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1. God is great in Sion and breaketh the rod of the oppressor; In Judah is God known,
His name is great in Israel, for at Salem He made His tabernacle,
and His resting-place in Sion : there brake He the arrows of the bow,
the shield, the sword and the battle!
11. none may resist His might, Full of brightness art Thou, more glorious
than the strongholds of robbers : the proud were stripped, they slept their sleep,
and the men of might found not their hands; at Thy rebuke, O God of Jacob,
both chariot and horse lie fallen.
III. for He executeth righteous judgments upon the nations of the earth; Thou, even Thou art to be feared,
and who may stand in Thy sight when Thou art angry? Thou didst cause judgment to peal forth from heaven, 8
the earth trembled—and was still, when God arose to judgment,
to help all the meek upon the earth.
Ver. 2. Salem, poetical abbreviation of Jerusalem, betokens the dwelling of peace, the abode of Jehovah, before whose walls the fury of battle must cease.
Ver. 3. arrows. Literally, 'the lightnings of the bow,' see Zech. ix. 14, 'And His arrow shall go forth as the lightning.'
Ver. 4. strongholds, i. e. the fortresses of Palestine from which the Assyrians swept down upon Jerusalem. According to ancient custom their walls had gleamed with the splendour of the invaders’ shields. See Cant. iv. 4, ‘Thy neck is like the tower of Damascus, builded for an armoury, whereon they hang a thousand bucklers, all shields of mighty men.' Ezekiel (xxvii. 11), speaking of the splendid appearance of Tyre, says, 'They hanged their shields upon thy walls round about: they have made thy beauty perfecť.' See Stanley, Jewish Church, Part 11. Chap. xxvi. note, to which the above references are due.
Ver. 5. the proud, i.e. the warriors were stripped of their gleaming arms and powerless as though they had lost their hands and were sleeping the sleep of death.
IV. the furious shall bow before Him and all nations shall do IIim homage. For the fierceness of men shall turn to Thy praise, 10
the residue of fierceness shall do Thee honour: promise unto Jehovah your God and keep your vows! II
let all that are around Him do homage to His majesty! He moweth down the pride of princes,
12 He is terrible to the kings of the earth.
Ver. 10. fierceness-praise. A new view of the judgments of Jehovah. He chasteneth the heathen that they may turn to Him. Many are fallen, but the remnant of wild barbarians (residue of fierceness) shall learn His power and worship His name with praise.
NOTE ON THE ORIGIN OF MESSIANIC EXPECTATIONS. Among the many national characteristics which elevated the Jews above the other nations of antiquity, none is more striking than their power of living in and for the future. Nothing in the rich heritage of religious life and aspirations has been more fruitful in important consequences than this. The character of the Israelites, full of religious confidence and perseverance even to obstinacy, was indeed a favourable soil for the development of aspirations such as these: but their origin lay deeper and must be sought in the revelation of the unity of God and of the eternal justice by which the world is ruled. In any attempt to trace a part of God's revelation of Himself in the government of the world and in the heart of man, it is hardly possible to lay too much stress on the selection of the Jews for the reception of this fundamental religious truth, and their capacity of framing upon it their whole national and domestic life.
Such a revelation, working on a religious assurance which loved to regard the Israelites as a chosen and favoured people, could not but produce great ideas alike in their prosperity and their adversity. In the hour of their prosperity the vulgar looked for a wider empire and a still higher state of material welfare: the pious few longed for a time when righteousness should go hand in hand with wealth and the nation be under the direct inspiration of the Almighty. In dark times when the chosen people bowed beneath the rod of the idolater or the infidel, this hope burned brighter than ever. Other nations could solve the problem of suffering righteousness and triumphant sin, either by putting evil on a level with good and assigning to each passion its
appropriate deity, or by abandoning the world to the reign of chance could acquiesce in the apparently capricious bestowal of happiness and suffering through the denial of all moral order and government in the world. The Jews on the contrary interpreted the past and looked forward to the future by the light of a revelation which raised them above the domain of accident and the limits of human life. In their cars had rung the words ‘I am the God that brought thee out of the Land of Egypt. Thou shalt have no other Gods than me. 'Hear, () Israel, the Lord Thy God is one God,' and again, ‘Thus saith the high and lofty One that inhabiteth eternity whose name is Holy, 'I dwell in the high and holy place, with him that is of a contrite and humble spirit to revive the humble.” “There is no peace,' saith the Lord, 'unto the wicked. Such revelations rendered fatalistic despair and fatalistic security equally impossible and made the divine government visible beneath the confusions of the world.
To the Hebrews the anomalies of life were only for a time. God would vindicate Himself. Impious men and impious nations stood upon slippery ground: the righteous alone was firmly planted, and his seed should endure for ever. God would avenge His saints and execute 'righteous judgment on the earth.' Thus in moments of intense national suffering prophets either raised the hope of their countrymen by depicting the house of David as again triumphant and smiting down the nations in a day of judgment and retribution, or else consoled their sorrow by describing the anointed of God as uniting hostile tribes. under a reign of peace and love and leading all peoples to one fold under one shepherd.
Thus as in individual life it is the peculiar blessing of the Spure in heart' to 'see God,' to trace the working of His hand not so much in the bestowal of special blessings as in the sanctification of ordinary life, so in the history of the Jewish nation, it was a step fraught with momentous consequences, when, from a belief in the exertion of the Divine power on special occasions, they rose to the far higher revelation of the Almighty ruling through the order which He has appointed in His world. In the earlier period of their history it seemed that God's participation in the government of the world must be occasional and extraordinary. Even to Samuel it was not revealed at once that the change inevitably required by the progress of the world from the irregular government of the Judges to the regularity and system of the
monarchy was itself a part of the Divine plan?. Thus the idea of the intervention of Jehovah through the agency of an established line of rulers, which after the reign of David was the moving idea of religious thought inseparably linked with the future of David's house, was originally not only hostile but almost fatal to the attempt to establish the monarchy at all?. The idea of fixing Jehovah's vicegerents to a particular line seemed to Samuel impious and tantamount to rejecting Jehovah Himself. Saul's prophetic inspiration proved him to be the man whom God had destined for the throne; but when his inspiration ceased his title to the kingdom ceased with it, and the throne was bestowed on another inspired member of the prophet's company. Then as afterwards the prophet was raised above the king by his inspiration : for the same reason he was above the priest also.
In David prophecy, kingship, priesthood were united', and his manifold capacities, backed as they were by the prophetic blessing, made him to his own people the anointed representative of Jehovah, and to all subsequent ages the type of the anointed prophet and de. liverer of the nation.
As is necessarily the case with every religious belief which relates to the future, the idea of God's anointed or the coming ‘Messiah' was different to different classes and in different times. To the vulgar it presented itself in the material aspect of a mighty conqueror establishing an earthly kingdom: the higher minds longed for a visible representative of the purposes of Jehovah and a kingdom “wherein dwelleth righteousness.' David's character answered both conceptions. He that rose from the sheepfold to the throne, and extended his dominion from Jordan to the Euphrates, was a fit type of one who should make Israel triumphant over every foe. The man after God's own heart was a worthy ancestor for the ideal ruler of the most religious and spiritual minds. Thus it was that the first prophetic declaration of the future glory of the house of David sank deeper and deeper into the heart of the nation, as each successive ruler failed to satisfy the hopes of his contemporaries, and the military and spiritual greatness of the national hero of the past was magnified by comparison with his worthless or at best but partially successful descendants5.
I Cp. 1 Sam. viii. 22. 3 1 Sam. x. 6, 11.
Cp. Introduction to $ 16. q.
4 Cp. § 10. cx. 4. 52 Sam. vii. 5–17.
Thus the conviction that David was the true type and only worthy ancestor of the Anointed of Jehovah, the one who was to bring salvation to the falling empire and renewal to the spiritual life of the nation, gained greater strength and vitality as time rolled on,-as the Jews saw more and more from contact with heathen empires that God's true vicegerent is he who strives to establish not his own empire but that of God, who comes to do not his own will but the will of Him that sent him
$ 38. PSALM Lxxv.* THE overthrow of the Assyrians bore to the prophets a deeper
1 meaning than the mere deliverance of the hour. It was to them the visible pledge that God would for ever execute judgment in the earth, while it supplied a terrible warning against that godless arrogance which would prove as fatal to the Jews as it had proved to the heathen.
I. God at His appointed seasons appeareth to judge the world: Unto Thee, O God, did we give thanks,
we gave thanks to Thee and Thy name is nigh ; men told of Thy wondrous works. for X choose an appointed time (saith Jehovah);
¥, eben ¥, judge according to right; the earth quaketh and all the inhabiters thereof; I have established the pillars of it.
II. for to Him alone doth judgment belong: I say unto the fools, .deal not so madly!'
and to the ungodly, 'set not up your horn!' Ver. 2. wondrous works, i.e. Thy presence is revealed in the wondrous works which we have seen. This serves to introduce the words of Jehovah, proclaiming that His judgment cometh in due time, unalterable as the everlasting hills, on which as pillars He hath established the earth. Cp. $ 4. xxiv. vv. 1–6 note.
Ver. 4. pillars, i.e. mountains. Cp. $ 4. xxiv. 1, 2 and note.
Ver. 5. The word horn was used by the Hebrews metaphorically to express either honour, as 8 136. cxii. 9, § 123. cxxxii. 18, etc., or strength, Mic. iv. 13, ‘I will make thine horn iron,' and Deut. xxxiii. 17, etc. To humble and cast down was often represented by the figure of breaking or cutting off the horn, as here (ver. 11). So Lam. ii. 3, 'Cut off all the horn of Israel.' To exalt the horn of any one (or to make it bud) was to bestow honour and dignity upon him.
* See $ 35, Introduction.