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Bible Commentaries

Lange's Commentary on the Holy Scriptures: Critical, Doctrinal, and Homiletical
Psalms 67

 

 

Verses 1-7

Psalm 67

To the chief Musician on Neginoth, A Psalm or Song

1 God be merciful unto us, and bless us;

And cause his face to shine upon us; Selah.

2 That thy way may be known upon earth,

Thy saving health among all nations.

3 Let the people praise thee, O God;

Let all the people praise thee.

4 O let the nations be glad and sing for joy:

For thou shalt judge the people righteously,

And govern the nations upon earth. Selah.

5 Let the people praise thee, O God;

Let all the people praise thee.

6 Then shall the earth yield her increase;

And God, even our own God, shall bless us.

7 God shall bless us;

And all the ends of the earth shall fear him.

EXEGETICAL AND CRITICAL

Analysis of Contents.—Since the Hebrew tenses are capable of many references to time, it would be admissible to regard Psalm 67:3; Psalm 67:5 as statements respecting the praise of God by all nations, which had already occurred (De Wette), which fact would then admit of various explanations in accordance with its value and reality, as well as with respect to its reasons and its significance. The same remarks apply to the final clause in which the fear of God takes the place of His praise. We might likewise find in the harvest mentioned by the perfect as finished ( Psalm 67:6 a), a statement of the fact of the blessing ( Psalm 67:6 b), and the pledge of its continuance ( Psalm 67:7 a). The latter reference Isaiah, however, for the Israelites, contained in the fruits of the harvest ( Leviticus 26:4), and it would be more in accordance with the tone of the prayer to find in these words the expression of a wish for the continuance of universal blessings, this wish having originated from the recent appropriation of the pledge resting upon Divine promises. This interpretation is still further recommended by the fact that in the two lines, Psalm 67:6 b and7a, the same tense is used as in Psalm 67:1 a, where the optative is certainly meant, since there is there indeed not an answer of the people (J. D. Mich, Stier), but an appropriationand free repetition of the blessing of the High Priest, Numbers 4:24 sq. When now Psalm 67:2 puts this blessing of Israel in direct relation to the making known God’s ways and the salvation (יְשׁוּעָה) therein to be obtained by deliverance, it is much more natural to give the words which follow, a Messianic reference in the universal sense, which is contained in the blessing of Abraham ( Genesis 12:3), and to recognize the missionary character of this Psalm, which appears likewise in the hymn of Luther: “Es woll’ uns Gott, genädig sein,” than merely to find here a manifestation of the goodness of God in general, and a lyrical transition from the national to the universal stand—point, embracing mankind (Hupfeld), in which God, in accordance with the nature of Monotheism, is designated as the object of the praise and reverence likewise of the heathen. In this state of the case, likewise, it is most natural to regard Psalm 67:3 sq. as optative, and only to let the final clause conclude with the future. For thus the clauses, which constantly implore, in believing appropriation, the blessings promised and bestowed, are entwined with those which proclaim and wish for, in accordance with the promises and in the joy of faith, the salvation to be obtained through the blessings in Israel, and praise of God among the heathen. Thus there is formed a chain; the end of which not merely bends back towards the beginning, but has partly an internal progress, partly opens an infinite prospect. Hence the spiritual interpretation of the fruitfulness of the earth, (Luther, Stier, after the older interpreters) seems to be arbitrary. We are to think of a blessed harvest, which we have reason to consider not merely as an occasion for the composition of the Psalm (Kôster, Ewald, Hitzig), but at the same time as an occasion for far—reaching thoughts, (Calvin, Hengst.), and as the pledge of more (Venema, J. H. Mich.), if not the type of higher blessings (Stier). The attempts to put the composition in the time of the Maccabees (Olsh, Hitzig), or the restoration of the kingdom after the exile (Ewald), or after the deliverance from the Assyrians under Hezekiah (Venema, and Von Leng.), are entirely without proofs and support.

Str. I. Psalm 67:1. Cause His face to shine among us.—The change of the phrase “upon thee,” ( Numbers 6:25) into “among us” is connected on the one side with the entire appropriation of the blessing of the High Priest, on the other side with the purpose directly expressed, which latter is already prepared by the change of Jehovah into Elohim, and appears as the principal thought of the Psalm by the transition from the indirect to the direct discourse. The expression: among or with us, accordingly does not indicate the nearness of the help (Geier), but the accompanying (Hengst.), or better, the guiding presence of God.

[ Psalm 67:2. Thy way—Thy salvation.—Alexander: “Thy way, i.e., Thy mode of dealing with Thy people, referring more particularly here to providential favors, the knowledge of which he hopes to see extended to all nations, as a means to the promotion of still higher ends. The pleonastic phrase, saving health, retained by the A. V. from an older one, has nothing corresponding to it in the Hebrew, but the single word which always means salvation, and is commonly so rendered.”—C. A. B.]

[Str. 2 Psalm 67:4. For Thou judgest.—This is not the judicial condemning and punishing, but as Psalm 72:12 sq.; Isaiah 11:3 sq, the righteous government of the royal ruler.—[Thou leadest.—Perowne: “The verb is the same as in Psalm 23:3, God being the great Shepherd of all nations.”—C. A. B.]

[Str. 3 Psalm 67:6. The earth hath yielded her increase.—Moll, with most interpreters, renders the verb in its natural sense. Some, however, as the A. V, regard it as the prophetic past, and translate as future. Ewald translates it as present. The natural reference is to a recent harvest, on the basis of which the Psalmist prays the final prayer that: “God our God may bless us, and all the ends of the earth may fear Him.”—C. A. B.]

DOCTRINAL AND ETHICAL

1. The congregation of the Lord can have no wish more acceptable to God, than that He should bestow upon them blessings spiritual and bodily, in order that their welfare and its manifest cause may make known to the heathen the salvation which God gives to those who fear Him, and the ways upon which He brings this to pass. The congregation thus maintains its true historical and redemptive position, and fulfils at the same time its missionary calling.

2. The ground upon which this hope, which has grown up out of faith in the truth of God’s promises is based, that the heathen will attain their destiny, is the government of God in the history of the world, which is manifest to all nations, and is as righteous as it is gracious. The occasion of a prayer of this kind is given in the bestowal of a blessed harvest, partly as a testimony of His power and goodness in general, partly as a seal of His promises, partly as a pledge of additional gracious guidance.

HOMILETICAL AND PRACTICAL

God’s blessing is to be implored in faith, received with thanksgiving, used in accordance with God’s will.—The gifts of God to His people should benefit the whole world.—The righteous government and the gracious guidance of men are as worthy objects of praise, as valuable foundations of hope.—The congregation is not only called to receive the Divine blessing, but likewise to spread it abroad, and should allow itself to be properly prepared and guided thereto. The aim, hope, and right of missionary work.—The end, basis, and means of hope in missions.—The end, way, and guardian of our pilgrimage.—God would not only reign as monarch of the world, but men should know likewise the ways in which He leads them.—God not only guides His people in the right ways, but He quickens them under the way, Isaiah 58:11.—God has made known His ways ( Psalm 25:10) to His people ( Psalm 103:7) that they may walk therein, and teach other nations to do this.—The land has given its increase; how is it with the people in general?—How with the congregation? How with thee?

Starke: The pious share their bodily blessings with the ungodly, but these are properly no blessings to the latter; but spiritual blessings belong only to the children of God.—All depends upon properly knowing God, and the way of life pointed out by Him.—In the kingdom of God it is demanded of each and every member, to be fruitful in good works.—God’s grace makes no man poor, but may make him rich.

Franke: God’s grace, blessing, the light of His countenance, are not for temporal blessedness, but for eternal life.—Tholuck: Longing after the most spiritual of all blessings that the salvation from God should arise in Israel and its light shine over all the heathen on earth.—Guenther: These are the true prophets and teachers, upon whose countenance the glance of the Divine light still remains.—Taube: Prophetic glance at the erection of the kingdom of God among all nations.

[Matt. Henry: We need desire no more to make us happy than to have God’s face shine upon us, to have God love us, and let us know that He loves us.—We shall have never the less of God’s mercy, and blessing, and favor, for others coming in to share with us.—It is good to cast in our lot with these that are the blessed of the Lord.—Barnes: The happiness of man depends on a knowledge of the principles on which God bestows His favors; for all men are, in all things, dependent on Him. Individuals and nations, as they follow the counsels of God, are safe and happy; and in no other way.—Spurgeon: Our love must make long marches, and our prayers must have a wide sweep; we must embrace the whole world in our intercessions.—We never know God aright till we know Him to be ours, and the more we love Him the more do we long to be fully assured that He is ours.—C. A. B.]

 


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These files are a derivative of an electronic edition available at BibleSupport.com. Public Domain.

Bibliography Information
Lange, Johann Peter. "Commentary on Psalms 67:4". "Commentary on the Holy Scriptures: Critical, Doctrinal, and Homiletical". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/lcc/psalms-67.html. 1857-84.

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