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Bible Commentaries

Coke's Commentary on the Holy Bible

Psalms 65

Verse 1

Psalms 65:0.

David praiseth God for his grace. The blessedness of God's chosen, by reason of benefits.

To the chief musician. A Psalm and Song of David.

Title. שׁיר לדוד מזמור למנצח lamnatseach mizmor ledavid shiir. This psalm is attributed to David, and, by the contents of it, appears to have been made after some great drought; and therefore some suppose it to relate to the famine mentioned 2 Samuel 21:0. Dr. Delaney says, it is on all hands agreed to have been composed upon the ceasing of that calamity. See on Psalms 65:9. It is further said, by some, to have a spiritual sense; significative of the preaching of the apostles, who converted the heathen by the promulgation of the Gospel.

Psalms 65:1. Praise waiteth for thee Or, as the words may be rendered, Silence to thee is praise. This, according to Mr. Martin, refers to the religious silence of the whole congregation in the tabernacle, while the priest offered incense in the sanctuary. Thus St. Luke tells us, that the whole multitude of the people were praying without, or offering up their silent devotions in that part of the temple which was appointed for them, while Zacharias was within the sanctuary at the time of incense, Luke 1:10.

Verse 3

Psalms 65:3. Iniquities prevail, &c.— Our iniquities prevail against us; but thou art he who blottest out our transgressions. This was an encouragement for all men to address their prayers to God, who was so ready to hear them. Green and Mudge.

Verse 4

Psalms 65:4. The man whom thou choosest He felicitates the happy lot of the priests who had near and constant access to God; and he adds, We shall be satisfied, &c. i.e. "Though we cannot all enjoy that privilege; yet we are all permitted to taste and partake of the sacrifices of thanksgiving, which are offered to thee in thy house for the benefits that we have received from thee." See Psalms 36:8.

Verse 5

Psalms 65:5. By terrible things, &c.— Wonderful things in righteousness wilt thou answer us, &c. By these are meant the works of God's providence, mentioned in the following verses; which, however they may be disregarded by us, through our familiarity with them, are most stupendous, amazing, and awful; such as will always engage the inquiry, and excite the wonder, of the profoundest philosophers, but will for ever surpass their comprehension.

Verse 8

Psalms 65:8. They also that dwell, &c.— That is, "The remotest and most barbarous people are struck with the dread of thee, when thou alarmest them by any unusual tokens of thy power;" such as extraordinary thunders, lightnings, and storms.

Verses 9-13

Psalms 65:9-19.65.13. Thou visitest the earth, &c.— A complete comment upon this sacred hymn, says Dr. Delaney, is not the work either of my province or genius; and therefore I shall only observe, that the last five verses of it are the most rapturous, truly poetic, and natural image of joy, that imagination can form or comprehend. The reader of taste will see this in the simplest translation, Psalms 65:9, &c. Thou hast visited the earth; thou madest it to covet, and hast enriched it. The river of God is full of water. Thou shalt provide them corn, because thou hast prepared for it. Saturate [in the Hebrew make drunk] the furrows thereof; make them sink with showers: melt it—bless its springing buds—Thou hast crowned the year with thy goodness, and thy orbs shall drop down fatness; the pastures of the wilderness shall drop: the hills shall exult, and be girded with gladness—The fields have clothed themselves with cattle; the vallies have covered themselves with corn. They shall shout; yea, they shall sing. The reader will easily observe, that when the divine poet had seen the showers falling from heaven, and the Jordan overflowing his banks, all the consequent blessings were that moment present to his quick poetic sight, and he paints them accordingly. I would just remark, that the river of God is supposed by many commentators to mean the clouds, which, like a vast river, are never exhausted. Mudge renders the 11th verse, Thou encirclest the years with thy richness, and the tracks of thy wheels drop fatness; God is considered, says he, as in his chariot, driving round the earth; and from that chariot, i.e. the clouds, every where distilling fatness, fertility, and increase. Thy paths is rendered very properly in the liturgy version, Thy clouds. Nothing can be more elegant and poetical, than the personifying of the hills, the pastures, and vallies, in the 12th and 13th verses. But undoubtedly these words may be delightfully spiritualized by the devout soul.

REFLECTIONS.—The Psalmist here, as the mouth of the congregation, addresses his prayer to God.

1. He ascribes glory to him. Praise waiteth for thee, O God, in Zion; thy people there, expecting thy mercies, are ready to meet them with songs of thanksgiving: or, to thee belong silence and praise; silent expectation under every difficulty and trial, and entire acquiescence in thy holy will; and praise, the tribute due for deliverance: unto thee shall the vow be performed, which was made in their distress, and, on the gracious answer given to their prayer, should be with delight rendered to God. Note; Patient expectation shall be succeeded by joyful praise.

2. He adores him as the prayer-hearing God. O thou that hearest prayer, ever ready to answer, yea, more ready to hear than we to pray, unto thee shall all flesh come, engaged by the fame of thy grace, encouraged by the promises of thy word, and the experience of thy people.

3. He expresses his confidence in God's pardoning and sanctifying grace. Iniquities prevail against me; the words of iniquity, the malicious aspersions of his enemies, or the indwelling corruptions of his own heart; but as for our transgressions, thou shalt purge them away, how great soever they have been; whether his own or those of God's faithful people, he knew the atoning blood would purge their consciences, and wipe away the guilt, the power, and the nature of all their sins.

4. He declares the blessedness of the people of God, who were admitted into his courts, and favoured with a sense of his love. There the truest satisfaction was to be found; the goodness of his house, and the comforts of his worship, would abundantly refresh their souls. Note; (1.) Communion with God is man's greatest happiness. (2.) They who would enjoy God's presence, must draw near to him in the ordinances of his worship, and be among the constant attendants at his temple. (3.) Though nothing on earth beside can satisfy an immortal soul, God is the sufficient portion of his people.

5. He expects to see the destruction of all their enemies. By terrible things in righteousness, wilt thou answer us, O God of our salvation; by just judgments indited on our foes, and merciful interpositions manifested in our behalf, wherein thy hand will be seen as the God of our salvation; and this will engage the trust of all thy people, wherever dispersed, or however distressed: who art the confidence of all the ends of the earth, and of them that are afar off upon the sea: the Israel of God, true believers, whether on sea, or land, or driven to the most distant corner, make him their confidence, and find him a sure refuge. Note; (1.) The enemies of God's people are regarded as rebels against himself, and will be made to tremble under his terrible arm. (2.) None who truly trusted in God, or cried to him in faith, could ever complain of disappointment.

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Bibliographical Information
Coke, Thomas. "Commentary on Psalms 65". Coke's Commentary on the Holy Bible. 1801-1803.