The Book of Psalms 1—LXXII
By Professor e. A. Leslie. Edited by J. E. Bradburn.
(The present introduction covers the entire Psalter, and is by the author of the commentary on Psalm 1—72. For Psalm 73—150 See below.)
The Significance of the Psalms. In the Book of Psalms we meet the religion of Israel at its greatest depth and its most passionate intensity. The psalmists fell heir to the profound insights and spiritual experiences of the prophets. These latter were Israel’s intellectual and spiritual pioneers, blazing new trails for human feet, and paths back to God from this fallen earth. The psalmists largely found ready at hand these insights. They took them up, lived their way into them experimentally, applied them to the life of individuals and of the community and linked them to the religious worship that cantered in the Temple, all the while both deepening and intensifying them.
The Psalter, representing as it does close to a thousand years of Israel’s history http://www.godsplan.org.uk/hebrew.htm, may be viewed as a transcript (education) of the heart life of the Hebrew people. Coming from a vast variety of individuals who had learned both how to exult in unspeakable joy, and to cry out to God from the depths of inexpressible anguish, it is a mirror of the life of a soul, not of Israel merely, but of humanity. It is the noblest book of devotion possessed by men, and comes down to us enhanced by the reverence of centuries to which it has contributed both strength and light.
The Terms, “Psalms” and “Psalter.”
The Psalter is the first book of the kethubhim (“writings”), the third section of the Hebrew Bible http://www.godsplan.org.uk/formation.htm. It bears the title Tehillim (“praises”), yet only one of the Psalms (145) is so designated. An earlier time called these poems Tephilloth (“prayers”)
Psalm 7:20 The prayers of David the son of Jesse are ended.
The Septuagint (LXX) uses the designation Psalmoi (Greek), the plural of a term meaning, “a touching sharply,” “a pulling or twanging with the fingers,” which corresponds best with the term preferred in the titles, mizmor or “melody.” This term is used only in the O.T. to designate religious songs. It comes from a root meaning “to pluck” or “to pinch,” which could thus be used of touching the strings with the fingers. In the Codex Alexandrinos the designation Psalterion, from whence comes the term “Psalter” is used. The word means primarily a stringed instrument, but by association of ideas it came to mean the songs sung to the accompaniment of the stringed instrument.
The Organisation of the Psalter. The Hebrew Psalter is divided into five books a division which is at least as early as the LXX. Each book closes with a doxology and the last Psalm (150) is itself a doxology (A doxology is a short hymn of praises to God in various Christian worship services) to the entire Psalter. The divisions are as follows:
1. Book I Psalms 1—41
2. Book II Psalms 42—72
3. Book III Psalms 73—89
4. Book IV Psalms 90—106
5. Book V Psalms 107—150
This fivefold Division probably originated from viewing the Psalter as the counterpart of the Law, the response of the community to the summons of God in the Law (Kittel). “The Hebrews.” says Epihanius, “divided the Psalter into five books so that it would be another Pentateuch.”
Steps in the formation of the Psalter. The recognition of these collections helps us to discern the steps in the formation of the Psalter.
1) The compilation of a Davidic collection with a doxology at the close, 3—41.
2) The compilation of a second Davidic collection with a doxology at the close, 51—72.
3) The compilation of a collection entitled, “of Asaph,” probably a guild of Temple singers 50 73—83. Ezra 2:41 The singers: the children of Asaph, an hundred twenty and eight.
4) The compilation of a collection entitled “of the sons of Korah,” likewise probably a guild of Temple singers.42—49. 2 Chronicles 20:19 And the Levites, of the children of the Kohathites, and of the children of the Korhites, stood up to praise the Lord God of Israel with a loud voice on high.
5) The redaction (Redaction is a form of editing in which multiple source texts are combined (redacted) and altered slightly to make a single document) of an Elohistic (Elohim) Psalter 42—83. The editor quite generally, but not consistently, substituted “Elohim” for “Jehovah.”
6) The Elohistic Psalter was enlarged by the addition of 84—89.
7) The compilation of a collection entitled “Songs of the Ascents,” 120—134.
8) The compilation of 90—150 around these “Songs of the Ascents,” and other similar collections.
Psalm literature in the Old Testament Before the Exile. We approach the Psalms aright only when we attempt to see them in the context of the whole Psalm literature, both canonical and uncanonical, that came from the soul of ancient Israel. In the song of Miriam, we have a fragment quite in the style of a Psalm which probably comes from the time of Moses (circa 1200 B.C.)
Exodus 15:21 And Miriam answered them, “Sing ye to the Lord, for He hath triumphed gloriously; the horse and his rider hath He thrown into the sea.”
In Judges 5, the Song of Deborah, the earliest extant monument of Hebrew literature , dating from about 1150 B.C., we have a brilliant pæan of triumph, (A paean is a song or lyric poem expressing triumph or thanksgiving). much in the style of a Psalm, celebrating the victory of the Israelites under Deborah and Barak over the Canaanites under Sisera. which is quite similar to some of the Psalms containing oracles.
2 Samuel 23:1—7
1 Now these be the last words of David. David the son of Jesse said, “And the man who was raised up on high, the anointed of the God of Jacob, and the sweet psalmist of Israel,” said,
2 ‘The Spirit of the Lord spake by me, and his word was in my tongue.’”
3 The God of Israel said, “The Rock of Israel spake to me, He that ruleth over men must be just, ruling in the fear of God.”
4 ‘And he shall be as the light of the morning, when the sun riseth, even a morning without clouds; as the tender grass springing out of the earth by clear shining after rain.’
5 ‘Although my house be not so with God; yet He hath made with me an everlasting covenant, ordered in all things, and sure: for this is all my salvation, and all my desire, although He make it not to grow.’
6 ‘But the sons of Belial shall be all of them as thorns thrust away, because they cannot be taken with hands:
7 But the man that shall touch them must be fenced with iron and the staff of a spear; and they shall be utterly burned with fire in the same place.’”
The existence of this material outside the psalter, yet strikingly similar to it, suggests that psalmody in Israel has a long history that reaches back even behind the Davidic era. The existence of Psalms and references to psalmody in the pre-exilic prophets suggests the pre-exilic origin of many psalms. Some of them are oracles concerning the future and were to be sung by the ideal community of the future. Such are Hosea 6:1—3. Hosea 14:1 forward. Isaiah 2:1—4. (Paralleled in in
Micah 4:1—3), which may, however, come from the post exilic period, reminds us forcibly of Psalm 122, which is a summons to a pilgrimage to Jerusalem.
1 Come, and let us return unto the Lord: for He hath torn, and He will heal us; He hath smitten, and He will bind us up.
2 After two days will He revive us: in the third day He will raise us up, and we shall live in His sight.
3 Then shall we know, if we follow on to know the Lord: His going forth is prepared as the morning; and He shall come unto us as the rain, as the latter and former rain unto the earth.
1 The word that Isaiah the son of Amoz saw concerning Judah and Jerusalem.
2 And it shall come to pass in the last days, that the mountain of the Lord's house shall be established in the top of the mountains, and shall be exalted above the hills; and all nations shall flow unto it.
3 And many people shall go and say, “Come ye, and let us go up to the mountain of the Lord, to the house of the God of Jacob; and He will teach us of His ways, and we will walk in His paths: for out of Zion shall go forth the law, and the word of the Lord from Jerusalem.”
4 And He shall judge among the nations, and shall rebuke many people: and they shall beat their swords into plowshares, and their spears into pruninghooks: nation shall not lift up sword against nation, neither shall they learn war any more.
1 But in the last days it shall come to pass, that the mountain of the house of the Lord shall be established in the top of the mountains, and it shall be exalted above the hills; and people shall flow unto it.
2 And many nations shall come, and say, “Come, and let us go up to the mountain of the Lord, and to the house of the God of Jacob; and He will teach us of His ways, and we will walk in His paths: for the law shall go forth of Zion, and the word of the Lord from Jerusalem.
3 And He shall judge among many people, and rebuke strong nations afar off; and they shall beat their swords into plowshares, and their spears into pruninghooks: nation shall not lift up a sword against nation, neither shall they learn war any more.
(Isaiah 30:29) seems to refer to Psalms used in Temple worship at the feasts by the pilgrims to Jerusalem A Psalm closes the first great section of Isaiah’s prophecy (Chapter 12).
Isaiah 30:29 Ye shall have a song, as in the night when a holy solemnity is kept; and gladness of heart, as when one goeth with a pipe to come into the mountain of the Lord, to the mighty One of Israel.
2 The virgin of Israel is fallen; she shall no more rise: she is forsaken upon her land; there is none to raise her up.
3 For thus saith the Lord God; “The city that went out by a thousand shall leave an hundred, and that which went forth by an hundred shall leave ten, to the house of Israel.”
Amos 5:2—3 is a national dirge or lamentation such as is frequently found in the Psalter, and such, that must have been used in times of solemn national fast days.
Compare Joel 1:8—14
08 Lament like a virgin girded with sackcloth for the husband of her youth.
09 The meat offering and the drink offering is cut off from the house of the Lord; the priests, the Lord's ministers, mourn.
10 The field is wasted, the land mourneth; for the corn is wasted: the new wine is dried up, the oil languisheth.
11 Be ye ashamed, O ye husbandmen; howl, O ye vinedressers, for the wheat and for the barley; because the harvest of the field is perished.
12 The vine is dried up, and the fig tree languisheth; the pomegranate tree, the palm tree also, and the apple tree, even all the trees of the field, are withered: because joy is withered away from the sons of men.
13 Gird yourselves, and lament, ye priests: howl, ye ministers of the altar: come, lie all night in sackcloth, ye ministers of my God: for the meat offering and the drink offering is withholden from the house of your God.
14 Sanctify ye a fast, call a solemn assembly, gather the elders and all the inhabitants of the land into the house of the Lord your God, and cry unto the Lord,
Jeremiah 14:7—9; 16:19—20, 17:7—8 offers a similar example, and they are Psalms, the latter serving as the pattern for the later Psalm which forms the introduction to the Psalter.
Religious Values for Today in the Psalms. The prophets utter the mind of Israel concerning God. The psalmists utter the heart of Israel concerning God. The psalmists utter the heart of Israel in experience with God. There is no body of devotional literature in the world comparable to the Psalms in expressing the reality, depth, and purity of religious experience. As Greece gave to the world sensitiveness to beauty and the stimulus to thought, as Rome contributed administration and law, so Israel’s genius gave to humanity religion. And nowhere in the literature of Israel is this more apparent as in the Psalter. The two main directions in which it offers significant religious value for modern life are:
1. In the idea of God that it contains.
2. In the varieties of religious experience it portrays.
The Idea of God in the Psalter. Taking the psalms as a whole, they contain the conception of a majestic, living God. He is the Creator of the world http://www.godsplan.org.uk/jehovah%27sword.htm, The heavens, the sun, moon, and stars owe their being to Him. Man too came to be through God’s Creative purpose.
Genesis 2:7 And the Lord God formed man of the dust of the ground, and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life; and man became a living soul. http://www.godsplan.org.uk/truth.htm
He is the summit of Creation, made, “but a little lower than God.” This whole area of Creation is under the Creator’s dominion. Nature reveals the very mind of God. The heavens declare His glory. http://www.godsplan.org.uk/Orion.htm. The thunder is His voice. The recurring succession of the seasons, the passing of day into night, the mysterious productivity of the soil, the deep-seated, instinctive processes of animal life—all of these utter the mind of God. He is all powerful. He is all knowing. He is everywhere present.
Moreover, this majestic God is the God of history. All human history moves toward a goal, the reign of God over all mankind, in all the earth. However; this ultimate purpose of God is not viewed as achieved through the initiative and effort of man, so much as through the direct effort and energy of God. To a unique degree this God of human history is the God of Israel’s history. http://www.godsplan.org.uk/hebrew.htm He created Israel and made Himself known to her. He is the God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, the God of Moses and of the Exodus, of Sinai and the wilderness, of the invasion and settlement of Canaan. And this God of Israel is the one sole God of the whole world, who uses Israel to reveal Him to the far ends of the earth—a thought also common to the prophets.
Varieties of religious Experience in the psalter. The Psalter is the utterance of many individuals of different epochs, and out of richly diversified situations. It is the deposit of the religious soul of Israel, conceived as a corporate unity. It is also the deposit of the religious experience of individual Israelites. Their names may not be known to us, but these heart utterances reveal a variety of mental and spiritual attitude that gives to the Psalter its universal quality. It becomes the mirror of the soul. There is no modern type of religious experience but what is mirrored forth, often in classic utterance, in the Psalms.
Here is to be found upon every page the expression of confident trust in God. He is the Psalmist’s “light and salvation.” With Him one need not be afraid. The utterance of the mood of gratitude is a characteristic note. Here in utter sincerity is sounded the soul’s sense of guilt and sin in all its ugliness and destructiveness. Quickly upon this comes the heart’s cry for pardon, cleansing, and restoration, the hunger for new inner creation and renovation. http://www.godsplan.org.uk/restoration.htm. Some few Psalms introduce us the student of the law who glories in this perfect revelation for the needs of life. Here too are reflective Psalms, where some individual grapples with the problem of suffering, and at the climax of one of these there is given expression to a sense of fellowship with God so deep and rich as to illumine for modern menthe nature of mystic union with God.
Occasionally, there blaze forth passionate indignation against men, and impatience with the seeming aloofness of God. These lower ground tones of the Psalter, however, but serve to lift into nobler clearness the more predominant moods of aspiration and inextinguishable hope, the exulting life of forgiveness, restoration, and triumph. At greater depths that can be said of any other book, the Psalms “find” us and give a vehicle of utterance for the diversified emotions and yearnings of humanity today.
PSALMS LXXIII—CL (73—150)
PSALM 73 THE SUFFERING OF THE RIGHTEOUS; THE PROSPERITY OF THE WICKED.
The theme of this Psalm is one that man finds difficult to escape. (Read Psalm 37 & 49). It is the problem of Job. Why do the righteous suffer, and the wicked remain prosperous? The Psalm is divided into two parts:
1. The Psalmist confesses his temptation and relates how his faith has nearly failed him (Job:1—14).
2. He relates how he has come to see the error of his way and has come out victorious Job 15—28).
1. The Psalmist’s Triumph.
Surely, in spite of all that has been suffered, God is good, and only good, to Israel http://godsplan.org.uk/fulltentribes.htm. To such as are pure in heart—a clean heart is the “open sesame” to the goodness of God.
2—9 The Psalmists Danger. Here is the same situation in which Job found himself and, indeed, in which many saints have found themselves in every age. Verse 2 states that the Psalmist came near to apostasy; verses 3—9 give the cause of his danger—the unbroken prosperity of the wicked. There are no bands in their death—the wicked seem to die well. They do not suffer as the saints suffer, even when facing the “last enemy” Satan. Their strength is firm –calmly they go to death. Pride is as a chain about their neck—pride adorns them as a necklace and violence clothes them as a garment.
Job 29:14 I put on righteousness, and it clothed me: my judgment was as a robe and a diadem.
Their eyes stand out with fatness—out of the grossness of their hearts comes their wickedness—Against the heavens (verse 9)—they would even speak against God. Their tongue walketh through the earth—they speak arrogantly.
10—12 The Evil Influence of the Prosperous Wicked. Verse 10 probably means that the prosperous wicked gather many to their banners. The rich have many “hangers on.” How doth God know?—this is said by those deluded by the wicked. These are the wicked—i.e., the men the psalmist has just been describing. Because they are always at ease, they prosper. Nothing interferes with their prosperity.
07 Wherefore [why] do the wicked live, become old, yea, are mighty in power?
08 Their seed is established in their sight with them, and their offspring before their eyes.
09 Their houses are safe from fear, neither is the rod of God upon them.
10 Their bull gendereth, and faileth not; their cow calveth, and casteth not her calf.
11 They send forth their little ones like a flock, and their children dance.
12 They take the timbrel and harp, and rejoice at the sound of the organ.
13 They spend their days in wealth, and in a moment go down to the grave.
13—14 the Psalmist’s Temptation. The Psalmist says it is in vain that one leads a clean life; the other life pays better. I seek, he says, to meet the demands of righteousness, and for my pains I get only plagues and beatings, being chastened every morning.
15—17 Solution to the Psalmist’s Problem.. “If I state the feelings of my heart with reference to these things, I shall be unfaithful to those whom I influence. I have no right to bring doubt to others. When I sought the solution to my problem, it was too painful for me. It was too hard to understand.” Until I went into the sanctuary of God. There is the place to solve all problems. There went young Isaiah when his king was dead or dying, and his heart perplexed.
Isaiah 6:1 In the year that king Uzziah died I saw also the Lord sitting upon a throne, high and lifted up, and his train filled the temple.
Many have found the satisfying portion in times of deepest doubt in the house of the Lord. Considered their latter end. When in the midst of the services in God’s house I thought with Him who sees the end from the beginning, I grasped the meaning of it all. Prosperity is but for a day and chastened character stands out brilliantly against the darkening skies of a day of reckoning. “Success,” says Victor Hugo, is a very hideous thing and its resemblance to merit deceives men.”
18—20 The Ultimate Fate of the Wicked. When the veil is drawn aside the psalmist is astonished. Slippery places. A while ago it was the psalmist who thought he was in a slippery place. Now he sees clearly that it is the wicked even though he seem prosperous. Destruction, desolation, terrors—these are the heritage of those who prosper at the expense of right. Riches, palaces, plenty, are no guarantee of happiness. These are wicked as one awaking from a dream; they find their prosperity no more than a phantasm. They only thought they were prosperous, whereas in reality they were poor, blind, and wretched.
04 Knowest thou not this of old, since man was placed upon earth,
05 That the triumphing of the wicked is short, and the joy of the hypocrite but for a moment?
06 Though his excellency mount up to the heavens, and his head reach unto the clouds;
07 Yet he shall perish for ever like his own dung: they which have seen him shall say, Where is he?
08 He shall fly away as a dream, and shall not be found: yea, he shall be chased away as a vision of the night.
09 The eye also which saw him shall see him no more; neither shall his place any more behold him.
10 His children shall seek to please the poor, and his hands shall restore their goods.
11 His bones are full of the sin of his youth, which shall lie down with him in the dust.
21—22 The Psalmist’s Confession. As a beast before thee. The word translated “beast” is the Hebrew word Behemoth, (Greek river horse), which is translated in Job 40:15 as hippopotamus, he is now down in the depths of humility.
Behemoth = probably the hippopotamus. (Greek for river horse).A.B.C. & Companion Bible.
Full Definition of BEHEMOTH, often capitalized: a mighty animal described in (Job 40:15–24) as an example of the power of God: something of monstrous size, power... (Not a Hippopotamus)
15 Behold now behemoth, which I made with thee; he eateth grass as an ox.
16 Lo now, his strength is in his loins, and his force is in the navel of his belly.
17 He moveth his tail like a cedar: the sinews of his stones are wrapped together.
18 His bones are as strong pieces of brass; his bones are like bars of iron.
19 He is the chief of the ways of God: He that made him can make His sword to approach unto him.
20 Surely the mountains bring him forth food, where all the beasts of the field play.
21 He lieth under the shady trees, in the covert of the reed, and fens.
22 The shady trees cover him with their shadow; the willows of the brook compass him about.
23 Behold, he drinketh up a river, and hasteth not: he trusteth that he can draw up Jordan into his mouth.
24 He taketh it with his eyes: his nose pierceth through snares.
23—26 The Saint’s Permanent Fellowship with God. The psalmist contrasts his enjoyment of his fellowship with God with his former outlook on life. Thou hast holden my right hand—the high God stoops to lead weak and foolish man. Thou shalt guide me with Thy counsel—God will guide the one who puts his full trust in Him. Afterward receive me to glory (verse 24b). The question is: Does the psalmist have a conception of heaven as the N.T> writers had? Since he has submitted himself to the leadership of God, and realised his own inability, God will conduct him to high honour.
Verse 25 Furnishes a grand climax. Whom have in heaven but thee? and there is none upon earth that I desire beside Thee. The psalmist begins with a wail of despair from the depths of spiritual depression; but out of it comes, beginning with his going to the sanctuary of the Lord, and climbs this stairway of spiritual attainment, where his confidence and faith over-reach earth and sweep out to the heavens. God becomes his one great answer to all his questions, and the satisfaction of every desire, (and to the rest of us in prayer, if only we ask), Heart and flesh shall fail, but God is sufficient for all of his needs.
27—28 The Final Contrast Between the Wicked and the Righteous. The wicked whom I envied are marked for destruction, but the best thing for me is to draw near unto God. Having achieved a spiritual triumph he has an inexhaustible theme for his songs of praise.
Psalm 74 A Prayer For Vindication. God seems altogether to have abandoned His people. Their Temple is destroyed, their synagogues burned, no prophet is in the land, and the people have been humbled. The psalmist prays fervently for the return of God to his stricken people. He reminds Him of His mercy in the past, (as if He needs reminding) and describes the awful havoc wrought by the enemy.
1—3 An Appeal to God. Why hast thou cast us off forever?—the people cease to hope for better times; God seems permanently turned from them. Why doth Thine anger smoke?—the figure is a severe one. God’s anger is fierce. The smoke is the outward sign of the fire of His wrath. Moreover—it is against His sheep—the true shepherd loves His sheep. The picture is of the meek harmless ones.
Exodus 15:16 Fear and dread shall fall upon them; by the greatness of thine arm they shall be as still as a stone; till thy people pass over, O Lord, till the people pass over, which thou hast purchased.
The meaning is to set free by paying a ransom; it is often used for the deliverance of the children of Israel from Egyptian bondage, as well as with reference to the Babylonian Exile. http://godsplan.org.uk/fulltentribes.htm
Exodus 6:6 Wherefore say unto the children of Israel, I am the Lord, and I will bring you out from under the burdens of the Egyptians, and I will rid you out of their bondage, and I will redeem you with a stretched out arm, and with great judgments:
Thine Inheritance—the peculiar people of Jehovah. Mount Zion—remember the congregation and also the Holy Mount where the congregation meets. Disobedience brings retribution.
The Divine Warning Against the Foes. I will judge—God has not abdicated His throne; in His own good time He will take His place on the Judgement seat, and His judgement will be in righteousness. Though the earth dissolve and pass away, there is a moral order that stands sure and steadfast. I said unto the arrogant: Is this reference to Rabshakeh, the chief captain of Sennacherib. Lift not up the horn—deal not proudly, “it is the meek that shall inherit the earth.”
2 Kings 19:1—2
1 And it came to pass, when king Hezekiah heard it, that he rent his clothes, and covered himself with sackcloth, and went into the house of the Lord.
2 And he sent Eliakim, which was over the household, and Shebna the scribe, and the elders of the priests, covered with sackcloth, to Isaiah the prophet the son of Amoz..
Jehovah; The Supreme Arbiter of Human destiny. Lifting up—promotion. The north is the only direction not mentioned, it is thought by some because the Assyrian approached from the north. Help and exaltation cannot come from any direction; Jehovah alone can give it. Emptying the cup of judgement is a common figure. The wicked are forced to drain the dregs of the cup of their own iniquity.
Revelation 14:--9—11 .
09 And the third angel followed them, saying with a loud voice, If any man worship the beast and his image, and receive his mark in his forehead, or in his hand,
10 The same shall drink of the wine of the wrath of God, which is poured out without mixture into the cup of his indignation; and he shall be tormented with fire and brimstone in the presence of the holy angels, and in the presence of the Lamb:
11 And the smoke of their torment ascendeth up for ever and ever: and they have no rest day nor night, who worship the beast and his image, and whosoever receiveth the mark of his name.
http://www.godsplan.org.uk/significanceofnumbers.htm 666 Denotes the human number: Man was created on the sixth day; and this first occurrence of the number makes it (and all multiples of it) the hallmark of all connected with man. He works six days. The hours of his day are a multiple of six. Athaliah usurped the throne of Judah for six years. The great men who have stood out in defiance of God; (Goliath, Nebuchadnezzar, and Antichrist), are all emphatically marked by this number.
It is very important to know and understand that the Antichrist 666 will arrive on earth prior to Christ our Lord.
· Revelation 6:12: - Sixth Seal. 6 (Denotes the human number) 12 Denotes Government perfection, which have to do with government in the heavens and the earth.
· Revelation 9:13 - Sixth Trumpet. 6 9 - (Denotes Finality of Judgment). 13 Denotes rebellion, apostasy, defection, disintegration, revolution.
Revelation 16:12 - Sixth Vial. 6 (10+ 6 =16) - (10 Denotes ordinal perfection. 6. Denotes the human number). 12. Denotes Government perfection, which has to do with government in the heavens and the earth. (Goliath, Nebuchadnezzar, and Antichrist) are all emphatically marked by this number. Old Testament events serving as "ensamples" for the latter day events, how does this historical blueprint fit for our future? Instead of flesh pagan kings coming upon Jerusalem to siege and physically destroy, the latter day king of Babylon will be Satan and his angels as thorns and briers treading upon Jerusalem to do a spiritual destruction. According to Revelation 12:6 (note the numbers) forward, Satan and his angels will be booted out of Heaven down to this earth for the future tribulation; and that latter day working by the king of Babylon will be one of great deception. That is the type of devastation upon Jerusalem for the latter days.
Revelation 12:6 6 And the woman fled into the wilderness, where she hath a place prepared of God, that they should feed her there a thousand two hundred and threescore days.
A Vow of Praise. The psalmist declares his intention of ever singing the praises to Jehovah; V10 gives Jehovah’s answer to this vow of praise. I will cut off—Jehovah, YAHWEH, promises to destroy the wicked and to exalt the righteous. The wicked is the proud and arrogant enemy; the righteous are the psalmist and Israel which he represents.
7—9 The Irresistible Judgement of God. Who, in the face of this providence, can stand against God? He sweeps armies away with a breath. None are safe, except those who trust Him. The seat of Jehovah is really in heaven, but His earthly dwelling place was in Jerusalem. He now sits as a mighty Judge and gives forth sentence upon those of earth who fight against His meek ones. The earth feared, and was still when God arose to judgement. What an awful time, when God marches forth to take His place upon the judgement seat! The idea of the earth (v8b) entering into such experience is not confined to this passage. The evangelist tells that the earth expressed its sympathy when Jesus was crucified.
45 Now from the sixth hour there was darkness over all the land unto the ninth hour.
46 And about the ninth hour Jesus cried with a loud voice, saying, “Eli, Eli, lama sabachthani? that is to say, My God, My God, why hast thou forsaken Me?”
47 Some of them that stood there, when they heard that, said, This man calleth for Elias.
48 And straightway one of them ran, and took a spunge, and filled it with vinegar, and put it on a reed, and gave Him to drink.
49 The rest said, “Let be, let us see whether Elias will come to save him”.
50 Jesus, when he had cried again with a loud voice, yielded up the ghost.
51 And, behold, the veil of the temple was rent in twain from the top to the bottom; and the earth did quake, and the rocks rent.
52 And the graves were opened; and many bodies of the saints which slept arose,
10—12 Praise of the Triumphant God. Surely, the wrath of man shall praise thee. How many times has this been demonstrated throughout the years! God is not the author of wrath, but when wrath is made manifest He is present, and the very works of Satan are sometimes turned into the glory of God. Vow and pay. (v11)—let Israel now pay the vow she made to God in the time of peril. Many, when they face disaster, vow to give themselves or their time and property to God, but frequently they forget when the time of stress is over. Let everyone bring presents to Him when no peril exists. Jehovah is the King of kings (v12).
1—3 I will Cry and God Will Answer. Many seek the Lord only in the days of trouble, and it is good that we can turn to Him in our calamities; but sometimes it seems if prayers were not heard. My hand was stretched out—in prayer; Unrelieved sorrow—even the night brought no restful sleep. (v 3), describing a past experience should probably be translated: When I would remember God, I was so disquieted that I could not; When I would complain [or muse in prayer] I was unable to do so.
Conclusion. Thou leddest Thy people—expresses calm confidence in the final outcome of it all. As Jehovah led His people in the past, so He will care now for those who put their trust in Him. http://www.godsplan.org.uk/dispensationalplan.htm
Psalm 78: 1—8. The Psalmist Recalls the Past as a Means of Teaching the Future. As we have received from our fathers the traditions of the past, so we must give them to our children, and children’s children (vv3—4). This is a sacred duty, laid upon all parents according to the testimony (v5), the commandment given to Israel long ago.
Exodus 10:2 And that thou mayest tell in the ears of thy son, and of thy son's son, what things I have wrought in Egypt, and My signs which I have done among them; that ye may know how that I am the Lord.
26 And it shall come to pass, when your children shall say unto you, What mean ye by this service?
27 That ye shall say, It is the sacrifice of the Lord's Passover, who passed over the houses of the children of Israel in Egypt, when he smote the Egyptians, and delivered our houses. And the people bowed the head and worshipped.
Deuteronomy 4:9 Only take heed to thyself, and keep thy soul diligently, lest thou forget the things which thine eyes have seen, and lest they depart from thy heart all the days of thy life: but teach them thy sons, and thy sons' sons;
To obey these commandments is our only means of keeping faith with the fathers and preserving history for future religious education (v6). http://www.godsplan.org.uk/hebrew.htm
Thus may successive generations may see how God dealt with His people. This knowledge will enable them to avoid the mistakes of their fathers and to maintain and intensify their own faith (Vv 7—8). http://www.godsplan.org.uk/knowledge.htm
11—12 Israel’s Stubbornness: Then; as it is today http://godsplan.org.uk/fulltentribes.htm
In spite of the Divine mercy Israel (then as now) would have nothing to do with Jehovah. I let them go—God punishes His people by letting them go on until they realise that without Him they can but meet disaster. http://www.godsplan.org.uk/great%20tribulation2.htm
13—16 The Eternal mercy of God. If only Israel would turn to Him (See full ten tribes above) He would bless them abundantly; He would drive back their enemies and would make them come cringing to His people. The picture here is the same as in the parable of the prodigal son (Luke 15:11—32 KJV): He ever longs for the return of His prodigal children (Prodigal = one who has returned after an absence). Finest of the Wheat—literally, “fat of the wheat.” The final consummation is that Jehovah would give His people the best, and out of the hardest experiences He would bring them honey and rich bread. How wonderful are the mercies of God.
Psalm 82:1—4 The Arrangement of the Unjust Judges. Congregation of God—an assembly called by God Himself for a judicial session. Gods—not Divine beings, but judges who administer Divinely given laws and possess Divinely bestowed authority. The charge is that they practice injustice and partiality; they are exhorted (To urge by strong, often stirring argument, admonition, advice, or appeal) instead to give special consideration to the poor and needy.
1 And there shall come forth a rod out of the stem of Jesse, and a Branch shall grow out of his roots:
2 And the spirit of the Lord shall rest upon him, the spirit of wisdom and understanding, the spirit of counsel and might, the spirit of knowledge and of the fear of the Lord;
3 And shall make him of quick understanding in the fear of the Lord: and he shall not judge after the sight of his eyes, neither reprove after the hearing of his ears:
4 But with righteousness shall he judge the poor, and reprove with equity for the meek of the earth: and he shall smite the earth: with the rod of his mouth, and with the breath of his lips shall he slay the wicked.
5 And righteousness shall be the girdle of his loins, and faithfulness the girdle of his reins.
5—7 Their Sentence. The judges are morally blind and incompetent; hence judgement must fall. Ye are Gods—Jehovah exalted them highly; but now they must die like common men; they shall fall like other princes who failed in their trust.
8. The Judge of the Earth. The trial is over; God alone stands out as a righteous Judge. The psalmist appeals to Him to take possession of all the nations as their sovereign and Judge.
The Blessing and Strength of God.
Peters translates verse 5 as “Happy is he whose strength is in thee! (they have crossed the causeway in the midst thereof.)” This would support the view that these verses describe the route of the procession; but the translation “in whose heart are the highways to Zion” is preferable. “They have made a well in the valley of weeping” (V 6) The Pool of Siloam is in this ancient graveyard.
Throughout the stanza, Peters, influenced by his view of the original purpose of the Psalm, takes much liberty with the text. In most instances the Masoretic text is preferable, and the English translation expresses the thought acceptably.
Psalm 85 PRAYER FOR GOD’S MERCY UPON THE NATION.
Mercies already received inspire the psalmist to pray for further manifestations of the Divine favour (Vv 1—7) and to expect the complete fulfilment of his prayer in an ideal future (Vv 8—13). It may have been written after the return of the exiles during the days of Nehemiah and Ezra. Only a small group of Jews returned at this time and they had a hard time rebuilding the walls and the Temple because of the opposition of different peoples living about Jerusalem, as well as from their own people. The hard times will pass and the Divine promises for the future will be realised. http://godsplan.org.uk/messianicage.htm
8—13 Jehovah’s Response. The psalmist hears the Divine blessings will come to them who put their trust in Him. I will hear—means, “Let me hear what the Lord God will speak” (Ears to hear”). In the restoration http://www.godsplan.org.uk/restoration.htm and the reviving God will once again speak, and I shall once again hear what He has to say. Communication is restored through forgiveness. Let them turn not again to folly—only through continued obedience to God’s will can His goodwill be retained. Salvation is for them who fear [revere] God (v9). That glory may dwell in our land. Ezekiel saw the vision of the glory of Jehovah departing from the Temple.
Ezekiel 10:18 Then the glory of the Lord departed from off the threshold of the house, and stood over the Cherubims.
Now with the fear of God and His salvation restored, that glory may well come and dwell here again. Glory—Symbolic of the presence of God. Vv10—11 enumerate the Divine attributes and human virtues which serve as the basis of a life of fellowship between God and man. Mercy and Truth, Righteousness and Peace—mercy on the part of God and Truth on the part of man are the fundamentals of restoration. Truth springs out of the earth and righteousness looks down from heaven. Earth and heaven meet in man’s redemption http://godsplan.org.uk/christtheredeemer.htm . Permanent peace can only exist on a foundation of righteousness. V12 promises that material prosperity will result from obedience to God. This is quite in harmony with the general teaching of the O.T.: If man does his part, God will certainly do His, which is to supply the needs of His worshippers. Righteousness opens the path for the righteous to walk in (v13).
11—17 Prayer for Deliverance and Promise of Gratitude. Teach me…unite my heart—teach me that my heart may not be divided; that I may have singleness of purpose. for verses 12 & 13 compare;
Psalm 9:1 I will praise thee, O Lord, with my whole heart; I will shew forth all thy marvellous works.
Psalm 50:15, 23
15 And call upon Me in the day of trouble: I will deliver thee, and thou shalt glorify Me.
23 Whoso offereth praise glorifieth Me: and to him that ordereth his conversation aright will I shew the salvation of God.
09 I will praise thee, O Lord, among the people: I will sing unto Thee among the nations.
10 For Thy mercy is great unto the heavens, and Thy truth unto the clouds..
The psalmist is in serious trouble (v14, compare Psalm 54:3); but he has every confidence in God (v15 compare Exodus 34: 6).
Psalm 54:3 For strangers are risen up against me, and oppressors seek after my soul: they have not set God before them. Selah.
Selah; is a word used seventy-four times in the Hebrew Bible —seventy-one times in the Psalms and three times in Habakkuk. The meaning of the word is not known.
Exodus 34: 6 And the Lord passed by before him, and proclaimed, The Lord, The Lord God, merciful and gracious, longsuffering, and abundant in goodness and truth,
Let God give some sign of encouragement that will not only help the one pleading, but will also serve notice on his enemies that God is mindful of him (v17).
Psalm 87 ZION THE METROPOLIS OF JEHOVAH’S KINGDOM.
Psalm 86:9 All nations whom Thou hast made shall come and worship before Thee, O Lord; and shall glorify Thy name.
Follows closely on the proclamation of Psalm 86:9. The franchise of the Kingdom of God http://godsplan.org.uk/futurekingdom.htm (see http://www.godsplan.org.uk/threestages1.htm link scroll down to bottom of page) is conferred upon the proselytes as though it were theirs by right of birth. In this the Psalm is unique. The most despised enemies of Israel are seen coming into this new kingdom and becoming its very sons. Thus the Psalm sets forth the international character of the Kingdom of God, as recognised even more strongly in the N.T.
Galatians 4:26 But Jerusalem which is above is free, which is the mother of us all.
Ephesians 2:12, 19
12 That at that time ye were without Christ, being aliens from the commonwealth of Israel, and strangers from the covenants of promise, having no hope, and without God in the world:
19 Now therefore ye are no more strangers and foreigners, but fellowcitizens with the saints, and of the household of God;
It breathes the spirit of the “Servant Songs” in Isaiah 40—53. While the Psalm is assigned to the age of Hezekiah, it is probably a post-exilic production.
4—6 Zion the Centre of God’s Kingdom.
God now speaks in the first person. The nations of the outside world shall come to be enrolled as His children. Rahoo = Egypt. Babylon—long the enemy of Israel. Philistia, Tyre Psalm 83:7 Gebal, and Ammon, and Amalek; the Philistines with the inhabitants of Tyre;--the minor nations along the seacoasts. Ethiopia—Cush, south of Egypt. This one was born there. Each and every one of the nations mentioned is by this decree recognised as the son of God, with all the rights and privileges of such Sonship. Egypt, the world power of the south, Babylonia, the world power of the north and east, and both of them ever the enemy of Israel; Philistia, a frequent disturber of Israel’s peace. Tyre, a Phœnician city which in the prosperity of her commerce and wealth had despised Israel; distant Ethiopia, famous for great warriors—all of these shall be brought before Israel in the holy capital, and it shall be said, this one and that one were born there, and by this edict shall become citizens as though they had actually been born in Israel. It is God’s purpose to reconcile all nations to Him-self. Zion shall then become the “Mother, dear Jerusalem” for all nations.(v5). When Jehovah makes up His census He will write down the names of those who were born in her, and those who have come in by the second birth (v6).
7. Universal Rejoicing. With rejoicing the children of Zion (v5) will greet their mother. The verse may be translated: “They that sing and they that dance shall say, ‘All my springs are in thee’”—springs or fountains of salvation. All the good they enjoy comes from their mother, who in turn receives it from Jehovah.
1—6 God An Everlasting Refuge. LORD—Hebrew Adonai; (See Appendix 4, viii 2 http://levendwater.org/companion/append4.html ) The title by which Jehovah is known as the ruler of the universe. Dwelling Place—habitation, place of refuge; God is our home. In all generations—from generation to generation; i.e. at all times, forever. Mountains—thought to be the oldest of God’s creation. Brought forth = begotten. Thou hadst formed—literally, “didst travail in birth with.” The writer places himself back in the primordial time and conceives of God travailing (Work, especially when arduous or involving painful effort) in the struggle to bring forth Creation (fallen earth). The Spirit of God was brooding over the abyss.
Deuteronomy 32:18 Of the Rock that begat thee thou art unmindful, and hast forgotten God that formed thee.
Genesis 12:7 And the Lord God formed man of the dust of the ground, and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life; and man became a living soul.
Genesis 1:27 So God created man in his own image, in the image of God created He him; male and female created He them.
.Job 38:8, 28--29
08 Or who shut up the sea with doors, when it brake forth, as if it had issued out of the womb?
28 Hath the rain a father? or who hath begotten the drops of dew?
29 Out of whose womb came the ice? and the hoary frost of heaven, who hath gendered it?
Before all this took place, ere the “morning stars sang together and all the sons of God shouted for joy.”
Job 38:7 When the morning stars sang together, and all the sons of God shouted for joy?
Long before the Creation (of the fallen earth) God was. He was and is.
Exodus 3:14 And God said unto Moses, “I Am That I Am:” and He said, “Thus shalt thou say unto the children of Israel, I Am hath sent me [Moses] unto you.”
Not only the universe, but man is dependent entirely on God. Thou turnest man to destruction—or “dust” (v3). Man in comparison to God is a thing of dust rapidly returning to dust from whence he was made.
Ecclesiastes 12:7 Then shall the dust return to the earth as it was: and the spirit shall return unto God who gave it.
Return—a call to a new generation to take the place of those so rapidly passing from the stage of action. A Thousand Years (v4)—another figure to impress upon the reader or hearer the eternal stretches of time in the mind of God compared to man.
2 Peter 3:8 But, beloved, be not ignorant of this one thing, that one day is with the Lord as a thousand years, and a thousand years as one day.
A thousand years when it is passing is but as the closing of day, with all its experiences fresh in mind. A Watch in the Night. In O.T. times the night was divided into three watches. The N.T., division into four Matt 14:25 is of Roman origin. What passes more quickly than the hours in which we sleep! A thousand years to God is are but as a watch through which one has slept.. To God there is neither yesterday nor tomorrow; He lives in the eternal present. Time is purely a human element and only the finite “Shapes the shadow, Time.”
Judges 7:19 So Gideon, and the hundred men that were with him, came unto the outside of the camp in the beginning of the middle watch; and they had but newly set the watch: and they blew the trumpets, and brake the pitchers that were in their hands.
1 Samuel 11:11 And it was so on the morrow, that Saul put the people in three companies; and they came into the midst of the host in the morning watch, and slew the Ammonites until the heat of the day: and it came to pass, that they which remained were scattered, so that two of them were not left together.
Matthew 14:25 And in the fourth watch of the night Jesus went unto them, walking on the sea.
Thou carriest them away as a flood. The entire sentence is but a single Hebrew word; it emphasises the suddenness of destruction http://www.godsplan.org.uk/stormcoming.htm . Sleep—either, they are as those who are asleep; or “they fall asleep,” in the sleep of death. In v 6 man is compared to grass which, indeed, groweth up with the morning dews; but in the heat of the day it is scorched, and in the evening withers and becomes worthless.
7—12 Misery of a Life Spent Under Divine Displeasure. It is bad enough that life is brief and uncertain; it is worse to live it under the cloud of God’s wrath, caused by human sin. We—the nation Israel http://godsplan.org.uk/fulltentribes.htm.
Troubled—or dismayed, because of Divine judgements. Sins—the light of God’s countenance usually expresses His favour, but here it is like the searching rays of the midday sun, from which there is nothing hidden; the people’s sin stands revealed before Him.
All our days are passed away—our brief day has turned, without value, toward the evening. It has been a day of wrath and there is no sign of light at evening time.
A tale—literally, a sound, or sigh. The years pass as quickly as a sigh, which is an expression of weariness or sorrow.
The life of man is at best but brief (v10). Three score and ten (70), or even four score years (80) is the most that men can hope for, and few realise such an old age; but if they do, they must confess at the end that it has meant nothing but weariness and disappointment. Who knoweth the power of thine anger? (v11.) Who can know how long it will last and how to fear [revere] Him so as to protect himself against God’s fierceness toward sin? Since man is ignorant God must help him.
So teach us—give us that discernment which we lack. (Discernment the quality of being able to grasp and comprehend what is obscure :), so that we may know how to secure the Divine favour and good will.
3—4 The Powers of Earth Threaten Jehovah’s Reign in Vain. Rivers at flood tide, oceans rising in the face of storms, thundering waters, and raging storms cannot shake the everlasting throne. Exile, persecution, and death may not destroy God’s people. They can only destroy themselves. In the midst of the storms and raging tumultuous waves rises the voice of God high above them all.
12—15 Jehovah Will Ultimately Care For His Own. Happy are the victims of cruel oppression who wait upon God, for their time will surely come! It is an educational process. Chastenest (v12)—Israel is being Divinely educated, and the teaching revealed will give Israel such an insight into God’s ways that oppression will be endured calmly until the day of retribution.
Unto Righteousness (V15) The administration of justice will be such that all good men will long for it, and follow after it.
Psalm 95 3—5 God is not to be compared with the impotent gods of the heathen. King—the kingship of Jehovah is the main thought in this collection of “Royal Psalms.” The tremendous places of the earth, unexplored by man, are all under His control. From the oceans mysterious depths to the mystical heights of the mountains is the sweep of Divine control (v4). He is King over nations and nature. The sea and the dry land belong to their Creator. The sea seemed most mysterious by many Jews, and was supposed to be outside the realm of Jehovah, but the psalmist reminds us that God made and governs all.
7—9 The Whole earth Exhorted to Acknowledge Jehovah. God is to be praised with our voices, with our substance, with lives of beauty and holiness. Beauty of holiness is ever the adornment of His saints, they need no other.
Psalm 29:2 Give unto the Lord the glory due unto his name; worship the Lord in the beauty of holiness.
10—13 Jehovah the God of All Nations. Say among the heathen: God hath proclaimed Himself King over all. Jehovah reigns not over Israel only, but over the entire world. He is so gracious and glorious that all nature is joyous in its expressions (v11). When the Kingship of Jehovah is universally established, the whole universe will be permeated with a spirit of joy. Therefore (v13) let all nation rejoice in the day of His coronation: He comes to establish righteousness in all the earth. http://www.godsplan.org.uk/jehovah%27sword.htm. This note of universalism characterises many psalms, and was a developed feature of Israel’s religion http://www.godsplan.org.uk/religionofisrael.htm.
Psalm 98 4—6. Let the Whole Earth Worship Jehovah. Salute Jehovah as He assumes His seat upon His universal throne. Use the harp and all other kinds of music in praise of Him. Use every means of giving Him a great welcome at His coronation.
Psalm 100. In the praise of Jehovah All Mankind is to Regain its Lost Unity.
“All people that on earth do dwell
Sing to the Lord with cheerful voice.” (It is the basis of Old Hundred)
One essential element of worship is “joy” (Vv1—2). Worship also includes the “recognition of God” (v3); Sheep of His pasture—a figure dear to the heart of an Easterner. We enter into His gates thanking Him for His mercy and praise Him when we are in His courts. We enter God’s Temple not because of duty, but because we love Him; remembering all His goodness to us, we enter into His presence with praise and pleasure. V 5 further describes the character of God. God is more than just—His mercy is everlasting, and all generations will know the truth of Him. The amazing thing to them and us is that, after all our backslidings and meanness, God takes us back and loves us still. “Old Hundred” seems to burst forth from the psalmist’s heart, after the contemplation of
Psalms 95—99, while thinking upon Israel and all her backslidings, and her restoration by a merciful God to a new home and a new Temple. As a Shepherd, God brought back His sheep to the home pasture http://godsplan.org.uk/messianicage.htm
1—5 Self Exhortation to Praise God. My soul, Hebrew Nephesh = myself = my inner being http://www.godsplan.org.uk/nephesh.htm . All the spiritual faculties and powers of self are summoned to praise God. http://www.godsplan.org.uk/earthlytabernacle.htm
Holy name = Holy character, as shown in manifestations in history. Forget not (v2)—remember all that God has done for you. Count your blessings and praise God accordingly. The surcease of punishment (cessation; especially: a temporary respite or end) is evidence of forgiveness (v3). Diseases—ailments, bodily, mentally, and spiritual. God is the Great Physician, who can make men whole. He can snatch the sick man from the very jaws of death. From destruction—from the grave. God has redeemed the people from certain annihilation. Crowneth—a splendid metaphor. God’s people are clothed with the garments of holiness and crowned with kindness and mercy.
Job 29:14 I put on righteousness, and it clothed me: my judgment was as a robe and a diadem.
Jehovah is the giver of every “good and perfect gift.” Thy mouth (v5) = thy desire or appetite; possibly “thy years.” The Targum http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Targum interprets “the days of old age.” The translation, “who adorns thee to the full with goodliness” brings out more clearly the usual meaning of the words. God is the fountain of immortal youth. Like the eagle—the plain meaning of the passage is that those who trust in Jehovah shall ever be strong and buoyant as the eagle.
Isaiah 40:31 But they that wait upon the Lord shall renew their strength; they shall mount up with wings as eagles; they shall run, and not be weary; and they shall walk, and not faint.
15—18 Man May Pull Away, But God’s mercy Endures Forever. In verses 15—16 is the familiar figure of grass to illustrate man’s transitions. Man = mankind in general. Mankind moves like a swift river toward the sea of death. On the other hand (v17) God is eternal, and His mercy likewise never fails. Man may pass from the stage of action and another generation take his place—but the same God exercises the same mercy toward all the changing generations of men.
Children—are the inheritors of the grace vouchsafed (to grant or bestow) to the fathers. All these promises belong to those who keep His covenant and remember His commandments to do them.
Psalm 104:5—9 The Formation of the Earth.
The conditions of primeval conditions are here described, when the vast void was conceived as a liquid mass. If there were mountains, they had not yet appeared; (so claims the A.B.C.)
2 Peter 3:56
5 For this they willingly are ignorant of, that by the word of God the heavens were of old, and the earth standing out of the water and in the water:
6 Whereby the world that then was, being overflowed with water, perished:
We have here a remarkable description of God rebuking or driving back the waters. His thunderous voice frightens them and they hasten away. Mountains and valleys appear in the places He has prepared for them. He sets for them bounds that they should remain in their appointed places. The whole is a poetic parallel of http://godsplan.org.uk/pastpresentfuture.htm.
09 And God said, “Let the waters under the heaven be gathered together unto one place, and let the dry land appear: and it was so.”
10 And God called the dry land Earth; and the gathering together of the waters called He Seas: and God saw that it was good.
Contrast Between Jehovah and Heathen Gods. How different! Their Idols—humanly built and in human likeness, they do not even have the human intellect. They have every physical attribute of the human being but are utterly impotent as to the use of any of them.
Psalms 115: 5—7
5 They have mouths, but they speak not: eyes have they, but they see not:
6 They have ears, but they hear not: noses have they, but they smell not:
7 They have hands, but they handle not: feet have they, but they walk not: neither speak they through their throat.
They that make them shall be like unto them—As the gods, so the men. We are no better than the gods we make and we rise no higher than our conception of the Deity (the rank or essential nature of the true God).
5—6 Revelation of God’s Character. Jehovah not only hears, but He hears graciously and mercifully. These are the amazing attributes of Jehovah. His sovereignty is a matter of course, and His justice all would expect, but grace and mercy for a sinful race are far more comforting,
Exodus 34:6 And the Lord passed by before him, and proclaimed, The Lord, The Lord God, merciful and gracious, longsuffering, and abundant in goodness and truth,
Preserveth the simple (v6)—how comforting that is! Earthly potentates (a term for a person with potent, sometimes supreme, power) are usually impatient with ignorance and weakness; not so God. The simple are the objects of His special care and sympathy. A proof that He preserveth the simple is that I was brought low and he helped me.
7—9 Self Encouragement on the Basis of God’s Mercy. Return unto thy rest, O my soul—cease taking anxious thought for the morrow, and rest in that blessed thought which walks with God in the night as well as in the light. Jehovah has delivered me from death, tears, and stumbling. Therefore since God has been so gracious to me, I, on my part, will walk before Him, as His own, as long as I live.
Psalm 120 5—8 Promise of Constant Care. A comforting thought. The Divine care is described under various figures. Shade upon thy right hand—or south; the Jew faced the East. The sun is a constant peril to the traveller; but God may be “a rock in a weary land,” under which the traveller may hide from the pitiless sun. The moon by night—the desert caravans move mostly by night. Thy going out and thy coming in. If it refers primarily to the pilgrimage, the meaning is, “The Lord will be with the pilgrim when he starts on his pilgrimage and will bring him safely home again.” It is, however, capable of a larger interpretation. The going out and coming in may refer to all interests of human life. God preserves our going out across the threshold in the morning, and our returning in the evening. He preserves the going out of youth from the home in the morning of life and its successful close. He preserves our coming into the world and will see to the crossing of the threshold into our Father’s house eternal.
Psalm 123 The Eye of Hope Turned Upward. In verse 1 the emphasis is on the word thee. There is something intensely personal about many of the expressions of the psalms, e.g. “Against thee, thee only have I sinned,”
Psalm 51:4 Against thee, thee only, have I sinned, and done this evil in thy sight: that thou mightest be justified when thou speakest, and be clear when thou judgest.
This is the place to which every supplicant must come before he can hope for a satisfactory answer. In the heavens—the petitioner even looks up http://www.godsplan.org.uk/jehovah%27sword.htm . God is on high, at least in the sense of ethical conception.
Eyes of servants look unto their master—watching to catch the first move of command, in order to obey instantly and if possible to anticipate the master’s wishes. So the psalmist looks unto the hand of his great master, ready to receive or give, but ever ready to obey. Until He have mercy—we do not pray for justice but for the abounding and ever enduring mercy of God. http://www.godsplan.org.uk/theinformativestars.htm
Psalm 127 Utter Dependence upon Jehovah. This psalm has been called the Hebrew “Cotter’s Saturday Night”—and not unfittingly. Man’s labour without God’s blessing is disappointing; He bestows His blessings only upon those who love Him; a large family is a special blessing from God, for it will bring respect and influence to the earthly father. It refers to the building of any home or the setting up of any family.
3 And I said unto them, Let not the gates of Jerusalem be opened until the sun be hot; and while they stand by, let them shut the doors, and bar them: and appoint watches of the inhabitants of Jerusalem, everyone in his watch, and every one to be over against his house.
4 Now the city was large and great: but the people were few therein, and the houses were not builded.
1—2 Man’s Dependence upon God. There is no use to build unless you build unto God. Material building is all in vain unless great spiritual interests are housed therein. No use to watch a city unless Jehovah also keeps watch. There is no success without Jehovah. Nothing is fruitful in man’s hands without God’s sanction. The house is not the Temple, or the city Jerusalem; house or home building and city watching represent samples of ordinary human undertakings. The most strenuous efforts are vain without God (v2). If you work with Him, He gives all necessary things to you “even while you sleep.” It has been suggested that the Hebrew Shena, = “sleep,” The verse is not to be interpreted as discouraging hard work—laziness is strongly condemned in the O.T.,
(E.g. Pro 6:9 forward. 31; 15, 27.); it means rather, that God’s children should not spend all their lives in the drudgery of accumulating material things, but take time for rest and social development. It is not enough to make a living, one must also live.
3—5 Children are God’s Gift. The Psalm is composite (made up of distinct parts): this is the second half. Children are the joy and defence of their father—this is the theme. They are a heritage (verse 3b; expanded in Psalm 128). Children born in the father’s young manhood (verse 4b) will be his protectors in his old age. The gate (v5c)—the place of council and judgement (Isa 29:21. Amos 5: 10, 12, 15). The father who has strong sons need not fear for his cause.
Psalm 128 The Fear [reverence] of God are the Best Basis for a Happy Family Life. This psalm is closely connected with the preceding. It presents the refreshing picture of a family contented and happy, prosperous, and peaceful. One can almost see this happy farmer, returning at evening time from his fields of plenty to his home, where a happy loving family await him. Such homes form the bulwark of any nation. A happy family life has always been the glory and pride of the Hebrews. The Psalmist knows that the fear [reverence] of God is the best basis for it. The psalmist offers a solution: to man-made problems Fear God, which will lead to a happy family life which, in turn, will mean prosperity for the state.
1—4. Domestic Happiness a Reward of Godliness. Feareth…walketh—happy is he who worships God, and in whom this worship bears the fruit of right conduct. The labour of thy hands. Man must toil, but God will bless the labour of a righteous man; he shall be happy and prosperous, and the fruits of his toil shall not be taken from him by robbers. In addition to the necessities of life he will have what gives beauty, joy and permanence. Surely the man who fears [revers] Jehovah shall thus be blessed.
Psalm 130. 5—8 Assured of the Divine Forgiveness, Psalmist and People can Afford to Wait. Wait—the expectancy of the soul; sometimes God requires waiting as a discipline; hope is in the Divine promises; it is harder to wait than to work.
More than watchmen—the soul waits for God’s answer more eagerly than the watchman waits for the dawn. O Israel, hope (v7)—a strong exhortation to Israel to join the psalmist in hope, in faith in God, Who is merciful and will give pardon graciously and “life abundant.” God will surely take away the calamities that are the result of Israel’s wickedness, and even wickedness itself. http://godsplan.org.uk/fulltentribes.htm
Psalm 139. THE EVER ABIDING PRESENCE OF GOD.
This is one of the grandest Psalms in the entire collection, if not, indeed, the best of them all. Its tone is high, and its conception of the personal and highly spiritual nature of God rises to glorious heights. It has been called “the crown of the Psalter.” It’s main theme is “God Cares.” He cares personally and individually. It is the O.T.’s highest conception of the relationship of God to the individual soul.
A Psalm of David = by David. The words alleged to be Chaldaics in verses 3, 4, 8, 20, are found in the earlier books such as Lev 1 & 2 Sam. There is no internal evidence of non-Davidic authorship. Though it is argued in the A.B.C. that the Psalm is not Davidic; though on very weak grounds.
3 Lord, what is man, that thou takest knowledge of him! or the son of man, that thou makest account of him!
4 Man is like to vanity: his days are as a shadow that passeth away.
Psalm 145:13—17 Jehovah Desires to Make Known Himself, His Works, His \Purpose. The purpose of His manifestations is to reveal His mighty acts to the children of men (v 12). God’s rule cannot be measured by time; it is yesterday, today, and forever (v13).
Daniel 4:31 While the word was in the king's mouth, there fell a voice from heaven, saying, O king Nebuchadnezzar, to thee it is spoken; The kingdom is departed from thee.
Jehovah is the great comforter of the burdened heart and the helper of the fallen (V14). He is able to supply every need; He takes care of every creature; He is the Great Head of the house, the Great provider for all the needs of His household, in due season (v15). Every living thing is satisfied from the bounty of Jehovah. When He opens His hand all His household is satisfied (v16). God is holy (v17), eternally right and merciful.
18—21 Jehovah is Ready to Hear and Answer Prayer. Jehovah will help any child that calls upon Him sincerely, and He is ever near enough to hear (v18). When there is no response we have not called in TRUTH; otherwise His righteousness, i.e. His loyalty, to the covenant relationship would surely bring an answer.
Concerning Vv 19, & 20, Kirkpatrick says: “Fear and love are the inseparable elements of TRUE religion. Fear preserves love from degenerating into presumptuous familiarity; love prevents fear from being servile and cringing dread.” V 21 reiterates the resolution that the psalmist shall never cease to praise God, and he challenges all humanity to join in his praise.
Psalm 146 Jehovah the One True Helper. 3--4 Warning Against Putting Trust in Men. There is no need to trust in princes or any other man, for they return to the earth from whence they came, and their purposes with them. The grave levels every caste (hereditary transmission of a lifestyle) and irons out every difference of social standing; pauper and prince lie down together, inheritor of six feet of sod. God alone abides and retains His power.
5—10 From the Helplessness of Man to the Power of Jehovah. The psalmist contrasts the helplessness of the trust in man with the hope born of trust in God (v5); also the weakness of man with the might of the Creator who made heaven and earth (v6).
http://www.godsplan.org.uk/theinformativestars.htm This powerful God is also good (v7), as He has revealed time and again in the history of Israel http://www.godsplan.org.uk/hebrew.htm and in His dealings with men in general.
Psalm 103:6 The Lord executeth righteousness and judgment for all that are oppressed.
Psalm 107:9 For He satisfieth the longing soul, and filleth the hungry soul with goodness.
With this verse and v 8 compare ;
1 And it came to pass, when Jesus had made an end of commanding his twelve disciples, he departed thence to teach and to preach in their cities.
2 Now when John had heard in the prison the works of Christ, he sent two of his disciples,
3 And said unto him, Art thou he that should come, or do we look for another?
4 Jesus answered and said unto them, Go and shew John again those things which ye do hear and see:
5 The blind receive their sight, and the lame walk, the lepers are cleansed, and the deaf hear, the dead are raised up, and the poor have the gospel preached to them.
6 And blessed is he, whosoever shall not be offended in me.
Strangers (v 9)—better “sojourners”; i.e. resident aliens who have no right of citizenship; for these and all others who need His help He cares, but He destroys the wicked. His reign is not transitory as is that of earthly kings, but eternal (v10).
Psalm 148 7—13 Call to Earth to Praise its Creator. The creatures of the earth should praise God. Dragons, and all deeps—the sea monsters, the inhabitants of the sea with the sea itself. Genesis 1:21 And God created great whales, and every living creature that moveth, which the waters brought forth abundantly, after their kind, and every winged fowl after his kind: and God saw that it was good.
All that is in the sea is called upon to praise Jehovah; thus Israel, who feared the sea, is reminded that God governs the sea as well as the land. How beautiful is the thought (v8) that even the storms raging about us are but divine messengers. Lightning, hail, snow, vapour, and stormy wind are all doing God’s will and are fulfilling His word. The summons in (Vv 9—12) includes mountains, trees, beasts, creeping things, flying fowl, men, kings, and princes. All these without distinction of caste or station, are called upon to praise God., catching the spirit of the general outburst of adoration. Let all of them praise Him whose name is excellent and whose glory is above the heavens. http://www.godsplan.org.uk/jehovah%27sword.htm
Psalm 150 AN EXPRESSION OF HIGHEST JOY. This mighty burst of praise is a fitting end to the book which above all other books of the Bible expresses the whole range of human experience: Love, Life, Joy, Sorrow, Disappointment, Sin, Repentance, Comfort, Condemnation, and Imprecation (a prayer that harm will come to someone)—every sort of human frailty and faith. But at last, when the whole question has been gone over and the conclusion of the whole matter has been reached, there is the highest reason for praising God with the whole being and for shouting forth His praise with this trumpet like song. The answer to all questions and all conditions of life and experience is: “Praise Jehovah, Hallelujah.”
Praise God—Hebrew El, The God of Power; http://levendwater.org/companion/append4.html
Sanctuary = heaven, the abode of God;
Firmament = the foundation of His sanctuary, for God’s dwelling is above the firmament.
Mighty…acts….excellent greatness—manifested in His dealings with men, in personal experiences and in nature. Trumpet…Psaltery… Harp—praise Him with all the instruments which can be used (v3). The picture is of a great holy day of spiritual exultation, when all of the choirs will join in songs of praise; first in heaven, or the sanctuary of God set upon the mighty firmament of the skies, where angels sing; then in the earthly Temple, either with the voice of nature, which ever praises God, or with the instruments devised by the cunning hands of man, for this very purpose. Choir, orchestra and congregation are called into this mighty oratorio that wells up from earth and challenges the heavens until the psalmist, in a great finale, cries out, “Let everything that hath breath praise the Lord.”