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Sunday, September 24th, 2023
the Week of Proper 20 / Ordinary 25
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Bible Commentaries
Psalms 85

Smith's WritingsSmith's Writings

Verses 1-13


An anticipation of the deliverance of Israel from captivity, and their restoration through the mercy of God acting in righteousness.

(vv. 1-3) In the opening verses the restoration of Israel is anticipated by the godly. The nation is viewed as brought back from captivity into the favour of Jehovah, their sins forgiven, and God's wrath taken away. These verses present the final blessing of the nation; the remainder of the psalm, how that blessing is reached.

(vv. 4-7) The restoration of Israel awaits the moment when they will own that God has been dealing with them in governmental anger because of their long history of failure, and that their recovery wholly depends upon God, and not upon their own efforts. Therefore they say, “Bring us back” (JND). Of old Naomi had to say, after her wanderings in Moab, “I went out...and the Lord hath brought me home again” ( Rth_1:21 ). We, alas! can wander; it is only the Lord who can bring us back again. In like spirit the nation of Israel will be brought to own that all their own efforts, or the efforts of others, to bring them back to the land of their blessing, will be in vain. They will at last confess the Lord alone can “bring us back.” Thus they plead with the Lord to cause His people to rejoice, to shew them mercy, and grant them salvation from all their enemies.

(vv. 8-13) The closing verses give the answer to this appeal to Jehovah. Very blessedly the godly man says, “I will hear what God, Jehovah, will speak” (JND). He finds that Jehovah gives an answer of peace. They had asked for salvation to be granted (v. 7); they hear that salvation is nigh them that fear Him. They had asked for mercy (v. 7); they hear that mercy and truth are met together - that God will show mercy while maintaining truth, and that righteousness and peace have kissed each other. Peace is brought to Israel, but not at the expense of righteousness. They had asked to be “revived” (v. 6); they hear that truth shall spring out of the earth, once marked by corruption; and righteousness will rule from heaven bringing forth goodness and plenty, where there had been only evil and want.

Righteousness will be the basis of the restored kingdom, and “shall set his footsteps on the way” that leads to the kingdom (JND).

Bibliographical Information
Smith, Hamilton. "Commentary on Psalms 85". "Smith's Writings". https://studylight.org/commentaries/eng/hsw/psalms-85.html. 1832.
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