Psalms 89

The LORD'S Covenant with David, and Israel's Afflictions.


A Maskil of Ethan the Ezrahite.

1 I will 1sing of the lovingkindness of the LORD forever; To all generations I will 2make known Your 3faithfulness with my mouth.
2 For I have said, "4Lovingkindness will be built up forever; In the heavens You will establish Your 5faithfulness."
3 "I have made a covenant with 6My chosen; I have 7sworn to David My servant,
4 I will establish your 8seed forever * And build up your 9throne to all generations." Selah.
5 The 10heavens will praise Your wonders, O LORD; Your faithfulness also 11in the assembly of the 12holy ones.
6 For 13who in the skies is comparable to the LORD? Who among the 14sons of the mighty is like the LORD,
7 A God 15greatly feared in the council of the 16holy ones, And 17awesome above all those who are around Him?
8 O LORD God of hosts, 18who is like You, O mighty LORD? Your faithfulness also surrounds You.
9 You rule the swelling of the sea; When its waves rise, You 19still them.
10 You Yourself crushed 20Rahab like one who is slain; You 21scattered Your enemies with Your mighty arm.
11 The 22heavens are Yours, the earth also is Yours; The 23world and all it contains, You have founded them.
12 The 24north and the south, You have created them; 25Tabor and 26Hermon 27shout for joy at Your name.
13 You have a strong arm; Your hand is mighty, Your 28right hand is exalted.
14 29Righteousness and justice are the foundation of Your throne; 30Lovingkindness and truth go before You.
15 How blessed are the people who know the 31joyful sound! O LORD, they walk in the 32light of Your countenance.
16 In 33Your name they rejoice all the day, And by Your righteousness they are exalted.
17 For You are the glory of 34their strength, And by Your favor our 35horn is exalted.
18 For our 36shield belongs to the LORD, And our king to the 37Holy One of Israel.
19 Once You spoke in vision to Your godly ones, And said, "I have given help to one who is 38mighty; I have exalted one 39chosen from the people.
20 "I have 40found David My servant; With My holy 41oil I have anointed him,
21 With whom 42My hand will be established; My arm also will 43strengthen him.
22 "The enemy will not deceive him, Nor the 44son of wickedness afflict him.
23 "But I shall 45crush his adversaries before * him, And strike those who hate him.
24 "My 46faithfulness and My lovingkindness will be with him, And in My name his 47horn will be exalted.
25 "I shall also set his hand 48on the sea And his right hand on the rivers.
26 "He will cry to Me, 'You are 49my Father, My God, and the 50rock of my salvation.'
27 "I also shall make him My 51firstborn, The 52highest of the kings of the earth.
28 "My 53lovingkindness I will keep for him forever, And My 54covenant shall be confirmed to him.
29 "So I will establish his 55descendants forever And his 56throne 57as the days of heaven.
30 "If his sons 58forsake My law And do not walk in My judgments,
31 If they violate My statutes And do not keep My commandments,
32 Then I will punish their transgression with the 59rod And their iniquity with stripes.
33 "But I will not break off 60My lovingkindness from him, Nor deal falsely in My faithfulness.
34 "My 61covenant I will not violate, Nor will I 62alter the utterance of My lips.
35 "Once I have 63sworn by My holiness; I will not lie to David.
36 "His 64descendants shall endure forever And his 65throne 66as the sun before Me.
37 "It shall be established forever 67like the moon, And the 68witness in the sky is faithful." Selah.
38 But You have 69cast off and 70rejected, You have been full of wrath against Your 71anointed.
39 You have 72spurned the covenant of Your servant; You have 73profaned 74his crown in the dust.
40 You have 75broken down all his walls; You have 76brought his strongholds to ruin.
41 77All who pass along the way plunder him; He has become a 78reproach to his neighbors.
42 You have 79exalted the right hand of his adversaries; You have 80made all his enemies rejoice.
43 You also turn back the edge of his sword And have 81not made him stand in battle.
44 You have made his 82splendor to cease And cast his throne to the ground.
45 You have 83shortened the days of his youth; You have 84covered him with shame. Selah.
46 85How long, O LORD? Will You hide Yourself forever? Will Your 86wrath burn like fire?
47 87Remember what my span of life is; For what 88vanity You have created all the sons of men!
48 What man can live and not 89see death? Can he 90deliver his soul from the power of Sheol? Selah.
49 Where are Your former lovingkindnesses, O Lord, Which You 91swore to David in Your faithfulness?
50 Remember, O Lord, the 92reproach of Your servants; How I bear in my bosom the reproach of all the many peoples,
51 With which 93Your enemies have reproached, O LORD, With which they have reproached the footsteps of 94Your anointed.
52 95Blessed be the LORD forever! Amen and Amen.

Psalms 89 Commentary

Chapter 89

God's mercy and truth, and his covenant. (1-4) The glory and perfection of God. (5-14) The happiness of those in communion with him. (15-18) God's covenant with David, as a type of Christ. (19-37) A calamitous state lamented, Prayer for redress. (38-52)

Verses 1-4 Though our expectations may be disappointed, yet God's promises are established in the heavens, in his eternal counsels; they are out of the reach of opposers in hell and earth. And faith in the boundless mercy and everlasting truth of God, may bring comfort even in the deepest trials.

Verses 5-14 The more God's works are known, the more they are admired. And to praise the Lord, is to acknowledge him to be such a one that there is none like him. Surely then we should feel and express reverence when we worship God. But how little of this appears in our congregations, and how much cause have we to humble ourselves on this account! That almighty power which smote Egypt, will scatter the enemies of the church, while all who trust in God's mercy will rejoice in his name; for mercy and truth direct all he does. His counsels from eternity, and their consequences to eternity, are all justice and judgment.

Verses 15-18 Happy are those who so know the joyful sound of the gospel as to obey it; who experience its power upon their hearts, and bring forth the fruit of it in their lives. Though believers are nothing in themselves, yet having all in Christ Jesus, they may rejoice in his name. May the Lord enable us to do so. The joy of the Lord is the strength of his people; whereas unbelief dispirits ourselves and discourages others. Though it steals upon us under a semblance of humility, yet it is the very essence of pride. Christ is the Holy One of Israel; and in him was that peculiar people more blessed than in any other blessing.

Verses 19-37 The Lord anointed David with the holy oil, not only as an emblem of the graces and gifts he received, but as a type of Christ, the King Priest, and Prophet, anointed with the Holy Ghost without measure. David after his anointing, was persecuted, but none could gain advantage against him. Yet all this was a faint shadow of the Redeemer's sufferings, deliverance, glory, and authority, in whom alone these predictions and promises are fully brought to pass. He is the mighty God. This is the Redeemer appointed for us, who alone is able to complete the work of our salvation. Let us seek an interest in these blessings, by the witness of the Holy Spirit in our hearts. As the Lord corrected the posterity of David for their transgressions, so his people shall be corrected for their sins. Yet it is but a rod, not a sword; it is to correct, not to destroy. It is a rod in the hand of God, who is wise, and knows what he does; gracious, and will do what is best. It is a rod which they shall never feel, but when there is need. As the sun and moon remain in heaven, whatever changes there seem to be in them, and again appear in due season; so the covenant of grace made in Christ, whatever alteration seems to come to it, should not be questioned.

Verses 38-52 Sometimes it is not easy to reconcile God's providences with his promises, yet we are sure that God's works fulfil his word. When the great Anointed One, Christ himself, was upon the cross, God seemed to have cast him off, yet did not make void his covenant, for that was established for ever. The honour of the house of David was lost. Thrones and crowns are often laid in the dust; but there is a crown of glory reserved for Christ's spiritual seed, which fadeth not away. From all this complaint learn what work sin makes with families, noble families, with families in which religion has appeared. They plead with God for mercy. God's unchangeableness and faithfulness assure us that He will not cast off those whom he has chosen and covenanted with. They were reproached for serving him. The scoffers of the latter days, in like manner, reproach the footsteps of the Messiah when ( 2 Peter. 3:3 2 Peter. 3:4 ) records of the Lord's dealings with the family of David, show us his dealings with his church, and with believers. Their afflictions and distresses may be grievous, but he will not finally cast them off. Self-deceivers abuse this doctrine, and others by a careless walk bring themselves into darkness and distress; yet let the true believer rely on it for encouragement in the path of duty, and in bearing the cross. The psalm ends with praise, even after this sad complaint. Those who give God thanks for what he has done, may give him thanks for what he will do. God will follow those with his mercies, who follow him with praises.

Cross References 95

  • 1. Psalms 59:16; Psalms 101:1
  • 2. Psalms 40:10
  • 3. Psalms 36:5; Psalms 88:11; Psalms 89:5, 8, 24, 33, 49; Psalms 92:2; Psalms 119:90; Isaiah 25:1; Lamentations 3:23
  • 4. Psalms 103:17
  • 5. Psalms 36:5; Psalms 119:90
  • 6. 1 Kings 8:16
  • 7. Psalms 132:11
  • 8. 2 Samuel 7:16
  • 9. 2 Samuel 7:13; Isaiah 9:7; Luke 1:33
  • 10. Psalms 19:1; Psalms 97:6
  • 11. Psalms 149:1
  • 12. Job 5:1
  • 13. Psalms 86:8; Psalms 113:5
  • 14. Psalms 29:1; Psalms 82:1
  • 15. Psalms 47:2; Psalms 68:35; Psalms 76:7, 11
  • 16. Psalms 89:5
  • 17. Psalms 96:4
  • 18. Psalms 35:10; Psalms 71:19
  • 19. Psalms 65:7; Psalms 107:29
  • 20. Psalms 87:4; Isaiah 30:7; Isaiah 51:9
  • 21. Psalms 18:14; Psalms 68:1; Psalms 144:6
  • 22. Genesis 1:1; 1 Chronicles 29:11; Psalms 96:5
  • 23. Psalms 24:1
  • 24. Job 26:7
  • 25. Joshua 19:22; Judges 4:6; Jeremiah 46:18
  • 26. Deuteronomy 3:8; Joshua 11:17; Joshua 12:1; Psalms 133:3; Song of Songs 4:8
  • 27. Psalms 98:8
  • 28. Psalms 98:1; Psalms 118:16
  • 29. Psalms 97:2
  • 30. Psalms 85:13
  • 31. Leviticus 23:24; Numbers 10:10; Psalms 98:6
  • 32. Psalms 4:6; Psalms 44:3; Psalms 67:1; Psalms 80:3; Psalms 90:8
  • 33. Psalms 105:3
  • 34. Psalms 28:8
  • 35. Psalms 75:10; Psalms 92:10; Psalms 148:14
  • 36. Psalms 47:9
  • 37. Psalms 71:22; Psalms 78:41
  • 38. 2 Samuel 17:10
  • 39. 1 Kings 11:34; Psalms 78:70
  • 40. 1 Samuel 13:14; 1 Samuel 16:1-12; Acts 13:22
  • 41. 1 Samuel 16:13
  • 42. Psalms 18:35; Psalms 80:17
  • 43. Psalms 18:32
  • 44. 2 Samuel 7:10; Psalms 125:3
  • 45. 2 Samuel 7:9; Psalms 18:40
  • 46. Psalms 89:1
  • 47. Psalms 132:17
  • 48. Psalms 72:8
  • 49. 2 Samuel 7:14; 1 Chronicles 22:10; Jeremiah 3:19
  • 50. 2 Samuel 22:47; Psalms 95:1
  • 51. Exodus 4:22; Psalms 2:7; Jeremiah 31:9; Colossians 1:15, 18
  • 52. Numbers 24:7; Psalms 72:11; Revelation 19:16
  • 53. Psalms 89:33
  • 54. Psalms 89:3, 34
  • 55. Psalms 18:50; Psalms 89:4, 36
  • 56. 1 Kings 2:4; Psalms 89:4; Psalms 132:12; Isaiah 9:7; Jeremiah 33:17
  • 57. Deuteronomy 11:21
  • 58. 2 Samuel 7:14; Psalms 119:53
  • 59. Job 9:34; Job 21:9
  • 60. 2 Samuel 7:15
  • 61. Deuteronomy 7:9; Jeremiah 33:20, 21
  • 62. Numbers 23:19
  • 63. Psalms 60:6; Amos 4:2
  • 64. Psalms 89:29; Luke 1:33
  • 65. Psalms 72:5
  • 66. Psalms 72:17
  • 67. Psalms 72:5
  • 68. Job 16:19
  • 69. Psalms 44:9
  • 70. Deuteronomy 32:19; 1 Chronicles 28:9
  • 71. Psalms 20:6; Psalms 89:20, 51
  • 72. Psalms 78:59; Lamentations 2:7
  • 73. Psalms 74:7
  • 74. Lamentations 5:16
  • 75. Psalms 80:12
  • 76. Lamentations 2:2, 5
  • 77. Psalms 80:12
  • 78. Psalms 44:13; Psalms 69:9, 19; Psalms 79:4
  • 79. Psalms 13:2
  • 80. Psalms 80:6
  • 81. Psalms 44:10
  • 82. Ezekiel 28:7
  • 83. Psalms 102:23
  • 84. Psalms 44:15; Psalms 71:13; Psalms 109:29
  • 85. Psalms 13:1; Psalms 44:24
  • 86. Psalms 79:5; Psalms 80:4
  • 87. Job 7:7; Job 10:9; Job 14:1
  • 88. Psalms 39:5; Psalms 62:9; Ecclesiastes 1:2; Ecclesiastes 2:11
  • 89. Psalms 22:29; Psalms 49:9
  • 90. Psalms 49:15
  • 91. 2 Samuel 7:15; Jeremiah 30:9; Ezekiel 34:23
  • 92. Psalms 69:9; Psalms 74:18, 22
  • 93. Ps 74:10, 18, 22
  • 94. Psalms 89:38
  • 95. Psalms 41:13; Psalms 72:19; Psalms 106:48

Footnotes 31

Chapter Summary

Maschil of Ethan the Ezrahite. Who this Ethan was is not certain. Kimchi takes him to be the same with Ethan the wise man, a grandson of Judah, 1 Kings 4:31. But seeing he lived some hundreds of years before the times of David, it is not likely that he should be the writer of this psalm; for David is made mention of in it, which could not be, unless it can be thought to be by a spirit of prophecy; which indeed is the opinion of Doctor Lightfoot {k}, who takes this Ethan to be the penman of this psalm; and who "from the promise, Genesis 15:1 sings joyfully the deliverance (of Israel); that the raging of the Red sea should be ruled, Psalm 89:9, and Rahab, or Egypt, should be broken in pieces, Psalm 89:10, and that the people should hear the joyful sound of the law, Psalm 89:15, and as for the name of David in it, this, he says, might be done prophetically; as Samuel is thought to be named by Moses, Psalm 99:6, which psalm is held to be made by him; or else might be put into it, in later times, by some divine penman, endued with the same gift of prophecy, who might improve the ground work of this psalm laid by Ethan, and set it to an higher key; namely, that whereas he treated only of bodily deliverance from Egypt, it is wound up so high as to reach the spiritual delivery by Christ; and therefore David is often named, from whence he should come."

There was another Ethan, a singer, in David's time; and it is more probable that he is the person, who might live to the times of Rehoboam, and see the decline of David's family, and the revolt of the ten tribes from it; or perhaps it was one of this name who lived in the times of the Babylonish captivity, and saw the low estate that David's family were come into; to which agrees the latter part of this psalm; and, in order to comfort the people of God, he wrote this psalm, showing that the covenant and promises of God, made with David, nevertheless stood firm, and would be accomplished: the title of the Septuagint version calls him Etham the Israelite; and the Arabic version Nathan the Israelite: the Targum makes him to be Abraham, paraphrasing it "a good understanding, which was said by the hand of Abraham, that came from the east."

But whoever was the penman of this psalm, it is "maschil," an instructive psalm, a psalm causing to understand; it treats concerning the covenant of grace, and the promises of it; and concerning the mercy and faithfulness of God, in making and keeping the same; and concerning the Messiah and his seed, his church and people; and the stability and duration of all these: many passages in it are applied to the Messiah by Jewish writers, ancient and modern; and Psalm 89:20 is manifestly referred to in Acts 13:22.

Psalms 89 Commentaries

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