Psalm 95:11
Unto whom I sware in my wrath that they should not enter into my rest.
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(11) I sware.Numbers 14:21-27.

Rest.—This is, of course, the Promised Land, as the context unmistakably shows. The freedom taken with the passage by the author of the Epistle to the Hebrews, in order to make the psalm point us to a “future” rest, was such as Jewish doctors ordinarily used, and of which other instances occur in the New Testament—notably St. Paul’s argument in Galatians 3:16.

Psalm 95:11. Unto whom I sware in my wrath, &c. — In my just displeasure, I passed an irreversible sentence upon them, and confirmed it by an oath: that they should not enter into my rest — Into the promised land, so called Deuteronomy 12:9; 1 Chronicles 23:25, of which sentence, see Numbers 14. Now this case of the Israelites, who were prohibited from entering Canaan, is here applied by the psalmist. 1st, To those of their posterity who lived when this Psalm was composed, and they are cautioned not to harden their heart, as their forefathers did, lest, if they were stubborn and disobedient, God should be provoked to prohibit them from enjoying the privileges of his temple at Jerusalem, of which he had said, Psalm 132:14, This is my rest. But it was intended also, 2d, For the instruction of all after ages, as has been observed on Psalm 95:7, and particularly of those Israelites who should live in the times of the Messiah, that they might take heed of falling after the same example of unbelief, as the apostle observes from this place, Hebrews 4:11, where see the notes.

95:7-11 Christ calls upon his people to hear his voice. You call him Master, or Lord; then be his willing, obedient people. Hear the voice of his doctrine, of his law, and in both, of his Spirit: hear and heed; hear and yield. Christ's voice must be heard to-day. This day of opportunity will not last always; improve it while it is called to-day. Hearing the voice of Christ is the same with believing. Hardness of heart is at the bottom of all distrust of the Lord. The sins of others ought to be warnings to us not to tread in their steps. The murmurings of Israel were written for our admonition. God is not subject to such passions as we are; but he is very angry at sin and sinners. That certainly is evil, which deserves such a recompence; and his threatenings are as sure as his promises. Let us be aware of the evils of our hearts, which lead us to wander from the Lord. There is a rest ordained for believers, the rest of everlasting refreshment, begun in this life, and perfected in the life to come. This is the rest which God calls his rest.Unto whom I sware in my wrath - See the notes at Hebrews 3:11.

That they should not enter into my rest - Margin, as in Hebrew, "If they enter into my rest." The "rest" here referred to was the land of Canaan. They were not permitted to enter there as a place of "rest" after their long and weary wanderings, but died in the wilderness. The meaning is not that none of them were saved (for we must hope that very many of them were brought to the heavenly Canaan), but that they did not come to the promised land. Unbelief shut them out; and this fact is properly made use of here, and in Hebrews 3, as furnishing a solemn warning to all not to be unbelieving and rebellious, since the consequence of unbelief and rebellion must be to exclude us from the kingdom of heaven, the true place of "rest."

10. err in their heart—Their wanderings in the desert were but types of their innate ignorance and perverseness.

that they should not—literally, "if they," &c., part of the form of swearing (compare Nu 14:30; Ps 89:35).

Being full of just wrath against them, I passed an irreversible sentence, and confirmed it by an oath; of which we read Numbers 14.

Into my rest; into the Promised Land, which is called the rest, Deu 12:9. See also 1 Chronicles 23:25 Psalm 132:14. And this history the psalmist propounds to the men of his age, not as a matter of mere speculation, but as an instruction for all after-ages, and particularly for those Israelites who should live in the times of the Messias, that they should take heed of falling after the same example of unbelief, as the apostle infers from this place, Hebrews 4:11.

Unto whom I sware in my wrath,.... Being angry with them, he sware for the confirmation of what he said; the form of the oath was, "as truly as I live"; he sware by himself, for he could swear by no greater; see Numbers 14:21.

that they should not enter into my rest; the land of Canaan, or Israel, as Kimchi; which the Lord provided, promised, and gave to the Israelites, as their rest; the land of Israel and Jerusalem, as Jarchi; or the house of the sanctuary, the temple, as the Targum; which Jehovah chose for his rest, and took it up in it, and where he promised the Messiah, the Prince of peace, who gives to his people spiritual and eternal rest. Canaan was typical of the rest which remains for the people of God; the use that believing Jews, and all Christians under the Gospel dispensation, are to make of this, see in Hebrews 3:18.

Unto whom I sware in my wrath that they should not enter into {h} my rest.

(h) That is, into the land of Canaan, where he promised them rest.

11. Unto whom &c.] Or, Wherefore I sware. See Numbers 14:21 ff.

my rest] The Promised Land. Cp. Deuteronomy 12:9.

Psalm 95:7 c–11 are quoted in Hebrews 3:7-11, and applied in detail as a warning to Christians who were in danger of unbelief, lest they too should fail to reach the rest promised to them. The quotation follows the LXX with some slight variations. In Hebrews 4:7, Psalm 95:7 c, Psalm 95:8 a are introduced by the words “saying in David,” i.e. ‘in the person of David,’ not ‘in the book of David.’ The author may have followed the LXX title, or, according to the common mode of speaking, regarded David as the author of the whole Psalter.

Verse 11. - Unto whom I sware in my wrath; rather, so that that I sware in my wrath, or "wherefore I sware in my wrath" (for the oath itself, see Numbers 14:21-23; and comp. Deuteronomy 1:34, 35). That they should not enter into my rest. The "rest" originally intended was that of Canaan, when "the Lord gave rest unto Israel from all their enemies round about" (Joshua 23:1). But Canaan was a type of the heavenly rest; and the warning given to the Israel of his day by the present psalmist is to be regarded as a warning that, if they followed in the steps of their forefathers, they might miss of that final and crowning "rest," which, after the wilderness of this world is traversed, still "remaineth for the people of God" (see Hebrews 3:7-19; Hebrews 4:1-9).

Psalm 95:11The second decastich begins in the midst of the Masoretic Psalm 95:7. Up to this point the church stirs itself up to a worshipping appearing before its God; now the voice of God (Hebrews 4:7), earnestly admonishing, meets it, resounding from out of the sanctuary. Since שׁמע בּ signifies not merely to hear, but to hear obediently, Psalm 95:7 cannot be a conditioning protasis to what follows. Hengstenberg wishes to supply the apodosis: "then will He bless you, His people;" but אם in other instances too (Psalm 81:9; Psalm 139:19; Proverbs 24:11), like לוּ, has an optative signification, which it certainly has gained by a suppression of a promissory apodosis, but yet without the genius of the language having any such in mind in every instance. The word היּום placed first gives prominence to the present, in which this call to obedience goes forth, as a decisive turning-point. The divine voice warningly calls to mind the self-hardening of Israel, which came to light at Merמbah, on the day of Massah. What is referred to, as also in Psalm 81:8, is the tempting of God in the second year of the Exodus on account of the failing of water in the neighbourhood of Horeb, at the place which is for this reason called Massah u-Merı̂bah (Exodus 17:1-7); from which is to be distinguished the tempting of God in the fortieth year of the Exodus at Merı̂bah, viz., at the waters of contention near Kadesh (written fully Mê-Merı̂bah Kadesh, or more briefly Mê-Merı̂bah), Numbers 20:2-13 (cf. on Psalm 78:20). Strictly כמריבה signifies nothing but instar Meribae, as in Psalm 83:10 instar Midianitarum; but according to the sense, כּ is equivalent to כּעל. Psalm 106:32, just as כּיום is equivalent to כּביום. On אשׁר, quum, cf. Deuteronomy 11:6. The meaning of גּם־ראוּ פעלי is not they also (גם as in Psalm 52:7) saw His work; for the reference to the giving of water out of the rock would give a thought that is devoid of purpose here, and the assertion is too indefinite for it to be understood of the judgment upon those who tempted God (Hupfeld and Hitzig). It is therefore rather to be rendered: notwithstanding (ho'moos, Ew. 354, a) they had ( equals although they had, cf. גם in Isaiah 49:15) seen His work (His wondrous guiding and governing), and might therefore be sure that He would not suffer them to be destroyed. The verb קוּט coincides with κοτέω, κότος. בּדּור .ען, for which the lxx has τῇ γενεᾷ ἐκείνη, is anarthrous in order that the notion may be conceived of more qualitatively than relatively: with a (whole) generation. With ואמר Jahve calls to mind the repeated declarations of His vexation concerning their heart, which was always inclined towards error which leads to destruction - declarations, however, which bore no fruit. Just this ineffectiveness of His indignation had as its result that (אשׁר, not ὅτι but ὥστε, as in Genesis 13:16; Deuteronomy 28:27, Deuteronomy 28:51; 2 Kings 9:37, and frequently) He sware, etc. (אם equals verily not, Gesen. 155, 2, f, with the emphatic future form in n which follows). It is the oath in Numbers 14:27. that is meant. The older generation died in the desert, and therefore lost the entering into the rest of God, by reason of their disobedience. If now, many centuries after Moses, they are invited in the Davidic Psalter to submissive adoration of Jahve, with the significant call: "To-day if ye will hearken to His voice!" and with a reference to the warning example of the fathers, the obedience of faith, now as formerly, has therefore to look forward to the gracious reward of entering into God's rest, which the disobedient at that time lost; and the taking possession of Canaan was, therefore, not as yet the final מנוּחה (Deuteronomy 12:9). This is the connection of the wider train of thought which to the writer of the Epistle to the Hebrews Heb 3:1, Hebrews 4:1, follows from this text of the Psalm.
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