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prophet Ezekiel, were colonized in the northern parts of Mesopotamia, and on the banks of the Chebar, or Chaboras. (Ezekiel i, 1–3.) It is at this date, in connexion with the captivity of Jehoiachin, that we would assign Psalm lxxxviii. Dr. Lightfoot insists upon considering this Psalm as a complaint of the Israelites while in bondage in Egypt, on the ground that Heman, the author mentioned in the title, is the same as the grandson of Judah, mentioned 1 Chronicles ii., 6. Townsend, in his Arrangement, has adopted this hypothesis, and placed the Psalm in question after Exodus ii; but for the identity of the Heman who wrote this Psalm, see Authors of the Psalms, in the Introduction of this work. Dr. Kennicott supposes the Psalm to be the complaint of a person shut up by himself in a separate house, and thus excluded from the world, and suffering under the malignant and final stage of leprosy. Compare Leviticus xiii, 46; 2 Chronicles xxvi, 21. Calmet, Patrick, Hengstenberg, and others, place the Psalm during the captivity, as the complaint of the captives in the person of the writer. Patrick and Hengstenberg place it in the time of Jehoiachin, when he was carried captive to Babylon, and shut up in prison. Hence, some suppose Jehoiachin himself wrote it. Venema places it a few years earlier, immediately after the death of Josiah. We prefer the time of Jehoiachin, who suffered nearly thirty-seven years in a Babylonian prison, (Jeremiah lii, 31,) as most aptly fitting the strain and allusions of the Psalm. If it is not the complaint of that unfortunate king himself, (which is very probable, for the fact that he was released after thirty-seven years seems to imply that he had repented,) it is evidently that of some one in a similar condition, with no ray of hope of deliverance. It is the gloomiest boding of a dejected soul, and has nothing to compare with it, in this respect, in the whole book of Psalms. The lean noth in the title denotes the general object of the Psalm, and is rendered by Mudge, to create dejection, to raise a pensive gloom or melancholy in the mind; and this exactly suits the tenor of the Psalm. If the Psalm applies to King Jehoiachin in exile and in prison, the Scriptures which historically precede the Psalm would be Jeremiah xxii, 23–30, (where he is called Coniah;) 2 Kings 24, 8–16; Jeremiah lii, 31–34. The Psalm in question is not confined in its application to the person of the writer, but is a complaint uttered in behalf of the whole kingdom of Judah, the flower of whose population was now in exile.
PS AL M L XXXVIII.
A PRAYER AND COMPLAINT DEPICTING THE GLOOMY STATE OF JUDAH AT THE TIME OF THE BABYLONIAN CAPTIVITY.
A Prayer containing a grievous complaint.
T A Song or Psalm, for the Sons of Korah. To the chief Musician upon Mahalath Leannoth. Maschil of Heman the Ezrahite, [i. e., to the chief of the Fluters, to cause sadness, or concerning affliction. A didactic Psalm of Heman the Ezrahite.] ! O Lord God of my salvation' I "have cried day and night before thee; * Let my prayer come before thee, Incline thine ear unto my cry. 3 For my soul is full of troubles; And my life draweth nigh unto the grave. * I'am counted with them that go down into the pit; I* am as a man that hath no strength; 5 Free among the dead, Like the slain that lie in the grave, Whom thou rememberest no more; And they are cut off 'from thy hand. * Thou hast laid me in the lowest pit, In darkness—in the deeps. 7 Thy wrath lieth hard upon me, And "thou hast afflicted me with all thy waves. Selah! * Thou "hast put away mine acquaintance far from me; Thou hast made me an abomination unto them; I am shut up, and I cannot come forth.
a Luke 18. 7. c Psa. 31. 12. • Job 19, 18, 19. • b I'sa. 28.1. 1 Or, by thy hand. f Job 3, 28. d Psa. 42, 7.
* Mine Feye mourneth by reason of affliction; LoRD, "I have called daily upon thee, I have stretched out my hands unto thee. 10 Wilt k thou show wonders to the dead? Shall the dead arise and praise thee? Selah! 11 Shall thy loving-kindness be declared in the grave? Or thy faithfulness in destruction ? 1° Shall thy wonders be known in the dark? And 'thy righteousness in the land of forgetfulness? 19 But unto thee have I cried, O Lord ' And "in the morning shall my prayer prevent thee. * LoRD, "why castest thou off my soul? Why "hidest thou thy face from me? * I am afflicted and ready to die from my youth up; While I suffer P thy terrors I am distracted. 15 Thy fierce wrath goeth over me; Thy terrors have cut me off. 17 They came round about me 'daily like water; They compassed me about together. 18 Lover and friend hast thou put far from me,
Zedekiah, brother of Jehoiachin, was placed upon the throne after the unhappy fall of the latter, and reigned eleven years. He was the last king of Judah, wicked, and profiting nothing by the sad experience of his predecessors.
At this time Pharaoh-hophra, the Apries of profane history, became renowned for his conquests; and Zedekiah, in the ninth year of his reign, threw off his allegiance to Nebuchadnezzar, and joined affinity with the king of Egypt. Nebuchadnezzar now marched a powerful army into Palestine, to complete the extinction of the kingdom of Judah, and to reduce it to the condition of a province of his empire. After a siege of eighteen months, Jerusalem is taken by storm in the night, and the inhabitants put to the sword, without distinction of age or sex. The king is captured, his eyes put out, and he carried to Babylon, to end his days in exile. The city is dismantled, and its walls laid even with the ground; the temple stripped of all its valuable plate, ornaments, and utensils; and then the temple, palace, houses of the nobility, and the entire city, were set on fire and burned to the ground. Jerusalem, “the holy city,” with all its magnificent structures and impregnable fortresses, is one vast, undistinguishable pile of smouldering ruins. Many of the chief nobility and heads of the nation are put to death, and the remainder, with all the flower of the population that had survived the war, were carried away into captivity beyond the Euphrates, and dispersed through the provinces of Babylon. The remnant of the wasted population of Judah were of the poorer class. These, terrified at the fury of the conquerors, scarcely dared to remain in the land, and were too feeble to keep possession of all their cities, or to preserve and cultivate all their fields and vineyards. A provincial government was established over them, and Mizpeh was chosen as the capital of the province.
This dreadful visitation was brought upon them for their long-continued vices, and their obstinate and debasing idolatries. For “all the chief of the priests, and the people, transgressed very much after all the abominations of the heathen; and polluted the house of the Lord, which he had hallowed in Jerusalem. And the Lord God of their fathers sent to them by his messengers, rising up betimes and sending; because he had compassion on his people, and on his dwelling-place; but they mocked the messengers of God, and despised his words, and misused his prophets, until the wrath of the Lord arose against his people, till there was no remedy.”
Psalm xciv is supposed, by Hengstenberg and Dr. Alexander, to have been written on the eve of this catastrophe, by some person who calmly surveyed the scene in prophetic vision, and wrote in order to supply the Church, when the event should come, with consolatory matter of reflection. It evidently belongs to that occasion, whether written immediately before or after. Psalmslxxix and lxxiv appear to have been written while the captive exiles were yet on their march to Babylon, or soon after their arrival there. Read 2 Kings xxiii, 31–37, and chapters xxiv and xxv ; 2 Chronicles xxxvi; Jeremiah lii, 1–30.
The prophet, calling for justice, complaineth of tyranny and impiety, 1–7; he teacheth God's providence, 8–11; he showeth the blessedness of affiction, 12–15; God is the defender of the afflicted, 16–23.
! O LoRD 'God, to whom vengeance belongeth; O God, to whom vengeance belongeth, 'show thyself. * Lift up thyself, thou "Judge of the earth: Render a reward to the proud. * LoRD, how long shall the wicked, How long shall the wicked triumph : -*How long shall they utter and speak hard things? And all the workers of iniquity boast themselves? * They break in pieces thy people, O Lord! And afflict thy heritage. * They slay the widow and the stranger, And murder the fatherless. 7 Yet they say, “The LoRD shall not see, Neither shall the God of Jacob regard it.” Understand, ye brutish among the people: And ye fools, when will ye be wise?
* Heb. God of revenges. Deut. 32.85. Nah. 1. 2, 2 Heb. shine forth. Psa. 80. 1, a Gen. 18, 25.