I Chronicles 16



These three verses rather belong to the close of the last chapter, and they carry on

the parallel of II Samuel 6:17-19.


1 “So they brought the ark of God, and set it in the midst of the tent that

David had pitched for it:” - So ch. 15:1 distinctly states that David had “pitched

 a tent” for the ark, and evidently to be ready for its arrival. On the other hand,

there is no mention of any such tent having been got in readiness in ch. 13. or in

II Samuel 6:1-11, which give the account of the attempt that disastrously failed. The

expressions which are there used would rather lead to the conclusion that

David’s intention was to take the sacred structure into his own home (Ibid. vs. 9-10;

I Chronicles 13:12-13), for a while, at all events. The lh,ao (tent) of the original

designates, when intended strictly, a haircloth covering, resting on poles or planks

(Exodus 26:7, 11; 36:14, 19). The first occasion of the use of the word is found in

Genesis 4:20. The jK;su (booth) was made of leaves and branches interwoven

(Leviticus 23:34, 40, 42; Deuteronomy 16:13). The ˆK;v]mi (tabernacle) was the

dwelling-place or pavilion, which owned to the ten inner curtains as well as the

outer covering and the framework (Exodus 25:9; 26:1,12-15; 39:32; 40:2, 29).

The first occurrence of this word is in the first of these last quoted references –

and they offered burnt sacrifices and peace offerings before God.”

The identical words of II Samuel 6:17-18, where the Authorized Version translates

burnt offerings and peace offerings.” These were the two great sacrifices

the former speaking of atonement (Leviticus 1:3-9), the latter of reconciliation

 effected and the enjoyment of peace (Leviticus 3:1-5). Neither here nor in the

parallel place is any mention made of the altar upon which these sacrifices were



2 “And when David had made an end of offering the burnt offerings

and the peace offerings, he blessed the people in the name of the

LORD.” - i.e. reverently in the Name of the Lord, and as vividly conscious of

being in His presence, he pronounces blessings upon the people, and by short

spontaneous prayer and holy wish further begs for them those blessings which

God only can give. In the time of David and Solomon (I Kings 8:14) the king

realized far more closely the idea of the paternal relation to the people than

had ever been since the time of the patriarchs of the elder days.


3 “And he dealt to every one of Israel, both man and woman, to every

one a loaf of bread, and a good piece of flesh, and a flagon of wine.”

Each little clause of this verse is replete with interest. The royal giver, who now

dealt to every one of Israel, was, after all, but a channel; yes, and only one

channel, through which the fullness and the bounty of the royal Giver of every

good and perfect gift, of all good whatsoever, of all things necessary to life and

godliness, are supplied to every one of his creature-subjects (James 1:17).

But it is highest honor, as servant and instrument alone, to figure forth Him

in any way. The second little clause tells us either that women took a

recognized place on occasion of this joyous festival, or that the hospitality of

such an occasion did not forget them and their homes. And the following three

little clauses require closer examination. The word here translated “loaf” in the

expression loaf of bread is rK"Ki, for which in this sense we may turn to Exodus

29:23; Judges 8:5; I Samuel 2:36; 10:3; Proverbs 6:26; Jeremiah 37:21. The

corresponding word, however, in the parallel place is jl"j" (for which see Exodus

29:2, 23; Leviticus 2:4; 7:12-13; 8:26; 24:5; Numbers 6:15,19; 15:20). The essential

meaning of the former word is a circle, hence applied to the cake because of its

shape, and of the latter word perforation, hence applied to the cake because it was

perforated. A good piece of flesh. This is the Authorized Version rendering of

 rP;v]a,,  which occurs only in the parallel place and here. The Vulgate translates

assatura bubulae carnis; the Septuagint, ejscari>th escharitae -  of flesh –

The imagined derivation of the word from rP; (ox) and vae (fire), or from dp"v;

(to burn), seems to be what has led to these translations, helped, perhaps, by the

apparent convenience of adapting meat from the sacrifice to the bread. But Gesenius,

Rodiger, Keil, and others prefer the derivation rp"v; (to measure), and they would

render “a measure” of wine. And a flagon. This is the Authorized Version rendering

of the original hv;yvia}, found in the parallel place as well as here, and also

in the only other places (two in number, and in the plural) where it occurs

(Song of Solomon 2:5; Hosea 3:1). But there is no doubt, or but little,

that the rendering should rather be “dried, pressed cakes of raisins or

grapes.” It is then to be derived from the root vv"a; (to press). The

substantive has both masculine and feminine form in plural. The Vulgate

translates similam frixam oleo, which means a “baked cake of flour and

oil;” and the Septuagint, la>ganon ajpo< thga>nou laganon apo taeganou

 a cake of rasisn - in the parallel places. But here the Septuagint reads a]rton

e{na ajrtokopiko<n kai< ajmori>thn arton hena artokopikon kai amoritaen -

a loaf of bread , and a portion of flesh and a cake of raisins - as the whole

account of the loaf, the good piece of flesh, and the flagon.


The next four verses contain a statement of the arrangement David made of a more

permanent nature, but to date from this commencement, for the service of thanksgiving

by the Levites.


4 “And he appointed certain of the Levites to minister before the ark

of the LORD,” - i.e. to officiate, as we should say, in the service before the ark.

The verse seems to describe what should be  the essence of that service. It was

threefold —  “and to record, and to thank and praise the LORD

God of Israel:”  The word here used for “record” is the Hiph. of rk"z;

(to remember), and is remarked upon by Gesenius as a title strictly

appropriate to the character of Psalms 38 and 70, on the head of

which it stands, as meaning, “to make others remember” (see also such

passages as Exodus 20:24; II Samuel 8:16; 18:18; 20:24; Isaiah 43:26; 63:7).

The minds of the people were to be refreshed in this service and in their very

psalm of praise (so note in this sense vs. 8-9, 12, 21), by being reminded or told,

so far as the youngest of them might be concerned, of God’s marvelous and merciful

deeds for their forefathers of many, many a generation. Then they were to give

intelligent and hearty thanks. And, lastly, they were to offer to approach that purest

form of worship which consists in adoring praise. One might imagine with what

zest they would have accepted, with what fervor they would have added

lip and instrument of music to it — that one verse which needed the

revolution yet of nearly another three thousand years, that it might flow

from the devotion or’ Addison.


“When all thy mercies, O my God,

     My rising soul surveys,

Transported with the view I’m lost

    In wonder, love, and praise.”


5 Asaph the chief, and next to him Zechariah, Jeiel, and

Shemiramoth, and Jehiel, and Mattithiah, and Eliab, and Benaiah,

and Obed-edom:  and Jeiel with psalteries and with harps; but Asaph

made a sound with cymbals;” Obed-edom.  No colon should follow this name.

And the first time of the occurrence of the name Jeiel in this verse should probably

have shown the Jaaziel of ch. 15:18. The contents of this verse put

us, then, into possession of this much, that Asaph presided (ch. 6:39) at this

musical service, and that his instrument was the cymbals (ch.15:19), with which

time was kept; that Zechariah was next to him, and, with eight others formed a band,

who played on psalteries (or lutes) and harps. If we may guide ourselves by

Ibid. vs.20-21, three of these — viz. Mattithia, Jeiel, Obed-edom — performed

on the harp, the other six on the psaltery, or lute.


6 Benaiah also and Jahaziel the priests with trumpets continually before the

ark of the covenant of God.” Jahaziel. Probably the Eliezer, who  in ch.15:24 is

coupled as priest with Benaiah, should stand in the place of this name or else vice versa.


7 “Then on that day David delivered first this psalm to thank the LORD into

the hand of Asaph and his brethren.” The rendering should run, On that day did

David first commit to the hand of Asaph and his brethren to render praises to

Jehovah; i.e. after the following manner and words. The word first marks

the solemn establishment of set public worship in the metropolis.


Verses 8-36 provide the form of praise which David wished to be used on this,

and probably in grateful repetition on some succeeding occasions. David makes

selections from four psalms already known; for it cannot be supposed that the

verses we have here were the original, and that they were afterwards supplemented.

The first fifteen verses (vs.8-22) are from Psalm 105:1-15. The next eleven verses

(23-33) are from Psalm 96:1-13; but a small portion of the first and last of these

verses is omitted. Our thirty-fourth verse is identical with Psalm 107:1; 118:1; 136:1;

and forms the larger part of Psalm 106:1. It is, in fact, a doxology and vs. 35-36

consist of a short responsive (“and say ye”) invocation, followed by another doxology.

These are taken from Psalm 106:47-48. Hereupon “all the people” are

directed to find the final outburst of praise to Jehovah, and “Amen.” In the

first of these selections (vs. 8-23) there is no material variation from the

language of the psalm itself. Yet the original psalm has Abraham, where

our own thirteenth verse reads Israel. And the original psalm uses the third

person, where our fifteenth and nineteenth verses have the second person.

In the second selection it is worthy of note that our v. 29, “Come before

him,” probably preserves the ante-temple reading, while Psalm 96:8

was afterwards, to fit temple times, altered into, “Come into His courts.

The arrangement of all the succeeding clauses does not exactly agree with

the arrangement of them found in the psalm, as for instance in the latter

half of our v. 30 and in v. 31, compared with the clauses of vs. 10-11

of the psalm. Again, one clause of the tenth verse of the psalm, “He shall

judge the people righteously,” is not found in either alternative position

open to it through the inversion of clauses, in our vs. 30-31. The rhythm

and meter of the psalm are, however, equally unexceptionable. The whole

of the twenty-nine verses of this Psalm of praise (vs. 8-36 inclusive) are

divided into portions of three verses each, except the portion vs. 23-27

inclusive which consists of five verses. As regards the matter of it, it may

be remarked on as breaking into two parts, in the first of which (vs. 8-22)

the people are reminded of their past history and of the marvelous

providence which had governed their career from Abraham to the time they

were settled in Canaan, but in the second (vs. 23-36) their thought is

enlarged, their sympathies immensely widened, so as to include all the

world, and their view is borne on to the momentous reality of judgment.


8 “Give thanks unto the LORD, call upon His name, make known His

deeds among the people.  9 Sing unto Him, sing psalms unto Him, talk ye

of all His wondrous works. 10  Glory ye in His holy name: let the heart of

them rejoice that seek the LORD.”  These verses are an animated invocation

to thanks and praise.


11 “Seek the LORD and His strength, seek His face continually.”

We are bidden, in seeking the Lord, to seek both His strength and His face;

and these two are set in such a connection of parallel sentences that we

may assume them to be differing expressions for the same thing, though

each helps to throw light on the other. The uses of the terms in the Book of

Psalms need careful study. In this passage God’s strength is thought of as

having been illustrated in the successful bringing back of the ark; but that

event was quite as fully a proof of the Divine favor — it indicated that

God’s face was turned smilingly towards both the king and the people.

Such experiences of God’s “strength” and “face” should establish the

permanent resolve to seek that “strength” and “face” in all the more

ordinary scenes in the life of the individual and the nation. “When thou

sadist, Seek y my face; my heart said unto thee, Thy face, Lord

will I seek.”  (Psalm 27:8)  For “strength,” compare I Samuel 15:29;

Psalm 27:1; 29:1; Job 9:19; Psalm 46:1; 62:11; 68:34; 73:26; Isaiah 26:4;

45:24. For “face,” compare Psalm 31:16; 67:1.



energy depends upon his vital force, and his religious life upon his spiritual

force. God has access to these secret sources, and can renew them with His

own vitality. He strengtheneth us with strength in our soul” (Psalm 138:3).

He makes “all grace abound, so that we may have all-sufficiency

in all things” (II Corinthians 9:8).  The experience of the religious life

unfolds the marvelous adaptations and fitnesses of Divine grace to the

thousand-fold needs that arise. No matter what may be our circumstances

of perplexity and difficulty, there is always strength for us in God. It may

come as an efficient help for bearing actual life-burdens, or for doing actual

life-duties; and we should undertake none without prayerfully seeking

 to lay hold of the Divine strength. How it can be perfect in human

weakness, so that a man may be strong to bear the unusual ills, and zealous

to do the unusual duties, of life, is taught us in the example of the Lord Jesus

Christ, and, after Him, in the example of His servant Paul. But we should be

quite sure that it will come as an inward renewal, if it may not come for the

achievement of material success. We may be “strong in the Lord and in

the power of His might” (Ephesians 6:10); and this is the assurance of the

eternal triumph, if it is not of the earthly.



gives His strength with a smile. The turning of His face towards us is the

sign of His approval and acceptance. The influence of such a mark of

Divine regard may be illustrated.


Ø      It cheers and encourages. “If God be for us, who can be

against us?”  (Romans 8:31)


Ø      It recovers us from depressions. There can be nothing

overwhelming in our circumstances if God smiles on us. We look

into His face and feel that they are causing Him no anxiety, and so

our heads are lifted up. He can make “ways in seas and paths

 in great waters”  (Psalm 77:19).


Ø      It renews our fervour and zeal. The smile tells of such love that

we feel we can do or bear anything for His sake.  (“I can do

all things through Christ which strengtheneth me”

(Philippians 4:13)


Ø      It glorifies the right; for it is only on that God ever smiles.

He approves the good, but turns away from the evil. And that

 must ever seem to to be the most beautiful on which God’s

smiling face can rest.


God’s strength and face, He is ever ready to give to those who with true hearts

wait upon Him. Those promises in effect say, “I will help thee, yea, I will

uphold thee” (Isaiah 41:10).  And the uplifted smile says, “I have loved thee

with an everlasting love, therefore with loving-kindness have I drawn

thee.”  (Jeremiah 31:3)


12 Remember His marvelous works that He hath done, His wonders,

and the judgments of His mouth;  13 O ye seed of Israel His servant,

ye children of Jacob, His chosen ones.”  The call to thanksgiving and to the

praise of adoration is now in these verses succeeded by an earnest admonition

to practical seeking of the Lord, and mindful obedience to Him.



The Contents of Godly Memory (v. 12)


Remember, recall the records of Divine dealings; set afresh before your

minds your own personal experiences of the Divine goodness and mercy.”

The conception of the “solidarity of the race” is matched by that of the

essential unity of the race, in its mental and spiritual experiences,

throughout all the ages. Really to know God’s dealings with any one

people is to know His dealings with all peoples. And therefore the story of

His relations with the Jews is so minutely recorded, and so graciously

preserved for us on whom the “ends of the world are come” (I Corinthians

10:11).  And yet, further, it may be shown that an individual experience really

affords the race-type. GOD IS ESSENTIALLY TO EACH WHAT HE IS

TO ALL! We too often fix our attention on the changeable accidents of a man’s

career, and then think that his experience is unique. If it were so it were of little

use to keep any record of the Divine dealings with men, for one man’s experience

could not help another. What then, are the usual contents of the godly memory?

We can only deal with such as are suggested by the terms of the verses before us.



GOODNESS. Not merely has the godly man a general belief in God and

God’s merciful ways, but he has the assurance that GOD HAS BEEN

MERCIFUL TO HIM!  He can see in page after page of his life’s story

how guidance, restraint, comfort, teaching, and strength have come in precise

adaptations to his own conditions and needs. He can speak of the “good

hand of his God which has ever been upon him for good” (Ezra 7:9).

We need to fix the memory of God’s dealings:


Ø      by pious attention to them at the time,

Ø      and by frequent review of them afterwards.


A richly stored memory becomes an UNFAILING WELL-SPRING

OF COMFORT IN LATER LIFE!   To our view all our past should be

dotted over with pillars we have raised, on which we have inscribed our

“Ebenezer”“Hitherto the Lord hath helped us  (I Samuel 7:12),

and at any time we should be able to look back and bid these pillars

remind us of the “wonderful works that He hath done.” (Psalm 78:4)



Scripture tells us of God’s dealings with men, both before He separated the

Jewish people and while He had them under his special leadings. The God

of the whole earth shall He be called” (Isaiah 54:5).  It is characteristic

of David’s psalms that they are full of large broad thoughts of God’s relations

to the whole world. And both Scripture and secular history should provide

us with stores for the memory, as they reveal God’s workings towards His

gracious ends of substantial and eternal good. If Israel may say, “He is the

Lord our God,” it must go on to say, “His judgments are in all the earth.”




GOD’S GOODNESS. This is the. peculiar treasure of the godly. We have

the Bible records of the covenant race — God’s peculiar people, whom He

had chosen for Himself.  God’s ways with His covenant people are to us the

model and example of all His dealings, and upon these we argue what He is

and will be in His ways with us. But they are wonderful ways, marvelous

works (“and that my soul knoweth right well” – Psalm 139:14); often

mysterious, often severe; ways of judgment as well as mercy.  Impress that

the use of due occasions for considering the contents of the memory, for

refreshing the memory, and for making new grounds of praise and trust, is a

most important, but often neglected, part of Christian duty, bearing direct

relation to Christian strength and joy.


14 “He is the LORD our God; His judgments are in all the earth.

15  Be ye mindful always of His covenant; the word which He

commanded to a thousand generations;  16  Even of the covenant which

He made with Abraham, and of His oath unto Isaac;  17  And hath confirmed

the same to Jacob for a law, and to Israel for an everlasting covenant,

18  Saying, Unto thee will I give the land of Canaan, the lot of your

inheritance;  19  When ye were but few, even a few, and strangers in it.

20 And when they went from nation to nation, and from one kingdom

to another people;  21  He suffered no man to do them wrong: yea,

He reproved kings for their sakes,  22  Saying, Touch not mine anointed,

and do my prophets no harm.”  These verses rehearse the ancient and blissful

covenant which had made Israel so to differ. These are called mine anointed…

 my prophets, in harmony with what we read in the splendid passage,

Exodus 19:3-6.  The substitution in our vs. 15, 19 of the second

person pronoun plural, in place of the third person of the psalm, helps

speak the reality of this occasion and its dramatic correctness. The literal

original of our Authorized Version in v. 19, but few, even a few, is, men

of number, i.e. men who could easily be numbered.


The grandeur and unusual comprehensiveness of the adoration and homage here

proclaimed (vs. 23-36), as to be offered to the omnipotent Ruler of all nations,

SHOULD BE WELL PONDERED!   Our eye and ear may have

become too familiar with it, but when put a little into relief, and referred to

its original time of day, it is fit to be ranked among the strongest moral

evidences of inspiration in the word and the speaker.


23 “Sing unto the LORD, all the earth; shew forth from day to day His

salvation.”  This verse is composed of the latter half of each of the first

two verses of the Psalm 96. 


24 Declare His glory among the heathen; His marvelous works among

all nations. 25  For great is the LORD, and greatly to be praised: He also is

to be feared above all gods.”



Christian Joy a Witness (vs. 23-25)


These verses reappear in Psalm 96. In that psalm the sacred nation is

charged to praise Jehovah, and to spread the good tidings in all places.

Such praise is fitting, seeing that all other deities are nothing, and Jehovah

is God alone. Calvin, writing on this psalm, says, “It is an exhortation to

praise God, addressed not to the Jews only, but to all nations. Whence we

infer that the psalm refers to the kingdom of Christ; for till He was revealed

to the world His Name could not be called upon anywhere but in Judaea.”

It is said that when the sun is going out of sight the pious Swiss herdsman

of the Alps takes his Alpine horn and shouts loudly through it, “Praise ye

the Lord.” Then a brother herdsman on some distant slope takes up the

echo, “Praise ye the Lord.” Soon another answers, still higher up the

mountains, till hill shouts to hill, and peak answers to peak, the sublime

anthem of praise to THE LORD OF ALL!   Characteristic of the psalmist

is joy in God: and in this he is the one great Scripture example; Isaiah,

perhaps, coming next after him, and Paul having much of the same feature

marking even his toilsome and suffering life. Joy, as an element of religious

life, must in part depend on:


  • Disposition. Some are of sanguine and hopeful, others of desponding,

disposition. Some can easily turn everything into song, while others can

never get beyond stern prose. We are not responsible for our natural

dispositions, but we are for their due modification, harmony, and culture.

Often latent and unsuspected faculties can be developed, and it is seldom

wise to excuse failure and shortcoming on the ground of “human nature’”



  • Poetical faculty. Where this is given joy and song would seem to be

easy; yet, on the other side, it may be said that poets are often sad-toned

men, probably because accompanying the poetical faculty is a power of

insight which brings to the poet’s eye the wrong that lies at the heart of so

much that is seemingly good. But this cannot apply to thoughts and views

of God. Insight and faculty can only find reasons for joy and song when

they have to do with HIM AND HIS ALL-MERCIFUL WAYS!


  • Youthful piety. Those who seek God early, as David did, usually have a

brightness and gladness and joy of full trust on their whole religious lives

which the later-renewed can never reach. This is one of the best of the

rewards given to early piety.


  • Earnest soul-culture. This, by leading to renewals of trust, to firmer

hold of revealed truth, and to deeper experiences of Divine communion,

bears directly upon the joy side of Christian feeling. When attained,

Christian joy becomes a witness for two reasons or in two ways.




HAPPY. How common this sentiment is may be shown from ordinary life.

The people who always cheer us, we feel sure, must be good people, and

the same may be said of books, etc. In this way, therefore, our personal joy

in God may become a gracious moral power on all who are around us.

And happy Christians have a most noble and blessed witness.


“Sing on your heavenward way,

  Ye ransomed sinners, sing.”


A weary world sadly needs the sweet relief and cheering of Christian song.




with the sentiment of fear. In perilous rebounds they know seasons of

intense sensual excitement, which caricature true joy. But the prevailing

tone of all other religions EXCEPT CHRISTIANITY is sad. Only the

Christian may “abound in joy through the Holy Ghost” (Romans 14:17;

15:13).  Who could fail to sing and give praise, and say, “This God is our

God for ever and ever; He will be our Guide even unto death!”

(Psalm 48:14) 


26 “For all the gods of the people are idols:  but the LORD made the heavens. 

27  Glory and honor are in His presence; strength and gladness are in His

place.  28  Give unto the LORD, ye kindreds of the people, give unto the

LORD glory and strength.  29  Give unto the  LORD the glory due unto His

name: bring an offering, and come before Him: worship the LORD in the

beauty of holiness.  30  Fear before Him, all the earth:  the world also shall be

stable, that it be not moved.  31  Let the heavens be glad, and let the earth

rejoice: and let men say among the nations, The LORD reigneth.”



God’s Present Reign (v. 31)


“The Lord reigneth,” or “Jehovah is king.” David saw, in the restoration of

the ark, a new and solemn resumption of his direct government by Jehovah;

and of this glorious fact he bids the people make acknowledgment and

render witness. Explain fully the Jewish conception of the theocracy, and

show how it was connected with a present and abiding outward symbol —

at first the pillar-cloud, and then the ark. The importance of the theocratic

idea, and the actual influence of it on mind and heart, depended on the

differing religious dispositions of the people. To the worldly minded Jew it

would be a vague notion, a sort of sublime, but impractical, philosophical

conception — a sort of hereditary national sentiment, and nothing more.

To the truly spiritually minded man it was the first, most impressive, and

most practical of all truths. It was the thought that put glorious meaning

into commonplace life and labor. Life has its holy issues, and it might well

have its shrouded mysteries, for “the Lord reigneth.” This Jewish notion

passes over into Christianity, and we realize Jehovah’s present spiritual

reign in the administration of the Lord Jesus Christ. In the Maccabean

times there was a tendency to lose the idea that “the Lord doth reign,” and

to substitute for it a phrase which indicated a great outlooking for a

coming Deliverer and a golden age, “the Lord shall reign.” And a similar

evil tendency still affects the Christian Church; failing to realize Christ’s

present rule, some sections of the Church keep looking on to some fancied

near time, when Christ shall come again and take to Himself His great

power and reign. And the antidote is full and faithful teaching on the point

of which the psalmist makes so much — the present direct, and every way

practical, present reign over the earth and the Church, of Jehovah,

apprehended in the person of THE LORD JESUS CHRIST!  Keeping

the present reign in Christ before our minds, it may be instructive to show:



OF THE REIGN. The reign of God the Spirit must ever seem to man an

unreal, intangible thing, unless it can take some outward and material

shape; (Remember, “Thou shalt not make unto thee any graven image,

or any likeness of any thing that is in heaven above, or that is in

the earth beneath, or that is in the water under the earth.”  (Exodus

20:4 – CY – 2012) and yet that shape and form must be such as will in no

sense imperil the spiritual character of the reign. No merely human sovereignty

could be satisfactory, for none could be worthy of that sublime royalty which it

presumed to represent. Christ’s life on earth was THE THEOCRACY


humanity sets God before our thought in human terms and figures

such as we can understand. And the kingship of Jesus was felt and

acknowledged by friend and foe, wherever He went, and not exclusively by

those disciples who knew Him most intimately. His teaching was given

with authority;” His personal relations were a rule. It can be no wonder

that people should cast their garments in His way, and wave palm branches,

and shout, saying, “Hosanna to the King that cometh in the Name of

the Lord!” (John 12:13) - His life IS THE EARTH PICTURE of the

Divine reign over the hearts and lives of men.



THE REIGN AS A SPIRITUAL REIGN. It takes all the merely

carnal features out of it. The reign is such a one as our exalted, glorified,

ascended, spiritual Lord and Saviour may have, who is “Lord of lambs the

lowly, King of saints the holy.” The risen, heavenly Christ we feel must

have, as the sphere for His rule, not our bodily actions only, but:


Ø      our wills,

Ø      our choices,

Ø      our affections;


gaining, as He must, His beginnings in our souls, and extending His holy

authorities over all the relations we sustain.


32  Let the sea roar, and the fullness  thereof: let the fields rejoice,

and all that is therein.  33  Then shall the trees of the wood sing out at

the presence of the LORD, because He cometh to  judge the earth.”



God Always Coming to Judge (v. 33)


“Judgment” is, in Scripture, a large and comprehensive term. It is

sometimes synonymous with “rule,” or “government,” because in ancient

monarchies actual magistracy — due personal consideration and decision

of rival claims, or accusations of crimes — took a prominent place.

Sometimes reference is intended to that appointment of deserts in men’s

earthly experiences which may be regarded as a Divine judgment

continually working. And sometimes the allusion is to that GREAT


GAIN PERMANENT ADJUSTMENT and the issues of human

 conduct to be ETERNALLY FIXED!   Whatever other figures for

God may gain attraction to us, we may not lose our thought of Him as the

“JUDGE OF ALL THE EARTH” (Genesis 18:25).  We fix attention on

the fact that the judging of God is only a future thing, the glory of a coming

day, (although we know “THAT THE DAY OF THE LORD WILL

COME!”  - II Peter 3:10 – CY - 2012).  It may be urged that:



MEN’S CONSCIENCES. No man has to wait for his judgment. He

has it at once in the inward conviction of the rightness or wrongness

of his action. We should never, in our thought, separate conscience

from the inward voice of God our Judge.



BETWEEN SIN AND SUFFERING. Suffering being the proper issue

of sin, and necessarily connected with it by God in order to reveal sin’s

character. All suffering may be regarded as a beginning and present

illustration of God’s judgment.




Note how Enoch and Noah carried God’s judgment on their sinful

generation, in the conviction produced by their holy lives. And in the

fullest sense this was true of the Lord Jesus as the holiest of men. His

presence among them was God’s abiding judgment on a sinful and

adulterous generation. ]n measure the same is true still of both private

and public spheres — the presence of holy men and women tests us,

and, too often, both judges and condemns.  (Beware, lest that attitude

come upon you as came upon Cain, when in his jealousy of Abel,

he slew his brother.  And why?  “Because his own works were

evil, and his brother’s righteous.”  - I John 3:12 – CY – 2012)



DIVINE PROVIDENCE. Calamities, and even disappointments, are

signs of the Divine presence recognizing and dealing with willfulness

and sin.  And this is quite as true when we are able to trace the natural

laws according to whose legitimate workings the calamities or failures

may have come.




AND OF MEN. Of that fact we are well assured; of the manner and

method of it we have only as yet vague poetical figures, which we are

unable to translate into earthly fact. Enough is told us to make the thought

of coming judgment a present moral power. David connected the Divine “judgment” with “righteousness” and with “truth,” as these, he knew,

had been so gloriously manifested in the fulfillment of ancient promises.

(Remember that God has connected the resurrection with the judgment!

Acts 17:31; Revelation 20:4-6, 11-14 – CY – 2012)  These being the characteristics of Jehovah’s judgment to which the view is directed in

this psalm, the essentially joyous tone of it is accounted for.” Think aright

of God’s judgment, and of it we may even learn to sing.


34  O give thanks unto the LORD; for He is good; for His mercy endureth

for ever.  35  And say ye, Save us, O God of our salvation, and  gather us

together, and deliver us from the heathen, that we may give thanks to thy

holy name, and glory in thy praise.  36  Blessed be the LORD God of Israel

for ever and ever. And all the people said, Amen, and praised the LORD.”

These three verses, from Psalm106: 1,47-48, must have suggested the sad intermediate

contents of that psalm, the significant key-note of which is sounded in our v.35. The

suggestion in the midst of the unbounded gladness of this day is affecting, and

must have been intended for salutary lesson and timely warning. In the midst of

the fullness of praise and joy, the people are led to prayer — say ye — and the prayer

 is an humble petition for salvation, union, and protection from every enemy. God’s

treatment of His anointed people had been on His part one continued protection and

one prolonged salvation. Yet they had often neither prayed for these nor acknowledged

them. Now they are led again by the hand, as it were, to the footstool of the throne.


The next seven verses (37-43) give the now new-ordained distribution of

priests and Levites, to minister and to attend to the service of praise before

the ark. And the first of them may be considered to mark an important step

in advance in the crystallizing of the world’s ecclesiastical institutions.


37 “So he left there before the ark of the covenant of the LORD Asaph

and his brethren, to minister before the ark continually, as every day’s work

required:”  Asaph and his brethren of song are left there before the ark of the

covenant… to minister before the ark continually, as every day’s work

required. A permanent local ministry and choir are thus established, with a

fixity of place on Zion, and regularity of time that had been hitherto unattainable.


38 “And Obededom with their brethren, threescore and eight;

Obededom also the son of Jeduthun and Hosah to be porters:”

Explanation is needed of the plural pronoun “their.” Either another name is

wanted with Obededom, or tacit reference is made to Asaph and his brethren,”

as though the name Asaph had not been followed in its own place by the clause

“and his brethren.” Keil draws attention to the “three score and two” of

ch.26:8, in connection with the three score and eight of this place; and it has

been proposed to make up this number by some of the sons of Hosah, of our

following verse and of ch.26:11. In this case the name Hosah might be the name

missing before, “and their brethren.” Conjecture, however, has not sufficient

clue here to warrant it, and the textual state of this verse must be debited with the

obscurity. The ambiguity respecting the name Obed-edom has already (ch. 13:14)

been alluded to. Neglecting this ambiguity, it may be repeated that Obed-edom,…

son of Jedithun (as the Keri of this passage is) was a Merarite Levite, while

Obed-edom son of Jeduthun (ch.15:25) was of Gath-rimmon, a Gittite (II Samuel

6:10-12; Joshua 21:24), a Kohathite (ch.6:66, 69), and a Korhite (ch.26:1-5).


39 “And Zadok the priest, and his brethren the priests, before the

tabernacle of the LORD in the high place that was at Gibeon,”

While those above-mentioned were to officiate before the ark

on Zion, those mentioned in this and following verses are the officiating

staff at Gibeon. It is now brought into prominence that the ark and the

tabernacle are in two separate places. The great ordinary sacrifices and

services, “all that is written in the Law of the Lord,” are carefully observed

on the original altar (Exodus 38:2) in the tabernacle. Other and special

sacrifices evidently were offered in the presence of the ark. The tabernacle

erected in the wilderness was first stationed at Shiloh (Joshua 18:1; I Samuel 4:3-4).

The occasion of its removal to Nob (I Samuel 21:1; 22:19) is not narrated. The

present passage first tells us where it had been since the slaughter of the priests

at Saul’s command by Doeg the Edomite. Some distinct statement, like that of

ch.21:29 and II Chronicles 1:3, might have been expected here. Zadok the priest

is given (ch.6:4-9) as in the line of Eleazar.


40 “To offer burnt offerings” - i.e. the customary morning and evening sacrifices.

 “unto the LORD upon the altar of the burnt offering continually morning

and evening, and to do according to all that is written in the law of the LORD,

which He commanded Israel;”


41 “And with them Heman and Jeduthun, and the rest that were chosen,

who were expressed by name, to give thanks to the LORD, because His

mercy endureth for ever;  42 And with them Heman and  Jeduthun with

trumpets and cymbals for those that should make a sound,  and with musical

instruments of God. And the sons of Jeduthun were porters.”   Comparing

these verses with vs. 4-6 and 37-40, it may be supposed that we are intended to

understand that of all who were set apart and who had been  expressed by name

(as e.g. ch. 15:4-24), some were now formally appointed to serve before the ark,

and some in the tabernacle at Gibeon. The confusion existing  in these verses by

the repetition of the preposition with, and the proper names Heman and Jeduthun,

betrays some corruptness of text. The Septuagint does not show them in the latter

verse. The sons of Jeduthun are found in ch.25:3.


43 “And all the people departed every man to his house: and David

returned to bless his  house.”  (See II Samuel 6:19-20.)



The Inaugural Services on Zion (vs. 1-43)


The greater part of the contents of this chapter must be viewed as borrowed matter —

the appropriating of portions of sacred songs or psalms which already existed, to this

individual occasion. The stricter homiletic treatment, therefore, of our vs. 7-36 may be

better found in the portions of the psalms concerned, in their own proper place. But

there are some larger aspects offered by the matter of this chapter, which may be

appropriately considered in this place. And we may notice:




indeed already gathered such force as to conquer for itself the place which

it holds on this great day of David. To this it has grown since the day of

Seth and Enos, when we read of it thus, “Then began men to call on the

Name of the Lord” (Genesis 4:26). And though true it is that we may

not critically make any great doctrine or argument depend on the uncertain

exegesis of that one sentence, yet we know that the facts, so far as we

require them now, were not distant from what the sentence says. The

religion of mankind then, where existent at all, was the pure, individual,

essential principle, Heaven-given and reigning in the hearts of a very few

— this still and evermore of necessity its essence. Then, however, when

men could be numbered only by the score, it was manifestly impossible for

religion to exhibit the “effects n which it does in the time of David. Nay, of

ages afterwards it were, of course, true to say the same thing, and to add

this also, that when, so far as numbers were concerned, it became possible,

still it did not become fact. Through all these ages, however, with all

receding tides, and notwithstanding some extraordinary checks, religion

never became utterly lost to sight. Once during those ages it showed a

number not exceeding eight (The Flood), another time not fewer than

seven thousand (I Kings 19:18), and, for the most part, what the number was,

greater or less, God only knew — He alone could say. Yet through good

report and ill, through good times and bad, it was acquiring strength unmeasured

and immeasurable. It was insisting on its own vitality; it was proving the courage

of its convictions; its tone was of no uncertain kind; its mien was ever of the

undaunted. In patriarchal succession of families, what pungent lessons

religion many a time taught and made itself known thereby! In Egyptian

times, amid temptation and snare, what various knowledge and

determination it was maturing! In the wilderness, how carefully by form, by

sacrifice, by sign, by judgment, it was shaping individual and national life.

Amid the dangers and the glories of the people’s settlement in the land of

promise, amid the achievements of judges and leaders and captains, and the

multitudinous strifes of little kings, its pronounced voice spoke the word

and it was done, or, if the voice was silent, the people were undone. All

this time, measurable only by thousands of years, it was betraying its

existence, indicating its nature, betokening a large store of sleeping

strength, and anything but seeming to exhaust or to strain its own energy.

But now the principle of religion seems to have burst into FULL

LIFE!  Its many and outspreading branches hang down with ripe and

golden fruit. Now it is the light and life, the joy and strength, the reverence

and pride of a whole nation, from the highest to the lowest. All business,

all pleasure, all other thought or care, stand still to look, or throng to join in

a scene festive of festivity itself. The day itself is ablaze, not with the ordinary

light and heat of a splendid sun over Zion’s heights, but with the service

and joy of religion in a hundred thousand hearts — in Jerusalem

 and all Judea,” but culminating in Zion. And it is all because “In Judah

God is known, His Name great in Israel In Salem also is His

 tabernacle, and His dwelling-place in Zion (Psalm 76:1-2).Blessed

glimpse of what it will be for this world, when “God shall all renew,” and




FOR RELIGION. Though, at that time, the world of mankind was some

three thousand years old, religion had been as yet but a wayfarer. It had never

deserted men. Its spirit had influenced, guided, ruled their spirit; it had

consoled their sorrows, heightened their joys ten thousand separate times; but it

has not yet had an honored dwelling-place, a worthy throne, a fixed home. To

this it has now come, and to this it has been brought up by the willing

enthusiasm of king and prophet, priest and people. There can be no doubt

that its local habitation exposes it to some danger, to some

misunderstanding. The long process of ages has been undoing, is still

undoing the danger, correcting the misunderstanding. The city then

emphatically set on a hill has never been hidden. Ten thousand others, the

spiritual copies of it, have taken its name upon them, and have helped

thereby to prove practically that Zion’s glory that day did not foreshadow

the exclusiveness of an individual place, but only THE SURE


CHURCH and its exalted, commanding prominence. The typical lessons,

therefore, of the day on which David fixed the symbols and the services and

the servants of a true, revealed religion on Zion are not to the effect that religion

itself is anything less than a pure, silent, but mighty principle in the heart, but

rather that it is to be the avowed, conspicuous, and abiding PRINCIPLE

OF LIFE and of the life of all.  The distribution of religion is emphatically

not to be partial. The influences of it arre emphatically not to be intelligible only

to an initiated few. The force of it is emphatically not to expend itself invisibly,

and exhaust itself according to individual fickleness or frailty. It is to state its

character, its quality, its very nature before all the world, and under the blaze

of publicity itself — a testimony for or against every man to the eye or ear

of whom it has become proclaimed. And in spite of one or two temporary

and superficial appearances to the contrary, these were the truths which that

day was proffering to teach. For a while, perhaps, it was Zion’s height

alone;” some thought it was to be always “Zion’s height alone;” but faithful

history and imperious necessity have proved the contrary, and have proved

that to have been never meant,


“Not now on Zion’s height alone

Thy favoured worshipper may dwell.


                 * * * * * *

“To thee, at last, in every clime

Shall temples rise and praise be sung.”



GRANDEST FESTIVAL. These are certainly not obscurely told here.

They consist in thanks for all that is, and adoring praise for Him, from

whom all good is. The mind and memory have been stirred up, and

from their depth and their breadth come the testimonials of His boundless

compassion, mighty deliverance, tenderest mercy, good gift and grace. The

heart knows the meaning, and, though often too insensible, now owns the

joy. Happy is that teacher of religion who, with Divine help and the Divine

Spirit, can make the mind and memory do this, some of their highest and

most fruitful work. He will be a useful teacher, preacher, pastor, guide of

souls. Angels very likely may spring at once to adoration’s highest reach

and strain direct. But we are permitted to rise thither through the appeal to

our nature of gratitude. The religious service and language of this day is

the reiteration of appeal to give thanks, while the ground for doing so is

simply and impressively told. This mingles a vein of pathos, of confession,

of dependent prayer; and then acclamation and the praise not of

thanksgiving, but of adoration, fill every heart and tongue. Such is the

worship for such as we have been, when we get above. Such are the songs

of heaven and its temple. Such the joy of each and of all, who there

 recount with the fullness of gratitude dangers past, sin forgiven,

guilt cleansed away, SALVATION FREELY GIVEN till the

enraptured  soul is lost in ADORATION and “glories in the praise”




A Psalm (vs. 7-36)


When the king had organized a choir of musicians, had provided them with

their instruments, had assigned them their duties and their maintenance, it

remained for him to decide what they were to sing. He was himself “the

sweet psalmist of Israel.” It is difficult for us to imagine what psalmody

must have been before the time of David. It is a grand vocation — that of

putting words of praise into the lips of worshippers. And it was a glorious

burst of sacred song which pealed from the heights of Jerusalem when the

sublime odes of David were first rolled to heaven upon the wings of the

wind. What a revelation of God, what an inspiration for man, what new life

to the world, when the psalms were first wrought into shape by the

glowing heart and the glorious eloquence of David! The later Levitical

psalms are perhaps more reflective and elaborate, but those composed by

the lyrical sovereign of Israel have at once the simplest piety, the

profoundest feeling, and the most vigorous eloquence. The occasion of the

composition, or, at all events, the first public rendering of David’s odes,

was one worthy of such efforts. When the ark found a resting-place in the

city of David, when Jerusalem was consecrated by the public and regal

recognition of the Divine Law, when the Levites solemnly addressed

Jehovah in the name of Israel, — then this magnificent psalm was sung,

now in melodious recitative, and again in resounding chorus, to the

accompaniment of cymbal, of trumpet, and of harp. It was a fitting

inauguration of a series of sublime solemnities. When we examine the

structure of the psalm, we are surprised and filled with admiration at the

appropriateness, the beauty, the comprehensiveness of the composition.

The psalm, as it is recorded in this place, agrees with what we find in

Psalms 105, 96, 107 and 106.  Taken as we here find it, it contains:



This is addressed to nature (vs. 30-33), to mankind in general (v. 28),

especially to Israel (v. 13).


  • A RECORD OF GOD’S GOODNESS. And this both to the patriarchs

(vs. 15-18), and to Israel as a nation, to whom that goodness had been

displayed in the most critical period of their history (vs. 19-22).



29, 34.) Never had these been so devoutly and at the same time so

poetically celebrated as now and here.


  • PRAYER FOR SALVATION. This petition (v. 35) flows most

naturally out of what precedes. In the register of Divine acts, in the

recounting of Divine attributes, a foundation had Been laid for this devout

and urgent entreaty.


  • BLESSING AND AMEN. A glorious closing (v. 36) to a glorious

psalm. “All the people” here concurred with, adopted as their own, the

worship of the Levites. The royal psalmist’s heart must have beat high with

sacred joy when his plans proved successful, when his ministers rendered

his compositions in a manner worthy of their substance, and when the soul

of a nation was raised into fellowship with God



The Constituents of Piety (vs. 8-14)


In our psalms and in our prayers we often indicate the real elements of religion as fully,

and perhaps as clearly, as in our exhortations. In this psalm of David we have the

essential principles of piety.



12.) We cannot feel toward Him as we should except we consider “His

deeds among the people,” except we “talk of all his wondrous works,”

except we “remember his marvelous works.” Calling these to mind, we

shall be powerfully and rightly affected by a realization of His Divine power

and goodness. We shall naturally dwell on His works in nature, His power

as displayed in the creation and sustenance of our own spirit and our own

human life, His handiwork in the providential ordering of the world.



TO THE WHOLE WORLD. (Vs. 13-14.) As the children of Israel felt

that they were chosen of God, having received direct and special

communication and consideration; as they could speak of themselves as His

“chosen ones,” and could say, “He is the Lord our God;” so we may and

must feel that we all are the objects of his Divine regard, that He looks with

benignant eye on us and stretches out the hand of Divine friendship toward

us, that He is the Lord our God who has chosen us and whom we have

chosen. And as they were taught to feel that “His judgments are in all the

earth,” so we also are to think of Him as the supreme almighty Power

reigning and ruling everywhere, “speaking and it is done, commanding

 and it stands fast” (Psalm 33:9).



MERCY. (Vs. 8-9.) A large part of the sacred service of the Jews

consisted in praise. In heathendom there was much of deprecation,

something of supplication, little or nothing of praise. God’s own people

had such a sense of His absolute excellence that they “gave thanks at the

remembrance of his holiness,” and such a remembrance of His

distinguishing goodness to them that they sang psalms of praise because

they were such large recipients at his hand. The piety of the Hebrew was

vocal with constantly recurring praise; the psalms of the “sweet singer of

Israel,” and of Jewish worship altogether, were so largely hymns of

thanksgiving, that we always associate the thought of praise with the name

of them. And from us, for whom as for them God has done such great

things, for whom, indeed, God has done greater things than for them, it

may well be that praise is found to be the prevailing note of our worship,

the chief strain in our piety.


  • JOY IN GOD. (v. 10.) The people were encouraged to “glory in

God’s holy Name,” to triumph in the thought that they were worshipping

Him who was the “Holy One of Israel,” in every way worthy of their

profoundest adoration; also to “rejoice” in Him as in One the knowledge

and service of whom was the spring of truest and abiding satisfaction. We

may well do the same; and having “such an High Priest” as we have,

such a Saviour and Divine Friend, such a Refuge of our soul, we may glory

and rejoice with more intense joy than they.


  • COMMUNION WITH GOD. (v. 11.) We do not enter into the full

heritage of the people of God until we “seek the face of the Lord

continually.” Both in His house and in our own home, we are to seek Him,

to “seek His strength,” to come consciously into His presence, to draw nigh

with our spirit to His Spirit, to walk with Him, to hold converse with Him, to

pour out our heart before Him, to dwell in the house of the Lord for ever,

beholding His beauty as well as inquiring in His temple (Psalm 27:4).



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