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The Psalms are full of such exalted strains of piety and devotion, such beautiful and animated descriptions of the power, the wisdom, the mercy, the goodness of God, that it is impossible for any one to read them without feeling his heart inflamed with the most ardent affection towards the great Creator and Governour of the universe. Bp. Porteus.
The Psalms are an epitome of the Bible, adapted to the purposes of devotion. They treat occasionally of the creation and formation of the world; the dispensations of Providence, and the economy of grace; the transactions of the patriarchs, the exodus of the children of Israel; their journey through the wilderness, and their settlement in Canaan; their law, priesthood, and ritual; the exploits of their great men wrought through faith; their sins and captivities, their repentances and restorations; the sufferings and victories of David; the peaceful and happy reign of Solomon; the advent of the Messiah, with its effects and consequences; His incarnation, birth, life, passion, death, resurrection, ascension, kingdom, and priesthood; the effusion of the Spirit, the conversion of the Gentiles, the rejection of the Jews; the establishment, increase, and perpetuity of the Christian church; the end of the world, the general judgment, the condemnation of the wicked, and the final triumph of the righteous with their Lord and King. These are the subjects by them presented to our imaginations. We are instructed how to conceive the subjects aright, and how to express the different affections, which, when conceived aright, they must excite in our minds. In the language of this Divine Book, the prayers of the Church have been offered up to the throne of grace from age to age. And it appears to have been the manual of the Son of God in the days of His flesh; who at the conclusion of His supper is generally supposed, and that upon good grounds, to have sung an hymn taken from it; who pronounced upon the cross the beginning of the twentysecond Psalm, "My God, My God, why hast Thou forsaken Me?" and expired with a part of the thirty-first in His mouth," Into Thy hands I commend My spirit." Thus He, who spake as never man spake, chose to conclude His life, to solace Himself in His greatest agony, and at last to breathe out His soul, in the Psalmist's form of words rather than His own. No tongue of man, or angel, as Dr. Hammond justly observes, can convey a higher idea of any book, and of their felicity who use it right.
Let us stop for a moment to contemplate the true character of these sacred hymns. Greatness confers no exemption from the pains and sorrows of life. This the Israelitish monarch experienced. He sought in piety that peace which he could not find in empire, and alleviated the disquietudes of state with the exercises of devotion.
His invaluable Psalms convey those comforts to others which they afforded to himself. Composed upon particular occasions, yet designed for general use; delivered out as services for Israelites under the Law, yet no less adapted to the circumstances of Christians under the Gospel: they present religion to us in the most engaging dress; communicating truths which philosophy could never investigate, in a style which poetry can never equal. Calculated alike to profit and to please, they inform the understanding, elevate the affections, and entertain the imagination. Indited under the influence of Him, to whom all hearts are open, and all events foreknown, they suit mankind in all situations, grateful as the manna which descended from above, and conformed itself to every palate. The fairest productions of human wit, after a few perusals, like gathered flowers, wither in our hands, and lose their fragrancy; but these unfading plants of paradise become, as we are more accustomed to them, still more and more beautiful; their bloom appears to be daily heightened, fresh odours are emitted, and new sweets are extracted from them. He who has once tasted their excellencies, will desire to taste them again; and he who tastes them oftenest, will relish them best. Bp. Horne.
The Jews, at some uncertain period, divided the Book of Psalms into five sections or books, probably in imitation of the division of the Pentateuch. These divisions end respectively with the 41st, the 72nd, the 89th, the 106th, and the 150th. The first four books of this division terminate with the word Amen, and with a peculiar form of doxology, or praise to God, which was probably, in each instance, added by the collector of the Book of Psalms. Our present order of the Psalms is perhaps that, in which they were sung in the Temple; and this may account for the occasional repetitions. Dr. Gray, Travell.
The kingdom of Christ.
Kings are exhorted to accept it.
6 For the LORD knoweth the way
6 Yet have I set my king † upon + Heb. my holy hill of Zion. 7 I will declare || the decree: the Zion, the hill ။ LORD hath said unto me, Thou art holiness. my Son; this day have I begotten thee. decree 8 Ask of me, and I shall give thee Hebr. 1. 5.
|| Or, for a
c Acts 13. 33.
1 The kingdom of Christ. 10 Kings are ex- the heathen for thine inheritance, and d Ps. 72. 8.
WHY do the heathen rage, thy possession.
and the people imagine a vain
a Acts 4. 25.
anemble. + Heb.
2 The kings of the earth set themselves, and the rulers take counsel together, against the LORD, and against his anointed, saying,
3 Let us break their bands asunder, and cast away their cords from us.
b Prov. I. 26. 4 b He that sitteth in the heavens shall laugh: the LORD shall have them in derision.
5 Then shall he speak unto them
5. — shall not stand in the judgment,] That is, shall not carry their cause, but in the issue of things shall come off defeated and condemned by God and the world. Mudge. Or, shall not be able to justify themselves, or endure the wrath of the Almighty at the last day. S. Clarke.
6.- knoweth the way] Meaning, approveth the way. Dimock.
& 19. 15.
9 e Thou shalt break them with a e Rev. 2. 27. rod of iron; thou shalt dash them in pieces like a potter's vessel.
10 Be wise now therefore, O ye kings: be instructed, ye judges of the earth.
This Psalm, like the sermon on the mount, opens with a "beatitude" for our comfort and encouragement, directing us immediately to that happiness, which all mankind in different ways are seeking after. He who hath once brought himself to "delight" in the Scriptures, will find no temptation to exchange that pleasure for any which the world or the flesh can offer him. Such an one will make the oracles of God his companions by day and by night. He will have recourse to them for direction, in the bright and cheerful hours of prosperity; to them he will apply for comfort in the dark and dreary seasons of adversity. And by continual meditation in the sacred writings, he will as naturally improve and advance in holiness, as a tree thrives and flourishes in a kindly and well-watered soil. Bp. Horne.
5, 6. Then shall he speak &c.] Their impious opposition will raise His just indignation, as if He had actually spoken to them from heaven, and said, Notwithstanding all your vain attempts, I have anointed David to be king over my people Israel; as in future times I will anoint One of his posterity to sit at My right hand upon the throne of glory. Bp. Patrick, Travell.
7.- Thou art my son; &c.] These words are eminently true of Jesus the Messiah in a prophetical sense, who was invested with the royal office, when He was raised from the dead, and exalted at God's right hand to be a Prince and a Saviour, Rom. i. 3; Acts xiii. 33. Green.
12. Kiss the Son,] To "kiss" a person when appointed king, was among the Eastern people an act of homage. Thus Samuel, when he had anointed Saul king, "kissed him," that is, acknowledged him for his sovereign, 1 Sam. x. 1. Green. See the note on Gen. xli. 40.
Psalm II. This Psalm may be supposed to relate, in the first place, to David, whom God established upon the throne of Israel, notwithstanding the opposition of his enemies. It contains also an illustrious prophecy of the kingdom of Jesus Christ, which, in spite of every attempt, both of Jews and Gentiles, God has wonderfully established, even to the utmost parts of the earth. It isappointed to be read on Easter-day, when our Lord, by His resurrection, took possession of this glorious kingdom. Travell, Bp. Patrick. The sole application of the illustrious prophecy contained in this Psalm to the Messiah was the unquestionable doctrine of the primitive Jewish church. Dr. Hales.
"Kiss the Son," that is, submit to Him, worship and love Him; "lest He be angry," lest He turn that grace and favour which He has offered you into heavy displeasure," and ye perish in the way," ye be suddenly cut off in the midst of your counsels. S. Clarke.
The confidence which David manifests in this Psalm, shews, in general, that attempts against the designs of God are vain; and that nothing can hurt those whom He loves, and has promised to bless. But the application which the Apostles make to our Lord of these words, "Thou art My Son, this day have I begotten Thee," engages us more especially to consider this Psalm as it relates to the kingdom of Jesus Christ, the Son of God, which has been established in the world,
Ver. 1. Why do the heathen &c.] That is, Why do the Jews and Heathens combine together to attempt, what they will never be able to accomplish? Travell.
2. The kings of the earth &c.] The kings and gover-in spite of all opposition from kings and the great men nours of the surrounding nations conspire together to of the earth, and will subsist for ever. And since this oppose the decrees of Providence, and to prevent David kingdom is established among us, and we have the hap
b Ps. 4.8.
c Ps. 27. 3.
2 Many there be which say of my soul, There is no help for him in God. Selah.
4 I cried unto the LORD with my voice, and he heard me out of his holy hill. Selah.
5 I laid me down and slept; I awaked; for the LORD sustained
3 But thou, O LORD, art a shield
|| Or, about. || for me; my glory, and the lifter up HEAR me when I call, O God of
my righteousness: thou hast enlarged me when I was in distress; have mercy upon me, and hear my Or, be
6 c I will not be afraid of ten thousands of people, that have set themselves against me round about.
7 Arise, O LORD; save me, O my God: for thou hast smitten all mine
piness to be Christ's subjects, let us submit ourselves to this glorious King; let us serve Him with humility and joy, and place all our trust and confidence in His favour and protection. Ostervald.
Psalm III. The title of this Psalm explains the occasion of it; and it is impossible an hymn could be composed with greater propriety, or nobler sentiments of religion, at a time when David was given over by many as absolutely lost, and his enemies thought it was beyond the power of God to save him. Dr. Chandler.
Selah.] It cannot certainly be known what is meant by this word; the most probable opinion is, that it was a note in musick. Bp. Patrick.
This Hebrew word is found seventy times in the Psalms, and three times in Habakkuk. One conjecture is, that it means "the end" or a "pause," and that the ancient musicians put it occasionally in the margin of their psalters, to shew where a musical pause was to be made, and where the tune ended. Calmet.
3.- the lifter up of mine head.] David means by this expression, that God would remove his distresses, and make him triumph over all his enemies. Dr. Chandler.
4.-out of his holy hill.] That is, out of the tabernacle or place of His religious worship, which was on Zion, called on that account His holy hill. Dr. Wells.
7.- for thou hast smitten] The Hebrew properly means, "Thou art wont to smite," ," "Thou smitest continually."
broken the teeth] As men of violence are frequently resembled to wild ravenous beasts, so the power or means made use of by such men to oppress others, are fitly denoted by the teeth, cheekbone, or jaws, &c.; these being the parts, whereby beasts of prey chiefly devour their prey. Hence, to break the teeth, cheekbone, &c. of an enemy, is frequently used in Scripture to denote the depriving an enemy of his power to hurt. Dr. Wells.
8. — thy blessing is upon thy people.] Rather, May Thy blessing be upon Thy people. Green. The example of king David in this Psalm should
enemies upon the cheek bone; thou
David prayeth for audience.
8 Salvation belongeth unto the dis. 43. 11. LORD: thy blessing is upon thy peo
Hos. 13. 4.
1 David prayeth for audience. 2 He reproveth
To the chief Musician on Negin- Or,
2 O ye sons of men, how long will ye turn my glory into shame? how long will ye love vanity, and seek after leasing? Selah.
3 But know that the LORD hath set apart him that is godly for himself: the LORD will hear when I call unto him.
teach us, that all our security depends upon God's protection, of which neither the power nor malice of our enemies can deprive us, if we repose our trust and confidence in Him. We should therefore pray to Him, that He would not suffer us to be misled by any worldly designs or stratagems, but that He would be our shield, our comforter, and supporter, and make the world see that salvation belongeth only to Him, and that His blessing is peculiar to His people. Lord Clarendon.
By these words, "To the chief Musician, &c." he seems to mean, I recommend this Psalm to the care and ordering of the master or director of the sacred musick in the temple, and him who plays most skilfully upon stringed instruments. S. Clarke.
Ver. 1.0 God of my righteousness:] O my righteous God. Bp. Hare, Edwards. Or the expression may mean, O God, who art to do me justice, to whom I apply for justice. Mudge, Merrick. O God, the witness and defender of my righteous cause. S. Clarke. Street. enlarged me] Set me free from distress. 2. O ye sons of men, &c.] O ye wicked men, how long will ye defame my government? how long will ye carry on your vain attempts, and go on in lying and spreading false calumnies against me? Dr. Wells. Otherwise, by "my glory" he may mean, 'God who is my glory:" for so God is called, Psalm iii. 3, and cvi. 20. David was accustomed to glory, and with good reason, on account of his steadfast worship of the true God, and of His favour towards him. This zeal for God's service was made a subject of disgrace and ridicule by the wicked. Le Clerc.
Man's happiness is in God's favour.
a Ps. 50. 14. & 51. 19.
b Pt. 3. 5.
a Pt. 130. 6.
4 Stand in awe, and sin not: commune with your own heart upon your bed, and be still. Selah.
5 Offer the sacrifices of righteousness, and put your trust in the LORD. 6 There be many that say, Who will shew us any good? LORD, lift thou up the light of thy countenance upon
7 Thou hast put gladness in my heart, more than in the time that their corn and their wine increased.
8 I will both lay me down in peace, and sleep: for thou, LORD, only makest me dwell in safety.
1 David prayeth, and professeth his study in prayer. 4 God favoureth not the wicked. 7 David, professing his faith, prayeth unto God to guide him, 10 to destroy his enemies, 11 and to preserve the godly.
¶ To the chief Musician upon loth, A Psalm of David. YIVE ear to my words, O LORD, consider my meditation. 2 Hearken unto the voice of my cry, my King, and my God: for unto thee will I pray.
3a My voice shalt thou hear in the
9 For there is no || faithfulness + in Or their mouth; their inward part is+very+ Heb. in his Nehi-wickedness; their throat is an open is, in the sepulchre; they flatter with their tongue.
mouth of any
b Rom. 3.
|| Or, Make
10 | Destroy thou them, O God; let them fall || by their own counsels; cast them out in the multitude of their them guilly. transgressions; for they have rebelled their counagainst thee.
4. Stand in awe, and sin not:] The rendering of the Greek is, "Be ye angry, and sin not;" that is, Though be angry, take care you do not sin. So St. Paul (Ephes. iv. 26.) recites it. Dr. Wall.
5. Offer the sacrifices of righteousness,] That is, act righteously, which is the most acceptable sacrifice. Dr. Wells.
6. There be many &c.] This seems to relate to the righteous, who, in times of calamity and persecution, like the friends of distressed David, are tempted to despond, on seeing no end of their troubles. Bp. Horne. lift thou up &c.] Manifest thy love and favour to me and mine. S. Clarke.
morning, O LORD; in the morning will I direct my prayer unto thee, and will look up.
4 For thou art not a God that hath pleasure in wickedness: neither shall evil dwell with thee.
5 The foolish shall not stand in Heb. before thy sight: thou hatest all workers of iniquity.
6 Thou shalt destroy them that speak leasing: the LORD will abhor f the bloody and deceitful man.
+ Heb. the man of bloods
7 But as for me, I will come into and deceit. thy house in the multitude of thy mercy and in thy fear will I worship toward thy holy temple.
7. Thou hast put &c.] Other men do not so much rejoice in their vintage and vest, when it is most abundant, as I do in the assurance of Thy favour towards me. Bp. Hall. We may learn from this Psalm, 1st, That however our enemies seek to oppress us, yet God, whose power no man can resist, hath chosen to Himself, and will take to His love, those who are godly, and that when they cry unto Him, He will hear them. 2dly, That we ought to "commune with our own hearts," which, in the language of Scripture, is to retreat from the world, and give ourselves up to private meditation and reflection. And the design of this self-communion is, to restrain us from vice; to cherish and improve the seeds of virtue; to give us leisure for examining into the state of our souls; to stamp upon our hearts a love for God, and a reverence for His laws; to make us, in short, “stand in awe and sin not." 3dly, That in God alone is rest, in Him security, in Him tranquillity. We ought therefore to pray to our heavenly Father, that, amidst all the storms and troubles of this life, we may lie down
God favoureth not the wicked.
+ Heb. the temple of thy
8 Lead me, O LORD, in thy righte- holiness. ousness because of mine enemies; + Heb. those make thy way straight before my me. face.
8. Lead me, &c.] Guide me, O Lord, in the plain path of truth and righteousness, lest, if I err from it, my enemies rejoice and triumph. Travell.
9.- their throat is an open sepulchre ;] They utter mischief with open mouths, gaping, like noisome tombs, to swallow up the innocent. Travell. 10. Destroy thou them,] Concerning passages of this imprecatory kind in the book of Psalms, it is to be observed, that they are not spoken of private and personal enemies, but of the opposers of God and His anointed; nor of any among these, but the irreclaimable and finally impenitent; and this by way of prediction rather than imprecation; which would appear, if the original verbs were translated, as they should be, in the future tense. The verse before us would then run thus: "Thou wilt destroy them, O God; they shall perish by their own counsels: Thou wilt cast them out in the multitude of their transgressions, for they have rebelled against Thee." Bp. Horne.
5 b For in death there is no remembrance of thee: in the grave who shall give thee thanks?
These four things are remarkable in this Psalm 1st, The fervency and confidence with which good men call upon the Lord in their necessities. 2d, Their zeal for His service, and the joy and reverence with which they adore Him, in places set apart for publick worship. 3d, God's abhorrence and detestation of sin, and especially of pride and deceit; and the punishment reserved for the proud and unjust. And lastly, His favourable protection of all those that fear Him, and trust in Him. Ostervald.
Psalm VI. In this Psalm are described two conditions of the writer in the first he complains of some grievous disorder, heightened by the malicious joy of his enemies, from which he prays to be relieved; in the second, his prayer is answered, and he triumphs in the disappointment of His enemies. Mudge. This being one of the penitential Psalms, is appointed to be used on Ash-Wednesday, and is suitable to the condition of those who are any ways afflicted or distressed, in mind, body, or estate. Travell.
- Neginoth upon Sheminith,] The harp of eight strings. Bp. Patrick.
Ver. 2.-my bones are vexed.] That is, shaken, or made to tremble. Bp. Horne. My pain reaches to my bones and inward parts. S. Clarke.
but thou, O Lord, how long?] But Thou, O Lord, how long wilt Thou thus afflict me? Dr. Wells.
5. For in death there is no remembrance of thee:] For the dead are utterly unable to commemorate Thy wonderful works, and propagate the memory of them to posterity. Bp. Patrick.
He prayeth against
6 I am weary with my groaning; all the night make I my bed to Or, every swim; I water my couch with my tears.
7.-it waxeth old] That is, dim, or is grown stiff with weeping. Bp. Wilson, Green.
8. Depart from me, &c.] Away with your idolatrous
7 Mine eye is consumed because of grief; it waxeth old because of all mine enemies.
8 Depart from me, all ye workers of iniquity; for the LORD hath heard the voice of my weeping.
9 The LORD hath heard my supplication; and the LORD will receive my prayer.
10 Letall mine enemies be ashamed and sore vexed: let them return and be ashamed suddenly.
David prayeth against the malice of his enemies, professing his innocency. 10 By faith he seeth his defence, and the destruction of his enemies.
¶ Shiggaion of David, which he sang unto the LORD, concerning the || words of Cush the Benjamite.
Matt. 7. 23. Luke 13. 27.
& 25. 41.
|| Or, business.
LORD my God, in thee do I about 1062.
put my save me from all them that persecute me, and deliver
insinuations, as if the God of Israel could not deliver His servant: He hath heard his prayer, and will deliver him from death, and from your expectation of triumphing in his fall. Green.
ye workers of iniquity;] Ye that put your trust in idols. Bp. Wilson.
We are all God's children, and reproof and correction is as due to children from their parents, as nourishment; they cannot prosper without it: crosses and afflictions are God's chastisements, without which we cannot be, if we are His children. Therefore the pious and godly man does not, must not pray, that all things may succeed according to his own wish, and that he may know nothing but prosperity in this world: all that he prays is, that those afflictions, which he must pass through, may not fall upon him out of God's anger, and that His displeasure may not pursue him beyond that adversity. Lord Clarendon.
Psalm VII. David is said to have composed this Psalm concerning the words, or the matter of Cush the Benjamite. Whether Saul or Shimei, or any one else, be intended under this name, it is sufficiently clear, that David had been maliciously aspersed and calumniated by such a person; and that the Psalm was written to vindicate himself from the imputation, whatever was the nature of it. Bp. Horne.
Shiggaion] This word denotes a wandering song, or a Psalm ascribed to David, as composed by him in the time of his wanderings, when he was falsely accused by his enemies, and hunted by Saul, as a partridge on the mountains. Fenwick. Or it may mean a song expressing grief. Dr. Kennicott, Street.
Otherwise it is thought to be the name of a certain kind of song, to the tune of which this Psalm was to be sung. S. Clarke.