Psalms 68

For the director of music. Of David. A psalm. A song.

1 [a]May God arise, may his enemies be scattered; may his foes flee before him.
2 May you blow them away like smoke— as wax melts before the fire, may the wicked perish before God.
3 But may the righteous be glad and rejoice before God; may they be happy and joyful.
4 Sing to God, sing in praise of his name, extol him who rides on the clouds[b] ; rejoice before him—his name is the LORD.
5 A father to the fatherless, a defender of widows, is God in his holy dwelling.
6 God sets the lonely in families,[c]he leads out the prisoners with singing; but the rebellious live in a sun-scorched land.
7 When you, God, went out before your people, when you marched through the wilderness,[d]
8 the earth shook, the heavens poured down rain, before God, the One of Sinai, before God, the God of Israel.
9 You gave abundant showers, O God; you refreshed your weary inheritance.
10 Your people settled in it, and from your bounty, God, you provided for the poor.
11 The Lord announces the word, and the women who proclaim it are a mighty throng:
12 “Kings and armies flee in haste; the women at home divide the plunder.
13 Even while you sleep among the sheep pens,[e]the wings of my dove are sheathed with silver, its feathers with shining gold.”
14 When the Almighty[f] scattered the kings in the land, it was like snow fallen on Mount Zalmon.
15 Mount Bashan, majestic mountain, Mount Bashan, rugged mountain,
16 why gaze in envy, you rugged mountain, at the mountain where God chooses to reign, where the LORD himself will dwell forever?
17 The chariots of God are tens of thousands and thousands of thousands; the Lord has come from Sinai into his sanctuary.[g]
18 When you ascended on high, you took many captives; you received gifts from people, even from[h] the rebellious— that you,[i]LORD God, might dwell there.
19 Praise be to the Lord, to God our Savior, who daily bears our burdens.
20 Our God is a God who saves; from the Sovereign LORD comes escape from death.
21 Surely God will crush the heads of his enemies, the hairy crowns of those who go on in their sins.
22 The Lord says, “I will bring them from Bashan; I will bring them from the depths of the sea,
23 that your feet may wade in the blood of your foes, while the tongues of your dogs have their share.”
24 Your procession, God, has come into view, the procession of my God and King into the sanctuary.
25 In front are the singers, after them the musicians; with them are the young women playing the timbrels.
26 Praise God in the great congregation; praise the LORD in the assembly of Israel.
27 There is the little tribe of Benjamin, leading them, there the great throng of Judah’s princes, and there the princes of Zebulun and of Naphtali.
28 Summon your power, God[j] ; show us your strength, our God, as you have done before.
29 Because of your temple at Jerusalem kings will bring you gifts.
30 Rebuke the beast among the reeds, the herd of bulls among the calves of the nations. Humbled, may the beast bring bars of silver. Scatter the nations who delight in war.
31 Envoys will come from Egypt; Cush[k] will submit herself to God.
32 Sing to God, you kingdoms of the earth, sing praise to the Lord,
33 to him who rides across the highest heavens, the ancient heavens, who thunders with mighty voice.
34 Proclaim the power of God, whose majesty is over Israel, whose power is in the heavens.
35 You, God, are awesome in your sanctuary; the God of Israel gives power and strength to his people. Praise be to 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 83

  • 1. Psalms 12:5; Psalms 132:8
  • 2. Psalms 18:14; Psalms 89:10; Psalms 92:9; Psalms 144:6
  • 3. Numbers 10:35; Isaiah 17:13; Isaiah 21:15; Isaiah 33:3
  • 4. S Psalms 37:20; Hosea 13:3
  • 5. S Psalms 22:14; Isaiah 9:18; Micah 1:4
  • 6. S Numbers 10:35; Psalms 9:3; Psalms 80:16
  • 7. Psalms 64:10; Psalms 97:12; Psalms 32:11
  • 8. S 2 Samuel 22:50; Psalms 7:17; S Psalms 30:4; Psalms 66:2; Psalms 96:2; Psalms 100:4; Psalms 135:3
  • 9. ver 33; S Exodus 20:21; S Deuteronomy 33:26
  • 10. S Exodus 6:3; Psalms 83:18
  • 11. Psalms 10:14
  • 12. S Exodus 22:22; S Deuteronomy 10:18
  • 13. S Deuteronomy 26:15; Jeremiah 25:30
  • 14. Psalms 25:16
  • 15. Psalms 113:9
  • 16. Psalms 79:11; Psalms 102:20; Psalms 146:7; Isaiah 61:1; Luke 4:18; Acts 12:6
  • 17. Psalms 107:34; Isaiah 35:7; Isaiah 49:10; Isaiah 58:11
  • 18. S Exodus 13:21; Judges 4:14
  • 19. Psalms 78:40; Psalms 106:14
  • 20. S 2 Samuel 22:8
  • 21. S Judges 5:4; 2 Samuel 21:10; Ecclesiastes 11:3
  • 22. S Deuteronomy 33:2; Exodus 19:16,18
  • 23. S Judges 5:5
  • 24. S Deuteronomy 32:2; S Job 36:28; S Ezekiel 34:26; Deuteronomy 11:11
  • 25. S Deuteronomy 28:12
  • 26. Psalms 65:9; Psalms 74:19
  • 27. Luke 2:13
  • 28. Joshua 10:16
  • 29. S Judges 5:30
  • 30. S Genesis 49:14
  • 31. 2 Samuel 22:15; Joshua 10:10
  • 32. Judges 9:48
  • 33. ver 22; Numbers 21:33; Jeremiah 22:20
  • 34. S Psalms 36:6
  • 35. Deuteronomy 12:5; S Psalms 2:6; Psalms 132:13
  • 36. Psalms 132:14
  • 37. S 2 Kings 2:11; Isaiah 66:15; Habakkuk 3:8
  • 38. Deuteronomy 33:2; Daniel 7:10
  • 39. S Psalms 47:5
  • 40. Psalms 7:7
  • 41. Judges 5:12
  • 42. Ephesians 4:8*
  • 43. S Numbers 17:10
  • 44. S Psalms 65:5
  • 45. Psalms 81:6; Psalms 55:22
  • 46. S 1 Samuel 10:19
  • 47. Psalms 56:13; Jeremiah 45:5; Ezekiel 6:8
  • 48. Psalms 74:14; Psalms 110:5; Habakkuk 3:13
  • 49. S Job 36:30; Matthew 18:6; Numbers 21:33
  • 50. Psalms 58:10
  • 51. S 1 Kings 21:19; S 2 Kings 9:36
  • 52. S Psalms 63:2
  • 53. S 1 Chronicles 15:16
  • 54. S 1 Chronicles 6:31; S 2 Chronicles 5:12; Revelation 18:22
  • 55. S Genesis 31:27; S Isaiah 5:12; Judges 11:34; 1 Chronicles 13:8
  • 56. S Psalms 22:22; Hebrews 2:12
  • 57. S Leviticus 19:2; Psalms 26:12; Isaiah 48:1
  • 58. S 1 Samuel 9:21
  • 59. S Numbers 34:21
  • 60. S Judges 5:18
  • 61. S Exodus 9:16
  • 62. Psalms 29:11
  • 63. Isaiah 26:12; Isaiah 29:23; Isaiah 45:11; Isaiah 60:21; Isaiah 64:8
  • 64. S 2 Chronicles 9:24; S 2 Chronicles 32:23; Psalms 72:10
  • 65. Isaiah 27:1; Isaiah 51:9; Ezekiel 29:3
  • 66. S Job 40:21
  • 67. Psalms 22:12; Isaiah 34:7; Jeremiah 50:27
  • 68. Psalms 18:14; Psalms 89:10
  • 69. Psalms 120:7; Psalms 140:2
  • 70. Isaiah 19:19; Isaiah 43:3; Isaiah 45:14
  • 71. Isaiah 11:11; Isaiah 18:1; Zephaniah 3:10
  • 72. S Psalms 46:6; Psalms 67:4
  • 73. Psalms 7:17
  • 74. S Deuteronomy 33:26; Psalms 18:10
  • 75. S Exodus 9:23; S Psalms 29:3
  • 76. Psalms 29:4; Isaiah 30:30; Isaiah 33:3; Isaiah 66:6
  • 77. ver 28; Psalms 29:1
  • 78. Psalms 45:3
  • 79. S Deuteronomy 7:21
  • 80. S Genesis 28:17
  • 81. Psalms 18:1; Isaiah 40:29; Isaiah 41:10; Isaiah 50:2
  • 82. S Psalms 29:11
  • 83. Psalms 28:6; Psalms 66:20; 2 Corinthians 1:3

Footnotes 11

  • [a]. In Hebrew texts 68:1-35 is numbered 68:2-36.
  • [b]. Or "name," / "prepare the way for him who rides through the deserts"
  • [c]. Or "the desolate in a homeland"
  • [d]. The Hebrew has "Selah" (a word of uncertain meaning) here and at the end of verses 19 and 32.
  • [e]. Or "the campfires;" or "the saddlebags"
  • [f]. Hebrew "Shaddai"
  • [g]. Probable reading of the original Hebrew text; Masoretic Text "Lord is among them at Sinai in holiness"
  • [h]. Or "gifts for people," / "even"
  • [i]. Or "they"
  • [j]. Many Hebrew manuscripts, Septuagint and Syriac; most Hebrew manuscripts "Your God has summoned power for you"
  • [k]. That is, the upper Nile region

Chapter Summary

Psalms 68 Commentaries

Scripture quoted by permission.  Quotations designated (NIV) are from THE HOLY BIBLE: NEW INTERNATIONAL VERSION®.  NIV®.  Copyright © 1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica.  All rights reserved worldwide.