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was then in the possession of the Jebusites,) the Mount of Olives being close to Jerusalem.
If, however, the view here taken of the composition of these Psalms be correct, they were probably written by David, as well as Ps.lxiji, 'when he was in the wil. derness of Judah,' at a much earlier period of his life.
366. In Ps.xlii.6 we read, O God, my soul is cast down within me: therefore will I remember Thee from the land of Jordan and of the Hermonites, from the hill Mizar.'
The expression land of Jordan' is generally understood to mean the country on the east of Jordan, — the Psalm being referred to the time of David's flight from Absalom, when he was driven beyond the river to Mahanaim, 2S.xvii.27. Certainly the above phrase does not necessarily mean the land beyond Jordan. It might just as well be used for the land on the western side of the river: and the wanderings of David were, doubtless, not confined to the wilderness of Judah. In fact, we find, 1S.xxv.43, that one of his wives was · Ahinoam of Jezreel ;' from which we should suppose that he was at one time in the neighbourhood of that place. Now close to Jezreel is the mountain which is called by travellers Little Hermon,' (though Canon STANLEY thinks erroneously,) to which reference is supposed to be made in Ps.lxxxix.12, The North and the South Thou hast created them; Tabor and Hermon shall rejoice in Thy Name.' It would seem that the Hermon here mentioned must have been to the south of Tabor, as the mountain in question is, whereas Great Hermon lies far away to the north-east. Hence this Psalm might have been written in the neighbourhood of Jezreel, not far from the Jordan.
367. But it seems more probable that the true explanation of the allusion may be this. In Jo.xi.3 we read of the Hivite under Hermon in the land of Mizpeh :' so that the land of Mizpeh in Gilead was reckoned to be under a spur of Mount Hermon. Now, in the time of David's greatest despondency, we read that he took his father and mother, through fear of Saul, to ‘Mizpeh of Moab,' 1S.xxii.3,4, and gave them in charge to the king of Moab, who seems at that time to have been in possession of this part of Gilead. It is very possible that he may have written this Psalm on that very occasion. And then the Hebrew parallelism in Ps.lxxxix. 12 will be maintained thus :
• The North and the South Thou hast created them;
Nothing is known about the hill Mizar,' which may have been some eminence, of no great notoriety, in the land of Gilead.
If the above be true, it would fix the composition of the Psalm at that early part of David's life, when he was in dread of the consequerces of having met Doeg at Nob, and had, probably, had some intimation already of his having reported him to Saul, to which reference may be made in Ps.xliii.1, “O deliver me from the man of deceit and iniquity!'
368. On Ps.xliv (E.5,3.0), the comment in Bagster's Comprehensive Bible, is as follows:
: This Psalm was evidently composed at a time when the Jewish people suffered greatly from their enemies, and when many were carried into captivity; though the state itself subsisted, and the public worship of God was maintained. The author, from frequently using the singular number, must have been of some eminence. And, as it would not sound well out of any mouth but that of the Prince himself, therefore either the Prince, or some one in his person, must have been the writer, — probably, as Bishop PATRICK supposes, Hezekiah,-- and it would appear, from v.15,16, that it was written soon after the blasphemous message of Rabshakeh.
If this view were correct, it would tend to show that, even in Hezekiah's time, the name Jehovah was not so commonly used by pious writers as the historical books imply: though an inference to this effect could not be confidently drawn from one single Psalm, where the fact observed might be accidental.
369. But this Psalm cannot be assigned with any certainty, or even probability, to Hezekiah's time, — more especially as it is found here in connection with so many other Psalms, which are undoubtedly of a much earlier date. In fact, it would correspond quite as well, or better, to the events of Samuel's time, when sonje years had passed after the people had suffered their great defeat, and they had • lamented after Jehovah,' and had put away all strange gods, "and served Jehovah only;' and then, when the Philistines went up against them, “Samuel cried unto Jehovah for Israel, and Jehovah heard him.' 1S.vii.1-9. This very Psalm might very well express Samuel's bitter cry' on that occasion. And the expressions in v.1, We have heard with our ears, O God, our fathers have told us, what work Thou didst in their days, in the time of old,' would be much more suitable to the days of Samuel, when legends of the past were floating about among the people, than to those of Hezekiah four centuries afterwards, when, probably, such legendary tales had ceased, and, certainly, written books existed.
370. But may not this Psalm also have been written in David's time? We are generally in the habit of thinking of him as always victorious, because the history gives no account of his defeats. Yet Ps.lx, which seems to be undoubtedly, as it appears to us, a Psalm of David's, shows a state of alarm just like that which is expressed in the Psalm before us, and evidently implies that the forces of David had been routed, and disgracefully beaten. In Ps.lx, also, we have the same sorrowful complaints, as here, of God's forsaking the host of Israel, and not going forth, as of old, with their armies. Thus we read, v.1, O God, Thou hast cast us off, Thou hast scattered us;' v.3, . Thou hast showed thy people hard things ; Thou hast made us to drink the wine of astonishment;' v.9,10,11, • Who will bring me into the strong city? who will lead me into Edom? Wilt not Thou, O God, which hadst cast us off? And Thou, O God, which didst not go out with our armies ? Give us help from trouble, for vain is the help of man.'
371. HENGSTENBERG, Psalm.ii.106, takes the same view as we have taken above, of the connexion of this Psalm with Ps.lx.
• We are furnished with a secure starting-point for the historical exposition here in Ps.lx, which presents so many remarkable coincidences with this, both as to the general situation and in expression, that the one cannot be separated from the other. While David carried on war in Arabia and on the Euphrates with the Syrians, probably at a time when he had suffered a heavy loss in battle from them, the Edomites, always intent upon turning the calamitous situations of Israel to account for the satisfaction of their hatred, made an irruption into the land. The small forces left behind in the land were not able to resist them. The greatness of the danger in which Israel was plunged, and of the injuries which he sustained, appears (though nothing is said of it in the books of Samuel beside communicating the result of the battle) from the incidental notice in 1K.xi.15 according to which Joab buried the Israelites, who had been slain by the Edomites, and who had lain till his arrival unburied: it appears also from the frightfulness of the revenge which David inflicted upon Edom, – ‘for six months did Joab remain there with all Israel, until he had cut off every male in Edom,' 1K.xi.16.
Through these circumstances was the Psalm before us first called forth. The sons of Korah sang in the midst of the suffering, probably while the king was absent at the Euphrates. The words, .Thou hast scattered us among the heathen,' v.11, contain nothing against this. For, though the other parts of the Psalm do not permit us to think of a great carrying away, yet a carrying away of a smaller sort occurred eren in the most flourishing times of the state, nay, regularly in every hostile invasion, see Joel.iü.3, Am.i.6–9; and here, where express mention is made of the killed, we might confidently reckon on others being carried away.'
372. In v.2,3, there are references, apparently, to the popular legend, or perhaps, to the Elohistic story, of the conquest of Canaan: but there is no mention of the glories of David's or Solomon's reign, such as we might expect in a later Psalm. In v.4, the expression · Command deliverances for Jacob,' seems also to point to the undivided empire of Israel; and the language of v.17,21, - 'Yet have we not forgotten Thee, neither have we dealt falsely in Thy Covenant,' – would suit very well the days of David, but would hardly have been used in those of Hezekiah, immediately after the wicked reign of Ahaz and the captivity of the Ten Tribes for their sins.
If this view be correct, this Psalm also must have been composed by David in the early part of his reign.
In fact, the expressions in v.4, • Thou art my king, O God; command deliverances for Jacob,'—v.6, For I will not trust in my bow, neither shall my sword save me,'-v.15, “My confusion is continually before me, and tbe shame of my face hath covered me,'--seem plainly to indicate a king, as David, praying on behalf of his people, to whom he refers throughout the Psalm by the pronouns 'me' and us.' The only other alternative is to suppose with HUPFELD, II.p.345, that the people may here be personified: but if so, why in these particular verses, and not generally throughout the Psalm ? Also, the disclaiming of idolatrous practices in v.20,21, 'If we have forgotten the name of our God, or stretched out our hands to any strange god, shall not God search it out, &c?' will not suit the time of the later kings, when idolatry was certainly practised by a part of the people: in fact, it would only suit the time of David, when they worshipped still, it is true, on ‘high-places,' but, as far as the history indicates, worshipped only Jehovah, ever since the grand reformation in Samuel's time, when the children of Israel did put away Baalim and Ashtaroth, and served Jehovah only.' 18.vii.4. When Samuel reproves them because their wickedness was great, which they had done in the sight of Jehovah in asking them a king,' 1S.xii.17, he does not reproach them at all as having forsaken the worship of Jehovah and gone back to idolatry. Some refer the Psalm to the time of the Maccabees, because of v.22, ‘Yea, for Thy sake are we killed all the day long; we are counted as sheep for the slaughter.' But as HUPFELD observes, ii.p.349, these words do not exactly express religious persecution and martyrdom, but all that was suffered by them in God's service, and as His people. The Hebrew people were hated by their idolatrous neighbours, as worshippers of Jehovah : see 1S.xvii.45. Besides, this Psalm was probably written before the time of the Maccabees (228,236).
373. Ps.xlv (E.4,J.0) is generally considered to refer to the marriage of Solomon with Pharaoh's daughter, in which case we should have to suppose it written in the very beginning of Solomon's reign.
But there is this serious difficulty in the way of such a supposition, viz. the fact that Solomon had already a wife, Naamah, the mother of his successor, Rehoboam, 1K.xiv.21, — and, therefore, we must suppose, too great a person to be passed over in silence on this occasion, unless, indeed, she was already dead. The queen in gold of Ophir,' v.9, who stands on the king's right hand,' cannot, of course, be Naamah, nor can she be the bride herself, who is evidently spoken of as the king's daughter,' and is to be brought unto the king' with her maiden train.
HUPFELD, II.p.355, suggests that, “instead of the Egyptian princess, we must, from v.12,13, suppose a Tyrian princess, whom Solomon, from his connection with Hiram, King of Tyre, may easily have married, and had probably among his numerous wives, though the history, (which in 1K.xi, besides the daughter of Pharaoh, makes only general mention of many foreign wives,) names no such Tyrian princess expressly, though it numbers among them Zidonian women, and this designation may include women of Tyre as well as of Zidon.'
374. Assuming, however, that it is a nuptial song, composed for the marriage of Solomon, may it not have been written upon the occasion of Solomon's taking his first wife, Naamah, the Ammonitess? This marriage must have taken place in David's lifetime, since Rehoboam was born in the year before his death. We must believe that so dutiful a son did not marry without his aged father's approval. And it can scarcely be supposed that the king would allow his favourite son, the intended heir to his kingdom and glory, to marry a mere common Ammonitish captive, as might be imagined from the fact that David had taken Rabbah, the royal city of Ammon, and 'brought forth the people that were therein, and put them under saws, and under harrows of iron, and under axes of iron, and made them pass through the brick-kiln: and thus he did unto all the cities of the children of Ammon,' 2S.xii.31. But this took place before the birth of Solomon, since the account of that event in 2S.xii.24,25, is evidently inserted out of its proper place, in order to complete the story of David's conduct with Bathsheba. In fact, sixteen or seventeen years must have passed since the capture of Rabbah, which followed David's sin with Bathsheba, 2S.xii.26-31, (after which Solomou, the son of Bathsheba, was born,) before the young prince could have been of an age to have married Naamah.
375. In that interval what had become of the people of Ammon? We find them stirring in the latter part of the Jewish history, 2K.xxiv.2, 2Ch.xx.1, xxvii.5. So, too, in Jer.xlix.1, they are spoken of as flourishing, and taking possession of the cities of Israel: Concerning the Ammonites, thus saith Jehovah, Hath Israel no sons ? Hath he no heir ? Why then doth their king inherit Gud, and his people dwell in their cities?' Nay, at a much earlier period, in the time of Uzziah, we find the Prophet Amos threatening them and their king with ruin :*For three transgressions of the children of Ammon, and for four, I will not turn away the punishment thereof; because they have ripped up the women with child of Gilead, that they might enlarge their border. But I will kindle a fire in the wall of Rabbah, and it shall devour the palaces thereof, with shouting in the day of battle, with a tempest in the day of the whirlwind; and their king shall go into captivity, he and his princes together, saith Jehovah.' Am.i.13-16.
376. But we read also that, when David fled before Absalom, and was come to Mahanaim beyond Jordan, «Shobi, the son of Nahash of Rabbah of the children of Ammon, together with Machir and Barzillai, brought beds, and basins, and earthen vessels, and wheat, and barley, and flour, and parched corn, and beans, and lentiles, and parched pulse, and honey, and butter, and sheep, and cheese of kine, for David, and for the people that were with him, to eat.' 28.xvii.27,28.
Plainly, then, Shobi was himself in prosperous circumstances. His father, Nahash, had shown kindness to David, though his brother, Hanun, had behaved 80 shamefully to David's ambassadors, as to bring on this fierce retribution, 28.x.1-5. But, though David captured the city, it does not appear that he destroyed it, (at least, there is no sign of such destruction in 2S.xii.26, though the Chronicler states that Joab smote Rabbah and destroyed it, iCh.xx.1): and, though he humbled the people, there is no reason to suppose that he put them to death. It is plain that Shobi felt towards him as his father Nahash did; and it is possible that he may have been placed by David in his brother's place over the children of Ammon, as a tributary king; or else he may have lived as a private individual, detached altogether from his people, and sharing neither in their insolent behaviour nor their ruin. At all events, we find him in apparently wealthy circumstances, and showing affection and gratitude to David in the time of his trouble. Bathsheba and Solomon were, no doubt, with David at this time, the young prince being about twelve or thirteen years old. Naamah was, perhaps, one of the royal house of Ammon, a sister or a daughter of Shobi; and, in either case, she may have been a 'king's daughter, just as truly as the Egyptian princess. At this time she may have been seen and approved by David and Bathsheba, as a future bride for their son. Three or four years afterwards, we find Solomon married to Naamah, and it is to this marriage that Ps.xlv may very possibly refer.
377. It will be found that many of the difficulties now disappear, which attend