Johann Peter Lange.

A commentary on the Holy Scriptures: critical, doctrinal, and homiletical, with special reference to ministers and students online

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issue of his affliction.

2. Righteousness and Grace are not opposed
to one another in God, but man must not forget
that he must enter into positive and active
relations with reference to both of these at-
tributes of God, if he would obtain and re-
tain righteousness, peace, and joy. " He
who is perplexed with Divine government
amidst the confusion in the world's move-
ments, and asks: where then is Providence?
demands that he should be directed to the sun in
clear noonday" (Chrysostom).

3. He who is assured of his election, and his
favor with God, loses all fear of man. But he
must value the position given him, and should not
only defend himself therein against calumniation,
and «/anrfoM< against assaults, \>Mish.Q\x\& strengthen
himself in it by submission to God, and remind
others, even his adversaries, of their duty, and
stimulate them by warning, admonition, and
summons, to perform their obligations.

4. Where God causes His face to shine, there
man is enabled to behold what he desires to see
for his comfort and consolation in hours of gloom,
which either he could not perceive in the hour of
affliction, or could not profit by it, owing to the
care, and fear, and unbelief, and doubt, which
darkened his soul. The hope of faith is opposed
to the doubt of unbelief, and the protection of
God is better than many thousands of guards,
and warlike companions.

HOMILETICAL AND PRACTICAL.

We do well, first of all, to speak with God, and

then to transact business with our neighbors.

When the world is at enmity with us the friend-
ship of God is: 1) The best consolation; 2) the
surest help.— There is no night too dark to be illu-
minated when God shows us the light of Bis counte-
nance — The best care for our welfare ia: 1) The
thankful acknowledgment of God's mercy; 2) the
consideration of God's justice ; 3) the fervent sup-
plication for confirmation of God's faithfulness
and omnipotence. — All the ways of the pious be-



PSALM IV.



73



gin and end with trust in the faithful God. — He
who appeal8 to his state of grace must see to it:
1) That he makes his own calling and election
sure ; 2) that he helps others to be saved. — The
pious have these constant gains : 1) Righteous-
ness, from faith in the grace of God ; 2) joy in
God, raised above all anxiety and desire for the
world ; 3) the peace of God which passeth all
understanding. — A pious man may be sorely af-
flicted in the world, yet he will never feel that
he is forsaken by God. — The righteous have al-
ways joy and peace. — The worst darkness is that
of the soul which believes it can see no future
good. — He who lives in the favor of God, serves
the Master by day, commits himself to God's pro-
tection by night, and so has joy and peace. — Our
happiness does not consist in eating and drink-
ing, but in having a gracious God and a good
conscience.

Starke: Prayer is the comfort of a sorrowful
heart ; for we know that God hears our prayers.
— When we pray to God we should, as it were,
support the prayer with the previous mercies of
God; for experience worketh hope, which maketh
not ashamed, Rom. v. 14. — Whoever would be
great with God must be unimportant in the eyes
of the world. — All that worldlings esteem to be
great is only vanity, nothingness, and perishable ;
when they regard it as in the highest degree ne-
cessary, yet it does not last, or stand the test. —
God's ways, in dealing with His own, are not
crooked ways, which lead to hell with lies and
deceit of a corrupt nature, but He leads them se-
cretly, in holy truth and wisdom. — All disorderly
aflfections are sinful ; learn, Christian, to be still,
and to judge with composure that which would
move you to anger. — The sacred fire of indigna-
tion for the honor of God and against evil, must
on no account be confounded with the strange
fire of carnal anger. — He, who is honored with
the favor of God, can easily overcome the con-
tempt of the world. — That security which is to
be condemned, comes from the flesh, but that
which is blessed comes from faith, and produces
true peace. — There is no true rest or safety to be
found without communion with God ; no hurtful
disquiet or danger need be feared when under
the gracious protection of the Master. — Luther :
What can goodness have, which God has not?
— Bogenhagen: No one can truly hope in God,
and trust in Him alone, without offering to Him
the sacrifices of righteousness. — Osiander:
When we suffer similar need, we may yet be
cheerful, if only we have a gracious God. — He
who trusts in God is safe from all danger, or is
sure, in the midst of danger, of having by His
action a safe issue, — Selnekker: Do what is
commanded thee, — do not mind the cunning and
artfulness of others,— commit all that to the right-
eous God, — He will smooth all difficulties. — Mol-
LER : Many who' seek rest, sin through impa-
tience, because they do not console themselves
with the mercy of God. — Arndt : The joy of the
believer should not come from the flesh, but from
God alone. — Bake: I have prayed, and pray
BtiU, and will pray all my life ; I will die a sup-
pliant.— Frisgh : The movements of the heart



cannot be prevented so far as their first impulses
are concerned ; yet a believer may refrain from
giving his approbation, and prevent an outbreak
in gesture, word, or deed. — Taube : The blessed
relation of a child of God to the world : 1) He is
alone in the world, but depends entirely upon
his God ; 2) he testifies before the world of their
evil life and ways, as well as of his God and his
religious life, and both in the spirit of truth and
love ; (3) he rests in God, with a joy and peace,
which the world does not possess or know.
[Matt. Henry : Godly men are God's separated,
sealed ones; He knows them that are His, hath set
His image and superscription upon them. — ■
Spurgeon : Observe that David speaks first to
God, and then to man. Surely we should all
speak the more boldly to men, if we had more
constant converse with God. He who dares to
face his Maker will not tremble before the sons
of men. — Election is the guarantee of complete
salvation, and an argument for success at the
throne of grace. He who chose us for Himself,
will surely hear our prayers. The Lord's elect
shall not be condemned, nor shall their cry be
unheard. David was king by Divine decree, and
we are the Lord's people in the same manner;
let us tell our enemies to their faces that they
fight against God and destiny, when they strive
to overthrow our souls. — Stay, rash sinner, stay,
ere thou take the last leap. Go to thy bed and
think upon thy ways. Ask counsel of thy pil-
low, and let the quietude of the night instruct
thee! Throw not away thy soul for naught!
Let reason speak ! Let the clamorous world be
still awhile, and let thy poor soul plead with thee
to bethink thyself before thou seal its fate and
ruin it forever. — Corn and wine are but fruits of
the world, but the light of God's countenance is
the ripe fruit of heaven. "Thou art with me,"
is a far more blessed cry than " Harvest home."
Let my granary be empty, I am yet full of bles-
sing, if Jesus Christ smiles upon me ; but if I
have all the world, I am poor without Him. —
Sweet Evening Hymn ! I shall not sit up to
watch, through fear, but I will lie down ; and
then I will not lie awake, listening to every rust-
ling sound, but I will lie down in peace, and sleep,
for I have naught to fear. Better than bolts or
bars is the protection of the Lord. — A quiet con-
science is a good bed-fellow. How many of our
sleepless hours might be traced to our untrusting
and disordered minds. They slumber sweetly
whom faith rocks to sleep. No pillow so soft as
a promise ; no <?overlet so warm as an assured in-
terest in Christ.— Spurgeon's Treasury of David.
— Thomas Watson: We set apart things that
are precious ; the godly are set apart as God's
peculiar treasure (Psalm cxxxv. 4) ; as His
garden of delight (Song Sol. iv. 12); as Hia
royal diadem, (Is. xliii. 3) ; the godly are the ex-
cellent of the earth, (Ps. xvi. 8) ; comparable to
fine gold, (Lam. iv. 2); double refined, (Zech.
xiii. 9). They are the glory of creation, (Is.
xlvi. 13). Origen compares the saints to sap-
phires and crystals ; God calls them jewels (MaL
iii, 17),— C. A. B,]



74



THE FIRST BOOK OF PSALMS.



PSALM V.
To the chief musician upon Nehiloth, a Psalm of David.

1 Give ear to my words, O Lord,
Consider my meditation.

2 Hearken unto the voice of my cry, my King, and my God :
For unto thee will I pray.

3 My voice shalt thou hear in the morning, O Lord ;

In the morning will I direct my prayer unto thee, and will look up.

4 For thou art not a God that hath pleasure in wickedness :
Neither shall evil dwell with thee.

5 The foolish shall not stand in thy sight :
Thou hatest all workers of iniquity.

6 Thou shalt destroy them that speak leasing :

The Lord will abhor the bloody and deceitful man.

7 But as for me, I will come into thy house in the multitude of thy mercy:
And in thy fear will I worship toward thy holy temple.

8 Lead me, O Lord, in thy righteousness because of mine enemies ;
Make thy way straight before my face.

9 For there is no faithfulness in their mouth ; their inward part is very wickedness ;
Their throat is an open sepulchre ; they flatter with their tongue.

10 Destroy thou them, O God; let them fall by their own counsels;

Cast them out in the multitude of their transgressions; for they have rebelled
against thee.

11 But let all those that put their trust in thee rejoice:

Let them ever shout for joy, because thou defendest them:
Let them also that love thy name be joyful in thee.

12 For thou, Lord, wilt bless the righteous;

With favor wilt thou compass him as with a shield.



EXEGETICAL AND CRITICAL.

Respecting the title, vid. Introduction. This
is a morning prayer, which is not only in gene
ral a testimony to the Divine grace and right-
eousness in defending and blessing the pious, and
in excluding the wicked from their society, to
their own destruction (Venema) ; or a prayer
against hypocrites and false prophets who mis-
lead the people of God and the inheritance of
Christ with their human precepts (Luther); but
the prayer of a pious man, surrounded by un-
godly enemies, which are deceitful rather than
powerful; and he prays for Divine guidance,
blessing, and protection for himself, and punish-
ment for his enemies, who are at the same time
adversaries of God; and he bases both petitions
on the righteousness of God, who rules over Is-
rael as king.



We thus have not only a subjective source for
a didactic Psalm, in which the poet speaks in the
abstract as a righteous person (Hengst.), but the
reference is to a special circumstance, which yet
does not appear in such a way, that we are
obliged with the Rabbins to consider Doeg or
Ahithophel as the real opponents of the Psalm-
ist. Ver. 7 is not necessarily against David as
the author of this Psalm {vid. exegesis). The in-
terpreters differ very much in the analysis of
this Psalm. It seems to me most natural; since
the symbolism of numbers, accepted by Heng-
stenberg, is not favored at all by the structure or
contents of the Psalm, and there is no sign of a
homogeneous structure of the strophes, to divide
according to the contents: a) An introductory
invocation of God. vers. 1-3 ; b) reasons for the
Psalmist's confidence in prayer, vers. 4-7 ; c)
petition for his own person, with reasons, vers.
8, 9; d) petition with respect to his opponents,



PSALM V.



75



ver. 10 ; c) closing statement respecting the con-
sequences of such a prayer being heard, with
reasons, yers. 11, 12.

■ Sir. I. Ver. 1. Hear my sighs \J^ consider my
meditation" A. V.] Theconstructionof the verb
with the accusative, does not allow the transla-
tion "listen to." Instead of sighs it may be
translated "meditation," (Syr., Rabb., Hengst.),
since this word, which occurs only here and Ps.
xxxix. 4, is derived from a root which denotes
thinking, as well as a dull tone, a low sound.*
Either translation gives a suitable contrast to the
loud cry mentioned, ver. 3,

Ver. 2. My king. — [Hupf. : " Here, and gene-
rally in the Old Testament, not only in a gene-
ral sense as Ruler of the earth, as the ancient
nations called their gods kings, but in a special
theocratic relation to the people of Israel, as a
subject to his king, whose righteousness and
protection he invokes, and can expect with
confidence, Psalms x. 6; xliv. 4; xlviii. 2;
Ixviii. 24; Ixxiv. 12 ; Ixxxiv. 3; 1 Sam. xii. 12."—
C. A. B.]

Ver. 3, In the morning. — This word has the
same meaning in both members of the verse, its
first use and its repetition. Hupfeld even has re-
jected the figurative, soon, early, but yet would
find in the local reference only a poetical force ;
whilst Delitzsch, on the contrary, in justification
of Hengst., remarks that then the allusion to the
daily morning sacrifice would be done away with.
But p;7 is the usual word for the arrangement
of the wood of the off'ering. Lev. i. 7, and of the
pieces offered, i. 8, 12 ; vi. 5 ; the holy lamps,
Ex. xxvii. 21 ; Lev. xxiv. 8 ; the show bread,
Ex. xl. 23 ; Lev. xxiv. 8 ; and the arrangement
of the wood for the lamb of the morning sacrifice
was one of the first duties of the priest as soon
as the day began. Ps. Iv. 17 mentions three
times for prayer. [Wordsworth: |' David lays
his prayer on the altar as a sacrifice to God.
The wood and the victim are of no avail without
the spiritual sacrifice of the heart of the offerer."

C. A. B.] This figure, Look out {Look up, A.

v.), is used, Mich. vii. 7 ; Hab. ii. 1. [Barnes:
"The idea is that he would watch narrowly and
carefully (as one does who is stationed on a tower)
for some token of Divine favor. — This is perhaps
equivalent to the Saviour's oft-repeated command
" watch and pray !" Perowne : "As the priest
might look (or as Elijah looked on Carmel) for the
fire from heaven to descend and consume the vic-
tim."— C. A. B.]

Sir. II. Ver. 4. For thou art not a God, etc.
— The Psalmist bases his courage in drawing near
to God in prayer, and his confidence of being
heard on attributes which are derived from the
Being of God; and indeed his confidence is based
on the holiness of God, and his courage on the
abundance of Divine grace; the former nega-
tively, the latter positively.

Be a guest ["rf«)eW," A. V.]. *1^3 is usually
connected with DJ7, but also with the accusative,
and indeed of the person, when the idea of place
is applied to persons (Hupf) Corap. Pss. Iviii.
4; Ixviii. 18; cxx. 5; Gen. xxx. 20. It indi-
cates not only the right of external entrance into

• [" MeditatUm " is the better translation adopted by
Ewald, Hupfeld, Perowne, Delitzsch, et aZ.— G. A. B.]



the temple, but the enjoyment of the rights of
hospitality which include that of protection.
The same figure is used, Pss. xv. 1 ; xxiii. 6 ;
xxvii. 4; xxxi. 20; xxxvi. 8; Ixi. 4; Ixxxiv. 4.
[Thus Ewald, Hupf., Perowne, et al. Perowne*
"Evil (personified) cannot be a guest or friend
of Thine ; cannot tarry in Thy house, as xv. 1 ;
Ixi. 5 ; not merely, however, with a reference to
the temple, but to that spiritual abiding in the
presence of God, and in the light of His counte-
nance, which is the joy only of them that are
true of heart. To the wicked the light of God's
countenance is a consuming fire." — C. A. B.]

Ver. 5. In this connection it is proper in the
following verse to think of the privilege of stand-
ing before the eyes of God. It may mean how-
ever not to endure the judicial glance of God, as
is usual. Instead of fools comp. Pss. Ixxiii.
3 ; Ixxv. 4, others translate vain-glorious and
haughty, or mad, raging. For the etymology of
the word and its many meanings, vid. Hupfeld m
loco. [Hupfeld thinks of the privilege of the no-
bles and others, who stand in the presence of the
King, Prov. xxii. 29, and the angels which are
said to stand before God, Job i. 6; ii. 1. Pe-
rowne seems to favor this view. It is the pri-
vilege of the pious to stand before God as a gra-
cious symbol of their intimate relations with
Him as Sovereign and Friend. This idea makes
the entire strophe harmonious and beautiful.
The three negative clauses, vers. 4 and 6 a, are
followed by three positive clauses, vers. 5 h and
6, which unfold and carry out the ideas advanced
positively and emphatically. There is a beautiful
gradation and correspondence in the six clauses.
Thus the statement that God has no pleasure in
wickedness is carried out into, " Thou hatest all
workers of iniquity ;^' that evil cannot be a guest
with Thee, that is, have Thy care and protec-
tion, and enjoy Thy hospitality passes over
into, "Thou destroyest them that speak lies;
that the foolish cannot stand in Thy sight," that
is, in Thy favor, regard, and affection, as Thy
friends and favorite subjects, becomes, "the
bloody and deceitful man doth the Lord abhor.'*
— C. A. B.]

Ver. 7. Palace I" temple," A. V.]. The pre-
ceding word '■^ house" had already made many
interpreters doubtful of the Davidic authorship
of this Psalm ; the expression '^palace " seems
to them entirely irreconcilable with it. As far
as the former is concerned we know that bait
(beit) in the Semitic languages denoted origi-
nally, the place where the night was passed, and
that the signification afterwards became more
general ; but the reference to night-time, espe-
cially, passed out of use {vid. Fleischer in De-
litzsch, Comm. on the Psalms). It is in accord-
ance with this that the place where God appeared
to Jacob in the open field was named Beth-El,
Gen. xxviii. 17. Accordingly every place of
prayer, as the place of the Divine presence might
bear this name. And is it otherwise with "/>o-
lace" ? As soon as God is conceived as King
this reference is natural and proper. That it
does not at all matter about the material, follows
from the designation of heaven as the palace of
God, Pss. xi. 4; xviii. 6; xxix. 9, and that we
are not compelled to think of a large building,
but that the reference is to the place of Jehovah'a



7G



THE FIRST BOOK OF PSALMS.



throne, is proved from the fact that it is just the
most holy place that is called the palace of the
house, 1 Kings vi. 3. Naturally also the entire
temple of Solomon might be called the palace, as
well as the house of God (2 Kings xxiii. 4). But
the assertion that the entire manner of the refe-
rence presupposes the temple, cannot be proved.
On the contrary, the heavenly relations are
throughout the ideal and type of that vi^hich is
presented on earth. Accordingly, Moses even
beholds the pattern of the tabernacle (Ex. xxv.
40 ; xxvi. 26 sq.; Heb. viii. 5), and the legal places
of sacrifice were according to Ex. xxiii. 19;
xxxiv. 26, to be in the house of the Lord. The
real sanctuary bears the same name, Josh. vi. 24,
and at the time of David, 2 Sam. xii. 20. What
form then had the *' tabernacle " which David
erected over the ark, 2 Sam. vi. 17? We have
as little knowledge of this as of the form of the
house of God at Shiloh, which in 1 Sam. ii. 22 is
called '■^tabernacle of testimony " (Luther, "taber-
nacle of the covenant"), but 1 Sam. i. 7, 24,
'■'■ house, ''^ and 1 Sam. i. 9 ; iii. 3, ^^ palace'" of
Jehovah (Luther always translates hekal by
temple). The same interchange of names Ps.
xxvii, 4, 6; comp. Ezek. xli. 1. In this passage
the reference is not to "prayer in the temple,"
but of turning in prayer to the holy place of
the throne of Jehovah, In this I agree with
Hengst., but not in the statement that the object
of the future coming and worship was the
thanksgiving here promised on account of the
deliverance wrought by the divine grace, as Ps.
Ixvi. 13. The reference is certainly not to the
greatness of love towards God, but to the divine
grace ; but so that its fulness is designated by
him as the accomplishment of the Psalmist's
entrance into the sanctuary^ It is necessary to
regard the imperfects as future, on account of
the character of the Psalm as a morning prayer,
but the contrast with the preceding words limits
the potential coloring=I may and will (Hupf.,
Delitzsch, Hitzig). Oraturi quasi caelum ingressuri
ei coram majestate infinita locuturi (Hugoj.

Sir. III. Ver. 8. Lead me in Thy right-
eousness, according to some, at least Heng-
stenberg, refers to the attribute of God as the
righteous helper and avenger, Ps. xxxi. 1, 3.
But the opponents, although not exactly called
" capricious " ( Aquil., Jerome, and most others),
are yet described, not as oppressors threatening
with external danger, but as those who prepared
danger with their mouths, and this character of
these persons is expressed ver. 9 as the reason
of the petition, that God would lead the pious
Psalmist in righteousness, which discloses itself
in an inoffensive walk (Ps. xxvii. 11). This
righteousness, however, is not merely the virtue
which God demands and is well pleasing to Him
(De Wette), but a characteristic of the pious,
which is indeed well pleasing to God, but yet at
the same time has its source and its standard in
God Himself (Hupf.), whose action is in all
respects righteous.

Make thy way level before me [straight
before my face, A. V.]. — Either make it straight
before me that I may see it and find it (Hilzig),
or better, make it level for me to walk. Yet
this does not suppose an easy exercise of motion,
without trouble, but a removal of hindrances,



which are not in the person who walks, but
which lie in the Divine way of righteousness, in
which the Psalmist would have God lead him.
In order that he may walk in safety, he requests
Divine help, and indeed either by removal of the
mountains of trouble, the ambushes of enemies,
or the setting aside of stones of stumbling, and
occasions of temptation. The decision on this
point must be in accordance with the explana-
tion of the preceding member of the verse, since
this second member is added without any con-
necting word. Even with the latter interpreta-
tion, which we prefer, the connection with the
following clause which gives the reason of the
petition, although overlooked by Hupfeld, is
very evident. According to another reading,
approved by Grotius, the Sept., Vulg., Arab.,
translate : " level my path before Thee.'''' But
Syr., Chald., Aquil., Symm., Theod., follow
already the present text, and it is confirmed by
the investigation of Jerome.

Ver. 9. In their mouth. — The singular suf-
fix among nothing but plurals, and referred to a
plural, is not so much a collective as a distribu-
tive (Delitzsch) "m ore uniuscujusque eorum."
fX is separated from its genitive by a word

which is shoved in between, as Pss. vi. 5 : xxxii.
2. — Abyss ["I'cry wickedness," A. V.] either
of destruction (Pss. xxxviii. ]2; Iii. 4; Iv. 11;
Prov. xvii. 4), or the wicked lust (Prov. x. 13;
xi. 6 ; Micah vii. 3 ; perhaps Ps. Iii. 7 ; comp.
Hupf.).

Ver. 10. By their own counsels, so that
these are the cause of their fall=overthrow, as
Hos. xi. 6, etc. (Hengst., Hupf., Camph.). Others
(Olsh., De Wette, Ewald, Delitzsch), comparing
Sir. xiv. 2, refer these words to the frustration
of their counsels and translate " from," or add
to it "away" [Ewald, "let them fall from
their plans." — C, A. B.], Luther even in the
sense that the enemies should fall, be ruined,
without being able to carry out their counsels.
Hitzig maintains his explanation in accordance
with the Arabic figure of "down from the
counsel which they ride." So also in the fol-
lowing member many translate : " owing to,"
"on account of," and understand the thrusting
out [''cast out,'' A. v.] as their overthrow.
But since the verb in question is very frequently
used for the rejection of the Israelites, and their
dispersion among foreign nations, it probably
means here "their thrusting away'' (Sept., Vulg.,
Mich., Rosenm., Delitzsch), and, indeed, whilst
they thought to live in their sins, John viii.
21, 24— [For they have rebelled against
Thee. — Perowne. "The enemies of David are
the enemies of David's God. * Whoso touch-
eth you, toucheth the apple of Mine eye,'
' Saul, Saul, why persecutest thou Me ? ' " —
C. A. B.]

Ver. 11. And they will rejoice ["Zci—
rejoice,'" A. V.].— Luther continues the impera-
tive of petition. The imperfects may indeed be
taken as optative, but it is better to regard them
as future, since these clauses state the lot of the
pious and their behaviour subsequent to the



Online LibraryJohann Peter LangeA commentary on the Holy Scriptures: critical, doctrinal, and homiletical, with special reference to ministers and students → online text (page 17 of 164)