature become unhinged. There now follow in Psa 77:18, Psa 77:19 lines taken from the picture of a thunder-storm. The poet wishes to describe how all the powers of nature became the servants of the majestic revelation of Jahve, when He executed judgment on Egypt and delivered Israel. זרם, Poel of זרם (cognate זרב, זרף, Aethiopic זנם, to rain), signifies intensively: to stream forth in full torrents. Instead of this line, Habakkuk, with a change of the letters of the primary passage, which is usual in Jeremiah more especially, has זרם מים עבר. The rumbling which the שׁחקים[47] cause to sound forth (נתנוּ, cf. Psa 68:34) is the thunder. The arrows of God (חצציך, in Habakkuk חצּיך) are the lightnings. The Hithpa. (instead of which Habakkuk has יחלּכוּ) depicts their busy darting hither and thither in the service of the omnipotence that sends them forth. It is open to question whether גּלגּל denotes the roll of the thunder (Aben-Ezra, Maurer, Böttcher): the sound of Thy thunder went rolling forth (cf. Psa 29:4), - or the whirlwind accompanying the thunder-storm (Hitzig); the usage of the language (Psa 83:14, also Eze 10:13, Syriac golgolo) is in favour of the latter. On Psa 77:19 cf. the echo in Psa 97:4. Amidst such commotions in nature above and below Jahve strode along through the sea, and made a passage for His redeemed. His person and His working were invisible, but the result which attested His active presence was visible. He took His way through the sea, and cut His path (Chethîb plural, שׁביליך, as in Jer 18:15) through great waters (or, according to Habakkuk, caused His horses to go through), without the =Psalm 78=

The Warning-Mirror of History from Moses to David edit

GIVE ear, O my people, to my teaching,

Incline your ear to the utterances of my mouth.

I will open my mouth with a parable,

I will pour forth riddles out of the days of old.

What we have heard, and become conscious of,

And our fathers have told us,

We will not hide from their children ;

Telling to the generation to come the glorious deeds of

Jahve, And His proof of power and His wonders, which He hath


He hath established a testimony in Jacob

And laid down a law in Israel,

Which He hath commanded our fathers

To make it known unto their children ;

In order that the generation to come might know it, the

children born afterwards, That they might arise and tell it again to their children, And might place their confidence in Elohim, And might not forget the deeds of God, And might keep His command

=Psalm 78=

The Warning-Mirror of History from Moses to David edit

GIVE ear, O my people, to my teaching,

Incline your ear to the utterances of my mouth.

I will open my mouth with a parable,

I will pour forth riddles out of the days of old.

What we have heard, and become conscious of,

And our fathers have told us,

We will not hide from their children ;

Telling to the generation to come the glorious deeds of

Jahve, And His proof of power and His wonders, which He hath


He hath established a testimony in Jacob

And laid down a law in Israel,

Which He hath commanded our fathers

To make it known unto their children ;

In order that the generation to come might know it, the

children born afterwards, That they might arise and tell it again to their children, And might place their confidence in Elohim, And might not forget the deeds of God, And might keep His command ments — 8 And might not become as their fathers a stubborn and re-

bellious generation, A generation that set not its heart aright, And whose spirit was not faithful towards God.

9 The sons of Ephraim, the bow-equipped archers, Turned back in the day of battle.

10 They kept not the covenant of Elohim, And in His law they refused to walk.

11 And they forgot His works

And His wonders, which He showed them.

12 In the sight of their fathers He proved Himself to be a

m i racl e-worker, In the land of Egypt, in the field of Zoan.

13 He divided the sea, and led them through, And piled the waters up as a heap ;

14 And led them in the cloud by day, And the whole night in a fiery light.

15 He clave rocks in the desert,

And gave them as it were the floods of the sea to drink abundantly,

16 And brought forth streams out of the rock, And caused the waters to flow down like rivers.

17 They, however, continued further to sin against Him,

To act rebelliously towards the Most High in a parched land.

18 They tempted God in their heart To desire food for their soul,

19 And spake against Elohim, they said :

" Will God be able to prepare a table in the desert?

20 Behold He smote rock, and waters gushed out, And streams d ashed along — 23 Nevertheless He commanded the clouds above, And the doors of heaven He opened;

24 He rained upon them manna to eat, And corn of heaven gave He unto them.

25 Bread of angels did man eat,

Meat He sent them in superabundance.

26 He caused the east wind to blow in the heaven, And by His power brought on the south wind,

27 And rained flesh upon them like the dust, And winged fowls as the sand of the seas.

28 And it fell within the circuit of its camp, Eound about its tents.

29 Then they did eat and were well filled, And their desire He fulfilled to tliem.

30 Still they were not estranged from their desire, The food was still in their mouth,

31 Then the anger of Elohim went up against them, And slew among their fat ones,

And smote down the young men of Israel.

32 For all this they sinned still more, And believed not in His wonders.

33 Then He made their days vanish in a breath, And their years in sudden haste.

34 When He slew them, they inquired after Him, They turned back and sought God diligently,

35 And remembered that Elohim was their rock, And God the Most High their Eedeemer.

36 They appeased Hiin with their mouth, And with their tongue they lied unto Him ;

37 But their heart was not stedfast with Him,

And they did not prove faithful in His covenant.

38 Nevertheless He is full of compassion — He forgiveth iniquity and doth not destroy. And hath ofttimes restrained His anger, And stirred not up all His fury.

39 He remembered that they were flesh,

A breath of wind that passeth by and returneth. not.

40 How oft did they provoke Him in the desert, Did they grieve Him in the wilderness !

11 And again and again they sought God, And vexed the Holy One of Israel.

42 They remembered not His hand,

The day when He delivered them from the oppressor,

43 When He set His signs in Egypt

And His remarkable deeds in the field of Zoan.

44 He turned their Niles into blood,

And their running waters they could not drink.

45 He sent gad-flies against them, which devoured them, And frogs, which brought destruction upon them.

46 He gave the fruit of their field to the cricket, And their labour to the locust ;

47 He smote down their vine with hail, And their sycamore-trees with hail-stones ;

18 And He gave over their cattle to the hail, And their flocks to the lightnings.

49 He let loose upon them the burning of His anger, Indignation and fury and distress,

An embassy of angels of misfortune ;

50 He made plain a way for His anger, He spared not their soul from death,

And their life He gave over to the pestilence.

51 He smote all the first-born in Egypt,

The firstlings of manly strength in the tents of Ham.

52 Then He made His own people to go forth like sheep, And guided them like a flock in the desert;

53 And He led them safely without fear, But their enemies the sea covered.

54 He brought them to His holy border,

To the mountain, which His right hand had acquired;

55 He drove out nations before them,

And allotted them as a marked out inheritance, And settled the tribes of Israel in their tents.

56 Nevertheless they tempted and provoked Elohim the Most

High, And His testimonies they kept not.

57 They turned back and fell away like their fathers, They turned aside like a deceitful bow.

58 They incensed Him by their high places, And by their idols they excited His jealousy.

59 Elohim heard and was wroth,

And became greatly wearied with Israel.

60 Then He cast off the tabernacle of Shiloh, The tent which He had pitched among men ;

61 He gave His might into captivity,

And His glory into the oppressor's hand.

62 He gave over His people to the sword, And was wroth concerning His inheritance.

63 Their young men fire devoured,

And for their maidens they sang no bridal song.

64 Their priests, by the sword they fell, And their widows could not mourn.

65 Then the Lord awaked as one sleeping, As a hero, shouting from wine,

66 And smote their oppressors behind, Eternal reproach did He put upon them —

67 And He despised the tent of Joseph, And the tribe of Ephraim He chose not.

68 He chose the tribe of Judah,

The mount Zion, which He hath loved.

69 And He built, as the heights of heaven, His sanctuary, Like the earth which He hath founded for ever.

70 And He chose David His servant, And took him from the sheep-folds ;

71 Following the ewes that gave suck He took him away To pasture Jacob His people,

And Israel His inheri tance.

72 And he pastured them according to the Integrity of his heart, And with judicious hands he led them.
In the last verse of Ps 77 Israel appears as a flock which is led by Moses and Aaron; in the last verse of Psalms 78 as a flock which is led by David, of a pure heart, with judicious hands. Both Psalms also meet in thoughts and expressions, just as the לאסף of both leads one to expect. Psalms 78 is called Maskı̂l, a meditation. The word would also be appropriate here in the signification “a didactic poem.” For the history of Israel is recapitulated here from the leading forth out of Egypt through the time of the Judges down to David, and that with the practical application for the present age that they should cleave faithfully to Jahve, more faithfully than the rebellious generation of the fathers. After the manner of the Psalms of Asaph the Ephraimites are made specially prominent out of the whole body of the people, their disobedience as well as the rejection of Shiloh and the election of David, by which it was for ever at an end with the supremacy of Ephraim and also of his brother-tribe of Benjamin.
The old Asaphic origin of the Psalm has been contested: - (1) Because Psa 78:9 may be referred to the apostasy of Ephraim and of the other tribes, that is to say, to the division of the kingdom. But this reference is capriciously imagined to be read in Psa 78:9. (2) Because the Psalm betrays a malice, indeed a national hatred against Ephraim, such as is only explicable after the apostasy of the ten tribes. But the alienation and jealousy between Ephraim and Judah is older than the rupture of the kingdom. The northern tribes, in consequence of their position, which was more exposed to contact with the heathen world, had already assumed a different character from that of Judah living in patriarchal seclusion. They could boast of a more excited, more martial history, one richer in exploit; in the time of the Judges especially, there is scarcely any mention of Judah. Hence Judah was little thought of by them, especially by powerful Ephraim, which regarded itself as the foremost tribe of all the tribes. From the beginning of Saul's persecution of David, however, when the stricter principle of the south came first of all into decisive conflict for the mastery with the more lax principle of the Ephraimites, until the rebellion of Jeroboam against Solomon, there runs through the history of Israel a series of acts which reveal a deep reft between Judah and the other tribes, more especially Benjamin and Ephraim. Though, therefore, it were true that a tone hostile to Ephraim is expressed in the Psalm, this would not be any evidence against its old Asaphic origin, since the psalmist rests upon facts, and, without basing the preference of Judah upon merit, he everywhere contemplates the sin of Ephraim, without any Judaean boasting, in a connection with the sin of the whole nation, which involves all in the responsibility. Nor is Psa 78:69 against Asaph the contemporary of David; for Asaph may certainly have seen the building of the Temple of Solomon as it towered upwards to the skies, and Caspari in his Essay on the Holy One of Israel (Luther. Zeitschrift, 1844, 3) has shown that even the divine name קדושׁ ישׂראל does not militate against him. We have seen in connection with Psa 76:1-12 how deeply imbued Isaiah's language is with that of the Psalms of Asaph. It cannot surprise us of Asaph is Isaiah's predecessor in the use of the name “the Holy One of Isreal.” The fact, however, that the writer of the Psalm takes the words and colours of his narration from all five books of the Pentateuch, with the exception of Leviticus, is not opposed to our view of the origin of the Pentateuch, but favourable to it. The author of the Book of Job, with whom in Psa 78:64 he verbally coincides, is regarded by us as younger; and the points of contact with other Psalms inscribed “by David,” “by the sons of Korah,” and “by Asaph,” do not admit of being employed for ascertaining his time, since the poet is by no means an unindependent imitator.
The manner of representation which characterizes the Psalm becomes epical in its extension, but is at the same time concise after the sententious style. The separate historical statements have a gnome-like finish, and a gem-like elegance. The whole falls into two principal parts, vv. 1-37, vv. 38-72; the second part passes over from the God-tempting unthankfulness of the Israel of the desert to that of the Israel of Canaan. Every three strophes form one group.

Psalm 78 edit

Verses 1-11 edit

The poet begins very similarly to the poet of Ps 49. He comes forward among the people as a preacher, and demands for his tôra a willing, attentive hearing. תּורה is the word for every human doctrine or instruction, especially for the prophetic discourse which sets forth and propagates the substance of the divine teaching. Asaph is a prophet, hence Psa 78:2 is quoted in Mat 13:34. as ῥηθὲν διὰ τοῦ προφήτου.[48]
He here recounts to the people their history מנּי־קדם, from that Egyptaeo-Sinaitic age of yore to which Israel's national independence and specific position in relation to the rest of the world goes back. It is not, however, with the external aspect of the history that he has to do, but with its internal teachings. משׁל is an allegory or parable, παραβολή, more particularly the apophthegm as the characteristic species of poetry belonging to the Chokma, and then in general a discourse of an elevated style, full of figures, thoughtful, pithy, and rounded. חידה is that which is entangled, knotted, involved, perlexe dictum. The poet, however, does not mean to say that he will literally discourse gnomic sentences and propound riddles, but that he will set forth the history of the fathers after the manner of a parable and riddle, so that it may become as a parable, i.e., a didactic history, and its events as marks of interrogation and nota-bene's to the present age. The lxx renders thus: ἀνοίξω ἐν παραβολαῖς τὸ στόμα μου, φθέγξομαι προβλήματα ἀπ ̓ ἀρχῆς. Instead of this the Gospel by Matthew has: ἀνοίξω ἐν παραβολαῖς τὸ στόμα μου, ἐρεύξομαι κεκρυμμένα ἀπὸ καταβολῆς (κόσμου), and recognises in this language of the Psalm a prophecy of Christ; because it is moulded so appropriately for the mouth of Him who is the Fulfiller not only of the Law and of Prophecy, but also of the vocation of the prophet. It is the object-clause to נכחד, and not a relative clause belonging to the “riddles out of the age of yore,” that follows in Psa 78:3 with אשׁר, for that which has been heard only becomes riddles by the appropriation and turn the poet gives to it. Psa 78:3 begins a new period (cf. Psa 69:27; Jer 14:1, and frequently): What we have heard, and in consequence thereof known, and what our fathers have told us (word for word, like Psa 44:1; Jdg 6:13), that will we not hide from their children (cf. Job 15:18). The accentuation is perfectly correct. The Rebı̂a by מבניהם has a greater distinctive force than the Rebı̂a by אחרון (לדור); it is therefore to be rendered: telling to the later generation (which is just what is intended by the offspring of the fathers) the glorious deeds of Jahve, etc. The fut. consec. ויּקם joins on to אשׁר עשׂה. Glorious deeds, proofs of power, miracles hath He wrought, and in connection therewith set up an admonition in Jacob, and laid down an order in Israel, which He commanded our fathers, viz., to propagate by tradition the remembrance of those mighty deeds (Exo 13:8, Exo 13:14; Deu 4:9, and other passages). להודיעם has the same object as והודעתּם in Deu 4:9; Jos 4:22. The matter in question is not the giving of the Law in general, as the purpose of which, the keeping of the laws, ought then to have been mentioned before anything else, but a precept, the purpose of which was the further proclamation of the magnalia Dei, and indirectly the promotion of trust in god and fidelity to the Law; cf. Psa 81:5., where the special precept concerning the celebration of the Feast of the Passover is described as a עדוּת laid down in Joseph. The following generation, the children, which shall be born in the course of the ages, were to know concerning His deeds, and also themselves to rise up (יקוּמוּ, not: come into being, like the יבאוּ of the older model-passage Ps 22:32) and to tell them further to their children, in order that these might place their confidence in god (שׂים כּסל, like שׁית מחסה in Psa 73:28), and might not forget the mighty deeds of God (Psa 118:17), and might keep His commandments, being warned by the disobedience of the fathers. The generation of the latter is called סורר וּמרה, just as the degenerate son that is to be stoned is called in Deu 21:18. הכין לבּו, to direct one's heart, i.e., to give it the right direction or tendency, to put it into the right state, is to be understood after Psa 78:37, 2Ch 20:33, Sir. 2:17.
Psa 78:9, which comes in now in the midst of this description, is awkward and unintelligible. The supposition that “the sons of Ephraim” is an appellation for the whole of Israel is refuted by Psa 78:67. The rejection of Ephraim and the election of Judah is the point into which the historical retrospect runs out; how then can “the sons of Ephraim” denote Israel as a whole? And yet what is here said of the Ephraimites also holds good of the Israelites in general, as Psa 78:57 shows. The fact, however, that the Ephraimites are made specially conspicuous out of the “generation” of all Israel, is intelligible from the special interest which the Psalms of Asaph take in the tribes of Joseph, and here particularly from the purpose of practically preparing the way for the rejection of Shiloh and Ephraim related further on. In Psa 78:10 and Psa 78:11 the Ephraimites are also still spoken of; and it is not until Psa 78:12, with the words “in sight of their fathers,” that we come back again to the nation at large. The Ephraimites are called נושׁקי רומי־קשׁת in the sense of נושׁקי קשׁת רומי קשׁת; the two participial construct forms do not stand in subordination but in co-ordination, as in Jer 46:9; Deu 33:19; 2Sa 20:19, just as in other instances also two substantives, of which one is the explanation of the other, are combined by means of the construct, Job 20:17, cf. 2Ki 17:13 Kerî. It is therefore: those who prepare the bow, i.e., those arming themselves therewith (נשׁק as in 1Ch 12:2; 2Ch 17:17), those who cast the vow, i.e., those shooting arrows from the bow (Jer 4:29), cf. Böttcher, §728. What is predicated of them, viz., “they turned round” (הפך as in Jdg 20:39, Jdg 20:41), stands in contrast with this their ability to bear arms and to defend themselves, as a disappointed expectation. Is what is meant thereby, that the powerful warlike tribe of Ephraim grew weary in the work of the conquest of Canaan (Judg. 1), and did not render the services which might have been expected from it? Since the historical retrospect does not enter into details until Psa 78:12 onwards, this especial historical reference would come too early here; the statement consequently must be understood more generally and, according to Psa 78:57, figuratively: Ephraim proved itself unstable and faint-hearted in defending and in conducting the cause of God, it gave it up, it abandoned it. They did not act as the covenant of God required of them, they refused to walk (ללכת, cf. ללכת, Ecc 1:7) within the limit and track of His Tôra, and forgot the deeds of God of which they had been eye-witnesses under Moses and under Joshua, their comrades of the same family.

Verses 12-25 edit

It is now related how wonderfully God led the fathers of these Ephraimites, who behaved themselves so badly as the leading tribe of Israel, in the desert; how they again and again ever indulged sinful murmuring, and still He continued to give proofs of His power and of His loving-kindness. The (according to Num 13:22) very ancient Zoan (Tanis), ancient Egyptian Zane, Coptic G'ane, on the east bank of the Tanitic arm of the Nile, so called therefrom - according to the researches to which the Turin Papyrus No. 112 has led, identical with Avaris (vid., on Isa 19:11)[49] - was the seat of the Hyksos dynasties that ruled in the eastern Delta, where after their overthrow Rameses II, the Pharaoh of the bondage, in order to propitiate the enraged mass of the Semitic population of Lower Egypt, embraced the worship of Baal instituted by King Apophis. The colossal sitting figure of Rameses II in the pillared court of the Royal Museum in Berlin, says Brugsch (Aus dem Orient ii. 45), is the figure which Rameses himself dedicated to the temple of Baal in Tanis and set up before its entrance. This mighty colossus is a contemporary of Moses, who certainly once looked upon this monument, when, as Ps 78 says, he “wrought wonders in the land of Egypt, in the field of Zoan.” The psalmist, moreover, keeps very close to the Tôra in his reproduction of the history of the Exodus, and in fact so close that he must have had it before him in the entirety of its several parts, the Deuteronomic, Elohimistic, and Jehovistic. Concerning the rule by which it is appointed ‛ā'sa phéle, vid., on Psa 52:5. The primary passage to Psa 78:13 (cf. נוזלים Psa 78:16) is Exo 15:8. נד is a pile, i.e., a piled up heap or mass, as in Psa 33:7. And Psa 78:14 is the abbreviation of Exo 13:21. In Psa 78:15. the writer condenses into one the two instances of the giving of water from the rock, in the first year of the Exodus (Ex. 17) and in the fortieth year (Num. 20). The Piel יבקּע and the plural צרים correspond to this compression. רבּה is not an adjective (after the analogy of תּהום רבּה), but an adverb as in Psa 62:3; for the giving to drink needs a qualificative, but תהמות does not need any enhancement. ויּוצא has ı̂ instead of ē as in Psa 105:43.
The fact that the subject is continued in Psa 78:17 with ויּוסיפוּ without mention having been made of any sinning on the part of the generation of the desert, is explicable from the consideration that the remembrance of that murmuring is closely connected with the giving of water from the rock to which the names Massah u - Merı̂bah and Merı̂bath - Kadesh (cf. Num 20:13 with Num 27:14; Deu 32:51) point back: they went on (עוד) winning against Him, in spite of the miracles they experienced. למרות is syncopated from להמרות as in Isa 3:8. The poet in Psa 78:18 condenses the account of the manifestations of discontent which preceded the giving of the quails and manna (Ex. 16), and the second giving of quails (Num. 11), as he has done the two cases of the giving of water from the rock in Psa 78:15. They tempted God by unbelievingly and defiantly demanding (לשׁאל, postulando, Ew. §280, d) instead of trustfully hoping and praying. בּלבבם points to the evil fountain of the heart, and לנפשׁם describes their longing as a sensual eagerness, a lusting after it. Instead of allowing the miracles hitherto wrought to work faith in them, they made the miracles themselves the starting-point of fresh doubts. The poet here clothes what we read in Exo 16:3; Num 11:4., Psa 21:5, in a poetic dress. In לעמּו the unbelief reaches it climax, it sounds like self-irony. On the co-ordinating construction “therefore Jahve heard it and was wroth,” cf. Isa 5:4; Isa 12:1; Isa 50:2; Rom 6:17. The allusion is to the wrath-burning at Taberah (Tab'eera), Num 11:1-3, which preceded the giving of the quails in the second year of the Exodus. For it is obvious that Psa 78:21 and Num 11:1 coincide, ויתעבר ואשׁ here being suggested by the ותבער־בם אשׁ eht yb d of that passage, and אף עלה being the opposite of ותשׁקע האשׁ in Psa 78:2. A conflagration broke out at that time in the camp, at the same time, however, with the breaking out of God's anger. The nexus between the anger and the fire is here an outward one, whereas in Num 11:1 it is an internal one. The ground upon which the wrathful decree is based, which is only hinted at there, is here more minutely given in Psa 78:22 : they believed not in Elohim (vid., Num 14:11), i.e., did not rest with believing confidence in Him, and trusted not in His salvation, viz., that which they had experienced in the redemption out of Egypt (Exo 14:13; Exo 15:2), and which was thereby guaranteed for time to come. Now, however, when Taberah is here followed first by the giving of the manna, Psa 78:23-25, then by the giving of the quails, Psa 78:26-29, the course of the events is deranged, since the giving of the manna had preceded that burning, and it was only the giving of the quails that followed it. This putting together of the two givings out of order was rendered necessary by the preceding condensation (in Psa 78:18-20) of the clamorous desire for a more abundant supply of food before each of these events. Notwithstanding Israel's unbelief, He still remained faithful: He caused manna to rain down out of the opened gates of heaven (cf. “the windows of heaven,” Gen 7:11; 2Ki 7:2; Mal 3:10), that is to say, in richest abundance. The manna is called corn (as in Psa 105:40, after Exo 16:4, it is called bread) of heaven, because it descended in the form of grains of corn, and supplied the place of bread-corn during the forty years. לחם אבּירים the lxx correctly renders ἄρτον ἀγγέλων (אבּירים = גּבּרי כח, Psa 103:20). The manna is called “bread of angels” (Wisd. 16:20) as being bread from heaven (Psa 78:24, Psa 105:40), the dwelling-place of angels, as being mann es - semâ, heaven's gift, its Arabic name, - a name which also belongs to the vegetable manna which flows out of the Tamarix mannifera in consequence of the puncture of the Coccus manniparus, and is even at the present day invaluable to the inhabitants of the desert of Sinai. אישׁ is the antithesis to אבירים; for if it signified “every one,” אכלוּ would have been said (Hitzig). צידהּ as in Exo 12:39; לשׂבע as in Exo 16:3, cf. Psa 78:8.

Verses 26-37 edit

Passing over to the giving of the quails, the poet is thinking chiefly of the first occasion mentioned in Ex. 16, which directly preceded the giving of the manna. But the description follows the second: יסּע (He caused to depart, set out) after Num 11:31. “East” and “south” belong together: it was a south-east wind from the Aelanitic Gulf. “To rain down” is a figurative expression for a plentiful giving of dispensing from above. “Its camp, its tents,” are those of Israel, Num 11:31, cf. Exo 16:13. The תּעוה, occurring twice, Psa 78:29-30 (of the object of strong desire, as in Psa 21:3), points to Kibroth - hattaavah, the scene of this carnal lusting; הביא is the transitive of the בּוא in Pro 13:12. In Psa 78:30-31 even in the construction the poet closely follows Num 11:33 (cf. also זרוּ with לזרא, aversion, loathing, Num 11:20). The Waw unites what takes place simultaneously; a construction which presents the advantage of being able to give special prominence to the subject. The wrath of God consisted in the breaking out of a sickness which was the result of immoderate indulgence, and to which even the best-nourished and most youthfully vigorous fell a prey. When the poet goes on in Psa 78:32 to say that in spite of these visitations (בּכל־זאת) they went on sinning, he has chiefly before his mind the outbreak of “fat” rebelliousness after the return of the spies, cf. Psa 78:32 with Num 14:11. And Psa 78:33 refers to the judgment of death in the wilderness threatened at that time to all who had come out of Egypt from twenty years old and upward (Num 14:28-34). Their life devoted to death vanished from that time onwards בּהבל, in breath-like instability, and בּבּהלה, in undurable precipitancy; the mode of expression in Psa 31:11; Job 36:1 suggests to the poet an expressive play of words. When now a special judgment suddenly and violently thinned the generation that otherwise was dying off, as in Num 21:6., then they inquired after Him, they again sought His favour, those who were still preserved in the midst of this dying again remembered the God who had proved Himself to be a “Rock” (Deu 32:15, Deu 32:18, Deu 32:37) and to be a “Redeemer” (Gen 48:16) to them. And what next? Psa 78:36-37[50] tell us what effect they gave to this disposition to return to God. They appeased Him with their mouth, is meant to say: they sought to win Him over to themselves by fair speeches, inasmuch as they thus anthropopathically conceived of God, and with their tongue they played the hypocrite to Him; their heart, however, was not sincere towards Him (עם like את in Psa 78:8), i.e., not directed straight towards Him, and they proved themselves not stedfast (πιστοί, or properly βέβαιοι) in their covenant-relationship to Him.

Verses 38-48 edit

The second part of the Psalm now begins. God, notwithstanding, in His compassion restrains His anger; but Israel's God-tempting conduct was continued, even after the journey through the desert, in Canaan, and the miracles of judgment amidst which the deliverance out of Egypt had been effected were forgotten. With והוּא in Psa 78:38[51] begins an adversative clause, which is of universal import as far as ישׁהית, and then becomes historical. Psa 78:38 expands what lies in רחוּם: He expiates iniquity and, by letting mercy instead of right take its course, arrests the destruction of the sinner. With והרבּה (Ges. §§142, 2) this universal truth is supported out of the history of Israel. As this history shows, He has many a time called back His anger, i.e., checked it in its course, and not stirred up all His blowing anger (cf. Isa 42:13), i.e., His anger in all its fulness and intensity. We see that Psa 78:38 refers to His conduct towards Israel, then Psa 78:39 follows with the ground of the determination, and that in the form of an inference drawn from such conduct towards Israel. He moderated His anger against Israel, and consequently took human frailty and perishableness into consideration. The fact that man is flesh (which not merely affirms his physical fragility, but also his moral weakness, Gen 6:3, cf. Gen 8:21), and that, after a short life, he falls a prey to death, determines God to be long-suffering and kind; it was in fact sensuous desire and loathing by which Israel was beguiled time after time. The exclamation “how oft!” Psa 78:40, calls attention to the praiseworthiness of this undeserved forbearance.
But with Psa 78:41 the record of sins begins anew. There is nothing by which any reference of this Psa 78:41 to the last example of insubordination recorded in the Pentateuch, Num 35:1-9 (Hitzig), is indicated. The poet comes back one more to the provocations of God by the Israel of the wilderness in order to expose the impious ingratitude which revealed itself in this conduct. התוה is the causative of תּוה = Syriac tewā', תּהא, to repent, to be grieved, lxx παρώξυναν. The miracles of the tie of redemption are now brought before the mind in detail, ad exaggerandum crimen tentationis Deu cum summa ingratitudine conjunctum (Venema). The time of redemption is called יום, as in Gen 2:4 the hexahemeron. שׂים אות (synon. עשׂה, נתן) is used as in Exo 10:2. We have already met with מנּי־צר in Psa 44:11. The first of the plagues of Egypt (Exo 7:14-25), the turning of the waters into blood, forms the beginning in Psa 78:44. From this the poet takes a leap over to the fourth plague, the ערב (lxx κυνόμυια), a grievous and destructive species of fly (Exo 8:20-32), and combines with it the frogs, the second plague (Exo 8:1-15). צפרדּע is the lesser Egyptian frog, Rana Mosaica, which is even now called Arab. ḍfd‛ , ḍofda. Next in Psa 78:46 he comes to the eighth plague, the locusts, חסיל (a more select name of the migratory locusts than ארבּה), Ex 10:1-20; the third plague, the gnats and midges, כּנּים, is left unmentioned in addition to the fourth, which is of a similar kind. For the chastisement by means of destructive living things is now closed, and in Psa 78:47 follows the smiting with hail, the seventh plague, Ex 9:13-35. חנמל (with pausal , not ā, cf. in Eze 8:2 the similarly formed החשׁמלה) in the signification hoar-frost (πάχνη, lxx, Vulgate, Saadia, and Abulwalîd), or locusts (Targum כּזוּבא = חגב), or ants (J. D. Michaelis), does not harmonize with the history; also the hoar-frost is called כּפוּר, the ant נּמלה (collective in Arabic neml). Although only conjecturing from the context, we understand it, with Parchon and Kimchi, of hailstones or hail. With thick lumpy pieces of ice He smote down vines and sycamore-trees (Fayum was called in ancient Egyptian “the district of the sycamore”). הרג proceeds from the Biblical conception that the plant has a life of its own. The description of this plague is continued in Psa 78:48. Two MSS present לדּבר instead of לבּרד; but even supposing that רשׁפים might signify the fever-burnings of the pestilence (vid., on Hab 3:5), the mention of the pestilence follows in Psa 78:50, and the devastation which, according to Exo 9:19-22, the hail caused among the cattle of the Egyptians is in its right place here. Moreover it is expressly said in Exo 9:24 that there was conglomerate fire among the hail; רשׁפים are therefore flaming, blazing lightnings.

Verses 49-59 edit

When these plagues rose to the highest pitch, Israel became free, and removed, being led by its God, into the Land of Promise; but it continued still to behave there just as it had done in the desert. The poet in Psa 78:49-51 brings the fifth Egyptian plague, the pestilence (Exo 9:1-7), and the tenth and last, the smiting of the first-born (מכּת בּכרות), Exo 11:1, together. Psa 78:49 sounds like Job 20:23 (cf. below Psa 78:64). מלאכי רעים are not wicked angels, against which view Hengstenberg refers to the scriptural thesis of Jacobus Ode in his work De Angelis, Deum ad puniendos malos homines mittere bonos angelos et ad castigandos pios usurpare malos, but angels that bring misfortune. The mode of construction belongs to the chapter of the genitival subordination of the adjective to the substantive, like אשׁת רע, Pro 6:24, cf. 1Sa 28:7; Num 5:18, Num 5:24; 1Ki 10:15; Jer 24:2, and the Arabic msjdu 'l - jâm‛, the mosque of the assembling one, i.e., the assembling (congregational) mosque, therefore: angels (not of the wicked ones = wicked angels, which it might signify elsewhere, but) of the evil ones = evil, misfortune-bringing angels (Ew. §287, a). The poet thus paraphrases the המּשׁחית that is collectively conceived in Exo 12:13, Exo 12:23; Heb 11:28. In Psa 78:50 the anger is conceived of as a stream of fire, in Psa 78:50 death as an executioner, and in 50c the pestilence as a foe. ראשׁית אונים (Gen 49:3; Deu 21:17) is that which had sprung for the first time from manly vigour (plur. intensivus). Egypt is called חם as in Ps 105 and Psa 111:1-10 according to Gen 10:6, and is also called by themselves in ancient Egyptian Kemi, Coptic Chêmi, Kême (vid., Plutarch, De Iside et Osiride, ch. 33). When now these plagues which softened their Pharaoh went forth upon the Egyptians, God procured for His people a free departure, He guided flock-like (כּעדר like בּעדר, Jer 31:24, with Dag. implicitum), i.e., as a shepherd, the flock of His people (the favourite figure of the Psalms of Asaph) through the desert, - He led them safely, removing all terrors out of the way and drowning their enemies in the Red Sea, to His holy territory, to the mountain which (זה) His right hand had acquired, or according to the accents (cf. supra, p. 104): to the mountain there (זה), which, etc. It is not Zion that is meant, but, as in the primary passage Exo 15:16., in accordance with the parallelism (although this is not imperative) and the usage of the language, which according to Isa 11:9; Isa 57:13, is incontrovertible, the whole of the Holy Land with its mountains and valleys (cf. Deu 11:11). בּחבל נחלה is the poetical equivalent to בּנחלה, Num 34:2; Num 36:2, and frequently. The Beth is Beth essentiae (here in the same syntactical position as in Isa 48:10; Eze 20:41, and also Job 22:24 surely): He made them (the heathen, viz., as in Jos 23:4 their territories) fall to them (viz., as the expression implies, by lot, בגורל) as a line of inheritance, i.e., (as in Psa 105:11) as a portion measured out as an inheritance. It is only in Psa 78:56 (and not so early as Psa 78:41) that the narration passes over to the apostate conduct of the children of the generation of the desert, that is to say, of the Israel of Canaan. Instead of עדוריו from עדוּת, the word here is עדוריו from עדה (a derivative of עוּד, not יעד). Since the apostasy did not gain ground until after the death of Joshua and Eleazar, it is the Israel of the period of the Judges that we are to think of here. קשׁת רמיּה, Psa 78:57, is not: a bow of slackness, but: a bow of deceit; for the point of comparison, according to Hos 7:16, is its missing the mark: a bow that discharges its arrow in a wrong direction, that makes no sure shot. The verb רמה signifies not only to allow to hang down slack (cogn. רפה), but also, according to a similar conception to spe dejicere, to disappoint, deny. In the very act of turning towards God, or at least being inclined towards Him by His tokens of power and loving-kindness, they turned (Jer 2:21) like a vow that misses the mark and disappoints both aim and expectation. The expression in Psa 78:58 is like Deu 32:16, Deu 32:21. שׁמע refers to their prayer to the Ba(a4lim (Jdg 2:11). The word התעבּר, which occurs three times in this Psalm, is a word belonging to Deuteronomy (Deu 3:26). Psa 78:59 is purposely worded exactly like Psa 78:21. The divine purpose of love spurned by the children just as by the fathers, was obliged in this case, as in the former, to pass over into angry provocation.

Verses 60-72 edit

The rejection of Shiloh and of the people worshipping there, but later on, when the God of Israel is again overwhelmed by compassion, the election of Judah, and of Mount Zion, and of David, the king after His own heart. In the time of the Judges the Tabernacle was set up in Shiloh (Jos 18:1); there, consequently, was the central sanctuary of the whole people, - in the time of Eli and Samuel, as follows from 1Sa 1:1, it had become a fixed temple building. When this building was destroyed is not known; according to Jdg 18:30., cf. Jer 7:12-15, it was probably not until the Assyrian period. The rejection of Shiloh, however, preceded the destruction, and practically took place simultaneously with the removal of the central sanctuary to Zion; and was, moreover, even previously decided by the fact that the Ark of the covenant, when given up again by the Philistines, was not brought back to Shiloh, but set down in Kirjath Jearîm (1Sa 7:2). The attributive clause שׁכּן בּאדם uses שׁכּן as השׁכּין is used in Jos 18:1. The pointing is correct, for the words to not suffice to signify “where He dwelleth among men” (Hitzig); consequently שׁכּן is the causative of the Kal, Lev 16:16; Jos 22:19. In Psa 78:61 the Ark of the covenant is called the might and glory of God (ארון עזּו, Psa 132:8, cf. כבוד, 1Sa 4:21.), as being the place of their presence in Israel and the medium of their revelation. Nevertheless, in the battle with the Philistines between Eben-ezer and Aphek, Jahve gave the Ark, which they had fetched out of Shiloh, into the hands of the foe in order to visit on the high-priesthood of the sons of Ithamar the desecration of His ordinances, and there fell in that battle 30,000 footmen, and among them the two sons of Eli, Hophni and Phinehas, the priests (1 Sam. 4). The fire in Psa 78:63 is the fire of war, as in Num 21:28, and frequently. The incident mentioned in 1Sa 6:19 is reasonably (vid., Keil) left out of consideration. By לא הוּלּלוּ (lxx erroneously, οὐκ ἐπένθησαν = הוללוּ = הילילוּ) are meant the marriage-songs (cf. Talmudic הלּוּלא, the nuptial tent, and בּית הלוּלים the marriage-house). “Its widows (of the people, in fact, of the slain) weep not” (word for word as in Job 27:15) is meant of the celebration of the customary ceremony of mourning (Gen 23:2): they survive their husbands (which, with the exception of such a case as that recorded in 1Sa 14:19-22, is presupposed), but without being able to show them the last signs of honour, because the terrors of the war (Jer 15:8) prevent them.
With Psa 78:65 the song takes a new turn. After the punitive judgment has sifted and purified Israel, God receives His people to Himself afresh, but in such a manner that He transfers the precedence of Ephraim to the tribe of Judah. He awakes as it were from a long sleep (Psa 44:24, cf. Psa 73:20); for He seemed to sleep whilst Israel had become a servant to the heathen; He aroused Himself, like a hero exulting by reason of wine, i.e., like a hero whose courage is heightened by the strengthening and exhilarating influence of wine (Hengstenberg). התרונן is not the Hithpal. of רוּן in the Arabic signification, which is alien to the Hebrew, to conquer, a meaning which we do not need here, and which is also not adapted to the reflexive form (Hitzig, without any precedent, renders thus: who allows himself to be conquered by wine), but Hithpo. of רנן: to shout most heartily, after the analogy of the reflexives התאונן, התנודד, התרועע. The most recent defeat of the enemy which the poet has before his mind is that of the Philistines. The form of expression in Psa 78:66 is moulded after 1Sa 5:6. God smote the Philistines most literally in posteriora (lxx, Vulgate, and Luther). Nevertheless Psa 78:66 embraces all the victories under Samuel, Saul, and David, from 1Sa 5:1-12 and onwards. Now, when they were able to bring the Ark, which had been brought down to the battle against the Philistines, to a settled resting-place again, God no longer chose Shiloh of Ephraim, but Judah and the mountain of Zion, which He had loved (Psa 47:5), of Benjamitish-Judaean (Jos 15:63; Jdg 1:8, Jdg 1:21) - but according to the promise (Deu 33:12) and according to the distribution of the country (vid., on Psa 68:28) Benjamitish - Jerusalem.[52]
There God built His Temple כּמו־רמים. Hitzig proposes instead of this to read כּמרומים; but if נעימים, Psa 16:6, signifies amaena, then רמים may signify excelsa (cf. Isa 45:2 הדוּרים, Jer 17:6 חררים) and be poetically equivalent to מרומים: lasting as the heights of heaven, firm as the earth, which He hath founded for ever. Since the eternal duration of heaven and of the earth is quite consistent with a radical change in the manner of its duration, and that not less in the sense of the Old Testament than of the New (vid., e.g., Isa 65:17), so the לעולם applies not to the stone building, but rather to the place where Jahve reveals Himself, and to the promise that He will have such a dwelling-place in Israel, and in fact in Judah. Regarded spiritually, i.e., essentially, apart from the accidental mode of appearing, the Temple upon Zion is as eternal as the kingship upon Zion with which the Psalm closes. The election of David gives its impress to the history of salvation even on into eternity. It is genuinely Asaphic that it is so designedly portrayed how the shepherd of the flock of Jesse (Isai) became the shepherd of the flock of Jahve, who was not to pasture old and young in Israel with the same care and tenderness as the ewe-lambs after which he went (עלות as in Gen 33:13, and רעה ב, cf. 1Sa 16:11; 1Sa 17:34, like משׁל בּ and the like). The poet is also able already to glory that he has fulfilled this vocation with a pure heart and with an intelligent mastery. And with this he closes.
From the decease of David lyric and prophecy are retrospectively and prospectively turned towards David.

Psalm 79 edit

Supplicatory Prayer in a Time of Devastation, of Bloodshed, and of Derision edit

This Psalm is in every respect the pendant of Ps 74. The points of contact are not merely matters of style (cf. Psa 79:5, how long for ever? with Psa 74:1, Psa 74:10; Psa 79:10, יוּדע, with Psa 74:5; Psa 79:2, the giving over to the wild beasts, with Psa 74:19, Psa 74:14; Psa 79:13, the conception of Israel as of a flock, in which respect Psa 79:1-13 is judiciously appended to Psa 78:70-72, with Psa 74:1, and also with Psa 74:19). But the mutual relationships lie still deeper. Both Psalms have the same Asaphic stamp, both stand in the same relation to Jeremiah, and both send forth their complaint out of the same circumstances of the time, concerning a destruction of the Temple and of Jerusalem, such as only the age of the Seleucidae (1 Macc. 1:31; 3:45, 2 Macc. 8:3) together with the Chaldaean period[53] can exhibit, and in conjunction with a defiling of the Temple and a massacre of the servants of God, of the Chasîdîm (1 Macc. 7:13, 2 Macc. 14:6), such as the age of the Seleucidae exclusively can exhibit. The work of the destruction of the Temple which was in progress in Ps 74, appears in Psa 79:1-13 as completed, and here, as in the former Psalm, one receives the impression of the outrages, not of some war, but of some persecution: it is straightway the religion of Israel for the sake of which the sanctuaries are destroyed and the faithful are massacred.
Apart from other striking accords, Psa 79:6-7 are repeated verbatim in Jer 10:25. It is in itself far more probable that Jeremiah here takes up the earlier language of the Psalm than that the reverse is the true relation; and, as Hengstenberg has correctly observed, this is also favoured by the fact that the words immediately before viz., Jer 10:24, originate out of Psa 6:2, and that the connection in the Psalm is a far closer one. But since there is no era of pre-Maccabaean history corresponding to the complaints of the Psalm,[54]
Jeremiah is to be regarded in this instance as the example of the psalmist; and in point of fact the borrower is betrayed in Psa 79:6-7 of the Psalm by the fact that the correct על of Jeremiah is changed into אל, the more elegant משׁפחות into ממלכות, and the plural אכלוּ into אכל, and the soaring exuberance of Jeremiah's expression is impaired by the omission of some of the words.

Verses 1-4 edit

The Psalm begins with a plaintive description, and in fact one that makes complaint to God. Its opening sounds like Lam 1:10. The defiling does not exclude the reducing to ashes, it is rather spontaneously suggested in Psa 74:7 in company with wilful incendiarism. The complaint in Psa 79:1 reminds one of the prophecy of Micah, Mic 3:12, which in its time excited so much vexation (Jer 26:18); and Psa 79:2, Deu 28:26. עבדיך confers upon those who were massacred the honour of martyrdom. The lxx renders לעיים by εἰς ὀπωροφυλάκιον, a flourish taken from Isa 1:8. Concerning the quotation from memory in 1 Macc. 7:16f., vid., the introduction to Ps 74. The translator of the originally Hebrew First Book of the Maccabees even in other instances betrays an acquaintance with the Greek Psalter (cf. 1 Macc. 1:37, καὶ ἐξέχεαν αἷμα ἀθῷον κύκλῳ τοῦ ἁγιάσματος). “As water,” i.e., (cf. Deu 15:23) without setting any value upon it and without any scruple about it. Psa 44:14 is repeated in Psa 79:4. At the time of the Chaldaean catastrophe this applied more particularly to the Edomites.

Verses 5-8 edit

Out of the plaintive question how long? and whether endlessly God would be angry and cause His jealousy to continue to burn like a fire (Deu 32:22), grows up the prayer (Psa 79:6) that He would turn His anger against the heathen who are estranged from the hostile towards Him, and of whom He is now making use as a rod of anger against His people. The taking over of Psa 79:6-7 from Jer 10:25 is not betrayed by the looseness of the connection of thought; but in themselves these four lines sound much more original in Jeremiah, and the style is exactly that of this prophet, cf. Jer 6:11; Jer 2:3, and frequently, Psa 49:20. The אל, instead of על, which follows שׁפך is incorrect; the singular אכל gathers all up as in one mass, as in Isa 5:26; Isa 17:13. The fact that such power over Israel is given to the heathen world has its ground in the sins of Israel. From Psa 79:8 it may be inferred that the apostasy which raged earlier is now checked. ראשׁנים is not an adjective (Job 31:28; Isa 59:2), which would have been expressed by עונותינו חראשׁנים, but a genitive: the iniquities of the forefathers (Lev 26:14, cf. Psa 39:1-13). On Psa 79:8 of Jdg 6:6. As is evident from Psa 79:9, the poet does not mean that the present generation, itself guiltless, has to expiate the guilt of the fathers (on the contrary, Deu 24:16; 2Ki 14:6; Eze 18:20); he prays as one of those who have turned away from the sins of the fathers, and who can now no longer consider themselves as placed under wrath, but under sin-pardoning and redeeming grace.

Verses 9-12 edit

The victory of the world is indeed not God's aim; therefore His own honour does not suffer that the world of which He has made use in order to chasten His people should for ever haughtily triumph. שׁמך is repeated with emphasis at the end of the petition in Psa 79:9, according to the figure epanaphora. על־דּבר = למען, as in Psa 45:5, cf. Psa 7:1, is a usage even of the language of the Pentateuch. Also the motive, “wherefore shall they say?” occurs even in the Tôra (Exo 32:12, cf. Num 14:13-17; Deu 9:28). Here (cf. Psa 115:2) it originates out of Joe 2:17. The wish expressed in Psa 79:10 is based upon Deu 32:43. The poet wishes in company with his contemporaries, as eye-witnesses, to experience what God has promised in the early times, viz., that He will avenge the blood of His servants. The petition in Deu 32:11 runs like Psa 102:21, cf. Psa 18:7. אסיר individualizingly is those who are carried away captive and incarcerated; בּני תמוּתה are those who, if God does not preserve them by virtue of the greatness (גדל, cf. גּדל Exo 15:16) of His arm, i.e., of His far-reaching omnipotence, succumb to the power of death as to a patria potestas.[55]
That the petition in Psa 79:12 recurs to the neighbouring peoples is explained by the fact, that these, who might most readily come to the knowledge of the God of Israel as the one living and true God, have the greatest degree of guilt on account of their reviling of God. The bosom is mentioned as that in which one takes up and holds that which is handed to him (Luk 6:38); חיק- (על) אל (שׁלּם) השׁיב, as in Isa 65:7, Isa 65:6; Jer 32:18. A sevenfold requital (cf. Gen 4:15, Gen 4:24) is a requital that is fully carried out as a criminal sentence, for seven is the number of a completed process.

Verse 13 edit

If we have thus far correctly hit upon the parts of which the Psalm is composed (9. 9. 9), then the lamentation closes with this tristichic vow of thanksgiving.

Psalm 80 edit


With the words We are Thy people and the flock of Thy pasture, Psa 79:1-13 closes; and Psalms 80 begins with a cry to the Shepherd of Israel. Concerning the inscription of the Psalm: To be practised after the “Lilies, the testimony...,” by Asaph, a Psalm, vid., on Psa 45:1, supra, p. 45f. The lxx renders, εἰς τὸ τέλος (unto the end), ὑπὲρ τῶν ἀλλοιωθησομένων (which is unintelligible and ungrammatical = אל־שׁשּׂנים), μαρτύριον τῷ Ἀσάφ (as the accentuation also unites these words closely by Tarcha), ψαλμός ὑπὲρ τοῦ Ἀσσυρίου (cf. Psa 76:1), perhaps a translation of אל־אשׁור, an inscribed note which took the “boar out of the forest” as an emblem of Assyria. This hint is important. It solves the riddle why Joseph represents all Israel in Psa 80:2, and why the tribes of Joseph in particular are mentioned in Psa 80:3, and why in the midst of these Benjamin, whom like descent from Rachel and chagrin, never entirely overcome, on account of the loss of the kingship drew towards the brother-tribes of Joseph. Moreover the tribe of Benjamin had only partially remained to the house of David since the division of the kingdom,[56] so that this triad is to be regarded as an expansion of the “Joseph” (v. 20. After the northern kingdom had exhausted its resources in endless feuds with Damascene Syria, it succumbed to the world-wide dominion of Assyria in the sixth year of Hezekiah, in consequence of the heavy visitations which are closely associated with the names of the Assyrian kings Pul, Tiglath-pileser, and Shalmaneser. The psalmist, as it seems, prays in a time in which the oppression of Assyria rested heavily upon the kingdom of Ephraim, and Judah saw itself threatened with ruin when this bulwark should have fallen. We must not, however, let it pass without notice that our Psalm has this designation of the nation according to the tribes of Joseph in common with other pre-exilic Psalms of Asaph (Psa 77:16; Psa 78:9; Psa 81:6). It is a characteristic belonging in common to this whole group of Psalms. Was Asaph, the founder of this circle of songs, a native, perhaps, of one of the Levite cities of the province of the tribe of Ephraim or Manasseh?
The Psalm consists of five eight-line strophes, of which the first, second, and fifth close with the refrain, “Elohim, restore us, let Thy countenance shine forth, then shall we be helped!” This prayer grows in earnestness. The refrain begins the first time with Elohim, the second time with Elohim Tsebaôth, and the third time with a threefold Jahve Elohim Tsebaôth, with which the second strophe (Psa 80:5) also opens.

Verses 2-4 edit

The first strophe contains nothing but petition. First of all the nation is called Israel as springing from Jacob; then, as in Psa 81:6, Joseph, which, where it is distinct from Jacob or Judah, is the name of the kingdom of the ten tribes (vid., Caspari on Oba 1:18), or at least of the northern tribes (Psa 77:16; Psa 78:67.). Psa 80:3 shows that it is also these that are pre-eminently intended here. The fact that in the blessing of Joseph, Jacob calls God a Shepherd (רעה), Gen 48:15; Gen 49:24, perhaps has somewhat to do with the choice of the first two names. In the third, the sitting enthroned in the sanctuary here below and in the heaven above blend together; for the Old Testament is conscious of a mutual relationship between the earthly and the heavenly temple (היכל) until the one merges entirely in the other. The cherûbim, which God enthrones, i.e., upon which He sits enthroned, are the bearers of the chariot (מרכבה) of the Ruler of the world (vid., Psa 18:11). With הופיעה (from יפע, Arab. yf‛ , eminere , emicare, as in the Asaph Psa 50:2) the poet prays that He would appear in His splendour of light, i.e., in His fiery bright, judging, and rescuing doxa, whether as directly visible, or even as only recognisable by its operation. Both the comparison, “after the manner of a flock” and the verb נהג are Asaphic, Psa 78:52, cf. Psa 26:1-12. Just so also the names given to the nation. The designation of Israel after the tribes of Ephraim and Manasseh attaches itself to the name Joseph; and the two take the brother after the flesh into their midst, of whom the beloved Rachel was the mother as well as of Joseph, the father of Ephraim and Manasseh. In Num. 2 also, these three are not separated, but have their camp on the west side of the Tabernacle. May God again put into activity - which is the meaning of עורר (excitare) in distinction from חעיר (expergefacere) - His גבורה, the need for the energetic intervention of which now makes itself felt, before these three tribes, i.e., by becoming their victorious leader. לכה is a summoning imperative.[57]
Concerning ישׁעתה vid., on Psa 3:3; the construction with Lamed says as little against the accusative adverbial rendering of the ah set forth there as does the Beth of בּחרשׁה (in the wood) in 1Sa 23:15, vid., Böttcher's Neue Aehrenlese, Nos. 221, 384, 449. It is not a bringing back out of the Exile that is prayed for by השׁתבנוּ, for, according to the whole impression conveyed by the Psalm, the people are still on the soil of their fatherland; but in their present feebleness they are no longer like themselves, they stand in need of divine intervention in order again to attain a condition that is in harmony with the promises, in order to become themselves again. May God then cause His long hidden countenance to brighten and shine upon them, then shall they be helped as they desire (ונוּשׁעה).

Verses 4-7 edit

In the second strophe there issues forth bitter complaint concerning the form of wrath which the present assumes, and, thus confirmed, the petition rises anew. The transferring of the smoking (עשׁן) of God's nostrils = the hard breathing of anger (Psa 74:1, Deu 29:19), to God Himself is bold, but in keeping with the spirit of the Biblical view of the wrath of God (vid., on Psa 18:9), so that there is no need to avoid the expression by calling in the aid of the Syriac word עשׁן, to be strong, powerful (why art Thou hard, why dost Thou harden Thyself...). The perfect after עד־מתי has the sense of a present with a retrospective glance, as in Exo 10:3, cf. עד־אנה, to be understood after the analogy of חרה בּ (to kindle = to be angry against any one), for the prayer of the people is not an object of wrath, but only not a means of turning it aside. While the prayer is being presented, God veils Himself in the smoke of wrath, through which it is not able to penetrate. The lxx translators have read בתפלת עבדיך, for they render ἐπὶ τὴν προσευχήν τῶν δούλων σου (for which the common reading is τοῦ δούλου σου). Bread of tears is, according to Psa 42:4, bread consisting of tears; tears, running down in streams upon the lips of the praying and fasting one, are his meat and his drink. השׁקה with an accusative signifies to give something to drink, and followed by Beth, to give to drink by means of something, but it is not to be translated: potitandum das eis cum lacrymis trientem (De Dieu, von Ortenberg, and Hitzig). שׁלישׁ (Talmudic, a third part) is the accusative of more precise definition (Vatablus, Gesenius, Olshausen, and Hupfeld): by thirds (lxx ἐν μέτρῳ, Symmachus μέτρῳ); for a third of an ephah is certainly a very small measure for the dust of the earth (Isa 40:12), but a large one for tears. The neighbours are the neighbouring nations, to whom Israel is become מדון, an object, a butt of contention. In למו is expressed the pleasure which the mocking gives them.

Verses 8-19 edit

The complaint now assumes a detailing character in this strophe, inasmuch as it contrasts the former days with the present; and the ever more and more importunate prayer moulds itself in accordance therewith. The retrospective description begins, as is rarely the case, with the second modus, inasmuch as “the speaker thinks more of the bare nature of the act than of the time” (Ew. §136, b). As in the blessing of Jacob (Gen 49:22) Joseph is compared to the layer (בּן) of a fruitful growth (פּרת), whose shoots (בּנות) climb over the wall: so here Israel is compared to a vine (Gen 49:22; גּפן פּריּח, Psa 128:3), which has become great in Egypt and been transplanted thence into the Land of Promise. הסּיע, lxx μεταίρειν, as in Job 19:10, perhaps with an allusion to the מסעים of the people journeying to Canaan (Psa 78:52).[58]
Here God made His vine a way and a place (פּנּהּ, to clear, from פּנה, to turn, turn aside, Arabic fanija, to disappear, pass away; root פן, to urge forward), and after He had secured to it a free soil and unchecked possibility of extension, it (the vine) rooted its roots, i.e., struck them ever deeper and wider, and filled the earth round about (cf. the antitype in the final days, Isa 27:6). The Israelitish kingdom of God extended itself on every side in accordance with the promise. תּשׁלּח (cf. Eze 17:6, and vegetable שׁלח, a shoot) also has the vine as its subject, like תּשׁרשׁ. Psa 80:11-12 state this in a continued allegory, by the “mountains” pointing to the southern boundary, by the “cedars” to the northern, by the “sea” to the western, and by the “river” (Euphrates) to the eastern boundary of the country (vid., Deu 11:24 and other passages). צלּהּ and ענפיה are accusatives of the so-called more remote object (Ges. §143, 1). קציר is a cutting = a branch; יונקת, a (vegetable) sucker = a young, tender shoot; ארזי־אל, the cedars of Lebanon as being living monuments of the creative might of God. The allegory exceeds the measure of the reality of nature, inasmuch as this is obliged to be extended according to the reality of that which is typified and historical. But how unlike to the former times is the present! The poet asks “wherefore?” for the present state of things is a riddle to him. The surroundings of the vine are torn down; all who come in contact with it pluck it (ארה, to pick off, pluck off, Talmudic of the gathering of figs); the boar out of the wood (מיער with עין תלויה, Ajin)[59] cuts it off (כּרסם, formed out of כּסם = גּזם[60] viz., with its tusks; and that which moves about the fields (vid., concerning זיז, Psa 50:11), i.e., the untractable, lively wild beast, devours it. Without doubt the poet associates a distinct nation with the wild boar in his mind; for animals are also in other instances the emblems of nations, as e.g., the leviathan, the water-serpent, the behemoth (Isa 30:6), and flies (Isa 7:18) are emblems of Egypt. The Midrash interprets it of Seîr-Edom, and זיז שׂדי, according to Gen 16:12, of the nomadic Arabs.
In Psa 80:15 the prayer begins for the third time with threefold urgency, supplicating for the vine renewed divine providence, and a renewal of the care of divine grace. We have divided the verse differently from the accentuation, since שׁוּב־נא הבּט is to be understood according to Ges. §142. The junction by means of ו is at once opposed to the supposition that וכּנּה in Psa 80:16 signifies a slip or plant, plantam (Targum, Syriac, Aben-Ezra, Kimchi, and others), and that consequently the whole of Psa 80:16 is governed by וּפקד. Nor can it mean its (the vine's) stand or base, כּן (Böttcher), since one does not plant a “stand.” The lxx renders וכנה: καὶ κατάρτισαι, which is imper. aor. 1. med., therefore in the sense of כּוננה.[61]
But the alternation of על (cf. Pro 2:11, and Arab. jn ‛lâ, to cover over) with the accusative of the object makes it more natural to derive כנה, not from כּנן = כּוּן, but from כּנן Arab. kanna = גּנן, to cover, conceal, protect (whence Arab. kinn, a covering, shelter, hiding-place): and protect him whom...or: protect what Thy right hand has planted. The pointing certainly seems to take כנה as the feminine of כּן (lxx, Dan 11:7, φυτόν); for an imperat. paragog. Kal of the form כּנּה does not occur elsewhere, although it might have been regarded by the punctuists as possible from the form גּל, volve, Psa 119:22. If it is regarded as impossible, then one might read כנּה. At any rate the word is imperative, as the following אשׁר, eum quem, also shows, instead of which, if כנה were a substantive, one would expect to find a relative clause without אשׁר, as in Psa 80:16. Moreover Psa 80:16 requires this, since פּקד על can only be used of visiting with punishment. And who then would the slip (branch) and the son of man be in distinction from the vine? If we take בנה as imperative, then, as one might expect, the vine and the son of man are both the people of God. The Targum renders Psa 80:16 thus: “and upon the King Messiah, whom Thou hast established for Thyself,” after Psa 2:1-12 and Dan 7:13; but, as in the latter passage, it is not the Christ Himself, but the nation out of which He is to proceed, that is meant. אמּץ has the sense of firm appropriation, as in Isa 44:14, inasmuch as the notion of making fast passes over into that of laying firm hold of, of seizure. Rosenmüller well renders it: quem adoptatum tot nexibus tibi adstrinxisti.
The figure of the vine, which rules all the language here, is also still continued in Psa 80:17; for the partt. fem. refer to גּפן ot refer, - the verb, however, may take the plural form, because those of Israel are this “vine,” which combusta igne, succisa (as in Isa 33:12; Aramaic, be cut off, tear off, in Psa 80:13 the Targum word for ארה; Arabic, ksḥ, to clear away, peel off), is just perishing, or hangs in danger of destruction (יאבדוּ) before the threatening of the wrathful countenance of God. The absence of anything to denote the subject, and the form of expression, which still keeps within the circle of the figure of the vine, forbid us to understand this Psa 80:17 of the extirpation of the foes. According to the sense תּהי־ידך על[62] coincides with the supplicatory כנה על. It is Israel that is called בּן in Psa 80:16, as being the son whom Jahve has called into being in Egypt, and then called out of Egypt to Himself and solemnly declared to be His son on Sinai (Exo 4:22; Hos 11:1), and who is now, with a play upon the name of Benjamin in Psa 80:3 (cf. Psa 80:16), called אישׁ ימינך, as being the people which Jahve has preferred before others, and has placed at His right hand[63] for the carrying out of His work of salvation; who is called, however, at the same time בּן־אדם, because belonging to a humanity that is feeble in itself, and thoroughly conditioned and dependent. It is not the more precise designation of the “son of man” that is carried forward by ולא־נסוג, “and who has not drawn back from Thee” (Hupfeld, Hitzig, and others), but it is, as the same relation which is repeated in Psa 80:19 shows, the apodosis of the preceding petition: then shall we never depart from Thee; נסוג being not a participle, as in Psa 44:19, but a plene written voluntative: recedamus, vowing new obedience as thanksgiving of the divine preservation. To the prayer in Psa 80:18 corresponds, then, the prayer תּחיּנוּ, which is expressed as future (which can rarely be avoided, Ew. §229), with a vow of thanksgiving likewise following: then will we call with Thy name, i.e., make it the medium and matter of solemn proclamation. In v. 20 the refrain of this Psalm, which is laid out as a trilogy, is repeated for the third time. The name of God is here threefold.

Psalm 81 edit

==Easter Festival Salutation and Discourse==

Ps 80, which looks back into the time of the leading forth out of Egypt, is followed by another with the very same Asaphic thoroughly characteristic feature of a retrospective glance at Israel's early history (cf. More particularly Psa 81:11 with Psa 80:9). In Psalms 81 the lyric element of Ps 77 is combined with the didactic element of Ps 78. The unity of these Psalms is indubitable. All three have towards the close the appearance of being fragmentary. Fro the author delights to ascend to the height of his subject and to go down into the depth of it, without returning to the point from which he started. In Ps 77 Israel as a whole was called “the sons of Jacob and Joseph;” in Ps 78 we read “the sons of Ephraim” instead of the whole nation; here it is briefly called “Joseph.” This also indicates the one author. Then Psalms 81, exactly like Psa 79:1-13, is based upon the Pentateuchal history in Exodus and Deuteronomy. Jahve Himself speaks through the mouth of the poet, as He did once through the mouth of Moses - Asaph is κατ ̓ ἐξοχήν the prophet (חזה) among the psalmists. The transition from one form of speech to another which accompanies the rapid alternation of feelings, what the Arabs call talwı̂n el - chitab, “a colouring of a speech by a change of the persons,” is also characteristic of him, as later on of Micah (e.g., Mic 6:15.).
This Psalms 81 is according to ancient custom the Jewish New Year's Psalm, the Psalm of the Feast of Trumpets (Num 29:1), therefore the Psalm of the first (and second) of Tishri; it is, however, a question whether the blowing of the horn (shophar) at the new moon, which it calls upon them to do, does not rather apply to the first of Nisan, to the ecclesiastical New Year. In the weekly liturgy of the Temple it was the Psalm for the Thursday.
The poet calls upon them to give a jubilant welcome to the approaching festive season, and in Psa 81:7. Jahve Himself makes Himself heard as the Preacher of the festival. He reminds those now living of His loving-kindness towards ancient Israel, and admonishes them not to incur the guilt of like unfaithfulness, in order that they may not lose the like tokens of His loving-kindness. What festive season is it? Either the Feast of the Passover or the Feast of Tabernacles; for it must be one of these two feasts which begin on the day of the full moon. Because it is one having reference to the redemption of Israel out of Egypt, the Targum, Talmud (more particularly Rosh ha - Shana, where this Psalm is much discussed), Midrash, and Sohar understand the Feast of Tabernacles; because Psa 81:2-4 seem to refer to the new moon of the seventh month, which is celebrated before the other new moons (Num 10:10), as יום התּרוּעה (Num 29:1, cf. Lev 23:24), i.e., to the first of Tishri, the civil New Year; and the blowing of horns at the New Year, is, certainly not according to Scripture, but yet according to tradition (vid., Maimonides, Hilchoth Shophar Psa 1:2), a very ancient arrangement. Nevertheless we must give up this reference of the Psalm to the first of Tishri and to the Feast of Tabernacles, which begins with the fifteenth of Tishri: - (1) Because between the high feast-day of the first of Tishri and the Feast of Tabernacles on the fifteenth to the twenty-first (twenty-second) of Tishri lies the great day of Atonement on the tenth of Tishri, which would be ignored, by greeting the festive season with a joyful noise from the first of Tishri forthwith to the fifteenth. (2) Because the remembrance of the redemption of Israel clings far more characteristically to the Feast of the Passover than to the Feast of Tabernacles. This latter appears in the oldest law-giving (Exo 23:16; Exo 34:22) as חג האסיף, i.e., as a feast of the ingathering of the autumn fruits, and therefore as the closing festival of the whole harvest; it does not receive the historical reference to the journey through the desert, and therewith its character of a feast of booths or arbours, until the addition in Lev 23:39-44, having reference to the carrying out of the celebration of the feasts in Canaan; whereas the feast which begins with the full moon of Nisan has, it is true, not been entirely free of all reference to agriculture, but from the very beginning bears the historical names פּסח and חג המּצּות. (3) Because in the Psalm itself, viz., in Psa 81:6, allusion is made to the fact which the Passover commemorates.
Concerning על־הגּתּית vid., on Psa 8:1. The symmetrical, stichic plan of the Psalm is clear: the schema is 11. 12. 12.

Verses 1-5 edit

The summons in Psa 81:2 is addressed to the whole congregation, inasmuch as הריעוּ is not intended of the clanging of the trumpets, but as in Ezr 3:11, and frequently. The summons in Psa 81:3 is addressed to the Levites, the appointed singers and musicians in connection with the divine services, 2Ch 5:12, and frequently. The summons in Psa 81:4 is addressed to the priests, to whom was committed not only the blowing of the two (later on a hundred and twenty, vid., 2Ch 5:12) silver trumpets, but who appear also in Jos 6:4 and elsewhere (cf. Psa 47:6 with 2Ch 20:28) as the blowers of the shophar. The Talmud observes that since the destruction of the Temple the names of instruments שׁופרא and חצוצרתּא are wont to be confounded one for the other (B. Sabbath 36a, Succa 34a), and, itself confounding them, infers from Num 10:10 the duty and significance of the blowing of the shophar (B. Erachin 3b). The lxx also renders both by σάλπιγξ; but the Biblical language mentions שׁופר and חצצרה, a horn (more especially a ram's horn) and a (metal) trumpet, side by side in Psa 98:6; 1Ch 15:28, and is therefore conscious of a difference between them. The Tôra says nothing of the employment of the shophar in connection with divine service, except that the commencement of every fiftieth year, which on this very account is called שׁנת היּבל, annus buccinae, is to be made known by the horn signal throughout all the land (Lev 25:9). But just as tradition by means of an inference from analogy derives the blowing of the shophar on the first of Tishri, the beginning of the common year, from this precept, so on the ground of the passage of the Psalm before us, assuming that בּחרשׁ, lxx ἐν νεομηνίᾳ, refers not to the first of Tishri but to the first of Nisan, we may suppose that the beginning of every month, but, in particular, the beginning of the month which was at the same time the beginning of the ecclesiastical year, was celebrated by a blowing of the shophar, as, according to Josephus, Bell. iv. 9, 12, the beginning and close of the Sabbath was announced from the top of the Temple by a priest with the salpinx. The poet means to say that the Feast of the Passover is to be saluted by the congregation with shouts of joy, by the Levites with music, and even beginning from the new moon (neomenia) of the Passover month with blowing of shophars, and that this is to be continued at the Feast of the Passover itself. The Feast of the Passover, for which Hupfeld devises a gloomy physiognomy,[64] was a joyous festival, the Old Testament Christmas. 2Ch 30:21 testifies to the exultation of the people and the boisterous music of the Levite priests, with which it was celebrated. According to Num 10:10, the trumpeting of the priests was connected with the sacrifices; and that the slaying of the paschal lambs took place amidst the Tantaratan of the priests (long-drawn notes interspersed with sharp shrill ones, תקיעה תרועה וקיעה), is expressly related of the post-exilic service at least.[65]
The phrase נתן תּף proceeds from the phrase נתן קול, according to which נתן directly means: to attune, strike up, cause to be heard. Concerning כּסה (Pro 7:20 כּסא) tradition is uncertain. The Talmudic interpretation (B. Rosh ha-Shana 8b, Betza 16a, and the Targum which is taken from it), according to which it is the day of the new moon (the first of the month), on which the moon hides itself, i.e., is not to be seen at all in the morning, and in the evening only for a short time immediately after sunset, and the interpretation that is adopted by a still more imposing array of authorities (lxx, Vulgate, Menahem, Rashi, Jacob Tam, Aben-Ezra, Parchon, and others), according to which a time fixed by computation (from כּסה = כּסס, computare) is so named in general, are outweighed by the usage of the Syriac, in which Keso denotes the full moon as the moon with covered, i.e., filled-up orb, and therefore the fifteenth of the month, but also the time from that point onwards, perhaps because then the moon covers itself, inasmuch as its shining surface appears each day less large (cf. the Peshîto, 1Ki 12:32 of the fifteenth day of the eighth month, 2Ch 7:10 of the twenty-third day of the seventh month, in both instances of the Feast of Tabernacles), after which, too, in the passage before us it is rendered wa - b - kese, which a Syro-Arabic glossary (in Rosenmüller) explains festa quae sunt in medio mensis. The Peshîto here, like the Targum, proceeds from the reading חגּינוּ, which, following the lxx and the best texts, is to be rejected in comparison with the singular חגּנוּ. If, however, it is to be read chgnw, and כּסה (according to Kimchi with Segol not merely in the second syllable, but with double Segol כּסה, after the form טנא = טנא) signifies not interlunium, but plenilunium (instead of which also Jerome has in medio mense, and in Pro 7:20, in die plenae lunae, Aquila ἡμέρᾳ πανσελήνου), then what is meant is either the Feast of Tabernacles, which is called absolutely החג in 1Ki 8:2 (2Ch 5:3) and elsewhere, or the Passover, which is also so called in Isa 30:29 and elsewhere. Here, as Psa 81:5 will convince us, the latter is intended, the Feast of unleavened bread, the porch of which, so to speak, is ערב פּסח together with the ליל שׁמּרים (Exo 12:42), the night from the fourteenth to the fifteenth of Nisan. In Psa 81:2, Psa 81:3 they are called upon to give a welcome to this feast. The blowing of the shophar is to announce the commencement of the Passover month, and at the commencement of the Passover day which opens the Feast of unleavened bread it is to be renewed. The ל of ליום is not meant temporally, as perhaps in Job 21:30 : at the day = on the day; for why was it not ביום? It is rather: towards the day, but בכסה assumes that the day has already arrived; it is the same Lamed as in Psa 81:2, the blowing of the shophar is to concern this feast-day, it is to sound in honour of it.

Verses 4-5 edit

Psa 81:4-5 now tell whence the feast which is to be met with singing and music has acquired such a high significance: it is a divine institution coming from the time of the redemption by the hand of Moses. It is called חק as being a legally sanctioned decree, משׁפּט as being a lawfully binding appointment, and עדוּת as being a positive declaration of the divine will. The ל in לישׂראל characterizes Israel as the receiver, in לאלהי the God of Israel as the owner, i.e., Author and Lawgiver. By בּצעתו the establishing of the statute is dated back to the time of the Exodus; but the statement of the time of its being established, “when He went out over the land of Egypt,” cannot be understood of the Exodus of the people out of Egypt, natural as this may be here, where Israel has just been called יהוסף (pathetic for יוסף), by a comparison with Gen 41:45, where Joseph is spoken of in the same words. For this expression does not describe the going forth out of a country, perhaps in the sight of its inhabitants, Num 33:3, cf. Exo 14:8 (Hengstenberg), but the going out over a country. Elohim is the subject, and צאת is to be understood according to Exo 11:4 (Kimchi, De Dieu, Dathe, Rosenmüller, and others): when He went out for judgment over the land of Egypt (cf. Mic 1:3). This statement of the time of itself at once decides the reference of the Psalm to the Passover, which commemorates the sparing of Israel at that time (Exo 12:27), and which was instituted on that very night of judgment. The accentuation divides the verse correctly. According to this, שׂפת לא־ידעתּי אשׁמע is not a relative clause to מצרים: where I heard a language that I understood not (Psa 114:1). Certainly ידע שׂפה, “to understand a language,” is an expression that is in itself not inadmissible (cf. ידע ספר, to understand writing, to be able to read, Isa 29:11.), the selection of which instead of the more customary phrase שׁמע לשׁון (Deu 28:49; Isa 33:19; Jer 5:15) might be easily intelligible here beside אשׁמע; but the omission of the שׁם (אשׁר) is harsh, the thought it here purposeless, and excluded with our way of taking בצאתו. From the speech of God that follows it is evident that the clause is intended to serve as an introduction of this divine speech, whether it now be rendered sermonem quem non novi (cf. Psa 18:44, populus quem non novi), or alicujus, quem non novi (Ges. §123, rem. 1), both of which are admissible. It is not in some way an introduction to the following speech of God as one which it has been suddenly given to the psalmist to hear: “An unknown language, or the language of one unknown, do I hear?” Thus Döderlein explains it: Subitanea et digna poetico impetu digressio, cum vates sese divino adflatu subito perculsum sentit et oraculum audire sibi persuadet; and in the same way De Wette, Olshausen, Hupfeld, and others. But the oracle of God cannot appear so strange to the Israelitish poet and seer as the spirit-voice to Eliphaz (Job 4:16); and moreover אשׁמע after the foregoing historical predicates has the presumption of the imperfect signification in its favour. Thus, then, it will have to be interpreted according to Exo 6:2. It was the language of a known, but still also unknown God, which Israel heard in the redemption of that period. It was the God who had been made manifest as יהוה only, so to speak, by way of prelude hitherto, who now appeared at this juncture of the patriarchal history, which had been all along kept in view, in the marvellous and new light of the judgment which was executed upon Egypt, and of the protection, redemption, and election of Israel, as being One hitherto unknown, as the history of salvation actually then, having arrived at Sinai, receives an entirely new form, inasmuch as from this time onwards the congregation or church is a nation, and Jahve the King of a nation, and the bond of union between them a national law educating it for the real, vital salvation that is to come. The words of Jahve that follow are now not the words heard then in the time of the Exodus. The remembrance of the words heard forms only a transition to those that now make themselves heard. For when the poet remembers the language which He who reveals Himself in a manner never before seen and heard of spoke to His people at that time, the Ever-living One Himself, who is yesterday and to-day the same One, speaks in order to remind His people of what He was to them then, and of what He spake to them then.

Verses 6-10 edit

It is a gentle but profoundly earnest festival discourse which God the Redeemer addresses to His redeemed people. It begins, as one would expect in a Passover speech, with a reference to the סבלות of Egypt (Exo 1:11-14; Exo 5:4; Exo 6:6.), and to the duwd, the task-basket for the transport of the clay and of the bricks (Exo 1:14; Exo 5:7.).[66]
Out of such distress did He free the poor people who cried for deliverance (Exo 2:23-25); He answered them בּסתר רעם, i.e., not (according to Psa 22:22; Isa 32:2): affording them protection against the storm, but (according to Psa 18:12; Psa 77:17.): out of the thunder-clouds in which He at the same time revealed and veiled Himself, casting down the enemies of Israel with His lightnings, which is intended to refer pre-eminently to the passage through the Red Sea (vid., Psa 77:19); and He proved them (אבחנך, with ŏ contracted from ō, cf. on Job 35:6) at the waters of Merîbah, viz., whether they would trust Him further on after such glorious tokens of His power and lovingkindness. The name “Waters of Merı̂bah,” which properly is borne only by Merı̂bath Kadesh, the place of the giving of water in the fortieth year (Num 20:13; Num 27:14; Deu 32:51; Deu 33:8), is here transferred to the place of the giving of water in the first year, which was named Massah u - Merı̂bah (Exo 17:7), as the remembrances of these two miracles, which took place under similar circumstances, in general blend together (vid., on Psa 95:8.). It is not now said that Israel did not act in response to the expectation of God, who had son wondrously verified Himself; the music, as Seal imports, here rises, and makes a long and forcible pause in what is being said. What now follows further, are, as the further progress of Psa 81:12 shows, the words of God addressed to the Israel of the desert, which at the same time with its faithfulness are brought to the remembrance of the Israel of the present. העיד בּ, as in Psa 50:7; Deu 8:19, to bear testimony that concerns him against any one. אם (according to the sense, o si, as in Psa 95:7, which is in many ways akin to this Psalm) properly opens a searching question which wishes that the thing asked may come about (whether thou wilt indeed give me a willing hearing?!). In Psa 81:10 the key-note of the revelation of the Law from Sinai is struck: the fundamental command which opens the decalogue demanded fidelity to Jahve and forbade idol-worship as the sin of sins. אל זר is an idol in opposition to the God of Israel as the true God; and אל נכר, a strange god in opposition to the true God as the God of Israel. To this one God Israel ought to yield itself all the more undividedly and heartily as it was more manifestly indebted entirely to Him, who in His condescension had chosen it, and in His wonder-working might had redeemed it (המּעלך, part. Hiph. with the eh elided, like הפּדך, Deu 13:6, and אכלך, from כּלּה, Exo 33:3); and how easy this submission ought to have been to it, since He desired nothing in return for the rich abundance of His good gifts, which satisfy and quicken body and soul, but only a wide-opened mouth, i.e., a believing longing, hungering for mercy and eager for salvation (Psa 119:131)!

Verses 11-16 edit

The Passover discourse now takes a sorrowful and awful turn: Israel's disobedience and self-will frustrated the gracious purpose of the commandments and promises of its God. “My people” and “Israel” alternate as in the complaint in Isa 1:3. לא־אבה followed by the dative, as in Deu 13:9 ([8], ου ̓ συνθελήσεις αὐτῷ). Then God made their sin their punishment, by giving them over judicially (שׁלּח as in Job 8:4) into the obduracy of their heart, which rudely shuts itself up against His mercy (from שׁרר, Aramaic שׁרר, Arabic sarra, to make firm = to cheer, make glad), so that they went on (cf. on the sequence of tense, Psa 61:8) in their, i.e., their own, egotistical, God-estranged determinations; the suffix is thus accented, as e.g., in Isa 65:2, cf. the borrowed passage Jer 7:24, and the same phrase in Mic 6:16. And now, because this state of unfaithfulness in comparison with God's faithfulness has remained essentially the same even to to-day, the exalted Orator of the festival passes over forthwith to the generation of the present, and that, as is in accordance with the cheerful character of the feast, in a charmingly alluring manner. Whether we take לוּ in the signification of si (followed by the participle, as in 2Sa 18:12), or like אם above in Psa 81:9 as expressing a wish, o si (if but!), Psa 81:15. at any rate have the relation of the apodosis to it. From כּמעט (for a little, easily) it may be conjectured that the relation of Israel at that time to the nations did not correspond to the dignity of the nation of God which is called to subdue and rule the world in the strength of God. השׁיב signifies in this passage only to turn, not: to again lay upon. The meaning is, that He would turn the hand which is now chastening His people against those by whom He is chastening them (cf. on the usual meaning of the phrase, Isa 1:25; Amo 1:8; Jer 6:9; Eze 38:12). The promise in Psa 81:16 relates to Israel and all the members of the nation. The haters of Jahve would be compelled reluctantly to submit themselves to Him, and their time would endure for ever. “Time” is equivalent to duration, and in this instance with the collateral notion of Prosperity, as elsewhere (Isa 13:22) of the term of punishment. One now expects that it should continue with ואאכילהוּ, in the tone of a promise. The Psalm, however, closes with an historical statement. For ויּאכילהו cannot signifyet cibaret eum; it ought to be pronounced ויאכילהו. The pointing, like the lxx, Syriac, and Vulgate, takes v. 17a (cf. Deu 32:13.) as a retrospect, and apparently rightly so. For even the Asaphic Ps 77 and 78 break off with historical pictures. V. 17b is, accordingly, also to be taken as retrospective. The words of the poet in conclusion once more change into the words of God. The closing word runs אשׂבּיעך, as in Psa 50:8, Deu 4:31, and (with the exception of the futt. Hiph. of Lamed He verbs ending with ekka) usually. The Babylonian system of pointing nowhere recognises the suffix-form ekka. If the Israel of the present would hearken to the Lawgiver of Sinai, says v. 17, then would He renew to it the miraculous gifts of the time of the redemption under Moses. God's Judgment upon the Gods of the Earth
As in Ps 81, so also in this Psalm (according to the Talmud the Tuesday Psalm of the Temple liturgy) God is introduced as speaking after the manner of the prophets. Psa 58:1-11 and 94 are similar, but more especially Isa 3:13-15. Asaph the seer beholds how God, reproving, correcting, and threatening, appears against the chiefs of the congregation of His people, who have perverted the splendour of majesty which He has put upon them into tyranny. It is perfectly characteristic of Asaph (Ps 50; Psa 75:1-10; Ps 81) to plunge himself into the contemplation of the divine judgment, and to introduce God as speaking. There is nothing to militate against the Psalm being written by Asaph, David's contemporary, except the determination not to allow to the לאסף of the inscription its most natural sense. Hupfeld, understanding “angels” by the elohim, as Bleek has done before him, inscribes the Psalm: “God's judgment upon unjust judges in heaven and upon earth.” But the angels as such are nowhere called elohim in the Old Testament, although they might be so called; and their being judged here on account of unjust judging, Hupfeld himself says, is “an obscure point that is still to be cleared up.” An interpretation which, like this, abandons the usage of the language in order to bring into existence a riddle that it cannot solve, condemns itself. At the same time the assertion of Hupfeld (of Knobel, Graf, and others), that in Exo 21:5; Exo 22:7., Ex 27,<,[67] אלהים denotes God Himself, and not directly the authorities of the nation as being His earthly representatives, finds its most forcible refutation in the so-called and mortal elohim of this Psalm (cf. also Psa 45:7; Psa 58:2).
By reference to this Psalm Jesus proves to the Jews (Joh 10:34-36) that when He calls Himself the Son of God, He does not blaspheme God, by an argumentatio a minori ad majus. If the Law, so He argues, calls even those gods who are officially invested with this name by a declaration of the divine will promulgated in time (and the Scripture cannot surely, as in general, so also in this instance, be made invalid), then it cannot surely be blasphemy if He calls Himself the Son of God, whom not merely a divine utterance in this present time has called to this or to that worldly office after the image of God, but who with His whole life is ministering to the accomplishment of a work to which the Father had already sanctified Him when He came into the world. In connection with ἡγίασε one is reminded of the fact that those who are called elohim in the Psalm are censured on account of the unholiness of their conduct. The name does not originally belong to them, nor do they show themselves to be morally worthy of it. With ἡγίασε καὶ ἀπέστειλεν Jesus contrasts His divine sonship, prior to time, with theirs, which began only in this present time.

Psalm 82 edit

Verses 1-4 edit

God comes forward and makes Himself heard first of all as censuring and admonishing. The “congregation of God” is, as in Num 27:17; Num 31:16; Jos 22:16., “the congregation of (the sons of) Israel,” which God has purchased from among the nations (Psa 74:2), and upon which as its Lawgiver He has set His divine impress. The psalmist and seer sees Elohim standing in this congregation of God. The part. Niph. (as in Isa 3:13) denotes not so much the suddenness and unpreparedness, as, rather, the statue-like immobility and terrifying designfulness of His appearance. Within the range of the congregation of God this holds good of the elohim. The right over life and death, with which the administration of justice cannot dispense, is a prerogative of God. From the time of Gen 9:6, however, He has transferred the execution of this prerogative to mankind, and instituted in mankind an office wielding the sword of justice, which also exists in His theocratic congregation, but here has His positive law as the basis of its continuance and as the rule of its action. Everywhere among men, but here pre-eminently, those in authority are God's delegates and the bearers of His image, and therefore as His representatives are also themselves called elohim, “gods” (which the lxx in Exo 21:6 renders τὸ κριτήριον τοῦ Θεοῦ, and the Targums here, as in Exo 22:7-8, Exo 22:27 uniformly, דּיּניּא). The God who has conferred this exercise of power upon these subordinate elohim, without their resigning it of themselves, now sits in judgment in their midst. ישׁפּט of that which takes place before the mind's eye of the psalmist. How long, He asks, will ye judge unjustly? שׁפט עול is equivalent to עשׂה עול בּמּשׁפּט, Lev 19:15, Lev 19:35 (the opposite is שׁפט מישׁרים, Psa 58:2). How long will ye accept the countenance of the wicked, i.e., incline to accept, regard, favour the person of the wicked? The music, which here becomes forte, gives intensity to the terrible sternness (das Niederdonnernde) of the divine question, which seeks to bring the “gods” of the earth to their right mind. Then follow admonitions to do that which they have hitherto left undone. They are to cause the benefit of the administration of justice to tend to the advantage of the defenceless, of the destitute, and of the helpless, upon whom God the Lawgiver especially keeps His eye. The word רשׁ (ראשׁ), of which there is no evidence until within the time of David and Solomon, is synonymous with אביון. דל with ויתום is pointed דל, and with ואביון, on account of the closer notional union, דל (as in Psa 72:13). They are words which are frequently repeated in the prophets, foremost in Isaiah (Isa 1:17), with which is enjoined upon those invested with the dignity of the law, and with jurisdiction, justice towards those who cannot and will not themselves obtain their rights by violence.

Verses 5-7 edit

What now follows in Psa 82:5 is not a parenthetical assertion of the inefficiency with which the divine correction rebounds from the judges and rulers. In connection with this way of taking Psa 82:5, the manner in which the divine language is continued in Psa 82:6 is harsh and unadjusted. God Himself speaks in Psa 82:5 of the judges, but reluctantly alienated from them; and confident of the futility of all attempts to make them better, He tells them their sentence in Psa 82:6. The verbs in Psa 82:5 are designedly without any object: complaint of the widest compass is made over their want of reason and understanding; and ידעו takes the perfect form in like manner to ἐγνώκασι, noverunt, cf. Psa 14:1; Isa 44:18. Thus, then, no result is to be expected from the divine admonition: they still go their ways in this state of mental darkness, and that, as the Hithpa. implies, stalking on in carnal security and self-complacency. The commands, however, which they transgress are the foundations (cf. Psa 11:3), as it were the shafts and pillars (Psa 75:4, cf. Pro 29:4), upon which rests the permanence of all earthly relationships with are appointed by creation and regulated by the Tôra. Their transgression makes the land, the earth, to totter physically and morally, and is the prelude of its overthrow. When the celestial Lord of the domain thinks upon this destruction which injustice and tyranny are bringing upon the earth, His wrath kindles, and He reminds the judges and rulers that it is His own free declaratory act which has clothed them with the god-like dignity which they bear. They are actually elohim, but not possessed of the right of self-government; there is a Most High (עליון) to whom they as sons are responsible. The idea that the appellation elohim, which they have given to themselves, is only sarcastically given back to them in Psa 82:1 (Ewald, Olshausen), is refuted by Psa 82:6, according to which they are really elohim by the grace of God. But if their practice is not an Amen to this name, then they shall be divested of the majesty which they have forfeited; they shall be divested of the prerogative of Israel, whose vocation and destiny they have belied. They shall die off כּאדם, like common men not rising in any degree above the mass (cf. בּני אדם, opp. בּני אישׁ, Psa 4:3; Psa 49:3); they shall fall like any one (Jdg 16:7, Oba 1:11) of the princes who in the course of history have been cast down by the judgment of God (Hos 7:7). Their divine office will not protect them. For although justitia civilis is far from being the righteousness that avails before God, yet injustitia civilis is in His sight the vilest abomination.

Verse 8 edit

The poet closes with the prayer for the realization of that which he has beheld in spirit. He implored God Himself to sit in judgment (שׁפטה as in Lam 3:59), since judgment is so badly exercised upon the earth. All peoples are indeed His נחלה, He has an hereditary and proprietary right among (lxx and Vulgate according to Num 18:20, and frequently), or rather in (בּ as in משׁל בּ, instead of the accusative of the object, Zec 2:11), all nations (ἔθνη) - may He then be pleased to maintain it judicially. The inference drawn from this point backwards, that the Psalm is directed against the possessors of power among the Gentiles, is erroneous. Israel itself, in so far as it acts inconsistently with its theocratic character, belies its sanctified nationality, is a גוי like the גוים, and is put into the same category with these. The judgment over the world is also a judgment over the Israel that is become conformed to the world, and its God-estranged chiefs.

Psalm 83 edit

== Battle-Cry to God against Allied Peoples==

The close of this Psalm is in accord with the close of the preceding Psalm. It is the last of the twelve Psalms of Asaph of the Psalter. The poet supplicates help against the many nations which have allied themselves with the descendants of Lot, i.e., Moab and Ammon, to entirely root out Israel as a nation. Those who are fond of Maccabaean Psalms (Hitzig and Olshausen), after the precedent of van Til and von Bengel, find the circumstances of the time of the Psalm in 1 Macc. 5, and Grimm is also inclined to regard this as correct; and in point of fact the deadly hostility of the ἔθνη κυκλόθεν which we there see breaking forth on all sides,[68] as it were at a given signal, against the Jewish people, who have become again independent, and after the dedication of the Temple doubly self-conscious, is far better suited to explain the Psalm than the hostile efforts of Sanballat, Tobiah, and others to hinder the rebuilding of Jerusalem, in the time of Nehemiah (Vaihinger, Ewald, and Dillmann). There is, however, still another incident beside that recorded in 1 Macc. 5 to which the Psalm may be referred, viz., the confederation of the nations for the extinction of Judah in the time of Jehoshaphat (2 Chr. 20), and, as it seems to us, with comparatively speaking less constraint. For the Psalm speaks of a real league, whilst in 1 Macc. 5 the several nations made the attack without being allied and not jointly; then, as the Psalm assumes in Psa 83:9, the sons of Lot, i.e., the Moabites and Ammonites, actually were at the head at that time, whilst in 1 Macc. 5 the sons of Esau occupy the most prominent place; and thirdly, at that time, in the time of Jehoshaphat, as is recorded, an Asaphite, viz., Jahaziël, did actually interpose in the course of events, a circumstance which coincides remarkably with the לאסף. The league of that period consisted, according to 2Ch 20:1, of Moabites, Ammonites, and a part of the מעוּנים (as it is to be read after the lxx). But 2Ch 20:2 (where without any doubt מאדם is to be read instead of מארם) adds the Edomites to their number, for it is expressly stated further on (2Ch 20:10, 2Ch 20:22, 2Ch 20:23) that the inhabitants of Mount Seïr were with them. Also, supposing of course that the “Ishmaelites” and “Hagarenes” of the Psalm may be regarded as an unfolding of the מעונים, which is confirmed by Josephus, Antiq. ix. 1. 2; and that Gebäl is to be understood by the Mount Seïr of the chronicler, which is confirmed by the Arab. jibâl still in use at the present day, there always remains a difficulty in the fact that the Psalm also names Amalek , Philistia , Tyre, and Asshur, of which we find no mention there in the reign of Jehoshaphat. But these difficulties are counter-balanced by others that beset the reference to 1 Macc. 5, viz., that in the time of the Seleucidae the Amalekites no longer existed, and consequently, as might be expected, are not mentioned at all in 1 Macc. 5; further, that there the Moabites, too, are no longer spoken of, although some formerly Moabitish cities of Gileaditis are mentioned; and thirdly, that אשׁור = Syria (a certainly possible usage of the word) appears in a subordinate position, whereas it was, however, the dominant power. On the other hand, the mention of Amalek is intelligible in connection with the reference to 2 Chr. 20, and the absence of its express mention in the chronicler does not make itself particularly felt in consideration of Gen 36:12. Philistia, Tyre, and Asshur, however, stand at the end in the Psalm, and might also even be mentioned with the others if they rendered aid to the confederates of the south-east without taking part with them in the campaign, as being a succour to the actual leaders of the enterprise, the sons of Lot. We therefore agree with the reference of Psalms 83 (as also of Psa 48:1-14) to the alliance of the neighbouring nations against Judah in the reign of Jehoshaphat, which has been already recognised by Kimchi and allowed by Keil, Hengstenberg, and Movers.

Verses 1-4 edit

The poet prays, may God not remain an inactive looker-on in connection with the danger of destruction that threatens His people. דּמי (with which יהי is to be supplied) is the opposite of alertness; חרשׁ the opposite of speaking (in connection with which it is assumed that God's word is at the same time deed); שׁקט the opposite of being agitated and activity. The energetic future jehemajûn gives outward emphasis to the confirmation of the petition, and the fact that Israel's foes are the foes of God gives inward emphasis to it. On נשׂא ראשׁ, cf. Psa 110:7. סוד is here a secret agreement; and יערימוּ, elsewhere to deal craftily, here signifies to craftily plot, devise, bring a thing about. צפוּניך is to be understood according to Psa 27:5; Psa 31:21. The Hithpa. התיעץ alternates here with the more ancient Niph. (Psa 83:6). The design of the enemies in this instance has reference to the total extirpation of Israel, of the separatist-people who exclude themselves from the life of the world and condemn it. מגּוי, from being a people = so that it may no longer be a people or nation, as in Isa 7:8; Isa 17:1; Isa 25:2; Jer 48:42. In the borrowed passage, Jer 48:2, by an interchange of a letter it is נכריתנּה. This Asaph Psalm is to be discerned in not a few passages of the prophets; cf. Isa 62:6. with Psa 83:2, Isa 17:12 with Psa 83:3.

Verses 5-8 edit

Instead of לב אחד, 1Ch 12:38, it is deliberant corde unâ, inasmuch as יחדּו on the one hand gives intensity to the reciprocal signification of the verb, and on the other lends the adjectival notion to לב. Of the confederate peoples the chronicler (2 Chr. 20) mentions the Moabites, the Ammonites, the inhabitants of Mount Seïr, and the Me(unim, instead of which Josephus, Antiq. ix. 1. 2, says: a great body of Arabians. This crowd of peoples comes from the other side of the Dead Sea, מאדם (as it is to be read in Psa 83:2 in the chronicler instead of מארם, cf. on Psa 60:2); the territory of Edom, which is mentioned first by the poet, was therefore the rendezvous. The tents of Edom and of the Ishmaelites are (cf. Arab. ahl, people) the people themselves who live in tents. Moreover, too, the poet ranges the hostile nations according to their geographical position. The seven first named from Edom to Amalek, which still existed at the time of the psalmist (for the final destruction of the Amalekites by the Simeonites, 1Ch 4:42., falls at an indeterminate period prior to the Exile), are those out of the regions east and south-east of the Dead Sea. According to Gen 25:18, the Ishmaelites had spread from Higâz through the peninsula of Sinai beyond the eastern and southern deserts as far up as the countries under the dominion of Assyria. The Hagarenes dwelt in tents from the Persian Gulf as far as the east of Gilead (1Ch 5:10) towards the Euphrates. גּבל, Arab. jbâl, is the name of the people inhabiting the mountains situated in the south of the Dead Sea, that is to say, the northern Seïritish mountains. Both Gebâl and also, as it appears, the Amalek intended here according to Gen 36:12 (cf. Josephus, Antiq. ii. 1. 2: Ἀμαληκῖτις, a part of Idumaea), belong to the wide circuit of Edom. Then follow the Philistines and Phoenicians, the two nations of the coast of the Mediterranean, which also appear in Amo 1:1-15 (cf. Joel 3) as making common cause with the Edomites against Israel. Finally Asshur, the nation of the distant north-east, here not as yet appearing as a principal power, but strengthening (vid., concerning זרוע, an arm = assistance, succour, Gesenius, Thesaurus, p. 433b) the sons of Lot, i.e., the Moabites and Ammonites, with whom the enterprise started, and forming a powerful reserve for them. The music bursts forth angrily at the close of this enumeration, and imprecations discharge themselves in the following strophe.

Verses 9-12 edit

With כּמדין reference is made to Gideon's victory over the Midianites, which belongs to the most glorious recollections of Israel, and to which in other instances, too, national hopes are attached, Isa 9:3 [4], Isa 10:26, cf. Hab 3:7; and with the asyndeton כּסיסרא כיבין (כּסיסרא, as Norzi states, who does not rightly understand the placing of the Metheg) to the victory of Barak and Deborah over Sisera and the Canaanitish king Jabin, whose general he was. The Beth of בּנחל is like the Beth of בּדּרך in Psa 110:7 : according to Jdg 5:21 the Kishon carried away the corpses of the slain army. ‛Endôr, near Tabor, and therefore situated not far distant from Taanach and Megiddo (Jdg 5:19), belonged to the battle-field. אדמה, starting from the radical notion of that which flatly covers anything, which lies in דם, signifying the covering of earth lying flat over the globe, therefore humus (like ארץ, terra, and תבל, tellus), is here (cf. 2Ki 9:37) in accord with דּמן (from דמן), which is in substance akin to it. In Psa 83:12 we have a retrospective glance at Gideon's victory. ‛Oreb and Zeēb were שׂרים of the Midianites, Jdg 7:25; Zebach and Tsalmunna‛, their kings, Jdg 8:5.[69]
The pronoun precedes the word itself in שׁיתמו, as in Exo 2:6; the heaped-up suffixes ēmo (êmo) give to the imprecation a rhythm and sound as of rolling thunder. Concerning נסיך, vid., on Psa 2:6. So far as the matter is concerned, 2Ch 20:11 harmonizes with Psa 83:13. Canaan, the land which is God's and which He has given to His people, is called נאות אלהים (cf. Psa 74:20).

Verses 13-16 edit

With the אלהי, which constrains God in faith, the “thundering down” begins afresh. גּלגּל signifies a wheel and a whirling motion, such as usually arises when the wind changes suddenly, then also whatever is driven about in the whirling, Isa 17:13.<ref> Saadia, who renders the גּלגּל in Psa 77:19 as an astronomical expression with Arab. ‘l - frk, the sphere of the heavens, here has professedly Arab. kâlgrâblt, which would be a plural from expanded out of Arab. grâbı̂l, “sieves” or “tambourines;” it is, however, to be read, as in Isa 17:13, Codex Oxon., Arab. kâlgirbâlt. The verb Arab. garbala, “to sift,” is transferred to the wind, e.g., in Mutanabbi (edited with Wahidi's commentary by Dieterici), p. 29, l. 5 and 6: “it is as though the dust of this region, when the winds chase one another therein, were sifted,” Arab. mugarbalu (i.e., caught up and whirled round); and with other notional and constructional applications in Makkarı̂, i. p. 102, l. 18: “it is as though its soil had been cleansed from dust by sifting,” Arab. gurbilat (i.e., the dust thereof swept away by a whirlwind). Accordingly Arab. girbâlat signifies first, as a nom. vicis, a whirling about (of dust by the wind), then in a concrete sense a whirlwind, as Saadia uses it, inasmuch as he makes use of it twice for גּלגּל. So Fleischer in opposition to Ewald, who renders “like the sweepings or rubbish.”</ref> קשׁ (from קשׁשׁ, Arab. qšš , aridum esse) is the cry corn-talks, whether as left standing or, as in this instance, as straw upon the threshing-floor or upon the field. Like a fire that spreads rapidly, laying hold of everything, which burns up the forest and singes off the wooded mountain so that only a bare cone is left standing, so is God to drive them before Him in the raging tempest of His wrath and take them unawares. The figure in Psa 83:15 is fully worked up by Isaiah, Isa 10:16-19; לחט as in Deu 32:22. In the apodosis, Psa 83:16, the figure is changed into a kindred one: wrath is a glowing heat (חרון) and a breath (נשׁמה, Isa 30:33) at the same time. In Psa 83:17 it becomes clear what is the final purpose towards which this language of cursing tends: to the end that all, whether willingly or reluctantly, may give the glory to the God of revelation. Directed towards this end the earnest prayer is repeated once more in the tetrastichic closing strain.

Verses 17-18 edit

The aim of the wish is that they in the midst of their downfall may lay hold upon the mercy of Jahve as their only deliverance: first they must come to nought, and only by giving Jahve the glory will they not be utterly destroyed. Side by side with אתּה, v. 19a, is placed שׁמך as a second subject (cf. Psa 44:3; Psa 69:11). In view of Psa 83:17 וידעוּ (as in Psa 59:14) has not merely the sense of perceiving so far as the justice of the punishment is concerned; the knowledge which is unto salvation is not excluded. The end of the matter which the poet wishes to see brought about is this, that Jahve, that the God of revelation (שׁמך), may become the All-exalted One in the consciousness of the nations.

Psalm 84 edit

==Longing for the House of God, and for the Happiness of Dwelling There==

With Ps 83 the circle of the Asaphic songs is closed (twelve Psalms, viz., one in the Second Book and eleven in the Third), and with Psa 84:1-12 begins the other half of the Korahitic circle of songs, opened by the last of the Korahitic Elohim-Psalms. True, Hengstenberg (transl. vol. iii. Appendix. p. xlv) says that no one would, with my Symbolae, p. 22, regard this Psa 84:1-12 as an Elohimic Psalm; but the marks of the Elohimic style are obvious. Not only that the poet uses Elohim twice, and that in Psa 84:8, where a non-Elohimic Psalm ought to have said Jahve; it also delights in compound names of God, which are so heaped up that Jahve Tsebaoth occurs three times, and the specifically Elohimic Jahve Elohim Tsebaoth once. The origin of this Psalm has been treated of already in connection with its counterpart, Psa 42:1. It is a thoroughly heartfelt and intelligent expression of the love to the sanctuary of Jahve which years towards it out of the distance, and calls all those happy who have the like good fortune to have their home there. The prayer takes the form of an intercession for God's anointed; for the poet is among the followers of David, the banished one.[70]
He does not pray, as it were, out of his soul (Hengstenberg, Tholuck, von Gerlach), but for him; for loving Jahve of Hosts, the heavenly King, he also loves His inviolably chosen one. And wherefore should he not do so, since with him a new era for the neglected sanctuary had dawned, and the delightful services of the Lord had taken a new start, and one so rich in song? With him he shares both joy and brief. With his future he indissolubly unites his own.To the Precentor upon the Gittith, the inscription runs, by Benê-Korah, a Psalm. Concerning על־הגּתּית, vid., on Psa 8:1. The structure of the Psalm is artistic. It consists of two halves with a distichic ashrê-conclusion. The schema is 3. 5. 2 5. 5. 5. 3. 2.

Verses 1-4 edit

How loved and lovely (ידידות) is the sacred dwelling-place (plur. as in Psa 43:3) of the all-commanding, redemptive God, viz., His dwelling-place here below upon Zion! Thither the poet is drawn by the deeply inward yearning of love, which makes him pale (נכסף from כּסף, to grow pale, Psa 17:12) and consumes him (כּלה as in Job 19:27). His heart and flesh joyfully salute the living God dwelling there, who, as a never-failing spring, quenches the thirst of the soul (Psa 42:3); the joy that he feels when he throws himself back in spirit into the long-denied delight takes possession even of his bodily nature, the bitter-sweet pain of longing completely fills him (Psa 63:2). The mention of the “courts” (with the exception of the Davidic Psa 65:5, occurring only in the anonymous Psalms) does not preclude the reference of the Psalm to the tent-temple on Zion. The Tabernacle certainly had only one חצר; the arrangement of the Davidic tent-temple, however, is indeed unknown to us, and, according to reliable traces,[71] it may be well assumed that it was more gorgeous and more spacious than the old Tabernacle which remained in Gibeon. In Psa 84:4 the preference must be given to that explanation which makes את־מזבּחותיך dependent upon מצאה, without being obliged to supply an intermediate thought like בּית (with hardening Dagesh like בּן, Gen 19:38, vid., the rule at Psa 52:5) and קן as a more definite statement of the object which the poet has in view. The altars, therefore, or (what this is meant to say without any need for taking את as a preposition) the realm, province of the altars of Jahve - this is the house, this the nest which sparrow and swallow have found for themselves and their young. The poet thereby only indirectly says, that birds have built themselves nests on the Temple-house, without giving any occasion for the discussion whether this has taken place in reality. By the bird that has found a comfortable snug home on the place of the altars of Jahve in the Temple-court and in the Temple-house, he means himself. צפּור (from צפר) is a general name for whistling, twittering birds, like the finch[72] and the sparrow, just as the lxx here renders it. דּרור is not the turtle-dove (lxx, Targum, and Syriac), but the swallow, which is frequently called even in the Talmud צפור דרור (= סנוּנית), and appears to take its name from its straightforward darting, as it were, radiating flight (cf. Arabic jadurru of the horse: it darts straight forward). Saadia renders dûrı̂je, which is the name of the sparrow in Palestine and Syria (vid., Wetzstein's Excursus I). After the poet has said that his whole longing goes forth towards the sanctuary, he adds that it could not possibly be otherwise (גּם standing at the head of the clause and belonging to the whole sentence, as e.g., in Isa 30:33; Ewald, §352, b): he, the sparrow, the swallow, has found a house, a nest, viz., the altars of Jahve of Hosts, his King and his God (Psa 44:5; Psa 45:7), who gloriously and inaccessibly protects him, and to whom he unites himself with most heartfelt and believing love. The addition “where (אשׁר as in Psa 95:9; Num 20:13) she layeth her young,” is not without its significance. One is here reminded of the fact, that at the time of the second Temple the sons of the priests were called פּרחי כהנּה, and the Levite poet means himself together with his family; God's altars secure to them shelter and sustenance. How happy, blessed, therefore, are those who enjoy this good fortune, which he now longs for again with pain in a strange country, viz., to be able to make his home in the house of such an adorable and gracious God! עוד here signifies, not “constantly” (Gen 46:29), for which תּמיד would have been used, but “yet,” as in Psa 42:6. The relation of Psa 84:5 to Psa 84:5 is therefore like Psa 41:2. The present is dark, but it will come to pass even yet that the inmates of God's house (οἰκεῖοι τοῦ Θεοῦ, Eph 2:10) will praise Him as their Helper. The music here strikes in, anticipating this praise.

Verses 5-12 edit

This second half takes up the “blessed” of the distichic epode (epoodo's) of the first, and consequently joins member to member chain-like on to it. Many hindrances must be cleared away if the poet is to get back to Zion, his true home; but his longing carries the surety within itself of its fulfilment: blessed, yea in himself blessed, is the man, who has his strength (עוז only here plene) in God, so that, consequently, the strength of Him to whom all things are possible is mighty in his weakness. What is said in Psa 84:6 is less adapted to be the object of the being called blessed than the result of that blessed relationship to God. What follows shows that the “high-roads” are not to be understood according to Isa 40:3., or any other passage, as an ethical, notional figure (Venema, Hengstenberg, Hitzig, and others), but according to Isa 33:8 (cf. Jer 31:21), with Aben-Ezra, Vatablus, and the majority of expositors, of the roads leading towards Zion; not, however, as referring to the return from the Exile, but to the going up to a festival: the pilgrim-high-roads with their separate halting-places (stations) were constantly present to the mind of such persons. And though they may be driven never so far away from them, they will nevertheless reach the goal of their longing. The most gloomy present becomes bright to them: passing through even a terrible wilderness, they turn it (ישׁיתהו) into a place of springs, their joyous hope and the infinite beauty of the goal, which is worth any amount of toil and trouble, afford them enlivening comfort, refreshing strengthening in the midst of the arid steppe. עמק הבּכא does not signify the “Valley of weeping,” as Hupfeld at last renders it (lxx κοιλάδα τοῦ κλαυθμῶνος), although Burckhardt found a [Arab.] wâdı̂ 'l - bk’ (Valley of weeping) in the neighbourhood of Sinai. In Hebrew “weeping” is בּכי, בּכה, בּכוּת, not בּכא, Rénan, in the fourth chapter of his Vie de Jésus, understands the expression to mean the last station of those who journey from northern Palestine on this side of the Jordan towards Jerusalem, viz., Ain el - Haramı̂je, in a narrow and gloomy valley where a black stream of water flows out of the rocks in which graves are dug, so that consequently עמק הככא signifies Valley of tears or of trickling waters. But such trickling out of the rock is also called בּכי, Job 28:11, and not בּכא. This latter is the singular to בּכאים in 2Sa 5:24 (cf. נכאים, צבאים, Psa 103:21), the name of a tree, and, according to the old Jewish lexicographers, of the mulberry-tree (Talmudic תּוּת, Arab. tût); but according to the designation, of a tree from which some kind of fluid flows, and such a tree is the Arab. baka'un, resembling the balsam-tree, which is very common in the arid valley of Mecca, and therefore might also have given its name to some arid valley of the Holy Land (vid., Winer's Realwörterbuch, s.v. Bacha), and, according to 2Sa 5:22-25, to one belonging, as it would appear, to the line of valley which leads from the coasts of the Philistines to Jerusalem. What is spoken of in passages like Isa 35:7; Isa 41:18, as being wrought by the omnipotence of God, who brings His people home to Zion, appears here as the result of the power of faith in those who, keeping the same end of their journeyings in view, pass through the unfruitful sterile valley. That other side, however, also does not remain unexpressed. Not only does their faith bring forth water out of the sand and rock of the desert, but God also on His part lovingly anticipates their love, and rewardingly anticipates their faithfulness: a gentle rain, like that which refreshes the sown fields in the autumn, descends from above and enwraps it (viz., the Valley of Baca) in a fulness of blessing (יעטּה, Hiphil with two accusatives, of which one is to be supplied: cf. on the figure, Ps 65:14). The arid steppe becomes resplendent with a flowery festive garment (Isa 35:1.), not to outward appearance, but to them spiritually, in a manner none the less true and real. And whereas under ordinary circumstances the strength of the traveller diminishes in proportion as he has traversed more and more of his toilsome road, with them it is the very reverse; they go from strength to strength (cf. on the expression, Jer 9:2; Jer 12:2), i.e., they receive strength for strength (cf. on the subject-matter, Isa 40:31; Joh 1:16), and that an ever increasing strength, the nearer they come to the desired goal, which also they cannot fail to reach. The pilgrim-band (this is the subject to יראה), going on from strength to (אל) strength, at last reaches, attains to (אל instead of the אל־פּני used in other instances) Elohim in Zion. Having reached this final goal, the pilgrim-band pours forth its heart in the language of prayer such as we have in Psa 84:9, and the music here strikes up and blends its sympathetic tones with this converse of the church with its God.
The poet, however, who in spirit accompanies them on their pilgrimage, is now all the more painfully conscious of being at the present time far removed from this goal, and in the next strophe prays for relief. He calls God מגנּנוּ (as in Psa 59:12), for without His protection David's cause is lost. May He then behold (ראה, used just as absolutely as in 2Ch 24:22, cf. Lam 3:50), and look upon the face of His anointed, which looks up to Him out of the depth of its reproach. The position of the words shows that מגנּנוּ is not to be regarded as the object to ראה, according to Psa 89:19 (cf. Ps 47:10) and in opposition to the accentuation, for why should it not then have been אלהים ראה מגננו? The confirmation (Psa 84:11) puts the fact that we have before us a Psalm belonging to the time of David's persecution by Absalom beyond all doubt. Manifestly, when his king prevails, the poet will at the same time (cf. David's language, 2Sa 15:25) be restored to the sanctuary. A single day of his life in the courts of God is accounted by him as better than a thousand other days (מאלף with Olewejored and preceded by Rebia parvum). He would rather lie down on the threshold (concerning the significance of this הסתּופף in the mouth of a Korahite, vid., supra, p. 311) in the house of his God than dwell within in the tents of ungodliness (not “palaces,” as one might have expected, if the house of God had at that time been a palace). For how worthless is the pleasure and concealment to be had there, when compared with the salvation and protection which Jahve Elohim affords to His saints! This is the only instance in which God is directly called a sun (שׁמשׁ) in the sacred writings (cf. Sir. 42:16). He is called a shield as protecting those who flee to Him and rendering them inaccessible to their foes, and a sun as the Being who dwells in an unapproachable light, which, going forth from Him in love towards men, is particularized as חן and כבוד, as the gentle and overpowering light of the grace and glory (χάρις and δόξα) of the Father of Lights. The highest good is self-communicative (communicativum sui). The God of salvation does not refuse any good thing to those who walk בּתמים (בּדרך תמים, Psa 101:6; cf. on Psa 15:2). Upon all receptive ones, i.e., all those who are desirous and capable of receiving His blessings, He freely bestows them out of the abundance of His good things. Strophe and anti-strophe are doubled in this second half of the song. The epode closely resembles that which follows the first half. And this closing ashrê is not followed by any Sela. The music is hushed. The song dies away with an iambic cadence into a waiting expectant stillness. ==Petition of the Hitherto Favoured People for a Restoration of Favour== The second part of the Book of Isaiah is written for the Israel of the Exile. It was the incidents of the Exile that first unsealed this great and indivisible prophecy, which in its compass is without any parallel. And after it had been unsealed there sprang up out of it those numerous songs of the Psalm-collection which remind us of their common model, partly by their allegorizing figurative language, partly by their lofty prophetic thoughts of consolation. This first Korahitic Jahve-Psalm (in Psa 85:13 coming into contact with Psa 84:1-12, cf. Psa 84:12)), which more particularly by its allegorizing figurative language points to Isa 40:1, belongs to the number of these so-called deutero-Isaianic Psalms. The reference of Psa 85:1-13 to the period after the Exile and to the restoration of the state, says Dursch, is clearly expressed in the Psalm. On the other hand, Hengstenberg maintains that “the Psalm does not admit of any historical interpretation,” and is sure only of this one fact, that Psa 85:2-4 do not relate to the deliverance out of the Exile. Even this Psalm, however, is not a formulary belonging to no express period, but has a special historical basis; and Psa 85:2-4 certainly sound as though they came from the lips of a people restored to their fatherland.

Psalm 85 edit

Verses 1-3 edit

The poet first of all looks back into the past, so rich in tokens of favour. The six perfects are a remembrance of former events, since nothing precedes to modify them. Certainly that which has just been experienced might also be intended; but then, as Hitzig supposes, Psa 85:5-8 would be the petition that preceded it, and Psa 85:9 would go back to the turning-point of the answering of the request - a retrograde movement which is less probable than that in shuwbeenuw, Psa 85:5, we have a transition to the petition for a renewal of previously manifested favour. (שׁבית) שבּ שׁבוּת, here said of a cessation of a national judgment, seems to be meant literally, not figuratively (vid., Psa 14:7). רצה, with the accusative, to have and to show pleasure in any one, as in the likewise Korahitic lamentation- Psa 44:4, cf. Psa 147:11. In Psa 85:3 sin is conceived of as a burden of the conscience; in Psa 85:3 as a blood-stain. The music strikes up in the middle of the strophe in the sense of the “blessed” in Psa 32:1. In Psa 85:4 God's עברה (i.e., unrestrained wrath) appears as an emanation; He draws it back to Himself (אסף as in Joe 3:15, Psa 104:29; 1Sa 14:19) when He ceases to be angry; in Psa 85:4, on the other hand, the fierce anger is conceived of as an active manifestation on the part of God which ceases when He turns round (השׁיב, Hiph. as inwardly transitive as in Eze 14:6; Eze 39:25; cf. the Kal in Exo 32:12), i.e., gives the opposite turn to His manifestation.

Verses 4-7 edit

The poet now prays God to manifest anew the loving-kindness He has shown formerly. In the sense of “restore us again,” שׁוּבנוּ does not form any bond of connection between this and the preceding strophe; but it does it, according to Ges. §121, 4, it is intended in the sense of (אלינוּ) שׁוּב לנוּ, turn again to us. The poet prays that God would manifest Himself anew to His people as He has done in former days. Thus the transition from the retrospective perfects to the petition is, in the presence of the existing extremity, adequately brought about. Assuming the post-exilic origin of the Psalm, we see from this strophe that it was composed at a period in which the distance between the temporal and spiritual condition of Israel and the national restoration, promised together with the termination of the Exile, made itself distinctly felt. On עמּנוּ (in relation to and bearing towards us) beside כּעסך, cf. Job 10:17, and also on הפר, Psa 89:34. In the question in Psa 89:6 reminding God of His love and of His promise, משׁך has the signification of constant endless continuing or pursuing, as in Psa 36:11. The expression in Psa 85:7 is like Psa 71:20, cf. Psa 80:19; שׁוּב is here the representative of rursus, Ges. §142. ישׁעך from ישׁע, like קצפּך in Psa 38:2, has ĕ (cf. the inflexion of פּרי and חק) instead of the ı̆ in אלהי ישׁענוּ. Here at the close of the strophe the prayer turns back inferentially to this attribute of God.

Verses 8-10 edit

The prayer is followed by attention to the divine answer, and by the answer itself. The poet stirs himself up to give ear to the words of God, like Habakkuk, Hab 2:1. Beside אשׁמעה we find the reading אשׁמעה, vid., on Psa 39:13. The construction of האל ה is appositional, like המּלך דּוד, Ges. §113. כּי neither introduces the divine answer in express words, nor states the ground on which he hearkens, but rather supports the fact that God speaks from that which He has to speak. Peace is the substance of that which He speaks to His people, and that (the particularizing Waw) to His saints; but with the addition of an admonition. אל is dehortative. It is not to be assumed in connection with this ethical notion that the ah of לכסלה is the locative ah as in לשׁאולה, Psa 9:18. כּסלה is related to כּסל like foolery to folly. The present misfortune, as is indicated here, is the merited consequence of foolish behaviour (playing the fool). In Psa 85:10. the poet unfolds the promise of peace which he has heard, just as he has heard it. What is meant by ישׁעו is particularized first by the infinitive, and then in perfects of actual fact. The possessions that make a people truly happy and prosperous are mentioned under a charming allegory exactly after Isaiah's manner, Isa 32:16., Isa 45:8; Isa 59:14. The glory that has been far removed again takes up its abode in the land. Mercy or loving-kindness walks along the streets of Jerusalem, and there meets fidelity, like one guardian angel meeting the other. Righteousness and peace or prosperity, these two inseparable brothers, kiss each other there, and fall lovingly into each other's arms.[73]

Verses 11-13 edit

The poet pursues this charming picture of the future further. After God's אמת, i.e., faithfulness to the promises, has descended like dew, אמת, i.e., faithfulness to the covenant, springs up out of the land, the fruit of that fertilizing influence. And צדקה, gracious justice, looks down from heaven, smiling favour and dispensing blessing. גּם in Psa 85:13 places these two prospects in reciprocal relation to one another (cf. Psa 84:7); it is found once instead of twice. Jahve gives הטּוב, everything that is only and always good and that imparts true happiness, and the land, corresponding to it, yields יבוּלהּ, the increase which might be expected from a land so richly blessed (cf. Psa 67:7 and the promise in Lev 26:4). Jahve Himself is present in the land: righteousness walks before Him majestically as His herald, and righteousness ישׂם לדרך פּעמיו, sets (viz., its footsteps) upon the way of His footsteps, that is to say, follows Him inseparably. פּעמיו stands once instead of twice; the construct is to a certain extent attractional, as in Psa 65:12; Gen 9:6. Since the expression is neither דּרך (Psa 50:23; Isa 51:10) nor לדּרך (Isa 49:11), it is natural to interpret the expression thus, and it gives moreover (cf. Isa 58:8; Isa 52:12) an excellent sense. But if, which we prefer, שׂים is taken in the sense of שׂים לב (as e.g., in Job 4:20) with the following ל, to give special heed to anything (Deu 32:46; Eze 40:4; Eze 44:5), to be anxiously concerned about it (1Sa 9:20), then we avoid the supplying in thought of a second פעמיו, which is always objectionable, and the thought obtained by the other interpretation is brought clearly before the mind: righteousness goes before Jahve, who dwells and walks abroad in Israel, and gives heed to the way of His steps, that is to say, follows carefully in His footsteps.

Psalm 86 edit

== Prayer of a Persecuted Saint.==
A Psalm “by David” which has points of contact with Psa 85:1-13 (cf. Psa 86:2, חסיד, with Psa 85:9; Psa 86:15, חסד ואמת, with Psa 85:11) is here inserted between Korahitic Psalms: it can only be called a Psalm by David as having grown out of Davidic and other model passages. The writer cannot be compared for poetical capability either with David or with the authors of such Psalms as Ps 116 and Psa 130:1-8. His Psalm is more liturgic than purely poetic, and it is also only entitled תּפּלּה, without bearing in itself any sign of musical designation. It possesses this characteristic, that the divine name אדני occurs seven times,[74] just as it occurs three times in Psa 130:1-8, forming the start for a later, Adonajic style in imitation of the Elohimic.

Verses 1-5 edit

The prayer to be heard runs like Psa 55:3; and the statement of the ground on which it is based, Psa 86:1, word for word like Ps 40:18. It is then particularly expressed as a prayer for preservation (שׁמרה, as in Psa 119:167, although imperative, to be read shāmerah; cf. Psa 30:4 מיּרדי, Psa 38:21 רדפי or רדפי, and what we have already observed on Psa 16:1 שׁמרני); for he is not only in need of God's help, but also because חסיד (Psa 4:4; Psa 16:10), i.e., united to Him in the bond of affection (חסד, Hos 6:4; Jer 2:2), not unworthy of it. In Psa 86:2 we hear the strains of Psa 25:20; Psa 31:7; in Psa 86:3, of Psa 57:2.: the confirmation in Psa 86:4 is taken verbally from Psa 25:1, cf. also Psa 130:6. Here, what is said in Psa 86:4 of this shorter Adonajic Psalm, Psa 130:1-8, is abbreviated in the ἅπαξ γεγραμ. סלּח (root סל, של, to allow to hang loose, χαλᾶν, to give up, remittere). The Lord is good (טּוב), i.e., altogether love, and for this very reason also ready to forgive, and great and rich in mercy for all who call upon Him as such. The beginning of the following group also accords with Psa 130:1-8 in Psa 86:2.

Verses 6-13 edit

Here, too, almost everything is an echo of earlier language of the Psalms and of the Law; viz., Psa 86:7 follows Psa 17:6 and other passages; Psa 86:8 is taken from Exo 15:11, cf. Psa 89:9, where, however, אלהים, gods, is avoided; Psa 86:8 follows Deu 3:24; Psa 86:9 follows Psa 22:28; Psa 86:11 is taken from Psa 27:11; Psa 86:11 from Psa 26:3; Psa 86:13, שׁאול תּחתּיּה from Deu 32:22, where instead of this it is תּחתּית, just as in Psa 130:2 תּחנוּני (supplicatory prayer) instead of תּחנוּנותי (importunate supplications); and also Psa 86:10 (cf. Psa 72:18) is a doxological formula that was already in existence. The construction הקשׁיב בּ is the same as in Psa 66:19. But although for the most part flowing on only in the language of prayer borrowed from earlier periods, this Psalm is, moreover, not without remarkable significance and beauty. With the confession of the incomparableness of the Lord is combined the prospect of the recognition of the incomparable One throughout the nations of the earth. This clear unallegorical prediction of the conversion of the heathen is the principal parallel to Rev 15:4. “All nations, which Thou hast made” - they have their being from Thee; and although they have forgotten it (vid., Psa 9:18), they will nevertheless at last come to recognise it. כּל־גּוים, since the article is wanting, are nations of all tribes (countries and nationalities); cf. Jer 16:16 with Psa 22:18; Tobit 13:11, ἔθνη πολλά, with ibid. Psa 14:6, πάντα τὰ ἔθνη. And how weightily brief and charming is the petition in Psa 86:11 : uni cor meum, ut timeat nomen tuum! Luther has rightly departed from the renderings of the lxx, Syriac, and Vulgate: laetetur (יחדּ from חדה). The meaning, however, is not so much “keep my heart near to the only thing,” as “direct all its powers and concentrate them on the one thing.” The following group shows us what is the meaning of the deliverance out of the hell beneath (שׁאול תּחתּיּה, like ארץ תּחתּית, the earth beneath, the inner parts of the earth, Eze 31:14.), for which the poet promises beforehand to manifest his thankfulness (כּי, Psa 86:13, as in Ps 56:14).

Verses 14-17 edit

The situation is like that in the Psalms of the time of Saul. The writer is a persecuted one, and in constant peril of his life. He has taken Psa 86:14 out of the Elohimic Psa 54:5, and retained the Elohim as a proper name of God (cf. on the other hand Psa 86:8, Psa 86:10); he has, however, altered זרים to זרים, which here, as in Isa 13:11 (cf. however, ibid. Psa 25:5), is the alternating word to עריצים. In Psa 86:15 he supports his petition that follows by Jahve's testimony concerning Himself in Exo 34:6. The appellation given to himself by the poet in Psa 86:16 recurs in Psa 116:16 (cf. Wisd. 9:5). The poet calls himself “the son of Thy handmaid” as having been born into the relation to Him of servant; it is a relationship that has come to him by birth. How beautifully does the Adonaj come in here for the seventh time! He is even from his mother's womb the servant of the sovereign Lord, from whose omnipotence he can therefore also look for a miraculous interposition on his behalf. A “token for good” is a special dispensation, from which it becomes evident to him that God is kindly disposed towards him. לטובה as in the mouth of Nehemiah, Neh 5:19; Neh 13:31; of Ezr 8:22; and also even in Jeremiah and earlier. ויבשׁוּ is just as parenthetical as in Isa 26:11.

Psalm 87 edit

The City of the New Birth of the Nations edit

The mission thought in Psa 86:9 becomes the ruling thought in this Korahitic Psalm. It is a prophetic Psalm in the style, boldly and expressively concise even to obscurity (Eusebius, σφόδρα αἰνιγματώδης καὶ σκοτεινῶς εἰρημένος), in which the first three oracles of the tetralogy Isa 21:1, and the passage Isa 30:6, Isa 30:7 - a passage designed to be as it were a memorial exhibition - are also written. It also resembles these oracles in this respect, that Psa 87:1 opens the whole arsis-like by a solemn statement of its subject, like the emblematical inscriptions there. As to the rest, Isa 44:5 is the key to its meaning. The threefold ילּד here corresponds to the threefold זה in that passage.
Since Rahab and Babylon as the foremost worldly powers are mentioned first among the peoples who come into the congregation of Jahve, and since the prospect of the poet has moulded itself according to a present rich in promise and carrying such a future in its bosom, it is natural (with Tholuck, Hengstenberg, Vaihinger, Keil, and others) to suppose that the Psalm was composed when, in consequence of the destruction of the Assyrian army before Jerusalem, offerings and presents were brought from many quarters for Jahve and the king of Judah (2Ch 32:23), and the admiration of Hezekiah, the favoured one of God, had spread as far as Babylon. Just as Micah (Mic 4:10) mentions Babylon as the place of the chastisement and of the redemption of his nation, and as Isaiah, about the fourteenth year of Hezekiah's reign, predicts to the king a carrying away of his treasures and his posterity to Babylon, so here Egypt and Babylon, the inheritress of Assyria, stand most prominent among the worldly powers that shall be obliged one day to bow themselves to the God of Israel. In a similar connection Isaiah (Isa 19:1) does not as yet mention Babylon side by side with Egypt, but Assyria.

Verses 1-4 edit

The poet is absorbed in the contemplation of the glory of a matter which he begins to celebrate, without naming it. Whether we render it: His founded, or (since מיסּד and מוּסּד are both used elsewhere as part. pass.): His foundation (after the form מלוּכה, poetically for יסוד, a founding, then that which is set fast = a foundation), the meaning remains the same; but the more definite statement of the object with שׁערי ציּון is more easily connected with what precedes by regarding it as a participle. The suffix refers to Jahve, and it is Zion, whose praise is a favourite theme of the Korahitic songs, that is intended. We cannot tell by looking to the accents whether the clause is to be taken as a substantival clause (His founded city is upon the holy mountains) or not. Since, however, the expression is not יסוּדתו היא בהררי־קדשׁ, יסודתו בהררי קדשׁ is an object placed first in advance (which the antithesis to the other dwellings of Jacob would admit of), and in Psa 87:2 a new synonymous object is subordinated to אהב by a similar turn of the discourse to Jer 13:27; Jer 6:2 (Hitzig). By altering the division of the verses as Hupfeld and Hofmann do (His foundation or founded city upon the holy mountains doth Jahve love), Psa 87:2 is decapitated. Even now the God-founded city (surrounded on three sides by deep valleys), whose firm and visible foundation is the outward manifestation of its imperishable inner nature, rises aloft above all the other dwelling-places of Israel. Jahve stands in a lasting, faithful, loving relationship (אהב, not 3 praet. אהב) to the gates of Zion. These gates are named as a periphrasis for Zion, because they bound the circuit of the city, and any one who loves a city delights to go frequently through its gates; and they are perhaps mentioned in prospect of the fulness of the heathen that shall enter into them. In Psa 87:3 the lxx correctly, and at the same time in harmony with the syntax, renders: Δεδοξασμένα ἐλαλήθη περὶ σοῦ. The construction of a plural subject with a singular predicate is a syntax common in other instances also, whether the subject is conceived of as a unity in the form of the plural (e.g., Psa 66:3; Psa 119:137; Isa 16:8), or is individualized in the pursuance of the thought (as is the case most likely in Gen 27:29, cf. Psa 12:3); here the glorious things are conceived of as the sum-total of such. The operation of the construction of the active (Ew. §295, b) is not probable here in connection with the participle. בּ beside דּבּר may signify the place or the instrument, substance and object of the speech (e.g., Psa 119:46), but also the person against whom the words are spoken (e.g., Psa 50:20), or concerning whom they are uttered (as the words of the suitor to the father or the relatives of the maiden, 1Sa 25:39; Sol 8:8; cf. on the construction, 1Sa 19:3). The poet, without doubt, here refers to the words of promise concerning the eternal continuance and future glory of Jerusalem: Glorious things are spoken, i.e., exist as spoken, in reference to thee, O thou city of God, city of His choice and of His love.
The glorious contents of the promise are now unfolded, and that with the most vivid directness: Jahve Himself takes up the discourse, and declares the gracious, glorious, world-wide mission of His chosen and beloved city: it shall become the birth-place of all nations. Rahab is Egypt, as in Psa 89:11; Isa 30:7; Isa 51:9, the southern worldly power, and Babylon the northern. הזכּיר, as frequently, of loud (Jer 4:16) and honourable public mention or commemoration, Ps 45:18. It does not signify “to record or register in writing;” for the official name מזכּיר, which is cited in support of this meaning, designates the historian of the empire as one who keeps in remembrance the memorable events of the history of his time. It is therefore impossible, with Hofmann, to render: I will add Rahab and Babylon to those who know me. In general ל is not used to point out to whom the addition is made as belonging to them, but for what purpose, or as what (cf. 2Sa 5:3; Isa 4:3), these kingdoms, hitherto hostile towards God and His people, shall be declared: Jahve completes what He Himself has brought about, inasmuch as He publicly and solemnly declares them to be those who know Him, i.e., those who experimentally (vid., Psa 36:11) know Him as their God. Accordingly, it is clear that זה ילּד־שׁם is also meant to refer to the conversion of the other three nations to whom the finger of God points with הנּה, viz., the war-loving Philistia, the rich and proud Tyre, and the adventurous and powerful Ethiopia (Isa 18:1-7). זה does not refer to the individuals, nor to the sum-total of these nations, but to nation after nation (cf. זה העם, Isa 23:13), by fixing the eye upon each one separately. And שׁם refers to Zion. The words of Jahve, which come in without any intermediary preparation, stand in the closest connection with the language of the poet and seer. Zion appears elsewhere as the mother who brings forth Israel again as a numerous people (Isa 66:7; Psa 54:1-3): it is the children of the dispersion (diaspora) which Zion regains in Isa 60:4.; here, however, it is the nations which are born in Zion. The poet does not combine with it the idea of being born again in the depth of its New Testament meaning; he means, however, that the nations will attain a right of citizenship in Zion (πολιτεία τοῦ Ἰσραήλ, Eph 2:12) as in their second mother-city, that they will therefore at any rate experience a spiritual change which, regarded from the New Testament point of view, is the new birth out of water and the Spirit.

Verses 5-7 edit

Inasmuch now as the nations come thus into the church (or congregation) of the children of God and of the children of Abraham, Zion becomes by degrees a church immeasurably great. To Zion, however, or of Zion (ל of reference to), shall it be said אישׁ ואישׁ ילּד־בּהּ. Zion, the one city, stands in contrast to all the countries, the one city of God in contrast to the kingdoms of the world, and אישׁ ואישׁ in contrast to זה. This contrast, upon the correct apprehension of which depends the understanding of the whole Psalm, is missed when it is said, “whilst in relation to other countries it is always only the whole nation that comes under consideration, Zion is not reckoned up as a nation, but by persons” (Hofmann). With this rendering the ילּד retires into the background; in that case this giving of prominence to the value of the individual exceeds the ancient range of conception, and it is also an inadmissible appraisement that in Zion each individual is as important as a nation as a whole. Elsewhere אישׁ אישׁ, Lev 17:10, Lev 17:13, or אישׁ ואישׁ, Est 1:8, signifies each and every one; accordingly here אישׁ ואישׁ (individual and, or after, individual) affirms a progressus in infinitum, where one is ever added to another. Of an immeasurable multitude, and of each individual in this multitude in particular, it is said that he was born in Zion. Now, too, והוּא כוננה עליון has a significant connection with what precedes. Whilst from among foreign peoples more and more are continually acquiring the right of natives in Zion, and thus are entering into a new national alliance, so that a breach of their original national friendships is taking place, He Himself (cf. 1Sa 20:9), the Most High, will uphold Zion (Psa 48:9), so that under His protection and blessing it shall become ever greater and more glorious. Psa 87:6 tells us what will be the result of such a progressive incorporation in the church of Zion of those who have hitherto been far removed, viz., Jahve will reckon when He writeth down (כּתוב as in Jos 18:8) the nations; or better - since this would more readily be expressed by בּכתבו, and the book of the living (Isa 4:3) is one already existing from time immemorial - He will reckon in the list (כתוב after the form חלום, חלו, פּקוד = כּתב, Eze 13:9) of the nations, i.e., when He goes over the nations that are written down there and chosen for the coming salvation, “this one was born there;” He will therefore acknowledge them one after another as those born in Zion. The end of all history is that Zion shall become the metropolis of all nations. When the fulness of the Gentiles is thus come in, then shall all and each one as well singing as dancing say (supply יאמרוּ): All my fountains are in thee. Among the old translators the rendering of Aquila is the best: καὶ ᾄδοντες ὡς χοροί· πᾶσαι πηγαὶ ἐν σοί, which Jerome follows, et cantores quasi in choris: omnes fontes mei in te. One would rather render cholaliym, “flute-players” (lxx ὡς ἐν αὐλοῖς); but to pipe or play the flute is חלּל (a denominative from חליל), 1Ki 1:40, whereas to dance is חלל (Pilel of חוּל); it is therefore = מחוללים, like לצצים, Hos 7:5. But it must not moreover be rendered, “And singers as well as dancers (will say);” for “singers” is משׁררים, not שׁרים, which signifies cantantes, not cantores. Singing as dancing, i.e., making known their festive joy as well by the one as by the other, shall the men of all nations incorporated in Zion say: All my fountains, i.e., fountains of salvation (after Isa 12:3), are in thee (O city of God). It has also been interpreted: my looks (i.e., the object on which my eye is fixed, or the delight of my eyes), or: my thoughts (after the modern Hebrew עיּן of spiritual meditation); but both are incongruous. The conjecture, too, of Böttcher, and even before him of Schnurrer (Dissertationes, p. 150), כל־מעיני, all who take up their abode (instead of which Hupfeld conjectures מעיני, all my near-dwellers, i.e., those who dwell with me under the same roof)[75], is not Hebrew, and deprives us of the thought which corresponds to the aim of the whole, that Jerusalem shall be universally regarded as the place where the water of life springs for the whole of mankind, and shall be universally praised as this place of fountains.

Psalm 88 edit

Plaintive Prayer of a Patient Sufferer Like Job edit

Psalms 88 is as gloomy as Psa 87:1-7 is cheerful; they stand near one another as contrasts. Not Ps 77, as the old expositors answer to the question quaenam ode omnium tristissima, but this Psalms 88 is the darkest, gloomiest, of all the plaintive Psalms; for it is true the name “God of my salvation,” with which the praying one calls upon God, and his praying itself, show that the spark of faith within him is not utterly extinguished; but as to the rest, it is all one pouring forth of deep lament in the midst of the severest conflict of temptation in the presence of death, the gloom of melancholy does not brighten up to become a hope, the Psalm dies away in Job-like lamentation. Herein we discern echoes of the Korahitic Psa 42:1-11 and of Davidic Psalms: compare Psa 88:3 with Psa 18:7; Psa 88:5 with Psa 28:1; Psa 88:6 with Psa 31:23; Psa 88:18 with Psa 22:17.; v. 19 (although differently applied) with Psa 31:12; and more particularly the questions in Psa 88:11-13 with Psa 6:6, of which they are as it were only the amplification. But these Psalm-echoes are outweighed by the still more striking points of contact with the Book of Job, both as regards linguistic usage (דּאב, Psa 88:10, Job 14:14; רפאים, Psa 88:11, Job 26:5; אבדּון, Psa 88:12, Job 26:6; Job 28:22; נער, Psa 88:16, Job 33:25; Job 36:14; אמים, Psa 88:16, Job 20:25; בּעוּתים, Psa 88:17, Job 6:4) and single thoughts (cf. Psa 88:5 with Job 14:10; Psa 88:9 with Job 30:10; v. 19 with Job 17:9; Job 19:14), and also the suffering condition of the poet and the whole manner in which this finds expression. For the poet finds himself in the midst of the same temptation as Job not merely so far as his mind and spirit are concerned; but his outward affliction is, according to the tenor of his complaints, the same, viz., the leprosy (Psa 88:9), which, the disposition to which being born with him, has been his inheritance from his youth up (Psa 88:16). Now, since the Book of Job is a Chokma-work of the Salomonic age, and the two Ezrahites belonged to the wise men of the first rank at the court of Solomon (1Ki 4:31), it is natural to suppose that the Book of Job has sprung out of this very Chokma-company, and that perhaps this very Heman the Ezrahite who is the author of Psalms 88 has made a passage of his own life, suffering, and conflict of soul, a subject of dramatic treatment.
The inscription of the Psalm runs: A Psalm-song by the Korahites; to the Precentor, to be recited (lit., to be pressed down, not after Isa 27:2 : to be sung, which expresses nothing, nor: to be sung alternatingly, which is contrary to the character of the Psalm) after a sad manner (cf. Psa 53:1) with muffled voice, a meditation by Heman the Ezrahite. This is a double inscription, the two halves of which are contradictory. The bare להימן side by side with לבני־קרח would be perfectly in order, since the precentor Heman is a Korahite according to 1Ch 6:33-38; but חימן האזרחי is the name of one of the four great Israelitish sages in 1Ki 4:31, who, according to 1Ch 2:6, is a direct descendant of Zerah, and therefore is not of the tribe of Levi, but of Judah. The suppositions that Heman the Korahite had been adopted into the family of Zerah, or that Heman the Ezrahite had been admitted among the Levites, are miserable attempts to get over the difficulty. At the head of the Psalm there stand two different statements respecting its origin side by side, which are irreconcilable. The assumption that the title of the Psalm originally was either merely שׁיר מזמור לבני־קרח, or merely למנצח וגו, is warranted by the fact that only in this one Psalm למנצח does not occupy the first place in the inscriptions. But which of the two statements is the more reliable one? Most assuredly the latter; for שׁיר מזמור לבני־קרח is only a recurrent repetition of the inscription of Psa 87:1-7. The second statement, on the other hand, by its precise designation of the melody, and by the designation of the author, which corresponds to the Psalm that follows, gives evidence of its antiquity and its historical character.

Verses 1-7 edit

The poet finds himself in the midst of circumstances gloomy in the extreme, but he does not despair; he still turns towards Jahve with his complaints, and calls Him the God of his salvation. This actus directus of fleeing in prayer to the God of salvation, which urges its way through all that is dark and gloomy, is the fundamental characteristic of all true faith. Psa 88:2 is not to be rendered, as a clause of itself: “by day I cry unto Thee, in the night before Thee” (lxx and Targum), which ought to have been יומם, but (as it is also pointed, especially in Baer's text): by day, i.e., in the time (Psa 56:4; Psa 78:42, cf. Psa 18:1), when I cry before Thee in the night, let my prayer come... (Hitzig). In Psa 88:3 he calls his piercing lamentation, his wailing supplication, רנּתי, as in Psa 17:1; Psa 61:2. הטּה as in Psa 86:1, for which we find הט in Psa 17:6. The Beth of בּרעות, as in Psa 65:5; Lam 3:15, Lam 3:30, denotes that of which his soul has already had abundantly sufficient. On Psa 88:4, cf. as to the syntax Psa 31:11. איל (ἅπαξ λεγομ. like אילוּת, Psa 22:20) signifies succinctness, compactness, vigorousness (ἁδρότης): he is like a man from whom all vital freshness and vigour is gone, therefore now only like the shadow of a man, in fact like one already dead. חפשׁי, in Psa 88:6, the lxx renders ἐν νεκροῖς ἐλεύθερος (Symmachus, ἀφεὶς ἐλεύθερος); and in like manner the Targum, and the Talmud which follows it in formulating the proposition that a deceased person is חפשׁי מן חמצוות, free from the fulfilling of the precepts of the Law (cf. Rom 6:7). Hitzig, Ewald, Köster, and Böttcher, on the contrary, explain it according to Eze 27:20 (where חפשׁ signifies stragulum): among the dead is my couch (חפשׁי = יצועי, Job 17:13). But in respect of Job 3:19 the adjectival rendering is the more probable; “one set free among the dead” (lxx) is equivalent to one released from the bond of life (Job 39:5), somewhat as in Latin a dead person is called defunctus. God does not remember the dead, i.e., practically, inasmuch as, devoid of any progressive history, their condition remains always the same; they are in fact cut away (נגזר as in Psa 31:23; Lam 3:54; Isa 53:8) from the hand, viz., from the guiding and helping hand, of God. Their dwelling-place is the pit of the places lying deep beneath (cf. on תּחתּיּות, Psa 63:10; Psa 86:13; Eze 26:20, and more particularly Lam 3:55), the dark regions (מחשׁכּים as in Psa 143:3, Lam 3:6), the submarine depths (בּמצלות; lxx, Symmachus, the Syriac, etc.: ἐν σκιᾷ θανάτου = בצלמות, according to Job 10:21 and frequently, but contrary to Lam 3:54), whose open abyss is the grave for each one. On Psa 88:8 cf. Psa 42:8. The Mugrash by כל־משׁבריך stamps it as an adverbial accusative (Targum), or more correctly, since the expression is not עניתני, as the object placed in advance. Only those who are not conversant with the subject (as Hupfeld in this instance) imagine that the accentuation marks ענּית as a relative clause (cf. on the contrary Psa 8:7, Psa 21:3, etc.). ענּה, to bow down, press down; here used of the turning or directing downwards (lxx ἐπήγαγες) of the waves, which burst like a cataract over the afflicted one.

Verses 8-12 edit

The octastichs are now followed by hexastichs which belong together in pairs. The complaint concerning the alienation of his nearest relations sounds like Job 19:13., but the same strain is also frequently heard in the earlier Psalms written in times of suffering, e.g., Psa 31:9. He is forsaken by all his familiar friends (not: acquaintances, for מידּע signifies more than that), he is alone in the dungeon of wretchedness, where no one comes near him, and whence he cannot make his escape. This sounds, according to Lev. 13, very much like the complaint of a leper. The Book of Leviticus there passes over from the uncleanness attending the beginning of human life to the uncleanness of the most terrible disease. Disease is the middle stage between birth and death, and, according to the Eastern notion, leprosy is the worst of all diseases, it is death itself clinging to the still living man (Num 12:12), and more than all other evils a stroke of the chastening hand of God (נגע), a scourge of God (צרעת). The man suspected of having leprosy was to be subjected to a seven days' quarantine until the determination of the priest's diagnosis; and if the leprosy was confirmed, he was to dwell apart outside the camp (Lev 13:46), where, though not imprisoned, he was nevertheless separated from his dwelling and his family (cf. Job, at Job 19:19), and if a man of position, would feel himself condemned to a state of involuntary retirement. It is natural to refer the כּלא, which is closely connected with שׁתּני, to this separation. עיני, Psa 88:10, instead of עיני, as in Psa 6:8; Psa 31:10 : his eye has languished, vanished away (דּאב of the same root as tābescere, cognate with the root of דּונג, Psa 68:3), in consequence of (his) affliction. He calls and calls upon Jahve, stretches out (שׁטּח, expandere, according to the Arabic, more especially after the manner of a roof) his hands (palmas) towards Him, in order to shield himself from His wrath and to lead Him compassionately to give ear to him. In Psa 88:11-13 he bases his cry for help upon a twofold wish, viz., to become an object of the miraculous help of God, and to be able to praise Him for it. Neither of these wishes would be realized if he were to die; for that which lies beyond this life is uniform darkness, devoid of any progressive history. With מתים alternates רפאים (sing. רפא), the relaxed ones, i.e., shades (σκιαὶ) of the nether world. With reference to יודוּ instead of להודות, vid., Ewald, §337, b. Beside חשׁך (Job 10:21.) stands ארץ נשׁיּה, the land of forgetfulness (λήθη), where there is an end of all thinking, feeling, and acting (Ecc 9:5-6, Ecc 9:10), and where the monotony of death, devoid of thought and recollection, reigns. Such is the representation given in the Old Testament of the state beyond the present, even in Ecclesiastes, and in the Apocrypha (Sir. 17:27f. after Isa 38:18.; Baruch 2:17f.); and it was obliged to be thus represented, for in the New Testament not merely the conception of the state after death, but this state itself, is become a different one.

Verses 13-18 edit

He who complains thus without knowing any comfort, and yet without despairing, gathers himself up afresh for prayer. With ואני he contrasts himself with the dead who are separated from God's manifestation of love. Being still in life, although under wrath that apparently has no end, he strains every nerve to struggle through in prayer until he shall reach God's love. His complaints are petitions, for they are complaints that are poured forth before God. The destiny under which for a long time he has been more like one dying than living, reaches back even into his youth. מנּער (since נער is everywhere undeclined) is equivalent to מנּערי. The ἐξηπορήθην of the lxx is the right indicator for the understanding of the ἅπαξ λ.ε.γ. אפוּנה. Aben-Ezra and Kimchi derive it from פּן, like עלה from על,[76] and assign to it the signification of dubitare. But it may be more safely explained after the Arabic words Arab. afana , afina , ma'fûn (root ‘f, to urge forwards, push), in which the fundamental notion of driving back, narrowing and exhausting, is transferred to a weakening or weakness of the intellect. We might also compare פּנה, Arab. faniya, “to disappear, vanish, pass away;” but the ἐξηπορήθην of the lxx favours the kinship with that Arab. afina , infirma mente et consilii inops fuit,[77] which has been already compared by Castell. The aorist of the lxx, however, is just as erroneous in this instance as in Psa 42:5; Psa 55:3; Psa 57:5. In all these instances the cohortative denotes the inward result following from an outward compulsion, as they say in Hebrew: I lay hold of trembling (Isa 13:8; Job 18:20; Job 21:6) or joy (Isa 35:10; Isa 51:11), when the force of circumstances drive one into such states of mind. Labouring under the burden of divine dispensations of a terrifying character, he finds himself in a state of mental weakness and exhaustion, or of insensible (senseless) fright; over him as their destined goal before many others go God's burnings of wrath (plur. only in this instance), His terrible decrees (vid., concerning בעת on Psa 18:5) have almost annihilated him. צמּתתוּני is not an impossible form (Olshausen, §251, a), but an intensive form of צמּתוּ, the last part of the already inflected verb being repeated, as in עהבוּ הבוּ, Hos 4:18 (cf. in the department of the noun, פּיפיּות, edge-edges = many edges, Psa 149:6), perhaps under the influence of the derivative.[78]
The corrections צמתּתני (from צמתת) or צמּתתני (from צמּת) are simple enough; but it is more prudent to let tradition judge of that which is possible in the usage of the language. In Psa 88:18 the burnings become floods; the wrath of God can be compared to every destroying and overthrowing element. The billows threaten to swallow him up, without any helping hand being stretched out to him on the part of any of his lovers and friends. In v. 19a to be now explained according to Job 16:14, viz., My familiar friends are gloomy darkness; i.e., instead of those who were hitherto my familiars (Job 19:14), darkness is become my familiar friend? One would have thought that it ought then to have been מידּעי (Schnurrer), or, according to Pro 7:4, מודעי, and that, in connection with this sense of the noun, מחשׁך ought as subject to have the precedence, that consequently מידּעי is subject and מחשׁך predicate: my familiar friends have lost themselves in darkness, are become absolutely invisible (Hitzig at last). But the regular position of the words is kept to if it is interpreted: my familiar friends are reduced to gloomy darkness as my familiar friend, and the plural is justified by Job 19:14 : Mother and sister (do I call) the worm. With this complaint the harp falls from the poet's hands. He is silent, and waits on God, that He may solve this riddle of affliction. From the Book of Job we might infer that He also actually appeared to him. He is more faithful than men. No soul that in the midst of wrath lays hold upon His love, whether with a firm or with a trembling hand, is suffered to be lost.

Psalm 89 edit

== Prayer for a Renewal of the Mercies of David.==

After having recognised the fact that the double inscription of Ps 88 places two irreconcilable statements concerning the origin of that Psalm side by side, we renounce the artifices by which Ethan (איתן)[79] the Ezrahite, of the tribe of Judah (1Ki 5:11 1Ki 4:31, 1Ch 2:6), is made to be one and the same person with Ethan (Jeduthun) the son of Kushaiah the Merarite, of the tribe of Levi (1Ch 15:17; 1Ch 6:29-32; 1Ch 6:44-47), the master of the music together with Asaph and Heman, and the chief of the six classes of musicians over whom his six sons were placed as sub-directors (1 Chr. 25).
The collector has placed the Psalms of the two Ezrahites together. Without this relationship of the authors the juxtaposition would also be justified by the reciprocal relation in which the two Psalms stand to one another by their common, striking coincidences with the Book of Job. As to the rest, however, Ps 88 is a purely individual, and Psalms 89 a thoroughly nationally Psalm. Both the poetical character and the situation of the two Psalms are distinct.
The circumstances in which the writer of Psalms 89 finds himself are in most striking contradiction to the promises given to the house of David. He revels in the contents of these promises, and in the majesty and faithfulness of God, and then he pours forth his intense feeling of the great distance between these and the present circumstances in complaints over the afflicted lot of the anointed of God, and prays God to be mindful of His promises, and on the other hand, of the reproach by which at this time His anointed and His people are overwhelmed. The anointed one is not the nation itself (Hitzig), but he who at that time wears the crown. The crown of the king is defiled to the ground; his throne is cast down to the earth; he is become grey-headed before his time, for all the fences of his land are broken through, his fortresses fallen, and his enemies have driven him out of the field, so that reproach and scorn follow him at every step.
There was no occasion for such complaints in the reign of Solomon; but surely in the time of Rehoboam, into the first decade of whose reign Ethan the Ezrahite may have survived king Solomon, who died at the age of sixty. In the fifth year of Rehoboam, Shishak (שׁישׁק = Σέσογχις = Shishonk I), the first Pharaoh of the twenty-second (Bubastic) dynasty, marched against Jerusalem with a large army gathered together out of many nations, conquered the fortified cities of Judah, and spoiled the Temple and Palace, even carrying away with him the golden shields of Solomon - a circumstance which the history bewails in a very especial manner. At that time Shemaiah preached repentance, in the time of the greatest calamity of war; king and princes humbled themselves; and in the midst of judgment Jerusalem accordingly experienced the gracious forbearance of God, and was spared. God did not complete his destruction, and there also again went forth דברים טובים, i.e., (cf. Jos 23:14; Zec 1:13) kindly comforting words from God, in Judah. Such is the narrative in the Book of Kings (1Ki 14:25-28) and as supplemented by the chronicler (2Ch 12:1-12).
During this very period Psalms 89 took its rise. The young Davidic king, whom loss and disgrace make prematurely old, is Rehoboam, that man of Jewish appearance whom Pharaoh Sheshonk is bringing among other captives before the god Amun in the monumental picture of Karnak, and who bears before him in his embattled ring the words Judhmelek (King of Judah) - one of the finest and most reliable discoveries of Champollion, and one of the greatest triumphs of his system of hieroglyphics.[80]
Ps. 89 stands in kindred relationship not only to Ps 74, but besides Psa 79:1-13, also to Ps 77-78, all of which glance back to the earliest times in the history of Israel. They are all Asaphic Psalms, partly old Asaphic (Ps 77, Ps 78), partly later ones (Ps 74, Psa 79:1-13). From this fact we see that the Psalms of Asaph were the favourite models in that school of the four wise men to which the two Ezrahites belong.

Verses 1-4 edit

The poet, who, as one soon observes, is a חכם (for the very beginning of the Psalm is remarkable and ingenious), begins with the confession of the inviolability of the mercies promised to the house of David, i.e., of the הסדי דוד הנּאמנים, Isa 55:3.[81]
God's faithful love towards the house of David, a love faithful to His promises, will he sing without ceasing, and make it known with his mouth, i.e., audibly and publicly (cf. Job 19:16), to the distant posterity. Instead of חסדי, we find here, and also in Lam 3:22, חסדי with a not merely slightly closed syllable. The Lamed of לדר ודר is, according to Psa 103:7; Psa 145:12, the datival Lamed. With כּי־אמרתּי (lxx, Jerome, contrary to Psa 89:3, ὅτι εἶπας) the poet bases his resolve upon his conviction. נבנה means not so much to be upheld in building, as to be in the course of continuous building (e.g., Job 22:23; Mal 3:15, of an increasingly prosperous condition). Loving-kindness is for ever (accusative of duration) in the course of continuous building, viz., upon the unshakeable foundation of the promise of grace, inasmuch as it is fulfilled in accordance therewith. It is a building with a most solid foundation, which will not only not fall into ruins, but, adding one stone of fulfilment upon another, will rise ever higher and higher. שׁמים then stands first as casus absol., and בּהם is, as in Psa 19:5, a pronoun having a backward reference to it. In the heavens, which are exalted above the rise and fall of things here below, God establishes His faithfulness, so that it stands fast as the sun above the earth, although the condition of things here below seems sometimes to contradict it (cf. Psa 119:89). Now follow in Psa 89:4-5 the direct words of God, the sum of the promises given to David and to his seed in 2 Sam. 7, at which the poet arrives more naturally in Psa 89:20. Here they are strikingly devoid of connection. It is the special substance of the promises that is associated in thought with the “loving-kindness” and “truth” of Psa 89:3, which is expanded as it were appositionally therein. Hence also אכין and תּכין, וּבניתי and יבּנה correspond to one another. David's seed, by virtue of divine faithfulness, has an eternally sure existence; Jahve builds up David's throne “into generation and generation,” inasmuch as He causes it to rise ever fresh and vigorous, never as that which is growing old and feeble.

Verses 5-8 edit

At the close of the promises in Psa 89:4-5 the music is to become forte. And ויודוּ attaches itself to this jubilant Sela. In Psa 89:6-19 there follows a hymnic description of the exalted majesty of God, more especially of His omnipotence and faithfulness, because the value of the promise is measured by the character of the person who promises. The God of the promise is He who is praised by the heavens and the holy ones above. His way of acting is פלא, of a transcendent, paradoxical, wondrous order, and as such the heavens praise it; it is praised (יודו, according to Ges. §137, 3) in the assembly of the holy ones, i.e., of the spirits in the other world, the angels (as in Job 5:1; Job 15:15, cf. Deu 33:2), for He is peerlessly exalted above the heavens and the angels. שׁחק, poetic singular instead of שׁחקים (vid., supra on Psa 77:18), which is in itself already poetical; and ערך, not, as e.g., in Isa 40:18, in the signification to co-ordinate, but in the medial sense: to rank with, be equal to. Concerning בּני אלים, vid., on Psa 29:1. In the great council (concerning סוד, of both genders, perhaps like כּוס, vid., on Psa 25:14) of the holy ones also, Jahve is terrible; He towers above all who are about Him (1Ki 22:19, cf. Dan 7:10) in terrible majesty. רבּה might, according to Psa 62:3; Psa 78:15, be an adverb, but according to the order of the words it may more appropriately be regarded as an adjective; cf. Job 31:34, כּי אערץ המון רבּה, “when I feared the great multitude.” In Psa 89:9 He is apostrophized with אלהי צבאות as being the One exalted above the heavens and the angels. The question “Who is as Thou?” takes its origin from Exo 15:11. חסין is not the construct form, but the principal form, like גּביר, ידיד, עויל ,יד, and is a Syriasm; for the verbal stem Syr. hṣan is native to the Aramaic, in which Syr. haṣı̄nā’ = שׁדּי. In יהּ, what God is is reduced to the briefest possible expression (vid., Psa 68:19). In the words, “Thy faithfulness compasseth Thee round about,” the primary thought of the poet again breaks through. Such a God it is who has the faithfulness with which He fulfils all His promises, and the promises given to the house of David also, as His constant surrounding. His glory would only strike one with terror; but the faithfulness which encompasses Him softens the sunlike brilliancy of His glory, and awakens trust in so majestic a Ruler.

Verses 9-14 edit

At the time of the poet the nation of the house of David was threatened with assault from violent foes; and this fact gives occasion for this picture of God's power in the kingdom of nature. He who rules the raging of the sea, also rules the raging of the sea of the peoples, Psa 65:8. גּאוּת, a proud rising, here of the sea, like גּאוה in Psa 46:4. Instead of בּשׂוע, Hitzig pleasantly enough reads בּשׁוא = בּשׁאו from שׁאה; but שׂוא is also possible so far as language is concerned, either as an infinitive = נשׂוא, Psa 28:2; Isa 1:14 (instead of שׂאת), or as an infinitival noun, like שׂיא, loftiness, Job 20:6, with a likewise rejected Nun. The formation of the clause favours our taking it as a verb: when its waves rise, Thou stillest them. From the natural sea the poet comes to the sea of the peoples; and in the doings of God at the Red Sea a miraculous subjugation of both seas took place at one and the same time. It is clear from Psa 74:13-17; Isa 51:9, that Egypt is to be understood by Rahab in this passage as in Psa 87:4. The word signifies first of all impetuosity, violence, then a monster, like “the wild beast of the reed,” Psa 68:31, i.e., the leviathan or the dragon. דּכּאת is conjugated after the manner of the Lamed He verbs, as in Psa 44:20. כּחלל is to be understood as describing the event or issue (vid., Psa 18:43): so that in its fall the proudly defiant kingdom is like one fatally smitten. Thereupon in Psa 89:12-15 again follows in the same co-ordination first the praise of God drawn from nature, then from history. Jahve's are the heavens and the earth. He is the Creator, and for that very reason the absolute owner, of both. The north and the right hand, i.e., the south, represent the earth in its entire compass from one region of the heavens to the other. Tabor on this side of the Jordan represents the west (cf. Hos 5:1), and Hermon opposite the east of the Holy Land. Both exult by reason of the name of God; by their fresh, cheerful look they give the impression of joy at the glorious revelation of the divine creative might manifest in themselves. In Psa 89:14 the praise again enters upon the province of history. “An arm with (עם) heroic strength,” says the poet, inasmuch as he distinguishes between the attribute inherent in God and the medium of its manifestation in history. His throne has as its מכון, i.e., its immovable foundation (Pro 16:12; Pro 25:5), righteousness of action and right, by which all action is regulated, and which is unceasingly realized by means of the action. And mercy and truth wait upon Him. קדּם פּני is not; to go before any one (הלּך לפני, Ps 85:14), but anticipatingly to present one's self to any one, Psa 88:14; Psa 95:2; Mic 6:6. Mercy and truth, these two genii of sacred history (Psa 43:3), stand before His face like waiting servants watching upon His nod.

Verses 15-18 edit

The poet has now described what kind of God He is upon whose promise the royal house in Israel depends. Blessed, then, is the people that walks in the light of His countenance. הלּך of a self-assured, stately walk. The words ידעי תּרוּעה are the statement of the ground of the blessing interwoven into the blessing itself: such a people has abundant cause and matter for exultation (cf. Psa 84:5). תּרוּעה is the festive sound of joy of the mouth (Num 23:21), and of trumpets or sackbuts (Psa 27:6). This confirmation of the blessing is expanded in Psa 89:17-19. Jahve's שׁם, i.e., revelation or manifestation, becomes to them a ground and object of unceasing joy; by His צדקה, i.e., the rigour with which He binds Himself to the relationship He has entered upon with His people and maintains it, they are exalted above abjectness and insecurity. He is תּפארת עזּמו, the ornament of their strength, i.e., their strength which really becomes an ornament to them. In Psa 89:18 the poet declares Israel to be this happy people. Pinsker's conjecture, קרנם (following the Targum), destroys the transition to Psa 89:19, which is formed by Psa 89:18. The plural reading of Kimchi and of older editions (e.g., Bomberg's), קרנינוּ, is incompatible with the figure; but it is immaterial whether we read תּרים with the Chethîb (Targum, Jerome), or with the Kerî (lxx, Syriac) תּרוּם.[82] מגנּנוּ and מלכּנוּ in Psa 89:19 are parallel designations of the human king of Israel; מגן as in Ps 47:10, but not in Psa 84:10. For we are not compelled, with a total disregard of the limits to the possibilities of style (Ew. §310, a), to render Psa 89:19: and the Holy One of Israel, (as to Him, He) is our King (Hitzig), since we do not bring down the Psalm beyond the time of the kings. Israel's shield, Israel's king, the poet says in the holy defiant confidence of faith, is Jahve's, belongs to the Holy One of Israel, i.e., he stands as His own possession under the protection of Jahve, the Holy One, who has taken Israel to Himself for a possession; it is therefore impossible that the Davidic throne should become a prey to any worldly power.

Verses 19-22 edit

Having thus again come to refer to the king of Israel, the poet now still further unfolds the promise given to the house of David. The present circumstances are a contradiction to it. The prayer to Jahve, for which the way is thus prepared, is for the removal of this contradiction. A long line, extending beyond the measure of the preceding lines, introduces the promises given to David. With אז the respective period of the past is distinctly defined. The intimate friend of Jahve (חסיד) is Nathan (1Ch 17:15) or David, according as we translate בחזון “in a vision” or “by means of a vision.” But side by side with the לחסידך we also find the preferable reading לחסידיך, which is followed in the renderings of the lxx, Syriac, Vulgate, Targum, Aquila, Symmachus, and the Quarta, and is adopted by Rashi, Aben-Ezra, and others, and taken up by Heidenheim and Baer. The plural refers to Samuel and Nathan, for the statement brings together what was revealed to these two prophets concerning David. עזר is assistance as a gift, and that, as the designation of the person succoured by it (שׁוּה על as in Psa 21:6) with גּבּור shows, aid in battle. בּחוּר (from בּחר = בּגר in the Mishna: to ripen, to be manly or of marriageable age, distinct from בּחיר in Psa 89:4) is a young man, adolescens: while yet a young man David was raised out of his humble lowly condition (Psa 78:71) high above the people. When he received the promise (2 Sam. 7) he had been anointed and had attained to the lordship over all Israel. Hence the preterites in Psa 89:20-21, which are followed by promissory futures from Psa 89:22 onwards. תּכּון is fut. Niph., to be established, to prove one's self to be firm, unchangeable (Psa 78:37), a stronger expression than תּהיה, 1Sa 18:12, 1Sa 18:14; 2Sa 3:10. The Hiph. השּׁיא, derived from נשׁא = נשׁה, to credit (vid., on Isa 24:2; Gesenius, Hengstenberg), does not give any suitable sense; it therefore signifies here as elsewhere, “to impose upon, surprise,” with בּ, as in Psa 55:16 with על. Psa 89:23 is the echo of 2Sa 7:10.

Verses 23-29 edit

What is promised in Psa 89:26 is a world-wide dominion, not merely dominion within the compass promised in the primeval times (Gen 15:18; 2Ch 9:26), in which case it ought to have been said ובנהר (of the Euphrates). Nor does the promise, however, sound so definite and boundless here as in Psa 72:8, but it is indefinite and universal, without any need for our asking what rivers are intended by נהרות. נתן יד בּ, like שׁלח (in Isa 11:14, of a giving and taking possession. With אף־אני (with retreated tone, as in Psa 119:63, Psa 119:125) God tells with what He will answer David's filial love. Him who is the latest-born among the sons of Jesse, God makes the first-born (בּכור from בּכר, to be early, opp. לקשׁ, to be late, vid., Job 2:1-13 :21), and therefore the most favoured of the “sons of the Most High,” Psa 82:6. And as, according to Deu 28:1, Israel is to be high (עליון) above all nations of the earth, so David, Israel's king, in whom Israel's national glory realizes itself, is made as the high one (עליון) with respect to the kings, i.e., above the kings, of the earth. In the person of David his seed is included; and it is that position of honour which, after having been only prelusively realized in David and Solomon, must go on being fulfilled in his seed exactly as the promise runs. The covenant with David is, according to Psa 89:29, one that shall stand for ever. David is therefore, as Psa 89:30 affirms, eternal in his seed; God will make David's seed and throne לעד, into eternal, i.e., into such as will abide for ever, like the days of heaven, everlasting. This description of eternal duration is, as also in Sir. 45:15, Bar. 1:11, Taken from Deu 11:21; the whole of Psa 89:30 is a poetic reproduction of 2Sa 7:16.

Verses 30-37 edit

Now follows the paraphrase of 2Sa 7:14, that the faithlessness of David's line in relation to the covenant shall not interfere with (annul) the faithfulness of God - a thought with which one might very naturally console one's self in the reign of Rehoboam. Because God has placed the house of David in a filial relationship to Himself, He will chastise the apostate members as a father chastises his son; cf. Pro 23:13. In 1Ch 17:13 the chronicler omits the words of 2Sa 7:14 which there provide against perverted action (העוות) on the part of the seed of David; our Psalm proves their originality. But even if, as history shows, this means of chastisement should be ineffectual in the case of individuals, the house of David as such will nevertheless remain ever in a state of favour with Him. In Psa 89:34 חסדּי לא־אפיר מעמּו corresponds to וחסדּי־לא־יסוּר ממּנּוּ in 2Sa 7:15 (lxx, Targum): the fut. Hiph. of פרר is otherwise always אפר; the conjecture אסיר is therefore natural, yet even the lxx translators (ου ̓ μὴ διασκεδάσω) had אפיר before them. שׁקּר בּ as in Psa 44:18. The covenant with David is sacred with God: He will not profane it (חלּל, to loose the bonds of sanctity). He will fulfil what has gone forth from His lips, i.e., His vow, according to Deu 23:24 [23], cf. Num 30:3 [2]. One thing hath He sworn to David; not: once = once for all (lxx), for what is introduced by Psa 89:36 (cf. Psa 27:4) and follows in Psa 89:37, Psa 89:38, is in reality one thing (as in Psa 62:12, two). He hath sworn it per sanctitatem suam. Thus, and not in sanctuario meo, בּקדשׁי in this passage and Amo 4:2 (cf. on Psa 60:8) is to be rendered, for elsewhere the expression is בּי, Gen 22:16; Isa 45:23, or בּנפשׁו, Amo 6:8; Jer 51:14, or בּשׁמי, Jer 44:26, or בּימינו, Isa 62:8. It is true we do not read any set form of oath in 2 Sam. 7, 1 Chr. 17, but just as Isaiah, Isa 54:9, takes the divine promise in Gen 8:21 as an oath, so the promise so earnestly and most solemnly pledged to David may be accounted by Psalm-poesy (here and in Psa 132:11), which reproduces the historical matter of fact, as a promise attested with an oath. With אם in Psa 89:36 God asserts that He will not disappoint David in reference to this one thing, viz., the perpetuity of his throne. This shall stand for ever as the sun and moon; for these, though they may one day undergo a change (Psa 102:27), shall nevertheless never be destroyed. In the presence of 2Sa 7:16 it looks as if Psa 89:38 ought to be rendered: and as the witness in the clouds shall it (David's throne) be faithful (perpetual). By the witness in the clouds one would then have to understand the rainbow as the celestial memorial and sign of an everlasting covenant. Thus Luther, Geier, Schmid, and others. But neither this rendering, nor the more natural one, “and as the perpetual, faithful witness in the clouds,” is admissible in connection with the absence of the כּ of comparison. Accordingly Hengstenberg, following the example of Jewish expositors, renders: “and the witness in the clouds is perpetual,” viz., the moon, so that the continuance of the Davidic line would be associated with the moon, just as the continuance of the condemned earth is with the rainbow. But in what sense would the moon have the name, without example elsewhere, of witness? Just as the Book of Job was the key to the conclusion of Ps 88, so it is the key to this ambiguous verse of the Psalm before us. It has to be explained according to Job 16:19, where Job says: “Behold in heaven is my witness, and my surety in the heights.” Jahve, the אל נאמן (Deu 7:9), seals His sworn promise with the words, “and the witness in the sky (ethereal heights) is faithful” (cf. concerning this Waw in connection with asseverations, Ew. §340, c). Hengstenberg's objection, that Jahve cannot be called His own witness, is disposed of by the fact that עד frequently signifies the person who testifies anything concerning himself; in this sense, in fact, the whole Tôra is called עדוּת ה (the testimony of Jahve).

Verses 38-45 edit

Now after the poet has turned his thoughts towards the beginnings of the house of David which were so rich in promise, in order that he might find comfort under the sorrowful present, the contrast of the two periods is become all the more sensible to him. With ואתּה in Psa 89:39 (And Thou - the same who hast promised and affirmed this with an oath) his Psalm takes a new turn, for which reason it might even have been ועתּה. זנח is used just as absolutely here as in Psa 44:24; Psa 74:1; Psa 77:8, so that it does not require any object to be supplied out of Psa 89:39. נארתּה in Psa 89:40 the lxx renders kate'strepsas; it is better rendered in Lam 2:7 ἀπετίναξε; for נאר is synonymous with נער, to shake off, push away, cf. Arabic el - menâ‛ir, the thrusters (with the lance). עבדּך is a vocational name of the king as such. His crown is sacred as being the insignia of a God-bestowed office. God has therefore made the sacred thing vile by casting it to the ground (חלּל לארץ, as in Psa 74:17, to cast profaningly to the ground). The primary passage to Psa 89:41-42, is Psa 80:13. “His hedges” are all the boundary and protecting fences which the land of the king has; and מבצריו “the fortresses” of his land (in both instances without כל, because matters have not yet come to such a pass).[83]
In שׁסּהוּ the notions of the king and of the land blend together. עברי־דרך are the hordes of the peoples passing through the land. שׁכניו are the neighbouring peoples that are otherwise liable to pay tribute to the house of David, who sought to take every possible advantage of that weakening of the Davidic kingdom. In Psa 89:44 we are neither to translate “rock of his sword” (Hengstenberg), nor “O rock” (Olshausen). צוּר does not merely signify rupes, but also from another root (צוּר, Arab. ṣâr, originally of the grating or shrill noise produced by pressing and squeezing, then more particularly to cut or cut off with pressure, with a sharply set knife or the like) a knife or a blade (cf. English knife, and German kneifen, to nip): God has decreed it that the edge or blade of the sword of the king has been turned back by the enemy, that he has not been able to maintain his ground in battle (הקמתו with ē instead of ı̂, as also when the tone is not moved forward, Mic 5:4). In Psa 89:45 the Mem of מטהרו, after the analogy of Eze 16:41; Eze 34:10, and other passages, is a preposition: cessare fecisti eum a splendore suo. A noun מטּהר = מטהר with Dag. dirimens, [84] like מקדּשׁ Exo 15:17, מנּזר Nah 3:17 (Abulwalîd, Aben-Ezra, Parchon, Kimchi, and others), in itself improbable in the signification required here, is not found either in post-biblical or in biblical Hebrew. טהר, like צהר, signifies first of all not purity, but brilliancy. Still the form טהר does not lie at the basis of it in this instance; for the reading found here just happens not to be טהרו, but מטּהרו; and the reading adopted by Norzi, Heidenheim, and Baer, as also by Nissel and others, so far as form is concerned is not distinct from it, viz., מטּהרו (miṭtŏharo), the character of the Shebâ being determined by the analogy of the å following (cf. בּסּערה, 2Ki 2:1), which presupposes the principal form טהר (Böttcher, §386, cf. supra, 2:31, note). The personal tenor of Psa 89:46 requires that it should be referred to the then reigning Davidic king, but not as dying before his time (Olshausen), but as becoming prematurely old by reason of the sorrowful experiences of his reign. The larger half of the kingdom has been wrested from him; Egypt and the neighbouring nations also threaten the half that remains to him; and instead of the kingly robe, shame completely covers him.

Verses 46-51 edit

After this statement of the present condition of things the psalmist begins to pray for the removal of all that is thus contradictory to the promise. The plaintive question, Psa 89:47, with the exception of one word, is verbatim the same as Psa 79:5. The wrath to which quousque refers, makes itself to be felt, as the intensifying (vid., Psa 13:2) לנצח implies, in the intensity and duration of everlasting wrath. חלד is this temporal life which glides past secretly and unnoticed (Psa 17:14); and זכר־אני is not equivalent to זכרני (instead of which by way of emphasis only זכרני אני can be said), but אני מה־חלד stands for מה־חלד אני - according to the sense equivalent to אני מה־חדל, Psa 39:5, cf. Psa 39:6. The conjecture of Houbigant and modern expositors, זכר אדני (cf. Psa 89:51), is not needed, since the inverted position of the words is just the same as in Psa 39:5. In Psa 89:48 it is not pointed על־מה שׁוא, “wherefore (Job 10:2; Job 13:14) hast Thou in vain (Psa 127:1) created?” (Hengstenberg), but על־מה־שּׁוא, on account of or for what a nothing (מה־שׁוא belonging together as adjective and substantive, as in Psa 30:10; Job 26:14) hast Thou created all the children of men? (De Wette, Hupfeld, and Hitzig). על, of the ground of a matter and direct motive, which is better suited to the question in Psa 89:49 than the other way of taking it: the life of all men passes on into death and Hades; why then might not God, within this brief space of time, this handbreadth, manifest Himself to His creatures as the merciful and kind, and not as the always angry God? The music strikes in here, and how can it do so otherwise than in elegiac mesto? If God's justice tarries and fails in this present world, then the Old Testament faith becomes sorely tempted and tried, because it is not able to find consolation in the life beyond. Thus it is with the faith of the poet in the present juncture of affairs, the outward appearance of which is in such perplexing contradiction to the loving-kindness sworn to David and also hitherto vouchsafed. חסדים has not the sense in this passage of the promises of favour, as in 2Ch 6:42, but proofs of favour; הראשׁנים glances back at the long period of the reigns of David and of Solomon.[85]
The Asaph Ps 77 and the Tephilla Isa. 63 contain similar complaints, just as in connection with Psa 89:51 one is reminded of the Asaph Psa 79:2, Psa 79:10, and in connection with Psa 89:52 of Psa 79:12. The phrase נשׂא בחיקו is used in other instances of loving nurture, Num 11:12; Isa 40:11. In this passage it must have a sense akin to חרפּת עבדיך. It is impossible on syntactic grounds to regard כּל־רבּים עמּים as still dependent upon חרפּת (Ewald) or, as Hupfeld is fond of calling it, as a “post-liminiar” genitive. Can it be that the כל is perhaps a mutilation of כּלמּת, after Eze 36:15, as Böttcher suggests? We do not need this conjecture. For (1) to carry any one in one's bosom, if he is an enemy, may signify: to be obliged to cherish him with the vexation proceeding from him (Jer 15:15), without being able to get rid of him; (2) there is no doubt that רבּים can, after the manner of numerals, be placed before the substantive to which it belongs, Eze 32:10, Pro 31:29; 1Ch 28:5; Neh 9:28; cf. the other position, e.g., Jer 16:16; (3) consequently כּל־רבּים עמּים may signify the “totality of many peoples” just as well as כּל גּוים רבּים in Eze 31:6. The poet complains as a member of the nation, as a citizen of the empire, that he is obliged to foster many nations in his bosom, inasmuch as the land of Israel was overwhelmed by the Egyptians and their allies, the Libyans, Troglodytes, and Ethiopians. The אשׁר which follows in Psa 89:52 cannot now be referred back over Psa 89:51 to חרפּת (quâ calumniâ), and yet the relative sense, not the confirmatory (because, quoniam), is at issue. We therefore refer it to עמים, and take אויביך as an apposition, as in Psa 139:20 : who reproach Thee, (as) Thine enemies, Jahve, who reproach the footsteps (עקּבות as in Psa 77:20 with Dag. dirimens, which gives it an emotional turn) of Thine anointed, i.e., they follow him everywhere, wheresoever he may go, and whatsoever he may do. With these significant words, עקּבות משׁיחך, the Third Book of the Psalms dies away.

Verse 52 edit

Psa 89:52 (Hebrew_Bible_89:53) The closing doxology of the Third Book. =Psalm 90= ==Taking Refuge in the loving-kindness of the Eternal One under the Wrathful Judgment of Death==
The Fourth Book of the Psalms, corresponding to the ספר במדבר of the Pentateuch, begins with a Prayer of Moses the man of God, which comes out of the midst of the dying off of the older generation during the march through the wilderness. To the name, which could not be allowed to remain so bald, because next to Abraham he is the greatest man known to the Old Testament history of redemption, is added the title of honour אישׁ האלהים (as in Deu 33:1; Jos 14:6), an ancient name of the prophets which expresses the close relationship of fellowship with God, just as “servant of Jahve” expresses the relationship of service, in accordance with the special office and in relation to the history of redemption, into which Jahve has taken the man and into which he himself has entered. There is scarcely any written memorial of antiquity which so brilliantly justifies the testimony of tradition concerning its origin as does this Psalm, which may have been preserved in some one or other of the older works, perhaps the “Book of Jashar” (Jos 10:13; 2Sa 1:18), until the time of the final redaction of the Psalter. Not alone with respect to its contents, but also with reference to the form of its language, it is perfectly suitable to Moses. Even Hitzig can bring nothing of importance against this view, for the objection that the author in v. 1 glances back upon past generations, whilst Israel was only born in the time of Moses, is removed by the consideration that the existence of Israel reaches back into the patriarchal times; and there is as little truth in the assertion that the Piel שׂבּענוּ in Psa 90:14 instead of the Hiphil brings the Psalm down into very late times, as in the idea that the Hiph. והאבדתּ in Psa 143:12 instead of the Piel carries this Psa 143:1-12 back into very early times. These trifling points dwindle down to nothing in comparison with the fact that Psalms 90 bears within itself distinct traces of the same origin as the song האזינו (Deut. 32), ), the blessing of Moses (Deut. 33), ), the discourses in Deuteronomy, and in general the directly Mosaic portions of the Pentateuch. The Book of the Covenant, together with the Decalogue (Exo 19:1) and Deuteronomy (with the exception of its supplement), are regarded by us, on very good grounds, as the largest originally Mosaic constituent parts of the Pentateuch. The Book of Deuteronomy is תּורת משׁה in a pre-eminent sense.

Verses 1-4 edit

The poet begins with the confession that the Lord has proved Himself to His own, in all periods of human history, as that which He was before the world was and will be for evermore. God is designedly appealed to by the name אדני, which frequently occurs in the mouth of Moses in the middle books of the Pentateuch, and also in the Song at the Sea, Exo 15:17 and in Deu 3:24. He is so named here as the Lord ruling over human history with an exaltation ever the same. Human history runs on in דּר ודר, so that one period (περίοδος) with the men living contemporaneous with it goes and another comes; the expression is deuteronomic (Deu 32:7). Such a course of generations lies behind the poet; and in them all the Lord has been מעון to His church, out of the heart of which the poet discourses. This expression too is Deuteronomic (Deu 33:27). מעון signifies a habitation, dwelling-place (vid., on Psa 26:8), more especially God's heavenly and earthly dwelling-place, then the dwelling-place which God Himself is to His saints, inasmuch as He takes up to Himself, conceals and protects, those who flee to Him from the wicked one and from evil, and turn in to Him (Psa 71:3; Psa 91:9). In order to express fuisti היית was indispensable; but just as fuisti comes from fuo, φύω, היה (הוה) signifies not a closed, shut up being, but a being that discloses itself, consequently it is fuisti in the sense of te exhibuisti. This historical self-manifestation of god is based upon the fact that He is אל, i.e., might absolutely, or the absolutely Mighty One; and He was this, as Psa 90:2 says, even before the beginning of the history of the present world, and will be in the distant ages of the future as of the past. The foundation of this world's history is the creation. The combination ארץ ותבל shows that this is intended to be taken as the object. ותּחולל (with Metheg beside the e4 of the final syllable, which is deprived of its accent, vid., on Psa 18:20) is the language of address (Rashi): that which is created is in a certain sense born from God (ילּד), and He brings it forth out of Himself; and this is here expressed by חולל (as in Deu 32:18, cf. Isa 51:2), creation being compared to travail which takes place amidst pains (Psychology, S. 114; tr. p. 137). If, after the example of the lxx and Targum, one reads as passive ותּחולל (Böttcher, Olshausen, Hitzig) from the Pulal חולל, Pro 8:24, - and this commends itself, since the pre-existence of God can be better dated back beyond facts than beyond the acts of God Himself, - then the conception remains essentially the same, since the Eternal and Absolute One is still to be thought of as מחולל. The fact that the mountains are mentioned first of all, harmonizes with Deu 33:15. The modus consecutivus is intended to say: before the mountains were brought forth and Thou wast in labour therewith.... The forming of the mountains consequently coincides with the creation of the earth, which is here as a body or mass called ארץ, and as a continent with the relief of mountains and lowlands is called תבל (cf. תבל ארץ, Pro 8:31; Job 37:12). To the double clause with טרם seq. praet. (cf. on the other hand seq. fut. Deu 31:21) is appended וּמעולם as a second definition of time: before the creation of the world, and from eternity to eternity. The Lord was God before the world was - that is the first assertion of Psa 90:2; His divine existence reaches out of the unlimited past into the unlimited future - this is the second. אל is not vocative, which it sometimes, though rarely, is in the Psalms; it is a predicate, as e.g., in Deu 3:24.
This is also to be seen from Psa 90:3, Psa 90:4, when Psa 90:3 now more definitely affirms the omnipotence of God, and Psa 90:4 the supra-temporality of God or the omnipresence of God in time. The lxx misses the meaning when it brings over אל from Psa 90:2, and reads אל־תּשׁב. The shorter future form תּשׁב for תּשׁיב stands poetically instead of the longer, as e.g., in Psa 11:6; Psa 26:9; cf. the same thing in the inf. constr. in Deu 26:12, and both instances together in Deu 32:8. The poet intentionally calls the generation that is dying away אנושׁ, which denotes man from the side of his frailty or perishableness; and the new generation בּני־אדם, with which is combined the idea of entrance upon life. It is clear that השׁיב עד־דּכּא is intended to be understood according to Gen 3:19; but it is a question whether דּכּא is conceived of as an adjective (with mutable aa), as in Psa 34:19, Isa 57:15 : Thou puttest men back into the condition of crushed ones (cf. on the construction Num 24:24), or whether as a neutral feminine from דּך (= דּכּה): Thou changest them into that which is crushed = dust, or whether as an abstract substantive like דּכּה, or according to another reading (cf. Psa 127:2) דּכּא, in Deu 23:2 : to crushing. This last is the simplest way of taking it, but it comes to one and the same thing with the second, since דּכּא signifies crushing in the neuter sense. A fut. consec. follows. The fact that God causes one generation to die off has as its consequence that He calls another into being (cf. the Arabic epithet of God el - mu‛ı̂d = המשׁיב, the Resuscitator). Hofmann and Hitzig take תּשׁב as imperfect on account of the following ותּאמר: Thou didst decree mortality for men; but the fut. consec. frequently only expresses the sequence of the thoughts or the connection of the matter, e.g., after a future that refers to that which is constantly taking place, Job 14:10. God causes men to die without letting them die out; for - so it continues in Psa 90:4 - a thousand years is to Him a very short period, not to be at all taken into account. What now is the connection between that which confirms and that which is confirmed here? It is not so much Psa 90:3 that is confirmed as Psa 90:2, to which the former serves for explanation, viz., this, that God as the Almighty (אל), in the midst of this change of generations, which is His work, remains Himself eternally the same. This ever the same, absolute existence has its ground herein, that time, although God fills it up with His working, is no limitation to Him. A thousand years, which would make any man who might live through them weary of life, are to Him like a vanishing point. The proposition, as 2Pe 3:8 shows, is also true when reversed: “One day is with the Lord as a thousand years.” He is however exalted above all time, inasmuch as the longest period appears to Him very short, and in the shortest period the greatest work can be executed by Him. The standpoint of the first comparison, “as yesterday,” is taken towards the end of the thousand of years. A whole millennium appears to God, when He glances over it, just as the yesterday does to us when (כּי) it is passing by (יעבר), and we, standing on the border of the opening day, look back upon the day that is gone. The second comparison is an advance upon the first, and an advance also in form, from the fact that the Caph similitudinis is wanting: a thousand years are to God a watch in the night. אשׁמוּרה is a night-watch, of which the Israelites reckoned three, viz., the first, the middle, and the morning watch (vid., Winer's Realwörterbuch s. v. Nachtwache). It is certainly not without design that the poet says אשׁמוּרה בלּילה instead of אשׁמרת הלּילה. The night-time is the time for sleep; a watch in the night is one that is slept away, or at any rate passed in a sort of half-sleep. A day that is past, as we stand on the end of it, still produces upon us the impression of a course of time by reason of the events which we can recall; but a night passed in sleep, and now even a fragment of the night, is devoid of all trace to us, and is therefore as it were timeless. Thus is it to God with a thousand years: they do not last long to Him; they do not affect Him; at the close of them, as at the beginning, He is the Absolute One (אל). Time is as nothing to Him, the Eternal One. The changes of time are to Him no barrier restraining the realization of His counsel - a truth which has a terrible and a consolatory side. The poet dwells upon the fear which it produces.

Verses 5-8 edit

Psa 90:5-6 tell us how great is the distance between men and this eternal selfsameness of God. The suffix of זרמתּם, referred to the thousand years, produces a synallage (since שׁנה is feminine), which is to be avoided whenever it is possible to do so; the reference to בני־אדם, as being the principal object pointed to in what has gone before, is the more natural, to say the very least. In connection with both ways of applying it, זרם does not signify: to cause to rattle down like sudden heavy showers of rain; for the figure that God makes years, or that He makes men (Hitzig: the germs of their coming into being), to rain down from above, is fanciful and strange. זרם may also mean to sweep or wash away as with heavy rains, abripere instar nimbi, as the old expositors take it. So too Luther at one time: Du reyssest sie dahyn (Thou carriest them away), for which he substituted later: Du lessest sie dahin faren wie einen Strom (Thou causest them to pass away as a river); but זרם always signifies rain pouring down from above. As a sudden and heavy shower of rain, becoming a flood, washes everything away, so God's omnipotence sweeps men away. There is now no transition to another alien figure when the poet continues: שׁנה יהיוּ. What is meant is the sleep of death, Psa 76:6, שׁנת עולם, Jer 51:39, Jer 51:57, cf. ישׁן Psa 13:4. He whom a flood carries away is actually brought into a state of unconsciousness, he goes entirely to sleep, i.e., he dies.
From this point the poet certainly does pass on to another figure. The one generation is carried away as by a flood in the night season, and in the morning another grows up. Men are the subject of יחלף, as of יהיוּ. The collective singular alternates with the plural, just as in Psa 90:3 the collective אנושׁ alternates with בני־אדם. The two members of Psa 90:5 stand in contrast. The poet describes the succession of the generations. One generation perishes as it were in a flood, and another grows up, and this also passes on to the same fate. The meaning in both verses of the חלף, which has been for the most part, after the lxx, Vulgate, and Luther, erroneously taken to be praeterire = interire, is determined in accordance with this idea. The general signification of this verb, which corresponds to the Arabic chlf, is “to follow or move after, to go into the place of another, and in general, of passing over from one place or state into another.” Accordingly the Hiphil signifies to put into a new condition, Psa 102:27, to set a new thing on the place of an old one, Isa 9:9 [10], to gain new strength, to take fresh courage, Isa 40:31; Isa 41:1; and of plants: to send forth new shoots, Job 14:7; consequently the Kal, which frequently furnishes the perfect for the future Hiphil (Ew. §127, b, and Hitzig on this passage), of plants signifies: to gain new shoots, not: to sprout (Targum, Syriac), but to sprout again or afresh, regerminare; cf. Arab. chilf, an aftergrowth, new wood. Perishing humanity renews its youth in ever new generations. Psa 90:6 again takes up this thought: in the morning it grows up and shoots afresh, viz., the grass to which men are likened (a figure appropriated by Isa. 40), in the evening it is cut down and it dries up. Others translate מולל to wither (root מל, properly to be long and lax, to allow to hang down long, cf. אמלל, אמל with Arab. ‘ml, to hope, i.e., to look forth into the distance); but (1) this Pilel of מוּל or Poēl of מלל is not favourable to this intransitive way of taking it; (2) the reflexive in Psa 58:8 proves that מלל signifies to cut off in the front or above, after which perhaps even Psa 37:2, Job 14:2; Job 18:16, by comparison with Job 24:24, are to be explained. In the last passage it runs: as the top of the stalk they are cut off (fut. Niph. of מלל). Such a cut or plucked ear of corn is called in Deu 23:25 מלילה, a Deuteronomic hapaxlegomenon which favours our way of taking the ימולל (with a most general subject = ימולל). Thus, too, ויבשׁ is better attached to what precedes: the cut grass becomes parched hay. Just such an alternation of morning springing froth and evening drying up is the alternation of the generations of men.
The poet substantiates this in Psa 90:7. from the experience of those amongst whom he comprehended himself in the לנוּ of Psa 90:1, Hengstenberg takes Psa 90:7 to be a statement of the cause of the transitoriness set forth: its cause is the wrath of God; but the poet does not begin כי באפך but כי כלינו. The chief emphasis therefore lies upon the perishing, and כי is not argumentative but explicative. If the subject of כלינוּ were men in general (Olshausen), then it would be elucidating idem per idem. But, according to Psa 90:1, those who speak here are those whose refuge the Eternal One is. The poet therefore speaks in the name of the church, and confirms the lot of men from that which his people have experienced even down to the present time. Israel is able out of its own experience to corroborate what all men pass through; it has to pass through the very same experience as a special decree of God's wrath on account of its sins. Therefore in Psa 90:7-8 we stand altogether upon historical ground. The testimony of the inscription is here verified in the contents of the Psalm. The older generation that came out of Egypt fell a prey to the sentence of punishment, that they should gradually die off during the forty years' journey through the desert; and even Moses and Aaron, Joshua and Caleb only excepted, were included in this punishment on special grounds, Num 14:26., Deu 1:34-39. This it is over which Moses here laments. God's wrath is here called אף and חמה; just as the Book of Deuteronomy (in distinction from the other books of the Pentateuch) is fond of combining these two synonyms (Deu 9:19; Deu 29:22, Deu 29:27, cf. Gen 27:44.). The breaking forth of the infinitely great opposition of the holy nature of God against sin has swept away the church in the person of its members, even down to the present moment; נבהל as in Psa 104:29, cf. בּחלה, Lev 26:16. It is the consequence of their sins. עון signifies sin as the perversion of the right standing and conduct; עלוּם, that which is veiled in distinction from manifest sins, is the sum-total of hidden moral, and that sinful, conduct. There is no necessity to regard עלמנוּ as a defective plural; עלמים signifies youth (from a radically distinct word, עלם); secret sins would therefore be called עלמות according to Psa 19:13. God sets transgressions before Him when, because the measure is full and forgiveness is inadmissible, He makes them an object of punishment. שׁתּ (Kerî, as in Psa 8:7 : שׁתּה, cf. Psa 6:4 ואתּ, Psa 74:6 ועתּ) has the accent upon the ultima before an initial guttural. The parallel to לנגדּך is למאור פּניך. עור is light, and מאור is either a body of light, as the sun and moon, or, as in this passage, the circle of light which the light forms. The countenance of God (פני ה) is God's nature in its inclination towards the world, and מאור פני ה is the doxa of His nature that is turned towards the world, which penetrates everything that is conformed to God as a gracious light (Num 6:25), and makes manifest to the bottom everything that is opposed to God and consumes it as a wrathful fire.

Verses 9-12 edit

After the transitoriness of men has now been confirmed in Psa 90:6. out of the special experience of Israel, the fact that this particular experience has its ground in a divine decree of wrath is more definitely confirmed from the facts of this experience, which, as Psa 90:11. complain, unfortunately have done so little to urge them on to the fear of God, which is the condition and the beginning of wisdom. In Psa 90:9 we distinctly hear the Israel of the desert speaking. That was a generation that fell a prey to the wrath of God (דּור עברתו, Jer 7:29). עברה is wrath that passes over, breaks through the bounds of subjectivity. All their days (cf. Psa 103:15) are passed away (פּנה, to turn one's self, to turn, e.g., Deu 1:24) in such wrath, i.e., thoroughly pervaded by it. They have spent their years like a sound (כּמו־הגה), which has hardly gone forth before it has passed away, leaving no trace behind it; the noun signifies a gentle dull sound, whether a murmur (Job 37:2) or a groan (Eze 2:10). With בּהם in Psa 90:10 the sum is stated: there are comprehended therein seventy years; they include, run up to so many. Hitzig renders: the days wherein (בהם) our years consist are seventy years; but שׁנותינו side by side with ימי must be regarded as its more minute genitival definition, and the accentuation cannot be objected to. Beside the plural שׁנים the poetic plural שׁנות appears here, and it also occurs in Deu 32:7 (and nowhere else in the Pentateuch). That of which the sum is to be stated stands first of all as a casus absol. Luther's rendering: Siebenzig Jar, wens hoch kompt so sinds achtzig (seventy years, or at the furthest eighty years), as Symmachus also meant by his ἐν παραδόξῳ (in Chrysostom), is confirmed by the Talmudic הגיע לגבורות, “to attain to extreme old age” (B. Moëd katan, 28a), and rightly approved of by Hitzig and Olshausen. גבוּרת signifies in Psa 71:16 full strength, here full measure. Seventy, or at most eighty years, were the average sum of the extreme term of life to which the generation dying out in the wilderness attained. ורהבּם the lxx renders τὸ πλεῖον αὐτῶν, but רהבּם is not equivalent to רבּם. The verb רהב signifies to behave violently, e.g., of importunate entreaty, Pro 6:3, of insolent treatment, Isa 3:5, whence רהב (here רהב), violence, impetuosity, and more especially a boastful vaunting appearance or coming forward, Job 9:13; Isa 30:7. The poet means to say that everything of which our life is proud (riches, outward appearance, luxury, beauty, etc.), when regarded in the right light, is after all only עמל, inasmuch as it causes us trouble and toil, and און, because without any true intrinsic merit and worth. To this second predicate is appended the confirmatory clause. חישׁ is infin. adverb. from חוּשׁ, הישׁ, Deu 32:35 : speedily, swiftly (Symmachus, the Quinta, and Jerome). The verb גּוּז signifies transire in all the Semitic dialects; and following this signification, which is applied transitively in Num 11:31, the Jewish expositors and Schultens correctly render: nam transit velocissime. Following upon the perfect גּז, the modus consecutivus ונּעפה maintains its retrospective signification. The strengthening of this mood by means of the intentional ah is more usual with the 1st pers. sing., e.g., Gen 32:6, than with the 1st pers. plur., as here and in Gen 41:11; Ew. §232, g. The poet glances back from the end of life to the course of life. And life, with all of which it had been proud, appears as an empty burden; for it passed swiftly by and we fled away, we were borne away with rapid flight upon the wings of the past.
Such experience as this ought to urge one on to the fear of God; but how rarely does this happen! and yet the fear of God is the condition (stipulation) and the beginning of wisdom. The verb ידע in Psa 90:11, just as it in general denotes not merely notional but practically living and efficient knowledge, is here used of a knowledge which makes that which is known conduce to salvation. The meaning of וּכיראתך is determined in accordance with this. The suffix is here either gen. subj.: according to Thy fearfulness (יראה as in Eze 1:18), or gen. obj.: according to the fear that is due to Thee, which in itself is at once (cf. Psa 5:8; Exo 20:20; Deu 2:25) more natural, and here designates the knowledge which is so rarely found, as that which is determined by the fear of God, as a truly religious knowledge. Such knowledge Moses supplicates for himself and for Israel: to number our days teach us rightly to understand. 1Sa 23:17, where כּן ידע signifies “he does not know it to be otherwise, he is well aware of it,” shows how כּן is meant. Hitzig, contrary to the accentuation, draws it to למנות ימינו; but “to number our days” is in itself equivalent to “hourly to contemplate the fleeting character and brevity of our lifetime;” and כּן הודע prays for a true qualification for this, and one that accords with experience. The future that follows is well adapted to the call, as frequently aim and result. But הביא is not to be taken, with Ewald and Hitzig, in the signification of bringing as an offering, a meaning this verb cannot have of itself alone (why should it not have been ונקריב?). Böttcher also erroneously renders it after the analogy of Pro 2:10 : “that we may bring wisdom into the heart,” which ought to be בּלב. הביא, deriving its meaning from agriculture, signifies “to carry off, obtain, gain, prop. to bring in,” viz., into the barn, 2Sa 9:10, Hagg. Psa 1:6; the produce of the field, and in a general way gain or profit, is hence called תּבוּאה. A wise heart is the fruit which one reaps or garners in from such numbering of the days, the gain which one carries off from so constantly reminding one's self of the end. לבב חכמה is a poetically intensified expression for לב חכם, just as לב מרפּא in Pro 14:30 signifies a calm easy heart.

Verses 13-17 edit

The prayer for a salutary knowledge, or discernment, of the appointment of divine wrath is now followed by the prayer for the return of favour, and the wish that God would carry out His work of salvation and bless Israel's undertakings to that end. We here recognise the well-known language of prayer of Moses in Exo 32:12, according to which שׁוּבה is not intended as a prayer for God's return to Israel, but for the turning away of His anger; and the sigh עד־מתי that is blended with its asks how long this being angry, which threatens to blot Israel out, is still to last. והנּהם is explained according to this same parallel passage: May God feel remorse or sorrow (which in this case coincide) concerning His servants, i.e., concerning the affliction appointed to them. The naming of the church by עבדיך (as in Deu 9:27, cf. Exo 32:13 of the patriarchs) reminds one of Deu 32:36 : concerning His servants He shall feel compassion (Hithpa. instead of the Niphal). The prayer for the turning of wrath is followed in Psa 90:14 by the prayer for the turning towards them of favour. In בּבּקר there lies the thought that it has been night hitherto in Israel. “Morning” is therefore the beginning of a new season of favour. In שׂבּענוּ (to which הסדּך is a second accusative of the object) is implied the thought that Israel whilst under wrath has been hungering after favour; cf. the adjective שׂבע in the same tropical signification in Deu 33:23. The supplicatory imperatives are followed by two moods expressive of intention: then will we, or: in order that we may rejoice and be glad; for futures like these set forth the intention of attaining something as a result or aim of what has been expressed just before: Ew. §325, a. בּכל־ימינוּ is not governed by the verbs of rejoicing (Psa 118:24), in which case it would have been בּחיּינוּ, but is an adverbial definition of time (Psa 145:2; Psa 35:8): within the term of life allotted to us. We see from Psa 90:15 that the season of affliction has already lasted for a long time. The duration of the forty years of wrath, which in the midst of their course seemed to them as an eternity, is made the measure of the reviving again that is earnestly sought. The plural ימות instead of ימי is common only to our Psalm and Deu 32:7; it is not known elsewhere to Biblical Hebrew. And the poetical שׁנות instead of שׁני, which also occurs elsewhere, appears for the first time in Deu 32:7. The meaning of ענּיתנוּ, in which ימות hcihw is specialized after the manner of a genitive, is explained from Deu 8:2., according to which the forty years' wandering in the wilderness was designed to humble (ענּות) and to prove Israel through suffering. At the close of these forty years Israel stands on the threshold of the Promise Land. To Israel all final hopes were closely united with the taking possession of this land. We learn from Gen. 49 that it is the horizon of Jacob's prophetic benediction. This Psalm too, in Psa 90:16-17, terminates in the prayer for the attainment of this goal. The psalmist has begun in Psa 90:1 his adoration with the majestic divine name אדני; in Psa 90:13 he began his prayer with the gracious divine name יהוה; and now, where he mentions God for the third time, he gives to Him the twofold name, so full of faith, אדני אלהינוּ. אל used once alternates with the thrice repeated על: salvation is not Israel's own work, but the work of Jahve; it therefore comes from above, it comes and meets Israel. It is worthy of remark that the noun פּעל occurs only in Deuteronomy in the whole Tôra, and that here also of the gracious rule of Jahve, Psa 32:4, cf. Psa 33:11. The church calls the work of the Lord מעשׂה ידינוּ in so far as He executes it through them. This expression מעשׂה ידים as a designation of human undertakings runs through the whole of the Book of Deuteronomy: Deu 2:7; Deu 4:28; Deu 11:7; Deu 14:29; Deu 16:15; Deu 24:19; Deu 27:15; Deu 28:12; Deu 30:9. In the work of the Lord the bright side of His glory unveils itself, hence it is called הדר; this too is a word not alien at least to the language of Deuteronomy, Deu 33:17. Therein is made manifest נעם ה, His graciousness and condescension - an expression which David has borrowed from Moses in Psa 27:4. יראה and יהי are optatives. כּוננה is an urgent request, imperat. obsecrantis as the old expositors say. With Waw the same thought is expressed over again (cf. Isa 55:1, וּלכוּ, yea come) - a simple, childlike anadiplosis which vividly reminds us of the Book of Deuteronomy, which revolves in thoughts that are ever the same, and by that very means speaks deeply to the heart. Thus the Deuteronomic impression of this Psalm accompanies us from beginning to end, from מעון to מעשׂה ידים. Nor will it now be merely accidental that the fondness for comparisons, which is a peculiarity of the Book of Deuteronomy (Deu 1:31, Deu 1:44; Deu 8:5; Deu 28:29, Deu 28:49, cf. Deu 28:13, Deu 28:44; Deu 29:17-18), is found again in this Psalm.

Psalm 91 edit

Talismanic Song in Time of War and Pestilence edit

The primeval song is followed by an anonymous song (inscribed by the lxx without any warrant τῷ Δαυίδ), the time of whose composition cannot be determined; and it is only placed in this order because the last verse accords with the last verse but one of Ps 90. There the revelation of Jahve's work is prayed for, and here Jahve promises: I will grant him to see My salvation; the “work of Jahve” is His realized “salvation.” The two Psalms also have other points of contact, e.g., in the מעון referred to God (vid., Symbolae, p. 60).
In this Psalm, the Invocavit Psalm of the church, which praises the protecting and rescuing grace which he who believingly takes refuge in God experiences in all times of danger and distress,[86] the relation of Psa 91:2 to Psa 91:1 meets us at the very beginning as a perplexing riddle. If we take Psa 91:1 as a clause complete in itself, then it is tautological. If we take אמר in Psa 91:2 as a participle (Jerome, dicens) instead of אמר, ending with Pathach because a construct from (cf. Psa 94:9; Psa 136:6), then the participial subject would have a participial predicate: “He who sitteth is saying,” which is inelegant and also improbable, since אמר in other instances is always the 1st pers. fut. If we take אמר as 1st pers. fut. and Psa 91:1 as an apposition of the subject expressed in advance: as such an one who sitteth.... I say, then we stumble against יתלונן; this transition of the participle to the finite verb, especially without the copula (וּבצל), is confusing. If, however, we go on and read further into the Psalm, we find that the same difficulty as to the change of person recurs several times later on, just as in the opening. Olshausen, Hupfeld, and Hitzig get rid of this difficulty by all sorts of conjectures. But a reason for this abrupt change of the person is that dramatic arrangement recognised even in the Targum, although awkwardly indicated, which, however, as first of all clearly discerned by J. D. Michaelis and Maurer. There are, to wit, two voices that speak (as in Psa 121:1-8), and at last the voice of Jahve comes in as a third. His closing utterance, rich in promise, forms, perhaps not unaccidentally, a seven-line strophe. Whether the Psalm came also to be executed in liturgical use thus with several voices, perhaps by three choirs, we cannot tell; but the poet certainly laid it out dramatically, as the translation represents it. In spite of the many echoes of earlier models, it is one of the freshest and most beautiful Psalms, resembling the second part of Isaiah in its light-winged, richly coloured, and transparent diction.

Verses 1-2 edit

As the concealing One, God is called עליון, the inaccessibly high One; and as the shadowing One שׁדּי, the invincibly almighty One. Faith, however, calls Him by His covenant name (Heilsname) יהוה and, with the suffix of appropriation, אלהי (my God). In connection with Psa 91:1 we are reminded of the expressions of the Book of Job, Job 39:28, concerning the eagle's building its nest in its eyrie. According to the accentuation, Psa 91:2 ought to be rendered with Geier, “Dicit: in Domino meo (or Domini) latibulum, etc.” But the combination אמר לה is more natural, since the language of address follows in both halves of the verse.

Verses 3-9 edit

Psa 91:3-9 יקושׁ, as in Pro 6:5; Jer 5:26, is the dullest toned from for יקושׁ or יוקשׁ, Psa 124:7. What is meant is death, or “he who has the power of death,” Heb 2:14, cf. 2Ti 2:26. “The snare of the fowler” is a figure for the peril of one's life, Ecc 9:12. In connection with Psa 91:4 we have to call to mind Deu 32:11 : God protects His own as an eagle with its large strong wing. אברה is nom. unitatis, a pinion, to אבר, Isa 40:31; and the Hiph. הסך, from סכך, with the dative of the object, like the Kal in Psa 140:8, signifies to afford covering, protection. The ἅπαξ λεγ. סחרה, according to its stem-word, is that which encompasses anything round about, and here beside צנּה, a weapon of defence surrounding the body on all sides; therefore not corresponding to the Syriac sḥārtā', a stronghold (סהר, מסגּרת), but to Syriac sabrā', a shield. The Targum translates צנּה with תּריסא, θυρεός, and סחרה with עגילא, which points to the round parma. אמתּו is the truth of the divine promises. This is an impregnable defence (a) in war-times, Psa 91:5, against nightly surprises, and in the battle by day; (b) in times of pestilence, Psa 91:6, when the destroying angel, who passes through and destroys the people (Exo 11:4), can do no harm to him who has taken refuge in God, either in the midnight or the noontide hours. The future יהלך is a more rhythmical and, in the signification to rage (as of disease) and to vanish away, a more usual form instead of ילך. The lxx, Aquila, and Symmachus erroneously associate the demon name שׁד with ישׁוּד. It is a metaplastic (as if formed from שׁוּד morf de) future for ישׁד, cf. Pro 29:6, ירוּן, and Isa 42:4, ירוּץ, frangetur. Psa 91:7 a hypothetical protasis: si cadant; the preterite would signify cediderint, Ew. §357, b. With רק that which will solely and exclusively take place is introduced. Burk correctly renders: nullam cum peste rem habebis, nisi ut videas. Only a spectator shalt thou be, and that with thine own eyes, being they self inaccessible and left to survive, conscious that thou thyself art a living one in contrast with those who are dying. And thou shalt behold, like Israel on the night of the Passover, the just retribution to which the evil-doers fall a prey. שׁלּמה, recompense, retribution, is a hapaxlegomenon, cf. שׁלּמים, Isa 34:8. Ascribing the glory to God, the second voice confirms or ratifies these promises.

Verses 9-16 edit

The first voice continues this ratification, and goes on weaving these promises still further: thou hast made the Most High thy dwelling-place (מעון); there shall not touch thee.... The promises rise ever higher and higher and sound more glorious. The Pual אנּה, prop. to be turned towards, is equivalent to “to befall one,” as in Pro 12:21; Aquila well renders: ου ̓ μεταχθήσεται πρὸς σὲ κακία. לא־יקרב reminds one of Isa 54:14, where אל follows; here it is בּ, as in Jdg 19:13. The angel guardianship which is apportioned to him who trusts in God appears in Psa 91:11, Psa 91:12 as a universal fact, not as a solitary fact and occurring only in extraordinary instances. Haec est vera miraculorum ratio, observes Brentius on this passage, quod semel aut iterum manifeste revelent ea quae Deus semper abscondite operatur. In ישּׂאוּנך the suffix has been combined with the full form of the future. The lxx correctly renders Psa 91:12: μήποτε προσκόψῃς πρὸς λίθον τὸν πόδα σου, for נגף everywhere else, and therefore surely here too and in Pro 3:23, has a transitive signification, not an intransitive (Aquila, Jerome, Symmachus), cf. Jer 13:16. Psa 91:13 tells what he who trusts in God has power to do by virtue of this divine succour through the medium of angels. The promise calls to mind Mar 16:18, ὄφεις ἀροῦσι, they shall take up serpents, but still more Luk 10:19 : Behold, I give you power to tread ἐπάνω ὄφεων καὶ σκορπίων καὶ ἐπὶ πᾶσαν τὴν δύναμιν τοῦ ἐχθροῦ. They are all kinds of destructive powers belonging to nature, and particularly to the spirit-world, that are meant. They are called lions and fierce lions from the side of their open power, which threatens destruction, and adders and dragons from the side of their venomous secret malice. In Psa 91:13 it is promised that the man who trusts in God shall walk on over these monsters, these malignant foes, proud in God and unharmed; in Psa 91:13, that he shall tread them to the ground (cf. Rom 16:20). That which the divine voice of promise now says at the close of the Psalm is, so far as the form is concerned, an echo taken from Ps 50. Psa 50:15, Psa 50:23 of that Psalm sound almost word for word the same. Gen 46:4, and more especially Isa 63:9, are to be compared on Psa 50:15. In B. Taanith 16a it is inferred from this passage that God compassionates the suffering ones whom He is compelled by reason of His holiness to chasten and prove. The “salvation of Jahve,” as in Psa 50:23, is the full reality of the divine purpose (or counsel) of mercy. To live to see the final glory was the rapturous thought of the Old Testament hope, and in the apostolic age, of the New Testament hope also.

Psalm 92 edit

Sabbath Thoughts edit

This Song-Psalm for the Sabbath-day was the Sabbath-Psalm among the week's Psalms of the post-exilic service (cf. pp. 18, 211); and was sung in the morning at the drink-offering of the first Tamîd lamb, just as at the accompanying Sabbath-musaph-offering (Num 28:9.) a part of the song Deut. 32 (divided into six parts) was sung, and at the service connected with the Mincha or evening sacrifice one of the three pieces, Exo 15:1-10, Exo 15:11-19, Num 21:17-20 (B. Rosh ha-Shana 31a). 1 Macc. 9:23 is a reminiscence from Psa 92:1-15 deviating but little from the lxx version, just as 1 Macc. 7:17 is a quotation taken from Ps 89. With respect to the sabbatical character of the Psalm, it is a disputed question even in the Talmud whether it relates to the Sabbath of the Creation (R. Nehemiah, as it is taken by the Targum) or to the final Sabbath of the world's history (R. Akiba: the day that is altogether Sabbath; cf. Athanasius: αἰνεῖ ἐκείνην τὴν γενησομένην ἀνάπαυσιν). The latter is relatively more correct. It praises God, the Creator of the world, as the Ruler of the world, whose rule is pure loving-kindness and faithfulness, and calms itself, in the face of the flourishing condition of the evil-doers, with the prospect of the final issue, which will brilliantly vindicate the righteousness of God, that was at that time imperceptible to superficial observation, and will change the congregation of the righteous into a flourishing grove of palms and cedars upon holy ground. In this prospect Psa 92:12 and Psa 91:8 coincide, just as God is also called “the Most High” at the beginning of these two Psalms. But that the tetragrammaton occurs seven times in both Psalms, as Hengstenberg says, does not turn out to be correct. Only the Sabbath-Psalm (and not Ps 91) repeats the most sacred Name seven times. And certainly the unmistakeable strophe-schema too, 6. 6. 7. 6. 6, is not without significance. The middle of the Psalm bears the stamp of the sabbatic number. It is also worthy of remark that the poet gains the number seven by means of an anadiplosis in Psa 92:10. Such an emphatic climax by means of repetition is common to our Psalm with Psa 93:3; Psa 94:3; Psa 96:13.

Verses 1-3 edit

The Sabbath is the day that God has hallowed, and that is to be consecrated to God by our turning away from the business pursuits of the working days (Isa 58:13.) and applying ourselves to the praise and adoration of God, which is the most proper, blessed Sabbath employment. It is good, i.e., not merely good in the eyes of God, but also good for man, beneficial to the heart, pleasant and blessed. Loving-kindness is designedly connected with the dawn of the morning, for it is morning light itself, which breaks through the night (Psa 30:6; Psa 59:17), and faithfulness with the nights, for in the perils of the loneliness of the night it is the best companion, and nights of affliction are the “foil of its verification.” עשׂור beside נבל (נבל) is equivalent to נבל עשׂור in Psa 33:2; Psa 144:9 : the ten-stringed harp or lyre. הגּיון is the music of stringed instruments (vid., on Psa 9:17), and that, since הגה in itself is not a suitable word for the rustling (strepitus) of the strings, the impromptu or phantasia playing (in Amo 6:5, scornfully, פּרט), which suits both Psa 9:17 (where it is appended to the forte of the interlude) and the construction with Beth instrumenti.

Verses 4-6 edit

Statement of the ground of this commendation of the praise of God. Whilst פּעל is the usual word for God's historical rule (Psa 44:2; Psa 64:10; Psa 90:16, etc.), מעשׂי ידיך denotes the works of the Creator of the world, although not to the exclusion of those of the Ruler of the world (Psa 143:5). To be able to rejoice over the revelation of God in creation and the revelation of God in general is a gift from above, which the poet thankfully confesses that he has received. The Vulgate begins Psa 92:5 Quia delectasti me, and Dante in his Purgatorio, xxviii. 80, accordingly calls the Psalm il Salmo Delectasti; a smiling female form, which represents the life of Paradise, says, as she gathers flowers, she is so happy because, with the Psalm Delectasti, she takes a delight in the glory of God's works. The works of God are transcendently great; very deep are His thoughts, which mould human history and themselves gain from in it (cf. Psa 40:6; Psa 139:17., where infinite fulness is ascribed to them, and Isa 55:8, where infinite height is ascribed to them). Man can neither measure the greatness of the divine works nor fathom the depth of the divine thoughts; he who is enlightened, however, perceives the immeasurableness of the one and the unfathomableness of the other, whilst a אישׁ־בּער, a man of animal nature, homo brutus (vid., Psa 73:22), does not come to the knowledge (לא ידע, used absolutely as in Psa 14:4), and כּסיל, a blockhead, or one dull in mind, whose carnal nature outweighs his intellectual and spiritual nature, does not discern את־זאת (cf. 2Sa 13:17), id ipsum, viz., how unsearchable are God's judgments and untrackable His ways (Rom 11:33).

Verses 7-9 edit

Upon closer examination the prosperity of the ungodly is only a semblance that lasts for a time. The infinitive construction in Psa 92:8 is continued in the historic tense, and it may also be rendered as historical. זאת היתה (Saadia: Arab. fânnh) is to be supplied in thought before להשּׁמדם, as in Job 27:14. What is spoken of is an historical occurrence which, in its beginning, course, and end, has been frequently repeated even down to the present day, and ever confirmed afresh. And thus, too, in time to come and once finally shall the ungodly succumb to a peremptory, decisive (עדי־עד) judgment of destruction. Jahve is מרום לעלם, by His nature and by His rule He is “a height for ever;” i.e., in relation to the creature and all that goes on here below He has a nature beyond and above all this (Jenseitigkeit), ever the same and absolute; He is absolutely inaccessible to the God-opposed one here below who vaunts himself in stupid pride and rebelliously exalts himself as a titan, and only suffers it to last until the term of his barren blossoming is run out. Thus the present course of history will and must in fact end in a final victory of good over evil: for lo Thine enemies, Jahve - for lo Thine enemies.... הנּה points as it were with the finger to the inevitable end; and the emotional anadiplosis breathes forth a zealous love for the cause of God as if it were his own. God's enemies shall perish, all the workers of evil shall be disjointed, scattered, יתפּרדוּ (cf. Job 4:11). Now they form a compact mass, which shall however fall to pieces, when one day the intermingling of good and evil has an end.

Verses 10-12 edit

The hitherto oppressed church then stands forth vindicated and glorious. The futt. consec. as preterites of the ideal past, pass over further on into the pure expression of future time. The lxx renders: καὶ ὑψωθήσεται (ותּרם) ὡς μονοκέρωτος τὸ κέρας μου. By ראים (incorrect for ראם, primary form ראם), μονόκερως, is surely to be understood the oryx, one-horned according to Aristotle and the Talmud (vid., on Psa 29:6; Job 39:9-12). This animal is called in Talmudic קרשׂ (perhaps abbreviated from μονόκερως); the Talmud also makes use of ארזילא (the gazelle) as synonymous with ראם (Aramaic definitive or emphatic state רימא).[87]
The primary passages for figures taken from animal life are Num 23:22; Deu 33:17. The horn is an emblem of defensive power and at the same time of stately grace; and the fresh, green oil an emblem of the pleasant feeling and enthusiasm, joyous in the prospect of victory, by which the church is then pervaded (Act 3:19). The lxx erroneously takes בּלּותי as infin. Piel, τὸ γῆράς μου, my being grown old, a signification which the Piel cannot have. It is 1st praet. Kal from בּלל, perfusus sum (cf. Arabic balla, to be moist, ballah and bullah, moistness, good health, the freshness of youth), and the ultima-accentuation, which also occurs in this form of double Ajin verbs without Waw convers. (vid., on Job 19:17), ought not to mislead. In the expression שׁמן רענן, the adjective used in other instances only of the olive-tree itself is transferred to the oil, which contains the strength of its succulent verdure as an essence. The ecclesia pressa is then triumphans. The eye, which was wont to look timidly and tearfully upon the persecutors, the ears, upon which even their name and the tidings of their approach were wont to produce terror, now see their desire upon them as they are blotted out. שׁמע בּ (found only here) follows the sense of ראה בּ, cf. Arab. nḍr fı̂, to lose one's self in the contemplation of anything. שׁוּרי is either a substantive after the form בּוּז, גּוּר, or a participle in the signification “those who regarded me with hostility, those who lay in wait for me,” like נוּס, fled, Num 35:32, סוּר, having removed themselves to a distance, Jer 17:13, שׁוּב, turned back, Mic 2:8; for this participial form has not only a passive signification (like מוּל, circumcised), but sometimes too, a deponent perfect signification; and חוּשׁ in Num 32:17, if it belongs here, may signify hurried = in haste. In שׁוּרי, however, no such passive colouring of the meaning is conceivable; it is therefore: insidiati (Luzatto, Grammatica, §518: coloro che mi guatavano). There is no need for regarding the word, with Böttcher and Olshausen, as distorted from שׁררי (the apocopated participle Pilel of the same verb); one might more readily regard it as a softening of that word as to the sound (Ewald, Hitzig). In Psa 92:12 it is not to be rendered: upon the wicked doers (villains) who rise up against me. The placing of the adjective thus before its substantive must (with the exception of רב when used after the manner of a numeral) be accounted impossible in Hebrew, even in the face of the passages brought forward by Hitzig, viz., 1Ch 27:5; 1Sa 31:3;[88] it is therefore: upon those who as villains rise up against. The circumstance that the poet now in Psa 92:13 passes from himself to speak of the righteous, is brought about by the fact that it is the congregation of the righteous in general, i.e., of those who regulate their life according to the divine order of salvation, into whose future he here takes a glance. When the prosperity lit. the blossoming of the ungodly comes to an end, the springing up and growth of the righteous only then rightly has its beginning. The richness of the inflorescence of date-palm (תּמר) is clear from the fact, that when it has attained its full size, it bears from three to four, and in some instances even as many as six, hundred pounds of fruit. And there is no more charming and majestic sight than the palm of the oasis, this prince among the trees of the plain, with its proudly raised diadem of leaves, its attitude peering forth into the distance and gazing full into the face of the sun, its perennial verdure, and its vital force, which constantly renews itself from the root - a picture of life in the midst of the world of death. The likening of the righteous to the palm, to the “blessed tree,” to this “sister of man,” as the Arabs call it, offers points of comparison in abundance. Side by side with the palm is the cedar, the prince of the trees of the mountain, and in particular of Mount Lebanon. The most natural point of comparison, as ישׂגּה (cf. Job 8:11) states, is its graceful lofty growth, then in general τὸ δασὺ καὶ θερμὸν καὶ θρέψιμον (Theodoret), i.e., the intensity of its vegetative strength, but also the perpetual verdure of its foliage and the perfume (Hos 14:7) which it exhales.

Verses 13-15 edit

The soil in which the righteous are planted or (if it is not rendered with the lxx πεφυτευμένοι, but with the other Greek versions μεταφυτευθέντες) into which they are transplanted, and where they take root, a planting of the Lord, for His praise, is His holy Temple, the centre of a family fellowship with God that is brought about from that point as its starting-point and is unlimited by time and space. There they stand as in sacred ground and air, which impart to them ever new powers of life; they put forth buds (הפריח as in Job 14:9) and preserve a verdant freshness and marrowy vitality (like the olive, 52:10, Jdg 9:9) even into their old age (נוּב of a productive force for putting out shoots; vid., with reference to the root נב, Genesis, S. 635f.), cf. Isa 65:22 : like the duration of the trees is the duration of my people; they live long in unbroken strength, in order, in looking back upon a life rich in experiences of divine acts of righteousness and loving-kindness, to confirm the confession which Moses, in Deu 32:4, places at the head of his great song. There the expression is אין עול, here it is אין עלתה בּו. This ‛ôlātha, softened from ‛awlātha - So the Kerî - with a transition from the aw , au into ô, is also found in Job 5:16 (cf. עלה = עולה Psa 58:3; Psa 64:7; Isa 61:8), and is certainly original in this Psalm, which also has many other points of coincidence with the Book of Job (like Ps 107, which, however, in Psa 107:42 transposes עלתה into עולה).

Psalm 93 edit

The Royal Throne above the Sea of the Peoples edit

1 JAHVE now is King, He hath clothed Himself with majesty ; Jahve hath clothed Himself, He hath girded Himself with might : Therefore the world standeth fast without tottering. 2 Thy throne standeth fast from of old, From everlasting art Thou. 3 The floods have lifted up, Jahve, The floods have lifted up their roaring, The floods lift up their noise. 4 More than the rumblings of great waters, Of the glorious, of the breakers of the sea, Is Jahve glorious in the height. 5 Thy testimonies are inviolable, Holiness becometh Thy house, Jahve, unto length of days.
Side by side with those Psalms which behold in anticipation the Messianic future, whether it be prophetically or only typically, or typically and prophetically at the same time, as the kingship of Jahve's Anointed which overcomes and blesses the world, there are others in which the perfected theocracy as such is beheld beforehand, not, however, as an appearing (parusia) of a human king, but as the appearing of Jahve Himself, as the kingdom of God manifest in all its glory. These theocratic Psalms form, together with the christocratic, two series of prophecy referring to the last time which run parallel with one another. The one has for its goal the Anointed of Jahve, who rules out of Zion over all peoples; the other, Jahve sitting above the cherubim, to whom the whole world does homage. The two series, it is true, converge in the Old Testament, but do not meet; it is the history that fulfils these types and prophecies which first of all makes clear that which flashes forth in the Old Testament only in certain climaxes of prophecy and of lyric too (vid., on Psa 45:1), viz., that the parusia of the Anointed One and the parusia of Jahve is one and the same.
Theocracy is an expression coined by Josephus. In contrast with the monarchical, oligarchical, and democratic form of government of other nations, he calls the Mosaic form θεοκρατία, but he does so somewhat timidly, ὡς ἂν τις εἴποι βιασάμενος τὸν λόγον [c. Apion. ii. 17]. The coining of the expression is thankworthy; only one has to free one's self from the false conception that the theocracy is a particular constitution. The alternating forms of government were only various modes of its adjustment. The theocracy itself is a reciprocal relationship between God and men, exalted above these intermediary forms, which had its first manifest beginning when Jahve became Israel's King (Deu 33:5, cf. Exo 15:18), and which will be finally perfected by its breaking through this national self-limitation when the King of Israel becomes King of the whole world, that is overcome both outwardly and spiritually. Hence the theocracy is an object of prediction and of hope. And the word מלך is used with reference to Jahve not merely of the first beginning of His imperial dominion, and of the manifestation of the same in facts in the most prominent points of the redemptive history, but also of the commencement of the imperial dominion in its perfected glory. We find the word used in this lofty sense, and in relation to the last time, e.g., in Isa 24:23; Isa 52:7, and most unmistakeably in Rev 11:17; Psa 19:6. And in this sense יהוה מלך is the watchword of the theocratic Psalms. Thus it is used even in Psa 47:9; but the first of the Psalms beginning with this watchword is Psa 93:1-5. They are all post-exilic. The prominent point from which this eschatological perspective opens out is the time of the new-born freedom and of the newly restored state.
Hitzig pertinently says: “This Psalm is already contained in nuce in Psa 92:9 of the preceding Psalm, which surely comes from the same author. This is at once manifest from the jerking start of the discourse in Psa 93:3 (cf. Psa 92:10), which resolves the thought into two members, of which the first subsides into the vocative יהוה.” The lxx (Codd. Vat. and Sin.) inscribes it: Εἰς τὴν ἡμέρην τοῦ προσαββάτου, ὅτε κατῴκισται ἡ γῆ, αἶνος ᾠδῆς τῷ Δαυίδ. The third part of this inscription is worthless. The first part (for which Cod. Alex. erroneously has: τοῦ σαββάτου) is corroborated by the Talmudic tradition. Psa 93:1-5 was really the Friday Psalm, and that, as is said in Rosh ha-shana 31a, ומלך עליהן (בשׁשׁי) על שׁם שׁגמר מלאכתו, because God then (on the sixth day) had completed His creative work and began to reign over them (His creatures); and that ὅτε κατῴκισται (al. κατῴκιστο) is to be explained in accordance therewith: when the earth had been peopled (with creatures, and more especially with men).

Verses 1-2 edit

The sense of מלך (with ā beside Zinnor or Sarka as in Psa 97:1; Psa 99:1 beside Dechî)[89] is historical, and it stands in the middle between the present מלך ה and the future מלך :ה Jahve has entered upon the kingship and now reigns Jahve's rule heretofore, since He has given up the use of His omnipotence, has been self-abasement and self-renunciation: how, however, He shows Himself in all His majesty, which rises aloft above everything; He has put this on like a garment; He is King, and now too shows Himself to the world in the royal robe. The first לבשׁ has Olewejored; then the accentuation takes לבשׁ ה together by means of Dechî, and עז התאזּר together by means of Athnach. עז, as in Psa 29:1-11, points to the enemies; what is so named is God's invincibly triumphant omnipotence. This He has put on (Isa 51:9), with this He has girded Himself - a military word (Isa 8:9): Jahve makes war against everything in antagonism to Himself, and casts it to the ground with the weapons of His wrathful judgments. We find a further and fuller description of this עז התאזר in Isa 59:17; Isa 63:1., cf. Dan 7:9.[90]
That which cannot fail to take place in connection with the coming of this accession of Jahve to the kingdom is introduced with אף. The world, as being the place of the kingdom of Jahve, shall stand without tottering in opposition to all hostile powers (Psa 96:10). Hitherto hostility towards God and its principal bulwark, the kingdom of the world, have disturbed the equilibrium and threatened all God-appointed relationships with dissolution; Jahve's interposition, however, when He finally brings into effect all the abundant might of His royal government, will secure immoveableness to the shaken earth (cf. Psa 75:4). His throne stands, exalted above all commotion, מאז; it reaches back into the most distant past. Jahve is מעולם; His being loses itself in the immemorial and the immeasurable. The throne and nature of Jahve are not incipient in time, and therefore too are not perishable; but as without beginning, so also they are endless, infinite in duration.

Verses 3-5 edit

All the raging of the world, therefore, will not be able to hinder the progress of the kingdom of God and its final breaking through to the glory of victory. The sea with its mighty mass of waters, with the constant unrest of its waves, with its ceaseless pressing against the solid land and foaming against the rocks, is an emblem of the Gentile world alienated from and at enmity with God; and the rivers (floods) are emblems of worldly kingdoms, as the Nile of the Egyptian (Jer 44:7.), the Euphrates of the Assyrian (Isa 8:7.), or more exactly, the Tigris, swift as an arrow, of the Assyrian, and the tortuous Euphrates of the Babylonian empire (Isa 27:1). These rivers, as the poet says whilst he raises a plaintive but comforted look upwards to Jahve, have lifted up, have lifted up their murmur, the rivers lift up their roaring. The thought is unfolded in a so-called “parallelism with reservation.” The perfects affirm what has taken place, the future that which even now as yet is taking place. The ἅπαξ λεγ. דּכי signifies a striking against (collisio), and a noise, a din. One now in Psa 93:4 looks for the thought that Jahve is exalted above this roaring of the waves. מן will therefore be the min of comparison, not of the cause: “by reason of the roar of great waters are the breakers of the sea glorious” (Starck, Geier), - which, to say nothing more, is a tautological sentence. But if מן is comparative, then it is impossible to get on with the accentuation of אדירים, whether it be with Mercha (Ben-Asher) or Dechî (Ben-Naphtali). For to render: More than the roar of great waters are the breakers of the sea glorious (Mendelssohn), is impracticable, since מים רבים are nothing less than ים (Isa 17:12.), and we are prohibited from taking אדירים משׁברי־ים as a parenthesis (Köster), by the fact that it is just this clause that is exceeded by אדיר במרום ה. Consequently אדירים has to be looked upon as a second attributive to מים brought in afterwards, and משׁבּרי־ים (the waves of the sea breaking upon the rocks, or even only breaking upon one another) as a more minute designation of these great and magnificent waters (אדירים, according to Exo 15:10),[91], and it should have been accented: מים רבים אדירים משברי ים | מקלות. Jahve's celestial majesty towers far above all the noisy majesties here below, whose waves, though lashed never so high, can still never reach His throne. He is King of His people, Lord of His church, which preserves His revelation and worships in His temple. This revelation, by virtue of His unapproachable, all-overpowering kingship, is inviolable; His testimonies, which minister to the establishment of His kingdom and promise its future manifestation in glory, are λόγοι πιστοί καὶ ἀληθινοί, Rev 19:9; Rev 22:6. And holiness becometh His temple (נאוה־קדשׁ, 3rd praet. Pilel, or according to the better attested reading of Heidenheim and Baer, נאוה;[92] therefore the feminine of the adjective with a more loosened syllable next to the tone, like יחשׁב־לּי in Ps 40:18), that is to say, it is inviolable (sacrosanct), and when it is profaned, shall ever be vindicated again in its holiness. This clause, formulated after the manner of a prayer, is at the same time a petition that Jahve in all time to come would be pleased to thoroughly secure the place where His honour dwells here below against profanation.

Psalm 94 edit

==The Consolation of Prayer under the Oppression of Tyrants== 8 Be sensible, ye senseless among the people ! And ye fools, when will ye become wise ? 9 He who hath planted the ear, ought He not to hear ? Or He who formed the eye, ought He not to see ? 10 He who chastiseth the nations, ought He not to reprove, He who teacheth men knowledge ? 11 Jahve knoweth the thoughts of men That they are vanity. 12 Blessed is the man whom Thou chastenest, Jah, And teachest out of Thy Law ; 13 To give him rest from the days of adversity, Until the pit be digged for the evil-doer. 14 For Jahve doth not thrust away His people, And He doth not forsake His inheritance. 15 But right must turn unto righteousness, And all the upright in heart shall follow it. 16 Who would rise up for me against the evil-doers? Who would stand up for me against the workers of 17 If Jahve had not been my help, [iniquity? My soul would quickly have dwelt in the silence of death. 18 If I say : My foot tottereth, Then, Jahve, thy loving-kindness npholdeth me. 19 In the multitude of my cares within me Thy comforts delight my soul. 20 Hath the judgment-seat of corruption fellowship with Thee, Which frameth trouble by decree ? 21 They press in upon the soul of the righteous, And condemn innocent blood. 22 But Jahve is a fortress for me, And my God is the high rock of my refuge. 23 He turneth back upon them their iniquity, And for their wickedness He will destroy them, Jahve our God will destroy them.
This Psalm, akin to Psa 92:1-15 and Psa 93:1-5 by the community of the anadiplosis, bears the inscription Ψαλμὸς ᾠδῆς τῷ Δαυίδ, τετράδι σαββάτου in the lxx. It is also a Talmudic tradition[93] that it was the Wednesday song in the Temple liturgy (τετράδι σαββάτου = ברביעי בשׁבת). Athanasius explains it by a reference to the fourth month (Jer 39:2). The τῳ Δαυίδ, however, is worthless. It is a post-Davidic Psalm; for, although it comes out of one mould, we still meet throughout with reminiscences of older Davidic and Asaphic models. The enemies against whom it supplicates the appearing of the God of righteous retribution are, as follows from a comparison of Psa 94:5, Psa 94:8, Psa 94:10, Psa 94:12, non-Israelites, who despise the God of Israel and fear not His vengeance, Psa 94:7; whose barbarous doings, however, call forth, even among the oppressed people themselves, foolish doubts concerning Jahve's omniscient beholding and judicial interposition. Accordingly the Psalm is one of the latest, but not necessarily a Maccabaean Psalm. The later Persian age, in which the Book of Ecclesiastes was written, could also exhibit circumstances and moods such as these.

Verses 1-3 edit

The first strophe prays that God would at length put a judicial restraint upon the arrogance of ungodliness. Instead of חופיע (a less frequent form of the imperative for הופע, Ges. §53, rem. 3) it was perhaps originally written הופיעה (Psa 80:2), the He of which has been lost owing to the He that follows. The plural נקמות signifies not merely single instances of taking vengeance (Eze 25:17, cf. supra Psa 18:48), but also intensively complete revenge or recompense (Jdg 11:36; 2Sa 4:8). The designation of God is similar to אל גּמלות in Jer 51:56, and the anadiplosis is like Psa 94:3, Psa 94:23, Psa 93:1, Psa 93:3. הנּשׂא, lift Thyself up, arise, viz., in judicial majesty, calls to mind Psa 7:7. השׁיב גּמוּל is construed with על (cf. ל, Psa 28:4; 59:18) as in Joe 3:4. With גּאים accidentally accord ἀγαυός and κύδεΐ γαίων in the epic poets. ==Verses 4-7==
The second strophe describes those over whom the first prays that the judgment of God may come. הבּיע (cf. הטּיף) is a tropical phrase used of that kind of speech that results from strong inward impulse and flows forth in rich abundance. The poet himself explains how it is here (cf. Psa 59:8) intended: they speak עתק, that which is unrestrained, unbridled, insolent (vid., Psa 31:19). The Hithpa. התאמּר Schultens interprets ut Emiri (Arab. ‘mı̂r, a commander) se gerunt; but אמיר signifies in Hebrew the top of a tree (vid., on Isa 17:9); and from the primary signification to tower aloft, whence too אמר, to speak, prop. effere = effari, התאמּר, like התימּר in Isa 61:6, directly signifies to exalt one's self, to carry one's self high, to strut. On ודכּאוּ cf. Pro 22:22; Isa 3:15; and on their atheistical principle which ויּאמרוּ places in closest connection with their mode of action, cf. Psa 10:11; Psa 59:8 extrem. The Dagesh in יּהּ, distinct from the Dag. in the same word in Psa 94:12, Psa 118:5, Psa 118:18, is the Dag. forte conjunct. according to the rule of the so-called דחיק.

Verses 8-11 edit

The third strophe now turns from those bloodthirsty, blasphemous oppressors of the people of God whose conduct calls forth the vengeance of Jahve, to those among the people themselves, who have been puzzled about the omniscience and indirectly about the righteousness of God by the fact that this vengeance is delayed. They are called בערים and כסילים in the sense of Psa 73:21. Those hitherto described against whom God's vengeance is supplicated are this also; but this appellation would be too one-sided for them, and בּעם refers the address expressly to a class of men among the people whom those oppress and slay. It is absurd that God, the planter of the ear (הנּטע, like שׁסע in Lev 11:7, with an accented ultima, because the praet. Kal does not follow the rule for the drawing back of the accent called נסוג אחור) and the former of the eye (cf. Psa 40:7; Exo 4:11), should not be able to hear and to see; everything that is excellent in the creature, God must indeed possess in original, absolute perfection.[94]
The poet then points to the extra-Israelitish world and calls God יסר גּוים, which cannot be made to refer to a warning by means of the voice of conscience; יסר used thus without any closer definition does not signify “warning,” but “chastening” (Pro 9:7). Taking his stand upon facts like those in Job 12:23, the poet assumes the punitive judicial rule of God among the heathen to be an undeniable fact, and presents for consideration the question, whether He who chasteneth nations cannot and will not also punish the oppressors of His church (cf. Gen 18:25), He who teacheth men knowledge, i.e., He who nevertheless must be the omnipotent One, since all knowledge comes originally from Him? Jahve - thus does the course of argument close in Psa 94:11 - sees through (ידע of penetrative perceiving or knowing that goes to the very root of a matter) the thoughts of men that they are vanity. Thus it is to be interpreted, and not: for they (men) are vanity; for this ought to have been כּי הבל המּה, whereas in the dependent clause, when the predicate is not intended to be rendered especially prominent, as in Ps 9:21, the pronominal subject may precede, Isa 61:9; Jer 46:5 (Hitzig). The rendering of the lxx (1Co 3:20), ὅτι εἰσὶ μάταιοι (Jerome, quoniam vanae sunt), is therefore correct; המּה, with the customary want of exactness, stands for הנּה. It is true men themselves are הבל; it is not, however, on this account that He who sees through all things sees through their thoughts, but He sees through them in their sinful vanity.

Verses 12-15 edit

The fourth strophe praises the pious sufferer, whose good cause God will at length aid in obtaining its right. The “blessed” reminds one of Psa 34:9; Psa 40:5, and more especially of Job 5:17, cf. Pro 3:11. Here what are meant are sufferings like those bewailed in Psa 94:5., which are however, after all, the well-meant dispensations of God. Concerning the aim and fruit of purifying and testing afflictions God teaches the sufferer out of His Law (cf. e.g., Deu 8:5.), in order to procure him rest, viz., inward rest (cf. Jer 49:23 with Isa 30:15), i.e., not to suffer him to be disheartened and tempted by days of wickedness, i.e., wicked, calamitous days (Ew. §287, b), until (and it will inevitably come to pass) the pit is finished being dug into which the ungodly falls headlong (cf. Psa 112:7.). יּהּ has the emphatic Dagesh, which properly does not double, and still less unite, but requires an emphatic pronunciation of the letter, which might easily become inaudible. The initial Jod of the divine name might easily lose it consonantal value here in connection with the preceding toneless û,[95] and the Dag. guards against this: cf. Psa 118:5, Psa 118:18. The certainty of the issue that is set in prospect by עד is then confirmed with כּי. It is impossible that God can desert His church - He cannot do this, because in general right must finally come to His right, or, as it is here expressed, משׁפּט must turn to צדק, i.e., the right that is now subdued must at length be again strictly maintained and justly administered, and “after it then all who are upright in heart,” i.e., all such will side with it, joyously greeting that which has been long missed and yearned after. משׁפּט is fundamental right, which is at all times consistent with itself and raised above the casual circumstances of the time, and צדק, like אמת in Isa 42:3, is righteousness (justice), which converts this right into a practical truth and reality.

Verses 16-19 edit

In the fifth strophe the poet celebrates the praise of the Lord as his sole, but also trusty and most consolatory help. The meaning of the question in Psa 94:16 is, that there is no man who would rise and succour him in the conflict with the evil-doers; ל as in Exo 14:25; Jdg 6:31, and עם (without נלחם or the like) in the sense of contra, as in Psa 55:19, cf. 2Ch 20:6. God alone is his help. He alone has rescued him from death. היה is to be supplied to לוּלי: if He had not been, or: if He were not; and the apodosis is: then very little would have been wanting, then it would soon have come to this, that his soul would have taken up its abode, etc.; cf. on the construction Psa 119:92; Psa 124:1-5; Isa 1:9, and on כּמעט with the praet. Psa 73:2; Psa 119:87; Gen 26: 10 (on the other hand with the fut. Psa 81:15). דּוּמה is, as in Psa 115:17, the silence of the grave and of Hades; here it is the object to שׁכנה, as in Psa 37:3, Pro 8:12, and frequently. When he appears to himself already as one that has fallen, God's mercy holds him up. And when thoughts, viz., sad and fearful thoughts, are multiplied within him, God's comforts delight him, viz., the encouragement of His word and the inward utterances of His Spirit. שׁרעפּים, as in Psa 139:23, is equivalent to שעפּים, from שׂעף, סעף, Arab. š‛b, to split, branch off (Psychology, S. 181; tr. p. 214). The plural form ישׁעשׁעוּ, like the plural of the imperative in Isa 29:9, has two Pathachs, the second of which is the “independentification” of the Chateph of ישׁעשׁע.

Verses 20-23 edit

In the sixth strophe the poet confidently expects the inevitable divine retribution for which he has earnestly prayed in the introduction. יחברך is erroneously accounted by many (and by Gesenius too) as fut. Pual = יחבּרך = יחבּר עמּך, a vocal contraction together with a giving up of the reduplication in favour of which no example can be advanced. It is fut. Kal = יחברך, from יחבּר = יחבּר, with the same regression of the modification of the vowel[96] as in יחנך = יחנך in Gen 43:29; Isa 30:19 (Hupfeld), but as in verbs primae gutturalis, so also in כּתבם, כּתבם, inflected from כּתב, Ew. §251, d. It might be more readily regarded as Poel than as Pual (like תּאכלנוּ, Job 20:26), but the Kal too already signifies to enter into fellowship (Gen 14:3; Hos 4:17), therefore (similarly to יגרך, Psa 5:5) it is: num consociabitur tecum. כּסּא is here the judgment-seat, just as the Arabic cursi directly denotes the tribunal of God (in distinction from Arab. ‘l - ‛arš, the throne of His majesty). With reference to הוּות vid., on Psa 5:10. Assuming that חק is a divine statute, we obtain this meaning for עלי־חק: which frameth (i.e., plots and executes) trouble, by making the written divine right into a rightful title for unrighteous conduct, by means of which the innocent are plunged into misfortune. Hitzig renders: contrary to order, after Pro 17:26, where, however, על־ישׁר is intended like ἕνεκεν δικαιοσύνης, Mat 5:10. Olshausen proposes to read יגוּרוּ (Psa 56:7; Psa 59:4) instead of יגודּוּ, just as conversely Aben-Ezra in Psa 56:7 reads יגודּוּ. But גּדד, גּוּד, has the secured signification of scindere, incidere (cf. Arab. jdd, but also chd, supra, p. 255), from which the signification invadere can be easily derived (whence גּדוּד, a breaking in, invasion, an invading host). With reference to דּם נקי vid., Psychology, S. 243 (tr. p. 286): because the blood is the soul, that is said of the blood which applies properly to the person. The subject to יגודו are the seat of corruption (by which a high council consisting of many may be meant, just as much as a princely throne) and its accomplices. Prophetic certainty is expressed in ויהי and ויּשׁב. The figure of God as משׂגּב is Davidic and Korahitic. צוּר מחסּי צוּר is explained from Psa 18:2. Since השׁיב designates the retribution as a return of guilt incurred in the form of actual punishment, it might be rendered “requite” just as well as “cause to return;” עליהם, however, instead of להם (Psa 54:7) makes the idea expressed in Psa 7:17 more natural. On ברעתם Hitzig correctly compares 2Sa 14:7; 2Sa 3:27. The Psalm closes with an anadiplosis, just as it began with one; and אלהינוּ affirms that the destruction of the persecutor will follow as surely as the church is able to call Jahve its God.

Psalm 95 edit

Verses 1-2 edit

Jahve is called the Rock of our salvation (as in Psa 89: 27, cf. Psa 94:22) as being its firm and sure ground. Visiting the house of God, one comes before God's face; קדּם פּני, praeoccupare faciem, is equivalent to visere (visitare). תּודה is not confessio peccati, but laudis. The Beth before תודה is the Beth of accompaniment, as in Mic 6:6; that before זמרות (according to 2Sa 23:1 a name for psalms, whilst מזמר can only be used as a technical expression) is the Beth of the medium.

Verses 3-7 edit

The adorableness of God receives a threefold confirmation: He is exalted above all gods as King, above all things as Creator, and above His people as Shepherd and Leader. אלהים (gods) here, as in Psa 96:4., Psa 97:7, Psa 97:9, and frequently, are the powers of the natural world and of the world of men, which the Gentiles deify and call kings (as Moloch Molech, the deified fire), which, however, all stand under the lordship of Jahve, who is infinitely exalted above everything that is otherwise called god (Psa 96:4; Psa 97:9). The supposition that תּועפות הרים denotes the pit-works (μέταλλα) of the mountains (Böttcher), is at once improbable, because to all appearance it is intended to be the antithesis to מחקרי־ארץ, the shafts of the earth. The derivation from ועף (יעף), κάμνειν, κοπιᾶν, also does not suit תועפות in Num 23:22; Num 24:8, for “fatigues” and “indefatigableness” are notions that lie very wide apart. The כּסף תּועפות of Job 22:25 might more readily be explained according to this “silver of fatigues,” i.e., silver that the fatiguing labour of mining brings to light, and תועפות הרים in the passage before us, with Gussetius, Geier, and Hengstenberg: cacumina montium quia defatigantur qui eo ascendunt, prop. ascendings = summits of the mountains, after which כסף תועפות, Job 22:25, might also signify “silver of the mountain-heights.” But the lxx, which renders δόξα in the passages in Numbers and τὰ ὕψη τῶν ὀρέων in the passage before us, leads one to a more correct track. The verb יעף (ועף), transposed from יפע (ופע), goes back to the root יף, וף, to stand forth, tower above, to be high, according to which תועפות = תופעות signifies eminentiae, i.e., towerings = summits, or prominences = high (the highest) perfection (vid., on Job 22:25). In the passage before us it is a synonym of the Arabic mı̂fan , mı̂fâtun , pars terrae eminens (from Arab. wfâ = יפע, prop. instrumentally: a means of rising above, viz., by climbing), and of the names of eminences derived from Arab. yf’ (after which Hitzig renders: the teeth of the mountains). By reason of the fact that Jahve is the Owner (cf. 1Sa 2:8), because the Creator of all things