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Biblical Commentary on the Old Testament, by Carl Friedrich Keil and Franz Delitzsh, [1857-78], at

Psalms Chapter 95

Psalms 95:1

psa 95:1

Jahve is called the Rock of our salvation (as in Psa 89:27, cf. Psa 94:22) as being its firm and sure ground. Visiting the house of God, one comes before God's face; קדּם פּני, praeoccupare faciem, is equivalent to visere (visitare). תּודה is not confessio peccati, but laudis. The Beth before תודה is the Beth of accompaniment, as in Mic 6:6; that before זמרות (according to Sa2 23:1 a name for psalms, whilst מזמר can only be used as a technical expression) is the Beth of the medium.

Psalms 95:3

psa 95:3

The adorableness of God receives a threefold confirmation: He is exalted above all gods as King, above all things as Creator, and above His people as Shepherd and Leader. אלהים (gods) here, as in Psa 96:4., Psa 97:7, Psa 97:9, and frequently, are the powers of the natural world and of the world of men, which the Gentiles deify and call kings (as Moloch Molech, the deified fire), which, however, all stand under the lordship of Jahve, who is infinitely exalted above everything that is otherwise called god (Psa 96:4; Psa 97:9). The supposition that תּועפות הרים denotes the pit-works (μέταλλα) of the mountains (Bφttcher), is at once improbable, because to all appearance it is intended to be the antithesis to מחקרי־ארץ, the shafts of the earth. The derivation from ועף (יעף), κάμνειν, κοπιᾶν, also does not suit תועפות in Num 23:22; Num 24:8, for "fatigues" and "indefatigableness" are notions that lie very wide apart. The כּסף תּועפות of Job 22:25 might more readily be explained according to this "silver of fatigues," i.e., silver that the fatiguing labour of mining brings to light, and תועפות הרים in the passage before us, with Gussetius, Geier, and Hengstenberg: cacumina montium quia defatigantur qui eo ascendunt, prop. ascendings = summits of the mountains, after which כסף תועפות, Job 22:25, might also signify "silver of the mountain-heights." But the lxx, which renders δόξα in the passages in Numbers and τὰ ὕψη τῶν ὀρέων in the passage before us, leads one to a more correct track. The verb יעף (ועף), transposed from יפע (ופע), goes back to the root יף, וף, to stand forth, tower above, to be high, according to which תועפות = תופעות signifies eminentiae, i.e., towerings = summits, or prominences = high (the highest) perfection (vid., on Job 22:25). In the passage before us it is a synonym of the Arabic mı̂fan, mı̂fâtun, pars terrae eminens (from Arab. wfâ = יפע, prop. instrumentally: a means of rising above, viz., by climbing), and of the names of eminences derived from Arab. yf' (after which Hitzig renders: the teeth of the mountains). By reason of the fact that Jahve is the Owner (cf. Sa1 2:8), because the Creator of all things, the call to worship, which concerns no one so nearly as it does Israel, the people, which before other peoples is Jahve's creation, viz., the creation of His miraculously mighty grace, is repeated. In the call or invitation, השׁתּחוה signifies to stretch one's self out full length upon the ground, the proper attitude of adoration; כּרע, to curtsey, to totter; and בּרך, Arabic baraka, starting from the radical signification flectere, to kneel down, in genua (πρόχνυ, pronum = procnum) procumbere, Ch2 6:13 (cf. Hlemann, Bibelstudien, i. 135f.). Beside עם מרעיתו, people of His pasture, צאן ידו is not the flock formed by His creating hand (Augustine: ipse gratiâ suâ nos oves fecit), but, after Gen 30:35, the flock under His protection, the flock led and defended by His skilful, powerful hand. Bttcher renders: flock of His charge; but יד in this sense (Jer 6:3) signifies only a place, and "flock of His place" would be poetry and prose in one figure.

Psalms 95:7

psa 95:7

The second decastich begins in the midst of the Masoretic Psa 95:7. Up to this point the church stirs itself up to a worshipping appearing before its God; now the voice of God (Heb 4:7), earnestly admonishing, meets it, resounding from out of the sanctuary. Since שׁמע בּ signifies not merely to hear, but to hear obediently, Psa 95:7 cannot be a conditioning protasis to what follows. Hengstenberg wishes to supply the apodosis: "then will He bless you, His people;" but אם in other instances too (Psa 81:9; Psa 139:19; Pro 24:11), like לוּ, has an optative signification, which it certainly has gained by a suppression of a promissory apodosis, but yet without the genius of the language having any such in mind in every instance. The word היּום placed first gives prominence to the present, in which this call to obedience goes forth, as a decisive turning-point. The divine voice warningly calls to mind the self-hardening of Israel, which came to light at Merמbah, on the day of Massah. What is referred to, as also in Psa 81:8, is the tempting of God in the second year of the Exodus on account of the failing of water in the neighbourhood of Horeb, at the place which is for this reason called Massah u-Merı̂bah (Exo 17:1-7); from which is to be distinguished the tempting of God in the fortieth year of the Exodus at Merı̂bah, viz., at the waters of contention near Kadesh (written fully Mê-Merı̂bah Kadesh, or more briefly Mê-Merı̂bah), Num 20:2-13 (cf. on Psa 78:20). Strictly כמריבה signifies nothing but instar Meribae, as in Psa 83:10 instar Midianitarum; but according to the sense, כּ is equivalent to כּעל. Psa 106:32, just as כּיום is equivalent to כּביום. On אשׁר, quum, cf. Deu 11:6. The meaning of גּם־ראוּ פעלי is not they also (גם as in Psa 52:7) saw His work; for the reference to the giving of water out of the rock would give a thought that is devoid of purpose here, and the assertion is too indefinite for it to be understood of the judgment upon those who tempted God (Hupfeld and Hitzig). It is therefore rather to be rendered: notwithstanding (ho'moos, Ew. 354, a) they had (= although they had, cf. גם in Isa 49:15) seen His work (His wondrous guiding and governing), and might therefore be sure that He would not suffer them to be destroyed. The verb קוּט coincides with κοτέω, κότος. בּדּור .ען, for which the lxx has τῇ γενεᾷ ἐκείνη, is anarthrous in order that the notion may be conceived of more qualitatively than relatively: with a (whole) generation. With ואמר Jahve calls to mind the repeated declarations of His vexation concerning their heart, which was always inclined towards error which leads to destruction - declarations, however, which bore no fruit. Just this ineffectiveness of His indignation had as its result that (אשׁר, not ὅτι but ὥστε, as in Gen 13:16; Deu 28:27, Deu 28:51; Kg2 9:37, and frequently) He sware, etc. (אם = verily not, Gesen. 155, 2, f, with the emphatic future form in n which follows). It is the oath in Num 14:27. that is meant. The older generation died in the desert, and therefore lost the entering into the rest of God, by reason of their disobedience. If now, many centuries after Moses, they are invited in the Davidic Psalter to submissive adoration of Jahve, with the significant call: "To-day if ye will hearken to His voice!" and with a reference to the warning example of the fathers, the obedience of faith, now as formerly, has therefore to look forward to the gracious reward of entering into God's rest, which the disobedient at that time lost; and the taking possession of Canaan was, therefore, not as yet the final מנוּחה (Deu 12:9). This is the connection of the wider train of thought which to the writer of the Epistle to the Hebrews Heb 3:1, Heb 4:1, follows from this text of the Psalm.

Next: Psalms Chapter 96