Psalm 68

J. N. Darby.


This Psalm is God manifested as before the ark, that is, among the Jews; the clouds, the seat of celestial authority, the place where the Lord rides when He exercises power, the visible seat of authority, the ἐπουράνια. (Compare Deut. 33:26, Ps. 89:6, and Dan. 7:13-14.) The whole Psalm is the effect of "Let God arise."

"Let Elohim arise, let his enemies be scattered, and they which hate him flee before him. As smoke is driven away, thou wilt drive them away; as wax melteth in the presence of fire, so let the wicked perish in the presence of Elohim. And let the righteous be glad, let them rejoice in the presence of Elohim, let them be glad with joy." Ps. 68:2

This is the contrast thereupon of the wicked and the righteous, the great Jewish principle.

"Sing to Elohim, praise his name, make your triumph in him that rideth in the deserts, in Jah his name, exult in his presence." Ps. 68:4

This recognizes Elohim as the Jah that was with them in the wilderness. "I AM hath sent me unto you."

"A father of orphans and judge of widows [is] Elohim in his holy habitation."

This is the character of God as preserver of the desolate, in which he stands towards the real Jews in that day. (See Jer. 49:11.)

"Elohim settling or establishing the separated ones in a house, causing the bound in chains to go forth in prosperity. But [on the contrary] the rebellious shall dwell in a dry land," that is, in desolation.

The manner in which this is exhibited in result, distinguishing the poor isolated remnant, and the captivity, and settling them in a house, and the body of the Jews being brought (as rebellious) into desolation: thus much is the full title and subject — the Elohim as manifested. This is the character of God as arisen in respect of the remnant, and the rebellious body of the Jews: while evil prevails there is no unity but in separation; when He comes whose right it is, then He will gather together into one all things in heaven and earth, and it will not be so; the "yachidim" are then the united ones; those driven into separated union with Messiah in hope, but by His Spirit separated from the mass and thereby made essentially one, then shall be settled in a house. That is one fruit of God's arising; next He brings the bound out of captivity, loosing the bonds; and as to the rebellious, the revolters exercising proud will against Him and the poor, them He puts in desolation.

27 "O Elohim, in thy going before thy people, in thy marching through the wilderness; the earth shook, the heavens also dropped before the presence of Elohim: this Sinai before the presence of Elohim, the Elohim of Israel." Ps. 68:8

Here he refers to Elohim's presence amongst them before: "marching" is a bad word, it is a word of solemnity rather, often used of God's going.

"A rain of plentifulness [liberalities] thou didst pour, O Elohim, of thine inheritance, when weary thou didst establish it."

His inheritance is not left as a dry land: God is interested in it. (Deut. 11:11-12.)

"Thine incorporated people [thy body] shall dwell in it, thou hast prepared in thy goodness for the poor, O Elohim."

Elohim having prepared the inheritance therein to place the remnant, now made into an incorporated people, the poor whom He had prepared for in His goodness, Adonai (Jesus as we shall see farther) gives the word, and a multitude carries the message of His goodness abroad. (Isa. 66:19-20.)

"Adonai gives the word: great the host of the publishers."

"Kings of armies [hosts] flee, flee, and the housewife divides [distributes] spoil."

"Though ye lie amongst the grates, as the wings of a dove overlaid with silver, and her feathers with yellowness of gold shall ye be."

"In Shaddai dispersing [or, when Shaddai disperses] kings in her, she is covered as with snow in Salmon," "snow," that is, white and glittering with beauty.

"The mountain of Elohim [is as] the mountain of Bashan; a mountain of summits [as] the mountain of Bashan."

Perhaps Bashan had its name from "shen" a tooth or cliff.

"Why are ye jealous, ye mountains of summits, [at] the mountain of desire of Elohim for his resting place? yea, Jehovah shall dwell for ever [in it]."

"They shall be ashamed for their envy at the people." (Isa. 26:11.)

28 "The array of cavalry [or chariots] of Elohim are multitudes of thousands multiplied. Adonai is in them — Sinai in the holy place."

"Thou hast ascended on high, thou hast led captivity captive. Thou hast received gifts in man, and even for the rebellious, for the dwelling [there] of Jah Elohim."

"Blessed be Adonai [that] day after day heapeth upon us [blessings], the El who saveth us."

Here we have Adonai recognized: it was thus that gifts were received for man, and the rebellious became a dwelling-place of Jah Elohim. "In man." The Hebrew preposition Beth gives a very simple force, not exactly answered by any English preposition; as before "dispersing kings in her," it is not merely as being in her, nor merely for her or her sake, but in her case, as putting Himself as the agent of power in her; it is the sphere or place of God's action or blessing, etc., as the case may be.

"Our El is the El of salvations; and to Jehovah Adonai are [belong] deliverances [goings forth], even from death."

"Even from death," even as to this, which they as a nation had been obliged to go through. Deliverances belonged to Jehovah Adonai, and He was their El too.

"But Elohim shall smite [or break] the head of his enemies, and the scalp of him that walketh [or goeth about] in his wickedness."

"Adonai spake from Bashan. I will cause to return — I will cause to return from the depths of the sea" — return to blessing or from captivity.

"So that thou mayest plunge thy foot in blood. The tongue of thy dogs [has] its portion from enemies."

The Hebrew word "menath"(?) clearly (I should think) portion, its allotted portion — the kind of thing it had to eat, precisely the force of the sentence. We have the same word in Genesis 1:12.

"They have seen thy goings, Elohim, the goings of my El, my King, in the sanctuary. The singers go first, the players on stringed instruments after; between [or in the midst] were chorister damsels playing on the tabrets."

"In the congregation bless ye Elohim Adonai, ye descendants of Israel."

"There [is] little Benjamin their ruler, the princes of Judah their company, the princes of Zebulun, and the princes of Naphtali."

"Thy Elohim hath ordained thy strength; confirm, O Elohim, that which thou hast wrought for us."

29 "Because of thy house at Jerusalem, to thee shall kings bring presents."

"Rebuke the beast of the reed, the company of the bulls [or strong ones], with the calves of the peoples — submitting himself with pieces of silver: he hath scattered the peoples, they shall desire to approach."

"Bulls," untamed, strong, proud enemies. (Ps. 22.) The general sense of this verse, taken with the preceding and succeeding, is interesting. It is on the rebuke of Antichrist, Pharaoh the beast of the reed, and the complete subjection and scattering of the peoples, the entire setting them aside as incorporated, before that the peoples shall come willingly up to worship at Jerusalem. But the latter part is so abrupt as to be extremely difficult.

"The Hashemanim [or princes] shall come from Egypt. Cush shall speedily bring his power [or submit] to Elohim."

"Ye kingdoms of the earth, sing ye to Elohim; celebrate Adonai."

"To him that rideth on the heavens, the heavens of old. Lo! he uttereth his voice, a voice of strength."

"Ascribe ye [give the praise of] strength to Elohim; over Israel [is] his majesty [or excellency], and his strength in the clouds [the glory of manifested power, the heavens]."

Adonai (Jesus) is the same Elohim who rode on the heavens — exercised the former authority in the wilderness. See Deuteronomy 33:26-29, to which all this refers, or rather to that which is then spoken of — now fulfilled over Israel.

"Wonderful art thou, Elohim, in thy sanctuary."

It is remarkable that this word "wonderful," or terrible, is the same as is applied to Israel in their restoration in Isaiah 18:7. Sanctuary is in the plural in the Hebrew, as Psalm 73:17; whence in Greek ἁγία that which was within the veil (so we know Him), to which He was now returned in power on behalf of the children of Israel.

"The El of Israel, he it is who giveth strength and might to the people. Blessed is Elohim."

"The El of Israel," etc. That is, the person who exercised that authority over the Jews, is the same person who now over the same recognized Israel ruleth in the heavens, and this is Adonai Jesus.

If this be compared with Deuteronomy 33, and the return of God to Israel in strength be seen, nothing can be more bright or plain or beautiful than this Psalm.