Psalm 67
Keil and Delitzsch OT Commentary
Harvest Thanksgiving Song

Like Psalm 65:1-13, this Psalm, inscribed To the Precentor, with accompaniment of stringed instruments, a song-Psalm (מזמור שׁיר), also celebrates the blessing upon the cultivation of the ground. As Psalm 65:1-13 contemplated the corn and fruits as still standing in the fields, so this Psalm contemplates, as it seems, the harvest as already gathered in, in the light of the redemptive history. Each plentiful harvest is to Israel a fulfilment of the promise given in Leviticus 26:4, and a pledge that God is with His people, and that its mission to the whole world (of peoples) shall not remain unaccomplished. This mission-tone referring to the end of God's work here below is unfortunately lost in the church's closing strain, "God be gracious and merciful unto us," but it sounds all the more distinctly and sweetly in Luther's hymn, "Es woll uns Gott genהdig sein," throughout.

There are seven stanzas: twice three two-line stanzas, having one of three lines in the middle, which forms the clasp or spangle of the septiad, a circumstance which is strikingly appropriate to the fact that this Psalm is called "the Old Testament Paternoster" in some of the old expositors.

(Note: Vid., Sonntag's Tituli Psalmorum (1687), where it is on this account laid out as the Rogate Psalm.)

The second half after the three-line stanza beings in Psalm 67:6 exactly as the first closed in Psalm 67:4. יברכנוּ is repeated three times, in order that the whole may bear the impress of the blessing of the priest, which is threefold.

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.
The Psalm begins (Psalm 67:1) with words of the priest's benediction in Numbers 6:24-26. By אתּנוּ the church desires for itself the unveiled presence of the light-diffusing loving countenance of its God. Here, after the echo of the holiest and most glorious benediction, the music strikes in. With Psalm 67:2 the Beracha passes over into a Tephilla. לדעת is conceived with the most general subject: that one may know, that may be known Thy way, etc. The more graciously God attests Himself to the church, the more widely and successfully does the knowledge of this God spread itself forth from the church over the whole earth. They then know His דּרך, i.e., the progressive realization of His counsel, and His ישׁוּעה, the salvation at which this counsel aims, the salvation not of Israel merely, but of all mankind.

That thy way may be known upon earth, thy saving health among all nations.
Let the people praise thee, O God; let all the people praise thee.
Now follows the prospect of the entrance of all peoples into the kingdom of God, who will then praise Him in common with Israel as their God also. His judging (שׁפט) in this instance is not meant as a judicial punishment, but as a righteous and mild government, just as in the christological parallels Psalm 72:12., Isaiah 11:3. מישׁר in an ethical sense for מישׁרים, as in Psalm 45:7; Isaiah 11:4; Malachi 2:6. הנחה as in Psalm 31:4 of gracious guidance (otherwise than in Job 12:23).

O let the nations be glad and sing for joy: for thou shalt judge the people righteously, and govern the nations upon earth. Selah.
Let the people praise thee, O God; let all the people praise thee.
The joyous prospect of the conversion of heathen, expressed in the same words as in Psalm 67:5, here receives as its foundation a joyous event of the present time: the earth has just yielded its fruit (cf. Psalm 85:13), the fruit that had been sown and hoped for. This increase of corn and fruits is a blessing and an earnest of further blessing, by virtue of which (Jeremiah 33:9; Isaiah 60:3; cf. on the contrary Joel 2:17) it shall come to pass that all peoples unto the uttermost bounds of the earth shall reverence the God of Israel. For it is the way of God, that all the good that He manifests towards Israel shall be for the well-being of mankind.

Then shall the earth yield her increase; and God, even our own God, shall bless us.
God shall bless us; and all the ends of the earth shall fear him.
Biblical Commentary on the Old Testament, by Carl Friedrich Keil and Franz Delitzsch [1857-78].
Text Courtesy of Internet Sacred Texts Archive.

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