Psalms 76

God, the Powerful Judge


For the choir director: with stringed instruments. A psalm of Asaph. A song.

1 God is known in Judah; His name is great[a] in Israel.
2 His tent is in Salem,[b] [c] His dwelling place in Zion.
3 There He shatters the bow's flaming arrows, the shield, the sword, and the weapons of war.[d] Selah
4 You are resplendent and majestic [coming down] from the mountains of prey.
5 The brave-hearted have been plundered; they have slipped into their [final] sleep. None of the warriors was able to lift a hand.
6 At Your rebuke, God of Jacob, both chariot and horse lay still.
7 And You-You are to be feared.[e] When You are angry, who can stand before You?[f]
8 From heaven You pronounced judgment. The earth feared and grew quiet
9 when God rose up to judge and to save all the lowly of the earth.[g] Selah
10 Even human wrath will praise You; You will clothe Yourself with their remaining wrath.[h]
11 Make and keep your vows to the Lord your God; let all who are around Him bring tribute[i] to the awe-inspiring One.[j]
12 He humbles the spirit of leaders; He is feared by the kings of the earth.

Psalms 76 Commentary

Chapter 76

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.

Footnotes 10

Chapter Summary

To the chief Musician on Neginoth, A Psalm [or] Song of Asaph. The Targum is, "by the hand of Asaph:" concerning "neginoth," see the title of Psalm 4:1, this psalm is generally thought to be written on account of some great appearance of God for the Jews, or victory obtained by them over their enemies, either the Ammonites in the times of David; so the first part of the Syriac inscription is, "when Rabbah of the children of Ammon was destroyed;" see 2 Samuel 12:26 or in the time of Jehoshaphat, when they came up against him, and were in a wonderful manner defeated, which occasioned great joy and thankfulness, 2 Chronicles 20:1. The Septuagint version entitles the psalm "an ode against the Assyrian," in which it is followed by the Vulgate Latin and Ethiopic versions: and it is the opinion of many that it was written on account of the defeat of Sennacherib, and his army, which came up against Jerusalem in the times of Hezekiah, and was destroyed by an angel in one night, and so slept their sleep, and a dead one, with which agree Psalm 76:5, so Arama and Theodoret; Jarchi gives this reason for such an interpretation, because we do not find that any enemy fell at or near Jerusalem but he, as is said Psalm 76:3, "there brake he the arrows of the bow," &c. nor was one arrow suffered to be thrown into the city, 2 Kings 19:32. Kimchi and Ben Melech interpret it of the war of Gog and Magog, yet to come; and the latter part of the Syriac inscription is, "moreover it shows the vengeance of the judgment of Christ against the ungodly;" and indeed it seems to point out the latter day, when Christ shalt destroy the antichristian kings and states, and save his own people, and shall be feared and praised; as the former part of it may respect his incarnation, appearance, and dwelling in the land of Judea, and so the whole is of the same argument with the preceding psalm.

Psalms 76 Commentaries

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