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Ps 89:1-52. Of Ethan--(See on Ps 88:1, title). This Psalm was composed during some season of great national distress, perhaps Absalom's rebellion. It contrasts the promised prosperity and perpetuity of David's throne (with reference to the great promise of 2Sa 7:12-17), with a time when God appeared to have forgotten His covenant. The picture thus drawn may typify the promises and the adversities of Christ's kingdom, and the terms of confiding appeal to God provided appropriate prayers for the divine aid and promised blessing.
1. mercies--those promised
2. I have said--expressed, as well as felt, my convictions (2Co 4:13).
6, 7. This is worthy of our belief, for His faithfulness (is praised)
by the congregation of saints or holy ones; that is, angels (compare
8-14. To illustrate His power and faithfulness examples are cited from history. His control of the sea (the most mighty and unstable object in nature), and of Egypt (Ps 87:4), the first great foe of Israel (subjected to utter helplessness from pride and insolence), are specimens. At the same time, the whole frame of nature founded and sustained by Him, Tabor and Hermon for "east and west," and "north and south," together representing the whole world, declare the same truth as to His attributes.
12. rejoice in thy name--praise Thy perfections by their very existence.
15. His government of righteousness is served by "mercy" and "truth"
16, 17. in--or, "by"
18. (Margin). Thus is introduced the promise to "our shield," "our king," David.
19-37. Then--when the covenant was established, of whose execution the
exalted views of God now given furnish assurance.
20. I have found--having sought and then selected him (1Sa 16:1-6).
21. will protect and sustain (Isa 41:10),
26, 27. first-born--one who is chief, most beloved or distinguished (Ex 4:22; Col 1:15). In God's sight and purposes he was the first among all monarchs, and specially so in his typical relation to Christ.
28-37. This relation is perpetual with David's descendants, as a whole typical in official position of his last greatest descendant. Hence though in personal relations any of them might be faithless and so punished, their typical relation shall continue. His oath confirms His promise, and the most enduring objects of earth and heaven illustrate its perpetual force (Ps 72:5, 7, 17).
37. It shall . . . moon . . . heaven--literally, "As the moon, and the witness in the sky is sure, that is, the moon."
39. An insult to the "crown," as of divine origin, was a profanation.
40-45. The ruin is depicted under several figures--a vineyard whose broken "hedges," and "strongholds," whose ruins invite spoilers and invaders; a warrior, whose enemies are aided by God, and whose sword's "edge"--literally, "rock" or "strength" (Jos 5:2) is useless; and a youth prematurely old.
47. These expostulations are excited in view of the identity of the prosperity of this kingdom with the welfare of all mankind (Ge 22:18; Ps 72:17; Isa 9:7; 11:1-10); for if such is the fate of this chosen royal line.
49-51. The terms of expostulation are used in view of the actual appearance that God had forsaken His people and forgotten His promise, and the plea for aid is urged in view of the reproaches of His and His people's enemies (compare Isa 37:17-35).