Psalm 68:20
He that is our God is the God of salvation; and to GOD the Lord belong the issues from death.
Jump to: BarnesBensonBICalvinCambridgeClarkeDarbyEllicottExpositor'sExp DctGaebeleinGSBGillGrayHaydockHastingsHomileticsJFBKDKellyKJTLangeMacLarenMHCMHCWParkerPoolePulpitSermonSCOTTBTODWESTSK
EXPOSITORY (ENGLISH BIBLE)
(20) He that is.—The insertion is unnecessary. Render, God unto us (i.e., our God) is a God of salvation.

Issues from death.—Literally, for death goings out. The same word rendered issues in Proverbs 4:23, there means sources. Here it will mean sources of death, or escapes from death as we connect the clause with what precedes or follows; Jehovah would provide an issue out of death for Israel, but a source of death to Israel’s enemies. The LXX. and Vulgate apparently take it in the former connection.

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.He that is our God is the God of salvation - literally, "God is for us a God of salvation." That is, The God whom we worship is the God from whom salvation comes, and who brings salvation to us. It is not a vain thing that we serve him, for he is the only being who can save us, and he will save us.

And unto God the Lord belong the issues from death - The "outgoings" or "escapes" from death. That is, He only can save from death. The Hebrew word means, properly, a going forth, a deliverance; then, a place of going forth as a gate, Ezekiel 48:30; a fountain, Proverbs 4:23. Probably the only idea intended here by the psalmist was, that safety or deliverance from death proceeds solely from God. The sentiment, however, is true in a larger sense. All that pertains to deliverance from death, all that prepares for it, all that makes it easy to be borne, all that constitutes a rescue from its pains and horrors, all that follows death in a higher and more blessed world, all that makes death "final," and places us in a condition where death is no more to be dreaded - all this belongs to God. All this is under his control. He only can enable us to bear death; he only can conduct us from a bed of death to a world where we shall never die.

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.20 He that is our God is the God of salvation; and unto God the Lord belong the issues from death.

21 But God shall wound the head of his enemies, and the hairy scalp of such an one as goeth on still in his trespasses.

22 The Lord said, I will bring again from Bashan, I will bring my people again from the depths of the sea.

23 That thy foot may be dipped in the blood of thine enemies, and the tongue of thy dogs in the same.

Psalm 68:20

"He that is our God is the God of salvation." The Almighty who has entered into covenant with us is the source of our safety, and the author of our deliverances. As surely as he is our God he will save us. To be his is to be safe. "And unto God the Lord belong the issues from death." He has ways and means of rescuing his children from death: when they are at their wit's end, and see no way of escape, he can find a door of deliverance for them. The gates of the grave none can open but himself, we shall only pass into them at his bidding; while on the heavenward-side he has set open the doors for all his people, and they shall enjoy triumphant issues from death. Jesus, our God, will save his people from their sins, and from all else besides, whether in life or death.

Psalm 68:21

"But God shall wound the head of his enemies." The Preserver is also the Destroyer. He smites his foes on the crown of their pride. The seed of the woman crushes the serpent's head. There is no defence against the Lord, he can in a moment smite with utter destruction the lofty crests of his haughty foes. "And the hairy scalp of such an one as goeth on still in his trespasses." He may glory in his outward appearance, and make his hair his pride, as Absalom did; but the Lord's sword shall find him out, and pour out his soul. Headstrong sinners will find that providence overcomes them despite their strong heads. They who go on in sin will find judgments come on them; and the adornment of their pride may be made the instrument of their doom. He covers the head of his servants, but he crushes the head of his foes. At the second coming of the Lord Jesus, his enemies will find his judgments to be beyond conception terrible.

Psalm 68:22

This verse, by the insertion of the words, "my people," is made to bear the meaning which the translators thought best; but, if their interpolated word is omitted we probably get nearer to the sense. "The Lord said, I will bring again from Bashan, I will bring again from the depths of the sea." Though his foes should endeavor to escape, they should not be able. Amos describes the Lord as saying, "Though they dig into hell, thence shall mine hand take them; though they climb up to heaven, thence will I bring them down: and though they hide themselves in the top of Carmel, I will search and take them out thence; and though they be hid from my sight in the bottom of the sea, thence will I command the serpent; and he shall bite them." As there is no resisting Israel's God, so is there no escape from him, neither the heights of Bashan nor the depths of the great sea can shelter from his eye of detection and his hand of justice. The powers of evil may flee to the utmost ends of the earth, but the Lord will arrest them, and lead them back in chains to adorn his triumph.

Psalm 68:23

"That thy foot may be dipped in the blood of thine enemies." Vengeance shall be awarded to the oppressed people, and that most complete and terrible. "And the tongue of thy dogs in the same." So overwhelming should be the defeat of the foe that dogs should lick their blood. Here "the stern joy which warriors feel" expresses itself in language most natural to the oriental ear. To us, except in a spiritual sense, the verse sounds harshly; but read it with an inner sense, and we also desire the utter and crushing defeat of all evil, and that wrong and sin may be the objects of profound contempt. Terrible is the god of Israel when he cometh forth as a man of war, and dreadful is even the Christ of God When he bares his arm to smite his enemies. Contemplate Revelation 19 and note the following: - "And I saw heaven opened, and behold a white horse; and he that sat upon him was called Faithful and True, and in righteousness he doth judge and make war. His eyes were as a flame of fire, and on his head were many crowns; and he had a name written, that no man knew, but he himself. And he was clothed with a vesture dipped in blood: and his name is called The Word of God.... And I saw an angel standing in the sun; and he cried with a loud voice, saying to all the fowls that fly in the midst of heaven, come and gather yourselves together unto the supper of the great God; that ye may eat the flesh of kings, and the flesh of captains, and the flesh of mighty men, and the flesh of horses, and of them that sit on them, and the flesh of all men, both free anti bond, both small and great. And I saw the beast, and the kings of the earth, and their armies, gathered together to make war against him that sat on the horse, and against his army, And the beast was taken, and with him the false prophet that wrought miracles before him, with which he deceived them that had received the mark of the beast, and them that worshipped his image. These both were cast alive into a lake of fire burning with brimstone. And the remnant were slain with the sword of him that sat upon the horse, which sword proceeded out of his mouth: and all the fowls were filled with their flesh."

Belong, i.e. they are only in his hand and power to dispose them as he pleaseth.

The issues, Heb. the outgoings or evasions, escapes or deliverances, as a Greek word of the same signification is used, 1 Corinthians 10:13. From death; or, in (as the Hebrew lamed is used, Psalm 16:10 31:17) death, i.e. the most deadly dangers, yea, even death itself, in and from which God through Christ delivers his people. He that is our God,.... Or "God for us" (q); is on our side; and is the mighty God, able to save to the uttermost;

is the God of salvation; or "God for salvations" (r); for the obtaining of them for his people, and giving them to them, even of every kind;

and unto God the Lord belong the issues from death; deliverance from it; Christ has abolished it, and him that had the power of it; has delivered himself from it, and will deliver all his people from it, though they become subject to it, as well as from eternal death; for he has the keys of hell and death in his hands. Some render the words, "to God the Lord belong the issues", or "ways unto death" (s); he has various ways of bringing persons to death, of destroying his and his people's enemies; and so Jarchi, Aben Ezra, and Kimchi interpret it; though the following words seem to be opposed to these: the Heathens had a notion that the power of death belonged to God; hence they had a deity called the god of death, "Dites" (t).

(q) "Deus nobis, vel est nobis", Pagninus, Montanus, Vatablus, Piscator. (r) "Deus ad salutes", Pagninus, Montanus, &c. (s) "ad mortem exitus", Pagninus, Montanus; "mille viae laethi", Lucan. (t) Macrob. in Somn. Scip. l. 1. c. 11.

He that is our God is the God of salvation; and unto GOD the Lord belong the {p} issues from death.

(p) Even in most extreme dangers, God has infinite ways to deliver his.

EXEGETICAL (ORIGINAL LANGUAGES)
20. God is unto us a God of deliverances;

And unto JEHOVAH the Lord belong the issues from death.

The plural denotes mighty and manifold deliverances. Cp. Psalm 44:4. God is printed in capital letters in the A.V. because it represents the sacred Name, for which Elôhîm, ‘God,’ was substituted by the Jews in reading, when Adônai, ‘Lord’ (the regular substitute) is joined with it. Even in regard to death God can provide ways of escape (cp. 1 Corinthians 10:13). In the uttermost extremity of peril, when death seems inevitable, He can devise means of deliverance. Nay, though Israel as a nation seems to lie dead in exile, He can bring it forth from that grave and give it new life (1 Samuel 2:6; Hosea 6:2; Ezekiel 37:1 ff.).Verse 20. - He that is our God is the God of salvation; rather, God is to us a God of saving deeds (Kay), or of deliverances (Revised Version); i.e. net of salvation only in the abstract (ver. 19), but of deeds by which we are saved. And unto God the Lord belong the issues from death. It is through God only that, when death threatens, men escape it. 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.")

Links
Psalm 68:20 Interlinear
Psalm 68:20 Parallel Texts


Psalm 68:20 NIV
Psalm 68:20 NLT
Psalm 68:20 ESV
Psalm 68:20 NASB
Psalm 68:20 KJV

Psalm 68:20 Bible Apps
Psalm 68:20 Parallel
Psalm 68:20 Biblia Paralela
Psalm 68:20 Chinese Bible
Psalm 68:20 French Bible
Psalm 68:20 German Bible

Bible Hub






Psalm 68:19
Top of Page
Top of Page