John Wesley's Explanatory Notes
on the Whole Bible
- This psalm was composed upon occasion of some calamity, which befel the tribes of Israel after their division into two kingdoms, and before the captivity of either of them. In which time all the evils mentioned herein did befal them, sometimes in one part, and sometimes in another. The psalmist prays for the tokens of God's presence, verse 1-3.
- Complains of heavy distress, verse 4-7.
- Illustrates this, by the comparison of a vine, verse 8-16.
- Concludes with a prayer for mercy, verse 17-19.
- To the chief musician upon Shoshannim Eduth, A psalm of Asaph.
Title of the psalm. Shoshannim Eduth-It seems to be the name of a musical instrument.
Joseph - The children of Joseph or Israel. The name of Joseph, the most eminent of the patriarchs, is elsewhere put for all the tribes. Cherubim - Which were by the mercy seat above the ark.
Before Ephraim - Here is an allusion to the ancient situation of the tabernacle in the wilderness, where these tribes were placed on the west-side of the tabernacle, in which the ark was, which consequently was before them.
Turn us - To thy self.
Preparedst - Thou didst root out the idolatrous nations. Deep root - Thou gavest them a firm settlement.
The hills - They filled not only the fruitful valleys, but even the barren mountains.
The river - They possessed the whole land, from the mid-land sea to the river Euphrates.
Hedges - Taken away thy protection.
They - Thy people, signified by the vine. So now he passes from the metaphor to the thing designed by it.
Be - To protect and strengthen him. Right-hand - Benjamin signifies the son of the right hand, a dearly beloved son, as Benjamin was to Jacob. Son of man - The people of Israel, who are often spoken of as one person, as God's son and first-born.
Go back - Revolt from thee to idolatry or wickedness. Quicken - Revive and restore us to our tranquility.