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fire; and the smoke thereof ascended as the smoke of a furnace; and the whole mount quaked greatly."

These were images familiar to every Israelitish bosom, which would excite in them reverence and admiration; while they traced in this scenery the majesty and glory of the God of Israel. We, who now peruse this ode, can very imperfectly conceive the effect which was produced by it, when chanted forth with all the melody and pomp of music by the myriads who were assembled on this transcendent occasion. Christian prophecy alone discloses a scene surpassing this; a scene to which it was in some degree introductory, and of which it may justly be regarded as a significant type. Rev. vii. 9-17; "After this I beheld, and lo! a great multitude which no man could number," &c.



1 I WILL love thee, O Jehovah! my strength.

2 Jehovah is my rock, and my fortress, and my deliverer, My God, my stronghold, in which I take refuge:

My shield, and the horn of my salvation, my high tower. 3 I called upon Jehovah, who is worthy to be praised; And I was saved from my enemies.

4 The bonds of death encompassed me,
And the floods of Belial made me afraid.
5 The bonds of Hades encompassed me,
The snares of death were before me.
6 In my distress I called upon Jehovah ;
And to my God I cried out :

2. The horn of my salvation.]—This is a figure drawn from animals, which are furnished with horns, both for defence and offence. We have the same figure in several other places in Scripture; and it is scarcely necessary to observe, that nothing more is intended by it, than that God employs his mighty power to protect his servants, and to subdue their and his adversaries.

4. The bonds of death.]-Death is here personified, under the semblance of a mighty conqueror, who binds his vanquished foes in strong fetters.

4. The floods of Belial.] - Belial is a compound term, significant of vileness and worthlessness. The "floods of Belial" intend large bodies of men, who rush forward, like impetuous torrents, to overwhelm and destroy whatever opposes them.

5. The bonds of Hades.]-Hades, or the receptacle of the dead, is here personified, as death is in the fourth verse, and in the following clause. "The snares of Death" are the instruments of capture, employed by this remorseless victor.

He heard my voice from his temple;

And my cry came before him, into his ears.
Then the earth shook and trembled;

The foundations of the mountains were agitated;

They trembled exceedingly, because he was wroth.
8 A smoke ascended from his nostrils,

And fire from his mouth devoured;
Coals were kindled by it.

9 He bowed the heavens, and came down;
And darkness was under his feet.

10 He rode also upon a cherub, and did fly,
Yea, he did fly upon the wings of the wind.
11 He made darkness his retreat;

His pavilion round about him

Was dark waters, and thick clouds of the skies. 12 At the brightness that was before him His thick clouds were dispersed : There was hail-storm, and coals of fire. 13 Jehovah thundered in the heavens ; The High One sent forth his voice :

There was hail-storm, and coals of fire.

14 Then he sent out his arrows, and scattered them;
He shot forth his lightnings, and discomfited them.

15 Then the sources of the waters were seen;
And the foundations of the world were disclosed,
At thy rebuke, O Jehovah !

At the vehement blast of thy nostrils.

15. At the vehement blast of thy nostrils.]

- This is a remarkable instance of the daring genius of Eastern poetry. In the magnificent description given of the warhorse, Job xxxix. 2, it is said, "the glory of his nostrils is terrible." That is, when he is excited by the sounds of battle, he emits copious streams of vapour from his nostrils, indicative of the energy, strength, and spirit by which he is animated. also, in Job xl. 18-20, it is stated of the Leviathan, "out of his mouth go burning


lamps, and sparks of fire leap out. Out of his nostrils goeth smoke, as out of a seething-pot or cauldron. His breath kindleth coals, and a flame goeth out of his mouth." These are instances of bold hyperbole but when images of this nature are employed to describe the energies of divine Omnipotence, Oriental poetry puts forth its utmost strength, and leaves far behind the feebler conceptions, and less daring flights, of Western imagination and fancy.

16 He stretched out his hand from on high;

He took me, he drew me from the many waters.

17 He delivered me from my strong enemy,

And from them that hated me; for they were too strong for me. 18 They set their faces against me, in the day of my calamity;

But Jehovah became my support.

19 He brought me forth also into a large place;

He delivered me, because he delighted in me. 20 Jehovah rewarded me according to my righteousness; According to the cleanness of my hands, he recompensed me. 21 For I kept the ways of Jehovah,

And departed not wickedly from my God:

22 Because all his precepts were before me,

Nor did I put away his statutes from me.

23 I was also upright in his sight;

And I kept myself from my iniquity.

24 Therefore, Jehovah hath recompensed me according to my righteousness,

According to the cleanness of my hands in his sight. 25 With a merciful man, thou shewest thyself merciful; With an upright man, thou shewest thyself upright ; 26 With a pure man, thou shewest thyself pure;

And with a perverse man, thou shewest thyself perverse. 27 For thou savest an afflicted people;

But thou bringest down high looks.

28 Surely thou lightest my lamp;

Jehovah my God enlighteneth my darkness.

29 For by thee I have demolished a troop:
And by my God have I leaped over strong walls.

20. Jehovah rewarded me according to my righteousness.]-Vide Note on Psalm xvii. 1.

26. Thou shewest thyself perverse.]—In the several expressions that precede this, the general character of divine distributions is intimated, which assign to men consequences corresponding with their dispositions and conduct: in this case the same notion prevails; but we must be careful

to avoid a supposition that the divine conduct ever partakes really of the character of perverseness. A perverse man is a source of annoyance and vexation to his associates; and God, in his righteous distribution, will treat him as he treats others, by bringing trouble and anguish upon him. "With what measure ye mete, it shall be measured to you again." Matt. vii. 2.

30 As for God, his way is perfect:

The word of Jehovah is tried :

He is a shield to all those who trust in him.

31 For who is a God, besides Jehovah ? Or who is a rock, besides our God? 32 God girdeth me with strength,

And maketh my way prosperous.

33 He maketh my feet like hinds' feet, And setteth me upon my high places.

34 He teacheth my hands to war,

So that a bow of brass is drawn by my arm.

35 Thou hast also given me the shield of thy salvation; And thy right hand hath holden me up :

Thy clemency hath made me great.

36 Thou hast enlarged my steps under me, So that my feet have not slipped.

37 I pursued my enemies, and overtook them;

Neither did I turn again, till they were consumed. 38 I wounded them, so that they were not able to rise : They have fallen under my feet.

39 For thou hast girded me with strength unto battle;
Thou hast laid my enemies prostrate under me.
40 Thou hast also given me the necks of my enemies,
That I might destroy them that hate me.

41 They cried out, but there was no deliverer;

Unto Jehovah, but he answered them not.

42 Then did I beat them small as dust before the wind; As the mire of the streets, I crushed them to atoms.

43 Thou hast delivered me from the contentions of the people : Thou hast set me at the head of the nations.

A people which I knew not are in subjection to me.

44 As soon as they hear, they obey me:

The sons of the stranger are submissive to me. 45 The sons of the stranger lose their strength; Through alarm they quit their strongholds. 46 Jehovah liveth, and blessed be my rock :

And let the God of my salvation be exalted!

47 Even the God who worketh vengeance for me,

And subdueth the peoples under me.

48 Thou deliverest me from my enemies;

Yea, thou liftest me above those that rise up against me.

From the man of violence thou hast delivered me.

49 Therefore will I praise thee, O Jehovah! among the nations: And to thy name will I sing praises.

50 He worketh great deliverance for his king,
And sheweth mercy to his anointed;
To David, and to his seed, for evermore.


NOTHING is known relative to the time when this Psalm was written, or the occasion which prompted the composition of it. There is, however, nothing contained in it which renders an acquaintance with these particulars necessary to the understanding of its meaning. It consists of two parts: the first, from ver. 1 to ver. 6, celebrates the divine glory in the creation and conservation of the heavenly bodies; and the second, from ver. 7 to the end, illustrates the excellency of the divine law. The latter part is terminated by lowly expressions of conscious frailty and imperfection; and of earnest desire that preventing grace might be imparted, and condescending acceptance of the Psalmist's devout contemplation and prayers.


1 THE heavens declare the glory of God,
And the firmament sheweth the work of his hands.

2 Day unto day uttereth speech;

And night unto night sheweth knowledge.

3 There is no speech nor words:
Their voice is not heard.

2. Day unto day.]-Each day and night proclaims the wonders of creation, and declares them to that which follows, in unbroken and perpetual succession.

3. There is no speech, &c. Literally, No speech and no words: their voice not heard.]-In verses 1 and 2 the poet, by a

strong, though very intelligible figure, ascribes voice and language to the heavens, which, by their beauty, grandeur, and unchangeable order, bear testimony to the power, wisdom, and goodness that formed them. Yet, to indicate that he speaks figuratively, he here observes,

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