J. N. Darby.
(Notes and Comments Vol. 3.)
Psalm 1. The upright, godly, separated Man.
Psalm 2. It is against the Anointed the kings stand up. As set in Zion, He seeth; He breaks the nations in pieces.
Psalm 3. Briefly - in distress, heard out of His holy hill.
Psalm 4. State of confusion, yet the godly chosen.
Psalm 5. Distinguishes the righteous and wicked.
Psalm 6. The deep sorrow of the righteous.
Psalm 7. Again the cry of the righteous Remnant.
Psalm 8. Man, in Messiah, set up by Jehovah.
Psalm 9. The joy of Messiah - the Remnant, in the deliverance. "The Lord dwells in Zion."
Psalm 10. The wicked judged in the Land.
Psalm 11. The righteous are tried; but "the Lord's throne is in heaven," "He is in holy temple," if all the foundations be cast down.
Psalm 12. The generation wholly wicked, but the poor kept.
Psalm 13. The cry, not to be forgotten, answered.
Psalm 14. All men judged, when the atheism of man is proved; but the Lord the refuge of the poor.
Psalm 15. (Jewish) practical righteousness now the standard; such would go into the hill of the Lord.
Psalm 16. Messiah identifies Himself with the saints, and trusts in resurrection.
Psalm 17. Righteous in life, He cries against the men of this world, but has His portion, in resurrection, in God's presence.
Psalm 18. Known in distress from the beginning, and delivered, Israel finds in David, and his seed, the joy of deliverance.
Psalm 19. Revelation of God by Creation and the Law.
Psalm 20. Messiah, seen in trouble; the desire of the faithful for Him; His deliverance, and the King, owned.
Psalm 21. Their joy in the glory of the King answers to Psalm 20; He shall judge.
Psalm 22. Messiah's view of this, His real suffering, under the forsaking. Risen, He gathers the congregation, and the great congregation, and praises among them. The kingdom then is the Lord's. "A seed shall serve him," etc. "They shall come and declare his righteousness."
Psalm 23. What was the Messiah's, is the comfort of His people in the latter day - this, even if death's shadow be on them.
283 Psalm 24. The earth being the Lord's, who are to go into the holy hill? Christ ascends there, as "King of glory," and "the Lord, mighty in battle."
Psalm 25. The passages of the returning heart of Israel to the Lord in their distress.
Psalm 26. The Remnant claim separation from the ungodly.
Psalm 27. The Lord, Light and Salvation - and fear of none; therefore, desire of the Temple for the beauty of the Lord, and to enquire.
Dependence founded on promise.
Psalm 28. Cry, to be not drawn away with the wicked. Confidence in the Lord as strength of Anointed.
Psalm 29. Mighty called to be humble, because of the Lord's voice.
Psalm 30. Entire dependence, not on blessing but on the Lord. Now, thereafter, blessed that they may praise.
Psalm 31. Messiah, so Remnant, in the wicked's net, trusts in the Lord for deliverance. They seemed cut off - but the Lord, when He cried!
Psalm 32. Transgression forgiven.
Psalm 33. Celebration of praise. The nation blessed whose God is the Lord.
Psalm 34. Constant blessing assured through the deliverance of Christ, the poor Man. They begin to teach their children. Note, the deliverance of Christ is here the celebration of Israel, i.e., of the saints there.
Psalm 35. The Lord called on to plead the cause of the Remnant against those that persecute them - some special enemy. They had sorrowed for them, yet they were now against them. Perhaps this is Antichrist; the Jews chasing the now-fleeing Remnant, as in Revelation 11.
Psalm 36. The enemy is now cast down.
Psalm 37. Not to fret against the prosperity of the wicked in that day, for judgment is near, and the meek shall inherit the earth - such as be blessed of the Lord - the righteous, for the Lord helps them.
Psalm 38. The confession of sin, when evil had power over them, i.e., evil from the Lord by trial; and trusting to the Lord to justify, and that against the power of the enemy.
Psalm 39. The confession of discipline and correction. This Psalm and Psalm 38 are under evil owned as the effect of sin.
Psalm 40. Deliverance must be, for Christ is concerned in it. His obedience takes the place of all sacrifice.
Psalm 41. Blessed is he that recognises Him, as Christ confesses the sin, and so righteously relieves. Here they charge the sin, and despise Him for His humiliation, and that, even those next Him. But He is raised up to requite them, and Israel's God is blessed for ever.
Psalm 42. The Remnant, who had gone to the House of God with the rest, are now far away. Being Jews, as acting as such in worship, they are now fled from the persecution and reproach of enemies.
Psalm 43. From a nation (the Jews themselves) now judged, lo chasid (not mercied). All this is hope in God.
Psalm 44. They remember old mercies - have kept the covenant, though smitten to the lowest, killed and accounted as sheep, for the Lord's sake. Therefore, note, the kingdom of heaven is theirs. Yet they are there as Jews; this is a very important point. If not the Bride, the Lamb's wife, they must at least reign with Christ; see 1 Peter 2, 3, 4. Moreover, they clearly suffer with Christ, for they (for the Lord's sake) are killed. This was Christ's suffering, yet they have Jewish hopes and Jewish thoughts.
Psalm 45. Messiah is brought forth royally. His arrows are in the heart of the King's enemies. Jerusalem is presented to Him.
Psalm 46. The "God of Jacob" is the God of the Remnant.
Psalm 47. The peoples called in, on the exaltation of Jacob. God is King of all the earth. God reigns over the heathen.
Psalm 48. What they have heard, they have seen - the kings arrested before Zion, for God is there, and their God for ever and ever - death not for ever and ever. It is the Lord here - "the City of the Lord of hosts"; compare Psalm 10:16, for the Land. All this is Jewish.
Psalm 49. For all the world really, glory founded in the resurrection, because of death - all human glory and expectation, folly.
Psalm 50. This is an important Psalm. El Elohim, Jehovah has spoken called the earth. God hath shined out of Zion. God pleads with His people. If the nation be lo chasid (not mercied) there are chasidim (holy ones); and these have made a covenant with sacrifice. The heavens declare His righteousness, and the earth is called up that He may judge His people. This the Lord does, not for failures in sacrifices, but moral wrong. But the chasidim, for all that, have made a covenant with sacrifices; are these not Jews? (v. 3). "Our God," is the Remnant; therefore they recognise the covenant by sacrifice. So in verse 4, God has got to the earth. It seems surely Jewish. However, in verse 6, God owns, note, Israel as His people, but judges it as such, quod nota, for it is another important element. The two first verses is the great fact, but from verse 3, it is the prophetic anticipation of the Remnant. "Calling the earth" is the topic. The Remnant are sure He will come and call those who have made a covenant with sacrifice, and yet not call in question the neglect of sacrifices. As to the chasidim, their God was not yet come.
Psalm 51. Confession of sin and of blood-guiltiness, not resting in sacrifices. Jewish desires for the re-establishment of Jerusalem.
Psalm 52. The judgment of the boaster, the mighty man. The poor, in his sorrow, trusts in the mercy of God for ever.
Psalm 53. Things in a mixed state. Israel's salvation is not come out of Zion, but God hath scattered the bones of him that camped against her. All men are judged corrupt.
Psalm 54. Still in the trouble, though delivered in detail.
Psalm 55. In the city the worst evil appears. Their friendly companion has turned against them. He has broken his covenant. This seems, specially, Antichrist, though evil was in them of the city also.
Psalm 56. Still in the trouble, they seek their life - a wandering Remnant.
Psalm 57. The same calamities, but with sight of the glory, and God, his refuge.
Psalm 58. The pride of men set aside - the wickedness of man set aside by judgment.
Psalm 59. The heathen judged in spirit, by recurring to the God of Israel, though surrounding the City - not slain at once, but consumed.
Psalm 60. After all these troubles, they lay hold on the territory of the Land and Edom.
Psalm 61. The Remnant, from the end of the Land, have their refuge in God who secures Messiah's glory.
Psalm 62. The opposition to Messiah, I suppose, of Jews, for they bless with their mouth. All men are vanity, but God is the refuge of the faithful one. Save Psalm 59, these are all addressed to God, so not in Lordship-blessing, i.e., from Psalm 51, the confession of iniquity which begins afresh. From Psalm 45, save the address in Psalm 49 to the world, to Psalm 50, it is "the Lord." Note in Psalm 51 the confession of blood-guiltiness. It would seem to be before the blessing of Jerusalem and Zion; see also Matthew 23.
Psalm 63. The craving of the driven out Remnant after God, according to the Spirit of Christ, specially of Christ Himself. "The King shall rejoice in God" - it is impossible to understand these Psalms, without bringing in Christ and the Remnant.
Psalm 64. Here in presence, still, of the enemy, but not in the wilderness among the apostate atheists, who shall see them. It is still "God," for covenant-blessings are not yet enjoyed. Note, Psalm 51 having owned the bloodguiltiness, all the sorrow is now appealed against as the enemy's work, Christ's Spirit taking part with them, as identified with them, and they in His perfectness - His death being cleansing then, not guilt.
Psalm 65. Puts everything in its place. The purpose of God, and heart of Israel in Zion - all coming there for worship. Iniquities - forgiveness. Blessedness in the man whom God chooses. Judgment, the way of deliverance. Blessing to the earth. It is still "God." Psalms 42-49 are Korah; Psalm 50 is Asaph; from Psalm 51 it is David. Hence "I," or "Christ," with them. The others "us," save Psalms 42, 43, which are specially significant, and Christ with them in the wilderness also, i.e., identifying Himself with them.
Psalm 66. By Israel's example, the peoples called to praise Israel's God, from God's works in them from the beginning, but specially His latter-day works; and this, even as to the Flood being dried, for so He shall do.
Psalm 67. God blessing Israel, His saving health is known among all nations, for He governs righteously. The earth yields her increase.
Psalm 68. God arises before the ark. It is the song of deliverance from Egypt, through the exaltation of Christ, to the proper blessing of Jerusalem restored. The kingdoms owning them - hostile strength laid low. This closes, again. We have, then, the ground of the exaltation of Christ, as Solomon, founded on His appeal to God in His humiliation, for that is the ground of glory.
Psalm 69. Christ pleading His sorrow, makes it the ground of judgment on the nation, comfort to the humble; "For God will save Zion … and the seed of his servants shall inherit it."
Psalm 70. In Psalm 69, was what the Jews were, or rather Christ's place among them. Here, they seek after His soul.
Psalm 71. This was Absalom, or, perhaps, Sheba the son of Bichri, or Adonijah himself - the close of Israel's history. God's power was to be shown in him to that generation. It gives place to the full glory of Solomon, for this was the end of the exercise and sorrow.
It is clear from all this that Israel shall be owned, in sorrow and humiliation, before they are fully delivered and set right. But the desires of Christ are not ended (in connection with Israel) till the Solomon-glory.
Psalm 72. The purport and application of this Psalm is obvious, so as not to need comment. It is, however, one of the few which apply to our Lord in His manifestation of righteousness and glory; and it is the end of His desires as Christ. But we must notice only here that, as of others, it is properly and exclusively Jewish, speaking of the bounds of His dominions; and here describes succinctly, but very clearly and fully, the nature and extent of His dominion, which is important. It is the work too of the Lord God, the God of Israel, and relates as to blessings by Christ, so to the whole earth being filled with His glory, as the desire of David. Verse 15 marks a character of millennial glory, properly, as I conceive, human (not like angels, isangeloi) i.e., as to the desire, the prophetic expression of, and Jewish.
Psalm 73. This Psalm is the voice of one of the pious Remnant, particularly as expressed during the latter day - the perception, by the teaching of God, of the explication of the mystery of the "Times of the Gentiles." It has its full development in the last-day inroads of Gog, and is the prophetic answer to the enigma of that. I think, it includes, however, the ungodly selfish Jews.
It appears to me that Psalm 72 ends, as it were, a corporate and definite section of this Book, making a complete libellum in itself (as Revelation to chapter 11) going through the character, promotion of Messiah - His humiliation, mysterious humiliation - His identification with the Jewish people in Spirit, as in the flesh - His exaltation also, in that respect, as Solomon - including the various results and consequences, the relationship in which it placed Him to the world - the repentance of the Jewish people - their thoughts concerning Him - the manifestation of principles to the world by it - and all that has been developed in the previous Psalms. Here we come to the feelings of the individual Remnant, as a people not formed indeed, yet as a people, and therefore in force, and as individual it begins with this prophetic perception, and testimony, as an explanatory verse, "Truly God is good unto Israel, even to such as are of a clean heart," with the secondary subject, "But, as for me, my feet were well-nigh slipped," for he was tried, or tempted to join the world, etc. This becomes the thesis, then, here, and will explain the subsequent Psalms, opening out afterwards, as we shall see, into various important themes, less connected but all founded on the doctrine and revelation of the previous part.
Psalm 91. Note verse 1 is the thesis. "He who dwells in the secret place" - the found covenant, the hiding place, "of the Most High, the Possessor" - he who knows Him in this title, "shall abide under the shadow of the Almighty" - the protection of inevitable power. Helion, the Most High, shall prove Shad-dai (Almighty) to him. What "secret place"? Christ, even Jesus, speaks with His secret knowledge, and says, "I will say of Jehovah, he is my refuge and my fortress," I will take the God of the Jews (knowing Him in His people) for my God. "Most High," and "Shad-dai" were the names in which Elohim was revealed to Abraham. "God," say they, "is Jehovah." "Jehovah Elohey-Israel" was His name. Christ declares He will take the God of the Jews for His God - speaking, of course, as a faithful Man, righteously, upon earth. From verse 3 to 8, the Spirit testifies of what He shall be to Him. It is a right solution, or loving solution of the question. The perception of God, in His people, is faith - as of God in Christ; No man hath seen Him, save He who is of God - even Jesus; compare Psalm 94 and Rahab. This then is the fruit, as it were, of the Spirit. Then the solution of the truth by the thankful declaration of the Spirit in the Jews - God's people - "Jehovah is the Most High." "Because thou hast made Jehovah, who is the Most High" - cast in Thy lot with His despised people - hast owned Him in them, been therein true to Him, not looking to man's greatness, but been in the essence of the truth. "There shall no evil befall thee," etc. Verse 14 is the love and answer of the Father, as Jehovah. The Father's answer and name of power.
Psalm 115:16. Compare this verse with Deuteronomy 10:14-15. Who are "the people that fear the Lord" (v. 13); and the whole purport of the Psalm? See also Genesis 14:19; also Psalm 24.
Psalm 119:118. She-ker (falsehood) vanity - false, in the sense of having no reality. Tar-mi-tham (their deceit) - false, in the sense of deceiving another.
Psalm 133:3. "Life" is here khay-yim ad ha-olam (life for ever). This is, I suppose, blessing on the earth, but must be further enquired into. In Psalm 21:5 Christ is o-lam va-ed (for ever and ever); in Daniel 12:2, I'khay-ey o-lam (to everlasting life).