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PSALM LI.-al. L.
The title of this psalm speaks the time and occasion of its being
composed. It is called tbe fourth Penitential psalm.
FOR THE FIRST MUSICIAN:
A PSALM OF
DAVID, WHEN THE PROPHET NATHAN AC-
PITY me, O God! according to thy goodness; according to the greatness of thy mercies, blot out my transgressions. Thoroughly wash me from mine iniquity, thoroughly cleanse me from my sin. For my transgressions I myself acknowledge, and my fin is ever present to my view. Before thee, before thee only, I finned, and under thine eyes I did the evil: So that just art thou in thy sentence, and irreproachable in thy judgment.
Alas ! I was born to iniquity! and to fin my mother conceived me ! But thou, who delightest in truth, haft taught me the secrets of thy wisdom. Purify me with hyssop, until I be clean; wash me, until I be whiter than snow. Make me hear a message of joy and gladness, that the bones which thou haft broken may rejoice. Avert thy face from my fin; and blot out all mine iniquities. A clean heart re-create in me, O GOD! and an upright mind renew within me. Caft me not away from thy presence, nor take from me thine holy spirit.
Restore to me the joy of thy falvation,
Pardon me the guilt of blood-shed,
Display thy good-will to Zion: rear up the walls of Jerusalem : then shalt thou be pleased with legal facrifices, with holocausts perfectly complete : then shall steers be immolated on thine altar.
Ver. 6. Before thee, not against thee. He alludes to the private and clandestine manner in which he committed the sin : which was known only to a few of his court-minions.—Ver. 7. 'is commonly rendered “ Lo! I was born (or shaped) in iniquity, &c." and the text has been urged as a proof of original sin: but whether the Heb. preposition be rendered in or to, the words to me appear to have no such meaning. If the common rendering be adopted, it is a mere poetical' hyperbole: but if the preposition be rendered to or for, as it was by Symmachus of old, and now is by me, the phrase will be perfectly conformable to the Jewish ideas of sin being unavoidable : for the Jews, as well as the Mohammedans, were strong fatalists.Ver. 13. Caft me not away, &c. David seems afraid, left he should be rejected and unkinged, as Saul had been.-Ver. 20, 21. Some interpreters think that this was added to the pfalm after the Babylonish captivity. I see no reason for such a supposition. Neither the buildings on Zion nor the walls of Jerusalem might be yet completed; and we know that David had in contemplation to build a magnificent temple.
PSALM LII.--al. LI. This psalm is said, in tbe title, to bave been composed by David, in consequence of Doeg's information against him, and the ensuing massacre of the priests of Nob: but ver. 8. seems strongly to militate against tbis bypotbesis : as an al’usion is made in it to the bouse of God. This leads me to think tbat not Doeg, but Abitbopbel, is the object of the invettive.
FOR THE FIRST MUSICIAN: A DIDACTIC 2 PSALM OF DAVID, WHEN DOEG, THE EDOM
ITE, CAME AND TOLD SAUL, THAT DA-
WHY gloriest thou in evil? thou shameless man! Thy tongue is daily machinating mischief; working subtilely, like a sharp razor ! Thou lovest evil more than good : falsehood more than sincerity : thou lovest all destructive purposes, every fraudulent language.
But God will utterly destroy thyself;
But I, by the house of God,
for thy doings, JEHOVAH! I will ever praise thee.
NOTES. Ver. 3. Tbou mameless man! Although I have some suspicion that the text is here, in some degree, corrupted, yet I have endeavoured to make sense of it as it stands : only dividing differently the verse. The common rendering, according to the present division and punctuation of the Heb. may be seen in our vulgar version, which appears to me an incoherent rhapsody. None of the antients except Chald. read or divide fo.- Ver. 4. working fubtilely, like a parp razor : which cuts so easily, that the wound is at first hardly perceptible.
PSALM LIII.-al. LII. This palm is so very like psalm 14. tbat by some it is supposed to bave been inserted in the collection through the inattention and forgetfulness of the colle&tor. Others tbink it a second improved edition, made either by David bimself, or ly some other bard, wbo adapted it to bis own times. The title is
LATH; A DIDACTIC PSALM OF DAVID.
3 to see if there were any so wise, as to seek God. They are all gone astray, are all corrupted :
4 not one doeth good—not even one. Shall not all such evil-doers be made sensible;
5 who have devoured my people, as bread is devoured ? Since God they invoke not, with fear they shall tremble, 6 they who never trembled before : for God will scatter the bones of the profligate : they shall be confounded, for God despiseth them.
O that, from Zion, falvation may come to Israel ! When God hath reversed the captivity of his people; Jacob will exult-Israel will rejoice,
Ver. 1. On the mabalath. This is the same wind instrument with the nebiloth of psalm 5.-Ver. 3. The words in Italics are supe plied from psalm 14. but there is a vestige of them in one of Kennicott's Mss.-Ver. 6. The principal difference between this pfalm and the 14th is here: instead of the words which I have paraphrased they who never trembled before" we have in psalm 14.
66 when JEHOVAH shall
in the congregation of the just :" Then, where in the present psalm we have “ for God will scatter, &c.” we have
They deride the confidence of the afflicted, &c.” which, however, is found also here in several mss.-Ib. For God will Scatter the bones of the profligate, &c. I follow, with Dathe and Doederlein, the reading of Sep. The present text is unintelligible. See our vulgar version.-Ver. 7. Instead of God several mss.
have Jehovah. The two words have been frequently interchanged.
in psalm 14.
PSALM LIV.-al. LIII.
"The title of this psalm points out, not improbably, the occasion of
its being composed.
FOR THE FIRST MUSICIAN; ON THE NEGINOTH;
DAVID WAS HID AMONG THEM.
O GOD! for thy name's sake, save me: