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Bible Commentaries

E.W. Bullinger's Companion Bible Notes

Psalms 89



Verse 1

Title. Maschil = Instruction. The twelfth of thirteen so named (the thirteenth being Psalm 142). See note on Psalm 32, and App-65.

Ethan. Mentioned with Heman (Psalm 88). A Merarite (1 Chronicles 6:44; 1 Chronicles 15:17). He seems to have another name, "Jeduthun" (1 Chronicles 25:1, 1 Chronicles 25:3, 1 Chronicles 25:6; 1 Chronicles 16:41, 1 Chronicles 16:42). The only Psalm ascribed to Ethan. See note on Psalms 89:30. Ezrahite. See note on Psalm 88, Title. Compre the case of Elkanah 1 Samuel 1:1).

mercies = lovingkindnesses. Plural of majesty = the great lovingkindness.

the LORD. Hebrew. Jehovah. App-4.

faithfulness = truth. Hebrew. "emunah. Seven times reiterated in this Psalm: verses: Psalms 89:1, Psalms 89:2, Psalms 89:5, Psalms 1:8, Psalms 1:24, Psalms 1:33, Psalms 1:49 ("in thy truth").

Verse 2

I have said. Some codices, with Septuagint and Vulgate, read "Thou hast said". Compare Psalms 89:19. The words of Ethan, reminding Jehovah of His covenant with David.

Mercy = Lovingkindness, or grace. Note "Mercy" (Psalms 89:2); "covenant" (Psalms 89:3); "seed" (Psalms 89:4); repeated below (verses: Psalms 89:19-32 and verses: Psalms 89:33-37).

Verse 3

made = solemnized.

covenant. See 2Sa 7, where Jehovah, being the only party, the covenant is unconditional, and = a "promise" among "the sure mercies of David", &c. But it looks beyond David.

sworn. See 2 Samuel 7:11, &c.; the word is not used there, but the terms of the oath are given.

Selah. Connecting the recital of Jehovah"s covenant with the praise offered for it. See App-66.

Verse 5

saints = holy ones, or angels. See preceding line, &c.

Verse 6

who. Figure of speech Erotesis. App-6. This is the cry of all His saints. See note on Exodus 15:11.

heaven = sky. Same word as Psalms 89:37.

sons of the mighty = sons of Elim = the angels.

Verse 7

GOD. Hebrew El. App-4.

assembly = secret conclave.

Verse 8

God. Hebrew. Elohim. App-4.

LORD. Hebrew Jah. App-4.

Verse 10

Rahab = Egypt. See note on Psalms 87:4.

arm. Figure of speech Anthropopatheia. App-6.

Verse 11

the world. Hebrew. tebel = the world as inhabited.

Verse 12

Tabor and Hermon. West and east of the Holy Land; and, with north and south, completing the four points of the compass.

Verse 13

hand. Figure of speech Anthropopatheia. App-6.

Verse 14

Justice = Righteousness.

habitation = foundation.

face. Figure of speech Anthropopatheia. App-6.

Verse 15

Blessed = Happy. Figure of speech Beatitudo. App-6. See App-63.

the joyful sound. Of the trumpet"s assembling sound. Lev 23.

countenance = face. See Psalms 89:14.

spiritual blessings symbolized by the feasts = 1 Corinthians 5:6-8

Verse 16

Thy name = Thyself. See note on Psalms 20:1.

Verse 17

glory = beauty.

horn. Many codices, with four early printed editions, read "horns" (plural); but seven early printed editions read sing,

Verse 18

defence = shield. Hebrew. ganan, to cover, or protect.

Verse 20

I have found, &c. Quoted in Acts 13:22.

Verse 22

wickedness. Hebrew. "avval. App-44.

Verse 23

foes = adversaries.

Verse 27

Higher = MOST HIGH. Hebrew. "Elyon. App-4. This looks forward to Immanuel (Isaiah 7:13-15; Isaiah 9:6, Isaiah 9:7. Micah 5:2).

Verse 30

If his children, &c. Ethan refers to the very words of warning given to Solomon (1 Kings 9:6, 1 Kings 9:7; Compare Psalms 11:11-13), which, with 2Sa 7, should be read with this Psalm. Ethan (we may suppose) outlived Solomon, and saw the break-up of the kingdom; and left this Psalm for Instruction (Maschil) for all future time.

children = sons.

And walk not. Figure of speech Pleonasm (App-6), for emphasis.

Verse 31

break = profane.

And keep not. Figure of speech Pleonasm (App-6), for emphasis.

Verse 32

Then will I. Compare 2 Samuel 7:14.

transgression = revolt. Hebrew. pasha". App-44.

iniquity. Hebrew "avah. App-44.

Verse 33

Nevertheless. Figure of speech Palinodia. App-6. Compare 2 Samuel 7:15.

lovingkindness = grace.

Verse 34

break = profane.

alter = violate.

Verse 36

His seed, &c. Compare John 12:34.

Verse 37

a faithful witness: i.e. the sun (Compare Psalms 89:36). See note on "testimony" (Psalms 19:7). Revelation 1:5; Revelation 3:14.

Selah. Connecting the above solemn warning with the fulfilment in the visitation of judgment in the next member. See App-66.

Verse 38

Thine = Thine own.

Verse 39

made void = disowned only here and in Lamentations 2:7. Lamentations 2:45

Selah. Connecting the visitation with the prayer for its removal. See App-66.

Verse 46

Shall. Supply Ellipsis from preceding line: "[How long] shall", &c.

Verse 47

time = lifetime.

men = sons of Adam. App-14.

Verse 48

man = strong man. Hebrew. geber. App-14.

soul. Hebrew. nephesh. App-13.

hand. Put by Figure of speech Metonymy (of Cause), App-6, for the power exercised by it.

the grave. Hebrew. Sheol. App-35.

Selah. Connecting the fact of man"s frailty (even of the strongest) with the renewed and increased fervour of his complaint. See App-66.

Verse 49

LORD *. One of the 134 places where the Sopherim altered Jehovah to Adonai. See App-32.

swarest. See 2Sa 7, and note on Psalms 89:3.

truth = faithfulness. Same word as rendered "faithfulness" in Psalms 89:1. Here, the last of the seven occurrences.


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Bibliography Information
Bullinger, Ethelbert William. "Commentary on Psalms 89:4". "E.W. Bullinger's Companion bible Notes". 1909-1922.

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