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Verse-by-Verse Bible Commentary

Psalms 19:4

 

 

Their line has gone out through all the earth, And their utterances to the end of the world. In them He has placed a tent for the sun,

Albert Barnes' Notes on the Whole Bible

Their line - That is, of the heavens. The word used here - קו qav - means properly a cord, or line:

(a) a measuring line, Ezekiel 47:3; Job 38:5; Isaiah 44:13; and then

(b) a cord or string as of a lyre or other instrument of music; and hence, a sound.

So it is rendered here by the Septuagint, φθόγγος phthongos By Symmachus, ἦχος ēchos By the Vulgate, sonus. DeWette renders it Klang, sound. Prof. Alexander dogmatically says that this is “entirely at variance with the Hebrew usage.” That this sense, however, is demanded in the passage seems to be plain, not only from the sense given to it by the ancient versions, but by the parallelism, where the term “words” corresponds to it:

“Their line is gone out through all the earth;

Their words to the end of the world.”

Besides, what could be the sense of saying that their line, in the sense of a measuring line, or cord, had gone through all the earth? The plain meaning is, that sounds conveying instruction, and here connected with the idea of sweet or musical sounds, had gone out from the heavens to all parts of the world, conveying the knowledge of God. There is no allusion to the notion of the “music of the spheres,” for this conception was not known to the Hebrews; but the idea is that of sweet or musical sounds, not harsh or grating, as proceeding from the movements of the heavens, and conveying these lessons to man.

And their words - The lessons or truths which they convey.

To the end of the world - To the uttermost parts of the earth. The language here is derived from the idea that the earth was a plane, and had limits. But even with our correct knowledge of the figure of the earth, we use similar language when we speak of the “uttermost parts of the earth.”

In them - That is, in the heavens, Psalm 19:1. The meaning is, that the sun has his abode or dwelling-place, as it were, in the heavens. The sun is particularly mentioned, doubtless, as being the most prominent object among the heavenly bodies, as illustrating in an eminent manner the glory of God. The sense of the whole passage is, that the heavens in general proclaim the glory of God, and that this is shown in a particular and special manner by the light, the splendor, and the journeyings of the sun.

Hath he set a tabernacle for the sun - A tent; that is, a dwelling-place. He has made a dwelling-place there for the sun. Compare Habakkuk 3:11, “The sun and moon stood still in their habitation.”


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These files are public domain.

Bibliography
Barnes, Albert. "Commentary on Psalms 19:4". "Barnes' Notes on the Whole Bible". http://odl.studylight.org/commentaries/bnb/psalms-19.html. 1870.

The Biblical Illustrator

Psalms 19:4

Their line is gone out through all the earth.

The Christian brotherhood the support of Christian missions

All tradition has interpreted this Psalm of the goings forth of the Spirit in the everlasting Gospel. Nor could a nobler image of the diffusion, the all-pervading and all-penetrating progress of the Gospel of peace be conceived than what the visible heavens present. In antiquity there was no more favourite emblem of the all-pervading presence of Christ than the sun, which, set in heaven, is yet, in its infinite and ceaseless communications of life, present on earth also. Nor does any emblem more frequently occur in Holy Scripture of the bright and peaceful outgoings of the teachers of the faith than the stars; nor any of the streaming in of Divine grace upon the souls of men, in their onward course, than that of light. The Psalmist expresses the view of the Catholic Church, not as man has marred it, but as existing in the eternal mind. And, indeed, the first promise of its fulfilment seemed to foreshow such an end. Who would not have expected from the Acts of the Apostles a very different conclusion from what we now see? Even after the apostolic age there seemed no check in the wondrous progress of the unearthly faith. If the united voice of the Church Catholic, with one undeviating witness for her Lord, had sounded out unceasingly during the fifteen centuries that have since passed, would not the full scope of the prophetic vision have been fulfilled? But a change soon came over the Church’s course. What is our prospect now? To us--the English portion of the Catholic communion--a wider field has been opened and ampler powers given for our extension, than ever since the days when the Apostles dispersed themselves from Jerusalem, have fallen to the lot of any single people We are comparatively powerless when we work alone. We are bound together on the principle that mutual intercessions are the strength of the Church’s work. But all efforts fail unless Christ be within us as our life and power. How can we move onward unless He go forth with us? (T. T. Carter, M. A.)

The being of God proved from universal consent

David does in this place affirm the universality of religion. He supposes the heavens to speak, an universal language, heard, and understood, by all. Hence we argue the existence of God. The argument is, according to Lactantius, that universal and unanimous testimony of people and nations, through all courses of time, who, otherwise differing in language, customs, and conceits, only have agreed in this one matter of opinion. Opinion of Aristotle as to degrees of probability: that which arises from this source approaches near to demonstrable truth, Testimonies of ancient philosophers to this agreement, as well as to its force and efficacy. That men should thus conspire in opinion must needs arise either--

1. From a natural light implanted in man’s nature; or,

2. From a common inclination in his soul; or,

3. From some prevalent reason, obvious to all men; or,

4. From some common fountain of instruction or primitive tradition.

And from any one of these ways being allowed our argument will gain weight and force. If we acknowledge either of the two first we do in effect yield the question: if nature forcibly drives men into this persuasion, how extravagant will it be to oppose her! And if we grant that plain reason, apparent to the generality of men, hath moved them to this consent, do we not, by dissenting from it, renounce common sense? But if we say that it arose in the last manner, from a common instruction or primitive tradition, we shall be thereby driven to inquire who that common master or author of the tradition was: of any such we have no name recorded; we find no time designated when it began to arise. Who, then, were the teachers, but the first parents of mankind? Thus does this consideration lead to another very advantageous to our purpose: first, as proving the generations of men had a beginning; secondly, as affording us their most weighty authority for the doctrine we assert. For--

1. Supposing mankind had a beginning on this earth, whence could it proceed but from such a Being as we describe?

2. Supposing this notion derived from the first men, who instilled it into them? Why should they conceive themselves to come from God if He that made them did not discover Himself to them? Thus do these two notions, that of general tradition concerning God, and that concerning man’s origin on earth from one stock, mutually support each other. As to His eternity: if God made all things, He could not receive being from another; and what reason is there to suppose that He should? But as nothing can receive a being from itself, or from mere nothing spring up into being, therefore the Maker of the world must be eternal. Something of necessity must be eternal, otherwise nothing could have been at all; other things show themselves to have proceeded from the wisdom, power, and goodness of One: whence that One is eternal; and so all nations have consented that God is. That He is immortal and immutable doth also follow plainly: for He, not depending for His being, or anything thereto belonging, or any other thing, neither can He depend for His continuance or conservation; having power superior to all things, as having conferred on them whatever of power they have, nothing can oppose Him, or make any prevalent impression on Him, so as to destroy or alter anything in Him. Also, from His making, His upholding, His governing all things, is consequent, that He was ever and is everywhere: where His power is, there His hand is; for every action with effect requires a conjunction of the agent and patient; nothing can act on what is distant. That with His presence and power He doth penetrate all things, operating insensibly and imperceptibly, doth argue the spirituality of His being; and that He doth consist of such matter (so extended, so divisible) as those things do, which we by sense perceive. His overreaching wisdom implies Him incapable of being deceived; and His overbearing power signifies that He doth not need to deceive; and His transcendent goodness proves Him unwilling to deceive: the like we may say of doing wrong; whence are consequent His perfect veracity and justice. Lastly, the excellency of His nature, the eminency of His wisdom and power, the abundance of His goodness; as also, His having given being, then preserving it to all things, do infer His rightful title to supreme dominion; and accordingly, that all love, all obedience, all praise and veneration are due to Him; according to the devout acknowledgment of those blessed elders: “Thou art worthy, O Lord, to receive the glory and honour and power (or authority), because Thou hast made all things; and for Thy will they are and were created.” (I. Barrow, D. D.)

In them hath He set a tabernacle for the stem.--

The gifts of nature

There was once a time, in the history of the world, when it was the strongest possible temptation to mankind to worship the great objects of nature, but especially those in heaven, and of these especially the sun. In those countries more particularly where the sun is so bright, so powerful, so omnipresent throughout the year the temptation was stronger than anywhere else. Wherever in the Old Testament we hear of the worship of Baal, it is the worship of the sun; and of all the temples so dedicated, this is the most splendid, and the ancient city was called from this worship “Baalbec,” or “the City of the Sun.” We know from the Bible, we know also from the history of this very temple, that this worship was corrupted into the most shameful sensuality; so that, to the Israelites first, and to Christians afterwards, it became a duty to put it down altogether. And this corruption is in itself instructive, as teaching us that the highest love of art and the keenest appreciation of what is beautiful, if left to itself without some purer and higher principles, may and will degenerate into mere brutal self-indulgence and cruelty. But it is always better, if we can, to see what was the good element which lies at the bottom of any character or institution--what there was in the thoughts that raised these solid foundations and these towering columns, which we may also imitate for ourselves. Without falling into those dark errors and sins with which they were once connected. Therefore we could have chosen no more fitting text than the one read to you. Its words tell you of the genial life-giving power of the great light of day, of the glory of his rising, of the strength of his rays, of the regularity of his course, of the penetrating power of his heat, and they spring from a feeling common to the Hebrew Psalmist and to those who raised this heathen temple. What, then, are the good points in that ancient belief which the true religion has adopted for its own and sifted from the surrounding evil? This temple itself is connected with the history and traditions both of the wisest and greatest thoughts of ancient times, and with the basest and most foolish. Its earliest foundations are said to go back to the days of Solomon, the wisest of men. In its latest times it had for its High Priest the most infamous and effeminate of all the Roman emperors--the miserable Heliogabalus. Between the two there was at first sight but little in common. Little, indeed, there is; but it is that little which is so useful to consider.

I. The sense of deep thankfulness for the gifts of nature. Those who lived in old time expressed, as we see, their gratitude and reverence for the gifts of nature by this magnificent temple. Let us express our gratitude and reverence in the offering of pure hearts and good lives to Him who has thus graciously guided us so nearly to the close of our pilgrimage.

II. And this brings me to the second truth which the contemplation of the natural world--of the sun in his strength--suggested to the Psalmist: the order, the regularity, the law of their operations. And this law immediately recalled his mind to the highest example of all law--the unchangeable moral law of God. He tells us how the law of God (the revealed law of goodness, the natural law of conscience) is not only what we are bound to follow as our duty, but is the surest source both of our wisdom and our happiness. See how he expatiates on this theme in the remainder of the Psalm. (Dean Stanley.)

The sun of righteousness

There is no doubt that this verse describes the nativity of our Lord. The sun, that we see in the eastern heavens, is made to us an image of our incarnate Lord and Saviour, issuing from the Virgin’s womb to be the light and life of the Church. It is not a new or strange thing for Holy Scripture to give such a turn as this to the works of nature, the things which we see daily. Compare the figure in Malachi. “Unto you that fear My name shall the Sun of Righteousness arise, with healing in His wings.” And the figure used by Zacharias, “The Day spring from on high hath visited us.”

1. Everyone may understand that as the sun is beyond comparison the brightest object in these outward and visible heavens, so the great privilege of the kingdom of heaven, the kingdom and Church of God’s saints, is to have the Sun of Righteousness, God-made man, especially present, abiding and reigning in it. The same is true of every soul which is inwardly and spiritually conformed to God’s holy Church. It is lull of Christ, of Jesus Christ Himself, silently and mysteriously coming in and dwelling there.

2. As Christ is a sun to his Church by His glorious abiding in it, so the manner in which He came to be so is likened to “a bridegroom coming out of his chamber,” a figure for Christ’s marrying the nature of God to the nature of man, by taking on Him our flesh. Our Saviour, God made man for us, born for us, crucified and risen again, fills the whole Church and the whole world. Christ is whole in His whole Church, and in every part and member of it, as the sun in the firmament shines impartially on the whole world beneath him, and in his circuit visits each part in turn with his warming and life-giving beams. But Christ’s faithful people are more particularly made aware of His presence by the outward means of grace and the visible ordinances of His holy Catholic Church. (Plain Sermons by Contributors to Tracts for the Times. )

The tabernacle of the sun

It was not till the fourth day that God gathered the light together into the sun, and set the sun in heaven to give light upon the earth, and to rule the day. Like to this was the course which the same wisdom of God took in manifesting the light of truth, without which there can be no spiritual life or peace or joy. Such is the waywardness of man, that he can turn God’s choicest blessings into curses. The darkness was fighting against the light, his sin went well-nigh to choking it. But, in the fulness of time, God gathered the light together, as with the natural sun at the creation, and in His Son, to the end that all might see and know from whence and from whom the true spiritual light came If there was music in heaven when the Eternal Son left His throne, and departed to clothe himself in the weakness of humanity, what joy there must have been when He returned as conqueror. It was in the heavens that God set a tabernacle for the sun; and so in the heaven of heavens He set a tabernacle for His only-begotten Son. The Gospel, which till His ascension had been like a young half-fledged bird, which never ventured but a few paces from its nest, now suddenly put forth its wings, and flew to and fro over the earth, and ever and anon returned to its ark with an olive leaf in its mouth, telling that the waters of sin were abating. And as the sun gives not only light but heat, so does Christ soften, melt, and warm the heart by His grace There are eclipses of the sun; the shadow of the moon comes between the earth and the sun, and cuts off its light. This is like the reason of man. It was intended to give us light, but, like the moon, it can only give light as it reflects light from the sun, Christ. There are many things by which the light of Christ may be eclipsed from us. If we pray to Him diligently and heartily be assured He will not leave us in darkness. (J. C. Hare.)


Copyright Statement
These files are public domain.
Text Courtesy of BibleSupport.com. Used by Permission.

Bibliography
Exell, Joseph S. "Commentary on "Psalms 19:4". The Biblical Illustrator. http://odl.studylight.org/commentaries/tbi/psalms-19.html. 1905-1909. New York.

Coffman's Commentaries on the Bible

"In them hath he set a tabernacle for the sun,

Which is as a bridegroom coming out of his chamber,

And rejoiceth as a strong man to run his course.

His going forth is from the end of the heavens,

And his circuit unto the ends of it.

And there is nothing hid from the heat thereof."

"A tabernacle for the sun." This emphasizes the manner in which the sun dominates the entire theater in which the earth is set. "Far from worshipping the sun, as many ancients did, the psalmist regards it as an agent of God, who has set up a tent in the vast heavens for the sun's continual use."[5] This, of course, harmonizes with Genesis where it is revealed that the design of the starry host was not that of controlling men's destiny, or of receiving human worship, but of serving mankind by providing light at night for human use.

The status of the sun, not as a god to be worshipped, but as a servant of the purpose of God, is seen in the two beautiful metaphors used to describe it here. These are: (1) as a bride-groom living in a tent which God provided, and (2) as a strong man running a course assigned to him.

"And there is nothing hid from the heat thereof." Here is another remarkable instance of scientific accuracy in the Bible. One might say that "nothing is hid from the light thereof"; but that is not strictly true. The bottom of the ocean is a place of perpetual darkness, as are the caves of the earth; but all of the heat in the earth has its source in the sun. This is even true of the fossil fuels and of wood that is burned to provide heat.

The great pity is that many human ears do not hear the message of glory, power and divinity of God; but that cannot negate the fact and clarity of the message. It only indicates the inexcusable sin of those who will not hear, as Paul clearly stated in Romans 1:20-21.

Why do some not hear? Maclaren noted that such deafness could be due to men's having, "Stopped their ears with the clay of earthly appetites and occupations, or stuffed them with scientific wadding of the most modern kind."[6] Regarding those who do not hear, they have missed hearing the only voice that is capable of reassuring and blessing mankind.

We may inquire, in what way do the heavens declare the glory of God? (1) Their vastness, which is beyond all human calculation is surely a witness of the omnipotence and wisdom of God. There are not merely trillions of the heavenly bodies, but trillions of trillions of them; no man, however learned, has ever dared to guess "just how many" there actually may be.

(2) The orderly and systematic behavior of the heavenly host speaks eloquently of a Designer, who could not possibly be anyone other than God Himself. This writer once saw in the principal Library in New York City a tabulation of every single eclipse of the sun during the last 2,500 years, giving the exact duration in minutes and seconds of every one of them, and also disclosing the part of the earth in each case where the eclipse would have been visible. Such order and design cannot possibly be imagined apart from the thundering truth that "There had to be a designer." And just who could that be except Almighty God?

(3) The heavens declare God's glory by their utility in demonstrating the uniqueness of the earth as the residence of mankind, a truth of the most amazing dimensions. A few years ago, Dr. A. Crescy Morrison wrote a little book called, "Man does not stand alone,"[7] in which he cited dozens of very unusual conditions on earth (many of them absolutely unique) that were absolute requirements before human life could possibly exist on our planet, stressing the obvious conclusion that human life existed by Design, not by chance. The existence of water itself was one of the things cited. If our earth was once part of the sun, how did it happen that the water did not all evaporate? Why is there no water anywhere else in the universe?

(4) The very beauty of the heavens is in itself a testimony of the glory of God. As even Solomon expressed it, "What a glory it is for the eyes to behold the sun."

(5) Such things as the speed of light and the incredible distances involved in such expressions as "light years" are totally beyond the power of finite minds fully to comprehend them, leading to a definite conclusion that the heavens themselves are some kind of an infinity, a fact that fairly shouts at mankind the corresponding truth that God is infinite.

(6) Notwithstanding many almost incomprehensible things which men have learned about the universe, one thing is absolutely clear and certain, namely that the entire sidereal Creation, moving at incomprehensible speed through incredibly vast distances, is operating under the most precise, invariable laws. Men have been able to decipher and catalogue many of these laws, such as that of gravity, the mutual attractiveness of bodies in space, the speed of light, etc.; and there cannot be the slightest doubt that Law prevails throughout the universe and to the remotest part of it. It is impossible to accept such a truth apart from the conclusion that there must also be "The Lawgiver!"

THE WORD BOOK

With Psalms 19:7, there is an abrupt change in subject matter to the Law of God; and, of course, critics have seen no connection between the two subjects and have postulated two separate psalms that somehow got melded into one. But there is no necessity whatever to accept such theories.

As Rawlinson expressed it: It is the law and order that pervade the material universe which constitute its main glory; and the analogy between God's physical laws and his moral laws is fully evident.[8]

It was most natural, therefore, for the psalmist to include a reference to both laws in the same psalm. Furthermore, he gave a demonstration in this brief psalm of the reason behind two names for God, "[~'Elohiym]," meaning "the Creator," was used in the first division; and "Jehovah," generally used where God's revelation to mankind and/or his dealings with the Covenant people are in view. This name dominates the second section.

Also, it is an undeniable truth that sometimes various names for God are used merely as synonyms, as in the case where Jacob used five names for God in a single paragraph (Genesis 49:25,26).


Copyright Statement
James Burton Coffman Commentaries reproduced by permission of Abilene Christian University Press, Abilene, Texas, USA. All other rights reserved.

Bibliography
Coffman, James Burton. "Commentary on Psalms 19:4". "Coffman Commentaries on the Old and New Testament". http://odl.studylight.org/commentaries/bcc/psalms-19.html. Abilene Christian University Press, Abilene, Texas, USA. 1983-1999.

John Gill's Exposition of the Whole Bible

Their line is gone out through all the earth,.... Not the line or writings in the book of the creatures, the heavens, and the earth, which lie open, and are legible, and to be seen and read of all men; nor the line and writings in the book of the Scriptures, called line upon line, and precept upon precept, Isaiah 28:13, which, though first given to the Jews, were written for the instruction of others, and have been communicated to them; but the line of the apostles: everyone had his line or measure; or the course he was to steer was measured out and directed to him; the line of one, where he was to go and preach the Gospel, reached so far one way, and the line of another reached so far another way; and what with one and another, their line reached throughout all the earth; see 2 Corinthians 10:13; the apostle citing these words in Romans 10:18; renders them, "their sound went", &c. the sound of the Gospel, as published by them; which agrees with the next clause;

and their words to the end of the world; to the isles afar off, even to these northern and distant ones of England, Scotland, and Ireland, which were reached and visited with the Gospel, either by the apostles, or at least by some of the first ministers of the word;

in them hath he set a tabernacle for the sun; that is, in the heavens and firmament, where the natural sun is placed; and its habitation is fitly called a tabernacle, because it is always in motion and never stops: or this may have some respect to its setting, when, according to the common appearance, and to common understandings, it seems to be hid as in a tent or tabernacle; to be as it were gone to bed, and at rest; when in the morning it rises gay and cheerful, and comes forth like a bridegroom out of his chamber, as is said in Psalm 19:5, but this is all to be understood, spiritually and mystically, of Christ the sun of righteousness, who has his tabernacle among his people, his churches; and particularly has a place, and the chief place, in the ministry of the Gospel, being the sum and substance of it; and this is of God's putting there, who committed to his apostles the word of reconciliation, the sum of which is Christ; and this is what makes the Gospel so glorious a light, so clear a revelation as it is: the nature, continuance, and extent of this revelation, are described in the foregoing verses; the perspicuity and clearness of it is set forth in this clause, and in what follows.


Copyright Statement
The New John Gill's Exposition of the Entire Bible Modernised and adapted for the computer by Larry Pierce of Online Bible. All Rightes Reserved, Larry Pierce, Winterbourne, Ontario.
A printed copy of this work can be ordered from: The Baptist Standard Bearer, 1 Iron Oaks Dr, Paris, AR, 72855

Bibliography
Gill, John. "Commentary on Psalms 19:4". "The New John Gill Exposition of the Entire Bible". http://odl.studylight.org/commentaries/geb/psalms-19.html. 1999.

Geneva Study Bible

Their d line is gone out through all the earth, and their words to the end of the world. In them hath he set a tabernacle for the sun,

(d) The heavens are as a line of great capital letters to show God's glory to us.

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These files are public domain.
Text Courtesy of BibleSupport.com. Used by Permission.

Bibliography
Beza, Theodore. "Commentary on Psalms 19:4". "The 1599 Geneva Study Bible". http://odl.studylight.org/commentaries/gsb/psalms-19.html. 1599-1645.

Commentary Critical and Explanatory on the Whole Bible

Their line — or, “instruction” - the influence exerted by their tacit display of God‘s perfections. Paul (Romans 10:8), quoting from the Septuagint, uses “sound,” which gives the same sense.


Copyright Statement
These files are a derivative of an electronic edition prepared from text scanned by Woodside Bible Fellowship.
This expanded edition of the Jameison-Faussett-Brown Commentary is in the public domain and may be freely used and distributed.

Bibliography
Jamieson, Robert, D.D.; Fausset, A. R.; Brown, David. "Commentary on Psalms 19:4". "Commentary Critical and Explanatory on the Whole Bible". http://odl.studylight.org/commentaries/jfb/psalms-19.html. 1871-8.

Wesley's Explanatory Notes

Their line is gone out through all the earth, and their words to the end of the world. In them hath he set a tabernacle for the sun,

Line — Their lines, the singular number being put for the plural. And this expression is very proper, because the heavens do not teach men audibly, or by speaking to their ears, but visibly by propounding things to their eyes, which is done in lines or writings.

Gone — Is spread abroad.

Earth — So as to be seen and read, by all the inhabitants of the earth.

Words — Their magnificent structure, their exquisite order, and most regular course, by which they declare their author, no less than men discover their minds by their words.

Sun — Which being the most illustrious and useful of all the heavenly bodies, is here particularly mentioned.


Copyright Statement
These files are public domain and are a derivative of an electronic edition that is available on the Christian Classics Ethereal Library Website.

Bibliography
Wesley, John. "Commentary on Psalms 19:4". "John Wesley's Explanatory Notes on the Whole Bible". http://odl.studylight.org/commentaries/wen/psalms-19.html. 1765.

John Trapp Complete Commentary

Psalms 19:4 Their line is gone out through all the earth, and their words to the end of the world. In them hath he set a tabernacle for the sun,

Ver. 4. Their line is gone out through all the earth] Or, their rule, or direction, or delineation, or Scripture, {confer Isaiah 28:13} Quod in coelis tanquam in volumine omnibus conspicuo descripta sit Dei gloria, because that in the heavens, as in an open book, is written down the glory of the Creator. The like is done also in other less considerable creatures; every of which do after a sort write as well as speak, and have a pen as well as a tongue. The Chaldee word כבעא for a mint signifieth also a book of histories, because in that one herb large stories of God’s wisdom, might, and love are described unto us. The same word also that signifieth an ear of grain signifieth a word, מלילח because every field of corn is a book of God’s praise, every land a leaf, every sheaf a verse, every ear a word, every corn of wheat a letter, to express the glory of God by, Praesentem narrat quaelibet herba Deum. Antony, the hermit, being asked by a certain philosopher how he could contemplate high things having no help of books? answered, That the whole world was to him instead of a well furnished library; this he had ready by him at all times and in all places, and in this he could read when he pleased the great things of God (Aug. de Doct. Christ. 1. 1; Niceph. l. 8, c. 40). Bernard also saith that was the time when he had no other masters, nisi quercus et fagos, but the oaks and beech trees.

In them hath he set a tabernacle for the sun] That prince of planets, but servant to the saints of the Most High, as his name importeth: so sweet a creature he is, that Eudoxus, the philosopher, professed that he would be content to be burnt up by the heat of it so he might be admitted to come so near it as to learn the nature of it. A tabernacle, or flitting tent, it is here said to have in the heavens; because it never stayeth in one place, but courseth about with incredible swiftness.


Copyright Statement
These files are public domain.
Text Courtesy of BibleSupport.com. Used by Permission.

Bibliography
Trapp, John. "Commentary on Psalms 19:4". John Trapp Complete Commentary. http://odl.studylight.org/commentaries/jtc/psalms-19.html. 1865-1868.

Thomas Coke Commentary on the Holy Bible

Psalms 19:4. Their line is gone out, &c.— Their sound is gone out into all the earth, and their report, &c. Nold. 881. 926. Carpzov. Crit. S. Vitring. Obs. Sac. 841. See Romans 10:18. The meaning is, "They are legible all the world over." He considers the sun, and other luminaries, as letters or characters placed in the expanded volume of the heavens, to be read by all the world.

A tabernacle for the sun The nuptials of the Jews, and other eastern nations, were celebrated with great magnificence and splendor. They were held under a tent, or canopy, erected for that purpose, to which custom David here alludes; as he does in the next verse to the custom of the bridegroom's going out at midnight with lamps and torches. The passage will receive great light from our Saviour's parable of the wise and foolish Virgins.


Copyright Statement
These files are public domain.
Text Courtesy of BibleSupport.com. Used by Permission.

Bibliography
Coke, Thomas. "Commentary on Psalms 19:4". Thomas Coke Commentary on the Holy Bible. http://odl.studylight.org/commentaries/tcc/psalms-19.html. 1801-1803.

Matthew Poole's English Annotations on the Holy Bible

Their line; either,

1. Their admirable structure made exactly, and as it were by line: see Job 38:5 Zechariah 1:16. Or,

2. Their lines, the singular number being put for the plural, for the line answereth to the words in the next clause. And by line or lines he may understand their writing, as this very word is taken, Isaiah 28:10, which is made up of several lines. And this expression may seem to be very fit and proper, because the heavens do not teach men audibly, or by speaking to their ears, but visibly, by propounding things to their eyes, which is done in lines or writongs.

Is gone out, i.e. is spread abroad or drawn forth.

Through all the earth; so as to be seen and read by all the inhabitants of the earth.

Their words, i.e. their magnificent structure, and their exquisite order, and most regular course, by which they declare their author, no less than if they used many words or long discourses to that purpose, or no less than men discover their minds by their words. See more concerning this verse upon Romans 10:18, where it is applied to the preaching of the gospel by the apostles in the several parts of the world.

A tabernacle; which is a movable habitation, and therefore fitly applied to the sun, which is here described to be in constant and perpetual motion, Psalms 19:5,6.

For the sun; which being the most illustrious and useful of all the heavenly bodies, is here particularly mentioned.


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Bibliography
Poole, Matthew, "Commentary on Psalms 19:4". Matthew Poole's English Annotations on the Holy Bible. http://odl.studylight.org/commentaries/mpc/psalms-19.html. 1685.

Whedon's Commentary on the Bible

4. Their line—The word generally means a measuring line, but here seems to take the sense of rule, law, as in Isaiah 28:10-17. The Septuagint has sound, ( φθογγος,) which Paul quotes, Romans 10:18, and applies to the universal spread of the gospel.

Words—Used generally, and here figuratively, for any mode of conveying ideas or wishes, whether by words proper or other signs. Thus Proverbs 6:13, “He speaketh with his feet.”

In them—In the midst of them; and the figure of his tent being pitched there is in allusion to the oriental custom of putting the tent of the emir in the centre of the encampment.


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Bibliography
Whedon, Daniel. "Commentary on Psalms 19:4". "Whedon's Commentary on the Bible". http://odl.studylight.org/commentaries/whe/psalms-19.html. 1874-1909.

George Haydock's Catholic Bible Commentary

Sacrifices. Hebrew mincha, a sacrifice of flour, or unbloody; a figure of the Mass. (Worthington) --- Minchothec, "thy presents" (Montanus; Haydock) of fruits, &c. --- Fat. Hebrew also, "ashes," by miraculous fire, (Berthier) to testify God's acceptance; as at the sacrifices of Abel, (Haydock) Elias, &c., Leviticus ix. 24., and 3 Kings xviii. 31., and 1 Paralipomenon xxi. 26. God forbade lean victims to be offered, as they might shew a want of respect; (Malachias i. 8.) though he always regards the heart (Calmet) and faith of the offerer more than the victim, Hebrews xi. 4. (Haydock) --- Sacrifices were offered before every important enterprize, 1 Kings xiii. 12. (Calmet) --- Fat here intimates what would be acceptable. (Worthington) (Daniel iii. 40.) (Menochius)


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Bibliography
Haydock, George Leo. "Commentary on Psalms 19:4". "George Haydock's Catholic Bible Commentary". http://odl.studylight.org/commentaries/hcc/psalms-19.html. 1859.

E.W. Bullinger's Companion Bible Notes

Their, &c. Quoted in Romans 10:18.

line = inheritance. Hebrew measuring, or allotting line. Put by Figure of speech Metonymy (of Cause), App-6, for inheritance. Septuagint, Syriac, and Vulgate, read "voice". So Romans 10:18, thus connecting the written word. See note on Psalms 19:7.

earth. Hebrew "erez = the earth (as created).

words = sayings, or teachings. See note on Psalms 18:30.

world. Hebrew. tebel = the world (as inhabited). Greek. oikoumene.

tabernacle = tent, or house. Hence the signs of the Zodiac are called the "houses" of the sun, because in them he moves and dwells, and completes his circuit. This corresponds with God"s servants dwelling and moving in the written "Word" (Psalms 19:11).


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Bibliography
Bullinger, Ethelbert William. "Commentary on Psalms 19:4". "E.W. Bullinger's Companion bible Notes". http://odl.studylight.org/commentaries/bul/psalms-19.html. 1909-1922.

Commentary Critical and Explanatory on the Whole Bible - Unabridged

Their line is gone out through all the earth, and their words to the end of the world. In them hath he set a tabernacle for the sun,

Their line is gone out through all the earth. "Their line" is the measuring line of the heavens, which determines the limits and compass of the earth so far as they shall reach (Isaiah 34:17; Zechariah 1:16). The whole earth, then, is their compass, and throughout it "all" they proclaim the divine glory. Thus, as Psalms 19:2-3 express the unceasing praise of God which, with silent eloquence, the heavens declare, so Psalms 19:4-6 express the universality of their praises. Paul follows the free rendering of the Septuagint (fthongos). 'Their sound went into all the earth.' In this he, by the Holy Spirit, gives the virtual meaning of the Hebrew [ qaaw (Hebrew #6957), a line].

And their words to the end of the world - `the habitable orb' [ teebeel (Hebrew #8398)] "Words" is literally 'concise speech;' the language of signs; significant language [Proverbs 6:13, the same Hebrew, mileel (Hebrew #4448)]: very appropriate here as to the silent voices of the heavens.

In them hath he set a tabernacle for the sun - not as though the Psalmist's conception was that the sun has a "tabernacle" in which he reposes at night while he is unseen: Psalms 19:6 negatives this idea. Rather, 'the tabernacle' of the sun means the place assigned to him in the heavens; as Venema remarks, 'To the several luminaries are assigned tents, which are stretched out when the luminaries are visible; taken down when they are invisible. These tents designate their station in the heavenly plains.' The sun is singled out from the other luminaries as being the best analogue in the natural world to the illuminator of the spiritual world, the law, in its vivifying, purifying, gladdening, and enlightening power; and also a type of Him who is the perfect embodiment of the law-Christ, "the Sun of righteousness" (Malachi 4:2), for whom God 'prepared a body' (Hebrews 10:5) as His tabernacle, when He, "the Word, was made flesh, and dwelt [literally, tabernacled, eskeenoosen (Greek #4637)] among us" (John 1:14). 'The heavens are a great hieroglyphic of the Gospel ... the same work, but written in different characters' (DeBurgh). Romans 10:18 does not imply that Psalms 19:4 of this psalm is a direct prophecy of Christ and the Gospel; but the ground of the apostle's reference is this-The universality of God's manifestation of Himself in nature is a covert prophecy of the universality of His manifestation in the Gospel.


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Bibliography
Jamieson, Robert, D.D.; Fausset, A. R.; Brown, David. "Commentary on Psalms 19:4". "Commentary Critical and Explanatory on the Whole Bible - Unabridged". http://odl.studylight.org/commentaries/jfu/psalms-19.html. 1871-8.

Ellicott's Commentary for English Readers

(4) Their line.—Heb., kav, a cord, used of a plummet line (Zechariah 1:16); a measuring cord (Jeremiah 31:39, where also same verb, gone forth). In Isaiah 28:10, the word is used ethically for a definition or law. But neither of these seems very appropriate here. The verse wants sound or voice, and words of this intention actually appear in the LXX., Vulg., Symmachus, Jerome, and the Syriac.

The use which St. Paul makes of these words (Romans 10:18) is as natural as striking. The march of truth has always been compared to the spread of light. But the allegorical interpretation based on the quotation, making the heavens a figure of the Church and the sun of the Gospel, loses the force and beauty of the Apostle’s application.

In them hath . . .—This clause is not only rightly joined to Psalms 19:4, but concludes a stanza: the relative in the next verse of the Authorised Version mars the true construction.

A tabernacle.—The tent-chamber into which the sun retired after his day’s journey, and from which he started in the morn, Aurora, or dawn (according to Grecian mythology) drawing back the curtains for his departure, was naturally a conception common to all nations. That the phenomena of sunset should engage the poet’s attention before those of sunrise was inevitable in a race who reckoned “the evening and the morning were the first day.” The LXX. and Vulg. completely spoil the picture by rendering “he hath pitched his tent in the sun.”


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Bibliography
Ellicott, Charles John. "Commentary on Psalms 19:4". "Ellicott's Commentary for English Readers". http://odl.studylight.org/commentaries/ebc/psalms-19.html. 1905.

Treasury of Scripture Knowledge

Their line is gone out through all the earth, and their words to the end of the world. In them hath he set a tabernacle for the sun,
Their
98:3; Isaiah 49:6; Romans 10:18; 2 Corinthians 10:13-16
line
or, rule, or, direction. In them.
Genesis 1:14-18; Malachi 4:2

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Bibliography
Torrey, R. A. "Commentary on Psalms 19:4". "The Treasury of Scripture Knowledge". http://odl.studylight.org/commentaries/tsk/psalms-19.html.

Ver. 4. Their line goes out over the whole earth, and the words even to the farthest bounds of the earth; He has made for the sun a tent in them. The first clause has occasioned great trouble to expositors. But the difficulty is less an inherent than a derived one. It immediately vanishes, if we simply and faithfully abide by the established usage, and then only consider how the meaning thus acquired suits the context. The suffix in קום refers, as that in בהם unquestionably shows, to the heavens and the firmament. קו signifies a measuring-line. Such a line is used for determining the limits, the compass of the territory which any one has to receive; comp. for ex. Isaiah 34:17, "His hand has divided it (Idumea) to them (the wild beasts), with the measuring-line; they shall possess it for ever; from generation to generation shall they dwell therein:" Ezekiel 47:3; Zechariah 1:16. The measuring-line extends as far as the territory is to reach; comp. יצא, in Isaiah 15:3 ss., and especially as connected with קו, Jeremiah 31:39. Accordingly, the only legitimate translation is, "their measuring-line goes out over the whole earth;" and the only legitimate exposition, "the whole earth is their portion and territory." In what respect, is evident from the whole context, according to which the heavens can come into consideration merely as heralds of the Divine glory; and all doubt is removed by the second clause, which serves to explain the first, expressly pointing to this reference: their proclamation of the Divine glory limits itself not to some one region, but extends as far as the earth itself

How untenable the current expositions are, is obvious from this, that Olshausen and Gesenius, finding no satisfaction in them, would read קולם for קום, their voice. The sense, sound, speech, which many ascribe to קו, never has; nor can they with certainty appeal for it to the authority of the old translators, as it is doubtful whether these did not merely give a free rendering according to the sense. The signification, string, by which some would transfer it from the established meaning to what the context is here supposed to require, is inadmissible, as קו never signifies string, but always specially measuring-line. Consequently the exposition of Hitzig is also to be rejected, which imagines an uninterrupted chain of hymns of praise, with which day and night, or more properly the heavens and firmament, span the earth, "as we speak of the thread of a discourse." Ewald commits himself to still greater arbitrariness in the explanation of קו. Those who, as Stier, abide by the received signification of קו explain, "as their extent reaches over the whole earth, so also, in like manner, their words." But this exposition destroys the parallelism, and understands the outgoing of the measuring-line of mere extent, whereas it must be regarded as designating the compass of the territory.

In the third clause the Psalmist makes special mention, among the heavenly works of God, of the sun, because it is the most glorious of them, and also from a special reference to the law as the spiritual sun. The suf. in בהם, which unquestionably refers to the heavens and the earth, shows that we must consider the speech and knowledge, which, according to Psalms 19:2, day and night proclaim, as communicated to them by the heavens; and that the suf. in קולם in Psalms 19:3 must be referred, not, with many, to day and night, nor, with others, to the discourse and the words, but to the heavens; that not to day and night, but to the heavens is אמר, in its more restricted sense, as far as it is synonymous with דברים, denied, and that also in the two first members of our verse the suffixes can only refer to the heavens. In a perfectly unreliable manner has De Wette sought to remove the invincible difficulty, arising from the reference of the suf. to a distant noun, by remarking, that the sun, as to thought, is comprehended in the preceding words, "to the end of the world." For this is equivalent to, "to the end of the heavens," where the sun had been mentioned. But תבל, according to its derivation (prop. the bearing, fruit-bearing), signifies earth, not world, and is synonymous with the parallel ארץ. Then one does not see how there should have been a plural suf. De Wette's supposition, that it is used indeterminately, is a mere shift; Psalms 39:6 cannot be compared, as there what is to be supplied is clearly given in the context. But to suppose, with Maurer, that here the tent of the sun must be placed in the extremity of the earth, is much less allowable, since the end of the earth, in common speech, and according to the parallel in the preceding context, is still a part of itself; but no one has ever apportioned the sun to the earth, and here, in particular, it is represented as the most glorious object in the heavenly regions. The tent of the sun is not to be considered as the place of his nightly repose: against this Stier justly remarks, that it is not fitting, on a first mention of the sun in the heavens, to consider it as absent and concealed: it is rather his dwelling-tent. [Note: Quite correctly already Ven.: singulis sideribus dantur tentoria tensa cum apparent, et detensa cum disparent, quae tentoria eorum stationem in campis aethereis designant.] The expression, "He has set a tent for it," substantially the same as, "He has prescribed a place for it." With the words of the two first members of this verse, Paul describes, in Romans 10:18, the spread of the Gospel over the whole earth. This led many of the older expositors into the quite false supposition, that Psalms 19:1-6 contained a direct prophecy of Christ and the Gospel. But not less objectionable is the supposition, that the Apostle used the words of our verse merely as an accidental reminiscence. The reference has a deep ground. The universality of God's manifestation of Himself in nature, is a prophecy in fact of the universality of the proclamation of the Gospel. If the former is not accidental, if it is grounded in the Divine nature, so must the latter also spring from the same Divine nature. The revelation of God in nature is for all His creatures; to them as such it is given; and it is a pledge that they shall also one day be made to share in the higher and more glorious revelation. It was a surety for the heathen, that the temporal limitation salvation to Israel was not a hindrance, but a means towards the removal of the limitation.


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Bibliography
Hengstenberg, Ernst. "Commentary on Psalms 19:4". Ernst Hengstenberg on John, Revelation, Ecclesiastes, Ezekiel & Psalms. http://odl.studylight.org/commentaries/heg/psalms-19.html.

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