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Jamieson, Fausset & Brown :: Commentary on Psalm 89

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The Book of Psalms

Commentary by A. R. FAUSSET


Psa 89:1-52. Of Ethan--(See on JF & B for Ps 88:1, title). This Psalm was composed during some season of great national distress, perhaps Absalom's rebellion. It contrasts the promised prosperity and perpetuity of David's throne (with reference to the great promise of 2Sa 7:12-17 ), with a time when God appeared to have forgotten His covenant. The picture thus drawn may typify the promises and the adversities of Christ's kingdom, and the terms of confiding appeal to God provided appropriate prayers for the divine aid and promised blessing.

      1. mercies--those promised ( Isa 55:3 Act 13:34 ), and--
      faithfulness--that is, in fulfilling them.

      2. I have said--expressed, as well as felt, my convictions ( 2Cr 4:13 ).

      3, 4. The object of this faith expressed in God's words ( 2Sa 7:11-16 ).
      with--or literally, "to"
      my chosen--as the covenant is in the form of a promise.

      6, 7. This is worthy of our belief, for His faithfulness (is praised) by the congregation of saints or holy ones; that is, angels (compare Deu 33:2 Dan 8:13 ).
      sons of the mighty--(compare Psa 29:1 ). So is He to be admired on earth.

      8-14. To illustrate His power and faithfulness examples are cited from history. His control of the sea (the most mighty and unstable object in nature), and of Egypt ( Psa 87:4 ), the first great foe of Israel (subjected to utter helplessness from pride and insolence), are specimens. At the same time, the whole frame of nature founded and sustained by Him, Tabor and Hermon for "east and west," and "north and south," together representing the whole world, declare the same truth as to His attributes.

      12. rejoice in thy name--praise Thy perfections by their very existence.

      15. His government of righteousness is served by "mercy" and "truth" as ministers ( Psa 85:10-13 ).
      know the joyful sound--understand and appreciate the spiritual blessings symbolized by the feasts to which the people were called by the trumpet ( Lev 25:9, &c.).
      walk. . . countenance--live in His favor ( Psa 4:6 44:3 ).

      16, 17. in--or, "by"
      thy righteousness--Thy faithful just rule.
      glory--or, "beauty."
      of their strength--They shall be adorned as well as protected.
      our horn--exalt our power ( Psa 75:10 Luk 1:69 ).

      18. (Margin). Thus is introduced the promise to "our shield," "our king," David.

      19-37. Then--when the covenant was established, of whose execution the exalted views of God now given furnish assurance.
      thou. . . to thy holy one--or godly saint, object of favor ( Psa 4:3 ). Nathan is meant ( 2Sa 7:17 1Ch 17:3-15 ).
      laid help--literally, "given help." David was chosen and then exalted.

      20. I have found--having sought and then selected him ( 1Sa 16:1-6 ).

      21. will protect and sustain ( Isa 41:10 ),

      22-25. by restraining and conquering his enemies, and performing My gracious purpose of extending his dominion--

      25. hand [and] right hand--power ( Psa 17:7 60:5 ).
      sea, and. . . rivers--limits of his empire ( Psa 72:8 ).

      26, 27. first-born--one who is chief, most beloved or distinguished ( Exd 4:22 Col 1:15 ). In God's sight and purposes he was the first among all monarchs, and specially so in his typical relation to Christ.

      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 ( Psa 72:5, 7, 17 ).

      35. Once--one thing ( Psa 27:4 ).
      by my holiness--as a holy God.
      that I will not lie--literally, "if I lie"--part of the form of swearing ( 1Sa 24:6 2Sa 3:35 ).

      37. It shall. . . moon. . . heaven--literally, "As the moon, and the witness in the sky is sure, that is, the moon."

      38-52. present a striking contrast to these glowing promises, in mournful evidences of a loss of God's favor.
      cast off--and rejected (compare Psa 15:4 43:2 44:9 ).

      39. An insult to the "crown," as of divine origin, was a profanation.

      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.

      45. days of his youth--or, "youthful vigor," that is, of the royal line, or promised perpetual kingdom, under the figure of a man.

      46. How long, &c.--(Compare Psa 13:1 88:14 Jer 4:4 ).

      47. These expostulations are excited in view of the identity of the prosperity of this kingdom with the welfare of all mankind ( Gen 22:18 Psa 72:17 Isa 9:7 11:1-10 ); for if such is the fate of this chosen royal line.

      48. What man--literally, "strong man--shall live?" and, indeed, have not all men been made in vain, as to glorifying God?

      49-51. The terms of expostulation are used in view of the actual appearance that God had forsaken His people and forgotten His promise, and the plea for aid is urged in view of the reproaches of His and His people's enemies (compare Isa 37:17-35 ).

      50. bear in my bosom--as feeling the affliction of the people ( Psa 69:9 ).
      footsteps--ways ( Psa 56:6 ).

      52. Blessed, &c.--denotes returning confidence ( Psa 34:1-3 ).
      Amen, and Amen--closes the third book of Psalms.

Introduction to Job ← Prior Book
Introduction to Proverbs Next Book →
Commentary on Psalm 88 ← Prior Chapter
Commentary on Psalm 90 Next Chapter →

The Blue Letter Bible ministry and the BLB Institute hold to the historical, conservative Christian faith, which includes a firm belief in the inerrancy of Scripture. Since the text and audio content provided by BLB represent a range of evangelical traditions, all of the ideas and principles conveyed in the resource materials are not necessarily affirmed, in total, by this ministry.


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