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PSALMS. The Psalms are full of such exalted strains of piety and devotion, such beautiful and animated descriptions of the
power, the wisdom, the mercy, the goodness of God, that it is impossible for any one to read them without feeling his heart inflamed with the most ardent affection towards the great Creator and Governour of the
universe. Bp. Porteus. The Psalms are an epitome of the Bible, adapted to the purposes of devotion. They treat occasionally of the creation
and formation of the world ; the dispensations of Providence, and the economy of grace; the transactions of the patriarchs, the exodus of the children of Israel; their journey through the wilderness, and their settlement in Canaan; their law, priesthood, and ritual; the exploits of their great men wrought through faith ; their sins and captivities, their repentances and restorations; the sufferings and victories of David; the peaceful and happy reign of Solomon; the advent of the Messiah, with its effects and consequences; His incarnation, birth, life, passion, death, resurrection, ascension, kingdom, and priesthood; the effusion of the Spirit, the conversion of the Gentiles, the rejection of the Jews; the establishment, increase, and perpetuity of the Christian church; the end of the world, the general judgment, the condemnation of the wicked, and the final triumph of the righteous with their Lord and King. These are the subjects by them presented to our imaginations. We are instructed how to conceive the subjects aright, and how to express the different affections, which, when conceived aright, they must excite in our minds. In the language of this Divine Book, the prayers of the Church have been offered up to the throne of grace from age to age. And it appears to have been the manual of the Son of God in the days of His flesh; who at the conclusion of His supper is generally supposed, and that upon good grounds, to have sung an hymn taken from it; who pronounced upon the cross the beginning of the twentysecond Psalm, “My God, My God, why hast Thou forsaken Me?" and expired with a part of the thirty-first in His mouth, “Into Thy hands I commend My spirit.” Thus He, who spake as never man spake, chose to conclude His life, to solace Himself in His greatest agony, and at last to breathe out His soul, in the Psalmist's form of words rather than His own. No tongue of man, or angel, as Dr. Hammond justly observes, can con
vey a higher idea of any book, and of their felicity who use it right. Let us stop for a moment to contemplate the true character of these sacred hymns. Greatness confers no
exemption from the pains and sorrows of life. This the Israelitish monarch experienced. He sought in piety that peace which he could not find in empire, and alleviated the disquietudes of state with the exercises
of devotion. His invaluable Psalms convey those comforts to others which they afforded to himself. Composed upon par
ticular occasions, yet designed for general use ; delivered out as services for Israelites under the Law, yet no less adapted to the circumstances of Christians under the Gospel : they present religion to us in the most engaging dress ; communicating truths which philosophy could never investigate, in a style which poetry can never equal. Calculated alike to profit and to please, they inform the understanding, elevate the affections, and entertain the imagination. Indited under the influence of Him, to whom all hearts are open, and all events foreknown, they suit mankind in all situations, grateful as the manna which descended from above, and conformed itself to every palate. The fairest productions of human wit, after a few perusals, like gathered flowers, wither in our hands, and lose their fragrancy; but these unfading plants of paradise become, as we are more accustomed to them, still more and more beautiful ; their bloom appears to be daily heightened, fresh odours are emitted, and new sweets are extracted from them. He who has once tasted their excellencies, will
desire to taste them again; and he who tastes them oftenest, will relish them best. Bp. Horne. The Jews, at some uncertain period, divided the Book of Psalms into five sections or books, probably in imitation of
the division of the Pentateuch. These divisions end respectively with the 41st, the 72nd, the 89th, the 106th, and the 150th. The first four books of this division terminate with the word Amen, and with a peculiar form of doxology, or praise to God, which was probably, in each instance, added by the collector of the Book of Psalms. Our present order of the Psalms is perhaps that, in which they were sung in the Temple ; and this may account for the occasional repetitions. Dr. Gray, Travell.
| the Lord; band in his law doth he Joshi 1. 8.
meditate day and night. 1 The happiness of the godly. 4 The unhap- 3 And he shall be like a tree plant- c Jer. 17. 8. piness of the ungodly.
ed by the rivers of water, that bringa Prov. 4. 14. D LESSED a is the man that eth forth his fruit in his season; his
D walketh not in the counsel of the leaf also shall not wither; and what- + Heb. fade. || Or, wicked. || ungodly, nor standeth in the way of soever he doeth shall prosper.
sinners, nor sitteth in the seat of the 4 The ungodly are not so: but are
d like the chaff which the wind driveth d Ps. 35. 5. 2 But his delight is in the law of away.
Is. 17. 13.
Psalm I. This Psalm was placed first as a preface to been seduced by them, did not persist, like those hardall the rest, being a powerful persuasive to the diligent ened wretches, in evil courses; much less proceed so reading and serious study of the whole book, and of far in his impiety, as to be one of that company who the rest of the Holy Scriptures, taken from that blessed- deride and scoff at religion. Bp. Patrick. ness which attends upon this study and practice. Poole. 4.- like the chaff &c.) The method of winnowing
Ver. J. Blessed is the man &c.] In other words, their corn anciently, and as it is now practised in the Great is the happiness of that man, who hath not trod East, was by throwing it up against the wind with a in the steps of the ungodly, or, if he hath at any time shovel. Dr. Shaw.
| Or, for a
C Acts 13.33.
1047. a Acts 4. 25.
The kingdom of Christ.
Kings are exhorted to accept it.
6 For the Lord knoweth the way my holy hill of Zion.
Lord hath said unto me, « Thou art holiness.
my Son; this day have I begotten thee. decree. PSALM II.
'8 a Ask of me, and I shall give thee Hebr. 1. 5. 1 The kingdom of Christ. 10 Kings are ex- the heathen for thine inheritance, and d Ps. 72. 8. horted to accept it.
the uttermost parts of the earth for
rod of iron; thou shalt dash them in
and cast away their cords from us. rejoice with trembling.
shall laugh: the LORD shall have and ye perish from the way, when his Is.30. 19. them in derision.
wrath is kindled but a little. Blessed Rom. 9. 33. 5 Then shall he speak unto them are all they that put their trust in him. 1 Pet. 2: 6.
uavituously thing ?
& 19. 15.
estable. + Heb. meditate.
f Prov. 16. 20.
Jer. 17. 7.
& 10. 11.
5. - shall not stand in the judgment,] That is, shall from sitting upon the throne of Israel; in the same not carry their cause, but in the issue of things shall manner as the rulers of the Jews will conspire against come off defeated and condemned by God and the world. Jesus Christ, the anointed Saviour. Travell. Mudge. Or, shall not be able to justify themselves, or 3. Let us &c.] Let us, say they, break asunder their endure the wrath of the Almighty at the last day. · S. fetters, and cast away from us their yoke. Dr. KenClarke.
nicott. 6. — knoweth the way] Meaning, approveth the way. 5,6. Then shall he speak &c.] Their impious oppoDimock.
sition will raise His just indignation, as if He had acThis Psalm, like the sermon on the mount, opens with tually spoken to them from heaven, and said, Notwitha “beatitude" for our comfort and encouragement, standing all your vain attempts, I have anointed David directing us immediately to that happiness, which all to be king over my people Israel; as in future times I mankind in different ways are seeking after. He who will anoint One of his posterity to sit at My right hand hath once brought himself to “ delight” in the Scrip- upon the throne of glory. Bp. Patrick, Travell. tures, will find no temptation to exchange that pleasure *7.- Thou art my son ; &c.] These words are emifor any which the world or the flesh can offer him. Such nently true of Jesus the Messiah in a prophetical sense, an one will make the oracles of God his companions by who was invested with the royal office, when He was day and by night. He will have recourse to them for raised from the dead, and exalted at God's right hand direction, in the bright and cheerful hours of prosperity ; to be a Prince and a Saviour, Rom. i. 3; Acts xiii. 33. to them he will apply for comfort in the dark and dreary Green. seasons of adversity. And by continual meditation in 12. Kiss the Son,] To “kiss” a person when apthe sacred writings, he will as naturally improve and pointed king, was among the Eastern people an act of advance in holiness, as a tree thrives and flourishes in homage. Thus Samuel, when he had anointed Saul a kindly and well-watered soil. Bp. Horne.
king, “kissed him," that is, acknowledged him for his
sovereign, 1 Sam. x. 1. Green. See the note on Gen. Psalm II. This Psalm may be supposed to relate, in xli. 40. the first place, to David, whom God established upon « Kiss the Son,” that is, submit to Him, worship the throne of Israel, notwithstanding the opposition of and love Him; “ lest He be angry," lest He turn his enemies. It contains also an illustrious prophecy that grace and favour which He has offered you into of the kingdom of Jesus Christ, which, in spite of every heavy displeasure, “and ye perish in the way,” ye attempt, both of Jews and Gentiles, God has wonderfully be suddenly cut off in the midst of your counsels. S. established, even to the utmost parts of the earth. It Clarke.
appointed to be read on Easter-day, when our Lord, The confidence which David manifests in this Psalm, by His resurrection, took possession of this glorious shews, in general, that attempts against the designs of kingdom. Travell, Bp. Patrick. The sole application God are vain ; and that nothing can hurt those whom of the illustrious prophecy contained in this Psalm to He loves, and has promised to bless. But the apthe Messiah was the unquestionable doctrine of the plication which the Apostles make to our Lord of these primitive Jewish church. Dr. Hales.
words, “Thou art My Son, this day have I begotten Ver. 1. Why do the heathen &c.] That is, Why do Thee," engages us more especially to consider this the Jews and Heathens combine together to attempt, | Psalm as it relates to the kingdom of Jesus Christ, the what they will never be able to accomplish? Travell. Son of God, which has been established in the world,
2. The kings of the earth &c.] The kings and gover- l in spite of all opposition from kings and the great men pours of the surrounding nations conspire together to l of the earth, and will subsist for ever. And since this oppose the decrees of Providence, and to prevent David kingdom is established among us, and we have the hap
Hos. 13. 4.
The security of God's protection. PSALMS.
David prayeth for audience. PSALM III.
enemies upon the cheek bone; thou The security of God's protection. hast broken the teeth of the ungodly. a 2 Sam. 15. (A Psalm of David, a when he fled 8 d Salvation belongeth unto the d Is. 43. 11.
from Absalom his son. Lord: thy blessing is upon thy peo-
i David prayeth for audience. 2 He reproveth 2 Many there be which say of my and exhorteth his enemies. 6 Man's happisoul, There is no help for him in God.
ness is in God's favour. Selah.
1 To the || chief Musician on Negin- 1 0r, 3 But thou, O Lord, art a shield oth, A Psalm of David. Or, about. || for me; my glory, and the lifter up EAR me when I call, O God of of mine head.
11 my righteousness: thou hast en-
long will ye love vanity, and seek after
apart him that is godly for himself:
gracious unto me.
c Ps. 27. 3.
piness to be Christ's subjects, let us submit ourselves teach us, that all our security depends upon God's proto this glorious King; let us serve Him with humility tection, of which neither the power nor malice of our and joy, and place all our trust and confidence in His enemies can deprive us, if we repose our trust and confavour and protection. Ostervald.
fidence in Him. We should therefore pray to Him,
that He would not suffer us to be misled by any worldly Psalm III. The title of this Psalm explains the oc
The title of this Psalm explains the oc- designs or stratagems, but that He would be our shield, casion of it; and it is impossible an hymn could be our comforter, and supporter, and make the world see composed with greater propriety, or nobler sentiments that salvation belongeth only to Him, and that His of religion, at a time when David was given over by blessing is peculiar to His people. Lord Clarendon. many as absolutely lost, and his enemies thought it was beyond the power of God to save him. Dr. Psalm IV. When, or upon what occasion David Chandler.
penned this Psalm, is not certainly known, though the Ver. 2. - Selah.] It cannot certainly be known matter of it makes it probable, it was in the same (or what is meant by this word; the most probable opinion the like) distress wherein he composed the foregoing. is, that it was a note in musick. Bp. Patrick.
Bp. Patrick. This Hebrew word is found seventy times in the chief Musician] That is, the master or director Psalms, and three times in Habakkuk. One conjecture of the sacred musicians and musick of the temple : of is, that it means “the end” or a “pause," and that the whom see i Chron. vi. 31, and xv. 16. Poole. ancient musicians put it occasionally in the margin of — Neginoth,] Stringed instruments played on with their psalters, to shew where a musical pause was to be a bow. Dr. Kennicott. made, and where the tune ended. Calmet.
1 By these words, “To the chief Musician, &c.” he 3. — the lifter up of mine head.) David means by this seems to mean, I recommend this Psalm to the care expression, that God would remove his distresses, and and ordering of the master or director of the sacred make him triumph over all his enemies. Dr. Chandler.musick in the temple, and him who plays most skilfully
4.- out of his holy hill.] That is, out of the taber- upon stringed instruments. S. Clarke. nacle or place of His religious worship, which was on Ver. 1.- O God of my righteousness :] O my righZion, called on that account His holy hill. Dr. Wells. teous God. Bp. Hare, Edwards. Or the expression
7. – for thou hast smitten] The Hebrew properly may mean, O God, who art to do me justice, to whom means, “Thou art wont to smite,” “Thou smitest con I apply for justice. Mudge, Merrick. O God, the wittinually."
ness and defender of my righteous cause. S. Clarke. - broken the teeth] As men of violence are fre - enlarged me) Set me free from distress. Street. quently resembled to wild ravenous beasts, so the power 2. O ye sons of men, &c.] Oye wicked men, how or means made use of by such men to oppress others, long will ye defame my government? how long will ye are fitly denoted by the teeth, cheekbone, or jaws, &c.; carry on your vain attempts, and go on in lying and these being the parts, whereby beasts of prey chiefly spreading false calumnies against me? Dr. Wells. devour their prey. Hence, to break the teeth, cheek | Otherwise, by “my glory” he may mean, “God who is bone, &c. of an enemy, is frequently used in Scripture my glory;" for so God is called, Psalm iii. 3, and cvi. to denote the depriving an enemy of his power to hurt. 20. David was accustomed to glory, and with good Dr. Wells.
reason, on account of his steadfast worship of the true 8. – thy blessing is upon thy people.] Rather, May| God, and of His favour towards him. This zeal for Thy blessing be upon Thy people. Green.
| God's service was made a subject of disgrace and ridiThe example of king David in this Psalm should | cule by the wicked. Le Clerc.
man of bloods
Man's happiness is in God's favour. PSALMS.
God favoureth not the wicked. 4 Stand in awe, and sin not: com- 1 morning, O LORD; in the morning mune with your own heart upon your will I direct my prayer unto thee, and bed, and be still. Selah.
will look up. a Ps. 50. 14. 5 Offer a the sacrifices of righteous- | 4 For thou art not a God that hath
ness, and put your trust in the Lord. pleasure in wickedness: neither shall
6 There be many that say, Who will evil dwell with thee. shew us any good? LORD, lift thou 5 The foolish shall not stand tin Heb. before
thine eyes. up the light of thy countenance upon thy sight: thou hatest all workers of “** us. .
iniquity. 7 Thou hast put gladness in my 6 Thou shalt destroy them that heart, more than in the time that their speak leasing: the Lord will abhor corn and their wine increased. If the bloody and deceitful man. Heb, the
8 bI will both lay me down in 7 But as for me, I will come into und deceit. peace, and sleep: for thou, LORD, thy house in the multitude of thy only makest me dwell in safety. mercy: and in thy fear will I worship
toward + thy holy temple. PSALM V.
8 Lead me, O LORD, in thy righte- holiness.
prayer. 4 God favoureth not the wicked. 7 make thy way straight before my me.
9 For there is no || faithfulness + in 1 Or,
their mouth; their inward part is very 1 Heb. in his 1 To the chief Musician upon Nehi wickedness; b their throat is an open is in the loth, A Psalm of David.
sepulchre; they flatter with their mouth of any VIVE ear to my words, O Lord, tongue. U consider my meditation. | 10 || Destroy thou them, O God; b Rom. 3. 2 Hearken unto the voice of my let them fall || by their own counsels; 13
18; || Or, Make cry, my King, and my God: for unto cast them out in the multitude of their them guilty. thee will I pray.
transgressions ; for they have rebelled their coun? Ps. 190.6. 3 My voice shalt thou hear in the against thee.
+ Heb, the temple of thy
| Or, from
4. Stand in awe, and sin not :] The rendering of the and sleep in peace, looking up to Him for safety, sucGreek is, “ Be ye angry, and sin not;" that is, Though cour, and protection. Bps, Nicholson and Porteus. you be angry, take care you do not sin. So St. Paul Ephes. iv. 26.) recites it. `Dr. Wall.
Psalm V. David most probably composed this 5. Offer the sacrifices of righteousness,] That is, act Psalm, when he was persecuted by Saul or Absalom, righteously, which is the most acceptable sacrifice. Dr. I and their adherents. Edwards.
- Nehiloth,] That is, organs or other wind-instru6. There be many &c.] This seems to relate to the ments. Dr. Wells. righteous, who, in times of calamity and persecution, Ver. 3. — and will look up.] Toward heaven, the like the friends of distressed David, are tempted to de- throne of Thy glory, from whence I hope for help. Bp. spond, on seeing no end of their troubles. Bp. Horne. Wilson.
- lift thou up &c.) Manifest thy love and favour 5. The foolish] The wicked. S. Clarke. to me and mine.“ . Clarke.
6. — that speak leasing :] That make it their business 7. Thou hast put &c.] Other men do not so much to raise and disperse false and scandalous reports of me, rejoice in their vintage and harvest, when it is most S. Clarke. abundant, as I do in the assurance of Thy favour to- 8. Lead me, &c.] Guide me, O Lord, in the plain wards me. Bp. Hall.
path of truth and righteousness, lest, if I err from it, We may learn from this Psalm, 1st, That however my enemies rejoice and triumph. Travell. our enemies seek to oppress us, yet God, whose power 9. — their throat is an open sepulchre ;) They utter do man can resist, hath chosen to Himself, and will mischief with open mouths, gaping, like noisome tombs, take to His love, those who are godly, and that when to swallow up the innocent. Travell. they cry unto Him, He will hear them. 2dly, That we 10. Destroy thou them,] Concerning passages of this onght to “commune with our own hearts," which, in imprecatory kind in the book of Psalms, it is to be obthe language of Scripture, is to retreat from the world, served, that they are not spoken of private and personal and give ourselves up to private meditation and reflec- enemies, but of the opposers of God and His anointed ; bon. And the design of this self-communion is, to re- nor of any among these, but the irreclaimable and finally strain us from vice; to cherish and improve the seeds impenitent; and this by way of prediction rather than of virtue; to give us leisure for examining into the state imprecation; which would appear, if the original verbs of our souls ; to stamp upon our hearts a love for God, were translated, as they should be, in the future tense. and a reverence for His laws; to make us, in short, The verse before us would then run thus : “ Thou wilt "stand in awe and sin not.” 3dly, That in God alone destroy them, O God; they shall perish by their own B rest, in Him security, in Him tranquillity. We ought counsels : Thou wilt cast them out in the multitude of therefore to pray to our heavenly Father, that, amidst their transgressions, for they have rebelled against Thee." all the storms and troubles of this life, we may lie down | Bp. Horne.
David's complaint in his sickness. PSALMS.
He prayeth against 11 But let all those that put their ! 6 I am weary with my groaning;
trust in thee rejoice: let them ever | || all the night make I my bed to ! Or, every + Heb. thou shout for joy, because + thou defendest swim; I water my couch with my". or, protectesé them : let them also that love thy | tears. name be joyful in thee.
7 Mine eye is consumed because 12 For thou, Lord, wilt bless the of grief; it waxeth old because of all Heb. crown righteous; with favour wilt thou tcom- mine enemies. pass him as with a shield.
8 ° Depart from me, all ye workers c Matt. 7. 23. PSALM VI.
of iniquity; for the Lord hath heard Luke 13. 27. i David's complaint in his sickness. 8 By faith
the voice of my weeping.
9 The LORD hath heard my sup-
plication; and the LORD will receive
10 Letall mine enemies be ashamed
and sore vexed : let them return and O LORD, rebuke me not in be ashamed suddenly.
thine anger, neither chasten me
| faith he seeth his defence, and the destruc-
tion of his enemies. thou, O LORD, how long?
I Shiggaion of David, which he sang 4 Return, O Lord, deliver my
unto the LORD, concerning the soul: oh save me for thy mercies'
| || words of Cush the Benjamite. 101, sake.
O LORD my God, in thee do I about 1062. b Ps. 30. 9. 5 For in death there is no remem put my trust: save me from all 115. 17. & brance of thee: in the grave who shall them that persecute me, and deliver Is. 38. 18. give thee thanks?
1. Or, upon the eighth.
a Ps. 38, 1.
These four things are remarkable in this Psalm : 1st, insinuations, as if the God of Israel could not deliver The fervency and confidence with which good men call His servant : He hath heard his prayer, and will deliver upon the Lord in their necessities. 2d, Their zeal for him from death, and from your expectation of triumphHis service, and the joy and reverence with which they ing in his fall. Green. adore Him, in places set apart for publick worship. 3d, - ye workers of iniquity ;] Ye that put your trust God's abhorrence and detestation of sin, and especially in idols. Bp. Wilson. of pride and deceit ; and the punishment reserved for We are all God's children, and reproof and correction the proud and unjust. And lastly, His favourable pro- is as due to children from their parents, as nourishment; tection of all those that fear Him, and trust in Him. they cannot prosper without it : crosses and afflictions Ostervald,
are God's chastisements, without which we cannot be, if
we are His children. Therefore the pious and godly man Psalm VI. In this Psalm are described two condia | does not, must not pray, that all things may succeed tions of the writer : in the first he complains of some according to his own wish, and that he may know nogrievous disorder, heightened by the malicious joy of thing but prosperity in this world : all that he prays is, his enemies, from which he prays to be relieved ; in the that those afflictions, which he must pass through, may second, his prayer is answered, and he triumphs in the not fall upon him out of God's anger, and that His disdisappointment of His enemies. Mudge. This being pleasure may not pursue him beyond that adversity. one of the penitential Psalms, is appointed to be used Lord Clarendon. on Ash-Wednesday, and is suitable to the condition of those who are any ways afflicted or distressed, in mind, Psalm VII. David is said to have composed this body, or estate. Travell.
Psalm concerning the words, or the matter of Cush the - Neginoth upon Sheminith,7 The harp of eight strings. Benjamite. Whether Saul or Shimei, or any one else, Bp. Patrick.
be intended under this name, it is sufficiently clear, that Ver. 2. — my bones are vexed.] That is, shaken, or David had been maliciously aspersed and calumniated made to tremble. Bp. Horne. My pain reaches to my by such a person; and that the Psalm was written to bones and inward parts. S. Clarke.
vindicate himself from the imputation, whatever was the 3. - but thou, O Lord, how long?1 But Thou, o nature of it. Bp. Horne. Lord, how long wilt Thou thus afflict me ? Dr. Shiggaion] This word denotes a wandering song, or Wells
a Psalm ascribed to David, as composed by him in the 5. For in death there is no remembrance of thee :) For time of his wanderings, when he was falsely accused by the dead are utterly unable to commemorate Thy won- his enemies, and hunted by Saul, as a partridge on the derful works, and propagate the memory of them to pos
mountains. Fenwick. Or it may mean a song expressterity. Bp. Patrick.
ing grief. Dr. Kennicott, Street. 7. — it waxeth old] That is, dim, or is grown stiff'with Otherwise it is thought to be the name of a certain weeping. Bp. Wilson, Green.
kind of song, to the tune of which this Psalm was to be 8. Depart from me, &c.] Away with your idolatrous | sung. S. Clarke.