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Bible Commentaries

Arthur Peake's Commentary on the Bible
Psalms 4



Verses 1-8

IV. An Evening Hymn by a Man High in Office whose Rule Excites Jealousy and Resistance.—The Psalmist begins with an appeal to "the God of his righteousness," i.e. the God who declares that his case is good. The Heb. words usually translated "righteousness," "righteous," "make righteous" were originally legal in their implication. A righteous man was one whose cause was decided in his favour, so that he was clear of guilt in the judgment of the Court. Next (Psalms 4:2-5) he appeals to his foes who slander him and bring reproach upon his office, possibly that of High Priest. However angry they may be, they are exhorted to quiet their hearts with silent meditation. They are moreover to "offer the sacrifices of righteousness," i.e. sacrifices in which the Pentateuchal ritual was strictly observed. "Godly" in Psalms 4:3 is a technical term, and represents the Heb. Hasid, in Gr. Asidean. It was applied in Maccabean times to Jews who adhered to the Law in the face of opposition and opposed the introduction of Greek culture by the Greek kings of Syria. It occurs only in the Pss. and chiefly in Pss. which on other grounds are assigned to a late period (see 1 Maccabees 7:13 ff.). There is, however, some doubt about its occurrence here, Psalms 4:3 a being difficult as it stands and capable of easy emendation into "Thou hast wondrous loving kindness for me."—The meaning of Psalms 4:4 is very doubtful; RV and RVm are both possible.

Psalms 4:7 f. is one of the noblest passages in the Psalter, and is of extreme importance for the history of religion (see p. 370). Men are on the watch for signs of coming prosperity; they hope for plenteous harvests and the like. The Psalmist, on the other hand, recalls the blessing of the High Priest in Numbers 6:24 ff. "Yahweh bless thee and keep thee," etc. He finds his rest in God, and is happier in Divine communion than other men are in the possession of their wealth. He lies down and is soon asleep in the peace God gives.


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Bibliography Information
Peake, Arthur. "Commentary on Psalms 4:4". "Arthur Peake's Commentary on the Bible ". 1919.

Lectionary Calendar
Monday, November 23rd, 2020
the Week of Christ the King / Proper 29 / Ordinary 34
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