World Wide Study Bible

Study

a Bible passage

Click a verse to see commentary

3

But let the righteous be joyful;

let them exult before God;

let them be jubilant with joy.

 


Select a resource above

1. God shall arise: his enemies shall be scattered In this verse the Psalmist intimates, as it were by way of preface, the subject which he proposed to treat in the psalm, and which related to the truth that God, however long he may seem to connive at the audacity and cruelty of the enemies of his Church, will eventually arise to avenge it, and will prove himself able to protect it by the mere forth-putting of his hand. I agree with other interpreters in thinking that the sentiment is borrowed from Moses, (Numbers 10:35) 99     That passage contains the words which Moses used when the ark began a procession. Whenever the tabernacle was moved, and the Levites marched onward, bearing upon their shoulders the ark of the covenant, and the whole host of Israel proceeded on their march, “Moses said, Rise up, Lord,” etc. Martin observes, that “the God whom these opening words of the psalm have in view is manifestly the same of whom it is said in verse 18, that he ascended up on high, and led captivity captive. Now he of whom that is said, being, according to the interpretation of the Apostle Paul, (Ephesians 4:8,) Jesus Christ, the Son of God, it clearly follows that it was the Son of God, the true God, Jehovah the eternal God, whom the Prophet had in his eye in the first verse and in the rest of the psalm.” See Appendix. There can be little doubt that in dictating the form of prayer there referred to, he had an eye to the instruction and comfort of all succeeding ages, and would teach the Lord’s people confidently to rely for safety upon the ark of the covenant, which was the visible symbol of the Divine presence. We may notice this difference, however, that Moses addressed the words to God as a prayer, while David rather expresses his satisfaction and delight in what he saw daily fulfilling before his own eyes. Some indeed read, Let God arise; but they appear to misapprehend the scope of the Psalmist. He means to say that observation attested the truth which Moses had declared of God’s needing only to rise up that all his enemies might be scattered before his irresistible power. Yet I see no objections to the other reading, provided the idea now mentioned be retained, and the words be considered as intimating that God needs no array of preparation in overthrowing his enemies, and can dissipate them with a breath. We are left to infer, that when his enemies at any time obtain an ascendancy, it is owing to an exercise of Divine forbearance, and that rage as they may, it is only with his permission; the time being not yet come for his rising. There is much comfort to be derived from the circumstance, that those who persecute the Church are here spoken of as God’s enemies. When he undertakes our defense, he looks upon the injuries done to us as dishonors cast upon his Divine Majesty. The Psalmist adds a striking figure to illustrate how easily God can overthrow the machinations of our enemies, comparing them to smoke which vanishes when blown upon by the wind, or wax which melts before the fire 1010     As wax melteth before the fire, “a proverbial expression, denoting speedy dissolution, consumption, and death.” — Bythner. We consider it utterly incredible that such a formidable array of opposition should be made to disappear in a moment. But the Spirit takes this method of chiding the fearfulness of our carnal minds, and teaching us that there is no such strength in our enemies as we suppose, — that we allow the smoke of them to blind our eyes, and the solid mass of resistance which they present to deceive us into a forgetfulness of the truth, that the mountains themselves flow down at the presence of the Lord. 1111     “Sed quasi fumo hebetari nostros oculos; falli etiam nos in ipsa duritie, quia non reputamus solo Dei conspectu liquefieri montes ipsos.” — Lat. “Mais qu’il y a comme une fumee qu’il nous esblouist les yeux; semblablement que nons nous abusons quant a leur durete et obstination; pource que nous ne venons point a considerer qu’au seul regard de Dieu les montagnes mesmes fondent et s’ecoulent.” Fr.

3 But the righteous shall be glad It is here intimated by David, that when God shows himself formidable to the wicked, this is with the design of securing the deliverance of his Church. He would seem indirectly to contrast the joy of which he now speaks with the depression and grief felt by well affected men under the reign of Saul — suggesting, that God succeeds a season of temporary trouble with returns of comfort, to prevent his people from being overwhelmed by despondency. He leaves us also to infer, that one reason of that joy which they experience is derived from knowing that God is propitious to them, and interests himself in their safety. The Hebrew words, מפני, mipne, and לפני, liphne, admit of the same meaning; but I think that the Psalmist intended to note a distinction. The wicked flee from the presence of God, as what inspires them with terror; the righteous again rejoice in it, because nothing delights them more than to think that God is near them. When commenting upon the passage, Psalm 18:26, we saw why the Divine presence terrifies some and comforts others; for “with the pure he will show himself pure, and with the froward he will show himself froward.” One expression is heaped by the Psalmist upon another, to show how great the joy of the Lord’s people is, and how entirely it possesses and occupies their affections.




Advertisements