A Critical and Exegetical Commentary on the Book of Psalms: Volume 2 (1960 reprint)

1960 reprint This a second volume of the two-volume set; part of the International Critical Commentary series.

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A Critical and Exegetical Commentary on the Book of Psalms:  Volume 2   (1960 reprint)

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  • 1960 reprint
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Sustanunts, UNDER THE EDITORSHIP OF

THE

REV.

SAMUEL ROLLES DRIVER, Regius Professor of Hebrew

p

THE

REV.

REV.

D.D., D.LiTT.,

Oxford;

ALFRED PLUMMER,

Master of University

THE

,

College ,

M.A., D.D., Durham;

CHARLES AUGUSTUS BRIGGS, Professor of Theological Encyclopedia

Union Theological Seminary,

and

New

D.D., D.LiTT.,

Symbolics, York.

THE INTERNATIONAL

CRITICAL COMMENTARY

AND EXEGETICAL COMMENTARY

CRITICAL

ON

THE BOOK OF PSALMS BY

CHARLES AUGUSTUS

BRIGGS,

D.D., D.LITT.

GRADUATE PROFESSOR OF THEOLOGICAL ENCYCLOPEDIA AND SYMBOLICS, UNION THEOLOGICAL SEMINARY, NEW YORK

AND

EMILIE GRACE BRIGGS,

(IN

B.D.

Two VOLUMES) VOL. II

EDINBURGH T.

&

T.

CLARK,

38

GEORGE STREET

PRINTED IN GREAT BRITAIN BY MORRISON AND GIBB LIMITED

FOR T.

&

T.

CLARK, EDINBURGH

irew YORK: CHARLES SCRIBNER S son

MAY 16 1964 FIRST PRINTED Latest Reprint

1907 1960

CONTENTS PAGE

COMMENTARY.

Pss.

LI-CL

1-545

INDEX OF HEBREW WORDS INDEX OF PROPER NAMES

INDEX OF SUBJECTS

.

549 .

561

566

ERRORS AND ADDITIONS, VOL.

I.

PAGE 1.

xxxi, xli,

1.

1.

i.

cv,

1.

12. 1.

1.

cix,

Sidney for Sydney. Del. Asterius (| 410) already given

cv,

cviii,

Protestantische for Protestanische.

19.

30.

Rhabanus

Add

31.

after

i.

Davison for Davidson.

2.

Add

27,

1.

10.

i2

34,

1.

1 2

41,

1.

26.

45,

1.

22.

Hithp. for Hiph. 1 i8 47 for i .

49,

1.

26.

90

50,

1.

26.

1.

39.

tny

58,

1.

21.

Before 8 insert

used

in Qal, but Pi.

1.

cix,

after for i8

sq. a

13

y

(3

Is.

(E)

(P) 4 138 -

ii9 (4)

1904 Davies 1906. .

8

1.

82,

1.

a b

for

e

d

c

h.

go

.

39.

for thy.

3

i3

;

rnit] Pi. pf. rel. clause :

to, c.

ace. pers. b concerning

c.

(2) charge,

rma in 9

(i) give charge

command,

c.

Vt

34.

23

Am.

6

not

Ps.

whom,

91"

Nu.

ace. pers. et rei, Pss. 78* 3

9

;

9

11

[]

b pers. io5 8 Ex.

(3) commission, c. ace. ^tcn 42 5 12 9 appoint, ordain, in creation 33 I48 Is. 45 ,

Ps. 7S

60,

;

36.

3

28

32

1.

3

for

35 for

22

i

6

ciii,

Rhabamus. 5 iSSQ Minocchi 1905.

for

9

;

redemption Pss.

f

lfn|5 for Tpijj. After 6 insert

5 29 44 6S

H3"Q

I33

;

providence

71*.

^

vb. Qal r^^j/,

of

H3B for n:s.

1.

276,

1.

23.

Maskilim

1-

38.

nil: for

!

5-

37.

These with but Mas.

;

BD^.

228,

373;

7

Before 11 insert

16.

quittal

333>

10

78* 93* 99 I32 119 usually derived from [rrir]

artificial

174,

for ict.

for 1.

nntr for r

r

for

Maskelim.

^ [pis] Qal

God

5

i

c ,

pi.

forms

pointing

be justified

is

ac 3 do 8 Hiph., justice 2 . \>y

A COMMENTARY ON THE BOOK OF PSALMS.

A COMMENTARY ON THE BOOK OF PSALMS.

PSALM

of

3 4 STR. io .

LI.,

Ps. 51 is a penitential prayer of the congregation in the time Nehemiah (i) Petition that Yahweh in His kindness will :

3 4 cleanse His people from sin (v. ), "

of

6 6 "

His just judgment

(v.

(2)

).

of the nation, in antithesis

who

The

confess

it

in vindication

sin goes back to the origin

with the faithfulness in which Yahweh

9 11 cleansing alone will give joy (v. ). (3) Petition for renewal of heart, the continued presence of the Holy Spirit, and the joy of salvation (v. 12 14 ) ; with a vow to teach the divine 7

delights (v.

"

8

"

)

;

"

-

15 16 ways and praise His righteousness (v. (4) The sacrifices of ). Yahweh are the praises of a contrite spirit (v. 17 19 ). The final petition is that He will rebuild the walls of Jerusalem and accept "

the sacrifices there (v. 20

gE gracious to me

- 21

).

(Yahweh), according to Thy kindness;

blot out my Wash me thoroughly from mine iniquity, And purify me from my sin. For my transgressions I am knowing, And my sin is before me continually.

According

to

Thy compassion

transgressions.

Against Thee, Thee only, have I sinned, And the evil in Thine eyes have I done

;

That Thou mightest be (That)

Thou

mightest

gEHOLD in iniquity And

in sin did

Behold

The

I

just in

Thy (words), be clear when Thou judgest

was brought

my mother

in faithfulness

forth,

conceive me.

Thou dost delight Thou makest me know. ;

confidence of wisdom

me from sin with hyssop, and I shall Wash me, and I shall be whiter than snow. Let me hear joy and gladness,

Cleanse

The bones which Thou hast crushed Hide Thy face from my sins, And all mine iniquities blot out. 3

be pure;

will exult.

PSALMS

4 "pHE

heart into a pure one transform for me,

The

spirit into

Cast

me

a steadfast one renew.

not away from Thy presence, Thy holy Spirit take not away.

And

Restore the joy of Thy salvation, with the princely Spirit uphold me.

And

I will

And

teach transgressors Thy ways, sinners unto Thee will return.

me from bloodshed (Yahweh). ring out Thy righteousness. r\ LORD, my lips mayest Thou open And my mouth will declare Thy praise For Thou delightest not in peace-offering, Deliver

My tongue will

;

;

Thou

In whole burnt-offering Sacrifices of a

broken

takest

no pleasure:

spirit,

A heart crushed, Thou wilt not despise. O do good in Thy good pleasure unto Zion

;

Mayest Thou rebuild the walls of Jerusalem Then wilt Thou delight in peace-offering and whole burnt-offering Then will they offer bullocks on Thine altar. :

Ps. 51

was

in 19

historical allusion

and fft, then in 5 and I3& (v. Intr. 27, 32, 33). was already attached to the Ps. in 13 as a conjectural

;

The illus

trative situation, but without historical value.

The language

Ps. to the situation.

is

It is impossible to adjust the related chiefly to Literature of the

1 2 Exile or early Restoration, seem to have been chiefly in mind: (i) Is. 3 4 9 18 cf. Is.i , ; (a) in the conception of the purification of the nation s sins v. the use of nno Is. 43 25 4422, DSD for the person Je. 2 s2 4 14 , ins Je. 33 8 Ez. 36 s8 -

-

37

23

Mai. 3 s

The

.

-

is elsw. only in P when applied to the altar. It does not used in J as well as P, and was doubt

vb. NBH for purification from sin

applied to the person, but is in Ez. therefore necessarily imply P. 31TN

when is

For the personal experience of v. 5 cf. Is. 59 12 (c) nnDBn \\v& 18 8 18 elsw. only Is. 63 10 v.i, cf. Is. 22 enp nn v. 35! 5 1 11. 0) For 7 the bruised spirit v. 19 cf. Is. 66 2 (/) For the son of the mother v. , cf. the less ancient,

(b)

.

,

-

-

.

,

sin of the tic traces

first

father

are: S Sa

Is.

v. 21

.

,

(

txt. err.,

The

Ps. in its theology depends deep penitence represents the The prayer spirit of the people of the Restoration in the time of Nehemiah. for rebuilding the walls of Jerusalem was probably real and not ideal, and indicates that the author was one of the companions of Nehemiah in the great

prob.

on the

explained by ono, prob.

2 postexilic sections of Is. ,

effort to give

the city walls.

and

gl.

in its

PSALM Str.

I.

LI.

5

has a syn. tetrastich and a hexastich composed of three 3-4. Be gracious to me~\, show favour, usually in

syn. couplets.

the bestowal of redemption from enemies, evils, and sins, a char term of 30 ; with the two syn. nouns kindness, the

acteristic

:

loving disposition to do acts of kindness (4**), and compassion (?f), the affectionate sympathy, especially of parent to a child, 13 cf. I03 . Yahweh}, here and throughout the group, Ps. 51-72, for

My

which IE substituted Elohim.

transgressions}, sins,

con

ceived as rebellion, transgression of the Law, or will of God, with the two chief syns., iniquity, sin as a distortion or perversion of right,

and

from the norm or aim of

sin as a failure

life.

These

three terms for sin are antithetical to the three terms for the divine kindness,

and have three mediating terms

The

in cleansing the nation.

for its exercise

transgressions stain the

people,

blackening their reputation and character, therefore blot out, wipe out, obliterate them, so that they no longer can be seen, cf. 109".

The

them

iniquity soils

cleanse

all this filth

as a filthy garment, therefore

away, so that

I

may be

clean

do

;

wash me, it

so thor

9

The sins pro remain, cf. v. duce religious pollution, unfitting for the worship of God ; therefore purify me, apply the appointed means of purification, that I may oughly that not the least trace

enjoy

communion

again,

cf. v.

9 .

may

The poet

.

doubtless had in

mind

Is.

lft~ 18

of sin in its subjective effects on the person, rather , thinking than of its objective effects upon the places of divine presence. It is therefore the ritual of purification that he has in mind, rather than i

He

the ritual of sacrifice.

more than the

ritual

;

needs something need the favour of Yahweh they personal feels that the nation

Himself; His interposition as the administrator of cleansing.

5.

/ am

mental knowledge of

this national

knowing}, present, active, personal, experi sin,

as thus staining, soiling, polluting, the

me

I cannot escape from seeing it continually}. and contemplating it in all its odiousness, cf. Is. 59 12 6. Against Thee}, emphatic in position, to indicate that the sin was especially The national sin was against Yahweh, intensified by, Thee only}. not against the Babylonians," as Theodore of against their God,

nation.

before

.

"

Mopsuestia, Theodoret, cited by Ba. with approval; or indeed against the Persians, or the minor nations

them, opposing every

effort

who

so cruelly used

of Israel to reestablish himself in Jeru-

PSALMS

6

God, in His very pres without ence ; and so high-handed, excuse, which exposed to just come could which from only from His kindness. retribution, relief in Thine eyes ], before the face of

salem.

That Thou mightest be just pendent on the act of sin as

God in God only.

to justify

against

if

||

be clear], final clauses, not

de

the commission of sin was in order

dealing with it; but on the confession of sin This public confession made it evident that

dealings with His people during their long exile and in the in their efforts to restore long-continued afflictions of the people,

God

s

and worship in Jerusalem, were in accordance so just. and with His law, Thy words ], referring to the Ten Law of the Words by which the nation is judged here, primitive 16 20 when Thou speakest," Rom. so as in so @, U, J, 3*, and not assimilated a form which a.A.., by copyist s error to gives J^, EV ., Words ; as to these that Thou when 3, is, according judgest~\ 4 4 to is to which be (g, F, Rom. 3 PBV., preferred AV., RV., so the national

life

"

"

,

8

%

,

,

when Thou art judged," as if the poet thought of a higher judg ment seat before which God Himself could be tried, a conceit which, however suited to Greek and modern ideas, was not suited "

to the religion of the Str. II. is

an

Old Testament.

antistr.,

beginning with confession in a tetrastich

of two syn. couplets, and concluding with a hexastich of petition of 7. Behold ], calling emphatic attention to three syn. couplets. s requirements and the actual his Yahweh the antithesis between I was toric condition of His people, the latter coming first. or not to the of the to an brought forth], parent, referring iniquity iniquitous condition of the infant

when brought

forth

;

implying

the doctrine of original sin, transmitted from Adam and Eve in accordance with Traducianism, or imputed to the child as created as part of a sinful race, according to Creationism. to the speculative

dogma

of Traducianism

;

but

I I

myself hold

must say that

neither of these doctrines has any support whatever in the OT. alludes to the historic origin of the nation in their

The poet here

patriarchal ancestors, as in Is. 43^. sin,

and

gression.

all

his posterity since his

did

my mother

Their

first

father

committed

day have followed him

conceive me~\.

This

is

in trans

certainly not the

mother of David, as if she were especially a sinner at the time of her conception, or as if sin were attached to the unborn foetus

PSALM which she conceived

;

LI.

7

but the mother here

accordance with the conception of

Is.

2 ,

is

Mother

especially Is.

Israel, in U8

54

.

Yahweh and His words the con confidence in Yahweh which true wisdom

in faithfulness}, fidelity to

8.

||

fidence of wisdom, the This, by the misunderstanding of an early copyist, has imparts. 36 been interpreted as a word, elsewhere only Jb. 3S , and variously

explained by J^ and Vrss. as referring to the reins or inward parts It was defined by the addition of a late Hebrew of the man.

word meaning

"

closed,"

or secret place of the breast, making the

line too long, and compelling an explanation of the ferring to the future and so as out of parallelism with

line, as re its

mate

in

fact, both lines set forth the divine requirements, over against the sin of the past history of the nation in the father Thou Jacob and the mother Zion ; and so the verbs are presents.

the couplet.

In

dost delight}, that is, the confidence is acceptable as satisfying the divine requirements, giving gratification and delight to Yahweh. Thou makest me know}, by the teaching of the Words of the Law, 60 These words impart true wisdom, carrying on the idea of v. 9. Cleanse me and so confidence in Yahweh the great Teacher. .

with hyssop}, a bunch of sin}, a term of the ritual Ez. P. small branches of the caper plant, used in the ritual, to gather up the water or blood, and scatter it upon the person or thing to be

from

cleansed.

This

is

a renewal and intensification of

v.

4

and I

shall be pure~\, in the religious sense, as thus cleansed in accordance with the ritual ; which is intensified in / shall be whiter than snow. 18

The poet

is evidently, in the use of the terms of Is. i , thinking of the sins of the nation as scarlet and crimson in their colour, of bloodguiltiness ; for they had committed a high-handed, death-

deserving

sin, cf. v.

16 .

10. joy

and gladness], v\x.

of

Is.

22 13 35 10

n which 51 they at the same time hear and also utter. Even the bones exult in sympathy with the exhilaration of the soul. This was expressed by voice, and probably also by dancing, though the bones had been crushed by Yahweh Himself in the afflictions He 3

-

,

brought upon the nation. The bones are personified as those of an individual, severally suffering. The bones ache with the anxiety of the soul, cf. 22 15 32 3 11. Hide Thy face from my sins }, do not look upon them, overlook them (lo 11 ), take no account of 2 them, cf. 32 ; another conception of Yahweh s gracious attitude .

PSALMS

8 toward

sin.

This

in

is

tion of the syn. line,

some

which

respects the reverse of the concep a simple renewal of v.3 6 , although

is

the word for sin varies. Str. III. has a hexastich of three syn. couplets of petition, fol

lowed by two syn. couplets, the latter the climax of the Str. 12. Transform renew~\. These verbs do not imply creation out of nothing, which indeed the Hebrew fcOD never means (v. BD/?.) ; ||

or creation of a new heart out of other material in place of the old heart, views which depend on a misunderstanding of the terms in Vrss. ; but the transformation of the former heart, or mind, of the nation into a heart of an entirely different character, the mak ing of the spirit, or disposition of the nation, over new into an

According to the previous context they

entirely different spirit.

had been stained, soiled, and polluted they were to be made/#r