Andrew A. (Andrew Alexander) Bonar.

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before us in which Israel is seen defiled, polluted, stained to
the core with sin. Yet the Lord saved them, when they re-
turned from their ways (vers. 40-46), fulfilling the promise in
Lev. xxvi. 12, and answering the prayer (1 Kings viii. 47), left
for all ages.

Yes ; these scenes of grace toward the basest, most ungrate-
ful, most perverse, are for all ages, to lead them to the cry in
verse 47, —

" Save us, Lord, our God !
And gather us from the Gentiles.'^

Israel must raise that cry in these latter days. Israel will
raise it soon. Ere long, they shall take up the harp of David,
and Solomon, and Asaph, and Heman, and the sons of Korah,
and use all these songs ; and this among the rest — this among
the first. On that day, instead of " Amen" to the solemn
curse, as in Deut. xxvii. 15-26, the people shall, with one
accord, say " Amen" to the song of thanksgiving raised to Je-
hovah, who has gathered them fi'om the Gentiles.

" Blessed he Jehovah, God of Israel,
From everlasting and unto everlasting !
And let all tlie people (Q^n) •''«.'/, Amen !
Hallelujah ! "
Thus setting forth

The Lord glorified in his long-suffering to Israel, and in their
final gathering.



1 O GIVE thanks unto the Lord, for he is good : for his mercy endureth for


2 Let the redeemed of the Lord say so, whom he hath redeemed from the

hand of the enemy ;

3 And gathered them out of the lands,

From the east, and from the west, from the north, and from the south.

4 They wandered in the wilderness in a solitary way ; they found no city to

dwell in.

5 Hungry and thirsty, their soul fainted in them.

6 Then they cried unto the Lord in their trouble, and he delivered them out

of their distresses ;

7 And he led them forth by the right way, that they might go to a city of


8 Oh that men would praise the Lord for his goodness.
And for his wonderful works to the children of men !

9 For he satisfieth the longing soul, and filleth the hungry soul with goodness.

10 Such as sit in darkness and in shadow of death, being bound in affliction

and iron,

11 Because they rebelled against the words of God,
And contemned the counsel of the Most High :

12 Therefore he brought down their heart with labour ;
They fell down, and there was none to help.

13 Then they cried unto the Lord in their trouble, and he saved them out

of their distresses.

14 He brought them out of darkness and the shadow of death, and brake

their bands in sunder.

15 Oh that men would praise the Lord for his goodness.
And for his wonderful works to the children of men !

16 For he hath broken the gates of brass, and cut the bars of iron in sunder.

17 Fools because of their transgression, and because of their iniquities, are


18 Their soul abhorreth all manner of meat ; and they draw near unto the

gates of death.

19 Then they cry unto the Lord in their trouble, and he saveth them out of

their distresses.

20 He sent his word, and healed them, and delivered them from their de-


21 Oh that men would praise the Lord for his goodness.
And for his wonderful works to the children of men !

22 And let them sacrifice the sacrifices of thanksgiving, and declare his works

with rejoicing.

23 They that go down to the sea in ships, that do business in great waters ;

24 These see the works of the Lord, and his wonders in the deep.

The connection.


25 For he commandeth, and raiseth the stormy wind, which lifteth up the

waves thereof.

26 They mount up to the heaven, they go down again to the depths :
Their soul is melted because of trouble.

27 They reel to and fro, and stagger like a drunken man, and are at their

wit's end.

28 Then they cry unto the Lord in their trouble, and he bringeth them out

of their distresses.

29 He maketh the storm a calm, so that the waves thereof are still.

30 Then are they glad because they be quiet ; so he bringeth them into their

desired haven.

31 Oh that men would praise the Lord for his goodness,
And for his wonderful works to the children of men!

32 Let them exalt him also in the congregation of the people.
And praise him in the assembly of the elders.

33 He turneth rivers into a wilderness, and the watersprings into dry ground ;

34 A fruitful land into barrenness, for the wickedness of them that dwell


35 He turneth the wilderness into a standing water, and dry ground into


36 And there he maketh the hungry to dwell, that they may prepare a city

for habitation ;

37 And sow the fields, and plant vineyards, which may yield fruits of in-


38 He blesseth them also, so that they are multiplied greatly ;
And suffercth not their ccatle to decrease.

39 Again, they are minished and brought low through oppression, affliction,

and sorrow.

40 He poureth contempt upon princes,

And causeth them to wander in the wilderness, where there is no way.

41 Yet setteth he the poor on high from affliction, and maketh him families

like a flock.

42 The righteous shall see it, and rejoice: and all iniquity shall stop her


43 Whoso is wise, and will observe these things,

Even they shall understand the lovingkindness of the Lord.

SCAKCELY has the ascending cry of the preceding Psalm ceased,
when the answer* comes. For here is all Israel gathered.
We say, all Israel ; for it is Israel peculiarly who form the
subject of it. At the same time, on the same principle that

* The Jewish Fifth division of the Psalms begins here, apparently for no
other reason than because Psa. cvi. ended with an Amen. Properly there is a
close connection between Psa. cv , cvi., and cvii., equivalent to Part I., Part IT.,
Part III., of one and the same narrative.



leads us to admit every member of Christ's body to share in
David's hopes and faith, and in the Son of David's confidence
and victory, we find this a Psahn which every one of God's re-
deemed, in any age, can sympathise in, and can sing with re-
ference to themselves,

Henffstenberg thinks it suited peculiarly to a joyful, na- its typical and

o o r J J J ' emblematic

tional service of thanksgiving, such as that Feast of Tabernacles
in Ezra's day (chap, iii.), after the few bands of the dispersed
of Israel had returned to their land. If it would be appro-
priate in such circumstances, much more will it be so when all
Israel, from all lands of their dispersion, have returned home.
And thus it is that Dr Allix describes it — " A Hymn of the
Synagogue, gathered from its last dispersion " — applicable
to that day foretold by Isa. xi. 11, when the Lord recovers the
remnant of his people, the second time, " from Assyria, and
from Egypt, and from Pathros, and from Cush, and from Elam,
and from Shinar, and frorn Hamath, and from the isles of the
sea." Some have experience of their forefathers' trials in the
desert (ver. 4-7) ; some have come from the prison-house (ver.
1 0-1 4) ; some have been emaciated by sickness (ver. 1 7-20) ;
others have been all but swallowed up by the sea (ver. 23-30) ;
— all have been witnesses of the Lord's curse on their own
land and nation for sin, and now have become witnesses of the
blessing when sin is removed. A nation that has had, and
is to have, such experience is the fittest of all to form a type, or
be the pattern, of God's discovery of his ways in grace, to
men of every nation, and kindred, and tongue, whom he re-
deems. It is such manifestations as these that make " the
righteous see and rejoice;" it is such views of God's ways
that cause " all iniquity to stop her mouth" (ver. 42) ; and it
is thus that men discover Jehovah's thoughts that are higher
than our thoughts,

" Whoso is wise will consider these things,
And will understand the mercies (""nDn) of the Lord."

The kingdom will be the time and place for a thorough and
searching inquiry into the Lord's past ways. We try this in-
quiry now, and what we do succeed in discerning is most
profitable. But our eyes are dim. O for the time when Israel,



and we beside them, shall look back on the Lord's ways, such
ways as are described here, and understand the Lord's character
and the Lord's loving-kindness ! From the heights of glory
we shall be able to look far down into the depths of grace.

Eut no wonder it closes thus, when we dwell upon its many
subjects of praise and thanksgiving. Its first words are abun-
dant in thought concerning Jehovah — " For he is good." Is
not this (as we saw in Psa. c.) the Old Testament version of
" God is love?" (1 John iv. 8.) And then, "For his mercy
endureth for ever." Is not this the gushing stream from the
fountain of Love ? — the never-failing stream, on whose banks
"the redeemed of the Lord" walk, "those whom he has re-
deemed from, the hand of the enemy" (Hengstenberg, " hand
of trouble," 1'^). Nor is the rich significance of these clauses
diminished by our knowing that they were, from time to time,
the burden of the altar-song. When the ark came to its rest-
ing-place (1 Chron. xvi. .34), they sang to the Lord — "For he is
good ; for his mercy endureth for ever !" In Solomon's tem-
ple, the singers and players on instruments were making the
resplendent walls of the newly-risen temple resound with these
very words, when the glory descended (2 Chron. v. 13) ; and
these were the words that burst from the lips of the awe-
struck and delighted worshippers, who saw the fire descend
on the altar (2 Chron. vii. 8). And in Ezra's days (iii. 11),
again, as soon as the altar rose, they sang to the Lord — " Be-
cause he is good ; for his m^ercy to Israel endureth for ever."
Our God is known to be " Love," by the side of the atoning
sacrifice. Jeremiah, (xxxiii. 11) too, shews how restored Israel
shall exult in this name.

Dwell next on the experience of his redeemed, "from east
and west," so far separate from each other ; and from " north,'^
the most obscure quarter of earth, and from " the sea " (U^), the
tempest-tossed region. They have witnessed strange scenes,
and the love of God in them all. Think of the wanderers in
the desert (ver. 4) realising their fathers' history, and joining
to it Hagar and Ishmael's thirst and despondency — how they
were delivered after all, and led to the city, to Jerusalem (Tar-
gum and Hengstenberg) — the city where they found the habi-
tation of God, and where they were made to dwell.


" Let these praise the Lord for his goodness,
And for his tconderful doings to the sons of men ;
For he satisfieth the longing sold {P!pp\i}, going hither and thither

in vain),
AndfiUeth the hungry soid with good " (^ilO ; his own name, ver. 1.)

Think of another scene. Yonder is a prison-house (ver, 10),
and there you find transgressors, such as Manasseh or Zede-
kiah, brought low, because they despised the words of (7^)
the Mighty God, and left in the dungeon to consider their
ways. Their cry goes up to the mercy-seat — they are de-
livered ; they are blessed.

" Let them praise the Lord for his goodness," djc.
Think of another scene — the bed of sickness, " Fools afflicted
because of their course of transgression,'" (ver. 17). Hear the
groan, look on the languid eye, observe the sore anguish of these
death-stricken ones. But, like the man described in Job xxxiii.
19-23, to whom the Interpreter comes, these cry to the Lord
and find mercy.

And so is it with those tempest-tossed ones (ver. 22), who
for a time were like Jonah and the mariners that were with
him.* The Lord commandeth, and the stormy wind ariseth,
(ver. 25).

" Wliich, liftdh up His leaves;'' {i.e., Jehovah's waves Psa. xliii. 7 ;
Jonah ii. 3).

But what a calm when Jehovah hears their cry ! — like the sea
of Galilee that morning when The Master arose and rebuked
winds and waves with his " Peace ; be still." Was there need
then to exhort men to adore and praise ? Did they not cry
one to another, "What manner of man is this?" Even so
here ; when "their waves" (ver. 29) — i. e., the waves that tossed
them, sent out by God (ver. 25), and made terrible to them —
are lulled by him who hears their cry.

* " Me miserum ! quanti montes volvuutur aquarum !
Jamjam tacturos sidera summa putes.
Quantse diducto subsidunt aquore valles !
Jamjam tacturos Tartara regna putes.
Rector in incerto est, nee quod fugiatve, petatve
Invenit ! ambiguis ars stupet ipsa malis."

—Ovid, Eleff. I., ver. 28.


" Let them praise the Lord fur his goodness," d-c.
Let them praise Him in the place where the Elders sit together — ■
deliberating on the ways of God.

But now Israel, from all lands, meet on their proper soil —
Palestine. They see it had become waste and desolate, like
Sodom (Deut. xxix. 23), though once as the garden of Eden ;
and they own it is for " the wickedness of those that dwelt
there," (ver. 34). They remember how, when their fathers
emerged from the wilderness, they found it a land flowing with
milk and honey ; and how to them it was exchanging a desert
for water-springs — there they dwelt, built their cities, reared
Jerusalem, and there they multiplied (ver. 35-38). It was sin
that " dimiuished them," and " poured contempt on their
princes," (ver. 39, 40). God is good ; God is Love. God would
have blessed them for ever, nor ever once have broken a link
of the chain, but for sin. And now He has returned in free
love to them.

" He setteth the poor on high,
And maketh families to him, like a flock of sheep." (Ver. 41.)

Shall not gathered Israel bless the Lord ? and shall not all the

earth hear, and see, and learn ?

" The righteous shall see and rejoice,
And all iniquity stop her mouth.
Whoso is wise will consider these things,
And will understand the mercies of the Lord."

By such closing words are all men invited to come and join
the Lord's redeemed, in their blessings and in their joyful song,
helping them to raise to the Lord this

Song of thanks from gathered Israel and the redeemed.


A Song or Psalm of David.

1 O God, my heart is fixed ;

I will sing and give praise, even with my glory.

2 Awake, psaltery and harp : I myself will awake early.

3 I will praise thee, O Lord, among the people :

And I will sing praises unto thee among the nations.

4 For thy mercy is great above the heavens : and thy truth reacheth unto

the clouds.


5 Be thou exalted, O God, above the heavens : and thy glory above all the


6 That thy beloved may be delivered : save with thy right hand, and an-

swer me.

7 God hath spoken in his holiness! I will rejoice ;

I will divide Shechem, and mete out the valley of Succoth.

8 Gilead is mine ; Manasseh is mine ;

Ephraim also is the strength of mine head ; Judah is my lawgiver ;

9 Moab is my washpot ; over Edom will I cast out my shoe ;
Over Philistia will I triumph.

10 Who will bring me into the strong city ? who will lead me into Edom ?

11 Wilt not thou, O God, who hast cast us off? and wilt not thou, O God,

go forth with our hosts ?

12 Give us help from trouble: for vain is the help of man.

13 Through God we shall do valiantly : for he it is that shall tread down our

He has brought them to their desired haven ! The tone.

" God I my heart is fixed —
My heart is fixed."

No more tossed, no more wandering.

" I will siiig and give praise ;
Awake, my glory, awake ! "

A call to celebrate a greater victory than Deborah's (Judges
V. 12) — " Awake, my glory" — i. e., my tongue, the best member
I have for the purpose ; or, my heart (Hengstenberg), fitted to
be a harp that may sound thy name.

" Awake, psaltery and harp !
I will aicake the morning ! "

For his mercy is great — that mercy sung of lately (Psa. cvii.
1, and ver. 43). It is "frow. above the heavens" (C)^?2^ ^^J^) ',
i. e., coming down on us, as do drops of a fertilizing shower.
Even as the " Peace on earth," of Luke ii. 14, was first " Peace
in heaven" (Luke xix. 38).

We have already had the words of this Psalm in two others Title and torm.
— viz., the Ivii. and Ix. But here the joyful and the trium-
phant portions of these two are joined in one, to form a lofty
melody (" A song, a psalm," like Psa. xxx. in the title), cele-
brating Israel's return and Messiah's triumph.* Messiah, and amuaints!'^'^'^

* Ryland says, that in Psalm Ivii. and Ix. the words were prophetic and
consolatory; here they are rather eucharistic, and descriptive of what God
has prepared for his own.


all Israel along with him, and every saint " rejoicing with Jeru-
salem" (Isa. Ixv. 18), utter this Psalm. Messiah, as Leader,
speaks, in verse 9, in his own name (an intentional variation
from Psalm Ix. 8) —

" Moab I will use as a vessel in ivhich to icash my feet (when the journej
is over),
Over Edom I will cast my shoe (as one does to his servant),
Over Philistia I will raise the shout o/joi/."

Both in this Psalm and Psalm Ix., the words in verse 10 —
" Who shall lead me ?" — are in the present participle, Vli^ )D
— " Who is my leader V — thus admitting of application to the
past, while they may be prospective also ; like the expression
in Heb. xiii. 7, " Kemember Tuv riyov/xsvuv v/mSjv," your rulers.
The speaker asks —

" Who is he that leadeth me to the strong city 7
Who hath led me into Edom ?
Is it not thou, God, who hadst rejected us,
And didst not gofoiih with our armies ? "

Then, going forward in the Lord's name, and renouncing man's
strength, He and His enter on possession, saying —

" Through God we shall do valiantly ;
He it is that treads down our enemies."

" It is he that bruises Satan under our feet," may every saint
reply ; and, when Israel's day has come, every saint shall find
himself blessed in their blessing. And so shall the Church
Messiah, in behalf of restored Israel, raising the shout of


To the chief Musician. A Psalm of David.

1 Hold not tliy peace, O God of my praise !

2 For the mouth of the wicked and the mouth of the deceitful are opened

against me :
They have spoken against me with a lying tongue.

3 They have compassed mc about with words of hatred ;
And fought against mc without a cause.


4 For my love they are my adversaries : but I give myself unto prayer.

5 And they have rewarded me evil for good, and hated for my love.

6 Set thou a wicked man over him : and let Satan stand at his right hand.

7 When he shall be judged, let him be condemned : and let his prayer be-

come sin.

8 Let his days be few ; and let another take his office.

9 Let his children be fatherless, and his wife a widow.

10 Let his children be continually vagabonds, and beg :

Let them seek their bread also out of their desolate places.

11 Let the extortioner catch all that he hath ; and let the stranger spoil his


12 Let there be none to extend mercy unto him :

Neither let there be any to favour his fatherless children.

13 Let his posterity be cut off;

And in the generation following let their name be blotted out.

14 Let the iniquity of his fathers be remembered with the Lord ;
And let not the sin of his mother be blotted out.

15 Let them be before the Lord continually.

That he may cut off the memory of them from the earth.

16 Because that he remembered not to shew mercy,

But persecuted the poor and needy man, that he miglit even slay the
broken in heart.

17 As he loved cursing, so let it come unto him :

As he delighted not in blessing, so let it be far from him.

18 As he clothed himself with cursing like as with a garment.

So let it come into his bowels like water, and like oil into his bones.

19 Let it be unto him as a garment which covereth him,
And for a girdle wherewith he is girded continually.

20 Let this be a reward of mine adversaries from the Lord,
And of them that speak evil against my soul.

21 But do thou for me, O God the Lord, for thy name's sake :
Because thy mercy is good, deliver thou me.

22 For I am poor and needy, and my heart is wounded within me.

23 I am gone like the shadow when it declineth : I am tossed up and down

as the locust.

24 My knees are weak through fasting; and my flesh faileth of fatness.

25 I became also a reproach unto them : when they looked upon me they

shaked their heads.

26 Help me, O Lord my God : O save me according to thy mercy :

27 That they may know that this is thy hand ; that thou, Lord, hast done it.

28 Let them curse, but bless thou :

"When they arise, let them be ashamed ; but let thy servant rejoice.

29 Let mine adversaries be clothed with shame.

And let them cover themselves with their own confusion, as with a mantle.

30 I will greatly praise the Lord with my mouth ;
Yea, I will praise him among the multitude.

31 For he shall stand at the right hand of the poor,
To save him from those that condemn his soul.

S28 PSALM cix. — Messiah's prayers and praises for

A series of four connected Psalms commences here, beginning
with Messiah in his low estate. It is an observation as old as
the days of the Fathers, that this Psalm presents to us " The
sufferings of Christ," and the Psalm that succeeds celebrates
" The glory that should follow." We here descend into the
Valley of Humiliation, that we may look up from thence to the
height of Exaltation. Christ is here enduring the contradic-
tion of sinners, and at last meeting with the traitor. " Etjtu,
Brute r is the tone of the complaint. The Fathers called it
" the Iscariotic Psalm," because so specially applied by Peter
(Acts i. 16-20) to Judas. We may consider Judas, at the
same time, as the virtual head of the Jewish nation in their
daring attempt to dethrone the Son of God. The doom pro-
nounced, and the reasons for it, apply to the Jews as a nation,
as well as to the leader of the band who took Jesus. In the
words of verse 1 ,

"Hold not thy peace, God of my praise,''
we hear the Saviour taking up Israel's manner of addressing
Jehovah ; for Moses uses it (Deut. x. 21) when expressing the
feeling that during all his wilderness journey he had proved
Jehovah sufficient for him under sorrow, fear, perplexity, suf-
fering, temptation, and so had ever found reason to praise him.
Jeremiah, the weeping Jeremiah, broken in spirit, and meeting
with treachery in the house of his friends, could call on Jeho-
vah by the same name (xvii. 14), " Thou art my praise f
The Lord Jesus identifies himself with his saints — " in all
points tempted like as we are." Yes, and if at one time he
looks up to the Father and says, " Thou art my praise ! "
thinking of blessings already received, no less does he at
another time, as one of us would do when needing more help,
speak thus of himself, " / am prayer," {vex. 4).

Christ speaks from verses 1-5 as one surrounded by foes, like
Shammah amid the Philistines in the field of lentiles (2 Sam.
xxiii. 12) ; then suddenly his eye falls on the leader of the
troop, the tallest and most prominent sinner of the many
thousands whom he guides to the prey. May we not say
that verse 6, so abruptly isolating some one enemy, pointing
the finger at him, and bidding the divine thunderbolt fall on


ins head, is like the Evangelist's " While he yet spake, lo !
Judas, one of the twelve I" Even as Judas said to those he
led on, " That same is he, hold him fast ;" so the Son of man
says to the Father, "There is he/ let him die !"

We consider the terrific utterance of doom, from verse 6 to
verse 20, as no other than a copy (if we may so speak) of the
Father's sentence upon the traitor who sold the Beloved Son
for thirty pieces of silver. Christ declares it, and consents to
it — " Let it be even so \"

" Let the wicked one be set over him ;
And let Satan stand at his right hand." (Ver. 6.)

Again, —

" Let his children wandering, wander on,
Let them beg, and seek (food)//'om amo7ig the ruins of their own homes."

And then he says, —

" Let their sins be before the Lord continually, that he may cut off the
memory of the sinner from the earth ;
Because he remembered not to sheto mercy (worse than Gen. xl. 23),
But persecuted the poor and needy One ;
The One that was broken-hearted even unto death .'" (Ver. IG.)

Our Master had this verse in substance on his lips at the very

Online LibraryAndrew A. (Andrew Alexander) BonarChrist and His Church in the Book of Psalms → online text (page 30 of 42)