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Introduction

\\INTRODUCTION TO PSALM 4\\ \\<>\\. This psalm is inscribed "to the chief musician", or "conqueror" {c}: who excelled others in the art of music, and carried the glory from them; who was very skilful, and instructed others in it, and was the master of the song, as Chenaniah, \\#1Ch 15:22,27\\; who set the tune, led on the psalm, and had the whole direction and management of it; and so the Jewish doctors {d} generally understand it of one that presided over the rest of the musicians and singers; and to such an one was this psalm sent, to be sung in public worship: for the psalms of David were not composed for private use only, but for public service; and were committed into the hands and care of the chief of the singers, as Asaph and others; see \\#1Ch 16:7\\; by whom they were preserved and transmitted to future ages for the use of the church, not only in the former but in the present dispensation. The Septuagint interpreters, and after them the Vulgate Latin and Ethiopic versions, render it "unto the end", or for ever; to this agrees the sense of R. Saadiah Gaon {e}, who says, ``this is a psalm of David, who gave it to one of the singers to sing it continually,'' as if it was \^xunl\^, "for ever"; but the former sense is best, to understand it of the chief musician, or precentor, who is said to be "on neginoth": the singular; "neginah", is used in the title of \\#Ps 61:1\\, and it is sometimes rendered "a song", as in \\#Job 30:9\\ \\#Ps 77:6\\; hence the Vulgate Latin version here renders it "in songs"; and the Septuagint renders it "in psalms"; and then the meaning is, that this person was the chief man that presided over the songs and psalms: though the Jewish writers {f}, for the most part, interpret it of a musical instrument so called; not such an one as was blown, as the pipe and trumpet, but what was played upon with the hand; see \\#1Sa 16:16,23 19:9\\; a stringed instrument, which was touched with the fingers as an harp, or struck with a quill or bow as a violin. And as there were various instruments of music used in the temple service, so there were persons set over them, some over one sort, and some over another; and this man presided over the instruments that were played with the hand: and it looks as if this psalm was to be sung to such an instrument, by its being inscribed and sent to him. Aben Ezra takes the word to be, "the beginning of a song"; and the Targum renders the whole, "to sing upon the chorus" or "dances". It is called "a Psalm of David", being written by him, under the inspiration of the Spirit of God; the occasion of it was Absalom's rebellion; and it was written when he fled from him, as the preceding, as Kimchi thinks; but, according to Lightfoot and others, it was the rebellion of Sheba, \\#2Sa 20:1-22\\, though others refer it to the time of his distresses and persecutions by Saul; according to the Jewish Rabbins {g}, where there are the words \^Nwgynw xwuyn\^, as they are both in this title, the psalm belongs to future time, to the world to come, to the times of the Messiah. {c} \^xunml\^ "victori", Pagninus, Montanus, Vatablus; "vincenti", Munster. {d} Jarchi, Aben Ezra, Kimchi, & Ben Melech in loc. {e} Apud Aben Ezra in loc. {f} Kimchi & Ben Melech in loc. and others in Aben Ezra in loc. {g} Kimchi Praefat. in Psalm.