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* And hath redeemed us from our enemies;
The Psalmist voweth perpetual praises to God, 1, 2; he exhorteth not to trust in man, 3, 4, but in God, whose power, justice, mercy, and kingdom, alone are to be trusted, 5–10.
PSALM OF HAGGAI AND ZECHARIAH.
* 'Praise ye the Lord! Praise the LoRD, O my soul! * While I live will I praise the LoRD; I will sing praises unto my God while I have any being. *Put "not your trust in princes, Nor in the son of man, in whom there is no "help. * His "breath goeth forth—he returneth to his earth; In that very day “his thoughts perish. * Happy is he that hath the God of Jacob for his help, Whose hope is in the LoRD his God; * Which "made heaven, and earth, The sea, and all that therein is; Which keepeth truth forever; 7 Which executeth judgment for the oppressed; Which "giveth food to the hungry.
* Heb. Hallelujah. * Or, salvation. d See Gen. 1. 1. a Isa. 2, 22. b Psa. 104. 29. Eccl. 12.7. c See Gen. 1. 29. c See 1 Cor. 2. 6.
The LoRD looseth the prisoners;
8 The "LoRD openeth the eyes of the blind;
* The "LoRD preserveth the strangers;
10 The LoRD shall reign forever,
f Mat. 9. 30. John 9.7-82. g Psa. 145. 14. and 147. 6. Luke 18. 18.
INTRODUCTION TO PSALM LXXXI.
PSALM OF ASAPH.
Psalm lxxxi has been supposed to have been composed for the “feast of trumpets,” but “the contents of the Psalm,” says Hengstenberg, “show that it was composed exclusively for use at the passover.” We read in Ezra vi, 19, 20, that “the children of the captivity kept the passover upon the fourteenth day of the first month,” immediately after the dedication of the second temple. The strong internal adaptations of the Psalm to the occasion of the dedication of the second temple, and the circumstances of the Jews at that time, incline us to follow Mr. Townsend in inserting it here. “The Psalm,” says he, “seems to be an address to the people, calling upon them to revive the solemn festivals, which were the ‘statutes for Israel, and a law of the God of Jacob.” It enumerates their past deliverances, and invites the people to join in praises to the God of Jacob.” The editor of Bagster's Bible says: “The most probable opinion is, that this Psalm was sung at the dedication of the second temple.” The passover was celebrated in immediate connexion with the dedication, and may be regarded as a continuation of the services belonging to that occasion. I have, therefore, on these authorities, assigned the Psalm in question to this occasion. Read Ezra vi, 19–22.
ON THE CELEBRATION OF THE PASSover, AT THE DEDICATION OF THE SECOND TEMPLE.
An exhortation to a solemn and jouful praising of God, 1–3; God challengeth that duty by reason of his benefits, 4–7; God, exhorting to obedience, complaineth of their disobedience, which proveth their own hurt, 8–16.
T To the chief Musician, upon Gittith, [i. e., upon the harp of Gath, or in the Gathic style..] A Psalm of Asaph.
1 Sing aloud unto God our strength; Make a joyful noise unto the God of Jacob. * Take a psalm, and bring hither the timbrel, The pleasant harp with the psaltery. * Blow up the trumpet in the new moon, In the time appointed, on our solemn feast day. 4 For "this was a statute for Israel, And a law of the God of Jacob. * This he ordained in Joseph for a testimony, When he went out 'through the land of Egypt; Where "I heard a language that I understood not, * I “removed his shoulder from the burden; His hands' were delivered from "the pots. 7 Thou “calledst in trouble—and I delivered thee; I "answered thee in the secret place of thunder; Is proved thee at the waters of ‘Meribah. Selah! * Hear, O my people! and I will testify unto thee! O Israel, if thou wilt hearken unto me,
a Lev. 28, 24. Num. 10.10. * Heb. passed away. f Exod. 19. 19. * Or, against. d Exod. 1. 14. - g Exod. 17. 6, 7. b Or, he.—Ed. e Exod. 2, 28, and 14, 10. Nunn. 20.18
• Isa. 9. 4. and 10, 27. Psa. 50, 15. • Or, strife.
* There "shall no 'strange god be in thee, Neither shalt thou worship any strange god. 10 I am the LoRD thy God, Which brought thee out of the land of Egypt: Open 'thy mouth wide, and I will fill it. * But my people would not hearken to my voice, And Israel would "none of me. * So "I gave them up unto ‘their own hearts' lust, And they walked in their own counsels. * O "that my people had hearkened to me, And Israel had walked in my ways! . 14 I should soon have subdued their enemies, And turned my hand against their adversaries. 15 The Phaters of the LoRD should have ‘submitted themselves unto him, But their time should have endured forever. 16 He should “ have fed them also "with the finest of the
wheat, And with honey out of the rock should I have satisfied thee. h Exod. 20.8, 5. m Exod. 82. 1. p Rom. 1. 30. 1 Deut. 82. 12. n Acts 7.42, and 14, 16. * Or, yielded feigned obediIsa. 43.12. Rom. 1. 24, 26. ence. Psa. 18, 44. and k See Gen. 17.8. * Or, the hardness of their 66. 3. Heb. lied. 1 Psa. 37.8, 4. John 15. 7. hearts, or, imaginations. q Deut. 32.13, 14. Psa. 147.14.
Eph. 3, 20. o Deut. 5. 29. Isa. 48, 18. * Heb. with the fat of wheat.
INTRODUCTION TO PSALM XLV.
PSALM OF KORAH.
It was in the sixth year of the reign of Darius, son of Hystaspes, that the temple at Jerusalem was finished and dedicated. Ezra vi, 15. Darius reigned thirty-six years, and was succeeded by Xerxes I., or, as he is commonly called, Xerxes the Great. This prince was surrounded by all the circumstances of power and greatness that ever aggrandized an earthly monarch, but was himself unable, or rather disinclined, to profit by them, either for his own honour or the happiness of his subjects. He was imbecile in intellect; vain, haughty, obstinate, cruel, servile and grovelling in his sentiments, and actuated by a wild, unbounded, and mad ambition. He was as fickle in his purposes as he was impetuous in his passions; and was the scourge of the world without possessing, so far as history records, one redeeming virtue. However, even Xerxes had his fits of being good.
According to Scaliger, Jahn, Robinson, and others, this Xerxes was the same person as the Ahasuerus of the book of Esther.” This opinion we shall adopt, for reasons which our limits do not permit us to explain. During the first year of Xerxes' reign he reduced the Egyptians again to obedience, and his dominion literally extended “from India to Ethiopia,” as is recorded Esther i, 1. In the second year of his reign he
* Ahasuerus seems to have been a title of the Median and Persian kings; as Pharaoh, and afterward Ptolemy, were of the Egyptian. Several kings bore this name. The first Ahasuerus is mentioned in Tobit xiv, 15, and is the same as Cyaxares I., father of Astyages, king of Media. The second Ahasuerus is mentioned in Daniel ix, 1. He is the same as Astyages, just identioned, and father of Cyaxares II., who is called in Scripture, “Darius the Mede.” The third Ahasuerus is the one referred to in Ezra iv, 6, and is the same as Cambyses, son of Cyrus. See Introduction to Psalm crxix. The fourth Ahasuerus is mentioned in Esther i, 1, whom we take to be Xerxes the Great. The chronology, the facts, the coincidences of character between the Ahasuerus of Esther and Xerxes the Great, all concur in determining the identity of the two.