Psalm 36:7
How excellent is thy lovingkindness, O God! therefore the children of men put their trust under the shadow of thy wings.
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(7) How excellent.—Better, how precious.

Therefore . . .—Better, the simple conjunction, and sons of men, they find shelter, &c

Shadow of thy wings.—See Psalm 17:8, Note.

Psalm 36:7-8. How excellent is thy loving-kindness — Or thy mercy: for it is the same word which is so rendered, Psalm 36:5. The sense is, though all thine attributes be excellent and glorious, yet, above all, thy mercy is most excellent, or precious and amiable, as being most necessary and beneficial unto us, poor sinful miserable men. Therefore the children of men put their trust, &c. — Cheerfully commit themselves to thy care and kindness, notwithstanding their own sinfulness, and the rage and power of their adversaries; against all which thy mercy is a sufficient security. They shall be abundantly satisfied — That is, those children of men who trust in thee, as he now said, though they are straitened, oppressed, and persecuted; yet they shall not only be protected and supported for the present; but in due time shall have all their wants and desires fully satisfied. Hebrew, ירוין, jirvejun, shall be watered, or made drunk, that is, shall be, as it were, overwhelmed with the abundance of its blessings. With the fatness of thy house — With those rich and delightful provisions which thou hast prepared for them in the place of thy worship on earth, thy tabernacle, where thou displayest thy glory, communicatest thy blessings, and acceptest the prayers and praises of thy people. The benefit of holy ordinances is the fatness of God’s house here below, sweet to a sanctified soul, and strengthening to the spiritual and divine life; with this God’s people are abundantly satisfied; they desire nothing more in this world than to live a life of communion with God; and to have the comfort of the promises. But the full, the complete satisfaction is reserved for the future state, and the house not made with hands, eternal in the heavens. Every vessel will be perfectly full there. Thou shalt make them drink of the river of thy pleasures — Pleasures that are truly divine; which not only come from thee, as the author of them, but which terminate in thee as the matter and centre of them; which, being purely spiritual, are of the same nature with those of the glorious inhabitants of the heavenly world, and bear some analogy even to the delights of the Eternal Mind. There is a river of these pleasures always full, always fresh, always flowing. There is enough for all, enough for each, enough for evermore, Psalm 46:4. God has not only provided this river for his people, but he makes them to drink of it; works in them a gracious appetite for these spiritual enjoyments, and, by his Spirit, refreshes their souls with them. In heaven they shall for ever drink of them, and shall be satiated with a fulness of joy.

36:5-12 Men may shut up their compassion, yet, with God we shall find mercy. This is great comfort to all believers, plainly to be seen, and not to be taken away. God does all wisely and well; but what he does we know not now, it is time enough to know hereafter. God's loving-kindness is precious to the saints. They put themselves under his protection, and then are safe and easy. Gracious souls, though still desiring more of God, never desire more than God. The gifts of Providence so far satisfy them, that they are content with such things as they have. The benefit of holy ordinances is sweet to a sanctified soul, and strengthening to the spiritual and Divine life. But full satisfaction is reserved for the future state. Their joys shall be constant. God not only works in them a gracious desire for these pleasures, but by his Spirit fills their souls with joy and peace in believing. He quickens whom he will; and whoever will, may come, and take from him of the waters of life freely. May we know, and love, and uprightly serve the Lord; then no proud enemy, on earth or from hell, shall separate us from his love. Faith calleth things that are not, as though they were. It carries us forward to the end of time; it shows us the Lord, on his throne of judgment; the empire of sin fallen to rise no more.How excellent - Margin, as in Hebrew: "precious." The word used here is one that would be applicable to precious stones 1 Kings 10:2, 1 Kings 10:10-11; or to the more costly kind of stones employed in building, as marble 2 Chronicles 3:6; and then, anything that is "costly" or "valuable." The meaning is, that the loving-kindness of God is to be estimated only by the value set on the most rare and costly objects.

Is "thy loving-kindness - Thy mercy. The same word is used here which occurs in Psalm 36:5, and which is there rendered "mercy." It is not a new attribute of God which is here celebrated or brought into view, but the same characteristic which is referred to in Psalm 36:5. The repetition of the word indicates the state of mind of the writer of the psalm, and shows that he delights to dwell on this; he naturally turns to this; his meditations begin and end with this. While he is deeply impressed by the "faithfulness," the "righteousness," and the "judgment" of God, still it is His "mercy" or His "loving-kindness" that is the beginning and the ending of his thoughts; to this the soul turns with ever new delight and wonder when reflecting on the character and the doings of God. Here our hope begins; and to this attribute of the Almighty, when we have learned all else that we can learn about God, the soul turns with ever new delight.

Therefore - In view of that mercy; or because God is a merciful God. It is not in his "justice" that we can take refuge, for we are sinners, but the foundation of all our hope is his mercy. A holy creature could fly to a holy Creator for refuge and defense; he who has given himself to Him, and who has been pardoned, can appeal to his "faithfulness;" but the refuge of a sinner, as such, is only his "mercy;" and it is only to that mercy that he can flee.

The children of men - literally, "the sons of man;" that is, the human race, considered as descended from their great ancestor, or as one family. The meaning is not that all the children of men actually do thus put their trust in the mercy of God - for that is not true; but:

(a) all may do it as the children of men, or as men; and

(b) all who do "put their trust under the shadow of his wings" confide in His mercy alone, as the ground of their hope.

Under the shadow of thy wings - As little, helpless birds seek protection under the wings of the mother-bird. See the notes at Matthew 23:37; compare Deuteronomy 32:11-12.

7. shadow of thy wings—(Compare De 32:11; Ps 91:1). Thy loving-kindness; or, thy mercy; for it is the same word which is used and so rendered, Psalm 36:5. The sense is, Though all thine attributes now reckoned, and the rest of them, be excellent and glorious, yet above all thy mercy is most

excellent or precious and amiable, as being most necessary and beneficial unto us, poor sinful, miserable men.

Put their trust under the shadow of thy wings, i.e. cheerfully commit themselves to thy care and kindness, notwithstanding their own sinfulness, and the rage and power of their adversaries, against all which thy mercy is a sufficient security.

How excellent is thy lovingkindness, O God,.... Which has appeared to men and not angels, to some and not others; to the chief of sinners, who are by nature children of wrath as others; in choosing, redeeming, and calling them, taking them into his family, and making them heirs of eternal glory; and all this of his sovereign good will and pleasure, there being nothing in them that could move him to it; which lovingkindness was in his heart from everlasting, and will never change in him, nor depart from them; and hence it must be most excellent and precious:

therefore the children of men put their trust under the shadow of thy wings; not all men; for all have not faith, only some, to whom it is given to believe, and who know the Lord and his lovingkindness; by which they are induced and encouraged to trust in him, to betake themselves to him for mercy and protection, which they find in him: the allusion is either to the hen that gathers her chickens under her wings, and protects them in time of danger, and so it expresses both the paternal affection of God to his people, and the protection of them; or else to the wings of the cherubim over the mercy seat, between which the Lord sat and communed with his people, and showed mercy and favour to them, which encouraged them to trust in him.

How excellent is thy lovingkindness, O God! therefore the children of men put their trust under the shadow of thy wings.
7. How excellent] How precious (R.V.). It is the Psalmist’s treasure. Cp. Psalm 139:17.

O God] The substitution of God for Jehovah is significant. The Psalmist is speaking of a love which extends beyond the limits of the chosen people, and embraces all mankind. The children of men—lit. sons of man (Psalm 14:2) are men regarded as earthborn and mortal in contrast to God.

therefore &c.] And the children of men take refuge &c. (R.V.). Cp. Psalm 17:7-8, note; Ruth 2:12.

Verse 7. - How excellent is thy loving-kindness, O God! The psalmist, having made mention of the "loving-kindness of God" as his most characteristic quality (ver. 5), and again brought it into notice as causing him to provide so carefully for all his creatures (ver. 6), cannot refrain from glorifying the quality whereto he has called attention. "How excellent" - or, how precious (Kay, Alexander, Cheyne, Revised Version) - " is thy loving-kindness!" How does it exceed all that we could have anticipated! How far does it go beyond all that we deserve! Therefore the children of men put their trust (or, shall put their trust, or shall take refuge) under the shadow of thy wings (comp. Psalm 17:8; Psalm 57:1; Psalm 63:7, etc.). Encouraged by the consideration of thy goodness, the beney Adam, the children of weak, frail, sinful man, shall take heart, and lay abide their natural timidity, and turn to thee, and put their trust in thee, gathering themselves under the shadow of thy protecting wings, and looking to thee, and thee only, for safety and defence (see Ruth 2:12). Psalm 36:7(Heb.: 36:6-10) The poet now turns from this repulsive prospect to one that is more pleasing. He contemplates, and praises, the infinite, ever sure mercy of God, and the salvation, happiness, and light which spring from it. Instead of בּשּׁמים, the expression is בּהשּׁמים, the syncope of the article not taking place. בּ alternating with עד, cf. Psalm 57:11, has here, as in Psalm 19:5; Psalm 72:16, the sense of touching or reaching to the spot that is denoted in connection with it. The poet describes the exaltation and super-eminence of divine mercy and faithfulness figuratively, after earthly standards. They reveal themselves on earth in a height that reaches to the heavens and extends to שׁחקים, i.e., the thin veil of vapour which spreads itself like a veil over the depths of the heavens; they transcend all human thought, desire, and comprehension (Psalm 103:11, and cf. Ephesians 3:18). The צדקה (righteousness) is distinguished from the אמונה (faithfulness) thus: the latter is governed by the promises of God, the former by His holiness; and further, the latter has its being in the love of God, the former, on the other hand, manifests itself partly as justifying in mercies, and partly as avenging in wrath. Concerning the righteousness, the poet says that it is like the mountains of God, i.e., (cf. cedars of God, Psalm 80:11) unchangeably firm (Psalm 111:3), like the giant primeval mountains which bear witness to the greatness and glory of God; concerning God's judgments, that they are "a great deep," incomprehensible and unsearchable (ἀνεξερεύνηται, Romans 11:33) as the great, deep-surging mass of waters in the lower parts of the earth, which becomes visible in the seas and in the rivers. God's punitive righteousness, as at length becomes evident, has His compassion for its reverse side; and this, as in the case of the Flood (cf. Jonah 4:11), embraces the animal world, which is most closely involved, whether for weal or for woe, with man, as well as mankind.

Lost in this depth, which is so worthy of adoration, the Psalmist exclaims: How precious (cf. Psalm 139:17) is Thy mercy, Elohim! i.e., how valuable beyond all treasures, and how precious to him who knows how to prize it! The Waw of וּבני is the explicative Waw equals et hoc ipsum quod. The energetic form of the future, יחסיוּן, has the pre-tonic Kametz, here in pause, as in Psalm 36:8; Psalm 39:7; Psalm 78:44. The shadow of God's wings is the protection of His love, which hides against temptation and persecution. To be thus hidden in God is the most unspeakable blessedness, Psalm 36:9 : they satiate themselves, they drink full draughts of "the fatness of Thy house." The house of God is His sanctuary, and in general the domain of His mercy and grace. דּשׁן (cf. טוּב, Psalm 65:5) is the expression for the abundant, pleasant, and powerful gifts and goods and recreations with which God entertains those who are His; and רוה (whence ירוין, as in Deuteronomy 8:13; Isaiah 40:18) is the spiritual joy of the soul that experiences God's mercy to overflowing. The abundant fare of the priests from Jahve's table (vid., Jeremiah 31:14), and the festive joy of the guests at the shelamim-offering, i.e., the communion-offering, - these outward rites are here treated according to their spiritual significance, receive the depth of meaning which radically belongs to them, and are ideally generalized. It is a stream of pleasures (עדנים) with which He irrigates and fertilizes them, a paradisaic river of delights. This, as the four arms of the river of Paradise had one common source (Genesis 2:10), has its spring in God, yea, God is the fountain itself. He is "the fountain of life" (Jeremiah 2:13); all life flows forth from Him, who is the absolutely existing and happy One. The more inwardly, therefore, one is joined to Him, the fuller are the draughts of life which he drinks from this first fountain of all life. And as God is the fountain of life, so also is He the fountain of light: "In Thy light do we see light;" out of God, seeing we see only darkness, whereas immersed in God's sea of light we are illumined by divine knowledge, and lighted up with spiritual joy. The poet, after having taken a few glimpses into the chaos of evil, here moves in the blessed depths of holy mysticism [Mystik, i.e., mysticism in the good sense - true religion, vital godliness], and in proportion as in the former case his language is obscure. So here it is clear as crystal.

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