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An Evening]

PSALMS.

[Psalm.

LORD: thy blessing is upon thy people. LORD will hear when I call unto him.

Selah. (C)

PSALM IV.

To the chief Musician on Neginoth. A Psalm of David.

HEAR me when I call, O God of my righteousness: thou hast enlarged me when I was in distress; have mercy upon me, and hear my prayer.

20 ye sons of men, how long will ye turn my glory into shame? how long will ye love vanity, and seek after leasing? Selah.

3 But know that the LORD hath set apart him that is godly for himself: the

PSALM III.

4 Stand in awe, and sin not: commune with your own heart upon your bed, and be still. Selah.

5 Offer the sacrifices of righteousness, and put your trust in the LORD. 6 There be many that say, Who will shew us any good? LORD, lift thou up the light of thy countenance

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EXPOSITION.

(C) A Psalm of David, for the morning. -This psalm is said to have been composed by David, when he fled from his son Absalom. "Thus circumstanced, (says Bishop Horne) he expresses himself in terms well adapted to the parallel case of the Son of David, persecuted by rebellious Israel; as also to that of his church, suffering tribulation in the world." The psalmist "complains, in much anguish, of the multitude of his enemies, and of the reproaches cast upon him, as one forsaken by God;" but declaring, notwithstanding, his sure trust in the divine promises, he derides the impotent malice of his ene mies, and ascribes his anticipated salvation to JEHOVAH. Thus is the same scripture made "profitable" to a variety of useful purposes. (2 Tim. iii. 16.) If we look back to the original occasion of the psalm, we cannot but grieve to hear the venerable monarch say of his own rebellious son, "Arise and flee, for we shall not else escape from Absalom: make speed to depart, lest he overtake us, and smite the city with the edge of the sword." (2 Sam. xv. 14.) If we look forward to David's Son and successor, we may mark the period when Jew and Gentile conspired against him, as stated in the preceding psalm. If we look within, we shall always find enemies ready to rise up against us: we may, however, here also encourage

ourselves, as both David and Messiah did, in the consideration that "salvation belongeth unto God," and he is “a shield unto all them that trust in him." Under these considerations, we may at night "lie down in peace," and in confidence of divine protection; and in the morning, arise and praise our great Deliverer.

"My God sustain'd me all the night;
Salvation doth to God belong :

He rais'd my head to see the light,
And make his praise my morning song." Watts.

PSALM IV.

(D) A Psalm of David, for the evening. -This, like many other psalms, is in the title directed to the chief musician on Neginoth," or, " the overseer of the performers on stringed instruments," includ ing the harp, psaltery, and other instruments played with the hand: so the following psalm is dedicated "to the chief mu sician on Nehiloth," or " to the overseer of the performers on wind instruments," as the organ, and other pipes. The trumpets were performed on by the priests only; but these two classes of instruments, as already intimated, were properly used to accompany two choirs of singers, which performed alternately, and when they united in general chorus, the trumpets, horns, and cymbals, were probably joined with them. This was an evening psalm, and probably used at the time of the evening sacrifice. It is, however, equally

NOTES.

PSALM IV. TITIE,-To the Chief. "The original word (menatseach) signifies one that urgeth the continuance of any thing unto the end. 2 Chron. xxii. 18, and xxxiv. 12, 13. . . . . There were Levites appointed to several duties; and some (lenatseach) to set forward, and be over the rest, 1 Chron. xv. 21. and there were such as excelled in the art of singing and playing upon instruments..... Some Levites had no other charge." Ainsworth. The LXX render Lemnatseach," to the end," (eis telos) which the critics have been much puzzled to account for; but

if the leader were always placed, as with us, at the end of the row of musicians which he superintended, it will be easily accounted for.

Ver. 2. Leasing -Horsley, "falsehood."

Ver 4. Stand in awe-Bishop Horne, "tremble." But the Greek translators render it, Be angry and sin not; "and so it is quoted by St. Paul, Ephes. iv.6. Ver. 7. More than in the time-"Beyond," or "superior to, Bishop Lonth.

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Ver. 8. I will both, &c. I will at once," Lowth.

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To the chief Musician upon Nehiloth. A Psalm of David.

GIVE ear to my words, O LORD, consider my meditation.

2 Hearken unto the voice of my cry, my king, and my God: for unto thee will I pray.

3 My voice shalt thou hear in the morning, O LORD; in the morning will I direct my prayer unto thee, and will look up.

4 For thou art not a God that hath pleasure in wickedness: neither shall evil dwell with thee.

5 The foolish shall not stand in thy sight: thou hatest all workers of iniquity.

6 Thou shalt destroy them that speak leasing: the LORD will abhor the

bloody and deceitful man.

[Psalm.

7 But as for me, I will come into thy house in the multitude of thy mercy: and in thy fear will I worship toward thy holy temple.

8 Lead me, O LORD, in thy righteousness because of mine enemies ; make thy way straight before my face. 9 For there is no faithfulness in their mouth; their inward part is very wickedness; their throat is an open sepulchre; they flatter with their tongue.

10 Destroy thou them, O God; let them fall by their own counsels; cast them out in the multitude of their transgressions, for they have rebelled against thee.

11 But let all those that put their trust in thee rejoice: let them ever

EXPOSITION.

adapted to the use of Christians as of Jews. It is the language of one who, having received mercy in former time, now applies to the same source for assistance and deliverance. But the psalm is not all devotional; part of it is addressed to persons of a different character: "How long will ye tura my glory into shame?" that is, how long will you despise and ridicule my trust in Jehovah, which is my glory? and at the same time delight in vanity and falsehood; or, as those words mean in the lips of a pious Israelite, How long will you put your trust in idols, which are but lying vanities." (Acts xiv. 15.)

Such are exhorted to stand in awe-to reflect to meditate by night upon their heds, and submit to the divine decree, as having reference to his establishment on the throne, from which he was probably now driven; for Lightfoot, Calniet, and others, think this psalm, as well as the preceding, was written during Absalom's rebellion. Both, however, may have a far

ther reference to the Messiah himself, as King in Sion, and ver. 4. may be parallel with Ps. ii. 11." Serve the Lord with fear, and rejoice with trembling."

The concluding verses of the psalm forcibly represent the writer's faith and confidence in God, in contradistinction from those who seek their happiness in worldly objects. There be many that say, "Who will shew us any good?"-many who inquire after honours, riches, and earthly pleasures; but what are these to us?

Lord! lift thou up on us the light of thy countenance!" This shall kindle a light amidst the darkest adversity; this shall create a joy beyond that of the harvest or the vintage. (Isa. ix. 3.) With such anticipations, the good man may lay down to sleep with composure, and rest in the assurance of perfect safety.

NOTES.

PSALM V. Ver.3. Will I direct-Rather, arrange. Ainsworth," orderly address thee;" the words "my prayer" being supplementary. Bishop Horsley thinks it reters to the orderly arrangement made by the priests previous to the morning sacrifice.--And will look up- Ainsworth, look out;" literally, "watch" for an answer to his prayer.

Ver. 4. Wickedness. ... evil.-Mr. Ainsworth remarks, that these words may be understood of Wicked and evil persons, who ought not impenitently to rush into the divine presence; and who will not be admitted into the courts above.

Ver. 5 The foolish, in Scripture, seldom or never means persons deficient in capacity. The word here used is rendered by Ainsworth, "vain-glorious fools;" i.e, sinners who glory in their sins.

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shout for joy, because thou defendest them: let them also that love thy name be joyful in thee.

12 For thou, LORD, wilt bless the righteous; with favour wilt thou compass him as with a shield. (E)

PSALM VI.

To the chief Musician on Neginoth upon Sheminith. A Psalm of David. LORD, rebuke me not in thine anger, neither chasten me in thy hot displeasure.

PSALM V.

[in sickness.

2 Have mercy upon me, O LORD; for I am weak: O LORD, heal me; for my bones are vexed,

3 My soul is also sore vexed: but thou, O LORD, how long?

4 Return, O LORD, deliver my soul: Oh save me for thy mercies' sake.

5 For in death there is no remembrance of thee: in the grave who shall give thee thanks?

6 I am weary with my groaning; all the night make I my bed to swim; I water my couch with my tears.

EXPOSITION.

(E) A Psalm of David, at morning prayer. This psalm (as already mention ed) is addressed to "the chief musician," or Levite who superintended Nehiloth, or "the wind instruments." Musicians know that it requires a high state of improvement in wind instruments, (by means of keys, &c.) to make them perform in tune with stringed instruments, which, being played with the hand, may be tuned more perfectly. Hence the bands of stringed and wind instruments are generally employed separately and alternately, even to our own time.

Bishop Horsley applies this psalm personally to Christ, in his priestly office, for which we see no sufficient grounds. We should rather consider it as the language of the psalmist, attending the early devotions of the temple, preparing his heart to seek God, looking upward towards his holy residence in heaven, and waiting like an anxious petitioner for his answer.

The psalmist then, considering his own situation as placed among wicked men, waiting for his halting, (as the prophet Jeremiah expresses it, chap. xx. 10.) prays to be directed in the straight path of duty, that his enemies may gain no advantage over him.

Bishop Horne remarks, that St. Paul (Rom. iii. 13.) has cited a part of verse 9,

together with other passages from the Psalms and Prophets, to evince the depravity of mankind, whether Jews or Gentiles, till justified by faith, and renewed by

grace. It is plain, therefore, that the description was designed for others, besides the enemies of the literal David; and is of more general import, reaching to the world of the ungodly, and to the enemies of all righteousness, as manifested in the person of the Messiah and his church. The charge brought against these is, that 'truth' and fidelity' were not to be found in their dealings with God or each other; that thei: inward parts' were very wickedness; their first thoughts and imaginations were defiled, and the stream was poisoned at the fountain: that their throat was an open sepulchre,' continually emitting, in obscene and impious language, the noisome and infectious exhalations of a putrid heart, entombed in a body of sin; and that, if ever they put on the appearance of goodness, they flattered with their tongue,' in order the more effectually to deceive and destroy."

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In calling for judgment against his enemies, the psalmist must be considered as the Lord's auointed; those who rebelled against him, rebelled against the Lord himself. This is particularly true, if, with Bishops Horne and Horsley, we apply the psalm to the Messiah, whose impenitent enemies are excluded from the hope of mercy. (Ps. ii. 9, 12.) Those, however, who love and fear him, have every reason to hope in him—

"For thou, Jehovah, wilt be found
To bless the just man still,
As with a shield thou wilt surround
Him with thy lasting favour and good will."

NOTES.

Ver. 12. Compass him Heb. "Crown him." This seems an allusion to the verse preceding, and means, to spread the divine protection all around them, as if covered by a shield. Bishop Horsley renders it," As a shield of good-will, (favour) thou wilt guard around him."

PSALM VI. Title,-Neginoth upon Sheminith.—If Sheminith means the 8th, or octave, as is generally agreed, the question occurs whether we are to consider it in the ascending scale or descending. Some learned men have suggested the latter, but common

Millon.

sense leads to the former; for in accompanying airs of peculiar pathos, the soft notes in the upper scale of our harps would surely be preferred, by a skilful musician, to those of the deep, somoteus chords at the bottom of the seale. We therefore coa sider these as a small species of harps tuned an octave higher than others, and intended for this purpose, over which particular evites were appointed to preside. I Chron. xv. 21.

Ver. 6. All the night-Marg," Every night." Ver. 7. Mine eye is consumed-That is, worn grief and weeping,

with

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7 Mine eye is consumed because of grief; it waxeth old because of all mine enemies.

8 Depart from me, all ye workers of iniquity; for the LORD hath heard the voice of my weeping.

9 The LORD hath heard my supplication; the LORD will receive my prayer. 10 Let all mine enemies be ashamed and sore vexed: let them return and be ashamed suddenly. (F)

PSALM VII.

Shiggaion of David, which he sang unto the LORD, concerning the words of Cush the Benjamite.

LORD my God, in thee do I put my trust: save me from all them that persecute me, and deliver me:

[Psalm.

2 Lest he tear my soul like a lion, rending it in pieces, while there is none to deliver.

3 O LORD my God, if I have done this; if there be iniquity in my hands;

4 If I have rewarded evil unto him that was at peace with me; (yea, I · have delivered him that without cause is mine enemy :)

5 Let the enemy persecute my soul, and take it; yea, let him tread down my life upon the earth, and lay mine honour in the dust. Selah.

6 Arise, O LORD, in thine anger, lift up thyself because of the rage of mine enemies and awake for me to the judgment that thou hast com. manded.

PSALM VI.

EXPOSITION,

(F) 4 Psalm of David, in time of sickness and great affliction.-This psalm is addressed to the chief musician, on Negiwith upon Sheminith-that is, probably on stringed instruments (tuned) an octave above the usual pitch, as more plaintive, and therefore a more suitable accompaniment to a penitential psalm like this. Bishop Horsley here remarks, "The supplicatory Psalms may be generally divided into two classes, according to the prayer; which, in some, regards the public, and in others the individual. In those of the latter class, which is the most numerous, the supplicant is always in distress. His distress arises chiefly from the persecution of his enemies. His enemies are always the enemies of God and goodness. Their enmity to the supplicant is unprovoked. If It has any cause, it is only that he is the faithful servant of JEHOVAH, whose worship they oppose. They are numerous and powerful, and use all means, both of force and stratagem, for the supplicant's destruction; an object, in the pursuit of which they are incessantly employed. The supplicant

is alone, without friends, poor, and destitute of all support, but God's providential protection. The supplicant, on the other hand, often miraculously relieved, is yet never out of danger, though he looks for ward with confidence to a period of final deliverance. If at any time he is under apprehension of death, it is by the visitation of God in sickness. And at those seasons, the persecution of his enemies always makes a considerable part of the affliction.

But why, (it may be asked,) is David so distressed at the thought of dying? Did he suppose that he should perish, or be annihilated? or that the state on which he was entering was one of total insensibility? This can refer only to the state of the body. The grave is the land of forgetfulness and of silence, where the voice of praise is never heard. (Psalm lxxxviii.12; cxv. 17; Isa. xxxviii. 18, 19.) Recovery from sickness is the restoration of joy and gladness, and while our joy arises from a principle of gratitude, our gladness will be expressed in praise; and that praise will not rest privately in our own bosoms, but we shall be glad to unite with the congregation of all those who fear God.

NOTES.

PSALM VII. Title,-Shiggaion.-This is a very difficult word, and of doubtful derivation. Ains Worth calls it an artificial song " (or wandering); Genius," a lamentation;" and Boothroyd, (still better) an elegy." See Hab. ii. 1-Cush, the Benjamite. -The late Mr. C. Taylor has taken some pains to show that the Hebrews (like other Orientalists) indulged sometimes in a play of words. (Fragments, No. 187, 188.) Something of the kind may be observed here. Some suppose the name Cash (or Kush) used for Kish, and the name Kish,

the father, for Saul his son. Others think Cush may here be used in a moral sense for Shimei, (who also was a Benjamite) as in such sense a black man; that is, a man of black, malignant character. Such was Shimei, as we find in his history (2 Sam. xvi. 5, &c.) The Cushites, if not absolutely bluck, were of very dark complexions.

Ver. 2. None to deliver-Heb. "Not a deliverer." Ver.3. If I have done this-Namely, what he was accused of, 2 Sam. xvi. 7, 8.-If there be (such) iniquity, &c,

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shout for joy, because thou defendest them: let them also that love thy name be joyful in thee.

12 For thou, LORD, wilt bless the righteous; with favour wilt thou compass him as with a shield. (E)

PSALM VI.

To the chief Musician on Neginoth upon Sheminith. A Psalm of David. LORD, rebuke me not in thine anger, neither chasten me in thy hot displeasure.

PSALM V.

[in sickness.

2 Have mercy upon me, O LORD; for I am weak: O LORD, heal me; for my bones are vexed,

3 My soul is also sore vexed: but thou, O LORD, how long?

4 Return, O LORD, deliver my soul: Oh save me for thy mercies' sake.

5 For in death there is no remem

brance of thee: in the grave who shall give thee thanks?

6 I am weary with my groaning; all the night make I my bed to swim; I water my couch with my tears.

EXPOSITION.

(E) A Psalm of David, at morning prayer. This psalm (as already mentioned) is addressed to "the chief musician," or Levite who superintended Nehiloth, or "the wind instruments." Musicians know that it requires a high state of improvement in wind instruments, (by means of keys, &c.) to make them perform in tune with stringed instruments, which, being played with the hand, may be tuned more perfectly, Hence the bands of stringed and wind instruments are generally employed separately and alternately, even to our own time.

Bishop Horsley applies this psalm personally to Christ, in his priestly office, for which we see no sufficient grounds. We should rather consider it as the language of the psalmist, attending the early devotions of the temple, preparing his heart to seek God, looking upward towards his holy residence in heaven, and waiting like an anxious petitioner for his answer.

The psalmist then, considering his own situation as placed among wicked men, waiting for his halting, (as the prophet Jeremiah expresses it, chap. xx. 10.) prays to be directed in the straight path of duty, that his enemies may gain no advantage over him.

Bishop Horne remarks, that St. Paul (Rom. iii. 13.) has cited a part of verse 9, together with other passages from the Psalins and Prophets, to evince the depravity of mankind, whether Jews or Gentiles, till justified by faith, and renewed by

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grace. It is plain, therefore, that the description was designed for others, besides the enemies of the literal David; and is of more general import, reaching to the world of the ungodly, and to the enemies of all righteousness, as manifested in the person of the Messiah and his church. The charge brought against these is, that 'truth' and fidelity' were not to be found in their dealings with God or each other; that their inward parts' were very wickedness; their first thoughts and imaginations were defiled, and the stream was poisoned at the fountain: that their throat was an open sepulchre,' continually emitting, in obscene and impious language, the noisome and infectious exhalations of a putrid heart, entombed in a body of sin; and that, if ever they put on the appearance of goodness, they flattered with their tongue,' in order the more effectually to deceive and destroy."

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In calling for judgment against his enemies, the psalmist must be considered as the Lord's auointed; those who rebelled against him, rebelled against the Lord himself. This is particularly true, if, with Bishops Horne and Horsley, we apply the psalm to the Messiah, whose impenitent enemies are excluded from the hope of mercy. (Ps. ii. 9, 12.) Those, however who love and fear him, have every reason to hope in him

"For thou, Jehovah, wilt be found

To bless the just man still,

As with a shield thou wilt surround
Him with thy lasting favour and good will.”

NOTES.

Ver. 12. Compass him — Heb. "Crown him." This seems an allusion to the verse preceding, and means, to spread the divine protection all around them, as if covered by a shield. Bishop Horstry renders it, "As a shield of good-will, (favour) thou wilt guard around him."

PSALM VI. Title,-Neginoth upon Sheminith.If Sheminith means the 8th, or octave, as is generally agreed, the question occurs whether we are to consider it in the ascending scale or descending. Some learned men have suggested the latter, but common

Mine

sense leads to the former; for in accompanyi airs of peculiar pathos, the soft notes in the up scale of our harps would surely be preferred, by skilful musician, to those of the deep, souote chords at the bottom of the scale. We therefore e sider these as a small species of harps tuned an tave higher than others, and intended for this purpo over which particular evites were appointed preside. 1 Chron. xv. 21.

Ver. 6. All the night-Marg," Every night.” Ver. 7. Mine eye is consumed-That is, worn v grief and weeping.

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