Psalm 89:19
Then thou spakest in vision to thy holy one, and saidst, I have laid help upon one that is mighty; I have exalted one chosen out of the people.
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(19) The mention of the king allows the poet to bring still more into prominence the special promises made to Israel. The piece, which is couched in oracular language, is introduced by a prose statement recalling the sentences in Job which introduce a fresh speaker.

Holy one.—See Note, Psalm 16:10. Some MSS. (comp. LXX. and Vulg.) have the plural. The singular is correct, referring no doubt to Nathan, as is seen from 2Samuel 7:17; 1Chronicles 17:15. The oracular piece that follows (Psalm 89:19-37) is like Psalm 132:11-12, founded on this old prophetic passage; but while the original reference is to Solomon, here it is extended to all David’s posterity.

I have . . .—Better, I have placed help in a heroi.e., I have chosen a hero as a champion for Israel.

Psalm 89:19-22. Then — That is, of old; thou spakest in vision — Which then was the usual way by which God spake to the prophets; to thy Holy One — To thy holy prophets, the singular number being put for the plural; especially to Samuel and Nathan; for part of the following message was delivered to the former: and part to the latter; I have laid help upon one that is mighty — I have provided help and relief for my people through a person of singular courage and wisdom, whom I have properly qualified for so great an undertaking. I have exalted one chosen out of the people —

One whom I have singled out as the fittest of all others for the kingly office. I have found David my servant — In saying I have found, God speaks after the manner of men, to intimate the great scarcity of such persons and the difficulty of finding them; with my holy oil I have anointed him — Both with material oil, (1 Samuel 16:13; 2 Samuel 5:3,) and with the gifts and graces of my Holy Spirit, which are often signified by oil or unction, as Psalm 45:7, compared with Isaiah 61:1; 1 John 2:20; 1 John 2:27. With whom my hand shall be established — That is, constantly abide to protect and assist him. The enemy shall not exact upon him — Not conquer him to make him tributary. Hebrew, לא ישׁיא, lo jashi, shall not deceive, or circumvent him, as this word is often rendered; nor the son of wickedness afflict him — Namely, so as to overthrow or destroy him.

89:19-37 The Lord anointed David with the holy oil, not only as an emblem of the graces and gifts he received, but as a type of Christ, the King Priest, and Prophet, anointed with the Holy Ghost without measure. David after his anointing, was persecuted, but none could gain advantage against him. Yet all this was a faint shadow of the Redeemer's sufferings, deliverance, glory, and authority, in whom alone these predictions and promises are fully brought to pass. He is the mighty God. This is the Redeemer appointed for us, who alone is able to complete the work of our salvation. Let us seek an interest in these blessings, by the witness of the Holy Spirit in our hearts. As the Lord corrected the posterity of David for their transgressions, so his people shall be corrected for their sins. Yet it is but a rod, not a sword; it is to correct, not to destroy. It is a rod in the hand of God, who is wise, and knows what he does; gracious, and will do what is best. It is a rod which they shall never feel, but when there is need. As the sun and moon remain in heaven, whatever changes there seem to be in them, and again appear in due season; so the covenant of grace made in Christ, whatever alteration seems to come to it, should not be questioned.Then thou spakest in vision - Or, by a vision. See this word explained in the notes at Isaiah 1:1. The meaning is, that God had spoken this by means of visions, or by communications made to his people by the prophets. This "vision" was especially made known to Nathan, and through him to David. See 2 Samuel 7:4-17. The substance of what is here said is found in that passage in Samuel. In 2 Samuel 7:17, it is expressly called a "vision."

To thy holy one - The vision was addressed particularly to David, but was made through him to the people of Israel. The ancient versions render this in the plural, as referring to the people of Israel. The Hebrew is in the singular number.

I have laid help upon one that is mighty - I have so endowed him that he shall be the protector and defender of my people. He is qualified for the office entrusted to him, and in his hands the interests of the nation will be safe. This was not expressly said in the vision; but this was the substance of what was said. See 2 Samuel 7:9.

I have exalted one chosen out of the people - One not of exalted rank; one not descended from kings and conquerors; but one that had grown up among the people; one called from the ranks of common life; one chosen from among those engaged in humble occupations. In this way it was the more apparent that the power really came from God. Compare 2 Samuel 7:8; see also the notes at Psalm 78:70-72.

19-37. Then—when the covenant was established, of whose execution the exalted views of God now given furnish assurance.

thou … to thy holy one—or godly saint, object of favor (Ps 4:3). Nathan is meant (2Sa 7:17; 1Ch 17:3-15).

laid help—literally, "given help." David was chosen and then exalted.

19 Then thou spakest in vision to thy holy one, and saidst, I have laid help upon one that is mighty; I have exalted one chosen out of the people.

20 I have found David my servant; with my holy oil have I anointed him:

21 With whom my hand shall be established: mine arm also shall strengthen him.

22 The enemy shall not exact upon him, nor the son of wickedness afflict him.

23 And I will beat down his foes before his face, and plague them that hate him

24 But my faithfulness and my mercy shall be with him: and in my name shall his horn be exalted.

25 I will set his hand also in the sea, and his right hand in the rivers.

26 He shall cry unto me, Thou art my father, my God, and the rock of my salvation.

27 Also I will make him my firstborn, higher than the kings of the earth.

28 My mercy will I keep for him for evermore, and my covenant shall stand fast with him

29 His seed also will I make to endure for ever, and his throne as the days of heaven.

30 If his children forsake my law, and walk not in my judgments;

31 If they break my statutes, and keep not my commandments;

32 Then will I visit their transgression with the rod, and their iniquity with stripes.


Then, i.e. of old; for this particle is sometimes put indefinitely. Or, then, when thou didst set David in the throne.

In vision; which then was the usual way by which God spake to the prophets, Numbers 12:6.

To thy holy one: to thy holy prophets; the singular number being put for the plural; especially to Samuel and Nathan; for part of the following message was delivered to the former, and part to the latter. I have laid help; I have provided help and relief for my people, which I have put into safe hands.

Upon one that is mighty; upon a person of singular courage and wisdom, and every way fit for so great a charge.

One chosen out of the people; one whom I have picked and chosen out of all the people, as the fittest for the kingly office, one enriched with eminent gifts and graces, &c.

Then thou spakest in vision to thy Holy One,.... Samuel the prophet, that holy man of God, to whom the Lord spoke in vision, or by a spirit of prophecy, concerning David, the choice and exaltation of him to the kingdom, and his unction for it, 1 Samuel 16:1. The Vulgate Latin version reads it "to thy Holy Ones": and so the Targum, with which agree the Septuagint and Arabic versions, which render it "thy sons"; and the Syriac version "his righteous ones", and so takes in Nathan also, to whom the Lord spake in a vision, by night, concerning the settlement and perpetuity of the kingdom in David's family, 2 Samuel 7:4, &c. Aben Ezra interprets it of the singers, Heman, Ethan, and others; and Jarchi of Gad and Nathan: but the whole is rather to be understood of David's son, the Messiah; and it may be rendered "concerning thy Holy One" (i) as he is called, Psalm 16:10, concerning whom in vision, that is, in prophecy, see Isaiah 1:1. The Lord said, by the mouth of his holy prophets, from the beginning of the world, the following things:

and saidst, I have laid help upon one that is mighty; this "mighty" One is the Messiah, the mighty God, the mighty Man, the mighty Mediator and Redeemer; who was mighty to save to the uttermost, and was every way fit for and equal to the work of a Redeemer; for which reason the Lord "laid help" upon him, not for himself; for this is not to be understood of help promised or given him as man and Mediator: this is after spoken of, Psalm 89:21, but for others; and so the Targum adds, "for my people": laying it on him is no other than ordering or enjoining him, to which he agreed, to help his people out of that miserable condition they were fallen into, through Adam's transgression, and their own sins, out of which they could not help themselves: the work assigned to Christ, and devolved on him in council and covenant, was to help them out of this estate by price and power; and to help them on in their way to heaven, through all difficulties, trials, and temptations; and to help them to heaven itself, and introduce them there: and being thus laid upon him, according to his Father's will and purpose, and with his own consent, it was found in him, and exercised by him, Hosea 13:9.

I have exalted one chosen out of the people; the same as before, the Messiah, God's elect, his chosen One, Isaiah 42:1 "chosen" to be the head of the church, to be the Mediator between God and man, and to be the Saviour and Redeemer of lost sinners; to be the foundation and corner stone in the spiritual building, and to be the Judge of quick and dead: and he was "chosen out of the people"; out of the vast number of the individuals of human nature God determined to create, there was a certain number which he selected for himself, for his own glory, and to be eternally happy with him; and out of these he singled one "individuum" of human nature, to be united to the eternal Word, the second Person in the Trinity; and which may be truly said to be the "chiefest among", or, as the Septuagint version has it, "chosen out of ten thousand", Sol 5:10, this the Lord "exalted" to the grace of union to the Son of God, whereby it became higher than angels and men, and to have a more excellent name than either of them, it bearing the name of him to whom it is united, Hebrews 1:4, and he has exalted him to the offices of Prophet, Priest, and King, for which he is

anointed above his fellows; and he has also, having done his work, highly exalted him at his right hand; angels, principalities, and powers, being subject to him.

(i) "de pio tuo", Cocceius; "de sancto tuo", Gejerus.

Then thou spakest in vision to {q} thy holy one, and saidst, I have laid help upon one that is {r} mighty; I have exalted one chosen out of the people.

(q) To Samuel and to others, to assure that David was the chosen one.

(r) Whom I have both chosen and given strength to execute his office, as in Ps 89:21.

19. Then] On the well-known occasion already referred to in Psalm 89:3-4. in vision] See 2 Samuel 7:17.

to thy holy one] Nathan, or more probably David, as the principal recipient of the message. So some MSS. But the traditional text, supported apparently by all the Ancient Versions, reads the plural, to thy saints, or rather to thy beloved; i.e. the people of Israel, for whom the promise made through David to Nathan was intended. The word rendered thy beloved denotes Israel as the object of that lovingkindness which the Psalmist is celebrating. See Psalm 50:5, and Appendix, Note I.

I have laid help] Endowed him with the power and assigned to him the office of helping My people in their need. For laid = ‘conferred,’ of the Divine endowment of the king, see Psalm 21:5; and for help as a Divine gift to the king, see Psalm 20:2. The phrase is unusual, but the conjectures a diadem (cp. Psalm 89:39) or strength are unnecessary.

one that is mighty] Cp. 2 Samuel 17:10. The word is chosen with reference to the Divine ‘might’ of which he was the representative, Psalm 89:13 : cp. Psalm 20:6; Psalm 21:13.

one chosen] Cp. Psalm 89:3; Psalm 78:70; 1 Kings 8:16.

19–37. The mention of the king in Psalm 89:18 naturally leads up to the covenant with David which was briefly alluded to in Psalm 89:3-4. The Psalmist now recites the promise in detail in a poetical expansion of the narrative in 2 Samuel 7.

Verse 19. - Then thou spakest; rather, once, or "once upon a time," as Professor Cheyne suggests. The allusion is to the occurrence related in 2 Samuel 7:4-17. In vision (see 2 Samuel 7:7). To thy holy one; i.e. to Nathan the prophet. And saidst. The psalmist reports the words of the vision very freely, interweaving with them thoughts drawn from various psalms; expanding them, and sometimes heightening the colours. I have laid help upon one that is mighty; I have exalted one chosen out of the people (comp. 1 Samuel 16:1-13). David was "mighty" from his youth - own before he slew Goliath, as appears from his slaughter of the lion and the bear (1 Samuel 17:34-36). Psalm 89:19Having thus again come to refer to the king of Israel, the poet now still further unfolds the promise given to the house of David. The present circumstances are a contradiction to it. The prayer to Jahve, for which the way is thus prepared, is for the removal of this contradiction. A long line, extending beyond the measure of the preceding lines, introduces the promises given to David. With אז the respective period of the past is distinctly defined. The intimate friend of Jahve (חסיד) is Nathan (1 Chronicles 17:15) or David, according as we translate בחזון "in a vision" or "by means of a vision." But side by side with the לחסידך we also find the preferable reading לחסידיך, which is followed in the renderings of the lxx, Syriac, Vulgate, Targum, Aquila, Symmachus, and the Quarta, and is adopted by Rashi, Aben-Ezra, and others, and taken up by Heidenheim and Baer. The plural refers to Samuel and Nathan, for the statement brings together what was revealed to these two prophets concerning David. עזר is assistance as a gift, and that, as the designation of the person succoured by it (שׁוּה על as in Psalm 21:6) with גּבּור shows, aid in battle. בּחוּר (from בּחר equals בּגר in the Mishna: to ripen, to be manly or of marriageable age, distinct from בּחיר in Psalm 89:4) is a young man, adolescens: while yet a young man David was raised out of his humble lowly condition (Psalm 78:71) high above the people. When he received the promise (2 Samuel 7) he had been anointed and had attained to the lordship over all Israel. Hence the preterites in Psalm 89:20-21, which are followed by promissory futures from Psalm 89:22 onwards. תּכּון is fut. Niph., to be established, to prove one's self to be firm, unchangeable (Psalm 78:37), a stronger expression than תּהיה, 1 Samuel 18:12, 1 Samuel 18:14; 2 Samuel 3:10. The Hiph. השּׁיא, derived from נשׁא equals נשׁה, to credit (vid., on Isaiah 24:2; Gesenius, Hengstenberg), does not give any suitable sense; it therefore signifies here as elsewhere, "to impose upon, surprise," with בּ, as in Psalm 55:16 with על. Psalm 89:23 is the echo of 2 Samuel 7:10.
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