Psalm 75:3
The earth and all the inhabitants thereof are dissolved: I bear up the pillars of it. Selah.
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(3) The earth . . .—Better—

“Are earth and all its inhabitants dissolved?

It was I adjusted its pillars.”

(See Hannah’s song, 1Samuel 2:8.) Though the crisis be such that all is confusion and anarchy (comp. Isaiah 24:19-20 for the figure), there is no cause for fear; there is still a Ruler in heaven, He who built up the edifice which now seems to totter to its fall. The verb rendered in the Authorised Version “bear up,” is used in Job 28:15, Isaiah 40:12 in the sense of “weighing” or “measuring;” but with the same allusion to the creative work of God. Here it plainly means, so to adjust the pillars as to make them equal to the weight they have to bear.

The “pillars” are the “mountains,” as in Job 26:11. (See Note, Psalm 24:2.) Comp. Shelley—

“Sunbeam proof, I hang like a roof,

The mountains its columns are.”

Psalm 75:3. The earth — Or land; and all the inhabitants thereof are dissolved — Or melted, as נמגים, nemogim, may be rendered. It seems to mean, either that the Israelitish affairs were thrown into confusion, and the frame of the government dissolved by their civil distractions, or that the people were consumed and destroyed by the continual irruptions of foreign enemies. I bear up the pillars of it — How much soever I am traduced by mine enemies, as the great disturber of the land, I must do myself this right to affirm that, under God, I do support and establish it, by maintaining religion and justice, by appointing, countenancing, and supporting good magistrates, and by encouraging the Lord’s prophets and servants, and all good men, who are indeed the pillars of a nation.75:1-5 We often pray for mercy, when in pursuit of it; and shall we only once or twice give thanks, when we obtain it? God shows that he is nigh to us in what we call upon him for. Public trusts are to be managed uprightly. This may well be applied to Christ and his government. Man's sin threatened to destroy the whole creation; but Christ saved the world from utter ruin. He who is made of God to us wisdom, bids us be wise. To the proud, daring sinners he says, Boast not of your power, persist not in contempt. All the present hopes and future happiness of the human race spring from the Son of God.The earth and all the inhabitants thereof are dissolved - The word rendered "dissolved" means properly to melt, to flow down; then, to melt away, to pine away, to perish. Isaiah 64:7; Job 30:22; Nahum 1:5; Psalm 107:26. Here it means that there was, as it were, a general breaking up of things; or that none of the institutions of the land seemed to have any stability. There seemed to be no government, but universal anarchy and confusion.

I bear up the pillars of it - Of the earth; of society. The earth here is compared with an edifice supported by pillars. Compare Judges 16:26; 1 Samuel 2:8; 1 Timothy 3:15. As applied to a prince or ruler, this means that the permanent structure of the state, the welfare of society, depended on his administration. If, according to the view of others, it is applied to God, the meaning is, that as he upholds the world, there cannot be permanent misrule; that amidst all the commotions of earth, and all that seemed to threaten ruin, his hand sustained all, and he would not allow things to proceed to permanent disorder. In the former case, the assertion would be true if a prince felt that he had power to support the government, and to restore order; in the latter case, it must be true, for God sustains the earth, and as he can check disorder when he shall judge it best to interpose, so he will not permit it ultimately to prevail.

Selah - A musical pause. See the notes at Psalm 3:2.

3. pillars of it—(1Sa 2:8). Dissolved; or, melted, consumed or destroyed; partly by the ill government of Saul and Ish-bosheth, and the great officers of state and war under them; and partly by intestine divisions and wars.

I bear up the pillars of it: howsoever I am traduced by mine enemies as the great disturber of the land, I must do myself this right, to affirm that, under God, I do support and establish it, by maintaining religion and justice, and by setting us good magistrates, and encouraging good ministers, and good men, which are indeed the pillars of a nation. The earth and all the inhabitants thereof are dissolved,.... Or "melted" (p); the inhabitants, through fear and dread of the righteous Judge, appearing in the clouds of heaven, and of the wrath that is coming on they are deserving of; and the earth, through fire, when the heavens being on fire shall be dissolved, the elements melt with fervent heat, and the earth and the works therein shall be burnt up, 2 Peter 3:10.

I bear up the pillars of it.: so that it shall not utterly perish; for though by the fire, at the general conflagration, the heavens and the earth will be so melted and dissolved as to lose their present form, and shall be purged and purified from all noxious qualities, the effects of sin; yet the substance will remain, out of which will be formed new heavens and a new earth, and this through the power of Christ sustaining it, and preserving it from entire destruction or annihilation. R. Obadiah by "pillars" understands in a figurative sense the righteous, for whose sake the world is continued in its being; these at the general conflagration will be bore up and preserved by Christ, whom they shall meet in the air, even the church, who is the pillar and ground of truth; and not only the ministers of the Gospel, who are pillars in Christ's house, but also every believer, which is a pillar there, that shall never go out, 1 Timothy 3:15. Aben Ezra and Kimchi interpret the pillars of the mountains.

Selah. See Gill on Psalm 3:2.

(p) "liquefacti", Montanus; "liquefiet", Musculus.

The earth and all the inhabitants thereof are dissolved: I bear up the pillars {d} of it. Selah.

(d) Though all things are brought to ruin, yet I can restore and preserve them.

3. The first line virtually forms the protasis of the sentence: Though the earth &c.; I have set up the pillars of it. Though all the world is in terror and confusion, I (emphatic) have established a moral order in it. The material world is often compared to a building with its foundations and pillars (1 Samuel 2:8; Job 9:6; Job 38:4 ff.); and the moral world is described by the same figure. Cp. Psalm 11:3; Psalm 82:5.

I bear up] Lit. I have proportioned, or, adjusted by line and measure. The rendering of R.V. marg., When the earth … I set up, will mean that when confusion reigns, God re-establishes order: but it is better to understand the perfect tense (I have set up) of the fundamental laws which God has from the first ordained.Verse 3. - The earth and all the inhabitants thereof are dissolved. They "melt" with fear (Psalm 44:6), either at God's coming in judgment, or at the dissolution which a hostile invasion is bringing on their land. I bear up the pillars of it. Meanwhile God upholds, and will uphold, both the moral and physical order of things. He will neither suffer the earth to be moved, nor the supports on which society depends to fail and crumble away. The poet, after he has thus consoled himself by the contemplation of the power of God which He has displayed for His people's good as their Redeemer, and for the good of the whole of mankind as the Creator, rises anew to prayer, but all the more cheerfully and boldly. Since ever present facts of creation have been referred to just now, and the historical mighty deeds of God only further back, זאת refers rather forwards to the blaspheming of the enemies which He suffers now to go on unpunished, as though He took no cognizance of it. חרף has Pasek after it in order to separate the word, which signifies reviling, from the most holy Name. The epithet עם־נבל reminds one of Deuteronomy 32:21. In Psalm 74:19 according to the accents חיּת is the absolute state (the primary form of חיּה, vid., on Psalm 61:1): give not over, abandon not to the wild beast (beasts), the soul of Thy turtle-dove. This is probably correct, since לחיּת נפשׁ, "to the eager wild beast," this inversion of the well-known expression נפשׁ חיּה, which on the contrary yields the sense of vita animae, is an improbable and exampleless expression. If נפשׁ were intended to be thus understood, the poet might have written אל־תתן לנפשׁ חיּה תורך, "give not Thy turtle-dove over to the desire of the wild beast." Hupfeld thinks that the "old, stupid reading" may be set right at one stroke, inasmuch as he reads אל תתן לנפש חית תורך, and renders it "give not to rage the life Thy turtle-dove;" but where is any support to be found for this לנפשׁ, "to rage," or rather (Psychology, S. 202; tr. p. 239) "to eager desire?" The word cannot signify this in such an isolated position. Israel, which is also compared to a dove in Psalm 68:14, is called a turtle-dove (תּור). In Psalm 74:19 חיּת has the same signification as in Psalm 74:19, and the same sense as Psalm 68:11 (cf. Psalm 69:37): the creatures of Thy miserable ones, i.e., Thy poor, miserable creatures - a figurative designation of the ecclesia pressa. The church, which it is the custom of the Asaphic Psalms to designate with emblematical names taken from the animal world, finds itself now like sheep among wolves, and seems to itself as if it were forgotten by God. The cry of prayer הבּט לבּרית comes forth out of circumstances such as were those of the Maccabaean age. בּרית is the covenant of circumcision (Genesis 17); the persecution of the age of the Seleucidae put faith to the severe test, that circumcision, this sign which was the pledge to Israel of God's gracious protection, became just the sign by which the Syrians knew their victims. In the Book of Daniel, Daniel 11:28, Daniel 11:30, cf. Psalm 22:32, ברית is used directly of the religion of Israel and its band of confessors. The confirmatory clause Psalm 74:20 also corresponds to the Maccabaean age, when the persecuted confessors hid themselves far away in the mountains (1 Macc. 2:26ff., 2 Macc. 6:11), but were tracked by the enemy and slain, - at that time the hiding-places (κρύφοι, 1 Macc. 1:53) of the land were in reality full of the habitations of violence. The combination נאות חמס is like נאות השׁלום, Jeremiah 25:37, cf. Genesis 6:11. From this point the Psalm draws to a close in more familiar Psalm - strains. אל־ישׁב, Psalm 74:21, viz., from drawing near to Thee with their supplications. "The reproach of the foolish all the day" is that which incessantly goes forth from them. עלה תּמיד, "going up (1 Samuel 5:12, not: increasing, 1 Kings 22:35) perpetually," although without the article, is not a predicate, but attributive (vid., on Psalm 57:3). The tone of the prayer is throughout temperate; this the ground upon which it bases itself is therefore all the more forcible.
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