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Bible Commentaries

Arthur Peake's Commentary on the Bible
Psalms 73





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 1-28


LXXIII. The Hope of Immortality.—Here the Psalter reaches its highest elevation. Job, in Job 19:25 f.*, believes that God will vindicate his innocence even after death, and is confident that he himself, in spite of death, will see God. Job, however, expresses no belief that he will live for ever. He is to see God for a moment; he does not expect that he will abide with God continually. This is just what the Psalmist does expect. This belief flows from the depths of his spiritual experience, and he utters it with intensity of conviction and in calm and measured language. He has seen the prosperity of the godless and has all but lost his faith in God. He will not, however, condemn the generation of God's children, or admit that their piety has been in vain. God teaches him how precarious the prosperity of the wicked is, and leads him to the conviction that communion with God, the source of life, is the supreme and eternal blessing. See p. 371.

Psalms 73:1-12. The pride of the wicked and their prosperity.

Psalms 73:1. As the text stands, Israel means the spiritual Israel, but the Psalmist makes no such distinction. Read, "to the upright."

Psalms 73:4. Read, with new division of consonants, "They have no pangs: sound and firm is their body."

Psalms 73:7. LXX reads, "Their iniquity goeth forth from their fat," i.e. from their gross, sensual nature. In Psalms 73:7 b read mg.

Psalms 73:8. oppression: translate, "perverse words."

Psalms 73:9 f. These practical atheists discuss all questions, human and Divine. This attracts many to their side. Nothing can be made of Psalms 73:10 b.

Psalms 73:13-22. The Psalmist's temptation and his deliverance. He is tempted to think piety of no account. Temporal prosperity was its promised reward, but under the later Greek rulers, especially Antiochus, a Jew would profit far more by adopting Greek fashions than by strict observance of the Law. But the Psalmist will not be disloyal to the revelation which belonged to the Hebrews as the children of Yahweh (Deuteronomy 14:1). In the "sanctuary of God," i.e. the Temple (for there is no need to think of secret religious societies like the Greek mysteries), the truth flashes upon him. "As a dream when one awaketh they are gone, as a phantom which thou despisest when awake" (Psalms 73:20 emended). The Psalmist confesses that he has been like a beast which has no spiritual sight.

Psalms 73:23-28. Now, on the contrary, he enjoys unbroken communion with God and learns that this is the supreme good. God is his guide here and will receive him into glory hereafter. Psalms 73:28 c is an interpolation.


Copyright Statement
These files are public domain.
Text Courtesy of Used by Permission.

Bibliography Information
Peake, Arthur. "Commentary on Psalms 73:4". "Arthur Peake's Commentary on the Bible ". 1919.

Lectionary Calendar
Friday, October 30th, 2020
the Week of Proper 25 / Ordinary 30
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