Heads of Psalms


Book 1
Book 2
Book 3
Book 4
Book 5

Heads of Psalms: Book 1 *

J. N. Darby.

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*As these remarks are very brief and do not pretend to enter into the formal exposition of the book but not unfrequently treat of distinctions of a critical nature, important to the christian student, they are inserted with others still more avowedly of that class. They were private notes jotted down in reading the Psalms. Some sentences added by another hand to the original MS are omitted. Doubtless the author would be much more jealous now of allowing Christ personally in most of the Psalms, seeing in them rather His Spirit in the godly of Israel. In other ways too the progress gained since these notes were written is considerable, greatly as they were then and are still in advance of the views common among Christians. They will be read with interest still, even though not a little may be superseded, and the truth is more guardedly put now than then. Some notes written since then, and still only in manuscript, may be of interest and more or less serve as correction. — Ed.

Psalms 1, 2. — The first is Christ under the law; the second is Christ in glory. The first two Psalms are as it were introductory: one, of the great general truths; the other, of the circumstances in which according to the ordained glory of Christ they are brought out to light; yet Christ as the head of the Jews, is in the first, the matter of it. The first is His character, the second is His power as set by Jehovah — king; and so the circumstances of the Psalms suitably. One is Christ in His perfectness under the law, the other is Christ set in glory in Zion, as king against, and in spite of, the rebellious Gentiles, as by the power of Jehovah.

The first is Jewish, the second is Jewish in power, but as He is made head over the heathen, it is therefore in extension of power — Gentile; and thus they are a key to the whole book. The latter both true in Christ, suffering in person, and so applied; and will have its fulfilment actually in the latter-day crisis alone, and thus it is a key to the whole book.

Psalm 3 is the voice of Christ in the Jewish remnant in their distresses (but the same is conventionally true of God's people everywhere and ever). Also note the testimony concerning the troubles of the Jews; and the remnant finds its place in the reception or treatment of our Lord in His appearance among them first.

Accordingly the Jews, as such, become identified with the ungodly enemy in the last days, with respect to their conduct towards the remnant. This is an interesting and important point: Absalom is typical. This the reading of Habakkuk and Joel (compare Ezekiel 38, Luke 21, etc.) has largely, not to say fully, opened, though much of course to be seen yet. (See also Isaiah 33.)

242 I am inclined to think that the adverse external enemies are always designated by a distinct word, though not distinguished in the English, "oyeb": the enemies to Christ or the remnant, and oppressors within, by another word, often "tsarar".

Thus in Psalm 8 "because of thine enemies" is the latter word; "to still the enemy and avenger" is the former

Psalm 4 is the supplicatory confidence of the beloved, that is, Christ and the remnant (in the face of the enemies, and in the midst of unfaithfulness) in God, and in the principles of righteousness: the reference to Deuteronomy 33:19, in verse 5, is material.

Psalm 5 is the anxious enquiry of the beloved under the existing circumstances of trial; but whereas Psalm 4 adverts to proud Gentiles, who have no portion in the covenant, this Psalm adverts to the ungodly Jews rather.

Psalm 6, in this view, needs no comment, save that it marks the faith of the Spirit in the remnant, humbling itself under the sense of what is generally due: the expression therefore of Christ in the days of His humiliation. Compare the beginning — trial; and the end — judgment.

The pleading for deliverance from going down to the grave is fulfilled in "the flesh being saved" in that day; Christ secured this for them by taking their guilt, that is, on the cross, and going down.

Psalm 7, of which the title shews the occasion, exhibits the confidence of the beloved in His righteousness as against the reproaches of the enemy and the blasphemer, though there were none to declare His generation. (Compare John 18, latter part especially.) Compare the history of this Psalm and the latter part of 1 Peter 2, recollecting that Absalom, or that history, was the type of the latter-day trouble; the identification of the Lord with it, as exhibited in His bringing into judgment. He indeed entered into it that He might overcome, and so give to them "the sure mercies of David" — the Beloved. But as the Jews were then with Pilate, so the Gentiles with the ungodly Jews. The reproach associates itself with the attacks of the ungodly; so Rabshakeh.

Both characters of enemies are mentioned in this Psalm, but it is the plea of Christ's righteousness, saying, If He were like these antichristian enemies (Jews joined with Antichrist), then let the external enemies persecute and tread Him down. The plea is against Antichrist and the ungodly Jews, separating Himself from them. His defence was of God, not man: Jehovah should judge. Absalom and Saul, as types, are united; and so indeed Shimei's words connected them together.

243 Psalm 8 is the celebration by the Jews of the glory of their Head, in which of course we join. It is Jehovah — His name, excellent in all the earth, and His glory now set above the heavens (so recognized by them). Of the application of this there can be no question. I do not think the omission of the sun immaterial. This man, in His humiliation, and as the Son of man, is considered Enosh, Ben-Adam. I am at present disposed to think the translation of verse 5 right. Observe, the last verse expresses the sense of the Jews as to their portion of the glory. His name excellent in all the earth, etc., not the Church's — His glory set above the heavens. Also observe, this is the dominion of man properly, the Jewish portion, not the fulness which is the Church's. He, the man, is head over all things to the Church; observe also, as Christ is identified with the remnant of the believing Jews (through grace) in the latter-day trial, when this Psalm especially has its fulfilment; so Christ was the only faithful Jew in the day of His humiliation in the flesh, and held that character as a remnant, even alone, in the midst of the opposition and hatred of unbelieving Jews, and the kings of the earth rising up against the Lord and against His anointed. This mystery opens out much in the giving and sacrificing of Christ for the people, though, by the power of the resurrection, it also let in the Gentiles to the blessing of the same testimony. Hence see the application of verse 2.

Jehovah is addressed as One who has set His glory above the heavens, because it is consequent upon Christ's exaltation as man, and we can say the Church's with Him. Hence all the Church's portion in such passages is found in the person of Christ, the Church being united to Him, and actually takes place therefore when the Church is caught up to meet Him in the air, consequent on which the Jewish blessing begins.

In Psalms 1, 2, we have the two parts of the subject of the whole book of Psalms: a righteous remnant in the midst of sinners; and the counsels of Jehovah as regards His King in Zion, His Son on the earth.

In general this has been noticed; but I mark here that they are given as two distinct subjects. The word "righteous" in Psalm 1:6 is in the plural: there is a way that belongs to them in contrast with the reshaim.

244 Psalm 2 brings out the Messiah in the proper dignity of His person for the earth without any other connection with men — only that He is begotten of Jehovah on the earth. He is Adonai, the Son, the anointed King of Jehovah in Zion (the heathen His inheritance to be broken in pieces as a potter's vessel); to be trusted in (which is due only to Jehovah); associated with Jehovah when He is raged against. No doubt men will rage against Him, and that in the same time and spirit; and He as sitting in heaven laugh at them.

Thus we have the righteous in the midst of sinners in Israel; but these last will not stand in the judgment nor in the congregation of the righteous when gathered. Such is in Psalm 1 the character and position of the righteous; and in Psalm 2, Adonai Messiah.

But in fact He who should be King in Zion was to suffer, because the righteous were; and He entered into their sorrows, but as the righteous One, first it is into the sorrows of the righteous He entered. Hence after the great basis of the righteous in Israel and the Messiah, we have His entrance into the sorrow of the righteous and righteous sorrow. David naturally furnished the evident occasion for this in his history, though not alone.

Psalms 3-7 present this position of the righteous into the trials of which Christ entered. Psalm 3 is the confidence of faith. He looks to God in Zion, to Jehovah in the midst of the many that rise up against him: Jehovah is his help, and He will bless His people.

Psalm 4 is a call to the God of his righteousness to hear. Jehovah has chosen the godly; and His countenance suffices. This is righteousness, as the former is trust.

Psalm 5 is the assurance that if the godly love godliness, God surely does: Jehovah will abhor the bloody and deceitful; Jehovah will bless the righteous.

But Psalm 6 shews that the remnant had share (not in will: else they would not be the remnant) in this evil, and above all with Israel. Hence they must have to do with God as to it in the sense of His chastenings on His people. Still this makes them increasingly separate from the wicked, while mercy is looked to for deliverance. Compare Christ baptized of John: that is, the spirit of grace brought Him in the way of righteousness where it brought others in the sense of sin.

245 On the other hand, Psalm 7 looks at them in conscious integrity — Christ's actual place, not what He took, and the remnant's as renewed through grace. Hence not deliverance or mercy, saving and putting the enemies to shame in goodness, but righteousness is looked for: Jehovah shall judge the peoples, He will arise in His anger, whet His sword against the wicked, as He establishes the just. Compare the owning of Christ (though it goes farther) after being baptized.

Psalm 8 is the full result in Christ displayed as Son of man, to the glory of Jehovah, as the Adonai of Israel: yet I doubt not Christ is owned as such here. Thus the universal Adamic and the Jehovah government in Israel are united, while it reaches far wider still, because they are established in the person of the Son of God.

As Psalms 1 and 2 are introductory, setting up Messiah; so Psalms 3-8 are Messiah's condition as identified with the remnant pursued throughout, till, asserting His righteousness, the glory and vindication comes, true personally when He went to the Father from the world, effectually for the Jews when He returns taking the heavenly and earthly power. Psalms 9-15 are the discussion more particularly of the character and condition of these wicked ones, and of that wicked one, and their prevalence, Jehovah being the only resource of the godly, the contrast in Psalm 15 being of acknowledged Jewish righteousness.

Psalm 9. The force and application of this beautiful Psalm are too obvious to need much explication; it is a learning, from the dealings of the Lord on behalf of the confiding remnant of the Jews, the faithfulness, and goodness, and full name of the Lord. He has in these actings manifested all the principles of His throne, so as to give the place and ground of confidence to all that seek the right. (See also Jer. 33:9.)

Psalm 10 is the extremity and helplessness of the poor remnant that put their trust in God, the occasion of God's arising so as to put out their (that is, the unbelievers') wickedness for ever. It expresses the cry, which is not one of fear but dependence, at the manifestation of the enemy and his grievousness. But his confidence and wrongness of object which makes him forget God draws out (upon the cry of the remnant, as it were) God to arise against him and put his name out of remembrance, so that destructions come to a perpetual end. Verses 16-18 give the full development of the results and the manner of them. And notice the expression — "the man of the earth." The God of the earth, and of the whole earth, is a name with which we are familiar. Compare also the history of Nebuchadnezzar, and indeed the account of Babel, for the first development (that is, formally) of these principles of the man of the earth. But read the Psalm itself, with attention, for its consummation of wickedness of heart, the ἀνομία of the ἄνομος, as the last verses give us the acts by which it is brought into exhibition. You may compare Habakkuk, and more fully Joel, particularly chapters 2 and 3.

246 From Psalms 9, 10, which are prefatory, we enter much more into the actual historical circumstances of the latter days, the condition of the remnant, and Jehovah's positive judgment which closes the age. The following Psalms discuss the state, feelings, and position of the poor in spirit in the midst of this, the character of the wicked being fully brought out.

Psalm 11 is the believer's trust in God. The principles of His dealings with the result as in man, all the foundations, are destroyed; and the righteous, though righteous, have in themselves no defence; but there is a God that sitteth above, where the workings of the ungodly do not touch the foundations of His throne; and He trieth thence the children of men, therefore trieth indeed the righteous; but it is judgment and destruction on the ungodly which floweth from His very character, in which the righteous trust.

This Psalm will have its special and intended accomplishment when, the saints being taken away to the Lord, the remnant of believing Jews will by their apparent desertion by God be tried, but also give occasion to the coming forth of the infidel boast, saying, "Where is now their God?" Also, observe, it is a confidence that God is in covenant, He is in His holy temple, His throne being in heaven, so that He is there in covenant though above in power.

Psalm 12, I think, applies to, or specially includes, the professors within the name, the nominal associates in the same hope, but who were really not of God's children. It is the complaint of the godly man as to the state of things around him in Zion itself — he would not have wondered at there being no godly ones among the enemies (nations) without. This is alike applicable to Jesus the Lord, the man of sorrows, and the remnant upon whom His eye is in the latter day in Zion at Jerusalem. Glory and praise be unto Him, the Saviour, may we be with Him now and then.

247 The second "them" in verse 7, should be Him. — This generation for ever, shews the force of "this generation shall not pass away till" etc.

Psalm 13 is the expression of Isaiah 8:17, that is, of Christ's Spirit in the temporary rejection of the Jewish remnant, but it is the supplication when it seems ultimately frustrated, bringing in the deliverance.

"How long" is the prayer of faith; "for ever," because it appears as though there were no deliverance, and they are left even as the heathen and the ungodly. "But she shall be as a wife of youth when she was despised." "Thou hast known my soul in adversity."

Psalm 14 states the implication of the Jews as a body in the common principles of the ungodly (the Lord have mercy on them!). The fears of the godly drive them to God; of the hypocrite, to alliance with evil. We are warranted by the apostle in ascribing this Psalm to the Jews, and indeed it flows from the discovery that even they had corrupted their ways, so that there were none that understood. (Compare Isaiah 33:14, 15.) Also consider Isaiah 63, as we shall see also the association by comparing it with Isaiah 53. The captivity is not reckoned to be brought back by Jehovah till the full blessing apparently.

Observe also the children of Lo-ruhamah, that is of the house of Israel, ought not, it would seem, to have part in the special trials of Jerusalem and Judah in the last day, nor the day of Jezreel to be till after that, when brought together.

Psalm 15 seems the character of those who remain really in communion morally with Him there in the holy hill of righteousness, when righteousness has been manifested, and what the characters are of relative righteousness from a pure heart, the righteousness of our relation to one another flowing from personal faithfulness to it and our higher relations, moral uprightness. For I observe that in the latter-day righteousness, it is not merely external, but because God makes them that from which the external righteousness should have flowed; as He says, "I said not in that day, etc., but obey my voice; " He putteth His laws in their hearts, and writeth them in their minds.

Psalm 16 is the Beloved's placing Himself in association (identity) with His people, and His hope as connected with them (as in that place). It is His word in His human nature, as Christ, as becomes a servant — His assurance when taking all the circumstances of the Beloved; and hence Peter says, "because it was not possible that he should be holden of it." We shall see the development of it in Psalm 17, and His supplication on this ground is fully exhibited in Psalm 22, as in verse 20. This is the answer of the human nature under the trial of His soul, that is, to the very truth contained in this. The results are there fully stated. I should from the Hebrew, translate, "Thou hast said unto the LORD (Jehovah), Thou art my Lord, (Adonai,) my goodness reacheth not up to thee; unto the saints that are in the earth, and the excellent, in them is all my delight." Compare Matthew 19:17, Luke 18:19, given in both as identified with Jew and Gentile, with the suitable differences and the just associate promises in direct connection with the matter of this Psalm. You may compare also John 17. I do not think addir means, morally excellent. I am not yet satisfied as to its meaning or force: compare the Septuagint. It is applied to Christ as the manifest Jehovah of the Jews (Ps. 8:1).

248 Unless there be some mistake, I do not think it is my Lord, but "thou art in the place of Lord;" as a man, a servant, He owns Jehovah in the place of Lordship, identifying Himself with the saints on earth.

Having gone through these general subjects, the direct testimony of Messiah's identification with the remnant is brought out in truth, and power of life, and resurrection; previously it was more properly His condition in consequence of identification with the nation, though of course the benefit resulted to the remnant; the wickedness of the great body being discovered by His coming to the nation (if another came in his own name, they would and will receive him); here what that value and benefit is to the remnant by virtue of Christ's resurrection. The association of the Church with Christ is on higher ground than even this Psalm. Here He associates Himself with them on earth, and knows coming into their circumstances He will still be raised; the Church is associated with Him as risen, the power of which is specially given in John 17.

Psalm 17 is the supplication of the Enosh, as having kept (that is, Christ as Enosh) the way of God (observe, the Church was formed of Enosh), by the words of His lips, as concerned in the works of men, and therein kept Himself from the paths of the destroyer, having leaned upon God so as to be kept in His paths. His full sense of the power of the enemy, the wicked compassing Him about, then the perfect identification with the position of the Jews in the latter day, in the view of the apparent success and temporary prosperity of the wicked (as in the hand of God), and at the same time His satisfaction at the resurrection portion, "who for the joy," etc. This Psalm is a very remarkable association of the personal state and hopes of Christ as such, and the circumstances of His people. It is one of the Psalms "of David," and also His identity with the resurrection-hope of the rest of His people, the residue. Also I think that we may note in the expression, "when I awake up after thy likeness," some allusion to what is contained in Revelation 19:16, as fulfilling 1  Timothy 6:15, 16. "For he shall come in the glory of his Father," etc., and compare Ephesians 5:27 as to the one part, and Genesis 2:18, 19.

249 Psalm 18 most beautifully shews the connection of Jesus, in His suffering to death, with all Israel's sorrows and Israel's hopes. "In all their affliction, he was afflicted." It was His sympathy with Israel, the extent of which was shewn when one man died for the people. "The sorrows of death compassed him, and the floods of ungodly men made him afraid," — which made Him come down to deliver them, "when the channels of waters were seen, the foundations of the world were discovered at his rebuke." And this was morally true when they rose up against Him — bore up the pillars of it; when He said, "Let my people go, that they may serve me." Verse 16 is just Moses, and in power, Christ taking the place of Israel as in deep trouble. All the Lord's answers to Satan are from Deuteronomy, as taking Israel under the righteousness of faith, in ruin. The world was His, the promises were His. The power to satisfy the hungry with good things was His, and the poor with bread; but this was not faith in a servant recognizing ruin — as to the world; Satan knew that he morally had it, and that it was the Lord's title. But nothing swerved Him from His purpose, for He had a purpose. In verses 18, 19, we have the power of the resurrection, accordingly, in terms also descriptive of the nation's deliverance — as is often made in the New Testament in a higher and a better sense; and hence in the Old, spoken of by those who were quasi in the grave; and sometimes as if they had been long there, yet preserved.

In verse 6 the cry of Christ accordingly is spoken of, as that cry which the Lord heard in Israel's first deliverance, to which the wonders in Egypt, the Red Sea, and Sinai were the answer. All brought here together from verse 20; Christ's righteousness being made the ground of deliverance. It is now divine strength shewn in His behalf, and He takes the arm of power; the risen man, the Gibbor, the head of Israel against all His enemies; and thus it issues in Christ's triumphs, and Israel's deliverances in the latter day, delivered from the strivings of the people, am ; made head of the heathen, and a people who knew Him not serving Him — thanks to Jehovah, by Him great deliverances to Jehovah's King. It is then Christ's death and resurrection are made the witness and centre of the Lord's sympathy and power in the rescue of Israel of old, and of Israel yet in the latter day; in all their history from beginning to end — in all their affliction He was afflicted; while it becomes true of the remnant in the latter day. Therefore deliverance from the striving of amis asserted. It is a beautiful and interesting Psalm in this way.

250 Psalm 19 seems to me to shew the Lord in the two great parts of His glory, in the heavens far above all principality, while the present estate shews indeed the glory of the Son, though not the sun, and withal the wisdom of God the ordainer, and His actual righteousness as under the law (or judicial righteousness and glory). All the world were guilty of the great offence. Christ in the same act was not; He was born under the law, and fulfilled it, and did not come short of the glory of God in it. But He speaks of the testimony and statutes, etc., in His state of liability as excellent in themselves. His delight is in them; but also "thy servant is warned:" so Psalm 17:4. Observe further (for there is much depth in this Psalm) the heavens do not declare the glory of Jehovah (that is, His covenant name), but of God. The law of Jehovah converteth the soul, it is perfect: compare Psalms 1 and 40, so John 8:29. The Gentiles are His natural glory, for it is as risen to be the Sun of righteousness He is head of them, they being let in, receiving life through His rising; the Jews His legal glory, for it is only by fulfilling the law He became the head of the Jews, having the promises as the Seed; and as in and by them He reigneth in the world when righteousness has its sphere of fulfilment. But this is too large a subject to do more than notice in this heading of this bright shining Psalm.

Psalms 16-18 give us the association of Christ with the remnant on earth: Christ's righteous path upon earth and contrast with the world. Compare Psalm 17:14 with the end of John 17, "O righteous Father," and the results of this sympathy — ruin, to death on Israel of old, and yet more fully Israel in the latter day. Here in Psalm 19 we have a fuller scope, the wider glory of creation being taken in, and therefore in principle the Gentiles.

251 The workmanship of God and the law of Jehovah are manifestly (I will not say contrasted, but) distinguished. Thus the heavens and the firmament, day and night, are a tacit testimony by which we may say, "Have they not heard?" — the declaration of God's glory, not the law declaring His righteousness. The Spirit only may recognize, but they declare the glory without any reference to the character or condition of those to whom they are displayed. Thus they are referred to in Romans 10, and become emblems of grace: see Matthew 5:45 to the end, being Christ the Sun of it, as set in the heavens, for grace is from the heavens. The law looks for righteousness from the earth, therefore ever in reference. He maketh His sun to rise upon the evil and the good, and sendeth rain upon the just and the unjust, where grace is the subject, loving them who do not love us, as loving our enemies, the very character of God in grace. This (that is, the natural testimony of benevolent goodness to sinners) was among the Gentiles (He left not Himself without witness) as the law among the Jews, and so pleaded in Romans, that every mouth may be stopped; and so grace from heaven, from the Sun of righteousness, and the rain of His Spirit, was on Gentile as well as Jew. Here however it is only the sun, and not the rain, because of universality; the heavens spread over all, and the sun going about from one end to the other. Now this symbolically shews the character of grace, its scope and working in light, and fulfilled when the Sun of righteousness arises indeed in person. The spiritual estimate of the law in godly acknowledgment is thus beautifully stated; but not, it appears to me, in connection with heavenly hopes or heavenly righteousness: grace has established that in the heavens. It is rather a godly Jew on the coming in of the millennium, the other symbolically stating what was to him in the heavens — Jehovah being owned as the rock and God of the Spirit-taught remnant.

Psalm 20 is the recognition by the Jews taught of Jehovah in the latter day, as in the time of their distress, of Jesus, even the crucified One, identified with them as their Saviour; their thoughts towards Him, "now know I." The last verse singularly depicts its force — "Jehovah, save" (the word in Hebrew is the root of Jesus); "The king hear in the day of our calling." It is the recognition of Jesus, and in Jesus their own security, for God heareth them.

252 Psalm 21 is the Jewish remnant's joy in the position of Christ with God; they perceive His acceptance and exaltation, and are now of one mind with it, and see how He did save Him, though they had "esteemed him stricken of God and afflicted" (though this is not adverted to, but the acceptance of the king). In a word they come to understand the resurrection and ascension of Christ the king, as verse 7, and therefore knowing their own security, that is, His power, as a believing people, and trusting in Him as the deliverer also of them in the latter day; for they see Him as a Jew, and in faith destroying His, that is, their enemies (so faith ever — unbelief its own difficulties, faith its sins — as the enemies of Christ); and triumph in His victory, not seeing them as associated with itself. So the Jews in the latter day, by faith in Him; they see Him all through as He is: it was "against thee." You may compare the last verse with Isaiah 2:11, 17.

Psalm 20 gives us the remnant's thoughts of Christ in trouble for them, their comfort in His resurrection, and owning Jesus, the very name of Jesus, as their salvation, and the king; in Psalm 21, His exaltation, because they receive Him from His glory ascended, as with a name above every name, according to Philippians 2. In a word, it is all the glory and person of Christ in the person of their king (Psalm 20), tracing Him up, as it were, from the trouble through resurrection (Psalm 21), down from the glory to them, seeing Him in possession of better hopes than they had had; His own heart's desire, the joy that was set before Him, in which they see Him now; then the execution of judgments in the day of His wrath.

Psalm 22. The first verse of this Psalm declares the great burden of it — Messiah's great burden, even our sin. The assembly of the wicked would have been as nothing, but that He should feel Himself separated from God, His God, therein was the deep burden; insufferable to all save Him, yet worse, infinitely worse to Him as a trial than to any one else. Is He not therefore precious to His people? yea, even as to God? For it is God in them, who loves and delights in Him, for herein His people have a common interest with Christ to feel as God; yet about themselves as men, yea, as the very people interested and needing — He for their sakes, they as in themselves. See such language as verses 14, 15; and that this was the deep trial see verses 11, 19, in connection with the first verse.

253 The evidence of the Jewish personality of our Lord as suffering is remarkable in verses 4, 5, adding verse 6, and observe too the spirit of Christ pleading as to the position He stood in, as Himself the only remnant. As a man prays for himself, yet by virtue of the Spirit in him, so Christ prays for yachidathi; (my only one). That this is Christ we have absolute certainty, from verse 1, and also from 20 — Christ praying that He might be saved from, etc., and heard in that He feared (it was the Spirit in Christ praying for the body, or the man, as the one faithful Jew, the accepted one amongst them, true to God, the faithful separated remnant). This term yachadim is expressly applied to the remnant restored or raised out of the formal nation in the latter day, "God setteth the yachidim in a house," (see Psalm 68:6) true of us also of necessity. Observe also, "O my strength," is the same word (inserting Yodh) as 'Aijeleth' given in the Hebrew as the title of this Psalm; and the morning means dusk, when it is not light; it is therefore upon the dusk or dark ushering in of the morning on or concerning the Beloved. This whole Psalm is concerning Jews, and what relates to Jews, save verse 18, and that while He was amongst them, rejected by them.

Then further it is Christ as heard, Christ as man, who speaks, "For thou hast heard me." (Verse 21.) And as a Jew then, we have His first ministry in the congregation. That I apply to the saints gathered out among the Jews — the Gentile saints being added thereto, "ye that fear the Lord, praise Him:" we know from John 20:17 the Lord's application of this; then all the congregation as under Solomon compared with David. The qahal rab is His Solomon state. The rest of the Psalm follows this. I am not so ascertained of verses 30, 31, as to their application. This I see that it rests in the resurrection-glory of Christ, as delivered and delivering as man. I should incline to think it the elect remnant: if not, it would be the latter-day Jews (this would be still the elect remnant), witnesses of His acts — evincing who He was, and how He had delivered them; for He bore, as a Jew, their iniquities; and this was what was to be explained, for it was the strength of the dark morning which they wanted. (Compare Isaiah 50:10.)

I am not sure verses 30 and 31 apply to the same thing (verse 30 seems clearly the remnant out of the Jewish congregation), to Adonai, not Jehovah. The Hebrew confirms the supposition. I am inclined to think verse 30, the congregation, and verse 31, the great congregation, or the first remnant of it, who are witnesses to Christ's righteousness all through: compare Romans 3:25, 26. This last supposition shews the conformity and coincidence of the whole. "I will make of the remnant a strong nation." I apprehend that "they shall come" is the remnant of the latter day, which shall become a strong nation, and the great congregation. The character of the remnant and its results is strongly therefore brought out, and that too as forsaken; and from Jesus downward until the fulfilment of the great congregation: compare "Bless ye God in the congregations, even the Lord mimchor Israel." Psalm 68:26.

254 Observe, there were two parts in our Lord's sufferings. First, that in which He was faithful to God, and presented the perfect compliance with His will in the midst of an opposing world. In all this His strength was, as in Isaiah 50, that His Father heard Him always: this He reckoned upon all through and looked to it in the hour of darkness. "All ye shall be offended because of me this night, and shall leave me alone; and yet I am not alone, because the Father is with me." But, next, it was the dereliction of this He felt and expresses, as in the opening language of this Psalm. It was here then a completely new kind of suffering, bearing, not the wrath and wickedness of man in faithfulness to God, but the wrath or alienation of God — the bruising of Jehovah in faithfulness to man, going through His uttermost responsibility for sin, especially, as we have seen, for the Jews, to whom therefore the language as spoken in the former part of the Psalm clearly applies primarily, though the Church by the Spirit of faith is enabled to join with them in it.

The perfectness of our Lord through this was seen in that recognition of God's perfectness — "But thou art holy, O thou that inhabitest the praises of Israel." Two parts there are also of temporal trial: despite of such "a worm and no man;" and opposition, "the assembly of the wicked." In both He looked for God's help.

Psalms 20, 21 are what the spared remnant will do in the latter day. They are accounted distinctly by the Lord for a generation; they tell His acts to them that come after. So mystically did the elect remnant in His day.

[Psalms 19-22 are a complete subject in itself, the testimonies of God: the first, creation and the law; the two next, Messiah seen by the remnant in His human sufferings, and then seen glorified. He is great in the deliverance of Jacob's Jehovah; He has length of days for ever and ever in reply to the life He asked, and He is made most blessed for ever, exceeding glad with Jehovah's countenance. Psalm 22 gives Christ suffering (not from man, though that is there in full, but) from God, forsaken of God. Hence as Psalm 21 was judgment on His enemies, this is grace for all it speaks of.]

255 Psalm 23 seems to me to be the Lord Jesus Christ as man, expressing His faith as man. Verse 3 might seem difficult to some; but, besides His resurrection, the inquiry into the way in which He entered into the sufferings and sorrows of His people will, I suppose, shew the force of this, and abundantly fill the hearts of them that know it. The comparison of verses 27 and 32 of John 12, and of the garden of Gethsemane (John 18), will illustrate this.

Psalm 24 seems the introduction of Jehovah into the great scene of Christ's sufferings, trial, and humiliation; it is a transition Psalm. The title of the Psalm, if correct, is remarkable; it would rather seem that something was left out, or that it was elliptical; it is not a Psalm of or on David, but on David a Psalm on or of Jehovah, though Jehovah seems also to join itself to the following words, — David mizmor le Yehovah höaretz, etc. The Septuagint has the singular addition of τῆς μιᾶς σαββάτου, which is indeed ἡ κυριακὴ ἡμέρα, the Lord's day. But this Psalm specially includes His dominion over the Gentiles, that is, Christ's supreme glory, the earth, etc., "for He hath founded it," etc.; but being the Lord, who shall ascend into His presence? He that walks in righteousness, that is, (but this first includes the man Jesus, qualified thus to sit down on this seat,) the introduction of the manhood of Christ into the throne of Jehovah's glory in Jerusalem, therefore Gentile saints as well as Jews; still, Jacob having the pre-eminence, they seek Jacob's face, or Him as the God of Jacob, for there His name is. The latter part is too plain to need comment; it notices the previous circumstances, from the results of which He thus takes the throne.

These two Psalms, 23 and 24, manifest Christ as a man owning Jehovah as His shepherd, and Himself as Jehovah before an assembled world seeking Jacob. Compare John 10, where Christ comes in first by the door as the shepherd, and closes with His unity with His Father. Here He is Jehovah.

Psalm 25. We have here the voice of the remnant, according to the Spirit of Christ in the latter day; as Psalm 26 is the special portion of Christ in the remnant.

256 Psalm 25. Christ's Spirit pleads here in them, and therefore prays for no remembrance of the sins of youth (confessing them), and asserts their integrity too. It is intercessional. Israel returns on the plea of mercy on the part of the High Priest, who has the integrity. Psalm 26 gives us the assertion of integrity — the ground of this plea.* [Here the remnant is brought in under the double character of guilt before God and of integrity in the midst of evil.]

{*[I have corrected here and elsewhere some expressions liable to be misunderstood, if not objectionable, which appeared in the "Christian Witness," volume 4, but are not found in the original copy of notes before me. Others I have left, though capable of amendment, as I would interfere as little as possible with the author's words in his absence. ED.]}

Psalm 27 is the word of Christ, as in the tried remnant of the latter day, as identifying Himself with their feelings, founded on His expressed experience of the Lord's faithfulness to Himself when He stood alone. Observe, the time of trouble is the time of God's deliverance (the place where God was met), whatever else was felt, though it seemed Satan: compare Psalm 32. Mercy acted on is the foundation of future prayer; it is, needless to say, the moral principle which gives confidence.

On the entreaty to hear the cry in verse 7, verse 8 seems to me to be Jehovah's expression of what had been in His heart as the foundation of it all. The Hebrew reads thus — To thee, that is, Messiah, my heart said, "Seek ye my face;" the answer is, "Thy face, Lord, will I seek." Then comes the confidence and pleading with the Lord thereon: Psalm 25 being confessional intercession for them in integrity; Psalm 26, the righteous integrity of Christ. Psalm 27 is the plea of what Jehovah is to them in the trouble, Christ having thus taken a place with them.

Psalm 28 is the voice of Christ in the remnant, in the latter-day trial; but I take the wicked properly to be the unrenewed and unyielding Jews led and associated with Antichrist. Wickedness is their definite character, which makes by degrees those that fear the Lord a remnant. Their portion is told in verse 5; but the Lord has heard Christ for the remnant, and the remnant see that Jehovah is the strength of their Messiah. The last verse is the intercessional blessing of Him that interveneth, opening the door into the millennial glory under Him as the Lord, for then the Lord properly lays aside His humiliation as mediator, that is, in His people. We have seen this celebrated in Psalm 24. This Psalm is peculiarly instructive, as to the progressive development of the remnant, and of their position as separate from the mass of those with whom they first returned as corporately one. In them all wickedness and deceit is included.

257 Psalm 29 is the answer of strength and power to the intercession of the last verse of the preceding Psalm. Jehovah appears in favour of these poor criers unto Him; and, though the sons of the mighty might despise them, they must bow to Him, and own His favour to them, and know that He has loved them. It is manifestly the coming forth in power of David the king. Compare Isaiah 66:6.

Psalm 30 is an important one, and embraces a broad general truth, true in power in Christ either way, and in truth in the Church, and fulfilled consequently in each way in the whole portion brought under Christ in the day in which He comes whose right it is, and all things are gathered together in one in Him. The house was in one sense dedicated when the Lord rose again and ascended; but properly it was fully so when the fruits of His resurrection, even the Jews, and of His power of life as ascended, even the glorified saints are brought in — even the saints in either case. Now the portion of all was with Him — was to be brought into unity with Him in that which was manifested in Him on their part, which thing, as we have said, not in full power but in truth, is true in Him, and in us as He saith. It is the assurance then in all of triumph after death, the Jews as a body, as in Isaiah 26:19: the necessity of passing through death, but death overcome; — that triumph, His holiness now secures them; their previous glory could not stand, however they may seem to have had it in God's strength. For it was not their glory, but the resurrection-glory is that which can properly stand. You may compare for the expressions, Isaiah 65:14. The direct application of the Psalm is to the Jews standing as themselves raised out of the death of the former generation in the strength of Christ's resurrection. The virtue of Christ's resurrection being power, ascertained power over death, is applied to save from it (see verse 3) Christ — the congregation — and the great congregation. The false confidence in verses 7 and 11 is contrasted with the real confidence of the Jewish remnant.

258 It is the song of Christ on resurrection, applied to the deliverance and saving of the Jews from death in the latter day.

Psalm 31 needs not much comment to those that are instructed in Christ. It is the confidence and supplication of the Lord Christ in His Enosh state, particularly with regard to the enmity in its various parts, which did not slack even to His life. You may compare according to forementioned principles Job 19. The reader of the Gospels, especially John, will trace some following of this Psalm in the language of faith and in the Lord's words, I think, too. It is a deeply interesting Psalm. [There are many expressions in the Psalms which are true of the writer or of anyone in like sorrow, but which yet have their accomplishment in the highest degree in the case of Christ. There Christ was applied without making the Psalm a prophecy of Himself.]

Verse 23 applies the value of the confidence due to Jehovah, as proved by Christ, to the saints in their trial.

Psalm 32, I think, applies to the Jews who receive the benefit of forgiveness in the latter day. That it is abstractedly true, as all these "blessings" are and must be, is certain, and, as Paul proves, comes otherwise also on the Gentiles. But these Psalms concern the manifestation of these things on the earth, as to which it is in the Jews as a body they are prophetically accomplished. Of course the energy of the Spirit (by whom they were spoken) is the witness of these things now even in the earth, as it is written, "that ye may know that the Son of man hath power on earth," etc. I add, this fully opens out the Psalm in its detail. Also this is the first testimony to the new character of blessing. Previously it was rather of Christ in person and the vicissitudes of circumstances of the righteous man — "Blessed is the man," etc. Now we come to find an acquisitive blessing, the blessing, not of a saint, but of a sinner whose transgressions are removed, the new blessing true of the Jews in that millennial day (compare Romans 11:31, 32), and true, by virtue of the establishment in Christ's resurrection, of the dispensation on which that blessing is founded, to every one that believes in Him, in whom it is effectually set up, even sure mercy.

This sets the Jews distinctly on mercy, turning to which is the moral hinge of their condition, not in their own righteousness. Its special and beauteous application to the Jew in that day is, I think, very plain. From verse 6 onward is the practical consequence, and the Lord's dealings thereon.

Psalm 33 is not, in the Hebrew, "of David." It is an interesting new view of the millennial glory; the God of providence therein shewn as the Lord, and identified in the same power and glory as the Creator, while the counsels of men come to nought, and His counsels stand in the blessings also of them who celebrate it, even His people. It takes it up also in His moral character, on which the security of His people depends.

259 Israel being the result of the earthly system, the God of creation and providence is here exhibited in the result of both, as to this present world, as the Lord; and towards them its connection with the providences by which it is brought about is plainly declared from verse 10 onwards. But it is not David identified with His people, but the broad general principles, the converse or other part of the truth from the special privileges, though true in them, to wit, as regards the God and His character from which they flowed. This Psalm should be considered with Psalm 24. There David the beloved is shewn to be the Lord; here he is viewed higher up as it were in the same truths, for the moral character of God is before His purposes as we view them, for these manifest those to us as 1 John 1. David is the beginning of His purposes, but the brightness and image of His glory and person.

Verse 12 involves the special place of the Jewish nation in the midst of this scene. It is beautiful to see this so consecutively brought in in the forgiveness and given uprightness of Israel.

Psalm 34 is the address of the beloved to the afflicted Jews of the latter day, from His own experience confirmed by the testimony of the Spirit, embracing prophetically the deliverance of these Jews themselves. It is a pressing upon the Jews of the latter day, who had ears to hear, to receive and to act upon the principles of which He had found the blessing, and in which also the faithfulness of God when He was the one remnant. The thesis is in the first two verses; it was as by David amongst the Philistines. The prophetic declaration is in verse 5; then the Spirit takes up from verse 6, I think, to verse 10. In verse 11 David resumes, as in person. I am not sure where I should close this, for the residue seems more of a sort of chorus-like testimony, but withal verse 20 leads us directly, it should seem, to its source. Verse 15 seems to take up the principles learned in David from verse 6, etc., and to apply them to the righteous remnant, at which verse therefore the form may alter. The general principle of the Psalm is evident.

260 I apprehend, though merging into more general truth, from 11 to the end is Christ's instruction of the children in this holy wisdom.

Psalm 35 is the appeal of Messiah in behalf of the remnant of the Jews oppressed in His own person. It is not the cry merely of the remnant, at the ungodliness which surrounded them amongst the Jews, nor for help against the Gentiles, but the critical intervention of Messiah in respect of the whole purpose of God concerning them; it regards specially the triumph of the ungodly Jews (let us weep over them) at the apparent oppression of them of whom they had been long weary — the saints amongst them; and their deliverance from them, they having joined the Gentiles. Verse 18 marks the result. Psalm 22 applies itself personally to Messiah, this to the remnant exclusively in the latter day, identifying Him with them, and spoken as on His behalf (He pleading in His righteousness). See 1 John 2:27, as shewing the manner of the identification.

So the wicked of that day are identified with the wicked of Christ's day, "this generation." "Ye shall not see me till ye say" — "henceforth shall ye see the Son of man"; and so identified are these two scenes that the Lord says, "ye shall not have gone over the cities of Israel, till the Son of man be come." The Gentile parenthesis is all left out, as not at all of the scene, for it is heavenly.

Psalm 36 is a very interesting Psalm, but there is not much I would comment on in it. It is explained in the expression, le-ebed-Jehovah (of the servant of Jehovah). It is Christ our blessed Master in that character, as proposing to meet the wickedness of ungodly men, as to whom He felt that there was no restraint upon them, because the fear of God was not before their eyes, and His conferring with Jehovah; and, to speak as to this case, unrestrained will as their character here, which is the greatest trial a man can be subject to; as the Lord said, "they have done unto him whatsoever they listed, likewise also shall the Son of man," etc., nor would He have suffered fully as He graciously did but for this. The security of God's people in such case then is not the restraint of the will of the enemies, but in our dependence on the divine care under their unrestrained will. This is a most important principle. Verse 1 is the thesis of this; the description is perfect and complete to our faith. In the meanwhile one is ebed — Jehovah (compare John 12:26), and so to act, and therein the Lord's will is exercised continually. (Compare Ps. 91 .)

261 Verse 7 is our joy meanwhile; in verse 12, deliverance.

The Lord teach His people, and keep them in His presence from the provoking of all men. The prophetic aspect of this Psalm, if the others have been sufficiently understood, is sufficiently plain.

Psalm 37. The application of this Psalm to the Jews, as of faith, that is, the remnant, but manifested by their acting on this Psalm, is obvious; and its direct application to the land as the inheritance of blessing (see verses 3, 9, 11, 22, 27, 34), but this in fact then of the earth, because it is the time of the restitution. The erets, (ἡ γῆ) now extends over the face of the earth, the land being the seat from which the blessing flows as ἡ γῆ: that is, as Palestine shall be the special scene then of the conflict between light and darkness, so yet shall there be a congregation of the world's interests therein, and there and thence shall flow the results of the decision, when the El gibbor, "the mighty God" (Isa. 9:6), shall be manifested; and this Psalm is specifically addressed to the remnant in the time of the previous distress, as they might be tempted to give up the hope and fail in the crisis. The subject is plainly set forth in the first two or three verses, "Fret not thyself, trust in Jehovah," but there is more detail of promise as well as of direction directly. "Fret not thyself. Trust — delight thyself — commit thy way — rest in." Then again, "cease from anger," the reason in the general result to verse 20; then there is a contrast of the principles of their character also, that is, of the wicked and good. Psalm 34 resumes the thesis. The crisis of this Psalm particularly arises at the time that those that forsake the Lord, the unconverted Jews and the Gentiles associated with them as their friends, seem to have the world with them. Jehovah as a God of faith and hope is put in present contrast in verses 3, 4, 5, 7, then again in verse 34. The way in which this Psalm applies itself to the Lord also very plainly confirms and elucidates the principle we have above seen.

Psalm 38 is wonderful, but the comparison of it with Job (taking both as expressive of character) is full of interest and instruction. Every expression of Job's sufferings seems concentrated with less loquacity, with this remarkable difference — there seems the sense of sin with the confidence of help, and that all his desire was before God. Job's heart was pride, which he wished to bring before God. And it was to bring to remembrance (see title, and compare Is. 43:26). Observe also the manner of Christ's bringing to remembrance under the burden of sin, opening out all His heart before God, recognizing the cause, not saying, "He hath set me a target to shoot his arrows at," but "because of my sin." All his desire and groaning therefore is before God, throwing himself on God in perfect affiance of heart, full sense of his sorrow, ample confession of his sins, which he truly bore, in very deed thus bore, that he had no strength to stand up under them. Verses 10-18 are the marvellous picture of the righteous One under sin, and all its burden; in weakness, yet bearing it all in perfectness of conduct, in the unfailingness of the recognition of God — His God: righteous as a sin-bearer in the full confession of sin; righteous as a God-fearer in the full acknowledgment of what God was. (Compare Job 6, 7; in fine, 10:5, 6; 13:15; 14:17; 19:6; and other passages of Job, and Psalm 22.) What Christ was bearing is manifest, but He bore it in Himself; we may wonder indeed, and be astonished indeed at Christ, when there was none to take pity on Him. The reproaches of them that reproached God fell upon Him, because He was to pour out His soul unto death for these very sinners, and at once; for when all men deserted Him, yea, even His lovers and kinsmen stood afar off, His enemies surrounding Him strong and mighty, then it was also that as to suffering God also forsook Him (the effects of righteousness with men and devils — as representing God: the effects of sin with God as representing man), an astonishing spectacle! The wrath had its course: it is this we have seen indeed deprecated in Psalm 22. This was felt as in verse 3, though the very opposite to being charged as unrighteousness, as in Job. The comparison of this with Job is very full of instruction: see chapter 6: he thought to stand in his strength with God, but see the Spirit of Christ in us. Compare Job 9:2; 13:15; Psalm 23. The inconsistency of Job's mind is to be remarked; it is only in the cross that our consistency is to be found.

262 But the point which is much to be noticed here is, the Lord Jesus as the confessor of sin, or rather of the sins which He had taken upon Him. Here He was acting the truth before God, He did not hide His sin, nor excuse it, but so that we should know His owning them as His before God, confessed them, justified God, was guileless, and, having taken the sins, owned them all before Him in perfect integrity; and in His perfectness is our perfect comfort, for His confessing sins, and presenting all His desires before God, shews His sinlessness under these sins, and makes us know His perfect identification with our sins, His dealing with God about them, and our identification with Him. There cannot be a more important truth. It was paralleled by that part of the day of atonement sacrifice exhibited in the confession of the sins of the people on the head of the scape-goat; it was the people's lot. Christ was Jehovah's lot and the people's lot.

263 Psalm 39 is the turning of the soul inward on rebukes without, arresting all service of God: it is the supreme God, whom no rebuke affects, turning to the profit of man in his Enosh state his helplessness as such before the wickedness of man. And though He give power, it is His power; and where He gives, and subdues not the adversary, man can do nothing in His service, but then under grace it turns to the profitable testimony of the true state of things. (It is most blessed to see the Lord in this, and teaching therein. Compare Isa. 50.)

Psalm 40 is the song of Enosh as heard and delivered in that he feared, but revealing withal the Son as entering into that state, as explaining and able now to speak of His humiliation according to its wisdom and the counsel of God in it, as being (having triumphed) in the glory which He had before. Yet is it so His voice remarkably and decidedly in the Jewish remnant. And, note, His resurrection belongs to the Jews, that is, as on earth actually as His state. It would be too large a field to follow this here. Suffice it to say, it includes His reign, not as sitting in heavenly places, but it is an assurance of this unto all men: if we seek argument, let us see not only our Lord's after the resurrection, but Peter's and Paul's in the Acts.

The great congregation is the Jewish people at large (it has a moral force here, for it is not merely those willing to hear, but to all, at all risk, that God might be justified). Christ had not failed in testifying to them. Verses 1-3 are a statement of the result, of which Christ is the witness as heretofore; the rest, the principles on which it went, and circumstances which thereon necessarily accompanied it. It is a sort of comment, so to speak, by Christ on the whole transaction. Observe, this Enosh state was in connection with the Jewish remnant, and includes His whole manifestation as to its actual associations and development; that is, His Enosh state was exhibited whilst a Jew, for it was also under the law, which was one of its grand trials according to the very state and subjection of man before God's holiness, or He would not be put to full trial, and Christ accordingly was so placed, "born under" — the whole argument sub modo of Paul in the Romans (but without sin), for I am speaking of responsibility.

264 Verses 10, 11, are a remarkable instance of looking for faithfulness from Jehovah, on the ground of faithfulness to Him.

The connection of verse 12 with this is very remarkable.

Verse 13, etc., are the resurrection, the answer to the patience of Christ; verse 5 is the comment on the many wondrous works which all merge in the incarnation and its circumstances. Then the pleading in the circumstances, crying to God, is no sign of impatience. His waiting for the answer, that is, the patience, not crying, would be in silence of heart: how much is there of it?

Psalm 41 is Christ* in His humiliation estimating the real spirit a man is of, as holding a certain character, "Blessed is he," etc. (ver. 1), and therefore not exclusively (in fact) applicable to Him; so the Lord, "Blessed are ye poor, for," etc., and so in Matthew, "Blessed are the poor in spirit." It also describes the mind of the poor man under this humiliation, connected with the despite of the world, the proud, under it.

The character of His confidence is purely Jewish, and so the sorrow; Christ* is the fulfiller of it.

{*[Psalm 41, like 38, is a plain instance where the author's matured thoughts are more guarded than these notes of earlier days; and the instance is the more important because verse 9 is applied distinctly to the close of the Lord's life, though verse 4 shews that not He, but the suffering Jew is the subject. Ed.]}