A father of the fatherless, and a judge of the widows, is God in his holy habitation.
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EXPOSITORY (ENGLISH BIBLE)
A father of the fatherless, and a judge of the widows.—These epithets of God seem to have become at a very early period almost proverbial.Psalm 68:5-6. A father of the fatherless — He now proceeds to mention some of the reasons for which God is to be praised. Of these this is one, that he is the patron of such as are injured and oppressed, and have not power to help themselves; is God in his holy habitation — In his tabernacle, or rather, in heaven. Though he is in a peculiar manner present and dwells there, yet the eyes of his fatherly providence and care run to and fro through the earth, to observe and help his people when they are in distress. God setteth the solitary — Hebrew, יחדים, jechidim, such as are left single and alone, and are destitute of help; in families — Hebrew, he causeth them to sit down in houses: he blesseth them with partners in life, and a posterity, and with the safe and comfortable enjoyment of the social blessings attending it. He bringeth out those which were bound, &c. — He setteth captives and prisoners at liberty, as he did the Israelites. But the rebellious — Those that rebel against God, as the Egyptians did; dwell in a dry land — Are deprived of all true comfort, and plagued with manifold calamities. This part of the Psalm, from Psalm 68:1 to Psalm 68:6, inclusive, Dr. Chandler supposes to have been sung just as the Levites took up the ark on their shoulders: and certainly it was a proper exordium to this great solemnity: containing “a solemn acknowledgment of God, a devout prayer for the dispersion of his enemies, and an exhortation to his people to rejoice before him, and to celebrate his praises, who guided their forefathers in the desert; when he redeemed them from Egyptian bondage, avenged them of their enemies, enlarged them into families, enriched them with the spoils of Egypt, and condemned their oppressors to poverty, disgrace, and misery.”Psalm 10:14, Psalm 10:18. That is, God takes the place of the parent. See Jeremiah 49:11 : "Leave thy fatherless children, I will preserve them alive; and let thy widows trust in me." This is one of the most tender appellations that could be given to God, and conveys one of the most striking descriptions that can be given of his character. We see his greatness, his majesty, his power, in the worlds that he has made - in the storm, the tempest, the rolling ocean; but it is in such expressions as this that we learn, what we most desire to know, and what we cannot elsewhere learn, that he is a Father; that he is to be loved as well as feared. Nothing suggests more strikingly a state of helplessness and dependence than the condition of orphan children and widows; nothing, therefore, conveys a more affecting description of the character of God - of his condescension and kindness - than to say that he will take the place of the parent in the one case, and be a protector in the other.
And a judge of the widows - That is, He will see justice done them; he will save them from oppression and wrong. No persons are more liable to be oppressed and wronged than widows. They are regarded as incapable of defending or vindicating their own rights, and are likely to be deceived and betrayed by those to whom their property and rights may be entrusted. Hence, the care which God manifests for them; hence, his solemn charges, so often made to those who are in authority, and who are entrusted with power, to respect their rights; hence, his frequent and solemn rebukes to those who violate their rights. See the notes at Isaiah 1:17. Compare Deuteronomy 10:18; Deuteronomy 14:29; Deuteronomy 24:17; Exodus 22:22; Job 24:3, Job 24:21; Jeremiah 7:6; Malachi 3:5; James 1:27.
Is God in his holy habitation - Where he dwells; to wit, in heaven. The design of the psalmist seems to be to take us at once up to God; to let us see what he is in his holy home; to conduct us into his very presence, that we may see him as he is. What a man is we see in his own home - when we get near to him; when we look upon him, not on great or state occasions, when he is abroad, and assumes appearances befitting his rank and office, but in his own house; as he is constantly. This is the idea here, that if we approach God most nearly, if we look upon him, not merely in the splendor and magnificence in which he appears in governing the worlds, in his judgments, in storm and tempest, riding on the clouds and controlling the ocean, but, as it were, in his own dwelling, his quiet heavens - if we look most closely at his character, we shall find that character best represented by the kind and benignant traits of a father - in his care for widows and orphans. In other words, the more we see of God - the more we become intimately acquainted with his real nature - the more evidence we shall find that he is benevolent and kind.
Psalm 68:5.Leave thy fatherless children, I will preserve them alive;
In his holy habitation; either in his tabernacle, or in heaven. Though he dwells there, yet the eyes of his fatherly providence and care run to and fro to help his people when they are distressed. James 1:27, in attending to which we resemble the great Author of it, who is here intended. Moreover, this may be understood in a spiritual sense of such who are deserted by their friends, or are called to leave father and mother for the sake of Christ and his Gospel; and who are like fatherless ones, in an helpless condition in themselves, and are sensible of it; and will not trust in the creature, nor in any works of their own, but apply to Christ, where they have help and salvation, in whom the fatherless find mercy, Hosea 14:3; and who afterwards, when they are without the presence of Christ, and sensible communion with him, are like orphans or fatherless children; but Christ, who is the father of such, will not leave them so, will have pity on them, show favour to them, provide everything needful for them, and will come and visit them, as in John 14:18; where the word "orphans" or "fatherless" is used of Christ's disciples;
and a Judge of the widows; of such who are widows indeed in a literal sense, and especially that are believers, his elect that cry unto him; see Luke 18:2; and of such who are so in a spiritual sense; even of the whole church of Christ, who may, even now, be said to be in a widowhood estate, as well as under the former dispensation; since Christ, her bridegroom, is gone to heaven, and who yet, in the mean time, is her Judge, protector, and defender; and when she is made ready for him, as a bride adorned for her husband, will come and take her to himself, and she shall remember the reproach of her widowhood no more, Isaiah 54:4;
is God in his holy habitation: in heaven, the habitation of his holiness, where is Christ the high and Holy One; and has respect to the poor and lowly, the fatherless and the widow: or in his church, his holy temple, where he dwells and walks, and grants his gracious presence, and will do to the end of the world, according to his promise; or in his holy human nature, the temple and the tabernacle, in which the Godhead dwells.A father of the fatherless, and a judge of the widows, is God in his holy habitation.
EXEGETICAL (ORIGINAL LANGUAGES)5. The orphan and the widow are typical examples of the friendless and unprotected who are under God’s special guardianship (Psalm 10:14; Psalm 146:9; Hosea 14:3). They are the subjects of a special clause in the earliest legislation (Exodus 22:22 ff.), which is reechoed by the latest of the prophets (Malachi 3:5). Cp. Isaiah 1:17; Isaiah 1:23.
his holy habitation] Not the temple but heaven, whence He ‘looks down’ to bless His people (Deuteronomy 26:15), and rules the world, espousing the cause of the humblest, whom men are most prone to despise. For the phrase cp. Jeremiah 25:30; Zechariah 2:13; 2 Chronicles 30:27. In Isaiah 63:15 a different Heb. word is used.Verse 5. - A father of the fatherless, and a judge of the widows, is God. A defender, i.e., of the oppressed and downtrodden (comp. Isaiah 1:17). In his holy habitation. The heavenly and not the earthly dwelling place - whether tabernacle or temple - seems to be intended. God from his holy seat in the highest heaven pours clown his grace and mercy, his defence and protection, on all those who specially need his aid. 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.
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