Psalm 69:31
This also shall please the LORD better than an ox or bullock that has horns and hoofs.
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EXPOSITORY (ENGLISH BIBLE)
(31, 32) The pre-eminence of praise above sacrifice is not infrequent in the Psalms. (Comp. Psalm 50:14.)

(31) That hath . . .—Literally, showing horns and dividing the hoofs, marking at once clean animals, and those of fit age for sacrifice.

69:30-36 The psalmist concludes the psalm with holy joy and praise, which he began with complaints of his grief. It is a great comfort to us, that humble and thankful praises are more pleasing to God than the most costly, pompous sacrifices. The humble shall look to him, and be glad; those that seek him through Christ shall live and be comforted. God will do great things for the gospel church, in which let all who wish well to it rejoice. A seed shall serve him on earth, and his servants shall inherit his heavenly kingdom. Those that love his name shall dwell before him for ever. He that spared not his own Son, but delivered him up for us all, how shall he not with him also freely give us all things? Arise, thou great Restorer of the ancient places to dwell in, and turn away ungodliness from thy people.This also shall please the Lord - This will be more acceptable to the Lord.

Better than an ox or bullock that hath horns and hoofs - Better than a burnt sacrifice - horns, and hoofs, and all. The original here is, "horning and hoofing;" that is, an ox whose horns were fully grown, and whose hoofs were compact and solid; a perfect animal in its kind, offered whole on the altar. The psalmist does not say that such an offering would "not" be acceptable to the Lord, but that the offering of the heart - the sacrifice of praise - would be "more" acceptable than any such offering in itself considered. This sentiment accords with the common language of the Old Testament. See the notes at Psalm 40:6-8. Compare Psalm 51:16-17; 1 Samuel 15:22.

30, 31. Spiritual are better than mere material offerings (Ps 40:6; 50:8); hence a promise of the former, and rather contemptuous terms are used of the latter. This sincere and hearty sacrifice of praise is and shall be more grateful to God than the most glorious legal sacrifices, for so such moral services ever were, 1 Samuel 15:22 Hosea 6:6, and such sacrifices shall be accepted when those legal ones shall be abolished.

That hath horns and hoofs: this is added as a description and commendation of the sacrifice, or bullock, which he supposeth to be of the best sort, both tender and mature, as it is when the horns bud forth, and the hoofs grow hard. This also shall please the Lord,.... That is, this song of praise and thanksgiving. The Targum has it,

"my prayers;''

as if it retorted to Psalm 69:29; but what is expressed in Psalm 69:30 seems to be the proper antecedent to this, and which is a sacrifice; see Psalm 50:14; and more acceptable to God than any of the legal sacrifices, even when they were in force; and much more, now they are abrogated; and especially as offered up by the Messiah himself, all whose offerings are well pleasing to God; particularly the offering up of himself, which was for a sweet smelling savour to him, and in virtue of which all spiritual sacrifices of prayer and praise become acceptable unto God;

better than an ox or bullock that hath horns and hoofs; that is, than the best of legal sacrifices; as an ox or bullock was, whose horns and hoofs were grown; one of three years old, as Jarchi and Kimchi observe: the words may be literally rendered, "than an ox, than a bullock, than horns, than hoofs"; not only better than an ox or a bullock, but than any creature that has horns and hoofs; that is, than the lawful sacrifice of any animal whatever, as Junius renders and explains it.

This also shall please the LORD better than an ox or {y} bullock that hath horns and hoofs.

(y) There is no sacrifice which God values more than thanksgiving for his benefits.

EXEGETICAL (ORIGINAL LANGUAGES)
31. And it shall please Jehovah better than an ox,

(Or) a bullock that hath horns and hoofs.

The Massoretic accentuation makes one clause of the verse, reading it better than an ox-bullock: but the division of the clauses adopted by R.V. is preferable. The epithets are not merely ornamental: the horns shew that the animal is of full age; the hoofs allude to the definition of ‘clean’ animals in Leviticus 11:3 ff. But spiritual sacrifices of praise and thanksgiving are more acceptable than the most perfect animal victim. Cp. Psalms 50, 51.Verse 31. - This also shall please the Lord better than an ox or bullock that hath horns and hoofs; i.e. that is fit for legal sacrifice - of full age, and clean. The description of the suffering has reached its climax in Psalm 69:22, at which the wrath of the persecuted one flames up and bursts forth in imprecations. The first imprecation joins itself upon Psalm 69:22. They have given the sufferer gall and vinegar; therefore their table, which was abundantly supplied, is to be turned into a snare to them, from which they shall not be able to escape, and that לפניהם, in the very midst of their banqueting, whilst the table stands spread out before them (Ezekiel 23:41). שׁלומים (collateral form of שׁלמים) is the name given to them as being carnally secure; the word signifies the peaceable or secure in a good (Psalm 55:21) and in a bad sense. Destruction is to overtake them suddenly, "when they say: Peace and safety" (1 Thessalonians 5:3). The lxx erroneously renders: καὶ εἰς ἀνταπόδοσιν equals וּלשׁלּוּמים. The association of ideas in Psalm 69:24 is transparent. With their eyes they have feasted themselves upon the sufferer, and in the strength of their loins they have ill-treated him. These eyes with their bloodthirsty malignant looks are to grow blind. These loins full of defiant self-confidence are to shake (המעד, imperat. Hiph. like הרחק, Job 13:21, from המעיד, for which in Ezekiel 29:7, and perhaps also in Daniel 11:14, we find העמיד). Further: God is to pour out His wrath upon them (Psalm 79:6; Hosea 5:10; Jeremiah 10:25), i.e., let loose against them the cosmical forces of destruction existing originally in His nature. זעמּך has the Dagesh in order to distinguish it in pronunciation from זעמך. In Psalm 69:26 טירה (from טוּר, to encircle) is a designation of an encamping or dwelling-place (lxx ἔπαυλις) taken from the circular encampments (Arabic ṣı̂rât, ṣirât, and dwâr, duâr) of the nomads (Genesis 25:16). The laying waste and desolation of his own house is the most fearful of all misfortunes to the Semite (Job, note to Psalm 18:15). The poet derives the justification of such fearful imprecations from the fact that they persecute him, who is besides smitten of God. God has smitten him on account of his sins, and that by having placed him in the midst of a time in which he must be consumed with zeal and solicitude for the house of God. The suffering decreed for him by God is therefore at one and the same time suffering as a chastisement and as a witnessing for God; and they heighten this suffering by every means in their power, not manifesting any pity for him or any indulgence, but imputing to him sins that he has not committed, and requiting him with deadly hatred for benefits for which they owed him thanks.

There are also some others, although but few, who share this martyrdom with him. The psalmist calls them, as he looks up to Jahve, חלליך, Thy fatally smitten ones; they are those to whom God has appointed that they should bear within themselves a pierced or wounded heart (vid., Psalm 109:22, cf. Jeremiah 8:18) in the face of such a godless age. Of the deep grief (אל, as in Psalm 2:7) of these do they tell, viz., with self-righteous, self-blinded mockery (cf. the Talmudic phrase ספר בלשׁון הרע or ספר לשׁון הרע, of evil report or slander). The lxx and Syriac render יוסיפוּ (προσέθηκαν): they add to the anguish; the Targum, Aquila, Symmachus, and Jerome follow the traditional text. Let God therefore, by the complete withdrawal of His grace, suffer them to fall from one sin into another - this is the meaning of the da culpam super culpam eorum - in order that accumulated judgment may correspond to the accumulated guilt (Jeremiah 16:18). Let the entrance into God's righteousness, i.e., His justifying and sanctifying grace, be denied to them for ever. Let them be blotted out of ספר חיּים (Exodus 32:32, cf. Isaiah 4:3; Daniel 12:1), that is to say, struck out of the list of the living, and that of the living in this present world; for it is only in the New Testament that we meet with the Book of Life as a list of the names of the heirs of the ζωὴ αἰώνιος. According to the conception both of the Old and of the New Testament the צדיקים are the heirs of life. Therefore Psalm 69:29 wishes that they may not be written by the side of the righteous, who, according to Habakkuk 2:4, "live," i.e., are preserved, by their faith. With ואני the poet contrasts himself, as in Psalm 40:18, with those deserving of execration. They are now on high, but in order to be brought low; he is miserable and full of poignant pain, but in order to be exalted; God's salvation will remove him from his enemies on to a height that is too steep for them (Psalm 59:2; Psalm 91:14). Then will he praise (הלּל) and magnify (גּדּל) the Name of God with song and thankful confession. And such spiritual תּודה, such thank-offering of the heart, is more pleasing to God than an ox, a bullock, i.e., a young ox ( equals פּר השּׁור, an ox-bullock, Judges 6:25, according to Ges. 113), one having horns and a cloven hoof (Ges. 53, 2). The attributives do not denote the rough material animal nature (Hengstenberg), but their legal qualifications for being sacrificed. מקרין is the name for the young ox as not being under three years old (cf. 1 Samuel 1:24, lxx ἐν μόσχῳ τριετίζοντι); מפריס as belonging to the clean four-footed animals, viz., those that are cloven-footed and chew the cud, Leviticus 11. Even the most stately, full-grown, clean animal that may be offered as a sacrifice stands in the sight of Jahve very far below the sacrifice of grateful praise coming from the heart.

When now the patient sufferers (ענוים) united with the poet by community of affliction shall see how he offers the sacrifice of thankful confession, they will rejoice. ראוּ is a hypothetical preterite; it is neither וראוּ (perf. consec.), nor יראוּ (Psalm 40:4; Psalm 52:8; Psalm 107:42; Job 22:19). The declaration conveying information to be expected in Psalm 69:33 after the Waw apodoseos changes into an apostrophe of the "seekers of Elohim:" their heart shall revive, for, as they have suffered in company with him who is now delivered, they shall now also refresh themselves with him. We are at once reminded of Psalm 22:27, where this is as it were the exhortation of the entertainer at the thank-offering meal. It would be rash to read שׁמע in Psalm 69:23, after Psalm 22:25, instead of שׁמע (Olshausen); the one object in that passage is here generalized: Jahve is attentive to the needy, and doth not despise His bound ones (Psalm 107:10), but, on the contrary, He takes an interest in them and helps them. Starting from this proposition, which is the clear gain of that which has been experienced, the view of the poet widens into the prophetic prospect of the bringing back of Israel out of the Exile into the Land of Promise. In the face of this fact of redemption of the future he calls upon (cf. Isaiah 44:23) all created things to give praise to God, who will bring about the salvation of Zion, will build again the cities of Judah, and restore the land, freed from its desolation, to the young God-fearing generation, the children of the servants of God among the exiles. The feminine suffixes refer to ערי (cf. Jeremiah 2:15; Jeremiah 22:6 Chethb). The tenor of Isaiah 65:9 is similar. If the Psalm were written by David, the closing turn from Psalm 69:23 onwards might be more difficult of comprehension than Psalm 14:7; Psalm 51: If, however, it is by Jeremiah, then we do not need to persuade ourselves that it is to be understood not of restoration and re-peopling, but of continuance and completion (Hofmann and Kurtz). Jeremiah 54ed to experience the catastrophe he foretold; but the nearer it came to the time, the more comforting were the words with which he predicted the termination of the Exile and the restoration of Israel. Jeremiah 34:7 shows us how natural to him, and to him in particular, was the distinction between Jerusalem and the cities of Judah. The predictions in Jeremiah 32:1, which sound so in accord with Psalm 69:36., belong to the time of the second siege. Jerusalem was not yet fallen; the strong places of the land, however, already lay in ruins.

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