|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 3. - But let the righteous be glad; let them rejoice before God: yea, let them exceedingly rejoice. When the wicked are destroyed, the righteous receive relief, and cannot but rejoice at God's goodness to them (comp. Psalm 52:6; Psalm 58:10; Psalm 64:7-10, etc.).
Gill's Exposition of the Entire Bible
But let the righteous be glad,.... At the incarnation of Christ, which is matter of joy to all people that believe in him; as did Zacharias and Elisabeth, who were both righteous, and also Simeon; and at his resurrection from the dead, since it is for their justification, by which they are denominated righteous; as did the disciples of Christ, and as do saints in all ages; who know the power of his resurrection, and the influence it has on the regeneration of their souls, the justification of their persons now, and the resurrection of their bodies hereafter; and at the destruction of the enemies of Christ and theirs;
let them rejoice before God; in the presence of him; enjoying communion with him; having views of interest in him; as they do when this is the case, and as they will when they shall appear before him, and stand at his right hand at the last day, clothed with his righteousness, and having palms in their hands;
yea, let them exceedingly rejoice; as they have just reason to do, in his person, grace, righteousness, and salvation. All these expressions denote the greatness, frequency, fervency, fulness, and continuance of their joy. They may be rendered in the future, "but the righteous shall be glad" (p), &c. so the Targum.
(p) "laetabuntur, exultabunt, et gaudebunt", Pagninus, Montanus, Piscator, Cocceius, Michaelis.
The Treasury of David
3 But let the righteous be glad; let them rejoice before God: yea, let them exceedingly rejoice.
4 Sing unto God, sing praises to his name: extol him that rideth upon the heavens by his name JAH, and rejoice before him.
5 A father of the fatherless, and a judge of the widows: is God in his holy habitation.
6 God setteth the solitary in families: he bringeth out those which are bound with chains: but the rebellious dwell in a dry land.
"But let the righteous be glad." The presence of God on the throne of grace is an overflowing source of delight to the godly; and let them not fail to drink of the streams which are meant to make them glad. "Let them rejoice before God." The courtiers of the happy God should wear the garments of gladness, for in his presence is fulness of joy, That presence, which is the dread and death of the wicked, is the desire and delight of the saints. "Yea, let them exceedingly rejoin." Let them dance with all their might, as David did, for very joy. No bounds should be set to joy in the Lord, "Again, I say, rejoice," says the apostle, as if he would have us add joy to joy without measure or pause. When God is seen to shine propitious from above the mercy-seat in the person of our Immanuel, our hearts must needs leap within us with exultation, if we are indeed among those made righteous in his righteousness, and sanctified by his Spirit. Move on, O army of the living God, with shouts of abounding triumph, for Jesus leads the van.
"Sing unto God, sing praises to his name." To time and tune, with order and care, celebrate the character and deeds of God, the God of his people. Do it again and again; and let the praise, with resolution of heart, be all directed to him, Sing not for ostentation, but devotion; not to be heard of men, but of the Lord himself. Sing not to the congregation, but "unto God." "Extol him that rideth upon the heavens by his name Jah." Remember his most great, incomprehensible, and awful name; reflect upon his self-existence and absolute dominion, rise to the highest pitch of joyful reverence in adoring him. Heaven beholds him riding on the clouds in storm, and earth has seen him marching over its plains with majesty. The Hebrew seems to be: "Cast up a highway for him who marcheth through the wilderness," in allusion to the wanderings of the tribes in the desert. The marches of God were in the waste howling wilderness. His eternal power and Godhead were there displayed in his feeding, ruling, and protecting the vast hosts which he had brought out of Egypt. The ark brought all this to remembrance, and suggested it as a theme for song. The name Jah is an abbreviation of the name Jehovah; it is not a diminution of that name, but an intensified word, containing in it the essence of the longer, august title. It only occurs here in our version of Scripture, except in connection with other words such as Hallelujah. "And rejoice before him." In the presence of him who marched so gloriously at the head of the elect nation, it is most fitting that all his people should display a holy delight. We ought to avoid dulness in our worship. Our songs should be weighty with solemnity, but not heavy with sadness. Angels are nearer the throne than we, but their deepest awe is consonant with the purest bliss: our sense of divine greatness must not minister terror but gladness to our souls:; we should "rejoice before him."
It should be our wish and prayer, that in this wilderness world, a highway may be prepared for the God of grace. "Prepare ye the way of the Lord, make straight in the desert a highway for our God," is the cry of gospel heralds, and we must all zealously aim at obedience thereto; for where the God of the mercy-seat comes, blessings innumerable are given to the sons of men.
"A father of the fatherless, and a judge of the widows, is God in his holy habitation." In the wilderness the people were like an orphan nation, but God was more than a father to them. As the generation which came out of Egypt gradually died away, there Were many widows and fatherless ones in the camp, but they suffered no Want or wrong, for the righteous laws and the just administrators whom God had appointed; looked well to the interests of the needy. The tabernacle was the Palace of Justice; the ark was the seat of the great King. This was great cause for joy to Israel, that they were ruled by One who would not suffer the poor and needy to be oppressed. To this day and for ever, God is, and will be, the peculiar guardian of the defenceless. He is the President of Orphanages, the Protector of Widows. He is so glorious that he rides on the heavens, but so compassionate that he remembers the poor of the earth. How zealously ought his church to cherish those who are here marked out as Jehovah's especial charge. Does he not here in effect say, "Feed my lambs?" Blessed duty, it shall be our privilege to make this one of our life's dearest objects. The reader is warned against mis-quoting this verse; it is generally altered into "the husband of the widow." but Scripture had better be left as God gave it.
"God setteth the solitary in families." The people had been sundered and scattered over Egypt; family ties had been disregarded, and affections crushed; but when the people escaped from Pharaoh they came together again, and all the fond associations of household life were restored, This was a great joy. "He bringeth oat those which are bound with chains." The most oppressed in Egypt were chained find imprisoned, but the divine Emancipator brought them all forth into perfect liberty. He who did this of old continues his gracious work. The solitary heart, convinced of sin and made to pine alone, is admitted into the family of the First-born; the fettered spirit is set free, and its prison broken down, when sin is forgiven; and for all this, God is to be greatly extolled, for he hath done it, and magnified the glory of his grade. "But the rebellious dwell in a dry land." If any find the rule of Jehovah to be irksome, it is because their rebellious spirits kick against his power. Israel did not find the desert dry, for the smitten rock gave forth its streams; but even in Canaan itself men were consumed with famine, because they cast off their allegiance to their covenant God. Even where God is revealed on the mercy-seat, some men persist in rebellion, and such need not wonder if they find no peace, no comfort, no joy, even where all these abound. Justice is the rule of the Lord's kingdom, and hence there is no provision for the unjust to indulge their evil lustings: a perfect earth, and even heaven itself, would be a dry land to those who can only drink of the waters of sin. Of the most soul-satisfying of sacred ordinances these Witless rebels cry, "what a weariness it is!" and, under the most soul-sustaining ministry, they complain of "the foolishness of preaching." When a man has a rebellious heart, he must of necessity find all around him a dry land.
Jamieson-Fausset-Brown Bible Commentary
3. the righteous—all truly pious, whether of Israel or not.
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