English Standard Version
Great are the works of the LORD, studied by all who delight in them.
King James Bible
The works of the LORD are great, sought out of all them that have pleasure therein.
American Standard Version
The works of Jehovah are great, Sought out of all them that have pleasure therein.
Great are the works of the Lord: sought out according to all his wills
English Revised Version
The works of the LORD are great, sought out of all them that have pleasure therein.
Webster's Bible Translation
The works of the LORD are great, sought out by all them that have pleasure in them.
Psalm 111:2 Parallel
CommentaryKeil and Delitzsch Biblical Commentary on the Old Testament
In order that he may rule thus victoriously, it is necessary that there should be a people and an army. In accordance with this union of the thoughts which Psalm 110:3 anticipates, בּיום חילך signifies in the day of thy arriere ban, i.e., when thou callest up thy "power of an army" (2 Chronicles 26:13) to muster and go forth to battle. In this day are the people of the king willingnesses (נדבת), i.e., entirely cheerful readiness; ready for any sacrifices, they bring themselves with all that they are and have to meet him. There is no need of any compulsory, lengthy proclamation calling them out: it is no army of mercenaries, but willingly and quickly they present themselves from inward impulse (מתנדּב, Judges 5:2, Judges 5:9). The punctuation, which makes the principal caesura at חילך with Olewejored, makes the parallelism of חילך and ילדוּתך distinctly prominent. Just as the former does not signify roboris tui, so now too the latter does not, according to Ecclesiastes 11:9, signify παιδιότητός σου (Aquila), and not, as Hofmann interprets, the dew-like freshness of youthful vigour, which the morning of the great day sheds over the king. Just as גּלוּת signifies both exile and the exiled ones, so ילדוּת, like νεότης, juventus, juventa, signifies both the time and age of youth, youthfulness, and youthful, young men (the youth). Moreover one does not, after Psalm 110:3, look for any further declaration concerning the nature of the king, but of his people who place themselves at his service. The young men are likened to dew which gently descends upon the king out of the womb (uterus) of the morning-red.
(Note: The lxx renders it: ἐν ταῖς λαμπρότησι τῶν ἁγίων σου (belonging to the preceding clause), ἐκ γαστρὸς πρὸ ἑωσφόρου ἐγέννησά σε (Psalt. Veron. exegennesa se; Bamberg. gegennica se). The Vulgate, following the Italic closely: in splendoribus sanctorum; ex utero ante luciferum genui te. The Fathers in some cases interpret it of the birth of the Lord at Christmas, but most of them of His antemundane birth, and accordingly Apollinaris paraphrases: γαστρὸς καρπὸς ἐμῆς πρὸ ἑωσφόρου αὐτὸς ἐτύχθης. In his own independent translation Jerome reads בהררי (as in Psalm 87:1), in montibus sanctis quasi de vulva orietur tibi ros adolescentiae tuae, as Symmachus ἐν ὄρεσιν ἁγίοις, - elsewhere, however, ἐν δόξῃ ἁγίων. The substitution is not unmeaning, since the ideas of dew and of mountains (Psalm 133:3) are easily united; but it was more important to give prominence to the holiness of the equipment than to that of the place of meeting.)
משׁחר is related to שׁחר just as מחשׁך is to חשׁך; the notion of שׁחר and חשׁך appears to be more sharply defined, and as it were apprehended more massively, in משׁחר and מחשׁך. The host of young men is likened to the dew both on account of its vigorousness and its multitude, which are like the freshness of the mountain dew and the immense number of its drops, 2 Samuel 17:12 (cf. Numbers 23:10), and on account of the silent concealment out of which it wondrously and suddenly comes to light, Micah 5:7. After not having understood "thy youth" of the youthfulness of the king, we shall now also not, with Hofmann, refer בּהדרי־קדשׁ to the king, the holy attire of his armour. הדרת קדשׁ is the vestment of the priest for performing divine service: the Levite singers went forth before the army in "holy attire" in 2 Chronicles 20:21; here, however, the people without distinction wear holy festive garments. Thus they surround the divine king as dew that is born out of the womb of the morning-red. It is a priestly people which he leads forth to holy battle, just as in Revelation 19:14 heavenly armies follow the Logos of God upon white horses, ἐνδεδυμένοι βύσσινον λευκὸν καθαρόν - a new generation, wonderful as if born out of heavenly light, numerous, fresh, and vigorous like the dew-drops, the offspring of the dawn. The thought that it is a priestly people leads over to Psalm 110:4. The king who leads this priestly people is, as we hear in Psalm 110:4, himself a priest (cohen). As has been shown by Hupfeld and Fleischer, the priest is so called as one who stands (from כּחן equals כּוּן in an intransitive signification), viz., before God (Deuteronomy 10:8, cf. Psalm 134:1; Hebrews 10:11), like נביא the spokesman, viz., of God.
(Note: The Arabic lexicographers explain Arab. kâhin by mn yqûm b-'mr 'l-rjl w-ys‛â fı̂ ḥâjth, "he who stands and does any one's business and managest his affair." That Arab. qâm, קום, and Arab. mṯl, משׁל, side by side with עמד are synonyms of בהן in this sense of standing ready for service and in an official capacity.)
To stand before God is the same as to serve Him, viz., as priest. The ruler whom the Psalm celebrates is a priest who intervenes in the reciprocal dealings between God and His people within the province of divine worship the priestly character of the people who suffer themselves to be led forth to battle and victory by him, stands in causal connection with the priestly character of this their king. He is a priest by virtue of the promise of God confirmed by an oath. The oath is not merely a pledge of the fulfilment of the promise, but also a seal of the high significance of its purport. God the absolutely truthful One (Numbers 13:19) swears - this is the highest enhancement of the נאם ה of which prophecy is capable (Amos 6:8).
He appoints the person addressed as a priest for ever "after the manner of Melchizedek" in this most solemn manner. The i of דברתי is the same ancient connecting vowel as in the מלכי of the name Melchizedek; and it has the tone, which it loses when, as in Lamentations 1:1, a tone-syllable follows. The wide-meaning על־דּברת, "in respect to, on account of," Ecclesiastes 3:18; Ecclesiastes 7:14; Ecclesiastes 8:2, is here specialized to the signification "after the manner, measure of," lxx κατὰ τὴν τάξιν. The priesthood is to be united with the kingship in him who rules out of Zion, just as it was in Melchizedek, king of Salem, and that for ever. According to De Wette, Ewald, and Hofmann, it is not any special priesthood that is meant here, but that which was bestowed directly with the kingship, consisting in the fact that the king of Israel, by reason of his office, commended his people in prayer to God and blessed them in the name of God, and also had the ordering of Jahve's sanctuary and service. Now it is true all Israel is a "kingdom of priests" (Exodus 19:6, cf. Numbers 16:3; Isaiah 61:6), and the kingly vocation in Israel must therefore also be regarded as in its way a priestly vocation. Btu this spiritual priesthood, and, if one will, this princely oversight of sacred things, needed not to come to David first of all by solemn promise; and that of Melchizedek, after which the relationship is here defined, is incongruous to him; for the king of Salem was, according to Canaanitish custom, which admitted of the union of the kingship and priesthood, really a high priest, and therefore, regarded from an Israelitish point of view, united in his own person the offices of David and of Aaron. How could David be called a priest after the manner of Melchizedek, he who had no claim upon the tithes of priests like Melchizedek, and to whom was denied the authority to offer sacrifice
(Note: G. Enjedin the Socinian (died 1597) accordingly, in referring this Psalm to David, started from the assumption that priestly functions have been granted exceptionally by God to this king as to no other, vid., the literature of the controversy to which this gave rise in Serpilius, Personalia Davidis, S. 268-274.)
inseparable from the idea of the priesthood in the Old Testament? (cf. 2 Chronicles 26:20). If David were the person addressed, the declaration would stand in antagonism with the right of Melchizedek as priest recorded in Genesis 14, which, according to the indisputable representation of the Epistle to the Hebrews, was equal in compass to the Levitico-Aaronic right, and, since "after the manner of" requires a coincident reciprocal relation, in antagonism to itself also.
(Note: Just so Kurtz, Zur Theologie der Psalmen, loc. cit. S. 523.)
One might get on more easily with Psalm 110:4 by referring the Psalm to one of the Maccabaean priest-princes (Hitzig, von Lengerke, and Olshausen); and we should then prefer to the reference to Jonathan who put on the holy stola, 1 Macc. 10:21 (so Hitzig formerly), or Alexander Jannaeus who actually bore the title king (so Hitzig now), the reference to Simon, whom the people appointed to "be their governor and high priest for ever, until there should arise a faithful prophet" (1 Macc. 14:41), after the death of Jonathan his brother - a union of the two offices which, although an irregularity, was not one, however, that was absolutely illegal. But he priesthood, which the Maccabaeans, however, possessed originally as being priests born, is promised to the person addressed here in Psalm 110:4; and even supposing that in Psalm 110:4 the emphasis lay not on a union of the priesthood with the kingship, but of the kingship with the priesthood, then the retrospective reference to it in Zechariah forbids our removing the Psalm to a so much later period. Why should we not rather be guided in our understanding of this divine utterance, which is unique in the Old Testament, by this prophet, whose prophecy in Zechariah 6:12. is the key to it? Zechariah removes the fulfilment of the Psalm out of the Old Testament present, with its blunt separation between the monarchical and hierarchical dignity, into the domain of the future, and refers it to Jahve's Branch (צמח) that is to come. He, who will build the true temple of God, satisfactorily unites in his one person the priestly with the kingly office, which were at that time assigned to Joshua the high priest and Zerubbabel the prince. Thus this Psalm was understood by the later prophecy; and in what other sense could the post-Davidic church have appropriated it as a prayer and hymn, than in the eschatological Messianic sense? but this sense is also verified as the original. David here hears that the king of the future exalted at the right hand of God, and whom he calls his Lord, is at the same time an eternal priest. And because he is both these his battle itself is a priestly royal work, and just on this account his people fighting with him also wear priestly garments.
Treasury of Scripture Knowledge
And they sing the song of Moses, the servant of God, and the song of the Lamb, saying, "Great and amazing are your deeds, O Lord God the Almighty! Just and true are your ways, O King of the nations!
He seals up the hand of every man, that all men whom he made may know it.
When I look at your heavens, the work of your fingers, the moon and the stars, which you have set in place,
How great are your works, O LORD! Your thoughts are very deep!
I remember the days of old; I meditate on all that you have done; I ponder the work of your hands.
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