This psalm is composed both of petition and thanksgiving. It contains a prediction of the Gentiles being called to the common faith, but is principally occupied with praising God for the fatherly care which he exercises over his Church, and the benefits which flow from it. The Psalmist prays particularly that God would continue his former kindness to the Jewish people. Two instances of the Divine goodness are specified, -- the powerful defense extended to their land, and the enriching of it with so many blessings.
To the chief musician, a Psalm of David.1
1 The title of this psalm does not inform us on what particular occasion it was written. Mudge is of opinion that it was "composed by a person just come to Jerusalem from some very distant parts, where, upon his prayers and vows, he had been signally delivered from the fury of the sea, and uproar of the natives; which leads him into a general acknowledgement of the Divine Providence which extended itself to the end of the earth." It is thought by others to be a thanksgiving to God for having graciously sent to the land of Judea a copious rain, after it had been previously suffering from the effects of a long-continued drought; and that it probably relates to the three years of famine that followed some time after the rebellion of Absalom, (2 Samuel 21) which, being alleviated by some plenteous showers of rain, called forth this hymn of thanksgiving. Dr Morrison supposes that David wrote it for the feast of tabernacles, as it seems to contain an expression of public thanksgiving for the fruits of the earth, which had been safely gathered in. All these, however, are only conjectures. Nor is it material for us to know the occasion of its composition, embracing, as it does, such general topics as may form a suitable theme for contemplation at all times and in all circumstances.
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