Commentary Critical and Explanatory
on the Whole Bible
Of Ethan--(See on
title). This Psalm was composed during some season of great national
distress, perhaps Absalom's rebellion. It contrasts the promised
prosperity and perpetuity of David's throne (with reference to the
great promise of
with a time when God appeared to have forgotten His covenant. The
picture thus drawn may typify the promises and the adversities of
Christ's kingdom, and the terms of confiding appeal to God provided
appropriate prayers for the divine aid and promised blessing.
1. mercies--those promised
faithfulness--that is, in fulfilling them.
2. I have said--expressed, as well as felt, my convictions
3, 4. The object of this faith expressed in God's words
with--or literally, "to"
my chosen--as the covenant is in the form of a promise.
6, 7. This is worthy of our belief, for His faithfulness (is praised)
by the congregation of saints or holy ones; that is, angels (compare
sons of the mighty--(compare
So is He to be admired on earth.
8-14. To illustrate His power and faithfulness examples are cited
from history. His control of the sea (the most mighty and unstable
object in nature), and of Egypt
the first great foe of Israel (subjected to utter helplessness from
pride and insolence), are specimens. At the same time, the whole frame
of nature founded and sustained by Him, Tabor and Hermon for "east and
west," and "north and south," together representing the whole world,
declare the same truth as to His attributes.
12. rejoice in thy name--praise Thy perfections by their very
15. His government of righteousness is served by "mercy" and "truth"
know the joyful sound--understand and appreciate the spiritual
blessings symbolized by the feasts to which the people were called by
walk . . . countenance--live in His favor
(Ps 4:6; 44:3).
16, 17. in--or, "by"
thy righteousness--Thy faithful just rule.
of their strength--They shall be adorned as well as protected.
our horn--exalt our power
18. (Margin). Thus is introduced the promise to "our shield,"
"our king," David.
19-37. Then--when the covenant was established, of whose execution the
exalted views of God now given furnish assurance.
thou . . . to thy holy one--or godly saint, object of favor
Nathan is meant
laid help--literally, "given help." David was chosen and then exalted.
20. I have found--having sought and then selected him
21. will protect and sustain
22-25. by restraining and conquering his enemies, and performing My
gracious purpose of extending his dominion--
25. hand [and] right hand--power
(Ps 17:7; 60:5).
sea, and . . . rivers--limits of his empire
26, 27. first-born--one who is chief, most beloved or distinguished
In God's sight and purposes he was the first among all monarchs, and
specially so in his typical relation to Christ.
28-37. This relation is perpetual with David's descendants, as a
whole typical in official position of his last greatest descendant.
Hence though in personal relations any of them might be faithless and so
punished, their typical relation shall continue. His oath confirms His
promise, and the most enduring objects of earth and heaven illustrate
its perpetual force
(Ps 72:5, 7, 17).
35. Once--one thing
by my holiness--as a holy God.
that I will not lie--literally, "if I lie"--part of the form of
37. It shall . . . moon . . . heaven--literally,
"As the moon, and the witness in the sky is sure, that is, the moon."
38-52. present a striking contrast to these glowing promises, in
mournful evidences of a loss of God's favor.
cast off--and rejected (compare
Ps 15:4; 43:2; 44:9).
39. An insult to the "crown," as of divine origin, was a profanation.
40-45. The ruin is depicted under several figures--a vineyard whose
broken "hedges," and "strongholds," whose ruins invite spoilers and
invaders; a warrior, whose enemies are aided by God, and whose sword's
"edge"--literally, "rock" or "strength"
is useless; and a youth prematurely old.
45. days of his youth--or, "youthful vigor," that is, of the royal
line, or promised perpetual kingdom, under the figure of a man.
46. How long, &c.--(Compare
Ps 13:1; 88:14;
47. These expostulations are excited in view of the identity of the
prosperity of this kingdom with the welfare of all mankind
Isa 9:7; 11:1-10);
for if such is the fate of this chosen royal line.
48. What man--literally, "strong man--shall live?" and, indeed, have
not all men been made in vain, as to glorifying God?
49-51. The terms of expostulation are used in view of the actual
appearance that God had forsaken His people and forgotten His promise,
and the plea for aid is urged in view of the reproaches of His and His
people's enemies (compare
50. bear in my bosom--as feeling the affliction of the people
52. Blessed, &c.--denotes returning confidence
Amen, and Amen--closes the third book of Psalms.