Psalm 68:12
Kings of armies did flee apace: and she that tarried at home divided the spoil.
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(12) Kings of armies did flee apace.—Better, Kings of armies flee, flee. This and the two next verses wear the air of being a fragment of those ancient battle-songs sung by the women after the defeat of the foe. The fact that they have thus been torn from their original context accounts for the great obscurity which hangs over them.

And she that tarried . . .i.e., the woman keeping the house; so the Hebrew. (Comp. Judges 5:24, “Women of the tent;” and the fond anticipations of Sisera’s mother, Psalm 68:29.) So the Greeks called the mistress of the house οὶκουρός. (Eur. Herc. Fur. 45.)

Though this sense thus gives a general description of war, and the women waiting eagerly for the victorious home-coming is a picture true to life, yet the next verse indicates that we must suppose a latent reference to some tribe or party who shirked the dangers of battle, and played the part of the stay-at-home.

Psalm 68:12. Kings of armies — The kings of the Midianites, of Canaan, and other nations, which came forth against the Israelites with numerous and powerful armies; did flee apace — Hebrew, ידדונ ידדונ, jiddodun, jiddodun, fled away, fled away, the reduplication of this word denoting their hasty flight and utter dispersion. They fled with their routed forces, and were pursued, overtaken, and destroyed by the victorious Israelites. She that tarried at home divided the spoil — The spoil was so much that there was enough, not only for the proper use of those that took it, but also to be divided to their wives and children when they came home. After the conquest of the Midianites, God ordered the prey which was taken from them to be divided between them who went out on that expedition, and the rest of the people who continued in their tents, Numbers 31:27; and therefore this was part of the damsels’ song, that the women, who had charge of the household affairs, were enriched by an equal division of the enemies’ spoils, in which their husbands and fathers had their share; and perhaps it is the victory over the Midianites which is here referred to.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.Kings of armies did flee apace - Margin, as in Hebrew, did flee, did flee. This is the Hebrew mode of expressing that which is emphatic or superlative. It is by simply repeating the word. The idea is, that they fled speedily; they fled at once, and in alarm. Psalm 68:12-13 are marked by DeWette as a quotation, and the language is supposed by him to be the substance of the song that was sung by the women as referred to in Psalm 68:11. This supposition is not improbable. The reference is, undoubtedly, to the former victories achieved by the people of God when they went out to war; and the idea is, that when the command came, when God gave the word Psalm 68:11, their foes fled in consternation.

And she that tarried at home divided the spoil - The women remaining in their homes, while the men went out to war. On them devolved the office of dividing the plunder, and of giving the proper portions to each of the victors. They would take an interest in the battle, and receive the booty, and assign the portion due to each of the brave soldiers - the more acceptable as given to them by female hands. Possibly, however, the meaning may be, that the victors would bring the plunder home, and lay it at the feet of their wives and daughters to be divided among the women themselves. The dividing of the spoils of battle after a victory was always an important act. Compare Judges 5:30; Joshua 7:21; 1 Chronicles 26:27; Hebrews 7:4.

12. Kings of armies—that is, with their armies.

she that … at home—Mostly women so remained, and the ease of victory appears in that such, without danger, quietly enjoyed the spoils.

Kings of armies; the kings of Canaan and other nations which came forth against the Israelites, accompanied with great and numerous armies.

The spoil was so much, that there was enough, not only for the proper use of those who took it, but also to be divided to their wives and children when they came home. This verse and that which follows may be taken, either,

1. For the triumphant song sung by those publishers mentioned Psalm 68:11. Or,

2. For the words of David, continuing the relation of the victories granted by God to Israel ever their enemies. Kings of armies did flee apace,.... Or "they fled, they fled" (y); or "they flee, they flee". This is either the subject matter of the word "published", the words of the publishers so saying; or the effect of the publication of the Gospel: for though some, by these kings of armies, understand the apostles either fleeing from place to place because of persecution, or running to and fro, as they interpret the words, to spread the Gospel; yet they rather intend the enemies of the Gospel, and the chief of them that opposed themselves to it; namely, Roman emperors and kings, and who fled before it; particularly at the time of the downfall of Paganism, when they fled to the mountains and hills, and called upon them to hide them from Christ, Revelation 6:15;

and she that tarried at home divided the spoil; the church, compared to a woman that keeps at home, Titus 2:5, who shared in the spoils token out of the hands of Satan, and from among the Gentiles, even converted souls, brought unto her. What is promised to Christ, Isaiah 53:12; is said of the church; she being made more than a conqueror through him, and sharing in all his victories and spoils. It denotes the certain and easy success of the Gospel ministry, attended with a divine power, and the advantages thereof to the church of Christ; this was particularly true of the church in the times of Constantine.

(y) "fugiebant, fugiebant", Pagninus, Montanus; "fugerunt, fugerunt", Tigurine version, Musculus.

Kings of armies did flee apace: and {i} she that tarried at home divided the spoil.

(i) The prayer was so great, that not only the soldiers, but the women also had part of it.

12. Kings of hosts do flee, do flee,

And she that tarrieth at home divideth the spoil.

Psalm 68:12-14. contain allusions to the Song of Deborah and possibly to similar poems which have not been preserved to us. Many commentators regard them as the triumphal song of the women celebrating the victory; but it is better to take them as the continuation of the poet’s description of the victory. The verses run in pairs, and Psalm 68:13 is parallel to Psalm 68:12. The first line paints the scene in the battle-field—the pell-mell rout of the defeated kings: the second line depicts the scene at home when the warriors have returned with their spoils.

The unusual expression kings of hosts seems to be chosen with reference to the title Jehovah of hosts. Vast as their armies may be, they are powerless to resist One who has infinitely stronger armies at His command. The graphic repetition do flee, do flee recalls the form of Jdg 5:22; and the next line recalls the words of Jdg 5:30. The battle has been won; the warriors return home with their spoils; and the matron who has anxiously awaited the issue of the battle divides among her family the rich garments and ornaments taken from the enemy. Cp. Jdg 8:26; 2 Samuel 1:24; 2 Kings 7:8; 2 Kings 7:15.Verse 12. - Kings of armies did flee apace; literally, did flee - did flee; i.e. fled repeatedly before Israel (see Joshua 8:19-22; Joshua 10:19, 20; Joshua 11:8, 9; Judges 3:10, 29; Judges 4:14-16; Judges 7:19-25; Judges 8:11, 12; Judges 11:29-33; Judges 15:14-16; 1 Samuel 7:10, 11; 1 Samuel 11:11; 1 Samuel 14:47, 48; 1 Samuel 15:7, 8; 1 Samuel 17:52; 2 Samuel 5:17-25; 2 Samuel 8:1, 2, 4, 5, 13; 2 Samuel 10:6-18, etc.). And she that tarried at home divided the spoil. The wives of the conquerors shared in the spoil when it was brought home (Judges 5:28-30). The Psalm begins with the expression of a wish that the victory of God over all His foes and the triumphant exultation of the righteous were near at hand. Ewald and Hitzig take יקום אלהים hypothetically: If God arise, He enemies will be scattered. This rendering is possible in itself so far as the syntax is concerned, but here everything conspires against it; for the futures in Psalm 68:2-4 form an unbroken chain; then a glance at the course of the Psalm from Psa 68:20 onwards shows that the circumstances of Israel, under which the poet writes, urged forth the wish: let God arise and humble His foes; and finally the primary passage, Numbers 10:35, makes it clear that the futures are the language of prayer transformed into the form of the wish. In Psalm 68:3 the wish is addressed directly to God Himself, and therefore becomes petition. הנדּן is inflected (as vice versג ירדף, Psalm 7:6, from ירדּף) from הנּדף (like הנּתן, Jeremiah 32:4); it is a violation of all rule in favour of the conformity of sound (cf. הקצות for הקצות, Leviticus 14:43, and supra on Psalm 51:6) with תּנדּף, the object of which is easily supplied (dispellas, sc. hostes tuos), and is purposely omitted in order to direct attention more stedfastly to the omnipotence which to every creature is so irresistible. Like smoke, wax (דּונג, root דג, τηκ, Sanscrit tak, to shoot past, to run, Zend taḱ, whence vitaḱina, dissolving, Neo-Persic gudâchten; causative: to cause to run in different directions equals to melt or smelt) is an emblem of human feebleness. As Bakiuds observes, Si creatura creaturam non fert, quomodo creatura creatoris indignantis faciem ferre possit? The wish expressed in Psalm 68:4 forms the obverse of the preceding. The expressions for joy are heaped up in order to describe the transcendency of the joy that will follow the release from the yoke of the enemy. לפני is expressively used in alternation with מפני in Psalm 68:2, Psalm 68:3 : by the wrathful action, so to speak, that proceeds from His countenance just as the heat radiating from the fire melts the wax the foes are dispersed, whereas the righteous rejoice before His gracious countenance.

As the result of the challenge that has been now expressed in Psalm 68:2-4, Elohim, going before His people, begins His march; and in Psalm 68:5 an appeal is made to praise Him with song, His name with the music of stringed instrument, and to make a way along which He may ride בּערבות. In view of Psalm 68:34 we cannot take צרבות, as do the Targum and Talmud (B. Chagiga 12b), as a name of one of the seven heavens, a meaning to which, apart from other considerations, the verb ערב, to be effaced, confused, dark, is not an appropriate stem-word; but it must be explained according to Isaiah 40:3. There Jahve calls in the aid of His people, here He goes forth at the head of His people; He rides through the steppes in order to right against the enemies of His people. Not merely the historical reference assigned to the Psalm by Hitzig, but also the one adopted by ourselves, admits of allusion being made to the "steppes of Moab;" for the way to Mdeb, where the Syrian mercenaries of the Ammonites had encamped (1 Chronicles 19:7), lay through these steppes, and also the way to Rabbath Ammon (2 Samuel 10:7.). סלּוּ calls upon them to make a way for Him, the glorious, invincible King (cf. Isaiah 57:14; Isaiah 62:10); סלל signifies to cast up, heap up or pave, viz., a raised and suitable street or highway, Symmachus katastroo'sate. He who thus rides along makes the salvation of His people His aim: " is His name, therefore shout with joy before Him." The Beth in בּיהּ (Symmachus, Quinta: ἴα) is the Beth essentiae, which here, as in Isaiah 26:4, stands beside the subject: His name is (exists) in יה, i.e., His essential name is yh, His self-attestation, by which He makes Himself capable of being known and named, consists in His being the God of salvation, who, in the might of free grace, pervades all history. This Name is a fountain of exultant rejoicing to His people.

This Name is exemplificatively unfolded in Psalm 68:6. The highly exalted One, who sits enthroned in the heaven of glory, rules in all history here below and takes an interest in the lowliest more especially, in all circumstances of their lives following after His own to succour them. He takes the place of a father to the orphan. He takes up the cause of the widow and contests it to a successful issue. Elohim is one who makes the solitary or isolated to dwell in the house; בּיתה with He locale, which just as well answers the question where? as whither? בּית, a house equals family bond, is the opposite of יהיד, solitarius, recluse, Psalm 25:16. Dachselt correctly renders it, in domum, h.e. familiam numerosam durabilemque eos ut patres-familias plantabit. He is further One who brings forth (out of the dungeon and out of captivity) those who are chained into abundance of prosperity. כּושׁרות, occurring only here, is a pluralet. from כּשׁר morf .tela, synonym אשׁר, to be straight, fortunate. Psalm 68:7 briefly and sharply expresses the reverse side of this His humanely condescending rule among mankind. אך is here (cf. Genesis 9:4; Leviticus 11:4) restrictive or adversative (as is more frequently the case with אכן); and the preterite is the preterite of that which is an actual matter of experience. The סוררים, i.e., (not from סוּר, the apostate ones, Aquila afista'menoi, but as in Psalm 66:7, from סרר) the rebellious, Symmachus ἀπειθεῖς, who were not willing to submit to the rule of so gracious a God, had ever been excluded from these proofs of favour. These must inhabit צחיחה (accusative of the object), a sun-scorched land; from צחח, to be dazzlingly bright, sunny, dried or parched up. They remain in the desert without coming into the land, which, fertilized by the waters of grace, is resplendent with a fresh verdure and with rich fruits. If the poet has before his mind in connection with this the bulk of the people delivered out of Egypt, ὧν τὰ κῶλα ἔπεσαν ἐν τῇ ἐρήμω (Hebrews 3:17), then the transition to what follows is much more easily effected. There is, however, no necessity for any such intermediation. The poet had the march through the desert to Canaan under the guidance of Jahve, the irresistible Conqueror, in his mind even from the beginning, and now he expressly calls to mind that marvellous divine leading in order that the present age may take heart thereat.

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