Psalms 68

1 God rises up and scatters his enemies. Those who hate him run away in defeat.
2 As smoke is blown away, so he drives them off; as wax melts in front of the fire, so do the wicked perish in God's presence.
3 But the righteous are glad and rejoice in his presence; they are happy and shout for joy.
4 Sing to God, sing praises to his name; prepare a way for him who rides on the clouds. His name is the Lord - be glad in his presence!
5 God, who lives in his sacred Temple, cares for orphans and protects widows.
6 He gives the lonely a home to live in and leads prisoners out into happy freedom, but rebels will have to live in a desolate land.
7 O God, when you led your people, when you marched across the desert,
8 the earth shook, and the sky poured down rain, 1 because of the coming of the God of Sinai, the coming of the God of Israel.
9 You caused abundant rain to fall and restored your worn-out land;
10 your people made their home there; in your goodness you provided for the poor.
11 The Lord gave the command, and many women carried the news:
12 "Kings and their armies are running away!" The women at home divided what was captured:
13 figures of doves covered with silver, whose wings glittered with fine gold. (Why did some of you stay among the sheep pens on the day of battle?)
14 When Almighty God scattered the kings on Mount Zalmon, he caused snow to fall there.
15 What a mighty mountain is Bashan, a mountain of many peaks!
16 Why from your mighty peaks do you look with scorn on the mountain on which God chose to live? The Lord will live there forever!
17 With his many thousands of mighty chariots the Lord comes from Sinai into the holy place.
18 He goes up to the heights, 2 taking many captives with him; he receives gifts from rebellious people. The Lord God will live there.
19 Praise the Lord, who carries our burdens day after day; he is the God who saves us.
20 Our God is a God who saves; he is the Lord, our Lord, who rescues us from death.
21 God will surely break the heads of his enemies, of those who persist in their sinful ways.
22 The Lord has said, "I will bring your enemies back from Bashan; I will bring them back from the depths of the ocean,
23 so that you may wade in their blood, and your dogs may lap up as much as they want."
24 O God, your march of triumph is seen by all, the procession of God, my king, into his sanctuary.
25 The singers are in front, the musicians are behind, in between are the young women beating the tambourines.
26 "Praise God in the meeting of his people; praise the Lord, all you descendants of Jacob!"
27 First comes Benjamin, the smallest tribe, then the leaders of Judah with their group, followed by the leaders of Zebulun and Naphtali.
28 Show your power, O God, the power you have used on our behalf
29 from your Temple in Jerusalem, where kings bring gifts to you.
30 Rebuke Egypt, that wild animal in the reeds; rebuke the nations, that herd of bulls with their calves, until they all bow down and offer you their silver. Scatter those people who love to make war!
31 Ambassadors will come from Egypt; the Ethiopians will raise their hands in prayer to God.
32 Sing to God, kingdoms of the world, sing praise to the Lord,
33 to him who rides in the sky, the ancient sky. Listen to him shout with a mighty roar.
34 Proclaim God's power; his majesty is over Israel, his might is in the skies.
35 How awesome is God as he comes from his sanctuary - the God of Israel! He gives strength and power to his people. Praise God!

Psalms 68 Commentary

Chapter 68

A prayer-- The greatness and goodness of God. (1-6) The wonderful works God wrought for his people. (7-14) The presence of God in his church. (15-21) The victories of Christ. (22-28) Enlargement of the church. (29-31) The glory and grace of God. (32-35)

Verses 1-6 None ever hardened his heart against God, and prospered. God is the joy of his people, then let them rejoice when they come before him. He who derives his being from none, but gives being to all, is engaged by promise and covenant to bless his people. He is to be praised as a God of mercy and tender compassion. He ever careth for the afflicted and oppressed: repenting sinners, who are helpless and exposed more than any fatherless children, are admitted into his family, and share all their blessings.

Verses 7-14 Fresh mercies should put us in mind of former mercies. If God bring his people into a wilderness, he will be sure to go before them in it, and to bring them out of it. He provided for them, both in the wilderness and in Canaan. The daily manna seems here meant. And it looks to the spiritual provision for God's Israel. The Spirit of grace and the gospel of grace are the plentiful rain, with which God confirms his inheritance, and from which their fruit is found. Christ shall come as showers that water the earth. The account of Israel's victories is to be applied to the victories over death and hell, by the exalted Redeemer, for those that are his. Israel in Egypt among the kilns appeared wretched, but possessed of Canaan, during the reigns of David and Solomon, appeared glorious. Thus the slaves of Satan, when converted to Christ, when justified and sanctified by him, look honourable. When they reach heaven, all remains of their sinful state disappear, they shall be as the wings of the dove, covered with silver, and her feathers as gold. Full salvation will render those white as snow, who were vile and loathsome through the guilt and defilement of sin.

Verses 15-21 The ascension of Christ must here be meant, and thereto it is applied, ( Ephesians 4:8 ) . He received as the purchase of his death, the gifts needful for the conversion of sinners, and the salvation of believers. These he continually bestows, even on rebellious men, that the Lord God might dwell among them, as their Friend and Father. He gave gifts to men. Having received power to give eternal life, the Lord Jesus bestows it on as many as were given him, ( John 17:2 ) . Christ came to a rebellious world, not to condemn it, but that through him it might be saved. The glory of Zion's King is, that he is a Saviour and Benefactor to all his willing people, and a consuming fire to all that persist in rebellion against him. So many, so weighty are the gifts of God's bounty, that he may be truly said to load us with them. He will not put us off with present things for a portion, but will be the God of our salvation. The Lord Jesus has authority and power to rescue his people from the dominion of death, by taking away the sting of it from them when they die, and giving them complete victory over it when they rise again. The crown of the head, the chief pride and glory of the enemy, shall be smitten; Christ shall crush the head of the serpent.

Verses 22-28 The victories with which God blessed David over the enemies of Israel, are types of Christ's victory, for himself and for all believers. Those who take him for theirs, may see him acting as their God, as their King, for their good, and in answer to their prayers; especially in and by his word and ordinances. The kingdom of the Messiah shall be submitted to by all the rulers and learned in the world. The people seem to address the king, ver. Verse 28 . But the words are applicable to the Redeemer, to his church, and every true believer. We pray, that thou, O God the Son, wilt complete thine undertaking for us, by finishing thy good work in us.

Verses 29-31 A powerful invitation is given to those that are without, to join the church. Some shall submit from fear; overcome by their consciences, and the checks of Providence, they are brought to make peace with the church. Others will submit ( psalms 68:29-31 ) service of God, and in the gospel of Christ which went forth from Jerusalem, which is enough to invite sinners out of all nations.

Verses 32-35 God is to be admired and adored with reverence and godly fear, by all that attend in his holy places. The God of Israel gives strength and power unto his people. Through Christ strengthening us we can do all things, not otherwise; therefore he must have the glory of all we do, with our humble thanks for enabling us to do it, and for accepting the work of his hands in us.

Cross References 2

  • 1. 68.8Exodus 19.18.
  • 2. 68.18Ephesians 4.8.

Footnotes 7

  • [a]. on the clouds; [or] across the desert.
  • [b]. god of sinai: [As the people of Israel went from Egypt to Canaan, God revealed himself to them at Mount Sinai (see Ex 19.16-25).]
  • [c]. mountain: [See 2.6.]
  • [d]. [Probable text] comes from Sinai; [Hebrew] in them, Sinai.
  • [e]. [Verse 30 in Hebrew is unclear.]
  • [f]. [Some ancient translations] Ambassadors; [Hebrew unclear.]
  • [g]. [Hebrew] Cushites: [Cush is the ancient name of the extensive territory south of the First Cataract of the Nile River. This region was called Ethiopia in Graeco-Roman time, and included within its borders most of modern Sudan and some of present-day Ethiopia (Abyssinia).]

Chapter Summary

Psalms 68 Commentaries