This psalm manifestly treats of the declining state of the house and kingdom of David, in or about the Babylonish captivity. The psalmist praises and rejoices in God, ver. 1 - 18. He builds all his hopes on God's covenant with David, ver. 19 - 37. He laments the present calamities of the king and royal family, ver. 38 - 45. Expostulates with, prays to God, and praises him, ver. 46 - 52. Maschil of Ethan the Ezrahite.
Title of the psalm. Ezrahite - Not him who is mentioned, 4:31 , but some person of the same name, and inspired by the same spirit, who lived long after.
Sing - He prefaces this, lest the following complainers of present miseries should argue ingratitude for former mercies.Faithfulness - Whatsoever hath befallen us, it proceeded not from thy unfaithfulness.
Tabor - The several parts of the land of Canaan, both within Jordan, where mount Tabor is; and without it, where Hermon lies.Rejoice - Shall be fruitful and prosperous, and so give their inhabitants cause to rejoice. In - By thy favour.
Vision - Which then was the usual way by which God spake to the prophets. Holy one - To thy holy prophets; the singular number being put for the plural; especially to Samuel and Nathan.Laid help - I have provided help for my people. Upon - Upon a person of singular courage and wisdom.
Set - Establish his power and dominion. The sea - The mid - land sea. The rivers - Euphrates, called rivers, in regard of divers branches of it, and rivers which flow into it. So here is a description of the uttermost bounds of the promised land.
My first - born - As he calls me father, ver. 26 , so I will make him my son, yea my first - born; who had divers privileges above other sons. This and the following passage in some sort agree to David, but are properly accomplished in Christ. Higher - This also was in some sort accomplished in David, but more fully in the Messiah.
Short - Our time, the time of our king and kingdom, in whose name the psalmist puts up this petition. Wherefore - Wherefore hast thou made us and our king (and consequently all other men, whose condition is nothing better than ours) in vain, or to so little purpose? Didst thou raise us and him, settle the crown upon David's head by a solemn covenant, and vouchsafe so many and great promises and privileges, and all this but for a few years, that our crown and glory should be taken from us, within a little time after it was put upon our heads?
Anointed - By whom he seems to understand either first the kings of Judah, the singular number being put for the plural; and by their footsteps may be meant either their ways or actions, or the memorials of their ancient splendor; or secondly the Messiah, whom the Jews continually expected for a long time, which being well known to many of the Heathens, they reproached the Jews, with the vanity of this expectation. And by the footsteps of the Messiah, he may understand his coming.
Blessed - Let thine enemies reproach thee and thy promises concerning the sending of the Messiah, I will heartily bless and praise thee for them, and encourage myself with them.
Probably Moses wrote this psalm, on occasion of the sentence passed
on the Israelites, that their carcases should fall in the wilderness.
Herein he considers the eternity of God, ver. 1 - 3.
And the frailty of man, ver, 4 - 6.
He submits to the righteous sentence of God, ver. 7 - 11.
And prays for the return of his favour, ver. 12 - 17.
A prayer of Moses the Man of God.Title of the psalm. A prayer of Moses - Who considering that terrible sentence of God, concerning the cutting off all that sinful generation in the wilderness, takes occasion to publish these meditations concerning man's mortality and misery.
V. 1. Dwelling place - Although we and our fathers, for some generations,have had no fixed habitation, yet thou hast been instead of a dwelling - place to us, by thy watchful and gracious providence. And this intimates that all the following miseries were not to be imputed to God but themselves.
Turnedst - But as for man, his case is far otherwise, though he was made by thee happy. and immortal, yet for his sin thou didst make him mortal and miserable. Saidst - Didst pronounce that sad sentence, return, O men, to the dust out of which ye were taken, Genesis 3:19 .
Our years - Of the generality of mankind, in that and all following ages, some few persons excepted. Flee - We do not now go to death, as we do from our very birth, but flee swiftly away like a bird, as this word signifies.
By night - When evil accidents are most terrible and least avoidable. Arrow - The pestilence, or any such destructive calamity; such are frequently called God's arrows. By day - Thou shalt be kept from secret and open mischiefs.
The lion - Shall lie prostrate at thy feet, and thou shalt securely put thy feet upon his neck. Dragon - By which he understands all pernicious creatures, though never so strong, and all sorts of enemies.
Clothed - That majesty and strength which he always had, he will shew in the eyes of all people. Moved - He will overrule all the confusions in the world, so that they shall end in the erection of that kingdom of the Messiah, which can never be moved.
Testimonies - Thy promises, which no less than the precepts are God's testimonies, or the witnesses, or declarations of his will to mankind. He seems here to speak of those precious promises concerning the erection of his kingdom in the world by the Messiah. Holiness - It becometh thy people to be holy in all their approach to thee.
The danger and folly of persecuting the children of God, ver. 1 - 11.
Assurance given to the persecuted, that God will deliver them,
Planted - The word is emphatical, signifying the excellent structure of the ear, or the several organs belonging to the sense of hearing. Formed - By which word he intimates the accurate and curious workmanship of the eye.
Do err - Their hearts are insincere and bent to backsliding.Not known - After all my teaching and discoveries of myself to them; they did not know, nor consider, those great things which I had wrought for them.
Salvation - The redemption of the world by the Messiah: which was hitherto reserved was a secret among the Jews, yea was not throughly known by the most of the Jews themselves. Righteousness - His faithfulness in accomplishing this great promise.
Israel is required to praise God, for their hasty constitution both in
church and state, ver. 1 - 5.
Some instances of the happy administration of it, ver. 6 - 9.
Judgment - Though his dominion be absolute, and his power irresistible, yet he manages it with righteousness. The king's strength is by a known Hebraism put for the strong, or powerful king.Equity - In all thy proceedings.
I will sing - I will praise thee, O Lord, for thy mercy and justice, which thou hast so eminently discovered in the government of the world, and of thy people; and I will make it my care to imitate thee herein.
I will - I will manage all my affairs with wisdom and integrity.When - God is often said in scripture to come to men, when he fulfills a promise to them. House - In my court and family, as well as in my public administrations.
Early - Speedily; as soon as I am seated in the throne.
A complaint of pressing afflictions, ver. 1 - 11.
Motives of comfort, ver. 12 - 28.
A prayer of the afflicted when he is overwhelmed, and poureth out
his complaint before the LORD.Title of the psalm. Complaint - This psalm contains a prayer for the use of all true Israelites, in the name and behalf of the church of Israel. It seems to have been composed in the time of their captivity, and near the end of it, ver. 13, 14.
I said - Do not wholly destroy thy people Israel.In the midst - Before they come to a full possession of thy promises and especially of that fundamental promise of the Messiah.Thy years - Though we die, yet thou art the everlasting God.
His hosts - A title often given to the angels, in regard of their vast numbers, mighty power, unanimous concurrence, and exquisite order.Ministers - This Hebrew word is commonly used of the highest and most honourable sort of servants,
David in the foregoing psalm praises God for his love to his people;
in this, for his works of creation and providence.
He gives God the glory of his majesty in the upper world, ver. 1 - 4.
The creation of the sea and dry land, ver. 5 - 9.
The provision he makes for all the creatures, ver. 10 - 18.
The regular course of the sun and moon, ver. 19 - 24.
The furniture of the sea, ver. 25, 26.
God's care and sovereign power over all the creatures, ver. 27 - 32.
Concludes with a resolution to continue praising God, ver. 33 - 35.
Spirits - Of a spiritual or incorporeal nature, that they might be fitter for their employments. Fire - So called for their irresistible force and agility, and fervency in the execution of God's commands.
Who laid - Heb. he hath established the earth upon its own basis, whereby it stands as fast and unmoveable, as if it were built upon the strongest foundations. Forever - As long as the world continues.God has fixt so strange a place for the earth, that being an heavy body, one would think it should fall every moment. And yet which way so ever we would imagine it to stir, it must, contrary to the nature of such a body, fall upwards, and so can have no possible ruin, but by tumbling into heaven.
For seasons - To distinguish the times, the seasons of divers natural events, as of the ebbing and flowing of waters, and other seasons for sacred and civil affairs, which were commonly regulated by the moon.
Spirit - That quickening power of God, by which he produces life in the creatures from time to time. For he speaks not here of the first creation, but of the continued production of living creatures.Created - Other living creatures are produced; the word created being taken in its largest sense for the production of things by second causes.Renewest - And thus by thy wise and wonderful providence thou preservest the succession of living creatures.
Rejoice - Thus God advances the glory of his wisdom and power and goodness, in upholding the works of his hands from generation to generation, and he takes pleasure in the preservation of his works, as also in his reflection upon these works of his providence.
He looketh - This is a farther illustration of God's powerful providence: as when he affords his favour to creatures, they live and thrive, so on the contrary, one angry look or touch of his upon the hills or earth, makes them tremble and smoke, as Sinai did when God appeared in it.
Praise ye the Lord - Heb. Hallelujah. This is the first time that this word occurs. And it comes in here on occasion of the destruction of the wicked. And the last time it occurs, Revelation 19:1,3,4,6, it is on a like occasion, the destruction of Babylon.
In the former psalm we praise God for his common providence; in this,
for his special favours to his church. The first eleven verses of it
Anointed - My prophets, Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob; who are called God's anointed, because they were consecrated to be his peculiar people, and to be kings and princes in their families.And they are called prophets, because God familiarly conversed with them and revealed his will to them, and by them to others.
His word - That word or revelation which came first to Pharaoh in a dream, and then to Joseph concerning the interpretation of it.Purged - From those calamities which were cast upon him, and so prepared the way for his release.
Quails - He speaks of the first giving of quails, 16:13, which God gave them as a refreshment, notwithstanding their sin in desiring them, which he graciously pardoned.Bread - With manna which came out of the air, commonly called heaven.
See - Enjoy. Chosen - Of thy chosen people; such as are Israelites indeed. Gladness - Such joy as thou hast formerly afforded unto thy beloved nation. Glory - That we may have occasion to glory in God's goodness towards us. Inheritance - In the congregation of thy people.
The saint - So called, because he was consecrated by God for that sacred office of the priesthood, in which respect all the priests are said to be holy, Leviticus 21:6- 8. Hereby he intimates, that their envy and rebellion was not only against Aaron, but against God himself.
A calf - When they were but just brought out of Egypt by such wonders, and had seen the plagues of God upon the Egyptian idolaters, and when the law of God was but newly delivered to them in such a tremendous manner.
Breach - God had made a wall about them; but they had made a breach in it by their sins, at which the Lord, who was now justly become their enemy, might enter to destroy them; which he had certainly done, if Moses by his prevailing intercession had not hindered him.
Devils - They did not worship God as they pretended, but devils in their idols; for those spirits, which were supposed by the Heathen idolaters to inhabit in their images, were not good spirits, but evil spirits, or devils.
Exalt him - In public assemblies, and before all persons, as they have opportunity. Elders - The magistrates or rulers; let them not be ashamed nor afraid to speak of God's wonderful works, before the greatest of men.
Rivers - Those grounds which are well watered, and therefore fruitful. And so the water - springs, here, and the standing water, ver. 35, , .Into - Into a dry ground, which is like a parched and barren wilderness.
The Lord - God the father. Said - Decreed it from eternity, and in due time published this decree, and actually executed it; which he did when he raised up Christ from the dead, and brought him into his heavenly mansion. Unto - Unto his son the Messiah, whom David designedly calls his Lord, to admonish the whole church, that although he was his son according to his human nature, yet he had an higher nature, and was also his Lord, as being God blessed for ever, and consequently Lord of all things. The Hebrew word Adon is one of God's titles, signifying his power and authority over all things, and therefore is most fitly given to the Messiah, to whom God hath delegated all his power 28:18.Sit - Now take thy rest and the possession of that sovereign kingdom and glory, which by right belongeth to thee; do thou rule with me with equal power and majesty, as thou art God; and with an authority and honour far above all creatures, as thou art man. Make - By my almighty power communicated to thee as God by eternal generation, and vouchsafed to thee as mediator. Enemies - All ungodly men, sin and death, and the devil.Footstool - Thy slaves and vassals.
The rod - Thy strong or powerful rod, and the rod is put for his scepter, or kingly power: but as the kingdom of Christ is not carnal, but spiritual, so this scepter is nothing else but his word.Zion - From Jerusalem.
People - Thy subjects, shall offer thee as their king and Lord, not oxen or sheep, but themselves, their souls and bodies, as living sacrifices, and as freewill - offerings, giving up themselves to the Lord, 8:5, to live to him, and to die for him.The day - When thou shalt take into thy hands the rod of thy strength, and set up thy kingdom in the world. In the beauties - Adorned with the beautiful and glorious robes of righteousness and true holiness.The dew - That is, thy offspring (the members of the Christian church) shall be more numerous than the drops of the morning dew.
Judge - Condemn and punish them. The places - Or, the place of battle. Dead bodies - Of his enemies. Heads - All those princes who oppose him. But this and the like passages are not to be understood grossly, but spiritually, according to the nature of Christ's kingdom.
Drink - He shall have a large portion of afflictions, while he is in the way or course of his life, before he comes to that honour of sitting at his father's right - hand. Waters in scripture frequently signify sufferings. To drink of them, signifies to feel or bear them.Therefore - He shall be exalted to great glory and felicity.
This and several of the following psalms seem to have been wrote for
the service of the church in their solemn feasts. It is composed
alphabetically, each sentence beginning with a several letter of the
The psalmist here praises God for his works, ver. 1 - 9.
The works - All that he doth on the behalf of his people, or against their enemies. Truth - Are exactly agreeable to his promises, and to justice. Commandments - His laws given to the Israelites, especially the moral law. Sure - Constant and unchangeable.
Redemption - The deliverance out of Egypt, which was a type of that higher redemption by Christ. Commanded - Appointed, or established firmly by his power and authority. For ever - Through all successive generations of his people to the end of the world. Reverend - Terrible to his enemies, venerable in his peoples eyes, and holy in all his dealings with all men.
Lendeth - Gives freely to some, and lends to others according to the variety of their conditions. Affairs - His domestick affairs.Discretion - Not getting his estate unjustly, nor casting it away prodigally, nor yet withholding it from such as need it.
Dispersed - His goods, freely and liberally.Righteousness - His liberality, or the reward of it.Ever - What he gives is not lost, but indeed is the only part of his estate, which will abide with him to all eternity.
The Lord's - In a peculiar manner, where he dwelleth in that light and glory, to which no man can approach. Given - As the foregoing verse declares, that God was the creator of heaven and earth, so this asserts that he is also their Lord and governor to dispose of all men and things as he pleases.
Nations - The neighbouring nations, Philistines, Syrians, Ammonites, Moabites, who were stirred up, by the overthrows which David had given some of them, by their jealousy at his growing greatness, and by their hatred against the true religion.
The righteous - As David was a type of Christ and the temple of heaven, so this place hath a farther prospect than David, and relates to Christ's ascending into heaven, and opening the gates of that blessed temple, both for himself and for all believers.
The builders - The commonwealth of Israel and the church of God are here and elsewhere compared to a building, wherein, as the people are the stones, so the princes and rulers are the builders.And as these master - builders rejected David, so their successors rejected Christ. Head stone - The chief stone in the whole building, by which the several parts of the building are upheld and firmly united together. Thus David united all the tribes and families of Israel: and thus Christ united Jews and Gentiles together.And therefore this place is justly expounded of Christ, 12:10, Acts 4:11, , Romans 9:32, , Ephesians 2:20, .And to him the words agree more properly than to David.
Blessed - We pray that God would bless his person and government.Cometh - To the throne; or from his Father into the world: who is known by the name of him that cometh or was to come, and of whom this very word is used, Genesis 49:10, Isaiah 35:4, .Name - By commission from him. We - We who are the Lord's ministers attending upon him in his house, and appointed to bless in his name, Numbers 6:23, 10:8, . So these are the words of the priests.
The Lord - Or, The mighty God, as this name of God signifies, and as he shewed himself to be by this, his wonderful work. Who - Who hath scattered our dark clouds, and put us into a state of peace, and safety, and happiness. The horns - These are supposed to he made for this very use, that the beasts should be bound and killed there.These three last verses are David's words.
Because this psalm was very large, and the matter of it of the greatest
importance, the psalmist thought fit to divide it into two and twenty
several parts, according to the number of the Hebrew letters, that
he might both prevent tediousness, and fix it in the memory. Each part
consists of eight verses. All the verses of the first part beginning
with Aleph, all the verses of the second with Beth, and so on.
It is observable, that the word of God is here called by the names of
law, statutes, precepts or commandments, judgments, ordinances,
righteousness, testimonies, way and word. By which variety, he
designed to express the nature and perfection of God's word. It is
called his word, as revealed by him to us; his way, as
prescribed by him for us to walk in; his law, as binding us to
obedience; his statutes, as declaring his authority of giving us
laws; his precepts as directing our duty; his ordinances, as
ordained by him; his righteousness, as exactly agreeable to God's
righteous nature and will; his judgments, as proceeding from the
great judge of the world, and being his judicial sentence to which all
men must submit; and his testimonies, as it contains the witness of
God's will, and of man's duty. And there is but one of these one
hundred and seventy six verses, in which one or other of these titles
is not found. The general scope and design of this psalm is, to
magnify the law and make it honourable: to shew the excellency and
usefulness of divine revelation, and recommend it to us, by the
psalmist's own example, who speaks by experience of the benefits of it,
for which he praises God, and earnestly prays for the continuance of
God's grace, to direct and quicken him in his way.
A young man - Or, any man. But he names the young man, because such are commonly void of wisdom and experience, and exposed to many and great temptations. Cleanse - Purge himself from all filthiness of flesh and spirit.
Open - Enlighten my mind by the light of thy Holy Spirit, and dispel all ignorance and error. Behold - Those great and marvellous depths of Divine wisdom and goodness, and those profound mysteries of Christ, and God's grace to mankind, and of that everlasting state, which are not to be known but by Divine illumination.
Covetousness - He mentions this in particular, because it is most opposite to God's testimonies, and does most commonly hinder men from receiving his word, and from profiting by it: and because it is most pernicious, as being the root of all evil.
Thy name - Thy holy nature and attributes, thy blessed word, and thy wonderful works. In the night - When darkness causes fear in others, I took pleasure in remembering thee; and when others gave themselves up to sleep, my thoughts and affections were working towards thee.
Perfection - Of the greatest and most perfect enjoyments in this world. Commandment - Thy word; one part of it being put for the whole.Broad - Or, large, both for extent, and for continuance: it is useful to all persons: it is of everlasting truth and efficacy; it will never deceive those who trust to it, as all worldly things will, but will make men happy both here and for ever.
Judgments - Thy word or testimonies, which are the only ground of my hope in thy help.
David prays against lying tongues, and denounces judgment against them,
ver. 1 - 4.
Complains of his wicked and unpeaceable neighbours, ver. 5 - 7.
A song of degrees.Title of the psalm. Of degrees - Or, of accents, as the word properly signifies. This title is given to this and the fourteen following psalms, probably because they were sung upon the fifteen degrees, steps, or stairs of the temple, which the Jewish writers mention.
Mesech - Mesech and Kedar are two sorts of people often mentioned in scripture, and reckoned amongst the barbarous nations.But their names are here to be understood metaphorically. And so he explains himself in the next verse.
David assures himself of help from God, ver. 1, 2.
The tribes - Whom God has chosen to be his people. Unto - Unto the ark, called the testimony, because of the tables of the covenant laid up in it, which are called God's testimony, and the tables of the testimony. And this is called the testimony of, or to Israel, because it was given by God to them. Give thanks - To worship God; this one eminent part thereof being put for all the rest.
Judgment - The supreme courts of justice for ecclesiastical and civil affairs. Thrones - The royal throne allotted by God to David and to his posterity, and the inferior seats of justice under his authority.
The psalmist expresses and prays for deliverance from trouble,
Turn - As thou hast brought us home, bring also the rest of our brethren. As - As thou art pleased sometimes to send floods of water into dry and barren grounds, such as the southern parts of Canaan were.
We must trust in God for success in all enterprizes, ver. 1, 2.
Youth - These he prefers before other children, because they live longest with their parents, and to their comfort and support, whereas children born in old age seldom come to maturity before their parents death.
Forgiveness - Thou art able and ready to forgive repenting sinners.Feared - Not with a slavish, but with a childlike fear. This mercy of thine is the foundation of all religion, without which men would desperately proceed in their impious courses.