Psalm 78:72
So he fed them according to the integrity of his heart; and guided them by the skillfulness of his hands.
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Psalm 78:72. So he fed them — Having so great a trust put into his hands, he obtained mercy of the Lord to be found both skilful and faithful in the discharge of it; he fed them — That is, he ruled and taught them, guided and protected them, 1st, Very honestly; according to the integrity of his heart — Aiming at nothing else but the glory of God, and the good of the people committed to his charge. The principles of religion were the maxims of his government, which he administered, not with carnal policy, but with godly sincerity, by the grace of God. 2d, Very discreetly; he did it by the skilfulness of his hands — He was not only very sincere in what he designed, but very prudent in what he performed, and chose out the most proper means in pursuit of his end; for his God did instruct him to discretion. Happy the people that are under such a government! And with good reason doth the psalmist make this the 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, and should judge and reprove with equity, Isaiah 11:3-4. On the integrity of his heart, and the skilfulness of his hands, all his subjects may entirely rely; and of the increase of his government and peace there shall be no end. 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.So he fed them - He performed toward them the office of a shepherd.

According to the integrity of his heart - literally, "According to the perfection of his heart." That is, he was upright and pure in the administration of his government.

And guided them by the skillfulness of his hands - literally, "by the understanding of his hands" - as if the hand had been endued with intelligence. Compare Psalm 144:1 : "Which teacheth my hands to war, and my fingers to fight." See also Psalm 137:5. The idea is, that he administered the government with integrity and uprightness. This is a beautiful tribute to the integrity and purity of the administration of David. It is not the language of flattery; it is a simple statement, flowing from the heart, in favor of a just and upright administration; and it is a true statement of what the administration of David was. Save in the matter of Uriah - over which he afterward wept so bitterly - his administration was eminently just, pure, impartial, wise, and benignant; probably none among people have been more so. The whole psalm is thus a beautiful argument showing why the government had been transferred from Ephraim to Judah, and why it had been placed in the hands of David.

71. following … ewes, &c.—literally, "ewes giving suck" (compare Isa 40:11). On the pastoral terms, compare Ps 79:13. He commends David for the two necessary ingredients of a good prince.

1. Integrity; whereby he sincerely sought the good and welfare of his people, avoiding and abhorring those counsels and courses which were contrary thereunto.

2. Skilfulness; whereby he managed all the public affairs with singular prudence; which is here ascribed to his hands, not because it was seated in them, but because it was acted and discovered by them, and appeared in all his actions or administrations. So he fed them according to the integrity of his heart,.... Or, "reigned over them", as the Targum; that is, over the people of Israel, and which he did in such manner as showed uprightness of heart, and that he was, as his character is, a man after God's own heart: it appeared, by his administration of government, that he sought not his own honour and interest, and the aggrandizing of his family, but the good of his people, and the glory of God; and this character, in the fullest extent, and highest sense of it, best agrees with Christ, the righteous branch raised unto David, Jeremiah 23:5,

and guided them by the skilfulness of his hands; or "by the prudencies" of his hands, as the Targum; or, by the prudencies (c), as in the original text; with the most consummate wisdom and skill: hands are made mention of, partly in allusion to the shepherd, as David had been, who carries a staff in his hand, and guides his flock with it; and partly with respect to the acts and administration of government, which were wisely performed by him: he made wise laws for his people and soldiers, and put them in execution; he behaved wisely in the court and in the camp; but was greatly and infinitely exceeded by his antitype, the servant of the Lord, that should deal prudently, Isaiah 52:13, and who is abundantly qualified for it, as being not only the Wisdom of God, and the all wise God, but even, as Mediator, has the spirit of wisdom on him, and the treasures of wisdom in him.

(c) "prudentiis", Vatablus; "intelligentiis", Pagninus, Montanus, Gejerus, Michaelis; "discretions", Ainsworth.

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

(t) He shows where a kings charge stands: that is, to provide faithfully for his people, to guide them by counsel, and defend them by power.

72. the integrity of his heart] Cp. 1 Kings 9:4; Psalm 7:8; Psalm 101:2; and the use of the cognate adjective in Psalm 15:2; Psalm 18:23.

the skilfulness] The regal faculty of discernment which Solomon desired (1 Kings 3:9), and with which he was so richly endowed (1 Kings 4:29).Verse 72. - So he fed them according to the integrity of his heart. On the whole, David performed his task of governing Israel faithfully. He had the direct testimony of God to that effect (see 1 Kings 9:4). And he guided them by the skilfulness of his hands. David was not only an upright and faithful king, but also a "skilful" or prudent one. He built up his kingdom into an empire without suffering any serious disasters. Israel reached its acme of glory and prosperity under him, decline setting in under Solomon.

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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