Psalm 67:1
To the chief Musician on Neginoth, A Psalm or Song. God be merciful unto us, and bless us; and cause his face to shine upon us; Selah.
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(1) This verse is an adaptation of the priestly benediction (Numbers 6:24-26).

Upon us.—Rather, with, or among us; a variation from the formal benediction.

Psalm 67:1-2. God be merciful to us — Thy people Israel. And cause his face to shine upon us — As thou hast hid thy face, or withdrawn the tokens of thy favour from us, so do thou now manifest them to us. That thy way may be known upon earth — The way wherein thou requirest men to walk, the way of thy precepts, the way of truth, or the true religion; that by the peculiar and distinguishing tokens of thy favour to us, the heathen world may be convinced of the truth and importance of our religion, may be induced to renounce their idols and their vices, to believe in thee the only living and true God, and embrace thy worship and service, expecting no good but from thee. Thy saving health — Hebrew, ישׁועתךְ, thy salvation, termed, God’s way, in the preceding clause, and both expressions, taken together, signify the way of salvation, which the psalmist desires may be known among all nations. This the ancient and godly Jews expected would be the case at the coming of the Messiah, who is called God’s salvation, and also the way, the truth, and the life, Luke 2:30; John 14:6. And so the sense of the passage is, Deal thus graciously with thy people Israel, that the Gentile world may at last be allured to unite themselves to them, to become proselytes to their religion, and receive their Messiah for their King and Saviour, when he shall be manifested, saying, We will go with you, for we have heard that God is with you, Zechariah 8:23.

67:1-7 A prayer for the enlargement of Christ's kingdom. - All our happiness comes from God's mercy; therefore the first thing prayed for is, God be merciful to us, to us sinners, and pardon our sins. Pardon is conveyed by God's blessing, and secured in that. If we, by faith, walk with God, we may hope that his face will shine on us. The psalmist passes on to a prayer for the conversion of the Gentiles, which shows that the Old Testament saints desired that their advantages might also be enjoyed by others. And many Scripture prophecies and promises are wrapped up in prayers: the answer to the prayer of the church is as sure as the performance of God's promises. The joy wished to the nations, is holy joy. Let them be glad that by his providence the Lord will overrule the affairs of kingdoms; that even the kingdoms of this world shall became the kingdom of the Lord, and of his Christ. Then is declared a joyful prospect of all good when God shall do this. The success of the gospel brings outward mercies with it; righteousness exalts a nation. The blessing of the Lord sweetens all our creature-comforts to us, and makes them comforts indeed. All the world shall be brought to worship Him. When the gospel begins to spread, it shall go forward more and more, till it reaches to the ends of the earth. It is good to cast in our lot with those that are the blessed of the Lord. If nothing had been spoken in Scripture respecting the conversion of the heathen, we might think it vain to attempt so hopeless a work. But when we see with what confidence it is declared in the Scriptures, we may engage in missionary labours, assured that God will fulfil his own word. And shall we be backward to make known to the heathen the knowledge with which we are favoured, and the salvation we profess to glory in? They cannot learn unless they are taught. Then let us go forward in the strength of the Lord, and look to him to accompany the word the Holy Ghost; then Satan's kingdom shall be destroyed, and the kingdom of our Redeemer established.God be merciful unto us, and bless us - There is, perhaps (as Prof. Alexander suggests), an allusion, in the language used here, to the sacerdotal benediction in Numbers 6:24-26 : "The Lord bless thee, and keep thee; the Lord make his face shine upon thee, and be gracious unto thee: the Lord lift up his countenance upon thee, and give thee peace." The prayer is that God would bestow upon his people the blessing implied in the form of benediction which he had directed the ministers of his religion to use. The first cry is, of course, for mercy or favor. The beginning of all blessings to mankind is the favor or mercy of God. There is no higher blessing than his favor; there is none that comes from him which should not be regarded as mercy.

And cause his face to shine upon us - Margin, With us. That is, among us. It is an invocation of his presence and favor. On the phrase "cause his face to shine," see the notes at Psalm 4:6.


Ps 67:1-7. A prayer that, by God's blessing on His people, His salvation and praise may be extended over the earth.

1. cause his face to shine—show us favor (Nu 6:24, 25; Ps 31:16).

1 O be merciful unto us, and bless us; and cause his face to shine upon us. Selah.

2 That thy way maybe known upon earth, thy saving health among all nations.

3 Let the people praise thee, O God; let all the people praise thee.

4 O let the nations be glad and sing for joy: for thou shalt judge the people righteously, and govern the nations upon earth. Selah.

5 Let the people praise thee, O God; let all the people praise thee.

6 Then shall the earth yield her increase; and God, even our own God shall bless us.

7 God shall bless us; and all the ends of the earth shall fear him.

Psalm 67:1

1. "God be merciful unto us, and bless us; and cause his face to shine upon us." This is a fit refrain to the benediction of the High Priest in the name of the Lord, as recorded in Numbers 6:24, Numbers 6:25, "The Lord bless thee, and keep thee: the Lord make his face shine upon thee, and be gracious unto thee." It begins at the beginning with a cry for mercy. Forgiveness of sin is always the first link in the chain of mercies experienced by us. Mercy is a foundation attribute in our salvation. The best saints and the worst sinners may unite in this petition. It is addressed to the God of mercy, by those who feel their need of mercy, and it implies the death of all legal hopes or claims of merit. Next, the church begs for a blessing; "bless us" - a very comprehensive and far-reaching prayer. When we bless God we do but little for our blessings are but words, but when God blesses he enriches us indeed, for his blessings are gifts and deeds. But his blessing alone is not all his people crave, they desire a personal consciousness of his favour, and pray for a smile from his face. These three petitions include all that we need here or hereafter.

This verse may be regarded as the prayer of Israel, and spiritually of the Christian church. The largest charity is shown in this Psalm, but it begins at home. The whole church, each church, and each little company, may rightly pray, "bless us." It would, however, be very wrong to let our charity end where it begins, as some do; our love must make long marches, and our prayers must have a wide sweep, we must embrace the whole world in our intercessions.

"Selah." Lift up the heart, lift up the voice. A higher key, a sweeter note is called for.

Psalm 67:2

"That thy way may be known upon earth." As showers which first fall upon the hills afterwards run down in streams into the valleys, so the blessing of the Most High comes upon the world through the church. We are blessed for the sake of others as well as ourselves. God deals in a way of mercy with his saints, and then they make that way known far and wide, and the Lord's name is made famous in the earth. Ignorance of God is the great enemy of mankind, and the testimonies of the saints, experimental and grateful, overcome this deadly foe. God has a set way and method of dealing out mercy to men, and it is the duty and privilege of a revived church to make that way to be everywhere known. "Thy saving health among all nations," or, thy salvation. One likes the old words, "saving health," yet as they are not the words of the Spirit but only of our translators, they must be given up: the word Is salvation, and nothing else. This all nations need, but many of them do not know it, desire it, or seek it; our prayer and labour should be, that the knowledge of salvation may become as universal as the light of the sun. Despite the gloomy notions of some, we cling to the belief that the kingdom of Christ will embrace the Whole habitable globe, and that all flesh shall see the salvation of God: for this, glorious consummation we agonize in prayer.

Psalm 67:3

continued...THE ARGUMENT

This Psalm contains a prayer for the church of Israel, as also for the Gentile world, whose conversion he prophetically describes.

The church prayeth for the enlargement of the kingdom of God, Psalm 67:1,2, to the joy of the nations, Psalm 67:3-5; and for the increase of spiritual and temporal blessings, Psalm 67:6,7.

Unto us, thy people of Israel. As thou hast hid thy face and favour from us, so now do thou manifest it to us. For the phrase, Numbers 6:25,26 Psa 31:16.

God be merciful unto us, and bless us,.... That is, God, of his unmerited mercy, of his rich grace and free favour, bless us with the coming of his Son, the promised seed, in whom all nations are to be blessed; and with the blessings of peace, pardon, and righteousness in him; all which with him spring from the tender mercy of God, the riches of his grace, and his great love; than which nothing could be more desirable to the Old Testament saints, who were shut up under the law, until faith came; and though children, they differed nothing from servants, being in a state and under a spirit of bondage: for the psalmist seems to represent the whole church under that dispensation: some understand the words as a prophecy, expressing the certainty of what would be; and, as the words may be rendered, "God will be merciful", or "gracious to us (k), and he will bless us"; as he has promised to do;

and cause his face to shine upon us; that is, grant his gracious presence, and the discoveries of his love; that he would favour with communion with himself through Christ, and a greater knowledge of him in him; or that he would cause him, who is his face, his image, the brightness of his glory, to appear and shine forth; the great light, the sun of righteousness, and dayspring from on high, that was to arise and shine upon the people of God. The Targum is,

"and cause the splendour of his face to shine with us always;''

there seems to be some reference to the high priest's form of blessing in Numbers 6:24.

Selah; on this word; see Gill on Psalm 3:2.

(k) "miserebitur", Gejerus, Schmidt.

<or Song.>> God be merciful unto us, and bless us; and {a} cause his face to shine upon us; Selah.

(a) That is, move our hearts with his Holy Spirit, that we may feel his favour toward us.

1. The Psalm begins with words taken from the priestly blessing of Numbers 6:24 ff:

“Jehovah bless thee and keep thee:

Jehovah cause his face to shine upon thee and be gracious unto thee:

Jehovah lift up his countenance upon thee, and give thee peace:” as the following Ps. begins with the invocation used when the Ark started on a journey, Numbers 10:35. Other echoes of the priestly blessing may be found in Psalm 4:6; Psalm 29:11; Psalm 31:16; Psalm 80:3; Psalm 80:7; Psalm 80:19.

God be merciful] Rather, as in Numbers 6:25, be gracious unto us. God is substituted for the original Jehovah according to the usual practice of the editor of the ‘Elohistic’ collection of Psalms.

upon us] Lit. with us. For the simple preposition of the original (unto or upon) the Psalmist substitutes one which suggests the thought of God’s gracious favour abiding with His people. Cp. “The blessing of God Almighty … be amongst you and remain with you always.”

Selah (if it is in its right place) marks a musical interlude following upon and emphasising this echo of the priestly benediction. But it may have been accidentally transferred from the close of Psalm 67:2.

1, 2. The final object of the blessing for which Israel prays is that the whole world may know God.

Verse 1. - God be merciful unto us, and bless us. An echo of the priestly blessing (Numbers 6:24, 25), but not necessarily uttered by a priest. The substitution of Elohim for Jehovah is natural, considering the universalist character of the psalm. And cause his face to shine upon us; literally, with us. "With us" especially, as the people of God; but not "with us" exclusively, as the whole psalm makes manifest. Psalm 67:1The Psalm begins (Psalm 67:1) with words of the priest's benediction in Numbers 6:24-26. By אתּנוּ the church desires for itself the unveiled presence of the light-diffusing loving countenance of its God. Here, after the echo of the holiest and most glorious benediction, the music strikes in. With Psalm 67:2 the Beracha passes over into a Tephilla. לדעת is conceived with the most general subject: that one may know, that may be known Thy way, etc. The more graciously God attests Himself to the church, the more widely and successfully does the knowledge of this God spread itself forth from the church over the whole earth. They then know His דּרך, i.e., the progressive realization of His counsel, and His ישׁוּעה, the salvation at which this counsel aims, the salvation not of Israel merely, but of all mankind.
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