Psalm 118:20
This gate of the LORD, into which the righteous shall enter.
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EXPOSITORY (ENGLISH BIBLE)
Psalm 118:20. This is the gate of the Lord — These may be considered as the words of the Levites, the porters, returning this answer to the foregoing demand. This is the gate of the Lord, which thou seekest, and which shall be opened to thee, according to thy desire and thy just privilege; for thou art one of those righteous ones to whom this of right belongs.118:19-29 Those who saw Christ's day at so great a distance, saw cause to praise God for the prospect. The prophecy, ver.This gate of the Lord - This gate dedicated to the service of the Lord; that belongs to the house of the Lord.

Into which the righteous shall enter - Through which the righteous pass. That is, It is for such persons, and all who come with a purpose to serve and worship God should be permitted to pass through them; I claim the privilege, therefore, of so passing through these gates into the house of God, for I come to praise him. All who are truly righteous, all who desire to worship God, all who wish and purpose to be holy, have a right thus to enter the house of God - to be recognized as his friends - to be permitted to join in all the devotions of his people; all such will have a right to enter the temple above. None have a right to exclude them here; none in heaven will be disposed to exclude them there.

19-21. Whether an actual or figurative entrance into God's house be meant, the purpose of solemn praise is intimated, in which only the righteous would or could engage. These may be the words either,

1. Of the Levites, the porters returning this answer to the foregoing question: This is the gate of the Lord which thou seekest, and which shall be opened to thee according to thy desire, and thy just privilege, for then art one of those righteous ones to whom this of right belongs. Or,

2. Of David himself, who stands as it were pausing and contemplating before he makes his entrance: This, this is that holy and blessed gate, which I so long and earnestly thirsted for in my banishment, and which is now very beautiful in my sight, into which I will enter, and all other righteous persons by my example and encouragement. But as David was a type of Christ and the temple of heaven, so this place hath a further prospect than David, and relates to Christ’s ascending into heaven, and opening the gates of that blessed temple, both for himself, and for all righteous men or believers. This gate of the Lord, into which the righteous shall enter. This seems to be spoken by some other person or persons, distinct from David and the Messiah, pointing at some particular and principal gate, upon hearing the above word: by which is meant, not the gate of the house of the sanctuary of the Lord, as the Targum; but the Messiah himself, afterwards spoken of as the stone rejected by the builders, and made the head of the corner; who is the way of access to God; the door into the church or sheepfold; the strait gate that leads to eternal life; by which none but righteous persons enter into heaven; even such who are made righteous, through the imputation of his righteousness to them; see John 10:1. This gate of the LORD, into which the righteous shall enter.
EXEGETICAL (ORIGINAL LANGUAGES)
20. This is the gate that belongs to Jehovah;

The righteous may enter into it.

The emphasis is on righteous. Those who would enter must be righteous like Him Who dwells there. Cp. Psalm 15:1 ff.; Psalm 24:3 ff.; Isaiah 26:2.Verse 20. - This gate of the Lord, into which the righteous shall enter; rather, this is the gate of the Lord: the righteous [and they alone] shall enter by it. "This verse seems to stand apart - a solo, chanted by a voice out of the temple gate" (Kay). Though sinners doubtless sometimes entered (2 Kings 11:13; 2 Chronicles 26:16-20; John 2:14), none but the righteous had any right to enter. The Hodu-cry is addressed first of all and every one; then the whole body of the laity of Israel and the priests, and at last (as it appears) the proselytes (vid., on Psalm 115:9-11) who fear the God of revelation, are urgently admonished to echo it back; for "yea, His mercy endureth for ever," is the required hypophon. In Psalm 118:5, Israel too then begins as one man to praise the ever-gracious goodness of God. יהּ, the Jod of which might easily become inaudible after קראתי, has an emphatic Dagesh as in Psalm 118:18, and המּצר has the orthophonic stroke beside צר (the so-called מקּל), which points to the correct tone-syllable of the word that has Dechמ.

(Note: Vid., Baer's Thorath Emeth, p. 7 note, and p. 21, end of note 1.)

Instead of ענני it is here pointed ענני, which also occurs in other instances not only with distinctive, but also (though not uniformly) with conjunctive accents.

(Note: Hitzig on Proverbs 8:22 considers the pointing קנני to be occasioned by Dech, and in fact ענני in the passage before us has Tarcha, and in 1 Samuel 28:15 Munach; but in the passage before us, if we read במרחביה as one word according to the Masora, ענני is rather to be accented with Mugrash; and in 1 Samuel 28:15 the reading ענני is found side by side with ענני (e.g., in Bibl. Bomberg. 1521). Nevertheless צרפתני Psalm 17:3, and הרני Job 30:19 (according to Kimchi's Michlol, 30a), beside Mercha, show that the pointing beside conjunctive as beside disjunctive accents wavers between a& and a4, although a4 is properly only justified beside disjunctive accents, and צוּני also really only occurs in pause.)

The constructions is a pregnant one (as in Psalm 22:22; Psalm 28:1; Psalm 74:7; 2 Samuel 18:19; Ezra 2:62; 2 Chronicles 32:1): He answered me by removing me to a free space (Psalm 18:20). Both lines end with יהּ; nevertheless the reading במּרחביה is attested by the Masora (vid., Baer's Psalterium, pp. 132f.), instead of בּמּרחב יהּ. It has its advocates even in the Talmud (B. Pesachim 117a), and signifies a boundless extent, יה expressing the highest degree of comparison, like מאפּליה in Jeremiah 2:31, the deepest darkness. Even the lxx appears to have read מרחביה thus as one word (εἰς πλατυσμόν, Symmachus εἰς εὐρυχωρίαν). The Targum and Jerome, however, render it as we do; it is highly improbable that in one and the same verse the divine name should not be intended to be used in the same force of meaning. Psalm 56:1-13 (Psalm 56:10; Psalm 56:5, Psalm 56:12) echoes in Psalm 118:6; and in Psalm 118:7 Psalm 54:1-7 (Psalm 54:6) is in the mind of the later poet. In that passage it is still more clear than in the passage before us that by the Beth of בּעזרי Jahve is not meant to be designated as unus e multis, but as a helper who outweighs the greatest multitude of helpers. The Jewish people had experienced this helpful succour of Jahve in opposition to the persecutions of the Samaritans and the satraps during the building of the Temple; and had at the same time learned what is expressed in Psalm 118:7-8 (cf. Psalm 146:3), that trust in Jahve (for which חסה ב is the proper word) proves true, and trust in men, on the contrary, and especially in princes, is deceptive; for under Pseudo-Smerdis the work, begun under Cyrus, and represented as open to suspicion even in the reign of Cambyses, was interdicted. But in the reign of Darius it again became free: Jahve showed that He disposes events and the hearts of men in favour of His people, so that out of this has grown up in the minds of His people the confident expectation of a world-subduing supremacy expressed in Psalm 118:10.

The clauses Psalm 118:10, Psalm 118:11, and Psalm 118:12, expressed in the perfect form, are intended more hypothetically than as describing facts. The perfect is here set out in relief as a hypothetical tense by the following future. כּל־גּוים signifies, as in Psalm 117:1, the heathen of every kind. דּברים (in the Aramaic and Arabic with )ז are both bees and wasps, which make themselves especially troublesome in harvest time. The suffix of אמילם (from מוּל equals מלל, to hew down, cut in pieces) is the same as in Exodus 29:30; Exodus 2:17, and also beside a conjunctive accent in Psalm 74:8. Yet the reading אמילם, like יחיתן Habakkuk 2:17, is here the better supported (vid., Gesenius, Lehrgebude, S. 177), and it has been adopted by Norzi, Heidenheim, and Baer. The כּי is that which states the ground or reason, and then becomes directly confirmatory and assuring (Psalm 128:2, Psalm 128:4), which here, after the "in the name of Jahve" that precedes it, is applied and placed just as in the oath in 1 Samuel 14:44. And in general, as Redslob has demonstrated, כּי has not originally a relative, but a positive (determining) signification, כ being just as much a demonstrative sound as ד, ז, שׁ, and ת (cf. ἐκεῖ, ἐκεῖνος, κει'νος, ecce, hic, illic, with the Doric τηνεί, τῆνος). The notion of compassing round about is heightened in Psalm 118:11 by the juxtaposition of two forms of the same verb (Ges. 67, rem. 10), as in Hosea 4:18; Habakkuk 1:5; Zephaniah 2:1, and frequently. The figure of the bees is taken from Deuteronomy 1:44. The perfect דּעכוּ (cf. Isaiah 43:17) describes their destruction, which takes place instantly and unexpectedly. The Pual points to the punishing power that comes upon them: they are extinguished (exstinguuntur) like a fire of thorns, the crackling flame of which expires as quickly as it has blazed up (Psalm 58:10). In Psalm 118:13 the language of Israel is addressed to the hostile worldly power, as the antithesis shows. It thrust, yea thrust (inf. intens.) Israel, that it might fall (לנפּל; with reference to the pointing, vid., on Psalm 40:15); but Jahve's help would not suffer it to come to that pass. Therefore the song at the Red Sea is revived in the heart and mouth of Israel. Psalm 118:14 (like Isaiah 12:2) is taken from Exodus 15:2. עזּי (in MSS also written עזּי) is a collateral form of עזּי (Ew. 255, a), and here signifies the lofty self-consciousness which is united with the possession of power: pride and its expression an exclamation of joy. Concerning זמרת vid., on Psalm 16:6. As at that time, the cry of exultation and of salvation (i.e., of deliverance and of victory) is in the tabernacles of the righteous: the right hand of Jahve - they sing - עשׂה חיל (Numbers 24:18), practises valour, proves itself energetic, gains (maintains) the victory. רוממה is Milra, and therefore an adjective: victoriosa (Ew. 120 d), from רמם equals רוּם like שׁומם from שׁמם. It is not the part. Pil. (cf. Hosea 11:7), since the rejection of the participial Mem occurs in connection with Poal and Pual, but not elsewhere with Pilel (רומם equals מרומם from רוּם). The word yields a simpler sense, too, as adject. participle Kal; romēmā́h is only the fuller form for ramā́h, Exodus 14:8 (cf. rā́mah, Isaiah 26:11). It is not its own strength that avails for Israel's exultation of victory, but the energy of the right hand of Jahve. Being come to the brink of the abyss, Israel is become anew sure of its immortality through Him. God has, it is true, most severely chastened it (יסּרנּי with the suffix anni as in Genesis 30:6, and יהּ with the emphatic Dagesh, which neither reduplicates nor connects, cf. Psalm 118:5, Psalm 94:12), but still with moderation (Isaiah 27:7.). He has not suffered Israel to fall a prey to death, but reserved it for its high vocation, that it may see the mighty deeds of God and proclaim them to all the world. Amidst such celebration of Jahve the festive procession of the dedication of the Temple has arrived at the enclosure wall of the Temple.

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