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Sovereign. The perfumed garments, here named, were typical both of the virtues of the Redeemer himself, and of the internal comforts of the Holy Spirit. But the incense fumed upon the golden altar was typical of a far inferior, though of a precious and holy thing: namely, of whatever is pleasing to God, in the faith, the devotions, and the good works of the saints. "Now, (says Bishop Horsley,) the psalmist says that the fragrance breathing from the garments of the king, far excels, not only the sweetest odours of any earthly monarch's palace, but that it surpasses those spiritual odours of sanctity in which the king himself delights. The consolations which the faithful, under all their sufferings, receive from him, in the example of his holy life, the ministration of the word and sacraments, and the succours of the Spirit, are far beyond the proportion of any thing they have to offer in return to him in their praises, their prayers, and their good lives; notwithstanding, in these their services he condescends to take delight. This is the doctrine of this highly mystic text, that the value of all our best works of faith and obedience, even in our own eyes, must sink into nothing when they are contrasted with the exuberant mercy of God extended to us through Christ." (Horsley's Ser. i. p. 124.)
The latter part of this most interesting psalm seems particularly to indicate the calling of the Gentiles; for it is that church, and not the Jewish church, which is here called upon to forget her " people" and her father's house.
"So shall the King the more rejoice
(A) A Psalm expressive of faith in God, and gratitude for national deliverance.— Neither the author nor the occasion of this psalm is on record: it is, however, a very sublime and animated composition. Bishops Patrick and Lowth suppose it to have been written by David, on occasion of his victory over his enemies, as mentioned in the eighth chapter of the second book of Samuel; but the learned Rosenmüller thinks it was written on occasion of the victory of Jehoshaphat, which was celebrated with great rejoicing, as we find in 2 Chron. xx. 26-30. As, however, we have no data, it would be presumptuous to decide. But the psalm appears to us rather to be the language of faith under threatened difficulties, than of triumph over vanquished foes. In that view Luther composed a famous version of it on his journey to the Diet of Worms, where he went boldly to defend the Reformation, at the risk of his own life; and it was often his cry, when threatened with any fresh trouble, "Let us sing the forty-sixth Psalm!"
So Bishop Horne explains it: "The Church, in time of trouble, declares her trust and confidence in God, and doubts not of being preserved safe by this anchor in the most stormy seasons: even then enjoying the comforts of the Spirit, and the presence of God in the midst of her, and bidding defiance to all her foes.' Finally, God himself is introduced as speaking the stormy nations into obedience, and burning all the implements of war.
"Silence, O earth thy Maker own: Ye gentiles, he is God alone:
The Lord of hosts is in the field,
The God of Jacob is our shield."-Montgomery.
PSALM XLVII. Ver. 2. Terrible - Ainsworth, "fearful" a God of awful majesty,
Ver. 4. The excellency of Jacob.-The tabernacle, (or temple) and its sacred institutions.
A song of praise]
ble; he is a great King over all the earth.
3 He shall subdue the people under us, and the nations under our feet.
4 He shall choose our inheritance for us, the excellency of Jacob whom he loved. Selah.
5 God is gone up with a shout, the LORD with the sound of a trumpet.
6 Sing praises to God, sing praises: sing praises unto our King, sing praises. 7 For God is the King of all the earth sing ye praises with understanding.
8 God reigneth over the heathen: God sitteth upon the throne of his holiness.
9 The princes of the people are gathered together, even the people of the God of Abraham: for the shields of the earth belong unto God: he is greatly exalted. (B)
[for national mercies.
2 Beautiful for situation, the joy of the whole earth, is mount Zion, on the sides of the north, the city of the great King.
3 God is known in her palaces for a refuge.
4 For, lo, the kings were assembled, they passed by together.
5 They saw it, and so they marvelled; they were troubled, and hasted away.
6 Fear took hold upon them there, and pain, as of a woman in travail. 7 Thou breakest the ships of Tarshish with an east wind.
8 As we have heard, so have we seen in the city of the LORD of hosts, in'the city of our God: God will establish it for ever. Selah.
9 We have thought of thy lovingkindness, O God, in the midst of thy temple.
10 According to thy name, O God, so is thy praise unto the ends of the earth: thy right hand is full of righte
11 Let mount Zion rejoice, let the daughters of Judah be glad, because of thy judginents.
(B), A Psalm of Joy and Praise.-This is generally considered to have been composed by David (though his name is not prefixed,) on occasion of removing the ark to Mount Zion, and probably repeated on its removal to the temple of Solomon. (See 2 Sam. vi. and 2 Chron v.) But it has been constantly applied by the Christian church to the triumphant ascension of our Saviour into heaven. (Compare Ps. Ixviii. 16-18.)
It appears by this and other psalms, that the public processions of the Hebrews were no less animated and noisy than those of the ancient heathens and modern Christians but in one important respect they differed; their rejoicings-their shoutings -were the voice of solemn praise, and not
debased (so far as we know,) by either intemperance or profaneness. The constant, though distant expectation of the Messiah, seems to have sanctified their joy, and turned their songs of triumph into hymns of praise; and on every great occasion, all who were Israelites indeed, were led to look forward to the great events of the expected “world to come, as the Jews designated the days of their Messiah. Unpardonable, then, is it in professing Christians, to debase their so lemn festivals by an admixture of vulga themes and carnal joys, especially whe surrounded by so many circumstances the call for gratitude and praise.
"In Israel stood his ancient throne,
NOTES-Psalm XLVII. Con.
Ver. 5. God is gone up-That is, the ark, the symbol of the divine presence, unto the hill of Zion.
Ver. 9. The princes-Marg. The voluntary of the people;" i. e. the noble volunteers, who fought not as mercenaries, but for the freedom of their country; these are gathered (unto) the people.” &c. The shields of the earth-That is, its
masters, or defenders, its rulers and its warrio are all in the hands of God, and disposed of by with the same ease that a soldier wields his shiel
PSALM XLVIII. Ver.2. Beautiful for situat
Ibid. On the sides of the north (is) the city
[of the wicked. ble: I will open my dark saying upon the harp.
5 Wherefore should I fear in the days of evil, when the iniquity of my heels shall compass me about?
6 They that trust in their wealth, and boast themselves in the multitude of their riches;
7 None of them can by any means redeem his brother, nor give to God a ransom for him:
8 (For the redemption of their soul is precious, and it ceaseth for ever :) 9 That he should still live for ever, and not see corruption.
10 For he seeth that wise men die, likewise the fool and the brutish person perish, and leave their wealth to others.
11 Their inward thought is, that their houses shall continue for ever,
(C) A Song of Praise for a great national deliverance.-The date of this psalm can only be conjectured from internal evidence. Bishop Patrick supposes it to have been composed on the great victory of Jehoshaphat, (2 Chron. xx.) Others conjecture it might be composed for the dedication of the second temple: but we confess we are disposed to refer it to the age of David: it was probably written by him on his victory over the Syrians and their confederates. (2 Sam. x. 15-19.) Nor is the mention of God's temple an objection, since we have met with several iustances of the tabernacle itself being called by that name. It even appears to us, that so much would not have been said of Mount Zion if the temple on Mount Moriah had been
What is said of the ships of Tarshish,
meaning the largest ships then known, may not, perhaps, imply the occurrence of an actual storm; but only the total defeat of these confederate powers, as vessels at sea, by the fury of an east wind.
On whatever occasion, however, this psalm was written, the first and more immediate object of the writer was to lead his countrymen to look to the God of Israel as their only sure protection and defence. whether it were from storms at sea, or enemies on land. Zion, indeed, was an elevated situation and well fortified: but her true strength lay, not in her bulwarks, or her towers, but in that God who resided in them. So it is in the Christian church ‹ Messiah, who resides therein, is both her strength and glory.
the great king-That is, Jerusalem and the temple
were on the north of Zion.
Ver. 1. The ships of Tarshish.-By these may be understood, large ships; and the sense may be, that God visited their enemies with a tempest, enough to break the strongest ships, even those built for foreign service. See Taylor's Calmet.
Ver. 10. So is (or be) thy praise-That is, corresponding to the glory thou hast already acquired. Ver. 13. Mark ye well her bulwarks-Heb. "Set your heart to;" i, e. contemplate.- ConsiderMary raise up" rather, as Parkhurst, "distinguish, or count. Compare ver. preceding.
Ver. 14. Even unto death Beyond death," Mr. Vesittart (Sermon before the University of Oxford, 1819. As an instance that the Hebrew
"This God is the God we adore,
Our faithful unchangeable friend; His love is not less than his power, And neither knows measure nor end."
particle signifies beyond, in respect of time, Professor Gesenius refers to Lev. xv. 25. The LXX render it like the preceding phrase," for ever."
PSALM XIIX. Ver. 4. Dark saying-(Chidah) An enigma, riddle, or pointed saying. Bp. Lowth. Ver. 5. The iniquity of my heels-Rather, "of those that lie in wait for me." Bp. Lowth.
Ver. 7. Redeem his brother-That is, from death, or the grave, as in ver. 9.
Ver. 8. It ceaseth for ever-That is, after death there is no more redemption. Comp. Heb. x. 18, 26.
Ver. 11. To all generations- Heb. "To generation and generation," i. e. "one generation after another."
and their dwelling places to all generations; they call their lands after their own names.
12 Nevertheless man being in honour abideth not: he is like the beasts that perish.
13 This their way is their folly: yet their posterity approve their sayings, Selah.
14 Like sheep they are laid in the grave; death shall feed on them; and the upright shall have dominion over them in the morning; and their beauty shall consume in the grave from their dwelling.
15 But God will redeem my soul from the power of the grave: for he shall receive me. Selah.
16 Be not thou afraid when one is
made rich, when the glory of his house is increased;
17 For when he dieth he shall carry nothing away: his glory shall not descend after him.
18 Though while he lived he blessed his soul and men will praise thee, when thou doest well to thyself.
19 He shall go to the generation of his fathers; they shall never see light.
20 Man that is in honour, and understandeth not, is like the beasts that perish. (D)
A Psalm of Asaph.
THE mighty God, even the LORD, hath spoken, and called the earth
(D) The misery of being rich and great without religion.-The author and occasion of this psalm are alike unknown, nor are there any internal circumstances that can decide. It is, however, generally supposed to have been written during the captivity, and to have been intended to counteract the Epicurean notions of the heathen. The style is enigmatical (ver. 4.); we may therefore be prepared for difficulties, of which there are indeed many, as may be seen in our Notes: yet some critics, by seeking for more mysteries than the psalm contains, have much increased them. The general design and purport of the psalm we conceive to be as follows:
nor is there any redemption in the grave The rich vainly please themselves in perpetuating their names in their possessions and their posterity, and forget that they themselves must die. Yet their carcases are laid in the grave, like slaughtered sheep; and death, like a voracious wolf, feeds thereon. Verily,' says the psalmist, "God shall redeem my soul; from the hand of the grave he shall rescue me;" which is to me, far greater consolation, than to die possessed of riches or of honours, which would then be perfectly useless. The last verse so much resembles the twelfth, that some critics have supposed they must have been originally the same The but this is by no means certain. sense of both is comprised in the following
"Men void of wisdom and of grace,
NOTES-Psalm XLIX. Con.
Ver. 12. Nevertheless, man, &c.-More literally, "Man in honour resteth not." The original term, according to Ainsworth, means, to take a night's lodging. The sense seems to us," Man is perpetually restless, never satisfied with his present situation. Most of the ancient versions read, as in the last verse, "understandeth not." So Kennicott and Horsley; but they are not supported by MSS.
Ibid. He is like the beasts that perish-Ainsworth, "Are silenced;" Kennicott," Go down into silence; Horsley, "Sink into nothing." Comp. Eccl. iii. 21. Ver. 13. Approve their sayings-Marg. "Delight in their month;" i. c. in their words.
Ver. 14. Like sheep they are laid in the grave— Vansittart. They are laid in the grave like sheep (in a fold)," The sense appears to us, they die and are buried, without being able to resist. Ps. xliv. 11, 22.
Ibid. Death shall feed on them.-So the heathen
supposed that Cerberus feasted on the bodies in t grave. (Orient. Lit. No. 767.) But the LXX rea "Death shall feed (or rule) them," as a shephe does his sheep. So Kennicott and Horsley, is their shepherd :" but query?
Ibid. Their beauty-Marg. "Strength;" Air worth, "image, form," &c.Shall consume"Be consumed" in the grave; or rather, as we b leave to suggest, "Their form shall be consum the grave (being) their dwelling place."
Ver. 15. From the power (or hand) of the ar (or hell) shall he rescue me.-The word Sheol be See N equivocal, has been variously translated. on Ps. xvi. 10. We have followed Boothroyd others, in rejecting the Masoretic pointing of
Ver. 18. While he lived-Heb. " In his life." Ver. 19. He shall go Heb. "It (i. e. the s
shall go," &c.
from the rising of the sun unto the going down thereof.
2 Out of Zion, the perfection of beauty, God hath shined.
3 Our God shall come, and shall not keep silence: a fire shall devour before him, and it shall be very tempestuous round about him.
4 He shall call to the heavens from above, and to the earth, that he may judge his people.
5 Gather my saints together unto me; those that have made a covenant with me by sacrifice.
6 And the heavens shall declare his righteousness: for God is judge himself. Selah.
7 Hear, O my people, and I will speak; O Israel, and I will testify against thee: I am God, even thy God.
8 I will not reprove thee for thy sa critices or thy burnt offerings, to have been continually before me.
9 I will take no bullock out of thy house, nor he-goats out of thy folds. 10 For every beast of the forest is mine, and the cattle upon a thousand
11 I know all the fowls of the mountains: and the wild beasts of the field are mine.
12 If I were hungry, I would not tell thee: for the world is mine, and the fulness thereof.
13 Will I eat the flesh of bulls, or drink the blood of goats?
14 Offer unto God thanksgiving; and pay thy vows unto the most high: 15 And call upon me in the day of trouble: I will deliver thee, and thou shalt glorify me.
16 But unto the wicked God saith, What hast thou to do to declare my statutes, or that thou shouldest take my covenant in thy mouth?
17 Seeing thou hatest instruction, and castest my words behind thee.
18 When thou sawest a thief, then thou consentedst with him, and hast been partaker with adulterers.
19 Thou givest thy mouth to evil, and thy tongue frameth deceit.
20 Thou sittest and speakest against thy brother; thou slanderest thine own mother's son.
21 These things hast thou done, and I kept silence; thou thoughtest that I was altogether such an one as thyself: but I will reprove thee, and set them in order before thine eyes.
22 Now consider this, ye that for get God, lest I tear you in pieces, and there be none to deliver.
23 Whoso offereth praise glorifieth me: and to him that ordereth his conversation aright will I shew the salvation of God. (E)
(E) God's judgment against hypocrisy.This is the first of twelve psalms attributed to Asaph, the contemporary of king David, and whose compositions rank next to those of the royal psalmist. (1 Chron. xvi. 7.) The introduction has much sublimity and grandeur, the imagery being borrowed from the giving of the law at mount Sinai, (Deut. xxxin. 2.); only instead of shining forth from the wilderness, God's glory is
displayed from Zion. The scene is that of supreme judgment; but it extends not to the world at large, but to Israel only, the professed people of JEHOVAH, who are summoned from east to west to appear be fore him, and answer to his charge. This is not the neglect of external sacrifices, for they, alone considered, are of little estimation in the sight of God; but the want of devotion of heart, and purity of life. He who owns all the beasts, both of the
PSALM L Ter. 5. Gather my saints- Ainsworth, "My gracious ones;" those who, professing to have received grace and mercy, are bound to display it to all around them.-Those who have made
rieken, or cut a covenant with me by sacritice; for it was by the death of the sacrifice the covenant was confirmed. Heb. ix. 22.
Vets, I will not reprove, &c. See Isa. i. 11—15,
Ver. 18. Hast been partaker-Heb. "Thy portion (was) with adulterers."
Ver. 22. Lest I tear you in pieces.-The Almighty, thus provoked by their hypocrisy, compares himself to an incensed lion. See Hos, v. 14.
Ver 23. That ordereth his conversation-Heb. "That disposeth his way;" i.e, that regulates his conduct by God's word.