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Bible Commentaries

Poole's English Annotations on the Holy Bible

Psalms 75


The psalmist, praising God for his wondrous works, promiseth to judge uprightly, Psalms 75:1-19.75.3. Rebuking the proud and foolish with God’s providence, Psalms 75:4-19.75.8, pulleth them down, but exalteth the righteous, Psalms 75:9,Psalms 75:10.

Verse 1

Of Asaph; as the author. Or, to or for Asaph; which may be put by way of opposition to the foregoing and general expression,

to the chief Musician, which is here limited to and explained of Asaph. As Psalms 62:1, having said to the chief Musician, he adds to Jeduthun; and then follows the author, David. This Psalm was either composed by David, or by Asaph in David’s name and person, as it is not unusual for poets to bring in princes speaking in their poems. It seems to relate to the time when David had entered upon, but not got full possession of, the kingdom.

Do we give thanks; I, in my own and in my people’s name.

Thy name, i.e. thyself; or thy power. Is near; is present with us, and most ready to help us when we cry unto thee, as this phrase is taken, Psalms 34:18; Psalms 145:18. Thou art not departed from us; thou dost not now stand afar off, as once thou didst, Psalms 10:1.

Thy wondrous works, wrought on my behalf, and for the good of thy people.

Verse 2

When I shall receive the congregation, to wit, the whole congregation, or body of thy people, to wit, all the tribes; which are now distracted and disordered by a civil war, which is a great hinderance to the administration of justice. Or, when I shall receive or obtain the appointment, i.e. what God hath appointed and promised to me, to wit, the full and firm possession of the kingdom; or, the time or place appointed by God for that work. Some make these and the following passages the words of God concerning his church or people; which seems not probable; partly because he speaks of God in the third person, as one distinct from him that speaks these words, Psalms 75:7,Psalms 75:8; and partly because it is evident that one and the same person speaks from hence to the end of the Psalm, and the ninth verse cannot be spoken by God.

I will judge uprightly; I will not use my power tyrannically and wickedly, as Saul did, and as most other princes do; but holily and righteously, for the good of my people.

Verse 3

Dissolved; or, melted, consumed or destroyed; partly by the ill government of Saul and Ish-bosheth, and the great officers of state and war under them; and partly by intestine divisions and wars.

I bear up the pillars of it: howsoever I am traduced by mine enemies as the great disturber of the land, I must do myself this right, to affirm that, under God, I do support and establish it, by maintaining religion and justice, and by setting us good magistrates, and encouraging good ministers, and good men, which are indeed the pillars of a nation.

Verse 4

I said, with authority and command; I charged them.

The fools, i.e. the wicked, as that is explained in the next clause.

Deal not foolishly; desist from your impious and injurious practices, which shall not now go unpunished, as they have done.

Lift not up the horn; do not carry yourselves either arrogantly, boasting of your own strength, or scornfully and maliciously towards me or others of God’s people.

Verse 5

Lift not up your horn on high; a metaphor from untamed and stiff-necked oxen, which will not bow their heads to receive the yoke, but lift up their heads and horns to avoid it. Or, against the High, i.e. against God, who is mentioned under this same title, Psalms 56:2, though there it be rendered Most High. Speak not, to wit, against me and my government.

With a stiff neck; with pride and contempt of my person, and with rebellion against God’s will declared concerning my advancement, of which you are not ignorant. See 2 Samuel 3:17,2 Samuel 3:18.

Verse 6

For though you envy and oppose my advancement, because I was but a poor shepherd, and of a mean family; yet you ought to know and consider what is notorious and visible in the world, that the dignities and sceptres of the world are not always disposed according to human expectations and probabilities, but by God’s sovereign will and providence, as it follows. It is true, men that expect preferment have their eyes fixed upon the great persons of the world, who are thought to have the ‘disposition of them in their hands, and according to their several inclinations or interests; some look eastward, others westward, and others southward, expecting assistance from some of these quarters; but all in vain.

Verse 7

The judge, to wit, the righteous Judge, and supreme Lord and Governor of all the kingdoms of the world, giving them to whomsoever he pleaseth. It is he who hath rejected Saul and his family, and put me in his stead. And who art thou that disputest with God, and resistest his declared will?

Verse 8

This verse is added, either,

1. As a reason or confirmation of the assertion, Psalms 75:7, and to show that God in removing one king to make way for another did not proceed in a way of absolute sovereignty, which yet he might have done, but in a way of justice and equity. Or,

2. As another argument to enforce his advice given Psalms 75:4,Psalms 75:5, which he had now pressed by one argument, Psalms 75:6,Psalms 75:7. God is here compared to the master of a feast, who then used to distribute portions of meats or drinks to the several guests as he thought fit.

A cup, in Scripture, is sometimes taken in a good sense, for God’s blessings, as Psalms 16:5; Psalms 23:5; and sometimes, and more frequently, in a bad sense, for God’s vengeance and judgments, as Psalms 11:6; Isaiah 51:22; Jeremiah 49:12; Matthew 20:23, &c.; and so it is here understood, as the following words show. The wine is red; such as the best wine of Judea was, Deuteronomy 32:14; Proverbs 23:31; and so strong, and heady, and intoxicating. Or, is troubled; as the word more properly signifies, and is rendered by divers; which may note its newness, when it is in fermentation, not yet cleared nor settled, and so more intoxicating. So he expresseth the power and fierceness of God’s wrath and judgments. It is full of mixture: the wine is mingled, not with water, as was usual in those hot countries, Proverbs 9:5, but with spices, as Song of Solomon 8:2; or rather, strengthening and intoxicating ingredients, which drunkards used, Isaiah 5:22. He poureth out of the same, to wit, to the children of men; promiscuously to good and bad; whereby he removes the scandal which his enemies might take from those troubles which God saw fit to inflict upon David and his followers. The dregs thereof; the worst and most dreadful part of those tribulations. Of the earth; or, of the land, to wit, of Canaan, of which he spoke Psalms 75:3. Shall wring them out; which expression may imply, either that they shall be forced to squeeze out the worst for their own drinking, or that this dreadful draught was prepared for them and brought upon them by their own choice and wickedness.

Verse 9

Declare, to wit, this great and glorious work of God, or the praises due unto God for it, as the next words imply.

Verse 10

The horns of the wicked; their honour and power, which they made an instrument of mischief to oppress good men. A metaphor from horned and mischievous beasts.

I will cut off, when I shall be advanced to the throne, and have power and authority to do what now I can only desire and pray for.

The horns of the righteous shall be exalted; good men shall be encouraged and promoted, and intrusted with the management of all public affairs, which will be a great blessing to all my people.

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Bibliographical Information
Poole, Matthew, "Commentary on Psalms 75". Poole's English Annotations on the Holy Bible. 1685.