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Sustanunts, UNDER THE EDITORSHIP OF
SAMUEL ROLLES DRIVER, Regius Professor of Hebrew
Master of University
M.A., D.D., Durham;
CHARLES AUGUSTUS BRIGGS, Professor of Theological Encyclopedia
Union Theological Seminary,
AND EXEGETICAL COMMENTARY
THE BOOK OF PSALMS BY
GRADUATE PROFESSOR OF THEOLOGICAL ENCYCLOPEDIA AND SYMBOLICS, UNION THEOLOGICAL SEMINARY, NEW YORK
EMILIE GRACE BRIGGS,
Two VOLUMES) VOL. II
PRINTED IN GREAT BRITAIN BY MORRISON AND GIBB LIMITED
irew YORK: CHARLES SCRIBNER S son
MAY 16 1964 FIRST PRINTED Latest Reprint
INDEX OF HEBREW WORDS INDEX OF PROPER NAMES
INDEX OF SUBJECTS
ERRORS AND ADDITIONS, VOL.
Sidney for Sydney. Del. Asterius (| 410) already given
Protestantische for Protestanische.
Davison for Davidson.
Hithp. for Hiph. 1 i8 47 for i .
Before 8 insert
in Qal, but Pi.
after for i8
(P) 4 138 -
1904 Davies 1906. .
rnit] Pi. pf. rel. clause :
ace. pers. b concerning
rma in 9
(i) give charge
ace. pers. et rei, Pss. 78* 3
b pers. io5 8 Ex.
(3) commission, c. ace. ^tcn 42 5 12 9 appoint, ordain, in creation 33 I48 Is. 45 ,
Rhabamus. 5 iSSQ Minocchi 1905.
lfn|5 for Tpijj. After 6 insert
5 29 44 6S
vb. Qal r^^j/,
H3B for n:s.
These with but Mas.
Before 11 insert
78* 93* 99 I32 119 usually derived from [rrir]
nntr for r
^ [pis] Qal
ac 3 do 8 Hiph., justice 2 . \>y
A COMMENTARY ON THE BOOK OF PSALMS.
A COMMENTARY ON THE BOOK OF PSALMS.
3 4 STR. io .
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. ), "
6 6 "
His just judgment
of the nation, in antithesis
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
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
(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.
Against Thee, Thee only, have I sinned, And the evil in Thine eyes have I done
That Thou mightest be (That)
gEHOLD in iniquity And
in sin did
Thy (words), be clear when Thou judgest
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,
The bones which Thou hast crushed Hide Thy face from my sins, And all mine iniquities blot out. 3
heart into a pure one transform for me,
a steadfast one renew.
not away from Thy presence, Thy holy Spirit take not away.
Restore the joy of Thy salvation, with the princely Spirit uphold me.
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
In whole burnt-offering Sacrifices of a
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. :
and fft, then in 5 and I3& (v. Intr. 27, 32, 33). was already attached to the Ps. in 13 as a conjectural
trative situation, but without historical value.
Ps. to the situation.
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 -
Mai. 3 s
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
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,
sin of the tic traces
are: S Sa
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
explained by ono, prob.
2 postexilic sections of Is. ,
effort to give
the city walls.
has a syn. tetrastich and a hexastich composed of three 3-4. Be gracious to me~\, show favour, usually in
the bestowal of redemption from enemies, evils, and sins, a char term of 30 ; with the two syn. nouns kindness, the
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
which IE substituted Elohim.
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,
from the norm or aim of
sin as a failure
three terms for sin are antithetical to the three terms for the divine kindness,
and have three mediating terms
in cleansing the nation.
for its exercise
transgressions stain the
blackening their reputation and character, therefore blot out, wipe out, obliterate them, so that they no longer can be seen, cf. 109".
all this filth
as a filthy garment, therefore
away, so that
wash me, it
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
doubtless had in
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
the ritual of sacrifice.
more than the
needs something need the favour of Yahweh they personal feels that the nation
Himself; His interposition as the administrator of cleansing.
mental knowledge of
knowing}, present, active, personal, experi sin,
as thus staining, soiling, polluting, the
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,
Mopsuestia, Theodoret, cited by Ba. with approval; or indeed against the Persians, or the minor nations
them, opposing every
so cruelly used
of Israel to reestablish himself in Jeru-
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
That Thou mightest be just pendent on the act of sin as
God in God only.
be clear], final clauses, not
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,
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
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
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
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
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,
his posterity since his
day have followed him
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
but the mother here
accordance with the conception of
Israel, in U8
Yahweh and His words the con confidence in Yahweh which true wisdom
in faithfulness}, fidelity to
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.
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
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.
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
a renewal and intensification of
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
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-
sin, cf. v.
and gladness], v\x.
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 .
tion of the syn. line,
respects the reverse of the concep a simple renewal of v.3 6 , although
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