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The prophet exhorteth to praise God, for his great works, for his judgments on the wicked, and for his goodness to the godly.
A Psalm or Song for the Sabbath-day.
Title. השׁבת ליום שׁיר מזמרו mizmor shiir leiom hash-shabbath.— This psalm was used by the Jews in their public services on the Sabbath-day. The rabbis pretend that it was written by Adam. But as the instruments of music here mentioned were not used in the worship of God till David's time, it is most probable that it was composed by him; and that not so much to commemorate the creation; and the Sabbath which followed it, as to foretel that rest from persecution which God had promised to give his church under the Messiah. See Dr. Hammond. Dr. Delaney is of opinion, that this psalm was written in the interval between the first Philistine defeat, and their second invasion, (see book 2: chap. 9.) upon their confederating anew, and gathering together to a second attempt against him. "To this, (says he,) I apprehend, refer those words in the 7th verse, When the wicked spring up as grass. He had just mowed down his enemies, and they were now springing up again, like a new crop of grass from a rich field; but, how flourishing soever these workers of iniquity were, David fully confided that they should soon be destroyed for ever. The glory of sinners is, at best, but the flower of a withering grass: But the righteous (Psalms 92:12.) shall flourish like a palm-tree; he shall grow like a cedar in Lebanon; which, at the same time that it enlarges upon earth, rises towards heaven."
Psalms 92:3. Upon the harp with a solemn sound— In a soft whisper upon the harp. Mudge; who observes, that the word everywhere signifies a soft sound of some kind or other.
Psalms 92:5. And thy thoughts are very deep— How deep are thy designs! Green.
Psalms 92:6-7. A brutish man, &c.— The foolish man doth not observe, nor the thoughtless man take notice of this: Psalms 92:7. That when the wicked spring up like the grass, and all the practisers of idolatry flourish, it is that they may be destroyed for ever. See Green and Mudge. It is clear to a demonstration from these verses, that this psalm could not have been composed by Adam.
Psalms 92:8-9. But thou, Lord, &c.— But thou, O Lord, dwellest on high for evermore; Psalms 92:9. While, behold, thine enemies perish, and all the practisers of idolatry are scattered abroad. Green and Mudge. The phrase of God's dwelling or sitting on high, is equivalent to God's sitting in heaven, and there over-ruling all the designs of men to his own glory, and the good of his servants.
Psalms 92:10. But my horn shalt thou exalt, &c.— But thou exaltest my horn, like the horn of the oryx; my old age is fresh invigorated with oil. I translate בלתי ballothi; with the LXX, by old age, or decay; as the very same letters are used by Sarah in this sense, and the word is more familiar, and the image the same with that in Psalms 92:14. Mudge.
Psalms 92:11. Mine eye, &c.— Mine eye also shall look upon mine enemies; and mine ears shall hear the wicked, &c.
Psalms 92:12. The righteous shall flourish, &c.— The flourishing state of the righteous in this verse, is beautifully opposed to that of the wicked, Psalms 92:7.
For of these it is intimated, that their prosperity should be momentary, trifling, and perpetually decaying: but the prosperity of the righteous shall be well-founded, durable, and continually increasing. When the wicked flourish, it is only said of them, that they are green as the grass; of which our Saviour says, To-day it is, and to-morrow is cast into the oven. But the righteous flourish like a palm-tree, and spread abroad their boughs like a cedar in Lebanon. The better to illustrate the force of this comparison, I shall add Mr. Maundrell's account of the cedars of Libanus, who paid them a visit in the month of May 1697. "These noble trees grow among the snow near the highest part of Lebanon; and are remarkable, as well for their old age and largeness, as for those frequent allusions made to them in the word of God. Here are some of them very old, and of a prodigious bulk; and others younger, of a smaller size. Of the former I could reckon up only sixteen; and the latter are very numerous. I measured one of the largest, and found it twelve yards six inches in girt, and yet sound; and thirty-seven yards in the spread of its boughs. At about five or six yards from the ground it was divided into five limbs; each of which was equal to a great tree." This account adds a beauty to that passage, Psa 104:16 where God is said to have planted the cedars of Lebanon. See Travels, p. 142.
1. The Psalmist encourages us to join heartily in the sacred song. It is a good thing to give thanks unto the Lord, and to sing praises unto thy name, O most High; it is both our duty and privilege, the tribute of gratitude we owe, and the preparation for the service of heaven; and abundant matter we have for the blessed service, to shew forth thy loving-kindness in the morning, the various instances of it that we have experienced in providential care, and especially in the spiritual blessings obtained by Christ Jesus, and thy faithfulness every night; not merely confining our grateful acknowledgment to one day, but day and night continually, as most bounden, ascribing to God the glory due unto his name, whose mercy and truth never fail. Note; (1.) Whatever our engagements may be, we are bound at least to begin and end each day with prayer and praise. (2.) They who have themselves a deep experience of the divine love and faithfulness, will delight to be telling of his salvation from day to day.
2. He sets before us his own example for our imitation. Thou, Lord, hast made me glad through thy work; the works of creation and providence, or rather of redemption and grace by Jesus Christ: an experimental knowledge of which is matter of the most enlivening joy: I will triumph in the works of thy hands. O Lord, how great are thy works! when we contemplate the works of creation, providence, redemption, and grace, we are lost in admiration, and can only wonder and adore; and the thoughts are very deep, unfathomable by the shallow line of human reason, and above our conception as the heaven is higher than the earth.
3. They who disregard the works of God, and neglect to praise him, are brutish and wicked. A brutish man knoweth not: neither doth a fool understand this; by the indulgence of their appetites they degrade themselves into beasts; and, brutish in their knowledge, looking no higher than the earth, nor farther than the grave, they leave God far above out of their sight, insensible of all his mercies, and negligent of his service.
2nd, The Psalmist triumphs over his enemies, and in God's love and favour to himself and all his faithful ones.
1. He expects to see the ruin of the wicked, however prosperous and proud. When the wicked spring as the grass, so numerous and vigorous, and when all the workers of iniquity do flourish, in health, wealth, power, and every earthly possession, it is that they shall be destroyed for ever: their prosperity becomes their ruin, and they are only fattened for the slaughter. But thou, Lord, art most high for evermore, reigning over all, abasing the proud, and ever living to inflict on them their deserved punishment. For lo, thine enemies, O Lord, for lo, thine enemies shall perish; for such are all the workers of wickedness, who daringly oppose the most High, reject his government, and rebel against his crown and dignity; but vain their impotent malice, they must perish under his eternal wrath; and all the workers of iniquity shall be scattered, their schemes frustrated, their combinations broken, their ruin irrecoverable and everlasting, when God shall say unto them, Depart, ye cursed, &c. But my horn shalt thou exalt like the horn of an unicorn, establishing his royal authority, and exalting his throne on high. This may be applied to the Messiah, who is the horn of salvation, raised up from the house of David, Luke 1:69. And thus also will all the faithful at the last day be set above their enemies. I shall be anointed with fresh oil; every attack of his foes should only serve to bring renewed supplies of grace, strength, and divine consolations into his soul. Mine eye also shall be my desire an mine enemies: and mine ears shall hear my desire of the wicked that rise up against me, whose power to hurt shall be broken, and God glorified in their punishment. Note; (1.) All the enemies of Christ and his people rage in vain; they who will not submit to his government, must perish together and for ever under his vengeance. (2.) Though we may not wish evil to our bitterest enemies through any private revenge, we cannot but desire to see the power of the wicked restrained, and God's glory manifested in his righteous judgments.
2. He expects to see the exaltation of the saints of God, however now depressed and low. The righteous shall flourish like the palm-tree; whatever burdens are laid on him, he shall not only be enabled to support them, but prosper in his soul under the load. Crescit sub pondere virtus. He shall grow like a cedar in Lebanon, strong and high, reaching to the heavens, and unmoved by stormy blasts. Such is the faithful believer, going from strength to strength, having his affections set on heaven and heavenly things, and rooted in Christ. Those that be planted in the house of the Lord, removed from the wilderness of the world, grafted into Christ, and thus transplanted into his church, where they partake of the heavenly dew of divine benediction, and in the word and ordinances are watered day by day, these shall flourish in the courts of our God, being full of sap derived from Christ the living root, and adorning the doctrine of God their Saviour in all things. They shall bring forth fruit in old age, grace being often most vigorous and fruitful when nature's strength decays: they shall be fat and flourishing, partaking of the fatness of the root; Rom 11:17 walking in the most enlivened exercise of divine grace, and abounding in every good work: To shew that the Lord is upright, true to all his promises, carrying his faithful people on to hoary hairs and to eternal glory. He is my rock, firm and stable; such the Psalmist had by experience proved him to be, and so will every soul that perseveringly trusts upon him; and their is no unrighteousness in him; he never raises expectations to disappoint them, what he promises he fully performs; and fails not to punish the workers of iniquity, for just and right is he.
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Coke, Thomas. "Commentary on Psalms 92". Thomas Coke Commentary on the Holy Bible. https://www.studylight.org/
the Week of Proper 13 / Ordinary 18