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A PSALM-SONG, FOR THE SONS OF KORÁH. I
THE foundations of Zion are on hallowed hills: JEHOVAH loveth the gates of Zion, more than all the other dwellings of Jacob. Honourable things shall be said of thee, city of God! I might mention Babel and Rahab, celebrated for their men of knowledge: Lo! the Philistines and Tyrians are a skilful people : “ Such a one (say they) was born there !" But of Zion it shall be faid:
5. “ He and He were born there !" For Jehovah, the most High, himself, will establish it.
In the records of nations it shall be written : « Such a one was born there!” For all its inhabitants are expert musicians.
Ver. 4. The difficulties begin here: and it is curious to observe what desperate expedients have been taken to remove them. I venture to say, that none of them have been effectual. Whether mine efforts have been happier, it is not for me to say: but I trust that every reader of common sense will, by comparing my version with any other translation, be convinced that mine is the most intelligible: not to say, the most rational. I have made no alterations in the original text but one, and even that has manuscript authority. I must refer to my Critical Remarks for my differing so widely from all other interpreters; and will only subjoin a very few notes, to illustrate some expressions.-Ver. 4. Babel and Rahab. The former is doubtless Babylon: but the latter is a matter of dispute. Most interpreters will have it to be Egypt; but Michaëlis, I think, has shown that this cannot be the case. I believe, with him, that it was a city of Assyria. The Assyrians, as well as the Babylonians, were celebrated for their learning; and the Jewish bard is willing to concede to them that praise. The same may be said of the
Philistines and Tyrians. The latter were eminently skilful in fhipbuilding, and other branches of architecture. He grants then, readily, that some great men had been born among them: for that is the meaning of Such a one was born there! It is well known that cities derived celebrity from the birth of celebrated persons: that of Homer was claimed by seven of the principal towns of Greece.Ver. 5. But of Zion it fall be faid, he and he were born there. i. e. not one, but many men of note.
Ver. 6. In the records of nations, &c. I have withdrawn the word Jebovab from this verse, and joined it to the preceding one: to which I am persuaded it belongs.-Ver. 7. For all its inbabitants are expert mua ficians ; lit. fing like fute-players. The Hebrews seem to have surpassed all nations in the skill of poesy and music; and every citizen could fing and dance. This preeminence the Psalmist seems to hint at. If any one will prefer our vulgar version, he may: here it is : “ As well the singers as the players on instruments shall be there: all my springs are in thee.”
PSALM LXXXVIII.-al. LXXXVII.
This psalm is entirely plaintive, without a ray of hope in it. Hence some bave imagined, that it is only a fragment. Its autbor must have been in the deepest distress, when be composed it. He is thought by some to be Hexekiab, by others Uziab. The title, on wbich little stress is to be laid, is :
A PSALM-SONG FOR THE SONS OF KORAH:
and my life toucheth on Hades! I am counted with those, who are descending to the pit: 5 I am as one, who hath no strength remaining; like one laid low among the dead : like the slain who lie in the grave, whom thou no more rememberest; and who are cut off from thy protection! In a deep pit thou hast placed me, in a dark and deep abyss ! Thy wrath presseth hard upon me: and with all thy waves thou whelmest me. Thou hast estranged from me mine acquaintances, and to them haft made me abominable. I am so closely confined, that I cannot get out! mine eyes languish from mine affliction.
JEHOVAH ! thee I daily invoke: to thee I stretch out mine hands. Wilt thou perform a miracle for the dead ? shall the deceased arise and praise thee? shall thy bounty be rehearsed in the grave; or thy truth in the state of corruption ? Shall thy wonders be known in the darkness of death ? 13 and thy justice in the land of oblivion ? To thee, JEHOVAH! I loudly cry: . by the dawn my prayer preventeth thee. Why, JEHOVAH! defertest thou me ? why from me hidest thou thy face? I have been afflicted, and languishing from youth; I have borne thy terrors, and been distracted, Thy fierce wrath hath overwhelmed me; thy terrors have totally wasted me :
2 distracted youth;
18 like water, they daily surround me:
. they encompass me altogether. 19 Thou hast estranged from me my friends and
familiars; and my acquaintances are withdrawn from my sight.
NOTE. There is little obscurity in this pfalm, although fome of the terms are of a dubious meaning. I have given to them that which I judged to be the most analogous ; and I believe I have seldom missed the sense.
PSALM LXXXIX.-al. LXXXVIII. This psalm is of a mixt nature. In the first part of it, by much the longest, the author praises God for bis past favours to Israel, and more especially to the bouse of David: in the last, be deprecates the present calamities, and expostulates with Jebovab, on their account. It is now pretty generally ascribed to Hezekiab, or some one for bim, during the time of bis adversity. The title is : I A DIDACTIC OF ETHAN, THE EZRAHITE.
OF the bounties of JEHOVAH I will ever sing: with my mouth I will make known thy truth, from generation to generation. For, I have said, thy goodness must for ever endure: in the heavens themselves thy truth thou hast
established. 4 « I have made (faidst thou) a covenant with mine
Let, then, the wonderful goodness of Jehovah
f JEHOVAH 6 be celebrated in the heavens: and his truth in the assembly of the saints. For who in the heavens is equal to Jehovah? who like to Jehovah, among the sons of God? A God most formidable in the assembly of the saints: 8 and to be revered, above all who are about him. Jehovah ! God of hosts ! who fo powerful as thou? 9 and of those around thee whose truth like thine ? Thou rulest the proud swelling of the sea, and its rising billows thou restrainest! The haughty thou breakest like a hollow reed : with thy potent arm thou crushest thy foes. Thine are the heavens—thine also is the earth. The universe, and its contents, thou foundedft! The north and the south thou createdft! Thabor and Hermon rejoice in thy name! Strong is thine arm-powerful is thine hand : thy right hand is highly exalted ! Justice and judgment are the basis of thy throne: benevolence and truth precede thy face ! Happy the people who know the joyful found: who walk in the light of thy countenance : who daily rejoice in thy name, and glory in thy justice. When thou wert the glory of our strength, and, through thy favour, our horn was exalted : when our protection rested on Jehovah; and our king, on the Holy One of Israel : Then, in the light of thy faints, thou spokest and faidst :