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Wednesday, June 12th, 2024
the Week of Proper 5 / Ordinary 10
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Bible Commentaries
Psalms 23

Carroll's Interpretation of the English BibleCarroll's Biblical Interpretation

Verses 1-6

XIV

THE PSALMS OF DAVID’S EARLY LIFE (CONTINUED) AND SEVERAL OTHER GROUPS

The subject of Psalm 29 is the "Voice of God in the Storm," and it seems to be addressed to the angels, Psalms 29:1-2. The progress of the storm is shown in Psalms 29:3-9, and the local idea in it is seen particularly in Psalms 29:5-8. The storm seems to rise on the Mediterranean, then visiting Lebanon and Kadesh, it progresses on to the Temple, where everything says, "Glory."


The application of this psalm is easily determined from Psalms 29:10-11, which show that Jehovah, the mighty God of the storm as king will give strength to his people) and like the blessings of the calm after the storm, the blessing of peace follows the mighty demonstration of his power. So Jehovah is not only the God of war, but is also the God of peace. There can be no doubt that the author of the Psalm 23 is David; it was written perhaps late in life, but it reflects his experiences in his early life. This psalm as literature is classed as a pastoral, a song of the fields.


The position of this psalm in the Psalter is between the passion psalm and the triumphant psalm. In other words, Psalm 22 is a psalm of the cross, Psalm 23 a psalm of the crook and Psalm 24 is a psalm of the crown. The parallel of this psalm in the New Testament is John 10, Christ’s discourse on the Good Shepherd.


The divisions of this psalm are as follows: Psalms 23:1-4 present Jehovah as a Shepherd; Psalms 23:5-6 present him as a host. In the light of the double imagery of this psalm, its spiritual meaning, especially the meaning of the word "valley" and the word "staff," is very significant. For a discussion of this thought I refer the reader to my sermon on Psalms 23:4, found in my Evangelistic Sermons.


I give here four general remarks on the psalms of the persecution by Saul, viz: -Psalms 59; 56; 34; 52; 54; 57; and 142, as follows:


1. These psalms have their origin in the most trying experiences. One is here reminded of the conflict of Nehemiah in which he constantly breathed a prayer to God, or of Francis S. Key who, while the battle was raging, wrote "The Star-Spangled Banner," or of Cardinal Newman who, while in the conflict with doubt and gloom, wrote "Lead, Kindly Light," or of Stonewall Jackson who constantly read his Bible and prayed before going into battle, or of the singing army of Gustavus Adolphus before the decisive battle of Leipzig, or of Cromwell and his conquering heroes at the famous battle of Dunbar.


2. These psalms contain the sublimest expression of faith and hope amidst -the darkest hours of adversity. In them are some clear messianic references and prophecies which prove David’s intimate fellowship with the Spirit of God while under the very fires of the enemy and vouchsafes to us their inspiration.


3. We find also in these psalms expressions of human weakness and despondency, which, but for the supply of the grace and spirit of God, might have resulted in David’s defeat. But ’a man is never whipped externally until he is whipped internally, and though David when smitten by calamity gave signs of human weakness, yet he remains the example for the world of the purest type of faith, the most enduring patience and the sublimest optimism.


4. In this group may be seen also not only the growth of faith in each individual psalm, but from the collection as a whole may be noted the progress of his conflict with the enemy. This progress is as marked as the march into a tunnel in which is discerned the thickening darkness until the traveler is overwhelmed in its gloom, but pressing on, the dawn breaks in upon him, and the light seems clearer and brighter than ever before and he bursts forth into the most jubilant praises and thanksgiving.


The psalms of the king prior to his great sin are Psalms 101; 18; 24; 2; 110; 20; 21; 60. Psalm 101 gives us the royal program, Psalms 20-21 and Psalm 60 are called war psalms. Psalm 2 celebrates the promise of Jehovah to David in 2 Samuel 7. Psalm 24 applied to Christ’s ascension, and Psalm 110 is the psalm of his universal reign.


We here give an exposition of Psalm 110. In verse I Jehovah is represented as speaking to David’s Lord, saying, "Sit thou on my right hand until I make thine enemies thy footstool." We may be certain as to whom this scripture refers by comparing Matthew 22:41-45 in which Jesus himself silences the Pharisees by quoting this passage and applying it to the Christ who was to come. So this is a psalm of his universal reign.


The following questions are suggested and answered in this psalm, to wit:


1. Who is first Lord? The speaker, or Jehovah?


2. Who is second Lord? The one addressed, who in New Testament light is interpreted to be the Christ.


3. When did Jehovah say this to Christ? After his resurrection and ascension, when he was seated at the right hand of God (Acts 2:34 f.). This is to be conceived as following the events of his humiliation described in Philippians 2:6-11.


4. How long is he to sit at God’s right hand? "Until I make thine enemies thy footstool." Thus we see he is to rule there till every enemy has been conquered.


5. How then is he to manifest his reign and send out the rod of his strength? Heaven is his throne and earth’s center is Zion. His church here on earth is the church militant, so this is a war song also.


6. But who constitute his army? His people here on earth, whose business it is to go forth as he gives marching orders.


7. What is to be the character of the people who constitute that army? (1) They are to be volunteers, or offer themselves willingly. Verse 3 properly translated would read as follows: "The people shall be volunteers in the day that thou leadest out thine army, going forth in the beauty of holiness, and multitudinous as the drops of the dew in the dawn of the morning." From this we not only see that they are to be volunteers, but (2) they shall be holy, i.e., regenerated, made new creatures. Indeed, they shall be good people.


8. How many in that army? "They shall be multitudinous as the drops of the dew in the dawn of the morning."


9. What is to be their weapon? The rod of his strength. But what is the rod of his strength? The rod is his word, to which he gives strength or power. This warfare and final victory is paralleled in Revelation 19:11, the white horse representing the peace of the gospel.


10. How is this great army to be supported? By Jesus, the High Priest, after the order of Melchizedek. It is necessary for him to live as long as the necessity for the army lasts. So this great warfare is to continue until the kingdoms of this world become the kingdom of our Lord and his Christ.


The psalms connected with David’s great sin are Psalms 51; 32. The occasion of each of these Psalms, respectively) was as follows:


1. The occasion of Psalm 51 was Nathan’s rebuke to David for his sin.


2. The occasion of Psalm 32 was the joy of forgiveness that came to David upon his repentance.


The relation of these two psalms to each other is that Psalm 51 expresses his penitence and Psalm 32 the joy of his forgiveness.


Some important doctrines in Psalm 51 are prayer, confession, cleansing from sin, depravity, restoration, evangelism, praise, penitence, and intercession.


The New Testament teachings clearly stated in Psalm 32 are forgiveness of sins, atonement for sins and imputation of sins, all of which are quoted from this psalm in Romans 4:7-8, thus: Blessed are they whose iniquities are forgiven, And whose sins are covered. Blessed is the man to whom the Lord will not reckon sin.


The psalms of the period of Absalom’s rebellion are Psalms 41; 55; 3; 4; 63; 62; 61; 27. The New Testament parallel to the psalms of this period, as a product of a dark experience, is Paul’s letters written during the Roman imprisonment.

QUESTIONS

1. What is the subject of Psalm 29?

2. To whom is it addressed?

3. What is the progress of the storm as shown in Psalms 29:3-9, and what is the local idea in it?

4. What is the application of this psalm?

5. Who is the author of Psalm 23 and when was it written?

6. What is the classification of this psalm as literature?

7. What is the position of this psalm in the Psalter?

8. What is the parallel of this psalm in the New Testament?

9. What are the divisions of this psalm?

10. In the light of the double imagery of the psalm, what is its spiritual meaning, especially the meaning of the word "valley," and the word, "staff"?

11. Give four general remarks on the psalms of the persecution by Saul.

12. What are the psalms of the king prior to his great sin?

13. Which of these gives us the royal program?

14. Which are called war psalms?

15. Which celebrates the promise of Jehovah to David in 2 Samuel 7?

16. Which one applies to Christ’s ascension?

17. Which is the psalm of his universal reign?

18. Expound this psalm.

19. What are the psalms connected with David’s great sin?

20. What are the occasion of each of these psalms, respectively?

21. What are the relation of these two psalms to each other?

22. What are some important doctrines in Psalm 51?

23. What New Testament teachings are clearly stated in Psalm 32?

24. What New Testament parallel to the psalms of the period of Absalom’s rebellion, as a product of a dark experience?

Bibliographical Information
"Commentary on Psalms 23". "Carroll's Interpretation of the English Bible". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/eng/bhc/psalms-23.html.
 
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