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Christ In Type And Prophecy: Volumes 1&2 by Rev. A.J. Maas S.J.

1. STRUCTURE OF THE PSALM.—The psalm consists of ten stanzas, each containing eight octosyllabic verses. As to the connection of thought, the sufferer describes his great misery and need of help (vv. 2–5); then assigns his zeal in God’s service as the cause of his sad condition (vv. 6–13); relying on these facts he implores God’s assistance with new fervor (vv. 14–19); he reverts to his misery and the malice of his enemies (vv. 20–22); he wishes that God may punish and destroy his malicious enemies (vv. 23–29); he expresses his hope of salvation, and his purpose to thank God for his assistance (vv. 30–34); finally, he invites all creatures to join him in God’s praises (vv. 35–36).

2. AUTHOR OF THE PSALM.—a. Olshausen places the psalm in the time of Antiochus Epiphanes; according to Gurlitt the psalm was written by an Israelite who had been taken captive by the Syrians; other writers attribute the psalm to Jeremias on account of its similarity to that prophet’s writings. But none of these opinions can claim more authority than that of an ingenious conjecture.

b. Most probably David is the author of the psalm. Reasons: (1) The title reads: “Unto the end; for them that shall be changed, for David.” We have seen in the Introduction to Ps. 7 that “unto the end” must be rendered “to the chief musician;” in the Introduction to Ps. 44 we have seen that the phrase “for them that shall be changed” has various meanings: perhaps it denotes the instrument which was to accompany the melody of the psalm, perhaps it gives the opening words of a well-known popular song “upon lilies,” according to the melody of which the psalm was to be chanted. As to the phrase “for David,” we have repeatedly had occasion to give its true meaning, “of David.” The title of the psalm, therefore, bears testimony to its Davidic origin. (2) The circumstance that the psalm fits into the history of David’s life may be regarded as at least a negative proof of its Davidic authorship. (3) Another sign that David is the author of this psalm is found in its close resemblance to several other psalms which claim David as their author: Pss. 15, 21, 34, 37, 39, 40. (4) And if we add to this that there is no really invincible argument for the psalm’s non-Davidic authorship, our thesis has all the claims of the highest probability in its favor.

3. MESSIANIC CHARACTER OF THE PSALM.—a. The psalm does not apply to the Babylonian exile, to the suffering of the people and its hope of restoration (Chaldee version, Theodore of Heraclea, Theodoret, Euthymius, Vaihinger, Bade). α. This follows from what has been said about the Davidic authorship of the psalm, and it will be rendered wholly improbable by the arguments we shall advance for the psalm’s Messianic reference. β. Besides, in the psalm itself there is question of the temple and the tabernacle, which does not agree with the period of the Babylonian exile (v. 10).

b. The psalm does not merely describe the sufferings of the just in general without reference to any person in particular (Hengstenberg, Loch, Reischl). Such a general application of the psalm is based on no argument that cannot be easily refuted; at most, it has the merit of being an ingenious conjecture.

c. The psalm refers to the Messias either in its literal or, at least, in its typical sense. (1) The New Testament clearly applies a number of passages which occur in the psalm to Jesus Christ. Cf. John 2:17; 15:25; 19:28; 19:29; Rom. 11:9, 10; 15:3; Acts 1:20. In the first of these passages we have the application of the words, “The zeal of thy house hath eaten me up;” the second part of the same verse 10 is applied to Christ by the Apostle in his epistle to the Romans (15:3): “The reproaches of them that reproached thee fell upon me.” John 15:25: “They hated me without cause” may be regarded as at least alluding to verse 5 of the psalm; v. 22, “and they gave me gall for my food, and in my thirst they gave me vinegar to drink,” finds its fulfilment in Matt. 27:48: “and immediately one of them running, took a sponge, and filled it with vinegar, and put it on a reed, and gave him to drink;” John 19:28, 29 tells of the same fulfilment. The words of Rom. 11:9, “let their table be made a snare, and a trap, and a stumbling-block, and a recompense unto them,” contain the explanation of verse 23: “let their table become as a snare before them, and a recompense and a stumbling-block;” verse 24 is applied in the next verse of Rom. 11; Acts 1:20, “let their habitation become desolate, and let there be none to dwell therein, and his bishopric let another take,” gives the commentary on verse 26: “let their habitation be made desolate, and let there be none to dwell in their tabernacles.”

(2) It is on account of these six New Testament applications of the psalm that many of the older interpreters and several among the more recent ones (e.g., Dereser and Allioli) apply the psalm to Christ in its literal sense. But other commentators, induced by the fact that the psalmist speaks of his foolishness and his offences (v. 6), and also by the circumstance that the psalm agrees perfectly with many occurrences in the life of David, have denied that its literal sense can apply to Christ. Lesêtre seems to agree with these latter authors, but he contends at the same time that vv. 9, 10, 21, 22, 27 refer to the Messias in their literal sense. We may add here that what the psalmist says of his own sinfulness may apply to Christ in so far as he has taken upon himself the sins of all; at the same time, the justice and righteousness of the sufferer are so much extolled that they cannot fully apply to any one but the Messias.

(3) The references to the patristic testimonies regarding the Messianic character of the psalm are collected in Kilber’s Analysis Biblica, ed. II. vol. ii. pp. 58 f.

PS. 68 (69)

Save me, O God,

For the waters are come in even unto my soul;

I stick fast in the mire of the deep,

And there is no sure standing.

I am come into the depth of the sea,

And a tempest hath overwhelmed me;

I have labored with crying, my jaws are become hoarse,

My eyes have failed, whilst I hope in my God.

They are multiplied above the hairs of my head who hate me without cause;

My enemies are grown strong who have wrongfully persecuted me,

Then did I pay that which I took not away.

O God, thou knowest my foolishness,

And my offences are not hid from thee;

Let not them be ashamed for me who look for thee, O Lord, the Lord of hosts,

Let them not be confounded on my account,

Who seek thee, O God of Israel.

Because for thy sake I have borne reproach,

Shame hath covered my face;

I am become a stranger to my brethren,

And an alien to the sons of my mother;

For the zeal of thy house hath eaten me up,

And the reproaches of them that reproached thee are fallen upon me;

And I covered my soul in fasting,

And it was made a reproach to me.

And I made haircloth my garment,

And I became a by-word to them;

They that sat in the gate spoke against me,

And they that drank wine made me their song;

But as for me, my prayer is to thee, O Lord;

For the time of thy good pleasure, O God, in the multitude of thy mercy,

Hear me in the truth of thy salvation,

Draw me out of the mire that I may not stick fast.

Deliver me from them that hate me and out of the deep waters,

Let not the tempest of water drown me,

Nor the deep swallow me up,

And let not the pit shut her mouth upon me;

Hear me, O Lord, for thy mercy is kind,

Look upon me according to the multitude of thy tender mercies,

And turn not away thy face from thy servant,

For I am in trouble, hear me speedily.

Attend to my soul and deliver it,

Save me because of my enemies;

Thou knowest my reproach

And my confusion and my shame;

In thy sight are all they that afflict me,

My heart hath expected reproach and misery;

And I looked for one that would grieve together with me, but there was none,

And for one that would comfort me, and I found none.

And they gave me gall for my food,

And in my thirst they gave me vinegar to drink;

Let their table become as a snare before them,

And a recompense, and a stumbling-block;

Let their eyes be darkened that they see not,

And their back bow thou down always;

Pour out thy indignation upon them,

And let thy wrathful anger take hold of them.

Let their habitation be made desolate,

And let there be none to dwell in their tabernacles;

Because they have persecuted him whom thou hast smitten,

And they have added to the grief of my wounds;

Add thou iniquity upon their iniquity,

And let them not come into thy justice,

Let them be blotted out of the book of the living,

And with the just let them not be written.

But I am poor and sorrowful,

Thy salvation, O God, hath set me up;

I will praise the name of God with a canticle,

And I will magnify him with praise;

And it shall please God better than a young calf,

That bringeth forth horns and hoofs.

Let the poor see and rejoice,

Seek ye God, and your soul shall live.

For the Lord hath heard the poor,

And hath not despised his prisoners;

Let the heavens and the earth praise him,

The sea and everything that creepeth therein;

For God will save Sion, and the cities of Juda shall be built up,

And they shall dwell there and acquire it by inheritance.

And the seed of his servants shall possess it,

And they that love his name shall dwell therein.

1. De Wette, Bade, and others are of opinion that the imprecations against his enemies are inadmissible in the person of the Messias. But similar expressions may be found in Ps. 15:3; Is. 50:9, 11, and in other passages of the Old Testament. The sufferer may well wish that these evils befall his enemies, knowing that they are decreed by the justice of God; his prayer includes, therefore, the desire that God’s justice may be acknowledged in the course of the punishment. Others regard the imprecations as prophecies rather than prayers.

2. We notice here what we have repeatedly observed, that the prophetic words concerning the “gall and vinegar” refer typically to Christ, in whom they have been fulfilled according to the rigor of the letter, while they refer literally to the historical events in the life of David, in which they have been metaphorically fulfilled.








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