Psalm 78:2

 

EXPOSITION

Verse 2. I will open my mouth in a parable. Analogies are not only to be imagined, but are intended by God to be traced between the story of Israel and the lives of believers. Israel was ordained to be a type; the tribes and their marchings are living allegories traced by the hand of an all wise providence. Unspiritual persons may sneer about fancies and mysticisms, but Paul spake well when he said "which things are an allegory," and Asaph in the present case spake to the point when he called his narrative "a parable." That such was his meaning is clear from the quotation, "All these things spake Jesus unto the multitude in parables; and without a parable spake he not unto them: that it might be fulfilled which was spoken by the prophet, saying, I will open my mouth in parables; I will utter things which have been kept secret from the foundation of the world." Mt 13:34-35.

I will utter dark sayings of old; -- enigmas of antiquity, riddles of yore. The mind of the poet prophet was so full of ancient lore that he poured it forth in a copious stream of song, while beneath the gushing flood lay pearls and gems of spiritual truth, capable of enriching those who could dive into the depths and bring them up. The letter of this song is precious, but the inner sense is beyond all price. Whereas the first verse called for attention, the second justifies the demand by hinting that the outer sense conceals an inner and hidden meaning, which only the thoughtful will be able to perceive.

 

EXPLANATORY NOTES AND QUAINT SAYINGS

Verse 2. Parable. Dark sayings. lfm, an authoritative weighty speech or saying. The Hebrew term very nearly answers to the Greek, kuriai doxai, i.e., authoritative sentences or maxims, or weighty sayings, expressing or implying a comparison, as such sayings frequently do. Hdyx an enigma, a parable, which penetrates the mind, and when understood makes a deep impression of what is intended or represented by it. Here twdyx seems to refer to the historical facts mentioned in the subsequent part of the Psalm, considered as enigmas of spiritual concern. John Parkhurst.

Verse 2. Parable. Parables are the speeches of wise men, yea, they are the extracts and spirits of wisdom. The Hebrew word signifies to rule, or have authority, because such speeches come upon us with authority, and subdue our reason by the weight of theirs. Joseph Caryl.

Verse 2. I will utter. The metaphor in this word is taken from a fountain which pours forth water abundantly. For [bg properly means to gush forth, or bubble up. The heart of teachers in the Church ought to be full, and ready to pour forth those streams by which the Church is watered. Their spring ought not to become exhausted, and fail in the summer. Mollerus.

 

HINTS FOR PASTORS AND LAYPERSONS

Verse 2. (first clause). Preach on the "Parable of the Prodigal Nation," as given in the whole Psalm. C. A. Davies, of Chesterfield.

Verse 2-3.

  1. Truths are none the worse for being old: sayings of
    old. "Old wood," says Lord Bacon, "is best to burn;
    old books are best to read; and old friends are best
    to trust."
  2. Truths are none the worse for being concealed under
    metaphors: I will open, etc., in a parable;
    dark sayings.
  3. Truths are none the worse for being often repeated.
    1. They are more tested.
    2. They are better testified. G. R.