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Bible Commentaries

Joseph Benson's Commentary of the Old and New Testaments
Psalms 76

 

 

Verse 1-2

Psalms 76:1-2. In Judah is God known — God’s people do not worship an unknown God, as the Athenians did, Acts 17:23, but one who hath made himself known, not only by his word and ordinances, but also by the glorious effects of his wisdom and power, exerted on their behalf, and against their potent and malicious enemies. His name is great in Israel — That is, famous and renowned, and greatly to be praised and admired. In Salem is his tabernacle — In Jerusalem, which was anciently called Salem, Genesis 14:18; Hebrews 7:1. And his dwelling-place in Zion — Largely so called, as it included Moriah, an adjoining hill, or another part of the same hill.


Verse 3

Psalms 76:3. There brake he, &c. — That is, in Judah, or at or near Jerusalem; the arrows of the bow — Hebrew, רשׁפי קשׁת, rishpee kasheth, the sparks of the bow, the sparkling arrows, bright and shining, swift and piercing, like sparks of fire. Some render it, the fiery arrows of the bow, the shield and the sword — Both offensive and defensive weapons, so that they could neither hurt God’s people nor save themselves from ruin; and the battle — The force and fury of the battle, and all the power of the army put in battle array.


Verse 4

Psalms 76:4. Thou — O God, to whom he is thought to direct his speech here, as also Psalms 76:6, art more glorious, &c., than the mountains of prey — Than the greatest kings and empires of the earth, which in the prophetical writings are often compared to mountains. And they are called mountains of prey, because then they were generally established by tyranny, and maintained by preying on their own subjects, or other inferior kingdoms: or, which amounts to the same thing, than the most powerful enemies of thy people, upon whom they used, and now expected, to prey. Or, as some think, the psalmist asserts here that Jehovah, who sent help to his people from mount Zion, was superior to the idol gods of the mountains, under whose protection the despoilers of the earth made their depredations. Thus the powerful assistance which Jehovah afforded his people from mount Zion, caused the Syrians to call him the God of the hills, and not of the valleys, 1 Kings 20:23. But the words may be considered as an apostrophe to mount Zion, and then the sense is, Thou, O Zion, art infinitely more glorious and excellent, and far more impregnable, through the favour and protection of God, than the mountains upon which the Assyrians had fortified themselves, and from which their soldiers made frequent excursions, and ravaged the country; more safe and secure, through the defence of the Almighty, than “the arm of flesh and the instruments of war could render the kingdoms of the earth, which set themselves against Zion; and which, for their tyranny, and cruelty, and the ravages committed by them, are likened to those mountains, where beasts of prey, with similar dispositions, rove, and roar, and devour.” — Horne.


Verse 5-6

Psalms 76:5-6. The stout-hearted are spoiled — Of all that glory and advantage which they either had already obtained, or further expected from the success of their present expedition. They became a prey to those on whom they hoped to prey. They have slept their sleep — Even a perpetual sleep, or the sleep of death. They have slept so as never to awake again to life on earth. He terms their death sleep, because they were slain in the night, when they had composed themselves to sleep, and so passed, perhaps insensibly, from one sleep to another. None of the men of might have found their hands — They had no more strength in, or use of their hands, against the destroying angel, than those who have no hands. At thy rebuke, O God of Jacob — By a rebuking blast sent from thee; both the chariot and horse are cast into a dead sleep — Are rendered motionless and useless, like persons in a dead sleep. The horses were killed, as well as their riders, and the chariots were of no further service.


Verse 7

Psalms 76:7. Thou, even thou, art to be feared — Thy majesty is to be reverenced, thy sovereignty to be submitted to, and thy justice to be dreaded, by those that have offended thee. Let all the world learn, by this event, to stand in awe of the great God. Who may stand in thy sight — Namely, to contend with thee? Standing is here opposed to flight from, or falling before, the enemy. Surely, “neither the wisdom of the wise, nor the power of the mighty, no, nor the world itself, can stand a single moment before him when once he is angry.” If God be a consuming fire, how can the chaff and the stubble stand before him, though his wrath be kindled but a little? “Yet men continue to dread any frowns but those of heaven; and one poor, vain, sinful man shall, through a course of sixty or seventy years, incessantly and undauntedly tempt and provoke him who destroyed one hundred and eighty-five thousand in a night. What is this but madness?” — Horne.


Verse 8-9

Psalms 76:8-9. Thou didst cause judgment to be heard, &c. — Thou didst execute judgment upon thine enemies by an angel sent from heaven. The earth feared, and was still — The effect of this terrible judgment was, that the rest of the world was afraid to invade or disturb the land and people of Israel; and chose rather to be still and stay quietly in their own territories. When God — Who had long suffered their insolence; arose to judgment — To execute judgment upon his enemies, and the enemies of his people. Hebrew, בקום, bekum, in his arising, or, after he had risen, or, because he did arise; to save all the meek — The humble, the patient, the mild, and gentle; or, the godly, who are often called meek ones; of the earth — Rather, of the land, for whose sakes, and in answer to whose prayers, God wrought this great deliverance which reached to all the people of the land.


Verse 10

Psalms 76:10. Surely the wrath of man shall praise thee — The furious attempts and blasphemous speeches of thine enemies shall serve thy glory, and cause thy people and others to praise and magnify thee for that admirable wisdom, power, faithfulness, and goodness which thou didst discover on that occasion. The remainder of wrath shalt thou restrain — Thou shalt prevent and disappoint the succeeding malicious designs of thine enemies, who will meditate revenge for those shameful and terrible overthrows. Or, as the Hebrew may be properly rendered, with the remainder of wrath shalt thou gird thyself; that is, thou shalt put it on as an ornament, which the girdle was; thou shalt adorn thyself with it as a conqueror adorns himself with the spoils of his enemies.


Verse 11

Psalms 76:11. Vow unto the Lord — Vow a sacrifice of thanksgiving; either at this time, for this wonderful deliverance, or hereafter, in all your future straits and troubles: let this experience encourage you to make such vows to God with confidence of success. And pay — But when God hath accepted your vows, and given you the desired deliverance, forget not to pay your vows. Let all that be round about him — All the tribes of Israel, who have the benefit of this mercy: or, rather, all the neighbouring nations, on every side, to whom the fame of this mighty work of God hath or shall come; bring presents — I advise them, for the future, if they love themselves, to cease from all hostilities against Jehovah and his people, and to submit themselves to the God of Israel; unto him that ought to be feared Whom, though they do not love, yet they see and feel that they have great reason to fear, and to seek his favour.


Verse 12

Psalms 76:12. He shall cut off — Dr. Waterland reads, bring down, and Dr. Horne, restrain, the spirit of princes — Their pride and elation of mind, such as was that of the king of Assyria, before he was forced to return with shame of face to his own land. Or their courage; he can dispirit those that are most daring, and make them heartless; for he is, or will be, terrible to the kings of the earth — And sooner or later, if they be not so wise as to submit themselves to him, he will force them to call in vain to rocks and mountains to fall on them, and hide them from his wrath, Revelation 6:15. The original word, however, יבצר, jibtzar, is borrowed from gathering the vintage, and signifies literally, He shall cut off their spirit, that is their breath and life, as men do their grapes in the time of vintage, namely, suddenly, violently, and irresistibly, as he did the Assyrian army. This is all they shall get by opposing him. Since, then, there is no contending with him, it is as much the wisdom, as it is the duty, of all, even of captains and generals of armies, of princes and kings, to submit to him, and make their peace with him. Reader, let this be thy care.

 


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Bibliography Information
Benson, Joseph. "Commentary on Psalms 76:4". Joseph Benson's Commentary. https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/rbc/psalms-76.html. 1857.

Lectionary Calendar
Thursday, October 17th, 2019
the Week of Proper 23 / Ordinary 28
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