Psalm 68:10
Thy congregation hath dwelt therein: thou, O God, hast prepared of thy goodness for the poor.
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(10) Thy congregation.—See above. If the emendation there adopted seems unnecessary, we may render here, Thy life dwells in her, i.e., in the people of Israel. (Comp. Psalm 143:3.) The vigour consequent on the heavenly food might be called the Divine life, and conceal a higher application.

Psalm 68:10. Thy congregation — Thy people Israel, who are all united in one body, under thee their head and governor. It is true, the word חיה, chajab, here rendered congregation, primarily signifies life, living creature, or animal, and is often put for beast, and wild beast; but, as the best lexicographers observe, it also frequently means cœtus, or caterva, a company or troop of men, as in Psalm 68:30 of this chapter, and 2 Samuel 23:13, compared with 1 Chronicles 11:15, and Psalm 74:19. But, retaining the proper signification of the word, the clause may be rendered, as it is by the LXX., τα ζωα σου, thy living creatures, or thy flock, that is, thy people, the sheep of thy pasture, hath dwelt therein, ישׁבו בה, jashebu bah, have dwelt in it, namely, in the inheritance mentioned in the preceding verse, to which the preposition, with the feminine affix, בה, in it, can only properly refer. God often compares himself to a shepherd, and his people to sheep; and he is particularly said to have led his people like a flock, by the hand of Moses and Aaron, Psalm 77:20, namely, in the wilderness; and consequently he may be here said to have brought his sheep into, and to have made them dwell in, Canaan, as in a green and good pasture; see Psalms 23., where God speaks of his people under this very metaphor. This interpretation, evidently adopted by our translators, seems much more easy and natural, and more agreeable to the Hebrew text, than that of Dr. Chandler and some others, who would render the word above mentioned, (which we translate thy flock, or thy congregation,) thy food, or the support of thy life; and who thus interpret the clause: thy food, or, as to thy food, the food which thou, O God, gavest them, they dwelt in the midst of it: which is surely a very unnatural and forced exposition. Thou hast prepared of thy goodness, &c. — Dr. Chandler, in consistency with his above-mentioned interpretation of the preceding clause, understands this of the provision made miraculously by God for his people in the wilderness: but, according to our translation, it speaks of the provision made for them in Canaan; the good land which God prepared for his people, by expelling the old inhabitants, sending frequently refreshing and fertilizing rains upon it, making it fruitful by his special blessing, and furnishing it with all sorts of provisions: and all this of his goodness, that is, by his free, unmerited, and singular goodness: and that both as to the cause and measure of this preparation. God did it; not for their righteousness, as he often told them, but of his mere mercy; and he increased the fruits of the earth very wonderfully, that they might be sufficient for the supply of such a numerous people, which, without his extraordinary blessing, would not have been the case, as appears by the state of that land at this day, which is well known to be very barren. For the poor — Thy people of Israel, whom he calls poor, partly to repress that pride and arrogance to which they were exceedingly prone, and to remind them of their entire dependance on God for all they had or hoped for; and partly because they really were poor when God undertook the conduct of them into Canaan, and such they would have been still if God had not provided for them in a singular manner.

68:7-14 Fresh mercies should put us in mind of former mercies. If God bring his people into a wilderness, he will be sure to go before them in it, and to bring them out of it. He provided for them, both in the wilderness and in Canaan. The daily manna seems here meant. And it looks to the spiritual provision for God's Israel. The Spirit of grace and the gospel of grace are the plentiful rain, with which God confirms his inheritance, and from which their fruit is found. Christ shall come as showers that water the earth. The account of Israel's victories is to be applied to the victories over death and hell, by the exalted Redeemer, for those that are his. Israel in Egypt among the kilns appeared wretched, but possessed of Canaan, during the reigns of David and Solomon, appeared glorious. Thus the slaves of Satan, when converted to Christ, when justified and sanctified by him, look honourable. When they reach heaven, all remains of their sinful state disappear, they shall be as the wings of the dove, covered with silver, and her feathers as gold. Full salvation will render those white as snow, who were vile and loathsome through the guilt and defilement of sin.Thy congregation hath dwelt therein - In the land of promise; for the connection requires us to understand it in this manner. The idea of the writer all along pertains to that land, and to the mercy which God had shown to it. After showing by an historical reference what God had done for the people in the wilderness, he returns here, though without expressly mentioning it, to the land of promise, and to what God had done there for his people. The word tendered "congregation" - חיה châyâh - means properly a beast, an animal, Genesis 1:30; Genesis 2:19; Genesis 8:19; Genesis 37:20. Then it comes to be used as a collective noun, meaning a herd or flock; thus, a troop of people, an array or host, 2 Samuel 23:11, 2 Samuel 23:13; and it is applied here to the people, under the idea so common in the Scriptures that God is a Shepherd.

Thou, O God, hast prepared of thy goodness for the poor - For thy flock considered as poor or wretched. That is, Thou hast provided for them when they had no resources of their own - when they were a poor, oppressed, and afflicted people - wanderers wholly dependent on thee.

10. Thy congregation—literally, "troop," as in 2Sa 23:11, 13—the military aspect of the people being prominent, according to the figures of the context.

therein—that is, in the land of promise.

the poor—Thy humble people (Ps 68:9; compare Ps 10:17; 12:5).

Thy congregation; thy people of Israel, who are all united in one body under thee, their Head and Governor. For though this word commonly signifies living creatures, yet sometimes it signifies a company of men, as here below, Psalm 68:31, and 2 Samuel 23:13, compared with 1 Chronicles 11:15 Psalm 74:19. Or the proper signification of the word may be retained, and it may be rendered thy flock; for God oft compares himself to a shepherd, and his people to sheep, and particularly he is said to have led his people like a flock by the hand of Moses and Aaron, Psalm 77:20, to wit, in the wilderness; and consequently he may be here said to have brought his sheep into and made them to dwell in Canaan, as in a green and good pasture, as God speaks of his people under this very metaphor, Psalm 23:2.

Prepared; or, prepared it; which pronoun is oft understood, and here most easily out of the foregoing clause of this verse, where it is expressed. Prepared it, to wit, this land, for the use of thy people; which God did many ways; partly by designing it for them, and expelling the old inhabitants to make way for them; and partly by furnishing it with all sorts of provisions, both for necessity. and delight, and making it fruitful by his special blessing, in giving rain in its proper seasons.

Of thy goodness; by thy free and singular goodness; which may be referred both to the cause of this preparation, God did it not for their righteousness or worthiness, but out of his mere mercy, as God oft telleth them; and to the manner and measure of it, God did wonderfully increase the fruits of it, that it might suffice for the supply of such a numerous people; which without his extraordinary blessing it would not do, as appears by the state of that land at this day, as it is reported by travellers and eye-witnesses of it.

For the poor, to wit, for thy people of Israel, whom he here calls poor, partly to repress that pride and arrogance to which they are exceeding prone, and to mind them of the dependence upon God for all that they have and hope for; and partly because they really were, when God undertook the conduct of them into Canaan, a very poor and beggarly people, and so they would have still been, if God had not provided for them in a singular manner.

Thy congregation hath dwelt therein,.... That is, in the Lord's inheritance, in the midst of his church and people. The word for "congregation" signifies "beasts" or "living creatures" (w): some understand them of the Gentiles, who, before the Gospel came among them, were comparable to such; but, under the Gospel dispensation, being called and taken out by it, were put among the people of God, and dwelt in his inheritance. Though, without any limitation, it may be applied to all that are quickened and made alive by the grace of God; to all that are written among the living in Jerusalem; and particularly to the ministers of the Gospel, who are signified by the four living creatures, in Ezekiel's vision and in John's Revelation; though not to the exclusion of any living believer, who has a name and a place here, and who are fellow citizens with the saints, and of the household of God:

thou, O God, hast prepared of thy goodness for the poor; blessings of goodness, spiritual blessings, blessings of grace and of glory; which flow from divine goodness, are in themselves good, and in their effects; and these were prepared in the covenant of grace and in Christ from all eternity; and that for persons poor and mean, indigent and helpless; and so the goodness of God in preparing them appears to he free and unmerited. The Targum is,

"thou hast prepared an host of angels to do good to the poor of God.''

Arama interprets it of the manna.

(w) , Sept. "animalia tua", V. L. so Eth. Syr. Arab. & Cocceius; "pecus tuum", Musculus, and some in Vatablus.

Thy congregation hath dwelt therein: thou, O God, hast prepared of thy {g} goodness for the poor.

(g) God blessed the land of Canaan, because he had chosen that place for his Church.

10. Thy congregation took up its abode therein:

In thy goodness, O God, thou dost provide for the afflicted.

The word rendered congregation, or, as R.V. marg., troop, or family, is a peculiar one. The corresponding Arabic word means “such a kindred group as was guided in war and on the march by one chief, migrating together, and forming generally a single settlement.” Robertson Smith, Kinship and Marriage in Early Arabia, pp. 36 ff. From the meaning life or living, the word came to mean a clan, a group of one blood, on the old Semitic principle that “the life of the flesh lies in the blood” (Leviticus 17:11). Thou dost provide for the afflicted is a general truth, which found special illustration in regard to Israel, ‘afflicted’ by the bondage of Egypt (Exodus 3:7; Exodus 3:17).

Verse 10. - Thy congregation hath dwelt therein; thy troop, or thy host (see 2 Samuel 23:11, 13). The word used (חיּה) is an unusual one. Thou, O God, hast prepared of thy goodness for the poor; or, thou, O God, didst in thy goodness make preparation for the poor. "The poor" are the Israelites, brought low by their sufferings in Egypt and the wilderness; the preparations those by which their conquest of Palestine was facilitated (Exodus 25:28; Joshua 24:12). Psalm 68:10In Psalm 68:7. the poet repeats the words of Deborah (Judges 5:4.), and her words again go back to Deuteronomy 33:2, cf. Exodus 19:15.; on the other hand, our Psalm is the original to Habakkuk 3. The martial verb יצא represents Elohim as, coming forth from His heavenly dwelling-place (Isaiah 26:21), He places Himself at the head of Israel. The stately verb צעד represents Him as He accompanies the hosts of His people with the step of a hero confident of victory; and the terrible name for the wilderness, ישׁימון, is designedly chosen in order to express the contrast between the scene of action and that which they beheld at that time. The verb to זה סיני is easily supplied; Dachselt's rendering according to the accents is correct: hic mons Sinai (sc. in specie ita tremuit). The description fixes our attention upon Sinai as the central point of all revelations of God during the period of deliverance by the hand of Moses, as being the scene of the most gloriously of them all (vid., on Hab. p. 136f.). The majestic phenomena which proclaimed the nearness of God are distributed over the whole journeying, but most gloriously concentrated themselves at the giving of the Law of Sinai. The earth trembled throughout the extended circuit of this vast granite range, and the heavens dropped, inasmuch as the darkness of thunder clouds rested upon Sinai, pierced by incessant lightnings (Exodus 19). There, as the original passages describe it, Jahve met His people; He came from the east, His people from the west; there they found themselves together, and shaking the earth, breaking through the heavens, He gave them a pledge of the omnipotence which should henceforth defend and guide them. The poet has a purpose in view in calling Elohim in this passage "the God of Israel;" the covenant relationship of God to Israel dates from Sinai, and from this period onwards, by reason of the Tra, He became Israel's King (Deuteronomy 33:5). Since the statement of a fact of earlier history has preceded, and since the preterites alternate with them, the futures that follow in Psalm 68:10, Psalm 68:11 are to be understood as referring to the synchronous past; but hardly so that Psalm 68:10 should refer to the miraculous supply of food, and more especially the rain of manna, during the journeyings through the wilderness. The giving of the Law from Sinai has a view to Israel being a settled, stationary people, and the deliverance out of the land of bondage only finds its completion in the taking and maintaining possession of the Land of Promise. Accordingly Psalm 68:10, Psalm 68:11 refer to the blessing and protection of the people who had taken up their abode there.

The נחלהּ of God (genit. auctoris, as in 2 Macc. 2:4) is the land assigned by Him to Israel as an inheritance; and גּשׁם נדבות an emblem of the abundance of gifts which God has showered down upon the land since Israel took up its abode in it. נדבה is the name given to a deed and gift springing from an inward impulse, and in this instance the intensive idea of richness and superabundance is associated therewith by means of the plural; גּשׁם נדבות is a shower-like abundance of good gifts descending from above. The Hiphil הניף here governs a double accusative, like the Kal in Proverbs 7:17, in so far, that is, as נחלתך is drawn to Psalm 68:10; for the accentuation, in opposition to the Targum, takes נחלתך ונלאה together: Thine inheritance and that the parched one (Waw epexeget. as in 1 Samuel 28:3; Amos 3:11; Amos 4:10). But this "and that" is devoid of aim; why should it not at once be read הנּלאה? The rendering of Bttcher, "Thy sickened and wearied," is inadmissible, too, according to the present pointing; for it ought to be נחלתך or נחלתך. And with a suffix this Niphal becomes ambiguous, and more especially so in this connection, where the thought of נחלה, an inherited possession, a heritage, lies so naturally at hand. נחלתך is therefore to be drawn to Psalm 68:10, and Psalm 68:10 must begin with ונלאה, as in the lxx, καὶ ἠσθένησε σὺ δὲ κατεερτίσω αὐτήν. It is true נלאה is not a hypothetical preteriet equivalent to ונלאתה; but, as is frequently the case with the anarthrous participle (Ew. 341, b), it has the value of a hypothetical clause: "and if it (Israel's inheritance) were in a parched, exhausted condition (cf. the cognate root להה, Genesis 47:13), then hast Thou always made it again firm" (Psalm 8:4; Psalm 15:1-5 :17), i.e., strengthened, enlivened it. Even here the idea of the inhabitants is closely associated with the land itself; in Psalm 68:11 they are more especially thought of: "They creatures dwelt therein." Nearly all modern expositors take חיּה either according to 2 Samuel 23:11, 2 Samuel 23:13 (cf. 1 Chronicles 11:15), in the signification tent-circle, ring-camp (root חו, Arab. ḥw, to move in a circle, to encircle, to compass), or in the signification of Arab. ḥayy (from Arab. ḥayiya equals חיי, חיה), a race or tribe, i.e., a collection of living beings (cf. חיּי, 1 Samuel 18:18). But the Asaphic character of this Psalm, which is also manifest in other points, is opposed to this rendering. This style of Psalm is fond of the comparison of Israel to a flock, so that also in Psalm 74:19 חית עניין signifies nothing else than "the creatures [Getheir, collective] of Thy poor, Thy poor creatures." This use of חיה is certainly peculiar; but not so remarkable as if by the "creatures of God" we had to understand, with Hupfeld, the quails (Exodus 16). The avoiding of בּהמה on account of the idea of brutum (Psalm 73:22) which is inseparable from this word, is sufficient to account for it; in חיה, ζῷον, there is merely the notion of moving life. We therefore are to explain it according to Micah 7:14, where Israel is called a flock dwelling in a wood in the midst of Carmel: God brought it to pass, that the flock of Israel, although sorely persecuted, nevertheless continued to inhabit the land. בּהּ, as in Micah 7:15, refers to Canaan. עני in Psalm 68:11 is the ecclesia pressa surrounded by foes on every side: Thou didst prepare for Thy poor with Thy goodness, Elohim, i.e., Thou didst regale or entertain Thy poor people with Thy possessions and Thy blessings. הכין ל, as in Genesis 43:16; 1 Chronicles 12:39, to make ready to eat, and therefore to entertain; טובה as in Psalm 65:12, טוּב ה, Jeremiah 31:12. It would be quite inadmissible, because tautological, to refer תּכין to the land according to Psalm 65:10 (Ewald), or even to the desert (Olshausen), which the description has now left far behind.

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