1Ch 16 outlined: (1) David brings the ark to Zion (vv 1-6);
(2) The psalm that David delivered at that time (vv 7-36), consisting of: (a)
Psa 105:1-15 (vv 8-22), (b) Psa 96 (vv 23-33), (c) Psa 106:1 (v 34), and (d) Psa
106:47,48 (vv 35,36); (3) The names of the priests left before the ark in Zion
(vv 37,38); (4) The names of the priests left before the tabernacle in Gibeon
(vv 39-42); and (5) Those who had come to worship went home (v 43).
Vv 8-22 = Psa 105:1-15.
CALL ON HIS NAME: What name? The Covenant Name, of
course! All the emphasis is on this, esp in the first portion of the psa (Psa
105:1,3,4,7,19,45). Yet His people, who should pin their faith upon His Covenant
Name and esteem it more than their necessary food, exclude it from their
synagogue service and prayers. And a sizeable portion of the New Israel argues
about its precise pronunciation (and misses its intrinsic meaning?).
LOOK TO THE LORD AND HIS STRENGTH: That is, the
Shekinah Glory resident in the Ark of the Covenant (Psa 78:61; 132:8; 2Ch 6:41).
The Ark of God's Glory was called His "Strength" because it was the sign of His
kingship in Israel, and the focal point for the display of His person in the
midst of the nation (Psa 26:8; 63:2). David's use of these words in 1Ch 16:8-22
-- when he was bringing the Ark to Jerusalem -- substantiates this.
FACE (of God): In Pss, always ref God's presence in
ark/tabernacle/temple: see VL, Pss, God's face.
THE JUDGMENTS HE PRONOUNCED: Not the Ten Commandments,
but the Promises to the fathers Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, called also "word" (v
8) and "law" (v 10). The context requires this.
SONS OF JACOB, HIS CHOSEN ONES: In ct with Esau (Mal
FOR A THOUSAND GENERATIONS: Cp Exo 20:6: "And shewing
mercy unto thousands of them that love me, and keep my commandments." Should
this read "unto thousands", or -- as in Psa 105:8,9 -- "unto a thousand
generations"? Notice the italics in Exo 20:5: "generations" is added there, by
the translators, to give the sense; and so it prob should be here also. At any
rate, Psa 105:8,9 (and Psa 103:17,18; Deu 7:9; 1Ch 16:15; Isa 51:8; and Luk
1:50) provide divine warrant for this interpretive addition. But is not a
thousand generations a gross exaggeration? By any reckoning, there cannot have
been more than about 300 total generations since Adam. True, unless these
passages mean spiritual "generations" in Christ, which can be "begotten" in
rapid succession. The enthusiastic convert to the truth in Christ loses no time
in converting a friend or relative to the same faith. And so on, and so on,
until God's mercy has been shown indeed to a thousand such "generations"! (WBS
The covenant was made with Abraham (Gen 12:1-3; 13:14-17), and
confirmed by an oath (Gen 22:16); renewed to Isaac (Gen 26:3) and to Jacob (Gen
28:13; 35:12). As a token of his participation in this covenant, Jacob was given
the new name Israel at the ford of Jabbok (Gen 32:28).
TO YOU: Singular. The Promise was made to Abraham,
Isaac, and Jacob separately as individuals. But note "you [plural] will
inherit"; it will be fulfilled to all of them collectively. But here is a
promise to the patriarchs not yet fulfilled, either in the past or the present
(Act 7:5; Heb 11:8,9,13).
Quoting Jacob in Gen 34:30, when he had first come into the
Land with his sons (cp v 13 here). God esteems faith in His faithful remnant far
more than formality in the mass of the people. "There is no restraint to the
Lord to save by many or by few" (1Sa 14:6).
The wandering life of the patriarchs is thus described: Gen
12:1,9; 13:18; 20:1; Heb 11:9.
KINGS: This plural is accurate: Pharaoh in Gen 12:17,
and Abimelech king of Gerar in Gen 20:7; 26:11.
MY ANOINTED ONES: The LXX has the singular: "my
Christ"; but most versions give the plural: "my anointed ones". Who was (were)
the Anointed One(s)? The fathers, along with Sarah, in the general sense of
having been specially selected by God. And so God saw that, wherever the fathers
went, they would be protected by His Providence, and if necessary by divine
decree given to Gentile rulers.
Or -- as singular -- the "Messiah" in the womb of Sarah (Gen
20:3,7; cp Gen 18:14), on the general principle of Heb 7:9,10 (Levi paying
tithes while still in the loins of his father Abraham)? This is the same point
David was careful about re Saul: Never would he lift up a hand against the
Lord's anointed (1Sa 24:6,10; 26:11,23).
Did David learn this psa -- and this attitude -- from Samuel?
(If so, then here is a point in favor of Mosaic authorship for the psa, or at
least for the first part.) And it was because of "the anointing" (Isa 10:27) of
Hezekiah (as David's successor and Jesus' predecessor) that the Assyrian army --
having swept through all of Judah (vv 28-32) -- was at last turned aside short
of its ultimate objective of Jerusalem (vv 23,24,33,34).
DO MY PROPHETS NO HARM: A quite remarkable addition to
the Gentile account, yet strictly true: Both Abraham (Gen 22:8; 17:17; Rom 4:19)
and Sarah (Gen 21:10,12; Gal 4:30) were "prophets"! And so also were Isaac (Gen
27:27-29) and Jacob (Gen 48:15-22; 49:1-27).
Vv 23-33 = Psa 96:1-13.
Psa 96:1: Historic setting: The mighty "Theophany" in
Hezekiah's reign. Cp Psa 33:3; 40:3; 98:1; 144:9; 149:1; Isa 42:10. This v
matches Isa 38:20. Note also the marked similarities between Psa 96 and Isa
42:10-12 (and v 9 suggests that the great divine deliverance will have its
greater future counterpart).
ALL THE EARTH: "All the Land!": Hezekiah's appeal to
all 12 tribes.
Vv 25,26: Scornful expressions about idols, because the
Assyrian siege of Jerusalem was essentially a challenge to Jehovah by the "gods"
of Nineveh (Isa 36; 37). The outcome was foreordained: Jehovah is to be feared
above all gods.
FOR ALL THE GODS OF THE NATIONS ARE IDOLS: There is a
marvelous play on words here: "gods"/"idols" = elohim/elilim. Elilim is a pun
and parody on Elohim; the word means "worthless" or "useless" (Job 13:4; Jer
14:14, sw). So Paul writes that "an idol is nothing" (1Co 8:4). Psa 96:13 is
cited by Paul on Mars' Hill (Act 17:31). There the main thrust of his discourse
was to undermine the supposed authority of the many idols in Athens -- so this
psa (and esp v 5 here) would naturally come to mind.
THE LORD MADE THE HEAVENS: That is, even the sun, moon
and stars which the heathen invaders worshiped. Not only was He greater than the
other "gods"; He MADE the other "gods"! And He "will make" the "heavens"!: see
Isa. 65:17,18; cp Isa 51:16; 66:20,22; Rev 3:12; 21:2,10; Heb 12:22,23; 2Pe
ASCRIBE TO THE LORD THE GLORY DUE HIS NAME: "To divest
ourselves of all pride of achievement and to humble ourselves before the Father
is a prerequisite to worshipping Him for this ought to be our first reason for
praying to Him. The scientists who unravel some of the secrets of the molecule
and the genes; the astronomer who peers out into frighteningly vast space; and
the astronauts who photograph the beauties of nature's colours on earth, all
proclaim the wondrous and mighty works of God. They unfold for us a multitude of
reasons for our humble worship of the Father and the Psalms must often put into
words for us what we feel about His Majesty" (TNL 94).
LET THE HEAVENS REJOICE, LET THE EARTH BE GLAD: In Heb,
this reads something like: Yismehu Hashshamayim Wethagel Ha'arez ("Rejoice,
heavens; be glad, the earth"). The Massoretes have pointed out that the first
letters of these four words form the Tetragrammaton YHWH. Not counting this v,
the Covenant Name occurs 11 times in Psa 96 (vv 1,1,2,4,5,7,7,8,9,10,13);
counting it, the Name occurs a much more satisfying 12 times!
LET THE SEA RESOUND, AND ALL THAT IS IN IT: Cp Psa
98:7-9, but altogether at variance -- as a figure of speech -- with the more
common usage of Psa 93:3,4; 46:3; Isa 5:30; 57:20; Jer 50:42; and Luk 21:25.
Here (and in Psa 98) the roaring sea is a picture of great rejoicing, but
elsewhere it is a picture of turmoil and war and revolution.
This fig language is almost lit -- the God-given fruitfulness
of the Year of Jubilee which God had promised to the wasted Land (Isa 35:1,6,7;
41:18; 43:19; 44:23; 55:12,13; cp Psa 67:6; 81:16; 85:12; 107:35-38;
Vv 34-36 = Psa 106:1,47,48.
Yahweh is a God who keeps His promises, even though (as this
ps emphasizes) His people prove unworthy of His kindness.
This v invites comparison with 1Ki 8:49,50. One fulfillment of
this desired deliverance from captivity was in Ezra and Nehemiah; but such
Scriptures as Isa 49:8-26 indicate that the massive captivity rounded up by
Sennacherib (as described in the Taylor Prism) had an early and happy release,
thanks to the unquenchable faith of Hezekiah.
"Then each went to his own home. But Jesus went to the Mount
of Olives" (Joh 7:53; 8:1).