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Book of Psalms, 1771; Seiler, Die Psalmen, 1788; Mendelssohn, Uebersetzung der Psalmen Davids, 1788; Berthier, Les Pseaumes trad. en François avec des Notes et des Réflexions, 1785 ; Street, New Literal Version of the Book of Psalms, 1790 ; Müntinghe, De Psalmen, uit het Hebreuusch Vertaald, 1791 ; Dimock, Notes on the Book of Psalms and Proverbs, 1791; Wake, New and Literal Translation of the Psalms, 1799; Geddes, New Translation of the Book of Psalms, 1807 ; Goode, An entire New Version of the Book of Psalms, 1811 ; Horsley (Bishop), The Book of Psalms, 1815;
Fry, Lyra Davidis, 1819; Boys, Key to the Book of Psalms, 1823; French and Skinner, New Translation of the Book of Psalms, 1830; Noyes, New Translation of the Book of Psalms, 1831, Boston, U. S.; Eichhorn, Die Psalmen übersetzt, 1834; Hitzig, Die Psalmen : hist.-krit. Commentar, nebst Uebersetzung, 1835; De Wette, Commentar über die Psalmen, 1836; Walford, The Book of Psalms, a New Trunslation with Notes, 1837; Bush, A Commentary upon the Book of Psalms, 1838 ; Ewald, Poetische Bücher, 1839; Bondel, Le Livre des Pseaumes, 1840; Cresswell, The Psalms of David, 1843; Tholuck, Uebersetzung und Auslegung der Psalmen, 1843; Hengstenberg, Commentar über die Psalmen, 1843-5. The two lastnamed works are by far the most important that have of late years been produced. Of that by Hengstenberg an excellent translation has lately been produced in Clark's Foreign Theological Library. [The Psalms, Translated and Explained, by J. L. Alexander, 1850.]
. PSALM I.
delight is in the law of the Lord; 'and in his i The happiness of the godly. 4 The unhappiness of law doth he meditate day and night. the ungodly.
3 And he shall be like a tree planted by
the rivers of water, that bringeth forth his LESSED 'is fruit in his season ; his leaf also shall not the man that 'wither; and whatsoever he doeth shall proswalketh not in per. the counsel of 4 The ungodly are not so: but are "like the 'ungodly, the chaff which the wind driveth away. standeth
5 Therefore the ungodly shall not stand in in the way of the judgment, nor sinners in the congregation sinners,
of the righteous. sitteth in the 6 For the Lord knoweth the way of the seat of the
righteous : but the way of the ungodly shall scornful. perish.
2 But his
Psalm 1.— There is a general impression that this Psalm was of comparatively late composition, drawn up probably by the compiler of the book, and set by him as a sort of introduction to it. Basilius calls it a short preface' to the Psalms; and that this view is of great antiquity may be gathered from Acts xiii. 53, where Paul, according to the correct text, as is agreed by the most approved critics (Erasmus, Mill, Bengel, Griesbach, &c.), quotes as the first Psalm that which, in our collection, occupies the second place. If the first was considered only as a sort of preface, the numbering would consequently take its commencement at the one following, as, indeed, is the case in some manuscripts. The matter of the Psalm is admirably suited to this application of it. That the Psalm is introductory does not, however, prove the lateness of its date. The compiler might quite as probably have set at the beginning that one of the old Psalms which he judged most suitable for the purpose.
That it must, at any rate, have been composed before Jeremiah, appears from his imitation of it. This is the only determinate conclusion that can be formed; but from the close resemblance it offers to the Psalms of which David was undoubtedly the author, we should probably not be mistaken in
ascribing it to him. Compare in particular Psalms viii., XV., xxii.
Verse 3. ' A tree planted by the rivers of water.'—Here is a beautiful comparison, derived from the contrast, often exhibited in the East, between the exuberant production near the rivers and water-courses, and the desolation and nakedness of places destitute of natural or artificial irrigation. Often, while traversing plains perfectly destitute of tree, shrub, or bush of any kind, have we been able to trace for miles the course of a distant stream by the thick and tall growth of trees and underwood upon its banks. Indeed, to perceive this was to feel assured of the presence of the water that could not be seen. The scenery of Asia, generally speaking, is a continual alternation of such marked contrasts. The soil is thronged with vegetation wherever water can be found; while, beyond the extent in which the streams, usually few and distant, can be made to operate, there is only a waste howling wilderness.'As a suitable illustration of this, we have introduced a cut of one of the streams of Lebanon-the Nahr Kades, or
Holy River,' shewing the rich and crowded vegetation which its valley exhibits.
5 Then shall he speak unto them in his
wrath, and "vex them in his sore displeasure. I The kingdom of Christ. 10 Kings are exhorted to 6 Yet have I set my king "upon my holy
hill of Zion. Why 'do the heathen frage, and the people 7 I will declare the decree: the LORD 'imagine a vain thing?
hath said unto me, 'Thou art my Son; this 2 The kings of the earth set themselves, day have I begotten thee. and the rulers take counsel together, against
8 Ask of me, and I shall give thee the the LORD, and against his anointed, saying, heathen for thine inheritance, and the utter
3 Let us break their bands asunder, and most parts of the earth for thy possession. rast away their cords from us.
9 "Thou shalt break them with a rod of 4 'He that sitteth in the heavens shall iron; thou shalt dash them in pieces like a laugh: the LORD shall have them in derision. potter's vessel.
2 Or, tumultuously assemble. llob. upon Zion, the hill of my holiness. 8 Or, for a decree.
1 Acts 4. 25.
3 Heb. meditate.
4 Prov. 1. 26. 9 Acts 13. 33. Heb. 1. 3.
5 Or, trouble. 6 Hel, anointed. 10 Psal. 72. 8. 11 Revel. 2. 27. and 19. 15.
10 Be wise now therefore, O ye kings : be
12 Kiss the Son, lest he be angry, and ye instructed, ye judges of the earth.
perish from the way, when his wrath is 11 Serve the LORD with fear, and rejoice kindled but a little. "Blessed are all they with trembling
that put their trust in him.
Psalm II.--Although this Psalm has no superscription, earth, who do not believe the pretended divine mission yet that David was the author may he gathered from the of Mohammed, Kafirs, and, by a corrupted pronunciation, manifest relation which it bears to the affairs of his time. Gaurs, or Giaours, which signifies unbelievers and infidels. It is supposed to have been written when the nations sub- Hence the name Kafirs, which the inhabitants of the southdued by David were meditating a revolt, or had already eastern coast of Africa received from the Mohammedan revolted. The authorship is expressly assigned to David Arabs. in Acts iv. 25. Its reference, by application, to the Messiah, is admitted by the Jews.
12. “Kiss the Son.'-This is doubtless to be understood
as an act of homage and reverence. There are few acts Verse 1. • The heathen.'— The Hebrew word, bria bearing more diversified and contrasted significations than goyim, usually translated Heathen,' signifies, in fact, the kiss. It denotes as well the tenderest affection as the peoples' or nations' in general. But it is used in the most profound and even adoring reverence. As an act of Old Testament for the most part, and by the later (and even homage it needs little explanation, since it is still our own modern) Jews, and that with contemptuous and odious custom to express homage by kissing the monarch's hand. secondary meaning. Other nations, also, have similar It was also so far a mark of general respect among our names for foreigners, and for such as are not of their own fathers, that for one person to say in a letter or message, religious faith. Thus the Greeks and Romans called them that he .kissed the hands' of another, was a formulary Barbarians, that is, properly, inhabitants of the desert. for expressing his respect for that person, and was of equiThe Arahs called them Adjhemi, by which they mean, valent import with the expressions of servitude and obedifirst, their neighbours the Persians, and then all foreigners ence with which communications to superiors are now in general. The Mohammedans call all the people of the usually attended. See the note to 1 Sam. x, 1.
5 'I laid me down and slept; I awaked;
for the LORD sustained me. The security of God's protection.
6 'I will not be afraid of ten thousands of A Psalm of David, 'when he fled from Absalom his son.
people, that have set themselves against me LORD, how are they increased that trouble round about. me? many are they that rise up against me. 7 Arise, O LORD ; save me, 0
2 Many there be which say of my soul, for thou hast smitten all mine enemies upon There is no help for him in God. Selah. the cheek bone; thou hast broken the teeth
3 But thou, O Lord, art a shield 'for me ; of the ungodly. my glory, and the lifter up of mine head. 8 •Salvation belongeth unto the LORD : thy
4'I cried unto the Lord with my voice, blessing is upon thy people. Selah. and he heard me out of his holy hill. Selah.
1 2 Sam. 15. 14.
2 Or, about.
3 Psal. 4, 8,
4 Psal. 27. 3.
5 I82. 43. 11. Hos. 13. 4.
Verse 2. . Selah.' — This is evidently a musical term, occurring only in the Psalms, and in Habakkuk iii. Its nieaning has been a subject of much dispute. It usually occurs at the end of a period or strophe; but sometimes at the end of a clause only. One of the principal explanations is that advocated by Herder, De Wette, Ewald, and others, who suppose that the word comes from the verb no salah, “to raise up, or elevate;' which would make it signify an elevation of the voice; and so perhaps be a sign for changing the key, or for repeating the same tune some notes higher. Not very different from this is the interpretation usually given to the word oiáyaxua, diapsalma, which is explained to mean a variation in singing and melody, to correspond perhaps with a transition from one subject or sentiment to another in the words; or to be a musical sign for a bold symphony, intimating that the singers should raise their voices, and that all the instruments should sound along with them in one grand chorus. (See Ewing in Alátarua.) The Chaldee Paraphrast renders it by 'for ever,' understanding
probably, with Jerome, that 'Selah' connected what folIowed with that which went before, and further expresses that the words to which it is affixed are of eternal mo. ment-not applicable to any particular person, or to any temporary circumstances, but such as ought to be remenibered by all men and for ever. Aben Ezra says that it is like the conclusion of a prayer, answering nearly to * Amen;' and that the Jews, in this sense, usually put it at the end of their books and epitaphs. Fenwick, Parkhurst, and others, hold that the word is intended to direct particular attention to the passage, as : N.B., attend to, or mind this. Dr. Wall is of opinion that it is a note directing that the last words to which it is added should be repeated by the chorus; and observes that it is always put after some remarkable or pathetic clause. Meibomius also thinks it means ' a repeat,' and is equivalent to the Italian Da Capo. Some conclude that it directed the time of the music, and was perhaps equivalent to our word slow,' or according to some of our provincial dialects, slaw,' which in a rapid pronunciation might easily be taken for Selah. Calmet thinks the word was sometimes put in the margin
of the Hebrew psalters, to indicate that a musical pause was to be made and that the tune was ended : and this is also the opinion which Dr. Burney deduces from the ' diapsalma' of the Septuagint. Rosenmüller, after detailing the opinions of others, decides to prefer that which supposes that the word Selah indicates a rest, or pause, for the vocal performers, and that the musical instruments only were to be heard: with him Gesenius, Tholuck, and Hengstenberg concur, and it seenis to us the most probable of the opinions which have been advanced. Calmet, in his
Commentaire Littéral, has a 'Dissertation sur ces deur termes Hébreur, Lámnatseach et Séla.'
7. • Cheek bone .... teeth.'— The allusion is here, probably, to the condition of a beast of prey which is completely disabled from taking and devouring its prey by having the jaws and teeth broken. (See the note on Job xix. 20.) However, the breaking of the jaws and knocking out of the teeth were common circumstances in ancient warfare, in which the opposing parties were much accus. tomed to fling stones at one another's heads.
him that is godly for himself; the LORD will
hear when I call unto him. 1 David prayeth for audience. 2 He reproveth and 4 Stand in awe, and sin not: commune exhorteth his enemies. 6 Man's happiness is in God's favour.
with your own heart upon your bed, and be
still. .Selah. To the 'chief Musician on Neginoth, A Psalm of David.
5 Offer 'the sacrifices of righteousness, and
put your trust in the LORD. HEAR me when I call, O God of my right- 6 There be many that say, Who will shew eousness : thou hast enlarged me when I was us any good ? Lord, lift thou up the light of in distress ; ‘have mercy upon me, and hear thy countenance upon us. my prayer.
7 Thou hast put gladness in my heart, 2 Oye sons of men, how long will ye more than in the time that their corn and their turn my glory into shame? how long will wine increased. ye love vanity, and seek after leasing ? 8 'I will both lay me down in peace, and Selah.
sleep: for thou, LORD, only makest me dwell 3 But know that the Lord hath set apart | in safety. 1 Or, overseer. 2 Or, be gracious tinto me.
3 Psal. 50. 14, and 51, 19.
* Psal. 3,5.
Psalm iv.---That this Psalm was composed in a time of but in general they suppose it to denote the psalm to be persecution and distress is manifest from the contents. It one of victory. One very good reason for adhering to is usually supposed to have been written by David, either our own version is, that on examining the numerous during the persecutions of Saul or the rebellion of psalms which are thus inscribed, they have by no means Absalom; and there are grounds on which the latter that uniformity of subject or general purport which a alternative may seem entitled to preference.
characterizing title would seem to require. The reader TITLE.“ To the chief Musician.'— The word thus ren
who wishes to look further into this, may consult Calmet's
* Dissertation sur ces deux termes Hébreu.x, Lämnatseach et dered (Oyup lamnatzeuch) stands at the head of fifty- Séla ;' De Wette, Einleitung die Psalmen, p. 35; and three of the Psalms, and has occasioned considerable dis- Ewald, Poet, Bücher, i. 169. cussion. The general opinion, which our translators • Neginoth.—This word (nis??), which occurs in the followed, seems to be well authorized in rendering it to titles of seven psalms, is in the Septuagint and the Vulgate the chief musician. Whenever the word occurs histori
rendered by song. (Sept. Guvos, yanuós. Vulg. carmen, cally, with a reference to persons, it denotes those who canticum.) The verb from which the noun is derived have the superintendence or oversight, whether of works or workmen; and hence, in the general sense, an 'over
implies to play upon a stringed instrument,' whence it
is concluded that the plural noun in the titles of the seer.' So when it thus occurs, as prefixed to a psalm, it
psalms, denotes such stringed instruments. What they is not easy to suppose it can allow of any other reference were we do not know; but under this view Neginoth may than to the president or leader of a band of singers or
possibly be a general word for all the stringed instruments musicians. The Septuagint, and after it the Vulgate, then in use. Wherever the word does occur as a noun, regards it as without a personal application, and renders however, other than in the titles of the psalms, the context it by for ever;' understanding it to denote a psalm determines that it must mean 'songs' (as in Job xxx. 9: which deserved to be sung eternally, and to be ever in the Lam. iii. 14), and probably such songs as were intended mouth of God's servants. The Chaldee has, ‘for praise,' for the accompaniment of stringed instruments. The seemingly under a similar impression. The Jews them- difference is therefore not greater than whether stringed selves are not agreed about it; but the majority concur
instruments, or songs or music intended for stringed in. with our version. The old Greek interpreters differ also;
struments, be denoted by the word Neginoth.
ing: the LORD will abhor 'the bloody and de
ceitful man. 1 David prayeth, and professeth his study in prayer. 7 But as for me, I will come into thy house 4 God favoureth not the wicked. 7 David, professing his faith, prayeth unto God to guide him, in the multitude of thy mercy: and in thy fear '10 to destroy his enemies, 11 and to preserve the will I worship toward thy holy temple. godly.
8 Lead me, O LORD, in thy righteousness
because of 'mine enemies; make thy way To the chief Musician upon Nehiloth, A Psalm of
straight before my face. David.
9 For there is no faithfulness 'in their Give ear to my words, O LORD, consider my mouth ; their inward part is overy wickedness; meditation.
'their throat is an open sepulchre; they flat2 Hearken unto the voice of my cry, my
ter with their tongue. King, and my God : for unto thee will I 10 "Destroy thou them, O God ; let them pray.
fall "by their own counsels; cast them out in 3 'My voice shalt thou hear in the morn- the multitude of their transgressions; for they ing, O LORD; in the morning will I direct my have rebelled against thee. prayer unto thee, and will look up.
11 But let all those that put their trust in 4 For thou art not a God that hath plea- thee rejoice: let them ever shout for joy, besure in wickedness : neither shall evil dwell cause thou defendest them: let them also with thee.
that love thy name be joyful in thee. 5 The foolish shall not stand ‘in thy sight: 12 For thou, LORD, wilt bless the righthou hatest all workers of iniquity.
teous; with favour wilt thou 'Scompass him as 6 'Thou shalt destroy them that speak leas- with a shield.
I Psal. 130, 6. 2 Hleb, before thine eyes.
3 Heb. the min of bloods and deceit. + Heb. the temple of thy holiness. 5 IIeb. those which observe me. 6 Or, stedfastness. 7 Heb. in his mouth, that is, in the mouth of any of them. 8 Heb. wickednesses. 9 Rom. 3. 13. 10 Or, Make them guilty. 11 Or, from their counsels. 12 Heb. thou coverest over, or, protectest them. 13 Heb, crowon him.
Title, ' Nehiloth– The word is nibong, and its obvious derivation from 55m khalal, “to bore through whence Sosn khalil, “a pipe,' would suggest that wind instruments are here meant. We do not feel it necessary to inquire, with some writers, whether flutes or bagpipes be intended. We may suppose it a general term for all the softer sorts of wind instruments, if not for all sorts. The Septuagint, Vulgate, and other ancient versions, however, find the root in Smp nakhal, “ to inherit, possess,' and render, with some variation of phrase, 'For that which (or she who) obtained (or obtains, or shall obtain) the inheritance. The Arabic has simply, Concerning the inheritance.' Hengstenberg thinks that the Psalm refers to the double destiny of the righteous and the wicked; and accepting this derivation from Sanz, the feminine adjective of which, with a passive signification, can only mean the inherited, the possessed, in plural the possessions, the lots, he finds that the title of the psalm has reference to its contents. The Targuni renders the title, both of this
and the preceding psalm, To sing upon the dances a song of David;' while Aben Ezra understands this word, as he does neginoth, to denote some old and well-known melody, to which this psalm was to be played. On this see further in the note to Ps. xvi.
Verse 5. Shall not stand in thy sight.'— They must not stand under his eyes. A mark of deep abhorrence, taken from earthly kings, near whom none are allowed to come but such as enjoy their favour.
7. • Toward thy holy temple?- The temple did not exist in the time of David: how then does this agree with the title which ascribes the psalm to him? The answer is, that the term here employed denotes properly the dwelling-place of the Lord, and was not confined to the temple, but belonged equally to the tabernacle before the temple was erected. See notable instances of this in i Sam. i. 9; iii. 3; in both which places our translators scruple not to render the same term by temple,' although they knew the tabernacle was intended, and that nothing else could be intended. The phrase is here, literally, 'the abode of thy holiness ;' there, the abode of Jehovah.
1 David's complaint in his sickness. 8 By faith he
triumpheth over his enemies. To the chief Musician on Neginoth 'upon Sheminith,
A Psalm of David. O 'LORD, rebuke me not in thine anger, neither chasten me in thy hot displeasure.
2 Have mercy upon me, O LORD; for I 1 0r, upon the eighth.
am weak: O LORD, heal me: for my bones are vexed.
3 My soul is also sore vexed : but thou, O LORD, how long?
4 Return, O LORD, deliver my soul : oh save me for thy mercies' sake.
5 ?For in death there is no remembrance of thee : in the grave who shall give thee thanks ?
2 Psal. 38, 1.
3 Psal. 39. 9, and 88. 11, and 115. 17, and 118, 17. Isa. 38. 18.