« PreviousContinue »
PSALM XXIII. When David had been brought out of some distress, and firmly
settled in a state of prosperity, he seems to have composed this Psalm, which contains neither prayers nor complaints. Under the image, principally, of a shepherd, who has a tender care of his flock, it depicts the happy condition of God's people; his abundant protection of them, and earnest solicitude for their welfare; their confidence in his readiness to confer on them
every blessing, and their resolution always to worship him. THE Lord is my shepherd, therefore can I John 10. 3, 4.
lack nothing. 2 He shall feed me in a green pasture, and Ezek. 34. 14. lead me forth beside the waters of comfort.
3 He shall convert my soul, and bring me Ps. 119. 176. forth in the paths of righteousness, for his Prov. 8. 20. name's sake.
4 Yea, though I walk through the valley of Isai. 43. 1. the shadow of death, I will fear no evil; for Rev. 14. 13. thou art with me, thy rod and thy staff comfort
Phil. 4. 19.
Rev. 7. 17.
5 Thou shalt prepare a table before me John 16. 22. against [in the presence of] them, that trouble Ephes. 3. 20. me: thou hast anointed my head with oil, and my cup shall be full.
2 The waters of comfort. “ The still waters” are thus described, because the sheep could there drink without annoyance. In estimating the propriety and beauty of the figurative language now employed by David, it must not be forgotten, that verdant meadows and a copious supply of water, being very scarce in the East, by reason of the great heat, were, consequently, most valuable acquisitions.
3 He shall convert, gic. He will turn or bring me back (see on Psalm vii. 2: xxxviii. 17.) into the straight path, whensoever I shall have wandered from it. Psalm xix. 7.
4 The valley, fic. A valley overspread with thick and gloomy darkness, in which I seem to be exposed to continual and extreme danger. Jer. xiii. 16. The image was, most probably, borrowed from those dusky caverns, excavated out of the rocks, and used by the Israelites for their burying places.Thy rod and thy staff. These two words, in all likelihood, signify the same thing. Though staves, or walking-sticks, were, no doubt, carried by travellers in the rocky country of Judea, both for support in slippery places, and for defence against assaults, the crook of the shepherd is apparently meant, with which, when necessary, he strove to preserve his flock from wolves and other wild animals.
5 Thou shalt prepare, fic. God is now compared to an hospitable friend, by whom David was sure to be bountifully entertained, and that, too, (over) against, or before, the faces even of his enemies, so as to compel them to acknowledge him the object of the divine pro
2 Cor. 1. 10. Phil. 1. 23.
6 But thy [Surely] loving-kindness and mercy shall follow me all the days of my life; and I will dwell in the house of the Lord for
THE FIFTH DAY.
The fifteenth chapter of the first book of Chronicles gives us a clear
account of the occasion of this Psalm, which David apparently wrote, when he brought the ark of God from the house of Obededom to mount Sion with extraordinary pomp and solemnity: The ark is here supposed to be moving in a grand procession of the whole Israelitish nation, and, at length, to approach the place of its future residence. Whilst the people are ascending the hill, the first portion of the Psalm is sung, which declares the sovereignty of Jehovah over all the earth, and points out what ought to be the character of those, who resolve to serve him in the place, where his glory is about peculiarly to dwell. As soon as the procession arrives at the gate of the tabernacle, the Levites themselves, divided into two choirs, (one without, and the other within, the building,) sing the last four verses, and that alternately, according to custom common among the ancient Israelites. Exod. xv. 20, 21. 1 Sam. xviii. 7. Neh. xii. 24, 40. See the introduction to Psalm cxxxvi.
THE earth is the Lord's, and all that therein
is; the compass of the world, and they that dwell therein. 2 For he hath founded it
and prepared it upon the floods.
3 Who shall ascend into the hill of the Lord ? Heb. 12. 28, 29.
or, who shall rise up [stand] in his holy place.
Ex. 9. 29.
Ex. 20. 4. 2 Pet. 3. 5.
Matt. 5. 48.
tection.—Thou hast anointed, fc. There is an allusion to a very ancient practice, prevalent among the Eastern nations and observed at their feasts, in conformity to which those guests, to whom an especial honor was designed, had their heads anointed by their hosts with perfumes and fragrant oils. Psalm cxli. 6. Luke vii. 46.-My cup. See on Psalm xi. 7.
6 I will dwell, fc. In gratitude for these blessings, (conspicuous instances as they are of“ thy loving-kindness and mercy,") I will not fail to be a constant attendant upon the public services of thy house, “the place, where thine honor dwelleth.” Psalm xxvi. 8. 1 John iv. 19.
2 Upon the seas. See on Psalm cxxxvi. 6. 3 Who shall ascend, &c. It is as if David had said,—Since the
4 Even he, that hath clean hands, and a pure Isai. 33. 15. heart; and that hath not lift up his mind unto 1 Tim. 1. 9, 10. vanity, nor sworn to deceive his neighbour.
5 He shall receive the blessing from the Matt. 5. 3, &c. Lord, and righteousness from the God of his 1 Pet. 3. 9. salvation.
6 This is the generation of them that seek John 1. 47. him, even of them that seek thy face, O Jacob [God of Jacob]
7 Lift up your heads, O ye gates, and be ye Ps. 97.6. lift up, ye everlasting doors, and the King of Hag. 2. 7, 9: glory shall come in.
8 Who is the [this] King of glory? it is the Isai. 9. 6. Lord strong and mighty, even the Lord mighty Rev. 19. 11. in battle.
9 Lift up your heads, O ye gates, and be ye Isai. 63. 1, &c. lift up, ye everlasting doors, and the King of Jam. 2. 1. glory shall come in.
whole world with its inhabitants came from the creating hand of God, observe how great are his condescension and his love towards ourselves, that he should choose us alone for his people, and place his habitation in our land. Exod. xix. 5, 6. 1 Kings viii. 27. What manner of persons, then, ought we to be, in all holy conversation and godliness? 2 Pet. iï. 11. -Who shall rise up, gc. The Jews sometimes prayed standing, as is evident from Luke xviii. 11, 13, but nothing more seems here to be designed than to be present in the house of the Lord, for the purpose of joining in the solemn ordinances of religion.
4 That hath not, fc. Who has not placed the desires and affections of his soul on the worship of false gods, nor put his trust in them. 2 Kings xvii. 15. Jer. xviii. 15. Rather, perhaps, who has not taken God's name in vain, by pronouncing it to confirm a lie.—Nor sworn, fc. Nor sworn to his neighbour without any intention of performing his oath. Psalm xv. 5.
5 Righteousness. Mercy united with justice. Psalm Lxv. 5: Lxxi. 1. For Jehovah will faithfully keep his promises with all such persons, and will amply reward them for their obedience. Psalm xxv. 9.
7 Lift up your heads, fc. The doors of the tabernacle are thus poetically commanded to expand themselves to their full height and extent, so that nothing may impede or delay the entrance of the
glorious King.” 1 Chron. xxix. 11.-Ye everlasting doors. This epithet is applied to the doors, because the ark, which now approached them, instead of wandering about, as heretofore, from place to place, was, at length, to have a fixed abode on mount Sion, (of which mount Moriah was, in later times, considered to be only a part,) until the destruction of Solomon's temple.
8 Mighty in battle. God is so styled in consequence of the numerous victories, which, by the presence of his ark among them, he had
Luke 9. 26.
10 Who is the [this] King of glory? even the Lord of hosts, he is the King of glory.
PSALM XXV. COMMENTATORS differ in their opinions, as to the author of this Psalm,
and also, as to the occasion on which it was written. It appears, however, most likely to have proceeded from David, either after the commission of some grievous transgression, or at a time of great distress, which, bringing back to his memory all his former offences, and reminding him of the happiness of the good, caused him to make an earnest appeal to the divine mercy for pardon and relief. The sixth and tenth verses have been conjectured to refer to his murder of Uriah and his adultery with Bathsheba; and the last verse, to the rebellious commotions excited in the kingdom by Absalom.
UNTO thee, O Lord, will I lift up my soul:
my God, I have put my trust in thee: 0 let me not be confounded, neither let mine enemies triumph over me.
2 For all they, that hope in thee, shall not be ashamed; but such, as transgress without a cause, shall be put to confusion.
Ps. 13. 4.
Isai. 25. 9.
enabled the Israelites to obtain over their enemies. 1 Sam. iv. 3. Psalm Lxviii. 18.
10 The Lord of hosts. He, who is the author of existence to the whole assemblage of created things, and to whom they are all in subjection. For, in the Hebrew language, any multitude, if only conspicuous for order and regularity, is said to have been called a host or army: such as the collective body of angels; the stars in the firmament of heaven; beings rational and irrational, &c. Gen. ii. 1, Some learned men, however, restrict the meaning of the word "host" to the angels and the heavenly bodies. To account for the difference between the eighth, and the tenth verse, which are both answers to the same question, it has been conjectured, that the latter has an especial reference to the ascension of our Lord and Saviour into heaven; and that no notice is now taken of his strength or might in battle, because, in agreement with the subsequent and plain declarations of the prophets, in His time men were to “beat their swords into plow-shares, and their spears into pruning-hooks.” Isai. ii. 4. Mic. iv. 3.
1 Confounded. See on Psalm xxii. 5.- -Neither let mine enemies, &c. If the Psalmist were disappointed in his hopes of succour, and thus seemed to have fruitlessly trusted in the Almighty, a great cause of rejoicing would be immediately, and, as it were, necessarily, furnished to his enemies. Psalm xxii. 8: Lxxi. 9.
2 Such, as transgress, gic. Those who, without any provocation, wickedly endeavor to destroy me. But David may mean such as, relying solely on their own strength, refuse to look to God for aid, though he has never neglected his pious servants; and he may assert,
Ps. 86. 11.
3 Shew me thy ways, O Lord, and teach me Ex. 33. 13. thy paths.
4 Lead me forth in thy truth, and learn John 6. 45. [teach] me; for thou art the God of my sal- Ephes
. 4. 20, 21. vation; in thee hath been my hope all the day long
5 Call to remembrance, O Lord, thy tender Ps. 103. 17. mercies, and thy loving-kindnesses, which have Isai
. 63. 15. been ever of old.
6 O remember not the sins and offences of Job 20. 11. my youth; but, according to thy mercy, think Jer. 3. 25. thou upon me, O Lord, for thy goodness.
7 Gracious and righteous is the Lord; there- Luke 11. 13. fore will he teach sinners in the way.
8 Them that are meek shall he guide in Matt. 11, 29. judgment; and such as are gentle, them shall John 7. 17. he learn (teach] his way.
9 All the paths of the Lord are mercy Gen. 5. 24. and truth unto such, as keep his covenant and Rom. 8. 28. his testimonies.
10 For thy name's sake, O Lord, be merciful Isai. 43. 25. unto my sin, for it is great.
2 Cor. 4. 6.
Rom. 5. 20.
that these will be punished for their impiety with every kind of shame and disgrace by the utter failure of all their plans.
3 Thy ways. See on Psalm xvii. 5.
4 Lead me, &c. Because thou art true and faithful in keeping thy promises of deliverance made to the afflicted (Psalm cxliii. 1), lead me forth, by the guidance of thy Holy Spirit, in those paths, which thou hast taught me.
7 Righteous, fc. Inasmuch as God is merciful and just, and “ desireth not the death of a sinner,” he will point out to him the way of righteousness, in order that he may walk therein and obtain safety.
8 In judgment. This may well be explained of the revealed law of God, which announces his righteous judgments, and which, in the latter part of the verse, is called “his way.” He will guide them into a knowledge of this law, and will so direct their minds, that they shall be able to discern without difficulty, what is acceptable to himself. On the other hand, a life, in all things agreeable to the precepts comprised in the divine law, may be alluded to, a life, in which good is distinguished from evil, right from wrong. Prov. i. 3.
9 All the paths, &c. All the dispensations of the Deity, here styled “the paths of the Lord,” are conspicuous for mercy and faithfulness, for he is as merciful in promising, as he is faithful in performing.
10 Be merciful, &c. Because my sin, from its heinousness, admits neither of extenuation, nor of excuse, I am compelled to urge, as my only plea for forgiveness, thy known attribute of mercy. See on Psalm xli. 4. David adds this petition, because his sorrows, though brought upon him by his enemies, might yet, according to God's