Psalm 76

Psalm 76
Jehovah on Earth, In Zion, Defending Israel
Psalm 76. This is another Psalm of Asaph, intended to be played on stringed instruments, and it describes the time when Jehovah will appear for the deliverance of Israel, crushing the armies of the returning Assyrian (Daniel 8:25; 11:45; Zech. 14:3-4; Joel 2:20),123 and will take His throne in Zion, and establish His rule. This Psalm shows that in the end, the tables will be turned, and the “rod” of the Assyrian that was previously used to judge the apostate Jews, will itself come under the judgment of God (Isa. 10:12-19).
To the chief Musician. On stringed instruments. A Psalm of Asaph: a Song.
1 In Judah is God known, his name is great in Israel;
2 And in Salem is his tent, and his dwelling-place in Zion.
3 There broke he the flashings of the bow, shield and sword and battle. Selah.
vv.1-3 The Place Where God Will Be Known. When the Lord appears, He will first deal with the armies of the Beast at the north of the land of Israel, and then He will move down to Jerusalem where He will defeat the armies of the King of the North returning from the land of Egypt. The Lord will dwell in Judah (tribe), Salem (city), and Zion (hill), and He will “encamp about” the city “because of the army… and the exactor shall not pass through them any more” (Zech. 9:8). The destruction of the vast army – which is poetically described in v.3 as God breaking the bow, shield, sword, and battle – will actually take place between the Mediterranean and the Dead Sea; “But I will remove far off from you the northern army, and will drive him into a land barren and desolate, with his face toward the east sea, and his hinder part toward the utmost sea, and his stink shall come up, etc.” (Joel 2:20). The destruction of Israel’s great enemy is followed by a suitable pause; “Selah”.
4 More glorious art thou, more excellent, than the mountains of prey.
5 The stout-hearted are made a spoil, they have slept their sleep; and none of the men of might have found their hands.
6 At thy rebuke, O God of Jacob, both chariot and horse are cast into a dead sleep.
7 Thou, thou art to be feared, and who can stand before thee when once thou art angry?
8 Thou didst cause judgment to be heard from the heavens; the earth feared, and was still,
9 When God rose up to judgment, to save all the meek of the earth. Selah.
vv.4-9 A Description of God Coming Forth in Judgment. When God stands up in judgment, it is He that is preeminently glorious, more excellent than even the mountains of prey that lay at His feet. The warriors that stand up against Him, no matter how stout-hearted they are, are instantly defeated without even a chance to grasp their weapons. They are pictured as put to sleep, along with the instruments they rely on; the chariot and the horse being symbolic. The rhetorical question arises, who can stand against God when He is angry? No one. God has stoop up in judgment, but also in deliverance of His people, “to save all the meek of the earth”. Again, there is a suitable pause to reflect.
10 For the fury of man shall praise thee; the remainder of fury wilt thou gird on thyself.
11 Vow and pay unto Jehovah your God: let all that are round about him bring presents unto him that is to be feared.
12 He cutteth off the spirit of princes; he is terrible to the kings of the earth.
vv.10-12 Undisputed Victory. In His wisdom, God has used the “fury of man” to praise Him. There is a “remainder of fury” which the Lord will “gird on” Himself. This might refer to the destruction of Gog and Magog, which at this time still remain in the north? The call goes forth from the remnant to all of Israel and perhaps even the nations around; “Vow and pay unto Jehovah your God: let all that are round about him bring presents unto him that is to be feared”. God is victorious over all His enemies; kings and princes are no match for Him.
  1. Without avail had the testimony of judgment been rendered, and Judah, even Salem, yea Zion itself, has become the scene of its display. There the Assyrian hosts have met their doom. – Whybrow, W.T. The Psalms.
  2. Psalm 76 is extremely simple in its application to the judgment of the kings, who come up against Jerusalem in their pride, and find, unlooked for, the Lord Himself there (compare Micah 4:11-13 and Zech. 12:2; Zech. 14:3-4). – Darby, J.N. The Synopsis of the Books of the Bible.
  3. Isaiah looks forward to the same great event when he utters Jehovah’s prophecy, “I will break the Assyrian in my land, and upon my mountains tread him under foot” (Isa. 14:25). Then follows a description of this overwhelming judgment. – Smith, H. The Psalms.