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20 Blessed be JEHOVAH, daily, daily :
the God to whom we owe our preservation :
Behold the processions of God!
the processions of God, my king, in his fanctuary, 26 The singers precede—the minstrels follow,
’midst damsels playing on timbrels. 27 In bands they bless God!
the offspring of Israel bless Jehovah ! 28 Here Benjamin, though youngest, is their leader :
the chiefs of Judah their strength:
the chiefs of Zebulon—the chiefs of Nephthali. 29 Exert, O God! thy might:
confirm, O God, what thou hast done for us,
Check the wild beasts of the reeds:
Let Chush hasten to give its hand to God.
sing psalms to JEHOVAH ;
NOTES. In my translation of this psalm I differ so often and so widely froin all interpreters, that my readers will be apt to wonder at the difference : but I can assure them, that no alteration has been rafhly made; and that the text has been less disturbed by me than by almost any modern critic. It will not be expected that I should here detail the reasons on which my version is grounded. This must be reserved for my Critical Remarks. I only subjoin a few Notes to illustrate the beauties of the composition, and make some passages more intelligible, by historical · applications.
Ver. 2. Let but God arise, &c. The words are borrowed from Numbers 10. 35. with some little variation of tense.-Ver. 8, 9. are copied from the song of Debora, Jud. 4. 14. from which what is within brackets is fupplied; as it may have been dropt out of the psalm.Ver. 12. Jehovah hath now, &c. The poet passes rapidly from former times to his own days, and the occasion of composing his psalm ; namely, the discomfiture and fight of the combined kings of Syria, Ammon, Moab, and Edom : for with all these David had been engaged in this war.- Ver. 14, 15. The late Mr. L'Advocat was, I believe, the first who seized the true meaning of this much tormented passage. He supposes, that the poet alludes to the banner of the Assyrians, which was a dove, sacred to Aftarte, or Venus; a bird sa sacred among that people, that it was unlawful to kill or eat it. It may have also been the banner of the other neighbouring nations : for the worship of Venus was very general in the East. By the Philistines, a white or silver coloured pigeon was held in the
highest veneration. This being presupposed, the way becomes clear, and we see the propriety of the allusion. The Ifraelites had, in this war, been exposed to considerable dangers. At one time they had a powerful army both in their front and in their rear. 2 Sam. 10. 9. And to this very perilous situation the psalmist, I think, alludes in ver. 14. What though ye were placed, &c. The sudden transition from the ranks to the banners is poetical indeed, but not unnatural. . The Latin poet Lucan in like manner identifies the hosts of Pompey and Cæsar with their standards, the Roman eagles ; pares aquilas. All this gives a high degree of probability to the hypothesis of L'Advocat, adopted since by De la Molette. But should this hypothesis be ill-founded, the allusion itself might stand. The rich and splendid armour of the Syrians, and the gorgeous apparel of their chieftains, might well be compared to the wings of a dove: and perhaps both ideas occurred at the same time to the mind of the poet. However this be, it is clear, I think, that the allusion is made not to the Israel. ites, as interpreters generally suppose, but to the enemies of Israel. This is confirmed by the next ver. when the omnipotent dispersed the kings, &c. Only the last comma has, in my opinion, been totally misunderstood. In order to make any tolerable fenfe of it, I have been obliged, not to alter the letters of the text, but only to divide them, in one place, differently. By withdrawing a letter from the beginning of one word, and joining it to the word that precedes, I form the following version : Snow (or rather sleet) covered the idol with confufion. It is very probable that a sudden tempestuous fall of snow accompanied the defeat of the associate kings, and defiled and affronted their fplendid pigeon-palladium. To cover the image with confusion, was to disgrace the divinity which it represented. Thus Virgil makes Ulysses and Diomede insult Pallas herself, by insulting her effigy.-For the rest, I must warn the reader, that the word which I render idol, or image, more properly perhaps fimilitude, is commonly translated Tsalmon, and supposed to be a hill in the neighbourhood of Schechem ;, which, what it has to do here, I cannot possibly conceive. Such is the result of my long labour on this difficult passage: they who are not pleased with my translation may “ lie among the pots” as long as they choose. --Ver. 16. This is a most beautiful transition. The superior height of the hills of Balhan, and their swelling ridges, compared with the lowly mount Zion, is a fine emblem of the towering arrogance of the Syrian kings; who, jealous of the rising grandeur
of the kingdom of Israel, conspire its ruin.-Ver. 18. The chariots of God are numerous, &c. The intelligent reader will easily perceive that all this is tropological. God is represented riding on his exalted car, attended by legions of angels, mounted also on cars. Comp. Deut. 32. 3. and 2 K. 6. 16.-Ver. 19. Presents of men thou receiveft, i. e, slaves of those who had rebelled against David's government.-Ib. as a deodand, lit. to be the lodgers of God. The letters of the text are ill divided : but there is no other corruption in it, as Houbigant and others too rafhly suppose. Ver. 23. This verse has also been generally misunderstood. Yet the meaning to me appears evident. God is made to bring again and again to the charge the Syrians from Bashan, and the Edomites from the shores of the red sea, on purpose that David may g’ut his vengeance on them, in the manner here described. -Ver. 28. Benjamin, though the younger, is their leader. The lead, in this procession, seems to have been given to the Benjaminites for two reasons. First, the city of Jerusalem, where the procession was to close, belonged to them: Secondly, because David wished to soothe and attach to him this warlike tribe; which, accordingly, adhered to his pofterity, after the separation of the other tribes. - Ib. The chiefs of Judab their strength, lit. their stone-beap. The Judahites were placed in the centre, as the great bulwark of the hof. They were followed by the Zebulonites and Nephthalites; who were probably all those of the cisjordan tribes who had accompanied David in this expedition. No mention is made of the transjordan tribes : either because they had, as usual, been ina&tive on this occasion, or because it was not deemed expedient to bring them so far from home...Ver. 31. Check the wild beasts of the reeds : i. e. as I conjecture, the kings of Syria, whose possellions on the Euphrates were a reedy country. It may also allude to the Ammonites, whose capital, Raba, is in 2 Sam. 12. 27. called the town of waters. Nay, the capital of Moab, Ar, was also surrounded with water: so that the kings of all those cities might be called the wild beasts of the reeds : which usually grow on the brinks of rivers ; and which certainly abounded about the Euphrates. In the second line of this verse I have risked a conjectural reading; but it is only the rejection of a single letter : by which an apposite sense is produced, entirely agreeable to the context. Let who will prefer the common version : • The multitude of the bulls, with the calves of the people”—if so be that they can understand it.-Ib. Wbo tread on tiles of silver. Every
one knows what expensive luxury prevailed in the palaces of the oriental kings. The very floors were paved with filver: and to this the poet here alludes. Ver. 32. Let ambasadors come from Egypt, &c. The Hebrew word fignifies somewhat more than ambassadors: it denotes allies, or partisans, if this latter term can bear so favourable an acceptation. Egypt and Chush, that is Æthiopia, had long been at peace with Israel : and in the next reign they were more strongly linked by Solomon's marrying an Egyptian princess. On the other hand, Egypt and Syria were two formidable rivals; and the latter being more contiguous to Israel was its most dangerous enemy. David therefore wishes for the friendship of Egypt and Ethiopia, as a counterbalance to his more natural foes. These notes have been longer than I intended: but they seemed in some degree necessary. I shall not have often occasion to be so prolix.
PSALM LXIX.--al. LXVIII. Although the title gives this psalm to David, there are passages in it which strongly militate against it; and it is highly probable that it is the composition of a bard at Babylon, bewailing bis people's calamities in bis own name; and at the same time promising bimself and them relief. Even those critics, who think that the psalm might originally bave been composed by David, allow that the last four verses must bave been added after the captivity. But why not give the whole to the same person ?-Because Luke and Jobn have accommodated some parts of this psalm to Christ, it has been called a propbetic psalm. I see no prophecy in it; but mucb in it incompatible with the meek, all-suffering, sweet spirit of Jesus.
I FOR THE FIRST MUSICIAN; ON THE HEXA
CHORD: A PSALM OF DAVID.
a flood hath overwhelmed me. 4 . I am wearied with crying—parched is my throat