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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.

3. There he broke the arrows of the bow. We have here stated the particular way in which God was known in Judah. He was known by the wonderful proofs of his power, which he exhibited in preserving the city. Under these figures is described the destruction of the enemies of the chosen people. 268268     “This seems to allude to the miraculous destruction of the Assyrian army, as recorded in Isaiah 27:36.” — Warner. They could not otherwise have been overthrown than by being despoiled of their armor and weapons of war. It is therefore said, that the arrows, the swords, and the shields, were broken, yea, all the implements of war; implying that these impious enemies of the Church were deprived of the power of doing harm. The fact indeed is, that they were wounded and slain, while their weapons remained uninjured; but this metonymy, by which what befell themselves is represented as happening to their implements of war, is not improper. Some translate the word רשפים, reshaphim, points of weapons! Properly, it should be rendered fires; 269269     “The Hebrew רשף, [here rendered arrows,] signifies fire, Job 5:7, where ‘sparks that fly upward’ are poetically expressed by בני רשף, ‘the sons of the fire.’ By metaphor it is applies to an ‘arrow’ or ‘dart’ shot out of a bow, and, by the swiftness of the motion, supposed to be inflamed. See Cant. 8, 6, where of love it is said, (not the coals, but) ‘the arrows thereof are arrows of fire,’ it shoots, and wounds, and burns a man’s heart, inflames it vehemently by wounding it. The poetical expression will best be preserved by retaining some trace of the primary sense in the rendering of it — ‘fires or lightnings of the bow,’ i e., those hostile weapons which are most furious and formidable, as fire shot out from a bow.” — Hammond Parkhurst renders “glittering flashing arrows,” or rather, “fiery, or fire-bearing arrows;” such as, it is certain, were used in after times in sieges and in battles; the βελη πεπυρωμενα of the Greeks, to which Paul alludes in Ephesians 6:16, and the phalarica of the Romans, which Servius (on Virgil, Æn. lib. 9, 5, 705) describes as a dart or javelin with a spherical leaden head, to which combustible matter was attached, which being set on fire, the weapon was darted against the enemy; and when thrown by a powerful hand, it killed those whom it hit, and set fire to buildings. Walford has, “fiery arrows.” “The arrows,” says he, “are described as fiery, to denote either the rapidity of their motion, or that they were tinged with some poisonous drugs to render them more deadly.” but it is more accurate to take it for arrows. Even birds are sometimes metaphorically so called, on account of their swiftness; and flying is attributed to arrows in Psalm 91:6

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