Psalm 29:1
Give to the LORD, O you mighty, give to the LORD glory and strength.
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EXPOSITORY (ENGLISH BIBLE)
(1) Ye mighty.—Heb., benê-elîm. Literally, sons of gods (not sons of God, since elîm is never used by itself like Elohîm for God). If, however, which is possible, it is used in a general sense for beings of supernatural power, but inferior to God, the expression benê-elîm for angels would be intelligible, i.e., for angels (comp. Job 1:6; Isaiah 6:3) in the widest sense as ministers of God, and so including the lightning and storm. (Comp. Psalm 104:4.) The poet calls on the grand forces of nature themselves to offer praise to their Divine Master, for the glory which they have been commissioned to reveal. It is they who at the beginning and end alike of the psalm sing the praises of Him, who summoned them to speak to men in His name, and make His voice to be heard. The Prayer Book version, “bring young rams,” comes from the LXX. and Vulg. The reading probably arose from a marginal gloss. It is the reading of five MSS. of Kennicott and five of De Rossi.

Psalm 29:1-2. Give unto the Lord, ye mighty — Hebrew, בני אלים, benee eelim, ye sons of the mighty, or of gods: ye potentates and rulers of the earth. To these he addresses his speech, 1st, Because they are very apt to forget and contemn God, and insolently to assume a kind of deity to themselves: and, 2d, Because their conviction and conversion were likely to have a great and powerful influence upon their people, and therefore it was much for the honour of God that they should acknowledge his divine majesty, and do homage to him. Give unto the Lord — By an humble and thankful acknowledgment; for in any other way we can give nothing to God; glory and strength — That is, the glory of his strength or power, which is the attribute set forth in this Psalm; or, his glorious strength. Give unto the Lord — It is repeated a third time, perhaps to intimate that great men are very backward to this duty, and are hardly persuaded to practise it; and, on account of its great consequence to the interest of the kingdom of God among men, that they should comply with it; the glory due to his name — That is, the honour which he deserves and claims, namely, to prefer him before all other gods, and to forsake all others, and to own him as the Almighty, and only true God. Worship the Lord in the beauty of holiness — In worshipping the Lord we ought to have an eye to his beauty; to adore him, not only as infinitely awful, and therefore to be feared above all beings, but as infinitely amiable, and therefore to be loved and delighted in above all; especially we must have an eye to the beauty of his holiness, which the angels particularly celebrate in their praises, Revelation 4:8. Some, however, prefer rendering the words, the beauty of the sanctuary, for קדשׁ, kodesh, is often put for the sanctuary, or holy place, as קדשׁ קדשׁים, kodesh kodeshim, is for the holy of holies, or most holy. Thus the temple is termed, Isaiah 64:11, God’s holy and beautiful house. The chief beauty of the sanctuary was the exact agreement of the worship there performed with the divine appointment, the pattern shown in the mount. Now, in this holy place, says the psalmist, worship Jehovah; here, and only here, will he accept your prayers, praises, and oblations. So he exhorts them to turn proselytes to the Jewish religion; which was their duty and interest. Or he speaks of the manner of worship. We must be holy in all our religious performances, that is, devoted to God, and to his will and glory. There is a beauty in holiness, and it is that which puts an acceptable beauty upon all the acts of worship.29:1-11 Exhortation to give glory to God. - The mighty and honourable of the earth are especially bound to honour and worship him; but, alas, few attempt to worship him in the beauty of holiness. When we come before him as the Redeemer of sinners, in repentance faith, and love, he will accept our defective services, pardon the sin that cleaves to them, and approve of that measure of holiness which the Holy Spirit enables us to exercise. We have here the nature of religious worship; it is giving to the Lord the glory due to his name. We must be holy in all our religious services, devoted to God, and to his will and glory. There is a beauty in holiness, and that puts beauty upon all acts of worship. The psalmist here sets forth God's dominion in the kingdom of nature. In the thunder, and lightning, and storm, we may see and hear his glory. Let our hearts be thereby filled with great, and high, and honourable thoughts of God, in the holy adoring of whom, the power of godliness so much consists. O Lord our God, thou art very great! The power of the lightning equals the terror of the thunder. The fear caused by these effects of the Divine power, should remind us of the mighty power of God, of man's weakness, and of the defenceless and desperate condition of the wicked in the day of judgment. But the effects of the Divine word upon the souls of men, under the power of the Holy Spirit, are far greater than those of thunder storms in the nature world. Thereby the stoutest are made to tremble, the proudest are cast down, the secrets of the heart are brought to light, sinners are converted, the savage, sensual, and unclean, become harmless, gentle, and pure. If we have heard God's voice, and have fled for refuge to the hope set before us, let us remember that children need not fear their Father's voice, when he speaks in anger to his enemies. While those tremble who are without shelter, let those who abide in his appointed refuge bless him for their security, looking forward to the day of judgment without dismay, safe as Noah in the ark.Give unto the Lord - Ascribe unto Yahweh; or, recognize Him as entitled to what is here ascribed to Him. The word cannot be understood, as it is commonly with us, to denote the imparting to another, or granting to another what he does not now possess - for God is always in possession of what is here ascribed to Him.

O ye mighty - Margin, as in Hebrew, "ye sons of the mighty." The Hebrew word used here - אלים 'Êliym - is the plural form of one of the names of God - אל 'Êl. The word means properly "strong, mighty, a mighty one, a hero;" then, "strength, might, power;" and then it is applied to God as "the Mighty One," the Almighty. ("Gesenius.") In the plural form, the word means "mighty ones, heroes, gods:" Exodus 15:11; Exodus 18:11; Daniel 11:36. The phrase "sons of the mighty" is used only here and in Psalm 89:6. The allusion is undoubtedly to the angels as being in an eminent sense the sons of God, or of the mighty ones; and they are referred to here under that appellation as being themselves endowed with power or strength. Compare Psalm 103:20, "Bless the Lord, ye his angels, that excel in strength;" margin: "mighty in strength." In view of the wonderful exhibitions of God's power in the storm - exhibitions far above the power of the most exalted of His creatures, the psalmist calls upon the angels, the most exalted of them, to acknowledge the existence of a power so much beyond their own.

Glory and strength - Majesty and might. Acknowledge Him as the God of glory; as endowed with power. That is, learn from the manifestations of the power evinced in the storm how great is the power and the glory of God.

PSALM 29

Ps 29:1-11. Trust in God is encouraged by the celebration of His mighty power as illustrated in His dominion over the natural world, in some of its most terrible and wonderful exhibitions.

1. Give—or, "ascribe" (De 32:3).

mighty—or, "sons of the mighty" (Ps 89:6). Heavenly beings, as angels.

1 Give unto the Lord, O ye mighty, give unto the Lord glory and strength.

2 Give unto the Lord the glory due unto his name; worship the Lord in the beauty of holiness.

Psalm 29:1

"Give," i.e., ascribe. Neither men nor angels can confer anything upon Jehovah, but they should recognise his glory and might, and ascribe it to him in their songs and in their hearts. "Unto the Lord," and unto him alone, must honour be given. Natural causes, as men call them, are God in action, and we must not ascribe power to them, but to the infinite Invisible who is the true source of all. "O ye mighty." Ye great ones of earth and of heaven, kings and angels, join in rendering worship to the blessed and only Potentate; ye lords among men need thus to be reminded, for ye often fail where humbler men are ardent; but fail no longer, bow your heads at once, and loyally do homage to the King of kings. How frequently do grandees and potentates think it beneath them to fear the Lord; but, when they have been led to extol Jehovah, their piety has been the greatest jewel in their crowns. "Give unto the Lord glory and strength," both of which men are too apt to claim for themselves, although they are the exclusive prerogatives of the self-existent God. Let crowns and swords acknowledge their dependence upon God. Not to your arms, O kings, give ye the glory, nor look for strength to your host of warriors, for all your pomp is but as a fading flower, and your might is as a shadow which declineth. When shall the day arrive when kings and princes shall count it their delight to glorify their God? "All worship be to God only," let this be emblazoned on every coat of arms.

Psalm 29:2

"Give unto the Lord the glory due unto his name." A third time the admonition is given, for men are backward in glorifying God, and especially great men, who are often too much swollen with their own glory to spare time to give God his rightful praise, although nothing more is asked of them than is most just and right. Surely men should not need so much pressing to give what is due, especially when the payment is so pleasant. Unbelief and distrust, complaining and murmuring, rob God of his honour; in this respect, even the saints fail to give due glory to their King. "Worship the Lord," bow before him with devout homage and sacred awe, and let your worship be such as he appoints. Of old, worship was cumbered with ceremonial, and men gathered around one dedicated building, whose solemn pomp was emblematic of "the beauty of holiness;" but now our worship is spiritual, and the architecture of the house and the garments of the worshippers are matters of no importance; the spiritual beauty of inward purity and outward holiness being far more precious in the eyes of our thrice holy God. O for grace ever to worship with holy motives and in a holy manner, as becometh saints! The call to worship in these two verses chimes in with the loud pealing thunder, which is the church bell of the universe ringing kings and angels, and all the sons of earth to their devotions. THE ARGUMENT

It is supposed that this Psalm was made upon the occasion of some terrible tempest of thunder and rain; which God might possibly send in the time of battle to assist David, and discomfit his enemies; as he had done formerly upon like occasions. It contains an admonition to the potentates of the earth, and especially to those who bordered upon the land of Israel, that they would own and worship the true God; which he presseth from the great majesty and power of Israel’s God above all other gods, and particularly from that great and glorious instance thereof in thunder; which hath struck the proudest monarchs with the dread of that God, whom at other times they despised.

David exhorteth the mighty of this world to give glory to God, Psalm 29:1,2; who manifesteth his power by thunder, lightning, and other creatures, Psalm 29:3-10. He showeth God’s protection and blessing of his people, Psalm 29:11.

O ye mighty; ye potentates and rulers of the earth. To these he addresseth his speech; partly because they are most apt to forget and contemn God, and insolently to assume a kind of deity to themselves; and partly because their conviction and conversion was likely to have a great and powerful influence upon their people.

Give unto the Lord, by a humble and thankful acknowledgment of it; for otherwise we can give nothing to God.

Glory and strength, i.e. the glory of his strength, or power, which is the attribute set forth in this Psalm; or, his glorious strength.

Give unto the Lord, O ye mighty,.... The Targum refers this to the angels,

"give praise before the Lord, ye companies of angels, sons of the Mighty;''

these are mighty ones, and excel all other creatures in strength; and are the sons of the Mighty, or of God; it is their duty and their business to glorify and to worship him and his Son Jesus Christ, as they do continually; but rather the princes and great men of the earth are here meant, who are so called, Psalm 82:1; and these, as they receive much honour and glory, both from God and man; and because they are apt to seek their own glory, and ascribe too much to themselves, are called upon particularly to give glory to God; and the more, inasmuch as they may be the means of engaging their subjects, by their influence and example, to do the same, and who may be included in them; for this is not to be understood of them exclusive of others, as appears from Psalm 96:7; moreover, all the saints and people of God may be intended, who are all princes and kings; and may be said to be mighty, especially those who are strong in faith; and these are they who give most glory to God;

give unto the Lord glory and strength; give glory to Jehovah the Father, by celebrating the perfections of his nature; by commending the works of his hands, the works of creation; by acquiescing in his providential dispensations; by returning thanks to him for mercies received, temporal and spiritual; particularly for salvation by Christ, and, above all, for Christ himself; by exercising faith in him as a promising God; by living becoming his Gospel, and to the honour of his name: give glory to the Son of God, by ascribing all divine perfections to him, by attributing salvation to him, and by trusting in him alone for it: give glory to the Spirit of God, by asserting his deity, by referring the work of grace and conversion to him, and by depending upon him for thee performance of the good work begun: give "strength" to each person, by acknowledging that power belongs to them, which is seen in creation, redemption, and the effectual calling; or else strength may mean the same thing as praise and glory; see Psalm 8:2, compared with Matthew 21:16; and both may design strong praise and glory, expressed in the strongest and with the greatest vigour and vehemency of spirit.

<> Give unto the LORD, O ye {a} mighty, give unto the LORD glory and strength.

(a) He exhorts the proud tyrants to humble themselves under God's hand, and not to be inferior to brute beasts and dumb creatures.

1. O ye mighty] The phrase bnç çlîm admits of three renderings.

(1) O ye sons of the mighty (R.V.), which may mean either powerful nobles, or mighty celestial beings. (2) O ye sons of the gods (R.V. marg.), meaning either beings “belonging to the class of superhuman, heavenly powers” (Cheyne); or the nations who “had forgotten their true parentage, and ranged themselves under the protection of deified heroes or invented gods, and are now invited to remember themselves and return to the Lord.” (Kay). Cp. Psalm 96:7; Jeremiah 2:27. (3) O ye sons of God (R.V. marg., taking bnç elim as a doubly formed plural of ben çl); i.e. angels, who are called bnç elôhîm, ‘sons of God,’ in Job 1:6; Job 2:1; Job 38:7. The last rendering is the best; but whichever rendering is adopted, the use of the phrase in Psalm 89:6 (comp. Psalm 29:5; Psalm 29:7) is decisive for the meaning angels. The spiritual beings which surround God’s throne in heaven are called upon to render Him their tribute of adoration. Cp. Psalm 103:20 f.; Psalm 148:1 f.; Job 38:7. The special occasion of the summons is the manifestation of His glory upon earth which the Psalmist describes in Psalm 29:3-9. So the Seraphic chorus in Isaiah 6:3 recognise the earth as “full of Jehovah’s glory.”

Give] i.e. ascribe, attribute. Recognise by your confession and proclamation those attributes of glory and strength which are supremely His. Cp. Deuteronomy 32:3; Psalm 68:34; Luke 17:18; Romans 4:20; Revelation 14:7.

The P.B.V., Bring unto the Lord, O ye mighty, bring young rams unto the Lord, comes from the LXX through the Vulg. In the present text of the LXX, the first line of the verse is doubly represented. Elîm may mean rams, and an alternative rendering of bnç çlîm as young rams, originally placed in the margin, has found its way into the text.

1, 2. Prelude, calling upon the angels to celebrate Jehovah’s glory. Cp. Psalm 96:7-9, where however the words are differently applied.Verse 1. - Give unto the Lord, O ye mighty; literally, ye sons of the mighty. It is disputed who are meant. Most commentators suggest the holy angels (Rosenmuller, Hengstenberg, 'Speaker's Commentary,' ' Four Friends,' Professor Alexander, Cheyne, etc.); but some think the heathen (Michaelis, Kay); and others, the mighty ones of the earth generally (Koster), to be meant. Give unto the Lord glory and strength; i.e. praise his Name, ascribe to him glory and strength and every other excellency. 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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