Psalm 75:6
For promotion comes neither from the east, nor from the west, nor from the south.
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EXPOSITORY (ENGLISH BIBLE)
(6) For promotion . . .—The Authorised Version has here rightly set aside the pointing of the text, which, as the LXX. and Vulg., reads—

“For not from the east, nor from the west,

Nor from the wilderness of mountains,”

a sentence which has no conclusion. The recurrence also of parts of the verb “to lift up” in Psalm 75:4-5; Psalm 75:7, makes in favour of taking harîm as part of the same verb here, instead of as a noun, “mountains.” That the word midbar (wilderness) might be used for “south,” receives support from Acts 8:26.

Ewald thinks the four points of the compass should be completed by inserting a conjunction, and taking the “desert” and “mountains” to represent respectively the south and north. He then supplies the conclusion of the sentence from the following verse:—

“For neither from east nor west,

Neither from desert nor mountains,

Cometh judgment; but God is Judge.”

This agrees with 1Samuel 2:10; but it is hardly needful to expect such scientific accuracy as to the points of the compass in Hebrew poetry.

Psalm 75:6-7. For promotion cometh not, &c. — Though you envy and oppose my advancement, because I was but a poor shepherd, and of a mean family; yet you ought to know and consider what is notorious and visible in the world, that the dignities and sceptres of the earth are not always conferred according to human expectations and probabilities, but by God’s sovereign will and providence, as it follows. But God is judge — Namely, the righteous Judge, and supreme Lord and Governor of all the kingdoms of the earth; giving them to whomsoever he pleaseth. He putteth down one and setteth up another — It is he who hath rejected Saul and his family, and put me in his stead: and who art thou that disputest against God, and resistest his declared will?75:6-10. No second causes will raise men to preferment without the First Cause. It comes neither from the east, nor from the west, nor from the south. He mentions not the north; the same word that signifies the north, signifies the secret place; and from the secret of God's counsel it does come. From God alone all must receive their doom. There are mixtures of mercy and grace in the cup of affliction, when it is put into the hands of God's people; mixtures of the curse, when it is put into the hands of the wicked. God's people have their share in common calamities, but the dregs of the cup are for the wicked. The exaltation of the Son of David will be the subject of the saints' everlasting praises. Then let sinners submit to the King of righteousness, and let believers rejoice in and obey him.For promotion - The word used here in the original, and rendered "promotion" - הרים hariym - is susceptible of two quite different significations. According to one - that which is adopted by our translators - it is the infinitive (Hiphil) of רום rûm, "to raise" - the word used in Psalm 75:5-6, and there rendered "lift up." Thus it would mean, that to "lift up" is not the work of people, or is not originated by the earth - does not originate from any part of it, east, west, or south, but must come from God alone. According to the other view, this word is the plural of הר har, "mountain," and would mean that something - (something understood - as "judgment") - comes not "from the east, nor the west, nor from the desert of mountains," the mountainous regions of the south, but must come from God. The Septuagint, the Latin Vulgate, and the ancient versions generally, adopt the latter interpretation. De Wette renders it as our translators have done. This interpretation - rendering it promotions - seems to be the true one, for in the two previous verses this was the prominent idea - a caution against attempting to "lift themselves up," or to exalt themselves, and in this and the following verse a reason is given for this caution, to wit, that the whole question about success or prosperity depends not on anything here below; not on any natural advantages of situation, or on any human skill or power; but on God alone. It was in vain, in regard to such an object, to form human alliances, or to depend on natural advantages; and therefore people should not depend on these things, but only on God.

Neither from the east - literally, from the outgoing; that is, of the sun. The meaning may either be that success would not depend on any natural advantages of country furnished in the East; or that the persons referred to were seeking to form alliances with an Eastern people, and then the statement would be that no such alliances would of themselves secure success.

Nor from the west - The setting; that is, the place where the sun goes down. This also may refer either to the natural advantages of a Western country, or to some alliance which it was intended to form with the people there.

Nor from the south - Margin, as in Hebrew, "desert." The reference is to the rocky and barren regions south of Palestine, and the allusion here also may be either to some natural advantages of those regions, or to some alliance which it was proposed to form.

6. promotion—literally, "a lifting up." God is the only right judge of merit.6 For promotion cometh neither from the east, nor from the west, nor from the south.

7 But God is the judge he putteth down one, and setteth up another.

8 For in the hand of the Lord there is a cup, and the wine is red; it is full of mixture; and he poureth out of the same but the dregs thereof, all the wicked of the earth shall wring them out, and drink them.

Psalm 75:6

"For promotion cometh neither from the east, nor from the west, nor from the south." There is a God, and a providence, and things happen not by chance. Though deliverance be hopeless from all points of the compass, yet God can work it for his people; and though judgment come neither from the rising or the setting of the sun, nor from the wilderness of mountains, yet come it will, for the Lord reigneth. Men forget that all things are ordained in heaven; they see but the human force, and the carnal passion, but the unseen Lord is more real far than these. He is at work behind and within the cloud. The foolish dream that he is not, but he is near even now, and on the way to bring in his hand that cup of spiced wine of vengeance, one draught of which shall stagger all his foes.

Psalm 75:7

"But God is the judge." Even now he is actually judging. His seat is not vacant; his authority is not abdicated; the Lord reigneth evermore "He putteth down one, and setteth up another." Empires rise and fall at his bidding. A dungeon here, and there a throne, his will assigns. Assyria yields to Babylon, and Babylon, to the Medes. Kings are but puppets in his hand; they serve his purpose when they rise and when they fall. A certain author has issued a work called "Historic Ninepins," a fit name of scorn for all the great ones of the earth. God only is; all power belongs to him; all else is shadow, coming and going, unsubstantial, misty, dream-like.

Psalm 75:8

"For in the hand of the Lord there is a cup." The punishment of the wicked is prepared, God himself holds it in readiness; he has collected and concocted woes most dread, and in the chalice of his wrath he holds it. They scoffed his feast of love; they shall be dragged to his table of justice, and made to drink their due deserts. "And the wine is red." The retribution is terrible, it is blood for blood, foaming vengeance for foaming malice. The very colour of divine wrath is terrible; what must the taste be? "It is full of mixture." Spices of anger, justice, and incensed mercy are there. Their misdeeds, their blasphemies, their persecutions have strengthened the liquor as with potent drugs:

"Mingled, strong, and mantling high:

Behold the wrath divine."

Ten thousand woes are burning in the depths of that fiery cup, which to the brim is filled with indignation. "And he poureth out of the same." The full cup must be quaffed, the wicked cannot refuse the terrible draught, for God himself pours it out for them and into them. Vain are their cries and entreaties. They could once defy him, but that hour is over, and the time to requite them is fully come. "But the dregs thereof, all the wicked of the earth shall wring them out, and drink them." Even to the bitter end must wrath proceed. They must drink on and on for ever, even to the bottom where lie the lees of deep damnation; these they must suck up, and still must they drain the cup. Oh the anguish and the heart-break of the day of wrath! Mark well, it is for all the wicked; all hell for all the ungodly; the dregs for the dregs; bitters for the bitter; wrath for the heirs of wrath. Righteousness is conspicuous, but over all terror spreads a tenfold night, cheerless, without a star, Oh happy they who drink the cup of godly sorrow, and the cup of salvation; these though now despised, will then be envied by the very men who trod them under foot.

For though you envy and oppose my advancement, because I was but a poor shepherd, and of a mean family; yet you ought to know and consider what is notorious and visible in the world, that the dignities and sceptres of the world are not always disposed according to human expectations and probabilities, but by God’s sovereign will and providence, as it follows. It is true, men that expect preferment have their eyes fixed upon the great persons of the world, who are thought to have the ‘disposition of them in their hands, and according to their several inclinations or interests; some look eastward, others westward, and others southward, expecting assistance from some of these quarters; but all in vain. For promotion cometh neither from the east, nor from the west, nor from the south. It is not from men, from themselves, or others, or from any quarter under the heavens, but from God; it is he that raises men to high places, and sets them there, which are often slippery ones: by him kings reign; they have their crowns and sceptres, thrones and kingdoms from him; there is no power but what is of God; riches and honour come of him, and he can take them away when he pleases; and therefore men should not be proud, haughty, and arrogant: some take these words to be the words of the fools and wicked, when they speak with a stiff neck, either as triumphing over the Messiah, his ministers, cause, and interest, reading the words thus, "neither from the east, nor from the west, nor from the south, shall there be a lifting up" (s), or an exaltation; that is, of Christ and his people, they are low, and shall never rise more; but in this they are mistaken; though now the Son of God is trampled under foot in his person and offices, there is a day coming when the Lord, and he alone, shall be exalted; though his ministers and witnesses prophesy in sackcloth, and shall be slain and lie unburied, yet they will arise again and ascend to heaven, to the great terror and astonishment of those their enemies; though Jacob is small, and it is said, by whom shall he arise? yet he shall become, great and numerous; the mountain of the Lord's house, the church, shall be established upon the top of the mountains, and exalted above the hills; and this enlargement of Christ's kingdom and interest shall be east, west, north, and south; or else as flattering themselves that no evil shall come to them from any quarter: "neither from the east, nor from the west, nor, from the desert of the mountains" (t), cometh evil; meaning to themselves, looking upon themselves as secure, and putting the evil day far from them: but there will be an awful and righteous judgment; there is a Judge ordained, a day appointed, in which the world will be judged in righteousness, and destruction and ruin will come upon the ungodly, and at a time when they are crying Peace, peace; nor shall they escape; and so the Syriac version renders the words, "for there is no escape from the west, nor from the desert of the mountains"; taking the word not to signify "promotion, elevation", or "a lifting up", as Kimchi and others, whom we follow: but Moatanus and R. Aba observe that the word always signifies "mountains" but in this place: the Targum is,

"for there is none besides me from the east to the west, nor from the north of the wildernesses, and from the south, the place of the mountains;''

no Messiah to be expected from any quarter; see Matthew 24:23, no God besides him, nor any other Saviour, Isaiah 44:6 nor any other Judge, as follows.

(s) "exaltatio", Tigurine version, Junius & Tremellius, Piscator. (t) "Neque a desertis montibus", V. L. "neque a deserto montium", Cocceius; "neque a deserto Australi montium", Michaelis.

For promotion cometh neither from the east, nor from the west, nor from the south.
EXEGETICAL (ORIGINAL LANGUAGES)
6. According to one reading of the Heb. text we must render,

For neither from the east, nor from the west,

Nor yet from the wilderness, (cometh) lifting up.

The wilderness, to the S. of Palestine, stands for the south: and the sense is, Exalt not yourselves, for exaltation comes from no quarter of the compass, but from God. But it is better to follow a slightly different reading, which is that of all the Ancient Versions except the Targum, and render the second line, Nor yet from the wilderness of mountains, (cometh our help). The sentence is an aposiopesis, to be completed with words such as those of Psalm 121:1-2. Israel looks not to any quarter of the compass for human help, but to God alone. The North is not mentioned because the Assyrians were approaching from that quarter.

6–8. The reason for this warning. Israel looks to God alone for help, and He is the supreme arbiter of human destinies.Verse 6. - For promotion cometh neither from the east, nor from the west, nor from the south. So Hupfeld, Kay, Canon Cook, and the Revised Version Others suggest the meaning to be, "For it is not from the east, nor is it from the west, nor yet from the mountainous desert [that help cometh]." But the ellipse of the main idea is improbable. The address is to the enemies who threaten Israel, "Lift not up your horns - speak not proudly - for exaltation comes not from any earthly quarter - east, west, north, or south" ("north" being omitted, as sufficiently implied in the others); it is God alone who gives it, and he is not likely to give it to you." 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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