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Bible Commentaries

Commentary Critical and Explanatory on the Whole Bible - Unabridged

Psalms 76

Verse 1

In Judah is God known: his name is great in Israel. Psalms 76:1-12.-At Zion, God's dwelling, He brake the world-power's weapons (Psalms 76:1-3); He is mightier than the mountain-like plundering nations, because He has cast the stout-hearted into a dead sleep, and stilled the earth; His anger therefore is most to be feared: man's anger He constrains to praise Him (Psalms 76:4-10); Yahweh's people ought therefore to pay their vow to Him, and the surrounding pagan to bring presents (Psalms 76:11-12). See introduction to Psalms 75:1-10, written before Sennacherib's overthrow, as this psalm after it. The overthrow was at Jerusalem (cf. Psalms 76:3 with Isaiah 37:1-38), by God's direction interposition (Psalms 76:3; Psalms 76:6; Psalms 76:8). Psalms 76:12 refers to the "cutting off" of the hostile "princes," Rabshakeh, etc., not merely their being driven away.

In Judah is God known - i:e., has been made known by his wondrous acts.

His name is great in Israel. "Israel" is explained by the parallel term Judah, which inherited all the privileges of God's covenant, now that the Kingdom of the Ten Tribes had ceased to exist. "His name" is His manifestation of Himself in action. His overthrow of Sennacherib's host before Jerusalem was a glorious manifestatation of Himself, as the God of Omnipotence, and of grace to His people.

Verse 2

In Salem also is his tabernacle, and his dwelling place in Zion.

In Salem also is his tabernacle. His temple took the place of the "tabernacle" which had originally stood on Zion in David's time. Jerusalem is the enlarged form of the name "Salem" - i:e., peace (Genesis 14:18). The Targum of Onkelos and Josephus identifies them. The name of the king of Salem, Melchizedek, is equivalent to 'Adonizedek' (Lord of righteousness), king of Jerusalem (Joshua 10:3). Such seems to have been the common name of the kings of the Jebusites. In Genesis 38:18 the translation ought to be, 'Jacob came in safety' (cf. Genesis 28:21; Genesis 31:3; Genesis 31:13). 'Wherever the Lord dwells, security and peace are there' (Psalms 46:4-5) (Hengstenberg). Jerusalem means literally the possession of peace [yªruwsh shaaleem], or better [as there would need to be a doubling of the same letter, thus, the Hebrew letter shin (sh)], the foundation [yªruw] or city of peace.

Verse 3

There brake he the arrows of the bow, the shield, and the sword, and the battle. Selah.

There. Hengstenberg translates, 'Hence,' from this place, so that they are broken in falling from it.

Brake he the arrows of the bow - literally, 'the flames' or 'the lightnings of the bow,' poetically for the glittering swift arrows, (Deuteronomy 32:41, and Nahum 3:3, relating to the Assyrians, as here; cf. Psalms 78:48, margin)

The shield, and the sword, and the battle. "The battle," placed last, indicates that not merely was the enemy defeated, but at one stroke the whole war was put an end to. The parallel, Psalms 46:9, illustrates this. Not as some translate, 'the accoutrements of battle.'

Verses 4-10

Thou art more glorious and excellent than the mountains of prey.

-The Lord is mightier than all the mighty conquerors of the earth; because he has caused the stout-hearted to sleep in death, and so has stilled the agitation of the earth.

Verse 4. Thou art more glorious and excellent than the mountains of prey - i:e., than the great plundering world-kingdoms. Compare Psalms 46:2-3; Nahum 2:11, Nineveh, "the dwelling of the lions, etc.;" Nahum 3:1. So in Psalms 68:16, the world-kingdoms are compared to towering "hills" (Song of Solomon 4:8).

Verse 5. The stout-hearted are spoiled - (Job 12:17; Job 12:19,) They who thought to make a spoil of Jerusalem are spoiled themselves (Ezekiel 38:12-13; Ezekiel 39:4).

They have slept their sleep - the death-sleep (Psalms 13:3; Jeremiah 51:39; Jeremiah 51:57; especially Nahum 3:18; 2 Kings 19:35).

And none of the men of might have found their hands contemptuously said of the self-vaunting "men of might." Whereas they sought to turn their hands against the holy city, they could not find their hands; because death had paralyzed them.

Verse 6. At thy rebuke . . . both the chariot and horse are east into a dead sleep. The chariot seems asleep, its rattling having ceased. 'The poet deserves the scene as if we were walking through the camp, which such a short while ago was so full of life. but is now silent as death' (Tholuck).

Verse 8. Thou didst cause judgment to be heard from heaven; the earth feared, and was still. The agitations of the earth, caused by the invasions of the world-power, ceased (Psalms 76:3; Psalms 46:6; Psalms 46:9-10). Also Isaiah 14:7, as to the consequences of the fall of Babylon, the successor of Assyria, "The whole earth is at rest, and is quiet." "The earth" stands opposed to "heaven." The earth, in respect to its tumultuous elements, is through fear reduced to silence by the word of divine power spoken from heaven.

Verse 9. When God arose to judgment, to save all the meek of the earth. The meek so saved are not only Judah and Jerusalem, but also the Gentile nations, which, by fellowship in suffering, through the world-power's oppression, had common cause with the elect nation. So, in the ulterior fulfillment at Christ's coming again, the elect Judeo-Gentile Church and Israel's elect remnant shall be saved, by His special interposition, from the last and worst assault of the adversary (cf. Matthew 5:5; Psalms 22:26; Revelation 14:4-5).

Verse 10. Surely the wrath of man shall praise thee. Praise results to thee from thy having tamed the rebellious fury of the Assyrian enemy. Even the wicked, in spite of themselves, are constrained to subserve thy glory (Exodus 9:16; Exodus 18:11). So in the case of Gog, the last foe of Israel (Ezekiel 38:16; cf. Proverbs 16:4; Romans 9:17).

The remainder of wrath shalt thou restrain - so that whatever anger remains in the enemy can no more break out against thy people. Thus, when Sennacherib, after his hasty retreat to his own land, vented his fury on any of the Jews whom he could find there ( Tob 1:17-18 ), he was at last restrained by God, being put to death by his sons (2 Kings 19:37). But the Hebrew ( tachªgor (H2296)) commonly means to gird (Judges 18:11; 1 Kings 20:11), though the cognate Arabic word favours the English version, and the Mishna and Rabbi Solomon. 'The first part is the anger of man, provoking God and oppressing His people; the "remainder," or second part of it, is that which is left for God, wherewith He girds Himself, manifesting Himself, gloriously before the eyes of all' (Hammond), (Isaiah 59:17.) The wrath of the enemies must, even to its last remnants (Psalms 75:8), serve thee as a weapon wherewith thou girdest thyself to accomplish their destruction (Hengstenberg). Those left of the enemy who vented their wrath against thee, thou girdest thyself with, making them to acknowledge and praise thy power (Maurer). Compare Psalms 76:11; Isaiah 49:18. Probably it is meant that God girds Himself with the praise to which the wrath of the enemy, even to its last remnant, is constrained to minister both in the case of reprobates and in that of those at last brought to 'submit themselves to Him' (Psalms 68:30).

Verses 11-12

Vow, and pay unto the LORD your God: let all that be round about him bring presents unto him that ought to be feared.

-God's people should pay their vows to Him; the surrounding pagan should bring their gifts to Him who is so terrible to the rebellious.

Verse 11. Vow, and pay unto the Lord your God - i:e., pay that which ye have vowed (Deuteronomy 23:21-22). The expression, "your God," shows that this is addressed to the people of God.

Let all that be round about him bring presents unto him that ought to be feared - the Gentile nations dwelling round about Israel (Kimchi). The Hebrew accent forbids our joining, as Hengstenberg does, "all that be round about" to "vow." So Psalms 68:29; 2 Chronicles 32:22-23, expressly says that 'the Lord guided Hezekiah and Jerusalem on every side, and many brought gifts unto the Lord to Jerusalem; so that he (Hezekiah) was magnified in the sight of all nations from thenceforth.' Hengstenberg, from Numbers 2:2. takes, "all that be round about Him" to be the Israelites, in the midst of whom the Lord is often said to dwell, which is not said of the pagan. But when the Gentiles submit themselves and turn to the Lord, they, too, shall be "round about him," Jerusalem being the religious center of the earth. Psalms 68:29-30 confirms this; cf. Revelation 4:4; Revelation 7:17, of the redeemed round about the Lamb.

Verse 12. He shall cut off (yibetzor) - literally, as a vine-dresser; with which strikingly accords Revelation 14:18-19.

The spirit of princes - i:e., their breath (Psalms 104:29).

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Bibliographical Information
Jamieson, Robert, D.D.; Fausset, A. R.; Brown, David. "Commentary on Psalms 76". "Commentary Critical and Explanatory on the Whole Bible - Unabridged". 1871-8.