Psalm 76:12
He shall cut off the spirit of princes: he is terrible to the kings of the earth.
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(12) He shall cut off . . .—Literally, lop off, as a vinedresser prunes a vine. For the image see Joel 3:13; Isaiah 18:5; Revelation 14:17 seq.

Spiriti.e., the life.

Psalm 76:12. He shall cut off — Dr. Waterland reads, bring down, and Dr. Horne, restrain, the spirit of princes — Their pride and elation of mind, such as was that of the king of Assyria, before he was forced to return with shame of face to his own land. Or their courage; he can dispirit those that are most daring, and make them heartless; for he is, or will be, terrible to the kings of the earth — And sooner or later, if they be not so wise as to submit themselves to him, he will force them to call in vain to rocks and mountains to fall on them, and hide them from his wrath, Revelation 6:15. The original word, however, יבצר, jibtzar, is borrowed from gathering the vintage, and signifies literally, He shall cut off their spirit, that is their breath and life, as men do their grapes in the time of vintage, namely, suddenly, violently, and irresistibly, as he did the Assyrian army. This is all they shall get by opposing him. Since, then, there is no contending with him, it is as much the wisdom, as it is the duty, of all, even of captains and generals of armies, of princes and kings, to submit to him, and make their peace with him. Reader, let this be thy care.

76:7-12 God's people are the meek of the earth, the quiet in the land, that suffer wrong, but do none. The righteous God seems to keep silence long, yet, sooner or later, he will make judgment to be heard. We live in an angry, provoking world; we often feel much, and are apt to fear more, from the wrath of man. What will not turn to his praise, shall not be suffered to break out. He can set bounds to the wrath of man, as he does to the raging sea; hitherto it shall come, and no further. Let all submit to God. Our prayers and praises, and especially our hearts, are the presents we should bring to the Lord. His name is glorious, and he is the proper object of our fear. He shall cut off the spirit of princes; he shall slip it off easily, as we slip off a flower from the stalk, or a bunch of grapes from the vine; so the word signifies. He can dispirit the most daring: since there is no contending with God, it is our wisdom, as it is our duty, to submit to him. Let us seek his favour as our portion, and commit all our concerns to him.He shall cut off the spirit of princes - That is, He will cut down their pride; he will break them down. Luther renders it, "He shall take away the wrath of princes." The allusion is to what he had done as celebrated in this psalm. He had shown that he could rebuke the pride and self-confidence of kings, and could bring them low at his feet.

He is terrible to the kings of the earth - When they are arrayed against him.

(1) they are wholly under his control.

(2) he can defeat their plans.

(3) he can check them when he pleases.

(4) he can, and will, make their plans - even their wrath - the means of promoting or carrying out his own purposes.

(5) he will allow them to proceed no further in their plans of evil than he can make subservient to the furtherance of his own.

(6) he can cut down the most mighty of them at his pleasure, and destroy them forever.

11, 12. Invite homage to such a God (2Ch 32:23), who can stop the breath of kings and princes when He wills (Da 5:23). Cut off; as men do their grapes in time of vintage, as the Hebrew verb implies, to wit, suddenly, violently, and irresistibly. This is all which they shall get by opposing him, and therefore it is their wisdom to bring presents to him.

The spirit of princes; either,

1 Their courage. Or rather,

2. Their breath and life, as he did in the Assyrian army.

He shall cut off the spirit of princes,.... The pride of their spirits, as the Targum, humble their proud spirits, and bring them down; or dispirit them, take away their courage from them, upon which they flee apace to rocks and mountains to cover them; or confound them, blast their schemes, and carry their counsel headlong, and even take away their breath, or life; which he can as easily do as a man can cut off a bunch of grapes from the vine, as the word (g) here used signifies; the destruction of the wicked is expressed by cutting down the vine of the earth, and casting it into the winepress of God's wrath, Revelation 14:17,

he is terrible to the kings of the earth; as he was to the king of Assyria, when he sent his angel, and destroyed his army; and as he has been to others in all ages; so he will be to the kings of the earth that have committed fornication with the whore of Rome, who will be in the utmost panic at the time of her destruction, Revelation 18:9, and who will themselves be overcome by the Lamb, Revelation 16:14. The Targum is, he is to be feared above all the kings of the earth.

(g) "qui vindemiat", Junius & Tremellius, Piscator; "succidet nempe, ut vindemiator racemos", Vatablus, so Ainsworth.

He shall {i} cut off the spirit of princes: he is terrible to the kings of the earth.

(i) The Hebrew word signifies to vintage or gather grapes meaning that he will make the counsels and enterprises of the wicked tyrants foolish and vain.

12. He shall cut off] Cp. the simile in Isaiah 18:4-5, describing how Jehovah will destroy the plans of the Assyrians just as they are coming to maturity: and Revelation 14:18-19.

the spirit of princes] Their pride and fury. Cp. Isaiah 33:11.

the kings of the earth] Cp. Psalm 48:4.

Verse 12. - He shall cut off the spirit of princes. "The spirit" seems here to mean "the life." God cuts off princes in their prime as a gardener cuts off bunches of grapes (comp. Isaiah 18:5). He is terrible to the kings of the earth. Not "princes" only - נגידים - but "kings" - מלכים - also are cut off in their prime when God pleases. Sennacherib's untimely death (2 Kings 19:37) followed not many years after the destruction of his host, in which there must have been many "princes."

Psalm 76:12The fact that has just been experienced is substantiated in Psalm 76:10 from a universal truth, which has therein become outwardly manifest. The rage of men shall praise Thee, i.e., must ultimately redound to Thy glory, inasmuch as to Thee, namely (Psalm 76:1 as to syntax like Psalm 73:3), there always remains a שׁארית, i.e., a still unexhausted remainder, and that not merely of חמה, but of חמת, with which Thou canst gird, i.e., arm, Thyself against such human rage, in order to quench it. שׁארית חמת is the infinite store of wrath still available to God after human rage has done its utmost. Or perhaps still better, and more fully answering to the notion of שׁארית: it is the store of the infinite fulness of wrath which still remains on the side of God after human rage (חמה) has spent itself, when God calmly, and laughing (Psalm 2:4), allows the Titans to do as they please, and which is now being poured out. In connection with the interpretation: with the remainder of the fury (of hostile men) wilt Thou gird Thyself, i.e., it serves Thee only as an ornament (Hupfeld), the alternation of חמה and חמת is left unexplained, and תּחגּר is alienated from its martial sense (Isaiah 59:17; Isaiah 51:9, Wisd. 5:21 [20]), which is required by the context. Ewald, like the lxx, reads תּחגּך, ἑορτάσει σοι, in connection with which, apart from the high-sounding expression, שׁארית חמת (ἐγκατάλειμμα ἐνθυμίου) must denote the remainder of malignity that is suddenly converted into its opposite; and one does not see why what Psalm 76:11 says concerning rage is here limited to its remainder. Such an inexhaustiveness in the divine wrath-power has been shown in what has just recently been experienced. Thus, then, are those who belong to the people of God to vow and pay, i.e., (inasmuch as the preponderance falls upon the second imperative) to pay their vows; and all who are round about Him, i.e., all the peoples dwelling round about Him and His people (כּל־סביביו, the subject to what follows, in accordance with which it is also accented), are to bring offerings (Psalm 68:30) to God, who is מורא, i.e., the sum of all that is awe-inspiring. Thus is He called in Isaiah 8:13; the summons accords with Isaiah's prediction, according to which, in consequence of Jahve's deed of judgment upon Assyria, Aethiopia presents himself to Him as an offering (Isaiah 18:1-7), and with the fulfilment in 2 Chronicles 32:23. Just so does v. 13a resemble the language of Isaiah; cf. Isaiah 25:1-12; Isaiah 33:1; Isaiah 18:5 : God treats the snorting of the princes, i.e., despots, as the vine-dresser does the wild shoots or branches of the vine-stock: He lops it, He cuts it off, so that it is altogether ineffectual. It is the figure that is sketched by Joel 3:13, then filled in by Isaiah, and embodied as a vision in Revelation 14:17-20, which is here indicated. God puts an end to the defiant, arrogant bearing of the tyrants of the earth, and becomes at last the feared of all the kings of the earth - all kingdoms finally becomes God's and His Christ's.
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