PSALM 76 OVERVIEW
Title. To the Chief Musician on Neginoth. The Precentor is here instructed to perform this song to the music of stringed instruments. The master of the harpers was called for his most skilful minstrelsy, and truly the song is worthy of the sweetest sounds that strings can yield. A Psalm or Song of Asaph. The style and matter indicate the same hand as that which wrote the preceding; and it is an admirable arrangement which placed the two in juxtaposition. Faith in the 75th Psalm sung of victories to come, and here it sings of triumphs achieved. The present Psalm is a most jubilant war song, a paean to the King of kings, the hymn of a theocratic nation to its divine ruler. We have no need to mark divisions in a song where the unity is so well preserved.
Verse 1. In Judah is God known. If unknown in all the world beside, he has so revealed himself to his people by his deeds of grace, that he is no unknown God to them.
His name is great in Israel. To be known, in the Lord's case, is to be honoured: those who know his name admire the greatness of it. Although Judah and Israel were unhappily divided politically, yet the godly of both nations were agreed concerning Jehovah their God; and truly whatever schisms may mar the visible church, the saints always "appear as one" in magnifying the Lord their God. Dark is the outer world, but within the favoured circle Jehovah is revealed, and is the adoration of all who behold him. The world knows him not, and therefore blasphemes him, but his church is full of ardour to proclaim his fame unto the ends of the earth.
EXPLANATORY NOTES AND QUAINT SAYINGS
Whole Psalm. No Psalm has a greater right to follow Psalm 75 than this, which is inscribed To the Precentor, with accompaniment of stringed instruments (vid.) iv. 1, a Psalm by Asaph, a song. Similar expressions (God of Jacob, Psalms 75:10 77:7; saints, wicked of the earth, Psalms 75:9 76:10), and the same impress throughout speak in favour of unity of authorship. In other respects too, they form a pair: Psalm 75 prepares the way for the divine deed of judgments as imminent, which Psalm 76 celebrates as having taken place. Franz Delitzsch.
Verse 1. In Judah is God known. God is truly and savingly known only in and through his Son; God indeed is obscurely and darkly known in his works, as a God of power; in his providence, as a God of authority, wisdom, and order; in his common mercies, as a God of bounty; and in his punishments and judgments, as a God of justice; but in Christ opened and preached in the gospel, God is known with a clear, a comfortable, and saving knowledge, as a father of grace and singular mercy and lovingkindness. In Judah (saith the psalmist) is God known: his name is great in Israel. In Judah, in his church, where his word and ordinances are, where Christ is preached and the mystery of man's salvation is opened, there God is known truly without error, perspicuously without obscurities, and savingly without uncertainties; there he is known as a King in his courts, for the glory and beauty which he there manifests; as a teacher in his school, for the wisdom and knowledge which he there dispenses; as a dweller in his house, for the holy orders he there prescribes, and gracious rule and dominion he there erects and beareth in the souls of his servants; as a bridegroom in the banqueting house, for the spiritual dainties he there maketh, for the clear and open manifestation of himself, and love and comforts he there ministereth to his spiritual friends and guests; and his name is great in Israel; his power, wisdom, truth, love, and goodness is much magnified and very glorious in their apprehensions who know him in Christ Jesus. Alexander Grosse.
Verse 1. His name. By the name of God here, God himself is understood; for in so many good effects as God uttereth himself towards his kirk, so many names he giveth to himself whereby he may be praised of her. As for example, when he promises unto his kirk freely grace and mercy, his kirk giveth him a name, and calleth him merciful. When he keepeth his promise, and uttereth himself a faithful God to his kirk, his kirk giveth him a name, and calleth him a true God. When he delivereth his kirk out of danger, and sheweth him a mighty God, and terrible against his enemies, the kirk giveth him a name, and calleth him a potent God, and so forth in the rest of his effects: so that by the name of God is understood here God himself, as God maketh himself to be known in his wonderful works. Robert Bruce.
Verse 1. His name is great in Israel. Properly the great name in Israel, that is, the church, is the name of Jesus, which is great, first, by its efficacy: for it signifies Saviour. There is no other name under heaven by which we must be saved. Secondly, it is great in dignity: for it is the name that is above every name... Thirdly, it is great in the breadth if its range, Psalms 8:1 : How excellent is thy name in all the earth. Thomas Le Blanc.
HINTS FOR PASTORS AND LAYPERSONS
Verse 1. Reverence for God's name proportionate to true knowledge of it.