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Bible Commentaries

Peake's Commentary on the Bible

Psalms 89

Verses 1-52

LXXXIX. The Covenant with David.— The Ps. may be divided thus: Psalms 89:1-18. The promise made to David (2 Samuel 7). Yahweh is all-powerful, so that He can, faithful so that He will, fulfil His word. Psalms 89:19-37. The promise considered at greater length. Observe the sobriety of tone. It is David’ s dynasty, not David himself, which is to endure for ever, and the kingdom promised is not world-wide but limited to the old boundaries, viz. the Euphrates and the Egyptian frontier. Psalms 89:38-51. In spite of this great promise Israel is in abject misery, and the time is short, for human life is soon over. The Ps. is generally admitted to be post-exilic. The sceptre had already ( Psalms 89:39; Psalms 89:44 f.) fallen from the hands of the Jewish monarch. The Ps. must have been composed long after the Exile, since there is no prayer for restoration to Palestine, no confession of sin. But it is impossible to determine the date more precisely. It has been suggested that the poet does not look for any one man as the “ anointed” ( Psalms 89:38; Psalms 89:51), in whom the covenant is to be fulfilled; but transfers the Davidic promises to the idealised and personified Israel, the true “ anointed” of Yahweh. On the other hand the Ps. has been referred to late Maccabean times, and in particular to the defeat of Alexander Jannæ us (p. 608) in 88 B.C. by Ptolemy Eukairos (Josephus, Anl., xiii. 14, 1f.). Possibly the Maccabean princes claimed to be David’ s heirs, though they had no Davidic blood. But Alexander was a brutal and sanguinary leader, so that some Jews preferred Eukairos to him, and in any case the conjectural reference has little or nothing to support it.

Psalms 89:2 . Read with LXX, “ thou didst say,” and “ shall be established.”

Psalms 89:7 . Read with LXX, “ Great is he and to be feared above,” etc.

Psalms 89:8 . Jah: a contracted form of Yahweh.

Psalms 89:10 . Rahab: the mythical sea-monster (cf. Psalms 87:4 *, Job 9:13 * Isaiah 51:9 *, Psalms 8:3 *).

Psalms 89:19 . saints: read, “ saint,” and refer to Nathan.— laid help: read, “ I have set a diadem on.”

Psalms 89:27 . my first-born: used of Israel ( Exodus 4:22) as dearest to the heart of Yahweh his Father.

Psalms 89:51 . reproached the footsteps:— either because his advent is so long deferred or because he is fleeing before his foes.

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Bibliographical Information
Peake, Arthur. "Commentary on Psalms 89". "Peake's Commentary on the Bible ". 1919.