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Bible Commentaries

Commentary Critical and Explanatory on the Whole Bible
Psalms

Chapter 1 Chapter 2 Chapter 3 Chapter 4
Chapter 5 Chapter 6 Chapter 7 Chapter 8
Chapter 9 Chapter 10 Chapter 11 Chapter 12
Chapter 13 Chapter 14 Chapter 15 Chapter 16
Chapter 17 Chapter 18 Chapter 19 Chapter 20
Chapter 21 Chapter 22 Chapter 23 Chapter 24
Chapter 25 Chapter 26 Chapter 27 Chapter 28
Chapter 29 Chapter 30 Chapter 31 Chapter 32
Chapter 33 Chapter 34 Chapter 35 Chapter 36
Chapter 37 Chapter 38 Chapter 39 Chapter 40
Chapter 41 Chapter 42 Chapter 43 Chapter 44
Chapter 45 Chapter 46 Chapter 47 Chapter 48
Chapter 49 Chapter 50 Chapter 51 Chapter 52
Chapter 53 Chapter 54 Chapter 55 Chapter 56
Chapter 57 Chapter 58 Chapter 59 Chapter 60
Chapter 61 Chapter 62 Chapter 63 Chapter 64
Chapter 65 Chapter 66 Chapter 67 Chapter 68
Chapter 69 Chapter 70 Chapter 71 Chapter 72
Chapter 73 Chapter 74 Chapter 75 Chapter 76
Chapter 77 Chapter 78 Chapter 79 Chapter 80
Chapter 81 Chapter 82 Chapter 83 Chapter 84
Chapter 85 Chapter 86 Chapter 87 Chapter 88
Chapter 89 Chapter 90 Chapter 91 Chapter 92
Chapter 93 Chapter 94 Chapter 95 Chapter 96
Chapter 97 Chapter 98 Chapter 99 Chapter 100
Chapter 101 Chapter 102 Chapter 103 Chapter 104
Chapter 105 Chapter 106 Chapter 107 Chapter 108
Chapter 109 Chapter 110 Chapter 111 Chapter 112
Chapter 113 Chapter 114 Chapter 115 Chapter 116
Chapter 117 Chapter 118 Chapter 119 Chapter 120
Chapter 121 Chapter 122 Chapter 123 Chapter 124
Chapter 125 Chapter 126 Chapter 127 Chapter 128
Chapter 129 Chapter 130 Chapter 131 Chapter 132
Chapter 133 Chapter 134 Chapter 135 Chapter 136
Chapter 137 Chapter 138 Chapter 139 Chapter 140
Chapter 141 Chapter 142 Chapter 143 Chapter 144
Chapter 145 Chapter 146 Chapter 147 Chapter 148
Chapter 149 Chapter 150

Book Overview - Psalms

Introduction to the Poetical Books

Hebrew poetry is unique in its kind; in essence, the most sublime; in form, marked by a simplicity and ease which flow from its sublimity. “The Spirit of the Lordspake by me [the Hebrew poet], and his word was in my tongue” (2 Samuel 23:2). Even the music was put under the charge of spiritually gifted men; and one of the chief musicians, Heman, is called “the king‘s seer in the words of God” (1 Chronicles 25:1, 1 Chronicles 25:5). King David is stated to have invented instruments of music (Amos 6:5). There is not in Hebrew poetry the artistic rhythm of form which appears in the classical poetry of Greece and Rome, but it amply makes up for this by its fresh and graceful naturalness.

Early specimens of Hebrew poetry occur; for example, Lamech‘s skeptical parody of Enoch‘s prophecy, or, as others think, lamentation for a homicide committed in those lawless times in self-defense (Genesis 4:23; compare Judges 1:14; Exodus 32:18; Numbers 21:14, Numbers 21:15, Numbers 21:17, Numbers 21:18, Numbers 21:27; Numbers 23:7, Numbers 23:8, Numbers 23:18; Numbers 24:3, Numbers 24:15). The poetical element appears much more in the Old than in the New Testament. The poetical books are exclusively those of the Old Testament; and in the Old Testament itself, the portions that are the most fundamental (for example, the Pentateuch of Moses, the lawgiver, in its main body), are those which have in them least of the poetical element in form. Elijah, the father of the prophets, is quite free of poetical art. The succeeding prophets were not strictly poets, except in so far as the ecstatic state in inspiration lifted them to poetic modes of thought and expression. The prophet was more of an inspired teacher than a poet. It is when the sacred writer acts as the representative of the personal experiences of the children of God and of the Church, that poetry finds its proper sphere.

The use of poetry in Scripture was particularly to supply the want not provided for by the law, namely, of devotional forms to express in private, and in public joint worship, the feelings of pious Israelites. The schools of the prophets fostered and diffused a religious spirit among the people; and we find them using lyric instruments to accompany their prophesyings (1 Samuel 10:5). However, it was David, who specially matured the lyric effusions of devotion into a perfection which they had not before attained.

Another purpose which Psalmody, through David‘s inspired productions, served, was to draw forth from under the typical forms of legal services their hidden essence and spirit, adapting them to the various spiritual exigencies of individual and congregational life. Nature, too, is in them shown to speak the glory and goodness of the invisible, yet ever present God. A handbook of devotion was furnished to the Israelite whereby he could enter into the true spirit of the services of the sanctuary, and so feel the need of that coming Messiah, of whom especially the Book of Psalms testifies throughout. We also, in our Christian dispensation, need its help in our devotions. Obliged as we are, notwithstanding our higher privileges in most respects, to walk by faith rather than by sight in a greater degree than they, we find the Psalms, with their realizing expression of the felt nearness of God, the best repertory whence to draw divinely sanctioned language, wherewith to express our prayers and thanksgivings to God, and our breathings after holy communion with our fellow saints.

As to the objection raised against the spirit of revenge which breathes in some psalms, the answer is: a wide distinction is to be drawn between personal vindictiveness and the desire for God‘s honor being vindicated. Personal revenge, not only in the other parts of Scripture, but also in the Psalms, in theory and in practice, is alike reprobated (Exodus 23:4, Exodus 23:5; Leviticus 19:18; Job 31:29, Job 31:30; Psalm 7:4, Psalm 7:5, Psalm 7:8, Psalm 7:11, Psalm 7:12; Proverbs 25:21, Proverbs 25:22), which corresponds to David‘s practice in the case of his unrelenting enemy (1 Samuel 24:5-6; 1 Samuel 26:8-10). On the other hand, the people of God have always desired that whatever mars the cause of God, as for instance the prosperity of the enemies of God and His Church, should be brought to an end (Psalm 10:12; Psalm 35:27; Psalm 40:16; Psalm 79:6, Psalm 79:10). It is well for us, too, in our dispensation of love, to be reminded by these psalms of the danger of lax views as to God‘s hatred of sin; and of the need there is that we should altogether enter into the mind of God on such points at the same time that we seek to convert all men to God (compare 1 Samuel 16:1; Psalm 139:21; Isaiah 66:24; Revelation 14:10).

Some psalms are composed of twenty-two parallel sentences or strophes of verses, beginning with words of which the initial letters correspond with the Hebrew letters (twenty-two) in their order (compare Psalm 37:1-40 and Psalm 119:1-176). So also Lamentations. This arrangement was designed as a help to the memory and is found only in such compositions as do not handle a distinct and progressive subject, but a series of pious reflections, in the case of which the precise order was of less moment. The Psalmist in adopting it does not slavishly follow it; but, as in Psalm 25:1-22, he deviates from it, so as to make the form, when needful, bend to the sense. Of these poems there are twelve in all in the Hebrew Bible (Psalm 25:1-22; Psalm 34:1-22; Psalm 37:1-40; Psalm 111:1-10; Psalm 112:1-10; Psalm 119:1-176; Psalm 145:1-21; Proverbs 31:10-31; Lamentations 1:1-4:22).

The great excellence of the Hebrew principle of versification, namely, parallelism, or “thought rhythm” [Ewald], is that, while the poetry of every other language, whose versification depends on the regular recurrences of certain sounds, suffers considerably by translation, Hebrew poetry, whose rhythm depends on the parallel correspondence of similar thoughts, loses almost nothing in being translated - the Holy Spirit having thus presciently provided for its ultimate translation into every language, without loss to the sense. Thus in our English Version, Job and Psalms, though but translations, are eminently poetical. On parallelism, see my Introduction to Job. Thus also a clue is given to the meaning in many passages, the sense of the word in one clause being more fully set forth by the corresponding word in the succeeding parallel clause. In the Masoretic punctuation of the Hebrew, the metrical arrangement is marked by the distinctive accents. It accords with the divine inspiration of Scripture poetry, that the thought is more prominent than the form, the kernel than the shell. The Hebrew poetic rhythm resembled our blank verse, without, however, metrical feet. There is a verbal rhythm above that of prose; but as the true Hebrew pronunciation is lost, the rhythm is but imperfectly recognized.

The peculiarity of the Hebrew poetical age is that it was always historic and true, not mythical, as the early poetical ages of all other nations. Again, its poetry is distinguished from prose by the use of terms decidedly poetic. David‘s lament over Jonathan furnishes a beautiful specimen of another feature found in Hebrew poetry, the strophe: three strophes being marked by the recurrence three times of the dirge sung by the chorus; the first dirge sung by the whole body of singers, representing Israel; the second, by a chorus of damsels; the third, by a chorus of youths (2 Samuel 1:17-27).

The lyrical poetry, which is the predominant style in the Bible and is especially terse and sententious, seems to have come from an earlier kind resembling the more modern Book of Proverbs (compare Genesis 4:23, Genesis 4:24). The Oriental mind tends to embody thought in pithy gnomes, maxims, and proverbs. “The poetry of the Easterns is a string of pearls. Every word has life. Every proposition is condensed wisdom. Every thought is striking and epigrammatical” (Kitto, Biblical Cyclopaedia). We are led to the same inference from the term Maschal, a “proverb” or “similitude,” being used to designate poetry in general. “Hebrew poetry, in its origin, was a painting to the eye, a parable or teaching by likenesses discovered by the popular mind, expressed by the popular tongue, and adopted and polished by the national poet.” Solomon, under inspiration, may have embodied in his Proverbs such of the pre-existing popular wise sayings as were sanctioned by the Spirit of God.

The Hebrew title for the Psalms, Tehilim, means “hymns,” that is, joyous praises (sometimes accompanied with dancing, Exodus 15:1-20; Judges 5:1-31), not exactly answering to the Septuagint title, Psalms, that is, “lyrical odes,” or songs accompanied by an instrument. The title, Tehilim, “hymns,” was probably adopted on account of the use made of the Psalms in divine service, though only a part can be strictly called songs of praise, others being dirges, and very many prayers (whence in Psalm 72:20, David styles all his previous compositions, the prayers of David). Sixty-five bear the title, “lyrical odes” (Mizmorim), while only one is styled Tehilah or “Hymn.” From the title being Psalms in the Septuagint and New Testament, and also in the Peshito, it is probable that Psalms (Mizmorim) or “lyrical odes,” was the old title before Tehilim.

Epic poetry, as having its proper sphere in a mythical heroic age, has no place among the Hebrews of the Old Testament Scripture age. For in their earliest ages, namely, the patriarchal, not fable as in Greece, Rome, Egypt, and all heathen nations, but truth and historic reality reigned; so much so, that the poetic element, which is the offspring of the imagination, is found less in those earlier, than in the later, ages. The Pentateuch is almost throughout historic prose. In the subsequent uninspired age, in Tobit we have some approach to the Epos.

Drama, also, in the full modern sense, is not found in Hebrew literature. This was due, not to any want of intellectual culture, as is fully shown by the high excellence of their lyric and didactic poetry, but to their earnest character, and to the solemnity of the subjects of their literature. The dramatic element appears in Job, more than in any other book in the Bible; there are the dramatis personae, a plot, and the “denouement” prepared for by Elihu, the fourth friend‘s speech, and brought about by the interposition of Jehovah Himself. Still it is not a strict drama, but rather an inspired debate on a difficult problem of the divine government exemplified in Job‘s case, with historic narrative, prologue, and epilogue. The Song of Solomon, too, has much of the dramatic cast. See my Introductions to Job and Song of Solomon. The style of many psalms is very dramatic, transitions often occurring from one to another person, without introduction, and especially from speaking indirectly of God to addresses to God; thus in Psalm 32:1, Psalm 32:2, David makes a general introduction, “Blessed is the man whose iniquity is forgiven,” etc.; then in Psalm 32:3-7, he passes to addressing God directly; then in Psalm 32:8, without preface God is introduced, directly speaking, in answer to the previous prayer; then in Psalm 32:10, Psalm 32:11, again he resumes indirect speaking of God, and addresses himself in conclusion to the righteous. These quick changes of person do not startle us, but give us a stronger sense of his habitual converse with God than any assertions could do. Compare also in Psalm 132:8-10, the prayer, “Arise, O Lord, into thy rest; thou, and the ark of thy strength. Let thy priests be clothed with righteousness; and let thy saints shout for joy. For thy servant David‘s sake turn not away the face of thine anointed,” with God‘s direct answer, which follows in almost the words of the prayer, “The Lord hath sworn unto David,” etc. [Psalm 132:11-18 ]. “This is my rest for ever [Psalm 132:14 ]. I will clothe her priests with salvation: and her saints shall shout aloud for joy.” Thus also in the second Psalm, various personages are introduced, dramatically acting and speaking - the confederate nations [Psalm 2:1-3 ], Jehovah [Psalm 2:4-6 ], the Messiah [Psalm 2:7-9 ], and the Psalmist [Psalm 2:10-12 ].

A frequent feature is the alternate succession of parts, adapting the several psalms to alternate recitation by two semi-choruses in the temple-worship, followed by a full chorus between the parts or at the end. (So Psalm 107:15, Psalm 107:21, Psalm 107:31). De Burgh, in his valuable commentary on the Psalms, remarks, “Our cathedral service exemplifies the form of chanting the Psalms, except that the semi-chorus is alternately a whole verse, instead of alternating, as of old, the half verse; while the full chorus is the ‹gloria‘ at the end of each Psalm.”

In conclusion, besides its unique point of excellence, its divine inspiration, Hebrew poetry is characterized as being essentially national, yet eminently catholic, speaking to the heart and spiritual sensibilities of universal humanity. Simple and unconstrained, it is distinguished by a natural freshness which is the result of its genuine truthfulness. The Hebrew poet sought not self or his own fame, as did heathen poets, but he was inspired by the Spirit of God to meet a pressing want which his own and his nation‘s spiritual aspirations after God made to be at once a necessity and a delight. Compare 2 Samuel 23:1, 2 Samuel 23:2, “The sweet Psalmist of Israel said, The Spirit of the Lordspake by me,” etc.

Ewald rightly remarks that several odes of the highest poetic excellence are not included (for example, the songs of Moses, Exodus 15:1-19 and Deuteronomy 32:1-43; of Deborah, Judges 5:1-31; of Hannah, 1 Samuel 2:1-10; of Hezekiah, Isaiah 38:9-20; of Habakkuk, Habakkuk 3:1-19; and even David‘s dirge over Saul and Jonathan, 2 Samuel 1:17-18). The selection of the Psalms collected in one book was made not so much with reference to the beauty of the pieces, as to their adaptation for public worship. Still one overruling Spirit ordered the selection and arrangement of the contents of the book, as one pervading tone and subject appear throughout, Christ in His own inner life as the God-man, and in His past, present, and future relations to the Church and the world. Isaac Taylor well calls the Psalms, “The Liturgy of the spiritual life”; and Luther, “A Bible in miniature.”

The principle of the order in which the Psalms are given to us, though not always discoverable, is in some cases clear, and shows the arrangement to be unmistakably the work of the Spirit, not merely that of the collector. Thus Psalm 22:1-31 plainly portrays the dying agonies of Messiah; Psalm 23:1-6, His peaceful rest in Paradise after His death on the cross; and Psalm 24:1-10, His glorious ascension into heaven.

The Book of Psalms
Commentary by A.R. Faussett

Introduction

The Hebrew title of this book is {(Tehilim} (“praises” or “hymns”), for a leading feature in its contents is praise, though the word occurs in the title of only one Psalm (the hundred forty-fifth). The Greek title (in the Septuagint, a translation made two hundred years before Christ) is {(psalmoi}, whence our word “Psalms.” This corresponds to the Hebrew word {(mizmoi} by which sixty-five Psalms are designated in their inscriptions, and which the Syriac, a language like the Hebrew, uses for the whole book. It means, as does also the Greek nam)e, an ode, or song, whose singing is accompanied by an instrument, particularly the harp (compare {1Ch_16:4-8}; 2 Chronicles 5:12, 2 Chronicles 5:13). To some Psalms, the Hebrew word ({shir}) “a song,” is prefixed. Paul seems to allude to all these terms in Ephesians 5:19, “singing  …  in psalms, hymns, and spiritual songs.

)variations from a proper translation of some, altering others, and, in several instances, supplying titles to Psalms which, in Hebrew, had none. It is also alleged that the subject of a Psalm, as given in the title, is often inconsistent with its contents. But those translators have also varied from a right translation of many passages in the Bible, which all agree to be of good authority; and the alleged inconsistency may be shown, on more accurate investigation, not to exist. The admitted antiquity of these inscriptions, on the other hand, and even their obscurity, raise a presumption in their favor, while such prefaces to a composition accord with the usages of that age and part of the world (compare Isaiah 38:9).

“The Chief Musician” was the superintendent of the music (compare “to oversee,” 1 Chronicles 15:21, Margin). “To” prefixed to this, means, “pertaining to” in his official character. This inscription is found in fifty-three Psalms and is attached to Habakkuk‘s prayer (Habakkuk 3:1-19). The same Hebrew preposition is prefixed to the name of the author and translated “of,” as “a Psalm of David,” “of Asaph,” except that to “the sons of Korah,” it is translated “for,” which is evidently wrong, as the usual direction, “to the chief musician,” is given, and no other authorship intimated. On the apparent exception to this last remark, see below, and see on Psalm 88:1, title. The explanations of other particulars in the titles will be given as they occur.

Authors. — This book is often called “The Psalms of David,” he being the only author mentioned in the New Testament (Luke 20:42) and his name appearing in more titles than that of any other writer. Besides about one-half of the Psalms in which it thus appears, Psalm 2:1-12 and Psalm 95:1-11 are ascribed to him (Acts 4:25 and Hebrews 4:7). He was probably the author of many others which appear without a name. He used great efforts to beautify the worship of the sanctuary. Among the two hundred eighty-eight Levites he appointed for singing and performing instrumental music, we find mentioned the “sons of Korah” (1 Chronicles 9:19); including Heman (1 Chronicles 6:33-38); and also Asaph (1 Chronicles 6:39-44); and Ethan (1 Chronicles 15:17-19). God was doubtless pleased to endow these men with the inspiration of His Spirit, so that they used those poetic talents which their connection with the kindred art of music had led them to cultivate, in the production of compositions like those of their king and patron. To Asaph are ascribed twelve Psalms; to the sons of Korah, eleven, including the eighty-eighth, which is also ascribed to Heman, that being the only instance in which the name of the “son” (or descendant) is mentioned; and to Ethan, one. Solomon‘s name appears before the seventy-second and hundred twenty-seventh; and that of Moses before the ninetieth. Special questions respecting authorship will be explained as they arise.

Contents. — As the book contains one hundred fifty independent compositions, it is not susceptible of any logical analysis. The Jews having divided it into five books, corresponding to the Five Books of Moses (First, Psalms 1-42; Second, Psalms 43-72; Third, Psalms 73-89; Fourth, Psalms 90-106; Fifth, Psalms 107-150), many attempts have been made to discover, in this division, some critical or practical value, but in vain. Sundry efforts have been made to classify the Psalms by subject. Angus‘ Bible Hand Book is perhaps the most useful, and is appended.

Still the Psalms have a form and character peculiar to themselves; and with individual diversities of style and subject, they all assimilate to that form, and together constitute a consistent system of moral truth. They are all poetical, and of that peculiar parallelism (see on Introduction to the Poetical Books,) which distinguished Hebrew poetry. They are all lyrical, or songs adapted to musical instruments, and all religious lyrics, or such as were designed to be used in the sanctuary worship.

The distinguishing feature of the Psalms is their devotional character. Whether their matter be didactic, historical, prophetical, or practical, it is made the ground or subject of prayer, or praise, or both. The doctrines of theology and precepts of pure morality are here inculcated. God‘s nature, attributes, perfections, and works of creation, providence, and grace, are unfolded. In the sublimest conceptions of the most exalted verse, His glorious supremacy over the principalities of heaven, earth, and hell, and His holy, wise, and powerful control of all material and immaterial agencies, are celebrated. The great covenant of grace resting on the fundamental promise of a Redeemer, both alike the provisions of God‘s exhaustless mercy, is set forth in respect of the doctrines of regeneration by the Spirit, forgiveness of sins, repentance toward God, and faith toward Jesus Christ, while its glorious results, involving the salvation of men “from the ends of the earth” [Acts 13:47 ], are proclaimed in believing, prophetic prayer and thankful praise. The personal history of the authors, and especially David‘s in its spiritual aspects, is that of God‘s people generally. Christian biography is edifying only as it is truth illustrated in experience, such as God‘s Word and Spirit produce. It may be factitious in origin and of doubtful authenticity. But here the experience of the truly pious is detailed, under divine influence, and “in words which the Holy Ghost” taught [1 Corinthians 2:13 ]. The whole inner life of the pious man is laid open, and Christians of all ages have here the temptations, conflicts, perplexities, doubts, fears, penitent moanings, and overwhelming griefs on the one hand, and the joy and hope of pardoning mercy, the victory over the seductions of false-hearted flatterers, and deliverance from the power of Satan on the other, with which to compare their own spiritual exercises. Here, too, are the fruits of that sovereign mercy, so often sought in earnest prayer, and when found, so often sung in rapturous joy, exhibited by patience in adversity, moderation in prosperity, zeal for God‘s glory, love for man, justice to the oppressed, holy contempt for the proud, magnanimity towards enemies, faithfulness towards friends, delight in the prosperity of Zion, and believing prayer for her enlargement and perpetuity.

The historical summaries of the Psalms are richly instructive. God‘s choice of the patriarchs, the sufferings of the Israelites in Egypt, their exodus, temptations of God, rebellions and calamities in the wilderness, settlement in Canaan, backslidings and reformations, furnish illustrations of God‘s providential government of His people, individually and collectively, tending to exalt His adorable grace and abase human pride. But the promises and prophecies connected with these summaries, and elsewhere presented in the Psalms, have a far wider reach, exhibiting the relations of the book to the great theme of promise and prophecy:

The Messiah and His Kingdom. — David was God‘s chosen servant to rule His people, as the head at once of the State and the Church, the lineal ancestor, “according to the flesh” [Acts 2:30; Romans 1:3 ], of His adorable Son, and His type, in His official relations, both in suffering and in triumph. Generally, David‘s trials by the ungodly depicted the trials of Christ, and his final success the success of Christ‘s kingdom. Typically, he uses language describing his feelings, which only finds its full meaning in the feelings of Christ. As such it is quoted and applied in the New Testament. And further, in view of the great promise (2 Samuel 7:12-16) to him and his seed, to which such frequent reference is made in the Psalms, David was inspired to know, that though his earthly kingdom should perish, his spiritual would ever endure, in the power, beneficence, and glory of Christ‘s. In repeating and amplifying that promise, he speaks not only as a type, but “being a prophet, and knowing that God had sworn with an oath to him, that of the fruit of his loins, according to the flesh, he would raise up Christ to sit on his throne,” he “foretold the sufferings of Christ and the glory that should follow. His incarnation, humiliating sorrows, persecution, and cruel death are disclosed in the plaintive cries of a despairing sufferer; and His resurrection and ascension, His eternal priesthood, His royal dignity, His prophetical office, the purchase and bestowal of the gifts of the Spirit, the conversion of the nations, the establishment, increase, and perpetuity of the Church, the end of time, and the blessedness of the righteous who acknowledge, and the ruin of the wicked who reject this King in Zion, are predicted in the language of assured confidence and joy.” While these great themes have supplied the people of God with a popular theology and a guide in religious experience and Christian morality, clothed in the language of devotion, they have provided an inspired liturgy in which the pious, of all creeds and sects, have, for nearly three thousand years, poured out their prayers and praises. The pious Jew, before the coming of Christ, mourned over the adversity, or celebrated the future glories, of Zion, in the words of her ancient king. Our Savior, with His disciples, sang one of these hymns on the night on which He was betrayed [Matthew 26:30 ]; He took from one the words in which He uttered the dreadful sorrows of His soul [Matthew 27:46 ], and died with those of another on His lips [Luke 23:46 ]. Paul and Silas in the dungeon [Acts 16:25 ], primitive Christians in their covert places of worship, or the costly churches of a later day, and the scattered and feeble Christian flocks in the prevalence of darkness and error through the Middle Ages, fed their faith and warmed their love with these consoling songs. Now, throughout the Christian world, in untold forms of version, paraphrase, and imitation, by Papists and Protestants, Prelatists and Presbyterians, Independents, Baptists, Methodists - men of all lands and all creeds, in public and private worship, God is still adored in the sentiments expressed in these venerable Psalms. From the tone of sorrow and suffering which pervade their earlier portions we are gradually borne on amid alternate conflicts and triumphs, mournful complaints and awakening confidence; as we approach the close the tones of sorrow grow feebler, and those of praise wax louder and stronger - till, in the exulting strains of the last Psalm, the chorus of earth mingles with the hallelujahs of the multitude, which no man can number, in the sanctuary above.

Angus‘ or Bickersteth‘s arrangement may be profitably used as a guide for finding a Psalm on a special topic. It is a little modified, as follows:

1. Didactic.

(1) Good and bad men: Psalm 1:1-6, Psalm 5:1-12, Psalm 7:1-17, 9-12, Psalm 14:1-7, Psalm 15:1-5, Psalm 17:1-15, Psalm 24:1-10, Psalm 25:1-22, Psalm 32:1-11, Psalm 34:1-22, Psalm 36:1-12, Psalm 37:1-40, Psalm 50:1-23, Psalm 52:1-9, Psalm 53:1-6, Psalm 58:1-11, Psalm 73:1-28, Psalm 75:1-10, Psalm 84:1-12, Psalm 91:1-16, Psalm 92:1-15, Psalm 94:1-23, Psalm 112:1-10, Psalm 121:1-8, Psalm 125:1-5, Psalm 127:1-5, Psalm 128:1-6, Psalm 133:1-3;

(2) God‘s law: Psalm 19:1-14, Psalm 119:1-176;

(3) Human life vain: Psalm 39:1-13, Psalm 49:1-20, Psalm 90:1-17;

(4) Duty of rulers: Psalm 82:1-8, Psalm 101:1-8.

2. Praise.

(1) For God‘s goodness generally to Israel: Psalm 46:1-11, Psalm 48:1-14, Psalm 65:1-13, Psalm 66:1-20, Psalm 68:1-35, Psalm 76:1-12, Psalm 81:1-16, Psalm 85:1-13, Psalm 98:1-9, Psalm 105:1-45, Psalm 124:1-8, Psalm 126:1-6, Psalm 129:1-8, Psalm 135:1-21, Psalm 136:1-26, Psalm 149:1-9;

(2) To good men, Psalm 23:1-6, Psalm 34:1-22, Psalm 36:1-12, Psalm 91:1-16, Psalm 100:1-5, Psalm 103:1-22, Psalm 107:1-43, Psalm 117:1-2, Psalm 121:1-8, Psalm 145:1-21, Psalm 146:1-10;

(3) Mercies to individuals: Psalm 9:1-20, Psalm 18:1-50, Psalm 22:1-31, Psalm 30:1-12, Psalm 40:1-17, Psalm 75:1-10, Psalm 103:1-22, Psalm 108:1-13, Psalm 116:1-19, Psalm 118:1-29, Psalm 138:1-8, Psalm 144:1-15;

(4) For His attributes generally: Psalm 8:1-9, Psalm 19:1-14, Psalm 24:1-10, Psalm 29:1-11, Psalm 33:1-22, Psalm 47:1-9, Psalm 50:1-23, Psalm 65:1-13, Psalm 66:1-20, Psalm 76:1-12, Psalm 77:1-20, Psalm 93:1-5, 95-97, Psalm 99:1-9, Psalm 104:1-35, Psalm 111:1-10, 113-115, Psalm 134:1-3, Psalm 139:1-24, Psalm 147:1-20, Psalm 148:1-14, Psalm 150:1-6.

3. Devotional - expressive of

(1) Penitence: Psalm 6:1-10, Psalm 25:1-22, Psalm 32:1-11, Psalm 38:1-22, Psalm 51:1-19, Psalm 102:1-28, Psalm 130:1-8, Psalm 143:1-12;

(2) Trust in trouble: Psalm 3:1-8, Psalm 16:1-11, Psalm 27:1-14, Psalm 31:1-24, Psalm 54:1-7, Psalm 56:1-13, Psalm 57:1-11, Psalm 61:1-8, Psalm 62:1-12, Psalm 71:1-24, Psalm 86:1-17;

(3) Sorrow with hope: Psalm 13:1-6, Psalm 22:1-31, Psalm 69:1-36, Psalm 77:1-20, Psalm 88:1-18;

(4) Of deep distress: Psalm 4:1-8, Psalm 5:1-12, Psalm 11:1-7, Psalm 28:1-9, Psalm 41:1-13, Psalm 55:1-23, Psalm 59:1-17, Psalm 64:1-10, Psalm 70:1-5, Psalm 109:1-31, Psalm 120:1-7, Psalm 140:1-13, Psalm 141:1-10, Psalm 143:1-12;

(5) Feelings when deprived of religious privileges: Psalm 42:1-11, Psalm 43:1-5, Psalm 63:1-11, Psalm 84:1-12;

(6) Desire for help: Psalm 7:1-17, Psalm 17:1-15, Psalm 26:1-12, Psalm 35:1-28, Psalm 44:1-26, Psalm 60:1-12, Psalm 74:1-23, Psalm 79:1-13, Psalm 80:1-19, Psalm 83:1-18, Psalm 89:1-52, Psalm 94:1-23, Psalm 102:1-28, Psalm 129:1-8, Psalm 137:1-9;

(7) Intercession: Psalm 20:1-9, Psalm 67:1-7, Psalm 122:1-9, Psalm 132:1-18, Psalm 144:1-15.

4. Historical. Psalm 78:1-72, Psalm 105:1-45, Psalm 106:1-48.

5. Prophetical. Psalm 2:1-12, Psalm 16:1-11, Psalm 22:1-31, Psalm 40:1-17, Psalm 45:1-17, Psalm 68:1-35, Psalm 69:1-36, Psalm 72:1-20, Psalm 97:1-12, Psalm 110:1-7, Psalm 118:1-29.

Note. - The compiler of the following notes has omitted all references to authors, as needlessly encumbering the commentary. He has had before him the works of Calvin, Scott, Poole, Ainsworth, Cobbin, Geice, Vatablus, Tholuck, J. H. Michaelis, Rosenmuller, and Alexander. To the two last named he has been particularly indebted for the parallel passages. He has made a free use of the views advanced by these authors, and claims no credit for anything in the work except the conciseness united with fullness of exposition. Whoever attempts it will find it far easier to write a long commentary than a brief one.

Lectionary Calendar
Wednesday, October 23rd, 2019
the Week of Proper 24 / Ordinary 29
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