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Bible Commentaries

Commentary Critical and Explanatory on the Whole Bible - Unabridged

Psalms 84



Verse 1

How amiable are thy tabernacles, O LORD of hosts!

Psalms 84:1-12.-Meditation on the blessedness of dwelling in God's house (Psalms 84:1-7); prayer on the ground that Yahweh giveth grace and glory to them that trust in Him (Psalms 84:8-12). The sons of Korah sang this psalm, as from the soul of David. Compare title with Psalms 84:9. They reminded him of the foundation of his hope, communion with God remaining to him though now fleeing from Absalom (cf. Psalms 84:1-4; Psalms 84:6; Psalms 84:9-10; Psalms 42:1-11; Psalms 43:1-5; Psalms 63:1-11. Psalms 42:1-11; Psalms 43:1-5 are Korahite 'Elohiym (Hebrew #430) psalms, this is a Korahite Yahweh psalm.

To the chief Musician upon Gittith - (see Psalms 8:1-9, title, note.) It directs the chief Musician that the psalm should be sung afar the manner, or 'according to the harp of Gath.' This harp of Gath was used for psalms of a pleasant and joyful character. For it was usual to vary the instrument according to the strain of each psalm.

How amiable are thy tabernacles - Hebrew, 'How (much) loved (by me).' Psalms 84:2 expands this thought (cf. Psalms 27:4). The special reason of his love to the Lord's house here is, because in it there is refuge from all troubles (cf. Psalms 84:3 and Psalms 27:5). The plural "tabernacles" is used in reference to the different apartments of the one tabernacle (Psalms 43:3; Psalms 68:35), "Thy holy places."

Verse 2

My soul longeth, yea, even fainteth for the courts of the LORD: my heart and my flesh crieth out for the living God.

My soul longeth, yea, even fainteth for the courts of the Lord. "Courts" is a poetical plural for the one court, to which the general worhippers (as distinguished from the priests) had access; or the space before the sanctuary (Psalms 65:4; Psalms 92:13; Isaiah 1:12). The court is longed for by David as the meeting place of the congregation, the scene of the communion of saints. Blessed are they that dwell in thy house - having access to it both literally and spiritually (Psalms 84:4; Psalms 27:4).

They will be still praising thee. Even though they be for the time in suffering or exile (as I now am), they will yet be given by God occasion to praise Him, as in Psalms 50:15; Psalms 50:23 (Hengstenberg). Or, 'they are (and will be) still praising thee,' as I now no longer have the privilege of doing publicly, being an exile (Maurer). I prefer the latter view, as more consonant to the implied privation of access to the public praises of the sanctuary, which is the burden of David's complaint in Psalms 84:2,

Verses 5-7

Blessed is the man whose strength is in thee; in whose heart are the ways of them.

-Second part of the First strophe. The rich consolation in God which belongs to believers, like David, even in trouble.

Verse 5. Blessed is the man whose strength is in thee; in whose heart (are) the ways (of them). Two conditions of blessedness:

(1) To have one's strength in God, and God as one's strength; to make no creaturely good, such as power, riches, cleverness, honours, our dependence.

(2) To have in one's heart God's sure ways-literally, 'in whose heart (are) embanked ways,' 'made roads,' 'streets;' i:e., the safe and secured ways of the Lord [ m

Verse 8

O LORD God of hosts, hear my prayer: give ear, O God of Jacob. Selah.

Give ear, O God of Jacob. This title implies a plea for being heard, on the ground of God's covenanted grace to the people of Jacob.

Verse 9

Behold, O God our shield, and look upon the face of thine anointed.

Behold, O God our shield. In the Hebrew, "our shield" stands first for emphasis: all our hope of being shielded from the foe rests on thee: "behold," therefore, all the circumstances of our case, David uses the plural "our," not my, to imply that his people's safety is involved in his. And look upon the face of thine anointed - (cf. Psalms 132:10; Psalms 43:5). In looking upon the face of God's Anointed Son, the Father becomes "our shield" from Satan and all evil.

Verse 10

For a day in thy courts is better than a thousand. I had rather be a doorkeeper in the house of my God, than to dwell in the tents of wickedness.

For a day in thy courts is better than a thousand - i:e., better than a thousand elsewhere spent; namely, in the pleasures of sin and of the world (cf. Hebrews 11:24-26).

I had rather be a doorkeeper (or 'stop at the threshold') in the house of my God - i:e., If I cannot have a higher place, I feel the humblest place in the kingdom of God higher than the highest in the world.

Than to dwell in the tents of wickedness. The habitations of the wicked, however stable and princely they look, are but shifting "tents;" whereas 'the tabernacle' of God, though externally made but of curtains as a tent, is nevertheless abiding as "the house of God" (cf. 2 Corinthians 5:1). "The tents of wickedness," as represented by the dwellings of Absalom and the seemingly successful rebels, were furnished with every outward attraction, yet David feels the lowest place of poverty and exile, with God's favour, infinitely preferable (cf. Psalms 4:7).

Verse 11

For the LORD God is a sun and shield: the LORD will give grace and glory: no good thing will he withhold from them that walk uprightly.

For the Lord God is a sun and shield. This assigns the reason why the favour of the Lord with poverty and exile is preferable to riches and home without God. For the Lord God ( Yahweh (Hebrew #3068) 'Elohiym (Hebrew #430)) is a sun to enlighten (Psalms 27:1; Isaiah 60:19-20; Malachi 4:2; Revelation 21:23), and a shield to protect on all sides. Faith has already laid hold of the answer to the prayer in Psalms 84:9, "Behold, O God our shield."

The Lord will give grace and glory - "grace" now, and "glory" hereafter: as in Christ's case the sufferings come first, accompanied with "grace" to bear them, the "glory" afterward and abidingly. On the contrary, the "glory" of the wicked man's house may now seem "increased," but "his glory shall not descend after him" when he dieth (Psalms 49:16-17).

No good thing will he withhold from them that walk uprightly - in the uprightness of faith (Habakkuk 2:4); in sincerity toward God and integrity toward man (Psalms 15:2).


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Bibliography Information
Jamieson, Robert, D.D.; Fausset, A. R.; Brown, David. "Commentary on Psalms 84:4". "Commentary Critical and Explanatory on the Whole Bible - Unabridged". 1871-8.

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