Title. A Psalm of David. From the title we learn nothing but the authorship: but this is interesting and leads us to observe the wondrous operations of the Spirit upon the mind of Israel’s sweet singer, enabling him to touch the mournful string in Psalm twenty-two, to pour forth gentle notes of peace in Psalm twenty-three, and here to utter majestic and triumphant strains. We can do or sing all things when the Lord strengtheneth us.
This sacred hymn was probably written to be sung when the ark of the covenant was taken up from the house of Obed-edom, to remain within curtains upon the hill of Zion. The words are not unsuitable for the sacred dance of joy in which David led the way upon that joyful occasion. The eye of the psalmist looked, however, beyond the typical up going of the ark to the sublime ascension of the King of glory. We will call it The Song of the Ascension.
Division. The Psalm makes a pair with the Psalms 15:1-5. It consists of three parts. The first glorifies the true God, and sings of his universal dominion; the second describes the true Israel, who are able to commune with him; and the third pictures the ascent of the true Redeemer, who has opened heaven’s gates for the entrance of his elect.
The Treasury of David.
It must not be supposed that the persons who are thus described by their inward and outward holiness are saved by the merits of their works; but their works are the evidences by which they are known. The present verse shows that in the saints grace reigns and grace alone. Such men wear the holy livery of the Great King because he has of his own free love clothed them therewith. The true saint wears the wedding garment, but he owns that the Lord of the feast provided it for him, without money and without price.
He shall receive the blessing from the Lord, and righteousness from the God of his salvation. So that the saints need salvation; they receive righteousness, and the blessing is a boon from God their Saviour. They do not ascend the hill of the Lord as givers but as receivers, and they do not wear their own merits, but a righteousness which they have received. Holy living ensures a blessing as its reward from the thrice Holy God, but it is itself a blessing of the New Covenant and a delightful fruit of the Spirit. God first gives us good works, and then rewards us for them. Grace is not obscured by God’s demand for holiness, but is highly exalted as we see it decking the saint with jewels, and clothing him in fair white linen; all this sumptuous array being a free gift of mercy.
He shall receive the blessing; as before, “Thou shalt set him to be a blessing.” Psalms 21:6. His name is never without blessing. In him shall all the nations of the earth be blessed. On the mount of his beatitudes, on the heavenly Mount Sion, crowned as “the Son of the Blessed.” From the Lord; even “the God and father of our Lord Jesus Christ.” Ephesians 1:3.—Isaac Williams.
He shall receive…righteousness. As for our own righteousness which we have without him, Esay telleth us, “it is a defiled cloth; “and St. Paul, that it is but “dung.” Two very homely comparisons, but they be the Holy Ghost’s own; yet nothing so homely as in the original, where they be so odious, as what manner of defiled cloth, or what kind of dung, we have not dared to translate. Our own then being no better, we are driven to seek for it elsewhere. “He shall receive his righteousness,” saith the prophet; and “the gift of righteousness,” saith the apostle. Philippians 3:8-9 Romans 5:17. It is then another, to be given us, and to be received by us, which we must seek for. And whither shall we go for it? Job alone dispatches this point Job 15:15, 4:18, 25:5. Not to the heavens or stars, they are unclean in his sight. Not to the saints, for in them he found folly. Not to the angels, for neither in them found he steadfastness. Now, if none of these will serve, we see a necessary reason why Jehovah must be a part of this name, “the Lord our righteousness.” Jeremiah 23:6. Lancelot Andrewes.
Ver. 4-5. Character manifested and favour received.
(second clause). The good man receiving righteousness and needing salvation, or the evangelical meaning of apparently legal passages.
The Treasury of David.
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