Matthew Poole's Commentary
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.Of Asaph; as the author. Or, to or for Asaph; which may be put by way of opposition to the foregoing and general expression,
to the chief Musician, which is here limited to and explained of Asaph. As Psalm 62:1, having said to the chief Musician, he adds to Jeduthun; and then follows the author, David. This Psalm was either composed by David, or by Asaph in David’s name and person, as it is not unusual for poets to bring in princes speaking in their poems. It seems to relate to the time when David had entered upon, but not got full possession of, the kingdom.
The psalmist, praising God for his wondrous works, promiseth to judge uprightly, Psalm 75:1-3. Rebuking the proud and foolish with God’s providence, Psalm 75:4-8, pulleth them down, but exalteth the righteous, Psalm 75:9,10.
Do we give thanks; I, in my own and in my people’s name.
Thy name, i.e. thyself; or thy power. Is near; is present with us, and most ready to help us when we cry unto thee, as this phrase is taken, Psalm 34:18 145:18. Thou art not departed from us; thou dost not now stand afar off, as once thou didst, Psalm 10:1.
Thy wondrous works, wrought on my behalf, and for the good of thy people.
When I shall receive the congregation I will judge uprightly.When I shall receive the congregation, to wit, the whole congregation, or body of thy people, to wit, all the tribes; which are now distracted and disordered by a civil war, which is a great hinderance to the administration of justice. Or, when I shall receive or obtain the appointment, i.e. what God hath appointed and promised to me, to wit, the full and firm possession of the kingdom; or, the time or place appointed by God for that work. Some make these and the following passages the words of God concerning his church or people; which seems not probable; partly because he speaks of God in the third person, as one distinct from him that speaks these words, Psalm 75:7,8; and partly because it is evident that one and the same person speaks from hence to the end of the Psalm, and the ninth verse cannot be spoken by God.
I will judge uprightly; I will not use my power tyrannically and wickedly, as Saul did, and as most other princes do; but holily and righteously, for the good of my people.
The earth and all the inhabitants thereof are dissolved: I bear up the pillars of it. Selah.Dissolved; or, melted, consumed or destroyed; partly by the ill government of Saul and Ish-bosheth, and the great officers of state and war under them; and partly by intestine divisions and wars.
I bear up the pillars of it: howsoever 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, and by setting us good magistrates, and encouraging good ministers, and good men, which are indeed the pillars of a nation.
I said unto the fools, Deal not foolishly: and to the wicked, Lift not up the horn:I said, with authority and command; I charged them.
The fools, i.e. the wicked, as that is explained in the next clause.
Deal not foolishly; desist from your impious and injurious practices, which shall not now go unpunished, as they have done.
Lift not up the horn; do not carry yourselves either arrogantly, boasting of your own strength, or scornfully and maliciously towards me or others of God’s people.
Lift not up your horn on high: speak not with a stiff neck.Lift not up your horn on high; a metaphor from untamed and stiff-necked oxen, which will not bow their heads to receive the yoke, but lift up their heads and horns to avoid it. Or, against the High, i.e. against God, who is mentioned under this same title, Psalm 56:2, though there it be rendered Most High. Speak not, to wit, 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.
For promotion cometh neither from the east, nor from the west, nor from the south.For 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 world are not always disposed according to human expectations and probabilities, but by God’s sovereign will and providence, as it follows. It is true, men that expect preferment have their eyes fixed upon the great persons of the world, who are thought to have the ‘disposition of them in their hands, and according to their several inclinations or interests; some look eastward, others westward, and others southward, expecting assistance from some of these quarters; but all in vain.
But God is the judge: he putteth down one, and setteth up another.The judge, to wit, the righteous Judge, and supreme Lord and Governor of all the kingdoms of the world, giving them to whomsoever he pleaseth. It is he who hath rejected Saul and his family, and put me in his stead. And who art thou that disputest with God, and resistest his declared will?
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.This verse is added, either,
1. 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, which yet he might have done, but in a way of justice and equity. Or,
2. As another argument to enforce his advice given Psalm 75:4,5, which he had now pressed by one argument, Psalm 75:6,7. God is here compared to the master of a feast, who then 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 23:5; and sometimes, and more frequently, in a bad sense, for God’s vengeance and judgments, as Psalm 11:6 Isaiah 51:22 Jeremiah 49:12 Matthew 20:23, &c.; and so it is here understood, as the following words show. The wine is red; such as the best wine of Judea was, Deu 32:14 Proverbs 23:31; and so strong, and heady, and intoxicating. Or, is troubled; as the word more properly signifies, and is rendered by divers; which may note its newness, when it is in fermentation, not yet cleared nor settled, and so more intoxicating. So he expresseth the power and fierceness of God’s wrath and judgments. It is full of mixture: the wine is mingled, not with water, as was usual in those hot countries, Proverbs 9:5, but with spices, as Song of Solomon 8:2; or rather, strengthening and intoxicating ingredients, which drunkards used, Isaiah 5:22. He poureth out of the same, to wit, to the children of men; promiscuously to good and bad; whereby he removes the scandal which his enemies might take from those troubles which God saw fit to inflict upon David and his followers. The dregs thereof; the worst and most dreadful part of those tribulations. Of the earth; or, of the land, to wit, of Canaan, of which he spoke Psalm 75:3. Shall wring them out; which expression may imply, either that they shall be forced to squeeze out the worst for their own drinking, or that this dreadful draught was prepared for them and brought upon them by their own choice and wickedness.
But I will declare for ever; I will sing praises to the God of Jacob.Declare, to wit, this great and glorious work of God, or the praises due unto God for it, as the next words imply.
All the horns of the wicked also will I cut off; but the horns of the righteous shall be exalted.The horns of the wicked; their honour and power, which they made an instrument of mischief to oppress good men. A metaphor from horned and mischievous beasts.
I will cut off, when I shall be advanced to the throne, and have power and authority to do what now I can only desire and pray for.
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.