Psalm 118:23
This is the LORD's doing; it is marvelous in our eyes.
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EXPOSITORY (ENGLISH BIBLE)
(23) The Lord’s doing.—This change of destiny, which made Israel of sudden political importance, is to be ascribed to none but Jehovah Himself.

Psalm 118:23. This is the Lord’s doing — This strange event is the work of God, a peculiar effect of his omnipotent wisdom, performed not only without the help, but against all the artifices and forces of man. This and the preceding verse are thus read by Dr. Waterland: The stone, &c., is made the head of the corner; by the Lord is it so made, and it is marvellous, &c. Mudge renders the latter verse, this is from the Lord; it was impossible in our eyes. “It was the Lord’s doing, they said; in their eyes it was a thing beyond all possibility of belief:” which is the force of the original. The exaltation of David from a sheepfold to a throne was wonderful, especially considering the opposition made against it by the princes and rulers of Judah and Israel: but much more astonishing was the exaltation of Christ. For “what can be more truly marvellous, than that a person, put to death as a malefactor, and laid in the grave, should from thence arise immortal, and become the head of an immortal society; should ascend into heaven, being vested with unlimited power, and crowned with ineffable glory; and should prepare a way for the sons of Adam to follow him into those mansions of eternal bliss?”118:22,23, may refer to David's preferment; but principally to Christ. 1. His humiliation; he is the Stone which the builders refused: they would go on in their building without him. This proved the ruin of those who thus made light of him. Rejecters of Christ are rejected of God. 2. His exaltation; he is the chief Cornerstone in the foundation. He is the chief Top-stone, in whom the building is completed, who must, in all things, have the pre-eminence. Christ's name is Wonderful; and the redemption he wrought out is the most amazing of all God's wondrous works. We will rejoice and be glad in the Lord's day; not only that such a day is appointed, but in the occasion of it, Christ's becoming the Head. Sabbath days ought to be rejoicing days, then they are to us as the days of heaven. Let this Saviour be my Saviour, my Ruler. Let my soul prosper and be in health, in that peace and righteousness which his government brings. Let me have victory over the lusts that war against my soul; and let Divine grace subdue my heart. The duty which the Lord has made, brings light with it, true light. The duty this privilege calls for, is here set forth; the sacrifices we are to offer to God in gratitude for redeeming love, are ourselves; not to be slain upon the altar, but living sacrifices, to be bound to the altar; spiritual sacrifices of prayer and praise, in which our hearts must be engaged. The psalmist praises God, and calls upon all about him to give thanks to God for the glad tidings of great joy to all people, that there is a Redeemer, even Christ the Lord. In him the covenant of grace is made sure and everlasting.This is the Lord's doing - Margin, as in Hebrew, "This is from the Lord." That is, It is to be traced to the Lord alone. It is not the result of human wisdom or power. The deliverance from danger - the raising up from the low condition - the change by which he who was rejected was restored to his rightful place - all this was to be traced to God alone. So it was in the case of the psalmist; so it was in the case of the Redeemer. None but God could have made him who was rejected, despised, crucified, and laid in the grave, the Saviour of a world. The place which the once rejected Redeemer now bears in the church - the honors bestowed on him as the head of the church - the triumph of his gospel in the world - all prove that it is the work of God.

It is marvelous in our eyes - It is suited to excite wonder. It is not one of those things which are to be ranked with the common and well-known events that are easily explained, and that excite no wonder; it is one of those things which cannot be explained by any known law; which belong to the "supernatural;" which bear the marks of a direct divine interposition; which are suited to excite the admiration of mankind. Thus it was in the case of the psalmist; thus, pre-eminently, it was in the case of the Redeemer. No operation of natural laws will constitute a sufficient explanation of the latter. It is a matter for wonder, for rejoicing, and for praise, that one, despised, rejected, crucified, has been raised from the grave; that his religion has spread so far over the world; that it influences mankind as it does; and that he himself is exalted to a rank "far above all principality, and power, and might, and dominion, and every name that is named, not only in this world, but also in that which is to come." Ephesians 1:21.

22, 23. These words are applied by Christ (Mt 21:42) to Himself, as the foundation of the Church (compare Ac 4:11; Eph 2:20; 1Pe 2:4, 7). It may here denote God's wondrous exaltation to power and influence of him whom the rulers of the nation despised. Whether (see on [633]Ps 118:1) David or Zerubbabel (compare Hag 2:2; Zec 4:7-10) be primarily meant, there is here typically represented God's more wonderful doings in exalting Christ, crucified as an impostor, to be the Prince and Saviour and Head of His Church. This; this strange event; the feminine gender being put for the neuter, as it is in other places of Scripture.

The Lord’s doing; peculiarly an effect of his omnipotent wisdom; done not only without the help of man, but against all the artifices and forces of men. This is the Lord's doing,.... This stone is from the Lord, Genesis 49:24; it is of his choosing, appointing, and laying: the rejection of it by the builders is through his permission and will; they did no other things than what his hand and counsel determined should be done, Acts 2:23; and the exaltation of it, or the making it the head of the corner, was of him; he highly exalted him at his right hand, above every name, creature, and thing;

it is marvellous in our eyes; the stone itself is wonderful to look at, for its beauty, strength, and usefulness; the wisdom, love, care, and power of God, in laying it, are astonishing; the distinguishing grace of God in selecting some stones out of the common quarry, making them lively stones, and building them on this foundation stone, is exceeding marvellous: and so are both the rejection and exaltation of it; that so precious a stone should be refused, and, when treated with so much neglect and contempt, should be exalted. The Targum is,

"from the Lord was this, said the builders; this is marvellous in our sight, said the sons of Jesse.''

This is the LORD's doing; it is marvellous in our eyes.
EXEGETICAL (ORIGINAL LANGUAGES)
23. This &c.] Lit. From Jehovah has this come to pass. The order of the words emphasises From Jehovah. Cp. Nehemiah 6:16, “They perceived that it was from our God that this work was wrought.”

marvellous] Nothing less than a miracle, visibly attesting the providential care of Jehovah for His people. See note on Psalm 71:17. The same word is used in Jeremiah 32:17; Jeremiah 32:27 with reference to the promised restoration of Israel from captivity. “There is nothing too hard (lit. wonderful) for thee.”Verse 23. - This is the Lord's doing; it is marvelous in our eyes. This fresh elevation of Israel to importance - especially to such great importance - can only be attributed to the work of Divine providence. It is "the Lord's doing" - literally, "from the Lord" - and is one of the most marvelous events of history. The Hodu-cry is addressed first of all and every one; then the whole body of the laity of Israel and the priests, and at last (as it appears) the proselytes (vid., on Psalm 115:9-11) who fear the God of revelation, are urgently admonished to echo it back; for "yea, His mercy endureth for ever," is the required hypophon. In Psalm 118:5, Israel too then begins as one man to praise the ever-gracious goodness of God. יהּ, the Jod of which might easily become inaudible after קראתי, has an emphatic Dagesh as in Psalm 118:18, and המּצר has the orthophonic stroke beside צר (the so-called מקּל), which points to the correct tone-syllable of the word that has Dechמ.

(Note: Vid., Baer's Thorath Emeth, p. 7 note, and p. 21, end of note 1.)

Instead of ענני it is here pointed ענני, which also occurs in other instances not only with distinctive, but also (though not uniformly) with conjunctive accents.

(Note: Hitzig on Proverbs 8:22 considers the pointing קנני to be occasioned by Dech, and in fact ענני in the passage before us has Tarcha, and in 1 Samuel 28:15 Munach; but in the passage before us, if we read במרחביה as one word according to the Masora, ענני is rather to be accented with Mugrash; and in 1 Samuel 28:15 the reading ענני is found side by side with ענני (e.g., in Bibl. Bomberg. 1521). Nevertheless צרפתני Psalm 17:3, and הרני Job 30:19 (according to Kimchi's Michlol, 30a), beside Mercha, show that the pointing beside conjunctive as beside disjunctive accents wavers between a& and a4, although a4 is properly only justified beside disjunctive accents, and צוּני also really only occurs in pause.)

The constructions is a pregnant one (as in Psalm 22:22; Psalm 28:1; Psalm 74:7; 2 Samuel 18:19; Ezra 2:62; 2 Chronicles 32:1): He answered me by removing me to a free space (Psalm 18:20). Both lines end with יהּ; nevertheless the reading במּרחביה is attested by the Masora (vid., Baer's Psalterium, pp. 132f.), instead of בּמּרחב יהּ. It has its advocates even in the Talmud (B. Pesachim 117a), and signifies a boundless extent, יה expressing the highest degree of comparison, like מאפּליה in Jeremiah 2:31, the deepest darkness. Even the lxx appears to have read מרחביה thus as one word (εἰς πλατυσμόν, Symmachus εἰς εὐρυχωρίαν). The Targum and Jerome, however, render it as we do; it is highly improbable that in one and the same verse the divine name should not be intended to be used in the same force of meaning. Psalm 56:1-13 (Psalm 56:10; Psalm 56:5, Psalm 56:12) echoes in Psalm 118:6; and in Psalm 118:7 Psalm 54:1-7 (Psalm 54:6) is in the mind of the later poet. In that passage it is still more clear than in the passage before us that by the Beth of בּעזרי Jahve is not meant to be designated as unus e multis, but as a helper who outweighs the greatest multitude of helpers. The Jewish people had experienced this helpful succour of Jahve in opposition to the persecutions of the Samaritans and the satraps during the building of the Temple; and had at the same time learned what is expressed in Psalm 118:7-8 (cf. Psalm 146:3), that trust in Jahve (for which חסה ב is the proper word) proves true, and trust in men, on the contrary, and especially in princes, is deceptive; for under Pseudo-Smerdis the work, begun under Cyrus, and represented as open to suspicion even in the reign of Cambyses, was interdicted. But in the reign of Darius it again became free: Jahve showed that He disposes events and the hearts of men in favour of His people, so that out of this has grown up in the minds of His people the confident expectation of a world-subduing supremacy expressed in Psalm 118:10.

The clauses Psalm 118:10, Psalm 118:11, and Psalm 118:12, expressed in the perfect form, are intended more hypothetically than as describing facts. The perfect is here set out in relief as a hypothetical tense by the following future. כּל־גּוים signifies, as in Psalm 117:1, the heathen of every kind. דּברים (in the Aramaic and Arabic with )ז are both bees and wasps, which make themselves especially troublesome in harvest time. The suffix of אמילם (from מוּל equals מלל, to hew down, cut in pieces) is the same as in Exodus 29:30; Exodus 2:17, and also beside a conjunctive accent in Psalm 74:8. Yet the reading אמילם, like יחיתן Habakkuk 2:17, is here the better supported (vid., Gesenius, Lehrgebude, S. 177), and it has been adopted by Norzi, Heidenheim, and Baer. The כּי is that which states the ground or reason, and then becomes directly confirmatory and assuring (Psalm 128:2, Psalm 128:4), which here, after the "in the name of Jahve" that precedes it, is applied and placed just as in the oath in 1 Samuel 14:44. And in general, as Redslob has demonstrated, כּי has not originally a relative, but a positive (determining) signification, כ being just as much a demonstrative sound as ד, ז, שׁ, and ת (cf. ἐκεῖ, ἐκεῖνος, κει'νος, ecce, hic, illic, with the Doric τηνεί, τῆνος). The notion of compassing round about is heightened in Psalm 118:11 by the juxtaposition of two forms of the same verb (Ges. 67, rem. 10), as in Hosea 4:18; Habakkuk 1:5; Zephaniah 2:1, and frequently. The figure of the bees is taken from Deuteronomy 1:44. The perfect דּעכוּ (cf. Isaiah 43:17) describes their destruction, which takes place instantly and unexpectedly. The Pual points to the punishing power that comes upon them: they are extinguished (exstinguuntur) like a fire of thorns, the crackling flame of which expires as quickly as it has blazed up (Psalm 58:10). In Psalm 118:13 the language of Israel is addressed to the hostile worldly power, as the antithesis shows. It thrust, yea thrust (inf. intens.) Israel, that it might fall (לנפּל; with reference to the pointing, vid., on Psalm 40:15); but Jahve's help would not suffer it to come to that pass. Therefore the song at the Red Sea is revived in the heart and mouth of Israel. Psalm 118:14 (like Isaiah 12:2) is taken from Exodus 15:2. עזּי (in MSS also written עזּי) is a collateral form of עזּי (Ew. 255, a), and here signifies the lofty self-consciousness which is united with the possession of power: pride and its expression an exclamation of joy. Concerning זמרת vid., on Psalm 16:6. As at that time, the cry of exultation and of salvation (i.e., of deliverance and of victory) is in the tabernacles of the righteous: the right hand of Jahve - they sing - עשׂה חיל (Numbers 24:18), practises valour, proves itself energetic, gains (maintains) the victory. רוממה is Milra, and therefore an adjective: victoriosa (Ew. 120 d), from רמם equals רוּם like שׁומם from שׁמם. It is not the part. Pil. (cf. Hosea 11:7), since the rejection of the participial Mem occurs in connection with Poal and Pual, but not elsewhere with Pilel (רומם equals מרומם from רוּם). The word yields a simpler sense, too, as adject. participle Kal; romēmā́h is only the fuller form for ramā́h, Exodus 14:8 (cf. rā́mah, Isaiah 26:11). It is not its own strength that avails for Israel's exultation of victory, but the energy of the right hand of Jahve. Being come to the brink of the abyss, Israel is become anew sure of its immortality through Him. God has, it is true, most severely chastened it (יסּרנּי with the suffix anni as in Genesis 30:6, and יהּ with the emphatic Dagesh, which neither reduplicates nor connects, cf. Psalm 118:5, Psalm 94:12), but still with moderation (Isaiah 27:7.). He has not suffered Israel to fall a prey to death, but reserved it for its high vocation, that it may see the mighty deeds of God and proclaim them to all the world. Amidst such celebration of Jahve the festive procession of the dedication of the Temple has arrived at the enclosure wall of the Temple.

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