|Matthew Henry's Concise Commentary|
78:56-72 After the Israelites were settled in Canaan, the children were like their fathers. God gave them his testimonies, but they turned back. Presumptuous sins render even Israelites hateful to God's holiness, and exposed to his justice. Those whom the Lord forsakes become an easy prey to the destroyer. And sooner or later, God will disgrace his enemies. He set a good government over his people; a monarch after his own heart. With good reason does the psalmist make this finishing, crowning instance of God's favour to Israel; for David was a type of Christ, the great and good Shepherd, who was humbled first, and then exalted; and of whom it was foretold, that he should be filled with the Spirit of wisdom and understanding. On the uprightness of his heart, and the skilfulness of his hands, all his subjects may rely; and of the increase of his government and peace there shall be no end. Every trial of human nature hitherto, confirms the testimony of Scripture, that the heart is deceitful above all things, and desperately wicked, and nothing but being created anew by the Holy Ghost can cure the ungodliness of any.
Verse 72. - So he fed them according to the integrity of his heart. On the whole, David performed his task of governing Israel faithfully. He had the direct testimony of God to that effect (see 1 Kings 9:4). And he guided them by the skilfulness of his hands. David was not only an upright and faithful king, but also a "skilful" or prudent one. He built up his kingdom into an empire without suffering any serious disasters. Israel reached its acme of glory and prosperity under him, decline setting in under Solomon.
Gill's Exposition of the Entire Bible
So he fed them according to the integrity of his heart,.... Or, "reigned over them", as the Targum; that is, over the people of Israel, and which he did in such manner as showed uprightness of heart, and that he was, as his character is, a man after God's own heart: it appeared, by his administration of government, that he sought not his own honour and interest, and the aggrandizing of his family, but the good of his people, and the glory of God; and this character, in the fullest extent, and highest sense of it, best agrees with Christ, the righteous branch raised unto David, Jeremiah 23:5,
and guided them by the skilfulness of his hands; or "by the prudencies" of his hands, as the Targum; or, by the prudencies (c), as in the original text; with the most consummate wisdom and skill: hands are made mention of, partly in allusion to the shepherd, as David had been, who carries a staff in his hand, and guides his flock with it; and partly with respect to the acts and administration of government, which were wisely performed by him: he made wise laws for his people and soldiers, and put them in execution; he behaved wisely in the court and in the camp; but was greatly and infinitely exceeded by his antitype, the servant of the Lord, that should deal prudently, Isaiah 52:13, and who is abundantly qualified for it, as being not only the Wisdom of God, and the all wise God, but even, as Mediator, has the spirit of wisdom on him, and the treasures of wisdom in him.
(c) "prudentiis", Vatablus; "intelligentiis", Pagninus, Montanus, Gejerus, Michaelis; "discretions", Ainsworth.
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