James Gray - Concise Bible Commentary
A Psalm of Asaph. O God, the heathen are come into thine inheritance; thy holy temple have they defiled; they have laid Jerusalem on heaps.Psalms 79:1-108:13
The first psalm in this lesson suggests Psalms 74 on which we did not dwell, but both of which depict the desolations of Judah by the Babylonians (compare Jeremiah 52:12-14). On this supposition their date would be that of the captivity, and their author a later Asaph than the Asaph mentioned in David’s time.
Has captivity features also. Some would say it relates to the ten tribes, as the preceding psalm does to Judah. The next several psalms are much alike in this respect and may easily be interpreted from that point of view.
Attributed to David, constitutes a break in the series, and is a prayer which we pause to analyze. Observe the touching picture in Psalm 86:1, a child with his arms round his father’s neck. Observe the five requests for: preservation, joy, instruction, strength and encouragement, in Psalm 86:2; Psalm 86:4; Psalm 86:11; Psalm 86:16 and Psalm 86:17 respectively. Observe the grounds from the human side on which an answer is expected, his need, importunity (margin), trust, relationship to God (margin), Psalm 86:1; Psalm 86:3-4; Psalm 86:2. From the divine side he expected it because of God’s goodness, greatness and grace, Psalm 86:5; Psalm 86:10; Psalm 86:13.
Of the authors of Psalms 88, 89 we know nothing save that their names are among David’s singers (1 Chronicles 6:18; 1 Chronicles 6:33; 1 Chronicles 15:17). There is little to show the occasion when they were written, but the last-named has been assigned to Absalom’s rebellion. From that point of view it may be a contrast between the promised prosperity of David’s throne (2 Samuel 7), and what now threatens its downfall; but in any event it is full of helpfulness in spiritual application.
Psalms 90, 91
(ESPECIALLY THE LATTER) Rank with Psalms 37, 51, 103 in popular favor, being quoted almost as frequently. The first is a contrast between man’s frailty and God’s eternity, and the second, an outburst, of confidence in the presence of physical peril. Many a foreign missionary has found this last “a very present help in time of trouble”! The two psalms are also capable of a dispensational application, the first referring to Israel’s day of sorrow and repentance, and the second to her deliverance and protection from the tribulation to come. Satan’s use of Psalm 91:11-12, in the temptation of our Lord (Matthew 4:6), will not be forgotten.
Were applied by the Jews to the times of the Messiah, who had in mind His first advent only; but we in the light of subsequent events see their application to His second advent. In Psalms 93 He is entering on His reign; in Psalms 94 He is appealed to for judgment on the evil-doers; in
Psalms 95 Israel is exhorted to praise him, and warned against unbelief. The substance of the next four is found in 1 Chronicles 16, which was used by David’s direction at the dedication of the tabernacle on Matthew Zion, which typified the dispensation of the Messiah.
A break appears at Psalms 101, where David is once more named, and is making a vow of consecration corresponding to Psalms 15. In Psalms 102 he is pouring out a deep complaint, prophetic of Israel’s hour of tribulation and her deliverance therefrom (Psalms 102 13-22). Observe that when the kingdoms of the earth are serving the Lord, men will be declaring His name in Zion and praising Him in Jerusalem. As we have seen earlier, that sacred city will be the center of things in the millennial age.
Are all of praise. In the first, David rises from a thankful acknowledgment of personal blessings (Psalm 103:1-5) to a celebration of God’s attributes. In the next God is praised for His works of creation and providence. In the next Israel’s special reasons for praise are enumerated, the thought being carried forward into the two succeeding psalms, although the second of the two broadens out again into a celebration of God’s mercy to all people in their various emergencies. It is one of the most beautiful of the psalms and its structure affords another good opportunity to illustrate Hebrew poetry.
1. To what period of Israel’s history may Psalms 74, 79 apply?
2. What other psalms may here be included?
3. Have you studied Psalms 86 with the aid of the outline in the lesson?
4. Memorize Psalms 91.
5. To what period does the group 93-100 probably belong?
6. How would you designate the next group?
7. What is the refrain of Psalms 107?