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34. Psalm 34

I will bless the Lord at all times: his praise shall continually be in my mouth.

2My soul shall make her boast in the Lord: the humble shall hear thereof, and be glad.

3O magnify the Lord with me, and let us exalt his name together.

4I sought the Lord, and he heard me, and delivered me from all my fears.

5They looked unto him, and were lightened: and their faces were not ashamed.

6This poor man cried, and the Lord heard him, and saved him out of all his troubles.

7The angel of the Lord encampeth round about them that fear him, and delivereth them.

8O taste and see that the Lord is good: blessed is the man that trusteth in him.

9O fear the Lord, ye his saints: for there is no want to them that fear him.

10The young lions do lack, and suffer hunger: but they that seek the Lord shall not want any good thing.

11Come, ye children, hearken unto me: I will teach you the fear of the Lord.

12What man is he that desireth life, and loveth many days, that he may see good?

13Keep thy tongue from evil, and thy lips from speaking guile.

14Depart from evil, and do good; seek peace, and pursue it.

15The eyes of the Lord are upon the righteous, and his ears are open unto their cry.

16The face of the Lord is against them that do evil, to cut off the remembrance of them from the earth.

17 The righteous cry, and the Lord heareth, and delivereth them out of all their troubles.

18The Lord is nigh unto them that are of a broken heart; and saveth such as be of a contrite spirit.

19Many are the afflictions of the righteous: but the Lord delivereth him out of them all.

20He keepeth all his bones: not one of them is broken.

21Evil shall slay the wicked: and they that hate the righteous shall be desolate.

22The Lord redeemeth the soul of his servants: and none of them that trust in him shall be desolate.

5. They shall look to him, and shall flow to him. I have already intimated, that this verse and the following should be read in connection with the preceding verse. In relating his own experience David has furnished an example to others, that they should freely and without fear approach God in order to present their prayers before him. Now, he says that they shall come, and this too with a happy issue. The first two verbs are expressed in the past time in the Hebrew; but I have, notwithstanding, no doubt that the sentence ought to be explained thus: When they shall have looked to him, and flowed to him, their faces shall not be ashamed. I have therefore translated them in the future tense. David is not relating things which had happened, but is commending the fruit of the favor which had been manifested to himself. Some interpreters, I know, refer the words to him to David, 691691     Those who take this view explain the words as meaning that the humble or afflicted, upon looking to David, saw how graciously God had dealt with him, and were enlightened, revived, and encouraged. They also consider, as Calvin himself does, the humble or afflicted as the persons who speak in the sixth verse, where, pointing as it were with the finger to David, they say, “This poor man cried,” etc. because immediately after he speaks of himself in the third person. Others with greater propriety explain it; of God himself. A difference of opinion also exists as to the Hebrew verb נהרו, naharu, which some, supposing it to be derived from the root אור, or, render to be enlightened. 692692     This is the rendering adopted by Horsley, who understands by the expression the illumination of the soul by the light of Divine truth. He reads the verb in the imperative mood, and his translation of the entire verse is as follows:
   “Look towards him, and thou shalt be enlightened;
And your faces shall never be ashamed.”

   This reading is sanctioned by the Septuagint. It supposes two alterations on the text. First, that instead of הביטו, they looked, we should read הביטו, habitu, look ye; and this last reading is supported by several of Dr Kennicott’s and De Rossi’s MSS. The other alteration is, that instead of ופניהש, upeneyhem, their faces, we should read ופניכש, upeneykem, your faces. Poole, in defense of reading your instead of their, observes, “that the change of persons is very frequent in this book.”
But, in my opinion, the natural signification of the word appears very appropriate to this place; as if he had said, There shall now be a mirror set forth, in which men may behold the face of God serene and merciful; and therefore the poor and afflicted shall henceforth dare to lift up their eyes to God, and to resort to him with the utmost freedom, because no uncertainty shall any longer retard them or render them slothful. If, however, any one should prefer the word enlighten, the meaning will be, They who formerly languished in darkness shall lift up their eyes to God, as if a light had suddenly appeared unto them, and they who were cast down and overwhelmed with shame, shall again clothe their countenances with cheerfulness. But as the meaning in either case is substantially the same, I am not much disposed to contend which of the two interpretations ought to be preferred.


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