صور الصفحة
النشر الإلكتروني

Songs of]



PRAISE ye the LORD. Praise ye the LORD from the heavens: praise him in the heights.

2 Praise ye him, all his angels: praise ye him, all his hosts.

3 Praise ye him, sun and moon: praise him, all ye stars of light.

4 Praise him, ye heavens of heavens, and ye waters that be above the heavens.

5 Let them praise the name of the LORD: for he commanded, and they were created.

6 He hath also stablished them for ever and ever: he hath made a decree which shall not pass.

7 Praise the LORD from the earth, ye dragons, and all deeps:

8 Fire, and hail; snow, and vapours; stormy wind fulfilling his word:

[universul praise.

9 Mountains, and all hills: fruitful trees, and all cedars :

10 Beasts, and all cattle; creeping things, and flying fowl:

11 Kings of the earth, and all people; princes, and all judges of the earth:

12 Both young men, and maidens; old men, and children:

13 Let them praise the name of the LORD: for his name alone is excellent; his glory is above the earth and heaven.

14 He also exalteth the horn of his people, the praise of all his saints; even of the children of Israel, a people near unto him. Praise ye the LORD. (K)

PSALM CXLIX. PRAISE ye the LORD. Sing unto the LORD a new song, and his praise in the congregation of saints.


which we enjoy. "Praise is comely for the upright," even for angels; but its obligation on pardoned sinners is infinite.

From the second verse of this psalm, it has been supposed that it was written after the return from captivity: "The Lord doth build up Jerusalem;" but the chief topics


animate or inanimate, sensual or intellec-
tual, are here called upon to praise their
Maker and do they praise him? Most
assuredly. The heavenly bodies? Yes:
as Addison beautifully expresses it—

"For ever singing as they shine,
The hand that made us is divine."

storms and monsters.

of the Psalm refer to the general provi. The inhabitants of the earth? Yes: even dence of God. His wisdom is displayed in his knowledge and government of the heavenly bodies, the regulation of the seasons, the feeding of the lower creation; but, above all, in the distribution of his holy word, among his favourite nation; and this brings the subject home to our own country, to our own times, and to our own bosoms. "He hath showed his word unto Jacob, his statutes and his judgments unto Israel. He hath not dealt so with any (other) nation,” except our own.

"Still, mighty God, on Britain shine, With beams of heav'nly grace; Reveal thy word thro' all our coasts,

And show thy smiling face." Watts altered.


(K) A chorus of universal praise.—All the creatures of God in heaven and earth,

"Kings of the earth, and all people?" Most assuredly it is their duty; and if they neglect it, “dragons and all deeps" may shame them; for sinners are the only beings in God's creation chargeable with ingratitude. But may we mingle our praises with the celestial hierarchy? And why not? Are we not fellow-creatures? Before the great Eternal Being all shrink into insignificance, as the flame of an expiring taper before the meridian sun.

Rational creatures, are, however, the only ones capable of design or enjoyment in the work; and music is given to man that he may participate in the employ of angels:

"Angels and men, assisted by this art,
May sing together, though they dwell apart."


PSALM CXLVIII. Ver 7. Dragons-that is, sea monsters. See Notes on Job vii. 12; Ps. xliv. 19. Ver. 10. Flying fowl-Heb. “ Birds of wing." Ver. 13. Is excellent-Heb. " exalted."

PSALM CXLIX. Ver. 2. In him that made himAinsworth, "In his Makers." The word is certainly plural, implying more than one person in the Godhead. See Eccles. xii. 1.

[blocks in formation]

2 Let Israel rejoice in him that made him: let the children of Zion be joyful in their King.

3 Let them praise his name in the dance: let them sing praises unto him with the timbrel and harp.

4 For the LORD taketh pleasure in his people he will beautify the meek with salvation.

5 Let the saints be joyful in glory: let them sing aloud upon their beds. 6 Let the high praises of God be in their mouth, and a twoedged sword in their hand;

7 To execute vengeance upon the heathen, and punishments upon the people;

8 To bind their kings with chains, and their nobles with fetters of iron; 9 To execute upon them the judg


[universal praise.

ment written: this honour have all his saints. Praise ye the LORD. (L) PSALM CL.

PRAISE ye the LORD. Praise God in his sanctuary: praise him in the firmament of his power.

2 Praise him for his mighty acts: praise him according to his excellent greatness.

3 Praise him with the sound of the trumpet praise him with the psaltery and harp.

4 Praise him with the timbrel and dance: praise him with stringed instruments and organs.

5 Praise him upon the loud cymbals: praise him upon the high sounding cymbals.

6 Let every thing that hath breath praise the LORD.Praise ye the LORD.(M)


(L) Praise to God for the victories of his church. The two great topics of this psalm are the victories of God's church and the happy consequences that are to follow, which may be interpreted in reference to either the Old dispensation or the New. In reference to the former, we are necessarily reminded of the warlike means by which the Canaanites were to be subdued, and the glory and prosperity to which Ísrael were to be raised; but this we do not find accomplished till the reign of Solomon, when the nation was advanced to the highest glory, and sat and sung at their ease at the sacrificial feasts in honour of Jehovah. In referring these verses to the New Testament dispensation, we must give to the same images a very different interpretation. The beds of sickness, of which this passage generally reminds us, are changed into solas of ease and enjoyinent (speaking figuratively,) and shall hereafter be changed into thrones of glory. The twoedged sword by which the victory shall be achieved, is "the word of God," (Heb. iv. 12.) The chains and fetters by which the kings and nobles among the heathen shall

.be bound, are the laws and institutions of Christianity. The effects produced among the Gentiles, in the first ages, by the gospel, are well known; and what we have heard and seen in our own days in India, in Africa, and in the South Seas, is no less extraordinary; but even more so, when we consider that it was produced without miracles or the gift of tongues.


(M) The concluding psalm.-Herein the psalmist exhorts both priests and people to praise Jehovah with all the powers of voice and instrument which they could combine. It has been said by a learned man, that, even under the Old dispensation, instrumental music was not enjoined, but was invented by David. That David invented some instruments of music is certain, (Amos vi.5.) but we cannot give up the divine sanction to instrumental music under that dispensation, without also giving up the inspiration of David and the book of Psalms. How far we are to follow their example this is not the place to inquire. Most certainly God is to be praised both with heart and voice; and every "thing that hath breath" is called upon to praise him.


Ver.3. In the dance - Marg. "With the pipe." Ver.. Upon their beds. Our beds are so different from those of the ancients as to convey a wrong idea. They were (and still are) carpeted seats, or cushions. Ep. Horne renders this verse and the preceding in the future, like the original. So Mr. Ainsworth. Ver.6. A two-edged (Heb. "two-mouthed") sword. Ver. 9. To execute the judgment written in the New Testament, and particularly in the book of the

Revelation of St. John.

PSALM CL. Ver. 1. Firmament-See Gen. i. 8. Ver.3. Trumpet-Marg. " Cornet;" but the same word is used of the silver trumpets, Num. x. 2, &c. Ver. 4. Dance. See Expos. of Exod. xv.Organs. See Note on Gen. iv. 21.

Ver. 5. Cymbals-Metal plates, probably resembling those now used in the army, which came from the East.


[merged small][merged small][merged small][ocr errors][merged small]

OUR Preface to this Book we shall take the liberty to borrow from Mr. HORNE's very valuable "Introduction to the Critical Study of the Scriptures," already repeatedly referred to.

Mr. H. remarks "It seems certain that the collection called the "Proverbs of Solomon," was arranged in the order in which we now have it, by different hands; but it is not therefore to be concluded, that they are not the productions of Solomon, who, we are informed, composed no less than three thousand Proverbs, (1 Kings iv. 32.) As it is nowhere said that Solomon himself made a collection of proverbs and sentences, the general opinion is, that several persons made a collection of them. Hezekiah, among others, as mentioned in the twenty-fifth chapter; Agur, Isaiah, and Ezra, might have done the same. The Jewish writers affirm that Solomon wrote the Canticles, or Song, bearing his name, in his youth; the Proverbs in his riper years, and Ecclesiastes in his old age

"Michaelis has observed, that the Book of Proverbs is frequently cited by the apostles, who considered it as a treasure of revealed morality, whence Christians were to derive their rules of conduct; and the canonical authority of no book of the Old Testament is so well ratified by the evidence of quotations as that of the Proverbs.

"The scope of this book is to instruct men in the deepest mysteries of true wisdom and understanding, the height and perfection of which is the true knowledge of the divine will, and the sincere fear of the Lord. (Prov. i. 2-7; ix. 10.) To this end, the book is filled with the choicest sententious aphorisms, infinitely surpassing all the ethical sayings of the ancient sages, and comprising in themselves distinct doctrines, duties, &c. of piety towards God, of equity and benevolence towards man, and of sobriety and temperance; together with precepts for the right education of children, and for the relative situations of subjects, magistrates, and sovereigns. "The Book of Proverbs may be divided into five parts.

"Part I. In the proem or exordium, containing the first nine chapters, the teacher gives his pupil a series of admonitions, directions, cautions, and excitements to the study of wisdom. This part, says Bishop Lowth, is varied, elegant, sublime, and truly poetical: the order of the subject is, in general, excellently preserved, and the parts are very aptly connected. It is embellished with many beautiful descriptions and personifications; the diction is polished, and abounds with all the ornaments of poetry, so that it scarcely yields in elegance and splendour to any of the sacred writings. "Part II. Extends from chap. x. to xxii. 16. aud consists of what may be strictly and properly called proverbs; namely, unconnected sentences, expressed with much neatness and simplicity.

"Part III. Reaches from chapter xxii. 17. to xxv. inclusive: in this part the tutor drops the sententious style, and addresses his pupil as present, to whom he gives renewed

and connected admonitions to the study of wisdom.

"The proverbs contained in Part IV. are supposed to have been selected from some larger collection of Solomon, by the men of Hezekiah;' that is, by the prophets whom he employed to restore the service and writings of the Jewish church. (2 Chron. xxxi.

[ocr errors][ocr errors][merged small]


20, 21.) This part, like the second, consists of detached, unconnected sentences, and extends from chapter xxv. to xxix. Some of the proverbs which Solomon had introduced into the former part of the book, are here repeated.

"Part V. comprises chapters xxx. and xxxi. In the former are included the wise observations and instructions delivered by Agur, the son of Jakeh, to his pupils, Ithiel and Ucal. The 31st chapter contains the precepts which were given to Lemuel by his mother, who is supposed by some to have been a Jewish woman, married to some neighbouring prince, and who appears to have been most ardently desirous to guard him against vice, to establish him in the principles of justice, and to unite him to a wife of the best qualities. Of Agur we know nothing; nor have any of the commentators offered so much as a plausible conjecture respecting him.

"The Proverbs of Solomon afford a noble specimen of the didactic poetry of the Hebrews; they abound with antithetic parallels; for this form is peculiarly adapted to adages, aphorisms, and detached sentences. Much, indeed, of the elegance, acuteness and force, which are discernible in Solomon's wise sayings, is derived from the antithetic form, the opposition of diction and sentiment. Hence a careful attention to the parallelism of members will contribute to remove that obscurity in which some of the proverbs appear to be involved."---Horne's Introd. 4th Ed. vol. iv. p. 116.

To this very judicious and perspicuous account and brief analysis of the book before 5, we shall only subjoin a few brief hints, from the excellent "Preliminary Dissertation" of the Rev. Geo. Holden, M. A. prefixed to his New Translation of that book. Mr. H. remarks that the Asiatics have, in all ages, concentrated their moral and political wisdom in certain aphorisms, which have been generally admired by other nations: that the early Greeks adopted a similar metnod, as witness the Sayings of the Seven Wise Men of Greece, the Golden Verses of Pythagoras, &c.; and they were copied by the Romans and other western nations: unless we rather conclude that this was a dictate of nature equally obvious to all.

On the Proverbs of Solomon, we have offered a remark or two in our Notes subjoined, to the first chapter, and would only add, that as it does not appear that Solomon was the collector of his own Proverbs, so neither is it certain that they were all written or uttered about the same period. Most of the detached aphorisms were probably delivered by him at the time when the fame of his wisdom drew together "all the kings of the earth to witness it." (2 Chron. ix. 23.) Some, however, seem to be so much the result of his experience, that we are inclined to date them not long prior to the composition of his Ecclesiastes. On the other hand, as he "spake 3,000 proverbs," of which we have not much above 800, we think it highly probable that many of the aphorisms in the books of Ecclesiasticus and Wisdom were really his, though preserved only in a Greek translation in the Apocrypha.

In Mr. Holden's remarks on the difficulties and obscurities of the Book of Proverbs, we thank him for his manly and judicious protest, (page xeix.) against correcting and expounding Hebrew words by means of the Arabic; except only in cases where all other means of information fail, either from the Hebrew itself, or the most ancient versions. It is but justice to subjoin, that we have made considerable use of Mr. Holden's Translation and Notes, (2d Edit. Liverpool, 1819,) which we have compared with that of Dr. Bernard Hodgson, (Oxford 1788,) with the more recent version of Dr. Boothroyd, the Paraphrase of Bishop Patrick, the Lectures of Bishop Lowth, and other authors of celebrity.

Title of the book.]



THE proverbs of Solomon the son of David, king of Israel;

2 To know wisdom and instruction; to perceive the words of understanding; 3 To receive the instruction of wisdom, justice, and judgment, and equity; 4 To give subtilty to the simple, to the young man knowledge and discretion.

5 A wise man will hear, and will increase learning; and a man of understanding shall attain unto wise counsels :

6 To understand a proverb, and the interpretation; the words of the wise, and their dark sayings.

7 The fear of the LORD is the beginning of knowledge: but fools despise wisdom and instruction.

8 My son, hear the instruction of thy father, and forsake not the law of thy mother:

9 For they shall be an ornament of grace unto thy head, and chains about thy neck.

10 My son, if sinners entice thee, consent thou not.

11 If they say, Come with us, let us lay wait for blood, let us lurk privily for the innocent without cause:

12 Let us swallow them up alive as the grave; and whole, as those that go down into the pit:

13 We shall find all precious sub

[ocr errors]

[The address of Wisdom.

stance, we shall fill our houses with spoil:

14 Cast in thy lot among us; let us all have one purse.

15 My son, walk not thou in the way with them; refrain thy foot from their path:

16 For their feet run to evil, and make haste to shed blood.

17 Surely in vain the net is spread in the sight of any bird.

18 And they lay wait for their own blood; they lurk privily for their own lives.

19 So are the ways of every one that is greedy of gain; which taketh away the life of the owners thereof.

20 Wisdom crieth without; she uttereth her voice in the streets:

21 She crieth in the chief place of concourse, in the openings of the gates: in the city she uttereth her words, saying,

22 How long, ye simple ones, will ye love simplicity? and the scorners delight in their scorning, and fools hate knowledge?

23 Turn you at my reproof: behold, I I will pour out my spirit unto you, will make known my words unto


24 Because I have called, and ye refused; I have stretched out my hand, and no man regarded;

25 But ye have set at nought all my counsel, and would none of my reproof:

[ocr errors][ocr errors][ocr errors][merged small]


CHAP. I. Ver. 1. The proverbs - Heb. Mashalim, from Mashal;" which (says Bp. Lonth) I take to be the word properly expressive of the poe. tical style. . . . . It includes three forms, or modes of speech; the sententious, the figurative, and the sublime." Lect. iv. The first part of the book before us, (including the nine first chapters) says this great critic," is varied, elegant, sublime, and truly poetical." Lect. xxiv.

Ver. 2. To know wisdom-Heb. "For knowing, .... for perceiving," &c. Drs. Durell and B. Hodgson; Dr. Boothroyd and Mr. Holden, to the same effect. Though there be some difficulty in the construction, there is no doubt but the meaning is, that Solomon's proverbs were written for the purpose of conveying religious, moral, and political knowledge.

Ver. 4. To give subtilty-Holden, “ Prudence;" Hodgson and Boothroyd," Discernment."-Discretion-Marg. "Advisement."

Ver. 6. And its interpretation-Marg. "An eloquent speech. As words are accumulated in the preceding verses, to express the different branches

of wisdom and knowledge, so it appears to us, that the different words here used are intended to embrace the various kinds of composition which come within the general term Mashalim, or proverbs. Compare on ver. 1.

Ver. 12. Alive.... as the grave, &c.-Is here not an allusion to an earthquake? See Ps. Iv. 15. and Note. Or is it a proverbial speech; as we often say of a great army meeting a very small one, they are "enough to eat them up ?"

Ver. 17. In the sight-Heb. "In the eyes of every thing that hath a wing."

Ver. 18. And they lay wait, &c.-Rather, “Bat;" (Heb. vau) so the best translators.

Ver. 19. So are the ways.-This verse is confessedly very obscure; the sense seems to be, that those who plot against the lives of others, endanger and often lose their own; either in the attempt or afterwards, by the vengeance of their relatives, or the law. There are also many other ways in which those who seek unlawful gain bring on themselves destruction, as by over exertion, or the encountering unneces sary peril in the attempt.

[ocr errors][ocr errors][ocr errors]
« السابقةمتابعة »