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Psalm 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 »
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 »
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 »
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 »
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 »
A Contemplation of the sons of Korah. A Song of Love.
Now we come upon a most beautiful psalm, one overflowing with majesty, and yet with a good deal of mystery as well. The Psalm seems clearly to find its final fulfillment in the Lord Jesus Christ, Who as the Messiah is the only One Who ultimately fits the glorious description given Him here. Yet then the question arises as to the circumstances under which the psalm was written and about which it speaks. The fact that this is a wedding psalm, meant to be sung at a royal marriage, is most obvious. The best connection to make for this psalm is with the marriage of good King Hezekiah to Hephzibah. Hezekiah was the best king Judah had after David, and, if the age of his eldest son Manasseh at his death is any indication, his marriage to Hephzibah followed two victories the LORD gave him: first, the sending away of the Assyrian invaders through the LORD’s miraculous intervention, and second his own personal salvation from the illness that but for the LORD’s intervention would have taken his life. Soon after both these triumphs, while Judah was celebrating its miraculous salvation, a glorious royal wedding takes place. The recently renewed nation turns out in droves to celebrate the nuptials of its beloved king and his bride.
No one knows for certain who Hephzibah was. Her name means “My Delight is in Her,” and it seems that Hezekiah’s was. Jewish tradition says she was the daughter of Hezekiah’s faithful prophet Isaiah, and if so, we cannot imagine a more fitting union. The evidence against this would be from verse 10, which would seem to indicate that she might have been a Gentile woman. We will discuss this when we get to that verse, but an Israelite bride would seem much more likely for good King Hezekiah at this point.
In this psalm, we certainly see an illustration of the LORD and His people Israel, and the “marriage supper of the Lamb” as described in Revelation 19:9. The beautiful psalm of the LORD’s future union with His people is illustrated by the beautiful wedding of one of Israel’s most courageous and beloved kings. Hezekiah and Hephzibah are the type, and the Lord Jesus Christ and Jerusalem are the antitype. Read the rest of this entry »
A Contemplation of the sons of Korah.
This is the second of the eleven psalms credited to the sons of Korah. As we said regarding Psalm 42, the first of these psalms, the sons of Korah were one of three companies given charge over the music in the temple. As such, it makes sense that they would have written psalms. Yet at the same time, it could well be that psalms were written particularly for them to sing, and so the question of authorship is not settled. Rotherham suggests David as the author, suggesting it was written during the events described in the title of Psalm 60, one that is definitely identified as a psalm of David.
“A Michtam of David. For teaching. When he fought against Mesopotamia and Syria of Zobah, and Joab returned and killed twelve thousand Edomites in the Valley of Salt.”
It is clear from psalm 60 that David had suffered a sudden and shocking defeat at the hands of the Edomites. David, who was used to God giving him victory at every turn, was devastated at this calamity, and the seeming abandonment of Israel by the God Who had always before given him success. All seems now lost, and David is deeply cast down by his own dead on the field, and by the fate of those captured by the Edomite army, now sold into slavery and living in misery. David feels deeply this humiliation, and experiences the agony of his nation at this seeming reversal of fortune. However, soon afterwards, Joab and twelve thousand men return from battle against Mesopotamia and Syria, and with these forces the battle with Edom is renewed, and Israel this time is victorious, crushing the enemy and setting free the captives. This was a tumultuous event indeed, and could well fit the situation we see in this psalm. Indeed, it is hard to find any such event as described here in any of the historical books of the Scriptures. Read the rest of this entry »
Notice that no author is listed for this psalm. Yet there can be little doubt but that Psalm 43 is written by the same author and under the same circumstances as Psalm 42, since both psalms end with the same verse (verse 11 of psalm 42 and verse 5 of psalm 43.) Therefore, we would judge that the author of the first is also the author of the second. We have suggested some unknown psalmist could have written this any time during Israel’s history when they were oppressed without good reason by their enemies on the east side of the Jordan. The psalmist might have been one of the sons of Korah, though we can confirm that these men were singers, so they song may have been written for them to sing, and not by them. Our other suggestion, following Rotherham, would be Hezekiah in the days when Judah was threatened by Assyria and Jerusalem was besieged. His inability to go to God’s temple then would be because of his illness.
In either case, we might point out that many of these psalms are written more with future circumstances in mind than with circumstances in the past. That is, that these psalms are meant to be the song book during the kingdom of God, and many of them speak more of events that will take place then than they do of events of the past. If that is the case here, these words may be prophetically speaking of the time when Israel will be oppressed by their enemies when God turns off the kingdom controls and allows ungodly men to go their own way once again in the tribulation period. Israel will be oppressed unjustly by her enemies at that time, and an ungodly man, whom we commonly call the antichrist, will be the prime mover of hatred against them. Many of them will be captured and taken into captivity at that time, being removed from the land and cut off from God’s temple.
Whatever the case might be, let us now examine this psalm. Read the rest of this entry »
Psalm 42 begins the second or Exodus book of the Psalms.
A Contemplation of the sons of Korah.
This is the first of eleven psalms by the sons of Korah. The name “Korah” means “Bald.” We learn from Exodus 6 that Korah was the son of Izhar (which means “Shining Oil”) the son of Kohath (which means “Assembly,”) the son of Levi, one of the twelve sons of Israel. It seems likely that some generations might have been cut out of this lineage, since in Hebrew “son” can be used for any descendant, even several generations down the line. This Korah was a rebel against Moses, as we learn from Numbers 16:1-3.
1. Now Korah the son of Izhar, the son of Kohath, the son of Levi, with Dathan and Abiram the sons of Eliab, and On the son of Peleth, sons of Reuben, took men; 2. and they rose up before Moses with some of the children of Israel, two hundred and fifty leaders of the congregation, representatives of the congregation, men of renown. 3. They gathered together against Moses and Aaron, and said to them, “You take too much upon yourselves, for all the congregation is holy, every one of them, and the LORD is among them. Why then do you exalt yourselves above the assembly of the LORD?”
The rebellion that Korah started was doomed to failure, as we see from Numbers 16:28-33. Read the rest of this entry »
We are currently running through your Psalm series and are wondering about Psalm 12. It makes complete sense that it is referring to the dispensation of grace; however, we are unsure about why it is in the spot where it is. Back in Psalm 11 we were reading about the tribulation and many of the Psalms are talking on this issue (and David’s flight from Absalom).
There is a break between Psalms 8 and 9, so I’ll just go from 9. Psalm 9 is talking about the beginning of the kingdom. Psalm 10 describes the condition of the wicked in our day, and the beginning of the kingdom that interrupts them in their wickedness. Psalm 11 again describes the wicked in our day, and the kingdom of God coming in to disrupt them. Psalm 12 again speaks of wicked men in our day, and calls upon the Lord to bring in the kingdom and put a stop to it. Psalm 13 may be David speaking in his own day, but it looks forward definitely to the dispensation of grace, when the LORD has hidden his face, and our cry is for Him to step out into the open again in the kingdom. Again Psalm 14 speaks of the actions of the wicked, and the need for the kingdom to bring a stop to them. And Psalm 15 speaks of God’s holy government, and the character of men who will live in it, in sharp contrast to those wicked men of our day.
Psalms 1-8 are a group, as are Psalms 9-15. There really isn’t much about the tribulation in these later Psalms. That is covered in depth in Psalms 1-8.