Psalm 51:19
Then shall you be pleased with the sacrifices of righteousness, with burnt offering and whole burnt offering: then shall they offer bullocks on your altar.
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EXPOSITORY (ENGLISH BIBLE)
Psalm 51:19. Then — When thou hast granted my humble requests, expressed in the former verses; when thou hast renewed, and pardoned, and comforted me, and restored thy favour unto thy people and this city; shalt thou be pleased with the sacrifices of righteousness — Which I and my people, being justified and reconciled to thee, shall offer with sincere and penitent hearts. These are opposed to the sacrifices of the wicked, which God abhors, Proverbs 15:8; Isaiah 1:11; and, withal, by thus speaking, he intimates that God, for their sins, might justly now reject their sacrifices as not being, properly speaking, sacrifices of righteousness, because they who offered them were not righteous. Then shall they, &c. — That is, they who, by thy appointment, are to do that work, namely, the priests in the name and on the behalf of thy people. Offer bullocks upon thine altar — The best and most costly sacrifices, and that in great numbers, in testimony of their gratitude for thy great favour, in pardoning mine and their sins, and preventing that total ruin which we had reason to expect and fear upon that account. 51:16-19 Those who are thoroughly convinced of their misery and danger by sin, would spare no cost to obtain the remission of it. But as they cannot make satisfaction for sin, so God cannot take any satisfaction in them, otherwise than as expressing love and duty to him. The good work wrought in every true penitent, is a broken spirit, a broken and a contrite heart, and sorrow for sin. It is a heart that is tender, and pliable to God's word. Oh that there were such a heart in every one of us! God is graciously pleased to accept this; it is instead of all burnt-offering and sacrifice. The broken heart is acceptable to God only through Jesus Christ; there is no true repentance without faith in him. Men despise that which is broken, but God will not. He will not overlook it, he will not refuse or reject it; though it makes God no satisfaction for the wrong done to him by sin. Those who have been in spiritual troubles, know how to pity and pray for others afflicted in like manner. David was afraid lest his sin should bring judgements upon the city and kingdom. No personal fears or troubles of conscience can make the soul, which has received grace, careless about the interests of the church of God. And let this be the continued joy of all the redeemed, that they have redemption through the blood of Christ, the forgiveness of sins according to the riches of his grace.Then shalt thou be pleased with the sacrifices of righteousness - "Then," that is, when God should have thus showed favor to Zion; when he should have poured out his blessing on Jerusalem; when religion should prosper and prevail; when there should be an increase of the pure worship of God. In such offerings as would "then" be made - in sacrifices presented not in mere form, but with sincerity, humility, and penitence - in the outward offering of blood presented with a corresponding sincerity of feeling, and with true contrition, and a proper acknowledgment of the guilt designed to be represented by the shedding of blood in sacrifice - God would be pleased, and would approve the worship thus rendered to him. Sacrifice would then be acceptable, for it would not be presented as a mere form, but would be so offered, that it might be called a "sacrifice of righteousness" - a sacrifice offered with a right spirit; in a manner which God would deem right.

With burnt-offering - See the notes at Isaiah 1:11.

And whole burnt-offering - The word here means that which is wholly consumed, no part of which was reserved to be eaten by the priests, as was the case in many of the sacrifices. See Deuteronomy 33:10. Compare Leviticus 6:9; Leviticus 1:3-17.

Then shall they offer bullocks upon thine altar - That is, then shall bullocks be offered. The meaning is, that all the offerings prescribed in the law would then be brought, and that those sacrifices would be made with a right spirit - a spirit of true devotion - the offering of the heart accompanying the outward form. In other words, there would be manifested the spirit of humble worship; of pure religion.

19. God reconciled, material sacrifices will be acceptable (Ps 4:5; compare Isa 1:11-17). Then; when thou hast granted my humble requests expressed in the former verses, when thou hast renewed, and pardoned, and comforted me, and restored thy favour unto thy people and this city.

The sacrifices; which now for our sins thou mayst justly reject and abhor.

Of righteousness; which I and my people, being justified and reconciled to thee, shall offer with sincere and penitent hearts. These are opposed to the sacrifices of the wicked, which God abhors, Proverbs 15:8 Isaiah 1:11, &c.

Then shall they offer, i.e. they who by thy appointment are to do that work, the priests in the name and on the behalf of thy people.

Bullocks; the best and costliest sacrifices, and that in great numbers, in testimony of their gratitude to God, for thy great favour in pardoning mine and their sins, and preventing that total ruin which we had reason to expect and fear upon that account. Then shall thou be pleased with the sacrifices of righteousness,.... Which must be different from the legal ones he desired not, and did not delight in, Psalm 51:16; but design sacrifices under the Gospel dispensation, as the word "then" shows, which connects this verse with Psalm 51:18, and in the first place intend the sacrifice of Christ, which is of a sweet smelling savour to God; and his righteousness, with which he is well pleased, because the law is magnified and made honourable by it; and next the saints themselves, who present their bodies to him a holy, living, and acceptable sacrifice, they being accepted with him in Christ the beloved; as also their good works, particularly acts of charity and beneficence, with which sacrifices God is well pleased; and especially the spiritual sacrifices of praise and thanksgiving, which are acceptable to him through Jesus Christ; as all are that are offered in faith through him, and from love, and with a view to the glory of God; see Ephesians 5:2, Romans 12:1;

with burnt offering, and whole burnt offering; the difference between these two, according to Aben Ezra and Kimchi, was, that the "olah", or "burnt offering", was the daily sacrifice; and the additional ones, which were of beasts and birds, Leviticus 1:1, and the "calil", was the meat offering of the priests, which was wholly consumed, Leviticus 6:22; though this also is sometimes used of beasts, 1 Samuel 7:9; and both may signify love to God, and to our neighbour; or a man's devoting himself to the Lord in the flames of love, as a whole burnt offering to him, and which is better than all burnt offerings, Mark 12:33;

then shall they offer bullocks upon thine altar; or "calves" (r); meaning the calves of the lips, Hosea 14:2; interpreted the fruit of the lips, even giving thanks to the name of God, Hebrews 13:16; which sacrifices of praise being offered up on the altar Christ, come with acceptance before God, Hebrews 13:10.

(r) "vitulos", V. L. Pagninus, Tigurine version, Musculus.

Then shalt thou be pleased with the sacrifices of {q} righteousness, with burnt offering and whole burnt offering: then shall they offer bullocks upon thine altar.

(q) That is, just and lawful, applied to the right end, which is the exercise of faith and repentance.

EXEGETICAL (ORIGINAL LANGUAGES)
19. Then shalt thou be pleased with] R.V., Then shalt thou delight in, as in Psalm 51:16.

the sacrifices of righteousness] Those offered in a right spirit. Cp. Psalm 4:5; Deuteronomy 33:19.

with burnt offering and whole burnt offering] R.V., in burnt offering &c. The term ‘ôlâh, ‘burnt-offering,’ denotes the sacrifice as ‘ascending’ in smoke and flame: kâlîl, ‘whole burnt offering,’ denotes the sacrifice as entirely consumed. It was the rule that the burnt offering should be wholly consumed, to symbolise the entire self-dedication of the worshipper; and the second designation is added in order to emphasise this idea of the sacrifice. Cp. Deuteronomy 33:10; 1 Samuel 7:9.

This anticipation of the restoration of material sacrifices in Jerusalem seems a poor ending to a Psalm of such profound spirituality. But a material Temple and visible sacrifices still had their work to do in forming a centre for the Jewish Church and serving as a visible sign of God’s covenant with His people. Not until Christ had come and offered one sacrifice for sins for ever, could they be finally dispensed with, and the full truth of such words as those of this Psalm be understood.Verse 19. - Then shalt thou be pleased with the sacrifices of righteousness. "Then" - when the walls are completed - thou shalt receive the public sacrifices which will naturally be offered on the accomplishment of such a work (Nehemiah 12:43). And these sacrifices, offered willingly by grateful hearts, will be pleasing and acceptable unto thee. With burnt offering, and whole burnt offering. Only the head, the fat, and certain portions of the interior were ordinarily burnt when a victim was offered (Leviticus 1:8, 12; Leviticus 3:3, 4, etc.); but sometimes, when the offerer's heart was full, and he desired to indicate its complete and undivided surrender to God, the entire victim was consumed (see Hengstenberg, ad loc.). Then shall they offer bullocks upon thine altar. Bullocks, or oxen, were offered on all great occasions (see 2 Samuel 24:22-25; 1 Kings 8:63; 1 Chronicles 29:21; 2 Chronicles 7:5; 2 Chronicles 29:32, 33; 2 Chronicles 35:7, 9; Ezra 6:17, etc.).



In connection with רוּח נדיבה, the old expositors thought of נדיב, a noble, a prince, and נדיבה, nobility, high rank, Job 30:15, lxx πνεύματι ἡγεμονικῷ (spiritu principali) στήριξόν με, - the word has, however, without any doubt, its ethical sense in this passage, Isaiah 32:8, cf. נדבה, Psalm 54:8; and the relation of the two words רוח נדיבה is not to be taken as adjectival, but genitival, since the poet has just used רוח in the same personal sense in Psalm 51:12. Nor are they to be taken as a nominative of the subject, but - what corresponds more closely to the connection of the prayer - according to Genesis 27:37, as a second accusative of the object: with a spirit of willingness, of willing, noble impulse towards that which is good, support me; i.e., imparting this spirit to me, uphold me constantly in that which is good. What is meant is not the Holy Spirit, but the human spirit made free from the dominion of sin by the Holy Spirit, to which good has become an inward, as it were instinctive, necessity. Thus assured of his justification and fortified in new obedience, David will teach transgressors the ways of God, and sinners shall be converted to Him, viz., by means of the testimony concerning God's order of mercy which he is able to bear as the result of his own rich experience.
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