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reward of mine enemies from the Lord,” it should read, “This is roze, peullath, the doing, or business, of my adversaries before the Lord.” That is, it was their work to curse him thus. But in reply to this it may be said that the word means wages, reward, as well as occupation, business, &c., as in Leviticus xix., 13: “The wages of him that is hired shall not abide with thee all night.” So in this place: “This is the wages, reward, of my enemies,” &c. 2. From verse 21 the Psalmist pleads against these curses, that the Lord will turn them back upon his enemies and do him good. In verse 28 he says, “Let them curse, but bless thou; which harmonizes with the supposition that the curses previously recorded in the Psalm proceeded from his enemies. But verses 16–18 are fatal to this supposition; because they give a description of character that could not in any sense apply to David, while they would assume for the bitter enemies of David a goodness of heart to which they themselves made no pretensions. It is further observable that both verses 27 and 28 are obviously the words of David, and are to be considered parallel to 2 Samuel xvi, 12, where David says, in regard to the cursing of Shimei, uttered, indeed, on another occasion, “Perhaps the Lord will look upon my affliction, and that the Lord will requite me good for his cursing this day.” 3. Finally, verse 8 is quoted by the apostle, (Acts i, 20,) and applied to Judas, which makes the person anathematized in the Psalm, typical of Judas. It could not, therefore, be applied to David, for he was never, and could never be regarded as a type of Judas. It is enough to know that all the verbs except the first, (verse 6, “Set thou a wicked man over him,”) are in the future indicative, not the imperative, in the Hebrew, and we may, therefore, with Bishop Horsley, thus translate them.
SECTION X-MESSIANIC PSALMS.
The Christology of the Old Testament is a theme of the highest importance. That Christ is set forth in those ancient records need not be asserted to these who believe in their inspired authority. The Jews, before the coming of Christ, universally expected a Messiah, on the ground and authority of their sacred writings; and, indeed, before all investigation of the facts in the case, we must necessarily presume that if the Old Testament is a revelation from God it must somehow and somewhere speak of a mediator. To say that it nowhere teaches this doctrine, is tantamount to saying it is not a dispensation of mercy to men; and to say that the believers under the Old Dispensation did not distinctly believe in a mediator, is tantamount to saying they had no faith, and no views in religion in advance of natural reason and the dim light of tradition. We are not, indeed, to appropriate to the ancients the full and perfect light which we, in this gospel day, enjoy. The revelations of God to man are progressive, as the gradual development of the human mind is from time to time able to receive. To the men of former dispensations, the doctrine of a mediator stood out like a bright star of hope above the horizon; now it is the full-orbed glory of the sun shining in his strength. To many particular individuals it was given to behold the days of Christ with a clearness and fulness of vision above the ordinary light of the age. To all it was attainable as a distinct object of faith. That the Old Testament did teach definitely concerning Christ, is amply attested in passages from the New Testament. Luke xxiv, 27: “And beginning at Moses and all the prophets, he expounded unto them in all the Scriptures, the things concerning himself.” John v, 39: “Search the Scriptures; for in them ye think ye have eternal life; and they are they which testify of me.” John v, 46, 47: “Had ye believed Moses ye would have believed me; for he wrote of me. But if ye believe not his writings, how shall ye believe my words?”
John viii, 56: “Your father Abraham rejoiced to see my day: and he saw it, and was glad.” John xii, 41: “These things said Esaias, when he saw his glory, and spake of him.” Acts viii, 35: “Then Philip opened his mouth, and began at the same Scripture, and preached unto him Jesus.” Romans xv, 8: “Jesus Christ was a minister of the circumcision for the truth of God, to confirm the promises made unto the fathers.” 1 Peter i, 10, 11: “Of which salvation the prophets have inquired and searched diligently, who prophesied of the grace that should come unto you: searching what, or what manner of time the spirit of Christ which was in them did signify, when it testified beforehand of the sufferings of Christ, and the glory that should follow.” These passages will suffice to establish the general fact, that the Old Testament writers distinctly spoke of Christ, and that thus the Old Testament believers did understand them. How, and in what particular places he is spoken of, are distinct questions. The Saviour said that all things which were written concerning him “in the law of Moses, and in the prophets, and in the Psalms, must be fulfilled.” Luke xxiv, 44. And Hengstenberg has well said that “It is incredible that an announcement which was uttered so repeatedly and so expressly by the servants of Jehovah, which, according to the testimony of history, had made so powerful an impression upon the minds of the people, had sunk so deeply into their views and feelings, should not have been oft re-echoed in the Psalms, which contain the people's answer to the Divine revelations, and express the feelings which these served to call forth; in which all is presented to our view that powerfully stirred the minds of the people.” “It would be inexplicable,” says Köster, “if an idea of such importance in the Hebrew religion as that of the Messiah, should not have found a place in the Psalms.” A Psalm, or a passage in any Psalm, is determined to be Messianic in two ways; first, when the language employed, the titles bestowed, the functions ascribed, or the descriptions given, are too elevated to apply to any mere historic personage, and do fitly apply to Christ; secondly, when the Psalm or the passage is quoted in the New Testament as applicable to the Messiah. This latter rule is infallible; the former is to be fully relied on only where the features are strongly marked. We are not to assume that a passage is Messianic when the New Testament writers have nowhere affirmed it, and where the whole may be made to apply to another person without violence to facts and to the principles of language. Another fact should be considered. The inspired writers often pass rapidly from a historic theme, or a devotional strain, to a prophecy of Messiah, and return as abruptly to their former subject. The reader is often not forewarned of the transition, and it bursts upon him like a sudden flash of light. He sees the unmistakable internal evidences of its Messianic application, though it stands isolated and alone in the thread of personal narrative, or of public history, or of some strain of admonition or complaint, or some hymn of praise or song of triumph. These happier and clearer views of Messiah and his days were often apparently mere scintillations of light thrown in upon the devout mind of the prophet, who, after a moment's digression, returned from these bright and overpowering visions to the ordinary tenor of his thoughts. The circumstances of the prophet, or of his times, were also made the occasions and the external means of his attaining these deep and far-reaching views. For instance, David's sufferings were made the occasion of his prophetic vision of a suffering Messiah; while his kingly honour and prosperity were types of the regal dominion of “David's greater son.” These thoughts are of very wide application and of great importance, but we can only briefly state them here. We pass now to consider some of the views of the Messiah which are taken in the Psalms.
1. Messiah as king. One of the most marked prophecies of the kingly character and office of Messiah is the second Psalm. That this Psalm applies to Christ is proved by the quotation of it in this sense by the apostle. Acts iv, 25, 26. Here, also, David's prosperity as a king became the occasion of his prophetic views of Messiah's kingdom. (See the Introduction to this Psalm.)
The same may be said of the remarkable passage, (Psalm xlv, 6, 7:) “Thy throne, O God, is forever and ever; the sceptre of thy kingdom is a right sceptre. Thou lovest righteousness, and hatest iniquity: therefore God, thy God, hath anointed thee with the oil of gladness above thy fellows.” This is quoted by the apostle in Hebrews i, 8, 9, and applied to Christ. It is a sublime and bold description of the regal office and Divine character of the Son of God, thrown into Psalm xlv., in the midst of highly-wrought eulogistic phrases bestowed upon an earthly monarch, whose prosperity, majesty, and renown, became the suggestive occasion of the prophecy. Psalm cy, 1 : “The Lord said unto my Lord, Sit thou at my right hand, till I make thine enemies thy footstool.” Quoted by Christ to the Jews, and expressly applied to himself, Matthew xxii, 42–45; Mark xii, 35–37; Luke xx, 41–44; and by Peter, Acts i, 34–36; also Hebrews i, 13. It is an address of the eternal Father to the Son, and is parallel, in this respect, to Psalm xlv, 6, 7. Psalm lxviii, 17, 18: “The chariots of God are twenty thousand, even thousands of angels: the Lord is among them as in Sinai, in the holy place. Thou hast ascended up on high, thou hast led captivity captive: thou hast received gifts for men; yea, for the rebellious also, that the Lord God might dwell among them.” This passage is descriptive of the dominion and conquests of Christ, consequent upon his resurrection, and is thus quoted and applied by the apostle. Ephesians iv, 7, 8. Psalm lxxii is a beautiful description of Messiah’s dominion. Under the type of Solomon's magnificent and peaceful reign, that of Messiah is set forth. His kingdom was to extend over the whole earth, (verses 8–11,) and was to endure forever, (verse 17;) and justice, and truth, and peace, and goodness, were to be the universal blessings of his government. The Messianic descriptions are highly characteristic, as appears from comparing Psalm ii, Isaiah ix, 6, 7, and chapter xi; Micah iv, 1–4; Zechariah ix, 9, 10. The ancient Jews and Christians generally admitted that this Psalm applies to Messiah. “The language of the Psalm itself,” says Justin Martyr, “fully demonstrates that it refers only to the Eternal King; that is, to Christ.” “Psalm xcvii, 7: “Confounded be all they that serve graven images, that boast themselves in idols; worship him all ye