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of his outer life, bequeathed to us in a double version in the 18th psalm, and in the 2nd Book of Samuel; it further gives us his lament over Saul and Jonathan', his lament over Abner?, and those last words, which “the spirit of Jehovah uttered by his lips' as a parting lesson to the whole nation. The three latter, though not given in the Psalter, have in this version been inserted in those periods of his life to which they respectively belong? Besides these, we find the peculiar marks of David's thought and expression indelibly stamped upon thirteen Psalms; his sense of his own dignity of soul, his “honour", upon the 7th and 3rd ; his belief that he is set apart by God's grace and wonderfully raised above all other men, upon the 4th and 110th. No king but David had such a sense of his majesty' as is expressed in the worst, or of the prophetic & authority with which he meets his enemies, or of tender regard for his people’s welfare, as we find in the 3rd and 4th. The sternness of his rule '' is marked in the 3rd, his love of nature, springing from his shepherd life, in the 8th, the 19th, and still more vividly in the 29th; perhaps also, in the 23rd. The occasion of the 32nd is to be sought in the deep repentance for the great sin of his life, which is recorded in the 12th chapter of the 2nd book of Samuel; and of the two Psalms, which are joined together in the 24th of our Psalter, the first” refers to the carrying up of the ark to Jerusalem, while the second", alike with the 15th, concerns the qualifications of life and character necessary to those who would worship in that Holy Place or dwell in that Holy City; and the 11th, marked as David's by peculiarities of expression occurring only in David's Psalms, belongs to that earlier part of David's life, his persecution by Saul, of which the historical notices are most scanty.
1 2 Sam. i. 19—27.
3 2 Sam. iii. 33, 34. 3 2 Sam. xxiii. 1-7.
4 § 17, 18, 19. 5 § 2. vii. 5, ‘lay mine honour in the dust ;' $ 14. iii. 3 ; $ 12. xviii. 43—48; 2 Sam. vi. 21. 6 § 15. iv. 3 ; $ 12. xviii. 20-30; § 10. cx. 1; 2 Sam. vi. 21. 7 g 12. xviii. 43–45: $ 20. 2 Sam. xxiii. 1, 17.
8 $ 15. iv. 2-5. 9 § 14. iii. 8; 8 7. xxix. 10; 2 Sam. vi. 18; § 2. vii. 29. 10 $ 14. iii. 7; $ 12. xviji. 34-42 ; $ 3. xxiv. 8; 2 Sam. xxiii. 6, 7. 11 Comprised in vv. 7–10 of the 24th Psalm. 12 Comprised in vv. 1—6 of the same.
These Psalms at least are undoubtedly David's. They are marked not only by his flood of rich thought, not fully comprehended and taken up into the national life till in later times, and by the creative power which gave it such facile expression, but by the imagery in which that thought is clothed. This imagery is peculiar, yet well suited to the life of hardship’ and danger which David led. We seem to see him rejoicing that his corn and wine and oil were increased, and fleeing from his enemies that bend their bow and make ready their arrows upon the string". The words “shield' and 'rock,' which passed into metaphors in after times, had a reality to a man who for long years carried his life in his hand; who, fleeing from cave to cave, had no fortress but Jehovah, no panoply but the sure protection of the Almighty. Such figures are nowhere to be found in the earlier but equally warlike songs of Exodus and Judges.
The key-note struck by David in these seventeen Psalms reverberates with a hundred varying echoes through the whole Psalter; sometimes loud and clear, as in the 2nd and also in the 23rd, the 27th, the 64th, and the 138th’; sometimes faintly, as in the fragments inlaid in Psalms of a later time®.
1 The discussion of the linguistic reasons, which have induced Hebrew scholars, with scarcely an exception, to assign at least these Psalms to David, hardly comes within the province of this work.
2 § 2. vii. 7 ; § 1. xi. 2 ; $ 12. xviii. 4, 5, 17, 18; § 8. xix. 5; $ 13. xxxii. 10.
5 Ex. xv. Judges v. 6 Written, if not by David, in or near his time.
7 All written in David's spirit, if not by his pen: all breathing much of David's elevation of soul.
8 § 11. lx. 6–9; $ 114. Ixviii. 13—18; $$ 142 and 17. cxliv. 1-11 and 12—15. Compare note on Composite Psalms, $ 24. xxvii. and Appendix A.
The number of Psalms here attributed to David is apparently small; yet it is to be remarked that there is no side of his varied character which does not in them find its expression ; that there is no great turning point in his chequered life which is not set forth with a power, such as could only spring from a personal experience. This is assuredly no slight confirmation of the fact that these Psalms, selected on other grounds as indubitably composed by David, were really his work.
The chronological arrangement has been taken without alteration from Ewald's great work.
NOTE.-Perhaps most readers of the Psalms would be inclined to regard many more than these seventeen as composed by David. Such is possibly the case. All that is intended to be asserted here is that these are beyond all reasonable doubt from his pen ; for in each and all of them the great heart of the king is manifest ; and in none is there any sentiment or expression, which, like the 18th and 19th verses of the 51st Psalm', points to a later age. It may be stated again here, once for all, as it has been already stated in the Preface, that there is no intention to press each single conclusion to which Ewald has come. His arrangement has been accepted as a whole; as full of suggestive thought, edifying and generally most satisfactory. He has brought an amount of learning to bear upon this subject, at least equal to that of any other commentator ; he is marked by a rare honesty and singleness of purpose ; and he has brought into clearer light than any previous writer the greatness of David's reign as the central point of the Hebrew monarchy, and the grandeur of his genius as at least the founder, if not the author, of the Psalter.
1 $ 75.
§ 1. Psalm XI. THIS Psalm must be referred to the early times of David's life,
when he had to maintain an unequal struggle against the unrelenting jealousy of Saul. Well might his friends despair: they were already in peril on every side from the treachery of an unscrupulous foe, and now there opens before them an interminable vista of dangers, which would be the lot of the righteous in a time of anarchy: and misrule. But their cowardly fears, so far from shaking David's trust in God, only give him an occasion for pouring forth in song the firm and simple faith* with which his heart is full.
1. The Psalmist's answer to the despairing utterances of his companions: In Jehovah put I my trust! how say ye then to my soul: I
"flee, O ye birds, unto your hill'?— * For lo, the ungodly bend their bow,
they make ready their arrow upon the string, 'to shoot privily at them that are true of heart !'• If the foundations be rooted up,
what shall the righteous do?'
11. he comforteth his soul with his conviction of the justice of God: Jehovah is in His holy palace,
the throne of Jehovah is in heaven;
Ver. 1. unto your hill; i.e. so as to be safe from the snare of the fowler, who sets his nets on the plain; a proverbial expression: the image is continued in ver. 2.
The three utterances in vv. 1, 2, and 3 are disconnected suggestions of despair from David's friends.
Ver. 3. the foundations, i.e. of social order, meaning, the eternal principles of right and wrong upon which society is based; cp. $ 38. lxxv. 3, 4.
1 On the common arrangement of the Psalter, see Appendix A. 2 v. 2: cp. 1 Sam. xviii. 9, 11 ; xix. 1, 11; xxii. 23; xxiii. 12, 19; xxvi. 2; xxvii. 1. 3 v. 3. Cp. 1 Sam. xxii. 19, 21.
4 v0. 1, 6, 8.
His eyes behold, His eyelids try, the children of men; Jehovah trieth the righteous;
but the ungodly and him that loveth wickedness doth His
soul abhor; upon the ungodly He raineth coals of fire and brimstone, 7 fiery heat is the portion of their cup.
111. for He careth for the righteous. For Jehovah is righteous, and loveth righteousness :
whoso is upright he shall behold His countenance. Ver. 6. trieth, i.e. proveth. Faith is perfected by trial. Cp. James i. 12.
Ver. 7. The ungodly are represented (1) as overwhelmed by fire from heaven (cp. $ 12. xviii. 12, 13; Gen. xix. 24), and (2) as compelled to drink in the deadly air of the Simoom.
§ 2. PSALM VII. THE 7th Psalm breathes the feeling of the time when David and
1 his band were daily evading the snares laid for them by the agents of Saul. It is occasioned by the treachery of a friend, named in the tradition? as Cush, the Benjamite, of whom nothing is known from the history, but who as a member of the tribe of Benjamin was probably an adherent of the Benjamite king.
David, in the full consciousness of innocence, pours forth his indignation at the thought, that he who spared the life of his bitterest foe, should be treacherously assailed by the very arts which he so carefully eschewed.
He appeals to God to come down from heaven and hold a solemn judgment upon earth, where amidst the assembled tribes the integrity of His Anointed* may be proved. He passes in imagination from the close of the judgment to the execution of the sentence, and in the thought of the eternity of God's justice the storm of passion is lulled to rest.
I. The Psalmist pleadeth before God that his hands are clean from treachery: Jehovah, my God! in Thee have I put my trust :
save me from all them that persecute me, and deliver me!
1 U70. 3, 4:
2 A. V. See Appendix B, On the Superscriptions.
4 v. 5. 1 Sam. xvi. II.