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Bible Commentaries

Commentary Critical and Explanatory on the Whole Bible - Unabridged

Psalms 68

Verse 1

Let God arise, let his enemies be scattered: let them also that hate him flee before him.

Psalms 68:1-35.-When God arises, His enemies are scattered like smoke, while the righteous joyfully extol Jah, the Father of the fatherless (Psalms 68:1-6); God's doings for His people when He led them through the wilderness (Psalms 68:7-10); His victorious doings for them from their entrance into Canaan to the setting up of the ark in Zion (Psalms 68:11-14); His choice of Zion as His hill forever, in the face of the hostile world-hills; in it He reigns with countless chariots, subduing His people's enemies (Psalms 68:15-18): He is blessed daily (Psalms 68:19); He is the God of His people's salvation from the wicked (Psalms 68:20-23); the triumphal procession (Psalms 68:24-27); anticipation of the conversion of the pagan to the God of Israel (Psalms 68:28-31); all kingdoms called to praise (Psalms 68:32-35). The occasion was probably when, at the close of the war with Ammon, the ark (2 Samuel 11:11) was brought back in triumph to Zion (cf. Psalms 68:1; Psalms 68:24 with Numbers 10:35). Shortly after the capture of Rabbah (2 Samuel 12:26-31), David marked the peace now secured by naming his son Solomon, 'prince of peace.' Deborah's triumphal song is the model. Compare Psalms 68:7-8 with Judges 4:14; Judges 5:4; and Psalms 68:18 with Judges 5:12.

Let God arise, let his enemies be scattered: let them also that hate him flee before him - taken from the formula which Moses used whenever the ark set forward (Numbers 10:35), just as Psalms 67:1-7 is based on the Mosaic blessing (Numbers 6:25). The Chaldaic, Septuagint, Vulgate, Syriac, Arabic, and Ethiopic support the English version; but Hengstenberg, 'God arises and (in consequence) His enemies are scattered ... they flee ... He drives them away ... the wicked perish; the righteous are glad ... rejoice.' The English version, on the victory just granted, builds the general prayer for the future. Instead of Yahweh (H3068), David uses the more general name, 'Elohiym (H430), except in Psalms 68:4; Psalms 68:16; Psalms 68:18; Psalms 68:20. For it is in His general relation to the whole world, brought to the knowledge of Him as God of Israel, that the Psalmist views God, lest they should regard Yahweh as God of Israel only in the sense that He is one of the many national gods which the nations severally had. David designates Him as 'Elohiym (H430), which expresses His Deity as Creator and Preserver of the world. At the same time, Psalms 68:18 shows that he understands Yahweh (H3068) before 'Elohiym (H430), even though he does not express it. God seems quiescent for a time, while the enemy seems to triumph, and His people suffer; but let God once arise, the enemies must be scattered.

Verse 2

As smoke is driven away, so drive them away: as wax melteth before the fire, so let the wicked perish at the presence of God.

As smoke is driven away ... as wax melteth before the fire. The smoke disappears before the wind, the wax before the fire. How galling to the pride the seemingly mighty foes to learn that they have no more stability than the driven smoke or the melting wax! On the contrary, Messiah and His people, who once seemed 'like wax' (Psalms 22:14), shall at last be "as the sun when he goeth forth in his might," whereas all the Lord's enemies shall perish. Compare Judges 5:31, Deborah's song.

Verse 3

But let the righteous be glad; let them rejoice before God: yea, let them exceedingly rejoice.

But let the righteous be glad: let them rejoice before God - literally, 'at or before the face of God, as in the contrasted sentence, Psalms 68:1; Hebrew, 'let them that hate Him flee from before His face.' Destruction goes forth from before God's face when He is angry; joy dwells before His face when He is propitious. The righteous are here represented by Israel; all the godly, the true Israel spiritually, are included.

Exceedingly rejoice - literally, 'exult with gladness.'

Verse 4

Sing unto God, sing praises to his name: extol him that rideth upon the heavens by his name JAH, and rejoice before him.

Sing ... extol him that rideth upon the heavens. The Hebrew, 'extol' [ caalal (H5549)], means also 'make a way for;' raise up a road for. So the Septuagint, Vulgate and Arabic. Though the Pilpel conjugation in Proverbs 4:8, and Exodus 9:17 the Hithpael, occur in the sense extol; yet in the Qal no instance occurs of this sense. Moreover, the sense, 'make a way for Him,' accords with Isaiah 57:14; Isaiah 62:10, and especially Isaiah 40:3. The sense ultimately is the same; for the preparing of the way before Jah, whereby He comes to us in the wilderness of trials, is mainly to extol Him, and joyfully attribute to Him His glory. So in the case of Jehoshaphat's enemies (2 Chronicles 20:19-22; Psalms 50:15-23). In Isaiah 40:3 the preparing the way is different-namely, by repentance. Then, instead of "upon the heavens," many translate 'that rideth forward in the deserts' [ `ªraabowt (H6160), which translate, 'upon the Western regions,' from `ereb (H6153), the evening. Some then explain that hereby it is foretold that Christ would transfer His Church toward the Western nations. But it is rather from `ªraabaah (H6160), a desert (Isaiah 40:3; cf. Luke 3:4)], i:e., as the ark formerly led the people in the desert, so now again God rideth forward for the help of His people, leading them safely through the deserts of conflict and trial. There is an allusion to the wilderness journey also in Psalms 68:7. The Chaldaic, however, supports the English version, "extol Him ... the heavens." So Psalms 68:33; also Deuteronomy 33:26, which is exactly parallel.

By his name JAH - literally, 'in Yaah (H3050) (is) His name.' The concentrated essence of all that is expressed by 'Yahweh,' first used in Moses' song, Exodus 15:2, Hebrew.

Verse 5

A father of the fatherless, and a judge of the widows, is God in his holy habitation.

A father of the fatherless, and a judge of the widows, (is) God. God's compassionate love to the distressed in particular, as widows and orphans (cf. Psalms 146:7-9; Deuteronomy 10:18), is the ground of the triumphant deliverances which He vouchsafes to His people (as in the recent war with Ammon), and to His Church, represented as "a widow" (Luke 18:3; Luke 18:7). Compare Hosea 14:3. God is a "judge," to vindidicate His people's cause (Psalms 54:1), not like the unjust judge in Luke 18:1, etc.

In his holy habitation - the seat of holiness, righteousness, and faithfulness, contrasted with this earth, the seat of selfishness and unrighteousness (Psalms 11:4; Psalms 22:3).

Verse 6

God setteth the solitary in families: he bringeth out those which are bound with chains: but the rebellious dwell in a dry land.

God setteth the solitary - i:e., those destitute of human help (Psalms 25:16).

In families - Hebrew, 'in a home.' [The final Hebrew letter he (h) expresses motion to a place.] The outcast Israel shall be restored hereafter to their home. So Israel, after the long homeless wandering in the wilderness, was at last set in a home by God (Psalms 68:10). So the Christian Church, which had long been persecuted, and dwelt solitarily, obtained a permanent settlement under Constantine.

He bringeth out those which are bound with chains, [ kowshaarowt (H3574), corresponding to qishuwriym, ties or bonds] - (Isaiah 61:1.) Or else, He bringeth out those which are bound to prosperities [from kaashar, to be right and congruous; cf. margin, Ecclesiastes 2:6 ]; plural - i:e., to all kinds of prosperity. So Psalms 66:12, "thou broughtest us out into a wealthy (well-watered) place," in contrast with which stands here.

But (literally, only: it is never otherwise)

The rebellious (cf. Psalms 66:7)

Dwell in a dry land. Contrast Psalms 68:9. The "rebellious" are the stiff-necked enemies of the Lord and His Church; not only the pagan (Exodus 17:14; Exodus 17:16), but also the Jews, when they said of Messiah, We will not have this man to reign over us ... we have no king but Caesar (Luke 19:14; John 19:15).

Verses 7-10

O God, when thou wentest forth before thy people, when thou didst march through the wilderness; Selah:

-God's doings for His people in the wilderness; His giving them the law at Sinai; His sustaining and reviving them until He led them into the land of promise.

Verse 7,8. O God, when thou wentest forth before thy people, when thou didst march through the wilderness ... The earth shook, the heavens also dropped at the presence of God: even Sinai itself was moved - literally, 'this Sinai' (pointing to it), derived from Deborah's song, Judges 5:4-5; which again rests on Deuteronomy 33:2; Exodus 19:16. God, as it were, 'marched' at the head of the people 'to search out a resting-place for them' (Numbers 10:33; Deuteronomy 1:33). Israel's hosts were led on against the Canaanites by the Lord as the commander-in-chief, going before them in a pillar of cloud by day, and by night in a pillar of fire (Exodus 13:21; cf. Deuteronomy 32:10). The Psalmist begins with the giving of the Law on Sinai, and passes over the previous miracles, because it was at Sinai that the covenant between God and Israel was formally ratified (Deuteronomy 33:2-5). The manifestation of Himself there was a proof of His special love to Israel (Deuteronomy 4:33).

Verse 9. Thou, O God, didst send a plentiful rain, whereby thou didst confirm thine inheritance, when it was weary. Though no mention is made in the history of rain, there is of a dense cloud, which implies it. "Plentiful rain" - literally, rain of liberalities; i:e., most abundant rain; a most important boon to God's inheritance or people (Psalms 28:9; Psalms 94:5) thirsting for water in the desert. But as the water for drink is elsewhere represented as coming from the rock, the rain of manna and quails is the rain of gifts implied. Compare Psalms 78:23-24; Psalms 78:27-28. Exodus 16:4. The Hebrew is used generally of free-will gifts (Psalms 54:6) [ nªdaabaah (H5071)]. Compare "showers of blessing," Ezekiel 34:26. The ulterior reference is to the outpouring of the Holy Spirit (Deuteronomy 32:2; Isaiah 44:3; Isaiah 45:8; Hebrews 6:7). As Psalms 68:8 shows His terrible power, so Psalms 68:9 His grace. The Hebrew for "send" is literally to shake out, to wave back and forwards, so as to cause the rain of gracious gifts to fall on the whole people, and not merely on one favoured section. The "THOU" in the Hebrew is emphatic: 'thine inheritance, even when it was wearied (i:e., worn out), THOU didst confirm' or 'fortify it.' Thou who alone couldst strengthen one worn out, didst so for thy people.

Verse 10. Thy congregation hath dwelt therein - namely, in the promised land, the object for which they marched through the wilderness. So Psalms 68:14, "in it." So "it," Isaiah 8:21. The Hebrew for "your congregation" [ chayaatªkaa (H2416)], or host, is used in this sense by David first, 2 Samuel 23:11; 2 Samuel 23:13; the usual sense is life or animal.

Thou, O God, hast prepared of thy goodness for the poor. Supply 'a home.' Compare Psalms 68:6, margin "The poor" are the once homeless Israelites in the wilderness.

Verses 11-14

The Lord gave the word: great was the company of those that published it.

-God's doings for His people from the time of their entrance into Canaan until the setting up of the sanctuary in Zion.

Verse 11. The Lord gave the word - which ensured victory to Israel.

Great was the company of those that published it. Translate as Hebrew ( hamªbasrowt (H1319)), 'great is the company of the female-heralds of the good news'-namely, the procession of 'damsels' who celebrate in song and dance the victory (Exodus 15:20-21; 1 Samuel 18:6-7; Judges 5:12; Judges 11:34; especially Psalms 68:25, below, which explains it). All the separate choirs united on such occasions.

Verse 12. Kings of armies did flee apace - literally, did flee, flee; i:e., in most hasty flight.

And she that tarried at home divided the spoil. Whereas in Deborah's song the mother and wise ladies of Sisera, in their home, awaited his return in triumph, that they might get 'a prey of divers colours of needle-work ... meet for the necks of them that take the spoil' (Judges 5:30), it was the Israelite women tarrying at home (Titus 2:5) who got their share of the spoil. The ulterior reference is to Israel, regarded as the Church of God, dwelling again peacefully at home after the flight of the kings (Judges 5:31; Judges 8:28). Also the Christian Church dwelling in her Father's home (Psalms 68:6, margin) after the overthrow of her enemies.

Verse 13. Though ye have lien (i:e., lain) among the pots - in the places where pots or caldrons are set over the fire-places where ye have been blackened by the sullying smoke. An image to express their degradation in Egypt (cf. Lamentations 4:8). In Ezekiel 40:43, the only other place where the Hebrew occurs [ shªpataayim (H8240)], it means the hooks and irons, or two hearthstones, on which the flesh was suspended for roasting. Hengstenberg translates, 'When ye rest between the boundaries,' or 'in the sheepfolds' (Judges 5:16), denoting a state of peaceful rest. I prefer the English version, which forms a beautiful contrast to what follows.

(Yet shall ye be as) the wings of a dove covered with silver, and her feathers with yellow gold - alluding to the golden colour at one time and silver at another reflected from the outspread wings of doves, according to the direction in which the sunshine is seen to fall on them.

Verse 14. When the Almighty scattered kings in it - in the land. God, as "the Almighty" (see note, Psalms 91:1), alone could thus scatter mighty kings, as Cushan, Jabin, Agag.

It was (white) as snow in Salmon. The brightness of prosperity, after the gloom of the conflict was like the glittering white snow which covers dark Salmon, with its black forests (Judges 9:48). "Salmon" means shady, dark. It was a high mountain near the Jordan (Psalms 51:7; Mark 9:3; cf. Matthew 17:2).

Verses 15-19

The hill of God is as the hill of Bashan; an high hill as the hill of Bashan.

-God has chosen Zion whereon to dwell forever, with His countless chariots, in spite of all the resistance of the pagan. This He has shown by the victory just given to His people; therefore, blessed be the Lord.

Verse 15. The hill of God (is as) the hill of Bashan; all high hill, (as) the hill of Bashan. So Zion is called "the hill of the Lord," Psalms 24:3; but it is not likely that the greatness of Zion should be illustrated by the physical height of the hill of God-opposed Bashan, a representative of the world-hills. Rather, a hill of God (a Hebraism for a great hill), an high hill, (is) the hill of Bashan. But high as it is, mount Zion, being the habitation of God, is, in a moral point of view, infinitely higher (Isaiah 2:2; Isaiah 8:6-8). The world's physical greatness must yield to the Church's spiritual grandeur. The "hill of God" is here an emblem of the world-kingdoms, which (Psalms 65:6) are great only by the grace of God. A great hill reminds us of the creative power of God. Hence, 'the hill of 'Elohiym (H430)' (the general name of God as the Creator), stands in contrast to the hill which (Psalms 68:16) 'the Lord' ( Yahweh (H3068)) will dwell in forever. It lay in the north of the region east of Jordan, or the land of Hermon, the kingdom of Og, the most formidable enemy whom Israel encountered on their march to Canaan. 'The hill of Basan is the high snow-summit of Anti-Lebanon, or Hermon, the extreme limit of Basan. There was a special propriety, from its position on the boundary between Judea and the pagan world, in employing it as a symbol, of the world's might (Psalms 68:22; Psalms 42:6; Psalms 89:12)' (Hengstenberg). The original name of Hermon was Sion; i:e., lofty (Deuteronomy 4:48); allied in sound to Zion, which suggested the contrast here between the world-hills and the Lord's hill.

Verse 16. Why leap ye, ye high hllls? - namely, with envious desire of destroying the hill which God loves, and of setting yourselves up above it [ tªratsªduwn (H7520); the same as waaqad, to leap with joy or pride]. But Jerome translates, 'Why do ye look with suspicion?' In Arabic it means to watch against, to lay snares. I prefer, therefore, with Cocceius, Maurer, etc., 'Why do ye watch with hostile, envious intent?' [So the Greek, teerein (G5083), parateerein (G3906), Luke 6:7.] The Septuagint translate, 'suspect.' The Chaldaic, supports the English version. "High hills" - literally, 'mountains-summits;' i:e., not merely one hill, but mountain ranges. The "why," as in Psalms 2:1, points to the suicidal folly of the enmity of the world-kingdoms.

Yea, (for) the rebellious also, that the Lord God might dwell (among them). The word "rebellious," which explains the previous "men," shows that 'among men' is not gifts to be distributed among David's people. but gifts received among David's enemies just vanquished, God being the real conqueror and receiver, David only the instrument. In Gospel application, the human enemies subdued by grace are one with those unto whom the gifts are given, the rebellious being converted into the obedient. The "rebellious" in David's case are the refractory Ammonites, who had persisted in opposition, even after God had plainly shown that He was on Israel's side. The words "among them" are not in the Hebrew. Translate, 'yea, among the rebellious also, that the Lord God might dwell'-namely, among His people on Zion (corresponding to which, antitypically, is God now dwelling in His Church, the temple of the Holy Spirit, 2 Corinthians 6:16), as Psalms 68:16 shows, 'yea, the Lord will dwell (in Zion) forever.' Contrast "the rebellious dwell in a dry land" (Psalms 68:6). The rebellious are not here regarded as objects of grace, but of punishment (Psalms 66:7).

Verse 19. Blessed (be) the Lord, (who) daily loadeth us (with benefits, even) the God of our salvation. From the particular benefit the Psalmist rises to the universal, praising God as the Saviour of His Church. "Loadeth" may refer to a burden of calamities, not benefits. 'Blessed be the Lord daily: (when) He layeth burdens on us, (yet) He is the God of our salvation.' The Hebrew accent upon us distinguishes that clause from the following. The God who wounds is the same who also heals the wound (1 Samuel 2:6). So in Psalms 68:20, He who inflicts death also bestows "the issues from death." So De Dieu. The Chaldaic takes it, 'He loadeth us with precept upon precept.' Compare "My burden is light" (Matthew 11:30). Hengstenberg translates 'Men lay burdens on us; the Lord is our Salvation.' I prefer this, as forming the subject of the strophe which it introduces.

Verse 20

He that is our God is the God of salvation; and unto GOD the Lord belong the issues from death.

He that is our God - i:e., the God of Israel.

Is the God of salvation - literally, of salvations. The plural expresses that, however numerous be the evils threatening our destruction, God has at command countless means of deliverance.

And unto God the Lord (belong) the issues from death - literally, "the issues" appertaining to lª- death;

i.e., the power to give His people's enemy up to death, and so to save His people from the death which the enemy threatened (Psalms 48:14; Revelation 1:18).

Verse 21

But God shall wound the head of his enemies, and the hairy scalp of such an one as goeth on still in his trespasses.

But God shall wound the head of his enemies - (Psalms 110:6.)

Verse 22

The Lord said, I will bring again from Bashan, I will bring my people again from the depths of the sea:

The Lord said, I will bring again from Bashan; I will bring (my people) again from the depths of the sea - i:e., I will restore Israel from dangers as great as the conflict with Og of Bashan (Numbers 21:33), and as the passage through the Red Sea (Exodus 14:22). "The depths of the sea" is a proverb for imminent risks. Isaiah 49:12; Isaiah 51:11; Isaiah 51:15; Isaiah 11:11-15 confirm the English version. Hengstenberg translates, 'I will bring back (the enemies just named, Psalms 68:21; and again in the following Psalms 68:23; also Psalms 68:30) out of Basan,' where the enemy had come on their return home after a successful invasion of the Holy Land: just as David slew the Edomites, when, after invading Israel, they had reached the valley of Salt, the boundary of their own land. Maurer, taking this view, makes the sea mean the Mediterranean on the west, as Basan is on the east. Amos 9:3 then explains the language. But it is plainly Israel that is brought "from the depths of the sea" by 'the God of salvation, her God, unto whom belong the issues of death' (Psalms 68:19).

Verse 23

That thy foot may be dipped in the blood of thine enemies, and the tongue of thy dogs in the same.

That thy foot may be dipped - literally, that thou mayest dash about: the same Hebrew as in Psalms 68:21, "wound" or 'dash in pieces.'

And the tongue of thy dogs in the same - i:e., may be dipped in the same; literally, 'that the tongue of thy dogs (may get) from thine enemies, from it.' Compare the case of Ahab's and Jezebel's blood licked up by dogs (1 Kings 22:38; 2 Kings 9:35-36).

Verse 24

They have seen thy goings, O God; even the goings of my God, my King, in the sanctuary.

They have seen. The crowding spectators have seen, as distinguished from those forming the procession.

Thy goings - i:e., the procession in honour of thee.

In the sanctuary - (Psalms 68:29; Psalms 68:35.) The procession was in the temple.

Verse 25

The singers went before, the players on instruments followed after; among them were the damsels playing with timbrels.

The singers went before, the players on instruments followed after - because in intelligent worship the Word itself has precedency of its ornamental accompaniments (1 Corinthians 14:15). A rule as to sacred music; the music is not to drown the words and sense, but to be subordinate and subservient to them.

Verse 26

Bless ye God in the congregations, even the Lord, from the fountain of Israel.

Bless ye God in the congregations, (even) the Lord, from the fountain of Israel - i:e., from the heart, not merely with the lips. Or rather, ye who "are come forth out, of the waters (i:e., the parent stock) of Judah" (Isaiah 48:1; Isaiah 51:1; Proverbs 5:18; Hosea 13:15).

Verse 27

There is little Benjamin with their ruler, the princes of Judah and their council, the princes of Zebulun, and the princes of Naphtali.

There is little Benjamin (with) their ruler, the princes of Judah (and) their council, the princes of Zebulun, (and) the princes of Naphtali. The four tribes here mentioned are representatives of the whole: Benjamin and Judah on the extreme south, Zebulun and Naphtali on the extreme north. The first judges, Othniel and Ehud, belonged to Judah and Benjamin respectively. Zebulun and Naphtali were foremost in the deliverance performed under Deborah and Barak (Judges 5:18). Saul was from Benjamin, and David from Judah. "There" - i:e., in the procession. Benjamin is called "little" in reference to his place among the sons of Jacob (Genesis 43:33; also 1 Samuel 9:21). The tribe had been reduced to very small number in the affair of Gibeah (Judges 20:46-48). "(With) their ruler." Hengstenberg translates, 'Benjamin who rules over them'-the enemies (Psalms 68:23). That even the little Benjamin should be ruler over the pagan, magnifies the grace of God (1 Samuel 14:47-48). Benjamin would not be likely to lead the procession; so that we cannot translate 'as their leader.' Nor does the Hebrew imply the rule which the head of a tribe exercised (as the English version), but to have the mastery over.

The princes of Judah (and) their council. The Hebrew [ rigmaah (H7277)] means 'their stoning:' there is The princes of Judah (and) their council. The Hebrew [ rigmaah (H7277)] means 'their stoning:' there is no "and:" 'the princes of Judah, the stoning of them' - i:e., of the enemy (Psalms 68:23); for instance, David, who by a stone destroyed Goliath, the representative of the world-power. This accords with the preceding, "their ruler" - i:e., who gains the mastery over them (the enemy) (Hengstenberg). Or, taking the English version with qualification, 'the princes of Judah their council' - i:e., the stones or principal persons of the tribe (Genesis 49:24). So the Septuagint [heegemones]. Or, 'the princes of Judah (and) their company:' the Hebrew originally meaning a collection of stones; in Arabic, a company. So Kimchi and Gesenius. I prefer Hengstenberg's view. The same tribes are prominent in the New Testament, as foremost in the battle of the Church against the world. Paul, the "least" of the apostles (1 Corinthians 15:8-10), was by origin Saul of Benjamin (Philippians 3:5). Christ, "the Lion of the tribe of Judah," James and John, the brothers, the other James, Thaddeus, and Simon were from Judah, and the other apostles were from Naphthalim and Zabulon, or Galilee (Matthew 4:13).

Verses 28-31

Thy God hath commanded thy strength: strengthen, O God, that which thou hast wrought for us.

-The glorious deliverances vouchsafed to His people, by God dwelling in Zion, give an earnest of the future subjugation of the whole world under Him.

Verse 28. Thy God hath commanded thy strength - i:e., hath by His eternal decree, made known by Moses, appointed and given it (Psalms 42:8).

Strengthen, O God, that which thou hast wrought for us - let thy strength be manifested in working for us this (emphatic in the Hebrew) which we cannot work for ourselves (Isaiah 26:12; Psalms 138:8; Philippians 2:13). See God's promise, Deuteronomy 33:25. As in the former clause he addresses the elect people, so in the latter he addresses God.

Verse 29. Because of thy temple at Jerusalem shall kings bring presents unto thee - rather, as the Septuagint, Chaldaic, and most versions, 'From thy temple:' connected with the previous Psalms 68:28, "strengthen, O God, that which thou hast wrought for us." Show thy power from thy palace hanging over Jerusalem (so the Hebrew for "at"), as the protecting guardian of the city: so shall kings bring presents unto thee (2 Chronicles 32:23; Isaiah 60:3) So Psalms 68:35, "thou art terrible out of thy holy places:" cf. Psalms 110:2. On the 'over.' see Psalms 68:34. The tabernacle on Zion was called "the temple" or palace of God even earlier than David's time (1 Samuel 3:3; 1 Chronicles 29:1). The temple of Solomon was the continuation of the tabernacle (Psalms 5:7; Psalms 48:9). The Hebrew for "presents" is only found elsewhere in Psalms 76:11; Isaiah 18:7.

Verse 30. Rebuke the company of spearmen - literally, of the reed; i:e., of the men armed with the reed-like spear. But perhaps, as Egypt is mentioned next verse, and in this verse "bulls" are used figuratively, it is better to translate, 'Rebuke (the prophetical word bringing to pass that which it foretells) the beast of the reeds' ( chayat (H2416) qaaneh (H7070)); i:e., the king of Egypt, often represented as a crocodile in the Nile. So Augustus, after the conquest of Antony and Cleopatra, depicted Egypt (Isaiah 19:6). So Ezekiel 29:3. Or, the 'beast of the reeds' is the hippopotamus, or behemoth, represented in Job 40:21 as "lying in the covert of the reed and fens," the second natural representative of Egypt.

The multitude of the bulls, with the calves of the people - literally, 'the multitude of the strong ones' (Psalms 22:12). Powerful kings are the bulls, and their subjects the calves. (Till every one) submit himself with pieces of silver - i:e., bring silver as tribute, in token of submission and allegiance. Compare Psalms 68:18, 'Thou hast received gifts among men' (Isaiah 60:9).

Scatter thou the people that delight in war. So the Septuagint, Syriac, and Arabic. [ Bizar (H967)]. Rather, 'He scattereth the people,' etc. So the Chaldaic. The sudden change from the imperative to the indicative is not unusual in poetry. Wars shall cease under Messiah's coming reign (Isaiah 2:4; Hosea 2:18; Zechariah 9:10).

Verse 31. Princes - Hebrew, chashmaniym (H2831), rich nobles; whence the Maccabees took their name, Asmoneans.

Egypt, Ethiopia - representatives of the might of the world in David's days, before the rise of the Asiatic world-empires. Cush or Ethiopia, by its distance, represents the most distant lands.

Shall soon stretch out her hands unto God - literally, 'shall hasten with her hands (stretched out) toward God,' either in the attitude of prayer or presenting gifts (Isaiah 45:14; Zephaniah 3:10; Psalms 72:10). An earnest of this was given in the conversion of the eunuch of the Ethiopian queen Canduce, and in the ancient Egyptian church at Alexandria, where Athanasius was bishop.

Verses 32-35

Sing unto God, ye kingdoms of the earth; O sing praises unto the Lord; Selah:

-All the kingdoms of the earth are exhorted to praise the God of Israel (Psalms 66:1).

Verse 32,33. Sing unto God, ye kingdoms of the earth ... To him that rideth upon the heaven of heavens (which were) of old. God's riding upon the highest heavens (Deuteronomy 10:14; 1 Kings 8:27) is the ground on which (Psalms 68:32) David exhorts all to sing His praises. He alludes to Deuteronomy 33:26.

Lo, he doth send out his voice, and that a mighty voice - (Psalms 29:3.)

Verse 34. Ascribe ye strength unto God - (Psalms 24:1 .) his excellency (Hebrew, His height: His elevated majesty) is over Israel - even as the temple stood over Jerusalem (Psalms 68:29, note). God, hovering, over His people, protects them (Isaiah 31:5). "His excellency" - literally, His height.

And his strength is in the clouds - whence He makes His thunders to issue. 'History and nature alike manifest His glory' (Hengstenberg).

Verse 35. O God, thou art terrible out of thy holy places - cf. note, Psalms 68:28-29. The holy places or sanctuaries of God are here represented as manifold, in reference to the many parts of the temple; also implying the omnipresence of God as the Helper of His people. He has a heavenly and an earthly sanctuary; even when His people could not be at Jerusalem, He was with them (Ezekiel 11:16). So He is now in all places where His people meet in His name. His "terrible" might is exercised for the destruction of His people's enemies.

The God of Israel is he that giveth strength ... unto his people - (Psalms 29:11; Isaiah 40:29-31.) It is because He is "the God of Israel," i:e., His people, that He gives them strength.

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Bibliographical Information
Jamieson, Robert, D.D.; Fausset, A. R.; Brown, David. "Commentary on Psalms 68". "Commentary Critical and Explanatory on the Whole Bible - Unabridged". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/eng/jfu/psalms-68.html. 1871-8.