Psalm 68:9
Thou, O God, didst send a plentiful rain, whereby thou didst confirm thine inheritance, when it was weary.
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(9, 10) Thou, O God . . .—The text of these two verses literally runs, A rain of gifts thou shakest out, O God, on thine inheritance, and when exhausted didst refresh it. Thy living creatures dwell therein; thou makest provision of thy goodness for the afflicted, O God. The rain of gifts has been variously explained as actual showers, blessings of prosperity, outpourings of the Holy Spirit. Both the latter might no doubt be implied in the expression, but some particular material blessing seems indicated, and in connection with the desert wanderings the rain of manna suggests itself. By thine inheritance we understand God’s people, as in Deuteronomy 4:20; Psalm 28:9, &c. The “living creatures” in the next verse will then probably be the quails; and a slight emendation, lately suggested, carries conviction along with it. It consists in bringing “thy living creatures” into Psalm 68:9, and, by the insertion of a letter, to read instead of “they dwell therein”—they are satisfied with it (comp. Psalm 78:24-25). This gives the rendering, and when it was exhausted thou didst refresh it with thy living creatures; they are satisfied therewith. (Burgess.)

Psalm 68:9. Thou, O God, didst send a plentiful rain, &c. — Hebrew, נדבות, גשׁם, geshem nedaboth, a rain of spontaneousness, or liberality. The Seventy render it, βροχην εκουσιον, a spontaneous, voluntary, or free rain. As we do not read of any showers of rain that fell during the continuance of the Israelites in the wilderness, except that before mentioned on Sinai, the people being supplied with water, partly from wells which they found, and partly by miracle from rocks, Dr. Chandler thinks the plentiful rain here mentioned “relates to the manna and the quails, which were rained down on them from heaven.” Thus God promised, I will rain bread from heaven for you, Exodus 16:4; and the psalmist observes, Psalm 68:23-24; Psalm 68:27, He opened the doors of heaven, and rained down manna upon them to eat, and gave them of the corn of heaven. He rained flesh also upon them as dust, and feathered fowls as the sand of the sea. “This,” he thinks, “may truly be called a kind of spontaneous shower; as both the manna and the quails offered themselves to their hands without any pains or labour in the people to procure them. By this shower, says the sacred writer, thou didst confirm thine inheritance, (see Deuteronomy 32:9;) that is, didst recruit and refresh thy people; for they greatly needed it, as they were weary; that is, tired, and almost worn out with hunger, the hardships of which they bore with great impatience and murmuring.” There is, however, one great objection to this interpretation of the passage. It does not seem to comport with the next verse, which speaks of the congregation of Israel as dwelling in the inheritance refreshed by this rain, which inheritance was certainly the land of Canaan. In this they had dwelt for many ages when David wrote this Psalm, and though they had sometimes been chastised with drought, yet they had often witnessed the descent of abundant rains upon their country, which were the more necessary and desirable, because it was hilly and of a dry soil, and not watered, like Egypt, by the overflowings of a great river. See Deuteronomy 11:10-11.

68:7-14 Fresh mercies should put us in mind of former mercies. If God bring his people into a wilderness, he will be sure to go before them in it, and to bring them out of it. He provided for them, both in the wilderness and in Canaan. The daily manna seems here meant. And it looks to the spiritual provision for God's Israel. The Spirit of grace and the gospel of grace are the plentiful rain, with which God confirms his inheritance, and from which their fruit is found. Christ shall come as showers that water the earth. The account of Israel's victories is to be applied to the victories over death and hell, by the exalted Redeemer, for those that are his. Israel in Egypt among the kilns appeared wretched, but possessed of Canaan, during the reigns of David and Solomon, appeared glorious. Thus the slaves of Satan, when converted to Christ, when justified and sanctified by him, look honourable. When they reach heaven, all remains of their sinful state disappear, they shall be as the wings of the dove, covered with silver, and her feathers as gold. Full salvation will render those white as snow, who were vile and loathsome through the guilt and defilement of sin.Thou, O God, didst send a plentiful rain - Margin, shake out. Prof. Alexander, "a rain of free gifts." The Septuagint and the Vulgate render it, "a voluntary or willing rain." The Syriac, "the rain of a vow." The Hebrew word translated "plentiful" means free, voluntary, of its own accord - נדבה nedâbâh - (See the notes at Psalm 51:12, where it is rendered free); then it means that which is given freely; and hence, abundantly. It means, therefore, in this place, plentiful, abundant. The reference, however, is to the manna, with which the people were supplied from day to day, and which seemed to be showered upon them in abundance. The word rendered "didst send" means properly to shake out, as if God shook the clouds or the heavens, and the abundant supplies for their needs were thus shaken out.

Whereby thou didst confirm thine inheritance, when it was weary - Thou didst strengthen thy people when they were exhausted, or were in danger of fainting. In other words, God sent a supply of food - manna, quails, etc. - when they were in the pathless wilderness, and when they were ready to perish.

9, 10. a plentiful rain—a rain of gifts, as manna and quails. Send a plentiful rain; either,

1. In the wilderness; where they oft wanted water, and were by God’s extraordinary care supplied with it. Or rather,

2. In the land of Canaan, which he calls God’s inheritance in the next words; as also Exodus 15:17, and in many other places of Scripture; in which God’s people are said to dwell in the next verse, of which, and the things done in it, lie speaks in the following verses, and which, being destitute of those constant supplies from the overflowings of a great river which Egypt enjoyed, God took a special care to supply with rain as occasion required; of which see Deu 11:10,11.

Confirm; or, stablish, or support, or sustain.

Thine inheritance; either thy people; or rather thy land, as was now said. Weary; dry and thirsty, and parched with excessive heat, and ready to faint for want of rain: compare Psalm 63:1.

Thou, O God, didst send a plentiful rain,.... Not of water literally taken, as when the Israelites passed through the sea, Psalm 77:17; or when the thunderings and lightnings were on Mount Sinai, at the giving of the law, which are commonly attended with rain, Exodus 19:16; or in the land of Canaan, which was the land that drank in the water of the rain of heaven, Deuteronomy 11:11; nor the rain of manna and of quails, as Arama, Exodus 16:4; but either the effusion of the Holy Spirit, ordinary or extraordinary; that, on the day of Pentecost, in consequence of Christ's ascension, prophesied of in this psalm, was a "plentiful" one indeed; when the disciples were filled with the Holy Ghost, and baptized with it: yea, the ordinary measure of the Spirit's grace in conversion is abundant, and exceeding abundant; it is shed abundantly through Christ, and superabounds sin, and may be called, as the words here signify, "a rain of liberalities" (s), or a free and liberal rain; for it comes from the free grace of God, and makes those on whom it descends a willing people in their obedience. The Spirit of God is a free Spirit; and, where he is, there is liberty, in the exercise of grace, and in the discharge of duty. Or else the ministration of the Gospel (t) is meant; which is compared to rain, Deuteronomy 32:2. This, especially in the first times of the Gospel, was a very large and plentiful one; it being sent all over the world, and brought forth fruit in every place: this was also a "liberal" one, flowed from the free grace of God; the subject of it is free grace; and the tendency and effect of it are, to make men free from the bondage of the law, and the spirit of bondage which that induces. The Targum is,

"thou hast let down the dews of quickening, and the rains of good pleasure;''

grace, or free favour;

whereby thou didst confirm thine inheritance when it was weary; that is, the church, as the Targum explains it; the inheritance of Christ, which he has chosen, the Father has given him, and he possesses: the people of God, "weary" with the burdensome rites and ceremonies of the law; with their own sins and corruptions, a burden too heavy for them to bear; with the sins of others, among whom they dwell; with the temptations of Satan, with which they are annoyed; with the persecutions of the men of the world, which make them weary sometimes, and faint in their minds; and with the common afflictions of life, which often make them weary of life itself. Now, by the plentiful ministration of the doctrines of the Gospel, accompanied with the Spirit and grace of God, the hearts of the Lord's people are refreshed, as the weary, dry, and thirsty land, is with a comfortable shower of rain; and by it weary souls have rest, or at least are directed by it to Christ, where they find it: and as the earth is "prepared" (u), as the word used signifies, by rain, for the nourishment of plants; so is the church by the Gospel, whose plants are an orchard of pomegranates, for the reviving and fructifying of those who are planted in it; whereby they appear to be trees of righteousness, and the planting of the Lord; and so are confirmed, settled, and established in the house of God, and in the truths of the Gospel.

(s) "pluviam munificentiarum", Montanus; "vel liberalitatum", Vatablus, Gejerus, Michaelis; so Ainsworth; to the same purpose the Tigurine version, Cocceius, Junius & Tremellius. (t) "Dicitur de pluvia", Psal. lxviii. 10. "quae effusionem Spiritus sancti, et praeconium evangelii designat". Stockius, p. 660. (u) "parasti eam", Michaelis; "praeparas", Gejerus.

Thou, O God, didst send a plentiful rain, whereby thou didst confirm thine inheritance, when it was weary.
9. Thou, O God, didst send &c.] Or, dost send, a general truth, illustrated by God’s dealings with Israel. The verse is explained by, many to refer to the manna and the quails which God ‘rained down’ upon the Israelites (Exodus 16:4; Psalm 78:24; Psalm 78:27); or generally, to all the gifts and blessings which He bestowed upon them in the wilderness. But ‘dwelt’ in Psalm 68:10 (though the word is sometimes used of the temporary sojourn in the wilderness, e.g. Numbers 25:1; Deuteronomy 1:46) is most naturally understood of the settlement in Canaan, and the antecedent to ‘therein’ must be ‘thine inheritance,’ i.e. the promised land, which is called God’s inheritance in Exodus 15:17; Jeremiah 2:7; Psalm 79:1; 2Ma 2:4, “The mount which Moses ascended and viewed the inheritance of God.” Psalm 68:9 will thus refer to the gracious preparation of the land of Canaan to be the home of Israel. In contrast to the land of Egypt from which they had come, and the wilderness through which they had passed, it was a land of abundant rain (Deuteronomy 11:10-12; Psalm 65:9): though it too had known what it was to be ‘weary’ with drought (Genesis 47:13). But a plentiful rain, lit. rain of bounteousnesses, is not perhaps to be limited to the literal meaning, but may include all blessings which God pours out upon His people of His gracious liberality.

whereby thou didst confirm] Omit whereby, which is not in the Heb. Confirm may mean stablish as in Exodus 15:17; Psalm 48:8; or prepare, LXX κατηρτίσω.

weary] Cp., though the word is different, Psalm 63:1.

Verse 9. - Thou, O God, didst send a plentiful rain. Not a literal rain, but a shower of blessings - manna, quails, water out of the rock, protection against enemies, victories, etc. Whereby thou didst confirm (or, establish) thine inheritance (see 2 Samuel 7:13). When it was weary. The wandering in the wilderness must have been inexpressibly dull and wearisome, especially to those who had left Egypt with the hope of a quick march through the waste, and a speedy entrance into "a land flowing with milk and honey" (Exodus 3:17). The "establishment" in Palestine under Joshua was a blessing that could not but be highly valued after well nigh a century of cruel bondage in Egypt, and forty years of aimless wandering in the Sinaitic peninsula. Psalm 68:9In Psalm 68:7. the poet repeats the words of Deborah (Judges 5:4.), and her words again go back to Deuteronomy 33:2, cf. Exodus 19:15.; on the other hand, our Psalm is the original to Habakkuk 3. The martial verb יצא represents Elohim as, coming forth from His heavenly dwelling-place (Isaiah 26:21), He places Himself at the head of Israel. The stately verb צעד represents Him as He accompanies the hosts of His people with the step of a hero confident of victory; and the terrible name for the wilderness, ישׁימון, is designedly chosen in order to express the contrast between the scene of action and that which they beheld at that time. The verb to זה סיני is easily supplied; Dachselt's rendering according to the accents is correct: hic mons Sinai (sc. in specie ita tremuit). The description fixes our attention upon Sinai as the central point of all revelations of God during the period of deliverance by the hand of Moses, as being the scene of the most gloriously of them all (vid., on Hab. p. 136f.). The majestic phenomena which proclaimed the nearness of God are distributed over the whole journeying, but most gloriously concentrated themselves at the giving of the Law of Sinai. The earth trembled throughout the extended circuit of this vast granite range, and the heavens dropped, inasmuch as the darkness of thunder clouds rested upon Sinai, pierced by incessant lightnings (Exodus 19). There, as the original passages describe it, Jahve met His people; He came from the east, His people from the west; there they found themselves together, and shaking the earth, breaking through the heavens, He gave them a pledge of the omnipotence which should henceforth defend and guide them. The poet has a purpose in view in calling Elohim in this passage "the God of Israel;" the covenant relationship of God to Israel dates from Sinai, and from this period onwards, by reason of the Tra, He became Israel's King (Deuteronomy 33:5). Since the statement of a fact of earlier history has preceded, and since the preterites alternate with them, the futures that follow in Psalm 68:10, Psalm 68:11 are to be understood as referring to the synchronous past; but hardly so that Psalm 68:10 should refer to the miraculous supply of food, and more especially the rain of manna, during the journeyings through the wilderness. The giving of the Law from Sinai has a view to Israel being a settled, stationary people, and the deliverance out of the land of bondage only finds its completion in the taking and maintaining possession of the Land of Promise. Accordingly Psalm 68:10, Psalm 68:11 refer to the blessing and protection of the people who had taken up their abode there.

The נחלהּ of God (genit. auctoris, as in 2 Macc. 2:4) is the land assigned by Him to Israel as an inheritance; and גּשׁם נדבות an emblem of the abundance of gifts which God has showered down upon the land since Israel took up its abode in it. נדבה is the name given to a deed and gift springing from an inward impulse, and in this instance the intensive idea of richness and superabundance is associated therewith by means of the plural; גּשׁם נדבות is a shower-like abundance of good gifts descending from above. The Hiphil הניף here governs a double accusative, like the Kal in Proverbs 7:17, in so far, that is, as נחלתך is drawn to Psalm 68:10; for the accentuation, in opposition to the Targum, takes נחלתך ונלאה together: Thine inheritance and that the parched one (Waw epexeget. as in 1 Samuel 28:3; Amos 3:11; Amos 4:10). But this "and that" is devoid of aim; why should it not at once be read הנּלאה? The rendering of Bttcher, "Thy sickened and wearied," is inadmissible, too, according to the present pointing; for it ought to be נחלתך or נחלתך. And with a suffix this Niphal becomes ambiguous, and more especially so in this connection, where the thought of נחלה, an inherited possession, a heritage, lies so naturally at hand. נחלתך is therefore to be drawn to Psalm 68:10, and Psalm 68:10 must begin with ונלאה, as in the lxx, καὶ ἠσθένησε σὺ δὲ κατεερτίσω αὐτήν. It is true נלאה is not a hypothetical preteriet equivalent to ונלאתה; but, as is frequently the case with the anarthrous participle (Ew. 341, b), it has the value of a hypothetical clause: "and if it (Israel's inheritance) were in a parched, exhausted condition (cf. the cognate root להה, Genesis 47:13), then hast Thou always made it again firm" (Psalm 8:4; Psalm 15:1-5 :17), i.e., strengthened, enlivened it. Even here the idea of the inhabitants is closely associated with the land itself; in Psalm 68:11 they are more especially thought of: "They creatures dwelt therein." Nearly all modern expositors take חיּה either according to 2 Samuel 23:11, 2 Samuel 23:13 (cf. 1 Chronicles 11:15), in the signification tent-circle, ring-camp (root חו, Arab. ḥw, to move in a circle, to encircle, to compass), or in the signification of Arab. ḥayy (from Arab. ḥayiya equals חיי, חיה), a race or tribe, i.e., a collection of living beings (cf. חיּי, 1 Samuel 18:18). But the Asaphic character of this Psalm, which is also manifest in other points, is opposed to this rendering. This style of Psalm is fond of the comparison of Israel to a flock, so that also in Psalm 74:19 חית עניין signifies nothing else than "the creatures [Getheir, collective] of Thy poor, Thy poor creatures." This use of חיה is certainly peculiar; but not so remarkable as if by the "creatures of God" we had to understand, with Hupfeld, the quails (Exodus 16). The avoiding of בּהמה on account of the idea of brutum (Psalm 73:22) which is inseparable from this word, is sufficient to account for it; in חיה, ζῷον, there is merely the notion of moving life. We therefore are to explain it according to Micah 7:14, where Israel is called a flock dwelling in a wood in the midst of Carmel: God brought it to pass, that the flock of Israel, although sorely persecuted, nevertheless continued to inhabit the land. בּהּ, as in Micah 7:15, refers to Canaan. עני in Psalm 68:11 is the ecclesia pressa surrounded by foes on every side: Thou didst prepare for Thy poor with Thy goodness, Elohim, i.e., Thou didst regale or entertain Thy poor people with Thy possessions and Thy blessings. הכין ל, as in Genesis 43:16; 1 Chronicles 12:39, to make ready to eat, and therefore to entertain; טובה as in Psalm 65:12, טוּב ה, Jeremiah 31:12. It would be quite inadmissible, because tautological, to refer תּכין to the land according to Psalm 65:10 (Ewald), or even to the desert (Olshausen), which the description has now left far behind.

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