The Psalmist complains that nothing proved to him a source of greater distress than his being prevented from coming to the tabernacle, and his being banished from the assembly of the saints, where God was called upon. And yet he shows, that nothing can withstand the longing desires of the godly; and that, surmounting all obstacles, they will be constantly engaged in seeking God, and, so to speak, will make a way for themselves where there is none.1 At length he expresses his desire to be restored to the tabernacle of God, and again testifies that a day spent in the tabernacle was in his estimation more to be prized2 than to live for a long time in the society of unbelievers.
To the chief musician upon Gittith. A Psalm of3 the sons of Korah.4
The title of this psalm does not bear the name of David; but as its subject-matter is applicable to him, he was in all probability its author. Some think that it was composed by the sons of Korah, for his particular use; but to prove the groundlessness of this opinion, it is only necessary to advert to this one consideration, that David in his time was so eminently distinguished by the gift of prophecy as to be under no necessity of employing the Levites to perform a service for which he himself was so well qualified. The only difficulty to our ascribing it to David is, that mention is made of mount Zion, to which the ark of the covenant was not brought until he was put in peaceable possession of the kingdom. how after that, he was never deprived of the liberty of appearing before the ark with others, except once, and then only for a short time; namely, when he was under the necessity of betaking himself to flight on account of the rebellion raised against him by his son Absalom.5 The contents of the psalm, however, indicate, that at the time of its composition, he had been compelled to wander long in different places as an exile. If we reflect that David recorded in psalms the persecutions he endured under Saul long after he was delivered from them, we will not be surprised to find him making mention of Zion in connection with them. Of the word Gittith, I have already spoken on the eighth psalm.
1 "Mais au contraire que par dessus tous empeschemens ils poursuyvront constamment a chercher Dieu, et par maniere de dire, se feront voye la ou il n'y en a point." -- Fr.
2 "Il tesmoigne derechef qu'il estime plus de jouyer de ceste liberte d'assister avec les autres au tabernacle de Dieu, quand mesme il ne devroit vivre qu'un jour, etc." -- Fr. "He again testifies, that to enjoy the liberty of assisting with others at the tabernacle of God for only one day was, in his estimation, more to be prized, etc."
3 "It is admitted that the Hebrew preposition here used (lamed) may be translated either by, to, or for. When applied to an individual, we consider it as marking the author by whom it was written, or the musician to whose care it was addressed, for adapting it to music. But when addressed to a company of choristers, as the sons of Korah, there seems no doubt but it was intended for them to sing it." -- Williams.
4 The sons of Korah were the descendants of Korah, whom the earth swallowed up for striving against Moses and against the Lord. In the narrative of that event, we are informed that "the children of Korah died not," (Numbers 26:10.) They joined not with their father in his sedition, and therefore escaped his punishment. It appears from 1 Chronicles 9:19, and 26:1-19, that their posterity were employed as porters or keepers of the tabernacle and temple. They had also a place among the singers of the temple, (2 Chronicles 20:19.) Their name occurs in the title of nine psalms.
5 "Or est-il, que depuis ce temps-la, il ne perdit jamais la liberte de pouvoir comparoistre devant l'Arche avec les autres, si non une fois et pour bien peu de temps, c'est ascavoir quand il s'enfuit pour la persecution que luy faisoit son fils." -- Fr.