To the chief Musician, Altaschith, A Psalm or Song of Asaph. Unto thee, O God, do we give thanks, unto thee do we give thanks: for that thy name is near thy wondrous works declare.Psalm 75:1. Unto thee, O God, do we give thanks — I, in my own, and in thy people’s name; for that thy name — Thy self, or thy power; is near — That is, is present with us, and most ready to help us when we cry unto thee; thou art not departed from us; thou dost not now stand afar off, as once thou didst, Psalm 10:1, as thy wondrous works declare — Wrought for the good of thy people. “Upon whatever occasion,” says Dr. Horne, “these words were originally endited, the Christian Church now celebrates in them that great deliverance which, by so many miracles of mercy and power, hath been accomplished for her through the Messiah, who is, in Scripture, frequently styled the NAME of Jehovah.”
When I shall receive the congregation I will judge uprightly.Psalm 75:2. When I shall receive the congregation — The first verse was spoken by many persons, We give thanks, &c.; here the speaker is one, and that one is plainly a ruler, who promises that when he shall have received the congregation, or, as מועדmay be properly rendered, an appointed, or fit time, or season; that is, when he shall be established in power and authority, at a fit time and place, he will judge uprightly, and introduce a thorough reformation into a kingdom which, as the following verse makes manifest, stood greatly in need of it. From these circumstances Dr. Horne, with several other commentators, thinks it probable “David is speaking here of his advancement to the throne of Israel, and the intended rectitude of his administration when he should be settled thereon.”
The earth and all the inhabitants thereof are dissolved: I bear up the pillars of it. Selah.Psalm 75:3. The earth — Or land; and all the inhabitants thereof are dissolved — Or melted, as נמגים, nemogim, may be rendered. It seems to mean, either that the Israelitish affairs were thrown into confusion, and the frame of the government dissolved by their civil distractions, or that the people were consumed and destroyed by the continual irruptions of foreign enemies. I bear up the pillars of it — How much soever I am traduced by mine enemies, as the great disturber of the land, I must do myself this right to affirm that, under God, I do support and establish it, by maintaining religion and justice, by appointing, countenancing, and supporting good magistrates, and by encouraging the Lord’s prophets and servants, and all good men, who are indeed the pillars of a nation.
I said unto the fools, Deal not foolishly: and to the wicked, Lift not up the horn:Psalm 75:4-5. I said — With authority and command; unto the fools — The wicked: I charged them; Deal not foolishly — Desist from your impious and injurious practices, which shall not now go unpunished as they have done. Lift not up your horn, &c. — Do not carry yourselves with pride and arrogance, boasting of your own strength; or with scorn and contempt toward me or any others of God’s people. It is a metaphor taken from untamed oxen, which will not bow their heads to receive the yoke, but lift up their heads and horns to avoid it. Or, למרום, lammarom, rendered, on high, means, against the high one, that is, against God, who is mentioned under this same title, Psalm 56:2; Isaiah 57:15. Speak not —
Against me and my government; with a stiff neck — With pride and contempt of my person, and with rebellion against God’s will declared concerning my advancement, of which you are not ignorant: see 2 Samuel 3:17-18.
Lift not up your horn on high: speak not with a stiff neck.
For promotion cometh neither from the east, nor from the west, nor from the south.Psalm 75:6-7. For promotion cometh not, &c. — Though you envy and oppose my advancement, because I was but a poor shepherd, and of a mean family; yet you ought to know and consider what is notorious and visible in the world, that the dignities and sceptres of the earth are not always conferred according to human expectations and probabilities, but by God’s sovereign will and providence, as it follows. But God is judge — Namely, the righteous Judge, and supreme Lord and Governor of all the kingdoms of the earth; giving them to whomsoever he pleaseth. He putteth down one and setteth up another — It is he who hath rejected Saul and his family, and put me in his stead: and who art thou that disputest against God, and resistest his declared will?
But God is the judge: he putteth down one, and setteth up another.
For in the hand of the LORD there is a cup, and the wine is red; it is full of mixture; and he poureth out of the same: but the dregs thereof, all the wicked of the earth shall wring them out, and drink them.Psalm 75:8. For, &c. — This verse is added, either, 1st, As a reason or confirmation of the assertion, Psalm 75:7, and to show that God, in removing one king to make way for another, did not proceed in a way of absolute sovereignty, but in a way of justice and equity. Or, 2d, As another argument to enforce his advice given Psalm 75:4-5, which he had already pressed by one argument, Psalm 75:6-7. In the hand of the Lord there is a cup — God is here compared to the master of a feast, who, in those days, used to distribute portions of meats or drinks to the several guests, as he thought fit. A cup, in Scripture, is sometimes taken in a good sense for God’s blessings, as Psalm 16:5; Psalm 23:5, and sometimes, and more frequently, in a bad sense, for his vengeance and judgments, Psalm 11:6; Isaiah 51:22; Jeremiah 49:12; Matthew 20:23; and so it is here understood, as the following words show. And the wine is red —
Such as the best wine in Judea was, (Deuteronomy 32:14; Proverbs 23:31,) and therefore strong and intoxicating. Or, is troubled, as חמר, chamar, more properly signifies, and is rendered by divers learned men. Thus he expresses the power and fierceness of God’s wrath and judgments. It is full of mixture — The wine is mingled, not with water, but with strengthening and intoxicating ingredients. “Calamity and sorrow, fear and trembling, infatuation and despair, the evils of the present life, and of that which is to come, are the bitter ingredients of this cup of mixture.” And he poureth out of the same — As it is entirely in the hand and disposal of God, so, through every age, he has been pouring out, and administering of its contents, more or less, in proportion to the sins of men; but the dregs thereof — The worst and most dreadful part of those tribulations; all the wicked of the earth shall wring them out — Shall be compelled to squeeze out every drop of wrath and misery which they contain; and drink them — For the curse shall enter into their bowels like water, and like oil into their bones. They shall be compelled to endure the utmost effects of the divine vengeance upon their sins, partly in this life, but more fully in the life to come, when the cup of the Lord’s indignation will be to them in an especial manner a cup of trembling, of everlasting trembling; when burning coals, fire and brimstone, and a horrible eternal tempest shall be the portion of their cup, Psalm 11:6. And they shall be thus tormented in the presence of the holy angels, and in the presence of the Lamb, and shall have no rest day nor night, and the smoke of their torment shall ascend up for ever and ever, Revelation 14:10-11.
But I will declare for ever; I will sing praises to the God of Jacob.Psalm 75:9-10. But I will declare for ever — These dispensations of mercy and judgment to the world. I will sing praises to the God of Jacob — He will praise God, and give him glory for the power to which he had advanced him, and that not only at first, while the mercy was fresh, but for ever; as long as he lives he will remember, and be grateful for, this instance of the Lord’s goodness. Thus the exaltation of the Son of David will be the subject of the saints’ everlasting praises. And he will give glory to God, not only as his God, but as the God of Jacob, knowing it was for his servant Jacob’s sake, and because he loved his people Israel, that he made him king over them. All the horns of the wicked — Their honour and power, which they made instruments of mischief to oppress good men; a metaphor taken from horned and mischievous beasts; will I cut off — I will humble their pride and break their power; I will disable them to do mischief. But the horns of the righteous shall be exalted — Good men shall be encouraged and promoted, and intrusted with the management of all public affairs, which will be a great blessing to all my people. Thus he determines to use the power wherewith he was intrusted for the great ends for which it was put into his hands, as every governor ought to do, and as every good governor will do. And herein David was a type of Christ, who, with the breath of his lips, slays the wicked, Isaiah 11:4; but exalts with honour the horn of the righteous, Psalm 112:9.
All the horns of the wicked also will I cut off; but the horns of the righteous shall be exalted.