|Matthew Henry's Concise Commentary|
68:7-14 Fresh mercies should put us in mind of former mercies. If God bring his people into a wilderness, he will be sure to go before them in it, and to bring them out of it. He provided for them, both in the wilderness and in Canaan. The daily manna seems here meant. And it looks to the spiritual provision for God's Israel. The Spirit of grace and the gospel of grace are the plentiful rain, with which God confirms his inheritance, and from which their fruit is found. Christ shall come as showers that water the earth. The account of Israel's victories is to be applied to the victories over death and hell, by the exalted Redeemer, for those that are his. Israel in Egypt among the kilns appeared wretched, but possessed of Canaan, during the reigns of David and Solomon, appeared glorious. Thus the slaves of Satan, when converted to Christ, when justified and sanctified by him, look honourable. When they reach heaven, all remains of their sinful state disappear, they shall be as the wings of the dove, covered with silver, and her feathers as gold. Full salvation will render those white as snow, who were vile and loathsome through the guilt and defilement of sin.
Verses 11-23. - From God's mercies to his people at Sinai and in the wilderness, the psalmist goes on to consider those connected with the conquest of Canaan, and the establishment of David's widespread rule. The passage is difficult and obscure, perhaps from its embodying fragments of the earlier Hebrew poetry. It is also full of curious transitions, and of ellipses which make the meaning doubtful. Verse 11. - The Lord gave the word. The reader naturally asks - What word? Commentators answer variously: "the watchword" (Cheyne); "promise of victory" (Kay); "the word of command" (Dean Johnson); "announcement of an actual victory gained" (Hengstenberg). I should rather understand a sort of creative word, initiating the period of strife (comp. Shakespeare's "Cry havock, and let slip the dogs of war!"). Great was the company of those that published it; literally, great was the company of the women that heralded it. The reference is to the female choirs which took a prominent part in the war songs of ancient days (see Exodus 15:20, 21; Judges 5:1; 1 Samuel 18:6, 7).
Gill's Exposition of the Entire Bible
The Lord gave the word,.... The word of the Gospel to his apostles. He committed the word of reconciliation to them; he intrusted them with it, as a sacred depositum; he gave gifts unto them, qualifying them for the ministration of it; he gave them a commission to preach it; and he gave them a door of utterance to speak it as it should be, and an opportunity to publish it. The Targum wrongly interprets it of the word of the law;
great was the company of those that published it; there were in our Lord's time twelve apostles and seventy disciples, who were sent out to preach the Gospel; and many more in the times of the apostles, and since. The word for "company" signifies an "army" (x): Christ's ministers are soldiers, and war a good warfare; they have weapons which are not carnal, but spiritual, and mighty through God, and they are made to triumph in Christ in every place. And the word rendered "those that published" is in the feminine gender; not as suggesting that women would be preachers of the Gospel under the New Testament dispensation, for that is forbidden, 1 Corinthians 14:34; but in allusion to the custom of women in Israel publishing the victories obtained by their armies and generals; see 1 Samuel 18:7; and it may be it is used to denote the weakness of Gospel ministers in themselves, who have the treasure of the word put into their earthen vessels, that the power may appear to be of God, and not of man; so ministers are called maidens, Proverbs 9:3; and this same word is used of them in Isaiah 40:9. And it may be observed, that notwithstanding it is of the said gender, yet it is by the Targum interpreted of men, thus;
"but Moses and Aaron evangelized the word of God to the great army of Israel.''
And it may also be observed, that this word which signifies a "publishing of good news", is derived from a root which signifies "flesh" denoting, that the good tidings of the Gospel, or of peace and pardon, righteousness, life, and salvation, published in it, are by an incarnate Saviour, or through his assumption of our flesh, and suffering in it.
(x) "exercitus", Pagninus, Montanus, Gejerus, Cocceius.
The Treasury of David
11 The Lord gave the word: great was the company of those that published it.
12 Kings of armies did flee apace: and she that tarried at home divided the spoil.
13 Though ye have lien among the pots, yet shall ye be as the wings of a dove covered with silver, and her feathers with yellow gold.
14 When the Almighty scattered kings in it, it was while as snow in Salmon.
In the next verses we do not sing of marching, but of battle and victory "The Lord gave the word." The enemy was near, and the silver trumpet from the tabernacle door was God's mouth to warn the camp; then was there hurrying to and fro, and a general telling of the news; "great was the company of those that published it." The women ran from tent to tent and roused their lords to battle. Ready as they always were to chant the victory; they were equally swift to publish the fact that the battle-note had been sounded. The ten thousand maids of Israel, like good handmaids of the Lord, aroused the sleepers, called fin the wanderers, and bade the valiant men hasten to the fray. O for the like zeal in the church to-day, that, when the gospel is published, both men and women may eagerly spread the glad tidings of great joy.
"Kings of armies did flee apace." The lords of hosts fled before the Lord of Hosts. No sooner did the ark advance than the enemy turned his back: even the princely leaders stayed not, but took to flight. The rout was complete, the retreat hurried and disorderly; - they "did flee, did flee;" helter skelter, pell-mell, as we say.
"Where are the kings of mighty hosts?
Fled far away, fled far and wide.
Their triumph and their trophied boasts
The damsels in their bowers divide."
"And she that tarried at home divided the spoil." The women who had published the war-cry shared the booty. The feeblest in Israel had a portion of the prey. Gallant warriors cast their spoils at the feet of the women and bade them array themselves in splendour, taking each one "a prey of divers colours, of divers colours of needlework on both sides." When the Lord gives success to his gospel, the very least of his saints are made glad and feel themselves partakers in the blessing.
Jamieson-Fausset-Brown Bible Commentary
11. gave the word—that is, of triumph.
company—or, choir of females, celebrating victory (Ex 15:20).
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