Psalm 78:71
From following the ewes great with young he brought him to feed Jacob his people, and Israel his inheritance.
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EXPOSITORY (ENGLISH BIBLE)
(71) Ewes great with young—So also in Isaiah 40:11; but properly, ewes with lambs. Literally, giving suck.

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.From following the ewes great with younq - Margin, as in Hebrew, From after. The meaning is, that he followed after them; that is, he attended them, or watched over them as a shepherd. The single word rendered "the ewes great with young" - עול ‛ûl - is a participle from עלוה ‛âlâhô, to ascend, to go up; and then, to bring up, to nourish. The exact idea here is doubtless that of bringing up, or of sucking them, and the word should have been so translated here. It is so rendered by Luther. The idea in our translation has been derived from the Septuagint and the Latin Vulgate. The meaning is, that he brought him from being a shepherd to be the ruler of his people - expressed still in the language of a shepherd life.

To feed Jacob his people - Rather, to be a shepherd to them; to perform toward them the office of a shepherd, including the ideas of governing them, providing for them, and defending them. See the notes at Psalm 23:1-2.

71. following … ewes, &c.—literally, "ewes giving suck" (compare Isa 40:11). On the pastoral terms, compare Ps 79:13. Following the ewes great with young; by which employment he was inured to that care, and diligence, and self-denial which is necessary in a king or governor; and instructed to rule his people with all gentleness and tenderness. From following the ewes great with young,.... Or, "from after" them (a); it was usual with the shepherd to put them before him, and to follow them, and gently drive them, which is expressive of his care and tenderness of them; see Genesis 33:13, the same is observed of David's antitype, the great and good Shepherd of the sheep, Isaiah 40:11. David was a type of Christ as a shepherd; as he kept his father's sheep, so Christ keeps those that the Father has given him, John 10:29, as David kept his flock with great care and courage, and in safety, 1 Samuel 17:34, so does the Lord Jesus Christ keep his flock in safety, and preserves it from Satan, the roaring lion, and from grievous wolves that enter into it, and every beast of prey that would devour it; and particularly as David took special care of those that were with young, so does the Lord take special care of such that are newborn babes, that have Christ formed in them, and are big with desires after him, carry a burden, and are weary, and heavy laden: the Targum, Jarchi, and Kimchi, interpret the word (b) of such that give suck, and so it most properly signifies:

he brought him to feed Jacob his people, and Israel his inheritance; that is, to rule over them: this is said in allusion to his having been a shepherd; and nothing is more common than for kings to be represented as shepherds, and their acts of government by leading and feeding; and one and the same word in the Greek language signifies to feed and rule: and so the Targum,

"he brought him to rule over Jacob his people:''

this was a great honour indeed, to be the governor of the Lord's people, a special people above all people on the face of the earth, and whom he had chosen to be his inheritance; and in this also he was a type of Christ, who has the throne of his father David given him, and who reigns over the house of Jacob, one of whose titles is King of saints; for as the government of the world in general, so of the church in particular, is on his shoulders, Luke 1:32.

(a) "de post", Montanus, Vatablus, Gejerus; "a post", Michaelis. (b) "lactantes", Vatablus, Gejerus, Michaelis.

From following the ewes great with young he brought him to feed Jacob his people, and Israel his inheritance.
EXEGETICAL (ORIGINAL LANGUAGES)
71. From following the ewes with their young ones he brought him,

To be shepherd of Jacob his people &c.

This natural metaphor for the ruler’s care of his people was especially appropriate in the case of David, who was taken from being the shepherd of Jesse’s flock to be the shepherd of Jehovah’s flock. Cp. 2 Samuel 5:2.Verse 71. - From following the ewes great with young he brought him (comp. Isaiah 40:11). The Hebrew word translated "ewes great with young" really means "ewes that are giving suck." This is the portion of the flock which needs the tenderest care. To feed Jacob his people, and Israel his inheritance (see 1 Chronicles 11:2). As Peter, James, and John were called from their occupation of fishers to be "fishers of men" (Matthew 4:19), so David was called from feeding sheep to feed God's people. 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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