Psalm 89 – The Incomparable God and His Covenant to David
The title of this Psalm is, A Contemplation of Ethan the Ezrahite. There are several men named Ethan in the Hebrew Scriptures, but this man is mentioned specifically in 1 Kings 4:31 as someone who was famous for his wisdom yet surpassed by Solomon’s greater wisdom. This means he was likely a contemporary of Solomon and as such was also alive during the reign of David.
“Ethan is probably identical with Jeduthun, who founded one of the three choirs (cf. 1 Chronicles 15:19; 2 Chronicles 5:12). Ethan shared with Heman a reputation for wisdom.” (Kidner)
A. The incomparable God and His covenant to David.
1. (1-2) Forever mercy and faithfulness.
I will sing of the mercies of the LORD forever;
With my mouth will I make known Your faithfulness to all generations.
For I have said, “Mercy shall be built up forever;
Your faithfulness You shall establish in the very heavens.”
a. I will sing of the mercies of the LORD: Ethan began this Psalm with a declaration of praise in song, focused on the mercies (from the word hesed, sometimes thought of as covenant love or loyal love) of Yahweh. The great lovingkindness of God lasts forever, so the praise of it should also be sung forever.
i. This is a psalm with a lot of trouble, but the presence of trouble didn’t silence the psalmist’s praise; he sang of God’s mercies. “We have not one, but many mercies to rejoice in, and should therefore multiply the expressions of our thankfulness.” (Spurgeon)
ii. “We think when we are in trouble we get ease by complaining; but we do more, we get joy, by praising. Let our complaints therefore be turned into thanksgiving.” (Matthew Henry, cited in Spurgeon)
b. Will make known Your faithfulness: Ethan was not only concerned to experience the mercies and faithfulness of God; he also felt the need to make them known to others. This was for their benefit, that they might be led to also experience God’s faithfulness and mercy. More importantly it was to spread the glory and fame of God as broadly as possible.
i. Ethan knew something of how good God was; it was fitting that others also know and he was determined to tell them.
c. Mercy shall be built up forever; Your faithfulness You shall establish: This was something that Ethan said to declare the goodness of God. He noted the permanent, enduring character of God’s mercy and faithfulness, and how God had established these things.
i. Mercy shall be built up forever: “Another of the key words in 2 Samuel 7, with its play on the theme of the house David would have built for God, and the living house God would build instead for David.” (Kidner)
ii. “A building is an orderly thing as well as a fixed thing. There is a scheme and design about it. Mercy shall be built. God has gone about blessing us with designs that only his own infinite perfections could have completed.” (Spurgeon)
2. (3-4) God’s covenant with David.
“I have made a covenant with My chosen,
I have sworn to My servant David:
‘Your seed I will establish forever,
And build up your throne to all generations.’” Selah
a. I have made a covenant: As an expression of the mercies and faithfulness mentioned in the previous verses, Ethan noted the covenant God made with David as described in 2 Samuel 7. There, God promised to build and establish the house of David.
i. Ethan’s mention of the covenant shows that it was public knowledge in the days of David and Solomon. People knew what God promised to David and they understood that Solomon fulfilled it only partially.
b. Your seed I will establish forever: God promised David, I will set up your seed after you, who will come from your body, and I will establish his kingdom (2 Samuel 7:12). This promise was partially fulfilled in Solomon, the direct son of David and immediate heir to his throne. It would be most perfectly fulfilled in the One known as the Son of David – the Messiah, Jesus Christ (Matthew 12:23).
i. “We have an incontestable proof, that the covenant with David had Messiah for its object; that Solomon was a figure of him; and that the Scripture hath sometimes a double sense.” (Horne)
c. And build up your throne to all generations: God promised David, I will establish the throne of his kingdom forever (2 Samuel 7:13). Again, this was fulfilled in an immediate and partial way with Solomon, but in a full and perfect way with Jesus the Messiah.
i. “The pledge to David is also extended to his descendants (v.4) and thereby to the future generation of subjects. The Lord himself will secure the rule of the Davidic dynasty.” (VanGemeren)
d. Selah: Ethan believed that the wonderful generosity and faithfulness of God in such a promise was worthy of emphasis and meditation, so he instructed the musical pause selah.
3. (5-10) God praised for His faithfulness and might.
And the heavens will praise Your wonders, O LORD;
Your faithfulness also in the assembly of the saints.
For who in the heavens can be compared to the LORD?
Who among the sons of the mighty can be likened to the LORD?
God is greatly to be feared in the assembly of the saints,
And to be held in reverence by all those around Him.
O LORD God of hosts,
Who is mighty like You, O LORD?
Your faithfulness also surrounds You.
You rule the raging of the sea;
When its waves rise, You still them.
You have broken Rahab in pieces, as one who is slain;
You have scattered Your enemies with Your mighty arm.
a. The heavens will praise Your wonders, O LORD: Ethan was probably familiar with David’s words in Psalm 19: The heavens declare the glory of God. God was not only to be praised for His faithfulness also in the assembly of the saints, but for His staggering work of creation.
i. Several commentators regard the mentions of the saints and the sons of the mighty and the assembly of the saints to refer to angelic beings. If so, Ethan the Psalmist brings together all creation to recognize the greatness and majesty of God.
ii. “Earth and heaven are one in admiring and adoring the covenant God: Saints above see most clearly into the heights and depths of divine love, therefore, they praise its wonders; and saints below, being conscious of their many sins and multiplied provocations of the Lord, admire his faithfulness.” (Spurgeon)
iii. “Did not ‘the heavens praise the wonders of Jehovah,’ when a choir of angels descended from above, to sing an anthem, at the birth of Christ? And how must the celestial courts have resounded with the hallelujahs of those blessed spirits, when they again receive their King, returning in triumph from the conquest of his enemies?” (Horne)
iv. Your wonders… Your faithfulness: “They praise God’s ‘wonder’ (which here means, not so much His marvellous acts, as the wonderfulness of His Being, His incomparable greatness and power), and His Faithfulness, the two guarantees of the fulfilment of His promises.” (Maclaren)
b. Who in the heavens can be compared to the LORD: God’s greatness means that He is also incomparable. He is not to be measured on the scale used to measure the greatness of men or even angels (perhaps the sense of sons of the mighty).
i. God’s incomparability is an aspect of His holiness. The sense of holy is apartness, that God is incomparably greater than all created things.
ii. “The biblical universe is not empty, but peopled with myriads of angels, here called holy ones (5, 7) and heavenly beings (6, literally ‘sons of elim).” (Kidner)
c. God is greatly to be feared in the assembly of the saints: Understanding the incomparability (holiness) of God should bring forth a sense of awe and praise from His people, especially as they collectively gather. He is to be held in reverence by all those around Him.
i. “Irreverence is rebellion. Thoughts of the covenant of grace tend to create a deeper awe of God.” (Spurgeon)
d. Who is mighty like You, O LORD: Ethan continued his meditation on the incomparability of God with attention to His might, expressed in His ability to control unruly creation. This unruly creation is described as the raging of the sea and the defeat of the proud creature Rahab.
i. “The extent of the ocean, the multitude of this waves, and their fury when excited by a storm, render it, in that state, the most tremendous object in nature.” (Horne)
ii. “The ruling of the raging of the sea, the stilling of the stormy waves, and the breaking and scattering of the might of Egypt are used by the psalmist to illustrate the omnipotence of Jehovah, before which the mightiest monarchy on earth had no more power than if it had been a corpse.” (Spurgeon)
e. You have broken Rahab in pieces, as one who is slain: Rahab is often taken as a personification of proud and strong Egypt. This may be true in this context, yet there is also a a fascinating connection to the Canaanite mythology of the time, transforming and using that connection to glorify God as in the Incomparable One.
i. The name Rahab means proud one, and in Canaanite mythology the sea god Yam was subdued and the sea serpent Rahab was killed at creation. Here, as in Job 26:12-13 (which perhaps Ethan had in mind), this Canaanite mythology is co-opted and transformed.
ii. Later the Prophet Isaiah would use the same imagery and tone in speaking of Yahweh’s great victory over Rahab: Are You not the arm that cut Rahab apart, and wounded the serpent? (Isaiah 51:9)
iii. In the ancient times Middle East there were many popular legends about the gods who combated different hostile deities in order to create the earth. Ethan, Asaph, Job, and Isaiah took some of these stories and made Yahweh the hero of them. Therefore, it is Yahweh who rules the raging of the sea, when ancient legends said that Tiamat (the Deep) was the chaotic goddess defeated by the hero god Marduk (Bel), or Yam (the Sea) who was defeated by Baal. It is Yahweh who cuts Rahab in pieces, not Marduk or Baal.
iv. There is the possibility that there is a grain of historical truth communicated in these ancient mythologies and legends. Ancient rabbinic mythologies suggest that an evil serpent was in the primeval sea resisting creation, and that God killed the serpent and brought order to the world as may be described in Genesis 1:1-2.
v. Satan is often represented as a dragon or a serpent (Genesis 3; Revelation 12 and 13) and the sea is thought of as a dangerous or threatening place in the Jewish mind (Isaiah 57:20; Mark 4:39; Revelation 21:1). It’s possible that Rahab is another serpent-like manifestation of Satan, who was the original proud one (Rahab). It is also possible that Leviathan describes the same creature (as in Job 3:8, Job 41:1, Psalm 74:14, and Isaiah 27:1).
vi. It is important to note that the Hebrew Scriptures do not simply believe or adopt this Canaanite mythology; they take it and transform it, using it to exalt Yahweh in a way that the Canaanite myths never did. Elmer B. Smick notes this in the Expositor’s Bible Commentary on Job: “Here the sea that God subdues is not the deity Yam. Job depersonalized Yam by using the definite article (the sea), thus expressing his innate monotheistic theology… Further, by his own wisdom, skill, and power he ‘cut Rahab to pieces’ and ‘pierced the gliding serpent,’ unlike Marduk who depended on the enablement of the father-gods.”
vii. “A study of the Old Testament names for the well-known Canaanite mythological sea monsters like Rahab shows how purposefully the Old Testament authors used the language to enrich their own poetic conceptions of the supremacy of the one and only true God.” (Smick)
4. (11-14) The glory and strength of God in heaven and on earth.
The heavens are Yours, the earth also is Yours;
The world and all its fullness, You have founded them.
The north and the south, You have created them;
Tabor and Hermon rejoice in Your name.
You have a mighty arm;
Strong is Your hand, and high is Your right hand.
Righteousness and justice are the foundation of Your throne;
Mercy and truth go before Your face.
a. The heavens are Yours, the earth also is Yours; the world and all its fullness: In the previous verses the Psalmist Ethan transformed a Canaanite myth to show that Yahweh, the covenant God of Israel, performs all things and none other. He stated the same principle in different words, proclaiming that no other god or gods created or maintains the heavens or the earth. The fullness of the entire world, north and the south, all belong to God.
i. “Turn to all points of the compass, and behold the Lord is there. The regions of snow and the gardens of the sun are his dominions: both the land of the dawning and the home of the setting sun rejoice to own his sway.” (Spurgeon)
b. Strong is Your hand, and high is Your right hand: The skill and strength of men is often expressed in the arm and hands, especially the right hand. Ethan applied this principle in a metaphor to God, expressing His skill and strength.
i. You have a mighty arm: “Towards the Christian church ‘the arm of Jehovah’ hath been revealed in a still more extraordinary manner. She reflecteth on the wonders wrought by Jesus; a conquest over more formidable enemies than Pharaoh and his Egyptians; a redemption from more cruel bondage; salvation from sin and death; a new heavens, and new earth, a new Jerusalem, and spiritual Sion.” (Horne)
c. Righteousness and justice are the foundation of Your throne: The Psalmist praised the incomparable might of God, but did not ignore God’s moral greatness. Yahweh has the right to reign merely because of His omnipotence, but His nature demands that righteousness and justice mark His rule, the foundation of His throne and mercy and truth go before His face.
i. Mercy and truth go before Your face: “These shall be the heralds that shall announce the coming of the Judge. His truth binds him to fulfill all his declarations; and his mercy shall be shown to all those who have fled for refuge to the hope that is set before them in the Gospel.” (Clarke)
5. (15-18) The blessedness of those who know the incomparable God.
Blessed are the people who know the joyful sound!
They walk, O LORD, in the light of Your countenance.
In Your name they rejoice all day long,
And in Your righteousness they are exalted.
For You are the glory of their strength,
And in Your favor our horn is exalted.
For our shield belongs to the LORD,
And our king to the Holy One of Israel.
a. Blessed are the people who know the joyful sound: Those who know the good sound of this truth – of God in His incomparable might, His righteousness and justice, and His mercy and truth – are a blessed people, and blessed in many ways.
· They enjoy the favor and fellowship of God’s face: They walk, O LORD, in the light of Your countenance.
· They rejoice all day long in the name – the character and nature – of the incomparable God.
· They find their strength in God, especially in His favor: You are the glory of their strength.
· They enjoy God’s protection: our shield belongs to the LORD.
i. You are the glory of their strength: “It is the duty of Christians, as it was that of Israelites, to ascribe all their strength, their success, and their glory, whether in matters temporal or spiritual, to Jehovah alone.” (Horne)
b. And our king to the Holy One of Israel: A further blessing to the people who know the incomparable God is that God takes a particular interest in their king. The following lines of the Psalm suggest that this king was David.
B. The vision to God’s holy one regarding the covenant with David.
1. (19-24) God’s help to the king.
Then You spoke in a vision to Your holy one,
And said: “I have given help to one who is mighty;
I have exalted one chosen from the people.
I have found My servant David;
With My holy oil I have anointed him,
With whom My hand shall be established;
Also My arm shall strengthen him.
The enemy shall not outwit him,
Nor the son of wickedness afflict him.
I will beat down his foes before his face,
And plague those who hate him.
But My faithfulness and My mercy shall be with him,
And in My name his horn shall be exalted.”
a. I have given help to one who is mighty: The previous lines (Psalm 89:18) spoke of God’s special interest in the ruler of His people. Here some of the result of that interest is described. Speaking in a vision to the king (Your holy one), God promised help to the ruler.
i. Spurgeon thought the holy one in this context was Nathan the Prophet, not David. “The holy one here meant may be either David or Nathan the prophet, but most probably the latter, for it was to him that the word of the Lord came by night (2 Samuel 7:4-5).” (Spurgeon)
b. I have exalted one chosen from the people: The son of Jesse – David – was not from a noble or especially influential family, but from the people. Nevertheless, God found him and regarded him as His servant.
i. “Here was no self-made king and empire-builder, carving out a career for himself.” (Kidner)
ii. Spurgeon drew three thoughts from the truth, I have exalted one chosen from the people:
· Jesus was extracted from the people.
· Jesus was elected among the people.
· Jesus was exalted above the people.
c. I have found My servant David: In this section of the Psalm, God described the many blessings He placed upon David, the man after His heart (1 Samuel 13:14).
· The blessing of help (I have given help).
· The blessing of exaltation (I have exalted).
· The blessing of election (one chosen from the people).
· The blessing of anointing (I have anointed him).
· The blessing of security (with whom My hand shall be established).
· The blessing of God’s own strength (My arm shall strengthen him).
· The blessing of protection (the enemy shall not outwit him, nor the son of wickedness afflict him).
· The blessing of vindication (I will beat down his foes before his face, and plague those who hate him).
· The blessing of ongoing faithfulness and mercy (My faithfulness and My mercy shall be with him).
· The blessing of exalted strength (in My name his horn shall be exalted).
i. I have anointed: “More important than any crown was the fact of being anointed, and so set apart for sacred office; it was this that gave rise, in due course, to the title Messiah or Christ.” (Kidner)
ii. I will beat down his foes before his face: “These verses complement Psalm 2, where the Lord’s anointed receives full authority to subjugate all resistance of God’s enemies on earth. The real source of David’s power and authority lies in the Lord’s presence and purpose.” (VanGemeren)
iii. “None of his enemies shall be able to prevail against him. It is worthy of remark that David was never overthrown; he finally conquered every foe that rose up against him. Saul’s persecution, Absalom’s revolt, Sheba’s conspiracy, and the struggle made by the partisans of the house of Saul after his death, only tended to call forth David’s skill, courage, and prowess, and to seat him more firmly on his throne.” (Clarke)
2. (25-29) More blessings to the king.
Also I will set his hand over the sea,
And his right hand over the rivers.
He shall cry to Me, ‘You are my Father,
My God, and the rock of my salvation.’
Also I will make him My firstborn,
The highest of the kings of the earth.
My mercy I will keep for him forever,
And My covenant shall stand firm with him.
His seed also I will make to endure forever,
And his throne as the days of heaven.”
a. I will set his hand over the sea, and his right hand over the rivers: This promised a dominion that David never seemed to fulfill. As the previous section spoke of the blessings God promised to David, the promises gradually become of a nature that sees their perfect fulfillment only in David’s greater son, the Seed of David (Psalm 89:4, 89:29, 89:36).
b. You are my Father: This was true of David, but even more true of Jesus the Messiah who did all things looking to and in dependency on God the Father (John 5:19, 8:28).
c. I will make him My firstborn: This was true of David in the sense that even though he was the youngest of many brothers (1 Samuel 16:11) God gave him the prominence and favor associated with the firstborn. That prominence and favor was even truer of Jesus, the Son of David – made the highest of the kings of the earth (1 Timothy 6:15, Revelation 19:16).
i. “First-born is not always to be understood literally in Scripture. It often signifies simply a well-beloved, or best-beloved son; one preferred to all the rest, and distinguished by some eminent prerogative. Thus God calls Israel his son, his first-born, Exodus 4:22.” (Clarke)
d. My mercy I will keep for him forever: This mercy to David’s house was promised in the covenant God made with him (2 Samuel 7:15).
i. My covenant shall stand firm: “With Jesus the covenant is ratified both by blood of sacrifice and by oath of God; it cannot be cancelled or altered, but is an eternal verity, resting upon the veracity of one who cannot lie.” (Spurgeon)
ii. “Never forget that, when once God has entered into covenant with a soul, He will stand to it, till the heavens be no more.” (Meyer)
e. His seed also I will make to endure forever, and his throne as the days of heaven: This promise from the Davidic covenant (2 Samuel 7:16) is only fulfilled in the forever reign of the Messiah, Jesus Christ.
3. (30-37) The promises of the Davidic covenant repeated.
“If his sons forsake My law
And do not walk in My judgments,
If they break My statutes
And do not keep My commandments,
Then I will punish their transgression with the rod,
And their iniquity with stripes.
Nevertheless My lovingkindness I will not utterly take from him,
Nor allow My faithfulness to fail.
My covenant I will not break,
Nor alter the word that has gone out of My lips.
Once I have sworn by My holiness;
I will not lie to David:
His seed shall endure forever,
And his throne as the sun before Me;
It shall be established forever like the moon,
Even like the faithful witness in the sky.” Selah
a. If his sons forsake My law: All of those in David’s royal line had some part of this Davidic covenant. Some of these were disobedient kings, and God brought considerable correction to both the kings and the kingdom.
i. I will punish their transgression with the rod: “Not with the sword, not with death and destruction; but still with a smarting, tingling, painful rod.” (Spurgeon)
b. Nevertheless My lovingkindness I will not utterly take from him: As described in the Davidic covenant, Yahweh would never completely take His hesed, His covenant love, from the house of David (2 Samuel 7:14-16). Yahweh would remain faithful to His covenant and His word.
i. I have sworn by My holiness: “God here pledges the crown of his kingdom, the excellent beauty of his person, the essence of his nature. He does as good as say that if he ceases to be true to his covenant he will have forfeited his holy character. What more can he say? In what stronger language can he express his unalterable adherence to the truth of his promise?” (Spurgeon)
c. His throne as the sun before Me; it shall be established forever like the moon: God’s promises to David regarding his royal house and the reigning Messiah to come from that house were sure like the sun and the moon, the faithful witness in the sky.
i. His throne as the sun before Me: “Splendid and glorious! Dispensing light, heat, life, and salvation to all mankind.” (Clarke)
C. The covenant and the crisis.
1. (38-45) The sense that God had forsaken His covenant promises to David.
But You have cast off and abhorred,
You have been furious with Your anointed.
You have renounced the covenant of Your servant;
You have profaned his crown by casting it to the ground.
You have broken down all his hedges;
You have brought his strongholds to ruin.
All who pass by the way plunder him;
He is a reproach to his neighbors.
You have exalted the right hand of his adversaries;
You have made all his enemies rejoice.
You have also turned back the edge of his sword,
And have not sustained him in the battle.
You have made his glory cease,
And cast his throne down to the ground.
The days of his youth You have shortened;
You have covered him with shame. Selah
a. But You have cast off and abhorred: The first 37 verses of Psalm 89 soar with confidence in God’s incomparable greatness and His covenant to David. Here, the tone suddenly shifts as Ethan considered some present crisis, which seemed to be all the worse contrasted with his understanding of God’s greatness and faithfulness to the covenant with David.
i. Because we don’t know the exact time Ethan wrote, we don’t know the crisis that prompted this desperate cry. It might have been Absalom’s rebellion (2 Samuel 15-18). It might have been the spiritual decline of Solomon (1 Kings 11). It may have been the rapid and radical decline after Solomon’s death (1 Kings 12). It may have been an unrecorded crisis.
ii. “With an honesty found consistently in the psalms but often lacking in ourselves, it also describes a situation in which God has not seemed to be faithful, and it asks, ‘Where is your faithfulness?’” (Boice)
iii. “But these glorious promises are set in sharpest contrast with a doleful present, which seems to contradict them.” (Maclaren)
iv. “Taken as a whole, this song is one of the finest in the collection as a revelation of how the man of faith is compelled to view calamity.” (Morgan)
b. You have renounced the covenant of Your servant; You have profaned his crown by casting it to the ground: Ethan’s words here seem a shocking contradiction to what he wrote earlier in the Psalm. In Psalm 89 he wrote both with the full confidence of faith and with the true report of his feelings. Ethan knew God had not renounced the covenant, but in the present crisis it felt like it.
i. “Renounced may be too decisive a word for this rare verb, whose meaning as to be guessed from its parallel terms, i.e. ‘defiled’ (Psalm 89:39b) and ‘scorned’ (Lamentations 2:7a). Perhaps ‘disdained’ or ‘held cheap’ would be more accurate. It is in any case the language of experience, not an accusation of bad faith.” (Kidner)
ii. You have: “Yet all this is spoken of as the work of Jehovah. The key phrase to this portion is, ‘Thou hast.’” (Morgan)
iii. To think that God has allowed such disaster is painful. It’s even more painful to think that God had nothing to do with it and we are at the mercy of random events, fate, and luck.
c. The days of his youth You have shortened; you have covered him with shame: The king himself – David, Solomon, or a later king – was personally affected and weakened by the crisis. The promises of God through the Davidic covenant seemed empty at the time.
i. Selah: “Selah. The interceding poet takes breath amid his lament, and then turns from describing the sorrows of the kingdom to pleading with the Lord.” (Spurgeon)
2. (46-48) A plea for speedy rescue.
How long, LORD?
Will You hide Yourself forever?
Will Your wrath burn like fire?
Remember how short my time is;
For what futility have You created all the children of men?
What man can live and not see death?
Can he deliver his life from the power of the grave? Selah
a. How long, LORD: Ethan couldn’t bear the idea that the crisis would last much longer. He poured out his plea to God who seemed to be hiding, and seemed to be angry with Israel and her king.
b. Remember how short my time is: Perhaps Ethan prayed this on behalf of the weary king, or perhaps he longed to see the king and kingdom vindicated in his life, perhaps his old age. The mention of shortness of time and futility of life adds a sense of urgency and even desperation to the request.
c. Can he deliver his life from the power of the grave: The answer to this rhetorical question is of course, no. No mere man can deliver his own life from the grave and its power. Men often wish to forget their complete dependence upon God regarding the life to come, but the Psalmist urged the remembrance upon us, emphasizing it with Selah.
i. There has only been One with the power to deliver his life from the power of the grave – Jesus Christ. Jesus promised to raise his own body after three days in the grave (John 2:19).
ii. “All men at their best estate are mortal and miserable, kings and people must unavoidably die by the condition of their natures; and therefore, Lord, do not increase our affliction, which of itself is more than enough; neither proceed in these violent courses upon us, who, without such severity, must perish of and from ourselves.” (Poole)
iii. “The problems of verses 47f. cry out for the gospel’s answer.” (Kidner)
3. (49-51) A prayer for restoration of previous mercies.
Lord, where are Your former lovingkindnesses,
Which You swore to David in Your truth?
Remember, Lord, the reproach of Your servants—
How I bear in my bosom the reproach of all the many peoples,
With which Your enemies have reproached, O LORD,
With which they have reproached the footsteps of Your anointed.
a. Lord, where are Your former lovingkindnesses: Ethan again made honest, heartfelt inquiry from a season of crisis. The request shows that he would not allow himself to stay in the belief that God had cast them off or renounced His covenant. He could still appeal to God on the basis of what God promised to David, what He swore to David in His truth.
b. Remember, Lord, the reproach of Your servants: Ethan asked God to notice their low and despised state, and to act mercifully in light of the seeming triumph of God’s own enemies, who were also enemies of God’s anointed king.
i. They have reproached the footsteps of Your anointed: “Finally, the prayer which the psalm prays in the exiled king’s name (cf. Psalm 89:50f.) begins to accustom our eyes to the combination of servant (Psalm 89:50) and Messiah (anointed, Psalm 89:51), the recipient of God’s promises and man’s insults.” (Kidner)
4. (52) A conclusion of praise.
Blessed be the LORD forevermore!
Amen and Amen.
a. Blessed be the LORD forevermore: The Psalmist concludes this song with a hard-fought declaration of praise. This came from a man who knew God’s promise and trusted it, all the while honestly pouring out his pain before God in his present distress.
i. “He ends where he began; he has sailed round the world and reached port again. Let us bless God before we pray, and while we pray, and when we have done praying, for he always deserves it of us. If we cannot understand him, we will not distrust him.” (Spurgeon)
b. Amen and Amen: Ethan the Ezrahite invited the people of God to join him in his confident, hard-fought declaration of praise.
i. This particular ending makes many think that Psalm 89:52 was added as an exclamation at the end of the Third Book of the Psalms. “This is the doxology with which the third Book of Psalms ends.” (Morgan)
ii. “This doxology belongs alike to all the Psalms of the Third Book, and ought not to be treated as if it were merely the last verse of the Psalm to which it adjoins.” (Binnie, cited in Spurgeon)
©2018 David Guzik – No distribution beyond personal use without permission