Praise waits for you, O God, in Sion: and to you shall the vow be performed.
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EXPOSITORY (ENGLISH BIBLE)Praise waiteth . . .—Literally, To thee silence praise, which recalls Psalm 62:1 (see Note), but must be differently explained. To say, Praise is silence to thee, is hardly intelligible. The LXX. and Vulg. read differently, “praise is comely.” Better supply a conjunction, To thee are quiet and praise, i.e., submissive expectation till the deliverance come (Psalm 62:1), and then exulting praise.
Shall the vow.—Better, Is the vow paid, i.e., by the praise just mentioned.Psalm 65:1. Praise waiteth for thee, O God, in Zion — Waits in expectation of the mercy desired; waits till it arrives, that it may be received with thankfulness at its first approach. For, when God is coming toward us with his favours, we must go forth to meet him with our praises. Praise waits with an entire satisfaction in thy holy will, and in dependance on thy mercy. When we stand ready in every thing to give thanks, then praise waits for God. Hebrew, לךְ דמיה תהלה, lecha dumijah tehillah, praise is silent unto thee, as wanting words to express thy great goodness, and being struck with silent admiration of it. As there are holy groanings in prayer, which cannot be uttered, so there are holy adorations in praise which cannot be expressed, and yet shall be accepted by Him who searcheth the heart, and knoweth what is the mind of the Spirit. Our praise is silent, that the praises of the blessed angels, that excel in strength, may be heard. Before thee (thus the Chaldee) praise is reputed as silence. So far is God exalted above all our blessing and praise. Praise is due to God from all the world; but it waits for him in Sion only, in his church among his people; all his works praise him, that is, they minister matter for praise, but only his saints bless him by actual adorations. Unto thee shall the vow be performed — The sacrifices and thank-offerings, which thy people vowed unto thee, in the time of their danger, when they were supplicating deliverance, and other blessings, at thy hands, shall be faithfully paid. We shall not be accepted in our thanksgivings to God for the mercies we have received, unless we make conscience of paying the vows which we made when we were in pursuit of these mercies; for better is it not to vow than to vow and not to pay.1 Chronicles 15:1; 1 Chronicles 16:1; 2 Chronicles 1:4, to Mount Moriah. It is true that the general name Zion was given familiarly to Jerusalem as a city, but it is also true that the particular place for the worship of God in the time of David was Mount Zion strictly so called. See the notes at Psalm 2:6. The margin in this place is, "Praise is silent." The Hebrew is, "To thee is silence-praise," - a kind of compound phrase, not meaning "silent praise," but referring to a condition where everything is ready; where the preparations have been entirely made; where the noise usually attendant on preparation has ceased, and all is in readiness as if waiting for that for which the arrangements had been carried forward. The noise of building - of preparation - was now hushed, and all was calm. The language here would also denote the state of feeling in an individual or an assembly, when the heart was prepared for praise; when it was filled with a deep sense of the majesty and goodness of God; when all feelings of anxiety were calmed down, or were in a state of rest; when the soul was ready to burst forth in expressions of thanksgiving, and nothing would meet its needs but praise.
And unto thee shall the vow be performed - See Psalm 22:25, note; Psalm 50:14, note; Psalm 56:12, note. The reference here is to the vows or promises which the people had made in view of the manifested judgments of God and the proofs of his goodness. Those vows they were now ready to carry out in expressions of praise.
Ps 65:1-13. This is a song of praise for God's spiritual blessings to His people and His kind providence over all the earth.
1. Praise waiteth for thee—literally, "To Thee silence praise," or (compare Ps 62:1), To Thee silence is praise—that is, Praise is waiting as a servant; it is due to Thee. So the last clause expresses the duty of paying vows. These two parts of acceptable worship, mentioned in Ps 50:14, are rendered in Zion, where God chiefly displays His mercy and receives homage.
2 O thou that hearest prayer, unto thee shall all flesh come.
3 Iniquities prevail against me: as for our transgressions, thou shalt purge them away.
4 Blessed is the man whom thou choosest, and causest to approach unto thee, that he may dwell in thy courts - we shall be satisfied with the goodness of thy house, even of thy holy temple.
"Praise waiteth for thee, O God, in Sion." Though Babylon adores Antichrist, Zion remains faithful to her King; to him, and to him only, she brings her perpetual oblation of worship. Those who have seen in Zion the blood of sprinkling, and know themselves to belong to the church of the firstborn, can never think of her without presenting humble praise to Zion's God; his mercies are too numerous and precious to be forgotten. The praises of the saints wait for a signal from the divine Lord, and when he shows his face they burst forth at once. Like a company of musicians gathered to welcome and honour a prince, who wait till he makes his appearance, so do we reserve our best praises till the Lord reveals himself in the assembly of his saints; and, indeed, till he shall descend from heaven in the day of his appearing. Praise also waits like a servant or courtier in the royal halls - gratitude is humble and obedient. Praise attends the Lord's pleasure, and continues to bless him, whether he shows tokens of present favour or no; she is not soon wearied, but all through the night she sings on in sure hope that the morning cometh. We shall continue to wait on, tuning our harps, amid the tears of earth; but O what harmonies will those be which we will pour forth, when the home-bringing is come, and the King shall appear in his glory. The passage may be rendered "praise is silent for thee;" it is calm, peaceful, and ready to adore thee in quietness. Or, it may mean, our praise is but silence compared with thy deservings, O God. Or, in solemn silence we worship thee, because our praise cannot be uttered; accept, therefore, our silence as praise. Or, we are so engrossed in thy praise, that to all other things we are dumb; we have no tongue for anything but thee. Perhaps the poet best expressed the thought of the Psalmist when he said -
"A sacred reverence checks our songs,
And praise sits silent on our tongues."
Certainly, when the soul is most filled with adoring awe, she is least content with her own expressions, and feels most deeply how inadequate are all mortal songs to proclaim the divine goodness. A church, bowed into silent adoration by a profound sense of divine mercy, would certainly offer more real praise than the sweetest voices aided by pipes and strings; yet, vocal music is not to be neglected, for this sacred hymn was meant to be sung. It is well before singing to have the soul placed in a waiting attitude, and to be humbly conscious that our best praise is but silence compared with Jehovah's glory.
"And unto thee shall the vow be performed." Perhaps a special vow made during a season of drought and political danger. Nations and churches must be honest and prompt in redeeming their promises to the Lord, who cannot be mocked with impunity. So, too, must individuals. We are not to forget our vows, or to redeem them to be seen of men - unto God alone must they be performed, with a single eye to his acceptance. Believers are all under covenant, which they made at conversion, and have renewed upon being baptised, joining the church, and coming to the table, and some of them are under special pledges which they entered into under peculiar circumstances; these are to be piously and punctually fulfilled. We ought to be very deliberate in promising, and very punctilious in performing. A vow unkept will burn the conscience like a hot iron. Vows of service, of donation, of praise, or whatever they may be, are no trifles; and in the day of grateful praise they should, without fail, be fulfilled to the utmost of our power.
"O thou that hearest prayer." This is thy name, thy nature, thy glory. God not only has heard, but is now hearing prayer, and always must hear prayer, since he is an immutable being, and never changes in his attributes. What a delightful title for the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christi Every right and sincere prayer is as surely heard as it is offered. Here the Psalmist brings in the personal pronoun "thou," and we beg the reader to notice how often "thou, thee," and "thy," occur in this hymn; David evidently believed in a personal God, and did not adore a mere idea or abstraction. "Unto thee shall all flesh come." This shall encourage men of all nations to become suppliants to the one and only God, who proves his Deity by answering those who seek his face. Flesh they are, and therefore weak; frail and sinful, they need to pray; and thou art such a God as they need, for thou art touched with compassion, and dost condescend to hear the cries of poor flesh and blood. Many come to thee now in humble faith, and are filled with good, but more shall be drawn to thee by the attractiveness of thy love, and at length the whole earth shall bow at thy feet. To come to God is the life of true religion; we come weeping in conversion, hoping in supplication, rejoicing in praise, and delighting in service. False gods must in due time lose their deluded votaries, for man when enlightened will not be longer be fooled; but each one who tries the true God is encouraged by his own success to persuade others also, and so the kingdom of God comes to men, and men come to it.
"Iniquities prevail against me." Others accuse and slander me, and in addition my own sins rise up and would beset me to my confusion, were it not for the remembrance of the atonement which covers every one of my iniquities. Our sins would, but for grace, prevail against us in the court of divine justice, in the court of conscience, and in the battle of life. Unhappy is the man who despises these enemies, and worse still is he who counts them his friends! He is best instructed who knows their deadly power, and flees for refuge to him who pardons iniquity. "As for our transgressions, thou shalt purge them away." Thou dost cover them all, for thou hast provided a covering propitiation, a mercy-seat which wholly covers thy law. Note the word "our," the faith of the one penitent who speaks for himself in the first clause, here embraces all the faithful in Zion; and he is so persuaded of the largeness of forgiving love that he leads all the saints to sing of the blessing. What a comfort that iniquities which prevail against us, do not prevail against God. They would keep us away from God, but he sweeps them away from before himself and us; they are too strong for us, but not for our Redeemer, who is mighty, yea, and almighty to save. It is worthy of note that as the priest washed in the laver before he sacrificed, so David leads us to obtain purification from sin before we enter upon the service of song. When we have washed our robes and made them white in his blood, then shall we acceptably sing, "Worthy is the Lamb that was slain."
"before thee praise is reputed as silence.''
In the king of Spain's Bible it is,
"the praise of angels is reputed before thee as silence;''
perhaps it may be best rendered, "to thee belong", or "are due, silence and praise" (f): there ought to be first a silent and quiet waiting upon God for mercies wanted, and which he has promised to give; and, when they are bestowed, praise should be rendered unto him. Gussetius (g) gives the sense of the words, and renders them,
"praise, which is thine image, which bears a likeness to thee shall be paid in Sion;''
and unto thee shall the vow be performed: that is, of praise and thankfulness for deliverance and salvation, made in a time of trouble and distress; see Psalm 66:13.<
(a) You daily give new opportunities to your Church to praise you.
EXEGETICAL (ORIGINAL LANGUAGES)1. Praise waiteth for thee] The phrase beautifully suggests the idea of a grateful people, assembled to render thanks to God, and only waiting for the festival to begin. But this can hardly be the meaning of the original. The renderings, For thee praise is silent, or, silence is praise, give no appropriate meaning, for though prayer may be silent (Psalm 62:1), praise calls for vocal expression. The R.V. marg., There shall be silence before thee and praise, O God, involves a harsh asyndeton. It remains to follow the LXX (πρέπει, Vulg. te decet hymnus), which preserves a slightly different tradition as to the vocalisation of the Hebrew, and to render, Praise beseemeth thee, O God, in Zion.
the vow] Or, collectively, vows. Cp. Psalm 66:13; and for vows and praises coupled together see Psalm 22:25; Psalm 61:8. At the end of the verse P.B.V. adds in Jerusalem, from the LXX (most MSS. though not the Vatican) and Vulg., completing the parallelism, as in Psalm 102:21; Psalm 147:12.
1–4. It is the duty of a grateful people to render thanks to God in the Temple, assembling to pay its vows to the universal Hearer of prayer. The consciousness of manifold sins might deter them from approaching a holy God, were not He Himself graciously ready to purge their guilt away. In the blessings, of which the welcome to His house is the pledge, is to be found man’s truest happiness.Verse 1. - Praise waiteth for thee, O God, in Zion; literally, there is silence praise (equivalent to "silent praise") for thee, O God, in Zion. There was, for the most part, a hushed silence in the tabernacle and temple, amid which silent prayer and praise were offered to God by the priests and Levites, and any lay persons who might be present (camp. 1 Samuel 1:13). And unto thee shall the vow be performed. When there was any special outpouring of praise in the temple, there would almost always be a performance of vows. Both depended on some deliverance or favour having been granted. Psalm 64:4, the arrow which they are anxious to let fly. This evil speech, here agreement or convention, they make firm to themselves (sibi), by securing, in every possible way, its effective execution. ספּר (frequently used of the cutting language of the ungodly, Psalm 59:13; Psalm 69:27; cf. Talmudic ספּר לשׁון שׁלישׁי, to speak as with three tongues, i.e., slanderously) is here construed with ל of that at which their haughty and insolent utterances aim. In connection therewith they take no heed of God, the all-seeing One: they say (ask), quis conspiciat ipsis. There is no need to take למו as being for לו (Hitzig); nor is it the dative of the object instead of the accusative, but it is an ethical dative: who will see or look to them, i.e., exerting any sort of influence upon them? The form of the question is not the direct (Psalm 59:8), but the indirect, in which מי, seq. fut., is used in a simply future (Jeremiah 44:28) or potential sense (Job 22:17; 1 Kings 1:20). Concerning עולת, vid., Psalm 58:3. It is doubtful whether תּמּנוּ
(Note: תּמּנוּ in Baer's Psalterium is an error that has been carried over from Heidenheim's.)
is the first person ( equals תּמּונוּ) as in Numbers 17:13, Jeremiah 44:18, or the third person as in Lamentations 3:22 ( equals תּמּוּ, which first of all resolved is תּנמוּ, and then transposed תּמּנוּ, like מעזניה equals מענזיה equals מעזּיה, Isaiah 23:11). The reading טמנוּ, from which Rashi proceeds, and which Luther follows in his translation, is opposed by the lxx and Targum; it does not suit the governing subject, and is nothing but an involuntary lightening of the difficulty. If we take into consideration, that תּמם signifies not to make ready, but to be ready, and that consequently חפשׂ מחפּשׂ is to be taken by itself, then it must be rendered either: they excogitate knavish tricks or villainies, "we are ready, a clever stroke is concocted, and the inward part of man and the heart is deep!" or, which we prefer, since there is nothing to indicate the introduction of any soliloquy: they excogitate knavish tricks, they are ready - a delicately devised, clever stroke (nominative of the result), and (as the poet ironically adds) the inward part of man and the heart is (verily) deep. There is nothing very surprising in the form תּמּנוּ for תּמּוּ, since the Psalms, whenever they depict the sinful designs and doings of the ungodly, delight in singularities of language. On ולב (not ולב) equals (אישׁ) ולב equals ולבּו, cf. Psalm 118:14.
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