The king's strength also loves judgment; you do establish equity, you execute judgment and righteousness in Jacob.
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EXPOSITORY (ENGLISH BIBLE)Psalm 99:4. The king’s strength also loveth judgment — “Although the strength of our king be infinite, yet is it never exerted but in righteousness and just judgment, which are his delight. They compose the firm basis of his throne, and direct his whole administration.” “Whoever peruses this Psalm,” says Dr. Dodd, “will find that David here, as everywhere else, considers God as the king of Israel, and himself only as his deputy. To this purpose are these expressions in the beginning of it, The Lord reigneth: The Lord is great in Zion. It is true David delighted to exert all the power that God had given him to its true purposes. He loved judgment and righteousness: but it was, in reality, God who executed them all.” Thou dost establish equity — God gave them the excellent laws by which they were governed, and acted toward them with equity in all his proceedings. Thou executest judgment in Jacob — Among thy own people, whom, when they act amiss, thou punishest no less than thou dost other people, (see Psalm 99:8,) whereby thou showest that thou art no respecter of persons, but a righteous and impartial judge to all sorts of men. He intends also that God, not only by his immediate providences often executed and enforced his own laws, but that he took care for the administration of justice among them by civil magistrates, who reigned by him, and by him did decree justice. These judges judged for God, and their judgment was his, 2 Chronicles 19:6.Psalm 99:1. The word rendered "strength," means power, force; and the reference here is to what constitutes the main strength or power of his character and government. It is rendered in the Septuagint, τιμή timē - "honor." So in the Latin Vulgate - "honor." DeWette renders it, "The praise of the king who loves judgment." So Rosenmuller, "Let them praise the strength - the power - of the king who loves judgment." But perhaps our common version best expresses the sense, that whatever there is in the character of the "king," that is God, which constitutes strength, or gives power to his administration, is favorable to justice, or will be exerted in the cause of right. God's essential character; all the acts of his power; all the demonstrations of his authority, will be in favor of justice, and may be relied on as sustaining the righteous cause. It is not the "mere" exertion of power - it is power that is always exercised in favor of right; and this lays the foundation of praise. We could not praise a being of "mere" power, or one who was merely "almighty," without respect to his moral character. It is only when the character is such that power will be exerted in favor of that which is right and just that it becomes the proper subject of praise.
Loveth judgment - Is always on the side of justice and right. He so loves justice that his power will be put forth only in behalf of that which is right. God shows this by his law, and by all the acts of his administration.
Thou dost establish equity - That which is equal and just; alike by thy law, and by thine interpositions. All that thou doest, and all that thou dost appoint, is in favor of that which is equal and just.
Thou executest judgment and righteousness in Jacob - That which is just; that which ought to be done. Thou doest this among thy people; thou doest it in their relation to the surrounding nations. All the acts of thy administration tend to the establishment of that which is right.
king's … judgment—His power is combined with justice.
5 Exalt ye the Lord our God, and worship at his footstool; for he is holy.
"The king's strength also loveth judgment." God is the king, the mercy-seat is his throne, and the sceptre which he sways is holy like himself. His power never exerts itself tyranically; he is a sovereign, and he is absolute in his government, but his might delights in right, his force is used for just purposes only. Men in these days are continually arraigning the Lord's government, and setting up to judge whether he does right or not; but saintly men in the olden time were of another mind, they were sure that what the Lord did was just, and instead of calling him to account they humbly submitted themselves to his will, rejoicing in the firm persuasion that with his Whole omnipotence God was pledged to promote righteousness, and work justice among all his creatures. "Thou dost establish equity." Not a court of equity merely, but equity itself thou dost set up, and that not for a time or upon an occasion, but as an established institution, stable as thy throne. Not even for the sake of mercy does the Lord remove or injure the equity of his moral government; both in providence and in grace he is careful to conserve the immaculate purity of his justice. Most kingdoms have an establishment of some kind, and generally it is inequitable; here we have an establishment which is equity itself. The Lord our God demolishes every system of injustice, and right alone is made to stand. "Thou executest judgment and righteousness in Jacob." Justice is not merely established, but executed in God's kingdom; the laws are carried out, the executive is as righteous as the legislative. Herein let all the oppressed, yea, and all who love that which is right, find large occasion for praise. Other nations under their despots were the victims and the perpetrators of grievous wrong, but when the tribes were faithful to the Lord they enjoyed an upright government within their own borders, and acted with integrity towards their neighbours. That king-craft which delights in cunning, favouritism, and brute force is as opposite to the divine kingship as darkness to light. The palace of Jehovah is no robber's fortress nor despot's castle, built on dungeons, with stones carved by slaves, and cemented with the blood of toiling serfs. The annals of most human governments have been written in the tears of the downtrodden, and the curses of the oppressed; the chronicles of the Lord's kingdom are of another sort, truth shines in each line, goodness in every syllable, and justice in every letter. Glory be to the name of the King, whose gentle glory beams from between the cherubic wings.
"Exalt ye the Lord our God." If no others adore him, let his own people render to him the most ardent worship. Infinite condescension makes him stoop to be called our God, and truth and faithfulness bind him to maintain that covenant relationship; and surely we, to whom by grace he so lovingly gives himself, should exalt him with all our hearts. He shines upon us from under the veiling wings of cherubim, and above the seat of mercy, therefore let us come and worship at his footstool. When he reveals himself in Christ Jesus, as our reconciled God who allows us to approach even to his throne, it becomes us to unite earnestness and humility, joy and adoration, and, while we exalt him, prostrate ourselves in the dust before him. Do we need to be thus excited to worship? How much ought we to blush for such backwardness! It ought to be our daily delight to magnify so good and great a God. "For he is holy:" A second time the note rings out, and as the ark, which was the divine footstool, has just been mentioned, the voice seems to sound forth from the cherubim where the Lord sitteth, who continually do cry, "Holy, Holy, Holy, Lord God of Sabaoth!" Holiness is the harmony of all the virtues. The Lord has not one glorious attribute alone, or in excess, but all glories are in him as a whole; this is the crown of his honour and the honour of his crown. His power is not his choicest jewel, nor his sovereignty, but his holiness. In this all comprehensive moral excellence he would have his creatures take delight, and when they do so their delight is evidence that their hearts have been renewed, and they themselves have been partakers of his holiness. The gods of the heathen were, according to their own votaries, lustful, cruel, and brutish; their only claim to reverence lay in their supposed potency over human destinies: who would not far rather adore Jehovah, whose character is unsullied purity, unswerving justice, unbending truth, unbounded love, in a word, perfect holiness?The King’s strength also loveth judgment; though his dominion be absolute and uncontrollable, and his power irresistible, yet he doth not abuse it to tyranny and oppression, as the princes of the world commonly do, but tempers and manageth it with righteousness; and not only doth judge justly, but, which is more, loves to do so. The King’s strength is by a known Hebraism put for the strong or powerful King.
Establish equity, to wit, in all thy proceedings. Equity is thy constant and stable course. In Jacob; amongst thine own people; who, when they do amiss, he punisheth no less than other people, as he notes below, Psalm 99:8, whereby he showeth that he is no respecter of persons, but a righteous and impartial Judge to all sorts of men.
thou dost establish equity, or "equities" (a); uprightnesses, righteousnesses; a perfect and a complete righteousness:
this he has prepared (b), as the word signifies, by his obedience, sufferings, and death, and has established as an everlasting one; moreover, equity, righteousness, and justice, are the settled rules and laws of his government; see Isaiah 9:7,
thou executest judgment and righteousness in Jacob; among the true Israel and people of God, as David his type did, 2 Samuel 8:15, thereby keeping them in due order, in the observance of his righteous judgments and statutes, and defending them from their enemies.The king's strength also loveth judgment; thou dost establish equity, thou executest judgment and righteousness in Jacob.
EXEGETICAL (ORIGINAL LANGUAGES)4. The king’s strength also loveth judgment] The construction of this clause is doubtful, but this is the simplest way of taking it. The objection that strength cannot properly be said to love is prosaic. The rendering, And the strength of a king who loveth judgement hast thou established in equity, is possible but cumbrous. The king is Jehovah Himself (cp. Isaiah 61:8). Thou is emphatic: it is He Himself Who has established a kingdom of righteousness, fulfilling the ideal of the Davidic kingdom (Isaiah 16:5): and by the recent deliverance of Israel He has given proof of its character.
4, 5. The righteous character of Jehovah’s kingdom.Verse 4. - The King's strength also loveth judgment. "The king" is here the Lord, Jehovah (see Psalm 98:3). His "strength," or might, "loves," and is always combined with, right (comp. Isaiah 61:8, "I the Lord love judgment"). Thou dost establish equity. The pronoun is emphatic: "Thou, even thou" - nearly equivalent to "thou only" - "dost establish equity." Thou - again emphatic - "thou, even thou" - executest judgment and righteousness in Jacob; i.e. governest thy people Israel with strict and absolute justice. Psalm 98:7 equals Psalm 96:11; Psalm 98:7 like Psalm 24:1; Psalm 98:8 after Isaiah 55:12 (where we find מחא כּף instead of the otherwise customary תּקע כּף, Psalm 47:2; or הכּה כּף, 2 Kings 11:12, is said of the trees of the field); Psalm 98:9 - Psalm 96:13, cf. Psalm 36:10. In the bringing in of nature to participate in the joy of mankind, the clapping rivers (נהרות) are original to this Psalm: the rivers cast up high waves, which flow into one another like clapping hands;
(Note: Luther renders: "the water-floods exult" (frohlocken); and Eychman's Vocabularius predicantium explains plaudere by "to exult (frohlocken) for joy, to smite the hands together prae gaudio;" cf. Luther's version of Ezekiel 21:17.)
cf. Habakkuk 3:10, where the abyss of the sea lifts up its hands on high, i.e., causes its waves to run mountain-high.
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