View Psalms 68 in the note window.
The occasion of this psalm, seems to have been David's translation
of the ark to Zion, which was managed with great solemnity and
devotion. For the first words are the very same which Moses
appointed for such occasions, (Nu 10:35),
and the following verses pursue the same matter. Thence he falls into
a description of some of the glorious works of the God to whom this ark
belonged. But because David knew that both himself and the ark
were types of Christ, and that the church of Israel were a type of
the catholick church, consisting of Jews and Gentiles, and that
the legal administrations were types of those of the gospel, he
therefore by the spirit of prophecy, looked through the types, to the
great mysteries of Christ's resurrection and ascension, and of the
special privileges of the Christian church, and of the conversion of
the Gentiles, and intermixes passages, which immediately belong to
these things, although the words be so ordered, that they carry a
manifest allusion to the present actions, and may be applied to them,
in a secondary sense.
He first prays against God's enemies, and for his people, ver. 1 - 3.
Then praises God, for his greatness and goodness, ver. 4 - 6.
For his wonderful works, ver. 7 - 14.
For his special presence in his church, ver. 15 - 17.
The ascension of Christ, and the salvation of his people, ver. 18 - 20.
His victories over his enemies, and favours to his church, ver. 21 - 28.
The accession of the Gentiles to the church, ver. 29 - 31.
An awful acknowledgment of the glory and grace of God, ver. 32 - 35.
To the chief musician, A psalm or song of David.
4: Jah - Is an abbreviation of the name Jehovah, which the
Heathens pronounced Jao. Before him - Before the ark where he is
present, as David is said to dance before the Lord, upon this
occasion, (2Sa 6:14).
5: Habitation - In heaven.
6: Rebellious - Those who rebel against God.
7: Wentest - In the cloudy pillar, as their captain leading them up
out of Egypt.
8: Dropped - Poured down great showers, which accompanied those mighty
9: Weary - Dry and thirsty, and parched with excessive heat, and
ready to faint for want of rain, (Ps 63:1).
10: Thy congregation - The people of Israel. It - This land for
the use of thy people: which God did by designing it for them, and
expelling the old inhabitants; by furnishing it with all sorts of
provisions, and making it fruitful by his special blessing.
Poor - Such thy really were, when God undertook the conduct of them
11: Gave - He put this triumphant song into their mouths.
12: Kings - The kings of Canaan, and other nations who came forth
against the Israelites, accompanied with great and numerous armies.
The spoil - There was enough, not only for those who took it, but also
to be divided to their wives and children, when they came home.
13: Ye - Ye Israelites. Ye are - Tho' you have formerly been
exposed to great reproach and misery, yet God hath changed your condition.
Gold - Beautiful and glorious, like the feathers of a dove, which according
to the variety of its postures, and of the light shining upon it, look like
silver and gold.
14: Therein - In Canaan, at the coming of the Israelites.
The land was as white as mount Salmon is with the snow.
15: The hill - Zion, the seat of God's ark. High hill - Which
is not to be understood of external height, but of its spiritual height,
or exaltation, in regard of the glorious privileges of God's presence,
16: Leap - Why do you triumph and look upon Zion with contempt?
He speaks to the hills by an usual figure. Will dwell - This hill, though
despicable in your eyes, is precious in God's, and chosen by him for
his perpetual residence.
17: Chariots - The armies (whereof chariots were an eminent part in
those times) which attend upon God to do his pleasure.
Twenty thousand - An innumerable company, a certain number being put for
an uncertain. Among them - Here the psalmist seems to be transported
by the prophetic spirit, from the narration of those external successes,
to the prediction of the Messiah; and of the transcendent privileges and
blessings accruing to mankind thereby. As in Sinai - God is no less
gloriously, though less terribly present here, than he was in Sinai,
when the great God attended with thousands of his angels, solemnly
appeared to deliver the law. Yea, here is a greater privilege than
Sinai had, The Lord Jehovah descending from heaven into an human
body, as appears by his ascending thither again, which the next verse
18: Ascended - This has a manifest reference to Christ, and his
ascension into heaven, in whom alone it is literally accomplished,
and to whom therefore it is ascribed, (Eph 4:8). Although the
expressions are borrowed from the ancient custom of princes, who,
after some glorious achievements, used to go up into their royal
cities in triumphant chariots, being attended by their captive enemies,
and afterward to distribute gifts to their soldiers and subjects, and
sometimes to do some acts of clemency even to their rebels and enemies.
Captivity - Those whom thou hast taken captive; death and sin, and the
devil, and all the enemies of Christ, and of his people, whom Christ led
in triumph, having spoiled them, and making a shew of them openly,(Col 2:15).
Received - According to thy manhood thou hast received from God all the
treasures of wisdom and knowledge, and all those gifts and graces of
the Holy Spirit, which are necessary either to the perfection of thy
nature, or to the good of thy church and people. Rebellious - Thy most
stubborn and rebellious enemies, whether Jews or Gentiles.
Might dwell - That he who as man is ascended into the highest heavens,
might, as God, come down to them, and dwell with them, not only in and
by his ordinances in which he is present, but also by his spirit dwelling
in their hearts.
20: Issues - Escapes or deliverances.
21: Hairy - In ancient times many people used to wear long and shaggy
hair, that their looks might be more terrible to their enemies.
22: Bring again - I will give my people as great deliverances
as I formerly did, when I saved them from Og, king of Bashan.
The sea - From the Egyptians at the Red Sea.
23: That, &c. - And as it was at the Red Sea, and at Bashan
before, so yet again thine enemies shall be slain in such numbers, that
thou mayst wade in their blood, and thy dogs lick it up in the field.
24: They - Men saw and observed it. Goings - The procession of the
ark to Zion, the solemnity whereof is particularly described in the
following verses. The sanctuary - The tabernacle prepared for it.
26: Fountain - All ye people of Israel.
27: There is - Present in this solemn pomp of carrying the ark to
Zion. Little - Called little, because it was exceedingly diminished,
and almost extinguished under the Judges, (Jdg 20:35,21:3 )&c.
Ruler - The tribe which had lately swayed the scepter, but now submitted
to David. Company - The people of that tribe who waited upon them.
Zebulun, &c. - He mentions these tribes, because they lived in the remotest
parts of the land of Canaan. And so by naming two of the nearest tribes,
and two of the farthest, he intimates that the other tribes also came upon
this occasion, as is manifest from (2Sa 6:15-19).
28: Thy God - Having spoken of Israel, he now directs his speech
to them. Commanded - Hath ordained or effectually procured.
Thy strength - all that strength and power which thou hast put forth
at any time
29: thy temple - The temple which Solomon shall build.
Kings - Kings of the Gentiles: which was done in part, in the times
of Solomon and Hezekiah, but more fully when the Lord was come
into his temple.
30: Rebuke - Chastise those that will not bring presents to thee.
The bulls - The fierce and furious adversaries of God, and of his church;
the calves, are people or soldiers depending upon them. Delight - That
merely out of a love to mischief and spoil, make war upon others, and
upon us particularly.
31: Ethiopia - He names these, as the ancient enemies of God, and of
his people; but by them he understands all other nations of the like
character. Unto God - Begging mercy of him. This prophecy, as also
the next verse, evidently belongs to the times of the Messiah.
33: Heavens - The highest heavens; dwelling there in infinite glory,
and from thence looking down upon all the inhabitants of the earth, and
ruling them by his almighty power. Of old - From the beginning of the
world; whereas the ark was only some hundred years old. A voice - His
gospel, published by Christ and his apostles, assisted by the Holy Spirit
sent from heaven; which might well be called God's voice, and that a
mighty voice, because it produced such great and wonderful effects.
34: Ascribe - Acknowledge that he is able to do whatsoever
he pleaseth. Excellency - His excellent power and goodness.
Is over - Dwells among them. He is indeed the universal Lord,
but in a special manner, he is the God of Israel.
35: Terrible - Deservedly to be feared.