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Bible Commentaries
Psalms 99

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

Verses 1-9

Psalms 99:1-9.

V. 1-3. The Septuagint assign this psalm also to David ; it is uncertain, whether on sufficient grounds or not. The word, rendered " tremble," signifies also to rage or fret; (Note, Psalms 4:3-5 ;) and beingfuturc, the opposition of the Jews and Gentiles to the establishment of Messiah’s kingdom, and their furious persecutions of the church in the primitive times, seem to be predicted :

(Note, Psalms 2:1-3:) as well as the consternation of the opposers ; while they witnessed the success of the gospel, and saw their resources, one after another, failing them, and every thing forboding their disgrace and ruin. For it was evident that " the LORD was great in Zion," and reigning on a throne of grace ; (Notes, Exodus 25:22. Hebrews 4:14-16; Hebrews 12:22-25. Revelation 14:1-5 ;) and was

Determined to effect a revolution in the moral and religious state of the world ; and to shew himself " high above all " people," or, over all the peoples, (plur.) So that nothing remained but unreserved and cordial submission ; and a willing exchange of idolatry and superstition, for the spiritual worship of the awful and holy name of Israel’s God. " They shall praise," &c. (Marg. Ref. Note, Psalms 111:9-10.)

V. 4. ’ Though none can resist him, yet he is not a ’ King that uses his power to wrong or oppress his subjects ; but to do them right, and to give them relief, in ’ which he delights.’ . . . He hath ’ hitherto governed the ’ seed of Israel with exact justice and singular mercy.’ Bp. Patrick. ’ Although the strength of our King be infinite, ’ yet it is never exerted, but in righteousness and just

* judgment, which are his delight ; they compose the firm ’ basis of his throne, and direct his whole administration. ’ Impenitent rebels must feel the weight of his arm, and c none can accuse the justice of their punishment : but in ’ all other cases, he is " mighty only to save." ’ Bp. Home.

(Notes, Psalms 14:6-7; Psalms 72:1-7; Psalms 89:13-14. Psalms 96:11-13. Psalms 97:1-2. Is. 9: 6, 7 Psalms 11:2-5. Psalms 32:1-2. Zechariah 9:9-10.)

V. 5. This is a call on the trembling or raging persecutors, to submit to God, and bow to the Messiah’s sceptre,

(9. Notes, Psalms 2:7-12,) as well as on his people to extol and worship their God and Saviour. The temple, or the ark of the covenant, was the footstool before which they were to prostrate themselves in humble adoration. These were typical of the person and mediation of Emmanuel. (Notes, 1 Chronicles 28:2. Lamentations 2:1.)

V. 6. God had often been so provoked at Israel, as to threaten to destroy the nation : but Moses and Aaron, at one time, and Samuel at another, and in like manner the prirsts, and prophets, and zealous believers, in different ages, interceded ; and so the nation was spared. These however, were only types of that great Mediator, " who is " able to save to the uttermost all them that come to God " through him ; seeing he ever liveth to make intercession " for them." (Notes, Hebrews 7:20-25.) The wrath of God, therefore, against the opposers of the gospel, need not drive any to despair : for he, who heard Moses, Aaron, and Samuel, through the typical sacrifices, and spared Israel, would spare nil who submitted, and sought mercy through the sacrifice and intercession of Christ. The same consideration was also well calculated to encourage the prayers and supplications of the persecuted and afflicted church.

(Marg. Ref. Notes, Psalms 106:19-23. Exodus 32:11-14. Numbers 14:13-19; Numbers 16:22. 1 Samuel 7:9. Jeremiah 15:1.) Priests.] Notes, Exodus 24:5. Leviticus 8:25-32. Deuteronomy 18:15-19.

V. 7- In the cloudy pillar.] Or " From the cloudy pillar." (Notes, Exodus 19:7-9; Exodus 33:8-11. Numbers 12:4-8.) Thus the Lord, in a most condescending manner, made known his will to Moses and Aaron, and by them to Israel. To Samuel also he revealed himself with great clearness, though in another way : and they answered his kindness, by an habitual course of spiritual worship, according to his ordinances, and zealous obedience to his commandments ; so that they were both blessed and blessings to Israel. (Marg. Ref.)

V. 8. Tookest vengeance, &c.] In answer to the prayers of Moses, Aaron, and Samuel, the Lord repeatedly spared the nation of Israel : yet he took vengeance on the ringleaders of rebellion among them ; and he caused the people to suffer for " their own inventions " and even by means of them. (Notes, Exodus 32:34-35. Numbers 14:22-23; Numbers 14:33-34; Numbers 14:39-45.) When Aaron burned incense between the living and the dead, the plague was stayed : yet many of the people had previously died of it. (Notes, Numbers 16:41-50.) And when Samuel prayed for the people, they were spared ; but their king, whom they had sinfully desired, proved a severe scourge unto them. (1 Samuel 12:16-23. Hosea 13:10-11.)

V. 9. (Note, 5.) " His holy hill," is here substituted, for " his footstool ; " which confirms the interpretation above given. ’ Imitate therefore the piety of those admirable men ; and raise your thoughts, and affections, and ’ voices, to extol and magnify the Lord our God, as much ’ as you are able ; for you can never do it enough. . . . For ’ the Lord our God is incomparably above all other beings. ’ and alone worthy of your adoration.’ Bp. Patrick. ’ Singing with the spirits above, " Great and marvellous ’ " are thy works . . .Lord God Almighty ; just and true are ’ " thy ways, thou King of saints." Bp. Home. (Note, Revelation 15:1-4; Revelation 5:3.)


JEHOVAH reigning on a mercy-seat may be viewed with joy by all his faithful subjects ; but his great salvation will aggravate the guilt of obstinate rebels : and, as hitherto the greatest number, even of those who have heard the gospel, have continued impenitent and unbelieving, the inhabitants of the earth have abundant cause to tremble at the report of the Redeemer’s absolute authority and almighty power. But he still " waiteth to be gracious : " let then all who hear, take warning and seek his mercy. Our God is " great in Zion, and high above all people ; " and the chief of sinners may yet rejoice, and praise his great and terrible name; though " he is holy," yea, because he is holy. His power is exercised in perfect wisdom and justice : and while he executes just punishment on his enemies, he most delights in shewing mercy to the humbled transgressor. As he loves judgment and righteousness in his own administration ; so he establishes equity among his subjects, and requires them to be " holy, because he is holy." His worshippers must bow before him in humility and reverence, and seek conformity to him ; whilst they exalt him by their adorations, and give him the glory of their salvation. There have always, however, been many professed worshippers of God, who have neither believed his truths, nor obeyed his will : and there is so much faulty in all of us, that our persons and services might justly be rejected by him. But our Prophet and High Priest, of far greater dignity than Moses, Aaron, or Samuel, who received and declared to us the will of the Father; who himself perfectly observed his testimonies and ordinances, and who " bare our sins in " his own body on the tree ; " continually pleads for us before the throne, and prevails for our pardon and acceptance. Encouraged by these glad tidings, we may come before him and call upon his name, and expect an answer of peace; nay, our supplications for others may be an extensive blessing to them ; " for the effectual fevent " prayer of a righteous man availeth much." But would we thus be heard, we must uprightly walk in all the ordinances and commandments of the Lord. And as no prayers will prevent the ruin of impenitent sinners ; so believers will surely be corrected by their own inventions when they commit iniquity, though the Saviour’s intercession prevent their final condemnation. (Notes, 1 Corinthians 11:29-34. Hebrews 12:4-13. Revelation 3:18-19.) Let us then entertain high and honourable thoughts of the LORD of God ; and not only exalt him with our lips, but give him the throne in our hearts : and while we worship him upon his mercy-seat ; let us never forget that he is holy ; and that lie abhors hypocrisy, and dead formality in worship, as much as profancness and infidelity.

Bibliographical Information
Scott, Thomas. "Commentary on Psalms 99". Scott's Explanatory Notes, Practical Observations on the book Psalms. https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/eng/tsp/psalms-99.html. 1804.
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