James Gray - Concise Bible Commentary
To the chief Musician, A Psalm of David. Hold not thy peace, O God of my praise;Psalms 109:1-119:176
The first psalm in this lesson is one of the imprecatory or cursing psalms, in the interpretation of which we should keep in mind the principles already stated: (1) that the writer speaks as a prophet; (2) that the enemies are not merely personal to him but enemies of God; (3) that they are not individuals so much as nations; and (4) that they are considered at a time when the incorrigible condition has been reached, and they have become permanently fixed in opposition to the Most High. The allusion to Judas (Psalm 109:8), suggests a symbolical character for the whole, and it would not be difficult to discover under the surface the lineaments of the Antichrist.
The explicit application of this psalm to the Savior, by Himself (Matthew 22:42-45), and by the apostles (Acts 2:34; 1 Corinthians 15:25; Hebrews 1:13), and their frequent reference to its language and purport (Ephesians 1:20-22; Php 2:9-11; Hebrews 10:12-13), leaves no doubt of its prophetic character.
Not only was there nothing in the position or character of David to justify a reference to either, but the utter severance from the royal office of all priestly functions (so clearly assigned the subject of this psalm) positively forbids such a reference.
The psalm celebrates the exaltation of Christ to the throne of an eternal and increasing kingdom, and a perpetual priesthood (Zechariah 6:13), involving the subjugation of His enemies and the multiplication of His subjects, and rendered infallibly certain by the word and oath of Almighty God. — Jamieson, Faussett and Brown
Are frequently interpreted together, the first celebrating God’s gracious dealings with His people, and the second carrying on the thought as an exposition of its last verse. Using that verse as a text, the whole of Psalms 112 becomes illuminative of it.
Of these psalms it may be said that the Jews used them on their great festivals, calling them the Greater Hallel, which means hymn. They contrast God’s majesty with His condescension (Psalms 113), they celebrate His former care of His people (Psalms 114), they beseech Him to vindicate His glory over the vanity of idols (Psalms 115), they praise Him for deliverance from peril (Psalms 116), etc.
The last-named (Psalms 116), is a particularly beautiful psalm, noting three distinct experiences of the psalmist: love (Psalm 116:1-6); rest (Psalm 116:7-11) and gratitude (Psalm 116:12-19). Love because God heard him, rest even when men are false to him, and gratitude expressed both with the lips and life.
It is divided into twenty-two pans, or stanzas, denoted by the twenty-two letters of the Hebrew alphabet. Each stanza contains eight verses, and the first letter of each verse gives name to the stanza.
Its contents are mainly praises of God’s word, exhortation of its perusal, and reverence for it; prayers for its proper influence, and complaints of the wicked despising it. There are but two verses (Psalm 119:122; Psalm 119:132) which do not contain some term or description of God’s word. These terms are of various derivations, but used, for the most part, synonymously, though the variety seems designed to express better the several aspects in which our relations to the Word are presented.
The psalm does not appear to have relation to any special occasion of the Jewish nation, but was evidently intended as a manual of pious thoughts, especially for instructing the young, and its artificial structure was probably to aid the memory. Jamieson, Faussett and Brown
1. on what principles are the imprecatory psalms to be interpreted?
2. What New Testament character is typically referred to in Psalms 109?
3. What proves the prophetic character of Psalms 110?
4. What does the psalm celebrate?
5. What designation has been given to Psalms 113-118, and when and by whom are they used?
6. Name six peculiarities of Psalms 119.