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Saturday, September 23rd, 2023
the Week of Proper 19 / Ordinary 24
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Bible Commentaries
Psalms 33

Scott's Explanatory Notes, Practical Observations on the book PsalmsScott on the Psalms

Verses 1-22

PSAI.M 33.

V. 1. Neither the writer nor the occasion of this Psalm is mentioned : but it is generally ascribed to David ; and may perhaps be considered as a continuation of the subject, begun in the preceding Psalm ; as it opens with the very same sentiment, with which that closes. ’ God, and not the world, is the fountain of joy, ’ which sinners talk of, but the righteous only possess.’ Bp. Home. Joy and praise are becoming and beautiful, when united with piety and integrity ; but the appearance of them, without soundness of character, is inconsistent and disgusting.

V. 2, 3. Instrumental, as well as vocal musick, in the worship of God, preceded the ceremonial law : not being explicitly there appointed, it can be no part of it ; and if properly conducted, it may be rendered greatly subservient to devotion. (Marg. Ref. Notes, Exodus 15:1-21. 1 Samuel 10:5-6. 1 Chronicles 15:16-21; 1 Chronicles 16:4-6.)’ Let ’ not the ancient songs of praise suffice you ; but endite a ’ new hymn, to testify your singular love and gratitude ; ’ employ your best skill to make the sweetest music ; and sing as cheerfully as you are wont to do at your most ’ solemn feasts." Bp. Patrick. (Notes, Psalms 96:1. Revelation 5:8-10; Revelation 14:15; Revelation 14:2 col.)

V. 4- 6. (Marg. Ref. Notes, Psalms 12:5-6. Psalms 25:10. Psalms 36:5-9. Psalms 14:6-7. Ixxxix. 13, 14. Psalms 99:4. Psalms 104:24-27; Psalms 104:30. Psalms 138:2. Exodus 34:5-7. Deuteronomy 32:3-4. Micah 7:18-20. Revelation 15:1-4.)

The word, (6) Most of the ancient expositors, by the " Word of the LORD," and "the breath," or Spirit, "of his mouth;" understand the Son of God, the personal Word, and the Holy Spirit, as proceeding from the Father and the Son, (Notes, Genesis 1:1-2. John 1:1-3.)

V. 7- 8. The waters, which at first covered the earth, were, by the Creator’s power, confined within their prescribed bounds, as if laid on a heap; or reserved in storehouses, to be dispersed, as required, to supply the want of all that dwell on earth, by various methods of communication. (Notes, Psalms 24:1-2. Psalms 104:6-9. Genesis 1:7-12. Exodus 14:21-23. Job 38:8-11. Jeremiah 5:20-23. Amos 9:5-6.)

V. 9. The sublimity of this verse is admirable : " He " spake, and it was j he commanded, and it stood." The translation cannot equal the original ; the emphatical pronoun (win) rendered lie, twice repeated, giving much additional energy. JEHOVAH did but signify his pleasure, and the thing was done, and each of his creatures took the station allotted to it. (Notes, Genesis 1:3-5. Matthew 8:14, end.)

V. 10- 12. The sovereignty of God, in providence, accomplishing his purposes, whether of mercy or of judgment, without the least impediment from the politick counsels of idolaters, or persecutors, or of all nations combined ; nay, in over-ruling all their plans to fulfil his designs, which extend through all generations of men, from the creation to the end of the world ; shews his omnipotence and omniscience, as much as the first creation of the world did. (Notes, Is. 14: 24-27; 46: 10, 11; Daniel 4:34-37. Acts 4:23-28. Ephesians 1:9-12; Ephesians 3:9-12.)

The counsels of states and empires are either directed to the accomplishment of the great counsel of ’ heaven ; or, if they attempt to thwart it, are blasted ’ and brought to nothing. History will force all who read ’ it with this view, to acknowledge thus much. And with ’ this view indeed it should always be read.’ Bp. Home.

The nation, therefore, which was distinguished as the chosen inheritance of this almighty Creator and universal Sovereign, possessed inestimable advantages above the worshippers of idols, and should rejoice in them and improve them. (Notes, Psalms 147:19-20. Romans 3:1-2.)

V. 13-15. The Lord, who " fashioneth all hearts as " one," and impartially decides concerning the works of all ; is the Witness, as well as the Judge, of every man’s conduct, throughout the whole earth. ’ He formed their ’ souls as well as their bodies ; and therefore must needs ’ see into their very hearts, and be perfectly acquainted ’ with every one of their thoughts.’ Bp. Patrick. He also made the human species originally of the same nature ; all are derived from the same stock, and all receive that nature impaired through the fall. The hearts of men, like their faces, have the same grand outlines, which are diversified through a variety of concurring circumstances : and one heart (the same views, judgment, disposition, and affections,) is given to all, who are renewed by the Holy Spirit, with merely circumstantial differences, in things of smaller consequence. (Note, Jeremiah 32:39-41.)

V. 16-19. (Marg. Ref. Notes, Psalms 44:5-7. Psalms 147:10-11. 1 Kings 20:20-21. 2 Chronicles 14:9-15.) God continues the same, in every age ; and effects the same things, by ordinary means, as he did in former times by miracles, both against his powerful and haughty enemies, and for his humble believing children.

V. 20- 22. Marg. Ref. Notes, Psalms 13:5-6. 2 Samuel 22:2-3.


Rejoicing in the Lord, as our Father and Friend, is the genuine effect of humiliation and mourning for sin : for being justified by faith, and walking uprightly before him, joy is our privilege and duty. It becomes us to abound in cheerful praises ; it is suited to our character, and ornamental to our profession, arid honourable to God. But the joy of the hypocrite springs from presumption, and his praises are an offence and affront to the Lord. Every endowment which we possess should be employed, with all our skill and earnestness, in the service of the Giver; and we should be avowed in our worship : but well regulated and heavenly affections are most harmonious and acceptable. (Notes, Ephesians 5:15-20. Colossians 3:16-17.) Every part of his word is holy, just, and good, and very useful to the upright; (Note, Micah 2:6-7;) and all his works are done in truth, correspond to the prophecies and promises of the Scripture, and are, in one way or other, a fulfilment of them. Though the Lord delights in righteousness and judgment, yet the earth, which is full of man’s wickedness, is filled also with his goodness : yea, his most abundant mercy consists perfectly with his most awful justice. The formation of the earth, and the separation of the waters in the ocean, as a vast reservoir for the use of man, proclaim the wisdom, power, and goodness of the Creator : and, as they encourage the believer to expect the largest blessings from his almighty Friend, they call on all the inhabitants of the earth to stand in awe of him, and to fear his tremendous indignation. For, as " He " spake, and it was done," when the world was made ; his mandate will be equally efficacious, when he shall command the destruction of his enemies : and such are all, who will not have the Saviour to reign over them. (Note, Matthew 25:41-46. Luke 19:11-27.) All human power and policy are ineffectual against his omnipotent will : " his " counsel shall stand, and he will do all his pleasure ; " and his vengeance against the ungodly will be everlasting. But blessed are his people, who have him for their Portion, and are his chosen inheritance : who worship and serve him, live under his protection, and enjoy his favour! We possess the outward means of this blessing : may he visit our souls with salvation, and new create us unto holiness! For he who formed man’s heart, cannot be imposed upon by any appearances. All confidence, except in his mercy, is vain. Powerful armies, personal strength and valour, or the force and speed of a horse, are unavailing for outward safety, without his protection. The event of battles, and the fate of kingdoms, are determined by his sovereign will, who considers the works of men, and acts with perfect wisdom and justice. All human devices are ineffectual for the salvation of our souls : but the watchful eye is over those, who unite the conscientious fear of his name, with a believing hope in his mercy through the great Redeemer. He will preserve their lives, and supply their temporal wants, as far as is good for them ; and he will feed their souls and preserve them from eternal death. May he teach us to say from our hearts, " Our soul waiteth for the LORD, he is our " Help and Shield." Then shall " we rejoice in him, because we have trusted in his holy name :" for " his mercy " will surely be upon us, according as we hope in him."

Bibliographical Information
Scott, Thomas. "Commentary on Psalms 33". Scott's Explanatory Notes, Practical Observations on the book Psalms. https://studylight.org/commentaries/eng/tsp/psalms-33.html. 1804.
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