Darby's Bible Synopsis
Psalm 68 follows on these psalms, being the celebration of the introduction of Israel into the position spoken of in them. Still it has a complete and individual character of its own. It begins with the formula employed when the camp broke up in the wilderness under the guidance of God, the pillar rising up and going before them. So it is now. God takes this place at the head of His people. It is thus introduced suddenly with great majesty. Let God arise so His enemies are scattered before Him: as wag before the fire, the wicked perish at His presence. The righteous may be glad and rejoice before God, yea, exceedingly rejoice. He shall appear to the shame of the mighty wicked, and the righteous poor will be glorified. Thus the purport of this psalm is most clear. But the character of Him who thus interferes is further most beautifully unfolded. He is a father of the fatherless, a judge of widows. He makes the solitary to dwell in families, the rebellious in a dry land. Judgment is the true and gracious deliverance of the blessed God. And now His people can celebrate this goodness.
History is then recapitulated (Psalm 68:7). Such was He when He brought forth Israel from Egypt. At Sinai the earth shook at His presence. But He refreshed the heritage of His weary people, when He had prepared of His goodness for the poor. But now present facts told that tale still more to their hearts. Adonai's word went forth. The glad tidings were chanted by Israel's daughters in a great company (Psalm 68:11). Kings fled apace. What a sudden and complete deliverance it was! The quietest home-stayer divided the spoil, for it was the Lord's doing. Then Israel came out in all her beauty, though they had been lying in poverty and wretchedness. [See Note #1] In all the pretensions and striving of the nations, this is God's will. God challenges these pretensions of human power; "Why leap ye, ye high hills?"the seats of human power. Zion was God's hill, He would make it His perpetual abode. For the sake of His remnant He scattered the kings. In the midst of them He would dwell. But whence all this deliverance? The Lord had ascended on high, received gifts as man and for men; yea, even for rebellious Israel, who was now in question, that Jehovah might dwell among them.
This brings out praises to the God of their salvation; for their God was the God of salvation. Oh! how could Christ witness that? But they were still mortal men down here. The deliverance was earthly and temporal, though of saints. But He would be their guide always, even unto death. But He would destroy the wicked. What was really the occasion of all this burst of joy (of which the heart was too full to tell quietly the occasion) is now however drawn out; yet the exultation still casts its light and joy over it. Israel was set up again in power; her enemies destroyed; the beauty of her temple-order restored. The tribes would come up, the kings bring presents. God had commanded strength, and they look to His strengthening what is wrought. The subjection of every enemy or mighty one follows. Princes would come out of Egypt, and Ethiopia stretch out her hands to God. The kingdoms of the earth are all called upon then to sing praises to Adonai. Strength is to be ascribed to God; but His excellency, that in which He is exalted, is over Israel, and, in the clouds of His dwelling-place is power, His strength watches over His people. It is the full restoration of Israel's blessing and glory, and indeed much more than restoration; and this consequent upon the exaltation of the Lord to receive gifts as man.
But, while it is the intervention of God in the power of judgment, for the blessing of the remnant and putting down human power and every haughtiness of man's will "God's arising" before His earthly people and His enemies fleeing there are some points in it, which are brought out by this, which it is well to notice. First, the use of Adonai. His name Jah is introduced (Psalm 68:4 and Psalm 68:18), but it is always Adonai as spoken of. It is not the covenant name of relationship, though Jah recall it, but power in exercise, Lordship divine Lordship but still Lordship. It is what Thomas owned when he saw the Lord, it would seem; not, tell my brethren "I ascend unto my Father and your Father," etc. It is God; but as the Lord manifested here in power as Psalm 2:4; only there He is not redescended. Hence here we have His ascension as a past fact. It is not that God gives, but He who is Adonai has gone up and received gifts as, and in respect of, man. In His Adam (last Adam) character He has received them, having led the enemy captive (Acts 2:33-36); here clearly the ascended man, though much more, and as head having received the gifts "in Man" the human head of glory He shed forth the gifts (Acts 2, Ephesians 4). But though as, and for, and in, man, yet there was also a special object added, yea, even for the rebellious, that Jah Elohim might dwell among them. Here the remnant, the Israel of our psalm, comes in. Hence the apostle does not quote it, but stops half-way at His receiving them for man.
In the following psalms we find the humiliation of this blessed One. What a contrast! Yet how far indeed from being less glorious or of feebler interest in the eyes of us who have learned and know who He is.
The force of the word is much disputed; its sense, I suppose, is evident. It is used for the stables of sheep or cattle.
As smoke is driven away, so drive them away: as wax melteth before the fire, so let the wicked perish at the presence of God.
But let the righteous be glad; let them rejoice before God: yea, let them exceedingly rejoice.
Sing unto God, sing praises to his name: extol him that rideth upon the heavens by his name JAH, and rejoice before him.
A father of the fatherless, and a judge of the widows, is God in his holy habitation.
God setteth the solitary in families: he bringeth out those which are bound with chains: but the rebellious dwell in a dry land.
O God, when thou wentest forth before thy people, when thou didst march through the wilderness; Selah:
The earth shook, the heavens also dropped at the presence of God: even Sinai itself was moved at the presence of God, the God of Israel.
Thou, O God, didst send a plentiful rain, whereby thou didst confirm thine inheritance, when it was weary.
Thy congregation hath dwelt therein: thou, O God, hast prepared of thy goodness for the poor.
The Lord gave the word: great was the company of those that published it.
Kings of armies did flee apace: and she that tarried at home divided the spoil.
Though ye have lien among the pots, yet shall ye be as the wings of a dove covered with silver, and her feathers with yellow gold.
When the Almighty scattered kings in it, it was white as snow in Salmon.
The hill of God is as the hill of Bashan; an high hill as the hill of Bashan.
Why leap ye, ye high hills? this is the hill which God desireth to dwell in; yea, the LORD will dwell in it for ever.
The chariots of God are twenty thousand, even thousands of angels: the Lord is among them, as in Sinai, in the holy place.
Thou hast ascended on high, thou hast led captivity captive: thou hast received gifts for men; yea, for the rebellious also, that the LORD God might dwell among them.
Blessed be the Lord, who daily loadeth us with benefits, even the God of our salvation. Selah.
He that is our God is the God of salvation; and unto GOD the Lord belong the issues from death.
But God shall wound the head of his enemies, and the hairy scalp of such an one as goeth on still in his trespasses.
The Lord said, I will bring again from Bashan, I will bring my people again from the depths of the sea:
That thy foot may be dipped in the blood of thine enemies, and the tongue of thy dogs in the same.
They have seen thy goings, O God; even the goings of my God, my King, in the sanctuary.
The singers went before, the players on instruments followed after; among them were the damsels playing with timbrels.
Bless ye God in the congregations, even the Lord, from the fountain of Israel.
There is little Benjamin with their ruler, the princes of Judah and their council, the princes of Zebulun, and the princes of Naphtali.
Thy God hath commanded thy strength: strengthen, O God, that which thou hast wrought for us.
Because of thy temple at Jerusalem shall kings bring presents unto thee.
Rebuke the company of spearmen, the multitude of the bulls, with the calves of the people, till every one submit himself with pieces of silver: scatter thou the people that delight in war.
Princes shall come out of Egypt; Ethiopia shall soon stretch out her hands unto God.
Sing unto God, ye kingdoms of the earth; O sing praises unto the Lord; Selah:
To him that rideth upon the heavens of heavens, which were of old; lo, he doth send out his voice, and that a mighty voice.
Ascribe ye strength unto God: his excellency is over Israel, and his strength is in the clouds.
O God, thou art terrible out of thy holy places: the God of Israel is he that giveth strength and power unto his people. Blessed be God.