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Psalm 53

A Contemplation of David.

The word the New King James Version has translated “Contemplation” is the Hebrew maskiyl, which The Companion Bible suggests means “Instruction.” This psalm is for public instruction regarding the wicked, for the people of Israel to learn of them and to learn to avoid their ways.

This psalm is very similar to Psalm 14. Why this near repetition, we might ask? First of all, note the superscription and the subscription. Psalm 14 has only a superscription, proclaiming it a “Psalm of David.” Psalm 53 is called “Instruction,” and is dedicated in the subscription “To the Chief Musician.” These two facts mark this psalm out for public performance and instruction. Psalm 14, however, appears to be David’s own private version of the psalm, intended more for David’s own private use rather than for public performance. Read the rest of this entry »

Psalm 52

A Contemplation of David when Doeg the Edomite went and told Saul, and said to him, “David has gone to the house of Ahimelech.”

This Psalm is called “A Contemplation” in the New King James Version. The old King James had a transliteration of the Hebrew as “Maschil,” although a better transliteration might be maskiyl. The Companion Bible suggests that this Hebrew word means “Instruction.” In this Psalm, we are going to be instructed about the destructive man and his end. Read the rest of this entry »

Psalm 51 Continued

9. Hide Your face from my sins,

He calls upon God once again, as he has been doing repeatedly in these verses. This time, his appeal to god is to hide His face from his sins. Of course, if His face was hidden from them, He would not be looking on them and remembering them, which is what David is asking Him to do.

And blot out all my iniquities.

Again this is a repetition of the same thought as in the previous line. He does not just want God to hide His face from his sins, but also to blot out his iniquities. If God blots them out, he is sure they will be blotted out and gone from then on. Read the rest of this entry »

confess02Psalm 51

A Psalm of David when Nathan the prophet went to him, after he had gone in to Bathsheba.

Here we have another Psalm by David, the great king and psalmist of Israel. This psalm was written at a most critical moment in David’s life: when, after his terrible sin of adultery with Bathsheba and his equally terrible murder to cover up her subsequent pregnancy, Nathan the prophet went to David to convict him of his sin. In II Samuel 12, we read of this.

1. Then the LORD sent Nathan to David. And he came to him, and said to him: “There were two men in one city, one rich and the other poor. 2. The rich man had exceedingly many flocks and herds. 3. But the poor man had nothing, except one little ewe lamb which he had bought and nourished; and it grew up together with him and with his children. It ate of his own food and drank from his own cup and lay in his bosom; and it was like a daughter to him. .4 And a traveler came to the rich man, who refused to take from his own flock and from his own herd to prepare one for the wayfaring man who had come to him; but he took the poor man’s lamb and prepared it for the man who had come to him.”
5. So David’s anger was greatly aroused against the man, and he said to Nathan, “As the LORD lives, the man who has done this shall surely die! 6. And he shall restore fourfold for the lamb, because he did this thing and because he had no pity.”
7. Then Nathan said to David, “You are the man! Read the rest of this entry »

Psalm 50

A Psalm of Asaph.

Psalm 50 is the first of twelve psalms credited to the man Asaph.

1. The Mighty One, God the LORD,

In Hebrew, this Psalm is introduced by three names of God: El, Elohim, and Jehovah. El is the singular name of God, and it emphasizes His might and strength, as the New King James has rendered it “The Mighty One.” Elohim is the plural name of God, as we would make it “Gods,” and yet it always takes a singular verb, as “Gods is.” There is always an ongoing argument as to whether this is merely the “plural of majesty,” as when kings speak using the royal “we,” or whether it is an indication of plurality within the Godhead. The plural name Elohim is particularly used of God as Creator, and yet the One Who created us is also the One Who has the right to judge us, so it speaks of God as Judge as well. Jehovah (or Yahweh) is used of God in relationship with His people. It is used when the relationship has developed, so that it is more than the relationship between the Creator and His creature, but between two, a person and God, who have established a closer relationship on another footing (as by a covenant, or by some other means). Read the rest of this entry »

music02Psalm 50 is the first of the Psalms credited to the man Asaph, and is the only Psalm so credited in the second, Exodus book of Psalms. The remaining Asaph Psalms are all found in the third book of Psalms. There are in total twelve psalms credited to Asaph.

The name “Asaph” means “Gatherer” or “Collector.” He is first introduced to us among the musicians who served in the house of the LORD in I Chronicles 6.

31. Now these are the men whom David appointed over the service of song in the house of the LORD, after the ark came to rest. 32. They were ministering with music before the dwelling place of the tabernacle of meeting, until Solomon had built the house of the LORD in Jerusalem, and they served in their office according to their order.
33. And these are the ones who ministered with their sons: Read the rest of this entry »

duggrave02Psalm 49

A Psalm of the sons of Korah.

Psalm 49 is another of the psalms of the sons of Korah. As we said before, the sons of Korah were singers, so it is hard to say if one or more of them wrote this psalm, or if it was merely dedicated to be sung by them. This psalm is a consideration of the ultimate fate of all and the foolishness of the wicked who trust only in this life.

1. Hear this, all peoples;

The psalmist calls upon all peoples to hear his words. This reminds us of the words of wisdom given in the book of Proverbs, as it cries in the streets in Proverbs 1:20:

20. Wisdom calls aloud outside;
She raises her voice in the open squares.

So this psalmist raises his voice for all to hear, and calls upon all to consider the wisdom he is setting forth.

Give ear, all inhabitants of the world,

Again the psalmist calls upon all inhabitants of the world to give their ears over to hearing his words. The word for “world” here is the Hebrew cheled, which emphasizes the transitory nature of the world. We might make it “all inhabitants of this temporary world.” Read the rest of this entry »

Psalm 48

A Song. A Psalm of the sons of Korah.

Psalm 48 is another of the psalms of the sons of Korah. Since we know these men were singers, it is hard to say if one or more of them wrote this psalm, or if it was dedicated to them to be sung by them. This psalm is also called a song. As we will see, it is a glorious song about the great kingdom of God to come.

1. Great is the LORD, and greatly to be praised

The psalmist starts out by proclaiming the greatness of the LORD, and acknowledging that He is worthy of great praise.

In the city of our God,

The psalmist focuses on the city of our God, Jerusalem, and the fact that He is worthy of great praise there for the things that He has done on its behalf. These are things He will have done in the time that this song is referring to: the time of the kingdom. He has not yet arisen in His power to do these things.

In His holy mountain.

While it is true that Jerusalem is in the mountains, I believe that the holy mountain of the LORD is the same thing as His great government. So we are informed that this psalm refers to Jerusalem in the kingdom of God. Read the rest of this entry »

glorygod02Psalm 47

A Psalm of the sons of Korah.

Psalm 47 is another of the psalms of the sons of Korah. As we have said before, these men were singers, so either this means that they wrote this song, or else this means the song was dedicated to them to be sung. If the latter was the case, then we have no idea who wrote the psalm, or when. Ultimately, the circumstances of its writing may not matter overly much, for we believe this psalm to be a prophecy of the coming kingdom of God, and so it is not connected other than by time of authorship to the era in which it was written.

1. Oh, clap your hands, all you peoples!

All the peoples are called upon to clap their hands before God. We know that there are many different peoples of this earth, and all are called upon to praise Him. God will be King over all the earth, as verse 2 says, so all the peoples of the earth are called upon to clap their hands to praise Him.

In verses 3-4, the people being spoken to are all of the people of Israel. Yet this should not trouble us, for when every last Israelite is gathered together, as the Bible assures us they will be, then there will be many different peoples among them. In our day, there are many different kinds of Jews on the earth. There are Jews from Europe, from Africa, from Asia, and now there are those from the nations of America. There are what could accurately be called Spanish Jews, and German Jews, and Chinese Jews, and Jews from many, many different nations and peoples. When all these Jews are gathered together, they will form a conglomeration of many different peoples, yet all of them together will be able to clap their hands in praise to God.

So whether the “peoples” here are the peoples of all nations, or whether they are the Israelites of all nations matters little. When that day comes, all will have reason to clap their hands in praise to God! Read the rest of this entry »

Psalm 46

A Song.

This psalm has no author listed. All we are told is that it is a “song.” This song is about the kingdom of God, and is one of the songs of the kingdom. It tells us particularly about the time when the kingdom begins, a time we look forward to even today. It is a simple psalm, but a glorious one, and may God speed the day when the great event it speaks of takes place!

1. God is our refuge and strength,

The psalm starts out speaking of God. He is a refuge, a harbor from the storm. He is also a source of strength.

A very present help in trouble.

In trouble, God is these things, and also is found to be near to help. The psalmist seems to be thinking upon God as this because of the very present trouble that will be embroiling the world at the time this psalm takes place. Read the rest of this entry »