Psalms 75

PSALM LXXV

The psalmist praises God for present mercies, 1;

the Lord answers, and promises to judge the people righteously,

2, 3;

rebukes the proud and haughty, 4, 5;

shows that all authority comes from himself, 4-7;

that he will punish the wicked, 8;

the psalmist resolves to praise God, 9;

and the Most High promises to cast down the wicked, and raise

up the righteous, 9, 10.

NOTES ON PSALM LXXV

The title is, "To the chief Musician, or conqueror, Al-taschith,

destroy not, A Psalm or Song of Asaph." See this title Al-taschith

explained Ps 57:1. The

Chaldee supposes that this Psalm was composed at the time of the

pestilence, when David prayed the Lord not to destroy the people.

Some of the Jews suppose that Al-taschith is the beginning of a

Psalm, to the air of which this Psalm was to be set and sung. The

Psalm seems to have been composed during the captivity; and

appears to be a continuation of the subject in the preceding.

Verse 1. Unto thee, O God, do we give thanks] Thou canst not

forget thy people. The numerous manifestations of thy providence

and mercy show that thou art not far off, but near: this

Thy wondrous works declare.] These words would make a proper

conclusion to the preceding Psalm, which seems to end very

abruptly. The second verse is the commencement of the Divine

answer to the prayer of Asaph.

Verse 2. When I shall receive the congregation] When the proper

time is come that the congregation, my people of Israel, should be

brought out of captivity, and received back into favour, I shall

not only enlarge them, but punish their enemies. They shall be cut

off and cast out, and become a more miserable people than those

whom they now insult. I will destroy them as a nation, so that

they shall never more be numbered among the empires of the earth.

Verse 3. The earth and all the inhabitants thereof are

dissolved] They all depend on me; and whenever I withdraw the

power by which they exist and live, they are immediately

dissolved.

I bear up the pillars of it.] By the word of my power all things

are upheld, and without me nothing can subsist. Those who consider

this Psalm to have been written by David before he was anointed

king over ALL Israel, understand the words thus: "All is at

present in a state of confusion; violence and injustice reign: but

when 'I shall receive the whole congregation,' when all the tribes

shall acknowledge me as king, I will reorganize the whole

constitution. It is true that the land and all its inhabitants are

dissolved-unsettled and unconnected by the bands of civil

interest. The whole system is disorganized: 'I bear up the pillars

of it;' the expectation of the chief people is placed upon me; and

it is the hope they have of my coming speedily to the throne of

all Israel that prevents them from breaking out into actual

rebellion."

Verse 4. I said unto the fools] I have given the idolatrous

Chaldeans sufficient warning to abandon their idols, and worship

the true God; but they would not. I have also charged the wicked,

to whom for a season I have delivered you because of your

transgressions, not to lift up their horn-not to use their power

to oppress and destroy. They have, notwithstanding, abused their

power in the persecutions with which they have afflicted you. For

all these things they shall shortly be brought to an awful

account. On the term horn, See Clarke on Lu 1:69.

Verse 5. Speak not with a stiff neck.] Mr. Bruce has observed

that the Abyssinian kings have a horn on their diadem; and that

the keeping it erect, or in a projecting form, makes them appear

as if they had a stiff neck; and refers to this passage for the

antiquity of the usage, and the appearance also.

Verse 6. For promotion cometh neither from the east, &c.] As if

the Lord had said, speaking to the Babylonians, None of all the

surrounding powers shall be able to help you; none shall pluck you

out of my hand. I am the Judge: I will pull you down, and set my

afflicted people up, Ps 75:7.

Calmet has observed that the Babylonians had Media, Armenia, and

Mesopotamia on the EAST; and thence came Darius the Mede: that it

had Arabia, Phoenicia, and Egypt on the WEST; thence came Cyrus,

who overthrew the empire of the Chaldeans. And by the mountains of

the desert, midbar harim, which we translate SOUTH,

Persia, may be meant; which government was established on the

ruins of the Babylonish empire. No help came from any of those

powers to the sinful Babylonians; they were obliged to drink the

cup of the red wine of God's judgment, even to the very dregs.

They were to receive no other punishment; this one was to

annihilate them as a people for ever.

Verse 8. It is full of mixture] Alluding to that mingled potion

of stupefying drugs given to criminals to drink previously to

their execution. See a parallel passage to this, Jer 25:15-26.

Verse 9. I will sing praises to the God of Jacob.] These are the

words of the psalmist, who magnifies the Lord for the promise of

deliverance from their enemies.

Verse 10. All the horns of the wicked] All their power and

influence, will I cut off; and will exalt and extend the power

of the righteous. The psalmist is said to do these things, because

he is as the mouth of God to denounce them. All was punctually

fulfilled: the wicked-the Babylonians, were all cut off; the

righteous-the Jews, called so from the holy covenant, which

required righteousness, were delivered and exalted.

ANALYSIS OF THE SEVENTY-FIFTH PSALM

Bishop Nicholson supposes that David was the author of this

Psalm; and that he composed it on his inauguration or entrance

upon the kingdom; and by it he gives us an example of a good king.

There are three chief parts in this Psalm:-

I. A doxology, Ps 75:1; repeated, Ps 75:9.

II. His profession how to perform the regal office,

Ps 75:2, 3, 10.

III. His rebuke of foolish men for mistakes occasioned,-

1. Partly by their pride when they rise to great places,

Ps 75:4, 5.

2. That they do not consider whence their preferment comes,

Ps 75:6, 7.

3. That they judge not rightly of afflictions, Ps 75:8.

I. The doxology or thanksgiving.

1. He doubles it to show that it should be frequently done:

"Unto thee do we give thanks; unto thee," &c.

2. His reason for it: "For that thy name is near,"-thy help is

always at hand. "The Lord is nigh to all that call upon him."

3. Of which he had experience in his exaltation to the kingdom,

which he calls God's "wondrous works."

II. How the office of a good king is to be discharged.

1. I will judge uprightly.

2. To rectify disorders. They had need of a just and upright

king. 1. The land and its inhabitants were disorganized. 2. He was

the only stay and support of the state: "I bear up the pillars."

III. His rebuke of bad men.

1. They were fools, and dealt unjustly.

2. Wicked, and vaunted their wealth and power.

3. They used their power to oppress.

4. They were obstinate in their oppression of the poor. He

refers to their false judgments.

1. They supposed that their authority and influence came by

their own merit; and for them they were accountable to none.

2. They did not consider that God was the author of power, &c.

3. Their third mistake was, they imputed afflictions to a wrong

cause, and did not consider that they came from God.

To show this, the Psalmist uses an elegant comparison, comparing

God to the master of a feast, who invites and entertains all kinds

of men at his table; who has a cup of mixed wine in his hand, by

which he represents the miseries of this life. To all God reaches

this cup; and every one drinks of it, some more, some less.

1. "In the hand of the Lord there is a cup." He apportions the

afflictions of men.

2. "The wine is red." The high-coloured feculent wine, i.e.,

afflictions.

3. "It is full of mixture," not all sour, nor sweet, nor bitter.

The strength of it is tempered by God to the circumstances of his

creatures.

4. "He poureth out of the same." He gives to all, some even to

his own children. ALL must drink of this cup.

5. But the lees or dregs of it "all the wicked of the earth

shall wring out." Those who are incorrigible have afflictions

without benefit; they wring the dregs out. On them God's judgments

fall without mitigation.

He concludes the Psalm with-

1. A repetition of his thanks: "I will declare for ever; I will

sing praises to the God of Jacob."

2. A protestation of his duty: 1. "I will cut off the horns of

the wicked." 2. "I will exalt the horns of the righteous." Those

who exalt themselves shall be abased: those who humble themselves

shall be exalted.

Tu regere imperio populos, Romane, memento,

(Hae tibi erunt artes) pacisque imponere morem;

Parcere subjectis, et debellare superbos.

VIRG. AEn. lib. vi., ver. 851.

"But, Rome, 'tis thine alone, with awful sway

To rule mankind, and make the world obey,

Disposing peace and war thy own majestic way:

To tame the proud, the fettered slave to free:

These are imperial arts, and worthy thee."

DRYDEN.

These lines of the Roman poet contain precisely the same

sentiment that is expressed in the tenth verse of the Psalm. And

thus God acts in the government of the world, dealing with nations

as they have dealt with others: so the conquerors are conquered;

the oppressed, raised to honour and dominion.

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