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Bible Commentaries

Scott's Explanatory Notes, Practical Observations on the book Psalms

Psalms 76

Verses 1-12

Psalms 76:1-12. Title. Some copies of the Septuagint add to this title, " against the Assyrian."’ The deliverance from Sennacherib indeed seems to have been celebrated in this Psalm.

V. 1. In Judah and Israel God was known and worshipped, and his name was honoured ; but in no other part of the world, except as Jews or Israelites were dispersed through other nations. (Marg. Ref. Notes, Psalms 48:2-3. Psalms 147:19-20. Acts 17:22-34. 1 Corinthians 1:20-24.) Indeed to this day, all the genuine knowledge of the one living and true God, which is found on earth, may be

traced back to writers and teachers of this despised nation. Where neither they nor their writings have come, God is still unknown ; and if there be any religion, it is idolatry. This assertion admits of no exception or qualification.

(Note, Zechariah 8:20-23. Romans 3:1-2.)

V. 2. (Marg. Ref.) " Salem " here evidently means Jerusalem. (Note, Genesis 14:18-20.)

V. 3. The enemies of Judah had often marched to besiege Jerusalem, with every kind of warlike preparation : but, by the power of God, these formidable preparations became entirely useless, and they were unable to join battle with them. (Marg. Ref. Notes, 5, 6. Psalms 46:8-9. 2 Chronicles 14:9-15; 2 Chronicles 20:22-25; 2 Chronicles 32:17-22.)

V. 4. Zion, the chosen residence of JEHOVAH, was immensely more glorious and excellent than Babylon or Nineveh ; and the kingdom of Judah, than those renowned monarchies, which contended witli each other, to the destruction of the human species, as the beasts of prey on the mountains devour the feebler animals. (Note, Daniel 7:2-3.) The success of the ambitious warriors, in these destructive contests for power, were deemed their glory and excellency : but the church, beloved and protected by the Lord, and devoted to his service, had a glory and excellency of a nobler kind. (Notes,Psalms 87:3-6. P. O. Notes, Ezekiel 15:1-6. P. O.)

V. 5, 6. These verses fix the date of this psalm, to the time of the destruction of Sennacherib’s army before Jerusalem. Then, his stout-hearted captains and soldiers were suddenly deprived of life : and, so far from being able to destroy Jerusalem, as they had boasted they would ; they could make no more resistance to the power of the destroying angel, than if their hands had been cut oft": for, at the rebuke of that God whom they had blasphemed, those who rode in chariots and on horses, as well as the common soldiers, were cast into a dead sleep. They went to sleep in the evening as in security ; but they awoke no more in this world : and thus they were left to be plundered by those whom they came to plunder. (Marg. R(f. (Notes, 2 Kings 19:35-37.)

V. 7. (Notes, 10-12. Jeremiah 10:6-10. Matthew 10:27-28. Revelation 6:15-17; Revelation 15:1-4.) ’ Neither the wisdom of ’ the wise, nor the power of the mighty, no, not the world ’ itself, can stand a single moment before him, " when ’ " once he is angry." Yet we continue to dread any frowns ’ but those of heaven : and one poor, vain, sinful man ’ shall, through a course of sixty or seventy years, inces’ santly and undauntedly tempt and provoke him, who ’ destroyed 185,000 in a night. What is this but mad’ ness ? ’ Bp. Home.

V. 8, 9. Hezekiah referred his cause to God by fervent prayer; who by the prophet Isaiah gave judgment from heaven against the blasphemous invaders : and then the angel carried the sentence into execution.

(Notes, 2 Kings 19:14-35. Is 10. 7-19. 24-34; 29: 5, 6; 30: 21- 33. 33:) Thus the Lord saved his humble and afflicted people throughout the land ; the nations of the earth, being intimidated, silently desisted from their designs of destroying or enslaving them ; and the land of Israel enjoyed profound peace.

V. 10. The rage and malice of the most mighty persecutors and tyrants, were always rendered subservient to the display of JEHOVAH’S glory, and to the good of his people. And if they, having undesignedly accomplished his purposes, proceeded to attempt any thing which w;is inconsistent with that object, he failed not to restrain or destroy them. This he had exemplified in the case of Sennacherib, who, being " ordained for correction," (Note, Habakkuk 1:12-17.) and sent " against a hypocritical nation," was successful in his undertakings, till he had fulfilled the part of the divine counsel which had been allotted him ; but when he attempted to exceed his commission, he was suddenly and effectually restrained from proceeding any further. And this must be considered as a specimen of the divine conduct in all similar cases. (Marg. Ref. Notes, Psalms 46:5-11. Genesis 1:20. Daniel 11:2-4. Acts 2:22-24; Acts 4:23-28.)

V. 11, 12. As the Lord had shewn himself terrible to the kings of the earth, by intimidating the most courageous, and crushing the most powerful and haughty ; so he ought to be worshipped with reverence and awe by all that approached him : (Notes, Psalms 48:4-7; Psalms 89:6-12. Jeremiah 5:20-25. Daniel 5:5-9. Hebrews 12:26-29. Revelation 6:12-17} and his late interposition, in behalf of his people, should excite them to pay the vows which they made in the day of their distress, and to accompany their prayers with vows on all similar occasions ; being liberal as well as fervent in expressing their gratitude to their gracious Benefactor.

(Marg. Ref. Notes,Psalms 66:13-15. Psalms 116:13-19. Ecclesiastes 5:4-7. Nahum 1:9-15.)


God is more fully known, in the harmony of his attributes, under the Christian dispensation, than he was in Judah : and his glory is greater, as dwelling in human nature, than it was formerly, when he had his tabernacle on mount Zion, and was the Protector of Jerusalem. In vain do Satan and his servants wage implacable war, with tremendous preparations, against the church : the Lord has often confounded their devices, marred their weapons of war, and destroyed their armies. His peaceful, harmless, and holy people have frequently been shewn to be more formidable by their prayers, as well as more honourable and excellent, than the most successful scourges of mankind : and happy is that nation, which is well fortified with these bulwarks ; for what is valour, strength, or numbers, against the Almighty ? At his rebuke they tremble, stumble, and are not ! He " alone is to be feared ; for who u may stand in his sbht when once he is angry?" Yet puny mortals dare madly, through their whole lives, to defy the vengeance of that God, one of whose innumerable company of angels in one night destroyed a hundred and eighty-five thousand men ! But if temporal judgments excite such consternation, what will be the case when the Lord shall arise to judgment at the last day ! Happy they, who are now meek and " poor in spirit;" who trust in his mercy and submit to his will, who vow allegiance to him, and dedicate their all to his service ! Man may despise or be enraged at them, and the powers of darkness may excite storms around them ; but all shall turn to the glory of God in their salvation : and when their enemies attempt any thing, which would do them real harm, God will restrain this remainder of their wrath. (Notes, Romans 8:28-39. Let us then seek his favour as our portion ; and commit all our concerns to his wise, powerful, and gracious care, who can dispirit or destroy the most courageous and mighty, and is terrible to the ungodly kings of the earth.

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Bibliographical Information
Scott, Thomas. "Commentary on Psalms 76". Scott's Explanatory Notes, Practical Observations on the book Psalms. 1804.