Psalm 68:28
Thy God hath commanded thy strength: strengthen, O God, that which thou hast wrought for us.
Jump to: BarnesBensonBICalvinCambridgeClarkeDarbyEllicottExpositor'sExp DctGaebeleinGSBGillGrayGuzikHaydockHastingsHomileticsJFBKDKellyKingLangeMacLarenMHCMHCWParkerPoolePulpitSermonSCOTTBTODWESTSK
(28) Thy God hath commanded.—Rather, with LXX. and the ancient versions generally, Ordain, O God, thy strength.

Psalm 68:28. Thy God, O Israel, hath commanded — Hath ordained, or effectually procured; thy strength — All that strength and power which thou hast effectually exerted at any time against thine enemies, and which is now greatly increased by the union of all the tribes under one head. In other words, the great power of the Israelites, and the height of glory and strength to which the kingdom of David had arisen, were the work of God. This naturally makes way for the petition following: Strengthen, O God, that which thou hast wrought in us — Let the foundation of our present happiness be firm and durable.

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.Thy God hath commanded thy strength - Has ordered thy strength to appear, or to be manifested. This is addressed, evidently, to the people of the land; and the idea is, that, on this occasion, God had called forth a full representation of the strength of the nation; or, as we should say, there had been a full "turn out." It was an impressive sight, showing the real strength of the people.

Strengthen, O God, that which thou hast wrought for us - Increase the strength thus manifested. Let it be still greater. The scene is now impressive and grand; make it still more so, by adding to the number and the prosperity of thy people. This is an illustration of the desire in the heart of every pious man that, whatever prosperity God may have given to his people, he would give a still larger measure - that however greatly he may have increased their numbers, he would add to them manymore. This desire of the heart of piety will not be satisfied until the whole world shall be converted to God.

28, 29. Thanks for the past, and confident prayer for the future victories of Zion are mingled in a song of praise.28 Thy God hath commanded thy Strength: strengthen, O God, that which thou hast wrought for us.

29 Because of thy temple at Jerusalem shall kings bring presents unto thee.

30 Rebuke the company of spearmen, the multitude of the bulls, with the calves of the people, till every one submit himself with pieces of silver: scatter thou the people that delight in war.

31 Princes shall come out of Egypt: Ethiopia shall soon stretch out her hands unto God.

The prophet now puts into the mouth of the assembly a song, foretelling the future conquests of Jehovah.

Psalm 68:28

"Thy God hath commanded thy strength." His decree had ordained the nation strong, and His arm had made them so. As a commander-in-chief, the Lord made the valiant men pass in battle array, and bade them be strong in the day of conflict. This is a very rich though brief sentence, and, whether applied to an individual believer, or to the whole church, it is full of consolation. "Strengthen, O God, that which thou hast wrought for us." As all power comes from God at first, so its continual maintenance is also of him. We who have life should pray to have it "more abundantly;" if we have strength we should seek to be still more established. We expect God to bless his own work. He has never left any work unfinished yet, and he never will. "When we were without strength, in due time Christ died for the ungodly;" and now, being reconciled to God, we may look to him to perfect that which concerneth us, since he never forsakes the work of his own hands.

Psalm 68:29

"Because of thy temple at Jerusalem shall kings bring presents unto thee." The palace of God, which towered above Jerusalem, is prophesied as becoming a wonder to all lands, and when it grew from the tabernacle of David to the temple of Solomon, it was so. So splendid was that edifice that the queen of far-off Sheba came with her gifts; and many neighbouring princes, overawed by the wealth and power therein displayed, came with tribute to Israel's God. The church of God, when truly spiritual, wins for her God the homage of the nations. In the latter-day glory this truth shall be far more literally and largely verified.

Psalm 68:30

"Rebuke the company of spearmen;" or, "the beasts of the reeds," as the margin more correctly renders it. Speak to Egypt, let its growing power and jealousy be kept in order, by a word from thee. Israel remembers her old enemy, already plotting the mischief, which would break out under Jeroboam, and begs for a rebuking word from her Omnipotent Friend. Anti-christ also, that great red dragon, needs the effectual word of the Lord to rebuke its insolence. "The multitude of the bulls," the stronger foes; the proud, headstrong, rampant, fat, and roaring bulls, which sought to gore the chosen nation, - these also need the Lord's rebuke, and they shall have it too. All Egypt's sacred bulls could not avail against a "thus saith Jehovah." Popish bulls, and imperial edicts, have dashed against the Lord's church, but they have not prevailed against her, and they never shall. "With the calves of the people." The poorer and baser sort are equally set on mischief, but the divine voice can control them; multitudes are as nothing to the Lord when he goes forth in power; Whether bulls or calves, they are but cattle for the shambles when Omnipotence displays itself. The gospel, like the ark, has nothing to fear from great or small; it is a stone upon which every one that stumbleth shall be broken. "Till every one submit himself with pieces of silver." The Lord is asked to subdue the enemies of Israel, till they rendered tribute in silver ingots. Blessed is that rebuke, which does not break but bend; for subjection to the Lord of hosts is liberty, and tribute to him enriches him that pays it. The taxation of sin is infinitely more exacting than the tribute of religion. The little finger of lust is heavier than the loins of the law. Pieces of silver given to God are replaced with pieces of gold. "Scatter thou the people that delight in war." So that, notwithstanding the strong expression of Psalm 68:23, God's people were peacemen, and only desired the crushing of oppressive nations, that war might not occur again. Let the battles of peace be as fierce as they will; heap coals of fire on the heads of enemies, and slay their enmity thereby. That "they who take the sword should perish by the sword," is a just regulation for the establishment of quiet in the earth. What peace can there be, while blood-thirsty tyrants and their myrmidons are so many? Devoutly may we offer this prayer, and, With equal devotion, we may bless God that it is sure to be answered, for "he breaketh the bow and cutteth the spear in sunder, he burneth the chariot in the fire."

Psalm 68:31

"Princes shall come out of Egypt." Old foes shall be new friends. Solomon shall find a spouse in Pharaoh's house. Christ shall gather a people from the realms of sin. Great sinners shall yield themselves to the sceptre of grace, and great men shall become good men, by coming to God. "Ethiopia shall soon stretch out her hands unto God." Cush shall hasten to present peace offerings. Sheba's queen shall come from the far south. Candace's chamberlain shall ask of Him who was led as a lamb to the slaughter. Abyssinia shall yet be converted, and Africa become the willing seeker after grace, eagerly desiring and embracing the Christ of God. Poor Ethiopia, thy hands have been long manacled and hardened by cruel toil, but millions of thy sons have in their bondage found the liberty with which Christ made men-free; and so thy cross, like the cross of Simon of Cyrene, has been Christ's cross, and God has been thy salvation. Hasten, O Lord, this day, when both the civilization and the barbarism of the earth shall adore thee, Egypt and Ethiopia blending with glad accord in thy worship! Here is the confidence of thy saints, even thy promise; hasten it in thine own time, good Lord.

Having spoken of Israel, and of their several tribes, Psalm 68:26,27, he now directeth his speech to them.

Hath commanded, i.e. hath ordained or effectually procured, as this word is oft used, as Leviticus 25:21 Deu 28:8 Psalm 42:8 44:4.

Thy strength; all that strength and power which thou hast put forth at any time in fighting with thine enemies, and which is now greatly increased by the re-collection and union of all the tribes under one head, which is the work of God himself, without whom all the differences and animosities which had for many years been among them could never have been composed and quieted. Seeing therefore all our strength is in thee and from thee alone, we pray unto thee for the continuance and increase of our strength, and that thou wouldst proceed to finish that good work which thou hast begun among us, by preserving, and confirming, and perpetuating this blessed union, and by giving us a more full and universal deliverance from our enemies.

Thy God hath commanded thy strength,.... Which is either an apostrophe or an address to the Messiah, as in Psalm 45:7; declaring, that as his God and Father had purposed and promised to send forth, so he had sent forth, the rod of his strength out of Zion, Psalm 110:1; that is, his Gospel, both into the several cities of Judea, and into the Gentile world, where it was the power of God unto salvation, both to Jew and Gentile: or else these words are spoken to the churches and congregations, in whom the Lord's name was to be blessed; or to the princes, rulers, and governors of them before mentioned, showing that the Lord has made good his promise to them, that as their day was their strength should be; and it was owing to their being strengthened by him that they walked up and down in his name, doing his work, and preaching his Gospel, both to Jews and Gentiles: to which they reply by petition,

strengthen, O God, that which thou hast wrought for us; which, if understood of the apostles, princes, and rulers, refers to the work of preaching the Gospel, and the success of it, desiring it might be more and more confirmed; and to the settlement of Christianity in the Pagan world, and also to the work of the reformation from Popery in later times; compare with this Revelation 3:2; if of the churches, and the members thereof, it may respect the carrying on and finishing the work of grace in them. It is rendered "in us" by the Septuagint and others; see Isaiah 26:12; for this work sometimes seems to be very low and weak, and needs strengthening, and it is God only that can do it, and he will do it, 1 Peter 5:10; and this shows that the grace of God is not only necessary at first conversion, but to be continued for the performing of the work of grace until the day of Christ.

Thy God hath commanded thy strength: strengthen, O God, that which thou hast wrought for us.
28. Thy God &c.] Israel is addressed; the first line is a summary statement of past experience, introduced as the ground of the prayer which follows. In past times God has given Israel strength; therefore Israel can now pray with confidence for the renewal and continuance of His support. But the Ancient Versions (LXX, Vulg., Symm., Jer. (some mss.), Syr., Targ.) read (the difference in the verb is simply in the vowels), O God, command thy strength: i.e. give charge to Thy power, put it forth. Cp. Psalm 42:8; Psalm 44:4. This suits the parallelism better, and avoids the abrupt and isolated address to Israel.

Strengthen, O God &c.] This rendering is grammatically questionable, and the R.V. marg. is to be preferred: Be strong, O God, thou that hast wrought for us; i.e. shew Thyself strong as in time past. Cp. Isaiah 26:12.

28–31. The purpose and sequel of the restoration of Israel is the conversion of the world; and the Psalmist now prays that God will display His strength and subdue all opposition, and sees the noblest of the nations hastening to pay Him homage.

Verses 28-35. - The psalmist now turns to the future. First, he prays that God will complete the work which he has begun by continually strengthening Israel (ver. 28). Then he rises to prophecy. Kings and princes shall bring presents to Zion; empires shall prostrate themselves; Egypt and Ethiopia shall hasten to bow down; all the kingdoms of the earth shall ultimately "sing praises unto the Lord." Israel and the God of Israel will thus be glorified exceedingly. Verse 28. - Thy God hath commanded (or, ordained) thy strength. It is fixed in the Divine counsels that Israel shall be strong. This was determined long ago, and is in course of accomplishment. But more is needed. The psalmist therefore prays, Strengthen, O God, that which thou hast wrought for us. Complete thy work; "strengthen the weak hands, and confirm the feeble knees;" weaken also and bring down our enemies (ver. 30). Psalm 68:28The poet now looks forth beyond the domain of Israel, and describes the effects of Jahve's deed of judgment and deliverance in the Gentile world. The language of Psalm 68:29 is addressed to Israel, or rather to its king (Psalm 86:16; Psalm 110:2): God, to whom everything is subject, has given Israel עז, victory and power over the world. Out of the consciousness that He alone can preserve Israel upon this height of power upon which it is placed, who has placed it thereon, grows the prayer: establish (עוּזּה with וּ for ŭ, as is frequently the case, and with the accent on the ultima on account of the following Aleph, vid., on Psalm 6:5), Elohim, that which Thou hast wrought for us; עזז, roborare, as in Proverbs 8:28; Ecclesiastes 7:19, lxx δυνάμωσον, Symmachus ἐνίσχυσον. It might also be interpreted: show Thyself powerful (cf. רוּמה, 21:14), Thou who (Isaiah 42:24) hast wrought for us (פּעל as in Isaiah 43:13, with ל, like עשׂה ל, Isaiah 64:3); but in the other way of taking it the prayer attaches itself more sequentially to what precedes, and Psalm 62:12 shows that זוּ can also represent the neuter. Hitzig has a still different rendering: the powerful divine help, which Thou hast given us; but although - instead of -ת in the stat. construct. is Ephraimitish style (vid., on Psalm 45:5), yet עוּזּה for עז is an unknown word, and the expression "from Thy temple," which is manifestly addressed to Elohim, shows that פּעלתּ is not the language of address to the king (according to Hitzig, to Jehoshaphat). The language of prayerful address is retained in Psalm 68:30. From the words מהיכלך על ירושׁלם there is nothing to be transported to Psalm 68:29 (Hupfeld); for Psalm 68:30 would thereby become stunted. The words together are the statement of the starting-point of the oblations belonging to יובילוּ: starting from Thy temple, which soars aloft over Jerusalem, may kings bring Thee, who sittest enthroned there in the Holy of holies, tributary gifts (שׁי as in Psalm 76:12; Psalm 18:7). In this connection (of prayer) it is the expression of the desire that the Temple may become the zenith or cynosure, and Jerusalem the metropolis, of the world. In this passage, where it introduces the seat of religious worship, the taking of מן as expressing the primary cause, "because or on account of Thy Temple" (Ewald), is not to be entertained.

In Psalm 68:31 follows a summons, which in this instance is only the form in which the prediction clothes itself. The "beast of the reed" is not the lion, of which sojourn among the reeds is not a characteristic (although it makes its home inter arundineta Mesopotamiae, Ammianus, Psalm 18:7, and in the thickets of the Jordan, Jeremiah 49:19; Jeremiah 50:44; Zechariah 11:3). The reed is in itself an emblem of Egypt (Isaiah 36:6, cf. Psalm 19:6), and it is therefore either the crocodile, the usual emblem of Pharaoh and of the power of Egypt (Ezekiel 29:3, cf. Psalm 74:13.) that is meant, or even the hippopotamus (Egyptian p-ehe-môut), which also symbolizes Egypt in Isaiah 30:6 (which see), and according to Job 40:21 is more appropriately than the crocodile (התנין אשׁר בּיּם, Isaiah 27:1) called היּת קנה. Egypt appears here as the greatest and most dreaded worldly power. Elohim is to check the haughty ones who exalt themselves over Israel and Israel's God. אבּירים, strong ones, are bulls (Psalm 22:13) as an emblem of the kings; and עגלי explains itself by the genit. epexeg. עמּים .gexep: together with (Beth of the accompaniment as in Psalm 68:31, Psalm 66:13, and beside the plur. humanus, Jeremiah 41:15) the calves, viz., the peoples, over whom those bulls rule. With the one emblem of Egypt is combined the idea of defiant self-confidence, and with the other the idea of comfortable security (vid., Jeremiah 46:20.). That which is brought prominently forward as the consequence of the menace is moulded in keeping with these emblems. מתרפּס, which has been explained by Flaminius substantially correctly: ut supplex veniat, is intended to be taken as a part. fut. (according to the Arabic grammar, ḥâl muqaddar, lit., a predisposed condition). It thus comprehensively in the singular (like עבר in Psalm 8:9) with one stroke depicts thoroughly humbled pride; for רפס (cf. רמס) signifies to stamp, pound, or trample, to knock down, and the Hithpa. either to behave as a trampling one, Proverbs 6:3, or to trample upon one's self, i.e., to cast one's self violently upon the ground. Others explain it as conculcandum se praebere; but such a meaning cannot be shown to exist in the sphere of the Hebrew Hithpael; moreover this "suffering one's self to be trampled upon" does not so well suit the words, which require a more active sense, viz., בּרצּי־כסףcep, in which is expressed the idea that the riches which the Gentiles have hitherto employed in the service of God-opposed worldliness, are no offered to the God of Israel by those who both in outward circumstances and in heart are vanquished (cf. Isaiah 60; 9). רץ־כּסף (from רצץ, confringere) is a piece of uncoined silver, a bar, wedge, or ingot of silver. In בּזּר there is a wide leap from the call גּער to the language of description. This rapid change is also to be found in other instances, and more especially in this dithyrambic Psalm we may readily give up any idea of a change in the pointing, as בּזּר or בּזּר (lxx διασκόρπισον); בּזּר, as it stands, cannot be imperative (Hitzig), for the final vowel essential to the imperat. Piel is wanting. God hath scattered the peoples delighting in war; war is therefore at an end, and the peace of the world is realized.

In Psalm 68:32, the contemplation of the future again takes a different turn: futures follow as the most natural expression of that which is future. The form יאתיוּ, more usually found in pause, here stands pathetically at the beginning, as in Job 12:6. השׁמנּים, compared with the Arabic chšm (whence Arab. chaššm, a nose, a word erroneously denied by Gesenius), would signify the supercilious, contemptuous (cf. Arab. âšammun, nasutus, as an appellation of a proud person who will put up with nothing). On the other hand, compared with Arab. ḥšm, it would mean the fat ones, inasmuch as this verbal stem (root Arab. ḥšš, cf. השׁרת, 2 Samuel 22:12), starting from the primary signification "to be pressed together," also signifies "to be compressed, become compact," i.e., to regain one's plumpness, to make flesh and fat, applied, according to the usage of the language, to wasted men and animals. The commonly compared Arab. ḥšı̂m, vir magni famulitii, is not at all natural, - a usage which is brought about by the intransitive signification proper to the verb starting from its radical signification, "to become or be angry, to be zealous about any one or anything," inasmuch as the nomen verbale Arab. hạšamun signifies in the concrete sense a person, or collectively persons, for whose maintenance, safety, and honour one is keenly solicitous, such as the members of the family, household attendants, servants, neighbours, clients or protgs, guest-friends; also a thing which one ardently seeks, and over the preservation of which one keeps zealous watch (Fleischer). Here there does not appear to be any connecting link whatever in the Arabic which might furnish some hold for the Hebrew; hence it will be more advisable, by comparison of השׁמל and חשׁן, to understand by חשׁמנים, the resplendent, most distinguished ones, perillustres. The dignitaries of Egypt come to give glory to the God of Israel, and Aethiopia, disheartened by fear before Jahve (cf. Habakkuk 3:7), causes his hands to run to Elohim, i.e., hastens to stretch them out. Thus it is interpreted by most expositors. But if it is ידיו, why is it not also יריץ? We reply, the Hebrew style, even in connection with words that stand close beside one another, does not seek to avoid either the enallage generis (e.g., Job 39:3, Job 39:16), or the enall. numeri (e.g., Psalm 62:5). But "to cause the hands to run" is a far-fetched and easily misunderstood figure. We may avoid it, if, with Bttcher and Olshausen, we disregard the accentuation and interpret thus, "Cush - his hands cause to hasten, i.e., bring on in haste (1 Samuel 17:17; 2 Chronicles 35:13), to Elohim," viz., propitiating gifts; תּריץ being the predicate to ידיו, according to Ges. 146, 3.

Psalm 68:28 Interlinear
Psalm 68:28 Parallel Texts

Psalm 68:28 NIV
Psalm 68:28 NLT
Psalm 68:28 ESV
Psalm 68:28 NASB
Psalm 68:28 KJV

Psalm 68:28 Bible Apps
Psalm 68:28 Parallel
Psalm 68:28 Biblia Paralela
Psalm 68:28 Chinese Bible
Psalm 68:28 French Bible
Psalm 68:28 German Bible

Bible Hub

Psalm 68:27
Top of Page
Top of Page