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 thunders.
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 into Canaan.
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, and worship.
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 describes.
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.
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