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Psalm 76

Israel’s God—Judge of All the Earth

To the leader: with stringed instruments. A Psalm of Asaph. A Song.


In Judah God is known,

his name is great in Israel.


His abode has been established in Salem,

his dwelling place in Zion.


There he broke the flashing arrows,

the shield, the sword, and the weapons of war. Selah



Glorious are you, more majestic

than the everlasting mountains.


The stouthearted were stripped of their spoil;

they sank into sleep;

none of the troops

was able to lift a hand.


At your rebuke, O God of Jacob,

both rider and horse lay stunned.



But you indeed are awesome!

Who can stand before you

when once your anger is roused?


From the heavens you uttered judgment;

the earth feared and was still


when God rose up to establish judgment,

to save all the oppressed of the earth. Selah



Human wrath serves only to praise you,

when you bind the last bit of your wrath around you.


Make vows to the L ord your God, and perform them;

let all who are around him bring gifts

to the one who is awesome,


who cuts off the spirit of princes,

who inspires fear in the kings of the earth.

10. Surely the wrath of men shall praise thee. Some understand these words as denoting, that after these enemies shall have submitted to God, they will yield to him the praise of the victory; being constrained to acknowledge that they have been subdued by his mighty hand. Others elicit a more refined sense, That when God stirs up the wicked, and impels their fury, he in this way affords a most illustrious display of his own glory; even as he is said to have stirred up the heart of Pharaoh for this very purpose, (Exodus 14:4; Romans 9:17.) Understood in this sense, the text no doubt contains a profitable doctrine, but this being, I am afraid, too refined an explanation, I prefer considering the meaning simply to be, that although at first the rage of the enemies of God and his Church may throw all things into confusion, and, as it were, envelop them in darkness, yet all will at length redound to his praise; for the issue will make it manifest, that, whatever they may contrive and attempt, they cannot in any degree prevail against him. The concluding part of the verse, The remainder of wrath thou wilt restrain, may also be interpreted in two ways. As the word חגר, chagar, signifies to gird, some supply the pronoun thee, and give this sense, All the enemies of the Church are not yet overthrown; but thou, O God! wilt gird thyself to destroy those of them who remain. The other interpretation is, however, the more simple., which is, that although these enemies might not cease to breathe forth their cruelty, yet God would effectually restrain them, and prevent them from succeeding in the accomplishment of their enterprises. 281281     Hammond’s statement of these two interpretations is clear and full. It is as follows: — “What תחגור [which Calvin renders, thou wilt restrain] signifies here, is not agreed among the interpreters, the word signifying 1. to gird, and, 2. to restrain In the notion of restraining, it will have a very commodious sense, applied to Sennacherib, to whom this psalm belongs. For, as by the slaughter of the one hundred and eighty-five thousand in his army he was forced to depart, and dwell at Nineveh, 2 Kings 19:36; so, after his return thither, there are some remainders of his wrath on the Jews that dwelt there. We may see it, Tobit 1:18, ‘If the king Sennacherib had slain any, when he was come and fled from Judea, I buried them privily, (for in his wrath he killed many,’) etc. This was the gleanings of his wrath, and this was ‘restrained’ by God; for he soon falls by the hands of his sons, Adrammelech and Sharezer, ‘as he was worshipping in the house of Nisroch his god,’ 2 Kings 19:37. And to this sense Kimchi interprets it, ‘Thou shalt so repress the malice of our enemies, that the other nations shall not dare to fight against us;’ so likewise Aben Ezra. And thus it must be, if ‘the remainder of wrath’ be ‘man’s wrath,’ as the former part of the verse inclines it, ‘Surely the wrath of man,’ etc. But חגר, in the primary notion, signifies girding or putting on, arraying oneself Girding, we know, signifies putting on, and is applied to garments, ornaments, arms: חגור, ‘Gird thy sword upon thy thigh,’ Psalm 45:3, and frequently elsewhere; and so ‘girding with gladness,’ is putting on festival ornaments. And in like manner here, in a poetical phrase, ‘Thou shalt gird on the remainder of wrath,’ parallel to ‘putting on the garments of vengeance for clothing,’ Isaiah 59:17, will signify God’s adorning and setting out himself by the exercise of his vengeance, vulgarly expressed by his wrath, and the word חמת, wrath, most fitly used with reference on חמת, the wrath of man, in the beginning of the verse. Mans wrath is the violence, and rage, and blasphemy of the oppressor, upon the meek or poor man foregoing. This begins, goes foremost, in provoking God; and then שארית, the remnant, or second part of wrath, is still behind for God; and with that he girds himself, i e., sets himself out illustriously and dreadfully, as with an ornament, and as with an hostile preparation in the eyes of men. And so in this sense also it is agreeable to the context... In either sense, the parts of this verse are perfectly answerable the one to the other. To this latter rendering of תחגור, the Chaldee inclines us, paraphrasing it by, ‘Thou hast girded on, or prepared, or made ready, the remainder of fury, (meaning by God’s fury,) for the destroying of the nations.’” Perhaps, also, it would not be unsuitable to explain the verb thus, Thou wilt gather into a bundle, as we say in French, “Tu trousseras,” i.e., Thou wilt truss or pack up. Let us therefore learn, while the wicked would involve in obscurity and doubt the providence of God, to wait patiently until he glorify himself by bringing about a happier state of things, and trample under foot their infatuated presumption, to their shame and confusion. But if new troubles arise from time to time, let us remember that it is his proper office to restrain the remainder of the wrath of the wicked, that they may not proceed to greater lengths. Meanwhile, let us not be surprised if we observe fresh outrages every now and then springing forth; for, even to the end of the world, Satan will always have partisans or agents, whom he will urge forward to molest the children of God.

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