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Verse-by-Verse Bible Commentary

Psalms 68:19

Blessed be the Lord, who daily bears our burden, The God who is our salvation. Selah.
New American Standard Version
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  1. Adam Clarke Commentary
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  3. Coffman Commentaries on the Bible
  4. Albert Barnes' Notes on the Whole Bible
  5. E.W. Bullinger's Companion Bible Notes
  6. Calvin's Commentary on the Bible
  7. Chuck Smith Bible Commentary
  8. John Dummelow's Commentary on the Bible
  9. Expository Notes of Dr. Thomas Constable
  10. Expository Notes of Dr. Thomas Constable
  11. Expository Notes of Dr. Thomas Constable
  12. Ellicott's Commentary for English Readers
  13. Ellicott's Commentary for English Readers
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Bible Study Resources

Concordances:
Nave's Topical Bible - Blessing;   God;   Salvation;   Thankfulness;   Thompson Chain Reference - Blessings;   Blessings-Afflictions;   Gratitude-Ingratitude;   Temporal;   Thankfulness;   The Topic Concordance - Blessings;   Giving and Gifts;   Salvation;   Torrey's Topical Textbook - Praise;  
Dictionaries:
Baker Evangelical Dictionary of Biblical Theology - Salvation;   Holman Bible Dictionary - Blessing and Cursing;   Hastings' Dictionary of the Bible - Gift, Giving;   Psalms;   Sin;   Hastings' Dictionary of the New Testament - Psalms (2);   Salvation;   People's Dictionary of the Bible - God;   Psalms the book of;   Watson's Biblical & Theological Dictionary - Triumphs;  
Encyclopedias:
International Standard Bible Encyclopedia - Benefit;   Lade;   Psalms, Book of;   The Jewish Encyclopedia - Hillel;   Jesus of Nazareth;   Shekinah;  
Devotionals:
Today's Word from Skip Moen - Devotion for March 14;  

Adam Clarke Commentary

Blessed be the Lord, who daily loadeth us - With benefits is not in the text. Perhaps it would be better to translate the clause thus: "Blessed be Adonai, our Prop day by day, who supports us." Or, "Blessed be the Lord, who supports us day by day." Or as the Vulgate, Septuagint, and Arabic: "Blessed be the Lord daily, our God who makes our journey prosperous; even the God of our salvation." The Syriac, "Blessed be the Lord daily, who hath chosen our inheritance." The word עמס amas, which we translate to load, signifies to lift, bear up, support, or to bear a burden for another. Hence it would not be going far from the ideal meaning to translate: "Blessed be the Lord day by day, who bears our burdens for us." But loadeth us with benefits is neither a translation nor meaning.

Copyright Statement
These files are public domain.
Bibliographical Information
Clarke, Adam. "Commentary on Psalms 68:19". "The Adam Clarke Commentary". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/acc/psalms-68.html. 1832.

Bridgeway Bible Commentary

Psalm 68 The God of Israel

This magnificent hymn of praise and triumph was no doubt written for some special occasion. It may have been the occasion on which David brought the ark to Jerusalem (see introductory notes to Psalm 24), but its language makes the psalm suitable for much wider use.

When God fights for his people, their enemies are as helpless before them as smoke before wind or wax before fire. Nothing can stop him as he rides out to do battle (1-4). God is on the side of the poor, the afflicted and the downtrodden, but he opposes those who rebel against him (5-6).

All this was demonstrated in the events of the exodus from Egypt, when God worked wonders in the skies and on the earth to release his people and punish their oppressors (7-10). It was demonstrated also in the conquest of Canaan and the events that followed. Enemy kings were conquered and driven before Israel as snowflakes are driven before the wind. The psalmist pictures the colourful scene at the Israelites' camp as the soldiers return with clothing and other goods left behind by the fleeing enemy (11-14).

Finally, Israel conquered Jerusalem, whereupon God, in the symbolic form of the covenant box, came to Mount Zion. The psalmist imagines the mighty mountains of Bashan being envious of the humble hill in Jerusalem that God chose for his dwelling place (15-16; cf. 2 Samuel 5:1-10; 2 Samuel 6:14-19).

God's conquest on behalf of his people, from the time they left Mount Sinai to the time they came to Mount Zion, is pictured in a conquest by a mighty army of chariots. The victors capture their enemies and enrich themselves by seizing the enemies' goods (17-18).

These reminders from the past encourage Israel to have confidence in God for the present and the future. He will continue to help them (19-20). From the tops of Bashan's mountains to the depths of the sea nothing can withstand God. Israel will triumph over its enemies (21-23). The psalmist then describes the triumphal procession, as singers, musicians and dancers, followed by the tribal representatives, enter the sanctuary (24-27). No longer will other nations ('beasts' and 'bulls') conquer Israel and force it to pay heavy taxes. Instead these nations will bring their offerings to Israel, as they submit themselves to the rule of God (28-31). All nations are urged to praise him who rules in the heavens (32-35).

Copyright Statement
These files are public domain.
Text Courtesy of BibleSupport.com. Used by Permission.
Bibliographical Information
Flemming, Donald C. "Commentary on Psalms 68:19". "Brideway Bible Commentary". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/bbc/psalms-68.html. 2005.

Coffman Commentaries on the Bible

BLESSING THE GOD WHO SAVES

"Blessed be the Lord who daily beareth our burden,

Even the God who is our salvation. (Selah)

God is unto us a God of deliverances;

And unto Jehovah the Lord belongeth escape from death."

"Salvation" (Psalms 68:19). That the God of Israel, the God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob, is indeed the God of salvation for mankind is the great theme of the Holy Bible in both the Old Testament and the New Testament.

"Escape from death" (Psalms 68:20). With the exception of Enoch and Elijah, all men who were ever born died; none escaped death, except in the very limited sense of being saved from impending death in a given situation for a period of time. It seems to us that here again, the older versions have the better rendition, "For unto God the Lord belong the issues of death." (KJV). Why is this better? Because what it says is true, whereas, the American Standard Version and later versions are true only in a limited sense. "The keys of the grave and of death have been put into the hands of the Lord Jesus (Revelation 1:18)."[16]

Note in Psalms 68:20 that dual names for God are used, Jehovah and Elohim, rendered "God our God," or "Jehovah our Lord," or "God our Lord."

Copyright Statement
Coffman Commentaries reproduced by permission of Abilene Christian University Press, Abilene, Texas, USA. All other rights reserved.
Bibliographical Information
Coffman, James Burton. "Commentary on Psalms 68:19". "Coffman Commentaries on the Bible". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/bcc/psalms-68.html. Abilene Christian University Press, Abilene, Texas, USA. 1983-1999.

Albert Barnes' Notes on the Whole Bible

Blessed be the Lord, who daily loadeth us with benefits … - literally, “day, day;” that is, day by day; or, constantly. The words “with benefits” are not in the original, and they do not convey the true idea of the passage. The word rendered “loadeth” means to take up; to lift, as a stone, Zechariah 12:3; to bear, to carry, Isaiah 46:3. Then it means “to take up and place upon a beast of burden;” to load, Isaiah 46:1; Genesis 44:13. Hence, it means to impose or lay a burden or a load on one; and the idea here is, “Blessed be the Lord God even if he lays a burden on us, and if he does this daily, for he is the God of our salvation.” He enables us to bear it; he gives us strength; and finally he delivers us from it. “Though,” therefore, he constantly lays on us a burden, he as constantly aids us to bear it. He does not leave us. He enables us to triumph in him, and through him; and we have occasion constantly to honor and to praise his name. This accords with the experience of all his people, that however heavy may be the burden laid on them, and however constant their trials, they find him as constant a helper, and they daily have occasion to praise and bless him.

Copyright Statement
These files are public domain.
Bibliographical Information
Barnes, Albert. "Commentary on Psalms 68:19". "Barnes' Notes on the Whole Bible". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/bnb/psalms-68.html. 1870.

E.W. Bullinger's Companion Bible Notes

THE GOD. Hebrew El (with Art.) App-4.

of our = "[Who is] our".

salvation. Some codices, with one early printed edition, Septuagint, and Vulgate, read "salvations" (plural) = our great salvation.

Selah. Connecting the exhortation to bless Jehovah (Psalms 68:19) with the reason for it (Psalms 68:20). See App-66.

Copyright Statement
These files are public domain.
Text Courtesy of BibleSupport.com. Used by Permission.
Bibliographical Information
Bullinger, Ethelbert William. "Commentary on Psalms 68:19". "E.W. Bullinger's Companion bible Notes". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/bul/psalms-68.html. 1909-1922.

Calvin's Commentary on the Bible

19.Blessed be the Lord, etc. David would have us to understand, that in recounting the more particular deliverances which God had wrought, he did not mean to draw our minds away from the fact, that the Church is constantly and at all times indebted for its safety to the Divine care and protection. He adds, Blessed be God daily And he intimates, that deliverances might be expected from him with great abundance of every blessing. Some read, he will load, others, he will carry; (40) but it is of little importance which reading we adopt. He points at the fact, that God extends continued proofs of his kindness to his people, and is unwearied in renewing the instances of it. I read this Lord in the second part of the verse, for the letter ה, he, prefixed in the Hebrew, has often the force of a demonstrative pronoun; and he would point out, as it were with the finger, that God in whom their confidence ought to be placed. So in the next verse, which may be read, this our God is the God of salvation What is here said coincides with the scope of what immediately precedes, and is meant to convey the truth that God protects his Church and people constantly. In saying this God, he administers a check to the tendency in men to have their minds diverted from the one living and true God. The salvation of God is set before the view of all men without exception, but is very properly represented here as something peculiar to the elect, that they may recognize themselves as continually indebted to his preserving care, unlike the wicked, who pervert that which might have proved life into destruction, through their unthankfulness. The Hebrew word in the 20th verse is salvations, in the plural number, to convince us that when death may threaten us in ever so many various forms, God can easily devise the necessary means of preservation, and that we should trust to experience the same mercy again which has been extended to us once. The latter clause of the verse bears the same meaning, where it is said, that to the Lord belong the issues of death Some read, the issues unto death, (41) supposing that the reference is to the ease with which God can avenge and destroy his enemies; but this appears a constrained interpretation. The more natural meaning obviously is, that God has very singular ways, unknown to us, of delivering his people from destruction. (42) He points at a peculiarity in the manner of the Divine deliverances, that God does not generally avert death from his people altogether, but allows them to fall in some measure under its power, and afterwards unexpectedly rescues them from it. This is a truth particularly worthy of our notice, as teaching us to beware of judging by sense in the matter of Divine deliverances. However deep we may have sunk in trouble, it becomes us to trust the power of God, who claims it as his peculiar work to open up a way where man can see none.

“He that is our God is a God of salvation,
And for death are the goings forth of the Lord Jehovah;

i. e.,” says he, “When Jehovah takes the field, deadly is the battle to his enemies.”

“For to Jehovah we owe our escapes from death.”

The Syriac version has, —

“The Lord God is the Lord of death and of escaping.”

Copyright Statement
These files are public domain.
Bibliographical Information
Calvin, John. "Commentary on Psalms 68:19". "Calvin's Commentary on the Bible". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/cal/psalms-68.html. 1840-57.

Chuck Smith Bible Commentary

Psalm 68:1-35

Psalm 68:1-35 :

Let God arise, let his enemies be scattered: let them also that hate him flee before him. As smoke is driven away, so drive them away: as wax melts before the fire, so let the wicked perish at the presence of God ( Psalm 68:1-2 ).

So, sort of a thing against the enemies of God. "Let them be scattered, let them flee as smoke sort of just disappears, is driven by the wind, so drive them. As wax melts before the fire, so let them perish in the presence of God."

But let the righteous be glad; let them rejoice before God: yea, let them exceedingly rejoice ( Psalm 68:3 ).

All right, righteous, be glad. Rejoice before God. In fact, exceedingly rejoice.

Sing unto God, sing praises to his name: extol him that rideth upon the heavens by his name, YAH, and rejoice before him ( Psalm 68:4 ).

The Yah, the I am. And of course, in the name you have then Yashua, Yahoshaphat, so many different contractions with the Yah, but to us the important one is Yashua, which is the Hebrew for Jesus. "Extol Him by His name, Yah, and rejoice before Him."

A father of the fatherless, a judge of the widows, is God in his holy habitation. God setteth the solitary in families: he brings out those which are bound with chains: but the rebellious dwell in a dry land. O God, when you went forth before your people, when you did march through the wilderness; the earth shook, the heavens dropped at the presence of God: even Sinai itself moved at the presence of God, and the God of Israel. Thou, O God, did send a plentiful rain, whereby you did confirm your inheritance, when it was weary. Your congregation hath dwelt therein: thou, O God, hath prepared of thy goodness for the poor. The LORD gave his word: and great was the company of those that published it. Kings of armies did flee apace: and she that tarried at home divided the spoil. And though you have lain among the pots, yet shall ye be as the wings of a dove covered with silver, and her feathers with yellow gold. When the Almighty scattered kings, and it was white as snow in Salmon. The hill of God is as the hill of Bashan; and the high hill is as the hill of Bashan. Why leap ye, ye high hills? This is the hill which God desired to dwell in; yea, the LORD will dwell in it for ever ( Psalm 68:5-16 ).

In other words, he sees the other hills of sort of being jealous and all because God has chosen really the hill of Zion to dwell in. "Why leap ye high hills?" You know, "We"re so high, it should be us, and all."

The chariots of God are twenty thousand, even thousands of angels: the LORD is among them, as in Sinai, in the holy place. Thou hast ascended on high ( Psalm 68:17-18 ),

Now we have here a prophecy concerning Jesus Christ quoted by Paul in the fourth chapter of the book of Ephesians. "Thou hast ascended on high, Thou hast led captivity captive. Thou hast received gifts for men, yea, for the rebellious also that the Lord God may dwell among them." Paul in quoting this said, "He who has ascended is the same one who first of all descended into the lower parts of the earth. And when He ascended, He led the captivity captive and gave gifts unto men. And to some apostles, and to some prophets, and to some evangelists, and to some pastor teachers, for the perfecting of the saints for the work of the ministry for the building up of the body of Christ. Until we all come into the unity of faith, complete man, the knowledge of the Son of God, the measure, the stature, the fullness, the image of Christ." And so, Paul quotes this, "He has ascended on high; He led captivity captive." But to lead captivity captive, He went first of all in the lower parts of the earth to free those that were captive.

You see, prior to the death of Jesus Christ those Old Testament saints could not enter in to the glory of heaven. It was necessary that their sins be put away, something that the sacrifices of the Old Testament could not do. It was impossible that their sins could be put away by the blood of bulls or goats. All of the Old Testament sacrifices only were pointing to the better way that God would provide when He sent His only begotten Son to be a lamb offering, sin offering, a sacrifice for our sins. "So we are redeemed, not with corruptible things such as silver and gold from our vain empty life, but with the precious blood of Jesus Christ who was slain as a lamb without spot or without blemish" ( 1 Peter 1:18-19 ). So because the blood of bulls and goats could not put away sin but only speak of the better sacrifice which was to come, their sins were covered, and they, when they died, were held by death in the grave, in Sheol or in Hades, in hell.

But hell, prior to the death of Christ, was separated into two compartments. One compartment was of suffering for the unbelievers; the other was a compartment of comfort by Abraham for those who were trusting in the promises of God and in the fulfillment of God"s promise. Now these Old Testament men of faith all died in faith not having received the promise, but seeing it afar off they held onto it and they claimed that they were just strangers and pilgrims here. And they were just looking for a city which hath foundation, whose maker and builder is God.

Now when Jesus died, He descended into hell. He who has ascended is the one who first of all descended into the lower parts of the earth. And when He ascended, it is then that He led captivity captive. In the book of Isaiah, chapter61, the prophecy concerning Christ, it said, "He is going to set at liberty those that are bound and open the prison doors to those that are bound." Set at liberty those that are chained, open the prison doors to those that are bound. Those that were bound by death, waiting with Abraham for the promise of God. When Jesus died He descended into hell and He preached to those souls that were in prison. The glorious fulfillment of God"s promise. The redemptive program is complete. The blood has been shed, whereby your sins are now put away once and for all. And now with their sins put away, they can ascend into the heavenly scene. So when He ascended, He led the captives from their captivity. And then He gave gifts unto men. That is, within the church, He gave gifted men as apostles, as prophets, as evangelists, as pastor teachers, for the perfecting of the saints. So, Paul quotes this in Ephesians 4:1-32, and of course, it just ties together a whole group of scriptures. Luke, the sixteenth chapter; Acts, chapter2; and Ephesians, chapter4; and the reference there in Peter where He went and preached to those souls in prison; and Isaiah 61:1-11 . So you can look those up and find them tied together.

Blessed be the LORD, who daily loads us with benefits ( Psalm 68:19 ),

I love that! Oh, blessed be the Lord, who daily just loads me down with the benefits of being His servant. Benefits of walking with Him. Oh, what benefits are mine in Christ Jesus.

even the God of our salvation. He that is our God is the God of salvation; and unto God the LORD belongs the issues of death ( Psalm 68:19-20 ).

Our times are actually in God"s hands. It"s appointed unto man once to die, and unto God the Lord belong the issues of death.

But God shall wound the head of his enemies, and the hairy scalp of such as those that go on still in his trespasses. The LORD said, I will bring again from Bashan, and I will bring my people again from the depths of the sea: That thy foot may be dipped in the blood of your enemies, and the tongue of the dogs in the same. They have seen thy goings, O God; even the goings of my God, my King, in the sanctuary. The singers went before, the players on the instruments ( Psalm 68:21-25 )

And now here he is describing the worship of God in the sanctuary. "You"ve seen the going of God in the sanctuary," and now he is going to describe a little bit. First of all, in the procession the singers are in the front. Following them are those players of instruments--the symbols, the trumpets and all. Followed after them

were the young girls playing on their timbrels. Bless ye God in the congregations, even the LORD, from the fountain of Israel ( Psalm 68:25-26 ).

So he sees now, and of course, you know, we"ve come to sort of a stilted form of the worship of God. We gather together. We sit in pews. We sit in rows. We are regimented and all. And we come and we have sort of a lecture on the Word of God, but I am sure that there is an area for a diversity in our worship. You know, where they were entering in, even. Singers were in the front as they were entering singing praises unto God, followed by the band playing their instruments, followed by the drill team, the young damsels with their timbrels, as they were playing on the timbrels unto the Lord.

When you go to Jerusalem on Friday evening at the beginning of Sabbath, we always like to spend one Friday evening at the Western Wall, as the people gather to worship the Lord on the Sabbath day. And really the excitement of the evening is when these young Jewish boys come down from the school. And they come down about four across, several rows of them, their arms over each other, and they come down chanting and dancing. Sort of a little dance step and all, their arms around each other, and they are chanting. And of course, this is the highlight of the evening when these kids come on down to worship the Lord there by the Western Wall. And they do this little dance step coming in. And as they get down by the wall, they start then their songs and their chants as they sort of get in a circle, and they start dancing around the circle various dances and all unto the Lord. And then after about a half hour of this kind of worship and praise, then they put their arms around each other and dance back up the hill, chanting and singing their praises unto God, as they go back up the hill. And it is a very moving, touching sight. And I think that this is exciting. I think that there is a place for a more of a demonstrative worship unto God. You know, we are coming into the sanctuary to worship Him. Oh, it should be an exciting experience.

"Enter into His presence with thanksgiving, enter into His courts with praise. Be thankful unto Him and bless His name" ( Psalm 100:4 ). You see people gathering, and they are honking their horns, "Get out of my way! I"m going to church today." And by the time we get here, we really need it. Rather than coming in with a joyful heart, a heart that is overflowing with praises unto God in anticipation of worshipping Him.

Now he looks at the congregation that"s assembled and,

There is little Benjamin with their ruler [the small tribe of Benjamin over there and there they are in their place with their ruler], and there are the princes of Judah and their council, and there are the princes of Zebulun, and there over there are the princes of Naphtali. Thy God hath commanded thy strength: strengthen, O God, that which you have wrought for us. Because of thy temple at Jerusalem shall kings bring their presents unto thee ( Psalm 68:27-29 ).

This, of course, is again looking forward to the Kingdom Age, when the kings of the earth come and offer their presents unto Christ.

Rebuke the company of spearmen, the multitude of the bulls, with the calves of the people, till every one submit himself with pieces of silver: scatter thou the people that delight in war. Princes shall come out of Egypt; Ethiopia shall stretch out her hands unto God. Sing unto God, ye kingdoms of the earth [the glorious Kingdom Age]; O sing praises unto the Lord: To him that rideth upon the heaven of heavens, which were of old; lo, he doth send out his voice, and that a mighty voice. Ascribe strength unto God: his excellency is over Israel, his strength is in the clouds. O God, thou art awesome out of thy holy places: the God of Israel is he that giveth strength and power unto his people. Blessed be God ( Psalm 68:30-35 ).

So the glorious worship of God in the Kingdom Age; it is going to be exciting. The singers coming in, the instruments, the girls with their timbrels and all, and the congregation as they rise to worship the Lord. "

Copyright Statement
Copyright © 2014, Calvary Chapel of Costa Mesa, Ca.
Bibliographical Information
Smith, Charles Ward. "Commentary on Psalms 68:19". "Chuck Smith Bible Commentary". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/csc/psalms-68.html. 2014.

John Dummelow's Commentary on the Bible

This is one of the grandest of the Pss., but its origin and date are involved in much obscurity. It contains expressions borrowed from the Blessing of Moses (Deuteronomy 33) and the Song of Deborah (Judges 5), and presents several parallels with the exilic prophecy of Isaiah 40-66. It may be assigned with some probability to the close of the exile, in which case it is to be regarded as a triumphant anticipation of God's victory over His enemies in the restoration of His people from the Babylonian captivity. After an inspiring prelude (Psalms 68:1-6) the Psalmist recalls some of God's triumphs in the past—at the exodus and in the wilderness (Psalms 68:7-10), in the conquest of C anaan (Psalms 68:11-14), and. in the choice of Zion as His dwelling (Psalms 68:15-18). God next appears as the present Saviour of His people and as the Vanquisher of their enemies (Psalms 68:19-23). Then comes a picture of a triumphal procession of a reunited Israel in honour of His victory (Psalms 68:24-27), and of heathen kings bringing tribute to Jerusalem (Psalms 68:28-31). A magnificent doxology (Psalms 68:32-35) closes the Ps., which is another of the Pss. for Whit Sunday.

1. Taken from the invocation of Moses at the moving of the ark (Numbers 10:35), with the change of Lord (Jehovah) into God (Elohim).

2, 3. The wicked.. the righteous] the heathen and Israel respectively.

4. Extol.. heavens] RV 'cast up a high way for him that rideth through the deserts': cp. Isaiah 40:3. By his name JAH] RV 'his name is JAH,' an abbreviation of Jehovah, as in Hallelujah.

5. His holy habitation] heaven: see Deuteronomy 26:15.

6. In families] RM 'in a house.' Those.. chains] RV 'the prisoners into prosperity': cp. Isaiah 61:1; Psalms 146:7. Dwell in a dry (RV 'parched')land] like the rebellious Israelites who perished in the wilderness.

7. 8. A free quotation from the Song of Deborah (Judges 5:4-5). Note again the substitution of 'God' for 'Lord.' Selah] see on Psalms 3:4.

8. The heavens also dropped] in the rain which accompanied the thunderstorms of Sinai: see Psalms 77:17.

9. A plentiful rain] here a figure for all the blessings of the sojourn in the wilderness. Omit whereby with RV.

10. Hath dwelt] RV 'dwelt.' Therein] in the wilderness. Hast prepared] RV 'didst prepare.' The poor] or afflicted, the needy wanderers in the desert.

11. Gave the word] secured the victory by his simple command. Great was the company, etc.] RV 'the women that publish the tidings are a great host.' In the East it is the women who celebrate victories with song and dance: see 1 Samuel 18:6, 1 Samuel 18:7. Psalms 68:12-13 are the words of the women.

12. Another echo of Deborah's Song (Judges 5:30). The kings are the kings of Canaan subdued by Joshua.

13. Among the pots] RV 'among the sheepfolds,' another phrase from Deborah's Song (Judges 5:16), where it rebukes the inactivity of the Reubenites. RV reads, 'will ye lie.. sheepfolds, as the wings of a dove,' etc., in the same sense of reproof. But the best rendering is in RM, 'When ye lie among the sheepf olds' (i.e. when ye return to your homes) 'it is as the wings,' etc., describing the brightness and peace of the prosperous time after the conquest of Canaan. Some understand the silver and gold to refer to the spoils of the victors.

14. It was white, etc.] RV 'It was as when it snoweth in Zalmon.' Zalmon was a wooded hill near Shechem (Judges 9:48). The scattered kings of C anaan were like the driven snowflakes seen against the dark green background.

15. RV 'A mountain of God' (i.e. a great mountain: see Psalms 36:6), 'is the mountain of Bashan; an high mountain is the mountain of Bashan.' Hermon, which bounds Bashan on the N., is probably meant. Though it is so lofty God has chosen Zion in preference to it (Psalms 68:16).

16. RV 'Why look ye askance' (i.e. why are ye jealous), 'ye high mountains, at the mountain' (Zion), 'which God hath desired for his abode?'

17. Thousands of angels] RV 'thousands upon thousands.' God enters Zion in a great procession of His heavenly armies: cp. Deuteronomy 33:2. As in Sinai, etc.] RM 'Sinai is in the sanctuary.' The holy associations of Sinai are transferred to Zion.

18. Having taken possession of Zion God has returned to His heavenly throne. Captivity] RV 'thy captivity,' thy band of captives. See Deborah's Song (Judges 5:12). For men.. for the rebellious] RV 'among men.. among the rebellious.' God's conquered enemies pay Him tribute. St. Paul's quotation in Ephesians 4:8 changes 'received' into 'gave.'

19. Loadeth us with benefits] RV 'beareth our burden.'

20. RV 'God is unto us a God of deliverances: and unto Jehovahthe Lord,' etc. The issues from death] the ways of escape from death, which God can provide.

21. Wound] RV 'smite through.' The hairy scalp] the long flowing locks which were the sign of the warrior's strength and of his devotion to his cause. See Deuteronomy 32:42; RM, and the Song of Deborah (Judges 5:2), where we should read 'For that flowing locks were worn in Israel.'

22. Bring; my people] RV 'bring them,' i.e. Israel's enemies, who will be gathered for vengeance from the most inaccessible hiding places. Bashan was a country of intricate and rocky retreats.

23. RV 'That thou mayest dip thy foot in blood, that the tongue of thy dogs may have its portion from thine enemies.' God is still the speaker, and Israel is addressed. For the tone cp. Psalms 58:10.

24. In] RV 'into.'

26. From the fountain] RV 'ye that are of the fountain,' all the descendants of Jacob: cp. Deuteronomy 33:28.

27. With their ruler] RV 'their ruler,' the tribe from which the first king was taken (1 Samuel 9:21).

Council] 'company.' Zebulon and Naphtali (see Judges 5:18) represent the northern kingdom, Benjamin and Judah the southern.

28. Read, 'O God, command thy strength: be strong, O God, thou that hast wrought for us.'

30. The company of spearmen] RV 'the wild beast of the reeds,' the hippopotamus, the symbol of Egypt. Bulls, with the calves of the people (RV 'peoples')] heathen kings and their subjects. Till every one submit, etc.] RV 'trampling under foot the pieces of silver.' God treats the tribute of the heathen with contempt.

31. Egypt] as Israel's ancient enemy. Ethiopia] as one of the remotest of lands.

33, 34 Cp. Deuteronomy 33:26-27.

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Dummelow, John. "Commentary on Psalms 68:19". "John Dummelow's Commentary on the Bible". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/dcb/psalms-68.html. 1909.

Expository Notes of Dr. Thomas Constable

Psalm 68

David reviewed God"s dealings with Israel to memorialize God"s faithfulness to His people (cf. Judges 5). He traced Israel"s history from the wilderness wanderings to his own capture of Jerusalem. As a mighty commander, God had led His oppressed people into the glorious future He had promised them. In the process He overcame many strong foes.

"The theme of this magnificent Psalm is the march of God to victory. It traces the establishment of His kingdom in the past; it looks forward to the defeat of all opposition in the future until all the kingdoms of the world own the God of Israel as their Lord and pay Him homage." [Note: Kirkpatrick, p375.]

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Constable, Thomas. DD. "Commentary on Psalms 68:19". "Expository Notes of Dr. Thomas Constable". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/dcc/psalms-68.html. 2012.

Expository Notes of Dr. Thomas Constable

David moved from a historical review of God"s giving Israel victory to confidence that He would continue to do so daily. Any who resist Yahweh can count on His powerful opposition and their own inevitable defeat. Additional references to victories over Og, the king of Bashan, the crossing of the Red Sea, numerous victories in battle, and the slaying of Jezebel ( 2 Kings 9:33-36) would have encouraged the Israelites further. The same God who gave them success in the past was ready to do so still.

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Constable, Thomas. DD. "Commentary on Psalms 68:19". "Expository Notes of Dr. Thomas Constable". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/dcc/psalms-68.html. 2012.

Expository Notes of Dr. Thomas Constable

3. The effect of God"s scattering His enemies68:19-31

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Constable, Thomas. DD. "Commentary on Psalms 68:19". "Expository Notes of Dr. Thomas Constable". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/dcc/psalms-68.html. 2012.

Ellicott's Commentary for English Readers

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Ellicott, Charles John. "Commentary on Psalms 68:19". "Ellicott's Commentary for English Readers". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/ebc/psalms-68.html. 1905.

Ellicott's Commentary for English Readers

(19-23) The abrupt transition from the scene of triumph just described to the actual reality of things which the psalmist now for the first time faces, really gives the key to the intention of the poem. It is by God’s favour and might, and not by the sword, that deliverance from the enemies actually threatening the nation is to be expected.

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Ellicott, Charles John. "Commentary on Psalms 68:19". "Ellicott's Commentary for English Readers". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/ebc/psalms-68.html. 1905.

Expositor's Dictionary of Texts

The Book of Ruth

Psalm 68:6

These words express in the shortest possible compass the main lesson of the book of Ruth. It is rather a matter for rejoicing that the lovely pastoral, in which Ruth the Moabitess is the principal figure, forms no part of the record of that anarchic and sanguinary era, so that we take it up as an independent whole, complete in itself. Coming to it, indeed, after the violence and disorder of which the book of Judges is full, is like passing from scenes of battle and carnage to a quiet and peaceful landscape with its homely cottages and waving cornfields. How pathetic, for example, are the unstudied phrases that paint for us the desolation of the childless Naomi!

I. Yet the story of Ruth is not altogether a sad one. The closing scene comes as a cheerful contrast to the pathetic beginning; while, quite apart from this, we get a glimpse of the deeper compensations that enable us in some degree to justify the ways of God to man. Take, for example, the doctrine of a Divine Providence bringing good out of evil, and guiding human lives to unforeseen issues. I do not mean to say that this doctrine is clearly set forth in the book of Ruth; it teaches us, as life itself does, indirectly, by signs and tokens that are clear enough to all who have eyes to see and ears to hear. And the lesson taught in this indirect way Isaiah, surely, that God is the Protector of all that trust in Him. Our lives are not random things—the sport of cruel accident. There is a clue to them; and the clue is in the hands of One who, being infinitely wise and merciful, has ordained this world as a scene of discipline and preparation.

II. Your lot in life, whoever you are, may be humble; you think it insignificant. You can do nothing for God. But ask yourself, can God do nothing in and through you? God"s voice in this book says to you, "Don"t creep away into the cavern of your own private cares and griefs and hide yourself there; don"t settle down into a life of moaning and sighing and querulous regrets. Come out of yourself; come out into the world all groaning and travailing in pain, and see whether Divine grace cannot help you to be a blessing and a consolation to others."

III. But the picture is not complete yet. Ruth was not a daughter of Israel. She was an alien, a heathen, one of a race hated and despised by the chosen people. The old law said, "An Ammorite or a Moabite shall not enter into the congregation". But no law of God"s making is levelled against truth or goodness; and in the great congregation of worshippers of the one true God, they who "do justly and love mercy" are there by Divine right. What a rebuke there is here to our narrow formulas of race and creed and terms of communion.

IV. But what does the Bible answer to the sneer, "Can any good thing come out of Nazareth". It is "Come and see". So the bigot who fancies that his own particular Church or sect is a land of Goshen where alone, amid the surrounding darkness, the true light shines; to the cynical pessimist who goes about with a lantern looking for an honest Prayer of Manasseh, the same answer is given. Call the story of Ruth idyllic if you like. I refuse to believe that it is exceptional. In this harsh world such lives are led, such deeds are done. The Bible story does but lay bare a vein of tender true-heartedness that not in one place only, but in places innumerable, runs underneath the selfishness and the pretentiousness of our modern life.

V. One more last word. The book of Ruth is a domestic story. Its moral for Christians is the consecration of the Christian idea of the home. When the Son of God took upon Him our flesh He revealed the sacredness of human life. He took up the institution of the family into the Divine order, and so hallowed it for ever. It is God who sets the solitary in families; and His sacred purpose is that, through the homely bonds of human fellowship, which link human beings together, they should learn to see and to strengthen the invisible bonds that bind us all to our Father who is in heaven. Surely it is worth our while to try to realize God"s idea of home and kindred and the ties that unite those who live together and share the same lot.

—J. W. Shepard, Light and Life, p114.

References.—LXVI1I:6.—G. Brooks, Outlines of Sermons, p58. C. J. Ridgeway, The King and His Kingdom, p20. LXVIII:10.—H. Melvill, Sermons, vol. i. p175. Spurgeon, Evening by Evening, p345. LXVIII:11, 12.—J. M. Neale, Sermons Preached in Sackville College Chapel, vol. iv. p9. LXVIII:12.—Bishop Woodford, Occasional Sermons, vol. i. p210. Practical Sermons, vol. ii. p312.

The Silver Wings of the Dove

Psalm 68:13

This Psalm is a hymn of glorious triumph. It was probably composed for and used on an occasion of great national thanksgiving in the history of the children of Israel. Throughout the whole of it, it is a most soul-stirring poem to anyone who has a soul to be stirred. Every verse of it breathes of victory on the battlefield, and triumph, and thankful hearts rejoicing. The central thought of this particular verse is clearly a contrast between some kind of humiliation on the one hand, referred to by the lying among the pots; some kind of exaltation on the other, referred to by the expression, "having the wings of a dove: that is covered with silver wings, and her feathers like gold". That is clearly the central thought, but the figure in which the thought is conveyed has proved to almost every one who has tried to interpret it a most perplexing problem. Dr. Thomson, the celebrated Eastern traveller, who in his day, not so very distant or remote, knew more of the manners and customs of Oriental countries than perhaps any other living person, acknowledged himself in his book to be absolutely nonplussed and completely unable to discover any connexion of a reasonable kind or character between these two figures. Some years ago, however, Miss Whately, a daughter of the great Archbishop of Dublin, was travelling in Egypt, and she noticed something which she thought might perhaps have suggested this figure to the Psalmist, and in her most deeply interesting book, entitled Ragged Life in Egypt, describes what she saw. She says, speaking of the flat roofs of the houses in Egypt, that in the houses of the very poor these flat roofs were usually in a state of the greatest filth, from the fact that they were made the convenient receptacles of the rubbish of the house. She says these places, both for their warmth at night and their shade and shelter by day, are the resort of tame pigeons and doves who sleep there in the heat of the day. In the cool of the evening, however, these doves emerge from behind the rubbish, and pots and broken earthenware, and, shaking off the dirt and dust, in the midst of which they have spent their happy day, fly upwards. Their outstretched wings as they catch the evening sun look as clear and as bright as silver—as if they had never been in contact with dirt or dust at all. She says that when she saw that, which she did so often, she at once thought it might be that which gave the Psalmist the idea of lying amongst the pots, dirty, dusty, and defiled, and yet having the wings of a dove, without any dust or dirt, and with no defilement, and shining like silver and gold. If Song of Solomon, what a picture of the possibility of our Christian life! You see the believer living in the world but not of it, surrounded on every side by contamination and degrading influences, but untouched by any, living and moving amongst that which hurts and seems as if it must hurt, and spoils, and seems as if it must spoil, and damages, and seems as if it must damage the Christian life; but for all that the Christian life is not hurt, not spoiled, not damaged, not defiled. A dove often has to hide itself, and a tame pigeon often has to hide itself in an unlovely retreat, and yet when it darts out it shines in the glorious sunlight in unsullied beauty. If that is the Psalmist"s meaning, how easy to apply it to our hearts and minds to-night!

I. The Christian and his Surroundings.—If a man is a true Christian he may as well maintain, if he wants to maintain, in the midst of the most unfavourable surroundings in which it is possible for his life to be cast, a distinctly lovely, loyal, and holy Christian life. Many Christians have their lot in life amongst surroundings which, so far from being helpful to the development of Christian character, are distinctly unpropitious and adverse to it. The point is this—these surroundings, if we have the Christian heart and the Christian will, and the Christian grace, need not destroy the Christian life. Though you may have lien among the pots in the shop, or the wharf, or the works, or the school, or the kitchen, or the warehouse, in the most uncongenial and unpromising business you can possibly think of, you may have, if you want to have—that is the point—a soul as clear as the dove"s wing.

II. Living in the Sunlight.—It is in the sunlight that the wings of the dove show a silver and golden colour; in no other light. It is only in the transfiguring presence of the Lord Jesus Christ that the believer can shine, living with Him in daily life, living always in His presence, and never leaving it.

The Ascent of the Soul

Psalm 68:13 (Prayer book Version).

Go where we will the pestilential vapour of sin is ever with us. But like the doves in the sunlight we may rise above our surroundings, and our wings even give forth a glittering effulgence. Now, there are certain common pictures which assist in the soul"s uplifting, without which, indeed, it must remain a dead weight in the body.

I. The first is that man"s soul should feel after God and know Him as He has revealed Himself to mankind. There is cause for rejoicing, after all, in the soul"s longing after God, for here is evidence that the spirit has commenced its upward flight. There is no life so hopeless and so blank, there is no death so cold and dreary, there is no soul so held fast in misery and iron as that of the poor mortal whose spirit never reaches Godwards. And we may rest assured that there is no other power so able to lift us and transport us to heights away from the world and the worldly life, as the realization first of all of God"s Being and continual Presence.

II. And the second factor is worship. The spirit of worship is part of ourselves. As well try to root it out as to tear the hearts from our breasts. Herein is the second great power to carry the soul upwards, namely, that after we have come to know God as He has revealed Himself to us, we worship Him. It is the private uplifting of the soul, as well as our public expression, which has such immense power to carry us upwards to God.

III. Business. By business I mean busy-ness. Be a worker; be always doing something. There is no condition of life so calculated to destroy the soul as idleness. And so the converse is true. There is nothing in life which helps to elevate more surely than legitimate work. Christ has set us His example. And when work is done in His Name there can be no drudgery. There is the way heavenwards: to know God, to worship Him, and to fulfil the daily duties allotted to us.

—J. A. Craigie, The Country Pulpit, p105.

References.—LXVIII:13.—J. M. Neale, Sermons Preached in a Religious House, vol. i. p147. LXVIII:18.—J. Keble, Sermons from Ascension Day to Trinity, p12. A. R. Ashwell, God in His Work and Nature, p76.

God"s Work for Us (A Sermon to Citizen Soldiers)

Psalm 68:28

This Psalm reconciles, interprets, enforces with most instructive power the contrasted thoughts which are pressed upon us by the festival and by the unwonted gathering here today.

I. At first sight there is something strange and incongruous in the assembling within these walls of an armed force when we are commemorating the mission of the Spirit of peace. But if I understand the two things rightly, this strangeness, this incongruity, is only on the surface. The festival may help us to feel that a citizen army is a true expression of Christian faith. For we have a noble inheritance to be kept at all costs for the sake of the whole family of God. In our national character, in our national situation, in our national opportunities we have received a gift from God; a gift which we are bound to use and to develop; a gift which we are bound to guard and consecrate; a gift which we are bound to administer in unselfish devotion for the good of all who are made one in Christ.

II. I do not forget that there are forces at work among us which tend to separate class from class, and to set one against another in fratricidal rivalry. I do not forget that some would represent loyal homage to rank and blood as derogatory to the generous Spirit which it purifies. But I am sure that the great heart of England is sound still. We believe—the whole framework of our life helps, nay forces us to believe—that our manhood is one, and, at the same time, in order that the whole may be one, differentiated in countless fragments of which each fulfils its proper office.

III. If Europe is to learn that manifold service is the true condition of unity, that order is the one foundation of progress, England must be the teacher. No one can recognize more gladly than I do the priceless benefits which the great nations of the Continent have conferred upon mankind at large and upon ourselves. But now they in turn are looking to us. They want what we have been trained to offer, if we have not wasted the heritage of our fathers, in the example of an energetic, a multiform, a harmonious national life. We have our own dangers great and terrible, but we shall meet them most effectively by striving as best we can to keep the charge which God has been pleased to give us for others. And for this reason the citizen soldier offers in his free-will service the image of the character which God now requires us to foster. He shows to us by the arms which he carries, and by the uniform which he wears, that there is something worth living for more precious than life itself; that the softness of luxury is a poorer thing in every way than patient effort. Endurance, obedience, self-sacrifice, these three express the teachings of his work; and those who love England best, and trust her future most boldly, will know whether it is not these three which must be with us if the nation is to fulfil its appointed task.

—B. F. Westcott, Peterborough Sermons, p361.

References.—LXVIII:28.—Spurgeon, Evening by Evening, p322. J. M. Neale, Readings for the Aged (3Series), p248. J. M. Neale, Sermons Preached in Sackville College Chapel, vol. ii. p342. LXVIII:28, 29.—J. M. Neale, Sermons on Passages of the Psalm, p190.

A Saint of God

Psalm 68:35

The idea contained in the statement of the Psalmist is the wonderful ways of God in all that He does, in His dealings with the holy places of the unseen world or in those places most holy of all, in His saints.

I. Consider what a revelation of God"s wonderful way is to be found in that great saint, St. John the Baptist. God was wonderful in his birth, St. John was born contrary to the usual Divine arrangements of nature. God was wonderful not only in the birth and commission of His servant but in the formation of his character. The height of that character was—indomitable courage, a courage of the highest kind, to teach the truth whether men liked it or no. John tore away the cover that even the most plausible and exalted had made for themselves and showed them themselves.

II. St. John"s highest call was that fearless loyalty to truth, to bury his own miserable self in the thought of his great commission and the marvellous vision of God that had been opened out before him. It was because of this wonderful courage and unselfish loyalty and strong conviction that there has been about all the saints as there was about St. John a strange fascination. And then there is one more point that perhaps may help us to see how wonderful God was in this saint He was wonderful in allowing his apparent failure. And yet he had fulfilled his mission, he had prepared for Christ and for the Gospel of universal truth.

What appeared to us so tragic a close to so promising a beginning of the great saint was really part of the Divine work to complete a magnificent character that He had formed to prepare for the coming of the Master.

III. How shall we allow ourselves to think and to feel about such things? Shall we not, indeed, think of life with its joys, its brightness, its happy days, kind friends, dear relations, its unselfishness, or its clouds, perplexities, weariness, distresses, shall we not think of it as God"s guidance for the best? We shall not sit down with our hands folded. We shall strive to retrieve in the world any failure by our courage: we shall remember that God calls us to work, not necessarily to success. We see something of God"s mysterious wonderfulness in the image that He places before us in His saints.

—W. J. Knox-Little, Homiletic Review, 1906, vol. LII. p292.

References.—LXVIII.—International Critical Commentary, vol. ii. p94. LXIX:10.—J. Keble, Sermons for Holy Week, p77.

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Nicol, W. Robertson, M.A., L.L.D. "Commentary on Psalms 68:19". Expositor's Dictionary of Text. https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/edt/psalms-68.html. 1910.

F.B. Meyer's 'Through the Bible' Commentary

THEIR MIGHTY DELIVERER

Psalms 68:12-25

The processional march still continues. Presently Mount Zion comes in sight, and the neighboring hills are depicted as eying it enviously for its selection in preference to themselves. In Psalms 68:17-18 the glad throng begins to climb the sacred slopes of Zion, amid still more triumphant strains; and in Psalms 68:19, etc., the gates of the sanctuary stand wide open to welcome the festal crowds.

How great the contrast between the blackened appearance of a smoky caldron, and the lustrous sheen of a bird’s pinions as they flash in the sunlight! Psalms 68:13. Yet that is the contrast between what we were, and what we now are. Zalmon, Psalms 68:14 -perhaps a reference to the wooded hill near Shechem, mentioned in Judges 9:48. The hostile kings were scattered as snowflakes are driven before the wind and melt in the sun. The hill Bashan, Psalms 68:15, is a snow-clad summit, but Zion is greater, since God is there. In the triumphant words of Psalms 68:18, the singer quotes Judges 5:12, and they are applied in Ephesians 4:8 to our Lord’s ascension. Note the r.v. rendering of Psalms 68:19 -that the Lord daily beareth our burdens. Singers, minstrels, and girls with timbrels, Psalms 68:25 -all have a share in the Church’s joy.

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Meyer, Frederick Brotherton. "Commentary on Psalms 68:19". "F. B. Meyer's 'Through the Bible' Commentary". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/fbm/psalms-68.html. 1914.

Arno Gaebelein's Annotated Bible

Psalm 68

The Great Redemption Accomplished

1. The introduction (Psalms 68:1-3)

2. The proclamation of His Name and of ‘His acts (Psalms 68:4-6)

3. A historic review (Psalms 68:7-12)

4. Israel’s place of blessing and the Redeemer (Psalms 68:13-19)

5. His victory over the enemies (Psalms 68:20-23)

6. The great procession (Psalms 68:24-29)

7. The conversion of the nations and the kingdom (Psalms 68:30-35)

This is one of the greatest Psalms. The Name of God is found in it in seven different forms: Jehovah, Adonai, El, Shaddai, Jah, Jehovah-Adonai and Jah-Elohim. The opening verses mention three great facts of the accomplished redemption. God arises--the enemies are scattered--the righteous rejoice. See Numbers 10:35. Praise then begins. Psalms 68:4 correctly rendered is “Sing unto God, sing forth His Name, Cast up a way for Him that rideth in the deserts” (not heavens). See also Isaiah 62:10. The word used for deserts (araboth) refers to the regions south of Jerusalem, Jordan and the Dead Sea. The One who comes as the glorious King is He who hath passed through the scenes of death and has the power to lead from death to life. He delivers His earthly people who waited for Him, while the rebellious dwell in a parched land. The manifestation of the God of Israel at Sinai (Psalms 68:7, etc.) is the type of His future manifestation. Psalms 68:13, “Though ye have lain among the sheepfolds (Israel)--wings of a dove covered with silver and greenish gold.” The dove, as the sacrificial bird, is a type of Christ, but it is also applied to godly Israel in the Song of Solomon, when they are addressed as “O my dove.” It applies therefore to both. The wings are covered with silver and gold. Silver stands for redemption and the greenish gold, the finest, for glory. Christ has brought redemption and glory, and under His blessed wings, Israel enjoys and possesseth both. Then the mount of God where His glory will be seen where He dwells forever. Psalms 68:18 is quoted in Ephesians 4:8. He, the Redeemer of Israel, had descended first into the lower parts of the earth, even into the depths of death and the grave. Then He ascended into glory. But notice, it saith here that this ascended One received gifts for men, but in Ephesians we read that He communicates that which He hath received as the risen and glorified One. The Holy Spirit adds to it in Ephesians. But He also omits something. He leaves out “even for the rebellious.” This refers to rebellious Israel and has no place in the Epistle which concerns the church alone. Then His victory over enemies and the lawless leader, the Antichrist (Psalms 68:20-23). The wonderful procession, He the triumphant leader, the head of the new creation (Psalms 68:24-29). And finally the world and the nations bowing before Him. There will be a temple in Jerusalem once more, as we saw before. The kings of the earth will go there to worship and to bring presents. And then peace on earth, true peace, lasting peace, universal peace, which the world tries to have now while we write this, without the Prince of Peace. “He scattereth the peoples that delight in war” (Psalms 68:30). Peace on earth in the Psalms always follows the visible and glorious manifestation of the King.

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Gaebelein, Arno Clemens. "Commentary on Psalms 68:19". "Gaebelein's Annotated Bible". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/gab/psalms-68.html. 1913-1922.

G. Campbell Morgan's Exposition on the Whole Bible

This psalm sings the praise of the God of deliverances. It opens with a song of pure praise (verses Psalms 68:1-6). This is then justified by a review of God's past dealings with His people (verses Psalms 68:7-18). Finally, it affirms the present activity of God, and declares confidence in His future succor (verses Psalms 68:19-35).

In the first six verses there is a wonderful description of God in His majesty and meekness, in His might and mercy. The contrasts are remarkable. He scatters His enemies. He is a Father of the fatherless. The wicked perish at His presence. He sets the solitary in families. There is no sense of contradiction. Rather the unity of the apparently dissimilar things is felt at once. His righteousness of the strength of His mercy. His might is the ability of His help. The righteous need have no fear of His strength, but rather rejoice in it, trust in it, and co- operate with it by casting up a highway for Him.

The next section of the psalm (verses Psalms 68:7-18) is a description of God's dealing with His people Israel. The might of His going forth is referred to, and the effect it produced is described. The giving of the constitution and law at Sinai is remembered. Then His preparation of the land for His people and their settlement therein is spoken of, together with the song of the women who thus have found their homes. And still the song moves on to describe how God scattered kings before His people, and moved right onward until in majesty He had entered and possessed the hill of His city, the center of His earthly government. It is a fine setting of history in its relation to the activity of God. It is this view of God enthroned and governing which gives courage to the heart and inspires the songs of victory.

Yet the song does not wholly depend on past history for its strength. The last section (verses Psalms 68:19-35) deals with the present activity of God. He is a present God, and in the days of the singer gives evidence of His power and pity.

Blessed be the Lord who daily beareth our burden, Even the God who is our salvation. Selah. God is unto us a God of deliverances.

The appeal of the song to the people of God in all ages in their hours of difficulty is easily understood. It expresses the one and only consciousness which is equal to making a day of darkness and difficulty the occasion of exultation and song.

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Morgan, G. Campbell. "Commentary on Psalms 68:19". "G. Campbell Morgan Exposition on the Bible". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/gcm/psalms-68.html. 1857-84.

John Gill's Exposition of the Whole Bible

Blessed be the Lord, who daily loadeth us with benefits,.... With all spiritual blessings, with an abundance of grace, as well as with temporal mercies, for which he is, and ought to be, praised day by day: so Aben Ezra and Kimchi supply the text, and suppose the word "blessings" or "goodness" to be wanting; though the words may be rendered, "blessed be the Lord day by day, he will hear us", or "carry us"F15יעמס לנו "portal nos", Vatablus, Musculus; "bajulat nos", Cocceius. ; as a father his child, or a shepherd his lambs; and so he does from the womb, even to hoary hairs; and therefore blessing and praise should be ascribed to him; see Isaiah 46:3; or "he will put a burden upon us"F16"Onus imponit nobis", Lutherus, Gejerus. ; meaning the burden of afflictions: these are of the Lord's laying upon his people; and he will lay no more upon them than he will enable them to bear; and will, in his own time and way, deliver them from them, and be the author of salvation to them, as follows; and therefore his name is to be praised, 1 Corinthians 10:13; the Targum interprets it of the burdensomeness of the law;

"blessed be the Lord every day, he burdens us, adding precepts unto precepts;'

even the God of our salvation; the author of temporal, spiritual, and eternal salvation, as Christ is.

Selah; on this word; see Gill on Psalm 3:2.

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The New John Gill's Exposition of the Entire Bible Modernised and adapted for the computer by Larry Pierce of Online Bible. All Rights Reserved, Larry Pierce, Winterbourne, Ontario.
A printed copy of this work can be ordered from: The Baptist Standard Bearer, 1 Iron Oaks Dr, Paris, AR, 72855
Bibliographical Information
Gill, John. "Commentary on Psalms 68:19". "The New John Gill Exposition of the Entire Bible". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/geb/psalms-68.html. 1999.

George Haydock's Catholic Bible Commentary

Enemies. That they may insult no longer over me, (Calmet) being converted or covered with shame, (Menochius) that they do no more hurt. (Worthington)

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Bibliographical Information
Haydock, George Leo. "Commentary on Psalms 68:19". "George Haydock's Catholic Bible Commentary". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/hcc/psalms-68.html. 1859.

Ernst Hengstenberg on John, Revelation, Ecclesiastes, Ezekiel & Psalms

The third strophe, Psalms 68:15-19, describes the glory of God in Sion, after he had taken up there his abode. God maintains his position there in spite of all the machinations of the world though it should be united in hostility against Israel, Psalms 68:15-16 : he sits enthroned there in the complete fulness of his omnipotence, Psalms 68:17 : he has exhibited this in victories gained over the enemies of his people, Psalms 68:18 : praise to him the Saviour of his people, Psalms 68:19.

Ver. 15. A mountain of God is Mount Basan, a summit-mountain is Mount Basan. Ver. 16. Why do ye lay snares, ye summit-mountains, against the mountain which the Lord chooses for his seat? the Lord will even dwell on it for ever. Ver. 17. The chariots of God are two myriads, many thousands, the Lord is among them, Sinai is in the sanctuary. Ver. 18. Thou goest up on high, thou didst lead the prisoners away, thou receivedst gifts among men, yea among the rebellions, to dwell, O Lord, God. Ver. 19. Praised be the Lord every day, they lay burdens on us, the Lord is our salvation, Selah. In Psalms 68:15 the Psalmist tells what Mount Basan is, and, in the 16th verse he rejects the false pretensions which it raises on the basis of its real worth: it is great,—yet Mount Zion is infinitely greater, and vain are all its efforts to change this relation. Many expositors read the (Psalms 68:15) 15th verse with vocatives, but Boettcher, with good reason, prefers the exposition with subject and predicate: "A hill of God is the hill of Basan," remarking "that accumulated vocatives are very flat, and that individual appellations become very drawling." A hill of God is such a hill as, by its magnitude, reminds us of the creative power of God, and has the appearance of being favoured by him, comp. at Psalms 36:6. It will not do to take the hill of God as equivalent simply to a superior hill, because there is an opposition between the hill of God (Elohim, the most general name of God) and the hill which the Lord chooses for his habitation—an opposition which would be altogether destroyed by this exposition. The hill of God is here used as an emblem of the kingdoms of the world, powerful through the grace of God; comp. on the hills as an emblem of kingdoms, Psalms 65:6, and in addition to the passages quoted there, Psalms 76:4, Habakkuk 3:6. The hill of Basan is the high snow-summit of Anti-Lebanon, or Hermon, the extreme limit of Basan, yet really belonging to it: compare Beitr. III. p. 242. In Psalms 42:6, the land on the other side Jordan is named the land of Hermon; and Hermon also in Psalms 89:12 represents the country beyond Jordan. The remaining hills of Basan are proportionally lower; the name hill of God is not suitable for them; they do not admit of being employed to represent the might of the world, and they possess no superiority, even on inferior grounds, over Zion. There was, moreover, a peculiar propriety, arising from its position on the very boundary between Judea and the heathen world, in employing it as a symbol of the world's might: even in Psalms 68:22, Basan is named as the boundary of Canaan on the side of the heathen world. Compare Psalms 29 (vol. i. p. 478), where the wilderness of Kadesh is named as forming one pair with Lebanon and Sirion: the symbols of the world's might, on the north and the south of the land of the Lord, are seized with terror at the sound of his voice. Perhaps also the Psalmist noticed that the original name of Hermon, Sion, the lofty, (compare Beitr. III. p. 241), and the Sidonian name, Sirion, (Deuteronomy 3:9), are both allied in sound to Zion. The term, summit-mountain, indicates that Basan is not an individual hill, but a gigantic rugged mountain range.

In Psalms 68:16, the wherefore," (comp. Psalms 2:1), points to the folly of the hostile conduct of the kingdoms; Boettcher: "why so fruitlessly." The word רצד, which occurs nowhere else except in this passage, "to lay snares," "to plot against," not "to envy," or "to look askance," (compare Ges. Thes.—even the (Psalms 68:17) 17th verse leads to hostilities expressed in outward actions), makes it manifest that the hills are symbolical of kingdoms. The summit-mountains,—a sort of compound noun, (comp. at Psalms 60:3),—are either the individual summits of Hermon; or the symbol of the preceding verse is extended. The אף "yea," points to the inseparable connection between the choice and the perpetual habitation: compare Genesis 27:33, "I have blessed him; he shall even be blessed." The thought of both verses—that grace is superior to nature, that natural gifts must yield to spiritual ones, that the world, in spite of all the power which God has given it, must yield to the church, in which God is present himself with his omnipotence,—is expressed in a similar form in Isaiah 2 and Micah 4:1-3, where the temple-mountain will, it is predicted, be exalted above all the mountains of the earth: compare also Isaiah 8:6, where the brook Siloah symbolizes the kingdom of God, and the Euphrates the power of the world.

In Psalms 68:17 the Psalmist, in the words, "the Lord will dwell there for ever," announces the infinite safety of Zion against all the plots of the power of the world. The main strength of the hostile armies, particularly the Syrian, in the war which had just been brought to a termination, (compare 2 Samuel 18:4, 2 Samuel 10:18), lay in war-chariots. As expressing emphatically the thought that the God, who dwells on Zion, is infinitely superior to these hosts, the Psalmist represents him as surrounded by such a number, as no human king ever possessed, of invisible chariots, led on by his hosts of angels. That the mention of chariots of war has been occasioned by this contrast, is evident from the parallel passage, 2 Kings 6:17, where the servant of Elisha, when his heart failed him, at the sight of "the horses and chariots of the mighty hosts" of the Syrians, is comforted when he beholds "the mountain full of fiery horses and chariots round about Elisha." Two myriads; the number usually employed to denote an infinite multitude, is doubled. "Perhaps allusion may be made to the two wings, on each of which there are ten thousand: Genesis 32:1-2." Berleb. Bib. Thousands of repetition or duplication, thousands multiplied by thousands. Daniel 7:10 is similar: "thousand times thousand serve him, and ten thousand times thousands stand before him." The Psalmist next directs attention to the point, that this magnificent army of God derives its chief importance from this, that he, "who alone is in a condition to avert a thousand deaths," is in the midst of it. The last words are to be translated: "Sinai is in the sanctuary:" בקדש, just as at Psalms 68:24. The preceding context must determine, unless we wish to guess at random, in what respect Sinai is in the sanctuary. According to it, Sinai and Zion have in common only the presence of the Lord in the midst of the innumerable hosts of his angels. This, as far as Sinai is concerned, is expressly asserted in Deuteronomy 32:2, "he comes out of myriads of holiness," and Deuteronomy 32:3, "all his holy ones are in thy hand," "they serve thee, O Israel:"—a passage to which the Psalmist refers. Compare also Galatians 3:19, and Hebrews 2:2. The sense given by Stier is altogether wrong: "by the presence of the ark of the covenant and the tables of the law, Zion itself was at Sinai." In Psalms 68:8, Sinai was thought of in reference to the majestic appearance of God. Even the exposition of Boettcher and others must be rejected, as not in keeping with the context: "Sinai, with all its splendour of thunder and lightning, is now in the sanctuary."

Psalms 68:18 gives the matter-of-fact proof for the assertion made in Psalms 68:17. That the Lord sits enthroned in Zion, in the whole fulness of his might, has been made known, even now, by a great victory obtained over the enemies of his people. The constant use of the preterites makes it evident that the verse refers to one particular event, and cannot be applied to what God is continually doing: and the connection with what goes before, according to which the expressions here can refer only to a favour which God imparts out of his sanctuary, renders it evident that it is not those enemies that are meant, "who were completely subdued, when the ark got its position on mount Zion," according to Stier, who maintains the hypothesis that the Psalm was composed, on the introduction of the ark of the covenant to its seat on Zion. The ascending of God, which corresponds to "return thou on high" in the remarkably similar parallel passage, Psalms 7:7, presupposes his descending: compare Ephesians 4:9. It denotes his ascent to heaven, after he had made himself known on earth, in deeds of omnipotence and love, that he might there manage the affairs of his people: comp. Psalms 47:5. המרום, the height, denotes always heaven, never mount Zion: compare at Psalms 7:7, Psalms 18:16, Psalms 93:4, Psalms 102:19. Even in Psalms 68:33, God is described as "he whose seat is in heaven:" comp. (Psalms 68:34) 34th, "his power is in the clouds." The prisoners, whom God leads away, the gifts which he receives, cannot be taken by him into heaven: he takes them, only that he may give them to his people, "his hosts," at whose head he had gone forth to battle, and leave them behind him when he ascends to heaven, just as the gifts of Israel to him were given to his servants the priests. Hence it is evident that by the "he gave," which occurs in Ephesians 4:8, instead of, "thou takest," the sense is not altered, but only brought out: the "giving" presupposes the "taking," the "taking" is succeeded by the "giving," as its consequence. The apostle gives prominence to this consequence, because it serves his object, as common to the type with the antitype. The passage in his view has this complete sense: "he received gifts among men, and he gave gifts to men." That by gifts is meant, "gifts given reluctantly," is obvious, from "thou didst take;" the same remark exactly may be made of מתנה, which Gesenius has made of מנחה:—"the tribute was thus designated, which was exacted from a conquered people under the milder name of a gift," compare 2 Samuel 8:2, "and the Moabites became David's servants, and brought gifts," so of the Syrians, in 2 Samuel 8:6. The ב in באדם, as in בם, Psalms 68:17, has the sense of among. The men on the earth stand in opposition to God on high: compare Psalms 58:11, Psalms 64:9. Men, far from heaven the seat of God, fancy that they are secure, but they must learn wisdom by their own painful experience. The gift presupposes a giver, and this giver is denoted by באדם; the history of David knows nothing either of "prisoners who were sent as gifts to the sanctuary," nor of "proselytes who gifted as it were themselves to God," but a great deal of gifts in the sense adopted by us: the connection between prisoners won by victory and riches is a constant one, especially in the transactions of David's times. By the "refractory" are meant those who, even after the appearance of the Lord and the manifestation of his conquering power, still dared to persist in their rash opposition, such as the Ammonites, in opposition to those who yielded at once, like the servants of Hadadeser, 2 Samuel 10:19. That even the former, should at length give presents, shows with what might God has assailed them on behalf of his people. And even the refractory must give presents to thee, are such from whom thou takest presents. To dwell, O Lord God: and thus thou, after thou hast completed all this, mayest dwell in heaven glorious, inaccessible to the vengeance of the conquered as the Almighty, there: comp. Isaiah 57:15. Several interpreters connect these words with what goes before: "and even the rebellious shall dwell with God." A singular exposition! שכן, with the accusative, cannot mean "to dwell with any one." It can be only by a false exposition, that any thing can be supposed in the preceding context to be said of grace towards the enemies, or of their conversion; the refractory, according to Psalms 68:6, and Psalms 66:7, can be considered as referred to, only as objects of punishment. Others: "And the rebellious must rest:"—but שכן signifies always to dwell, and is so used in Psalms 68:16, compare Psalms 68:6. We observe, farther, that the quotation of our passage in the Epistle to the Ephesians is not a mere accommodation, as the character and manner of that quotation evidently show. The descent of God on behalf of his church, and the rich load of gifts bestowed upon it, here spoken of, formed a prelude and a pledge of the appearance of God in Christ, and of the whole riches of his goodness and grace imparted in him to his church. That which was imperfect, affords on the domain of revelation, inasmuch as the former points out the reality of the relation by which that which is perfect is demanded, security for the latter.

The Psalmist in Psalms 68:19 rising from the particular to the general, praises the Lord, as him who is always the saviour of the church. The עמס signifies to lay upon, not to carry, (as Ew. takes). The subject is undefined: men lay burdens upon us: But in reality it is sufficiently obvious that we are to think of men, from the opposition to God, (compare Psalms 27:1, Psalms 124:2, and other passages), and from Psalms 68:18. Even in Psalms 68:16 and Psalms 68:17 the subject spoken of is the help of the Lord Almighty, against the enmity of the world. The (Psalms 68:20) 20th verse makes it evident that האל is not "even this God," but that the article points to the peculiar God of Israel, as is frequently the case with האלהים: compare, for example, 2 Samuel 12:16. The same consideration sets aside the idea that God is the subject to יעמס: "he loads us, he, God, is our help." Rückert. The "Selah" here indicates the end of a section.

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Hengstenberg, Ernst. "Commentary on Psalms 68:19". Ernst Hengstenberg on John, Revelation, Ecclesiastes, Ezekiel & Psalms. https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/heg/psalms-68.html.

Hamilton Smith's Writings

Psalm 68

God made known in all the kingdoms of the earth, through the display of His goodness throughout the history of Israel.

(vv1-3) The psalm opens with presenting God as taking His place at the head of His people; scattering His enemies; the wicked perishing at His presence; while the righteous rejoice before God. It commences with the formulas used by Moses, when the camp of Israel moved forward on its journeys through the wilderness ( Numbers 10:35).

(vv4-6) Then, very beautifully, there is set forth the character of the One who leads His people. He acts as a loving Father, and a righteous Judge. The destitute, the oppressed, the lonely, and the captive are the objects of His care; but the rebellious are left to reap the result of their own folly- they perish in the wilderness.

(vv7-14) The history of Israel is recapitulated to set forth, not their failure, but God"s goodness.

God led His people through the wilderness and manifested His presence at Sinai (vv7-8). He brought His congregation to dwell in the land, and in His goodness provided for His weary people and cared for the poor (vv9-10). Giving the word of direction, He led them to victory over all their enemies; so that kings fled, and spoil was secured, in which all had a share (vv11-12). Victorious Israel, who once had been lying in wretchedness and poverty, is now displayed in all the beauty that God has put upon her (cp. ), while the enemies in the land are scattered (vv13-14).

(vv15-19) Israel being settled in the land, God is presented as choosing Zion for His dwelling place. The powers of the world, represented by high-peaked mountains (JND), may look enviously upon Zion. Nevertheless, at Zion the Lord has chosen to dwell for ever as the centre of earthly government, waited upon by angelic hosts as the executors of His will.

Moreover, all this goodness to Israel flows from Christ having ascended on high. Doubtless the psalmist but little entered into the deep significance of his own words ( 1 Peter 1:11); nevertheless the Spirit of God, as we know from the use of these words in Ephesians 4:8, had Christ in view. In His place of glory He received gifts for men. In Ephesians the gifts are spoken of in connection with the Church; here in connection with Israel, even though Israel had been rebellious. Thus by His gifts in grace, God secures a people in whose midst He can dwell. In Psalm 22:2-3, we read of Christ forsaken on the Cross, in order that Jehovah might dwell in the midst of a praising people. In this psalm He ascends on high to secure a praising people. Thus they say, "Blessed be the Lord, who daily loadeth us with benefits, even the God of our salvation."

(vv20-23) The blessing of His people Israel will involve the destruction of His enemies. The Lord will again bring His people out of the world, here figured by Bashan; while His enemies are left in utter prostration, as carcasses on the field of battle.

(vv24-27) All enemies destroyed, the King is welcomed as He takes His place in the sanctuary in the midst of His rejoicing people, who, though long divided, are at last gathered together ( Isaiah 52:8).

(vv28-31) The King having His rightful place in the midst of His regathered people, they are now strengthened by the whole world being brought into subjection. The kings of the earth will come with their presents, and submit themselves to the King, and stretch out their hands in dependence upon God.

(vv32-35) Finally all the kingdoms of the earth are called to praise the Lord, who is over all created things, who is mighty in word and deed, and has displayed His power in His people Israel.

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Smith, Hamilton. "Commentary on Psalms 68:19". "Hamilton Smith's Writings". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/hsw/psalms-68.html. 1832.

Commentary Critical and Explanatory on the Whole Bible

God daily and fully supplies us. The issues or escapes from death are under His control, who is the God that saves us, and destroys His and our enemies.

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These files are a derivative of an electronic edition prepared from text scanned by Woodside Bible Fellowship.
This expanded edition of the Jameison-Faussett-Brown Commentary is in the public domain and may be freely used and distributed.
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Jamieson, Robert, D.D.; Fausset, A. R.; Brown, David. "Commentary on Psalms 68:19". "Commentary Critical and Explanatory on the Whole Bible". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/jfb/psalms-68.html. 1871-8.

Commentary Critical and Explanatory on the Whole Bible - Unabridged

The hill of God is as the hill of Bashan; an high hill as the hill of Bashan.

-God has chosen Zion whereon to dwell forever, with His countless chariots, in spite of all the resistance of the pagan. This He has shown by the victory just given to His people; therefore, blessed be the Lord.

Verse 15. The hill of God (is as) the hill of Bashan; all high hill, (as) the hill of Bashan. So Zion is called "the hill of the Lord," Psalms 24:3; but it is not likely that the greatness of Zion should be illustrated by the physical height of the hill of God-opposed Bashan, a representative of the world-hills. Rather, a hill of God (a Hebraism for a great hill), an high hill, (is) the hill of Bashan. But high as it is, mount Zion, being the habitation of God, is, in a moral point of view, infinitely higher (Isaiah 2:2; Isaiah 8:6-8). The world's physical greatness must yield to the Church's spiritual grandeur. The "hill of God" is here an emblem of the world-kingdoms, which (Psalms 65:6) are great only by the grace of God. A great hill reminds us of the creative power of God. Hence, 'the hill of 'Elohiym (Hebrew #430)' (the general name of God as the Creator), stands in contrast to the hill which (Psalms 68:16) 'the Lord' ( Yahweh (Hebrew #3068)) will dwell in forever. It lay in the north of the region east of Jordan, or the land of Hermon, the kingdom of Og, the most formidable enemy whom Israel encountered on their march to Canaan. 'The hill of Basan is the high snow-summit of Anti-Lebanon, or Hermon, the extreme limit of Basan. There was a special propriety, from its position on the boundary between Judea and the pagan world, in employing it as a symbol, of the world's might (Psalms 68:22; Psalms 42:6; Psalms 89:12)' (Hengstenberg). The original name of Hermon was Sion; i:e., lofty (Deuteronomy 4:48); allied in sound to Zion, which suggested the contrast here between the world-hills and the Lord's hill.

Verse 16. Why leap ye, ye high hllls? - namely, with envious desire of destroying the hill which God loves, and of setting yourselves up above it [ t

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Jamieson, Robert, D.D.; Fausset, A. R.; Brown, David. "Commentary on Psalms 68:19". "Commentary Critical and Explanatory on the Whole Bible - Unabridged". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/jfu/psalms-68.html. 1871-8.

Sutcliffe's Commentary on the Old and New Testaments

This psalm is the Carmen seculare of the Hebrews, and far surpasses the Te Deum of the christians. It has justly been eulogized in the whole succession of theological composition,. The song bursts at once upon us in the boldest effusions of the heart.

Psalms 68:1. Let God arise. This psalm was sung when David went and brought up the ark of God from the house of Obed-edom into the city of David with gladness, and therefore with great propriety it commences with the words used by Moses on a similar occasion. Numbers 10:35.

Psalms 68:4. By his name JAH. The self-existent God that judges for the widows, and shakes the earth, and rides on the wings of the wind. This name is repeated in Isaiah 12:2. See also Exodus 3:14.

Psalms 68:9. A plentiful rain. Not manna, as in the Latin critics, but rain and snow. To confirm, to revive the drooping verdure, and refresh thine heritage when it was exhausted, and parched in the midst of summer.

Psalms 68:11. The Lord gave the word, to Moses, whom he inspired to write martial odes, which the people sung; and good men published the law in the camp and in all the synagogues of the Hebrews. It was the same in the christian church. The Lord raised up a number of evangelical men, who imitated the apostles in their life and doctrine.

Psalms 68:13. Though ye have lien, and slept, among the pots and bricks in Egypt, God gave you the enamelled and variegated wings of a dove, to escape away from danger, clad in Egyptian robes, and decorated with jewels of gold and precious stones.

Psalms 68:14. White as snow in Salmon, when the Lord scattered before Joshua thirty one kings. The hill of Salmon is situate near the Jordan, in the tribe of Ephraim. Harmer mentions a Saracen army cut to pieces by a storm of hail, and sheets of ice. So now: the Almighty from Lebanon in the north, it would seem, brought a local scourge on the Canaanites, which not only destroyed the allied kings, but left a white carpet on this hill which watered the parched land.

Psalms 68:18. Thou hast led captivity captive. See on Ephesians 4:8. Judges 5. When Sesostris king of Egypt had returned from his oriental expedition, and made his triumph at Memphis, his chariot was drawn by four captive kings. One of them kept his eye so constantly on the wheel, as to attract the notice of the conqueror. On being asked the reason, he replied, Sire, the rotations of the wheel console me in my present condition, for that part of the wheel which is now at the top is next in the dirt, and that part which is now in the dirt is next at the top. I am, sire, now in the dirt, but I may live to be at the top again. Sesostris soon restored the ingenious prince.

Psalms 68:31. Ethiopia, the land of Cush, shall soon stretch out her hands to embrace the gospel. Eusebius says that the noble Eunuch whom Philip baptized, planted a church in this country. It was then the first of gentile nations that received the truth. A copy of the scriptures was translated into this language; and small churches still subsist there, notwithstanding all the bloody cruelties of mahomedan conquests. But the text is also understood of the conversion of the gentiles, as in the next words: Sing unto God ye kingdoms of the earth.

REFLECTIONS.

This psalm has high claims to poetic merit, and not less so to our consideration, from the divine characters of grace which it describes. David here shows his reverence for revelation by beginning with the words of Moses, when the ark was removed from one station to another, during the sojourn in the wilderness. Numbers 10:35. The holy prophets who claim obedience to their words, were themselves obedient.

We are here taught to regard the Lord God as a man of war, as captain of Israel, and the leader of his ark. So he appeared to Joshua: consequently, the Jordan fled backward, the walls of Jericho prostrated, the kings of Canaan were discomfited at his presence, and slain with hailstones in their retreat. But there were exceptions of a most instructive kind. When the Israelites went up to the mountains without the Lord, they were slain, Numbers 10:40; and when they retreated from Ai, because of Achan’s sin; also when the ark was conducted by the sons of Eli. Learn then, oh my soul, to serve the Lord in holiness, or he will be more terrible to thee than to his open foes. But serve him with fidelity, and all thy foes shall vanish as the smoke. God so terrible to the incorrigible is unchangeable, as his name JAH implies; he is the orphan’s father, and the widow’s friend. Though he slew the murmurers in the desert, yet he placed their children in rich lots of land, and made them heads of great houses. His judgments often have mercy for their ultimate objects.

The first six verses being sung when the levites took up the ark, from the seventh to the fourteenth were sung as they began the march. Oh God, when thou wentest forth, Sinai itself was moved at thy presence. Christ in like manner shook the earth by the preaching of the gospel; and as a multitude of prophets sung the praises of Israel’s God, so a great number of apostles and apostolic men published the gospel beyond the extent of the Roman empire. And the Lord who raised up the Israelites from the potteries of Egypt to great wealth, raised up the christian church to inherit the earth, and be heirs of heaven.

God fought for the Israelites by great hailstones which fell from heaven. When the Almighty scattered kings, it was white in summer with snow or hail on the top of mount Salmon. The apostrophe to the hills is very fine. Why leap ye, ye high hills? Why leap ye against the rocky hills of Zion? It is not you, but this mountain which the Lord hath chosen. He has equalled it to Sinai. He ascended from Sinai with myriads, he has led captivity captive. The Egyptians who enslaved us lay dead at our feet. With the whole host of his cherubim he has alighted on Zion, after riding on the wings of the wind, and making darkness his pavilion, and flames of fire the banners of his host. God has made this place the seat of empire, and the sanctuary of all the earth. So Christ has led captive sin, Satan, and death, to whom we had been captives. He spoiled principalities on the cross, and made a show of them openly. The Lord Jesus also ascended up on high, and gave qualifications to men to be apostles, evangelists, and prophets; yea, he gave gifts to the rebellious gentiles also, that the Lord God might dwell among them for ever.

The Lord having made Zion the seat of his glory, the psalmist proceeds next, highly illumined with the Spirit, to speak of the glory of the latter day, when God should strike through the hairy scalp of his enemies. The barbarous custom of carrying scalps for a reward is undoubtedly of the earliest antiquity, though it here implies God’s striking the head of his enemies. Having vanquished all his foes, he shall then bring in the princes of Egypt. Ethiopia shall soon follow; and the Jews by Ethiopia meant all of Africa, except Lybia which is now called Tripoli, Tunis, and Barbary. Sing then to the Lord, ye kingdoms of the earth, ye shall soon become the kingdoms of our God, and of his Christ. Thus unto him gave all the prophets witness.

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Sutcliffe, Joseph. "Commentary on Psalms 68:19". Sutcliffe's Commentary on the Old and New Testaments. https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/jsc/psalms-68.html. 1835.

John Trapp Complete Commentary

Psalms 68:19 Blessed [be] the Lord, [who] daily loadeth us [with benefits, even] the God of our salvation. Selah.

Ver. 19. Blessed be the Lord, who daily loadeth us] sc. With blessings, or with crosses turned into blessings, as being sanctified, and having their properties altered; for of themselves they are fruits of sin, and a piece of the curse. Let us not load him with our iniquities, &c.

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Trapp, John. "Commentary on Psalms 68:19". John Trapp Complete Commentary. https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/jtc/psalms-68.html. 1865-1868.

Keil & Delitzsch Old Testament Commentary

Now begins the second circuit of the hymn. Comforted by the majestic picture of the future that he has beheld, the poet returns to the present, in which Israel is still oppressed, but yet not forsaken by God. The translation follows the accentuation, regular and in accordance with the sense, which has been restored by Baer after Heidenheim, viz., אדני has Zarka , and יעמס לנוּ Olewejored preceded by the sub-distinctive Rebia parvum ; it is therefore: Benedictus Dominator: quotidie bajulat nobis , - with which the Targum, Rashi, and Kimchi agree.

(Note: According to the customary accentuation the second יום has Mercha or Olewejored, and יעמס־לנוּ, Mugrash . But this Mugrash has the position of the accents of the Silluk -member against it; for although it does exceptionally occur that two conjunctives follow Mugrash ( Accentsystem, xvii. §5), yet these cannot in any case be Mahpach sarkatum and Illui .)

עמס, like נשׂא and סבל, unites the significations to lay a burden upon one (Zechariah 12:3; Isaiah 46:1, Isaiah 46:3), and to carry a burden; with על it signifies to lay a burden upon any one, here with ל to take up a burden for any one and to bear it for him. It is the burden or pressure of the hostile world that is meant, which the Lord day by day helps His church to bear, inasmuch as He is mighty by His strength in her who of herself is so feeble. The divine name אל, as being the subject of the sentence, is האל : God is our salvation. The music here again strikes in forte, and the same thought that is emphasized by the music in its turn, is also repeated in Psalms 68:21 with heightened expression: God is to us a God למושׁעות, who grants us help in rich abundance. The pluralet . denotes not so much the many single proofs of help, as the riches of rescuing power and grace. In Psalms 68:21 למּות corresponds to the לנוּ ; for it is not to be construed תּוצאות למּות : Jahve's, the Lord, are the outgoings to death (Böttcher), i.e., He can command that one shall not fall a prey to death. תוצאות, the parallel word to מושׁעות, signifies, and it is the most natural meaning, the escapings; יצא, evadere , as in 1 Samuel 14:41; 2 Kings 13:5; Ecclesiastes 7:18. In Jahve's power are means of deliverance for death, i.e., even for those who are already abandoned to death. With אך a joyously assuring inference is drawn from that which God is to Israel. The parallelism of the correctly divided verse shows that ראשׁ here, as in Psalms 110:6, signifies caput in the literal sense, and not in the sense of princeps . The hair-covered scalp is mentioned as a token of arrogant strength, and unhumbled and impenitent pride, as in Deuteronomy 32:42, and as the Attic koma'n directly signifies to strut along, give one's self airs. The genitival construction is the same as in Isaiah 28:1, Isaiah 32:13 . The form of expression refers back to Numbers 24:17, and so to speak inflects this primary passage very similarly to Jeremiah 48:45. If קדקד שׂער be an object, then ראשׁ ought also to be a second object (that of the member of the body); the order of the words does not in itself forbid this (cf. Psalms 3:8 with Deuteronomy 33:11), but would require a different arrangement in order to avoid ambiguities.

In Psalms 68:23 the poet hears a divine utterance, or records one that he has heard: “From Bashan will I bring back, I will bring back from the eddies of the sea (from צוּל = צלל, to whiz, rattle; to whirl, eddy), i.e., the depths or abysses of the sea.” Whom? When after the destruction of Jerusalem a ship set sail for Rome with a freight of distinguished and well-formed captives before whom was the disgrace of prostitution, they all threw themselves into the sea, comforting themselves with this passage of Scripture ( Gittin 57 b, cf. Echa Rabbathi 66 a ). They therefore took Psalms 68:23 to be a promise which has Israel as its object;

(Note: So also the Targum, which understands the promise to refer to the restoration of the righteous who have been eaten by wild beasts and drowned in the sea (Midrash: מבשׁן = מבין שׁני אריות ); cf. also the things related from the time of the Khaliphs in Jost's Geschichte des Judenthums, ii. 399, and Grätz' Gesch. der Juden, v. 347.)

but the clause expressing a purpose, Psalms 68:24, and the paraphrase in Amos 9:2., show that the foes of Israel are conceived of as its object. Even if these have hidden themselves in the most out-of-the-way places, God will fetch them back and make His own people the executioners of His justice upon them. The expectation is that the flight of the defeated foes will take a southernly direction, and that they will hide themselves in the primeval forests of Bashan, and still farther southward in the depths of the sea, i.e., of the Dead Sea ( ים as in Isaiah 16:8; 2 Chronicles 20:2). Opposite to the hiding in the forests of the mountainous Bashan stands the hiding in the abyss of the sea, as the extreme of remoteness, that which is in itself impossible being assumed as possible. The first member of the clause expressing the purpose, Psalms 68:24, becomes more easy and pleasing if we read תּרחץ (lxx, Syriac, and Vulgate, ut intingatur ), according to Psalms 58:11. So far as the letters are concerned, the conjecture תּחמץ (from which תמחץ, according to Chajug', is transposed), after Isaiah 63:1, is still more natural (Hitzig): that thy foot may redden itself in blood. This is certainly somewhat tame, and moreover מדּם would be better suited to this rendering than בּדם . As the text now stands, תּמחץ

(Note: The Gaja of the first closed syllable warns one to make a proper pause upon it, in order that the guttural of the second, so apt to be slurred over, may be distinctly pronounced; cf. תּבחר, Psalms 65:5; הרחיק, Psalms 103:12. So also with the sibilants at the beginning of the second syllable, e.g., תּדשׁא, Genesis 1:11, in accordance with which, in Genesis 14:1; 53:2, we must write השׁתיתו והתעיבו .)

is equivalent to תּמחצם (them, viz., the enemies), and רגלך בּדם is an adverbial clause (setting or plunging thy foot in blood). It is, however, also possible that מחץ is used like Arab. machaḍa ( vehementer commovere ): ut concutias s. agites pedem tuam in sanguine . Can it now be that in Psalms 68:24 from among the number of the enemies of the one who goes about glorying in his sins, the רשׁע κατ ̓ ἐξοχήν (cf. Isaiah 11:4; Habakkuk 3:13, and other passages), is brought prominently forward by מנּהוּ ? Hardly so; the absence of תּלק ( lambat ) cannot be tolerated, cf. 1 Kings 21:19; 1 Kings 22:38. It is more natural, with Simonis, to refer מנּהוּ back to לשׁון (a word which is usually fem ., but sometimes perhaps is masc ., Psalms 22:16; Proverbs 26:28); and, since side by side with ממּנוּ only מנהוּ occurs anywhere else (Ew. §263, b ), to take it in the signification pars ejus ( מן from מנן = מגה, after the form גּז, חן, קץ, of the same meaning as מגה, מנת, Psalms 63:11), in favour of which Hupfeld also decides.

What is now described in Psalms 68:25-28, is not the rejoicing over a victory gained in the immediate past, nor the rejoicing over the earlier deliverance at the Red Sea, but Israel's joyful celebration when it shall have experienced the avenging and redemptive work of its God and King. According to Psalms 77:14; Habakkuk 3:6, הליכות appears to be God's march against the enemy; but what follows shows that the pompa magnifica of God is intended, after He has overcome the enemy. Israel's festival of victory is looked upon as a triumphal procession of God Himself, the King, who governs in holiness, and has now subjugated and humbled the unholy world; בּקּדשׁ as in Psalms 68:18. The rendering “in the sanctuary' is very natural in this passage, but Exodus 15:11; Psalms 77:14, are against it. The subject of ראוּ is all the world, more especially those of the heathen who have escaped the slaughter. The perfect signifies: they have seen, just as קדּמוּ, they have occupied the front position. Singers head the procession, after them ( אחר,

(Note: This אחר, according to B. Nedarim 37 b, is a so-called עטור סופרים ( ablatio scribarum ), the sopherim (sofrim) who watched over the faithful preservation of the text having removed the reading ואחר, so natural according to the sense, here as in Genesis 18:5; Genesis 24:55; Numbers 31:2, and marked it as not genuine.)

an adverb as in Genesis 22:13; Exodus 5:1) players upon citherns and harps ( נגנים, participle to נגּן ), and on either side virgins with timbrels (Spanish adufe ); תּופפות, apocopated part. Poel with the retension of (cf. שׁוקקה, Psalms 107:9), from תּפף, to strike the תּף (Arab. duff ). It is a retrospective reference to the song at the Sea, now again come into life, which Miriam and the women of Israel sang amidst the music of timbrels. The deliverance which is now being celebrated is the counterpart of the deliverance out of Egypt. Songs resound as in Psalms 68:27, “in gatherings of the congregation (and, so to speak, in full choirs) praise ye Elohim.” מקהלות ( מקהלים, Psalms 26:12) is the plural to קהל (Psalms 22:23), which forms none of its own (cf. post-biblical קהלּות from קהלּה ). Psalms 68:27 is abridged from ברכו אדני אשׁר אתם ממקור ישראל, praise ye the Lord, ye who have Israel for your fountainhead. אדני, in accordance with the sense, has Mugrash. Israel is here the name of the patriarch, from whom as from its fountainhead the nation has spread itself abroad; cf. Isaiah 48:1; Isaiah 51:1, and as to the syntax ממּך, those who descend from thee, Isaiah 58:12. In the festive assembly all the tribes of Israel are represented by their princes. Two each from the southern and northern tribes are mentioned. Out of Benjamin was Israel's first king, the first royal victor over the Gentiles; and in Benjamin, according to the promise (Deuteronomy 33:12) and according to the accounts of the boundaries (Joshua 18:16., Joshua 15:7.), lay the sanctuary of Israel. Thus, therefore, the tribe which, according both to order of birth (Genesis 43:29.) and also extent of jurisdiction and numbers (1 Samuel 9:21), was “little,” was honoured beyond the others.

(Note: Tertullian calls the Apostle Paul, with reference to his name and his Benjamitish origin, parvus Benjamin , just as Augustine calls the poetess of the Magnificat, nostra tympanistria .)

Judah, however, came to the throne in the person of David, and became for ever the royal tribe. Zebulun and Naphtali are the tribes highly praised in Deborah's song of victory (Judges 5:18, cf. Psalms 4:6) on account of their patriotic bravery. רדם, giving no sense when taken from the well-known verb רדם, falls back upon רדה, and is consequently equivalent to רדם (cf. Lamentations 1:13), subduing or ruling them; according to the sense, equivalent to רדה בם (1 Kings 5:30; 1 Kings 9:23; 2 Chronicles 8:10), like המּצלם, not “their leader up,” but ὁ ἀναγαγὼν αὐτοὺς, Isaiah 63:11, not = רדיהם (like עשׂיהם, ראיהם ), which would signify their subduer or their subduers. The verb רדה, elsewhere to subjugate, oppress, hold down by force, Ezekiel 34:4; Leviticus 25:53, is here used of the peaceful occupation of the leader who maintains the order of a stately and gorgeous procession. For the reference to the enemies, “their subduer,” is without any coherence. But to render the parallel word רגמתם “their (the enemies') stoning” (Hengstenberg, Vaihinger, and others, according to Böttcher's “Proben” ), is, to say nothing more, devoid of taste; moreover רגם does not mean to throw stones with a sling, but to stone as a judicial procedure. If we assign to the verb רגם the primary signification congerere, accumulare , after Arab. rajama VIII, and rakama , then רגמתם signifies their closely compacted band, as Jewish expositors have explained it ( קהלם או קבוצם ). Even if we connect רגם with רקם, variegare , or compare the proper name regem = Arab. rajm, socius (Böttcher), we arrive at much the same meaning. Hupfeld's conjecture רגשׁתם is consequently unnecessary.

Copyright Statement
The Keil & Delitzsch Old Testament Commentary is a derivative of a public domain electronic edition.
Bibliographical Information
Keil, Carl Friedrich & Delitzsch, Franz. "Commentary on Psalms 68:19". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/kdo/psalms-68.html. 1854-1889.

The Popular Commentary by Paul E. Kretzmann

The Exaltation and Reign of Messiah

v. 18. Thou hast ascended on high, to the height, referred by Paul to the ascension of Christ, Eph_4:8; for the Champion of His Church, having overcome all His enemies, now gives visible evidence of His victory by ascending in triumph to heaven; Thou hast led captivity captive, Satan and his hosts, who formerly held all mankind captive, now himself being bound with everlasting chains of darkness. Thou hast received gifts for men, among men, consisting of men, the reference being to the fact that the exalted Christ has chosen certain members of the human race as His own, men who are now subject to Him in the obedience of faith; yea, for the rebellious also, for even such as were formerly rebellious, unwilling to submit to the gentle rule of Messiah, are finally overcome by His mercy, that the Lord God might dwell among them, establishing His Church among the Gentiles also. For this establishment of the Messianic kingdom the psalmist now gives praise.

v. 19. Blessed be the Lord, who daily loadeth us with benefits, even the God of our salvation, or, "Are we burdened, He, God, is our Help, He burdens Himself for us," thus helping us to bear the load which often seems too heavy for us. Selah.

v. 20. He that is our God, again the language of trusting faith, is the God of salvation, of the many acts of deliverance which we experience in our lives; and unto God the Lord belong the issues from death, He has outlets, ways of escape, from death, He alone is able to rescue us from eternal death and to grant us the gift of eternal life; that is the privilege, the wonderful, mighty prerogative, of the exalted Christ.

v. 21. But God shall wound the head of His enemies, break it to pieces, utterly destroy them, and the hairy scalp of such an one as goeth on still in his trespasses, whose defiant wildness refuses to bow to the authority of God.

v. 22. The Lord said, I will bring again from Bashan, the wild fastnesses of the mountainous region east of Jordan, I will bring My people, rather, "the enemies," again from the depths of the sea; for whether they were hiding in the mountain forests or in the abysses of the Salt Sea, the Lord would search them out to mete out judgment to them;

v. 23. that thy foot, that of the Church personified as one individual, may be dipped in the blood of thine enemies, which would flow copiously as the Lord struck them down in punishment, and the tongue of thy dogs in the same, the picture being taken from Oriental conditions, where the dogs licked up the blood of the slain, 1Ki_22:38.

v. 24. They, the members of the Church of God, have seen Thy goings, O God, His triumphal march; even the goings of my God, my King, in the Sanctuary, as His procession moves on in holiness.

v. 25. The singers went before, leading the triumphal procession, the players on instruments followed after; among them were the damsels, the virgins, playing with timbrels, moving along on either side, their hymns proclaiming the victory of the Messiah.

v. 26. Bless ye God in the congregations, wherever the believers meet for worship, even the Lord, from the fountain of Israel, all the spiritual descendants of Abraham.

v. 27. There is little Benjamin with their ruler, the conqueror of the enemies mentioned before, the princes of Judah and their council, the band of the leaders in Israel, the princes of Zebulon, and the princes of Naphtali, apparently a motley crowd, a great mass, but all united in the praise of the exalted Messiah; for in the spiritual Israel the high and the lowly, the rich and the poor, unite their voices in exalting the Lord, their King.

v. 28. Thy God hath commanded Thy strength, giving to the Messiah, the exalted Christ, unlimited authority in His kingdom. Strengthen, O God, that which Thou hast wrought for us, so that His Church may have the benefit of His achievements.

v. 29. Because of Thy Temple at Jerusalem shall kings bring presents unto Thee, pledging the Messiah their obedience and allegiance, the prophet here looking forward to the spread of the Messianic kingdom among the Gentiles.

v. 30. Rebuke the company of spearmen, the beast of the reed, the alligator, used as a symbol of Egypt and all heathendom, the multitude of the bulls, with the calves of the people, the entire hosts of enemy forces everywhere, till everyone submit himself with pieces of silver, bringing tribute to the Messiah, unwilling though it may be, Php_2:9-11. Scatter Thou the people that delight in war, their object being to make war on the Church.

v. 31. Princes shall come out of Egypt, magnates submitting themselves to the rule of the Messiah. Ethiopia shall soon stretch out her hands unto God, offering tribute to the King of grace.

v. 32. Sing unto God, ye kingdoms of the earth; O sing praises unto the Lord, the All-powerful, Selah, all nations giving Him the honor due His mighty name;

v. 33. to Him that rideth upon the heavens of heavens, which were of old, the primeval or ancient heaven being thought of as the seat of God's majesty. Lo, He doth send out His voice, and that a mighty voice, sounding in a revelation of His almighty power.

v. 34. Ascribe ye strength unto God, acknowledging the exalted Messiah as the almighty Ruler; His excellency is over Israel, the glory of His mercy upon His Church, and His strength is in the clouds, far above and beyond any possible interference on the part of puny men.

v. 35. O God, Thou art terrible out of Thy holy places, to be regarded with fear and reverence; the God of Israel is He that giveth strength and power unto His people, to the assembly of believers in Him, to His Church on earth. Blessed be God, all glory due to Him alone for the marvelous revelation of the meaning and the fruit of Christ's exaltation. It is the Son of Man, elevated to the right hand of the eternal Father, to whom the Church, consisting of members both of Jew and Gentile nations, gives praise and glory as the eternal King of grace and glory.

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Text Courtesy of BibleSupport.com. Used by Permission.
Bibliographical Information
Kretzmann, Paul E. Ph. D., D. D. "Commentary on Psalms 68:19". "Kretzmann's Popular Commentary". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/kpc/psalms-68.html. 1921-23.

Lange's Commentary on the Holy Scriptures: Critical, Doctrinal and Homiletical

             Psalm 68

To the chief Musician, A Psalm or Song of David

Let God arise, let his enemies be scattered:

Let them also that hate him flee before him.

2 As smoke is driven away, so drive them away:

As wax melteth before the fire,

So let the wicked perish at the presence of God,

3 But let the righteous be glad; let them rejoice before God:

Yea, let them exceedingly rejoice.

4 Sing unto God, sing praises to his name:

Extol him that rideth upon the heavens

By his name JAH, and rejoice before him.

5 A father of the fatherless, and a judge of the widows,

Is God in his holy habitation.

6 God setteth the solitary in families:

He bringeth out those which are bound with chains:

But the rebellious dwell in a dry land.

7 O God, when thou wentest forth before thy people,

When thou didst march through the wilderness; Selah:

8 The earth shook,

The heavens also dropped at the presence of God:

Even Sinai itself was moved at the presence of God, the God of Israel.

9 Thou, O God, didst send a plentiful rain,

Whereby thou didst confirm thine inheritance, when it was weary.

10 Thy congregation hath dwelt therein:

Thou, O God, hast prepared of thy goodness for the poor.

11 The Lord gave the word:

Great was the company of those that published it.

12 Kings of armies did flee apace:

And she that tarried at home divided the spoil.

13 Though ye have lain among the pots,

Yet shall ye be as the wings of a dove covered with silver,

And her feathers with yellow gold.

14 When the Almighty scattered kings in it,

It was white as snow in Salmon.

15 The hill of God is as the hill of Bashan;

A high hill as the hill of Bashan.

16 Why leap ye, ye high hills?

This is the hill which God desireth to dwell in;

Yea, the Lord will dwell in it for ever.

17 The chariots of God are twenty thousand, even thousands of angels:

The Lord is among them, as in Sinai, in the holy place.

18 Thou hast ascended on high, thou hast led captivity captive;

Thou hast received gifts for men;

Yea, for the rebellious also, that the Lord God might dwell among them.

19 Blessed be the Lord, who daily

Loadeth us with benefits, even the God of our salvation. Selah.

20 He that is our God is the God of salvation;

And unto God the Lord belong the issues from death.

21 But God shall wound the head of his enemies,

And the hairy scalp of such a one as goeth on still in his trespasses.

22 The Lord said, I will bring again from Bashan,

I will bring my people again from the depths of the sea:

23 That thy foot may be dipped in the blood of thine enemies,

And the tongue of thy dogs in the same.

24 They have seen thy goings, O God;

Even the goings of my God, my King, in the sanctuary.

25 The singers went before, the players on instruments followed after;

Among them were the damsels playing with timbrels.

26 Bless ye God in the congregations,

Even the Lord, from the fountain of Israel.

27 There is little Benjamin with their ruler,

The princes of Judah and their council,

The princes of Zebulun, and the princes of Naphtali.

28 Thy God hath commanded thy strength:

Strengthen, O God, that which thou hast wrought for us.

29 Because of thy temple at Jerusalem

Shall kings bring presents unto thee.

30 Rebuke the company of spearmen, the multitude of the bulls, with the calves of the people,

Till every one submit himself with pieces of silver:

Scatter thou the people that delight in war.

31 Princes shall come out of Egypt;

Ethiopia shall soon stretch out her hands unto God.

32 Sing unto God, ye kingdoms of the earth;

O sing praises unto the Lord; Selah:

33 To him that rideth upon the heavens of heavens, which were of old;

Lo, he doth send out his voice, and that a mighty voice.

34 Ascribe ye strength unto God:

His excellency is over Israel,

And his strength is in the clouds.

35 O God, thou art terrible out of thy holy places:

The God of Israel is he that giveth strength and power unto his people.

Blessed be God.

EXEGETICAL AND CRITICAL

Its Contents and Composition.—This Psalm, if not the most difficult (J. D. Mich.), is yet the most disputed (Hupfeld), on account of many obscure allusions, rare expressions, and doubtful readings. It is a Titan (Hitzig), the most glowing, the boldest and the most powerful hymn of the whole collection (Hupfeld), a Psalm in the style of Deborah, advancing to the highest pinnacle of hymnic invention and representation (Delitzsch). It is reckoned by some to the later (Gesenius, Ewald, Hupfeld), by others to the latest (Ruding, Reuss, Olsh.), by others still to the most ancient monuments of Hebrew poetry (De Wette, Böttcher, Hengst, Hitzig, Delitzsch), because the highest originality in figures and words is mingled frequently in this lyrical work of art, with unmistakable repetitions of the favorite words of previous writings. These, in many particulars, still need a satisfactory explanation. Yet the Psalm is so transparent in its chief features, so sublime and edifying that it deserves and admits of another application than as a “monument of exegetical extremity and skill,” (Ed. Reuss, 1851). The fundamental thought is as clear as the arrangement and rhythmical organization, namely: The celebration of an entrance of God into His sanctuary on Zion after a victory, and His rule over the world extending itself from thence. The opening strophe with the very first words ( Psalm 68:1) awakens the most precious remembrances of Israel by the watch-word of Numbers 10:3-5, and by changing it into the form of a wish refers to circumstances in Israel in which the repetition of those previous events is necessary, and is directly implored ( Psalm 68:2) in order to the ruin of the wicked ( Psalm 68:3), as well as the joy of the righteous, it transports us into the midst of a victorious march led by God through steppes, in reference to which the righteous are exhorted to praise God with festive joy ( Psalm 68:4) as the Father and Helper of the forsaken ( Psalm 68:5), who provides a home for the solitary and the prisoner, whilst the rebellious remain in the land which is scorched by the heat of the sun ( Psalm 68:6). Then follows a glance at the providential care of God over His people in the Arabian desert after the exodus from Egypt and the revelation on Sinai ( Psalm 68:7-10), with a repetition of the words of Deborah, Judges 4:4 sq, which go back to Deuteronomy 33:2; comp. Exodus 19:15 sq, as Habakkuk 3depends upon this Psalm. This forms the transition to the hope expressed in Psalm 68:11-14, of a new victory over hostile kings. For the Divine names, Adonai and Shaddai, after the use of Elohim eleven times, the words Psalm 68:13, and the absence of preterites are in favor of the supposition that the reference here is no longer to previous events, but expected ones, although in allusion to the fact that previous events are to be repeated, namely, the decision by God’s oracle and the celebration of the viotory by festival choirs of women. By this victory it is established that Zion has been chosen by Jehovah for the abiding habitation of historical revelation ( Psalm 68:15-16), notwithstanding its littleness in comparison with other mountains. It is comparable with Sinai in holiness, and likewise protected, as well as honored by the presence of God, surrounded by His angelic hosts ( Psalm 68:17-18). Israel now likewise feels that he is supported and delivered by this God and Lord ( Psalm 68:19-20), and can safely reckon upon the ruin of his enemies ( Psalm 68:21-23.) God’s festal march of victory will be seen ( Psalm 68:24-25); all the tribes of the people will praise Him ( Psalm 68:26-27); the consequences of this act of judgment and deliverance will be felt throughout the whole earth, whilst the great monarchies will submit themselves and mighty kings with their people will turn to God in homage ( Psalm 68:28-31), and they are summoned to do this because He thunders down from the highest heavens of old upon the rebellious ( Psalm 68:32-33), but to His people, over whom His glory rules from His sanctuary, He gives power from on high. Hence all the world should acknowledge God’s power, and Israel should praise Him ( Psalm 68:34-35).

It follows from this survey with sufficient clearness, that this Psalm is not a direct prophecy of Christ, as to His advent, His saving doctrine, His triumphant ascension to heaven, His all-embracing sovereignty and Divine glory (J. H. Mich, after the fathers and most, of the older theologians, especially in connection with the citation of Psalm 68:18 in Ephesians 4:8). Moreover it does not admit of a merely spiritual application (Flamin, Calvin) and typical interpretation (Stier), but it has a Messianic meaning, yet not through the prophetic idea of the reunion of the divided kingdoms and the restoration of the monarchy (Hupf), but through the proclamation of the spreading of the Divine kingdom among the heathen by means of the victorious deeds of the God of historical Revelation, who is enthroned upon Zion as in heaven. If this fundamental thought is not recognized, the Psalm falls asunder into two parts, and there is left on the one side, merely the sanctuary of God (J. D. Mich.), or His holy majesty (Clauss), or His march of victory (Herder), on the other side the general feelings, remembrances and hopes of the people (Reuss.). These are then the subject and form the contents of a festival hymn, which can be put in almost any time that we may desire, if we either look away altogether from definite historical events as an occasion for its composition, and merely recognize the lyrical shaping of a general idea, or if we likewise entirely reject the composition by David, as stated in the title. Accordingly it has been actually placed in the times of the Maccabees (Olshausen), especially with reference to the consecration of the Temple, 1 Maccabees 5 (Rudinger), in the time of the rule of the Ptolemies or the Seleucidæ (Reuss), in the period of the exile or shortly afterwards (Ewald, Köster, Hup-feld), in the time of the struggle of Josiah with the Egyptian king Necho (Thenius), of Hezekiah with the Assyrians (Kimchi, Böttcher), of the confederate kings Jehoshaphat and Joram with Moab and Edom, 2 Kings 3. (Hitzig), in the time of Solomon (De Wette). There are points of contact, but always at the same time serious objections to these references. The reasons adduced against the time of David and his composition of the Psalm however are very weak. The mention of the Temple may be explained as in Psalm 5:7, and the combination of Æthiopia which was never at war with Israel, with Egypt the beast of the reed, shows clearly that the reference here is not to a victory over Egypt and Cush, but that these are the representatives of the heathen monarchies in general (Hengsten.). Since now Assyria is not mentioned here as one of these powers; since, furthermore, Zebulon and Naphtali are mentioned along side of Judah and Benjamin, and indeed with reference to a joint celebration of victory in Jerusalem, finally, since Jehovah marches with them in the ark of the covenant; we are led back to times previous to and not subsequent to the division of the Davidic empire or indeed the exile, and certainly back of Song of Solomon, for his government was throughout peaceful. In this state of affairs, however, it is unnecessary to remain satisfied with the time of David in general (Calvin). We may think of the removal of the ark to Mount Zion, 2 Samuel 6 (most of the older interpreters, finally, Stier, von Hofmann), or of the triumphal return after the happy issue of a war, and indeed in the last case, not so much of the war with the Syrians and Edomites, 2 Samuel 8 or10 (Cler, Rosenm.), as with the Ammonites and Syrians, 2 Samuel 11 (Flam, Thol, Hengsten, Reinke, et al.) It is best however not to think of the going forth of the ark at the beginning of the war (Venema, et al.), or of the celebration of victory at its close, but in accordance with the tone and course of thought, of the expression of the certainty of victory which is in part prophetic, in the course of this perilous war, which extended into the second year (Delitzsch), on which occasion the ark of the covenant was carried forth with the army, 2 Samuel 9:11.

Str. 1. Psalm 68:1. Let God arise.—Elohim is used here instead of Jehovah ( Numbers 10:35). We are to take the verb as the imperfect instead of the imperative, yet not as a future (most interpreters), or as a hypothetical present (Vatabl, De Wette, Hengstenberg, Hitzig). For in the one case we would have a promise, in the other, a clause of general application. But we have nothing to do with either of these, but with an expression of prayer in the repetition of those words with which Moses, in marching through the wilderness, after each halt, called upon the ark of the covenant to arise and go forward, not as if the ark was called God Himself (the Rabbins), but because the pillar of cloud and fire, the sign of the Divine presence, rested upon it.

[ Psalm 68:2. It may be that the figures of this verse, smoke and war, were suggested by the pillar of cloud and fire, as Hupfeld and Herder contend. At all events, they are frequent in the Scriptures, especially in connection with Theophanies, comp. Psalm 37:20; Psalm 97:5; Hosea 13:3; Micah 1:4.—C. A. B.]

Psalm 68:4. Cast up a highway for Him[FN2] who driveth along through the steppes, Jah is His name.—The name Jah, shortened from Jehovah, is first found in Exodus 15:2, and is probably derived from this passage, as likewise Psalm 118:14; Isaiah 12:2. But that the entire formula, of casting up (namely a highway, Isaiah 57:14; Isaiah 62:10) through the pathless wilderness, has been derived from Isaiah 11:3 (Hupfeld), is a supposition as ungrounded as the assertion (Hitzig) that the previously-mentioned words from Numbers 10 have originated from this Psalm. The reverse is true in both cases. The plural ערבות is certainly not to be derived from ערב=evening, and to be referred to the region of the evening (Septuagint, Vulgate, et al.), or that of sunset=gloom of misery and night of misfortune, over which the Lord advances and leads His people to the sunrise (Schegg), or to be regarded in the sense of clouds=heaven (Chald, Rabbins), from whence the Lord is to come. It is the plural from ערבה= sandy desert, which is found not only between Babylon and Canaan, or in Arabia, but likewise on the Jordan.

Psalm 68:6. God, who maketh the solitary to dwell at home.—These are not the childless ( Psalm 113:9) who are promised a numerous posterity, but the forsaken, who are to have a home given to them, Isaiah 58:7—[Leadeth forth prisoners into prosperity.—כוֹשָׁרוֹת is found only here. It is interpreted by most of the ancient versions, the Rabbins, A. V, et al, as=chains, as if it were related to קשׁר. But Symm. renders: ἐις ἀπόλυσιν, and the Syriac: “into abundance.” Hupfeld regards it as equivalent to the more usual כִּשְׁרוֹן, Ecclesiastes 2:21, from כשֹׁר, a later Hebrew and Aramaic form for ישׁר, and thus properly=the true condition, prosperity.Only the rebellious.—This is stronger and better than the “but” of A. V. The rebellious are those who refuse the guidance of the God of grace. These are obliged to remain in the dry and parched land, in the wilderness, and “do not come into the land which is fructified by the waters of grace, and shine in fresh green and rich fruits” (Delitzsch).—C. A. B.]

Str. 2. Psalm 68:8.—Yon Sinai before the face of Elohim, the God of Israel.—Sinai is not mentioned as the primitive throne of God, but as the scene of His majesty, as well as the giving of the law and its terrors, and as the starting-place of His march towards Canaan, in contrast with the second throne on Zion (Hupfeld after Geier, et al.). The זֶה is not to be connected with Elohim (Luther, Calvin), but with Sinai, and the expression is derived from Judges 5:5 : From that song of Deborah is likewise derived the expression: “the heavens dropped,” namely, the rain.

Str. 3. Psalm 68:9. Richly with rain didst Thou sprinkle Thine inheritance.—The reference here is hardly to storms to fructify the land (J. D. Mich, Böttcher), or those giving victory (Herder), but either to the manna as the bread of heaven ( Joshua 6; Psalm 78:24; Psalm 105:40), expressly called rain from heaven, Exodus 16:4; Psalm 78:23 (Venema, Schnurrer, De Wette, Stier, Reuss, Hupfeld), or figurative, not of the outpouring of the Holy Spirit (the older interpreters), but of the bestowal of gifts (Rosenm, Hengstenberg, Delitzsch), which come down from heaven as the rain of willingness, that Isaiah, freely, richly ( Job 37:6; Psalm 110:3), upon the land of Jehovah ( Hosea 9:3), which is likewise called the inheritance of God in 2 Maccabees 2:4 (Hitzig, Delitzsch). That we are to think first not of the people (Hupfeld) but of the land (Calvin), follows from Psalm 68:10, where it is said that in it (not among them) God’s living creatures found their dwelling-place (ישׁב). This expression shows at the same time that we are not to think of God’s creatures in general (Geier, J. D. Mich, et al.), or of the quails of the wilderness parallel with the manna (Schnurrer, Hupfeld), but of the congregation, whether we find it designated thereby as the complex of a flock of living creatures, 1 Samuel 18:18 (Rabbins, Calvin, et al.), after the Arabic=people (Hitzig), or as the little creature=herd of God, Micah 7:14; Psalm 79:19 (Luther, et al, Delitzsch), or go back to the root חו and accept the meaning: tent-circle, circular encampment ( 2 Samuel 23:11; 2 Samuel 23:13).

Str. 4. Psalm 68:11. The Lord gives the word (of authority).—The word means here hardly merely news, namely, of the victory, but with this reference rather, Song of Solomon, hymn of triumph (Calvin, Hupfeld). Since however the female chorus of victory is mentioned directly in connection with the division of booty, and it is better to regard אֹמֶר as a Divine word, either of promise ( Psalm 77:8) or of powerful effect ( Habakkuk 3:9), and it is designated in Psalm 68:33, as in Isaiah 30:30, as the sound of thunder, and Zechariah 9:14, as the blast of a trumpet, we have here to think not of the watch-word in war (Herder, et al.), but rather of the word of power (Delitzsch, in part Reuss, G. Baur), which not only commands the war and promises the victory, but brings, effects and gives the victory. There is no reference here to the preaching of the gospel (older interpreters).

Psalm 68:12. The kings of hosts are in ironical contrast (Böttcher) with Jehovah Sabaoth. The correct translation: flee, was originally derived from the Rabbins. Previously the word was derived from ידד=love, unite oneself, rather than from נדד.—She that abideth at home, is not the congregation of Israel (Rabbins), but the mistress of the house, “the woman in the tent,” Judges 5:24.

Psalm 68:13. Would you lie between the hurdles? The wings of the dove are overlaid with silver,etc.—The translation: although you now lie between sooty pots, you will become white and shining as the wings of the dove (Rabbins, Calvin, [A. V.], et al.), is certainly false. We are not only to strike out the “although now,” which is inserted in the text, but likewise to put instead of sooty pots either: boundaries (Chald, Jerome), or: hurdles (Kimchi). If the former should be adopted, however, the sense could not be: if you lie between the boundaries, that is to say, on the field in order of battle, you will shine (in the splendor of arms) as the wings of the dove (Luther, Geier). For the dove is a figure of peace or of rapid flight. The two chief explanations are then in this direction, whether we retain the meaning: boundaries (Rosenm, Böttcher, Stier, Hengstenberg), or put in place of this: hurdles, Genesis 49:14; Judges 5:16 (Hupfeld, Hitzig, Delitzsch). The reference is certainly to the rest of the peaceful land and the shepherd’s life, which is likewise recognized in the untenable interpretation: women drinking (J. D. Mich.). If now the dove is regarded as the figure of peace or of domestic life, and at the same time we recognize the fact that the emphasis is upon its shining play of colors, we may take the clause either as scornful, and as a reproachful question, whether they resign themselves to the idle and easy rest, and gaze at the play of colors of the flying dove (J. D. Mich, Herder, Köster), or we may take it as a promise that after the victory, in peace the wings of the dove, that is to say, the people of Israel (Schnurrer) as the dove of God (Delitzsch), Psalm 74:19; Hosea 7:11; Hosea 11:11, or their women (Munting, De Wette, Reuss) will be brilliant in the jewels of the booty which is rich in gold and silver. This, then, in the spiritual interpretation, is referred to the fact that the manifold gifts of the Holy Spirit unfold their splendor in the people (Stier). If now it is objected to this, that it is not the dove or its neck, but its wings which afford the point of comparison, and this is the correct view, and we think accordingly of rapid flight, then it is not the members of Israel which are designated by these expressions, nor the gold and silver field-badges of the enemy which are part, of the booty (Maurer), but these wings themselves; and the glance is inclined to their glistening richness, because it is to be the booty of the Israelites. Whether now we are to regard this again as a promise and a mere figure of the brilliant lot appointed to the people of Israel in the lap of future peace (Hengstenberg), or as a description of the real booty in order to inflame them with a zeal in pursuit of it, and as a reproachful reproof of those who would remain lying in peaceful pursuits or between their boundary stakes (Böttcher, von Hofmann), depends partly on the general view of the context, and partly whether we take the particle עִם, which begins the clause, as a conjunction=if, or as an interrogative particle. We decide for the latter, since such questions of astonishment are used in connection with warlike scenes, 2 Samuel 23:10; 1 Maccabees 7:45 sq.; Judith 15:4 sq. Moreover the reference back to Genesis 49:14; Numbers 32:5 sq.; Judges 5:16, is manifest, and the mingling of ideas and figures is avoided (Delitzsch), and there is evident not only a thought clear in it-self expressed in a natural and easily understood figure, but at the same time a real advance in the discourse.

Psalm 68:14. When the Almighty scattered kings in it, it snowed on Zalmon (=dark mountain).—God is designated as Shaddaï, which only occurs once more in the Psalm ( Psalm 91:1); and in the prophets only in Joel 1:15; Isaiah 13:6; Ezekiel 1:24; in the Pentateuch only in Numbers 24:4; Numbers 24:16; then in Ruth 1:20-21. It is used however, 30 times in Job, whilst the fuller form el shaddaï is found as characteristic ( Exodus 6:3) for the time of the Patriarchs, Genesis 17:1; Genesis 28:3; Genesis 35:11; Genesis 43:14; Genesis 48:3 (in the Samaritan text likewise Genesis 49:25), and besides only in Ezekiel 10:5. Now this is connected, not so much with the ancient character of the Psalm (G. Baur.), or with the derivation of this verse (Olsh.), as well as the two preceding (Hupfeld, et al.), from an ancient Song of Solomon, as with the fact that almost all the names of God are found distributed in appropriate places in the Psalm. In accordance with the context, the Hebrew verb, which properly means: “spread out,” is regarded by most interpreters as=“scattered,” and “in it” is referred to the country, whether Moab or some other one and the kings are regarded as hostile princes and captains. For the interpretation of the latter as princes of Israel and as types of the elect of God (Aben Ezra, Stier) or as regents set up here and there by God, through whom light comes in the darkness (Luther, Rosenm.), corresponds neither with the words nor the thought of the text. It is true we might translate: “have a snowy aspect, be as white as snow, to be pure, shine” (Rödiger in Ges. Thesaur, Hitzig), instead of “snow,” but the reference to snow must not be left out of view. The kings here might be compared with a light illuminating the darkness; but their being scattered can be better represented by the figure of the falling of snow; or even the consequence of this by the figure of a snowy appearance. Neither of these figures agree with the disputed meaning of Zalmon: darkness, shade (Chald, Theod, Rabbins, Reuss.), but both are in accordance with the reference to Judges 9:48, where the mountain Zalmon (Sept, Syr.) south of Shechem, is mentioned, whose name may be connected with Zelem=shadow, on account of its well-known richness in forests, and notwithstanding its comparative unimportance, might be chosen here on account of its name, which to the Hebrew ear was adapted for a play upon words (snow on the dark mountain or black forest). Now we have in the text not כִ=as on Zalmon, but בְ=either: on or, in the manner of Zalmon. In connection with the little height and southerly position of this mountain, we cannot think of a snowy mountain or a usual and frequent fall of snow. Thus all the explanations are excluded which find a comparison between the brilliancy of the booty which has fallen from the fugitives (Von Hofmann), or the bleeding bones of the slain (Rivet, De Wette, et al.), and the snow of Zalmon, or regard the snow whiteness of the dark mountain as a figure of the encouragement of the previously sorrowing Israel (Calvin, J. H. Mich, Hengst, et al.). These explanations gain a supportable sense at the most only when Zalmon is at the same time brought forward as a place either of battle or of refuge to the fugitives (Delitzsch), or when there is found in the clause: “then snow fell on Zalmon,” a figurative expression of the thought: then the mountain, to celebrate this joyous event, clothed itself in a bright garment of light (Wetzstein in Delitzsch’s Com.). But for such a geographical and historical reference of the clause with respect to the foundation of the figure, as the mountains of Hauran, consisting of black rocks with the doubtful name of Asalmanos in Ptolemäos for one of its mountains (Wetzstein), or a high mountain of somewhat the same name among the mountain peaks of Bashan (Böttcher) would be more appropriate than the mountain near Shechem, previously the only one of the name known which yet could not be put for the entire land (Von Leng, Hengst.). If we could put the battle there, it would be much more natural likewise to regard the snowing as simply historical than to vex ourselves with doubtful figures which can only be understood by suggestion. With this agrees the interpretation that the fall and ruin of many kings has been designated as a snowing of the slain (De Wette), especially of kings in the black mountains (Böttcher, Thol.). In this case, again, the interpretation that the fall of snow in question rendered the flight of the fugitives more difficult, or cut off all places of refuge (De Dieu), would be more natural than the supposition of a scornful citation from an ancient hymn of victory in accordance with which the rough weather on Zalmon situated somewhat in the south would be given as a reason for the disinclination to march forth to the mountain situated in the north (Herder, Hupf). Since, however, there is no historical statement here, but rather a prophetical declaration, we are rather led to a figurative mode of expression, whose sense, however, is as obscure as its foundation and occasion is unknown. With this result, the translation: “and snowy bright it shines in the dark” (Reuss) must likewise rest satisfied.

Str. V, Psalm 68:15-16. A mountain of God is the mountain of Bashan, a mount full of peaks, the mountain of Bashan. Why do ye look with envy, ye many peaked mountains, on the mountain on which God has chosen to dwell?—The sense is the same whether we regard these and the following words as vocatives as an address to the mountains (Munting, De Wette, Reuss) or as a simple sentence (most interps.). The mountains of Bashan consisting of basalt, now rising up like columns into sharp points, and then conical in truncated peaks, even if we do not reckon in lofty Hermon (Olsh, Hupf, Hitzig), as boldly formed masses of rock of gloomy majesty, make the impression of antiquity and invincibility when compared with the Cis-Jordanic mountains, especially with Zion, which consist of porous limestone and milder forms (Delitzsch). They are thus adapted to a figure of worldly power in contrast with the congregation of God. Besides they were for the most part inhabited by heathen nations hostile to the people of Israel. The reference here is to lurking (Sept, Isaki, Kimchi), and so crafty and hostile (Aquil, Jerome), or envious and jealous looking over at them (J. H. Mich, and most interps.), not to the leaping of these many-peaked mountains (Chald, Luther), nor coagulated (Sept.), stiff with ice (J. H. Mich.). Yet it is unnecessary to think of the actual hostility of those nations (Böttcher, Ewald, Hengst.) The use of this expression in order to contrast Bashan with Zion is explained not only from the dangers threatening the Theocracy from the north, but is occasioned by the fact, that notwithstanding the previous conquest of Bashan by Moses, these mountains were not selected as the seat of the Theocracy (Herder, De Wette), although they as Sinai were ancient mountains of God, properly a mountain of gods (J. H. Mich, Hupf, Hitzig) Psalm 36:6, and not a ridge of godlike greatness (Böttcher), one favored by God (Hengst.), a high mighty mountain (De Wette, et al.), or one conspicuous as a basaltic mountain above all other creations of God (Delitzsch). From the erroneous opinion that the mountain of God could only mean Zion (finally again Stier), the ancient versions and interpreters have made it the subject of the clause and the mountain of Bashan the predicate and found the sense: the mountain of God is a fruitful mountain; Bashan being taken as the type of fruitfulness. Then they put, the heights in the place of the many peaks, because they did not understand the vowel points, and explained it symbolically of spiritual elevation. Only since J. D. Mich, and Herder has the true interpretation, been known, to which however, Rivetus (comm. in pss. proph. Amst1545) pointed in vain.

Psalm 68:17. The chariots of God are myriads, thousands and again thousands, the Lord among them—(it is)a Sinai in sanctity.—Over against the warlike powers of the kings of hosts ( Psalm 68:12), the infinitely superior power of God is designated with expressions which are derived from the characteristics of warlike power, Psalm 20:7; Habakkuk 3:8; Habakkuk 3:15, and are therefore symbols not only of sovereign power (Hengst.), but at the same time of triumphant victory (Schnurrer). They remind us, on the one side, of the fiery horses and chariots that carried up Elijah and surrounded Elisha to protect him ( 2 Kings 2:11; 2 Kings 6:17), and on the other of the holy myriads ( Deuteronomy 33:2) surrounding God on Sinai, and therefore bringing before the soul the innumerable angels of God ( Daniel 7:10; Matthew 26:53). And thus they lead in this passage not to the ascension of Christ (most of the older interps.), but yet symbolize more than Divine providence and help (Calvin), namely, the all-conquering presence of the God of revelation and holiness on Zion in its analogy with His previous presence on Sinai. In favor of this is likewise the final clause of Psalm 68:17, which is not: on Sinai in the sanctuary (Sept, Vulg, Chald. [A. V.]), but either: Sinai in the sanctuary (most interps. after L. de Dieu), or: a Sinai in holiness (Delitzsch). The latter gives the most suitable sense: that Zion affords a sight as Sinai afforded it when God in His appearance surrounded it with holiness. The former interpreters, however, would give the distorted thought that Sinai now or, as it were, has entered into the sanctuary, and thus Zion has become a second Sinai, in an unclear form. For it is much less natural to suppose that Zion itself has become Sinai by the presence of the ark with the tables of the law than to be reminded of the presence of God in the midst of innumerable multitudes of His angels ( Deuteronomy 33:2), the latter, however, not as Galatians 3:19; Hebrews 2:2 (Hengst.) as the mediator of the law-giving, but as the company surrounding His throne and as heavenly attendants in general. We have to do here, however, not with these servants and their use, but with a beholding the glory of the God who manifests Himself on Zion as on Sinai as the heavenly king, and our attention is drawn not to that which happened, as it, were, in the sanctuary, but to that which Zion is when compared with Sinai, namely, a place of the revelation and manifestation of this God. Thus it is not said that Sinai, with its glory of thunder and lightning (Böttcher), is now in the sanctuary, but that Zion as Sinai brings into view the majestas tremenda of Jehovah. Hence it is preferable to take בַּקּדֶשׁ (comp. Psalm 68:24) as Psalm 77:13; Exodus 15:11=in the, namely, well known holiness. Under these circumstances, we are not forced to the conjecture, which is very natural, it is true, on account of Deuteronomy 33:2, to read בָּא מסּיני=He has come from Sinai into the (namely, well-known) sanctuary (Pott, Köster, Maurer, Olsh, Hupf, [Perowne]), instead of בָם סִינַי. Besides this has against it, the fact that, God has not entered into the sanctuary in Zion in the midst of His heavenly hosts, but ascended from Sinai to the height of heaven again as after every descent to earth, and that this fact is directly brought forward in Psalm 68:18. It would be much simpler to suppose that a מ has fallen away from before Sinai (Hitzig). But then we would have the untrue thought: the Lord among them, (coming) from Sinai in holiness=in unapproachableness, 1 Samuel 6:20.—The closing word is consequently a closer definition of the noun Sinai which immediately precedes; but it is not the Lord, but Zion as the place of His Revelation, which is a Sinai like this. A false derivation of שִׁנְאַן has occasioned the translation: thousands of happy ones or gladly rejoicing ones (Sept, Vulg.). The literal translation of the clause is thousands of repetition.[FN3]

Psalm 68:18. Thou hast ascended up on high. Thou hast led captives captive, Thou hast taken gifts of (=consisting of) men, and even the rebellious, in order to dwell as Jah Elohim.—The dwelling of Jehovah on Zion being referred to, it is natural to think of the “height of Zion” ( Jeremiah 31:12; Ezekiel 17:23; Ezekiel 20:40) as the aim of the procession (Hitzig), yet not of the return of the ark which has just taken place (De Wette), but of the first entrance of God into Zion (Ewald, Reuss, Olsh.) after the storming of the citadel of Zion, 2 Samuel 5:7 (Delitzsch), without its being necessary to regard the captives particularly as the bond-slaves of the sanctuary, the Nethinim, Exodus 8:20; comp. Numbers 17:6 (Böttcher), as the Gibeonites ( Joshua 9:23). But the “height” without any further additions, and with the article always elsewhere, means the height of heaven as the dwelling of God, Psalm 7:7; Psalm 18:16; Psalm 93:4; Psalm 102:19 (Hengst, Hupf.), and Psalm 68:33 likewise here points to this, yet there is no mingling of the heavenly and earthly figure and seat of God (Hupf.) here, but the biblical view of the ascent of God into heaven after that He had made Himself known on earth in deeds of omnipotence and love and had conducted the cause of His people there, Psalm 47:5 (Hengst.). Likewise the preterite here refers to such a historical manifestation, and the following expressions show that it has to do with such deeds of God for His people, by which hostile nations were subjected, their gifts of homage brought and accepted, the testimonies of the victorious dwelling of Jehovah among His people increased and confirmed. The enthronement of God in the heaven, His ascent and descent, His dwelling in His house on Zion and among His people agree very well with one another, and are not only symbols and types, but are actual guidances and real foundations of history, which come to fulfilment and completion in and through Christ. Thus this passage ( Ephesians 4:8 sq.) is referred to the victorious march ( Colossians 2:15) of the triumphant Redeemer, yet from the stand-point of fulfilment it is applied in such a way that the thought comes out that the conqueror has not taken to himself these gifts, which constitute his spoils, for his own enrichment, but for the benefit of men. For there the reference is to “giving ” the gifts, as likewise in the Syriac and Chald, yet here the reference is to “taking.” But this difference vanishes when we regard the tribute, which sometimes is designated as gift and present ( 2 Samuel 8:2; 2 Samuel 8:6), as consisting of men (Ewald). These are here not the slaves of the temple (Böttcher), or proselytes (De Wette), or the apostles and evangelists as the servants of God (J. D. Mich.), but those who voluntarily submit themselves in distinction from those who are directly mentioned as made subjects by compulsion. For it is very natural that the clause: “and the rebellious also,” should depend upon the verb (Geier), as the second object subordinate to the first object, “gifts of men.” It is true we might put instead of this expression: gifts among men (Olshausen), that is to say, on earth (Hengstenberg); but the interpretation: and among the rebellious also (Delitzsch), would demand that we should supply the preposition, which would be difficult, and the interpretation: and the rebellious likewise, namely, give Thee (Hengstenberg), would require together with the supply of the verb, a transposition of form. By our interpretation the clause of design unites naturally with the preceding, its structure demanding not that Jâh Elohim should be taken as subject (Delitzsch)=in order that he may dwell, that is to say Jah Elohim continue to dwell. It would be more natural to regard these as vocative (Hengstenberg, Hitzig). But this would make the clause of design too insignificant, or give it a wrong sense, if we should unite it with “ascend,” which besides is against the accents. Hence we take the two last words as a closer definition not only of the subject addressed in all the preceding verbs, but at the same time of His dwelling, as it is brought about by His actions which characterize the conqueror. Thus the connection of the two names of God in this very passage is explained. This is not so much the case if the whole line is regarded as an independent clause: and the rebellious likewise are to serve for a dwelling of Jehovah Elohim, or: dwell with Jehovah Elohim (De Wette, Maurer, Hupf.), whether it is taken as active or as passive. At the same time this would give the prophetical idea of a future conversion of the heathen an unusual manner of expression and one which is less suitable to the context. It leads rather to the thought of a revelation of power and glory made by the God of Israel as the heavenly king and the conqueror of hostile powers, in order that He may dwell on Zion as He is enthroned in heaven, as Jehovah Elohim. There is no reference here to His dwelling in the hearts of men as the third sanctuary (J. D. Mich.)

Str. VI. Psalm 68:19. Blessed be the Lord day by day! Are we burdened— Hebrews, God, is our help.—By a change of the disputed accentuation (Bähr after Heidenheim), the designation of time, “day by day,” is by many attached to the second member of the verse (Chald, Isaki, Kimchi). Then the sense is simply: He burdeneth Himself for us (Delitzsch), helps us bear it (Ewald), bears us or is burdened with us (Jerome, Hupfeld); for עמם is not used of the heaping up of benefits (Calvin, Rudinger, et al.), and since it is here connected with ל, and not as usual with על, and since הָאֵל offers itself as an appropriate subject of the clause, this interpretation is more preferable than the explanation: the God of our help and our salvation daily loadeth us [A. V.], which would lead to an entirely different course of thought. But we may divide the second member into an antecedent and consequent, whilst we connect the designation of time with the first clause; and then the context is in favor of leaving the subject undetermined (L. de Dieu, Hengstenberg, Hitzig). As a matter of course, הָאֵל is not like הוּא אֵל . We have only translated it thus for perspicuity. The definite article renders God prominent as the well-known God of Israel, who alone is the real and true God.

Psalm 68:20. Jehovah the Lord has for death ways of escape.—The reference here is not to issues in death for the enemies (Symmach, the Rabbins, et al.), but ways of deliverance (Calvin), by which we may go forth free (Hitzig) with respect to death (Stier), or at the expense of death (dat. incomm.); an expression so comprehensive that it can mean the departure from death to eternal life, as that in contrast with death, from anxiety of death in peril of life. There is an expression of the highest triumph in the rhymes at the end of the verses, 20, 21, 25 (Böttcher).

Str. VII. Psalm 68:21. The hairy scalp is best understood of a head with luxuriant growth of hair, the sign of the bloom of youth and power (Hupfeld, Delitzsch), as the unshorn head with bristly hair (Böttcher) is the figure of desolate, wild nature (Stier), or defiant wildness (Geier). It cannot be decided whether there is meant here a prominent person who was then particularly hated (Olsh)

Psalm 68:22. Bring back.—The context shows that this does not promise the bringing back of those who have met with misfortune upon mountains or on the sea (Chald. and the Talmudists), nor the deliverance of those threatened with great dangers (Vat, Stier, et al.), nor the leading back of the Israelites scattered in the whole world (Reuss, Olshausen), but the reaching the beaten enemies, whether they have hidden in inaccessible places in the mountain-forests of Bashan, or in the abysses of the sea, that Isaiah, the salt sea ( Isaiah 16:8; 2 Chronicles 20:2), in order that the people may take vengeance upon them, Numbers 21:34; Deuteronomy 3:2; Amos 9:2 (Geier, et al.)

Psalm 68:23. That thou mayest wash thy foot in blood.—According to the present reading, timchaz, we must translate: in order that thou mayest crush (namely them) with thy foot in blood (Hengstenberg). But this is contrary to the accents. If on the other hand the last words are not regarded as adverbial, but according to the accents as the object of the verb: that thou shakest, that Isaiah, violently movest thy foot in blood, then we come in conflict with the meaning of the word, comp. Psalm 68:21 and Psalm 110:6; Numbers 24:8; Numbers 24:17. Hence it is appropriate to change the reading into tirchaz, Psalm 58:10=that thou mayest bathe (almost all recent interpreters), and this is more acceptable than to change the letters into תֶחֱמַץ (Hitzig), in order to get the sense: that he may become red (Kimchi, Vatab, et al.), or become brilliant (Ewald), or dip one-self=become colored (Septuagint, Vulgate, Syr, Flaminius, Calvin, Rudinger [A. V.]).—The tongue of thy dogs have its part in the enemies.—Almost all the older interpreters take the closing word, מִנֵּהוּ, as a preposition (=of it), and refer it either to the enemy partly distributively, partly to the one who according to Psalm 68:21 goes about proudly and securely (most interpreters), or to the blood (Calvin, Geier, Gesenius, Hengstenberg.) We must then either supply a verb, e.g, drink, or lick, or obtain. This would be hardly admissible and would be harsh after “of their enemies.” It is natural to think of the verb מִנָּה (Isaki, comp. Job 7:3; Jonah 2:1; Daniel 1:10); but the sense: He gave the tongue of thy dogs its part of the enemies (J. D. Mich.), is inconsistent with the construction. Accordingly we must regard it as a substantive, either one not found elsewhere, yet usual in the Chald, מֵן (Hupfeld and Delitzsch after the proposition of Simon), in connection with which לשוֹן, which occurs elsewhere as a fem, is considered as a masc, as perhaps Psalm 22:15; Proverbs 26:28, or the well-known word which we get by correcting the form into מְנָתוֹ, Psalm 63:10 (Olshausen), with the meaning: portion of food ( Psalm 11:6; Psalm 16:6), which is more appropriate than מְמֻנֵּהוּ (Hitzig), in order to get the idea of assignatum=the allotted portion.

Sir. VIII. Psalm 68:24. They have seen Thy processions, O God, the processions of my God, of my King in holiness.—The subject is not specifically designated, but concretely thought, and therefore is not to be weakened into an indefinite subject. The perfect does not favor the march against the enemy, as Psalm 77:13; Habakkuk 3:6, but the triumphal procession after the victory, with which the following clauses agree. The supposition of a procession “into the sanctuary” (Hupf, et al.), is against the form of the word, that of a procession “in the sanctuary” (De Wette, Hengstenberg), against usage, hence it is better to translate as Psalm 68:17 b. [in holiness].

Psalm 68:26. Ye from the fountain of Israel—The fountain of Israel is not Christ as the fountain of salvation (many older interpreters), but the ancestor from whom the people sprang, Isaiah 48:1; Isaiah 51:1. The sense is the same whether we regard this verse as the shout of the poet, as Judges 5:9 (Hengstenberg), or as part of the song of the singers and damsels.

Psalm 68:27. All portions of the people with their princes are to be represented in this festival gathering. Two southern and two northern tribes are mentioned as representatives; and first Benjamin, because the first royal conqueror of the heathen sprang from it, and because the sanctuary was in its boundaries ( Deuteronomy 33:12; Joshua 15:17; Joshua 18:16); then Judah, as the home of David; then follows Zebulon and Napthali, celebrated for their bravery in the song of Deborah ( Judges 5:18, comp. Psalm 6:6), which are found in Isaiah 8:23, in an entirely different connection. Benjamin is called the little, not as the youngest son of Jacob (De Wette), but on account of the little extent of its territory and the small number of its inhabitants, 1 Samuel 9:21. The word רֹדֶם is obscure, it cannot mean: “its prince” (Septuagint, Geier, De Wette), but rather: he who conquers it, that is to say, its ruler [A. V.] What then does this mean? Since רדה elsewhere is used only of violent subjugation, the reference to the marshal keeping the procession in order (Clericus, Delitzsch), is just as objectionable as the reference to the rule over the Israelites, whether taken historically (Stier, et al.) or prophetically (Hupfeld). Nothing remains then but to go back further than the immediately preceding verses and consider the enemies conquered by the Benjaminites under Saul, 1 Samuel 14:47 sq. (Hengstenberg) as the object of the ruling. [Moll thus translates: There is little Benjamin, their conqueror (namely, the conqueror of the enemies mentioned previously).—C. A. B.] The word רִגְמָתָם is still more obscure. For those are demonstratively false derivations, by which they seek to get the meaning princes (the ancient versions, Jerome, Flaminius, Cocc, et al.), by means of the idea: embroidered clothing, or purple. The word ragam means: stone. But the meaning=their stone=their rock=their support or strength (Rosenm, after L. de Dieu), brings a strange thought into the context in a word strange to this thought; and the translation: their stoning, that Isaiah, their (the enemies) subduing by the use of sling-stones, or with an allusion to the sling of David (Rivet, Böttcher in his Proben, Hengst, Baihinger), is at least an obscure expression for a remote thought. The explanation: their throwing one upon another=overthrow (Böttcher, in Æhrenlese), is scarcely better. By means of the Arabic (Gesenius, Hitzig, Delitzsch), however, we may get the idea of a thickly pressed throng, a mass of people (Luther, et al.), in connection with which we may think of Judah as the most numerous tribe affording the great masses (Stier, Köster), without being obliged to change the reading into רִגְשָׁתָם(Hupfeld), which word besides would afford the idea of a noisy crowd. It is true we miss the copula, “and,” or the preposition “with,” since the supposition of an apposition is excluded by the sense of the word. Yet the style and circumstances admit of the asyndet. juxtaposition of princes and their multitudes of people. This seems much more tolerable than the translation: there is Benjamin, little,—following the princes of Judah with their crowds (Hitzig), which is connected with another explanation and position of רֹדֶם in the clause.

Str. IX. Psalm 68:28-29. Thy God has commanded, etc.—Since the sudden address to Israel is strange, and God is again addressed directly in the following clause, and all the ancient versions have the vocative in the first member, it is natural to change the reading from צִוָּה אֱלהֶיךָ intoצַוֵּה אֱלֹהִים, that Isaiah, O God, command (Dathe, Böttcher, Ewald, Olshausen, Hupfeld), yet it is unnecessary. So likewise we need not think of an address (of the Ephraimite poet) to a king (Jehosaphat) who had come to the help of his people with an army, and with reference to this translate still further: the powerful help of God, as Thou affordedst it to us (Hitzig). This is opposed, not to speak of other objections, by the immediately following undoubted address to God in the words: “From Thy temple.” For there is no occasion for attaching these words to the preceding clause, and then translate: “to Jerusalem,” and connecting this with the following clause (Hupfeld, [Perowne]). The temple is the place in which the kings will offer their gifts, and this temple is at Jerusalem, that is to say, rises up above Jerusalem. The interpretation of מִן as, because of, or on account of Thy temple (Symm, Luther, Geier, Ewald, [A. V.]), gives an incorrect sense, the interpretation: from the temple to Jerusalem (Böttcher), as a statement of the extent of the procession which brings the presents, gives an unnatural local limitation. It is unnecessary, moreover, to connect Psalm 68:29 a. closely with28b. (De Wette), or to undertake a transposition of the members into the pretended original order, Psalm 68:28 a.29a.28b.29b. (Olshausen). If we find the transitive interpretation of עַזַז=roborare, objectionable, notwithstanding Proverbs 8:28; Ecclesiastes 7:19, and in spite of the example of the Septuagint, Symm, Flaminius, Calvin, et al, and the consent of Delitzsch and Hupfeld, we may translate: show or prove Thyself mighty (most interpreters) in that which (J. H. Mich, Rosenmüller), or: Thou who, Isaiah 42:24 (Köster, De Wette, Olsh.), has wrought or done for us.

Str. X, Psalm 68:30. Rebuke the beast of the reed, &c.—This is not the boar (Bochart, Oedmann) or the lion (Isaki), whether as a symbol of Syria (Lowth, Schnurrer) or a figure of strong enemies in general (Böttcher); still less is it the serpent or the dragon as the symbol of Babylon (Gesenius); but either the crocodile, Psalm 74:13; Ezekiel 29:3 (De Wette), or since this animal lives in the Nile itself, and not in the reeds, better, the hippopotamus, Job 40:21 (Hengst, Hitzig, Delitzsch) as the symbol of Egypt ( Isaiah 30:6), whose emblem is the reed, Isaiah 36:6. The bulls (literally, the strong ones) are by their connection with calves of the peoples not used as figures of the gods (Hitzig), but of leaders and princes (most interpreters). The proper expression: “peoples,” is used epexegetically alongside of the figurative and “calves” (Geier), or has mingled with it into a mixed idea.—Stamping along with silver pieces.—This is very obscure. The sing. masc. embraces all the rebuked in one. The participle designates the action as simultaneous with the rebuking. This already affords many strong objections to the usual translation: that they may submit themselves. Besides רפם only means: to stamp, accordingly since the Hithpael is used here, it should be translated: being in a state of stamping, or: letting himself to stamp. The latter does not suit the words: “with uncoined pieces of silver.” We abide therefore by the former; for the meaning: stamping upon one’s self=casting one’s self violently and fiercely to the earth (Delitzsch), condemns itself. And the translations: all trots itself near (Böttcher previously), or: all that bestirs itself (Böttcher finally), lack a sure foundation. The same is true with the explanation: people that bind themselves to servitude for gold (Reuss)=crowd of hirelings. So likewise the explanation: those who there tread under foot (Luther), or who tread one another under foot (Köster) for pieces of silver, that Isaiah, for the sake of booty, is untenable; and the reference of the participle (prosternens sibi) to God as the subject of the following clause dispergit (Maurer) would give rise to a hard construction. This reference to God may be retained and a suitable sense gained in two parallel members of the verse by changing the מ into ה, the participle into the imperative (Hupf.). and by changing the vowel points, and thus partly making the preterite בַזַּר which is taken by many (Sept, Ewald, Böttcher, Reuss, Olsh, Hitzig) as an imperative, into the real imperative בַזֵּר partly making the substantive בְּרַצֵּי into the participle בְרֹצֵי (De Rossi, Olsh, Hupfeld), which is likewise referred to by some who follow the sense (Sept, Symmach, Pott, Clauss). It is then said of God: act towards them stamping (that Isaiah, trampling upon them), who desire silver; scatter the people who desire war. These changes are, however, pure conjectures, although, as a whole, since, with the exception of one consonant, they only affect the vowels, they are easier and more in accordance with the context than to change מִתְרַפֵּם into מִתְיַפִּם that Isaiah, adorn themselves (Hitzig). For although women, perhaps even men, mean to adorn themselves with strings of gold and silver coins, likewise with nose-rings, yet such a decoration with pieces or lumps of silver is not known to be characteristic of the nations referred to, even if we should overlook the impropriety of this designation for the peoples and princes just characterized as animals.

Psalm 68:31. Magnates shall come out of Egypt.—The חַשְׁמַנִּים from which the Maccabees claimed the name of Asmoneans are apparently the perillustres, the illustrious. The usual derivations from the Arabic are untenable (Fleischer in Delitzsch’s commentary). The meaning: couriers (Böttcher) is unsafe, and has little propriety; that of elders (Sept, Vulg, Arm) is without etymological support; that of the Chasmoneans as the inhabitants of the Egyptian province of Ashummim (J. H. Mich.) is without historical basis or occasion; that of fat, that Isaiah, rich, strong, distinguished (Hupf.) is possible. In accordance with the sense and context they are the magnates (Chald, Rabbins).—Cush shall send forth speedily his hands to God.—Cush, that is Ethiopia, with Egypt as in Isaiah 45:14, is here used as the name of the land with the fem. form, and is connected with תָּרִיץ=make to run; but it is immediately treated as the name of the people by the masc. suffix in יָדָיו apparently because the “hands” are mentioned. Accordingly it is the less necessary to change the reading into יָדֶיהָ as enallage gen. ( Jeremiah 8:5; Job 39:3; Job 39:16) occur as well as enallage num. ( Psalm 62:4). And since as well the context as the expression “make the hands run” are better suited to the offering of tribute than to the lifting up of the hands in prayer, there is no occasion for changing the reading into תָּרִים (Hitzig), in order to get the latter idea.

[Str. 11. Psalm 68:32. To Him who drives along in the primeval heaven of heavens.—Delitzsch: “The Psalmist stands so entirely in the midst of this final glory that floating along in faith above all the kingdoms of the world, he calls upon them to praise the God of Israel. לָרֹכֵב connects itself with the ruling idea of שִׁירוּ The heaven of heavens, Deuteronomy 10:14, are designated by קֶדֶם as primeval (perhaps as according to their origin reaching out far above the heavens of the earthly world of the 2 d and 4 th days of creation); God drives along in the primitive heavens of heavens, Deuteronomy 33:26, since He by means of the cherubim, Psalm 18:10 extends his efficiency to all places of this infinite distance and height.”—See He sounds with His voice, the mighty voice.—Hupf, Delitzsch, et al, regard the mighty voice as in apposition with His voice, and this seems best. Riehm, however, would make the mighty voice the object and translate thus: He makes a mighty voice to sound with His voice. This would be more literal, but somewhat tautological.—C. A. B.]

Str. 12. [ Psalm 68:34. Ascribe strength to God—Delitzsch: “Give back to Him in acknowledgment and praise the omnipotence which He has and proves. His glory rules over Israel as its defence and confidence. His power, however, embraces all created things, not only the earth, but also the highest regions of the heaven. The kingdom of grace reveals the majesty and glory of His redemptive work ( Ephesians 1:6), the kingdom of nature His all-prevalent omnipotence.”—C. A. B.]

Psalm 68:35. Fearful art Thou, God, from Thy holy places.—Most ancient versions and many codd. have the singular; but the plural is certain and, is not merely used poetically (Hupf.), but either because the one sanctuary embraced a number of holy places, Jeremiah 51:51; Amos 7:9 (most interps.), or because the reference here is at the same time to earthly and heavenly sanctuaries (Hitzig).

DOCTRINAL AND ETHICAL

1. In times which threaten danger to the people of God, nothing better can be done than to call upon the heavenly King imploring His interference in behalf of His people. For the rising up of the Almighty is connected with the destruction of the power of their enemies, who are unable to resist Him, and with the rejoicing of the pious in the assurance of victory. “This is the sum of the matter: although God is quiet for a time whilst the ungodly cruelly and wickedly afflict the church, yet He finally rises up to avenge it, and believers have protection enough in His help, when once He stretches forth His hand against the ungodly” (Calvin). This is the “great theme which is repeated again and again and in constantly new features in the history of the kingdom of God on earth until finally the last judgment takes up into itself all the previous judgments of God and completes them” (Tholuck).

2. God declares by His names not only how he would be named and addressed by Prayer of Manasseh, but He likewise reveals in them His essential nature, and He confirms the truth of this revelation by corresponding Acts, by which the rebellious are judged and terrified, whilst the obedient and God-fearing are delivered from their misery and comforted in their necessities. Therefore this name of God is to the pious at the same time the means of thankful adoration and invocation, and the. occasion of strengthening their faith for the joyous remembrance of the comforting and fearful government of God in history, especially in guiding His people through a hostile world.

3. Although God condescends from His heavenly throne to His people in their pilgrimage on earth and their wanderings through the wilderness and becomes their leader and protector in personal nearness, yet He does not lose His Divine power and glory. On the contrary, He partly makes them known and partly renders them effective in behalf of His congregation. And He has not only done this once in passing by on Sinai and in connection with the march of the Israelites through the wilderness, the Almighty God would have an abiding dwelling among His people on earth, Exodus 25:8; Exodus 29:45. For this purpose He maintains the covenant relation entered into with Israel on Mt. Sinai and reveals His Divine glory which is everlastingly the same, when He as King of Israel and His people’s protect or and benefactor establishes His throne on Mt. Zion, which humble hill Hebrews, as the God who accepts the poor and exalts the humble in free grace, has selected as His typical and symbolical dwelling-place, exalted it above all the lofty mountains and proud peaks as the only true mountain of God, and made it the centre of His historical revelation to the world as well as His all-conquering Divine sovereignty (comp. Micah 4:1-3; Isaiah 2:11 sq.), since natural advantages must yield to the gifts of grace, as well as worldly power to the omnipotence of God, the only sovereign and Lord.

4. As God has drawn personally nigh to His people on Sinai, without giving up His heavenly glory or Divine omnipotence, so He has again ascended to the heights of heaven without withdrawing His presence of blessing and protection from His people. This latter Isaiah, on the one side, only symbolically shown in the Old Testament, and on the other side mediated by forms of worship; hence another descent and ascension is indispensable, which is likewise promised, believed in, hoped for, and implored. However, we can trace what is referred to here; namely, that all the ways of God, His coming and going, His descent and ascension, afford to His people, and through them to the world, acts of deliverance and gifts of blessing. Moreover, with respect to God Himself, they appear as steps of victory and as marches of triumph, whose spoils He uses as well for the salvation of the world as for His own glory.

5. The acts of God in Israel thus gain, on the one side, a universal historical, and, on the other, a prophetical character. In the first respect, it is shown that the God of historical revelation has the real Divine power and deserves all adoration, that is to say, that Jehovah is Elohim, and as such has His dwelling in heaven and on earth. In the latter respect, it is shown that every victory of Israel over hostile peoples gained by undoubted help from God is a real advance towards the end of spreading abroad the kingdom of God over all the world and of the recognition of His glory among all nations.

6. When now God not only drives thundering about in the. heavens, whose origin is back of the beginnings of human history, but sends forth from Zion a terrible judgment upon the enemies of His people, whereby the mightiest monarchies are destroyed, the most warlike nations scattered, and voluntary gifts of homage gained from the most distant lands, whilst elsewhere compulsory tribute is removed and the triumphant victor applies the rich booty taken from the conquered to the good of His people, and bestows upon them victory and peace after the sorrow of war: then it is becoming for the congregation to praise in their assemblies this God whose government is alike exalted in nature and history, in all their trouble to testify their faith in Him who glorifies Himself in His people by His grace as well as by His power, and to make themselves constantly more and more the willing and appropriate instruments of spreading about the blessed operations of the Divine victory and triumph.

HOMILETICAL AND PRACTICAL

The omnipotence of God is as destructive and terrible to His enemies as helpful and comforting to His friends.—The names of God correspond with His acts: both mutually explain and confirm one another and throw light upon God’s being.—In God His people have the mightiest protector, the most loving provider, the most reliable guide.—God not only has His throne in heaven, but He dwells likewise in the midst of His people; but from both sanctuaries He sends forth His grace and truth as well as His power and glory.—When God marches forth with His people, it may be at first into the wilderness; but the goal, the promised land, will surely be reached.—We should not only pray God to come to our help, but, on the one side, prepare the way for Him. on the other follow His guidance.—Whether God has descended to the earth or gone up on high again, all is for His glory and our good.—When God triumphs over all His enemies, He uses the spoils of victory for the good of His people.—God conquers all the powers of the world in order to spread abroad His kingdom among all nations.—God not only reveals Himself once, but at different times and in different places and in many ways, but always and above all as the same holy God.—God helps His people in war, and leads to victory, but His purpose is peace.—It matters not how many friends we have and what earthly means we possess, but that God is with us.—He who does not voluntarily submit himself to the gracious God will be compelled to submit by the power of the Almighty.—No one can hinder God’s ways and will. He knows how to carry out His will and attain the end of His ways.—Sinai and Zion are the mountains of God as Israel is the people of God, not on account of natural advantages, but the divine election of grace.—The fairest places on earth are where God draws near the world for its salvation; the choicest hours those in which God communes with His people; the most precious assemblies those in which the mighty deeds of God are celebrated.

Starke: God regards the enemies of the church as His own enemies; therefore if they continue in their wickedness, utter ruin and everlasting trembling await them.—When God espouses the cause of His people, nature must tremble and melt.—The world, without the gospel, would be a hot hell in which the miserable would languish; but by the gospel it becomes a paradise for the pleasant dwelling of believers and the strong refreshment of those who hunger after grace.—The day, the burden, the help and the praise depend one upon another.—Although the gospel is proclaimed by weak men, it has a Divine power.—Spread abroad the glory of Christ’s power wherever you can.—Arndt: No man can hinder it because it is God’s work, God’s power and strength, God’s arrangement and command.—Renschel: It is impossible that the Christian Church should perish; for God is not only a guest in it, but He dwells therein forever as the host.—Baihinger: The nations can see God’s glory in Israel, His power in the firmament, but they may mistake the preaching.—Tholuck: Israel is the scene of Divine revelation and the people from whom God’s salvation is to come upon all others.—Guenther: Zion is the kingdom of God; all others, even the mightiest, are worldly kingdoms and must decay.—Diedrich: God is to be praised as the destroyer of the ungodly and the deliverer of His people; He is the God who will glorify Himself in the entire race of man.

[Matt. Henry: Those who go on still in their trespasses and hate to be reformed God looks upon as His enemies and will treat them accordingly.—Public mercies, which we jointly share in, call for public thanksgivings, which all should join in.—Nor is any attribute of God more dreadful to sinners than His holiness.—Barnes: Nothing more clearly marks the benignity and the wisdom of God than the arrangement by which men, instead of being solitary wanderers on the face of the earth, with nothing to bind them in sympathy, in love, and in interest to each other, are grouped together in families.—Perowne: God is both the loving Father and the righteous Judge; and the several classes of the lonely, the destitute, the oppressed, the captives, are mentioned as so many instances of those who have experienced both His care and His righteousness, in order that from these the conclusion may be drawn in all similar cases.—Spurgeon: When a man has a rebellions heart, he must of necessity find all around him a dry land.—Happy people! though in the wilderness, for all things are ours in possessing the favor and presence of our God.—God’s election is a patent of nobility. They are choice men whom God has chosen, and that place is superlatively honored which He honors with His presence. The Church of God, when truly spiritual, wins for her God the homage of the nations.—When we are reconciled to God, His omnipotence is an attribute of which we sing with delight.—C.A.B.]

Footnotes:

FN#2 - Perowne: “The figure is borrowed from the custom of Eastern monarchs, who sent heralds and pioneers before them to make all the necessary preparations—to remove obstructions, etc, along the route which they intended to follow. Great military roads were mostly the work of the Romans, and were almost unknown before the Persian and Grecian periods.”—C. A. B.]

FN#3 - The word is a ἀπ. λεγ., and is rendered by the Targ. and Saadia followed by A. V.: thousands of angels—C. A. B.]

Copyright Statement
These files are a derivative of an electronic edition available at BibleSupport.com. Public Domain.
Bibliographical Information
Lange, Johann Peter. "Commentary on Psalms 68:19". "Commentary on the Holy Scriptures: Critical, Doctrinal, and Homiletical". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/lcc/psalms-68.html. 1857-84.

Alexander MacLaren's Expositions of Holy Scripture

Psalms

THE BURDEN-BEARING GOD

Psalms 68:19.

The difference between these two renderings seems to be remarkable, and a person ignorant of any language but our own might find it hard to understand how any one sentence was susceptible of both. But the explanation is extremely simple. The important words in the Authorised Version, ‘with benefits,’ are a supplement, having nothing to represent them in the original. The word translated ‘loadeth’ in the one rendering and ‘beareth’ in the other admits of both these meanings with equal ease, and is, in fact, employed in both of them in other places in Scripture. It is clear, I think, that, in this case, at all events, the Revision is an improvement. For the great objection to the rendering which has become familiar to us all, ‘Who daily loadeth us with benefits,’ is that these essential words are not in the original, and need to be supplied in order to make out the sense. Whereas, on the other hand, if we adopt the suggested emendation, ‘Who daily beareth our burdens,’ we get a still more beautiful meaning, which requires no forced addition in order to bring it out. So, then, I accept that varied form of our text as the one on which I desire to say a few words now.

I. The first thing that strikes me in looking at it is the remarkable and eloquent blending of majesty and condescension.

It is not without significance that the Psalmist employs that name for God in this clause, which most strongly expresses the idea of supremacy and dominion. Rule and dignity are the predominant ideas in the word ‘Lord,’ as, indeed, the English reader feels in hearing it; and then, side by side with that, there lies this thought, that the Highest, the Ruler of all, whose absolute authority stretches over all mankind, stoops to this low and servile office, and becomes the burden-bearer for all the pilgrims who will put their trust in Him. This blending together of the two ideas of dignity and condescension to lowly offices of help and furtherance is made even more emphatic if we glance back at the context of the psalm. For there is no place in Scripture in which there is flashed before the mind of the singer a grander picture of the magnificence and the glory of God, than that which glitters and flames in the previous verses. We read in them of God ‘riding through the heavens by His name Jehovah’; of Him as marching at the head of the people, through the wilderness, and of the earth quivering at His tread, and the heavens dropping at His presence. We read of Zion itself being moved at the presence of the Lord. We read of His word going forth so mightily as to scatter armies and their kings. We read of the chariots of God as ‘twenty thousand, even thousands of angels.’ All is gathered together in the great verse, ‘Thou hast ascended on high, Thou hast led captivity captive.’ And then, before he has taken breath almost, the Psalmist turns, with most striking and dramatic abruptness, from the contemplation, awe-struck and yet jubilant, of all that tremendous, magnificent, and earth-shaking power to this wonderful thought, ‘Blessed be the Lord! who daily beareth our burdens.’ Not only does He march at the head of the congregation through the wilderness, but He comes, if I might so say, behind the caravan, amongst the carriers and the porters, and will bear anything that any of the weary pilgrims intrusts to His care.

Oh, dear brethren! if familiarity did not dull the glory of it, what a thought that is-a God that carries men’s loads! People talk much rubbish about the ‘stern Old Testament Deity’; is there anything sweeter, greater, more heart-compelling and heart-softening, than such a thought as this? How all the majesty bows itself, and declares itself to be enlisted on our side, when we think that ‘He that sitteth on the circle of the heavens, and the inhabitants thereof are as grasshoppers’ is the God that ‘daily beareth our burdens’!

And that is the tone of the Old Testament throughout, for you will always find braided together in the closest vital unity the representation of these two aspects of the divine nature; and if ever we hear set forth a more than ordinarily magnificent conception of His power and majesty be sure that, if you look, you will find side by side with it a more than ordinarily tender representation of His gentleness and His grace. And if we look deeper, this is not a case of contrast, it is not that there are sharply opposed to each other these two things, the gentleness and the greatness, the condescension and the magnificence, but that the former is the direct result of the latter; and it is just because He is Lord, and has dominion over all, that, therefore, He bears the burdens of all. For the responsibilities of the Creator are in proportion to His greatness, and He that has made man has thereby made it necessary that He should, if they will let Him, be their Burden-bearer and their Servant. The highest must be the lowest, and just because God is high over all, blessed for ever, therefore is He the Supporter and Sustainer of all. So we may learn the true meaning of elevation of all sorts, and from the example of loftiest, may draw the lesson for our more insignificant varieties of height, that the higher we are, the more we are bound to stoop, and that men are then likest God, when their elevation suggests to them responsibility, and when he that is chiefest becomes the servant.

II. So, then, notice next the deep insight into the heart and ways of God here.

‘He daily beareth our burdens.’ If there is any meaning in this word at all, it means that He so knits Himself with us as that all which touches us touches Him, that He takes a share in all our pressing duties, and feels the reflection from all our sorrows and pains. We have no impassive God in the heavens, careless of mankind, nor is His settled and changeless and unshaded blessedness of such a sort as that there cannot pass across it-if I may not say a shadow, I may at least say-a ripple from men’s pangs and troubles and cares. Love is the identification of oneself with the beloved object. We call it sympathy, when we are speaking about the fellow feeling between man and man that is kindled of love. But there is something deeper than sympathy in that great Heart, which gathers into itself all hearts, and in that great Being, whose being underlies all our beings, and is the root from which we all live and grow. God, in all our afflictions, is afflicted; and in simple though profound verity, has that which is most truly represented to men, by calling it a fellow feeling with our infirmities and our sorrows.

‘Think not thou canst sigh a sigh,

And thy Maker is not nigh;

Think not thou canst weep a tear,

And thy Maker is not near.’

For want of a better word, we speak of the sympathy of God: but we need something far more intimate and unwearied than we understand by that word, to express the community of feeling between all who trust Him and His own infinite heart. If this bearing of our burden means anything, it gives us a deep insight, too, into His workings, as well as into His heart. For it covers over this great truth that He Himself comes to us, and by the communication of His own power to us, makes us able to bear the burdens which we roll upon Him. The meaning of His ‘lifting our load,’ in so far as that expression refers to the divine act rather than the divine heart, is that He breathes into us the strength by which we can carry the heavy task of duties, and can endure the crushing pressure of our sorrows. All the endurance of the saints is God in them bearing their burdens.

Notice, too, ‘daily beareth,’ or, as the Hebrew has it yet more emphatically because more simply, ‘day by day beareth.’ He travels with us, in the greatness of His might and the long-suffering of His unwearied patience, through all our tribulation, and as He has ‘borne and carried’ His people ‘all the days of old,’ so, at each new recurrence of new weights, He is with us still. Like some river that runs by the wayside and ever cheers the traveller on the dusty path with its music, and offers its waters to cool his thirsty lips, so, day by day, in the slow iteration of our lingering sorrows, and in the monotonous recurrence of our habitual duties, there is with us the ever-present help of the Ancient of Days, who measures out daily strength for the daily load, and never sends the one without proffering the other.

III. So, again, notice here the remarkable anticipation of the very heart of the Gospel.

‘The God who daily beareth our burdens,’ says the Psalmist. He spoke deeper things than he knew, and was wiser than he understood. For the hope that gleams in these words comes to fulfilment, in Him of whom it was written in prophetic anticipation, so clear and definite that it reads like historical narrative-’He bare our grief and carried our sorrows. The chastisement of our peace was upon Him. The Lord hath laid on Him the iniquity of us all.’

Ah! it were of small avail to know a God that bore the burden of our sorrows and the load of our duties, if we did not know a God who bore the weight of our sins. For that is the real crushing weight that breaks men’s hearts and bows them to the earth. So the New Testament, with its message of a Christ on whom is laid the whole pressure of the world’s sin, is the deepest fulfilment of the great words of my text.

IV. Note, lastly, what we should therefore do with our burdens.

First, we should cast them on God, and let Him carry them. He cannot unless we do. One sometimes sees a petulant and self-confident little child staggering along with some heavy burden by the parent’s side, but pushing away the hand that is put out to help it to carry its load. And that is what too many of us do when God says to us, ‘Here, My child! let Me help you, I will take the heavy end of it, and do you take the light one.’ ‘Cast thy burden upon the Lord’-and do it by faith, by simple trust in Him, by making real to yourselves the fact of His divine sympathy, and His sure presence, to aid and to sustain.

Having thus let Him carry the weight, do not you try to carry it too. As our good old hymn has it- ‘Why should I the burden bear?’ It is a great deal more God’s affair than yours. We have, indeed, in a sense, to carry it. ‘Every man shall bear his own burden.’ The weight of duty is not to be indolently shoved off our shoulders on to His, saying, ‘Let Him do the work.’ We have indeed to carry the weight of sorrow. There is no use in trying to deny its bitterness and its burden, and it would not be well for us that it should be less bitter and less heavy. In many lands the habit prevails, especially amongst the women, of carrying heavy loads on their heads; and all travellers tell us that the practice gives a dignity and a grace to the carriage, and a freedom and a swing to the gait, which nothing else will do. Depend upon it, that so much of our burdens of work and weariness as is left to us, after we have cast them upon Him, is intended to strengthen and ennoble us. But do not let there be the gnawings of anxiety. Do not let there be the self-torment of aimless prognostications of evil. Do not let there be the chewing of the bitter morsel of irrevocable sorrows; but fling all upon God. And remember what the Master has said, and His servant has repeated: ‘Take no anxious care . . . for your heavenly Father knoweth’; ‘Cast your anxiety upon Him, for He careth for you.’

And the last advice that comes from my text is, to see that your tongues are not silent in that great hymn of praise which ought to go up to ‘the Lord that daily beareth our burdens.’ He wants only our trust and our thanks, and is best paid by the praise of our love, and of our heaping still more upon His ever strong and ready arm. Bless the Lord! who beareth our burdens, and see that you give Him yours to bear. Listen to Him who hath said, ‘Come unto Me all ye that . . . are heavy laden, and I will give you rest.’

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MacLaren, Alexander. "Commentary on Psalms 68:19". Alexander MacLaren's Expositions of Holy Scripture. https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/mac/psalms-68.html.

Matthew Henry's Complete Commentary on the Bible

Glory of Zion The King of Zion.

15 The hill of God is as the hill of Bashan a high hill as the hill of Bashan. 16 Why leap ye, ye high hills? this is the hill which God desireth to dwell in yea, the LORD will dwell in it for ever. 17 The chariots of God are twenty thousand, even thousands of angels: the Lord is among them, as in Sinai, in the holy place. 18 Thou hast ascended on high, thou hast led captivity captive: thou hast received gifts for men yea, for the rebellious also, that the LORD God might dwell among them. 19 Blessed be the Lord, who daily loadeth us with benefits, even the God of our salvation. Selah. 20 He that is our God is the God of salvation and unto GOD the Lord belong the issues from death. 21 But God shall wound the head of his enemies, and the hairy scalp of such an one as goeth on still in his trespasses.

David, having given God praise for what he had done for Israel in general, as the God of Israel (Psalm 68:8), here comes to give him praise as Zion's God in a special manner compare Psalm 9:11. Sing praises to the Lord who dwelleth in Zion, for which reason Zion is called the hill of God.

I. He compares it with the hill of Bashan and other high and fruitful hills, and prefers it before them, Psalm 68:15,16. It is true, Zion was but little and low in comparison with them, and was not covered over with flocks and herds as they were, yet, upon this account, it has the pre-eminence above them all, that it is the hill of God, the hill which he desires to dwell in, and where he chooses to manifest the tokens of his peculiar presence, Psalm 132:13,14. Note, It is much more honourable to be holy to God than to be high and great in the world. "Why leap you, you high hills? Why do you insult over poor Zion, and boast of your own height? This is the hill which God has chosen, and therefore though you exceed it in bulk, and be first-rates, yet, because on this the royal flag is hoisted, you must all strike sail to it." Zion was especially honourable because it was a type of the gospel church, which is therefore called Mount Zion (Hebrews 12:22), and this is intimated here, when he said, The Lord will dwell in it for ever, which must have its accomplishment in the gospel Zion. There is no kingdom in the world comparable to the kingdom of the Redeemer, no city comparable to that which is incorporated by the gospel charter, for there God dwells and will dwell for ever.

II. He compares it with Mount Sinai, of which he had spoken (Psalm 68:8), and shows that it has the Shechinah or divine presence in it as really, though not as sensibly, as Sinai itself had, Psalm 68:17. Angels are the chariots of God, his chariots of war, which he make use of against his enemies, his chariots of conveyance, which he sends for his friends, as he did for Elijah (and Lazarus is said to be carried by the angels), his chariots of state, in the midst of which he shows his glory and power. They are vastly numerous: Twenty thousands, even thousands multiplied. There is an innumerable company of angels in the heavenly Jerusalem, Hebrews 12:22. The enemies David fought with had chariots (2 Samuel 8:4), but what were they, for number or strength, to the chariots of God? While David had these on his side he needed not to fear those that trusted in chariots and horses, Psalm 20:7. God appeared on Mount Sinai, attended with myriads of angels, by whose dispensation the law was given, Acts 7:53. He comes with ten thousands of saints, Deuteronomy 33:2. And still in Zion God manifests his glory, and is really present, with a numerous retinue of his heavenly hosts, signified by the cherubim between which God is said to dwell. So that, as some read the last words of the verse, Sinai is in the sanctuary that is, the sanctuary was to Israel instead of Mount Sinai, whence they received divine oracles. Our Lord Jesus has these chariots at command. When the first-begotten was brought in to the world it was with this charge, Let all the angels of God worship him (Hebrews 1:6) they attended him upon all occasions, and he is now among them, angels, principalities, and powers, being made subject to him, 1 Peter 3:22. And it is intimated in the New Testament that the angels are present in the solemn religious assemblies of Christians, 1 Corinthians 11:10. Let the woman have a veil on her head because of the angels and see Ephesians 3:10.

III. The glory of Mount Zion was the King whom God set on that holy hill (Psalm 2:6), who came to the daughter of Zion, Matthew 21:5. Of his ascension the psalmist here speaks, and to it his language is expressly applied (Ephesians 4:8): Thou hast ascended on high (Psalm 68:18) compare Psalm 47:5,6. Christ's ascending on high is here spoken of as a thing past, so sure was it and spoken of to his honour, so great was it. It may include his whole exalted state, but points especially at his ascension into heaven to the right hand of the Father, which was as much our advantage as his advancement. For, 1. He then triumphed over the gates of hell. He led captivity captive that is, he led his captives in triumph, as great conquerors used to do, making a show of them openly, Colossians 2:15. He led those captive who had led us captive, and who, if he had not interposed, would have held us captive for ever. Nay, he led captivity itself captive, having quite broken the power of sin and Satan. As he was the death of death, so he was the captivity of captivity, Hosea 13:14. This intimates the complete victory which Jesus Christ obtained over our spiritual enemies it was such that through him we also are more than conquerors, that is, triumphers, Romans 8:37. 2. He then opened the gates of heaven to all believers: Thou hast received gifts for men. He gave gifts to men, so the apostle reads it, Ephesians 4:8. For he received that he might give on his head the anointing of the Spirit was poured, that from him it might descend to the skirts of his garments. And he gave what he had received having received power to give eternal life, he bestows it upon as many as were given him, John 17:2. Thou hast received gifts for men, not for angels fallen angels were not to be made saints, nor standing angels made gospel ministers, Hebrews 2:5. Not for Jews only, but for all men whoever will may reap the benefit of these gifts. The apostle tells us what these gifts were (Ephesians 4:11), prophets, apostles, evangelists, pastors and teachers, the institution of a gospel ministry and the qualification of men for it, both which are to be valued as the gifts of heaven and the fruits of Christ's ascension. Thou hast received gifts in man (so the margin), that is, in the human nature which Christ was pleased to clothe himself with, that he might be a merciful and faithful high priest in things pertaining to God. In him, as Mediator, all fulness dwells, that from his fulness we might receive. To magnify the kindness and love of Christ to us in receiving these gifts for us, the psalmist observes, (1.) The forfeiture we had made of them. He received them for the rebellious also, for those that had been rebellious so all the children of men had been in their fallen state. Perhaps it is especially meant of the Gentiles, that had been enemies in their minds by wicked works, Colossians 1:21. For them these gifts are received, to them they are given, that they might lay down their arms, that their enmity might be slain, and that they might return to their allegiance. This magnifies the grace of Christ exceedingly that through him rebels are, upon their submission, not only pardoned, but preferred. They have commissions given them under Christ, which some say, in our law, amounts to the reversing of an attainder. Christ came to a rebellious world, not to condemn it, but that through him it might be saved. (2.) The favour designed us in them: He received gifts for the rebellious, that the Lord God might dwell among them, that he might set up a church in a rebellious world, in which he would dwell by his word and ordinances, as of old in the sanctuary, that he might set up his throne, and Christ might dwell in the hearts of particular persons that had been rebellious. The gracious intention of Christ's undertaking was to rear up the tabernacle of God among men, that he might dwell with them and they might themselves be living temples to his praise, Ezekiel 37:27.

IV. The glory of Zion's King is that he is a Saviour and benefactor to all his willing people and a consuming fire to all those that persist in rebellion against him, Psalm 68:19-21. We have here good and evil, life and death, the blessing and the curse, set before us, like that (Mark 16:16), He that believes shall be saved he that believes not shall be damned.

1. Those that take God for their God, and so give up themselves to him to be his people, shall be loaded with his benefits, and to them he will be a God of salvation. If in sincerity we avouch God to be our God, and seek to him as such, (1.) He will continually do us good and furnish us with occasion for praise. Having mentioned the gifts Christ received for us (Psalm 68:18), fitly does he subjoin, in the next words, Blessed be the Lord for it is owing to the mediation of Christ that we live, and live comfortably, and are daily loaded with benefits. So many, so weighty, are the gifts of God's bounty to us that he may be truly said to load us with them he pours out blessings till there is no room to receive them, Malachi 3:10. So constant are they, and so unwearied is he in doing us good, that he daily loads us with them, according as the necessity of every day requires. (2.) He will at length be unto us the God of salvation, of everlasting salvation, the salvation of God, which he will show to those that order their conversation aright (Psalm 50:23), the salvation of the soul. He that daily loads us with benefits will not put us off with present things for a portion, but will be the God of our salvation and what he gives us now he gives as the God of salvation, pursuant to the great design of our salvation. He is our God, and therefore he will be the God of eternal salvation to us for that only will answer the vast extent of his covenant-relation to us as our God. But has he power to complete this salvation? Yes, certainly for unto God the Lord belong the issues from death. The keys of hell and death are put into the hand of the Lord Jesus, Revelation 1:18. He, having made an escape from death himself in his resurrection, has both authority and power to rescue those that are his from the dominion of death, by altering the property of it to them when they die and giving them a complete victory over it when they shall rise again for the last enemy that shall be destroyed is death. And to those that shall thus for ever escape death, and shall find such an outlet from it as not to be hurt of the second death, to them surely deliverances from temporal death are mercies indeed and come from God as the God of their salvation. 2 Corinthians 1:10.

2. Those that persist in their enmity to him will certainly be ruined (Psalm 68:21): God shall wound the head of his enemies,--of Satan the old serpent (of whom it was by the first promise foretold that the seed of the woman should break his head, Genesis 3:15), --of all the powers of the nations, whether Jews or Gentiles, that oppose him and his kingdom among men (Psalm 110:6, He shall wound the heads over many countries),--of all those, whoever they are, that will not have him to reign over them, for those he accounts his enemies, and they shall be brought forth and slain before him, Luke 19:27. He will wound the hairy scalp of such a one as goeth on still in his trespasses. Note, Those who go on still in their trespasses, and hate to be reformed, God looks upon as his enemies and will treat them accordingly. In calling the head the hairy scalp perhaps there is an allusion to Absalom, whose bushy hair was his halter. Or it denotes either the most fierce and barbarous of his enemies, who let their hair grow, to make themselves look the more frightful, or the most fine and delicate of his enemies, who are nice about their hair: neither the one nor the other can secure themselves from the fatal wounds which divine justice will give to the heads of those that go on in their sins.

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These files are public domain and are a derivative of an electronic edition that is available on the Christian Classics Ethereal Library Website.
Bibliographical Information
Henry, Matthew. "Complete Commentary on Psalms 68:19". "Matthew Henry Complete Commentary on the Whole Bible". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/mhm/psalms-68.html. 1706.

Matthew Henry's Concise Commentary on the Bible

The ascension of Christ must here be meant, and thereto it is applied, Ephesians 4:8. He received as the purchase of his death, the gifts needful for the conversion of sinners, and the salvation of believers. These he continually bestows, even on rebellious men, that the Lord God might dwell among them, as their Friend and Father. He gave gifts to men. Having received power to give eternal life, the Lord Jesus bestows it on as many as were given him, John 17:2. Christ came to a rebellious world, not to condemn it, but that through him it might be saved. The glory of Zion's King is, that he is a Saviour and Benefactor to all his willing people, and a consuming fire to all that persist in rebellion against him. So many, so weighty are the gifts of God's bounty, that he may be truly said to load us with them. He will not put us off with present things for a portion, but will be the God of our salvation. The Lord Jesus has authority and power to rescue his people from the dominion of death, by taking away the sting of it from them when they die, and giving them complete victory over it when they rise again. The crown of the head, the chief pride and glory of the enemy, shall be smitten; Christ shall crush the head of the serpent.

Copyright Statement
These files are public domain and are a derivative of an electronic edition that is available on the Christian Classics Ethereal Library Website.
Bibliographical Information
Henry, Matthew. "Concise Commentary on Psalms 68:19". "Matthew Henry Concise Commentary

on the Whole Bible". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/mhn/psalms-68.html. 1706.

Matthew Poole's English Annotations on the Holy Bible

Who daily loadeth us with benefits; and besides that great and glorious blessing of his ascension which once he wrought for us, he is daily conferring new favours upon us. Heb. who layeth load upon us; which may be understood either,

1. Of the burden of afflictions, for which God’s people have cause to bless God upon many accounts. Or rather,

2. Of mercies and favours, which is more agreeable to the context; wherewith in common speech men are said to be loaded by another when they receive them from him in great abundance.

The God of our salvation; the only Author and Finisher both of our present and of our eternal salvation.

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These files are public domain.
Text Courtesy of BibleSupport.com. Used by Permission.
Bibliographical Information
Poole, Matthew, "Commentary on Psalms 68:19". Matthew Poole's English Annotations on the Holy Bible. https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/mpc/psalms-68.html. 1685.

Arthur Peake's Commentary on the Bible

LXVIII. A Song of Triumph.—The most difficult of all the Pss. In some places the text is so corrupt that it defies any attempt at emendation, and the VSS give little, if any, help. The historical allusions are obscure. The poet makes use of older works, especially of "Deborah's Song" in Judges 5.

. Praise of God for His power and lovingkindness. This section begins with a quotation from Numbers 10:35, the words used when the Ark moved forward in the forty years' wandering through the wilderness.

Psalms 68:4. rideth through the deserts or rather steppes (cf. Isaiah 40:3).

. God's care of Israel in the past. The poet illustrates this by his picture, borrowed from Judges 5, of the great victory over the Canaanite kings at the battle of Megiddo in Central Palestine.

Psalms 68:8. The words "even yon Sinai" here and in Judges 5:5 are an erroneous gloss. They are ungrammatical and are absent in one of the oldest MSS of the LXX. Besides the poet is thinking of the time of Deborah, not Moses.

Psalms 68:13 f. is unmeaning as it stands, and no emendation helps matters much. The "snow that fell at Salmon" is also unintelligible: perhaps the poet knew some traditional feature of the story lost to us. Salmon was near Shechem.

. Yahweh is enthroned on Zion for the deliverance of His people.

Psalms 68:15. A mountain of God: i.e. a mountain fitted by its height to be the abode of superhuman beings. But even the peaks of Bashan, the range on the NE. of Palestine, may well look with envy on Zion.

Psalms 68:17. Read perhaps, "He hath come from Sinai into the sanctuary." Sinai was His old home.

Psalms 68:18. ascended on high: perhaps to contend with the powers of the air and sky (cf. Isaiah 24:21).

Psalms 68:22. Some have interpreted this as a reference to the exploits of Judas Maccabus in Gilead, as recorded in 1 Maccabees 7. The Ps. has also been placed later, in the time of Alexander Jannus (p. 608), who died in 78 B.C. There is, in fact, no certain or even probable indication of date. Here we have a Jewish leader hard pressed by the foe but cheered by a priestly oracle with promise of deliverance and revenge. That is all that we know.

. The Festal Procession. Judah. Benjamin, and Galilee were the orthodox Jewish lands in the Maccabean times. So here again we may have a faint sign that the Ps. is Maccabean.

Psalms 68:26 a. Translate, "Bless God in the choirs."

Psalms 68:27. their ruler: read, "in front."

. Zion the spiritual centre of the whole world. God is to maintain His rule in Jerusalem: nay, the Temple is to attract foreign kings. Egypt and Ethiopia are specially mentioned.

Psalms 68:30. except the last clause, is hopelessly corrupt. We only know that beasts are the symbols for foreign kings.

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Bibliographical Information
Peake, Arthur. "Commentary on Psalms 68:19". "Arthur Peake's Commentary on the Bible ". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/pfc/psalms-68.html. 1919.

Preacher's Complete Homiletical Commentary

INTRODUCTION

Superscription.—"To the Chief Musician." See Introduction to Psalms 57. "A Psalm or Song of David." See Introduction to Psalms 48.

The Superscription does not mention the occasion on which the psalm was composed. On this point various opinions have been held and advocated. Most of the older expositors, and Steir and Barnes amongst the moderns, are of opinion that it was composed for the removal of the Ark from the house of Obed-edom to Mount Zion (2 Samuel 6). The view of others is that it was composed to celebrate the victorious termination of some war, when the Ark was brought back to Zion. Throughout the psalm God is praised as the Lord of battle and of victory. Can we ascertain what victory is here celebrated! For our guidance in this inquiry we have two data. "First, the psalm must have been composed at a time when the sanctuary of the Lord was on Mount Zion (Psa ; Psa 68:29; Psa 68:35). The choice is thus very much narrowed. There remain only two great victories, the Syrian-Edomite, and the Ammonitic-Syrian. Second, in the war referred to in this psalm, the Ark of the Covenant must have been in the field, according to Psa 68:1; Psa 68:24. It is evident from 2Sa 11:11, that this was the case in the Ammonitic war. We may therefore with great probability conclude, that the psalm was composed after the capture of Rabbah (2Sa 12:26-31), which terminated that war, the most dangerous with which David had to do. It was quite in accordance with David's usual manner to celebrate a great religious festival at the close of such a war."—(Hengstenberg). Alexander, Moll, Tholuck, et al., also take this view. The weight of evidence seems to us certainly in favour of it.

"The fundamental thought is clear," says Moll, "namely: The celebration of an entrance of God into His sanctuary on Zion after a victory, and His rule over the world extending itself from thence." The development of this thought we shall endeavour to indicate as we proceed with our homiletical treatment of the psalm.

THE VICTORIOUS MARCH OF THE GOOD

(Psa .)

The Psalm opens with a reference to the watchword which was used at the setting forward of the Ark of the Covenant in the journeyings of the Israelites (Num ). God is entreated to arise for the overthrow of His enemies and the salvation of His people. The people are exhorted to praise God as the glorious Leader of a victorious march through the desert—One who protects and provides for, who saves and enriches His people. There follows, in Psa 68:7-10, an illustration of the gracious and glorious guidance of God, as seen in the history of Israel in the wilderness. We regard this section of the psalm as an illustration of The victorious march of the good.

I. The march of the good is opposed by enemies. The enemies whom God is invoked to arise against are the enemies of Israel. The people of God in all ages have been a militant people. To day their enemies are numerous and subtle and strong. They have to contend against unbelief and superstition, against carnality and worldliness, against temptations from without, and evil tendencies from within. Conflict is an essential condition of spiritual life and growth in our present state of being. Our advancement in the Christian course is disputed and opposed at every step by our foes. Concerning these enemies the Psalmist makes two things to stand prominently forth—

1. They are depraved in character. He speaks of them as "the wicked." How terrible is the wickedness of any one who would deliberately tempt another to evil, or seek to corrupt a pure mind, or oppose the progress of a godly soul!

2. They are hostile to the Most High. They are "His enemies," they "hate Him." Think of the appalling iniquity and guilt of having that Being who is supremely righteous and kind and beautiful! What a terrible perversion of character such hatred indicates! They who oppose the people of God are accounted by Him as His enemies.

II. The march of the good is marked by trials. The character of this journey is indicated in general here as a march through a desert. Thus in Psa, instead of "Extol Him that rideth upon the heavens," we should have, "Make a way for Him who rideth forward in the deserts," or, "Cast up a way for Him that rides through the deserts." And in Psa 68:7, "O God, when Thou didst march through the wilderness," or, "through the desert." There is much in the circumstances and experiences of the good in this world which is truly illustrated by a pilgrimage in the desert. But this general idea is expanded by the Psalmist in Psa 68:5-6. We have here—

1. The helpless and sorrowful. "The fatherless … the widows." These expressions must not be restricted to their literal meaning. They are used to set forth those who have lost their protector and helper, and whose hearts are sorrowful and sore.

2. The forsaken and lonely. "The solitary" is intended to represent those who are forsaken, and are destitute of human friendship and help.

3. The enslaved. "Those which are bound with chains," represents not simply those who are literally imprisoned or enslaved, but those who are bound by evil habits or associations, the slaves of superstition and sin, the thralls of fear, who cannot rise to the joy of holy assurance in God.

These classes represent some of the pilgrims in the march of the good in our own day. Even amongst true and godly souls there are weary feet and sad and sorrowful hearts. "Faint, yet pursuing" is a true description of the condition of thousands of travellers on the heavenly road. From our pilgrim state trial is inseparable. We are in the desert with its consuming heat, and sandy wastes, and vast trackless expanses, and prowling enemies.

III. The march of the good is led on victoriously. Mark the glorious Leader. "Let God arise.… Him who rideth forward through the deserts.… Thou didst march through the wilderness." There is a reference to the Ark of the Covenant, which victoriously preceded the hosts of Israel. The Ark, with the pillar of cloud by day, and of fire by night resting upon it, was the sign of the Divine presence. It was also a type of Christ. He is the great and glorious Leader of His people; and He leads them on from victory to victory. Under His guidance they are—

1. Victorious over enemies. "Let God arise, let His enemies be scattered," &c. Their victory is

(1) Irresistible. Their foes are driven before them as smoke before the wind. As wax has no power to resist heat, but melts away under its influence, so the enemies of the hosts of God are unable to stand before Him. When He leads His people to battle their enemies flee powerless and panic-stricken. "Let God arise, as the sun when he goes forth in his strength; and the children of darkness shall be scattered, as the shadows of the evening flee before the rising sun."

(2) Complete. "As smoke is driven away," &c. Who can recover the smoke-cloud which the wind has scattered far and wide? "Let the wicked perish at the presence of God." The omnipotence of God guarantees the destruction of His enemies, and the triumph of His people. The good have to contend with foes, but "in all things they are more than conquerors through Him that loved" and leads them.

2. Victorious over difficulties and trials. Are they marching through a desert? Then God makes the desert as a fruitful field with His own gifts from heaven. "Thou, O God, didst send a plentiful rain." Alexander: "A rain of free gifts." Hengstenberg: "A rain of gifts." There is a reference "to the provision made by God for His people, in temporal matters, during their marchings through the wilderness—the manna, the quails, the water out of the rock," &c. In this we have an illustration of the all-sufficiency and freeness and abundance of the provision which God has made for His people. In things temporal He will withhold no good from them. In things spiritual He has provided for them "a feast of fat things." The provisions of Christianity are abundant, free, rich, satisfying, and pleasant. Are they helpless and sorrowful? Then God, their Leader, is their mighty Helper and their gracious Comforter. "A Father of the fatherless, and a judge of the widows, is God in His holy habitation." God has ever manifested great regard for the widow and fatherless (Exo ; Deu 10:18; Psa 146:7-9; Hos 14:3). He interposes for those who have no helper; He comforts the mourner. It is His greatest glory that He is merciful to the penitent transgressor, and compassionate to the miserable. Are they faint and weary? Then God refreshes them. "Thou didst confirm Thine inheritance when it was weary." Hengstenberg: "Thine heritage, the weary one, Thou didst strengthen it." Conant: "When fainting, Thou Thyself hast raised it up." When the Israelites were worn out with fatigue by reason of their journeyings in the wilderness, He refreshed and strengthened them. He sustains and cheers His people in the most exhausting and trying circumstances of their pilgrimage. "He giveth power to the faint," &c. (Isa 40:29-31). Are they enslaved? He gives to them joyous liberty. "He bringeth out those which are bound with chains." He delivers from the slavery of evil habits, from the tyranny of sin and Satan, from the bondage of fear, &c. Under this glorious Leader difficulties are vanquished and made to contribute to the success of the pilgrim host, trials are bravely borne, and ultimately transformed into blessings, and foes are utterly vanquished. Triumphantly the great Captain of the good leads forward His hosts.

IV. The march of the good is led on to a glorious termination. The journey of the Israelites ended at Canaan. There "God made the solitary to dwell at home." In giving them possession of that land; and in protecting them therein against their enemies, He manifested His kindness to them. "Thy congregation hath dwelt therein: Thou, O God, hast prepared of Thy goodness for the poor." "Therein" refers to the land of promise. Though that land has not been expressly mentioned in the preceding verses, yet it was prominently in the mind of the Psalmist. The possession of it was the grand end of the journey through the wilderness. There they found rest, refreshment, provisions in abundance, &c. How glorious is the end of the pilgrimage of the good! Rest from wanderings, from fears, from conflicts. The possession of purity, peace, joy, &c. Under the guidance of our Lord our march will end at home—our Father's home.

CONCLUSION.—

1. This lead should be earnestly sought. "Let God arise," &c. Without it we shall "dwell in a dry land." Without it life will be vain, fruitless, and will end in failure. But under His guidance life will grow in purity, power, and usefulness, and will end in triumph and glory.

"Guide me, O Thou great Jehovah," &c.

2. This lead should be heartily rejoiced in. "Let the righteous be glad," &c. This rejoicing should be fervent. "Let them exceedingly rejoice," or, "exult for gladness." Great blessings should enkindle great joys. It should be religious. "Let them rejoice before God." Grateful and reverent should be our gladness that we have such a Leader. It should be uttered. "Sing unto God," &c. Sing, and so relieve the full heart; sing, and so excite others to do so also.

THE BARREN LOT OF THE WICKED

(Psa .)

The rebellious dwell in a dry land."

Religion has been misrepresented as a cheerless, gloomy, harsh thing. Our text reverses this. It teaches that irreligion is unsatisfying, that a life of sin is a life of want and disappointment. The children of Israel were being led through the desert unto a land of corn and wine, of milk and honey, &c. But the rebellious are said to dwell in the desert. The former pass through it to a glorious inheritance; the latter dwell in it—their lot is barren, dreary, disappointing, &c. A life of rebellion against God is without satisfaction; it is cheerless, disappointed, wretched. We see this:

I. In relation to the ordinary events of this life. Health and sickness, gain and loss, triumph and defeat, pleasure and sorrow, are found more or less in the life of every man. What is the meaning of these things? What are their uses? &c. The man who trusts in God is in a condition for ascertaining these things, and for making the best use of life's varying experiences. But the opposite is true of "the rebellious." The good man sees in his successes, and in his health, &c. the blessing of a gracious God. He is grateful for that blessing; and is thus twice blessed. He is blessed in his circumstances and in his soul, in his hand and in his heart. But "the rebellious" discover no trace of the goodness of God in the successes and pleasures of life. To them no spiritual blessing accrues from these things. The highest ministry of these things they entirely, lose. The good man derives profit from the dark and trying experiences of life. He believes that trial may be a blessing in disguise, that temporal loss may result in spiritual enrichment, &c. So, by the blessing of God, his greatest losses and crosses lead to his greatest gains and joys. But it is far otherwise with "the rebellious." To them trials and sorrows and losses are unmixed evils. They rebel against trials, and trials become more severe. Temporal losses lead to bitterness of spirit. They kick against the goads, and so injure themselves. So far as their spiritual relation to the circum: stances of this life is concerned, "the rebellious dwell in a dry land."

II. In relation to the great needs of the soul. Whether man recognises and acknowledges it or not, it is true that every man has great spiritual needs. We need pardon, help in life's toils and trials, hope as to life's future, &c. Our being craves rest. And to obtain rest we need truth for the intellect, righteousness for the conscience, love for the heart. The godly man finds rest in the truth, righteousness, and love of God revealed in Jesus Christ. The only way to rest for man is through Christ (Mat ; Joh 14:6; Rom 5:1). But how do "the rebellious" fare in this respect? Let the Scriptures answer (Isa 57:20-21; Jer 2:13; Luk 15:14-17). Let human experience answer. When Alexander the Great had subdued all the nations of the earth, so far was he from being satisfied with the conquest of a world, that he wept because he had not another world to conquer. The world did not satisfy his soul's cravings: nor has it satisfied the needs of any soul. All who have chosen the world for their portion, and have had it, have experienced the most bitter disappointment. They have "dwelt in a dry land."

III. In relation to the great future. "If a man die, shall he live again?" "Man giveth up the ghost, and where is he?" Is he anywhere? The multitudes who once were upon this earth, are they in being now? Whither and to what are we hastening? The believer in Christ has a great and well-grounded hope as to the future. "Our Saviour Jesus Christ hath abolished death," &c. "I am the resurrection and the life," &c. To the Christian the future is radiant, beautiful, inviting. But what is it to "the rebellious"? Ah! what? It is shrouded in sable gloom, as of a moonless, starless midnight. The darkness is unbroken, or broken only by dread flashes of lurid light. For "the rebellious" there is "a certain fearful looking for of judgment and fiery indignation," &c.

Let "the rebellious" sue for pardon. Let them loyally bow to the authority of God, &c. "Ye worldlings, who wander joylessly through a godless world, with weary feet and withered hearts, seeking rest and finding none, come to Jesus, and He will give you rest."

THE TRIUMPH OF THE CHURCH

(Psa .)

To Interpret Psa is confessedly a very difficult task. On Psa 68:13, Barnes says, "I confess that none of these explanations of the passage seem to me to be satisfactory, and that I cannot understand it." And Moll, at the end of a long note on Psa 68:14, says, "Since, however, there is no historical statement here, but rather a prophetical declaration, we are rather led to a figurative mode of expression, whose sense, however, is as obscure as its foundation and occasion are unknown." And in Smith's Dict. of the Bible, art. Salmon, we read, "It is usually supposed that this hill is mentioned in a verse of perhaps the most difficult of all the Psalms; and this is probable though the passage is peculiarly difficult, and the precise allusion intended by the poet seems hopelessly lost.… Unless the passage is given up as corrupt, it seems more in accordance with reason to admit that there was some allusion present to the poet's mind, the key to which is now lost; and this ought not to surprise any scholar who reflects how many allusions there are in Greek poets—in Pindar, for example, and in Aristophanes—which would be wholly unintelligible to us now were it not for the notes of Greek scholiasts. To these notes there is nothing exactly analogous in Hebrew literature; and in the absence of some such assistance, it is unavoidable that there should be several passages, in the Old Testament respecting the meaning of which we must be content to remain ignorant"

We are quite unable to grapple successfully with this difficulty. For the various renderings and interpretations of Psa, let the reader see the Commentaries of Barnes and Moll. We suggest that this strophe may be used to illustrate the triumph of the Church over her enemies.

I. In its source. "The Lord gave the word." The word is not simply the announcement of the victory, but the word of authority and power.

1. He gives the word of command. The war against evil is Divinely authorised. God Himself bids us do battle with ignorance and vice, with unbelief and superstition, with sin and suffering. The crusade against evil is a holy one.

2. He gives the word of promise. He has granted unto us the assurance of His constant presence and help in the warfare, and of ultimate victory. His word removes all doubt as to the issue of the conflict (See Psa ; Psalms 72; Isa 11:9; 1Co 15:25; Heb 8:10-11.) The triumph of the Church is Divinely guaranteed.

3. He gives the word of power. "The Almighty scattered kings." He inspires the heart of His soldiers with courage, and nerves their arm with power (Psa ). The Church will conquer evil through the might of her Saviour and Lord. "We are more than conquerors through Him that loved us." "The God of peace shall bruise Satan under your feet shortly."

II. In its completeness. Graphically the poet represents this. He shows it—

1. In the utter rout of the foes. "Kings of armies did flee apace;" or, "The kings of the hosts fled, they fled." There have been times in the history of the Christian Church when the powers of evil have fled in dismay before her faith and effort. These past victories are foreshadowings of grander triumphs yet to come. Darkness and evil are destined to flee before the light and love of God in His Church.

2. In the greatness of the spoil. "She that tarried at home divided the spoil." M. Henry: "Not only the men, the soldiers that abode by the stuff, who were, by a statute of distributions, to share the prey (1Sa ), but even the women that tarried at home had a share, which intimates the abundance of spoil that should be taken." Hengstenberg: "The victory and the spoil, which the Lord imparted to His people, in the season of their childhood, was a type of a far more glorious victory and a more precious spoil. Arnd.: ‘Is it not a valuable spoil that so many thousands of men have been converted from heathenism, among whom have been so many glorious teachers and lights of the Church, such as Justin, Augustine, Ambrose, not to speak of the innumerable martyrs, who were all brought out of heathenism, and were put to death because of their attachment to the Christian faith.'" All the wealth of the world—its silver and gold, its power and beauty, its genius and eloquence—shall one day be laid at the feet of the Lord in joyful homage.

3. In the subsequent prosperity. "Though ye have lien among the pots, yet ye shall be as the wings of a dove covered with silver, and her feathers with yellow gold. When the Almighty scattered kings in it, it was white as snow in Salmon." Hengstenberg: "When ye rest between the boundaries, ye are like the wings of doves covered with silver, and their feathers with the gleam of gold. When the Almighty scatters kings in it, it snows on Salmon." He says, "The שָׁכַב implies peaceful rest, as at Num .… The שְׁפַתָּיִם signifies either sheepfolds or boundaries.… At all events the term denotes a state of peaceful rest. In this condition the Israelites, to whom the address is directed, are, taken figuratively, wings of the doves, &c., or they are like doves, whose wings glitter with silver and gold. The allusion is to the play of colours on the wings of the dove in sunshine. The real import is the peaceful and, at the same time, splendid condition enjoyed by Israel in the lap of peace.… The ‘snow' is mentioned here because it has the colour of purest light (comp. Psa 51:7; Isa 1:18; Mar 9:3; Mat 17:2; Mat 28:3; Rev 1:14). Salmon is ‘a hill mentioned in Jud 9:48, which was covered over with great thick wood (even according to that passage), so that it might be called a dark forest, the black or dark mountain.'—Luther. There is no need for supplying any mark of comparison before Salmon: it is rather to be considered as used in a figurative sense for the land, just as snow is a figurative expression for the clear brightness of prosperity." According to this exposition these obscure verses give us two ideas:

(1) Rest. The triumph of the Church will be so complete that it will be followed by perfect and endless rest.

(2) Prosperity. The age of warfare ended, the Church will enter upon the everlasting age of progress and beauty and glory.

III. In its celebration. "Great was the company of those that published it." Conant: "The women that publish the glad tidings are a mighty host. Hengstenberg: "Of the female messengers of victory there are a great host." Amongst the Israelites when the army was ordered to war the women cheered the soldiers onward with their songs. And, when they returned victorious, with songs and dances they celebrated the victory. (See Exo ; 1Sa 18:6-7; et al.) And the triumph of the Church of Christ shall not fail of celebration. Those who have fought and suffered, those who have watched and prayed, a countless host of faithful souls, shall join in the exultant songs and festivities of the final triumph. Glimpses of this celebration we have in the Holy Word. But the celebration itself, in its extent and enthusiasm, in its rapture and splendour, shall far surpass our utmost expectation and imagination. And to Jesus—Leader, Saviour, and Sovereign—shall be ascribed "glory and dominion for ever and ever. Amen."

THE GLORY OF THE CHURCH

(Psa .)

We regard these verses as illustrating the glory of the Church of God.

I. It consists in its being the dwelling-place of God. Zion is here spoken of as "the hill which God desireth to dwell in." The Most High dwells in the Church as He does not in the world (Mat ; Joh 14:22-23). In the Church He reveals His will, puts forth His saving power, manifests the glory of His grace, &c. (see notes on Psa 48:1-3).

1. He dwells there of His own sovereign choice. He "has chosen to dwell" in Zion. "The Lord hath chosen Zion; He hath desired it for His habitation. This is My rest for ever: here will I dwell; for I have desired it." Moll: "Sinai and Zion are mountains of God, as Israel is the people of God, not on account of natural advantages, but the Divine election of grace." God dwells in His Church because of His own gracious and sovereign choice.

2. He dwells there permanently. "Yea, the Lord will dwell in it for ever." The ark and the temple have long since passed from Zion; but in the Christian Church, the spiritual Zion, God still dwells, and will do so for ever. In this promise we have a guarantee of the permanence of the Church. "It is impossible," says Renschel, "that the Christian Church should perish; for God is not only a guest in it, but He dwells therein for ever as the host." Not in wealthy endowments, or worldly power, or imposing edifices, or gorgeous ritual, or eloquent ministers, does the glory of the Church consist; but in the gracious presence of God in her midst.

II. It transcends the utmost glory of the world. "The hill of God is as the hill of Bashan, an high hill as the hill of Bashan. Why leap ye, ye high hills? this is the hill which God desireth to dwell in; yea, the Lord will dwell in it for ever." Bashan "extended from the ‘border of Gilead' on the south to Mount Hermon on the north (Deu ; Deu 3:10; Deu 3:14; Jos 12:5; 1Ch 5:23), and from the Arabah or Jordan valley on the west to Salchah (Sulkhad) and the border of the Geshurites and the Maacathites on the east (Jos 12:3-5; Deu 3:10). This important district was bestowed on the half tribe of Manasseh (Jos 13:29-31) together with ‘half Gilead.'" It was famous for the oaks of its forests (Eze 27:6), the wild cattle of its pastures (Psa 22:12), and the fertility and beauty of its high downs and wide sweeping plains (Jer 1:19; Amo 4:1; Mic 7:14). "The hill of Bashan is the high snow-summit of Anti-Lebanon or Hermon, the extreme limit of Bashan, yet really belonging to it." The mountain of Hermon rises to a height of fully 10,000 feet. For conspicuousness and elevation Mount Zion cannot be compared with it. Hermon, the mountain of Bashan, is used here as an emblem of the powerful kingdoms of this world. The hills of Bashan were inhabited for the most part by heathen peoples who were hostile to Israel, as is implied in the inquiry, "Why leap ye, ye high hills?" Conant: "Why watch ye jealously, ye mountain peaks?" Moll: "Why do ye look with envy, ye many-peaked mountains?" "The reference is to lurking, and so crafty and hostile, or envious and jealous looking over at them." The mighty powers of the neighbouring heathen world looked with contempt and lurking hostility upon Israel. And the poet challenges them for the reason of this, and boldly claims for Zion superior dignity and glory than anything of which they could boast, inasmuch as it was selected as the dwelling-place of God. The greatest temporal advantages are poor when compared with spiritual privileges such as those which Israel enjoyed on Zion. Because it is the dwelling-place of the Most High the humble hill of Zion is exalted far above all the mighty and majestic mountains of earth. "It is much more honourable to be holy to God than to be high and great in the world." By reason of its spiritual privileges the Church of God outshines the most glorious kingdoms of the world.

III. It is seen in its security. "The chariots of God are twenty thousand, thousands of angels: the Lord is among them." In the Hebrew there is no mention of angels. Hengstenberg translates: "The chariots of God are two myriads, many thousands, the Lord is among them." And Conant: "The chariots of God are myriadfold, thousands upon thousands." Notice—

1. The poetic representation of the security of the Church. War chariots were much used for attack and defence by the most powerful nations. "The main strength of the hostile armies, particularly the Syrian, in the war which had just been brought to a termination (comp. 2Sa ; 2Sa 10:18), lay in war chariots." So Mount Zion is represented as surrounded by a countless host of these chariots. So Elisha, when the king of Syria had "sent horses and chariots and a great host" for to take him, was protected; for "the mountain was full of horses and chariots of fire round about" him. What are the powers of worldly kingdoms to the powers which do the Divine bidding? "Thousand thousands minister unto Him, and ten thousand times ten thousand stand before Him." The agents which He employs to guard His Church are countless in number and invincible in power.

2. The secret of the security of the Church. "The Lord is among them." His presence in their midst makes the defending host fearless and triumphant. The security of the Church is not in its members, or wealth, or organisation, or hosts of angelic defenders; but in the Lord Himself. "Yea, the Lord will dwell in it for ever.… The Lord is among them," is a guarantee of the complete safety of His Church against all the hostile designs and doings of evil powers. "God is in the midst of her; she shall not be moved."

IV. It is seen in its sanctity. "As in Sinai, in the holy place." Or, leaving out the words supplied by the translators: "Sinai, in the holy." Hengstenberg: "Sinai is in the sanctuary." Moll: "‘A Sinai in sanctity.' Zion affords a sight as Sinai afforded it when God in His appearance surrounded it with holiness." On Zion as on Sinai God reveals the majesty of His glory; and His presence consecrates and hallows it. The glory of the Church is manifested when she realises the presence of the Lord in her midst, and reflects His glory in the character and conduct of her members. When Christians shine in the beauty of holiness, the glory of the Church will be seen by all.

V. It has been strikingly illustrated. "Thou hast ascended on high, Thou hast led captivity captive, Thou hast received gifts for men, yea, for the rebellious also, that the Lord God might dwell among them." Barnes: "The idea is, that God had descended or come down from His dwelling-place in the case referred to in the psalm, and that having secured a victory by vanquishing His foes, and having given deliverance to His people, He had now returned, or reascended to his seat." We have in the verse—

1. A great victory. This is clearly implied in the words, "Thou hast led captivity captive." Primarily, this means that God had achieved a complete victory in the war, and had captured the captives of the enemies, and led them away in triumph. As applied to the Redeemer, it signifies that He triumphed over His enemies, and rescued those whom they had made captive, and bound them to Himself as trophies of His conquest. The Lord Jesus has vanquished the hosts of hell, rescued myriads from the bondage of sin and Satan, and bound them to Himself by the chains of loving loyalty.

2. Precious spoils. "Thou hast received gifts for men," &c. Expositors differ in the interpretation of this clause, and that chiefly with reference to בָּאָדָם, which the A. V. renders: "for men." Margin: "in the man." Moll: "of men." Alford, Barnes, Conant, Hengstenberg, Olshausen, et al: "among men." "Thou hast received gifts among men, yea, among the rebellious." The Most High is represented by the Psalmist as having taken precious spoils from the enemy, and returning home to distribute them amongst his victorious hosts and people. Even the most refractory were compelled to pay tribute to this all-conquering Foe. The Lord Jesus Christ having vanquished sin, Satan, and death, bestows the richest gifts upon all who submit themselves to Him.

3. A glorious ascension. "Thou hast ascended on high." Hengstenberg: "The ascending of God presupposes His descending (comp. Eph ). It denotes His ascent to heaven, after He had made Himself known on earth in deeds of omnipotence and love, that He may there manage the affairs of His people (comp. at Psa 47:5)." This ascension was symbolised by the entrance of the Ark into Zion. So our Lord, when He had completed His work on earth, ascended to "the right hand of the Majesty on high," to conduct the cause of His people there.

4. The grand object. "That the Lord God might dwell among them." Or, "That Jah God might dwell." The grand end of the victory of God on behalf of His people was that He might dwell amongst them as their heavenly King. And the grand end of the redemptive work and warfare of the Lord Jesus is that He might dwell amongst men as the gracious Sovereign of their being.

CONCLUSION.—

1. Let the Church learn in what its true glory consists.

2. Let it estimate truly the mean and transient glory of the world.

3. Let it trust in God and triumph in its security.

4. Let it seek to realise His presence more fully, and spread His triumphs more widely.

THE ASCENSION OF CHRIST

(Psa .)

This passage is applied by the Apostle Paul to the Lord Jesus Christ; we may therefore use it in the way of illustration of some things connected with the exaltation of our Redeemer. Let us notice—

I. The fact of His ascension.

1. He ascended in human nature. He assumed that nature as our representative, and as our representative He has entered into heavenly places. He took our nature in its state of degradation, but He has exalted it, and by His exaltation He has given us the pledge of raising our nature from its state of degradation.

2. He ascended to heaven. The place of glory—of God, the Father of glory—of angels—and of the spirits of just men made perfect.

3. The circumstances of His ascension. He ascended visibly; while He was in the act of blessing; having led out His disciples as far as Bethany, He lifted up His hands to bestow the parting benediction, and then with uplifted hands, and the word of blessing yet on His lips, He was parted from them. He ascended in glory; a procession of "twenty thousand chariots, even thousands of angels," accompanied Him in His upward course, and as they drew near to the heavenly city, the anthem, "Lift up your heads, O ye gates," burst forth from the attendant multitude, and amidst the rejoicing of the glorious throng He entered and sat down in the glory of His Father.

II. The triumphs with which it was attended. "He led captivity captive," that is, He led a multitude of captives captive, who had formerly been remarkable for leading others captive. This supposes—

1. Our Lord's conflict with His foes. To conquer them He must first encounter them. Satan, sin, and death, were the foes He had thus to encounter.

2. His conquest of them. He engaged in the deadly conflict, and did not yield till, "It is finished," showed how it had terminated. That was the shout of triumph of Him who having trod the winepress alone, had stained all His raiment with the blood of His enemies.

3. His triumph over them. "Having spoiled principalities and powers, He made a show of them openly;" proclaiming, as He passed from the land of His enemies, His conquest and victory. "I that speak in righteousness, mighty to save."

III. The inestimable benefits supplied by it. Let us look at them—

1. In their nature. Soon after His ascension Christ bestowed various gifts on the world. The gift of His Spirit—to enlighten, to strengthen, to seal, and perfect.

2. In their objects. "For the rebellious." For the human race, rebellious in mind, in profession, in life—for those who might justly have expected the thunders of heaven's wrath to burst upon them.

3. In their design. "That the Lord God might dwell among them." The Lord dwells among men by mercy, by His manifold grace, in His eternal glory.—H. in Sketches of Sermons.

GOD OUR SALVATION

(Psa .)

The Psalmist here celebrates the praise of God, on the ground that He is the salvation of His people. He is our salvation—

I. In relation to life's burdens.

1. Man is burdened. This fact is recognised in the nineteenth verse Omitting the words which have been supplied by the translators, it reads, "Blessed be the Lord, daily loadeth us, the God of our salvation." Moll translates: Blessed be the Lord day by day! Are we burdened—He, God, is our Help." And Hengstenberg: "Praised be the Lord every day, they lay burdens on us, the Lord is our salvation." We are burdened with temporal anxieties, with family solicitudes, with spiritual trials and sorrows, and with the mysteries and responsibilities of life.

2. God strengthens man to bear his burdens. He is "the God of our salvation." "He, God, is our help." He helps us by His sympathy. He is burdened in feeling with us. "In all their affliction He was afflicted," &c. He is "touched with the feeling of our infirmities." He helps us by instruction as to the meaning and design of our burdens. He helps us by inspiration. He inspires the soul with patience—increases its faith—imparts to it more grace, so that the burden shall not prove distressing.

II. In relation to life's perils. "Our God is the God of salvation." Hengstenberg: "God is to us a God of deliverances." The reference is to deliverance from great dangers and troubles.

1. The life of every man is characterised more or less by perils. There are visible and known dangers, and dangers invisible and unknown to us; dangers to our physical and temporal interests, and to our spiritual and eternal interests.

2. God delivers His people from these perils. He does this

(1.) By removing the dangers, or rescuing His people from them; e.g., Peter from prison (Act ). Or,

(2.) by keeping them safely in the midst of the dangers; e.g., Joseph in Egypt, Daniel in the lions' den, the three Hebrew youths in the furnace of fire. Or,

(3.) by giving them the victory over the dangers; e.g., Stephen (Act ; and Paul (2Ti 4:6-8).

III. In relation to death. "Unto God the Lord belong the issues from death." Conant: "And to Jehovah the Lord belong ways of escape from death." "The reference here," says Moll, "is to ways of deliverance by which we may go forth free with respect to death, or at the expense of death." But how does He thus deliver from death?

1. By rescuing from imminent death. When death is threatening and drawing near He can arrest him in his progress, or turn aside his stroke.

2. By delivering from the fear of death. A great end of His incarnation was "that through death He might destroy him that had the power of death, that is, the devil; and deliver them who through fear of death, were all their lifetime subject to bondage."

3. By giving complete victory over death. For all who believe in Him, He takes away the sting from death; makes death to them the messenger and minister of life and blessedness; and will complete His glorious triumph by the resurrection of the body. He has "the keys of death and of Hades." "O death, where is thy sting?" &c.

CONCLUSION.—"Blessed be the Lord day by day." The God of so great salvation should receive the heartiest praise. Such great deliverances bestowed upon us call for great gratitude from us. Such constant deliverances should call forth constant praise—"day by day." The highest praise which we can offer for past and present mercies is to reverently trust Him for salvation in the future.

A TERRIBLE CHARACTER AND DESTINY

(Psa .)

The connection of this strophe with the preceding is thus stated by Calvin: "Because the Church, attacked on all sides by strong and raging enemies, can obtain nothing otherwise except by a strong and powerful defence, the Psalmist brings in God armed with terrible power, for the destruction of all the ungodly. It is to be observed that all who annoy the pious are called enemies of God, so that we need not doubt that He will interpose for our defence." We have in the text—

I. A terrible character. "God shall wound the head of His enemies," &c. Here is—

1. Great enormity of wickedness. "His enemies." How fearful are the depravity and guilt involved in being an enemy of God! It is to be an enemy of a Being of perfect holiness, of infinite kindness; to be an enemy of our best Friend; to trample under foot the most tender and sacred and binding obligations. He who persecutes the people of God is held by Him as an enemy to Himself. "Saul, Saul, why persecutest thou Me?"

2. Great persistence in wickedness. "One as goeth on still in his trespasses." Hengstenberg: "Him that walks on in his iniquities." If a sinner turn in penitence unto God, he will meet with a gracious reception. God will pardon his transgressions, &c. But here awful perseverance in iniquity, dread progress in sin, are indicated. Such persistence in evil must lead to an appalling doom.

II. A terrible destiny. God will bring fearful destruction upon those of His enemies who walk on in their iniquities.

1. This destruction is complete. "God shall wound the head of His enemies." Barnes: "The idea is that of complete destruction—as, if the head is crushed, life becomes extinct." (See Gen ; comp. Psa 110:6.) This Idea of utter and dread destruction is expressed in the 23d verse also, by the figure of a fearful slaughter. Persistent wickedness must issue in overwhelming ruin.

2. This destruction is unavoidable.

(1.) No one shall escape from it by might. "God shall wound the hairy scalp," &c. "The hairy scalp," says Moll, "is best understood of a head with luxuriant growth of hair, the sign of the bloom of youth and power." If man persists in wickedness, his utmost might shall be as utter weakness when God ariseth in judgment. "Who may stand in Thy sight when once Thou art angry?"

(2.) No one can escape from it by flight. "The Lord said, I will bring again from Bashan, I will bring again from the depths of the sea." Improperly, as it seems to us, the translators of the A. V. have supplied "my people" in this verse. The reference is not to Israel, but to the enemies of Israel. The idea is that none of them shall escape; that they shall find no refuge from the judgment of God. If they have hidden themselves in the mountain forests of Bashan, God will bring them forth and destroy them. Even if they could take refuge in the abysses of the sea, God would bring them out from thence. The same idea is expressed at greater length by Amos the prophet: "He that fleeth of them shall not flee away, and he that escapeth of them shall not be delivered. Though they dig into hell, thence shall Mine hand take them; though they climb up to heaven, thence will I bring them down," &c. (Psa ). If the wicked will not repent, but will persist in wickedness, there is no possibility of escape from the retributions of the Divine judgment. With dread certainty penalty follows transgression; punishment succeeds sin; irresistible wrath shall seize and crush the incorrigible workers of iniquity.

3. This destruction is solemnly declared. "The Lord said, I will bring again from Bashan," &c. "God is not a man that He should lie; neither the son of man, that He should repent: hath He said, and shall He not do? or hath He spoken, and shall He not make it good?" The statements of Scripture concerning the punishment of the wicked are not rashly uttered threats, but the calm declarations of the holy and unchangeable God.

Let the wicked take warning, and turn from his evil way. Let him seek for mercy through Jesus Christ. "Repent, and turn from all your transgressions; so iniquity shall not be your ruin."

A GLORIOUS PROSPECT

(Psa .)

In setting forth this celebration of the triumph of God and His people, and the results arising therefrom, the words of the Psalmist reach beyond the historical occasion which gave rise to them; and to us they seem to throb with the great hope of the conversion of all the heathen world to the God of Israel. There is a clear prophetic ring in some of the declarations of the poet. They unfold to us a glorious prospect. Here is the picture of a time—

I. When the Divine triumphs will be extensively witnessed. "They have seen Thy goings, O God," &c. Moll: "They have seen Thy processions, O God, the processions of my God, of my King in holiness." The reference is to the triumphal procession in celebration of victory. Men shall see the triumphs of the Divine arm; and shall observe in them two things.

1. That they are holy. They have all been achieved "in holiness." We adopt the same translation of בַקֹדָשׁ as we did in Psa . As the ages pass it will become increasingly manifest that all the doings of God, the achievements of His providential government of the world, and the victories of His grace in human souls, are wrought in righteousness and truth and love. His triumphs are those of truth over error, of light over darkness, of justice over oppression, of generosity over selfishness.

2. That they are the triumphs of the God of the Church. "The processions of my God, of my King." On the occasion for which the psalm was first composed, it would be seen that the God of Israel possessed Divine power and used it on behalf of His people, that Jehovah was God. And as the victories of the Christ are multiplied, it will become more and more clearly apparent that they are the triumphs of the God of the Church. He who is conquering the world in truth and righteousness and love is the God and King of the Christian Church. The humblest believer may look up to Him, saying, "My God, my King." In a different form we have a similar idea in Psa : "Because of Thy temple at Jerusalem shall kings bring presents unto Thee." Men will mark His glorious appearances as the God of Israel, and will bow in homage to Him. The day is coming when the triumphs of the King of grace and God of the Church shall be more widely and clearly seen and more carefully observed than ever hitherto.

II. When the Divine triumphs will be joyously celebrated by His people (Psa .) This celebration will be—

1. Exultant. "The singers went before, the players on instruments after, in the midst were the damsels playing with timbrels." Men and maidens, with voices and instruments of music, and souls and bodies, shall unite to express the enthusiasm of joy. When the predicted triumphs of the kingdom of the Christ are accomplished the rejoicing of men and of angels will be rapturous.

2. Comprehensive. "Bless ye God in the congregations, even the Lord, ye of the fountain of Israel," is an exhortation to all the descendants of Israel to unite in celebrating the praise of God. And in the following verse certain tribes and peoples are specially mentioned. "There is little Benjamin," &c. But why are these tribes selected from the others for special mention? Geographical considerations probably had something to do with the selection; for Benjamin and Judah were in the south, and Zebulon and Naphtali in the north. But a more important consideration is, that these tribes had distinguished themselves in warfare and otherwise. "The first judges belonged to the tribes mentioned, Othniel to Judah, Ehud to Benjamin:" the first kings also, for Saul was from Benjamin, and David from Judah. And the bravery of Zebulon and Naphtali was celebrated in the song of Deborah and Barak (Jud ). Benjamin is spoken of as "little" because it was among "the smallest of the tribes of Israel" (1Sa 9:21). Benjamin is also spoken of as "their ruler," or "conqueror;" i.e., we think, the conqueror of the enemies mentioned previously, with reference to the victories achieved by the Benjamites under Saul (1Sa 14:47-48). The Psalmist further speaks of "the princes of Judah and their council" as present in the festal procession. Instead of "their council" the margin has, "their company." "The word is רִגְמָה (with suffix רִנְמָתָם, from רָגַם = to heap together, to collect, as stones), which signifies here a throng or multitude. It is suitably applied to the tribe of Judah as one of the most numerous of the tribes of Israel. So we have here the idea of an immense and comprehensive assembly at this exultant celebration. Princes and people, high and low, persons of all grades and classes, from all the tribes of Israel, join in this triumphant procession. An illustration this of the countless and comprehensive multitude which shall unite to celebrate the approaching triumph of Christ our King. Persons "of all nations, and kindreds, and people, and tongues," and stations, and ages, shall unite in celebrating His conquests and glories.

3. Religious. The spirit manifested by the Psalmist is not proud, self-sufficient, or vain-glorious; but humble, grateful, and trustful

(1.) Past successes are attributed to God. "Thy God hath commanded thy strength." The words are addressed to Israel, so that the people may trace their triumphs to their true source." The God of Israel is He that giveth strength and power unto His people."

(2.) Future progress is besought from God. "Strengthen, O God, that which Thou hast wrought for us." The people of God are incapable of accomplishing success in spiritual labour, or triumph in spiritual conflict of themselves. Apart from their Lord the Christ, they can do nothing. And when the great triumph to which the Church looks forward is achieved, all the wisdom, and power, and honour, and glory of that triumph shall be ascribed unto Him.

III. When heathen nations shall submit themselves unto God (Psa ). Two or three expressions here require explanation. "Rebuke the company of spearmen." Margin: "Rebuke the beasts of the reeds." Conant, Hengstenberg, et al.: "Rebuke the beast of the reeds." Most likely the hippopotamus is here referred to, as the symbol of Egypt, whose emblem is the reed (Job 40:21; Isa 36:6). "The multitude of the bulls," or, "the herd of the strong ones," is a figure used to represent powerful kings or princes. By "the calves of the people" we understand the subjects of these powerful princes. Universal submission shall be made to God. All peoples shall come, bringing tribute unto Him. Egypt and Ethiopia are mentioned not as the only nations that submit unto Him, but as representatives of the great heathen world. All classes shall give in their loyal allegiance unto Him—kings and their subjects, princes and peasants, nobles and plebeians. And when all are subject unto Him, the lovers and instigators of war shall be utterly dispersed. "He scattereth the people that delight in war." Under the reign of "the Prince of Peace" war shall be completely and for ever abolished. "He shall judge among the nations, and shall rebuke many people: and they shall beat their swords into plowshares," &c. (Isa 2:4). This the Psalmist foresaw and prophetically announced. There were times when heathen peoples brought presents to the kings of the chosen people in acknowledgment of the power and glory of God (2Ch 32:23). Many nations of the world have now given their allegiance to the one living and true God. His kingdom is ever growing in extent and power. And ultimately the widest and brightest visions of inspired Psalmists and Prophets shall be fully and splendidly realized.

IV. When God shall be universally praised. In Psa, the Psalmist summons all the kingdoms of the earth to sing praises unto God, on the grounds of—

1. His sovereignty. "To Him that rideth upon the heavens of heavens of old." His sovereignty is universal. He rideth in the highest heavens, supreme over all the kingdoms of the world. "Jehovah hath established His throne in the heavens, and His kingdom ruleth over all." His sovereignty is ancient. "Of old." "God is my King of old." Therefore, let all men praise Him.

2. His omnipotence. "Lo, Hedoth send out His voice, a mighty voice. Ascribe ye strength unto God; His excellency is over Israel, and His strength is in the clouds." Delitzsch: "Give back to Him in acknowledgment and praise the omnipotence which He has and proves. His glory rules over Israel as its defence and confidence. His power, however, embraces all created things, not only the earth, but also the highest region of the heaven. The kingdom of grace reveals the majesty and glory of His redemptive work (Eph ), the kingdom of nature His all-prevalent omnipotence."

3. His majesty. "His excellency is over Israel.… O God, Thou art terrible out of Thy holy places." His majesty and glory are over His people for their guidance and protection. And His manifestations of His holiness and power are fitted to inspire all men with awe. "Wheresoever God showeth His presence, whether in heaven, or in His Church, in any place of the earth, there and from thence He showeth Himself a dreadful God to such as fear Him not." Therefore, let all the kingdoms of the earth sing praises unto Him.

CONCLUSION.—

1. This subject reminds us of our duty. It is the duty and the interest of rebels against God to submit themselves to Him. It is the duty and privilege of the people of God to spread abroad His kingdom and glory wherever they Song of Solomon 2. This subject affords us encouragement. How glorious is the prospect! and how certain of realisation! God's Word, and wisdom, and power, all guarantee it "Blessed be God!"

Copyright Statement
These files are public domain.
Text Courtesy of BibleSupport.com. Used by Permission.
Bibliographical Information
Exell, Joseph S. "Commentary on Psalms 68:19". Preacher's Complete Homiletical Commentary. https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/phc/psalms-68.html. Funk & Wagnalls Company, 1892.

Hawker's Poor Man's Commentary

Who that contemplates the divine love, especially as manifested in the verse going before, but must break out, with the church, in this short but sweet hymn of praise? The Lord not only gives us benefits, but loads us with them, and this not only now and then, but daily: and He that is our God now, will be our God forever. All the issues of life and death are with him. Oh! let the enemies of our Jesus tremble at these truths, and kiss the Son, lest he be angry; for if his wrath be kindled, yea, but a little, they shall perish. But blessed are all they that put their trust in him. Psalms 2:12.

Copyright Statement
These files are public domain.
Text Courtesy of BibleSupport.com. Used by Permission.
Bibliographical Information
Hawker, Robert, D.D. "Commentary on Psalms 68:19". "Hawker's Poor Man's Commentary". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/pmc/psalms-68.html. 1828.

Joseph Benson's Commentary of the Old and New Testaments

Psalms 68:19-20. Blessed be the Lord, &c. — Having surveyed God’s dispensations of grace and mercy to his church and people, thus manifested in their redemption and salvation, the psalmist is so overcome with gratitude for them, that he thus breaks forth abruptly in praise and thanksgiving; who daily loadeth us with his benefits — Who, besides the great and glorious blessing of our redemption, once wrought for us, is daily conferring new favours upon us. So many and so weighty are the gifts of God’s bounty to us, that he may be truly said to load us with them; and so incessant are they, and so unwearied is he in doing us good, that he daily loads us with them, according as the necessity of every day requires. Even the God of our salvation — The only author and finisher of our present and of our eternal salvation. He that is our God — Who is our Friend, Father, and God in covenant; is the God of salvation — He will not put us off with present things for a portion, but he will be the God of our salvation: and what he gives us now, he gives as the God of salvation, pursuant to his great design of bringing us to everlasting happiness. For that only will answer the vast extent of his covenant relation to us as our God. But has he power to complete this salvation? Yes, certainly; for unto the Lord our God belong the issues from death — The keys of hell and death are put into the hands of the Lord Jesus, Revelation 1:18. He, having made an escape from death itself, in his resurrection, has both authority and power to rescue his followers from the dominion of it, by altering the property of it to them when they die, and giving them a complete victory over it when they shall rise again; for the last enemy that shall be destroyed is death.

Copyright Statement
These files are public domain.
Text Courtesy of BibleSupport.com. Used by Permission.
Bibliographical Information
Benson, Joseph. "Commentary on Psalms 68:19". Joseph Benson's Commentary. https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/rbc/psalms-68.html. 1857.

Charles Simeon's Horae Homileticae

DISCOURSE: 610

GRATITUDE TO GOD FOR HIS BENEFITS

Psalms 68:19-20. Blessed be the Lord, who daily loadeth us with benefits, even the God of our salvation! He that is our God is the God of salvation; and unto God the Lord belony the issues from death.

THE service of God is beneficial to the soul, not merely as bringing down a divine blessing upon us, but in that it prepares and attunes the soul for further services. David had been carrying up the ark to Jerusalem, to place it in the sanctuary on Mount Zion. And now, having already celebrated the praises of Jehovah for his dealings with his people in former ages, and for the present ceremony, as typical of the Messiah’s exaltation after he should have completed his work on earth; and having deposited the ark in its proper place; he bursts forth into general acknowledgments of God’s mercies to his people, and devout ascriptions of praise to him, for all the wonders of his love.

Now we, Brethren, have been engaged in the holy service of worshipping our God. But shall we be satisfied with that? No: I would have that service to be a preparation for a still further honouring of God, whilst we contemplate with devoutest admiration,

I. The blessings with which he has loaded us—

And here I might expatiate on the temporal benefits which are poured out upon us daily, in the richest abundance; I might enumerate the various comforts that are ministered to us, in all the works both of creation and providence. But the inspired comment which we have on this passage leads our mind to far higher benefits, even to all the blessings of redemption. St. Paul quotes the words before my text, and declares them to have been fulfilled in the ascension of our blessed Lord and Saviour, and in his bestowment of spiritual blessings on his Church [Note: Ephesians 4:7-8; Ephesians 4:11-13.].

Let us contemplate, then,

1. The ordinances of his grace—

[This is the first thing mentioned by St. Paul in the passage to which I have referred: “He gave gifts unto men: he gave some, apostles; and some, prophets; and some, evangelists; and some, pastors and teachers; for the perfecting of the saints, for the work of the ministry, for the edifying of the body of Christ; till we all come in the unity of the faith, and of the knowledge of the Son of God, unto a perfect man, unto the measure of the stature of the fulness of Christ.” And is this benefit confined to the apostolic age? If we have not Prophets and Apostles, have we not pastors and teachers? And if we see not thousands converted at a time, do we not still see the Church augmented and edified in the midst of us? Yes: we have the same doctrines preached to us as were delivered in the days of old, and the same blessed effects produced by them: and it becomes us to be duly sensible of this mercy, and to bless our God for it from our inmost souls.]

2. The gift of his Spirit—

[This, you know, was the immediate consequence of our Lord’s ascension: he poured out his Spirit both on his disciples and on his enemies, on the day of Pentecost; for the instruction of the one, and the conversion of the other. And though we no longer have the Holy Spirit in his miraculous powers, have we not still his enlightening, sanctifying, and comforting energies experienced amongst us? Many, I trust, who are here present, can attest, that the Spirit still accompanies the word, and makes it “sharper than any two-edged sword,” and effectual for the ends for which God, in his tender mercy, has sent it [Note: Isaiah 55:10-11.]. Even where it has not yet wrought for the conversion of the soul, it has, in ten thousand instances, striven with us, to bring us to repentance. Perhaps, amongst us all, there is not one who has not felt his motions within him, and heard his gracious whispers, saying, “Repent, and turn unto thy God.” For this, then, we have also reason to adore our God: for, next to the gift of God’s only dear Son to die for us, is the gift of his Holy Spirit to dwell in us, and to impart unto us all the blessings of salvation.]

3. The knowledge of his Son—

[This has God richly imparted to our souls. Say, Brethren, has not “the Lord Jesus Christ been evidently set forth crucified amongst you?” You yourselves will bear us witness, that from the very beginning of our ministry we “determined to know nothing amongst you save Jesus Christ, and him crucified.” The dignity of his person, the nature of his work, the suitableness of his offices, the freeness and fulness of his salvation, have been ever exhibited to your view, in order that you might believe in him, and, “believing, might have life through his name.” This knowledge, in St. Paul’s estimation, infinitely exceeded every other; yea, in comparison of it he regarded “all other things as dross and dung.” Yet is this bestowed on you, in all its clearest evidence, and in all its sanctifying and saving operations.]

4. The hope of his glory—

[By the Gospel which ye hear, not only are life and immortality brought to fight, but they are brought home to your souls as actually attained in Christ Jesus. He is your Forerunner; he is gone to prepare a place for you; and, if only you truly believe in him, you may survey all the glory of heaven, and claim it as your own: for his throne is your throne, his kingdom your kingdom, his glory your glory [Note: Revelation 3:21. Luke 22:29. John 17:22]. This is “the inheritance to which you are begotten; and for which, by the almighty power of God, you are reserved [Note: 1 Peter 1:3-5.].”

These are some of the benefits with which you are loaded from day to day. Say whether you have not reason to bless God for them, and from your inmost souls to say, “Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who hath blessed us with all spiritual blessings in heavenly places in Christ [Note: Ephesians 1:3.].”]

But, from the gifts, let us, in our contemplations, rise to,

II. The Author and Giver of them all—

He is here described by,

1. His proper character—

[We must not forget that it is the Lord Jesus Christ who ascended to heaven, and who bestows these gifts upon men. In the Scriptures he is continually called “a Saviour:” but here he is repeatedly, and with very peculiar emphasis, called “the God of salvation:” “He that is our God. is the God of salvation.” Now I conceive that, by this appellation, David designed to characterize the Lord Jesus as possessing in himself all the fulness that was necessary for our salvation, and as imparting every distinct blessing with as much zeal and love as if that were the only blessing which he was qualified to bestow. In our unconverted state, we need from God all imaginable patience and forbearance: and, for our comfort, he is declared to be “the God of patience [Note: Romans 15:5.].” To turn us completely unto him, we need an abundance of every kind of grace: and he is “the God of all grace [Note: 1 Peter 5:10.].” In returning to God, we hope to obtain peace: and he is “the God of peace [Note: Hebrews 13:20.].” As the ultimate end of our conversion, we hope to obtain glory: and he is “the God of glory [Note: Acts 7:2.].” We cannot conceive of any thing which we stand in need of, in order to our complete salvation, but there is all fulness of it treasured up for us in Christ Jesus; and of that fulness we may all receive to the utmost possible extent of our necessities. In truth, the benefits we do receive are only the emanations of love from him, even as the rays of light which every moment proceed from the sun: and if any possess them not, it is not owing to any want of liberality in God, but because they foolishly and wickedly bar their hearts against the admission of his gifts. Ascend then, Brethren, from the gifts to the Giver, and from the streams to the Fountain-head, and see what a fulness there is in him for all the sinners of mankind! and, from blessing your God and Saviour on account of what he has imparted to you, learn to adore and magnify him for what he is in himself, even on account of his own proper character, as “the God of salvation.”]

2. His peculiar office—

[“Unto God the Lord belong the issues from death.” And is this also spoken of the Lord Jesus? Hear what Jesus himself, after his ascension, said to the Apostle John: “Fear not: I am the first and the last: I am he that liveth, and was dead; and, behold, I am alive for evermore, Amen; and have the keys of hell and of death [Note: Revelation 1:17-18.].” He who is the God of salvation has a perfect control over every enemy; so that none can assault us without his special permission; nor can all the powers of darkness prevail over the least or the meanest of his people. “He openeth, and no man shutteth; and he shutteth, and no man openeth.” Satan could not assault Job, or even enter into the herd of swine, before he had obtained permission from the Lord: nor can he now prevail to injure us, either in body or in soul, any farther than our infinitely wise and gracious God sees fit to permit. Our Lord has assured us, not only, “that no weapon which is formed against us shall prosper, but that the smith himself, who forms the weapon, derives his very existence from him, and subsists alone by his power. Consequently, we have none to fear; and “every tongue, whether of men or devils, that shall rise against us in judgment, we shall condemn. This is the heritage of the servants of the Lord; and their righteousness is of me, saith the Lord [Note: Isaiah 54:16-17.].”

Contemplate, I pray you, this glorious and all-sufficient Saviour; and there will be no end to your praises, no limit to your adorations and thanksgivings.]

See, Brethren, from hence,

1. What is the proper employment of a saint on earth—

[The ignorant and ungodly world are mostly occupied in ruminating on their troubles, and in casting reflections upon those who are the authors of them. But how much sweeter employment have you, my Brethren! You are surveying your blessings, and almost groaning under the load with which your grateful mind is overwhelmed and oppressed: and, at the same time, you are adoring your Benefactor, and giving him the glory due unto his name. This is a sweet employment. This is worthy of a redeemed soul. O let it be your occupation day and night! and let the incessant language of your hearts be, “Bless the Lord, O my soul! and let all that is within me bless his holy name.”]

2. What a preparation the Christian’s services in this world are for his enjoyments in the world to come!

[What are they doing in heaven? Verily, they have no other employment than this—to recount all the mercies which they have received at God’s hands; and to adore him for all the perfections of his nature, and for all the wonders of his grace. Conceive of a soul just entering into that world of bliss: hear all its acknowledgments: listen to its songs of praise: follow it through all the courts of heaven, and watch it day and night; and you will see, beyond a doubt, that grace is glory begun, and glory is grace consummated — — —]

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Bibliographical Information
Simeon, Charles. "Commentary on Psalms 68:19". Charles Simeon's Horae Homileticae. https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/shh/psalms-68.html. 1832.

Spurgeon's Verse Expositions of the Bible

This was a Psalm sung, at the removing of the ark, when it was taken up to its resting-place on Mount Zion. All the tribes were gathered together, and, in full pomp, they marched along, bearing the sacred chest. As they tramped forward, the trumpets sounded, and this Psalm rose up to God.

Psalms 68:1. Let God arise, let his enemies be scattered: let them also that hate him flee before him.

That is the way to move,—God first, and his people following closely after him. That is the true order of revival,—the Lord in the lead, then all his children, quick of step, to follow where he leads. The psalmist seems to take it for granted that there would be no fighting if God should arise, for all his enemies would be put to flight by his presence.

Psalms 68:2-3. As smoke is driven away, so drive them away: as wax melteth before the fire, so let the wicked perish at the presence of God. But let the righteous be glad; let them rejoice before God: yea, let them exceedingly rejoice.

The courtiers of God ought to be clad in the silks of joy, and to be bright with the jewelry of rejoicing.

Psalms 68:4-5. Sing unto God, sing praises to his name: extol him that rideth upon the heavens by his name JAH, and rejoice before him. A father of the fatherless, and a judge of the widows, is God in his holy habitation.

In the wilderness, the Israelites were like a company of fatherless people: but God was their Protector, and in all their trials and dangers he was their Defender.

Psalms 68:6. God setteth the solitary in families he bringeth out those which are bound with chains: but the rebellious dwell in a dry land.

They had been in a sad condition in Egypt, scattered and driven hither and thither. God promised to bring them all together, in great families, and richly to bless them.

Psalms 68:7-8. O God, when thou wentest forth before thy people, when thou didst march through the wilderness; Selah: the earth shook, the heavens also dropped at the presence of God: even Sinai itself was moved at the presence of God, the God of Israel.

If the translators had given us the original words, we should have valued this Psalm much more, for it contains nearly every name of God. This verse would run, “Even Sinai itself was moved at the presence of Elohim, the ‘Elohim of Israel.

Psalms 68:9-10. Thou, O God, didst send a plentiful rain, whereby thou didst confirm thine inheritance, when it was weary. Thy congregation hath dwelt therein: thou, O God, hast prepared of thy goodness for the poor.

It rained manna, and it rained quails. There are no difficulties about the commissariat of an army when God is the Commander-in-chief. All shall be provided for those who put their trust in him.

Psalms 68:11. The Lord—

Or, Adonai—

Psalms 68:11. Gave the word: great was the company of those that published it.

When God speaks, he always has publishers of his message. Our Lord found a woman at the well, and sent her back to the men of the city as his messenger, and he will find many others before his work is all done.

Psalms 68:12-13. Kings of armies did flee apace: and she that tarried at home divided the spoil. Though ye have lien among the pots,—

Grimy among the brick kilns, covered with clay, and black with smoke,—despised, rejected, earthbound,—“ Though ye have lien among the pots,”—

Psalms 68:13. Yet shall ye be as the wings of a dove covered with silver, and her feathers with yellow gold.

There are good times ahead for God’s people. Rich and rare blessings are laid up in store for them that fear him. Therefore, let us rejoice in him even now.

Psalms 68:14. When the Almighty scattered kings in it, it was white as snow in Salmon.

Driven from the bare, bleak mountain-side in gusts like feathers, the snow flies before the wind; and so, when God scatters the mighty, they cannot resist him: “It was as snow in Salmon.”

Psalms 68:15. The hill of God is as the hill of Bashan; an high hill as the hill of Bashan.

This hill of Zion is not high at all, it is a mere knoll compared with the lofty peaks; yet it was highly favored. So, to carnal eyes, Christ’s kingdom on earth was little in comparison with the kingdoms of this world; yet, in the sight of God, it is greater than all of them.

Psalms 68:16. Why leap ye, ye high hills? this is the hill which God desireth to dwell in; yea, the LORD will dwell in it forever.

There are grander places than Zion, but if God chooses to dwell there, his presence gives her a glory and a greatness that no other spot can have. The forces at the disposal of Zion’s King are boundless; note how the psalmist enumerates some of them.

Psalms 68:17-18. The chariots of God are twenty thousand, even thousands of angels: the Lord is among them, as in Sinai, in the holy place. Thou hast ascended on high, thou hast led captivity captive: thou hast received gifts for men yea, for the rebellious also, that the LORD God might dwell among them.

As the ark went up the hill of Zion, so has Christ ascended to the eternal glory. He is the true Ark of the covenant, and he is also the true Mercy-seat; wherefore, let our hearts rejoice in our ascended Saviour, who has “led captivity captive “ “Thou hast received gifts for men”; yea, for the rebellious also.” “In due time, Christ died for the ungodly.” “He made intercession for the transgressors.” Let rebellious sinners catch, at this great truth; and, touched by the love and grace of God, let them cease to rebel any longer.

Psalms 68:19-20. Blessed be the Lord, who daily loadeth us with benefits, even the God of our salvation. Selah. He that is our God is the God of salvation; and unto God the Lord belong the issues from death.

All glory be to his thrice-blessed name for all that this verse includes!

Psalms 68:21-22. But God shall wound the head: of his enemies, and the hairy scalp of such an one as goeth on still in his trespasses. The Lord said, I will bring again from Bashan, I will bring my people again from the depths of the sea:

Wherever his people may have gone, God will bring them all together again, “from Bashan,” or “from the depths of the sea.”

Psalms 68:23-35. That thy foot may be dipped in the blood of thine enemies, and the tongue of the dogs in the same. They have seen thy goings, O God; even the goings of my God, my King, in the sanctuary. The singers went before, the players on instruments followed after, among them were the damsels playing with timbrels. Bless ye God in the congregations, even the Lord, from the fountain of Israel. There is little Benjamin with their ruler, the princes of Judah, the their council, the princes of Zebulun, and the princes of Naphtali. Thy God hath commanded thy strength: strengthen, O God, that which thou hast wrought for us. Because of thy temple at Jerusalem shall kings bring presents unto thee. Rebuke the company of spearmen, the multitude of the bulls, with the calves of the people, till every one submit himself with pieces of silver: scatter thou the people that delight in war. Princes shall come out of Egypt; Ethiopia shall soon stretch out her hands unto God. Sing unto God, ye kingdoms of the earth; O sing praises unto the Lord; Selah: to him that rideth upon the heavens of heavens, which were of old; lo, he doth send out his voice, and that a mighty voice. Ascribe ye strength unto God: his excellency is over Israel, and his strength is in the clouds. O God, thou art terrible out of thy holy places: the God of Israel is he that giveth strength and power unto his people. Blessed be God.

The Psalm ends with an ascription of praise unto God. So let our reading end, and our worship, and our lives: “Blessed be God.”

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Spurgeon, Charle Haddon. "Commentary on Psalms 68:19". "Spurgeon's Verse Expositions of the Bible". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/spe/psalms-68.html. 2011.

The Biblical Illustrator

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Exell, Joseph S. "Commentary on "Psalms 68:19". The Biblical Illustrator. https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/tbi/psalms-68.html. 1905-1909. New York.

The Biblical Illustrator

Psalms 68:19-28

Blessed be the Lord, who daily loadeth us with benefits, even the God of our salvation.

God as the Deliverer of His people

I. A liberal dispenser of daily blessings (Psalms 68:19). “Daily beareth our burden” (R.V.). Amongst the many ways in which He helps men to bear their burdens is by kindling within them and keeping burning the lamp of hope. The soul-vessel that is most heavily freighted, and most severely tossed by the tempest is buoyed up by hope. “Day by day.” When the day comes that God ceases to impart His strength, the man falls under his weight, and is crushed.

II. As the exclusive possessor of means for escaping death (Psalms 68:20).

1. God alone has ways by which physical death can be escaped. Enoch; Elijah.

2. God alone has ways by which spiritual death can be escaped. Spiritual death is a thousand times the worst death, it is not the extinction of existence, but the extinction of all that makes existence worth having, and renders it an intolerable curse.

III. As the effectual subduer of persistent enemies (Psalms 68:21). He could annihilate His universe by a volition. But the destruction of their enmity is a far more glorious work--a work that requires more time, and that, through Christ, He is prosecuting every day amongst men. Here He literally strikes at “the head of His enemies,” the spirit of antagonism to Himself. The ruling spirit of a man is the head of his being. It is at this that God strikes in the Gospel. Of the seed of the woman--viz. Christ--it was said, “He shall bruise thy head.” Christianity aims at the head of the evil, which is the governing disposition.

IV. As the willing repeater of needed interpositions (Psalms 68:22; Psalms 68:28). Truly, it is an encouraging thought that the great things that God has done for His people He is willing to do again, should they require it. He will take them through seas of trial and sorrow that threaten to swallow them up, put to flight the armies of their enemies, and make the land red with their blood. (Homilist.)

The burden-bearing God

The great objection to the rendering which has become familiar to us all, “Who daily loadeth us with benefits,” is that these essential words are not in the original, and need to be supplied in order to make out the sense. Whereas, on the other hand, if we adopt the suggested emendation, “Who daily beareth our burdens,” we get a still more beautiful meaning, which requires no force or addition in order to bring it out.

I. The remarkable and eloquent blending of majesty and condescension. What a thought that is--a God that carries men’s loads! People talk much rubbish about the “stern Old Testament Deity”: is there anything sweeter, greater, more heart-compelling and heart-softening, than such a thought as this? How all the majesty bows itself and declares itself to be enlisted on our side when we think that “He that sitteth on the circle of the heavens, and the inhabitants thereof are as grasshoppers,” is the God that “daily beareth our burdens”!

II. The deep insight into the heart and ways of God here. “He daily beareth our burdens.” If there is any meaning in this word at all, it means that He so knits Himself with us as that all which touches us touches Him, that He takes a share in all our pressing duties, and feels the reflection from all our sorrows and pains. We have no impassive God in the heavens, careless of mankind, nor is His settled and changeless and unshaded blessedness of such a sort as that there cannot pass across it--if I may not say a shadow, I may at least say--a ripple from men’s pangs and troubles and cares. God, in all our afflictions, is afflicted; and, in simple though profound verity, has that which is most truly represented to men, by calling it a fellow feeling with our infirmities and our sorrows.

III. The remarkable anticipation of the very heart of the Gospel. Ah! it were of small avail to know a God that bore the burden of our sorrows and the load of our duties, if we did not know a God who bore the weight of our sins. For that is the real crushing weight that breaks men’s hearts and bows them to the earth. So the New Testament, with its message of a Christ on whom is laid the whole pressure of the world’s sin, is the deepest fulfilment of the great words of my text.

IV. What we should therefore do with our burdens. First, we should cast them on God, and let Him carry them. He cannot unless we do. One sometimes sees a petulant and self-confident little child staggering along with some heavy burden by the parent’s side, but pushing away the hand that is put out to help it to carry its load. And that is what too many of us do when God says to us, “Here, My child, let Me help you, I will take the heavy end of it, and do you take the light one.” And, last of all, let us see to it that we render Him praise. (A. Maclaren, D. D.)

The God of our salvation daily loadeth us with benefits

I. What God is: “The God of our salvation.” Man is a sinner, and sin exposes him to danger; for “the wages of sin is death,” and “the soul that sinneth it shall die.” But there is deliverance from this danger; this is attributed to God.

1. The scheme of salvation originated in God (John 3:17).

2. The means of salvation are afforded us by God. God sends us His Gospel, containing good news of salvation; His ministers to declare the way of salvation; He affords us Christian sabbaths, religious ordinances, and various means of grace, in order to promote our salvation.

3. The work of salvation is accomplished in the human soul by God’s immediate agency.

4. The sole glory of our final salvation will endlessly redound to God. In heaven we shall have clearer discoveries of the greatness, extent, and freeness of our salvation (Revelation 7:10).

II. What God does for us: He “daily loadeth us with benefits.”

1. The nature of God’s gift. “Benefits,” not deserts.

2. Their number. “Loadeth.”

3. The frequency of their communication. “Daily.” And these benefits flow to us freely, unsolicited, unimplored, unsought. Seasonably, exactly as we need them. Critics state that it should be read “who bears our burdens, or supports us, every day.” In the wilderness God bare Israel as a man doth bear his son (Deuteronomy 1:31). Or as an eagle bears her young on her wings (Deuteronomy 32:11). The promise is (Isaiah 46:4). We have our cares, and burdens, and anxieties, but God invites us to cast them upon Him (Psalms 55:22).

III. What we should do in return. “Blessed be the Lord.” To bless signifies to extol, exalt, or speak well of a person; and to bless the Lord is to speak good of His name.

1. We should bless the Lord sincerely. Hypocrisy is hateful to God.

2. We should bless the Lord affectionately. Our gratitude should be the effusion of love.

3. We should bless the Lord constantly. “I will bless the Lord at all times.”

4. We should bless the Lord practically. To say, “We praise Thee, O God, we acknowledge Thee to be the’ Lord,” while we practically violate His laws, must be abominable in His sight. Let us “ praise Him not only with our lips but by our lives,” etc. (Sketches of Four Hundred Sermons.)

Unto God the Lord belong the issues from death.

The royal prerogative

Whatever may be said of the Old Testament dispensation, one thing is clear; in it the Lord God of Israel is ever most conspicuous. God is in all and over all. Here in our text, universal action and power over us are ascribed to the Lord--the mercies of life and the issues of death.

I. The sovereign prerogative of God. “Unto God . . . the issues of death.” Kings have been wont to keep the power of life and death in their own hands. The great King of kings does so. “He can create and He destroy.” This prerogative of life and death is His in a wide sense. It is true of our natural life, and of our spiritual. For we are under the condemnation of the law. But God determines whether the sentence shall be carried out. And in those “deaths oft” with which Christian experience is familiar, those dyings down of the heart and spirit which are the result of our old nature which still cleaveth to the dust, God’s Spirit can revive us again. And when we come actually to die, not to death but to God shall the issue belong. “I am the Resurrection and the Life,” saith the Lord: “He that liveth and believeth in Me shall never die.” And the resurrection day will make His words good.

2. He has the right to exercise this prerogative.

3. And He has exercised this prerogative in abundant instances.

4. Then let Him have all the glory of it.

II. The character of the sovereign in whom it is vested. “He that is our God is the God of salvation.” This name means--

1. That salvation is the most glorious of all His designs.

2. That His most delightful works have been works of salvation.

3. That we live at this moment under the dispensation of mercy. The sword is sheathed, the scales of justice put by.

4. That to those who can call Him “our God” He is especially and emphatically the God of salvation. We owe it all to Him. ‘Twas He passed by and bid us “live.”

III. The solemn warning of the Sovereign Lord. A new God has lately been set up, all leniency, gentleness, mildness and indifference in the matter of sin. This God is made of honey or sugar of lead. Justice is not in him, nor the punishment of sin. But it is not so. Our text tells the awful truth to wicked men. God can smite, and ere long He will. The proud may vaunt themselves of their beauty and glory in their strength; their heavy scalp, like that of Absalom, may be their boast, but, as in his case, it may be their ruin. No man is out of the reach of God, and no nation either. Turn ye then, ye that know not God. (C. H. Spurgeon.)

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Bibliographical Information
Exell, Joseph S. "Commentary on "Psalms 68:19". The Biblical Illustrator. https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/tbi/psalms-68.html. 1905-1909. New York.

Thomas Coke Commentary on the Holy Bible

Psalms 68:19. Who daily loadeth us Who bears our burdens every day. The verb עמס amas, rendered loadeth, signifies both to take on one's self, or carry a burden, and to place a burden on another; and hence it is used figuratively for to bear and carry another with tenderness and affection. In this sense it is applied to God himself, to express the constant care that he had taken of his people, and how he had supported them, and taken, as it were, upon himself the burden of their affairs. See Isaiah 46:3. Deuteronomy 1:31.

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Coke, Thomas. "Commentary on Psalms 68:19". Thomas Coke Commentary on the Holy Bible. https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/tcc/psalms-68.html. 1801-1803.

Expositor's Bible Commentary

Psalms 68:1-35

THIS superb hymn is unsurpassed, if not unequalled, in grandeur, lyric fire, and sustained rush of triumphant praise. It celebrates a victory; but it is the victory of the God who enters as a conqueror into His sanctuary. To that entrance (Psalms 68:15-18) all the preceding part of the psalm leads up; and from it all the subsequent part flows down. The Exodus is recalled as the progress of a king at the head of his hosts, and old paeans re-echo. That dwelling of God in the sanctuary is "forever." Therefore in the second part of the psalm (Psalms 68:19-35) its consequences for the psalmist’s generation and for the future are developed-Israel’s deliverance, the conquest of the nations, and finally the universal recognition of God’s sovereignty and ringing songs sent up to Him.

The Davidic authorship is set aside as impossible by most recent commentators, and there is much in the psalm which goes against it; but, on the other hand, the Syro-Ammonite war, [2 Samuel 11:1-27] in which the ark was taken into the field, is not unnaturally supposed by Delitzsch and others to explain the special reference to the entrance of God into the sanctuary. The numerous quotations and allusions are urged as evidence of late date, especially the undeniable resemblance with Isaiah 11:1-16. But the difficulty of settling which of two similar passages is original and which copy is great; and if by one critical canon such allusions are marks of lateness, by another, rugged obscurities, such as those with which this psalm bristles, are evidences of an early date.

The mention of only four tribes in Psalms 68:27 is claimed as showing that the psalm was written when Judaea and Galilee were the only orthodox districts, and central Palestine was in the hands of the Samaritans. But could there be any talk of "princes of Zebulun and Naphtali" then? The exultant tone of the psalm makes its ascription to such a date as the age of the Ptolemies unlikely, when "Israel is too feeble, too depressed, to dream of self-defence; and if God does not soon interpose, will be torn to pieces" (Cheyne, "Aids to the Devout Study," etc., 335).

To the present writer it does not appear that the understanding and enjoyment of this grand psalm depend so much on success in dating it as is supposed. It may be post-exilic. Whoever fused its reminiscences of ancient triumph into such a glowing outburst of exultant faith, his vision of the throned God and his conviction that ancient facts reveal eternal truths remain for all generations as an encouragement of trust and a prophecy of God’s universal dominion.

The main division at Psalms 68:18 parts the psalm into two equal halves, which are again easily subdivided into strophes.

The first strophe (Psalms 68:1-6) may be regarded as introductory to the chief theme of the first half-namely, the triumphant march of the conquering God to His sanctuary. It consists of invocation to Him to arise, and of summons to His people to prepare His way and to meet Him with ringing gladness. The ground of both invocation and summons is laid in an expansion of the meaning of His name as Helper of the helpless, Deliverer of the captive, righteous, and plentifully rewarding the proud doer. The invocation echoes the Mosaic prayer "when the ark set forward," [Numbers 10:35] with the alteration of the tense of the verb from a simple imperative into a precative future, and of "Jehovah" into God. This is the first of the quotations characteristic of the psalm, which is penetrated throughout with the idea that the deeds of the past are revelations of permanent relations and activities. The ancient history grows with present life. Whatever God has done He is doing still. No age of the Church needs to look back wistfully to any former, and say, "Where be all His wondrous works which our fathers have told us of?" The twofold conditions of God’s intervention are, as this strophe teaches, Israel’s cry to Him to arise, and expectant diligence in preparing His way. The invocation, which is half of Israel’s means of insuring His coming, being a quotation, the summons to perform the other half is naturally regarded by the defenders of the post-exilic authorship as borrowed from Isaiah 11:1-16., {e.g., Psalms 40:3;, Psalms 62:10} while the supporters of an earlier date regard the psalm as the primary passage from which the prophet has drawn.

God "arises" when He displays by some signal act His care for His people. That strong anthropomorphism sets forth the plain truth that there come crises in history, when causes, long silently working, suddenly produce their world-shaking effects. God has seemed to sit passive; but the heavens open, and all but blind eyes can see Him, standing ready to smite that He may deliver. When He rises to His feet, the enemy scatters in panic. His presence revealed is enough. The emphatic repetition of "before" in these verses is striking, especially when fully rendered, -from His face (Psalms 68:1); from the face of the fire (Psalms 68:2); from the face of God (Psalms 68:2); before His face (Psalms 68:3-4). To His foes that face is dreadful, and they would fain cower away from its light; His friends sun themselves in its brightness. The same fire consumes and vivifies. All depends on the character of the recipients. In the psalm "the righteous" are Israel, the ideal nation; the "wicked" are its heathen foes; but the principle underlying the fervid words demands a real assimilation of moral character to the Divine, as a condition of being at ease in the Light.

The "deserts" are, in consonance with the immediately following reminiscences, those of the Exodus. Hupfeld and those who discover in the psalm the hopes of the captives in Babylon, take them to be the waste wilderness stretching between Babylon and Palestine. But it is better to see in them simply a type drawn from the past, of guidance through any needs or miseries. Psalms 68:5-6, draw out at length the blessed significance of the name Jah, in order to hearten to earnest desire and expectance of Him. They are best taken as in apposition with "Him" in Psalms 68:4. Well may we exult before Him who is the orphans’ father, the widows’ advocate. There may be significance in the contrast between what He is "in His holy habitation" and when He arises to ride through the deserts. Even in the times when he seems to be far above, dwelling in the separation of His unapproachable holiness, He is still caring and acting for the sad and helpless, But when He comes forth, it is to make the solitary to dwell in a home, to bring out prisoners into prosperity. Are these simply expressions for God’s general care of the afflicted, like the former clauses, or do they point back to the Exodus? A very slight change in the text gives the reading, "Makes the solitary to return home"; but even without that alteration, the last clause of the verse is so obviously an allusion to the disobedient, "whose carcasses fell in the wilderness," that the whole verse is best regarded as pointing back to that time. The "home" to which the people were led is the same as the "prosperity" into which the prisoners are brought-namely, the rest and well-being of Canaan; while the fate of the "rebellious" is, as it ever is, to live and die amidst the drought-stricken barrenness which they have chosen.

With the second strophe (Psalms 68:7-10) begins the historical retrospect, which is continued till, at the end of the fourth (Psalms 68:18), God is enthroned in the sanctuary, there to dwell forever. In the second strophe the wilderness life is described. The third (Psalms 68:11-14) tells of the victories which won the land. The fourth triumphantly contrasts the glory of the mountain where God at last has come to dwell, with the loftier peaks across the Jordan on which no such lustre gleams.

Psalms 68:7-8 are from Deborah’s song, with slight omissions and alterations, notably of "Jehovah" into "God." The phrase "before" still rings in the psalmist’s ears, and he changes Deborah’s words, in the first clause of Psalms 68:7, so as to give the picture of God marching in front of His people, instead of, as the older song represented Him, coming from the east, to meet them marching from the west. The majestic theophany at the giving of the Law is taken as the culmination of His manifestations in the wilderness. Psalms 68:9-10, are capable of two applications. According to one, they anticipate the chronological order, and refer to the fertility of the land, and the abundance enjoyed by Israel when established there. According to the other they refer to the sustenance of the people it, the wilderness. The former view has in its favour the ordinary use of "inheritance" for the land, the likelihood that "rain" should be represented as falling on soil rather than on people, and the apparent reference in "dwelt therein," to the settlement in Canaan. The objection to it is that reference to peaceful dwelling in the land is out of place, since the next strophe pictures the conquest. If, then, the verses belong to the age of wandering, to what do they refer? Hupfeld tries to explain the "rain" as meaning the manna, and, still more improbably, takes the somewhat enigmatical "assembly" of Psalms 68:10 to mean (as it certainly does) "living creatures," and to allude (as it surely does not) to the quails that fell round the camp. Most commentators now agree in transferring "thine inheritance" to the first clause, and in understanding it of the people, not of the land. The verse is intelligible either as referring to gifts of refreshment of spirit and courage bestowed on the people, in which case "rain" is symbolical; or to actual rainfall during the forty years of desert life, by which sowing and reaping were made possible. The division of the verse as in our translation is now generally adopted. The allusion to the provision of corn in the desert is continued in Psalms 68:10, in which the chief difficulty is the ambiguous word "assembly." It may mean "living creatures," and is so taken here by the LXX and others. It is twice used in 2 Samuel 22:11 and 2 Samuel 22:13, for an army. Delitzsch takes it as a comparison of Israel to a flock, thus retaining the meaning of creatures. If the verse is interpreted as alluding to Israel’s wilderness life, "therein" must be taken in a somewhat irregular construction, since there is no feminine noun at hand to which the feminine pronominal suffix in the word can be referred. In that barren desert, God’s flock dwelt for more than a generation, and during all that time His goodness provided for them. The strophe thus gives two aspects of God’s manifestation in the wilderness-the majestic and terrible, and the gentle and beneficent. In the psalmist’s triumphant retrospect no allusion is made to the dark obverse-Israel’s long ingratitude. The same history which supplies other psalmists and prophets with material for penetrating accusations yields to this one only occasion of praise. God’s part is pure goodness; man’s is shaded with much rebellious murmuring.

The next strophe (Psalms 68:11-14) is abrupt and disconnected, as if echoing the hurry of battle and the tumult of many voices on the field. The general drift is unmistakable, but the meaning of part is the despair of commentators. The whole scene of the conflict, flight, and division of the spoil is flashed before us in brief clauses, panting with excitement and blazing with the glow of victory. "The Lord giveth the word." That "word" may be the news which the women immediately repeat. But it is far more vivid and truer to the spirit of the psalm, which sees God as the only actor in Israel’s history, to regard it as the self-fulfilling decree which scatters the enemy. This battle is the Lord’s. There is no description of conflict. But one mighty word is hurled from heaven, like a thunderclap (the phrase resembles that employed so often, "the Lord gave His voice," which frequently means thunder peals) and the enemies’ ranks are broken in panic. Israel does not need to fight. God speaks, and the next sound we hear is the clash of timbrels and the clear notes of the maidens chanting victory. This picture of a battle, with the battle left out, tells best Who fought, and how He fought it. "He spake, and it was done." What scornful picture of the flight is given by the reduplication "they flee, they flee"! It is like Deborah’s fierce gloating over the dead Sisera: "He bowed, he fell, he lay: at her feet he bowed, he fell: where he bowed, there he fell." What confidence in the power of weakness, when God is on its side, in the antithesis between the mighty kings scattered in a general sauve qui peut, and the matrons who had "tarried at home" and now divide the spoil! Sisera’s mother was pictured in Deborah’s song as looking long through her lattice for her son’s return, and solacing herself with the thought that he delayed to part the plunder and would come back laden with it. What she vainly hoped for Israel’s matrons enjoy.

Psalms 68:13-14 are among the hardest in the Psalter. The separate clauses offer no great difficulties, but the connection is enigmatical indeed. "Will (lit. if) ye lie among the sheepfolds?" comes from Deborah’s song, [ 5:16] and is there a reproach flung at Reuben for preferring pastoral ease to warlike effort. Is it meant as reproach here? It is very unlikely that a song of triumph like this should have for its only mention of Israel’s warriors a taunt. The lovely picture of the dove with iridescent wings is as a picture perfect. But what does it mean here? Herder, whom Hupfeld follows, supposes that the whole verse is rebuke to recreants, who preferred lying stretched at ease among their flocks, and bidding each other admire the glancing plumage of the doves that flitted round them. But this is surely violent, and smacks of modern aestheticism. Others suppose that the first clause is a summons to be up and pursue the flying foe, and the second and third a description of the splendour with which the conquerors (or their households) should be clothed by the spoil. This meaning would require the insertion of some such phrase as "ye shall be" before the second clause. Delitzsch regards the whole as a connected description of the blessings of peace following on victory, and sees a reference to Israel as God’s dove. "The new condition of prosperity is compared with the play of colours of a dove basking in the rays of the sun." All these interpretations assume that Israel is addressed in the first clause. But is this assumption warranted? Is it not more natural to refer the "ye" to the "kings" just mentioned, especially as the psalmist recurs to them in the next verse? The question will then retain the taunting force which it has in Deborah’s song, while it pictures a very different kind of couching among the sheepfolds-namely, the hiding there from pursuit. The kings are first seen in full flight.

Then the triumphant psalmist flings after them the taunt, "Will ye hide among the cattle?" If the initial particle retains its literal force, the first clause is hypothetical, and the suppression of the conclusion speaks more eloquently than its expression would have done: "If ye couch" The second and third clauses are then parallel with the second of Psalms 68:12, and carry on the description of the home keeping matron, "the dove," adorned with rich spoils and glorious in her apparel. We thus have a complete parallelism between the two verses, which both lay side by side the contrasted pictures of the defeated kings and the women; and we further establish continuity between the three verses (Psalms 68:13-15), in so far as the "kings" are dealt with in them all.

Psalms 68:14 is even harder than the preceding. What does "in it" refer to? Is the second clause metaphor, requiring to be eked out with "It is like as when"? If figure, what does it mean? One is inclined to say with Baethgen, at the end, of his comment on the words, "After all this, I can only confess that I do not understand the verse." Salmon was an inconsiderable hill in Central Palestine, deriving its name (Shady), as is probable, from forests on its sides. Many commentators look to that characteristic for explanation of the riddle. Snow on the dark hill would show very white. So after the defeat the bleached bones of the slain, or, as others, their glittering armour, would cover the land. Others take the point of comparison to be the change from trouble to joy which follows the foe’s defeat, and is likened to the change of the dark hillside to a gleaming snow field. Hupfeld still follows Herder in connecting the verse with the reproach which he finds in the former one, and seeing in the words "It snowed on Salmon" the ground of the recreants’ disinclination to leave the sheepfolds-namely, that it was bad weather, and that, if snow lay on Salmon in the south, it would be worse in the north, where the campaign was going on! He acknowledges that this explanation requires "a good deal of acuteness to discover," and says that the only alternative to accepting it, provisionally, at all events, is to give up the hope of any solution. Cheyne follows Bickell in supposing that part of the text has dropped out, and proposes an additional clause at the beginning of the verse and an expansion of the last clause, arriving at this result: "[For full is our land of spoil]. When Shaddai scatters kings therein, [As the snow,] when it snows in Salmon." The adoption of these additions is not necessary to reach this meaning of the whole, which appears the most consonant with the preceding verses, as continuing the double reference which runs through them-namely, to the fugitive kings and the dividers of the spoil. On the one side we see the kings driven from their lurking places among the sheepfolds: on the other, the gleam of rich booty, compared now to the shining white wrapping the dark hill, as formerly to the colours that shimmer on sunlit pinions of peaceful doves. If this is not the meaning, we can only fail back on the confession already quoted.

The battle is over, and now the Conqueror enters His palace temple. The third strophe soars with its theme, describing His triumphal entry thither and permanent abiding there. The long years between the conquest of Canaan and the establishment of the ark on Zion dwindle to a span; for God’s enthronement there was in one view the purpose of the conquest, which was incomplete till that was effected. There is no need to suppose any reference in the mention of Bashan to the victories over Og, its ancient king. The noble figure needs no historic allusion to explain it. These towering heights beyond Jordan had once in many places been seats of idol worship. They are emblems of the world’s power. No light rests upon them, lofty though they are, like that which glorifies the insignificant top of Zion. They may well look enviously across the Jordan to the hill which God has desired for His abode. His triumphal procession is not composed of earthly warriors, for none such had appeared in the battle. He had conquered, not by employing human hands, but by His own "bright-harnessed angels." They now surround Him in numbers innumerable, which language strains its power in endeavouring to reckon. "Myriads doubled, thousands of repetition," says the psalmist-indefinite expressions for a countless host. But all their wide-flowing ranks are clustered round the Conqueror, whose presence makes their multitude a unity, even as it gives their immortal frames their life and strength, and their faces all their lustrous beauty. "God is in the midst of them"; therefore they conquer and exult. "Sinai is in the sanctuary." This bold utterance has led to a suggested emendation, which has the advantage of bringing out clearly a quotation Deuteronomy 33:2. It combines the second and third clauses of Psalms 68:17, and renders "The Lord hath come from Sinai into the sanctuary." But the existing text gives a noble thought-that now, by the entrance of God thither, Sinai itself is in the sanctuary, and all the ancient sanctities and splendours, which flamed round its splintered peaks, are housed to shine lambent from that humble hill. Sinai was nothing but for God’s presence. Zion has that presence; and all that it ever meant it means still. The profound sense of the permanent nature of past revelation, which speaks all through the psalm, reaches its climax here.

The "height" to which Psalms 68:18 triumphantly proclaims that God has gone up, can only be Zion. To take it as meaning the heavenly sanctuary, as in Psalms 7:7 it unquestionably does, is forbidden by the preceding verses. Thither the conquering God has ascended, as to His palace, leading a long procession of bound captives, and there receiving tribute from the vanquished. Assyrian slabs and Egyptian paintings illustrate these representations. The last clause has been variously construed and understood. Is "Yea, even the rebellious" to be connected with the preceding, and "among" to be supplied, so that those once rebellious are conceived of as tributary, or does the phrase begin an independent clause? The latter construction makes the remainder of the verse run more intelligibly, and obviates the need for supplying a preposition with "the rebellious." It still remains a question whether the last words of the clause refer to God’s dwelling among the submissive rebels, or to their dwelling with God. If, however, it is kept in view that the context speaks of God as dwelling in His sanctuary, the latter is the more natural explanation, especially as a forcible contrast is thereby presented to the fate of the "rebellious" in Psalms 68:6. They dwell in a burnt-up land; but, if they fling away their enmity, may be guests of God in His sanctuary. Thus the first half of the psalm closes with grand prophetic hopes that, when God has established His abode on Zion, distant nations shall bring their tribute, rebels return to allegiance, and men be dwellers with God in His house.

In such anticipations the psalm is Messianic, inasmuch as these are only fulfilled in the dominion of Jesus. Paul’s quotation of this verse in Ephesians 4:8 does not require us to maintain its directly prophetic character. Rather, the apostle, as Calvin says, "deflects" it to Christ. That ascent of the ark to Zion was a type rather than a prophecy. Conflict, conquest, triumphant ascent to a lofty home, tribute, widespread submission, and access for rebels to the royal presence-all these, which the psalmist saw as facts or hopes in their earthly form, are repeated in loftier fashion in Christ, or are only attainable through His universal reign. The apostle significantly alters "received among" into "gave to," sufficiently showing that he is not arguing from a verbal prophecy, but from a typical fact, and bringing out the two great truths, that, in the highest manifestation of the conquering God, the conquered receive gifts from the victor, and that the gifts which the ascended Christ bestows are really the trophies of His battle, in which He bound the strong man and spoiled his house. The attempt to make out that the Hebrew word has the extraordinary double-barrelled meaning of receiving in order to give is futile, and obscures the intentional freedom with which the apostle deals with the text. The Ascension is, in the fullest sense, the enthronement of God; and its results are the growing submission of nations and the happy dwelling of even the rebellious in His house.

The rapturous emphasis with which this psalm celebrates God’s entrance into His sanctuary is most appropriate to Davidic times.

The psalm reaches its climax in God’s enthronement on Zion. Its subsequent strophes set forth the results thereof. The first of these, the fifth of the psalm (Psalms 68:19-23), suddenly drops from strains of exultation to a plaintive note, and then again as suddenly breaks out into stern rejoicing over the ruin of the foe. There is wonderful depth of insight and tenderness in laying side by side the two thoughts of God, that He sits on high as conqueror, and that He daily bears our burdens, or perhaps bears us as a shepherd might his lambs.

Truly a Divine use for Divine might! To such lowly offices of continual individualising care will the Master of many legions stoop, reaching out from amid their innumerable myriads to sustain a poor weak man stumbling under a load too great for him. Israel had been delivered by a high hand, but still was burdened. The psalmist has been recalling the deeds of old, and he finds in them grounds for calm assurance as to the present. Today, he thinks, is as full of God as any yesterday, and our "burdens" as certain to be borne by Him, as were those of the generation that saw His Sinai tremble at His presence. To us, as to them, He is "a God of deliverances," and for us can provide ways of escape from death. The words breathe a somewhat plaintive sense of need, such as shades our brightest moments, if we bethink ourselves; but they do not oblige us to suppose that the psalm is the product of a time of oppression and dejection. That theory is contradicted by the bounding gladness of the former part, no less than by the confident anticipations of the second half. But no song sung by mortal lips is true to the singer’s condition, if it lacks the minor key into which this hymn of triumph is here modulated for a moment.

It is but for a moment, and what follows is startlingly different. Israel’s escape from death is secured by the destruction of the enemy, and in it the psalmist has joy. He pictures the hand that sustained him and his fellows so tenderly, shattering the heads of the rebellions. These are described as long haired, an emblem of strength and insolence which one is almost tempted to connect with Absalom; and the same idea of determined and flaunting sin is conveyed by the expression "goes on in his guiltinesses." There will be such rebels, even though the house of God is open for them to dwell in, and there can be but one end for such. If they do not submit, they will be crushed. The psalmist is as sure of that as of God’s gentleness; and his two clauses do state the alternative that every man has to face-either to let God bear his burden or to be smitten by Him.

Psalms 68:22-23 give a terrible picture of the end of the rebels. The psalmist hears the voice of the Lord promising to bring some unnamed fugitives from Bashan and the depths of the sea in order that they may be slain, and that he (or Israel) may bathe his foot in their blood, and his dogs may lick it, as they did Ahab’s. Who are to be brought back? Some have thought that the promise referred to Israel, but it is more natural to apply it to the flying foe. There is no reference to Bashan either as the kingdom of an ancient enemy or as envying Zion (Psalms 68:15). But the high land of Bashan in the east and the depths of the sea to the west are taken {cf. Amos 9:1-3} as representing the farthest and most inaccessible hiding places. Wherever the enemies lurk, thence they will be dragged and slain.

The existing text is probably to be amended by the change of one letter in the verb, so as to read "shall wash" or bathe, as in Psalms 58:10, and the last clause to be read. "That the tongue of thy dogs may have its portion from the enemy." The blood runs ankle deep, and the dogs feast on the carcasses or lick it-a dreadful picture of slaughter and fierce triumph. It is not to be softened or spiritualised or explained away.

There is, no doubt, a legitimate Christian joy in the fall of opposition to Christ’s kingdom, and the purest benevolence has sometimes a right to be glad when hoary oppressions are swept away and their victims set free; but such rejoicing is not after the Christian law unless it is mingled with pity, of which the psalm has no trace.

The next strophe (Psalms 68:24-27) is by some regarded as resuming the description of the procession, which is supposed to have been interrupted by the preceding strophe. But the joyous march now to be described is altogether separate from the majestic progress of the conquering King in Psalms 68:17-18. This is the consequence of that. God has gone into His sanctuary. His people have seen His solemn entrance thither, and therefore they now go up to meet Him there with song and music. Their festal procession is the second result of His enthronement, of which the deliverance and triumph described in the preceding strophe were the first. The people escaped from death flock to thank their Deliverer. Such seems to be the connection of the whole, and especially of Psalms 68:24-25. Instead of myriads of angels surrounding the conquering God, here are singers and flute-players and damsels beating their timbrels, like Miriam and her choir. Their shrill call in Psalms 68:26 summons all who "spring from the fountain of Israel"-i.e., from the eponymous patriarch-to bless God. After these musicians and singers, the psalmist sees tribe after tribe go up to the sanctuary, and points to each as it passes. His enumeration is not free from difficulties, both in regard to the epithets employed and the specification of the tribes. The meaning of the word rendered "ruler" is disputed. Its form is peculiar, and the meaning of the verb from which it is generally taken to come is rather to subdue or tread down than to rule. If the signification of ruler is accepted, a question rises as to the sense in which Benjamin is so called. Allusion to Saul’s belonging to that tribe is thought of by some; but this seems improbable, whether the psalm is Davidic or later. Others think that the allusion is to the fact that, according to Joshua 18:16, the Temple was within Benjamite territory; but that is a far-fetched explanation. Others confine the "rule" to the procession, in which Benjamin marches at the head, and so may be called its leader; but ruling and leading are not the same. Others get a similar result by a very slight textual change, reading "in front" instead of "their ruler." Another difficulty is in the word rendered above "their shouting multitude," which can only be made to mean a company of people by a somewhat violent twist. Hupfeld (with whom Bickell and Cheyne agree) proposes an alteration which yields the former sense and is easy. It may be tentatively adopted.

A more important question is the reason for the selection of the four tribes named. The mention of Benjamin and Judah is natural; but why are Zebulun and Naphtali the only representatives of the other tribes? The defenders of a late date answer, as has been already noticed, Because in the late period when the psalm was written, Galilee and Judaea "formed the two orthodox provinces." The objection to this is that in the post-exilic period there were no distinct tribes of Zebulun and Naphtali, and no princes to rule.

The mention of these tribes as sharing in the procession to the sanctuary on Zion would have been impossible during the period of the northern kingdom. If, then, these two periods are excluded, what is left but the Davidic? The fact seems to be that we have here another glance at Deborah’s song, in which the daring valour of these two tribes is set in contrast with the sluggish cowardice of Reuben and the other northern ones. Those who had done their part in the wars of the Lord now go up in triumph to His house. That is the reward of God’s faithful soldiers.

The next strophe (Psalms 68:28-31) is the prayer of the procession. It fails into two parts of two verses each, of which the former verse is petition, and the latter confident anticipation of the results of answered prayer. The symmetry of the whole requires the substitution in Psalms 68:28 of "command" for "hath commanded." God’s strength is poetically regarded as distinct from Himself and almost personified, as "lovingkindness" is in Psalms 42:8. The prayer is substantially equivalent to the following petition in Psalms 68:28 b. Note how "strength" occurs four times in Psalms 68:33-35. The prayer for its present manifestation is, in accordance with the historical retrospect of the first part, based upon God’s past acts. It has been proposed to detach "From Thy Temple" from Psalms 68:20, and to attach it to Psalms 68:28. This gets over a difficulty, but unduly abbreviates Psalms 68:29, and is not in harmony with the representation in the former part, which magnifies what God has wrought, not "from the Temple," but in His progress thither. No doubt the retention of the words in Psalms 68:29 introduces a singular expression there. How can presents be brought to God "from Thy Temple"? The only explanation is that "Temple" is used in a restricted sense for the "holy place," as distinguished from the "holy of holies," in which the ark was contained. The tribute bearers stand in that outer sanctuary, and thence present their tokens of fealty. The city is clustered round the Temple mount, and therefore the psalm says, "Thy Temple above Jerusalem." One is tempted to read "unto" instead of "from"; for this explanation can scarcely be called quite satisfactory. But it seems the best that has been suggested. The submission of kings of unnamed lands is contemplated as the result of God’s manifestation of strength for Israel. Psalms 68:30 resumes the tone of petition, and maintains it throughout. "The beast of the reeds," probably the crocodile, is a poetic designation for Egypt, the reference to which is claimed by both the defenders of the Davidic and of the post-exilic date as in their favour. The former say that, in David’s day, Egypt was the greatest world power known to the Hebrews; and the latter, that the mention of it points to the time when Israel lay exposed to the attacks of Seleucidae on the one hand and of Ptolemies on the other. Why, then, should only one of the two hostile neighbours be mentioned here? "Bulls" are a standing emblem of leaders of nations, and "calved" are accordingly their subjects. The two metaphors are naturally connected, and the correction "leaders of the peoples" is unnecessary, and a prosaic intermingling of figure and fact.

Psalms 68:30 c is extremely obscure. Baethgen roundly says, "The meaning of the words can no longer be ascertained, and in all probability they are corrupt." The first word is a participle, which is variously taken as meaning "casting oneself to the ground" (i.e., in submission), and "trampling to the ground." It is also variously referred to the nations and their leaders spoken of in the previous verse, and to God. In the former case it would describe their attitude of submission in consequence of "rebuke"; in the latter, God’s subjugation of them. The slightest change would make the word an imperative, thus bringing it into line with "rebuke"; but, even without this, the reference to God is apparently to be preferred. The structure of the strophe which, in the first verse of each pair, seems to put petitions and to confine its descriptions of the resulting subjugation of the enemy to the second verse in each case, favours the latter interpretation. The next words are also disputed. One rendering is, "with bars of silver"; another, "those that delight in silver." The former presupposes a very unusual word for "bars." It is necessarily adopted by those who refer the first word to the submission of the "herd of bulls." The enemies come with tribute of silver. The other rendering, which avoids the necessity of bringing in an otherwise unknown word, is necessarily preferred by the supporters of the second explanation of the preceding word. God is implored to crush "those who delight in silver," which may stand for a description of men of this world, but must be acknowledged to be rather a singular way of designating active enemies of God and Israel. Cheyne’s rendering, "That rolls itself in mire for gain of money," brings in the mercenaries of the Seleucidae. But "rolling oneself in mire" is a strange way of saying "hiring oneself out to fight." Certainty seems unattainable, and we must be content with the general trend of the verse as supplication for an exhibition of God’s strength against proud opponents. The last clause sums up the whole in the petition, "Scatter the peoples that delight in wars."

One verse then tells what the result of that will be. "Great ones" shall come from the land of the beast of the reeds, and Ethiopia shall make haste to stretch out tribute-bearing hands to God. The vision of a world subjugated and loving its subjugation is rising before the poet. That is the end of the ways of God with Israel. So deeply had this psalmist been led into comprehension of the Divine purpose; so clearly was he given to see the future, "and all the wonder that should be."

Therefore he breaks forth, in the last strophe, into invocation to all the kingdoms of the earth to sing to God. He had sung of His majesty as of old Jehovah "rode through the deserts"; and that phrase described His intervention in the field of history on behalf of Israel. Now the singer calls for praise from all the earth to Him who rides in the "most ancient heavens"; and that expression sets forth His transcendent majesty and eternal, universal sway. The psalmist had hymned the victory won When "God gave the word." Now he bids earth listen as "He gives His voice, a voice of strength," which moves and controls all creatures and events.

Therefore all nations are summoned to give strength to God, who gives all fulnesses of strength to His people. The psalm closes with the utterance of the thought which has animated it throughout-that God’s deeds for and in Israel are the manifestation for the world of His power, and that these will one day lead all men to bless the God of Israel, who shines out in dread majesty from the sanctuary, which is henceforth His abode for evermore.

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Bibliographical Information
Nicoll, William R. "Commentary on Psalms 68:19". "Expositor's Bible Commentary". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/teb/psalms-68.html.

Treasury of David

TITLE. To the Chief Musician, a Psalm or Song of David. We have already said enough upon this title when dealing with Psalms 65:1-13; Psalms 66:1-20. The present is obviously a song to be sung at the removal of the ark; and in all probability was rehearsed when David conducted it with holy joy from the house of Obededom to the prepared place on Mount Zion. It is a most soul stirring hymn. The first verses were often the battle song of the Covenanters and Ironsides; and the whole Psalm fitly pictures the way of the Lord Jesus among his saints, and his ascent to glory. The Psalm is at once surpassingly excellent and difficult. Its darkness in some stanzas is utterly impenetrable. Well does a German critic speak of it as a Titan very hard to master. Our slender scholarship has utterly failed us and we have had to follow a surer Guide. We trust our thoughts may not however prove unprofitable.

DIVISION. With the words of the first two verses the ark is uplifted, and the procession begins to move. In Psalms 68:3-6, the godly in the assembly are exhorted to commence their joyous songs, and arguments are adduced to help their joy. Then the glorious march of Jehovah in the wilderness is sung: Psalms 68:7-10, and his victories in war are celebrated in verses Psalms 68:11-14. The joyous shouts are louder as Zion comes in sight, and the ark is borne up the hill: Psalms 68:15-19. On the summit of the mount the priests sing a hymn concerning the Lord's goodness and justice; the safety of his friends, and ruin of his foes: Psalms 68:20-23. Meanwhile the procession is described as it winds up the hill: Psalms 68:24-27. The poet anticipates a time of wider conquest, Psalms 68:28-31 : and concludes with a noble burst of song unto Jehovah.

EXPOSITION

Ver. 1. Let God arise. In some such words Moses spake when the cloud moved onward, and the ark was carried forward. The ark would have been a poor leader if the Lord had not been present with the symbol. Before we move, we should always desire to see the Lord lead the way. The words suppose the Lord to have been passive for awhile, suffering his enemies to rage, but restraining his power. Israel beseeches him to "arise, "as elsewhere to "awake, ""gird on his sword, "and other similar expressions. We, also, may thus importunately cry unto the Lord, that he would be pleased to make bare his arm, and plead his own cause.

Let his enemies be scattered. Our glorious Captain of the vanguard clears the way readily, however many may seek to obstruct it; he has but to arise, and they flee, he has easily over thrown his foes in days of yore, and will do so all through the ages to come. Sin, death, and hell know the terror of his arm; their ranks are broken at his approach. Our enemies are his enemies, and in this is our confidence of victory.

Let them also that hate him flee before him. To hate the infinitely good God is infamous, and the worst punishment is not too severe. Hatred of God is impotent. His proudest foes can do him no injury. Alarmed beyond measure, they shall flee before it comes to blows. Long before the army of Israel can come into the fray, the haters of God shall flee before HIM who is the champion of his chosen. He comes, he sees, he conquers. How fitting a prayer is this for the commencement of a revival! How it suggests the true mode of conducting one: --the Lord leads the way, his people follow, the enemies flee.

NEW TRANSLATION

In order that our readers may see the Psalm at a glance in a good translation, we subjoin the version of FRANZ DELITZSCH; recommending our ministerial brethren to procure the volumes of his valuable Commentary on the Psalms, issued by the Messrs. CLARK, of Edinburgh.

Psalms 68:1-35

HYMN OF WAR AND VICTORY IN THE STYLE OF DEBORAH

2 LET Elohim arise, let His enemies be scattered,

And let those who hate Him flee before His face.

3 As smoke is driven away, do Thou drive them away;

As wax melteth before the fire,

Let the wicked perish before Elohim.

4 And let the righteous rejoice, let them exult before

Elohim,

And let them be glad with joy.

5 Sing unto Elohim, harp His name,

Pave a highway for Him who rideth along through the

steppes;

Jah is his name, and exult ye before Him.

6 A Father of the fatherless and an Advocate of the

widows

Is Elohim in His holy habitation.

7 Elohim maketh a household for the solitary,

He leadeth forth prisoners into prosperity;

Yet the rebellious abide in a land of drought.

8 Elohim, when Thou wentest forth before Thy people,

When thou didst march along in the wilderness--

Sela.

9 The earth shook,

The heavens also dropped before Elohim,

Yon Sinai before Elohim, the God of Israel.

10 With plentiful rain didst Thou, Elohim, water Thine

inheritance,

And when it was parched, THOU hast confirmed it.

11 Thy creatures have settled down therein,

Thou didst provide with Thy goodness for the poor,

Elohim.

12 The Lord will sound forth the mandate;

Of the women who herald victory there is a great army.

13 The kings of hosts shall flee, shall flee,

And she that tarrieth at home, shall divide the spoil.

14 If ye encamp among the sheep folds,

The dove's wings are covered with silver

And her feathers with glistening gold.

15 When the Almighty scattereth kings therein,

It becometh snow white upon Zalmon.

16 A mountain of Elohim is the mountain of Bashan,

A mountain full of peaks is the mountain of Bashan.

17 Why look ye enviously, ye many peaked mountains,

Upon the mountain which Elohim hath chosen, to dwell

thereon?

Yea, Jahve will dwell (there) for ever.

18 The war chariots of Elohim are myriads, a thousand

thousands,

The Lord is among them, it is a Sinai in holiness.

19 Thou hast ascended up to the height, Thou hast led

captives captive,

Thou hast received gifts among men,

Even from the rebellious, that Jah Elohim might dwell

(there).

20 Blessed be the Lord:

Day by day doth He bear our burden,

He, God, is our salvation.

(Sela.)

21 He, God, is to us a God for deeds of deliverance,

And Jahve the Lord hath ways of escape for death.

22 Yea, Elohim will smite the head of His enemies,

The hairy scalp of him who stalks along in his

trespasses.

23 The Lord hath said: Out of Bashan will I bring back,

I will bring back out of the depths of the sea,

24 That thou mayest bathe thy foot in blood,

That the tongue of thy dogs may have its share of the

enemy.

25 They behold Thy splendid procession, Elohim,

The splendid procession of my God, my King in holiness.

26 Before went the singers, behind the players on stringed

instruments,

In the midst of damsels striking timbrels.

27 In the choirs of the congregation bless ye Elohim,

The Lord, ye who are out of the fountain of Israel.

28 There is Benjamin the youngest, their ruler;

The princes of Judah--their motley band,

The princes of Zebulun, the princes of Naphtali,

29 Thy God hath commanded thy supreme power--

Uphold in power, Elohim, what Thou hast wrought for us!

--

30 From Thy temple above Jerusalem

Let kings present offerings unto Thee.

31 Threaten the wild beast of the reed, the troops of bulls

with the calves of the people,

That they may prostrate themselves with ingots of silver! --

He hath scattered the peoples that delight in wars.

32 Magnates come out of Egypt,

Cush--quickly do his hands stretch out unto Elohim.

33 Ye kingdoms of the earth, sing unto Elohim,

Praising the Lord with stringed instruments--

(Sela.)

34 To Him who rideth in the heaven of heavens of the

primeval time--

Lo, He made Himself heard with His voice, a mighty voice.

35 Ascribe ye might unto Elohim!

Over Israel is His majesty.

And His omnipotence in the heights of the heavens.

36 Terrible is Elohim out of thy sanctuaries;

"The God of Israel giveth might and abundant strength

to the people!"

Blessed be Elohim!

EXPLANATORY NOTES AND QUAINT SAYINGS

Whole Psalm. In this Psalm we have especial reason to condemn or to admire the timidity, or the caution and delicacy, of our translators, whichever it may be considered, for the manner in which they have rendered the names of the Almighty. They almost universally translate them "God" or "Lord; "whereas, it has been observed that, almost all the remarkable titles of the Deity are employed in describing and praising the person addressed here. He is called "Elohim" in Psalms 68:2; "Adonai, "Psalms 68:12; "Shaddai, "Psalms 68:15; "Jehovah, "Psalms 68:17; "Jah, "Psalms 68:19; and "Al, "Psalms 68:20. The Hebrew names of God have, each of them, a distinct and peculiar meaning. No one word will suffice for them all. The vague use of the terms "God" and "Lord" in our translation can never convey to the reader's mind the important ideas which the original expression, if properly translated, would bear, and we have lost a strong additional confirmation of the deity of Messiah, by abandoning the testimony which the ascription to him of God's peculiar titles would give to this great truth. R. H. Ryland.

Whole Psalm. As 65 opened with a reference to the form of blessing (Numbers 6:24-26), so this with a reference to the prayer used when the cloud pillar summoned the camp to commence a march. There the presence (panim) of God shed saving light on his people; here his enemies flee from it (mippanayv), Psalms 68:1... In the Jewish ritual the Psalm is used at Pentecost, the Anniversary of the Giving of the Law, and the Feast of Finished Harvest... The remarkable character of the Psalm is indicated by the fact that there are no fewer than thirteen words in it which are not found elsewhere. The Pentecostal Gift of Tongues seems needed for its full exposition. William Kay.

Whole Psalm. By many critics esteemed the loftiest effusion of David's lyrical muse. William Binnie.

Whole Psalm. To judge from the antiquity of its language, the concise description, the thoroughly fresh, forcible, and occasional artlessly ironical expression of its poetry, we consider this poem as one of the most ancient monuments of Hebrew poetry. Boettcher.

Whole Psalm. It must be confessed that in this Psalm there are as many precipices, and as many labyrinths, as there are verses, or even words. It has not inappropriately been designated the cross of critics, the reproach of interpreters. Simon de Muis.

Whole Psalm. The beginning of this Psalm clearly intimates that the inspired psalmist had light given him to see the march of Israel through the wilderness, the ark of the covenant moving before the people to find a resting place. The psalmist is filled with praise, when he is enabled to see that God revealed his Fatherly love in the whole of that movement--that his eye was upon the fatherless, the widow, the solitary, and afflicted; but David is also carried by the Spirit to the Mount of Olives, where he sees the ascending Lord; he sees the triumphal chariots, with an innumerable company of angels, and then beholds the Lord welcomed in glory as the mighty Conqueror; and not only so, but as having received or purchased gifts for men, even the rebellious (Psalms 68:18), "that the Lord God might dwell among them, "or within them. "Wherefore, "the command of our Father is, "come out from among them, and be ye separate, "etc. (2 Corinthians 6:17-18). The doxology of God's people is, "Blessed be the Lord, who daily loadeth us with his benefits." Our blessed Master attends day by day to all our wants, and causes his love to flow to us, because he is God our Salvation--Selah. What comfort ought this to afford under every condition! for the Lord Jesus goes before us through the desert. He is touched with the feeling of our infirmities. The widow, the fatherless, the desolate, are all the objects of his care and love. He has gone before us to prepare our heavenly rest; the work is finished. He now comes, day by day, to load us with blessings, and at the last will carry us safely through death into life and glory. To the Lord our Saviour belong the issues from death; then, "Death, where is thy sting?" etc. Ridley H. Herschell, in "Strength in Weakness. Meditations on some of the Psalms in time of Trial, "1860.

Ver. 1. Let God arise, etc. The moving ark (See Numbers 10:35-36) is a type of Jesus going forth to cast down rebel foes. It is high joy to trace the Antitype's victorious march. How mightily the Lord advanced! The strength of God was in his arm. His sword was Deity. His darts were barbed with all Jehovah's might. "He had on his vesture and on his thigh a name written, King of kings, and Lord of lords." Revelation 19:16. His foes, indeed, strove mightily. It was no easy work to rescue souls from Satan's grasp, or to lay low the prison house of darkness. The enemy rushed on, clad in his fiercest armour, wild in his keenest rage, wily in his deadliest crafts. He plied his every temptation, as a terrific battery. But the true Ark never quailed. The adversary licked the dust. Malignant passions maddened in opposing breasts. The kings stood up; rulers took counsel; all plots were laid; the ignominious death was planned and executed. But still the Ark moved on. The cross gave aid, not injury. The grave could not detain. Death could not vanquish. The gates of hell fly open. The mighty conqueror appears. And, as in Canaan, the ark ascended Zion's hill amid triumphant shouts, so Jesus mounts on high. The heaven of heavens receives him. The Father welcomes the all conquering Saviour. Angelic hosts adore the glorious God man. The Rising Prayer has full accomplishments, "Rise up, Lord, and let thine enemies be scattered, and let them that hate thee flee before thee." And now, from glory's throne, he cheers his humble followers in their desert march. Their toils, their conflicts, and their fears are many. They ofttimes seem as a poor worm beneath the crushing feet. But they survive, they prosper, they lift up their head. As of old the ark was victory, so Jesus is victory now. Yes, every child of faith shall surely set a conquering foot upon the host of foes. Hear this, ye mad opposers, and desist. Where are the nations who resisted Israel? Where are the Pharaohs, the beleaguered kings, the Herods, the chief priests, the Pilates? Share not their malice, lest you share their end. Read in this word your near destruction, "Rise up, Lord, and let thine enemies be scattered, and let them that hate thee flee before thee." And, as the Rising Prayer has never failed, so, too, the Resting Prayer now teems with life. "Return, O Lord." Jesus is ready to fly back. Israel's many thousands wait, but wait not in vain. "Yet a little while, and he that shall come will come, and will not tarry, "Hebrews 10:37. O joyful day, triumphant sight! What ecstasy, what shouts, what glory! Salvation's Lord returns. Welcome, welcome to him! Henry Law, in "`Christ is All.' The Gospel of the Old Testament, " 1858.

Ver. 1. Arise. The mercifulness of God is seen in his patience toward the wicked, implied in the word arise, for he seemeth, as it were, to sleep (Psalms 44:23), and not to mark what is done amiss. The Lord is patient, and would have none to perish, but would have all men to come to repentance. He was longer in destroying one city (Jericho, Joshua 6:4), than in building the whole world; slow to wrath, and ready to forgive, desiring not the death of a sinner, but rather he should amend. He doth not arise to particular punishments, much less to the general judgement, but after long suffering and great goodness. "O Jerusalem, Jerusalem, how often would I, "said our Lord, "have gathered thy children together, even as a hen gathereth her chickens under her wings, and ye would not." Matthew 23:37. John Boys.

Ver. 1. Let his enemies be scattered. You may, if you please, take the words either as a prayer, or as a prophecy: as a prayer that they may; or as a prophecy, that they shall be scattered. Or, you may read it, Surgente Domino, As soon as the Lord shall arise, his enemies shall be scattered, and so make it a theological axiom: and so it is a proposition aeternae veritatis, everlastingly true, true in the first age of the world, and true in the last age of the world, and will be true to the world's end. We may make it our prayer, that they may be destroyed; and we may prophesy, that they shall be destroyed. Summa votorum est, non ex incerto poscentis, sed ex cognitione scientiaque sperantis, saith Hilary. It is a prayer not proceeding from a doubting and wavering heart, as if God did at sometimes deliver his church, and at others fail and leave her to the will of her enemies; but grounded upon certain knowledge and infallible assurance that he will "arise, and not keep silence, " and avenge himself of his enemy. For there is a kind of presage and prophecy in prayer: if we pray as we should, he hath promised to grant our request; which is a fairer assurance than any prophet can give us. Let God arise, and God will arise, is but the difference of a tense, and the Hebrews commonly use the one for the other...

In this prayer or prophecy, or conclusion, you may, as in a glass, behold the providence of God over his people, and the destiny and fatal destruction of wicked men. Or, you may conceive God sitting in heaven, and looking down upon the children of men, and laughing to scorn all the designs of his enemies; his exsurgat, his rising, as a tempest to scatter them, and as a fire to melt them. And these two, exsurgat and dissipabuntur, the rising of God and the destruction of his enemies, divide the text, and present before our eyes two parties or sides, as it were, in main opposition. Now, though the exsurgat be before the dissipabuntur, God's rising before the scattering, yet there must be some persons to rouse God up and awake him before he will arise to destroy. We will, therefore, as the very order of nature required, consider first the persons which are noted out unto us by three several appellations, as by so many marks and brands in their forehead. They are,

1. Enemies;

2. Haters of God;

3. Wicked men.

But God, rising in this manner, is more especially against the fact than the person, and against the person only for the fact. We must, therefore, search and inquire after that; and we find it wrapped up and secretly lurking in the dissipabuntur, in their punishment; for scattering supposes a gathering together, as corruption doth generation. That, then, which moved God to rise is this: his enemies, they that hated him, the wicked, were gathered together, and consulted against God and his church, as we see it this day; and, seeing it, are here met together to fall down before God in all humility, that he may arise and scatter them. This is nunc opportunitatis, the very time and appointed time for God to arise. In which phrase is implied a kind of pause and deliberation, as if God were not always up, and ready to execute judgment. And, hereby, he manifests--

1. His patience to the wicked: he is not always up, as it were, to destroy his enemies;

2. His justice, which cometh at length, though it come not so soon as men in misery expect;

3. His mercy to his children: though for a while he seem to sleep, and not to hearken to the voice of their complaints, yet, at last, he rises up and helps them.

Lastly, we shall take notice of the effects, or end, of this rising; and that is the destruction of his enemies, here drawn out to our view, in four several expressions, as in so many colours: --

1. Dissipabuntur, they shall be scattered;

2. Fugient, they shall fly;

3. Deficient, they shall vanish like smoke;

4. Liquefient, they shall be melted as wax; which all meet and are concentrated in peribunt, they shall perish at the presence of God. Anthony Farindon.

Note continued on See Psalms on "Job 42:10".

Psalms 68:2*

EXPOSITION

Ver. 2. As smoke is driven away. Easily the wind chases the smoke, completely it removes it, no trace is left; so, Lord, do thou to the foes of thy people. They fume in pride, they darken the sky with their malice, they mount higher and higher in arrogance, they defile wherever they prevail. Lord, let they breath, thy Spirit, thy Providence, make them to vanish for ever from the march of thy people. Philosophic scepticism is as flimsy and as foul as smoke; may the Lord deliver his Church from the reek of it.

As wax melteth before the fire, so let the wicked perish at the presence of God. Wax is hard when by itself, but put it to the fire, how soft it is. Wicked men are haughty till they come into contact with the Lord, and then they faint for fear; their hearts melt like wax when they feel the power of his anger. Wax, also, burns and passes away; the taper is utterly consumed by the flame: so shall all the boastful power of the opposers of the gospel be as a thing of nought. Rome, like the candles on her altars, shall dissolve, and with equal certainty shall infidelity disappear. Israel saw, in the ark, God on the mercyseat--power in connection with propitiation --and they rejoiced in the omnipotence of such a manifestation; this is even more clearly the confidence of the New Testament church, for we see Jesus, the appointed atonement, clothed with glory and majesty, and before his advance all opposition melts like snow in the sun; the pleasure of the Lord shall prosper in his hands. When he comes by his Holy Spirit, conquest is the result; but when he arises in person, his foes shall utterly perish.

EXPLANATORY NOTES AND QUAINT SAYINGS

Ver. 1-3. See Psalms on "Psalms 68:1" for further information.

Ver. 2. As smoke is driven away, etc. The psalmist adds a striking figure to illustrate how easily God can overthrow the machinations of our enemies, comparing them to smoke which vanishes away when blown upon by the wind, or wax which melts before the fire. We consider it utterly incredible that such a formidable array of opposition should be made to disappear in a moment. But the Spirit takes this method of chiding the fearfulness of our carnal minds, and teaching us that there is no such strength in our enemies as we suppose--that we allow the smoke of them to blind our eyes, and the solid mass of resistance which they present to deceive us into a forgetfulness of the truth, that the mountains themselves flow down at the presence of the Lord. John Calvin.

Ver. 2. As smoke is driven away, etc. "Their end was bitter as the smoke, "said an aged teacher. What meanest thou, O Master? asked his young disciple. "I was thinking of the end of the unrighteous, " replied the old man, "and of how too often I, like the psalmist, have been envious when they were in prosperity. Their lives have seemed so bright and glowing that I have thought they resembled the blaze of a cheerful fire on a winter's night. But, as I have watched them, they have suddenly vanished like the flame that fades into black and bitter smoke; and I have ceased to envy them. Trust not, O my scholar, only to that which appears brilliant; but watch also for its ending, lest thou be deceived." Hubert Bower, in "Parables and Similitudes of the Christian Life, " 1871.

HINTS TO THE VILLAGE PREACHER

Ver. 1-2.

First. The church of God ever had, and will have, enemies

and haters; for against these doth the psalmist arm

himself and the church with this prayer.

Secondly. The church's enemies are God's enemies; they

that hate the church, hate God. Thine

enemies, them that hate thee.

Thirdly. God sometimes seems to sleep or lie still, and

let these enemies and haters do what they will

for a season, This, also, is implied: he to whom

we say, Arise is either asleep or lies still.

Fourthly. There is a time when God will arise.

Fifthly. God's rising time is the enemies'

scattering time, his hater's flying time.

Sixthly. It is the duty of God's people to pray

him up when he seems to be down, and to exalt him

in their praises when he doth arise to their

rescue and redemption; for these words are both a

prayer and a triumph as they are used both by

Moses and David.

Thomas Case, in a Fast Sermon, preached before the House of Commons, entitled, "God's Rising, his Enemies' Scattering." 1644.

Ver. 1-3. Prayer for the Second Advent. A. Macaul.

Psalms 68:3*

EXPOSITION

Ver. 3. But let the righteous be glad. The presence of God on the throne of grace is an overflowing source of delight to the godly; and let them not fail to drink of the streams which are meant to make them glad.

Let them rejoice before God. The courtiers of the happy God should wear the garments of gladness, for in his presence is fulness of joy. That presence, which is the dread and death of the wicked, is the desire and delight of the saints.

Yea, let them exceedingly rejoice. Let them dance with all their might, as David did, for very joy. No bounds should be set to joy in the Lord. "Again, I say, rejoice, "says the apostle, as if he would have us add joy to joy without measure or pause. When God is seen to shine propitious from above the mercyseat in the person of our Immanuel, our hearts must needs leap within us with exultation, if we are indeed among those made righteous in his righteousness, and sanctified by his Spirit. Move on, O army of the living God, with shouts of abounding triumph, for Jesus leads the van.

EXPLANATORY NOTES AND QUAINT SAYINGS

Ver. 1-3. See Psalms on "Psalms 68:1" for further information.

Ver. 3. But let the righteous be glad. The wicked flee from the presence of God, since it inspires them with terror; the righteous on the other hand rejoice in it, because nothing delights them more than to think that God is near them. John Calvin.

HINTS TO THE VILLAGE PREACHER

Ver. 1-3. Prayer for the Second Advent. A. Macaul.

Psalms 68:4*

EXPOSITION

Ver. 4. Sing unto God, sing praises to his name. To time and tune, with order and care, celebrate the character and deeds of God, the God of his people. Do it again and again; and let the praise, with resolution of heart, be all directed to him. Sing not for ostentation, but devotion; not to be heard of men, but of the Lord himself. Sing not to the congregation, but "unto God, "

Extol him that rideth upon the heavens by his name JAH. Remember his most great, incomprehensible, and awful name; reflect upon his self existence and absolute dominion, rise to the highest pitch of joyful reverence in adoring him. Heaven beholds him riding on the clouds in storm, and earth has seen him marching over its plains with majesty. The Hebrew seems to be: "Cast up a highway for him who marches through the wilderness, "in allusion to the wanderings of the tribes in the desert. The marches of God were in the waste howling wilderness. His eternal power and Godhead were there displayed in his feeding, ruling, and protecting the vast hosts which he had brought out of Egypt. The ark brought all this to remembrance, and suggested it as a theme for song. The name JAH is an abbreviation of the name Jehovah; it is not a diminution of that name, but an intensified word, containing in it the essence of the longer, august title. It only occurs here in our version of Scripture, except in connection with other words such as Hallelujah.

And rejoice before him. In the presence of him who marched so gloriously at the head of the elect nation, it is most fitting that all his people should display a holy delight. We ought to avoid dulness in our worship. Our songs should be weighty with solemnity, but not heavy with sadness. Angels are nearer the throne than we, but their deepest awe is consonant with the purest bliss; our sense of divine greatness must not minister terror but gladness to our souls; we should rejoice before him. It should be our wish and prayer, that in this wilderness world, a highway may be prepared for the God of grace. "Prepare ye the way of the Lord, make straight in the desert a highway for our God, "is the cry of gospel heralds, and we must all zealously aim at obedience thereto; for where the God of the mercyseat comes, blessings innumerable are given to the sons of men.

EXPLANATORY NOTES AND QUAINT SAYINGS

Ver. 4. Extol him that rideth upon the heavens. Or, as Symmachus, Jerome, Bishop Lowth, Merrick, and others render, "Prepare the way for him who rideth through the deserts": twbre aravoth; i.e., who rode through the wilderness on the cherubim; alluding to the passage of the ark. "Comprehensive Bible."

Ver. 4. Rideth. Said, perhaps, with allusion to the cherubim on which Jehovah was borne (Psalms 18:10), God himself being the Leader and Captain of his people, riding as it were at their head as an earthly captain might lead his army, riding on a war horse. J. J. Stewart Perowne.

Ver. 4. Upon the heavens. The ancient versions in general render the word twkrek super occasus, or occasum. The desert or solitude is the proper and general meaning of it, and there is no authority to render it by the heavens, but that of the Rabbins, which, indeed, is little or none; and of the Chaldee paraphrase which gives it twbrek hyrqy hyorwk super thronam gloriae ejus in nono caelo who sits upon the throne of his glory in the ninth heaven. The psalmist here alludes, as I apprehend, to the passage of the Israelites through the deserts in their way to the promised land, and describes it in many of the principal circumstances of it in the following verses; and God is said to ride, or be carried through the deserts, as the ark of his presence was carried through them, and accompanied the Israelites in all their various stages during their continuance and pilgrimage in them. Samuel Chandler.

Ver. 4. God always goes at the head of his people through the deserts of suffering and need; in the deserts of trouble they find in him a true leader. E. W. Hengstenberg.

Ver. 4. His name JAH. JAH, as the concentration of Jehovah, is the more emphatic term (Stier). It occurs for the first time in Exodus 15:2. Frederic Fysh, in "A Lyrical Literary Version of the Psalms, " 1850.

HINTS TO THE VILLAGE PREACHER

Ver. 4.

I. The name that inspires the song: Jah.

1. Self existent.

2. Immutable.

3. Eternal. II. The song inspired by that name.

1. Of exultation.

2. Of confidence.

3. Of joy. G. R.

Psalms 68:5*

EXPOSITION

Ver. 5. A father of the fatherless, and a judge of the widows, is God in his holy habitation. In the wilderness the people were like an orphan nation, but God was more than a father to them. As the generation which came out of Egypt gradually died away, there were many widows and fatherless ones in the camp, but they suffered no want or wrong, for the righteous laws and the just administrators whom God had appointed, looked well to the interests of the needy. The tabernacle was the Palace of Justice; the ark was the seat of the great King. This was a great cause for joy to Israel, that they were ruled by the ONE who would not suffer the poor and needy to be oppressed. To this day and for ever, God is, and will be, the peculiar guardian of the defenceless. He is the President of Orphanages, the Protector of Widows. He is so glorious that he rides on the heavens, but so compassionate that he remembers the poor of the earth. How zealously ought his church to cherish those who are here marked out as Jehovah's especial charge. Does he not here in effect say, "Feed my lambs"? Blessed duty, it shall be our privilege to make this one of our life's dearest objects. The reader is warned against misquoting this verse; it is generally altered into "the husband of the widow, "but Scripture had better be left as God gave it.

EXPLANATORY NOTES AND QUAINT SAYINGS

Ver. 5. A father of the fatherless. In a spiritual sense, the orphans, whose father God is, says Hilary, are those who have renounced their father the Devil, and those to whom Christ, at his departure, sent another Comforter, according to his promise--"I will not leave you orphans." Lorinus.

Ver. 5. Does not James 1:27 refer to this verse, for we have the fatherless, the widow, and then the holiness, of the God we serve? Andrew A. Bonar.

Ver. 5. God in his holy habitation. Albeit the Lord be infinite and uncomprehended by any place, yet hath he appointed a trysting place where his people shall find him by his own ordinance, to wit, the assembly of his saints, his holy temple shadowing forth Christ to be incarnate, who now is in heaven, now is incarnate, and sitting at the right hand of God, in whom dwells the Godhead; here, here is God to be found. David Dickson.

HINTS TO THE VILLAGE PREACHER

Ver. 5. The claims of widows and orphans upon the church of God, from God's relation to them and his indwelling in the church.

Psalms 68:6*

EXPOSITION

Ver. 6. God setteth the solitary in families. The people had been sundered and scattered over Egypt; family ties had been disregarded, and affections crushed; but when the people escaped from Pharaoh they came together again, and all the fond associations of household life were restored. This was a great joy.

He bringeth out those which are bound with chains. The most oppressed in Egypt were chained and imprisoned, but the divine Emancipator brought them all forth into perfect liberty. He who did this of old continues his gracious work. The solitary heart, convinced of sin and made to pine alone, is admitted into the family of the Firstborn; the fettered spirit is set free, and its prison broken down, when sin is forgiven; and for all this, God is to be greatly extolled, for he hath done it, and magnified the glory of his grace.

But the rebellious dwell in a dry land. If any find the rule of Jehovah to be irksome, it is because their rebellious spirits kick against his power. Israel did not find the desert dry, for the smitten rock gave forth its streams; but even in Canaan itself men were consumed with famine, because they cast off their allegiance to their covenant God. Even where God is revealed on the mercyseat, some men persist in rebellion, and such need not wonder if they find no peace, no comfort, no joy, even where all these abound. Justice is the rule of the Lord's kingdom, and hence there is no provision for the unjust to indulge their evil lustings: a perfect earth, and even heaven itself, would be a dry land to those who can only drink of the waters of sin. Of the most soul satisfying of sacred ordinances these witless rebels cry, "what a weariness it is!" and, under the most soul sustaining ministry, they complain of "the foolishness of preaching." When a man has a rebellious heart, he must of necessity find all around him a dry land.

EXPLANATORY NOTES AND QUAINT SAYINGS

Ver. 6. God setteth the solitary in families. It may be interpreted of the fruitfulness and increase of the church with converts, under the gospel dispensation, even from among the Gentiles, who were before solitary, or were alone, without God and Christ, and aliens from the commonwealth of Israel; but, being called and converted by the ministry of the word, were brought into and placed in gospel churches, or families... Gospel churches, like families, have a master over them, who is Christ the Son and firstborn, of whom they are named; where are saints of various ages, sizes, and standing; some fathers, some young men, and some children; where are provisions suitable for them, and stewards to give them their portion of meat in due season, who are the ministers of the word; and laws and rules, by which they are directed and regulated, and everything is kept in good decorum. John Gill.

HINTS TO THE VILLAGE PREACHER

Ver. 6. Comparison of churches to families. See extract from Dr. Gill.

Ver. 6.

I. Two curable evils: "solitary", "bound with chains."

II. Two rich blessings: "set in families, ""bringeth out."

III. One monster evil, and its miserable consequences.

Psalms 68:7*

EXPOSITION

Ver. 7. O God, when thou wentest forth before thy people. What a sweetly suitable association, "thou" and "thy people; "--thou before, and thy people following! The Lord went before, and, therefore, whether the Red Sea or burning sand lay in the way, it mattered not; the pillar of cloud and fire always led them by a right way.

When thou didst march through the wilderness. He was the Commander in chief of Israel, from whom they received all orders, and the march was therefore his march. "His stately step the region drear beheld." We may speak, if we will, of the "wanderings of the children of Israel, "but we must not think them purposeless strayings, they were in reality a well arranged and well considered march.

SELAH. This seems an odd place for a musical pause or direction, but it is better to break a sentence than spoil praise. The sense is about to be superlatively grand, and, therefore, the selah intimates the fact to the players and singers, that they may with suitable solemnity perform their parts. It is never untimely to remind a congregation that the worship of God should be thoughtfully and heartily presented.

EXPLANATORY NOTES AND QUAINT SAYINGS

None.

HINTS TO THE VILLAGE PREACHER

Ver. 7-8.

I. God has his seasons for delivering his people from

their troubles: When thou, etc.

II. His deliverance is complete: The earth shook, etc.;

all things gave way before him.

III. The deliverance is greater for the delay.

1. It is so in itself.

2. It is more prized: as in the case of Job, Abraham, Israel at the Red Sea, Daniel, his three companions, etc. G. R.

Ver. 7-9.

I. The presence of God in his church.

1. His preeminence: "before."

2. As covenant God of Israel.

3. As active and making active.

4. His rule within: they follow.

5. His design without: marching for war. II. The blessed consequences.

1. The most stolid shake.

2. The lofty bow.

3. Difficulties removed: "Sinai."

4. Blessings plenteous.

5. Church revived.

Psalms 68:8*

EXPOSITION

Ver. 8. The earth shook. Beneath the sublime tread the solid ground trembled.

The heavens also dropped at the presence of God, as if they bowed before their God, the clouds descended, and "a few dark shower drops stole abroad."

Even Sinai itself was moved at the presence of God. Moses tell us, in Exodus 19:1-25, that "the whole mountain quaked greatly." That hill, so lone and high, bowed before the manifested God.

The God of Israel. The one only living and true God, whom Israel worshipped, and who had chosen that nation to be his own above all the nations of the earth. The passage is so sublime, that it would be difficult to find its equal. May the reader's heart adore the God before whom the unconscious earth and sky act as if they recognised their Maker and were moved with a tremor of reverence.

EXPLANATORY NOTES AND QUAINT SAYINGS

Ver. 8. The God of Israel. Sinai was the seat not only of God, but of the covenant God of the people of Israel; from which the law was proclaimed, and the covenant struck between God and his people. Hermann Venema.

HINTS TO THE VILLAGE PREACHER

Ver. 7-8. See Psalms on "Psalms 68:7" for further information.

Ver. 7-9. See Psalms on "Psalms 68:7" for further information.

Psalms 68:9*

EXPOSITION

Ver. 9. Thou, O God, didst send a plentiful rain. The march of God was not signalized solely by displays of terror, for goodness and bounty were also made conspicuous. Such rain as never fell before dropped on the desert sand, bread from heaven and winged fowl fell all around the host; good gifts were poured upon them, rivers leaped forth from rocks. The earth shook with fear, and in reply, the Lord, as from a cornucopia, shook out blessings upon it; so the original may be rendered.

Whereby thou didst confirm thine inheritance, when it was weary. As at the end of each stage, when they halted, weary with the march, they found such showers of good things awaiting them that they were speedily refreshed. Their foot did not swell all those forty years. When they were exhausted, God was not. When they were weary, He was not. They were his chosen heritage, and, therefore, although for their good he allowed them to be weary, yet he watchfully tended them and tenderly considered their distresses. In like manner, to this day, the elect of God in this wilderness state are apt to become tired and faint, but their ever loving Jehovah comes in with timely succours, cheers the faint, strengthens the weak, and refreshes the hungry; so that once again, when the silver trumpets sound, the church militant advances with bold and firm step towards "the rest which remaineth." By this faithfulness, the faith of God's people is confirmed, and their hearts established; if fatigue and want made them waver, the timely supply of grace stays them again upon the eternal foundations.

EXPLANATORY NOTES AND QUAINT SAYINGS

Ver. 9. The Thou in the Hebrew is emphatic: Thine inheritance, even when it was wearied (i.e., worn out) thou didst confirm; or, "fortify it." Thou who alone couldest strengthen one worn out, didst so for thy people. A. R. Fausset.

Ver. 9. A liberal rain. The words translated a liberal rain, read literally in the Hebrew a rain of freenesses; and I agree with interpreters in thinking that he alludes to the blessing as having come in the exercise of free favour, and to God, as having of his own unprompted goodness provided for all the wants of his people. Some read, a desirable rain; others a rain flowing without violence, or gentle; but neither of these renderings seems eligible. Others read, a copious or plentiful rain; but I have already stated what appears to me to be the preferable sense. John Calvin.

Ver. 9. A gracious rain; that is, of manna. Edmund Law (1703-1787), quoted by Richard Warner in loc., 1828.

Ver. 9. Rain. One fountain, says Cyril, waters thy paradise, and the rain that falls upon all the world is the same; it is white in the bloom of the hawthorn, red in the rose, purple in the hyacinth, and diverse kinds, and all in all; yet it itself is the same and of the same kind...

So also the Holy Spirit, though he is one and the same and not divisible, yet to every one he divideth grace according as he wills. Thomas Le Blanc.

Ver. 9. A plentiful rain. Thy love has been as a shower! The returns, but a dew drop, and that dew drop stained with sin. James Harrington Evans, 1785-1849.

HINTS TO THE VILLAGE PREACHER

Ver. 7-9. See Psalms on "Psalms 68:7" for further information.

Ver. 9.

I. God's mercy compared to a shower.

1. It is direct from heaven; not through priests.

2. It is pure and unmixed.

3. No one has a monopoly of it.

4. There is no substitute for it.

5. It is sovereignly dispensed, as to (1) time; (2) place; (3) manner; and (4) measure.

6. It works efficiently. Isaiah 55:10.

7. Prayer can get it.

II. There are seasons when these showers fall.

1. In the house of God.

2. In the means of grace.

3. In prayer.

4. In affliction.

5. When saints are weary (1) through working; (2) through sickness; (3) through non success.

6. By the Holy Spirit refreshing the heart.

III. These showers are meant to "confirm God's people."

IV. They are wanted now.

Ver. 9.

I. The church is God's inheritance.

1. Chosen.

2. Purchased.

3. Acquired. II. Though his inheritance, at times it may be weary. III. When weary, it will be refreshed by him. G. R.

Psalms 68:10*

EXPOSITION

Ver. 10. Thy congregation hath dwelt therein. In the wilderness itself, enclosed as in a wall of fire, thy chosen church has found a home; or, rather, girdled by the shower of free grace which fell all around the camp, thy flock has rested. The congregation of the faithful find the Lord to be their "dwelling place in all generations." Where there were no dwellings of men, God was the dwelling of his people.

Thou, O God, hast prepared of thy goodness for the poor. Within the guarded circle there was plenty for all; all were poor in themselves, yet there were no beggars in all the camp, for celestial fare was to be had for the gathering. We, too, still dwell within the circling protection of the Most High, and find goodness made ready for us: although poor and needy by nature, we are enriched by grace; divine preparations in the decree, the covenant, the atonement, providence, and the Spirit's work, have made ready for us a fulness of the blessing of the Lord. Happy people, though in the wilderness, for all things are ours, in possessing the favour and presence of our God.

EXPLANATORY NOTES AND QUAINT SAYINGS

Ver. 10. Thy congregation. The words are choice and expressive. Addressing God, (the poet) intentionally and emphatically calls the people of Israel Ktyx thy combined congregation, in contrast to former divisions and various dissensions, to signify, that the people was now welded together, formed into one society, and united at the same time, that it was well ordered, and constituted as the society of God, wherein his laws flourished and were wont to be observed. Hermann Venema.

Ver. 10. Thy congregation. Or, Thy living creatures, Ktyh, ta zwa, LXX animalia, Vulgate; probably a reference to the immense number of quails which were miraculously brought to the camp of the Israelites, and, in a manner, dwelt around it. Note in the "Congregational Bible."

Ver. 10. Thy congregation. Or, Thy living creatures. That desolate place, where only wild beasts before could live, was now by those showers of manna (Psalms 68:9) enabled to sustain a multitude of other tamer living creatures, even of men and all their flocks and herds. Henry Hammond.

Ver. 10. (first clause). Rather: --"As for thy food (manna and quails), they dwelt in the midst of it." Edmund Law.

Ver. 10. (first clause). As to thy food, they dwelt amidst it. The ambiguity of the word hyx has occasioned various renderings of this line. Parkhurst considers the radical sense of hyx is "to be vigorous, strong; "hence the noun denotes force, a body of men (2 Samuel 23:13); and also that which gives strength, the means of support, or food (Jude 6:4 17:10); and compare Nehemiah 9:6. Our translators took the term in the first sense; I take it in the second, because the connection seems to require it, and because (tyx) refers always to a body of men, as soldiers, as actually engaged in some kind of warfare. Hence what is called the troop of Philistines (2 Samuel 23:13) is called the camp of the Philistines. 1 Chronicles 11:15. And, lastly, because the common version has no antecedent to which hk, in it, or amidst it, can refer; but this version has one in the noun food. I think there is then a reference not only to the manna, but to the quails, which God brought in abundance around the camp. Exodus 16:13, Numbers 11:31. Thus he prepared in his goodness for the poor. Benjamin Boothroyd.

Ver. 10. Thou hast prepared in thine own sweetness for the poor, O God. In thine own sweetness, not in his sweetness. For the needy he is, for he hath been made weak, in order that he may be made perfect: he hath acknowledged himself indigent, that he may be replenished. Augustine.

HINTS TO THE VILLAGE PREACHER

Ver. 10. (second clause). Special goodness, for a special people, specially prepared.

Ver. 10. (second clause). It is spoken in reference to the poor, because,

I. They are the larger mass of mankind; and, whatever

pride may think, in the eye of reason, policy, and

revelation, by far the most important, useful, and

necessary part.

II. They would be more peculiarly affected by deficiency.

III. To encourage those in humble and trying life to

depend upon him.

IV. To enforce our attention to them from the divine

example. W. Jay.

Psalms 68:11*

EXPOSITION

Ver. 11. In the next verse we do not sing of marching, but of battle and victory.

The Lord gave the word. The enemy was near, and the silver trumpet from the tabernacle door was God's mouth to warn the camp: then was there hurrying to and fro, and a general telling of the news;

great was the company of those that published it. The women ran from tent to tent and roused their lords to battle. Ready as they always were to chant the victory, they were equally swift to publish the fact that the battle note had been sounded. The ten thousand maids of Israel, like good handmaids of the Lord, aroused the sleepers, called in the wanderers, and bade the valiant men to hasten to the fray. O for the like zeal in the church of today, that, when the gospel is published, both men and women may eagerly spread the glad tidings of great joy.

EXPLANATORY NOTES AND QUAINT SAYINGS

Ver. 11. The Lord gave the word: great was the company of those that published it. You shall find, when the enemies of the church are destroyed, that God hath many preachers made that do teach his praises... The words in the original are very significant, and do note two things. First, the word which you read company, in the Hebrew it is "army, "great was the army of preachers. An army of preachers is a great matter; nay, it is a great matter to have seven or eight good preachers in a great army; but to have a whole army of preachers that it glorious. Secondly, it doth note out the heartiness of this preaching army, for the word vpg, soul, is to be understood as in that place of Ecclesiastes; it is said there, "The words or book of the preacher, "which, being in the feminine gender, doth suppose nephesh, and as if he should say, as Vatablus hath it; the words or book of him that hath a preaching soul or heart, or the words of a preaching soul or heart. So here where it is said, great is the army of preachers, the word being in the feminine gender, it is as if he should say, great is the army of preaching souls, whose very hearts within them shall preach of the Lord's works. Now, my brethren, it is much to have a preaching army; but if this army shall with heart and soul preach of God's praise, O that is a blessed thing. Yet thus shall it be when the enemies of God shall be destroyed. And, therefore, seeing God will not lose all those sermons of his own praises, in due time the enemies of the church shall be scattered. William Bridge, in "The True Soldier's Conroy." 1640.

Ver. 11. It is owing to the word, the appointment, and power of God, that any persons are induced or enabled to preach the gospel. John Newton (1725-1807), in "Messiah."

Ver. 11-12. This account of Israel's victories is applicable to victories obtained by the exalted Redeemer, when the enemies of man's salvation were vanquished by the resurrection of Christ, and the heathen nations were compelled to own his power; and this great victory was first notified by women to the disciples. From "A Practical Illustration of the Book of Psalms; by the Author of the Family Commentary on the New Testament." (Mrs. Thompson.)

1826.

Ver. 11-12. The Lord did give his word at his ascension, and there were a multitude of them that published it, and by this means kings of armies were put to flight: they conquered by the word: there is not such another way to rout kings and their armies. William Strong. 1654.

Ver. 11-14.

The Lord giveth the word!

A great company of women announce the glad tidings!

Kings with their armies flee--they flee!

And those, who dwell within the house, divide the spoil!

Although they lie among the hearth stones,

They are become like a dove's wings overlaid with silver,

And like her pinions overlaid with yellow gold.

When the Almighty scattereth kings,

They glisten therein, as snow upon Salmon.

Those who dwell within the house--i.e., the women. They are thus described in allusion to their retired habits of life, in eastern countries. Lie among the hearth stones--i.e., are habitually employed in the lowest domestic offices and whose ordinary dress, therefore, is mean and soiled. The hearth stones --Hebrew rests (for boilers). They are become --by being decked in the spoils of the enemy. --Glisten as snow --Hebrew (each woman) is snowy: therein--i.e., in the spoils distributed amongst them. French and Skinner's Translation and Notes.

HINTS TO THE VILLAGE PREACHER

Ver. 11. The divinity of the gospel; the divers ways and agents for its publication.

Ver. 11-12.

I. The word given: "The Lord." etc.

II. The word proclaimed: "Great, "etc.

III. The word obeyed: "Kings, "etc. Thus it was in Old

Testament times, when to Joshua, to Gideon, to David,

etc., the Lord gave the word, and it ran through the

hosts, and "kings of armies, "etc. Thus it was in

apostolic times, when the word of reconciliation was

given. Thus it is still, and will be more signally

than ever hereafter. G. R.

Psalms 68:12*

EXPOSITION

Ver. 12. Kings of armies did flee apace. The lords of hosts fled before the Lord of Hosts. No sooner did the ark advance than the enemy turned his back: even the princely leaders stayed not, but took to flight. The rout was complete, the retreat hurried and disorderly; --they "did flee, did flee; "helter skelter, pell mell, as we say.

"Where are the kings of mighty hosts?

Fled far away, fled far and wide.

Their triumph and their trophied boasts

The damsels in their bowers divide."

And she that tarried at home divided the spoil. The women who had published the war cry shared the booty. The feeblest in Israel had a portion of the prey. Gallant warriors cast their spoils at the feet of the women and bade them array themselves in splendour, taking each one "a prey of divers colours, of divers colours of needlework on both sides." When the Lord gives success to his gospel, the very best of his saints are made glad and feel themselves partakers in the blessing.

EXPLANATORY NOTES AND QUAINT SAYINGS

Ver. 11-12. See Psalms on "Psalms 68:11" for further information.

Ver. 11-12. See Psalms on "Psalms 68:11" for further information. The Lord did give his word at his ascension, and there were a multitude of them that published it, and by this means kings of armies were put to flight: they conquered by the word: there is not such another way to rout kings and their armies. William Strong. 1654.

Ver. 11-14. See Psalms on "Psalms 68:11" for further information.

Ver. 12. Kings of armies did flee apace. In the Hebrew it is, they fled, they fled; fled is twice. Why so? That is, they did flee very hastily, and they fled most confusedly, they fled all ways; they fled, they fled, noting the greatness of the flight. William Bridge.

Ver. 12. The kings of hosts shall flee. The "hosts" are the numerous well equipped armies which the kings of the heathens lead forth to the battle against the people of God. The unusual expression, "kings of hosts, "sounds very much like an ironically disparaging antithesis to the customary "Jahve of Hosts." Bottcher, quoted by Delitzsch.

Ver. 12. She that tarried at home. That is, all the noncombatants, saith Kimchi. Or, the women also (those domi portae) came forth to pillage. These days of the gospel do abound with many godly matrons and holy virgins. And it is easy to observe that the New Testament affords more store of good women than the old. John Trapp.

Ver. 12. Divided the spoil, not merely (as Hupfeld) "receives her portion of the spoil, "but rather, "distributes among her daughters and handmaidens, etc., the share of the spoil" which her husband has brought home. J. J. Stewart Perowne.

HINTS TO THE VILLAGE PREACHER

Ver. 11-12. See Psalms on "Psalms 68:11" for further information.

Ver. 12. (last clause). The church in redemption as a spouse tarrying at home; her home duties; the spoil of her Lord's glorious and finished work, and her dividing it.

Psalms 68:13*

EXPOSITION

Ver. 13. Though ye have lien among the pots. Does he mean that the women at home, who had been meanly clad as they performed their household work, would be so gorgeously arrayed in the spoil, that they would be like doves of silver wing and golden plumage? Or, would he say that Israel, which had been begrimed in the brick kilns of Egypt, should come forth lustrous and happy in triumph and liberty? Or, did the song signify that the ark should be brought from its poor abode with Obededom into a fairer dwelling place? It is a hard passage, a nut for the learned to crack. If we knew all that was known when this ancient hymn was composed, the allusion would no doubt strike us as being beautifully appropriate, but as we do not, we will let it rest among the unriddled things. Alexander reads it, "When ye shall lie down between the borders, ye shall be like the wings, "etc., which he considers to mean, "when settled in peace, the land shall enjoy prosperity; "but this version does not seem to us any more clear than our authorized one. Of making many conjectures there is no end; but the sense seems to be, that from the lowest condition the Lord would lift up his people into joy, liberty, wealth, and beauty. Their enemies may have called them squatters among the pots--in allusion to their Egyptian slavery; they may have jested at them as scullions of Pharaoh's kitchen; but the Lord would avenge them and give them beauty for blackness, glory for grime.

Yet shall ye be as the wings of a dove covered with silver, and her feathers with yellow gold. The dove's wing flashed light like silver, and anon gleams with the radiance of "the pale, pure gold." The lovely, changeable colours of the dove might well image the mild, lustrous beauty of the nation, when arrayed in white holiday attire, bedecked with their gems, jewels, and ornaments of gold. God's saints have been in worse places than among the pots, but now they soar aloft into the heavenly places in Christ Jesus.

EXPLANATORY NOTES AND QUAINT SAYINGS

Ver. 11-14. See Psalms on "Psalms 68:11" for further information.

Ver. 13. It would neither be profitable nor possible to give the reader all the conjectures with which learned men have illustrated or darkened this passage. My aim has been to give a selection, not perhaps what may be called a judicious one, but a sort of sample selection, containing specimens of interpretations. Hammond, who is a very high authority, collects what are probably the best suggestions; we, therefore, give the substance of his long note upon this place. Solomon Jarchi and others see in the word the idea of boundaries, ways, and paths which serve as divisions of land, hence the divergence of the Septuagint into the meaning of portions and inheritances. The boundaries were usually heaps of stones, broken bricks, and rubbish, hence another meaning. But stones, bricks, etc., were often used to support pots in the open air cookery of the orientals, hence we come to the meaning of "among the pots." And, as Job on his dunghill sat among ashes, and scraped himself with a potsherd, we see that sitting among such rubbish was a conspicuous image of the most dejected and squalid condition. In the wings of a dove, Hammond sees an allusion to the golden cherubic wings which covered the ark, whereby God's presence was exhibited to his people, and their prosperity secured. His explanation of the whole is as follows: -- "The Israelites that were oppressed, and long lay in a sad and black, destitute, despised condition, were now at length advanced to all prosperity, splendour, and glory (as was remarkable in their coming out from the kilns of Egypt, with the jewels and wealth of the Egyptians, and afterward more illustriously at their enjoying of Canaan). And so, under Christ's kingdom, the heathenish idolaters that were brought to the basest and most despicable condition of any creatures, worshipping wood and stone, etc., and given up to the vilest lusts, and a reprobate mind (Romans 1:1-32), should from that detestable condition be advanced to the service of Christ, and practice of all Christian virtues, charity, meekness, etc., the greatest inward beauties in the world." C. H. S.

Ver. 13. Though ye have lien among the pots etc. That is, probably, though ye have laboured and lain down between the brick kilns in Egypt, --a poor, enslaved, and oppressed people, yet ye shall gradually rise to dignity, prosperity, and splendour; as a dove, which has been defiled with dirt, disordered, and dejected, by washing herself in a running stream, and trimming her plumage, gradually recovers the serenity of her disposition, the purity of her colour, and the richness and varied elegance of her appearance. W. Greenfield, in "Comp. Bible."

Ver. 13. Though ye have lien among the pots; or, between two rows of stones (understand hearth stones), as in camps, and elsewhere also, which even to this day used to be laid and disposed to make fire between them to dress meat by, setting on or hanging over it pots and kettles, etc. Others, between or among dripping pans, or pots, the sense being one, and this--though you should be cast or thrust out into the uttermost slavery, or vilest condition (as in Egypt), all besmoked and besmutted, like cooks and scullions, yet shall God through his gracious blessing make you to shine again like a goodly flying dove, which glistens as if it were of silver and gold. Theodore Haak's "Translation of the Dutch Annotations, as ordered by the Synod of Dort in 1618." London, 1657.

Ver. 13. Though ye had lain among the folds. Though ye had been treated by the Egyptians as a company of contemptible shepherds, and were held in abomination by them as such. See Genesis 46:34. William Green, in "A New Translation of the Psalms, with Notes, " etc. 1762.

Ver. 13. (first clause). German, "lie a field, "i.e., though you thus, in deep peace, lie among the sheepfolds. T. C. Barth.

Ver. 13. Will ye lie down among the sheepfolds? A sharp remonstrance. Will ye lie at ease, in the quiet of your pastoral life, as the dove with unsoiled plumage in her peaceful nest, while your brethren are in the tumult and dust of the conflict! Compare Jude 5:16-17 (from which this allusion is taken). Thomas J. Conant.

Ver. 13. Though ye have lien among the pots, etc. Here is one Hebrew word in the original which especially renders the Scripture intricate; namely, Mytpv, shephattajim; which, being a word of divers significations and translations, occasions various interpretations. It is rendered,

(1) limits or bounds;

(2) lots or inheritances;

(3) pots or pot ranges.

1. Some render it two limits, or two bounds (the word being in the dual number); viz., the two limits, bounds or coasts of the enemies, ready to attack, vex, and infest them on each hand. Or, two confines of the country where they fortified themselves against their enemies. This sense some later writers embrace: and it's one of the interpretations which Ainsworth gives, though not in the first place. But this version seems here very unsuitable, for that it quite destroys the elegance and fitness of the opposition between the two metaphors, representing Israel's different conditions, before and under David's government.

2. Some render it two lots, or two inheritances. So the LXX, ana meson twn klhrwn; that is, amidst the lots, or between the inheritances; inheritances, as in Canaan, being anciently set out by lots. This Hierom seems to follow, turning it Si dormiatis inter medios cleros: and thus he expounds it: "When thou believest the two Testaments, in both thou shalt find the Holy Ghost." And though there be a beauty, even according to the letter, to know what thou readest, the force of all the comeliness is in the sense. Therefore, the outward ornament of the words is demonstrated by the name of silver; but the more secret mysteries are contained in the hidden gifts of gold, etc. So that, with him, the two lots are the two Testaments; the dove is the Holy Ghost; her wings covered with silver, the outward letter of the Testaments, the feathers of yellow gold, the inward, spiritual, and mysterious sense. But this is rather a witty allegorical allusion, than a judicious and solid exposition. Augustine also expounds the words much to this effect, but altogether as unsatisfactorily. The ancient Fathers are not always the best expositors.

3. But most do render the word pots or pot ranges. Thus: "Although ye have lien among the pots (or, between the pot ranges; or, between the two banks or rows --viz., of stones to hang pots on in the camp or leaguer), yet shall ye be as the wings of a dove covered (or decked) with silver, and her feathers with yellow greenish gold." And they observe in the words a double metaphor: (1). The one of Israel's lying among the pots, as scullions lie among the pots, kettles, or cauldrons in the camp or leaguer in time of war, and so are blacked, soiled, smutted, deformed; denoting Israel's abject, low, mean, sullied, deformed, and despicable condition under afflictions and extreme distresses in time past in Egypt, the wilderness, Canaan, and in the time of the Judges.

(2). The other of Israel's being like the wings of

a dove (which is of very speedy flight for escape),

of bright silver and beauteous golden colour;

representing their escape and deliverance at last out

of all their blacking, smutting, and deforming

afflictions, into the contrary, beauteous, prosperous,

and happy state under the kingdom of David, especially

of Jesus Christ the true David. Blackness

notes extreme affliction, affliction and misery;

doves' wings, escape; white silver colour and

beauteous golden colour, prosperity and felicity.

Thus the metaphors are elegantly opposed one to

another, and very significantly set forth the several

conditions of Israel; first, as lying among the pots of

deep afflictions in former times, but after as assured

of deliverance, of better days, and that they should be

as a silver winged and golden feathered dove, full

of beauty, comeliness, prosperity, and felicity. To

this effect R. David Kimchi, Pagnin, Calvin, Muis,

Foord, Ainsworth, and others expound these words.

Francis Roberts, in a Sermon entitled "The Checquer work of God's Providences, towards His Own People, made up of Blacks and Whites, " etc. 1657.

Ver. 13. Though ye have lien among the pots, etc. Miss Whately, in her work, "Ragged Life in Egypt, "describing some of the sights witnessed from the flat roofs of the houses in Cairo, among other interesting objects, states: --The roofs are usually in a great state of litter, and were it not that Hasna, the seller of geeleh, gets a palm branch, and makes a clearance once in a while, her roof would assuredly give way under the accumulation of rubbish. One thing never seemed cleared away, and that was the heaps of old broken pitchers, sherds, and pots, that in these and similar houses are piled up in some corner: and there is a curious observation in connection with this. A little before sunset, numbers of pigeons suddenly emerge from behind the pitchers and other rubbish, where they have been sleeping in the heat of the day, or pecking about to find food. They dart upwards, and career through the air in large circles, their outspread wings catching the bright glow of the sun's slanting rays, so that they really resemble bright "yellow gold; "then, as they wheel round, and are seen against the light, they appear as if turned into molten silver, most of them being pure white, or else very light coloured. This may seem fanciful, but the effect of light in these regions is difficult to describe to those who have not seen it; and evening after evening, we watched the circling flight of the doves, and always observed the same appearance. It was beautiful to see these birds, rising clean and unsoiled, as doves always do, from the dust and dirt in which they had been hidden, and soaring aloft in the sky till nearly out of sight among the bright sunset clouds. Thus a believer, who leaves behind him the corruptions of the world, and is rendered bright by the Sun of Righteousness shining upon his soul, rises higher and higher, nearer and nearer to the light, till, lost to the view of those who stay behind, he has passed into the unknown brightness above! Miss Whately, in "Ragged Life in Egypt."

Ver. 13. Silver and yellow gold. The changing colours of the dove's plumage are here described. Mant reads it--

"Whose wings, a silver light illumes,

And gleams of verdant gold play over her burnished plumes!"

It will illustrate the variety of the translations, if we add that of Keble:

"His plumes inlaid with silvery sheen,

His pinions of the pale pure gold."

Personally, I have had cause to remark the flash of the wings of a pigeon, for, in passing before my study window, that bird has often led me to imagine that some unusual light had flashed across the sky; in every case, a mild and silvery light. As to the varying hues of the plumage of birds, Mr. Gosse, after quoting from Sonnerat's Voyage in New Guinea, says, "In reference to the brilliant metallic hues of the epimachus and other birds, the traveller takes occasion to notice the iridescent effect which is produced by the different angles at which light falls on the feathers. The emerald green, for instance, will often fling out rays of its two constituent primary colours, at one time being blue green, at another gold green, while in certain lights all colour vanishes, and a velvet black is presented to the eye." This it seems to me is a very natural and complete explanation of the poetic language here employed. C. H. S.

HINTS TO THE VILLAGE PREACHER

Ver. 13.

I. The contrast.

1. Instead of humiliation, exaltation.

2. Instead of pollution, purity.

3. Instead of inertness, activity.

4. Instead of deformity, beauty. II. Its application.

1. To penitence and pardon.

2. To depravity and regeneration.

3. To affliction and recovery.

4. To desertion and consolation.

5. To death and glory. G. R.

Psalms 68:14*

EXPOSITION

Ver. 14. When the almighty scattered kings in it, it was white as snow in Salmon. The victory was due to the Almighty arm alone; he scattered the haughty ones who came against his people, and he did it as easily as snow is driven from the bleak sides of Salmon. The word white appears to be imported into the text, and by leaving it out the sense is easy. A traveller informed the writer that on a raw and gusty day, he saw the side of what he supposed to be Mount Salmon suddenly swept bare by a gust of wind, so that the snow was driven hither and thither into the air like the down of thistles, or the spray of the sea: thus did the Omnipotent one scatter all the potentates that defied Israel. If our authorized version must stand, the conjectures that the bleached bones of the enemy, or the royal mantles cast away in flight, whitened the battle field, appear to be rather too far fetched for sacred poetry. Another opinion is, that Salmon was covered with dark forests, and appeared black, but presented quite another aspect when the snow covered it, and that by this noteworthy change from sombre shade to gleaming whiteness, the poet sets forth the change from war to peace. Whatever may be the precise meaning, it was intended to pourtray the glory and completeness of the divine triumph over the greatest foes. In this let all believers rejoice.

EXPLANATORY NOTES AND QUAINT SAYINGS

Ver. 11-14. See Psalms on "Psalms 68:11" for further information.

Ver. 14. Salmon or Zalmon, properly Tsalmon, Nwmlu a woody hill near Shechem (Jude 9:48). Whether it is this that's referred to in Psalms 69:14, is disputed. Some interpreters take Nwmlu here in its etymological meaning of darkness, Mlu; thus Luther renders the clause "so wird es helle wo es dunkel ist, "thus it be bright where it is dark, and understands it with a Messianic reference. Ewald adopts much the same rendering. The majority, however, retain the name as a proper name, but exhibit great variety in their explanation of the passage. Hengstenberg thinks that the phrase, "it snows on Tsalmon, "is equivalent to "there is brightness where there was darkness, "the hill, originally dark with wood, is now white with snow. De Dieu supposes a comparison: Tsalmon is white with the bones of the slaughtered kings, as if with snow. Some suppose that there is here a mere note of time: it was winter, the snow was on Tsalmon (Herder); and this Hupfeld adopts, with the explanation that the statement is made derisively, with reference to those who tarried at home, deterred by the winter's snow. He considers the passage (Psalms 68:12-14) as a fragment of an ancient song, celebrating some of the early conquests of Israel in Canaan, and deriding those, who, from indolence or fear, shrank from the enterprise. He translates thus:

"The kings of the armies, flee, flee,

And the housewife shares the spoil!

Will ye lie among the shippens?

Pigeons feathers decked with silver,

And their wings with yellow gold!

As the Almighty scattered kings therein,

It was snowing on Tsalmon."

William Lindsay Alexander, in "A Cyclopaedia of Biblical Literature." 1866.

Ver. 14. The verb may be viewed as in the second person-- Thou, O God! didst make it fair and white as Mount Salmon with snow. The reader may adopt either construction, for the meaning is the same. It is evident that David insists still upon the figure of the whiteness of silver, which he had previously introduced. The country had, as it were, been blackened or sullied by the hostile confusion into which it was thrown, and he says that it had now recovered its fair appearance, and resembled Salmon, which is well known to have been ordinarily covered with snows. Others think that Salmon is not the name of a place, but an appellative, meaning a dark shade. I would retain the commonly received reading. At the same time, I think that there may have been an allusion to the etymology. It comes from the word Mlu, tselem, signifying a shade, and Mount Salmon had been so called on account of its blackness. This makes the comparison more striking; for it intimates that as the snows whitened this black mountain, so the country had resumed its former beauty, and put on an aspect of joy, when God dispelled the darkness which had lain upon it during the oppression of enemies. John Calvin.

Ver. 14. It was as white as snow in Salmon. That is, this thine inheritance, thy peculiar people, appeared as bright and glorious in the sight of their neighbours, as the snowy head of Salmon glistens by the reflection of the sunbeams. Thomas Fenton.

Ver. 14. White as snow in Salmon. The expression here used seems to denote, that everything seemed as bright and cheerful to the mind of God's people, as Salmon does to their eyes, when glistening with snow. As snow is much less common, and lies a much shorter time in Judaea than in England, no wonder that it is much more admired; accordingly, the son of Sirach speaks of it with a kind of rapture. "The eye will be astonished at the beauty of its whiteness, and the heart transported at the raining of it." Sirach 43:18 or 20. Samuel Burder.

Ver. 14. Salmon. Dean Stanley conjectures that Salmon in another name for Mount Ebal; it was certainly near Shechem (see Jude 9:48), but it is almost hopeless to expect to identify it, for Mr. Mills, the industrious author of "Nablus and the modern Samaritans, "could not find any one who knew the name of Salmon, neither could he discover any traditions in reference to it, or indeed any allusion to it in Samaritan literature. The word signifies a shade, and may, perhaps, popularly be accepted as identical with the name the "Black Forest." C. H. S.

HINTS TO THE VILLAGE PREACHER

Ver. 14.

I. Where earth's greatest battles are fought.

"Scattered, ""in it, "i.e., in Zion. "There

brake he, "etc.

II. By whom? The Almighty.

III. When? In answer to his people's faith and prayer.

IV. How?

1. Without noise, gently: as the fall of snow.

2. Without human aid: as untrodden snow.

3. Without violence: "All bloodless lay the untrodden snow." G. R.

Psalms 68:15*

EXPOSITION

Ver. 15. Here the priests on the summit of the chosen hill begin to extol the Lord for his choice of Zion as his dwelling place.

The hill of God is as the hill of Bashan, or more accurately, "a hill of God is Bashan, "that is to say, Bashan is an eminent mountain, far exceeding Zion in height. According to the Hebrew custom, every great or remarkable thing is thus designated. Where we talk of the Devil's Dyke, the Devil's Ditch, the Devil's Punch Bowl, etc., the more commendable idiom of the Hebrews speaks of the hill of God, the trees of the Lord, the river of God, etc.

An high hill as the hill of Bashan, or rather, "a mount of peaks is Bashan." It does not appear that Zion is compared with Bashan, but contrasted with it. Zion certainly was not a high hill comparatively; and it is here conceded that Bashan is a greater mount, but not so glorious, for the Lord in choosing Zion had exalted it above the loftier hills. The loftiness of nature is made as nothing before the Lord. He chooses as pleases him, and, according to the counsel of his own will, he selects Zion, and passes by the proud, uplifted peaks of Bashan; thus doth he make the base things of this world, and things that are despised, to become monuments of his grace and sovereignty.

EXPLANATORY NOTES AND QUAINT SAYINGS

Ver. 15. Hill of Bashan. The world's physical greatness must yield to the church's spiritual grandeur. The "hill of God" is here an emblem of the world kingdoms, which (Psalms 65:6) are great only by the grace of God. A great hill reminds us of the creative power of God. Hence, "the hill of Elohim" (the general name of God as the Creator) stands in contrast to the hill which (Psalms 68:16) "the Lord" (Jehovah) will dwell in for ever. It lay in the north, in the region east of Jordan, or the land of Hermon, the kingdom of Og, the most formidable enemy whom Israel encountered on their march to Canaan. "The hill of Bashan is the high snow summit of Anti Lebanon, or Hermon, the extreme limit of Bashan. There was a peculiar propriety, from its position on the boundary between Judaea and the heathen world, in employing it as a symbol of the world's might (Ps 68:22 42:6 89:12)" (Hengstenberg). The original name of Hermon as Sion; i.e., lofty (De 4:48); allied in sound to Zion, which suggested the contrast here between the world hills and the Lord's hill. A. R. Fausset.

Ver. 15-16: --

"A mountain of God Mount Bashan is.

A mountain of peaks Mount Bashan is,

Why are ye piqued, ye peaked mountains?

At the mountain which God desires to dwell in?

Yea, Jehovah will dwell therein forever." Frederic Fysh's Version.

HINTS TO THE VILLAGE PREACHER

Ver. 15-16.

I. The superiority of the hill of Zion.

1. In fertility, to the hill of Bashan; to earthly pleasures.

2. In glory, to other hills; to human heights of learning and power. II. The reason of that superiority.

1. The place of God's choice.

2. Of his delight

3. Of his abode.

4. Of his continuance for ever. G. R.

Psalms 68:16*

EXPOSITION

Ver. 16. Why leap ye, ye high hills? Why are ye moved to envy? Envy as ye may, the Lord's choice is fixed. Lift up yourselves, and even leap from your seats, ye cannot reach the sublimity which Jehovah's presence has bestowed on the little hill of Moriah.

This is the hill which God desireth to dwell in. Elohim makes Zion his abode, yea, Jehovah resides there.

Yea, the Lord will dwell in it for ever. Spiritually the Lord abides eternally in Zion, his chosen church, and it was Zion's glory to be typical thereof. What were Carmel and Sirion, with all their height, compared to Zion, the joy of the whole earth! God's election is a patent of nobility. They are choice men whom God has chosen, and that place is superlatively honoured which he honours with his presence.

EXPLANATORY NOTES AND QUAINT SAYINGS

Ver. 15-16: -- See Psalms on "Psalms 68:15" for further information.

Ver. 16. Why leap ye? As triumphing, and making a show of your natural advantages over Sion. Or, to insult over it, and compare and equalise yourselves in honour with it; poetical kind of speeches. Others translate it, Why gaze you, as though you were ravished with admiration? John Diodati.

Ver. 16. This is the hill which God desireth to dwell in. This low, little, barren hill of Zion; and God's election maketh the difference, as it did of Aaron's rod from the rest, and doth still of the church from the rest of the world. The Lamb Christ is on Mount Zion. Revelation 14:1. John Trapp.

HINTS TO THE VILLAGE PREACHER

Ver. 15-16. See Psalms on "Psalms 68:15" for further information.

Ver. 16.

I. The church the dwelling place of God.

1. Elected of old.

2. Favoured for ever.

3. Affording rest, etc., as a home for God.

4. Receiving honour, etc., for herself. II. The church, therefore, envied by others.

1. They feel their own greatness outdone.

2. They leap with rage.

3. They are unreasonable in so doing.

Psalms 68:17*

EXPOSITION

Ver. 17. The chariots of God are twenty thousand. Other countries, which in the former verse were symbolically referred to as "high hills, "gloried in their chariots of war; but Zion, though far more lowly, was stronger than they, for the omnipotence of God was to her as two myriads of chariots. The Lord of Hosts could summon more forces into the field than all the petty lords who boasted in their armies; his horses of fire and chariots of fire would be more than a match for their fiery steeds and flashing cars. The original is grandly expressive: "the war chariots of Elohim are myriads, a thousand thousands." The marginal reading of our Bibles, even many thousands, is far more correct than the rendering, even thousands of angels. It is not easy to see where our venerable translators found these "angels, "for they are not in the text; however, as it is a blessing to entertain them unawares, we are glad to meet with them in English, even though the Hebrew knows them not; and the more so because it cannot be doubted that they constitute a right noble squadron of the myriad hosts of God. We read in De 33:2, of the Lord's coming "with ten thousands of saints, "or holy ones, and in Hebrews 12:22, we find upon mount Zion "an innumerable company of angels, "so that our worthy translators putting the texts together, inferred the angels, and the clause is so truthfully explanatory, that we have no fault to find with it. The Lord is among them, as in Sinai, in the holy place, or, "it is a Sinai in holiness." God is in Zion as the Commander in chief of his countless hosts, and where he is, there is holiness. The throne of grace on Zion is as holy as the throne of justice on Sinai. The displays of his glory may not be so terrible under the new covenant as under the old; but they are even more marvellous if seen by the spiritual eye. Sinai has no excellency of glory beyond Zion; but the rather it pales its light of law before the noontide splendours of Zion's grace and truth. How joyful was it to a pious Hebrew to know that God was as truly with his people in the tabernacle and temple as amid the terrors of the Mount of Horeb; but it is even more heart cheering to us to be assured that the Lord abides in his church, and has chosen it to be his rest for ever. May we be zealous for the maintenance of holiness in the spiritual house which God condescends to occupy; let a sense of his presence consume, as with flames of fire, every false way. The presence of God is the strength of the church; all power is ours when God is ours. Twenty thousand chariots shall bear the gospel to the ends of the earth; and myriads of agencies shall work for its success. Providence is on our side, and it "has servants everywhere." There is no room for a shade of doubt or discouragement, but every reason for exultation and confidence.

EXPLANATORY NOTES AND QUAINT SAYINGS

Ver. 17. The chariots of God. What are these "chariots of God?" Come, we will not stand to mince the matter, look but round about thee, and thou shalt see those innumerable chariots and angels here spoken of; for so many creatures as thou seest, so many angels and chariots of God thou seest; they are all his host, they are all his chariots wherein he rides; and, whether you see it or no, The Lord is among them, as in Sinai, in the holy place. The glory of the Lord fills them all (had we but our eyes open to see it so), and they are all at his command, and there is not one creature but doth his pleasure. Oh, brethren! how glorious and blessed a thing it is, that looking round about us to behold and see, that look how many creatures visible and invisible you see or conceive in thy mind to be, for thy soul now to look on them as so many fiery chariots and horsemen for its defence, protection, and preservation! And, on the other hand, "How fearful a thing it is to fall into the hands of the living God, "who hath all these chariots and horsemen at his command to execute his will and vengeance on those that neglect, hate, and oppose him. John Everard, in "Militia Caelestis, or the Heavenly Host." 1653.

Ver. 17. --

"About his chariot numberless were poured

Cherubs, and seraph, potentates, and thrones,

And Virtues, winged Spirits, and chariots win

From the armoury of God, where stand of old

Myriads." John Milton, in "Paradise Lost."

Ver. 17. Twenty-thousand; rather, two myriads, Mytbr singular wkr; for twbr only here in the dual, the infinite number doubled. "Thousands of angels, "literally, thousands of iteration; i.e., with margin, many thousands (Bythner, Gesenius, &c.). Nagv only here, from hgv, to repeat. The rendering of angels was probably suggested by the reference to Sinai, next clause (see De 33:2, where for saints read holy ones; ) chariots bkr being used collectively for those who rode in them, as often elsewhere. William de Burgh.

HINTS TO THE VILLAGE PREACHER

Ver. 17-18.

I. The comparison between Zion and Sinai.

1. The same Lord is there: "The Lord is among, "etc.

2. The same attendants: "The chariots, "etc. II. The contrast.

1. God descended at Sinai, ascended from near Zion.

2. Put a yoke upon them at Sinai, leads captivity captive at Zion.

3. At Sinai demanded obedience, in Zion bestows gifts.

4. In Sinai spoke terror, in Zion receives gifts for the rebellious.

5. In Sinai appeared for a short season, in Zion dwells for ever. G. R.

Psalms 68:18*

EXPOSITION

Ver. 18. Thou hast ascended on high. The ark was conducted to the summit of Zion; God himself took possession of the high places of the earth, being extolled and very high. The antitype of the ark, the Lord Jesus, has ascended into the heavens with signal marks of triumph. To do battle with our enemies, the Lord descended and left his throne; but now the fight is finished, he returns to his glory; high above all things is he now exalted.

Thou hast led captivity captive. A multitude of the sons of men are the willing captives of Messiah's power. As great conquerors of old led whole nations into captivity, so Jesus leads forth from the territory of his foe a vast company as the trophies of his mighty grace. From the gracious character of his reign it comes to pass that to be led into captivity by him is for our captivity to cease, or to be itself led captive; a glorious result indeed. The Lord Jesus destroys his foes with their own weapons: he puts death to death, entombs the grave, and leads captivity captive.

Thou hast received gifts for men, or, received gifts among men: they have paid thee tribute, O mighty Conqueror, and shall in every age continue to do so willingly, delighting in thy reign. Paul's rendering is the gospel one: Jesus has "received gifts for men, "of which he makes plentiful distribution, enriching his church with the priceless fruits of his ascension, such as apostles, evangelists, pastors, and teachers, and all their varied endowments. In him, the man who received gifts for man, we are endowed with priceless treasures, and moved with gratitude, we return gifts to him, yea, we give him ourselves, our all.

Yea, for the rebellious also: these gifts the rebels are permitted to share in; subdued by love, they are indulged with the benefits peculiar to the chosen. The original runs, "even the rebellious, "or, "even from the rebellious, "of which the sense is that rebels become captives to the Lord's power, and tributaries to his throne.

"Great King of grace my heart subdue,

I would be led in triumph too;

As willing captive to my Lord,

To own the conquests of his word."

That the Lord God might dwell among them. In the conquered territory, Jah Elohim would dwell as Lord of all, blessing with his condescending nearness those who were once his foes. When Canaan was conquered, and the fort of Zion carried by storm, then was there found a resting place for the ark of God; and so when the weapons of victorious grace have overcome the hearts of men, the Lord God, in all the glory of his name, makes them to be his living temples. Moreover, the ascension of Jesus is the reason for the descent of the Lord God, the Holy Spirit. Because Jesus dwells with God, God dwells with men. Christ on high is the reason for the Spirit below. It was expedient that the Redeemer should rise, that the Comforter should come down.

EXPLANATORY NOTES AND QUAINT SAYINGS

Ver. 18. Thou hast ascended on high, etc. Some think it refers to God's goings forth on behalf of his people Israel, leading them forth to victory, taking their enemies captive, and enriching them with the spoils. Suppose it be so, we are warranted to consider it as mainly referring to Christ, for so the apostle has applied it. Ephesians 4:8. The apostle not only applies it to Christ, but proves it applicable. Thus he reasons (Psalms 68:9-10), "Now that he ascended, what is it but that he also descended, "etc. The captivity which he led captive was our spiritual enemies who had led us captive-- Satan, death; and, having obtained the victory, he proceeds to divide the spoils. Gifts to men --as David made presents. And hence comes our ordinances, ministers, etc. There was a glorious fulfilment immediately after his ascension, in a rich profusion of gifts and graces to his church, like David's presents. Here it is received; in Ephesians, gave. He received that he might give; received the spoil that he might distribute it. But, as I wish to appropriate the passage to the work allotted me, the whole of that to which I would at this time call your attention will be contained in two things: --

I. The great blessings of the Christian ministry.

1. Ministers are received for, and are given to, you by Christ. As men, and as sinful men, ministers are as nothing, and wish not to make anything of themselves; but, as the gifts of Christ, it becomes you to make much of them. (1.) If you love Christ, you will make much of your minister, on account of his being his gift--a gift designed to supply Christ's absence in a sort. He is gone ("ascended"), but he gives you his servants. By and by you hope to be with him, but as yet you are as sheep in the wilderness. He gives you a shepherd. (2.) If you fear God, you will be afraid of treating your pastor amiss, seeing he is the gift of Christ. God took it ill of Israel for despising Moses. Numbers 12:8. He is "my servant."

2. Ministers are not only given to, but received for you, of God the Father, as a covenant blessing, among the spiritual blessings in heavenly places in Christ. In this view, consider that Christ received nothing at his Father's hand but what cost him dear--cost him his life. Or, if the allusion be to the dividing of the spoils, suppose we say, he received them as a conqueror receives the spoils at the hand of the foe. Your minister was one of those who, like yourselves, were brands consuming in the fire. Christ took him from your enemies and gives him to you. Make much of the gift on this account. "This I received of the Amorite."

3. Consider your unworthiness of such a blessing. You are men, mere men, and what is more, rebellious men, who had joined with Satan. And must you share the spoils? It is not usual to divide the spoils amongst rebels... Men that put him to death had these gifts given to them; and we should all have done the same. Some of you, it is likely, have been vile and abandoned characters and yet, etc...

4. The end of it: That the Lord God might dwell among them. "But will God, indeed, dwell with men?" God had not dwelt with the world, nor in it, while sin bore the rule; but Christ's mediation was for the bringing it about. "Will God, indeed, dwell with men?" He will, and how? It is by the means of ordinances and ministers. A church of Christ is God's house; and where any one builds a house, it is a token that he means to dwell there. What a blessing to a village, a country, for God to build a house in it. It is by this that we may hope for a blessing upon the means to the conversion of our children and friends, and for the edification of believers. II. Point out some corresponding duties as answering to these your privileges.

1. Constant and diligent attendance at the house of God. If the house of God be God's dwelling, let it be yours, your home. If God gives you a pastor, do you thankfully receive and prize him. He hath not dealt so with every village.

2. Cheerfully contribute to his support. Christ has given you freely, and you ought to give him freely. Consider it is not as a gift, but as a debt, and not as done to him, but to Christ.

3. Follow those things which make for peace, with which the presence and blessing of God are connected.

4. Shun those things that tend to provoke the Lord to withdraw his gifts, and to cease to dwell among you. Andrew Fuller's Sketch of a Sermon, addressed to the Church at Moulton, on the Ordination of Mr. (since Doctor) Carey, August 1st, 1787.

Ver. 18. But who is he of whom it is written, that he ascended up on high? I confess that the sixty-eighth Psalm, wherein these words are first written, is literally to be understood, not of any triumph, for the slaughter of the host of Sennacherib, which was done in the time of king Hezekiah (as the Jews do most fabulously dream), when the very title of this Psalm, that ascribes it unto David, doth sufficiently confute this vanity; nor yet for any of the victories of David which he obtained against his bordering enemies, the Ammonites, the Moabites, the Idumaeans, and the Philistines (as some would have it); but of that great and glorious pomp which was then done and showed, when king David with great joy and triumph did bring the ark of the covenant into the hill of Sion; and, therefore, these words, Thou art gone up on high, so dignify that the ark, which formerly had lain in an obscure place, and was transported from one place to another, was now ascended and seated in a most illustrious and conspicuous place, even in the kingly palace; and these words. Thou hast led captivity captive, do signify those enemies which formerly had spoiled and wasted divers countries; but now, being vanquished by king David, were led captive in this triumph (for so it was the manner of those times, as Plutarch doth excellently declare in the life of Paulus Amilius); and the other words, thou hast received gifts for men, do signify those spoils that were freely offered for conditions of peace, and were triumphantly carried about in this pompous show, for the greater solemnity of the same; and then (as the manner was among the chieftains when they triumphed, Bellica laudatis dona dedisse viris, to bestow warlike gifts upon worthy men), gifts were bestowed on several men, in several manner, as Sigonius sheweth. Yet I say that, mystically, this Psalm is an epinikion, or a triumphal song, penned by king David upon the foresight of Jesus Christ arising from the dead, and with great joy and triumph ascending up into heaven, and thence sending his Holy Spirit unto his apostles and disciples; and having overcome all his enemies, collecting by the ministry of his preachers, his churches and chosen people together, and so guiding and defending them here in this life, until he doth receive them into eternal glory. Griffith Williams. 1636.

Ver. 18. Thou hast led captivity captive. The expression is emphatic. He has conquered and triumphed over all the powers which held us in captivity, so that captivity itself is taken captive. The spirit and force of it is destroyed; and his people, when released by him, and walking in his ways, have no more to apprehend from those whose captives they were, than a conqueror has to fear from a prisoner in chains. The energy of the phrase is not unlike that of the apostle: "Death is swallowed up in victory." John Newton.

Ver. 18. Thou hast led captivity captive, etc. The ancient prophecy of David is fulfilled here on the foot of mount Olivet. To take "captivity captive, "signifies that Christ conquered the allied principalities and powers, the devil, sin, death, and hell; and that he deprived them of the instruments wherewith they enslaved men. He not only silenced the cannon on the spiritual Gibraltar, but he took rock, fortifications, and all. He not only silenced the horrible and destructive battlements of the powerful and compactly united ghostly enemies, but he threw down the towers, razed the castles, and took away the keys of the dungeons. He is the Master henceforth, and for ever. He did, also, at the same time, save his people. Where, O Jesus, is the army of which thou art the Captain? "Here! all the names are written in pearls on the breastplate which I wear as a high priest." He had no sooner left the grave than he began to distribute his gifts, and did so all along the road on his way to his Father's house; and, especially after he entered the heaven of heavens, did he shower down gifts unto men, as a mighty conqueror loaded with treasures with which to enrich and adorn his followers and people. They were gifts of mercy: gifts to the rebellious; to those who threw down their arms at his feet in penitent submission, that the Lord God may dwell among them. The apostle shows that a portion of these gifts are gifts of ministry. Accordingly, whenever God condescends to dwell among a people and in a country, he gives that people and country this ministry. He sends them his gospel in the mouths of faithful servants. He establishes there his house; the board and the candlestick; and then, in his Spirit, he dwells there and blesses his heritage. Christmas Evans. 1766-1838.

Ver. 18. The apostle (Ephesians 4:8) does not quote the words of the Psalm literally, but according to the sense. The phrase, Thou hast received gifts, as applied to Christ as his glorification, could only be for the purpose of distribution, and hence the apostle quotes them in this sense, He gave gifts to men. This Hebrew phrase may be rendered either, "Thou hast received gifts in the human nature, "or, "Thou hast received gifts for the sake of man" (see Genesis 18:28, 2 Kings 14:6). The apostle uses the words in the sense of the purpose for which the gifts were received, and there is no contradiction between the psalmist and the apostle. Thus, the difficulties of this quotation vanish when we examine them closely, and the Old and New Testaments are in complete harmony. Rosenmueller expounds Psalms 18:1-50, and never mentions the name of Christ; and the neologists in general see no Messiah in the Old Testament. To these, indeed, Ephesians 4:8, if they had any modesty, would present a formidable obstacle. Paul asserts the Psalm belongs to Christ, and they assert he is mistaken, and that he has perverted (De Wette) and destroyed its meaning. They assert that Lamarom, "on high, "means the heights of Mount Zion, and Paul says it means heaven. Which is right? (see the scriptural usage of the word, Ps 7:7 18:16 93:4 102:19 Jeremiah 25:30, Isaiah 37:23). These passages connect the word with the heavenly mansions, and justify the application of the apostle. William Graham, in "Lectures on St. Paul's Epistle to the Ephesians."

Ver. 18. No sooner is Christ inaugurated in his throne, but he scatters his coin, and gives gifts. He gives gifts, or the gift of gifts, the gift of the Holy Ghost. "If thou knewest the gift of God, " said Christ to the Samaritan woman (John 4:10): that gift was the water of life, and that water of life was the Spirit, as John, who knew best his mind, gave the interpretation, "This spake he of the Spirit." John 7:39. O my soul, consider of this princely gift of Christ! Such a gift was never before, but when God gave his Son. "God so loved the world, that he gave his Son; "and Christ so loved the world, that he gave his Spirit. But, O my soul, consider especially to whom this Spirit was given; the application of the gift is the very soul of thy meditation: "unto us a Son is given, "saith the prophet (Isaiah 9:6); and "unto us the Holy Ghost is given, " saith the apostle (Romans 5:5); and yet above all consider the reasons of this gift in reference to thyself. Was it not to make thee a temple and receptacle of the Holy Ghost? Stand a while on this! Admire, O my soul, at the condescending, glorious, and unspeakable love of Christ in this! It was infinite love to come down into our nature when he was incarnate; but this is more, to come down into thy heart by his Holy Spirit: he came near to us then, but as if that were not near enough, he comes nearer now, for now he unites himself unto thy person, now he comes and dwells in thy soul by his Holy Spirit. Isaac Ambrose. 1592-1674.

Ver. 18. Thou hast received gifts for men. The glorious ascending of God from Mount Sinai, after the giving of the law, was a representation of his "ascending up far above all heavens, that he might fill all things, "as Ephesians 4:10. And, as God then "led captivity captive" in the destruction of Pharaoh and the Egyptians, who had long held his people in captivity and under cruel bondage; so dealt the Lord Christ now in the destruction and captivity of Satan and all his powers (Colossians 2:15); only, whereas it is said in the Psalm that he "received gifts for men, "here (Ephesians 4:8) it is said that "he gave gifts to men, "wherein no small mystery is couched; for, although Christ is God, and is so gloriously represented in the Psalm, yet an intimation is given that he should act what is here mentioned in a condition wherein he was capable to receive from another, as he did in this matter. Acts 2:33. And so the phrase in the original doth more than insinuate: Mdab twgtm txql "Thou hast received gifts in Adam, "--in the man, of human nature. And signifies as well to give as to receive, especially when anything is received to be given. Christ received this gift in the human nature to give it unto others. Now, to what end is this glorious theatre, as it were, prepared, and all this preparation made, all men being called to the preparation of it? It was to set out the greatness of the gift he would bestow, and the glory of the work which he would effect; and this was to furnish the church with ministers, and ministers with gifts for the discharge of their office and duty. And it will one day appear that there is more glory, more excellency, in giving one poor minister unto a congregation, by furnishing him with spiritual gifts for the discharge of his duty, than in the pompous instalment of a thousand popes, cardinals, or metropolitans. The worst of men, in the observance of a few outward rites and ceremonies, can do the latter; Christ only can do the former, and that as he is ascended up on high to that purpose. John Owen.

Ver. 18. As the passage which we have now been considering is applied by Paul in a more spiritual sense to Christ (Ephesians 4:8), it may be necessary to show how this agrees with the meaning and scope of the psalmist. It may be laid down as an incontrovertible truth, that David, in reigning over God's ancient people, shadowed forth the beginning of Christ's eternal kingdom. This must appear evident to every one who remembers the promise made to him of a never failing succession, and which received its verification in the person of Christ. As God illustrated his power in David, by exalting him with the view of delivering his people, so has he magnified his name in his only begotten Son. But let us consider more particularly how the parallel holds. Christ, before he was exalted, emptied himself of his glory, having not merely assumed the form of a servant, but humbled himself to the death of the cross. To show how exactly the figure was fulfilled, Paul notices, that what David had foretold was accomplished in the person of Christ, by his being cast down to the lowest parts of the earth in the reproach and ignominy to which he was subjected, before he ascended to the right hand of his Father. Psalms 22:7. That in thinking upon the ascension, we might not confine our views to the body of Christ, our attention is called to the result and fruit of it, in his subjecting heaven and earth to his government. Those who were formerly his inveterate enemies he compelled to submission and made tributary; this being the effect of the word of the Gospel, to lead men to renounce their pride and their obstinacy, to bring down every high thought which exalteth itself, and reduce the senses and the affections of men to obedience unto Christ. As to the devils and reprobate men who are instigated to rebellion and revolt by obstinate malice, he holds them bound by secret control, and prevents them from executing intended destruction. So far the parallel is complete. Nor, when Paul speaks of Christ having given gifts to men, is there any real inconsistency with what is here stated, although he has altered the words, having followed the Greek version in accommodation to the unlearned reader. It was not himself that God enriched with the spoils of the enemy, but his people; and neither did Christ seek, or need to seek, his advancement, but made his enemies tributary, that he might adorn his Church with the spoil. From the close union subsisting between the head and the members, to say that God manifest in the flesh received gifts from the captives, is one and the same thing with saying that he distributed them to his Church. What is said in the close of the verse is no less applicable to Christ; that he obtained his victories that as God he might dwell among us. Although he departed, it was not that he might remove to a distance from us, but, as Paul says, "that he might fill all things." Ephesians 4:10. By his ascension to heaven, the glory of his divinity has been only more illustriously displayed; and, though no longer present with us in the flesh, our souls receive spiritual nourishment from his body and blood, and we find, notwithstanding distance of place, that his flesh is meat indeed, and his blood drink indeed. John Calvin.

Ver. 18. Thou hast received gifts for men. Hebrew Mdak, in man; "in human nature", says Dr. Adam Clarke, "and God, manifest in human flesh, dwells among mortals." "The gifts which Jesus Christ distributes to man he has received in man, in and by virtue of his incarnation, and it is in consequence of his being made man that it may be said, `the Lord God dwells among them; 'for Jesus was called Immanuel, `God with us, 'in consequence of his incarnation." Editors note to Calvin in loc.

Ver. 18. Yea, for the rebellious also. I feared, also, that this was the mark that the Lord did set on Cain, even continual fear and trembling under the heavy load of guilt that he had charged upon him for the blood of his brother Abel. Thus did I wind and twine and shrink under the burden that was upon me, which burden also did so oppress me, that I could neither stand, nor go, nor lie, either at rest or quiet. Yet that saying would sometimes come to my mind, He hath received gifts for the rebellious. Psalms 68:18. "The rebellious, "thought I; why, surely, they are such as once were under subjection to their prince, even those who, after they have sworn subjection to his government, have taken up arms against him; and this, thought I, is my very condition; once I loved him, feared him, served him; but now I am a rebel; I have sold him. I have said, let him go if he will; but yet he has gifts for rebels, and then why not for me? John Bunyan, in "Grace Abounding."

Ver. 18. (last clause). Thou didst not regard their former disobedience, but, even although seeing them contradicting, thou didst continue to do them good, until thou madest them thine own abode oikhthrion. Theodoret.

Ver. 18. (last clause). The Chaldee has, "Upon the rebellious, who become proselytes and return by repentance, the shechinah of the glory of the Lord God dwelleth."

HINTS TO THE VILLAGE PREACHER

Ver. 17-18. See Psalms on "Psalms 68:17" for further information.

Ver. 18.

I. Christ's ascension.

II. His victories.

III. The gifts he received for men; and

IV. The great end for which he bestows them. John Newton.

Ver. 18. That the Lord God might dwell among them. It is ground for devout wonder that God should dwell among men, when we contemplate his immensity, loftiness, independence, holiness, and sovereignty; yet he does so--

I. In the coming of Christ into the world.

II. In the residence of his Spirit in the heart.

III. In the presence of God in his churches. William Staughton, D.D. 1770-1829.

Psalms 68:19*

EXPOSITION

Ver. 19. Blessed be the Lord. At the mention of the presence of God among men the singers utter an earnest acclamation suggested by reverential love, and return blessings to him who so plentifully blesses his people.

Who daily loadeth us with benefits. Our version contains a great and precious truth, though probably not the doctrine intended here. God's benefits are not few nor light, they are loads; neither are they intermittent, but they come "daily; "nor are they confined to one or two favourites, for all Israel can say, he loadeth us with benefits. Delitzsch reads it, "He daily bears our burden; "and Alexander, "Whoever lays a load upon us, the Mighty God is our salvation." If he himself burdens us with sorrow, he gives strength sufficient to sustain it; and if others endeavour to oppress us, there is no cause for fear, for the Lord will come to the rescue of his people. Happy nation, to be subdued by a King whose yoke is easy, and who secures his people from all fear of foreign burdens which their foes might try to force upon them.

Even the God of our salvation. A name most full of glory to him, and consolation to us. No matter how strong the enemy, we shall be delivered out of his hands; for God himself, as King, undertakes to save his people from all harm. What a glorious stanza this is! It is dark only because of its excessive light. A world of meaning is condensed into a few words. His yoke is easy, and his burden is light, therefore blessed be the Saviour's name for evermore. All hail! thou thrice blessed Prince of Peace! All thy saved ones adore thee, and call thee blessed.

Selah. Well may the strings need tuning, they have borne an unparalleled strain in this mighty song. Higher and yet higher, ye men of music, lift up the strain. Dance before the ark, ye maidens of Israel; bring forth the timbrel, and sing unto the Lord who hath triumphed gloriously.

EXPLANATORY NOTES AND QUAINT SAYINGS

Ver. 19. Blessed be the Lord, etc. I think the sweet singer of Israel seems to raise his note to the emulation of the choir of heaven in the melody of their Allelujahs; yea, let me say, now that he sings above in that blessed consort of glorious spirits, his ditty cannot be better than this that he sang here upon earth, and wherein we are about to bear our parts at this time. Prepare, I beseech you, both your ears for David's song, and your hearts and tongues for your own. And first, in this angelic strain your thoughts cannot but observe the descant and the ground. The descant of gratulation, Blessed be the Lord, wherein is both applause and excitation; an applause given to God's goodness, and an excitation of others to give that applause. The ground is a threefold respect. Of what God is in himself, God and Lord; of what God is and doth to us, which loadeth us daily with benefits; of what he is both in himself and to us, the God of our salvation; which last (like to some rich stone) is set off with a dark foil: To God the Lord belong the issues from death. So, in the first for his own sake, in the second for our sakes, in the third for his own and ours; as God, as Lord, as a benefactor; as a Saviour and deliverer. Blessed be the Lord. It is not hard to observe that David's Allelujahs are more that his Hosannas, his thanks more than his suits. Ofttimes doth he praise God when he begs nothing; seldom ever doth he beg that favour, for which he doth not raise up his soul to an anticipation of thanks; neither is this any other than the universal under song of all his heavenly ditties, Blessed be the Lord. Praises (as our former translation hath it) is too low; honour is more than praise; blessing is more than honour. Neither is it for nothing that from this word Krb, to bless, is derived Krb, the knee, which is bowed in blessing; and the crier before Joseph proclaimed Abrech, calling for the honour of the knee from all beholders. Genesis 41:43. Every slight, trivial acknowledgment of worth is a praise; blessing is in a higher strain of gratitude, that carries the whole sway of the heart with it in a kind of divine rapture. Praise is a matter of compliment; blessing of devotion. The apostle's rule is, that the less is blessed of the greater, Abraham of the King of Salem, the prophet's charge is, that the greater should be blessed of the less, yea, the greatest of the least, God of man. This agrees well; blessing is an act that will bear reciprocation; God blesseth man imperatively; man blesseth God optatively. God blesseth man in the acts of mercy; man blesseth God in the notions, in the expressions of thanks. God blesses man when he makes him good and happy; man blesseth God when he confesseth how good, how gracious, how glorious he is; so as the blessing is wholly taken up in agnation, (acknowledgment), in celebration: in the one we acknowledge the bounty of God to us; in the other we magnify him vocally, really, for that bounty. O see, then, what high account God makes of the affections and actions that his poor, silly, earth creeping creatures; that he gives us in them power to bless himself, and takes it as an honour to be blessed of us. David wonders that God should so vouchsafe to bless man; how much more must we needs wonder at the mercy of God, that will vouchsafe to be blessed by man, a worm, an atom, a nothing? Yet both, James tells us, that with the tongue we bless God; and the psalmist calls for it here as a service of dear acceptation, Blessed be the Lord. Even we men live not (chameleon like) upon the air of thanks, nor grow the fatter for praises; how much less our Maker? O God, we know well that whatsoever men or angels do, or do not, thou canst not but be infinitely blessed in thyself; before ever any creature was, thou didst equally enjoy thy blessed self from all eternity: what can this worthless, loose film of flesh either add to or detract from thine infiniteness? Yet thou, that humbleth thyself to behold the things that are done in heaven and earth, humblest thyself also to accept the weak breath of our praises, that are sent up to thee from earth to heaven. How should this encourage the vows, the endeavours of our hearty thankfulness, to see them graciously taken? If men would take up with good words, with good desires, and quit our bonds for thanks, who would be a debtor? With the God of Mercy this cheap payment is current. If he, then, will honour us so far as to be blessed of us, Oh let us honour him so far as to bless him. Joseph Hall, in "A Sermon of Public Thanksgiving for the Wonderful Mitigation of the late Mortality." 1625.

Ver. 19. Blessed be the Lord. It is not a little remarkable to see the saints so burdened and overcharged with the duty of singing his praise, that,

1. They are forced to come off with an excess of praise, and offer to praise him and even leave it, as it were, as they found it, and say no more, lest they should spill his praises; but, as Revelation 5:12, "Worthy is the Lamb to receive glory and honour, "though I be not worthy or able to give it to him.

2. That they speak broken language and half sentences in their songs, when they are deeply loaden with the deep sense of his love, as Blessed be the Lord, who daily loadeth us with benefits; there is no more in the original but Blessed be the Lord, that loadeth us. John Spalding, in "Synaxis Sacra." 1703.

Ver. 19. Who daily loadeth us with benefits. Though some may have more than others, yet every one hath his load, as much as he can carry. Every vessel cannot bear up with the like sail, and therefore God, to keep us from oversetting, puts on so much as will safest bring us to heaven, our desired port. Ezekiel Hopkins.

Ver. 19. Who daily loadeth us with benefits. Such is man's self love that no inward worth can so attract his praises as outward beneficence. While thou makest much of thyself, every one shall speak well of thee; how much more while thou makest much of them! Here God hath met with us also. Not to perplex you with scanning the variety of senses wherewith I have observed this Psalm, above all other of David's, to abound; see here, I beseech you, a fourfold gradation of divine bounty. First, here are benefits. The word is not expressed in the original, but necessarily implied in the sense: for there are but three loads whereof man is capable from God, favours, precepts, punishments, the other two are out of the road of gratulation. When we might therefore have expected judgments, behold benefits. And those, secondly, not sparingly hand fulled out to us, but dealt to us by the whole load: loaded with benefits. Whom, thirdly, doth he load but us? Not worthy and well deserving subjects, but us, Myrrwm, rebels. And, lastly, this he doth, not at one dole and no more (as even churls' rare feasts use to be plentiful), but Mwy Mwy successively, unweariedly, perpetually. One favour were too much, here are benefits; a sprinkling were too much, here is a load; once were too oft, here is daily enlarging, (largeness, bounty). Cast your eyes, therefore, a little upon this threefold exaggeration of beneficence; the measure, a load of benefits; the subject, unworthy us; the time, daily. Who daily loadeth us with benefits. Where shall we begin to survey this vast load of mercies? Were it no more, but that he hath given us a world to live in, a life to enjoy, air to breathe in, earth to tread on, fire to warm us, water to cool and cleanse us, clothes to cover us, food to nourish us, sleep to refresh us, houses to shelter us, variety of creatures to serve and delight us; here were a just load. But now, if we yet add to these, civility of breeding, dearness of friends, competency of estate, degrees of honour, honesty or dignity of vocation, favour of princes, success in employments, domestic comforts, outward peace, good reputation, preservation from dangers, rescue from evils; the load is well mended. If yet, ye shall come closer, and add due proportion of body, integrity of parts, perfection of senses, strength of nature, mediocrity of health, sufficiency of appetite, vigour of digestion, wholesome temper of seasons, freedom from cares; this course must needs heighten it yet more. If still ye shall add to these, the order, and power, and exercise of our inward faculties, enriched with wisdom, art, learning, experience, expressed by a handsome elocution, and shall now lay all these together that concern estate, body, mind; how can the axle tree of the soul but crack under the load of these favours? But, if from what God hath done for us as men, we look to what he hath done for us as Christians; that he enlivened us by his Spirit, fed us by his word and sacraments, clothed us with his merits, bought us with his blood, becoming vile to make us glorious, a curse, to invest us with blessedness; in a word, that he hath given himself to us, his Son for us; Oh the height, and depth, and breadth of the rich mercies of our God! Oh the boundless, topless, bottomless, load of divine benefits, whose immensity reaches from the centre of this earth, to the unlimited extent of the very imperial heavens! "Oh that men would praise the Lord for his goodness, and declare the wonders that he hath done for the children of men." Joseph Hall.

HINTS TO THE VILLAGE PREACHER

Ver. 19.

I. The load of benefits.

II. The load of obligation.

III. The load of praise due in return.

Ver. 19.

I. Salvation is not to be forgotten in the midst of

daily mercies.

II. Daily mercies are not to be forgotten in the

enjoyment of salvation. G. R.

Psalms 68:20*

EXPOSITION

Ver. 20. He that is our God is the God of salvation. The Almighty who has entered into covenant with us is the source of our safety, and the author of our deliverances. As surely as he is our God he will save us. To be his is to be safe. And unto God the Lord belong the issues from death. He has ways and means of rescuing his children from death: when they are at their wit's end, and see no way of escape, he can find a door of deliverance for them. The gates of the grave none can open but himself, we shall only pass into them at his bidding; while on the heavenward side he has set open the doors for all his people, and they shall enjoy triumphant issues from death. Jesus, our God, will save his people from their sins, and from all else besides, whether in life or death.

EXPLANATORY NOTES AND QUAINT SAYINGS

Ver. 20. Our God is the God of salvation (that is of deliverance, of outward deliverance); and unto God the Lord belong the issues from death, or the goings out from death; that is, God hath all ways that lead out from death in his own keeping, he keepeth the key of the door that lets us out from death. When a man is in the valley of the shadow of death, where shall he issue out? Where shall he have a passage? Nowhere, saith man, he shall not escape. But God keepeth all the passages; when men think they have shut us up in the jaws of death, he can open them, and deliver us. To him belong the issues from death; it is an allusion to one that keepeth a passage or a door: and God is a faithful keeper, and a friendly keeper, who will open the door for the escape of his people, when they cry unto him. Joseph Caryl.

Ver. 20. And unto God the Lord belong the issues from death. Buildings stand by the benefit of their foundations that sustain them, support them; and of their buttresses that comprehend them, embrace them; and of their contignations (a framing together; from contigno, to join together, or lay with beams and rafters), that knit and unite them. The foundation suffers them not to sink; the buttresses suffer them not to swerve; the contignation and knitting suffer them not to cleave. The body of our building is in the former part of this verse; it is this; He that is our God is the God of salvation; ad salutes, of salvations, in the plural, so it is in the original; the God that gives us spiritual and temporal salvation too. But of this building, the foundation, the buttresses, the contignation, are in this part of the verse, which constitutes our text, and in the three diverse acceptations of the words amongst our expositors, Unto God the Lord belong the issues of death. For, first, the foundation of this building (that our God is the God of all salvation) is laid in this, That unto this God the Lord belong the issues of death; that is, it is in his power to give us an issue and deliverance, even then, when we are brought to the jaws and teeth of death, and to the lips of that whirlpool, the grave; and so, in this acceptation, this exitus mortis, the issue of death, is liberatio a morte, a deliverance from death; and this is the most obvious and most ordinary acceptation of these words, and that upon which our translation lays hold: the issues from death. And then, secondly, the buttresses that comprehend and settle this building: that, He that is our God is the God of salvation, are thus raised; Unto God the Lord belong the issues of death, that is, the disposition and manner of our death, what kind of issue and transmigration we shall have out of this world, whether prepared or sudden, whether violent or natural, whether in our perfect senses or shaked or disordered by sickness; there is (no) condemnation to be argued out of that, no judgment to be made upon that; for howsoever they die, precious in his sight is the death of his saints, and with him are the issues of death, the ways of our departing out of this life are in his hands; and so in this sense of the words, this exitus mortis, the issue of death, is liberatio in morte, a deliverance in death; not that God will deliver us from dying, but that he will have a care of us in the hour of death, of what kind soever our passage be; and this sense and acceptation of the words, the natural frame and contexture doth well and pregnantly administer unto us. And then, lastly, the contignation and knitting of this building, that He that is our God, is the God of all salvation, consists in this, Unto this God the Lord belong the issues of death, that is, that this God the Lord, having united and knit both natures in one, and being God, having also come into this world, in our flesh, he could have no other means to save us, he could have no other issue out of this world, no return to his former glory, but by death. And so in this sense, this exitus mortis, the issue of death, is liberatio per mortem, a deliverance by death, by the death of this God our Lord, Christ Jesus; and this, St. Augustine's acceptation of the words, and those many and great persons that have adhered to him. In all these three lines then, we shall look upon these words, first as the God of power, the Almighty Father, rescues his servants from the jaws of death; and then, as the God of mercy, the glorious Son rescues us by taking upon himself the issue of death; and then (between these two), as the God of comfort, the Holy Ghost rescues us from all discomfort, by his blessed impressions before; that what manner of death soever be ordained for us, yet this exitus mortis shall be introitus in vitam, our issue in death shall be an entrance into everlasting life. And these three considerations, our deliverance a morte, in morte, per mortem, from death, in death, and by death, will abundantly do all the offices of the foundation, of the buttresses, of the contignation of this our building, that He that is our God is the God of salvation, because Unto this God the Lord belong the issues of death. John Donne.

Ver. 20. The issues from death. That is, the issue, or escape, from death, both in the resurrection and in the various perils of our present life. Thomas Le Blanc.

Ver. 20. Issue from death. The English version cannot be sustained by the Hebrew; for l has never the force of from, and, therefore, the expression, as Dr. Hammond observes, must signify the several plagues and judgments inflicted by God on impenitent enemies--such as drowning in the sea, killing by the sword, etc.; which were the ways of punishing and destroying the Egyptians and Canaanites. Thus the two members of the verse are "antithetical" the first speaks of God as a deliverer, and the second as a punisher; and in this respect the verse corresponds with the preceding. George Phillips, in "The Psalms... with a Critical, Exegetical, and Philological Commentary." 1846.

HINTS TO THE VILLAGE PREACHER

Ver. 20. Death in God's hand.

I. Escapes from it.

II. Entrances to it.

III. The exit out of it beyond.

IV. The gate which, when closed, shuts us in it for ever.

Ver. 20.

I. What God has been to his people.

1. Their salvation.

2. Their portion: "Our God." II. What he will be: With them.

1. Until death.

2. In death.

3. After death. G. R.

Psalms 68:21*

EXPOSITION

Ver. 21. But God shall wound the head of his enemies. The Preserver is also the Destroyer. He smites his foes on the crown of their pride. The seed of the woman crushes the serpent's head. There is no defence against the Lord, he can in a moment smite with utter destruction the lofty crests of his haughty foes.

And the hairy scalp of such an one as goeth on still in his trespasses. He may glory in his outward appearance, and make his hair his pride, as Absalom did; but the Lord's sword shall find him out, and pour out his soul. Headstrong sinners will find that providence overcomes them despite their strong heads. They who go on in sin will find judgments come on them; and the adornment of their pride may be made the instrument of their doom. He covers the head of his servants, but he crushes the head of his foes. At the second coming of the Lord Jesus, his enemies will find his judgments to be beyond conception terrible.

EXPLANATORY NOTES AND QUAINT SAYINGS

Ver. 21. The hairy scalp. That is, even the most fearful enemies, that with their ghastly visage, deformed with long hair, would strike a terror into the hearts of beholders. Edward Leigh.

Ver. 21. Hairy scalp. It was a practice among some of the ancient inhabitants of Arabia to allow their hair to grow luxuriantly on the top of the head, and to shave the head in other parts. Francis Hare. 1740.

HINTS TO THE VILLAGE PREACHER

Ver. 21. The power, pride, wisdom, and very life of evil, to be conquered by God.

Psalms 68:22*

EXPOSITION

Ver. 22. This verse, by the insertion of the words, my people, is made to bear the meaning which the translators thought best; but, if their interpolated word is omitted, we probably get nearer to the sense. The Lord said, I will bring again from Bashan, I will bring again from the depths of the sea. Though his foes should endeavour to escape, they should not be able. Amos describes the Lord as saying, "Though they dig into hell, thence shall mine hand take them; though they climb up to heaven, thence will I bring them down: and though they hide themselves in the top of Carmel, I will search and take them out thence; and though they be hid from my sight in the bottom of the sea, thence will I command the serpent, and he shall bite them." As there is no resisting Israel's God, so is there no escape from him, neither the heights of Bashan nor the depths of the great sea can shelter from his eye of detection, and his hand of justice. The powers of evil may flee to the utmost ends of the earth, but the Lord will arrest them, and lead them back in chains to adorn his triumph.

EXPLANATORY NOTES AND QUAINT SAYINGS

Ver. 22. I will bring the enemy. Both the preceding and following verse prove that this is the sense, and not as many interpreters supply, my people. Bashan was east of Judaea, and the sea on the west; so that the meaning is, that God would bring his enemies from every quarter to be slain by his people. Benjamin Boothroyd.

HINTS TO THE VILLAGE PREACHER

Ver. 22.

I. Where his people may be driven.

II. The certainty of their return.

III. The reasons for being assured of this.

Psalms 68:23*

EXPOSITION

Ver. 23. That thy foot may be dipped in the blood of thine enemies. Vengeance shall be awarded to the oppressed people, and that most complete and terrible.

And the tongue of thy dogs in the same. So overwhelming should be the defeat of the foe that dogs should lick their blood. Here "the stern joy which warriors feel" expresses itself in language most natural to the oriental ear. To us, except in a spiritual sense, the verse sounds harshly; but read it with an inner sense, and we also desire the utter and crushing defeat of all evil, and that wrong and sin may be the objects of profound contempt. Terrible is the God of Israel when he cometh forth as a man of war, and dreadful is even the Christ of God when he bares his arm to smite his enemies. Contemplate Revelation 19:1-21 and note the following: --"And I saw heaven opened, and behold a white horse; and he that sat upon him was called Faithful and True, and in righteousness he doth judge and make war. His eyes were as a flame of fire, and on his head were many crowns; and he had a name written, that no man knew, but he himself. And he was clothed with a vesture dipped in blood; and his name is called The Word of God... And I saw an angel standing in the sun; and he cried with a loud voice, saying to all the fowls that fly in the midst of heaven, come and gather yourselves together unto the supper of the great God; that ye may eat the flesh of kings, and the flesh of captains, and the flesh of mighty men, and the flesh of horses, and of them that sit upon them, and the flesh of all men, both free and bond, both small and great. And I saw the beast, and the kings of the earth, and their armies, gathered together to make war against him that sat on the horse, and against his army. And the beast was taken, and with him the false prophet that wrought miracles before him, with which he deceived them that had the mark of the beast, and them that worshipped his image. These both were cast alive into a lake of fire burning with brimstone. And the remnant were slain with the sword of him that sat upon the horse, which sword proceeded out of his mouth: and all the fowls were filled with their flesh."

EXPLANATORY NOTES AND QUAINT SAYINGS

Ver. 23. That thy foot may be dipped, etc. The blood of thy enemies, shed in such abundance that thy dogs shall lap and drink it, shall be the sea in which thou shalt pass, and that red without a figure. And, proportionably shall be the destruction on the enemies of Christ and Christians in the age of the Messiah. Henry Hammond.

HINTS TO THE VILLAGE PREACHER None.

Psalms 68:24*

EXPOSITION

Ver. 24. They have seen thy goings, O God. In the song the marchings of the Lord had been described; friends and foes had seen his goings forth with the ark and his people. We suppose that the procession was now climbing the hill, and entering the enclosure where the tabernacle of the ark was pitched; it was suitable at this moment to declare with song that the tribes had seen the glorious progress of the Lord as he led forth his people.

Even the goings of my God, my King, in the sanctuary. The splendid procession of the ark, which symbolised the throne of the great King, was before the eyes of men and angels as it ascended to the holy place; and the psalmist points to it with exultation before he proceeds to describe it. All nature and providence are, as it were, a procession attending the great Lord, in his visitations of this lower globe. Winter and summer, sun and moon, storm and calm, and all the varied glories of nature swell the pomp of the King of kings, of whose dominion there is no end.

EXPLANATORY NOTES AND QUAINT SAYINGS

None.

HINTS TO THE VILLAGE PREACHER

Ver. 24. The allowable procession in the sanctuary. The marshalled order of doctrine, the holy walk of believers, the banners of joy, the music of devotions, the shouts to the King.

Psalms 68:25*

EXPOSITION

Ver. 25. The singers went before, the players on instruments followed after. This was the order of the march, and God is to be worshipped evermore with due decorum. First the singers, and lastly the musicians, for the song must lead the music, and not the music drown the singing. In the midst of the vocal and instrumental band, or all around them, were the maidens:

among them were the damsels playing with timbrels. Some have imagined that this order indicates the superiority of vocal to instrumental music: but we need not go so far for arguments, when the simplicity and spirituality of the gospel already teach us that truth. The procession depicted in this sublime song was one of joy, and every means was taken to express the delight of the nation in the Lord their God.

EXPLANATORY NOTES AND QUAINT SAYINGS

None.

HINTS TO THE VILLAGE PREACHER

Ver. 25. (last clause). Work for holy women in the church.

Psalms 68:26*

EXPOSITION

Ver. 26. Bless ye God in the congregations. Let the assembled company magnify the God whose ark they followed. United praise is like the mingled perfume which Aaron made, it should all be presented unto God. He blesses us; let him be blessed.

Even the Lord, from the fountain of Israel. A parallel passage to that in Deborah's song: "They that are delivered from the noise of archers in the places of drawing water, there shall they rehearse the righteous acts of the Lord." The seat of the ark would be the fountain of refreshing for all the tribes, and there they were to celebrate his praises. "Drink, "says the old inscription, "drink, weary traveller; drink and pray." We may alter one word, and read it, drink and praise. If the Lord overflows with grace, we should overflow with gratitude. Ezekiel saw an ever growing stream flow from under the altar, and issue out from under the threshold of the sanctuary, and wherever it flowed it gave life: let as many as have quaffed this life giving stream glorify "the fountain of Israel."

EXPLANATORY NOTES AND QUAINT SAYINGS

Ver. 26-28. This Psalm was sung, it is probable, on the removal of the ark into the City of David. Numbers 10:1-36. It was now that the ark had rest, and the tribes assembled three times a year at Jerusalem, the place that God had chosen. The text is a lively description of their worship.

I. Offer a few remarks by way of expounding the passage.

1. Israel had their lesser congregations in ordinary every Sabbath day, and their national ones three times a year. Their business in all was to bless God.

2. This business was to be carried on by all Israel, beginning at the fountain head, and proceeding through all its streams. God had blessed Israel; let Israel bless God.

3. All the tribes are supposed to be present; four are mentioned in the name of the whole, as inhabiting the confines of the land. Their union was a source of joy; they had been divided by civil wars, but now they are met together.

4. Those tribes which are named had each something particular attending it. Little Benjamin (see Judges 21:1-25) had nearly been a tribe lacking in Israel, but now appears with its ruler. Judah had been at war with Benjamin: Saul was a Benjamite; David was of Judah: yet they happily lost their antipathy in the worship of God. Zebulun and Naphtali were distant tribes; yet they were there! dark, too, yet there.

5. The princes and the people were all together.

6. They were supposed to be strong, but were reminded that what they had of strength was of God's commanding. Their union and success, as well as that degree of righteousness among them which exalted the nation, was of God They are not so strong, but that they need strengthening, and are directed to pray as well as praise: Strengthen, O God, that which thou hast wrought for us.

II. Apply the subject. Two things are here exemplified,

namely--diligence and brotherly union; and three

things recommended, namely--united praise; united

acknowledgment that, for what they are, they are

indebted to God; and united prayer for future mercies.

Each of these affords a rule for us.

1. The worship of God must be attended with diligence. There are the princes of Zebulun and Naphtali. They had to travel about two hundred miles three times a year, thither and back again; that is, twelve hundred in a year, twenty-four miles a week. Those who neglect the worship of God for little difficulties show that their heart is not in it, and when they do attend cannot expect to profit: "they have snuffed at it." Those whose hearts are in it often reap great advantage. God blessed the Israelites in their journeys, as well as when there (Psalms 84:6): "The rain filleth the pools; "and so the Christians. There is a peculiar promise to those that seek him early.

2. The worship of God must be attended to with brotherly love. All the tribes must go up together. It is a kind law that enjoins social worship; we need each other to stimulate. "O magnify the Lord with me, and let us exalt his name together." God has made us so that we shall be greatly influenced by each other, both to good and evil. It greatly concerns us to cultivate such a spirit. To this end we must cherish an affectionate behaviour in our common intercourse --bear, forbear, and forgive; and, whatever differences we may have, not suffer them to hinder our worship. The tribes, as we have seen, had their differences; yet they were there. When all Israel met at Hebron to anoint David king, what should we have said if some had kept away because others went?

3. Our business, when assembled, must be to bless God in our congregations; and a pleasant work this is. Israel had reasons, and good reasons, and Christians more. Thank him for his unspeakable gift; bless him for the means of grace, and the hopes of glory. Bless him; he "healeth all thy diseases, "etc. Psalms 103:1-22. This is an employment that fits for heaven. The tears of a mourner in God's house were supposed to defile his altar. We may mourn for sin; but a fretful spirit, discontented and unthankful, defiles God's altar still.

4. Another part of our business is to unite in acknowledging that whatever we are, we owe it to God alone; "Thy God hath commanded thy strength." We possess a degree of strength both individually and socially. Art thou strong in faith, in hope, in zeal? It is in him thou art strong. Are we strong as a society? It is God that increaseth us with men like a flock; it is he that keeps us in union, gives us success, etc.

5. Another part of our business must be to unite in prayer for future mercies. We are not so strong, either as individuals or societies, but that there is room for increase; and this is the proper object of prayer. God has wrought a great work for us in regeneration. God has wrought much for us as a church in giving us increase, respect, and room in the earth. Pray that each may be increased; or, in the words of the text: Strengthen, O God, that which thou hast wrought for us. Are there none who are strangers to all this? Andrew Fuller.

HINTS TO THE VILLAGE PREACHER

None.

Psalms 68:27*

EXPOSITION

Ver. 27. There is little Benjamin with their ruler. The tribe was small, having been greatly reduced in numbers, but it had the honour of including Zion within its territory. "And of Benjamin he said, The beloved of the Lord shall dwell in safety by him; and the Lord shall cover him all the day long, and he shall dwell between his shoulders." Little Benjamin had been Jacob's darling, and now the tribe is made to march first in the procession, and to dwell nearest to the holy place.

The princes of Judah and their council. Judah was a large and powerful tribe, not with one governor, like Benjamin, but with many princes "and their company, "for so the margin has it. "From thence is the shepherd, the stone of Israel, "and the tribe was a quarry of stones wherewith to build up the nations: some such truth is hinted at in the Hebrew.

The princes of Zebulun, and the princes of Naphtali. Israel was there, as well as Judah; there was no schism among the people. The north sent a representative contingent as well as the south, and so the long procession set forth the hearty loyalty of all the tribes to their Lord and King. O happy day, when all believers shall be one around the ark of the Lord; striving for nothing but the glory of the God of grace.

EXPLANATORY NOTES AND QUAINT SAYINGS

Ver. 26-28. This Psalm was sung, it is probable, on the removal of the ark into the City of David. Numbers 10:1-36. It was now that the ark had rest, and the tribes assembled three times a year at Jerusalem, the place that God had chosen. The text is a lively description of their worship.

I. Offer a few remarks by way of expounding the passage.

1. Israel had their lesser congregations in ordinary every Sabbath day, and their national ones three times a year. Their business in all was to bless God.

2. This business was to be carried on by all Israel, beginning at the fountain head, and proceeding through all its streams. God had blessed Israel; let Israel bless God.

3. All the tribes are supposed to be present; four are mentioned in the name of the whole, as inhabiting the confines of the land. Their union was a source of joy; they had been divided by civil wars, but now they are met together.

4. Those tribes which are named had each something particular attending it. Little Benjamin (see Judges 21:1-25) had nearly been a tribe lacking in Israel, but now appears with its ruler. Judah had been at war with Benjamin: Saul was a Benjamite; David was of Judah: yet they happily lost their antipathy in the worship of God. Zebulun and Naphtali were distant tribes; yet they were there! dark, too, yet there.

5. The princes and the people were all together.

6. They were supposed to be strong, but were reminded that what they had of strength was of God's commanding. Their union and success, as well as that degree of righteousness among them which exalted the nation, was of God They are not so strong, but that they need strengthening, and are directed to pray as well as praise: Strengthen, O God, that which thou hast wrought for us.

II. Apply the subject. Two things are here exemplified,

namely--diligence and brotherly union; and three

things recommended, namely--united praise; united

acknowledgment that, for what they are, they are

indebted to God; and united prayer for future mercies.

Each of these affords a rule for us.

1. The worship of God must be attended with diligence. There are the princes of Zebulun and Naphtali. They had to travel about two hundred miles three times a year, thither and back again; that is, twelve hundred in a year, twenty-four miles a week. Those who neglect the worship of God for little difficulties show that their heart is not in it, and when they do attend cannot expect to profit: "they have snuffed at it." Those whose hearts are in it often reap great advantage. God blessed the Israelites in their journeys, as well as when there (Psalms 84:6): "The rain filleth the pools; "and so the Christians. There is a peculiar promise to those that seek him early.

2. The worship of God must be attended to with brotherly love. All the tribes must go up together. It is a kind law that enjoins social worship; we need each other to stimulate. "O magnify the Lord with me, and let us exalt his name together." God has made us so that we shall be greatly influenced by each other, both to good and evil. It greatly concerns us to cultivate such a spirit. To this end we must cherish an affectionate behaviour in our common intercourse--bear, forbear, and forgive; and, whatever differences we may have, not suffer them to hinder our worship. The tribes, as we have seen, had their differences; yet they were there. When all Israel met at Hebron to anoint David king, what should we have said if some had kept away because others went?

3. Our business, when assembled, must be to bless God in our congregations; and a pleasant work this is. Israel had reasons, and good reasons, and Christians more. Thank him for his unspeakable gift; bless him for the means of grace, and the hopes of glory. Bless him; he "healeth all thy diseases, "etc. Psalms 103:1-22. This is an employment that fits for heaven. The tears of a mourner in God's house were supposed to defile his altar. We may mourn for sin; but a fretful spirit, discontented and unthankful, defiles God's altar still.

4. Another part of our business is to unite in acknowledging that whatever we are, we owe it to God alone; "Thy God hath commanded thy strength." We possess a degree of strength both individually and socially. Art thou strong in faith, in hope, in zeal? It is in him thou art strong. Are we strong as a society? It is God that increaseth us with men like a flock; it is he that keeps us in union, gives us success, etc.

5. Another part of our business must be to unite in prayer for future mercies. We are not so strong, either as individuals or societies, but that there is room for increase; and this is the proper object of prayer. God has wrought a great work for us in regeneration. God has wrought much for us as a church in giving us increase, respect, and room in the earth. Pray that each may be increased; or, in the words of the text: Strengthen, O God, that which thou hast wrought for us. Are there none who are strangers to all this? Andrew Fuller.

Ver. 27. Benjamin, Judah, Zebulun, Naphtali. The two royal tribes,

1. That of Benjamin, from which the first king sprang;

2. That of Judah, from which the second; and the two learned tribes, Zebulun and Naphtali. And we may note, that the kingdom of the Messiah should at length be submitted to by all the potentates and learned men in the world. Henry Hammond.

Ver. 27. Benjamin, Judah, Zebulun, Naphtali. The same tribes are prominent in the New Testament, as foremost in the battle of the church against the world. Paul, the "least" of the apostles (1 Corinthians 15:8-10), was by origin Saul of Benjamin (Philippians 3:5). Christ, "the Lion of the tribe of Judah, "James and John, the brothers, the other James, Thaddaeus, and Simon, were from Judah, and the other apostles were from Nephthalim and Zabulon, or Galilee (Matthew 4:13). A. R. Fausset.

Ver. 27. Their ruler. The prince of that tribe. The Greek version saith, in a trance; taking the Hebrew Mdr to be of Mdr, though it be not found elsewhere in this form; yet rare words but once used are sundry times found in this and other Psalms. These things applied to Christ's times and after are very mystical. Benjamin, the least, is put here first; so in the heavenly Jerusalem, the first foundation is a jasper (Revelation 21:19), which was the last precious stone in Aaron's breastplate, on which Benjamin's name was graven (Exodus 28:10; Exodus 28:20-21). In this tribe Paul excelled as a prince of God, though one of the least of the apostles (1 Corinthians 15:8-10), who was converted in a trance or ecstasy (Acts 9:3-4, etc.); and in ecstasies he and other apostles saw the mysteries of Christ's kingdom. Henry Ainsworth.

Ver. 27. Their council; or, their stone, the Messiah, that sprang from Judah, Genesis 49:24, Psalms 118:22. John Gill.

Ver. 27-28. There are all the twelve tribes of Israel with their rulers present, to conduct the ark of God to the hill, in which it pleaseth him to dwell; for, though all the tribes are not mentioned, these which are named, include the whole, since Zebulun and Naphtali are the most remote, and Judah and Benjamin the nearest tribes to Zion. Benjamin was a dwindled family through the signal depopulation of that tribe, from which it never entirely recovered. Jude 20:43-48, 1 Chronicles 12:29. Edward Garrard Marsh, in "The Book of Psalms translated into English Verse... with Practical and Explanatory Notes." 1832.

HINTS TO THE VILLAGE PREACHER

Ver. 27.

I. The variety of song.

1. The royal tribe of Benjamin in the time of Saul.

2. The princely tribe of Judah, as David was prince regent in the time of Saul.

3. The literary tribe of Zebulun: "Out of Zebulun" they that handle the pen of the writer.

4. The eloquent tribe: "Naphtali giveth goodly words." II. The harmony of song. Let all unite in praising the Lord, the fountain of Israel. "Ten thousand thousand are their tongues, "etc. G. R.

Psalms 68:28*

EXPOSITION

The prophet now puts into the mouth of the assembly a song, foretelling the future conquests of Jehovah.

Ver. 28. Thy God hath commanded thy strength. His decree had ordained the nation strong, and his arm had made them so. As a commander in chief, the Lord made the valiant men pass in battle array, and bade them be strong in the day of conflict. This is a very rich though brief sentence, and, whether applied to an individual believer, or to the whole church, it is full of consolation.

Strengthen, O God, that which thou hast wrought for us. As all power comes from God at first, so its continual maintenance is also of him. We who have life should pray to have it more "abundantly; "if we have strength we should seek to be still more established. We expect God to bless his own work. He has never left any work unfinished yet, and he never will. "When we were without strength, in due time Christ died for the ungodly; "and now, being reconciled to God, we may look to him to perfect that which concerneth us, since he never forsakes the work of his own hands.

EXPLANATORY NOTES AND QUAINT SAYINGS

Ver. 26-28. See Psalms on "Psalms 68:26" for further information.

I. Offer a few remarks by way of expounding the passage.

1. Israel had their lesser congregations in ordinary every Sabbath day, and their national ones three times a year. Their business in all was to bless God.

2. This business was to be carried on by all Israel, beginning at the fountain head, and proceeding through all its streams. God had blessed Israel; let Israel bless God.

3. All the tribes are supposed to be present; four are mentioned in the name of the whole, as inhabiting the confines of the land. Their union was a source of joy; they had been divided by civil wars, but now they are met together.

4. Those tribes which are named had each something particular attending it. Little Benjamin (see Judges 21:1-25) had nearly been a tribe lacking in Israel, but now appears with its ruler. Judah had been at war with Benjamin: Saul was a Benjamite; David was of Judah: yet they happily lost their antipathy in the worship of God. Zebulun and Naphtali were distant tribes; yet they were there! dark, too, yet there.

5. The princes and the people were all together.

6. They were supposed to be strong, but were reminded that what they had of strength was of God's commanding. Their union and success, as well as that degree of righteousness among them which exalted the nation, was of God. They are not so strong, but that they need strengthening, and are directed to pray as well as praise: Strengthen, O God, that which thou hast wrought for us.

II. Apply the subject. Two things are here exemplified,

namely--diligence and brotherly union; and three

things recommended, namely--united praise; united

acknowledgment that, for what they are, they are

indebted to God; and united prayer for future mercies.

Each of these affords a rule for us.

1. The worship of God must be attended with diligence. There are the princes of Zebulun and Naphtali. They had to travel about two hundred miles three times a year, thither and back again; that is, twelve hundred in a year, twenty-four miles a week. Those who neglect the worship of God for little difficulties show that their heart is not in it, and when they do attend cannot expect to profit: "they have snuffed at it." Those whose hearts are in it often reap great advantage. God blessed the Israelites in their journeys, as well as when there (Psalms 84:6): "The rain filleth the pools; "and so the Christians. There is a peculiar promise to those that seek him early.

2. The worship of God must be attended to with brotherly love. All the tribes must go up together. It is a kind law that enjoins social worship; we need each other to stimulate. "O magnify the Lord with me, and let us exalt his name together." God has made us so that we shall be greatly influenced by each other, both to good and evil. It greatly concerns us to cultivate such a spirit. To this end we must cherish an affectionate behaviour in our common intercourse--bear, forbear, and forgive; and, whatever differences we may have, not suffer them to hinder our worship. The tribes, as we have seen, had their differences; yet they were there. When all Israel met at Hebron to anoint David king, what should we have said if some had kept away because others went?

3. Our business, when assembled, must be to bless God in our congregations; and a pleasant work this is. Israel had reasons, and good reasons, and Christians more. Thank him for his unspeakable gift; bless him for the means of grace, and the hopes of glory. Bless him; he "healeth all thy diseases, "etc. Psalms 103:1-22. This is an employment that fits for heaven. The tears of a mourner in God's house were supposed to defile his altar. We may mourn for sin; but a fretful spirit, discontented and unthankful, defiles God's altar still.

4. Another part of our business is to unite in acknowledging that whatever we are, we owe it to God alone; "Thy God hath commanded thy strength." We possess a degree of strength both individually and socially. Art thou strong in faith, in hope, in zeal? It is in him thou art strong. Are we strong as a society? It is God that increaseth us with men like a flock; it is he that keeps us in union, gives us success, etc.

5. Another part of our business must be to unite in prayer for future mercies. We are not so strong, either as individuals or societies, but that there is room for increase; and this is the proper object of prayer. God has wrought a great work for us in regeneration. God has wrought much for us as a church in giving us increase, respect, and room in the earth. Pray that each may be increased; or, in the words of the text: Strengthen, O God, that which thou hast wrought for us. Are there none who are strangers to all this? Andrew Fuller.

Ver. 27-28. See Psalms on "Psalms 68:27" for further information.

Ver. 28. Thy God hath commanded thy strength. Singularly appropriate to the occasion for which they were composed are these stimulating words. The ark of God had during several years been kept in private houses. David had pitched a tent for its reception, and intended providing a better shrine; he would deposit the ark in the temporary sanctuary, and he gathers thirty thousand chosen men of Israel, and with these and with a multitude of the people he proceeds to the house in which the ark had been kept. The people can render the service of song, so "David and all the house of Israel played before the Lord on all manner of instruments made of fir wood, even on harps, and on psalteries, and on timbrels, and on cornets, and on cymbals" (2 Samuel 6:5). The breach of Uzzah delayed the restoration of the ark three months; but David returned to the work, and with gladness, with burnt offerings and peace offerings, with feasting, dancing, and the sound of a trumpet, he brought in the ark of the Lord, and set it in its place in the tabernacle he had pitched for it. David can provide a sacred place for the ark of his God, and his "God has commanded his strength." Thirty thousand chosen men can attend on this occasion, and a multitude besides. Then, why should they tarry at home? The occasion is worthy of their presence, and their "God has commanded their strength." There are sweet singers and skilful players in Israel, and why should they be silent. The occasion calls for praise, and their "God has commanded their strength." There are cattle upon the thousand hills of Canaan, and shall no sacrifice be brought? The occasion demands oblations, and Israel's "God has commanded their strength." There is a mountain in Canaan, beautiful for situation, and rich in historic association. God's ark can be brought to this mountain, and if it can be, it ought to be, for Israel's God has commanded Israel's strength. There are twelve tribes in Israel which may unite in bringing up God's ark, then let none hold back, for their "God has commanded their strength." Thy strength is thy best--all that is within thee; all that thou canst do, and be, and become; and all that thou hast--the two mites, if these be all, and the alabaster box of spikenard, very costly, if this be thy possession... By that which God is in himself, by that which God is to us, by law on the heart, and by law oral and written, by the new kingdom of his love, and by all his benefits, Thy God commands thy strength. He speaks from the beginning, and from the end of time, from the midst of chaos, and from the new heavens and new earth, from Bethel and from Gethsemane, from Sinai and from Calvary, and he saith to us all, "My son, give me thine heart, " consecrate to me thy best, and devote to me thy strength. Samuel Martin.

HINTS TO THE VILLAGE PREACHER

None.

Psalms 68:29*

EXPOSITION

Ver. 29. Because of thy temple at Jerusalem shall kings bring presents unto thee. The palace of God, which towered above Jerusalem, is prophesied as becoming a wonder to all lands, and when it grew from the tabernacle of David to the temple of Solomon, it was so. So splendid was that edifice that the queen of far off Sheba came with her gifts; and many neighbouring princes, overawed by the wealth and power therein displayed, came with tribute to Israel's God. The church of God, when truly spiritual, wins for her God the homage of the nations. In the latter day glory this truth shall be far more literally and largely verified.

EXPLANATORY NOTES AND QUAINT SAYINGS

None.

HINTS TO THE VILLAGE PREACHER

None.

Psalms 68:30*

EXPOSITION

Ver. 30. Rebuke the company of spearmen; or, the beasts of the reeds, as the margin more correctly renders it. Speak to Egypt, let its growing power and jealousy be kept in order, by a word from thee. Israel remembers her old enemy, already plotting the mischief, which would break out under Jeroboam, and begs for a rebuking word from her Omnipotent Friend. Antichrist also, that great red dragon, needs the effectual word of the Lord to rebuke its insolence.

The multitude of the bulls, the stronger foes; the proud, headstrong, rampant, fat, and roaring bulls, which sought to gore the chosen nation, --these also need the Lord's rebuke, and they shall have it too. All Egypt's sacred bulls could not avail against a "thus saith Jehovah." Popish bulls, and imperial edicts have dashed against the Lord's church, but they have not prevailed against her, and they never shall.

With the calves of the people. The poorer and baser sort are equally set on mischief, but the divine voice can control them; multitudes are as nothing to the Lord when he goes forth in power; whether bulls or calves, they are but cattle for the shambles when Omnipotence displays itself. The gospel, like the ark, has nothing to fear from great or small; it is a stone upon which every one that stumbleth shall be broken.

Till every one submit himself with pieces of silver. The Lord is asked to subdue the enemies of Israel, till they rendered tribute in silver ingots. Blessed is that rebuke, which does not break but bend; for subjection to the Lord of hosts is liberty, and tribute to him enriches him that pays it. The taxation of sin is infinitely more exacting than the tribute of religion. The little finger of lust is heavier than the loins of the law. Pieces of silver given to God are replaced with pieces of gold.

Scatter thou the people that delight in war. So that, notwithstanding the strong expression of Psalms 68:23, God's people were peace men, and only desired the crushing of oppressive nations, that war might not occur again. Let the battles of peace be as fierce as they will; heap coals of fire on the heads of enemies, and slay their enmity thereby. That "they who take the sword should perish by the sword, "is a just regulation for the establishment of quiet in the earth. What peace can there be, while blood thirsty tyrants and their myrmidons are so many? Devoutly may we offer this prayer, and with equal devotion, we may bless God that it is sure to be answered, for "he breaketh the bow and cutteth the spear in sunder, he burneth the chariot in the fire."

EXPLANATORY NOTES AND QUAINT SAYINGS

Ver. 30. Rebuke the wild beasts of the reeds. This is our marginal version, which is the proper one. Most modern critics consider that the lion is here intended, which frequently makes its den among reeds or brush wood. Innumerable lions wander about among the reeds and copses, on the borders of the rivers of Mesopotamia. The river Jordan was infested with them (Jer 4:7 49:19). Hence, the wild beasts of the reed may signify the Syrian kings, who often contended with David. Benjamin Boothroyd.

Ver. 30. The idolatrous king of Egypt is here enigmatically represented as dwelling, like the crocodile, among the reeds of the Nile; and with him are introduced the bulls and calves, who were the gods of the people of Egypt, before whom they were ever dancing in their superstitious revels. "Quell these insults upon thy majesty, nor put down only the superstition of Egypt, but all their pomp of war also, that the Gentiles may be converted unto thee, and the idols be utterly abolished." Edward Garrard Marsh.

Ver. 30. When the enemies of God rise up against his church, it is time for the church to fall down to God, to implore his aid against those enemies. Holy prayers are more powerful than profane swords. Thomas Wall, in "A Comment on the Times." 1657.

Ver. 30. These words contain, first, a declaration of God's enemies; secondly, an imprecation against those enemies. The enemies are marshalled into four ranks.

1. A company of spearmen, or (as some translations read it) the beast of the reeds.

2. The multitude of the bulls.

3. The calves of the people.

4. The men that delight in war.

The imprecation is also twofold; the first more gentle; it is but rebuke the spearmen; and that with limitation too--till they submit themselves with pieces of silver. For they that will not, but delight in war, more severely deal with such: Scatter them; Scatter the men that delight in war.... The church of God never wanted enemies, never will. "There is no peace to the wicked, "saith God: there shall be no peace to the godly, say the wicked. The wicked shall have no peace which God can give; the godly shall have no peace which the wicked can take away. Thomas Wall.

Ver. 30.

1. Scrupulosity.

2. Envy.

3. Ignorance.

4. Ambition or pride.

Upon which these four beasts in the text do act their enmity against the church; scrupulosity sets forth unto us the beast of the reeds; envy, the bulls; ignorance, the calves; and pride, the men that delight in war. Thomas Wall.

This instance of spiritualising may act rather as a beacon than as an example. The author was an able divine, but in this sermon gives more play to his imagination than his common sense.

HINTS TO THE VILLAGE PREACHER

Ver. 30-31.

I. Hindrances to the progress of divine truth.

1. Idolatry. Worship of the crocodile--beasts of the reeds, (LXX) --of bulls and calves, as in Egypt.

2. Covetousness.

3. War. II. The means for their removal. Prayer and the divine rebuke. Scatter thou, etc. III. The consequences of this removal; Psalms 68:31.

Psalms 68:31*

EXPOSITION

Ver. 31. Princes shall come out of Egypt. Old foes shall be new friends. Solomon shall find a spouse in Pharaoh's house. Christ shall gather a people from the realm of sin. Great sinners shall yield themselves to the sceptre of grace, and great men shall become good men, by coming to God.

Ethiopia shall soon stretch out her hands unto God. Cush shall hasten to present peace offerings. Sheba's queen shall come from the far south. Candace's chamberlain shall ask of Him who was led as a lamb to the slaughter. Abyssinia shall yet be converted, and Africa become the willing seeker after grace, eagerly desiring and embracing the Christ of God. Poor Ethiopia, thy hands have been long manacled and hardened by cruel toil, but millions of thy sons have in their bondage found the liberty with which Christ made men free; and so thy cross, like the cross of Simon of Cyrene, has been Christ's cross, and God has been thy salvation. Hasten, O Lord, this day, when both the civilization and the barbarism of the earth shall adore thee, Egypt and Ethiopia blending with glad accord in thy worship! Here is the confidence of thy saints, even thy promise; hasten it in thine own time, good Lord.

EXPLANATORY NOTES AND QUAINT SAYINGS

Ver. 31. Ethiopia. It is a matter of fact, familiar to the learned reader, that the names Ethiopia, and "Ethiopians, " are frequently substituted in our English version of the Old Testament, where the Hebrew preserves the proper name, "Cush." And the name, "Cush, "when so applied in Scripture, belongs uniformly not to the African, but to the Asiatic, Ethiopia, or Arabia. Charles Forster, in "The Historical Geography of Arabia."

HINTS TO THE VILLAGE PREACHER

Ver. 30-31. See Psalms on "Psalms 68:31" for further information.

Psalms 68:32*

EXPOSITION

Ver. 32. Sing unto God, ye kingdoms of the earth. Glorious shall that song be in which whole empires join. Happy are men that God is one who is consistently the object of joyous worship, for not such are the demons of the heathen. So sweet a thing is song that it ought to be all the Lord's; a secular concert seems almost a sacrilege, a licentious song is treason.

O sing praises unto the Lord. Again and again is God to be magnified; we have too much sinning against God, but cannot have too much singing to God.

Selah. Well may we rest now that our contemplations have reached the millennial glory. What heart will refuse to be lifted up by such a prospect!

EXPLANATORY NOTES AND QUAINT SAYINGS

None.

HINTS TO THE VILLAGE PREACHER

None.

Psalms 68:33*

EXPOSITION

Ver. 33. To him that rideth upon the heavens of heavens, which were of old. Before, he was described in his earthly manifestations, as marching through the desert; now, in his celestial glory, as riding in the heavens of the primeval ages. Long ere this heaven and earth were made, the loftier abodes of the Deity stood fast; before men or angels were created, the splendours of the Great King were as great as now, and his triumphs as glorious. Our knowledge reaches but to a small fragment of the life of God, whose "goings forth were of old, even from everlasting." Well might the Jewish church hymn the eternal God, and well may we join therewith the adoration of the Great Firstborn:

"Ere sin was born, or Satan fell,

He led the host of morning stars.

Thy generation who can tell?

Or count the number of thy years?"

Lo, he doth send out his voice, and that a mighty voice. Was there a thunderclap just then heard in heaven? Or, did the poet's mind flash backward to the time when from the heaven of heavens the voice of Jehovah broke the long silence and said, "Light be, "and light was. To this hour, the voice of God is power. This gospel, which utters and reveals his word, is the power of God unto salvation to every one that believeth. Our voices are fitly called to praise him whose voice spoke us into being, and gives us the effectual grace which secures our well being.

EXPLANATORY NOTES AND QUAINT SAYINGS

Ver. 33. And that a mighty voice; or a voice of strength; a strong and powerful voice, such as the gospel is, when accompanied with the power and Spirit of God. It is a soul shaking and awakening voice; it is a heart melting and a heart breaking one; it is a quickening and an enlightening voice; it quickens dead sinners, gives life unto them, and the entrance of it gives light to dark minds; it is a soul charming and alluring one; it draws to Christ, engages the affections to him, and fills with unspeakable delight and pleasure. John Gill.

Ver. 33. To him that rideth upon the heavens of heavens. He who manages the heavens, directing their course and influence. He formed every orb, ascertained its motion, proportioned its solid contents to the orbit in which it was to revolve, and to the other bodies of the same system; and as an able rider manages his horse, so does God the sun, moon, planets, and all the host of heaven. W. Greenfield, in Comprehensive Bible.

Ver. 33. The praises of the church are sung to him, who, after his sufferings here below, reascended to take possession of his ancient throne, high above all heavens; who, from thence, speaketh to the world by his glorious gospel, mighty and powerful, as thunder, in its effects upon the hearts of men (see Psalms 29:1-11 throughout). The power of Christ's voice, when he was on earth, appeared by the effects which followed, when he said, "Young man, arise:" "Lazarus, come forth:" "Peace, be still; "and it will yet further appear, when "all that are in the graves shall hear the voice of the Son of man, and come forth." George Horne.

HINTS TO THE VILLAGE PREACHER

None.

Psalms 68:34*

EXPOSITION

Ver. 34. Ascribe ye strength unto God. When even his voice rends the rocks and uproots the cedars, what cannot his hand do? His finger shakes the earth; who can conceive the power of his arm? Let us never by our doubts or our daring defiances appear to deny power unto God; on the contrary, by yielding to him and trusting in him, let our hearts acknowledge his might. When we are reconciled to God, his omnipotence is an attribute of which we sing with delight.

His excellency is over Israel. The favoured nation is protracted by his majesty; his greatness is to them goodness, his glory is their defence.

And his strength is in the clouds. He does not confine his power to the sons of men, but makes it like a canopy to cover the skies. Rain, snow, hail, and tempest are his artillery; he rules all nature with awe inspiring majesty. Nothing is so high as to be above him, or too low to be beneath him; praise him, then, in the highest.

EXPLANATORY NOTES AND QUAINT SAYINGS

Ver. 34. His strength is in the clouds. This refers to the phenomena of thunder and lightning; for all nations have observed that the electric fluid is an irresistible agent--destroying life, tearing towers and castles to pieces, rending the strongest oaks, and cleaving the most solid rocks; and the most enlightened nations have justly considered it as an especial manifestation of the power and sovereignty of God. W. Greenfield, in Comprehensive Bible.

HINTS TO THE VILLAGE PREACHER

None.

Psalms 68:35*

EXPOSITION

Ver. 35. O God, thou art terrible out of thy holy places. You inspire awe and fear. Thy saints obey with fear and trembling, and thine enemies flee in dismay. From thy threefold courts, and especially from the holy of holies, thy majesty flashes forth and makes the sons of men prostrate themselves in awe.

The God of Israel is he that giveth strength and power unto his people. In this thou, who art Israel's God by covenant, art terrible to thy foes by making thy people strong, so that one shall chase a thousand, and two put ten thousand to flight. All the power of Israel's warriors is derived from the Lord, the fountain of all might. He is strong, and makes strong: blessed are they who draw from his resources, they shall renew their strength. While the self sufficient faint, the All sufficient shall sustain the feeblest believer,

Blessed be God. A short but sweet conclusion. Let our souls say Amen to it, and yet again, Amen.

EXPLANATORY NOTES AND QUAINT SAYINGS

None.

HINTS TO THE VILLAGE PREACHER

Ver. 35.

I. Consider God's jealousy towards his people for his

holiness in the three "holy places."

1. In the outer court of profession.

2. In the holy place of our priesthood.

3. In the holy of holies with his Son. II. Consider his terribleness to his foes, as inferred from those "holy places."

Ver. 35. Blessed be God. A brief, but very suggestive text.

Copyright Statement
These files are public domain and are a derivative of an electronic edition that is available on the Christian Classics Ethereal Library Website.
Bibliographical Information
Spurgeon, Charles H. "Commentary on Psalms 68:19". "C.H. Spurgeons's The Treasury of David". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/tod/psalms-68.html. 1865-1885

The Pulpit Commentaries

EXPOSITION

THIS psalm is one of triumphant praise and jubilation, the crown and gem of the Second Book. Professor Cheyne calls it "a patriotic and religious ode of wondrous range and compass, and in the grandest style." He also notes that it was a favourite with the Huguenots, who called it "The Song of Battles," and that it was chanted by Savanarola and his brother monks as they marched to the trial of fire in the Piazza of Florence. While some critics assign it to the post-Captivity period (Ewald, Cheyne), the greater number, and the most acute (Botticher, Hitzig, Hengstenberg, Kay, Dean Johnson, etc.)see in it one of the earliest, as well as the most beautiful, specimens of Hebrew poetry. The ascription to David, which we find in the "title," is by these critics accepted as fully borne out by the contents. The antique language, the impressive descriptions, the fresh powerful tone of the poetry, the lyric emotion which pervades the ode, and makes it live, are all worthy of the "sweet psalmist of Israel," and of him alone among known Hebrew composers of hymns. Whether it can be probably assigned to any special period in David's life is disputed, but Hengstenberg's suggestion that it celebrated the final victory in the Ammonitic war, and the capture of Rabbah (2 Samuel 12:26-31), seems to deserve mention.

The psalm has been variously divided, but may best be considered as consisting of five portions:

1. An introduction (Psalms 68:1-6), in which God is praised on general grounds.

2. Praise of God for his doings at Sinai and in the wilderness (Psalms 68:7-10).

3. Praise of God for the conquest of Canaan, and the series of victories terminating in the full establishment of David's rule (Psalms 68:11-23).

4. Praise of God in connection with his sanctuary (Psalms 68:24-27).

5. Prophetic announcement of future triumphs (Psalms 68:28-35).

Psalms 68:1

Let God arise, let his enemies be scattered; let them also that hate him flee before him. Compare the chant with which the ark set forth in the wilderness, "Rise up, Lord, and let thine enemies be scattered; and let them that hate thee flee before thee" (Numbers 10:35). Both utterances are expressions of confidence, that, whenever God arises, his enemies will be scattered and dispersed before him. Neither refers to any one special occasion.

Psalms 68:2

As smoke is driven away, so drive them away. As clouds of smoke are dispersed and driven away by the wind, and totally disappear, so let God, whenever his enemies congregate, scatter and disperse them, and reduce them to nothingness. As wax melteth before the firs, so let the wicked perish at the presence of God. As smoke vanishes, so wax entirely melts away and disappears before a hot fire (comp. Psalms 22:14; Psalms 97:5).

Psalms 68:3

But let the righteous be glad; let them rejoice before God: yea, let them exceedingly rejoice. When the wicked are destroyed, the righteous receive relief, and cannot but rejoice at God's goodness to them (comp. Psalms 52:6; Psalms 58:10; Psalms 64:7-10, etc.).

Psalms 68:4

Sing unto God, sing praises to his Name (comp. Psalms 64:4): extol him that rideth upon the heavens. This passage is now generally translated, Cast up a highway for him that rideth through the deserts (Hengstenberg, Kay, Dean Johnson, Professor Cheyne, Revised Version). The image is that of a king travelling through a waste, for whom a way was made beforehand (comp. Isaiah 40:3; Isaiah 49:11). By his name Jah; rather, Jah is his Name. "Jah"—the shortened form of "Jehovah"—occurs first in the Song of Moses (Exodus 15:2). It is repeated here in Psalms 68:18, and recurs in Isaiah 26:4. Dr. Kay suggests that "it represents the concentration of God's redeeming power and love." And rejoice before him (comp. Isaiah 26:3).

Psalms 68:5

A father of the fatherless, and a judge of the widows, is God. A defender, i.e; of the oppressed and downtrodden (comp. Isaiah 1:17). In his holy habitation. The heavenly and not the earthly dwelling place—whether tabernacle or temple—seems to be intended. God from his holy seat in the highest heaven pours clown his grace and mercy, his defence and protection, on all those who specially need his aid.

Psalms 68:6

God setteth the solitary in families; or, in a home; i.e. gives "solitary ones"—outcasts, wanderers—a home to dwell in. The reference is to the settlement of the nomadic Israelites in Canaan. He bringeth out those which are bound (see Psalms 146:7, "The Lord looseth the prisoners;" and compare the many references to the "bondage" of Israel in Egypt). The Exodus is glanced at, but not exclusively. God "brings men out" from the tyranny of worldly oppressors, of ghostly enemies, and of their own lusts and sins. With chains; rather, into prosperity (Hengstenberg, Kay, Cheyne, Revised Version). But the rebellious dwell in a dry land. Rebels against God are not "brought out." They are left to dwell in the "dry land" of their own impenitence and self-will (comp. Numbers 14:29-35).

Psalms 68:7-10

In the central portion of the psalm, from Psalms 68:7 to Psalms 68:28, God is praised for his doings in connection with the history of Israel; and, first of all, in the present passage, for his doings at Sinai and in the wilderness.

Psalms 68:7

O God, when thou wentest forth before thy people (see Exodus 13:20-22). The present verse and the next are an echo of the Song of Deborah ( 5:4, 5:5), "Lord, when thou wentest out of Seir, when thou marchedst out of the field of Edom, the earth trembled, and the heavens dropped, the clouds also dropped water; the mountains melted from before the Lord, even that Sinai from before the Lord God of Israel." When thou didst march through the wilderness. The entire march from Etham to Pisgah is in the poet's mind; but he can touch only certain features of it. And first, the scene at Sinai.

Psalms 68:8

The earth shook, the heavens also dropped, at the presence of God (see Exodus 19:16-18; Deuteronomy 5:22, Deuteronomy 5:23). The "dropping" of the heavens was the descent of a thick thundercloud upon the mount, which rested upon it, and spread around a dense and weird darkness. Even Sinai itself was moved at the presence of God; literally, yonder Sinai, as if it were in sight, and could be pointed at. The God of Israel. Our God, who did all these great things for us.

Psalms 68:9

Thou, O God, didst send a plentiful rain. Not a literal rain, but a shower of blessings—manna, quails, water out of the rock, protection against enemies, victories, etc. Whereby thou didst confirm (or, establish) thine inheritance (see 2 Samuel 7:13). When it was weary. The wandering in the wilderness must have been inexpressibly dull and wearisome, especially to those who had left Egypt with the hope of a quick march through the waste, and a speedy entrance into "a land flowing with milk and honey" (Exodus 3:17). The "establishment" in Palestine under Joshua was a blessing that could not but be highly valued after well nigh a century of cruel bondage in Egypt, and forty years of aimless wandering in the Sinaitic peninsula.

Psalms 68:10

Thy congregation hath dwelt therein; thy troop, or thy host (see 2 Samuel 23:11, 2 Samuel 23:13). The word used ( חיּה) is an unusual one. Thou, O God, hast prepared of thy goodness for the poor; or, thou, O God, didst in thy goodness make preparation for the poor. "The poor" are the Israelites, brought low by their sufferings in Egypt and the wilderness; the preparations those by which their conquest of Palestine was facilitated (Exodus 25:28; Joshua 24:12).

Psalms 68:11-23

From God's mercies to his people at Sinai and in the wilderness, the psalmist goes on to consider those connected with the conquest of Canaan, and the establishment of David's widespread rule. The passage is difficult and obscure, perhaps from its embodying fragments of the earlier Hebrew poetry. It is also full of curious transitions, and of ellipses which make the meaning doubtful.

Psalms 68:11

The Lord gave the word. The reader naturally asks—What word? Commentators answer variously: "the watchword" (Cheyne); "promise of victory" (Kay); "the word of command" (Dean Johnson); "announcement of an actual victory gained" (Hengstenberg). I should rather understand a sort of creative word, initiating the period of strife (comp. Shakespeare's "Cry havock, and let slip the dogs of war!"). Great was the company of those that published it; literally, great was the company of the women that heralded it. The reference is to the female choirs which took a prominent part in the war songs of ancient days (see Exodus 15:20, Exodus 15:21; 5:1; 1 Samuel 18:6, 1 Samuel 18:7).

Psalms 68:12

Kings of armies did flee apace; literally, did fleedid flee; i.e. fled repeatedly before Israel (see Joshua 8:19-22; Joshua 10:19, Joshua 10:20; Joshua 11:8, Joshua 11:9; 3:10, 3:29; 4:14-16; 7:19-25; 8:11, 8:12; 11:29-33; 15:14-16; 1 Samuel 7:10, 1 Samuel 7:11; 1 Samuel 11:11; 1 Samuel 14:47, 1 Samuel 14:48; 1 Samuel 15:7, 1 Samuel 15:8; 1 Samuel 17:52; 2 Samuel 5:17-25; 2 Samuel 8:1, 2 Samuel 8:2, 2 Samuel 8:4, 2 Samuel 8:5, 2 Samuel 8:13; 2 Samuel 10:6-18, etc.). And she that tarried at home divided the spoil. The wives of the conquerors shared in the spoil when it was brought home ( 5:28-30).

Psalms 68:13

Though ye have lien among the pots; rather, Will ye lie down among the sheepfolds? Will ye, O ye laggarts of Israel, like the Reubenites in the war against Sisera, instead of going out to war with your brethren, "abide among the sheepfolds, to hear the bleatings of the flocks" (see 5:16)? Yet shall ye be as the wings of a dove covered with silver, and her feathers with yellow gold. It is certainly wrong to supply, yet shall ye be before as the wings of a dove." There can be no promise of good made to these laggarts. Probably the meaning is, "Will ye be," or "Will ye seek to be as the wings of a dove, covered with silver, and her feathers of yellow gold?" i.e. Will ye abide in your prosperity and your riches, decked in gorgeous apparel, resplendent with silver and gold, while your brethren are bearing the brunt of battle, with all its ghastly sights and sounds, in your and the land's defence?

Psalms 68:14

When the Almighty scattered kings in it; i.e. "in the land" (comp. Psalms 68:10). Most of the defeats of kings, referred to above (see the comment on Psalms 68:12), took place within the limits of Palestine. It was white as snow in Salmon. The present text has only the two words which mean, "it snows on Salmon;" whence it is concluded that something must have fallen out. Professor Cheyne supplies כְּמוֹ ֵהַשֶּׁלֶג like snow," and understands the passage to mean that, when the kings were scattered, "it was like snow when it snows on Salmon"—the ground was all covered with glistering arms, armour, and garments. Salmon was a wooded hill near Shechem ( 9:48).

Psalms 68:15

The hill of God is as the hill of Bashan; rather, a mountain of God is the mountain of Bashan. A sudden transition, and perhaps a quotation from an ancient poem. The special object of the psalmist's thought is not Bashan, but Mount Zion; and what he is about to celebrate is Jehovah's choice of Mount Zion for his dwelling place, and his establishment on it. But he prefers to introduce the subject by a contrast with the great range of Canaan. Bashan, he says, is truly "a mountain of God"—i.e. a very great mountain (see the comment on Psalms 36:6)—"one which seemed in an especial degree to show forth creative power." It is also an high hill; or rather, a mountain of peaks, containing numerous pointed summits. Yet God did not choose one of these for his habitation.

Psalms 68:16

Why leap ye, ye high hills? rather, Why look ye askance, ye mountains of peaks? In jealousy at not being chosen. This is the hill which God desireth to dwell in; rather, on the mountain which God desireth to dwell in—a continuation of the preceding sentence. The mountain intended is, of course, Mount Zion, a comparatively low elevation. Yea, the Lord will dwell in it forever; i.e. make it his permanent, not merely his temporary, habitation, like Sinai.

Psalms 68:17

The chariots of God are twenty thousand, even thousands of angels. Another abrupt transition. The psalmist sees God move from Sinai, where he had represented him as present in Psalms 68:8, into the sanctuary of Mount Zion. He is, of course, accompanied by his angelic host. This is described as a host of chariots—twenty thousand in number, and "thousands of repetition"—or thousands multiplied by thousands, as Hengstenberg understands the phrase (comp. Daniel 7:10). The Lord (Jehovah) is among them; or, "in their midst." As in Sinai, in the holy place; rather, Sinai is in the sanctuary. The glories of Sinai are, as it were, transferred thither.

Psalms 68:18

Thou hast ascended on high; i.e. ascended into the sanctuary, Mount Zion—gone up with the ark when it was transferred thither (see 2 Samuel 6:12-19; 1 Chronicles 15:11-28). Thou hast led captivity captive; i.e. thou hast made many captives—or enabled us to take many prisoners. Thou hast received gifts for men; rather, among men. Tribute from Israel's enemies is probably intended. Yea, for the rebellious also; literally, yea, rebels also; i.e. enemies, that when reduced have rebelled, and then submitted to pay tribute a second time. That the Lord God (Jah Elohim) might dwell among them; "That God, after the nations had been subdued and submitted themselves, might rest quietly thenceforth in Zion."

Psalms 68:19

Blessed be the Lord, who daily loadeth us with benefits, even the God of our salvation; rather, blessed be the Lord day by day; he will bear (our burden) for us, (he is) the God of our salvation.

Psalms 68:20

He that is our God is the God of salvation; rather, God is to us a God of saving deeds (Kay), or of deliverances (Revised Version); i.e. net of salvation only in the abstract (Psalms 68:19), but of deeds by which we are saved. And unto God the Lord belong the issues from death. It is through God only that, when death threatens, men escape it.

Psalms 68:21

But God shall wound the head of his enemies; or, "yet surely God will smite," etc. Though he gives escape from death, yet he will not do so always. On the contrary, he will assuredly smite and destroy his enemies, wounding them where a wound is fatal. And the hairy scalp of such a one as goeth on still in his trespasses. "The hairy scalp," says Dr. Kay, "points almost certainly to Absalom." Others take it as merely indicating the young and strong.

Psalms 68:22

The Lord said, I will bring again from Bashan, I will bring my people again from the depths of the sea. Our translators' interpolation of the words, "my people," is unhappy. The psalmist means to represent God as threatening his enemies, not as encouraging his faithful ones. Though his enemies (Psalms 68:21) fly to Bashan and bury themselves in its woods, or though they even hide themselves in the depths of the sea, he will search them out, and "bring them back," that vengeance may be taken on them (see Psalms 68:23).

Psalms 68:23

That thy foot may be dipped in the blood of thine enemies; i.e. "I will bring them back for thee, my people, to dip your feet in their blood." The same metaphor is used in Isaiah 63:1-3; but it is God himself who, in that passage, has his feet reddened in his enemies' blood, And the tongue of thy dogs in the same. The Authorized Version has omitted one word of the original here. Translate, And that the tongue of thy dogs may have its portion from the same.

Psalms 68:24-27

Again we find a transition. The conquest of Canaan is complete—God is gone up into his sanctuary. The nations are led captive or put to tribute Rebels are crushed; the last remnants of them sought out, brought back, and delivered into the hands of Israel. Now we have a description of God's "goings in the sanctuary" (Psalms 68:24). Some critics suppose a particular occasion to be pointed at; but the expression "goings" rather indicates something habitual, or, at any rate, recurring. God is from time to time glorified in his sanctuary by ceremonies which the poet describes.

Psalms 68:24

They have seen thy goings, O God; i.e. men have seen—friends and foes alike—even the goings of my God, my King, in the sanctuary. God is at once both Israel's God and Israel's King. The monarchy has not wholly destroyed the theocracy.

Psalms 68:25

The singers went before, the players on instruments followed after. In Assyrian musical processions the players on instruments precede the singers. Among them were the damsels playing with timbrels; rather, in the midst of the damsels, etc. The damsels are represented, not as intermixed with the (male) singers and players on instruments, but as encircling them. (On the use of "timbrels" (tambourines) by Israelite maidens, see Exodus 15:20; 11:34.)

Psalms 68:26

Bless ye God in the congregations, even the Lord, from the fountain of Israel. This is probably the refrain of the hymn sung (comp. Exodus 15:21; 2 Chronicles 5:13; Ezra 3:11). By "the fountain of Israel" is no doubt meant the sanctuary on Mount Zion—"the ever-living fountain of praise" (Kay).

Psalms 68:27

There is little Benjamin with their ruler. "With" is wrongly supplied by our translators. "Little Benjamin" the "smallest of the tribes of Israel" (1 Samuel 9:21)—is called "their ruler," as having furnished the first king, and the one who began the conquests celebrated in Psalms 68:11-23. If the psalm is to be accounted as David's, we may note it as a graceful act on his part that he places Saul's tribe first. The princes of Judah and their council. Again "and" is wrongly supplied. "The princes of Judah" are called "their council," or "their bulwark" (Kay), as holding the most important position in Israel at the time. The reading, however, is doubtful. The princes of Zebulun, and the princes of Naphtali. Four tribes only are mentioned, not because no more than four took part in the processions, but as representatives of the whole number. The tribes selected for mention are from the two ends of the land—the extreme south and the extreme north. Zebulun and Naphtali were the most important of the northern tribes (see 4:6, 4:10; 5:18), as Judah and Benjamin were of the southern ones.

Psalms 68:28-35

The psalmist now turns to the future. First, he prays that God will complete the work which he has begun by continually strengthening Israel (Psalms 68:28). Then he rises to prophecy. Kings and princes shall bring presents to Zion; empires shall prostrate themselves; Egypt and Ethiopia shall hasten to bow down; all the kingdoms of the earth shall ultimately "sing praises unto the Lord." Israel and the God of Israel will thus be glorified exceedingly.

Psalms 68:28

Thy God hath commanded (or, ordained) thy strength. It is fixed in the Divine counsels that Israel shall be strong. This was determined long ago, and is in course of accomplishment. But more is needed. The psalmist therefore prays, Strengthen, O God, that which thou hast wrought for us. Complete thy work; "strengthen the weak hands, and confirm the feeble knees;" weaken also and bring down our enemies (Psalms 68:30).

Psalms 68:29

Because of thy temple at Jerusalem shall kings bring presents unto thee. So Ewald, Kay, and the Revised Version, though critics generally doubt whether min can have this meaning. If min has its usual sense of "from," we must regard the kings as having entered the temple courts, and from thence stretching out their hands, and offering their gifts, to God, who is in the holy of holies. (On the offering of gifts by heathen kings, see Isaiah 49:23; Isaiah 60:16; and comp. Psalms 72:10.)

Psalms 68:30

Rebuke the company of spear men; rather, the wild beast of the reeds; i.e. the crocodile or the hippopotamus, either of which may well symbolize the empire of Egypt, the mightiest of the heathen powers in David's time. The multitude of the bulls represents other heathen powers, Assyria perhaps especially, which had the human-headed and winged bull for its principal emblem. With the calves of the people; rather, of peoples—an obscure phrase, perhaps meaning inferior powers. Till every one submit himself with pieces of silver; literally, (each) submitting himself to thee with pieces of silver. This is given as the result of the rebukes. When the various earth powers have been "rebuked" or chastised by God, then they will submit to bring gifts, or pay tribute, to Israel (comp. Psalms 68:18). Scatter thou the people that delight in war. This is exegetical of the first clause—rebuke these various world powers that delight in war by "scattering" them, or putting them to flight before their enemies.

Psalms 68:31

Princes shall come out of Egypt. Then shall princely ambassadors come to Zion out of Egypt, and make submission (comp. Isaiah 43:3; Isaiah 45:14). Ethiopia shall soon stretch out her hands unto God. The Ptolemies, in their wars with Syria, often sought the favour of the Jews. Christian Churches at an early date were established both in Egypt and in Abyssinia, and some of the most promising mission fields today are in Africa.

Psalms 68:32

Sing unto God, ye kingdoms of the earth; O sing praises unto the Lord. All the world powers having submitted to the Church, all the kingdoms of the earth can be called upon to join in the praise of God.

Psalms 68:33

To him that rideth upon the heavens of heavens (comp. Psalms 68:4; and for the expression "heavens of heavens," see Deuteronomy 10:14; 1 Kings 8:27). Which were of old. In which God dwelt from all eternity—long before he created the "heavens" of Genesis 1:1. Lo, he doth send out his voice, and that a mighty voice. A voice that is heard and obeyed in every part of creation.

Psalms 68:34

Ascribe ye strength unto God; or, "might," "power"—that which makes him Shaddai, "the Almighty." His excellency is over Israel; or, "his majesty" (Kay). And his strength is in the clouds. Not in earth only, but in heaven also.

Psalms 68:35

O God, thou art terrible out of thy holy places. "Terrible," i.e; in the things that thou accomplishest out of thy holy places," as Sinai, Zion, heaven. (On the "terribleness" of God, see Deuteronomy 7:21; Deuteronomy 10:17; Job 37:22; Psalms 47:2; Psalms 66:3, Psalms 66:5; Jeremiah 20:11; Zephaniah 2:11; Nehemiah 1:5; Nehemiah 4:14; Nehemiah 6:1-19 :32; Hebrew Nehemiah 12:29.) The God of Israel is he that giveth strength and power unto his people (comp. Psalms 68:28). Blessed be God. A worthy ending to this glorious hymn of praise.

HOMILETICS

Psalms 68:3, Psalms 68:4

Joy in God.

"Let the righteous be glad," etc. The Bible, like human life, has its dark as well as bright side. Rather say, shows human life thus double-sided—half in light of happiness, knowledge, goodness; half in night of weeping. And as the earth in her path round the sun makes her own night, rolling into her own shadow; so the darkness of life results from man's turning away from God, the source of light, life, joy. No depths of sorrow so dark as those the Bible reveals. No heights of joy so bright. Almost the first page records the incoming of sin and death. Almost the last page, the forecast of doom. But before the record of sin, the declaration that man was created in God's image; and that all which God had made was good. After prophecy of judgments, the promise of new heavens and earth—the unclouded glory of the heavenly city. The text, in harmony with large part of Psalter, brings before us the bright side of lifejoy in God.

I. GROUNDS OF THIS JOY.

1. Deepest and highest of all reasons for joy in God—his character: righteousness, truth, mercy, or (as same word beautifully translated) loving kindness; eternal opposition to evil, and delight in good. All this is summed up in two words: "holiness," "love." These do not divide God's character; each describes the whole. In regard to his own perfection—pattern and fountain of all goodness—God is holy. In regard to his creatures, God is love. Peculiar inalienable glory of Bible—it lays this moral spiritual basis for religion. Worship, which regards the infinite greatness and glory of the Creator; obedience ("the fear of God"), which regards his authority and power as Lord of all;—these are everywhere inseparably joined with faith (trust), which goodness alone can command or warrant. The more we disinter the relics of ancient religions (inscriptions, sacred books, etc.), the more evident how widely the knowledge of the true God was once diffused; how gradually the darkness swallowed up the light (Romans 1:1). We meet with wonderful and beautiful settings forth of Divine glory. Yet the contrast with religious teaching of Bible only grows more marked. One reason—nowhere else do we find a practical revelation, even the very notion or pretence, of God's character by continuous course of dealings and messages, parallel with human history. Nowhere else any hint, much less lull unfolding, of a Divine message to the whole human race, "God so loved the world;" to every individual, "Be ye reconciled to God."

2. Second ground of joy—our personal relation to God. Now Testament full of this. "Children of God" (Galatians 3:26; 1 John 3:1). Modern heresy of substituting what is called "the universal Fatherhood of God" for message of gospel, substitutes a general for a personal relation. Throws back religion into Genesis. Each Hebrew, under Law of Moses, was brought into personal relation to God:

3. Third reason for joy in God—his unchangeableness. This is what gives value to all past revelations; trustworthiness to promises; security for the future; for eternity.

4. Fourth reason—the assured triumph of right over wrong; good over evil, because God reigns. A severe side to this. Perfect goodness cannot but have its severe side, in world swarming with injustice, cruelty, falsehood, last. Powerful tendency of present day to ignore this; look only on soft side of goodness. But perfect love must include perfect hatred of all that debases and rains human life. Illust.: Father sees child maimed or blinded, through carelessness or cruelty; Christian meekness represses desire of vengeance; but not to feel righteous anger would be monstrous insensibility. And welfare of society may demand exemplary punishment. God's character assures us that he has "no pleasure in the death of a sinner;" but equally, that "the wages of sin is death."

II. INFLUENCE OF THIS JOY IN GOD. Suppose the agnostic right; revelation an illusion; faith a blind conjecture flung out into void of ignorance. Even so, it would remain true that the believer has spring of unselfish motive, inspiration of pure, lofty aim, fount of comfort and joy, the world cannot give or take away. but "we have not followed … fables." If deprived of this wonderful Book of Psalms, of whole story of God's dealings and messages down to nineteen hundred years ago, this would not alter Glory or certainty of fact that "God was in Christ reconciling the world to himself."

Psalms 68:9

A plentiful rain.

Closely rendered, "A rain of free bounty didst thou shed forth, O God! Thine inheritance, when weary, thou strengthenedst it." In the poetic Hebrew phrase, the land suffering from drought is said to be "weary;" as if exhausted and thirsting for the rain. If the reference here (as commonly supposed) be to the manna and other blessings, even including spiritual blessings, bestowed by God on Israel; yet the image is drawn from nature. Nothing is more delightful to every sense than an abundant rain after scorching drought. None of God's works is more full of usefulness, beauty, or spiritual symbolism than the rain. Take some of its lessons.

I. THE RICHES OF GOD'S BOUNTY. As its uncounted millions of drops fall from the sky, they vividly remind us that "every good gift is from above." All life, of man and lower creatures, hangs on those tiny drops. In wells, springs, storage reservoirs, they furnish the life-giving draught; which lacking, intolerable torments of thirst would presently end in death. At the roots of grass, corn, trees, plants of divers kinds they are food for man and beast; and not food only, but clothing, habitation, fuel, inexhaustible material of industry. Gathered in streams and rivers, or vanishing again in steam, they are motive power, slaves of traffic, builders of homesteads and of cities. Truly does another psalm say, "Thou greatly enrichest it." Our wealth and luxury, as well as food and drink, descend in the "plentiful rain."

II. THE GENTLENESS OF DIVINE POWER. The silent softness with which the raindrops fall conceals the tremendous strength stored up in them. Now and then waterspouts, floods, hailstorms, show how easily the rain may become the minister of ruin and death, instead of nourishment and growth. God's gentleness makes us great. A drop of rain from a mile high will not hurt a child's hand. An ounce of ice from the same height would kill a giant.

III. GOD'S FAR-WORKING POWER AND ALL-EMBRACING WISDOM. The provision for rain—in the seas and oceans covering so large a proportion of our globe; in the heat which raises the vapour, the winds which bear the clouds, the forces by which the rain drops are formed and fail—presents a network of contrivance encompassing the whole globe; one of the most wonderful and beautiful examples of creative design. No wonder the references in the Bible are so numerous: St. Paul, to the idolaters of Lystra (Acts 14:17); Amos 5:8; Jeremiah 14:22; our Saviour (Matthew 5:45). The general laws according to which this prime necessary of life is supplied are simple and uniform, and there are regions in which they work with monotonous regularity; but in the countries chosen for the principal education of the human race there is a wide margin of mystery and apparent irregularity, which seems specially intended to give scope for the discipline of providence and for prayer (Amos 4:7, Amos 4:8; James 5:17, James 5:18).

IV. THE RAIN IS THE IMAGE OF SPIRITUAL BLESSINGS, ESPECIALLY OF DIVINE TRUTH AND OF THE HOLY SPIRIT. Isaiah 4:1-6 :10, 11; Isaiah 44:3, Isaiah 44:4; Ezekiel 36:25, Ezekiel 36:26.) And as the rain falls in vain on the sea and on the sandy waste, so the truth and grace of God are offered in vain to thankless, unbelieving hearts (Hebrew Ezekiel 6:7, Ezekiel 6:8; 2 Corinthians 6:1).

HOMILIES BY W. FORSYTH

Psalms 68:1-35

The ark and Christ.

It is said that "the testimony of [or, 'concerning'] Jesus is the spirit of prophecy" (Revelation 19:10). This is specially true of this psalm, it might be called a song of the ark. As Moses spake of the setting forward and resting of the ark (Numbers 10:35, Numbers 10:36), so the psalmist sings of the glorious march of Messiah at the head of his Church—onward from victory to victory—to the final rest. We may bring out much of its spiritual significance by marking some points of resemblance between the ark and Christ.

I. THE LAW OF GOD WAS PLACED WITHIN THE ARK. The Law was the "testimony" to God's character and will, and the foundation of his "covenant" with Israel. That this might be kept in perpetual remembrance, the Law was put in the ark as the most sacred place (Deuteronomy 10:1-5). Therefore the ark was called "the ark of the testimony" and "the ark of the covenant" (Exodus 16:34; Deuteronomy 31:26; Hebrew Deuteronomy 9:4). The ark was thus a figure of him that was to come, of whom it was written, "Thy Law is within my heart" (Psalms 40:8; cf. Isaiah 42:21; Matthew 5:17; John 4:34; John 17:4; Romans 10:4; Revelation 11:19).

II. THE ARK WAS SET IN THE FOREFRONT OF ISRAEL IN ALL THEIR GOINGS. It was always at the head. When it moved, Israel moved. When it rested, Israel rested. In the wilderness, at the passage of the Jordan, and on during the conquest of Canaan, the ark always went before, as showing that they were under the guidance of God, and that in all their doings they must have regard to the will of God. The Law within the ark was to be the Law of Israel (Psalms 68:7; Numbers 10:33; Joshua 3:3). So it is with Christ, as saith Isaiah, "Behold, I have given him for a Leader and Commander to the people" Isaiah 55:4). We see this beautifully illustrated in our Lord's earthly life. He was the good Shepherd, of whom it is said, "He calleth his own sheep by name, and leadeth them out;" "He goeth before them, and they follow him" (John 10:3, John 10:4). The word of the Lord to his disciples is always, "Follow me." What was said of the twelve is true of all others. "They were in the way going up to Jerusalem, and Jesus went before them" (Mark 10:32).

III. THE ARK WAS THE MEETING PLACE BETWEEN GOD AND HIS PEOPLE. (Cf. Exodus 25:22, "There I will meet with thee, and I will commune with thee from above the mercy seat, from between the two cherubims which are upon the ark of the testimony.") What was here in shadow we have now in substance. Christ is the meeting place between God and man (2 Corinthians 5:19). "Through him we have access unto God the Father" (Ephesians 2:18). He is Immanuel, God with us (Matthew 1:23; 1 John 1:3; Hebrew 1 John 4:16).

IV. THE ARK WAS ASSOCIATED WITH THE GREAT EVENTS IN THE HISTORY OF ISRAEL. Some of these are recorded in this psalm. So Christ has been with his people from the beginning. Their life, their conquests, their achievements, have all been through him. And he promises to be with them to the end (Matthew 28:20).

V. THE ARK WAS ENTHRONED WITH THE HIGHEST HONOURS IN THE HOUSE OF GOD. There had been many trials and conflicts, but at last there was victory. The ark was carried in triumph to Jerusalem, and set in glory on Mount Zion. Afterwards it was removed, and placed in the most holy place in the temple on Mount Moriah (verses 18-31). All this may be said to have been typical of the sufferings of Christ and the glory that should follow, when he was received into heaven, and seated in glory on the right hand of God (Psalms 24:1-10; Ephesians 4:11; Hebrew Ephesians 2:9, Ephesians 2:10; 10:12, 13). But there are certain differences. The ark was carried by human hands, but Christ conquered and ascended in his own strength (Hebrew Isaiah 9:11). The ark was set in an earthly tabernacle, but Christ "is set on the right hand of the throne of the majesty in the heavens" (Hebrew Isaiah 8:1, Isaiah 8:9, 24). The ark was but a temporary thing, a symbol that served its purpose and has long since passed away. Christ is "the same yesterday, today, and forever." The Gospels set forth his glory; we see his royal progress in the Acts of the Apostles; and the Revelation of St. John bears witness to his continued triumphs, till the end come, when he shall be hailed by Jew and Gentile as "the King of kings and Lord of lords."—W.F.

Psalms 68:5, Psalms 68:6

Comfort for the desolate.

I. EARTHLY CROSSES. What significance in the terms "fatherless" and "widows"! They tell of death, of war and pestilence and famine, of desolated homes and broken hearts and innumerable sorrows. Then in "the solitary," all the ills of life seem gathered up.

II. HEAVENLY COMFORTS. It is a great comfort to believe that there is a God who made the world, and cares for the world that he has made. But there is much more here. God is represented as not only great, but kind; not only as mighty, but merciful; not only as ruling over all his works in righteousness, but as making the weak and the sorrowful his special care. There are three great comforts here.

1. God's Fatherhood. (Jeremiah 49:11.)

2. The brotherhood of man.

3. The blessedness of home.

"God setteth the solitary in families." This is in part fulfilled here. Perhaps "the solitary," like Moses in the desert, finds a home. instead of wandering alone, he is blessed with a wife and children, and the sweet joys of family life. Again, "the solitary" may have friends raised up to him. In the Church and in society he finds true companionships and healthy occupation, and walks no more with aimless feet. Or it may be that God works such a change in his heart that he rises superior to circumstances. There are "spiritual presences" with him. Though alone, he is yet not alone, because God is with him (Acts 8:39; 2 Timothy 4:17). But the highest fulfilment is to come. Heaven is the eternal home. There is no "solitary" there. It is the house of God, of many mansions, of happy families, and of endless fellowships and joys. While the text shows the Divine origin and the manifold blessings of "the family," it hints also at its immortality. It has withstood the greatest shocks of time, and it may, in some higher way, survive in the eternal world (Proverbs 12:7; cf. Ephesians 3:15, Revised Version).—W.F.

Psalms 68:9

These words may be tken as symbolizing

God's love gifts to his people.

What he did to Israel in the wilderness, he will do to his Church to the end of the world. He is the great Sender, the Giver of every good and perfect gift, and evermore the thought of his love awakens gratitude and praise. His gifts are characterized by—

I. SWEETNESS. They are sweet in themselves as the "rain," but they are sweeter still as sent from God. They have the impress of his hand. They are the tokens of his love (Acts 14:17; Deuteronomy 32:2).

II. COPIOUSNESS. Rain may be slight, partial, or temporary. Here it is "plentiful." It is like that which came on Carmel at the prophet's call—"abundance of rain" (1 Kings 18:41). It is a "rain of gifts"—large, generous, widespread, meeting the needs of all, reaching to the furthest part of the dry and parched land.

III. TIMELINESS. God does nothing in an arbitrary way. It is when his people are "weary" that he visits them with "times of refreshing." They are "weary" from toil, or conflict, or suffering, or long and anxious waiting; and their hearts are like the "parched ground" crying for "rain." God hears. When "rain" is most needed it is best appreciated. God promises "to pour water on the thirsty" (Isaiah 44:3).

IV. REFRESHMENT. "Confirm." This implies renewal of strength, invigoration of faith and hope and love. As the "rain" quickens and calls forth the life in the earth, so that the grass flourisheth and the corn ripens, so it is with God's people when he visits them with the outpouring of the Spirit. It is as if Pentecost were come again. Let us pray and wait. Let us turn new vigour to right use.

"As torrents in summer, half dried in their channels,

Suddenly rise though the sky is still cloudless,

For rain has been falling far off at their fountains;

So hearts that are fainting grow full to o'erflowing,

And they that behold, it marvel and know not

That God at their fountains far off has been raining."

(Longfellow.)

W.F.

Psalms 68:18

Consider

The Ascension

in three aspects.

I. AS A FACT. "Thou hast ascended." What was shown in figure is now fulfilled. What was a faith is now a fact (Acts 1:2-9; Ephesians 4:7). While there is much that is strange, there is nothing that is incredible. The marvellous thing was not Christ's ascent, but his descent. Believe in the Incarnation, and all beside, down to the glorious ascent from Olivet, becomes not only credible, but natural.

II. AS A POWER. Christ ascended as a conqueror. His entrance into heaven was a triumph. His power is seen not only in victory over his enemies, but in blessings to his friends. Power over matter is great, but power over mind is greater. Christ's power is moral and beneficent. The work he did on earth was the earnest of the work he carries on in heaven. His "gifts" are not only kingly, but they are bestowed in the most kingly manner. "The rebellious" are not excluded. There is mercy for the greatest sinner, as there is grace to the uttermost for all the saints. Christ's "gifts" are not only precious, but permanent. As long as there is need on earth there will be supply from heaven (Hebrew 4:14-16).

III. AS A PROPHECY. Christ was the first, hut not the last, to ascend, He has "opened the kingdom of heaven to all believers." His ascent is the pledge of his people's ascent. "Where should the living members be but with their living Head?" His ascent is the sure prophecy of his second coming, and of the everlasting glory of his kingdom (Acts 1:11; Colossians 3:4; Hebrew 9:28). "In his blessed life we see the path, and in his death the price, and in his great ascent the proof supreme of immortality."—W.F.

Psalms 68:19

God's gentleness.

"Blessed be the Lord, who daily beareth our burden" (Revised Version).

I. HERE IS A SWEET PICTURE OF GOD. It is sometimes said that the God of the Old Testament is a God stem and implacable, more to be feared than to be loved. This is to err. The picture here is very different. It is tender and winning. We see the Lord here stooping down in love, to help the weak, to relieve the weary, to bring deliverance to the oppressed. This is in accordance with his character. Thus he has dealt with his people, with Abraham and Isaac and Jacob, and countless others, in the time of their need. The thought of what God is and has done excites endless gratitude. Daily mercy calls forth daily praise. "Blessed be the Lord."

II. HERE IS A BRIGHT FOREGLEAM OF THE GLORY OF CHRIST. It may be said that we have the gospel preached here in a figure. Take this word as a test, and Christ's life is the comment. See how he came down to us. See how he bore the burden of our sins and weaknesses. See how gently he dealt with his first disciples, and so gave token of the way he would deal with his disciples to the end of the world. His love never faileth. From day to day, with unwearied patience and mercy, he hears our burden. Hear his voice ringing sweetly through the ages, "Come unto me, all ye that labour and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest." What Christ does for us we should endeavour to do, so far as lieth in us, for others. We should help one another (Galatians 6:1, Galatians 6:2).

III. HERE IS A BEAUTIFUL REPRESENTATION OF THE CHRISTIAN LIFE. What we cannot do for ourselves, Christ will do for us. We are not alone, Christ is with us. We are not called to face the trials and to bear the burdens of life in our own strength; Christ is our Burden bearer. Our sins, which would have crushed us clown to hell, he has already borne, and the lesser burdens, also too heavy for us, he will bear for us. He may not take them off us, but if not, he will enable us to carry them. He will make his grace sufficient for us. Every day brings to us its burden, and every day we need anew the help of Christ. Though we can do nothing without him, we can do all things through his strength. Thus our path is onward. We go from strength to strength. Nearer and nearer comes the time when we shall lay our burdens down forever, and enter into the rest of God.—W.F.

HOMILIES BY C. SHORT

Psalms 68:1-6

The subject of his grand hymn is

The entry of God into his sanctuary on Zion.

"These introductory verses contain the praise of God as the Almighty Destroyer of the wicked and the Deliverer of the just, and the exhortation to praise him as the Helper of all the miserable."

I. GOD SOMETIMES SEEMS TO SIT INACTIVE, AND NOT TO INTERFERE WITH HUMAN AFFAIRS. At such times wicked men and wicked nations seem to triumph over righteous men and righteous nations, and good men are filled with doubting and despondent thoughts. Hence they pray, "Let God arise, and let his enemies be scattered."

II. BUT THERE ARE TIMES WHEN GOD SHOWS HOW WEAK IS THE STRONGEST WHEN ARRAYED AGAINST HIM. The wicked then flee before his face as smoke is driven before the wind, or as wax melts before the fire. Then good men are filled with rejoicing, and are confirmed in their highest thoughts of God. National revolutions and national growths are full of God's activity.

III. WHEN GOD ARISES TO WORK ANY GREAT CHANGE, WE HAVE TO PREPARE THE WAY FOR HIS COMING. (Psalms 68:4.) "Cast up a highway for him who rideth through the deserts," alluding to the custom of Eastern monarchs, who sent pioneers to prepare the route which they intended to follow; not "extol him that rideth upon the heavens." Here the preparation is evidently the joyful expectation of his coming to go before his people, and of the mighty deeds which he will work. By faith and joyful work we prepare God's way; and he goes before us to prepare our way. Both ideas here.

IV. GOD IS TO BE PRAISED NOT ONLY FOR HIS GREAT VICTORIES, BUT FOR HIS COMPASSION TO THE MISERABLE. (Psalms 68:4, Psalms 68:5.) He helps those most to be pitied, while the great earthly potentates respect only the rich and the noble.

1. He helps and comforts the widow and the fatherless.

2. He gives homes to the outcast and homeless.

3. He gives liberty to the captive. Only the rebellious abide in a land of drought.—S.

Copyright Statement
These files are public domain.
Text Courtesy of BibleSupport.com. Used by Permission.
Bibliographical Information
Exell, Joseph S; Spence-Jones, Henry Donald Maurice. "Commentary on Psalms 68:19". The Pulpit Commentary. https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/tpc/psalms-68.html. 1897.

Treasury of Scripture Knowledge

Blessed be the Lord, who daily loadeth us with benefits, even the God of our salvation. Selah.
Blessed
72:17-19; 103:1-22; Ephesians 1:3
daily
32:7; 139:17; Lamentations 3:23
Reciprocal: Genesis 14:20 - blessed;  Genesis 24:27 - Blessed;  Psalm 24:5 - God;  Psalm 27:1 - salvation;  Psalm 62:1 - from;  Psalm 65:5 - O God;  Psalm 88:1 - Lord;  Psalm 119:22 - Remove;  Isaiah 17:10 - the God;  Habakkuk 3:13 - wentest;  Philippians 1:28 - and that;  Revelation 7:10 - Salvation

Copyright Statement
These files are public domain.
Text Courtesy of BibleSupport.com. Used by Permission.
Bibliographical Information
Torrey, R. A. "Commentary on Psalms 68:19". "The Treasury of Scripture Knowledge". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/tsk/psalms-68.html.

Thomas Scott: Explanatory Notes, Practical Observations on the book Psalms

.

V:1- 3. This psalm is supposed to have been written and used, when the ark was carried up to Mount Zion. The first of these verses evidently refers to the words used by Moses, at the removal of the ark ( :) but the sacred name JEHOVAH, used in that passage, is here changed for ELOHIM, or God; and the future tense in the first clause is substituted instead of the imperative, the language of prediction for that of prayer. Indeed the old version, more literally than the present, renders the whole of these verses as a prophecy, " God will arise, and his enemies shall be scattered, &c.:" for all the verbs are future. (Notes, Psalm 5:10-11; Psalm 67:1-3.)

The Psalmist looked back to the former mercies of God to Israel, and predicted further prosperity to his people, now the symbol of God"s presence had taken possession of its appointed residence among them. The presence of God with Israel had dissipated the force and projects of those who hated him and them, as the cloud of smoke is dispersed by the wind, or as the wax is liquefied by the fire. And while the wicked had perished at his presence, the righteous had expressed their admiring gratitude and joy, in every imaginable way. Thus it had been of old; thus it would certainly be in future times; and thus the worshippers prayed that it might be, then and at all times.

V:4. Rideth upon the heavens.] (Notes, 31- 33. Deuteronomy 33:26.) Or, as some render the words, " Rideth " through the deserts," as the Protector of Israel. I AM is an abbreviation of JEHOVAH, and signifies selfvixtcnce and eternity. This name is used very frequently, in conjunction with Hallelu, forming the word Hallelujah; that Isaiah, " Praise JAH or "JEHOVAH.

(18. Heb. Notes, ; Exodus 6:2-3.) Hebrews, who derives his being from none, but gives being to all, is engaged by promise and covenant to protect and bless his people; who on that account, as well as on many others, are called on to extol and rejoice in him.

V:5, 6. The God of immutable and eternal majesty and glory, whose ark, the symbol of his presence, abode in the sanctuary of Israel, (as typical of the human nature of Jesus Christ, his true temple in which he will dwell for ever;) was the condescending Patron of orphans, widows, and all destitute persons. Those who had lost their relations in Egypt and the wilderness, and were left as lonely individuals, were brought into other families in Israel, and settled in Canaan : the people, who had been in cruel bondage to Pharaoh, were set at liberty : but, as the surviving rebellious Egyptians inhabited a country desolated by divine judgments; so the rebellious Israelites dwelt during forty years in the barren wilderness. The calling of the Gentiles, and the rejection of the unbelieving Jews, seem likewise to have been predicted : while the general plan of divine Providence is briefly described. (Marg. Ref.)

V:7, 8. When JEHOVAH, displaying his glory from the pillar of fire and cloud, conducted Israel in triumph out of Egypt, and through the wilderness; the whole creation appeared to stand in awe of the Creator, who thus manifested his glory, as the God of Israel. The earth trembled, the heavens poured down impetuous showers, while the sea divided to open a path for Israel, and returned to overwhelm their pursuers. (Notes, ; Exodus 15:1-21.) But especially, when the people were encamped before Sinai, that mountain shook to its foundations, at the presence of Israel"s God. (Notes, Exodus 19:16-20. Judges 5:4-5.)

V:9, 10. The awful displays of JEHOVAH"S glory were not more extraordinary, than his gracious interpositions in behalf of his people. In order to provide for their urgent wants, " he commanded the clouds from above, and opened " the doors of heaven; and rained down manna upon them " to eat." " He rained flesh also upon them as dust, and " feathered fowl like as the sand of the sea." (cv40- 42. Notes, . Exodus 16:13-36.) Thus they were plentifully supplied, and their hearts were confirmed, or strengthened and encouraged, when wearied with marching through the wilderness. They dwelt in the midst of their provisions : and the poorest of them were as sufficiently provided for, as if they had inhabited Canaan, when rendered most fruitful by the early and latter rains. The word rendered " congregation," seems to mean any living thing; and to mark out in one general term, the immense multitude of living creatures, which were in this astonishing manner continually maintained. The Septuagint render it, " Thy living creatures." Considering the psalm as predictive and descriptive of the Ascension of the Saviour, our thoughts are naturally led to the events that followed; and many parts of it are peculiarly applicable to those events. In this view, how weary and barren was the visible church at the death of Christ ! But what a gracious and refreshing rain was soon sent down upon it, in the pouring forth of the Spirit at the day of Pentecost and afterwards ." What provision was then made for the poor souls, who had long waited for redemption in Israel, or who had groped in darkness in other lands ! (Notes, Psalm 72:1-7

V:11, 12. In many instances the Lord himself " gave " the word,"" commanding the Israelites to march against their enemies, or to go forward regardless of them : and when he had given his people the victory, he put into their mouths the word of praise and thanksgiving. Then " great " was the army of those that published it." The word rendered " published," is feminine : and the Psalmist seems to allude to the custom of the women in companies, joining to celebrate the successes of the nation with songs of praise and triumph, as Miriam and the women of Israel, and Deborah, and others did. (Notes, . Judges 5:1-31 :) So decided were their victories, that while the kings commanding numerous and powerful armies fled, with the greatest precipitation, but in vain; the spoil which was taken was so large, that even the women who remained at home received a share of it. (Marg. Ref.)

Thus when our Lord, having risen as a Conqueror from the grave, gave the word to preach his gospel, great numbers were raised up to publish the glad tidings : opposing rulers and empires fell before them; (Notes, ; Revelation 12:7-12;) and millions have shared the blessings, who have been exempted from the persecutions and sufferings, which apostles and evangelists endured. It is also remarkable, that the whole of these verses is in the future tense; and therefore, though properly applied, as the language of poetry, to past events, it may well be considered as prophetical likewise. " The Lord will give the word, &c."

V:13. Israel making bricks in Egypt, and lodging like slaves between the rows of the kilns, or furnaces, being covered with clay and smoke, appeared very mean : but when possessed of Canaan, during the reigns of David and Song of Solomon, they appeared in beauty and splendour; and still more Song of Solomon, as " they were a holy people unto the LORD." Thus the slaves of Satan, when converted to Christ, being justified and sanctified by him, begin to look comely and honourable : and when they shall arrive in heaven, all remains of their sinful estate shall disappear, and they shall be as " the wings of a dove covered with silver, and " her feathers witli yellow gold." (Note, Psalm 149:4. P. O. Notes, 1 Corinthians 15:45-54. 2 Thessalonians 1:5-10.)

V:14. When the Almighty scattered and destroyed the kings of Canaan for the church of Israel, (the dove mentioned in the preceding verse, the words being feminine,) it not only became very honourable; but was likewise so purified from sin, and adorned with holiness, that it appeared white like the top of Salmon when covered with snow. (Notes, Psalm 51:7 - Isaiah 1:16-20.) The generation which fought under Joshua was peculiarly excellent : (Notes, Joshua 5:2-8; Joshua 22:34 :) and under the Judges, and in after ages, they were generally reformed, before they were delivered and made victorious. But the original is in the future tense, and seems an evident prediction, under allusions to these past events, of the purity of the church, and the success of the gospel, in the primitive ages, and at the approach of the millennium. The nineteenth chapter of the Revelation seems to be a prophetic exposition of this verse, far more striking than any which can be found in the history of Israel.

V:15, 16. It is supposed that this part of the psalm was sung, when the company attending the ark came within view of mount Zion. If the former of these verses be read with notes of interrogation, the passage may be thus rendered, " The hill of God, is it the hill of Bashan ? " The hill with craggy eminences, the hill of Bashan ? " Why leap ye Song of Solomon," (or, " why look ye askance with envy;") " ye hills with craggy eminences ? This is the hill which " God desireth for his habitation; yea, JEHOVAH will dwell " in it perpetually." The apostrophe is exceedingly animated and poetical, viewed in this light. God had preferred Zion to the loftiest mountains, as the place of his permanent residence, and the type of his true church in which he will dwell to eternity. (Notes, ; Psalm 87:1-6.)

V:17. The God of Israel is here described as a mighty Prince and Conqueror coming to his palace, to take possession of his throne, with a very large army of chariots and horsemen; as his thousands of angels were a far more splendid retinue, than ever attended the greatest monarch. Thus he descended upon mount Sinai: thus he would dwell upon mount Zion : thus the Messiah ascended into heaven, attended with an innumerable company of angels; and thus he shall at length come to judge the world. (Marg. Ref. q.) The original word does not seem to mean angels; yet they are evidently intended. The marginal reading many tlmtsands is more literal. "Thousands of repetition; " or " thousands again and again repeated." Among these the Lord manifested himself, as he had done " in Sinai, in the holy place." (Notes, ; Exodus 19:16-20.)

V:18. When the ark was placed upon mount Zion, the tabernacle was enriched with the spoils of the vanquished nations, which were there deposited for the benefit of the Israelites, notwithstanding their rebellions, that " the LORD God might dwell among them : " and of these spoils the temple was chiefly built. (Notes, . 1 Chronicles 26:28; 1 Chronicles 29:3-9.) But the ascension of Christ must here be meant, who is thus proved to be JEHOVAH. When Hebrews -ascended into heaven, he led captive Satan, sin, and death, which had held all men in captivity; and he received, as the recompence of his death upon the cross, all those gifts which were needful, in order to the conversion of sinners, and completing the salvation of believers : these he continually bestows on those for whom he received them; even on rebellious men, that " the " LORD God may dwell among them," as their Friend and Father. The apostle cites this passage, and explains it in respect of the gifts bestowed by the risen and ascended Saviour. (Notes, Ephesians 4:7-13.) He does not, however, take it from the Septuagint, but gives the sense in other words. To receive a gift for another, implies giving it Some render the word translated " for men," in Prayer of Manasseh, as referring to the human nature of Christ. The original name, or title, of God is here " JAH- ELOHIM." (Note, 4.)

V:19, 20. The preceding review of the Lord"s dealings with his people, and the prophetic foresight of far greater benefits, (Note, ,) caused the Psalmist to break forth abruptly into adoring praises. This must have had great effect, when sung by the numerous bands which attended the ark, accompanied with instrumental musick, in great variety and perfection. (Note, 1 Chronicles 16:34-36.) The God of salvation, day by day, or every day, heaped benefits on his people, and, as it were, loaded them with favours; and therefore it was but reasonable, that he should be praised every day. Unto him, even GOD the Lord, belonged the outgoings from death. Life and death, heaven and hell, are absolutely at his disposal. The Lord Jesus is " the Resurrection and the Life." He has " the " keys of death and hell; " (Marg. Ref. Note, Revelation 1:12-20; He has "opened the kingdom of heaven to all " believers," he has made a way for their deliverance from spiritual and eternal death; he has taken away the sting and terror of death, and made that " king of terrors " the gain and privilege of his people; he has consecrated the grave as the repository of their bodies, which he will raise at length incorruptible and immortal. Our God is the God of salvation. (20) Or, salvations. (Notes, Is. Psalm 12:1-3. John 4:21-24.)

V:21. The gifts received by the ascended Saviour, though for " rebellious Prayer of Manasseh," would not preserve such from destruction as went on still in their sins. The God of salvation, while he pardons and blesses the repenting rebel, is peculiarly terrible to the impenitent and unbelieving. (Note, " The hairy scalp " means, the crown of the head, the principal strength, confidence, and glory of the enemy. Christ will crush the serpent"s head. (Marg. Ref. Note, Genesis 3:14-15.)

V:22, 23. The Lord had promised to save Israel from their enemies by the hand of David : he would therefore renew the wonders which he wrought, when Og king of Bashan was slain, and when the Egyptians perished at the Red Sea. The ascension of Christ made way for most signal displays of the Lord"s power, in spreading the gospel, and in taking vengeance on his enemies: and the more glorious prevalence of Christianity shall be attended with such slaughter of antichristian opposers, as will literally verify the words here used. (Marg. Ref. Notes, . Isaiah 63:1-6. Revelation 19:17-21.) As the verses follow the prophecy of our Lord"s ascension, these events seem more directly predicted; and especially the conversion of the Jews, their restoration to their own land, and the vengeance on those who shall oppose them. (Notes, Ez. xxxviii, 39:)

V:24, 25. When the solemnity of the day was nearly finished, these verses seem to have been sung. The congregation had been spectators of the triumphant manner, in which their God and King had gone up to take possession of his sanctuary, attended with sacred musick and rejoicing. He had accepted their services; and all was so happily concluded, as to presage future prosperous days. (Notes, . 1 Chronicles 15:16-24 In like manner the prophecy of the Son of David, (the King of kings and Lord of lords,) going forth to destroy his enemies and enlarge his kingdom, is introduced by a vision of " much people in heaven, saying Alleluia; salvation, and glory, and honour, and power, unto the Lord " our God; &c." (Notes, Revelation 19:1-21 :) A scene not wholly unlike, but immensely more august, than that procession with the ark to mount Zion, which was the pledge of David"s further victories and prosperity.

My God, my King. (24) Psalm 145:1. Damsels. (25) Psalm 148:11-14. Notes, 11, 12. Jeremiah 31:3-5; Jeremiah 31:10-14, v: 13. The triumphant entrance of the ascending Saviour, amidst the loud acclamations of the heavenly hosts, is shadowed forth under these images.

V:26. From the fountain, &c.] That Isaiah, " Ye, who " spring from the fountain," or the stock, " of Israel. Thus the people in companies seem responsively to have called upon each other, to bless the Lord, (cxxxiv, Psalm 135:13; Psalm 15:1 to Psalm 21:13.)

V:27. The tribe of Benjamin, from which Saul the first king of Israel sprang, joined in this solemnity, as willingly subject to David; and, though a small tribe, descended from Jacob"s youngest Song of Solomon, and almost destroyed in the war at Gibeah; (Notes, :;) and now eclipsed by Judah whose princes supported David as his council, or by their multitudes; it manifested no jealousy or envy. Not only the rulers of the other tribes in the vicinity of Jerusalem attended on this occasion, but those of Zebulun and Naphtali which lay most remote : so harmonious was the whole nation on this occasion ! (Notes, 1 Chronicles 12:22-40; 1 Chronicles 13:1-4.) Thus after Christ"s ascension, rival nations and people, near and far off, thronged into his church.

V:28. The people seem here to have addressed the king. The LORD his God had commanded all parties thus to strengthen David"s cause, and had effected their willing submission; and they prayed, that he would establish what he had by him wrought for his people, in preserving the unity of the nation, and increasing its prosperity. " May " it please thee, O God, to increaseand confirm it : for, as " it is begun, so it must be perfected, by thee alone." Bp. Patrick. (Notes, Psalm 138:8. Ephesians 3:20-21, Philippians 1:1-30 : V:29. The word rendered " temple " is also used for the tabernacle: ( 1 Samuel 3:3 :) yet it is probable, that David spoke this prophetically, and foretold that the temple, which was to be built at Jerusalem, would render the worship there performed so much known, that kings would bring presents and oblations to JEHOVAH, to be offered there. This was a figure of the conversion of the kings of the earth unto Christ in the latter days. (Notes, Psalm 72:8-11. Ezra 7:11-28. Isaiah 49: 22, 23;604 -14.

V:30. The same word is here rendered " company," as is before translated " congregation," but which signifies a living creature: (Note, 9, 10:) and it seems in this place to mean a wild beast. The whole verse may be thus rendered : " " Rebuke the wild beast of the reeds, the congregation of the mighty atnong the calves of the nations, skipping," or exulting, " with pieces of silver; " " scatter the people that delight in war." " Bp. Home.

Some interpret " the beast of the reeds " to mean the crocodile, the emblem of Egypt; and the " calves of the nations," the objects of the Egyptian idolatry; while their " skipping with pieces of silver," is supposed to refer to the rites of their worship. As, however, David was not attacked by the Egyptians, or about to make war on them, this interpretation is not very satisfactory. " The beast of " the reed " or lance, seems to denote a warrior, fierce as a wild beast, perhaps Hadadezer king of Syria. " The multitude of the bulls and the calves of the people " were the powerful and numerous commanders, with their troops and I apprehend the prayer Isaiah, " O Lord, rebuke them, enraged and strong as they are, till they lay themselves doum for us to set our feet on their necks, and supplicate their lives, offering pieces of silver for tribute, as owning themselves subject to us. Yea, " scatter the people that delight " in war," as they evidently do." (Notes, 2 Samuel 8:10 The word, rendered " submit themselves," means the most unreserved humiliation. It is used only here and Proverbs 6:3; where it is rendered, " Humble thyself." It is no doubt to be considered also as a typical prophecy, and a prayer of the church for a decided victory, over the most furious and haughty of her oppressors and persecutors. (Marg. Ref.)

V:31- 33. The victories, gained by David and Israel over the surrounding nations, would induce even those who were more distant, and most addicted to idolatry, to come to Jerusalem, and join themselves to the worshippers of the true God. (Marg. Ref. c, d.) The conversion of the nations, in consequence of the judgments of God on the opposers of the gospel in the primitive times, and before the millennium, is evidently foretold : for the kingdoms of the earth are called upon to join in the praises of Israel; and to adore him, who rode on the heavens to the help of his people, (Note, Deuteronomy 33:26,) and who spake with a mighty voice to them from mountSinai. When the Messiah ascended on high, to " the glory which he had with : " the Father before the world was," he sent forth the powerful word of his gospel, calling on all men to submit to him, " and honour him even as they honoured the Father that sent him." Ethiopia, &c. (31) The Ethiopians shall hasten with their willing oblations to the God of Israel. As connected with Egypt, it is probable that Ethiopia in Africa is meant : the land of negroes. (Notes, Acts 8:26-40.) This may encourage our efforts and prayers for the conversion of the much injured Africans.

V:34, 35. All the glorious perfections of God, which are his " excellency," concur in protecting his church. The power which made the clouds, and rules the highest heavens, is exerted in behalf of his people and communicated to them, " out of his holy places; " the sanctuary of old, as the type of " heaven itself," " whither the Fore" runner is for us entered;" and whence especially he is terrible to his enemies; for " holy and reverend is his " name."

(Notes, 29: . Psalm 148:13-14. Deuteronomy 33:27-29.) Blessed be God. (35) Notes, Psalm 41:11-13; Psalm 72:17-19. Ephesians 1:3-8.

PRACTICAL OBSERVATIONS.

V:1-17.

When God arises to plead the cause of his people, the confederated power of those who hate him will be dissipated and dissolved; and at length all the wicked will perish at his presence. The same displays of his power and glory will rejoice the righteous; and words cannot express the cause which they have, and ever will have, to triumph in him as their unchangeable Friend, and to celebrate his praises. His condescension is equal to his majesty : he always patronizes the afflicted and oppressed; and poor sinners, helpless and exposed more than any destitute orphans, are readily admitted among his sons and daughters, and share all the blessings of that high relation. Indeed all the company of his chosen were once bound in Satan"s chains, and employed in a baser drudgery than that of making bricks; and far more wretched and abject, than the Israelites in Egypt. But when he comes to break off their chains, and claim them for his own, he leads them forth to liberty, to victory, and to eternal glory. They are made willing to follow him, and he goes before them : heaven and earth concur in supplying their wants, and promoting their salvation : difficulties in their path only make way for their almighty Friend to shew his care of them; he guides and guards them; he feeds their souls tvith the Bread of heaven, and gives them the Water of life to drink : and, while he graciously prepares for the smils of " the poor in spirit," he will not withhold what is needful for their bodies or families. They reap the benefit of the Redeemer"s victories; and, fighting under his banner and by his word of command, they profit by the assaults of every enemy : until complete salvation render those " white as snow in Salmon," and beautiful beyond all that is lovely in the visible creation, who once were most mean and loathsome, through the guilt and defilement of their sins.

V:18-35.

The death of our Redeemer was the redemption-price of all the blessings which he confers on sinners, and his resurrection and ascension made way for his conferring them on mankind. When he ascended on high, our God declared his church of ransomed sinners to be his residence, which he greatly desired and delighted in; while in its exalted Head " all the fulness of the Godhead dwelleth " bodily." He now reigns over heaven, and earth, and hell, with unlimited authority. In vain do kings or nations envy or oppose his sovereignty : all must submit, or be destroyed by him; and his wrath is more dreadful from mount Zion than it was from mount Sinai. Having led our oppressors captive, " he hath received gifts for " rebellious " Prayer of Manasseh," which he never refuses to such as humbly sue for them; and those who partake of them become thenceforth " an habitation of God through the Spirit." The gifts of his written word, and of the ministry of his gospel, are vouchsafed to our land. He gave the word, great was the multitude of those who published it; and they have been raised up successively even to the present day : may he give commandment that thousands more may be raised up, to go forth and preach the gospel in every part of the earth ! And may we, may all the inhabitants of Britain, profit by our peculiar privileges ! If we have embraced from our hearts this proffered mercy, let us " bless the LORD who daily loadeth us with benefits." " Our God is the God of salvation : " he has quickened us when dead in sin, and will not leave us till he has brought us to glory, honour, and eternal life. But he will crush the serpent"s head, and utterly destroy all those who " go on still in their trespasses : " for his mercies to his church will be attended with judgment on his enemies, till the complete salvation of the one be accompanied with the final ruin of the other. And as our Lord and King condescends to come and dwell among his people, let us observe the tokens of his presence; and let all of every rank, age, and sex, concur in blessing his name : for union and harmony are the stability of the church. All our strength is in and from the Lord; and if he has begun to communicate his grace to our souls, we may pray in faith, that he would daily stablish that which he has wrought for us and in us. May he speedily so strengthen his cause upon earth, that all the proud, idolatrous, and oppressive, all that delight in war, or maintain opposition to his church, may be scattered and brought down; that all kings and nations may share the blessings of his gospel, and sing praises to his name. May these predictions be fulfilled in their most extensive meaning, that all the inhabitants of the world may adore and rejoice in " his excellency over Israel; " and that he may no longer be terrible to any of them out of his holy places : but that all may " have grace to worship him in reverence and godly " fear." (Note, .) And while all unite in ascribing power and dominion unto him, may all experience strength communicated from him, enabling them to resist temptation, and to overcome every enemy of their salvation;

(Notes, Psalm 138:3. 2 Corinthians 12:7-10. Ephesians 3:14-19. Philippians 4:10-13. Colossians 1:9-14 :) thus may one nation call upon another to bless the Lord, and all on earth form one general chorus, like that of angels in heaven, continually saying with alacrity and gratitude, " Blessed " be God," even " the God and Father of our Lord Jesus " Christ," throughout all ages, for evermore.

Copyright Statement
These files are public domain.
Text Courtesy of BibleSupport.com. Used by Permission.
Bibliographical Information
Scott, Thomas. "Commentary on Psalms 68:19". Thomas Scott: Explanatory Notes, Practical Observations on the book Psalms. https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/tsp/psalms-68.html. 1804.