Psalm 28:8
The LORD is their strength, and he is the saving strength of his anointed.
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(8) Their strengthi.e., the strength of His people, who are throughout in the poet’s thought, even if it is the individual and not the community that speaks. The LXX. and Vulg. read (comp. Psalm 29:11) “to his people.”

Saving strength.—Better, stronghold of salvation. (See margin.)

Psalm 28:8. The Lord is their strength — That is, the strength of his people, mentioned in the next verse. He is the saving strength — Hebrews ישׁועות מעון, the strength of the preservations, deliverances, or salvations; of his anointed — Of me, whom he hath anointed to be king, and whom therefore he will defend. He signifies that it was by God’s strength alone that his victories, deliverances, and preservations were wrought.28:6-9 Has God heard our supplications? Let us then bless his name. The Lord is my strength, to support me, and carry me on through all my services and sufferings. The heart that truly believes, shall in due time greatly rejoice: we are to expect joy and peace in believing. God shall have the praise of it: thus must we express our gratitude. The saints rejoice in others' comfort as well as their own: we have the less benefit from the light of the sun, nor from the light of God's countenance, for others' sharing therein. The psalmist concludes with a short, but comprehensive prayer. God's people are his inheritance, and precious in his eyes. He prays that God would save them; that he would bless them with all good, especially the plenty of his ordinances, which are food to the soul. And direct their actions and overrule their affairs for good. Also, lift them up for ever; not only those of that age, but his people in every age to come; lift them up as high as heaven. There, and there only, will saints be lifted up for ever, never more to sink, or be depressed. Save us, Lord Jesus, from our sins; bless us, thou Son of Abraham, with the blessing of righteousness; feed us, thou good Shepherd of the sheep, and lift us up for ever from the dust, O thou, who art the Resurrection and the Life.The Lord is their strength - Margin, "his strength." The Hebrew is, "their strength," or "strength to them." The allusion is to the people of God. The course of thought seems to be, that the psalmist, having derived in his own case assistance from God, or having found God a strength to him, his mind turns from this fact to the general idea that God was the strength of "all" who were in similar circumstancaes; or that all His people might confide in Him as he had done.

And he is the saving strength - Margin, as in Hebrew, "strength of salvations." That is, In Him is found the strength which produces salvation. See the notes at Psalm 27:1.

Of his anointed - See Psalm 2:2, note; Psalm 20:6, note. The primary reference here is doubtless to the psalmist himself, as one who had been annointed or set apaart to the kingly office; but the connection shows that he intended to include all the people of God, as those whom He had consecrated or set apart to His service. See 1 Peter 2:5, 1 Peter 2:9.

8. The distinction made between the people.

their strength—and the anointed—may indicate Absalom's rebellion as the occasion.

Their strength, i.e. the strength of his people, mentioned in the next verse; the relative being put before the antecedent, which is left to be gathered out of the following matter, as it is Numbers 24:17 Psalm 87:1. Or, his strength; for the Hebrew affix mo, which commonly is plural, is sometimes taken singularly; of which see my Latin Synopsis here, and on Isaiah 53:8. And his, i.e. of his anointed, as the next clause explains it. Or the words may be thus rendered, Strength is or belongs to thee Lord. Heb. The Lord, strength is his, or to him. It is a Hebrew pleonasm.

The saving strength, Heb. the strength of the preservations, or deliverances, or victories, or salvations, i.e. he by whose strength alone he hath got these victories, &c.

Of his anointed, i.e. of me, whom he hath anointed to be king, whom therefore he will defend; he speaks of himself in the third person, which is usual in the Hebrew tongue. The Lord is their strength,.... The strength of his people, mentioned in Psalm 28:9; not only the strength of David in particular, but of all his people in general; see Psalm 37:39;

and he is the saving strength of his anointed; meaning either himself, as before, who was anointed by Samuel king of Israel, and therefore had not invaded and thrust himself into an office he had no call and right unto; or the Messiah, the Lord's Anointed, whom he heard, helped, and strengthened in the day of salvation, and delivered him from the power of death and the grave, and raised him from thence, and gave him glory; see Psalm 20:6.

The LORD is {g} their strength, and he is the saving strength of his anointed.

(g) Meaning his soldiers who were means by which God declared his power.

8. their strength] Their must refer to the people. But there is no antecedent for the pronoun, and it is best to follow a few Heb. MSS., the LXX, Vulg., and Syr., in reading, a strength unto his people. Cp. Psalm 29:11.

and he is &c.] R.V., and he is a strong hold of salvation to his anointed. Cp. Psalm 27:1. Salvation is lit. salvations, great and manifold deliverance. Cp. Psalm 18:50; Psalm 20:6.

8, 9. Concluding intercession for the people. Cf. Psalm 3:8.Verse 8. - The Lord is their Strength; i.e. the Strength, not of himself alone, but of the whole people. The deliverance will be as much for their sake as for his. And he is the saving strength of his anointed - literally, and a Stronghold of salvation to his anointed is HE. The welfare of David and that of the people are bound up together. God strengthens him for their sakes, that he may guide them aright and fight their battles, and give them dominion over their enemies. It was with this object that he chose him out of all Israel, and took him from the sheepfolds, and had him anointed king - that he might "feed Jacob his people, and Israel his inheritance" (Psalm 78:71). This first half of the Psalm (Psalm 28:1) is supplicatory. The preposition מן in connection with the verbs חרשׁ, to be deaf, dumb, and חשׁה, to keep silence, is a pregnant form of expression denoting an aversion or turning away which does not deign to give the suppliant an answer. Jahve is his צוּר, his ground of confidence; but if He continues thus to keep silence, then he who confides in Him will become like those who are going down (Psalm 22:30), or are gone down (Isaiah 14:19) to the pit. The participle of the past answers better to the situation of one already on the brink of the abyss. In the double sentence with פּן, the chief accent falls upon the second clause, for which the first only paratactically opens up the way (cf. Isaiah 5:4; Isaiah 12:1); in Latin it would be ne, te mihi non respondente, similis fiam. Olshausen, and Baur with him, believes that because ונמשׁלתּי has not the accent on the ultima as being perf. consec., it must be interpreted according to the accentuation thus, "in order that Thou mayst no longer keep silence, whilst I am already become like..." But this ought to be ואני נמשׁל, or at least נמשׁלתּי ואני. And if ונמשלתי were to be taken as a real perfect, it would then rather have to be rendered "and I should then be like." But, notwithstanding ונמשׁלתּי is Milel, it is still perf. consecuticum ("and I am become like"); for if, in a sentence of more than one member following upon פן, the fut., as is usually the case (vid., on Psalm 38:17), goes over into the perf., then the latter, in most instances, has the tone of the perf. consec. (Deuteronomy 4:19, Judges 18:25, Proverbs 5:9-12, Malachi 4:6), but not always. The penultima-accentuation is necessarily retained in connection with the two great pausal accents, Silluk and Athnach, Deuteronomy 8:12; Proverbs 30:9; in this passage in connection with Rebia mugrash, just as we may say, in general, the perf. consec. sometimes retains its penultima-accentuation in connection with distinctives instead of being accented on the ultima; e.g., in connection with Rebia mugrash, Proverbs 30:9; with Rebia, Proverbs 19:14 (cf. Proverbs 30:9 with Ezekiel 14:17); with Zakeph. 1 Samuel 29:8; and even with Tiphcha Obad. Oba 1:10, Joel 3:21. The national grammarians are ignorant of any law on this subject.

(Note: Aben-Ezra (Moznajim 36b) explains the perfect accented on the penult. in Proverbs 30:9 from the conformity of sound, and Kimchi (Michlol 6b) simply records the phenomenon.)

The point towards which the psalmist stretches forth his hands in prayer is Jahve's holy דּביר. Such is the word (after the form בּריח, כּליא, עטין) used only in the Books of Kings and Chronicles, with the exception of this passage, to denote the Holy of Holies, not as being χρηματιστήριον (Aquila and Symmachus), or λαλητήριον, oraculum (Jerome), as it were, Jahve's audience chamber (Hengstenberg) - a meaning that is not in accordance with the formation of the word, - but as the hinder part of the tent, from דּבר, Arabic dabara, to be behind, whence dubr (Talmudic דּוּבר), that which is behind (opp. kubl. kibal, that which is in the front), cf. Jesurun p. 87f. In Psalm 28:3, Psalm 28:4 the prayer is expanded. משׁך (instead of which we find אסף in Psalm 26:9), to draw any one down forcibly to destruction, or to drag him to the place of judgment, Ezekiel 32:20, cf. Psalm 10:8; Job 24:22. The delineation of the ungodly David borrows from his actual foes, Should he succumb to them, then his fate would be like that which awaits them, to whom he is conscious that he is radically unlike. He therefore prays that God's recompensing justice may anticipate him, i.e., that He may requite them according to their desert, before he succumbs, to whom they have feigned שׁלום, a good understanding, or being on good terms, whereas they cherished in their heart the רעה that is now unmasked (cf. Jeremiah 9:7). נתן, used of an official adjudication, as in Hosea 9:14; Jeremiah 32:19. The epanaphora of תּן־להם is like Psalm 27:14.

(Note: This repetition, at the end, of a significant word that has been used at the beginning of a verse, is a favourite custom of Isaiah's (Comment. S. 387; transl. ii.134).)

The phrase השׁיב גּמוּל (שׁלּם), which occurs frequently in the prophets, signifies to recompense or repay to any one his accomplishing, his manifestation, that is to say, what he has done and merited; the thoughts and expression call to mind more particularly Isaiah 3:8-11; Isaiah 1:16. The right to pray for recompense (vengeance) is grounded, in Psalm 28:5, upon their blindness to God's just and merciful rule as it is to be seen in human history (cf. Isaiah 5:12; Isaiah 22:11). The contrast of בּנה and חרס, to pull down (with a personal object, as in Exodus 15:7), is like Jeremiah's style (Psalm 42:10, cf. 1:10; Psalm 18:9, and frequently, Sir. 49:7). In Psalm 28:5, the prominent thought in David's mind is, that they shamefully fail to recognise how gloriously and graciously God has again and again acknowledged him as His anointed one. He has (2 Samuel 7) received the promise, that God would build him a house, i.e., grant perpetual continuance to his kingship. The Absolomites are in the act of rebellion against this divine appointment. Hence they shall experience the very reverse of the divine promise given to David: Jahve will pull them down and not build them up, He will destroy, at its very commencement, this dynasty set up in opposition to God.

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