Psalm 68:31
Princes shall come out of Egypt; Ethiopia shall soon stretch out her hands to God.
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EXPOSITORY (ENGLISH BIBLE)
(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.

EXEGETICAL (ORIGINAL LANGUAGES)
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. Now begins the second circuit of the hymn. Comforted by the majestic picture of the future that he has beheld, the poet returns to the present, in which Israel is still oppressed, but yet not forsaken by God. The translation follows the accentuation, regular and in accordance with the sense, which has been restored by Baer after Heidenheim, viz., אדני has Zarka, and יעמס לנוּ Olewejored preceded by the sub-distinctive Rebia parvum; it is therefore: Benedictus Dominator: quotidie bajulat nobis, - with which the Targum, Rashi, and Kimchi agree.

(Note: According to the customary accentuation the second יום has Mercha or Olewejored, and יעמס־לנוּ, Mugrash. But this Mugrash has the position of the accents of the Silluk-member against it; for although it does exceptionally occur that two conjunctives follow Mugrash (Accentsystem, xvii. 5), yet these cannot in any case be Mahpach sarkatum and Illui.)

עמס, like נשׂא and סבל, unites the significations to lay a burden upon one (Zechariah 12:3; Isaiah 46:1, Isaiah 46:3), and to carry a burden; with על it signifies to lay a burden upon any one, here with ל to take up a burden for any one and to bear it for him. It is the burden or pressure of the hostile world that is meant, which the Lord day by day helps His church to bear, inasmuch as He is mighty by His strength in her who of herself is so feeble. The divine name אל, as being the subject of the sentence, is האל: God is our salvation. The music here again strikes in forte, and the same thought that is emphasized by the music in its turn, is also repeated in Psalm 68:21 with heightened expression: God is to us a God למושׁעות, who grants us help in rich abundance. The pluralet. denotes not so much the many single proofs of help, as the riches of rescuing power and grace. In Psalm 68:21 למּות corresponds to the לנוּ; for it is not to be construed תּוצאות למּות: Jahve's, the Lord, are the outgoings to death (Bttcher), i.e., He can command that one shall not fall a prey to death. תוצאות, the parallel word to מושׁעות, signifies, and it is the most natural meaning, the escapings; יצא, evadere, as in 1 Samuel 14:41; 2 Kings 13:5; Ecclesiastes 7:18. In Jahve's power are means of deliverance for death, i.e., even for those who are already abandoned to death. With אך a joyously assuring inference is drawn from that which God is to Israel. The parallelism of the correctly divided verse shows that ראשׁ here, as in Psalm 110:6, signifies caput in the literal sense, and not in the sense of princeps. The hair-covered scalp is mentioned as a token of arrogant strength, and unhumbled and impenitent pride, as in Deuteronomy 32:42, and as the Attic koma'n directly signifies to strut along, give one's self airs. The genitival construction is the same as in Isaiah 28:1, Isaiah 32:13. The form of expression refers back to Numbers 24:17, and so to speak inflects this primary passage very similarly to Jeremiah 48:45. If קדקד שׂער be an object, then ראשׁ ought also to be a second object (that of the member of the body); the order of the words does not in itself forbid this (cf. Psalm 3:8 with Deuteronomy 33:11), but would require a different arrangement in order to avoid ambiguities.

In Psalm 68:23 the poet hears a divine utterance, or records one that he has heard: "From Bashan will I bring back, I will bring back from the eddies of the sea (from צוּל equals צלל, to whiz, rattle; to whirl, eddy), i.e., the depths or abysses of the sea." Whom? When after the destruction of Jerusalem a ship set sail for Rome with a freight of distinguished and well-formed captives before whom was the disgrace of prostitution, they all threw themselves into the sea, comforting themselves with this passage of Scripture (Gittin 57b, cf. Echa Rabbathi 66a). They therefore took Psalm 68:23 to be a promise which has Israel as its object;

(Note: So also the Targum, which understands the promise to refer to the restoration of the righteous who have been eaten by wild beasts and drowned in the sea (Midrash: מבשׁן equals מבין שׁני אריות); cf. also the things related from the time of the Khaliphs in Jost's Geschichte des Judenthums, ii. 399, and Grtz' Gesch. der Juden, v. 347.)

but the clause expressing a purpose, Psalm 68:24, and the paraphrase in Amos 9:2., show that the foes of Israel are conceived of as its object. Even if these have hidden themselves in the most out-of-the-way places, God will fetch them back and make His own people the executioners of His justice upon them. The expectation is that the flight of the defeated foes will take a southernly direction, and that they will hide themselves in the primeval forests of Bashan, and still farther southward in the depths of the sea, i.e., of the Dead Sea (ים as in Isaiah 16:8; 2 Chronicles 20:2). Opposite to the hiding in the forests of the mountainous Bashan stands the hiding in the abyss of the sea, as the extreme of remoteness, that which is in itself impossible being assumed as possible. The first member of the clause expressing the purpose, Psalm 68:24, becomes more easy and pleasing if we read תּרחץ (lxx, Syriac, and Vulgate, ut intingatur), according to Psalm 58:11. So far as the letters are concerned, the conjecture תּחמץ (from which תמחץ, according to Chajug', is transposed), after Isaiah 63:1, is still more natural (Hitzig): that thy foot may redden itself in blood. This is certainly somewhat tame, and moreover מדּם would be better suited to this rendering than בּדם. As the text now stands, תּמחץ

(Note: The Gaja of the first closed syllable warns one to make a proper pause upon it, in order that the guttural of the second, so apt to be slurred over, may be distinctly pronounced; cf. תּבחר, Psalm 65:5; הרחיק, Psalm 103:12. So also with the sibilants at the beginning of the second syllable, e.g., תּדשׁא, Genesis 1:11, in accordance with which, in Genesis 14:1; Genesis 53:2, we must write השׁתיתו והתעיבו.)

is equivalent to תּמחצם (them, viz., the enemies), and רגלך בּדם is an adverbial clause (setting or plunging thy foot in blood). It is, however, also possible that מחץ is used like Arab. machaḍa (vehementer commovere): ut concutias s. agites pedem tuam in sanguine. Can it now be that in Psalm 68:24 from among the number of the enemies of the one who goes about glorying in his sins, the רשׁע κατ ̓ ἐξοχήν (cf. Isaiah 11:4; Habakkuk 3:13, and other passages), is brought prominently forward by מנּהוּ? Hardly so; the absence of תּלק (lambat) cannot be tolerated, cf. 1 Kings 21:19; 1 Kings 22:38. It is more natural, with Simonis, to refer מנּהוּ back to לשׁון (a word which is usually fem., but sometimes perhaps is masc., Psalm 22:16; Proverbs 26:28); and, since side by side with ממּנוּ only מנהוּ occurs anywhere else (Ew. 263, b), to take it in the signification pars ejus (מן from מנן equals מגה, after the form גּז, חן, קץ, of the same meaning as מגה, מנת, Psalm 63:11), in favour of which Hupfeld also decides.

What is now described in Psalm 68:25-28, is not the rejoicing over a victory gained in the immediate past, nor the rejoicing over the earlier deliverance at the Red Sea, but Israel's joyful celebration when it shall have experienced the avenging and redemptive work of its God and King. According to Psalm 77:14; Habakkuk 3:6, הליכות appears to be God's march against the enemy; but what follows shows that the pompa magnifica of God is intended, after He has overcome the enemy. Israel's festival of victory is looked upon as a triumphal procession of God Himself, the King, who governs in holiness, and has now subjugated and humbled the unholy world; בּקּדשׁ as in Psalm 68:18. The rendering "in the sanctuary' is very natural in this passage, but Exodus 15:11; Psalm 77:14, are against it. The subject of ראוּ is all the world, more especially those of the heathen who have escaped the slaughter. The perfect signifies: they have seen, just as קדּמוּ, they have occupied the front position. Singers head the procession, after them (אחר,

(Note: This אחר, according to B. Nedarim 37b, is a so-called עטור סופרים (ablatio scribarum), the sopherim (sofrim) who watched over the faithful preservation of the text having removed the reading ואחר, so natural according to the sense, here as in Genesis 18:5; Genesis 24:55; Numbers 31:2, and marked it as not genuine.)

an adverb as in Genesis 22:13; Exodus 5:1) players upon citherns and harps (נגנים, participle to נגּן), and on either side virgins with timbrels (Spanish adufe); תּופפות, apocopated part. Poel with the retension of ē (cf. שׁוקקה, Psalm 107:9), from תּפף, to strike the תּף (Arab. duff). It is a retrospective reference to the song at the Sea, now again come into life, which Miriam and the women of Israel sang amidst the music of timbrels. The deliverance which is now being celebrated is the counterpart of the deliverance out of Egypt. Songs resound as in Psalm 68:27, "in gatherings of the congregation (and, so to speak, in full choirs) praise ye Elohim." מקהלות (מקהלים, Psalm 26:12) is the plural to קהל (Psalm 22:23), which forms none of its own (cf. post-biblical קהלּות from קהלּה). Psalm 68:27 is abridged from ברכו אדני אשׁר אתם ממקור ישראל, praise ye the Lord, ye who have Israel for your fountainhead. אדני, in accordance with the sense, has Mugrash. Israel is here the name of the patriarch, from whom as from its fountainhead the nation has spread itself abroad; cf. Isaiah 48:1; Isaiah 51:1, and as to the syntax ממּך, those who descend from thee, Isaiah 58:12. In the festive assembly all the tribes of Israel are represented by their princes. Two each from the southern and northern tribes are mentioned. Out of Benjamin was Israel's first king, the first royal victor over the Gentiles; and in Benjamin, according to the promise (Deuteronomy 33:12) and according to the accounts of the boundaries (Joshua 18:16., Joshua 15:7.), lay the sanctuary of Israel. Thus, therefore, the tribe which, according both to order of birth (Genesis 43:29.) and also extent of jurisdiction and numbers (1 Samuel 9:21), was "little," was honoured beyond the others.

(Note: Tertullian calls the Apostle Paul, with reference to his name and his Benjamitish origin, parvus Benjamin, just as Augustine calls the poetess of the Magnificat, nostra tympanistria.)

Judah, however, came to the throne in the person of David, and became for ever the royal tribe. Zebulun and Naphtali are the tribes highly praised in Deborah's song of victory (Judges 5:18, cf. Psalm 4:6) on account of their patriotic bravery. רדם, giving no sense when taken from the well-known verb רדם, falls back upon רדה, and is consequently equivalent to רדם (cf. Lamentations 1:13), subduing or ruling them; according to the sense, equivalent to רדה בם (1 Kings 5:30; 1 Kings 9:23; 2 Chronicles 8:10), like המּצלם, not "their leader up," but ὁ ἀναγαγὼν αὐτοὺς, Isaiah 63:11, not equals רדיהם (like עשׂיהם, ראיהם), which would signify their subduer or their subduers. The verb רדה, elsewhere to subjugate, oppress, hold down by force, Ezekiel 34:4; Leviticus 25:53, is here used of the peaceful occupation of the leader who maintains the order of a stately and gorgeous procession. For the reference to the enemies, "their subduer," is without any coherence. But to render the parallel word רגמתם "their (the enemies') stoning" (Hengstenberg, Vaihinger, and others, according to Bttcher's "Proben"), is, to say nothing more, devoid of taste; moreover רגם does not mean to throw stones with a sling, but to stone as a judicial procedure. If we assign to the verb רגם the primary signification congerere, accumulare, after Arab. rajama VIII, and rakama, then רגמתם signifies their closely compacted band, as Jewish expositors have explained it (קהלם או קבוצם). Even if we connect רגם with רקם, variegare, or compare the proper name regem equals Arab. rajm, socius (Bttcher), we arrive at much the same meaning. Hupfeld's conjecture רגשׁתם is consequently unnecessary.

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