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A Psalm [or] Song for the sons of Koran.
The learned are not agreed when this short tyfticol psalm was composed, nor about the meaning of it. It is generally thought that it was composed after the captivity, when the foundation of the temple mas laid; and that it is a prophecy of the prevalence of religion in the rising church, and of the honour which God would confer on that place, by making it subservient to the support of piety: but some understand it as a prophecy of the christian church. The psalmist had been contemplating the kind appearances of God for (he Jews, in restoring them to their country and to their temple worship, and begins abruptly.
\ T T I S foundation, that is, the foundation of God's temple, [is] 3 XX in the holy mountains.* The Lorb loveth the gates of Zion, the place of resort, Jerusalem and Zion, where the temple and ark were, more than all the dwellings of Jacob, more than any other cities in the land of Canaan, though he takes delight in
3 them. Glorious things are spoken of thee, O city of God, by David and other holy men, wh1 loved thy gates ; and they hax'e foretold still more glorious things of thee, as typical of the christian
4 church. Selah. I will make mention of Rahab and Babylon to them that know me: behold Philistia and Tyre, with Ethiopia;
5 this [man] was born there. And of Zion it shall be said, This and that man was born in her: and the Highest himself shall
6 establish her.f The Lord shall count when he writeth up the people, [that] this [man] was born there.; when he comes to look over the catalogue of his people, the number of those who were born in Zion, that is, who were truly religious, shall be many more than, those to be found in much larger and more populous countries.
7 Selah, As well the singers as the players on instruments [shall be there :] all my springs [are] in thee.|
• Moriah was the hill on which rhe temple was built, but as the tabernacle in David's time hvl srood upon Mount Eion. which was near the other, and some of the appendages to the temple mirfht extend to Zion, the psalmist takes in both; they are called holy, because God was worshipped there.
t S*me understand these two verses as the words of the psilmist, and translate thent thus: • in mentioning among my acquaintance Rahab. that is, Egypt, and Babylon, and same adjoioing countries, the common phrase is. This man was born there as if he had said. I do not d^ny other countries their due praise; they have produced now and then a ftntous m io. renowned'for wisdom or bravery: but of Zion it shall be said. This and That man was horn in her ;^ it has produced many eminent persons.« Otters understand them as the words of God; as if he had said. • There shall be found in Egypt and Babylon some that know me, some lew persons of reil piety ; but of Zion, one and another, that is, many persons eminent for wisrlom and piety; and no wonder.for the Highear shall establish her, that rs. settle Iter pracr, and worship again, protect her from enemies, and form lter inhabitants to the most excellent qualities.'
? There are many different translations of this verse; the roost probable sense ls this; - Wh-n God comes1 to recount the numb;r ot pious worshippers. I hope there will be manv L?v/tii am ing them, who were sing-rsand players on instrument'. r p-rhaps the author of This ps dm was one) persons who attended the temule service onlv to exercise their skill in delighrmg the ear, or to procure tne salary allotted, hut who shall be found in the list of rhe truly devout.« Some translate the verse thus ; 'The singers and players on instruments shallsay, AM mv springs are in thee;' and make the last clause an independent sentence; as if lie ha4 said. Here is the source of all my pleasurr-s; the spring« of mv best delights are in Zmn, in
Vol. IV. B b b
I. T TT E are here taught to adore God for the glorious things VV he hath spoken of his church, especially the christian church. The scripture abounds with declarations of its beauty and glory, and with prophecies of its increase and establishment; and they are spoken by him whose judgment is according to truth. When God hath said such glorious things of it, it matters very little what ill things men may say. He lovei the dwellings of Jacob, takes delight in religious families, and in the worship paid to him by them; but he has peculiar pleasure in social worship. Let this be a motive to us to join ourselves to his church; never to be ashamed of our relation to it; and to behave so, that we may be an honour, and not a reproach to it.
2. Let us dwell on the delightful thought, that there are some out of the pale of the visible church who are truly pious, and whom God will own as his children. The psalm intimates, that among the heathen there may be here and there one, who is eminent for knowledge and virtue, who worships and fears the true God, and works righteousness, and consequently shall be accepted of him. This thought should preserve us from rash censures .of the heathen world; and as there is but here and there one, it should excite our fervent prayers that the boundaries of the christian church may be enlarged, and that the children of God may be more numerous.
3. It should be our serious concern that we may be among the number of those who are born in Zion. There is a sense in which we are all born in Zion, as we are born to the external privileges of God's church and people: but unless we are born again,of the word and the spirit, the greater will be our condemnation. It is a great privilege to be born of religious parents; but those who enjoy it should remember, that some shall come from Babylon and Egypt, from Tyre and Ethiopia, and sit down in the kingdom of God; while the disobedient childrtti of the kingdom shall be cast out. Let us remember that God writes up the people; keeps an exact register of those who belong to him, and that if our names are not found written in that book of life, whatever be our privileges and hopes, it had been better for us that we had never been born.
4. We should endeavour to increase the triumph of the church, by promoting serious religion in all about us, particularly in the vising generation. Parents especially should be very solicitous that their children may be a seed to serve the Lord. In order to that, let them be brought early to the gates of Zion, and put in the way of God's blessing; let them be .taught the nature of religious worship, and how to improve it, and may God prosper all oijr pious, endeavours; that they may be hit in that day when he maketh ufi his jewels.
the worship and service of God. Or it may intimate that there shall he a constant succession, of such pious persons, following one another like water from a spring: and it may reter roi the hope the psilmist had with regard ro The rising ai,c. and particularly to his ownchlldrm, all my springi a«c in thee: as if he had said, M iy those who descend from me, be among thess* whom the Lord fchaJl reckon up, aud whom he »huU delight, to bk»» aud honour.
A Song [or] Psiilm for the sons of Koran, to the chief musician upon Mahalath Leannoth, some instrument, or poetical measure, unknown to us, Maschil of Heman the Ezrahite, or, a Psalm of Hcman the Ezrahite, giving instruction.
1 /-~\ LORD God of my salvation, I have cried day [and]
2 W night before thee: Let my prayer come before thee: in
3 cline thine ear unto my cry; For my soul is full of troubles:
4 and my life draweth nigh unto the grave. I am counted with them that go down into the pit: I am as a man [that hath] no
5 strength: Free among the dead, like the slain that lie in the grave, like one of their society,free of that large body, whom thou rememberest no more: and they are cut off from thy hand,
6 from the care and conduct of thy firovidence. Thou hast laid me in the lowest pit, in darkness, in the deeps; I am given ufi by
7 my friends, and look upon myself as past hope. Thy wrath lielli hard upon me, and thou hast afflicted [me] with all thy waves -, with a great variety of troubles, which croud upon me and press me
8 down. Si» ah. Thou hast put away mine acquaintance far from me ; thou hast made me an abomination unto them: [I am] shut up and I cannot come forth ; my friends have deserted me,
9 and I am confined by long sickness and distress. Mine eye mourneth by reason of affliction: Lord, I have called daily upon thee,
10 I have stretched out my hands unto thee. Wilt thou show wonders to the dead? shall the dead arise [and] praise ihee? I shall soon be among the dead,and have no hope ofpraisingand serving thee
11 there. Selah. Shall thy loving kindness be declared in the grave?
12 [or] thy faithfulness in destruction? Shall thy wonders be known in the dark ? and thy righteousness in the land of forget
13 fulness? that in, in the grave. But unto thee have I cried, O Lord; and in the morning shall my prayer prevent thee; / will offer up my prayer before the usual hour in which I was wont
14 to perform my devotion. Lord, why castest thou off my soul?
15 [why] hidestthou thy face from me? I [am] afflicted and ready to die from [my] youth up: [while] I suffer thy terrors I am' distracted ; hurried and confused by a variety of fears and anxie
16 ties. Thy fierce wrath goeth overmc; thy terrors have cut
17 me oft". They came round about me daily like water; they
18 compassed me about together. Lover and friend hast thou put far from me, [and] mine acquaintance into darkness $ some of them are dead, others through my own sin and folly have forsaken me.; but in all this I would see and acknowledge thy hand..
1. 'XliT'E here see into what distress a good man may be V V brought. The psalm is a lively description of a person under long and tedious sickness, and prevailing melancholy, who is full of dismal apprehensions of his own case, and dark conclusion* about the state of his soul; and this prevailing to such a degree a* to make him almost distracted, and put him out of the possession of his own mind. Let not wise and good men, when they fall into such afflictions, think their case singular, but remember what this holy man went through. This and some other of the psalms in .which a like case is described, have been encouraging to melancholy christians, and the means of preserving them from despair; and in this view are a very valuable part of the sacred writings.
2. We see what is to be the refuge of a good man when in deep distress. Faith in God, expressed and cherished by prayer; acknowledging him as the God of salvation ; who hath often appeared for the support of his servants, and perhaps for the afflicted person himself in former seasons of distress. Is any man thus afflicted? let him firay : pray earnestly and daily ; this will support the soul, while the burden continues ; till at length God will heat, and set it entirely free.
3. We see with what thankfulness we ought to survey our own case. There are but few to whom any part of this mournful description is applicable; and it may be hoptd none of us, to whom it is altogether so. This should excite us gratefully to acknowledge the goodness of God in the health of our bodies and the peace of our minds; in the support we have under our affliction; and for the presence and kindness of our relations and friends; which doubles all the joys of health and prosperity, and helps to lighten the burdens of sickness and sorrow. Let us often think what calamities and distrpsses others endure; and especially the anguish which wounds their spirits; that we may thankfully acknowledge and carefully improve the distinguishing goodness of God to us, though we have deserved worse than all this from him, to whose mercy it is owing that we are not consumed.
4. Let this psalm engage our pity and prayers for those who are oppressed with sickness and melancholy. Their real afflictions are bad, and their imaginary ones much worse. Let us be very careful that we never, by any unkind word, add affliction to the afflicted, and aggravate their sorrows. To him that is any way afflicted, especially to him who is troubled in spirit, pity should be shown by hit friends; and a man had better have all his friends put far from him, and his acquaintance into darkness, than to have those who remain, slighting, vexing, or neglecting him. Let us bear the cases of the afflicted upon our hearts before God, and entreat his pity and help for them; as we know not how soon their case may be ours, and we may want the pity and prayers of others. Thus let us bear me another's burdens, and so fulfil the law of Christ.
Maschil of Ethan the Ezrahite.
This fisalm was composed at the time of the captivity, ivhen the two last kings were carried captive, and the poor remains of David's family were insulted by their enemies.
1 T WILL sing of the mercies of the Lord for ever: with my A mouth will I make known thy faithfulness to all generations.
2 For I have said, Mercy shall be built up, or established, for ever:
3 thy faithfulness shalt thou establish in the very heavens. I have made a covenant with my chosen, I have sworn unto Da
4 vid my servant, Thy seed will I establish for ever, and build up
5 thy throne to all generations. Selah. And the heavens shall praise thy wonders, O Lord: thy faithfulness also in the con
6 gregation of the saints. For who in the heaven can b« compared unto the Lord? [who] among the sons of the mighty
7 can be likened unto the Lord? God is greatly to be feared in the assembly of the saints, and to be had in reverence of all
8 [them that arc] about him. O Lord God of hosts, who [is] a strong Lord like unto thee? or to thy faithfulness round about
9 thee? Thou rulest the raging of the sea: when the waves
10 thereof arise, thou stillest them. Thou hast broken Rahab in pieces, as one that is slain ; thou hast scattered thine enemies
11 with thy strong arm. The heavens [are] thine, the earth also [is] thine: [as for] the world and the fulness thereof, thou hast
12 founded them. The north and the south, thou hast created them: Tabor on the west, and Hermon on the east, shall rejoice
13 in thy name. Thou hast a mighty arm : strong is thy hand,
14 [and] high is thy right hand. Justice and judgment [are] the habitation of thy throne: mercy and truth shall go before thy face, preftare the way for, and conduct all thy dispensations. All these considerations are encouragements to hope in God's mercy and faithfulness, though Israel was now in circumstances of distress. In the same view their former happiness is described.
15 Blessed [is] the people that know the joyful sound of the trumpet, which blowed over the sacrifices in the day of the solemn assembly ; or rather, the trumpet which proclaimed the jubilee: they shall walk, O Lord, in the light of thy countenance; live
16 comfortably all their days. In thy name shall they rejoice all the
17 day: and in thy righteousness shall they be exalted. For thou [art] the glory of their strength: and in thy favour our horn
18 shall be exalted. For the Lord [is] our defence; and the Holy One of Israel [is] our king; or, our shield is of the Lord, and
19 our king is of the holy one of Israel. Then thou spakest in vision, or by revelation, to thy holy one, to Samuel or Nathan, and saidst, I have laid help upon [one that is] mighty; I have exalted
20 [one] chosen out of the people. I have found David my servant;
21 with my holy oil have I anointed him: With whom my hand