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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.

5. The stout-hearted were spoiled, The power of God in destroying his enemies is here exalted by another form of expression. The verb אשתוללו, eshtolelu, which we translate were spoiled, is derived from שלל, shalal, and the letter א, aleph, is put instead of the letter ה, he. 270270     The verb is in the praet. hithpahel; and it has א, aleph, instead of ה, he, according to the Chaldaic language, which changes ה, the Hebrew characteristic of hiphil and hithpahel into א Some translate, were made fools; 271271     As the verb signifies, has plundered, spoiled; and as it is here in the praet. hithpahel, which generally denotes reciprocal action, that is, acting on one’s self, it has been here rendered by some, despoiled themselves of mind, were mad, furious. Hammond reads, “The stout-hearted have despoiled or disarmed themselves.” The Chaldee paraphrase is, “They have cast away their weapons.” but this is too forced. I, however, admit that it is of the same import, as if it had been said, that they were deprived of wisdom and courage; but we must adhere to the proper signification of the word. What is added in the second clause is to the same purpose, All the men of might have not found their hands 272272     “ידיהם לא מצאו, may be rendered have not found their hands, i e., have not been able to use them for resistance, for the offending others, or even for their own defense.” — Hammond The Chaldee paraphrase is, “They could not take their weapons in their hands,” i e., they could not use their hands to manage their weapons. In the Septuagint, the reading is, εὕρον οὐδὲν ταῖς χερσιν αὐτῶν; “they found nothing with their hands,” i e., they were able to do nothing with them: the vast army of Assyrians, the most warlike and victorious then in the world, achieved nothing, but “returned with shame to face to their own land,” (2 Chronicles 32:21.) that is to say, they were as incapable of fighting as if their hands had been maimed or cut off. In short, their strength, of which they boasted, was utterly overthrown. The words, they slept their sleep, 273273     “They slept their sleep.” “They slept, but never waked again.” — Hammond. There may be here a direct allusion to the catastrophe which befell the Assyrian army during the night, when, as they were fast asleep in their tents, a hundred and eighty-five thousand of them were at once slain, Isaiah 37:36. refer to the same subject; implying that whereas before they were active and resolute, their hearts now failed them, and they were sunk asleep in sloth and listlessness. The meaning, therefore, is, that the enemies of the chosen people were deprived of that heroic courage of which they boasted, and which inspired them with such audacity; and that, in consequence, neither mind, nor heart, nor hands, none either of their mental or bodily faculties, could perform their office. We are thus taught that all the gifts and power which men seem to possess are in the hand of God, so that he can, at any instant of time, deprive them of the wisdom which he has given them, make their hearts effeminate, render their hands unfit for war, and annihilate their whole strength. It is not without reason that both the courage and power of these enemies are magnified; the design of this being, that the faithful might be led, from the contrast, to extol the power and working of God. The same subject is farther confirmed from the statement, that the chariot and the horse were cast into a deep sleep at the rebuke of God 274274     The chariot and horse may be put poetically for charioteers and horsemen. Chariots formed a most important part of the array in the battles of the ancients. See Judges 4:3. Instead of “both the chariot and the horse,” Horsley reads, “both the rider and the horse.” “It is not improbable,” says he, “that the pestilence in Sennacherib’s army might seize the horses as well as the men, although the death of the beasts is not mentioned by the sacred historian.” This implies, that whatever activity characterised these enemies, it was rendered powerless, simply by the nod of God. Although, therefore, we may be deprived of all created means of help, let us rest contented with the favor of God alone, accounting it all-sufficient, since he has no need of great armies to repel the assaults of the whole world, but is able, by the mere breath of his mouth, to subdue and dissipate all assailants.

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