Psalm 68:31
Princes shall come out of Egypt; Ethiopia shall soon stretch out her hands unto God.
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(31) Princes.—Or, magnates.

Ethiopia.—Literally, Cush shall make to run his hands to God, an idiom easily intelligible, expressing hasty submission.

(32–35) A noble doxology, worthy of the close of one of the finest Hebrew hymns.

Psalm 68:31. Princes shall come out of Egypt — The word חשׁמנים, chashmannim, here rendered princes, is not found elsewhere in the Scriptures, and therefore its precise meaning is not certainly known. Elias, a Jewish rabbi, observes that the Jews call cardinals by this name in Italy: and the term is thought to signify a princely person accompanied by a numerous attendance. The Seventy render it πρεσβεις, elders, senators, or ambassadors. It does not appear from Scripture, whether any of the great men of Egypt came up to worship the true God at Jerusalem, while the temple was standing, or not. But it is certain that, in after ages, a great number of the inhabitants of Egypt were Jews, whether it was that they were of Jewish original, and whose ancestors had betaken themselves thither, or whether they were originally Egyptians who had embraced the Jewish religion. The Prophet Isaiah foretold, that it should come to pass that five cities in the land of Egypt should speak the language of Canaan, and swear to the Lord of hosts, that is, worship him. Ethiopia shall soon stretch out her hands unto God — Either in the way of humble supplication and submission, begging mercy of him, or to offer up the presents expressed Psalm 68:29. He only mentions Egypt and Ethiopia, as having been the great and ancient enemies of God and of his church, and as a most wicked and idolatrous people; but by them he understands all other nations of a like character. And he here expresses his hope, that the victories which he and the Israelites should gain over the neighbouring nations would induce even those which were more remote, and most addicted to idolatry, to come to Jerusalem, and join themselves to the worshippers of the true God. And his hopes were so far realized, that when, through the instrumentality of David, the surrounding “hostile powers were overthrown, and the church of Israel was fully established, the more distant nations, even those which had been most given to idolatry, sued for her friendship, and came to Jerusalem with gifts and oblations.” — Horne. But this prophecy, as also that contained in the next verse, evidently belongs to the times of the Messiah, when the Gentiles were to be brought to the knowledge and worship of the true God; with the thoughts and hopes whereof David often comforted himself in that confined and afflicted state of the church in his time.

68:29-31 A powerful invitation is given to those that are without, to join the church. Some shall submit from fear; overcome by their consciences, and the checks of Providence, they are brought to make peace with the church. Others will submit willingly, ver. 29,31. There is that beauty and benefit in the service of God, and in the gospel of Christ which went forth from Jerusalem, which is enough to invite sinners out of all nations.Princes shall come out of Egypt - That is, Shall come and acknowledge the true God. Egypt is referred to here as one of the most prominent of the foreign nations then known; and the idea is, that the distinguished men of foreign nations - the rulers and princes of the world - would come and submit themselves to God, and be united to his people. The word rendered "princes" here - חשׁמנים chashmaniym - occurs nowhere else in the Scriptures. It means, according to Gesenius (Lexicon), the fat; then, the rich; the opulent; nobles. It is the word from which the name "Hasmonean" (or Asmonean), which was given by the Jews to the Maccabees, or Jewish princes in the time of the Jewish history between the Old and New Testaments, is supposed to have been derived. The Septuagint, the Vulgate, and the Syriac, render it "legates" or "ambassadors." Luther renders it "princes." The reference is undoubtedly to men of station or rank.

Ethiopia - Hebrew, "Cush." On the meaning of this word in the Scriptures, see the notes at Isaiah 11:11.

Shall soon stretch out her hands - literally, "Shall make its hands to run." The expression denotes the eagerness or haste with which it would be done. The act is an act of supplication, and the reference is to prayer.

Unto God - To the true God. The nation will supplicate the mercy of God, or will worship him. The idea, in accordance with that in the previous verses, is, that the country here referred to would become subject to the true God. It is a view of the future; of the time when the nations would be converted to the true faith, or would acknowledge the true God. Whether this refers to the Cush in Arabia, or to the Cush in Africa (Ethiopia as commonly understood), it is a description of what will yet occur, for all these lands, and all other lands, will be converted to the true religion, and will stretch out their hands in supplication and prayer, and will find acceptance with God. Even Africa - wronged, degraded, oppressed, injured Africa - will do it; and the worship of her children will be as acceptable to the Universal Father as that of any other of the races of mankind that dwell on the earth.

31. Princes—or, literally, "fat ones," the most eminent from the most wealthy, and the most distant nation, represent the universal subjection.

stretch out her hands—or, "make to run her hands," denoting haste.

Egypt, Ethiopia: he names only these, as the great and ancient enemies of God, and of his people, and as a most wicked, and idolatrous, and incorrigible sort of men; see Jeremiah 13:23 Amos 9:7; but by them he synecdochically understands all other nations and people of the like character.

Stretch out her hands unto God; either in way of humble supplication and submission, begging mercy of him; or to offer up the presents expressed, Psalm 68:29. But this prophecy, as also the next verse, evidently belongs to the times of the Messiah, when the Gentiles were tel be brought in to the knowledge and worship of the true God; with the thoughts and hopes whereof David oft comforteth himself in that confined and afflicted state of the church in his time.

Princes shall come out of Egypt,.... The Vulgate Latin and all the Oriental versions render it "ambassadors". This verse is a prophecy of the conversion of the Gentiles, under the names of Egypt and Ethiopia; which will be at the same time that the kings of the earth will become Christians, and antichrist will be destroyed. The Gospel is said to be preached in Egypt by Mark the Evangelist; and no doubt but there were conversions there in the first times of the Gospel; but there will be more in the latter day; see Psalm 87:3. Unless we understand this of kings and princes, that shall leave the communion of the church of Rome, which is spiritually and mystically Egypt, and join themselves with the true churches of see Revelation 11:8. The conversion of every sinner is a coming out of Egypt; it is a call of them out of darkness and bondage, worse than that of Egypt, into light and liberty, when they are set among princes, even the princes of Christ's people;

Ethiopia shall soon stretch out her hands unto God; the Gospel is said to be preached in Ethiopia by the Evangelist Matthew, and also by Matthias, who succeeded Judas in the apostleship; by means of whose ministry there is reason to conclude some were converted: and we have an instance of a famous Ethiopian, that was converted and baptized by Philip, Acts 8:27; and who very likely carried the Gospel into this country, and spread it: so that this prophecy began to have its fulfilment then, but will have a greater hereafter; see, Psalm 87:4. All men are like Ethiopians, even God's elect, in a state of nature and unregeneracy: they are black with original sin and actual transgressions; and can no more remove this blackness than the Ethiopian can change his skin, Jeremiah 13:23. They are, like them, idolaters, serving divers lusts and pleasures, the idols of their own hearts; are in a state of distance, afar off from God and Christ, and from his people, word, and ordinances; and are enemies in their minds by wicked works, yea, enmity itself, and stretch out their hands against God; but when they are called and converted, and made sensible of their state, then they stretch out their hands unto God, as a gesture of sorrow, Jeremiah 4:31; expressing their sorrow for sin, as committed against God, and because of the evil that is in it; and look to Christ, and stretch out their hands to him, whom they have pierced, and mourn; and as a prayer gesture, Job 11:13. For, as soon as a man is converted, he prays and cries to God for pardoning grace and mercy, and to be cleansed from his sin, and to be openly received into his favour, and to enjoy communion with him; and as the gesture of a man in the utmost danger, who stretches out, his hand to lay hold on anything to save him; and so a sinner, sensible of its danger, and seeing Christ and salvation in him, it stretches out its hand, lays hold on him, and will have him and no other to be its Saviour, and receives his righteousness, and grace out of his fulness; and as the gesture of one that is conquered, resigning up himself into the victor's hands, as a token of submission, peace, and reconciliation (m); so sinners, in the day of Christ's power upon them, are made willing to submit and give up themselves to him. In the Hebrew text it is, "shall make her hands to run unto God" (n); that is, with an offering, gold or some treasure, to bring it unto God, as Aben Ezra, Kimchi, and Ben Melech, interpret it, which may very well be understood of the offering of themselves, as well as of the spiritual sacrifices of prayer and praise. The Targum is,

"the sons of Ham shall come, the great men out of Egypt, to be made proselytes; the children of Cush (or Ethiopia) shall run to stretch out their hands in prayer to God.''

Jarchi's note is,

"and then when thou shalt destroy Esau (his posterity), and the King Messiah shall arise, they shall bring to thee gifts out of Ethiopia.''

And so he owns this to be a prophecy of the Messiah; and so it is applied to the times of the Messiahs and to the nations bringing gifts to him, in the Talmud (o), and other Jewish writings (p).

(m) Vid. Caesar. Comment. de Bello Gallic. l. 7. c. 48. "Oremus pacem et dextras tendamus inermes". Virgil. Aeneid. 11. (n) "faciet currere", Pagninus, Montanus, Gejerus, Michaelis. (o) T. Bab. Pesachim, fol. 118. 2.((p) Shemot Rabba, s. 35. fol. 136. 4.

Princes shall come out {b} of Egypt; Ethiopia shall soon stretch out her hands unto God.

(b) He prophecies that the Gentiles will come to the true knowledge and worship of God.

31. Princes] Or, magnates. LXX πρέσβεις, ambassadors. The word occurs here only, and is of doubtful meaning.

shall soon stretch out &c.] R.V., shall haste to stretch out her hands unto God, either in token of submission (cp. Lat. dare manus); or in supplication (cp. Isaiah 45:14); or with gifts of homage (Psalm 72:10; Isaiah 18:7). Egypt and Ethiopia are often coupled together, and they are mentioned here as examples of the nations which come to pay homage, the one as the typical ancient enemy of Israel (cp. Isaiah 19:19 ff.), the other as a remote nation of noble appearance and formidable reputation (Isaiah 18:1; Isaiah 18:7). Cp. Isaiah 45:14. Their submission signifies that the most inveterate foes of God and His people, and the most remote and the noblest of the peoples of the world, acknowledge His supremacy. Morians in P.B.V. means ‘Moors,’ ‘blackamoors,’ the Heb. Cush being taken as a general term for ‘Africans.’

Verse 31. - Princes shall come out of Egypt. Then shall princely ambassadors come to Zion out of Egypt, and make submission (comp. Isaiah 43:3; Isaiah 45:14). Ethiopia shall soon stretch out her hands unto God. The Ptolemies, in their wars with Syria, often sought the favour of the Jews. Christian Churches at an early date were established both in Egypt and in Abyssinia, and some of the most promising mission fields today are in Africa. Psalm 68:31The 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.

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