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89. Psalm 89

I will sing of the mercies of the Lord for ever: with my mouth will I make known thy faithfulness to all generations.

2For I have said, Mercy shall be built up for ever: thy faithfulness shalt thou establish in the very heavens.

3I have made a covenant with my chosen, I have sworn unto David my servant,

4Thy seed will I establish for ever, and build up thy throne to all generations. Selah.

5And the heavens shall praise thy wonders, O Lord: thy faithfulness also in the congregation of the saints.

6For who in the heaven can be compared unto the Lord? who among the sons of the mighty can be likened unto the Lord?

7God is greatly to be feared in the assembly of the saints, and to be had in reverence of all them that are about him.

8O Lord God of hosts, who is a strong Lord like unto thee? or to thy faithfulness round about thee?

9Thou rulest the raging of the sea: when the waves thereof arise, thou stillest them.

10Thou hast broken Rahab in pieces, as one that is slain; thou hast scattered thine enemies with thy strong arm.

11The heavens are thine, the earth also is thine: as for the world and the fulness thereof, thou hast founded them.

12The north and the south thou hast created them: Tabor and Hermon shall rejoice in thy name.

13Thou hast a mighty arm: strong is thy hand, and high is thy right hand.

14Justice and judgment are the habitation of thy throne: mercy and truth shall go before thy face.

15Blessed is the people that know the joyful sound: they shall walk, O Lord, in the light of thy countenance.

16In thy name shall they rejoice all the day: and in thy righteousness shall they be exalted.

17For thou art the glory of their strength: and in thy favour our horn shall be exalted.

18For the Lord is our defence; and the Holy One of Israel is our king.

19Then thou spakest in vision to thy holy one, and saidst, I have laid help upon one that is mighty; I have exalted one chosen out of the people.

20I have found David my servant; with my holy oil have I anointed him:

21With whom my hand shall be established: mine arm also shall strengthen him.

22The enemy shall not exact upon him; nor the son of wickedness afflict him.

23And I will beat down his foes before his face, and plague them that hate him.

24But my faithfulness and my mercy shall be with him: and in my name shall his horn be exalted.

25I will set his hand also in the sea, and his right hand in the rivers.

26He shall cry unto me, Thou art my father, my God, and the rock of my salvation.

27Also I will make him my firstborn, higher than the kings of the earth.

28My mercy will I keep for him for evermore, and my covenant shall stand fast with him.

29His seed also will I make to endure for ever, and his throne as the days of heaven.

30If his children forsake my law, and walk not in my judgments;

31If they break my statutes, and keep not my commandments;

32Then will I visit their transgression with the rod, and their iniquity with stripes.

33Nevertheless my lovingkindness will I not utterly take from him, nor suffer my faithfulness to fail.

34My covenant will I not break, nor alter the thing that is gone out of my lips.

35Once have I sworn by my holiness that I will not lie unto David.

36His seed shall endure for ever, and his throne as the sun before me.

37It shall be established for ever as the moon, and as a faithful witness in heaven. Selah.

38But thou hast cast off and abhorred, thou hast been wroth with thine anointed.

39Thou hast made void the covenant of thy servant: thou hast profaned his crown by casting it to the ground.

40Thou hast broken down all his hedges; thou hast brought his strong holds to ruin.

41All that pass by the way spoil him: he is a reproach to his neighbours.

42Thou hast set up the right hand of his adversaries; thou hast made all his enemies to rejoice.

43Thou hast also turned the edge of his sword, and hast not made him to stand in the battle.

44Thou hast made his glory to cease, and cast his throne down to the ground.

45The days of his youth hast thou shortened: thou hast covered him with shame. Selah.

46How long, Lord? wilt thou hide thyself for ever? shall thy wrath burn like fire?

47Remember how short my time is: wherefore hast thou made all men in vain?

48What man is he that liveth, and shall not see death? shall he deliver his soul from the hand of the grave? Selah.

49Lord, where are thy former lovingkindnesses, which thou swarest unto David in thy truth?

50Remember, Lord, the reproach of thy servants; how I do bear in my bosom the reproach of all the mighty people;

51Wherewith thine enemies have reproached, O Lord; wherewith they have reproached the footsteps of thine anointed.

52Blessed be the Lord for evermore. Amen, and Amen.

19. Then thou spakest in vision to thy meek ones. The Psalmist now declares at greater length why he said that the king, set over the chosen people for the preservation of the public good, was given them from heaven; namely, because he was not chosen by the suffrages of men, nor usurped at his own hand the supreme power, nor insinuated himself into it by corrupt arts, but was elected by God to be the instrument of maintaining the public good, and performed the duties of his office under the auspices and conduct of God. The design of the prophet, as we shall shortly see more clearly, is to distinguish this Divinely-appointed king from all other kings. Although what Paul teaches in Romans 13:1, is true, “There is no power but of God;” yet there was a great difference between David and all earthly kings who have acquired sovereign power by worldly means. God had delivered the scepter to his servant David immediately with his own hand, so to speak, and had seated him on the royal throne by his own authority. The particle אז, az, which properly signifies then, is taken also for long since, or in old time. The meaning, therefore, is, that whereas some are born kings, succeeding their fathers by right of inheritance, and some are elevated to the royal dignity by election, while others acquire it for themselves by violence and force of arms, God was the founder of this kingdom, having chosen David to the throne by his own voice. Farther, although he revealed his purpose to Samuel, yet as the plural number is here used, implying, that the same oracle had been delivered to others, we may certainly conclude that it had been communicated to other prophets that they might be able, with one consent, to bear testimony that David was created king by the Divine appointment. And, indeed, as other distinguished and celebrated prophets lived at that time, it is not very probable that a matter of so great importance was concealed from them. But Samuel alone is named in this business, because he was the publisher of the Divine oracle and the minister of the royal anointing. As God in those days spake to his prophets either by dreams or by visions, this last mode of revelation is here mentioned.

There next follows the substance or amount of the Divine oracle, That God had furnished with help the strong or mighty one whom he had chosen to be the supreme head and governor of the kingdom. David is called strong, not because naturally and in himself he excelled in strength, (for, as is well known, he was of small stature, and despised among his brethren, so that even Samuel passed him over with neglects) but because God, after having chosen him, endued him with new strength, and other distinguished qualities suitable for a king; even as in a parallel case, when Christ chose his apostles, he not only honored them with the title, but at the same time bestowed the gifts which were necessary for executing their office. And at the present day he imparts to his ministers the same grace of his Spirit. The strength of David, then, of which mention is here made, was the effect of his election; for God, in creating him king, furnished him at the same time with strength adequate for the preservation of the people. This appears still more distinctly from the second clause, where this invincible strength is traced to its source: I have exalted one chosen from among the people. All the words are emphatic. When God declares that he exalted him, it is to intimate the low and mean condition in which David lived, unknown and obscure, before God stretched out his hand to him. To the same effect is the expression which follows, from among the people. The meaning is, that he was at that time unnoted, and belonged to the lowest class of the people, and gave no indications of superior excellence, being the least esteemed of his father’s children, in whose country cottage he held the humble office of a herdsman. 539539     “L’ennemi n’aura puissance sur luy.” — Fr. “The enemy shall not have power over him.” By the word chosen, God calls us back to the consideration of his own free will, as if he forbade us to seek for any other cause of David’s exaltation than his own good pleasure.


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