Psalms 66

PSALM LXVI

The psalmist exhorts all to praise God for the wonders he has

wrought, 1-4;

calls on Israel to consider his mighty acts in behalf of their

fathers, 5-7;

his goodness in their own behalf, 8-12;

he resolves to pay his vows to God, and offer his promised

sacrifices, 13-15;

calls on all to hear what God had done for his soul, 15-20.

NOTES ON PSALM LXVI

There is nothing particular in the title of the Psalm. It is not

attributed to David either by the Hebrew, Chaldee, Syriac,

Septuagint, Vulgate, or AEthiopic. The Arabic alone prefixes the

name of David. The Vulgate, Septuagint, AEthiopic, and Arabic,

call it a psalm of the resurrection: but for this there is no

authority. By many of the ancients it is supposed to be a

celebration of the restoration from the Babylonish captivity.

Others think it commemorates the deliverance of Israel from Egypt,

their introduction into the Promised Land, and the establishment

of the worship of God in Jerusalem.

Verse 1. Make a joyfull noise] Sing aloud to God, all ye

lands-all ye people who, from different parts of the Babylonish

empire, are now on return to your own land.

Verse 2. The honour of his name] Let his glorious and merciful

acts be the subject of your songs.

Verse 3. How terrible art thou] Consider the plagues with which

he afflicted Egypt before he brought your fathers from their

captivity, which obliged all his enemies to submit.

Thine enemies submit themselves] Literally, lie unto thee. This

was remarkably the case with Pharaoh and the Egyptians. They

promised again and again to let the people go, when the hand of

the Lord was upon them: and they as frequently falsified their

word.

Verse 4. All the earth] The whole land shall worship thee. There

shall no more an idol be found among the tribes of Israel. This

was literally true. After the Babylonish captivity the Israelites

never relapsed into idolatry.

Selah.] Remark it: this is a well attested truth.

Verse 5. Come and see the works of God] Let every man lay God's

wonderful dealings with us to heart; and compare our deliverance

from Babylon to that of our fathers from Egypt.

Verse 6. He turned the sea into dry land] This was a plain

miracle: no human art or contrivance could do this. Even in the

bed of the waters THEY did rejoice in him. WE have not less cause

to praise and be thankful.

Verse 7. He ruleth by his power] His omnipotence is employed to

support his followers, and cast down his enemies.

His eyes behold the nations] He sees what they purpose, what

they intend to do; and what they will do, if he restrain them not.

Let not the rebellious exalt themselves.] They shall not succeed

in their designs: they have their own aggrandizement in view, but

thou wilt disappoint and cast them down.

Selah.] Mark this. It is true.

Verse 8. O bless our God] Who have so much cause as you to sing

praises to the Lord? Hear what he has done for you:

Verse 9. Which holdeth our soul in life] Literally, "he who

placeth our soul bachaiyim, in lives." We are preserved

alive, have health of body, and feel the life of God in our

hearts.

And suffereth not her feet to be moved.] Keeps us steadfast in

his testimonies. We have our life, our liberty, and our religion.

O, what hath the Lord wrought for us! "Make, therefore, the voice

of his praise to be heard." Let God and man know you are thankful.

Verse 10. For thou, O God, hast proved us] This is a metaphor

taken from melting and refining metals; afflictions and trials of

various kinds are represented as a furnace where ore is melted,

and a crucible where it is refined. And this metaphor is used

especially to represent cases where there is doubt concerning the

purity of the metal, the quantity of alloy, or even the nature or

kind of metal subjected to the trial. So God is said to try the

Israelites that he might know what was in them; and whether they

would keep his testimonies: and then, according to the issue, his

conduct towards them would appear to be founded on reason and

justice.

Verse 11. Thou broughtest us into the net] This refers well to

the case of the Israelites, when, in their departure from Egypt,

pursued by the Egyptians, having the Red Sea before them, and no

method of escape, Pharaoh said, "The wilderness hath shut them

in,-they are entangled;" comparing their state to that of a wild

beast in a net.

Affliction upon our loins.] Perhaps this alludes to that sharp

pain in the back and loins which is generally felt on the

apprehension of sudden and destructive danger.

Verse 12. Thou hast caused men to ride over our heads] Thou hast

permitted us to fall under the dominion of our enemies; who have

treated us as broken infantry are when the cavalry dashes among

their disordered ranks, treading all under the horses' feet.

We went through fire and through water] Through afflictions of

the most torturing and overwhelming nature. To represent such, the

metaphors of fire and water are often used in Scripture. The old

Psalter considers these trials as a proof of the uprightness of

those who were tried-We passid thrugh fire and watir: that is,

thurgh wa and wele, as a man that leves noght his waye for hete na

for kald, for dry na for wette; and thou out lede us fra

tribulacyon intill koling (cooling) that is, in till endles riste,

that we hope to hafe after this travell.

Wealthy place.] Well watered place, to wit, the land of Judea.

Verse 13. I will go into thy house with burnt-offerings] Now

that thou hast restored us to our own land, and established us in

it, we will establish thy worship, and offer all the various kinds

of sacrifices required by thy law.

I will pay thee my vows] We often vowed, if thou wouldst deliver

us from our bondage, to worship and serve thee alone: now thou

hast heard our prayers, and hast delivered us; therefore will we

fulfil our engagements to thee. The old Psalter gives this a pious

turn:-I sall yelde till the my woues, that is, the vowes of

louying (praising) the; whilk vowes my lipes divisid sayand, that

I am noght, and thou arte all: and I hafe nede of the, noght thou

of me. This is a right distinction-It is certainly a good

distinction, and it is strictly true. The all-sufficient God needs

not his creatures.

Verse 14. When I was in trouble.] This is generally the time

when good resolutions are formed, and vows made; but how often are

these forgotten when affliction and calamity are removed!

Verse 15. I will offer, &c.] Thou shalt have the best of the

herd and of the fold; the lame and the blind shall never be given

to thee for sacrifice.

The incense of rams] The fine effluvia arising from the burning

of the pure fat.

Verse 16. Come and hear, all ye that fear God] While in

captivity, the psalmist had sought the Lord with frequent prayer

for his own personal salvation, and for the deliverance of the

people; and God blessed him, heard his prayer, and turned the

captivity. Now that he is returned in safety, he is determined to

perform his vows to the Lord; and calls on all them that fear

their Maker, who have any religious reverence for him, to attend

to his account of the Lord's gracious dealings with him. He

proposes to tell them his spiritual experience, what he needed,

what he earnestly prayed for, and what God has done for him. Thus

he intended to teach them by example, more powerful always than

precept, however weighty in itself, and impressively delivered.

Verse 17. I cried unto him with my mouth] My prayer was fervent;

he heard and answered; and my tongue celebrated his mercies; and

he as graciously received my thanksgiving, as he compassionately

heard my prayer.

Verse 18. If I regard iniquity in my heart] "If I have seen

( raithi) iniquity in my heart," if I have known it was

there, and encouraged it; if I pretended to be what I was not;

if I loved iniquity, while I professed to pray and be sorry for my

sin; the Lord, Adonai, my Prop, Stay, and Supporter, would

not have heard, and I should have been left without help or

support.

Verse 19. Verily God hath heard me] A sure proof that my prayer

was upright, and my heart honest, before him.

Verse 20. Blessed be God] I therefore praise God, who has not

turned aside my prayer, and who has not withheld his mercy from

me. Thus he told them what God had done for his soul.

ANALYSIS OF THE SIXTY-SIXTH PSALM

There are five parts in this Psalm:-

I. An invitation.

1. To praise God, Ps 66:1-4.

2. To consider his works, Ps 66:5-7.

II. A repetition of the invitation, Ps 66:8, for the benefit

and deliverance lately received, Ps 66:9-12.

III. A protestation and vow for himself, that he would serve the

Lord, Ps 66:13-15.

IV. A declaration of God's goodness to him, which he invites all

to come and hear, Ps 66:16-19.

V. A doxology, with which he concludes, Ps 66:20.

I. The invitation to praise God affectionately and heartily.

1. "Make a joyful song." 2. "Sing the honour of his name." 3.

"Make his praise glorious." 4. "Say unto God," &c. Where he

prescribes the form in which God shall be praised.

He calls all men to consider his works, and the double

effect:-1. On God's enemies. 2. On his people.

1. On his enemies, a feigned obedience, Ps 66:3. See the note.

2. On his people, a willing service, Ps 66:4.

He calls on them again, Ps 66:5, to consider God's works,

specially in delivering his people: 1. At the Red Sea. 2. In

passing Jordan on foot, Ps 66:6.

He calls them to behold God's power and providence. 1. His power

in ruling. 2. His providence in beholding, and, 3. His justice in

punishing the rebellious, Ps 66:7.

II. He again invites them to praise God for some special mercy,

without which they would have been destroyed, Ps 66:8. 1. He kept

them alive. 2. Suffered not their feet to slip, Ps 66:9. 3.

He tried, that he might purify, them.

He illustrates this trial by five similes taken,-1. From silver.

2. From a net. 3. From a burden laid on the loins. 4. From bondage

and slavery-men rode over us. 5. From fire and water; useful

servants, but cruel masters, Ps 66:10-12.

But the issue of all these trials was good:- they were brought

through all, and profited by each.

III. For this he gives thanks, and purposes to pay his vows.

1. He would attend God's worship: "I will go into thy house,"

Ps 66:13.

2. He would there present his offerings, Ps 66:14.

3. These should be of the best kind, Ps 66:15.

IV. He declares God's goodness, and invites all that fear God to

hear what he has got to say. Not of what he was to offer to God,

but of what God had done for him.

1. He cried to God, and he heard him.

2. He took care to avoid iniquity, that his prayers might not be

cast out: "For God heareth not sinners."

V. He closes the Psalm with a doxology, blessing God that, not

through his merit, but his own mercy, he had heard and answered

him. He attributes nothing to himself, but all mercy to his God,

Ps 66:20.

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