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Bible Commentaries

Coke's Commentary on the Holy Bible

Psalms 76

Verse 1

Psalms 76:0.

A declaration of God's majesty in the church. An exhortation to serve him reverently.

To the chief musician on Neginoth, A Psalm or Song of Asaph.

Title. ידותון על למנצח lamnatseach al ieduthun.] If we give credit to the Septuagint version, this psalm was composed upon the same occasion as the former. Dr. Delaney thinks it was written upon another occasion; but he assigns no reason. I think it evident to a demonstration, says he, that the 76th psalm was written upon David's victory over the Philistines in the valley of Rephaim, though not by David. See Life of David, b. ii. c. 7.

Verse 3

Psalms 76:3. There brake he the arrows, &c.— The fiery arrows of the bow, &c. That is, there, before the walls of Jerusalem, he overthrew the enemy, and destroyed all their military preparations. See 2 Kings 19:32.

Verse 4

Psalms 76:4. Thou art more glorious and excellent than the mountains of prey The meaning of this verse is, that Jehovah, who sendeth help to his people from Mount Sion, is superior to the gods of the mountains, under whose protection the despoilers of the earth make their depredations. From the powerful assistance which Jehovah afforded his people from Mount Sion, the Assyrians called him, the God of the hills, and not of the vallies: see 1 Kings 20:23. Green. Houbigant renders it, thou art more radiant than light; thou art higher than the eternal mountains; and Mudge, Thou shonest forth glorious from the mountains of prey. It seems very doubtful what these mountains of prey were. See Psalms 29:9. The common sense given to the passage is, "Thou, O Sion, art far more impregnable, through the defence of God, than the mountains upon which the Assyrians had fortified themselves, and from which their soldiers made frequent excursions to ravage the country." Slept their sleep, in the next verse, means, so as never to awake again: (see 2 Kings 20:21.) and found their hands, or arms, signifies, are enabled to strike a stroke.

Verse 10

Psalms 76:10. Surely the wrath of man shall praise thee, &c.— This alludes to the insolent menaces of the Assyrians, and their disgraceful defeat. It seems probable from the two foregoing verses, that mighty thunderings preceded the destruction of the Assyrians; When God arose to judgment, i.e. sent forth his anger to destroy them.

Verse 12

Psalms 76:12. He shall cut off, &c.— Him that cutteth off, or bringeth down, &c. The spirit signifies the pride and elation of the mind; such as was that of the king of Assyria, before he was forced to return with shame of face to his own land.

REFLECTIONS.—The church of God is often made to sing her triumphant songs, even here below.

1. God is here represented as eminently appearing for her. In Judah is God known; there he had made the most glorious revelation of himself, and of his will: his name is great in Israel, exalted and praised by his people, and magnified in the wonders he had wrought on their behalf. In Salem also is his tabernacle, and his dwelling-place in Zion; favoured with his immediate presence, visible in the Shecinah of glory. And this may refer to the incarnation of the Son of God, made known in Judah by the preaching of the Baptist, as Israel's exalted Saviour, who pitched his tabernacle among men, appeared in the flesh at Jerusalem; and in his church, the spiritual Zion, continues to take up his abode.

2. A glorious victory is obtained, whether by David, by Jehoshaphat, by Hezekiah, or, by the Lord Jesus Christ, to whom emphatically it may be applied, over the powers of sin, Satan, death, and hell. The enemies are represented as stout hearted, as men of might, as completely armed. But there is no contending against God; the arrows are broken, the shield, the sword, and the battle: unable to defend themselves, the mighty are fallen with their chariots and horses; they sleep the sleep of death, and the weak take the spoil. Thus hath our Redeemer spoiled principalities and powers; and, following him, the weakest believer seizes the prey, and triumphs over vanquished foes; for all the enemies of Christ's church and people, however many or mighty, shall be rooted out at the last.

3. The whole is ascribed to God alone, his is the work, to him must be the praise. Not by our might or power, but at thy rebuke, O God, they are cast down. Thou art more glorious and excellent than the mountains of prey; tyrannical kings, and all the persecuting powers, are nothing in the hands of his omnipotence; the higher they are exalted, the more will he be glorified in their abasement; for every mountain shall be brought low. Note; In all the dangers to which God's people are exposed, they must look to the glorious power of God, engaged for them, and not be afraid.

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Bibliographical Information
Coke, Thomas. "Commentary on Psalms 76". Coke's Commentary on the Holy Bible. 1801-1803.