Psalm 14:7
Oh that the salvation of Israel were come out of Zion! when the LORD brings back the captivity of his people, Jacob shall rejoice, and Israel shall be glad.
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EXPOSITORY (ENGLISH BIBLE)
(7) Oh that.—The thoughts of the exiles turn to the Holy City as the one source of deliverance, as if Jehovah’s power would only manifest itself from His hallowed abode. So Daniel looked towards Jerusalem in his prayer. (Comp. the same feeling in Isaiah 40:9-10.) For the expression “turn the captivity,” or, to keep the Heb. idiom, “turn the turning,” comp. Psalm 85:1; Psalm 126:1; Hosea 6:2; Joel 3:1. It appears, however, besides its literal reference to the exile, to have been applied proverbially to the removal of any misfortune (Job 42:10).

Psalm 14:7. O that the salvation of Israel were come out of Zion — These words, considered in connection with the context, do not appear to be intended of any mere temporal salvation of Israel, whether from the rebellion of Absalom, or any other calamity brought upon them as a punishment of their sins. They rather seem directly and immediately to refer to the deliverance of that people from those corrupt principles and practices which the psalmist describes and laments in the preceding part of the Psalm. This is evidently the salvation which he has first in his view, and which he prays might come out of Zion, where the ark then was, where God was wont, in an especial manner, to manifest his presence, and whence he was supposed to hear and answer his people’s prayers. The words, however, have certainly a further design: they ultimately and principally respect the spiritual redemption and salvation of all God’s Israel by the Messiah. Thus the ancient Jews understood them, as appears from Jonathan’s Targum, or paraphrase, which expounds the passage in this manner, with which agrees the Targum of Jerusalem. We know the ancient patriarchs and prophets in general, and David in particular, well understood, and firmly believed, the doctrine of Israel’s redemption and salvation by the Messiah; and ardently expected, nay, and comforted themselves under their troubles, with the expectation of this great event, which they termed the consolation of Israel. And thus David seems to have comforted himself now in this dark time of ignorance and vice, of infidelity and sin, which he here deplores. To this also agrees the mention of Zion, because the prophets knew and foretold that the Messiah, or Deliverer, should first come to Zion, and should set up his throne there, and from thence send forth his laws and edicts to the Gentile world; as is positively affirmed, Psalm 2:6; Psalm 110:2; Isaiah 2:3; Isaiah 59:20, compared with Romans 11:26, and in many other places. To this may be added, that the following words agree only to this event, in which he speaks of bringing back the captivity of the Lord’s people, with the universal joy of Jacob and Israel; which cannot agree to David’s time, wherein there was no such captivity of the people, but only a civil war and mutual slaughter, which is quite another thing, nor to the time of the Jews’ return from Babylon, when there was no such return of all Israel, but only of a part of the tribes of Judah and Benjamin, and some few of the other tribes; and the joy which the returning Jews then had was but low, and mixed with many fears, and dangers, and reproaches, as we see in the books of Ezra and Nehemiah. And therefore these words of the psalmist must belong to the times of the Messiah, by whom this promise was fulfilled to the true Israel of God, who were delivered from that most dreadful of all captivities, the captivity of sin and Satan, as is declared Luke 1:68-75; Luke 4:18; Ephesians 4:8. And they shall be literally accomplished to the natural seed of Jacob, or Israel, according to the expectation and belief of all the Jews in their several ages, and of most Christian writers. The Redeemer shall come to Zion by his Word and Spirit, by his gospel and his grace, as he before came in the flesh, and shall turn away all ungodliness from Jacob. For this time of universal reformation the psalmist longs and prays now in the time of universal corruption; as if he had said, Those will be glorious times, as the present are melancholy ones; for then Jacob, that is, the seed of Jacob, shall rejoice, and Israel shall be glad. The triumphs of the king of Zion will be the joy of Zion’s children. And at the second coming of Christ, finally to extinguish the dominion of sin and Satan, this salvation will be completed, which, as it is the hope, so will it be the joy, of every true Israelite. 14:1-7 A description of the depravity of human nature, and the deplorable corruption of a great part of mankind. - The fool hath said in his heart, There is no God. The sinner here described is an atheist, one that saith there is no Judge or Governor of the world, no Providence ruling over the affairs of men. He says this in his heart. He cannot satisfy himself that there is none, but wishes there were none, and pleases himself that it is possible there may be none; he is willing to think there is none. This sinner is a fool; he is simple and unwise, and this is evidence of it: he is wicked and profane, and this is the cause. The word of God is a discerner of these thoughts. No man will say, There is no God, till he is so hardened in sin, that it is become his interest that there should be none to call him to an account. The disease of sin has infected the whole race of mankind. They are all gone aside, there is none that doeth good, no, not one. Whatever good is in any of the children of men, or is done by them, it is not of themselves, it is God's work in them. They are gone aside from the right way of their duty, the way that leads to happiness, and are turned into the paths of the destroyer. Let us lament the corruption of our nature, and see what need we have of the grace of God: let us not marvel that we are told we must be born again. And we must not rest in any thing short of union with Christ, and a new creation to holiness by his Spirit. The psalmist endeavours to convince sinners of the evil and danger of their way, while they think themselves very wise, and good, and safe. Their wickedness is described. Those that care not for God's people, for God's poor, care not for God himself. People run into all manner of wickedness, because they do not call upon God for his grace. What good can be expected from those that live without prayer? But those that will not fear God, may be made to fear at the shaking of a leaf. All our knowledge of the depravity of human nature should endear to us salvation out of Zion. But in heaven alone shall the whole company of the redeemed rejoice fully, and for evermore. The world is bad; oh that the Messiah would come and change its character! There is universal corruption; oh for the times of reformation! The triumphs of Zion's King will be the joys of Zion's children. The second coming of Christ, finally to do away the dominion of sin and Satan, will be the completing of this salvation, which is the hope, and will be the joy of every Israelite indeed. With this assurance we should comfort ourselves and one another, under the sins of sinners and sufferings of saints.Oh that the salvation of Israel - Margin, "Who will give," etc. The Hebrew literally is, "Who will give out of Zion salvation to Israel?" The word "Israel" refers primarily to the Hebrew people, and then it is used generally to denote the people of God. The wish here expressed is in view of the facts referred to in the previous verses - the general prevalence of iniquity and of practical atheism, and the sufferings of the people of God on that account. This state of things suggests the earnest desire that from all such evils the people of God might be delivered. The expression in the original, as in the margin, "Who will give," is a common expression in Hebrew, and means the same as in our translation, "Oh that." It is expressive of an earnest desire, as if the thing were in the hand of another, that he would impart that blessing or favor.

Out of Zion - On the word "Zion," see the note at Isaiah 1:8. It is referred to here, as it is often, as the seat or dwelling-place of God; the place from where he issued his commands, and from where he put forth his power. Thus in Psalm 3:4, "He heard me out of his holy hill." Psalm 20:2, "the Lord ... strengthen thee out of Zion." Psalm 128:5, "the Lord shall bless thee out of Zion." Here the phrase expresses a wish that God, who had his dwelling in Zion, would put forth his power in granting complete deliverance to his people.

When the Lord bringeth back - literally, "In Yahweh's bringing back the captivity of his people." That is, the particular salvation which the psalmist prayed for was that Yahweh would return the captivity of his people, or restore them from captivity.

The captivity of his people - This is "language" taken from a captivity in a foreign land. It is not necessary, however, to suppose that any such literal captivity is here referred to, nor would it be necessary to infer from this that the psalm was written in the Babylonian captivity, or in any other particular exile of the Hebrew people. The truth was, that the Hebrews were often in this state (see the Book of Judges, "passim"), and this language came to be the common method of expressing any condition of oppression and trouble, or of a low state of religion in the land. Compare Job 42:10.

Jacob shall rejoice - Another name for the Hebrew people, as descended from Jacob, Isaiah 2:3; Isaiah 41:21; Isaiah 10:21; Isaiah 14:1; Amos 7:2; et soepe. Prof. Alexander renders this, "Let Jacob exult; let Israel joy." The idea seems to be, that such a restoration would give great joy to the people of God, and the language expresses a desire that this might soon occur - perhaps expressing the idea also that in the certainty of such an ultimate restoration, such a complete salvation, the people of God might now rejoice. Thus, too, it will not only be true that the redeemed will be happy in heaven, but they may exult even now in the prospect, the certainty, that they will obtain complete salvation.

7. captivity—denotes any great evil.

Zion—God's abode, from which He revealed His purposes of mercy, as He now does by the Church (compare Ps 3:4; 20:2), and which He rules and in which He does all other things for the good of His people (Eph 1:22).

7 Oh that the salvation of Israel were come out of Zion! when the Lord bringeth back the captivity of his people, Jacob shall rejoice, and Israel shall be glad.

Natural enough is this closing prayer, for what would so effectually convince atheists, overthrow persecutors, stay sin, and secure the godly, as the manifest appearance of Israel's great salvation? The coming of Messiah was the desire of the godly in all ages, and though he has already come with a sin-offering to purge away iniquity, we look for him to come a second time, to come without a sin-offering unto salvation. O that these weary years would have an end! Why tarries he so long? He knows that sin abounds and that his people are down-trodden; why comes he not to the rescue? His glorious advent will restore his ancient people from literal captivity, and his spiritual seed from spiritual sorrow. Wrestling Jacob and prevailing Israel shall alike rejoice before him when he is revealed as their salvation. O that he were come! What happy, holy, halcyon, heavenly days should we then see! But let us not count him slack, for behold, he comes, he comes quickly! Blessed are all they that wait for him.

Oh that the salvation of Israel were come out of Zion! These words directly and immediately concern the deliverance of the people of Israel out of that sinful and deplorable estate in which they now were; which having described in the body of the Psalm, he concludes, after his manner, with a prayer to God to hear and help them out of Zion, where the ark then was, whence God used to hear and answer his people’s prayers. But ultimately and principally they design a further, even the spiritual, redemption and salvation of all God’s Israel by the Messias, as may appear by divers considerations:

1. That the ancient Jews did thus understand it, and among others Jonathan’s Targum or Paraphrase on the Bible expound it thus; I do not expect Gideon’s salvation, which was but corporeal, nor that of Samson—but the salvation of the Messias. With whom agrees the Targum of Jerusalem.

2. That the doctrine of Israel’s redemption or salvation by Christ was very well known, as to other ancient patriarchs, John 8:56 1 Peter 1:10-12, so particularly to David, of whom it is expressly said that he knew and foresaw this mystery, Acts 2:30,31, in whose Book of Psalms there are divers and very distinct and clear prophecies of it, as we have in part seen upon Psalm 2 Psa 8, and shall see more fully and evidently hereafter.

3. That David and other holy prophets, in the midst of their sad thoughts, and fears, and troubles, did usually comfort themselves with the promise and expectation of the Messias, by whom, and by whom alone, they should receive that plenary salvation for which they groaned; of which it is thought we have one instance, Genesis 49:18; but we have many unquestionable instances in the prophecy of Isaiah, as Isaiah 7:14 9:6, &c. And this course might be the more seasonable for David, because he speaks here of his troubles after he was settled in his kingdom, (as may be gathered from the mention of Zion, where the ark was not till that time,) and possibly of the sad and sinful state of his kingdom during Absalom’s rebellion; and therefore finding himself so strangely disappointed of that peace and happiness which he confidently expected when once he came to the kingdom, and wisely and justly presaging that his children and the following generations of Israelites for the same causes were likely to meet with the same or greater calamities than this, he wearieth himself with the expression of his belief and desire of the coming of the Messias to save his people.

4. To this also suits the mention of Zion, because the prophets knew and foretold that the Messias or Deliverer should first come to Zion, and should set up his throne there, and from thence send forth his laws and edicts to the Gentile world; as is positively affirmed, Psalm 2:6 110:2 Isaiah 2:3 59:20, compared with Romans 11:26, and in many other places.

5. The following words agree only to this time, wherein he speaks of bringing back the captivity of his people with the universal joy of all Jacob and Israel; which cannot agree to David’s time, wherein there was no such captivity of the people, but only a civil war and mutual slaughter, which is quite another thing; nor to the time of Israel’s return from Babylon, when there was no such return of all Israel, but only of Judah and Benjamin, and some few of the other tribes, and the joy which the returning Israelites then had was but low, and mixed with many fears, and dangers, and reproaches, as we see in the books of Ezra and Nehemiah. And therefore they must belong to the times of the Messias, by whom this promise was fulfilled to the true Israel of God, who were brought back from that most real and dreadful, though spiritual, captivity of sin and Satan, as is declared, Luke 4:18 Ephesians 4:8, and shall be literally accomplished to the natural seed of Jacob or Israel according to the expectation and belief of all the Jews in their several ages, and of most Christian writers.

The captivity of his people, i.e. his captive people; captivity being oft put for captives, as Deu 21:10 30:3 Psalm 126:1,4. Or, his people from captivity, of which see the former note. Jacob, i.e. the seed or children of Jacob, as Aaron is named for his sons, 1 Chronicles 12:27 27:17, and David for his sons, and the like. O that the salvation of Israel were come out of Zion!.... By whom is meant the Messiah, the Saviour of Israel, of all the elect of God, whether Jews or Gentiles; and who is so called, because the salvation of them was put into his hands, and he undertook it; and because he is the Captain and Author of it, and it is in him, and in no other. He was to come out of Zion, out of Judea, from among the Jews; Zion being, as Kimchi observes, the head of the kingdom of Israel; see Romans 11:26. Accordingly Christ did come of the Jews, and salvation was of them, Romans 9:4; and for his coming from hence, or for his incarnation, the psalmist most earnestly wishes: he was one of those kings, prophets, and righteous men, that desired to see the days of the Messiah, Matthew 13:17. And what might move him so vehemently to wish for it, at this time, might be the sad corruption and depravity of mankind he had been describing, and the afflicted and distressed state of the saints;

when the Lord bringeth back the captivity of his people. The people of God are, in their unregeneracy, in a state of captivity to sin, Satan, and the law; the work of the Messiah, when he came, was to proclaim liberty to the captives, to set them free, to deliver them from their spiritual bondage: and this Christ has done; he has redeemed his people from all their sins, and from the curse of the law, and from the power of Satan, and has led captivity captive; and which has justly occasioned great joy in the redeemed ones, according to this prophecy:

Jacob shall rejoice, and Israel shall be glad; that is, the posterity of Jacob and Israel; not his natural, but spiritual seed, such who are the true sons of Jacob, Israelites indeed; these having faith and hope in the plenteous redemption of Christ, rejoice in the view of their interest in it; they the song of redeeming love now, and these ransomed ones will hereafter come to Zion with joy, and everlasting joy upon their heads. The Jews refer this to the times of the Messiah (c).

(c) Baal Hatturim in Numbers 25.12. & Midrash Tillim in loc.

Oh that the salvation of {f} Israel were come out of Zion! when the LORD bringeth back the captivity of his people, Jacob shall rejoice, and Israel shall be glad.

(f) He prays for the whole Church whom he is assured God will deliver: for no one else but he can do it.

EXEGETICAL (ORIGINAL LANGUAGES)
7. Concluding prayer for the deliverance of Israel.

out of Zion] The dwelling-place of Jehovah. See note on Psalm 3:4.

When the Lord bringeth back &c.] Or, as R.V. marg., when the Lord returneth to the captivity of his people. At first sight these words appear to fix the date of the Psalm in the period of the Exile (Psalm 126:1). Nor does the first line of the verse exclude such a view. For the exiled turned to Zion even in her desolation (Daniel 6:10; 1 Kings 8:44), and from thence Jehovah might be expected to restore His people. But (1) it is very probable that the phrase rendered bring back the captivity means rather restore the fortunes. This meaning suits all the passages in which it occurs, while turn the captivity does not, except in the figurative sense of restoring prosperity. See e.g. Job 42:10; Ezekiel 16:53; Zephaniah 2:7. And (2) even if turn the captivity is the true meaning, the phrase is used by Amos (Amos 9:14) and Hosea (Hosea 6:11) long before the Babylonish Captivity.

Psalm 14:7 is frequently regarded as a later liturgical addition; and certainly it does not cohere very closely with the rest of the Psalm. But some conclusion is needed. The Psalm can hardly have ended abruptly with Psalm 14:6.

Jacob shall rejoice, &c.] Properly a wish or prayer (cp. Psalm 13:5-6): let Jacob rejoice, and Israel be glad.Verse 7. - Oh that the salvation of Israel were come out of Zion! The salvation of the "righteous generation" (ver. 5), the "true Israel," is sure to come. Oh that it were come already! It will proceed "out of Zion," since God's Name is set there. The ark of the covenant had been already set up in the place which it was thenceforth to occupy (see 2 Samuel 6:12-17). David's reign in Jerusalem is begun. When the Lord bringeth back the captivity of his people; either, when the Lord turneth the ill fortune of his people, or, when the Lord re-turneth to the captivity of his people; i.e. when he no longer turns away from their sufferings and afflictions, but turns towards them, and lifts up the light of his countenance upon them, then Jacob shall rejoice, and Israel shall be glad. (For the union of these two names, see Psalm 78:21, 71; Psalm 105:23; Psalm 135:4, etc.) God's people shall celebrate their deliverance with a psalm of thanksgiving.



The perfect אמר, as in Psalm 1:1; Psalm 10:3, is the so-called abstract present (Ges. 126, 3), expressing a fact of universal experience, inferred from a number of single instances. The Old Testament language is unusually rich in epithets for the unwise. The simple, פּתי, and the silly, כּסיל, for the lowest branches of this scale; the fool, אויל, and the madman, הולל, the uppermost. In the middle comes the notion of the simpleton or maniac, נבל - a word from the verbal stem נבל which, according as that which forms the centre of the group of consonants lies either in נב (Genesis S. 636), or in בל (comp. אבל, אול, אמל, קמל), signifies either to be extended, to relax, to become frail, to wither, or to be prominent, eminere, Arab. nabula; so that consequently נבל means the relaxed, powerless, expressed in New Testament language: πνεῦμα οὐκ ἔχοντα. Thus Isaiah (Isaiah 32:6) describes the נבל: "a simpleton speaks simpleness and his heart does godless things, to practice tricks and to say foolish things against Jahve, to leave the soul of the hungry empty, and to refuse drink to the thirsty." Accordingly נבל is the synonym of לץ the scoffer (vid., the definition in Proverbs 21:24). A free spirit of this class is reckoned according to the Scriptures among the empty, hollow, and devoid of mind. The thought, אין אלהים, which is the root of the thought and action of such a man, is the climax of imbecility. It is not merely practical atheism, that is intended by this maxim of the נבל. The heart according to Scripture language is not only the seat of volition, but also of thought. The נבל is not content with acting as though there were no God, but directly denies that there is a God, i.e., a personal God. The psalmist makes this prominent as the very extreme and depth of human depravity, that there can be among men those who deny the existence of a God. The subject of what follows are, then, not these atheists but men in general, among whom such characters are to be found: they make the mode of action, (their) doings, corrupt, they make it abominable. עלילה, a poetical brevity of expression for עלילותם, belongs to both verbs, which have Tarcha and Mercha (the two usual conjunctives of Mugrash) in correct texts; and is in fact not used as an adverbial accusative (Hengstenberg and others), but as an object, since השׁהית is just the word that is generally used in this combination with עלילה Zephaniah 3:7 or, what is the same thing, דּרך Genesis 6:12; and התעיב (cf. 1 Kings 21:26) is only added to give a superlative intensity to the expression. The negative: "there is none that doeth good" is just as unrestricted as in Psalm 12:2. But further on the psalmist distinguishes between a דור צדיק, which experiences this corruption in the form of persecution, and the corrupt mass of mankind. He means what he says of mankind as κόσμος, in which, at first the few rescued by grace from the mass of corruption are lost sight of by him, just as in the words of God, Genesis 6:5, Genesis 6:12. Since it is only grace that frees any from the general corruption, it may also be said, that men are described just as they are by nature; although, be it admitted, it is not hereditary sin but actual sin, which springs up from it, and grows apace if grace do not interpose, that is here spoken of.
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