This brief Psalm is without title or name of author, but its subject is obvious enough, being stated in the very first line. It is the Psalm of Omnipotent Sovereignty: Jehovah, despite all opposition, reigns supreme.
Possibly at the time this sacred ode was written, the nation was in danger from its enemies, and the hopes of the people of God were encouraged by remembering that the Lord was still King. What sweeter and surer consolation could they desire?
Ver. 1. The LORD reigneth, or Jehovah reigns. Whatever opposition may arise, his throne is unmoved; he has reigned, does reign, and will reign for ever and ever. Whatever turmoil and rebellion there may be beneath the clouds, the eternal King sits above all in supreme serenity; and everywhere he is really Master, let his foes rage as they may. All things are ordered according to his eternal purposes, and his will is done. In the verse before us it would seem as if the Lord had for a while appeared to vacate the throne, but on a sudden he puts on his regal apparel and ascends his lofty seat, while his happy people proclaim him with new joy, shouting "The Lord reigneth." What can give greater joy to a loyal subject than a sight of the king in his beauty? Let us repeat the proclamation, "the Lord reigneth, " whispering it in the ears of the desponding, and publishing it in the face of the foe. He is clothed with majesty. Not with emblems of majesty, but with majesty itself: everything which surrounds him is majestic. His is not the semblance but the reality of sovereignty. In nature, providence, and salvation the Lord is infinite in majesty. Happy are the people among whom the Lord appears in all the glory of his grace, conquering their enemies, and subduing all things unto himself; then indeed is he seen to be clothed with majesty. The LORD is clothed with strength. His garments of glory are not his only array, he wears strength also as his girdle. He is always strong, but sometimes he displays his power in a special manner, and may therefore be said to be clothed with it; just as he is always majestic essentially, but yet there are seasons when he reveals his glory, and so wears his majesty, or shows himself in it. May the Lord appear in his church, in our day in manifest majesty and might, saving sinners, slaying errors, and honouring his own name. O for a day of the Son of man, in which the King Immortal and Almighty shall stand upon his glorious high throne, to be feared in the great congregation, and admired by all them that believe. Wherewith he hath girded himself. As men gird up their loins for running or working, so the Lord appears in the eyes of his people to be preparing for action, girt with his omnipotence. Strength always dwells in the Lord Jehovah, but he hides his power full often, until, in answer to his children's cries, he puts on strength, assumes the throne, and defends his own. It should be a constant theme for prayer, that in our day the reign of the Lord may be conspicuous, and his power displayed in his church and on her behalf. "Thy kingdom come" should be our daily prayer: that the Lord Jesus does actually reign should be our daily praise. The world also is stablished, that it cannot be moved. Because Jehovah reigns terrestrial things for a while are stable. We could not be sure of anything if we were not sure that he has dominion. When he withdraws his manifest presence from among men all things are out of order; blasphemers rave, persecutors rage, the profane grow bold, and the licentious increase in wantonness; but when the divine power and glory are again manifested order is restored, and the poor distracted world is at peace again. Society would be the football of the basest of mankind if God did not establish it, and even the globe itself would fly through space, like thistle down across the common, if the Lord did not hold it in its appointed orbit. That there is any stability, either in the world or in the church, is the Lord's doings, and he is to be adored for it. Atheism is the mother of anarchy; the reigning power of God exhibited in true religion is the only security for the human commonwealth. A belief in God is the foundation and cornerstone of a well ordered state.
EXPLANATORY NOTES AND QUAINT SAYINGS.
Whole Psalm . This is one of those magnificent psalms which describe Jehovah's reign. Even Jewish interpreters say of them: "these all treat of the things which will take place in the times of Messiah." Throughout it reads like a commentary and application of the great fundamental truth, "Jehovah reigneth." Already he hath laid the foundations of his kingdom in his Church, and anon shall he in his faithfulness and power establish it. Those elements which have hitherto resisted shall not be allowed to continue.
Right royally he manifests himself. "He is clothed with majesty; clothed is Jehovah, might hath he girt about him." The present state of things is connected with Christ's humiliation. But when he puts on his royal mantle of majesty, and girds about him the sword of his might: "thus the world shall be established; it cannot be moved." And yet, though seemingly the enemy has long prevailed, "Thy throne is established of old: thou art from everlasting." The establishment of his throne is the ground and the pledge of the establishment of the world and of his kingdom. "Jesus Christ, the same yesterday, and today, and for ever." In view of all this the Church stands a wondering spectator, first struck with awe, and then filled with adoring, gratitude. "The floods have lifted up, 0 Jehovah, they have lifted up their roaring; the floods are lifting up their dashing noise." The latter term refers to the sound of the waves as they break, and in connexion with it the change of tense is very marked. The enemies of God and his kingdom have risen like the floods or waves of the sea, lashed by the storm; with roaring noise have they advanced; but as they near the vessel which bears the King, their noise is that of waves dashing into foam. Their utmost nearness is— to their destruction; their utmost noise is—in breaking. And even now, and in the height of the storm also far overtopping not only all danger, but even its threatening noise, is Jehovah. "Jehovah on high" (even there) "is mightier than the roaring of many waters and mighty, than the breaking waves of the sea" (the word here rendered "breaking waves" being literally a derivative from the verb to break). What a picture this of our safety; what an epitome of the history of God's government and of his church! Thus the calming of the storm on the lake of Galilee was not only a parabolic representation of the history of the Kingdom of God, but also typical of the final consummation of all things; a summary of the past, a prophecy of the future, a type of the end. And what applies to the Church as a whole, holds equally true of individual believers. Let us ever remember that the noise is that of the breaking wave. Our greatest dangers are only breaking waves; waves which break at his feet. The same expression is also sometimes applied to the waves of God's wrath or judgments threatening to engulf the believer, as in Psalm 42:7 88:7. These also, blessed be his name, are only breaking waves. Meanwhile, while waiting for the manifestation of his majesty and might, "we have the more sure word of prophecy." "Thy testimonies are very sure" (very reliable, literally very Amen -ed): and, so far as we are concerned, our faith and patience are tried and proved: "Holiness becometh thine house, O LORD, for ever." Thus we have here the history of the Church of God deduced from the text, "Jehovah reigneth." Those words are to us as "a light that shineth in a dark place, until the day dawn and the daystar arise in our hearts." So long as they are left us, all that threatens us from without is only like the noise of the breaking wave. The unspeakable comfort conveyed in this assurance is ever tested in the experience of God's people. There is no truth more precious to the heart of the Christian than that "the LORD reigneth." The conviction of this must carry us far above all cares and fears. A personal God, a living God, a reigning God—alike in the armies of heaven and among the inhabitants of the earth—and this God the Father of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ, —such are the steps by which we reach a height, where, far removed from the turmoil of men, we gain a comprehensive and clear view of earth and its concerns. I would not exchange the assurance which these two words, "Jehovah reigneth, " convey, for all the wisdom, combined with all the power, of this world. Received into my heart, they are the solution of every difficulty, the end of all perplexity. It seems to me as if, after puzzling over the cross writing and hieroglyphics of men, I turned a fresh leaf, on the top of which stood these words, as the text to be preached out in all history, whether of the individual, the family, or the nation, the Church or the world. It seems as if, after revolving sorrowfully and helplessly all the difficulties and wants which distress my heart, I were at once rising above those floating clouds into clear atmosphere: as if all at once I were unburdened; as if I had reached a haven of rest; as if I had found a firm foundation, an ultimate principle. After all, in every real trial there is but this one final and full comfort. What matters the opinion of men, —who may be for and who against me; who may be with me, or who may leave me. Who would speak of prospects or probabilities, of the support to be derived from wealth or power, or of the defections of friends on whose sympathy and help we had counted? "Jehovah reigneth!" There is light here across my every path, provided I follow Christ, walking in the narrow way. Only let me be sure that, in any and every respect, I am on the Lord's side and in the Lord's way, and I ask no more. My God has all the silver and all the gold in his own hand. He holdeth the hearts of all men at his disposal; he directeth all events, from the least to the greatest. If I want power with God or with men, let me pray; for, Jehovah reigneth. Nor let me think that special interpositions are either impossible or rare. They are constant. The course of God's providence is one of constant interposition; for "all things work together for good to them that love God." Only these interpositions are not violent, and therefore not noticed by the superficial observer; they are the interpositions of all wise and almighty God, not of poor, weak man; they are the interpositions , not interferences; they are the working of the machinery by the Mastermind which designed, and the Master hand which framed it. They are not the stoppage, but the working of the machinery, whereby its real object is wrought out.
Lastly, let me note in the Psalm these three things:
In creation and nature :preestablished law along with continuous, personal government, —not as opposed to, but as presupposing one another (Psalm 93:1-2). In Providence :"The LORD on high is mightier than the noise of many waters" —which would otherwise strike terror, even as their swelling would threaten constant danger. And in grace :"His testimonies are very sure." I can rest on them. Not one tittle or iota shall fall to the ground.
Wherever I have a word of promise, I can safely plant my steps. The conclusion and inference from the whole matter is that "holiness" —not fear nor man serving, but separation unto the Lord—"becometh, " or is the right, wise, and proper attitude of his house and people. Alfred Edersheim, in "The Golden Diary of Heart Converse with Jesus in the Book of Psalms, " 1866. Whole Psalm. It is mentioned in the Babylonian Talmud that it was the custom of the Jews to sing this psalm on the sixth day of the week, to which it is well suited as celebrating the reestablishing and founding again of the world in the new creation (Psalm 93:1): which is confirmed by a title given to it in the Septuagint—"On the day before the Sabbath, when the earth was founded: A Psalm of thanksgiving to (or for ) David" —adopted by the Vulgate and the Oriental Version in general. And thus is this Psalm identified in subject with the preceding: as also Hengstenberg observes— "The reference, which it is impossible not to notice, in which `The Lord on high is mightier, 'here (Psalm 93:4) stands to `But Thou, Lord, art most high for evermore' (Psalm 92:8) —the kernel and middle point of the whole psalm—has already led commentators to notice a near connexion between these two psalms... which is decidedly favoured by the contents; both psalms minister consolation to the Church, exposed to danger by the might of the world." He might have added—in the promise they give of "the rest the Sabbatism that remains to the people of God, "when both shall be fulfilled. W. De Burgh.
Ver. 1. The LORD reigneth. It is a kind of proclamation in which God's people are invited to declare before men and angels that the Lord is King, He and He only. It is the response of the Church to the preaching of the gospel—so rapturously hailed in Isaiah—the preaching of the messenger "that bringeth good tidings, that publisheth peace; that bringeth good tidings of good, that publisheth salvation; that saith unto Zion, Thy God reigneth!" William Binnie.
Ver. 1. The LORD. He describes God by the name Jehovah , partly, to lead us to think of the God of Israel, accustomed by this name to be distinguished from the gods of the nations; partly, to call to mind the virtues of veracity, grace and justice, comprehended by this name, and now clearly made known... When he says, Jehovah reigns , without adding any restriction, or mentioning any people, it would seem that the Kingdom of Jehovah is to be taken absolutely and generally, with equal reference to the government of the world and the church . In the former sense Jehovah may be said to reign , not as if He then at last begun to reign, but because He proved himself to be the King of the world in an extraordinary way, by giving public and manifest signs; by which it was clearly established that Jehovah is the true God, the Creator of heaven and earth, the Lord and Ruler of the whole universe, and a just and equitable judge, in inflicting notable judgements upon sinners, in casting down the idols, and vindicating the cause of true religion and virtue. This meaning I regard as contained in the general proposition: yet directly in its primary signification I understand the Kingdom of God in His Church, partly, because God is here said to vindicate the cause of religion, and of his people; partly, he is said, in Psalm 99:1 to show himself exalted in Zion , and there to undertake the Kingdom , Isaiah 24:23, and often elsewhere in the Prophetic word; and lastly, because Jehovah, the King of his people, he himself who reigns , is set forth as the ruler of the universe. He is the King therefore of his people, He has his Kingdom in their midst, but to Him all things in heaven and earth are subject as well.
In this latter sense, therefore, the phrase, Jehovah has reigned , will stand for, He has undertaken the Kingdom, He is become King , as it is often used in the histories of the Kings of Judah and Israel; so also in Isaiah 28:23, and elsewhere... When He is said to have taken the Kingdom in the midst of his people, it must not be understood absolutely, but in a restricted sense, in reference partly to the manner and form of rule, being more or less theocratic ;partly, to the displays of the Divine Majesty, being more or less conspicuous; and partly, to the servile or afflicted state of his people, as extending from the Babylonish exile to the time of the Maccabees. In which times God is said to have taken the Kingdom , in many other prophecies beside this, Isaiah 24:21-23, Obad., ult. Micah 4:6-8. Venema.
Ver. 1. The LORD reigneth. These are the initial words of Psalm 97:1 and Psalm 99:1 also. Perhaps a threefold manner of reigning is suggested, namely, over things subjected to God by a natural necessity, over those that resist his will and as far as in them lies withdraw themselves from his dominion, and over those who spontaneously and freely obey. For in this place the Kingdom is declared to be coextensive with the foundation of the world: in Psalm 97:1 it is hinted at for the exultation of the earth, and for the gladness of the isles; in Psalm 99:1 God is said to reign, although the people are angry, and the earth is filled with commotion. Zorinus.
Ver. 1. The LORD reigneth. Having considered in all quarters the worldly rule of idols, and earthly deities or kings, the Psalmist at last bursts forth into the words which attribute supreme government to none other, but to Jehovah the true God. Let it be granted that the monarchs of Assyria, the kings of Egypt, and the masters of other nations, extend their empire far and wide; let it be allowed that royal majesty is ascribed to the idols by their worshippers; yet all these are as nothing to the kingdom and majesty of Jehovah. Martin Geier.
Ver. 1. The LORD reigneth, i.e. , the Lord has become King (Psalm 96:10 97:1 99:1). The formula proclaimed at the accession of earthly sovereigns (2 Samuel 15:10 1 Kings 1:11,13; margin , 2 Kings 9:13, "Jehu reigneth" ).
The reference is not to the ordinary and constant government of God, but to his assuming a new and glorious kingdom. The arrogant proclamation of the world power was virtually "the Assyrian reigneth"; the overthrow of him was God's counter proclamation: "The Lord (Jehovah) reigneth." The antitypical sense is, the world powers under Antichrist, energized by Satan (Revelation 16:14 17:12-14,17), shall make one last desperate stroke, seemingly for the moment successful, for the dominion of the earth, in defiance of the Lord, (2 Thessalonians 2:3-12) But Christ will take his great power and reign as King of kings and Lord of lords, having overthrown utterly the antichristian enemy. (Isaiah 24:23 Obadiah 1:21; Zechariah 14:9 Revelation 11:15,17 19:6.) A. R. Fausset.
Ver. 1. The LORD reigneth. The very first words of this psalm seem to indicate a morning of calm repose after a night of storm, a day of stillness after the tumult of battle. "The LORD reigneth." "He hath put all enemies under his feet." Barton Bouchier.
Ver. 1. The world also is established. The word world is properly taken for the habitable globe, and metonymically for the inhabitants of the earth.
This is clear from Psalm 24:1-2 89:12 9:9; Psalm 96:1,3 98:9. In this passage the former signification seems to obtain, because this majestic King has fortified no tower or palace strongly, but the whole world, by the word of his power, that therein there might be a constant habitation for the men who worship Him, even to the destined day of the last judgment. Martin Geier.
HINTS TO THE VILLAGE
Whole Psalm. Revivals of religion described. 1. God reigns. 2. His power is felt. 3. His kingdom is established. 4. Opposition is overcome. 5. The word is valued. 6. Holiness is cultivated.
Ver. 1-2. The prophet in the first verse describes our King: 1. From his office. (a) He "reigns." He is the great and chief Monarch; he is no idle spectator of things below; but wisely, and justly, and powerfully administers all things. (b) He is a glorious King: "He is clothed with majesty." (c) He is a potent King: "The Lord is clothed with strength." (d) He is a warlike King: "He hath girded himself, " buckled his sword upon his armour; for offence towards his enemies, for defence of his kingdom. 2. From his kingdom. (a) It is universal: "The world." (b) It is fixed, firm, and stable: "The world also is stablished, and cannot be moved." (c) It is an everlasting kingdom: "From everlasting to everlasting; thy throne is established of old; thou art from everlasting." Adam Clarke.
Ver. 1-2. Shew, 1. The royal proclamation. 2. The imperial robe. 3. The stable kingdom. 4. The ancient throne. 5. The Eternal King. C.A.D.
Ver. 1-2. 1. Make the great proclamation. The right, stability, antiquity, extent, perpetuity of the Lord's dominion. 2. Note the different emotions it inspires. In the rebellious, condemned, loyal, &c. 3. Negotiate for submission to the King. C. A. D.
PSALM 93:2 EXPOSITION.
Ver. 2. Thy throne is established of old. Though thou mayest just now appear in more conspicuous sovereignty, yet thine is no upstart sovereignty: in the most ancient times thy dominion was secure, yea, before time was thy throne was set up. We often hear of ancient dynasties, but what are they when compared with the Lord? Are they not as the bubble on the breaker, born an instant ago and gone as soon as seen? Thou art from everlasting. The Lord himself is eternal. Let the believer rejoice that the government under which he dwells has an immortal ruler at its head, has existed from all eternity and will flourish when all created things shall have for ever passed away. Vain are the rebellions of mortals, the kingdom of God is not shaken.
EXPLANATORY NOTES AND QUAINT SAYINGS.
Ver. 2. Thy throne is established. The invariable perpetuity of the divine kingdom is celebrated in these words. No vicissitudes are apprehended there, as in earthly monarchies and kingdoms, where thrones are not infrequently shaken, either on account of the death of their kings or principal men, or by reason of the unfaithfulness of subjects or ministers, or because of the schemes or attacks of enemies; none of which can disturb the divine rule. Martin Geier.
Ver. 2. Thy throne is established of old. Lest any one should suspect that the royal dignity depicted and demonstrated in the previous verse by the creation of the world, which was the effect of kingly power and majesty, was a new thing or came into existence yesterday or the day before, or that God had recently obtained the office of ruling and governing, or that by long use and experience he had acquired skill, or held a somewhat foreign throne as other kings are wont, he says that this dignity is as ancient as creation itself, so that the throne of this kingdom was founded at the very time when the foundations of the earth were laid; and as the earth was established by him as his footstool, so the heaven was his throne, (Isaiah 66:1), which endures for ever. Especially does he teach that from eternity, before the formation of the world, God always remained the same in himself, not needing creation or any creature, thereby to obtain any new perfection. Lorinus.
Ver. 2. Of old. The Italian, from all eternity :Hebrew, from then ;an Hebrew phrase to signify an eternity without any beginning, Proverbs 8:22: as eternity without end is signified by another term, which is as much as, until then . Diodati.
PSALM 93:3 EXPOSITION.
Ver. 3. The floods have lifted up, O LORD. Men have raged like angry waves of the sea, but vain has been their tumult. Observe that the psalmist turns to the Lord when he sees the billows foam, and hears the breakers roar; he does not waste his breath by talking to the waves, or to violent men; but like Hezekiah he spreads the blasphemies of the wicked before the Lord. The floods have lifted up their voice; the floods lift up their waves. These repetitions are needed for the sake both of the poetry and the music, but they also suggest the frequency and the violence of wicked assaults upon the government of God, and the repeated defeats which they sustain.
Sometimes men are furious in words—they lift up their voice, and at other times they rise to acts of violence—they lift up their waves; but the Lord has control over them in either case. The ungodly are all foam and fury, noise and bluster, during their little hour, and then the tide turns or the storm is hushed, and we hear no more of them; while the kingdom of the Eternal abides in the grandeur of its power.
EXPLANATORY NOTES AND QUAINT SAYINGS.
Ver. 3. The floods have lifted up, etc. Advisedly in this place does he make mention of floods, in order better to depict the effects of war. For when rivers are raised and swollen with inundations, they burst the restraining banks, and sweep far and wide over the neighbouring plains, carrying everything in their course. Such is the manner of war; when armies are despatched into countries, they lay waste and fill all places with slaughter.
Whence Virgil employs this simile (Aeneid 2) in describing the violence of the Grecian army breaking into the citadel of Priam, —rendered by Dryden thus — "In rush the Greeks, and all the apartments fill; Those few defendants whom they find, they kill.
Not with so fierce a rage the foaming flood Roars, when he finds his rapid course withstood; Bears down the dittos with unresisted sway, And sweeps the cattle and the cots away." Mollerus.
Ver. 3. Their waves. The word ki signifies a wave; because the water being dashed against a rock, or the shore, or another wave, is broken into spray.
For the central idea of the word is breaking. And this aptly serves to picture the issue of those commotions and wars which are undertaken for the overthrow of empires and the church. For as mighty waves fill the beholders with horror, so great and powerful armies fill all things with fear and terror. But as the waves striking, in a moment are broken, and disappear, so the mighty power of kings and princes is often dissolved at one glance of God. The Church dwells in this life, as a rock in the waves, beaten by the waves of every tempest; but yet remains immutable, because the Son of God confirms and sustains her. Mollerus.
HINTS TO THE VILLAGE
Ver. 3. The voice of the floods. 1. The voice of Nature is the voice of God. 2. It is a voice from God. 3. It is a voice for God. "God hath a voice that ever is heard, In the peal of the thunder, the chirp of the bird:
It comes in the torrent, all rapid and strong, In the streamlet's soft gush, as it ripples along; In the waves of the ocean, the furrows of land, In the mountain of granite, the atom of sand; Turn where ye may, from the sky to the sod, Where can ye gaze that ye see not a God?"
Poetry by Eliza Cook.
PSALM 93:4 EXPOSITION.
Ver. 4. The LORD on high is mightier than the noise of many waters. The utmost of their power is to him but a sound and he can readily master it, therefore he calls it a noise by way of contempt. When men combine to overthrow the kingdom of Jesus, plot secretly, and by and by rage openly, the Lord thinks no more of it than of so much noise upon the sea beach.
Jehovah, the self existent and omnipotent, cares not for the opposition of dying men, however many or mighty they may be. "Loud the stormy billows spoke, Loud the billows raised their cry; Fierce the stormy billows broke, Sounding to the echoing sky.
Strong the breakers tossing high, Stronger is Jehovah's might.
True thy words; and sanctity Well becomes thy temple bright."
Yea, than the mighty waves of the sea. When the storm raises Atlantic billows, and drives them on with terrific force, the Lord is still able to restrain them, and so also when impious men are haughty and full of rage the Lord is able to subdue them and overrule their malice. Kings or mobs, emperors or savages, all are in the Lord's hands, and he can forbid their touching a hair of the heads of his saints.
EXPLANATORY NOTES AND QUAINT SAYINGS.
Ver. 4. The LORD on high. "On high" is not to be regarded in the sense of locality, as none compete with God in that, but in reference to dominion and glory. Martin Geier.
Ver. 4. The LORD on high is mightier, etc. Therefore consider not so much thy distress, as thy Deliverer; and when men's malicious combination may affright thee, let Divine association support thee. The danger may exceed thy resistance, but not God's assistance; the enemies' power may surpass thy strength, their subtlety outwit thy prudence, but neither can excel the wisdom and might of God that is with thee. O learn therefore to try God in his strength, to trust him in difficulties; and when the merciless waves are ready to swallow thee; commit thyself to his custody. The mariner in straits looks up to heaven, do thou so; and remember that when the waters of affliction are never so high, yet "the Lord on high is mightier than they." Abraham Wright.
HINTS TO THE VILLAGE
Ver. 4. 1. God is mighty in creation. 2. He is mightier in providence. 3. He is mightiest in redemption. G. R.
PSALM 93:5 EXPOSITION.
Ver. 5. Thy testimonies are very sure. As in providence the throne of God is fixed beyond all risk, so in revelation his truth is beyond all question.
Other teachings are uncertain, but the revelations of heaven are infallible.
As the rocks remain unmoved amid the tumult of the sea, so does divine truth resist all the currents of man's opinion and the storms of human controversy; they are not only sure, but very sure . Glory be to God, we have not been deluded by a cunningly devised fable: our faith is grounded upon the eternal truth of the Most High. Holiness becometh thine house, O LORD, for ever. Truth changes not in its doctrines, which are very sure, nor holiness in its precepts, which are incorruptible. The teaching and the character of God are both unaltered.
God has not admitted evil to dwell with him, he will not tolerate it in his house, he is eternally its enemy, and is for ever the sworn friend of holiness. The church must remain unchanged, and for ever be holiness unto the Lord; yea, her King will preserve her undefiled by the intruder's foot.
Sacred unto the Lord is the church of Jesus Christ, and so shall she be kept evermore. "Jehovah reigns, "is the first word and the main doctrine of the psalm, and holiness is the final result; a due esteem for the great King will lead us to adopt a behaviour becoming his royal presence. Divine sovereignty both confirms the promises as sure testimonies, and enforces the precepts as seemly and becoming in the presence of so great a Lord.
The whole psalm is most impressive, and is calculated to comfort the distressed, confirm the timorous, and assist the devout. O thou who art so great and gracious a King, reign over us for ever! We do not desire to question or restrain thy power, such is thy character that we rejoice to see thee exercise the rights of an absolute monarch. All power is in thine hands, and we rejoice to have it so. Hosanna! Hosanna!
EXPLANATORY NOTES AND QUAINT SAYINGS.
Ver. 5. Thy testimonies, i.e. , thy words; either, 1. Thy precepts, which are commonly called God's testimonies . And so having spoken of God's kingdom, he now showeth that the laws of that kingdom are just, and true, and holy; which is a singular commendation of it. Or, 2. Thy promises, as may be gathered from the following words, "are sure, " or true , or faithful ;which attribute properly belongs, and everywhere in Scripture is ascribed, to promises rather than to precepts. And the promises no less than the precepts are God's testimonies , or the witnesses or declarations of his mind and will to mankind. And he seems here to speak of those great and precious promises concerning the erection and establishment of his kingdom in the world by the Messias; which, saith he, are infallibly true, and shall certainly be accomplished in thy time. Matthew Pool.
Ver. 5. Holiness becometh thine house, O LORD. Singular things are expected of all that draw nigh to God in any duty, but especially in the office of the ministry; they must sanctify themselves with a singular care above that of the rest of the people. Those that stand in the presence of princes must be exact in their carriage. God appointed both the weights and measures of the sanctuary to be twice as large as those of the commonwealth, to shew that he expects much more of those that serve him there, than he doth of others. Holiness becomes every house well, but best God's; and every man, but most of all the minister, who is the mirror in which the people behold heaven, and the convoy to direct them thither.
Now if the glass be spotted, instead of an angel they look upon a fury; and if the conduct be false, there is more danger in the guide than the way.
None, therefore, are to walk so strictly as the ministry. Abraham Wright.
Ver. 5. Holiness becometh thine house, O LORD, for ever. No hangings, no tapestry become God's house so well as holiness; and no place is so proper as the house of God for this costly, comely furniture... The blind heathen were choice and devout in the service of dumb idols; they served them in white, an emblem of purity; they thought nothing too good for those false gods, for whom the worst was not bad enough. Solon, the Athenian lawgiver, enacted, that none should serve the gods obiter , or by the by, that their sacrificers should purify themselves some days beforehand. George Swinnock.
HINTS TO THE VILLAGE
Ver. 5. 1. Faithfulness becometh the word of God. 2. Holiness becometh the house of God. G. R.
Ver. 5 (last clause). 1. Holiness becometh God's typical house, the temple. 2. His greater spiritual house, the church. 3. His smaller spiritual house, the believer. 4. His eternal house, heaven. C. A. D.