|Matthew Henry's Concise Commentary|
68:1-6 None ever hardened his heart against God, and prospered. God is the joy of his people, then let them rejoice when they come before him. He who derives his being from none, but gives being to all, is engaged by promise and covenant to bless his people. He is to be praised as a God of mercy and tender compassion. He ever careth for the afflicted and oppressed: repenting sinners, who are helpless and exposed more than any fatherless children, are admitted into his family, and share all their blessings.
Verse 1. - Let God arise, let his enemies be scattered; let them also that hate him flee before him. Compare the chant with which the ark set forth in the wilderness, "Rise up, Lord, and let thine enemies be scattered; and let them that hate thee flee before thee" (Numbers 10:35). Both utterances are expressions of confidence, that, whenever God arises, his enemies will be scattered and dispersed before him. Neither refers to any one special occasion.
Gill's Exposition of the Entire Bible
Let God arise,.... Which, as Kimchi observes, is either by way of prayer, or by way of prophecy; and in either way the sense is the same: for, if it is considered as a prayer, it is a prayer of faith that so it would be; or, if as a prophecy, it is certain that so it should be. And this is to be understood of the same divine Person, whose chariots the angels are; who is said to be the "Adonai", or "Lord" in the midst of them; and of whom it is prophesied that he should ascend to heaven, Psalm 68:17; even the Messiah, who is God over all. And this "arising", attributed to him, may be interpreted either of his incarnation, his exhibition and manifestation in the flesh; which is sometimes called in Scripture a raising of him up, as in Acts 3:26; or of his resurrection from the dead, as it is interpreted by many of the ancients; which, as it was a certain thing, and previous to his ascension hereafter spoken of, so it was a proof of his deity; for though it was only the man that rose, who died and was buried, yet as in union with the divine Person of the Son of God, and who rose by virtue of that union; and thereby he was declared to be the Son of God with power. Or else rather this is to be understood of his arising and exerting his power as a man of war, as a mighty and victorious hero, on the behalf of his people, and against his enemies; as he did when he arose and met Satan, the prince of the world, and engaged with all the powers of darkness; see Psalm 45:3; and this sense is confirmed by what follows:
let his enemies be scattered; let them also that hate him flee before him: the sense of these two clauses is the same; his enemies, and those that hate him, are the same persons; and to be scattered and flee express the same things; for enemies, being discomfited, flee and scatter. Some interpret this of the watch set to guard our Lord's sepulchre; who, upon his rising from the dead, were filled with great fear and dread, and scattered, and fled to the priests, to acquaint them with what was done: others, of the Jewish nation in general, who were enemies to Christ; and hated him, and would not have him to reign over them; against whom he rose up and exerted his great strength; came in his kingdom and power against them; poured out his wrath upon them to the uttermost; which issued in the utter destruction of them, as a body politic; and in the entire dispersion of them in all countries, which remains until quite recently. Or rather the whole is to be applied to Satan, and to his principalities and powers; the professed enemies of Christ, personal and mystical; who, when he arose and exerted his mighty power in his conflict with them, in the garden and on the cross, were spoiled and dissipated, and obliged to fly before him: and who at the same time overcame the world, made an end of sin, abolished death, as well as destroyed him which had the power of it; see Numbers 10:35.
The Treasury of David
1 Let God arise, let his enemies be scattered: let them also that hate him flee before him.
2 As smoke is driven away, so drive them away as wax melteth before the fire, so let the wicked perish at the presence of God.
"Let God arise." In some such words Moses spake when the cloud moved onward, and the ark was carried forward. The ark would have been a poor leader if the Lord had not been present with the symbol. Before we move; we should always desire to see the Lord lead the way. The words suppose the Lord to have been passive for awhile, suffering his enemies to rage, but restraining his power. Israel beseeches him to arise, as elsewhere to "awake, gird on his sword," and other similar expressions. We, also, may thus importunately cry unto the Lord, that he would be pleased to make bare his arm, and plead his own cause. "Let his enemies be scattered." Our glorious Captain of the vanguard clears the way readily, however many may seek to obstruct it; he has but to arise, and they flee, he has easily over-thrown his foes in days of yore, and will do so all through the ages to come. Sin, death, and hell know the terror of his arm; their ranks are broken at his approach. Our enemies are his enemies, and in this is our confidence of victory. "Let them also that hate him flee before him." To hate the infinitely good God is infamous, and the worst punishment is not too severe. Hatred of God is impotent. His proudest foes can do him no injury. Alarmed beyond measure, they shall flee before it comes to blows. Long before the army of Israel can come into the fray, the haters of God shall flee before HIM who is the champion of his chosen. He comes, he sees, he conquers. How fitting a prayer is this for the commencement of a revival! How it suggests the true mode of conducting one: - the Lord leads the way, his people follow, the enemies flee.
"As smoke is driven away." Easily the wind chases the smoke, completely it removes it, no trace is left; so, Lord, do thou to the foes of thy people. They fume in pride, they darken the sky with their malice, they mount higher and higher in arrogance, they defile wherever they prevail: Lord, let thy breath, thy Spirit, thy Providence, make them to vanish for ever from the march of thy people. Philosophic scepticism is as flimsy and as foul as smoke; may the Lord deliver his Church from the reek of it. "As wax melteth before the fire, so let the wicked perish at the presence of God." Wax is hard by itself, but put it to the fire, how soft it is. Wicked men are haughty till they come into contact with the Lord, and then they faint for fear; their hearts melt like wax when they feel the power of his anger. Wax, also, burns and passes away; the taper is utterly consumed by the flame: so shall all the boastful power of the opposers of the gospel be as a thing of nought. Rome, like the candles on her altars, shall dissolve, and with equal certainty shall infidelity disappear. Israel saw, in the ark, God on the mercy-seat - power in connection with propitiation - and they rejoiced in the omnipotence of such a manifestation; this is even more clearly the confidence of the New Testament church, for we see Jesus, the appointed atonement, clothed with glory and majesty, and before his advance all opposition melts like snow in the sun, the pleasure of the Lord shall prosper in his hands. When he comes by his Holy Spirit, conquest is the result; but when he arises in person, his foes shall utterly perish.
Jamieson-Fausset-Brown Bible Commentary
Ps 68:1-35. This is a Psalm-song (see on Ps 30:1, title), perhaps suggested by David's victories, which secured his throne and gave rest to the nation. In general terms, the judgment of God on the wicked, and the equity and goodness of His government to the pious, are celebrated. The sentiment is illustrated by examples of God's dealings, cited from the Jewish history and related in highly poetical terms. Hence the writer intimates an expectation of equal and even greater triumphs and summons all nations to unite in praises of the God of Israel. The Psalm is evidently typical of the relation which God, in the person of His Son, sustains to the Church (compare Ps 68:18).
1-3. Compare Nu 10:35; Ps 1:4; 22:14, on the figures here used.
before him—as in Ps 68:2, from His presence, as dreaded; but in Ps 68:3, in His presence, as under His protection (Ps 61:7).
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