Psalms

 
THE BOOK OF THE
PSALMS
 
Book 1
 
 
Book 3
 
 
 
The Psalms. The Psalms are a composition of 150 individual songs of thanksgiving, praise and prayer. Generally, the Psalms are the expressions of the sentiments of the heart in difficulty and deliverance. There is a difference between the book (or books) of Psalms and “the Psalms” as mentioned in Luke 24. There it refers to all the poetic books; Job, Psalms, Proverbs, Ecclesiastes, and Song of Solomon. But when we get “the book of Psalms, as in Acts 1:20, it refers specifically to the collection of 150 psalms. The Psalms were written over a vast period of time, but were eventually collected and arranged as led by the Spirit of God. The Psalms historically were composed over a great span of time; about 1000 years! For instance, we have a Psalm written by Moses (Ps. 90), and also one written after the Judean captivity in Babylon (Ps. 137). We do not know when the Psalms were collected, or who was involved, but many scholars suggest that it was Ezra’s work. The collection of Psalms are inspired by the Spirit of God:
  • The name of the book is owned of the Lord (Acts 1:20)
  • The numbering of the book is owned of the Lord (Acts 13:33)
  • Event the titles of the Psalms are inspired too!
So, the book of Psalms is Divinely named, titled and ordered!1
 
Who are the Psalms about? Are the Psalms about Christians? No, the Psalms do not properly give us Christian position, experience and blessings. The Church is a heavenly entity, with heavenly blessings and heavenly hopes. All in the Word of God is for us; that does not mean it is always about us! There is a difference between “the Psalms” in the Old Testament and “psalms” in the New Testament; “speaking to yourselves in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs” (Eph. 5:19). The psalms sung by the church were quite distinct from the inspired poetry in the Old Testament, written by David, Asaph, and others for the Jewish people. We have no indication that Old Testament inspired psalms were sung in the assembly of God, and this is fitting because it would take the heavenly saints off of their proper ground onto Jewish ground. For instance, confusing Jerusalem with the Church leads some Christians pray for and seek the death of their enemies, which is the furthest thing from a proper Christian attitude and position. Who, then, is featured in the Old Testament book of Psalms? The Psalms characterize the hopes of Israel, not only in the past, but also in the future. The Psalms give us the proper expressions of the Remnant, 2 which is an earthly people, with earthly blessings, and earthly hopes. The Psalms give us the Spirit of Christ identifying with His earthly people expressed in the sentiments of heart and feelings of Israel, and of the Messiah Himself; “Searching what, or what manner of time the Spirit of Christ which was in them did signify, when it testified beforehand the sufferings of Christ, and the glory that should follow” (1 Peter 1:11). “The Spirit of Christ” is the Spirit of God breathing out through the saints the sentiments and feelings of the Lord Jesus while here as a Man on earth. Through the Psalms we are given deep insight into the Remnant’s experiences, trials, sorrows, tribulations, but also their relief, joy and deliverance. The book provides another “key” to unfold the prophetic scriptures in a deeper way and from a unique perspective. The Psalms do not give us doctrinal outlines of prophetic events per se; but rather the feelings and expressions of heart and soul of a remnant of God’s people during the time when prophecy will be fulfilled.
 
Three Ways to Read and Understand the Psalms. There are at least three ways the Psalms generally considered. It is interesting that there are multiple aspects to the Psalms, as with all of scripture. It is fitting that the following would be found in the Psalms; “Thy commandment is exceeding broad” (Psalm 119:96b).
  1. Historically (Past), as the original circumstances and feelings of the writer (David, Moses, Asaph). The Psalms perfectly capture the expressions and feelings of the writer in the circumstances they were passing through, and of their hopes. As an example, Psalm 57:1 was written by David “when he fled from Saul in the cave”.
  2. Devotionally (Present), as present comfort and practical encouragement in our lives as Christians. Although the expressions and “heart” expressed in the Psalms is suited to the Lord’s earthly people, we can still gain personal enjoyment, comfort, and encouragement from them. Take again Psa. 57. While we would not pray with David for the destruction of our persecutors, we can follow him in the cries for help, and in the praise of God in spite of persecution. In this way, the Psalms are precious to believers.
  3. Prophetically (Future), as the future experiences of the Jews in the coming Tribulation. The Spirit has arranged these Psalms in alignment with coming prophetic events. The expressions and sentiments of the Psalms are in alignment with the portion and character of the remnant, as well as in the circumstances in which they will find themselves. In this prophetic aspect of things, there are several main focus points.
    1. The Remnant, as the feelings, sentiments, and expressions of the remnant as they pass through trials, sorrow, and suffering, as well as consequent deliverance and exaltation, and the liberty and blessing of the restored nation of Israel at the head of all nations. Psalm 1 introduces this subject.
    2. The Messiah, as the experiences of Christ in His humiliation and sufferings (first coming) and His future exaltation and Kingdom glory (second coming). Psalm 2 introduces this subject.
The Psalms were intended to be sung with music, and this was part of the earthly worship of the children of Israel. In the millennial kingdom, the saints once again will worship with musical instruments, a trained choir, etc. But in Christianity, we “worship the Father in spirit and in truth” (John 4:23), and thus there are no instructions in the New Testament for the assembly to use musical instruments in worship.
 
Who wrote the Psalms? Many of the Psalms identify an author, usually in the title or near the end of the Psalm. We read of seven whose authorship is revealed:
  1. David is called “the sweet psalmist of Israel” (2 Sam. 23:1), and he wrote more than half of the Psalms, composed the music, and even became an inventor of musical instruments (Amos 6:5). The circumstances of David’s life serve as the historical backdrop for many of the Psalms.
  2. Asaph was a singer and leader of the temple choir in the time of David, along with Heman and Ethan (1 Chron. 15:19), and he was also a prophet or “seer” (2 Chron. 29:30). Asaph the son of Berechiah was a descendant of Levi through Gershom. His ancestors were also singers in the times of Ezra and Nehemiah (Ezra 2:41; 3:10; Neh. 7:44). Asaph wrote at least twelve Psalms (Psa. 50; 73–83).
  3. The Sons of Korah are the descendants of the infamous Levite who rebelled against Moses’ authority (Num. 16). The fact that the sons of Korah are credited with these Psalms is evidence of the mercy and grace of God. These singers are credited with at least eleven Psalms (Psa. 42, 44–49, 84, 85, 87 and 88).
  4. Heman the Ezrahite could be either a wise man, one of the five sons of Zerah (1 Kings 4:31; 1 Chron. 2:6), or he could be the son of Joel, and one of the chief singers of David, along with Asaph and Ethan (1 Chron. 15:17). He wrote Psalm 88.
  5. Ethan the Ezrahite could be either a wise man, one of the five sons of Zerah (1 Kings 4:31; 1 Chron. 2:6), or he could be the son of Kushaiah, and one of the chief singers of David, along with Asaph and Heman (1 Chron. 15:17). He wrote Psalm 89.
  6. Moses needs no introduction. He wrote Psalm 90, and probably Psalm 91 (which is an orphan Psalm).
  7. Solomon also needs no introduction. It is interesting that Psalm 72 is a Psalm “about” or “concerning” Solomon, so probably not written by him. But the title of Psalm 127 mentions Solomon, indicating he is the author.
In addition to this, there are various Psalms with unknown authors.
 
The Books and Series. In the Hebrew Bible the Psalms were not one book as in our English Bible, but instead they were broken down into five books. The end of each book is distinguished with an expression such as “Amen, and Amen” or “Praise ye Jehovah”. There is a certain significance to each book, as well a a progression within them. The every earliest Christian commentators have noticed this, but remained puzzled about it. Augustine of Hippo said, “The sequence of the Psalms seems to me to contain the secret of a mighty mystery, but its meaning has not been revealed to me.” (Enarrationes in Psalmos, on Psalm 150). It was not until dispensational truth and the truth of prophecy was recovered in the mid-1800’s that the true meaning of the sequence of the Psalms was revealed. Each book of the Psalms focuses on the experiences and feelings of the Remnant of Israel in a particular phase of future prophetic events. But within each book are series of Psalms, that run over those events again and again, much like other prophetic scriptures such as Isaiah and Revelation. While each book focuses on a different phase of future events, they all stretch on to the end, to the Millennium. In this way, the faithful are constantly directed to the coming day of glory, from the very beginning (the beginning of sorrows) until the Lord Himself appears. In addition to this prophetic sequence, the five books of the Psalms have also been correlated to the five books of Moses. The following chart will attempt to summarize these various sequences and progressions.
 
Book
Chapters & Series
Prophetic Scope
Correlation to the Pentateuch 
1
Psalms 1 – 41
Series (6): 1-8; 9-15; 16-18; 19-24; 25-34; 35-41
Beginning of Sorrows into the Millennium
Genesis: the book of beginnings; God’s dealings begin with His people
2
Psalms 42 – 72
Series (4): 42-51; 52-60; 61-68; 69-72
The Great Tribulation into the Millennium
Exodus: persecution, suffering and deliverance
3
Psalms 73 – 89
Series (2): 73-78; 79-89
First Attack of the Assyrian into the Millennium
Leviticus: the sanctuary of the Lord and approach to Him
4
Psalms 90 – 106
Series (2): 90-93; 94-106
Appearing of Messiah into the Millennium
Numbers: the wilderness journey and experiences
5
Psalms 107 – 150
Series (4): 107-113; 114-119; 120-136; 137-150
National Restoration into the Millennium
Deuteronomy: history recounted and possession of the land
 
The Placement of Psalms in Prophecy. It should be noted that the Psalms do not contain events per se. Instead they are the prayers and feelings of earthly saints, and they fit with the circumstances of the remnant at a given time, or else fit generally with their place and portion throughout prophecy. The application of the Psalms to the remnant has to with recognizing the pattern that repeats itself through the various series. The Psalms don’t give us the events of prophecy, but other scriptures do. In the Psalms we have the voices of earthly saints, first crying out in a time of trouble, then anticipating deliverance, and finally coming into rest and blessing. It follows the pattern of prophecy elsewhere disclosed. To show that this aspect of the Psalms is quite reasonable and orderly, we can look at other places in prophecy where we have the feelings and prayers of the remnant also. For instance Isaiah 53 is a confession of the remnant. But aren’t the Psalms about the writers? Yes and no. Certainly, the Psalms are about David and others who wrote them. For instance, David wrote Psalm 22. He felt that God was forsaking him at that time. It was true of David in a limited sense, but the New Testament shows us that it was really prophetic of Christ being forsaken by God. The true fulfillment of Psalm 22 is of Christ. I think it is the same way with the remnant. For example, in Psalm 3, the feelings of David when fleeing from Absalom are the same feelings that the remnant will have when being persecuted by antichrist. This is because Absalom is a type or picture of antichrist, who tries to usurp the throne of Messiah. The following chart is used by permission from the author, Bruce Anstey. In this chart Bruce places each Psalm near the place in the prophetic timeline where it could fall.
 
Jehovahistic and Elohistic Psalms. Certain psalms are addressed to Jehovah, and others to Elohim. Psalms 1 – 41 are to Jehovah, Psalms 42 – 83 are to Elohim, and Psalms 84 – 150 are to Jehovah! The name “Elohim” is first introduced with respect to creation, in Genesis 1:1; “In the beginning Elohim created the heaven and the earth.” We have Elohim framing the universe with His words, and we see the effect of His mighty power, but he is unapproachable, and incomprehensible. His “eternal power and deity” (Rom. 1:20) are conveyed, but we do not yet see God in relationship with man, only as Creator. Jehovah is the modern transliteration of the Hebrew name Yahweh, which is God’s name in relationship with men, especially with Israel. Hence in Genesis 1 we have only “Elohim”, the Creator; but in Genesis 2 we have “Jehovah Elohim,” because the relationship of God with men is brought in. When the Psalms are addressed to Jehovah, a covenant-relationship is assumed. But when Elohim is addressed, a Creator-creature relationship is assumed, and hence a bit more of a distance. Why then the change in Psa. 42 and 84? The prophecy outline of Psalms helps us to understand this. In the Jehovahistic Psalms the remnant are viewed as being able to carry on their temple worship in the land of Israel. The Psalms which pertain to this period (the first book) address “Jehovah,” His covenant name, which denotes Israel’s covenant relationship with God. But after the rise of Antichrist, the faithful remnant of the Jews fall under extreme persecution, and they must flee their land and the temple, and go to the mountains. As the remnant is viewed as cast out by their brethren and away from the sanctuary, their prayers become addressed to “God” (Elohim). In these Psalms the remnant comes to know God in a deeper way, as they are brought to a point where they appeal to Him in terms of what He is intrinsically, rather than according to His covenant relationship with Israel as a nation. In the Elohistic Psalms there are references to Jehovah, but only as looking back or looking forward, because the people at the present time are not viewed as being in possession of covenant blessings.3 This continues for the whole of the second book and into the third book of the Psalms, until the time when the Lord appears and restores the faithful Jews to their land. Then the Psalms resume their Jehovahistic character once again!
 
Categories of Psalms. It is helpful to see that there are Psalms that have a particular character or style to them, such as the Messianic psalms.
  • Messianic (18)

    The "Messianic Psalms" are those Psalms that speak of Christ personally, whether in His sufferings or His coming glories. Usually these Psalms are quoted in the New Testament, and applied to Christ. They are: Psalms 2; 8; 16; 18; 22; 31; 40; 41; 45; 68; 69; 91; 97; 102; 104; 110; 117; 118. A subset of the Messianic Psalms that deal with the sufferings of Christ are called "Passion Psalms". They are Psalms 18; 22; 31; 69; 88; 102.

  • Imprecatory (19) These Psalms contain requests to judge Israel’s enemies. In some, only a portion of the psalm may be imprecatory. They are: Psalms 5; 7; 10; 28; 35; 55; 58; 59; 69; 79; 82; 83; 94; 109; 137; 140; 141; 143; 144
  • Acrostic (9) These psalms follow the order of the Hebrew alphabet; each verse or section of verses begin with a different letter. They are: Psalms 9; 10; 25; 34; 37; 111; 112; 119; 145 (some of these psalms don’t contain all the Hebrew letters in totality) – “Acrostics are of interest in Scripture, as showing the condescension of God to man’s ways, even in the style of composition” – GVW
  • Penitential (5) These psalms contain the confession of sins of the remnant Jews. They are: Psalms 25; 32; 38; 41; 51. Note that Psalm 130 also contains a confession, but in the context it is the repentance and restoration of the 10 tribes. It begins in Psa. 25, where the remnant confesses there is something in their past that is not right, but it is a distant memory. Then in Psa. 32, we have a confession of sin; not trying to hide it. In Psa. 38 they are “sorry for sin”, and openly declaring it. They see their sin clearly. In Psa. 41 they know their sin is against God; “I have sinned against thee”. Finally, in Psa. 51 we have full and deep confession, even to recognizing their sin nature, and blood-guiltiness.
  • Creation (5) These Psalms speak to God’s Creatorial Power. They are: Psalms 19, 29, 104, 139, 148
  • Hallelujah (15) These Psalms appear closer to the end of the book of Psalms. They show the nearness of the coming reign of Jehovah in the Millennial Kingdom and give expression to the anticipation of it by Israel. They either start or finish with “Hallelujah” (“Praise ye the Lord”). They are: Psalms 104-106; 111-113; 115-117; 135; 146-150. At the end of the fifth book we find “Double Hallelujah” Psalms which start and end with praising Jehovah (Psa. 146-150). It is fitting that the Psalms close with a crescendo of praise to the Lord!
Common Headings. The headings of the Psalms are inspired and meant to be read. The headings and their meanings give a general “feel” or “perspective” that God would seek to convey to the reader as they move through the psalm. Most of the Psalms (116) have headings; but 34 do not. These are sometimes called “orphan” Psalms.
  • Maschil (13) – meaning “to give instruction.” These psalms give instruction – likely will give special instruction to the remnant in a coming day. They are Psalms 32; 42; 44; 45; 52; 53; 54; 55; 74; 78; 88; 89; 142.
  • Michtam (6) – meaning “golden psalm” or “golden jewel” – These Psalms illustrate the preciousness of the Lord’s people to His heart who trust Him through trial. They are: Psalms 16; 56; 57; 58; 59; 60.
  • Songs of Degrees (15) – signifies “going up; ascent” – Psalms 120 – 134. Found in the 5th Book, the Psalms in this book are not so prophetic in character as the others but are more distinctly moral in character. Jehovah is celebrated and praised  – historically, applying to the return from Babylon to Jerusalem, look forward to the various stages of Israel’s moral return to Jehovah.
  • Other common titles include: Al-Tashcheth meaning “Destroy Not” (Psalms 57; 58; 59; 75), Gittith meaning “Winepress” (Psalms 8; 81; 84), Jeduthun meaning “Praise Giver” or “Let Them Give Praise” (Psalms 39; 62; 77), Neginah or Neginoth meaning “Smitings” or “to strike the strings” (Psalms 4; 6; 54; 55; 61; 67; 76), Sheminith meaning “The Eighth Division” or “Upon the Octave” (Psalms 6; 12), and Shoshannim meaning “Lilies” (Psalms 45; 69).
 

References:

  1. Anstey, B. Prophetic Outline of the Psalms. Christian Truth Publishing. Canada, 1988
  2. Costron, J. Introduction to the Psalms with their Prophetic Application. January 2021
  3. Kelly, W. Notes on the Psalms.
 
  1. There is no part of scripture more evidently inspired of God, none more frequently cited by the Holy Spirit throughout the N.T., none more important for the believer to understand by divine teaching, so as on the one hand to enjoy truth needful, fertile, and strengthening for the affections, and on the other hand to keep clear of mistaken applications which might darken and even destroy all right sense of our proper relationship as Christians. – Kelly, W. Notes on the Psalms.
  2. The Remnant is a reference to two groups: a remnant of Jews (2 tribes) and a remnant of Israel (10 tribes).
  3. Up to this, save as looking back or looking forward, the cry of the people is addressed to God, the people not being in possession of covenant blessings. – Darby, J.N. Synopsis of the Books of the Bible.

Psalm 1

 
The First Book of the Psalms
Psalms 1 – 41
 
The First Book of the Psalms (1 – 41). From a prophetic standpoint, the first book of the Psalms focuses on the first half of Daniel’s seventieth week, and gives us the expressions and sentiments of the Jewish remnant as they pass through the “beginning of sorrows”, and it continues on into the Millennium. The first book gives us the broadest timespan of prophetic events. The first book of Psalms corresponds with the first book of the Pentateuch, Genesis; i.e. the book of beginnings, wherein God’s dealings begin with His people. Read more…

Psalm 1
The Path of the Righteous and of the Wicked
 
Psalm 1. The first two Psalms give us an introduction to the two great subjects of the Psalms; (1) the remnant and (2) the Messiah. Here in Psalm 1 we have the character of the faithful remnant (the “righteous”) in contrast with the character of the apostate nation of Israel, “the counsel of the wicked”. In the beginning of the prophetic week, the unbelieving Jews and the believing ones will be together in the land. Separation, enjoyment of the scriptures, and fruitfulness will mark the difference. In the end, those who chose the path of righteousness are the happy ones, and the wicked will come into judgment. W. Kelly remarked that this Psalm is broken into two sections: vv.1-3 and vv.4-6.
 
PSALM 1
1 Blessed is the man that walketh not in the counsel of the wicked, and standeth not in the way of sinners, and sitteth not in the seat of scorners;
 
v.1 The separation of the righteous. The first thing that characterizes the righteous man is that he is “blessed” or happy. The ultimate example of this is Christ Himself, the true Nazarite, and the “blessed” or happy Man. If we want to be happy, we must be characterized by the same things that we have here. First is separation from the wicked. We have three things: walking, standing, and sitting. There is a progression in this, that of gradually becoming more comfortable in sin. Peter is an example of a believer who failed in this. He “went in” to the hall of Caiaphas (Mat 26:58), and at first “stood at the door without” but soon found himself standing “with them”, warming himself (John 18:16, 18), and finally “Peter sat down among them” (Luke 22:55). Could Peter be happy in those circumstances? No. “And Peter went out, and wept bitterly” (Luke 22:62). We must refrain from going on with the wicked. Prophetically, this describes the character of the faithful remnant as those who keep themselves separate from the apostate nation of Israel. But as a moral principle, it applies to all times.
 
2 But his delight is in Jehovah’s law, and in his law doth he meditate day and night.
 
v.2 The occupation of the righteous. It is not enough to separate from the wicked, negatively (v.1). We must also have an occupation to fill our hearts and minds, positively (v.2). So. the next thing we see is that the faithful enjoy the Word of God. Instead of being occupied with what the world is interested in, the righteous “delight” in “Jehovah’s law”. To delight in the Word of God is to rejoice every opportunity we have to read it, and practice it. But there is more; “and in his law doth he meditate day and night”. Meditation is just as important as reading. When we meditate on something we’ve read, we consider it, mull it over in our minds and hearts, and allow it affect our conscience.
 
3 And he is as a tree planted by brooks of water, which giveth its fruit in its season, and whose leaf fadeth not; and all that he doeth prospereth.
 
v.3 The prosperity of the righteous. The results then of choosing to walk separate from evil and to occupy oneself with the Word of God is seen. The righteous one is compared to a “tree planted by brooks of water”. It is a symbol of peace, stability, and fruitfulness. Such a tree has a permanent source of refreshment, similar to “a fruitful bough by a well” (Gen. 49:22). If we draw our refreshment from the Word of God, we will be like a tree that “giveth its fruit in its season”. Leaves do not prematurely fade is a tree is well supplied with water. Leaves speak of our outward profession (Matt. 21:19), and also of the sheltering effect we can have toward our brethren. Our usefulness will only be sustained if we walk according to the Word of God. we are not firmly “rooted and grounded” (Eph. 3:17) by the “water of the word” (Eph. 5:26) our usefulness will eventually deteriorate. The Lord will reward the faithful with prosperity. In the Old Testament, faithfulness to God would often result in material prosperity. A nice example of this is Joseph; “The chief of the tower-house looked not to anything under his hand, because Jehovah was with him; and what he did, Jehovah made it prosper” (Gen. 39:23). But in Christianity, our blessings are spiritual and heavenly. We are not to look for material prosperity here, but we can expect spiritual prosperity; more and more of a conformance to Christ; “he that soweth to the Spirit shall of the Spirit reap life everlasting” (Gal. 6:8). But in the Millennial kingdom, the righteous will materially prosper!
 
4 The wicked are not so; but are as the chaff which the wind driveth away.
5 Therefore the wicked shall not stand in the judgment, nor sinners in the assembly of the righteous.
 
vv.4-5 The character of the wicked. The wicked are compared to chaff (almost dust), which is blown about by the wind. It pictures total instability. The men of this world are carried about by their circumstances. They have no real anchor for the soul, and so they are easily moved and manipulated. Satan will use this in the tribulation to move men according to his sinister purpose. In the end, when God brings everyone before the bar of His righteous judgment, “the wicked shall not stand in the judgment”. The righteous choose to stand not in the “way of sinners” in this life, but the wicked, though they may in horror realize the folly of their mistake, are barred from standing in “the assembly of the righteous” for all eternity!
 
6 For Jehovah knoweth the way of the righteous, but the way of the wicked shall perish.
 
v.6 The end of the wicked. The wicked, like the tares among the wheat, can carry on for a time. But the end of the path of the wicked is outer darkness; “the way of the wicked shall perish”. Notice the way the path of the righteous is described; “Jehovah knoweth the way of the righteous”. It is a path that the Lord Himself knows; it is a path suited to His pleasure, and with which He can have communion. The faithful enter into His mind!
 

Psalm 2

 
Psalm 2
The Kingdom and Reign of Jehovah’s Son
 
Psalm 2. This second Psalm introduces the second great subject of the Psalms; i.e. the Messiah Himself. We had the remnant introduced in the first Psalm, and now we get the remnant’s hope introduced in the second Psalm. Psalm 2 is of vast importance as we find it quoted abundantly (5X) in the New Testament. This is a Psalm of David, as we will learn in vv.1-2.
 
The Messianic Psalms.

The "Messianic Psalms" are those Psalms that speak of Christ personally, whether in His sufferings or His coming glories. Usually these Psalms are quoted in the New Testament, and applied to Christ. They are: Psalms 2; 8; 16; 18; 22; 31; 40; 41; 45; 68; 69; 91; 97; 102; 104; 110; 117; 118. A subset of the Messianic Psalms that deal with the sufferings of Christ are called "Passion Psalms". They are Psalms 18; 22; 31; 69; 88; 102.

 
PSALM 2
1 “Why are the nations in tumultuous agitation, and why do the peoples meditate a vain thing?
2 The kings of the earth set themselves, and the princes plot together, against Jehovah and against his anointed:” [vv.1-2 quoted in Acts 4:25-26]
3 Let us break their bonds asunder, and cast away their cords from us!
 
vv.1-3 The nations’ vain thoughts against Jehovah. Note that vv.1-2 are quoted in Acts 4:25-26, and their attributed to “the mouth of thy servant David”, showing that this Psalm is a Psalm of David. This is an indication that at least some of the unclaimed Psalms are really also authored by “the sweet psalmist of Israel” (2 Sam. 23:1). The nations are pictured in a state of turmoil, like the raging waves of the sea. The psalmist asks the question, why are the nations in such a state? “Why do the peoples meditate a vain thing?” The word “peoples” in the Hebrew is a general word for the races of men. The nations have organized themselves (into confederacies) and their leaders plot together for a common purpose: to rebel against Jehovah and His purpose, which is to glorify Christ, “his anointed”. The Hebrew word for “anointed” is “mshichu”, which is the same as Messiah, or “Christ” in Greek (John 1:41). They resist the authority of God, and the reign of Christ. In Acts 4, vv.1-2 are quoted in reference to the unholy union of Pilate and Herod, of the Jews and the Romans, against the Lord Jesus.1 Luke shows that the alliance of nations against Christ at His first coming is in accordance with the character of Psalm 2, although it is not the final fulfillment. The final fulfillment is still future!
 
4 He that dwelleth in the heavens shall laugh, the Lord shall have them in derision.
5 Then will he speak to them in his anger, and in his fierce displeasure will he terrify them:
6 And I have anointed my king upon Zion, the hill of my holiness.
 
vv.4-6 Jehovah’s Voice to the Nations. But will the efforts of rebellious man, under the control of Satan, come to fruition? No! The power of sovereignty of God rises up like an impenetrable fortress. The laughter of God shows the utter foolishness of puny man’s bold efforts to overthrow His plans; “He that dwelleth in the heavens shall laugh, the Lord shall have them in derision.” After the laughter, Jehovah’s voice of anger is heard, announcing the accomplishment of His purpose in spite of their efforts; “I have anointed my king upon Zion”. This is seen as terrifying the nations.
 
7 “I will declare the decree: Jehovah hath said unto me, Thou art my Son; I this day have begotten thee.” [quoted in Acts 13:33; Heb. 1:5; 5:5]
8 Ask of me, and I will give thee nations for an inheritance, and for thy possession the ends of the earth:
9 “Thou shalt break them with a sceptre of iron, as a potter’s vessel thou shalt dash them in pieces.” [quoted in Rev.2:27]
 
vv.7-9 Jehovah’s Decree to His Son. We now have the voice of Messiah Himself speaking, repeating the decree given to Him by Jehovah. This section brings out the earthly royalty of Messiah, reigning in Zion, upon the throne of David. The fact that Christ speaking in Revelation 2:27 quotes Psalm 2 about Jehovah addressing His Son, and then states that it was a promise He had received from His Father, is a beautiful testimony to the Eternal Sonship and Deity of Christ! Psalm 2, likely written 1000 years before the incarnation, testifies of the Sonship of Christ, and the Father’s desire (though not yet revealed as Father until Christ came), to glorify His Son. The statement “Thou art my Son; I this day have begotten thee” refers to the Sonship of Christ in time, in connection with His incarnation. But contrary to the false ideas of man, when Christ’s sonship is mentioned in connection with His incarnation (such as 2 Sam. 7:14; Heb. 1:5; 5:5), it does not set aside His eternal Sonship, but rather it strengthens it! Although the Son was now a man in humiliation on earth, He was begotten of God, not merely a product of the flesh as other men. But the expression “Thou art my Son” declares the truth of His eternal relationship. The point is simply this: that even as a man on earth, Christ remained the Son! This is borne out in the following statement: “Ask of me, and I will give thee nations for an inheritance, and for thy possession the ends of the earth”. It is an account of the sonship of Christ that He is heir of all things. As a perfect, dependent man, Christ will “ask” His Father for His inheritance. What a blessed reward for the One who was faithful in the face of the Devil’s temptation (Matt. 4:8-9)! The Messiah’s undisputed authority is pictured as “a rod of iron”. The nations which raged against Him will be broken “like a potter’s vessel”. We get the Messiah’s right to the kingdom in v.7; “Thou art my Son”. We get the extent of His kingdom in v.8; “the ends of the earth”. We get the way He will take the kingdom in v.10, i.e. through judgement; “Thou shalt break them, etc.”
 
10 And now, O kings, be ye wise, be admonished, ye judges of the earth.
11 Serve Jehovah with fear, and rejoice with trembling.
12 Kiss the Son, lest he be angry, and ye perish in the way, though his anger burn but a little.
 
Blessed are all who have their trust in him. 
 
vv.10-12 Jehovah’s Admonition to the Nations. The admonition is to the kings and judges of the earth, to some and submit themselves to Jehovah and to His Christ while there is still time. This is the essence of the gospel of the kingdom, which will be carried forth by the remnant. Perhaps they will use these very words? Read more… “Kiss the Son” means to pledge unfailing allegiance to Him. The last sentence is separated from the previous line as a word to the faithful. It shows that Psa. 1-2 really form an introduction together; bookended by “blessed is the man”. When the faithful consider Him who will reign victorious over all enemies, they are encouraged in the path; “Blessed are all who have their trust in him.” Only those who receive the gospel of the kingdom will put their trust in Him (Matt. 25).
 
  1. “the rebellious union of Romans and Jews, of Pilate and Herod, against the Lord.” – Kelly, W. Notes on the Psalms.

Psalm 3

 
Psalm 3
An Evening Prayer for Deliverance from Enemies
 
Psalm 3 – 7. These Psalms form a progression, illustrated by the various stages of a 24-hour day, from one morning to the next. The expressions get deeper as the series progresses. In Psalm 3, the psalmist is viewed in the morning; “I laid me down and slept; I awaked”. (This may be an indication of the prophetic awakening of Israel.) It is a day of persecution and trial that the psalmist is about to face, foreshadowed by David fleeing from Absalom. In Psalm 4, the psalmist is viewed in the evening; “in peace will I both lay me down and sleep” (Psa. 4:8). In Psalm 5, the psalmist is viewed in the night, looking forward to the future morning; “in the morning shalt thou hear my voice; in the morning will I address myself to thee, and will look up” (Psa. 5:3). In Psalm 6, the psalmist is viewed weeping all night; “all the night make I my bed to swim” (Psa. 6:6). In Psalm 7, the psalmist is seen at dawn, asking the Lord to “Arise”, “lift thyself up”, and “awake for me”. In Psalm 8, a Messianic Psalm, the full light of day has arrived! Prophetically, this series brings us through the expressions of the remnant in the prophetic week, through to the appearing and reign of Christ!
 
Psalm 3. The historical context of this psalm is given in the inscription; “A Psalm of David, when he fled from Absalom his son.” The suffering that David experienced as he fled from Absalom was extremely deep, especially because it came from his own son. As David fled from Absalom, he became aware of just how great the division was in Israel; “And there came a messenger to David, saying, The hearts of the men of Israel are after Absalom” (2 Sam. 15:13). This is used by the Spirit of God to foreshadow the experiences of the Jewish remnant, as the persecution rises up against them from the apostate nation. In vv.1-2 the psalmist is looking around at the persecution, in vv.4-5 he is looking up in confidence to Jehovah, in v.6 he is looking ahead to the Lord’s deliverance in the future, and in vv.7-8 he is looking back, seeing the present from the future, through the lens of prophecy.
 
PSALM 3
A Psalm of David, when he fled from Absalom his son.
1 Jehovah, how many are they that trouble me, many they that rise up against me!
2 Many say of my soul, There is no salvation for him in God. Selah.
3 But thou, Jehovah, art a shield about me; my glory, and the lifter up of my head.
 
vv.1-3 Persecution and Protection. The faithful transparently address God regarding the mounting persecution, here called “trouble”. The number of enemies is growing, and public opinion is that the faithful are doomed. The wicked torture the faithful with the thought that God will not save them. The word “Selah” means ‘stop and consider’. In spite of the severe persecution, the faithful have their confidence in Jehovah, who is view as a “shield” round about them. David was put to shame by Absalom, but he could speak of Jehovah as “my glory”. The Lord encourages the faithful in times of trial.
 
4 With my voice will I call to Jehovah, and he will answer me from the hill of his holiness. Selah.
5 I laid me down and slept; I awaked, for Jehovah sustaineth me.
6 I will not fear for myriads of the people that have set themselves against me round about.
 
vv.4-6 Confidence in Jehovah. The faithful cry out to the Lord, and He answers them. With full trust and confidence in the Lord, the faithful can lay down and sleep, like Jesus on the Sea of Galilee. Although “myriads” of enemies surround us, under the Lord’s protection we have nothing to fear! 
 
7 Arise, Jehovah; save me, my God! For thou hast smitten all mine enemies upon the cheekbone, thou hast broken the teeth of the wicked.
8 Salvation is of Jehovah; thy blessing is upon thy people. Selah.
 
vv.7-8 Anticipation of Salvation. The faithful call on the Lord to “arise” and save them. All deliverance, and all blessing, can only come through the Lord. Notice the past tense; he is looking back, seeing the present from the future, through the lens of prophecy.1
 
  1. His confidence anticipates, and, in the spirit of prophecy, sees the end from the beginning. – Kelly, W. Notes on the Psalms.

Psalm 4

 
Psalm 4
Trusting God in Times of Pressure
 
Psalm 4. Here we have another Psalm of David, and although the heading does not specify the circumstances in which it was written, some expositors feel it is a natural sequel to the preceding Psalm; i.e. David fleeing from Absalom. But while Psalm 3 was more personal, Psalm 4 is directed at others, and was perhaps intended for public service.1 The theme of this Psalm is the remnant’s confidence in the Lord in times of extreme pressure, and the peace and joy they can know while walking in the paths of righteousness. 
 
PSALM 4
To the chief Musician. On stringed instruments. A Psalm of David.
1 When I call, answer me, O God of my righteousness: in pressure thou hast enlarged me; be gracious unto me, and hear my prayer.
 
v.1 The Pressure of Trial. The difficulty called “trouble” in Psalm 3 is now advanced to “pressure”. The psalmist is calling out to the Lord to hear his prayer. Clearly, the situation is dire. Yet he must acknowledge, “in pressure thou hast enlarged me”. Through the pressure of trial, there has been growth. Prophetically, this speaks of the remnant, growing in numbers in spite of the persecution (see Gen. 15:13-16; Ex. 1:7). Spiritually too, they will grow through the circumstances of the great tribulation. But practically, the Lord often used trials and pressure in the lives of believers to produce spiritual growth.
 
2 Ye sons of men, till when is my glory to be put to shame? How long will ye love vanity, will ye seek after a lie? Selah.
3 But know that Jehovah hath set apart the pious man for himself: Jehovah will hear when I call unto him.
4 “Be moved with anger, and sin not;” [quoted Eph. 4:26] meditate in your own hearts upon your bed, and be still. Selah.
5 Offer sacrifices of righteousness, and confide in Jehovah.
 
vv.2-5 Preaching of Righteousness. These verses are addressed to men. First, the Lord speaks in v.2, then the faithful speak to those around them in vv.3-5. Prophetically, the remnant will utter similar words first to their Jewish brethren, then to the nations around. This is part of the Lord’s work of sifting the righteous from the wicked. The Lord will hear when the righteous call, although their righteousness is still no ground of acceptance before Him. How important this principle, that a good conscience is important in the efficacy of prayer! The righteous are marked by a hatred of sin. We are to be angry about sin, just as Christ was angry (Mark 3:5, Matt. 21:12)! Even God is angry against what is sinful (Psa. 7:11, Psa. 139:22). The warning is “do not sin”. In Ephesians 4:26, where this Psalm is quoted, the thought may be a warning that righteous indignation would not turn into fleshly anger. Here is may simply be a warning to remain firm in the exercise of self-judgment, that the individual would not fall into the very sin that they hate. “Sacrifices of righteousness” may is more than literal sacrifices, and it includes the thought of practical righteousness in one’s life. The point is this: the Lord is looking for reality in our lives. Sacrifices without reality in the soul are an abomination to the Lord. Read Isa. 66:1-4. “Behold, thou desirest truth in the inward parts” (Psa. 51:6).
 
6 Many say, Who shall cause us to see good? Lift up upon us the light of thy countenance, O Jehovah.
7 Thou hast put joy in my heart, more than in the time that their corn and their new wine was in abundance.
8 In peace will I both lay me down and sleep; for thou, Jehovah, alone makest me to dwell in safety. 
 
vv.6-8 Joy and Peace. Although many might look out on the prospects of the remnant with hopelessness, those who trust in the Lord are content with a sense of His presence. They have a joy in their hearts in this time of trial that exceeds the joy of material prosperity; “Thou hast put joy in my heart, more than in the time that their corn and their new wine was in abundance.” We have a similar thought in Habakkuk 3, where the prophet comes to find joy in difficult circumstances, because he has the Lord; “although the fig tree shall not blossom, etc. … yet I will rejoice in Jehovah” (Hab. 3:17-19). With a sense of the Lord’s presence, the faithful are at peace, and can sleep (v.8), knowing that the Lord is protecting them.
 
In Thy presence we are happy;
In Thy presence we’re secure;
In Thy presence all afflictions
We can easily endure;
In Thy presence we can conquer,
We can suffer, we can die;
Wandering from Thee we are feeble;
Let Thy love, Lord, keep us nigh.2
 
  1. It appears to spring from the same occasion, but goes out more in expostulation to others, with directions for the godly; and it was meant for public service, as its companion Ps. 3 seems rather private or personal. – Kelly, W. Notes on the Psalms.
  2. Williams, W. Saviour Lead Us by Thy Power. Little Flock Hymnbook, #42A.

Psalm 5

 
Psalm 5
A Meditation on Jehovah’s Righteous Dealings
 
Psalm 5. The inscription indicates that this is a psalm of David. It was written in the style of “Nehiloth”, meaning “flutes”, or “wind instruments”. In the progression of Psa. 3-8 we are now in the night, looking forward to the future morning; “in the morning shalt thou hear my voice; in the morning will I address myself to thee, and will look up” (Psa. 5:3). Prophetically, this Psalm captures the prayer of the faithful remnant in the great tribulation, as they experience harsh persecution, and witness great evil, done by their natural brethren under the leadership of Antichrist.
 
PSALM 5
To the chief Musician. Upon Nehiloth. A Psalm of David.
1 Give ear to my words, O Jehovah; consider my meditation.
2 Hearken unto the voice of my crying, my king and my God; for to thee will I pray.
 
vv.1-2 Asking God to Hear. In the opening lines, the psalmist cries out to Jehovah to hear him, as he pours out the meditation of his heart. Notice that the psalmist (David) addresses Jehovah as “my king and my God”. Prophetically, the Jewish remnant will be surrounded by circumstances where there is a false king in Israel, and a false God being worshipped by their earthly brethren. How important to recognize the true Sovereign and Deity!
 
3 Jehovah, in the morning shalt thou hear my voice; in the morning will I address myself to thee, and will look up.
4 For thou art not a GOD that hath pleasure in wickedness; evil shall not sojourn with thee.
5 Insolent fools shall not stand before thine eyes; thou hatest all workers of iniquity.
6 Thou wilt destroy them that speak lies: Jehovah abhorreth a man of blood and deceit.
7 But as for me, in the greatness of thy loving-kindness will I enter thy house; I will bow down toward the temple of thy holiness in thy fear.
 
vv.3-7 The Twofold Disposition of Jehovah. In these lines, the psalmist considers two dispositions of the Lord: toward the righteous, and also toward the wicked. Speaking as only of the faithful, the psalmist could say, the Lord will “hear my voice”, and “I will enter thy house”. Notice the posture. First, there is dependence; “I address myself to thee, and will look up”. Second, there is a sense of grace; “in the greatness of thy loving-kindness will I enter thy house”. Third, there is reverence; “I will bow down toward the temple of thy holiness in thy fear”. But for the wicked, God can have no fellowship with them (vv.4-6). God’s displeasure in the wicked, His hatred for them, and His eventual judgment on them are expounded. Some have suggested that “a man of blood and deceit” is a reference to Antichrist himself, stressing his violence and corruption. Surely, the reign of antichrist will be a totalitarian regime. Antichrist also would be a infamous example of “them that speak lies”, for he is called “the liar” in 1 John; “Who is the liar but he who denies that Jesus is the Christ? He is the antichrist who denies the Father and the Son” (1 John 2:22). Notice that this Psalm is for one outside, looking forward to being in the temple. Perhaps the prophetic setting of this Psalm is at a time when the faithful are unable to enter the temple.
 
8 Lead me, Jehovah, in thy righteousness, because of my foes; make thy way plain before me.
9 For there is no certainty in their mouth; their inward part is perversion, “their throat is an open sepulchre;” [quoted in Rom. 3:13] they flatter with their tongue.
10 Bring guilt upon them, O God; let them fall by their own counsels: drive them out in the multitude of their transgressions, for they have rebelled against thee.
11 And all that trust in thee shall rejoice: for ever shall they shout joyously, and thou wilt protect them; and they that love thy name shall exult in thee.
12 For thou, Jehovah, wilt bless the righteous man; with favour wilt thou surround him as with a shield.
 
vv.8-12 Two Requests. The psalmist closes with two requests: to guide the faithful (v.8, vv.11-12), and to destroy the wicked (vv.9-10). Part of v.9 is quoted in Romans 3, to support the indictment of man before the bar of God’s justice. In v.10, we find that the remnant has a sense of the grievousness of the sin that wicked are guilty of. As an imprecatory prayer, the faithful pray that the wicked would be judged; “O God; let them fall by their own counsels”. So it will be in the great tribulation; “He taketh the wise in their own craftiness” (Job 5:13). By trusting their own wisdom, their own counsels, the apostate nation of Israel will be the cause of their own destruction at the attack of the King of the North. But when the wicked are destroyed in “the consumption”, the faithful will be protected; “all that trust in thee shall rejoice… thou wilt protect them… with favour wilt thou surround him as with a shield”.
 

Psalm 6

 
Psalm 6
A Nighttime Supplication for Deliverance
 
Psalm 6. This is a psalm of David, and also intended to be played “on stringed instruments”, and “Sheminith”, which means “the eighth division” or “upon the octave” (as in Psalm 12). This Psalm was intended to by played on a lower musical register, and it was specifically composed this way by David, who was not only a musician, but an inventor of musical instruments (Amos 6:5). It would seem that the deepness of the musical notes would be coupled with a somber mood. Prophetically, this Psalm captures the deep sorrow of the remnant as they pass through the dark night of the Great Tribulation.
 
PSALM 6
To the chief Musician. On stringed instruments, upon Sheminith. A Psalm of David.
1 Jehovah, rebuke me not in thine anger, and chasten me not in thy hot displeasure.
2 Be gracious unto me, Jehovah, for I am withered; Jehovah, heal me, for my bones tremble.
3 And my soul trembleth exceedingly: and thou, Jehovah, till how long?
 
vv.1-3 Prayer in desperation. In this first section, the psalmist cries out to Jehovah in desperation. Clearly, the tribulation has reached an extreme level. What was “trouble” in Psa. 3, and “pressure” in Psa. 4, is now viewed as the “anger” or “hot displeasure” of Jehovah in Psa. 6. He asks, “Jehovah, till how long?”. This reminds one of Matt. 24:22, where the Lord, speaking of the Great Tribulation, says “except those days should be shortened, there should no flesh be saved: but for the elect’s sake those days shall be shortened”. The elect will near their breaking point at the very end of the Great Tribulation. We have a similar statement from the martyred souls under the altar in Rev. 6:10; “and they cried with a loud voice, saying, How long, O sovereign Ruler, holy and true, dost thou not judge and avenge our blood on them that dwell upon the earth?” Even after martyrdom, the prayers of these saints maintain their character; looking for victory over their enemies. The faithful view their suffering as Jehovah’s rebuke and chastening. Surely, the Lord does use trial and sufferings to speak to His saints.
 
4 Return, Jehovah, free my soul; save me for thy loving-kindness’ sake.
5 For in death there is no remembrance of thee; in Sheol who shall give thanks unto thee?
6 I am wearied with my groaning; all the night make I my bed to swim; I dissolve my couch with my tears.
7 Mine eye wasteth away through grief; it hath grown old because of all mine oppressors.
 
vv.4-7 Grief overflowing. The psalmist begs the Lord for deliverance. He doesn’t cite his own righteousness as a basis for the Lord’s intervention, but rather “save me for thy loving-kindness’ sake”. Also, fearing that death is near, he asks the Lord what remembrance and thanks can be rendered to Him by one who is dead? He then speaks in vv.6-7 of the overflowing grief of soul. The faithful are pictured as weeping excessively all through the night.
 
8 “Depart from me, all ye workers of iniquity;” [quoted in Matt. 7:23] for Jehovah hath heard the voice of my weeping.
9 Jehovah hath heard my supplication; Jehovah receiveth my prayer.
10 All mine enemies shall be ashamed and tremble exceedingly; they will turn, they will be ashamed suddenly. 
 
vv.8-10 Confidence in Jehovah. In spite of the tremendous grief, the psalmist knows that his prayer is heard. In bold confidence, he calls for the enemies to run away; “Depart from me, all ye workers of iniquity”. This expression is quoted by the Lord in Matthew 7:23, adapting the language to a future time when He will reject those who made a profession of faith in Him, but never really knew Him. Prophetically, these verses express the confidence that the remnant of the Jews will place in Jehovah.
 

Psalm 7

 
Psalm 7
The Faithful Cry to the Lord for Justice
 
Psalm 7. The inscription indicates that this is a psalm of David. It was written in the style of “Shiggaion”, meaning “loud crying”. This psalm describes the agonizing cry of the remnant under extreme persecution. This historical setting is given in the title; “which he sang to Jehovah, concerning the words of Cush the Benjaminite”. This is a reference to the cursing of Shimei when David was fleeing from Absalom (2 Sam. 16:5-8), when he said to David; “Come out, come out, thou bloody man, and thou man of Belial: The LORD hath returned upon thee all the blood of the house of Saul, in whose stead thou hast reigned; and the LORD hath delivered the kingdom into the hand of Absalom thy son: and, behold, thou art taken in thy mischief, because thou art a bloody man.” This was an extremely humiliating experience for David, and it caused him to pour out his heart to the Lord, exposing his soul. Shimei falsely accused David of being guilty of the blood of the house of Saul. This caused David to consider his past, and ask the Lord to judge righteously between him and his accuser. Prophetically, this Psalm gives us the expressions of the remnant fleeing from Antichrist (Absalom being a type) and the apostate Jews with him. It is not confession of sin, but an appeal to the Lord’s justice.
 
PSALM 7
Shiggaion of David, which he sang to Jehovah, concerning the words of Cush the Benjaminite.
1 Jehovah my God, in thee have I trusted: save me from all my pursuers, and deliver me;
2 Lest he tear my soul like a lion, crushing it while there is no deliverer.
 
vv.1-2 Cry for Deliverance. In this first section, the psalmist cries out to Jehovah for deliverance from the lionlike power of the attacks coming against him.
 
3 Jehovah my God, if I have done this, if there be iniquity in my hands;
4 If I have rewarded evil to him that was at peace with me; (indeed I have freed him that without cause oppressed me;)
5 Let the enemy pursue after my soul, and take it, and let him tread down my life to the earth, and lay my glory in the dust. Selah.
 
vv.3-5 Righteousness Acknowledged. In this second section, David owns his righteousness in the matter with which he is accused. Yet he also acknowledges that judgment would be fitting if he were guilty. Perhaps this is the beginnings of the work of repentance; a question is in their mind as to their own guiltiness. Sometimes God chastens us to cause us to reflect on our own walk, that we might keep short accounts with Him!
 
6 Arise, Jehovah, in thine anger; lift thyself up against the raging of mine oppressors, and awake for me: thou hast commanded judgment.
7 And the assembly of the peoples shall encompass thee; and for their sakes return thou on high.
 
vv.6-7 Appeal to Justice. In the third section, David, a type of the Spirit of Christ in the remnant, appeals the righteousness and vengeance of God on his behalf (“awake for me”) and Jehovah’s judgment on the enemies’ behalf (“for their sakes return thou”).
 
8 Jehovah shall minister judgment to the peoples. Judge me, Jehovah, according to my righteousness, and according to mine integrity which is in me.
9 Oh let the wrong of the wicked come to an end, and establish thou the righteous man; even thou that triest the hearts and reins, the righteous God.
 
vv.8-9 Calling for a Twofold Judgment. The faithful cry out to Jehovah, the “righteous God” to make a twofold judgment: (1) to vindicate the faithful according to their integrity, and (2) to bring the wicked to an end. These verses are what we could call an imprecatory prayer. Notice that universal judgment is called for; “minister judgment to the peoples”. The “peoples” is a general word that refers to the races of mankind. Also, the discernment of Jehovah is invoked; “thou that triest the hearts and reins”. The “hearts” are the affections, and the “reins” are the motives; i.e. that which controls people’s actions. When they speak of “my righteousness” and “mine integrity” we must remember that the Old Testament takes up the individual in the government of God. The Psalmist does refer to sinless perfection, but rather to the general character of honesty and integrity; a life free from hidden sin and hypocrisy. These word are spoken in the reality of the heart, not in the pride of the flesh.
 
10 My shield is with God, who saveth the upright in heart.
11 God is a righteous judge, and a GOD who is indignant all the day.
12 If one turn not, he will sharpen his sword; he hath bent his bow and made it ready,
13 And he hath prepared for him instruments of death; his arrows hath he made burning.
14 Behold, he travaileth with iniquity, yea, he hath conceived mischief, and brought forth falsehood:
15 He digged a pit, and hollowed it out, and is fallen into the hole that he made.
16 His mischief shall return upon his own head, and his violence shall come down upon his own pate.
  
vv.10-16 A digression on the righteous judgment of God. The final section is unique from the others. The rest of the Psalm is characteristically addressed to Jehovah, but these verses are addressed to Elohim. The psalmist is appealing to the strength and sovereignty of a Creator-God, put forth in the judgment of the wicked. The theme is this; “God is a righteous judge” (v.11). These verses expound the folly of the wicked in refusing to repent, and turn from their course; “if one turn not…”, etc. There are various “instruments of death” that are described in vv.12-15, to poetically illustrate how God will hunt them. Rather than be a “shield” (v.10) to them, God will sharpen His “sword”, bend His “bow”, light His “arrows”, etc. But further, in the government of God, the wicked will be the means of their own undoing; “digging a pit” for others only to fall into it themselves; “his mischief shall return upon his own head”. So it will be with the apostate nation of Israel; “He taketh the wise in their own craftiness” (Job 5:13).
 
17 I will praise Jehovah according to his righteousness, and will sing forth the name of Jehovah the Most High.
 
v.17 Praise.The psalm concludes with praise to Jehovah “according to his righteousness”. It is praise in anticipation of deliverance. Notice that the name “Most High” or Elyon, which is a millennial name of God. This flows into the next Psalm which is a millennial psalm!
 

Psalm 8

 
Psalm 8
Christ as Son of Man, Set Over all Creation
 
Psalm 8. The psalm is a psalm of David, most likely written after a time of quiet meditation in creation, as vv.3-9 suggests. It is also composed “upon Gittith”, meaning “winepress” (see also Psalms 81; 84). Some suggest “gittith” may be a type of instrument that David invented (Amos 6:5).1 This would suggest a happy, joyful sound, such as would be fitting for a time of harvest, and the enjoyment of wine. Psalm 8 is also a Messianic Psalm, meaning it is prophetic of Christ, and also quoted in the New Testament (three times). This is also a Millennial Psalm, as the quotation in Hebrews 2 proves. The theme of the Psalm is the counsels of God to set a man over all creation. Specifically it is Christ, as Son of man, who accomplishes the purposes of God.
 
Son of Man.

"Son of man" is a title Christ has in special connection with mankind; as either the rejected sufferer at the hands of mankind and on behalf of mankind as the one who assumes the responsibilities of the whole human race, or as exalted heir and head of all that God has purposed for mankind. The Old Testament spoke of a coming "Son of Man" that would reign over all creation and have an everlasting kingdom (Psalm 8:4-8; Daniel 7:13-14). But "Son of man" is a title Christ took in rejection as well as in glorification. The connection between the suffering and glory of the Son of man is beautiful.

Read more…
 
Psalm 8 and Psalm 144. There are two Psalms that have very similar language regarding man. Compare Psa. 8:4 to 144:3; “What is man, that thou takest knowledge of him! or the son of man, that thou makest account of him!” In both cases we have the words “adam” (or ‘man’, the word literally meaning ‘red’ or ‘earth’) and “enosh” (meaning ‘frail’ or ‘weak’). But notice the difference in the character of each Psalm. Both Psalms begin with the premise that man is weak and frail. But as Psalm 144 continues, it establishes the inability of man to keep himself; “Man is like to vanity: his days are as a shadow that passeth away” (Psa. 144:4). On the other hand, Psalm 8 developes not the ruin of man, but God’s purposes concerning man, and these centered in the true Son of Man. When speaking of Jesus, the writer of Hebrews quotes Psalm 8, not Psalm 144; Christ at the very center of the counsels of God, as Son of man! It is with this glorified Son of man that we are associated in new creation, having broken our link with the first man Adam.
 
PSALM 8
To the chief Musician. Upon the Gittith. A Psalm of David.
1 Jehovah our Lord, how excellent is thy name in all the earth! who hast set thy majesty above the heavens.
2 “Out of the mouth of babes and sucklings hast thou established praise” [quoted Matt. 21:16] because of thine adversaries, to still the enemy and the avenger.
 
vv.1-2 Psalm 8 begins and ends with the same words; “Jehovah our Lord [Adonnai], how excellent is thy name in all the earth!” This looks on to the Millennium, when “the earth shall be filled with the knowledge of the glory of the LORD, as the waters cover the sea” (Hab. 2:14). Again, in Mal.1:11; “For from the rising of the sun even unto the going down of the same my name shall be great…”. What we have in Psalm 8 is a wider sphere of glory than we have in Psalm 2. In the second psalm, Messiah is viewed as the incarnate Son of Jehovah on earth, taking the nations for His inheritance, and Jehovah is seen “sitting in the heavens”. But in the eighth psalm, Jehovah is seen as having set His majesty “above the heavens”, and the Son is seen, not as reigning in Zion, but as over all creation. The first part of v.2 is quoted in Matt. 21:16 by the Lord in response to the Jewish leaders who would rebuke the praise of the crowds at Christ’s triumphal entry. We have a reference to babes again in Matt. 11:25, where it pleased the Father to reveal things to babes!
 
3 When I see thy heavens, the work of thy fingers, the moon and stars, which thou hast established;
4 “What is man [‘adam’ or ‘earth’], that thou art mindful of him? and the son of man [‘enosh’ or ‘frail’], that thou visitest him?
5 Thou hast made him a little lower than the angels, and hast crowned him with glory and splendour.
6 Thou hast made him to rule over the works of thy hands; thou hast put everything under his feet:” [quoted Heb. 2:6-8; partially 1 Cor. 15:27]
7 Sheep and oxen, all of them, and also the beasts of the field;
8 The fowl of the heavens, and the fishes of the sea, whatever passeth through the paths of the seas.
9 Jehovah our Lord, how excellent is thy name in all the earth!
 
vv.3-9 In considering the creation, especially the “heavens”, David is struck with the grace of God to man. Surely, a God who could create such majesty beauty is far above puny little man. He exclaims at the grace of God, to even take notice of man, much less to visit him and give a place over the creation; “What is man, that thou art mindful of him? and the son of man, that thou visitest him?” Man is not even the highest of created intelligence, “Thou hast made him a little lower than the angels” and yet, in the counsels of God, He purposed for man to be placed over all creation; “and hast crowned him with glory and splendour. Thou hast made him to rule over the works of thy hands; thou hast put everything under his feet”. The creation we placed into the hands of Adam, “to till and keep the garden”. But in transgressing the commandment of God, Adam failed in that headship. What then? has God’s purpose been frustrated? No. The second man succeeds where the first man has failed. In Hebrews 2, the writer shows that the “Son of man” is Christ Himself, who has been “crowned with glory and honor” now in heaven at God’s right hand! The Psalm begins with a view of man as very small compared to the universe, but it ends with the universe very small compared to the Son of man! Yet it says in Hebrews, “we see not yet all things put under him”. We are still waiting to see the manifestation of His glory as the Son of man, which will be fully displayed in the Millennium. The rest of the Psalm expounds the extent of the dominion of the Son of man; i.e. “everything”. It is very notable that men today are able to tame and train almost every kind of animal, with the exception of “the fishes of the sea”. Compare Dan. 2:38. But when the Lord Jesus was on earth, He displayed His absolute authority over the fishes of the sea in many miracles! But the final fulfillment of this will be in the Millennium. The Psalm concludes with the same sentiment it began with; “Jehovah our Lord [Adonnai], how excellent is thy name in all the earth!”
 
  1. “Gittith… Learned men suggest an instrument invented at Gath, or an air of the vintage festivity: a holy but happy season for a pious Jew. Fürst regards it as a hollow instrument from the verb ‘to deepen.'”  – Kelly, W. Notes on the Psalms.

Psalm 9

 
Psalm 9
The Joy of the Faithful in Jehovah, Their Deliverer
 
Psalm 9. Psalm 9 and 10 form one complete work. Together they are an acrostic poem, with the first word in each verse beginning with a letter of the Hebrew alphabet. Psalm 9 covers the first half, and Psalm 10 the second half. The inscription indicates that this is a Psalm of David, and therefore we know Psalm 10 is attributed to David as well. It was written to the tune of “Muth-Labben”, meaning “death of the son”. This could indicate that David wrote the pair of Psalms after the death of one of his sons, likely Absalom. Prophetically, Psalms 9 and 10 serve as a subsection of the series, Psalms 9 – 15. In Psalms 9 and 10 we have the theme; the general character of things, including the hope of the remnant, the destruction of the wicked, the character of the Antichrist that calls for God’s judgment, and even into the Millennium; “Jehovah is King for ever and ever: the nations have perished out of his land.” Psalm 9-10 are a broad landscape in of prophecy, and Psalms 11-15 give us the exercises of the remnant.12 In Psalm 9 we have the remnant anticipating their full deliverance, after looking back at past deliverances.
 
PSALM 9
To the chief Musician. Upon Muthlabben. A Psalm of David.
1 I will praise Jehovah with my whole heart; I will recount all thy marvellous works.
2 I will be glad and rejoice in thee; I will sing forth thy name, O Most High.
 
vv.1-2 Joy in Jehovah. Here we have the full-hearted joy of the faithful as they look back on past deliverances; the kindness and mercy of the Lord over Israel’s history. This is an important thing to do in the face of present difficulties (v.15). They sing forth the name of El-Elyon, the “Most High”, which is a Millennial name of God.
 
3 When mine enemies turned back, they stumbled and perished at thy presence:
4 For thou hast maintained my right and my cause. Thou sittest on the throne, judging righteously.
5 Thou hast rebuked the nations, thou hast destroyed the wicked; thou hast put out their name for ever and ever.
6 O enemy! destructions are ended for ever. — Thou hast also destroyed cities, even the remembrance of them hath perished.
7 But Jehovah sitteth for ever; he hath ordained his throne for judgment.
8 And it is he that “will judge the world with righteousness;” [quoted Acts 17:31] he shall execute judgment upon the peoples with equity.
9 And Jehovah will be a refuge to the oppressed one, a refuge in times of distress.
10 And they that know thy name will confide in thee; for thou, Jehovah, hast not forsaken them that seek thee.
 
vv.3-10 Confidence in Jehovah. We find here a transition, from the past deliverances of the Lord to the future; “thou hast maintained my right and my cause” (v.4) to “Jehovah will be a refuge to the oppressed one” (v.9). The key is that this looks forward to then the Lord appears; i.e. “thy presence”.3 Mention is made of Jehovah’s throne, and it is set forth as a symbol of judgment; “But Jehovah sitteth for ever; he hath ordained his throne for judgment.” This is part of the hope of the Jewish remnant; i.e. that the world would be judged in righteousness. We have a nice summary of the events of the return of Christ in vv.3-10. In vv.3-6 we have the destruction of the wicked that will take place when the Lord first appears in His Davidic character; “thou hast also destroyed cities”. Then, we have in vv.7-8 the judgment of the ordered and peaceful judgment of all nations, similar to what we read of in Matt. 25, often called the sessional judgment. This is when Christ will take on His Solomonic character. Finally, in vv.9-10 we have what Messiah will be in the Millennium, as a refuge to those who have been oppressed and distressed (Isa. 32). This thoughts are a comfort to the faithful in times of tribulation.
 
11 Sing psalms to Jehovah who dwelleth in Zion; tell among the peoples his doings.
12 For when he maketh inquisition for blood, he remembereth them; the cry of the afflicted ones hath he not forgotten.
13 Be gracious unto me, O Jehovah; consider mine affliction from them that hate me, lifting me up from the gates of death:
14 That I may declare all thy praise in the gates of the daughter of Zion. I will be joyful in thy salvation.
 
vv.11-14 Praise to Jehovah. In v.11 we have sentiments that look forward to the Millennium, when Jehovah will dwell in earth in Zion; in the midst of restored Israel. Then the fame of Jehovah will be spread abroad among “the peoples”; a reference to the nations of the earth (see Isa. 2:2-3). The restored nation of Israel, of which the faithful remnant is the nucleus, will be used to tell the nations about Jehovah, and teach them His ways. The judgment of the Lord is righteous. Mention is made of the Lord’s remembrance; “when he maketh inquisition for blood, he remembereth them; the cry of the afflicted ones hath he not forgotten”. Yet we can see by the content of these verses that the remnant is not yet in the Millennium; they are still passing through the ordeal of Daniel’s seventieth week. Thus they cry out for deliverance, to be lifted up “from the gates of death”. The “gates of death” is a figurative reference to the powers of evil. A parallel expression is used by our Lord in Matthew 16:18; “the gates of hades”.
 
15 The nations are sunk down in the pit that they made; in the net that they hid is their own foot taken.
16 Jehovah is known by the judgment he hath executed: the wicked is ensnared in the work of his own hands. Higgaion [‘meditate’]. Selah [‘pause and consider’].
17 The wicked shall be turned into Sheol, all the nations that forget God.
18 For the needy one shall not be forgotten alway; the hope of the meek shall not perish for ever.
 
vv.15-18 A Reflection on Judgment. The psalmist reflects on the judgment of Jehovah, noting that the character of Jehovah is linked in some way to the way He judges; “Jehovah is known by the judgment he hath executed”. His wisdom is magnified in that He uses the very work of the wicked to ensnare them (v.16)! See Job 5:13; 1 Cor. 3:19. How wise God is! The psalmist then calls for Higgaion (a time of meditation), and Selah (to pause and consider). And the conclusion of it is the wicked will enter Sheol, or the state of the departed spirits, but the “needy” and the “meek” will be delivered. There is a contrast between the nations who “forget God”, and the needy who “shall not be forgotten” of God.
 
19 Arise, Jehovah; let not man prevail: let the nations be judged in thy sight.
20 Put them in fear, Jehovah: that the nations may know themselves to be but men. Selah. 
 
vv.19-20 A Call for Judgment. The faithful call out for Jehovah to execute judgment on “man” viewed in a general way, and on “the nations”. The psalmist views man in his natural condition as the proud enemy of God. The result of Divine judgment is that the pride of man will be brought low; “the nations may know themselves to be but men”. This thought is marked by a second call to “selah”; to stop, and consider.
 
  1. Psalms 9 and 10 having given us the latter day state of things, and Psalms 11-15, the thoughts and feelings of the godly Remnant in respect of that state of things; the fact that Christ had taken this place among the godly, and thus identified Himself, the perfect One, with their interests in the difficulties and trials they had to go through with their enemies, is evidently of the last importance. – Darby, J.N. The Psalms. Notes and Comments, Vol. 3
  2. Psalms 9, 10 … are prefatory. – Darby, J.N. Heads of Psalms: Book 1
  3. All that follows in the psalm is the result of Christ’s presence. “Thy presence” is the key to the psalm. – Smith, Hamilton. The Psalms.

Psalm 10

 
Psalm 10
Calling for Jehovah to Judge the Enemy
 
Psalm 10. Psalm 10 completes the acrostic poem that began with Psalm 9. The inscription of Psalm 9 indicated it as a Psalm of David, and therefore we know Psalm 10 is attributed to David as well. There is a difference in that Psalm 9 is very hopeful all the way through, while Psalm 10 begins in despair and ends in hope. Prophetically, Psalm 9 focuses on the enemies around (i.e. the Gentiles), while Psalm 10 focuses on the enemy within; i.e. antichrist. This Psalm gives us the expressions of the Jewish remnant in the Great Tribulation, particularly as antichrist (“the wicked”) comes into prominence as the persecutor of the faithful.
 
PSALM 10
1 Why, Jehovah, standest thou afar off? Why hidest thou thyself in times of distress?
 
v.1 Agonizing cry for Divine intervention. The Psalm begins with a sharp cry of confusion, asking Jehovah why He does not intervene. The psalmist is being very honest with the Lord about how he feels. He cannot understand the perceived inaction. To him, the Lord is standing at a distance, even hiding Himself “in times of distress”.
 
2 The wicked, in his pride, doth hotly pursue the afflicted. They shall be taken in the devices that they have imagined.
3 For the wicked boasteth of his soul’s desire, and he blesseth the covetous; he contemneth Jehovah.
4 The wicked saith, in the haughtiness of his countenance, He doth not search out: all his thoughts are, There is no God!
5 His ways always succeed; thy judgments are far above out of his sight; as for all his adversaries, he puffeth at them.
6 He saith in his heart, I shall not be moved; from generation to generation I shall be in no adversity.
7 “His mouth is full of cursing, and deceit, and oppression;” [quoted Roman 3:14] under his tongue is mischief and iniquity.
8 He sitteth in the lurking-places of the villages; in the secret places doth he slay the innocent: his eyes watch for the wretched.
9 He lieth in wait secretly, like a lion in his thicket; he lieth in wait to catch the afflicted: he doth catch the afflicted, drawing him into his net.
10 He croucheth, he boweth down, that the wretched may fall by his strong ones.
11 He saith in his heart, GOD hath forgotten, he hideth his face, he will never see it.
 
vv.2-11 The Character of the Wicked (Antichrist). During these verses, the acrostic pattern of Psalms 9 – 10 is broken. It is interesting that the “wicked” is spoken of in the singular form. Perhaps it is because the evil will be embodied in a person; Antichrist, reigning in the midst of apostate Israel. In v.2, the wicked are characterized as proud, and openly pursuing the afflicted remnant. Yet, the faithful are confident that the wicked will ultimately be destroyed by “the devices that they have imagined”. In v.3, the wicked are arrogant in their self-will, boasting in their plans, holding the Lord in contempt. In v.4 the wicked are haughty, convinced that God is not watching him, effectively thinking “There is no God!” While this is prophetic of antichrist and his followers, certainly we see similar characteristics in the wicked today. In v.5, the wicked seem to get away with their plans. The faithful are exasperated, and feel helpless and the unstoppable onslaught of evil. In v.6, the wicked are full of self-confidence, unable to imagine their demise. In v.7, we find that the wicked use their mouth and tongues as their greatest weapons. In vv.8-9 the wicked hunt the faithful, spreading traps for them along the way (Matt. 24:23-26). This describes the campaign of terror that Antichrist will levy against the faithful. The effect can be traced in Psa. 11:2-3; 12:1; 13:1; 15:1. It is reminiscent of the Gestapo in the holocaust. In v.10, the wicked are viewed as using deception to mask their malicious actions; “He croucheth, he boweth down, that the wretched may fall”. The expression “by his strong ones” is an allusion to the fangs of a lion; i.e. a lion crouches down, and springs suddenly on his prey, holding them in his fangs.1 In v.11, the wicked are sure they will carry on unobserved and unpunished in their course. It is important to note that anti-Christ is the “man of sin”. He is one in whom the flesh is allowed to blossom into full growth. But each person has the flesh in them, and so we can judge ourselves as we see the character of sin – unrestrained and unmitigated – in “the wicked” here in Psalm 10.
 
12 Arise, Jehovah; O GOD, lift up thy hand: forget not the afflicted.
13 Wherefore doth the wicked contemn God? He hath said in his heart, Thou wilt not require it.
14 Thou hast seen it, for thou thyself beholdest trouble and vexation, to requite by thy hand. The wretched committeth himself unto thee; thou hast been the helper of the fatherless.
15 Break thou the arm of the wicked, and as for the evil man, seek out his wickedness till thou find none.
 
vv.12-15 Call to action. Having described the character of the wicked, the Psalmist now cries out to Jehovah for action. He brings the situation before the Lord, not only in terms of the need of the faithful (“the afflicted”), but also in terms of the insult to the name of Jehovah that the wicked have become. The wicked insult God by doubting His observation and His searching out evil. By contrast, the faithful (“the wretched”, for so they feel their condition is) have committed themselves to the Lord in humility, counting on God as “the helper of the fatherless”. The Psalmist calls on the Lord to do what the wicked have boasted He will never do, i.e. “seek out his wickedness”.
 
16 Jehovah is King for ever and ever: the nations have perished out of his land.
17 Jehovah, thou hast heard the desire of the meek, thou hast established their heart: thou causest thine ear to hear,
18 To do justice to the fatherless and the oppressed one, that the man of the earth may terrify no more.
 
vv.16-18 Confidence that Jehovah has heard. These verses look on to the Millennium, when the prayers of the faithful remnant are answered. When Jehovah will be manifestly “King” on His throne. This will be a kingdom that will last as long as time shall run, “for ever and ever”. At that time “the nations have perished out of his land”, and Israel will be free from their enemies. The Lord will have heard the prayer of “the meek”, and those who are oppressed will be free from those who terrified them. The “man of the earth” is an expression that also may refer to antichrist, in contrast to the true Christ, the heavenly Man! The antichrist is the summing up of all that “man in the flesh” is.
 
  1. J.N. Darby translation notes.

Psalm 11

 
Psalm 11
The Foundation of the Righteous; Jehovah in His Temple
 
Psalm 11. This is a Psalm of David, and the historical occasion may well have been right around the rebellion of Absalom, when the conspiracy was rising (2 Sam. 15), just before David made the decision to flee Jerusalem. In Psalm 11 David is still resolved not to flee to the mountain (v.1). Prophetically, this mirrors the sentiments of the remnant at the middle of the prophetic week. Beginning in Psalm 11 and running through Psalm 15 we have the experiences of the faithful remnant in the great tribulation.
 
PSALM 11
To the chief Musician. A Psalm of David.
1 In Jehovah have I put my trust: how say ye to my soul, Flee as a bird to your mountain?
 
v.1 Trust in Jehovah. The Psalm begins with a statement of trust in Jehovah, and an incredulous question; “how say ye to my soul, Flee as a bird to your mountain?”. Historically, it could be that some were advising David to flee, but he did not want to. Prophetically, after antichrist has seized power, but before the abomination of desolations is set up, the remnant will cling to the temple. But afterward, most will indeed flee to the mountains (Matt. 24:15-16), perhaps instructed to do so by the Lord. There is another view of these verses, that they pertain to that portion of the remnant which does not flee, but rather remains in Jerusalem to witness for Jehovah. This group, pictured by the “two witnesses” of Revelation 11, continue for 42 months (three and a half years), then are martyred by the followers of the Beast, and then raised and caught up just prior to the appearing. Like the Lord, they do not flee in the face of persecution, even when warned that Herod would kill Him (see Luke 13:31-33). He had a mission from the Father, and knew that He was invincible until three days were accomplished.
 
2 For behold, the wicked bend the bow, they make ready their arrow upon the string, that they may in darkness shoot at the upright in heart.
3 If the foundations be destroyed, what shall the righteous do?
4 Jehovah is in the temple of his holiness; Jehovah, — his throne is in the heavens: his eyes behold, his eyelids try the children of men.
 
vv.2-4 The foundations. Although the wicked appear to be on the attack, with their bows bent and their arrows already on the string, the faithful view Jehovah as still in His temple. This is a “foundation” for their soul; i.e. they view Him as in control. Everything will be okay because the Lord is still in His temple. They do not yet understand the seriousness of Jehovah’s controversy with Israel, nor suppose that a time will come when Messiah Himself warns them to flee. But they confess that there would be no hope for the righteous if the foundations were destroyed; i.e. if God were no longer in control. Such a thing would be like the foundation of a house being destroyed; “what shall the righteous do?”. There is a note of despair. Such a situation would be hopeless, but it is not hopeless. They acknowledge that Jehovah’s true throne “is in the heavens”, from whence He beholds men, searching out the thoughts of the children of men. Anything vital is held in God’s hand. Soon the remnant will have no temple to see with their eyes, and they will need to see with eyes of faith.
 
5 Jehovah trieth the righteous one; but the wicked, and him that loveth violence, his soul hateth.
6 Upon the wicked he shall rain snares, fire and brimstone; and scorching wind shall be the portion of their cup.
7 For righteous is Jehovah; he loveth righteousness, his countenance doth behold the upright.
 
vv.5-6 The character of Jehovah known to faith. The faithful grasp the character of the tribulation they’re enduring. To the righteous it is a trial of faith, but to the wicked it is the outpouring of Jehovah’s hatred. Ultimately the wicked will be judged, falling under a rain of fire and brimstone. But because Jehovah is righteous, He loves those who are righteous, and ultimately His face will shine on the faithful remnant. This is their hope! The term “the wicked” here is in the singular in Hebrew, and it might again be a reference to antichrist.
 

Psalm 12

 
Psalm 12
A Cry for Salvation in Time of Great Peril
 
Psalm 12. This is also a Psalm of David, and to be played “Upon Sheminith”, or “an octave”, like Psalm 6. It is characterized by deep expressions and movings of heart. The setting prophetically is of the faithful remnant in the great tribulation, as their brethren are being martyred around them by antichrist and his followers; i.e. the apostate nation of Israel. The remnant cries out to the Lord for deliverance, and trusts His word for salvation.
 
PSALM 12
To the chief Musician. Upon Sheminith. A Psalm of David.
1 Save, Jehovah, for the godly man is gone; for the faithful have failed from among the children of men.
 
v.1 The faithful martyrs. The faithful cry out to Jehovah for salvation in light of the fact that the godly are being slain. In fact, they look around and perceive that the godly are all gone, and that there are very few faithful left among children of men. Prophetically, we know that there are two parts of the faithful remnant, the preserved part in the martyred part. It will be a tremendous test of faith for the preserved remnant to witness their brethren being slain.
 
2 They speak falsehood every one with his neighbour: with flattering lip, with a double heart, do they speak.
3 Jehovah will cut off all flattering lips, the tongue that speaketh proud things,
4 Who have said, With our tongue will we prevail, our lips are our own: who is lord over us?
5 Because of the oppression of the afflicted, because of the sighing of the needy, now will I arise, saith Jehovah, I will set him in safety, at whom they puff.
 
vv.2-5 The character of the apostate persecutors; their judgment. The faithful no speak of those who oppress and afflict them. The leading feature is their lies and flattery. The second feature is their pride. But Jehovah will cut them off in spite of their pride, and He will protect those whom the wicked persecute. This speaks of the moral decay that Israel will experience under the reign of Antichrist (read Mich 7:4-6).
 
6 The words of Jehovah are pure words, silver tried in the furnace of earth, purified seven times.
7 Thou, Jehovah, wilt keep them, thou wilt preserve them from this generation for ever.
 
vv.6-7 The preservation of Jehovah. The faithful count on the word of the Lord as a badge of Jehovah’s promise to protect them. They view the word of the Lord as purer than refined silver, and as such it is worthy of their trust. Contrast the “words of Jehovah” with the “falsehood” and “flattering lip” of v.2.
 
8 The wicked walk about on every side, when vileness is exalted among the children of men. 
 
v.8 The result of wrong morals. The faithful reflect on the reason why the wicked are allowed to walk about freely everywhere. It is because “vileness is exalted among the children of men”. When wrong morals are promoted, the result is evil growing everywhere.
 

Psalm 13

 
Psalm 13
A Cry Not to Be Forgotten
 
Psalm 13. This is a psalm of David, no doubt composed at a time of great trial, such as when fleeing from Saul or when in exile during the rebellion of Absalom. Prophetically, this Psalm captures the expressions and prayers of the faithful remnant in the great tribulation, as the ungodly seem to reign unchecked, and Jehovah still refrains from intervening. The faithful feel that God has forgotten them, but are content to wait (Isa. 8:17).1
 
PSALM 13
To the chief Musician. A Psalm of David.
1 How long, Jehovah, wilt thou forget me for ever? how long wilt thou hide thy face from me?
2 How long shall I take counsel in my soul, with sorrow in my heart daily? how long shall mine enemy be exalted over me?
3 Consider, answer me, O Jehovah my God! lighten mine eyes, lest I sleep the sleep of death;
4 Lest mine enemy say, I have prevailed against him! lest mine adversaries be joyful when I am moved.
 
vv.1-4 Their Cry. The faith will cry out to Jehovah not to forget them. It appears that the duration of the trial is weighing on them. They repeat the expression “how long?” over and over again. They believe that if the trial continues for much longer without the intervention of Jehovah their God, they too will suffer the fate of many of their brethren; to “sleep the sleep of death”
 
5 As for me, I have confided in thy loving-kindness; my heart shall be joyful in thy salvation.
6 I will sing unto Jehovah, for he hath dealt bountifully with me.
 
vv.5-6 Their Confidence. Nevertheless they have the confidence in the loving-kindness of Jehovah, and their hearts look forward joyfully to His salvation. They also look back on the Lord’s bountiful grace to them in the past. This is the patience of faith; faith can sing in times of trial!
 
  1. Psalm 13 is the expression of Isaiah 8:17, that is, of Christ’s Spirit in the temporary rejection of the Jewish remnant, but it is the supplication when it seems ultimately frustrated, bringing in the deliverance. – Darby, J.N. Heads of Psalms.

Psalm 14

 
Psalm 14
The Character of the Wicked in the Sight of Jehovah
 
Psalm 14. This is another Psalm of David, and it is very similar (almost identical) to Psalm 53, the main difference being that Psalm 14 is Jehovahistic, and Psalm 53 is Elohistic, in keeping with the character of the second book. The fourteenth Psalm presents the character of the wicked in the sight of Jehovah. Prophetically, this psalm gives us an assessment of the apostate nation of Israel, made by the faithful remnant, followed by a prayer to Jehovah in which the faithful long for the time of His salvation. Psalm 10 gives us the character of Antichrist, and Psalm 14 gives us the character of his followers.
 
PSALM 14
To the chief Musician. A Psalm of David.
1 The fool hath said in his heart, There is no God.
They have corrupted themselves, they have done abominable works: there is none that doeth good.
2 Jehovah looked down from the heavens upon the children of men, to see if there were any that did understand, that did seek God.
3 “They have all gone aside, they are together become corrupt: there is none that doeth good, not even one.” [quoted Rom. 3:11-12]
 
vv.1-3 The Atheistic Character of the Wicked. These verses bring out the character of the wicked as “the fool”. In v.1a we find that the wicked live without reference to God; “The fool hath said in his heart, There is no God.” While this is prophetic of the circumstances in Israel in the time of antichrist (who himself is called a “foolish shepherd”, Zech. 11:15), morally this is true of men even today who live without reference to God. The apostasy that will be full blown in a future day has already begun. In v.1b we find the results of living without reference to God; “They have corrupted themselves, they have done abominable works: there is none that doeth good”. Atheists argue that man can have morals without reference to God, but this is false – and Psalm 14 shows that. As in Gen. 6:5 and 11:5, again “Jehovah looked down from the heavens upon the children of men”. He looked to see if there were “any that did understand, that did seek God”. The conclusion? “They have all gone aside, they are together become corrupt, etc.” The apostle Paul quotes this in Romans 3 to establish the lost condition of man, but especially of the Jews. Prophetically “the fool” might be the antichrist (individual), and “they” are the apostate Jews who follow antichrist.
 
4 Have all the workers of iniquity no knowledge, eating up my people as they eat bread? They call not upon Jehovah.
5 There were they in great fear; for God is in the generation of the righteous.
6 Ye have shamed the counsel of the afflicted, because Jehovah was his refuge.
 
vv.4-6 The Error of the Wicked. The “workers of iniquity” really are insensible to Jehovah and His claims. This led them to abuse and consume (“eat”) the Lord’s people; i.e. the faithful Jews. They “call not upon Jehovah” because they have abandoned true worship and instead worship the beast and antichrist. But though they say “there is no God”, the wicked are still in “great fear” when persecuting the faithful, because “God is in the generation of the righteous”.1 The psalmist remarks on the irony of the fear that that wicked experience, because just before they had scorned the faithful (“the counsel of the afflicted”) because they trusted in Jehovah as their refuge!2
 
7 Oh that the salvation of Israel were come out of Zion! When Jehovah turneth again the captivity of his people, Jacob shall be glad, Israel shall rejoice. 
 
v.7 The hope of the remnant. The remnant is looking forward to “the salvation of Israel” – a reference to the Messiah Himself – to come out of Zion (Zech. 14:3; Amos 3:16). When the Lord appears, then the restoration of Israel will occur; not just of the two tribes, but also the ten tribes. The expression “turneth the captivity” refers to a full return of Israel, not the partial return under Zerubbabel, nor that under Nehemiah, but that of the future, under Messiah.3 When their proper national hopes are realized, “Jacob shall be glad, Israel shall rejoice”. When the Lord roars out of Zion, He will already have restored His people. He comes to Zion to restore them, and He will come out of Zion to judge His enemies at the winepress judgment!
 
  1. Not only so, but God Himself is in the generation of the righteous. There is an influence produced by the presence of God with the righteous, which the enemies of Jehovah feel, and which in the righteous is known only by faith. We may see an example in what Rahab evidently saw among the Canaanites; Joshua 2:9. The same feeling is referred to in Philippians 1:28. This feeling of fear, in those who oppose the truth, may be accompanied with boasting and violence; but when faith has confidence in Jehovah, the wicked, even if they succeed, have always fear. So the Jews, even when they had crucified Christ, feared lest, after all, His absence from the tomb should make matters worse than before, But there must be the sense of God’s presence for the righteous to be thus sustained. – Darby, J.N. Practical Reflections on the Psalms.
  2. Fear falls upon the proud, who but a while ago were scorning the poor for trusting Jehovah. – Darby, J.N. Synopsis of the Books of the Bible.
  3. See J.N. Darby translation note, Psa. 126:1

Psalm 15

 
Psalm 15
Requirements to Enjoy Jehovah’s Presence
 
Psalm 15. This is a psalm of David, and it concerns the requirement for a Jew under law to stand in the presence of the Lord with a good conscience. It would seem that this psalm prophetically follows the conclusion of Psalm 14, and now it is assumed that the salvation of Israel has come out of Zion, and Jehovah is in His temple in the Millennium. It is beautiful to consider this Psalm as the reward to the faithful who have suffered in Psalms 11-14. It is worth it to carry on, even though it feels hopeless now. The rich reward for faithfulness is to abide in the presence of the Lord!
 
PSALM 15
A Psalm of David.
1 Jehovah, who shall sojourn in thy tent? who shall dwell in the hill of thy holiness?
 
v.1 The Question. The question is, what kind of person will be permitted to be near the Lord in that day? Notice that the temple is called “the hill of thy holiness”. As Ezekiel reminds us, the “law of the house” where the Lord dwells will be this: “Upon the top of the mountain all its border round about is most holy. Behold, this is the law of the house.” (Ezek. 43:12).While this question pertains strictly to the Jews, who did not have free access to the Father by the Spirit, yet there is a moral application to us in our day.
 
2 He that walketh uprightly, and worketh righteousness, and speaketh the truth from his heart.
3 He that slandereth not with his tongue, doeth not evil to his companion, nor taketh up a reproach against his neighbour;
4 In whose eyes the depraved person is contemned, and who honoureth them that fear Jehovah; who, if he have sworn to his own hurt, changeth it not;
5 He that putteth not out his money to usury, nor taketh reward against the innocent. He that doeth these things shall never be moved.
 
vv.2-5 The Answer. The psalmist answers his own question! To summarize, the requirement is practical righteousness in word and deed. How wonderful to consider that the faithful remnant are the ones who meet these qualifications. The apostate nation will treat the remnant horribly because they maintain a righteous walk, but the Lord will reward them with His very own presence! See Rev. 7:14-17. As we already mentioned, there is a moral application of this to us in our day. Communion with God is a privilege that can be lost by allowing evil in our lives. “He that has my commandments and keeps them, he it is that loves me; but he that loves me shall be loved by my Father, and I will love him and will manifest myself to him” (John 14:21). The felt presence of Christ in our daily walk is conditional on our obedience to His word. 
 

Psalm 16

 
Psalm 16
The Perfect Humanity of Christ
 
Psalm 16 – 18. These Psalms give us a revelation of Christ, as the dependent man (Psa. 16), the righteous man (Psa. 17), and the victorious man (Psa. 18).
 
Psalm 16. This is a Psalm of David, and it is a “Michtam” psalm, which means “golden” or “jewel”. There are six Michtam Psalms, and they illustrate the preciousness of the Lord’s people to His heart who trust Him through trial, much like gold that is tried with fire (1 Pet. 1:7). This is something that is extremely precious to God, just as the pathway of Christ as a dependent man was precious to the Father’s heart. Therefore this Psalm is “a golden jewel”. The other Michtam Psalms are 16; 56; 57; 58; 59; 60. Psalm 16 is a Messianic Psalm, and it takes up the pathway of Christ on earth as a dependent man. This Psalm prophetically lays out the earthly pathway of the Lord, through death, resurrection, and to the right hand of God, where is fullness of joy. We know it is about Christ because it is quoted by Peter in Acts 2:25-28 (see also Acts 13:35). In Psa. 14 we have God looking down for a man. In Psa. 15 we have the qualifications of a perfect man, with whom God can dwell. In Psa. 16 the man is Christ, who identifies Himself with the faithful remnant, like Matt. 3. This Psalm has been called “the meal-offering Psalm” because it presents to us the perfect humanity of Christ, similar to the meal-offering in Leviticus 2. God intends for us to enjoy Christ in this way, and the manna is a type of Christ as a humbled man (see John 6). But though Christ is man, He is also the Son of God. That is what makes this Psalm, and the humanity of Christ, so precious. The Spirit of God guards the deity and glory of Christ (Mark 1:1).
 
PSALM 16
Michtam of David.
1 Preserve me, O GOD: for I trust in thee.
 
v.1 Dependence and Confidence. In the first verse we have the expression of Christ as a man on earth; wholly cast on God for preservation – “Preserve me O God” – and also confident in His protection – “for I trust in thee”. It is interesting that the word for God here in v.1 is “El” (singular) rather than “Elohim” (plural). What we have here is one Person of the Godhead communing with another Person. The Son speaking to His Father. We could think of Psalm 16 as the daily prayer of Christ. He did everything with His Father’s approval and communion; “Verily, verily, I say unto you, The Son can do nothing of himself, but what he seeth the Father do: for what things soever he doeth, these also doeth the Son likewise” (John 5:19). It is good for us too to follow the footsteps of Christ in this. We can’t take one step without the preserving grace of God. Sin is a will acting in independence; Christ never acted independently. Christ was perfect as a man, and this was demonstrated in the temptation. He was the Son of God, but Satan wanted the Lord to step out of His place as man. He passed the test perfectly, abiding in obedience and dependence on His God.
 
2 Thou my soul hast said to Jehovah, Thou art the Lord [Adonai]: my goodness extendeth not to thee; —
3 To the saints that are on the earth, and to the excellent thou hast said, In them is all my delight.
 
vv.2-3 Subjection and Humility. In v.2, the Psalmist confesses his taking the place of subjection to Jehovah. When we consider that this speaks of Christ, it is beautiful. As a man on earth, Christ took the subject place, and confessed the Lordship of God.1 This is an example of what we have in Phil. 2:6-7; “Who, being in the form of God, thought it not robbery to be equal with God: But made himself of no reputation, and took upon him the form of a servant, and was made in the likeness of men”. Christ did not insist on His rights as God, but embraced His place as man and servant; i.e. subject to God, thought He was co-equal. The last part of v.1 is a confession that underscores Christ’s humility; “my goodness extendeth not to thee”. We should confess the same thing to our God! We are dependent on Him, not He on us. Our goodness adds nothing to God.2 In Luke 18:19 Jesus said, “Why callest thou me good? none is good, save one, that is, God”. In v.2 man speaks to God, and in v.3 God speaks to man. We have a transition; now God is speaking. God would have “the saints on the earth” (the faithful remnant) to know that His delight is in them. Christ so fully identified Himself with the remnant, that He uses their own language. It doesn’t take away His deity, but it does highlight His humility! Read Mat 3:13-17. There we have Christ in action carrying out the expressions of v.3, identifying Himself by baptism with the faithful remnant, and God answering from heaven, “This is my beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased”. There is a sense in which the final fulfillment of this is yet future, with the remnant of Israel in the seventieth week of Daniel, with whom Christ will identify Himself.3 But we can see by the broadness of v.3, “the saints that are on the earth” and “the excellent”, that Christ finds all His delight in believers who are associated with Himself. To Christ, the saints are a precious, golden jewel, in the midst of a corrupt and ruined world. Note that it is Christ speaking in the last clause of v.3, as a continuation of v.2. Christ Himself finds all His delight in the faithful remnant! Beautiful to see the humility of Christ in associating Himself with the saints!4
 
4 Their sorrows shall be multiplied that hasten after another: their drink-offerings of blood will I not offer, and I will not take up their names into my lips.
5 Jehovah is the portion of mine inheritance and of my cup: thou maintainest my lot.
6 The lines are fallen unto me in pleasant places; yea, I have a goodly heritage.
 
vv.4-6 Separation and Satisfaction. In v.4 we have the backdrop of v.2; “my soul hast said to Jehovah, Thou art the Lord”. The “another” in v.4 refers to other lords; i.e. false gods. The faithful can look around with a sober assessment of the “alternative paths” taken by the wicked, hastening after other gods. The result of those paths is that “their sorrows shall be multiplied”. The “sorrows” of the wicked will be abundantly multiplied in the great tribulation! The dependent man is a separated man; “their drink-offerings of blood will I not offer, and I will not take up their names into my lips”. Notice the carefulness; not just the sacrifices (contrast with drink offerings of wine, Lev. 23:18), but even the language of the wicked is avoided. Yet separation in scripture is always looked at as from something and to something (Num. 6:2-3). We can fall into a legal frame of mind if we forget that separation is first positive, then negative. In fact, the negative aspect will follow almost automatically when the heart is right. However, God still does speak extensively about the negative side of separation because our consciences need to be exercised. Here the faithful, especially Christ as a man, has a portion that is so wonderful and satisfying that it eclipses the portion of the wicked; “Jehovah is the portion of mine inheritance and of my cup”. An inheritance is a permanent possession, but a cup is a portion for here and now, the present enjoyment in the pathway (Psalm 23:5). How wonderful that Jehovah was both the portion of Christ’s inheritance and cup.5 Christ walked in the light of Jehovah’s smile, and He felt that favor towards Himself; “the lines are fallen unto me in pleasant places”. This expression, “the lines”, refers to property boundaries, such as would mark out a portion of land as an inheritance. Surely, we can say the same about our portion (Col. 3:1-3)!
 
7 I will bless Jehovah, who giveth me counsel; even in the nights my reins instruct me.
8 “I have set Jehovah continually before me; because he is at my right hand, I shall not be moved.
 
vv.7-8 Counsel and Courage. Next we find the thought of counsel or guidance from Jehovah. Christ daily looked to God for guidance, and we should as well. We live in a world turned upside down by sin and confusion. We need wisdom and instruction from God (Eph. 5:15-17), and this comes to us through His Word, and can only be received in dependence on Him. The second part of v.7 is very helpful; “even in the nights my reins instruct me”. Night seasons are when things aren’t clear, or when things are very difficult. The word “reins” simply refers to our motives; i.e. a knowledge that comes from within. Christ was guided in His pathway by an inner wisdom. This might at first seem mystical and inconsistent with dependence on God, However, we read in Col. 1:9-10 that we can be filled with the knowledge of His will in all wisdom and spiritual understanding. We read in 1 Cor. 2:15 that “the spiritual discerns all things, and he is discerned of no one” (1 Cor. 2:15). This inner discernment comes from God, and cannot be had in independence of Him. The second thing we find is courage, which comes from having God always in view; “I have set Jehovah continually before me; because he is at my right hand, I shall not be moved”. Christ was the perfect example of this. He always keep God in His thoughts, and lived in view of God’s interests. We should to the same. No matter how dark the circumstances, we can set the Lord before us; i.e. bring Him into our thoughts. What a difference that makes! It produces courage, which is different from self-confidence. Here it is courage because of the presence of Jehovah; “And he that sent me is with me: the Father hath not left me alone; for I do always those things that please him” (John 8:29). When we do this, the result is joy and assurance (v.9).
 
9 Therefore my heart rejoiceth, and my glory exulteth; my flesh moreover shall dwell in hope.
10 For thou wilt not leave my soul to Sheol, neither wilt thou allow thy Holy One to see corruption.
 
vv.9-10 Joy and Assurance of Resurrection. Setting Jehovah before Him, Christ could say “therefore my heart rejoiceth, and my glory exulteth”. This is the secret to Christian joy and happiness. He then refers, in the latter part of v.9 and v.10, to the hope of resurrection. He refers first to His death, when the body (“my flesh”) is separated from the soul and spirit. This state of separation would not continue forever; “my flesh moreover shall dwell in hope”. It is the hope of resurrection; faith counting that God would raise Him up! In Hebrews 11 the faith of Abraham that God would raise up Isaac is a type of Christ; “Accounting that God was able to raise him up, even from the dead; from whence also he received him in a figure” (Heb. 11:19). In obeying unto death, and going to the cross, Christ was trusting God to raise Him from the dead. This is what v.10 expresses. It is not Christ taking the place of Son of God, to raise Himself, as in “I have power to lay it down, and I have power to take it again” (John 10:18), or “Destroy this temple, and in three days I will raise it up” (John 2:19). Rather, it is Christ the dependent man, trusting God to raise Him up. In v.10 we have the temporary nature of Christ’s death. One one hand, His soul would not long remain in the state of separation; “For thou wilt not leave my soul to Sheol”. The word “Sheol” is the equivalent to Hades in the New Testament, and it simply refers to the intermediate state of the soul in death; i.e. separated from the body. On the other hand, while separated from His soul, Our Lord’s body would not begin to decay; “neither wilt thou allow thy Holy One to see corruption”. This is different from every other man. Every person, when they die, their body begins to decay immediately. Not so with the Lord! Notice also the preciousness of the body; “thine Holy One”. The body of our Blessed Lord was still part of who He was and is, and it is called “holy”. In case there is any doubt as to the meaning of these verses, after quoting them, Peter says of David, “he, seeing it before, spoke concerning the resurrection of the Christ, that neither has he been left in hades nor his flesh seen corruption. This Jesus has God raised up, whereof all we are witnesses” (Acts 2:31-32).
 
11 Thou wilt make known to me the path of life: thy countenance is fulness of joy; at thy right hand are pleasures for evermore.” [vv.8-11 quoted in Acts 2:25-28]
 
v.11 The Prospect of Glory. Having laid out the negative side of resurrection (v.10), the Psalmist now speaks of it positively; “Thou wilt make known to me the path of life”. The “path of life” is resurrection! But this goes beyond resurrection, and takes up the ascension and glorification of Christ at God’s right hand. Christ had confidence that He would see Jehovah’s countenance; i.e. find Himself in the presence of God; “thy countenance is fulness of joy”! And further, He would be find Himself at God’s right hand; “at thy right hand are pleasures for evermore”. He could anticipate the joy of that day, the pleasures of the presence of God, and it gave Him comfort and strength for the pathway (Heb. 12:2).
 
  1. Unless there be some mistake, I do not think it is my Lord, but “thou art in the place of Lord;” as a man, a servant, He owns Jehovah in the place of Lordship, identifying Himself with the saints on earth. – Darby, J.N. Heads of Psalms.
  2. In the place He had freely taken, the bondman’s place, He would not put Himself on a level with the Master; He said, “My goodness [is] not to thee.” He was here to obey, not to assert co-equality. So He would not be called “Good Master” by one that knew not who He is, only what He became. – Kelly, W. Notes on the Psalms.
  3. This He did historically, when He went to the baptism of John Baptist, with those whom the Spirit led to God in the holy path of repentance. They went first there. He associates Himself with them in grace. Still, we look on to the full result in the last days even here. – Darby, J.N. Synopsis of the Books of the Bible.
  4. After examining many critical authorities, I adhere to the English translation of the second verse. The third leaves the sense obscure, from not changing the preposition. “But to the saints” answers to “said unto the Lord,” not to “extends not to thee.” He says to the Lord, “My goodness … to the saints, … in them is all my delight.” Thus this psalm has a most important and deeply interesting place. It is Christ taking His place in grace amongst the poor remnant of Israel… – Darby, J.N. Synopsis of the Books of the Bible.
  5. This, I apprehend, is the difference between heritage and cup. The inheritance is the permanent portion of the soul; the cup, what its feelings are occupied with, what comes to a man to occupy his spirit by the way. – Darby, J.N. Practical Reflections on the Psalms.

Psalm 17

 
Psalm 17
The Path of the Righteous before God
 
Psalm 17. This Psalm is a Psalm of David, and it presents to us the path of the righteous before God, primarily of the Son of David, but also of the faithful remnant in association with Him.1 We can see that this Psalm is not exclusively Christ because of v.11; “They have now encompassed us in our steps, etc.”.  It isn’t so much Christ’s dependence on God that is presented (as in Psa. 16), but His practical righteousness. This becomes the ground of His pleading, and of His expectation of deliverance, and ultimately His resurrection. Psalm 16 presents the inner life of the Messiah in His pathway, and Psalm 17 presents His outer life before men.2
 
PSALM 17
A Prayer of David.
1 Hear the right, O Jehovah, attend unto my cry; give ear unto my prayer, which is not out of feigned lips.
2 Let my judgment come forth from thy presence, let thine eyes regard equity.
3 Thou hast proved my heart, thou hast visited me by night; thou hast tried me, thou hast found nothing: my thought goeth not beyond my word.
4 Concerning the works of men, by the word of thy lips I have kept from the paths of the violent man.
5 When thou holdest my goings in thy paths, my footsteps slip not.
 
vv.1-5 A Righteous Life Maintained. In v.1 we have the characteristic sentiment of the Psalm: a call for Jehovah to hear the earnest prayer from a righteous man. There are many references to Christ’s pathway being judged by God and found to be righteous. Whether it be judgment from God’s presence, Jehovah’s eyes regarding equity, proving His heart, trying Him and finding nothing wrong or imperfect, searching out His thoughts, etc. It is wonderful to think of Christ, being able to open up His soul to Jehovah – as a man on the earth – and to invite Divine inspection of His whole pathway, and the result would be nothing found contrary to the will of God! In vv.4-5 we have His solemn testimony that He had kept “the word of thy lips”, and had refrained from going in “the paths of the violent man”. And yet there is an acknowledgment of God’s preserving grace in the pathway; that God was holding His “goings” in His paths, that His footsteps would not slip. In this we see Christ taking His place in association with the faithful remnant. How blessed for the faithful to have a sense of the preserving grace of God!
 
6 I have called upon thee, for thou answerest me, O GOD. Incline thine ear unto me, hear my speech.
7 Shew wondrously thy loving-kindnesses, O thou that savest by thy right hand them that trust in thee from those that rise up against them.
8 Keep me as the apple of the eye, hide me under the shadow of thy wings,
9 From the wicked that destroy me, my deadly enemies, who compass me about.
10 They are enclosed in their own fat; with their mouth they speak proudly.
11 They have now encompassed us in our steps; their eyes have they set, bowing down to the earth.
12 He is like a lion that is greedy of its prey, and as a young lion lurking in secret places.
13 Arise, Jehovah, anticipate him, cast him down: deliver my soul from the wicked, thy sword;
14 From men who are thy hand, O Jehovah, from men of this age: their portion is in this life, and their belly thou fillest with thy hid treasure; they have their fill of sons, and leave the rest of their substance to their children.
 
vv.6-14 Prayer for Deliverance from the Wicked. In v.6 we have (once again) a call to God for deliverance, to hear the prayer of the righteous. Notice however v.1 is addressed to Jehovah, and v.1 to El. When the subject is the righteousness of Christ’s pathway, Jehovah is brought in. But when the subject is power for deliverance from enemies, El (the singular form of Elohim) is addressed. Messiah asks God to show Him lovingkindness, as One who always saves those who trust in Him (v.7). He asks God to keep or preserve Him as “the apple of the eye”; which means to be preserved as someone guards their most precious possession (as a person would protect the pupil of their eye). Also, He asks to be sheltered under the shadow of God’s wings, as a mother bird shelters her young. In v.9 we have those who the faithful must be protected from; “the wicked that destroy me, my deadly enemies, who compass me about”. In v.10 we have their character, as so gluttonous that they are “enclosed in their own fat”, and also proud and boastful. Their fat insulates them from the hand of God. In v.11 we may have a play on words. As as the wicked are “enclosed” with their own fat, so they have also “encompassed” the righteous in their steps. Their thoughts are all of this earth, their eyes set on the things their hearts desire, bowing down to the earth as before an idol. In v.12 the enemy is viewed as a lion, with its speed, strength, and cunning. In v.13, the Psalmist returns to address Jehovah, and calls upon the Lord to “anticipate him, cast him down”. He refers to the wicked as Jehovah’s “sword” (v.13), and Jehovah’s “hand” (v.14). The remnant acknowledge that God is using the wicked for His own purposes. He also calls the wicked “the men of this age”, whose “portion is in this life”. This describes the selfish and shortsighted outlook of the wicked. In v.14, we find that the wicked have their portion; full bellies, many sons, and material wealth (Luke 12:16-23). This is in contrast with the hope and portion of the faithful (v.15).
 
15 As for me, I will behold thy face in righteousness; I shall be satisfied, when I awake, with thy likeness.
 
v.15 The Hope of Resurrection. As in Psalm 16, so in Psalm 17 we have the hope of resurrection at the end of the Psalm. The difference would be that in Psalm 16 the whole pathway of Christ is viewed as a pathway of joy, and resurrection is viewed as the glorious end to a perfect pathway.  In Psalm 17 it is a pathway of suffering, and resurrection is viewed as a deliverance for the faithful. Nevertheless, resurrection is still viewed as a portion for the faithful, in contrast to the wicked, who had their portion in this life (v.14). So the faithful will be “satisfied” in resurrection, not with the cheap and frivolous things of material wealth and plenty, but with the presence of God, and to awake with His likeness. The material prosperity of the wicked can never truly satisfy them. But to awake in resurrection (a figure of waking from sleep, or the intermediate state for the believer) and to be like Christ is the greatest satisfaction a soul can ever know. “We shall be like Him, for we shall see Him as He is” (1 John 3:2). 
 
  1. It is not so exclusively Christ as in Ps. 16. – Kelly, W. Notes on the Psalms.
  2. Smith, H. The Psalms.

Psalm 18

 
Psalm 18
Christ in Association with Israel from Egypt to the Millennium
 
Psalm 18. In this Psalm, which is a Psalm of David, we have Jehovah’s deliverance of Christ in association with Israel from all their enemies. It covers the whole history of the nation, but does not detail the failure and ruin of the nation. Rather it takes up God’s goodness to the faithful. The inscription shows that Psalm 18 is a song David sang to the Lord in the day when all his enemies were put down. It is a song of triumph! We know this is a Messianic psalm because it is quoted by Paul in Romans 15, in relation to the conversion of Gentiles accomplished by Christ. Paul applied it to the gospel of the grace of God going out to the Gentiles, but the full prophetic fulfillment of it is the Gentiles turning to the Lord in the Millennium. This Psalm is repeated verbatim in 2 Sam. 22.
 
PSALM 18
To the chief Musician. A Psalm of David, the servant of Jehovah, who spoke to Jehovah the words of this song in the day that Jehovah had delivered him out of the hand of all his enemies and out of the hand of Saul. And he said,
1 I will love thee, O Jehovah, my strength.
2 Jehovah is my rock, and my fortress, and my deliverer; my GOD, my rock, in whom I will trust; my shield, and the horn of my salvation, my high tower.
3 I will call upon Jehovah, who is to be praised: so shall I be saved from mine enemies.
 
vv.1-3 Trust in Jehovah. In the opening verses we have Christ in association with the godly remnant of Israel, confessing their implicit trust in Jehovah for deliverance. He refers to Jehovah under many figures; a rock, a fortress, a deliverer, a shield, a horn, a high tower, etc. These verses give the theme of the song: confidence in Jehovah who has the power, the strength, and the will to deliver the faithful from their enemies. Surely this sentiment will be one of the great themes of Israel’s praise to the Lord in the Millennium.
 
4 The bands of death encompassed me, and torrents of Belial made me afraid.
5 The bands of Sheol surrounded me, the cords of death encountered me.
6 In my distress I called upon Jehovah, and I cried out to my God; he heard my voice out of his temple, and my cry came before him, into his ears.
 
vv.4-6 Christ in Distress Cries to His God. The darkest time in Israel’s history is described in vv.4-6. In one sense it refers to Israel in bondage in Egypt. In another sense it refers to the faithful remnant in the darkness of the Great Tribulation. In another sense it refers to Christ on the cross, facing death, and crying out in prayer to His God for deliverance. In the middle of v.6 there is a change, and the prayer is answered!
 
7 Then the earth shook and quaked, and the foundations of the mountains trembled and shook, because he was wroth.
8 There went up a smoke out of his nostrils, and fire out of his mouth devoured: coals burned forth from it.
9 And he bowed the heavens, and came down; and darkness was under his feet.
10 And he rode upon a cherub and did fly; yea, he flew fast upon the wings of the wind.
11 He made darkness his secret place, his tent round about him: darkness of waters, thick clouds of the skies.
12 From the brightness before him his thick clouds passed forth: hail and coals of fire.
13 And Jehovah thundered in the heavens, and the Most High uttered his voice: hail and coals of fire.
14 And he sent his arrows, and scattered mine enemies; and he shot forth lightnings, and discomfited them.
15 And the beds of the waters were seen, and the foundations of the world were uncovered at thy rebuke, Jehovah, at the blast of the breath of thy nostrils.
16 He reached forth from above, he took me, he drew me out of great waters:
17 He delivered me from my strong enemy, and from them that hated me; for they were mightier than I.
18 They encountered me in the day of my calamity, but Jehovah was my stay.
 
vv.7-18 Jehovah’s Deliverance: The Exodus, Resurrection. These verses we have God’s answer to Christ’s cry of distress, and Israel’s cry for deliverance. That cry was heard, and God answered with His mighty power. These verses poetically describe the great power of the Lord coming forth in the deliverance of His people. In v.11 we may have a reference to the darkness God sent on the Egyptians, so that they could not see Israel to attack them. In v.12 we have a reference perhaps to the bright glory cloud of Jehovah’s presence that was with Israel in that time. In v.15 we have a reference to the parting of the waters of the Red Sea. The great wind is pictured here as the blast of the breath of Jehovah’s nostrils. In v.16 we have Jehovah’s deliverance of Israel out of the waters of the Red Sea. All of this also is a prophetic description of two things: (1) the deliverance of Christ from death, pictured as coming out of the waters of death, in resurrection, and (2) the deliverance from Israel from all of their enemies out of the Great Tribulation!
 
19 And he brought me forth into a large place; he delivered me, because he delighted in me.
20 Jehovah hath rewarded me according to my righteousness; according to the cleanness of my hands hath he recompensed me.
21 For I have kept the ways of Jehovah, and have not wickedly departed from my God.
22 For all his ordinances were before me, and I did not put away his statutes from me;
23 And I was upright with him, and kept myself from mine iniquity.
24 And Jehovah hath recompensed me according to my righteousness, according to the cleanness of my hands in his sight.
25 With the gracious thou dost shew thyself gracious; with the upright man thou dost shew thyself upright;
26 With the pure thou dost shew thyself pure; and with the perverse thou dost shew thyself contrary.
27 For it is thou that savest the afflicted people; but the haughty eyes wilt thou bring down.
28 For it is thou that makest my lamp to shine: Jehovah my God enlighteneth my darkness.
29 For by thee I have run through a troop; and by my God have I leaped over a wall.
 
vv.19-29 Israel Established in the Land, Victorious. In these verses we have Jehovah’s deliverance of Israel, bringing them into the land of Canaan because He delighted in them. Clearly these words cannot be strictly limited to the nation at large, because the nation was unfaithful. But in verse 20 the summer speaks of Jehovah rewarding him according to his own righteousness, according to the cleanest of his hands. This of course speaks of Christ who always did the will of God and kept his Waze (v.21), End it also includes the faithful remnant in association with him. In verse 23 there is a reference to an equity, and to the faith for keeping themselves from it. Clearly here we have the remnant speaking. Christ has no iniquity in a personal sense. But it is his grace that will keep the remnant from falling into the paths of the wicked. Verses 24 through 26 we find that the government of God was working on behalf of the faithful. They vindicate God‘s righteous character in all of his ways with them. In verse 27 through 29 the faithful confess that it is really the Lord who delivered them, it is though is repeated over and over again.In verse 29 it is clearly God helping Israel in their fight against their enemies. No doubt this is not only speaking of David’s victory over his enemies, but also looking on to Israel’s final battles in the indignation, where in Messiah will lead them out in a victorious conquest of all of their enemies.
 
30 As for GOD, his way is perfect; the word of Jehovah is tried: he is a shield to all that trust in him.
31 For who is +God save Jehovah? and who is a rock if not our God?
32 The GOD who girdeth me with strength, and maketh my way perfect,
33 Who maketh my feet like hinds’ feet, and setteth me upon my high places;
34 Who teacheth my hands to war, and mine arms bend a bow of brass;
35 And thou didst give me the shield of thy salvation, and thy right hand held me up; and thy condescending gentleness hath made me great.
36 Thou didst enlarge my steps under me, and mine ankles have not wavered.
37 I pursued mine enemies, and overtook them; and I turned not again till they were consumed.
38 I crushed them, and they were not able to rise: they fell under my feet.
39 And thou girdedst me with strength to battle; thou didst subdue under me those that rose up against me.
40 And mine enemies didst thou make to turn their backs unto me, and those that hated me I destroyed.
41 They cried, and there was none to save; — unto Jehovah, and he answered them not.
42 And I did beat them small as dust before the wind; I did cast them out as the mire of the streets.
 
vv.30-42 Messiah and Israel given victory over all enemies. In these verses the faithful summarize the great themes of Gods government and God’s character. Gods way is perfect in all He does, and this is born out in prophecy. The Word of the Lord is tested, and is proven to be accurate and abiding. The Lord’s preservation is proven to be effective to all those who trust in Him. In v.31, Jehovah is exalted above all other gods. History both past and future will prove the greatness of Jehovah. In v.30, Jehovah is the One who gives the faithful strength and guides their way. In v.33, Jehovah is the One who gives the faithful speed and ability to escape to their high places, like a deer. In v.34, Jehovah is the One who enables the faithful to fight against their enemies and to be victorious. In v.35, Jehovah is the One who protects His people, upholds them, and makes them great. In vv.37-42 we have a description of the great victory that Jehovah will grant to Israel against all their enemies, through His own strength and wisdom.
 
43 Thou hast delivered me from the strivings of the people; thou hast made me the head of the nations: a people I knew not doth serve me.
44 At the hearing of the ear, they obey me: strangers come cringing unto me.
45 Strangers have faded away, and they come trembling forth from their close places.
 
vv.43-45 Israel, under Messiah, at the head of the nations. In these verses we have not only a summary of the Lord’s deliverance of Israel, but also their place in the Millennium. It speaks of Israel as made the head of the nations, a reference to their place of prominence in the kingdom of the Messiah. It speaks of foreign peoples, strangers coming cringing or fearfully before Israel and Messiah to obey them and submit themselves to them.
 
46 Jehovah liveth; and blessed be my rock; and exalted be the God of my salvation,
47 The GOD who hath avenged me, and hath subjected the peoples to me;
48 Who hath delivered me from mine enemies: yea, thou hast lifted me up above them that rose up against me; from the man of violence hast thou delivered me.
49 “Therefore will I give thanks to thee, Jehovah, among the nations, and will sing psalms to thy name.” [quoted Romans 15:9]
50 It is he who giveth great deliverances to his king, and sheweth loving-kindness to his anointed, to David, and to his seed for evermore.
 
vv.46-50 Praise to Jehovah for His deliverance. In the closing verses of the song, the faithful pour out their praise to Jehovah for His deliverance. It summarizes the themes of the Psalm, and states these things as the foundation of the nations’ praise to Jehovah in the Millennium. Above everything, Jehovah is given all the credit, Israel takes none of it for themselves. We find in Romans 15 that Paul quotes v.49 in relation to the conversion of Gentiles accomplished by Christ. Paul applied it to the gospel of the grace of God going out to the Gentiles, but the full prophetic fulfillment of it is the Gentiles turning to the Lord in the Millennium. The final verses speak of “his king… his anointed, to David, and to his seed for evermore”. This now doubt refers to the Messiah, great David’s greater Son!
 

Psalm 19

 
Psalm 19
The Revelation of God in Creation and His Law
 
Psalm 19. This is a Psalm of David in which he reflects on two revelations of God: (1) the general revelation of God in creation, and (2) the special revelation of God through His Word, specifically to Israel. Prophetically, this Psalm describes the reflection of the faithful remnant on the two-fold testimony of God.
 
PSALM 19
To the chief Musician. A Psalm of David.
1 The heavens declare the glory of GOD; and the expanse sheweth the work of his hands.
2 Day unto day uttereth speech, and night unto night sheweth knowledge.
3 There is no speech and there are no words, yet their voice is heard.
4 Their line is gone out through all the earth, and their language to the extremity of the world. In them hath he set a tent for the sun,
5 And he is as a bridegroom going forth from his chamber; he rejoiceth as a strong man to run the race.
6 His going forth is from the end of the heavens, and his circuit unto the ends of it; and there is nothing hid from the heat thereof.
 
vv.1-6 The General Revelation of God in Creation. The first half of the Psalm deals with general revelation of God in creation. Specifically here we have what can be known about God from looking up into the heavens; i.e. the sky above us. In v.1, we find that “the heavens declare the glory of God”. We may ask, what glory of God is revealed? It is His creatorial glory. The “heavens” would include the planets, stars, galaxies, etc. (the “first” heaven, read more…). The “firmament” or “expanse” would be the sky between the surface of the earth and the clouds; i.e. where the birds fly. The earth has been corrupted through man’s sin, but the heavens are largely untouched, and bear a clearer testimony in some ways to the glory of God. When we look above us with honest reflection, we are amazed by the evident power and skill of the Creator. In vv.2-4, the universal direction and extent of the testimony of creation is expounded. Day after day, and night after night (v.2), across all languages (v.3), from pole to pole, to the farthest reaches of the earth, the heavens speak to man of the glory of God as Creator!
 
In vv.4-6, the extent of the witness of creation is compared to the reach of the sun itself, which compasses the entire globe each day in a “circuit”. Just as there is “nothing hid from the heat” of the sun, so no intelligent creature on earth is without the witness of creation. Although the witness of creation is limited as far as the revelation it brings, it is enough, says the apostle Paul, to make all men responsible to glory God as Creator; “Because what is known of God is manifest among them, for God has manifested it to them, for from the world’s creation the invisible things of him are perceived, being apprehended by the mind through the things that are made, both his eternal power and divinity, so as to render them inexcusable” (Rom. 1:19-20). However, while creation made man responsible to worship God, man proved his depraved condition by ignoring the witness of God in creation, and perverting God’s glory by turning to idolatry (read Rom. 1). Thankfully, God gave another revelation, that can enlighten the eyes of man, and which God is pleased to use to quicken the soul, through the power of His Spirit (vv.7-14)!
 
Can people be quickened without the written Word of God? There is some disagreement among Bible students as to the "water" of the Word (John 3:5) that is required for new birth. Clearly, the word of God is what the Spirit normally uses in the act of new birth (James 1:18; 1 Pet. 1:23). But is it restricted to the written Word? That would mean that all those without access to the written Word are never quickened. I think we can set this aside easily by looking at the Patriarchs, who never had the written Word, and yet many of them were certainly born again. What did they have? There was no written Word until Moses. The Patriarchs had the Word passed down orally, and they had various appearances of God in dreams, visions (Job 33:15-29), or pre-incarnate appearances (theophanies).
 
What about the limited, general revelation of God in creation? Psalm 19:3-4 says that God's voice in creation has gone over the whole world; "There is no speech nor language, where their voice is not heard. Their line is gone out through all the earth, and their words to the end of the world." In Romans 1 we read that the creation demonstrates God's "power and divinity". In Acts 14:17 we find that creation also demonstrates the goodness of God. In Psalm 147:5 it demonstrates God’s wisdom; that He is “infinite in understanding”. Is the witness of creation something that the Spirit has used in the past to quicken someone without access to the oral or written Word? We are not told explicitly, and we should not add to the Word of God. Certainly, a strong connection is made in Psalm 19 between the witness of creation and "the Law of the Lord". However, Psalm 19 also draws a strong contrast between the two, highlighting that while the glory of God is made known universally through creation, it is by the Law of the Lord that men's eyes are enlightened. It is clear from Romans 1 that creation is enough to make the heathen responsible to believe God, but we have no examples of individuals who believed on the basis of creation alone. In fact, the point in Romans 1 is that, though creation makes even the heathen responsible, in general that witness is rejected. Perhaps we cannot know for sure this side of heaven.1 In Revelation 14:6 we get an indication that God will use creation in some way to cause men to receive the "everlasting gospel" in the Great Tribulation. Perhaps the witness of creation is instrumental in redeeming some from "every kindred, and tongue, and people, and nation" (Rev. 5:9), although no doubt the gospel of the kingdom (a special revelation) will be carried to every nation.
 
In either case, I think it is important to see that a person cannot be "saved" in the full sense of salvation through creation alone, without knowing Jesus, and the Father, and without being sealed by the Spirit. Furthermore, there is nothing good in the fallen human nature that can be improved. Quickening is absolutely required for there to be any movement in the soul toward God, and the Christian gospel must be believed for a person to have eternal life.2
 
7 The law of Jehovah is perfect, restoring the soul; the testimony of Jehovah is sure, making wise the simple;
8 The precepts of Jehovah are right, rejoicing the heart; the commandment of Jehovah is pure, enlightening the eyes;
9 The fear of Jehovah is clean, enduring for ever; the judgments of Jehovah are truth, they are righteous altogether:
10 They are more precious than gold, yea, than much fine gold; and sweeter than honey and the dropping of the honeycomb.
11 Moreover, by them is thy servant enlightened; in keeping them there is great reward.
 
vv.7-11 The Special Revelation of God’s Word. In contrast with creation, the “law of Jehovah” is a special revelation, not given to all mankind. It was specially given to Israel. The Word of God reveals much about God than creation does. Notice that it is God (vv.1-6) in reference to creation, but Jehovah (vv.7-14) in reference to the Law. In vv.7-9 we have the Old Testament referred to under various names. The “law of Jehovah” is perfect or complete. The “testimony of Jehovah” is sure, or trustworthy, making it a sure guide to the simple or uninstructed. The “precepts (principles) of Jehovah” are right, bringing joy to the heart of those who love righteousness. The “commandment of Jehovah” is morally pure, enlightening the eyes or granting moral discernment to those who read it. The “fear of Jehovah”, the reverence produced in His saints, is clean or holy, and unchanging. The “judgments of Jehovah”, the moral values and distinctions of scripture, are truth, and righteous altogether. These things are especially important for the faithful remnant in prophecy. As they look around and see God’s judgment falling on the wicked, including their own countrymen, they will see in it a consistency with the Word of God; i.e. that His actions are morally just. This was the verse that Abraham Lincoln quoted in his second inaugural address in which he confessed that the Civil War in the United States was the righteous judgment of God on America for her embracing one of the cruelest forms of slavery. Like Lincoln, the faithful in any age must recognize the righteousness of God in all His dealings, and this is plainly set forth in the Word, especially in the Old Testament. In v.10 we have the preciousness of the Word of God; more precious than “much fine gold”, and sweeter than “honey” dripping from the honeycomb. The gold speaks of its shear objective value, the honey speaks of its subjective value to the believer. In v.11, we have the positive benefit of the scriptures to the believers; “by them is thy servant enlightened; in keeping them there is great reward”.
 
12 Who understandeth his errors? Purify me from secret faults.
13 Keep back thy servant also from presumptuous sins; let them not have dominion over me: then shall I be perfect, and I shall be innocent from great transgression.
14 Let the words of my mouth and the meditation of my heart be acceptable in thy sight, O Jehovah, my rock, and my redeemer.
 
vv.12-14 The Response of the Faithful to God’s Revelation. In vv.12-13 we find that the law of Jehovah aids the saint in self-judgment. There is progression here: “errors”, “secret faults”, “presumptuous sins”, and “great transgression”. Errors and secret faults are sins we commit without even realizing in. The Psalmist asks to be cleansed of those things. But then, “presumptuous sins” are when we know something is wrong but we do it anyways; i.e. open disregard for God’s claims. If we do that, we are in danger of becoming enslaved to sin; “let them not have dominion over me”. The “great transgression” is the end of a path of self-will. It is to formally take sides against God. Prophetically, the remnant will pray this prayer that they might be preserved from the great transgression of apostatizing and taking the mark of the beast, which their brethren, the apostate nation, will do at the direction of Antichrist. The closing verse of the Psalm express the desire of the faithful that their words and thoughts would be acceptable to the Lord; “Let the words of my mouth and the meditation of my heart be acceptable in thy sight, O Jehovah, my rock, and my redeemer.” This is a fine prayer for the saints of all ages to pray!
 
  1. Personally, I tend toward thinking that the Spirit has quickened people who never had access to the written word, but only had either the witness of creation or else dreams from God. This is based in part on Psalm 19, and also on general principles concerning the character of God. For example, Paul quoted Psa. 19 in Romans 10:18 to show God’s desire for all men to receive a testimony of Himself, showing that God's heart is no less toward the Gentiles as the Jews. Would God give His testimony to every nation, and then not use it for the blessing of at least some? We have also the statement of Peter to Cornelius (Acts 10:35), showing that God is no respecter of persons.
  2. It is good to see the hand of God in creation, but this will never save the soul; God's power unto salvation is not in the message of creation, but in the word of the Gospel. Many vainly imagine that the recognition of God in His creation, in the beauties of nature, in the glories of the heavens, and in other works of His hands, is sufficient to secure a passport to heaven; but unless they believe in the Gospel of God concerning His Son, they can never have the blessing of God. - William C. Reid. Divine Power in Romans 1. An Outline of Sound Words Magazine.

Psalm 20

 
Psalm 20
Messiah in Distress and Deliverance, as Seen by the Remnant
 
Psalm 20. This is a Psalm of David, and it can be considered an unofficial Messianic Psalm. As we will see, the Psalm is prophetic of Christ, and yet we have no New Testament quotations that establish it. This Psalm is a prayer of the faithful remnant, addressed to Jehovah, supplication His help for a Faithful One here below. Historically, it was David praying for himself in the third person; i.e. Jehovah’s anointed. But prophetically, this Faithful One is the Messiah Himself! In v.9 the words “Save, Jehovah” are the same words combined in the name Yeshua, which is translated ‘Jesus’ in the New Testament!1 In a prophetic sense, this Psalm gives us the faithful remnant identifying with Christ in His distress, and crying out to Jehovah for His deliverance. As in Psalm 16 we have the Messiah identifying Himself with the remnant, conversely in Psalm 20 we have the remnant identifying themselves with Jehovah (e.g. the word “we” in v.5 and v.9).2
 
PSALM 20
To the chief Musician. A Psalm of David.
1 Jehovah answer thee in the day of trouble; the name of the God of Jacob protect thee;
2 May he send thee help from the sanctuary, and strengthen thee out of Zion;
3 Remember all thine oblations, and accept thy burnt-offering; Selah.
4 Grant thee according to thy heart, and fulfil all thy counsels.
5 We will triumph in thy salvation, and in the name of our God will we set up our banners. Jehovah fulfil all thy petitions!
 
vv.1-5 The Remnant’s Prayer for their Messiah. No doubt the “day of trouble” (v.1) prophetically refers to the cross. The faithful prayer for help and strength for their suffering Messiah. This prayer may have been answered in Gethsemane (Luke 22:43). They ask Jehovah to “remember” the sacrifices, and “accept thy burnt-offering”. Although the remnant may not understand it, this would refer to the work of the cross! Indeed, God did accept the work of the cross, and answered it by raising Christ from the dead! In v.4, they pray that Messiah’s counsels and desires would be fulfilled. This might refer to His rights as Messiah. In v.5, the remnant identify themselves with Messiah in His victory; “We will triumph in thy salvation, and in the name of our God will we set up our banners”. They associate their hopes with His deliverance. The substance of their prayer is encapsulated in a final request; “Jehovah fulfil all thy petitions!”
 
6 Now know I that Jehovah saveth his anointed; he answereth him from the heavens of his holiness, with the saving strength of his right hand.
7 Some make mention of chariots, and some of horses, but we of the name of Jehovah our God.
8 They are bowed down and fallen; but we are risen and stand upright.
9 Save, Jehovah! Let the king answer us in the day we call.
 
vv.6-9 The Remnant’s Confidence in Messiah’s Victory. The turning point in the Psalm is in v.6. Previously the remnant prayed for the Messiah’s deliverance, now they are confident that He will be delivered. The prayer of vv.1-5 will be answered “from the heavens of his holiness, with the saving strength of his right hand”. In v.7 the confidence of the remnant is shown to be in “the name of Jehovah our God”, and this is in contrast with the apostate nation around them, who are trusting in the military protection of the revived Roman empire; “some make mention of chariots, and some of horses”. It would seem that the prophetic setting of these verses would be after the chariots and horses have proven useless; i.e. after the first attack of the Assyrian, when the apostate Jews are fallen by the sword, and the faithful remnant have been providentially preserved by God. “They are bowed down and fallen; but we are risen and stand upright.” The closing prayer is for the salvation of Jehovah, and here again we see that cannot be limited to David speaking, because they say “we”. As risen and glorified, the Messiah their king becomes the resource of the faithful remnant. This shows that the king, Jesus, will become someone they pray to! 
 
  1. The last verse singularly depicts its force — “Jehovah, save” (the word in Hebrew is the root of Jesus). – Darby, J.N. Heads of Psalms.
  2. In Psalm 16 the Lord identified Himself with the remnant. Here they associate themselves in heart with Him thus suffering, and in His conflict here, though they may see as but the outside of it. – Darby, J.N. Synopsis of the Books of the Bible.

Psalm 21

 
Psalm 21
The Joy of Messiah in His Victories and Reign
 
Psalm 21. This is Psalm of David, and it is a natural sequel to the previous psalm. In Psalm 20 we have the desire and prayer of the godly remnant on behalf of their Messiah, and in Psalm 21 we have those prayers answered.
 
PSALM 21
To the chief Musician. A Psalm of David.
1 The king shall joy in thy strength, Jehovah; and in thy salvation how greatly shall he rejoice.
2 Thou hast given him his heart’s desire, and hast not withholden the request of his lips. Selah.
3 For thou hast met him with the blessings of goodness; thou hast set a crown of pure gold on his head.
4 He asked life of thee; thou gavest it him, length of days for ever and ever.
5 His glory is great through thy salvation; majesty and splendour hast thou laid upon him.
6 For thou hast made him to be blessings for ever; thou hast filled him with joy by thy countenance.
7 For the king confideth in Jehovah: and through the loving-kindness of the Most High he shall not be moved.
 
vv.1-7 The Prayer of Messiah and Remnant Answered. Here we have a number of prayers, of Messiah Himself and of the remnant, which are answered. In v.1 we find that the King can rejoice in the deliverance He has received. In v.2, we find Jehovah has given Messiah “his heart’s desire”, and answered “the request of his lips”. His seen full of blessings, with “a crown of pure gold on his head”. He is viewed as risen to die no more; “length of days for ever and ever”. He is seen full of glory, majesty, and splendor. Above all, He is filled with joy, and this is a result of the countenance of Jehovah. Though Christ is seen as the glorified Messiah, He still is a man in perfect dependence; “the king confideth in Jehovah: and through the loving-kindness of the Most High he shall not be moved”. The name El-Elyon (“the Most High”) is a Millennial title of God.
 
8 Thy hand shall find out all thine enemies; thy right hand shall find out those that hate thee.
9 Thou shalt make them as a fiery furnace in the time of thy presence; Jehovah shall swallow them up in his anger, and the fire shall devour them:
10 Their fruit shalt thou destroy from the earth, and their seed from among the children of men.
11 For they intended evil against thee; they imagined a mischievous device, which they could not execute.
12 For thou wilt make them turn their back; thou wilt make ready thy bowstring against their face.
13 Be thou exalted, Jehovah, in thine own strength: we will sing and celebrate thy power.
 
vv.8-13 Messiah’s Victory Over the Wicked. These verses unfold the character of the warrior-judgments of the Messiah. He is seen as searching out His enemies and taking them with his hand. The judgment of Christ’s enemies is compared to “a fiery furnace” and to being “swallowed” alive. The judgment will not stop with the wicked, but will also consume their works, their “fruit”, and their “seed” or descendents. In v.11 we find that the wicked intended evil against the Messiah (Psa. 2), but they were not able to execute their plan. In v.12 the wicked have been forced to retreat. In v.13 the faithful extol Jehovah, and joyfully sing His praises.
 

Psalm 22

 
Psalm 22
The Forsaking of Christ and His Praise in Resurrection
 
Psalm 22. The inscription indicates that this is a psalm of David. It was written to the tune of “Aijeleth-Shahar”, meaning “the hind of the dawn of the morning” or “hind of the morning”. There are a few thoughts that this title brings to mind. First, the sight of a deer at dawn is beautiful. This Psalm, though full of suffering, brings out the beauty of Christ in a remarkable way. Second, it could indicate that the Psalm has the morning in view from the outset; i.e. resurrection. See Gen. 49:21. Psalm 22 is a Messianic Psalm, and it is quoted five times in the New Testament! The first part of the Psalm (vv.1-21) is the prayer of Messiah in deep distress, not only as forsaken by man, but also forsaken by God. The second part of the Psalm (vv.21b-31) is His praise after His prayer is answered! He is utterly forsaken at the beginning, but surrounded by millions of praisers at the end!
 
PSALM 22
To the chief Musician. Upon Aijeleth-Shahar. A Psalm of David.
1 “My GOD, my GOD, why hast thou forsaken me?” [quoted Matthew 27:46; Mark 15:34] why art thou far from my salvation, from the words of my groaning?
2 My God, I cry by day, and thou answerest not; and by night, and there is no rest for me:
3 And thou art holy, thou that dwellest amid the praises of Israel.
 
vv.1-3 Christ, forsaken of God. It isn’t now only “the day of trouble” (Psa. 20:1, the cross generally), but the time when Christ was abandoned by God. In v.1 we have the cry of abandonment, which Christ uttered on the cross at the end of the three hours of darkness. This would lead us to believe that the hours of darkness were when Christ was abandoned by God. Not only did Jehovah “lay on Him the iniquity of us all”, but also “He hath made him to be sin for us, who knew no sin” (2 Cor. 5:21). To put away sin, Jesus went down into the place of sin itself, and was judged as sin by a Holy God. He was judged as a man alone with God… never wielding His divine power to shelter Him from the unmitigated wrath of God. As the Incarnate Love, He felt in His own holy soul the horror of sin, and endured the wrath of God against it. While making atonement, He was forsaken by His God. At the end of three hours, He uttered the cry of abandonment; “My God, my God, why hast thou forsaken me?” in perfect fulfillment of v.1, and so we could know what transpired in those three hours. In vv.1-3 we have the inner thoughts and feelings of the suffering Christ, as He pours out His heart. The depth of emotion is incredible; “O my God, I cry in the daytime, but thou hearest not…”. It is beautiful to see that He can vindicate God in it all; “And thou art holy, thou that dwellest amid the praises of Israel”.  Think the primary thought here is that Christ owns the holiness of God, and that whatever He might pass His Servant through, one axiom that cannot flex or bend is the holiness of God! What a lesson for us. But secondarily, there may be a thought here too that Christ’s suffering was a necessity, because of God’s holiness, and our sins.
 
4 Our fathers confided in thee: they confided, and thou didst deliver them.
5 They cried unto thee, and were delivered; they confided in thee, and were not confounded.
6 But I am a worm, and no man; a reproach of men, and the despised of the people.
7 All they that see me laugh me to scorn; they shoot out the lip, they shake the head, saying:
8 Commit it to Jehovah — let him rescue him; “let him deliver him, because he delighteth in him!” [quoted Matthew 27:43]
9 But thou art he that took me out of the womb; thou didst make me trust, upon my mother’s breasts.
10 I was cast upon thee from the womb; thou art my GOD from my mother’s belly.
11 Be not far from me, for trouble is near; for there is none to help.
 
vv.4-11 Trust in God. The Psalmist reviews the trustworthiness of God in these verses. In vv.4-5, he remarks at how his fathers had put their trust in God and were delivered. But now, the Messiah was abandoned by the God He perfectly trusted! Never was a righteous man abandoned by God; except in this one instance. David felt that he was forsaken, but in reality he was not. Christ was truly forsaken. In vv.6-8 Christ speaks of His humiliation; “I am a worm, and no man; a reproach of men”. It is amazing to consider the depths of Christ’s humiliation as a man. Those who observed the suffering Messiah on the cross – “all they that see me” – mocked Him, and mocked His trust in Jehovah His God. The passers-by (Matt. 27:40) would have been Jews from all over Palestine that had come to Judea and were passing through the gate to celebrate the Passover in Jerusalem. They walked by the true Passover as He hung on the cross, and they shook their heads at Him in mockery. The misconstrued His statements, they mocked His power as He hung, crucified in weakness, and they also mocked His Divinity; “If thou art Son of God, descend from the cross.” The Jewish leaders (Matt. 27:41-43) rose even higher in their insults, mocking His apparent helplessness in the face of all Jesus had done to “save others”. They mocked His Messiahship, and finally they dishonored Him as Son of God. What is most awful about this suffering is that they were calling into question His identity as the Son of God, and His relationship with God as His Father. As if God would not have His Son! The Sanhedrin actually quoted Psalm 22:8, unwittingly fulfilling the voice of the godless mockers.  But Jesus had to let that mockery stand unanswered, not because it was true – nothing could be further from the truth – but because He had a deeper motive. In vv.9-11, Christ tenderly appeals to God as the One He had depended on, and found trustworthy, from the moment of birth on. It isn’t the father-son relationship here, but the God-man relationship. He calls to the God who had always been there for Him, not to stand aloof from Him now in His greatest need, when all others had forsaken Him; “Be not far from me, for trouble is near; for there is none to help”. But there was silence; the heaven over His head was like brass, and the earth under Him like iron (Deut. 28:23)… abandoned.
 
12 Many bulls have encompassed me; Bashan’s strong ones have beset me round.
13 They gape upon me with their mouth, as a ravening and a roaring lion.
14 I am poured out like water, and all my bones are out of joint: my heart is become like wax; it is melted in the midst of my bowels.
15 My strength is dried up like a potsherd, and my tongue cleaveth to my palate; and thou hast laid me in the dust of death.
  
vv.12-15 Suffering at the hands of Jewish leaders. Turning more now to His sufferings at the hand of man, Christ speaks of the oppression of the Jewish leaders (compare bulls with dogs). In vv.12-13 the circling pressure the Jewish leaders is pictured by the strong bulls of Bashan (that favored cattle-land to the east of Jordan), who are incredibly determined, and whose eyes are quickly blinded by rage. Yet when they open their mouths it is “as a ravening and a roaring lion”. Satan’s power is behind them, as well as the Gentiles (v.21a). In vv.14-15, numerous expressions of despair, helplessness, agonoy, and suffering are given. Finally, death (at the will of God) is very near; “thou hast laid me in the dust of death”.
 
16 For dogs have encompassed me; an assembly of evil-doers have surrounded me: they pierced my hands and my feet.
17 I may count all my bones. They look, they stare upon me;
18 “They part my garments among them, and cast lots upon my vesture.” [quoted John 19:24]
19 But thou, Jehovah, be not far from me; O my strength, haste thee to help me.
20 Deliver my soul from the sword; my only one from the power of the dog;
21a Save me from the lion’s mouth.
 
vv.16-21a Suffering at the hands of Gentiles. The figure of bulls is exchanged for dogs (v.16), which were unclean animals in the Old Testament – noted for their shameful habits and heartless cruelty – and often used in reference to Gentiles (Mark 7:28). No doubt this would refer to the crowd of Roman soldiers, under Pilate’s command, who surrounded the Lord, and crucified Him. Although it was written 1000 years before Christ, the method of His death is specified; “they pierced my hands and my feet”. In v.17, Christ looks upon His own naked and tortured body. In v.16, He takes notice of His clothing, which the soldiers had removed. This verse is quoted in John 19:24, when the soldiers took Jesus’ clothes, and tore them in four parts, one for each soldier. But the “vesture” or coat was seamless, one woven piece from the top to the bottom. Because to rend such a coat would ruin it, they chose to gamble or cast lots for it. It was truly inhuman treatment, but it amazingly fulfilled Psalm 22:18. In vv.19-21a the Lord cries out to Jehovah His God for help and deliverance. The “sword” would refer to judgment (Zech. 13:7), “the power of the dog” is the strength of man, and “the lion’s mouth” is the power of Satan. The word sometimes translated “my darling” or “my only one” refers to the human life of Christ. The Psalms present Christ as a man; every bit as human as you or I. It was part of Christ’s humanity to value His own life, and this makes His willingness to lay it down all the more precious! It would seem that v.21 is referred to in Hebrews 5; “he was heard for his piety”.

A Turning Point. The turning point is in v.21, all suffering before it, all praise after it! The second half of the Psalm is on resurrection ground, and it gives is the results of Christ’s work on the cross. The effect of Christ’s sufferings at the hands of men is judgment upon men (compare with Psalm 69). The effect of His sufferings at the hands of God is an unending stream of blessing! Notice the progression of blessing flowing out to man, the redeemed in association with Christ. In v.22, Messiah would praise Jehovah “my brethren, in the midst of the congregation” (the remnant), and in v.25 “in the great congregation” (all Israel), and in v.27 “all the ends of the earth” (the nations). These are enlarging circles of blessing leading into the kingdom. On the cross Christ was forsaken, alone. In resurrection He is not alone, but is surrounded by those who love Him, are like Him, and appreciate His sacrifice!
 
21b Yea, from the horns of the buffaloes hast thou answered me.
22 “I will declare thy name unto my brethren, in the midst of the congregation will I praise thee.” [quoted Hebrews 2:12]
23 Ye that fear Jehovah, praise him; all ye the seed of Jacob, glorify him; and revere him, all ye the seed of Israel.
24 For he hath not despised nor abhorred the affliction of the afflicted; neither hath he hid his face from him: but when he cried unto him, he heard.
 
vv.21b-24 In the congregation. It would seem that the suffering Christ was given assurance just prior to death that His prayer was heard, and it would be answered.1 The “horns of the buffaloes” refers to one who is pierced by horns; i.e. when death is imminent, almost the moment of death. This follows in the gospel accounts of the crucifixion. The abandonment did not extend to the point of death. He must die to complete the work of atonement, but the forsaking seems to end at the ninth hour. Afterwards He could say, “Father, into thy hands I commend my spirit” (Luke 23:46). But the full answer to the cry of the suffering Christ is seen in resurrection! We find in v.22 that Christ would declare Jehovah’s name to His brethren, the faithful remnant. We know this was fulfilled at least partially in John 20, when Christ declared the Father’s name to the disciples. But there is a future day when the Lord will make Jehovah’s name known in a special way to the faithful remnant. This v.22 is quoted in Hebrews 2 for the purpose of showing that Christ in resurrection identifies Himself with “the sanctified ones”. There is a certain sense in which this “my brethren” includes all the heavenly saints! The call goes out in vv.23-24 to all of Israel to glorify God, and praise Him, on account of the deliverance of Christ. Was He heard? “When he cried unto him, he heard” (v.24).
 
25 My praise is from thee, in the great congregation; I will pay my vows before them that fear him.
26 The meek shall eat and be satisfied; they shall praise Jehovah that seek him: your heart shall live for ever.
 
vv.25-26 In the Great Congregation. The scope is expanded from “the congregation” to “the great congregation”. All of Israel is now comprehended. Christ will fulfill all the promises made to Israel; “I will pay my vows before them that fear him”. The “meek” are those who have faith, in contrast with the unbelieving part of the nation, carried away in pride and self-will. Those who did not take the mark of the beast may have gone hungry for 3 1/2 years, but in the Millennium “the meek shall eat and be satisfied”. Those who seek Jehovah (those of faith) will be granted the opportunity to praise Him, no doubt in the Millennial temple complex described in Ezekiel. Their hearts will live on in this state of joy “for ever”; i.e. for 1000 years.
 
27 All the ends of the earth shall remember and turn unto Jehovah, and all the families of the nations shall worship before thee:
28 For the kingdom is Jehovah’s, and he ruleth among the nations.
29 All the fat ones of the earth shall eat and worship; all they that go down to the dust shall bow before him, and he that cannot keep alive his own soul.
 
vv.27-29 The Ends of the Earth. Again, the circle of praise is expanded. This time it includes the Gentiles which will be brought to the Lord in the Millennium. Clearly, this has not yet been fulfilled! There will come a day when the nations will go up to Jerusalem to worship (Isa. 2:1-2). There they will learn what Christ has accomplished on the cross, and remember it. Those who have plenty (“all the fat ones of the earth”) and those who have nothing and are about to die (“all they that go down to the dust”) will alike find themselves bowing before Christ, worshipping Jehovah. There these Gentiles will find blessing. It is universal worship!
 
30 A seed shall serve him; it shall be accounted to the Lord for a generation.
31 They shall come, and shall declare his righteousness unto a people that shall be born, that he hath done it.
 
vv.30-31 A Future Seed. We find in these closing verses a beautiful touch for the Messiah, who I believe is referred to as Adonai (“Lord”). Christ will have a group of faithful ones, a seed, that will be “accounted” to Him as “a generation”, even though the Lord Himself had no natural children as a man (Isaiah 53:8). These ones will be His devoted praisers, who will “declare his righteousness” to those who are born later in the Millennium. They will declare to those who do not know it, the righteous foundation for all the blessing of the kingdom. For example, someone born in year 500 of the kingdom will have no clue who is responsible for bringing it about, and what it cost to have it so. This seed, restored Israel (see v.23), will have the privilege of announcing to all that “he hath done it”; i.e. Christ gets all the credit, because He completed the work of the cross! In fact, there is some similarity in the words “he hath done” and Christ’s victorious cry, “Finished!”. It all goes back to that wonderful foundation.
 
  1. At this point when He is transfixed, the Lord is conscious of being heard. He bows His head in death, His blood is shed. So it must be in atonement. – Kelly, W. Notes on Psalms.

Psalm 23

 
Psalm 23
The Individual Shepherding Care of Jehovah for the Saints
 
Psalm 23. This is another Psalm of David, and is admirably suited to David’s occupation as a shepherd. As he cared for his sheep, no doubt David’s mind went to the Lord’s care for him, and the Spirit produced this inspired poetry that has been a comfort to millions through the millennia! I do not think this is an official Messianic psalm, but we can certainly see in the Lord prototype of many of these things (more to follow). It is a path of dependence on God that Christ Himself patterned, and in which the Remnant will follow in by faith.12 This Psalm is really prophetic of the faithful remnant, who will come to trust in Jehovah to the point where they can find peace, joy, and confidence in Him as their Shepherd even in the presence of their enemies. Bruce Anstey suggests that the placement of the Psalm is after Christ appears but before the attack of Gog and Magog against Israel. It is a Psalm of finding comfort in God, which makes it a very practical help for believers of all dispensations. There are three parts to the Psalm. In vv.1-3 the psalmist speaks about the Shepherd, in vv.4-5 he speaks to the Shepherd, and in v.6 he speaks about his portion with the Shepherd!
 
The Good, Great, Chief Shepherd. It has been remarked that Psalm 22 presents Christ as theGood Shepherd giving His life for the sheep (John 10:11), Psalm 23 presents Him as the Great Shepherd of the sheep” raised from the dead by “the God of peace” and comforting His saints (Heb. 13:20), and Psalm 24 presents Christ as the Chief Shepherd who shall appear in His kingdom glory, giving crowns to the faithful (1 Peter 5:4).
 
PSALM 23
A Psalm of David.
1 Jehovah is my shepherd; I shall not want.
2 He maketh me to lie down in green pastures; he leadeth me beside still waters.
3 He restoreth my soul; he leadeth me in paths of righteousness for his name’s sake.
 
vv.1-3 Peace and Contentment. We find in the first verse that the faithful find their resource in Jehovah. Notice, it isn’t in what Jehovah provides for them, but in Himself. If Jehovah is my shepherd, what more could I want? It is very personal; “my Shepherd”. He is sufficient for every need. Israel will come to know Jehovah in this way (see Isaiah 40:10-11). In v.2, food and refreshment are His provisions, but coupled with it is a tranquil state. As an application, the green pastures might represent the enjoyment of Christ, and the still waters might represent the Word of God. In v.3, there is another need met by Jehovah; i.e. restoring grace in the pathway. This is similar to the work of advocacy, in which Christ works to restore us individually when discouraged or after a fall. Restoration supposes weakness if not failure, but the second part of v.3 is the more positive side; “he leadeth me in paths of righteousness for his name’s sake”. The Lord guides us, and directs us through His word, into those paths that lead to practical righteousness, “for His name’s sake”. God has a higher purpose in restoration even than our happiness. It brings glory to His name when we walk in Paths that are pleasing to Him! But Israel will need the restoring grace of God (Zech. 12). Connect this with Psalm 24, where only the righteous can ascend into the hill of Jehovah or stand in His holy place.
 
4 Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil: for thou art with me; thy rod and thy staff, they comfort me.
5 Thou preparest a table before me in the presence of mine enemies; thou hast anointed my head with oil; my cup runneth over.
 
vv.4-5 Comfort and Joy in the Presence of Danger. The “valley of the shadow of death” refers to a time of great danger. But when trusting the Lord, the faithful can truthfully say “I will fear no evil: for thou art with me”. The “rod” speaks of correction, and the “staff” speaks of support. The strength and authority of God for the faithful is a comfort to them, even if it is used in discipline at times. The “table” speaks of fellowship as well as provision. The head anointed with oil is a sign of honor, and it was also used to appoint individuals to office in the Old Testament, such as kings and prophets. The result of all this is “my cup runneth over”. Wine speaks of joy. The joy of Christ will be full in the Millennium, and he will drink the cup new with the faithful remnant in the kingdom!
 
6 Surely, goodness and loving-kindness shall follow me all the days of my life; and I will dwell in the house of Jehovah for the length of the days.
 
v.6 A Bright Future. In the Old Testament, “forever” means “as long as time shall run”. The first part of the verse refers to the rest of one’s natural life. We are to follow the leading of the Shepherd, but there are two things that follow us! Like two sheepdogs, “goodness” and “mercy” will follow us all of our days.3 But the second half of the verse refers to the end of time. Clearly, we cannot limit the scope of this verse to David. It is prophetic of the faithful remnant who will enjoy the presence of Jehovah for as long as time shall run. It presents to us a bright future at the end of the pathway. The greatest reward for the faithful is to enjoy the presence of the Lord.
 

Psalm 23 and the Supper at Bethany. We see a beautiful fulfillment of the 23rd Psalm in the experience of Jesus as He traveled toward Jerusalem. While Jesus was fully Divine, He was also fully man; with a human soul, feelings, and emotions. He rejoiced to count Jehovah as His shepherd, and cast all His care upon the Father. He had walked through parched desert for days, but the supper at Bethany was to His soul as "green pastures" and the fellowship of Mary, Martha, and Lazarus as "still waters". In this sense, His soul was restored and led forward in the "paths of righteousness". Times like this one gave our Lord courage, and that though He walked "through the valley of the shadow of death", he was not afraid, because His God was with Him. In Bethany, there were friends, but also enemies. The betrayer was there. The chief priests were taking counsel to put Him to death. Yet God was able to "prepare a table" before Him even in the presence of His enemies; i.e. the supper at Bethany. Finally, God brought along Mary, to anoint His head with oil. How this display of love would cause His cup (joy) to run over! In the refreshment of this scene, Jesus could go on to the cross, with confidence that goodness and mercy would follow Him, and after the work was accomplished, to enjoy of the presence of God forever!

 
  1. Psalm 23 I do not judge is Christ; only when He put forth His own sheep, He must go before them. It is the effect of Psalm 22, for the Remnant in faith. – Darby, J.N. The Psalms, part 1. Notes and Comments Vol. 3.
  2. Psalm 23 seems to me to be the Lord Jesus Christ as man, expressing His faith as man. – Darby, J.N. Heads of Psalms.
  3. Hyland, J. Readings on Psalm 23. Kentucky Camp 2015.

Psalm 24

 
Psalm 24
Jehovah of Hosts, the King of Glory
 
Psalm 24. This is another Psalm of David, and it is one of the most dramatic and exciting Psalms in the Psalter. The suffering servant of Psalm 22, the Shepherd that cared for them in the path, is now shown to be Jehovah Himself, the King of Glory, over all the earth. It is a Millennial psalm, and it focuses on two things: (1) the character of the remnant who will ascend into the mount of Jehovah and stand in His holy place, and (2) welcoming Jehovah Himself, in the Person of the Messiah, into the gates of Jerusalem. It is interesting that this Psalm is not addressed to God, but to Israel and the nations who seek Israel’s blessing (v.6).
 
PSALM 24
Of David. A Psalm.
1 The earth is Jehovah’s, and the fulness thereof; the world, and they that dwell therein.
2 For it was he that founded it upon seas, and established it upon floods.
3 Who shall ascend into the mount of Jehovah? and who shall stand in his holy place?
4 He that hath blameless hands and a pure heart; who lifteth not up his soul unto vanity, nor sweareth deceitfully:
5 He shall receive blessing from Jehovah, and righteousness from the God of his salvation.
6 This is the generation of them that seek unto him, that seek thy face, O Jacob. Selah.
 
vv.1-6 The Generation that Seek Jehovah. In vv.1-2 we have the universal dominion of Jehovah which will be manifest in the kingdom. This is the answer to the contest of the great tribulation; “Who does the earth belong to?” The earth-dwellers, led by the beast and antichrist, laid claim to it, but in the Millennium it will be manifested who really owns the earth and its fullness. This brings out the majesty of God! Then in vv.3-4 we have the requirements for those who will stand in the presence of Jehovah in His Millennial temple; “He that hath blameless hands and a pure heart; who lifteth not up his soul unto vanity, nor sweareth deceitfully”. Then in v.5 we have the reward for the remnant; they will be blessed and receive a righteous reward. In v.6 we see that this Psalm is really Israel speaking to herself and other nations; “O Jacob”. Israel is reminding all mankind of the greatness of Jehovah, the requirements for those who seek His presence, and for those who seek Israel’s true destiny. Notice the use of the term “generation”, and compare with Psalm 22:30-31.
 
7 Lift up your heads, ye gates, and be ye lifted up, ye everlasting doors, and the King of glory shall come in.
8 Who is this King of glory? Jehovah strong and mighty, Jehovah mighty in battle.
9 Lift up your heads, ye gates; yea, lift up, ye everlasting doors, and the King of glory shall come in.
10 Who is he, this King of glory? Jehovah of hosts, he is the King of glory. Selah. 
 
vv.7-10 Welcoming the King of Glory. As the Psalm continues, Israel announces to itself, specifically Jerusalem, that Jehovah is ready to enter its gates. Christ is the King of glory, Jehovah in the flesh, and He enters the gates of His city in the dignity of His Person, in all His official glory. This will take place after the last of the confederacies of men have been defeated (Zech. 14). He enters it as a victorious and glorious King, “strong and mighty”. The heads of Jerusalem’s gates have been long bowed in humiliation and defeat, but now they are called upon to lift themselves up in exultation, that the King of Glory might come in! What a glorious moment! In v.10 the question is raised rhetorically, “Who is he, this King of glory?” The answer “Jehovah of hosts, he is the King of glory”. The name “Jehovah of Hosts” implies Christ at the head of all the armies of heaven and earth; perhaps similar to the title “King of kings, and Lord of lords”. Notice how frequently that title is used in Zechariah! And then the word “Selah” is used, which indicates a pause for for meditation.
 

Psalm 25

 
Psalm 25
A Prayer of the Faithful Expressing Dependence and Confidence in Jehovah
 
Psalm 25 – 34. These Psalms form a series that begin and end with acrostic Psalms! Both Psalm 25 and Psalm 34 have 22 verses each, and each verse beginning with a different letter of the Hebrew alphabet in sequence.
 
Psalm 25. This is a Psalm of David, and it is characterized as a prayer of the faithful in times of trouble. Prophetically, it gives us the characteristics of the faithful remnant. It especially reveals a dependence and confidence in Jehovah, regarding deliverance, forgiveness, instruction, and moral preservation. This is an acrostic psalm. Psalm 25 is also the first of the penitential psalms, which all have to do with repentance from sin. These Psalms (Psa. 25, 32, 38.41, 51) describe the work of repentance growing deeper in the hearts of the remnant. The faithful confess their sin in Psalm 25, and then can plead their integrity in Psalm 26. There is a moral order in this. Once the issue of sin is dealt with, the soul is free to call out for deliverance from enemies, as those who take the place of the righteous in the midst of evil.
 
PSALM 25
A Psalm of David.
1 Unto thee, Jehovah, do I lift up my soul.
2 My God, I confide in thee; let me not be ashamed, let not mine enemies triumph over me.
3 Yea, none that wait on thee shall be ashamed: they shall be ashamed that deal treacherously without cause.
 
vv.1-3 Confidence and Dependence. The first verse of the Psalm characterizes the whole; i.e. a lifting up the soul to Jehovah, of placing hopes and confidence in Him. In v.2, the psalmist expresses confidence “My God, I confide in thee” followed by a prayer that his confidence not be disappointed “let me not be ashamed, let not mine enemies triumph over me”. Prophetically, the faithful remnant will have many enemies, including the Mother of Harlots and her children, those who dwell on the earth, and those who follow Antichrist. In v.3 there is an expression of confidence that the faithful will not be ashamed (disappointed by the Lord), but the wicked can count on it.
 
4 Make me to know thy ways, O Jehovah; teach me thy paths.
5 Make me to walk in thy truth, and teach me: for thou art the God of my salvation; on thee do I wait all the day.
6 Remember, Jehovah, thy tender mercies and thy loving-kindnesses; for they are from everlasting.
7 Remember not the sins of my youth, nor my transgressions; according to thy loving-kindness remember thou me, for thy goodness’ sake, Jehovah.
 
vv.4-7 Prayer for Guidance and Kindness. The faithful pray for instruction in the paths of Jehovah (v.4), help to walk faithfully in the truth (v.6), mercy and kindness in the forgiveness of past sins and transgressions (vv.6-7). Notice that the faithful do not present their own goodness as the ground of God’s forgiveness, but rather “for thy goodness’ sake, Jehovah”. Here the confession would embrace the personal sins of an earlier time; “the sins of my youth” (c.p. v.11).
 
8 Good and upright is Jehovah; therefore will he instruct sinners in the way:
9 The meek will he guide in judgment, and the meek will he teach his way.
10 All the paths of Jehovah are loving-kindness and truth for such as keep his covenant and his testimonies.
11 For thy name’s sake, O Jehovah, thou wilt indeed pardon mine iniquity; for it is great.
12 What man is he that feareth Jehovah? him will he instruct in the way that he should choose.
13 His soul shall dwell in prosperity, and his seed shall inherit the earth.
14 The secret of Jehovah is with them that fear him, that he may make known his covenant to them.
15 Mine eyes are ever toward Jehovah; for he will bring my feet out of the net.
 
vv.8-15 Jehovah’s goodness and righteousness in dealing with the faithful. These verses speak of the goodness and faithfulness of God in dealing with the saints, referred to as “the meek” (see Matt. 5:5). First, the Lord will instruct those who are humble (vv.8-9). Second, He will show kindness to the faithful (v.10). Third, He will forgive the repentant (v.11). Notice that the basis for forgiveness is “for thy name’s sake, O Jehovah”. The remnant does not yet understand the finished work of Christ, but they do know Jehovah’s name. Later they can plead the work of Christ (Isa. 53), but early on they did not yet understand that. Instead they plead what they know; the grace of Jehovah’s Person. The sin referred to is more current, and more individual (c.p. v.7). Fourth, He will grant special discernment and guidance to those who fear Jehovah! This last principle is extremely valuable. The Lord reveals hidden things, not to those with great intellect, but to those who fear Him. An example of this in the New Testament is the Thessalonians. But prophetically this would be the faithful remnant who receive special direction from the Lord to avoid traps and pitfalls. If the focus is right, there will be guidance; “Mine eyes are ever toward Jehovah; for he will bring my feet out of the net”.
 
16 Turn toward me, and be gracious unto me; for I am solitary and afflicted.
17 The troubles of my heart are increased: bring me out of my distresses;
18 Consider mine affliction and my travail, and forgive all my sins.
19 Consider mine enemies, for they are many, and they hate me with cruel hatred.
20 Keep my soul, and deliver me: let me not be ashamed; for I trust in thee.
21 Let integrity and uprightness preserve me; for I wait on thee.
22 Redeem Israel, O God, out of all his troubles. 
 
vv.16-22 The inmost desires of the remnant. The psalmist then begins to pour out his soul in great earnestness. He reveals his great desires: for deliverance from great trouble and affliction (vv.16-17), for compassion and forgiveness (v.18), for deliverance from cruel enemies (v.19), for preservation of the soul (vv.20-21), and for the redemption from Israel as a whole out of troubles (v.22).
 

Psalm 26

 
Psalm 26
The Separation of the Remnant from the Ungodly
 
Psalm 26. This is a Psalm of David, and the subject is the moral separation of the godly remnant from the wicked around them. In Psalm 25 the prayer was for deliverance from enemies, but Psalm 26 is less a prayer and more a confession of uprightness and integrity. There is a moral order to Psalms 25 and 26. The confession of sins by the remnant proceeds pleading their integrity.
 
PSALM 26
A Psalm of David.
1 Judge me, O Jehovah, for I have walked in mine integrity, and I have confided in Jehovah: I shall not slip.
2 Prove me, Jehovah, and test me; try my reins and my heart:
3 For thy loving-kindness is before mine eyes, and I have walked in thy truth.
4 I have not sat with vain persons, neither have I gone in with dissemblers;
5 I have hated the congregation of evil-doers, and I have not sat with the wicked.
6 I will wash my hands in innocency, and will encompass thine altar, O Jehovah,
7 That I may cause the voice of thanksgiving to be heard, and declare all thy marvellous works.
8 Jehovah, I have loved the habitation of thy house, and the place where thy glory dwelleth.
9 Gather not my soul with sinners, nor my life with men of blood;
10 In whose hands are evil devices, and their right hand is full of bribes.
11 But as for me, I will walk in mine integrity. Redeem me, and be gracious unto me.
12 My foot standeth in an even place; in the congregations will I bless Jehovah.
 
vv.1-12 The psalmist invites Jehovah to “judge”, (v.1), “prove”, and “try” (v.2) him, to see it there is any unrighteousness in him. In this, the remnant follow in the steps of the Messiah (Psa 17:3). The remnant recognize that the secret to maintaining moral uprightness is in confiding in Jehovah. In v.3 we have the positive motivation for separation; a sense of God’s grace. In vv.4-5 the remnant confess their moral separation from the wicked around them. Notice the progression from vanity to positive evil; “vain persons”, “dissemblers”, “the congregation of evil-doers”, finally “the wicked”. In v.6, the carefulness with regard to separation is now seen by the remnant as resulting in making them morally suitable to the presence of Jehovah; “I will wash my hands in innocency, and will encompass thine altar, O Jehovah”. Further, separation makes the faithful able to offer thanks to the Lord (v.7). In v.8, the remnant express their love for the habitation of God’s house, and a desire to remain there (this leads in to Psalm 27). Prophetically this places Psalm 26 in the first half of the prophetic week, as the Jews are still free at that time to worship in the temple. In vv.9-12 we have a summary of the desire of the faithful: on one hand to remain separate from “sinners” and “men of blood” (the apostate Jews), and but to be preserved from falling, so as to continue in integrity. In v.12 we find the reason the faithful can say “I shall not slip” (v.1)… it is because “My foot standeth in an even place”.
 

Psalm 27

 
Psalm 27
The Results of Trusting Jehovah in Adversity
 
Psalm 27. This is another Psalm of David, and it has a remarkably positive outlook, especially at the beginning. Then the opposition increases, and doubts arise, but in the end they take courage. It speaks of the confidence of the faithful in Jehovah’s protection, in spite of enemies around. Prophetically this Psalm describes the expressions of the faithful remnant under persecution.
 
PSALM 27
A Psalm of David.
1 Jehovah is my light and my salvation; whom shall I fear? Jehovah is the strength of my life; of whom shall I be afraid?
2 When evil-doers, mine adversaries and mine enemies, came upon me to eat up my flesh, they stumbled and fell.
3 If a host encamp against me, my heart shall not fear; if war rise against me, in this will I be confident.
4 One thing have I asked of Jehovah, that will I seek after: that I may dwell in the house of Jehovah all the days of my life, to behold the beauty of Jehovah, and to inquire of him in his temple.
5 For in the day of evil he will hide me in his pavilion; in the secret of his tent will he keep me concealed: he will set me high upon a rock.
6 And now shall my head be lifted up above mine enemies round about me; and I will offer in his tent sacrifices of shouts of joy: I will sing, yea, I will sing psalms unto Jehovah.
 
vv.1-6 The Confidence of the Saints. The first half of the Psalm give us the confidence of the faithful in Jehovah. In lieu of who Jehovah is, the faithful are unafraid; “whom shall I fear? … of whom shall I be afraid?”. In v.2, past deliverances are reviewed. In v.3, future opposition is anticipated, not only individuals but “a host”, and prolonging the antagonism as a “war”. Even in these trying conditions, the faithful can say “in this will I be confident”. In v.4 we have the utmost desire of the saints; “One thing have I asked of Jehovah, that will I seek after: that I may dwell in the house of Jehovah all the days of my life, to behold the beauty of Jehovah, and to inquire of him in his temple.” Notice the order: the answer to the heart comes first (to behold His beauty), then the answer to the mind (to inquire). With confidence in the Lord, and with the hope of standing in His presence, the faithful can count on Jehovah’s protection “in the day of evil” (compare Eph. 6:13), to shield them like a “pavilion” or “tent”, and provide solid footing like a “rock”. In v.6, the confidence of the remnant in Jehovah causes them to look on to the time of their final deliverance, and even to the time when they will offer “sacrifices of shouts of joy” and “sing psalms unto Jehovah” in thanksgiving for a full salvation!
 
7 Hear, Jehovah; with my voice do I call; be gracious unto me, and answer me.
8 My heart said for thee, Seek ye my face. Thy face, O Jehovah, will I seek.
9 Hide not thy face from me; put not thy servant away in anger: thou hast been my help; cast me not off, neither forsake me, O God of my salvation.
10 For had my father and my mother forsaken me, then had Jehovah taken me up.
11 Teach me thy way, Jehovah, and lead me in an even path, because of mine enemies.
12 Deliver me not over to the will of mine adversaries; for false witnesses are risen up against me, and such as breathe out violence.
13 Unless I had believed to see the goodness of Jehovah in the land of the living …!
14 Wait for Jehovah; be strong and let thy heart take courage: yea, wait for Jehovah.
 
vv.7-14 The Cry of Distress. The faithful are seen in a tribe of sever trial. In vv.7-10 they cry out to Jehovah not to forsake them. They desire that He would answer their prayers, and not hide His face from them. Encouraged by Jehovah, they seek His face, recalling His goodness to them in the past. The wording is a bit obscure, but the first part of v.8 is Jehovah speaking; i.e. His heart saying to the faithful “Seek ye my face”. The second part of the verse is the psalmist’s response; “Thy face, O Jehovah, will I seek”.1 When all others forsook them – even the nearest natural relationships (“my father and my mother”) – then Jehovah would take them up. In vv.11-12 the remnant prays for special guidance so as to not fall into the hands of the enemies. In vv.13-14 it is the faith of the remnant in “the goodness of the Jehovah” that gives them strength to “be strong” and “take courage” (see Heb. 11:6), that Jehovah will bring them through the trial into blessing. At the end of v.13 we have an aposiopesis, which is when speech is suddenly broken off by an intervening thought or idea. Here the psalmist starts to go down the path of “what if…?”, but then he cuts himself suddenly short, a surge of confidence washing away the doubt. It is a beautiful exchange!
 
  1. But there is trial felt and prayer poured out to Jehovah, Such is the cry of distress, but of confidence withal founded on Jehovah’s heart saying, Seek ye My face: a touching plea somewhat obscured in both the Auth. and Rev. versions as elsewhere. There is some difficulty because of Jehovah’s call suddenly remembered and acted on; but when duly weighed, the resulting sense seems decidedly good and striking, whereas the ordinary way is confused and pointless. – Kelly, W. Notes on the Psalms.

Psalm 28

 
Psalm 28
A Prayer to Be Preserved From Being Drawn Away With the Wicked
 
Psalm 28. This is another Psalm of David, and it expresses the prayer of the faithful in the midst of an evil generation. The first half of the Psalm (vv.1-5) is the cry for help, and the second half (vv.6-9) describes the joy of the remnant in having their prayer answered! This Psalm gives the spirit of Christ in the remnant, being applicable to Christ Himself, and also the remnant on behalf of Christ.
 
PSALM 28
A Psalm of David.
1 Unto thee, Jehovah, do I call; my rock, be not silent unto me, lest, if thou keep silence toward me, I become like them that go down into the pit.
2 Hear the voice of my supplications, when I cry unto thee, when I lift up my hands toward the oracle of thy holiness.
3 Draw me not away with the wicked, and with the workers of iniquity, who speak peace to their neighbours, and mischief is in their heart.
4 Give them according to their doing, and according to the wickedness of their deeds; give them after the work of their hands, render to them their desert.
5 For they regard not the deeds of Jehovah, nor the work of his hands: he will destroy them, and not build them up.
 
vv.1-5 Prayer for Preservation. There is a felt need for the voice of the Lord, such that “if thou keep silence toward me, I become like them that go down into the pit.” In Psalm 27 the remnant are seen in the temple, but here they are seen as away from the temple, lifting up their hands “toward the oracle of thy holiness”. This could indicate that prophetically Psalm 27 is in the first 3 1/2 years, while Psalm 28 is in the last 3 1/2 years, when the Jewish sacrifice and oblation will be made to cease, and the abomination of desolations will stand in the holy place. Their prayer is that they would be preserved from the wicked, who are characterized by dishonesty and treachery; “who speak peace to their neighbours, and mischief is in their heart” (see Micah 7:5-6). These ones are not to be trusted, and not to be associated with. The faithful pray for the demise of the wicked. This is an imprecatory prayer. In v.5, they are confident that Jehovah will destroy the wicked.
 
6 Blessed be Jehovah, for he hath heard the voice of my supplications.
7 Jehovah is my strength and my shield; my heart confided in him, and I was helped: therefore my heart exulteth, and with my song will I praise him.
8 Jehovah is their strength; and he is the stronghold of salvation to his anointed one.
9 Save thy people, and bless thine inheritance; and feed them, and lift them up for ever.
 
vv.6-9 The Prayer Answered. In these verses we have the aspect of the Psalm brought forward in which the remnant is seen speaking about the Messiah. In vv.6-7 it is the remnant speaking, though it could be prophetic of Christ Himself, and it is very individual; “Jehovah is my strength and my shield”. The prayer of the faithful has been answered, and the result of it is exaltation and praise! In vv.8-9 the remnant speak of themselves in the third-person plural; “Jehovah is their strength”. But they also speak of Jehovah’s deliverance of their Messiah; ” he is the stronghold of salvation to his anointed one”. Their Messiah has been saved out of His sufferings, and thus He is able to save His people from their tribulation!
 

Psalm 29

 
Psalm 29
The Great Men Humbled by the Voice of the Lord
  
Psalm 29. This is a Psalm of David, and it is a proclamation of the strength and majesty of Jehovah as far greater than the greatest men of the earth. These thoughts are intended to be an encouragement to the faithful. The voice of the Lord is pictured as a storm striking the earth. Prophetically this looks forward to the appearing of Christ, when His voice, pictured in Rev. 19:25 as “a sharp sword” that goes “out of his mouth”, destroys His enemies, particularly the Western powers.
 
PSALM 29
A Psalm of David.
1 Give unto Jehovah, ye sons of the mighty ones, give unto Jehovah glory and strength;
2 Give unto Jehovah the glory of his name; worship Jehovah in holy splendour.
 
vv.1-2 The mighty called on to give glory to Jehovah. The call is to the “sons of the mighty ones”, which would be the great men of the earth; the kings, presidents, financial superpowers, stars of the entertainment world, etc. These ones are called to give glory to the Lord, and to worship Him “in holy splendour”.
 
3 The voice of Jehovah is upon the waters: the GOD of glory thundereth, — Jehovah upon great waters.
4 The voice of Jehovah is powerful; the voice of Jehovah is full of majesty.
5 The voice of Jehovah breaketh cedars; yea, Jehovah breaketh the cedars of Lebanon:
6 And he maketh them to skip like a calf, Lebanon and Sirion like a young buffalo.
7 The voice of Jehovah cleaveth out flames of fire.
8 The voice of Jehovah shaketh the wilderness; Jehovah shaketh the wilderness of Kadesh.
9 The voice of Jehovah maketh the hinds to calve, and layeth bare the forests; and in his temple doth every one say, Glory!
 
vv.3-9 The voice of Jehovah. The psalmist expounds on the voice of Jehovah. The voice of deity is always connected with power (Gen. 1:3; Psa. 33:9; John 5:25). These verses describe the power of Jehovah as a great storm that gathers strength over the ocean, then comes over the land wreaking devastation and shooting out lightning, shaking the ground and changing the course of nature. In v.3 we have the voice of Jehovah thundering out across the oceans, a picture of His glory being manifest to the whole earth (Hab. 2:14). In v.4 we find that the voice of Jehovah is not only powerful, but “full of majesty”. In vv.5-6 we have the voice of Jehovah breaking the cedars, those majestic symbols of strength. The upright cedars represent man in his pride and arrogance, but brought low by the voice of Jehovah. In v.7 the voice of Jehovah is pictured as cutting with a flame (possibly lightning), which is an apt picture of judgment. In v.8 the voice of Jehovah is shaking the wilderness (perhaps with thunder, following the lightning), and even the distant refuge of man is proven to be under the power of Jehovah (Heb. 12:27; Isa. 2:12-13, 19). In v.9 the voice of Jehovah even has power over nature, to make the deer give birth, or lay bare the forests. This brings us into the Millennium when the temple will be full of His people saying “Glory!”.
 
10 Jehovah sitteth upon the flood; yea, Jehovah sitteth as king for ever.
11 Jehovah will give strength unto his people; Jehovah will bless his people with peace.
 
vv.10-11 The reign of Jehovah. The throne of the Lord is pictured as “upon the flood”; the power of water being the greatest power on earth. His kingdom is an everlasting kingdom; “Jehovah sitteth as king for ever”. But toward His people, Jehovah will give strength and peace. This will be fulfilled in the Millennium (Isa. 32), but it is intended to encourage the remnant before that day, and give them peace even in times of trial.
 

Psalm 30

 
Psalm 30
Trust in Jehovah vs. Prosperity, and Resulting Deliverance
 
Psalm 30. This is a Psalm of David, and the heading indicates it was a song to be sung when David’s house was dedicated. Prophetically it looks on the restoration of Israel when the Lord returns. The theme of the Psalm is the deliverance of the faithful after learning an important lesson: to trust is Jehovah Himself rather than prosperity. The basis of the Psalm is resurrection; the power of Christ’s resurrection applied to Israel.1
 
PSALM 30
A Psalm of David: dedication-song of the house.
1 I will extol thee, Jehovah; for thou hast delivered me, and hast not made mine enemies to rejoice over me.
2 Jehovah my God, I cried unto thee, and thou hast healed me.
3 Jehovah, thou hast brought up my soul from Sheol, thou hast quickened me from among those that go down to the pit.
 
vv.1-3 Praise to Jehovah for deliverance. The faithful thank and praise the Lord for delivering them from their enemies. They view the nation as having been sick, going down to Sheol, but quickened and healed by God! It is the power of Christ’s resurrection applied to Israel, who will experience a national resurrection!
 
4 Sing psalms unto Jehovah, ye saints of his, and give thanks in remembrance of his holiness.
5 For a moment is passed in his anger, a life in his favour; at even weeping cometh for the night, and at morn there is rejoicing.
 
vv.4-5 The Judgment is Passed. The tribulation is now viewed in the passed as a brief moment of anger compared to the lifetime of Jehovah’s favor. The weeping had endured for one nighttime (the great tribulation), but joy had come in the morning (the Millennium).
 
6 As for me, I said in my prosperity, I shall never be moved.
7 Jehovah, by thy favour thou hadst made my mountain to stand strong: thou didst hide thy face; I was troubled.
8 I called to thee, Jehovah, and unto the Lord did I make supplication:
9 What profit is there in my blood, in my going down to the pit? shall the dust praise thee? shall it declare thy truth?
10 Hear, O Jehovah, and be gracious unto me; Jehovah, be my helper.
11 Thou hast turned for me my mourning into dancing; thou hast loosed my sackcloth, and girded me with gladness;
12 That my glory may sing psalms of thee, and not be silent. Jehovah my God, I will praise thee for ever.
 
vv.6-12 Trust in Jehovah vs. Prosperity. The faithful now review an important lesson: to trust in Jehovah Himself, rather than what Jehovah has given, no matter how great the provision. The confession of misplaced trust is in vv.6-7. Prosperity had made them confident. Even the natural blessing of the Lord had given them protection (a mountain). But then the Lord withdrew Himself, hiding His face. This was to make the saints learn to trust in Him, a Person. This discipline had its desired effect; “I called to thee, Jehovah, and unto the Lord did I make supplication” (v.8). The substance of the prayer is given in vv.9-10; i..e a prayer for Jehovah Himself to be gracious and intervene. The answer to the prayer is given in vv.11-12; mourning turned to dancing, sackcloth changed to gladness, and a stream of praise to Jehovah for ever! “Now no chastening for the present seemeth to be joyous, but grievous: nevertheless afterward it yieldeth the peaceable fruit of righteousness unto them which are exercised thereby” (Heb. 12:11).
 
  1. The direct application of the Psalm is to the Jews standing as themselves raised out of the death of the former generation in the strength of Christ’s resurrection. The virtue of Christ’s resurrection being power, ascertained power over death, is applied to save from it (see verse 3) Christ — the congregation — and the great congregation… It is the song of Christ on resurrection, applied to the deliverance and saving of the Jews from death in the latter day. – Darby, J.N. Heads of Psalms.

Psalm 31

 
Psalm 31
The Suffering Remnant Cries for Deliverance, the Messiah Identifies with Their Expressions
 
Psalm 31. This is a Psalm of David, and it focuses on the suffering remnant and they face death and cry for deliverance. The Messiah identifies Himself with parts of the Psalm, such as v.5 which was was quoted by Christ on the cross! However, most expositors agree that the Psalm cannot be considered to be directly Messianic.123 Prophetically, this Psalm describes the feelings and expressions of the remnant in extreme trial, yet confident in the salvation of God.
 
PSALM 31
To the chief Musician. A Psalm of David.
1 In thee, Jehovah, do I trust; let me never be ashamed: deliver me in thy righteousness.
2 Incline thine ear to me, deliver me speedily; be a strong rock to me, a house of defence to save me.
3 For thou art my rock and my fortress; and, for thy name’s sake, thou wilt lead me and guide me.
4 Draw me out of the net that they have hidden for me; for thou art my strength.
5 “Into thy hand I commit my spirit:” [quoted in Luke 23:46] thou hast redeemed me, Jehovah, thou GOD of truth.
 
vv.1-5 The cry for deliverance. The faithful remnant cry out to Jehovah to be delivered according to His righteousness. They ask Him to listen to them and to help quickly before it is too late. They call on the Lord to be a “strong rock”, a “house”, a “fortress” to them in their time of need. They look to Him for guidance. They feel that they are in a net, which the enemies have secretly set for their feet, and which only the Lord can deliver them from. In v.5 they commit their entire cause into the hand of the Lord who has redeemed them. It is beautiful to see that this verse is quoted by the Lord Jesus on the cross, although He does not pray “Jehovah”, but “Father, into thy hands I commend my spirit” (Luke 23:46). It is the committing of His entire cause, His whole life, into the hands of His Father. This is a blessed thing for any of the faithful to do in times of trial! How precious to see the Messiah identifying with the expressions of His suffering people!
 
6 I have hated them that observe lying vanities; and as for me, I have confided in Jehovah.
7 I will be glad and rejoice in thy loving-kindness, for thou hast seen mine affliction; thou hast known the troubles of my soul,
8 And hast not shut me up into the hand of the enemy: thou hast set my feet in a large place.
9 Be gracious unto me, Jehovah, for I am in trouble: mine eye wasteth away with vexation, my soul and my belly.
10 For my life is spent with sorrow, and my years with sighing; my strength faileth through mine iniquity, and my bones are wasted.
11 More than to all mine oppressors, I am become exceedingly a reproach, even to my neighbours, and a fear to mine acquaintance: they that see me without flee from me.
12 I am forgotten in their heart as a dead man; I am become like a broken vessel.
13 For I have heard the slander of many — terror on every side — when they take counsel together against me: they plot to take away my life.
14 But I confided in thee, Jehovah; I said, thou art my God.
 
vv.6-14 Apparent defeat before enemies. The faithful reflect on their abhorrence of the wicked. The wicked trust in falsehood and lies, but the faithful put their trust in Jehovah. Their confidence is that the Lord has seen the affliction and known the troubles of their soul. In v.8, they trust that the Lord has set their feet free, which were previously tangled in the net. Their feet are brought into a large or unrestricted place; i.e. delivered from a trap. In v.9 the troubled condition of the faithful is poured out before the Lord. In. vv.11-13 the social aspect of their condition is especially a burden to the remnant; i.e. the reproach before their enemies and their neighbors. This also was one of the more grievous aspects of Job’s sufferings (read Job 19). Those who see them run away from them. How deeply Christ these very things! This is what we call the “interpersonal sufferings” of Christ. Read more… Worst of all v.12, is the knowledge that they are forgotten “as a dead man”, or discarded “as a broken vessel”. In all of these things, the Messiah Himself can sympathize with the remnant. He can sympathize with us also, as our faithful, merciful, sympathetic High Priest. Whether it be the “slander of many”, the plotting for their lives, all is made mention of to the Lord. But in it all there is confidence in Jehovah as their God!
 
15 My times are in thy hand: deliver me from the hand of mine enemies, and from my persecutors.
16 Make thy face to shine upon thy servant; save me in thy loving-kindness.
17 Jehovah, let me not be ashamed; for I have called upon thee: let the wicked be ashamed, let them be silent in Sheol.
18 Let the lying lips become dumb, which speak insolently against the righteous in pride and contempt.
 
vv.15-18 The faithful commit their cause to Jehovah. The faithful can commit their cause to the Lord completely, saying “My times are in thy hand”. They acknowledge that the only deliverance they will have from their enemies and persecutors will come from the Lord. To have His face shine upon them is their greatest desire. They call on the Lord not to disappoint them, not to cause their hopes to be ashamed. They want the wicked to be ashamed, whose end will be in Sheol. The wicked, who incessantly speak in their pride and their arrogance, will one day be silent in defeat.
 
19 Oh how great is thy goodness, which thou hast laid up for them that fear thee, which thou hast wrought for them that trust in thee, before the sons of men!
20 Thou keepest them concealed in the secret of thy presence from the conspiracies of man; thou hidest them in a pavilion from the strife of tongues.
21 Blessed be Jehovah; for he hath shewn me wondrously his loving-kindness in a strong city.
22 As for me, I said in my haste, I am cut off from before thine eyes; nevertheless thou heardest the voice of my supplications when I cried unto thee.
 
vv.19-22 Jehovah’s intervention, and the remnants praise. At this point in the Psalm, they remnant look on to deliverance. It is a deliverance that Jehovah gives to those who fear Him that trust Him. They speak in v.20 of His deliverance as shielded from the efforts of man; concealed in the secret of His presence. This is what the Lord will do prophetically for the faithful remnant when the king of the north returns from Egypt. He will protect them. In v.22 the remnant reflect that they were almost to the point of giving up hope; “As for me, I said in my haste, I am cut off from before thine eyes”. But the Lord did hear the voice of their supplications, and answered.
 
23 Love Jehovah, all ye his saints. Jehovah preserveth the faithful, and plentifully requiteth the proud doer.
24 Be strong, and let your heart take courage, all ye that hope in Jehovah.
 
vv.23-24 The remnant call on others to love and trust in Jehovah. Having seen prophetically the deliverance of Jehovah, the remnant call on all His saints to love Him and to take courage. Jehovah is One who preserves the faithful and who rewards for proud according to their deeds. He is worthy of our confidence!
 
  1. “Hence the Lord did not hesitate to adopt its words for Himself at that moment (Luke 23:46), only substituting as became Him “Father” for Jehovah; as now He risen from the dead authorises us to do in the faith of His redemption, as later the ‘Spirit of adoption was given to be its power. But it is not as a whole His utterance, still less in resurrection power. The closing rise of the soul from verse 20 is very fine after varied trials, with solemn sense of the judgment awaiting persecuting foes and the haughty wicked. He realises the pavilion of the divine presence, and the great goodness laid up for the God-fearing. It is the Spirit of Christ in the tried and delivered soul, rather than Christ personally.” – Kelly, W. Notes on Psalms.
  2. Into these sorrows Christ fully entered, and hence there are expressions used by the Lord, though there is no literal application to the Lord. – Smith, H. Psalms.
  3. Psalm 31 is a proof how Jesus could use devout and holy expressions of a psalm, and indeed pass through all in spirit, without its having a literal application to Him. – Darby, J.N. Synopsis of the Books of the Bible.

Psalm 32

 
Psalm 32
Israel’s Transgressions Confessed and Forgiven, and Happy in Their Restoration
 
Psalm 32. This is another Psalm of David, and the title indicates that it was a song intended to teach or instruct the people. It is one of the Asherite Psalms, which begin with the word “Blessed”; the Hebrew word “Asher”. Together these Psalms give us the keys to happiness. For instance, Psalm 1 shows us that the happy man is he who walks separate from evil, and who delights in the Word of God. Here in Psalm 32, the happy man is he who confesses his sins and has a sense of God’s forgiveness and grace. Prophetically, this Psalm speaks of the joy of Israel in the Millennium with a sense of Jehovah’s forgiveness after seeing Christ, and confessing their sin (Zech. 12 – 13).  Psalm 32 is also the second of the penitential psalms, which all have to do with repentance from sin. These Psalms (Psa. 25, 32, 38.41, 51) describe the work of repentance growing deeper in the hearts of the remnant. 
 
PSALM 32
Of David. Instruction.
1 “Blessed is he whose transgression is forgiven, whose sin is covered!
2 Blessed is the man unto whom Jehovah reckoneth not iniquity,” [quoted Rom. 4:7-8] and in whose spirit there is no guile!
 
vv.1-2 Happiness the result of forgiveness. The first two verses give us the scope and character of the Psalm. It is Israel’s happiness at the knowledge of their transgressions forgiven, their sins covered by the blood of Christ. Paul aptly quotes these verses in Romans to show that David who wrote these words, had the assurance of his sins forgiven, the non-imputation of his iniquity. David was guilty of sinning grievously, and he needed forgiveness. He had broken five of the ten commandments in his sin with Bathsheba and in what he did to cover it up. David had tried to cover his own crimes, but now he could rejoice that they were covered by God, or blotted out of His sight. He could speak of the blessedness or happiness of knowing that his sins were gone. However, the settled peace with God that we know in the New Testament after the cross could never be fully known by Old Testament saints. Nevertheless, they did know a sense of governmental forgiveness. Prophetically this looks onto Israel who will have the knowledge of their transgressions forgiven; chiefly of breaking the law, but also in crucifying their Messiah. Their joy will be full when they are restored. This will not take place until they look upon Him whom they have pierced (Zechariah 12:10).
 
3 When I kept silence, my bones waxed old, through my groaning all the day long.
4 For day and night thy hand was heavy upon me; my moisture was turned into the drought of summer. Selah.
 
vv.3-4 Suffering when refusing to confess. Remnant acknowledge the inward turmoil that they experienced when they kept silence, refusing to confess their sin. Prophetically it speaks of Israel reflecting on the history, the grief and sadness they experienced all through the day of their refusing pleadings of Jehovah. The hand of the Lord and discipline was heavy on them, and it was part of his governmental ways to press them continually until they came to the point of confession. This is the point of great importance, and the Psalmist calls for the reader to pause and consider.
 
5 I acknowledged my sin unto thee, and mine iniquity I covered not; I said, I will confess my transgressions unto Jehovah, and “thou” forgavest the iniquity of my sin. Selah.
6 For this shall every one that is godly pray unto thee at a time when thou mayest be found: surely in the floods of great waters they will not reach him.
7 Thou art a hiding-place for me; thou preservest me from trouble; thou dost encompass me with songs of deliverance. Selah.
 
vv.5-7 The Happy Path of Confession. Israel comes to the point of acknowledging their sin to the Lord. It is a breaking point whenever a soul finally gets to the point of saying “I will confess my transgressions unto Jehovah”. And the beautiful response from the Lord is in the end v.5, “thou forgavest the iniquity of my sin”. David confessed the “sin”, but the Lord forgave all the way down to the root; “the iniquity of my sin”. Again, the psalmist calls for a pause to consider the beauty of forgiveness. The forgiveness of the Lord is a great reason for any of the godly to pray to him. The godly are free to pray to the Lord, and the floods of waters will not reach him, because the Lord will protect them and be a hiding place to them. The result of confessing our sins is that the Lord delivers us, and we can sing the songs of deliverance. Again there is a pause to consider.
 
8 I will instruct thee and teach thee the way in which thou shalt go; I will counsel thee with mine eye upon thee.
9 Be ye not as a horse, as a mule, which have no understanding: whose trappings must be bit and bridle, for restraint, or they will not come unto thee.
 
vv.8-9 The Pathway After Confession. The pathway after confession is wonderful. The Lord instructs the faithful in the way they should go. He leads them not with the “bit and bridle” like a disobedient animal, but with His eye. He bring us into the intelligence of His will. With our focus on the Lord, we see the way His eyes move so to speak, and so He directs us.
 
10 Many sorrows hath the wicked; but he that confideth in Jehovah, loving-kindness shall encompass him.
11 Rejoice in Jehovah, and be glad, ye righteous; and shout for joy, all ye upright in heart.
 
vv.10-11 The Path of the Wicked Compared to the Righteous. The Psalm concludes with a contrast of the two paths: (1) the path of the wicked who do not turn to the Lord, and (2) the path of the righteous. The wicked inherit “many sorrows”, but the those who trust in Jehovah are surrounded with His “loving-kindness”. The righteous have every reason to be glad and shout for joy, because they know what grace means!
 

Psalm 33

 
Psalm 33
Israel’s Joy in the Millennium: the Nation Whose God is Jehovah
 
Psalm 33. This Psalm does not have a title, but it would seem that it is an appendix to the preceding Psalm, making it a Psalm of David. Prophetically, this Psalm gives us the praise of redeemed Israel for Jehovah their God, especially as Creator, but also as Israel’s Redeemer.
 
PSALM 33
1 Exult, ye righteous, in Jehovah: praise is comely for the upright.
2 Give thanks unto Jehovah with the harp; sing psalms unto him with the ten-stringed lute.
3 Sing unto him a new song; play skilfully with a loud sound.
4 For the word of Jehovah is right, and all his work is in faithfulness.
5 He loveth righteousness and judgment: the earth is full of the loving-kindness of Jehovah.
 
vv.1-5 Praise for the manifest character of Jehovah. The righteous are called to praise, give thanks, and sing to Jehovah. The theme of the praise is the manifested character of Jehovah in His word and works, particularly in righteous judgment, and also in loving-kindness. His This is very different from Christian praise, as it is “with the harp” and “with the ten-stringed lute”. In the New Testament there is not one word about the Church’s worship that would indicate musical accompaniment. Playing “skilfully” can hardly be considered worship of “the Father in spirit and truth” (John 4:23). It isn’t that there cannot be music along with worship in the New Testament, but that it in itself doesn’t comprise the worship. In Christianity we are to make “melody in your heart to the Lord” (Eph. 5:19). But in the Millennium, Israel on earth will once again worship with musical instruments, and rightly so. Prophetically this Psalm would be placed at the beginning of the Millennium, when the righteous judgment of Jehovah is fresh in the minds of all, and also when the who earth is made to feel the loving-kindness of the Lord.
 
6 By the word of Jehovah were the heavens made, and all the host of them by the breath of his mouth.
7 He gathereth the waters of the sea together as a heap; he layeth up the deeps in storehouses.
8 Let all the earth fear Jehovah; let all the inhabitants of the world stand in awe of him.
9 For “he” spoke, and it was done; “he” commanded, and it stood fast.
 
vv.6-9 Praise for Jehovah as Creator. The glory of Jehovah in creation is reviewed. The vast expanse of the universe, with its galaxies of stars, was made by the word of Jehovah. What power! Turning to the earth, the vast oceans and water reserves are also completely under the power of Jehovah. Because of this, Jehovah is worthy of glory from all the earth; “let all the inhabitants of the world stand in awe of him”. If we read Genesis 1, we will see how creation was accomplished by the Word of God; “For he spoke, and it was done; he commanded, and it stood fast.”
 
10 Jehovah frustrateth the counsel of the nations; he maketh the thoughts of the peoples of none effect.
11 The counsel of Jehovah standeth for ever, the thoughts of his heart from generation to generation.
 
vv.10-11 His Omniscience or Divine Wisdom. We find that the purpose and counsel of Jehovah stands forever, in spite of the confederacies of men that plot against Him (Psa. 2:1-6).
 
12 Blessed is the nation whose God is Jehovah, the people that he hath chosen for his inheritance!
13 Jehovah looketh from the heavens; he beholdeth all the sons of men:
14 From the place of his habitation he looketh forth upon all the inhabitants of the earth;
15 He who fashioneth the hearts of them all, who considereth all their works.
16 The king is not saved by the multitude of his forces; a mighty man is not delivered by much strength.
17 The horse is a vain thing for safety; neither doth he deliver by his great power.
18 Behold, the eye of Jehovah is upon them that fear him, upon them that hope in his loving-kindness,
19 To deliver their soul from death, and to keep them alive in famine.
 
vv.12-19 Praise for Jehovah as Israel’s Redeemer. The song now takes up the national blessedness of Israel. The true source of their blessing is Jehovah, “Blessed is the nation whose God is Jehovah”. It isn’t Israel’s goodness or works, but the sovereign election of God, the people that He has chosen for His inheritance. In vv.13-14 we have the broad survey of Jehovah looking down from heaven, who sees all men and knows their hearts and their works. All salvation is attributed, not to man’s strength or to human agencies (horses), but only to the protection of Jehovah. 
 
20 Our soul waiteth for Jehovah: he is our help and our shield.
21 For in him shall our heart rejoice, because we have confided in his holy name.
22 Let thy loving-kindness, O Jehovah, be upon us, according as we have hoped in thee.
 
vv.20-22 Confidence in Jehovah. The response of the faithful to the revealed character of Jehovah is to wait on Him and trust His protection. This enables the saints to rejoice at all times. The final prayer is that the loving-kindness of Jehovah would abide on them both individually and as a nation.
 

Psalm 34

 
Psalm 34
Redeemed Israel Celebrates the Deliverance of Christ
 
Psalm 34. This is a Psalm of David, and the inspired heading of Psalm tells us it was composed “when he changed his behaviour before Abimelech, who drove him away, and he departed” (1 Sam. 21:13). It was a very dark time in David’s life, but after the scene with Abimelech, David went to the cave of Adullam. Perhaps is the solitude of that time David’s heart was encouraged, and out flowed the sentiments of Psalm 34. In this song we have Israel in the millennium fighting all the nations to taste and see that the Lord is good, as they can witness his goodness to Israel in restoring them. Similar to Psalm 25, Psalm 34 is an acrostic Psalm although it has one letter missing. Psalm 25 had two letters missing.
 
PSALM 34
A Psalm of David; when he changed his behaviour before Abimelech, who drove him away, and he departed.
1 I will bless Jehovah at all times; his praise shall continually be in my mouth.
2 My soul shall make its boast in Jehovah: the meek shall hear, and rejoice.
3 Magnify Jehovah with me, and let us exalt his name together.
 
vv.1-3 Overflowing Joy. The joy of the faithful is overflowing. It is infectious. The remnant call on others around them to join with them in magnifying Jehovah and exalting His name. Individual worship becomes collective worship. Our joy if the Lord is our most powerful testimony to the world! Israel will boast in the Lord, not in their own strength or ability.
 
4 I sought Jehovah, and he answered me, and delivered me from all my fears.
5 They looked unto him, and were enlightened, and their faces were not confounded.
6 This afflicted one called, and Jehovah heard him, and saved him out of all his troubles.
7 The angel of Jehovah encampeth round about them that fear him, and delivereth them.
8 Taste and see that Jehovah is good: blessed is the man that trusteth in him!
9 Fear Jehovah, ye his saints; for there is no want to them that fear him.
10 The young lions are in need and suffer hunger; but they that seek Jehovah shall not want any good.
 
vv.4-10 History reviewed. The remnant can review their history under Jehovah’s care. When they sought Him, He answered them, and when they looked up to Him they were enlightened. They view themselves as a poor man who called on Jehovah, and Jehovah saved him out of all his troubles. They can look back now and see the Angel of Jehovah and camping around them, and delivering them from their enemies. They invite others to “taste” or sample just a little of the goodness of Jehovah, and they will surely want more (v.8). The Lord is not only good at the first taste, but to feed on to the fullest (v.9). Even strongest with their natural ability (young lions) are still “in need and suffer hunger”, but those who “seek Jehovah shall not want any good”. They have not only tasted, but they are satisfied!
 
11 Come, ye sons, hearken unto me: I will teach you the fear of Jehovah.
12 What man is “he that desireth life, and loveth days, that he may see good?
13 Keep thy tongue from evil, and thy lips from speaking guile;
14 Depart from evil, and do good; seek peace, and pursue it.
15 The eyes of Jehovah are upon the righteous, and his ears are toward their cry;
16 The face of Jehovah is against them that do evil,” [quoted in 1 Peter 3:10-12] to cut off the remembrance of them from the earth:
17 The righteous cry, and Jehovah heareth, and delivereth them out of all their troubles.
18 Jehovah is nigh to those that are of a broken heart, and saveth them that are of a contrite spirit.
 
vv.11-18 The Principles of Jehovah’s Government. Israel reviews the principles of God’s government, which transcends dispensations. It would seem that the nation of Israel now has become a teacher of their children, and perhaps the other nations, teaching them the fear of Jehovah (Isaiah 2:1-2). These vv.12-16 are quoted by the apostle Peter in his first epistle, and applied to Christians. This is because God’s governmental ways never change. If you want to have a happy life, there is an upright path that goes along with it. It is interesting that David wrote this shortly after changing his behavior before the king of the Philistines. Perhaps he learned a great deal through his experience. The eyes, ears, and face of the Lord are inclined toward those who are righteous, but He is set against those who do evil. The righteous therefore have the special privilege of praying to Jehovah. He will draw near to those who are humble.
 
19 Many are the adversities of the righteous, but Jehovah delivereth him out of them all:
20 He keepeth all his bones; not one of them is broken. [alluded to in John 19:36]
21 Evil shall destroy the wicked; and they that hate the righteous shall bear their guilt.
22 Jehovah redeemeth the soul of his servants; and none of them that trust in him shall bear guilt. 
 
vv.19-22 Jehovah’s Tender Care for His Servants. The Psalm concludes with a review of Jehovah’s delivering power toward the faithful. It doesn’t matter how many enemies there are, Jehovah delivers delivers the faithful from “them all”. He keeps all the bones of the faithful, not one of them is broken. This may be alluded to in John 19:36, when the soldiers did not break the legs of Jesus. However, it is more likely that the exact prophecy in question is that of Exodus 12:46. Here it speaks of Jehovah’s tender care, even over the bodies of His saints. While the wicked are destroyed by their own evil, and the haters bear their own guilt, the servants of Jehovah are redeemed through his goodness. It is evident in v.22 that there is a sense in which Israel owns their guilt, but realize that since they trust in the Lord, they will not bear the guilt. It is the idea of non-imputation of sins based on the finished work of Christ!
 

Psalm 35

 
Psalm 35
Jehovah Called on to Deliver the Remnant
 
Psalm 35. This is a Psalm of David, and it really is a call for Jehovah to deliver the faithful in a time of extreme opposition and persecution. It is an agonized, beseeching cry for the Lord to act, to intervene on behalf of His saints.1
 
PSALM 35
A Psalm of David.
1 Strive, O Jehovah, with them that strive with me; fight against them that fight against me:
2 Take hold of shield and buckler, and stand up for my help;
3 And draw out the spear, and stop the way against my pursuers: say unto my soul, I am thy salvation.
 
vv.1-3 Call for Jehovah to Intervene. The faithful call on Jehovah to intervene in His warrior character; to “strive” and “fight” against their enemies. Numerous figures are used. The call on the Lord to “Take hold of shield and buckler”, and to “draw out the spear”, to stand up and block the inroads of the enemy, and take the place of the defender and Savior of the remnant! But the Lord does not step in at this point. There is a work that needs to be done, so He allows the trial to go on. The Lord must first use His “arrows” to work repentance in our hearts (c.p. Psa. 38:2).
 
4 Let them be put to shame and confounded that seek after my life; let them be turned backward and brought to confusion that devise my hurt:
5 Let them be as chaff before the wind, and let the angel of Jehovah drive them away;
6 Let their way be dark and slippery, and let the angel of Jehovah pursue them.
7 For without cause have they hidden for me their net in a pit; without cause they have digged it for my soul.
8 Let destruction come upon him unawares, and let his net which he hath hidden catch himself: for destruction let him fall therein.
9 And my soul shall be joyful in Jehovah; it shall rejoice in his salvation.
10 All my bones shall say, Jehovah, who is like unto thee, who deliverest the afflicted from one stronger than he, yea, the afflicted and the needy from him that spoileth him!
 
vv.4-10 Call for the Destruction of Enemies. This is a sample of imprecatory prayer. The faithful pray for the destruction of their enemies, and there is a certain righteous anger in the prayer. There is a special emphasis on praying that the demise of the wicked would be through the miscarriage of their own efforts; that the devices and plans of the enemies would boomerang, rebound, or backlash against them. If Jehovah were to accomplish this, the faithful predict that unprecedented praise and worship will follow (vv.9-10).
 
11 Unrighteous witnesses rise up; they lay to my charge things which I know not.
12 They reward me evil for good, to the bereavement of my soul.
13 But as for me, when they were sick, my clothing was sackcloth; I chastened my soul with fasting, and my prayer returned into mine own bosom:
14 I behaved myself as though he had been a friend, a brother to me; I bowed down in sadness, as one that mourneth for a mother.
15 But at my halting they rejoiced, and gathered together: the slanderers gathered themselves together against me, and I knew it not; they did tear me, and ceased not:
16 With profane jesters for bread, they have gnashed their teeth against me.
 
vv.11-16 Insult, Slander, and Mocking. The deep personal pain of betrayal is expounded. False accusations (v.11) and rewarding evil for good (v.12) are things that Christ experienced, and in which He is able to sympathize perfectly with the experiences of His suffering saints. In spite of patience and grace toward the persecutors (sackcloth, fasting, mourning when they were sick), and a spirit of friendship toward them (as a friend, or a brother), there was no corresponding return of love. Instead, “they reward me evil for good, to the bereavement of my soul”. When the faithful fell into calamity, the enemy rejoiced, and gathered around to mock, and gnash their teeth, a sign of hatred. We cannot help but see the sentiments of these verses as consistent with the feelings of Christ in connection with His betrayal by Judas! The loss He felt was like one losing a mother. In fact, this is one of five psalms that speak prophetically of Judas; Psalm 35:14; Psa. 41:9; Psalm 55:12-14; Psalm 69:4; and Psalm 109:1-20. This Psalm is prophetic of the Jewish remnant, who feel betrayed by their countrymen. More direct prophecies about Judas follow in Psalm 41.
 
17 Lord, how long wilt thou look on? Rescue my soul from their destructions, my only one from the young lions.
18 I will give thee thanks in the great congregation; I will praise thee among much people.
19 Let not them that are wrongfully mine enemies rejoice over me; let them not wink with the eye that hate me without cause.
20 For they speak not peace; and they devise deceitful words against the quiet in the land.
21 And they opened their mouth wide against me; they said, Aha! aha! our eye hath seen it.
22 Thou hast seen it, Jehovah: keep not silence; O Lord, be not far from me.
23 Stir up thyself, and awake for my right, for my cause, my God and Lord!
24 Judge me, Jehovah my God, according to thy righteousness, and let them not rejoice over me.
25 Let them not say in their heart, Aha! so would we have it. Let them not say, We have swallowed him up.
26 Let them be ashamed and brought to confusion together that rejoice at mine adversity; let them be clothed with shame and dishonour that magnify themselves against me.
27 Let them exult and rejoice that delight in my righteousness; and let them say continually, Jehovah be magnified, who delighteth in the prosperity of his servant.
28 And my tongue shall talk of thy righteousness, and of thy praise, all the day. 
 
vv.17-28 Call for Jehovah to Intervene. The last half of the Psalm is an impassioned plea for Jehovah to intervene and rescue the soul of the faithful from the enemy. The word sometimes translated “my darling” or “my only one” refers to the human life, which is precious (see Psalm 22:20). In Psa. 22 it applied to Christ personally, here to the faithful remnant. In v.18, the faithful (with Christ in spirit) look on to the day of deliverance, to praising Jehovah in “the great congregation” (restored Israel) and “among much people” (all nations). In v.20 we have the character of the faithful; “the quiet in the land”, though persecuted by the wicked. There is an interesting exchange in vv.21-22. The wicked accuse the faithful falsely of some secret sin; “they said, Aha! aha! our eye hath seen it”. The faithful respond, “Thou hast seen it, Jehovah”. There is a little play on words there. Then language in vv.22-23 is very similar to that of Psalm 22, but there it is Christ, and here it is the remnant. They confess, “my God and Lord”, much like Thomas (John 20:28). To these suffering saints, it appears as if the Lord is far away (v.22), or asleep (v.23). They call on the Lord to awake, and to judge their condition “according to thy righteousness”. It seems incompatible with God’s righteousness to allow the persecution to go on. The remnant calls on the Lord to not allow the wicked to rejoice in their triumph, but rather let the faithful rejoice in Jehovah’s deliverance. The result of deliverance is unending praise to Jehovah!
 
  1. Perhaps this is Antichrist; the Jews chasing the now-fleeing Remnant, as in Revelation 11. – Darby, J.N. Summary of the Psalms.

Psalm 36

 
Psalm 36
The Remnant’s Estimation of the Wicked and of Jehovah
 
Psalm 36. This is a Psalm of David, and the heading suggests that the Psalm is written from the standpoint of “the servant of Jehovah”. In this Psalm we see the spirit of Christ in the remnant. It is “the servant of Jehovah”, of whom Christ is the ideal, in conference with Jehovah about the wicked. Prophetically, this might represent the character of Antichrist.
 
PSALM 36
To the chief Musician. A Psalm of the servant of Jehovah; of David.
1 The transgression of the wicked uttereth within my heart, “There is no fear of God before his eyes.” [quoted Rom. 3:18]
2 For he flattereth himself in his own eyes, even when his iniquity is found to be hateful.
3 The words of his mouth are wickedness and deceit: he hath left off to be wise, to do good.
4 He deviseth wickedness up on his bed; he setteth himself in a way that is not good: he abhorreth not evil.
 
vv.1-4 The Servant and Jehovah in Conference About the Wicked. In v.1 we have the assessment of the servant of Jehovah concerning the wicked, “There is no fear of God before his eyes.” Note that this passage is quoted in Romans 3, where Paul gives a summary of the whole human race. Fundamentally, the fear of God is what separates the faithful from the wicked. This is the great characteristics sin of the wicked; they do not respect God or His claims. Having rejected the claims of God, the wicked open themselves up to deception. In v.2 the wicked flatter themselves, even when the things they do are “found to be hateful”. In vv.3-4 their words are untrustworthy, full of deception, and their actions are likewise evil. In v.4 we find that the imaginations and the purposes of the wicked are as corrupt as their deeds. There is no abhorrence or hatred of evil in the wicked.
 
5 Jehovah, thy loving-kindness is in the heavens, and thy faithfulness reacheth unto the clouds.
6 Thy righteousness is like the high mountains; thy judgments are a great deep: thou, Jehovah, preservest man and beast.
7 How precious is thy loving-kindness, O God! So the sons of men take refuge under the shadow of thy wings.
8 They shall be abundantly satisfied with the fatness of thy house; and thou wilt make them drink of the river of thy pleasures.
9 For with thee is the fountain of life: in thy light shall we see light.
10 Continue thy loving-kindness unto them that know thee, and thy righteousness to the upright in heart;
11 Let not the foot of pride come against me, and let not the hand of the wicked drive me away.
12 There are the workers of iniquity fallen: they are cast down, and are not able to rise. 
 
vv.5-12 Concerning the Character of Jehovah. Here we have a total contrast to the wicked. The servant of Jehovah can delight in the character of His Lord and Master. The heavens above witness the loving-kindness of Jehovah. His faithfulness, testified in the rainbow (Gen. 9:13), reaches unto the clouds where it can be seen as a testimony to the sons of men. The righteousness of Jehovah and His judgments are likewise beyond measure; as “high mountains” and “the great deep”. What a contrast to the wicked! But to the servant of Jehovah, His preserving care (v.6), His loving-kindness, His protection (v.7), His provision (v.8), and His refreshment (vv.8-9) are all known and appreciated by the faithful remnant. The psalmist prays (vv.10-12) that the loving-kindness of Jehovah and His righteousness, that character which the servant of Jehovah knows, would continue toward the faithful, that the enemy would not make inroads among them.
 

Psalm 37

 
Psalm 37
The Path of the Wicked and of the Righteous
 
Psalm 37. This is a Psalm of David, and it presents the comfort to the faithful that the government of God is, in considering the contrasting paths of the wicked and the righteous. If the saints did not apprehend the government of God, it would be easy in the moment to envy the wicked. But knowing the character of God, and therefore the character of His government, the righteous can commit their cause to Him. This is an acrostic Psalm, in which each verse of Hebrew poetry begins with a different letter of the Hebrew alphabet. We have one in Psalm 25, another in Psalm 34, but here the verses are longer, often represented by two English verses. The verses below are displayed according to the Hebrew verses, with 22 in all. This Psalm has an exhortative character, suggesting that it may be something taught to the remnant by those better instructed. 
 
PSALM 37
A Psalm of David.
1 Fret not thyself because of evil-doers, and be not envious of them that work unrighteousness; 2 for they shall soon be cut down like the grass, and fade as the green herb.
3 Confide in Jehovah, and do good; dwell in the land, and feed on faithfulness; 4 and delight thyself in Jehovah, and he will give thee the desires of thy heart.
5 Commit thy way unto Jehovah, and rely upon him: he will bring it to pass; 6 and he will bring forth thy righteousness as the light, and thy judgment as the noonday.
7 Rest in Jehovah, and wait patiently for him: fret not thyself because of him that prospereth in his way, because of the man that bringeth mischievous devices to pass.
8 Cease from anger, and forsake wrath; fret not thyself: it would be only to do evil. 9 For evil-doers shall be cut off; but those that wait on Jehovah, they shall possess the land.
10 For yet a little while, and the wicked is not; and thou considerest his place, but he is not. 11 “But the meek shall possess the land,” [quoted in Matt. 5:5] and shall delight themselves in the abundance of prosperity.
 
vv.1-11 Rest in Jehovah, Counting on His Righteous Government. The remnant are encouraged to not fret about the evil doers, nor to be envious of them. They may appear to prosper for a time, but “they shall soon be cut down like the grass”. The secret to having rest of soul is to “confide in Jehovah… delight thyself in Jehovah … commit thy way to Jehovah, rely upon Him”, and finally “rest in Jehovah”. Rather than be troubled about it, the saints should leave the matter with Him. The danger of not doing this is that is could lead to fleshy anger (v.8). The latter part of v.7 may refer to Antichrist personally; “him that prospereth in his way, because of the man that bringeth mischievous devices to pass.” One thing that makes it difficult to have peace is that things are turned upside down morally. The remnant can have confidence in the Lord that “he will bring it to pass; and he will bring forth thy righteousness as the light, and thy judgment as the noonday”. The remnant can rely on the righteous government of God. There is much in these verses about possessing the land. The remnant seems to be in the land, but the wicked are having the upper hand. Perhaps like Ahab with Nabboth, the wicked have seized the choicest portions for themselves, and the faithful are dispossessed. The comfort is that this state will not continue forever. “For yet a little while, and the wicked is not; and thou considerest his place, but he is not.” The faithful remnant, the “meek”, will inherit what the wicked have usurped! “But the meek shall possess the land, and shall delight themselves in the abundance of prosperity.” Note that v.11 is referenced by the Lord Himself in Matthew 5:5 in speaking to the disciples, who were themselves a faithful remnant. This help us to see the character of the disciples in the gospels, and why Jesus would address them as the Jewish remnant, rather than the Church.1
 
12 The wicked plotteth against the righteous, and gnasheth his teeth against him. 13 The Lord laugheth at him; for he seeth that his day is coming.
14 The wicked have drawn out the sword, and have bent their bow, to cast down the afflicted and needy, to slay those that are upright in the way: 15 their sword shall enter into their own heart, and their bows shall be broken.
16 The little that the righteous hath is better than the abundance of many wicked; 17 for the arms of the wicked shall be broken, but Jehovah upholdeth the righteous.
18 Jehovah knoweth the days of the perfect; and their inheritance shall be for ever: 19 they shall not be ashamed in the time of evil, and in the days of famine they shall be satisfied.
20 For the wicked shall perish, and the enemies of Jehovah shall be as the fat of lambs: they shall consume, like smoke shall they consume away.
21 The wicked borroweth, and payeth not again; but the righteous is gracious and giveth: 22 for those blessed of him shall possess the land, and they that are cursed of him shall be cut off.
 
vv.12-22 The End of the Wicked and the Righteous. In these verses the faithful consider the end of two paths, as an encouragement to their own hearts. We had the Lord laughing in Psalm 2 when the wicked plot against Jehovah and His Anointed. Here we have the Lord laughing at the wicked when they plot against “the righteous”; i.e. the faithful remnant in association with Christ. In vv.14-15 the tragedy of the wicked is pictured as one who draws a sword to use it on the righteous, but then that very sword is taken and plunged into their own heart, or one who bends a bow only to have it broken! Again, in v.16 contentment is urged on the righteous in lieu of the government of God. While the wicked seem to prosper, the Lord still provides for His saints in a time of famine. But in the end, “the wicked shall perish”. In vv.21-22 we have another contrast: the wicked are characterized by taking (dishonestly), but the righteous are characterized by giving (graciously). The end result is that the wicked (who were takers) will be cut off, and the righteous will be given the possession of the land!
 
23 The steps of a man are established by Jehovah, and he delighteth in his way: 24 though he fall, he shall not be utterly cast down, for Jehovah upholdeth his hand.
25 I have been young, and now am old, and I have not seen the righteous forsaken, nor his seed seeking bread: 26 all the day he is gracious and lendeth, and his seed shall be a blessing.
27 Depart from evil, and do good, and dwell for evermore; 28a for Jehovah loveth judgment, and will not forsake his saints:
28b They are preserved for ever; but the seed of the wicked shall be cut off. 29 The righteous shall possess the land, and dwell therein for ever.
 
vv.23-29 Jehovah’s Faithfulness to His Saints. These verses are an encouragement to the righteous that Jehovah is faithful to uphold His saints, however dark it may get (v.24). In vv.25-26 the vast range of human experience is reasoned from, that Jehovah does not forsake the righteous. Why can the righteous have confidence? It is because of the righteous character of God; “Jehovah loveth judgment, and will not forsake his saints”. Again, as in the previous paragraph, the psalmist looks on the end. Not only the wicked but their “seed” will be cut off, and the righteous will not only possess the land, but “dwell therein for ever”.
 
30 The mouth of the righteous proffereth wisdom, and his tongue speaketh judgment; 31 the law of his God is in his heart; his goings shall not slide.
32 The wicked watcheth the righteous, and seeketh to slay him: 33 Jehovah will not leave him in his hand, nor condemn him when he is judged.
34 Wait for Jehovah, and keep his way, and he will exalt thee to possess the land: when the wicked are cut off, thou shalt see it.
 
vv.30-34 The righteous delivered from the hand of the wicked. In these verses we have first of all the character of the righteous, that they speak right, they think right, and therefore they act right. The wicked on the other hand are absorbed with one thing: catching and slaying the righteous. But Jehovah, in His righteous government, will not allow the righteous to meet that fate. The call is to “wait for Jehovah”. Again, this paragraph concludes with the end of the path, when the wicked are cut off and the righteous are exalted and possess the land!
 
35 I have seen the wicked in great power, and spreading like a green tree in its native soil: 36 but he passed away, and behold, he was not; and I sought him, but he was not found.
37 Mark the perfect, and behold the upright, for the end of that man is peace; 38 but the transgressors shall be destroyed together; the future of the wicked shall be cut off.
39 But the salvation of the righteous is of Jehovah: he is their strength in the time of trouble. 40 And Jehovah will help them and deliver them: he will deliver them from the wicked, and save them; for they trust in him. 
 
vv.35-39 The end of the path. Once again, in conclusion, the psalmist looks on to the end. Although the wicked seem now to flourish “like a green tree in its native soil”, in the end they will be nothing (v.36), destroyed, and cut off (v.38). But the righteous will be saved by Jehovah Himself; “the end of that man is peace”. This Psalm really looks at the end of the path in light of the righteous government of Jehovah as encouragement to them in the presence of growing evil.
 
  1. This psalm also helps to show the connection between the disciples and this remnant (see Matt. 5:5) – yet, to show the difference; the Son was there. – Darby, J.N. Synopsis of the Books of the Bible.

Psalm 38

 
Psalm 38
The Remnant Under the Chastening Hand of Jehovah
 
Psalm 38. This Psalm and the one following are a pair. This is also a penitential Psalm, meaning it has to do with the confession of sin. The inscription reads, “A Psalm of David, to bring to remembrance.” This Psalm may well have been written when David was fleeing from Absalom, when he was feeling the governmental consequences for his sin in the matter of Bathsheba and Uriah. J.G. Bellet said of this Psalm, “It suits David’s suffering from Absalom because of his sin against God in the matter of Uriah. He speaks as like a leper outside the camp. And such is the figure of a convicted sinner, or of a saint under discipline. He is separated as one defiled and defiling; but Jesus can meet us in that place, though none else can.”1 Another possibility is that this Psalm could have been composed during the time of David’s fasting while his child was dying; “David therefore besought God for the child; and David fasted, and went in, and lay all night upon the earth” (2 Sam. 12:16). Prophetically, this Psalm speaks of the deepening work of repentance in the faithful remnant. In summary, we see a wonderful example of a good spirit in times of chastening; the remnant submitting the discipline, bowing under the smiting hand of Jehovah, while trusting Him. “Now no chastening for the present seemeth to be joyous, but grievous: nevertheless afterward it yieldeth the peaceable fruit of righteousness unto them which are exercised thereby” (Heb. 12:11). There is a helpful comparison between this Psalm and the Book of Job. In both the righteous fall under the chastening hand of God, but in this Psalm they vindicate God through it all, while in Job he charges God with unrighteousness. There are no excuses made for the sin, they simply acknowledge it, and bare the consequences while trusting in the Lord. There is a sense in which the Spirit of Christ enters into the expressions of this Psalm, not as suffering for His own sin, but bearing our sin as His own.2
 
PSALM 38
A Psalm of David, to bring to remembrance.
1 Jehovah, rebuke me not in thy wrath; neither chasten me in thy hot displeasure.
 
v.1 The Chastening of Jehovah. The remnant seems to acknowledge that the “chastening” or “rebuke” is from Jehovah Himself. But they ask Him not to administer the discipline in “wrath” or “hot displeasure”. This is a helpful lesson for parents when disciplining their children. We should never discipline out of anger, but rather out of love.
 
2 For thine arrows stick fast in me, and thy hand cometh down upon me.
3 There is no soundness in my flesh because of thine indignation; no peace in my bones, because of my sin.
4 For mine iniquities are gone over my head: as a heavy burden they are too heavy for me.
5 My wounds stink, they are corrupt, because of my foolishness.
6 I am depressed; I am bowed down beyond measure; I go mourning all the day.
7 For my loins are full of burning, and there is no soundness in my flesh.
8 I am faint and broken beyond measure; I roar by reason of the agitation of my heart.
 
vv.2-8 The Chastening Felt. In these verses the remnant describes the discipline as they feel it, and it is deeply painful. They also acknowledge their guilt, and their sin, without any reservation. They call it “my sin”, “my iniquity”, “my foolishness”. They speak of the deep pain that they feel, and an inward turmoil called “roaring”. The expressions that are used in this Psalm are in many ways similar to those in Psalm 22, although there it was Christ being made sin for us. Here it is the saints suffering because of their own sin. Perhaps v.7 would speak of some realization of the untrustworthiness of the flesh; the depravity of the fallen human nature.
 
9 Lord, all my desire is before thee, and my sighing is not hid from thee.
10 My heart throbbeth, my strength hath left me; and the light of mine eyes, it also is no more with me.
11 My lovers and mine associates stand aloof from my stroke; and my kinsmen stand afar off.
12 And they that seek after my life lay snares for me; and they that seek my hurt speak mischievous things, and meditate deceits all the day long.
 
vv.9-12 Reproach from Enemies Added. In vv.9-10 the extremity of suffering is expressed. But then in vv.11-12 there is an added to a level of suffering. The lovers and associates “stand aloof” when the stroke of discipline falls. They do not want to be close to those who are suffering, lest they should also become a target for the arrows of the Lord. How different the exhortation in Galatians 6 to bear one another’s burdens! Even kinsmen, those who by family ties ought to be faithful, have disappeared. Enemies also have seen the chastening, and have taken advantage of it by laying traps, speaking lies, etc. Historically, this would align with the cursing of Shimei in 2 Sam. 16.
 
13 But I, as a deaf man, hear not; and am as a dumb man that openeth not his mouth.
14 Yea, I am as a man that heareth not, and in whose mouth are no reproofs.
15 For in thee, Jehovah, do I hope: “thou” wilt answer, O Lord my God.
16 For I said, Let them not rejoice over me! When my foot slipped, they magnified themselves against me.
17 For I am ready to halt, and my pain is continually before me.
18 For I will declare mine iniquity, I am grieved for my sin.
19 But mine enemies are lively, they are strong; and they that hate me wrongfully are multiplied:
20 And they that render evil for good are adversaries unto me; because I pursue what is good.
21 Forsake me not, Jehovah; O my God, be not far from me.
22 Make haste to help me, O Lord, my salvation. 
 
vv.13-22 Trust in and Submission to Jehovah. Concerning the reproaches of enemies, the faithful choose not to hear, and they certainly do not reply (vv.13-14). All of their hope is in Jehovah, that He will answer their prayer. Then in vv.16-17, the faithful speak of their foot slipping, the enemies rejoicing over them, and the fact that they are almost ready to “halt”, or fall down in the path because of weakness (2 Sam. 16:8). And then in v.18, there is a brave determination to confess iniquity and sin. In v.19 again the enemies come before their soul; the enemies, haters, evildoers, and adversaries. It is acknowledged in v.20 that the remnant is facing opposition because they “pursue what is good”. So here we have a twofold reason for suffering: (1) they are suffering under the chastening hand of Jehovah, and (2) they are suffering from their enemies because they are pursuing what is good. Nobody ever said repentance would be easy! In the closing verses, the remnant call out to Jehovah their God to not be a far away from them, to help them, and save them from tribulation. How similar some of these verses are to those in Psalm 22, uttered by Christ, as He called out to His God to hear Him in His hour of greatest need. The great difference being that in Psalm 22 it was Christ suffering for the sin of others, and here it is the saints under the chastening hand of God because of their own sin. But the Psalm can still end with a note of confidence; “O Lord, my salvation”.
 
  1. Bellet, J.G. Short Meditations on the Psalms.
  2. The question then arises, How far does the Spirit of Christ enter into it? Fully, I believe; though of course He never could have been personally there. No doubt it arose from some deep chastening of the writer — a chastening which was openly manifested. Such cases may in the full extent arise among the remnant. The principle is of universal application. Christ of course could have nothing to be chastened for; but, having the full bearing of sin before Him, and meeting in His path all the sorrow which will beset the people, He can enter, though the green tree, into the judgment which will come upon the dry. He could not say what is said here, but He can perfectly sympathise with those who have to say it. He has provided the words which will express it by His Spirit in their hearts. Had He not suffered the full anger for these very iniquities which press on their consciences, and from which in its full extent as wrath they escape, it would not have been merely needed chastening in which they plead with Jehovah. Hence He can more than feel it when it has that character. And in all the sorrow of the circumstances He has borne the largest part. – Darby, J.N. Synopsis of the Books of the Bible.

Psalm 39

 
Psalm 39
The Prayer of the Faithful in Their Extremity
 
Psalm 39. This is a Psalm of David, and it written for Jeduthun, who was leader of praise in David’s time, and who directed his six sons, “who prophesied with the harp, to give thanks and to praise Jehovah” (1 Chron. 25:3). His name means “Praise Giver” or “Let Them Give Praise”. Psalms addressed to Jeduthun are Psalms 39, 62, and 77. In this Psalm we have an important lesson: that the righteous can see through the means of discipline to the One who authorizes it. In other words, they can see that behind the human enemy is God, who ultimately is causing the discipline. They then cry out to Him, the true Source of their circumstances, for deliverance.
 
PSALM 39
To the chief Musician, to Jeduthun. A Psalm of David.
1 I said, I will take heed to my ways, that I sin not with my tongue: I will keep my mouth with a muzzle, while the wicked is before me.
2 I was dumb with silence, I held my peace from good; and my sorrow was stirred.
3 My heart burned within me; the fire was kindled in my musing: I spoke with my tongue,
4 Make me to know, Jehovah, mine end, and the measure of my days, what it is: I shall know how frail I am.
5 Behold, thou hast made my days as hand-breadths, and my lifetime is as nothing before thee; verily, every man, even the high placed, is altogether vanity. Selah.
6 Verily, man walketh in a vain show; verily they are disquieted in vain; he heapeth up riches, and knoweth not who shall gather them.
 
vv.1-6 To speak or not to speak. In these verses there is a very interesting progression. It begins with the Psalmist guarding himself from speaking with his tongue, keeping his mouth “with a muzzle” from saying something in anger that would be wrong. Seeing that he is under the chastening hand of the Lord, it would not be fitting now to reply to the wicked. Then, after holding his peace, sorrow is stirred within him. This sorrow turned into a flame burning in his heart, a kindled fire in his thoughts. This then gives way to words (v.3), but not words to the wicked. The faithful now address Jehovah (vv.4-6). This is He whom we should talk to when we are overwhelmed with our circumstances, especially when surrounded by those who misunderstand us, or misjudge the chastening hand of God in our lives. The prayer begins with great humility, asking Jehovah to teach him the measure of his days so that he would know how weak he really was. He speaks of the shortening of his life through the severity of the discipline, especially when in comparison to Jehovah Himself. He also learns the character of the world: “man walketh in a vain show”, purporting to to have real power or ability. But really man is nothing. He can heap to himself riches, but he will die be forced to them to another. It is a blessed thing to own our weakness and frailty before God in prayer.
 
7 And now, what wait I for, Lord? my hope is in thee.
8 Deliver me from all my transgressions; make me not the reproach of the foolish.
9 I was dumb, I opened not my mouth; for “thou” hast done it.
10 Remove thy stroke away from me: I am consumed by the blow of thy hand.
11 When thou with rebukes dost correct a man for iniquity, thou makest his beauty to consume away like a moth: surely, every man is vanity. Selah.
 
vv.7-11 Hope in Jehovah alone. The faithful can look beyond the wicked, the world, and the vanity of man, to see the Lord as their only hope. In v.8 they acknowledge that the chastening is a result of their transgressions. But they do not want to feel the reproach of the foolish around them. In v.9 they explain why they were quiet in the presence of the enemies (v.1). It was because the Lord had done it! The faithful perceive that the reproach of the enemy is really part of God’s governmental discipline over them. Rather than speak to the enemy, they speak to the One who really does hold the rod of discipline. So in v.10, the faithful ask Jehovah to remove the stroke of discipline from them. In v.11 the faithful speak of how their beauty is consumed away by the chastening. God has a way of causing that which man looks upon, the outward appearance, to fade away so that which is really underneath might be made manifest. There is something more than outward beauty, and this is what God is looking for.
 
12 Hear my prayer, Jehovah, and give ear unto my cry; be not silent at my tears: for I am a stranger with thee, a sojourner, like all my fathers.
13 Look away from me, and let me recover strength, before I go hence and be no more. 
 
vv.12-13 Prayer for deliverance. The faithful cry out in prayer to Jehovah, begging Him to hear their cry, and answer their tears. They confess their strangership and exclusive association with Jehovah, like the fathers; i.e. the children of Israel. In a tender but sorrowful appeal, the faithful ask Jehovah to look away from them, to pause the discipline only so they may cover recover their strength, or else their lives will be ended.
 

Psalm 40

 
Psalm 40
The Deliverance of Christ in Connection with Israel
 
Psalm 40. This Psalm is a Psalm of David, and it is also a Messianic Psalm. Psalm 40 really presents Christ celebrating His own deliverance in connection with Israel. It also speaks of Christ coming to do the will of God, from the very moment of incarnation. Historically, this Psalm probably refers to the time of Absalom’s rebellion. Prophetically, it has a double application. First, to Christ Himself. Secondly, it can apply to the faithful remnant in association with Him. 
 
PSALM 40
To the chief Musician. Of David. A Psalm.
1 I waited patiently for Jehovah; and he inclined unto me, and heard my cry.
2 And he brought me up out of the pit of destruction, out of the miry clay, and set my feet upon a rock; he hath established my goings:
3 And he hath put a new song in my mouth, praise unto our God. Many shall see it, and fear, and shall confide in Jehovah.
4 Blessed is the man that hath made Jehovah his confidence, and turneth not to the proud, and to such as turn aside to lies.
 
vv.1-4 Christ celebrating His deliverance. This being a Messianic Psalm, these verses have to do with Christ being delivered out of His sufferings in resurrection. The cry of the suffering Christ (Psa. 22:17; Heb. 5:7) was heard, and the results are here. Christ’s patient dependent on Jehovah throughout His suffering, and into resurrection, becomes the source of encouragement to others; especially Israel. The “horrible pit” refers to the sufferings of Christ up to and including death. The solid “rock” refers to a new standing, i.e. resurrection ground, and may include His ascension. The “new song” in the mouth of the risen Christ is that what He could sing on the ground of an accomplished redemption (Psa. 22:22). We too can sing that song, knowing that the work of redemption is accomplished, and Christ is risen from among the dead. The deliverance of Christ now becomes the source of encouragement to His saints;  “Blessed is the man that hath made Jehovah his confidence”. This is especially true of the faithful Jewish remnant, who have not followed the apostate nation, “the proud”, nor turned aside to lies; i.e. Israel’s covenant with the beast.
 
5 Thou, O Jehovah my God, hast multiplied thy marvellous works, and thy thoughts toward us: they cannot be reckoned up in order unto thee; would I declare and speak them, they are more than can be numbered.
 
v.5 Thanksgiving. Here we have Christ, and the remnant in association with Him, praising Jehovah for His great deliverance, and for His thoughts toward them. They are beyond human ability to reckon or speak.
 
6 “Sacrifice and oblation thou didst not desire: ears hast thou prepared me. Burnt-offering and sin-offering hast thou not demanded;
7 Then said I, Behold, I come, in the volume of the book it is written of me —
8 To do thy good pleasure, my God, is my delight,” [quoted Hebrews 10:5-9] and thy law is within my heart.
 
vv.6-8 Full Devotion to the Will of God. In these verses we have an exceedingly beautiful truth. The fact that these verses are quoted in Hebrews 10 shows that they are those spoken by Christ Himself as a man. The whole Jewish system of sacrifice (all the offerings covered), of approach to God under the law, has been completely replaced through the coming of Christ to fully accomplish the will of God. The words “in the volume of the book” refers to the end of a scroll, equivalent to the spine of a modern book. The title of a book would be written on the end of a scroll so that you could see the general contents of a book at-a-glance. In v.7, Christ gives us a summary title that could be written over His whole life! His entire purpose on earth as a man was this, “Behold, I come… to do thy will O God”. It wasn’t mere willingness to do the will of God, but His “delight”. The system of law was that of endless symbols and sacrifices which could never take away sin, offered for hearts that were reluctant to do God’s will. But when Christ came into the world, here was something that had never been seen before. Here was a Man who was totally here for the pleasure and interests of God! Every other man by nature walks according to his own will. But Christ was totally different. The expression in verse six “ears hast thou prepared me” is a curious phrase. It refers to the incarnation; as the Septuagint translation puts it, “a body hast thou prepared me”, and which is quoted by the writer of Hebrews, giving the Spirit of God’s approval. Why then in the Masoretic text is it translated “ears hast thou prepared me” or “mine ears hast thou digged”? It is because in this sense, in the context of what is being brought out here by the Spirit of God, the ear of Christ was that which embodied His whole humanity. As the body of Christ was formed in the womb, the leading feature was His hearing ear! An ear that was “digged” refers to a man whose whole being was trained toward one object, of doing the good pleasure of God. This Person completely replaces and sets aside the who order of Judaism; “He taketh away the first, that he may establish the second” (Heb. 10:9). What a powerful point for the Spirit of God to draw from this Psalm in addressing the Hebrews!1 The faithful remnant in a future day will come to appreciate this as well.
 
The Digged, Opened, Pierced Ear. It is a very helpful study to look at the ear of Christ in the Old Testament prophecies. The ear of the Lord Jesus was: digged (prepared) at His incarnation (Psalm 40:6), opened morning by morning throughout His life in daily dependence (Isaiah 50:4), pierced at His death (Exodus 21:6), showing that He was fully devoted to the obedience of God unto death, and to remain forever as a servant.23
 
9 I have published righteousness in the great congregation: behold, I have not withheld my lips, Jehovah, “thou” knowest.
10 I have not hidden thy righteousness within my heart; I have declared thy faithfulness and thy salvation: I have not concealed thy loving-kindness and thy truth from the great congregation.
 
vv.9-10 Faithful Witness. Appreciation for the deliverance of Jehovah leads to the publication of God’s truth. Full devotion must be accompanies by a faithful witness. Truth cannot be withheld from the lips, hidden in the heart, or concealed from the great congregation. It rather must be published and declared. The great congregation would refer to Israel, to whom Christ and the remnant teach regardless of the consequences.4
 
11 Withhold not thou, Jehovah, thy tender mercies from me; let thy loving-kindness and thy truth continually preserve me.
12 For innumerable evils have compassed me about: mine iniquities have taken hold upon me, so that I cannot see; they are more than the hairs of my head: and my heart hath failed me.
13 Be pleased, O Jehovah, to deliver me; Jehovah, make haste to my help.
14 Let them be ashamed and brought to confusion together that seek after my soul to destroy it; let them be turned backward and confounded that take pleasure in mine adversity;
15 Let them be desolate, because of their shame, that say unto me, Aha! Aha!
16 Let all those that seek thee be glad and rejoice in thee; let such as love thy salvation say continually, Jehovah be magnified!
17 But I am afflicted and needy: the Lord thinketh upon me. Thou art my help and my deliverer: my God, make no delay. 
 
vv.11-17 A cry for deliverance. The devotion of Christ to do the will of God lead Him into great sufferings. He can speak of “innumerable evils”. It would seem that the “iniquities” referred to in v.12 are those of others that Christ bore on the cross, confessing them as His own. He cries to Jehovah to deliver Him, and also for vengeance on His enemies, and on those that would laugh at Him in the time of His suffering. He also prays for a blessing on those that are faithful, His saints on the earth, who continually praise Jehovah. The song ends with a cry of deliverance, because of the sufferings that the Messiah is passing through.
 
  1. “…and then the blessed key to His whole history in His having undertaken to do the will of Jehovah, the whole Jewish system under the law being thus closed and set aside.” – Darby, J.N. Synopsis of the Books of the Bible.
  2. Here the ears “dug” express His incarnation, as “opened” (Isa. 50) His daily dependence, and “bored” (Ex. 21) His devotedness in death and forever. – Kelly, W. Notes on Psalms.
  3. I highly recommend the following address: Address by Chuck Hendricks, The Digged, Opened, Pierced Ear, Toledo 1987
  4. The great congregation is the Jewish people at large (it has a moral force here, for it is not merely those willing to hear, but to all, at all risk, that God might be justified). Christ had not failed in testifying to them. – Darby, J.N. Heads of Psalms.

Psalm 41

 
Psalm 41
Christ as a Man Entering into the Sorrows of the Persecuted Remnant
 
Psalm 41. This is a Psalm of David, most likely written in the time of Absalom’s rebellion. Prophetically, this Psalm speaks of Christ as a man in His humiliation, entering into the sorrows of the persecuted remnant. However, as v.4 shows, the whole Psalm is not of Christ. In v.4 we have a confession of sin, making this a penitential Psalm. The theme of the Psalm is the blessedness of those who sympathize with those who are suffering, particular under God’s chastening.1
 
PSALM 41
To the chief Musician. A Psalm of David.
1 Blessed is he that understandeth the poor: Jehovah will deliver him in the day of evil.
2 Jehovah will preserve him, and keep him alive; he shall be made happy in the land; and thou wilt not deliver him to the will of his enemies.
3 Jehovah will sustain him upon the bed of languishing: thou turnest all his bed in his sickness.
 
vv.1-3 The Blessedness of Understanding the Poor. At this time, David was historically in hiding to the east of Jordan. We know that God used a man named Barzillai to shelter and comfort David during this time (2 Sam. 17:27, 29). It could very well be that these verses historically were composed by David with Barzillai in mind; “blessed is he that understandeth the poor”. In application to Christ, it is Christ personally who was able to understand the poor, because He identified Himself with “the poor of the flock” (Zech. 11:7). Those who have a sympathetic heart are marked by Jehovah for blessing. “Blessed are the poor in spirit: for theirs is the kingdom of heaven” (Matt. 5:3). In fact, this is one of the Asherite psalms, and it shows that one of the keys to happiness is to have a symptomatic care for others. Prophetically, these verses also speak of those who will show kindness toward the persecuted Jewish remnant in the great tribulation (Matt. 25:34-36). These ones, much like Barzillai and his sons, would naturally be targets of the enemy. But Jehovah will preserve and sustain them in a remarkable way (vv.2-3). The suffering would be deep (a “bed of languishing”), but Jehovah Himself would comfort them (“thou turnest all his bed in his sickness”).
 
4 As for me, I said, Jehovah, be gracious unto me: heal my soul; for I have sinned against thee.
5 Mine enemies wish me evil: When will he die, and his name perish?
6 And if one come to see me, he speaketh falsehood; his heart gathereth wickedness to itself: he goeth abroad, he telleth it.
7 All that hate me whisper together against me; against me do they devise my hurt.
8 A thing of Belial cleaveth fast unto him; and now that he is laid down, he will rise up no more.
9 Yea, mine own familiar friend, in whom I confided, “who did eat of my bread, hath lifted up his heel against me.” [quoted John 13:18]
 
vv.4-9 The reproach felt deeply. The remnant confess their sin, and ask Jehovah to graciously heal them in a spiritual sense. This v.4 cannot be applied to Christ, as the other verses can, because Christ committed no sin. But in vv.5-7 the faithful deeply feel the hatred of their enemies. We can see the application of these verses to Christ. This is an example of Christ’s interpersonal sufferings. To have others wish His demise, to be lied about, to be slandered, to be hated, to be whispered about, to be plotted against, are all things that cause deep suffering in the human heart. However, there is a hint of victory in v.8; a “thing of Belial”, or a disease, “cleaveth fast unto him; and now that he is laid down, he will rise up no more”. They can see that the wicked are as good as dead. In v.9, we have a heartbreaking cry from the faithful, even from Christ personally. Historically, the “familiar friend” was Ahithophel, who betrayed David and joined forces with Absalom (2 Sam. 15:31). Here David laments at the betrayal of his close friend and counsellor. But prophetically, it looks on to the betrayer of our Lord; Judas Iscariot. Thus v.9 is quoted by Jesus in John 13:18, and applied to Judas. It was necessary because of this Psalm that the Messiah would have a betrayer. However, it didn’t have to be Judas. Judas fit himself, by his own actions, for that role. It troubled the Lord deeply that one of His closest companions, who shared daily fellowship with Him, would betray Him. Although the immediate events had to do with David, the Spirit of God was really writing prophetically of Christ! This is one of five psalms that speak prophetically of Judas; Psalm 35:14; Psa. 41:9; Psalm 55:12-14; Psalm 69:4; and Psalm 109:1-20. Prophetically, Judas, as the son of perdition, is a type of Antichrist. He will appear to be Israel’s familiar friend, with nothing but their best interests at heart. They will even let him into their temple. But then he will betray them, suddenly and painfully. The remnant also, on a personal level, will be betrayed by many of their countrymen, who follow Antichrist. But the Lord’s experience with Judas fits Him perfectly to sympathize with the remnant!
 
10 But thou, Jehovah, be gracious unto me, and raise me up, that I may requite them.
11 By this I know that thou delightest in me, because mine enemy doth not triumph over me.
12 But as for me, thou upholdest me in mine integrity, and settest me before thy face for ever.
 
vv.10-12 The faithful upheld. In spite of great suffering, the faithful cry out to Jehovah to deliver them, and raise them up to be vindicated in connection with the enemies. They see the Lord’s hand upholding them in the trial, and this as proof that “thou delightest in me”. This is an appeal to Jehovah for faithfulness on the ground of their own faithfulness. They can look forward to their final deliverance; “and settest me before thy face for ever”. 
 
13 Blessed be Jehovah, the God of Israel, from eternity to eternity! Amen, and Amen.
 
v.13 Conclusion of the First Book. This is the glorious outcome of the deliverance of Israel; Jehovah, the God of Israel, blessed from eternity to eternity! The words “Amen, and Amen” divide the first and second books of the Psalms.
 
  1. The point of the psalm is the blessedness of those who understand and enter into the position of those with whom Jehovah is dealing. – Darby, J.N. Synopsis of the Books of the Bible.

Psalm 42

 
The Second Book of the Psalms
Psalms 42 – 72
 
The Second Book of the Psalms (42 – 72). From a prophetic standpoint, the second book of the Psalms focuses on the second half of Daniel’s seventieth week, and gives us the expressions and sentiments of the Jewish remnant as they pass through the “great tribulation”, and it continues on into the Millennium. The second book of Psalms corresponds with the second book of the Pentateuch, Exodus; i.e. the themes of persecution, suffering and deliverance. Read more… One of the distinctive features of the Second Book is that these Psalms are Elohistic rather than Jehovahistic; i.e. they are marked by the prevalence of the name “Elohim”, in contrast to the First Book which was marked by the prevalence of the name “Jehovah”. Both names of God are used in both books, and appropriately so through each Psalm, but one name is used proportionately more throughout the book. Why is this? The key lies in the prophetic application of these Psalms to Israel in a future day. The First Book focuses more on the early part of the prophetic week when the Jews are in the land, carrying on their worship of Jehovah. They see themselves in a covenant relationship with God, and therefore use the name “Jehovah” more frequently. But after the rise of Antichrist, the faithful remnant of the Jews fall under extreme persecution, and they must flee their land and the temple, and go to the mountains. The Second Book focuses on this time, although it does continue into the Millennium. As the remnant is viewed as cast out by their brethren and away from the sanctuary, their prayers become addressed to “God” (Elohim). In these Psalms the remnant comes to know God in a deeper way, as they are brought to a point where they appeal to Him in terms of what He is intrinsically, rather than according to His covenant relationship with Israel as a nation.1

Psalm 42
The Remnant Fleeing from Persecution
 
Psalm 42. As the inscription shows, this Psalm is attributed to “the Sons of Korah”, who were the descendants (probably in David’s time) of the infamous Levite who rebelled against Moses’ authority (Num. 16). The incident in Num. 16 is a scene of judgment, but in Num. 26:11 we read “But the children of Korah died not”. It is a striking picture of God’s overruling mercy in the midst of judgment. Prophetically, these sons of Korah were suitable vessels to give utterance to the feelings of the remnant in a time when Israel is under the chastening hand of God! How wonderful too that Korah’s children were able to overcome that difficult situation! The fact that the sons of Korah are credited with a number of Psalms is evidence of the mercy and grace of God. These singers are credited with at least eleven Psalms (Psa. 42, 44–49, 84, 85, 87 and 88). The Korah-Psalms fall within the second and third books of Psalms. Psalm 42 – 49 are a complete series, all attributed to the sons of Korah.2 Psalm 42 is titled “an instruction”, and it contains that which the teachers among the remnant will instruct the faithful to do once they have been forced to flee Jerusalem in the great tribulation; i.e. don’t give up, and instead “hope in God”. When the Jews no longer have their temple, they will learn to trust God Himself! Psalm 43 is a sequel to Psalm 42.
 
PSALM 42
To the chief Musician. An instruction; of the sons of Korah.
1 As the hart panteth after the water-brooks, so panteth my soul after thee, O God.
2 My soul thirsteth for God, for the living GOD: when shall I come and appear before God?
3 My tears have been my bread day and night, while they say unto me all the day, Where is thy God?
4 These things I remember and have poured out my soul within me: how I passed along with the multitude, how I went on with them to the house of God, with the voice of joy and praise, a festive multitude.
 
vv.1-4 Longing to Appear before God. The faithful compare themselves to the “hart” or deer, which pants for water, comparing it to a thirst or longing for the living God; especially a longing to come and appear before God in the temple as they once did. In v.3 they speak of their tears day and night, while the enemies reproach them by mocking their faith, and saying “Where is thy God?” See Joel 2:17; Matt. 27:43. With sorrow the remnant looks back on their time when they had access to the temple. They can speak of going to the “house of God” alongside with the unbelievers, with “the multitude” into the temple. It seems that it was a joyous time, and something the remnant looks back on with longing.
 
5 Why art thou cast down, my soul, and art disquieted in me? hope in God; for I shall yet praise him, for the health of his countenance.
6 My God, my soul is cast down within me; therefore do I remember thee from the land of the Jordan, and the Hermons, from mount Mizar.
 
vv.5-6 The soul cast down. The remnant speak to their own selves about their state; their soul “cast down” and “disquieted”. Really, they are depressed. They speak to themselves to “hope in God”, determined now to praise God in spite of their circumstances. But in v.6 their efforts to encourage themselves seem to have failed. Their soul is still cast down. Then in the last part of v.6 we have a clear picture of the location of the remnant prophetically at the time in which the Psalm is placed. They will have fled into the wilderness, “the land of the Jordan, and the Hermons, from mount Mizar” (Moab, Syria, Lebanon). In Matthew 24:16 we read of the remnant fleeing to the mountains of Judea, but here we find that from thence many are scattered into neighboring countries to the east and north.
 
7 Deep calleth unto deep at the noise of thy cataracts; all thy breakers and thy billows are gone over me.
8 In the day-time will Jehovah command his loving-kindness, and in the night his song shall be with me, a prayer unto the GOD of my life.
9 I will say unto GOD my rock, Why hast thou forgotten me? why go I mourning because of the oppression of the enemy?
10 As with a crushing in my bones mine adversaries reproach me, while they say unto me all the day, Where is thy God?
 
vv.7-10 Under the breakers and billows of God’s judgment. The remnant feel that the judgment of God is overwhelming them like multiple waterfalls all thundering at once; “Deep calleth unto deep at the noise of thy cataracts”. To them, all the “breakers” and “billows” of God’s judgment are washing over them. They feel this way, but it could only be really true of Christ Himself, whose spirit joins the faithful remnant. In v.8 they have the loving-kindness of Jehovah and the privilege of singing and praying to God, as their resources during this time of extreme trial. In vv.9-10, the faithful cry out to God to learn the reason of their suffering. Particularly, what troubles them is that God allows the enemy to question the strength and dependability of the One the remnant owns as their God.
 
11 Why art thou cast down, my soul? and why art thou disquieted within me? hope in God; for I shall yet praise him, who is the health of my countenance, and my God.
 
v.11 Hope in God lifts the soul. In similar language to v.5 but slightly changed, the remnant once again encourage themselves to hope in God, looking forward to the future when they will praise Him once again. In v.5 they view their praise as the “health of His [God’s] countenance”. In v.11 they have come to find that God is the health of their own countenance! God does not just provide the believer with a bright future, He also shines His beams on the present pathway of the saint who will trust Him. What a precious lesson! This time they add the words “my God”. There is no regression now into sorrow and despair.3
 
  1. Those whose cry to Him is given in these psalms of Book 2 are no longer in the enjoyment of the ordinary privileges of the covenant through the apostasy of Jewish as well as the oppression of Gentile foes. Hence they are cast on the unfailing faithfulness, mercy, and goodness of God. Thereby a deepening work goes on in their souls, as they learn more of what God is intrinsically, when His outward blessings are cut off and the worst evil seems to prosper; and this most painfully to them, in the circumcised then in Jerusalem, under the man of sin seating himself as God in the temple of God, all there defiantly lawless. – Kelly, W. Notes on Psalms.
  2. From Psalm 42 to 49 is one book of the remnant’s songs. – Darby, J.N. Heads of Psalms.
  3. The reader will remark that in verse 5 it is the help of God’s countenance: in verse 11 He becomes the health of the countenance of him that trusts in Him. This making God Himself to become everything by the deprivation of all blessings, and the exercise of faith in it casting the soul entirely on God Himself, is very precious. – Darby, J.N. Synopsis of the Books of the Bible.

Psalm 43

 
Psalm 43
The Cry of Israel to Be Restored
 
Psalm 43. Although there is no title to Psalm 43, it would appear that it is a sequel to Psalm 42, and therefore also written by the sons of Korah. This is especially evident in v.5, which is identical to v.11 of Psalm 42.
 
PSALM 43
1 Judge me, O God, and plead my cause against an ungodly nation; deliver me from the deceitful and unrighteous man.
2 For thou art the God of my strength: why hast thou cast me off? why go I about mourning because of the oppression of the enemy?
3 Send out thy light and thy truth: “they” shall lead me, “they” shall bring me to thy holy mount, and unto thy habitations.
4 Then will I go unto the altar of God, unto the GOD of the gladness of my joy: yea, upon the harp will I praise thee, O God, my God.
5 Why art thou cast down, my soul? and why art thou disquieted within me? hope in God; for I shall yet praise him, who is the health of my countenance, and my God.
 
vv.1-5 The faithful cry out for deliverance from “an ungodly nation” (the Jews), and their leader “the deceitful and unrighteous man” (Antichrist). They appeal to God to judge them, on the basis of their righteousness. They ask God why He has cast them off, why He has allowed them to sink to such depths of despair. They plead with God to send out His light and truth to lead them home to their land, especially to the “holy mountain”, and into God’s habitation (the temple). In v.4 they speak of going up to the altar and praising God with joy and gladness. Again in v.5 they encourage themselves in the Lord, instructing their own souls to trust in God, looking forward to a time when they will praise Him in the temple. But although that time is not yet come, they have found God to be their God, the “health” of their countenance even in a time of great tribulation.
 

Psalm 44

 
Psalm 44
The Condition of Israel as Assessed by the Remnant
 
Psalm 44. Psalm 44 is likewise a Psalm of “the sons of Korah”, and it is “an instruction”; something that the wise will teach to the remnant of Israel in a coming day. This song prophetically gives us the prayer of the faithful remnant to God as those who are cast off by God; cast out of their land under God’s chastening hand.
 
PSALM 44
To the chief Musician. Of the sons of Korah. An instruction.
1 O God, with our ears have we heard, our fathers have told us, the work thou wroughtest in their days, in the days of old:
2 Thou, by thy hand, didst dispossess the nations, but them thou didst plant; thou didst afflict the peoples, but them didst thou cause to spread out.
3 For not by their own sword did they take possession of the land, neither did their own arm save them; but thy right hand, and thine arm, and the light of thy countenance, because thou hadst delight in them.
4 Thou thyself art my king, O God: command deliverance for Jacob.
5 Through thee will we push down our adversaries; through thy name will we tread them under that rise up against us.
6 For I will not put confidence in my bow, neither shall my sword save me.
7 For thou hast saved us from our adversaries, and hast put them to shame that hate us.
8 In God will we boast all the day, and we will praise thy name for ever. Selah.
 
vv.1-8 God’s Past and Future Deliverance of Israel. The faithful review God’s past deliverance of Israel in “the days of old” when He dispossessed the nations before Israel, made Israel to grow in the land of Canaan and be victorious over their enemies. They acknowledge it was not by Israel‘s own sword that they took possession of the land, nor through their own strength, but it was through the light of God’s countenance. It was because He had delight in them that He allowed them to possess the land. They confess God is their king, and ask Him to command deliverance for Jacob, as a king issues a royal commandment. As “in the days of old”, the remnant believe that with God’s strength they can push down their adversaries. They will not trust in their own strength or skill, but they will trust in God in whom is their boast, and they will praise His name forever.
 
9 But thou hast cast off, and put us to confusion, and dost not go forth with our armies;
10 Thou hast made us to turn back from the adversary, and they that hate us spoil for themselves;
11 Thou hast given us over like sheep appointed for meat, and hast scattered us among the nations;
12 Thou hast sold thy people for nought, and hast not increased thy wealth by their price;
13 Thou makest us a reproach to our neighbours, a mockery and a derision for them that are round about us;
14 Thou makest us a byword among the nations, a shaking of the head among the peoples.
15 All the day my confusion is before me, and the shame of my face hath covered me,
16 Because of the voice of him that reproacheth and blasphemeth; by reason of the enemy and the avenger.
 
vv.9-16 Israel’s Condition as Cast Off. The faithful now speak of their condition as “cast off” and “put to confusion” by God’s hand of governmental judgment. They can speak in mournful terms of their defeat before their adversaries, their spoiling by those who hate them, their being sold for nothing, their being a reproach and a mockery to those around them, etc. The reproach is especially painful when coming from the heathen nations looking on. Their confusion and shame is overwhelming.
 
17 All this is come upon us; yet have we not forgotten thee, neither have we dealt falsely against thy covenant:
18 Our heart is not turned back, neither have our steps declined from thy path;
19 Though thou hast crushed us in the place of jackals, and covered us with the shadow of death.
20 If we had forgotten the name of our God, and stretched out our hands to a strange GOD,
21 Would not God search this out? for he knoweth the secrets of the heart.
22 “But for thy sake are we killed all the day long; we are reckoned as sheep for slaughter.” [quoted Romans 8:36]
 
vv.17-22 The Remnant’s Faithfulness to God. In spite of all that has come upon the remnant, they have remained faithful to God. They have kept the covenant, although imperfectly. They have not turned away from God as the apostate nation did. Although they were severely crushed by God, they had not turned away from God. They have not turned to the idols either. In fact, the cause of their persecution is that they belong to God; “for thy sake are we killed all the day long”. Note that Paul quotes this verse in Romans 8:36, in giving examples of the things that may come into the life of a believer that cannot separate us from the love of Christ.
 
23 Awake, why sleepest thou, Lord? arise, cast us not off for ever.
24 Wherefore hidest thou thy face, and forgettest our affliction and our oppression?
25 For our soul is bowed down to the dust; our belly cleaveth unto the earth.
26 Rise up for our help, and redeem us for thy loving-kindness’ sake.
 
vv.23-26 Call for God to Arise for Israel’s Help. Finally, the remnant calls on God to awake as one out of sleep, to arise and deliver them. Compare v.23 with Romans 11:1. The faithful speak of their soul as “bowed down to the dust” and ask the Lord to “rise up” and “redeem” them. They do not plead now their own faithfulness, but “for thy loving-kindness’ sake”.
 

Psalm 45

 
Psalm 45
Christ as King in His Kingdom and Royal Beauty
 
Psalm 45. The inscription of Psalm 45 shows that it also is a Psalm of the “sons of Korah”, and like the previous Psalms it is “an instruction”. This Psalm is also styled “Upon Shoshannim” or “lillies”; which may refer to a melody or music to which that Psalm was set. It is also titled “a song of the Beloved”, and as the Psalm progresses, “Beloved” is “the king” and “God”, leaving no doubt that it refers to Messiah Himself! Therefore, Psalm 45 is a messianic psalm. It anticipates the King in His kingdom, but specifically with His people, restored Israel, who is pictured as a queen! It parallels the Song of Solomon very closely; “a song of loves”. Psalm 45 is the answer to the prayer of the remnant in Psalm 44. The “king” (vv.1-8) is Christ in His kingdom glory, and the “queen” (vv.9-17) is Israel in restoration, perhaps Jerusalem more specifically. The union of Christ and His earthly people (pictured as a bride) will take place at the appearing of Christ. Royal judgments precede the wedding. Compare with Revelation 19, which described the marriage of the Lamb, which precedes the appearing of Christ. The wedding on earth is a metaphor for the union of Christ and His earthly people.
 
PSALM 45
To the chief Musician. Upon Shoshannim. Of the sons of Korah. An instruction; — a song of the Beloved.
1 My heart is welling forth with a good matter: I say what I have composed touching the king. My tongue is the pen of a ready writer.
 
v.1 Overflowing hearts. The Psalmist takes the place of the faithful Jewish remnant, now that Christ has appeared and is taking the throne. All that they prayed for has been answered! Christ is here, what more could we ask? Israel’s king is so much greater than they ever could have imagined. Their hearts are not only full, they are overflowing with a good matter. The overflowing heart must give a vent to composition of poetry, and the tongue of the Psalmist is willing like “the pen ready writer”.
 
2 Thou art fairer than the sons of men; grace is poured into thy lips: therefore God hath blessed thee for ever.
 
v.2 Personal Beauty. The first thing Israel has to say about their Messiah is regarding His personal beauty; “Thou art fairer than the sons of men”. His whole being is so characterized by grace that it comes out of His speech. Grace was poured into His lips. But above all, He is one that God has blessed forever. This speaks of Christ’s moral glory.
 
3 Gird thy sword upon thy thigh, O mighty one, in thy majesty and thy splendour;
4 And in thy splendour ride prosperously, because of truth and meekness and righteousness: and thy right hand shall teach thee terrible things.
5 Thine arrows are sharp — peoples fall under thee — in the heart of the king’s enemies.
 
vv.3-5 Victory Over Enemies. To personal beauty is added majesty and the glory of a conqueror; i.e. Christ’s official glory. The faithful encourage their Messiah to take a sword and in His splendor ride through his enemies to a victorious conquest. They speak of the victory that His right hand will accomplish; i.e. terrible things. But there is a moral basis for His victory; “because of truth and meekness and righteousness”. The victory is sure, His arrows are sharp, and nations fall under Him. This is prophetic of the warrior judgments of Christ when He appears i.e. very similar to the description in Revelation 19. Notably, the revived Roman empire and the king of the north will fall under Christ at this time.
 
6 “Thy throne, O God, is for ever and ever; a sceptre of uprightness is the sceptre of thy kingdom:
7 Thou hast loved righteousness, and hated wickedness; therefore God, thy God, hath anointed thee with the oil of gladness above thy companions.” [quoted Hebrews 1:8-9]
 
vv.6-7 The Character of His Throne and Kingdom. The victory being anticipated, the faithful now muse on the character of Messiah’s throne and scepter. The throne is forever and ever. The kingdoms of men come and go, but the kingdom of Christ is an everlasting dominion (Daniel 7). The kingdoms of men are characterized by corruption, but the scepter of Christ’s kingdom is a “scepter of uprightness”. Notice that He is referred to as “O God”, denoting that He is a Divine Person! This is Christ’s Divine glory. But then in v.7 we find that He is also a man who has a God. This Psalm beautifully brings forth both the deity and the humanity of Christ. We find that God has lifted up this one Man, and anointed Him – hence the title “Messiah”, or Anointed One – to a place above His companions; i.e. the faithful Jews in association with Himself. Notice also it is “the oil of gladness”; it speaks of happiness and joy of Christ coming into that which rightfully belongs to Him. Again notice that there is a moral foundation for this anointing; it is because of the personal holiness of Christ. In fact v.7 gives us a beautiful expansion of the principle of holiness itself; to love righteousness and hate wickedness. All of this is seen beautifully in Christ, and quoted in Hebrews 1.
 
8 Myrrh and aloes, cassia, are all thy garments; out of ivory palaces stringed instruments have made thee glad.
9 Kings’ daughters are among thine honourable women; upon thy right hand doth stand the queen in gold of Ophir.
10 Hearken, daughter, and see, and incline thine ear; and forget thine own people and thy father’s house:
11 And the king will desire thy beauty; for he is thy Lord, and worship thou him.
12 And the daughter of Tyre with a gift, the rich ones among the people, shall court thy favour.
13 All glorious is the king’s daughter within; her clothing is of wrought gold:
14 She shall be brought unto the king in raiment of embroidery; the virgins behind her, her companions, shall be brought in unto thee:
15 With joy and gladness shall they be brought; they shall enter into the king’s palace.
 
vv.8-15 The Wedding. Now we have a description of the wedding of the King; that which is for His own heart. Prophetically this would speak of the public restoration of Israel to her Messiah; not the mourning of repentance, but the joy of being publicly owned as belonging to Him! First we have His garments in v.8. The last mention of Christ’s clothing was that the soldiers parted His garments among them, and cast lots for His coat. But when Christ comes forth in His royal beauty, He will be closed so majestically that it will be like incense – “myrrh and aloes, cassia” – types of His varied glories. Myrrh or frankincense is an incense that releases its aroma through being crushed, and it is a type of the glory that comes from suffering; i.e. the fruits of redemption. Aloes is a healing agent, and cassia is a cleansing agent. Even His palace is of the richest ivory, and He is surrounded by beautiful music! We find that there are honorable women at this wedding, perhaps representing various nations who turn to Jehovah, or else prominent cities in Israel. Most notably at the right hand of the king stands the queen herself. The queen is a type of Jerusalem, the capital of restored Israel as the earthly bride of Christ. The faithful remnant is admonished in vv.10-11 to behold this sight and “forget thine own people and thy father’s house”; i.e. to forget themselves, and previous associations, and focus on the Lord. In this state, the king will desire her beauty (v.11). In v.12 we have the wedding guests; other nations who rejoice to see Israel’s blessing. In v.13 we find that the queen, who herself is “the king’s daughter”,1 is glorious within and without; gold being a picture of divine righteousness. The companions of the bride, the “virgins” represent the cities of Judah surrounding Jerusalem.2 The atmosphere of this wonderful union will be “joy and gladness”.
 
16 Instead of thy fathers shall be thy sons; princes shalt thou make them in all the earth.
17 I will make thy name to be remembered throughout all generations; therefore shall the peoples praise thee for ever and ever.
 
vv.16-17 Christ the Glory of His People Israel. In conclusion, we find that Israel’s glory will no longer be her fathers; i.e. Moses, Abraham, etc. No one will look back on history and say, “Those were the days”, or “If only we could have the days of Joshua, etc.” Christ Himself will be the glory of Israel, and so great will be that day that the children born to the queen (Israel) are greater than the most celebrated ancestors! Old associations are forgotten, completely eclipsed by the coming of Messiah, whose name will be “remembered throughout all generations”, and whom all nations will praise “for ever and ever”.34
 
  1. Thus, she is both daughter and bride at the same time. For she has been born again by His sovereign grace and power, and is Thus, His daughter; but she has also been betrothed to Him as his bride (the earthly bride). – Grant, L.M. Psalms.
  2. The virgins her companions are, I suppose, the cities of Judah. – Darby, J.N. Synopsis of the Books of the Bible.
  3. So, as to blessing, instead of fathers she shall have children. This “generation” will also be attributed to Christ (Psa. 22:31). Association with Christ breaks off previous associations which nature has had, and forms wholly new ones. This is, of course and evidently, a principle which is of an absolute and decisive character. – Darby, J.N. Practical Reflections on the Psalms.
  4. Instead of fathers, they have children to be made princes in all lands. The coming in of Messiah in glory and judgment, brings in the full triumph and glory, amongst the nations, of Jerusalem and the Jewish people. – Darby, J.N. Synopsis of the Books of the Bible.

Psalm 46

 
Psalm 46
The God of Jacob as Israel’s Fortress
 
Psalm 46. The inscription indicates that this is a psalm composed by “the sons of Korah”. It was written to the tune of “Alamoth”, meaning “concerning maidens or virgins”. This Psalm is an answer to the taunts of the enemy in Psa. 42:3; “Where is thy God?” Prophetically, this Psalm is placed after the appearing of Christ (Psa. 45), yet there are still enemies abroad. Perhaps these enemies would be those of invasion of Gog and Magog, who come down against Israel at 1335 days from the middle of the week.
 
PSALM 46
To the chief Musician. Of the sons of Korah. On Alamoth. A song.
1 God is our refuge and strength, a help in distresses, very readily found.
2 Therefore will we not fear though the earth be removed, and though the mountains be carried into the heart of the seas;
3 Though the waters thereof roar and foam, though the mountains shake with the swelling thereof. Selah.
  
vv.1-3 Israel’s Refuge and Strength. Now that Messiah has appeared and is among His people, the remnant feel that God is there to protect them. There is nothing to be afraid of when God is your refuge and strength! No matter what the turmoil, no matter how great the upheaval in the world (pictured by the earth being removed, the mountains cast into the sea, the sea itself being whipped up into a storm, and the mountain shaking) with God on their side there is nothing to fear. The figures used may very well refer to the gathering masses against Israel under the confederacy of God and Magog.
 
4 There is a river the streams whereof make glad the city of God, the sanctuary of the habitations of the Most High.
5 God is in the midst of her; she shall not be moved: God shall help her at the dawn of the morning.
6 The nations raged, the kingdoms were moved; he uttered his voice, the earth melted.
7 Jehovah of hosts is with us; the God of Jacob is our high fortress. Selah.
 
vv.4-7 God in the Midst of Jerusalem. A river in scripture speaks of a source of refreshment, and we find in Ezekiel 47 that Christ Himself is the source of the river that flows out of the city, which is called here “the city of God”. We find that God is now dwelling in Jerusalem, in the Person of the Messiah. When the attack comes, “God shall help her”. The victory of Jehovah of God over the enemies of Israel is accomplished by the utterance of His voice. Israel’s joy is that “Jehovah of Hosts” (Jehovah Sabaoth), the One who commands all the armies of heaven, is with them; and God is a high fortress of protection to them.
 
8 Come, behold the works of Jehovah, what desolations he hath made in the earth:
9 He hath made wars to cease unto the end of the earth; he breaketh the bow, and cutteth the spear in sunder; he burneth the chariots in the fire.
 
vv.8-9 The Power of Enemies Broken. Israel calls on the nations to behold the works of Jehovah, and see the devastation that He has done to the confederacies of men on the earth. He has crushed the power of His enemies, breaking the bow, cutting the spears, and burning the chariots. This is a battle the Lord undertakes Himself. He will remove war from the earth.
  
10 Be still, and know that I am God: I will be exalted among the nations, I will be exalted in the earth.
 
v.10 God Works His Own Victory. Now God Himself speaks to Israel. He asks them to “Be still, and know that I am God”. His victory is all His own work. Israel will have no part in the victory against the second attack of the Assyrian. It is something that God will do for His own self, that He might be exalted among the nations and in all the earth. “And Moses said unto the people, Fear ye not, stand still, and see the salvation of the LORD, which he will shew to you to day: for the Egyptians whom ye have seen to day, ye shall see them again no more for ever” (Ex. 14:13). The great point of this is that blessing will come through the activity of God working for His own glory, rather than the efforts of man.
  
11 Jehovah of hosts is with us; the God of Jacob is our high fortress. Selah.
 
v.11 The Presence of God. Israel’s joy is that the Lord is among them, and that God is their high fortress. This is the encouragement of the remnant.
 
Be still, my soul! for God will undertake
to guide the future surely as the past.
Your hope, your confidence, let nothing shake;
all now mysterious shall be clear at last.
Be still, my soul! the waves and winds still know
the voice that calmed their fury long ago.1
 
  1. Kathrina von Schlegel. Be still, my soul. 1855

Psalm 47

 
Psalm 47
Israel Calls On the Nations to Praise God
 
Psalm 47. This Psalm, also of the sons of Korah, gives us the invitation of restored Israel to the nations to praise God. This introduces us to the Millennium formally, as the Millennial name of God is used; “the Most High”.
 
PSALM 47
To the chief Musician. Of the sons of Korah. A Psalm.
1 All ye peoples, clap your hands; shout unto God with the voice of triumph!
2 For Jehovah, the Most High, is terrible, a great king over all the earth.
3 He subdueth the peoples under us, and the nations under our feet.
4 He hath chosen our inheritance for us, the excellency of Jacob whom he loved. Selah.
 
vv.1-4 Praise for God’s Deliverance of Israel. All the peoples of the earth are called upon to clap their hands and shout to God in praise. As already mentioned, the millennial name of God is used here; “the Most High God”, or “El-Elyon”. God is said to be a “great king over all the earth”. It speaks of the universal dominion of God through the reign of Christ. Praise is given for God’s deliverance of Israel; “He subdueth the peoples under us, and the nations under our feet”. Israel will be given their rightful place at the head of all nations according to prophecy (Deut. 28:13). Israel also will be established in their land, their inheritance. All of this is according to God’s love for Jacob.
 
5 God is gone up amid shouting, Jehovah amid the sound of the trumpet.
6 Sing psalms of God, sing psalms; sing psalms unto our King, sing psalms!
7 For God is the King of all the earth; sing psalms with understanding.
8 God reigneth over the nations; God sitteth upon the throne of his holiness.
9 The willing-hearted of the peoples have gathered together, with the people of the God of Abraham. For unto God belong the shields of the earth: he is greatly exalted. 
 
vv.5-9 Praise for God’s Exaltation Over All the Earth. The praise continues with a deeper theme. It is not so much God’s deliverance of Israel that is the theme now, but His own exaltation among the nations. God is proclaimed as “king”, and not only king but “king of all the earth”. God is pictured as reigning over the nations, and sitting up on His holy throne. In v.9 we find that “the willing-hearted of the peoples”, which would be the believers among the Gentiles who are converted, are gathered together along with believing Israel, “the people of the God of Abraham”, to praise God together. The theme of this praise is the exaltation of God in the Millennium!
 

Psalm 48

 
Psalm 48
The Glory of Jerusalem as the City of God
 
Psalm 48. As with the others in this series (Psa. 42 – 49), this is a Psalm of the sons of Korah. The Psalm speaks of the blessedness of Jerusalem in the Millennium, as the city of God. Other passages that speak of Jerusalem’s glory in the Millennium would be Isa. 2, Isa. 60, Micah 4, Micah 5, Zech. 14.
 
PSALM 48
A Song; a Psalm. Of the sons of Korah.
1 Great is Jehovah, and greatly to be praised in the city of our God, in the hill of his holiness.
  
v.1 Jehovah Praised in the City. The theme of the restored and rebuilt city of Jerusalem is the praise of Jehovah. Spiritually, it is called “the hill of his holiness” after the restoration has been complete. Compare with its earlier state; “the great city, which spiritually is called Sodom and Egypt, where also our Lord was crucified” (Rev. 11:8).
 
2 Beautiful in elevation, the joy of the whole earth, is mount Zion, on the sides of the north, the city of the great King.
3 God is known in her palaces as a high fortress.
4 For behold, the kings assembled themselves, they passed by together;
5 They saw, — so they marvelled; they were troubled, they fled in consternation:
6 Trembling took hold upon them there; anguish, as of a woman in travail.
7 With an east wind thou hast broken the ships of Tarshish.
 
vv.2-7 Zion’s Public Reputation. Jerusalem is called “the city of the great King”, the King being God Himself, who dwells within the city, making it a “high fortress”. In v.4 we find that the kings of the earth assembled themselves in confederacies, and came against Jerusalem. But seeing the city with Messiah in it, the sight brought on great fear and anguish. These enemies were not only confronted by the power of man, but by the mighty power of God. This power is so great that it could destroy a great navy as in a storm. It is interesting that the Beast is said to have a navy (Isa. 18:2; Num. 24:24), and also the king of the north (Dan. 11:40). Perhaps this navy refers to the former.1
 
8 As we have heard, so have we seen, in the city of Jehovah of hosts, in the city of our God: God doth establish it for ever. Selah.
9 We have thought, O God, of thy loving-kindness, in the midst of thy temple.
10 According to thy name, O God, so is thy praise unto the ends of the earth: thy right hand is full of righteousness.
 
vv.8-10 The Character of God Known in the City and Temple. For the faithful, those who come up to Jerusalem to worship God will find it every bit as wonderful as they had heard; “As we have heard, so have we seen”. This is a reference to Psalm 44, when Israel is outside the land, they said “We have heard with our ears, O God, our fathers have told us, what work thou didst in their days, in the times of old” (Psa. 44:1). But now they see it with their own eyes! It is called “the city of Jehovah of hosts”, “the city of our God”. Jerusalem has been trodden down and destroyed many times, but this time “God doth establish it for ever”. In the temple, the thoughts of God’s character come before His people; i.e. His loving kindness in delivering Israel. Before they thought of Him from outside the land (Psa. 42:6), but now they are in His habitation! From there, praise to God goes forth “unto the ends of the earth”. Not only His loving-kindness but His righteousness is praised!
 
11 Let mount Zion rejoice, let the daughters of Judah be glad, because of thy judgments.
12 Walk about Zion, and go round about her: count the towers thereof;
13 Mark ye well her bulwarks, consider her palaces: that ye may tell it to the generation following.
14 For this God is our God for ever and ever; he will be our guide until death. 
 
vv.11-14 The Joy of the Inhabitants of Zion. The restored people of Israel are encouraged to walk around Zion, surveying her architecture, rejoicing because of what God has done for her. No longer in ruins, Zion will be rebuilt into a glorious city. They will consider the magnificence of the city; the towers, the bulwarks, and the palaces of that city will be wonderful. There is an instruction here to tell it to the generation following. As the Millennium rolls on, there will be a generation born that has not seen the great deliverance of God, and they will need to be told. In v.14, Israel’s devotion to God in the Millennium is expressed; “this God is our God for ever and ever; he will be our guide until death”.
 
  1. It is the destruction or disappointment of the antichristian confederacy, and enjoyment by the believing remnant of their former but renewed mercies. – Darby, J.N. Heads of Psalms.

Psalm 49

 
Psalm 49
The Moral Conclusions of the Faithful
 
Psalm 49. This Psalm is another of the sons of Korah, and concludes the series of Psa. 42-48 as a moral conclusion.1 When we speak of the purpose of prophecy, we often think of the moral import of prophecy. This Psalm is a good example of the moral conclusion of prophecy in the hearts and conscience of the faithful. This Psalm may be a sample of what restored Israel will teach the nations who come up to Jerusalem in the Millennium (Isa. 2:1-2).
 
PSALM 49
To the chief Musician. Of the sons of Korah. A Psalm.
1 Hear this, all ye peoples; give ear, all inhabitants of the world:
2 Both men of low and men of high degree, rich and poor alike.
3 My mouth shall speak wisdom, and the meditation of my heart shall be of understanding:
4 I will incline mine ear to a parable, I will open my riddle upon the harp.
 
vv.1-4 The Call to Hear. The faithful call to all the peoples of the earth to hear these moral conclusions. The audience is universal; everyone needs to hear this.
 
5 Wherefore should I fear in the days of adversity, when the iniquity of my supplanters encompasseth me? —
6 They depend upon their wealth, and boast themselves in the abundance of their riches. …
7 None can by any means redeem his brother, nor give to God a ransom for him,
8 (For the redemption of their soul is costly, and must be given up for ever,)
9 That he should still live perpetually, and not see corruption.
10 For he seeth that wise men die; all alike, the fool and the brutish perish, and they leave their wealth to others.
11 Their inward thought is, that their houses are for ever, their dwelling-places from generation to generation: they call the lands after their own names.
12 Nevertheless, man being in honour abideth not: he is like the beasts that perish.
13 This their way is their folly, yet they that come after them delight in their sayings. Selah.
14 Like sheep are they laid in Sheol: Death feedeth on them; and the upright shall have dominion over them in the morning; and their comeliness shall be for Sheol to consume, that there be no habitation for them.
15 But God will redeem my soul from the power of Sheol: for he will receive me. Selah.
16 Be not afraid when a man becometh rich, when the glory of his house is increased:
17 For when he dieth, he shall carry nothing away; his glory shall not descend after him.
18 Though he blessed his soul in his lifetime, — and men will praise thee when thou doest well to thyself, —
19 It shall go to the generation of his fathers: they shall never see light.
20 Man that is in honour, and understandeth not, is like the beasts that perish.
 
vv.5-20 The Instruction. The great lesson is that all of man’s wisdom, wealth, and strength is vanity, and will come to nothing. There is nothing blessed or enduring apart from Christ! No amount of money can ransom a soul from death (vv.6-9). Man, for all his wealth, wisdom, and planning is like a beast that perishes (vv.10-13). All that man possesses, strength and natural beauty, is nothing by food for death to feed on (v.14). Only God’s redeeming power can deliver a soul from this unavoidable end (v.15)! Men can grow rich in this life, but they must leave it all behind (vv.16-19). Apart from the understanding of God, nothing separates man from the beasts that perish (v.20). This is the solemn picture that prophecy paints, and which the sober ones will observe and profit from.
 
  1. Psalm 49 is a moral conclusion for all, founded on these judgments of God. Wealth, elevation, all that is exalted in man, is nothing. – Darby, J.N. Synopsis of the Books of the Bible.

Psalm 50

 
Psalm 50
Israel Summoned to be Judged
 
Psalm 50. The preceding Psalms were written by the sons of Korah, but now we get a Psalm of Asaph. Asaph was a singer and leader of the temple choir in the time of David, along with Heman and Ethan (1 Chron. 15:19), and he was also a prophet or “seer” (2 Chron. 29:30). Asaph the son of Berechiah was a descendant of Levi through Gershom. His ancestors were also singers in the times of Ezra and Nehemiah (Ezra 2:41; 3:10; Neh. 7:44). Asaph wrote at least twelve Psalms (Psa. 50; 73–83). As with the change of writer, so we have a change of topic. This Psalm and the one that follow are like a section all on their own, dealing with the issue of Israel’s sin and repentance. In Psalm 50 we have God summoning Israel before Him to be judged. 
 
PSALM 50
A Psalm. Of Asaph.
1 GOD, Elohim-Jehovah, hath spoken, and called the earth from the rising of the sun unto the going down thereof.
2 Out of Zion, the perfection of beauty, God hath shined forth.
 
vv.1-2 The Majesty of God. God speaks in is majesty out of Zion; addressing the whole earth “from the rising of the sun unto the going down thereof”. God is seen as shining out of Zion, the “perfection of beauty” being a wonderful description of God’s majesty. The unique combination of the historical names of God is given; Elohim-Jehovah. In vv.1-2 we have the theme of the Psalm, and vv.3-23 gives us how this will be accomplished.
 
3 Our God will come, and will not keep silence: fire shall devour before him, and it shall be very tempestuous round about him.
4 He will call to the heavens from above, and to the earth, that he may judge his people:
5 Gather unto me my godly ones, [‘chasidim’, or holy ones] those that have made a covenant with me by sacrifice!
6 And the heavens shall declare his righteousness; for God executeth judgment himself. Selah.
 
vv.3-6 Israel Summoned before God. All of Israel is summoned before God, whose judgment is pictured as a devouring fire, and as a raging tempest. God will judge His people Israel, but He will privately draw out the “holy ones”, i.e. the faithful remnant, from among them, who have made a covenant with God by sacrifice. This refers to those of Israel who have laid hold of the sacrifice of Christ, when they look upon Him whom they have pierced (Zech. 12:10). Morally, this is true across all dispensations. The only thing that separates the saints from the wicked is the sacrifice of Christ. God Himself will execute judgment on the wicked of Israel. Thus the wicked are purged from among the godly (Ezek. 20:34-38). Nevertheless, the Lord is not calling the saints together to rejoice at this time. Rather, it is a solemn admonition that they need to hear, although for their blessing.
  
7 Hear, my people, and I will speak; O Israel, and I will testify unto thee: I am God, thy God.
8 I will not reprove thee for thy sacrifices, or thy burnt-offerings, continually before me;
9 I will take no bullock out of thy house, nor he-goats out of thy folds:
10 For every beast of the forest is mine, the cattle upon a thousand hills;
11 I know all the fowl of the mountains, and the roaming creatures of the field are mine:
12 If I were hungry, I would not tell thee; for the world is mine, and the fulness thereof.
13 Should I eat the flesh of bulls, and drink the blood of goats?
14 Offer unto God thanksgiving [or, ‘confession’], and “perform thy vows unto the Most High;” [quoted Matt. 5;33]
15 And call upon me in the day of trouble; I will deliver thee, and thou shalt glorify me.
 
vv.7-15 The Heart of the Matter. God tells Israel that He is “thy God” (‘Ammi’), the reversing of the sentence in Hosea 1:9; “Then said God, Call his name Loammi: for ye are not my people, and I will not be your God”. God speaks to Israel and tells them the heart of the matter, the issue that He has with them. They had a mistaken idea about God, drawn from their Old Testament sacrifices and burnt offerings. They thought that He was like them; hungry for food, therefore they must offer their animals to Him. But God is not a mere man; every beast of the forest belongs to Him, “the cattle upon a thousand hills” are His. If God were hungry, He would not turn to man to fill that need, rather He would take it for Himself. The world belongs to God, and its fullness is His. In v.13 it is a rhetorical question; “Should I eat the flesh of bulls, and drink the blood of goats?” What God is hungry for, so to speak, is a sacrifice of thanksgiving and the paying of vows to the Most High God (“El-Elyon”, a Millennial name). Some translations render that “sacrifice to God confession”. The confession is what follows in Psalm 51! Then Israel can turn to God as a deliverer in the day of trouble (v.15).
 
16 But unto the wicked God saith, What hast thou to do to declare my statutes, or that thou shouldest take my covenant into thy mouth,
17 Seeing thou hast hated correction and hast cast my words behind thee?
18 When thou sawest a thief, thou didst take pleasure in him, and thy portion was with adulterers;
19 Thou lettest thy mouth loose to evil, and “thy tongue frameth deceit;” [quoted Rom. 3:13]
20 Thou sittest and speakest against thy brother, thou revilest thine own mother’s son:
21 These things hast thou done, and I kept silence; thou thoughtest that I was altogether as thyself: but I will reprove thee, and set them in order before thine eyes.
 
vv.7-21 The Heart of the Wicked. God now addresses the wicked. He states that they have no part in connection with His statutes and His covenant. The reason is that they hate correction and they despise His word. In vv.18-20, God exposes the heart of the wicked that it is fully turned against God and toward evil. Whether it be theft, adultery, evil speaking, deceit, slander, or railing, this is the intent of the heart of the wicked. The wicked also misjudged God, considering that God was like themselves, because He kept silence at first. But now God speaks, and He reproves the wicked, and sets right this misunderstanding before their eyes.
 
22 Now consider this, ye that forget +God, lest I tear in pieces, and there be no deliverer.
23 Whoso offereth praise glorifieth me; and to him that ordereth his way will I shew the salvation of God.
 
vv.22-23 Conclusion. In conclusion we have a word first to the wicked and then to the righteous. Those who forget God will be torn in pieces, and there will be no one to save them. But those who prays offer praise (acceptable sacrifice), and follow the word of God, will be shown the salvation of God.
 

Psalm 51

 
Psalm 51
A Confession of Sin and Blood-guiltiness
 
Psalm 51. This Psalm is an answer to Psalm 50:14; “sacrifice to God confession”. The confession is what we have in Psalm 51. This is the last of the penitential psalms, which contain the confession of sins (Psalms 25; 32; 38; 41; 51). There is a progression in the penitential Psalm in which the confession grows deeper, culminating here in Psalm 51, where the remnant has “a broken and a contrite heart”. The inscription indicates that this is a Psalm of David, and it was written by the king “when Nathan the prophet came to him, after he had gone in to Bath-sheba”. Such were the circumstances in David’s life (2 Sam. 11) that were used providentially by God as the backdrop for this important and instructive Psalm! Prophetically, this Psalm gives the expressions of the sorrowful remnant of the Jews who will mourn in repentance in connection with Israel’s sin of blood-guiltiness; i.e. crucifying their Messiah. This Psalm correlates with Zech. 12:10; “And I will pour upon the house of David, and upon the inhabitants of Jerusalem, the spirit of grace and of supplications: and they shall look upon me whom they have pierced, and they shall mourn for him, as one mourneth for his only son, and shall be in bitterness for him, as one that is in bitterness for his firstborn”.
 
PSALM 51
To the chief Musician. A Psalm of David; when Nathan the prophet came to him, after he had gone in to Bath-sheba.
1 Be gracious unto me, O God, according to thy loving-kindness; according to the abundance of thy tender mercies, blot out my transgressions.
2 Wash me fully from mine iniquity, and cleanse me from my sin.
3 For I acknowledge my transgressions, and my sin is continually before me.
4 Against thee, thee only, have I sinned, and done what is evil in thy sight; “that thou mayest be justified when thou speakest, be clear when thou judgest.” [quoted Romans 3:4]
5 Behold, in iniquity was I brought forth, and in sin did my mother conceive me.
6 Behold, thou wilt have truth in the inward parts; and in the hidden part thou wilt make me to know wisdom.
 
vv.1-6 Deep Confession. These verses give us a beautiful example of true confession. In vv.1-2, David cries out for God to show him grace, love, kindness, and mercy. This is the goodness of God leading him to repentance (Rom. 2:4). He asks God to blot out his transgressions, to wash away his iniquity, and cleanse his sin. In v.3 there is the unswerving acknowledgement of his transgression. It was not a light thing, not easy to dismiss; “my sin is continually before me”. David had sinned against Bathsheba, he had sinned against Uriah, he had sinned against his own family, and even against his own body. But most important, and in this sense the only offense that truly mattered, was that which was against God; “Against thee, thee only, have I sinned, and done what is evil in thy sight”. We must evaluate our sin, not in the light of what our fellow man thinks of it, but in the light of how God sees it. We must understand that we have sinned against Him! The last part of v.4 is quoted by the apostle Paul in Romans 3 in connection with those who would reply against God, and object that if the gospel is true (Gentiles can be saved), then God is unfaithful to His Old Testament promises to Israel. Rather than give a detailed response, Paul quoted v.4 to state the great point that we all must acknowledge when dealing with God; that God is correct (or true) and every man is wrong. David had to learn the hard way that God keeps His word. David’s sin only confirmed the truthfulness of God’s Word concerning His judgment of sin. The great point is this, that the repentant soul does not make excuses for himself, but justifies God and all that He does. In v.5 the confession goes even deeper, and David acknowledges his sinful condition from the moment of conception. Man is conceived in sin, born in sin, and so he is a sinner down to the very core. We must confess that our sin is not an isolated incident, but rather the fruit of a corrupt root. Finally, in v.6 he acknowledges God’s claims. God’s standard for man was to have “truth on the inward parts”. This speaks of consistency in the life, not only in what man can see, but also in the parts that are hidden. God wants us to be 100% transparent with Him, not living a double life.
 
7 Purge me with hyssop, and I shall be clean; wash me, and I shall be whiter than snow.
8 Make me to hear gladness and joy; that the bones which thou hast broken may rejoice.
9 Hide thy face from my sins, and blot out all mine iniquities.
10 Create in me a clean heart, O God, and renew a steadfast spirit within me.
11 Cast me not away from thy presence, and take not the spirit of thy holiness from me.
12 Restore unto me the joy of thy salvation, and let a willing spirit sustain me.
13 I will teach transgressors thy ways, and sinners shall return unto thee.
 
vv.7-13 Desire for Restoration. The confession is followed by a desire for restoration. In v.7 David asks God to purge him. In the Old Testament, hyssop was used for applying blood to a person to be cleansed. David knows he cannot purge himself, but if God were to do it, David would truly be clean; actually “whiter than snow”. He longed to hear gladness and joy, to be at that place where the restored believer is. He desired to have his iniquities blotted out and a clean heart created within him. This is what happens when the work of repentance is deep; God can begin the work of restoration. David could not create in himself a clean heart; that was God’s work. But in v.11 he desired above all to remain in God’s presence. The spirit of holiness is a sense of God’s presence through the company of the Holy Spirit. The Spirit did not indwell believers in the Old Testament, but nevertheless the Spirit is the power by which God works at all times, and the channel of His communion with man. David lost the joy of his salvation, but God was able to restore it. Another evidence of this work of restoration would be the David himself would become a restorer of others (v.13)! We see this with Peter in Acts 3:14.
 
14 Deliver me from blood-guiltiness, O God, thou God of my salvation: my tongue shall sing aloud of thy righteousness.
15 Lord, open my lips, and my mouth shall declare thy praise.
16 For thou desirest not sacrifice; else would I give it: thou hast no pleasure in burnt-offering.
17 The sacrifices of God are a broken spirit: a broken and a contrite heart, O God, thou wilt not despise.
18 Do good in thy good pleasure unto Zion; build the walls of Jerusalem.
19 Then shalt thou have sacrifices of righteousness, burnt-offering, and whole burnt-offering; then shall they offer up bullocks upon thine altar.
 
vv.14-19 The Claims of God Owned. David owned the claims of God over him. He acknowledged his blood-guiltiness in connection with the death of Uriah, and perhaps even in connection with all of the sadness that would result from the murder, as Nathan had warned him. This prophetic of the repentance of Israel for the guilt of crucifying their Messiah. David longed to give God what God really desired; the praise that the Lord was worthy of. In vv.16-17, David owns the claims of God on him. God did not want sacrifices from David, or David would have given them. The true sacrifices of God are “a broken spirit: a broken and a contrite heart”. Fundamentally, this is what God is looking for, and those who are truly repentant will acknowledge that. In vv.18-19 the results of restoration are expressed; God’s pleasure would turn again towards Zion, the walls of Jerusalem would be rebuilt. Clearly, this is prophetic of the confession, repentance, and restoration of the faithful remnant. Once that work is underway in their souls, then Christ will build again the walls of Jerusalem and set up His kingdom. In v.19, the sacrifices will be resumed. These are not sacrifices in hypocrisy and deceit, nor on a legal ground to obtain acceptance, but sacrifices of joy, thankfulness, and in commemoration of the one true sacrifice of Christ (Ezek. 43, 45). The praise rises higher here than anywhere else; “sacrifices… burnt-offering… whole burnt-offering… bullocks”. Repentance frees the spirit to worship!
 

Psalm 52

 
Psalm 52
The Trust of the Wicked and the Righteous
 
Psalm 52. From the issue of Israel’s repentance, we now transition back into the circumstances of the great tribulation, in which the remnant are persecuted. This Psalm begins a series that concludes with Israel’s victory in Psalm 60, after which there is another transition back into the persecution. This is a Psalm of David, and the occasion was “when Doeg the Edomite came and told Saul, and said unto him, David came to the house of Ahimelech”. These events took place in 1 Sam. 22:6-23. When David was told what Doeg had done, he was distraught at the treachery of this wicked Edomite in the land, as well as the spite and cruelty of Saul! Prophetically, these enemies of David are a type of Antichrist, the lawless one, who will persecute and (in some cases) kill the faithful Jewish Remnant during the great tribulation.
 
PSALM 52
To the chief Musician: an instruction. Of David; when Doeg the Edomite came and told Saul, and said unto him, David came to the house of Ahimelech.
1 Why boastest thou thyself in evil, thou mighty man? The loving-kindness of GOD abideth continually.
2 Thy tongue deviseth mischievous things, like a sharp razor, practising deceit.
3 Thou hast loved evil rather than good, lying rather than to speak righteousness. Selah.
4 Thou hast loved all devouring words, O deceitful tongue!
 
vv.1-4 The Boastful Wicked. The remnant exclaim about the treacherous character of the wicked, called here “the mighty man”. Prophetically, this speaks of the Antichrist, who will exalt himself against God and against God’s people. Nevertheless, the loving-kindness of God abides continually, and this is a witness that the career of the wicked cannot continue forever. Special emphasis is put on the lying and deceptive tongue of Antichrist. This is corroborated by Paul in 2 Thess. 2, where he speaks about a “strong delusion”. Historically, Doeg didn’t tell Saul a lie, he actually told Saul the truth; that David had been there. But Doeg lied to David by his actions.
 
5 GOD shall likewise destroy thee for ever; he shall take thee away, and pluck thee out of thy tent, and root thee out of the land of the living. Selah.
6 The righteous also shall see, and fear, and shall laugh at him, saying,
7 Behold the man that made not God his strength, but put confidence in the abundance of his riches, and strengthened himself in his avarice.
 
vv.5-7 The End of the Wicked. The result of Doeg’s actions, in conjunction with the selfish spite of Saul, resulted in the death of eighty-five priests. The remnant are confident that God will destroy the wicked forever, rooting them out of the land of the living. Christ will do this with Antichrist when He appears (2 Thess. 2:8; Rev. 19:20). The righteous will stand by and see the downfall of the wicked, and remark that this is the fitting end of a man who, rather than make God his strength, puts confidence in the abundance of his riches.
 
8 But as for me, I am like a green olive-tree in the house of God: I will confide in the loving-kindness of God for ever and ever.
9 I will praise thee for ever, because thou hast done it; and I will wait on thy name, before thy godly ones [‘chasidim’, or holy ones], for it is good.
 
vv.8-9 The Confidence of the Remnant. In contrast to the confidence of the wicked in their riches, the remnant are confident in the loving-kindness of God. This is the character of God, and therefore it is “for ever and ever”. Like a green olive tree (life and health) in the house of God, the righteous will abide while the wicked are judged. They look forward to the time when they will praise the Lord because He has accomplished righteous judgment. But for now, they wait on His name, dwelling in company with the “holy ones”, the saints of God, for “it is good”.
 

Psalm 53

 
Psalm 53
The Wicked Surrounding the Remnant
 
Psalm 53. The inscription indicates that this is a psalm of David. It was written to the tune of “Mahalath”, meaning “sickness”. This psalm describes the diseased state of the nation of Israel, and the remnant’s acknowledgement of it before God. See also Psalm 88. Psalm 53 is very similar in wording to Psa. 14, the main difference being that Psalm 14 is Jehovahistic, and Psalm 53 is Elohistic, in keeping with the character of the second book. The enemies in Psalm 14 are the ungodly Jews, and in Psalm 53 the ungodly Gentiles.1
 
PSALM 53
To the chief Musician. On Mahalath: an instruction. Of David.
1 The fool hath said in his heart, There is no God! They have corrupted themselves, and have done abominable iniquity: there is none that doeth good.
 
v.1 The Atheistic Character of the Wicked. These verses bring out the character of the wicked as “the fool”. In v.1a we find that the wicked live without reference to God; “The fool hath said in his heart, There is no God.” While this is prophetic of the circumstances in the world in the future, morally this is true of men even today who live without reference to God. The apostasy that will be full blown in a future day has already begun. In v.1b we find the results of living without reference to God; “They have corrupted themselves, they have done abominable iniquity: there is none that doeth good”. Man cannot have morals without reference to God.
 
2 God looked down from the heavens upon the children of men, to see if there were any that did understand, that did seek God.
3 “Every one of them is gone back, they are together become corrupt: there is none that doeth good, not even one.” [quoted Rom. 3:11-12]
 
vv.2-3 The Condition of Man Without Reference to God. As in Gen. 6:5 and 11:5, again “God looked down from the heavens upon the children of men”. He looked to see if there were “any that did understand, that did seek God”. The conclusion? “Every one of them is gone back, they are together become corrupt, etc.” The apostle Paul quotes this in Romans 3 to establish the lost condition of man, but especially of the Jews, but also the Gentiles. Perhaps this is why the same verse is found in Psalm 14 (Jews) and Psalm 53 (Gentiles).
 
4 Have the workers of iniquity no knowledge, eating up my people as they eat bread? they call not upon God.
5 There were they in great fear, where no fear was; for God scattereth the bones of him that encampeth against thee. Thou hast put them to shame, for God hath despised them.
 
vv.4-5 The Error of the Wicked. The “workers of iniquity” really are insensible to God and His claims. This leads them to abuse and consume (“eat”) the Lord’s people; i.e. the faithful Jews. They “call not upon God” because they have abandoned true worship and instead worship the beast. But though they say “there is no God”, the wicked are still in “great fear” when persecuting the faithful, because “God scattereth the bones of him that encampeth against thee”. The psalmist remarks on the irony of the fear that that wicked experience, who had no fear of God, yet they come to fear Him when He judges.
 
6 Oh that the salvation of Israel were come out of Zion! When God turneth again the captivity of his people, Jacob shall be glad, Israel shall rejoice. 
 
v.6 The hope of the remnant. The remnant is looking forward to “the salvation of Israel” – a reference to the Messiah Himself – to come out of Zion (Zech. 14:3; Amos 3:16). When the Lord appears, then the restoration of Israel will occur; not just of the two tribes, but also the ten tribes. The expression “turneth again the captivity” refers to a full return of Israel, not the partial return under Zerubbabel, nor that under Nehemiah, but that of the future, under Messiah. When their proper national hopes are realized, “Jacob shall be glad, Israel shall rejoice”. When the Lord roars out of Zion, He will already have restored His people. He comes to Zion to restore them, and He will come out of Zion to judge His enemies at the winepress judgment!
 
  1. I do not think Psalms 14 and 53 are the same thing. Psalm 14 is the blessing of the faithful Jews by Jehovah in spite of the ungodly. Psalm 53, the destruction of the ungodly Gentiles also by God. – Darby, J.N. Heads of Psalms.

Psalm 54

 
Psalm 54
A Call for Deliverance According to God’s Name
 
Psalm 54. This is a Psalm of David, written on the occasion “when the Ziphites came, and said to Saul, Is not David hiding himself with us?” (see 1 Sam. 26:1). This was an occasion of betrayal experienced by David, not by an infiltrator like Doeg (Psa. 53), nor by a friend like Ahithophel (Psa. 55), but by a group of “strangers” (v.3); the Ziphites! How sad, that even strangers in without a personal motive would rise up against him. But there is also “the violent”, which would refer to Saul and his henchmen. This is prophetic of the Jewish remnant who will be persecuted by the Gentile nations under the beast in the great tribulation, and also by the apostate Jews under the leadership of Antichrist. Just as David was hunted in the wilderness of Ziph, so the remnant will be hunted as well.
 
PSALM 54
To the chief Musician. On stringed instruments: an instruction. Of David; when the Ziphites came, and said to Saul, Is not David hiding himself with us?
1 O God, by thy name save me, and by thy strength do me justice.
2 O God, hear my prayer; give ear to the words of my mouth.
3 For strangers are risen up against me, and the violent seek after my life: they have not set God before them. Selah.
 
vv.1-3 A Cry for Salvation. The cry for salvation is “by thy name, O God”. The name of God implies His character; the value attached to the name. There is a double character of persecution here: (1) the “strangers” would be Gentiles from without, and (2) “the violent” would be the Jewish antagonists.1 The root in each case is the same; “they have not set God before them”.
 
4 Behold, God is my helper; the Lord is among them that uphold my soul.
5 He will requite evil to mine enemies: in thy truth cut them off.
6 I will freely sacrifice unto thee; I will praise thy name, O Jehovah, because it is good.
7 For he hath delivered me out of all trouble; and mine eye hath seen its desire upon mine enemies.
 
vv.4-7 Confidence in God for Deliverance. The faithful anticipate their deliverance. Even before it takes place, they know their soul is being upheld by the Lord. God will cut off the enemies, and requite them for their evil. The outcome of the deliverance would be sacrifice and praise to Jehovah’s name (the name of God in relationship to Israel).
 
  1. The double character of the enemies is spoken of — strangers, enemies from without; and oppressors, the proud within, who hunt for the life of the poor. – Darby, J.N. Synopsis of the Books of the Bible.

Psalm 55

 
Psalm 55
The Moral Corruption of Jerusalem; Reproached by a Friend
 
Psalm 55. This is a Psalm of David, and it is a Maschil Psalm, meaning “an instruction”. Historically, the backdrop of this Psalm is the time of Absalom’s rebellion. During this time, there were many people who David expected to remain faithful to him, that turned against him. Notable, Ahithophel the counsellor joined himself to Absalom, and it would seem that he is the “familiar friend” of Psalm 55. This Psalm looks forward to the final days of our Lord’s pathway, when He surveyed the city of Jerusalem in all its wickedness, and felt keenly the betrayal of Judas. Prophetically, this Psalm is set in the great tribulation, in which the remnant will be overwhelmed by the depths of evil that have entered their own country, and the city especially. They feel betrayed by Antichrist, who has broken his covenant (v.20)! It might be the very same covenant as between the beast and Israel which was confirmed for “one week”, but “in the midst of the week he shall cause the sacrifice and the oblation to cease” (Dan. 9:27). It would seem that the covenant would include protection for Israel, but this will be taken away, according to the warning of Isa. 28:18; “And your covenant with death shall be disannulled, and your agreement with hell shall not stand; when the overflowing scourge shall pass through, then ye shall be trodden down by it.” It would seem that Antichrist in some way breaches the terms of the covenant, perhaps by causing Jewish worship to cease, setting up the Abomination of Desolation in the holy place, and persecuting the faithful (see v.20).1
 
PSALM 55
To the chief Musician. On stringed instruments: an instruction. Of David.
1 Give ear to my prayer, O God; and hide not thyself from my supplication.
2 Attend unto me, and answer me: I wander about in my plaint, and I moan aloud,
3 Because of the voice of the enemy; because of the oppression of the wicked: for they cast iniquity upon me, and in anger they persecute me.
 
vv.1-3 Cry for Deliverance From Oppression. The Psalm begins with a cry to God for deliverance, that God would first of all hear the prayer of the suffering remnant. The reason for the suffering is “the voice of the enemy” and “the oppression of the wicked”.  They speak of the persecution risen against them, and we can certainly see the prophetic application of this to the faithful remnant in the great tribulation.
 
4 My heart is writhing within me, and the terrors of death are fallen upon me.
5 Fear and trembling are come upon me, and horror hath overwhelmed me.
6 And I said, Oh that I had wings like a dove! I would fly away, and be at rest;
7 Behold, I would flee afar off, I would lodge in the wilderness; Selah;
8 I would hasten my escape from the stormy wind, from the tempest.
 
vv.4-8 Fear, and the Desire to Flee. The faithful speak of a great inner turmoil within them, the “terrors of death” upon them. It is a terrible day when Jews, faithful Jews, would rather fly away into the wilderness then remain in the city of Jerusalem. But such is the “stormy wind”, the “tempest” of evil that is raging within the walls of that city. Prophetically, this might look forward to Christ, at the end of His pathway, when the Jewish leaders took counsel together to put the Lord to death. But further than that, it looks on to the day when Antichrist will usurp the rule of Jerusalem, and the rule of all Israel, and begin an angry campaign of persecution against the faithful.
 
9 Swallow them up, Lord; divide their tongue: for I have seen violence and strife in the city.
10 Day and night they go about it upon the walls thereof; and iniquity and mischief are in the midst of it.
11 Perversities are in the midst thereof; and oppression and deceit depart not from its streets.
 
vv.9-11 The Condition of the City. The remnant now speak of the condition of the city. They pray that the Lord would swallow up the enemy, because of the violence and strife in the city. They speak of the iniquity and mischief that are carried on in the midst of the city, on the walls of the city, and the oppression and deceit in the streets. We must remember that Jerusalem was God’s earthly center under the Old Covenant, and it will be extremely troubling to the faithful to see it in this condition.
 
12 For it is not an enemy that hath reproached me — then could I have borne it; neither is it he that hateth me that hath magnified himself against me — then would I have hidden myself from him;
13 But it was thou, a man mine equal, mine intimate, my familiar friend. …
14 We who held sweet intercourse together. To the house of God we walked amid the throng.
 
vv.12-14 Reproach From a Friend. But more deep and personal than the corruption of the city is the reproach that the faithful experience from “a friend”. If it was an enemy that had turned against them, they could have borne it, because reproach from an enemy is expected. Historically, this refers to the betrayal of Ahithophel, and the grief it produces in David when the news reached him (2 Sam. 15:31). We can clearly see that this is also prophetic of Judas, who betrayed Jesus. The one that hated Christ, and turned against Him, was “a man mine equal, mine intimate, my familiar friend”. With sorrow the faithful can look back on the past, on the friendship they had together – or thought they had together – even walking together to the house of God in the mixed multitude. But it is also prophetic of Antichrist who will make himself out as a friend to the Jews at the beginning, and then betray them. Also, the apostate Jews under the leadership of Antichrist will turn against their friends and family who have faith, and betray them (Micah 7:5-6).
 
15 Let death seize upon them, let them go down alive into Sheol. For wickedness is in their dwellings, in their midst.
16 As for me, unto God will I call; and Jehovah will save me.
17 Evening, and morning, and at noon, will I pray and moan aloud; and he will hear my voice.
18 He hath redeemed my soul in peace from the battle against me: for there were many about me.
19 GOD will hear, and afflict them: he that is seated of old, (Selah) … because there is no change in them, and they fear not God.
 
vv.15-19 The Prayer of the Remnant. The prayer of the remnant is that the wicked will be destroyed. But as for the faithful, they call upon God and Jehovah (God’s name in relationship with Israel) will save them. The remnant is cast on the Lord “Evening, and morning, and at noon”, much like Daniel, who prayed three times each day. They can anticipate the deliverance from the battle raging against them. Their confidence is that God will hear and will rise to their deliverance. The faithful compare the immutability of God; “he that is seated of old”, with the unchanging character of the wicked; “they fear not God”.
 
20 He hath put forth his hands against such as are at peace with him; he hath profaned his covenant.
21 Smooth were the milky words of his mouth, but his heart was war; his words were softer than oil, yet are they drawn swords.
 
vv.20-21 The Treachery of Betrayal. The Psalm returns again to speak of the treacherous betrayal against the faithful. The enemy has “profaned his covenant”, turning his hands against those that were at peace with him. It might be the very same covenant as between the Beast and Israel which was confirmed for “one week” (Dan. 9:27). It would seem that Antichrist in some way breaches the terms of the covenant, perhaps by causing Jewish worship to cease, setting up the Abomination of Desolation in the holy place, and persecuting the faithful. In v.21, the malicious intention of the wicked is now revealed under the friendly false exterior; “Smooth were the milky words of his mouth, but his heart was war; his words were softer than oil, yet are they drawn swords”.
 
22 “Cast thy burden upon Jehovah, and “he” will sustain thee:” [quoted 1 Peter 5:7] he will never suffer the righteous to be moved.
23 And thou, O God, wilt bring them down into the pit of destruction: bloody and deceitful men shall not live out half their days. But as for me, I will confide in thee. 
 
vv.22-23 Trust in God. The faithful encourage themselves to cast their burdens on Jehovah, and He will deliver them. This verse is quoted by Peter in 1 Peter 5:7, which shows that at all times, in all dispensations, the faithful can cast their cares on God, who cares for them. They have confidence that God will bring destruction to the bloody and deceitful men that have treated them so horribly. But the faithful maintain their confidence in God.
 
I cast all my cares upon You
I lay all of my burdens down at Your feet
And any time I don’t know what to do
I will cast all my cares upon You.2
 
  1. We have, I apprehend, in Psalm 55, the overwhelming sense of the position when Antichrist has broken his covenant, and has turned against the Jews, particularly the saints but rejecting everything Jewish, and wickedness is rampant in the city, but it is also especially the place of Christ among the Jews, and Judas. – Darby, J.N. Notes and Comments, Vol. 3
  2. Kocijan, David. I Cast all my Cares Upon You.

Psalm 56

 
Psalm 56
The Wandering Remnant Maintains Confidence in God
 
Psalm 56. The inscription indicates that this is a psalm of David. It was written in the style of “Jonathelem-rechokim”, meaning “a silent dove in the far off lands” or “the dove of silence (among) strangers”. This style is suited to the historical and prophetic setting of the Psalm. Historically, it was written by David “when the Philistines took him in Gath”, meaning David was outside of the land, in hiding from Saul. Prophetically, this Psalm gives us the expressions and prayers of the remnant when they are fleeing from Antichrist, and hiding in the mountains and countries that surround Israel.
 
PSALM 56
To the chief Musician. On Jonathelem-rechokim. Of David. Michtam; when the Philistines took him in Gath.
1 Be gracious unto me, O God; for man would swallow me up: all the day long fighting he oppresseth me.
2 Mine enemies would swallow me up all the day long; for they are many that fight against me haughtily.
3 In the day that I am afraid, I will confide in thee.
 
vv.1-3 The Oppression of the Enemy. The faithful cry out to God because of the oppression of the enemies. The enemies would “swallow up” the faithful if God would allow it. The enemies are numerous, and the remnant is small. But yet from the very outset they have their confidence in God.
 
4 In God will I praise his word, in God I put my confidence: I will not fear; what can flesh do unto me?
 
v.4 God and His Word. The remnant and found a sure place to put their trust. In the Word of God, and in God Himself, they can trust. The Word of God becomes a sure foundation for faith, because on it God has staked His own honor. God Himself is a rock which cannot be moved. In light of these things, what can mere “flesh” do to one whose confidence is placed on such an immovable foundation?
 
5 All the day long they wrest my words; all their thoughts are against me for evil.
6 They gather themselves together, they hide themselves; they mark my steps, because they wait for my soul.
7 Shall they escape by iniquity? In anger cast down the peoples, O God.
8 “Thou” countest my wanderings; put my tears into thy bottle: are they not in thy book?
9 Then shall mine enemies return backward in the day when I call: this I know, for God is for me.
 
vv.5-9 God’s Sympathy for His Suffering Saints. The faithful remark on the animosity of the wicked; wrestling with their words, plotting against them, gathering together against them, marking their steps, and waiting for their soul. The question is rhetorical: “shall they escape by iniquity?” They have confidence in God to cast down “the peoples”, enemies both Gentile and Jewish. Yet in spite of all of this, they know that God is sympathizing with them, noticing every tear they cry, and taking note of their wanderings. The are confident in ultimate victory, because they know God is for them; “this I know, for God is for me”.
 
10 In God will I praise his word; in Jehovah will I praise his word.
11 In God have I put my confidence: I will not fear; what can man do unto me?
 
vv.10-11 Confidence in God and His Word. Again, the remnant express their confidence in God and His Word. Notice that they can speak first of God’s Word, and then of Jehovah’s Word. The first is God as He is intrinsically, the second is God in covenant relationship with Israel. What can man do to those who have put their confidence in God?
 
12 Thy vows are upon me, O God: I will render thanks unto thee.
13 For thou hast delivered my soul from death; wilt thou not keep my feet from falling, that I may walk before God in the light of the living? 
 
vv.12-13 Anticipation of Deliverance. The remnant anticipate deliverance, the repaying of their vows to God in thanksgiving. God will keep their feet from falling, their soul from death, so they “may walk before God in the light of the living”.
 

Psalm 57

 
Psalm 57
The Confidence of the Faithful in God as Their Refuge
 
Psalm 57. This is a Psalm of David, and titled “Destroy Not”, which indicates that the Psalm has the character of a prayer for preservation. Psalm 57 is also a Michtam Psalm, ‘michtam’ meaning “golden jewel”. There are six Michtam Psalms: 16; 56; 57; 58; 59; 60. These Psalms illustrate the preciousness of the Lord’s people to His heart who trust Him through trial. The inscription of this Psalm indicates that is was written by David “when he fled from Saul in the cave”. Prophetically, this Psalm gives us the expressions and prayers of the remnant when they are fleeing from Antichrist (of whom Saul is a type), and hiding in the caves and mountains surrounding Israel. This Psalm is more triumphant than Psalm 56. Here they look for a full deliverance, and one “from the heavens”. Note that vv.7-11 are repeated in Psalm 108. Perhaps in Psa. 57 these expressions are more anticipatory.
 
PSALM 57
To the chief Musician. ‘Destroy not.’ Of David. Michtam; when he fled from Saul in the cave.
1 Be gracious unto me, O God, be gracious unto me; for my soul taketh refuge in thee: yea, in the shadow of thy wings do I take refuge, until the calamities be overpast.
 
v.1 God Their Refuge. The remnant look to God as their refuge, as those who take refuge under the shadow of His wings until the calamities of the great tribulation are overpast. They rely on the grace of God in all of this.
 
2 I will call unto God, the Most High; unto GOD that performeth all for me.
3 He will send from the heavens and save me; he hath covered with reproach him that would swallow me up. Selah. God hath sent forth his loving-kindness and his truth.
4 My soul is in the midst of lions; I lie down among them that breathe out flames, the sons of men, whose teeth are spears and arrows, and their tongue a sharp sword.
5 Be exalted above the heavens, O God; let thy glory be above all the earth!
 
vv.2-5 Confidence in God’s Salvation. The remnant call upon God to send deliverance “from the heavens”. This is an advance over previous expressions. They anticipate deliverance through God’s loving-kindness and truth, from those who reproach them. They are not out of the difficulty yet; they are still in the midst of lions and fire-breathing enemies, whose teeth are spears and arrows, and their tongue a sharp sword. Their prayer is that God will be “exalted above the heavens” and glorified “over all the earth”. How wonderful that their expressions rise above their own deliverance to contemplate the exaltation of God.
 
6 They have prepared a net for my steps; my soul was bowed down: they have digged a pit before me; they are fallen into the midst thereof. Selah.
 
 v.6 Deliverance. The faithful speak of the enemy as having prepared traps for the remnant’s feet, and yet God has allowed the enemy to fall in their own trap, through His retributive governmental ways.
 
7 My heart is fixed, O God, my heart is fixed: I will sing, yea, I will sing psalms.
8 Awake, my glory; awake, lute and harp: I will wake the dawn.
9 I will give thee thanks among the peoples, O Lord; of thee will I sing psalms among the nations:
10 For thy loving-kindness is great unto the heavens, and thy truth unto the clouds.
 
vv.7-10 Thanksgiving. Having anticipated their deliverance, the remnant can speak of thanksgiving. Their heart is fixed on God, and the result is singing and music. They speak of praising and giving thanks to the Lord among “the peoples”, which refers to the Gentile nations around. Clearly this looks forward to the Millennium. In this Psalm, the expressions of the remnant rise up to “the heavens”, not only looking for deliverance from the heavens, but seeing the loving-kindness of God great unto the heavens, His truth unto the clouds, etc.
 
11 Be exalted above the heavens, O God; let thy glory be above all the earth!
 
v.11 God Exalted. The Psalm concludes with the remnant’s desire that God might be exalted above the heavens, and that His glory might shine over all the earth.
 

Psalm 58

 
Psalm 58
The Character of the Wicked, and Their Judgment
 
Psalm 58. This is a Psalm of David, and like the previous Psalm is titled “Destroy Not”, which indicates that the Psalm has the character of a prayer for preservation. Psalm 58 is also a Michtam Psalm, ‘michtam’ meaning “golden jewel”, which illustrates the preciousness of the Lord’s people to His heart who trust Him through trial. Psalm 58 gives us the character of the wicked, and their judgment. Particularly, this describes the awful condition of Israel before the Lord’s appearing.
 
PSALM 58
To the chief Musician. ‘Destroy not.’ Of David. Michtam.
1 Is righteousness indeed silent? Do ye speak it? Do ye judge with equity, ye sons of men?
2 Yea, in heart ye work wickedness; ye weigh out the violence of your hands in the earth.
3 The wicked go astray from the womb; they err as soon as they are born, speaking lies.
4 Their poison is like the poison of a serpent: they are like the deaf adder which stoppeth her ear;
5 Which doth not hearken to the voice of enchanters, of one charming ever so wisely.
 
vv.1-5 The Character of the Wicked. To the remnant, it seems as if righteousness has nearly vanished from the earth, or at least from Israel. The expression “sons of men” refers to the races of men. Mankind is corrupt right down to the motives (“in heart ye work wickedness”) and the moral values (“ye weigh out the violence of your hands in the earth”). The condition of man is proved in that they “go astray from the womb; they err as soon as they are born, speaking lies”. The effect of the wicked on others is like snakes’ poison. They are deaf to correction like a snake that cannot be enchanted (Acts 7:57).
 
6 O God, break their teeth in their mouth; break out the great teeth of the young lions, O Jehovah.
7 Let them melt away as waters that flow off; when he aimeth his arrows, let them be as blunted:
8 Let them be as a snail that melteth as it passeth away; like the untimely birth of a woman, let them not see the sun.
9 Before your pots feel the thorns, green or burning, — they shall be whirled away.
10 The righteous shall rejoice when he seeth the vengeance; he shall wash his footsteps in the blood of the wicked:
11 And men shall say, Verily there is fruit for the righteous; verily there is a God that judgeth in the earth.
 
vv.6-11 The Judgment of the Wicked. The remnant pray for the judgment of the wicked under numerous figures: broken teeth in the mouth of a lion, melting like ice, melting like a snail in the sun, like a miscarried fetus. The expression in v.9 is interesting, “Before your pots feel the thorns, green or burning”. This refers to the brevity of their existence under the judgment of God. Often people would use thorns to light a hot fire for cooking, but it would last only for a short time. In other words, the wicked will be destroyed quickly, in a shorter time than the pot would feel the heat of the thorns that were burning in the fire. The wicked will be picked up and cast away like a whirlwind. The righteous are said to rejoice in the vengeance of God on their enemies. Surely, many of these expressions are not Christian in character. However, the result of God’s judgments in the earth is that men will learn righteousness; “men shall say, Verily there is fruit for the righteous; verily there is a God that judgeth in the earth.” See Isaiah 26:9 for the principle of this.
 

Psalm 59

 
Psalm 59
Deliverance from Enemy Nations Surrounding the City
 
Psalm 59. This is a Psalm of David, and like the previous two Psalms, it is titled “destroy not”, and styled as a Michtam Psalm. This Psalm describes the preciousness of the Lord’s people as they pass through trial. Here it is the trial of external enemies surrounding the faithful, seeking to destroy them. The historical context of the Psalm is given in the inscription: “when Saul sent, and they watched the house to kill him”. We can read of that in 1 Samuel 19; “And Saul sent messengers to David’s house, to watch him, and to slay him in the morning; and Michal David’s wife told him, saying, If thou save not thy life to-night, to-morrow thou wilt be put to death” (1 Sam. 19:11). Prophetically, David is in the place of the faithful remnant who are surrounded by enemies; which perhaps includes the confederacy of the king of the north. But God will keep the remnant safe in their hiding place. Only the apostate Jews will be killed in the consumption. This Psalm does not end with the destruction of enemies, but of the judgment of enemies ongoing, and not yet finished. 
 
PSALM 59
To the chief Musician. ‘Destroy not.’ Of David. Michtam; when Saul sent, and they watched the house to kill him.
1 Deliver me from mine enemies, O my God; secure me on high from them that rise up against me.
2 Deliver me from the workers of iniquity, and save me from men of blood.
3 For behold, they lie in wait for my soul; strong ones are gathered against me: not for my transgression, nor for my sin, O Jehovah.
4 They run and prepare themselves without my fault: awake to meet me, and behold.
5 Yea, do thou, Jehovah, the God of hosts, the God of Israel, arise to visit all the nations: be not gracious to any plotters of iniquity. Selah.
 
vv.1-5 A Cry For Deliverance. In vv.1-2 we have a cry for deliverance. In v.1 the cry is for deliverance from enemies, and this is what the majority of the Psalm focuses on; “strong ones”, “dogs”, “the nations”. In v.2, we have more the personal character of the enemies; “the workers of iniquity”, and “men of blood”. Certainly, we can see the historical application to David; “behold, they lie in wait for my soul… they run and prepare themselves without my fault”. But this is also prophetic of the remnant, who will see the approaching armies and sense that they are surrounded. And as v.5 shows, this Psalm cannot be limited merely to David; the scope is far greater! The remnant acknowledge that this attack is “not for my transgression, nor for my sin, O Jehovah.” The first attack of the Assyrian is Jehovah’s wrath against the apostate nation; “and because of the protection of abominations there shall be a desolator, even until that the consumption” (Dan. 9:27). The remnant invite “Jehovah” (covenant relationship), the “God of hosts” (His power implied), the “God of Israel” (defender of His people) to come and “visit the nations” in judgment, and not to spare those who plot wickedly.
 
6 They return in the evening; they howl like a dog, and go round about the city:
7 Behold, they belch out with their mouth; swords are in their lips: for who say they doth hear?
8 But thou, Jehovah, wilt laugh at them; thou wilt have all the nations in derision.
 
vv.6-8 The City Surrounded. The enemy has gathered around the city like a pack of dogs to howl and terrorize the inhabitants. Much of the remnant will have fled to the mountains, etc. but some will still be in the city. The enemy is pictured as audaciously mocking God; “for who say they doth hear?” The answer is in v.8; “But thou, Jehovah, wilt laugh at them; thou wilt have all the nations in derision”.
 
9 Their strength! … I will take heed to thee; for God is my high fortress.
10 God, whose loving-kindness will come to meet me, — God shall let me see my desire upon mine enemies.
 
vv.9-10 God’s Strength vs. the Enemies. The remnant muse on the relative strength of God compared to the enemy. They are not trusting in the walls of Jerusalem to protect them, but God is their high fortress! They have come to learn the character of God; “his loving-kindness”. This gives them confidence that God will grant a victory over their enemies.
 
11 Slay them not, lest my people forget; by thy power make them wander, and bring them down, O Lord, our shield.
12 Because of the sin of their mouth, the word of their lips, let them even be taken in their pride; and because of cursing and lying which they speak.
13 Make an end in wrath, make an end, that they may be no more; that they may know that God ruleth in Jacob, unto the ends of the earth. Selah.
 
vv.11-13 The Manner of their Judgment. The expression “slay them not, lest my people forget” means that the remnant do not want a quiet, private destruction of the enemy, but rather a public defeat. There is a desire for the enemies to be destroyed in a way that glorifies God in judgment. These enemies, which I take to be the confederacy under the king of the north, listed in Psalm 83, have been speaking terrible things against God, and the remnant are looking for God’s vindication in this; “Because of the sin of their mouth, the word of their lips, let them even be taken in their pride; and because of cursing and lying which they speak.” They desire the end to be made “in wrath”, and publicly so there is no doubt who is the Victor; “that they may know that God ruleth in Jacob, unto the ends of the earth. Selah.” This prayer will be answered. The king of the north will not be destroyed at the beginning of his campaign, when he sweeps down through Israel and the surrounding countries. It is not until the end of his campaign, on his return home, that the Lord will meet the king of the north, and very publicly will destroy him. See Daniel 11:44-45; Isa. 10:17-18; 14:24-25; 30:33; Joel 2:20. Read more…
 
14 And in the evening they shall return, they shall howl like a dog, and go round about the city.
15 They shall wander about for meat, and stay all night if they be not satisfied.
16 But as for me, I will sing of thy strength; yea, I will sing aloud of thy loving-kindness in the morning; for thou hast been to me a high fortress, and a refuge in the day of my trouble.
17 Unto thee, my strength, will I sing psalms; for God is my high fortress, the God of my mercy. 
 
vv.14-17 Protection Through the Night. The attack of the enemies seems to be somewhat prolonged, at a couple of days, because the dogs are seen “returning at evening” (v.6) and again in v.14, lingering until they find meat and are satisfied. It will be a terrifying thing for those who have not faith, but the remnant can say, “But as for me, I will sing of thy strength; yea, I will sing aloud of thy loving-kindness in the morning”. They are preserved through the night by the loving-kindness of God, who – true to their earlier confession – has been to them “a high fortress, and a refuge in the day of my trouble”. The result of this protection is praise (v.17)! But the enemies are not yet destroyed. The work of judgment is still ongoing, and not yet finished.
 

Psalm 60

 
Psalm 60
Israel Possessing Their Full Inheritance
 
Psalm 60. This is another Psalm of David, and it was intended to be played to Shushan (lily) of testimony. Like the preceding three, Psalm 60 is another Michtam Psalm, and also something that was to be taught to Israel. The historical context of the Psalm is given as, concerning David after he was made king “when he strove with the Syrians of Mesopotamia, and the Syrians of Zobah, and Joab returned, and smote the Edomites in the valley of salt, twelve thousand”. These events are recorded in 2 Samuel 8; 10 (c.p. 1 Kings 11:15; 1 Chron. 18:12). It was an occasion where David won a great victory over the nations that surround the land of Israel; Ammon, Syria, and Edom, etc. This forms an appropriate backdrop for the Psalm, which prophetically looks forward to the time when Israel will be led in a victorious conquest of their neighbors, and will take the full inheritance promises to Abraham. The prophecy that aligns with this Psalm perfectly is this: “But they shall fly upon the shoulder of the Philistines towards the west; together shall they spoil the sons of the east; they shall lay their hand upon Edom and Moab, and the children of Ammon shall obey them” (Isaiah 11:14). See Deuteronomy 11:24; Genesis 15:8. Notice again, like Psalm 59, that this Psalm anticipates the victory, but does not view it as accomplished yet. Note that vv.5-12 are repeated in Psalm 108. Perhaps in Psa. 60 these expressions are more anticipatory.
 
PSALM 60
To the chief Musician. On Shushan. Testimony. Michtam of David; to teach: when he strove with the Syrians of Mesopotamia, and the Syrians of Zobah, and Joab returned, and smote the Edomites in the valley of salt, twelve thousand.
1 O God, thou hast cast us off, thou hast scattered us, thou hast been displeased: restore us again.
2 Thou hast made the earth to tremble, thou hast rent it: heal the breaches thereof; for it shaketh.
3 Thou hast shewn thy people hard things; thou hast made us to drink the wine of bewilderment.
 
vv.1-3 The Temporary Separation Acknowledged. Israel acknowledges that God has temporarily cast them off, scattering them through the persecution that they were facing in the great tribulation. They call on God to restore them again to their land. They survey their land, the land of Israel, which has been torn apart through the ravages of war. They ask God to heal their land. Then they reflect on the “hard things” that God has shown His people. They have been made to drink the “wine of bewilderment”, which expresses the consternation the remnant experienced at suffering such a great persecution, while at the same time drawing closer to Jehovah.
 
4 Thou hast given a banner to them that fear thee, that it may be displayed because of the truth, (Selah,)
5 That thy beloved ones may be delivered. Save with thy right hand, and answer me.
 
vv.4-5 Rallying the Assistance of God. The remnant feel confident in the deliverance from their enemies, God’s banner over them that will be displayed like an ensign by a victorious army. He will be Jehovah-Nissi – “The Lord my Banner” (Ex. 17:15). They view themselves as God’s “beloved ones” here on the earth, and they rally His strength, His “right hand”, to deliver them. The “me” here may be Christ personally.
 
6 God hath spoken in his holiness: I will exult, I will divide Shechem, and mete out the valley of Succoth.
7 Gilead is mine, and Manasseh is mine, and Ephraim is the strength of my head; Judah is my law-giver;
8 Moab is my wash-pot; upon Edom will I cast my sandal; Philistia, shout aloud because of me.
 
vv.6-8 Victory Over Surrounding Nations. Here we have the voice of Messiah Himself, as a captain over the remnant, leading them in triumph!1 God has already spoken (past tense), which may be an indication that Christ has appeared at this time. The land according to the original borders promised to Abraham will now be possessed by Israel. Shechem is west of Jordan, Succoth is east of Jordan. Gilead and Manasseh are to the east, Ephraim and Judah are to the west. Moab is to the east, Edom is to the southeast, and Philistia is to the southwest. Moab is to be Israel’s washpot, which means that they would be reduced to Israel’s menial servants. The expression “I will cast my sandal (or shoe)” is not only a derogatory expression upon Edom, but the statement of Israel possessing their land. God had told Israel “Every place whereon the sole of your foot shall tread shall be yours” (Deut. 11:24; Joshua 1:3). By throwing their shoe over Edom, they are acknowledging that God has given it to them as a possession.2 Israel will finally put down the Philistines; i.e. those who inhabit the Gaza strip.
 
9 Who will bring me into the strong city? who will lead me unto Edom?
10 Wilt not thou, O God, who didst cast us off? and didst not go forth, O God, with our armies?
11 Give us help from trouble; for vain is man’s deliverance.
12 Through God we shall do valiantly; and he it is that will tread down our adversaries. 
 
vv.9-12 Special Campaign Against Edom. There appears to be a special campaign against Edom, that old enemy whose bitterness and treachery comes up often through the prophets (see Obadiah). Edom dwells in Mount Seir, a fortress-mountain. The questions is, “who will lead me unto Edom?” God will, the same One who had previously cast them off, and did not go forth with Israel’s armies. Now He is with them! It will not be by their own strength, for “vain is man’s deliverance”.  But through God they shall “do valiantly”, and God will be victorious over their adversaries.
 
  1. The ‘me’ of vv. 5 and 9 seems Christ’s personal intercession on behalf of His people identifying Himself with them. – W. T. Whybrow. The Psalms.
  2. Anstey, B. Prophetic Outline of the Psalms. Christian Truth Publishing. Canada, 1988

Psalm 61

 
Psalm 61
The Overwhelmed Heart, Still Confident in God
 
Psalm 61. This Psalm begins a new series, running from Psalm 61 – 68.1 This is a Psalm of David, and it was likely composes when David was in exile, fleeing from Absalom. It describes the expressions a heart that is overwhelmed yet trusting God as their refuge. Prophetically, this describes the condition of the faithful Jewish remnant in the great tribulation.
 
PSALM 61
To the chief Musician. On a stringed instrument. A Psalm of David.
1 Hear, O God, my cry; attend unto my prayer.
2 From the end of the earth will I call unto thee, when my heart is overwhelmed: thou wilt lead me on to a rock which is too high for me.
3 For thou hast been a refuge for me, a strong tower from before the enemy.
4 I will sojourn in thy tent for ever; I will take refuge in the covert of thy wings. Selah.
 
vv.1-4 God the Refuge of the Outcast Remnant. The faithful remnant calls out to God to hear their prayer (v.1). They speak in v.2 of being at “the end of the earth”, although some translations read “end of the land”. This shows that Psalm 61 is set in a time when the remnant is out of the land, or at least far from Jerusalem. This would correspond with the last three and a half years of the prophetic week, when much of the remnant will be hiding in the mountains (Matt. 24:16). The faithful feel that they are overwhelmed (the word giving the sense of sinking down), but they have confidence that God would “lead me on to a rock”, like a secure refuge from the raging waves of the sea. They can look back on past deliverances (v.3), how God had been a refuge in the past, like a “strong tower from the enemy”. God is compared to three kinds of refuge: a high rick (v.2), a strong tower (v.3), and covering wings (v.4). The faithful are confident that God would protect them forever.
 
5 For thou, O God, hast heard my vows; thou hast given me the inheritance of those that fear thy name.
6 Thou wilt add days to the days of the king: his years shall be as many generations.
7 He shall abide before God for ever: bestow loving-kindness and truth, that they may preserve him.
8 So will I sing forth thy name for ever, performing my vows from day to day. 
 
vv.5-8 Confidence and Encouragement. The remnant are confident that God has heard their vows, and will bring them through the trials into their full inheritance, as those who fear God’s name. They are like Ruth, who came without any claim to an inheritance. The “king” in vv.6-7 is of course David historically, but prophetically it speaks of Christ. What we see here is that the faithful see that the king has passed through similar trials, and that God has delivered Him, and this is an encouragement to the faithful. The hearts of the remnant are wrapped up with the blessing of their King! The results is joy, devotion (paying of vows, which has the thought of praise), and thanksgiving from the faithful, “for ever… from day to day”.
 
  1. I also find Psalms 61-68 are a Book together. Instead of being Christ, or the Spirit of Christ in the presence of His enemies and the people’s (or Remnant’s), it is in the presence of God in their circumstances. – Darby, J.N. The Psalms. Notes and Comments, Vol. 3.

Psalm 62

 
Psalm 62
The Soul Resting Peacefully On God 
 
Psalm 62. This is a Psalm of David, and it written for Jeduthun, who was leader of praise in David’s time, and who directed his six sons, “who prophesied with the harp, to give thanks and to praise Jehovah” (1 Chron. 25:3). His name means “Praise Giver” or “Let Them Give Praise”. Psalms addressed to Jeduthun are Psalms 39, 62, and 77. Psalm 62 was probably written in the context of the rebellion of of Absalom. Prophetically, it describes the expressions of the faithful Jewish remnant passing through the Great Tribulation, as they experience strong persecution from their brethren, the apostate Jews under the direction of Antichrist.
 
PSALM 62
To the chief Musician. On Jeduthun. A Psalm of David.
1 Upon God alone doth my soul rest peacefully; from him is my salvation.
2 He only is my rock and my salvation; my high fortress: I shall not be greatly moved.
3 How long will ye assail a man; will ye seek, all of you, to break him down as a bowing wall or a tottering fence?
4 They only consult to thrust him down from his excellency; they delight in lies; they bless with their mouth, but in their inward part they curse. Selah.
 
vv.1-4 God as the Rock and Fortress Against the Attacks of the Enemy. In spite of all that is going on around the remnant, their soul can “rest peacefully” upon God. God personally is their salvation. This is one of the great lessons of the trials they are passing through; to look to God as their salvation rather than Judaism. In v.2 God is pictured as a “rock”, “salvation”, and “high fortress” to the faithful remnant. With Him as their God they shall “not be greatly moved”. In vv.3-4 the faithful consider the character of man. The enemies assail them because they think the remnant is weak. The symbols used are symbols of weakness; “a bowing wall or a tottering fence”. Such things are easy to break down. The enemies’ single goal is to attack the faithful, and cast them down. To accomplish this, they use lies and deception. 
 
5 Upon God alone, O my soul, rest peacefully; for my expectation is from him.
6 He only is my rock and my salvation; my high fortress: I shall not be moved.
7 With God is my salvation and my glory; the rock of my strength, my refuge is in God.
8 Confide in him at all times, ye people; pour out your heart before him: God is our refuge. Selah.
 
vv.5-8 The Character of God that the Faithful Trust in. But in spite of all these attacks, the faithful turn to God alone. Their soul can still rest peacefully in spite of all of the attacks that are coming against them. They can speak of their expectations; i.e. their hope of deliverance is in God. We see that v.6 is a repetition of v.2, except it is after the character of man is considered. The result of knowing the character of God is that they can confide in God at all times, and encourage the rest of the people to likewise confide in God. They can pour out their hearts before Him as they do in this Psalm and others.
 
9 Men of low degree are only vanity; men of high degree, a lie: laid in the balance, they go up together lighter than vanity.
10 Put not confidence in oppression, and become not vain in robbery; if wealth increase, set not your heart upon it.
11 Once hath God spoken, twice have I heard this, that strength belongeth unto God.
12 And unto thee, O Lord, belongeth loving-kindness; for “thou” renderest to every man according to his work.
 
vv.9-12 The Vanity of Trusting in Man vs. God. The Psalm concludes with the vanity of trusting in man vs God. Whether it be men of low degree or men of high degree, neither are worthy of our trust. Nor do the faithful put confidence in the things that the wicked put confidence in; oppression, robbery, and increased wealth. These things are sure to pass away like the wicked who do them. For instance, wealth may increase in the first 3 1/2 years of the prophetic week, but it is a vain thing for Israel to trust them. The great lesson is in v.11; “Once hath God spoken, twice have I heard this, that strength belongeth unto God”. This is the only path for the remnant: the trust the Lord. Yet it is not only strength, but the loving-kindness of God (v.12) that the faithful are trusting. God will do right by His people; He will reward every man according to his work, whether the wicked according to their deeds or the righteous according to their faith.
 

Psalm 63

 
Psalm 63
The Remnant’s Soul-thirst and Joy in God
 
Psalm 63. This Psalm presents to us the joy of communion with God. As another has said, “Psalm 61 is the cry of an overwhelmed soul; Psalm 62, the cry of a waiting soul: Psalm 63, the cry of the longing soul.”1 Psalm 63 is a Psalm of David, and the inscription states that it was written “when he was in the wilderness of Judah”. This probably refers to when David was fleeing from Absalom, away from the city of Jerusalem. Prophetically, this Psalm describes the expressions of the faithful remnant when hiding from Antichrist in the great tribulation. The faith of the remnant rises higher here than anywhere in their suffering. Although they are in great trial, there is not a word of complaint, and they are so occupied with God that they can actually rejoice and be satisfied! In fact, the faith rises so high here that it may be only fulfilled in Christ personally, the “root out of a dry ground” (Isa. 53:2).
 
PSALM 63
A Psalm of David; when he was in the wilderness of Judah.
1 O God, thou art my GOD; early will I seek thee. My soul thirsteth for thee, my flesh languisheth for thee, in a dry and weary land without water:
2 To see thy power and thy glory, as I have beheld thee in the sanctuary;
3 For thy loving-kindness is better than life: my lips shall praise thee.
4 So will I bless thee while I live; I will lift up my hands in thy name.
5 My soul is satisfied as with marrow and fatness, and my mouth shall praise thee with joyful lips.
6 When I remember thee upon my bed, I meditate on thee in the night-watches:
7 For thou hast been my help, and in the shadow of thy wings will I sing for joy.
 
vv.1-7 A Soul-thirst and Joy in God. We find that the remnant has formed a personal relationship with God on an individual level; “O God, thou art my God”. This needs to be true of us as Christians as well! To seek after God means to desire to know Him better, and to walk in fellowship with Him. They confess that their soul is thirsting for God, which means that they have come to find a satisfaction in God that nothing else can replace. They want to see His power and glory, as they had in times past in the sanctuary. In v.3 we have an amazing expression of faith; the remnant has come to value God’s loving-kindness better than their own life! Their response is to bless and praise God as long as they live. It’s amazing that here in the wilderness they can speak of being satisfied with “marrow and fatness”. It is because they have come to know God and His character, and this is satisfying to the soul of the faithful. The thoughts of God even come to them upon their beds, when meditating at night. They can look back over the day and see how God has helped them, and sheltered them with His wings. The result is that they can sing for joy. This Psalm is beautiful because it describes how faith can sing in times of trial, because it rises up to the revealed character of God.
 
8 My soul followeth hard after thee: thy right hand upholdeth me.
9 But those that seek my soul, to destroy it, shall go into the lower parts of the earth;
10 They shall be given over to the power of the sword; they shall be the portion of foxes.
11 But the king shall rejoice in God; every one that sweareth by him shall glory: for the mouth of them that speak lies shall be stopped.
 
vv.8-11 The Portion of the Remnant and the Enemies. As a result of knowing God and following hard after Him, the remnant have confidence in God’s protection, “thy right hand upholdeth me”. The enemies who seek their soul to destroy it will end up in the grave. They will be killed by the sword and their bodies will be devoured by wild animals. But the king (David historically, but prophetic of Christ), and the remnant in association with Him, shall rejoice in God, and glorying in Him! The analog expression is in Rom. 5:2; “and rejoice in hope of the glory of God.”
 
  1. Smith, H. The Psalms.

Psalm 64

 
Psalm 64
The Plotting of the Wicked and the Sudden Judgment of God
 
Psalm 64. This is a Psalm of David, and it is most likely set on the historical backdrop of the rebellion of Absalom. Prophetically, this Psalm gives us the feelings of the remnant regarding their enemies in the great tribulation, and the sudden judgment of God which will fall on those enemies. Specifically, these enemies would be the apostate Jews under the leadership of Antichrist, which persecute the faithful remnant.
 
PSALM 64
To the chief Musician. A Psalm of David.
1 Hear, O God, my voice in my plaint; preserve my life from fear of the enemy:
2 Hide me from the secret counsel of evil-doers, from the tumultuous crowd of the workers of iniquity,
3 Who have sharpened their tongue like a sword, and have aimed their arrow, a bitter word;
4 That they may shoot in secret at the perfect: suddenly do they shoot at him, and fear not.
5 They encourage themselves in an evil matter, they concert to hide snares; they say, Who will see them?
6 They devise iniquities: We have it ready, the plan is diligently sought out. And each one’s inward thought and heart is deep.
7 But God will shoot an arrow at them: suddenly are they wounded;
8 By their own tongue they are made to fall over one another: all that see them shall flee away.
9 And all men shall fear, and shall declare God’s doing; and they shall wisely consider his work.
10 The righteous shall rejoice in Jehovah, and trust in him; and all the upright in heart shall glory.
 
vv.1-10 The Plotting of the Wicked and the Judgment of God. The remnant call on God to hear their prayer and preserve their life from the attacks of the enemy. They speak of the “secret counsel” of the evildoers, who are plotting against the remnant. Especially, the wicked use their tongues “like a sword”, and “have aimed their arrow, a bitter word”. The wicked are seen as using their words to cause trouble for the faithful. They seem to be at liberty to “shoot” at the faithful without any fear of retribution. In v.5 the wicked encourage themselves to go forward in their evil, and are doubtful that anyone will discover their plans. They have laid their plans carefully for the demise of the faithful. But God will “shoot an arrow at them”, and “suddenly” they will come into judgment. God takes the actions against His own very seriously, and will recompense the wicked. Notice the change of tense; “they are wounded”, etc. Anticipation becomes realization. God will allow their own tongues to be the means of their downfall. This judgment will result in all who see it being made to fear God. But the righteous will rejoice in Jehovah (the covenant relationship brought in) and glory in Him, when His wisdom and power are displayed in judgment!
 

Psalm 65

 
Psalm 65
Israel Looking Forward to the Millennium
 
Psalm 65. This is another Psalm of David, and it seems to express the sentiments of Israel looking forward to the Millennium, when “that the creature itself also shall be set free from the bondage of corruption into the liberty of the glory of the children of God” (Rom. 8:21). It really captures the confidence of the faithful remnant in what God, the God they have come to know through the experiences of the great tribulation.
 
PSALM 65
To the chief Musician. A Psalm of David: a Song.
1 Praise waiteth for thee in silence, O God, in Zion; and unto thee shall the vow be performed.
2 O thou that hearest prayer, unto thee shall all flesh come.
 
vv.1-2 God to be Praised in Zion by All Flesh. The remnant can look beyond all of their trials to the time when God will reign in Zion, where praise awaits Him. However, it is still anticipated; i.e. “in silence” at the moment. They view Zion as the center of God’s praise in the earth. Not just Israel, but “all flesh” will come up to Him in Jerusalem to offer praise. It is a striking way that God is referred to, as “thou that hearest prayer”, perhaps in contrast to the false gods of other nations.
 
3 Iniquities have prevailed against me: our transgressions, thou wilt forgive them.
4 Blessed is he whom thou choosest and causest to approach: he shall dwell in thy courts. We shall be satisfied with the goodness of thy house, of thy holy temple.
5 By terrible things in righteousness wilt thou answer us, O God of our salvation, thou confidence of all the ends of the earth, and of the distant regions of the sea. …
6 Who by his strength established the mountains, being girded with power;
7 Who stilleth the raging of the seas, the raging of their waves, and the tumult of the peoples.
8 And they that dwell in the uttermost parts are afraid at thy tokens; thou makest the outgoings of the morning and evening to rejoice.
9 Thou hast visited the earth, thou hast watered it; thou greatly enrichest it: the river of God is full of water; thou providest their corn, when thou hast so prepared it:
10 Thou dost satiate its furrows, thou smoothest its clods, thou makest it soft with showers; thou blessest the springing thereof.
11 Thou crownest the year with thy goodness, and thy paths drop fatness:
12 They drop upon the pastures of the wilderness, and the hills are girded with gladness.
13 The meadows are clothed with flocks, and the valleys are covered over with corn; they shout for joy, yea, they sing.
 
vv.3-13 God as the Blesser of the Earth. The faithful in Israel anticipate what God will do for them and for the whole earth. The first thing is that He will forgive their transgressions. The second thing is that He will allow His people to approach Him and His millennial “holy temple”. The third thing is that He will defend Israel with terrible acts of righteousness. Perhaps this refers to the defence of Israel at the second attack of the Assyrian (God and Magog), when the Lord will “roar out of Zion” (Joel 3:16), and “tread the winepress” (Rev. 19:15). Notice that God is referred to as “the confidence of all the ends of the earth”. Again, God is proven to be the only One worthy of confidence. In vv.6-13 we have an expansion of God’s power which will be put forth in the Millennium for blessing on the earth. Whether it be the mountains, the seas, the masses of peoples, watering the earth, causing the crops to grow, etc. all of it is a result of God’s blessing on the earth. The “river of God is full of water”, refers to the river of life that will flow from the Millennial temple (Ezek. 47:1-12). We have a beautiful picture of the earth in the Millennium under the blessing of God; “The meadows are clothed with flocks, and the valleys are covered over with corn; they shout for joy, yea, they sing.”
 

Psalm 66

 
Psalm 66
Israel Calls on the Nations to Bless Their God
 
Psalm 66. This Psalm is not officially credited to David, but perhaps it was written by him. Notice that Psalms 66 – 68 are all titled, “A Song: a Psalm”, and Psalm 68 is accredited to David. In this Psalm we have Israel, assured of the their own deliverance, and now turning to the surrounding nations and calling on them to bless their God.
 
PSALM 66
To the chief Musician. A Song: a Psalm.
1 Shout aloud unto God, all the earth:
2 Sing forth the glory of his name, make his praise glorious;
3 Say unto God, How terrible are thy works! because of the greatness of thy strength, thine enemies come cringing unto thee.
4 All the earth shall worship thee, and sing psalms unto thee: they shall sing forth thy name. Selah.
5 Come and see the works of God: he is terrible in his doings toward the children of men.
6 He turned the sea into dry land; they went through the river on foot: there did we rejoice in him.
7 He ruleth by his power for ever; his eyes observe the nations: let not the rebellious exalt themselves. Selah.
 
vv.1-7 God Praised for His Works of Power. Restored Israel calls on the nations of the earth to shout and sing to God, sounding forth the glory of His name. The theme of this praise is the “terrible” works of God in judgment. The result of His judgment is that His enemies “come cringing” unto Him. Perhaps this is a reference to the sessional judgment. Read more… The whole earth is called upon to worship God. The deliverance of Israel in prophecy is correlated to the deliverance of Israel from Egypt when they passed through the Red Sea on dry land, when they went through the Jordan River on foot. There is also a warning (v.7) to the nations that God is in power and He is watching all the nations. No rebellion will be tolerated.
 
8 Bless our God, ye peoples, and make the voice of his praise to be heard;
9 Who hath set our soul in life, and suffereth not our feet to be moved.
10 For thou, O God, hast proved us: thou hast tried us, as silver is tried.
11 Thou broughtest us into a net, thou didst lay a heavy burden upon our loins;
12 Thou didst cause men to ride over our head; we went through fire and through water: but thou hast brought us out into abundance.
 
vv.8-12 God Praised for Delivering Israel. Israel again calls on the peoples of the earth to bless God, but this time it is more specifically for His deliverance of Israel. They speak in passing of the great tribulation they have passed through; “thou hast tried us, as silver is tried. Thou broughtest us into a net, thou didst lay a heavy burden upon our loins; Thou didst cause men to ride over our head; we went through fire and through water”. But after it all, God brought them into an abundance of blessing in the kingdom.
 
13 I will go into thy house with burnt-offerings; I will perform my vows to thee,
14 Which my lips have uttered, and my mouth hath spoken, when I was in trouble.
15 I will offer up unto thee burnt-offerings of fatted beasts, with the incense of rams; I will offer bullocks with goats. Selah.
 
vv.13-15 Vows Paid with Sacrifices. In response to the manifestation of who God is by His glorious works of power, and in thanksgiving for His deliverance of Israel, the faithful will perform their vows which they had made when they were “in trouble”. This will be accompanied by offerings burnt offerings offered in the Millennium.
 
16 Come, hear, all ye that fear God, and I will declare what he hath done for my soul.
17 I called unto him with my mouth, and he was extolled with my tongue.
18 Had I regarded iniquity in my heart, the Lord would not hear.
19 But God hath heard; he hath attended to the voice of my prayer.
20 Blessed be God, who hath not turned away my prayer, nor his loving-kindness from me!
 
vv.16-20 God Praised for Answering Prayers. Israel now calls specifically on the believing nations to hear. God is to be praised for what He has done for Israel. Restored Israel reflects on the fact that they have had to pass judgment on the “iniquity” in their hearts, and that as a result, the Lord has brought them into their full blessing. God is to be blessed because He has heard their prayers, and loved them unchangingly!
 

Psalm 67

 
Psalm 67
God Praised in the Millennium by Israel and the Nations
 
Psalm 67. This is a Psalm that was intended to be played “on stringed instruments”, and was likely written by David, although we cannot be sure. This Psalm gives us the expressions of restored Israel in the Millennium, as they praise God and call on the nations to praise with them. The blessing of the earth is seen in Psalm 67 as the result of Israel’s restoration! This is the meaning of Rom. 11:15; “For if the casting away of them be the reconciling of the world, what shall the receiving of them be, but life from the dead?” This Psalm is also remarkable because it shows how the animosity between Jews and Gentiles will be broken down in that day.
 
PSALM 67
To the chief Musician. On stringed instruments. A Psalm: a Song.
1 God be gracious unto us, and bless us, and cause his face to shine upon us; Selah,
2 That thy way may be known upon earth, thy salvation among all nations.
 
vv.1-2 Israel’s Blessing. Israel calls for the blessing of God upon them, that God’s ways and power unto salvation might be known on the earth, not just to Israel but “among all nations”.
 
3 Let the peoples praise thee, O God, let all the peoples praise thee.
4 Let the nations rejoice and sing for joy: for thou wilt judge the peoples equitably; and the nations upon earth, thou wilt guide them. Selah.
 
vv.3-4 The Nations’ Praise. Israel calls on the nations to praise God; “let all the peoples praise thee”. The nations will experience “joy” in a way they have never known when Messiah is on earth, and the kingdom is established in manifest power. The peoples will be in a state to rejoice because of of the righteous government of God on the earth; “for thou wilt judge the peoples equitably”. This government is not merely punitive. God will “guide them” into the path of blessing; when righteousness is established, the nations will prosper socially, economically, etc. This is why it says Christ will “shepherd them with an iron rod” (Rev. 2:27). It will be an iron rod, but it will be shepherding.
 
5 Let the peoples praise thee, O God; let all the peoples praise thee.
6 The earth will yield her increase; God, our God, will bless us:
7 God will bless us; and all the ends of the earth shall fear him.
 
vv.5-6 The Blessing of Israel and the Earth. Israel calls again on the nations to praise God, and anticipates the day when the “the creature itself also shall be set free from the bondage of corruption” (Rom. 8:21). In that day, “the earth will yield her increase”. Israel will be blessed, and they own God as their own; “God, our God, will bless us”. The two great results of the Millennial reign is that Israel will be blessed, and all nations will fear God!
 

Psalm 68

 
Psalm 68
A Summary of God’s Delivering Power for Israel 
 
Psalm 68. This Psalm is one of David, and really gives us a summary of God’s deliverance of Israel, beginning with the deliverance from Egypt, but transitioning into their final blessing. It looks forward to the Millennium! It uses seven different names of God; Elohim, Jah, Adonnai, El-Shaddai, Jehovah, Jehovah-Elohim, El.
 
PSALM 68
To the chief Musician. Of David. A Psalm: a Song.
1 Let God arise, let his enemies be scattered, and let them that hate him flee before him.
2 As smoke is driven, thou wilt drive them away; as wax melteth before the fire, the wicked shall perish at the presence of God.
3 But the righteous shall rejoice: they shall exult before God and be glad with joy.
 
vv.1-3 God Arises. Israel calls on God to arise and scatter His enemies! Notice that v.1 is almost identical to Num. 10:35, spoken by Moses whenever the cloud would rise up and go before the camp of Israel. However, David uses the name Elohim instead of Jehovah. Various figures are used: driving smoke and melting wax. The wicked will melt before the presence of God, but “the righteous shall rejoice” and will stand before God with joy and gladness.
 
4 Sing unto God, sing forth his name; cast up a way for him that rideth in the deserts: his name is Jah; and rejoice before him.
5 A father of the fatherless, and a judge of the widows, is God in his holy habitation.
6 God maketh the solitary into families; those that were bound he bringeth out into prosperity: but the rebellious dwell in a parched land.
 
vv.4-6 God Leading His People. God is pictured as riding in majesty at the head of His people, who sing to Him, and rejoice before Him. His name is “Jah”, which is a shortened form of Jehovah. God is also seen as sitting in His “holy habitation”, righteously judging the poor and oppressed, bringing blessing to those who were afflicted. No doubt there is a reference to the deliverance from Egypt. But the rebellious (perhaps the rebellious in Israel) are left in the desert.
 
7 O God, when thou wentest forth before thy people, when thou didst march through the wilderness — (Selah) —
8 The earth trembled, the heavens also dropped at the presence of God, yon Sinai, at the presence of God, the God of Israel.
9 Thou, O God, didst pour a plentiful rain upon thine inheritance, and when it was weary thou strengthenedst it.
10 Thy flock hath dwelt therein: thou hast prepared in thy goodness, for the afflicted, O God!
11 The Lord gives the word: great the host of the publishers.
12 Kings of armies flee; they flee, and she that tarrieth at home divideth the spoil.
13 Though ye have lain among the sheepfolds, ye shall be as wings of a dove covered with silver, and her feathers with green gold.
14 When the Almighty scattered kings in it, it became snow-white as Zalmon.
 
vv.7-14 Israel’s History Recounted. The history of the march through the wilderness is recounted. God marched, at the head of His people, through the wilderness. We have similar language in Judges 5. The earth trembled at Sinai when God’s presence was felt. He also watered His “inheritance” (the promised land) with rain, and strengthened His people. God brought Israel into Canaan, and scattered their enemies before them. Even the spoils of the Canaanites were given to Israel (v.12). Israel flourished like the spreading wings of a dove! Such was her entrance into Canaan. But these verses cannot be limited to the past merely. They also look to the future, when Israel’s true beauty, long hidden in the sheepfold of Judaism, will be spread forth for all the world to see!
 
15 As mount Bashan is the mount of God, a many-peaked mountain, as mount Bashan.
16 Why do ye look with envy, ye many-peaked mountains, upon the mount that God hath desired for his abode? yea, Jehovah will dwell there for ever.
17 The chariots of God are twenty thousand, thousands upon thousands; the Lord is among them: it is a Sinai in holiness.
18 “Thou hast ascended on high, thou hast led captivity captive: thou hast received gifts in Man,” [quoted Ephesians 4:8] and even for the rebellious, for the dwelling there of Jah Elohim.
19 Blessed be the Lord: day by day doth he load us with good, the GOD who is our salvation. Selah.
20 Our GOD is the GOD of salvation; and with Jehovah, the Lord, are the goings forth even from death.
21 Verily God will smite th