and mine acquaintance into darkness; either by death into the dark grave, which Job calls the land of darkness and shadow of death, Job 10:21, or being removed from him, so that he could not see them, it was all one to him as if they had been put into darkness, into some dark dungeon, or into the grave itself: or the words may be rendered, mine acquaintance are darkness (i): this was the case of Christ, when on the cross; he had none near him, no acquaintance about him, but darkness; and darkness was over all the land for the space of three hours; and a darkness was on his soul, being forsaken by his Father; and the prince of darkness, with all the fiends of hell, were throwing their fiery darts at him, Matthew 27:45. Thus ends this sorrowful and mournful song; a joyful one follows.
(i) "noti mei sunt tenebrae", Cocceius, Schmidt, Michaelis; "amici mei sunt caligo", Gejerus.
INTRODUCTION TO Psalm 89
Maschil of Ethan the Ezrahite. Who this Ethan was is not certain. Kimchi takes him to be the same with Ethan the wise man, a grandson of Judah, 1 Kings 4:31. But seeing he lived some hundreds of years before the times of David, it is not likely that he should be the writer of this psalm; for David is made mention of in it, which could not be, unless it can be thought to be by a spirit of prophecy; which indeed is the opinion of Doctor Lightfoot (k), who takes this Ethan to be the penman of this psalm; and who
"from the promise, Genesis 15:1 sings joyfully the deliverance (of Israel); that the raging of the Red sea should be ruled, Psalm 89:9, and Rahab, or Egypt, should be broken in pieces, Psalm 89:10, and that the people should hear the joyful sound of the law, Psalm 89:15, and as for the name of David in it, this, he says, might be done prophetically; as Samuel is thought to be named by Moses, Psalm 99:6, which psalm is held to be made by him; or else might be put into it, in later times, by some divine penman, endued with the same gift of prophecy, who might improve the ground work of this psalm laid by Ethan, and set it to an higher key; namely, that whereas he treated only of bodily deliverance from Egypt, it is wound up so high as to reach the spiritual delivery by Christ; and therefore David is often named, from whence he should come.''
There was another Ethan, a singer, in David's time; and it is more probable that he is the person, who might live to the times of Rehoboam, and see the decline of David's family, and the revolt of the ten tribes from it; or perhaps it was one of this name who lived in the times of the Babylonish captivity, and saw the low estate that David's family were come into; to which agrees the latter part of this psalm; and, in order to comfort the people of God, he wrote this psalm, showing that the covenant and promises of God, made with David, nevertheless stood firm, and would be accomplished: the title of the Septuagint version calls him Etham the Israelite; and the Arabic version Nathan the Israelite: the Targum makes him to be Abraham, paraphrasing it
"a good understanding, which was said by the hand of Abraham, that came from the east.''
But whoever was the penman of this psalm, it is "maschil", an instructive psalm, a psalm causing to understand; it treats concerning the covenant of grace, and the promises of it; and concerning the mercy and faithfulness of God, in making and keeping the same; and concerning the Messiah and his seed, his church and people; and the stability and duration of all these: many passages in it are applied to the Messiah by Jewish writers, ancient and modern; and Psalm 89:20 is manifestly referred to in Acts 13:22.
with my mouth will I make known thy faithfulness to all generations; God is faithful to himself, to all the perfections of his nature, to his truth, holiness, and justice, he cannot deny himself; he is so to his Son, and to all engagements with him, and promises to him; to all his counsels, purposes, and decrees; all which are faithfulness and truth, or faithfully and truly performed; and to his covenant and promises made to his people in Christ, in whom they are all yea and amen: and that this glorious perfection of God might be made known to the saints in all successive generations, and be taken notice of by them, the psalmist spoke and sung this psalm with his mouth, and penned it with his hand; in which there is more mention made of the faithfulness of God than perhaps in any other passage of Scripture besides; see Psalm 89:2.
(k) Works, vol. i. p. 699, 700. (l) "bonitates", Tigurine version; "benignitates", Junius & Tremellius; "beneficia", Piscator; "gratias", Cocceius.
I have sworn unto David my servant: to the Messiah, called David, as before observed, and who is the Lord's servant, as man and Mediator, of his choosing, calling, sending, and supporting, Isaiah 42:1, to whom he swore, and he will not repent; and which oath of his, joined to his covenant and promise, makes for the strong consolation of the heirs of promise; see Psalm 89:35, the sum and substance of which covenant and oath follow.
and build up thy throne to all generations; and this shows that the passage is not to be understood literally of David, and of his temporal throne and kingdom, which did not last many generations; but of the spiritual throne and kingdom of the Messiah, who sprung from him, called the throne of his father David, whose throne is for ever and ever, and whose kingdom is an everlasting kingdom, Luke 1:32, Psalm 45:6, his throne is in the heavens, where he will reign until all enemies are put under his feet; and it is also in the midst of his church, and in the hearts of his people, where he reigns as King of saints; and he is on the same throne with his Father; it is the same with his, as to glory, power, and authority; on this he will sit, and judge the world at the last day; and on it he will reign with his people a thousand years, in the New Jerusalem state, and after that to all eternity, Revelation 3:21.
Selah. See Gill on Psalm 3:2.
thy faithfulness also in the congregation of the saints; i.e. is praised there; which Aben Ezra and Kimchi interpret of the angels also, who are called saints, Deuteronomy 33:2, of which there is a congregation, even an innumerable company, Revelation 19:6, these not only admire and praise the wonderful works of the Lord, but his perfections also; and particularly his faithfulness in the execution of promises and threatenings, Revelation 7:11, but rather holy men are meant, such as are called to be saints, and are gathered together in a Gospel church state, designed by a congregation of them, among and by whom the truth and faithfulness of God, as well as his lovingkindness and mercy, are spoken of with the highest commendation, Psalm 40:9.
(m) "mirabile tuum", Pagninus, Montanus, Cocceius, Gerjus; "mirabile apus tuum", Junius & Tremellius; "illud miraculum tuum", Michaelis.
who among the sons of the mighty can be likened unto the Lord? the Syriac version very wrongly renders it "the sons of angels", seeing angels do not propagate their species, Luke 20:36 to which Kimchi agrees, who makes the "mighty" to be angels, and their sons to be the host of heaven, which are moved and guided by them: the Septuagint, Vulgate Latin, Ethiopic, and Arabic versions, render it "the sons of God"; and this phrase, indeed, is applicable to the angels, Job 38:7, and so the Targum interprets it of the multitude of the angels; but rather the mighty men of the earth, and their children, are meant; princes, nobles, judges, and civil magistrates of all sorts, men of power and authority in the world; there are none of them to be likened to the Lord, who is King of kings, and Lord of lords; see Psalm 82:1.
(n) "par aestimetur", Junius & Tremellius; "par aestimabitur", Piscator.
"God is mighty in the secrets of the saints, sitting on a throne of glory;''
in the assembly of the saints, the secrets of God's love are disclosed unto them; the doctrines and mysteries of his grace, called the whole counsel of God, Acts 20:27 are there made known; and the ordinances of the Gospel, which also are styled the counsel of God, Luke 7:30, are there administered: now, where all this is done,
God is greatly feared herein; not with a slavish fear, a fear of hell and damnation, such as may be in devils; nor with an hypocritical fear, such as is taught by the precepts of men; but with a filial, godly fear, such as is peculiar to the children of God; with an holy and humble fear, with a fiducial and fearless one; with a reverential affection for the Divine Being, and such as includes all worship of him, internal and external: and to be had in reverence of all them that are about him; which the Targum paraphrases
"and is to be feared above all the angels that stand round about him''
and so Kimchi interprets it; see Revelation 5:11, but the same thing, in different words, is meant, as in the preceding clause.
who is a strong Lord like unto thee? he is Jah, or Jehovah, and he alone is so, and is the most High in all the earth, Psalm 83:18 and there is none like him for his great power and strength, by which he has made the heavens and the earth, and upholds them in their being; and by which he has redeemed his people, plucked them out of the hands of sin and Satan, and preserves them safe to his kingdom and glory: see Job 40:9,
or to thy faithfulness round about thee; none so faithful as the Lord, none to be trusted as he, either angels or men; some understand it of the faithful ones that are about him, his trusty servants the angels, who stand round about him ready to do his will; or the glorified saints that are with him, the called, chosen, and faithful; see Psalm 103:19 or rather the words are to be read, "and thy faithfulness is round about thee"; and so the Targum,
"and thy truth (or faithfulness) surroundeth thee:''
look all around him, and his faithfulness is everywhere to be seen; to himself, and the perfections of his nature; to his Son, and agreements with him; and to his counsels of old, his purposes and decrees, and to his covenant and promises: he is as it were clothed with faithfulness, and it appears in all the dispensations of his providence and grace.
when the waves thereof arise, thou stillest them; when the sea lifts up its waves, and both lift up their voice, and make a noise, and roar, the Lord hushes them, and makes them still and quiet, as a parent its child when it cries, or a master his scholars, when they are noisy and tumultuous; so Christ rebuked the wind, and checked the raging sea, and made it calm, when the ship in which he was with his disciples was covered with its waves; and as this is mentioned here as an instance of the great power and strength of the Lord of hosts, so that was a proof and evidence of the true and proper divinity of our Lord Jesus Christ, Matthew 8:24, all this may be understood, in a mystical sense, of the sea of this world, and the wicked inhabitants of it, who are as the troubled sea, and cannot rest, casting up mire and dirt, reproaching and blaspheming God and man; and particularly of tyrannical princes and potentates, who are like the proud waters and raging waves of the sea; but the Lord on high is mightier than they, and can and does restrain their wrath and rage, so that his people have nothing to fear from them; see Psalm 124:3.
"Rahab or the proud one, this is Pharaoh the wicked;''
who and his people were broken to pieces by the plagues that were brought upon them, especially when all their firstborn were slain; and he and his host were broke in pieces at the Red sea, and were seen by the Israelites on the shore, all dead men; and this was done as easily by the Lord, as one slain with the sword, as a dead carcass which has no life, power, and strength to defend itself, may be trampled upon, crushed, bruised, and broken to pieces, by a living man. All this may be an emblem of the Lord's breaking in pieces the proud and insolent one Satan, as Rahab signifies; of his breaking his head, destroying his works, and spoiling his principalities and powers; and indeed of his destruction of every proud and haughty sinner, that says, Pharaoh like, who is the Lord, that I should obey him? and of every vain boaster, and self-righteous person, that trusts in his own righteousness, and will not submit to the righteousness of Christ; and particularly of mystical Egypt, the proud beast of Rome, antichrist, who sits in the temple of God as if he was God, showing himself to be so, blaspheming God, his name, his tabernacle, and his saints; who will be broken to shivers as a potter's vessel, when the vials of God's wrath are poured out, and at and by the coming of Christ:
thou hast scattered thine enemies with thy strong arm; as the Egyptians were in the Red sea, by the waves of it, and cast upon the shore by them; and as the Amorites were by Moses, and the Canaanites by Joshua; which instances may be here referred unto; see Numbers 10:35 these are further proofs of the power and strength of the Lord, Job 40:9.
the earth also is thine; the whole terraqueous globe, and all that is in it, being made, preserved, and continued by him, and by him given to the sons of men, Psalm 116:15,
as for the world, and the fulness thereof: the habitable world, and all that dwell therein, all the children of men, the beasts of the field, and cattle on a thousand hills, and the provisions for them all; which is the goodness of the Lord, the earth is full of; these are all the Lord's; see Psalm 24:1,
thou hast founded them; the world, and the inhabitants of it; the earth is founded upon the seas, and the world upon nothing; and the inhabitants are wonderfully preserved and continued by the power and providence of God; see Psalm 24:2.
Tabor and Hermon shall rejoice in thy name; Tabor was a mountain in the western part of Galilee, in the tribe of Zebulun, Joshua 19:12. This mountain, according to Mr. Maundrell (a), stands by itself in the plain of Esdraelon, about 1200 to 1800 yards within the plain; it has a plain area at top, most fertile and delicious, of an oval figure, extended about six hundred yards in breadth, and twice that in length; this area is enclosed with trees on all parts, except towards the south, in which there are in several places cisterns of good water. It is generally thought to be the mountain Christ was transfigured upon before his disciples; and if so, it might then be said to rejoice in his name, when he appeared in so glorious a form upon it; Moses and Elias talking with him, and a voice from the excellent Glory declaring him his beloved Son; and especially the disciples rejoiced in his name there and then, who could say, It is good for us to be here, Matthew 17:1. Hermon was a mountain called by the Sidonians Sirion, and by the Amorites Shenir, Deuteronomy 3:8 and was in the east; and so Mr. Maundrell (b), speaking of Tabor, says, not many miles eastward you see Mount Hermon, at the foot of which is seated Nain, famous for our Lord's raising the widow's son there, Luke 7:11, there was an Hermon near Mount Tabor, thought likely to be here meant; but, be these mountains where and what they may, they were no doubt very high and fruitful ones, clothed with fruitful trees and grass, and covered with flocks; which made the proprietors and all the beholders rejoice in the goodness, wisdom, and power of God: the Targum in the king's Bible gives the four quarters very truly,
"the desert of the north, and the inhabitants of the south, thou hast created; Tabor on the west, and Hermon on the east, praise in thy name.''
(a) Journey from Aleppo to Jerusalem, p. 113, 114, Ed. 7. (b) Journey from Aleppo to Jerusalem, p. 115, Ed. 7.
strong is thy hand; thy "left hand", as some, it being distinguished from his right hand, mentioned in the next clause; the Targum adds,
"to redeem thy people;''
the work of redemption was put into the hand of Christ, and it prospered in his hand, and his own arm brought salvation to him; and his hand is strong to keep and preserve his people, where they are put, and where they are safe; and the hand of the Lord is strong to correct and chastise them, and sometimes his hand lies heavy upon them, and presses them sore, when it becomes them to humble themselves under his "mighty hand": and it also strong to punish his and their enemies:
and high is thy right hand; when it is lifted up in a way of judgment against wicked men, and for the defence of his people, then may it be said to be exalted: and it is high enough to reach the highest and most powerful of his adversaries; see Psalm 118:16. The Targum adds,
"to build the house of thy sanctuary.''
Some render (c) these two last clauses as a wish or prayer; "let thy hand be strong, and let thy right hand be lifted up".
(c) So Paginus, Montana, and V. L.
mercy and truth shall go before thy face; be and appear wherever he is; all his ways are mercy and truth, Psalm 25:10, "mercy" in pardoning and saving sinners that come unto him by Christ; and "truth" in performing all his purposes and promises; and these make the joyful sound next mentioned.
(d) "praeparatio sedis tuae". V. L. so the Sept. (e) Basis, "fulchrum et stabilimentum", Michaelis.
they shall walk, O Lord, in the light of thy countenance: enjoy the gracious presence of God, have the manifestation of himself, the discoveries of his love, communion with him through Christ, and the comforts of the Holy Spirit, and these continued; so that they shall walk in the sunshine of these things, though not always; for sometimes they walk in darkness, and see no light; but it is an unspeakable mercy and blessing to walk herein at any time, for ever so short a season, see Psalm 4:6.
and in thy righteousness shall they be exalted; from a low estate of sin and misery to an high estate of grace and glory; from a state of condemnation and death to a state of justification of life; from being beggars on the dunghill, to sit among princes, and to inherit the throne of glory; such as are clothed with the righteousness of the Son of God are exalted to great honour, as to be admitted into the presence of the King of kings in raiment of needlework, to stand at his right hand in gold of Ophir, and to live and reign with him for evermore in his kingdom and glory.
and in thy favour our horn shall be exalted; either Christ, the Horn of their salvation, who in an acceptable time, in the time of God's favour, or good will, was heard and helped by him as man, carried through his sufferings and death, was raised from the dead, and exalted at his right hand; see Psalm 89:24 or the saints themselves, their power and strength, kingdom and glory; by the special favour of God in Christ, their mountain is made so strong, and they so highly exalted, as that they think they shall never be moved; and in the latter day the mountain of the Lord's house shall be exalted above the hills, Psalm 30:6.
and the Holy One of Israel is our King; he who was to be, and is of Israel according to the flesh, and is holy in his nature, life, and office; he is King of saints, that rules over them, protects and defends them, and therefore they must be happy: or "to" or "with the Holy One of Israel is our king" (h); Christ is King of Zion by designation, appointment, and constitution, of God the Holy One of Israel, the holy God that has chosen Israel for his peculiar people; though it rather seems that Christ is the Holy One by what follows.
(f) "clypeus noster", Pagninus, Montanus, Vatablus, Tigurine version; "scutum nostrum", Junius & Tremellius, Piscator. (g) "Domino", Pagninus, Montanus. (h) "et sancto Israelis", Pagninus, Montanus.
and saidst, I have laid help upon one that is mighty; this "mighty" One is the Messiah, the mighty God, the mighty Man, the mighty Mediator and Redeemer; who was mighty to save to the uttermost, and was every way fit for and equal to the work of a Redeemer; for which reason the Lord "laid help" upon him, not for himself; for this is not to be understood of help promised or given him as man and Mediator: this is after spoken of, Psalm 89:21, but for others; and so the Targum adds, "for my people": laying it on him is no other than ordering or enjoining him, to which he agreed, to help his people out of that miserable condition they were fallen into, through Adam's transgression, and their own sins, out of which they could not help themselves: the work assigned to Christ, and devolved on him in council and covenant, was to help them out of this estate by price and power; and to help them on in their way to heaven, through all difficulties, trials, and temptations; and to help them to heaven itself, and introduce them there: and being thus laid upon him, according to his Father's will and purpose, and with his own consent, it was found in him, and exercised by him, Hosea 13:9.
I have exalted one chosen out of the people; the same as before, the Messiah, God's elect, his chosen One, Isaiah 42:1 "chosen" to be the head of the church, to be the Mediator between God and man, and to be the Saviour and Redeemer of lost sinners; to be the foundation and corner stone in the spiritual building, and to be the Judge of quick and dead: and he was "chosen out of the people"; out of the vast number of the individuals of human nature God determined to create, there was a certain number which he selected for himself, for his own glory, and to be eternally happy with him; and out of these he singled one "individuum" of human nature, to be united to the eternal Word, the second Person in the Trinity; and which may be truly said to be the "chiefest among", or, as the Septuagint version has it, "chosen out of ten thousand", Sol 5:10, this the Lord "exalted" to the grace of union to the Son of God, whereby it became higher than angels and men, and to have a more excellent name than either of them, it bearing the name of him to whom it is united, Hebrews 1:4, and he has exalted him to the offices of Prophet, Priest, and King, for which he is
anointed above his fellows; and he has also, having done his work, highly exalted him at his right hand; angels, principalities, and powers, being subject to him.
(i) "de pio tuo", Cocceius; "de sancto tuo", Gejerus.
fortuitous event; but is attributed to God by an anthropopathy, or speaking after the manner of men; for it is an act of the highest wisdom, and richest grace, to find out, that is, to pick and appoint, in council and covenant, his own Son to be his servant, to be the Redeemer and Saviour of sinners, and to be a ransom for them, Job 33:24. The Apostle Paul seems to refer to this passage in Acts 13:22.
with my holy oil have I anointed him: not with material oil, as David, his type, 1 Samuel 16:13 but with the Holy Ghost, which may well be called holy oil, in allusion to the holy anointing oil under the law; the oil of gladness with which Christ was anointed above his fellows, and without measure, at the time of his conception and birth, at his baptism and ascension to heaven, and even, in some sense, from all eternity; for so early is he said to be anointed, and to be possessed with all fulness of grace, being invested with and installed into his office as Mediator; and from this anointing he has the name of Messiah and Christ, both which signify anointed, Acts 10:38.
"for my hands are prepared for his help;''
the Septuagint, Vulgate Latin, and all the eastern versions, "mine hand shall help him"; and which is confirmed in the next words: mine arm also shall strengthen him; in the human nature, subject to and encompassed with infirmities: this shows the greatness of the work of man's redemption, which no creature could effect; it required the arm and power of the Lord to be exerted, and by which Christ was made strong by the Lord, both for himself, and for the working out of salvation for us; which he did when he travelled in the greatness of his strength, standing up under the mighty weight of our sins, and the wrath of God; and yet failed not, nor was he discouraged, till his own arm brought salvation to him; see Psalm 80:17.
(a) "parate erit", Musculus, Muis; so the Targum.
nor the son of wickedness afflict him: at least not always: he was indeed afflicted, as by wicked men, and by Satan the wicked one, yet not so as to be overcome by any; and as Christ personal, so Christ mystical, or his church and people, are afflicted by the sons of wickedness; yet, sooner or later, they are delivered out of all their afflictions. Antichrist, that man of sin, and son of perdition, that wicked one, that is eminently so, and may be well called "the son of wickedness", has long and greatly oppressed the people of Christ, and his interest; but he shall not always; he shall be destroyed with the spirit of his mouth, and with the brightness of his coming, 2 Thessalonians 2:3. This passage is applied to the Messiah by the Jews (c).
(b) "non imponet ei", Tigurine version; "non seducet eum", so some in Vatablus; "non decipiet eum", Gejerus, Schmidt. (c) Yalkut Simeoni, par. 2. fol. 56. 3.
and plague them that hate him; that would not have him to reign over them, the unbelieving Jews, and all the followers of antichrist; who are either plagued with the judgments of God here, or with everlasting punishment hereafter, with which they will be tormented for ever and ever, Luke 19:14 or "strike" (d) them with a rod of iron, with his wrath and vengeance; strike them down to the ground, and to the lowest hell.
(d) "percutiam", Pagninus, Montanus, Musculus, Piscator, Michaelis.
and in my name shall his horn be exalted, or "his glory", as the Targum; his power and dominion, of which the horn is an emblem; and his glory is displayed in having the same name his Father has: his name is expressive of his nature, being, and perfections, the name Jehovah; and his name of title and office "King of Kings, and Lord of lords"; or his name the Word of God, as the Targum; who, as such, is the brightness of his Father's glory: or the sense is, that, by the power of God, he should be raised from the dead, and have glory given him, and be exalted at his right hand, and made Lord and Christ; or by means of the Gospel, which is the name of the Lord, John 17:6, his kingdom and dominion should be spread in the world; see 1 Samuel 2:10.
(e) "et veritas mea, et gratia mea", Cocceius, Gejerus, Michaelis.
"I will set or place his government in the provinces of the sea;''
and which has been remarkably accomplished in our isles, where his Gospel has been preached, his kingdom set up, and he has had a race of subjects, and a seed, to serve him for many years:
and his right hand in the rivers: or, as the Targum,
"the power of his right hand in those that dwell by rivers;''
meaning such that dwell upon the continent, afar off from the sea, and whose countries are watered by rivers: so that both phrases denote the extent of Christ's kingdom in the continent, and in the islands of the sea; signifying, that it should reach everywhere, and be from sea to sea, and from the river to the ends of the earth, Psalm 72:8. Compare with this Revelation 10:1. Aben Ezra interprets it of David's prevailing over those that go in ships in the sea, and in rivers.
and the Rock of my salvation; that bore him up, and where he stood firm, while he was working out the salvation of his people; and though he was not saved from sufferings and death, yet he was quickly delivered from the grave, and raised from the dead, and set at the right hand of God, where he must reign till all enemies are put under his feet.
(f) In Shemot Rabba, s. 19. fol. 104. 4.
and my covenant shall stand fast with him; being made with him as the head and representative of his people, it remains, and will remain, sure, firm, and immoveable; its blessings are "sure mercies", and its promises are all "yea and amen in Christ": the stability of it, and of all that is in it, is owing to its being made with him, and being in his hands, who is the surety, Mediator, and messenger of it.
(g) "bonitatem meam", Musculus, Tigurine version; "benignitatem meam", Junius & Tremellius, Piscator; "gratiam meam", Cocceius, Gejerus, Michaelis.
and his throne as the days of heaven; a phrase signifying a great length of time, Deuteronomy 11:21 yea, invariable constancy and duration, Jeremiah 31:25 and indeed the throne of Christ is for ever and ever, and will be when the present earth and heavens are fled away, Psalm 45:6. Christ is upon a throne now in heaven, the same with his divine Father's; and here he must sit and reign, till all enemies are put under him; and he will be on a throne of glory when he judges the world, and in the New Jerusalem state for the space of a thousand years; and, after that, he will reign with his saints, and they with him, for evermore; his throne and kingdom are everlasting, Isaiah 9:7.
and walk not in my judgments; those laws of his house by which he judges, regulates, and governs his people; by which they are directed by him, as their Judge and Lawgiver, how to behave themselves in the church of God; and in which they are to walk, and continue in the observance of; and so to do is to walk as becomes the Gospel, and worthy of their calling; but to do otherwise is to walk disorderly; and such are cognizable by the Lord, and by his people.
(h) "verbum meaum revelatum", Gejerus; "legem et doctrinam meam", Michaelis.
(i) "prophanaverint", V. L. Pagninus, Montanus, Tigurine version, Junius & Tremellius, Piscator, &c.
"I will visit their transgressions by the hands of the tribes of the ungodly;''
or with such afflictions as are common to men, 1 Corinthians 10:13, in a kind, humane, moderate way, in measure, in judgment, and not in wrath and hot displeasure; or in such like manner as a man chastises his children, which is in love, Deuteronomy 8:5.
and their iniquity with stripes; such as diseases of body, loss of relations, crosses and disappointments in the world; not with the stripes of divine vengeance, of vindictive justice, such as Christ, the surety of his people, endured for them; but with the scourges of a father, Isaiah 53:8.
nor suffer my faithfulness to fail; in making good his engagements to Christ, in keeping the covenant made with him, and in fulfilling his promises to his people; and even when he afflicts them, it is in faithfulness to them; nor will he suffer them to be afflicted above what they are able to bear, and will support them under it, and deliver out of it, Psalm 119:75 or "I will not falsify in my truth" (i); or falsify his word; he is faithful that has promised, who will do it, yea, notwithstanding the unbelief of his people, Hebrews 10:23.
(k) "not irritam faciam", Junius & Tremellius, Piscator, Gejerus. (i) "neque faciam mendacium" ("neque fallam", Montanus) "in veritate mea", Pagninus; "neque mentiar aut fallam in veritate mea", Michaelis.
nor alter the thing that is gone out of my lips; any promise of his, respecting either the temporal, spiritual, or eternal welfare of his people: or "not change" (n); as he changes not in his nature and perfections, nor in his love and affections, nor in his counsels and purposes; so neither in his covenant and promises, they are always the same, and have a certain and unchangeable accomplishment; there is a performance of whatsoever is spoken by the Lord, Luke 1:45.
(m) "non prophanabo", V. L. Pagninus, Montanus, Tigurine version, &c. (n) "non mutabo", Pagninus, Montanus, Tigurine version, Junius & Tremellius, &c.
that I will not lie unto David; he will not lie to any, he cannot, it is impossible he should; it would be to deny himself, it is contrary to his being as God, he is not a man that he should lie; it is contrary to his character as the God of truth; he will not lie, neither in his counsel nor covenant, in his purposes nor promises; these are the two immutable things, in which it is impossible he should lie: and he has swore to it that he will not lie to David, to David's son the Messiah, with whom the covenant is made, and stands fast; all the prophecies concerning him he has fulfilled; and all the promises made to him of help and assistance, as man and Mediator, in his work, and of the reward of it, a glory with him, he has made good.
and his throne as the sun before me; that is, shall continue as long as it does; see Psalm 89:29, or shall be bright, splendid, and glorious as the sun, so the Targum,
"and his throne light as the sun before me;''
meaning his church and kingdom, of which the throne is an emblem, and which became so in Gospel times, clear and lucid as the sun, Sol 6:10, when day was made by the rising of the sun of righteousness, and by the bright shining of the Gospel ministry; and at particular periods since, as in the times of Constantine, when the church was clothed with the sun, and at the Reformation, when Christ appeared with a rainbow on his head, and his face was as the sun, Revelation 12:1 and especially this will be the case of the church in the latter day, when the light of the moon will be as the light of the sun, and the light of the sun seven fold, as the light of seven days; and when the city, the church, will stand in no need of the sun, nor of the moon; and also in the ultimate glory, when the saints will shine as the sun in the kingdom of God; see Isaiah 30:26. This passage is applied to the Messiah by the Jews (a).
(a) Zohar in Gen. fol. 30. 1.
and as a faithful witness in heaven: or "in the sky or cloud" (b); some understand this of the moon, others of both sun and moon; but it seems best to interpret it of something distinct from either, even of the rainbow, which though it does not always appear in the clouds, yet it has appeared at times, and does and will unto the end of the world; and be a faithful and an everlasting token and witness of the covenant of God made with all creatures, that he will no more destroy the world by a flood, Genesis 9:12, and is an emblem of the covenant of grace, and of the continuance, perpetuity, and immutability of it; see Isaiah 54:9.
(b) "in aethere", Montanus, Tigurine version, Vatablus; "in superiore nube", Junius & Tremellius; "in nubibus", Gejerus.
and abhorred; not that he abhorred the person of Christ, who was his own Son, his beloved Son; nor his afflictions and sufferings, which were a sacrifice of a sweet smelling savour to him; see Psalm 22:24, though these might be interpreted by others as if the Lord abhorred or rejected him; because he suffered him to be used in the manner he was, and particularly to be abhorred by the Jews, even by the nation in general, Isaiah 49:7, though the sins of his people, which he had upon him, and for which he suffered, were an abhorring to the Lord; and when he was made sin, he was made a curse:
thou hast been wroth with thine Anointed; with thy Messiah; not Rehoboam, from whom the ten tribes were rent; nor Josiah, who was killed by Pharaohnecho; nor Zedekiah, carried captive into Babylon; but the true Messiah, the son of David, before said to be found by the Lord, and anointed with his holy oil, Psalm 89:20, which is to be understood of him, not as his own son, who was always the object of his love, but as the sinner's surety, bearing the sins of his people, and all the wrath and punishment due unto them; and so is reconcilable to the promise, that lovingkindness should not be taken from him, Psalm 89:33 and is no objection to it, though made one.
thou hast profaned his crown by casting it to the ground: by suffering it to be cast to the ground, and used contemptibly; as when Jesus was crowned with thorns, and saluted in a mock manner; when an "if" was put upon his being the King of Israel, Matthew 27:29, and which seemed very inconsistent with the promise, Psalm 89:27 that he should be made higher than the kings of the earth; and yet so it was, and is; he is highly exalted, made Lord and Christ, crowned with glory and honour, and is set far above all principality and power, and every name that is named in this world or that to come, notwithstanding all the above usage of him.
thou hast brought his strong holds to ruin; the same as before, the church of Christ, which seemed to be so well built and fortified; see Isaiah 26:1.
"all that pass by the way tread upon him;''
see Hebrews 10:29, these are they that walk not in the right way; but go out of it, and choose their own way; they are such as pass over the right way, or cross it; they are they that transgress, and abide not in the doctrine of Christ, that so use him, 2 John 1:9,
he is a reproach to his neighbours; his name and character were reproached by the Jews, his countrymen, who called him a glutton and a wine bibber; and represented him as a notorious sinner; his miracles as done by the help of Satan; his doctrine as hard sayings, novel opinions, contrary to common sense and reason, and tending to licentiousness; and his followers and members as the offscouring of all things: but all this has been or will be rolled off, and is no objection to the glory promised him.
thou hast made all his enemies to rejoice; as they did when they had got him on the cross; and especially when he was laid in the grave, Psalm 22:7, and as the antichristian party will when his witnesses are slain, Revelation 11:10, but as the joy of the former was short lived, and was soon turned into sorrow, so will be that of the latter.
and hast not made him to stand in the battle; but to fall in it, being delivered up into the hands of wicked men, of justice, and death; and yet, by dying, he put away sin, finished it, made an end of it, and destroyed it; he conquered Satan, and led him captive; overcame the world, the spite and malice of it, and its prince; and abolished death itself.
(a) "acumen", Junius & Tremellius, Piscator.
"thou hast made the priests to cease who sprinkle upon the altar, and purify his people:''
and cast his throne down to the ground; this seems contrary, and is an objection to Psalm 89:29, but is not; for not withstanding the usage of Christ by the Jews, who rejected him as the King Messiah; see Gill on Psalm 89:39, yet he is now upon the same throne with his Father, and will sit upon a throne of glory when he comes to judge the world, and so in the New Jerusalem church state, and to all eternity.
(b) "puritatem ejus", Montanus, Michaelis.
thou hast covered him with shame; see Psalm 69:7, when his face was covered with shame and spitting, from which he hid it not, Isaiah 1:6, but now he is crowned with glory and honour; wherefore all these complaints, though true, are no objections to what is before said and swore to.
shall thy wrath burn like fire? it did so when Christ bore the sins of his people, and all the punishment due unto them; when his strength was dried up like a potsherd; when he, the antitype of the passover lamb roasted with fire, was sacrificed for us; all which is entirely consistent with God's everlasting and invariable love to him, as his own Son. See Gill on Psalm 89:38.
"remember that I am created out of the dust:''
but these words, with what follow, are the words of the psalmist, representing the apostles of Christ, and other saints, at the time of his sufferings and death, and when under the power of the grave, and when they were almost out of hope of his resurrection: see Luke 24:21, expostulating with the Lord on that account; and here entreat him to remember the shortness of their time, if there was no resurrection from the dead, as there would be none if Christ rose not; and therefore, as their life was a short one, it would be of all men's the most miserable:
wherefore hast thou made all men in vain? none of the sons of men are made in vain; for they are all made for the glory of God, which end is answered, some way or another, in everyone of them; either in the salvation of them by Christ, or in the just destruction of them through their own sin; and though the time of life is short, and afflictions many, yet men are not made in vain, and especially those of them who believe in Christ; for, for them to live is Christ, they live to his glory: whether they live a longer or shorter time, they live to the Lord; and when they die, they die to him; and their afflictions are always for good, temporal, or spiritual, and eternal: indeed, if there was no future state after this, men might seem to be made in vain, and there might be some reason for such a question or complaint; but so it is not; there is an immortal life and state after this, either of bliss or woe: also, if there was no such thing as the redemption, justification, and salvation of any of the sons of men, through the sufferings and death of Christ, and which could not be without his resurrection from the dead, with a view to which the question is put, then there would seem some room for it; but there is a redemption of them, and therefore are not made in vain; and Christ, who was delivered for their offences, is risen for their justification.
shall he deliver his soul from the hand of the grave; either from going down into it, or coming under the power of it; so the Targum,
"what man is he that shall live, and shall not see the angel of death (Hebrews 2:14) shall he deliver his soul from his hand, that he should not go down to the house of his grave?''
or deliver himself from the power of it, when in it; that is, raise himself from the dead: none ever did this, or ever can: Christ indeed undertook, and has promised, to redeem his people from the power of the grave, upon which they have believed they should be delivered; see Hosea 13:14, but if Christ rose not himself, which was the thing now in question, how could it be? the case stands thus; every man must die; no man can raise himself from the dead; if Christ rise not, everyone must continue under the power of the grave; for then there could be no resurrection.
which thou swarest unto David in thy truth? which were promised to Christ, the antitype of David, and that with an oath, by the truth or faithfulness of God, for the certainty thereof: but now where are all these? or how will they take place, if Christ rise not from the dead? where will be the redemption of his people, the justification of their persons, the remission of their sins, and their everlasting salvation? and what will become then of the covenant, oath, and faithfulness of God?
how I do bear in my bosom the reproach of all the mighty people; the ecclesiastical and civil rulers of the Jews, their chief priests, Scribes, and Pharisees, who poured out their reproaches very plentifully on the followers of Christ, whom the psalmist here represents; which fell very heavily upon them, as a very great weight and burden, and pressed them sore, and went to their very hearts, and therefore said to be "in their bosom"; and which is mentioned to excite the divine compassion, that he would appear for them, and raise his Son from the dead, as was promised and expected; that their enemies might have no more occasion to reproach him and them: it is in the original, "I bear in my bosom all the many people" (c); which some understand of the people of God, and of Christ's sustaining their persons, and making satisfaction for their sins; but the other sense is preferable: Kimchi supplies the words as we do; and so the Targum, which renders them thus,
"I bear in my bosom all the reproaches of many people.''
(c) "omnes multos populos", Montanus; "omnes, quam multi sunt, populos", Cocceius.
wherewith they have reproached the footsteps of thine Anointed; or thy Messiah; so Aben Ezra and Kimchi interpret it of the Messiah: Jarchi renders it "the ends of the Messiah"; and all of them understand it of the coming of the Messiah, as in the Talmud (d); which, because delayed, or was not so soon as expected, was scoffed at and reproached by wicked men; see Malachi 2:17, but it rather designs the ways and works, actions, and especially the miracles of Christ, which were reproached, either as done on the sabbath day, or by the help of Satan; and he was traduced in his kindest actions to the bodies and souls of men, as a friend of publicans and sinners, and himself as a sinner: and it may have a particular view to the latter end of the Messiah, the last part of his life, his sufferings and death, and when he hung on the cross; at which time he was, in the most insolent manner, reviled and reproached by his enemies: the words may be rendered "the heels of the Messiah" (e), and are thought by some to have reference to the promise in Genesis 3:15, and may regard either the human nature of Christ, which was both reproached and bruised; or his members suffering disgrace and persecution for his sake, and which he takes as done to himself. Suidas (f) interprets it of the ancestors of Christ, according to the flesh; and Theodoret of the kings of that time.
(d) Bab. Sanhedrin, fol. 97. 1.((e) "calcibus", Vatablus; "calcaneos"; Gussetius, Michaelis. (f) In voce