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An exhortation to praise God
with all kinds of instruments. 14 He also exalteth the horn oft in their mouth, and a twoedged I Hebir his people, the praise of all his saints ; sword in their hand; even of the children of Israel, a people 7 To execute vengeance upon the near unto him. Praise ye the Lord. heathen, and punishments upon the
people; PSALM CXLIX.
8 To bind their kings with chains,
love to the church, 5 and for that power 9 a To execute upon them the judg- a Deut. 7. 1.
his saints. Praise ye the LORD.
kind of instruments.
the Lord. Praise + Heb.
him in the firmament of his power. 1 Or, with 3 Let them praise his name || in
|| in 2 Praise him for his mighty acts : the dance: let them sing praises unto praise him according to his excellent him with the timbrel and harp. greatness.
4 For the Lord taketh pleasure in 3 Praise him with the sound of his people: he will beautify the meek the || trumpet : praise him with the Or, cornet. with salvation.
psaltery and harp. 5 Let the saints be joyful in glory: 4 Praise him with the timbrel and let them sing aloud upon their beds. || dance: praise him with stringed in- 1 Or, pipe.
6 Let the high praises of God be struments and organs.
14. He also exalteth &c.] He hath given strength 5. in glory :] That is, for the honour which God and power to his chosen people, and hath thereby putteth upon them. Poole. afforded them a constant subject of praise and thanks upon their beds.] That is, in a state of perfect giving; even that peculiar people, with whom He made ease and security. Bp. Horne. a special covenant, and who are near that sacred spot 6. Let the high praises &c.] That the Jews were where his glory resides. Travell.
wont to sing the praises of God as they advanced to - near unto him.] Namely, by special relation, combat, may be seen in 2 Mac. xii. 15, and xy. 26. friendship, and covenant, and by familiar intercourse, Street. See also 2 Chron. xx. 21. God manifesting his presence and favour to them, and 9. - the judgment written :] The judgment written they frequently and solemnly approaching his presence in the law, Deut. vii. 24, and xxxii. 41–43. Dr. Wells
. and worshipping Him at his footstool. Poole. This is added to shew that they do not this work to
The material heavens, through all their various re- satisfy their own malicious or revengeful inclinations, gions, with the luminaries placed in them, and the but in obedience to God's commands. Poole. waters sustained by them, though they have neither This Psalm should stir up all the true members of speech nor language, and want the tongue of men, yet the Church to sing and publish the praises of God, and by their splendour and magnificence, their motions and to rejoice in Him continually. And as the Israelites their influences, all regulated and exerted according to sung hymns of joy, because God had made them the ordinance of their Maker, do, in a very intelligible triumph over their enemies, and the kings that waged and striking manner, declare the glory of God: they war with them; we ought likewise to praise Him for call upon us to translate their actions into our language, the care He has taken of his Church, and for all the and copy their obedience in our lives; that so we may, favours we have received from Him; but chiefly, for both by word and deed, glorify, with them, the Creator subduing our spiritual enemies, and putting it in our and Redeemer of the universe. Bp. Horne.
power to triumph over them ourselves, and to be in all
things "more than conquerors,” through Jesus Christ Psalm CXLIX. In this Psalm there is a reference our Lord. Ostervald. to some signal deliverance or victory, which God vouchsafed to his people; whom therefore the Psalmist Psalm CL. This short concluding Psalm is an invoexhorts to praise the Lord with every mark of joy cation to every creature to declare the glory of God, by and gratitude, in expectation of their future complete the tribute of a grateful heart, and the cheerful sound triumph over all their opponents and persecutors. of musical instruments. Travell
. The Hebrews themTravell.
selves acknowledge that they do not understand the Ver. 1.- a new song,] An illustrious hymn for re- several sorts of musical instruments mentioned in this cent victory. Fenton.
Psalm. Bp. Patrick. 3. — in the dance:] See 2 Sam. vi. 16, and the note Ver. 1. - praise him in the firmament &c.]
That is, there.
Let the angels and heavenly hosts praise Him in hea4.- he will beautify the meek with salvation.] Those ven, where He clearly shews forth his power. Rosenthat meekly depend upon Him, He will make glorious; müller. both with his rich blessings here, and with salvation
3. Praise him with the sound of the trumpet : &c.] The hereafter. Bp. Hall.
people of God are enjoined in this Psalm to use all the
to praise God.
various kinds of musical instruments, in the perform in the complete possession of existence and of happiness, ance of their Divine services. Sacred musick, and and in the full enjoyment of eternity! What man can proper regulations, removes the hindrances of our think of himself, as called out and separated from devotion, cures the distractions of our thoughts, and nothing, of his being made a conscious, a reasonable, banishes weariness from our minds. It adds solemnity and happy creature, in short, of his being admitted as a to the publick service, raises all the devout passions in sharer of existence, and a kind of partner in eternity, the soul, and causes our duty to become our delight. without being swallowed up in wonder, in praise, in Bp. Horne.
adoration! It is indeed a thought too big for the mind 6. Let every thing that hath breath praise the Lord.] of man, and rather to be entertained in the secrecy of How can we sufficiently prostrate ourselves and fall devotion, and in the silence of the soul, than to be exdown before our Maker, when we consider that ineffa- pressed by words. The Supreme Being has not given ble goodness and wisdom, which contrived existence us powers or faculties sufficient to extol and magnify for finite natures! What must be the overflowings of such unutterable goodness. It is however some comfort that good will, which prompted our Creator to adapt to us, that we shall be always doing what we shall be existence to beings, in whom it is not necessary; es- never able to do, and that a work, which cannot be pecially when we consider, that He Himself was before finished, will be the work of AN ETERNITY. Addison.
P R O V E R B S.
THE Proverbs, as we are informed at the beginning, and in other parts of the Book, were written, for the most
part, by Solomon, the son of David; a man, as the Sacred Writings assure us, peculiarly endued with Divine wisdom. Whatever ideas of his superiour understanding we may be led to form by the particulars recorded of his judgment and attainments, we shall find them amply justified on perusing the works which remain, and give testimony of his abilities. This enlightened monarch, being desirous of employing the wisdom which he had received to the advantage of mankind, produced several works for their instruction. Of these, however, three only were admitted into the canon of Sacred Writ by Ezra; the others being either not designed for religious instruction, or so mutilated by time and accident, as to have been judged imperfect. The Book of Proverbs, that of Ecclesiastes, and that of the Song of Solomon, are all that remain of the writings of him, who is related to have spoken "three thousand proverbs," whose “songs were a thousand and five," and who “spake of trees from the cedar that is in Lebanon, even unto the hyssop that springeth out of the wall;" who “spake also of beasts, and of fowl, and of creeping things, and of fishes.” If however, many valuable compositions of Solomon have perished, we have reason to be grateful for what still remains. Of his Proverbs and Songs the most excellent have been providentially preserved; and as we possess his doctrinal and moral
works, we have no right to murmur at the loss of his physical and philosophical productions. This Book of Proverbs contains the maxims of long experience, framed by one who was well calculated, by his
rare qualities and endowments, to draw just lessons from a comprehensive survey of human life. Solomon judiciously sums up his precepts in brief energetick sentences, which are well contrived for popular instruction. The wisdom, indeed, of all ages, from the highest antiquity, hath chosen to compress its lessons into compendious sentences, which were peculiarly adapted to the simplicity of earlier times; which are readily conceived and easily retained; and which circulate in society as useful principles, to be unfolded and applied as occasion may require. The inspired son of David had the power of giving peculiar energy and weight to this style of writing, and his works have been as it were the storehouse from which posterity hath drawn its best maxims. His Proverbs are so justly founded on principles of human nature, and so adapted to the permanent interests of man, that they agree with the manners of every age, and may be assumed as rules for the direction of our conduct in every condition and rank of life, however varied in its complexion, or diversified by circumstances; they embrace not only the concerns of private morality, but the great objects of political importance. The Book may be considered under five divisions. The first part, which is a kind of preface, extends to the tenth chapter. This contains general cautions and exhortations from a teacher to his pupil, delivered in very various and elegant language; duly connected in its parts, illustrated with beautiful descriptions, decorated with all the ornaments of poetical composition, and well contrived as an engaging introduction to awaken and interest the attention. The second part extends from the beginning of the tenth chapter to the seventeenth verse of the twenty-second chapter, and contains what may strictly and properly be called Proverbs, given in unconnected general sentences, with much neatness and simplicity; adapted to the instruction of youth, and probably more immediately designed by Solomon for the improvement of his son. In the third part, which contains what is included between the sixteenth verse of the twenty-second chapter and the twentyfifth chapter, the tutor is supposed, for a more lively effect, to address his pupil as present; he drops the
sententious style of Proverbs, and communicates exhortations in a more continued and connected strain. The Proverbs which are included between the twenty-fifth and thirtieth chapters, and which constitute the fourth
part, are supposed to have been selected from a much greater number by the “men of Hezekiah ;" that is, by the Prophets whom he employed to restore the service and the writings of the Church, as Eliakim, and Joah, and Shebna, and probably Hosea, Micah, and even Isaiah, who all flourished in the reign of that monarch, and doubtless co-operated with his endeavours to re-establish true religion among the Jews. These Proverbs, indeed, appear to have been selected by some collectors after the time of Solomon, as they repeat some which he had previously introduced in the former part of the Book. The fifth part contains the prudent admonitions which Agur the son of Jakeh delivered to his pupils Ithiel and Ucal; these are included in the thirtieth chapter. It contains also the precepts which the mother of Lemuel delivered to her son, as described in the thirty-first chapter. Concerning these persons, whose works are annexed to those of Solomon, commentators have entertained various opinions. The original words which describe Agur as the author of the thirtieth chapter, might be differently translated; but admitting the present construction as most natural and just, we may observe, that the generality of the Fathers and ancient commentators have supposed that under the name of Ågur, Solomon describes himself, though no satisfactory reason can be assigned for his assuming this name. Others, upon very insufficient grounds, conjecture that Agur and Lemuel were interlocutors with Solomon. The Book has no appearance of dialogue, nor is there any interchange of person : it is more probable, that though
. the Book was designed principally to contain the sayings of Solomon, others might be added by the “men of Hezekiah:” and Agur might have been an inspired writer, whose moral and proverbial sentences (for such is the import of the word Massa, rendered Prophecy) were joined with those of the Wise Man, because of the conformity of their matter. So likewise the dignity of the Book is not affected, if we suppose the last chapter to have been written by a different hand, and admit the mother of Lemuel to have been a Jewish woman, married to some neighbouring prince; or Abijah, the daughter of the high priest Zechariah, and mother of king Hezekiah ; since in any case it must be considered as the production of an inspired writer, or it would not have been received into the canon of Scripture. But it was perhaps meant that by Lemuel we should understand Solomon; for the name which signifies, one belonging to God, might have been given unto him as descriptive of his character, since to Solomon God had expressly declared that He would be a Father.
Dr. Gray. This Book is frequently quoted by the Apostles, who considered it as a treasure of revealed morality, from which
Christians were to derive their rules of conduct; and the canonical authority of no part of the Old Testament is so ratified by the evidence of quotations as that of the Proverbs. But it is remarkable, that the Wisdom of Jesus the son of Sirach, which has so striking an affinity to the Book of Proverbs, is not quoted in a single instance by the Apostles and Evangelists; and the difference between Canonical and Apocryphal, is no
where so strongly marked as in this example. Michaelis. This Book is entitled “the Proverbs ;” but what we call Proverbs, properly and strictly speaking, are of a dif
ferent nature; and most of Solomon's Proverbs are rather to be called Maxims or Sentences. A proverb is a short moral sentence, which means something else than what the words naturally and literally imply; that is to say, it must be expressed in a figurative manner. When Solomon says, “Trust in the Lord with all thine heart, and lean not unto thine own understanding ;" this is no proverb, but a moral sentence. When he says, “ Drink waters out of thine own cistern;" this is a proverb : and it means, “Meddle not with that which belongs to another.” These Proverbs of Solomon are a collection of wise and moral sayings, usually plain and concise; they are also of the poetical kind, and fall into metre, and therefore were the more easily learned and remembered by those in whose language they were written. They have not that air of smartness and vivacity and wit which modern writers have usually affected in their maxims and sentences; but they have what is better, truth and solid good sense. No one subject is long pursued in this treatise of Solomon, nor is there any coherence or connexion between its parts. The nature of this sort of writing does not admit it. But, though the composition be of the disjointed kind, yet there is a general design running through the whole, which the author keeps always in view; and that is, to instruct the people, and particularly young people, at their entrance into public and active life; to give them an early love and earnest desire of real wisdom, and to lay down such clear rules for their behaviour, as shall carry them through the world with
peace and credit. Solomon is the first author that we know of who may be called a moralist; and as such he appears in this
book, as well as in that of Ecclesiastes. He says nothing, or very little, concerning the Law of Moses ; he leaves the explaining or enforcing of it to the Prophets, the Priests, and the Levites. He says nothing about revealed religion, but rather confines himself to natural religion or morality. He wrote under the assistance of the Divine Spirit, but has no claim, thatwe perceive, to the title of a Prophet; for he does not discourse in the prophetical style and manner: he says not, The word of the Lord came to me; and, Thus saith the Lord; he foretold no future events and wrought no miracles. Dr. Jortin.
Before CHRIST about 1000.
wisdom, justice, and judgment, and about 1000. 1 The use of the proverbs. 7 An exhortation + equity;
to fear God, and believe his word. 10 4 To give subtilty to the simple,
5 A wise man will hear, and will
|| the interpretation; the words of the for, an 3 To receive the instruction of wise, and their dark sayings. Chap. I. ver. 2. To know wisdom &c.] The use of proverb, and its mysterious sense. This study was these proverbs is, to give true moral and spiritual wis- much in vogue in the time of Solomon, as appears from dom and instruction to those that carefully hear of, and the instance of the queen of Sheba, who came to prove read them. Bp. Hall.
Solomon “with hard questions.” Calmet. 4. To give subtilty to the simple,] Meaning, that the A wise writer requires a wise reader; and therefore it reading of this book will strengthen and shield all easy, is that Solomon, in his introduction to the Book of flexible, seducible persons, especially the young, who Proverbs, represents that person a considerable prowant experience in affairs, and so are subject to be ficient in knowledge, who is able to understand a promisled and ensnared. Dr. Hammond.
verb and the interpretation of it; the words of the wise 6. To understand a proverb, &c.] To understand a and their dark sayings. Dr. Jortin.
Before CHRIST about 1000.
Ps. 111. 10.
+ Heb. an
Ezek, 8. 18.
b Isa. 59. 7. Rom. 3. 15.
+ Heb. in the
An exhortation to fear God.
CHAP. I. Wisdom complaineth of her contempt. 79 a The fear of the Lord is the blood; they lurk privily for their own about 1000. | beginning of knowledge: but fools lives. a Job 28. 28. despise wisdom and instruction.
19 So are the ways of every one 8 My son, hear the instruction of that is greedy of gain ; which taketh
thy father, and forsake not the law of away the life of the owners thereof. principal
thy mother: part.
20 ( + Wisdom crieth without; Heb. 9 For they shall be tan ornament she uttereth her voice in the streets: that is, adding.
of grace unto thy head, and chains 21 She crieth in the chief place of
concourse, in the openings of the < Chap. 8. 1.
12 Let us swallow them up alive hate knowledge ?
hold, I will pour out my spirit unto
24 q . Because I have called, and a Isa. 65. 12. 14 Cast in thy lot among us; let ye refused; I have stretched out my Jer. 7. 13. us all have one purse :
hand, and no man regarded;
mity; I will mock when your fear
27 When your fear cometh as dething that hath a wing.
18 And they lay wait for their own solation, and your destruction cometh 7. The fear of the Lord &c.] The first lesson he gives 17. Surely in vain the net is spread &c.] The general as being worthy of the first consideration, is, that all sense seems to be, Surely a bird has sense enough to saving knowledge, including a practice answerable to fly from the net when he sees it: but these persons are that knowledge, an uniform persevering obedience to by their wicked deeds laying snares for their own lives. the commands of God, is founded in humble and pious 18. And they lay wait for their own blood;] These reverence towards God, in the tender fear of displeasing men are setting a trap for themselves, when they lie in Him, and the readiness to receive, embrace, and lay up, wait to take away the lives of others : for they shall in an honest heart, his word and his grace, whenever not always escape the hand of justice. Bp. Patrick. it shall be revealed and afforded to us. Dr. Hammond. 19. - which taketh away the life of the owners thereof.]
" The fear of the Lord” is not only now and then, Which (evil gain) bringeth destruction on those who but almost every where, in Scripture, put for the whole pursue it. Bp. Hall. duty of man, for godliness in general; and the reason 20. Wisdom crieth without ; &c.] Men cannot fail to is, that the true fear of God always qualifies and tem- be as well acquainted with the excellent instructions of pers the mind so, that a man dares not do otherwise wisdom, as they are with that which is proclaimed in than please and obey God to the utmost of his know- the streets. Bp. Patrick. ledge and power. Bp. Beveridge.
Wisdom is opposed to folly, and folly in the sacred 8. My son, hear the instruction of thy father, &c.] style is all impiety; so by wisdom is meant universal Listen to the instructions, that is, follow the lessons piety, or obedience of all sorts due unto God; and so of piety and virtue, which thy father and mother give the precepts of universal righteousness are those things thee.
which wisdom proclaims. Dr. Hammond. 9. For they shall be an ornament &c.] Meaning that 20, 21.- in the streets :-in the chief place of cona child well brought up is adorned by the wisdom, and course, &c.] Here seems to be an enumeration of all virtues, and graces, which he wears; they are like a the publick places where proclamations were made; crown covering his head, and a chain embellishing his the highways, the streets, the tops of houses, the gates neck. Calmet.
where all go in and out, and particularly the chief city 10—16. My son, if sinners entice thee, &c.] The Jerusalem, from which all laws were proclaimed and next and most important advice is, to avoid ill company. dispersed to the lesser cities and regions. Dr. Ham. “The whole world lieth in wickedness,” saith an Apos- mond. tle, 1 John v. 19; and nothing can be more proper or 22. — the scorners] Profane persons, who mock at seasonable than for instructors of youth to caution their religion and piety. inexperience against bad examples. The wise man here 27. When your fear cometh as desolation, &c.] When instances in one particular vice, the love of money, as calamities and dangers come upon you, which, the less being the most predominant and common of all others; they are before expected, will the more frightfully, tuand shews how it leads to the most enormous crimes, multuously, and dismally seize you. and is indeed the very "root of all evil.” Wogan.
The Hebrew word translated * a desolation" seems to