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JFB: Psalms (Pendahuluan Kitab) The Hebrew title of this book is Tehilim ("praises" or "hymns"), for a leading feature in its contents is praise, though the word occurs in the title ...
The Hebrew title of this book is Tehilim ("praises" or "hymns"), for a leading feature in its contents is praise, though the word occurs in the title of only one Psalm (the hundred forty-fifth). The Greek title (in the Septuagint, a translation made two hundred years before Christ) is psalmoi, whence our word "Psalms." This corresponds to the Hebrew word mizmoi by which sixty-five Psalms are designated in their inscriptions, and which the Syriac, a language like the Hebrew, uses for the whole book. It means, as does also the Greek name, an ode, or song, whose singing is accompanied by an instrument, particularly the harp (compare 1Ch 16:4-8; 2Ch 5:12-13). To some Psalms, the Hebrew word (shir) "a song," is prefixed. Paul seems to allude to all these terms in Eph 5:19, "singing . . . in psalms, hymns, and spiritual songs."
TITLES.--To more than a hundred Psalms are prefixed inscriptions, which give one or more (and in one case, [Psalm 60], all) of these particulars: the direction to the musician, the name of the author or the instrument, the style of the music or of the poetry, the subject or occasion. The authority of these inscriptions has been disputed by some writers. They say that the earliest translators, as the Greek and Syriac, evince a disregard for their authority, by variations from a proper translation of some, altering others, and, in several instances, supplying titles to Psalms which, in Hebrew, had none. It is also alleged that the subject of a Psalm, as given in the title, is often inconsistent with its contents. But those translators have also varied from a right translation of many passages in the Bible, which all agree to be of good authority; and the alleged inconsistency may be shown, on more accurate investigation, not to exist. The admitted antiquity of these inscriptions, on the other hand, and even their obscurity, raise a presumption in their favor, while such prefaces to a composition accord with the usages of that age and part of the world (compare Isa 38:9).
"The Chief Musician" was the superintendent of the music (compare "to oversee," 1Ch 15:21, Margin). "To" prefixed to this, means, "pertaining to" in his official character. This inscription is found in fifty-three Psalms and is attached to Habakkuk's prayer (Hab. 3:1-19). The same Hebrew preposition is prefixed to the name of the author and translated "of," as "a Psalm of David," "of Asaph," except that to "the sons of Korah," it is translated "for," which is evidently wrong, as the usual direction, "to the chief musician," is given, and no other authorship intimated. On the apparent exception to this last remark, see below, and see on Psa 88:1, title. The explanations of other particulars in the titles will be given as they occur.
AUTHORS.--This book is often called "The Psalms of David," he being the only author mentioned in the New Testament (Luk 20:42) and his name appearing in more titles than that of any other writer. Besides about one-half of the Psalms in which it thus appears, Psalms 2 and 95 are ascribed to him (Act 4:25 and Heb 4:7). He was probably the author of many others which appear without a name. He used great efforts to beautify the worship of the sanctuary. Among the two hundred eighty-eight Levites he appointed for singing and performing instrumental music, we find mentioned the "sons of Korah" (1Ch 9:19); including Heman (1Ch 6:33-38); and also Asaph (1Ch 6:39-44); and Ethan (1Ch 15:17-19). God was doubtless pleased to endow these men with the inspiration of His Spirit, so that they used those poetic talents which their connection with the kindred art of music had led them to cultivate, in the production of compositions like those of their king and patron. To Asaph are ascribed twelve Psalms; to the sons of Korah, eleven, including the eighty-eighth, which is also ascribed to Heman, that being the only instance in which the name of the "son" (or descendant) is mentioned; and to Ethan, one. Solomon's name appears before the seventy-second and hundred twenty-seventh; and that of Moses before the ninetieth. Special questions respecting authorship will be explained as they arise.
CONTENTS.--As the book contains one hundred fifty independent compositions, it is not susceptible of any logical analysis. The Jews having divided it into five books, corresponding to the Five Books of Moses (First, Psalms 1-42; Second, Psalms 43-72; Third, Psalms 73-89; Fourth, Psalms 90-106; Fifth, Psalms 107-150), many attempts have been made to discover, in this division, some critical or practical value, but in vain. Sundry efforts have been made to classify the Psalms by subject. Angus' Bible Hand Book is perhaps the most useful, and is appended.
Still the Psalms have a form and character peculiar to themselves; and with individual diversities of style and subject, they all assimilate to that form, and together constitute a consistent system of moral truth. They are all poetical, and of that peculiar parallelism (see Introduction to the Poetical Books,) which distinguished Hebrew poetry. They are all lyrical, or songs adapted to musical instruments, and all religious lyrics, or such as were designed to be used in the sanctuary worship.
The distinguishing feature of the Psalms is their devotional character. Whether their matter be didactic, historical, prophetical, or practical, it is made the ground or subject of prayer, or praise, or both. The doctrines of theology and precepts of pure morality are here inculcated. God's nature, attributes, perfections, and works of creation, providence, and grace, are unfolded. In the sublimest conceptions of the most exalted verse, His glorious supremacy over the principalities of heaven, earth, and hell, and His holy, wise, and powerful control of all material and immaterial agencies, are celebrated. The great covenant of grace resting on the fundamental promise of a Redeemer, both alike the provisions of God's exhaustless mercy, is set forth in respect of the doctrines of regeneration by the Spirit, forgiveness of sins, repentance toward God, and faith toward Jesus Christ, while its glorious results, involving the salvation of men "from the ends of the earth" [Act 13:47], are proclaimed in believing, prophetic prayer and thankful praise. The personal history of the authors, and especially David's in its spiritual aspects, is that of God's people generally. Christian biography is edifying only as it is truth illustrated in experience, such as God's Word and Spirit produce. It may be factitious in origin and of doubtful authenticity. But here the experience of the truly pious is detailed, under divine influence, and "in words which the Holy Ghost" taught [1Co 2:13]. The whole inner life of the pious man is laid open, and Christians of all ages have here the temptations, conflicts, perplexities, doubts, fears, penitent moanings, and overwhelming griefs on the one hand, and the joy and hope of pardoning mercy, the victory over the seductions of false-hearted flatterers, and deliverance from the power of Satan on the other, with which to compare their own spiritual exercises. Here, too, are the fruits of that sovereign mercy, so often sought in earnest prayer, and when found, so often sung in rapturous joy, exhibited by patience in adversity, moderation in prosperity, zeal for God's glory, love for man, justice to the oppressed, holy contempt for the proud, magnanimity towards enemies, faithfulness towards friends, delight in the prosperity of Zion, and believing prayer for her enlargement and perpetuity.
The historical summaries of the Psalms are richly instructive. God's choice of the patriarchs, the sufferings of the Israelites in Egypt, their exodus, temptations of God, rebellions and calamities in the wilderness, settlement in Canaan, backslidings and reformations, furnish illustrations of God's providential government of His people, individually and collectively, tending to exalt His adorable grace and abase human pride. But the promises and prophecies connected with these summaries, and elsewhere presented in the Psalms, have a far wider reach, exhibiting the relations of the book to the great theme of promise and prophecy:
THE MESSIAH AND HIS KINGDOM.--David was God's chosen servant to rule His people, as the head at once of the State and the Church, the lineal ancestor, "according to the flesh" [Act 2:30; Rom 1:3], of His adorable Son, and His type, in His official relations, both in suffering and in triumph. Generally, David's trials by the ungodly depicted the trials of Christ, and his final success the success of Christ's kingdom. Typically, he uses language describing his feelings, which only finds its full meaning in the feelings of Christ. As such it is quoted and applied in the New Testament. And further, in view of the great promise (2Sa 7:12-16) to him and his seed, to which such frequent reference is made in the Psalms, David was inspired to know, that though his earthly kingdom should perish, his spiritual would ever endure, in the power, beneficence, and glory of Christ's. In repeating and amplifying that promise, he speaks not only as a type, but "being a prophet, and knowing that God had sworn with an oath to him, that of the fruit of his loins, according to the flesh, he would raise up Christ to sit on his throne," he "foretold the sufferings of Christ and the glory that should follow. His incarnation, humiliating sorrows, persecution, and cruel death are disclosed in the plaintive cries of a despairing sufferer; and His resurrection and ascension, His eternal priesthood, His royal dignity, His prophetical office, the purchase and bestowal of the gifts of the Spirit, the conversion of the nations, the establishment, increase, and perpetuity of the Church, the end of time, and the blessedness of the righteous who acknowledge, and the ruin of the wicked who reject this King in Zion, are predicted in the language of assured confidence and joy." While these great themes have supplied the people of God with a popular theology and a guide in religious experience and Christian morality, clothed in the language of devotion, they have provided an inspired liturgy in which the pious, of all creeds and sects, have, for nearly three thousand years, poured out their prayers and praises. The pious Jew, before the coming of Christ, mourned over the adversity, or celebrated the future glories, of Zion, in the words of her ancient king. Our Saviour, with His disciples, sang one of these hymns on the night on which He was betrayed [Mat 26:30]; He took from one the words in which He uttered the dreadful sorrows of His soul [Mat 27:46], and died with those of another on His lips [Luk 23:46]. Paul and Silas in the dungeon [Act 16:25], primitive Christians in their covert places of worship, or the costly churches of a later day, and the scattered and feeble Christian flocks in the prevalence of darkness and error through the Middle Ages, fed their faith and warmed their love with these consoling songs. Now, throughout the Christian world, in untold forms of version, paraphrase, and imitation, by Papists and Protestants, Prelatists and Presbyterians, Independents, Baptists, Methodists--men of all lands and all creeds, in public and private worship, God is still adored in the sentiments expressed in these venerable Psalms. From the tone of sorrow and suffering which pervade their earlier portions we are gradually borne on amid alternate conflicts and triumphs, mournful complaints and awakening confidence; as we approach the close the tones of sorrow grow feebler, and those of praise wax louder and stronger--till, in the exulting strains of the last Psalm, the chorus of earth mingles with the hallelujahs of the multitude, which no man can number, in the sanctuary above.
JFB: Psalms (Garis Besar)
ALEPH. (Psa 119:1-8).
This celebrated Psalm has several peculiarities. It is divided into twenty-two parts or stanzas, denoted by the twenty-two let...
- ALEPH. (Psa 119:1-8). This celebrated Psalm has several peculiarities. It is divided into twenty-two parts or stanzas, denoted by the twenty-two letters of the Hebrew alphabet. Each stanza contains eight verses, and the first letter of each verse is that which gives name to the stanza. Its contents are mainly praises of God's Word, exhortations to its perusal, and reverence for it, prayers for its proper influence, and complaints of the wicked for despising it. There are but two verses (Psa 119:122, Psa 119:132) which do not contain some term or description of God's Word. These terms are of various derivations, but here used, for the most part, synonymously, though the use of a variety of terms seems designed, in order to express better the several aspects in which our relations to the revealed word of God are presented. The Psalm does not appear to have any relation to any special occasion or interest of the Jewish Church or nation, but was evidently "intended as a manual of pious thoughts, especially for instructing the young, and its peculiar artificial structure was probably adopted to aid the memory in retaining the language." (Psa. 119:1-176)
- BETH. (Psa 119:9-16). The whole verse may be read as a question; for,
- GIMEL. (Psa 119:17-24). Life is desirable in order to serve God; that we may do so aright, we should seek to have our eyes opened to behold His truth, and earnestly desire fully to understand it.
- DALETH. (Psa 119:25-32). Submitting ourselves in depression to God, He will revive us by His promises, and lead us to declare His mercy to others.
- HE. (Psa 119:33-40). To encourage us in prayer for divine aid in adhering to His truth, we are permitted to believe that by His help we shall succeed.
- VAU. (Psa 119:41-48). The sentiment more fully carried out. God's mercies and salvation, as revealed in His Word, provide hope of forgiveness for the past and security in a righteous course for the future.
- ZAIN. (Psa 119:49-56). Resting on the promises consoles under affliction and the tauntings of the insolent.
- CHETH. (Psa 119:57-64). Sincere desires for God's favor, penitence, and activity in a new obedience, truly evince the sincerity of those who profess to find God a portion (Num 18:20; Psa 16:5; Lam 3:24).
- TETH. (Psa 119:65-72). The reliance on promises (Psa 119:49) is strengthened by experience of past dealings according with promises, and a prayer for guidance, encouraged by sanctified affliction.
- JOD. (Psa 119:73-80). As God made, so He can best control, us. So as to Israel, he owed to God his whole internal and external existence (Deu 32:6).
- CAPH. (Psa 119:81-88). In sorrow the pious heart yearns for the comforts of God's promises (Psa 73:26; Psa 84:2).
- LAMED. (Psa 119:89-96). In all changes God's Word remains firm (1Pe 1:25). Like the heavens, it continually attests God's unfailing power and unchanging care (Psa 89:2).
- MEM. (Psa 119:97-104). This characteristic love for God's law (compare Psa 1:2) ensures increase.
- NUN. (Psa 119:105-112). Not only does the Word of God inform us of His will, but, as a light on a path in darkness, it shows us how to follow the right and avoid the wrong way. The lamp of the Word is not the sun. He would blind our eyes in our present fallen state; but we may bless God for the light shining as in a dark place, to guide us until the Sun of Righteousness shall come, and we shall be made capable of seeing Him (2Pe 1:19; Rev 22:4). The lamp is fed with the oil of the Spirit. The allusion is to the lamps and torches carried at night before an Eastern caravan.
- SAMECH. (Psa 119:113-120).
- AIN. (Psa 119:121-128). On the grounds of his integrity, desire for God's word, and covenant relation to Him, the servant of God may plead for His protecting care against the wicked, gracious guidance to the knowledge of truth, and His effective vindication of the righteous and their cause, which is also His own.
- PE. (Psa 119:129-136).
- TZADDI. (Psa 119:137-144). God's justice and faithfulness in His government aggravate the neglect of the wicked, and more excite the lively zeal of His people.
- KOPH. (Psa 119:145-152). An intelligent devotion is led by divine promises and is directed to an increase of gracious affections, arising from a contemplation of revealed truth.
- RESH. (Psa 119:153-160). Though the remembering of God's law is not meritorious, yet it evinces a filial temper and provides the pious with promises to plead, while the wicked in neglecting His law, reject God and despise His promises (compare Psa 9:13; Psa 43:1; Psa 69:18).
- SCHIN. (Psa 119:161-168). (Compare Psa 119:46, Psa 119:86).
- TAU. (Psa 119:169-176). The prayer for understanding of the truth precedes that for deliverance. The fulfilment of the first is the basis of the fulfilment of the second (Psa 90:11-17). On the terms "cry" and "supplication" (compare Psa 6:9; Psa 17:1).
- LIVING VOICES SHALL TAKE UP THE FAILING SOUNDS OF DEAD INSTRUMENTS, AND AS THEY CEASE ON EARTH, THOSE OF INTELLIGENT RANSOMED SPIRITS AND HOLY ANGELS, AS WITH THE SOUND OF MIGHTY THUNDERS, WILL PROLONG ETERNALLY THE PRAISE, SAYING: "ALLELUIA! SALVATION, AND GLORY, AND HONOR, AND POWER, UNTO THE LORD OUR GOD;" "ALLELUIA! FOR THE LORD GOD OMNIPOTENT REIGNETH." AMEN!.
TSK: Psalms (Pendahuluan Kitab) The Psalms have been the general song of the universal Church; and in their praise, all the Fathers have been unanimously eloquent. Men of all nation...
The Psalms have been the general song of the universal Church; and in their praise, all the Fathers have been unanimously eloquent. Men of all nations find in these compositions a language at once suitable to their feelings, and expressive of their highest joys and deepest sorrows, as well as of all the endlessly varied wishes and desires of their hearts. Whether the pious believer is disposed to indulge the exalted sentiments of praise and thanksgiving towards the ALMIGHTY FATHER of his being; to pour out his soul in penitence or prayer; to bewail, with tears of contrition, past offences; to magnify the goodness and mercy of GOD; to dwell with ecstacy on the divine attributes of wisdom and omnipotence; or to rejoice in the coming of the MESSIAH, the Psalms afford him the most perfect models for expressing all his feelings.
TSK: Psalms 36 (Pendahuluan Pasal) Overview
Psa 36:1, The grievous estate of the wicked; Psa 36:8, The excellency of God’s mercy; Psa 36:10, David prays for favour to God’s chil...
This Psalm is supposed by some to have been composed by David at the beginning of Saul’s persecutions; but Calmet and others, on good grounds, are of opinion that it was written during the Babylonian captivity.
Poole: Psalms (Pendahuluan Kitab) OF PSALMS
The divine authority of this Book of PSALMS is so certain and evident, that it was never questioned in the church; which b...
The divine authority of this Book of PSALMS is so certain and evident, that it was never questioned in the church; which being fixed, it is of small moment that the penman of some of them is not now known; nor doth this any more lessen its authority, than it invalidates the decree of a prince, or an act of parliament, that it is not certain by whose pen it was drawn up. Most of them were composed by David, as is evident, both from the title of them, and from the express testimony of the New Testament concerning some of them; and that by the inspiration of God’ s Spirit, as appears both from the Divine matter and frame of them, and from 2Sa 23:1 Mat 22:43 Act 1:16 2:25 . But some of them were composed by other persons; by Moses, as Ps 90 , by Heman, and Ethan, and Asaph, as the title of the Psalms show; and by others after their times, whose names are not mentioned, as is manifest from Ps 126 Ps 127 . It is apparent that the Psalms were not written in the order in which they now lie; and they were put into this order either by Ezra, as the Hebrew doctors affirm, or by some other holy prophet or prophets. It is sufficient for us that the whole book is owned as canonical by our blessed Saviour, Luk 24:44 .
Poole: Psalms 36 (Pendahuluan Pasal) THE ARGUMENT
This Psalm seems to have been composed by David when he was persecuted by Saul and his courtiers; upon which occasion he enlargeth his...
This Psalm seems to have been composed by David when he was persecuted by Saul and his courtiers; upon which occasion he enlargeth his thoughts further, and contemplates the sad state and condition of the world and of the church at that time, in which wickedness of all sorts greatly abounded, and seemed to prosper; and withal, he declares the great felicity and safety of God’ s people, and gives an account of their supports and comforts, under the sense of these public disorders and mischiefs.
i.e. One wholly and resolvedly devoted to the service of God, both in my public and private capacity. This title is, as I remember, but twice used in this book, Psa 18:1 , (of which see there,) and in this Psalm, where it seems to be prefixed as a public protestation of his resolution to cleave unto the Lord in this time of general corruption, of which he is now going to speak.
When I consider the great and manifold transgressions of ungodly men, I conclude within myself that they have cast off all fear, and sense, and serious belief of the Divine Majesty.
MHCC: Psalms (Pendahuluan Kitab) David was the penman of most of the psalms, but some evidently were composed by other writers, and the writers of some are doubtful. But all were writ...
David was the penman of most of the psalms, but some evidently were composed by other writers, and the writers of some are doubtful. But all were written by the inspiration of the Holy Ghost; and no part of the Old Testament is more frequently quoted or referred to in the New. Every psalm either points directly to Christ, in his person, his character, and offices; or may lead the believer's thoughts to Him. And the psalms are the language of the believer's heart, whether mourning for sin, thirsting after God, or rejoicing in Him. Whether burdened with affliction, struggling with temptation, or triumphing in the hope or enjoyment of deliverance; whether admiring the Divine perfections, thanking God for his mercies, mediating on his truths, or delighting in his service; they form a Divinely appointed standard of experience, by which we may judge ourselves. Their value, in this view, is very great, and the use of them will increase with the growth of the power of true religion in the heart. By the psalmist's expressions, the Spirit helps us to pray. If we make the psalms familiar to us, whatever we have to ask at the throne of grace, by way of confession, petition, or thanksgiving, we may be assisted from thence. Whatever devout affection is working in us, holy desire or hope, sorrow or joy, we may here find words to clothe it; sound speech which cannot be condemned. In the language of this Divine book, the prayers and praises of the church have been offered up to the throne of grace from age to age.
MHCC: Psalms 36 (Pendahuluan Pasal) (Psa 36:1-4) The bad state of the wicked.
(Psa 36:5-12) The goodness of God.
Matthew Henry: Psalms (Pendahuluan Kitab) An Exposition, with Practical Observations, of The Book of Psalms
We have now before us one of the choicest and most excellent parts of all the Old Te...
An Exposition, with Practical Observations, of The Book of Psalms
We have now before us one of the choicest and most excellent parts of all the Old Testament; nay, so much is there in it of Christ and his gospel, as well as of God and his law, that it had been called the abstract, or summary, of both Testaments. The History of Israel, which we were long upon, let us to camps and council-boards, and there entertained and instructed us in the knowledge of God. The book of Job brought us into the schools, and treated us with profitable disputations concerning God and his providence. But this book brings us into the sanctuary, draws us off from converse with men, with the politicians, philosophers, or disputers of this world, and directs us into communion with God, by solacing and reposing our souls in him, lifting up and letting out our hearts towards him. Thus may we be in the mount with God; and we understand not our interests if we say not, It is good to be here. Let us consider,
I. The title of this book. It is called, 1. The Psalms; under that title it is referred to, Luk 24:44. The Hebrew calls it
II. The author of this book. It is, no doubt, derived originally from the blessed Spirit. They are spiritual songs, words which the Holy Ghost taught. The penman of most of them was David the son of Jesse, who is therefore called the sweet psalmist of Israel, 2Sa 23:1. Some that have not his name in their titles yet are expressly ascribed to him elsewhere, as Psa 2:1-12 (Act 4:25) and Psa 96:1-13 and 105 (1 Chr. 16). One psalm is expressly said to be the prayer of Moses (Ps. 90); and that some of the psalms were penned by Asaph is intimated, 2Ch 29:30, where they are said to praise the Lord in the words of David and Asaph , who is there called a seer or prophet. Some of the psalms seem to have been penned long after, as Psa 137:1-9, at the time of the captivity in Babylon; but the far greater part of them were certainly penned by David himself, whose genius lay towards poetry and music, and who was raised up, qualified, and animated, for the establishing of the ordinance of singing psalms in the church of God, as Moses and Aaron were, in their day, for the settling of the ordinances of sacrifice; theirs is superseded, but his remains, and will to the end of time, when it shall be swallowed up in the songs of eternity. Herein David was a type of Christ, who descended from him, not from Moses, because he came to take away sacrifice (the family of Moses was soon lost and extinct), but to establish and perpetuate joy and praise; for of the family of David in Christ there shall be no end.
III. The scope of it. It is manifestly intended, 1. To assist the exercises of natural religion, and to kindle in the souls of men those devout affections which we owe to God as our Creator, owner, ruler, and benefactor. The book of Job helps to prove our first principles of the divine perfections and providence; but this helps to improve them in prayers and praises, and professions of desire towards him, dependence on him, and an entire devotedness and resignation to him. Other parts of scripture show that God is infinitely above man, and his sovereign Lord; but this shows us that he may, notwithstanding, be conversed with by us sinful worms of the earth; and there are ways in which, if it be not our own fault, we may keep up communion with him in all the various conditions of human life. 2. To advance the excellencies of revealed religion, and in the most pleasing powerful manner to recommend it to the world. There is indeed little or nothing of the ceremonial law in all the book of Psalms. Though sacrifice and offering were yet to continue many ages, yet they are here represented as things which God did not desire (Psa 40:6, Psa 51:16), as things comparatively little, and which in time were to vanish away. But the word and law of God, those parts of it which are moral and of perpetual obligation are here all along magnified and made honourable, nowhere more. And Christ, the crown and centre of revealed religion, the foundation, corner, and top-stone, of that blessed building, is here clearly spoken of in type and prophecy, his sufferings and the glory that should follow, and the kingdom that he should set up in the world, in which God's covenant with David, concerning his kingdom, was to have its accomplishment. What a high value does this book put upon the word of God, his statutes and judgments, his covenant and the great and precious promises of it; and how does it recommend them to us as our guide and stay, and our heritage for ever!
IV. The use of it. All scripture, being given by inspiration of God, is profitable to convey divine light into our understandings; but this book is of singular use with that to convey divine life and power, and a holy warmth, into our affections. There is no one book of scripture that is more helpful to the devotions of the saints than this, and it has been so in all ages of the church, ever since it was written and the several parts of it were delivered to the chief musician for the service of the church. 1. It is of use to be sung. Further than David's psalms we may go, but we need not, for hymns and spiritual songs. What the rules of the Hebrew metre were even the learned are not certain. But these psalms ought to be rendered according to the metre of every language, at least so as that they may be sung for the edification of the church. And methinks it is a great comfort to us, when we are singing David's psalms, that we are offering the very same praises to God that were offered to him in the days of David and the other godly kings of Judah. So rich, so well made, are these divine poems, that they can never be exhausted, can never be worn thread-bare. 2. It is of use to be read and opened by the ministers of Christ, as containing great and excellent truths, and rules concerning good and evil. Our Lord Jesus expounded the psalms to his disciples, the gospel psalms, and opened their understandings (for he had the key of David) to understand them, Luk 24:44. 3. It is of use to be read and meditated upon by all good people. It is a full fountain, out of which we may all be drawing water with joy. (1.) The Psalmist's experiences are of great use for our direction, caution, and encouragement. In telling us, as he often does, what passed between God and his soul, he lets us know what we may expect from God, and what he will expect, and require, and graciously accept, from us. David was a man after God's own heart, and therefore those who find themselves in some measure according to his heart have reason to hope that they are renewed by the grace of God, after the image of God, and many have much comfort in the testimony of their consciences for them that they can heartily say Amen to David's prayers and praises. (2.) Even the Psalmist's expressions too are of great use; and by them the Spirit helps our praying infirmities, because we know not what to pray for as we ought. In all our approaches to God, as well as in our first returns to God, we are directed to take with us words (Hos 14:2), these word, words which the Holy Ghost teaches. If we make David's psalms familiar to us, as we ought to do, whatever errand we have at the throne of grace, by way of confession, petition, or thanksgiving, we may thence be assisted in the delivery of it; whatever devout affection is working in us, holy desire or hope, sorrow or joy, we may there find apt words wherewith to clothe it, sound speech which cannot be condemned. It will be good to collect the most proper and lively expressions of devotion which we find here, and to methodize them, and reduce them to the several heads of prayer, that they may be the more ready to us. Or we may take sometimes one choice psalm and sometimes another, and pray it over, that is, enlarge upon each verse in our own thoughts, and offer up our meditations to God as they arise from the expressions we find there. The learned Dr. Hammond, in his preface to his paraphrase on the Psalms (sect. 29), says, " That going over a few psalms with these interpunctions of mental devotion, suggested, animated, and maintained, by the native life and vigour which is in the psalms, is much to be preferred before the saying over the whole Psalter, since nothing is more fit to be averted in religious offices than their degenerating into heartless dispirited recitations." If, as St. Austin advises, we form our spirit by the affection of the psalm, we may then be sure of acceptance with God in using the language of it. Nor is it only our devotion, and the affections of our mind, that the book of Psalms assists, teaching us how to offer praise so as to glorify God, but, it is also a directory to the actions of our lives, and teaches us how to order our conversation aright, so as that, in the end, we may see the salvation of God, Psa 50:23. The Psalms were thus serviceable to the Old Testament church, but to us Christians they may be of more use than they could be to those who lived before the coming of Christ; for, as Moses's sacrifices, so David's songs, are expounded and made more intelligible by the gospel of Christ, which lets us within the veil; so that if to David's prayers and praises we all St. Paul's prayers in his epistles, and the new songs in the Revelation, we shall be thoroughly furnished for this good work; for the scripture, perfected, makes the man of God perfect.
As to the division of this book, we need not be solicitous; there is no connexion (or very seldom) between one psalm and another, nor any reason discernable for the placing of them in the order wherein we here find them; but it seems to be ancient, for that which is now the second psalm was so in the apostles' time, Act 13:33. The vulgar Latin joins the 9th and 10th together; all popish authors quote by that, so that, thenceforward, throughout the book, their number is one short of ours; our 11 is their 10, our 119 is their 118. But they divide the 147th into two, and so make up the number of 150. Some have endeavoured to reduce the psalms to proper heads, according to the matter of them, but there is often such a variety of matter in one and the same psalm that this cannot be done with any certainty. But the seven penitential Psalms have been in a particular manner singled out by the devotions of many. They are reckoned to be Psa 6:1-10, Psa 32:1-11, 38, 51,102, Psa 130:1-8, and Psa 143:1-12. The Psalms were divided into five books, each concluding with Amen, Amen, or Hallelujah; the first ending with Psa 41:1-13, the second with Ps. 72, the third with Ps. 89, the fourth with Ps. 106, the fifth with Psa 150:1-6. Others divide them into three fifties; others into sixty parts, two for every day of the month, one for the morning, the other for the evening. Let good Christians divide them for themselves, so as may best increase their acquaintance with them, that they may have them at hand upon all occasions and may sing them in the spirit and with the understanding.
Matthew Henry: Psalms 36 (Pendahuluan Pasal) It is uncertain when, and upon what occasion, David penned this psalm, probably when he was struck at either by Saul or by Absalom; for in it he co...
It is uncertain when, and upon what occasion, David penned this psalm, probably when he was struck at either by Saul or by Absalom; for in it he complains of the malice of his enemies against him, but triumphs in the goodness of God to him. We are here led to consider, and it will do us good to consider seriously, I. The sinfulness of sin, and how mischievous it is (Psa 36:1-4). II. The goodness of God, and how gracious he is, 1. To all his creatures in general (Psa 36:5, Psa 36:6). 2. To his own people in a special manner (Psa 36:7-9). By this the psalmist is encouraged to pray for all the saints (Psa 36:10), for himself in particular and his own preservation (Psa 36:11), and to triumph in the certain fall of his enemies (Psa 36:12). If, in singing this psalm, our hearts be duly affected with the hatred of sin and satisfaction in God's lovingkindness, we sing it with grace and understanding.
To the chief Musician. A psalm of David the servant of the Lord.
Constable: Psalms (Pendahuluan Kitab) Introduction
The title of this book in the Hebrew Bible is Tehillim, which means...
The title of this book in the Hebrew Bible is Tehillim, which means "praise songs." The title adopted by the Septuagint translators for their Greek version was Psalmoi meaning "songs to the accompaniment of a stringed instrument." This Greek word comes from the Hebrew word mizmor that occurs in the titles of 57 of the psalms. In time the Greek word psalmoi came to mean "songs of praise" without reference to stringed accompaniment. The English translators transliterated the Greek title resulting in the title "Psalms" in English Bibles.
Date and Writers
The texts of the individual psalms do not usually indicate who wrote them.1 However some of the titles of the individual psalms do contain information about the writers.2 This is the only really reliable information we have as to who composed these psalms, though the commentators have their theories.
Not all the titles contain information about authorship.3 The ones that do refer to the following writers. Moses wrote Psalm 90.4 David composed 73 psalms, mostly in the first two books of the Psalter (i.e., Pss. 1-72). Asaph wrote 12 (Pss. 50, 73-83). Korah's descendents were responsible for 10 (Pss. 42, 44-49, 84, 87-88). Solomon wrote one or two (127 and perhaps 72). Heman the Ezrahite wrote one (Ps. 88). Ethan the Ezrahite composed one (Ps. 89).
Of these the earliest would have been the one Moses wrote (Ps. 90) and it probably dates from about 1405 B.C. Those David composed would have originated between about 1020 and 975 B.C. Asaph was a contemporary of David so we can date his in approximately the same period. Solomon's psalm(s) seem to have been produced about 950 B.C. Korah's descendents as well as Heman and Ethan probably lived after Solomon, but exactly when we cannot identify. Since Heman and Ethan are connected with Ezra as Ezrahites it is probable that they lived and wrote after the Babylonian exile as he did.
We can date some of the psalms that do not contain information about their writers in the title, if they have a title, by their subject matter. For example, David seems to have written Psalms 2 and 33 even though his name does not occur in the superscriptions (cf. Acts 4:25). Likewise Psalms 126 and 137 must have been late compositions dating from the time the Jews returned from Babylonian exile or shortly after that.
Most of the Psalms, then, were written between 1000 and 450 B.C. The one by Moses was composed considerably earlier and a few may have been written later, but probably not much later, than 450 B.C.
There is some internal evidence in the Book of Psalms that the Jews collected the individual psalms and compiled them into groups in various stages and that this process took some time.5 We would expect this because some psalms date hundreds of years after others. Psalm 72:20, for example, seems to mark the end of a collection of David's psalms that antedated the Psalter we now have, but which editors incorporated into the larger work. Psalm 1 appears intended to introduce this collection and, probably later, the entire Psalter. The writer of most of the first 72 psalms (Books 1 and 2 of our modern editions) was David.6 Solomon (2 Chron. 5:11-14; 7:6; 9:11; Eccles. 2:8), Jehoshaphat (2 Chron. 20:21-22), and Jehoiada (2 Chron. 23:18) all organized temple singing and may have had a hand in compiling some of the psalms. Hezekiah (715-686 B.C.; 2 Kings 18-20; 2 Chron. 29-32), one of Judah's best kings and one who led his people in returning to Scripture, may have added to and organized part of the Psalter (cf. 2 Chron. 29:25-28, 30; 30:21; 31:2; Prov. 25:1). So may Josiah, another reforming king of Judah (640-609 B.C.; 2 Kings 22:1-23:30; 2 Chron. 34-35; cf. 2 Chron. 35:15, 25). The last two books (sections) of Psalms (chs. 90-106 and 107-150) contain more miscellaneous psalms dating from Moses to the return from exile. It seems likely that Ezra, the great renovator of postexilic Judaism, may have been responsible for adding these and perhaps putting the whole collection in its final form.
"The picture that emerges is a mixture of order and informality of arrangement, which invites but also defeats the attempt to account for every detail of its final form. There is some chronological progression, with David most in evidence in the first half, and a clear allusion to the captivity towards the close of Book V (Ps. 137). But David reappears in the next psalm (138), and by contrast, the fall of Jerusalem had been lamented as far back as Psalm 74."7
Each of the five books or major sections of the Psalter ends with a doxology, and Psalm 150 is a grand doxology for the whole collection. The earliest evidence of the five-fold division of the Book of Psalms comes from the Qumran scrolls, which scribes copied early in the first century A.D. Undoubtedly the Psalter was in its final form by the close of the Old Testament canon, namely by 400 B.C.
Historically the psalms cover a period of about 1000 years, from the time of Moses (c. 1400 B.C.) to the Isrealites' return from exile (c. 450 B.C.).
In terms of subject matter they deal with selected events of that millennium. They provide us with the thoughts and feelings of those who went through the experiences recorded, especially their God-directed thoughts and feelings.
"Of all the books in the Old Testament the Book of Psalms most vividly represents the faith of individuals in the Lord. The Psalms are the inspired responses of human hearts to God's revelation of Himself in law, history, and prophecy. Saints of all ages have appropriated this collection of prayers and praises in their public worship and private meditations."8
"One should think of this aspect of interpretation as being like the Olympics, a grand occasion made up of a variety of sports. Though it is all sport, each game is played by its own rules and has its own expectations about how to play the game. The variety of literature is the same way. It all has a message, but it conveys that message in a variety of ways and with a variety of expectations. To try to play basketball with soccer's rules will never work, though both use a ball and require foot speed. Or think of musical instruments, they all make music, but in different ways with different sounds. One cannot play the violin like a piano or drums; nor should one expect a violin to sound like either a piano or the kettledrum! In the same way, to read the poetry of the Psalms like a historical book is to miss the emotional and pictorial impact of the message, though both genres convey reality about people's experience with God. To transform the imagery and setting of the Psalter into mere theological proposition is also to take the passion and lifeblood out of its veins."9
The messianic psalms are perhaps the most commonly known type. They predict the coming of a messiah. Franz Delitzsch broke these psalms down into five kinds. The first is the purely prophetic, which predicts that a future Davidic king would be the Lord (Ps. 110). Second, the eschatological psalms predict the coming of Messiah and the consummation of His kingdom (Pss. 96-99, et al.). Third, we have the typological-prophetic in which the writer describes his own experience but goes beyond that to describe what became true of the Messiah (e.g., Ps. 22). Fourth, there are the indirectly messianic psalms composed for a contemporary king but having ultimate fulfillment in Messiah (Pss. 2: 45; 72). Fifth, we have the typically messianic in which the writer was in some way typical of Messiah, but all he wrote in the psalm did not describe Him (e.g., Ps. 34:20; 109:8 as used in Acts 1:20).10 The following seem to be messianic psalms in whole or in part: 2 (cf. Matt. 3:17; Acts 13:33; Heb. 1:5; 5:5; 7:28; 2 Pet. 1:17); 8 (Matt. 21:15-16; Heb. 2:6-9); 16 (Acts 2:25-28; 13:55); 22 (Matt. 27:46; Mark 15:34); 34; 40; 41; 45 (Heb. 1:8-9); 68; 69 (John 2:17; 15:25); 72; 96-99; 102; 109; 110; and 118 (Matt. 21:42).11
The imprecatory psalms are thought of as a distinct type by some interpreters on the basis of their subject matter.12 These psalms contain imprecations, or curses, on God's enemies. They have created a problem for some Christians since Jesus Christ taught His disciples to bless their enemies and not to curse them (Matt. 5:43-44; Luke 6:27-28; cf. Rom. 12:14). In the progress of revelation it was not easy for the writers of the psalms to see the details of the future distinctly. They could not feel the peace about God's ultimate establishment of justice that modern believers who know their Bibles do. Consequently when they witnessed injustice and oppression they did not usually know how God would deal with it so they called on Him to vindicate Himself immediately. With the coming of Jesus Christ and the added revelation He provided believers now have a fuller picture of how God will balance the scales of justice. It is therefore inappropriate for us to pray imprecations of the sort we find in the Old Testament. God has recorded them for our benefit, not as examples to follow in their wording but in their spirit of zeal for God's glory.13
What is now the most common way of classifying the psalms originated with the German scholar Hermann Gunkel at the beginning of the twentieth century.14 He was one of the founders of the form critical school of scholarship that sought to understand a given portion of Scripture by analyzing the form in which the writer composed it. Scholars then compared that form with other biblical and contemporary literature from the ancient Near Eastern countries that were Israel's neighbors, particularly Egypt and Mesopotamia. Gunkel classified the psalms into various categories or types (Germ. gattungen) by trying to identify the general situation in life (Germ. sitz im leben) that brought them into existence rather than by their content. He concluded that most of the psalms were postexilic. Many scholars have followed this form critical approach in their study of the Psalms as well as in other portions of the Old Testament.15
Most form critical scholars speculated about the origins of the various psalms and concluded that priests wrote most of them late in Israel's history. This has led many conservatives to reject form criticism completely. Nonetheless this school of interpreters has given us some helpful information, namely the various literary types of psalms that appear in the book.
Some of the more important types of psalms by literary form are the following. Individual laments are psalms by individuals calling on God for help from distress. National laments are similar but voice a corporate cry for help in view of some national situation.
"Laments outnumber every other kind of psalm in the Psalter; almost a third of the psalms belong to this category."16
Thanksgiving psalms--also called psalms of declarative praise--center on some act of deliverance God granted His people. Descriptive praise psalms offer praise to God for Himself or for His general working rather than for a specific instance of His working. The poets wrote the pilgrim psalms, also called songs of ascent, for singing by the Israelites as they made their thrice-yearly pilgrimages up to Jerusalem for the required festival observances there. Royal psalms are those in which the king of Israel is the chief character. Some event in his reign is being described such as his coronation, wedding, or going out to battle. The enthronement psalms speak of the Lord as the great king fulfilling His role in some way such as reigning or coming to judge.
Another type of psalm, based on the form in which the writer set it rather than on the subject matter, is the acrostic. In these each verse, or group of verses in the case of Psalm 119, begins with the succeeding letter of the Hebrew alphabet. The psalmists adopted this style so the Israelites could memorize and remember the psalm easily. The acrostic psalms are these: 9, 10, 25, 34, 37, 111, 112, 119, and 145.17
The Book of Psalms is an inspired collection of Hebrew poems intended for use in worship. Spirit directed compilers put them in their present order for several reasons including authorship and affinity of ideas. The compilers did not organize them in the order in which the psalmist wrote them. Each psalm is the expression of one writer who responded to God in the light of his particular circumstances when he wrote. Consequently there is no argument or progression of thought as the reader makes his or her way through the book.
The subject of the Book of Psalms is worship. Worship is the act of offering to God what is due Him because of who He is. The Hebrew word translated "worship" (shachah) means to bow oneself down or to do obeisance. The psalmists used it to describe prostration before God or some angel or another human being. It pictures an attitude of submission to a superior person. This word occurs only 15 times in Psalms with God as the object, but the idea of worshipping God is present in every psalm.
In these 15 passages the psalmists referred to God as Yahweh, Elohim, or Adonai. Those worshipping Him are individuals, kings, nations, and all the earth. His temple (Israel's central sanctuary) and His holy hill (Mt. Zion) were the central places of worship. Fear, holiness, and joy are the primary attitudes prominent in this worship.
God's people throughout history have loved the Psalter. There are a number of reasons for its popularity. First, it is a collection of songs that arise out of experiences with which we can all identify. It is very difficult to find any circumstance in life that does not find expression in some psalm or another. Some arose out of prosperity, others out of adversity. Some psalms deal with holiness, and others with sinfulness. Some are laments that bewail the worst of situations whereas others are triumphant hymns of joy and thanksgiving. Some look back to the past while others look forward to the future.
The psalms are great because their writers composed them out of their most profound experiences. Great poetry arises out of great living. "Out of the abundance of the heart the mouth speaks" (Matt. 12:34). They are also great because the writers brought these profound experiences into God's presence. They show how people behave when they are conscious of God, the only truly realistic way to live. Therefore the permanent value of the psalms lies in their revelation of worship.
First, the Psalter reveals the person of God who is the object of worship. The primary revelation of God's character in the psalms is His names. The writers employed dozens of titles and figures of speech to describe God, but the three names of God that they used most are Yahweh, Elohim, and Adonai. When we understand these names alone we will want to worship God.
The name Yahweh captures the essential being of God. He is who He is (Exod. 3:14). This name occurs more often than any other in the psalms. Essentially it means that God is the eternally self-existent Person who becomes all that His people need. God's being is never the subject of debate in the psalms. The writers assumed His existence. As Yahweh God is always an adequate resource for whatever His people need whenever they have needs. That is because the Name Yahweh describes God in covenant relationship with His people. Translators normally render it LORD in English translations. Psalm 139 is perhaps the greatest exposition of the essential being of God, and Psalm 23 the chief revelation of His becoming all His people need.
The second great name of God in the Psalter is Elohim. Normally this Hebrew word translates as "God" in our English Bibles. It is a plural word in the Hebrew, which does not necessarily signify number but immensity. God as He reveals Himself is so infinite that no singular word can express Him adequately. "Elohim" suggests God's essential might and the fact that He is extremely powerful. God's strength is not just potential, but kinetic (i.e., in motion). It is latent, but also active. Such power elicited the awe of the psalmists. Psalm 68 is perhaps the greatest revelation of God's essential might in the Psalter, and Psalm 46 sets forth His great power at work most impressively.
The title "Adonai" (Lord in the sense of Master) does not occur frequently in the psalms, but the idea it expresses is present constantly. This title expresses the sovereignty of God, the fact that there is no one higher in authority than He. He is the King over the whole universe and the ultimate ruler over Israel. Perhaps Psalm 86 sets forth the sovereignty of God more magnificently than any other psalm.
Whenever a person, king, nation, or race conceives of God as Yahweh, Elohim, or Adonai the result is worship. We can do nothing else but prostrate ourselves before such an One. That is what the writers of these psalms did as they reflected on their experiences in the light of who God is.
The second great revelation of the Psalter is man's attitude in worship. Briefly we see man responding to the revelation of God joyfully, trustfully, and submissively. When we understand that God Himself is an adequate resource for us regardless of our needs, we worship by rejoicing. When we appreciate God's mighty power we worship Him by trusting Him. When we learn that God is sovereign we respond in worship by submitting to Him.
When we appreciate God's grace in providing all we need we rejoice. In the psalms we see joy manifesting itself in penitence and adoration. Penitence manifests joy in the following way. We have God's promises of forgiveness if we confess when we sin. Forgiveness for sin is one of God's greatest gifts to humankind. It is not something we can earn or deserve. It is a gift of God based ultimately on a work God has done for us through His Son. The penitential root attitude blossoms into adoration for God's grace. The sweetest music comes out of hearts broken by sin, hearts aware of their total bankruptcy before God. The most glorious praises spring from the lips of those who most sense the great gifts God has given them.
Trust in God's almighty power expresses itself in honesty and courage. Honesty is the internal fruit of trust and courage its external manifestation. The person who really trusts God's power will be open and honest because he believes God will exercise His power to defend him. He will be willing to take risks because he is relying on God's supernatural power to sustain and uphold him. The psalmists expressed themselves and behaved honestly before God and people because they believed in His sovereignty. They also faced danger courageously because they believed God could and would provide adequate help for His own.
Submission to the sovereignty of God expresses itself in reverence and obedience in the psalms. Reverence is the external evidence of submission to God, and obedience the core proof of it. The person who really believes God is the ultimate authority will respect Him. He will also yield to God's superior authority submissively. We see the psalmists expressing their reverence for God and bowing humbly to His will throughout the Psalter.
The third major revelation concerning worship in the psalms is the activities of worship. As we have seen, one's conception of God leads to worship, and one's attitudes shape worship. One's activities also demonstrate worship.
The psalms reveal that worship grows out of something God has done for man. Man does not worship because there is something intrinsic within him that must come out. Worship is always a response to something God has done. God elicits worship. Man does not initiate it on his own. Throughout the psalms the psalmists responded to God's dealings with them. God is always the initiator and man the responder. This fact helps us see that God is worthy of worship.
Human response in worship involves opening the soul to God. David's confession in Psalm 32 is a good example of this. He rejoiced in his open relationship with God when he acknowledged his sin. He also received God's gift of pardon. Then he offered praise to God. These are the essential human activities of worship: confession, reception, and praise.
After God initiates worship and man responds by worshipping, God becomes to the worshipper all he or she needs. God is true and faithful in His dealings with worshippers. He becomes for us all we need when we worship Him. Thus the activities of worship begin and end with God. They begin with His initiating situations in life. They end with His drawing us to Himself. In between we bare our souls, receive His gifts, and offer our praise.
The message of the Psalter then is, "Worship God!" Turn every situation into an occasion for worship. If we are sad we should worship. If we are glad we should worship. If we are in the dark we should worship. If we are in the light we should worship. The Apostle Paul expressed it this way in Philippians 4:4 and 7: "Rejoice in the Lord always, and again I say, Rejoice. . . . And the peace of God, which passes all understanding, shall guard your hearts and minds in Christ Jesus." "Let everything that has breath praise the Lord. You praise the Lord" (Ps. 150:6).
Constable: Psalms (Garis Besar) Outline
I. Book 1: chs. 1-41
II. Book 2: chs. 42-72
III. Book 3: chs. 73...
Constable: Psalms Psalms
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Cooke, Gerald. "The Israelite King as Son of God." Zeitschrift für die Alttestamentliche Wissenschaft 73:2 (June 1961):202-25.
Curtis, Edward M. "Ancient Psalms and Modern Worship." Bibliotheca Sacra 153:615 (July-September 1997):285-96.
Delitzsch, Franz. Biblical Commentary on the Psalms. 3 vols. Translated by Francis Bolton. Biblical Commentary on the Old Testament. N.p.; reprint ed., Grand Rapids: Wm. B. Eerdmans Publishing Co., n.d.
Eissfeldt, Otto. Einleitung in das Alte Testament unter Einschluss der Apokryphen und Pseudepigraphen. Tubingen: Mohr, 1934.
Engnell, Ivan. Gamla Testamentet. Stockholm: Svenska Kyrkans Diakonistyrelses Bokforlag, 1945.
Gunkel, Hermann. Ausgewahlte Psalmen. Gottingen: Vandenhoeck und Ruprecht, 1904.
Heinemann, Mark H. "An Exposition of Psalm 22." Bibliotheca Sacra 147:587 (July-September 1990):286-308.
Ho, Chun Leung. "God Will Repay: An Exegetical Exposition of Psalm Sixty-four." Exegesis and Exposition 3:1 (Fall 1988):34-44.
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Copyright 2003 by Thomas L. Constable
Haydock: Psalms (Pendahuluan Kitab) THE BOOK OF PSALMS.
The Psalms are called by the Hebrew, Tehillim; that is, hymns of praise. The author, of a great part of ...
THE BOOK OF PSALMS.
The Psalms are called by the Hebrew, Tehillim; that is, hymns of praise. The author, of a great part of them at least, was king David; but many are of opinion, that some of them were made by Asaph and others, whose names are prefixed in the titles. (Challoner) --- These, however, are not unquestionably of divine authority, though they deserve to be respected. (Calmet) --- St. Jerome (ad Cyprian) says: "Let us be convinced that those labour under a mistake, who suppose that David was the author of all the Psalms, and not those whose names appear in the titles." Paine is not, therefore, the first who has made this discovery. (Watson) (2 Paralipomenon xxix. 30.) --- Psalm lxxvi., compared with Psalms xxxviii., lxiv., lxx., cxi., cxxv., cxxxvi., and cxlv., seems favourable of this opinion, (Calmet; Tirinus; &c.) which is contrary to St. Ambrose, &c. The matter is not of great moment, as all confess that the 150 Psalms were dedicated by the Holy Ghost. (Du Hamel) --- St. Augustine (City of God xvii. 14.) attributes all the Psalms to David; and it seems best to adhere to this opinion, as it is most generally received. (Menochius) --- Our Saviour cites the cix. Psalm as belonging to David, (Matthew xxii. 44.) agreeably to the title; and the 2d Psalm is also attributed to him, by the apostles, (Acts iv. 25.) though it have no title at all, no more than the first. (Haydock) --- It has generally been asserted, that when a Psalm is in this position, it must be referred to the author who was mentioned last. But Bellarmine calls this in question: and the titles of themselves afford but a precarious argument, either to know the author or the real import of the Psalm. (Calmet) --- St. Jerome himself (ad Paulin.) seems to suppose that David was the writer of all the Psalms, (Worthington) and that he has left us compositions which may vie with those of the most celebrated pagan bards. In effect, nothing could excel the harmony of these divine hymns, to judge even from a translation. (Fleury.) --- What then would they be in the original? The difficulty of coming to a perfect knowledge of the author's meaning, arises chiefly from the variety of translations and commentaries, which have been more numerous on this work than any other. To examine all minutely, would require more volumes than our present limits will allow. The version which we have to explain, is not that which St. Jerome made from the Hebrew and which possesses the same intrinsic merit as the rest of his works: but the Church has declared authentic the holy doctor's corrected (Haydock) version from St. Lucian, (Bellarmine; Tirinus) or from the Septuagint as the people had been accustomed to sing the psalter in that manner; and it would have been difficult for them to learn another. (Calmet) --- A critical examination would show, that the Septuagint have not so often deviated from the original [Hebrew] as some would pretend. See Berthier, &c. Pellican extols the fidelity of our version on the Psalms, though he was a Protestant. (Ward. Err. p. 6.) --- When therefore we offer a different version, we would not insinuate that the Vulgate is therefore to be rejected. The copiousness of the Hebrew language, (Haydock) and on some occasions the uncertainty of its roots, or precise import, (Somon. Crit.) ought to make every one diffident in pronouncing peremptorily on such subjects. Let us rather adhere to the decision of the Church, when it is given on any particular text; and when she is silent, let us endeavour to draw the streams of life from our Saviour's fountains, and read for our improvement in virtue. (Haydock) --- No exhortations could be more cogent, than those which we may find in the Psalms. They contain the sum of all the other sacred books, as the Fathers agree. (St. Augustine; St. Basil; &c.) To understand them better, we must reflect upon what key or string they each play. Expositors discover ten such stings on this mysterious harp: 1. God; 2. his works; 3. Providence; 4. the peculiar people of the Jews; 5. Christ; 6. his Church; 7. true worship; 8. David; 9. the end of the world; 10. a future life. On some of these subjects the Psalm principally turns. The titles, composed by Esdras, or the Septuagint, (Worthington) or by some other, (Calmet) will often point out the subject; and if that be not the case, the context and other parts of Scripture will (Worthington) commonly (Haydock) do it. (Worthington) --- The greatest stress must be laid on these. (Calmet) --- An intimate acquaintance with the history of David, and with the Jewish and Christian religion, will also be of essential service to enable us to penetrate the hidden treasures contained in these most heavenly canticles. (Haydock) --- David excels all the pagans in point of antiquity, as he lived 100 years before Homer. His natural genius led him to follow the pursuits of poetry and music; (1 Kings xvi. 23.) and God inspired him to compose these poems, as works in metre are more easily remembered, and make a more pleasing impression upon the heart. Hence Moses and other prophets adopted the same plan, both in the Old and the New Testament. The pious king [David] not being permitted to build the temple, made nevertheless all necessary preparations for it; and among the rest, procured 288 masters of music to train up 4000 singers, 1 Paralipomenon xxiii. 25. He foresaw that these Psalms would be of service, not only on the Jewish festivals, but also in the Christian Church, (Psalm lvi., 10., &c.) gathered from all nations, (Worthington) among whom he sings by the mouths (Haydock) of the clergy, who are commanded daily to sing or recite some of these Psalms. (Worthington) --- The psalter takes its name from an instrument of ten strings, resembling the Greek [letter] Lamda, (Ven. Bede) and sounding from above, to insinuate that we may (Worthington) here learn to observe (Haydock) all the decalogue, and to aim at heaven. If difficulties present themselves in the perusal of these sacred writings, we must remember not to trust private interpretation, (2 Peter i.) but to the doctrine of the Church, (John xiv. 16., and 1 Corinthians xii.) which we may find in the works of the holy Fathers, (St. Augustine, Doct.[On Christian Doctrine?]) and exercise ourselves in humility, when any thing occurs above our comprehension. (St. Gregory xvii. in Ezechiel) (Worthington) --- We must pray with all earnestness to the Father of Lights, and surely no prayers can be more efficacious to obtain what we want, than those which he has here delivered. Whether just or sinners, whether in joy or sorrow, we may here find what may be suitable for us. (Haydock) --- In hoc libro spiritualis Bibliotheca instructa est. (Cassiodorus)
Gill: Psalms (Pendahuluan Kitab) INTRODUCTION TO PSALMS
The title of this book may be rendered "the Book of Praises", or "Hymns"; the psalm which our Lord sung at the passover is c...
INTRODUCTION TO PSALMS
The title of this book may be rendered "the Book of Praises", or "Hymns"; the psalm which our Lord sung at the passover is called an "hymn", Mat 26:30; and the one hundred forty fifth Psalm is entitled
"the Book of the Psalms of David, King and Prophet,''
with which agrees the Arabic version. As to the divine authority of it, that it was written by inspiration of God, we have not only the testimony of David, who says, "the Spirit of God spake by me", 2Sa 23:2; but the testimonies of Christ and his apostles, Mat 22:43; and, as Aben Ezra c observes the whole of it was spoken
"David being free from war, and enjoying a profound peace, composed songs and hymns to God, of various metre; some trimeter, and some pentameter;''
that is, some of three feet, and others of five feet: for the Psalms of David are thought to be of the "lyric" kind; and Gomarus, in his Lyra, has given many instances out of them, which are of the "iambic", "trochaic" kind, &c. though the Jews for many years have lost the knowledge of the sacred poetry. R. Benjamin i indeed says, that in his time there were at Bagdad R. Eleazar and his brethren, who knew how to sing the songs, as the singers did when the temple was standing. The subject matter of this book is exceeding great and excellent; many of the psalms respect the person, offices, and grace of Christ; his sufferings and death, resurrection, ascension, and session at the right hand of God; and so are exceeding suitable to the Gospel dispensation. The whole book is a rich mine of grace and evangelical truths, and a large fund of spiritual experience; and is abundantly suited to every case, state, and condition, that the church of Christ, or particular believers, are in at any time.
Gill: Psalms 36 (Pendahuluan Pasal) INTRODUCTION TO PSALM 36
To the chief Musician, A Psalm of David, the servant of the Lord. This title, which the psalmist takes to himself, regards...
INTRODUCTION TO PSALM 36
To the chief Musician, A Psalm of David, the servant of the Lord. This title, which the psalmist takes to himself, regards him not only as a creature, every man being the servant of the Lord as such, of right, though not in fact; but as a king, he being a minister of God for good to good men, and for evil to evil men; and also may respect him as a renewed man; and it is here used in opposition to and distinction from the wicked, who are the servants of sin and Satan, of whom he speaks in this psalm. The Syriac and Arabic versions in their titles suggest that this psalm was written when David was persecuted by Saul, and which is the sense of some interpreters; but R. Obadiah thinks Ahithophel is designed by the wicked man in it; and so it was penned on account of Absalom's rebellion.