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25

From you comes my praise in the great congregation;

my vows I will pay before those who fear him.

26

The poor shall eat and be satisfied;

those who seek him shall praise the Lord.

May your hearts live forever!

 

27

All the ends of the earth shall remember

and turn to the Lord;

and all the families of the nations

shall worship before him.

28

For dominion belongs to the Lord,

and he rules over the nations.

 

29

To him, indeed, shall all who sleep in the earth bow down;

before him shall bow all who go down to the dust,

and I shall live for him.

30

Posterity will serve him;

future generations will be told about the Lord,

31

and proclaim his deliverance to a people yet unborn,

saying that he has done it.


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25. My praise shall proceed from thee. I do not reject the other translation; but in my opinion, the Hebrew manner of expression here requires this sense - that David will take the matter of his song of praise from God. Accordingly, I supply the verb shall proceed, or shall flow, My praise shall proceed or flow from thee; and he made this statement in order to testify that he owed his deliverance entirely to God. We know that there are many who, under pretense of praising God, trumpet forth their own praises, and those of their friends, and leaving God in the back-ground, take occasion from one thing or another to celebrate their own triumphs. The Psalmist repeats what he had touched upon a little before, that he will show the tokens of his gratitude in a public manner, in order thereby to edify others. He adds, that among these tokens will be the solemn exercise of godliness enjoined by the law: I will pay my vows in the presence of them that fear him. In important affairs, and when threatened with imminent danger, it was a common practice among God’s ancient people to vow a peace-offering, and after having obtained the object of their desire, they performed their vow. As David, therefore, belonged to the number of the saints, he conformed himself, as it became him, to that common and understood regulation of the Church. The vows which he promises to pay are those which he intimates he had made in his extreme distress, and he prepares himself to perform them with a noble and cheerful heart, yea, with a heart full of confidence. Now, although it behoved him to perform this solemn act of religion in the presence of the whole assembly without distinction, he again confesses it to be his desire, that all who should be present there to witness it should be the true worshippers of God. Thus, although it may not be in our power to cleanse the Church of God, it is our duty to desire her purity. The Papists, by wresting this passage to support their false and deceitful vows, show themselves so stupid and so ridiculous, that it is unnecessary to spend much time in refuting them. What resemblance is there between these childish fooleries, with which according to their own imagination they attempt to appease God, and this holy testimony of gratitude, which not only a true sense of religion and the fear of God suggested to the fathers, but which God himself has commanded and ratified in his law? Yea, how can they have the face to equal their foolish and infamous superstitions to the most precious of all sacrifices - the sacrifice of thanksgiving? even as the Scriptures testify, that the principal part of the service of God consists in this, that true believers publicly and solemnly acknowledge that he is the author of all good things.

26. The poor shall eat. The Psalmist has a reference to the custom which was at that time prevalent among the Jews, of feasting on their sacrifices, as is very well known. He here promises this feast, in order to exercise and prove his charity. And surely that is a pleasant and an acceptable oblation to God to which compassion and mercy are joined. Without these, the ceremonies by which men profess to worship God, with all their pomp and magnificence, vanish into smoke. David does not, however, simply promise to bestow upon the poor and the hungry something for the mere nourishment of the body. He declares that they shall be partakers of this feast for another purpose, namely, that matter of comfort being ministered to them, joy might be restored to their hearts and flourish afresh. For they saw in that feast, as in a mirror, the goodness of God set forth to all who are in affliction, which might assuage with wonderful consolation the grief arising from all their calamities. The Psalmist therefore adds, They shall praise Jehovah that seek him. The abundant repast of which they had partaken ought, no doubt, to have incited them to give thanks to God; but what is particularly meant is, praising God for that deliverance in grateful commemoration of which the sacrifice was offered. This appears still more clearly from the last clause of the verse: Your heart shall live for ever One meal could not have sufficed to make their hearts live for ever. It was rather the hope which they entertained of having ready succor from God which did this; for all the faithful justly reckoned the deliverance of this one man as a deliverance wrought for themselves in particular. Whence it follows, that, in the peace-offerings, the praises of God were so celebrated, as that genuine worshippers also exercised their hope in them. Farther, as hypocrites content themselves with merely going through the bare and lifeless ceremony, the Psalmist restricts the right performance of this exercise to true and holy Israelites; They shall praise Jehovah that seek him; and to seek God is the certain mark of genuine godliness. Now, if the fathers under the law had their spiritual life renewed and invigorated by their holy feasts, this virtue will show itself much more abundantly at this day in the holy supper of Christ, provided those who come to partake of it seek the Lord truly, and with their whole heart.

27. All the ends of the earth shall remember. This passage, beyond all doubt, shows that David stops not at his own person, but that under himself, as a type, he describes the promised Messiah. For even then, it ought to have been a well-known point, that he had been created king by God, that the people might be united together and enjoy a happy life under one head; and this was at length completely fulfilled in Christ. David’s name, I admit, was great and renowned among the neighboring nations; but what was the territory which they occupied in comparison of the whole world? Besides, the foreign nations whom he had subdued had never been converted by him to the true worship of God. That forced and slavish submission, therefore, which the heathen nations had been brought by conquest to yield to an earthly king, was very different from the willing obedience of true godliness by which they would be recovered from their miserable wanderings, and gathered to God. Nor does the Psalmist mean an ordinary change, when he says, that the nations shall return to God, after having become well acquainted with his grace. Moreover, by uniting them to the fellowship of the holy feast, he manifestly grafts them into the body of the Church. Some explain these words, They shall remember, as meaning, that upon the restoration of the light of faith to the Gentiles, they should then come to remember God, whom they had for a time forgotten; 523523     As it is not said what they should remember, some commentators explain it thus: That they shall remember, with penitence, their sins; and, particularly, their idolatry. Others, that they shall remember the goodness and mercy of God, through Christ, to a lost world. And others, that they shall remember God whom they had forgotten, worshipping, instead of him, wood and stones. This last seems to be the view to which Calvin refers. but this seems to me too refined, and far from the meaning. I allow that the conversion or return of which mention is here made, implies that they had previously been alienated from God by wicked defection; but this remembrance simply means that the Gentiles, awakened by the signal miracles wrought by God, would again come to embrace the true religion, from which they had fallen away. Farther, it is to be observed, that the true worship of God proceeds from the knowledge of him; for the language of the Psalmist implies, that those shall come to prostrate themselves before God, in humble adoration, who shall have profited so far in meditation upon his works, as that they shall have no more desire proudly and contemptuously to break forth against him.

This sense is more fully confirmed by the reason 524524     The reason why the Gentiles shall remember, and turn to the Lord. which is added in the following verse, (28) The kingdom is Jehovah’s, that he may rule over the nations Some explain these words thus:- It is not to be wondered at if the Gentiles should be constrained to yield honor to God, by whom they were created, and by whose hand they are governed, although he has not entered into a covenant of life with them. But I reject this as a meagre and unsatisfactory interpretation. This passage, I have no doubt, agrees with many other prophecies which represent the throne of God as erected, on which Christ may sit to superintend and govern the world. Although, therefore, the providence of God is extended to the whole world, without any part of it being excepted; yet let us remember that he then, in very deed, exercises his authority, when having dispelled the darkness of ignorance, and diffused the light of his word, he appears conspicuous on his throne. We have such a description of his kingdom by the prophet Isaiah,

“He shall judge among the nations, and shall rebuke many people.” (Isaiah 2:4)

Moreover, as God had not subdued the world to himself, prior to the time when those who before were unconquerable were subdued to a willing obedience by the preaching of the gospel, we may conclude that this conversion was effected only under the management and government of Christ. If it is objected, that the whole world has never yet been converted, the solution is easy. A comparison is here made between that remarkable period in which God suddenly became known every where, by the preaching of the gospel, and the ancient dispensation, when he kept the knowledge of himself shut up within the limits of Judea. Christ, we know, penetrated with amazing speed, from the east to the west, like the lightning’s flash, in order to bring into the Church the Gentiles from all parts of the world.

29. All the fat ones of the earth shall eat and worship. Lest it should be thought inconsistent that now the fat ones of the earth are admitted as guests to this banquet, which David seemed immediately before to have appointed only for the poor, let us remember that the first place was given to the poor, because to them principally comfort was set forth in the example of David. Yet it was necessary, in the second place, that the rich and the prosperous should be called to the feast, that they might not think themselves excluded from the participation of the same grace. They are not, it is true, urged, by the pressure of present calamities, to seek comfort for grief, but they have need of a remedy to prevent them from intoxicating themselves with their delights, and to excite them rather to lay up their joy in heaven. Again, since they also are subject to a variety of troubles, their abundance will be a curse to them, provided it keep their minds down to the earth. The amount of the Psalmist’s statement is, that this sacrifice will be common as well to those who are sound, lusty, and in opulent circumstances, as to those who are lean, poor, and half dead from the want of food; that the former, laying aside their pride, may humble themselves before God, and that the latter, though they may be brought low, may lift up their minds by spiritual joy to God, the author of all good things, as James (James 1:9, 10) admonishes both classes, in these words, “Let the brother of low degree rejoice in that he is exalted; but the rich in that he is made low.” Now, if God, under the law, joined the full with the hungry, the noble with the mean, the happy with the wretched, much more ought this to take place at the present day under the gospel. When, therefore, the rich hear that food is offered to them elsewhere than in earthly abundance, let them learn to use the outward good things which God has bestowed upon them for the purposes of the present life, with such sobriety as that they may not be disgusted with spiritual food, or turn away from it, through loathing. So long as they wallow in their own filth, they will never long for this food with a holy desire; and although they may have it at hand, they will never take pleasure in tasting it. 525525     “Et encores qu’ils les ayent en main, ils ne pourront prendre plaisir in les savourer.” — Fr. Farther, as those who are fat must become lean, in order that they may present themselves to God to be fed and nourished, so David endeavors to inspire the famished with assured and undaunted confidence, lest their poverty should hinder them from coming to the banquet. Yea, he invites even the dead to come to the feast, in order that the most despised, and those who, in the estimation of the world, are almost like putrefying carcases, may be encouraged and emboldened to present themselves at the holy table of the Lord. The change which the Psalmist makes in the number, from the plural to the singular, in the end of the verse, somewhat obscures the sense; but the meaning undoubtedly is, that those who seem already to be reduced to dust, and whose restoration from death to life is, as it were, despaired of, shall be partakers of the same grace with him.

30. Their seed shall serve him. The more to exalt the greatness of the benefit, he declares that it will be of such a character that posterity will never forget it. And he shows how it will come to be perpetuated, namely, because the conversion of the world, of which he has spoken, will not be for a short time only but will continue from age to age. Whence we again conclude, that what is here celebrated is not such a manifestation of the glory of God to the Gentile nations as proceeds from a transitory and fading rumor, but such as will enlighten the world with its beams, even to the end of time. Accordingly, the perpetuity of the Church is here abundantly proved, and in very clear terms: not that it always flourishes or continues in the same uniform course through successive ages, but because God, unwilling that his name should be extinguished in the world, will always raise up some sincerely to devote themselves to his service. We ought to remember that this seed, in which the service of God was to be preserved, is the fruit of the incorruptible seed; for God begets and multiplies his Church only by means of his word.

The expression, To be registered to the Lord for a generation, is explained in two ways. Some take the Hebrew word דור, dor, for a succession of ages, and explain the clause thus: They shall be registered to the Lord age after age. Others take it for generation, in the sense in which the word natio [nation] is used in the Latin tongue. As both these senses suit very well, and come almost to the same thing, I leave my readers at liberty to choose between them. I am, however, I admit, rather inclined to the opinion, that by this word is designated God’s chosen people and peculiar nation, which may be accounted the heritage of God. Farther, as the name Jehovah, which is expressive of God’s essence, is not here used as it is a little before, but the word Adonai, I do not disapprove of the opinion of those who think that Christ is here expressly invested with authority over 527527     The Hebrew word Adonai is derived from a verb which signifies to direct, rule, judge; and it therefore signifies director, ruler, judge. the Church, that he may register all who shall give in their names as on the side of God his Father. And, indeed, as our heavenly Father has committed all his chosen ones to the protection and guardianship of his own Son, he acknowledges as his people none but those who belong to the flock of Christ.

31. They shall come, and shall declare. The Psalmist here confirms what I have previously stated, that since the fathers will transmit the knowledge of this benefit to their children, as it were from hand to hand, the name of God will be always renowned. From this we may also deduce the additional truth, that it is by the preaching of the grace of God alone that the Church is kept from perishing. At the same time, let it be observed, that care and diligence in propagating divine truth are here enjoined upon us, that it may continue after we are removed from this world. As the Holy Spirit prescribes it as a duty incumbent on all the faithful to be diligent in instructing their children, that there may be always one generation after another to serve God, the sluggishness of those who have no scruple of conscience in burying the remembrance of God in eternal silence, a sin with which those are virtually chargeable who neglect to speak of him to their children, and who thus do nothing to prevent his name from utterly perishing, is condemned as involving the greatest turpitude. The term righteousness, in this place, refers to the faithfulness which God observes in preserving his people, of which we have a memorable example in the deliverance of David. In defending his servant from the violence and outrage of the wicked, he proved himself to be righteous. Hence we may learn how dear our welfare is to God, seeing he combines it with the celebration of the praise of his own righteousness. If then the righteousness of God is illustriously manifested in this, that he does not disappoint us of our hope, nor abandon us in dangers, but defends and keeps us in perfect safety, there is no more reason to fear that he will forsake us in the time of our need, than there is reason to fear that he can forget himself. We must, however, remember that it is not for any particular succor afforded to one individual, but it is for the redemption of the human race, that the celebration of the praise of God is required from us in this passage. In short, the Holy Spirit, by the mouth of David, recommends to us the publication of Christ’s resurrection. In the end of this psalm some commentators resolve the particle כי, ki, because, into the pronoun אשר, asher, which, as if it had been said, The righteousness which he hath done. But the sentence will be fuller if we read, because, and explain the passage thus: They shall come, and shall declare his righteousness, because God shall have given proof, or demonstration, of his righteousness - shall have afforded evidence by the effect, or the deed itself, that he is the faithful guardian of his own people.




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