Psalm 68:10
Your congregation has dwelled therein: you, O God, have prepared of your goodness for the poor.
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(10) Thy congregation.—See above. If the emendation there adopted seems unnecessary, we may render here, Thy life dwells in her, i.e., in the people of Israel. (Comp. Psalm 143:3.) The vigour consequent on the heavenly food might be called the Divine life, and conceal a higher application.

Psalm 68:10. Thy congregation — Thy people Israel, who are all united in one body, under thee their head and governor. It is true, the word חיה, chajab, here rendered congregation, primarily signifies life, living creature, or animal, and is often put for beast, and wild beast; but, as the best lexicographers observe, it also frequently means cœtus, or caterva, a company or troop of men, as in Psalm 68:30 of this chapter, and 2 Samuel 23:13, compared with 1 Chronicles 11:15, and Psalm 74:19. But, retaining the proper signification of the word, the clause may be rendered, as it is by the LXX., τα ζωα σου, thy living creatures, or thy flock, that is, thy people, the sheep of thy pasture, hath dwelt therein, ישׁבו בה, jashebu bah, have dwelt in it, namely, in the inheritance mentioned in the preceding verse, to which the preposition, with the feminine affix, בה, in it, can only properly refer. God often compares himself to a shepherd, and his people to sheep; and he is particularly said to have led his people like a flock, by the hand of Moses and Aaron, Psalm 77:20, namely, in the wilderness; and consequently he may be here said to have brought his sheep into, and to have made them dwell in, Canaan, as in a green and good pasture; see Psalms 23., where God speaks of his people under this very metaphor. This interpretation, evidently adopted by our translators, seems much more easy and natural, and more agreeable to the Hebrew text, than that of Dr. Chandler and some others, who would render the word above mentioned, (which we translate thy flock, or thy congregation,) thy food, or the support of thy life; and who thus interpret the clause: thy food, or, as to thy food, the food which thou, O God, gavest them, they dwelt in the midst of it: which is surely a very unnatural and forced exposition. Thou hast prepared of thy goodness, &c. — Dr. Chandler, in consistency with his above-mentioned interpretation of the preceding clause, understands this of the provision made miraculously by God for his people in the wilderness: but, according to our translation, it speaks of the provision made for them in Canaan; the good land which God prepared for his people, by expelling the old inhabitants, sending frequently refreshing and fertilizing rains upon it, making it fruitful by his special blessing, and furnishing it with all sorts of provisions: and all this of his goodness, that is, by his free, unmerited, and singular goodness: and that both as to the cause and measure of this preparation. God did it; not for their righteousness, as he often told them, but of his mere mercy; and he increased the fruits of the earth very wonderfully, that they might be sufficient for the supply of such a numerous people, which, without his extraordinary blessing, would not have been the case, as appears by the state of that land at this day, which is well known to be very barren. For the poor — Thy people of Israel, whom he calls poor, partly to repress that pride and arrogance to which they were exceedingly prone, and to remind them of their entire dependance on God for all they had or hoped for; and partly because they really were poor when God undertook the conduct of them into Canaan, and such they would have been still if God had not provided for them in a singular manner.68:7-14 Fresh mercies should put us in mind of former mercies. If God bring his people into a wilderness, he will be sure to go before them in it, and to bring them out of it. He provided for them, both in the wilderness and in Canaan. The daily manna seems here meant. And it looks to the spiritual provision for God's Israel. The Spirit of grace and the gospel of grace are the plentiful rain, with which God confirms his inheritance, and from which their fruit is found. Christ shall come as showers that water the earth. The account of Israel's victories is to be applied to the victories over death and hell, by the exalted Redeemer, for those that are his. Israel in Egypt among the kilns appeared wretched, but possessed of Canaan, during the reigns of David and Solomon, appeared glorious. Thus the slaves of Satan, when converted to Christ, when justified and sanctified by him, look honourable. When they reach heaven, all remains of their sinful state disappear, they shall be as the wings of the dove, covered with silver, and her feathers as gold. Full salvation will render those white as snow, who were vile and loathsome through the guilt and defilement of sin.Thy congregation hath dwelt therein - In the land of promise; for the connection requires us to understand it in this manner. The idea of the writer all along pertains to that land, and to the mercy which God had shown to it. After showing by an historical reference what God had done for the people in the wilderness, he returns here, though without expressly mentioning it, to the land of promise, and to what God had done there for his people. The word tendered "congregation" - חיה châyâh - means properly a beast, an animal, Genesis 1:30; Genesis 2:19; Genesis 8:19; Genesis 37:20. Then it comes to be used as a collective noun, meaning a herd or flock; thus, a troop of people, an array or host, 2 Samuel 23:11, 2 Samuel 23:13; and it is applied here to the people, under the idea so common in the Scriptures that God is a Shepherd.

Thou, O God, hast prepared of thy goodness for the poor - For thy flock considered as poor or wretched. That is, Thou hast provided for them when they had no resources of their own - when they were a poor, oppressed, and afflicted people - wanderers wholly dependent on thee.

10. Thy congregation—literally, "troop," as in 2Sa 23:11, 13—the military aspect of the people being prominent, according to the figures of the context.

therein—that is, in the land of promise.

the poor—Thy humble people (Ps 68:9; compare Ps 10:17; 12:5).

Thy congregation; thy people of Israel, who are all united in one body under thee, their Head and Governor. For though this word commonly signifies living creatures, yet sometimes it signifies a company of men, as here below, Psalm 68:31, and 2 Samuel 23:13, compared with 1 Chronicles 11:15 Psalm 74:19. Or the proper signification of the word may be retained, and it may be rendered thy flock; for God oft compares himself to a shepherd, and his people to sheep, and particularly he is said to have led his people like a flock by the hand of Moses and Aaron, Psalm 77:20, to wit, in the wilderness; and consequently he may be here said to have brought his sheep into and made them to dwell in Canaan, as in a green and good pasture, as God speaks of his people under this very metaphor, Psalm 23:2.

Prepared; or, prepared it; which pronoun is oft understood, and here most easily out of the foregoing clause of this verse, where it is expressed. Prepared it, to wit, this land, for the use of thy people; which God did many ways; partly by designing it for them, and expelling the old inhabitants to make way for them; and partly by furnishing it with all sorts of provisions, both for necessity. and delight, and making it fruitful by his special blessing, in giving rain in its proper seasons.

Of thy goodness; by thy free and singular goodness; which may be referred both to the cause of this preparation, God did it not for their righteousness or worthiness, but out of his mere mercy, as God oft telleth them; and to the manner and measure of it, God did wonderfully increase the fruits of it, that it might suffice for the supply of such a numerous people; which without his extraordinary blessing it would not do, as appears by the state of that land at this day, as it is reported by travellers and eye-witnesses of it.

For the poor, to wit, for thy people of Israel, whom he here calls poor, partly to repress that pride and arrogance to which they are exceeding prone, and to mind them of the dependence upon God for all that they have and hope for; and partly because they really were, when God undertook the conduct of them into Canaan, a very poor and beggarly people, and so they would have still been, if God had not provided for them in a singular manner. Thy congregation hath dwelt therein,.... That is, in the Lord's inheritance, in the midst of his church and people. The word for "congregation" signifies "beasts" or "living creatures" (w): some understand them of the Gentiles, who, before the Gospel came among them, were comparable to such; but, under the Gospel dispensation, being called and taken out by it, were put among the people of God, and dwelt in his inheritance. Though, without any limitation, it may be applied to all that are quickened and made alive by the grace of God; to all that are written among the living in Jerusalem; and particularly to the ministers of the Gospel, who are signified by the four living creatures, in Ezekiel's vision and in John's Revelation; though not to the exclusion of any living believer, who has a name and a place here, and who are fellow citizens with the saints, and of the household of God:

thou, O God, hast prepared of thy goodness for the poor; blessings of goodness, spiritual blessings, blessings of grace and of glory; which flow from divine goodness, are in themselves good, and in their effects; and these were prepared in the covenant of grace and in Christ from all eternity; and that for persons poor and mean, indigent and helpless; and so the goodness of God in preparing them appears to he free and unmerited. The Targum is,

"thou hast prepared an host of angels to do good to the poor of God.''

Arama interprets it of the manna.

(w) , Sept. "animalia tua", V. L. so Eth. Syr. Arab. & Cocceius; "pecus tuum", Musculus, and some in Vatablus.

Thy congregation hath dwelt therein: thou, O God, hast prepared of thy {g} goodness for the poor.

(g) God blessed the land of Canaan, because he had chosen that place for his Church.

10. Thy congregation took up its abode therein:

In thy goodness, O God, thou dost provide for the afflicted.

The word rendered congregation, or, as R.V. marg., troop, or family, is a peculiar one. The corresponding Arabic word means “such a kindred group as was guided in war and on the march by one chief, migrating together, and forming generally a single settlement.” Robertson Smith, Kinship and Marriage in Early Arabia, pp. 36 ff. From the meaning life or living, the word came to mean a clan, a group of one blood, on the old Semitic principle that “the life of the flesh lies in the blood” (Leviticus 17:11). Thou dost provide for the afflicted is a general truth, which found special illustration in regard to Israel, ‘afflicted’ by the bondage of Egypt (Exodus 3:7; Exodus 3:17).Verse 10. - Thy congregation hath dwelt therein; thy troop, or thy host (see 2 Samuel 23:11, 13). The word used (חיּה) is an unusual one. Thou, O God, hast prepared of thy goodness for the poor; or, thou, O God, didst in thy goodness make preparation for the poor. "The poor" are the Israelites, brought low by their sufferings in Egypt and the wilderness; the preparations those by which their conquest of Palestine was facilitated (Exodus 25:28; Joshua 24:12). The Psalm begins with the expression of a wish that the victory of God over all His foes and the triumphant exultation of the righteous were near at hand. Ewald and Hitzig take יקום אלהים hypothetically: If God arise, He enemies will be scattered. This rendering is possible in itself so far as the syntax is concerned, but here everything conspires against it; for the futures in Psalm 68:2-4 form an unbroken chain; then a glance at the course of the Psalm from Psa 68:20 onwards shows that the circumstances of Israel, under which the poet writes, urged forth the wish: let God arise and humble His foes; and finally the primary passage, Numbers 10:35, makes it clear that the futures are the language of prayer transformed into the form of the wish. In Psalm 68:3 the wish is addressed directly to God Himself, and therefore becomes petition. הנדּן is inflected (as vice versג ירדף, Psalm 7:6, from ירדּף) from הנּדף (like הנּתן, Jeremiah 32:4); it is a violation of all rule in favour of the conformity of sound (cf. הקצות for הקצות, Leviticus 14:43, and supra on Psalm 51:6) with תּנדּף, the object of which is easily supplied (dispellas, sc. hostes tuos), and is purposely omitted in order to direct attention more stedfastly to the omnipotence which to every creature is so irresistible. Like smoke, wax (דּונג, root דג, τηκ, Sanscrit tak, to shoot past, to run, Zend taḱ, whence vitaḱina, dissolving, Neo-Persic gudâchten; causative: to cause to run in different directions equals to melt or smelt) is an emblem of human feebleness. As Bakiuds observes, Si creatura creaturam non fert, quomodo creatura creatoris indignantis faciem ferre possit? The wish expressed in Psalm 68:4 forms the obverse of the preceding. The expressions for joy are heaped up in order to describe the transcendency of the joy that will follow the release from the yoke of the enemy. לפני is expressively used in alternation with מפני in Psalm 68:2, Psalm 68:3 : by the wrathful action, so to speak, that proceeds from His countenance just as the heat radiating from the fire melts the wax the foes are dispersed, whereas the righteous rejoice before His gracious countenance.

As the result of the challenge that has been now expressed in Psalm 68:2-4, Elohim, going before His people, begins His march; and in Psalm 68:5 an appeal is made to praise Him with song, His name with the music of stringed instrument, and to make a way along which He may ride בּערבות. In view of Psalm 68:34 we cannot take צרבות, as do the Targum and Talmud (B. Chagiga 12b), as a name of one of the seven heavens, a meaning to which, apart from other considerations, the verb ערב, to be effaced, confused, dark, is not an appropriate stem-word; but it must be explained according to Isaiah 40:3. There Jahve calls in the aid of His people, here He goes forth at the head of His people; He rides through the steppes in order to right against the enemies of His people. Not merely the historical reference assigned to the Psalm by Hitzig, but also the one adopted by ourselves, admits of allusion being made to the "steppes of Moab;" for the way to Mdeb, where the Syrian mercenaries of the Ammonites had encamped (1 Chronicles 19:7), lay through these steppes, and also the way to Rabbath Ammon (2 Samuel 10:7.). סלּוּ calls upon them to make a way for Him, the glorious, invincible King (cf. Isaiah 57:14; Isaiah 62:10); סלל signifies to cast up, heap up or pave, viz., a raised and suitable street or highway, Symmachus katastroo'sate. He who thus rides along makes the salvation of His people His aim: " is His name, therefore shout with joy before Him." The Beth in בּיהּ (Symmachus, Quinta: ἴα) is the Beth essentiae, which here, as in Isaiah 26:4, stands beside the subject: His name is (exists) in יה, i.e., His essential name is yh, His self-attestation, by which He makes Himself capable of being known and named, consists in His being the God of salvation, who, in the might of free grace, pervades all history. This Name is a fountain of exultant rejoicing to His people.

This Name is exemplificatively unfolded in Psalm 68:6. The highly exalted One, who sits enthroned in the heaven of glory, rules in all history here below and takes an interest in the lowliest more especially, in all circumstances of their lives following after His own to succour them. He takes the place of a father to the orphan. He takes up the cause of the widow and contests it to a successful issue. Elohim is one who makes the solitary or isolated to dwell in the house; בּיתה with He locale, which just as well answers the question where? as whither? בּית, a house equals family bond, is the opposite of יהיד, solitarius, recluse, Psalm 25:16. Dachselt correctly renders it, in domum, h.e. familiam numerosam durabilemque eos ut patres-familias plantabit. He is further One who brings forth (out of the dungeon and out of captivity) those who are chained into abundance of prosperity. כּושׁרות, occurring only here, is a pluralet. from כּשׁר morf .tela, synonym אשׁר, to be straight, fortunate. Psalm 68:7 briefly and sharply expresses the reverse side of this His humanely condescending rule among mankind. אך is here (cf. Genesis 9:4; Leviticus 11:4) restrictive or adversative (as is more frequently the case with אכן); and the preterite is the preterite of that which is an actual matter of experience. The סוררים, i.e., (not from סוּר, the apostate ones, Aquila afista'menoi, but as in Psalm 66:7, from סרר) the rebellious, Symmachus ἀπειθεῖς, who were not willing to submit to the rule of so gracious a God, had ever been excluded from these proofs of favour. These must inhabit צחיחה (accusative of the object), a sun-scorched land; from צחח, to be dazzlingly bright, sunny, dried or parched up. They remain in the desert without coming into the land, which, fertilized by the waters of grace, is resplendent with a fresh verdure and with rich fruits. If the poet has before his mind in connection with this the bulk of the people delivered out of Egypt, ὧν τὰ κῶλα ἔπεσαν ἐν τῇ ἐρήμω (Hebrews 3:17), then the transition to what follows is much more easily effected. There is, however, no necessity for any such intermediation. The poet had the march through the desert to Canaan under the guidance of Jahve, the irresistible Conqueror, in his mind even from the beginning, and now he expressly calls to mind that marvellous divine leading in order that the present age may take heart thereat.

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