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[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 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 instances 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 Dow erected.

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. 7. The ships of Tarshish.-By these may be anderstood, large ships; and the sense may be, that Gad 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, correponding to the glory thou hast already acquired. Ver. 13. Mark ye well her bulwarks-Heb. "Set your heart to;" i. e. contemplate. ConsiderMarz raise up," rather, as Parkhurst, "distinguish, or count. Compare ver. preceding.

Ver. 14. Even unto death Beyond death," Mr. Veasittart (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 XLIX. 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."

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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


[of man.

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:

The writer, it should seem, was of the poorer class, and his enemies great and wealthy; yet, says he, "Why should I fear them? They are mortal as well as me. None can ransom the life of his brother,

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; but this is by no means certain. The sense of both is comprised in the following


"Men void of wisdom and of grace,
If honour raise them high,
Live like the beast, a thoughtless race,
And like the beast they die."-Watts.

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 graveVansittart, "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. See Ps. xliv. 11, 22.

Ibid. Death shall fred on them.-So the heathen

supposed that Cerberus feasted on the bodies in the grave. (Orient. Lit. No. 767.) But the LXX read, "Death shall feed (or rule) them," as a shepherd does his sheep. So Kennicott and Horsley, "Death is their shepherd:" but query?

Ibid. Their beauty-Marg. "Strength;" Ains worth, "image, forin," &c. Shall consume-Or, "Be consumed" in the grave; or rather, as we beg leave to suggest, "Their form shall be consumed, the grave (being) their dwelling place."

Ver. 15. From the power (or hand) of the grave (or hell) shall he rescue me.-The word Sheol being equivocal, has been variously translated. See Note on Ps. xvi. 10. We have followed Boothroyd and others, in rejecting the Masoretic pointing of this

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God will]


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◄ crifices 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 hills.

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.

[judge hypocrites.

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. xxxiii. 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 froin east to west to appear before 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. Ver. 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.

Ver.8, I will not reprove, &c. See Isa. i. 11–15.
Vet. ll. Art mine-Heb. "With me."

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.

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To the chief Musician. A Psalm of David, when Nathan the prophet came unto him, after he had gone in to Bathsheba.

HAVE mercy upon me, O God, according to thy loving-kindness: according unto the multitude of thy tender mercies blot out my transgressions.

2 Wash me throughly from mine iniquity, and cleanse me from my sin. 3 For I acknowledge my transgressions: and my sin is ever before me.

4 Against thee, thee only, have I sinned, and done this evil in thy sight that thou mightest be justified when thou speakest, and be clear when thou judgest.

5 Behold, I was shapen in iniquity; and in sin did my mother conceive me. 6 Behold, thou desirest truth in the inward parts: and in the hidden part thou shalt make me to know wisdom.

7 Purge me with hyssop, and I shall be clean: wash me, and I shall be whiter than snow.

8 Make me to hear joy and gladness; that the bones which thou hast broken may rejoice.


9 Hide thy face from my sins, and blot out all mine iniquities.

10 Create in me a clean heart, O God; and renew a right spirit within


11 Cast me not away from thy presence; and take not thy holy spirit from me.

12 Restore unto me the joy of thy salvation; and uphold me with thy free spirit.

13 Then will I teach transgressors thy ways; and sinners shall be converted unto thee.

14 Deliver me from blood-guiltiness, O God, thou God of my salvation and my tongue shall sing aloud of thy righteousness.

15 O LORD, open thou my lips; and my mouth shall shew forth thy praise.

16 For thou desirest not sacrifice; else would I give it: thou delightest not in burnt offering.

17 The sacrifices of God are a broken spirit: a broken and a contrite heart, O God, thou wilt not despise.

18 Do good in thy good pleasure unto Zion: build thou the walls of


19 Then shalt thou be pleased with


fold and the forest, cannot be gratified with the effusion of goats' and bullocks' blood. "He that offereth praise glorifieth God;" and "to him that ordereth his conversation aright," that is, according to his word, "to him will be show his salvation." But to the wicked he speaks in thunder: "What hast thou to do to declare my statutes? or that thou shouldest take my covenant in thy mouth?"

Some have applied this psalm to the

day of general judgment; and others, as Bishops Horne and Horsley, to the promul gation of the gospel in the end of the Jewish dispensation to this, indeed, the former prelate has applied it with excellent effect; but in our view, the simple topic is, the danger of hypocrisy.

"God is the judge of hearts: no fair disguises Can screen the guilty when his vengeance rises."



PSALM LI. Title,When Nathan, &c. 2 Sam. xii. 1, &c. But Bishop Horsley is confident this psalin was not written on that occasion, from ver. 4 and 18, on which see our Notes.

Ver. 1. Blot out, &c.-See Note on Num. v. 23. Ver. 4. Against thee.... only. -The prefix (lamed) sometimes means before, in the presence of, and is so rendered, Gen. xxiii. 11.-xlv. 1. See also Gesenius. This answers Bishop Horsley's first objection. David's adultery was a secret sin, before God only. That thou mightest-Rather, "Therefore thou wilt be justified when thou speakest, (i.e. to pronounce sentence) and clear when thou judgest." Bp. Horne.

Ver. 5. I was shapen.-The Hebrew word is of


extensive import, and means either to be formed in the womb, as Deut. xxxii. 18. or otherwise, P's. xc. 2.

to bearing in the womb?

-Conceive-Heb. "Warm." May not this refer Ver. 7. Purge me with hyssop.-See Levit. xiv. 4. Ver. 10. A right spirit Marg. spirit; not fickle, but persevering. Ver. 12. With thy free spirit-With a spirit of freedom; i. e. from the slavery of sin. Rom. viii.

15, 16.

"A constant

Heb. "From

"That I

Ver. 14. From blood-guiltiness bloods;" the plural being used for emphasis. Ver. 16. Else would I give it -should give it." See Ps. I. 8, &c.


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[of Doeg, the Edomite.

2 Thy tongue deviseth mischiefs; like a sharp razor, working deceitfully.

3 Thou lovest evil more than good; and lying rather than to speak righteousness. Selah.

4 Thou lovest all devouring words, O thou deceitful tongue.

5 God shall likewise destroy thee for ever: he shall take thee away, and pluck thee out of thy dwelling place, and root thee out of the land of the living. Selah.


(F) A penitential Psalm of David, on occasion of his sin with Bathsheba.-So it has been universally considered, on authority of the title above prefixed, and upon internal evidence, which we think conclusive. As a penitential psalm, it has always been considered as the natural overflowing of a broken heart, deeply penetrated with a sense of extreme guilt "before God," on which account the writer compares himself to a polluted leper. This is evidently implied in calling for hyssop as a ceremonial purification, while, at the same time, he prays earnestly for pardon; and that he may experience the cleansing and re-creative power of God's Holy Spirit. It is observable also, that he rests not in the confession of actual transgression; but, as Bishop Horne observes, traces his sinful actions to their source in the pollution of his fallen nature: himself a sinner, the child of sinful parents, and they the posterity of the first human, guilty, pair. This, however, though a matter of humiliation, is never pleaded by him as an excuse.

But it is not adultery only that he laments: he complains of "blood-guiltiness," and no doubt his conscience was haunted by the image of his murdered friend Uriah. Sin seems but a little thing when committed, and wears a smiling form; but when it visits the conscience afterwards, it assumes a gigantic size, and (like the ghosts in Ossian,) its head is shrouded with the storm. As we have in David a most aggravated instance of backsliding, so have we a most exemplary example of the contrition of a heart agitated alternately with grief and shame, and terrified with the judgments of the Almighty.

Bishop Horsley and others, object to the title, as not authentic, because the author prays, in the close of this psalm,

that God would build the walls of Jerusalem, which seems to imply that it was written during the captivity. To this, 1. Some have replied, that these two last verses, which seem to have no immediate connexion with the rest, might be added by some pious worshipper of that period. 2. It might be said, as some parts of Jerusalem (particularly the strong hold of Zion) had not now been more than about a dozen years in the possession of David, it is very possible that they might then have been much damaged, and not since repaired; and other parts, as Mount Moriah, where the temple was afterwards erected, not yet built on; and that his prayer might have particular reference to the erection of that Temple (already contemplated, 2 Sam. vii. 1, &c.) where sacrifices of unprecedented magnitude were to be offered. 3. Perhaps the expression should be taken rather figuratively than literally. Men build with brick or stone, but God with living stones; and for him to build up a house or a city, is to furnish it with inhabitants, and to crown it with his blessing. (See Psalm lxix. 35; cii. 16; cxlvii. 2.) Lastly, it is probable, or ra ther more than probable, that this prayer had a particular reference to "the future age" of the Messiah, in whom the Lord has since declared himself, not only pleased, but satisfied. (See Dan. ix. 25-275 Amos ix. 11; Matt. iii. 17.)

To return, however, to the psalm before us, the most profitable use that we, as sinners, can make of it, is to make it the model of our own petitions; and the sum of it is well compressed in the following emphatic lines:


PSALM LII. Ver. 4. 0 thou deceitful tongue!Marg. And the deceitful tongue."

"Mercy, good Lord! mercy I ask,
This is the total sum:
For mercy, Lord, is all my suit,
O let thy mercy come!"

Ver. 5. Shall destroy thee-Heb. "Beat thee down."

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