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David exhorteth to praise God, to observe his great works, to bless him for his gracious benefits: he voweth for himself religious service to God: he declareth God's special goodness to himself.
To the chief musician, A Song or Psalm.
Title. מזמור שׁיר למנצח lamnatseach shiir mizmor.— This psalm has not David's name to it; nor is it known upon what occasion it was composed. Bishop Patrick's conjecture seems as probable as any other; namely, that it was written by David after God had advanced him to the throne, and peaceably settled him in his kingdom. But thus much only is certain, that it was composed upon some extraordinary national deliverance. See Psalms 66:13. The Psalmist introduces it with the general Providence which God had exercised over his people; especially at their coming out of Egypt; for which he calls upon all the earth to celebrate his glory. The title of the LXX is, "A Psalm of the Resurrection."
Psalms 66:2. Make his praise glorious— Give him the glory of his praise; i.e. The glory which is due to his praise, and belongs to it. See Isaiah 42:12. Mudge. Some render it, Give him glory by praising him.
Psalms 66:3. Thine enemies submit themselves unto thee— According to the original, לךֶ יכחשׁו iekachashu leka, lie unto thee. See on Psalms 18:44.
Psalms 66:6. He turned the sea into dry land— This plainly refers to the passage through the Red Sea, and the rejoicing by Miriam, &c. upon the spot.
Psalms 66:7. Let not the rebellious exalt themselves— The rebellious or refractory; i.e. Pharaoh, whose stubbornness and pride occasioned his ruin. But the caution was still as necessary as ever. God's eyes were still looking up and down through the nations, to rescue his prisoners, how haughtily soever their persecutors might behave toward them. Mudge.
Psalms 66:9-12. Which holdeth our soul in life— These verses plainly refer to the deliverance from Egypt. After having made his people pass through several trials in Egypt, God brought them into a net: "They are entangled, Pharaoh said, The wilderness hath shut them in." Exodus 14:3. He put that contrasting pain into their loins, which arises from a strong fear. He brought the Egyptian chariots close home upon their backs; he carried them through the fire, (the pillar of fire,) and through the Red Sea; and at last brought them into the rich land, flowing with milk and honey. Mudge. For affliction, in Psa 66:11 we may read, distress, restraint; and instead of a wealthy place, in Psalms 66:12 a watered place.
Psalms 66:15. Of fatlings— i.e. The fattest lambs. The incense of rams, means the odour of the fat of rams, which was burned in sacrifice.
Psalms 66:16. Come and hear, all ye, &c.— Here we must suppose the Psalmist in the temple; speaking, as is frequently the case in other places of the psalms, to the assembled people, and declaring, to the honour of God, that he had heard and answered his prayer. He mentions no particular; probably it was a deliverance somewhat analogous to that of the Israelites which makes the subject of this psalm, and from some heathen nation who had oppressed them: he had, very likely, been a prisoner and made his escape; which makes him say, "If I had regarded vanity," i.e. "If I had ever, while I was a captive among the heathen, been corrupted into any idolatrous practices, God would not have heard me;" &c. That this was a proper subject for thanksgiving we may see in Psalms 107:2-9. Mudge.
REFLECTIONS.—1st, We have here,
1. The persons called upon to unite in the praises of God: All lands, not merely the people of Israel, but all the ends of the earth. Note; Though God is merciful to all, we have peculiar reason to bless him for that full and glorious Gospel which he has sent to us.
2. The manner of their praises. They must make a joyful noise, sing aloud their Creator's and Redeemer's praises, proclaim his glory; and in their lives, as well as lips, shew forth his honour.
3. The reasons why they should thus praise him. [1.] Because of his terrible works and the greatness of his power, manifested in the abasement of his enemies. Note; Every antichristian foe will be made shortly to bow at the feet of the faithful, and to know that God hath loved them. [2.] For the mercies manifested to his church of old; the remembrance of which should be ever new; such as was the deliverance of the Israelites from Egypt, when the sea opened a way for them to pass over; there did we rejoice in him. Note; Our Father's mercies are our own, and should awaken our praises. [3.] Because the same protection shall be for ever vouchsafed to all the faithful. As God ever rules, and ever sees the devices of their enemies, he will disappoint them, to the confusion of his people's proud and rebellious foes. Note; Since all power is given to Christ in heaven and on earth, his faithful people may be assured that no powers of darkness shall be able to hurt them, but they shall with joy see them shortly put under his feet and theirs for ever.
2nd, They who have an interest in God, as their covenant God, ought to make their voices of grateful praise to be heard. Particularly,
1. For their lives; not only the preservation of bodily life, but more especially for the spiritual life which Christ has bestowed and maintains; and suffereth not our feet to be moved; though sore thrust at by temptation, yet by the power of grace our souls are preserved.
2. For the blessed issue of their trials. Many an enemy had harassed the land, they had been taken prisoners in the net of their oppressors, had suffered a variety of afflictions, been trampled upon and insulted by the Philistines and neighbouring nations; but it was to prove, not destroy them; and therefore they were delivered, and public tranquillity and plenty restored to them. Thus the church of Christ has been also in the furnace of affliction, under the man of sin, in Rome pagan and papal, has passed through variety of tortures by fire and water, terrible as those devouring elements, and been often reduced to the greatest distress, in order to prove the patience of the saints; but God will bring them into a wealthy or large place; as at the Reformation, when true religion reared its head; and as will be more eminently the case, when at last Christ shall come and reign over his saints gloriously. This also is the state of every faithful believer, who passes through temptation, painful as the action of fire, and deep as the floods; but the issue shall be peace; his graces, thus exercised, shall shine the brighter, and into his wealthy place, even a mansion in eternal glory, will he be brought: when he has suffered a little while for Christ, he shall reign with him for ever.
3rdly, The Psalmist here, in the person of the faithful, declares the effects that God's grace and protection would have upon them.
1. He and they would offer the noblest sacrifices appointed under the law; the fattest beasts shall burn on God's altar, according to the vows they had made in trouble. Note; Since Christ's one oblation was offered, all other sacrifices of blood are abolished; but sacrifices of praise will never cease ascending from every faithful heart, and will go up with acceptance in the smoke which arises from the Saviour's sacrifice, making all our offerings a sweet-smelling savour to God.
2. He calls on all who fear God to come and hear what God had done; what wonders of grace in pardoning, sanctifying, comforting, and saving his sinful soul; and this in answer to his constant and fervent prayer, which God, who knew the simplicity of his heart, had heard and granted; and for which he desires ever to bless and praise him, as for all his mercies. Note; (1.) We are bound, for God's glory, and the encouragement of his people, to communicate our experience of his goodness; not as vain of our mercies, as if the favourites of heaven, but as thankfully terrifying our gratitude to him from whom we have received all. (2.) There can be no comfort obtained from prayer, nor any well-grounded confidence entertained of God's acceptance of us, whilst allowed and indulged iniquity remains in the heart. (3.) They who lift up holy hands, without wrath and doubting, may rise from their knees continually blessing and praising God.
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Coke, Thomas. "Commentary on Psalms 66". Thomas Coke Commentary on the Holy Bible. https://www.studylight.org/
the Week of Proper 25 / Ordinary 30