Psalm 68:35
O God, you are terrible out of your holy places: the God of Israel is he that gives strength and power to his people. Blessed be God.
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(35) Out of thy holy placesi.e., out of Zion. The plural “places” occurs also in Ps. lxxiii, 17 (Heb.).

Psalm 68:35. O God, thou art terrible — Hebrew, נורא, nora, venerable, yea, infinitely worthy to be both reverenced and feared. Out of thy holy places — Or, sanctuaries. “Heaven was his sanctuary of old; his earthly sanctuary was in Zion: he was worthy to be feared as inhabiting both, and he is represented as going out of them, to take vengeance on the enemies of his people, and as dreadful on account of the judgments which, from thence, as the places of his dwelling, he executes on them. He giveth strength and power to his people — Though the marks of his displeasure are dreadful to his enemies, yet he gives fortitude and courage unto his people, inspires them with resolution and vigour, and renders them victorious over all that oppose them. The psalmist adds, Blessed be God! And surely men and angels, heaven and earth, ought to say, Amen! All is from him; let all be returned to him, in praise and thanksgiving; and let the whole intelligent creation exclaim, Blessed be God, who hath so wonderfully blessed us! 68:32-35 God is to be admired and adored with reverence and godly fear, by all that attend in his holy places. The God of Israel gives strength and power unto his people. Through Christ strengthening us we can do all things, not otherwise; therefore he must have the glory of all we do, with our humble thanks for enabling us to do it, and for accepting the work of his hands in us.O God, thou art terrible out of thy holy places - The places where thou dwellest, and from which thou dost manifest thyself. That is, The manifestations which thou dost make of thyself when thou seemest to come forth from thine abode are "terrible," or are suited to fill the mind with awe. Compare Psalm 45:4, note; Psalm 65:5, note; Psalm 66:5, note.

The God of Israel - The God who is adored by Israel, or by his true people; our God.

Is he that giveth strength and power unto his people - He is not weak and feeble. He is able to protect them. He shows that he can gird them with strength; that he can defend them; that he can sustain them in the trials of life. The God whom they acknowledge as their God is not one whose strength fails, or who is seen to be feeble and powerless when his aid is needed. He is fully equal to all their needs, and they never trust him in vain. "Blessed be God." For all that he is, for all that he has done. This is the language of joy and praise in view of the contemplation of his character as depicted in the psalm. At the close of every right contemplation of his character, his government, his plans, his claims, his law, his gospel, the heart that is right will say, "Blessed be such a God." To one endowed with "such" attributes, praise - everlasting praise - is due.

32-36. To Him who is presented as riding in triumph through His ancient heavens and proclaiming His presence—to Him who, in nature, and still more in the wonders of His spiritual government, out of His holy place (Ps 43:3), is terrible, who rules His Church, and, by His Church, rules the world in righteousness—let all nations and kingdoms give honor and power and dominion evermore. Terrible; or, venerable; deservedly to be both reverenced and feared.

Holy places; or, sanctuaries. He useth the plural number; either,

1. Of the sanctuary in Zion, because the tabernacle and temple consisted of three parts; the court, the holy place, and the holy of holies. Or rather,

2. With respect to that twofold sanctuary here mentioned, one in Zion, and the other in heaven. And out of both these holy places God appeared, and put forth such acts of his power as might justly terrify his enemies.

God giveth strength and power unto his people; the strength which the kingdom of Israel now hath, is not to be ascribed to my valour or conduct, nor to the courage or numbers of the people, nor to that happy union now made, and established among all the tribes, but only to the might and grace of God. O God, thou art terrible,.... In his judgments and acts of vengeance, on antichrist and the antichristian states; being the Lion of the tribe of Judah, that will break them to pieces as a potter's vessel: or "reverend" (s); to be feared and worshipped by his saints;

out of thy holy places; both out of heaven, the habitation of his holiness, by angels and glorified saints there; and out of all his churches, the several assemblies of them, among whom he is greatly to be feared and adored: the Targum interprets it of the house of the sanctuary;

the God of Israel is he that giveth strength and power unto his people; his peculiar covenant people, his Israel he is the God of. These are weak, and encompassed about with infirmities; he has strength in himself for them; he has promised it to them, and he gives it to them as a pure gift and unmerited favour of his. It may be understood of the great degree of strength that will be given them in the latter day; when a small one shall be a strong nation, and the feeble shall be as David, and David as God, as the Angel of the Lord, Isaiah 60:21; and of the dominion and greatness of the kingdom under the whole heaven; which will be given to the saints of the most High, Daniel 7:27;

blessed be God: the psalm is concluded with an ascription of blessing to the Messiah, who is God blessed for evermore; and who, as Mediator, is the promised seed, in whom all nations were to be blessed, and now will be; see Revelation 5:12.

(s) "venerandus", Michaelis.

O God, thou art {d} terrible out of thy holy {e} places: the God of Israel is he that giveth strength and power unto his people. Blessed be God.

(d) In showing fearful judgments against your enemies for the salvation of your people.

(e) He alludes to the tabernacle which was divided in three parts.

35. O God, thou art terrible &c.] This rendering is retained in R.V., but grammar requires us to render (cp. R.V. marg.); Terrible is God out of thy sanctuary. Israel is addressed: and the verse is the answer of the nations to the summons of Psalm 68:34, acknowledging the awful might (Exodus 15:11; Deuteronomy 10:17; Psalm 47:2) which God displays from His sanctuary in the midst of Israel (cp. Psalm 68:29 note), recognising Him as the source of Israel’s preeminence, and in conclusion reechoing Israel’s watchword of praise, Blessed be God. Simpler but less forcible is the reading of LXX and Jer., out of his sanctuary, making the verse the Psalmist’s own conclusion.

thy holy places] Better, thy sanctuary, as the word is generally rendered (Exodus 15:17; Psalm 78:69; Psalm 96:6, &c.). The plural is an idiomatic plural of ‘extension’ or ‘amplification,’ denoting the various parts of the Temple, or its dignity.

the God of Israel is he that giveth] Better as R.V., the God of Israel, he giveth &c.

power] Or, mightiness. The subst. is found here only, but the adj. is common, cp. Deuteronomy 4:38; Isaiah 60:22.

unto his people] Cp. Psalm 29:11; Isaiah 40:29. Lit., the people, which stands out among the nations of the world as the people of His choice.

Thus the Psalmist’s outlook reaches forward to the final triumph celebrated in the Apocalyptic song, Revelation 15:3 f.Verse 35. - O God, thou art terrible out of thy holy places. "Terrible," i.e., in the things that thou accomplishest out of thy holy places," as Sinai, Zion, heaven. (On the "terribleness" of God, see Deuteronomy 7:21; Deuteronomy 10:17; Job 37:22; Psalm 47:2; Psalm 66:3, 5; Jeremiah 20:11; Zephaniah 2:11; Nehemiah 1:5; Nehemiah 4:14; 6:32; Hebrews 12:29.) The God of Israel is he that giveth strength and power unto his people (comp. ver. 28). Blessed be God. A worthy ending to this glorious hymn of praise.

The 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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