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This pfalm, which is also without a title, must bave been written by David, or for David, wben the nations subdued by bim were meditating a revolt; or, perbaps, were already in open rebellion. A late writer bas, bowever, conje&tured that it was composed by Natban in favour of Solomon, against the party of Adoniab; and bas supported bis conjecture by plausible, but not convincing arguments.
WHY are nations tumultuous, and peoples rage in vain? Kings of the land rise up, rulers conspire together, against JEHOVAH, and against his Anointed. “ Let us, they say, break asunder their bands; “ and throw off from us their heavy fetters.”
He who dwelleth in the heavens will laugh: JEHOVAH will have them in derision. Then will he accost them in his ire, and confound them in his warm indignation : ll for I am his appointed king, over Zion, his hallowed mountain : JEHOVAH's decree I will rehearse. " Thou, said he to me, art my son : - to-day I have adopted thee: “alk of me, and to thee I will give " nations for thine inheritance; 66 for thy poffeffion the limits of the land : 66 Thou shalt crush them with a rod of iron ! “ Thou shalt (hiver them like a potter's veffel !"
Lo! now, be wise, ye kings ! be docile, ye judges of the land ! serve JEHOVAH with fear: worship him with trembling:
adore fincerely, left he be wroth;
NOTES. Ver. 6. || I follow the reading of Sept. The present Heb. may be rendered thus ; for bave not I appointed bin my king over Zion, my bal. lowed mountain ? as if the words were uttered by God: but the other reading is more natural. Ver. 7. adopted, lit. cbilded : begotten is here an improper term.-Ver. 12. adore sincerely. So I render the words which are commonly translated kiss the son: a translation which, in my opinion, they cannot bear. Perhaps they might bear to be rendered kiss the chosen one : that is, pay due bomage to bim: but I prefer the other version.
The subject of this psalm is sufficiently indicated by its title, wbicb is,
I A PSALM OF DAVID, WHEN HE WAS FLEEING
FROM HIS SON ABSHALOM.
JEHOVAH! how numerous are my
But thou, Jehovah, art to me a shield;
I lie down— sleep-again I wake
From JeHOVAH cometh falvation :
9 on thy people, JEHOVAH! be thy blessing.
NOTES. Ver. 2. At the end of this verse, and twice again, occurs a word, selab, of which the precise meaning is not well known. It was most probably some mark of a change of modulation, and is found in several other pfalms of the same plaintive cast. To me it appears to resemble what the Italians call adagio, or mark of flow time : and perhaps our word flow, al. Naw, is derived from it.-As it is of no importance to us, I have throughout omitted it in my version.-Ver. 6. There is a beautiful climax in this verse, which every reader of taste will readily perceive.- Ver. 8. tbur canst fmite, &c. a metaphor taken from noxious animals; who, when their jaws and teeth are broken, have not the
power to hurt.
PSALM IV. This psalm seems to bave been composed on the same occasion with the former ; but its general import bas, I apprebend, been generally misunderstood. Its title is, FOR THE FIRST MUSICIAN; ON THE NEGI- I
NOTH-A PSALM OI DAVID.
Ye men of note ! how long will ye be infatuated ? 3
6 and confide in JEHOVAH. But many of you say :
7 “ Who will show us goodness ?" JEHOVAH ! the light of thy countenance hath with splendour beamed forth upon us ! thou hast given gladness to mine heart !
Since their corn, and wine, and oil have increased, 9
with them I securely lie down, and Neep :
NOTES. Ver. 1. The Neginoth seems to have been a string-instrument, which upon, either by the fingers, or small rods.- Ver.
Ye men of note! lit. Ye fons of a man! But this Hebraisin is equivalent to the Spanila HIDALGO; the son of something ; i. e. a person of distinction. The address is made to those chiefs of Israel, who had already joined Ablhalom, or were inclined foto do.—Ib. bow long will ye be infatuated? lit. beavy of beart; that is, dull, supid, infatuated. I follow the reading of Sept. The present Hebrew is commonly rendered; “ How long will ye turn my glory to shame!” – Ib. will ye follow vanity, &c. He alludes to the vain promises of Abshalom. See 2 Sam. 15. 2, 6.~ Ver. 5. Although ruffled, rebel not. The Hebrew words are commonly translated, Be angry, and fin not. but this, I think, cannot be their meaning. They are addressed to the yet wavering friends of David, who, displeafed probably with some measures of his government, were disposed to join his rebellious fon. To fuch he seems te say, Howsoever much ye may be agitated, or ruffled, yet pass not to open rebellion consider well on your couches, (that is, in the divans where they used 10 take counsel with one another) and be quiet, &c._Viewed in this light the whole psalm is clear, and consistent in all its parts.Ver. 7, 8, 9, These three verses have, I think, been universally misunderstood; and, consequently, inisinterpreted. They allude to that period, when David and his men, in distress for provisions, were seasonably relieved; first by Zebah ; and then by Shobi, Machir and Barzilai. See Sam. 16. 1, and 17, 27.
PSALM V. This psalm seems also to bave been composed during the rebellion of Absalom. Its title is the same with that of the last; save that tbe musical instrument appears to bave been a fort of flute; or at least some wind instrument. FOR THE CHIEF MUSICIAN; ON THE NEHI
LOTH; A PSALM OF DAVID.
attend to my lamentation, my king, and my
3 for to thee I make my deprecation.
At the dawn, Jehovah! thou hearest my voice; 4 at the dawn I present inyfelf, and wait on thee: for thou art a God who favoureth not the wicked : 5 with thee no evil-doer can harbour : before thine eyes the profligate cannot stand :
6 thou hatelt all the workers of iniquity: the tellers of lies thou destroyest :
7 the bloody and deceitful man Jehovah abhorreth. But I, through thy exceeding favour,
8 shall reenter thine house; and, with reverence, worship at thine holy tabernacle. Conduct me, Jehovah! according to thy justice; 9 direct my path before thee, because of my foes: for in their mouths is nothing sincere ; inwardly they are all depravity : their throats are open fepulchres : their tongues they smooth-to flatterHold them guilty, O God!
II may they fail in their views : for their numerous offences, cast them off : since pgainst thyself they rebel.
12 Then will all, who trust in thee, rejoice; and, ever after, sing songs of praise ; because thou, JEHOVAH ! haft been their protector.
+All they, who love thy name, will exult in thee; 13 because the just man thou bleffeft, JEHOVAH ! and covereft him with a thield of bounty.
There is nothing obscure in this beautiful psalm. To ver, 13. I have prefixed the word all, on the authority of Sept. and almost of all the other antient versions. It is not, however, absolutely necessary.