Psalm 84:7
They go from strength to strength, every one of them in Zion appears before God.
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EXPOSITORY (ENGLISH BIBLE)
(7) They go from strength to strengthi.e., each difficulty surmounted adds fresh courage and vigour.

“And he who flagg’d not in the earthly strife,

From strength to strength advancing, only he

His soul well knit, and all his battles won,

Mounts, and that hardly, to eternal life.”

MATTHEW ARNOLD.

The marginal “from company to company” follows the alternative meaning of the Hebrew word, and suggests a picture of the actual progress of the various bands composing a caravan. But the expression in either sense is hardly Hebrew, and the text is suspicious. It emends easily to “They go to the Temple of the Living God, to see the God of gods in Zion” (Grätz).

Psalm 84:7. They go from strength to strength — The farther they travel onward in that way, instead of being faint and weary, as travellers in such cases are wont to be, they grow stronger and stronger, being greatly refreshed with the comfortable end of their journey, expressed in the following words. Or, they go from company to company. For they used to travel in troops or companies, for many reasons, and some companies were before others accordingly as they were nearer to the place of worship, or more diligent or more expeditious in travelling. And such as were most zealous would use their utmost endeavours to outstrip others, and to overtake one company of travellers after another, that so they might come with the first unto God in Zion. Every one appeareth before God — This is here added, as the blessed design and fruit of their long and tedious journey, as that which put life into them, and made them bear all inconveniences with great cheerfulness — they are all graciously admitted into the presence of God in Zion. But the words are and may be otherwise rendered, until every one of them appears before the God of gods in Zion. Or, the God of gods shall be seen (or, useth to appear, or, manifest himself) in Zion. Which is mentioned in the close, as the reason of that affection and industry which are described in the foregoing passages.84:1-7 The ordinances of God are the believer's solace in this evil world; in them he enjoys the presence of the living God: this causes him to regret his absence from them. They are to his soul as the nest to the bird. Yet they are only an earnest of the happiness of heaven; but how can men desire to enter that holy habitation, who complain of Divine ordinances as wearisome? Those are truly happy, who go forth, and go on in the exercise of religion, in the strength of the grace of Jesus Christ, from whom all our sufficiency is. The pilgrims to the heavenly city may have to pass through many a valley of weeping, and many a thirsty desert; but wells of salvation shall be opened for them, and consolations sent for their support. Those that press forward in their Christian course, shall find God add grace to their graces. And those who grow in grace, shall be perfect in glory.They go from strength to strength ... - Margin," company to company." The Septuagint and Vulgate, "They go from strength to strength; the God of gods is seen in Zion." Luther, "They obtain one victory after another, that one must see that there is a righteous God in Zion." DeWette, "Going they increase in strength, until they appear before God in Zion." This last is doubtless the true idea. As they pass along, as they come nearer and nearer to the end of their journey, their strength, their ardor, their firmness of purpose increases. By their conversation; by their songs; by encouraging one another; by seeing one difficulty overcome after another; by the fact kept before their minds, and increasingly apparent, that they are constantly approaching the end of their journey - that the distance to be traveled is constantly diminishing - that the difficulties become less and less, and that they will soon see the towers and walls of the desired city - they are invigorated, cheered, comforted. What a beautiful illustration of the life of Christian pilgrims - of the bands of the redeemed - as they journey on toward the end of their course - the Mount Zion above! By prayer and praise and mutual counsel, by their songs, by the fact that difficulties are surmounted, leaving fewer to be overcome, and that the journey to be traveled is diminishing constantly - by the feeling that they are ever drawing nearer to the Zion of their home, until the light is seen to glitter and play on its towers and walls - they increase in strength, they become more confirmed in their purposes, they bear trials better, they overcome difficulties more easily, they walk more firmly, they tread their way more cheerfully and triumphantly.

Every one of them in Zion appeareth before God - literally, "He shall appear to God in Zion." The meaning evidently is, that they who are referred to in the previous verses as going up to Zion will be seen there, or will come before God, in the place of worship. There is a change of number here, from the plural to the singular - as, in Psalm 84:5, there is a change from the singular to the plural. Such changes are frequent in the Scriptures as in other writings, and the one here can be accounted for on the supposition that the author of the psalm, in looking upon the moving procession, at one moment may be supposed to have looked upon them as a procession - a moving mass - and then that he looked upon them as individuals, and spake of them as such. The idea here is, that they would not falter and fall by the way; that the cheerful, joyous procession would come to the desired place; that their wishes would be gratified, and that their joy would be full when they came to the end of their journey - to Zion. So it is of all Christian pilgrims. Every true believer - everyone that truly loves God - will appear before him in the upper Zion - in heaven. There their joy will be complete; there the long-cherished desires of their hearts will be fully gratified; there all that they ever hoped for, and more, will be realized.

7. The figure of the pilgrim is carried out. As such daily refit their bodily strength till they reach Jerusalem, so the spiritual worshipper is daily supplied with spiritual strength by God's grace till he appears before God in heaven.

appeareth … God—the terms of the requisition for the attendance on the feasts (compare De 16:16),

They go from strength to strength; the farther they travel onward in that way, instead of being faint and weary, as travellers in such cases use to be, they grow stronger and stronger, being greatly refreshed with the comfortable end of their journey, expressed in the following words. Or, They go from company to company. For they used to travel in troops or companies for many reasons, and some companies were before others, accordingly as they were nearer to the place of worship, or more diligent or expeditious in their travel. And such as were most zealous would use their utmost endeavours to outstrip others, and to overtake one company of travellers after another, that so they might come with the first unto God in Zion.

Every one of them in Zion appeareth before God: this is here added as the blessed design and fruit of their long and tedious journey, as that which put life into them, and made them bear all inconveniences with great cheerfulness, they are all graciously admitted into the presence of God in Zion. But the words are and may be otherwise rendered, until every one of them appear before the God of gods in Zion; or, the God of gods shall be seen (or useth to appear, or manifest himself; for the future tense oft notes the continuance of the action) in Zion; which is mentioned in the close as the reason of that affection and industry which is described in the foregoing passages. They go from strength to strength,.... Whose strength is in the Lord, and in whose heart are his ways, and who pass through the valley of Baca, and find a well of supply, and pools of blessings there; they renew their spiritual strength; they grow stronger and stronger every step they take; the way of the Lord is strength unto them: or "from army to army", or "from company to company" (d), as Kimchi, alluding to the companies in which they went up to the feasts; see Luke 2:44 when those who were more zealous, or more able to undergo journeys, would outgo the rest, and first overtake one company, and then another, and get to Zion first: or from victory to victory: first overcoming one enemy, and then another, as sin, Satan, and the world, being more than conquerors through him that has loved them: or "from doctrine to doctrine" (e); being led first into one truth, and then into another, as they were able to bear them; and so following on to know the Lord, and increasing in the knowledge of him: or "from class to class" (f); from the lower to an higher form in the school of Christ; so Jarchi interprets it, from school to school; and the Targum, from the sanctuary to the school; compare with this Romans 1:17.

everyone of them in Zion appeareth before God; three times in the year, but not empty, Exodus 34:20 so the saints appear before God in his church below, presenting their persons, souls and bodies, prayers and praises, as holy and spiritual sacrifices unto him; than which nothing is more desirable to them. This is the wished for happiness, and the issue of their travel, toil, and labour; see Psalm 42:2, and they shall appear before him, and in his presence, in the, church above; when Christ shall appear, they shall appear with him in glory, and be like him, and see him as he is; even everyone of them, not one shall be wanting; because he is great in power, not one of them shall fail; and he will present them to his Father, saying,

lo, I and the children thou hast given me: some render the words, "the God of gods will appear", or "be seen in Zion" (g); there Jehovah manifests himself, and grants his gracious presence; this is the mount of the Lord, in which he is and shall be seen, Genesis 22:14.

(d) "de exercitu in exercitum", Pagninus; so Piscator, Junius & Tremellius; "de turma ad turmam": Vatablus, Cocceius. (e) "De doctrina ad doctrinam", so some in Vatablus. (f) "Ex cohorte, vel classe rudiorum et infirmiorum, ad classem adultiorum", Gussetius, p. 725. (g) "videbitur Deus deorum in Sijon", Pagninus Montanus; "videtur Deus deorum in Sion", Musculus; so Sept. and Eth.

They go from {f} strength to strength, every one of them in Zion appeareth before God.

(f) They are never weary but increase in strength and courage till they come to God's house.

EXEGETICAL (ORIGINAL LANGUAGES)
7. They go from strength to strength] Instead of fainting on their toilsome journey they gain fresh strength as they advance. Cp. Isaiah 40:31, and for the form of expression, John 1:16; 2 Corinthians 3:18.

every one of them in Zion] Better as R.V., every one of them appeareth before God in Zion. The words every one of them are not in the original, but may legitimately be supplied, the use of the verb in the singular individualising the different members of the company.

The LXX read El Elôhîm, ‘God of Gods,’ for ĕl Elôhîm, ‘unto God,’ and thence, through the Vulg., came Coverdale’s rendering, And so the God of Gods apeareth unto thç in Sion. The P.B.V., while giving the right construction to the Heb. sentence, has retained God of Gods.

appeareth before God] The technical term for visiting the sanctuary at the great Festivals. Cp. Psalm 42:2, note.Verse 7. - They go from strength to strength. Their spiritual course is one of continually greater vitality and vigour. Every one of them in Zion appeareth before God. Either "Each in his turn appears to render thanks and praise before God's holy seat on Mount Zion;" or "Each in his turn shall appear before God's throne in the true Zion, heaven." How loved and lovely (ידידות) is the sacred dwelling-place (plur. as in Psalm 43:3) of the all-commanding, redemptive God, viz., His dwelling-place here below upon Zion! Thither the poet is drawn by the deeply inward yearning of love, which makes him pale (נכסף from כּסף, to grow pale, Psalm 17:12) and consumes him (כּלה as in Job 19:27). His heart and flesh joyfully salute the living God dwelling there, who, as a never-failing spring, quenches the thirst of the soul (Psalm 42:3); the joy that he feels when he throws himself back in spirit into the long-denied delight takes possession even of his bodily nature, the bitter-sweet pain of longing completely fills him (Psalm 63:2). The mention of the "courts" (with the exception of the Davidic Psalm 65:5, occurring only in the anonymous Psalms) does not preclude the reference of the Psalm to the tent-temple on Zion. The Tabernacle certainly had only one חצר; the arrangement of the Davidic tent-temple, however, is indeed unknown to us, and, according to reliable traces,

(Note: Vid., Knobel on Exodus, S. 253-257, especially S. 255.)

it may be well assumed that it was more gorgeous and more spacious than the old Tabernacle which remained in Gibeon. In Psalm 84:4 the preference must be given to that explanation which makes את־מזבּחותיך dependent upon מצאה, without being obliged to supply an intermediate thought like בּית (with hardening Dagesh like בּן, Genesis 19:38, vid., the rule at Psalm 52:5) and קן as a more definite statement of the object which the poet has in view. The altars, therefore, or (what this is meant to say without any need for taking את as a preposition) the realm, province of the altars of Jahve - this is the house, this the nest which sparrow and swallow have found for themselves and their young. The poet thereby only indirectly says, that birds have built themselves nests on the Temple-house, without giving any occasion for the discussion whether this has taken place in reality. By the bird that has found a comfortable snug home on the place of the altars of Jahve in the Temple-court and in the Temple-house, he means himself. צפּור (from צפר) is a general name for whistling, twittering birds, like the finch

(Note: Vid., Tobler, Denkbltter aus Jerusalem, 1853, S. 117.)

and the sparrow, just as the lxx here renders it. דּרור is not the turtle-dove (lxx, Targum, and Syriac), but the swallow, which is frequently called even in the Talmud צפור דרור ( equals סנוּנית), and appears to take its name from its straightforward darting, as it were, radiating flight (cf. Arabic jadurru of the horse: it darts straight forward). Saadia renders dûrı̂je, which is the name of the sparrow in Palestine and Syria (vid., Wetzstein's Excursus I). After the poet has said that his whole longing goes forth towards the sanctuary, he adds that it could not possibly be otherwise (גּם standing at the head of the clause and belonging to the whole sentence, as e.g., in Isaiah 30:33; Ewald, 352, b): he, the sparrow, the swallow, has found a house, a nest, viz., the altars of Jahve of Hosts, his King and his God (Psalm 44:5; Psalm 45:7), who gloriously and inaccessibly protects him, and to whom he unites himself with most heartfelt and believing love. The addition "where (אשׁר as in Psalm 95:9; Numbers 20:13) she layeth her young," is not without its significance. One is here reminded of the fact, that at the time of the second Temple the sons of the priests were called פּרחי כהנּה, and the Levite poet means himself together with his family; God's altars secure to them shelter and sustenance. How happy, blessed, therefore, are those who enjoy this good fortune, which he now longs for again with pain in a strange country, viz., to be able to make his home in the house of such an adorable and gracious God! עוד here signifies, not "constantly" (Genesis 46:29), for which תּמיד would have been used, but "yet," as in Psalm 42:6. The relation of Psalm 84:5 to Psalm 84:5 is therefore like Psalm 41:2. The present is dark, but it will come to pass even yet that the inmates of God's house (οἰκεῖοι τοῦ Θεοῦ, Ephesians 2:10) will praise Him as their Helper. The music here strikes in, anticipating this praise.

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