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Bible Commentaries

Smith's Writings

Psalms 76

Verses 1-12

PSALM 76

The judgment of the nations anticipated, and the results celebrated.

The previous psalm announced that in God's set time He will intervene in judgment on behalf of His people. This psalm anticipates this judgment and celebrates the result.

(vv. 1-3) The first three verses give the result of God's judgment upon His enemies. The verses that follow present the actual judgment. The first result is to make God “known;” and being known His Name becomes “great.” The knowledge of God must lead to the exaltation of God. This knowledge and exaltation of God will come through God's dealing on behalf of His earthly people Judah and Israel. The long divided tribes will at last be brought together.

Moreover the knowledge of God will prepare the way for God to dwell in the midst of a scene of peace, brought about by sovereign grace. Salem, meaning “peace,” is the ancient name for Jerusalem. Zion is the symbol of God's sovereign choice in grace ( Psa_78:65-68 ).

The peace in which God will dwell will be the outcome of the righteousness of God that deals in judgment with His enemies. Thus these verses present the reign of peace, established in righteousness, in which God will be known and exalted.

(vv. 4-6) The verses that follow present God's actings in judgment by which the reign of peace is established. Jerusalem, that hitherto had been a prey to the nations, is alluded to under the expression “The mountains of prey.” Upon these mountains, that so often had witnessed the defeat of Israel, their enemies will become a prey when God shines forth in His glory. Isaiah looks forward to the same great event when he utters Jehovah's prophecy, “I will break the Assyrian in my land, and upon my mountains tread him under foot” ( Isa_14:25 ). Then follows a description of this overwhelming judgment. God's enemies sleep the sleep of death. They are utterly powerless and bewildered, for “None of the men of might have found their hands.” The God that entered into a covenant with Jacob to protect him from all his enemies now acts on behalf of His ancient people. At His rebuke all the might of man is destroyed.

(vv. 7-9) This destruction of the enemy not only delivers His people but makes God known. And God made known through this overwhelming judgment will lead to God being feared, for it becomes manifest that when God acts in judgment none can stand in His sight.

For long years God had been silent, but at length, by God's intervention in the affairs of men, it will be recognized that heaven is dealing in judgment with the evils of earth. God's voice will “be heard from heaven.” In result the earth will fear and be still: all opposition to God will cease.

Moreover, this intervention in judgment will be manifestly on behalf of His people - “to save all the meek of the earth.” It will thus make manifest God's righteous judgment against evil, and His saving grace on behalf of His people.

(vv. 10-12) The leading thought in verses 7 to 9 is God known: the great thought in the closing verses is God exalted. Thus in the latter part of the psalm we have the two thoughts expressed in the first verse, “God known,” and “His name is great.”

All the fury of man will turn to the praise of God. All the concentrated power and might of man with his chariots and horses, arrayed against God in the mountains of Jerusalem, only serve to show by their overwhelming defeat that God is greater than all the power of man. All other opposition to God that will yet remain upon the earth will be restrained. All the nations of the earth are called to recognize Jehovah as their God, and to yield their allegiance to God by bringing gifts. If the great ones of the earth refuse they will be cut off, and find indeed that God is terrible to those who oppose His will.

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Bibliographical Information
Smith, Hamilton. "Commentary on Psalms 76". "Smith's Writings". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/eng/hsw/psalms-76.html. 1832.