Psalm 87:7
As well the singers as the players on instruments shall be there: all my springs are in thee.
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(7) The literal sense of this most obscure verse is—

“And singers as trumpeters

All my springs in Thee,

which we may paraphrase, keeping in the same line with the rest of the psalm, For such an one (celebrating his birthday, Genesis 40:20, Matthew 14:6) the singers and musicians will sing (to Zion), “All my offspring is in Thee.” Not only is it a boast to have been born in Zion, but in the genuine Hebrew spirit the boast is continued into the future generations, and the Hebrew of the Hebrews exults in addressing the sacred city as the cradle of his family.

For this figurative application of the word “springs” to posterity, comp. Psalm 68:26; Isaiah 48:1; Proverbs 5:16.

Psalm 87:7. As well the singers, &c., shall be there — That is, in the church, and among the people of God. Indeed God’s people have the greatest, nay, the only cause of rejoicing, being his children, and heirs, and joint heirs with Christ. As to all others, the divine injunction is, Be afflicted, and mourn and weep: let your laughter be turned into mourning, and your joy into heaviness. But the psalmist seems here to intimate, that when the prediction, contained in the preceding verses, should be fulfilled, and the Gentiles should be converted, and added to the church, there should be great rejoicing and praising of God, both with vocal and instrumental music, for that glorious event. He describes evangelical worship by legal phrases and customs, as the prophets frequently do. All my springs are in thee — In Zion, or the church. All graces, comforts, privileges, and blessings, are to be found in thee, O church of God, and are only to be expected in and through the word preached, and the ordinances administered there. These words are thought by many commentators to be here added as the burden of the song which the forementioned singers are supposed to sing, either in their own names, or in the name of the people of God. And so the sense is, all our desires and delights are in thee, O Zion. All the springs of mercy, grace, and glory, flow to us only in and through thee.

87:4-7 The church of Christ is more glorious and excellent than the nations of the earth. In the records of heaven, the meanest of those who are born again stand registered. When God renders to every man according to his works, he shall observe who enjoyed the privileges of his sanctuary. To them much was given, and of them much will be required. Let those that dwell in Zion, mark this, and live up to their profession. Zion's songs shall be sung with joy and triumph. The springs of the joy of a carnal worldling are in wealth and pleasure; but of a gracious soul, in the word of God and prayer. All grace and consolation are derived from Christ, through his ordinances, to the souls of believers.As well the singers as the players on instruments shall be there - literally, "The singers as the players on instruments." The image is that of a musical procession, where the singers go before, followed by those who play on various instruments of music. The idea seems to be that when the number of the true friends of God shall be made up, or shall all be enrolled, there will be a triumphal procession; or, they are seen by the psalmist, moving before God as in a triumphal procession. Compare the notes at Isaiah 35:10. Perhaps the reference is to heaven - the true Zion; to the assembling of all who shall have been born in Zion, and who shall have become citizens of the true Zion, the Jerusalem above.

All my springs are in thee - The word rendered springs means properly a place of fountains (see the notes at Psalm 84:6), and also a fountain, Genesis 7:11; Genesis 8:2. It thus becomes an emblem of happiness; of delight; of pleasure; and the ideal here is that the highest happiness of the psalmist was found in what is here referred to by the word "thee." That word may refer either to God or to Zion; but as the subject of the psalm is Zion, it is most natural to suppose that the reference is to that. Thus it accords with the sentiment so often found in the Psalms, where the writer expresses his love for Zion; his pleasure in its solemnities; his desire to abide there as his permanent home. Compare Psalm 23:6; Psalm 84:2-4, Psalm 84:10. The idea has been beautifully expressed by Dr. Dwight, in his version of Psalm 137:6 :

"I love thy church, O God;

Her walls before thee stand,

Dear as the apple of thine eye,

And graven on thy hand.

"If e'er my heart forget

Her welfare or her woe,

Let every joy this heart forsake,

And every grief o'erflow.

"Beyond my highest joy

I prize her heavenly ways.

Her sweet communion, solemn vows,

Her hymns of love and praise."

7. As in a great procession of those thus written up, or registered, seeking Zion (Isa 2:3; Jer 50:5), "the singers" and "players," or pipers, shall precede.

all my springs—So each shall say, "All my sources of spiritual joy are in Thee" (Ps 46:4; 84:6).

There shall be great rejoicing and praising God, both with vocal and instrumental music, for this glorious and stupendous work of the conversion of the Gentiles. He describes evangelical worship by legal phrases and customs, as the prophets frequently do.

In thee, i.e. in Zion, or the church. These words may be here added as the burden or matter of the song, which these singers are supposed to have sung; and that either,

1. In their own names, and in the name of all the Zionites or people of God. So the sense is, All our desires and delights are in thee, all the springs of mercy, grace, and glory flow to us only in and through thee; for springs or fountains are oft put for all precious or desirable things, as Psalm 36:9 Isaiah 12:3 Hosea 13:15. Or,

2. In God’s name, whose words were frequently sung by the singers in the Old Testament. And so the sense is, All the springs or fountains of good things, or of my blessings are in Zion, or in the church, out of which no true blessings are to be expected or found. And this sense seems best to suit with the phrase, my springs; partly because it seems more proper to call them God’s springs, who is the author and giver of them, than men’s springs, who are only the receivers of them; and partly because this is more agreeable to the phrase and usage of Scripture, which every where ascribes and appropriates them to God.

As well the singers as the players on the instruments shall be there,.... In Zion, in the church; signifying that there should be great spiritual joy there when the above things should be accomplished; great joy in the churches, because of the conversion of Jews and Gentiles; and great joy in the persons themselves, born again, and brought to Zion; in allusion to the vocal and instrumental music used in the temple service; see Isaiah 35:10.

all my springs are in thee; which are either the words of the psalmist, or rather of the souls born in Zion; who, in their spiritual songs, will thus express themselves concerning the church, in which are the word and ordinances, compared to fountains of living water, and are springs of spiritual peace and refreshment to converted persons; see Joel 3:18, where also the Spirit and his graces are communicated by the ministry of the word and ordinances in the church, which are signified by wells and rivers of living water, John 4:14 and particularly here stands Christ, the fountain of gardens, and well of living waters, for the supply and comfort of saints, and his blood a fountain opened for cleansing and purification, Sol 4:15, yea, here flows the river of God's love, the streams whereof make glad the city of God; and which, like the waters in Ezekiel's vision, come from under the threshold of the sanctuary, Psalm 46:4 or the words may be considered as an address of the psalmist, or of the church, or of regenerate persons, unto Christ:

all my springs or fountains are in thee; the fulness of grace dwells in him, the springs of all joy, and peace, and comfort, are with him; the wells of salvation are in him, and both grace and glory are from him; he is the spring of all grace now, and the fountain of all happiness hereafter. Gussetius (z) has a very peculiar version of the whole text, which he renders thus

"all my fountains will be singing in thee, or of thee, as those that dance at the sound of the pipe:''

taking the allusion to be to the playing of fountains in gardens, and to the delightful sound the waters make; but the accents will not admit of such a sense.

(z) Comment. Ebr. p. 845.

As well the singers as the players on instruments shall be there: all my {g} springs are in thee.

(g) The prophet sets his whole affections and comfort in the church.

7. Conclusion. The Psalm ends as abruptly as it began, with a verse which is enigmatic in its brevity. It is best explained as an outline picture of the universal rejoicing with which the citizens of Zion greet their mother.

And singing as well as dancing (shall they chant,)

‘All my fountains are in thee.’

The rendering dancing is preferable to playing on the flute (cp. A.V., R.V. marg.). For dancing as an expression of religious rejoicing see Psalm 30:11; Psalm 149:3; Psalm 150:4; Exodus 15:20; 2 Samuel 6:16.

The second line is their anthem. It may even be a fragment of some well-known hymn. My fountains is to be understood metaphorically, as ‘fountains of salvation’ in Isaiah 12:3. Cp. Psalm 36:9 f.; Psalm 84:6; Ezekiel 47:1; Joel 3:18; Zechariah 14:8. It is possible, but less satisfactory, to take the verse as the Psalmist’s apostrophe to Zion:

Both they that sing and they that dance,

All my fountains are in thee:

“meaning that every source of pleasure, music, singing, &c. was to be found in Zion” (Bp Perowne). So Milton in his paraphrase:

Both they who sing and they who dance

With sacred songs are there;

In thee fresh brooks and soft streams glance,

And all my fountains clear.

The obscurity of the verse must however be acknowledged. Cheyne thinks that it may be “a fragment of a description of a joyous procession.” Cp. Psalm 68:25. Is it possible that it is not, strictly speaking, part of the Psalm, but a liturgical direction to sing the anthem “All my fountains are in thee” at the end of the Psalm, as an expression of the joy of Zion’s citizens?

Verse 7. - As well the singers as the players on instruments; literally, and singers as well as dancers [shall say]. (On dancing as an element of religious service, see Exodus 15:20; 2 Samuel 6:16; Psalm 68:25; Psalm 149:3; Psalm 150:4.) The psalmist intends to represent the converted nations as coming in a grand procession, with songs and dances, to celebrate their admission to Zion, and there one and all exclaiming, All my fresh springs - i.e. "all my sources of life, and joy, and happiness" - are in thee. The verse is possibly but "fragment," as Professor Cheyne supposes.

Psalm 87:7Inasmuch now as the nations come thus into the church (or congregation) of the children of God and of the children of Abraham, Zion becomes by degrees a church immeasurably great. To Zion, however, or of Zion (ל of reference to), shall it be said אישׁ ואישׁ ילּד־בּהּ. Zion, the one city, stands in contrast to all the countries, the one city of God in contrast to the kingdoms of the world, and אישׁ ואישׁ in contrast to זה. This contrast, upon the correct apprehension of which depends the understanding of the whole Psalm, is missed when it is said, "whilst in relation to other countries it is always only the whole nation that comes under consideration, Zion is not reckoned up as a nation, but by persons" (Hofmann). With this rendering the ילּד retires into the background; in that case this giving of prominence to the value of the individual exceeds the ancient range of conception, and it is also an inadmissible appraisement that in Zion each individual is as important as a nation as a whole. Elsewhere אישׁ אישׁ, Leviticus 17:10, Leviticus 17:13, or אישׁ ואישׁ, Esther 1:8, signifies each and every one; accordingly here אישׁ ואישׁ (individual and, or after, individual) affirms a progressus in infinitum, where one is ever added to another. Of an immeasurable multitude, and of each individual in this multitude in particular, it is said that he was born in Zion. Now, too, והוּא כוננה עליון has a significant connection with what precedes. Whilst from among foreign peoples more and more are continually acquiring the right of natives in Zion, and thus are entering into a new national alliance, so that a breach of their original national friendships is taking place, He Himself (cf. 1 Samuel 20:9), the Most High, will uphold Zion (Psalm 48:9), so that under His protection and blessing it shall become ever greater and more glorious. Psalm 87:6 tells us what will be the result of such a progressive incorporation in the church of Zion of those who have hitherto been far removed, viz., Jahve will reckon when He writeth down (כּתוב as in Joshua 18:8) the nations; or better - since this would more readily be expressed by בּכתבו, and the book of the living (Isaiah 4:3) is one already existing from time immemorial - He will reckon in the list (כתוב after the form חלום, חלו, פּקוד equals כּתב, Ezekiel 13:9) of the nations, i.e., when He goes over the nations that are written down there and chosen for the coming salvation, "this one was born there;" He will therefore acknowledge them one after another as those born in Zion. The end of all history is that Zion shall become the metropolis of all nations. When the fulness of the Gentiles is thus come in, then shall all and each one as well singing as dancing say (supply יאמרוּ): All my fountains are in thee. Among the old translators the rendering of Aquila is the best: καὶ ᾄδοντες ὡς χοροί· πᾶσαι πηγαὶ ἐν σοί, which Jerome follows, et cantores quasi in choris: omnes fontes mei in te. One would rather render cholaliym, "flute-players" (lxx ὡς ἐν αὐλοῖς); but to pipe or play the flute is חלּל (a denominative from חליל), 1 Kings 1:40, whereas to dance is חלל (Pilel of חוּל); it is therefore equals מחוללים, like לצצים, Hosea 7:5. But it must not moreover be rendered, "And singers as well as dancers (will say);" for "singers" is משׁררים, not שׁרים, which signifies cantantes, not cantores. Singing as dancing, i.e., making known their festive joy as well by the one as by the other, shall the men of all nations incorporated in Zion say: All my fountains, i.e., fountains of salvation (after Isaiah 12:3), are in thee (O city of God). It has also been interpreted: my looks (i.e., the object on which my eye is fixed, or the delight of my eyes), or: my thoughts (after the modern Hebrew עיּן of spiritual meditation); but both are incongruous. The conjecture, too, of Bttcher, and even before him of Schnurrer (Dissertationes, p. 150), כל־מעיני, all who take up their abode (instead of which Hupfeld conjectures מעיני, all my near-dwellers, i.e., those who dwell with me under the same roof)

(Note: Hupfeld cites Rashi as having thus explained it; but his gloss is to be rendered: my whole inmost part (after the Aramaic equals מעי) is with thee, i.e., they salvation.)),

is not Hebrew, and deprives us of the thought which corresponds to the aim of the whole, that Jerusalem shall be universally regarded as the place where the water of life springs for the whole of mankind, and shall be universally praised as this place of fountains.

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