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Bible Commentaries

Whedon's Commentary on the Bible
Psalms 75

 

 

Verse 1

1. Give thanks—The first prompting of a pious heart, and the first tribute due to God for his wonders.

Thy name is near—Objectively, when faith waits for promised succour, as in Isaiah 30:27, the anticipated coming “name of Jehovah;” and subjectively, in the consciousness of his presence. The former sense suits historically the state of Hezekiah after Isaiah had delivered the promise, (Isaiah 37,) and the latter such experience as is recorded Psalms 65:4


Verse 2

2. When I shall receive the congregation—We must certainly recognise the historic ground of Psalms 75:2-3, before any spiritual or prophetic sense is admissible. The king is speaking to God. He states what he will do when he shall take his seat in the assembly, namely, perform the highest function of his office faithfully. “When I shall receive,” or take the place of authority in the stated assembly for the administration of justice, I will judge uprightly. He first thanks God for deliverance, then his heart turns to his distracted people, and, as God’s minister to them, he pledges uprightness of decision. This is part of his gratitude offering. All nations have had their times of restoring order and prosperity after the shattering effects of war, and this example of the pious king of Judah is worthy of universal adoption as the soundest state policy.


Verse 3

3. The earth and all the inhabitants… are dissolved—A figurative description of a wasted country and a dispirited people.

Dissolved— Melted, become faint with fear and discouragement. Psalms 107:26; Ezekiel 21:15. Isaiah 14:31, “Thou, whole Palestina, art dissolved:” this latter is spoken of this same or a subsequent Assyrian invasion.

Earth—The landthe “earth” so far as relates to Hebrew territory. To the eye the desolation seemed world wide.

I bear up the pillars of it—I adjust its pillars. The king still speaks in the name of God. Every thing in the kingdom is shaken and thrown out of order except the throne. From this solid centre and basis the reconstruction of government and the restoration of order and prosperity must proceed. “The pillars and foundations of the earth signify those fundamental laws which are essential to the existence and well being of society.”French and Skinner. The lofty image here employed is often used to denote the shaking or overthrow of governments. Psalms 46:2; Psalms 82:5; Jeremiah 4:23-27. It is quite common for interpreters to apply this to God, or to Christ as king, as speaking of himself and of mankind; but it is a safer method of interpretation to follow the historic and literal sense where it adequately meets the import of the language. To spiritualize historic facts does not interpret them; but the underlying moral of history is of universal application, and both fact and moral are given in holy Scripture to illustrate the divine government.


Verse 4

4. I said unto the fools—The king still speaks as God’s vicar. I said to the haughty, who by reason of their successes had grown insolent.

Deal not foolishly—Scornfully, boastfully.

Lift not up the horn—Toss not high your horn defiantly, as the infuriated bull, “from a sense of your strength, and with intention to strike.”Hengstenberg.

Speak not with a stiff neck—With an arrogant neck, a hard neck, a neck of impudence. The allusion is to the lofty tossing of the head of the bison, (when brought to bay,) displaying the pride and strength of his powerful neck.


Verse 6

6. For promotion—Same word as “lift,” in Psalms 75:4-5. He warns his enemy not to “lift” up himself in pride and scorn, for the true lifting up, or “promotion,” is from God only. Psalms 75:7.

East… west… south—An enumeration, not of the cardinal points of the compass, but of those quarters from whence the contest for supremacy among the nations arose, so far as the Hebrews were affected by it, namely, the Assyrians and Babylonians on the “east;” the Egyptians on the “west,” or southwest as to southern Palestine or the kingdom of Judah, and the Arabians and Ethiopians on the “south.” All these powers had been more or less called into activity by the invasion of Sennacherib, and from time to time warred against Israel.

The south—The Hebrew word is wilderness, but is a designation of Arabia.


Verse 7

7. God is… judge—Comp. 1 Samuel 2:6-8


Verse 8

8. A cup… red—The emblem of wrath. Psalms 60:3; Revelation 14:10.

Mixture—Alluding to the practice of drugging wine to make it more intoxicating. Isaiah 5:11; Isaiah 5:22.

Wring… out—That is, shall press the dregs, or lees, at the bottom of the cup, to extract the last drop. See Isaiah 51:17; Isaiah 51:22


Verse 9

9. I will declare—I will make public; it shall be the prominent fact of my reign and the confession of my lips.


Verse 10

10. All the horns of the wicked… will I cut off—Conforming my administration to thine, I also will break off “the horns”destroy the official power of such wicked persons as rise contemptuously against thee, thus setting at defiance all the laws of the commonwealth, as well as the religion established by thy authority, and will cherish and promote such as faithfully keep thy laws. This breaking the horns of the wicked and setting up the righteous, is a Davidic vow and maxim of government, (see Psalms 101,) and purely theocratic. The reader must not take this as a declared purpose to persecute men for want of religious faith, but a statement of the psalmist’s settled policy not to honour with office in the government, men whose loose principles and vicious habits will make them hurtful to the liberty and virtue of others, and unfit them to administer impartial law.

 


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Bibliography Information
Whedon, Daniel. "Commentary on Psalms 75:4". "Whedon's Commentary on the Bible". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/whe/psalms-75.html. 1874-1909.

Lectionary Calendar
Sunday, November 17th, 2019
the Week of Proper 28 / Ordinary 33
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