In response to the request of friends this little volume is sent forth with the author’s prayer that God may make it a means of blessing to the readers, by enabling them to see greater beauty in these inspired Scriptures, and to realise more clearly that the Psalms, as indeed all the books of the Bible, find their highest and completest fulfilment in our Lord Jesus Christ.



These expositions have first appeared as leading articles in the Scattered Nation - the Quarterly of the “Hebrew Christian Testimony to Israel  The many letters of appreciation and requests that the articles should be published in book form have encouraged us do so.



The readers will find that some of the Psalms here dealt with have not been so fully explained as others.  The reason for this is that the first part was a paper read before the “Prophecy Investigation Society and was only meant to give a bird’s eye view of the first book - Psalms 1 - 41.



We had intended continuing the other chapters on the same lines, but having more space at our disposal in our Quarterly, we were afterwards led to write more fully on some of those sublime Scriptures, which set forth in such marvellous beauty, the glories of our Lord, and His gracious purposes with Israel and the world.



We did not feel it necessary greatly to enlarge this volume, as Mr. David Baron had already written so helpfully, and in such detail on many of these grand Psalms, in the pages of the Scattered Nation and these can still be obtained in book form.



We have also added some remarks on the so-called Imprecatory Psalms which we trust will be found helpful. The translations are direct from the original.



                                                                                   E. BENDOR SAMUEL.









              GOODMAYES, ESSEX.



*       *       *






The Book of Psalms shows no arbitrary division into chapters.  Each Psalm appears to be individual and independent, and the whole series of 150 form an assortment of poetic gems, presenting prayer and prophecy, praise and promise.



Great honour has been shown me in the fact that I have been invited to write a foreword to this penetrative study of certain Psalms prepared by my old friend and comrade, Mr. Elijah Bendor Samuel.  He addresses himself particularly to the Messianic Psalms; viz., 2, 16, 22, 29, 40, 42, 45, 46, 47, 48, 63, 72, and 118.  I know of no reverent-minded scholarly, saintly believer of Jewish stock, better qualified to deal with such a theme.  I have been favoured with the opportunity of seeing the whole text, which, even in its form of unrevised proof has been read with great delight and profit; the side-lights of interpretation, the references to the Hebrew original, the wisely chosen quotations, the illuminating foot-notes and apt references are of very special value.



A word in regard to my former close association with the author will not be out of place.  For thirty-nine years we laboured together, and nowhere were his comradeship, uprightness of character, gentleness of spirit and other qualities more valued than in the Mildmay Mission to the Jews.  And when he was invited by the Council of the Hebrew Christian Testimony to Israel to become the Director of its Missionary operations, we surrendered him, great as was the sacrifice, the more willingly because we felt that no man was better fitted by race, by scholarship, and most of all by unfailing fidelity to the revealed truth of God to fill the post once so ably occupied by the late David Baron.



And in the study now before us in proof, and soon (D. V.) to be issued in the form of a book, we venture to predict that a large body of thoughtful Bible students will discover another literary treasure to take its place on their library shelves, that ministers will just as often refer to its pages as the more simple believer will make it a guide into sweet and untrodden paths of spiritual instruction.



                                                                                    SAMUEL HINDS WILKINSON.



*       *       *












The Place of the Psalms in the Bible - Helpfulness of the Psalter. - Revelation of God. - Highest Fulfilment in Christ.









Christ’s First Advent (Psa. 40). - On the Cross (Psa. 22). – Christ’s Resurrection (Psa. 16). - The Resurrection of the just (Psa. 17). – Christ’s Coming in Glory (Psa. 24). - The judgments (Psa. 29). – The Divine King (Psa. 2).






SOUL THIRST FOR GOD (Psa. 42 and 43),   Page 36






THE NATION’S CRY FOR GOD (Psa. 44),  Page 46






























THE UNIVERSAL JUDGE (Psa. 50),   Page 99






THE JOY OF COMMUNION WITH GOD (Psa. 63),    Page 123






THE GOLDEN AGE (Psa. 72),   Page 148






THE GREAT HALLEL (Psa. 118),   Page 172









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[Page 11]





The Psalms and the Messiah



The Place of the Psalms in the Bible.



The Book of the Psalms has always held an indisputable place in the inspired volume.  Elsewhere David himself claims as the “Sweet Psalmist of Israel” the prophetic gift.  He tells us, “The Spirit of Jehovah spake by me, and His word was in my tongue.  The God of Israel said it: the Rock of Israel spake to me” (2 Sam. 23. 1, 2).  In the present Jewish Bible it stands first in the third section, that of the Kethuvim - Hagiography, hence it was that our Lord spoke of it as representing that entire section (Luke 24: 44).  The division of the Psalms into five books brings it into harmony with the Pentateuch and with the five Megiloth, Scrolls - Canticles, Ruth, Lamentations, Ecclesiastes, and Esther, which are placed together in the Rabbinic Bible.



In addition to this fivefold division the Rabbis have arranged the book in seven portions, one for each day of the week, and the pious Israelites repeat the entire book once a week.



Helpfulness of the Psalter.

[Page 12]


Many of the Psalms are further interspersed in their prayers.  Indeed they are read on every important occasion; on the Sabbath and on week-days, on their feasts and fasts, in times of joy and in times of sorrow, in sickness and bereavement, at weddings and at funerals, when in peril on sea and when in danger on land.



Do not we, too, find ourselves frequently repeating portions of the Psalter when in trouble or perplexity?  This wonderful portion of God’s Word finds an echo in the hearts of men of all nationalities.  There is hardly a phase of human experience that does not strike a chord in this song book.  Though originally a Jewish hymnal it has become the precious heritage of all God’s children.  The penitent and the sorrowful the happy and the grateful, find in it just what suits their state and need.  It lays bare to our view the human heart in all its innate sinfulness, and shows us the Divine and efficacious remedy.



Revelation of God.



It, moreover, gives us a revelation of God in His greatness and tenderness.  “The heavens declare His glory and the expanse shows His handiwork” (Psa. 19. 1) yet at the cry of the needy He stoops from His exalted state; bowing the heavens He comes down, and flying upon the wings of the wind He hastens to [Page 13] their deliverance (Psa. 18: 6-10).  Though unchangeable in His Person and principles He yet regulates His conduct according to man’s attitude towards Him.  “With the merciful He shows Himself merciful, and with the upright He shows Himself upright.  With the pure He shows Himself pure, and with the froward He shows Himself forward” (18: 25, 26).  It is He Who causes us to triumph; with Him we “run through a troopand by Him we “leap over a wall” (18: 29).



Communion with God is essential to David’s very existence.  The loving kindness of Jehovah is better to him than life (63: 3).  His heart and his flesh cry out for the living God (84: 2).  Estranged from God life is a misery.  Having lost through sin the consciousness of the Lord’s presence, he pleads for pardon and reconciliation.



“Purge me with hyssop (by means of a sin offering*) and I shall be clean;

Wash me and I shall be whiter than snow. ...

Create in me a clean heart, 0 God,

And renew a right spirit within me.

Cast me not away from Thy presence, and take not Thy Holy Spirit from me.

Restore unto me the joy of Thy salvation

And uphold me with Thy free spirit” (Psa. 51: 7-12).


* That is the literal meaning of Techatte-eni as may be seen from Lev. 6: 26, where this piel form of the verb is correctly translated “offereth it for sin,” referring to the sin offering mentioned in the preceding verse.



The Psalmist realises that Jehovah Himself is our Shepherd, Who provides for our needs, protects us in [Page 14] times of danger, leads us in green pastures and by the still waters, and refreshes our soul (23).  He abundantly provides for His children.  “The young lions may lack and suffer hunger; but they that seek the Lord shall not want any good thing” (34: 10).  He Himself is our “light and salvation” (27: 1).  His love brings balm to the wounded in spirit, and pardon to the truly penitent.  He regards His children with the tender pity of an earthly father.  His pardoning love is compared to the measureless heights of heaven, and His compassion to the endless ages of eternity (103: 11-17).  Nevertheless He does not exercise His love at the expense of justice, nor exact retribution at the cost of mercy.  As all the colours of the rainbow blend harmoniously together in one ray of light so do all the attributes of God operate in entire compatibility and perfection.



The Psalter Finds its Highest Fulfilment in Christ.



Like all the other books of the Bible, the Psalms find their highest and completest realisation in the Lord Jesus Christ.*  Many of the chief features of His career are predicted in the Psalms, as, for instance:


* It is said that two-fifths of the Old Testament passages cited in the New are taken from the Psalms.  All the four quotations by Christ on the Cross are from that book (22: 1, 31; 31: 5; 69: 21).



1. His advent and its purpose (40: 6-8).



2. His Sonship and birth (2: 7).



3. His deity and humanity (45: 6, 7).


[Page 15]

4. His Creatorship and eternal existence (102: 25-28).



5. His human descent (89: 4, 29, 36).



6. His witness for God (22: 22).



7. His eternal priesthood (110: 4).



8. His pre-eminence over earthly kings (72: 11).



9. His triumph acclaimed by children (8: 2).



10. His rejection (2: 1, and 22: 6, 7).



11. His betrayal (41: 9).



12. His crucifixion (22: 15-18).



13. That His garments should be parted (22: 18).



14. That lots should be cast upon His vesture (22: 18).



15. That He should be faint and thirsty on the Cross (22: 15).



16. That gall and vinegar should be given Him (69: 21).



17. That His bones should be dislocated (22: 14).



18. That not one of His bones should be broken (34: 20).



19. That He should be cut off in the prime of life (89: 45).



20. His resurrection (16: 8-10; 30: 3).



21. His ascension (68: 18).



22. His session at the right hand of God (110. 1).



23. His Second Advent (50: 3-6).



24. His being welcomed eventually by the Jews (118: 22-26).



25. His universal rule (72: 8).


[Page 16]

Many of these prophecies have had, no doubt, reference to some local incidents in the life of David, but find a more exhaustive fulfilment in the life of our Lord.* Some occurrence in the days of the inspired writer called forth the prophetic utterance.  But the Spirit of God taking him up to a higher spiritual eminence gave him a vision of a distant, but more important though similar event in the times of our Saviour, thus “testifying beforehand of the sufferings of Christ and the glory that should follow



* “If we read over the Psalms first with an eye to the literal David the meaning is obvious and put beyond dispute by the sacred history.  There is, indeed, an uncommon glow in the expression, and sublimity in the figures and the diction is now and then exaggerated as it were on purpose to intimate and lead us to the contemplation of higher and more important matters concealed within.  In compliance with this admonition if we take another survey of the Psalms in relation to the Person and concerns of the Spiritual David, a noble series of events immediately rises to view, and the meaning becomes more evident, as well as more exalted.  The colouring which may perhaps seem too hold and glaring for the King of Israel will no longer appear so when laid upon His antitype.” - LOWTH.



*        *       *


[Page 17]




The Messianic Psalms of Book 1



All the Psalms, as indeed the whole range of Scripture, point to the Lord Jesus, but the specially Messianic Psalms in the first book, I should say, are 2, 16, 22, 24, 40, 41.  The references to Christ in many of the others are very plain, but these describe the events in the life of our Lord very accurately and most graphically; and frequently they cannot fit any one else.  We can only briefly refer to some of these, following the events according to the time of their occurrence.



Christ’s First Advent (PSALM 40).



For the chief Musician, A Psalm of David.



1 I waited patiently for Jehovah;

And He inclined unto me, and heard my cry.

2 He has also brought me up out of a pit of destruction, out of the miry clay;

And He set my feet upon a rock and established my steps.

3 And He put a new song in my mouth, even praise unto our God:

Many shall see it and fear, and trust in Jehovah.

4 Blessed is the man that maketh Jehovah his trust,

And turneth not to the proud and those that turn aside deceitfully.

5 Much hast Thou accomplished 0 Jehovah my God:

Thy wonders and Thy thoughtfulness for us:

They cannot be set in order unto Thee;

If I would declare and speak of them,

They are too numerous to be counted.

[Page 18]

6 Sacrifice and meal-offerings Thou dost not desire,

Ears hast Thou digged for me,

Burnt offering and sin offering hast Thou not required.

7 Then said I, Behold, I am come,

In the roll of the book it is written of me;

8 I delight to do Thy will, 0 my God:

Yea, Thy law is within my heart.

9 I have published the good tidings of righteousness in the great assembly;

Behold I will not refrain my lips,

0 Jehovah Thou knowest.

10 I have not covered up Thy righteousness in my heart;

I have declared Thy faithfulness and Thy salvation.

I have not concealed Thy lovingkindness and Thy truth from the great assembly.

11 Thou wilt not withhold Thy compassions from me, O Jehovah;

Thy lovingkindness and Thy truth will continually guard me.

12 For innumerable evils have encompassed me,

Mine Iniquities have overtaken me, so that I cannot see,

They are more than the hairs of my head,

And my heart has failed me.

13 Be pleased 0 Jehovah to deliver me:

0 Jehovah make haste to help me.

14 Let them be ashamed and confounded together, that seek my soul to destroy it!

Let them be turned back and dishonoured that desire my hurt.

15 Let them be astonished because of their shame,

That say unto me, Aha, Aha!

16 Let all those that seek Thee rejoice and be glad in Thee;

Let those that love Thy salvation say continually

Jehovah be magnified.

17 Though I am poor and needy

The Lord thinketh about me;

Thou art my help and deliverer,

Make no tarrying, 0 my God.



In Psalm 40 we have a striking prediction of Christ’s coming in voluntary humiliation and in obedience to the Father’s will; as the antitype of the Levitical [Page 19] system He declares “Slain offering and meal offering Thou didst not desire, mine ears hast Thou digged; burnt offering and sin offering hast Thou not required (or requested).”  “Then (emphatic) said I, behold I come, in the scroll of the book it is written of Me  The inspired Apostle explains the “Lo, I come” of Christ as … “coming into the world He saith” (Heb. 10: 5).  It is David’s greater Son Who speaks concerning His advent because of the insufficiency of all the Mosaic offerings.  He enumerates the various kinds of offerings to show that all are included, zevack, a general term embracing the eucharistic sacrifices - the peace, votive and thank offerings; mincha, the meal offerings with which are connected the drink offerings.  Then the olah, the burnt offerings, speaking of acceptance, and chatath standing for the expiatory sacrifices.  The whole Levitical order which pointed to Christ, and having found in Him their highest realisation were no more required when He himself appeared.  Is it not most remarkable that within the very generation of Christ’s suffering on the Cross the Temple was destroyed, the Jewish priesthood ceased, the sacrifices were taken away, and from that day to this no opportunity has been given to the Jews to offer sacrifice again?  These historical events, in full accord with the Divine plan as      revealed in the Scriptures, point to Christ and cry, “Behold the Lamb of God which taketh away the [Page 20] sin of the world there is no other sacrifice needed for this dispensation.



As for the difference between the expressions, “Mine ears hast Thou digged” (Psa. 40: 6); and “A body hast Thou prepared me” (Heb. 10: 5); it appears that the Apostle, quoting from the Septuagint, and seeing not a contradiction, but an explanation of the Psalm retained it.  The inspired writers of the New Testament often explain as they quote.  The Holy Spirit has a perfect right to explain His own writings.



Guided again by the author of the Epistle to the Hebrews, who renders, “In the scroll of the book it is written of me” by … (Heb. 10: 7) we hear in these words the voice of Him Who when on earth said, “Search the Scriptures ... they are they which testify of Me” and again, “All things must be fulfilled which were written in the Law of Moses and in the Prophets and in the Psalms concerning Me” (John 5: 39; Luke 24: 44).



Christ on the Cross (PSALM 22).



For the chief Musician set to “Ayyeleth hashshachar”

- the hind of the morning: A Psalm of David.



1 My God, my God, why hast Thou forsaken me?

Far from my help are the words of my entreating cry.

2 0 my God, I cry in the day time but Thou answerest not,

And in the night season and I am not silent.

3 But Thou art Holy, inhabiting the praises of Israel.

4 Our fathers trusted in Thee:

They trusted and Thou didst deliver them.

5 Unto Thee did they cry and were delivered;

They trusted and were not put to shame,

6 But I am a worm and not a man of high degree;

A reproach of men and despised of the people.

7 All they that see me laugh me to scorn:

They shoot out the lip, they shake the head.

8 Cast (thyself) upon Jehovah, let Him deliver him,

Let Him rescue him seeing He delighteth in him.

9 But Thou art He that took me out of the womb,

Thou didst cause me to trust when I was on my mother’s breast.

10 On Thee was I cast from the womb.

Thou art my God since my birth.

11 Be not far from me, for trouble is near,

For there is no helper.

12 Many bulls have compassed me,

Strong ones of Bashan have beset me round

13 They gape upon me with their mouth;

As a ravening and roaring lion.

14 I am poured out like water,

And my bones are all out of joint

My heart is become like wax;

It is melted within me.

15 My strength is dried up like a potsherd;

And my tongue cleaveth to my jaws;

And Thou placest me in the dust of death.

16 For dogs have compassed me,

A company of evildoers encircled me;

They pierced my hands and my feet.

17 I can count all my bones;

They look, they stare upon me.

18 They part my garments among them,

And upon my vesture do they cast lots.

19 But be Thou not far away, 0 Jehovah;

Haste Thee to help me, 0 my strength.

20 Rescue my soul from the sword,

My only one from the power of the dog.

21 Save me from the mouth of the lion,

And from the horns of the buffaloes - Thou hast answered me.

22 I will declare Thy name unto my brethren,

In the midst of the congregation will I praise Thee.

23 Ye that fear Jehovah praise Him,

All ye seed of Jacob glorify Him

And stand in awe of Him all ye seed of Israel.

[Page 22]  24 For He hath not despised nor abhorred the affliction of the afflicted,

Neither hath He hid His face from him,

And when he cried unto Him He heard.

25 From Thee is my praise in the great congregation;

I will pay my vows before them that fear Him.

26 The meek shall eat and be satisfied,

They shall praise Jehovah that seek Him;

Let your heart live for ever.

27 All the ends of the earth shall remember and turn unto Jehovah,

And all the families of the nations shall worship before Thee.

28 For the kingdom is Jehovah’s,

And He ruleth among the nations.

29 All the fat ones of the earth shall eat and worship,

All they that go down to the dust shall kneel before Him.

And he that cannot keep his soul alive.

30 A seed shall serve Him,

It shall be counted to the Lord for a generation.

31 They shall come and declare His righteousness to a people that shall be born,

For He hath done it.



This Psalm brings before our view the Lord Jesus in His sufferings and the happy results [upon this earth] that follow: first, we see our Lord nailed to the Cross (ver. 16), surrounded by a hostile crowd (ver. 12), despised by the people (ver. 6), derided by the multitude (ver. 7), the soldiers parting His garments and casting lots upon His vesture (ver. 18).  We hear His cry of agony, “My God, my God, why hast Thou forsaken me?” (ver. 1).  At last He exclaims, and we think we can discern through His anguish a tone of satisfaction, “It is done it is finished, as He yields His pure spirit into the Father’s hands.*


* It has been well pointed out, there is no confession of sin in this Psalm, nor is there any trace of bitterness in the heart of the sufferer.  For did He not pray for His enemies on the cross, “Father, forgive them, for they know not what they do”? (Luke 23: 34).



Suddenly the scene changes, we behold the Messiah in the midst of the congregation praising Jehovah, and witnessing to the people (ver. 22).  The ends of the earth turn unto Jehovah and all the families of the nations worship before Him (ver. 27).  The Kingdom is Jehovah’s, and He is ruler among the nations (ver. 28).  Anticipating the wonderful results of His suffering and the events that follow it, the resurrection, ascension, and glorious return, also the multitudes of saved ones through His atoning work, He exclaims (ver. 24): “And when He cried, He hath heard  This is surely the meaning of Heb. 5: 7.



The Resurrection of Christ (PSALM 16).



A Michtam* of David.


* According to the Rabbis, A golden poem from Kethem-gold.  Luther, a golden Jewel



1 Preserve me 0 God, for in Thee do I take refuge,

2 I said to Jehovah Thou art my Lord,

I have no good beyond Thee.

3 And to the saints who are in the earth,

And the excellent in whom is all my delight.

4 Their sorrows shall be multiplied that give gifts to other gods,

Their drink-offering of blood will I not offer,

And their names will I not take upon my lips.

5 Jehovah is the portion of mine inheritance and of my cup;

Thou maintainest my lot.

6 The lines are fallen unto me in pleasant places;

Yea, the heritage is lovely to me.

7 I will bless Jehovah Who bath given me counsel;

Yea, in the night season have my reins admonished me.

8 I have set Jehovah always before me;

Because He is at my right hand, I shall not be moved.

9 Therefore my heart is glad, and my glory rejoices,

My flesh also shall rest in hope,

[Page 24]10 For Thou wilt not leave my soul in Sheol;

Thou wilt not suffer Thy Holy One to see corruption

11 Thou wilt make me know the path of life,

In Thy Presence is fulness of joy,

At Thy right hand are pleasures for evermore.



That the Lord Jesus was to be raised from the dead we find clearly predicted in Psa. 16: 9-11: “Therefore my heart is glad, and my glory rejoiceth; my flesh also shall rest in confidence.  For Thou wilt not leave my soul in Sheol; neither wilt Thou suffer Thine Holy One to see corruption.  Thou wilt show me the path of life: in Thy presence is fulness of joy, at Thy right hand there are pleasures for evermore



This passage is quoted twice in the Acts of the Apostles (2: 25-31 and 13: 35-37).  On both these occasions first by Peter, then by Paul we are informed that this prophecy has not been fulfilled in David, but was accurately fulfilled by Christ.  David’s soul was still left in Sheol, for he has not yet ascended into the heavens, and his body, like those of the rest of mankind, did see corruption.  Not so the Lord Jesus; His soul was not left in Sheol, for to Him it was said, “Thou hast ascended up on high, Thou hast led captivity captive” (Psa. 68: 18).  The Father also bade Him “Sit Thou on My right hand until I make Thine enemies Thy footstool” (Psa. 110: 1).  The same body that bore the marks of the crucifixion, but which was incorruptible, was seen by the eleven Apostles, and afterwards by more than five hundred brethren at once.  He could say to His disciples after rising from the dead, “Behold My hands and My feet, that it is I Myself; handle Me and see; for a spirit hath not flesh and bones as ye see Me have” (Luke 24: 39).  He could convince doubting Thomas by saying to him, “Reach thither thy finger and behold My hands; and reach hither thy hand and thrust it into My side: and be not faithless, but believing” (John 20: 27).  In that same body will our Lord descend to the Mount of Olives, and sit upon the throne of David.



The Resurrection of the Just (PSALM 17).



The sixteenth Psalm ends with a prediction of Messiah’s resurrection and His full enjoyment of His Father’s companionship.  “Thou wilt show me the path of life: in Thy presence is fulness of joy; at Thy right hand there are pleasures for evermore  At the close of the Seventeenth Psalm we have the promise that we, too, [if “accounted worthy” (Luke 20: 35; Phil. 3: 11] shall be raised [at the “first resurrection”] to a life of joy, as much as to say that our hope of a happy resurrection is based upon the fact that Christ rose from the dead.  “Because I live ye shall live also,” was our Lord’s assurance to us.



In contrast to his wicked enemies, who are called men of the world, who have their portion in this “life” and its prosperity (ver. 14), David confidently declares that his full reward is in the life to come when he will have the great delight of seeing the face of his [Page 26] Lord and the blessed experience of being changed into His image.  With a note of triumph he exclaims, “As for me, I shall behold Thy face in righteousness, I shall be satisfied when I awake in Thy likeness” (ver. 15).



In this we surely have an adumbration of the “Blessed hope” set before us in the New Testament when at the appearing of the Lord Jesus our body of humiliation will be changed into the fashion of “His glorious body when with an enlarged vision and increased capacity we shall behold His face and share His glory!  That will indeed be the moment of our supreme satisfaction.  As we read these words, “I shall behold Thy face in righteousness, I shall be satisfied when I awake in Thy likeness,” we at once think of another great passage (1 John 3: 2), “Beloved, now are we the sons of God, and it doth not yet appear what we shall be, but we know that when He shall appear we shall be like Him; for we shall see Him as He is*


* Psalm 17: 15 has in it every element of 1 John 3: 2.

(a) Supreme satisfaction. (John), “It doth not yet appear what we shall be, but” (Psalm), “I shall be satisfied

(b) A great transformation. (John), “We shall be like him”; (Psalm) “I shall awake in His likeness

(c) An enlarged vision. (John), “We shall see Him as He is”; (Psalm), “I shall behold His face in righteousness.” See also 1 Cor. 15: 51-55; Rev. 22: 4.



The usual objection to the above interpretation of the Psalm is that the writer lived too early in Israel’s history to have so clear a revelation of the resurrection; that, say the objectors, was not known till a much later period. In this we cannot agree with [Page 27] them, for the great hope of the resurrection was already known to Job, who lived at a very early age in the history of the world.  Besides, it is surely very faulty exegesis to come to the Scriptures with pre-conceived notions, and then interpret them accordingly.  The texts should be the basis of our theories, and not our theories the basis of the texts.  We must be willing to let our previously formed opinions go if they are not in full agreement with the Bible. 



Christ’s Coming in Glory (PSALM 24).



A Psalm of David.



1 Jehovah’s is the earth, and the fulness thereof;

The world and they that dwell therein.

2 For He hath founded it upon the seas,

And established it upon the streams.

3 Who shall ascend unto the Mountain of Jehovah?

And who shall stand in His Holy place?

4 He that is of clean hands and of pure heart,

Who hath not lifted up his soul to vanity,

And hath not sworn deceitfully.

5 He shall receive a blessing from Jehovah,

And righteousness from the God of his salvation.

6 This is the generation of those that enquire of Him,

Of those that seek Thy face, even Jacob. Selah.

7 Lift up your heads, 0 ye gates;

And be ye lifted up, ye ancient doors,

That the King of Glory may come in!

8 Who is this King of Glory?

Jehovah, strong and mighty;

Jehovah, mighty in battle.

9 Lift up your heads, 0 ye gates,

Yea, lift up the ancient doors,

That the King of Glory may come in!

10 Who, then, is this King of Glory?

Jehovah of Hosts,

He is the King of Glory. Selah.


[Page 28]

The Twenty-fourth Psalm is generally applied to our Lord’s ascension, and, indeed, there may be many applications of a passage of Scripture, though not many interpretations.  It may sound strange to us that in some quarters, especially in the Greek Church, this Psalm has been applied to Christ’s entrance into Hades.



As a background the Psalm has probably the bringing of the Ark from Kirjath Jearim to Mount Zion.  But read in conjunction with Psalm 118: 20, where the gate is called the Lord’s gate, we learn that prophetically it looks on to the return of the Lord Jesus as the King of Glory to set up His Kingdom on Mount Zion.



The Ark and its propitiatory with the two cherubim - the seat of the Shechinah glory - brought up in procession to Mount Zion formed a suitable emblem foreshadowing the future ascent of the great King to the holy hill.



At the time of His coming, Jerusalem will be surrounded by the Antichrist and the confederacy of nations, who will be fighting against the Jews.  The whole scene rises vividly before us.  The Lord Jesus crowned with many diadems, comes forth from the opened heaven, and, destroying the hostile army, He approaches the city.  A cry is raised from without, “Lift up your heads, 0 ye gates; and be ye lift up, ye ancient doors; and the King of glory shall come [Page 29] in  From within the walls of the city comes the question, “Who is the King of glory?” and the answer comes, loud and clear, “Jehovah, strong and mighty, Jehovah, mighty in battle; Lift up your heads, 0 ye gates, and lift up the ancient doors, and the King of glory shall come in  But the poor Jews, still bewildered, ask again, “Who is this King of glory and finally the response comes, “Jehovah of Hosts, He is the King of glory



As the gates are swung open the voice is heard again, “This is the gate of Jehovah, let the righteous enter therein” (Psa. 118: 20), and as the triumphant King is recognised, the Jews, filled with wonderment, exclaim, “Lo, this is our God, we have waited for Him, and He will save us; Lo, this is Jehovah, we have waited for Him; we shall be glad and rejoice in His salvation” (Isa. 25: 9).  “The stone which the builders despised is become the head of the corner.  This is the Lord’s doing; it is marvellous in our eyes  “Hoseana!”  “Blessed is He that cometh” (Psa. 118. 22, 25).



Then will the prediction at the commencement of the Psalm be fulfilled.  The world and its inhabitants will be the Lord’s, i.e.:


(a) His in possession (ver. 1);


(b) His by virtue of creation (ver. 2);


(c) His by reason of occupation (His Holy place) (ver. 3).


[Page 30]

The Judgments (PSALM 29).



A Psalm of David.



1 Give unto Jehovah, ye sons of God,

Give unto Jehovah glory and strength,

2 Give unto Jehovah the glory of His name;

Worship Jehovah in the beauty of Holiness.

3 The voice of Jehovah is upon the waters,

The God of glory thundereth,

Jehovah is upon many waters.

4 The voice of Jehovah is in power,

The voice of Jehovah is in majesty,

5 The voice of Jehovah breaketh the cedars:

Yea, Jehovah breaketh the cedars of Lebanon

6 He maketh them also to skip like a calf,

Lebanon and Sirion like a young buffalo.

7 The voice of Jehovah cleaveth flames of fire.

8 The voice of Jehovah shaketh the wilderness

Jehovah shaketh the wilderness of Kadesh.

9 The voice of Jehovah giveth birthpangs to hinds,

He maketh bare the forest;

And in His Temple everything saith “glory

10 Jehovah sat upon the flood,

And Jehovah sitteth as King for ever.

11 Jehovah shall give strength to His people.

Jehovah shall bless His people with peace.



The Twenty-ninth Psalm describes a scene connected with that of the Twenty-fourth.  God in action, putting down all the opposition of the world against Him; and finally enthroned as ruler, receiving the homage of the mighty.



Was it a vivid Eastern thunderstorm that in the first place inspired the poet with these sublime thoughts and forceful expressions? Was it as he stood upon one of the wooded hills of Israel’s land and watched in adoring wonderment the lightning flashes [Page 31] and heard the thunder roll that there came to him a fresh vision of God’s power and majesty.



The word kol, here translated voice, is rendered thunder in Ex. 20: 18; 1 Sam. 12: 17, 18.



Certain it is that God often interposed on behalf of His people by sending heavy thunderstorms; one of the plagues of Egypt was a thunder and hail storm (Exod. 9: 23, 25,).  It was by heavy hailstones from the sky that He discomfited the nations of Canaan before Joshua (Josh. 10: 11).



According to Rev. 8: 7; and 16: 17, 21, God will again deal with the sinful nations of the earth by similar phenomena; and it is worthy of note that the judgments mentioned in Revelation are connected with the seven Trumpets and seven Vials.  In the Twenty-ninth Psalm we have also seven voices or thunders coming in judgments upon the earth in order to subdue it.


1. The voice of Jehovah is upon the waters.


2. The voice of Jehovah is in power.


3. The voice of Jehovah is in majesty.


4. The voice of Jehovah breaketh the cedars … of Lebanon.


5. The voice of Jehovah cleaveth flames of fire.


6. The voice of Jehovah shaketh the wilderness.


7. The voice of Jehovah gives birthpangs to hinds and maketh bare the forest.



This will be the time when Jehovah will rise to shake terribly the earth, and men will go into the holes of the rocks and the caves of the earth for fear of the Lord and for the glory of His majesty (Isa. 2: 19).



Having dealt with these world forces that are opposed to Him, Jehovah is pictured as seated upon the water-floods, as King for ever.



The Divine King (PSALM 2).



1 Why do the nations rage,

And the peoples imagine a vain thing.

2 Kings of the earth set themselves up,

And rulers take counsel together,

Against Jehovah, and against His Anointed,

3 Let us break their bonds asunder,

And cast away their cords from us.

4 He that sitteth in the heavens will laugh;

The Lord will have them in derision.

5 Then will He speak to them in His wrath,

And terrify them in His sore displeasure:

6 Yet, have I set My King upon My holy hill of Zion.

7 I will tell of the decree,

Jehovah bath said unto Me, Thou art My Son,

This day have I begotten Thee.

8 Ask of Me, and I will give Thee the nations for Thine inheritance,

And the uttermost parts of the earth for Thy possession.

9 Thou shalt break them with a rod of iron,

Thou shalt dash them to pieces like a potter's vessel.

10 And now, be wise, 0 ye kings,

Be admonished ye judges of the earth

11 Serve Jehovah with fear,

And rejoice with trembling.

12 Kiss the Son, lest He be angry, and ye perish in the way,

For His wrath may kindle in a little,

Blessed are all they that take refuge in Him.



The Second Psalm may have the experience of David a background, but from the New Testament we [Page 33] learn that it speaks of David’s Son and Lord.  In Acts 4: 25-28 the Apostle Peter and those who were with him applied verses 1 and 2 to our Lord’s first advent when the Jews and the Gentiles raged and the princes took counsel together against Jehovah because against His Messiah.



A similar scene will, however, be re-enacted at the second coming of Christ, and this Psalm will have a more complete fulfilment as we learn from Rev. 19: 15, where this Scripture is again quoted.*


* Even the Rabbis could not exclude the Messianic interpretation from this psalm.  Eben Ezra says on verse 2, “Either the Psalmist says this concerning David, or he says it to himself, but if we apply it to the Messiah it is much clearer.”  Rashi, though he explains it otherwise, has to admit that the former Rabbis interpret it of the Messiah.



Two titles of our Lord are frequently found together in the New Testament, “Christ” and “Son of God* Twice we hear them from the lips of Peter.  The incident at Caesarea Philippi will readily come to our mind, how, to the question “Whom say ye that I am  Peter, as spokesman of the other disciples, whole-heartedly responded, “Thou art the Christ, the Son of the living God” (Matt. 16: 15, 16).  Likewise on another occasion Peter exclaimed feelingly, “We believe and are sure that thou art that Christ, the son of the living God” (John 6: 69).


* Matt. 16: 16; 26: 63; Mark 14: 61; John 1: 49; 6: 69; 11: 27; 20: 31, etc.



Peter was told that this was not revealed unto him by flesh and blood (any human being), but by the Father in heaven.  And that revelation was in complete agreement with the Second Psalm, where our [Page 34] Lord is spoken of as both the Anointed Messiah (vers. 2, 6), and as the Son of God (vers. 7, 12).*


* Verse 6 is perhaps better translated “I anointed My King,” “nasach” means “to pour,” as is done in anointing, and the noun “nesech” is rendered drink offering because it was poured out.  From this root comes “massecha,” a molten image, something cast, and “nesichim” rulers, translated Dukes (Josh. 13: 21); Princes (Ezek. 32: 30; Principal men (Micah 5: 5).



The promise of the Davidic throne has, perhaps, its origin in Nathan’s prediction in 1 Chron. 17: 11, 14: “And it shall come to pass, when thy days be expired; when thou must go to be with thy fathers; that I will raise up thy seed after thee, who shall be of thy sons, and I will establish His kingdom. ... I will be His Father, and He shall be My Son. ... I will settle Him in Mine house and in My kingdom for ever, and His throne shall be established for evermore This prophecy running on through the Davidic dynasty finds eventually its full realisation in the Divine King, the Son of David and Son of God.



But the Second Psalm is not merely an echo of this gracious promise through Nathan; it is also an assurance that this anointed one will one day destroy all the forces of evil, bruise the head of the serpent - the enemy of God and mankind, overcome all the organised opposition to God’s will; then amidst the acclamations of heavenly and earthly hosts will triumphantly take to Himself His great power and reign, and the kingdoms of this world shall become the kingdom of our Lord and His Christ (Rev. 11: 15, 17).



The nations will be given to our Lord as an [Page 35] inheritance and the uttermost parts of the earth as a possession.  The kings of the world will then learn wisdom and the judges of the earth will be instructed; they will serve Jehovah with fear and rejoice with trembling.



“Then shall the moon be confounded and the sun ashamed when Jehovah of Hosts shall reign in Mount Zion and in Jerusalem and before His ancients gloriously” (Isa. 24. 23).



*       *       *






Soul Thirst for God






To the chief Musician, Maskil, of the sons of Korah.



1 As a hart panteth after water brooks,

So panteth my soul after Thee, 0 God.

2 My soul thirsteth for God, for the Living God;

When shall I come and appear before God?

3 My tears have been my food day and night,

While they continually say unto me, Where is thy God?

4 These things I remember, and pour out my soul within me.

How I went with the throng,

I led them to the house of God,

With the voice of joyous song and thanksgiving -

A multitude keeping holy day.

5 Why art thou cast down, 0 my soul,

And why art thou disquieted within me?

Hope thou in God; for I shall yet praise Him,

For the salvations of His countenance.

6 0 my God, my soul is cast down within me,

Therefore do I remember Thee from the land of the Jordan

And from the Hermons, from the hill Mizar.

7 Deep calleth unto deep at the noise of Thy waterfalls;

All Thy breaking waves and rolling billows have passed over me.

8 Yet, Jehovah will command His loving kindness in the day time,

And in the night His song shall be with me,

Even prayer to the God of my life.

9 I will say unto God, My rock,

Why hast Thou forgotten me?

Why go I mourning because of the oppression of the enemy?

10 With a crushing in my bones mine enemies reproach me,

While they continually say unto me, Where is thy God?

11 Why art thou cast down 0 my soul,

And why art thou disquieted within me?

Hope thou in God, for I shall yet praise Him,

For the salvations of my countenance, and my God.






1 Judge me 0 God, and plead my cause against an ungodly nation.

Deliver me from the deceitful and unrighteous man.

2 For Thou art the God of my strength,

Why hast Thou cast me off?

Why go I mourning because of the oppression of the enemy?

3 0 send out Thy light and Thy truth, let them lead me;

Let them bring me to Thy holy mountain and to Thy tabernacles.

4 That I may go to the altar of God,

Unto God my glad joy,

And I will praise Thee upon the harp, 0 God my God.

5 Why art thou cast down 0 my soul,

And why art thou disquieted within me?

Hope thou in God, for I shall yet praise Him,

Who is the salvations of my countenance and my God.



PSALMS 42 to 72 form the second book, which the Rabbis say corresponds with the second Book of Moses. There certainly are some parallelisms between them.  The first two of these Psalms were evidently penned when the writer was in great distress and in exile (42: 6).  The Book of Exodus also commences with the story of Israel’s suffering in Egypt.  Here the Psalmist graphically describes his great thirst for God.  In the Hebrew text three times over in this short Psalm is the face or presence of God mentioned (vers. 2, 5, 11).  Exodus likewise deals largely with the presence of God; the revelation of [Page 38] Himself in the burning bush (Exod. 3), His presence at the Red Sea (Exod. 13: 21), His manifestation on Mount Sinai (Exod. 19: 20; 24: 10), and His appearance at the renewal of the tables with the decalogue (Exod. 34: 5).



The Psalmist also speaks here of God’s house, God’s tabernacle and God’s altar, with which so great a part of Exodus is taken up.*


* Ruth, the second of the Megiloth or Scrolls, like Exodus deals with exile and redemption.  The five Scrolls, the Song of Solomon, Ruth, Lamentations, Ecclesiastes, and Esther are all grouped together in the Hebrew Bible.  An old Hebrew Bible in the writer’s possession has these five Megiloth after the book of Deuteronomy. Usually they follow Job in the Hebrew Bibles in the order here given.



Soul Thirst for God.



Though our chief concern in these articles is with the prophetic or Messianic aspect of the Psalms, we linger to notice that Psalms 42 and 43, which are closely connected,* form a suitable introduction to the series by expressing a deep longing for God, which in the highest sense finds its complete realisation in Christ, “For in Him dwelleth all the fulness of the Godhead bodily** He is the answer to the cry of the human heart for God.  Without Christ, God is invisible and incomprehensible.  His spiritual nature necessarily transcends our capacity for [Page 39] understanding Him, His greatness overawes us, and His power overwhelms us.***  But in Christ He has graciously drawn near to us, that our eyes should behold Him, our ears should hear Him, and that our hearts should feel, and be thrilled by, His love and compassion, and that it should be possible for us to enjoy intimate fellowship with Him.


*Though the Forty-third Psalm stands separated from the Forty-second in the Bible, textually it is a continuation of it. (a) It has no separate title or ascription. (b) It deals with the same theme. (c) It repeats entire sentences of the Forty-secondPsalm. (d) It ends with the same hopeful refrain as the preceding Psalm. (e) It is equally applicable to the time when David was exiled from home by Absalom’s rebellion.  Neither Absalom nor the nation that caused David the trouble are named; they are called Ish mirmak Veavlah – “wicked and deceitful man,” and Goy lo hasid, “unmerciful nation” very applicable to a people that treated their king in such a manner.  These facts prove, indeed, that the Psalms are Davidic.


** Greek Somatikos (Col. 2. 9).


*** The prophet strikingly calls Him El Mistater, “The God Who hideth Himself” (Isa. 45: 15).  The Psalmist also says, “Clouds and darkness are round about Him” (Psa. 97: 2).  The light that surrounds Him is so dazzling that our sight cannot penetrate it, and is as impenetrable as the thick cloud.



The prayer of Moses was, “I beseech Thee, show me Thy glory* “If Thy presence go not with me, carry us not up hence** The cry of the Psalmist is, “As the hart panteth after the water-brooks, so panteth my soul after Thee, 0 God.  My soul thirsteth for God, for the Living God; when shall I come and appear before God  God was to the Psalmist as He is to us, the supreme necessity of his being, we cannot do without Him. We need His power, we need His love, we need His salvation, yea, we need Him!  He is not only the El Chay, the living God (ver. 2), but the El Chayyay, the God of my life (ver. 8); also El Simchath Gili, “God my glad joy;” and Elohim Elohay, God, my God (Psa. 43. 4).  These expressions have an intensity that shows them to come from the innermost being.


*By which he evidently meant, show me Thy person.  As we learn from the answer God gave him, “Thou canst not see my face; for there shall no man see me, and live” (Exod. 33: 18-20).    **Exod. 33: 15.


[Page 40]

God, the Supreme Necessity of our Life.



The experience of the Psalmist is our experience.  Thank God for the many thousands of all nationalities who to-day can make the language of David their own, who have the same thirst for God, and find similar satisfaction in Him.  If we can say with David, “My soul thirsteth for God,” we shall also be able to say with him, “My soul shall be satisfied as with marrow and fatness, and my mouth shall praise Him with joyful lips Truly His loving-kindness is better than life.



0 ye, who declare that God is too great to interfere in our affairs, and quite indifferent to our needs.  Is it thinkable, we ask you that God, having created us with a mind to reason, a heart to love, and a soul to worship, and having instilled into our being a yearning desire for Himself, will, after all, only mock us and leave us to grope in darkness without making known to us His mind and His will, our duties and our destinies?  A thousand times no!  Thank God, He has not only given us a revelation of all that is necessary to know for our spiritual welfare in the Scriptures of truth, He has done more, He has given us a manifestation of Himself in His Beloved Son, that we may enjoy communion with Him and render Him acceptable worship and adoration.



Pained by Enemy’s Blasphemy.



This passionate ode was apparently, written in the [Page 41] Erets Jarden, the vicinity of Jordan, under great stress of mind when the Psalmist was driven from home, and deprived of the privilege of worshipping Jehovah in His tabernacle.  To us, as to the Psalmist, the enemy is ever ready to come and question insinuatingly, “Where is thy God?  Why does He not interpose on your behalf when you are in trouble  Too often, alas! he succeeds in harassing us, but the remedy is at hand.



The Psalmist’s zeal for God is thus indicated.  Twice over he tells us that this scoffing query, “Where is thy God with its evil suggestion, pained him deeply.  In verse 3 he says this aspersion against the holy character of God changed his food into tears, “My tears have been my meat day and night, while they continually say unto me, Where is thy God  This is repeated in verse 10, “As with a crushing in my bones, my enemies reproach me; while they say every day unto me, Where is thy God  This taunt was like “an instrument of slaughter” cutting into his very bones.



It is comparatively easy for the child of God to put up with insults concerning himself, but when the wicked objector blasphemes the holy name of our Lord it cuts him to the quick.  Here it was attributing neglect or unfaithfulness to God that tortured David’s very soul.



In this, moreover, as in many other things, David [Page 42] was a type of Christ.  A similar reproach was borne by our Saviour as is predicted in Psa. 22: 8, “All they that see me laugh me to scorn: they shoot out the lip, they shake the head, saying, He trusted on the Lord that He would deliver him: let Him deliver him, seeing he delighted in Him  This was accurately fulfilled in the experience of our Lord when on the Cross (Matt. 27: 43).



Faith’s Confidence.



In the writer’s experience light and shade rapidly chase each other, but the dark shadows that creep over his soul are quickly dispelled by the bright hope that comes to him through trusting an almighty and all-beneficent Lord.  “Why art thou cast down, 0 my soul he cries, “why art thou disquieted in me?* Hope thou in God: for I shall yet praise Him for the help of His countenance  Faith in our omnipotent and gracious God is the secret of changing our sorrow into joy.  From the inward feeling of despair we turn the upward look of confidence.  Faith solves our perplexing problems and answers satisfactorily our difficult questions.  When within us all is gloom and disappointment we turn to God and find serenity and encouragement.


* Tehimi alay is literally “thou roarest against me  A picturesque expression.  Hamah is “to roar,” “to make a noise



The Psalmist promptly acted on his own advice.  “Hope thou in God, for I shall yet praise Him is [Page 43] immediately followed by “0 my God, my soul is cast down within me, therefore will I remember Thee



The swiftly rushing water of the Jordan, as it came leaping noisily over its precipitous and rocky bed, supplied the Psalmist with a graphic picture of the waves of sorrow and distress that passed over his soul, “Deep calleth unto deep at the noise of thy water-spouts*; all thy raging waves and rolling billows** are gone over me  The cry was from the depth of his helplessness to the depth of God’s power, from the depth of his need to the depth of God’s love.


* The Septuagint translates tsinor by katarrahion, “Cataract


** The Hebrew words, mishbarecha vegallecha mean “thy breakers and thy rollers,” and picture the waves breaking up and rolling over as they come into the shore.



Confidence in a Righteous God.



Once again the genial rays from the Sun of Righteousness dissipate the dark clouds and bring light and cheer, “Yet the Lord will command His lovingkindness in the daytime, and in the night His song shall be with me  Three times over in these two short Psalms we get the refrain, “Why art thou cast down, 0 my soul ending up, “I shall yet praise Him Who is the health of my countenance and my God  Literally it is the “salvations of my face plural because salvation is so manifold; social and physical as well as spiritual; salvation for every moment, for every need and emergency, salvation [Page 44] commencing with the forgiveness of our sin at the new birth, and continuing every day of our life till the time when we shall stand in the presence of God, changed into His own image with an enlarged vision to see Him and an increased capacity to know things as they are; salvation will then be an accomplished fact, and the riches of His grace will for us be merged into the riches of His glory.



A Present Application.



Have we not here also a picture of the Jewish people in this age?  They, like the Psalmist, are exiled from the land of their fathers.  They are without a temple and officiating priest, and are deprived of the ancient worship prescribed for them in the Law of Moses, yet many have a prayer in their hearts for a manifestation of God’s presence, and for the return of the lost privileges they once enjoyed.*


* The Jewish prayers, especially for the Festivals, are full of pathetic laments that they are in exile and without a temple, without an officiating priesthood and sacrifice and without their ancient forms of worship.



We believe that the time is soon coming when with real distress of soul and earnest supplication they will cry in the words of David, “O send forth Thy light and Thy truth; let them lead me, let them bring me unto Thy holy hill and to Thy tabernacles, then will I go unto the altar of God, unto God my exceeding joy and their petition will be answered.  The light of God will lead them, as it has led us, to [Page 45] His holy hill, to His tabernacle and to His altar, the place of sacrifice, pardon, and communion.  The harp that has remained silent through the centuries of this dispensation will again be used in praising God by them when “The Redeemer shall come to Zion, and unto them that turn away from transgression in Jacob” (Isa. 59: 20).



*       *       *






The Nation’s Cry for God






For the Chief Musician, of the sons of Korah, Maskil.



1 0, God, we have heard with our ears

Our fathers have told us,

Thou hast accomplished a work in their days,

In the days of old.

2 Thou, with Thy hand, didst dispossess nations,

But them Thou didst plant;

Thou didst afflict peoples,

But them Thou didst spread abroad.

3 For not by their sword did they possess the land;

Nor did their own arm save them;

But Thy right hand, and Thine arm, and the light of Thy presence,

Because Thou wast favourable unto them.

4 Thou art my King, 0 God,

Command deliverances for Jacob.

5 By Thee shall we push down our enemies,

By Thy name shall we tread down those that rise up against us.

6 For I will not trust in my bow,

Neither shall my sword save me.

7 But Thou hast saved us from our adversaries,

And hast put to shame those that hate us.

8 In God have we made our boast all the day long,

And to Thy name will we give thanks for ever. Selah.

9 Now, Thou hast cast us off, and put us to shame,

And goest not forth with our armies.

10 Thou makest us turn back from our adversary,

And they that hate us have plundered for themselves.

11 Thou hast appointed us as sheep for food,

And Thou hast scattered us among the nations.

12 Thou sellest Thy people for nought,

And hast not enriched Thyself greatly by their price.

13 Thou makest us a reproach to our neighbours,

A scorn and derision to those around us.

14 Thou makest us a proverb among the nations,

A shaking of the head among the peoples,

15 All the day long is my dishonour before me,

And the shame of my face hath covered me

16 Because of the voice of him that defameth and blasphemeth,

Because of the enemy and the revengeful.

17 All this is come upon us, but we have not forgotten Thee,

And have not been false to Thy covenant,

18 Our heart is not turned back,

Neither has our step declined from Thy path.

19 Thou hast crushed us in the place of jackals,

And hast covered us with the shadow of death

20 If we have forgotten the name of our God,

Or stretched out our hands to a strange deity,

21 Would not God search this out?

For He knoweth the secrets of the heart.

22 Yea, for Thy sake are we killed all the day long,

We are counted as sheep for the slaughter.

23 Rouse Thee, why sleepest Thou 0 Lord?

Awake, cast us not off for ever.

24 Wherefore hidest Thou Thy face,

And forgettest our affliction and our oppression ?

25 For our soul is bowed down to the dust,

Our body cleaveth to the earth.

26 0 arise for our help,

And redeem us for Thy lovingkindness’ sake.



Psalm 44 is the nation’s call for God, just as the two preceding Psalms are the cry of the individual for Him. God is as great a necessity for the nation as He is for each man and woman separately.



When the Psalm was Written.



Commentators have found some difficulty in determining the time the Forty-fourth Psalm was composed.  [Page 48] Delitzsch, Hengstenberg, and Keil have assigned it to David, while others have placed it as late as the Maccabean period.  They have not, however, been able to harmonise their theories with its internal evidence.



Calvin declared that this Psalm might have been written “by anyone except David  Verses 10 and 11 are certainly not applicable to his days.  The Israelites were not then scattered among the nations.  Nor can we admit for a moment that any part of the Psalter was composed as late as the Maccabean period.  The canon of Scripture was surely completed long before then.



The chief difficulties in locating this Psalm in its proper place in history are (1) the writer speaks of his people as scattered among the nations (ver. 11); (2) he asserts their righteousness (ver. 17-19); and (3) he disclaims any idolatrous tendency amongst them (ver. 20).



Light from an Ancient Monument.



Our conviction is that it was written in the days of Hezekiah.  If we accept this, the difficulties actually become aids.  We consider them in order:



(1) The people being scattered.  The second book of Kings 18, 13, tells us, “In the fourteenth year of King Hezekiah, Sennacherib, king of Assyria, came up against all the fenced cities of Judah and took them  Now according to his usual custom, the Assyrian king [Page 49] must have taken the people of the conquered cities away captive, as he did the ten-tribed kingdom, and as he purposed to do to the people of Jerusalem (ver. 32).



We find that this was actually Sennacherib’s boast.  On one of the cuniform tablets now in the British Museum he says, “Six and forty of the fenced cities, and the fortresses and the villages round about them, belonging to Hezekiah, the Jew, I besieged and stormed and captured.  I carried away from them two hundred thousand, one hundred and fifty souls, great and small, male and female.  In his house in Jerusalem I shut up Hezekiah as a bird in a cage.  I threw up mounds round about the city from which to attack it, and I blockaded his gates.  The cities which I had captured from him I took away from his kingdom, and I gave them to Mitinti, king of Ashdod



Here, then, we have sacred and secular history together, helping us to solve this problem.  Incidentally, we see how the Assyrian cylinder confirms the truths of the Scripture.



(2) The assertion of their righteousness.  Some commentators have found fault with this self-righteous assertion, as not becoming an inspired prophet.  We need, however, to remember that Hezekiah was a great reformer, as we are told in 2 Kings 18: 3: “He did that which was right in the sight of the Lord according to all that David his father did  This [Page 50] claim to piety was, therefore, in harmony with the witness of the Spirit in other parts of Scripture.  Moreover, we find that Hezekiah made a similar claim for himself in another place, “Then Hezekiah turned his face toward the wall and prayed unto Jehovah, and said, Remember now, 0 Jehovah, I beseech Thee, how I walked before Thee in truth, and with a perfect heart, and have done that which is good in Thy sight” (Isa. 38: 2, 3).  As far as is known, the Lord did not find fault with him, but answered his prayer.



(3) Disclaiming idolatrous practice.  This also finds confirmation in 2 Kings 18: 4, 5: “He (Hezekiah) removed the high places, and brake the images, and cut down the groves, and brake in pieces the brazen serpent that Moses had made. ... He trusted in the Lord God of Israel; so that after him was none like him among all the kings of Judah, nor any that were before him We can well understand that Hezekiah might also have felt God’s honour was at stake in this and pleaded the fact that, in clearing the land of Baal worship, he was the Lord’s servant and witness.



Verse 12 may also be better explained in the light of the Assyrian tablet, “Thou sellest thy people for nought, and art not enriched by their price  Sennacherib says that the cities which he took from Judah he gave to Mitinti, king of Ashdod, i.e., one of the Philistine rulers.


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Now in 2 Kings 18: 8, we are told that Hezekiah smote the Philistines unto Gaza.  Mitinti was therefore Hezekiah’s enemy, who evidently for that reason sought Sennacherib’s help, or joined his forces against Judah, so that either as a repayment for his bribe or reward for his help the cities were probably given him.



God’s Message for all Time.



This Psalm, like all Scripture, has a message for all people of all ages.  It has been fulfilled in the history of Israel over and over again; it has its lesson for us to-day.  We do well, as did the inspired penman, to take a retrospect of God’s dealing with His people in time of old, that we may be warned by their failures and encouraged by their successes.



Some aspects of it have, undoubtedly, had their verification to the Jews in the time of the Maccabees, and a more exhaustive fulfilment of it awaits the faithful Jewish remnant at the return of our Lord, as we learn from many parts of Scripture.



The Psalmist looks back to Israel’s wonderful deliverance from Egypt, and is encouraged to pray for a similar divine interposition.



“0 God, we have heard with our ears, our fathers have told us; Thou hast accomplished a work in their days - in the days of old.  Thou, with Thy hand, didst dispossess nations and didst plant them, Thou [Page 52] didst requite evil to peoples, and didst send them forth” (vers. 1, 2).



Encouragement to Prayer.



Study of Israel’s history will spur us on to earnest prayer as it did the Psalmist.  This will certainly be the case with the future Jewish remnant.  When God pours out upon the house of David and the inhabitants of Jerusalem the spirit of grace and supplication, and they look upon Him Whom they have pierced, they will know how to pray.  How they will mourn over their past!  What bitterness will fill their souls as they think of their people’s rejection of their Messiah!  With true penitence and deep contrition of heart they will plead for forgiveness and mercy.  And their petition will be abundantly answered.



Encouragement to Trust.



“It was not with their sword they possessed the land, and their arm did not save them, for it was Thy right hand and Thine arm and the light of Thy countenance” (ver. 3).



As at the Red Sea the Israelites had only to stand still and see the salvation of the Lord, so in the days of Hezekiah it was not their weapons of war nor skill in fighting that defeated the enemy, it was God’s right hand of power that got them the victory.  The Angel of the Lord smote the Assyrian host, and they were all destroyed,


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We have to do with the same unchanging and unchangeable Jehovah, Who, in our utter helplessness, spiritual and physical, will hasten to deliver us.



This will be the case with the Jewish remnant, when surrounded by the Antichrist and the Confederacy of nations, and reduced to a state of utter helplessness.  The Lord will suddenly appear to their help, and destroy their enemies.  “The multitude of thy strangers shall be like small dust, and the multitude of the terrible ones shall be as chaff that passeth away; yea, it shall be at an instant suddenly. ... And the multitude of all the nations that fight against Ariel ... And that distress her, shall be as a dream of a night vision” (Isa. 29: 5-7).



Zechariah also predicts the same event (Zech. 9: 14, 15): “Jehovah shall be seen over them, and His arrow shall go forth as lightning, and the Lord Jehovah shall blow the trumpet and shall go with the whirlwinds of the south.  And Jehovah of Hosts shall defend them



The phrase “the light of Thy countenance” (ver. 3) needs some elucidation.  We can understand that God saved Israel by His right hand and arm; these are frequently used in the Bible as figures for His power and mighty acts.  But how did He save them by the light of His countenance?



This expression takes us back to Exod. 13: 21: “Jehovah went before them by day in a pillar of cloud [Page 54] to lead them the way, and by night in a pillar of fire to give them light  Panim, here translated countenance, is twice rendered presence in Exod. 33: 14, 15.  Note the wording, “Jehovah went before them in a pillar of cloud The pillar of cloud and fire was the visible emblem of the invisible Presence of God.*  That this was so understood by the Israelites is clear from Exod. 33: 10, where we are told, “And all the people saw the cloudy pillar stand at the Tabernacle door, and all the people rose up and worshipped, every man at his tent door  They worshipped, surely, because they realised God’s Presence was in the cloudy pillar.  What the Psalmist means, therefore, is that the Divine Presence in the pillar of fire or light saved them.  He pleads, “Thou Thyself art my King, 0 God, command deliverances (salvations) for Jacob” (as at the Red Sea, Exod. 14: 13-30).


* Exodus 14: 19, 20 also shows that there was a close connection between the cloudy pillar and the Angel of His Presence, the One who, said, “My presence (or face) shall go with thee” (Exod. 3: 14).



Verse 5 is an oriental figure borrowed from the animal world.  The word nagach, here translated “push down means pushing with a horn, as in Exod. 21: 29.  The Psalmist declares that through God he will be able to push down his enemy as with the strength of a horn and tread him under, that is, obtain a complete victory; just what we need over our spiritual foe.


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Encouragement to Praise.



“In God we boast all the day long, and praise Thy name for ever” (ver. 8).  We can well imagine how the city of Jerusalem was made to ring with the joyous shouts of praise when the discovery was made that the Angel of the Lord destroyed the besieging army that threatened the ruin of Judah.  Yet again will the streets of that city resound with the grateful thanks of the Jewish people when they are delivered from the anti-Christian forces!  “O Jehovah will they cry, “Thou art my God, I will exalt Thee; I will praise Thy name, for Thou has done wonderful things.  Thy counsels of old are faithfulness and truth. ... Thou hast been a strength to the poor, a strength to the needy in distress, a refuge from the storm, a shadow from the heat; when the blast of the terrible ones is as a storm against the wall” (Isa. 25: 1-4).



The Psalm ends with an urgent appeal to God, pleading in oriental figure for quick and strong action.  “Awake, why sleepest Thou, O Lord?  Arise, cast us not off for ever. ... Arise for our help, and redeem us for Thy mercy’s sake” (vers. 23-26).  We can well understand how the Jews in their capital city felt as they saw their land devastated by the Assyrian and Philistine hosts, and Jerusalem being besieged, though they were praying earnestly for deliverance.  How apt we are to become impatient [Page 56] under such circumstances, and this figure exhibits at least a slight remonstrance at God’s apparent delay and inactivity.



To us Westerners an expression like that would be offensive, but not so to the Eastern mind.  In the Bible this figure is often used of God, and no irreverence is meant by it.  Of course the inspired writer knew that Jehovah, Israel’s keeper, neither slumbers nor sleeps (Psa. 121: 4), but under this figure of anthropopathy (ascribing human feelings and passions to God) he attributes to God alertness and vigilance, and sometimes, as here, inactivity and delay.  He addresses God as he would his fellow-men - to awake, and to arise, and become active on their behalf.*


* “Hope dawns.  Their God shall hear.  He allows them to awaken Him, and they in a manner cry through the curtains of His Pavilion, ‘Up! why sleepest Thou.’ (Prayer Book version).  The Banner of the Deliverer appears through the gloom.  The sleeping Saviour awakes at the cry of His disciples, and is about to arise and still the storm.  ‘For His mercies’ sake’ (ver. 26) - for the sake of the tender love He bears to them.  In the Latter Day we shall see, what is meant by this arising in its full glory.  Such is this Psalm.  The cry of the slaughtered sheep to the Shepherd  - A. A. BONAR.


By a similar figure God’s vigorous exercise of power on behalf of His people is described as awakening out of sleep and shouting like a mighty man (Psa. 78: 65).



All these figures of speech remind us that God is not indifferent to our needs, but is deeply concerned in our affairs; that with perfect confidence we may go to Him for guidance in times of perplexity, for help in time of need, for comfort in time of trouble, He [Page 57] will intervene on our behalf, because He cares, He loves, He provides.



“He that spared not His own Son, but delivered Him up for us all, how shall He not with Him also freely give us all things?” (Rom. 8: 32).



*       *       *


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The Heavenly King and His Bride






To the chief Musician of the sons of Korah, an instructive love song.



1 My heart bubbles over with a good word.

2 I speak, my work is concerning the king,

My tongue is the pen of a ready writer.

3 Thou art more beautiful than the sons of men;

Grace is poured into thy lips;

Therefore God hath blessed thee for ever.

4 Gird thy sword upon thy thigh, 0 mighty one,

Thy majesty and thy splendour!

5 And in thy splendour, prosper, ride on,

Because of the word of truth, and meekness of righteousness;

And thy right hand shall teach thee terrible deeds.

6 Thine arrows are sharp,

(Peoples shall fall under thee)

They are in the heart of the king’s enemies.

7 Thy throne, 0 God, is for ever and ever,

A sceptre of uprightness is the sceptre of thy kingdom.

8 Thou hast loved righteousness and hated wickedness,

Therefore God, thy God, hath anointed thee

With the oil of gladness above thy fellows.

9 Myrrh and aloes, yea, cassia are all thy garments;

Out of ivory palaces stringed instruments make thee glad.

10 Kings’ daughters are among thy honourable women;

The queen standeth at thy right hand in gold of Ophir.

11 Hearken, 0 daughter, and see, incline thine ear;

Forget also thy people and thy father’s house;

12 So shall the king desire thy beauty;

For he is thy lord; and worship thou him.

[Page 59] 13 And the daughter of Tyre is there with a gift,

The rich among the people shall entreat thy presence.

14 All glorious is the king’s daughter within the palace;

Her apparel is wrought with gold.

15 In broidered garments shall she be led unto the king.

The virgins, her friends, following her, shall be brought unto thee.

16 With gladness and rejoicing shall they be led;

They shall enter into the king’s palace.

17 Instead of thy fathers shall be thy sons,

Thou shalt make them princes in all the earth.

18 I will make thy name to be remembered in all generations;

Therefore shall peoples praise thee for ever and ever.



Title of Psalm.



This beautiful poem is evidently a nuptial song., it is called shir yedidoth, “a song of loves and celebrates a royal wedding of great importance.



Whether the title al shoshannim, “upon lilies refers to the tune, or is symbolic of the theme, it is a suitable inscription for this eulogium of the Messiah, Who is elsewhere compared to “the rose of Sharon and the lily of the valleys” (Cant. 2. 1).  These flowers are not the same as ours that go by these names, they are nevertheless emblems of beauty and purity (Matt. 6: 28, 29), and they thus set forth the spotlessness and sublimity of Messiah’s life and character.



The historic background of this inspired epithalamium may well be the eventful marriage of Solomon with the Egyptian princess soon after his coronation (1 Kings 3: 1).  The language used, however, by the Psalmist goes beyond all poetic licence in praising a [Page 60] mere human monarch, however great and good he might be.  But that which appears frivolous flattery of an earthly king is honest, reverent homage to the Divine Messiah. Indeed, our highest tribute of praise falls far short in expressing His actual majesty, power and beneficence.



It was frequently the case that while the prophets were speaking of some local incident in their own day, the spirit [or Spirit] of God took them up to a higher eminence and gave them a vision of a similar but more important event of the distant future.  Especially is this so in matters connected with the Messiah, in Whom the entire plan of God will find its highest and completest realisation.  Solomon, as the illustrious son of David, king over a united Israel, enjoying a peaceful and glorious reign, was a fitting type of his more exalted Son, Who is yet to occupy that throne permanently and in greater splendour.  Solomon, in the highest sense was the earthly viceregent of the Heavenly King and his marriage was a picture of Messiah’s reunion with Israel, His Old Testament bride.



Have we a hint of this in the other part of the title?  It is Maschil, “an instruction” from sachal “to be prudent.” The causative form hiskil, is to make prudent, to instruct.  In Isaiah 52: 13 this form of the verb is also applied to the Messiah, “Behold my servant shall deal prudently  In Psa. 47: 7 maschil is translated “with understanding  This Psalm is [Page 61] not a mere encomium of Solomon, but it is Divine instruction “making wise the simple*


* The Jewish Rabbis have recognised the Messianic character of this Psalm.  The well-known commentary, “Metsudath David,” says on ver. 2, “Thou, 0 King Messiah, art more beautiful in thine acts than all the sons of men  Eben Ezra says, “The Psalm speaks of David or his son, of whom it is said, ‘My servant David shall be a prince among them forever’  The ancient Jewish Targum, the Aramaic tree translation of the Old Testament, also paraphrases the second verse, “Thou, 0 King Messiah, art more beautiful than the sons of men



Messiah’s Loveliness.



Verse 1: “My heart bubbles over with good matter, I am giving utterance of my work concerning the King; my tongue is the pen of a ready writer  Of the fulness of his heart his mouth spoke.  His feeling of joyous emotion, making his lips to move and hands to write, was like the bubbling over of a boiling cauldron or an overflowing fountain (as the word rachash means), and no wonder, for he caught sight of the glorious Messiah in all His loveliness.



There are many who do not see any beauty in our Saviour, for “the god of this world hath blinded the eyes of them that believe not,” and like the daughters of Jerusalem in the “Song of Solomon,” they ask, “What is thy beloved more than another beloved?”  But those who have the enlightened eye have, like Solomon’s bride, a long list of commendable qualities to enumerate of Him Who is “the chiefest of ten thousand” and “altogether lovely” (Cant. 5. 9-16).*


* “O fair sun, and fair moon, and fair stars, and fair flowers, and fair roses, and fair lilies; but O ten thousand times fairer Lord Jesus!  Alas! 1 have wronged Him in making such a comparison.  O black sun and moon; but O fair Lord Jesus, O black flowers and black lilies and roses, but O fair, fair, ever fair Lord Jesus!  O black heaven! but 0 fair Christ!  O black angels; but O surpassingly fair Lord Jesus!” - SAMUEL R.WRERFORD, as quoted in the Treasury of David.


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“God Who commanded the light to shine out of darkness, hath shined in our hearts, to give the light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Jesus Christ” (2 Cor. 4: 6).



Alas! that the Jewish people are still blind to the moral and spiritual excellence of their Messiah!  He is still despised and rejected by them; but we rejoice that the time is near when they shall recognise Him as Saviour and Lord.  When they see Him coming in the clouds of heaven with power and great glory they will repent of their sin and receive Him with acclamations of welcome, crying, “Blessed is He that cometh in the name of the Lord” (Psa. 118: 26; Matt. 23: 39).  Ephraim will then say, “What have I to do any more with idols? I have responded to Him, and I beheld Him” (Hos. 14: 8).  One look at the glorified Messiah will so fascinate them that nothing the world can offer will draw them away from Him.  Their whole attitude towards Him will be changed.



This Psalm will then find a fulfilment in Israel’s experience.  To their illumined eye David in his strength and Solomon in his glory will appear insignificant in comparison with the Messiah.  In a spirit of adoration and worship they will exclaim, “Thou art the most beautiful of the sons of men, grace is poured into Thy lips; therefore God hath blessed Thee for ever  “In that day shall the Branch of Jehovah [Page 63] be beautiful and glorious, and the fruit of the earth shall be excellent and comely for them that are escaped of Israel” (Isa. 4: 2).



Messiah’s Wonderful Teaching.



The Messiah is not only to be beautiful in His Person but also gracious in His speech.  The grace poured into His lips issued forth in gracious words of wisdom and benignity; so that the people were astonished at His doctrine.  “They bare Him Witness and wondered at the gracious words that proceeded out of His mouth” (Matt. 7. 29; Luke 4. 22).



Have ever words of men been known to accomplish such miracles of grace in transforming the lives and ennobling the characters of their followers, bringing pardon to the penitent, hope to the disconsolate, guidance to the perplexed, peace and goodwill to the outcast and the downtrodden?  Truly, “Never man spake like this Man  No wonder that the Psalmist adds, “Therefore God hath blessed Thee for ever  Blessed in the unbroken enjoyment of His Father’s Presence; blessed in the perfect accomplishment of His wonderful Mission of bringing salvation and happiness to untold multitudes of men and women.



One day our Lord’s blessedness will be acclaimed by the angelic hosts whose number is ten thousand times ten thousand and thousands of thousands, as they cry with a loud voice; “Worthy is the Lamb that [Page 64] was slain to receive power, and riches, and wisdom and strength, and honour, and glory, and blessing”; and this will be re-echoed by every creature in heaven and on the earth, and under the earth, and such as are in the sea, saying, “Blessing, and honour, and glory, and power be unto Him, that sitteth upon the throne, and unto the Lamb for ever and ever



Next we get a graphic description of Messiah’s victory: “Gird Thy sword upon thy thigh, O Thou Mighty One, Thy glory and Thy majesty.* And in Thy majesty prosper, ride on, in matters (or words) of verity and meekness of righteousness; and Thy right hand shall teach Thee terrible things  Most beautiful in His Person, most gracious in His utterance most blessed in His life, our Lord is now also addressed as the most mighty (or Thou Mighty One) in His warfare.  What a combination of excellencies!  Yes, prosper, ride on triumphantly!  No obstacle can really impede Thy progress; no enemy can hinder Thine onward march!  The Messiah is to prosper not only in material things as did Solomon, but in moral and spiritual matters.  All the conquests of the Lord Jesus were achieved not with carnal weapons, as sword and spear, but by the “word of truthdebhar emeth.**  It was His wonderful teaching that changed the world, [Page 65] overthrew paganism, spread a knowledge of the true God among the nations, and that will yet bring the entire human race to His feet.


* In Psalm 104. 1 the words hod vehadar here used express divine majesty and splendour: “0 Jehovah, my God, Thou art very great; Thou art clothed with honour and majesty


** Even the rod of chastisement, and the sword of retribution are said to proceed out of his mouth (Isa, 11: 4; Rev. 19: 15),



Connected with “the word of truth” in procuring this marvellous triumph is “His meekness of righteousness” - anevah tsedek, a most striking expression.  Christ’s humiliation on the Cross caused “righteousness and praise to spring forth before all the nations  A meekness that was prompted by righteousness and that produced righteousness.  What an exhibition of meekness was His!  From the highest height of heavenly glory to the deepest depth of earthly shame and suffering, He stooped in order to raise us to a higher level of righteousness.



“Thine arrows are sharp in the heart of the king’s enemies



The weapons of our all-conquering Lord are not carnal, but mighty to the pulling down of strongholds.  His burning words like fiery darts winged by the power of the Holy Spirit find a lodgement in the hearts of His enemies and bring them to His feet.



One day His arrows will go forth as lightning against the anti-Christian forces who come up against Judah (Zech. 9. 14).



Messiah’s Kingdom.



Messiah's throne is Divine, therefore eternal, characterised by righteous rule.  Mishor from the root yashar is straightness, uprightness, and sets forth [Page 66] righteousness, just as iniquity is moral perverseness, crookedness. “Thy throne, O God, is for ever and ever: a sceptre of equity is the sceptre of Thy kingdom, Thou lovest righteousness and hatest iniquity, therefore, God, Thy God hath anointed Thee with the oil of gladness above Thy fellows  This prediction has its origin in God’s promise to David, “And it shall come to pass, when thy days are fulfilled, that thou must go to be with thy fathers, that I will set up thy seed after thee, who shall be of thy sons; and I will establish his kingdom. ... I will settle him in My house and in My kingdom for ever; and his throne shall be established for ever” (1 Chron. 17: 11, 14).  No wonder that David, overwhelmed with gratitude at such a gracious promise, exclaimed, “Who am I, O Jehovah God, and what is my house that Thou hast brought me thus far, and this was a small thing in Thy sight, O God, but Thou hast spoken of Thy servant’s house for a great while to come,” literally “from afar lemerachok.



In harmony with this is also the striking prediction of Dan. 7: 13, 14. “I saw in the night visions, and behold, there came with the clouds of heaven one like the Son of Man, and He came even to the Ancient of Days, and they brought Him near before Him.  And there was given Him dominion and glory and a kingdom, that all peoples, nations, and languages should serve Him.  His dominion is an everlasting dominion, which shall not pass away, and His kingdom that which shall not be destroyed  Prophecies like these cannot, surely, be exhaustively fulfilled by a human being, but will be blessedly realised by the Divine King.  Of Him the prophets took delight to predict.  Every king of David’s line was a pledge and an earnest that the heavenly King should one day occupy the throne.  When Isaiah caught a vision of this wonderful time he cried out, “Then the moon shall be confounded, and the sun ashamed, when Jehovah of Hosts shall reign in Mount Zion, and in Jerusalem and before His ancients in glory” (Isa. 24. 23).  The heavenly King reigning on [this restored] earth* will combine in His Person the power and glory of heaven and earth, and bring heavenly conditions amongst men.


[* Rom. 8: 19-21; Rev. 11; 15; Dan. 7: 14, 27; Rev. 20: 4.]



Messiah in His Deity and Humanity.



The Messiah is to be both Divine and human; while He is addressed as Elohim, which is in perfect agreement with the prophecies we have just quoted, He is at the same time said to be anointed by His Elohim.  He Who is the child born, the son given, is at the same time the Mighty God and Everlasting Father.  He is anointed with the oil of gladness above His companions.  He was pre-eminently the Anointed, in so far as all the three offices for which men were anointed were to be combined in Him.  He was the great Prophet Who revealed not only God’s purposes, [Page 68] but God’s person, for “He is the brightness of His glory and the express image of His substance He is the great High Priest of Whom all the others were only types.  He alone has made full atonement for our sins and approaches God on our behalf.  As King He will one day come forth from the opened heaven, crowned with many diadems; on His garment and on His thigh He will have a name written “King of kings, and Lord of lords



Again, all the others were anointed with oil, but Christ with the Holy Spirit of Whom the oil was merely an emblem.  What a joyful coronation will be Christ’s when His people acclaim Him King.  Heaven and earth will resound with Hallelujahs when He is enthroned and crowned, “Jehovah reigneth, let the earth rejoice; let the multitude of isles be glad Will there not be cause for jubilation when “the kingdoms of this world become the kingdoms of our Lord and of His Christ Oppression will then cease, iniquity have an end, peace, and goodwill abound.



The garments of the Anointed are myrrh, aloes, and cassia.  Such an abundance of these spices is put on the garments that they are spoken of as the spices themselves.  Kelsiah cassia is, according to Unkelos, the Chaldean paraphrast, the same as kidah, also translated cassia.  Myrrh and cassia were of the ingredients of the holy oil used for anointing the Tabernacle, the holy vessels and the priests [Page 69] (Exod. 30: 22-30).  They were not permitted to be used for ordinary purposes.  This, surely, sets forth the fragrance of Messiah’s life and character which so gladdened God and man.  The Old Testament prophet and the New Testament evangelist give Jehovah’s testimony to this, “Behold My servant whom I uphold; Mine elect in whom My soul delighteth, I have put My spirit upon Him” (Isa. 42: 1).  Again, “This is My beloved Son, in Whom I am well pleased” (Matt. 3: 17).



Messiah’s Bride.



“Upon Thy right hand standeth the queen in gold of Ophir  Solomon’s queen in all her wealth and embroidery is but a faint likeness of Messiah’s bride, who will be clothed with the garments of His salvation, robed in His righteousness and adorned with the ornaments of His grace.  The prophets frequently speak figuratively of Israel as having been united to Jehovah in marriage, but alas! she has proved unfaithful to Him.  He nevertheless promises to reinstate her, “Thus saith Jehovah, I remember thee, the complaisance of thy youth, the love of thine espousals, when thou wentest after me in the wilderness” (Jer. 2: 2).  “Behold I will allure her, and bring her into the wilderness and speak comfortingly unto her. ... And it shall be in that day, saith Jehovah, that thou shalt call me Ishi, and shalt call me no more Baali. … I will betroth thee unto me for ever; yea, I will [Page 70] betroth thee unto me in righteousness and in judgment, and in loving kindness, and in mercies; I will even betroth thee unto me in faithfulness, and thou shalt know Jehovah” (Hos. 2: 14, 18, 21, 22).  What an exhibition of loving compassion is here displayed by God’s readiness to forgive the terrible perfidy of His unfaithful wife, and to reunite her to Himself, never more to separate from her!



How fitting is the exhortation of verses 10 and 11: “Hearken, O daughter and consider, and incline thine ear; forget also thine own people and thy father’s house; so shall the King greatly desire thy beauty; for He is thy Lord and worship thou Him  The Jewish people will have much to forget, as has every Hebrew Christian to-day - the father’s house and all it implies.  All the Mosaic rites and ceremonies that were merely types and were fulfilled in Christ, as well as the prejudice and hard thoughts of our Lord, pride of race, early upbringing, and tradition of the elders.  These and a thousand other things will they gladly give up in order to find supreme satisfaction in Christ, to render Him acceptable worship, and to gain His love and favour.  Even Moses and Elias will recede from their view that they may see Jesus only.  When we realise our privileges in Christ, we say like Paul, “What things were gain to me, these I counted loss for Christ.  Yea, doubtless, and I count all things but loss for the excellency of the knowledge of Christ [Page 71] Jesus my Lord” (Phil. 3: 7, 8).  And like Paul, we also shall find that Christ is worth it all.



Verses 13 and 14 portray the king’s bride, who is also a king’s daughter, as all glorious within the royal palace, her garments being of gold and embroidery.  This, doubtless, represents the comeliness He puts upon her.  We have a striking parallel to this in Ezek. 16: 10-14, where, in beautiful picture language the prophet describes how Jehovah found Israel in a helpless and polluted state.  In His love He entered into a covenant with her, and she became His.  He washed and anointed her, clothed her in the finest embroidered garments, decked her with costly ornaments, put a beautiful crown on her head, and made her fit to become a queen.  Thus she became beautiful in His beauty and glorious in His glory.



Nor will this bride be alone in adoring the King; according to verses 12, 14, and 15, other virgins, her friends, will also be brought in, and they, too, will share in the joys and festivities.*  These are, no doubt, the Gentile nations who will be won for Christ by Israel’s testimony when they proclaim His doings among the peoples, and make mention that His name is exalted (Isa. 12: 4, 5).  The friendly and wealthy people of Tyre who assisted in preparing the materials for the Temple are specially mentioned by name as bringing a gift.  This is in harmony with another prediction that “her merchandise and her gift shall [Page 72] be holiness unto the Lord: it shall not be treasured nor laid up; for her merchandise shall be for them that dwell before the Lord, to eat to be satisfied, and for durable clothing” (Isa. 23: 18).  Similarly we are told that, “The kings of Tarshish and of the isles shall render tribute, the kings of Sheba and Seba shall offer gifts, yea all kings shall fall down before Him; all nations shall serve Him” (Psa. 72: 10, 11).  These are the nations who will come up and worship at Jerusalem (Zech. 14: 16).  “And many nations shall come and say, come, and let us go up to the mountain of the Lord, and to the House of the God of Jacob; and He will teach us of His ways, and we will walk in His paths; for the law shall go forth of Zion, and the word of the Lord from Jerusalem” (Micah 4: 2).



Israel’s reproach will then be removed; the mighty nations of the earth will entreat their favour (Isa. 25: 8). “For your shame ye shall have double, and for confusion they shall rejoice in their portion; therefore in their land they shall possess the double; everlasting joy shall be upon them” (Isa. 61: 7).



“Instead of thy fathers shall be thy children, Thou shalt make them princes in all the earth” (ver. 16).  The spiritual descendants of the Messiah will eclipse in greatness and glory His human progenitors although they have been very honourable.  “A seed shall serve Him they shall be counted unto the Lord for a generation  These He will make princes in all the earth.  [Page 73] Some will rule over the tribes of Israel, to some He will say, “rule thou over ten cities to others “rule thou over five cities



Verse 17: “I will cause Thy name to be remembered in all generations  Unlike Solomon there will be nothing to tarnish the fair fame and spotless character of our Lord, and all people shall praise Him for ever and ever.  “Wherefore God also hath highly exalted Him, and given Him a name which is above every name; that at the name of Jesus, every knee should bow, of things in heaven and things on earth, and things under the earth; and that every tongue should confess that Jesus Christ is Lord to the Glory of God the Father” (Phil. 2: 9-11).



When morning gilds the skies,

My heart awaking cries;

May Jesus Christ be praised.



When sleep her balm denies

My silent spirit sighs;

May Jesus Christ be praised.



In heaven’s eternal bliss,

The loveliest strain is this;

May Jesus Christ be praised.



To God the Word on high,

The hosts of angels cry;

May Jesus Christ be praised.



Let mortals, too, upraise

Their voice in hymns of praise;

May Jesus Christ be praised.



Let earth’s wide circle round,

In joyful notes resound;

May Jesus Christ be praised.


[Page 74]

Let air and sea, and sky,

From depth to height reply;

May Jesus Christ be praised.



Be this while life is mine,

My canticle divine;

May Jesus Christ be praised.



Be this the eternal song,

Through all the ages long;

May Jesus Christ be praised.



*       *       *




[Page 75]


Messiah’s Happy Reunion with

His People






1 God is our refuge and strength,

A help in trouble truly proved,

2 Therefore shall we not fear when the earth changeth,

And the mountains are moved into the heart of the seas.

3 Let the waters thereof roar and foam,

Let the mountains shake in their elevation. Selah.

4 There is a river, the streamlets thereof make glad the city of God,

The holy place of the tabernacles of the Most High.

5 God is in the midst of her, she shall not be moved,

God will help her at the early dawn.

6 The nations raged, kingdoms were moved.

He uttered His voice, the earth melted.

7 Jehovah of Hosts is with us,

The God of Jacob is our refuge.  Selah.

8 Come, behold the works of Jehovah,

What desolations He hath made in the earth.

9 He maketh wars to cease unto the ends of the earth,

He breaketh the bow, and cutteth the spear in sunder;

He burneth the chariots in the fire.

10 Desist and know that I am God,

I will be exalted amongst the nations, I will be exalted in the earth.

11 Jehovah of Hosts is with us,

The God of Jacob is our refuge.



Psalm 45, which portrays Messiah’s happy reunion with His people, is followed by a trilogy of triumphal songs, describing in progressive order the events that will take place at the return of [Page 76] the anointed King, and the setting up of His kingdom on Mount Zion (Isa. 24: 23).



The grouping of these Psalms is very significant.  They may all have had some historical incidents that called them forth, but they undoubtedly have also a prophetic aspect which will find a more exhaustive fulfilment at the second coming of Christ.  And as all other Scriptures, they have furthermore an application to the people of God in all ages who put their trust in Him when troubled or perplexed.  We are not surprised that Luther was by this Psalm encouraged to write his great hymn, “Eine feste Burge ist unser Gott



“A sure stronghold our God is He,

A timely shield and weapon.

Our help He’ll be and set us free

From all ill that may happen



Psalm 46 brings before our mind other passages of Scripture, predicting the great war at Armageddon, when the Messiah will obtain the victory over the Antichrist and the confederacy of nations that oppose His righteous rule.  Psalm 47 is a joyful coronation scene of the Divine King following immediately after His triumphant victory; while Psalm 48 describes the establishment of that Kingdom on Mount Zion, the city of the great King.



The Forty-sixth Psalm may have for its background the deliverance of Jerusalem from Sennacherib, the Assyrian, as is maintained by Perowne and Hengstenberg; [Page 77] or the victory given to Jehoshaphat over the Ammonites and Moabites according to Delitzsch and others.  Neither of these events exhausts the language here used by the Psalmist.  Prophetically, it therefore looks on to the last pre-millennial war, when the Lord Jesus will utterly destroy the hostile world-forces that come up to fight against Israel and oppose His righteous rule.  God will then be a refuge and strength to His people.



A Great World War.



In verses 2 and 3, the raging of the nations in their deadly warfare is compared to the raging of the sea and the shaking of the mountains, just as in Isa. 8 the devastation of the Assyrian army is likened to a great inundation of waters overflowing their banks and overwhelming the whole land of Judah.



This terrible war is predicted in many parts of Scripture.  Zechariah describes it most graphically, “I will gather all nations against Jerusalem to battle; and the city shall be taken, and the houses rifled, and the women ravished; and half of the city shall go forth into captivity. ... Then shall Jehovah go forth, and fight against those nations, as when He fought in the day of battle.  And His feet shall stand in that day upon the Mount of Olives” (Zech. 14: 2-4).



Joel similarly foretells the same event, “Behold in those days and in that time, when I shall bring again [Page 78] the captivity of Judah and Jerusalem, I will gather all nations, and will bring them down into the valley of Jehoshaphat, and I will plead with them there for my people and for my heritage Israel whom they have scattered among the nations, and parted my land. ... Proclaim ye this amongst the nations; prepare war; stir up the mighty men; let all the men of war draw near, let them come up.  Beat your plowshares into swords, and your pruning-hooks into spears, let the weak say I am strong.  Haste ye and come all ye nations round about and gather yourselves together: Thither cause Thy mighty ones to come down 0 Lord. ... Jehovah shall roar from Zion, and utter His voice from Jerusalem and the heavens and the earth shall shake, but Jehovah will be a refuge unto His people, and a stronghold to the children of Israel” (Joel 3: 2, 9, 11, 16).



Once again will the cry be heard concerning Jerusalem as in the days of the Babylonians, “Rase it, rase it, even to the foundations thereof” (137: 7). It surely is to this that Psa. 46: 6 refers, “The nations raged, the kingdoms were moved; He uttered His voice, the earth melted



Israel’s Deliverance.



Other voices are also heard.  They are the voices of the delivered Israelites raised in joyous praise as they realise what God has done for them.  “Jehovah of Hosts is with us” they cry, “the God of Jacob is our refuge” (ver. 7). Then in adoring wonder and reverential awe they exclaim, as they point to the devastations around them, “Come, behold the works of the Lord, what desolations He hath made in the earth.  He maketh wars to cease unto the ends of the earth; He breaketh the bow and cutteth the spear in sunder” (vers. 8, 9).  That will truly be a war that will end war and usher in universal peace.  We look forward to a literal fulfilment of these predictions.  There has not yet been a point of time in the world’s history to which these words could be literally applied.



Isaiah and Micah predict a time when the swords of the nations will be beaten into plowshares, and their spears into pruning-hooks while Joel prophesies on the contrary, that the plowshares will be beaten into swords, and the pruning-hooks into spears; both will be fulfilled.  To carry on the great world war of their Antichrist the nations of the earth will require all the metal they will be able to procure, as was, to some extent, the case in the last great war; so that instruments of agriculture will be turned into weapons of warfare, but at the end of it, when Christ begins His reign of peace and righteousness, weapons of warfare will no longer be required, and will be turned into useful farming implements.  “Nation will not lift up sword against nation, neither shall they learn war any more” (Isa. 2: 4).


[Page 80]

Under the figure of the roaring and troubled waters the raging of the nations against Israel is similarly depicted in Psa. 124, but there, too, Jehovah’s deliverance is assured. Israel will say, “Had it not been that Jehovah were on our side when men rose up against us, then they would have swallowed us alive, when their wrath was kindled against us.  Then the waters had overwhelmed us, the stream had gone over our soul, yea the proud waves had gone over our soul.  Blessed be Jehovah, Who hath not given us a prey to their teeth, our soul is escaped as a bird out of the snare of the fowlers. ... Our help is in the name of Jehovah



The deliverance is described in verse 5, “God shall help her, and that right early literally, at the turn of the morning.  As at the Exodus, when the Israelites were pursued by the Egyptians into the Red Sea, we read, “It came to pass that in the morning watch, the Lord looked upon the Egyptians and troubled them” (Exod. 14: 24), so again, at the early dawn, God will graciously interpose on behalf of His people.



In verse 10 the nations are exhorted to be still in submission; for resistance is useless.  Hereph means to let go, to drop the hands in inactivity.  The nations will have learned the lesson not to fight against God.  “Be still, also (in adoring wonder), and know that I am God.  I will be exalted among the nations.  I will be exalted in the earth


[Page 81]

The River of the Water of Life.



In contrast to the raging and swelling sea which threatens to overwhelm God’s people (verse 3), we get the picture of the softly flowing river (verse 4).  “There is a river, its rivulets make glad the city of our God  Is this figure suggested by the streamlet of Shiloah, the waters of which go softly? (Isa. 8: 6, 7).  There, too, it is contrasted with the swiftly running water of the Euphrates, strong and abundant, representing the Assyrians, flooding the land of Emmanuel.  Or did Isaiah find a ready picture for his prophecy in this Psalm?



Spiritually it may refer to God’s gladdening presence, imparting joy and tranquillity to the inhabitants of the city, and is likened to a peaceful rivulet, rippling and sparkling in the sunlight as it flows, imparting a sense of calm restfulness.*  Isaiah uses a similar figure, “There the glorious Jehovah will be unto us a place of broad rivers and streams wherein shall go no galley with oars, neither shall mighty warships pass through her” (33: 21).


* “The streams are not transient like Cherith, nor muddy like the Nile, nor furious like Kishon, nor treacherous like Job’s deceitful brooks, neither are their waters ‘naught’ like those of Jericho; they are clear, cool, fresh, abundant, and gladdening.” - C. H. SPURGEON.



As a present-day experience the river of God’s grace flows perennially from His presence and the children of God may stoop and drink from its refreshing and satisfying waters, “clear as crystal and pure to behold  No child of God needs to suffer from drought [Page 82] or thirst, for the streamlets of that river flow in abundance and in all directions.



Prophetically, however, this will find its fulfilment in the “fountain that shall come forth from the House of the Lord, and shall water the valley of Shittim.” (Joel 3: 18).  In harmony with this, Zechariah predicts, “It shall come to pass in that day that living waters shall go out from Jerusalem; half of them towards the former sea, and half of them towards the hinder sea; in summer and in winter shall it be” (Zech. 14: 8).



Ezekiel, likewise, beheld water issuing from the threshold of the house eastward ... from the right side of the house on the south side of the altar, ever widening and deepening till it became a great river, that could not be forded, a river to swim in, imparting life and fertility wherever it flowed (Ezek. 47: 1-5).



God the Protection of His People.



The time and occasion in which this Psalm is to have its fulfilment we get in verses 5 and 11, when Jehovah will be in the midst of Israel, the God of Jacob will be their refuge.  The benign influence of the Messiah, who will be reigning at Jerusalem, will bring righteousness and tranquillity, life and fertility, not only to the land but also to the whole earth.



With no uncertain sound will the refrain ring through the land of Israel, “Jehovah of Hosts is with us, the God of Jacob is our refuge” (verses 7, 11).


[Page 83]

The declaration of comfort with which our Psalm commences is emphasised in it over and over again.  The expression mackseh va-oz, translated “refuge and strength takes us back to Joel 3: 16 where we get almost the identical phrase machseh uma-oz, “refuge and stronghold  “Jehovah shall roar out of Zion, and utter His voice out of Jerusalem and the heaven and the earth shall shake, but Jehovah shall be a refuge to His people, and a stronghold to the children of Israel



Primarily, then, we learn that it is Jehovah, Who, in the Person of Christ, will be the refuge and strength to the Jews at Jerusalem, when He will shield them from the Antichrist and the confederacy of nations that follow him.  It nevertheless has a message of comfort to all the children of God in all ages who have made the Most High their habitation.  He is “the same yesterday, and to-day, and for ever unchanging in His Person, purpose and principle.  He, Who by the word of His mouth stilled the tempest on the sea, still speaks peace to storm-tossed souls and there is a great calm.



On the other hand we dare not deny that these Psalms will find an actual accomplishment in the future experience of Israel, when “God will be in the midst of her, she shall not be moved, God will help her right early


[Page 84]

As in response to this, twice over we get the people’s refrain, “Jehovah of Hosts is with us, the God of Jacob is our refuge



Verse 10 will then become true; the peoples will cease their struggling and God will be exalted among the nations, exalted in the earth.



*       *       *




[Page 85]


The Joyous Coronation of the

Divine King






1 O clap your hands all ye people,

Shout unto God with the voice of joyous song.

2 For Jehovah Most High is to be reverenced.

He is a great King over all the earth.

3 He shall subdue peoples under us,

And nations under our feet.

4 He shall choose our inheritance for us,

The excellency of Jacob whom He loved.  Selah.

5 God is gone up with a shout,

Jehovah with the sound of a trumpet.

6 Sing ye praises to God, sing ye praises;

Sing ye praises to our King, sing ye praises.

7 For God is King over the whole earth.

Sing ye praises with understanding.

8 God reigneth over the nations,

God sitteth upon His holy throne.

9 The nobles of the peoples are gathered together -

The people of the God of Abraham.

For to God belong the shields of the earth,

He is greatly exalted.



Psalm 47 describes the joyous coronation of the Divine King. It commences, “O, clap your hands all ye people!  Shout unto God with the voice of triumph!  For Jehovah Most High is to be reverenced.  He is a great King over all the earth  [Page 86] We are not surprised that commentators have a difficulty in finding the occasion when this Psalm was composed.  A comparison of other Scriptures will show that an exhaustive fulfilment still awaits it.  We believe it will have its full realisation at the return of our Lord, when His people, who for centuries have been persistently rejecting Him, will gladly recognise and acclaim Him as their rightful Monarch.  But not only Israel, all nations are here bidden to clap their hands and shout in joyous song, for Jehovah Most High is revered and is a great King over the whole earth.



An Old Testament Coronation Scene.



There is a striking event in the history of Judah, recorded in 2 Kings 11, which forms a beautiful foreshadowing of what will take place in connection with Christ.  This is the story: The land of Judah is ruled by a wicked usurper and worshipper of Baal.  The rightful King, the scion of David, is hidden in the precincts of the temple; very few are aware even of his existence.  But suddenly a remarkable scene is enacted.  Jehoiada (“he who knows Jehovah”), the high priest, enters into covenant with the princes and the people to restore the son of David to his legitimate position.  The young king is brought to them, and they swear allegiance to him. The soldiers and the guards bearing the spears and shields of David [Page 87] surround the king; others take up strategic positions round the gates.  Young Joash (“whom Jehovah supports”) is acclaimed King, and as he stands there in the temple area, encompassed by the loyal priests and Levites, having the royal diadem on his head and the Divine testimony in his hand, the people with happy enthusiasm, clap their hands and shout Yechi hammelech, “Long live the King.” Athaliah, attracted by the sound of the trumpets and loud applause, hastens to the temple courts and, seeing what is taking place, tries to protest against it, but she is hurried out from the sacred precincts and is put to death.  The altars and images of Baal are destroyed, the idolatrous priest is slain, the worship of Jehovah is restored, and the son of David is placed upon his father’s throne.



The Coronation of Christ.



A similar scene will one day be enacted in unsurpassed splendour, when the greater than Joash comes out of the heavenly sanctuary, where He remained long unknown to His people as a nation, crowned with many diadems, having on His vesture and on His thigh a name written, “King of kings, and Lord of lords  Heaven and earth will resound with praises, “Hallelujah, salvation and glory and honour and power unto the Lord our God. ... And I heard as it were the voice of a great multitude, and as the [Page 88] voice of many waters, and as the voice of mighty thunderings, saying, Hallelujah, for the Lord God Omnipotent reigneth” (Rev. 19: 1, 6).



Messiah’s Supremacy.



Verse 3 depicts the condition of things during our Lord’s Millennial reign.  The nations of the earth will be entirely subdued under His supreme rule, but O happy people to be thus subjugated to such a beneficent Ruler, Who will govern in peace and equity and Who will fill the world with prosperity and blessing!  “In His days shall the righteous flourish, and there shall be abundance of peace so long as the moon endureth” (Psa. 72: 7).



As for Israel, they too will be delighted to submit themselves to Him and let Him choose their inheritance for them, even as He first chose them as His people.  It will be their greatest joy to carry out His every behest and to be His instruments for bringing blessing to the world.



His original purpose with Israel will then be brought into full effect.  They will then be a kingdom of priests, an holy nation (Exod. 19: 6).  Nor is there any room for jealousy, for if Israel have been favoured, it is that through them, favour may be shown to others: it is more a matter of priority than superiority.



The promise to Abraham was, “I will bless thee ... and make thee a blessing ... and in thee shall all [Page 89] the families of the earth be blessed” (Gen. 12. 2, 3). 



There was a time when God hated the excellency of Judah and Jerusalem, that was when they followed their own choice and walked after the stubbornness of their own heart (Jer. 13: 9, 10), but now He will delight in making them great and glorious.  Here it is called “the excellency of Jacob which He loved  By the prophet Nahum (2: 2) God promised to restore the excellency of Judah as also of Israel.  That will be when the Lord Jesus will be “excellent and comely to the escaped of Israel” (Isa. 4: 2).



Verse 5 refers to the shout of triumph and sound of the trumpet at Christ’s coronation, when He is declared King over all the earth.  How the streets of Jerusalem will be made to ring with joyous shouts, “Hosannah to the Son of David!  Blessed is the King that cometh in the name of the Lord  Or in the words of our Psalm, “Sing ye praises to God, sing ye praises, sing ye praises to our King, sing ye praises.  God reigneth over the nations, God sitteth upon His holy throne” (verse 8).



The princes or nobles of the people whom the Psalmist sees gathered round the King are the representatives of the nations who have come to join in the glorious coronation of the universal Monarch; to render Him homage and to take part in the joyous festivities that follow (verse 9).  They include those mentioned in Psa. 110: 3, where the expression amecha nedabholk [Page 90] translated “thy people shall be willing” is definitely related in the Hebrew text to nedibhe ammim, here translated “the princes” or willing ones “of the people  Both Psalms refer to the same event.  When “Jehovah shall be King over all the earth, in that day shall Jehovah be one and His name one” (Zech. 14: 9).



“Zion’s King shall reign victorious.

All the earth shall own His sway;

He will make His kingdom glorious,

He will reign through endless day.

Nations now from God estranged

Then shall see a glorious light,

Night to day shall then be changed,

Heaven shall triumph in the sight.



Then shall Israel, long dispersed,

Mourning, seek the Lord their God,

Look on Him, Whom once they pierced,

Own and kiss the chastening rod;

Then all Israel shall be saved,

War and tumult then shall cease,

While the greater Son of David,

Rules a conquered world in peace.



Mighty King, Thine arm revealing,

Now Thy glorious cause maintain;

Bring the nations help and healing,

Make them subject to Thy reign.

Angels in their lofty station,

Praise Thy name, Thou only wise!

O! let earth with emulation,

Join the triumph of the skies       


                                                                        - KELLY.



*       *       *

[Page 91]





Zion’s King shall Reign Victorious






1 Great is Jehovah and greatly to be praised,

In the city of our God, His holy mountain.

2 Beautiful in elevation, the joy of the whole earth,

Is Mount Zion on the sides of the north,

The city of the great King.

3 God is in her palaces, known as a high fortress.

4 For lo! the kings assembled themselves,

They passed by together.

5 They saw it, so they were amazed,

They were dismayed, they hasted away.

6 Trembling took hold of them there,

Pangs as of a woman in travail.

7 With an east wind thou didst break the ships of Tarshish.

8 As we have heard so have we seen,

In the city of Jehovah of Hosts, in the city of our God,

God will establish her for ever.  Selah.

9 We have thought of Thy loving kindness 0 God,

In the midst of Thy temple.

10 According to Thy name O God, so is Thy praise,

Unto the ends of the earth;

Thy right hand is full of righteousness.

11 Let Mount Zion be glad,

Let the daughters of Judah rejoice,

Because of Thy judgments.

12 Walk about Zion, yea, go round about her,

Count the towers thereof,

13 Consider her bulwarks, contemplate her palaces,

That ye may tell it to a later generation.

14 For this God is our God for ever and ever.

He will guide us even over death.


[Page 92]

The Glory of the Messiah.



In this lovely little Psalm we get a picture of the holy city during our Lord’s reign.



We have noted Messiah’s victory in Psalm 46, His coronation in Psalm 47.  In Psalm 48 we get a glimpse of the beauty of Jerusalem - the seat of His Kingdom glorified by His presence.




The first verse gives the key to it.  Jehovah is great and exceedingly* to be praised, “in the city of our God, His holy mountain


* The Hebrew word translated greatly is meod, and describes intensity.  It is translated “with all thy might” in Dent. 6: 5.  It is not of the same root word that is translated great in the same verse.



Our hearts rejoice as we think of the glory that shall be given to our Lord.  The place that witnessed His humiliation will now witness His exaltation.  In place of a shameful cross He will have a glorious throne; instead of the cry, “Crucify Him”, will be heard the glad shout of Hosanna to the Son of David; the brow that once wore the crown of thorns will now be adorned with many diadems; the hands that held the rod with which they smote Him will now hold the sceptre with which He will sway the universe.  No longer will He wear purple robes in mockery, but His royal robes will have written on them “King of kings and Lord of lords  This exaltation of our Lord will first take place at Jerusalem, the city of our God, His holy mountain.  The scene here takes us back to the glorious prediction of Isaiah 2: 2, 3 and [Page 93] Micah 4: 1-3, “In the last days it shall come to pass, that the mountain of the house of the Lord shall be established in the top of the mountains, and it shall be exalted above the hills; and people shall flow unto it.  And many nations shall come, and say, Come, and let us go up to the mountain of the Lord, and to the house of the God of Jacob; and he will teach us of his ways, and we will walk in his paths: for the law shall go forth of Zion, and the word of the Lord from Jerusalem.  And he shall judge among many people, and rebuke strong nations afar off; and they shall beat their swords into plowshares, and their spears into pruning-hooks: nation shall not lift up a sword against nation, neither shall they learn war any more



These and many other passages of Scripture make it clear that the literal Zion is meant, Jerusalem will then be called “the throne of Jehovah” (Jer. 3: 17), or as here, “The city of the great King” (ver. 2), “The city of Jehovah of Hosts” and “the city of our God” (ver. 8).



It is the presence of the Lord that will make Jerusalem so glorious and so attractive, “Beautiful for elevation, the joy of the whole earth is Mount Zion Through the prophet Zechariah (2: 10, 11), God encourages His people similarly, “Sing and rejoice O daughter of Zion, for lo! I come and I will dwell in the midst of thee, saith Jehovah.  And many nations, [Page 94] shall be joined to Jehovah in that day, and shall be my people, and I will dwell in the midst of thee*


* See also Isa. 12: 6; Zeph. 3: 15-17.  These predictions are quite literal.



Jerusalem has experienced a great many battles and sieges, she has been laid waste many times, but now Jehovah will be in her palaces for a refuge, the destructive wars will be at an end, and she will enjoy peace and security.  “Thus saith the Lord Jehovah; because they say unto thee, Thou land art a devourer of men, and a bereaver of thy nations, therefore thou shalt devour men no more neither bereave thy nations any more, saith the Lord Jehovah” (Ezek. 36: 13, 14).



Effect of Messiah’s Greatness.



Having mentioned that God is in the midst of the city for a refuge, the Psalmist next gives a striking description of the effect God’s presence has on the hostile forces that come up against her. 



The kings assembled themselves,

They passed by together,

They saw it so they were amazed,

They were dismayed, they hasted away,

Trembling took hold on them there,

Pangs as of a woman in travail.



As the Egyptians of old they will say, “Let us flee from the face of Israel, for Jehovah fighteth for them” (Exod. 14: 25).  Verse 7 shows that their fears were well founded, “With an east wind thou didst break the [Page 95] ships of Tarshish  In contrast to this the Psalmist tells us of the impression it will make on Israel’s friends who will say, “As we have heard so have we seen in the city of Jehovah of Hosts, in the city of our God” (verse 8).  The marvellous reports of Christ’s triumphs and greatness that will be spread abroad everywhere will be fully realised by those who, like the Queen of Sheba, will come to see for themselves; indeed they will find as she found, that what they see far surpasses their highest expectations.



Jerusalem is here called “The city of Jehovah of Hosts  She is identified with Him because she is His Divine creation.  “God will establish her for ever  He will be in her palaces, the name of that city will therefore be Jehovah Shammah, “The Lord is there” (Ezek. 48: 35).



A still more remarkable prophecy is found in Jeremiah 33: 16, where the name of Jehovah Tsidkenu, “The Lord our righteousness is given to Jerusalem.  According to Jeremiah 23: 5, 6, this is the title of the Lord Jesus Christ, but so close will evidently be the link between the Lord and the people of that city that He graciously imparts to her His attributes and characteristics, and indicates this by giving her the same picture name that sets forth His Divine righteousness.  What wondrous condescension!  What marvellous grace!  No wonder that the prophet speaks of it as “the good thing” promised unto the House of [Page 96] Israel; and what comfort this should bring to the children of God, who see in it a pleasing illustration of their intimate relationship with their Divine Head, and of the fact that by His favour they are made sharers with Him of His own virtues and graces!



Verse 9 gives us a picture of the strangers from afar standing in the temple and devoutly meditating on God’s loving kindness.  It is not only the grandeur of the place that engages their thoughts but also God’s tender mercies to Israel and the world, that are so strikingly exhibited before them, and after all is there not a beauty in holiness that is real and enduring?



Messiah’s Influence and Dominion.



Christ’s fame will reach to the uttermost parts of the world and wherever His name will be mentioned He will be worshipped and adored, “As thy name O God so is thy praise unto the ends of the earth” (verse 10).  “His dominion shall be from sea to sea and from the river unto the ends of the earth” (Zech. 9. 10), and everywhere men will acknowledge the justice of His rule, “Thy right hand is full of righteousness  In Judea especially will there be joy and gladness because of His judgments (verse 11).



Solomon’s wise sentence concerning the mother and child called forth the admiration of a satisfied people, but the righteous judgment of Christ will call forth the adoring wonder of the whole world: it will especially [Page 97] cause joy and gladness to the sons and daughters of Judah, for to them it will mean emancipation, safety and peace, and a thousand other national and spiritual blessings.



In verses 12 and 13, the friends of Zion are bidden to walk around the city, and to note well its strength and its beauty, that they may be able to record to generations following that all this was done for them by their God; for the greatness of the people and splendour of the land will show forth the magnificence of Christ, Who will be the cause of it all.



“This God is our God, for ever and ever” (verse 14).  This is first an avowal of their faith; He, Whom they have for so long despised and rejected, is now acknowledged to be their God, for ever and ever.



Secondly, it is a claim of an intimate relationship with God, OUR GOD, with all that that can mean to a person or a people.



Thirdly, it is a glorying in God, not in their own wisdom, or strength, or riches, but in understanding and knowing God, Who exercises loving kindness, judgment and righteousness in the earth (Jer. 9: 23, 24).



Fourthly, it is a holy resolution that by His grace, God shall be their God for ever and ever; and an expression of trust that He Who has done so much for them in the past, will continue to guide them to the end and will give them the victory over death.


[Page 98]

“O come, O come, Emmanuel,

And ransom captive Israel,

That mourns in lonely exile here,

Until the Son of God appear,

Rejoice! Rejoice! Emmanuel

Shall come to thee, O Israel.



“O come, Thou Rod of Jesse, free

Thine own from Satan’s tyranny;

From depths of hell Thy people save,

And give them victory o’er the grave.

Rejoice! Rejoice! Emmanuel

Shall come to thee, O Israel.



“O come, Thou Day-spring, come and cheer

Our spirits by Thine Advent here;

Disperse the gloomy clouds of night,

And death’s dark shadows put to flight.

Rejoice! Rejoice! Emmanuel

Shall come to thee, O Israel.



“O come, Thou Key of David, come,

And open wide our heavenly home;

Make safe the way that leads on high,

And close the path to misery.

Rejoice! Rejoice! Emmanuel

Shall come to thee, O Israel.



“O come, O come, Thou Lord of Might,

Who to Thy tribes on Sinai’s height,

In ancient times didst give the law

In cloud and majesty and awe.

Rejoice! Rejoice! Emmanuel

Shall come to thee, O Israel



                                                    - SELECTED



*       *       *

[Page 99]





The Universal Judge






1 A Psalm of Asaph.

God, even God Jehovah hath spoken,

And called the earth from the rising of the sun unto its going down.

2 From Zion, the perfection of beauty, God hath shined forth.

3 Our God shall come and shall not keep silence,

A fire shall devour before Him

And round about Him shall be very tempestuous.

4 He shall call to the heavens from above

And to the earth that He may judge His people.

5 “Gather unto Me My godly ones,

Who make a covenant with Me by sacrifice

6 And the heavens shall declare His righteousness,

For God Himself is Judge. Selah.

7 Hear, O My people, and I will speak,

O Israel, and I will testify unto thee;

I am God, even thy God.

8 Not for thy sacrifices will I reprove thee

And thy burnt offerings are continually before Me.

9 I will take no bullock out of thy house,

Nor he-goat out of thy folds.

10 For every beast of the forest is Mine,

The cattle upon a thousand hills.

11 I know all the fowls of the mountains,

And the roaming beasts of the field are by Me.

12 If I were hungry I would not tell thee,

For the world is Mine and the fulness thereof.

13 Will I eat the flesh of bulls,

Or drink the blood of he-goats?

14 Sacrifice unto God thankoffering,

And pay thy vows to the Most High.

[Page 100] 15 And call upon Me in the day of trouble,

I will deliver thee and thou shalt glorify Me.

16 But unto the wicked God saith,

“What hast thou to declare My statutes,

And that thou hast taken My covenant in thy mouth,

17 Seeing thou hatest correction,

And castest My words behind thee?

18 When thou seest a thief thou consentest with him,

And with adulterers hast thou a portion.

19 Thy mouth thou lettest loose for evil,

And thy tongue frameth deceit.

20 Thou sittest speaking against thy brother,

Thou slanderest thy mother’s son.

21 These things hast thou done and I kept silence,

Thou thoughtest I was altogether like thyself,

I will reprove thee and set them in order before thine eyes

22 Consider now this, O ye that forget God,

Lest I tear you in pieces and there will be none to deliver,

23 He that sacrifices a thankoffering glorifieth Me,

And him that ordereth the way, will I show the salvation of God.



The Author.



The Hebrew text ascribes this remarkable Psalm to Asaph who was one of the three leaders in singing the praises of God (1 Chron. 15: 17, 19).



In 1 Chron. 16: 4, 5 we are told that Asaph was chief of those who were appointed by David to minister before the ark of the Lord.  In 2 Chron. 29: 30 Asaph is called the seer - a term equivalent to prophet, and is mentioned together with David as a composer of hymns of praise.  In Nehemiah 12: 36, furthermore, Asaph and David are linked together as chief singers.  With all the information we therefore get from the historical books of the Bible, we do not hesitate for [Page 101] a moment in ascribing this Psalm to Asaph, as does the Hebrew text at the commencement of the Psalm where it makes it part of the first verse.



The Occasion when the Psalm was Written.



We venture to suggest that Asaph was probably inspired to write it on the occurrence recorded in 1 Chron. 15 and 16 when David brought back the ark of the Covenant from the house of Obed Edom to the place he had prepared for it in the newly rebuilt city on Mount Zion.



Asaph evidently took a prominent part in this great procession.  David also composed a sublime hymn of praise for the occasion and handed it to Asaph that he should set it to music (1 Chron. 16: 7).  In that hymn several things are mentioned that are referred to in Psalm 50.  The heavens and the earth are made glad witnesses when Jehovah reigns, and as in Psalm 50 Jehovah is spoken of as coming to judge the earth.



The joyous procession of the vast multitude representing the whole nation of Israel; the Levites bearing the ark of the Covenant, with its mercy-seat and cherubim, the symbol of God’s presence; the singers chanting the inspired hymn of praise accompanied by various musical instruments; the priests offering at frequent intervals bullocks and fatlings; and all the people worshipping God and rejoicing.  All this must have had a great effect on Asaph, and probably inspired him to write this grand Psalm in which he makes allusion to the things he saw and heard.



The Division of the Psalm.



1. The first verse forms a brief introduction, and is a declaration that Jehovah Himself, in the threefold characteristics of His exalted names, is speaking, so that the entire world should hear Him.



2. Verses 2-6 describe His appearing in splendour as the universal judge.



3. Verses 7-15 depict Him as judging His people, reproving them for misapprehending His purpose in connection with sacrifice, and in giving to rites and observances a first place instead of a second.  This section, verses 14, 15, ends up with encouraging them to render spiritual worship in harmony with the Levitical economy, and to seek direct personal touch with Himself.



4. Verses 16-23 set forth His judgment of the wicked,* concluding (verses 22, 23) with a warning of punishment and an appeal that they should order their way of life correctly, in order to enjoy the salvation of God.**


[NOTE. *1. Keep in mind, the word ‘wicked’ has been used throughout the Holy Scriptures to describe some of the Lord’s redeemed people!  “Depart, I pray you, from the tents of these WICKED men…” (Num. 16: 26. cf. 1 Cor. 10: 1-5).  Again, “I (Paul) write unto you not to keep company, if any man that is named a brother be a fornicator, or covetous, or an idolater, or a reviler, or a drunkard, or an extortioner … for what have I to do with judging them that are without?  Do not ye judge them that are within (the church)? … Put away the WICKED man from among yourselves:” (1 Cor. 5: 11, 12, R.V.).]


** 2.  ‘To enjoy the salvation of God,’ in this Psalm and in this context, has to do with a future salvation – “a salvation ready to be revealed in the last time,” “the salvation of souls” (1 Peter 1: 5, 9. cf. Heb. 10: “But we are not of them that shrink back unto perditiondestruction’); but of them that have faith unto the salvation of the soul  “Wherefore putting away all filthiness and overflowing of wickedness, receive with meekness the implanted word, which is able to save your souls:” (Jas. 1: 21).  “Because thou wilt not leave my soul in Hades.”{see Psa. 16: 10} … “He (i.e., king David) forseeing this spake of the resurrection of Christ, that neither was he (Christ) left in Hades, nor did his flesh see corruption.” … “For David ascended NOT into the heavens:” (Acts 2: 27, 31, 34, R.V.).  This future salvation ‘of souls,’ is reserved for those who rise “out from the dead” to reign with Messiah in His Millennial Kingdom.  Luke 20: 35; Phil. 3: 11; Rev. 20: 4-6.]



The Significance of God’s Names.



Verse 1.  The Psalm commences with the three great names of God, expressing His threefold personal attributes of Might, Majesty, and Mercy, that are so [Page 103] eminently suitable for the universal judge.  These three names are progressive in character.



El is traced to a root meaning “power it is found some 217 times in the Bible and seventy-three times in the Book of Psalms.  In Isa. 9: 6 it is joined with the word gibor, and is translated “the Mighty God  There it is clearly a Messianic title.  It is sometimes combined with other appellations, as El-chay - the Living God, El-olam - the Everlasting God, El-elyon - the Most High God, and El-Shadday - the Almighty God.



The second of the names used is Elohim, the God who is reverenced and worshipped.  It is the plural form of Eloha which is mostly found in the poetical books of the Bible.  Elohim is the general term for God and sometimes it is employed for the heathen deities, especially when coupled with acherim - other.  Occasionally it refers to angels and judges in their capacity of representing God.



This double or triple use of Elohim is seen in Psalms 82, 96, 97.  In Psa. 82 God, the supreme Judge, is pictured as standing in the midst of human judges, reproving them for perverting judgment, and reminding them that though they are called by this exalted title, in reality they are but dying men, subject to the Divine Judge Whom they misrepresented here by their unjust sentences.



In Psa. 97 all the elohim are bidden to worship the [Page 104] true God, Whose judgment gives joy to Zion, and Who is most high above all the earth and highly exalted above all elohim.



Not that they actually believed that there were heathen deities amongst the other nations and that Jehovah was only the tribal God of Palestine, as the critics are so fond of informing us.  “Confounded be all they that serve graven images exclaims the Psalmist, “that boast themselves of idols; worship Him all ye elohim The word for idols in the original is elilim, which means “nothings,” “nonentities,” “having no real existence  Similarly the Psalmist declares (96: 5), “All the elohim of the peoples are elilim - nothings, but Jehovah has made the heavens  He is the true Creator.



Here, therefore, Elohim is the true God Who is to receive the worship and adoration of all in Heaven and on earth.



The third name here used is Jehovah.  The only other place in Scripture where these three great names are thus grouped together is in Josh. 22: 22.  There it is twice repeated by the people on the other side of the Jordan in an earnest appeal to Him, Who knows all things, and, therefore, knew their intention to remain faithful to His covenant.



We do not believe in the higher critical theories of Elohist and Jehovist redactors.  The inspired writers had good and definite reasons for using sometimes one [Page 105] name for God, and sometimes another, and for frequently combining them as here.



It would take all the ingenuity of the critics to divide satisfactorily some portions of the Bible where several names of God are found close together.  See, for instance, Psalm 80.  In verse 3 God is addressed as Elohim, but in verses 4 and 14 He is addressed as Jehovah God of Hosts.  Can their theories assign a sufficient reason for this, by attributing these verses to different authors?



The Rabbis have associated with Jehovah the attribute of mercy, and with Elohim the attribute of judgment.



Elohim is God in a general way of speaking, Jehovah is His personal name which distinguishes Him from all other beings in heaven and on earth.  He declares, “I am Jehovah, this is My name,  and My glory will I not give to another” (Isa. 42: 8).



The Jews have gone to the extreme in their reverence for this name.  They never take it upon their lips under penalty of losing their portion in the world to come.  Instead of Jehovah they say Hashshent – “the name,” or hammakom – “the place,” i.e., the Omnipresent.  The Cabalists claimed the power of performing miracles by the knowledge of this name.



In the early ages Hebrew was written without vowels; the actual pronunciation of Jehovah has, therefore, been lost.  Even in the Greek Septuagint [Page 106] version the word kurios, “Lord” has been substituted for it, and in our English version the translators have followed them in this, so that while this tetragrammaton occurs 5,500 times in the Old Testament, only in four places is it left untranslated.  Everywhere else it is translated LORD or GOD, but it is put all in capitals to show that in the original it is Jehovah.



Import of the Name Jehovah.



The root meaning of Jehovah expresses eternal Being, underived existence, everpresence and omnipresence.  He is always and everywhere.  Thus He is near us at all times to commune with His children and to accept their worship, “He is and is a rewarder of them that diligently seek Him  This eternity of the Lord’s being is expressed in Rev. 1: 8: “I am Alpha and Omega, the beginning and the ending ... which is, and which was, and which is to come, the Almighty  This is the explanation that God gives of His name when He speaks of Himself as the I AM that I AM.  To Him the ages of the past and the aeons of the future are one great present.



Generally, Elohim speaks to us of God in nature, Jehovah, of God in grace; Elohim, of God in creation, Jehovah, of God in Covenant relationship; Elokim, of God in providence, jehovah, of God in prophecy or revelation.  Hence we usually find this formula in the Pentateuch, “And the Lord (Jehovah) spake unto [Page 107] Moses  Only when there is a special reason is Elohim used in this formula.  Similarly in the prophets we get the expression, “And the word of Jehovah came unto me  Another phrase commonly employed is neum Jehovah, or adonai Jehovah - “the word or oracle, of Jehovahnot the oracle of Elohim.



Jehovah Himself the Speaker.



This God of revelation, in His might, in His majesty and in His mercy, hath spoken.  The Psalmists, prophets, and apostles were but the instruments, God was the actual speaker; hence the importance of it.  He speaks when He chooses and through whom He chooses.  Having spoken so plainly through His servants the prophets, and made clear the plan of salvation, He is one day going to speak again, and speak personally, loudly and authoritatively, and speak in judgment, all will then hear Him.  He shall call the earth from the rising of the sun to the going down thereof.  This is an Hebraism for the whole world, from extreme east where the sun rises to the extreme west where the sun sets.  The Hebrew language picturesquely follows the sun round the earth in the names of the cardinal points.  The east is called mizrack, i.e., the place where the sun rises, or kedem “first,” “before,” where the sun is first visible.  South is called negev, the dry place where the sun is hottest, or darom, the light or shining region [Page 108] where the sun shines in its meridian brightness.  The west is called ma-ariv from arav, the dark, obscure, hence erev, evening.  It is also called yammah, seaward, because in Palestine the Mediterranean Sea is on the west.  It is also spoken of as mevo haskshemesh, the setting of the sun.  Finally, the north is called Isaphon, hiding, from Isaphan, to cover, to conceal, because the sun is never seen in the north.  It is, as it were, its hiding place.  Verse 2 pictures God shining forth in glory from Zion. Hophia means to shine forth like a luminant body as the sun or a star.* He comes, no longer as the despised and rejected Nazarene, but in light and splendour.


* Hophia is the hiphil or causative form of yapha, to shine.  His glorious presence is the cause of the shining lustre.  As a verb this word is only used either of God or of light; Its Greek equivalent is epiphaino, to display, to give light, to shine.  Its derivative epiphaneia, “appearance,” “manifestation,” is often used in the New Testament of the Coming of the Lord.



Zion as Centre.



Zion was the centre of government and worship, and is destined to become the seat of the Divine Theocracy. “At that time they shall call Jerusalem the Throne of Jehovah, and all nations shall be gathered unto it, to the name of Jehovah” (Jer. 3: 17).



To the Psalmist Jerusalem was the dwelling place of Jehovah (9: 11).  There God’s praises were to be declared (9: 14).  It was the city of His choice (132: 13).  The mountain of His holiness, which He loved, more than all the dwellings of Jacob (87: 1, 2).  It [Page 109] is destined to become the joy of all the earth (48: 2). The city of the great King, where He shall reign for ever (146: 10).  Similarly Isaiah and Micah predict that “Out of Zion shall go forth the Law, and the word of Jehovah from Jerusalem   Zion will truly be the perfection of beauty when beautified by the presence of Christ, by His righteous rule of peace and harmony.  It will be a centre of spiritual and moral grandeur.



The Coming of Christ Predicted.



Verse 3.  “Our God shall come and not keep silence  In His wisdom He thought it right to remain silent all through this dispensation; it was neither slackness nor indifference on His part, but longsuffering forbearance and mercy.  The time is, however, drawing near when He will break the long silence, “He shall go forth as a mighty man, He shall stir up jealousy like a man of war; He shall cry, yea roar; He shall prevail against His enemies.  I have long time holden my peace; I have been still and refrained myself, now will I cry like a travailing woman; I will destroy and devour at once; I will make waste mountains and hills, and dry up all their herbs; and I will make the rivers islands, and I will dry up the pools” (Isa. 42: 13-15).



The destruction thus described is the result of His judgments, when “He ariseth to shake terribly the earth


[Page 110]

Our Lord’s Coming Described.



“Our God shall come and not keep silence. A fire shall devour before Him, and it shall be very tem­pestuous round about Him



These phenomena are the fitting concomitants of His august presence.  When He appeared on Mount Sinai it was also in impressive grandeur, accompanied by thunder and lightning and the sound of the trumpet waxing louder and louder, so that the people were afraid and they removed and stood afar off.  “And they said unto Moses, speak thou with us, and we will hear; but let not God speak with us, lest we die” (Exod. 19: 16; 20: 18, 19).  Moses at the end of his earthly career, looking back on that wonderful event, thus describes it: “Jehovah came from Sinai, and rose up from Seir unto them; He shined forth (hophia) from Mount Paran (these mountains must have been affected by His glory), and He came from ten thousands of holy ones.  From His right hand was a fiery law for them” (Deut. 33: 2).*


* Four synonyms are used in this verse for God’s appearing in magnificence.  (1) ba -to come, (2) zarach - to rise as the sun, (3) hophia - to shine forth and (4) atha - to come, the poetic expression taken from Aramaic, as in maranatha.



The first advent of Christ was in great condescension and humility.  He came as a babe in the insignificant village of Bethlehem, as the despised and rejected Nazarene, but when He comes again it will be with power and great glory, “As the lightning cometh out of the east and shineth even unto the west, so shall also [Page 111] the coming of the Son of man be  This is in agreement with the vision Ezekiel had of Christ’s return. “Behold the glory of the God of Israel came from the way of the east, and His voice was like the noise of many waters; and the earth shined with His glory” (Ezek. 43: 2).*


* See also Habak. 3. 3-5.



Verse 4.  “He shall call to the heavens from above, and to the earth that He may judge His people



It is only God Who can thus summon the heavens and the earth; no finite creature can do such a thing.  It is not the spaces merely that are here called, but metonymically, the inhabitants of these spheres are bidden to appear before the Divine tribunal.*  When on another occasion the Psalmist caught a vision of this wonderful eschatological scene he exclaimed, “The heavens shall rejoice, and the earth shall be glad. ... In the presence of Jehovah, for He cometh, for He cometh to judge the earth, He shall judge the world in righteousness and the peoples in truth” (Psa. 96: 11, 13).


* “He shall send His angels with a great sound of a trumpet and they shall gather together His elect from the four winds, from one end of heaven to the other” (Matt. 24: 31)



From Matt. 25: 31, Mark 8: 38, Luke 9: 26 we learn that our Lord will be accompanied by myriads of angels as well as by multitudes of human beings.



Those gathered are called saints, Chasidim - godly ones.  This expression is used of God (Jer. 3: 12), translated “merciful and Psa. 145: 17, where it is [Page 112] rendered “holy and only those are chasidim who in identification with Himself are characterised by holiness and mercy, just as He is distinguished by these qualities.  “Be ye holy says He, “even as I the Lord your God am holy*  Again we get the process by which His saints attain to this title - “those who have cut a covenant with Me by sacrifice  The first time the word covenant is mentioned in Scripture is in Gen. 9 when God, having smelled the sweet savour of the burnt offering presented by Noah on his coming out of the ark, graciously promised never again to destroy the renewed creation by flood (Gen. 8: 20, 21).


* The root meaning of chesed is kindness, love, grace; and saints, chasidim are those who have experienced God’s mercy and grace, and exhibit the same themselves.



The covenant with Abraham was likewise made when he, according to the Divine command, cut in pieces the animals and birds and offered them in sacrifice to God.  It is very significant that we are told, “In the same day the Lord made a covenant with Abram” (Gen. 15: 18).



The Israelites of old were also brought into covenant relationship with God at Horeb when Moses took the blood of the sacrifice and sprinkled it upon the people (and, as we are further informed in the Epistle to the Hebrews, he also sprinkled the blood upon the book) and exclaimed, “Behold the blood of the covenant which the Lord has made with you concerning all these words” (Exod. 24: 8; Heb. 9: 19).


[Page 113]

We, therefore, see that the Noahic, Abrahamic, and Mosaic covenants were all made over sacrifices, pointing to the great fact that the new covenant made for us by Christ was also over a sacrifice.  Indeed, all the Old Testament sacrifices - burnt offerings, meal offerings, sin offerings, trespass offerings, peace offerings, votive offerings, or any other kind mentioned in Scripture, point to the Lord Jesus, in Whom they all find their highest and fullest realisation.  His was the new, the everlasting covenant - even the sure mercies of David (i.e., the mercies promised to David).



Of this Christ said, “This is My blood of the New Testament which is shed for many for the remission of sins” (Matt. 26: 27).



The Lord Jesus calls His the New Covenant, no doubt, in reference to Jer. 31: 31-33, where the prophet clearly speaks of Messiah’s covenant in contrast with the law of Moses.  “Behold the days come, saith the Lord, that I will make (literally cut) a new covenant with the house of Israel and with the house of Judah: Not according to the covenant that I made with their fathers in the day that I took them by the hand to bring them out of the land of Egypt, which My covenant they annulled, although I was an husband to them, saith the Lord, but this shall be the covenant that I will make with the house of Israel after those days, saith the Lord, I will put [Page 114] My law in their inward parts, and write it Upon their hearts, and will be their God and they shall be My people*


* The root meaning of Berith, the Hebrew word for covenant, has been much disputed; the most likely meaning is cutting, hence the Hebrew idiom to cut a covenant.  Jer. 34. 18, 19 sheds some light on this, for it shows that in making a covenant an animal used to be cut in pieces, and the covenanters passed between them.  This surely explains and confirms the difficult passage of Hebrews 9: 15-18.  In harmony with the Old Testament type and practice it teaches that in association with the covenant there had to be the death of a victim, and that a covenant is only of force when there has been a death.  In the new covenant not only was there a death for our redemption, but the death of our Lord, Who Himself made the covenant - hence also the idea of testament, or will, becoming of force.



This whole passage is quoted in the Epistle to the Hebrews (8: 8-12) to show its fulfilment in Christ, and it is added, “In that He saith a new covenant He has made the first old; now that which decayeth and waxeth old is ready to vanish away  The Levitical economy was typical and temporary, the sacrifice on the Cross was actual and eternal; all-efficacious for all peoples of all ages.



Note the expression “My covenant He is the author and originator of it, man by his efforts would never have attained to it.  God graciously stooped and opened the otherwise shut door.  Scripture therefore speaks of God as making the covenant with His people.  On His part it is all of grace - wondrous grace!



The Divine Judge.



Verse 6 “And the heavens shall declare His righteousness, for God Himself is judge  Being All wise He knows all the circumstances of every case, being Almighty He is able to carry out His sentence [Page 115] perfectly, and being All beneficent He will use His wisdom and power righteously.  In His wrath He will remember mercy.  The inhabitants of heaven and earth will unite in acknowledging the justice of His judgment; “Hallelujah” will they cry, “Salvation and glory and power belong to our God.  For true and righteous are His judgments” (Rev. 16: 7; 19: 1, 2).  “Sing praises unto Jehovah with the harp; with the harp and the voice of melody. ... Make a joyful noise before the King Jehovah. ... Before Jehovah, for He cometh to judge the earth; He will judge the world with righteousness, and the peoples with equity” (Psa. 98: 5-9).



The Judgment.



Verse 7. “Hear, O My people, and I will speak; O Israel, and I will testify unto thee; God, thy God am I  This, clearly, is the judgment of God’s people, but is there a judgment for the people of God?  Before we can answer this question we must examine several passages of Scripture.  The Bible speaks of several judgments. There was already the terrible judgment on the Cross, when our Saviour was condemned and suffered in our stead; but He, Who once underwent the indignities before the Sanhedrin and ignominy at the Roman Tribunal and was unjustly condemned by His own creatures (O, marvellous condescension!) is soon Himself to be the Judge.  And first of all His [Page 116] own redeemed ones will appear at His judgment seat to render account of their conduct and motives, not to be condemned and punished, for there is no condemnation to them that are in Christ Jesus.  There is no question here either of salvation or of reprobation.  If by faith we have been united to Christ nothing can undo the effects of His finished work on our behalf, our [eternal] security rests not upon anything that we can do ourselves, but upon what has been done for us - a much safer foundation, thank God; hence even those, whose works - being like wood, hay and stubble - are burned up, are themselves [eternally] saved, though as by fire.



Nevertheless salvation as mere exemption from punishment is not the highest and best to which the child of God is looking forward, God has much more than that for us.  Salvation from sin and its consequences, though very blessed in itself, is only the beginning of a happy and glorious life, it is the open portal that admits us into His presence, where there is fulness of joy, and His right hand where there are pleasures for evermore.  Truly, “Eye hath not seen, nor ear heard, neither have entered into the heart of man the things which God hath prepared for them that love Him” (1 Cor. 2: 9).  The loyal steward who is faithfully trading with His Lord’s talents will one day hear the gracious words from the Master’s lips, “Well done ... enter thou into the joy of thy Lord” (Matt. 25: 21).  Not, mark you, thy joy, but “the [Page 117] joy of thy Lord which is, surely, the highest form of bliss.



The people of God will, then, render account at Christ’s tribunal, and will receive rewards for their fidelity and service.  Scripture speaks figuratively of these rewards as crowns.  There is, for instance, the crown of rejoicing for winning of souls (1 Thess. 2: 19), the crown of righteousness for faithful service and loving His appearing (2 Tim. 4: 8), the crown of life* for enduring temptation and abiding faithful (Jas. 1. 12; Rev. 2. 10), and the crown of glory for feeding or shepherding the flock (1 Peter 5: 4).  These are indeed incorruptible crowns that will never fade away.


[* NOTE. This judgment and “crown of life,” must take place before the time of the “first resurrection” to determine who will reign with Messiah in the “age” to come: Luke 20: 35; Rev. 20: 4-4. cf. Rev. 3: 21; 11: 15.]



This judgment of [regenerate] believers will be followed by the judgment of the nations (Joel 3: 2, 12; Matt. 25: 31-46).  These will, of course, be Pre-millennial, and finally there will be the individual judgment at the Great White Throne after the Millennium.



In verse 8 of our Psalm there is expressed only a slight disapprobation of those judged, “I will testify against thee” is better rendered with Delitzsch and the Revised Version “testify unto thee  “Not for thy sacrifices will I reprove thee; and thy burnt offerings are continually before Me



The expressions “burnt offering” and “continually” take us back to Numb. 28 and 29, where they are found together fourteen times.  The Israelites were [Page 118] there commanded to offer the burnt offerings continually, i.e., regularly every morning and evening on the festivals and Sabbaths, as well as on week days; they are thus called olath-tamid - continual burnt offerings (see 1 Chron. 16: 40; 23: 31).



The meaning, therefore, of verse 8 is, “I will not reprove you concerning sacrifice, you do offer them regularly  Their fault was, however, in attaching primary importance to that which was only secondary.  God has greater delight in obedience than in outer observances.  “To obey is better than sacrifice, and to hearken than the fat of rams” (1 Sam. 15: 22).  It was disobedience that made sacrifice necessary.  To illustrate: here is a little laddie with weak rickety legs who has to wear iron supports for them.  It is a necessary remedy for a disease; but who would put the irons on a healthy little fellow who enjoys his run and his freedom?  Do not put sacrifice in place of a pure holy life in communion with God.



Nor did the people realise the typical, therefore temporary, character of the sacrifices.  The various offerings were so many indicators pointing to the great sacrifice - “the Lamb of God that beareth away the sin of the world



Nevertheless, things being as they were, sacrifices were necessary during the Mosaic economy; through them the ancient Israelites obtained the pardon of their sins (Lev. 4: 20, 26, 31, 35).  Not that the animals [Page 119] had any intrinsic value in themselves to forgive sins, but they were divinely appointed cheques which God honoured in view of the fact that they represented the all-sufficient and all-efficacious Sacrifice on Calvary.



While the offerings were something man presented to God, they set forth to a greater extent God’s better gift to mankind.  He does not require to take of us sheep and oxen.  To Him belong all the beasts of the forest and the cattle of a thousand hills.*  He knows and can get at the fowls of the mountains, and the roaming beasts of the field; all are under His control.  Nor can we entertain such gross materialistic thoughts of God that He requires the flesh of bulls for food and the blood of goats for drink.  These observances were natural object lessons to teach the world in its childhood great spiritual truths.


* A thousand hills, harere ekph has been variously translated, as mountains of a thousand, mountains where a thousand are, etc., but the Authorized Version is quite good.  It is an expressive Hebrew idiom meaning numerous mountains.  Its parallels are, harere kedem - mountains of old, ancient mountains; harere ad - mountains of eternity, eternal mountains; harere kodesh - mountains of holiness, holy mountains, etc.



This sublime section ends with the encouraging counsel of verses 14, 15: “Sacrifice to God thank-offerings, and pay thy vows (or votive offering) unto the Most High.  And call upon Me in the day of trouble, I will deliver thee and thou shalt glorify Me



The higher critic seeks to show from this Psalm that the prophet is here repudiating the practice of sacrificing to God in contradiction to other Scriptures.  Surely verse 14 proves him wrong!


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How was this verse understood by the ancient Israelite who lived in the days of the Psalmist while the Temple services were carried on?  His thanksgiving to God was accompanied by an offering, so was his vow.  Hence the command, “Sacrifice to God a thank-offering and pay thy vow offerings unto the Most High” (ver. 14).



The word translated thanksgiving (todah), coupled with sacrifice (zevach) refers us to Lev. 7: 12-15; 22. 29, 30, where we learn that it was a form of peace offering of which the offerer was permitted to take part; so were the nedarim translated vows, but better rendered votive offerings (see Lev. 7: 16).  These are picturesquely called shelamim - peace offerings, because they describe a peaceful scene of a reconciled party all partaking of a friendly meal.



Sacrifices may be divided under three heads: (a) the burnt offerings entirely given to God, i.e., burned on the altar; (b) sin and trespass offerings, part of which was given to God, and part to the priest; (c) the different peace offerings, part of which was given to God, part to the priest, and the remainder to the offerer.  God and the reconciled party, with the mediator between them, all partaking of the peaceful repast and enjoying happy communion.  Is not this a lovely picture?  This is what God’s people are here asked to do with the assurance of deliverance and accepted worship.  “Call upon Me in the day of [Page 121] trouble; I will deliver thee; and thou shalt glorify me” (verse 15).



For us who have the privilege of living in this Christian dispensation, the beautiful scene of the peace meal finds its counterpart in a holy life of enjoyable communion with God, for Christ, “having made peace through the blood of His Cross has reconciled us unto the Father “to present us holy and unblameable and unreprovable in His sight.



The Wicked at the Bar of Judgment.



The last section of the Psalm, verses 16-22, is the judgment of the wicked, rasha, who is contrasted with the godly ones, chasidim.  He has no right to speak of God’s covenant into which God’s people have entered. Note the difference between verses 5 and 16.  The wicked is not in covenant with God.  His conduct belies his profession, and this cannot be hidden from the all-seeing eye of the Divine judge.



In mercy the wicked are asked to consider this matter, for in spurning the love of God, the just penalty of their wickedness will be measured out to them.  Is not this a warning to the careless ones, who forget God, to think of their ways lest the judgment of God should overtake them?  What an exhibition of the yearning love of God for sinners!



In contrast to this, the last verse holds the assurance that he who sacrifices a thankoffering to God glorifies [Page 122] Him.  “I have given it to you upon the altar to make atonement for your souls, for it is the blood that maketh an atonement for the soul” (Lev. 17: 11).  “The blood of Jesus Christ, His (God’s) Son, cleanseth us from all sin” (1 John 1: 7).



The last sentence of the Psalm - “To him who thus orders his way will be shown the salvation of God” - is an invitation to holy living, and a vindication of the justice of the Divine judge.  “Jehovah is righteous in all His ways and holy in all His works



*       *       *

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The joy of Communion with God






A Psalm of David when he was in the wilderness of Judah.



1 0 God (Elohim), Thou art my God, earnestly will I seek Thee.

My soul thirsteth for Thee; my flesh longeth for Thee;

In a dry and weary land where there is no water.

2 Thus have I beheld Thee in the sanctuary,

To see Thy power and Thy glory.

3 Because Thy loving kindness is better than life,

My lips shall praise Thee.

4 Thus will I bless Thee in my life,

In Thy name will I lift up my hands.

5 My soul shall be satisfied as with marrow and fatness,

And my mouth shall praise Thee with lips uttering joyous shouts.

6 When I remember Thee upon my couch,

And meditate upon Thee in the night watches.

7 For Thou hast been my help,

And in the shadow of Thy wings will I shout for joy.

8 My soul followeth hard after Thee,

Thy right hand upholdeth me.

9 But as for those who seek my soul to destroy it,

They shall enter into the lower parts of the earth.

10 They shall deliver him to the power of the sword,

They shall be a portion for jackals.

11 But the king shall rejoice in God,

Every one that sweareth by Him shall glory,

For the mouth of them that speak falsehood shall be stopped.



The Time the Psalm was Composed.



It is intensely interesting to the child of God to ascertain what the circumstances were that called forth this beautiful poem.



That David was its author we cannot have the [Page 124] slightest doubt.  In every line we detect the pleasant notes of the sweet singer of Israel, and by the spiritual refreshment it brings to our heart we are assured of the correctness of David’s claim, “The Spirit of Jehovah spake by (in) me and His word was upon my tongue” (2 Sam. 23: 2).



Many commentators, among them some Jewish Rabbis, hold that this Ode was written by David while he was a fugitive from Saul (1 Sam. 22: 5; 23: 14-16).  Others are of opinion that it was composed during the Babylonian Captivity by some exile who missed the worship of the sanctuary at Jerusalem.



We feel that those are right who think that David wrote it when he was compelled to flee from Absalom as narrated in 2 Sam. 15-18.  Verse 11 is against the idea that it was written during Saul’s lifetime, as it is hardly likely that David would then speak of himself as the king.  As long as Saul was alive David regarded him as the Lord’s anointed, and, therefore, would not stretch forth his hand against him, although he knew that Saul was seeking his life (1 Sam. 24: 6, 10).  Moreover, verse 2 indicates that it was written after David had placed the Ark of the Covenant in the tent he had prepared for it on Mount Zion (2 Sam. 6: 17; 1 Chron. 16: 1); and set in order the service of the Priests and Levites.  This was evidently neglected in the days of Saul.  (See 1 Chron. 13: 3).



The whole of this Psalm fits in accurately with the [Page 125] narrative we have in 2 Sam. 15-18 of David’s flight from Absalom.  On hearing suddenly of his son’s rebellion, the king hastened to escape from Jerusalem.  He crossed the brook Kedron towards the way of the wilderness (2 Sam. 15: 25), and told Zadok the Priest that he would tarry in the plain of the wilderness till he got his report (verse 28).  There, then, in the wilderness of Judah (arvoth hammidbar) (probably where Zedekiah tried to escape from Nebuchadnezzar, but without success (2 Kings 25: 4, 5), he remained until he was advised by his friends, Hushai, the Archite, and Zadok, the Priest, to cross over the Jordan.  The title, which in the Hebrew forms the first verse of the Psalm, speaks of it as, “A Psalm of David when he was in the wilderness of Judah”; the connection is complete.



It was while lingering there, with his soul troubled at the insurrection of his son, the treachery of his counsellor, and the rebellion of his people, that his heart must have raised itself in prayer to God, in Whom he had encouraged himself so many times before.  From the deepest depths of mental grief, the grace of God enabled him to rise to the highest heights of spiritual joy.  What an example for us!  Similarly the Apostle could write, “Our light affliction, which is but for a moment, worketh for us a far more exceeding and eternal weight of glory; While we look not at the things that are seen, but at the [Page 126] things that are not seen; for the things that are seen are temporal, but the things that are not seen are eternal” (2 Cor. 4: 17, 18).  Indeed this Psalm forms one of quite a number that David composed at that time of crisis; for instance 3, 4, 5, 41-43, 61-63, and others.



The Significance of the Psalm.



This lovely song is not only an inspired record of David’s intimate communion with God; it has, in addition, been the means of bringing comfort and refreshment to thousands of the Lord’s children ever since it was written.  “The spirit and soul of the whole book is contracted into this Psalm,” said Chrysostom.



Together with the historic incidents that formed its background it further supplies us with a prophetic picture of what is to happen to Christ, the Greater David, “Who, for the joy that was set before Him, endured the cross, despising the shame, and is set down at the right hand of the throne of God” (Heb. 12: 2).



The Division of the Psalm.



The first part of this Psalm (vers. 1-8) is characterized by an intensely personal note, and breathes the spirit of devotion and affection.  The writer is face to face with God, and sees no one else.  To him there is not for the moment another living being in the universe.  He uses only the second and first personal [Page 125] pronouns, “Thou,” “Thee,” “Thine referring to God, and “I,” “me,” “mine referring to himself.  We may write over it, “I am my Beloved’s and my Beloved is mine



Verses 9 and 10, which are mostly in the third person, contain a confident prediction of his deliverance which inevitably involves the destruction of his enemies.  Verse 11 concludes the Psalm with a note of triumph and exultation for himself, but a warning of discomfiture for the ungodly.



David’s Deep Longing for God.



Verse 1 “O God, Thou art my God, earnestly will I seek Thee.  My soul longeth for Thee in a dry and weary land where there is no water



The use of the Divine names is significant.  The Psalmist addresses God in harmony with his circumstances. “Elohim, Thou art my El  We may render it, “O God Whom I worship, Thou art the God of my strength, able to help me in this time of my great need  Truly God is “a very present help in trouble and He encourages us to come to Him, for He says, “Call upon Me in the day of trouble; I will deliver thee, and thou shalt glorify Me” (50: 15).



David had personal dealings with a personal God, “Thou art my God though so great as to fill all space; for the heaven and heaven of heavens cannot contain Him (1 Kings 8: 27).  God condescendingly [Page 128] comes down to the level of man that we may hold communion with Him.  “Thus saith the High and lofty One Who dwells eternally and Whose name is Holy.  On high and in the holy place do I dwell, also with the contrite and humble in spirit, to revive the spirit of the humble and to revive the heart of the contrite” (Isa. 57: 15).



He is not indifferent to our need, He satisfies our longing hearts not only with His gifts, but also with Himself. This, surely, is the meaning of Bethlehem and Calvary.



“Thou art my God  This sums up the privilege of the child of God, and holds for him all his blessings for time and eternity.  It is a declaration of faith and an avowal of close relationship with God.



“Earnestly will I seek Thee is just one word in the Hebrew, Ashachareka, translated in our English version “early will I seek Thee  The reason why it is thus rendered is that from this Hebrew root we get the word shachar, which means the “dawn,” and also “to seek  Those who give it the first meaning see in it a picture of David in communion with God at the early day-break, and this fits in with the circumstances of the occasion.



David, waiting in the wilderness of Judah for word of counsel from his friends, and knowing that the rebellious army may swoop down on him and his band of faithful followers, is up and in earnest prayer to [Page 129] God at the early dawn, and this is further in agreement with verse 6 which speaks of his remembering God on his bed and meditating on Him in the watches of the night.



It is, very likely, for the above reason that in the early Church this Psalm was chanted at the morning service every Sunday.  Chrysostom says, “It was decreed and ordained by the primitive Fathers that no day should pass without the public singing of this Psalm



There is, however, no doubt that the word shichar as here in the piel form, has an intensive meaning and indicates that the Psalmist was earnestly pouring out his heart to God for deliverance, and, as we know, he was not disappointed, for deliverance came.  Shichar has evidently the meaning of earnest seeking in Hosea 5: 15, and Psa. 78: 34.  His circumstances in the inhospitable desert mirrored the feeling of his soul and the longing for communion with God.  Welcome, O loneliness, if by thy means I can better enjoy the companionship of my Lord!



The desert has often been the place where God has manifested His presence and glory to His people.  It was in the wilderness of Horeb that He gave a revelation of Himself to Moses; on the same spot He came in the still small voice to Elijah, and, figuratively speaking, He often brings His children into the wilderness in order to give to them a display of His glory and His [Page 130] grace.  He hushes all human voices that we may the more readily catch the slightest whisper that comes to us from Himself.



The ardent longing for God is expressed by the significant picture of a man thirsting for water in a dry and weary land.  The word “thirsty” Oyeph, really means “faint,” “languid  It takes us back to 2 Sam. 16: 1, 2. Ziba, learning of David’s enforced flight into the wilderness, takes two hundred loaves of bread, a hundred cakes of dried raisins, a hundred summer fruits and a skin bottle of wine, puts them on two asses, and brings them to David, and when asked what it means he says, “The asses are for the king’s household to ride on, the bread and summer fruits for the young men to eat, and the wine is to drink for those who are faint in the wilderness Ziba knew that David was in a dry and languid wilderness as he speaks of it here in this Psalm.  God can cause waters to break out in the wilderness and streams in the desert.



The words “soul” and “flesh” represent man’s whole being; the mental powers affected the physical frame in his longing for God.  This depth of feeling is similarly exhibited in Psa. 84: 2, which literally translated is, “My soul pineth and also languishes for the courts of Jehovah; my heart and my flesh cry out for the Living God  The heart, which to the ancient Israelite was the seat of emotion and affection, is [Page 131] here added.*  The void for God in the heart of His children can be filled by no one and by nothing else.  He alone can slake our spiritual thirst.


* “In that intense worship in which every thought, feeling, desire, affection centred in the One true Object of Love, body and soul both take their part.  It is as a living man, every pulse of his being filled with the love of God, that he responds to that love.  And when he cries out, “O God, Thou art my God,” this is not merely an appropriation of God as the God of his worship and trust; it is the hart of flesh, stretching out its human affections towards Him Who has a personal affection for His creature, and Whose loving-kindness it knows to he better than life.” – PEROWNE.



Experience in the Sanctuary.



Verse 2.  “Thus have I beheld Thee in the Sanctuary to see Thy power and Thy glory



His passion for God brought back to the Psalmist memories of communion with Him in the sanctuary - the Tabernacle which he had erected on Mount Zion, and into which he brought the Ark of the Covenant with such joy and gladness.



David took great delight in the worship of that Tabernacle.  He arranged the order of the services and the ministry of the Priests and Levites in their various courses (1 Chron. 23-24); he took pleasure in accompanying the Levites with his musical instruments in singing the inspired Psalms he composed.  Though he was not given the desire of his heart to build the magnificent Temple he intended, he nevertheless prepared the plan and provided most of the wealth required for it.



It must have been with a heavy heart that he sent back the Ark of the Covenant to Jerusalem on his [Page 132] flight from Absalom. (2 Sam. 15: 25, 26).  But he would not fall into the error that the Israelites made in the days of Eli in attributing to the symbol the power that belongs to God Himself.



“Thus have I beheld Thee”; i.e., according to the deep yearning for Thee in my soul.  God always graciously responds to the Divinely created desire in our hearts for Him.  He gives us a vision of Himself in His grace and perfections.



This vision prepared and strengthened the Psalmist for the trials and conflicts that followed.  He beheld Him in His power, as being able to deliver him from his enemies, natural and spiritual.  Have we not all great battles to fight against enemies without and enemies within us?  The enemies within our own bosom are the hardest to overcome, but in Christ we shall be more than conquerors.  How lovely to think that this longing to see Him Whom our soul loveth, and Who has done so much for us will actually be gratified one day!  For on His return we shall see Him bodily and personally.  “His servants shall serve Him and they shall see His face  In the highest and truest sense shall we then behold Him in His power and glory.



Verse 3. “Because Thy lovingkindness is better than life my lips shall praise Thee  Life without God is mere existence and does not fulfil the high purpose of our creation, but to enjoy God’s loving-kindness [Page 133] includes true life and blessing for time and eternity.*


* “Life in His displeasure is worse than death, and death in His favour is true life.” - TRAPP.



The Chaldee Targum paraphrases this, “Better is Thy lovingkindness which Thou wilt do for the righteous in the world to come than the life which Thou givest to the wicked in this world  We need grace to prefer the approval of our Lord rather than the things that tend to the comfort and prolongation of this life.  Thank God for those who, rather than deny their Lord and lose His favour, have chosen to lay down their lives for His sake.



Christ’s utterance contains a spiritual paradox, “He that findeth his life shall lose it, and he that loseth his life for My sake shall find it” (Matt. 10: 39).  This is explained in John 12: 25, “He that loveth his life shall lose it, and he that hateth his life in this world shall keep it unto life eternal  It, surely, means that to retain unworthily our lower life here is to lose our higher life hereafter.  In the self love there are elements of destruction, but in the love for Christ, there is a pledge of [age-lasting as well as] eternal happiness.  My lips shall praise Thee for such lovingkindness whether in life or in death.



The Priestly Benediction.



Verse 4.  “Thus will I bless Thee in my life, in Thy name will I lift up my hands


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Thus, that is with Thy grace in my heart and Thy praise on my lips will I bless Thee.  It is striking that in Hebrew there is an intimate etymological connection between the word to “bless” and the word to “kneel they both come from the root, barach; the substantive for knee is berech, the same three consonants but different vowel points.



There is, of course, a great difference between our blessing God and His blessing us.  Man’s blessing God expresses itself in acts of homage and adoration, also our blessing a fellow man can only be an invocation or prayer to God, on bended knee as it were, that He should impart His grace and favour, but when God blesses us it is accompanied with tangible benefits.  The English word to bless takes in, of course, all these meanings.



The double use of the word is illustrated by Paul in Eph. 1: 3: “Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, Who hath blessed us with all spiritual blessings in heavenly places in Christ  While ours are mere words, God’s blessings are favours for time and eternity.



“Thus will, I bless Thee in my life  The inseparable preposition beth affixed to the word Chayyay has a wider signification than the English “while,” it is usually translated “in,” “by,” or “with,” it frequently expresses instrumentality, or agency, as, [Page 135] “by the word of the Lord were the heavens made, and all their host by the breath of His lips



In the preceding verse the Psalmist declares that his lips shall praise God, now he adds that his very life shall be the instrument of blessing.  It is our privilege also by lip and by life to show forth the praises of Him Who has called us out of darkness into His marvellous light.



“In Thy name will I lift up my hands



The ancient Israelites used to lift up their hands in prayer and praise to God as Moses did during the war with the Amalekites (Exod. 17: 11).  But the lifting up of the hands in God’s name has reference to blessing, especially to the priestly benediction.



In Num. 6: 22-27 we read, “And Jehovah spake unto Moses saying, Speak unto Aaron and unto his sons, saying, on this wise ye shall bless the children of Israel, saying unto them, Jehovah bless thee and keep thee, Jehovah make His face shine upon thee and be gracious unto thee: Jehovah lift up His face upon thee and give thee peace  Then it is added, “And they shall put My name upon the children of Israel and I will bless them



It was the prerogative of the priests to bless the people, but there was no special potency in their words, except in so far as they were according to the command of the Lord and in His name.  Hence three times over was the sacred name put on Israel, and God [Page 136] Himself gave the blessing.  Thus we are told that the priests, the sons of Levi, were chosen by God, to serve Him and “to bless in the name of Jehovah” (Deut. 21: 5; 1 Chron. 23: 13).  That this was done with the uplifted hand we learn from Lev. 9: 22-24 where we get an impressive picture of the inauguration of Aaron’s ministry.   The Tabernacle was completed, the altar erected, the people all gathered and the sacrifices were about to be offered, when Aaron lifted up his hand and blessed the congregation.  Again Moses and Aaron came out of the Tabernacle and blessed the assembled people; and as in response to this priestly benediction the glory of Jehovah appeared unto them, and a fire from the presence of the Lord came forth and consumed the burnt offering and fat upon the altar.  And all the people seeing it shouted for joy and fell upon their faces in worship.*


* The custom of the priests blessing the congregation with uplifted hands is still continued among the Jews of to-day.  The writer of these lines, being of Aaronic descent, has frequently taken part in it before his conversion.  At all the Festivals, the descendants of Aaron have, during the morning service, water poured on their hands by the Levites, and then go up to the bemah, or raised platform near the aron hakodesh - the holy ark where the scrolls of the law are kept - and with the Talith - the praying shawl - over their heads and with hands raised high, they all together pronounce the Aaronic benediction over the people.  The cantor slowly and loudly sings out every word of the blessing, and the priests repeat after him “Yevarechecha Adonay-Veyishmerecha - Jehovah bless thee and keep thee, etc  Their hands are supposed to be raised above their heads in the shape of the Kether Kehuna - the crown of the priesthood.



But the most beautiful illustration of the uplifted hand in blessing is given us by our Lord Himself.  Having suffered on the cross as the great sacrifice for sin, and being about to ascend to His Father as the great High Priest to plead the cause of His redeemed, [Page 137] He led His disciples out as far as Bethany on the slope of Olivet and lifted up His hands and blessed them and while He blessed them, we are told, He was parted from them and carried up into heaven.  What a suitable finish to our Lord’s wonderful career on the earth!



As He walked the streets of Jerusalem and Judea and Galilee He scattered benefits wherever He went, His whole life was one prolonged benediction; and now as He was about to leave these earthly scenes and part from His loved disciples how fitting that He should give them His affectionate blessing!  Thus, with His hands raised heavenward and His lips breathing out words of love and benignity He ascended to His Father’s throne and His Father’s heart.



We are not told what the blessing was that He gave them.  Was it that they might be kept in the important ministry that they were about to take up?  That they might have the illumination and grace of Jehovah in their service? and that they might enjoy His presence and His peace?  All these are included in the Aaronic benediction.



In harmony with this is the lovely little Psalm that concludes the Songs of Degrees (Psa. 134).  It is an exhortation to the priests who were engaged in the Temple service to lift up holy hands in blessing to Jehovah and the people.  The Psalm is arranged antiphonally, first the people ask the priests to [Page 138] bless God on their behalf, and the priests respond with the beginning of the Aaronic benediction, “Jehovah bless thee out of Zion  This is just the sense of Psa. 63: 4.  Placing himself, as it were, in the position of the priest the Psalmist declares that by his very life he will bless God, and in His name he will lift up his hands in blessing his fellow men.



This should also be true of every child of God to-day.  In this dispensation there are no priests in the Levitical or sacerdotal sense, but in our identification with Christ we have all been made priests unto God.  It is our privilege, therefore, to bless God by our life, and bless men and women around us in His name.



Our Supreme Satisfaction.



Verse 5.  “My soul shall be satisfied as with marrow and fatness, and my mouth shall praise Thee with lips uttering joyous shouts



Two words are here used meaning fatness; chelev, translated “marrow is in Gen. 45: 18 coupled with the word ha-arets and rendered “fat of the landi.e., the best the land produced, as we learn from the earlier part of that verse.  In Psalms 81: 16 and 147: 14 it is coupled with chittah, and translated “the finest of the wheat



Likewise, deshen, fatness, is connected with tuv, good, in Psa. 65: 11; Isa. 55: 2, and Jer. 31: 14.  From this usus loquendi it is easy to see that the [Page 139] Psalmist meant by these words rich food, or the best of food, i.e., communion with God was to his spiritual nature what the best of food was to his physical being, giving enjoyment and satisfaction.



We may be doubly sure that the heart that has a Divinely begotten thirst for God will find complete satisfaction in Him.  The pre-requisite for spiritual satisfaction is a longing for God.  He that can say “my soul thirsteth for God” will also be able to say “my soul shall be satisfied as with marrow and fatness



From the threshold of the sanctuary there flows a perennial stream of living waters to slake our thirst and bring us refreshment and satisfaction.  Earthly riches and worldly pleasures will not satisfy the child of God, they may amuse the worldling for a time, but often they leave behind aching hearts and discontented minds.  The rabbinic maxim is not far wrong in saying, “With the increase of wealth is an increase of worry,” but “the blessing of the Lord it maketh rich, and he addeth no sorrow with it  In His presence is fulness of joy and at His right hand there are pleasures for evermore.  O why will men seek it elsewhere?  God’s loving invitation is, “Ho every one that thirsteth, come ye to the waters, and he that hath no money; come ye buy and eat; yea come, buy wine and milk without money and without price.  Wherefore do ye spend money for that which is not [Page 140] bread? and your labour for that which satisfieth not? hearken diligently unto Me, and eat ye that which is good, and let your soul delight itself in fatness” (Isa. 55: 1, 2).



The mistake so many are making is that they desire to deal with God as they deal with their fellow men to whom they give something for something; money, labour, commodities.  We cannot thus barter with God and pay Him for any of His gifts.  How much can we pay Him for the lovely sunshine that so cheers and gladdens us?  How much for the refreshing, shower that “watereth the earth and maketh it bring forth and bud that it may give seed to the sower and bread to the eater”?  Is not our very life God given and God sustained?  “It is in Him we live and move and have our being



But God offers us not only water, that which is a bare necessity to life.  He offers us much more, milk to nourish and wine to gladden us that our soul may delight itself in fatness.



These surely set forth the spiritual enjoyments in communion with God.  All the Lord’s gifts are characterised by a rich abundance.  He gives not merely the blessings of salvation, but also deep and lasting joy in Himself. “These things have I spoken unto you said Christ, “that My joy may be in you, and that your joy may be full He does for us “exceeding abundantly above all that we ask or even [Page 141] think according to His own measure - “the riches of His glory by Christ Jesus



It is related that Alexander the Great, wishing once to show favour to one of his generals, made him a very munificent gift, and when the general was told of it he was quite overwhelmed and exclaimed, “It is too much your Majesty, too much  “It may be too much for my general to receive,” said the king, “but it is not too much for Alexander to give   The standard [of rewards*] and gifts of the infinite God far surpass man’s measure and capacity.  We are not surprised that the Psalmist adds, “My soul shall praise Thee with lips uttering joyous shouts  Surely such wonderful [present and future] blessings call forth deep gratitude expressing itself in heartfelt praise [and obedience now].


[* See Matt. 5: 3-12; 7: 7, 8; Acts 5: 32; 1 Cor. 15: 58; 2 Cor. 6: 17, 18; 2 Tim. 2: 12; Heb. 4: 44; 10: 35-37; Jas. 1: 12; 2 Pet. 1: 10, 11; Rev. 3: 10, 11, 21, etc.]



Night Meditation.



Verse 6.  “When I remember Thee upon my couch and meditate upon Thee in the night watches



God’s mercies to David in the past inspired him with trustfulness for the future and filled his heart with gratitude and his lips with praise.  This verse also fits in with the story of David’s flight from Absalom.  With the close pursuit of the enemy intent on taking his life, David was hardly likely to sleep very restfully, yet his soul found rest in communion with God as his mind must have travelled back to the wonderful experiences he had of God’s gracious [Page 142] dealings with him in calling him from the sheepfold to become king, first over Judah, and afterwards over a united Israel with his dominion stretching from Egypt to the Euphrates.  How much he had for which to praise God, and what great reason to trust Him for his future.  Have we not all, who are children of God, much - very much for which to praise the Lord, as we take a retrospect of His gracious dealings with us?  Yet, it was not so much the benefits that David received that occupied his mind and his heart.  It was God Himself that he remembered on his couch, “When I remember THEE, and meditate on THEE God is so much greater and better than all His gifts, indeed, the gifts are only the outcome of His own beneficent nature.  All His mercies and benefits find their source in Himself.



But how lovely to have God as the subject of our meditation in the night watches?  How better can we spend a sleepless night?  Scripture speaks of rosh ha-ashmuroth, the beginning of the watches (Lam. 2: 19), ashmoreth hatichonah the middle watch (Jud. 7: 19), and ashmoreth haboker the morning watch (Exod. 14: 24). From these passages of Scripture commentators have concluded that the ancient Israelites had three watches in the night, i.e., when the watchmen were changed.  The Rabbis in the Talmud were not unanimous about it.  Some held that the night was divided into three watches, while [Page 143] others thought it was composed of four (see Ber. p. 3, Col. 1, 2).  The expression “the night watches” would be equivalent to our saying “the hours of the night  It was on some such occasion the Psalmist wrote, “All the night make I my bed to swim, I water my couch with my tears” (Psa. 6: 6).  But God was his comfort and deliverer.



Verse 7.  “Thou hast been my help, therefore in the shadow of Thy wings will I shout for joy



The writer was praising God in anticipation of the victory he was about to get.  His intimate relationship with the Lord inspired him with confidence to seek protection under the shadow of His wings.  God sometimes allows His children to get into the desert of adversity that they may have the joy of His deliverance, and find that His grace is sufficient for them.  He thus draws out their praise and confidence. 



A Close Walk with God.



Verse 8.  “My soul followeth hard after Thee, Thy right hand upholdeth me  Literally “my soul cleaveth after Thee



It is the same expression that is used in Gen. 2: 24, “Therefore shall a man leave his father and mother, and shall cleave unto his wife, and they shall be one flesh  It is a cleaving in tender affection and due reverence unto God.  The translators have not rendered it literally, but have evidently caught the true meaning of the text. 


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The portraiture is that of a timid child who in his eagerness to keep up with his father is tenaciously clinging to his father’s strong hand which supports him as they walk along.  It is our privilege, too, to have the support of our Heavenly Father as we seek to walk with Him; not running on before Him in presumption, nor lagging behind in disobedience, but keeping step by step with Him as did Noah and Enoch (Gen. 5: 24; 6: 9).  The trials and difficulties that surround us make us cling all the more to God in loving devotion, that we may experience His protecting and sustaining grace.



A Vision of Victory.



Verses 9, 10.  “But as for those who seek my soul to destroy it, they shall enter into the lower parts of the earth.  They shall deliver him to the power of the sword, they shall be a portion for jackals  In the Hebrew the wording takes in the chief enemy - “him”, as well as the numerous enemies – “they



These verses are not imprecatory, but prophetic of what would happen to the rebellious army that were seeking David’s life, and it was literally fulfilled.  They fell by the sword.  We are told that “The battle was in the wood of Ephraim, where the people of Israel were slain before the servants of David, and there was a great slaughter that day of twenty thousand men.  For the battle was there scattered over the face [Page 145] of all the country: and the wood devoured more people than the sword” (2 Sam. 18: 6-8).  The [bodies of the] slain that were left unburied in the wood must have been devoured by jackals according to this prediction [; and their souls entered “into the lower parts of the earth” - the place of the dead, where David himself is now present*].


[* See Acts 2: 27, 34.


It is encouraging to see how the Holy Spirit is beginning to reveal responsibility truths to regenerate believers.  In his book, ‘Being glorified Together With HimCharlie Dines has written, - “If resurrection unto eternal life is God’s warrant to all who are in Christ - and it is (John 6: 40, 44) - why is Paul here referring to resurrection as something he was straining and pressing on to obtain?  … The rendering, ‘resurrection of the dead’ of Phil. 3: 11, is incorrect and misleading; for all who are dead will not arise unto the exanistasis.  This exanistatasis is the special, exalted resurrection (the prize) which we hope to be found worthy of by Christ.” … “‘If by any means’ he might obtain unto this resurrection.  While resurrection, as such, was his warrant as God’s gift, Paul foresaw the wondrous value of the out-resurrection: a resurrection to be gained as a reward for faithful service to the Master.” (pp. 124, 125, 126.)  Bold highlighting, underlining and italics are all mine. – Ed.]



Verse 11 once again anticipates David’s triumph, and sums up in brief the contents of the whole Psalm.  It reiterates his joy in God, and contrasts the happy glorying in the Lord of the righteous with the painful disappointment of the ungodly.



“But the king shall rejoice in God.  Every one that sweareth by Him shall glory, but the mouth of them that speak falsehood shall be stopped  We have nothing of which to boast in ourselves, but we have much for which to glory in our God, and those who speak falsely will have no word to utter, they will have to bear their disappointment in silence.



Those that swear by the name of Jehovah are the people who worship Him.  “Thou shalt fear Jehovah thy God; and Him shalt thou serve, and shall swear by His name  Ye shall not go after other Gods was the divine command to the Israelites.  They were forbidden to swear by the deities of the nations, not even to mention their name (Deut. 10: 20; Josh. 23: 7, 8).



When the prophet predicts that five cities of the land of Egypt shall worship Jehovah, he says they shall speak the language of Canaan and swear to Jehovah of Hosts (Isa. 19: 18).


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Similarly when the prophet foretells the time that Jehovah shall be universally worshipped, he declares in the name of God, “I have sworn by Myself, the word is gone out of My mouth in righteousness and shall not return.  That unto Me every knee shall bow, every tongue shall swear” (Isa. 45: 23).



It is also worthy of note that when the Apostle Paul desires to ascribe universal adoration to Christ he says that God “gave unto Him the name which is above every name, that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, of things in heaven, and things on earth, and things under the earth, and that every tongue should confess that Jesus Christ is Lord to the glory of God the Father” (Phil. 2: 9-11).  In this passage and in Rom. 14: 11 the Apostle clearly identifies the Christ of the New Testament with Jehovah of the Old Testament, Who shall receive the worship of the adoring universe.  The Lord hasten it in His time!



David’s history that called forth the writing of this Psalm foreshadowed the wonderful experience of our Lord – David’s greater Son and Israel’s rightful king.  He also retained only a few devoted followers, who were ready to lay down their lives for Him; while the great bulk of the nation rejected Him, and preferred Caesar to rule over them.  This will be repeated at the end of this age, when the Jews will enter into a covenant with a usurper.  As with David so with Christ [Page 147] even His familiar friend who ate of His bread, lifted up his heel against Him (Psa. 41: 9; John 13: 18).



But as David was recalled and re-instated into his kingly position so will our Lord be welcomed back by His people and acclaimed as their anointed King.



We read in 2 Sam. 19: 9, 10, “And all the people were at strife throughout all the land of Israel, saying, the King delivered us out of the hand of our enemies, and saved us out of the hand of the Philistines ... now therefore, why speak ye not a word to bring back the king  The word nadon translated “were at strife” is passive in the original and conveys the thought of their feeling blameworthy; their conscience smote them at their ungrateful treatment of David, who had done so much for them.



This will be true to a far greater extent when the Jewish people will recognise the Lord Jesus as their Messiah and Saviour.  What sorrow, what remorse will fill their soul as they think of their prolonged ungrateful conduct towards Him!  How ready they will be to bring the King back!  In the words of another Psalm they will exclaim, “I will extol Thee my God O King; and I will bless Thy Name for ever and ever” (145: 1).



*       *       *

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The Golden Age






1 To Solomon.

O God, give Thy judgments to the King,

And Thy righteousness unto the King’s son.

2 He shall rule Thy people with righteousness,

And Thine afflicted ones with judgment.

3 The mountains shall bear peace to the people,

And the hills by righteousness.

4 He shall judge the afflicted of the people,

He shall save the children of the needy, and crush the oppressor.

5 They shall fear Thee with the sun,

And before the moon, throughout all generations.

6 He shall descend like rain upon the mown grass,

As showers falling heavily upon the earth.

7 In His days shall the righteous flourish,

And abundance of peace till the moon be no more.

8 He shall also have dominion from sea to sea,

And from the river to the ends of the earth.

9 The inhabitants of the desert shall kneel before Him,

And His enemies shall lick the dust.

10 The kings of Tarshish and of the isles shall bring presents,

The kings of Sheba and Seba shall offer rewards.

11 Yea, all kings shall worship Him,

All nations shall serve Him.

12 For He shall deliver the needy when he crieth,

And the afflicted who have no helper.

13 He shall have compassion on the poor and needy,

And shall save the souls of the needy.

14 He shall redeem their soul from oppression and violence,

And their blood shall be precious in His sight. [Page 149]

15 And He shall live, and to Him shall be given of the gold of Sheba;

prayer also shall be made for Him continually,

All the day long shall they bless Him.

16 There shall be an abundance of corn in the land on the top of the mountains,

the fruit thereof shall shake like Lebanon,

And the people of the city shall flourish like the grass of the earth.

17 His name shall endure for ever;

His name shall be fruitful before the sun, and they shall bless themselves in Him;

All nations shall call Him happy.

18 Blessed be Jehovah God, the God of Israel,

Who only doeth wondrous things;

19 And blessed be His glorious name for ever,

And the whole earth shall be filled with His glory.

Amen and Amen.

20 The prayers of David, the son of Jesse, are ended.



This Psalm gives us a lovely picture of the golden age, so graphically described by the inspired prophets, and so ardently desired by the pious Israelites throughout the ages and which indeed is, even in these days, the happy expectation of God’s children and the only hope for our sin-stricken and suffering world.  It will be a reign of perfect peace and harmony, righteousness and goodwill, bringing glory to God and blessing to mankind.



The Psalmist here unfolds to our view “the splendid vision of a perfect Ruler, Who will be the champion of the oppressed, and Who will redress all human wrongs



The imagery of this Psalm is taken from the times of Solomon’s reign, but it will assuredly find a more glorious fulfilment when the greater than Solomon will sit [Page 150] upon the throne of David.  All Scripture history leads to Christ.  The Rabbinic maxim is correct in saying, “All the prophets only prophesied concerning the days of the Messiah He was the theme and object of their predictions, never did they rise to such heights of rapturous eloquence as when they were describing His glory and greatness.



Historic Parallels.



The periods during which Saul, David and Solomon were reigning (each of them for forty years) especially foreshadowed the times of our Lord.  The forty years of Saul’s reign sets forth Israel’s apostasy.  When God brought them out of Egypt He formed them into a theocracy, as we learn from Exod. 19: 5, 6.  “Now, therefore, if ye will obey My voice indeed, and keep My covenant, then ye shall be My private possession above all peoples; for all the earth is Mine; and ye shall be unto Me a kingdom of priests and an holy nation  Israel remained, therefore, without an earthly king until the days of Samuel when the people came to him and said, “Make us a king to judge us like all the nations. ... And the Lord said unto Samuel, Hearken unto the voice of the people in all that they say unto thee; for they have not rejected thee, but they have rejected Me that I should not reign over them” (1 Sam. 8: 5-7).



At their request, then, an earthly king was given [Page 151] them, but his reign ended in a terrible catastrophe upon the mountains of Gilboa when the Israelites were defeated and Saul and his three sons were slain; the king falling upon his own sword.  Indeed Saul was rejected of God long before that (see 1 Sam. 15: 28; 16. 1).  The divinely appointed king for a great part of the time was persecuted and driven from place to place as was also our Lord persecuted by the rulers of the people, and had not where to lay His head.  The period of His rejection ended likewise, in dreadful disaster to the Jews and their rulers.



The forty years of David’s reign adumbrated the time of our Lord’s conquests.  As David slew Goliath so will our Lord destroy Satan.  As David killed the lion and the bear, so will Christ slay the symbolic beasts of Rev. 13.  As David defeated the Philistines, so will the Lord Jesus overthrow the forces of evil that will oppose Him (Zech. 14: 1-5; Rev. 19: 1-21).



It is significant, that of David it is said he “behaved himself wisely in all his ways” (1 Sam. 18: 5, 14), and concerning our Lord the prophet wrote, “Behold My Servant shall deal prudently” or act wisely (Isa. 52: 13).  It is the same expression in the Hebrew.



David, the man after God’s own heart and the king of His choice was thus made a type and earnest of the Divine King, Who was to restore the theocracy to Israel.



Finally, as all the tribes of Israel came to David [Page 152] pleading kinship and saying, “Behold, we are thy bone and thy flesh acknowledging that it was he who had led them out and brought them in, and anointing him king over the whole nation (2 Sam. 5: 1-3), so once again will that people come to Christ, submit themselves to Him and acclaim Him Lord and King.  “His enemies shall be clothed with shame and upon Him shall His crown flourish” (Psa. 132: 18).



Solomon, who was the third king to reign over Israel, also for forty years, completed the type of Christ as king and set forth some features which David could not set forth.



The life of Christ was so rich and full, His person so wonderful and glorious, His attributes so exalted and Divine, His work so manifold and so important that many types were needed to represent Him adequately. Hence we have four Gospels giving various viewpoints of His ministry, quite a number of sacrifices describing the different aspects of His atoning work, etc.



Here, too, David falls far short in portraying the Heavenly King.  His reign was taken up with subduing Israel’s enemies, he was a man of war who shed much blood.  Solomon was, therefore, needed to fill out the type and depict a time of peace and tranquillity.



Solomon is called Ish menucha, a man of rest, in contrast to David who is spoken of as Ish milchamoth, a man of wars (1 Chron. 28: 3).


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In 1 Chron. 22: 9 play is put upon his name, which means the peaceable. “Shelomo (Solomon) shall be his name, and Shalom, peace and quietness will I give to Israel in his dayThis promise was fulfilled to him. We read, “He had dominion over all the region on this side of the river, from Tiphsah even to Azzah, over all the kings on this side of the river, and he had peace on all sides round about him; And Judah and Israel dwelt safely, every man under his vine and under his fig tree from Dan even to Beersheba, all the days of Solomon” (1 Kings 4: 24-5).



At his birth the Lord sent through Nathan the prophet and named him Jedidiah, “the beloved of Jehovah because Jehovah loved him (2 Sam. 12: 24-5) typifying the Lord Jesus concerning Whom God testified, “This is My beloved Son in Whom I am well pleased



The Title.



The foregoing will now help us better to understand the contents of this wonderful Psalm, and will throw some light on its title.  It is liShelomo, which may be rendered “to” or “for Solomon*  The Hebrew letter “I” here affixed to the name Solomon is the sign of the dative, and has usually the meaning of “to” or “for,” though in some of the Psalms it is translated “of” and expresses authorship.  This is however, not always the case.  See, for instance, [Page 154] Psalm 39, where this letter is affixed to three words in the title, lamenatststseach, rendered “to the chief musician liYeduthun “to Jeduthun and leDavid “to” or “of David  It would, therefore, be in perfect harmony with grammatical construction to translate liShelomo “to Solomon i.e., either with reference to, or dedicated to him.**  This is the more likely as the word stands here by itself without any of the usual terms in the titles such as mizmor, a Psalm, or tephillah, a prayer, etc.


* There is only one other Psalm in the whole collection that has the name Solomon attached to it (Psa. 127).


** We dismiss as most unlikely that this Psalm was written at a late date by someone who was seeking to eulogize the heathen king, Ptolemy Philadelphus, 285 B.C.



The Syriac has it, “A Psalm of David when he appointed Solomon King  The Arabic and Septuagint refer it to Solomon.  Rabbi Yitschaki explains it as being a prayer of David, by the Holy Spirit expecting that Solomon should ask of God an understanding heart to hear judgment.



This, further, agrees with the fact that there are several references in this Psalm to historic incidents connected with Solomon, such as his wise judgment, his extensive and peaceful reign, his receiving gifts from the Queen of Sheba, etc.  Other parts of the Psalm, however, did not, and could not find fulfilment in any earthly monarch.  Where Solomon failed Christ will succeed, and the allusions to the life of Solomon serve as illustrations of the Messiah in Whom all Scripture finds its highest and completest realisation.


[Page 155]

The kingdom depicted in this Psalm goes far beyond that of Solomon in righteousness and splendour.  It is universal in extent and eternal [i.e., age-lasting] in duration.  As in His Person the Lord Jesus far surpasses all other beings in glory and greatness so will His [Millennial] kingdom surpass in moral and spiritual perfections all the kingdoms of the world.  It is of that, surely, that the inspired writers predicted with such joy and gladness, “God is King over all the earth; ... God reigneth over the nations; God sitteth upon the throne of His holiness  Again, “The Lord reigneth; let the earth rejoice, let the multitude of isles be glad” (47: 7, 8; 97: 1).  When Isaiah caught a vision of it he exclaimed, “The moon shall be confounded, and the sun ashamed when Jehovah of Hosts shall reign in Mount Zion and in Jerusalem, and before His ancients in glory” (Isa. 24: 23).



The strophical divisions of this Psalm are not very distinct.  They may, however, be arranged as follows:-



Messiah’s perfect righteousness (14).



Messiah’s benign influence (5-7).



Messiah’s universal dominion (8-11).



Messiah’s Divine compassion (12-14).



Messiah’s material and spiritual prosperity (15-17).



A glorious doxology (18-19).



A gratifying conclusion (20).


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Messiah’s Perfect Righteousness.



1. “O God, give Thy judgments to the King,

And Thy righteousness unto the King’s son.



This is a prayer of faith uttered in the [Holy] Spirit, and as it contains the assurance of fulfilment it merges itself into prediction throughout the remainder of the Psalm.  The Hebrew word, ten, translated “give” is the only verb in the Psalm that is in the imperative, expressing command or entreaty; all the other verbs till the doxology at the end - some thirty of them - are in the simple future.



Those expositors who only see here the reign of Solomon, realising that much of the Psalm was not fulfilled to him give to these future verbs the force of the optative, implying a wish, for otherwise they would not harmonise with their ideas.  For ourselves, we cannot think that these utterances were mere exaggerated desires that were never gratified.  We may be doubly sure that our prayers being according to the revealed will of God will be abundantly answered.



This first verse has its historic background in the incident of the two women who came for judgment in which Solomon showed such wonderful discernment given to him by God in answer to his request.  We are told, “All Israel heard of the judgment which the king had judged, and they feared the king; for they saw that the wisdom of God was in him to do judgment” (see 1 Kings 3: 9, 16-28).  Its more exhaustive [Page 157] fulfilment will be in the Messiah, of Whom it is said, “He shall not judge after the sight of His eyes, neither reprove after the hearing of His ears: but with righteousness shall He judge the poor and reprove with equity for the meek of the earth. ... And righteousness shall be the girdle of His loins and faithfulness the girdle of His reins  “He shall sit upon the throne in truth, in the tabernacle of David judging and seeking judgment and hasting righteousness” (Isa. 11: 34; 16. 5).  Judgment is here used, of course, not in its penal sense of carrying out the sentence of the judge against the offender, but of the sentence itself as the standard of right and wrong based upon the laws of God for the regulation of human conduct.  In this sense it is equivalent in meaning to equity.



The couplet, judgment and righteousness, is in Scripture the characteristic of the Messiah’s conduct and reign. The King and the King’s son refer to the same Person.  It was true of Solomon, it is true of the Lord Jesus, Who is so frequently spoken of as the Son of David.  Gabriel’s message concerning Him was, “He shall be great and shall be called the Son of the Highest, and the Lord God shall give unto Him the throne of His father David” (Luke 1: 32).  As the Son of David He will restore and perpetuate the Davidic kingdom.



2. “He shall rule Thy people with righteousness, And Thine afflicted ones with judgment


[Page 158]

In the Theocratic government all oppression will be put down, the destroyer and destruction will be destroyed. “Jehovah standeth up to contend, yea, He standeth to rule peoples, Jehovah will enter into judgment with the elders of His people and its princes, for ye have consumed the vineyard; the spoil of the afflicted is in your houses.  What mean ye that ye crush My people and grind My afflicted ones? saith Jehovah of Hosts” (Isa. 3: 13, 14).  [During the “age” to come,] Christ will thus champion the cause of the wronged and the distressed.



Sometimes in the changed use of a word lies hidden a great truth.  Primarily our word “Despot” has the meaning of an absolute ruler invested with full power to govern, but as those who had this authority so abused it by their misrule, in course of time it assumed the meaning of a cruel ruler.  The same is true of our word “tyrant” which in Greek tyrannos also means an absolute ruler.  The Greek Despotes is one of God’s titles and in Luke 1: 29 it is translated Lord.  The devout Simeon addressing God, with the child Jesus in his arms, says, “Sovereign Lord, now lettest Thou Thy bond slave depart in peace, for mine eyes have seen Thy Salvation



The Messiah will be a despot in the best sense of the term.  Having all power in heaven and in earth He will use it righteously and for the highest welfare of the subjects of His world-wide dominion.



Yadin, translated “He shall judge is the future [Page 159] tense of dun to rule, and should be translated He will rule, not may He rule.  This is the declared purpose of God and in this lies the joy of His people and the hope of the world.



3. “The mountains shall bear peace to the people,

And the hills by righteousness

4. “He shall judge the afflicted of the people,

He shall save the children of the needy, and crush the oppressor



The natural mountain peaks and the commanding passes instead of being fortified and garrisoned will, under the tranquil government of Christ, be monuments of peace.  With great joy this was foretold by Isaiah (2: 24; 11: 9): “And it shall come to pass in the last days that the mountain of the Lord’s house shall be established on the top of the mountains, and shall be exalted above the hills and all nations shall flow unto it. ... And He shall judge among the nations and umpire many peoples; and they shall beat their swords into plowshares, and their spears into pruning hooks, nation shall not lift up sword against nation, neither shall they learn war any more”; “They shall not hurt nor destroy in all my holy mountain  This peace will be the result of righteousness, no offence will be given by anyone to cause enmity and strife.



What a lovely picture of this is presented to our view by the prophet (Isa. 32: 16‑18).  “Then [Page 160] judgment shall dwell in the wilderness and righteousness will remain on Carmel (the fruitful hill), and the work of righteousness will be peace, and the effect of righteousness, quietness and assurance for ever, and My people shall dwell in a peaceable habitation, and in secure dwellings and in tranquil resting places



This is the case in a spiritual sense with us now, the righteousness of faith brings us peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ, but what is now true with us individually will at the return of Christ be true universally.  The mountains and the hills will break out into singing and all the trees of the field shall clap their hands (Isa. 55: 12).



Messiah’s Benign Influence.



5. “They shall fear Thee with the sun, And before the moon, throughout all generations



Those who only see Solomon here have a difficulty in the change from the third person, “He” in the fourth verse to the second person, “Thee” in the fifth verse.  It cannot be an earthly king who is thus addressed in so far as this can only be applied to God, but if we apply it to Christ all is clear and consistent.  He shall be feared with the sun and before the moon throughout all generations, i.e., everywhere and always.



With the sun must mean all over the world.  The Psalmist, follows the sun on its journey round the [Page 161] earth, rising in the east, travelling along the south, setting in the west, and continuing invisibly in the north, so that with the sun wherever it travels our Divine Lord shall be feared or reverenced, but not only in all places but in all times, before the moon from generation to generation, by day and by night, for ever and ever.



6. “He shall descend like rain upon the Mown grass,

As showers falling heavily on the earth



A beautiful picture of our Lord’s gracious influence on the world.  As the refreshing showers upon the newly mown meadow produce fresh verdure and fertility, so will the presence and teaching of Messiah bring forth the fruits of the Spirit - love, joy, peace, long suffering, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, etc.  “His doctrine shall drop as the rain and His speech shall distil as the dew, as small rain on the tender herb and as the showers upon the grass” (Deut. 32: 2).



7.  “In His days shall the righteous flourish,

And abundance of peace till the moon be no more



This verse describes the actual outcome of Christ’s influence mentioned in verse 6.  What the showers produce in the natural world the benign influence of our Lord will bring about in the spiritual realm.  The righteous will flourish and peace will abound as long as the moon will exist.



This is in entire agreement with many other prophecies that the Messiah shall bring in everlasting [Page 162] righteousness, and shall spread a knowledge of God throughout the earth, so that even the common things of life, the bells on the horses and the pots in the houses shall be holiness unto Jehovah (Zech. 14: 20, 21).



Messiah’s Universal Dominion.



8. “He shall also have dominion from sea to sea,

And from the river to the ends of the earth



This is an expansion of God’s promise to Abraham (Gen. 15: 18).  The dominion of Solomon ended at the Euphrates, but that of Christ will have a double boundary, the inner one in Palestine, from sea to sea, and the outer from the river reaching to the ends of the earth (Zech. 9: 10).  Solomon’s rule never extended thus, but according to the Scriptures the Messianic Kingdom is to be world-wide, reaching to the extremities of the earth, all embracing, all including.  According to Daniel’s vision (7: 13, 14), “There was given Him dominion and a glory and a Kingdom that all peoples, nations, and languages should serve Him; His dominion is an everlasting dominion which shall not pass away, and His Kingdom that which shall not be destroyed



Both Daniel and Zechariah prophesied long after Solomon, and even after all the kings of the Davidic dynasty, so their prophecy could only be fulfilled in Christ.  In this the historic background falls short, and the inspired utterance still awaits accomplishment.


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How lovely to think that the whole world, now groaning under a load of care, stricken by sin, torn by strife and dissension, ravaged by war and bloodshed, will soon be unified under the benignant sway of Christ, when God shall be worshipped and adored, and when peace and harmony will abound.



9. “The inhabitants of the desert shall kneel before Him,

And His enemies shall lick the dust



The nomadic tribes of the desert, war-like and difficult to subdue, shall kneel before Him in submission and His enemies shall prostrate themselves with their face to the ground.



The licking of the dust was, in fact, an ancient custom amongst the nations of the East expressing homage.  It is related that Alexander the Great, on his return home after his conquests, tried to introduce that custom in Macedonia, but the Macedonians disdainfully rejected it.  The kings of Persia did not admit anyone into their presence without showing homage in this way (see Rollin’s “Ancient History,” Vol. 4, p. 288).



10. “The kings of Tarshish and of the isles shall bring presents,

The kings of Sheba and Seba shall offer rewards



All classes will acknowledge Messiah’s rule.  The wandering tribes of the desert and the wealthy potentates of distant Tarshish and the isles, or coast line on [Page 164] the north-west, as well as Sheba and Seba on the south and south-east will entreat His favour.



Sheba, representing the Semitic branch of the human race, and Seba the Hamitic, related to the Ethiopians (see Gen. 10: 7, 28) are to offer oblations and rewards.  The word for present is Mincha, translated meat offering and oblation; eshkar, gifts, comes from shachar, to hire, to reward.  Their gifts will be in worship and in token of gratitude for the great benefits they receive from His righteous rule.



11. “Yea, all kings shall worship Him, All nations shall serve Him



This again has never been true of any human king, but will be true [during the millennium] of our Lord.  When He comes out of the opened heaven He will be crowned with many diadems, and on His side and garment there will be a name written “King of kings, and Lord of lords  The whole human race will adore Him.  Then “Jehovah shall be King over the whole earth; in that day shall Jehovah be one and His name one” (Zech. 14: 9).  As King of Israel David was only Jehovah’s viceregent and he speaks of Him as “my King and my God” (Psa. 5: 2), also in His fuller title, “Jehovah of Hosts, my King and my God” (Psa. 84: 3).



Messiah’s Divine Compassion.



12.  “For He shall deliver the needy when he crieth,

And the afflicted who have no helper[Page 166]

13.  “He shall have compassion on the poor and needy,

And shall save the souls of the needy ones



How often our Lord exhibited this tender sympathy for the people!  We are told, “When He saw the multitude He was moved with compassion on them, because they fainted, and were scattered abroad as sheep having no shepherd” (Matt. 9: 36).  It was this compassion for mankind in their deep need that brought Him down from the highest height of heavenly glory to the deepest depth of earthly suffering; and it is this Divine compassion that He is described here as exercising on behalf of the poor shepherdless people in their distress when He sets up His Millennial kingdom.



14. “And He shall redeem their soul from oppression and violence,

And their blood shall be precious in His sight



Christ raised the standard of human life, and put a higher value on it; before He came man’s life was not of much account.  He paid a high price in order to redeem us, and so precious was our blood in His sight that He was willing to shed His own precious blood to atone for us.



According to His own parables the love He had for His people impelled Him to sell all that He had and buy the priceless treasure and goodly pearls.  In plain language, “He made Himself of no reputation [Page 166] (stripped Himself of His glory) ... humbled Himsel and became obedient unto death” to save us.



Yigal naphshom, “He shall redeem their soul” as the kinsman redeemer, i.e., nearest in blood relationship. Christ has taken our nature in order to redeem us.  This verse may imply more.  The goel was not only a redeemer with a right to re-purchase what was sold for his next of kin, it was his duty to avenge his relatives, he was, therefore, called goel hadam, translated, “revenger of blood” (Num. 35: 9, 21, 25, 27; Deut. 19: 6; 2 Sam. 14: 11). Christ will not only re-purchase our possessions for us, but because our blood is precious in His sight He will avenge us from oppression and violence.  There is no city of refuge to shelter our enemy who is a murderer from the beginning, and he will not escape from the hand of our Redeemer.



Messiah’s Spiritual and Material Prosperity.



15.  “And He shall live; and to Him shall be given of the gold of Sheba; prayer shall also be made for Him continually;

All the day long shall they bless Him



He shall live in the power of an endless life.  Almost as an explanation of this Christ told us, “I am He that liveth and was dead, and behold, I am alive for evermore Death could not hold Him Who is the resurrection and the life.  His, indeed, is not contingent [Page 167] life depending on other sources for existence, He is the life and the source of it; He could say, “Because I live ye shall live also



Some find it difficult to determine to whom the expression, “He shall live,” refers.  Does it refer to the King, or to those whom He delivers [and resurrects]? “and He shall live” is just one word in the Hebrew, and stands detached from the rest of the verse.  It seems an abbreviation of a sentence.  If so, the sentence can only be the well-known exclamation to a king, YeChi hammelech, “long live the king*  This expression was actually used to Solomon when he was anointed king (1 Kings 1: 39).  “And Zadok the priest took an horn of oil out of the tabernacle and anointed Solomon.  And they blew the trumpet, and all the people said, God save king Solomonyechi hammelech literally “the king shall live or as we say, “long live the king


* See Chapter 7 on Psa. 47. for the usage of this phrase.



In their hearts the happy subjects of the King will constantly renew His coronation, bring in of their treasures and pray for His prosperity and His kingdom, and bless Him all the day long for His deliverance, and for His righteous rule.  Not that He will need their prayers, but the hearts of His happy subjects will overflow with good wishes for the prosperity of His kingdom and for His glory.


[Page 168]

16.  “There shall be an abundance of corn in the land on the top of the mountain, the fruit thereof shall shake like Lebanon

And the people of the city shall flourish like the grass of the earth*


* The Rabbis refer this to the Messiah.  In Midrash Koheleth they say, “As the first redeemer (Moses) caused manna to come down, so the last Redeemer (Messiah) will also cause manna to come down, as it is said, ‘There shall be an abundance of corn in the earth’.”



We are here given a description of the earth’s condition in the Millennial reign.  When our first parents sinned against God they dragged the whole creation down with them; God’s sentence was, “Cursed be the ground for thy sake, in sorrow shalt thou eat of it all the days of thy life.  Thorns also and thistles shall it bring forth to thee  For how could man expect Nature to obey him when he rendered no obedience to God Who put the forces of Nature under man’s control?  When, however our Lord will remove the curse and bring in the blessing, Nature will again yield her pristine fertility.  “The wilderness and the arid place shall be glad for them, and the desert shall rejoice and blossom as the rose.  It shall blossom abundantly and rejoice with joy and singing.  The glory of Lebanon shall be given unto it, the excellency of Carmel and Sharon, they shall see the glory of the Lord and the excellency of our God” (Isa. 35: 1, 2).



The Psalmist thus sees the top of the mountains, generally so rocky and bare, now full of luxurious [Page 169] vegetation waving in the breeze like the trees of Lebanon.  The hills of Palestine are cultivated by making terraces on the sides which prevent the earth being washed down by the rain, while the rain itself is also kept from flowing down to the valleys, and leaving the tops of the hills dry.



Not only will there be a superabundance of plant life, but great increase in human life; “the people of the city shall flourish like the grass of the earth



17. “His name shall endure for ever,

His name shall be fruitful before the sun, And they shall bless themselves in Him,

All nations shall call Him happy



The Chaldaic paraphrase representing Jewish interpretation in the days of Christ applies this to the Messiah, and renders it like the Septuagint, “His name was prepared before the sun, and in His merits will all people bless themselves



The Midrash also applies this to Messiah, and says, “His name is here called Yinnon (fruitful) because He will cause those who sleep in the dust of the earth to spring up* Yinnon means fruitful in progeny, “A seed shall serve Him; it shall be accounted to the Lord for a generation” (Psa. 22: 30).


* The Talmud (San. 95, b) also has it Rabbi Johanan says, “The world was created only for Messiah.  What is His name?” The school of R. Shila said, “Shiloh is His name,” as it is written (Gen. 49: 10) “The sceptre shall not depart from Judah ... till Shiloh come  The school of R. Yanai said, “Yinnon is His name,” as it is written, “His name is Yinnon (fruitful) before the sun” (Psa. 72. 17).


[Page 170]

The statement “men shall bless themselves in Him” takes us back to the promise given to Abraham (Gen. 12: 3) which finds its highest realisation in Christ.



A Glorious Doxology.



18.  “Blessed be Jehovah Elohim, the God of Israel, Who alone doeth wondrous things

19.  “And blessed be His glorious name for ever,

And the whole earth shall be full of His glory, Amen and Amen



We are not surprised that the Psalmist on getting such a magnificent vision of Messiah’s [millennial] glory and the world’s blessing, as is described here, should burst forth in praise to God.  Surely the doxology finds an echo in our hearts too, as we meditate on this beatific vision; and we also cry, Amen and Amen, not only giving our assent and consent, as Amen implies, identifying ourselves whole-heartedly with the sacred writer in praising Jehovah, but also in looking forward to the time when the whole earth shall be full of His glory.



This beautiful poem forms a suitable ending to the second book of the Psalms, and the doxology is a fitting conclusion both to the whole book and to this Psalm.  Every one of the books ends with a similar expression of praise as Psa. 41: 13; 89: 52; 106: 48.  For the last book the whole Psalm is a grand doxology.



Some of the Rabbis think that the double Amen is the response of Keneseth Israel - the congregation of Israel, who, looking for a fulfilment of the Psalmist’s prophecy join him in praising God for it in anticipation.



A Gratifying Conclusion.



20.  “The prayers of David, the son of Jesse, are ended



This last verse takes us back to the first which is the prayer of faith, and which finds its answer in the prediction of the Psalm.  On more than one occasion has God given David the promise that it would be accomplished, and he knew that no one word of it would fail (see Psa. 89: 35).  The word translated “ended” also means to complete, to accomplish.  David’s faith views the distant prospect and cries Amen to the predictions he was led by the Spirit to utter.



To us also “all the promises of God in Him (Christ) are Yea, and in Him Amen, unto the glory of God by us” (2 Cor. 1: 20).



*       *       *

[Page 172]





The Great Hallel



PSALM 118.



1 O give thanks unto Jehovah for He is good;

For His loving kindness endureth for ever.

2 Let Israel now say ...

For His loving kindness endureth for ever.

3 Let the house of Aaron now say ...

For His loving kindness endureth for ever.

4 Let those that fear Jehovah now say ...

For His loving kindness endureth for ever.

5 Out of my distress I called upon Jah;

Jah answered me in a wide place.

6 Jehovah is for me I will not fear;

What shall man do unto me?

7 Jehovah is for me among my helpers,

Therefore shall I look on those that hate me.

8 It is better to take shelter in Jehovah,

Than to trust in man.

9 It is better to take shelter in Jehovah,

Than to trust in princes.

10 All nations have surrounded me,

In the name of Jehovah I will verily cut them off.

11 They have surrounded me, yea they have completely surrounded me;

In the name of Jehovah I will verily cut them off.

12 They have surrounded me like bees; They are extinguished as a fire of thorns,

In the name of Jehovah I will verily cut them off.

13 Thou didst thrust sore at me that I might fall,

But Jehovah helped me.

14 Jah is my strength and song,

And He is become my salvation. [Page 173]

15 The voice of rejoicing and salvation is in the tents of the righteous;

The right hand of Jehovah doeth valiantly;

16 The right hand of Jehovah is exalted;

The right hand of Jehovah doeth valiantly.

17 I shall not die but live,

And declare the works of Jehovah.

18 Jah hath chastened me sore,

But He hath not given me over to death.

19 Open to me the gates of righteousness;

I will enter into them; I will give thanks unto Jah.

20 This is the gate of Jehovah,

Let the righteous ones enter into it.

21 I will give thanks unto Thee, for Thou hast answered me,

And hast become my salvation.

22 The stone which the builders rejected,

Is become the head of the corner.

23 This is Jehovah’s doing;

It is marvellous in our eyes.

24 This is the day Jehovah has made;

We will rejoice and be glad in it.

25 Save now, we beseech Thee, O Jehovah;

O Jehovah, we beseech Thee, grant us now prosperity.

26 Blessed be He that cometh in the name of Jehovah;

We have blessed you out of the house of Jehovah.

27 Jehovah is God, and He has given us light;

Bind the festive sacrifice with thick cords up to the horns of the altar.

28 Thou art my God and I will give thanks unto Thee;

Thou art my God, I will exalt Thee.

29 O give thanks unto Jehovah for He is good;

For His loving kindness endureth for ever.



This is the last of the Hallel Psalms comprising 113-118, which are repeated by the Jews at their festivals.  It also forms part of the Haggadah or prayer for the Passover night.  It was, therefore, most probably repeated by the Lord Jesus and His disciples at the inauguration of the Lord’s Supper.


[Page 174]

“And when they had sung an hymn, they went out into the mount of Olives” (Matt. 26: 30).



The Time of the Psalm’s Composition.



As in the case with many of the prophetic Psalms, commentators are not at all agreed as to its authorship and the time of its composition.  It is thought that it was written,



1. By David when he became king over Israel

and obtained the victory over the surrounding nations (2 Sam. 8-10).



2. By Hezekiah on his restoration from sickness

(2 Kings 19-20).



3. At the first celebration of the Feast of Tabernacles

after the return from Babylon (Ezra 3: 1-4).



4. At the laying of the foundation of the second Temple

(Ezra 3: 8-13).



5. At the completion of the second Temple

(Ezra 6: 15-18); or,



6. At the celebration of the Feast of Tabernacles

after the rebuilding of the second Temple as recorded in Neh. 8: 13-18.



The reason why there is such a divergence of opinion about it is because nothing recorded in the Old Testament fully accounts for this Psalm.



There were probably several historic incidents in connection with the return from the Babylonian Exile [Page 175] which drew out the people’s gratitude to God, and caused them to sing such Psalms of praise which had been composed long before.  In Ezra 3 we are told that the Priests, the Levites and all the people joined in praising God, and the very phraseology of this Psalm was used by them.  “When the builders laid the foundation of the Temple of the Lord, they set the Priests in their apparel with trumpets, and the Levites the sons of Asaph with cymbals, to praise the Lord after the ordinance of David, King of Israel, and they sang together by course (literally, they responded in song, that is they sang antiphonally) in praising and giving thanks unto the Lord, because He is good, for His loving kindness endureth for ever towards Israel” (Ezra 3: 10, 11).  Please note the expression, “After the ordinance of David, King of Israel This very likely refers to the writings of David.  And it is certainly striking that the very note of praise which characterises this Psalm is first used by David. (Compare verses 1, 2, 3, 4, 25, 29 with 1 Chron. 16: 34, 35).



The Hallel Psalms as Prayers.



The singing of this, and similar Psalms, might have been repeated on all the occasions mentioned above, especially at the Feast of Tabernacles recorded in Nehemiah 8: 13-18, but they were not necessarily composed at that time.


[Page 176]

These Hallel Psalms still form part of the morning prayer in the Jewish service for the Feast of Tabernacles*; and on the seventh or last day of the Feast which is called Hoshanna Rabba, the great Hosanna day, the Jews walk round the aisles of the Synagogue carrying branches of palm tree, myrtle twigs, and sprigs of willow, chanting the twenty-fifth verse of our Psalm, “O, Jehoyah, save I beseech Thee,” which in the Hebrew is Hoshiahna. **


* The Hallel Psalms are repeated in the Haggadah, the order of service for the Passover Night, the first two days of the Passover Feast, the Feast of Weeks, or Pentecost, every day of the Feast of Tabernacles, and the Feast of Chanuca or Dedication.


On the New Moons and the last six days of the Passover only part of the Hallel is said.  The chanting of the Hallel is usually connected by the Jews with joy.  It is, not repeated in a house of mourning.


** This is done according to the command in Lev. 23: 40, “And ye shall take you on the first day the fruit of goodly trees, branches of palm trees, and boughs of thick trees, and willows of the brook, and ye shall rejoice before Jehovah your God seven days.



We cannot think that there was anything at the return of the Jews from Babylon that exhaustively fulfilled this remarkable passage of God’s Word.



The opposition with which the Jews met from their neighbouring chieftains, Sanballat the Horonite, Tobiah the Ammonite and Gesham the Arabian, brought them discomfort and inconvenience, but did not amount to actual warfare of which Psa. 118 speaks, and did not cause the returned exiles the distress mentioned in verse 5; nor were the surrounding nations destroyed by the Israelites as verses 10-12 imply.



The Key to the Psalm.



The complete fulfilment of this Psalm is still in the future, and we believe that the second Coming [Page 177] of our Lord is the key to this as to so many other passages of the Bible, hence the difficulty of fitting it into any historical event of the past recorded in the Scriptures.  Here we have a brief but graphic description of Israel’s tribulation, deliverance, and conversion at the return of Christ.  As a title we may write over it the words of Jeremiah 30: 7, “It is even the time of Jacob’s trouble, but he shall be saved out of it  Our Lord evidently quoted verse 26 and referred it to the future when Israel’s judicial blindness shall be removed and their eyes will be opened to recognise in Him their long-awaited Messiah and Saviour, when they will welcome Him, exclaiming, “Blessed is He that cometh in the name of the Lord” (see Matt. 23: 39).



With this key in our possession the Psalm, which is otherwise disconnected and difficult to explain, becomes clear, congruent and in harmony with other parts of Scripture.



The Divisions of the Psalm.



Verses 1-4 are a call for thanksgiving to God.



Verses 5-7 give the reason for the thanksgiving.



Verses 8 and 9 are the moral lesson resulting therefrom.



Verses 10-18 give a description of the terrible battle and the Divine interposition.



Verses 19-29 set forth Israel’s reconciliation with their Messiah.


[Page 178]




“O give thanks unto Jehovah, for He is good;

For His lovingkindness endureth for ever



This is the introduction of praise in this antiphonal song.*  The whole nation is asked to join in giving thanks unto Jehovah, evidently for some great national deliverance, all sections of the Israel nation are called upon to join in this public acknowledgment of God’s goodness in intervening on their behalf at a time of desperate need.


* This Psalm is still chanted antiphonally by the Jews on the Feast of Tabernacles.  The cantor sings part and the congregation responds.



“Let Israel now say … for His loving kindness endureth for ever



Chesed is better translated “loving kindness” than “mercy” (see Psa. 103: 4).  Ki, which is in the first verse translated “for is in the three following verses translated “that  The fact is, there is an ellipsis here, and some words have to be supplied where we put some dots.  This is recognised in the Septuagint where after “Let Israel now say” is added “that He is good the same in verses 3 and 4.  The Chaldaic paraphrase has it, “Let Israel now say so i.e., let them say, “Give thanks unto Jehovah for He is good then, as a reason for it, “for His loving kindness endureth for ever



This is a frequently-used expression of praise acknowledging God’s goodness (see Psa. 106: 1; 107: 1; [Page 179] 136: 1; 1 Chron. 16: 34; Ezra 3: 11), and all the sections of the nation are called upon to take part in this declaration of gratitude for a national deliverance.  First the Israelites, the main section, are thus requested to praise God, next the house of Aaron, the priests, then those who fear Jehovah are asked to join.  In the New Testament “they that fear God” are generally the Proselytes, but here this evidently refers to the Levites, who as a tribe first rallied round Moses after the sin of the golden calf (Exod. 32: 26-29; Deut. 33: 8-10; but see specially Mal. 2. 4, 5, where the Levites are characterised as those who fear God).



It is right that we should encourage one another in praising God.  We have so much for which to thank Him, for physical mercies, for social benefits and spiritual blessings.  All are traced to Him.  There may be many channels, but He is the source, there are many instruments, but He is the mighty Worker Who uses them for our highest welfare.



Nationally Israel, more than any other people, will have reason to thank God for His loving kindness.  What a long list of benefactions they will have to enumerate as they look back upon their whole history from the time He chose Abraham till the moment when they stand face to face with their Messiah and Deliverer!


[Page 180]

Verse 5 gives the reason of this special gratitude.



“Out of my distress I called upon Jah,

Jah answered me in a wide place



Six times in this Psalm is found Jah as a name of God, twice in this verse, once each in vers. 14, 17, 18 and 19.  It is, of course, the Hebrew first syllable of Jehovah, and is, therefore, only an abbreviated form of it.  It is mostly found in Bible poetry.  It forms the last syllable of Hallelujah, which means “praise ye Jah Occasionally it is joined on to other words, then it adds intensity of meaning to them, as for instance mappeljah, “intense darkness” (Jer. 2: 31) or shalhebhethjah, “most vehement flame” (Can. 8: 6). Some think that in this verse Jah should also be joined to the Hebrew merchabh and be translated “an exceedingly wide place



The Hebrew metsar here rendered “distress” means a strait, contracted place, and is contrasted with the wide place into which God brings His people in answer to their cry.*


* “Verse 5b is a pregnant construction.  ‘He answered me in an open place,’ i.e., bringing me into it.  The contrast of a narrow gorge and a wide plain, picturesquely express past restraints and present freedom of movement



This national distress, as is made clearer later in the Psalm, is really the time of Jacob’s trouble mentioned by Jeremiah (30: 5-7).  The prophet brings before the mind of his readers a terrible picture of suffering.  He depicts strong men going about with bowed heads, bent figures, and pale faces, with their hands on their [Page 181] loins as in great pain, and then as in explanation calls out, “It is even the time of Jacob’s trouble; but he shall be saved out of it



The deliverance out of this distress is attributed to God.



“Jehovah is for me, I shall not fear,

What shall man do unto me?

Jehovah is for me with (or among) my helpers;

Therefore shall I look on them that hate me.”



Jehovah’s appearance on the battlefield turns defeat into victory.  It is concerning that same time that Zechariah (9: 14, 16) writes, “And Jehovah shall be seen over them; and His arrow shall go forth as the lightning, and the Lord Jehovah will blow the trumpet (as a commander) and move with whirlwinds of the south. ... And Jehovah their God shall save them in that day as the flock of His people



“Looking on those that hate me” means fearlessly to face the enemy, and answers to the preceding verse, “I shall not fear; What shall man do unto me  “My desire” of the English version is not in the original.  “Come, let us look one another in the face” said Amaziah to Jehoash (2 Kings 14: 8).  By that he meant let us face each other on the battlefield.  The Presence of Jehovah will impart courage and strength to the besieged and enfeebled Israelites.


[Page 182]

Verses 8 and 9 indicate the moral lesson the Jewish people will have learnt from it.



“It is better to take shelter in Jehovah, Than to trust in man.

It is better to take shelter in Jehovah, Than to trust in princes



This is a lesson that we all need to learn for our happiness, and it applies for all time.  “Thus saith Jehovah, cursed be the man that trusteth in man, and maketh flesh his arm. ... Blessed is the man that trusteth in Jehovah, and whose hope is Jehovah.  For he shall be as a tree planted by the waters, and that spreadeth out her roots by the river, and shall not fear when heat cometh and its leaf shall be green; and shall not be careful in the year of drought, neither shall cease from yielding fruit” (Jer. 17: 5-8).  Israel will have learned the lesson no longer to lean upon world forces for support, nor to rely upon their own valour; in the words of the prophets they will say, “Asshur shall not save us, we will not ride upon horses neither will we say any more to the works of our hands, Ye are our gods  “Behold God is my salvation, I will trust and not be afraid” (Hos. 14: 3; Isa. 12: 2).



Thus far we have had in these verses only a general introduction, now the writer commences his story in detail.


[Page 183]

The Anti-Christian Confederacy.



“All nations have surrounded me,

In the name of Jehovah I will verily cut them off.

They have surrounded me, yea, they have completely surrounded me;

In the name of Jehovah I will verily cut them off.

They have surrounded me like bees;

They are extinguished as a fire of thorns,

In the name of Jehovah I will verily cut them off



This gives us a picture of the Jews who will have returned to Palestine hedged round by the anti-Christian forces who will come up against them.  The phrase “All nations” is a key phrase, and, when used prophetically in connection with Israel’s future, generally refers to the confederacy of nations under the Antichrist, who will give the poor Jews so much trouble, and whom the Lord Jesus will destroy on His descent from heaven.



A few quotations will make this clear.



Isa. 29: 2-7, “I will distress Ariel,* and there shall be lamentation and mourning, and it shall be unto Me as Ariel.  And I will encamp against thee round about, and will lay siege against thee with a mount, and I will raise forts against thee.  And thou shalt be brought low, and shalt speak out of the ground, [Page 184] and thy speech shall be out of the dust, and thy voice shall be as one that hath a familiar spirit. ... And the multitude of thy strangers shall be as the small dust, and the multitude of the terrible ones shall be as chaff that passeth away; yea, it shall be in an instant suddenly. ... And the multitude of all the nations that fight against Ariel, even all her army and her munitions and that distress her shall be as a dream of a night vision


* Ariel is a picture name for Israel, the mighty lion, or the Lion of God, because of the liom-like victory they are to obtain over the great enemy.  See Micah 5: 8, “And the remnant of Jacob shall be among the Gentiles in the midst of many people as a lion among the beasts of the forest ... who, if he go through, both treadeth down and teareth in pieces and none can deliver



This almost reads as a commentary on vers. 10-12 of our Psalm.  Zech. 12: 9 also refers to these nations, “And it shall come to pass in that day that I will seek to destroy all the nations that come against Jerusalem These are evidently the same as “All peoplesverses 2, 3. This is more fully explained in Zech. 14: 1-5, “Behold the day of the Lord cometh, and thy spoil shall be divided in the midst of thee.  For I will gather all nations against Jerusalem to battle, and the city shall be taken, and the houses rifled, and the women ravished; and half of the city shall go forth into captivity, and the residue of the people shall not be cut off from the city.  Then shall Jehovah go forth, and fight against these nations as when He fought in the day of battle.  And His feet shall stand in that day upon the mount of Olives, which is before Jerusalem on the east. ... And Jehovah my God shall come and all the saints with Thee


[Page 185]

Speaking of the same event, Joel (3. 1, 2) likewise depicts the scene, “Behold in those days and in that time, when I will bring again the captivity of Judah and Jerusalem, I will also gather all nations, and will bring them down into the valley of Jehoshaphat, and will plead with them there for My people, and for My heritage Israel, whom they have scattered among the nations and parted My land and again, verses 11 and 12, “Assemble yourselves and come all ye nations, and gather yourselves together round about; thither, cause Thy mighty ones to come down, O Jehovah.  Let the nations be wakened and come up to the valley of Jehoshaphat: for there will I sit to judge all the nations round about



It was of this event that the inspired Psalmist caught a vision.  A battlefield with a feeble remnant of Jews entrenched probably in the upper parts of Jerusalem (as Josephus tells us was the case during the Jews’ war with the Romans in A. D. 70), hard pressed on all sides by the merciless enemy and despairing of any help; but suddenly the Lord Jesus appears with His mighty ones [i.e., angels] and speedily destroys the anti-Christian armies, who are as hostile towards Him as towards His people.  The Jews, now set free, exclaim, “All nations compassed me about, they compassed me about as bees numerous and with a sting, “but in the name of Jehovah I cut them off  Amilam, from the root mul, “to cut off,” “to destroy,” is the [Page 186] imperfect tense which has frequently, in the Hebrew, the peculiarity of describing a vivid act in the present.



The Secret of Power



Three times over Israel acknowledges that the victory is God-given.  “In the name of Jehovah I verily cut them off  This reminds us of David who with his five pebbles met the mighty Goliath - the man of six cubits and a span, clothed in mail from head to foot, and carrying a spear like a weaver’s beam.  “Thou comest to me,” said David, “with a sword, and with a spear and with a shield; but I come to thee in the name of Jehovah of Hosts, the God of the armies of Israel whom thou defiest.”



David, weaponless, but empowered by God, was more than a match for the giant with his complete panoply. Verily there is power in that Name.



“They are extinguished as a fire of thorns



The dry thorns in the Eastern climate, when gathered together and set alight, give out one great flare and burn out instantly.  Isaiah also speaks of these nations as chaff passing away “in an instant suddenly



Israel then addressing the defeated enemy says.  “Thou didst thrust sore at me that I might fall, but Jehovah hath helped me  It is the repetition of emphasis, Thrusting, thou didst thrust me.  It will indeed be a severe thrust that the enemy forces [Page 187] will give the Jews.  The unified nation speaking as one man also addresses the numerous foes as a single person.



Victory Attributed to God.



“Jah is my strength and song, and He is become my salvation  This takes us back to the exodus from Egypt.  By God’s miraculous power the waters of the Red Sea were made to stand as a wall to the right of Israel, and a wall to the left of them, that they might cross over safely as on dry land, while the same waters drowned the Egyptians; and when the Israelites saw that their enemies were dead, and would never more be able to hurt or molest them they broke out spontaneously in glad and grateful song, “I will sing unto Jehovah for He hath triumphed gloriously: the horse and its rider hath He cast into the sea  Then comes our verse, “Jah is my strength and song, and He is become my salvation



On other occasions, too, this note of praise has found an echo in the heart of Israel.  Every Sabbath night the pious Jew, holding a lighted candle, a cup of wine (the cup of salvation) and some sweet-smelling spices, repeats this verse in what he calls the blessing of the habhdalah and afterwards prays for the coming of Elijah the Prophet and King Messiah.  But how fitting that at their final deliverance by the personal presence of the Messiah from what, without His intervention, must be their certain and complete [Page 188] annihilation, they should sing, “Jehovah is my strength and song, and is become my salvation



It may be noted that the first time Jah, the abbreviated form of Jehovah, occurs is in this verse sung at the Red Sea (Exod. 15: 2).



Verses 15 and 16 give us the effect the God-given victory has upon the Jewish warriors.  “The voice of rejoicing and of salvation is in the tents of the righteous  The tents are of the encamped army on the battlefield.  As they see how wonderfully God is fighting for them, they joyfully exclaim,



“The right hand of Jehovah doeth valiantly,

The right hand of Jehovah is exalted,

The right hand of Jehovah doeth valiantly



Of this very battle Zechariah predicted (14: 3), “Then shall Jehovah go forth and fight against those nations as when He fought in the day of battle.  And His feet shall stand in that day upon the mount of Olives, which is before Jerusalem on the east  The well-known Jewish commentator, Yitschaki, also places this incident in the days of the Messiah.



These verses form a link between this Psalm and the song of the Red Sea where the powerful right hand of Jehovah is pictured as dashing in pieces the enemy. 



Israel Indestructible.



Then, as with a sigh of relief, Israel affirms,



“I shall not die but live

And declare the works of Jah


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Poor people, they are almost giving up all hope of ever being rescued from the powerful foe, but God is much better to them than they either expect or deserve.  And true to His gracious promises and purposes He hastens to their help and sets them free.



How gladly, how earnestly, and how effectively will Israel then declare the works of the Lord.  It is to this end that God has preserved them at miraculous cost, in spite of all their hostile surroundings, and the persecution they endured all through this age.



What a wonderful story Israel will have to tell the world of God’s merciful dealings with them throughout their whole history, from the time that He chose Abraham in Ur of the Chaldees and blessed him, to the moment when as a people they stand reconciled face to face with their Messiah.  And how trustworthy and forceful will their witness for Him be when they declare His doings among the peoples and make mention that His name is exalted.  It is then that “Israel shall blossom and bud and fill the face of the world with fruit!” (Isa. 27: 6).



Now looking back upon the past Israel soliloquizes,



“Jah has chastened me sore,

But hath not delivered me over unto death



Through the prophet Jeremiah, God declares, “Though I make a full end of all nations where I have scattered thee, yet will I not make a full end of thee, I will correct thee in measure and will not leave [Page 190] thee altogether unpunished” (30: 11).  That is precisely what God has been doing. He has not left the Jews unpunished, but corrected them in measure, literally according to judicial sentence‑what is right. In His severity and in His goodness God is just.



Messiah Welcomed



The Psalmist has already described to us Israel in great difficulty, surrounded by the nations who have come up to the land with the intention of destroying them, and how Jehovah in the Person of the Messiah descends from heaven, vanquishes the enemy, and sets the Jews free.  Now, in his story, the battle is over, and the Psalmist hears a knocking at the door, with the request,



“Open to Me the gates of righteousness,

I will enter into them and I will praise Jah



It is the relieving army, having defeated the mighty foe is now desiring admission to the part of the city that has not been destroyed, and where the remainder of the army are still entrenched (Zech. 14: 2); the gates are then swung open from inside, with the exclamation,



“This gate of, or for, Jehovah,

Let the righteous enter into it



A striking expression, the gate for Jehovah – Jehovah’s gate.  This surely takes us back to Psalm 24,


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“Lift up your heads, 0 ye gates;

And be lifted up ye everlasting doors,

And the King of glory will come in.

Who is this King of glory?

Jehovah strong and mighty,

Jehovah mighty in battle.

Lift up your heads, 0 ye gates!

Yea, lift up the everlasting doors,

And the King of glory will come in.

Who is this King of glory?

Jehovah of Hosts, He is the King of glory



This is generally applied to the Ascension of Christ; some have actually referred it to Christ’s descent into Hades.  Well, Scripture may have several applications, but only one [true] interpretation.



It is true that, in the purpose of God, Christ is King from all eternity, but it was not as King that Christ ascended to heaven, or descended into Hades.  He was Prophet on earth, He is Priest now in heaven, but He will return to earth as King, crowned with many diadems, as King of kings and Lord of lords.



When our Saviour destroys the Antichrist and all his confederates He will indeed be mighty in battle, and universally acknowledged as King of glory.*


*We also take quite literally Ezek. 43: 2-7, where we get a lovely picture of Christ, resplendent in glory, coming to the eastern gate of the Temple court and taking up His abode, amongst His people.



As Messiah enters the city accompanied by His saints, outbursts of applause meet His ears from the grateful people whom He has saved.


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“I will give thanks unto Thee for Thou hast answered me,

And art become my salvation”

they cry.



How natural that the people should thus say “Thank You” to their Deliverer!  And how worthy He will be of their heartfelt praise and adoration!



Then, as they come into closer proximity with Him, and find that He Who thus saved them is none other than the Lord Jesus, Whom they have been despising and rejecting all through the centuries of this age, they exclaim with astonishment,



“The stone which the builders rejected,

Is become the head of the corner.

This is Jehovah’s doing,

It is marvellous in our eyes



This is the nation’s acknowledgment of Christ as their Saviour and Lord.  It is the moment when they look to Him Whom they have pierced, and mourn and repent; when the heavenly Joseph makes Himself known to His brethren.



But what wonderment! what grief! what remorse will fill their hearts as they realise the wrong they have done their Messiah!  How they will marvel at their blindness and sinfulness! and still more at the wonderful compassion of Christ, at His clemency and pardoning grace.



Referring to this verse, Peter speaks of Christ as [Page 193] the living stone, rejected indeed of men, but elect and precious to God.  He then quotes Isa. 28: 16, “Thus saith the Lord Jehovah, Behold I lay in Zion for a foundation, a stone, a tested stone, a precious corner stone of sure foundation



In this spiritual temple which God is building, Christ is first the corner stone binding together the foundation upon which rests the entire superstructure.  Alas, that this foundation should have been rejected by Israel, who have tried to lay another foundation that no man can lay, but in the unfailing purposes of God, Israel, recognising in the Lord Jesus their Messiah and Saviour, will give Him the most honoured position in the building - they will place Him as the ornamental topmost stone, crowning the whole structure.  This they will do as Zerubbabel did when he completed the second Temple, with shouts of joy, “Grace, grace unto it” (Zech. 4: 7)* (See also Eph. 2: 20-22).


* Zerubbabel, “scattered in Babyloa” as his name means, was the chief and representative of his people. 



We similarly get the figurative house that God promised to build for David - that is a dynasty of living persons to succeed him on the Throne culminating in the Lord Jesus, the topmost stone Who completes the building and perpetuates the kingdom for ever.



These figures are based upon the peculiarity of the Hebrew language in which Bayith, “a houseben, “a sonbath, “a daughter,” all come from the root [Page 194] banah, “to build Beth Israel - the house of Israel, is equivalent to Beney Israel - the children of Israel; that is, they are living stones in the family structure.



In recognition that all this is in harmony with God’s purposes as predicted in the Scriptures, they cry,



“This is the day Jehovah hath made,

We will rejoice and be glad in it



We may be doubly sure that none of God’s purposes will ever be frustrated either with Israel nationally, or with us individually.



It will truly be a day of joy and gladness, because it will be the day of Israel’s reconciliation with their Messiah.  This joy will be shared by many beyond the borders of Israel, the heart of God will also be gladdened.  “Be ye glad and rejoice for ever in that which I create cries Isaiah (65: 18-19), “for behold, I create Jerusalem a rejoicing and her people a joy.  And I will rejoice in Jerusalem and joy in My people, and there shall no more be heard in her the voice of weeping and the voice of crying



The happy crowd next acclaim their Messiah with hosannas,



“Save now, we beseech Thee 0 Jehovah,

0 Jehovah, grant us now prosperity,

Blessed is He that cometh in the name of Jehovah



“Save I pray” in the original is hoshiah na, and in its abbreviated form - Hoshanna, Greek, hosanna, is the [Page 195] expression of welcome with which the Jews acclaimed the Lord Jesus on His triumphal entry into Jerusalem.



The scene in Jerusalem, when the people spread their garments and strewed the branches of palm trees on the path for Our Lord to ride over them, and cried, “Hosanna to the Son of David, Blessed is He that cometh in the name of the Lord will be repeated with greater fervour and enthusiasm by the Jewish people when they welcome Christ on His return, and never more will they waver in their adherence and fidelity to Him.*  The prayer for salvation and prosperity will be abundantly answered to them, for indeed, it is a petition and prediction combined, as every prayer of faith based upon God’s gracious promises ought to be (see Psa. 20: 9).


*  Baruch habba,  “Blessed is the coming One O orxomenos. “The One predicted to come


The time of His coming, the manner of His coming, the place of His coming, the purpose of His coming, the result of His coming, were all foretold (see Hab. 2: 3; Heb. 10: 37; Rev. 1: 4, 7, 8).



Verse 27 takes us back to two Old Testament scenes.  The first is that of Elijah on Carmel.



Great numbers of Israel are gathered with him on the mount; Jehovah’s altar is repaired, the sacrifice is cut in pieces and laid on it, and the prophet prays, “O Jehovah the God of Abraham, of Isaac, and of Israel, let it be known this day that Thou art God in Israel. ... Hear me, O Jehovah, hear me that this people may know that Thou Jehovah art God, and that Thou hast turned their hearts back again.  Then [Page 196] the fire of Jehovah fell and consumed the burnt offering, and when all the people saw it they fell on their faces and said, JEHOVAH HE IS GOD, JEHOVAII HE IS GOD” (1 Kings 18: 36-39).  The Carmel scene will be re-enacted by them when they are brought again into covenant relationship with God, and once more they will cry,



“Jehovah is God and He hath given us light,

Bind the Festive sacrifice with cords up to the horns of the altar



Truly in His light shall they see light.  When God’s light flashes upon them what a revelation they will get! Their whole past will stand out before them; they will see themselves and others as they have never done before.  How glorious will the Saviour appear to their illumined eyes!  Seeing Christ in a new way they will see everything else in a new light.



“The sacrifice in the Hebrew simply chag - feast, has here the meaning of offering for the feast and takes us back to Solomon’s accession to the throne, when a great hecatomb which took place on the chag feast on the seventh month - Tabernacles, was offered (1 Kings 8: 2-5).  Of these sacrifices the people could partake (see also 2 Sam. 6: 18, 19).  The Psalmist sees another such time, when the Lord Jesus will be enthroned by His people, and a joyous feast will be held.  In Old Testament language this time of rejoicing is pictured by a great number of festive sacrifices [Page 197] filling the whole Temple area right up to, not unto, the very altar.*


* The writer has seen in the East a piece of rope attached at each end to wedges driven into the ground and the two front legs of animals tied loosely with cord which was also attached to the rope.  This gave the animals some freedom of movement, but did not allow them to get away.  This was probably the way the animals were kept in the Temple area.  Oxen tied to the slender horns of the altar would have pulled them to pieces very quickly.



The twenty-eighth verse is a further acknowledgment of Christ’s Deity, for the people cry not only “Jehovah is God but, looking into the face of Christ Whom they have welcomed into their midst, they say,



“Thou art my God and I will give thanks unto Thee,

My God I will exalt Thee



Eli Attah, Thou art my mighty God, as Thou hast just exhibited Thy power on our behalf, and therefore Thou art my Elohim, the God worthy of our worship, and we will exalt Thee.



As Israel look upon Him Whom they have pierced, they, like Thomas of old when he saw the wounds in the hands and side of Christ, will cry out, “My LORD and my GOD  Their unbelief will vanish and their faith will become strong.  And again the entire nation encouraging themselves and one another cry in the concluding words of the Psalm, and in which we heartily join,



“O give thanks unto Jehovah for He is good,

For His loving kindness endureth for ever



*       *       *

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The So-Called Imprecatory Psalms



To deal fully with this subject would require more time and space than we can give to it here.



It is a great pity that in some quarters the so-called Imprecatory Psalms have been made a reason for blaspheming and finding fault with Divine inspiration.  Even Christian friends have found some expressions in the book a difficulty.  The following few thoughts maybe found helpful.



First, we need to remember that these Psalms were written by men who were inspired by the Spirit of God, and the Holy Spirit has the perfect right to denounce sin and pronounce judgment against the sinner.



This is, moreover, in harmony with the Law* and the prophets of the Old Testament,** and with the teaching of our Lord*** and the apostles in the New Testament. ****


* See the maledictions pronounced against the Israelites for failing into idolatry and sin in Leviticus 26, also Deut. 27 and 28.

** For instance, Isa. 5: 24, 25; 8: 14, 15; 28: 13, et passim; also Jer. 6: 21; 7: 32-34, et Passim.

*** What strong denunciations the Lord Jesus Himself used against the Scribes and Pharisees of His day! (Matt. 23).

**** See Gal. 1: 8, 9; 5: 12; James 5: 3; and Jude 13, 15.  Apokopsontai (Gal. 5: 12) is certainly a very strong expression to use, as it implies the cutting off of a limb.


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2.  David, though not perfect, for, “There is no man righteous on earth, who doeth good and sinneth not is often condemned too harshly.  In his private capacity he frequently exercised great forbearance, and was ready to forgive even his enemies when they were in his power, as in the case of Saul and others.*  In the Psalms he makes God’s cause his cause, and prays from that standpoint. See Psa. 5: 10, 11:



“Destroy them O God, let them fall by their own counsels;

Cast them out in the multitude of their transgressions

For they have rebelled against Thee


* It is not our desire to justify the wrong done by any one - however good.  The Bible never covers up the blemishes of the greatest saints whose history it records, as men are apt to do; but let us do them justice.  The finger of scorn is often pointed at the incident recorded in 1 Chron. 20: 3, which speaks of David as cutting the Ammonites with saws, etc.  It is only right to say that some ancient manuscripts have vayyasem, “he placed them,” instead of vayyasar, “he cut them with sawsi.e., he made them work for the Israelites with saws and harrows, etc., as Joshua made the Gibeonites do (Josh. 9: 23).  This would then be in harmony with the original record of this incident in 2 Sam. 12: 31, which reads literally, “And the people that were in it brought he forth, and put them with saws and harrows of iron, and with axes of iron, and made them pass through the brick-kiln It is evident that he set them to do useful work for him.  The only difference between 1 Chron. 20: 3 and 2 Sam. 12: 31, is in the shape of one letter (… is put instead of …) and please remember the early manuscripts were written by hand.


A paragraph in “Biblia Hebraica” after the text of Kennicott on 2 Sam. 12: 31, is well worth quoting:


“David was a prince truly eminent and illustrious.  And though it is certain, that he was guilty of some great crimes; yet it is as certain, that he ought not to be charged with crimes, or cruelties, of which he was really innocent.  One heavy charge has been urged against him, from this part of the sacred history; as if it represented him sawing, and harrowing, and chopping, and burning, all the Ammonites: a savage representation, which has raised much clamour among the enemies of revelation!  But, a charge so severe as this, and so very unlikely to be true, should be examined with great care; and if the original records are consulted accurately, they will, I humbly apprehend, set the matter in a different light.  Here in Samuel, the 2 first words signify et posuit in serra, as in the interlinear Latin version, which words are a true key to the following, and fairly show that David put them to the saw, and sentenced them to other hard works of slavery.  The whole mistake here seems to have arisen from an error in the Hebrew text of the parallel place in Chronicles; by the omission of one small part of one letter; for the word, instead of …, et Posuit, is now …, et serravit, In 1 Chron. 20: 3.  This corruption was probably very ancient, because expressed in the Greek version.  But still, there can be little doubt, that the two words were at first the same; and if so, the context requires the word in Samuel; especially, as that reading in confirmed by five Hebrew MSS. in Chronicles.


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“But let all those who put their trust in Thee rejoice.

Let them ever shout for joy because Thou defendest them


Again, Psa. 21: 10, 11,



“Their fruit shalt Thou destroy from the earth,

And their seed from among the children of men.

For they intended evil against Thee;

They imagined evil thoughts which they cannot accomplish


Similarly Psa. 139: 19-22:


“Surely Thou wilt slay the wicked, 0 God,

Depart from me ye blood-guilty men.

For they speak against Thee wickedly,

And Thine enemies take Thy name in vain.

Do not I hate them, O Jehovah, that hate Thee?

And am not I grieved with them that rise up against Thee?

I hate them with perfect hatred,

I count them mine enemies



The Psalmist is thus seeking the will and the glory of God.  With sincerity he could add:


“Search me, 0 God, and know my heart,

Try me, and know my thoughts,

And see if there be any wicked way in me,

And lead me in the way everlasting



3.  It is also true that David lived in a dispensation when the higher principles of grace and mercy as [Page 201] inculcated by our Lord in the Gospels were not generally practised, and his sentiments were more in harmony with the Mosaic economy with its promises of national reward for obedience and threatenings of temporal punishment for disobedience.  Thus the Psalmist says:



“Give them according to their deeds,

And according to the wickedness of their endeavours;

Give them after the work of their hands;

Render to them their desert” (Psa. 28: 4).



It is true that the principles of righteousness do not change with the times, yet the circumstances that govern them are not always the same.  Men have not always been able to follow the wonderful truths taught by Christ, and the Law was preparatory to the Gospel.



4.  In his denunciations the object of the Psalmist was to teach men the great moral lesson of God’s holiness and sovereignty, that the righteous may see and fear.



“I will praise Thee for ever because Thou hast done it



“Behold the man who has not made God his strength,

But trusted in the abundance of his wealth,

And has strengthened himself in his wickedness


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“A man shall say, Verily there is a reward for the righteous;

Verily there is a God judging in the earth” (Psa. 52: 7-9; 58: 11).



5.  We should also recognise the fact that the Oriental was accustomed to use stronger language to express his thoughts than the Westerner, his denunciations are more vehement, his praises are more exaggerated, though his feelings may not be more intense than ours, and his words may not have any deeper significance to him than our more moderate expressions have to us.*


* The writer once witnessed at Fez, Morocco, a woman who had lost a chicken, standing in a crowded market place, and cursing the unknown thief; his father and his mother, his brothers and his sisters, his sons and his daughters; pronouncing a malediction on every limb of their bodies, from the crown of the head to the sole of the foot, but it made little impression, no one seemed to take the slightest notice of her curses.  Similarly for “Thank you,” the Moor would say, “God’s blessing in you



6.  Many of these harsh expressions were evidently uttered from a sense of justice and a feeling of sympathy with the injured and the oppressed, as in Psa. 10: 8-10:



“He (the wicked of verse 4) sitteth in the lurking places of the courts,

In the secret places doth he murder the innocent:

His eyes are privily set against the poor.

He lieth in wait secretly as a lion in His den.

He lieth in wait to catch the poor,

He doth catch the poor when he draweth him into his net


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This is followed by the prayer,



“Arise, O Lord, O God lift up Thine hand;

Forget not the humble



7.  These Psalms express a confidence in God that in His holiness and righteousness He will not clear the unrepentant guilty.*  As Isaiah (2: 9) declares that God will not forgive the idolatrous Israelites who continued in their idolatry.  And as Jeremiah was told not to pray for those who provoked God by worshipping the heathen deities (Jer. 7: 16, 17).  Even in the New Testament we are told that there is a sin unto death beyond the point of prayer (1 John 5: 16).


* That sin is punished is a Divine principle taught throughout the Scriptures.



Punishing the evil-doer is the practice of all nations; necessity demands it.  It is essential for the security, and well-being of mankind; hence the law courts in all civilised countries.



Who would ever advocate the abolition of our courts of justice, the discharging of our judges, and the disbanding of our police force?  How often are we ourselves stirred with indignation at the report of crimes committed in our days, and have we not a feeling of satisfaction when the criminals are brought to justice?  My, then, blame David for his expressed determination to suppress the evil of his day, and to establish good government, for which he, as King of Israel, was chiefly responsible (see Rom. 13: 3-4).


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8.  Again, some of these Psalms are prayers for success in warfare.  What nation does not pray for victory on the battlefield?  We may not use the language of the Oriental for the destruction of the enemy, but in our prayer for victory is surely implied the defeat of the enemy.  David realised that power belongs unto God and He gives the victory to Whom He wills, and therefore prays,



“Bow Thy heavens, O Jehovah, and come down;

Touch the mountains and they shall smoke.

Cast forth lightning, and scatter them,

Shoot out Thine arrows and destroy them,

Send forth Thine hand from above,

Rescue me and deliver me out of great waters,

From the hand of the sons of the alien” (Psa. 144: 5-7).



9.  Some of the petitions in the Psalms have reference to Scripture predictions.



Fault has been found with Psa. 137: 8, 9, as manifesting a revengeful spirit.



“O daughter of Babylon, who art to be destroyed;

Happy shall he be that rewardeth thee as thou hast served us.

Happy shall he be that taketh and dasheth thy little ones against the stones



The fact is that the Psalmist has before him a direct prophecy where the fall of Babylon is predicted in these very words.  “Their children also shall be dashed [Page 205] to pieces before their eyes, their houses shall be spoiled and their wives ravished” (Isa. 13: 16).



Jeremiah, too, in predicting the overthrow of Babylon by the Medo‑Persians says (50: 15): “Shout against her round about, she has given her hand, her bulwarks are fallen, her walls are thrown down, for it is the vengeance of Jehovah; Take vengeance upon her; as she hath done, do unto her  Also verse 28, “The voice of them that flee and escape out of the land of Babylon to declare in Zion the vengeance of Jehovah our God, the vengeance of His Temple  See also Jer. 51: 6, 36.



A comparison of these passages of Scripture with Psa. 137 will show that the Psalmist was alluding to these definite predictions, knowing also that the overthrow of Babylon would mean the redemption of Israel and the restoration of the Temple worship as promised by God, Who declares it to be His vengeance, and the vengeance of His Temple,



10.  Finally, some of these so-named Imprecatory Psalms are predictions concerning our Lord and His betrayers, and were all accurately fulfilled.  Among these are Psa. 40, which depicts Christ as the all sufficient sacrifice, His suffering for our sins, and the punishment of His enemies.  Psa. 55, which has David and Ahitophel as a background, but which found a more complete fulfilment in the treacherous acts of Judas and their consequences, as is seen from [Page 206] John 12: 11-17, which refers to it.  Psa. 69, which is a prophecy of Christ, and those that hated Him without a cause; cf. verse 4 with John 15: 25.  How true this was of Christ! Reproach broke His heart.  There was no one to express pity or to comfort Him, for His disciples forsook Him and fled.  Gall and vinegar were offered Him, truly emblematic of His bitter experience.  Verses 22-25 describe the punishment meted out to Judas as a result (Acts 1: 20).



Psa. 109 sometimes called the “Iscariot Psalm” is a similar prophecy which was accurately fulfilled in Judas and his associates responsible for the terrible crime against the Lord Jesus.



To see how literally these predictions were fulfilled one need only read Josephus’ account of the cruel war with the Romans, and the terrible suffering the Jews endured.  Indeed their sufferings commenced soon after Christ’s crucifixion in the reign of Caligula, (27-41 A.D.) who claimed Divine honours and insisted that his image should be placed in the Temple at Jerusalem.



With this commenced the distress of the Jewish people, and it led to the great war.



Thus, instead of these Psalms being a hindrance to faith they are evidences of the veracity of the Scripture, the awfulness of sin and the holiness of God.