Andrew A. (Andrew Alexander) Bonar.

Christ and His Church in the Book of Psalms online

. (page 15 of 42)
Online LibraryAndrew A. (Andrew Alexander) BonarChrist and His Church in the Book of Psalms → online text (page 15 of 42)
Font size
QR-code for this ebook

word here as in 1 Sam. xiii. 16, "present with Saul ;" 2 Chron.
XXXV. 18, " Judah and Israel present," or found at their post ;


and 1 Sam. xxi. 8, "whatever is present" — is at hand. He
has proved himself to be a help at hand.

The river in verse 4 alludes to the Euphrates of Babylon,
and the Tigris of Assyria. Jerusalem has not such mighty
floods to boast of. Yet Jerusalem has a river too. She has her
" waters of Siloah," flowing softly from her Temple (Isa. viii.
6-8), which may be despised by men of might, yet are Jeru-
salem's glory. Her glory is, that Jehovah is in her Temple,
from beneath whose rock flows out Siloah ; and thus " A river
is there, that gladdens this city of God." Or, if this be not the
primary reference, the allusion is to this same Siloah when it
shall flow from the Temple (see Joel iii. 18 ; Isa. xxxiii. 21 ;
Ezek. xlvii. 1-16), and shall heal whatever it laves ; far excel-
ling the mighty waters of Euphrates and Hiddekel, which bear
the proud gallies of tyrants.

Victory shall come as soon as the Lord's set time arrives ;
" when morning appears," as at the Red Sea. (Exod. xiv.
27). The Lord himself shall invite men to see his victory :
" Come and see F' (ver. 8), and to hear Him proclaim his own
right to exaltation. At this announcement, his people shout
in reply, verses 7 and 11, each marked (like ver. 5) by the
" Selah."

" The Lord of hosts is idth us !
The God of Jacob is our refuge /"
{Our 3J!tJ^D, more than HDHQ of verse 1.)

Thus setting forth

The Mighty One on the side of the righteous, amid earth's
sorest throes.


To the chief Musician. A Psalm for the sons of Korah.

1 O CLAP your hands, all ye people ! shout unto God with the voice of

triumph !

2 For the Lord most high is terrible : lie is a great King over all the earth.

3 He shall subdue the people under us, and the nations under our feet.

4 He shall choose our inheritance for us, the excellency of Jacob, whom he

loved. Selah.

5 God is gone up with a shout, the Lord with tlie sound of a trumpet !


6 Sing praises to God, sing praises : sing praises unto our King, sing praises.

7 For God is the King of all the earth : sing ye praises with understanding.

8 God reigneth over the heathen : God sitteth upon the throne of his holiness.

9 The princes of the people are gathered together, even the people of the

God of Abraham :
For the shields of the earth belong unto God : he is greatly exalted.

Some have applied this Psalm to Christ's ascension ; but
it speaks of his Second Coming. The Mighty One is seated
peacefully on his throne. We are referred back to Psalm xlv.
9. His happy people stand around, exulting in his coronation,
as Israel (to use a feeble emblem) rejoiced till earth rang again,
when Athaliah, the usurper, was deposed, and the King of
David's line was manifested after his long concealment. Then
they clapt their hands (2 Kings xi. 12) to shew their rapturous
joy, as here all earth is invited to do ; for even woods and
trees and rivers are elsewhere represented as joining in this
ecstacy of bliss (Isa. Iv. 12) ; Psa. xcviii. 9), when our King
sets the New Earth in its regenerated order.

Verses 2, 3, 4, shew what the King has come to do, viz., to
choose the "excellency," or the excellent Land, "of Jacob."
Resting over this blissful scene, the Psalmist inserts his "Selah"
— a pause of meditation. But verse 5 breaks the thoughtful
silence with a shout to our Immanuel — for he it is who is cele-
brated as " God" —

" Sing praises to God !
Si7ig j^yaises !
Sing praises to our King !
Sing praises !

For God is King over all the earth !
Sing praises with widerstanding .
God reigneth over the nations !
God sitteth upon the throne of his holiness!"

Around our Incarnate God and King are gathered Israel's
princes — " princes of the Ood of Abraham" — Abraham's seed
now receiving in full the blessings promised to their father,
and all earth blest in him. Everywhere, " the shields of earth"
earth's princes, who once, like "the shields" mentioned in
Hosea iv. 18, instead of defending their people, robbed and
preyed on them, now gather round our God to receive authority

The pla


from bim and use it for him. He is King of kings. He is
Lord of lords. And this is the enthusiastic celebration of
The Mighty One on the throne of earth.


A Song and Psalm for the sons of Korah.

1 GHEATis the Lord, and greatly to be praised

In the city of our God, in the mountain of his holiness.

2 Beautiful for situation, 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 for a refuge.

4 For, lo, the kings were assembled, they passed by together.

5 They saw it, and so they marvelled ; they were troubled, and hasted away.

6 Fear took hold upon them there, and pain, as of a woman in travail.

7 Thou breakest the ships of Tarshish, with an east wind.

8 As we have heard so have we seen, in the city of the Lord of hosts, in the

city of our God :
God will establish it for ever. Selah.
f) We have thought of thy lovingkindness, O God, 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 band is full of righteousness.

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 : tell 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 even unto


jonnection. The subjoct of the Mighty One's history is still continued.
The Mighty One is king, has entered on his dominion, is seated
on his throne, is ruling in righteousness. But where is his

riic v'an. capital ? It is at Jerusalem. Here He manifests himself ; and
by the glory of his presence being shed over that " City of the
Great King," brighter than the light of seven days, yet far
more mellow and tranquillising than the sweetest hues of even-
ing, Jerusalem becomes

'" The joy oftlie whole earth.

(The joy) of the sides* of the north.'" (Jer. vi. 22.)

* " Sides," ^JH^T* utmost extremes. See especially Isa. xiv. f), where the
proud tyrant says, "I will sit on the mount of the congregation," i.e., Zion,


She has become the joy of earth, far and near, the source of
joy to earth's remotest bounds. Now is fulfilled Isaiah xxiv.
23. Now is Jerusalem made " beautiful for situation," or, set
aloft on its hills in beauty, in another sense than formerly.
Now is Zion exalted above the mountains, and obtains estab-
lished pre-eminence above the hills.

And if associations are needed to make any place completely
interesting, these are not wanting here. Such deeds have been
done here, that Sennacherib's overthrow is, in a manner, cast
into the shade. The gathered kings of earth came up, " they
passed" in all the pomp of battle, and the Lord scattered them ;
and writes here his " Veni, vidi, vici," to all nations.
" They saw !

They marvelled !

They xoere trouhled !

They hasted away .'" (Ver. 5.)
It was as when an east wind hurls the ships of Tarshish on
the rocks. (Ver. 7.) It comprised in it all that is recorded as
wonderful in the achievements of former days ; present events
now come fully up to the measure of former good deeds,

^^ As we have heard, so have we seen,
In the city of the Lord of hosts."" (Ver. 8.)

The solemn Selah-pause occurs here; and then we look out on
a peaceful scene, God known in all the earth. (Ver. 10.)
" Thou art praised wherever thy name is knoiun," or rather,
now at last thou art getting praise worthy of thy glorious
name. Zion is glad, Judah's tears are wiped away, while a
voice invites all men to come and survey the bulwarks of the
city of the Great Kiug, that they may tell it from age to age.
The bulwarks are strong, for the Lord's presence, Jehovah
Shammah, is the wall of fire, on whose battlements the happy
citizens walk in security, singing,

and then, " on the sides of the north," earth's widest bounds. Hengstenberg
objects to this construction of the verse, that we do not find in Hebrew this re-
sumption of a status constr. But Isa. xiv. 19 is a clear case, " the raiment
of the slain, of the pierced with the sword." So Job xxvi. 10, according to
Ewald; and Prov. xv. 26. Tholuck renders it; " A joy of the earth to the
remotest north." Thei-e is another explanation that makes, "Sides of the
north, the city of the Great King," to be descriptive of the town (afterwards
Acra) built on the ground north of Mount Zion.


" This God is our God for ever and ever ;
He is our guide even over death." (Tholuck, " even beyond death.")

The last clause is much misunderstood, It is not, " Our guide
unto death," for the words are niD b^ ^^^T})^^.y " shall lead us
over death." Surely it means, " It is He who leads over death
to resurrection" — over Jordan into Canaan. The 7^ is used
in Levit. xv. 25 for " beyond," in regard to time, and is not
this the sense here ? " Beyond the time of death ?" Till death
is to us over ? Till we have stood upon the grave of death ?
Yes : He it is who leads us on to this last victory ; he swallows
up death in victory, and leads us to trample on death. And
so viewed, we easily discern the beautiful link of thought that
joins this Psalm to that which follows.
Such is the celebration of

The Mighty One become the glory of Jerusalem.


To the chief Musician. A Psalm for the sons of Korah.

1 Hear this, all ye people ; give ear, all ye inhabitants of the world :

2 Both low and high, rich and poor, together.

3 My mouth shall speak of wisdom ; and the meditation of my heart shall

he of understanding.

4 I will incline mine ear to a parable : I will open my dark saying upon the


5 Wherefore should I fear in the days of evil,

When the iniquity of my heels shall compass me about ?

6 They that trust in their wealth, and boast themselves in the multitude of

their riches ;

7 None of them can by any means redeem his brother, nor give to God a

ransom for him :

8 (For the redemption of their soul is precious, and it ceaseth for ever :)

9 That he should still live for ever, and not see corruption.

10 For he seeth that wise men die, likewise the fool and the brutish person

And leave their wealth to others.

11 Their inward thought is, that their houses shall continue for ever,
And their dwelling places to all generations ;

They call their lands after their own names.

12 Nevertheless man being in honour abideth not : he is like the beasts that



13 This their way is their folly: yet tlicir posterity approve their sayings.


14 Like sheep they are laid in the grave ; death shall feed on them ;
And the upright shall have dominion over them in the morning :
And their beauty shall consume in the grave from their dwelling.

15 But God will redeem my soul from the power of the grave :
For he shall receive me. Selah.

16 Be not thou afraid when one is made i-ich, when the glory of his house is

increased ;

17 For when he dieth he shall carry nothing away : his glory shall not de-

scend after him.

18 Though while he lived he blessed his soul :

And men will praise thee, when thou doest well to thyself.

19 He 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


The mighty one never rests till he has " led us over death" connection.
(xlviii. 14), to Resurrection-fulness of bliss in the kingdom.
Thrice happy they who shall enjoy it ! But who shall tell the
misery of those who are excluded from that bliss ? It is this
misery that is the theme of this Psalm. As sure as the eternal
felicity of the redeemed is the miserable doom of the unre-
deemed ; and this Psalm is the dirge over them.

The Redeemer himself speaks this " 'parable," this weighty xiie speaker.
discourse, which in its topics is to the world no better than an
unintelligible enigma — " a dark saying."" But nevertheless,
" these things which have been kept secret from the beginning"
(Matt. xiii. 38), are here laid open in their solemn grandeur,
in their awful importance, in their truth and certainty. Mes-
siah here speaks " wisdom" (JltopH) and " understanding" as
in Prov. i. 20, revealing the deep things of God to man. It is
Messiah who says (ver. 5), " Wherefore should I fear in the
days of evil, when iniquity at my heals doth compass m.e
about T' Messiah in our world of evil, pursued by sons of
Belial, who would fain trample on him, surrounded by the
troops of hell, breathing the atmosphere of this polluted world,
walking'amid its snares, is able to break through all unscathed,
and foretell impending ruin to every foe.

Man has no means of paying to God his ransom-money The plan
(Exod. xxi. 80), although he bring the most costly price earth


can furnish. He " must let that alone for ever" {Prayer Booh
Version) ; he cannot come up to the amount demanded ; he
cannot give even what might be sufficient to redeem the life
from the grave. See how generations die, disappear, give place
to other generations, all equally the prey of corruption ; and
yet fools continue to hope for immortality for themselves.
Think of this infatuation ; pause, meditate ; the harp will be
silent for a time that you may ponder it — " Selah !"

But lift the veil ! Where are these sons of folly ? In the
gi'ave ; " Death leads them into his pastures," as his sheep
(Hengstenberg) ; and

" The righteous have dominion over them in themorning.
Their beauty consumes away ;
The grave is the dwelling for every one of them.'' (Ver. 14.)

The First Resurrection is described in these few strokes, the
Resurrection of the Just. They live and reign — have do-
minion — while " the rest of the dead live not again until the
thousand years are finished." (Rev. xx. 5.) And to stifle all
doubts in their birth, the Redeemer declares himself sure of
resurrection ; and if he, then they also, for he is the first fruits,
the pledge of theirs.

" Surely, C'!JKj God shall redeem my soul from the hand of the grave;
Foil' He shall redeem me." (Ver. 15.)

He shall receive me as Enoch was received, receive me up to
glorious rest. (See Gen. v. 24, the same word, n]p) Hear,
therefore, the sum of the whole matter. The ungodly shall
never see "the light" of that "morning" (ver. 14) ; yea, (ver.
20), " man in prosjpenty," even Antichrist in the flush of his
power, " is like the beasts ; he is to he rooted out,"" (Heng-
stenberg) — he has no lot or portion with the blessed.

In such strains the Redeemer himself utters this melancholy
Dirge oftlie Righteous over the unredeemed.



A Psalm of Asapli.

1 The mighty God, even the Lord, hath spoken.

And called the earth from the rising of the sun unto the going down

2 Out of Zion, the perfection of beauty, God hath shined.

3 Our God shall come, and shall not keep silence:

A fire shall devour before him, and it shall be very tempestuous round
about him.

4 He shall call to the heavens from above, and to the earth, that he may

judge his people.

5 Gather my saints together unto me ; those that have made a covenant

with me by sacrifice.

6 And the heavens shall declare his righteousness : for God is judge him-

self. Selah.

7 Hear, O my people, and I will speak ; O Israel, and I will testify against

I am God, even thy God.

8 I will not reprove thee for thy sacrifices,

Or thy burnt oiferings, to have been 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, and the cattle upon a thousand hills.

11 I know all the fowls of the mountains: and the wild beasts of the field

are mine.

12 If I were hungrj^ I would not tell thee: for the world is mine, and the

fulness thereof.

13 Will I eat the flesh of bulls, or drink the blood of goats ?

14 Offer unto God thanksgiving ; and pay thy vows unto the Most High !

15 And call upon me in the day of trouble : 1 will deliver thee, and thou

shalt glorify me.

16 But unto the wicked God saith,

What hast thou to do to declare my statutes,

Or that thou shouldest take my covenant in thy mouth ?

17 Seeing thou hatest instruction, and easiest my words behind thee.

18 When thou sawest a thief, then thou consentedst with him.
And hast been partaker with adulterers.

19 Thou givest thy mouth to evil, and thy tongue frameth deceit.

20 Thou sittest and speakest against thy brother ; thou slanderest thine own

mother's son.

21 These things hast thou done, and I kept silence ;

Thou though test that I was always such an one as thyself:
But I will reprove thee, and set them in order before thine eyes.

22 Now consider this, ye that forget God,

Lest I tear you in pieces, and there be none to deliver.



23 Whoso offereth praise glorifieth me :

And to him that ordereth his conversation aright will I shew the salva-
tion of God.

''El, Elohim, Jehovah, has spoken/"* So reads the Hebrew.
Arrived at the end — having sung of the elect's cry, the response
to their cry in the Mighty One's appearing, the Mighty One's
protection, the throne on which he sits, the city where his
glory abides, and himself in the glory — having also sung that
melancholy dirge over those who have no portion in this lot of
Theme and the righteous — the Psalmist is led by the Spirit to strike his
harp to one other strain of a kindred nature. He here sets
forth the principles of judgment that guide the decision of the
King " who sits on the throne of his holiness," and reigns
from " out of Zion."

It is the day of Rom. i. 18. The heavens are not silent now ;
angels come with the God of heaven. The glory of the Lord,
and the gathering of the saints around him (see 2 Thess. ii. 4),
those who over the sacrifice have entered into covenant with
him, being celebrated in ver. 1-6, and the solemn *S'eZa/i-pause
having given us time to fix our eye upon the scene, the
Lord suddenly speaks, reasoning with men as to their wrong
ideas of the way of salvation (ver. 7-15). Then follows their
sinful practice (ver. 16-22). In ver. 22d the word Si is em-
phatic — " Consider this, I beseech you, ye who forget God,"
Man treats God as if he were a being to be ministered unto,
instead of a gracious, sovereign benefactor. Man acts in the
view of God as if the holy God were such a one as himself.
But the end comes. None shall enter into glory, none be
shewn " the salvation of God," i. e., his glorious completed
redemption (such as Paul spoke of, Rom. xiii. 1 1, and Peter,
1 Pet. i. 5) at the Lord's Appearing, excepting the man who
" orders his conversation aright ; " that is, who regulates his
life by such rule as ver. 5 ; in other words, by gospel-rule
— who prepares his way according to the preparation revealed
to him by the Lord. The man who would so do must begin

* Coming to judge, he appears as in Rev. xix. with all his names. ^^ El,"
the Mighty God ; " Elohim," God, the object of worship and fear ; " Jehovah,"
he who has made himself known to Israel and his people, as having all being
and perfection.


at the altar (ver. 5), and there "sacrifice," or, ^^ offer praise,"
even as ver. 14 also declared. He must begin by owning
Jehovah's benefits to us sinners, responding to the song of the
angels at Bethlehem over a Saviour born, and answering to
the Saviour's cry, " It is finished " by his soul's glad acceptance
of that finished work. This is the " ordering of the conversa-
tion " — and to declare this is the object of this Psalm. It sets
forth, at the lips of the Righteous Judge himself.
The principles that shall guide the judgment of the Righteous
One at the gathering of the Saints.


To the chief Musician. A Psalm of David, when Nathan the prophet came unto him, after he
had gone in to Bath-sheba.

1 Have mercy upon me, God, accoi'ding to thy lovingkindnesses :
According unto the multitude of thy tender mercies blot out my trans-

2 Wash me throughly from mine iniquity, and cleanse me from my sin.

3 For I acknowledge my transgressions : and my sin is ever before me.

4 Against thee, thee only have I sinned, and done this evil in thy sight :
That thou mightest be justified when thou speakest, and be clear when

thou judgest.

5 Behold, I was shapen in iniquity ; and in sin did my mother conceive me.
G Behold, thou desirest truth in the inward parts :

And in the hidden parts thou shalt make me to know wisdom.

7 Purge me with hyssop, and I shall be clean : wash me, and I shall be

whiter than snow.

8 Make me to hear joy and gladness ; 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 right spirit within me.

11 Cast me not away from thy presence; and take not thy Holy Spirit

from me.

12 Restore unto me the joy of thy salvation ; and uphold me with thy Free


13 Then will I teach transgressors thy ways ; and sinners shall be converted

unto thee.

14 Deliver me from bloodguiltiness, O God, thou God of my salvation :
And my tongue shall sing aloud of my righteousness.

15 O Lord, open thou my lips ; and my mouth shall shew forth thy praise.

16 For thou desirest not sacrifice ; else would I give it : thou delightest not

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 thou the walls of Jeru-


19 Then shalt thou be pleased with the sacrifices of righteousness,
With burnt offering and whole burnt offering :

Then shall they offer bullocks upon thine altar.

ti!is psahii"" n*d "^^^ riches, the power," (says a well-known writer), the
subject of it glory of a kingdom, could neither present nor remove the tor-
rent of sin, which puts the monarch and the beggar upon a
level." No one has more keenly scrutinized his own backslid-
ings, and more bitterly lamented them, " laying bare the iron
ribs of misery," than David, in this Psalm. We saw a series
of considerable length concluded in Psalm 1. The Psalm be-
fore us stands in an isolated position. It is not part of any
series. It has a peculiarity that no previous Psalm has exhi-
bited, for it is written (and the Hebrew title authenticates the
fact) on occasion of David's adultery, and his detestable attempts
to hide his adultery by murder of the basest kind. Now, no
such circumstances as these could ever have in them aught
that corresponded in the remotest manner to any circumstances
in the life of the Surety, David's Son. On the contrary, so far
is this Psalm from being fitted to express the work of the Surety,
that it seems introduced at this point in order to lead us to
look back on the former songs of David, and to say of what was
set forth therein, " Surely this David, who here appears as a
leper all over, with a heart as vile as the worst action of his life,
cannot be the David of whom such glorious things were for-
merly spoken V Viewed in this light, the Psalm before us is
fitted, both by its title and its contents, to direct us in the other
Psalms to the true David, as He of whom the lofty things of
preceding Psalms were sung.
Tiie pum. Coming, as this Psalm does, close upon one which set the

principles of judgment before us, it is not uninteresting to ob-
serve that it falls into its place very appropriately. For here
we find a sinner — an individual sinner — realizing his position
at that bar, and consenting to the decisions of a tribunal
whereat nothing but justice has free course. The sinner ac-
knowledges in verse 4 that his sin is all his own, and done in


direct opposition to the Holy One ; and he owns his folly be-
fore all the universe.

" That thou mayest be justified, in the matter of the law proclaimed by thee,

Online LibraryAndrew A. (Andrew Alexander) BonarChrist and His Church in the Book of Psalms → online text (page 15 of 42)