Psalm 89:40
Thou hast broken down all his hedges; thou hast brought his strong holds to ruin.
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EXPOSITORY (ENGLISH BIBLE)
89:38-52 Sometimes it is not easy to reconcile God's providences with his promises, yet we are sure that God's works fulfil his word. When the great Anointed One, Christ himself, was upon the cross, God seemed to have cast him off, yet did not make void his covenant, for that was established for ever. The honour of the house of David was lost. Thrones and crowns are often laid in the dust; but there is a crown of glory reserved for Christ's spiritual seed, which fadeth not away. From all this complaint learn what work sin makes with families, noble families, with families in which religion has appeared. They plead with God for mercy. God's unchangeableness and faithfulness assure us that He will not cast off those whom he has chosen and covenanted with. They were reproached for serving him. The scoffers of the latter days, in like manner, reproach the footsteps of the Messiah when they ask, Where is the promise of his coming? 2Pe 3:3,4. The records of the Lord's dealings with the family of David, show us his dealings with his church, and with believers. Their afflictions and distresses may be grievous, but he will not finally cast them off. Self-deceivers abuse this doctrine, and others by a careless walk bring themselves into darkness and distress; yet let the true believer rely on it for encouragement in the path of duty, and in bearing the cross. The psalm ends with praise, even after this sad complaint. Those who give God thanks for what he has done, may give him thanks for what he will do. God will follow those with his mercies, who follow him with praises.Thou hast broken down all his hedges - His walls or defenses; all that he relied on for safety.

Thou hast brought his strongholds to ruin - His towers, fortifications; defenses. The enemy has been suffered to destroy them. They are now heaps of ruins.

40-45. The ruin is depicted under several figures—a vineyard whose broken "hedges," and "strongholds," whose ruins invite spoilers and invaders; a warrior, whose enemies are aided by God, and whose sword's "edge"—literally, "rock" or "strength" (Jos 5:2) is useless; and a youth prematurely old. All his hedges; all the means of his protection and safety.

Thou hast broken down all his hedges,.... Round about his vine, the church; see Psalm 80:12. A famous church was raised at Jerusalem, quickly after the death, resurrection, and ascension of Christ, which seemed to be well filled, fenced, and protected; but on a sudden a violent persecution arose, and the members of it were made havoc of, and the ministers of the word were scattered abroad, and which was the breaking down of the hedges; and what was done to the church was taken by Christ as done to himself, as it is here spoken of him; see Acts 8:1, and this might seem contrary to the word and oath of God, that his seed should endure for ever, and his throne as the days of heaven, Psalm 89:29, when the first Christian church was used in this manner; but that providence was overruled, for the spread of the Gospel, and the interest of Christ, in other parts; see Acts 8:4, and so no objection to what is before said:

thou hast brought his strong holds to ruin; the same as before, the church of Christ, which seemed to be so well built and fortified; see Isaiah 26:1.

Thou hast broken down all his hedges; thou hast brought his strong holds to ruin.
EXEGETICAL (ORIGINAL LANGUAGES)
40. Insensibly the king is identified with the nation whose head and representative he was. The first line is taken from the description of Israel as a vine in Psalm 80:12.

hedges] Or, as R.V. in Psalm 80:12, fences.

Verse 40. - Thou hast broken down all his hedges; i.e. "all his defences" - the strongholds, that guarded the frontiers of the land, were brought to ruin (comp. 2 Chronicles 11:5-10). Psalm 89:40Now after the poet has turned his thoughts towards the beginnings of the house of David which were so rich in promise, in order that he might find comfort under the sorrowful present, the contrast of the two periods is become all the more sensible to him. With ואתּה in Psalm 89:39 (And Thou - the same who hast promised and affirmed this with an oath) his Psalm takes a new turn, for which reason it might even have been ועתּה. זנח is used just as absolutely here as in Psalm 44:24; Psalm 74:1; Psalm 77:8, so that it does not require any object to be supplied out of Psalm 89:39. נארתּה in Psalm 89:40 the lxx renders kate'strepsas; it is better rendered in Lamentations 2:7 ἀπετίναξε; for נאר is synonymous with נער, to shake off, push away, cf. Arabic el-menâ‛ir, the thrusters (with the lance). עבדּך is a vocational name of the king as such. His crown is sacred as being the insignia of a God-bestowed office. God has therefore made the sacred thing vile by casting it to the ground (חלּל לארץ, as in Psalm 74:17, to cast profaningly to the ground). The primary passage to Psalm 89:41-42, is Psalm 80:13. "His hedges" are all the boundary and protecting fences which the land of the king has; and מבצריו "the fortresses" of his land (in both instances without כל, because matters have not yet come to such a pass).

(Note: In the list of the nations and cities conquered by King Sheshonk I are found even cities of the tribe of Issachar, e.g., Shen-ma-an, Sunem; vid., Brugsch, Reiseberichte, S. 141-145, and Blau as referred to above.)

In שׁסּהוּ the notions of the king and of the land blend together. עברי־דרך are the hordes of the peoples passing through the land. שׁכניו are the neighbouring peoples that are otherwise liable to pay tribute to the house of David, who sought to take every possible advantage of that weakening of the Davidic kingdom. In Psalm 89:44 we are neither to translate "rock of his sword" (Hengstenberg), nor "O rock" (Olshausen). צוּר does not merely signify rupes, but also from another root (צוּר, Arab. ṣâr, originally of the grating or shrill noise produced by pressing and squeezing, then more particularly to cut or cut off with pressure, with a sharply set knife or the like) a knife or a blade (cf. English knife, and German kneifen, to nip): God has decreed it that the edge or blade of the sword of the king has been turned back by the enemy, that he has not been able to maintain his ground in battle (הקמתו with ē instead of ı̂, as also when the tone is not moved forward, Micah 5:4). In Psalm 89:45 the Mem of מטהרו, after the analogy of Ezekiel 16:41; Ezekiel 34:10, and other passages, is a preposition: cessare fecisti eum a splendore suo. A noun מטּהר equals מטהר with Dag. dirimens,

(Note: The view of Pinsker (Einleitung, S. 69), that this Dag. is not a sign of the doubling of the letter, but a diacritic point (that preceded the invention of the system of vowel-points), which indicated that the respective letter was to be pronounced with a Chateph vowel (e.g., miṭŏhar), is incorrect. The doubling Dag. renders the Sheb audible, and having once become audible it readily receives this or that colouring according to the nature of its consonant and of the neighbouring vowel.)

like מקדּשׁ Exodus 15:17, מנּזר Nahum 3:17 (Abulwald, Aben-Ezra, Parchon, Kimchi, and others), in itself improbable in the signification required here, is not found either in post-biblical or in biblical Hebrew. טהר, like צהר, signifies first of all not purity, but brilliancy. Still the form טהר does not lie at the basis of it in this instance; for the reading found here just happens not to be טהרו, but מטּהרו; and the reading adopted by Norzi, Heidenheim, and Baer, as also by Nissel and others, so far as form is concerned is not distinct from it, viz., מטּהרו (miṭtŏharo), the character of the Sheb being determined by the analogy of the following (cf. בּסּערה, 2 Kings 2:1), which presupposes the principal form טהר (Bttcher, 386, cf. supra, 2:31, note). The personal tenor of Psalm 89:46 requires that it should be referred to the then reigning Davidic king, but not as dying before his time (Olshausen), but as becoming prematurely old by reason of the sorrowful experiences of his reign. The larger half of the kingdom has been wrested from him; Egypt and the neighbouring nations also threaten the half that remains to him; and instead of the kingly robe, shame completely covers him.

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