Andrew A. (Andrew Alexander) Bonar.

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as when He overcame his enemies at Bethhoron, attested the
presence of the same majesty and power : the same thunder
uttered its voice, the same lightning-an-ows flew abroad. It
was Israel's God in his majesty ; yes, the same that laid bare
the Red Sea's channel, (verses 14, 15), who then appeared in
still greater displays of majesty. It was a scene not witnessed
by mortal eyes, but, no doubt, "seen of angels."

At length the Redeemer was delivered. " He sent from
above, he took me, he drew me out of many waters" (Verses
1 6-18). In vain do the scribes and elders triumph, sealing the
sepulchre stone, and setting a watch ; in vain does Satan exult,
as if he had crushed the woman's seed.

" They prevented me, {i.e. got before me, as if between me and my re-
fuge,) in the day of my calamity.^'

But Jehovah came — resurrection followed, with all its con-
sequences. He stood in "a large place ;" and soon sat down
at the right hand of Majesty on high. And in that hour every
member of his body was virtually "raised with Him, and
made to sit with Him in the heavenly places," — in a large
room !

And was all this done in conformity with law and righteous-
ness ? The law was honoured then, and is honoured and mag-
nified for ever, by all that the Redeemer wrought. Vers. 20-
26 declares it :

" Jehovah rewarded me according to my righteousness.

" According to the cleanness of my hands has he recompensed me.

" Because I kept the ways of the Lord —

" All his judgments were before me,

" And I did not put away his statutes from me."

" Yea, I was npright before Nim" &c.

Henceforth, nothing hinders the application of his redemption-


work on the part of God ; and on man's part there is nothing
required but the poverty of spirit that is willing to receive a
gift. Pride, that caused the fall, hinders the rising again of
the fallen.

" For thou wilt save the people that are poor,'' ^
" But ivill bring doion high looks" (ver. 27).

Our Brother, having brought us thus far in his history, tells
us once more of the Father's love to Him and his people, and
how fully the Father, who equipped Him for the former struggle,
has equipped him for whatever remains for him to do. (Verses
28-35). The Father loveth the Son, and hath given all
things into his hands. He seems suddenly to remind the Father
of this, (verses 35, 36), in preparation for what is coming, say-

" Thy gentleness hath made me great."

Then follows the final assault (long deferred) upon his unyield-
ing enemies.* (Verses 37-42.) It is evidently the day of his
Second Coming ; for we hear the cry (v. 41), when " there is
none to save :" the Master has risen up and shut to the door.
Rocks and mountains cannot shelter foes, any more than could
the cave of Makkedah the five kings that fled to it. Our Joshua
calls them out, and puts his own foot upon their necks. (V. 40,
compared with Josh. x. 24). And then is earth subdued under
Him. (Ver. 43, 44, 45). Isaiah lii. 15 is fulfilled : nations
coming to Him, as did the Queen of Sheba, attracted by the
report of his grace and glory.

* The li^nD of V. 45, is the same word used in Ps. Ixvi. 3, and Ixxxi. 16. It
originally expressed '■'■feigned obedience," through fear or flattery ; the kind of
submission yielded by men to irresistible conquerors. But here we must un-
derstand the word to be accommodated to the circumstances of the case, and to
express the completeness of the homage rendered to Messiah, arising from the
feeling of his irresistible greatness. It is q. d. all the homage that was ever
given by subdued nations to their conquerors, shall be given to Messiah. The
feignedness of the submission is not to be considered. Just as in Isaiah viii. 13,
" Make Jehovah your dread, the object of your terror;'' (yipQ). The allu-
sion is to what idolators felt toward their horrid idols : but it is only an allu-
sion, q.d., let Jehovah be the object of your heart's reverence, — this is your
dread !


The Lord alone is exalted in that day. The glory resounds
to Him (verses 46-48) ; and "nin''_"'n" is the watchword, or
congratulatory acclamation (1 Kings i. 25, 31), of all the earth
— " Jehovah liveth !" Jew and Gentile are seen in union ;
for the Deliverer (ver. 49-50) declares his celebration of Je-
hovah's name among the Gentiles, while he shews kindness
" to David and his seed for ever."

Well may we join with all the members of our Head, " made
more than conquerors" in Him, and enjoying our share in all
these triumphs along with Him, — well may we join in the ex-
clamation of ver. 50,

'' Thou ivlio makest great tlie salvations of his King ! " '
The full, salvation-work wrought out by our appointed King,
is called " JTiJ^W ; " and these things are all done in the way of
might and majesty.

But now see how we too may sing all this ; even as David
could sing it, as well as David's son. We sing of our deliver-
ances, and remember all the while that the source of them
was God's rising up for us in all his power, invisible yet
awfully great. And then in ver. 20-27, we, like David, may
speak before the Lord of the righteousness we have got, and
of the purity He himself has bestowed. It is with our eye
on Christ's righteousness imputed, and Christ's Spirit im-
parted, that we so sing, humbly declaring what He has wrought
for us. As for ver. 28-86, they tell our experience to the
life ; and as for ver. 87-45, they tell, in our case, of the
day when we shall share with our Head, in bruising Satan
under our feet, and when Rev. iii. 9 shall be fulfilled. What
are we that we should be called upon to join in such a song !
What are we, Lord, that thy Son should be our elder brother,
and work all this for us ! Enable us for evermore to love,
serve, glorify, and follow fully that Saviour who was saved when
he took our place ! And never may we sing this Psalm but
with burning love to Him, as we think of

The Righteous One saved and glorified.



To the chief Musician, A Psalm of David.

1 The heavens declare the glory of God ; and the firmament sheweth his


2 Day unto day uttcreth speech, and night unto night sheweth knowledge.

3 There is no speech nor language, where their voice is not heard.

4 Their line is gone out through all the earth, and their words to the end

of the world.
In them hath he set a tabernacle for the sun,

5 Which is as a bridegroom coming out of his chamber.
And rejoiceth as a strong man to run a race.

6 His going forth is from the end of the heaven, and his circuit unto the

ends of it :
And there is nothing hid from the heat thereof.

7 The law of the Lord is perfect, converting the soul :

The testimony of the Lord is sure, making wise the simple :

8 The statutes of the Lord are right, rejoicing the heart:

The commandment of the Lord is pure, enlightening the eyes :

9 The fear of the Lord is clean, enduring for ever :

The judgments of the Lord are true and righteous altogether.

10 More to be desired are they than gold, yea, than much fine gold :
Sweeter also than honey and the honeycomb.

11 Moreover by them is thy servant warned : and in keeping of them there

is great reward.

12 Who can understand his errors ? cleanse thou me from secret faults.

13 Keep back thy servant also from presumptuous sins ; — let them not have

dominion over me :
Then shall I be upright, and I shall be innocent from the great trans-

14 Let the words of my mouth, and the meditation of my heart.

Be acceptable in thy sight, O Lord, my strength, and my redeemer.

Standing on the platform of earth, but looking away from
what in it is merely man's work, the eye of him that speaks
in this Psalm has rested first on the glorious heavens, and
then on the law that reveals Him who dwelleth in the hea-
vens. Law is here equivalent to Revelation ; it is ny\n ; that is,
what he teaches.

There will be a time when, under the seven-fold light of
the New Heavens that will stretch their canopy over a New
Earth, it may be said yet more emphatically than now, that
" without voice, or articulate sound/'



" The heavens are teUinrf thefflory of God."

" Daij unto day pours out a gushing stream of speech,'' dc-

And then, too, shall we be better able to read that glorious law,
that tells of Jehovah, — for we shall see better then than we do
now how " perfect'^ it is, how " sure,'" never failing in threaten-
ing or promise, how "right" how really "eternal ;" better
than " gold ;" and what a future as well as present "reward"
there is in keeping it ! But why should we not even now
reach far into the understanding of all this ? His '"Law," i. e.
his revelation of his will (n"lin, teaching), is "perfect," or entire,
wanting nothing ; and so it can furnish the soul that needs to
be " restored" with what suits its case. His " testimony," i.e.
his witness, (with a tacit reference to the Tabernacle of Witness),
or declaration of what is really good and evil, sweet and bitter, is
" sure," worthy to be trusted as true, not being like the specula-
tions and systems of philosophy ; and so it is the very thing for
the man who is easily misled, and who hitherto has had no de-
cided principles, "the simple." His "statutes" (DmpS) are
always according to rectitude. These His special charges in spe-
cial circumstances (such as that at Sinai, not to touch the moun-
tain), are "right," being wisely accordant with circumstances;
and so, instead of being grievous, they become the occasion of
gladness. His commandment (HIliD), every single precept of the
whole Moral Law (Rom. vii. 12), is "pure," clear, fair, (n"12
Song vi. 9, 10), and so is a heart-cheering object, and would im-
part to the man who kept it (who dipt his rod in this honey, 1
Sam. xiv. 27), cheerfulness and vigour of mind, arising from
clearness of conscience and freedom from gnawing corruption.
{"Enlighten the eyes," means invigorate ; see Ezra ix. 8, &c.)
His "fear" is the solemn impression made by God's perfec-
tions on the soul, as on Jacob at Bethel. Instruction in regard
to this is in its nature " clean" (niiniO Levit. xiii. 1 7), there
is in it no defilement condemned by the law to be cast out, no
pollution, and therefore nothing that requires removal, " stand-
ing fast for ever." In a word, His "judgments," i. e. His
decisions as to our duty, and his modes of dealing or provi-
dential actings, following out his decisions, are all according


to " truth," not capricious : firm principle guides them, " they
are thoroughly righteous."

There was once one in our world who used this Psalm, and
was guided by it to gaze on the glory of God, in the heavens
and in the law. Our Lord and Saviour loved his Father's
works and ivord. Often did He sit on the high mountains of
the land of Israel, or look abroad over its broad plains, and
then turn upward to the blue canopy over all, to adore his
Father. Often did He unrol "the volume of the Book,'^ or
sit listening to its words read in the synagogue. He saw evil
on every side ; his own holy soul was the only ark which
this deluge had not overtaken ; and, with this in full view.
He might often pray, " keep rae clear from secret faults"
(v. 12), as well as ''from presumptuous sin," in a world where
none are free from sin, and few care to know that they do sin ;
and thus shall I be found,

" Upright and innocent from transgression that abounds^*

We can easily imagine our Master thus using these two wit-
nesses to his Father's glory. Let us trace His steps ; let us
turn our eye from vanity to the contemplation of the glory of

The two tuitnesses resemble and help each other. Hengs-
tenberg remarks that the law is from the same source as the
sun and firmament, and has, accordingly, many features of re-
semblance. In all probability, the special description of the
sun going forth as a bridegroom and warrior (ver. 5), with all
the images of cheerfulness and joy it is fitted to suggest, was
designed to hint to us a counterpart in the firmament of the
spiritual heavens, which are reflected in the law. Christ is
the Sun, the Bridegroom, the Warrior, whose words (" line"t
ver. 4), and going forth shall yet be from one end of the world to

* The words y^ ^^3 may be taken in the same sense of we find 2r\ il^pD)
Deut. iii. 19, or Proverbs xxviii. 20, /li^l^ 2.1. " abounding in blessings." Is
not this the sense of Psa. xxv. 11, ^?)n 21?

f " Line ;" compass of their territory; (Isaiah xxiv. 17), (Hengstenberg).
Paul seems to do no more than refer by way of aUnsion to this verse in
Komans x. 18.

The content?.


the other, and nothing be hid from His heat. Then shall
Romans x. 18 be more thoroughly accomplished. But even if
the two witnesses did not resemble each other, they do at least
help each other, and point to the same object ; and happy is
the man who is led thereby to the glory of God. For verily
there is a " great reward" (ver. ] 1 ), both in the act of keep-
ing His Revelation, and as the Lord's mark of approval /or owr
having kept it ; a present and a future " recompence ofreiuard,"
such as Heb. x. 35 holds up before our view. Happy they who
are found "upright and innocent" (ver. 13), because "found in
Christ/" found "without spot and blameless" (2 Pet. iii. 14),
even in those last days when iniquity abounds. O, Jehovah,
accept this meditation, fulfil these prayers ! Thou art —

" My rock," never shifting from Thy promise ;

" 3i?/ Deliverer" from every evil work (ver. 14).

Thus sings this worshipper, perhaps at early dawn. But
now the sun is up — gone forth on his fiery race ; the altar's
smoke is ascending — busy men are abroad, each pursuing his
own calling, and he must join them. We seem to see him rise
up from his place of calm contemplation, and return to his
active duties for a season, quickened by what these two wit-
nesses for God have presented to his soul, leaving us to ponder
and apply,

The Righteous One's meditations on the twofold witness to
Jehovah's glory.


To the chief Musician, A Psalni of David.

1 The Lord hear thee in the day of trouble ; the name of the God of Jacob

defend thee.

2 Send thee help from the sanctuary, and strengthen thee out of Zion.

3 Remember all thy offerings, and accept thy burnt sacrifice. Selah.

4 Grant thee according to thine own heart, and fulfil all thy counsel.

5 We will rejoice in thy salvation, and in the name of our God we will set

up our banners :
The Lord fulfil all thy petitions.

6 Now know I that the Lord saveth his anointed ;

He will hear him from his holy heaven with the saving strength of his
right hand.


7 Some trust in chariots, and some in horses :

But we will remember the name of the Lord our God.

8 They are brought down and fallen : but we are risen, and stand upright.

9 Save, Lord : let the king hear us when we call.

What typical occurrence, or what event in Israel's history,
may have given the groundwork of this Psalm ? Luther calls it
a "battle-cry;" while others have imagined it appropriate to
such an occasion as that of the high priest going in to the
Holiest on the Day of Atonement, and reappearing to the joy
of all who waited without in anxious prayer. We think the
truth may be reached by finding some scene that may combine
the "battle-cry" and the priestly function, such as was once
presented in Numbers xxxi. 1-6, when the zealous priest Phi-
nehas was sent forth at the head of the armies of Israel to
battle. David may have been led to recal some such scene, as
he sang.

Full of zeal for his God, Phinehas, in his priestly attire, and
with priestly solemnity, — with " Holiness to the Lord" on his
mitre, — prepares for the conflict with Jehovah's and Israel's
most subtle foes. We may suppose him at the altar ere he
goes, presenting his offerings (ver. 3), and supplicating the
Holy One of Israel (ver. 4), amid a vast assemblage of the
camp, small and great, all sympathizing in his enterprise.
This done, he takes the holy instruments and the silver trum-
pets in his hand, and sets forth. There is now an interval of
suspense, — but soon tidmgs of victory come, and the priestly
leader reaj)pears, crowned with victory, leading captivity cap-
tive. The confidence expressed in ver. 5 is not vain, for vic-
tory, or " salvation," has been given.

Perhaps there were times when David was in such circum-
stance as these, and there are still times w^hen any member of
the Church may be, in some sense, so situated ; while " all
weep" with the one member that weeps, and then " all rejoice"
in the joy of the one. But still the chief reference is to David's
Son, our Lord. He is the Leader and the Priest, the true
Phinehas, going out against Midian. It is " the Anointed"
(ver. 5) that is principally the theme.

This Psalm is the prayer which the Church might be sup-


posed offering up, had all the redeemed stood by the cross,
or in Gethsemane, in full consciousness of what was doing
there. Messiah, in reading these words, would know that He
had elsewhere the sympathy he longed for, when he said to the
three disciples, " Tarry ye here, and watch with me," (Matt.
xxvi. 88). It is thus a pleasant song of the sacred singer of
Israel, to set forth the feelings of the redeemed in their Head,
whether in his sufferings or in the glory that was to follow. In
ver. 1-4, they pray : —

" JehovaJi hear thee in the day of trouble,

" The name of(\. e., He who manifests himself by deeds to bej the God of
Jacob defend thee.

"Send thee help from the saiictuary" where his well-pleasedness is seen.

" And bless thee out ofZion" — not from Sinai, but from the place of peace-
ful acceptance, Zion.

The solemn " Selah "-pause comes in when " sacrifice'^ has
been spoken of, and then in verse 5, they exult at the suc-
cess which has crowned his undertaking ; and, observe, reader,
they speak now of Him as one that makes petitions — " The
Lord fulfil all thy petitions." Is not this recognising Him as
now specially employed in interceding ? applying His finished
work by pleading it for us ? It may, at the same time, re-
mind us of that other request, which the Intercessor is yet
to make, and to make which, speedily, the Church is often
urging him, verse 15, "Ask of me, and I will give thee the
heathen for thine inheritance." — (Psa. ii. 8.) In ver. 6-'8,
they exult again, " knowing whom they have believed" (2
Tim. i. 12), both as to what the Father has done for Him,
and what the Father will do. They reject all grounds of hope
not found in King Messiah ; express their souls' desire for
complete deliverance, when He shall appear at last, and answer,
by complete salvation (Heb. ix. 28), the continual cry of His
Church, " Come ! Lord Jesus !" Verse 9 teaches us to ex-
pect both present and future victories, by the arm of our King ;
and in hope of these further exploits, we look often upward
to the right hand of the Father, and cry, "Hosanna !" —
" Save, Lord !" or. Give victory, Jl^Hi^Sn
" Let the King (who sittefh there) hear us when tve call."


It is a Psalm differing in its aspects from most others, for
it presents to us,
Messiah prayed for, and prayed to, by his luaiting people.


To tlie chief Musician, a Psalm of David.

1 The king shall joy in thy strength, O Lord ;
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 preventest him with the blessings of goodness :
Thou settest a crown of pure gold on his head.

4 He asked life of thee, and thou gavest it him, even length of days for

ever and ever.

5 His glory is great in thy salvation : honour and majesty hast thou laid

upon him.

6 For thou hast made him most blessed for ever :

Thou hast made him exceeding glad with thy countenance.

7 For the king trusteth in the Lord,

And through the mercy of the Most High he shall not be moved.

8 Thine hand sliall find out all thine enemies :

Thy right hand shall find out those that hate thee.

9 Thou shalt make them as a fiery oven in the time of thine anger :

The Lord shall swallow them up in his wrath, and the fire shall devour

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 are not able to per-

12 Therefore shalt thou make them turn their back :

When thou shalt make ready thine arrows upon thy strings against the
face of them.

13 Be thou exalted, Lord, in thine own strength ; so will we sing and praise

thy power.

We have entered on a series of Psalms that more directly
fix the eye on Messiah alone as their theme. This is the se- 1^^"^^"^^,
cond of the series. It takes up the theme of the former Psalm.
We are at once shewn the King Messiah, already triumphant
at the Father's right hand ; and yet, as King, to triumph more
ere all be done.

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of PsilllllS

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The pla


David, now on the throne at Hebron, and soon to be on a
loftier throne at Jerusalem, might be the original of the typi-
cal scene ; but certainly he was not more than this. It is of
our King that the Holy Spirit speaks.

The plan is very simple. From ver. 1-7, we have Messiah's
exaltation after his suffering : then ver. 8-12, His future acts
when He rises up to sweep away his foes ; and ver. 1 3, the
cry of His own for that day, as their day of realised bliss : —

"Be exalted, Lord, in thy strength !
So loill we sing and praise tliy power. ^'^

He who was the "man of sorrows," and " whose flesh was
weak," now (ver. 1), "joys in thy strength, greatly rejoices."
And how sweet to us to hear verse 2, " Thou hast given Hi'm
His heart's desire,'' remembering, in connection with it, John
xi. 42, " I know that thou hearest me always ;" for it assures
us that He did not mistake the depth of the Father's love, or
err in His faith in the Father's kindness of purpose towards
Him. He knew what was in man, but he knew what was in God
also, and declares it to us, sealing it with the " SelaJt '-ipnuse of
solemn thought. The Father "came before Him with," or rather,
anticipated, outran, His desires ; for that is the meaning of
" For thou preventest Him with the blessings of thy goodness."

And in the " crown of pure gold," already set on His head, we
see this verified, inasmuch as it is not the crown which he is
to get at his appearing. The Father has at present given Him
the crown, mentioned in Heb. ii. 9, " Glory and honour," but it
is as an assurance and pledge of something more and better, the
"■many crowns," (Rev. xix. 12).

Let us often stay to rejoice that the man of sorrows is happy
now — "most blessed for ever!'" He feeds among the lilies.
Shall we not rejoice in the refreshment of our Head — in the
ointment poured on him — in the glory resting on his brow —

* One who paraphrases the Psalms (Barclay) has given this as the essence
of the one before us : —

" The battle fought, the victory won, —
The Church rejoicing in the spoil,
Gives glory to her Lord alone,

And hails Him home from all His toil."


in the smile of the Father which his eye ever seeth ! Shall
the members not be glad when their Head is thus gladdened
and lifted up ? Shall such verses as ver. 5, 6, not form our
frequent themes of praise ?

In ver. 4, his prayers are referred to — those prayers that He
offered during the lonely nights, when He made the desert
places of Galilee echo to his moans and the voice of His cry—
such prayers as Heb, v, 7 tells of, and such as Psalm Ixxxviii.
10, 11, gives a sample of He asked deliverance from death
and the grave — and, lo ! He has now "Endless life" (Heb. vii.
16) in all its power. Verse 6 resembles in construction verse 9,
and so presents the contrast of meaning more forcibly. The
one is, " Thou hast set him blessings;" the other is, "Thou hast
set them like a furnace.''

And here we see that "He is the author and finisher of faith ;"
for if his prayers and cries prove him to have had truly our
very humanity in sinless weakness, no less does ver. 7 shew
that his holy human soul fixed itself for support, like ivy twin-

Online LibraryAndrew A. (Andrew Alexander) BonarChrist and His Church in the Book of Psalms → online text (page 7 of 42)