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Bt\it\scl)*i Commentary on t^e IPstalmsf.
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BIBLICAL COMMENTARY



ON



THE PSALMS.



BY



FRANZ DELITZSCR D.D.,

PROFESSOR OF OLD AND NEW TESTAMENT EXEGESIS, LEIPSIO.



Cranslaffb from ll^e (ffrman

(from the second EDITION, REVISED THROUGHOUT)



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/^*



TABLE OF CONTENTS.



EXPOSITION OF THE PSALTER.



PAGE



First Book of the Psalter, Ps. i.-xli. — {continued)— V&dXm

xxxvi. to xli., 1-49

Second Book of the Psalter, Ps. xlii.-lxxil, . . . 50-307

Third Book of the Psalter, Ps. lxxiii.-lxxxix. — ^Psalm Ixxiii.

tolxxxiii., 308-411



EXCURSUS BY J. G. WETZSTEIN.

I. The Symbolical Meaning of the Wash-pot aj«3 Shoe

(On Ps. Ix. 10), . . 412

II, Concerning the viol Bxiuv in 1 Macc. v. 4 (On Ps. Ixxxiii.), 417



•fROPERTf^

PRINCETON
.ft£C. JAN 1882



FIRST BOOK OF THE PSALTER (CONTINUED).
Ps. L-XLI.

PSALM XXXVI.

THE CURSE OF ALIENATION FROM GOD, AND THE BLESSING
OF FELLOWSHIP WITH HIM.

2 AN oracle of transgression hath the ungodly within his

heart :
There is no fear of God before his eyes.

3 For it flattereth him in his own eyes,

In order that he may become guilty, that he may hate.

4 The words of his mouth are evil and deceit ;
He hath ceased to act wisely and weU.

5 Evil doth he devise upon his bed,

He taketh his stand in a way that is not good,
He abhorreth not evil.

6 O Jahve, to the heavens doth Thy mercy extend,
Thy faithfulness unto the clouds.

7 Thy righteousness is like the mountains of God,
Thy judgments are a great deep,

Man and beast dost Thou preserve, O Jahve.

8 How precious is Thy mercy, Elohim,

That the children of men find refuge in the shadow of Thy
wings !
VOL. II. 1



2 PSALM XXXVI. 2-5.

9 They become drunk with the fatness of Thy house,

And Thou givest them to drink of the river of Tliy

10 For with Thee is the fountain of Hfe, [pleasures.
And in Thy light do we see light.

11 Lengthen out Thy mercy to those who know Thee,

And Thy righteousness to those who are upright in heart,

12 Let not the foot of pride overtake me.

And let not the hand of the wicked scare me away.

13 Behold, there have the workers of evil fallen,
They are thrust down and are not able to rise.

The preceding Psalm, in the hope of speedy deliverance,
put into the lips of the friends of the new kingship, who were
now compelled to keep in the background, the words : " Jahve,
be magnified, who hath pleasure in the well-being of His ser-
vant.^'' David there calls himself the servant of Jahve, and in
the inscription to Ps. xxxvi. he bears the very same name : To
the Precentor, by the servant of Jalive, hy David. The textus
receptus accents n)iiu? with a conjunctive llluj ; Ben-Naphtali
accents it less ambiguously with a disjunctive Legarme (yid.
Psalter, ii. 462), since David is not himself the nV3D. Ps. xii.,
xiv. (liii.), xxxvi., xxxvii., form a group. In these Psalms

/David complains of the moral corruption of his generation.
They are all merely reflections of the character of the time,
not of particular occurrences. Li common with Ps. xii., the

O' Psalm before us has a prophetic colouring; and, in common
Avith Ps. xxxvii., allusions to the primeval history of the Book
of Genesis. The strophe schema is 4. 5. 5. 6. 6.

Vers. 2-5. At the outset the poet discovers to us the
wickedness of the children of the world, which has its roots in
[alienation from God. Supposing it were admissible to render
ver. 2 : "A divine word concerning the evil-doing of the
ungodly is in the inward parts of my heart " (DXJ with a genitive
of the object, like NTO, which is compared by Hofmann), then
the difficulty of this word, so much complained of, might find
the desired relief in some much more easy way than by means
of the conjecture proposed by Diestel, Dyj (Op), " Pleasant is
transgression to the evil-doer," etc. But the genitive after DW



PSALM XXXVI. 2-5. 3

(which in ex. 1, Num. xxiv. 3 sq., 15 sq., 2 Sam. xxlii. 1,
Prov XXX. 1, just as here, stands at the head of the clause)
al^vays denotes the speaker, not the thing spoken. Even in
Isa. V. 1 10-|3^ '•nn riTC' is not a song concerning my beloved
in relation to His vineyard, but a song of my beloved (such a
song as my beloved has to sing) touching His vineyard. Thus,
therefore, V^B must denote the speaker, and Vf'f^^ as in ex. 1
"^jns?, the person or thing addressed ; transgression is personified,
and an oracular utterance is attributed to it. But the predi-
cate "37 3"^p|, which is intelligible enough in connection Avith
the first rendering of J?L^'a as geniL ohj., is difficult and harsh
with the latter rendering of V'trs as gen. suhj., whatever way it
may be understood : whether, that it is intended to say that
the utterance of transgression to the evil-doer is inwardly known
to him (the poet), or it occupies and affects him in his inmost
parts. It is very natural to read i3p, as the LXX., Svriac,
and Arabic versions, and Jerome do. In accordance therewith,
Avhile with Von Lengerke he takes QN3 as part of the inscrip-
tion, Thenius renders it : " Sin is to the ungodly in the midst
of his heart," L e. it is the inmost motive or impulse of all that
lie thinks and does. But this isolation of 0X3 is altogether at
variance with the usage of the language and custom. The
rendering given by Hupfeld, Hitzig, and at last also by
Buttcher, is better : " The suggestion of sin dwells in the i
ungodly in the inward part of his heart ;" or rather, since the
idea of 2"ip3 is not central, but circumferential, in the realm of
(within) his heart, altogether filling up and absorbing it. And
in connection with this explanation, it must be observed that
this combination nS 3"ipn (instead of mpn, or \i>'^^ \2':h'2) occurs
only here, where, together with a personification of sin, an
incident belonging to the province of the soul's life, which is
the outgrowth of sin, is intended to be described. It is true
this application of DX3 does not admit of being further substan-
tiated ; but ^^} (cognate DH^, HDH), as an onomatopoetic desig
nation of a dull, hollow sound, is a suitable word for secret)
communication (cf. Arabic nemmCim, a tale-bearer), or even —
since the genius of the language does not combine with it the
idea of that which is significantly seci'etly, and solemnly
silently communicated, but spoken out — a suitable word for
that which transgression says to the ungodly with all the



4 PSALM XXXVI. 2-5.

solemn mien of tlie prophet or the philosopher, inasmuch as it
has set itself within his heart in the place of God and of the
voice of his conscience. J''"^*'^^ does not, however, denote the
person addressed, but, as in xxxii. 10, the possessor. He pos-

'sesses this inspiration of iniquity as the contents of his heart,
so that the fear of God has no place therein, and to him God

I has no existence (objectivity), that He should command his

1 adoration.

Since after this iT*2 DJ^3 we expect to hear further what
and how transgression speaks to him, so before all else the
most probable thing is, that transgression is the subject to
p'l^nn. We do not interpret : He flatters God in His eyes (with
eye-service), for this rendering is contrary both to what pre-
cedes and to what follows ; nor with Hupfeld (who follows
Hofmann) : " God deals smoothly (gently) with him according
to his delusions," for the assumption that PrD'l must, on
account of 1''^"'J^?, have some other subject than the evil-doer him-
self, is indeed correct. It does not, however, necessarily point
to God as the subject, but, after the solemn opening of ver. 2a,
to transgression, which is personified. This addresses flattering

j words to him (?X like ?y in Prov. xxix. 5) in his eyes, i.e. such

1 as are pleasing to him ; and to what end? For the finding out,
i.e. establishing (py xy?D, as in Gen. xliv. 16, Hos. xii. 9), or —
since this is not exactly suited to i'ti'S as the subject, and where
it is a purpose that is spoken of, the meaning assequi, originally
proper to the verb XVD, is still more natural — to the attainment
of his culpabilitif, i.e. in order that he may inculpate himself,
to hating, i.e. that he may hate God and man instead of loving
them. ^^'^'7 is designedly used without an object just as in
Eccles. iii. 8, in order to imply that the flattering words of V'^Q
incite him to turn into an object of hatred everything that he
ought to love, and to live and move in hatred as in his own
proper element. Thenius endeavours to get rid of the harsh-
ness of the expression by the following easy alteration of the
text : i^J^vl py ^^W ; and interprets it : Yea, it flatters him in
his own eyes (it tickles his pride) to discover faults in others
and to make them suffer for them. But there is no support in
the general usage of the language for the impersonal rendering
of the Py|!]j!). ; and the Vj''j;3, which in this case is not only
pleonastic, but out of place, demands a distinction between the



PSAUI XXXVI. 6-10. 5

flatterer and tlie person who feels liiniself flattered. Tlie ex-
pression in ver. oh, in whatever way it may be explained, is
harsh ; but David's language, whenever he describes tiie cor-
ruption of sin with deep-seated indignation, is wont to envelope
itself in such clouds, which, to our difficult comprehension, look
like corruptions of the text. In the second strophe the whole
language is more easy, ^'^''i}? ''''3^^!? is just such another
asyndeton as NDb!? 13iy H.'^i^b. A man who has thus fallen a \
prey to the dominion of sin, and is alienated from God, has
ceased (? p't.^, as in 1 Sam. xxiii. 13) to act wisely and well
(things which essentially accompany one another). His words
when awake, and even his thoughts in the night-time, run
upon ]]^ (Isa. lix. 7), evil, wickedness, the absolute opposite of
that which alone is truly good. Most diligently does he take
up his position in the way which leads in the opposite direction
to that which is good (Prov. xvi. 29, Isa. Ixv. 2) ; and his con-
science is deadened against evil : there is not a trace of aversion
to it to be found in him, he loves it with all his soul.

Vers. 6-10. The poet now turns from this repulsive pro-
spect to one that is more pleasing. He contemplates, and
praises, the infinite, ever sure mercy of God, and the salvation^
happiness, and light which spring from it. Instead of D''0K'3A
the expression is D^otj'na, the syncope of the article not taking
place. 3 alternating with *iy, cf. Ivii. 11, has here, as in xix.
,0, Ixxii. 16, the sense of touching or reaching to the spot that
is denoted in connection with it. The poet describes the^
exaltation and super-eminence of divine mercy and faithfulness
figuratively, after earthly standards. They reveal themselves
on earth in a height that reaches to the heavens and extends
to CpHLVj i,e. the thin veil of vapour which spreads itself like a
veil over the depths of the heavens ; they transcend all human
thought, desire, and comprehension (ciii. 11, and cf. Eph. iii.
18). The np"iy (righteousness) is distinguished from the nJlONj
(faithfulness) thus: the latter is governed by the promises of 1



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