Psalm 68:19
Blessed be the Lord, who daily loads us with benefits, even the God of our salvation. Selah.
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EXPOSITORY (ENGLISH BIBLE)
(19-23) The abrupt transition from the scene of triumph just described to the actual reality of things which the psalmist now for the first time faces, really gives the key to the intention of the poem. It is by God’s favour and might, and not by the sword, that deliverance from the enemies actually threatening the nation is to be expected.

(19) The verb, as the italics of the Authorised Version show, is of somewhat indefinite use. It appears to have both an active and passive sense, meaning to lay a burden, or to receive a burden. Here the context seems to require the latter: who daily takes our burden for us, i.e., either the burden of trial or of sin. (Comp. a somewhat similar passage, Psalm 99:8, “thou art a God who liftest for us,” i.e., as Authorised Version, “forgivest us.”) But it is quite possible to render, if any put a burden on us, God is our help.

Psalms

THE BURDEN-BEARING GOD

Psalm 68:19
.

The difference between these two renderings seems to be remarkable, and a person ignorant of any language but our own might find it hard to understand how any one sentence was susceptible of both. But the explanation is extremely simple. The important words in the Authorised Version, ‘with benefits,’ are a supplement, having nothing to represent them in the original. The word translated ‘loadeth’ in the one rendering and ‘beareth’ in the other admits of both these meanings with equal ease, and is, in fact, employed in both of them in other places in Scripture. It is clear, I think, that, in this case, at all events, the Revision is an improvement. For the great objection to the rendering which has become familiar to us all, ‘Who daily loadeth us with benefits,’ is that these essential words are not in the original, and need to be supplied in order to make out the sense. Whereas, on the other hand, if we adopt the suggested emendation, ‘Who daily beareth our burdens,’ we get a still more beautiful meaning, which requires no forced addition in order to bring it out. So, then, I accept that varied form of our text as the one on which I desire to say a few words now.

I. The first thing that strikes me in looking at it is the remarkable and eloquent blending of majesty and condescension.

It is not without significance that the Psalmist employs that name for God in this clause, which most strongly expresses the idea of supremacy and dominion. Rule and dignity are the predominant ideas in the word ‘Lord,’ as, indeed, the English reader feels in hearing it; and then, side by side with that, there lies this thought, that the Highest, the Ruler of all, whose absolute authority stretches over all mankind, stoops to this low and servile office, and becomes the burden-bearer for all the pilgrims who will put their trust in Him. This blending together of the two ideas of dignity and condescension to lowly offices of help and furtherance is made even more emphatic if we glance back at the context of the psalm. For there is no place in Scripture in which there is flashed before the mind of the singer a grander picture of the magnificence and the glory of God, than that which glitters and flames in the previous verses. We read in them of God ‘riding through the heavens by His name Jehovah’; of Him as marching at the head of the people, through the wilderness, and of the earth quivering at His tread, and the heavens dropping at His presence. We read of Zion itself being moved at the presence of the Lord. We read of His word going forth so mightily as to scatter armies and their kings. We read of the chariots of God as ‘twenty thousand, even thousands of angels.’ All is gathered together in the great verse, ‘Thou hast ascended on high, Thou hast led captivity captive.’ And then, before he has taken breath almost, the Psalmist turns, with most striking and dramatic abruptness, from the contemplation, awe-struck and yet jubilant, of all that tremendous, magnificent, and earth-shaking power to this wonderful thought, ‘Blessed be the Lord! who daily beareth our burdens.’ Not only does He march at the head of the congregation through the wilderness, but He comes, if I might so say, behind the caravan, amongst the carriers and the porters, and will bear anything that any of the weary pilgrims intrusts to His care.

Oh, dear brethren! if familiarity did not dull the glory of it, what a thought that is-a God that carries men’s loads! People talk much rubbish about the ‘stern Old Testament Deity’; is there anything sweeter, greater, more heart-compelling and heart-softening, than such a thought as this? How all the majesty bows itself, and declares itself to be enlisted on our side, when we think that ‘He that sitteth on the circle of the heavens, and the inhabitants thereof are as grasshoppers’ is the God that ‘daily beareth our burdens’!

And that is the tone of the Old Testament throughout, for you will always find braided together in the closest vital unity the representation of these two aspects of the divine nature; and if ever we hear set forth a more than ordinarily magnificent conception of His power and majesty be sure that, if you look, you will find side by side with it a more than ordinarily tender representation of His gentleness and His grace. And if we look deeper, this is not a case of contrast, it is not that there are sharply opposed to each other these two things, the gentleness and the greatness, the condescension and the magnificence, but that the former is the direct result of the latter; and it is just because He is Lord, and has dominion over all, that, therefore, He bears the burdens of all. For the responsibilities of the Creator are in proportion to His greatness, and He that has made man has thereby made it necessary that He should, if they will let Him, be their Burden-bearer and their Servant. The highest must be the lowest, and just because God is high over all, blessed for ever, therefore is He the Supporter and Sustainer of all. So we may learn the true meaning of elevation of all sorts, and from the example of loftiest, may draw the lesson for our more insignificant varieties of height, that the higher we are, the more we are bound to stoop, and that men are then likest God, when their elevation suggests to them responsibility, and when he that is chiefest becomes the servant.

II. So, then, notice next the deep insight into the heart and ways of God here.

‘He daily beareth our burdens.’ If there is any meaning in this word at all, it means that He so knits Himself with us as that all which touches us touches Him, that He takes a share in all our pressing duties, and feels the reflection from all our sorrows and pains. We have no impassive God in the heavens, careless of mankind, nor is His settled and changeless and unshaded blessedness of such a sort as that there cannot pass across it-if I may not say a shadow, I may at least say-a ripple from men’s pangs and troubles and cares. Love is the identification of oneself with the beloved object. We call it sympathy, when we are speaking about the fellow feeling between man and man that is kindled of love. But there is something deeper than sympathy in that great Heart, which gathers into itself all hearts, and in that great Being, whose being underlies all our beings, and is the root from which we all live and grow. God, in all our afflictions, is afflicted; and in simple though profound verity, has that which is most truly represented to men, by calling it a fellow feeling with our infirmities and our sorrows.

‘Think not thou canst sigh a sigh,

And thy Maker is not nigh;

Think not thou canst weep a tear,

And thy Maker is not near.’

For want of a better word, we speak of the sympathy of God: but we need something far more intimate and unwearied than we understand by that word, to express the community of feeling between all who trust Him and His own infinite heart. If this bearing of our burden means anything, it gives us a deep insight, too, into His workings, as well as into His heart. For it covers over this great truth that He Himself comes to us, and by the communication of His own power to us, makes us able to bear the burdens which we roll upon Him. The meaning of His ‘lifting our load,’ in so far as that expression refers to the divine act rather than the divine heart, is that He breathes into us the strength by which we can carry the heavy task of duties, and can endure the crushing pressure of our sorrows. All the endurance of the saints is God in them bearing their burdens.

Notice, too, ‘daily beareth,’ or, as the Hebrew has it yet more emphatically because more simply, ‘day by day beareth.’ He travels with us, in the greatness of His might and the long-suffering of His unwearied patience, through all our tribulation, and as He has ‘borne and carried’ His people ‘all the days of old,’ so, at each new recurrence of new weights, He is with us still. Like some river that runs by the wayside and ever cheers the traveller on the dusty path with its music, and offers its waters to cool his thirsty lips, so, day by day, in the slow iteration of our lingering sorrows, and in the monotonous recurrence of our habitual duties, there is with us the ever-present help of the Ancient of Days, who measures out daily strength for the daily load, and never sends the one without proffering the other.

III. So, again, notice here the remarkable anticipation of the very heart of the Gospel.

‘The God who daily beareth our burdens,’ says the Psalmist. He spoke deeper things than he knew, and was wiser than he understood. For the hope that gleams in these words comes to fulfilment, in Him of whom it was written in prophetic anticipation, so clear and definite that it reads like historical narrative-’He bare our grief and carried our sorrows. The chastisement of our peace was upon Him. The Lord hath laid on Him the iniquity of us all.’

Ah! it were of small avail to know a God that bore the burden of our sorrows and the load of our duties, if we did not know a God who bore the weight of our sins. For that is the real crushing weight that breaks men’s hearts and bows them to the earth. So the New Testament, with its message of a Christ on whom is laid the whole pressure of the world’s sin, is the deepest fulfilment of the great words of my text.

IV. Note, lastly, what we should therefore do with our burdens.

First, we should cast them on God, and let Him carry them. He cannot unless we do. One sometimes sees a petulant and self-confident little child staggering along with some heavy burden by the parent’s side, but pushing away the hand that is put out to help it to carry its load. And that is what too many of us do when God says to us, ‘Here, My child! let Me help you, I will take the heavy end of it, and do you take the light one.’ ‘Cast thy burden upon the Lord’-and do it by faith, by simple trust in Him, by making real to yourselves the fact of His divine sympathy, and His sure presence, to aid and to sustain.

Having thus let Him carry the weight, do not you try to carry it too. As our good old hymn has it- ‘Why should I the burden bear?’ It is a great deal more God’s affair than yours. We have, indeed, in a sense, to carry it. ‘Every man shall bear his own burden.’ The weight of duty is not to be indolently shoved off our shoulders on to His, saying, ‘Let Him do the work.’ We have indeed to carry the weight of sorrow. There is no use in trying to deny its bitterness and its burden, and it would not be well for us that it should be less bitter and less heavy. In many lands the habit prevails, especially amongst the women, of carrying heavy loads on their heads; and all travellers tell us that the practice gives a dignity and a grace to the carriage, and a freedom and a swing to the gait, which nothing else will do. Depend upon it, that so much of our burdens of work and weariness as is left to us, after we have cast them upon Him, is intended to strengthen and ennoble us. But do not let there be the gnawings of anxiety. Do not let there be the self-torment of aimless prognostications of evil. Do not let there be the chewing of the bitter morsel of irrevocable sorrows; but fling all upon God. And remember what the Master has said, and His servant has repeated: ‘Take no anxious care . . . for your heavenly Father knoweth’; ‘Cast your anxiety upon Him, for He careth for you.’

And the last advice that comes from my text is, to see that your tongues are not silent in that great hymn of praise which ought to go up to ‘the Lord that daily beareth our burdens.’ He wants only our trust and our thanks, and is best paid by the praise of our love, and of our heaping still more upon His ever strong and ready arm. Bless the Lord! who beareth our burdens, and see that you give Him yours to bear. Listen to Him who hath said, ‘Come unto Me all ye that . . . are heavy laden, and I will give you rest.’Psalm 68:19-20. Blessed be the Lord, &c. — Having surveyed God’s dispensations of grace and mercy to his church and people, thus manifested in their redemption and salvation, the psalmist is so overcome with gratitude for them, that he thus breaks forth abruptly in praise and thanksgiving; who daily loadeth us with his benefits — Who, besides the great and glorious blessing of our redemption, once wrought for us, is daily conferring new favours upon us. So many and so weighty are the gifts of God’s bounty to us, that he may be truly said to load us with them; and so incessant are they, and so unwearied is he in doing us good, that he daily loads us with them, according as the necessity of every day requires. Even the God of our salvation — The only author and finisher of our present and of our eternal salvation. He that is our God — Who is our Friend, Father, and God in covenant; is the God of salvation — He will not put us off with present things for a portion, but he will be the God of our salvation: and what he gives us now, he gives as the God of salvation, pursuant to his great design of bringing us to everlasting happiness. For that only will answer the vast extent of his covenant relation to us as our God. But has he power to complete this salvation? Yes, certainly; for unto the Lord our God belong the issues from death — The keys of hell and death are put into the hands of the Lord Jesus, Revelation 1:18. He, having made an escape from death itself, in his resurrection, has both authority and power to rescue his followers from the dominion of it, by altering the property of it to them when they die, and giving them a complete victory over it when they shall rise again; for the last enemy that shall be destroyed is death.68:15-21 The ascension of Christ must here be meant, and thereto it is applied, Eph 4:8. He received as the purchase of his death, the gifts needful for the conversion of sinners, and the salvation of believers. These he continually bestows, even on rebellious men, that the Lord God might dwell among them, as their Friend and Father. He gave gifts to men. Having received power to give eternal life, the Lord Jesus bestows it on as many as were given him, Joh 17:2. Christ came to a rebellious world, not to condemn it, but that through him it might be saved. The glory of Zion's King is, that he is a Saviour and Benefactor to all his willing people, and a consuming fire to all that persist in rebellion against him. So many, so weighty are the gifts of God's bounty, that he may be truly said to load us with them. He will not put us off with present things for a portion, but will be the God of our salvation. The Lord Jesus has authority and power to rescue his people from the dominion of death, by taking away the sting of it from them when they die, and giving them complete victory over it when they rise again. The crown of the head, the chief pride and glory of the enemy, shall be smitten; Christ shall crush the head of the serpent.Blessed be the Lord, who daily loadeth us with benefits ... - literally, "day, day;" that is, day by day; or, constantly. The words "with benefits" are not in the original, and they do not convey the true idea of the passage. The word rendered "loadeth" means to take up; to lift, as a stone, Zechariah 12:3; to bear, to carry, Isaiah 46:3. Then it means "to take up and place upon a beast of burden;" to load, Isaiah 46:1; Genesis 44:13. Hence, it means to impose or lay a burden or a load on one; and the idea here is, "Blessed be the Lord God even if he lays a burden on us, and if he does this daily, for he is the God of our salvation." He enables us to bear it; he gives us strength; and finally he delivers us from it. "Though," therefore, he constantly lays on us a burden, he as constantly aids us to bear it. He does not leave us. He enables us to triumph in him, and through him; and we have occasion constantly to honor and to praise his name. This accords with the experience of all his people, that however heavy may be the burden laid on them, and however constant their trials, they find him as constant a helper, and they daily have occasion to praise and bless him. 19-21. God daily and fully supplies us. The issues or escapes from death are under His control, who is the God that saves us, and destroys His and our enemies. Who daily loadeth us with benefits; and besides that great and glorious blessing of his ascension which once he wrought for us, he is daily conferring new favours upon us. Heb. who layeth load upon us; which may be understood either,

1. Of the burden of afflictions, for which God’s people have cause to bless God upon many accounts. Or rather,

2. Of mercies and favours, which is more agreeable to the context; wherewith in common speech men are said to be loaded by another when they receive them from him in great abundance.

The God of our salvation; the only Author and Finisher both of our present and of our eternal salvation. Blessed be the Lord, who daily loadeth us with benefits,.... With all spiritual blessings, with an abundance of grace, as well as with temporal mercies, for which he is, and ought to be, praised day by day: so Aben Ezra and Kimchi supply the text, and suppose the word "blessings" or "goodness" to be wanting; though the words may be rendered, "blessed be the Lord day by day, he will hear us", or "carry us" (o); as a father his child, or a shepherd his lambs; and so he does from the womb, even to hoary hairs; and therefore blessing and praise should be ascribed to him; see Isaiah 46:3; or "he will put a burden upon us" (p); meaning the burden of afflictions: these are of the Lord's laying upon his people; and he will lay no more upon them than he will enable them to bear; and will, in his own time and way, deliver them from them, and be the author of salvation to them, as follows; and therefore his name is to be praised, 1 Corinthians 10:13; the Targum interprets it of the burdensomeness of the law;

"blessed be the Lord every day, he burdens us, adding precepts unto precepts;''

even the God of our salvation; the author of temporal, spiritual, and eternal salvation, as Christ is.

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

(o) "portal nos", Vatablus, Musculus; "bajulat nos", Cocceius. (p) "Onus imponit nobis", Lutherus, Gejerus.

Blessed be the Lord, who daily loadeth us with benefits, even the God of our salvation. Selah.
EXEGETICAL (ORIGINAL LANGUAGES)
19. Blessed be the Lord] We are again reminded of the Song of Deborah, Jdg 5:2; Jdg 5:9.

who daily loadeth us with benefits] Better, as R.V., who daily beareth our burden: or, as Aq., Symm., Jer. and Targ., who daily beareth us. In Isaiah 46:3-4, the same word is used in the phrase, “O house of Jacob … which have been borne by me”: and in Exodus 19:4; Deuteronomy 1:31; Psalm 28:9; the idea, though not the word, is the same. The R.V. marg. Blessed be the Lord day by day: if one oppresseth us, God is our salvation, involves the abandonment of the traditional accentuation, and gives a less satisfactory sense.

even the God of our salvation] In order to avoid the appearance of a grammatical blunder, the R.V. gives, Even the God who is our salvation. The whole verse might be rendered more exactly and forcibly:

Blessed be the Lord; day by day he beareth our burden:

God is our salvation.

On the position of Selah see note on Psalm 68:7.

19–23. The second part of the Psalm (19–35) begins here. From reviewing the triumphs of God in the past the Psalmist turns to the present and the future. God is an ever-present Saviour; He will take vengeance on the enemies of His people.Verse 19. - Blessed be the Lord, who daily loadeth us with benefits, even the God of our salvation; rather, blessed be the Lord day by day; he will bear (our burden) for us, (he is) the God of our salvation. The futures that now follow are no longer to be understood as referring to previous history; they no longer alternate with preterites. Moreover the transition to the language of address in Psalm 68:14 shows that the poet here looks forth from his present time and circumstances into the future; and the introduction of the divine name אדני, after Elohim has been used eleven times, is an indication of a new commencement. The prosperous condition in which God places His church by giving it the hostile powers of the world as a spoil is depicted. The noun אמר, never occurring in the genitival relationship, and never with a suffix, because the specific character of the form would be thereby obliterated, always denotes an important utterance, more particularly God's word of promise (Psalm 77:9), or His word of power (Habakkuk 3:9), which is represented elsewhere as a mighty voice of thunder (Psalm 68:34, Isaiah 30:30), or a trumpet-blast (Zechariah 9:14); in the present instance it is the word of power by which the Lord suddenly changes the condition of His oppressed church. The entirely new state of things which this omnipotent behest as it were conjures into existence is presented to the mind in v. 12b: the women who proclaim the tidings of victory - a great host. Victory and triumph follow upon God's אמר, as upon His creative יהי. The deliverance of Israel from the army of Pharaoh, the deliverance out of the hand of Jabin by the defeat of Sisera, the victory of Jephthah over the Ammonites, and the victorious single combat of David with Goliath were celebrated by singing women. God's decisive word shall also go forth this time, and of the evangelists, like Miriam (Mirjam) and Deborah, there shall be a great host.

Psalm 68:12 describes the subject of this triumphant exultation. Hupfeld regards Psalm 68:13-15 as the song of victory itself, the fragment of an ancient triumphal ode (epinikion) reproduced here; but there is nothing standing in the way that should forbid our here regarding these verses as a direct continuation of Psalm 68:12. The "hosts" are the numerous well-equipped armies which the kings of the heathen lead forth to the battle against the people of God. The unusual expression "kings of hosts" sounds very much like an ironically disparaging antithesis to the customary "Jahve of Hosts" (Bttcher). He, the Lord, interposes, and they are obliged to flee, staggering as they go, to retreat, and that, as the anadiplosis (cf. Judges 5:7; Judges 19:20) depicts, far away, in every direction. The fut. energicum with its ultima-accentuation gives intensity to the pictorial expression. The victors then turn homewards laden with rich spoils. נות בּית, here in a collective sense, is the wife who stays at home (Judges 5:24) while the husband goes forth to battle. It is not: the ornament (נוה as in Jeremiah 6:2) of the house, which Luther, with the lxx, Vulgate, and Syriac, adopts in his version,

(Note: "Hausehre," says he, is the housewife or matron as being the adornment of the house; vid., F. Dietrich, Frau und Dame, a lecture bearing upon the history of language (1864), S. 13.)

but: the dweller or homely one (cf. נות, a dwelling-lace, Job 8:6) of the house, ἡ οἰκουρός. The dividing of the spoil elsewhere belongs to the victors; what is meant here is the distribution of the portions of the spoil that have fallen to the individual victors, the further distribution of which is left for the housewife (Judges 5:30., 2 Samuel 1:24). Ewald now recognises in Psalm 68:14. the words of an ancient song of victory; but v. 13b is unsuitable to introduce them. The language of address in Psalm 68:14 is the poet's own, and he here describes the condition of the people who are victorious by the help of their God, and who again dwell peaceably in the land after the war. אם passes out of the hypothetical signification into the temporal, as e.g., in Job 14:14 (vid., on Psalm 59:16). The lying down among the sheep-folds (שׁפתּים equals משׁפּתים, cf. שׁפט, משׁפּט, the staked-in folds or pens consisting of hurdles standing two by two over against one another) is an emblem of thriving peace, which (like Psalm 68:8, Psalm 68:28) points back to Deborah's song, Judges 5:16, cf. Genesis 49:14. Just such a time is now also before Israel, a time of peaceful prosperity enhanced by rich spoils. Everything shall glitter and gleam with silver and gold. Israel is God's turtle-dove, Psalm 74:19, cf. Psalm 56:1, Hosea 7:11; Hosea 11:11. Hence the new circumstances of ease and comfort are likened to the varied hues of a dove disporting itself in the sun. Its wings are as though overlaid with silver (נחפּה, not 3. praet, but part. fem. Niph. as predicate to כּנפי, cf. 1 Samuel 4:15; Micah 4:11; Micah 1:9; Ew. 317 a), therefore like silver wings (cf. Ovid, Metam. ii.:537: Niveis argentea pennis Ales); and its pinions with gold-green,

(Note: Ewald remarks, "Arabian poets also call the dove Arab. 'l-wrq'â, the greenish yellow, golden gleaming one, vid., Kosegarten, Chrestom. p. 156, 5." But this Arabic poetical word for the dove signifies rather the ash-green, whity blackish one. Nevertheless the signification greenish for the Hebrew ירקרק is established. Bartenoro, on Negaim xi. 4, calls the colour of the wings of the peacock ירקרק; and I am here reminded of what Wetzstein once told me, that, according to an Arab proverb, the surface of good coffee ought to be "like the neck of the dove," i.e., so oily that it gleams like the eye of a peacock. A way for the transition from green to grey in aurak as the name of a colour is already, however, opened up in post-biblical Hebrew, when to frighten any one is expressed by פנים הוריק, Genesis Rabba, 47a. The intermediate notions that of fawn colour, i.e., yellowish grey. In the Talmud the plumage of the full-grown dove is called זהוב and צהוב, Chullin, 22b.)

and that, as the reduplicated form implies, with the iridescent or glistening hue of the finest gold (חרוּץ, not dull, but shining gold).

Side by side with this bold simile there appears in v. 15 an equally bold but contrastive figure, which, turning a step or two backward, likewise vividly illustrates the results of their God-given victory. The suffix of בּהּ refers to the land of Israel, as in Isaiah 8:21; Isaiah 65:9. צלמום, according to the usage of the language so far as it is now preserved to us, is not a common noun: deep darkness (Targum equals צלמות), it is the name of a mountain in Ephraim, the trees of which Abimelech transported in order to set fire to the tower of Shechem (Judges 9:48.). The Talmudic literature was acquainted with a river taking its rise there, and also somewhat frequently mentions a locality bearing a similar name to that of the mountain. The mention of this mountain may in a general way be rendered intelligible by the consideration that, like Shiloh (Genesis 49:10), it is situated about in the centre of the Holy Land.

(Note: In Tosifta Para, ch. viii., a river of the name of יורדת הצלמון is mentioned, the waters of which might not be used in preparing the water of expiation (מי חטאת), because they were dried up at the time of the war, and thereby hastened the defeat of Israel (viz., the overthrow of Barcochba). Grtz "Geschichte der Juden, iv. 157, 459f.) sees in it the Nahar Arsuf, which flows down the mountains of Ephraim past Bethar into the Mediterranean. The village of Zalmon occurs in the Mishna, Jebamoth xvi. 6, and frequently. The Jerusalem Gemara (Maaseroth i. 1) gives pre-eminence to the carob-trees of Zalmona side by side with those of Shitta and Gadara.)

השׁליג signifies to bring forth snow, or even, like Arab. aṯlj, to become snow-white; this Hiph. is not a word descriptive of colour, like הלבּין. Since the protasis is בּפרשׂ, and not בּפרשׂך, תּשׁלג is intended to be impersonal (cf. Psalm 50:3; Amos 4:7, Mich. Psalm 3:6); and the voluntative form is explained from its use in apodoses of hypothetical protases (Ges. 128, 2). It indicates the issue to which, on the supposition of the other, it must and shall come. The words are therefore to be rendered: then it snows on Zalmon; and the snowing is either an emblem of the glistening spoil that falls into their hands in such abundance, or it is a figure of the becoming white, whether from bleached bones (cf. Virgil, Aen. v. 865: albi ossibus scopuli; xii. 36: campi ossibus albent; Ovid, Fasti i.:558: humanis ossibus albet humus) or even from the naked corpses (2 Samuel 1:19, על־בּמותיך חלל). Whether we consider the point of comparison to lie in the spoil being abundant as the flakes of snow, and like to the dazzling snow in brilliancy, or in the white pallid corpses, at any rate בּצלמון is not equivalent to כּבצלמון, but what follows "when the Almighty scatters kings therein" is illustrated by Zalmon itself. In the one case Zalmon is represented as the battle-ground (cf. Psalm 110:6), in the other (which better corresponds to the nature of a wooded mountain) as a place of concealment. The protasis בפרשׂ וגו favours the latter; for פּרשׂ signifies to spread wide apart, to cause a compact whole - and the host of "the kings" is conceived of as such - to fly far asunder into many parts (Zechariah 2:10, cf. the Niph. in Ezekiel 17:21). The hostile host disperses in all directions, and Zalmon glitters, as it were with snow, from the spoil that is dropped by those who flee. Homer also (Iliad, xix. 357-361) likens the mass of assembled helmets, shields, armour, and lances to the spectacle of a dense fall of snow. In this passage of the Psalm before us still more than in Homer it is the spectacle of the fallen and far seen glistening snow that also is brought into the comparison, and not merely that which is falling and that which covers everything (vid., Iliad, xii. 277ff.). The figure is the pendant of the figure of the dove.

(Note: Wetzstein gives a different explanation (Reise in den beiden Trachonen und um das Haura equals ngebirge in the Zeitscheift fr allgem. Erdkunde, 1859, S. 198). "Then fell snow on Zalmon, i.e., the mountain clothed itself in a bright garment of light in celebration of this joyous event. Any one who has been in Palestine knows how very refreshing is the spectacle of the distant mountain-top capped with snow. The beauty of this poetical figure is enhanced by the fact that Zalmon (Arab. ḏlmân), according to its etymology, signifies a mountain range dark and dusky, either from shade, forest, or black rock. The last would well suit the mountains of Haurn, among which Ptolemaeus (p. 365 and 370, Ed. Wilberg) mentions a mountain (according to one of the various readings) Ἀσαλμάνος.")

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Psalm 68:18
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