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Bible Commentaries

Arthur Peake's Commentary on the Bible
Psalms 71

 

 

Introduction

BOOK II.—PSS. XLII.-LXXII.

Psalms 42-83 are Elohistic, i.e. they use the word God (Elohim) and avoid the proper name Yahweh, probably from motives of reverence. Here and there, however, the name Yahweh has crept into the text by a natural slip of the scribes.


Verses 1-24

LXXI. A Psalm of Gratitude for God's Constant Care of His Servant from Youth to Old Age.—The Psalmist expresses himself in language borrowed from older sources.

Psalms 71:1-3. Quoted from Psalms 31. Use is also made of Psalms 22. But the Psalmist is a man of original power, and the Ps. has a definite character of its own. He has powerful enemies and has been brought to death's door, but he is full of trust that God, who has led him from his infancy, will lead him to the end. He is already growing old. The writer cannot be speaking in the name of Israel (see Psalms 71:9).

Psalms 71:6 c. Read, "my hope shall be continually in thee."

Psalms 71:7. The Psalmist was a wonder to many, for why should a pious man suffer so severely?

Psalms 71:20. Follow mg. The Psalmist was in imminent danger of death, but did not lose hope.

LXXII. Prayer for the Ideal King.—The king is to be just, beneficent, renowned. But he is in no sense superhuman. On the contrary, in Psalms 71:15 we are told that men will pray for him constantly. But in Psalms 71:5-11 another view presents itself. Not only is he to rule all nations, but his pre-existence, as some have thought, seems to be assumed in Psalms 71:6, and clearly his immortality is implied in Psalms 71:5. The insertion breaks the connexion between Psalms 71:4 and Psalms 71:12. Hence it is now generally admitted that Psalms 71:5-11 is, at least in part, a later addition. The king prayed for was certainly Jewish (see Psalms 71:2) and not improbably Maccabean. The passage inserted (Psalms 71:5-11) assumes a Messianic doctrine of very late age; how late, it is impossible to say. See further p. 372.

Psalms 71:3. A reminiscence of Isaiah 45:8.

Psalms 71:7. Read "righteousness" (LXX).

Psalms 71:9. Read, "Adversaries shall bow."

Psalms 71:10. Tarshish was probably a Phœnician colony in Spain, Sheba (1 Kings 10*) in S. Arabia, Seba in Ethiopia.

Psalms 71:15. Read, "May he live and may there be given," etc.

Psalms 71:16. Only the first nine words are intelligible; the rest of the verse is hopelessly corrupt.

Psalms 71:17. Read, "His name shall be established." This is not, as in Psalms 71:5-11, a personal immortality, but one of fame. Translate also "men shall bless themselves in him" (mg.), i.e. take him as the standard of prosperity (cf. Genesis 12:3). So we say "as wise as Solomon," "as rich as Crœsus."

Psalms 71:18 f. is no part of Psalms 72. It is the doxology which closed the book of "the prayers (LXX ‘Pss.') of David," and at a later time was used to mark the end of Book II of the Psalter.

 


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Bibliography Information
Peake, Arthur. "Commentary on Psalms 71:4". "Arthur Peake's Commentary on the Bible ". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/pfc/psalms-71.html. 1919.

Lectionary Calendar
Friday, November 22nd, 2019
the Week of Proper 28 / Ordinary 33
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