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Bible Commentaries

Commentary Critical and Explanatory on the Whole Bible - Unabridged

Psalms 75

Verse 1

Unto thee, O God, do we give thanks, unto thee do we give thanks: for that thy name is near thy wondrous works declare.

Psalms 75:1-10.-Gears people thank him for the anticipated salvation (Psalms 75:1); His answer, I will fix a time for judging the world in righteousness, even as I bear up the tottering earth (Psalms 75:2-3); Israel warns the foolish foes to cease exalting their neck, because her exaltation comes not from the east, west, or south, but from God the Judge (Psalms 75:4-8); her resolve to praise her God forever for her anticipated deliverance from the wicked (Psalms 75:9-10). Sennacherib's invasion in Hezekiah's reign is probably referred to (Psalms 46:1-11; Psalms 76:1-12); cf. Psalms 75:2-3 here, the people's assurance of God's help, with Isaiah 37:21-35. The north is omitted in the quarters whence help should come (Psalms 75:6), because from it, by 'the entering in of Hamath,' the Assyrian invader came. The Title. - Al-taschith - i:e., destroy not (note on title, Psalms 57:1-11), shows that this psalm, though couched in the form of thanksgiving for the victory anticipated in faith, is really a prayer for deliverance (2 Chronicles 20:19-22). Hence, in Psalms 76:1-12, which is the twin-psalm to this, the words "Al-taschith" are omitted; because there the victory actually gained is celebrated.

Unto thee, O God, do we give thanks ... do we give thanks. The repetition implies delight in the work.

For (that) thy name (i:e., thyself manifested in saving power, Psalms 20:1 ) is near (to deliver us; Deuteronomy 4:7; Isaiah 30:27; Psalms 119:151; Psalms 145:18)

Thy wondrous works (not only thy past marvelous interpositions for Israel, but also thy interposition now promised to us, Isaiah 37:21-35)

Declare. Perhaps it is better to translate (as God's "wondrous works" are in the Psalms more usually the object than the subject of the verb declare or narrate), 'thy name is near; they (impersonally: i:e., thy wondrous works have been declared unto us; or else, the prophets) have declared thy wondrous works.'

Verse 2

When I shall receive the congregation I will judge uprightly.

When I shall receive the congregation, I will judge uprightly - the reply of Yahweh to the thanksgiving prayer of His people. The abruptness of the introduction of the new Speaker, God, marks how immediate is His response to His people's believing prayer, even "while they are yet speaking" (Isaiah 65:24). Herein is set forth in detail the subject of the Church's praise in Psalms 75:1 - namely, God's "name, is near." You may be thus full of thanksgivings,' God replies, 'for when I shall, etc. 'When I shall have taken under my charge the congregation of my people, I will judge their enemies.' So Christ comes again to take the elect Church to Himself, and shall at that time judge her enemies (Revelation 11:12; Revelation 11:15; Revelation 11:17; Revelation 19:7). The English version takes the Hebrew in the sense in which the word is translated in Psalms 74:4, 'congregation.' But the context and the parallels, Psalms 102:13 (the same Hebrew [ mow`eed (H4150)], "the set time," for the Lord to arise and have mercy on Zion), and all the ancient versions, the Septuagint, Syriac, Chaldaic, etc., favor the translation, (see margin) 'When (or for, Hengstenberg) I shall get (implying earnest desire for it) the set time,' etc. (cf. Daniel 8:19; Daniel 11:27; Daniel 11:35; Daniel 12:8; Daniel 12:12-13; Habakkuk 2:3).

"The times and seasons which the Father hath put in His own power;" the time for "restoring again the kingdom to Israel" (Acts 1:6-7), when the measure of the enemy's iniquity shall be full, and "the times of the Gentiles fulfilled" (Luke 21:24). God does nothing precipitately or prematurely, yet in due time "He will avenge His own elect, though He bear long with them" (Luke 18:7). Compare the pagan sentiment, 'Sera tamen tacitis paena venit pedibus;' also Valerius Maximus, 'Tardidatem poence gravitate compensat.' When the chastisement of His Church is completed, He then punishes finally and irretrievably the enemy (Isaiah 10:12). This and other phrases in the psalm show that, besides the present reference to Hezekiah's and Seunacherib's times, there was designed by the Spirit an ulterior reference to the Lord's final coming to glorify His saints, and to judge His and their enemies. I will Judge uprightly - taking the kingdom out of the hands of those who have abused their trust, and not judged uprightly (Psalms 1:1-6; Psalms 58:1).

Verse 3

The earth and all the inhabitants thereof are dissolved: I bear up the pillars of it. Selah.

The earth and all the inhabitants thereof are dissolved - figuratively describing the political disorganisation of the kingdoms by the Assyrian conqueror. So Psalms 46:2; Psalms 46:6-7 uses the same figure of the same event, ultimately to be fulfilled before Christ's coming (Luke 30:25-27; Isaiah 24:19-23).

I bear up the, pillars of it - `I have weighed the pillars of it' (Hengstenberg). The Hebrew [ tikan (H8505)] means literally to weigh by exact weight and measure, and so to consolidate and to compact firmly: as God did at creation (Job 38:4-7; 27:25; Isaiah 40:5; Isaiah 40:21). I, who called forth the world into its beautiful order at creation from the previous chaos, can and will also bring it back to order from its present disorganization.

Verses 4-8

I said unto the fools, Deal not foolishly: and to the wicked, Lift not up the horn:

-In reliance on God's promise (Psalms 75:2-3), Israel warns the haughty foe no more to lift up the neck in pride, for Israel's Helper, God, has a cup of wrath which her enemy must drink.

Verse 4. I said unto the fools, Deal not foolishly - Hebrew, laholedim tahollu, 'the insolent (vain glorious) ... insolently' (vain-gloriously) (Psalms 5:5, note; 73:3).

Lift not up the horn - to strike furiously in the pride of your strength. The image is from beasts whose strength is in their horn. Compare the same symbol of the world-powers (Daniel 7:7); Revelation 13:1). The original passage is Deuteronomy 33:17; cf. 1 Samuel 2:1; 1 Samuel 2:10).

Verse 5. Speak (not) with a stiff neck - as the Assyrian did, Isaiah 37:26; Isaiah 23:1-18, "Against whom hast thou exalted thy voice, and lifted up thine, eyes on high?" Or construe, 'speak not stiff' or, wanton things with the neck (proudly lifted up).' The Hebrew accusative and the parallels (Psalms 31:18; Psalms 94:4; 1 Samuel 2:3) favour this translation. The neck uplifted is the emblem of overweening pride (Job 15:26).

Verse 6. For promotion cometh neither from the east, nor from the west, nor from the south - Hebrew, midbar: the desert-namely, that south of Palestine. But the Septuagint, Chaldaic, Syriac, etc., take the Hebrew for "promotion" [ haariym (H7311)] as meaning 'mountains,' and join it with 'the desert.' So Hestenberg, 'For neither from the east, nor from the west, nor from the desert of the mountains (the southern desert, in which were the three mountains, Horeb, Sinai, and the modern Catharine, Deuteronomy 11:24; Joshua 1:4); but God is Judge:' supply thus to Psalms 75:6, 'the decision whereby the foe shall be put down, and we set up, cometh neither from the east,' etc. The present construct Hebrew form of 'the desert' in the Masoretic text requires this translation. But several manuscripts read the absolute form as the English version, which obviates the need of ellipsis: this is confirmed by the cognate, forms of the same Hebrew ( haariym (H7311)), in Psalms 75:4-5, 'lift up' ( tariymuw (H7311), and Psalms 75:7, "setteth up" ( yaariym (H7311)). 'Lifting up,' or promotion, 'comes neither from the east, the west, nor the south' (the quarter to which Judah at this very time was looking for help from Egypt, Isaiah 36:4-6); but God is the judge.

God is the Judge: he putteth down one, and setteth (lifteth) up another - (1 Samuel 2:7.) Promotion or lifting up is last in the Hebrew sentence, in order to mark it as the emphatic word.

Verse 8. For in the hand of the Lord there is a cup, and the wine is red - or else, 'fermenting.' '(The cup) is foaming with wine' (Hengstenberg).

It is full of mixture - i:e., the cup is full of wine mixed with spices, which increase its intoxicating power (Isaiah 5:22; Song of Solomon 8:2; Proverbs 23:30). The image expresses the stupifying effects of God's judgments (Psalms 60:3; Jeremiah 13:12).

But the dregs thereof, all the wicked ... shall wring them out. "But" - literally, only; i:e., they can do nothing else but (they cannot help themselves, but must) drain out the whole cup of wrath to the dregs.

Verses 9-10

But I will declare for ever; I will sing praises to the God of Jacob.

-The people resolve to praise forever the God of Jacob, for the anticipated cutting off of the wicked, and exaltation of the righteous.

Verse 9. I will declare - namely, the righteous judgments of God (Psalms 75:7-8).

Verse 10. All the horns of the wicked also will I cut off - i:e., I will announce as being cut off. The prophets are often said to do that which they announce as done, God being the real Doer (Jeremiah 1:10). The effect of the Church's praises and prayers will be, the horns of the wicked shall be cut off,

But the horns of the righteous shall be exalted.

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Bibliographical Information
Jamieson, Robert, D.D.; Fausset, A. R.; Brown, David. "Commentary on Psalms 75". "Commentary Critical and Explanatory on the Whole Bible - Unabridged". 1871-8.