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76. Psalm 76

In Judah is God known: his name is great in Israel.

2In Salem also is his tabernacle, and his dwelling place in Zion.

3There brake he the arrows of the bow, the shield, and the sword, and the battle. Selah.

4Thou art more glorious and excellent than the mountains of prey.

5The stouthearted are spoiled, they have slept their sleep: and none of the men of might have found their hands.

6At thy rebuke, O God of Jacob, both the chariot and horse are cast into a dead sleep.

7Thou, even thou, art to be feared: and who may stand in thy sight when once thou art angry?

8Thou didst cause judgment to be heard from heaven; the earth feared, and was still,

9When God arose to judgment, to save all the meek of the earth. Selah.

10Surely the wrath of man shall praise thee: the remainder of wrath shalt thou restrain.

11Vow, and pay unto the Lord your God: let all that be round about him bring presents unto him that ought to be feared.

12He shall cut off the spirit of princes: he is terrible to the kings of the earth.

8. From heaven thou hast made thy judgment to be heard. By the name of heaven, the Psalmist forcibly intimates that the judgment of God was too manifest to admit of the possibility of its being ascribed either to fortune or to the policy of men. Sometimes God executes his judgments obscurely, so that they seem to proceed out of the earth. For example, when he raises up a godly and courageous prince, the holy and lawful administration which will flourish under the reign of such a prince will be the judgment of God, but it will not be vividly seen to proceed from heaven. As, therefore, the assistance spoken of was of an extraordinary kind, it is distinguished by special commendation. The same remarks apply to the hearing of God’s judgment, of which the Psalmist speaks. It is more for the divine judgments to sound aloud like a peal of thunder, and to stun the ears of all men with their noise, than if they were merely seen with the eyes. There is here, I have no doubt, an allusion to those mighty thunder-claps by which men are stricken with fear. 280280     When an angel of the Lord descended to perform some mighty work with which he had been commissioned, thunders and earthquakes frequently accompanied the execution of his commission; and it is highly probable that both these phenomena accompanied such a stupendous display of power, as that which was afforded by the slaughter of one hundred and eighty-five thousand men in the army of Sennacherib. By Gods judgment being heard, may accordingly be understood the thunder which was heard; and what follows, “The earth was afraid,” may signify the earthquake which then took place. When it is said, the earth was still, it is properly to be referred to the ungodly, who, being panic-struck, yield the victory to God, and dare no longer to rage as they had been accustomed to do. It is only fear which has the effect of bringing them to subjection; and, accordingly, fear is justly represented as the cause of this stillness. It is not meant that they restrain themselves willingly, but that God compels them whether they will or no. The amount is, that whenever God thunders from heaven, the tumults which the insolence of the ungodly stir up, when things are in a state of confusion, come to an end. We are, at the same time, warned of what men may expect to gain by their rebellion; for, whoever despise the paternal voice of God which is loudly uttered, must be destroyed by the bolts of his wrath.


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