Page images
PDF
EPUB

see it.

countenance, will not seek after God: "God forgotten: ''he hideth his face; he will never is not in all his ®thoughts.

5 His ways are always grievous ; thy judg- 12 Arise, O LORD; O God, lift up thine ments are far above out of his sight: as for hand : forget not the ''humble. all his enemies, he puffeth at them.

13 Wherefore doth the wicked contemn 6 He hath said in his heart, I shall not be God ? he hath said in his heart, Thou wilt not moved : for I shall 'never be in adversity, require it.

7 'His mouth is full of cursing and deceit 14 Thou hast seen it; for thou beholdest and fraud: under his tongue is mischief and mischief and spite, to requite it with thy 10 vanity.

hand : the poor committeth himself unto 8 He sitteth in the lurking places of the thee; thou art the helper of the fatherless. villages : in the secret places doth he murder 15 Break thou the arm of the wicked and the innocent : his eyes are privily set against the evil man : seek out his wickedness till thou

find none. 9 He lieth in wait "secretly as a lion in 16 The Lord is King for ever and ever: his den: he lieth in wait to catch the poor : | the heathen are perished out of his land. he doth catch the poor, when he draweth him 17 LORD), thou hast heard the desire of the into his net.

humble: thou wilt 'prepare their heart, thou 10 "He croucheth, and humbleth him

and humbleth him- wilt cause thine ear to hear: self, that the poor may fall 'by his strong 18 To judge the fatherless and the op

pressed, that the man of the earth may no 11 He hath said in his heart, God hath more oppress. 5 Or, all his thoughts are, There is no God.

7 Heb. unto generation and generation. 10 Or, iniquity.

19 Heb, in the secret places. 13 Heb. He breaketh himself.

16 Or, afflicted. 18 Psal. 29. 10, and 145. 13, and 146. 10,

19 Or, establish.

20 Os, terrify.

the poor.

ones.

8 Rom. 3. 14.

9 Heb. deceits.

14 Or, into his strong parts.

6 Psal. 11. 1, and 53. 1.
Il lleb, hide themselves.

15 Psal. 94. 7.
Jer. 10. 10. Lam. 5. 19.

17 Heb. leaveth,

Psalm X.-- This Psalm is joined to and a continuation brew. It is possible that the present Psalm was originally of the preceding in the Septuagint and Vulgate versions, joined to the preceding on account of its having no title, and those by which they are followed. Hence in these and that the present division is correct. If so, it is not versions the numeration of the Psalms differs from ours; known when or by whom it was written. The Jews infor Psalms ix. and x. being united, their account is one deed have a rule, that when we come to a psalın that has number below ours on to cxiv. and cxv., which also are no title, or any number of such psalms, we are to go on united. This would put their enumeration two figures ascribing them to the author of the last preceding psalm below ours; but, immediately after, the Psalm cxvi. is that had a title. This rule will however by no means divided into two, which restores the original difference of hold good, as we shall have occasion to shew when we one only: and at last all difference is removed and the come to the psalms ascribed to Moses. Many however number of Psalms equalized by the division of Psalın conclude that the present Psalm was written by David, cxlvii. into two. Our version follows the original He- ! perhaps during the persecutions of Saul, although Calmet

[graphic][merged small][merged small]

and others incline to assign it to the captives at Babylon, those solitary suburban walks to which we had been acor to the period between the Assyrian and Babylonian Cap- customed at home. We were constantly hearing of pertivities : even De Wette however admits that the air of sons who on venturing out had been plundered and sent originality, and the compressed and difficult style, prove it home naked by the Arabs infesting the neighbourhood. to beloug to an early age; and this, with its place here They were roughly handled, and sometimes slain if they among David's psalms, will justify us in ascribing it to offered the slightest resistance. At this place the evil was him.

exhibited to us in the most distinct forms, and became Verse 5. · He puffeth at them.' – Puffing is in the East familiar from being always present to the mind; but we an expression of supreme contempt. Indeed, such terms remember few places we visited in South-Western Asia, in

as 'poh, "pshaw, pish,' and so on, are but modifica- which it was not considered dangerous for a person who itions of the same meaning, softened by articulation. The looked as if he had anything to lose, to venture out of the Persians say . Poof!' as an expression of contempt. towns and villages.

8. In the lurking places of the villages:--- That is, in 9. · He lieth in wait,' etc.- In this verse there is a reconcealed places, in the thicket, in the neighbourhood markable transition of images. In the first member the

of towns, they lie in wait for the peaceable inhabitants, Psalmist figures the robber as a lion in his den; then he | with the view of suddenly falling upon them, and killing suddenly carries the image by the circumstance of lying

or plundering them. Our own abode in the East gives in wait, which is common to both, to the figure of a hunter us a lively idea of the condition of society which this de- who casts his noose around the neck of the unsuspecting seribes. During the three years of our abode in Baghdad, wild beast. This is among many passages which shew it was invariably considered most dangerous for any one that this mode of hunting was not unknown to the Heto venture alone beyoud the walls of the city, which was brews. See the note on Ps. ix. 15. felt as a great hardship, as entirely precluding us from

PSALM XI.

4 The Lord is in his holy temple, the

Lord's throne is in heaven: his eyes behold, I David encourageth himself in God against his enemies. 4 The providence and justice of God.

his eyelids try, the children of men.

5 The LORD trieth the righteous : but the To the chief Musician, A Psalm of David.

wicked and him that loveth violence his soul In the LORD put I my trust : how say ye to hateth. my soul, Flee as a bird to

your

mountain ? 6 Upon the wicked he shall rain snares, 2 For, lo, the wicked bend their bow, they fire and brimstone, and 'an horrible tempest: make ready their arrow upon the string, that this shall be the portion of their cup. they may 'privily shoot at the upright in 7 For the righteous LORD loveth righteheart.

ousness; his countenance doth behold the 3 If the foundations be destroyed, what can upright. the righteous do?

3 Or, a burning tempest.

illeb, in darkness.

2 Ileb. 4, 13,

Psalu XI.-David is generally supposed to have written this Psalm during the persecutions of Saul-probably when his friends advised him to seek for refuge in the mountains of Judah, as he did ultimately. The first three verses seem to contain the advice, and the remainder David's reply,

Verse 4. * His eyes behold, his eyelids try::- This reference to the eyelids, or rather eyebrows,' is very striking

when we recollect that the eyebrows are sensibly affected and visibly exerted when we regard any object earnestly, In Homer and other ancient poets there are many fine al. lusions to the action of the eyebrows.

6. The portion of their cup.'-This has reference to the custom of distributing to each guest his portion of

meat.

PSALM XII.

2 They speak vanity every one with his 1 David, destitute of human confort, craveth help of double heart do they speak.

neighbour: with flattering lips and with a God. 3 He comforteth himself with God's judgments on the wicked, and confidence in God's tried 3 The Lord shall" cut off all flattering promises.

lips, and the tongue that speaketh *proud To the chief Musician 'upon Sheminith, A Psalm of things : David.

4 Who have said, With our tongue will

we prevail ; our lips are our own: who is *HELP, LORD; for the godly man ceaseth; lord over us? for the faithful fail from among the children 5 For the oppression of the poor, for the of men.

sighing of the needy, now will I arise, saith I Os, upon the eighth,

Heb. great things.

3 Heb. are toith us.

& Or, Sare.

8 Heb. In heart and an heart.

the LORD; I will set him in safety from him 7 Thou shalt keep them, O LORD, thou that putfeth at him.

shalt preserve them from this generation for 6 The words of the LORD are pure words: ever. as silver tried in a furnace of earth, purificd 8 The wicked walk on every side, when seven times.

the vilest men are exalted. 6 Or, would ensnare him. 7 2 Sam. 22. 31. Psal. 18. 30, and 119. 140. Prov. 30. 5.

Heb. him : that is, every one of them. 9 Heb. the vilest of the sons of men are exalted.

PSALM XIII.

3 Consider and hear me, O Lord my 1 David complaineth of delay in help. 3 He prayeth

God: lighten mine eyes, lest I sleep the sleep for preventing grace. 5 He boastelh of divine mercy. of death; To the 'chief Musician, A Psalm of David.

4 Lest mine enemy say, I have prevailed

against him; and those that trouble me reHow long wilt thou forget me, O LORD? for joice when I am moved. ever? how long wilt thou hide thy face from

5 But I have trusted in thy mercy; my me ?

heart shall rejoice in thy salvation. 2 How long shall I take counsel in my 6 I will sing unto the Lord, because he soul, having sorrow in my heart daily? how hath dealt bountifully with me. long shall mine enemy be exalted over me?

1 Or, orerscer.

Psalu XIII.-- There is nothing in this Psalm to indi- į troubles, and the comforts he felt under them, must have cate the period in which it was composed. It is not created a frame of mind which would often find general indeed necessary to suppose that all the Psalms were expression in such Psalms as this and the preceding. written with reference to particular circumstances. David's

PSALM XIV.

| David describeth the corruption of a natural man.

4 He convinceth the wicked by the light of their conscience. 7 He glorieth in the salvation of God.

To the chief Musician, A Psalm of David. THE 'fool hath said in his heart, There is no God. They are corrupt, they have done abominable works, there is none that doeth good.

2 The LORD looked down from heaven upon the children of men, to see if there were any that did understand, and seek God.

3 They are all gone aside, they are all I Psal. 10. 4, and 53. 1. 2 Heb. stinking.

together become "filthy : 'there is none that doeth good, no, not one.

4 Have all the workers of iniquity no knowledge ? who eat up my people as they eat bread, and call not upon the LORD.

5 There ‘were they in great fear: for God is in the generation of the righteous.

6 Ye have shamed the counsel of the poor, because the Lord is his refuge.

7 'Oh that the salvation of Israel were come out of Zion! when the Lord bringeth back the captivity of his people, Jacob shall rejoice, and Israel shall be glad.

3 Rom. 3. 10.

[blocks in formation]

Psalm XIV.–This Psalm is usually supposed to have been composed by David, on the revolt of Absalom. Theodoret supposes it refers to the invasion of Judea by Sennacherib, with the blasphemy aud menaces of Rabshakeh. Calmet, Mudge, and others, think it belongs to the captivity in Babylon; and the latter infers, from verses 4 and 5, that it arose from a particular incident, when the heathen, in the midst of impious carousals, were thrown into some great terror. This might refer to the impious feast of Belshazzar, when the sacred utensils were profaned, probably in studied insult to the God of Israel;

16

and where the appearance of the handwriting on the wall filled them with alarm and consternation. There is how. ever, altogether, something very uncertain in these conjectural appropriations of particular Psalms, many of which were manifestly destined for the general use of the Church, and might be applicable to many different circumstances and states of feeling.

Verse 4. Eat up my people as they eat bread—“That vile king eats the people as he does his rice,' is adduced by Mr. Roberts, as a parallel expression in use among the Hindoos.

PSALM XV.

nor doeth evil to his neighbour, nor 'taketh up David describeth a citizen of Zion.

a reproach against his neighbour.

4 In whose eyes a vile person is contemned; A Psalm of David.

but he honoureth them that fear the LORD. LORD, 'who shall 'abide in thy tabernacle ? He that sweareth to his own hurt, and who shall dwell in thy holy hill?

changeth not. 2 'He that walketh uprightly, and worketh 5 He that putteth not out his money to righteousness, and speaketh the truth in his usury, nor taketh reward against the innocent. heart.

He that doeth these things shall never be 3 He that backbiteth not with his tongue, moved.

1 Psal. 24. 3, &c. 2 Heb. sojourn. 3 Isa, 33. 15.

4 Or, receiveth, or, endureth. 5 Exod. 22. 25. Levit. 25. 36. Deut. 23. 19. Ezek. 18. 8, and 22. 12.

PSALM XV.-Most commentators conceive that this Psalm was composed by David when the ark was brought to Mount Zion. The mention of the tabernacle in the first verse seems to shew that it was written before the temple existed. The conclusion, however, 'He that doeth these things shall never be moved '—that is, probably, never removed or expelled from his native land- has suggested to some that it was composed after the ten tribes had been carried away by Shalmaneser, if not during the Babylonian Captivity.

5. 'He that putteth not out his money to usury.'— The Mosaic law forbids the lending of money for interest to an Israelite, Ex. xxii. 25, Lev. xxv. 37, Deut. xxiii. 19, Prov. xxviii. 8, Ezek. xviii. 8. In several of the passages referred to, it is expressly supposed that money is lent only to the poor, a supposition which has its ground in the

simple relations of the Mosaic times, in which lending, for the purpose of speculation and gain, had no existence. Such lending ought only to be a work of brotherly love; and it is a great violation of that, if any one, instead of helping his neighbour, takes advantage of his need to bring him into still greater straits. The Mosaic regulation in question has, accordingly, its import also for New Testament times. With the interest-lending of capitalists, who borrow for speculation, it has nothing to do. This belongs to a quite different matter, as is implied even by the name Tus, a mordendo, according to which only such usury can be meant as plagues and impoverishes a neighbour. By unseasonable comparison with our modes of speech, many would expound : His money he puts not to interest.'-HENGSTENBERG.

my lot.

my trust.

PSALM XVI.

heritance and of my cup: thou maintainest 1 David, in distrust of merit, and hatred of idolatry,

6 The lines are fallen unto me in pleasant fleeth to God for preservation. 5 He sheweth the hope of his calling, of the resurrection, and life ever places ; yea, I have a goodly heritage. lasting.

7 I will bless the LORD, who hath given Michtam of David.

me counsel: my reins also instruct me in the

night seasons. PRESERVE me, O God: for in thee do I put 8 'I have set the LORD always before me :

because he is at my right hand, I shall not be 20 my soul, thou hast said unto the moved. LORD, Thou art my Lord: *my goodness 9 Therefore my heart is glad, and my extendeth not to thee;

glory rejoiceth: my flesh also shall rest in 3 But to the saints that are in the earth, hope. and to the excellent, in whom is all my de- 10 ®For thou wilt not leave my soul in light.

hell; neither wilt thou suffer thine Holy One 4 Their sorrows shall be multiplied that to see corruption. *hasten after another god : their drink offer- 11 Thou wilt shew me the path of life: in ings of blood will I not offer, nor take up thy presence is fulness of joy; at thy right their names into my lips.

hand there are pleasures for evermore. 5 "The LORD is the portion 'of mine inOr, A golden Psalm of David. 2 Job 22.2, and 35. 7. Psal. 50. 9. 3 Or, give gifts to another. 5 Heb. of my part.

7 Heb, dwell confidently.

8 Acts 2. 31, and 13. 35.

[ocr errors]

4 Deut. 32. 9. Lam. 3. 24.

6 Acts 2, 23.

TITLE, Michtam.' – Besides the present Psalm, this title is prefixed to five others; namely, lvi.—Ix.' The word (DPI) is rendered orndorpaqla,“ inscription upon a column,' by the Septuagint; probably understanding such a pillar as conquerors were wont to erect, or else to indi

VOL. III.

cate that it deserved to be inscribed in characters more than usually durable. The Targum also renders, “a right engraving. The word michtam seems to be equivalent to aano mithchab, by the commutation of and 2 at the end; and hence to mean a writing,' or, by way of emi

17

B

nence, 'a song. Many, however, derive the word from and customs are of so durable and unchangeable a nature, one chetem, 'gold ; and hence understand the Psalms are propagated from nation to nation with so little of distinguished by this title, to be called golden psalms,' by

change for thousands of years, or arise with as inconsiderway of eminence. So Aben Ezra, who says that the

able differences among every nation, on similar occasions Psalm is thus named because its excellence is like the best

and in a similar manner, that I am very much inclined to gold. Similar designations occur elsewhere. Among the

believe that not only the Hebrew custom of the superscripArabians the seven pre-Mahommedan poems, known under

tions to the hymns and songs, but also many other pecu. the name of Moallakat, are also called, on account of their

liarities belonging to them, existed through the greater excellence, Modhahahat, the golden. Further, among

part of the middle ages, and even subsist in modern times.'

He refers to the instance of the master-singers of the them the proverbs of Ali are for the same reason called the gold of morals. Among the Greeks we find the

middle ages who used similar superscriptions referring to 'golden verses of Pythagoras. Still, although this is

some particular melodies to which poems were to be sung better than some other conjectures that have been proposed,

-as . In the quick plough tune,' In the high cheerful

praise tune,' etc. The melodies thus referred to as exit seems rather forced ; for, as Gesenius observes, ' oma is

amples are unknown, while the superscriptions themselves barely a poetical name for gold, and there appears no remain intelligible. The analogy would explain why the special reason in these Psalms for this designation. It is Hebrew superscriptions, if we suppose them correctly exhowever hazardous to determine the meaning of the plained, have often no assignable connection with the titles from the internal evidence of the Psalms; for, as sense of the psalm which follows, as well or better than Dodd properly states, it is very certain that many of the the conjecture that the superscriptions have in some intitles were either wrongly placed at first, or have suffered stances been removed from the psalms to which they were a confusion since : which observation will apply to the originally prefixed. The view which we have thus stated, authors and subjects, as they stand at present prefixed to chiefly after Forkel, had also been taken in part by Faber, each Psalm.' Hengstenberg however, on the ground that particularly as to the illustration to be derived from the the verb bn châtăm means to conceal, cover, secrete, practice of the master-singers, and that some of the titles considers that the noun here derived from it signifies a

were in like manner indicative of melodies at that time secret,' and translates the title "a secret of David,' and

well known. One of the master-singer superscriptions, considers that the word denotes a song of deep import,

The golden tune,' answers remarkably to one of the interwhich he observes is very suitable to the Psalms which pretations which, as we have seen, has been assigned to that bear it. We are inclined to demur to this-chiefly on of the present Psalm. philological grounds, with which we must not trouble Verse 3. . In the earth. —More properly, in the land; the reader.

as in many other cases where the earth' is used in the Aben Ezra applies here also his general observation, Authorized Version. The force which here results from which we have already mentioned, that this and other the limitation must be obvious on reflection, strange words are the names of old melodies. There is 4. Their drink offerings of blood will I not offer.'no Jewish commentator whose opinions in such matters This seems to contain an allusion to a custom among are entitled to greater respect than those of Aben Ezra ;

many of the heathen nations, of drinking the wine of the and the more we investigate the subject, the more we sacrifice mixed with the blood of the victims-particularly incline to his opinion, although we have not attained such when they bound themselves by dreadful oaths, and to the entire conviction as to make this exclude all other expla- performance of fearful deeds. This drink was called nations. Rosenmüller, in a passage which we find trans- by the Romans vinum assiratum, because assir, according lated in Burder's Oriental Customs, states the opinions of to Festus, signified blood in the ancient Latin language. two German writers, Forkel and I. C. Faber, from which In this manner, as Sallust relates, Catiline took the oaths it appears that they both took the same view with the Jewish Rabbi. Forkel considers it more than probable

with his accomplices. It was said at the time that Cati

line, after making a speech, calling on the accomplices of that the Hebrews had not a particular tune for each poem. his crime to take an oath, presented them with human We find this want of sufficient melodies in all ancient na- blood mixed with wine, in cups ; and when every one had tions, among whom music had attained only a moderate drunk of it, after pronouncing an imprecation, as is cusdegree of cultivation. The case was the same through the tomary in solemn sacrifices, explained his plan. In a middle ages; when not only spiritual but worldly songs similar manner, Silius Italicus makes the Carthaginian were sung after a few generally known melodies. This Hannibal swear; an instance which is particularly suitable custom is still found in countries where there is no other to illustrate the above passage, because the Carthaginians music than that of the national songs; for example, in were of Phænician or Canaanite origin. When the proNew Zealand (see Forster's Voyage), Siberia, Tartary, and phet Zechariah describes the conversion of the Philistines, in all the East. Everywhere the national melodies were he makes Jehovah say (ix. 7), “And I will take away bis fixed once for all, and unchangeable, and all national new blood out of his mouth, and his abominations from between songs must be contrived to suit them. And indeed, in our his teeth ; but he that remaineth, even he, shall be for our own collections of psalms and hymns, for how large a God.' The drinking of blood at sacrifices was prohibited proportion of them are not a few well-known tunes made to the Israelites upon pain of death. to serve? "In general,' says Forkel, popular manners

PSALM XVII.

cry, give ear unto my prayer, that goeth enot

out of feigned lips. 1 David, in confidence of his integrity, craveth defence 2 Let my sentence come forth from thy

of God against his enemies. 10 He sheweth their pride, craft, and eagerness. 13 He prayeth against

13 He prayeth against that are equal.

presence ; let thine eyes behold the things them in confidence of his hope.

3 Thou hast proved mine heart; thou hast A Prayer of David.

visited me in the night; thou hast tried me,

and shalt find nothing; I am purposed that HEAR 'the right, O LORD, attend unto my my mouth shall not transgress. | Heb. justice.

2 Heb, without lips of deceit. 18

« PreviousContinue »