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Bible Commentaries

Dr. Constable's Expository Notes

Psalms 76

Verses 1-3

1. The manifestation of God’s judgment 76:1-3

God made His great name known in Israel by defeating an enemy of His people. Salem is Jerusalem (Genesis 14:18; Hebrews 7:1-2). Evidently Asaph composed this song after an enemy attacked Jerusalem unsuccessfully. Perhaps the miraculous defeat of the Assyrians in 701 B.C. is the background (2 Kings 18-19; Isaiah 36-37).

Verses 1-12

Psalms 76

In this psalm of declarative praise, Asaph praised God for His power. He had destroyed the wicked and delivered the godly. Therefore the leaders of His people should follow Him faithfully. The psalm is in the form of a victory hymn, though it may not refer to one particular victory in Israel’s history.

Verses 4-6

The description of God as resplendent pictures Him as radiating light. He illuminates and glorifies by His presence. He is also more majestic than the mountains of Israel that contained an abundance of wild game animals. God’s defeat of Israel’s enemies was so overwhelming that they appeared anesthetized (cf. Isaiah 37:36).

Verses 4-10

2. The justice of God’s judgment 76:4-10

Verses 7-10

No one is able to resist or oppose God when He decides to judge an enemy. Even the earth itself is quiet when He utters His judgments. Perhaps the psalmist referred here to the calm before a storm that represents God executing judgment. God’s judgments cause the righteous to praise Him and the wicked to think twice before opposing Him.

The NIV translation of Psalms 76:10, "Your wrath against men brings you praise," was probably the writer’s thought rather than the NASB’s, "The wrath of man shall praise Thee." Both ideas are true, but the former appears to be in view here. Likewise, the last part of Psalms 76:10 probably refers to God’s judgments restraining unbelievers, as in the NIV, rather than God girding Himself with wrath, as in the NASB. The emphasis is on God’s providential control (cf. Acts 2:23).

Verses 11-12

3. The fearful character of God’s judgments 76:11-12

Since God is such a fearful Judge, His people should be careful to pay the gifts they vow to give Him. Leaders should fear Him and submit to His authority rather than rebelling against Him.

An appreciation of God’s power can and should produce submission and worship in those who can benefit or suffer from His judgment.

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These files are public domain.
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Bibliographical Information
Constable, Thomas. DD. "Commentary on Psalms 76". "Dr. Constable's Expository Notes". 2012.