The psalmist speaks of God's power. (1-6) All have to fear and to trust in him. (7-12)
Verses 1-6 Happy people are those who have their land filled with the knowledge of God! happy persons that have their hearts filled with that knowledge! It is the glory and happiness of a people to have God among them by his ordinances. Wherein the enemies of the church deal proudly, it will appear that God is above them. See the power of God's rebukes. With pleasure may Christians apply this to the advantages bestowed by the Redeemer.
Verses 7-12 God's people are the meek of the earth, the quiet in the land, that suffer wrong, but do none. The righteous God seems to keep silence long, yet, sooner or later, he will make judgment to be heard. We live in an angry, provoking world; we often feel much, and are apt to fear more, from the wrath of man. What will not turn to his praise, shall not be suffered to break out. He can set bounds to the wrath of man, as he does to the raging sea; hitherto it shall come, and no further. Let all submit to God. Our prayers and praises, and especially our hearts, are the presents we should bring to the Lord. His name is glorious, and he is the proper object of our fear. He shall cut off the spirit of princes; he shall slip it off easily, as we slip off a flower from the stalk, or a bunch of grapes from the vine; so the word signifies. He can dispirit the most daring: since there is no contending with God, it is our wisdom, as it is our duty, to submit to him. Let us seek his favour as our portion, and commit all our concerns to him.
Psalms 76:1-12 . commemorates what the preceding anticipates: God's deliverance of His people by a signal interposition of power against their enemies. The occasion was probably the events narrated in 2 Kings 19:35 , Isaiah 37:1-28 . (Compare Psalms 46:1-11 ).
1, 2. These well-known terms denote God's people and Church and His intimate and glorious relations to them.
2. Salem--( Genesis 14:18 ) is Jerusalem.
3. brake . . . the arrows--literally, "thunderbolts" ( Psalms 78:48 ), from their rapid flight or ignition (compare Psalms 18:14 , Ephesians 6:16 ).
the battle--for arms ( Hosea 2:18 ).
mountains of prey--great victorious nations, as Assyria ( Isaiah 41:15 , Ezekiel 38:11 Ezekiel 38:12 , Zechariah 4:7 ).
5. slept their sleep--died ( Psalms 13:3 ).
none . . . found . . . hands--are powerless.
6. chariot and horse--for those fighting on them (compare Psalms 68:17 ).
7. may . . . sight--contend with Thee ( Deuteronomy 9:4 , Joshua 7:12 ).
8, 9. God's judgment on the wicked is His people's deliverance ( Psalms 9:12 , 10:7 ).
10. Man's wrath praises God by its futility before His power.
restrain--or, "gird"; that is, Thyself, as with a sword, with which to destroy, or as an ornament to Thy praise.
11, 12. Invite homage to such a God ( 2 Chronicles 32:23 ), who can stop the breath of kings and princes when He wills ( Daniel 5:23 ).