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75. Psalm 75

Unto thee, O God, do we give thanks, unto thee do we give thanks: for that thy name is near thy wondrous works declare.

2When I shall receive the congregation I will judge uprightly.

3The earth and all the inhabitants thereof are dissolved: I bear up the pillars of it. Selah.

4I said unto the fools, Deal not foolishly: and to the wicked, Lift not up the horn:

5Lift not up your horn on high: speak not with a stiff neck.

6For promotion cometh neither from the east, nor from the west, nor from the south.

7But God is the judge: he putteth down one, and setteth up another.

8For in the hand of the Lord there is a cup, and the wine is red; it is full of mixture; and he poureth out of the same: but the dregs thereof, all the wicked of the earth shall wring them out, and drink them.

9But I will declare for ever; I will sing praises to the God of Jacob.

10All the horns of the wicked also will I cut off; but the horns of the righteous shall be exalted.

4. I said to the fools, Act not foolishly. 255255     “Or, Be not mad.” The verb is תהולו, tahollu, from הלל, halal, he was mad, boasting Bythner After he has set the office of God full in his own view and in the view of the faithful, he now triumphs over all the ungodly, whom he impeaches of madness and blind rage, the effect of their despising God, which leads them to indulge to excess in pride and self-gloriation. This holy boasting to which he gives utterance depends upon the judgment, which in the name of God he denounced to be at hand; for when the people of God expect that he is coming to execute judgment, and are persuaded that he will not long delay his coming, they glory even in the midst of their oppressions. The madness of the wicked may boil over and swell with rage, and pour forth floods to overwhelm them; but it is enough for them to know that their life is protected by the power of God, who can with the most perfect ease humble all pride, and restrain the most daring and presumptuous attempts. The faithful here deride and despise whatever the wicked plot and conspire to execute, and bid them desist from their madness; and in calling upon them to do this, they intimate that they are making all this stir and commotion in vain, resembling madmen, who are drawn hither and thither by their own distempered imaginations. It is to be observed, that the Psalmist represents pride as the cause or mother of all rash and audacious enterprises. The reason why men rush with such recklessness upon unlawful projects most certainly is, that blinded by pride, they form an undue and exaggerated estimate of their own power. This being a malady which is not easily eradicated from the hearts of men, the admonition, Lift not up your horn on high 256256     Lift not up your horn on high, that is, bear not yourselves insolently, from a false notion of your power, (comp. Amos 6:13.) It has been supposed that the metaphor is taken from the manner in which horned animals carry themselves when they are in an excited state. A practice among the Abyssinians, described by Mr Bruce, has been also adduced as throwing light upon this verse. He observes, that the governors of the provinces in Abyssinia wear a broad fillet round their heads, which is tied behind the head. In the middle of this fillet is a horn, or a conical piece of silver, gilded with gold; and shaped like our candle-extinguishers. This is called kirn or horn; and is only used in reviews or processions after victory. The way in which they throw back the head when wearing this ornament (lest it should fall forward) gives a stiffness to the position of the head; and this seems to explain the language of the Psalmist, when he mentions speaking with a stiff neck. Instead of with a stiff neck, Parkhurst translates with a retorted neck; observing, that “this is a well-known gesture of pride, contempt, or disdain.” is repeated once and again. They are next enjoined not to speak with a fat or a stiff neck; by which is meant that they should not speak harshly and injuriously; 257257     “Praefracte.” — Lat. “Rigoureusement et outrageusement.” — Fr. for it is usual with proud persons to erect the neck and raise the head when they pour forth their menaces. Others translate the words, Speak not stiffly with your neck; but the other translation is the more correct.

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