Psalm 93:3-5

3. The floods have lifted up, O Jehovah! the floods have lifted up their voice; the floods shall lift up their waves. 4. The waves 1 of the sea are terrible, by reason of the noise of great waters, Jehovah is terrible above. 5. Thy testimonies are singularly true: holiness is the glory of thy house, O Jehovah! for length of days. 2


3. The floods have lifted up, O Jehovah! Various meanings have been attached to this verse. Some think there is an allusion to the violent assaults made upon the Church by her enemies, and the goodness of God seen in restraining them.3 Others are of opinion that the words should be taken literally, and not figuratively, in this sense -- Though the noise of many waters be terrible, and the waves of the sea more fearful still, God is more terrible than all. I would not be inclined to insist too nicely upon any comparison that may have been intended. I have no doubt the Psalmist sets forth the power of God by adducing one brief illustration out of many which might have been given,4 Intimating that we need not go farther for a striking instance of Divine power -- one that may impress us with an idea of his tremendous majesty -- than to the floods of waters, and agitations of the ocean; as in Psalm 29:4, the mighty voice of God is said to be in the thunder. God manifests his power in the sound of the floods, and in the tempestuous waves of the sea, in a way calculated to excite our reverential awe. Should it be thought that there is a comparison intended, then the latter clause of the verse must be understood as added, with this meaning, That all the terror of the objects mentioned is as nothing when we come to consider the majesty of God himself, such as he is in heaven. There is still another sense which may be extracted from the words, That though the world may to appearance be shaken with violent commotions, this argues no defect in the government of God, since he can control them at once by his dreadful power.

5. Thy testimonies 5 are singularly true. As yet the Psalmist has insisted upon the excellency of God in the work of creation, and the providential government of the world. Now he speaks of his distinguishing goodness to his chosen people, in making known to them the doctrine which bringeth salvation. He begins by commending the absolute trust-worthiness and truthfulness of the law of God. This being a treasure which was not extended to all nations promiscuously, he adds immediately that the house of God would be adorned with a glory which should last for ever. The Divine goodness is displayed in every part of the world, but the Psalmist justly considers it as of all others the most inestimable blessing, that God should have deposited in his Church the covenant of eternal life, and made his glory principally to shine out of it. Some translate the Hebrew word hwan, naävah, desirable, 6 as if the Psalmist had said that the adorning of the temple was precious; but the grammatical construction will not admit of this. By length of days is meant perpetual succession, 7 and to this we find Isaiah referring in striking terms, that the Divine truth might be preserved in faithful custody through successive ages.

"Behold, I have put my word in thy mouth, in the mouth of thy seed, and of thy seed's seed," (Psalms 59:21)

1 The Hebrew word yrbsm, mishberey, here used for waves, means "waves" that "beat" against the shore or each other, and so are "broken," -- "breakers." Accordingly, Mant translates, "Strong the breakers tossing high." Horsley gives a similar version. He reads the third and fourth verses thus, --

3. "The floods, O Jehovah! Raised
The floods raised their voice;
The floods lifted up their waves,
With the sound of many waters.
4. Mighty are the breakers of the seal;
Mighty on High is Jehovah!"

As to the fourth line, "With the sound of many waters," he observes, "This is the first line of the fourth, but should be joined to the third verse. And are not the floods here mentioned, the fluids of the indigested chaos, in wild irregular agitation, before the Creator had reduced it to form and order? Or rather, may they not be mystical, -- the tumults of the rebellious people?"

2 "Domui tuae decus, sanctitas Jehovah in longitudinum dierum." -- Lat. The translation in the French version is different, -- "A ta maison est donc magnificence: la sainctete du Seigneur est pour un long temps." "To thy house then there is glory: the holiness of the Lord is for a length of time." In the former version, holiness is represented to be the true glory and ornament of God's house; in the latter, it is described as the attribute of God.

3 Dr Morison, after stating the opinion of Mudge, who thinks that this psalm was composed on occasion of some violent inundation, which threatened a general confusion to the world, adds, "It is more probable, perhaps, that the floods spoken of are entirely figurative; and that they represent in Eastern phrase, those powerful enemies by whom the peace of David and the ancient Church was so often disturbed. But though the floods were lifted high, and threatened destruction to those who were within their reach, yet Jehovah was seen, as it were, riding on their most tempestuous billows, and amidst their mightiest tumult, his throne was unshaken and his kingdom unmoved." In support of this view he refers to other passages of Scripture, as Isaiah 8:7, 8; 17:12, 13; and Job 46:7, 8, where the confederated enemies of God's Church are compared to the tempestuous waves of the mighty ocean, which roll one after another with resistless fury upon the storm-tossed bark.

4 "Non dubito quin Propheta quasi per hypotyposin Dei potentiam hic nobis exprimat." -- Lat. "Comme par une demonstration." -- Fr. Hypotyposis means strictly the first rough sketch of a picture.

5 "The testimonies of God, when taken generally, are the truths which he has testified or declared, inclusive not only of moral precepts, but of gracious and unchangeable promises. The combined result of which is, to impress on the minds of men the weighty consideration, that those who trust in the mercy of God must not, in a lower degree, venerate and adore his sanctity in all their converse with him." -- Walford.

6 "Quidam, hwan, pro desiderabili accipiunt: acsi dixisset propheta, Templi decus esse pretiosum," etc. -- Lat. The French version follows this exactly. But the sentence is unsatisfactory; and there would seem to be some mistake, or omission, in the original text. If the Hebrew word referred to be rendered desirable, then when joined to sdq, the clause would read, holiness is desirable, or becoming, to thy house, etc. -- and not the adorning of thy house is desirable, or precious.

7 "'Holiness becometh thine house -- for ever,' Mymy Kral, le-orec yamim, 'for length of days:' during the whole lapse of time; till the sun and moon shall be no more." -- Dr Adam Clarke.


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