New European Commentary


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Deeper Commentary


Psa 92:1

A Psalm. A song for the Sabbath day-
This Psalm was intended for usage on the Sabbaths. "Jewish tradition says that it was sung in the morning at the time of the drink offering of the first lamb". But much of the language is used in Psalms of David, and so it seems it originated with him.

It is a good thing to give thanks to Yahweh, to sing praises to Your name, Most High- This is in contrast to the complaint that it was profitless to keep the Sabbath (Mal. 2:15). The Sabbath was understood here as intended for praise.

Psa 92:2

to proclaim Your grace in the morning and Your faithfulness every night-
"Proclaiming" or showing forth praise of God's ways is what David did in this life (Ps. 71:17,18; 92:2,15 and often). But he imagines himself doing so "forever" (Ps. 75:9). This is an example of how we can live the eternal life now, acting now as we shall eternally do in the Kingdom. It is in this sense that the Lord Jesus in John's gospel offers eternal life right now; even though we shall die and only enter eternity at the resurrection of the body. This Psalm was specifically for the Sabbath (:1), and perhaps David saw the Sabbath as a foretaste of the future Kingdom of God. Those in Israel who despised it and broke it were therefore not interested in living the Kingdom life now. "Grace and... faithfulness", or "mercy and truth", is a phrase often used about the promises to Abraham. These were the basis of the new covenant, and it was these which should be praised on the Sabbath. But we note that David speaks of doing so "every night", as if implying that the spirit of Sabbath praise should be lived out every day.

Psa 92:3

with the ten-stringed lute, with the harp, and with the melody of the lyre-
Very clearly the style and language of David (see on :1,4).

Psa 92:4

For You, Yahweh, have made me glad through Your work; I will triumph in the works of Your hands!-
The "me" is clearly David (see on :1), but he wishes all men to share his relationship with God. The idea of the Sabbath (:1) was to rest from human works in order to accept the saving power of God's work (Heb. 4:3,4,10). Hence on the Sabbath especially, it was appropriate to triumph in God's work and not our own.

Psa 92:5

How great are Your works, Yahweh! Your thoughts are very deep-
Again the emphasis is upon praising God's works on the Sabbath rather than our own; see on :4. God's works and His thoughts are paralleled here (as in Ps. 40:5; Prov. 16:3). Thoughts are therefore our "way" of life in practice (Is. 55:7). This is because thought and action are understood as essentially the same; hence the sermon on the mount condemns thoughts of sin as if they are the sin itself.

Psa 92:6

A senseless man doesn’t know, neither does a fool understand this-
Yet David admits that temporarily, he had been like this himself (s.w. Ps. 73:21). The fact is, even those as spiritual as David can at times be totally unspiritual in their perspective, and like him need to take a grip and return to reality. We surely have all known this.

Psa 92:7

though the wicked spring up as the grass and all the evildoers flourish, they will be destroyed forever-
The apparent prosperity of the wicked is a major issue, so much so that this weekly Sabbath liturgy (:1) mentioned it. The same concern is found in Job (Job 21:7-21) and Asaph (Ps. 73:2-15). But their flourishing is presented here as being a prelude to their being cut down; they grow up quickly, but so as to be cut down at the last day. 

Psa 92:8

But You, Yahweh, are on high forever-
The problem of the apparent prosperity and high exaltation of the wicked (:7) is resolved by reflecting that it is Yahweh who is ultimately exalted, and He will be so eternally. The "height" of God is a common reflection of David in the Psalms.

Psa 92:9

For, behold, Your enemies, Yahweh, for, behold, Your enemies shall perish; all the evildoers will be scattered-
David often talks about the perishing [s.w.] of his enemies (Ps. 9:3,6, 41:5; 143:12). But here in Ps. 92:9 he speaks of them as God's enemies. He considers his enemies to be God's enemies. That may well have been true, seeing that God did indeed become the enemy of Saul, who was clearly the great enemy of David in his earlier life (1 Sam. 28:16). But we must sound a caveat; because it can be that those within the body of believers whom we consider our enemies are in fact loved by God. We cannot automatically assume in times of inter-personal strife that our enemies are also God's enemies. Likewise our enemies' friend is not always our enemy, and our enemies' enemy is not always to be our friend.

Psa 92:10

But You have exalted my horn like that of the wild ox; I am anointed with fresh oil-
The talk of being anointed is clearly relevant to David as the anointed king under persecution; but this is a generic psalm for the Sabbath, to be used in the liturgy every week (see on :1). We are bidden see David as our representative; and indeed we too are anointed in that we are in Christ, the anointed one (2 Cor. 1:21). Just as all Israel were to see themselves as somehow "in" David. David is here quoting from Hannah's prayer (1 Sam. 2:10). He appropriates her words to himself personally, and now bids all Israel apply them to themselves every Sabbath. Hence "our horn shall be exalted... his horn shall be exalted" (Ps. 89:17,24). 

Psa 92:11

My eye has also seen my enemies, my ears have heard of the wicked enemies who rise up against me-
The idea is, "see my desire on my enemies", as AV. Remember that this is part of a Sabbath liturgy, to be used every week (:1). David assumes that every man will have "enemies" just as he does, and that we also hear of others are rising up against us. Perhaps the Psalm was written at the time of his persecution by Saul or Absalom, who 'rose up against' David. He speaks in the past tense, so certain is he that his desire will be fulfilled. And yet we wonder why every Sabbath, men were to gloat over the fact their enemies amongst God's people would be destroyed, and to reflect upon their "desire" for that. We would rather imagine that the Sabbath was a time to rest from all such thoughts. Often, “desire” is seen by God as prayer (Ps. 10:17; 21:2; 27:4; 59:10; 92:11; 140:8; 145:19; Mt. 18:32; Rom. 10:1; 1 Jn. 5:15). God interprets that inner desire as prayer, even if it is not articulated in specific requests.

Psa 92:12

The righteous shall flourish like the palm tree, he will grow like a cedar in Lebanon-
This is in contrast to the temporary flourishing of the wicked (see on :7). The implication therefore is that the righteous will eternally flourish, whereas the wicked only do so for a moment. The righteous are to be upright as the cedar and palm trees, because Yahweh is upright (Ps. 92:12,15). This is why bearing the name of Christ is in itself an imperative to witness it. The same words are used here as in David's vision of how Solomon's kingdom would be in Ps. 72:7: "In his days, the righteous shall flourish". In Ps. 92:11,12, David thinks that he himself will see the righteous flourishing (s.w. Ps. 72:7). So he may be imagining that he would somehow be resurrected and see this happening in Solomon's reign. His hope will come ultimately true, but through the kingdom of the Lord Jesus and not Solomon.

Psa 92:13

They are planted in Yahweh’s house, they will flourish in our God’s courts-
Again the present tense is used for the future, so certain is David that his prayer will be heard. This liturgy was for the weekly Sabbath celebrations in the temple (:1); but the hope of the righteous is that they will not just come into the courts of the sanctuary once every week, but live and flourish there eternally. Ideally, such regular meetings of God's people should be foretastes of the eternal experience of the Kingdom.

Psa 92:14

They will still bring forth fruit in old age. They will be full of sap and green-
"Old age" in secular life is a grim acceptance that our fruitfulness and vitality are passed. But in spiritual terms, we live in "newness of life" through the work of the Spirit. We are to be spiritually fruitful till the day we die.  

Psa 92:15

to show that Yahweh is upright. He is my rock, and there is no unrighteousness in Him-
This is a quotation from Dt. 32:4. The context there is of Moses at the end of his life, like David in "old age" (:14), lamenting the general apostasy of Israel; and yet rejoicing that Yahweh for him is his "rock" and His ways are ever more evidently "right" in his life. This may seem a strange way to conclude a liturgy which was to be read or sung weekly at the Sabbath meetings of God's people (:1). But in that context it is appropriate; for the majority of God's visible community have nearly always been astray, and it is appropriate that a genuine worshipper would at times feel this, and would want to take comfort from the words of Moses which David here appropriates.