Psalm 87:7

 

EXPOSITION

Verse 7. In vision the Psalmist sees the citizens of Zion rejoicing at some sacred festival, and marching in triumphant procession with vocal and instrumental music: --

As well the singers as the players on instruments shall be there. Where God is there must be joy, and where the church is increased by numerous conversions the joy becomes exuberant and finds out ways of displaying itself. Singers and dancers, Psalmists and pipers, united their efforts and made a joyful procession to the temple, inspired not by Bacchus, or by the Castalian fount, but by draughts from the sacred source of all good, of which they each one sing

All my springs are in thee. Did the poet mean that henceforth he would find all his joys in Zion, or that to the Lord he would look for all inspiration, comfort, strength, joy, life and everything. The last is the truest doctrine. Churches have not such all sufficiency within them that we can afford to look to them for all, but the Lord who founded the church is the eternal source of all our supplies, and looking to him we shall never flag or fail. How truly does all our experience lead us to look to the Lord by faith, and say "all my fresh springs are in thee." The springs of my faith and all my graces; the springs of my life and all my pleasures; the springs of my activity and all its right doings; the springs of my hope, and all its heavenly anticipations, all lie in thee, my Lord. Without thy Spirit I should be as a dry well, a mocking cistern, destitute of power to bless myself or others. O Lord, I am assured that I belong to the regenerate whose life is in thee, for I feel that I cannot live without thee; therefore, with all thy joyful people will I sing thy praises.

"With joy shall sing the choral train,
The minstrels breathe the answering strain:
`O Zion, Zion fair, I see
The fountains of my bliss in thee.'"

 

EXPLANATORY NOTES AND QUAINT SAYINGS

Verse 7. The singers; the players on instruments. Song and music were prominent features of Divine worship in David's time. This is evident from the large number of two hundred and eighty-eight Levites who were expressly appointed for singing and the performance of music. Not less than two hundred and fifty-five singing men and singing women returned from the exile ... The chief instruments used by the Levites were, according to the records of the Books of Chronicles, cymbals, harps, and lutes: according to Psalms 5:1-12 (title), we should add the flute, which is frequently noticed on Egyptian monuments. -- Augustus F. Tholuck.

Verse 7. -- (First clause). For all its inhabitants are expert musicians; lit. Sing like flute players. The Hebrews seem to have surpassed all nations in the skill of poetry and music; and every citizen could sing and dance. This preeminence the Psalmist seems to hint at. --Alexander Geddes.

Verse 7. All my springs are in thee. The original word yny[m, which we render "springs", is used in a figurative sense, to denote any one's posterity. Thus Proverbs 5:16 , "Let thy fountains be dispersed abroad"; i.e., thy posterity be exceeding numerous. And thus in the place before us: the inhabitants of Jerusalem should triumph and sing, "All my springs", or fountains, all my friends, my family, my children, are in thee, are thy citizens, enjoy the glorious privileges thou art favoured with, are all inserted in God's register, and entitled to his protection and favour. Thus there is a harmony and connection between all the parts of this ode, which I think is very intelligible and poetical. --Samuel Chandler.

Verse 7. All my springs are in thee. Whatever conduit pipe be used, Christ is the fountain and foundation of every drop of comfort; Christ is the God of all true consolation. It is not in the power of all the angels of heaven to give any soul one drop of comfort, nor can all on earth give you one drop of comfort. They can speak the words of comfort, but they cannot cause the soul to receive comfort. God comforts by them, 2 Corinthians 7:6 . Titus was but an instrument. Comforting is called frequently in Scripture the speaking to the heart, Ho 2:14. Who is able to speak to the heart but he who is the Lord and commander of the heart? God hath put all the oil of spiritual joy into the hands of Christ, Isaiah 61:3 , and none but he can give it out. He that wants comfort must go to Christ, he that hath received any true comfort must ascribe it to Christ. "All my springs", saith the Church, "are in thee." -- Ralph Robinson.

Verse 7. -- The silver springs of grace, and the golden springs of glory are in him. -- Thomas Watson.

Verse 7. Springs. The meaning of this verse is obscure, partly from its abrupt brevity, and partly from the ambiguity of one word. The word "springs" is, beyond all controversy, to be here taken metaphorically; but interpreters are not agreed as to the explanation of the metaphor. Some understand it as denoting hopes, some affections, and others thoughts. Did the idiom of the language admit, I would willingly subscribe to the opinion of those who translate it melodies or songs. But as this might be considered unsupported by the usage of the Hebrew term, I am rather inclined to adopt, as most suitable to the subject in hand, the opinion that lookings is the proper translation, the root of the word signifying an eye. It is as if the Psalmist had said, I will always be earnestly looking, as it were, with fixed eyes upon thee. --John Calvin.

Verse 7. My springs.

Whether songs or melodies
In Thee are all my well springs.

This passage is given obscurely in most of the versions; it is here rendered strictly, and, as the author hopes, perspicuously. As the Greeks had their Pierian springs, their fountains of Aganippe dedicated to the Muses, Jerusalem had, in like manner, her sacred springs, her fountains of inspiration, in a much higher degree. It is to these the holy bard alludes in the passage before us, as Milton does in the following, who has perhaps copied from the present in his address to the "Heavenly Muse":



"Or if Zion's hill
Delight thee more, or Siloa's fount that flowed
Hard by the oracle of God, I thence
Invoke thine aid to my adventurous song." --John Mason Good.

Verse 7. -- All my springs. Fitly may we here quote the delightful hymn of Robert Robinson which has puzzled so many, but which has in it a fine classical allusion to Hippocrene and Mount Parnassus.

"Come, thou fount of every blessing,
Tune my heart to sing Thy grace,
Streams of mercy, never ceasing,
Call for songs of loudest praise.
Teach me some melodious sonnet,
Sung by flaming tongues above:
Praise the mount -- oh fix me on it,
Mount of God's unchanging love." --C.H.S.

 

HINTS FOR PASTORS AND LAYPERSONS

Verse 7.

  1. In God our joy.
  2. From God our supplies.
  3. To God our praise.

Verse 7. (last clause). -- All the springs within me, all the springs which flow for me, are in my God. There are "upper and nether springs", springs "shut up", "valley" springs ( Psalms 104:10 ), rock springs, & c.; but all these flow from the Lord.

In "Sermons preached before the University of Oxford ... by John Eveleigh, D.D., 1815," is "Sermon, twelve, in which is proposed a New Interpretation of the Eighty- Seventh Psalm."

The Solace of Sion, and Joy of Jerusalem. Or consolation of God's Church in the latter age, redeemed by the preaching of the Gospel universally. Being a godly and learned exposition of the Eighty-Seventh Psalme of the Princelye Prophet David: Written in Letine by the reverend Doctor Urbanus Regius, Pastor of Christes Church at Zelle, in Saxonie 1536. Translated into English by R. Robinson, Citizen of London, 1587.