Psalm 78:67
Moreover he refused the tabernacle of Joseph, and chose not the tribe of Ephraim:
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Psalm 78:67-68. Moreover — And as he smote his enemies for their sins, so he punished his own people for the same cause. He refused the tabernacle of Joseph — He did not suffer his ark to return to Shiloh, which was in the tribe of Ephraim, the son of Joseph, but to go to Kirjath-jearim, which was in the tribe of Benjamin; from thence to the house of Obed-edom, and so to Zion, in the tribe of Judah, as it follows; but chose the tribe of Judah —

For the seat of the ark, and of God’s worship. For he did not wholly take away the glory from Israel. Shiloh lost the ark, but Israel retained it. God will have a church in the world, and a kingdom among men; though this or that place may have its candlestick removed. Nay, the rejection of Shiloh is the election of Zion; as, long after, the fall of the Jews was the riches of the Gentiles, Romans 11:12. The divine presence, with the ark, its emblem, removed at this time from the tribe of Ephraim, although Joshua, the temporal saviour of Israel, was of that tribe, to the tribe of Judah, because out of this tribe, after the rejection of Saul, was to arise the great representative, as well as progenitor, of King Messiah, the spiritual and eternal Saviour of God’s people of every kindred, and tongue, and nation.78:56-72 After the Israelites were settled in Canaan, the children were like their fathers. God gave them his testimonies, but they turned back. Presumptuous sins render even Israelites hateful to God's holiness, and exposed to his justice. Those whom the Lord forsakes become an easy prey to the destroyer. And sooner or later, God will disgrace his enemies. He set a good government over his people; a monarch after his own heart. With good reason does the psalmist make this finishing, crowning instance of God's favour to Israel; for David was a type of Christ, the great and good Shepherd, who was humbled first, and then exalted; and of whom it was foretold, that he should be filled with the Spirit of wisdom and understanding. On the uprightness of his heart, and the skilfulness of his hands, all his subjects may rely; and of the increase of his government and peace there shall be no end. Every trial of human nature hitherto, confirms the testimony of Scripture, that the heart is deceitful above all things, and desperately wicked, and nothing but being created anew by the Holy Ghost can cure the ungodliness of any.Moreover, he refused the tabernacle of Joseph - As a place where his worship should be celebrated. This is the completion of the statement in Psalm 78:60. The design is to show that there had been a transfer of the preeminence from the tribe of Ephraim to the tribe of Judah, and from Shiloh to Zion. Joseph is mentioned here as the father of Ephraim, from whom one of the tribes - (one of the most influential and numerous) - was named. Jacob had twelve sons, from whom the twelve tribes in general took their name. As the tribe of Levi, however, being devoted to the sacerdotal work, was not reckoned as one of the, twelve, the number was made up by giving to the descendants of the two sons of Joseph - Ephraim and Manasseh Genesis 48:5 - a place among the tribes; and, on this account, the name Joseph does not appear as one of the twelve tribes. Yet Joseph is mentioned here, as the ancestor of one of them - that of Ephraim, from whom the priority and supremacy were withdrawn in favor of the tribe of Judah.

And chose not the tribe of Ephraim - To be the tribe within whose limits the tabernacle should be permanently set up; or within whose limits the place of public worship was finally to be established.

67, 68. tabernacle of Joseph—or, "home," or, "tribe," to which—

tribe of Ephraim—is parallel (compare Re 7:8). Its pre-eminence was, like Saul's, only permitted. Judah had been the choice (Ge 49:10).

67 Moreover he refused the tabernacle of Joseph, and chose not the tribe of Ephraim

68 But chose the tribe of Judah, the mount Zion which he loved.

69 And he built his sanctuary like high palaces, like the earth which he hath established for ever.

70 He chose David also his servant, and took him from the sheepfolds:

71 From following the ewes great with young he brought him to feed Jacob his people, and Israel his inheritance.

72 So he fed them according to the integrity of his heart; and guided them by the skilfulness of his hands.

Psalm 78:67

"Moreover he refused the tabernacle of Joseph." God had honoured Ephraim, for to that tribe belonged Joshua the great conqueror, and Gideon the great judge, and within its borders was Shiloh the place of the ark and the sanctuary; but now the Lord would change all this and set up other rulers. He would no longer leave matters to the leadership of Ephraim, since that tribe had been tried and found wanting. "And chose not the tribe of Ephraim." Sin had been found in them, folly and instability, and therefore they were set aside as unfit to lead.

Psalm 78:68

"But chose the tribe of Judah." To give the nation another trial this tribe was elected to supremacy. This was according to Jacob's dying prophecy. Our Lord sprang out of Judah and he it is whom his brethren shall praise. "The Mount Zion which he loved." The tabernacle and ark were removed to Zion during the reign of David; no honour was left to the wayward Ephraimites. Hard by this mountain the Father of the Faithful had offered up his only son, and there in future days the great gatherings of his chosen seed would be, and therefore Zion is said to be lovely unto God.

Psalm 78:69

"And he built his sanctuary like high palaces." The tabernacle was placed on high, literally and spiritually it was as a mountain of beauty. True religion was exalted in the land. For sanctity it was a temple, for majesty it was a palace. "Like the earth which he hath established for ever." Stability as well as stateliness were seen in the temple, and so also in the church of God. The prophet saw both in vision.

Psalm 78:70

"He chose David also his servant." It was an election of a sovereignly gracious kind, and it operated practically by making the chosen man a willing servant of the Lord. He was not chosen because he was a servant, but in order that he might be so. David always esteemed it to be a high honour that he was both elect of God, and a servant of God. "And took him from the sheepfolds." A shepherd of sheep he had been, and this was a fit school for a shepherd of men. Lowliness of occupation will debar no man from such honours as the Lord's election confers, the Lord seeth not as man seeth. He delights to bless those who are of low estate.


Moreover; and as he smote his enemies for their sins, so he punished his own people for the same cause.

He refused the tabernacle of Joseph; either,

1. He rejected the kingdom of the ten tribes, whereof Ephraim was the head. But this Psalm reacheth not so far as the erection of that kingdom. Or rather,

2. He would not have his ark to abide longer in the tabernacle of Shiloh, which was in the tribe of Joseph or Ephraim: see 1 Samuel 6:12 7:1,2 Jer 7:12,14 26:6,9.

And chose not the tribe of Ephraim; the same thing repeated in other words, after the manner. Moreover, he refused the tabernacle of Joseph,.... That is, the tabernacle of Moses, which had been for a long time at Shiloh, a city in the tribe of Ephraim, the son of Joseph; when the ark was brought back by the Philistines, it was not returned to Shiloh, but carried to Kirjathjearim, where it remained twenty years, and after that was had to Zion, the city of David, 1 Samuel 7:1, so the Targum,

"and he rejected the tabernacle which he had stretched out in the border of Joseph;''

he did not refuse the tabernacle, or remove his presence from it; but he refused the place it had been in, or refused that it should be any more there:

and chose not the tribe of Ephraim: the same thing is designed as before; the meaning is, not that he rejected the tribe of Ephraim from being one of the tribes of Israel; nor does it refer to the revolt of Ephraim, or the ten tribes, from the pure worship of God to idolatry, and their separation from the two tribes of Judah and Benjamin; or to their being carried captive into Assyria; since this historical narration reaches no further than the reign of David, or the time of Solomon at furthest; whereas the facts mentioned were a long time afterwards; nor does it regard the removal of government from the tribe of Ephraim, which was the seat of it in the times of Joshua, of which tribe he was, Numbers 13:8, though this tribe was overlooked in the choice of a king, one of the tribe of Benjamin being first chosen; and when he was rejected, then one of the tribe of Judah; but this purely, at least principally, intends that it was the will of God that the seat of worship should not be in this tribe any longer; that the ark and tabernacle should be no more there: perhaps the Ephraimites were more culpable, and more provoked the Lord with their idolatry, than the other tribes, since they are first and last taken notice of as the objects of the divine resentment in this account; see Psalm 78:9.

Moreover he refused the tabernacle of {r} Joseph, and chose not the tribe of Ephraim:

(r) Showing that he did not spare the Israelites altogether, though he punished their enemies.

67. Moreover &c.] And he rejected the tent of Joseph, i.e. Shiloh in the tribe of Ephraim. The Ark was never brought back there, and if Shiloh was not actually destroyed by the Philistines, it ceased to be the sanctuary of the nation. Jeremiah points to the fall of Shiloh as a warning to his incredulous contemporaries, who refused to believe that Jehovah could possibly desert Jerusalem and allow His Temple to be destroyed (Jeremiah 7:12; Jeremiah 7:14; Jeremiah 26:6; Jeremiah 26:9). Stanley observes that the first division of the history of the Chosen People ended with the overthrow of the first sanctuary, as the second division terminated in the fall of the second sanctuary, and the third by the still vaster destruction of the last Temple of Jerusalem. The Jewish Church, Lect. vii.

67–69. The choice of Zion.Verse 67. - Moreover he refused the tabernacle of Joseph. The "tabernacle of Joseph" is the sanctuary at Shiloh, which was north of Bethel, and thus within the limits of the tribe of Ephraim. When a permanent site was to be assigned to the tabernacle and the ark, God did not choose for them the position of Shiloh, but that of Jerusalem. And chose not the tribe of Ephraim. Ephraim had enjoyed the pre-eminency from the time of the death of Moses (see the comment on ver. 9). By the course of events between Samuel's death and the establishment of the kingdom of David, the pre-eminency had been transferred to Judah, according to the design of the Almighty from the first (see Genesis 49:8-10). The rejection of Shiloh and of the people worshipping there, but later on, when the God of Israel is again overwhelmed by compassion, the election of Judah, and of Mount Zion, and of David, the king after His own heart. In the time of the Judges the Tabernacle was set up in Shiloh (Joshua 18:1); there, consequently, was the central sanctuary of the whole people, - in the time of Eli and Samuel, as follows from 1 Samuel 1:1, it had become a fixed temple building. When this building was destroyed is not known; according to Judges 18:30., cf. Jeremiah 7:12-15, it was probably not until the Assyrian period. The rejection of Shiloh, however, preceded the destruction, and practically took place simultaneously with the removal of the central sanctuary to Zion; and was, moreover, even previously decided by the fact that the Ark of the covenant, when given up again by the Philistines, was not brought back to Shiloh, but set down in Kirjath Jearm (1 Samuel 7:2). The attributive clause שׁכּן בּאדם uses שׁכּן as השׁכּין is used in Joshua 18:1. The pointing is correct, for the words to not suffice to signify "where He dwelleth among men" (Hitzig); consequently שׁכּן is the causative of the Kal, Leviticus 16:16; Joshua 22:19. In Psalm 78:61 the Ark of the covenant is called the might and glory of God (ארון עזּו, Psalm 132:8, cf. כבוד, 1 Samuel 4:21.), as being the place of their presence in Israel and the medium of their revelation. Nevertheless, in the battle with the Philistines between Eben-ezer and Aphek, Jahve gave the Ark, which they had fetched out of Shiloh, into the hands of the foe in order to visit on the high-priesthood of the sons of Ithamar the desecration of His ordinances, and there fell in that battle 30,000 footmen, and among them the two sons of Eli, Hophni and Phinehas, the priests (1 Samuel 4). The fire in Psalm 78:63 is the fire of war, as in Numbers 21:28, and frequently. The incident mentioned in 1 Samuel 6:19 is reasonably (vid., Keil) left out of consideration. By לא הוּלּלוּ (lxx erroneously, οὐκ ἐπένθησαν equals הוללוּ equals הילילוּ) are meant the marriage-songs (cf. Talmudic הלּוּלא, the nuptial tent, and בּית הלוּלים the marriage-house). "Its widows (of the people, in fact, of the slain) weep not" (word for word as in Job 27:15) is meant of the celebration of the customary ceremony of mourning (Genesis 23:2): they survive their husbands (which, with the exception of such a case as that recorded in 1 Samuel 14:19-22, is presupposed), but without being able to show them the last signs of honour, because the terrors of the war (Jeremiah 15:8) prevent them.

With Psalm 78:65 the song takes a new turn. After the punitive judgment has sifted and purified Israel, God receives His people to Himself afresh, but in such a manner that He transfers the precedence of Ephraim to the tribe of Judah. He awakes as it were from a long sleep (Psalm 44:24, cf. Psalm 73:20); for He seemed to sleep whilst Israel had become a servant to the heathen; He aroused Himself, like a hero exulting by reason of wine, i.e., like a hero whose courage is heightened by the strengthening and exhilarating influence of wine (Hengstenberg). התרונן is not the Hithpal. of רוּן in the Arabic signification, which is alien to the Hebrew, to conquer, a meaning which we do not need here, and which is also not adapted to the reflexive form (Hitzig, without any precedent, renders thus: who allows himself to be conquered by wine), but Hithpo. of רנן: to shout most heartily, after the analogy of the reflexives התאונן, התנודד, התרועע. The most recent defeat of the enemy which the poet has before his mind is that of the Philistines. The form of expression in Psalm 78:66 is moulded after 1 Samuel 5:6. God smote the Philistines most literally in posteriora (lxx, Vulgate, and Luther). Nevertheless Psalm 78:66 embraces all the victories under Samuel, Saul, and David, from 1 Samuel 5:1-12 and onwards. Now, when they were able to bring the Ark, which had been brought down to the battle against the Philistines, to a settled resting-place again, God no longer chose Shiloh of Ephraim, but Judah and the mountain of Zion, which He had loved (Psalm 47:5), of Benjamitish-Judaean (Joshua 15:63; Judges 1:8, Judges 1:21) - but according to the promise (Deuteronomy 33:12) and according to the distribution of the country (vid., on Psalm 68:28) Benjamitish - Jerusalem.

(Note: According to B. Menachoth 53b, Jedidiah (Solomon, 2 Samuel 12:25) built the Temple in the province of Jedidiah (of Benjamin, Deuteronomy 33:12).)

There God built His Temple כּמו־רמים. Hitzig proposes instead of this to read כּמרומים; but if נעימים, Psalm 16:6, signifies amaena, then רמים may signify excelsa (cf. Isaiah 45:2 הדוּרים, Jeremiah 17:6 חררים) and be poetically equivalent to מרומים: lasting as the heights of heaven, firm as the earth, which He hath founded for ever. Since the eternal duration of heaven and of the earth is quite consistent with a radical change in the manner of its duration, and that not less in the sense of the Old Testament than of the New (vid., e.g., Isaiah 65:17), so the לעולם applies not to the stone building, but rather to the place where Jahve reveals Himself, and to the promise that He will have such a dwelling-place in Israel, and in fact in Judah. Regarded spiritually, i.e., essentially, apart from the accidental mode of appearing, the Temple upon Zion is as eternal as the kingship upon Zion with which the Psalm closes. The election of David gives its impress to the history of salvation even on into eternity. It is genuinely Asaphic that it is so designedly portrayed how the shepherd of the flock of Jesse (Isai) became the shepherd of the flock of Jahve, who was not to pasture old and young in Israel with the same care and tenderness as the ewe-lambs after which he went (עלות as in Genesis 33:13, and רעה ב, cf. 1 Samuel 16:11; 1 Samuel 17:34, like משׁל בּ and the like). The poet is also able already to glory that he has fulfilled this vocation with a pure heart and with an intelligent mastery. And with this he closes.

From the decease of David lyric and prophecy are retrospectively and prospectively turned towards David.

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