Bible Commentary: Psalms 60-104

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Bible Commentary: Psalms 60-104

#1 Post by bejay » Sat Sep 10, 2005 3:53 pm

Bible Commentary for Psalms 60 thru 104

Psalm 60

According to the superscription, David wrote this psalm after he gained victory over the Arameans in the north and after Joab killed thousands of Edomites in the Valley of Salt. (2 Samuel chapter 8) The Arameans and the Edomites were struggling to free themselves from the control of Israel. David viewed this action as Jehovah having rejected Israel because He was angry with them. He described this rejection as Jehovah breaking forth against them as with war, His sending forth an earthquake, or their being given strong wine to drink that caused them to stagger. David requests that Jehovah would bring deliverance with His right hand to those that He loved.

Verses 6-8 are an oracle from Jehovah giving Israel assurance of victory. The NIV Bible Commentary, Volume I, page 861, says this of these verses: “God is sovereign over Israel, as he alone “parcels out” the portions: Shechem, Succoth, Gilead, Manasseh, Ephraim and Judah. The geographical references represent all the regions that make up the heritage of Israel in Palestine and Transjordan. He is also sovereign over the nations; Moab, Edom, and Philistia.”

Ephraim, the strongest tribe, is called Jehovah’s helmet. Judah is His scepter, the symbol of His government. Moab is spoken of as His washbasin, in which the conquering ruler will have His feet washed. He will toss his sandal on Edom possibly indicating that they are now His slaves. He will give a shout of victory over Philistia indicating their total defeat.

Some scholars believe that while David was in the north fighting the Arameans, Edom attacked Judah. So David asks who will lead him to Edom? It would be Jehovah even though it appeared that He had rejected Israel. David petitioned Jehovah for aid because without His help they could not succeed. He was the one who gave the victory.

Psalms 61 and 62

In Psalm 61, David’s urgent cry to Jehovah was that He hear his prayer and his cry to Him. His heart was overwhelmed and he wanted Jehovah to lead him to a ‘rock,’ that is, a place of safety that he could not reach by himself. Jehovah had been his refuge, his strong tower, and his place of safety against his enemies.

Jehovah had heard his vow to obey and praise Him and Jehovah had, in turn, given him the heritage of those who fear His name, that is, He would protect him, increase his lifespan, preserve his dynasty as he had promised and would give him protection. David would then continue to fulfill his vows on a daily basis.

Psalm 62 seems to have been written by David at a time when conspirators were attempting to dethrone him. But David’s assurances were in Jehovah. He is his salvation and his rock and fortress so he would not be shaken. He recognized himself as being no more than a tottering fence that his foes fully intended to topple. They pretended to bless him while in their hearts they were cursing him. But he would not be unsettled by their efforts because his complete trust was in Jehovah who would not allow him to be shaken. So he encouraged the godly to trust in Jehovah always because men are not to be trusted. Whether they are rich or poor, they amount to nothing. Wealth, whether gained legally or illegally, can give a person a sense of false security but these are not to be trusted. Jehovah, who is strong and loving, is the One who can and is able to reward each person according to his deeds.

Psalms 63 and 64

Psalm 63 was penned in the desert of Judah when David was hiding from Saul. (1 Samuel 22:5) David spoke of his longing for Jehovah because he had been driven away from His sanctuary and was now in a dry and thirsty land, both literally and physically. He had seen Jehovah’s power and glory and he would glorify Him because of His great love that is better than life itself. The singing of praises to Jehovah is more satisfying for him than eating the choicest of foods. Jehovah is in his thoughts throughout the night because He is David’s help. Those who are seeking his life will themselves be given over to the sword; their bodies left fallen on the battlefield to be eaten by the wild beast. The king will then rejoice in Jehovah along with those who swear by His name. The mouths of all those who are liars will be shut.

In Psalm 64, David complains about those who conspire against him. They have sharp tongues that spew out words like deadly arrows and they aim them at the innocent. They do not show any fear that there will be reprisals for their actions. They gather together to encourage each other in their evil plans. They are certain that they have devised the perfect plan because they trust only in themselves.

They fail to take Jehovah into account. He has arrows that He will shoot at them so that they will be brought down into ruin. He will turn their own methods against them so that they will be the ones people scorn. Then all men will fear Jehovah and proclaim His works. The righteous and upright ones will take refuge in Jehovah and will praise Him.

Psalms 65 - 67

It is believed that Psalm 65 was written by David to be sung at the Festival of Firstfruits. Israel is to praise Jehovah and fulfill their vows to Him. He has proven Himself to be the hearer of prayer to whom all will turn. When Israel sinned against Jehovah, He chose to forgive their sins and to bring them near to Him; allowing them to partake of the good things of His house. He answered Israel by means of awesome deeds of righteousness. His creative works attest to His power and strength. Even people of the nations far off marvel at the mountains and the roaring of the sea with its waves, the rising of the dawn and the fading of the day. These wonders cause them to be joyful and break out in song.

Jehovah will become the hope of these nations in the future. They may not be aware of it at this time, but they are the ones that Jesus spoke of as the "other sheep" who will bless themselves by means of Abraham's seed, the nation of Israel.

Jehovah cares for the land by watering it in the fall and then again in the spring so that it will produce grain in abundance. Even the meadows where the flocks graze, the hills and the valley that are filled with grain, are evidence of His care and attention.

Psalm 66 encourages all on the earth to shout with joy to Jehovah, sing glorious praise to His name and acknowledge His awesome deeds. Because of seeing His great power, even all His enemies pay homage to Him. All those on the earth will sing praises to His name.

The psalmist reminds Israel of what Jehovah did for them when he dried up the Sea so that they could pass through on dry land, a cause for them to rejoice in Him. Israel should sound His praise to everyone because He has kept His people on stable ground. They have been tested and refined as one would refine silver. Although He allowed other nations to rule over them putting burdens upon them and keeping them in a prison-like environment, He delivered them and brought them to a place of abundance. The psalmist is therefore eager to come to the temple with the appropriate offerings to fulfill the vows that he has made to Jehovah during his time of trouble.

The psalmist is eager to tell all God-fearing men of his experiences, how Jehovah came to his rescue when he cried out to him. He knows that Jehovah heard his prayer because he approached Him with a clean heart. Jehovah would not have answered him if he harbored sin his heart. All praise should go to Jehovah, who did not reject him nor withhold His love from him.

In Psalm 67, the psalmist prays for the congregation that Jehovah’s would be gracious to them and bless them with His favor so that when all the nations see this, they will want to learn of His ways and the salvation that He provides. (Isaiah 33:17-24) They will want to experience these same blessings. They will praise Him and sing for joy when they learn that He rules with justice and will provide guidance for them also. At this time, the whole earth will yield its increase because Jehovah will bless it as all peoples will fear him.

Psalm 68

When Jehovah rises up, His enemies flee from before Him just as smoke is blown away by the wind and wax is melted in the fire. But the righteous will rejoice before Him. All should sing praises to His name, Jehovah, and rejoice before Him. He looks after the fatherless, the widow, those who are lonely and those who are captives, but the rebellious He left in the desert.

When Jehovah brought His people out of Egypt, He marched out before them through the desert until they came to Sinai. He provided abundantly for them in the desert until they settled in the land of Canaan. Jehovah declared it and many proclaimed it that kings would flee from Him in haste and leave their plunder for others to divide. According to a comment on verse 14 from the NIV Bible Commentary, page 867, “The victory of “the Almighty” (GK 8724) was so great that it resembled “snow” on Mount Zalmon (one of the mountains by Shechem; cf. Jdg 9:48). The psalmist is metaphorically highlighting the power of the Lord, who is victorious in destroying the opposition. The corpses of the victims and their weaponry are lying like scattered snowflakes on a mountain.”

Though the mountains of Bashan, including Mount Herman, are majestic, yet they are said to gaze in envy because Jehovah chose Mount Zion as the place where He would dwell forever. With His tens of thousands of angelic hosts, He came from Sinai to Mount Zion, his sanctuary. The Bible Knowledge Commentary of the Old Testament, page 843 makes this comment on verse 18: “His entrance into Jerusalem (when David conquered it, 2 Sam. 5:6-8, or when David moved the ark to Jerusalem, 2 Sam. 6) was like a mighty conqueror ascending on high with captives, receiving tribute from the vanquished, the rebellious.”

Paul quoted verse 18 at Ephesians 4:8 though the wording is somewhat different. Paul was not quoting from the Hebrew but from some other source.

Praise should go to Jehovah, who delivers, saves and sets his people free. He will crush those that persist in continuing in their sins. Jehovah will give Israel the opportunity to have a share in the defeat of the enemy.

The psalmist seems to be standing to the side watching as Jehovah’s procession comes to the sanctuary with the singers in front followed by the musicians then the maidens follow playing tambourines. Praise is being offered to Jehovah in the congregation of Israel. The princes of the tribe of Benjamin leads the tribes followed by the princes of Judah, Zebulun and Naphtali.

Jehovah is petitioned to show his strength and power to Israel as He has done in the past. Kings will bring gifts to Jehovah at his temple in Jerusalem out of respect for Him. Rebuke the oppressors and those who bring trouble on the people, and scatter the nations who delight in war. Even Egypt and Cush will submit to Jehovah.

The psalmist admonished all the kingdoms of the earth to sing praises to Jehovah who rules from the heaven. Proclaim the power and majesty of the God of Israel who gives power and strength to His people.

Psalm 69

David prays to Jehovah to save him because he was being engulfed by water that came up to his neck. His eyes fail him and his throat is dry from calling for help. Those who hate him outnumber the hairs on his head and do so without cause. (John 15:25) He is even required to restore things he did not steal. But Jehovah knows what his guilt is. He prayed that others who have put their trust in Him would not suffer because of what he had done. He was enduring scorn and shame for God’s sake. He was a stranger to his own relatives because of his zeal for Jehovah’s house. (John 2:17) Insults that were directed at Jehovah were falling on him. (Romans 15:3) He was scorned, insulted and mocked when he prayed and fasted in sackcloth because of his affliction.

David asked that Jehovah would answer him in a time of His favor and with sure salvation; that he would rescue him from those who hate him who are like floodwaters that engulf him and swallow him up. Jehovah should answer him out of the goodness of His love and he needed His help very quickly as he was overwhelmed by his foes. He found no one who would show him any sympathy or give him any comfort. The bitter scorn that he was subjected to was so bitter that it was like having gall put in his food and being given vinegar to quench his thirst. (Matthew 27:34, 48)

The wicked should get in return what they have given to David. Jehovah should pour out His anger upon them such that they would be burdened down as he was, losing their strength and courage as had happened to him. The places where they resided should be left desolated with no one to dwell in them; that is, they should have no posterity to carry on after them. (Acts 1:20) They persecuted those that Jehovah was disciplining. Their crimes were multiplying so David prayed that they would not share in Jehovah’s salvation, their names should be blotted out of His book of life. David is in much pain and distress and he asks that Jehovah’s salvation would protect him.

David looks forward to the time when he can offer praises and thanksgiving to Jehovah’s name with his lips because he knows that this kind of sacrifice is more valuable than offering animal sacrifices. The poor will see and take it to heart and will know that Jehovah does not despise someone in need. All should praise Jehovah because he will save the city where His name resides and all those who love His name will dwell there.

Psalms 70 and 71

In Psalm 70, David is pleading that Jehovah would come quickly to save him. Those who are seeking to kill him should be put to shame and turned back in disgrace but may all those who seek Jehovah rejoice and those who love His salvation say “Let God be exalted.” David is in dire need of help so he again pleads that Jehovah would not delay in helping him.

In Psalm 71, David continues to state that he completely relies on Jehovah. He is his refuge, the one to whom he can always turn. He will deliver him from evil and cruel men. Jehovah has been his confidence since his youth even from birth, he has relied on Jehovah and he will praise Him always. Jehovah is his strong refuge and he would declare His splendor all day long.

He pleads that Jehovah would not forsake him when he has grown old and his strength is gone. His enemies already believe that Jehovah has forsaken him so they conspire to take his life because no one will come to his aid. So he asks Jehovah to quickly come to help him and bring retribution on his enemies in the form of scorn, shame and disgrace.

David vows to keep his hope in Jehovah alive always and to praise him constantly. He will tell of His righteousness and salvation that cannot be measured. Jehovah has been his teacher since his youth and he will never cease to declare His marvelous deeds. Even in his old age he will declare Jehovah’s power and might to the next generation. Jehovah’s righteousness reaches to the skies; there is no one to compare Him to. Even though David had been made to experience bitter trouble, Jehovah will restore him.

Because of his great confidence that Jehovah will redeem him, he knows that he will again sing praises to Him, his lips will shout for joy and he will tell of His righteous acts all day long. Those who wanted to harm him will have been silenced.

Psalm 72

It is not known whether Solomon wrote this psalm or if it was written in his behalf, but its major fulfillment will occur for a future king. The request is made to Jehovah to give the king the ability to judge the people with justice and righteousness. This would give the people a sense of well being or prosperity. The afflicted and the needy will be protected, as all oppressors will be gone. His rule will bring refreshment to the people and in his day the righteous will flourish. His dominion will extend to the ends of the earth and all his enemies will fall before him. All kings will bow before him and will bring him tribute.

He will show concern for the ones who are helpless and he will save them from oppression and violence because their blood is precious to him. May he live a long and prosperous life and may prayer be offered for him. Under his rule the land will flourish and produce to its fullest even on the tops of the mountains. May his name endure forever and let all the nations obtain blessings through him and let them all call him blessed. (Genesis 22:18) This psalm ends with praise being given to Jehovah who alone is responsible for these blessings. His glorious name will be praised forever and the whole earth will be filled with His glory.

Psalm 73

The psalms in this group, 73-83, are ascribed to Asaph, a Levite, who was appointed by David to be a leader of the Levitical singers. (1 Chronicles 25:1) But many of them can be attributed to his sons who were also musicians. In this psalm, Asaph reports that he gave an inordinate amount of attention to the lives of the wicked and he says that he almost lost his faith in God’s goodness. He became envious of the wicked because they did not appear to have any of the problems common to other humans such as frailties, adversity and disease. They wore pride as a necklace; violence as clothing and the evil conceived by their minds had no limits. They intimidate others with threats of violence and give the impression that they have authority over the earth and that even God does not question them. People give their attention to these men listening intently to what they say believing that God is not really interested in what humans are doing.

Because of the suffering he endured as he struggled to keep his heart pure and his hands innocent, he felt that all had been in vain. It appeared that God was blessing the wicked and was causing the righteous to suffer but he did not speak these words aloud. When he went into Jehovah’s sanctuary, he began to understand the situation much better. He realized that the wicked are not stable and that at any moment they could suddenly be swept away. They are no more than a fantasy in a dream that seemed real but when one awakens the fantasy is gone.

When the psalmist allowed envy and anguish to rule him, he was no more that a brute beast before Jehovah. But because Jehovah had counseled him, he was able to overcome his envy of the wicked and would remain in Jehovah’s favor so that he would receive his reward. Jehovah was the only one who really mattered to the psalmist because He was his hope and his strength forever. Any who leave Him will perish and any that are unfaithful will be destroyed; therefore he would remain near to Jehovah and continue to make Him his refuge.

Psalm 74

The psalmist asks why has God been so angry with Israel that He has rejected them forever. He reminds God that He purchased this people a long time ago, the ones that he had redeemed in Mount Zion where he dwelt. But now that his dwelling place is in ruins and His sanctuary had been destroyed by His enemies, the psalmist petitions Jehovah to turn his attention towards these ruins. The devastation of the temple is described as having been accomplished by men who behaved as though they were chopping through a thicket of trees. After ruining the inside of the temple, they burned it down. They were determined to completely crush the nation. Jehovah had given no sign of when He would react to this destruction so the psalmist asks how long will Jehovah allow the enemy to mock Him and revile His Name. He asks that Jehovah no longer remain inactive but show His power and destroy the enemy.

The psalmist remembers the salvation that God wrought when He delivered His people from Egypt by splitting the waters of the sea so that they could pass through on dry ground. He crushed the power of the Egyptians and contained the power of the sea and its waves. He is responsible for the day and the night; He established the sun and the moon and controls the seasons. He does have the power to subdue this enemy who is now mocking and reviling His name.

The psalmist pleads that He will not allow His defenseless people to be devoured by the people of the nations. Jehovah would remember his covenant and would not let His people be left in disgrace so that they could again praise His name. He should rise up to defend His cause and should not ignore His loud and boisterous adversaries who were boasting of their victory.

Psalms 75 – 77

The congregation gives thanks to Jehovah as the one who appointed a time for judgment; He judges uprightly and men will tell of His deeds. He holds the earth steady when the people and the earth shake because of His decisions. He tells the arrogant to stop their boasting and the wicked not to continue in their defiant and stubborn ways. No one can help them when He pronounces judgment on them. He has mixed a cup of foaming wine that they will have to drink down to the very dregs. (Jeremiah 25:15, 16) They will be forced to undergo this judgment that will spell their end. Because of His righteous judgments, the godly will sing praise to the God of Jacob because he will cut off the strength of the wicked and raise up His righteous ones.

In Psalm 76, praise is offered to Jehovah because of His invincible power. He is known in Judah and His Name is great in Israel. His dwelling place is in Jerusalem where he defended it by crushing the enemy and rendering their weaponry useless. Jehovah is enveloped by light and is more majestic than the highest mountains. At His rebuke, the horse and chariot fall; the warriors are unable to lift up their hands in defense. He alone is to be feared. When He pronounces judgment from heaven to deliver the righteous, the earth stands in silence and awe. When He expresses His anger against wicked men, praise will be given to Him and those who survive His wrath are deterred from further evil. So the righteous will make their vows to Jehovah and will gladly repay them. Those from lands nearby will bring gifts to Jehovah, as He is the one to be feared by all the kings of the earth.

In Psalm 77, the psalmist cries out all night to Jehovah to hear him because of his distress. He was not comforted because Jehovah was not near to him. He then began to recall some of God deeds but he did not receive any comfort from this. Because he could not sleep he began to think of times past and the songs that would bring him comfort, but they were not effective at this time. Then he began to wonder if Jehovah would ever show His favor again. He asks why has He withdrawn His unfailing love and why have His promises failed? Does He not want to show mercy again or has He become so angry that he withholds his compassion?

The psalmist decided to meditate on the works of God and give consideration to His deeds. God’s ways are above reproach; there is no one who compares to Him. He performed miracles and displayed His great power for the people to see when He redeemed His people from Egypt. The waters were powerless against Him, clouds poured water, thunder resounded, lightning flashed, the earth quaked as He made a pathway through the sea although His footprints were never visible. He led His people by the hand of Moses and Aaron.

Psalm 78

The people are invited to come and listen to the words of the psalmist. He will tell them parables, things hidden from the past. (Matthew 13:35) These things are not new but were told to them by their fathers and they will continue to speak of them to the next generation. These are the praiseworthy acts of Jehovah, all of His powerful works and the wonders that He had done.

He gave Jacob His laws and statutes and commanded them to teach these to their children, from one generation to the next, so that all Israel would put their trust in Jehovah and would not forget what He had done and had commanded them to do. They were not to be like their forefathers who were stubborn and rebellious and were not loyal or faithful to God.

Ephraim here pictures the Northern Tribe who refused to keep His covenant and live by His laws. They forgot all the miracles He performed for their fathers, bringing them through the Red Sea, guiding them by a cloud during the day and a pillar of fire at night. He brought water out of the rocks in the desert and streams of water out of the rocky crags. They continued to sin against Him by demanding meat and then showed their skepticism of His ability to provide it by saying, “Can He provide a table in the desert?” He became angry with them and a fire broke out among them because of their lack of faith or trust in His ability to deliver them. (Numbers 11:1-3) Yet He did provide for them by opening the skies and raining down manna for them to eat.

He caused the east wind and the south wind to bring them the meat that they craved in the form of quail. There were so many that they were likened to the sand on the seashore, numberless. The people ate until they were full but before they had finished, He became angry with them and had to destroy some among them. Yet they continued to sin against Him and He had to put some of them to death. Then they would turn to him but it was not in truth as their hearts were not loyal to Him. Yet He continued to be merciful to them and forgave their sins remembering that they were flesh. But they constantly put Him to the test and vexed Him because they did not remember all of the powerful works that He had performed in order to redeem them from Egypt. The signs and wonders that Jehovah performed in Egypt are enumerated in Verses 44-51. (See Exodus chapter 7-12)

After the tenth plague, He brought them out like a flock and led them through the desert and brought them safely to the land that He would give them. He drove out the nations who lived in the land and gave them the land as their inheritance. But they did not keep his statutes, they continued to be rebellious just as their fathers had been. They built high places to worship other gods, which angered Him, and He rejected them. They set up the tent of meeting at Shiloh but He abandoned it. (Joshua 18:1) He allowed the Philistines to defeat Israel and to take the ark, the symbol of His strength and might, into captivity. (1 Samuel 4:17)

Then Jehovah came to the aid of his people. He chose a place to put His sanctuary, not from the tribes of Joseph, but from Judah. Mount Zion was the place He loved and He built his sanctuary upon its heights to be established there forever. He chose David, who tended sheep, to be His king and the shepherd of His people. David ruled them with integrity of heart.

Psalm 79

This psalm is one that was written during the exile of God’s people in Babylon. The psalmist bemoans the fact that Israel had been invaded by the nations who defiled Jehovah’s sanctuary and reduced Jerusalem to rubble. So many of His people have been killed that there was no one to bury them so the birds and the beasts have eaten their dead bodies. Israel has now become an object of scorn and reproach.

The psalmist asks Jehovah if He was going to be angry forever? Will the fire of His jealousy never burn out? Is it not time for Him to pour out His wrath on the nations that do not know Him or His name and who have destroyed Jacob and his homeland? He pleads that Jehovah would not continue to hold their sins against them and that He would now show them mercy for they were in desperate need of His help.

If for no other reason, the psalmist asks that Jehovah would act because of His name as the nations were reviling it by saying to the people, ‘where is your God.’ They needed to learn that God would avenge the blood of His servants. For them, being in exile was no different than being in prison and being condemned to death and they needed Jehovah to save them. Jehovah should pay back to the nations sevenfold for the reproach they had brought on His name saying that He was unable to save His people. Sevenfold retribution indicates a complete or thorough repayment for sins. (See Leviticus 26:18, 21, 24, 28) After their deliverance, His people would be able to offer Him praise forever.

Psalms 80 and 81

Psalm 80 is a plea to Jehovah to deliver Israel from the assault, possibly, of the Assyrian army upon the ten tribes. The psalmist pleads that Jehovah as the Shepherd of Israel, who sits enthroned above the cherubim, an allusion to the Most Holy Place, should help the tribes of Israel. The specific mention of Ephraim, Benjamin and Manasseh may have reference to the people from these tribes who had come to Jerusalem to escape the Assyrian army. The psalmist asks Jehovah how long will His anger still burn against them so that He refused to listen to their prayers. They have been made to eat and drink tears by the bowlfull and they are scorned and mocked by their neighbors.

The psalmist gives a brief background of the nation. He described Israel as a vine that Jehovah brought out of Egypt to the land of Canaan, drove out the nations there and planted it in the land. It took root and filled the land covering the mountains and the tall cedars, spreading from the Mediterranean Sea to the Euphrates River. But now all its walls have been broken down and anyone passing by could partake of its fruit.

He urges Jehovah to return to Israel, His vine, and His branch that He had raised up for Himself. It was in His anger that He cut His vine down and allowed it to be burned. If He would restore the Davidic dynasty by means of the one He would raise up for Himself, then Israel would not turn away from Him again and would continue to call on His Name. (2 Samuel 7:12-16) In verses 3, 7, 19 the same refrain is used, that is, that Jehovah would restore Israel and make His face shine upon them so that they would be saved.

Psalm 81 is believed to be a psalm used at the yearly Festival of Booths celebrated by Israel in the seventh month. The festival began with the joyous sounds of voices and instruments together. The rams horn is to be blown at the beginning of the month and on the fifteenth day of the month when the moon is full, the first day of the festival. This was a statute commanded by Jehovah for Israel when he brought them out of Egypt. On this day He reminds them of His acts of deliverance. He removed the burden that they were carrying on their shoulders and in their hands while in Egypt. He heard their cry of distress and He rescued them. He answered them on Mount Sinai out of a thundercloud and tested them at Meribah.

Jehovah encouraged them to listen to Him for He had a warning for them. They were to have no foreign god among them so as to bow down to them. He, Jehovah, was their God who brought them out of Egypt and He would supply all their needs. But they did not listen to Him nor submit to Him. So He allowed them to go on in their own way without His help or protection.

If Israel would listen to Jehovah; He would not allow their enemies to overrun them but would cause the enemy to cringe before them and be under punishment forever. He would also satisfy His people them with the best of foods.

Psalms 82 and 83

In Psalm 82, Jehovah judges the unjust rulers of Israel, here called "gods," who have the responsibility to protect the flock but are only looking for unjust gain. Jehovah presides over the court of justice and takes action against these who judge His people. They are asked how long will they continue to defend those who are unjust and wicked? Their responsibility is to see that the poor, weak, needy and fatherless are given justice. They would then be following the example of their Father, Jehovah. But instead they are in ignorance, morally and spiritually, causing law and order to be undermined. Jehovah tells them that although they are ‘gods’ and are also His sons, they will fall just as any ruler of any other nation that is under God’s judgment would. (John 10:34-36) It is necessary then that Jehovah rise up and begin judging the entire earth.

In Psalm 83, the psalmist implores Jehovah to break His silence and act because Israel’s enemies were bestirring themselves to attack them. They were conspiring together to exterminate Israel from the face of the earth. Many nations were forming alliances to accomplish this goal. The psalmist recalled incidences during the time of the judges when Jehovah had roused himself against nations who wanted to efface Israel from the earth. He specifically mentions Midian who was defeated by Gideon and the Canaanite forces under Sisera who were defeated by Barak and Deborah. (See Judges chapters 4, 7 and 8)

Jehovah should make them like chaff that is driven before the wind or as fire that consumes the forests. He should pursue them with His tempest and His storm to terrify them. Their faces should be covered with shame so that others will not take the same tact but instead will seek Jehovah’s name. They need to know that Jehovah is the Most High over the earth and not like the gods that they worship.

Psalm 84

In Psalm 84, the psalmist expresses the blessedness of being near Jehovah in the courtyard of His house. Jehovah’s dwelling is considered to be a beloved place by the psalmist and he yearns to be there. He seems envious of the birds that make their nests near the altar and raise their young there. He considered those who were constantly in Jehovah’s house always praising Him as being blessed. The psalmist probably has reference to the priests who serve continually at the temple.

Blessed also are those who owe their strength to God and who set their hearts on going to Jerusalem in obedience to His commands. They travel through dry and arid areas where pools of water form after the autumn rains and these become to them like a place of springs. They gather strength as they go along until they reach Zion to appear before Jehovah. When they arrive at the temple, they offer a prayer to Jehovah and request that He listen to them. They then offer a prayer in behalf of Jehovah’s anointed one.

The psalmist observes that one day in Jehovah’s courts is worth a thousand spent elsewhere. Being a doorkeeper in Jehovah’s house is more worthwhile than living a lavish life among the wicked. Jehovah is the one who gives blessing and protection, bestows favor and honor and He withholds nothing good from the one who walks faultlessly before Him. The man who puts his complete trust in Him is called blessed.

Psalms 85 and 86

Psalm 85 expresses hope that Jehovah will, as He had done in the past, forgive Israel their current iniquities. When Jehovah showed favor to Israel before, He forgave and covered their sin. He set aside His wrath and turned from His anger. The psalmist is asking that He do the same thing for them now and restore them again to His favor. Will Jehovah continue angry with Israel forever, prolonging His anger through all generations, or will He revive them so that they can again rejoice in Him? Jehovah’s answer to these questions will be evident if He shows Israel His unfailing love by saving them.

The psalmist determines to wait to hear what Jehovah will say. He knows that Jehovah promises peace to those who leave folly behind and His salvation is near to those who fear Him. Under these conditions, His glory would be present in the land. Evidence of His presence is described as love and faithfulness meeting each other, righteousness and peace kissing each other. When faithfulness arises from the earth and righteousness looks down from the heaven, then Jehovah will give what is good and the land will yield its full bounty. Righteousness paves the way for Jehovah’s steps.

Psalm 86 is a plea to Jehovah to come to the aid of His servant in his need. It is attributed to David and is the only one that appears in this section (Book III) of the psalms. David begs Jehovah to hear and answer him as he is in a state of need. As His devoted servant who trusted in Him, he wanted God to guard his life and to be merciful towards him. David knows that Jehovah is a forgiving God and He abounds in love towards all that cry to him for help.

Jehovah is unique among the gods and His deeds are beyond compare. All nations will worship before Him because He is great and because of His marvelous works. David asks that Jehovah would teach him His ways and give him a heart that was wholly devoted to Him so that he could walk in His truth. His desire is to praise Jehovah and to glorify His name forever.

He is under attack by ruthless men who want to take his life, men who have no regard for God. But Jehovah is compassionate, gracious, slow to anger and abounding in love and faithfulness and He will answer David’s prayer. David asks for a sign of Jehovah’s goodness so that his enemies might see it and be shamed because they thought Jehovah would not come to his aid.

Psalms 87 and 88

In Psalm 87, Zion, Jehovah’s holy mountain, is said to be more precious to Him than all other cities. It is called the "city of God" of which glorious things are spoken. Those from the Gentile nations who come to acknowledge Jehovah will recognize an Israelite as "one born in Zion." Jehovah will write in a register the names of those born in Zion. Their song will say that Zion is the source of all blessings.

Psalm 88 is said to be the saddest psalm in the entire collection. The psalmist petitions Jehovah to hear his cry for help because He is the God who saves. He suffers constantly and fears that his life is nearing its end. He is like those who are forgotten in the grave and cut off from His care. Jehovah’s wrath is like waves that have overwhelmed him. He is repulsive to his closest friends and they have deserted him. Everyday he calls to Jehovah but He continues to reject him and to hide His face from him. If he was to die, he would not be of any value to anyone as the dead do not praise Him nor is His love declared in the grave. The psalmist says that Jehovah has afflicted him from his youth onward. He has terrorized him and completely engulfed him. He is alone in the world and has only darkness to keep him company.

Psalm 89

The psalmist vows to sing praises to Jehovah because of His love and faithfulness and he would make this known to all generations. In His faithfulness, Jehovah made a covenant with David His servant that his line would be established forever and his throne would be firm through all generations. (2 Samuel 7:12-16) Even the heavens praise Jehovah’s wonders and the assembly of the holy one praise His faithfulness. There is no one in the heavens that can be compared to Jehovah. He is greatly feared in the council of the holy ones and he is more awesome than all that surround Him. He is mighty in power and controls all in the heavens and the earth. Righteousness and justice are the foundation of His throne; love and faithfulness go before Him.

The psalmist calls blessed all those who have learned to praise Jehovah and who walk in His light. They rejoice in His name and exult in His righteousness. He is their glory and strength and He exalts the one He chooses to be their king. Jehovah is the Shield and King of Israel.

In a vision Jehovah told His people that he had given strength to a warrior, he had exalted a young man from among them, David His servant, and had anointed him with oil. He would sustain him, strengthen him and he would never pay tribute to his enemy nor would anyone wicked oppress him. Jehovah’s faithful love will be with him and because of His great name David’s horn would be exalted. His rule would extend from the sea to the rivers. (Psalm 72:8) This vision concerns the one who is the modern-day "David" who appears in our day and time.

He would call Jehovah his father, his God, his rock and his savior. He will be appointed by Jehovah as His firstborn and will be preeminent among all the kings of the earth. His covenant with David will never fail and his throne will last as long as the heavens endure. If his sons are disobedient and fail to keep Jehovah’s commands, He will punish their sin with the rod of discipline but He would not violate His covenant not change what He had uttered to him. This covenant would last forever.

The psalmist now believes that Jehovah has rejected His anointed one and renounced the covenant He had concluded with David. The current ruler had been defeated in battle and had been plundered, his neighbors scorn him, his enemies rejoice over him, his splendor was gone, his throne has been cast down, his days have been cut short and he now wears a mantle of shame.

The psalmist asks Jehovah how long would He hide himself? How long would His wrath continue to burn like fire? The life span of humans is fleeting, his life a futility and the grave is his final destination. Has Jehovah forgotten His love and faithfulness promised to David? The psalmist wrote that Jehovah should remember how he was being mocked and had to bear the taunts of His enemies that were being heaped upon Jehovah's anointed one.

***©2005 by YORWW Congregation

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Bible Commentary for 9/11 thru 9/17/05 Psalms 60 - 104

#2 Post by bejay » Sat Sep 10, 2005 4:00 pm

Psalm 90

This psalm is attributed to Moses and may have been written during Israel’s 40-year sojourn in the wilderness. Moses writes that Jehovah has been Israel’s place of refuge throughout their generations since He has always and will always continue to exist. His existence is described as being from everlasting to everlasting. To Jehovah, a thousand years is like a few hours. But men are like grass that is new in the morning and is dried up by evening.

Israel, because of their sins have been consumed by Jehovah’s anger and He has set their secret sin before Himself. They are constantly under His wrath and their lives end in moaning. He has given man only seventy or eighty years that are filled with constant trouble, then they die. Jehovah’s anger cannot be measured, but man should want to take the measure of his days. Because they are so few, he needs to spend them in the most beneficial way, that is, filling his heart with wisdom from Jehovah.

Moses pleads that Jehovah would turn back from His anger and have compassion on His people. Jehovah should allow His unfailing love to bring upon Israel a new day of joy and gladness. The number of days of their gladness should equal the number of days of their having been afflicted. He should allow His servants to know His great splendor and His mighty deeds. Moses petitions that Jehovah would extend His favor to them so that they would be successful in all that they did.

Psalm 91

Jehovah's servant has proclaimed that Jehovah is his refuge and fortress therefore he will come under His protection and will experience safety and security. Jehovah will delivered him from the harmful acts of his enemies, protecting him as a bird does her young. He would not need to fear because Jehovah is faithful in fulfilling His word. He does not have to fear the effects of war nor its aftermath in the form of deadly diseases. Many thousands will die by these means but is will not come near His servant. He will watch as Jehovah brings punishment on the wicked.

When disaster comes near him, Jehovah will even command his angels to put him out of the way of danger. When Satan quoted verses 11 and 12 to Jesus, he was hoping to get Jesus to put Jehovah to the test to see if He would do as He had stated in His word. But Jesus refused to put Jehovah to the test. (Matthew 4:5-7) He would be given authority over all that wished to do them harm. (Luke 10:19)

Jehovah now speaks to uphold the conclusions of his servant. Jehovah will rescue him because he loves Him and acknowledges His Name. He would call to Jehovah and Jehovah would answer him and deliver him from his troubles. He will honor him, give him long life and show him His salvation.

Psalms 92 and 93

The psalmist knows how fitting it is to praise Jehovah and to make melody to His Name, proclaiming His love and faithfulness to the accompaniment of musical instruments as was done morning and night at the temple. Jehovah brings gladness to the heart of the psalmist when he considers His works and His profound thoughts. The foolish ones are not aware that Jehovah’s permission of wickedness is short-lived. These ones are like grass that flourishes in the morning but dries up by evening. But Jehovah is the One who will be exalted forever.

All the enemies of Jehovah will perish but He has exalted his servant and poured fine oils upon him. He has defeated his enemies and routed his wicked foes. The righteous will be like a palm tree or cedar tree that is planted in the courts of Jehovah’s temple and flourishes. They will remain vital and fresh throughout old age, continuing to bear fruit, always proclaiming the righteousness of Jehovah, their rock.

Psalm 93 proclaims Jehovah’s mightiness and his majesty. Jehovah rules; He is clothed in majesty and armed with strength. His Kingship was established an eternity ago as were His works. Even the mighty sea, with its pounding waves and the thunder of its great waters, attest to Jehovah’s mightiness because He controls them. It is His statutes that will remain firm and His holiness will continue to beautify His house.

Psalm 94

Since Jehovah is the One who avenges evil, now is the time for Him to arise to judge the earth and to repay the proud and the wicked what they deserve. The psalmist wondered how much longer the wicked would continue to be joyful and jubilant over the righteous. They gush forth spiteful and boastful words; they crush and oppress God’s people and they trample the widow, the alien and the orphans underfoot. They say to themselves that Jehovah does not pay attention to what they are doing so they will not be called to account for their actions.

In this they show themselves to be senseless and foolish. Jehovah the creator of the ear and the eyes most certainly does see and hear. He, the one who disciplines nations, will punish. He knows their thoughts and recognizes them to be futile.

But the man who has accepted discipline from Jehovah is the one that He will teach and will give relief from his trouble until such time as He rids the earth of the wicked. He will not reject or forsake His inheritance but will send forth righteous judgments that they will accept.

The psalmist asks who will come to his aid against the wicked? He knows that if it had not been for Jehovah, he would have been silenced in death. He has supported him, kept his foot from slipping and has consoled him when he was anxious. He asks, “Can corrupt rulers who make laws that bring misery on the people coexist with God’s righteous rulership?” They devise injustice with the aim of destroying the righteous. But Jehovah is the refuge of the righteous and they know that He will repay the wicked, destroying them for their wickedness.

Psalms 95 and 96

Psalm 95 is a call to Israel to worship Jehovah and acknowledge His Kingship over them. The congregation is encouraged to come and sing for joy to Jehovah, to shout aloud to Him and to do so with thanksgiving and music. For He is the great King that rules over all other gods. He controls the earth and all that is in it. They should bow down before Him in worship because He is their God and maker and they are His people, His flock under His care.

The psalmist reminds Israel of the dangers of turning away from the living God. They are told not to imitate their fathers who harden their hearts at Meribah which means quarrelling, and at Massah, which means testing (Exodus 17:7). There they tested Jehovah even though they had seen His great miracles. He was angry with that generation for forty years because their hearts were not loyal to Him and they did not take heed of His ways. So He declared on oath that they would not enter His rest.

Paul used these words recorded in verses 8-11 to warn the first century Christians not to allow their hearts to become hardened so that they would turn away from Jehovah. (Hebrews 3:7-12)

The first thirteen verses of Psalm 96 were taken from a psalm that David committed to Asaph and his associates when the ark was brought into Jerusalem. (1Chronicles 16:7) This new song that is to be sung praising Jehovah’s Name, proclaiming His salvation, declaring His glory and His marvelous deeds is to go nations and peoples. Jehovah is great and most worthy of all praise and He is to be feared above all the gods that the nations worship. The gods of the nations are nothing but idols but Jehovah is the creator of all things. We see evidence of His splendor and majesty, His strength and glory in all of His works.

The invitation to all families of the earth is to ascribe glory and strength, ascribe the glory due His name and bring an offering to His courts. They are encouraged to worship Jehovah in His holiness and submit to Him in fear and trembling.

The nations will be told that Jehovah is reigning and the world will not topple as it is firmly established. He will judge the people in uprightness. At His coming to judge the earth, all that is in it will rejoice and be jubilant.

Psalms 97 and 98

In Psalm 97, the psalmist announces that Jehovah had begun His reign and the earth and distant shores should rejoice. Clouds and thick darkness surround Him, fire goes before Him, the lightning flashes, and the mountains seem to melt like wax. These were the manifestations seen when He was about to speak to the nation of Israel at Mount Sinai to establish His rulership over them. (See Exodus 19:16-19) The heavens proclaim His righteousness and the nations will see His glory. Those nations who worship idols will be put to shame as they will be shown to be worthless. The psalmist even says that all of their ‘gods’ should worship Jehovah.

Zion rejoices and Judah is glad because Jehovah judgments are in evidence. So let all servants of Jehovah hate what is bad because He will deliver them from the hand of the wicked. His light will shine upon them and they will have joy of heart. So all godly ones should rejoice in Jehovah and praise His name.

In Psalm 98, a new song is sung to Jehovah because He has made salvation known and has revealed His righteousness to the nations. They have seen how Jehovah has shown His love and faithfulness to His people, Israel, by delivering them. Therefore the nations should shout for joy to Jehovah and burst into jubilant song accompanied by the harp and the trumpets. Even the sea, the rivers and the mountains will sing together with joy before Jehovah because He judges the world with righteousness and with uprightness.

Psalm 99 - 101

Psalm 99 calls for praise and honor to be given to Jehovah who sits enthroned above the cherubim and the people should tremble because of the awesomeness of His majesty. He is great in Zion; He rules over all the nations and they will praise His great and holy Name. He loves justice and has done what is just and right in Jacob. Because of this He should be exalted by all that are living on the earth, His footstool. (Isaiah 66:1) Jehovah listened to Moses, Aaron and Samuel when they called on Him and He answered them. They were among those who acted as intermediaries or priests on behalf of the nation when they were in trouble. They obeyed his statutes and the decrees that He gave them. They interceded for the nation and Jehovah forgave Israel’s sins although He did not fail to punish them. Israel should exalt Jehovah and worship Him because He is a holy God.

Psalm 100 is a call to Israel to show their appreciation for what He has done for them. They should shout joyfully to Jehovah and worship Him with gladness always keeping in mind that He is their God and their maker and they are His sheep. When entering the gates to the temple, they should do so with thanksgiving and praise for His name, for Jehovah is good and His love and faithfulness will continue throughout all generations to come. (Mark 10:18)

Psalm 101 concerns a pledge the king makes to do what is right and just before Jehovah. While waiting for Jehovah to fulfill His promise to him, David tells Jehovah that he will sing songs of praise to Him concerning His love and justice. He then enumerates what he has prepared in his heart to do when he sits on the throne as king. He will walk in a blameless way even in the privacy of his home. He will not entertain anything that is vile or perverse. He will avoid all worthless deeds put forth by wicked men and he will not befriend anyone who slanders another or who is arrogant. He would only allow in his presence those whose walk was blameless, who does not practice deceit nor speaks lies about his neighbor. Whenever he was confronted with the ungodly ones, he would silence them and remove them from any governmental services.

Psalm 102

It appears that this psalm concerns the reflections of an individual who is wasting away in another land because Zion, Jehovah’s city, is lying in ruins. The psalmist speaks of himself as going through much distress when he begs Jehovah to come to his aid. He complains that he is unable to distinguish one day from another, he is exhausted, his heart is sick, he has no appetite due to his anxiety, he is emaciated, desolate and has insomnia. And he is subjected to the taunts of his enemies who say that God has rejected him. His daily food was the tears and mourning he suffered because of Jehovah’s wrath. He felt that his life was coming to an end. Deuteronomy 28:64-67 records a similar description of what Israel would experience if they continued in disobedience and Jehovah had to send them into exile.

The psalmist is confident that Jehovah will have compassion on Zion; that it was now Jehovah’s appointed time to show favor to her. Zion is very dear to Jehovah as well as to His servants. When Jehovah rebuilds Zion and again appears there in His glory, all the nations will take notice and be impelled to praise His Name. He will have answered the prayer of those who are destitute because the place where He put His Name had been desolated.

God’s certain deliverance of His people should be recorded so that future generations, those not yet created, will also praise Him. (Psalms 48:11-13) He does hear the cries of His exiled people and He will release them so that they will return to Jerusalem so that His name will be declared in Zion and His praises heard in Jerusalem where peoples and kingdoms will assemble to worship Him.

The psalmist knows that human life is very brief compared to the length of time that Jehovah has been and will be in existence. Even the physical creations could wear out but Jehovah would still exist as His years never end. Therefore His servants can be certain that there future will be secure and that Jehovah will establish them before Him for an eternity.

Psalm 103

Jehovah is to be praised, His name is to be praised because He is the one who forgives the sins of His servant, heals him of diseases, delivers him from death, bestows love and compassion on him and satisfies his desires so that his spirit is renewed. Righteousness and justice characterizes Jehovah’s rulership over all that are oppressed.

Jehovah revealed to Moses and Israel His ways and His deeds. He describes Himself as being compassionate, gracious, overflowing with loyal love, and slow to anger. (Exodus 22:27) He does not always find fault nor does He remain angry but He mercifully forgives His servants their sins. For those who fear him, His love completely overshadows their iniquities. He is as compassionate towards His servants as a father would be to his children because He knows that humans are dust whose life is like that of grass or a flower in the field that the wind blows away and it is not remembered.

Those who fear Jehovah will always benefit from His expressions of love and righteousness toward them such that even their grandchildren will benefit provided they keep His covenant and obey His precepts. His throne is established in the heavens and He rules over the earth. The heavenly host all praise and obey Him. All of His works declare His praise and His earthly servants will also praise Him.

Psalm 104

Jehovah is clothed with splendor and majesty; He wraps himself in light as though it was a garment. He stretches the sky like a tent to cover the earth and He lays the foundation of His abode above the waters in the skies. The clouds are said to be chariots that He rides and He walks on the storm winds. He makes His angels spirit and His ministers a flaming fire. (Hebrews 1:7)

During the creative period, Jehovah set the earth on a firm foundation from which it cannot be moved. The waters covered it as a garment would. But He rebuked the waters and they flowed down into the valley that He had assigned for them. He set a boundary for them and they were never to cover the earth again. He made springs that would pour water in ravines and valleys so that the beast of the fields could drink. Birds of the air would make their nests in the trees near the water.

He made green grass for the cattle and plants that man could cultivate for his food to come forth from the earth. He gave him wine, oil and bread to sustain him. He planted the forests of Lebanon which are well-watered and where teems of animals and birds find dwelling places. The moon delineates the seasons and the sun divides the day from the night. At night certain animals prowl looking for food, then at daylight they retreat to their dens. At daylight man begins his labor until evening.

The psalmist lauds Jehovah for His many works and His wisdom that is seen in all of them. He mentions the sea and the vast array of creatures that live in it, the ships that sail on it and the sea monsters that play there. All of His creatures depend on Him for their sustenance and He provides it in abundance. If He removes his spirit from them, they return to the dust, but when He sends forth his spirit, life is renewed and continues.

The glory of Jehovah will endure and He will rejoice in His works. The psalmist is determined to sing praises to Jehovah all of his life and he prays that his meditations will be pleasing to Him. He also asks that Jehovah will remove all that is out of harmony with His other creation.

NOTE: All cited scriptures in this commentary are taken from the New International Version unless otherwise stated.

***©2005 by YORWW Congregation

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