« PreviousContinue »
[to be] meat unto the fowls of the heaven, the flesh of thy
saints, the Israelites as a holy nation were saints, unto the beasts 3 of the earth. Their blood have they shed like water round about
Jerusalem ; and (there was) none to bury [them ;] that is, they 4 would not suffer them to be buried. We are become a reproach
to our neighbours, a scorn and derision to them that are round 5 about us. How long, LORD ? wilt thou be angry for ever? 6 shall thy jealousy burn like fire ? Pour out thy wrath upon the
heathen, that is, our enemies, that have not known thee, and upon
the kingdoms that have not called upon thy name, but blasphem7 ed it. For they have not only cursed, but devoured Jacob, thy
people Israel, Jacob's posterity, and laid waste his dwelling place. 8 O remember not against us former iniquities, or, the iniquities
of them that were before us : let thy tender mercies speedily
prevent us : for we are brought very low ; are greatly reduced, 9 weakened, and impoverished. Help us, O God of our salvation,
for the glory of thy name : and deliver us, and purge away
our sins, for thy name's sake, which they have blasphemed. 10 Wherefore should the heathen say, Where [is] their God? let
him be known among the heathen in our sight, (by) the reil venging of the blood of thy servants (which is) shed. Let the
sighing of the prisoner, that is, the captive, come before thee ; according to the greatness of thy power, preserve thou those that
are appointed to die; that we fear will be cruelly put to death : 12 And render upto our neighbours sevenfold into their bosom
their reproach, wherewith they have reproached thee, O LORD, 13 for not delivering us from the Chaldeans. So we thy people and
sheep of thy pasture will give thee thanks for ever : we will show forth thy praise to all generations.
enemies and persecutors. Blessed be God, that this melancholy description does not suit our country ; but alas! it too well suits many of our protestant brethren, whose country is the seat of war, or who live under tyrannical governments; their blood is shed like water ; they are a scorn and derision to their neighbours ; many are sighing in loathsome dungeons, or groaning under their slavery in the gallies; or appointed to die by the merciless courts of the inquisition. Blessed be God, who restrains their power ; or else such horrid scenes of cruelty, would be seen among us ; for the temper of many of our popish enemies is still the same. While we have no occasion to offer up these petitions for ourselves, let us be frequently offering them up for our suffering brethren. Let us his people, the sheep of his pasture, give him thanks for his distinguishing goodness to us, and perpetuate the remembrance of his mercies and his praise, through succeeding generations.
2. We are here taught to argue in prayer from the name of God, and especially in our prayers for the public. The glory of his name,
and his name's sake, v. 9. are phrases that very frequently occur in the devotional parts of scripture. His name, denotes his perfections and glory, by which he is distinguished from all other beings, as a man is from all other men by his own name ; and more particularly refers to the honour and dignity of his government, and his faithfulness to his promises. When the heathen overcame the Jews, they insulted them and their God, as if he was not so great, so powerful, and so faithful a Being, nor standing in such a relation to them, as they boasted; therefore they prayed that God would deliver them for his name's sake ; that the heathen might be convinced he was the supreme governor, an almighty and ever faithful God. Thus should we pray that for his name's sake he would help us ; that his glory may shine brighter, and that he may be properly thought of, and spoken of in the world. This plea we are to use with sincerity ; with hearts deeply impressed with the glorious excellency of God's name, and an earnest desire that it may be every where magnified : and it should teach us to pray with humble submission to his will ; that, if it be for the glory of his name, such and such favours may be granted us. Let us carry these thoughts with us, and endeavour to feel these dispositions every time we use this plea, and particularly when we say, Our Father, who art in heaven, hallowed be thy name.
To the chief musician upon Shoshannim, Eduth, A Psalm of, or for,
Asaph. It was probably composed by some pious Jew who belonged to one of
the ten tribes, and joined with Judah after their return from Babylon, expressing his concern at the desolate state of the other tribes, and wishing their restoration. 1 VIVE ear, O Shepherd of Israel, thou that leadest Joseph
like a flock :* thou that dwellest (between] the cherubims, on the throne of thy glory, surrounded by the angelic hosts, 2 shine forth, manifest thy favour to us, in our deliverance. Before
Ephraim and Benjamin and Manasseh stir up thy strength, and come [and] save us ; referring to Numbers ii. 28. where, in the account of the march of Israel, the ark was in the center, and these three tribes encamped behind it : as if he had said, Though the arke be no longer among us, to precede these tribes, yet let that almighly
assistance, of which the ark was an emblem, be engaged in our de3 fence. Turn us again, O God, reform us from our corruptions,
and cause thy face to shine, look favourably upon us, and we 4 shall be saved. O Lord God of hosts, how long wilt thou be
angry against the prayer of thy people, or, angry with us, nota 5 withstanding our prayers. Thou feedest them with the bread of
tears ; instead of bread and wine, they have terror and sorrows ;
• Joseph is here put for all Israel, or rather, for the ten tribes ; as in the prophets thes are often callsd Ephraim, one of joseph's descendants.
and givest them tears to drink in great measure, by gallons, a 6 very emphatical expression. Thou makest us a strife unto our
neighbours ; they are continually contradicting and opposing us : and our enemies laugh among themselves, at the cor.fidence we
place in thee. Turn us again, () God of hosts, and cause thy 8 face to shine ; and we shall be saved. Thou hast brought a
choice vine out of Egypt, thy church and people Israel ; thou hast
cast out the heathen inhabitants, and planted it in the land of 9 Canaan. Thou preparedst [room] before it, and didst cause it
to take deep root, and it filled the land ; they multiplied till they 10 filled the country. The hills were covered with the shadow of
it, and the boughs thereof (were like] the goodly cedars. It should be rendered, Its shadow covered the hills, and its boughs the goodly cedars ; as if he had said, We obscured the glory of the
greatest nations, and made the neighbouring kings tributary to us. 11 She sent out her boughs unto the sea, and her branches into the
river ; to the Mediterranean sea, and to the river Euphrales. :12 Why hast thou (then] broken down her hedges, withdrawn thy
protection, so that all they which pass by the way do pluck her ? 13 we are become a prey to all our neighbours. The boar out of the
wood doth waste it, and the wild beast of the field, fierce and '14 furious enemies, doth devour it. Return, we beseech thee, ()
God of hosts ; look down from heaven, and behold, and visit
this vine ; be reconciled to us, repair our breaches, and renew thy '15 protection ; And we beseech thee lo remember, it is the vineyard
which thy right hand hath planted, and the branch [that] thou
madest strong for thyself, for thy own special delight, service and :16 honour, Isa. xlix. 3. [It is] burned with fire, [it is) cut down :
they perish the rebuke of thy countenance ;' thy people are
destroyed, like the numerous branches of a vine when cut of from 17 the tree. Let thy hand be upon the man of thy right hand,
upon the son of man (whom) thou madest strong for thyself; raise up some deliverer for us, worthy of being called the man of
thy right hand, that is, one whom thou wilt strengthen and animale 18 for the restoration of Israel. So will not we go back from thee;
we will not practise idolatry again : quicken us, and we will call 19 upon thy name ; will worship and obey thee continually. Turn
us again, O Lord God of hosts, cause thy face to shine ; and we shall be saved.
E may hence learn some proper titles by which to address
the blessed God, v. I. as the shepherd of Israel, who still guides and feeds the church ; as enthroned in glory on the mercy seat, with thousands of angels and cherubim surrounding him. Our hearts will by this means be impressed, at once with his greatness and goodness, and our addresses be both reverent and cheersul.
2. We may plead the arguments which are here used for the Jewish church, in favour of the christian. God planted the gospel
as a choice vine, made room for its wonderful increase, and a wider spread than ever the Jewish religion had ; and he hath preserved this vine to the present day. It was early planted by him in this land ; and his goodness hath secured it ; while so many other churches have been ravaged and destroyed; while, in many parts, the vineyard of God is only a nursery of poisonous weeds, or the degenerate plants of a strange vine. Let us pray that God would heal the disorders of his church, repair its breaches, and root out every plant that is not of his own right hand planting.
3. We should be thankful for the deliverers which God hath raised up, especially for Christ. Kings have been raised up in many nations, especially in this, who have been nursing fathers to his vine ; He has made them strong for himself, and honoured them, as instruments of supporting his church and securing its praises. But we should be especially thankful for Christ, who is, by way of eminence, the man of God's right hand ; whom he hath raised up to accomplish a great and everlasting salvation ; who guards the church with watchful eyes, and will never suffer the gates of hell to prevail against it.
4. We are here taught the importance of the divine favour at all times, but more especially in times of extremity. The burden of this song is a suitable prayer for our nation, that God would turn us to himself by repentance and reformation, and then cause his face to shine upon us. There is no hope of his favour but by reformation ; nor is this to be expected but by converting grace. Let it then be the subject of our daily prayer, both for our nation and our churches
5. When God has wrought out deliverances for us, let us be careful not to revolt from him any more. When he hath rescued us from death and danger, from slavery, or from sin, let it be our resolution never to go back from him, never to desert the cause he hath espoused, or the good ways be hath marked out for us to walk in; but we should remember, that we need the quickening influences of his Spirit to preserve us from apostacy. If he puts life into our souls, it will put fervor and liveliness into our prayers ; and this will be the means of strengthening our graces and comforting our hearts.
To the chief musician upon Gittith, CA Psalm] of Asaph.
This psalm was composed to be used at the feast of trumpets, which was
instituted in remembrance of Israel's deliverance out of Egypt, and the giving of the law al mount Sinai.
1 ING aloud unto God our strength : make a joyful noise 2 3 the timbrel, the pleasant harp with the psaltery. Blow up the
trumpet in the new moon, in the time appointed, on our solemn 4 feast day. For this (was) a statute for Israel, [and] a law of the 5 God of Jacob. This he ordained in Joseph (for) a testimony,
when he went out through the land of Egypt to destroy their firstborn, and 10 deliver his people : [where] I heard a language [that] I understood not. The people of Israel are frequently rep. resented as one person, and so is the christian church. Israel did not understand the language of Egypt, which made their oppression more grievous ; and firobably the pious among them might be des sirous that their children should not learn the language of Egyni,
lest they should be corrupted by their idolatry. God is then intro. 6 duced as declaring his kindness to them, and regard for them. I
removed his shoulder from the burden ; delivered them from
slavery: his hands were delivered from the pots, their dirty cm7 ployments; and 80 I acquired a right to their obedience. Thou
calledst in trouble, and I delivered thee ; I answered thee in the secret place of thunder; probably referring to God's answering them out of the cloud, from which the thunder came which vexed the Egyptians in the Red sea, and put them into confusion : I proved thee at the waters of Meribah, or strife, Numb. xx. 13. Selah. And this was the language of all, Hear, O my people, and I will
testify unto thee : 0 Israel, if thou wilt hearken unto me, and 9 learn the way to be happy ; There shall no strange god be in
thee ; neither shalt thou worship any strange god of thy own, or
of any other nation. This is the firincipal thing, the first and fun10 damental article of the covenant between me and thee ; for I (am)
the LORD thy God, which brought thee out of the land of Egypt:
open thy mouth wide, and I will fill it ; enlarge thy desires and 11 I will satisfy them, if thou art faithful and obedient. But notwitha
starding this encouragement, my people would not hearken to
my voice ; and Israel would none of me; they would not be con. 12 tent with me alone as their God, nor submit to my government. So
I gave them up unto their own hearts' lust : (and) they walked
in their own counsels ; I left them to the sad consequences of their 13 own inventions and iniquities, though with reluctance. Oh that
my people had hearkened unto me, [and] Israel had walked in 14 my ways! I should soon have subdued their enemies, and turns
ed my hand against their adversaries ; I would have led them direcily into Canaan if they had been obedient, and tvould not have
suffered any of their enemies tu rule over them or onpress them, 15 The haters of the Lord, that is, the Canaanites, should have sub
mitted themselves unto him : but their time should have en.
dured for ever; I would have made them submil, however unwil. 16 lingly, and have given Israel a lasting settlement. He should have
fed them also with the finest of the wheat, that is, the inner part of it ; and with honey out of the rock should I have satisfied thee; they should have been blessed with the greatest prosperity.