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Bible Commentaries
Psalms 85

Everett's Study Notes on the Holy ScripturesEverett's Study Notes

Verses 1-13

Psalms 85:0

Historical Background - This Psalm seems to be post-exilic because it refers to the return of the Captivity (Psalms 85:1).

Psalms 85:1, “(To the chief Musician, A Psalm for the sons of Korah.) LORD, thou hast been favourable unto thy land: thou hast brought back the captivity of Jacob.”

Psalms 85:1 (To the chief Musician, A Psalm for the sons of Korah.) LORD, thou hast been favourable unto thy land: thou hast brought back the captivity of Jacob.

Psalms 42:1 “A Psalm for the sons of Korah” Comments - Origen tells us the psalms that include the title “sons of Korah” in its opening verse (42 through 49, 84, 85, 87, 88) were written by the sons of Korah, who worked together in the unity of the Spirit to produce it. He justifies this statement by quoting Psalms 44:1, which says, “O God, we have heard with our ears.”

“But if it be necessary also from the ancient Scriptures to bring forward the three who made a symphony on earth, so that the Word was in the midst of them making them one, attend to the superscription of the Psalms, as for example to that of the forty-first, which is as follows: ‘Unto the end, unto understanding, for the sons of Korah.’ For though there were three sons of Korah whose names we find in the Book of Exodus, Aser, which is, by interpretation, ‘instruction,’ and the second Elkana, which is translated, ‘possession of God,’ and the third Abiasaph, which in the Greek tongue might be rendered, ‘congregation of the father,’ yet the prophecies were not divided but were both spoken and written by one spirit, and one voice, and one soul, which wrought with true harmony, and the three speak as one, ‘As the heart panteth after the springs of the water, so panteth my soul alter thee, O God.’ But also they say in the plural in the forty-fourth Psalm, ‘O God, we have heard with our ears.’” ( Origen’s Commentary on Matthew 14:1) [92]

[92] Origen, Origen’s Commentary on Matthew, trans. Allan Menzies, in The Ante-Nicene Fathers, vol. 9, ed. Allan Menzies (New York: Charles Scribner’s Sons, c1896, 1906), 495.

Psalms 85:6 Wilt thou not revive us again: that thy people may rejoice in thee?

Psalms 85:6 Word Study on “revive” BDB says the Hebrew word “revive” ( חָיָה ) (H2421) means, “to live, to have life, to continue in life, to remain alive, to sustain life, to live on or upon, to live (prosperously), to revive, and to be quickened.” The Enhanced Strong says it is used 262 times in the Old Testament, being translated in the KJV as, “live 153, alive 34, save 13, quicken 14, revive 12, surely 10, life 9, recover 8, misc 9.”

Psalms 85:10-11 Comments - Note these insightful words from Marietta Davis regarding the meaning of mercy and truth meeting together when she was beholding the birth of our Saviour on earth:

“Another voice said, ‘This day the love of God is manifested to man, who is fallen, who is “dead in trespasses and sins.” (Ephesians 2:1). Now salvation appears. Now truth moves from the eternity of its existence, clothed in the garments of salvation (Isaiah 61:10). Justice and mercy meet upon the fallen planet, and they embrace over prostrate humanity. Justice declares itself against sin. Thus the eternal throne is vindicated, and the government of the kingdom is perpetuated. Meanwhile, mercy pleads the cause of the sinner, who is exposed to unremitting sorrow because of transgression.’” [93]

[93] Marietta Davis, Caught Up Into Heaven (New Kensington, Pennsylvania: Whitaker House, 1982), 106-7.

In this vision Mercy continued to plead with Justice for the soul of a poor sinner. Once the Son was offered as a sacrifice upon Calvary, then Justice withheld his hand of judgment.

Bibliographical Information
Everett, Gary H. "Commentary on Psalms 85". Everett's Study Notes on the Holy Scriptures. https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/eng/ghe/psalms-85.html. 2013.
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