Psalm 75:5
Lift not up your horn on high: speak not with a stiff neck.
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(5) Lift not up your horn.—The “horn” is a symbol of honour (Psalm 112:9); of strength (Micah 4:13; Deuteronomy 33:17). The figure is taken from horned animals. (See 1Samuel 2:1; 1Samuel 2:10.)

With a stiff neck.—Better, with the neck proudly or wantonly raised.

75:1-5 We often pray for mercy, when in pursuit of it; and shall we only once or twice give thanks, when we obtain it? God shows that he is nigh to us in what we call upon him for. Public trusts are to be managed uprightly. This may well be applied to Christ and his government. Man's sin threatened to destroy the whole creation; but Christ saved the world from utter ruin. He who is made of God to us wisdom, bids us be wise. To the proud, daring sinners he says, Boast not of your power, persist not in contempt. All the present hopes and future happiness of the human race spring from the Son of God.Lift not up your horn on high - In a proud, self-confident, arrogant manner.

Speak not with a stiff neck - With arrogance and pride; in a haughty, imperious manner. The word rendered "stiff" (literally "a neck of stiffness") - עתק ‛âthâq - means properly bold, impudent, wicked; and the idea is that of speaking as those do who are impudent, shameless, bold, licentious - indicating confidence in themselves, and a reckless disregard of truth and of the rights of others. The Septuagint and the Vulgate render it, "And speak not unrighteousness against God."

5. speak … neck—insolently. Lift not up your horn on high; a metaphor from untamed and stiff-necked oxen, which will not bow their heads to receive the yoke, but lift up their heads and horns to avoid it. Or, against the High, i.e. against God, who is mentioned under this same title, Psalm 56:2, though there it be rendered Most High. Speak not, to wit, against me and my government.

With a stiff neck; with pride and contempt of my person, and with rebellion against God’s will declared concerning my advancement, of which you are not ignorant. See 2 Samuel 3:17,18. Lift not up your horn on high,.... Or "against the most High" (q); as the little horn, or the beast with ten horns, antichrist, does, whose look is more stout than his fellows, and opens his mouth in blasphemy against God, his name, his tabernacle, and them that dwell in heaven, Daniel 7:8,

speak not with a stiff neck; arrogantly, proudly, and haughtily: or "hard things with a neck" (r); hard speeches against Christ and his people with an outstretched neck, in an imperious and insolent manner; for the righteous Judge will convince such of their hard speeches, and condemn them for them; Jde 1:14.

(q) "contra excelsum", Junius & Tremellius. (r) "collo durum", Michaelis.

Lift not up your {e} horn on high: speak not with a stiff neck.

(e) The prophet warns the wicked that they would not set themselves against God's people, seeing that God at his time destroys them who rule wickedly.

5. speak not with a stiff neck] Better, as R.V. marg., Speak not insolently with a haughty neck. Cp. 1 Samuel 2:3; and for neck = haughty neck, see Job 15:26. Not should not have been italicised in A.V. A single negative governs both clauses in the Heb. though our idiom requires its repetition. There is an interesting various reading in the LXX, “Speak not unrighteousness against God.” They read in their text the word for Rock, which differs by only one consonant from the word for neck (צוארצור); and it is noteworthy that this title of God occurs in Isaiah 30:29. Cp. Habakkuk 1:12.Verse 5. - Lift not up your horn on high; speak not with a stiff neck. The phrase, "a stiff neck," common in the Pentateuch (Exodus 32:9; Exodus 33:3, 5; Exodus 34:9; Deuteronomy 9:6, 13; Deuteronomy 10:16; Deuteronomy 31:27), is rare elsewhere. It expresses pride, arrogance, and obstinacy. The poet, after he has thus consoled himself by the contemplation of the power of God which He has displayed for His people's good as their Redeemer, and for the good of the whole of mankind as the Creator, rises anew to prayer, but all the more cheerfully and boldly. Since ever present facts of creation have been referred to just now, and the historical mighty deeds of God only further back, זאת refers rather forwards to the blaspheming of the enemies which He suffers now to go on unpunished, as though He took no cognizance of it. חרף has Pasek after it in order to separate the word, which signifies reviling, from the most holy Name. The epithet עם־נבל reminds one of Deuteronomy 32:21. In Psalm 74:19 according to the accents חיּת is the absolute state (the primary form of חיּה, vid., on Psalm 61:1): give not over, abandon not to the wild beast (beasts), the soul of Thy turtle-dove. This is probably correct, since לחיּת נפשׁ, "to the eager wild beast," this inversion of the well-known expression נפשׁ חיּה, which on the contrary yields the sense of vita animae, is an improbable and exampleless expression. If נפשׁ were intended to be thus understood, the poet might have written אל־תתן לנפשׁ חיּה תורך, "give not Thy turtle-dove over to the desire of the wild beast." Hupfeld thinks that the "old, stupid reading" may be set right at one stroke, inasmuch as he reads אל תתן לנפש חית תורך, and renders it "give not to rage the life Thy turtle-dove;" but where is any support to be found for this לנפשׁ, "to rage," or rather (Psychology, S. 202; tr. p. 239) "to eager desire?" The word cannot signify this in such an isolated position. Israel, which is also compared to a dove in Psalm 68:14, is called a turtle-dove (תּור). In Psalm 74:19 חיּת has the same signification as in Psalm 74:19, and the same sense as Psalm 68:11 (cf. Psalm 69:37): the creatures of Thy miserable ones, i.e., Thy poor, miserable creatures - a figurative designation of the ecclesia pressa. The church, which it is the custom of the Asaphic Psalms to designate with emblematical names taken from the animal world, finds itself now like sheep among wolves, and seems to itself as if it were forgotten by God. The cry of prayer הבּט לבּרית comes forth out of circumstances such as were those of the Maccabaean age. בּרית is the covenant of circumcision (Genesis 17); the persecution of the age of the Seleucidae put faith to the severe test, that circumcision, this sign which was the pledge to Israel of God's gracious protection, became just the sign by which the Syrians knew their victims. In the Book of Daniel, Daniel 11:28, Daniel 11:30, cf. Psalm 22:32, ברית is used directly of the religion of Israel and its band of confessors. The confirmatory clause Psalm 74:20 also corresponds to the Maccabaean age, when the persecuted confessors hid themselves far away in the mountains (1 Macc. 2:26ff., 2 Macc. 6:11), but were tracked by the enemy and slain, - at that time the hiding-places (κρύφοι, 1 Macc. 1:53) of the land were in reality full of the habitations of violence. The combination נאות חמס is like נאות השׁלום, Jeremiah 25:37, cf. Genesis 6:11. From this point the Psalm draws to a close in more familiar Psalm - strains. אל־ישׁב, Psalm 74:21, viz., from drawing near to Thee with their supplications. "The reproach of the foolish all the day" is that which incessantly goes forth from them. עלה תּמיד, "going up (1 Samuel 5:12, not: increasing, 1 Kings 22:35) perpetually," although without the article, is not a predicate, but attributive (vid., on Psalm 57:3). The tone of the prayer is throughout temperate; this the ground upon which it bases itself is therefore all the more forcible.
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