Psalms 80:17 MEANING

Psalm 80:17
(17) Man of thy right hand.--This is manifestly a continuation of Psalm 80:15, and should follow it:--

"Protect what thy right hand hath planted,

The branch which thou hast made strong for thyself:

Let thy hand be over the man of thy right hand,

Over the son of man whom thou madest strong for thyself."

A fine instance of the mode in which the thought can pass naturally from the figurative to the literal. The man of God's right hand is evidently the man protected by the right hand, but the expression introduces such a tautology that we suspect a misreading.

In the words "son," "son of man," some see a reference to the Messiah. But the parallelism and context show that the poet is thinking of Israel as a community, of which the vine is the emblem.

Verse 17. - Let thy hand be upon the man of thy right hand. Either upon Israel generally, or upon Ephraim - the northern kingdom - especially. A Judaean poet interceding for the rival state, is touching. Upon the son of man whom thou madest strong for thyself (comp. ver. 15 and the comment).

80:17-19 The Messiah, the Protector and Saviour of the church, is the Man of God's right hand; he is the Arm of the Lord, for all power is given to him. In him is our strength, by which we are enabled to persevere to the end. The vine, therefore, cannot be ruined, nor can any fruitful branch perish; but the unfruitful will be cut off and cast into the fire. The end of our redemption is, that we should serve Him who hath redeemed us, and not go back to our old sins.Let thy hand be upon the man of thy right hand,.... Which some understand of the people of Israel in general, beloved, supported, and strengthened, by the Lord: and others of the then king of Israel, or Judah, the vinedresser, or keeper of the vineyard under God; praying that he might be directed, supported, and protected, by the Lord; but it seems better to understand it with R. Obadiah on the place, and Abarbinel (x) of the Messiah; and so Aben Ezra interprets it either of Israel, or of Messiah the son of Ephraim. Christ is called the "man", though as yet he was not really man, because it was purposed and promised that he should; and he had agreed to become man, and had appeared often in an human form; and it was certain that he would be incarnate: and also the man of God's "right hand", which is expressive of the power of God, because by him, who, in time, became man, even the Son of God, the world, and all things in it, were made; and by him all things are upheld in their being; by him his people were to be redeemed, and have been redeemed from all their enemies; and by him they are upheld, kept, and preserved from a final and total falling away, and will be raised at the last day: and the phrase may design the support and strength the human nature of Christ, which was weak in itself, was to have, and had, not only from its union in the Son of God, but from God the Father; who promised and gave support and strength to it, under all the sufferings endured in it: to which may be added, that this phrase is expressive of love and affection; so Benjamin had his name, which signifies the son of the right hand, from the great affection of his father; so Christ is the Son of God's love, his dear and well beloved Son; as appears by hiding nothing from him, by putting all things into his hands, and appointing him the Head and Saviour of his people, and the Judge of the world; and his love to him is a love of complacency and delight, is everlasting and unchangeable: moreover, he may be so called, because he was to be, and now is, exalted at the right hand of God, in human nature, as a Prince and Saviour, above angels, authorities, and powers, and above every name whatever: and the prayer is either that the hand of vindictive justice might not be upon the vine, or the church of God, but upon Christ their surety, who was able to bear it, and had engaged to do it; or the hand of divine power and support might be upon him, to strengthen him for the work of redemption and salvation, that so that might prosper in his hand; and the hand of love, grace, and mercy, might be turned upon his people: it is added,

upon the son of man, whom thou madest strong for thyself; for the accomplishment of his purposes, promises, and covenant, for the bringing about the salvation of his own people, and for ends of his own glory: the same person is here meant as before; and his being called "the Son of Man", which is a very usual phrase for Christ in the New Testament, and which seems to be taken from hence, and from Daniel 7:13, shows that he could not be really from eternity, since he was to be the Son of Man, as he was, of Abraham, David, &c.

(x) Mashmiah Jeshuah, fol. 81. 2.

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