Psalm 68:22
The Lord said, I will bring again from Bashan, I will bring my people again from the depths of the sea:
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EXPOSITORY (ENGLISH BIBLE)
(22) I will bring.—The meaning of this verse is very obscure. It is plainly another fragment of some ancient song quoted, we can hardly doubt, with reference to the return from captivity. “Bashan” and the “depths of the sea” (comp. Amos 9:1-10) may, in the quotation, only stand generally for east and west, the sea being here the Mediterranean. But most probably the original verse referred to the passage of the Red Sea and the contest with the king of Bashan.

Psalm 68:22-23. The Lord said — Purposed within himself, and promised by divers of his prophets, though not in the same words which are here used: see 2 Samuel 4:8. I will bring again from Bashan — I will repeat my ancient favours, and give my people, by David, as great deliverances as I formerly gave them when I saved them from the hand of Og, king of Bashan, who came out against them with all his forces, Deuteronomy 3:1; a deliverance often mentioned in succeeding parts of Scripture as one of the most eminent. I will bring my people again from the depths of the sea — I will appear as powerfully for them as I did when I delivered them from the Egyptian army, by giving them a safe passage through the Red sea. That thy foot may be dipped, &c. — The meaning is, that if the enemies of God’s people should continue to invade and harass them by war, they should be entirely cut off by the sword, and their slaughter be so great, as that the victorious army should be forced to trample on their dead and bloody bodies, and the dogs should satiate themselves by lapping up their blood. The words are the description of a complete victory, and of what happens after a bloody engagement. 68:22-28 The victories with which God blessed David over the enemies of Israel, are types of Christ's victory, for himself and for all believers. Those who take him for theirs, may see him acting as their God, as their King, for their good, and in answer to their prayers; especially in and by his word and ordinances. The kingdom of the Messiah shall be submitted to by all the rulers and learned in the world. The people seem to address the king, ver. 28. But the words are applicable to the Redeemer, to his church, and every true believer. We pray, that thou, O God the Son, wilt complete thine undertaking for us, by finishing thy good work in us.The Lord said, I will bring again from Bashan - On the situation of Bashan, see the notes at Psalm 68:15. There may be an allusion here to the victory achieved over Og, king of Bashan, in the time of Moses, Numbers 21:33-35. The idea may be that as, at that time, a victory was achieved over a formidable enemy, so in times of similar peril, God would deliver his people, and save them from danger. Or, as Bashan was the remote frontier of the holy land, the meaning may be, that God would bring his people from the remotest borders where they should be scattered. Another meaning is suggested by Professor Alexander, namely, that as the subject referred to in the subsequent verses is the "enemy" of God, the meaning may be that God would bring back his enemies for punishment, even from the remotest borders, when they were endeavoring to escape, and even when they supposed they were safe. The first of these opinions is probably the true one. God would rescue his people, as he had done from the attacks of the mighty king of Bashan; he would deliver them, as he had brought their fathers from the depths of the sea.

I will bring my people again from the depths of the sea - The words "my people" are not in the Hebrew, but they seem to be not improperly supplied by the translators. If so, the allusion is to the interposition of God in conducting his people through the Red Sea Exodus 14:22; and the idea is, that God would at all times interpose in their behalf, and deliver them from similar dangers.

22. Former examples of God's deliverance are generalized: as He has done, so He will do.

from Bashan—the farthest region; and—

depths of the sea—the severest afflictions. Out of all, God will bring them. The figures of Ps 68:23 denote the completeness of the conquest, not implying any savage cruelty (compare 2Ki 9:36; Isa 63:1-6; Jer 15:3).

The Lord said; either within himself, he purposed or he promised; for so he had done by divers of his prophets, though not in the same words which are here used, yet to the same purpose.

I will bring again from Bashan; I will repeat my ancient favours, and give my people as great deliverances as I formerly did, when I saved them from that great giant Og king of Bashan, who came out against them with all his forces, Deu 3:1; whom I delivered into their hand, as it there follows; which deliverance is oft mentioned in succeeding scriptures as one of the most eminent.

From the depths of the sea; from the Egyptians at the Red Sea, and from the Red Sea itself, through which I brought them with honour and safety, when it overwhelmed their enemies. The Lord said,.... Within himself, in his own heart; he resolved upon it in his mind; or he said it in council and in covenant; he undertook and engaged to do what follows; or he spoke of it in promise and in prophecy, as what would be done;

I will bring again from Bashan; as he delivered his people from Og king of Bashan formerly, Numbers 21:33; so he purposed and promised to ransom them out of the hands of him that was stronger than they; to recover them from the strong man armed, and deliver them from the power of darkness, and translate them into his own kingdom, and save them from all the bulls of Bashan; see Psalm 22:12; to which text Jarchi refers in the exposition of this; though some understand it of the fat and great ones of the earth, of the conversion of kings and princes, Psalm 22:29;

I will bring my people again from the depths of the sea; out of the most wretched and desperate condition, out of the depths of sin and misery; out of an helpless and hopeless state, in which they were through the fall, and their actual transgressions: the allusion is to the bringing of the children of Israel through the Red sea, and out of the depths of it, unto dry land: the Targum interprets the whole of the resurrection of the righteous, whether devoured by wild beasts, or drowned in the sea; see Revelation 20:13; some interpret the passage of the Lord's gathering of his people, in the effectual calling, from the east and from the west; from the east, signified by Bashan; and from the west, by the depths of the sea; see Isaiah 43:5.

The Lord said, I will bring again from {q} Bashan, I will bring my people again from the depths of the sea:

(q) As he delivered his Church once from Og of Bashan and other tyrants and from the danger of the Red Sea, so will he still do as often as it is necessary.

EXEGETICAL (ORIGINAL LANGUAGES)
22. The Lord said] The Psalmist either quotes some ancient promise, like that of Numbers 21:34, or proclaims a fresh message from God with the authority and in the language of a prophet:—The Lord saith. But what is the object of the verb I will bring again? (1) If with A.V. we supply my people, the meaning will be that God will bring the Israelites back to their own land from all the places in which they have been scattered, in order that they may witness a complete and final triumph over their enemies (cp. Micah 4:11-13). This is the interpretation of the Targ., and Delitzsch quotes from the Talmud a touching story which shews that it was current in early times. When, after the destruction of Jerusalem, a number of young and noble captives were being conveyed by ship to Rome, where a fate worse than death awaited them, they all flung themselves from the ship into the sea, trusting to the promise of these words. (2) But the context makes it more natural to supply, as R.V., them, i.e. the enemies spoken of in Psalm 68:21; Psalm 68:23. Though they hide themselves in the rock fastnesses of Bashan, nay in the very depths of the sea, they shall not escape, but be brought back to suffer a righteous vengeance. Cp. Amos 9:2-3, where Jehovah warns the sinful Israelites that no hidingplace will avail to shelter them from judgement. Bashan may be mentioned with allusion to Og, the depths of the sea with allusion to Pharaoh (Exodus 15:4 ff.).Verse 22. - The Lord said, I will bring again from Bashan, I will bring my people again from the depths of the sea. Our translators' interpolation of the words, "my people," is unhappy. The psalmist means to represent God as threatening his enemies, not as encouraging his faithful ones. Though his enemies (ver. 21) fly to Bashan and bury themselves in its woods, or though they even hide themselves in the depths of the sea, he will search them out, and "bring them back," that vengeance may be taken on them (see ver. 23). This victory of Israel over the kings of the Gentiles gives the poet the joyful assurance that Zion is the inaccessible dwelling-place of Elohim, the God of the heavenly hosts. The mention of Zalmon leads him to mention other mountains. He uses the mountains of Bashan as an emblem of the hostile powers east of Jordan. These stand over against the people of God, as the mighty mountains of Bashan rising in steep, only slightly flattened peaks, to little hill-like Zion. In the land on this side Jordan the limestone and chalk formation with intermingled strata of sandstone predominates; the mountains of Bashan, however, are throughout volcanic, consisting of slag, lava, and more particularly basalt (basanites), which has apparently taken its name from Bashan (Basan).

(Note: This is all the more probable as Semitism has no proper word for basalt; in Syria it is called hag'ar aswad, "black stone.")

As a basalt range the mountains of Bashan are conspicuous among other creations of God, and are therefore called "the mountain of Elohim:" the basalt rises in the form of a cone with the top lopped off, or even towers aloft like so many columns precipitous and rugged to sharp points; hence the mountains of Bashan are called הר גּבננּים, i.e., a mountain range (for הר, as is well known, signifies both the single eminence and the range of summits) of many peaks equals a many-peaked mountain; גּבנן is an adjective like רענן, אמלל. With this boldly formed mass of rock so gloomily majestic, giving the impression of antiquity and of invincibleness, when compared with the ranges on the other side of unstable porous limestone and softer formations, more particularly with Zion, it is an emblem of the world and its powers standing over against the people of God as a threatening and seemingly invincible colossus. The poet asks these mountains of Bashan "why," etc.? רצד is explained from the Arabic rṣd, which, in accordance with its root Arab. rṣ, signifies to cleave firmly to a place (firmiter inhaesit loco), properly used of a beast of prey couching down and lying in wait for prey, of a hunter on the catch, and of an enemy in ambush; hence then: to lie in wait for, lurk, ἐνεδρεύειν, craftily, insidiose (whence râṣid, a lier-in-wait, tarraṣṣud, an ambush), here: to regard enviously, invidiose. In Arabic, just as in this instance, it is construed as a direct transitive with an accusative of the object, whereas the original signification would lead one to look for a dative of the object (רצד ל), which does also really occur in the common Arabic. Olewejored is placed by גבננים, but what follows is not, after all, the answer: "the mountain - Elohim has chosen it as the seat of His throne," but ההר is the object of the interrogative clause: Quare indiviose observatis, montes cacuminosi, hunc montem (δεικτικῶς: that Zion yonder), quem, etc. (an attributive clause after the determinate substantive, as in Psalm 52:9; Psalm 89:50, and many other instances, contrary to the Arabic rule of style). Now for the first time, in Psalm 68:17, follows that which is boastfully and defiantly contrasted with the proud mountains: "Jahve will also dwell for ever;" not only that Elohim has chosen Zion as the seat of His throne, it will also continue to be the seat of His throne, Jahve will continue to dwell [there] for ever. Grace is superior to nature, and the church superior to the world, powerful and majestic as this may seem to be. Zion maintains its honour over against the mountains of Bashan.

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