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Bible Commentaries

John Dummelow's Commentary on the Bible
Psalms 118



Verses 1-29

This Ps. was evidently written for the Temple worship on the occasion of some great festival (Psalms 118:24), when it might be used as a processional hymn. It has been variously referred (a) to the time when Zerubbabel laid the foundation of the second Temple; (b) to the time of Nehemiah; (c) to the cleansing of the Temple by Judas Maccabæus. It is a noble song. Luther declared that he owed more to Psalms 118 than to all the princes and friends who supported him.

Psalms 118:1-18, dealing with the subject of God's mercy, which has brought them out of trouble, are sung by the procession antiphonally in halfverses; 19 is the request of the procession before the gates, and 20 the Levite reply; 21-24 are sung antiphonally; 26 is the cry of the Levite choir within; while 29 is a closing liturgical chant for the whole congregation.

3. House of Aaron] the elite of the nation.

5. In distress] lit. 'in a strait place.' The lord] RM 'Heb. Jah,' a contraction of Jehovah.

12. Are quenched] but Bæthgen, with a slight change of Hebrew, renders, 'they flared forth like a fire of thorns,' and this makes admirable sense. Omit for.

13-16. The thought changes to the scene of the encounter.

14. Quoted from Exodus 15:2.

15. The right hand, etc.] This and the following v. are what the voice says.

19. Gates of righteousness] i.e. the gates of the Temple whence God's righteousness streams forth, or it may mean the gates into which righteous men enter: cp. Psalms 118:20.

22. The stone] i.e. Israel primarily. The builders] the nations of the world. There is, however, a tradition that such a stone really existed in the building of the second Temple. The ultimate application to Jesus Christ is most fitting: cp. Matthew 21:42; Acts 4:11, etc.

24. The day] a day of triumph.

25. Save now] Heb. hoshiea na anna hence, 'Hosanna,' which became a hturgical formula: cp. Matthew 21:9.

26. Cometh] better, 'entereth' (the courts of the Lord).

27. Which hath shewed] RV 'and He hath given.' Bind, etc.] The Hebrew is obscure. 'Bind the sacrificial victim with cords even till you come to the horns of the altar,' or, less likely, 'Bind the procession with festal garlands and approach the horns of the altar.' There is nothing about binding the sacrifice to the horns, etc.


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These files are public domain.
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Bibliography Information
Dummelow, John. "Commentary on Psalms 118:4". "John Dummelow's Commentary on the Bible". 1909.

Lectionary Calendar
Saturday, October 24th, 2020
the Week of Proper 24 / Ordinary 29
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