« PreviousContinue »
The following commentary is to a great extent a recast of the work on the Psalms, which I published many years ago. It differs, however, in several respects from that work, and in many places the commentary is entirely altered. I have, therefore, thought it desirable for this and other reasons to bring it out as an independent work. It is distinguished from the former one, 1stly, by the omission of the Hebrew text of the Psalms; 2ndly, by many corrections and amendments in every part, which after a very careful examination appeared to be called for and necessary; and 3rdly, by the removal of numerous passages of the old, and the substitution for them of a new commentary and new criticisms, which the progress of Hebrew scholarship during the last twenty years seemed in my judgment to require.
My reason for not reprinting the Hebrew text will be obvious to the student, It was my wish that the commentary should be brought out at as low a price as was consistent with the cost of printing and publication. The text which I have
used is that of Baer, with a preface by Delitzsch, published at Leipzig in 1861. It is acknowledged to be the most accurate text that exists, and I strongly recommend it to the student. may be readily obtained in England for the small sum of one shilling.
An important object of mine in this commentary has been to elicit what I consider to be the theology of the Psalms. This, indeed, I suppose to be more or less the object of all commentators; but the conclusions which they have worked out are widely different and conflicting. Some there are who see Christ in every Psalm, and I may say in every verse of every Psalm, whilst there are others who exclude Him altogether, and who in their interpretation of each Psalm, maintain that it is exclusively historical. I have no sympathy with either of these classes of interpreters. The former I am sure prove too much, and the latter not enough. In extracting what I consider to be the theological sense, I beg to say that it has been my earnest endeavour to leave the Psalms to speak for themselves, to tell their own tale; and the conclusion at which I have thus arrived is, that some Psalms are Messianic and that others are historical. The Psalms are on a variety of subjects, and as it was the belief of the Jewish nation that the Messiah should at some time appear, that He should be the subject of some of these songs of Zion is indeed what we might expect. Feeling the importance of dismissing foregone conclusions, I have been careful to consider well
and impartially the arguments both for and against a particular interpretation of a Psalm, and to make it mean no more than it will grammatically bear. My desire has been to elicit what may be termed the natural sense of a Psalm, such as with reference to the circumstances under which it was written, so far as they can be ascertained, seemed the most probable; and with that sense to remain content. Any thing of the nature of special pleading is not only wrong in itself, but is, I am sure, calculated to defeat the very object it was intended to promote.
In the treatment of Psalms which I consider Messianic, there are four sources from which information may be derived. 1stly, we have the testimony of the Jewish Church; 2ndly, that of the Christian Church; 3rdly, the testimony of the New Testament; and 4thly, the internal evidence of the Psalm itself. I have in the commentary on these Psalms introduced the evidence to be derived from the first two sources. There are persons who place a high value on it; but for myself I must say that the internal evidence is that on which I have usually depended as the basis of a Messianic interpretation. If, in addition to this evidence, the Psalm was quoted in the New Testament, and there treated of as a prediction of the Messiah, I felt sure of such an interpretation being the true one. But if the Psalm was not so quoted in the New Testament, yet if the evidence extracted from the words of it greatly preponderated, as I thought, in favour of a spiritual or Messianic sense, rather than of an historical one, and if there were