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Lo! these (said I) are wicked men:
it appeareth too laborious a task:
and attend to their latter end.
When mine heart is foured, and my reins rankled, I too am stupid, and without understanding: am, before thee, like the brute beasts. Yet I am ever under thy care; by my right hand thou holdest me up: thou still consultest my good, and wilt finally conduct me to honour.'
Whom then, in the heavens, · or whom on the earth, can I delight in so much as in thee?
Although my body and soul be wasted, yet my soul's support, and my portion, must ever be thou, O GOD!
27 For, lo! they, who depart from thee, perish!
- Ver. 6. Pride encollareth their necks; a metaphorical allusion to the rich collars or chains worn about the necks of great personages.--Ver. 7. From their midriff, more properly pericardium. But the ancient Hebrews knew little of anatomy: and even the Greek and Latin authors sometimes confounded the pericardium with the diaphragma. The meaning is, that the iniquity of those haughty men could not be confined by the envelope of the heart, but burst forth into open violence, as the next line expresses it. Of other very different versions of this passage, I shall only give here, that in our common transation, and that in our public liturgy. “ Their eyes stand out with fatness: they have more " than heart could wish."-" Their eyes swell with fatness; and they “ do even what they lut.”—Ver. 9. Against the heavens, &c. i. e. They blaspheme God, and speak ill of all mankind.—Ver. 10. I have, to make any thing like sense of my original, been obliged to make a small alteration in the text: for the justification of which I must refer to my Critical Remarks.—Ver. 26. My body and soul, lit. my flesh and beart: but in Heb. these terms are often synonymous.-Ver. 28. The last line is only in Sep. Vulg. and Arab. but I am convinced that it made a part of the original text. The great hope of the author is, that he and his people shall yet return to Zion, and there praise God, as formerly. The city gate was the common meeting-place of the people, where tidings were announced, contracts made, and justice distributed.
This psalm is also ascribed to Asapb: but it could not be written before the Babylonisb captivity: although some modern critics would refer it to the reigns of Abaz and Atbalia. For my part, I think it must bave been composed during the persecution of Antiocbus Epipbanes ; and tbe best commentary on it is the ist cb. of tbe Ist book of Maccbabees. The author may bave been Mattathias. The title however is,
A DIDACTIC PSALM OF ASAPH. . I WHY, O God! hast thou abandoned us? Shall thine anger smoke for ever, against the flock of thine own pasturage ?
Remember the people, whom thou purchasedst : whom thou redeemedft in days of old ; the tribe of thine own inheritance : that Zion, where once thou dwelledst.
Turn thy steps toward those defolations : every thing in thy fanctuary the foe hath ruined ! Thine enemies roar in the midst of thy folemnities! 4 Their own symbols they have set up for signs ! They have appeared like one who invadeth a thorny 5
thicket : For thus the whole carvings of thy temple with chisel and mallet, they have defaced ! To thy fanctuary itself they have set fire ! Thy tabernacle they have profaned to the ground ! In their hearts they said: “Let us utterly destroy them: 8, 6 let us abolish all God's solemnities in the land !”
Our own sacred symbols we no more see: 9 nor is there any prophet amongst us; any one who knoweth how long this fall endure.
10 How long, O GOD ! shall the enemy revile ?
shall the foe for ever blaspheme thy name?
why resteth thy right hand in thy bosom?
remember the daily reproaches of foolish men ! i 23 forget not the clamour of thine enemies; the ever increasing insolence of thine adversaries.
Ver. 1, Shall thine anger smoke for ever. He faith not burn, to mollify the expression. One's anger may be said to smoke when it is not yet quite extinguished ; and may again burst forth into fire. In a similar sense is to be taken Mait. 12. 20. quoted from Isaiah, “ The yet smoking fax he will not extinguish.”- Ver. 4. Thine enemies roar in tbe midft of thy folemnities. Instead of canticles of praise, or other acts of devotion, nothing is now heard but profane vociferation. The word, which, with almost all the antients, I render here, and again in ver. S. folemnities, is by others rendered places of worfhip, Synagogues, congregations : meanings, which the Hebrew term can hardly bear. But fee C. R.-Ib. Their own symbols they. bave set for signs. Profane representations, no doubt, agreeable to their own worship. See 1 Mac. 1. 47. - Ver. 5. Although I have given a translation of this verse the best I could, I have some dcubt of its being the true one. The antients vary strangely, and the moderns differ not less. Our common version : " A man was famous, according as he had lifted up axes upon the " thick trees,” is to me totally unintelligible. But fee C. R.-Ver. 8. Let us abolish, &c. I have followed the reading of Sep. Syr. Vulg. Arab. who make this a continuation of the enemy's speech. The present Heb. with Aq. Sym. Thcod. and Jerom, put it in the mouth of the pfalmist: They have abolised, &C.-Ver. 11. Why rejteth thy right band in thy bofon? This I take to be the undoubtful meaning of the original: nor is it necessary to make any alteration in the text, unless perhaps a single letter. See C. R.-Ver. 14. And gave them for food to the favages. Not to the Israelites, as commentators generally suppose; but either to the wild inhabitants of the desert, or the wild beasts that roamed in it. For the rest, the flesh of crocodiles was eaten by the Egyptians, and, according to the testimony of modern travellers, is no bad food. The psalmist, however, is supposed here to speak mataphorically of Pharaoh and his hoft, drowned in the Red sea; whose carcases became a prey to the favages on its border.-—Ver. 16. The light and the fun. Some of the antients have the moon and the sun; or, the sun and ibe moon.—Ver. 20. Have regard to thine own covenant. The words to thine own are not in the present text; but they were either found in it, or added to it, by the antient interpreters. Chald. has the covenant which thou