Psalm 74:12
For God is my King of old, working salvation in the midst of the earth.
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(12) For.—Better, and, or and yet.

My king.—The poet speaks for Israel. (Comp. Psalm 44:4; Habakkuk 1:12.)

In the midst of the earth.—Or, as we might say, “on the great theatre of the world.” Certainly we must not render here land instead of earth, since the wonders of Egypt, &c, are the theme.

74:12-17 The church silences her own complaints. What God had done for his people, as their King of old, encouraged them to depend on him. It was the Lord's doing, none besides could do it. This providence was food to faith and hope, to support and encourage in difficulties. The God of Israel is the God of nature. He that is faithful to his covenant about the day and the night, will never cast off those whom he has chosen. We have as much reason to expect affliction, as to expect night and winter. But we have no more reason to despair of the return of comfort, than to despair of day and summer. And in the world above we shall have no more changes.For God is my King of old - That is, the king, or ruler of his people. The people had acknowledged him as their king and ruler, and he had showed himself to be such. This is given as a reason why he should now interpose in their behalf. It is an argument, proper always to be urged, drawn from the faithfulness and unchangeableness of God.

Working salvation in the midst of the earth - Salvation for his people. The reference here particularly is to what he had done for his people in delivering them from bondage in Egypt, and conducting them to the promised land, as is stated in the following verses.

12. For—literally, "And," in an adversative sense.12 For God is my King of old, working salvation in the midst of the earth.

13 Thou didst divide the sea by thy strength: thou brakest the heads of the dragons in the waters.

14 Thou brakest the heads of leviathan in pieces, and gavest him to be meat to the people inhabiting the wilderness.

15 Thou didst cleave the fountain and the flood: thou driedst up mighty rivers.

16 The day is thine, the night also is thine: thou hast prepared the light and the sun.

17 Thou hast Set all the borders of the earth: thou hast made summer and winter.

18 Remember this, that the enemy hath reproached, O Lord, and that the foolish people have blasphemed thy name.

19 O deliver not the soul of thy turtle-dove unto the multitude of the wicked: forget not the congregation of thy poor for ever.

20 Have respect unto the covenant: for the dark places of the earth are full of the habitations of cruelty.

21 O let not the oppressed return ashamed let the poor and needy praise thy name.

22 Arise, O God, plead thine own cause: remember how the foolish man reproacheth thee daily.

23 Forget not the voice of thine enemies: the tumult of those that rise up against thee increaseth continually.

Having spread the sad case before the Lord, the pleader now urges another series of arguments for divine help. He reasons from the Lord's former wonders of grace, and his deeds of power, imploring a repetition of the same divine works.

Psalm 74:12


My King, in a singular manner: it belongs therefore to thine office to protect and save me.

In the midst of the earth; in the view of the world; so saving thy people so eminently and gloriously, that all people round about them observed and admired it.

For God is my King of old,.... Or "but God", or "verily God", &c. (d); for these words contain the church's consolation under all the above melancholy circumstances, taken from what God was, and had been to her, even Christ, who is God over all; he was her King by the constitution and designation of his Father, and so he had been of old, even from everlasting; for so early was he set up as King; and he had in all ages been exercising his kingly office for the good of his church, and continued to do so; and this was her comfort, and is the comfort of saints in the worst of times, that Zion's King reigneth, see Psalm 46:1.

working salvation in the midst of the earth; it is "salvations" (e) in the plural number, and means both spiritual and eternal salvation, which the Lord has wrought out; and is continually applying to his people; and temporal salvation, which the Lord has been and is daily working out; he continually protecting his people, and saving them from their enemies, and delivering them out of their afflictions and temptations; and which the church considers and improves into an argument to encourage her faith, and expect the time when her walls would be salvation, and her gates praise; and she should have reason to say, now is come salvation and strength, and the kingdom of our God and the power of his Christ; and give him all the glory of it; see Isaiah 60:18, which salvation, as it has been, so will be wrought

in the midst of the earth; meaning not in the midst of the land of Judea, or in Judea, the middle of the world, but openly and publicly in all the earth; though Cyril of Jerusalem says (f) Golgotha is the midst of the earth, where Christ suffered and wrought out salvation; and that it is here referred to.

(d) "atqui Deus", Junius & Tremellius, Piscator; "at Deus" Vatablus, Cocceius; "equidem", Tigurine version; "certe", Schmidt. (e) "salutes", Pagninus, Montanus, Tigurine version, Cocceius, Gejerus. (f) Cateches. 13. sect. 13. p. 180. Vid. Amamae Antibarb. Bibl. l. 3. p. 798, &c.

For God is my King of old, working salvation {h} in the midst of the earth.

(h) Meaning in the sight of all the world.

12. For] Better as R.V., Yet. In spite of His present inactivity God has been and still is Israel’s King. The Psalmist speaks in the name of the nation. Cp. Exodus 15:18; Psalm 44:4; Habakkuk 1:12.

salvation] Lit. salvations, manifold and great acts of deliverance.

in the midst of the earth] As in Exodus 8:22, the phrase implies that His wonders are wrought in the sight of all the nations and attest His claim of universal sovereignty (Psalm 77:14).

12–17. Yet God’s mighty works of Redemption and Creation attest His power to interpose for the deliverance of His people. Cp. Psalm 77:10 ff.

Verses 12-17. - Comfort springs from the thought of God's previous deliverances of his people, and of his other great mercies. The deliverance from Egypt has the foremost place (vers. 13,14), as the most striking. Then the deliverance from the wilderness, and the passage of Jordan (ver. 15). From these the poet passes to God's mercies in nature - day and night, light and sun, set bounds of earth and sea, alternations of the seasons - all formed and arranged by the Almighty (vers. 16, 17). Verse 12. - For God is my King of old (comp. Psalm 44:4). As "King," he has power to perform all that he wills, to set up and to cast down, to give into the enemy's hand and to deliver. Working salvation in the midst of the earth. Not in any imaginary earth centre, but, as Professor Cheyne says, "quite broadly, in various parts of the earth" (comp. Exodus 8:22). Psalm 74:12With this prayer for the destruction of the enemies by God's interposition closes the first half of the Psalm, which has for its subject-matter the crying contradiction between the present state of things and God's relationship to Israel. The poet now draws comfort by looking back into the time when God as Israel's King unfolded the rich fulness of His salvation everywhere upon the earth, where Israel's existence was imperilled. בּקרב הארץ, not only within the circumference of the Holy Land, but, e.g., also within that of Egypt (Exodus 8:18-22). The poet has Egypt directly in his mind, for there now follows first of all a glance at the historical (Psalm 74:13-15), and then at the natural displays of God's power (Psalm 74:16, Psalm 74:17). Hengstenberg is of opinion that Psalm 74:13-15 also are to be understood in the latter sense, and appeals to Job 26:11-13. But just as Isaiah (Isaiah 51:9, cf. Psalm 27:1) transfers these emblems of the omnipotence of God in the natural world to His proofs of power in connection with the history of redemption which were exhibited in the case of a worldly power, so does the poet here also in Psalm 74:13-15. The תּנּיּן (the extended saurian) is in Isaiah, as in Ezekiel (התּנּים, Psalm 29:3; Psalm 32:2), an emblem of Pharaoh and of his kingdom; in like manner here the leviathan is the proper natural wonder of Egypt. As a water-snake or a crocodile, when it comes up with its head above the water, is killed by a powerful stroke, did God break the heads of the Egyptians, so that the sea cast up their dead bodies (Exodus 14:30). The ציּים, the dwellers in the steppe, to whom these became food, are not the Aethiopians (lxx, Jerome), or rather the Ichthyophagi (Bocahrt, Hengstenberg), who according to Agatharcides fed ἐκ τῶν ἐκριπτομένων εἰς τὴν χέρσον κητῶν, but were no cannibals, but the wild beasts of the desert, which are called עם, as in Proverbs 30:25. the ants and the rock-badgers. לציים is a permutative of the notion לעם, which was not completed: to a (singular) people, viz., to the wild animals of the steppe. Psalm 74:15 also still refers not to miracles of creation, but to miracles wrought in the course of the history of redemption; Psalm 74:15 refers to the giving of water out of the rock (Psalm 78:15), and Psalm 74:15 to the passage through the Jordan, which was miraculously dried up (הובשׁתּ, as in Joshua 2:10; Joshua 4:23; Joshua 5:1). The object מעין ונחל is intended as referring to the result: so that the water flowed out of the cleft after the manner of a fountain and a brook. נהרות are the several streams of the one Jordan; the attributive genitive איתן describe them as streams having an abundance that does not dry up, streams of perennial fulness. The God of Israel who has thus marvellously made Himself known in history is, however, the Creator and Lord of all created things. Day and night and the stars alike are His creatures. In close connection with the night, which is mentioned second, the moon, the מאור of the night, precedes the sun; cf. Psalm 8:4, where כּונן is the same as הכין in this passage. It is an error to render thus: bodies of light, and more particularly the sun; which would have made one expect מאורות before the specializing Waw. גּבוּלות are not merely the bounds of the land towards the sea, Jeremiah 5:22, but, according to Deuteronomy 32:8; Acts 17:26, even the boundaries of the land in themselves, that is to say, the natural boundaries of the inland country. קיץ וחרף are the two halves of the year: summer including spring (אביב), which begins in Nisan, the spring-month, about the time of the vernal equinox, and autumn including winter (צתו), after the termination of which the strictly spring vegetation begins (Sol 2:11). The seasons are personified, and are called God's formations or works, as it were the angels of summer and of winter.
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