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Bible Commentaries

Poole's English Annotations on the Holy Bible

Psalms 95

Psalms 95:0


The author of this Psalm was David, as is affirmed, Hebrews 4:7; and although this Psalm be delivered in general terms, as an invitation to mankind to yield unto the true God that praise, and worship, and obedience which he requireth and deserveth, yet it hath a special reference to the days of the Messiah; of which Christians have no great reason to doubt, seeing it is so understood by the Hebrew doctors themselves; as also by the apostle, Hebrews 3:7, &c., and especially Hebrews 4:3-9, where he not only expounds it of those times, but proves that it cannot be meant of the former times and state of the church.

An exhortation to praise God, Psalms 95:1,Psalms 95:2, for his great power, goodness, and tenderness to his people, Psalms 95:3-7. A caution against hardness of heart, Psalms 95:8,Psalms 95:9. It grieves the Lord, Psalms 95:10. God’s threatening against it confirmed with an oath, Psalms 95:11.

Verse 1

He speaks to the Israelites, whose backwardness to this work in the times of the gospel was foreseen by the Spirit of God, which dictated this Psalm.

Verse 2

His presence; which he will then afford us in a singular manner, in his Son the Messiah, in and by whom he will be visibly present with the sons of men.

Verse 3

Above all that are accounted and called

gods, angels, and earthly potentates, and especially the false gods of the heathens, which upon Christ’s coming into the world were struck dumb, and could no more deliver their oracles, as Plutarch and other heathens observed, with admiration, nor deceive the world, but were forced to give place to the true God, and to the knowledge and worship of him alone, which was propagated among all nations by the gospel.

Verse 4

In his hand; under his government.

The deep places; those parts which are far out of men’s sight and reach, and much more those that are at men’s disposal.

The strength of the hills; the strongest or highest mountains are under his feet, and at his disposal. The sense of the verse is, All the parts of the earth, whether high or low, are subject to his power and providence, and therefore it is not strange if all the nations of the earth be brought to the acknowledgment of him, and if the Gentiles receive his gospel.

Verse 6

By which expressions he teacheth that even in gospel times God is to be glorified and worshipped, as well with the members of our bodies, as with the faculties of our souls.

Verse 7

Our God, in a peculiar manner; and therefore it will be most unreasonable and abominable for us to forsake him, when the Gentiles submit to his law. The people of his pasture; whom he feedeth and keepeth in his own proper pasture, or in the land which he hath appropriated to himself.

The sheep of his hand; which are under his special care and conduct, or government; which is oft expressed by the hand, as Numbers 4:28; Numbers 31:49; Judges 9:29.

Today, i.e. forthwith or presently, as this word is used, Deuteronomy 4:4,Deuteronomy 4:8; Deuteronomy 27:9; Joshua 22:16,Joshua 22:18, &c. Or, this day; in this solemn day of grace, or of the gospel, which the psalmist speaks of as present, according to the manner of the prophets. And this word, though belonging to the following clause, as appears from Hebrews 3:7, may seem to be thus placed, to show that it had some respect to the foregoing words also. For the sense of the place may be this, We (Jews) are or shall be the people of his pasture, and the sheep of his hand; God will still own us for his people this day, i.e. in the days of the Messiah, if this day or in that time we shall hear his voice. Otherwise God will reject us, and receive the Gentiles in our stead.

If ye will hear his voice; if you will hearken to his call, and obey his further commands; which may be added as a necessary caution and admonition to the Israelites, that they might understand and consider that God’s presence and favour was not absolutely, necessarily, and everlastingly fixed to them, as they were very apt to believe, but was suspended upon the condition of their continued obedience, which if they violated they should be rejected, and the Gentiles performing it should be received to his mercy. And this clause may be connected either,

1. With the former words, as the condition of their interest in God as their God, as was now said. Or,

2. With the following verse; If you are willing to hearken to God’s call delivered by his Son, take the following counsel.

Verse 8

Harden not your heart, by wilful disobedience and obstinate unbelief, rebelling against the light, and resisting the Holy Ghost, and his clear discoveries of the truth of the gospel.

As in the provocation; as you did in that bold and wicked contest with God in the wilderness. Or,

as in Meribah, which was the proper name of the place where that happened, and which also was called Massah, as is evident from Exodus 17:7; Deuteronomy 33:8.

As in the day of temptation; in the day in which you tempted me. Or, as in the day of Massah, i.e. when you were at Massah.

Verse 9

When; or, in which place; which may belong either to Meribah and Massah, or to the wilderness last mentioned. Or, surely, as this word is oft used in Scripture, as hath been observed once and again.

And saw; or, although or after that they saw or had seen; which is added as a just and great aggravation of their unbelief, after such a sensible and evident experience of God’s power and goodness to them.

My works; both my works of mercy, which gave them abundant cause to trust me; and my works of justice, for which they had reason to fear and please me. Heb. my work, to wit, that great and stupendous work of bringing my people out of Egypt with a strong hand, and of conducting them safely through the Red Sea into the wilderness, and of destroying the Egyptians. For not many more of God’s great works were done before they came to Meribah.

Verse 10

With this generation; or rather, with that generation which then lived, who were your ancestors.

Do err in their heart; they do not only sin through infirmity, and the violence and surprisal of temptations, but their hearts are insincere and inconstant, and given to backsliding, and therefore there is no hopes of their amendment. Compare Psalms 78:8.

They have not known; or, they do not know, to wit, with a practical and useful knowledge, as that word commonly notes in Scripture. They did not rightly understand, nor duly consider, nor seriously lay to heart; they remain ignorant after all my teachings and discoveries of myself to them.

My ways; either,

1. My laws or statutes, which are frequently called God’s ways. Or rather,

2. My works, as it is expressed, Psalms 95:9, which also are commonly so called. They did not know nor consider and remember those great things which I had wrought for them and among them.

Verse 11

Being full of just wrath against them, I passed an irreversible sentence, and confirmed it by an oath; of which we read Numbers 14:0.

Into my rest; into the Promised Land, which is called the rest, Deuteronomy 12:9. See also 1 Chronicles 23:25; Psalms 132:14. And this history the psalmist propounds to the men of his age, not as a matter of mere speculation, but as an instruction for all after-ages, and particularly for those Israelites who should live in the times of the Messias, that they should take heed of falling after the same example of unbelief, as the apostle infers from this place, Hebrews 4:11.

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Bibliographical Information
Poole, Matthew, "Commentary on Psalms 95". Poole's English Annotations on the Holy Bible. 1685.