PSALM 66 OVERVIEW
Title. To the Chief Musician. He had need be a man of great skill, worthily to sing such a Psalm as this: the best music in the world would be honoured by marriage with such expressions. A Song or Psalm, or a Song and Psalm. It may be either said or sung; it is a marvellous poem if it be but read; but set to suitable music, it must have been one of the noblest strains ever heard by the Jewish people. We do not know who is its author, but we see no reason to doubt that David wrote it. It is in the Davidic style, and has nothing in it unsuited to his times. It is true the "house" of God is mentioned, but the tabernacle was entitled to that designation as well as the temple.
Subject and Division. Praise is the topic, and the subjects for song are the Lord's great works, his gracious benefits, his faithful deliverances, and all his dealings with his people, brought to a close by a personal testimony to special kindness received by the prophet bard himself. Psalms 66:1-4 are a kind of introductory hymn, calling upon all nations to praise God, and dictating to them the words of a suitable song. Psalms 66:5-7 invite the beholder to "Come and see" the works of the Lord, pointing attention to the Red Sea, and perhaps the passage of Jordan. This suggests the similar position of the afflicted people which is described, and its joyful issue predicted, Psalms 66:8-12 . The singer then becomes personal, and confesses his own obligations to the Lord ( Psalms 66:13 - 15); and, bursting forth with a vehement "Come and hear," declares with thanksgiving the special favour of the Lord to himself, Psalms 66:16-20 .
Verse 1. Make a joyful noise unto God. "In Zion," where the more instructed saints were accustomed to profound meditation, the song was silent unto God, and was accepted of him; but in the great popular assemblies a joyful noise was more appropriate and natural, and it would be equally acceptable. If praise is to be wide spread, it must be vocal; exulting sounds stir the soul and cause a sacred contagion of thanksgiving. Composers of tunes for the congregation should see to it that their airs are cheerful; we need not so much noise, as joyful noise. God is to be praised with the voice, and the heart should go therewith in holy exultation. All praise from all nations should be rendered unto the Lord. Happy the day when no shouts shall be presented to Juggernaut or Boodh, but all the earth shall adore the Creator thereof.
All ye lands. Ye heathen nations, ye who have not known Jehovah hitherto, with one consent let the whole earth rejoice before God. The languages of the lands are many, but their praises should be one, addressed to one only God.
EXPLANATORY NOTES AND QUAINT SAYINGS
Whole Psalm. This Psalm is said to be recited on Easter day, by the Greek church: it is described in the Greek Bible as A Psalm of the Resurrection, and may be understood to refer, in a prophetic sense, to the regeneration of the world, through the conversion of the Gentiles. Daniel Cresswell.
Verse 1. Make a joyful noise unto God, all ye lands: Hebrew, all the earth; shout aloud for joy, as the people did at the return of the ark, so that the earth rang again. God shall show himself to be the God not of Jews only, but of Gentiles also; these shall as well cry Christ, as those Jesus; these say, Father, as those Abba. And, as there was great joy in Samaria when the gospel was there received ( Acts 8:8 ), so shall there be the like in all other parts of the earth. John Trapp.
Verse 1. All ye lands. Where, consider, that he does not sing praises well, who desires to sing alone. Thomas Le Blanc.
HINTS FOR PASTORS AND LAYPERSONS
WORKS WRITTEN ABOUT THE SIXTY-SIXTH PSALM IN SPURGEON'S DAY
"A fourth Proceeding in the Harmony of King David's Harp. That is to say; A Godly and learned Exposition of six Psalms more of the princely Prophet David, beginning with the 62, and ending with the 67, Psalm." Done in Latin by the reverend Doctor VICTORINUS STRIGELIUS, Professor of Diunitie in the university of Lypsia in Germany, Anno 1562. Translated into English by Richard Robinson, Citizen of London. 1596... London... 1596.
(The above is the "fourth," and, as far as we have been able to discover, the last part of R. Robinson's Translation of Strigelius. The four parts, separately titled and paged, contain Expositions of Psalms 1-67. Dates: 1591-3-5-6.)