This in the Greek is called a psalm of the resurrection, no doubt because God had in David’s time revived the nation. The application to the captivity is unsupported by the language of joy. David here utters many sentiments like those in the fortieth psalm.
Psalms 66:13. I will pay thee my vows. Those which he had made before a battle, or in some great trouble. It was usual in war to make vows to the Lord.
Psalms 66:16. I will declare what he hath done for my soul. Good men among the Jews seem to have had meetings between the regular hours of public worship, when those that feared the Lord spake often one to another. Malachi 3:16. In the synagogue, good men improved the interval between the morning and the evening worship for social piety.
Grace conferred on a regenerate soul excites affections worthy of the gift. David had recently been delivered from some troubles, and his heart was kindled to a flame of devotion by the mercies of the Lord. Here by the eye of faith, looking solely at the promise and fruitfulness of God, he associates with his own, and the ancient deliverances of Israel, the ultimate conversion of the gentile world from the vanity of idols, and the bondage of corruption. Grateful therefore for the past, and confident for the future, he exclaims with a boldness peculiar to sacred song, Make a joyful noise unto God, all ye lands; literally, all the earth. Thus also St. Paul has applied the praises of the gentiles to their conversion. Romans 15:11.
To heighten the ardour of their song, he invites them to come and see the wonderful works of the Lord; for faith is more powerfully exerted when God is placed in open view. He has not only delivered my soul, but he has delivered his people. The sea opened wide as the wilderness; the flood of Jordan, when the river overflowed its banks, fled at his approach. So gentile nations, you also shall be delivered from bondage by the Messiah; you also shall pass the waters of baptism, and be sprinkled with atoning blood, and shall finally pass the Jordan of death into the promised rest of the people of God. Sing, gentiles, sing to the honour of his name: make his praise glorious. David offers praise for the mercies of God to Israel. God had proved them, and discovered their apostasy. Pagan princes had trampled on their country. They had, during the time of Saul and the Judges, passed through the fiery trial, and the deep waters of affliction. Therefore he would praise God, because the end of those afflictions marked how much he loved his people, in bringing them to repentance by severity, when milder measures had no effect. Hence, on a review of all those signal mercies, he would present a full assortment of burnt-offerings, and pay his vows with Israel unto the Lord.
While David was forming his sentiments into a psalm, his heart was so filled with heaven that he could not contain himself. Come and hear, all ye that fear God; and I will declare, or tell you, what he has done for my soul. So St. Paul in twenty places introduces his own experience, and with the utmost propriety. But he very modestly associates the saints with himself—
”The love of God is shed abroad in our hearts. The Spirit itself beareth witness with our spirits. God hath anointed us, sealed us, and given the earnest of his Spirit in our hearts.” Now, when a minister, on some impressive occasions, can join his own experience with the truth delivered, it often produces a good effect on the hearer. And who can hold when the fire burns? Who can forbear to declare his righteousness in the great congregation? But this holy man was cautious to support his testimony with a spotless life. He would not regard iniquity in his heart, for in that case, God would not hear his prayers, and men would not receive his testimony. Secret sins corroding the heart, are as a worm at the root of the plant. Let us also learn to support our profession by purity of thought, and rectitude of conduct, as nothing is more revolting than to hear men talk of comfort whose lives are dissonant to their words.
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Sutcliffe, Joseph. "Commentary on Psalms 66". Sutcliffe's Commentary on the Old and New Testaments. https://www.studylight.org/
the Third Week after Epiphany