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Verse-by-Verse Bible Commentary

Psalms 46:8

 

 

Come, behold the works of the LORD, Who has wrought desolations in the earth.

Adam Clarke Commentary

Come, behold the works of the Lord - See empires destroyed and regenerated; and in such a way as to show that a supernatural agency has been at work. By the hand of God alone could these great changes be effected.


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Bibliography
Clarke, Adam. "Commentary on Psalms 46:8". "The Adam Clarke Commentary". http://odl.studylight.org/commentaries/acc/psalms-46.html. 1832.

Albert Barnes' Notes on the Whole Bible

Come, behold the works of the Lord - Go forth and see what the Lord has done. See, in what his hand has accomplished, how secure we are if we put our trust in him.

What desolations he hath made in the earth - Or, in the land. The word “desolations” might refer to any “ruin” or “overthrow,” which he had brought upon the land of Israel, or on the nations abroad - the destruction of cities, towns, or armies, as proof of his power, and of his ability to save those who put their trust in him. But if this be supposed to refer to the invasion of the land of Israel by Sennacherib, it may point to what occurred to his armies when the angel of the Lord went forth and smote them in their camp Isaiah 37:36, and to the consequent deliverance of Jerusalem from danger. Without impropriety, perhaps, this may be regarded as all appeal to the inhabitants of Jerusalem to go forth and see for themselves how complete was the deliverance; how utter the ruin of their foes; how abundant the proof that God was able to protect his people in times of danger. It adds great beauty to this psalm to suppose that it “was” composed on that occasion, or in view of that invasion, for every part of the psalm may receive a beautiful, and an ample illustration from what occurred at that memorable period. Nothing “could” furnish a clearer proof of the power of God to save, and of the propriety of putting confidence in him in times of national danger, than a survey of the camp of the Assyrians, where an hundred and eighty-five thousand men had been smitten down in one night by the angel of God. Compare 2 Kings 19:35; 2 Chronicles 32:21; Isaiah 37:36.


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Bibliography
Barnes, Albert. "Commentary on Psalms 46:8". "Barnes' Notes on the Whole Bible". http://odl.studylight.org/commentaries/bnb/psalms-46.html. 1870.

Coffman's Commentaries on the Bible

"Come, behold the works of Jehovah,

What desolations he hath made in the earth.

He maketh wars to cease unto the end of the earth;

He breaketh the bow, and cutteth the spear in sunder;

He burneth the chariot in the fire.

Be still, and know that I am God:

I will be exalted among the nations, I will be exalted in the earth.

Jehovah of hosts is with me,

The God of Jacob is our refuge.

(Selah)"

"Come, behold the works of Jehovah" (Psalms 46:8). This, in context, was an invitation to the citizens of Jerusalem to behold the devastation of the army of Sennacherib, which the angel of God slaughtered in one night to the extent of 185,000 men. Cleaning up a mess like that required bonfires that lasted a long time, the war chariots, spears, arrows, shields and other military equipment providing fuel for the disposition of the dead.

Lord Byron's great poem catches the terrible magnificence of this Divine interposition upon behalf of God's people. There is an economy in God's wonders; he never intervenes unless it is absolutely necessary for the achievement of his eternal purpose. In this case, Jerusalem was surely doomed to destruction without Divine aid; therefore God came to the rescue.

"The Assyrian came down like the wolf on the fold,

And their cohorts were gleaming in purple and gold.

The sheen on their spears was like stars on the sea,

When the blue waves roll nightly on deep Galilee.

Like the leaves of the forest when summer is green,

That host with their banners at sunset was seen,

Like the leaves of the forest when autumn hath blown,

That host on the morrow lay scattered and strewn.

For the angel of death spread his wings on the blast,

And breathed in the face of the foe as he passed;

And the might of the Gentile unsmote by the sword

Was melted like snow in the glance of the Lord."

- Lord Byron, The Destruction of SennacheribSIZE>

This incredibly impressive destruction of Sennacherib's army was a judgment of God so powerful, so effective, and so dramatic, that everyone on earth knew about it. Here was tangible, physical evidence of the most astounding kind that witnessed God's oversight of Israel. This mighty miracle was not done in some secluded corner of the world, but at the crossroads of all nations and of all history. This was one of the most amazing things that ever happened on this earth.

"What desolations he hath made" (Psalms 46:8). When this psalm was written, the smoke was probably still rising from the funeral of Sennacherib's destroyed host. All Jerusalem could see it, either from the walls of their city, or by a short journey to the battlefield where the army had been deployed (perhaps near Lachish). "If this does not prove that the Lord controls the destinies of wars, what does? If this is not a sufficient token that `God is our refuge,' what is?"[20]

"He maketh wars to cease to the end of the earth" (Psalms 46:9). Of course, the first meaning here is that God has the power to terminate any war at any time; but there seems to be here a prophecy of a time when wars shall be no more. It appears that we may not look for the fulfilment of this in the present dispensation, because Jesus cautions us about expecting "wars and rumors of wars." Nevertheless, we believe there will come a time when God in righteous wrath shall rise up and cast evil out of his universe; and then wars shall cease.

"He burneth the chariots in the fire" (Psalms 46:9). The word here rendered chariots actually means any two-wheeled contraption and would also include baggage wagons and other military devices as well as chariots. All such things were needed as fuel to help burn up the dead.

"Be still, and know that I am God" (Psalms 46:10). Dahood interpreted this to mean that Israel, "Should not enter into alliances with other nations."[21] Many times it is God's will for his people to work with all their might; but, now and then, when all human endeavor is of no avail, and where there seems to be no hope at all, it may be time to "Stand still!" Thus it was before the Red Sea, when Moses commanded Israel, "Stand still, and see the salvation of the Lord" (Exodus 14:23).

For comment on Psalms 46:11, see under Psalms 46:7, above.


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 46:8". "Coffman Commentaries on the Old and New Testament". http://odl.studylight.org/commentaries/bcc/psalms-46.html. Abilene Christian University Press, Abilene, Texas, USA. 1983-1999.

John Gill's Exposition of the Whole Bible

Come, behold the works of the Lord,.... Of nature and grace, especially those of Providence; both in a way of judgment, as in this verse; and of mercy, as in Psalm 46:9. These words are an address of the psalmist to his friends, as Apollinarius supplies it; or of the church to the fearful among them, who were dismayed at the commotions and disturbances that were in the world, Psalm 46:2; and who are encouraged to trust in the Lord, from the consideration of his works, particularly his providential dispensations;

what desolations he hath made in the earth; in the land of Judea, at the time of the destruction of the city and temple of Jerusalem, foretold by Moses, Deuteronomy 32:22; by Daniel, Daniel 9:26; and by our Lord Jesus Christ, Matthew 23:38; and which desolations being the fulfilling of prophecy, may serve to strengthen the faith of God's people, that whatsoever he has said shall come to pass; and that seeing he made such desolations among the Jews, for their rejection of the Messiah, what may not be expected will be made in the antichristian states, for their opposition to him? and, besides, are a confirmation of the truth of his being come; since after his coming these desolations, according to Daniel, were to be made; nor was the sceptre to depart from Judah till he came, nor the second temple to be destroyed before he was in it. Moreover, these desolations may refer to those that have been made in the Roman empire, upon the blowing of the trumpets; the first "four" of which brought in the Goths, Huns, and Vandals, into the western part of it, which made sad ravages and devastations in it; see Revelation 8:7; and the "fifth" and "sixth" brought in the Saracens and Turks into the eastern part of it, which seized and demolished it, and made dreadful havoc among men; see Revelation 9:1. Likewise the desolations that will be made in the antichristian states may be here intended; when the seven vials of God's wrath will be poured out upon them, Revelation 16:1 when the kings of the earth will hate the whore, and make her desolate, Revelation 17:16; and all her plagues shall come upon her in one day, Revelation 18:8. And a view of these desolations, even in prophecy, may serve to cheer the hearts of God's people under the present reign of antichrist, and under all the rage, fury, and oppression of antichristian powers, since they will all in a little time become desolate. This will be the Lord's doing, and it will be wondrous in our eyes.


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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 46:8". "The New John Gill Exposition of the Entire Bible". http://odl.studylight.org/commentaries/geb/psalms-46.html. 1999.

Geneva Study Bible

Come, behold the works of the LORD, h what desolations he hath made in the earth.

(h) That is, how often he has destroyed his enemies, and delivered his people.

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Bibliography
Beza, Theodore. "Commentary on Psalms 46:8". "The 1599 Geneva Study Bible". http://odl.studylight.org/commentaries/gsb/psalms-46.html. 1599-1645.

Commentary Critical and Explanatory on the Whole Bible

what desolations — literally, “who hath put desolations,” destroying our enemies.


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 46:8". "Commentary Critical and Explanatory on the Whole Bible". http://odl.studylight.org/commentaries/jfb/psalms-46.html. 1871-8.

Wesley's Explanatory Notes

Come, behold the works of the LORD, what desolations he hath made in the earth.

Desolations — Among those who were vexatious to God's people.


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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 46:8". "John Wesley's Explanatory Notes on the Whole Bible". http://odl.studylight.org/commentaries/wen/psalms-46.html. 1765.

Calvin's Commentary on the Bible

8Come ye, consider the works of Jehovah The Psalmist seems still to continue in this verse the history of a deliverance by which God had given abundant evidence that he is the most efficient and faithful protector of his Church, that the godly might derive from it both courage and strength to enable them to overcome whatever temptations might afterwards arise. The manifestations which God has given of his favor towards us in preserving us, ought to be kept continually before our eyes as a means of establishing in our hearts a persuasion of the stability of his promises. By this exhortation we have tacitly rebuked the indifference and stupidity of those who do not make so great account of the power of God as they ought to do; or rather, the whole world is charged with ingratitude, because there is scarcely one in a hundred who acknowledges that he has abundant help and security in God, so that they are all blinded to the works of God, or rather wilfully shut their eyes at that which would, nevertheless, prove the best means of strengthening their faith. We see how many ascribe to fortune that which ought to be traced to the providence of God. Others imagine that they obtain, by their own industry, whatever God has bestowed upon them, or ascribe to second causes what proceeds from him alone; while others are utterly lost to all sense. The Psalmist, therefore, justly calls upon all men, and exhorts them to consider the works of God; as if he had said, The reason why men repose not the hope of their welfare in God is, that they are indifferent to the consideration of his works, or so ungrateful, that they make not half the account of them which they ought to do. As he addresses himself in general to all men, we learn, that even the godly themselves are drowsy and unconcerned in this respect until they are awakened. He extols very highly the power of God in preserving his chosen people, which is commonly despised or not estimated as it ought to be, when it is exercised after an ordinary manner. He therefore sets before them the desolations of countries, and marvellous devastations, and other miraculous things, which more powerfully move the minds of men. If any one would prefer to understand what follows — He maketh battles to cease — of some special help vouchsafed by God, yet still it must be considered as intended to lead the faithful to expect as much help from him in future as they had already experienced. The prophet, it appears, from one particular instance, designs to show in general how mightily God is wont to defend his Church. At the same time, it happened more than once, that God quelled throughout the land of Judea all the dangerous tumults by which it was distracted, and drove away wars far from it, by depriving the enemies of their courage, breaking their bows, and burning their chariots; and it is very probable that the prophet, froth a particular instance, here takes occasion to remind the Jews how often God had disappointed the greatest efforts of their enemies. One thing, however, is quite certain, that God is here set forth as adorned with these titles, that we should look for peace from him, even when the whole world is in uproar, and agitated in a dreadful manner.


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Bibliography
Calvin, John. "Commentary on Psalms 46:8". "Calvin's Commentary on the Bible". http://odl.studylight.org/commentaries/cal/psalms-46.html. 1840-57.

John Trapp Complete Commentary

Psalms 46:8 Come, behold the works of the LORD, what desolations he hath made in the earth.

Ver. 8. Come, behold the works of the Lord] Venite, videte. Come, see. God looks that his works should lie well observed, and especially when he hath wrought any great deliverance for his people. Of all things, he cannot abide to be forgotten.

What desolations he hath made in the earth] How he hath dunged his vineyard with the dead carcasses of those wild boars out of the forest, that had infested it. Those four mighty monarchies had their times and their turns, their rise and their ruin; but the Church remains for ever.


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Bibliography
Trapp, John. "Commentary on Psalms 46:8". John Trapp Complete Commentary. http://odl.studylight.org/commentaries/jtc/psalms-46.html. 1865-1868.

Matthew Poole's English Annotations on the Holy Bible

i.e. Among those people of the earth who were neighbouring and vexatious to God’s people, and therefore were cut off by David, and their lands and cities in great part wasted.


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Bibliography
Poole, Matthew, "Commentary on Psalms 46:8". Matthew Poole's English Annotations on the Holy Bible. http://odl.studylight.org/commentaries/mpc/psalms-46.html. 1685.

Whedon's Commentary on the Bible

8. Come, behold—An invitation to survey the fearful field of death. Read 2 Kings 19:35


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Bibliography
Whedon, Daniel. "Commentary on Psalms 46:8". "Whedon's Commentary on the Bible". http://odl.studylight.org/commentaries/whe/psalms-46.html. 1874-1909.

George Haydock's Catholic Bible Commentary

Wisely. Hebrew mascil, which is so often rendered "understanding" in the titles. No one can do well, what he does not understand. (Calmet) --- The union of faith and good works, is singing wisely. (St. Chrysostom) (Calmet) --- Concordent manus & lingua. (St. Augustine) (Du Hamel) --- Let each strive to know the mysteries of faith. (Worthington)


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Bibliography
Haydock, George Leo. "Commentary on Psalms 46:8". "George Haydock's Catholic Bible Commentary". http://odl.studylight.org/commentaries/hcc/psalms-46.html. 1859.

E.W. Bullinger's Companion Bible Notes

behold = gaze on.

the LORD. Hebrew. Jehovah. App-4. But some codices, with first printed edition and Syriac, read "Elohim", God. Compare Psalms 66:5.


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Bibliography
Bullinger, Ethelbert William. "Commentary on Psalms 46:8". "E.W. Bullinger's Companion bible Notes". http://odl.studylight.org/commentaries/bul/psalms-46.html. 1909-1922.

Commentary Critical and Explanatory on the Whole Bible - Unabridged

Come, behold the works of the LORD, what desolations he hath made in the earth.

Come, behold the works of the Lord - invitation to all, without distinction, to see the proof of the Lord's might in the overthrow of the great world-powers. What desolations he hath made in the earth - what a desolating overthrow He hath done of those who held the world under their tyranny, and especially threatened to destroy the people of God. Compare, in the prophetical anticipation of the downfall of Assyria, "the whole earth is at rest, and is quiet" (Isaiah 14:7).


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

Bibliography
Jamieson, Robert, D.D.; Fausset, A. R.; Brown, David. "Commentary on Psalms 46:8". "Commentary Critical and Explanatory on the Whole Bible - Unabridged". http://odl.studylight.org/commentaries/jfu/psalms-46.html. 1871-8.

Ellicott's Commentary for English Readers

(8) The Lord.—Many MSS. read Elohîm instead of “Jehovah.”

Desolations . . .—Either, silence of desolation, “silence” being the primary sense of the word, or (as in Jeremiah 19:8), wonders, which silence by their suddenness and marvel. So LXX. and Vulg., and this is confirmed by Psalms 46:10.


Copyright Statement
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Bibliography
Ellicott, Charles John. "Commentary on Psalms 46:8". "Ellicott's Commentary for English Readers". http://odl.studylight.org/commentaries/ebc/psalms-46.html. 1905.

Treasury of Scripture Knowledge

Come, behold the works of the LORD, what desolations he hath made in the earth.
Come
66:5; 92:4-6; 111:2,3; Numbers 23:23
desolations
Exodus 10:7; 12:30; 14:30,31; Joshua 11:20; 2 Chronicles 20:23,24; Isaiah 24:1; Isaiah 34:2-17

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Bibliography
Torrey, R. A. "Commentary on Psalms 46:8". "The Treasury of Scripture Knowledge". http://odl.studylight.org/commentaries/tsk/psalms-46.html.

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