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In the former verse, the Psalmist tells us, that God hath confirmed, refreshed, and revived his inheritance, by the plentiful, and as it were voluntary, showers of bread and flesh, that he rained down upon them. In these words, Dr. Chandler apprehends, he speaks of the manner, as well as abundance of the food thus given them : and renders this verse thus—“ 77'n, Thy food, or, As to thy food," the food which thou gavest them, “72 130", They dwelt in the midst of it; Thou didst prepare, O God, by thy goodness, for the poor.” Thus the history informs us, that the manna covered by the dew, "lay round about the host;" and that the quails were " let fall by the camp, about a day's journey on one side, and a day's journey on the other, round about the camp," Exod. xvi. 13 Numb. xi. 31. This was literally " dwelling in the midst of the food God had provided for them.” By the ministration of the word and sacraments in the Christian church, the true manna, the bread which cometh down, with the dew of God's blessing, from Heaven, is continually furnished, for the nourishment of those who "hunger and thirst after righteousness.” It “ falls round about the camp,” and “as to this thy food," O God, we thy favoured people, have the happiness to “ dwell in the midst of it :' thus “thou hast prepared, of thy goodness, for the poor in spirit."
“ 11. The Lord gave the word: great was the company of those that published it.”
He who supplied his people with food in the wilderness, enabled them likewise to vanquish the numerous enemies that opposed them in their passage through it, the Amalekites, the Amorites, the Midianites, the Moabites, &c. With respect to all these enemies, “the Lord gave the word.” The Israelites engaged them by his order; See Numb. xxi. 34. xxv. 17. and, under his conduct and blessing, obtained the victory over them. When the enemies of man's salvation were vanquished by the resurrection of Christ, and the heathen nations were to own his power, again, " the Lord gave the word.” It was published, at first, by apostles, confessors, and martyrs, and hath been since published continually, by all the churches, who celebrate in their services the victories of their Redeemer; as in old time, prophets and prophetesses, Moses, Aaron, Miriam, Deborah, and others, with the armies of Israel, sang triumphal songs, on occasion of temporal, but figurative conquests.
"12. * Kings (with their armies did flee apace; Heb. fled away: and she that tarried at home divided the spoil.”
When God, by the hand of Moses, and his successor Joshua, led his people through the wilderness, into the land of promise, the kings of Canaan, with their mighty hosts, were discomfited; and the women of Israel, who, “ tarried at home, divided the spoil” of their vanquished enemies. After the conquest of the Midianites, as Dr. Chandler observes, God ordered the prey to be divided between them who went out on that expedition, and the rest of the congregation, who continued in their tents, Numb. xxxi. 27. Thus, in the spiritual, war, apostles, confessors, martyrs went out to the battle, fought, and conquered ; while the benefits of the victory, extended to thousands and millions, who without being exposed to their conflicts, and torments, have enjoyed the fruit of their labours.
“ 13. Though ye have lain among the pots, yet shall ye be as the wings of a dove covered with silver, and her feathers with yellow gold.”
By “ lying among the pots,"f or “in dust and ashes," is evidently de
* Bishop Lowth thinks, with Dr. Hammond, that this verse was the song, sang by the choir, mentioned in the verse preceding. Dr. Chandler adds the next verse to it.
| My worthy and learned friend, Mr. Parkhurst, in his Hebrew Lexicon, gives the following account of the word 'nov (derived from the word 10V, to "put or set anything in order) -Rows of stones, on which the caldrons or pots were placed. Lying among these denotes the most abject slavery; for this was the place of rest allotted to the vilest slaves." So our transla. tors renderit in the margin of Ezek. Xl. 43. Dr. Chandler adopts the same interpretation of the word.
noted a state of affliction and wretchedness, like that of Israel in Egypt, which was exchanged for one of the utmost dignity and splendour, in Canaan : one is different from the former, as a caldron, discoloured by smoke and soot, is from the bright and beautiful plumage of an eastern dove, glistering interchangeably, as with silver and gold. Thus the church of Christ emerged from a state of persecution and tribulation, into one of splendour and magnificence. And such is the change made in the spiritual condition of any man, when he passes from the bondage of corruption, into the glorious liberty of the Sons of God: he is invested with the robe of righteousness, and adorned with the graces of the Spirit of holiness."
14. When the Almighty scattered kings in it, it was white as snow in Salmon."
The purport of this difficult verse seems to be, that all was white as snow, i. e. all was brightness, joy, and festivity, about mount Salmon, 1987a dwn when the Almighty, fighting for his people Israel, vanquished their enemies, no in, or about that part of the country.
“ 15. The hill of God is as the hill of Bashan; an high hill, as the hill of Bashan.”
When the ark came in view of mount Sion, the place of its fixed residence for the future, and probably when they began to ascend it, Dr. Chandler apprehends, this and the two following verses were sung. And if these words be read with an interrogation, he conceives they will appear suitable to the occasion, and worthy of the genuine spirit of poetry. "The hill of God,” that hill which God hath chosen to inhabit, “is it the hill of Bashan, the hill with its craggy eminences, the hill of Bashan? Bashan may boast of its proud eminences, its high summits; but is that the hill, where God will fix his residence?" The prophet speaks of Bashan with contempt and disdain, in comparison of Sion. And this agrees well with what immediately follows
“16. Why leap ye, or, why look ye askance with envy, ye high hills ? this is the hill which God desireth to dwell in; yea, the LORD, will dwell in it for ever.”
The Psalmist, in commemorating God's former mercies and loving-kindnesses, having been led to mention the towering hills of Salmon and Bashan, by a masterly transition, suddenly resumes his original subject, with a beautiful apostrophe to those mountains, letting them know, that however proudly they might lift up their heads above the rest, or, in the language of poetry, “ look askance with envy," on mount Sion, yet this was the mount which Jehovah had determined to honour with his special presence; thither he was now ascending with the ark of his strength; and there, between the cherubims, in the place prepared for him, he would “dwell for ever;" till the old dispensation would be at an end, till the glory of the Lord should be revealed in human nature; till God should be manifest in the flesh; and the true tabernacle and temple should succeed the typical. After that, the privileges of Sion were transferred to the Christian church; she became, and while the world lasts, will continue to be, the hill in which God delighteth to dwell :" she will therefore be justly entitled to the pre-eminence over all that may seem to be great and glorious in the world.
“ 17. The chariots of God are twenty thousand, even thousands of angels: or, thousands repeated : the Lord is among them, as in Sinai, in the holy place; or, Sinai, in the sanctuary.”
The Psalmist, in the preceding verse, had declared Sion to be the habitation of Jehovah. In this verse is described the majesty and magnificence of his appearance there, as a mighty conqueror of the enemies of his people, riding upon the cherubim, as in a triumphal chariot, with all the hosts of heaven, as it were, in his retinue. Thus God descended on Sinai, with the fire, the cloud, and the glory ; thus he manifested himself, when taking possession of “the holy place” prepared for him in Sion ; 2 Chron. v. 13. and in some such manner we may suppose king Messiah to have entered heaven at his ascension, when he went up in the clouds, with power and great glory, and all the attendant spirits joined his train, rejoicing to minister to their Lord, and increase the pomp and splendour of that glorious day.
* 18. Thou hast ascended on high, thou hast led captivity captive: thou hast received gifts for men; yea, for the rebellious also, that the LORD God might dwell among them."
When the ark had ascended mount Sion, and was deposited in the place assigned for it, the singers are supposed by Dr. Chandler, to have proceeded with this part of the Psalm, in which they celebrate the ascension of their God and King, by the symbol of his presence, to the heights of Sion, after having subdued their enemies, and enriched his people with the spoil of the vanquished, and the gifts of the tributary nations; of which much was probably employed in the service of the tabernacle, and afterwards in the building of the temple, first designed by David, " that the Lord God might dwell," and have a fixed, permanent habitation, among his people. But this whole transaction, like many others of old, being a figurative one, the apostle, Eph. iv. 8. has applied the words before us to our blessed Saviour, (the true ARK on which the GLORY rested,) who personally ascended up to the highest heavens, led captivity captive, by triumphing over his conquered enemies, and having received gifts from his heavenly Father, as the fruits of his victory, gave them unto men, as was most conducive to the establishment of his church, “ that the Lord God might dwell among them.” “ Thou hast ascended on high ;” Thou, O Christ, who didst descend from the right hand of the Majesty in the heavens to the lower parts of the earth, art again ascended from the lower parts of the earth to the right hand of the Majesty in the heavens; “thou hast led captivity captive;" thou hast conquered the conqueror, bound the strong one, redeemed human nature from the grave, and triumphantly carried it, with thee, to the throne of God; " thou hast received gifts for men, yea, for the rebellious also;" and being thus ascended into thy glory, thou hast received of the Father the promise of the Spirit, with all his gifts and graces, to bestow upon the sons of men ;* even upon such as heretofore have not only broken thy laws, but appeared in arms against thee; yet of such as these, converted by the power of thy Gospel, wilt thou form and establish a church; “ that the Lord God may dwell among them;" that so, of thy faithful people, gathered from all parts of the world, may be built up a living iemple, *an habitation of God through the Spirit.”
“ 19. Blessed be the Lord, who daily loadeth us with benefits, Hleb. carries, or, supports us; even the God of our salvation. 20. He that is our God is the God of salvation; and unto God the Lord belong the issues from death, Heb. the goings forth to death, or, of death."
The preceding survey of God's dispensations constraineth the church to break out into an act of praise, and to bless the Preserver of men, the author of eternal “ salvation ;' in whose hands are “the goings forth of death ;" in other words, who has “the keys of death and the grave;" Rev. i. 18. who is possessed of power to confine and to release; to kill, and to make alive.
" 21. But God shall wound the head of his enemies, and the hairy scalp, or, crown, of such an one as goeth on still in his trespasses."
The meaning is—God shall strike deep, or exhaust the blood of the head of his enemies, even the hairy crown of him that goes on in his guilty practices; where the emphasis consists in the description of God's enemies,
The Psalmist mentions these gifts as received: “ thou hast received gifts for men :"the apos. tle, in his citation, showeth us the end for which they were received ; * He gave gifts unto men." Or rather, as the best critics have observed, in the Hebrew idiom, to "take gifts for another," is the same as to "give thein to another." Thus we read, 1 Kings iji, 24. "Take me a sword;" i. e. give, or bring it me, Gen. xviii. 5. "I will take a bit of bread;" i. e. for you, or to give it you— and comfort ye your bearts."
who were such as persevered in their criminal actions. This verse begins a prediction of that vengeance, which the person, who was “ascended on high," would infallibly execute upon his impenitent enemies, and which was shadowed forth in the destruction of the enemies of Israel by David, after that the ark of God was placed upon the hill of Sion. See 2 Sam. viii. The expressions, “ the head," and the hairy “crown," denote the principal part, the strength, the pride, and the glory of the adversary, which was to be crushed, according to the original sentence; “He shall bruise thy HEAD," Gen. iii. 15.
* 22. The Lord said, I will bring again from Bashan; I will bring my people again from the depths of the sea; 23. That thy foot may be dipped in the blood of thine enemies, and the tongue of thy dogs in the same."
Abner, in his conference with the elders of Israel, to bring them over to David's interest, tells them, “ The Lord hath spoken of David, saying, By the hand of my servant David I will save my people Israel, out of the hand of the Philistines, and out of the hand of all their enemies," 2 Sam. iv. 8. Thus Jehovah had promised to repeat in Israel, by David, his glorious acts; to work as signal victories and deliverances for his people, as he had formerly done in the field of Bashan, and at the Red Sea; when they saw their enemies dead at their feet. By the glorious resurrection, and triumphant ascension of king Messiah, by the conquests of the Gospel, and the unparalleled overthrow of its opposers, were these figures realized, and these shadows changed into substances.
66 24. They have seen thy goings, or, marches in procession, O God; even the goings, or, marches, of my God, my King, in, or, into, the sanctuary.”
When the ark was safely deposited, the sacrifices were offered, the solemnity well nigh concluded, and the whole assembly about to return back, Dr. Chandler supposes the singers to have struck up, and joined in the remaining part of this noble anthem. These words contain a sort of triumph, because this great work of translating the ark was now so happily accomplished. The people of Israel had a pledge and earnest of those mighty things which God would do for them, by the joyful and victorious manner in which, with the ark of his presence, he had taken possession of the place prepared for him on mount Sion, and gone “ into the sanctuary.” A like pledge and earnest of her future enlargement and exaltation, was the ascension of her Lord and Head, to the Christian church.
“ 25. The singers went before, the players on instruments followed after; among them were the damsels playing with timbrels."
The joy and gladness expressed by David, and the house of Israel, when in solemn procession, with the sound of vocal and instrumental music, they “ brought up the ark of Jehovah, and set it in its place," 2 Sam. vi. 5. 15. 17. may be considered as a prelude to that voice of universal exultation, with which the Christian church, in her holy services, doth now celebrate the resurrection and ascension of her Reedeemer.
“ 26. Bless ye God in the congregations, even the LORD, from the fountảin of Israel."
Bless ye God in the congregations;" in this form of words, the 19raelites are supposed, when accompanying the ark, to have reciprocally erhorted and encouraged each other to exert their utmost powers in the sacred employment of blessing and thanking God: “even the Lord, from the fountain of Israel;" “ the fountain of Israel” is the same with the “stock, or family of Israel.” See Isa. xlviii. 1. The sense of this latter clause therefore is, “ Bless the Lord, ye who are sprung from the stock of Israel ;": thus is the duty of blessing and thanksgiving enforced on the congregations of the faithful in all ages.
65 27. There is little Benjamin with their ruler, the princes of Judah and their council, the princes of Zebulun, and the princes of Naphtali.”
The literal rendering of this verse is—“There is little Benjamin their
ruler, the princes of Judah and their council, the princes of Zebulun, and the princes of Naphtali.” In this enumeration of the tribes of Israel, that were present at the removal of the ark, four only are mentioned; Benjamin and Judah, who dwelt nearest to the city of David; Zebulun and Naphtali, who were the farthest distant from it; to show, as Dr. Chandler observes, the unanimity of the whole nation, and of all the tribes far and near, in attending this solemnity, to testify their willing acknowledgment of David for their king, and the city of David for their capital, where all the great solemnities of religion should be performed, and their annual festivals continually celebrated. Benjamin, though the youngest tribe, is named first, and called the “ ruler;" because from that tribe sprang Saul, the first king of Israel. The attendance of this tribe showed, that all envy and opposition to David froin Saul's party was at an end. Upon David's accession to the crown, Judah became the royal tribe, and supported the throne by its counsels. Zebulun and Naphtali were tribes of eminent learning and knowledge. See Gen. xlix. 21. Judges v. 14. Thus, after the publication of the Gospel, the nations flocked into the church, both those that were near, and those that were afar off; power, wisdom, and learning, submitted themselves to the kingdom, and conspired to set forth the glory of Mes. siah.
“ 28. Thy God hath commanded thy strength: strengthen, O God, that which thou hast wrought for us."
The former part of this verse contains a comfortable assurance given to the church, that God had made provision, and issued out orders, for esta. blishment and security. In the latter clause is a prayer, that he would ac. complish all his counsels concerning her, and, as he had begun a good work, 80 that he would vouchsafe to perfect it, unto the day of the Lord.
“ 29. Because of thy temple at Jerusalem shall kings bring presents onto thee.”
David foretells, that on the establishment of the then church and worship in Jerusalem, the kings of the Gentiles should come, and make their obla. tions at the *temple of God; which happened in his days, and those of his son Solomon, as an earnest and figure of that plenary accession of the kings of the earth to the church of Christ, which was to take place in the latter days, under the Gospel. See 2 Sam. viii. 9-11. 1 Kings v. 1. X. 1. 21. 2 Chron. ix. 23, Isa. lx. 3. 6. Matt. ii. 11. Rev. xxi. 24.
“ 30. Rebuke the company of spearmen, the multitude of the bulls, with the calves of the people, till every one submit himself with pieces of silver: scatter thou the people that delight in war.”
We have here a prophetical prayer against the enemies of the Israelitish church. The whole verse, when literally translated, runs thus—“Rebuke the wild beasts of the reeds, the congregation of the mighty among the calves of the nations, skipping, or exulting, with pieces of silver; scatter the people that delight in war." By the “ wild beast of the reeds," is to be understood the Egyptian power, described by its emblem, the crocodile, or river-horse, creatures living among the “reeds” of the Nile. The “ calves of the nations” intend the objects of worship among the Egyptians, their Apis, Osiris, &c. around the congregation of the mighty" assembled. And by their skipping with, " or exulting in, pieces of silver," may either be meant their dancing at their idolatrous festivals with the tinkling instruments called “ Sistra," which might be made of “ silver ;' or else it may imply their “ glorifying in pieces of silver," or in their “ riches.” The last member of the verse is plain, “ Scatter the people that delight in war." The whole is evidently a prayer of the prophet to this effect, that it would please God to bring down and overthrow the strength, the pride, and the
• The tabernacle is called Sa'n 1 Sam.iii. 3. This might otherwise seem inconsistent with the supposed occasion of the Psalm, and the times of David, when there was yet no temple there. Bishop Lowlk.