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his ever-present being, he was not unmindful of the many bloody deeds that had been transacted during the civil feuds of Abner and Joab, and of the calumnious imputations of his enemies, occasioned by these excesses. With no adequate means of vindicating himself, there was yet one who knew his innocence, who had "searched and proved" him, who had "known his downsitting and his uprising," who had "understood his thoughts afar off," and to whom he now makes his most solemn appeal. God knew him perfectly. It was his cause, and it were vain to attempt to deceive him. These thoughts, together with his most solemn abjuration of the deeds of "bloody men," and a prayer to be led in the way everlasting, are the leading thoughts of the Psalm written on this occasion.
"This Psalm," says Dr. Clarke, "is very sublime; the sentiments are grand, the style in general highly elevated, and the images varied and impressive. The first part especially, that which contains so fine a description of the wisdom, knowledge and [omnipresence] of God, is inimitable."
Read 2 Samuel ii, 8-32, and iii, iv, and v, 1-5; 1 Chronicles xii, 23-40.
WHEN DAVID WAS MADE KING OVER ALL THE TRIBES.
David praiseth God for his all-seeing providence, 1–16; and for his infinite mercies, 17, 18; he declareth his opposition to wicked men, 19-22; he prayeth for sincerity and uprightness, 24, 25.
To the chief Musician. A Psalm of David.
a Psa. 17. 8. Jer. 12. 8. b9 Kings 19. 27.
1 O LORD! thou hast searched me, and known me. 2 Thou knowest my downsitting and mine uprising, Thou understandest my thought afar off.
3 Thou 'compassest my path and my lying down, And art acquainted with all my ways.
4 For there is not a word in my tongue,
But, lo, O LORD! thou knowest it altogether. 5 Thou hast beset me behind and before, And laid thy hand upon me.
Such knowledge is too wonderful for me; It is high-I cannot attain unto it.
7 Whither shall I go from thy Spirit?
Or whither shall I flee from thy presence?
8 If I ascend up into heaven-thou art there:
If I make my bed in hell-behold, thou art there.
9 If I take the wings of the morning,
And dwell in the uttermost parts of the sea;
10 Even there shall thy hand lead me,
And thy right hand shall hold me.
11 If I say, Surely the darkness shall cover me; Even the night shall be light about me.
12 Yea, the darkness 'hideth not from thee;
But the night shineth as the day:
"The darkness and the light are both alike to thee.
13 For thou hast possessed my reins:
Thou hast covered me in my mother's womb.
14 I will praise thee; for I am fearfully and wonderfully
Marvellous are thy works;
And that my soul knoweth 'right well.
15 My 'substance was not hid from thee, When I was made in secret,
And curiously wrought in the lowest parts of the earth. 16 Thine eyes did see my substance, yet being imperfect; And in thy book 'all my members were written, 'Which in continuance were fashioned, when as yet there was none of them.
d Heb. 4. 13.
e Job 42. 8.
f Jer. 23. 24. Jonah 1. 8. Amos 9. 2-4.
h Job 26. 6. Prov. 15. 11.
i Dan. 2. 22. Heb. 4. 18.
4 Heb. greatly.
Or, strength, or, body. Job 10.
8, 9. Eccles. 11. 5.
Heb. all of them.
7 Or, What days they should be fashioned.
How precious also are thy thoughts unto me, O
How great is the sum of them!
18 If I should count them-they are more in number than the sand:
When I awake, I am still with thee.
Surely thou wilt 'slay the wicked, O God! Depart from me therefore, ye bloody men. 20 For they "speak against thee wickedly,
And thine enemies take thy name in vain. 21 Do not I hate them, O, LORD! that hate thee?
And am not I grieved with those that rise up against thee?
22 I hate them with perfect hatred:
I count them mine enemies.
* Psa. 40. 5.
23 Search P me, O God! and know my heart: Try me, and know my thoughts:
24 And see if there be any wicked way in me, And lead me in the way everlasting.
INTRODUCTION TO PSALM LXVIII.
PSALM OF DAVID.
Upon coming to the entire kingdom, David found it necessary to remove his capital further north; for though Hebron was central to the tribe of Judah, it was too far south to be the capital of all Israel. For this purpose the subsequent site of the city of Samaria, or of Jezreel, would have been more central and far more beautiful, but either would have taken the
young king too far from his native tribe. At length he fixes on Jebus, or Jerusalem, on the borders of Benjamin and Judah. At that time it embraced only the strong fortress of Zion, and was in the hands of the Jebusites. This was undeniably the strongest fortress in Palestine, and was captured from the feeble band of Jebusites who possessed it, only by the most desperate valour of some of David's bravest men. Having fortified the city, and built his palace, he now resolves to make more ample preparation for the worship of Jehovah. The religion of the nation had suffered a declension since the days of the vigorous judicature of Samuel, and the orderly and solemn observances of the law of Moses were but imperfectly provided for. For this end it became necessary, first, to remove the "ark of God" to Zion, and there fix its permanent abode within the curtains of the sacred tent. The importance of this measure must be fully considered, in order to appreciate the occasion of several Psalms which have their date and origin in the event.
The ark was the most sacred furniture of the Hebrew sanctuary. It was a chest of an oblong shape, made of "Shittim," or acacia wood, and (as near as can be reduced to English measure) forty-three inches long, and thirty-two inches deep and broad. It was covered all over with the purest gold, with a rim or border of gold around its upper surface, with two gold rings on each side, in which were kept two golden-covered poles for carrying it. The lid, or covering of the ark, was of the same length and breadth, and made also of the purest gold. This lid, or kapporeth, was called the " was called the "mercy-seat." At each end of the "mercy-seat" stood a cherub, facing inward, with six wings; with two he covered his feet, two were stretched out, as if in the act of flying, while two extended forward, so as to meet together over the mercy seat. Over the mercy seat, between the cherubim, was the "throne of God." As the purest symbol of Deity, here rested a luminous cloud called the Shekinah. This was the Divine presence. This was the most awful and sacred place and symbol known in the Hebrew sanctuary. It is hence God is represented as "dwelling between the cherubim," "dwelling in light which no man can approach unto;" and hence also this holiest place between the cherubim is called, "the throne of grace."
Exodus xxv, 22; 1 Samuel iv, 4; Psalm lxxx, 1; Hebrews iv, 16; 1 Timothy vi, 16. Within the ark were deposited a copy of the law, (hence it is called the "ark of the covenant,") a quantity of manna, in a vase of gold, "Aaron's rod that budded," and the two tables of the commandments. Deuteronomy xxxi, 26; Exodus xvi, 32-36; Numbers xvii, 10. This ark was placed in the inner apartment, or within the second veil of the tabernacle, and this apartment was called the "holy of holies." (See the ark described Exodus xxxvii, 1–9; Hebrews ix, 3-5.) Into the "holy of holies" the high priest priest alone entered, once a year, on the great day of expiation, after having performed ablutions and sacrifices for himself, and with blood made atonement for the sins of the people; and with the burning of the most costly aromatics in the golden censer, before the mercy-seat, he interceded and offered the grand propitiation for the nation. See Leviticus xvi, and Hebrews ix, 1-15, and x, 19-22. Before the mercy-seat, but just without the veil, in the middle court, stood the golden altar, where other specially solemn services were performed. Exodus xxx, 1–10.
When the Israelites had crossed Jordan, the ark and tabernacle remained about six years in Gilgal, in the valley of Jordan. Thence it was removed by Joshua to Shiloh, within the tribe of Ephraim. This location was central to all the tribes, and here it remained about three hundred years, till the close of the judicature of Eli. At this time there was war between the Philistines and Israelites, and at one time, after a signal battle in which the Israelites were defeated, the people with one voice called for the ark of God. Unhappily the Levites yielded to this popular cry, and with great irreverence, amid the most enthusiastic acclamations of joy, the ark was brought into the camp. The Israelites had superstitiously supposed the ark could not be captured, as it was the residence of Jehovah, and that it would, therefore, prove their talisman to defend them from their enemies. Again they join in battle with their enemies. The Israelites, inspired with a vain confidence of victory, attack the Philistines with enthusiastic ardour; while the Philistines, imagining that the introduction of the ark into the camp was the signal for a war of extermination, such as Joshua carried on against the