being old; as he might be truly called, being two hundred years of age or thereabout:
and full of days; lived out all his days, the full term of life in common, and longer than it was usual for men to live. He had a long life to satisfaction, as is promised, Psalm 91:16. He lived as long as he desired to live, was quite satisfied with living; not that he loathed life, as he once did, and in that sense he did, and from such principles and with such views as he then had, Job 7:15. But he had enough of life, and was willing to die; and came to his grave, as Eliphaz said, "like a shock of corn in his season", Job 5:26. Adrichomius (b), from certain travellers, speaks of the sepulchre of Job, in the form of a pyramid, in the plains of the land of Uz, to the east of the city Sueta, shown to this day, and had in great honour by Greeks and others; and which is more probable than what some say (c), that his grave is in Constantinople, where there is a gate called Job's gate, from thence: but the Job there buried was a general of the Saracens, who died besieging that city with a numerous army, and was there buried, A. D. 675 (d). There is a fragment at the end of the Septuagint and Arabic versions of this book, said to be translated from a Syriac copy, which gives a very particular account of Job's descent as,
"that he dwelt in the land of Ausitis, on the borders of Idumaea and Arabia; that his name was first Jobab; that he married an Arabian woman, and begot a son, whose name was Ennon; that his father was Zare, a son of the sons of Esau; that his mother was Bosorra (or Bosra); and that he was the fifth from Abraham. And these are the kings that reigned in Edom, which country he reigned over; the first was Balac, the son of Beor, the name of whose city was Dennaba; after Balac, Jobab, called Job; after him Asom, who was governor in the country of Theman; after him Adad, the son of Barad, who cut off Midian in the field of Moab, the name of whose city was Gethaim. The friends that came to him (Job) were Eliphaz, of the sons of Esau, the king of the Themanites; Baldad, king of the Sauchseans; and Sophar, king of the Minaeans.''
The substance of this is confirmed by Aristaeus, Philo, and Polyhistor (e), ancient historians.
(b) Theatrum Terrae S. p. 93. (c) Juchasin, fol. 9. 2.((d) Schindler. Lexic. Pentaglott. Colossians 64. (e) Apud Euseb. Praepar. Evangel. l. 9. c. 25.
INTRODUCTION TO PSALMS
The title of this book may be rendered "the Book of Praises", or "Hymns"; the psalm which our Lord sung at the passover is called an "hymn", Matthew 26:30; and the one hundred forty fifth Psalm is entitled "an Hymn of David"; and the psalms in general are called "hymns" by Philo the Jew (a), and songs and hymns by Josephus (b); and to these several names of this book the apostle manifestly refers in Ephesians 5:19, Colossians 3:16. The Jews divided the writings of the Old Testament into three parts: the first division is the Law, or five books of Moses; the second is the Prophets, former and latter; and the third, the "Hagiographa", or holy writings; to which division Christ has a regard in Luke 24:44; and because the book of Psalms stand first in the last division, the whole goes by its name. This book by the Apostle Peter is entitled as here, Acts 1:20; the title in the Syriac version is,
"the Book of the Psalms of David, King and Prophet,''
with which agrees the Arabic version. As to the divine authority of it, that it was written by inspiration of God, we have not only the testimony of David, who says, "the Spirit of God spake by me", 2 Samuel 23:2; but the testimonies of Christ and his apostles, Matthew 22:43; and, as Aben Ezra (c) observes the whole of it was spoken , "by the Holy Ghost". Concerning the penman or amanuensis, employed by the Spirit of God in writing it, there are different opinions. The Jews make mention of ten, which are differently reckoned by them. According to Jarchi (d), they were Adam, Melchizedek, Abraham, Moses, David, Solomon, Asaph, and the three sons of Korah. According to Kimchi (e), they were Adam, the first, Melchizedek, Abraham, Asaph, Heman, Jeduthun, Moses, and the three sons of Korah; Asir, Elkanah, and Abiasaph. Some ascribe all the Psalms to David (f), and think that those which are said to be a psalm of Asaph, or of Heman, &c. should be rendered "a psalm to Asaph", &c. and only signify that they were psalms delivered to them, to be sung in a public manner. But the truest opinion seems to be, that the greater part of them were written by David, and for the most part those that have no title; and the rest by those whose names they bear. Some were written at and after the Babylonish captivity, as Psalm 126:1 and Psalm 137:1. The manner or form in which they were written was metre (g), though some deny it that the Jews had metre: as appears by the different accentuation of them from other writings, and from their being sung vocally and on musical instruments. Josephus (h), the Jewish historian, says, that
"David being free from war, and enjoying a profound peace, composed songs and hymns to God, of various metre; some trimeter, and some pentameter;''
that is, some of three feet, and others of five feet: for the Psalms of David are thought to be of the "lyric" kind; and Gomarus, in his Lyra, has given many instances out of them, which are of the "iambic", "trochaic" kind, &c. though the Jews for many years have lost the knowledge of the sacred poetry. R. Benjamin (i) indeed says, that in his time there were at Bagdad R. Eleazar and his brethren, who knew how to sing the songs, as the singers did when the temple was standing. The subject matter of this book is exceeding great and excellent; many of the psalms respect the person, offices, and grace of Christ; his sufferings and death, resurrection, ascension, and session at the right hand of God; and so are exceeding suitable to the Gospel dispensation. The whole book is a rich mine of grace and evangelical truths, and a large fund of spiritual experience; and is abundantly suited to every case, state, and condition, that the church of Christ, or particular believers, are in at any time.
(a) De Mutat. Nom. p. 1062. (b) Antiquitat. l. 7. c. 12. s. 3.((c) Praefat. in Psalm. (d) Praefat. in Psalm. (e) Praefat. in ibid. (f) R. Hona in Midrash Tillim, fol. 2. 1. (g) Vid. Lowth de Sacr. Poes. Heb. Praelect. 3. s. 32, &c. (h) Ut supra. (Antiquitat. l. 7. c. 12. s. 3.) (i) Itinerar. p. 70, 71.
INTRODUCTION TO Psalm 1
This psalm, though without a title, may reasonably be thought to be a psalm of David; since the next psalm, which is also without a title, is ascribed to him, Acts 4:25; and since both are joined together as one psalm by the Jews (k); See Gill on Acts 13:33; and since this is the general preface to the whole book, which is chiefly of David's penning, it is entitled, in the metaphrase of Apollinarius,
"a Song of David, the Prophet and King.''
(k) T. Bab. Beracot, fol. 9. 2.
"the goodness, or, Oh, the goodness of the man;''
or as others,
"Oh, the right goings or happy progress, or prosperous success of the man (m),''
who answers to the following characters; which right walking of his is next observed, and his prosperity in Psalm 1:3. Some have interpreted this psalm of Christ, and think it is properly spoken of him (n);
that walketh not in the counsel of the ungodly: all men are by nature and practice ungodly, without God, without the true knowledge, fear, and worship of God and are at enmity against him. It is a character that belongs to God's elect as well as others, while in a state of nature; and is sometimes used illustrate the love of Christ in dying for them, and the grace of God in the justification of them, Romans 4:5. But here it describes not such who are wicked in heart and life in common only, but the reprobate part of mankind, profligate and abandoned sinners, such as Jude speaks of, Jde 1:4; and for whom the law is made, and against whom it lies, 1 Timothy 1:9. The word (o) here used signifies such who are restless and continually in mischief; who are like the troubled sea, which cannot rest, ever casting up mire and dirt: they are always disquieted themselves, and are ever disquieting others; nor do they cease from being so till they are laid in their graves. And to these "counsel" is ascribed, which supposes capacity and wisdom; as, generally speaking, such are wise and prudent in natural and civil things, and are wise to do evil, though to do good they have no knowledge: and counsel implies consultation and deliberation; they act deliberately in sinning, they cast about in their minds, form schemes, and contrive ways and means how to accomplish their vicious purposes; and sometimes they enter into a confederacy, and consult together with one consent, and their counsel is generally against the Lord, though it does not prosper and prevail; and against his Christ, his people, truths and ordinances: it takes in both their principles and practices; and the sum of their counsel is to indulge themselves in sin, to throw off all religion, and to cast off the fear and worship of God, Job 21:14. Now "not to walk" herein is not to hearken to their counsel, to give into it, agree with it, pursue it, and act according to it; and happy is the man, who, though he may fall in the way of it, and may have bad counsel given him by ungodly men, yet does not consent to it, take it, and act upon it. This may be applied to the times of the Messiah, and the men of the age in which he lived; and the rather, since the next psalm, in which mention is made of the counsel of the ungodly, manifestly belongs unto them. The men of that generation were a set of ungodly men, who consulted against Christ to take away his life; and blessed is the man, as Joseph of Arimathea, who, though he was in that assembly which conspired against the life of Christ, did not walk in, nor consent unto, their counsel and their deeds, Luke 23:51;
nor standeth in the way of sinners; all men are sinners through Adam's disobedience, and their own actual transgressions, and such were the elect of God, when Christ died for them; and indeed are so after conversion, for no man lives without sin. But here it intends notorious sinners, who are open, bold, and daring in iniquity; the word (p) signifies such, who in shooting miss the mark, and go aside from it, as such sinners do from the law of God; proceed from evil to evil, choose their own ways, and delight in their abominations. Now their "way" is not only their "opinion", as the Syriac version renders it, their corrupt sentiments, but their sinful course of life; which is a way of darkness, a crooked path, and a road that leads to destruction and death: and happy is the man that does "not stand" in this way, which denotes openness, impudence, and continuance; who, though he may fall into this way, does not abide in it; see Romans 6:1. The Pharisees in the time of Christ, though they were not openly and outwardly sinners, yet they were secretly and inwardly such, Matthew 23:28; and the way they stood in was that of justification by the works of the law, Romans 9:31, but happy is the man, as the Apostle Paul and others, who stands not in that way, but in the way Christ Jesus, and in the way of life and righteousness by him;
nor sitteth in the seat of the scornful; by whom may be meant proud and haughty persons, in opposition to the humble and lowly, as in Proverbs 3:34; such who are proud of their natural abilities, knowledge, and wisdom, of their honours and riches, or of their own righteousness, and despise others; or such who are desperate in wickedness, of whom there is no hope; see Proverbs 9:7; and Deists and atheists, who scoff at divine revelation, and mock at a future state, at death, hell, and judgment, as in Isaiah 28:14. Now happy is the man that does not sit or keep company with such persons; who comes not into their secret and into their assembly; does not associate himself with them, nor approve of their dispositions, words, principles, and actions; see Psalm 26:4. Such were the Scribes and Pharisees in Christ's time; they derided him and his doctrines, scoffed at him when he hung upon the cross, and despised him and his apostles, and his Gospel; but there were some that did not join with them, to whom he, his ministers, and truths, were precious and in high esteem, and to whom he was the power and wisdom of God.
(l) "beatitudines illius viri", Montanus, Vatablus, Gejerus. (m) "Recti incessus, felices progressus, ac prosperi successus", Michaelis; so Piscator. (n) Justinian. in Octapl. Psalt, in loc. Romualdus apud Mabillon. Itinerar. Ital. p. 181. (o) "significat eos qui sine quiete et indesinenter impie degunt", Vatablus. (p) "qui longissime aberrant a scopo legis"; Gerjerus.
and in his law doth he meditate day and night; as Joshua was directed to do, and David did, Joshua 1:8. This is to be understood of a diligent reading and serious consideration of it; and of the employment of the thoughts, and of deep study upon it, in order to find out the sense and meaning of it; and which is to be done constantly, every day, as often as there is leisure and opportunity for it; or, as Kimchi on the place observes, whenever a man is free from the business of life; unless this should be taken figuratively, of the day of prosperity and night of adversity, whether in things temporal or spiritual, which are each of them proper seasons to meditate in, upon the word of God and Gospel of Christ.
that bringeth forth his fruit in his season; and so appears to be a tree of righteousness, filled with the fruits of righteousness, the graces of the Spirit, and good works; which are brought forth by him under the influence of grace, as he has opportunity, and according to the measure of grace bestowed. His leaf also shall not wither; neither tree, nor fruit, nor leaf shall wither, but shall be always green; which is expressive of the saints' perseverance: the reasons of which are, they are ingrafted in Christ the true vine, and abide in him, from whom they have their sap, nourishment, and fruit, John 15:1; they are rooted and built up in him, and established in the faith of him; and so they hold fast the profession of it without wavering;
and whatsoever he doth shall prosper; meaning not so much in things temporal, of which Arama interprets it, for in these the good man does not always succeed, but in things spiritual: whatever he does in faith, from love, to the glory of God, and in the name of Christ, prospers; yea, those things in which he is concerned, that are adverse, and seem for the present to be against him, in the issue work for good to him: in short, such a man is blessed with grace here, and glory hereafter; and therefore must needs be an happy man.
(q) Vid. Noldii Concord. Part. Ebr. p. 308. (r) "juxta divisiones"; Musculus, Hammond; so Ben Melech.
but are like the chaff which the wind driveth away; they are like chaff, which has no root, moisture, greenness, nor fruitfulness; they have nothing in them solid and substantial; they are destitute of all that is good; are vain and empty; without the knowledge of God and Christ; without faith in Christ and love to him; and are sensual, not having the Spirit, his graces and fruits: they are like chaff for lightness, vain in their imaginations, light in their principles, frothy in their words, and unstable in all their ways: they are never long in any position, unsettled, disquieted, and tossed to and fro; and there is no peace unto them: they are like chaff, useless and unprofitable, nothing worth, fit only for everlasting burnings, which will be their case. For when Christ will gather his wheat, the righteous, which are of value, into his garner, the heavenly glory, he will burn the chaff, the wicked, with unquenchable fire. They are now like chaff, driven and carried about with every wind of doctrine, with divers and strange doctrines, and entertain every light and airy notion; and are easily drawn aside and carried away by the force of their own lusts, and with every temptation of Satan, who works effectually in then: and particularly they are like chaff before the wind of terrible judgments and calamities in this life, and of the awful judgment hereafter, when they will be driven away from the presence of the Lord into everlasting destruction. The metaphor is often used in this sense; see Job 21:17; and denotes the secret, sudden, sure, and easy ruin of the ungodly, which comes upon them like a whirlwind, in an instant, which they cannot avoid; and they can no more stand before God and against him, than chaff before the wind. It follows,
nor sinners in the congregation of the righteous; who are made righteous by the righteousness of Christ imputed to them, and have a work of grace and holiness wrought in them; and who, under the influence of grace, live soberly, righteously, and godly; these are the same with the blessed man, Psalm 1:1; and who at the day of judgment will be perfectly holy, and free from all sin; and they will be all gathered together by the holy angels; the dead saints will be raised, the living ones will be changed, and both will be caught up together to meet the Lord in the air, and will make up one general assembly and church of the firstborn; and among these, and in this assembly, there will not be a single sinner; there are now sinners in Zion, foolish virgins with the wise, chaff and tares among Christ's wheat, and wolves and goats among his sheep; but then there will be an eternal separation, and no mixing together any more.