Page images
PDF
EPUB

17

18

20

I will celebrate thy singular justice.
Thou, O God! hast instructed me from my earliest

youth,
and, thenceforth, I have declared thy wondrous

deeds: And now, when I am old and gray-headed, O God! forsake me not until I announce thine arm to another generation; thy mighty power to all posterity. For superlative, O God! is thy justice : Who, like thee, O God! doth such wonderful

things? Great and grievous troubles thou hast made me

experience; thou hast indeed made me experience: but thou wilt revive and bring me back, from the depths of the earth. My dignity thou wilt yet augment, and wilt comfort me on every side : Then thee, and thy truth, I will praise on the

psaltery: on the harp I will sing to thee, my God! O Thou, the HOLY ONE of Israel ! My lips shall sing aloud, when to thee I sing ; . and my soul, by thee redeemed, Mall rejoice : All day long my tongue shall talk of thy justice; * when they who seek mine hurt shall be ashamed

and confounded.

[ocr errors]
[ocr errors]

NOTES. The variations in psalm 70. from psalm 40. the reader may fee by comparing them : and the notes on the latter are applicable to the former. -Pl. 71. ver. 3. Thou art engaged to preserve me. Lit. Thou

bast ordained to preserve me. Some render Thou bast promised, &c.Ver. 7. To the many I am like a wonder. The Hebrew word, translated wonder, would, perhaps, be better expressed by portent. It denotes any thing uncommon and wonderful, and admits a double meaning. Some interpreters are of opinion that it is here taken in the most favourable sense, and that the psalmist represents hiinself as considered by the many as a prodigy of God's goodness. But the whole tenor of the psalm is against this meaning: which is not badly expressed by Green, “ I am become a gazing-stock to the multitude.” I have however kept to a more general term, and rendered wonder.-Ver. 11. Pursue and seize bim. This was the precise council given by Ahitophel to Absalom. See 2 Sam. 17. 1.

PSALM LXXII.-al. LXXI. This psalm, or prayer, is supposed to have been made by David in the last stage of bis life, in favour of Solomon, newly anointed king: and, if the concluding verse be genuine, we cannot admit any other hypothesis. But as this may be an arbitrary note of the redactor of the psalms into their present form and order, Solomon bimself may bave been, and probably was, the author of this very beautiful composition. The title may be rendered either

[ocr errors]

FOR SOLOMON; or, BY SOLOMON. TO the king, O God! give thy judgments: and to the son of a king thine equity : that with justice he may judge thy people, and thine oppressed with righteousness. That to them the mountains may announce peace; and the hills reecho justice. That he may right those who are oppressed; relieve those who are destitute; but crush in pieces the oppressor.

Then shall he endure with the sun,

3

[ocr errors]

II

12

and with the moon from generation to generation.
He shall be like rain descending on the shorn mead,
and like copious dews that moisten the ground.
In his days shall flourish justice,
and prosperity, till the moon be no more.
He shall have dominion from sea to sea,
and from the river to the limits of the land.
Barbarians shall bow down before him,

and his enemies shall lick the dust. i
10 The kings of Tharshish and the isles shall bring

presents;
the kings of Sheba and Seba shall offer gifts;
all the kings around shall pay him homage,
and all the nations be subfervient to him!
But the destitute, who claim his aid, he shall

relieve;
and the afflicted, who have none to help them.
The weak and the needy he shall spare,

and preserve the lives of the destitute:
14 From guile and extortion he shall protect them,

and their blood shall be precious in his fight.
15 He shall preserve them, and share with them the

gold of Sheba:
so shall they continually resound his praise,
and load him with daily benedictions.

There shall be plenty of grain on the ground;
its crops shall rustle, even on the tops of mountains,
like those that grow on mount Lebanon;
and Thall spring from a sterile foil,
like the grass of the fertile meadow !

His fame shall be perpetual !
it shall last, while the fun shall be seen!
He shall be a general theme of benediction,
and all the nations shall felicitate him.

16

[ocr errors]

17

K

Blessed be Jehovah, the God of Israel,
who alone doth wonderful deeds :
be his glorious name for ever blessed;
and may his glory fill the whole earth.

Amen-and Amen!
[Here end the hymns of David, the son of Ishai.]

.. 18

19

20

NOTES.

Ver. 1. Thy judgments. i. e. Wisdom and prudence to decide causes, with a justice similar to thine. See the excellent prayer of Solomon, 1 Kings, 3. 6—9.–Ver. 3. That the mountains may announce peace; i. e. public felicity. It was, and still is, coinmon in the East to announce good or bad news from the tops of mountains and other eminences. By this mean, acts of justice were speedily communicated to the remotest parts of the country. Thus, when Solomon decided the controversy between the two harlots, the decision was quickly known over all the land: See 1 K. 3. 28.–Ver. 5. Then shall be endure with the sun, &c. I follow without hesitation the reading of Sep. Vulg. Arab. The present text has: “ And they shall revere thee,” &c. : a most incongruous meaning, in my estimation. For the rest, the psalmist means not that Solomon himself is to endure as long as the sun and moon : but in his posterity. Besides, the expression is no more hyperbolical than “ O king ! live for ever!”-Ver. 8. He fall have dominion from sea to sea, &c. This points out the extensive limits of Judæa in the time of Solomon. The two seas are the Mediterranean and the Red fea. The river is the Euphrates, and the limits of the land are the boundaries of Egypt. See 1 K. 4. 21, 22.–Ver. 15. He spall preserve them, &c. This verse is commonly rendered, as in our public version: “ And he shall live, and to him shall be given of the “gold of Sheba :" as if the words were applicable to Solomon, not to the destitute. I am fully persuaded, with Lewis De Dieu, that the latter is the antecedent; and that the psalmist means to say; that Solomon will keep such alive, by imparting a share of his own money, which he is to receive from Sheba, &c. In fact, there was no poverty nor distress in Israel, during the reign of Solomon : silver and gold were (in the exaggerative style of the East) as plenty at Jerusalem as stones. See 2 Chron. 1. 15.-Ver. 16. Its crops foall ruftle, &c

This is highly poetical. The very summits of the mountains, and most naked spots, shall nod like Lebanon with full crops of corn. The hills of Judæa were in fertility inferior to those of Syria, especially the Lebanon and Antilebanon.-Ver. 20. This is no part of the psalm ; and is wanting in Syr. Arab. and 7 mss.

[ocr errors]
[ocr errors]
[ocr errors]
[ocr errors]

. LXXIII.-al. LXXII. This, in the ordinary division, is the first psalm of book tbird. The subjeét is similar to that of psalms 37, 39, and 49. The title, probably a false one, is

A PSALM OF ASAPH.
TRULY God is good to Ifrael-
to those who are pure of heart !
Yet I had well nigh staggered:
my steps were almost tottering:
when with jealousy I viewed the profane,
and saw the prosperity of the wicked.
For they had no mortal diseases,
and found and vigorous was their strength.
The woes of other men they experienced not;
nor, like other men, were they afflicted.
Hence pride encollareth their necks,
and a robe of violence investeth them.
From their midriff issueth their iniquity;
the designs of their hearts burst forth.
They scoff and speak mischievously;
calumnies they haughtily utter !
Against the heavens they set their mouths,
and their tongues are let loose on the earth.
Yet with them lodgeth every dainty ;

and with water in abundance they are supplied. II They say: “ What careth God for this?

“ Is there any knowledge in the Most High ?"

« PreviousContinue »