Sing to God, you kingdoms of the earth; O sing praises to the Lord; Selah:
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EXPOSITORY (ENGLISH BIBLE)Sing praises . . .—Better, play and sing. The Selah, as in some other cases, is introduced where to our sense of rhythm it is quite out of place.Psalm 68:32-33. Sing unto God, ye kingdoms of the earth — Not only Egypt and Ethiopia, but other kingdoms and nations also, who shall partake of the same grace with them. To him that rideth upon the heavens of heavens — Upon the highest heavens, his truest and best sanctuary; dwelling there in infinite glory and majesty, and from thence looking down upon all the inhabitants of the earth, and ruling them by his almighty power, and therefore most fit to be acknowledged and received by all kings and kingdoms as their Lord and Governor; which were of old — From the very beginning of the world; whereas the ark was only a few hundreds of years old. Lo, he doth send out his voice — Thunder is described in Scripture as the voice of God, (Psalms 29.,) and is peculiarly awful and terrible in the eastern and warmer parts of the earth. But the word of God seems to be here meant, namely, the gospel, published by Christ and his apostles, with the Holy Ghost sent down from heaven; which might well be called God’s voice, and that a mighty voice, because it produced such great and wonderful effects, as are here mentioned, in converting the kings and kingdoms of the earth.
33 To him that rideth upon the heavens of heavens, which were of old; lo, he doth send out his voice, and that a mighty voice.
34 Ascribe ye strength unto God: his excellency is over Israel, and his strength is in the clouds.
35 O God, thou art terrible out of thy holy places: the God of Israel is he that giveth strength and power unto his people. Blessed be God.
"Sing unto God, ye kingdoms of the earth." Glorious shall that song be in which whole empires join. Happy are men that God is one who is consistently the object of joyous worship, for not such are the demons of the heathen. So sweet a thing is song that it ought to be all the Lord's; a secular concert seems almost a sacrilege, a licentious song is treason. "O sing praises unto the Lord." Again and again is God to be magnified; we have too much sinning against God, but cannot have too much singing to God. "Selah." Well may we rest now that our contemplations have reached the millennial glory. What heart will refuse to be lifted up by such a prospect!
"To him that rideth upon the heavens of heavens, which were of old." Before, he was described in his earthly manifestations, as marching through the desert; now, in his celestial glory, as riding in the heavens of the primeval ages. Long ere this heaven and earth were made, the loftier abodes of the Deity stood fast; before men or angels were created, the splendours of the Great King were as great as now, and his triumphs as glorious. Our knowledge reaches but to a small fragment of the life of God, whose "goings forth were of old, even from everlasting." Well might the Jewish church hymn the eternal God, and well may we join therewith the adoration of the Great Firstborn: -
"Ere sin was born, or Satan fell,
He led the host of morning stars.
Thy generation who can tell?
Or count the number of thy years?"
"Lo, he doth send out his voice, and that a mighty voice." Was there a thunder-clap just then heard in heaven? Or did the poet's mind flash backward to the time when from the heaven of heavens the voice of Jehovah broke the long silence and said, "Light be," and light was. To this hour, the voice of God is power. This gospel, which utters and reveals his word, is the power of God unto salvation to every one that believeth. Our voices are fitly called to praise him whose voice spoke us into being, and gives us the effectual grace which secures our well-being.
continued...Revelation 11:15. These are called upon to sing songs and hymns of praise to Christ, who is God, for redemption by him, and salvation in him; and for their deliverance from all the darkness and delusions under which they formerly were;
O sing praises unto the Lord; the Lord of all, the Lord of lords, the Head of the church, and Saviour of the body; and whom those converted nations will acknowledge to be their Lord and King; and make their homage, and bring their tribute of praise to him, for breaking the antichristian yokes that were upon them, and freeing them from the tyranny and bondage with which they were oppressed: this will be fulfilled in the latter day; see Revelation 11:1.
Selah; on this word; see Gill on Psalm 3:2.Sing unto God, ye kingdoms of the earth; O sing praises unto the Lord; Selah:
EXEGETICAL (ORIGINAL LANGUAGES)32. The kingdoms of the earth are invited to reecho Israel’s chorus of praise, Psalm 68:4. Cp. Revelation 11:15 The musical interlude (Selah) may suggest the outbreak of the chorus of universal praise.
32–35. All nations are summoned to unite in praising Israel’s God.Verse 32. - Sing unto God, ye kingdoms of the earth; O sing praises unto the Lord. All the world powers having submitted to the Church, all the kingdoms of the earth can be called upon to join in the praise of God.
(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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