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Verse-by-Verse Bible Commentary

Psalms 68:20

God is to us a God of deliverances; And to God the Lord belong escapes from death.
New American Standard Version

Bible Study Resources

Concordances:
Nave's Topical Bible - Death;   Life;   Salvation;  
Dictionaries:
Hastings' Dictionary of the Bible - Psalms;   Sin;   Hastings' Dictionary of the New Testament - Salvation;   Salvation Save Saviour;   Morrish Bible Dictionary - God;   People's Dictionary of the Bible - Psalms the book of;  
Encyclopedias:
International Standard Bible Encyclopedia - Death;   Issues;   The Jewish Encyclopedia - Liturgy;  

Adam Clarke Commentary

The issues from death - The going out or exodus from death - from the land of Egypt and house of bondage. Or the expression may mean, Life and death are in the hand of God. "He can create, and he destroy."

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These files are public domain.
Bibliographical Information
Clarke, Adam. "Commentary on Psalms 68:20". "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).

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These files are public domain.
Text Courtesy of BibleSupport.com. Used by Permission.
Bibliographical Information
Flemming, Donald C. "Commentary on Psalms 68:20". "Brideway Bible Commentary". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/bbc/psalms-68.html. 2005.

Albert Barnes' Notes on the Whole Bible

He that is our God is the God of salvation - literally, “God is for us a God of salvation.” That is, The God whom we worship is the God from whom salvation comes, and who brings salvation to us. It is not a vain thing that we serve him, for he is the only being who can save us, and he will save us.

And unto God the Lord belong the issues from death - The “outgoings” or “escapes” from death. That is, He only can save from death. The Hebrew word means, properly, a going forth, a deliverance; then, a place of going forth as a gate, Ezekiel 48:30; a fountain, Proverbs 4:23. Probably the only idea intended here by the psalmist was, that safety or deliverance from death proceeds solely from God. The sentiment, however, is true in a larger sense. All that pertains to deliverance from death, all that prepares for it, all that makes it easy to be borne, all that constitutes a rescue from its pains and horrors, all that follows death in a higher and more blessed world, all that makes death “final,” and places us in a condition where death is no more to be dreaded - all this belongs to God. All this is under his control. He only can enable us to bear death; he only can conduct us from a bed of death to a world where we shall never die.

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Bibliographical Information
Barnes, Albert. "Commentary on Psalms 68:20". "Barnes' Notes on the Whole Bible". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/bnb/psalms-68.html. 1870.

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. "

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Copyright © 2014, Calvary Chapel of Costa Mesa, Ca.
Bibliographical Information
Smith, Charles Ward. "Commentary on Psalms 68:20". "Chuck Smith Bible Commentary". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/csc/psalms-68.html. 2014.

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 68:20". "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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These files are public domain.
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Bibliographical Information
Constable, Thomas. DD. "Commentary on Psalms 68:20". "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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These files are public domain.
Text Courtesy of BibleSupport.com. Used by Permission.
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Constable, Thomas. DD. "Commentary on Psalms 68:20". "Expository Notes of Dr. Thomas Constable". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/dcc/psalms-68.html. 2012.

John Gill's Exposition of the Whole Bible

He that is our God,.... Or "God for us"F17האל לנו "Deus nobis, vel est nobis", Pagninus, Montanus, Vatablus, Piscator. ; is on our side; and is the mighty God, able to save to the uttermost;

is the God of salvation; or "God for salvations"F18אל למושעות "Deus ad salutes", Pagninus, Montanus, &c. ; for the obtaining of them for his people, and giving them to them, even of every kind;

and unto God the Lord belong the issues from death; deliverance from it; Christ has abolished it, and him that had the power of it; has delivered himself from it, and will deliver all his people from it, though they become subject to it, as well as from eternal death; for he has the keys of hell and death in his hands. Some render the words, "to God the Lord belong the issues", or "ways unto death"F19למות תוצאות "ad mortem exitus", Pagninus, Montanus; "mille viae laethi", Lucan. ; he has various ways of bringing persons to death, of destroying his and his people's enemies; and so Jarchi, Aben Ezra, and Kimchi interpret it; though the following words seem to be opposed to these: the Heathens had a notion that the power of death belonged to God; hence they had a deity called the god of death, "Dites"F20Macrob. in Somn. Scip. l. 1. c. 11. .

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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 68:20". "The New John Gill Exposition of the Entire Bible". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/geb/psalms-68.html. 1999.

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.

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. "Complete Commentary on Psalms 68:20". "Matthew Henry Complete Commentary on the Whole Bible". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/mhm/psalms-68.html. 1706.

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.”

Copyright Statement
These files are public domain.
Text Courtesy of BibleSupport.com. Used by Permission.
Bibliographical Information
Spurgeon, Charle Haddon. "Commentary on Psalms 68:20". "Spurgeon's Verse Expositions of the Bible". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/spe/psalms-68.html. 2011.