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• As this Psalm in its historical bearing is the glorification of the kingdom of David as God's Anointed, it will be obvious to any one, who will trace the Jewish idea of the Messiahthrough the Prophets, that it would be especially quoted afterwards as the Psalm connecting the reign of David with that of his greater successor,
$ 11. PSALM LX. 6–8 (CVIII. 7-10). THE 6oth Psalm is given in its entirety in § 125. The" shape in
1 which it has come down to us is one of many indications of the living interest which the Hebrews took in the history? of their nation. Old promises were employed in the depression of later times either to sustain the national faith or, as here, to form the text of pathetic appeals to God, by contrasting the state of the nation in its decline with the glorious promises of the Davidian epoch. }
The greater part of the Psalm is evidently due to the period of the Dispersion. The most striking passage, however, which forms its central3 portion, and which is also quoted in another Psalm“, is no less evidently due to the time of David. The hopes contained in this portion of the Psalm correspond as fitly with the circumstances of David's time, as the despair in the rest of it with the feelings of the Dispersion. in a curious historical notice, which has in the Bible been prefixed as the superscription", the Psalm is referred to a time of extreme national peril, when David was in sore perplexity. The kingdom was threatened on all sides. While the king was campaign
i 18.63, note on Messianic Expectation,
2 Composite Psalms. We find more than one instance of Psalms put together by later Psalmists from fragments of carlier Psalms. This very fragment of Psalm 1x. 6-10, which, considered historically, belongs to David's Psalms, is joined by a later Psalmist to vv. 8-12 of the 57th ($ 52), and the two fragments, thus joined, form the 108th (§ 143) of the Authorised Version. So also $ 24. xxvii. See note there and App. A 2 for other instances. 3 vv. 6-10. i.
A 143. cviii. 5 The superscription. A Psalm of David. When he strove with Aram of the two
rivers (the Syrians of Mesopotamia] and with Aram of Zobah; when Joab returned and smote of Edom in the
valley of Salt twelve thousand. See Appendix B on Superscriptions. .6 Cp. 2 Sam. viii. 3—16.
ing in the north against the Syrians, the Edomites had risen in rebellion in the south; and he was so hard pressed that he knew not if an army could be spared to go against them.
In his perplexity he did not give way to panic, but went to enquire of Jehovah, and was comforted by the prophetic utterance which is enshrined in this fragment.
A divine oracle, promising extension of the empire.
I will divide Shechem,
and mete out the valley of Succoth! Gilcad is Mine, and Manasseh is Mine.
Ephraim also is the defence of My head,
Judah is My sceptre !
upon Edom will I cast out My shoe :
Ver. 6. Let me rejoice. These words are spoken by the Psalmist.
Shechem and Succoth, as ancient towns on either side of Jordan, stand for the whole of Canaan, which God will mete out for Himself, so that no enemy can take it.
Vv. 7, 8. Gilead and Manasseh are Mine: Ephraim is My helmet; Judah is My sceptrebut as for My enemies, Moab shall be My washpot, Edom shall acknowledge Me conqueror, and Philistia shall bewail her defeat.
Ver. 8. The ignominious vassalage of Moab and Edom is depicted under the image (1) of the washpot, in which the conqueror returning in triumph washed off the sweat of battle, and (2) of the ground on which (some say, the slave to whom] he flung his sandals. Over Philistia will I triumph. So it runs in the later version of this oracle, which is incorporated in the 108th Psalm. In the earlier version, contained in the both, it is, “Cry aloud because of Me, Philistia,' i. e. probably 'wail aloud.' But the meaning of both expressions is the same. See $ 125, notes,
§ 12. PSALM XVIII.
THIS, the longest and noblest of all David's Psalms, was, as we
learn from its conclusion, sung in the last years of prosperity which crowned his life, when the surrounding nations had become his tributaries and distant nations hasted to do him homage. Thus it is a fervent outpouring of gratitude, not for a single deliverance, but for all the deliverances of his chequered life.
The form in which this thanksgiving is cast is essentially characters istic. David loved to dwell upon the phenomena of the natural world, not merely for their own beauty or grandeur, but because they were revelations of the goodness and omnipotence of God. The sun by day?, the moon by night, the innocence of childhood, the high calling of man?, are appointed witnesses to the beneficent love of the Creator to His creatures; storm and thunder attest His personal interposition in the world, nay, His very presence on the earth. As David had decribed the actual storm to pourtray the omnipotence of God, so here an imaginary tempest is the vehicle which he employs to convey to himself and to others the lessons of his eventful life from its rise amidst the sheepfolds to its close amidst the glories of a prosperous reign. He dwells upon his history in the consciousness that his had been no ordinary life: that as king of the nation which was appointed to be the bearer of God's true religion to the world, he could claim and had enjoyed His special protection. The unfolding of a page in the history of God's kingdom in the world, had depended on the preservation and prosperity of his life, and thus the powers of death and hell had not prevailed against it; nay more, the descent of the Almighty in wrath to deliver him was in his eyes a solemn vindication of the divine order against the futile opposition of man.
It is this moral purpose of the coming of Jehovah to judgment which gives its grandeur to the sublime picture of earthquake and tempest.
Nor is the structure of the Psalm inferior to its subject. Composed in all probability for some great festival, it has all the regularity of structure which such an occasion would demand, and begins, as might be expected, with an exordium of unusual solemnity". The key-note there struck is the special protection of God: this protection, in its relation to the king, gives the real connection to the varying and apparently unconnected strophes which form the body of the Psalms
2 $ 9. viii.
"§ 8. xix; $ 9. viii.
v0. I, 2.
3 $ 7 Ps. xxix. ovv. 3–46.
· The king, overwhelmed by a sea of trouble and sinking to the very gates of hell, cries to Jehovah. God hears from His palace on high and descends to rescue His beloved servant with all the artillery of heaven? • From God, the giver of strength and victory, the Psalmist passes to man the receiver. The experience of his life has taught him that the bestowal of God's gifts is neither capricious nor absolute. There is a necessary connection between human holiness and divine favour. The man who is striving for more perfect justice, for greater purity, finds within and without fresh revelations day by day of the attributes and mercy of God. The wicked, finding God as much opposed to them as they are to Him, are perpetually thwarted by the arrangements of His providence. So indissoluble is the connection between human holiness and divine favour. God was true to David because David had striven to be true to Him, and to walk before Him with clean hands and a pure heart”.
Therefore it was that God had given him strength to drive his enemies before him 3; and thus the Psəlm returns at its close to the note of praise with which it began“.
I. The Psalmist praiseth God his deliverer;
Thou art my saviour and redeemer,
my shield and the horn of my health,
II. who hath rescued him from all the perils of his life; The billows had surrounded me,
the floods of ungodliness made me afraid,
3 vv. 39, 49
• v0. 47-5:
• . 47
the chains of hell had encompassed me,
the net of death had fallen upon me : in my trouble I cry unto Jehovah,
and complain aloud to my God: He heareth my cry from His palace,
my complaint entereth even into His ears; and the earth trembleth and quaketh,
and the pillars of heaven shake,
yea, they tottered—because He was wroth! there went up a smoke from His nostrils,
and a consuming fire out of His mouth,
a blast of burning coals.
He bowed the heavens also and came down,
-clouds and darkness under His feet-; He rode upon a cherub and did fly,
He rode upon the wings of the wind; He maketh darkness to be His covering,
His pavilion round about Him, ... —dark waters and thick clouds-; at the brightness of His presence, His thick clouds passed away, 12
-hailstones and coals of fire-; Jehovah also thundereth from heaven,
and the Highest giveth forth His voice,
He sent forth His arrows and scattered them,
Ver. 7. pillars. The heaven was represented by the Hebrews as resting on the hills as its foundation, which were hence called the pillars of heaven. Cp. Job xxvi. 11, 'The pillars of heaven tremble and are astonished at His reproof.'
Ver. 10. cherub. The cherubim formed the moving throne of God. Cp. Ezek. X. 1, *Behold in the firmament, which was above the head of the cherubim, there appeared as it were a sapphire stone as the appearance of the likeness of a throne.'
Ver. 12. hailstones. Hail was rare in Palestine and so regarded with greater awe. Cp. $7. xxix. Introduction, and Joshua x. II.