James Gray - Concise Bible Commentary
Blessed is the man that walketh not in the counsel of the ungodly, nor standeth in the way of sinners, nor sitteth in the seat of the scornful.Psalms 1:1-6:10
True happiness is the theme of this psalm, whose author is unnamed. The negative side of true happiness is stated (Psalm 1:1), and then the positive (Psalm 1:2). Its reward follows (Psalm 1:3). Its nature and value are emphasized by a sharp contrast. Such a man is godly, his opposite ungodly (Psalm 1:4). The first is marked by stability, the second by instability (Psalm 1:4). The first has endless fruitfulness and blessing, the second has nothing and worse than nothing (Psalm 1:5), for he cannot be acquitted at the judgment day. The secret of it all is found in Jehovah (Psalm 1:6). The psalm is a summary of the whole book, and is appropriately placed at the beginning as a sort of preface.
Is prophetic and Messianic in one (see introductory lesson). It had a partial fulfillment at the first advent of Christ (Acts 4:25; Acts 13:33), but a complete one is to follow at the second advent, as will be seen in the study of the prophets. The nations will rage and the kings of the earth again set themselves against Jehovah and His Christ, lead by the Antichrist (Psalm 2:1-3), but they will be regarded with contempt and terrified by divine judgments (Psalm 2:4-5). God’s purpose will not be altered, which is to establish His Son upon His kingdom in the earth at Jerusalem (Psalm 2:6).
The Son Himself speaks in verse seven, the last clause of which refers to His inauguration as Mediatorial King, and does not in any way impugn His Deity. The Gentile nations are to be His in that day (Psalm 2:8), and although it will be the millennial day, yet its peace and righteousness will be secured through judgments and by the firmness of its Holy Ruler (Psalm 2:9). Kings and princes are warned to prepare themselves for its coming (Psalm 2:10-12). “Kiss the Son” means submit to His authority.
As its title indicates, read Psalms 3 in connection with 2 Samuel 15.
In his distress to whom does David appeal (Psalm 3:1)? Not only had men turned their backs upon him but it was charged that God had done so. Remember the possible reason for this suspicion in David’s sin with Bathsheba, preceding this rebellion of Absalom. Does David still retain his faith in God’s promises, regardless (Psalm 3:3)? What is the ground of his confidence (Psalm 3:4), and its expression (Psalm 3:5-6)? What is the nature of his further appeal (Psalm 3:7)? “Cheek-bone” and “teeth” represent his enemies as wild beasts ready to devour him. By faith he already sees these enemies overcome, and praises God as his deliverer (Psalm 3:8).
The word “Selah” at the close of verse two is obscure, and may denote a pause or rest in the singing, or an emphasis to be laid on the particular sentiment expressed.
This cry of distress may have been composed by David on the same occasion as the last. He is not trusting in his own righteousness, but God’s righteousness (Psalm 4:1). The doctrine of imputed righteousness was apprehended by the spiritually enlightened in Old Testament, as well as in New Testament, times. For a further illustration of this in David compare the opening verse of Psalms 32, with Paul’s application of them in Romans 4.
David is encouraged to utter this cry by past mercies “Thou hast enlarged me,” and I trust Thee again. Verse 2 shows the source of his trouble. His “glory” may refer to his kingly dignity now dishonored by exile. But the schemes of his enemies were “vanity,” and brought about by lying and creating delusions.
His confidence was in the divine purpose towards him (Psalm 4:3), and they who are against him are cautioned to repent and turn to the Lord (Psalm 4:4-5). In
the midst of his afflictions he values the divine favor (Psalm 4:6), which brings more experimental joy to him than the husbandman knows at harvest time (Psalm 4:7-8).
“To the chief musician on Neginoth,” indicates the purpose for which it was set apart as a musical composition. Neginoth were the stringed instruments used in the Levitical service, and the chief musician was the leader of that part of the choir.
Is a morning prayer (Psalm 5:3). The words “look up” are rendered “keep watch” in the Revised Version. The psalmist would keep watch on himself, that his life and conduct might be such as to insure the answer to his prayer (Psalm 5:4-7). The need of the prayer is indicated (Psalm 5:8). The enemies referred to are then described (Psalm 5:9), and their judgment committed into God’s hands who defends the righteous (Psalm 5:11-12). Nehiloth means flutes or wind instruments.
Represents David in deeper distress of soul than we have seen thus far. Conviction of sin is upon him. Those who have studied 2 Samuel will not need to be reminded of occasions for this experience, though the connection with Bathsheba will first suggest itself. He feels the justness of the divine rebuke (Psalm 6:1), but pleads for mercy (Psalm 6:2). The time of spiritual darkness has been extensive (Psalm 6:3-4). Will it end in death (Psalm 6:5)? He is heartbroken (Psalm 6:6-7). Enemies are rejoicing in his sorrow, but their glee is short-lived (Psalm 6:7-8). Light breaks, the morning dawns, tears are wiped away, for the Lord heard him! Be gone, mine enemies, be ashamed and turn back (Psalm 6:9-10)!
Verse 5 need not be interpreted as expressing doubt of a future state, but may be simply a contrast between this scene of life and the unseen world of the dead symbolized by the “grave” (Heb., sheol). Sheminith means the “eighth,” and perhaps this was apt for the eighth key, or the bass of the stringed instruments.
1. Memorize Psalms 1.
2. What is an appropriate theme for it?
3. State the twofold application of Psalms 2.
4. Will the millennium represent only peace and cheerful obedience to God and His Son?
5. Did you re-read 2 Samuel 15?
6. On what ground might God have forsaken David according to Psalms 3?
7. What may Selah mean?
8. What great Gospel doctrine finds illustration in the psalms of David?
9. Define Neginoth and Nehiloth.
10. What is the Hebrew for “grave”?