James Gray - Concise Bible Commentary
To the chief Musician on Neginoth, A Psalm or Song. God be merciful unto us, and bless us; and cause his face to shine upon us; Selah.Psalms 67:1-78:72
The first half dozen of these psalms form a group millennial and Messianic. The first is millennial. It is Israel who speaks; the psalm cannot be appreciated unless the word “us” in Psalm 67:1 is so applied. When God has mercy upon and blesses Israel in the latter days, His way and His saving health unto all nations (Psalm 67:2) will begin to be known. In other words, the present age is one of out-gathering, but the age to come (millennial) will be one of in-gathering. God is now calling out a people for His Name from all the nations to form the Church, the body of Christ; but then He will be gathering all the nations to Him through the witness and ministry of Israel. This is the age of the evangelism of the nations, that the age of their conversion.
Why will the people be praising God in that day? Let verse 4 answer. It will, however, not only be a day of righteous governing, but one of great material prosperity (Psalm 67:6). The cause of it all is again expressed (Psalm 67:7).
The Scofield Bible teaches that Psalms 68, which some think to have been composed at the bringing up of the ark, is from the prophetic view entirely pervaded by the joy of Israel in the Kingdom, but a strict order of events begins with verse 18 which in Ephesians 4:7-16 is quoted of Christ’s ascension ministry. Verses 21-23 refer to the regathering of Israel and the destruction of the Antichrist and his armies, while verses 24-35 describe the universal Kingdom blessing.
Is Messianic as judged by the New Testament quotations indicated in the margin. It is the psalm of Christ’s humiliation and rejection (Psalm 69:4; Psalm 69:7-8; Psalm 69:10-12). Psalm 69:14-20 point to Gethsemane, and verse 21 to the cross. The imprecatory Psalm 69:22-28, may refer to the present judicial blindness of Israel, Psalm 69:25 having special reference to Judas (Acts 1:20), who is typical of his generation which shared his guilt.
Is also Messianic. Whether composed by, or for, Solomon (see title), “a greater than Solomon is here.” Millennial expressions prevail throughout, for it is a psalm of the King when He comes in His kingdom. The difference in the imagery between this and Psalms 2 will be observed, but both conditions as thus outlined will prevail in the millennial age. That of Psalms 2 precedes that of this psalm and makes this possible. There is difficulty in applying Psalm 71:15 to Christ as it speaks of prayer being “made for him,” unless we translate “for” as “to” as some have ventured to do, although without good authority.
Book 2 ends at this point, the opening of Book 3 being marked by a number of psalms ascribed to Asaph of whose history nothing is known, except as 2 Chronicles 35:15 and Ezra 2:41 enlighten us.
The first of the Psalms of Asaph (Psalms 73), is the most familiar, and suggests the language of Job and Jeremiah under similar circumstances (see Jeremiah 12:1-4). The psalmist is complaining of the prosperity of the wicked and the affliction of the righteous; but as his eye of faith is opened to the sudden and fearful ruin of the former his misgivings are removed. In the reassurance of his heart he chides himself for his folly and praises God’s love.
The opening verse is the conclusion at which he arrives at the close, although it is stated first. He had nearly fallen into infidelity (Psalm 71:2), the reasons for which are stated (Psalm 71:3-12). It seemed as if there were no use in being good (Psalm 71:13-14). He wisely kept his complainings to himself however (Psalm 71:15); and when he came to know God better, which is the meaning of Psalm 71:16, he understood the enigma (Psalm 71:18-20). His confession of the sin of unbelief follows (Psalm 71:21-22), and then the renewal of his faith and confidence to the end.
Some think Psalms 75, 76 belong together, the one anticipating what the other commemorates, viz., the divine deliverance of Israel from their enemies on some signal occasion. Possibly 2 Kings 19:35 and Isaiah 37 throw light upon them.
Is applied by some, to the removal of the sanctuary from Shiloh in the tribe of Ephraim to Zion, of Judah; and consequently, the transfer of eminence from the former to the latter tribe. Though this transfer was God’s purpose from the beginning, yet the psalmist shows it to have been a divine judgment on Ephraim under whose leadership the people had shown the sinful and rebellious character that had distinguished their ancestors in Egypt. Read in this light, the psalm becomes doubly interesting and instructive.
1. How would you characterize several of the psalms of this lesson?
2. How is Psalms 67 to be interpreted?
3. On the question of salvation how may this age be compared with the one to follow?
4. When, presumably, was Psalms 68 composed?
5. What is its prophetic application?
6. Have you read Ephesians 4?
7. How is Psalms 69 characterized?
8. Which of the disciples is referred to prophetically in this psalm?
9. Which is the great Messianic psalm of the lesson?
10. What is the theme of Psalms 73?