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Bible Commentaries

Lange's Commentary on the Holy Scriptures: Critical, Doctrinal, and Homiletical
Psalms 84

 

 

Verses 1-12

Psalm 84

To the chief Musician upon Gittith, A Psalm for the sons of Korah

2 How amiable are thy tabernacles,

O Lord of hosts!

3 My soul longeth, yea, even fainteth for the courts of the Lord:

My heart and my flesh crieth out for the living God.

4 Yea, the sparrow hath found a house,

And the swallow a nest for herself, where she may lay her young,

Even thine altars, O Lord of hosts,

My King, and my God.

5 Blessed are they that dwell in thy house:

They will be still praising thee. Selah.

6 Blessed is the man whose strength is in thee;

In whose heart are the ways of them.

7 Who passing through the valley of Baca

Make it a well;

The rain also filleth the pools.

8 They go from strength to strength,

Every one of them in Zion appeareth before God.

9 O Lord God of hosts, hear my prayer:

Give ear, O God of Jacob. Selah.

10 Behold, O God our shield,

And look upon the face of thine anointed.

11 For a day in thy courts is better than a thousand.

I had rather be a doorkeeper in the house of my God,

Than to dwell in the tents of wickedness.

12 For the Lord God is a sun and shield:

The Lord will give grace and glory:

No good thing will he withhold from them that walk uprightly.

13 O Lord of hosts,

Blessed is the man that trusteth in thee.

EXEGETICAL AND CRITICAL

Contents and Composition.—On the superscription see Introd. § 2and § 12, No7. The three strophes are connected in such a manner that the first sentence of each takes up the thought, though not the words, of the last sentence of the preceding one, and develops it. A solemn tone of joyful courage, the fruit of faith, and of praise flowing from the assurance of salvation, pervades the whole. The house of God and those who dwell therein are first the object of praise. It is then bestowed upon those believers in God who, under His blessing as the God of the covenant, perform their pilgrimages to Zion where they can find Him. Lastly, God Himself and those who trust in Him are praised.

Inferences have been falsely drawn from the feeling of gentle melancholy, and pious longing remarked by most of the recent commentators. For the suppliant knows and loves the house of God, longs after it and its worship, praises the happiness of those who dwell in it, and of those who walk thither, even though through the wilderness, in order to appear before God. Does this indicate that the Psalmist is personally not in a position to satisfy his longing for the sanctuary? The text gives no intimation of it; and least of all is anything hinted at which would be likely to prevent him. Not a syllable gives the indication of sickness, or imprisonment, or flight before enemies, or exile. Nor does Psalm 84:11 say that he was forcibly detained in the tents of wickedness. Not even is any ground afforded for the inference that he was locally absent from Zion. For the second strophe (see the exposition below), does not describe a festival-journey or a pilgrimage to Zion, by which a longing might have been awakened or strengthened, to take part in it also; but it employs expressions borrowed from the features of such journeys, while describing a different relation. And what makes this usage so much the more significant is the fact that a parallel instance is to be remarked in the first strophe where dwelling in God’s house is spoken of, while going to God is now placed beside it in order to complete the picture. The confidence exhibited in the prayer recorded in the third strophe agrees also with this supposition. We need not therefore press into the argument the points of agreement with Psalm 42, 43. in order to discover here again David’s situation of flight before Absalom, which is acknowledged to be represented there. In this view of the relation of the Psalm the author has been identified with David himself (Clauss, Stier, and most of the older commentators), or with one of the Levitical singers of the family of Korah, either speaking as from the soul of David (Rosenmüller, Hengst.) or praying for him as the anointed, and expecting his own return home with the king’s restoration (Delitzsch). We can only say that the “tents” in Psalm 84:11 c, as contrasted with the house of God, do not prove the latter to have been the stone Temple, especially as the expressions used in the first strophe (see the exposition below) do not necessarily lead to any such conclusion. Nor do they permit us to assume the period in David’s life when he fled before Saul, as the mention of “Zion,” Psalm 84:8, cannot possibly be accounted for on the supposition that the Psalm was committed to writing at a later date (Calvin). Hupfeld maintains that terms such as: dwellings, courts, altars, threshold, in the house of God, and the longing expressed in connection with them, presuppose a long-existing Temple-worship, already deeply seated in the feelings, and entering into the common language of the people. But this cannot be conceded unless we deny at the same time the antiquity of the Mosaic writings upon the subject of such worship. For the same reasons the expressions used with reference to the festival journeys to the Temple, throw no light upon the question, leaving out of consideration the fact that there is no clear indication that the Psalm is a pilgrim song (Herder, Muntinghe), or that Psalm 84:2-5 are a hymn sung by pilgrims who had arrived at the sanctuary, and Psalm 84:6-8 the reply of those who dwelt in it (Olshausen). Again, it is not intimated that the Temple was in ruins, in which the birds built their nest, but the house of God is spoken of as being resorted to for religious worship. We are therefore forbidden to assume the period of the exile (Isaaki, Kimchi as an alternative). The period following the consecration, 165 B. C, would be much more suitable than this (Hitzig), if it were necessary for us to seek the composition at so late a date. The “anointed” in Psalm 84:11 would then naturally not be the king but the Jewish people. But it is a mere assertion, destitute of proof, that we are to attach this meaning to the same term in Psalm 89:39, Habakkuk 3:13; and Psalm 28:8. Nor is a late date of composition to be argued from the fact that only here and in Sirach 42:16 is God called a Sun, and at the same time designated by the term denoting a round and glittering shield.

Psalm 84:1-5. How amiable, etc.—The Heb. word includes the two meanings: beloved, and: worthy of love. The use of the plural: tabernacles, perhaps has allusion to the numerous divisions of God’s house. Yet these divisions themselves are not meant, for God dwelt in the Holy of Holies alone. Nor is it to be explained as a poetical (Hupfeld) plural ( Psalm 43:3; Psalm 46:5; Psalm 132:5; Psalm 132:8; comp68:36). It is directed against the sensuous conception of God’s local residence, and yet does not entirely abandon it, so that we are not justified in understanding the whole strophe to relate to spiritual residence, hunger, and thirst (Hengstenberg). But the mention of the courts and altars as the place for which the poet longed, in which he would dwell and find a home as the bird in its nest, confirms the absence of the naturalistic and sensuous idea, while it also exhibits the more restricted conception of God’s dwelling-places, in distinction from the places where the people and priests assembled for the performance of their religious rites: and this distinction was suggested by the consciousness of the places of worship having necessarily a local habitation. Both orders of the congregation had their separate courts, as well as their established places and ceremonies in sacrifice and prayer; none of them, however, dwelt in these places. Yet it is not to be inferred from Psalm 84:3 that the poet was a layman (Ewald, Olshausen). Nor do Psalm 84:4-5 refer to Priests and Levites, who with their families lived by the altar. Nor are the residents of God’ house the inhabitants of Jerusalem, or those who lived round about the Temple (Olshausen) and certainly not the constant resorters to the Temple (De Wette, Stier). But the words contain the Old Testament idea ( Jeremiah 20:6) corresponding to that in the New Testament: members of God’s house ( Ephesians 2:19). The idea rests upon the conception of filial relationship, and is here imaged forth in the emblem of brooding birds. This figure not only serves this purpose, but also leads the way to the literal presentation of the idea in the following verse. The form of the sentence does not show a literal comparison of the nests, which contain even the smallest birds to be found anywhere, to the altars, which are the homes of the pious, and of which the Psalmist was, for the time, deprived, and after which he longed. It only shows that it is to be understood in one of the following ways: Either the poet in an agony of passionate longing breaks off the sentence with the sigh: alas! thine altars! (Calvin, Muntinghe, Stier), or we must supply and prefix the words: So I have found (Mendelssohn, Knapp); or: should I not find (Rudinger, Clericus, J. H. Michaelis, Dathe, Rosenmüller). But the passage is not merely a figurative one, in which the poet by a bold metaphor represents himself as the sparrow and swallow who found their nest, that Isaiah, a secure place of refuge, and an unmolested, protected, peaceful home within the precincts of the sanctuary (Geier, Venema, Burk, Clauss, Hengst, Del.). The sentence does not begin with; for (Luther), but with also; and this particle is not united to the verb (Hengst.) but to the name of the bird, in a clause which by the use of the perfect tense alludes to a determinate occurrence. This fact is the one well-known in history, that small birds lived undisturbed within the precincts of the Temple. We could therefore render directly: beside, or: close to thine altars (Sept, Vulg, Syr, Arab, and many of the older and recent expositors) without needing to assume that the Temple was in ruins (Isaaki, Kimchi). But, in the first place, אֶת W is more readily construed grammatically, not as a preposition, but as the sign of the accusative, and in apposition (Hengstenberg, Del, Hitzig), only that we need not insert: namely (Luther) [or even, Engl. Vers.]; in the second place the intermediate thought would be wanting, which prepares the way for the idea of man’s home-fellowship with God.

This fellowship in a spiritual sense was shared by the Psalmist. As on Old Testament ground, however, he cannot grasp the idea in its ripened fulness of meaning, and feel that he can exercise and exhibit his right of home and filial companionship in any other place than in the Temple on Zion. He therefore felicitates in general terms and in a comprehensive sense those who ever dwell in God’s house (Comp15:1; 27:4). The proposal of Hupfeld either to supply the words: “but I” before “thine altars” or to insert the whole passage after Psalm 84:5 a. is accordingly unnecessary. We must not, however slight so superficially as is usually done the objections adduced against the current explanations, especially by Hupfeld. The expression: my King and my God ( Psalm 5:3), must especially receive due attention. [Alexander; “The address, Jehovah (God) of Hosts has the same sense as in Psalm 84:2. One suggests the covenant relation between God and the petitioner, the other makes His sovereignty the ground of a prayer for His protection. The same essential notions of supremacy and covenant right are conveyed by the parallel expression: my King and my God.”—J. F. M.]

The particular meanings of the names of the birds, which also occur together in Proverbs 26:2, are a matter of dispute; for the swallow has a different name. ( Isaiah 38:14; Jeremiah 8:7). The same is true of the wild or turtle-dove (Sept, Targum, Syr, Hitzig), and it is an unsupported conjecture to suppose that these are onomatopoetic words representing a flock of medium-sized birds like crows, choughs or starlings, screeching and high-flying and separately undistinguishable (Böttcher). We may therefore hold to the Rabbinical explanation of derôr. Should it, however, correspond to the word dûri now employed in Palestine to designate the sparrow (Wetzstein in an Excursus in Delitzsch), then instead of the sparrow (Sept.) there must be understood here by Tsippôr some small twittering bird like the finch (Tobler, Denkblatter aus Jerusalem 1853, p117), which in particular is denoted by this onomatopoetic word.

It is not to be inferred from Psalm 84:3 b, that God’s praise is only to be sounded forth in the future, when it will certainly be proclaimed, while the present is still dark. This is the explanation given (Hengst, Ewald, Del.), after Psalm 42:6, according to the hypothesis that a like situation is described in these Psalm. But we have seen how uncertain the grounds of this assumption are. And besides, the primary signification of עוֹדis iteratio, so that it is much better to adhere to it in this place. The praise that resounds through God’s house is to reach still further, stretching from the past through the present into the future. Most therefore render directly: ever. The Selah also sufts this view better; the music here strikes in, leading the service of praise.

Psalm 84:6. Ways in their hearts. [E. V. In whose hearts are the ways of them]. The plural suffix is to be explained by the fact that “the man” was just before used as a collective term. But what is the meaning of the sentence? Is it as it stands, so meaningless that מְסִלֹּות [roads) must be given up, and כִּסְלָה=כִּסְלוֹת (confidence, Hupf.) be read in its place as the Chald has already paraphrased it? Or should we rather insert מַעֲלוֹת, because the Sept. has here as in 2 Chronicles 9:11, rendered ἀναβάσεις? Neither. The word expresses a meaning that is contrasted with side-paths or by-ways ( Jeremiah 18:15; Proverbs 12:28; Psalm 125:5). We might therefore think of the straight paths of Jehovah ( Psalm 17:5), which Israel was careful to follow, while the heathen wandered away from them in their erring courses ( Isaiah 53:6): the paths that were laid down by the statutes of the law (Hitzig). We have presented according to this view either the thought that the righteous have constantly before their minds these ways of God or His commandments, ponder them in their hearts and earnestly strive to walk in accordance with them (Isaaki, Kimchi, Luther, and others); or that the hearts of the pious are no longer a trackless waste, but a well-beaten path of righteousness, Proverbs 16:17 (Venema, Mendelssohn, Hengst.). The latter explanation is more readily attached to the form of the words and the usage of the terms employed, but it makes too little account of the context and passes over too quickly into a spiritual application, as we find also in the exposition of the following sentences that the actual and historical ground of the expressions has been needlessly abandoned by many. It is quite true that it is a forced interpretation of the disputed clause which makes it mean that the pilgrim-routes to Jerusalem (Aben Ezra, Knapp, Böttcher, Delitzsch), or the common streets in Jerusalem leading to the sanctuary (Grotius), were constantly in their thoughts. And Psalm 84:7, completes the picture of blessedness, set forth before in general terms, that Isaiah, the blessing of trust in God, by a figure which is borrowed from a wandering or journeying as a common emblem of human life (Hupfeld). But it expresses more. For in Psalm 84:8 b the travellers are described as appearing before God in Zion. The Psalmist has in mind a pilgrimage or festival journey; not indeed as apparent to the senses as though the spectacle of a band of pilgrims had given occasion to the words of longing (Muntinghe), nor yet as an emblem of the toil some life-journey of the righteous which has yet very many seasons of refreshing and blessedness. Here as in the preceding strophe there is a mingling of expressions drawn from the spheres of the external and the spiritual, as Psalm 84:7 especially shows. Psalm 84:6 felicitates those who have in God their strength (not their defence or their glory). And Psalm 84:8 says that they go, not: from band to band (Grotius and Rosenmuller following the older expositors), but from strength to strength, until every one of them (transition to the singular) appears before God Himself. This last phrase takes the place of the usual “before God’s face.” and yet with the local distinction, in Zion. It Isaiah, however, most natural to take the roads mentioned, without the article, in Psalm 84:6 b, not in a concrete and special application, so as to refer them generally to the ways to God and His house, whether in the sensuous or in the spiritual sense, but to understand them, as indefinitely as they are expressed, of the means and ways by which in the sphere of the heart the supply of strength vouchsafed by God to men is conveyed. It is therefore better not to compare Isaiah 40:3 but in particular Psalm 50:13. This view is confirmed by the words which immediately follow.

Psalm 84:7 f. Travelling through the vale of tears. [E. V. Passing through the valley of Baca], The participles here and in Psalm 84:5, are parallel and have a mutual reference. They denote however, either different persons or the same persons in different circumstances, at first as being companions of God in His house, and then as being on the way thither as pilgrims to Zion. Now Zion lay upon a mountain, and the surrounding country is very much cut up by ravines and in some parts poorly supplied with water. The pilgrims would therefore have a toilsome ascent from the valley-ground below. Many of the valleys, also, had significant names, easily convertible into symbolical expressions. Such were Rephaim=shadows, and Hinnom=wailing, which lay close together between Jerusalem and Bethlehem. In the former, there grew, according to 2 Samuel 5:23; 2 Chronicles 14:14 f, trees called בָּכָא. The rabbins have explained these to be mulberries, but later writers, more correctly (see Faber on Harmer’s Beobachtingen uber den Orient, I:400) have referred it to a plant resembling the balsam called by the Arabs baca, because when it is wounded, a tearlike liquid exudes (Winer, Realwörterbuch). There were undoubtedly several of these Baca-valleys: and being employed here as a play upon בכה (=weeping) in allusion to the property just described, they could very readily receive a symbolical application, and the more so as the shrub is very common in the arid valley of Mecca. Burckhardt found such a valley in the neighborhood of Sinai (Travels in Syria, etc., p977). And since it is evidently not a special route of any particular band of pilgrims that is described in our text, for the pilgrims in general did not march in companies upon the same road, it would be altogether opposed to the spirit of the passage and would destroy the idea and the expectation which the poet has awakened, to seek an actual Valley of Baca. The valley Rephaim is the less suitable, as, according to Isaiah 17:5, it was very fertile, while a conversion into a valley of fountains is spoken of here. It is therefore preferable to suppose a barren region to be referred to (Gesenius, Ewald, Olshausen), or valley full of thorns (Köster). But it is unnecessary to identify the valley here mentioned either with the Valley of Achor ( Hosea 2:17), between Jericho and Bethel ( Joshua 7:24) which contained a place called בֹּכִים (Sept. κλαυθμὼν), Judges 2:1, which again might properly have been =בְּכָיִם בְּכָאים(Hitzig); or with the last station upon the road from the north, where in a narrow and gloomy valley dark water drops from a rock (Renan, Vie de Jésus, Ch4). For apart from the fact, that the dropping from the rock called “weeping” in Job 28:11, is there called בְּכִי and not בָּכָא, it is not said here that the pilgrims made that valley a מָעוֹן=bivouac, before Jerusalem (Knapp), but מַעְיָן=place of fountains. Now this does not mean that they dug wells (Luther), or found fountains miraculously prepared, Isaiah 41:18, (Kimchi, Calvin), or through their piety converted the toils of the journey into occasions of spiritual refreshment (Geier and others), or that they made God Himself the fountain of their salvation (Venema, by a false reference of the suffix). The words are a figurative expression of the thought that the Divine blessing accompanies them everywhere and supplies the means by which they are refreshed on their journey, and so strengthened, that they become neither faint nor languid, but ever stronger as they advance. The valley through which they are marching, becomes green meadows and pastures and fruitful fields, by springs and rain. For מוֹרֶה denotes also in Joel 2:23, as יוֹרֶה does elsewhere, the first fertilizing rain after the heat of summer, which in the East clothes the parched ground in an incredibly short time with vegetation of the most varied kind, (Sept, Kimchi, Calvin and all the recent expositors but Hengstenberg). For it is against the context to suppose that allusion is made to the guide of the caravan (Herder) or to the teacher who instructs the travellers in the law of God, (Hengst. following the Chald. and the Rabbins, Luther and most of the older versions) who is covered with blessing (עטה as Kal in the passive sense). Although it gives a sense too restricted to translate: Baca-valley (Hitzig, Del.) and to understand by this a desolate and barren region at that time in ill-repute (Olshausen) noted for its resinous trees which derived their names from the resin which exuded from them (Böttcher), yet the nature of the discourse, which passes over immediately into the figurative, and the allusion contained in the name of the tree, make it also quite correct to render: Valley of weeping or land of tears. (The ancient versions, the Masorah, which has the remark that בָּכָא here stands for בכה, and the Rabbins except Aben Ezra and Kimchi, and after them many expositors, Hengstenberg and Hupfeld last). Luther altered his translation in many ways, but generally did not improve it. His view of Psalm 84:8 c, was founded upon the rendering of the Sept.: ὀφθήσεται θεὸς τῶν θεῶυ. Exception was made to the unusual combination of אֶל instead of אֶת־פְּגֵי, with, יֵרָאֶה; the allusion to אֶל חַיִל immediately preceding and to אֶל אֵל in verse3, was overlooked; and it was suggested that the true reading was אֵל אֱלהִים.

Psalm 84:10 ff. Our Shield.—This is in the vocative, as being an address to God; not, as in Psalm 89:19, an accusative denoting the king, and depending upon the verb (Aben Ezra). Against the latter are the terms Sun and Shield applied to God in Psalm 84:12, and changed by the Sept. into the sentence: God loves mercy and truth. God is called a shield also in Psalm 59:12. “See” stands absolutely as in 2 Chronicles 24:22; Psalm 80:15, parallel to “hear” in Psalm 84:9 c. “For,” in Psalm 84:11, does not confirm the foregoing supplication (Hengst.) but the whole Psalm (Aben Ezra, Geier and others). The verse says nothing about door-keeping, which was an honorable office. Nor about a long-continued residence (Luther). A comparison is made between dwelling and lying upon the threshold, the former relating both to the house of God and to the tents of wickedness. The latter is not employed in the sense of being despised (Augustin) nor as being the consequence of violent treatment (Sept.) nor as lying before the door as Lazarus did (Hengst.). It expresses a personal experience of the exalted good, happiness and value of belonging to God’s house, and the smallest measure of and most remote connection with this privilege were more esteemed and loved by the Psalmist than the greatest abundance supplied from other sources. The psalmist has in his mind’s eye a worshipper lying upon the threshold, but utters only his own conception and appreciation of this relation, not his actual condition and posture. Any reference to his humility and modesty (Calvin, Hupfeld), is as unsuitable as an allusion to the position and employment of the Korahites in the temple-service (Del.). The plural number courts, in Psalm 84:3; Psalm 84:11, do not necessarily indicate a late date. The original Tabernacle had, to be sure, only one court. But intimations are found of an enlargement and alteration in that of David’s time. (See Knobel on Exodus 25-31 p255).

DOCTRINAL AND ETHICAL

1. He who loves the house of God must ever experience nothing but the most ardent longing to be there, whether he be far from it or near it; he would never be found absent from it, he would even as God’s child forever live in His house. He therefore felicitates those who abide there; and they praise God continually. They have there what the bird has in her nest. “ God is so kind and condescending that He leaves not unrewarded the fervent love and holy desire which men feel for Him, but so gladdens men as to revive them in body and soul. And thus from an ardent longing after God there results an all-pervading sense of happiness” (John Arndt).

2. The earthly house of God, however, is only a type of the heavenly, and therefore in the pilgrim’s longing for and journeying to the former, is imaged forth the relation of the children of God to the latter. If they have their strength in God, their longing is not in vain and their journeying not without result as it is not without an aim. In their hearts are paths, upon which strength from God is conveyed to them, and in their toilsome course God provides the means of their support and success, so that they, raised up out of faintness and exhaustion, go on from strength to strength until they appear before God. Such men clothed with strength from Him are indeed to be counted happy, as they in their march through the desert, gladdened by His blessing, change it into a garden of God.

3. But it is a necessary accompaniment of such experience of mercy, that we do not rest satisfied with such longing, wishing, and desiring, but that longing becomes prayer, wishing trust, and desire the possession of salvation. Therefore must we not, in a false spiritualistic feeling, lightly regard or despise the means of grace offered and provided in the visible Church, but duly avail ourselves of them. Thrice blessed are they who act thus.

HOMILETICAL AND PRACTICAL

He who loves from the heart what is God’s, has as much reason for rejoicing as for longing.—Man must seek at God’s altars what he cannot well be without on earth, and what he can find nowhere in the world.—The happiness of those who dwell with God in His house: (1) wherein it consists; (2) how it is obtained.—Communion with God is neither to be gained nor preserved without a due use of the means of grace.—He who loves God’s house, walks in God’s ways, and trusts in His aid, is to be counted happy even on earth.—Our pilgrimage upon earth as a journey to the house of God.—The praise of God the joy of the righteous.—The transformations which true piety effects in this earthly vale of sorrow.—God not only defends His own, He blesses them also with gifts from on high.—He who would enjoy God’s blessings must open his heart to God, and prepare the way for His coming.—Progress in the ways of God is effected only through the strength of God; it is made from step to step, but is made surely towards God; it is not gained without much sorrow, but the end is abiding joy.

Starke: If God shows every little bird a place to build its nest and hatch its young in peace, He will also grant to souls longing for salvation, means of instruction and sources of happiness.—If the soul once gains a true appreciation of God’s word, its desire for intimate converse with it will grow day by day.—He who would call God his King must do Him homage, and yield himself up to Him by faith; and, by so doing, he will become not only His subject, but also an inmate of His own house.—O blessed dwelling! In God’s house will everything be granted to the soul, and nothing be asked of it in return but to praise Him.—The path in which we are to walk to heaven, must not only be in books; not lie only in the ear or on the tongue; it must be in the heart; the heart must learn to delight in God’s ways.—A Christian need not languish in this barren vale of sorrow, for he has everywhere beside him the fountain of life.—Is God the Sun of believers? He must enlighten them, warm them, and make them fruitful. Is he their Shield ? He must protect them against all enemies. Well for those who enjoy these blessings!

Osiander: The happy results of the preaching of the gospel show that the true, eternal, and only God, is present with His church, and blesses that ordinance, that it may bring forth much fruit.—Selnecker: There is nothing better than to be a member of the true Church, and to have God’s word pure and simple, for with these the Lord of hosts is and abides.—Rieger: A soul seeking God displays: (1), its desire for this blessed communion, (2), its actual arrival before Him whom it seeks and finds: (3), its worship, wherein it testifies to God its love for Him, its joy and trust in Him and dependence upon Him, and whereby it wins its way into His presence.—God’s praise in heaven is sounded forth in perfect strains; on earth we are training ourselves to bear a part in them.—Tholuck: How much is necessary, in order to realize the highest joy of life in God’s praise!—Guenther: First, the longing after God’s house and communion with Him; next, an indication of the way to the object of desire; thirdly, the reward of residence in God’s house, or in communion with him.—Umbreit: It is not the word of praise outwardly sounding which brings blessedness and peace to man; but he alone finds the highest happiness whose heart is fixed in God as his only strength, and glory, and who not merely knows the well trodden paths of God, but in whose heart they are and live.—Schaubach: It is not a bodily stay and residence in the Temple as they were granted to the priests and Levites in Jerusalem, that makes us blessed; but the constant sojourn of the heart with the Lord, which makes the Christian an inmate of His house.—Diedrich: The blessedness of those who enjoy unobstructed communion with the living God, the God of mercy.—Schapper (at the unveiling of the statue of Melanchthon in Wittemberg, Oct 21 st, 1865): With what right and in what sense do we honor the memory of the blessed Reformers? (1) They, as true children of God and living members of His Church, desired to dwell in His house and praise Him forever. (2) As true heroes they took the Lord as their strength, and from the heart walked in His ways. (3) As true teachers in the kingdom of heaven they passed through the vale of sorrow and made it fountains of water, and have been crowned with blessing. (4) As true Reformers of the Church, they have achieved one victory after the other, so that men must see that the true God is in Zion, where they abode and whither they have directed us.

 


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

Lectionary Calendar
Sunday, October 13th, 2019
the Week of Proper 23 / Ordinary 28
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