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Bible Commentaries
Psalms 67

Coffman's Commentaries on the BibleCoffman's Commentaries



Superscription: For the Chief Musician; On Stringed Instruments. A Psalm, A Song.

This is another of the psalms designated in the superscriptions as both “A Psalm,” and “A Song.” We have noticed a definite universalism in all of them; and here, we have an unequivocal prophecy of the conversion of Gentiles. We are absolutely astounded that so many of the scholars we have consulted seem totally unaware of this.

Just note what is here stated: God will cause his way to be known upon earth, his salvation among all nations (Psalms 67:2).
Let the peoples praise thee, O God; let all the peoples praise thee (Psalms 67:3). (peoples = Gentiles) (also Psalms 67:5).
Oh let the nations (Gentiles) be glad and sing for joy (Psalms 67:4).
Thou wilt judge the peoples (Gentiles) with equity (Psalms 67:4).
Thou wilt govern (or lead) the nations (Gentiles) upon earth (Psalms 67:4).
Let all the peoples (Gentiles) praise thee (Psalms 67:5).
And all the ends of the earth shall fear him (Psalms 67:7).”

It would be impossible to write a more positive and dogmatic prophecy of the conversion of the Gentiles than we have right here. Every single verse in this little jewel of a psalm affirms it, the lone exception being Psalms 67:6, where it is stated that. “The earth has yielded its increase,” but we do not believe that even that verse refers merely to a harvest. By metonymy, the earth in that verse stands for all the populations of mankind; and the meaning is that God shall eventually reap the pre-determined number of the redeemed from among all the sons of earth.

For these all-sufficient reasons, therefore, we reject the titles bestowed on this psalm such as: “Harvest Thanksgiving Song,”(F1) “A Harvest Thanksgiving at the Feast of Tabernacles,”(F2) “A Hymn of Thanksgiving,”(F3) “A Harvest Thanksgiving,”(F4) etc. Furthermore, a few, more acceptable titles have also been assigned, such as, “The Spreading Circle,”(F5) “May the Peoples Praise thee, O God,”(F6) or “Hope that the Nations will Praise the God of Israel.”

However, this psalm is not merely the expression of “a hope” of Gentile acceptance of Israel’s God, or a devout wish that the nations may also praise God, it is a dogmatic prophecy that:

God will judge the peoples with equity, and govern the nations upon the earth (Psalms 67:4).

Regarding the popular view that receives this psalm as some kind of a harvest song, Rawlinson noted that:

“The single expression (in Psalms 67:6) upon which this view is founded seems insufficient to support it, more especially as that expression may be well understood figuratively.”(F7)

In fact Psalms 67:6 demands the figurative interpretation which we assigned to it above.

In our search for a scholarly opinion with which we find full agreement, it finally was found in the introduction to this chapter by Matthew Henry.

Here is first a prayer for the conversion of the Gentiles and the bringing of them into the church. Then the psalmist is carried by the spirit of prophecy to foretell the glorious estate of the Christian church, in which Jews and Gentiles should unite in one flock.(F8)

Verses 1-7

“God be merciful unto us and bless us, And cause his face to shine upon us; (Selah) That thy way may be known upon earth, Thy salvation among all nations. Let the peoples praise thee, O God; Let all the peoples praise thee. O let the nations be glad and sing for joy; For thou wilt judge the peoples with equity, and govern the nations upon earth. (Selah) Let the peoples praise thee, O God; Let all the peoples praise thee. The earth hath yielded its increase: God, even our God, will bless us. God will bless us; And all the ends of the earth shall fear him.”

“God be merciful… bless us… cause his face to shine upon us, etc.” As Addis noted, “This Psalm is an expansion of the Aaronic blessing of Numbers 6:24-26.”(F9)

This short psalm is further shortened in meaning by the verbatim repetition of Psalms 67:3 in Psalms 67:5.

There is not much we can add by way of interpretation to that which we have already stated above. This great prophecy of the reception of the Gentiles into the government of God, along with the Jews, is fully as clear and specific as those great Old Testament passages which the apostle Paul quoted in Romans 9-10, such as Hosea 1:10; Hosea 2:23; Isaiah 28:16; Deuteronomy 32:21; and Isaiah 65:1-2.

Despite such dogmatic, specific prophecies as this and many other passages of the Old Testament, racial Israel never seemed to catch on to the fact that God Almighty desired the salvation of any one else on earth except themselves.

In time the racial nation grew totally apart from the true “seed of Abraham,” and viewed with the utmost contempt the whole Gentile world. No better illustration of this can be found than the example of Jonah, who preferred death itself to witnessing the conversion of Nineveh; and when it finally happened in spite of him, the attitude of Israel was such that he never dared to return to his native land, finally being buried in Nineveh.

This says in tones of thunder that his instrumentality in the conversion of Nineveh was sufficient grounds for his becoming thereby “persona non grata” forevermore in his native Israel. (See a full discussion of this in Vol. 1 of my minor prophets Series, pp. 341-352.)

Bibliographical Information
Coffman, James Burton. "Commentary on Psalms 67". "Coffman's Commentaries on the Bible". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/eng/bcc/psalms-67.html. Abilene Christian University Press, Abilene, Texas, USA. 1983-1999.
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