Psalm 89:34
My covenant will I not break, nor alter the thing that is gone out of my lips.
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EXPOSITORY (ENGLISH BIBLE)
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.My covenant will I not break - literally, I will not pollute, defile, profane. See the notes at Psalm 89:31, where the same word is used. God says that he will not do in regard to the covenant as they had done.

Nor alter the thing ... - The promise which I have made. I will not make it a different thing. I will not modify its conditions, or withdraw it. It shall stand precisely as it was when I uttered it. What God promises will be exactly performed.

28-37. This relation is perpetual with David's descendants, as a whole typical in official position of his last greatest descendant. Hence though in personal relations any of them might be faithless and so punished, their typical relation shall continue. His oath confirms His promise, and the most enduring objects of earth and heaven illustrate its perpetual force (Ps 72:5, 7, 17). No text from Poole on this verse.

My covenant will I not break,.... Not the covenant at Sinai, as Aben Ezra, but the covenant of grace made with Christ, and which stands fast with him, Psalm 89:3, which is firm, sure, and stable, and as immovable as mountains and hills, and more so, 2 Samuel 23:5 or "profane" (m) it, though his people profane his statutes, Psalm 89:31, he will not profane his covenant; though they violate his laws, he is a God keeping covenant with them, and will not break his word with them:

nor alter the thing that is gone out of my lips; any promise of his, respecting either the temporal, spiritual, or eternal welfare of his people: or "not change" (n); as he changes not in his nature and perfections, nor in his love and affections, nor in his counsels and purposes; so neither in his covenant and promises, they are always the same, and have a certain and unchangeable accomplishment; there is a performance of whatsoever is spoken by the Lord, Luke 1:45.

(m) "non prophanabo", V. L. Pagninus, Montanus, Tigurine version, &c. (n) "non mutabo", Pagninus, Montanus, Tigurine version, Junius & Tremellius, &c.

My covenant will I not break, nor {b} alter the thing that is gone out of my lips.

(b) For God in promising has respect to his mercy, and not to man's power in performing.

EXEGETICAL (ORIGINAL LANGUAGES)
34. break] Lit. profane, as in Psalm 89:31. God’s covenant, like His laws, is a sacred thing. Men may violate His laws, but He will not violate His covenant.

the thing that is gone out of my lips] The word once spoken is irrevocable. The phrase is used of vows in Numbers 30:12; Deuteronomy 23:23.

Verse 34. - My covenant will I not break, nor alter the thing that is gone out of my lips (comp. ver. 28, and the comment ad loc.). With God is "no variableness, neither shadow of turning" (James 1:17). Psalm 89:34Now follows the paraphrase of 2 Samuel 7:14, that the faithlessness of David's line in relation to the covenant shall not interfere with (annul) the faithfulness of God - a thought with which one might very naturally console one's self in the reign of Rehoboam. Because God has placed the house of David in a filial relationship to Himself, He will chastise the apostate members as a father chastises his son; cf. Proverbs 23:13. In 1 Chronicles 17:13 the chronicler omits the words of 2 Samuel 7:14 which there provide against perverted action (העוות) on the part of the seed of David; our Psalm proves their originality. But even if, as history shows, this means of chastisement should be ineffectual in the case of individuals, the house of David as such will nevertheless remain ever in a state of favour with Him. In Psalm 89:34 חסדּי לא־אפיר מעמּו corresponds to וחסדּי־לא־יסוּר ממּנּוּ in 2 Samuel 7:15 (lxx, Targum): the fut. Hiph. of פרר is otherwise always אפר; the conjecture אסיר is therefore natural, yet even the lxx translators (ου ̓ μὴ διασκεδάσω) had אפיר before them. שׁקּר בּ as in Psalm 44:18. The covenant with David is sacred with God: He will not profane it (חלּל, to loose the bonds of sanctity). He will fulfil what has gone forth from His lips, i.e., His vow, according to Deuteronomy 23:24 [23], cf. Numbers 30:3 [2]. One thing hath He sworn to David; not: once equals once for all (lxx), for what is introduced by Psalm 89:36 (cf. Psalm 27:4) and follows in Psalm 89:37, Psalm 89:38, is in reality one thing (as in Psalm 62:12, two). He hath sworn it per sanctitatem suam. Thus, and not in sanctuario meo, בּקדשׁי in this passage and Amos 4:2 (cf. on Psalm 60:8) is to be rendered, for elsewhere the expression is בּי, Genesis 22:16; Isaiah 45:23, or בּנפשׁו, Amos 6:8; Jeremiah 51:14, or בּשׁמי, Jeremiah 44:26, or בּימינו, Isaiah 62:8. It is true we do not read any set form of oath in 2 Samuel 7, 1 Chronicles 17, but just as Isaiah, Isaiah 54:9, takes the divine promise in Genesis 8:21 as an oath, so the promise so earnestly and most solemnly pledged to David may be accounted by Psalm-poesy (here and in Psalm 132:11), which reproduces the historical matter of fact, as a promise attested with an oath. With אם in Psalm 89:36 God asserts that He will not disappoint David in reference to this one thing, viz., the perpetuity of his throne. This shall stand for ever as the sun and moon; for these, though they may one day undergo a change (Psalm 102:27), shall nevertheless never be destroyed. In the presence of 2 Samuel 7:16 it looks as if Psalm 89:38 ought to be rendered: and as the witness in the clouds shall it (David's throne) be faithful (perpetual). By the witness in the clouds one would then have to understand the rainbow as the celestial memorial and sign of an everlasting covenant. Thus Luther, Geier, Schmid, and others. But neither this rendering, nor the more natural one, "and as the perpetual, faithful witness in the clouds," is admissible in connection with the absence of the כּ of comparison. Accordingly Hengstenberg, following the example of Jewish expositors, renders: "and the witness in the clouds is perpetual," viz., the moon, so that the continuance of the Davidic line would be associated with the moon, just as the continuance of the condemned earth is with the rainbow. But in what sense would the moon have the name, without example elsewhere, of witness? Just as the Book of Job was the key to the conclusion of Psalm 88, so it is the key to this ambiguous verse of the Psalm before us. It has to be explained according to Job 16:19, where Job says: "Behold in heaven is my witness, and my surety in the heights." Jahve, the אל נאמן (Deuteronomy 7:9), seals His sworn promise with the words, "and the witness in the sky (ethereal heights) is faithful" (cf. concerning this Waw in connection with asseverations, Ew. 340, c). Hengstenberg's objection, that Jahve cannot be called His own witness, is disposed of by the fact that עד frequently signifies the person who testifies anything concerning himself; in this sense, in fact, the whole Tra is called עדוּת ה (the testimony of Jahve).
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