Bible Commentaries

Commentary Critical and Explanatory on the Whole Bible

Psalms 89

Verse 1

Psalm 89:1-52. Of Ethan - (See on Psalm 88:1, title). This Psalm was composed during some season of great national distress, perhaps Absalom‘s rebellion. It contrasts the promised prosperity and perpetuity of David‘s throne (with reference to the great promise of 2 Samuel 7:12-17), with a time when God appeared to have forgotten His covenant. The picture thus drawn may typify the promises and the adversities of Christ‘s kingdom, and the terms of confiding appeal to God provided appropriate prayers for the divine aid and promised blessing.

mercies — those promised (Isaiah 55:3; Acts 13:34), and -

faithfulness — that is, in fulfilling them.

Verse 2

I have said — expressed, as well as felt, my convictions (2 Corinthians 4:13).

Verse 3-4

The object of this faith expressed in God‘s words (2 Samuel 7:11-16).

with — or literally, “to”

my chosen — as the covenant is in the form of a promise.

Verse 6-7

This is worthy of our belief, for His faithfulness (is praised) by the congregation of saints or holy ones; that is, angels (compare Deuteronomy 33:2; Daniel 8:13).

sons of the mighty — (compare Psalm 29:1). So is He to be admired on earth.

Verses 8-14

To illustrate His power and faithfulness examples are cited from history. His control of the sea (the most mighty and unstable object in nature), and of Egypt (Psalm 87:4), the first great foe of Israel (subjected to utter helplessness from pride and insolence), are specimens. At the same time, the whole frame of nature founded and sustained by Him, Tabor and Hermon for “east and west,” and “north and south,” together representing the whole world, declare the same truth as to His attributes.

Verse 12

rejoice in thy name — praise Thy perfections by their very existence.

Verse 15

His government of righteousness is served by “mercy” and “truth” as ministers (Psalm 85:10-13).

know the joyful sound — understand and appreciate the spiritual blessings symbolized by the feasts to which the people were called by the trumpet (Leviticus 25:9, etc.).

walk  …  countenance — live in His favor (Psalm 4:6; Psalm 44:3).

Verse 16-17

in — or, “by”

thy righteousness — Thy faithful just rule.

glory — or, “beauty.”

of their strength — They shall be adorned as well as protected.

our horn — exalt our power (Psalm 75:10; Luke 1:69).

Verse 18

(Margin). Thus is introduced the promise to “our shield,” “our king,” David.

Verses 19-37

Then — when the covenant was established, of whose execution the exalted views of God now given furnish assurance.

thou  …  to thy holy one — or godly saint, object of favor (Psalm 4:3). Nathan is meant (2 Samuel 7:17; 1 Chronicles 17:3-15).

laid help — literally, “given help.” David was chosen and then exalted.

Verse 20

I have found — having sought and then selected him (1 Samuel 16:1-6).

Verse 21

will protect and sustain (Isaiah 41:10),

Verses 22-25

by restraining and conquering his enemies, and performing My gracious purpose of extending his dominion -

Verse 25

hand [and] right hand — power (Psalm 17:7; Psalm 60:5).

sea, and  …  rivers — limits of his empire (Psalm 72:8).

Verse 26-27

first-born — one who is chief, most beloved or distinguished (Exodus 4:22; Colossians 1:15). In God‘s sight and purposes he was the first among all monarchs, and specially so in his typical relation to Christ.

Verses 28-37

This relation is perpetual with David‘s descendants, as a whole typical in official position of his last greatest descendant. Hence though in personal relations any of them might be faithless and so punished, their typical relation shall continue. His oath confirms His promise, and the most enduring objects of earth and heaven illustrate its perpetual force (Psalm 72:5, Psalm 72:7, Psalm 72:17).

Verse 35

Once — one thing (Psalm 27:4).

by my holiness — as a holy God.

that I will not lie — literally, “if I lie” - part of the form of swearing (1 Samuel 24:6; 2 Samuel 3:35).

Verse 37

It shall … moon … heaven — literally, “As the moon, and the witness in the sky is sure, that is, the moon.”

Verses 38-52

present a striking contrast to these glowing promises, in mournful evidences of a loss of God‘s favor.

cast off — and rejected (compare Psalm 15:4; Psalm 43:2; Psalm 44:9).

Verse 39

An insult to the “crown,” as of divine origin, was a profanation.

Verses 40-45

The ruin is depicted under several figures - a vineyard whose broken “hedges,” and “strongholds,” whose ruins invite spoilers and invaders; a warrior, whose enemies are aided by God, and whose sword‘s “edge” - literally, “rock” or “strength” (Joshua 5:2) is useless; and a youth prematurely old.

Verse 45

days of his youth — or, “youthful vigor,” that is, of the royal line, or promised perpetual kingdom, under the figure of a man.

Verse 46

How long, etc. — (Compare Psalm 13:1; Psalm 88:14; Jeremiah 4:4).

Verse 47

These expostulations are excited in view of the identity of the prosperity of this kingdom with the welfare of all mankind (Genesis 22:18; Psalm 72:17; Isaiah 9:7; Isaiah 11:1-10); for if such is the fate of this chosen royal line.

Verse 48

What man — literally, “strong man - shall live?” and, indeed, have not all men been made in vain, as to glorifying God?

Verses 49-51

The terms of expostulation are used in view of the actual appearance that God had forsaken His people and forgotten His promise, and the plea for aid is urged in view of the reproaches of His and His people‘s enemies (compare Isaiah 37:17-35).

Verse 50

bear in my bosom — as feeling the affliction of the people (Psalm 69:9).

footsteps — ways (Psalm 56:6).

Verse 52

Blessed, etc. — denotes returning confidence (Psalm 34:1-3).

Amen, and Amen — closes the third book of Psalms.

Copyright Statement
These files are a derivative of an electronic edition prepared from text scanned by Woodside Bible Fellowship.
This expanded edition of the Jameison-Faussett-Brown Commentary is in the public domain and may be freely used and distributed.
Bibliographical Information
Jamieson, Robert, D.D.; Fausset, A. R.; Brown, David. "Commentary on Psalms 89". "Commentary Critical and Explanatory on the Whole Bible". 1871-8.