Pristine Grace

Ps 65:1-5, (GILL)
1  INTRODUCTION TO PSALM 65

To the chief Musician, A Psalm [and] Song of David. Some copies of the Septuagint and Vulgate Latin versions read

"a song of Jeremiah and Ezekiel, "sung" by the people of the captivity, when they were about to come out;''

and some copies have "Haggai": but though it is possible it might be sung upon that occasion, it is certain it was not then composed, but was written by David, as the genuine title shows: as for Jeremiah; he was not carried captive to Babylon, and Ezekiel died before the return of the people from it; nor is there anything in the psalm relating to that captivity. The title of it, indeed, in the Arabic version, is concerning the captivity of the people; which it seems to have taken from some Greek copy; and Kimchi and Arama interpret it of the captivity of the people of the Jews; but then they mean their present captivity, and their deliverance from it. According to the title of it in the Syriac version, the occasion of it was the bringing up of the ark of God to Sion; and Aben Ezra is of opinion that David composed the psalm at that time; or that one of the singers composed it at the building of the temple, and which he thinks is right, and perhaps is concluded from Ps 65:1; and who also says it was composed in a year of drought; but it rather seems to have been written in a year of great plenty, as the latter part of it shows; and the whole seems to respect the fruitful, flourishing, and happy state of the church in Gospel times, for which it is a song of praise.

Praise waiteth for thee, O God, in Sion,.... Who dwells in Sion, as Jarchi interprets it; and so the Targum; whose Shechinah, or glorious Majesty, is in Sion; see Ps 76:2; or else Sion, which designs no other than the church of God, and which is so called under the Gospel dispensation, Heb 12:22; is the place where "praise" waits for God, that being the city of our solemnities, as well as the city of the great King; and not only a house of prayer, but of praise, where the sacrifices, both of prayer and praise, are offered to God through Christ with acceptance: and praise may be said to "wait" for him here, because it is "due" to him here, as some render it, on account of many blessings and privileges of grace here enjoyed, through the word and ordinances; and because the people of God wait upon him here with their tribute of praise, which is comely in them to bring, and is "agreeable" and acceptable to him; and because it "remains", abides, and continues here; or, in other words, the saints are continually praising the Lord here, giving thanks to him always for all things, Ps 84:4; some render the words "praise [is] silent for thee" [e]; because there is no end of it, as Jarchi observes; or, because of the greatness of the works of the Lord, praise cannot reach him, as Ben Melech expresses it. The greatest shouts, and loudest acclamations of praise, are but silence in comparison of what ought, if it could be expressed, on account of the nature, perfections, and works of God. The Targum is,

"before thee praise is reputed as silence.''

In the king of Spain's Bible it is,

"the praise of angels is reputed before thee as silence;''

perhaps it may be best rendered, "[to] thee [belong]", or "[are due], silence [and] praise" [f]: there ought to be first a silent and quiet waiting upon God for mercies wanted, and which he has promised to give; and, when they are bestowed, praise should be rendered unto him. Gussetius [g] gives the sense of the words, and renders them,

"praise, which is thine image, which bears a likeness to thee shall be paid in Sion;''

and unto thee shall the vow be performed: that is, of praise and thankfulness for deliverance and salvation, made in a time of trouble and distress; see Ps 66:13.

[e] hlht hymd Kl "tibi silet laus", Pagninus, Vatablus. [f] "Tibi silentium est et laus", Piscator, Gejerus. [g] Ebr. Comment. p. 193.

2  O thou that hearest prayer,.... So as to answer it sooner or later, in one way or another, and always in the fittest time, and in the best way; so as to fulfil the requests and supply the wants of men, so far as may be for their good, and God's glory; which is a proof of the omnipresence, omniscience, and all sufficiency of God; who can hear the prayers of his people in all places at the same time, and knows all their persons and wants, and what is most proper for them, and can and does supply all their needs, and causes all grace to abound towards them; and it also shows his wondrous grace and condescension, to listen to the cries and regard the prayers of the poor and destitute;

unto thee shall all flesh come; being encouraged by the above character of him. All sorts of persons may come to him; men of all nations, of every rank and degree, condition and circumstance; there is no bar unto nor bounds about the throne of grace; the way to it lies open through the Mediator; and all sensible sinners shall and do come thither, though they are but "flesh", frail and mortal, corrupt and sinful creatures, and know themselves to be so; and they that come aright come through Christ, the new and living way, in his name, and in the faith of him, and of being heard for his sake, and under the gracious influences of the spirit of grace and supplication: it may be considered as a prophecy of the calling of the Gentiles, and of their calling upon God through Christ, and of their coming to God in his house, which was to be, and is, an house of prayer to all people, Isa 56:7.

3  Iniquities prevail against me,.... Or, "are mightier than I" [h]; this may be understood either of the iniquities of others, his enemies; their "words of iniquities" [i] or iniquitous words, as in the Hebrew text; their calumnies, reproaches, false charges, and accusations, which prevailed against David in Saul's court; or rather his own iniquities, inward lusts, indwelling sins, as well as open transgressions, which he considers as his enemies, as numerous and powerful, too mighty for him, which warred against him, and sometimes got the better of him, and threatened him with utter ruin and destruction; but amidst all this he spies atonement and pardon through the blood and sacrifice of Christ, as follows;

[as for] our transgressions, thou shall purge them away; not only his own, but others, which Christ has done by the sacrifice of himself; and when his blood is applied to the conscience of a sensible sinner, it purges it from all his sins, Heb 1:3; it may be rendered, "thou shall expiate them", or "make atonement for them" [k]; which Christ, our propitiation, has done: this was the work appointed him, which he undertook, came into the world to do, and has performed, Da 9:24 Heb 2:17; or "thou shalt cover them"; with the blood and righteousness of Christ; or forgive them for the sake of them, Ps 32:1.

[h] ynm "prae me", Muis, Michaelis. [i] tnwe yrbd "verba iniquitatum", Montanus, Vatablus, Gejerus, Michaelis; so Ainsworth. [k] Mrpkt "propitiaberis", V. L. Pagninus, Montanus; "expiabis", Vatablus, Gejerus, Michaelis.

4  Blessed [is the man whom] thou choosest,.... In eternity; both to grace and glory; for such have true faith in Christ given them, called the faith of God's elect, and shall never perish: they are effectually called by the grace of God, and are justified by the righteousness of Christ, and shall be glorified; or in time, for there is a choice in time, as the fruit, effect, and evidence of the eternal choice, and is no other than effectual calling; see Joh 15:19 1Co 1:26; and happy are those who are both chosen and called; both election and the effectual calling are to grace and glory, and spring from the good will and pleasure of God; and the Targum in the king of Spain's Bible is,

"blessed is the man in whom thou art well pleased;''

and causest to approach [unto thee]; the same Targum supplies,

"unto the fear of thee;''

or unto thy fear and worship. The persons whom God has chosen for himself are, in their state of nature, at a distance from him by reason of sin; and through the blood and sacrifice of Christ, by which atonement is made, they are brought nigh to him; and in the faith of Christ the Mediator, their hearts are engaged to approach unto God, and come with boldness to his throne, and ask grace and mercy of him; and through the grace of Christ they have nearness to him, and communion with him, Eph 2:18;

[that] he may dwell in thy courts; or "he shall dwell" [l]; the man that is chosen of God, and brought nigh by Christ; he shall not only come into the house of God, and tread in his courts, but he shall dwell there, ever abide, and never go out;

we shall be satisfied with the goodness of thy house; even all that are like this man, chosen by the grace of God, redeemed by the blood of Christ, brought into the house of God, and have a place and a name there, better than that of sons and daughters of men: by "the house" of God we are to understand the church of God; and by "the goodness" of it the provisions of grace in it, the word and ordinances, and the blessings of grace held forth in them, and especially Christ the bread of life, whose flesh is meat indeed, and whose blood is drink indeed; of which true believers may eat, and do to full satisfaction; and blessed are they that have such food, and appetites for it, and are filled with it. The Targum paraphrases it,

"the righteous shall say, we shall be satisfied with the goodness of shy house.''

It follows,

[even] of thy holy temple: which means the same as the house of God; namely, the church; see Eph 2:21. Some, as Aben Ezra observes, interpret it, "thou Holy One in thy temple"; as if it was an address to God, and a description of him as in his temple.

[l] Nkvy "habitabit", Pagninus, Montanus, Tigurine version, Musculus.

5  [By] terrible things in righteousness wilt thou answer us,.... Not by afflictive dispensations of Providence, which, though disagreeable to flesh and blood, and are sometimes terrible to good men, when they apprehend the wrath of God in them, and look upon them as punishments for sin; yet these are consistent with the love of God to them, are for their spiritual good, and, when viewed in this light, they rejoice and glory in them; but as afflictions are not prayed for, nor to be prayed for, there being no direction for it, nor example of it, they cannot be considered as answers of prayer; but the Lord answers his people in this way, by inflicting judgments on their enemies: by such terrible things did he answer the Israelites at the Red sea, in the wilderness, and in the land of Canaan, De 10:17; and in this way will he answer his people in the destruction of antichrist and his followers, Re 6:9. Moreover, by "terrible things" may be meant things stupendous, marvellous, and even miraculous; and by such things does God sometimes answer his people, in destroying their enemies and saving them; and which are so called, because they inject horror and terror into their enemies, and fill them with fear and reverence of God: and which are done "in righteousness"; in faithfulness to his promises made to his people; in the exercise of his vindictive justice upon their enemies; in goodness, grace, and mercy to them, as "righteousness" sometimes signifies, as in Ps 51:14; and not for their righteousness, who do not present their supplications to him for the sake of that; but for the righteousness of his Son, for the sake of which they are heard and answered;

O God of our salvation: not only temporal, but spiritual and eternal; which he has resolved upon, and chose his people to, and has settled the way and manner of, in which it should be brought about; has secured it in covenant for them, promised it in his word, sent his Son to obtain it, and his Spirit to give knowledge and make application of it; and from this character of his, and the concern he has in salvation, it may be concluded he will answer the prayers of his people for their good;

[who art] the confidence of all the ends of the earth; of all that dwell upon the continent, to the uttermost parts of the habitable world;

and of them that are afar off [upon] the sea: not only in ships upon the sea, but upon islands in the sea; and so the Targum,

"and of the islands of the sea, which are afar off from the dry land;''

and Kimchi and Ben Melech interpret it in the same manner; such snare the isles in which we live: this seems to refer to Gospel times, in which the Lord is not only the "confidence" or "hope of Israel", but of the Gentiles also; who are encouraged to hope in the Lord, and put their confidence in him, seeing with him there is forgiving mercy, and plenteous redemption; hath appointed Christ to be his salvation to the ends of the earth; has sent his Gospel into all the world declaring this; and Christ in it encourages all the ends of the earth to look unto him for salvation; and multitudes upon the continent, and in different isles, have been enabled to hope in him.

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