Verse 7. Thou breakest the ships of Tarshish with an east wind. As easily as vessels are driven to shipwreck, dost thou overturn the most powerful adversaries; or it may mean the strength of some nations lies in their ships, whose wooden walls are soon broken; but our strength is in our God, and therefore, it fails not; or there may be another meaning, though thou art our defence, yet thou takest vengeance on our inventions, and while thou dost preserve us, yet our ships, our comforts, our earthly ambitions, are taken from us that we may look alone to thee. God is seen at sea, but he is equally present on land. Speculative heresies, pretending to bring us wealth from afar, are constantly assailing the church, but the breath of the Lord soon drives them to destruction. The church too often relies on the wisdom of men, and these human helps are soon shipwrecked; yet the church itself is safe beneath the care of her God and King.
EXPLANATORY NOTES AND QUAINT SAYINGS
Verse 7. Thou breakest the ships of Tarshish with an east wind. It is only by her Lord that the church gained "the true riches;" when she enters into traffick with the world, she takes the means of the world for her resources; and when she trusts in her wealth, in her political power, in earthly cunning, to make merchandise, the instruments she adopts come to nothing in her hands, and leave her helpless and poor. From "A Plain Commentary on the Book of Psalms (The Prayer Book Version), chiefly founded on the Fathers," 1859.
Verse 7. With an east wind, which, in Judea, is a very violent and destructive wind. Kennicot renders the verse thus, As the east wind dasheth in pieces the ships of Tarshish; founding his conjecture upon the similarity in form of two Hebrew letters, signifying the one in, and the other as. Daniel Cresswell.
HINTS FOR PASTORS AND LAYPERSONS
- The opposition of worldly powers to the church. "The kings," etc.
- The manner in which they are subdued -- by their own fears; conscience has persecuted those who have persecuted the church of God. They who have seized the ark of God have been glad to return it with an offering.
- The completeness of their overthrow, As a fleet of ships of Tarshish, dispersed, broken, and engulfed by the east wind.