Psalms 50

A psalm of Asaph.

1 The Mighty One, God, the LORD, speaks and summons the earth from the rising of the sun to where it sets.
2 From Zion, perfect in beauty, God shines forth.
3 Our God comes and will not be silent; a fire devours before him, and around him a tempest rages.
4 He summons the heavens above, and the earth, that he may judge his people:
5 “Gather to me this consecrated people, who made a covenant with me by sacrifice.”
6 And the heavens proclaim his righteousness, for he is a God of justice.[a][b]
7 “Listen, my people, and I will speak; I will testify against you, Israel: I am God, your God.
8 I bring no charges against you concerning your sacrifices or concerning your burnt offerings, which are ever before me.
9 I have no need of a bull from your stall or of goats from your pens,
10 for every animal of the forest is mine, and the cattle on a thousand hills.
11 I know every bird in the mountains, and the insects in the fields are mine.
12 If I were hungry I would not tell you, for the world is mine, and all that is in it.
13 Do I eat the flesh of bulls or drink the blood of goats?
14 “Sacrifice thank offerings to God, fulfill your vows to the Most High,
15 and call on me in the day of trouble; I will deliver you, and you will honor me.”
16 But to the wicked person, God says: “What right have you to recite my laws or take my covenant on your lips?
17 You hate my instruction and cast my words behind you.
18 When you see a thief, you join with him; you throw in your lot with adulterers.
19 You use your mouth for evil and harness your tongue to deceit.
20 You sit and testify against your brother and slander your own mother’s son.
21 When you did these things and I kept silent, you thought I was exactly[c] like you. But I now arraign you and set my accusations before you.
22 “Consider this, you who forget God, or I will tear you to pieces, with no one to rescue you:
23 Those who sacrifice thank offerings honor me, and to the blameless[d] I will show my salvation.”

Psalms 50 Commentary

Chapter 50

The glory of God. (1-6) Sacrifices to be changed for prayers. (7-15) Sincere obedience required. (16-23)

Verses 1-6 This psalm is a psalm of instruction. It tells of the coming of Christ and the day of judgment, in which God will call men to account; and the Holy Ghost is the Spirit of judgement. All the children of men are concerned to know the right way of worshipping the Lord, in spirit and in truth. In the great day, our God shall come, and make those hear his judgement who would not hearken to his law. Happy are those who come into the covenant of grace, by faith in the Redeemer's atoning sacrifice, and show the sincerity of their love by fruits of righteousness. When God rejects the services of those who rest in outside performances, he will graciously accept those who seek him aright. It is only by sacrifice, by Christ, the great Sacrifice, from whom the sacrifices of the law derived what value they had, that we can be accepted of God. True and righteous are his judgments; even sinners' own consciences will be forced to acknowledge the righteousness of God.

Verses 7-15 To obey is better than sacrifice, and to love God and our neighbour better than all burnt-offerings. We are here warned not to rest in these performances. And let us beware of resting in any form. God demands the heart, and how can human inventions please him, when repentance, faith, and holiness are neglected? In the day of distress we must apply to the Lord by fervent prayer. Our troubles, though we see them coming from God's hand, must drive us to him, not drive us from him. We must acknowledge him in all our ways, depend upon his wisdom, power, and goodness, and refer ourselves wholly to him, and so give him glory. Thus must we keep up communion with God; meeting him with prayers under trials, and with praises in deliverances. A believing supplicant shall not only be graciously answered as to his petition, and so have cause for praising God, but shall also have grace to praise him.

Verses 16-23 Hypocrisy is wickedness, which God will judge. And it is too common, for those who declare the Lord's statutes to others, to live in disobedience to them themselves. This delusion arises from the abuse of God's long-suffering, and a wilful mistake of his character and the intention of his gospel. The sins of sinners will be fully proved on them in the judgment of the great day. The day is coming when God will set their sins in order, sins of childhood and youth, of riper age and old age, to their everlasting shame and terror. Let those hitherto forgetful of God, given up to wickedness, or in any way negligent of salvation, consider their urgent danger. The patience of the Lord is very great. It is the more wonderful, because sinners make such ill use of it; but if they turn not, they shall be made to see their error when it is too late. Those that forget God, forget themselves; and it will never be right with them till they consider. Man's chief end is to glorify God: whoso offers praise, glorifies him, and his spiritual sacrifices shall be accepted. We must praise God, sacrifice praise, put it into the hands of the Priest, our Lord Jesus, who is also the altar: we must be fervent in spirit, praising the Lord. Let us thankfully accept God's mercy, and endeavour to glorify him in word and deed.

Cross References 51

  • 1. Joshua 22:22
  • 2. Psalms 113:3
  • 3. Psalms 2:6
  • 4. S Psalms 48:2; S Lamentations 2:15
  • 5. S Deuteronomy 33:2; Psalms 80:1
  • 6. Psalms 96:13
  • 7. ver 21; Isaiah 42:14; Isaiah 64:12; Isaiah 65:6
  • 8. S Leviticus 10:2
  • 9. S Psalms 18:8; Psalms 97:3; Daniel 7:10
  • 10. Job 37:9; Psalms 83:15; Psalms 107:25; Psalms 147:18; Isaiah 29:6; Isaiah 30:28; John 1:4; Nahum 1:3
  • 11. Deuteronomy 4:26; Deuteronomy 31:28; Isaiah 1:2
  • 12. Hebrews 10:30
  • 13. S Deuteronomy 7:6; S Psalms 18:25; Psalms 30:4
  • 14. Exodus 24:7; S 2 Chronicles 6:11
  • 15. S Psalms 19:1; Psalms 89:5
  • 16. S Genesis 16:5; S Job 9:15; Psalms 75:7
  • 17. Hebrews 2:4; Psalms 81:8
  • 18. Exodus 20:2; Psalms 48:14
  • 19. S 2 Samuel 22:16
  • 20. S Psalms 40:6; Hosea 6:6
  • 21. S Leviticus 1:5; Psalms 69:31
  • 22. S Leviticus 16:5
  • 23. S Numbers 32:16
  • 24. Psalms 104:20; Isaiah 56:9; Micah 5:8
  • 25. Psalms 104:24
  • 26. Matthew 6:26
  • 27. Psalms 8:7; Psalms 80:13
  • 28. Exodus 19:5
  • 29. Deuteronomy 10:14; S Joshua 3:11; Psalms 24:1; 1 Corinthians 10:26
  • 30. S Ezra 1:4; S Psalms 27:6; Hebrews 13:15
  • 31. S Numbers 30:2; S Psalms 66:13; Psalms 76:11; Deuteronomy 23:21
  • 32. Psalms 7:8
  • 33. Psalms 4:1; Psalms 81:7; Isaiah 55:6; Isaiah 58:9; Zechariah 13:9
  • 34. Psalms 69:17; Psalms 86:7; Psalms 107:6; Psalms 142:2; James 5:13
  • 35. Psalms 3:7
  • 36. S Psalms 22:23
  • 37. Psalms 25:10
  • 38. Isaiah 29:13
  • 39. Proverbs 1:22
  • 40. S 1 Kings 14:9; Nehemiah 9:26; Romans 2:21-22
  • 41. Romans 1:32; 1 Timothy 5:22
  • 42. S Job 22:15
  • 43. Psalms 10:7; Psalms 36:3; Psalms 52:2; Psalms 101:7
  • 44. Matthew 10:21
  • 45. Ecclesiastes 8:11; Isaiah 42:14; Isaiah 57:11; Isaiah 62:1; Isaiah 64:12
  • 46. Psalms 6:1; S Psalms 18:15; Psalms 76:6; Psalms 104:7; Isaiah 50:2
  • 47. Psalms 85:5; Isaiah 57:16; Psalms 90:8
  • 48. S Job 8:13; Psalms 9:17; S Isaiah 17:10
  • 49. S Deuteronomy 32:39; Micah 5:8; Psalms 7:2
  • 50. Psalms 85:13
  • 51. S Psalms 9:14; Psalms 91:16; Psalms 98:3; Isaiah 52:10

Footnotes 4

  • [a]. With a different word division of the Hebrew; Masoretic Text "for God himself is judge"
  • [b]. The Hebrew has "Selah" (a word of uncertain meaning) here.
  • [c]. Or "thought the ‘I " AM"’ was"
  • [d]. Probable reading of the original Hebrew text; the meaning of the Masoretic Text for this phrase is uncertain.

Chapter Summary

INTRODUCTION TO PSALM 50

\\<>\\. This psalm is called a psalm of Asaph; either because it was composed by him under divine inspiration, since he was a prophet and a seer, 1Ch 25:2, 2Ch 29:30; or because it was delivered to him to be sung in public service, he being a chief musician; see 1Ch 16:7; and so it may be rendered, "a psalm for Asaph"; or "unto Asaph" {o}; which was directed, sent, and delivered to him, and might be written by David; and, as Junius thinks, after the angel had appeared to him, and he was directed where he should build an altar to the Lord, 1Ch 21:18. The Targum, Kimchi, and R. Obadiah Gaon, interpret this psalm of the day of judgment; and Jarchi takes it to be a prophecy of the future redemption by their expected Messiah; and indeed it does refer to the times of the Gospel dispensation; for it treats of the calling of the Gentiles, of the abrogation of legal sacrifices, and of the controversy the Lord would have with the Jews for retaining them, and rejecting pure, spiritual, and evangelical worship. {o} Poal "ipsi Asaph", Tigurine version, Vatablus; "Asapho", Junius & Tremellius, Piscator; so Ainsworth.

Psalms 50 Commentaries